Monday, March 29, 2010

Are You a Fool?

I’ll admit, it’s easy for all of us to speak negative before we speak positive. Unfortunately, that’s just human nature. However, I believe you have to retrain your speech patterns by purposing to speak positive. So, before you say something about ANYONE or ANYTHING, ask yourself “is this a positive or a negative statement.”

Another way to think about it is this: “Would Jesus be pleased with this statement?” This kind of thinking has saved my neck several times. I was raised to believe that if you don’t have anything good to say, you don’t say anything at all. In other words, you become very careful not to speak ill of anyone, especially those who labor for the Lord – even if you feel you have the right to. Not only is this impolite it can cause serious character assassination to whoever the topic of conversation is about.

Obviously, there are some things that may need to be said that might be viewed as negativity. However, if it is said by the right person, at the right time, in the right way it can have a positive effect. One of my spiritual fathers, Leeroy Hill, always says: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” He has a way of turning a negative into a positive by the careful way he uses his words. Not only is this wisdom but it is also masterful etiquette at work.

There’s a reason some people struggle in almost every relationship they have. A noticeable one is they don’t know how to keep their mouth shut. They speak before they think. And worse yet, they speak what they know they shouldn’t speak. Solomon said this about that kind of person:

  • Proverbs 29:11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

I’ve seen people snare themselves by their words. The dictionary defines a fool as “someone considered to lack good sense or judgment.”

Literally they have trapped themselves into a mindset that will ultimately be their demise. The sad part is that some think they’re justified to say anything they want. Friend, if you speak ill of God’s people, the church, your family, your spouse, etc., because you feel “justified”, you have foolishly set yourself up for failure.

  • Proverbs 18:7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.

Here’s an example. A Christian leaves a comment on facebook of how disappointed they are with a church, a leader, or someone in their family. They feel justified to “air their heart” (dirty laundry) on the worldwide web for the devil to see and every person who breathes. When people read their comment, immediately a seed is sown into their heart. The reader must instantly make a decision, “Am I going to allow this seed of corruption to have influence on my perspective or will I just consider the source and let the comment fall to the ground?” The reader must have enough spiritual maturity to do the latter. However, not everyone has a sanctified mind or mouth for that matter.

Worse yet, people who make no public profession of faith in Christ read the comment and assume all Christians are hypocrites or that the church is no different than any other group of people in society. The sad part of this scenario is this: due to a careless comment the kingdom of God suffers and Satan laughs at the entire situation.

If you have unsaved loved ones, the worst thing you can do is make a negative comment about the church, a leader, etc. You may feel you’re justified in doing so, but friend, at the end of the day you will have undone every prayer you’ve prayed for your families’ salvation by your own mouth.

  • Proverbs 6:2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.

  • Proverbs 10:32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.

Consider your words today. Consider your speech patterns. Is what you’re saying “ACCEPTABLE?”

Consider the amount of time you spend on the phone, facebook, text (or whatever) talking about people and things that shouldn’t be spoken. Are your words and lifestyle painting a picture of the type of person you really are?

Also, consider the number of “run ins” you’ve had with people. I know of some people who’ve had a “run in” with someone everywhere they go. Thus, they go from church to church, mumbling under their breath and looking for someone to blame on their way out. It’s truly sad. When you watch their life, you see this behavior repeat itself in their relationships – marriage, children, family, etc. To them, everyone else is the problem.

As a pastor, I teach the truth of God’s Word every week and expect people (especially those who’ve been saved for a considerable amount of time) to just “get it”; to learn from their past mistakes and refuse to repeat them; to grow up spiritually and forsake carnal communications.

One thing that has been difficult for me to learn is that I cannot rush in and fix everyone or everything.

I have a heart for people and I desperately desire to see them succeed spiritually but also in practical living. I purposed in my heart years ago that I would give everyone the benefit of the doubt. They will have to “prove me wrong” – because I choose to give them a clean slate.

If they are a person who has developed a reputation from church to church, and they’re unrepentant or unwilling to change, then the honeymoon will soon pass and their true character will reveal itself. They’ll end up doing the same thing here that they’ve done everywhere else. (Thus, the cycle keeps repeating itself.)

I can want to help someone who really doesn’t want to be helped. In the end, I’ll spend all of my energy, trying to help them and finally realize they had no intention of changing for the better anyway. This is frustrating. Finally, I come to a realization that even though I want to “fix” everyone’s problems or see everyone helped; they have to want it for themselves.

If they’re a new convert, most of the time you will see a 180 degree turn in their behavior and a new lifestyle lived out. For me, it’s a joy to work with someone like this. Its work and not always easy to disciple a new believer but if they are truly willing to grow, regardless of how long it takes or the baggage you have to work through to get them to a substantial place of growth…in the end it’s a blessing.

One gentleman I’m working with is an example of this. I noticed something he was doing that needed a minor adjustment. I spoke to him about it and he received the instruction. In fact, he said, “thank you” for telling me this. I said, “thank you for receiving it.”

What a great attitude. He was willing to make a change for the better. This is so refreshing especially when you encounter just the opposite from people who refuse to change regardless of how many wake up calls they receive over the course of their lifetime.

You cannot build a church with carnal Christians who continually cause trouble with their mouth. I usually refer to these kinds of people as “rusty, crusty, dusty and musty.” They don’t want to change. They don’t want to grow up. They look for trouble. They cause trouble. Wherever there is trouble, you'll find their mouth has been there.

They speak out of both sides of their mouth. They are what Jesus referred to when He spoke about the Pharisees.

  • Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

  • Matthew 15:11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

At this point, you have to cut them loose while continuing to love them. No matter what you say or how you respond it won’t satisfy them or impact them for real change. You never give up on them…but you come to terms with reality. You keep an open door and pray that somewhere, somehow they will come to the decision in their own heart to do what is God pleasing.

Let me interject something here. I’ve learned over time, not to respond to emails that are hasty, nasty or cowardly. If a person doesn’t have enough integrity or spiritual maturity to meet me face to face and look me in the eye, I’m not going to give credence to such pusillanimous forms of communication.

  • James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

I have the utmost respect for someone who meets with me face to face to discuss a matter. I recall a particular situation years ago where a husband and wife were in conflict with one another over some internal issues and about where to go to church. They met with me to discuss what was going on and I was privileged to pray with them and speak into their lives. After all, I had invested a great deal of ministry into them through preaching, teaching, leadership training, prayer, etc. They ended up leaving the church to attend somewhere else. Although I hated to see them go, and knew there was more than meets the eye, I had respect for the manner in which they conducted themselves.

On the other hand, I have little respect for a person who cowardly sends an email to notify me their leaving the church or their upset with this or that. As a leader, I’m thinking … “Surely you know better than this? Have you not been with me so long, that you know this is not the correct way of doing things?” You just don’t do that kind of thing. What’s worse is someone who does this who claims to have spiritual maturity or even be called to ministry.

I humbly submit to you that I am open in my ministry. My yea is yea and my nay is nay. I’m clear on where I stand privately and publically. My preaching, teaching and living are done in the open – not in hiding. I expect nothing less from those I lead.

I have been taught better than that. I teach those I lead, better than that.

I’m thankful for the men and women in my life who pointed me to a mature relationship with Jesus. They didn’t give up on me. They loved me through my mess…but they didn’t tolerate my JUNK either.

Somewhere in our “Christian culture” we’ve gotten it backward. We’re afraid to confront people for the mess they cause with their mouth because we’re afraid of offending them. This is out of order. If you refuse to correct gossip, slander or unhealthy communication and let it go on then you are just as guilty as the person that is perpetrating. Also, if you listen to gossip, slander or unhealthy communication you are perpetrating the same sin.

I remember making a statement to our congregation years ago that was a little bold for my personality but I realize now was absolutely necessary to the welfare of the church. “If you come to BFWC and gossip, you will be rebuked. Gossip is not tolerated by anyone.” Saying that was indeed bold, but what I found is that some people needed to know how serious we were about this sin. They needed to have verbal boundaries spoken forth so they could once again recover their Godly fear and forsake this demonic activity.

At the end of the day, we must carefully examine our heart and the words that have sprung forth from the abundance of our heart. We must consider every word and action and then ask ourselves:

  • “Do my words and actions bring honor to You Jesus?”

  • “Have I said or done anything displeasing to You Lord?”

  • “Have my words and actions drawn people to You Lord or pushed them away from You?”

If you search your heart, retrace your steps and look at the other side of the coin…you’ll find that regardless of your “hurt” or how you felt at the time, there is no excuse to speak foolishly.

My friend, with one comment you can lose your entire testimony.

I love people. I guess the Lord put this in me. Although at times I can get frustrated with people’s ill behavior or lack of stick-to-it-evenness – I never grow tired of loving them. I continue to believe that we are all pursuing a mature relationship in Jesus Christ and will stop at nothing to achieve it.

  • We are committed to character development.

  • We are committed to allowing our fruit to be inspected.

  • We are committed to guarding our mouths from anything that is not God honoring.

  • We are committed to keeping our testimonies intact.

  • We are committed to be exemplary in our conduct.

  • We are committed to loving one another unconditionally.

  • We are committed to our families.

  • We are committed to our friends.

  • We are committed to our church.

  • We are committed to our leaders.

  • We are committed to our employment.

  • We are committed to service.

  • We are committed to evangelism.

  • We are committed to worship.

  • We are committed to discipleship.

  • We are committed to fellowship.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Technology at it's best - internet on the airplane!

I can hardly believe technology today. We left Indianapolis this morning headed to Florida for Spring Break. We're sitting on the plane and I'm updating my blog LIVE over the Internet.

Air-tran uses gogo Internet service. You simply sign up and away you go.

The best part is, today is Sunday and I'm able to click on our church website ( and watch the services LIVE while we're in mid-air.

Isn't that crazy?

We are excited to get a way for a few days. We're gonna spend some quality time together - laughing, relaxing, enjoying sunshine and taking it easy. It's good to get away for a scheduled trip. Also, this is Kaitlyn's senior year of High School and then it's off to college in the fall. Where does the time go?

It's also a joy to know that the church is in capable hands! We're honored to serve with such quality leadership. Working in the Kingdom of God is challenging to say the least...but when you're surrounded with excellent leaders the load is much easier to bear. Now, I don't want to make it sound like ministry is a "BEAR" - because it is absolutely a JOY! Anyone whose been involved in ministry for any length of time understands the privilege and the responsibility.

A special thanks today to our wonderful congregation for their commitment to Christ and His work. Together, we're making an impact in our city. We're honored to serve you!


Russell & Beverly Hylton

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Family Life - Keys you need to succeed!

Join us on Easter Sunday

April 4, 2010

As we kick off our new series:
"Family Life - Keys You Need To Succeed!"

Wild at Heart Campaign

Our Men's Ministry kick off the
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 7:00 pm

Friday, March 19, 2010

I Am Called To Encourage the Encourager

Ephesians 4:11-13 11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
I like to consider the five office gifts of Ephesians 4:11 as the GRACE GIFTS. (Five being the number for grace…it just seems fitting to refer to these gifts as such.)
When God gave these offices to the church, I believe He considered each of them to be a gift. Truly, a pastor is a gift that God has given to the church. We often refer to the title “pastor” but in essence a pastor is very much a “shepherd” – someone who oversees the flock.
Recently, I shared a blog post about How To Relate To Your Pastor. The reason is because many times we look at a pastor (shepherd) and think all they do is preach in the pulpit on Sunday. Sometimes we fail to see the invisible hours of administrating, care giving, studying, mental preparation, organizing, dealing with issues, planning, counseling, etc., all of which require long hours and bring lots of criticism.
Sometimes pastors can be terribly misunderstood by their congregations which can cause a loss of joy and heaping handfuls of discouragement.
How do you encourage the encourager?

Here are a few things to consider :
  1. Don’t forget the overall vision: This is vital because if you forget where the church is going, you’ll get bogged down with items (i.e., disgruntlement , complaints, politics, goofy stuff, etc.) that aren’t crucial to the overall destination of the church and the heart of the pastor.
  2. Be longsuffering and considerate: as you serve with your pastor, you will also be serving with his/her spouse and children. If you hold them to an ideology of “perfection” then you will be disappointed the first time you see their humanness. Remember, they are human too and face the same things you face. Your acceptance will make their inner beauty shine as they settle into their role.
  3. Trust their decisions: this isn’t always easy, especially when you aren’t privy to all the facts of a matter. However, realize that your pastor often times has to protect the information about others so that no further damage is done to an individual’s/families testimony. In doing so, the pastor is handling the matter with professionalism and etiquette.
  4. Join the construction crew…not the demolition crew: As you demonstrate faithfulness in your time, talent and treasure, you will bring refreshment to your pastor’s spirit.
  5. Avoid being disrespectful: A good rule of thumb is to always treat people like you want to be treated. If you sow respect, you will reap respect. Your pastor is not your employee to talk down to. He or she is your spiritual leader. Paul gave reference to this in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 12And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
  6. Refuse to gossip or allow anyone else to gossip/slander/criticize your pastor: Anyone who serves in leadership will face the glare of public scrutiny and speculation. Even the wrong assumption can undermine your leader’s credibility. Refuse to “assumicide” your pastor. If you have a concern, speak to him or her personally not on facebook, through emails or text messages. Criticizing them behind their back will only harm them and become infectious to anyone privy to your words. Determine to put a stop to any bad mouthing that is going on by speaking affirmation and positive statements. Remember Paul’s instruction in 1 Timothy 5:19 19Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
  7. Affirm your pastor through appreciation: when you look for ways to bless the man or woman of God you are actually enabling them to stay focused on their ministry assignment. Cards, letters, offerings, etc., go a long way in keeping your pastor encouraged. It costs your pastor just as much to live as it does you. Refer to 1 Timothy 5:17-18 17Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
  8. Be a genuine friend not a fair weather friend: situations will arise in the ministry that will be difficult. Your pastor needs to know that you’re not looking for an exit at the first sign of trouble. Consider the way your pastor has stood with you during your hour of affliction or trial, has protected you from the wolves, has guided you when you were misguided, has loved you unconditionally even through failures.
  9. Join the Pastor’s Prayer Covering: commit yourself to pray for your pastor especially when they are bringing the word of God to the congregation. When you and your family pray over your meal, say a special prayer over your pastor and his/her family too. Speak life, peace, love, hope, faith, joy, wisdom, strength, encouragement and abundance over them. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 1Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: 2And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
  10. Find new ways to encourage him/her: If your pastor has helped you…tell him/her. Ephesians 4:29 declares, 29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Proverbs 3:27 27Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Use birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, etc., as a way to express your love. A kind word doesn’t cost anything.

The Spirit of Onesiphorus

2 Timothy 1:16-18 16The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: 17But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. 18The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.”

Paul describes Onesiphorus as a man who refreshed him. This man’s name is only mentioned twice in the Bible.

Onesiphorus has a name that is hard to pronounce and frankly is different from most common names we know. Yet, his name is synonymous with “that which is profitable.”

In other words, he lived up to his name by becoming profitable to his leader, Apostle Paul. The word profitable carries with it the meaning of “some use, benefit, or advantage to somebody.” Truly, he was just that to Paul.

I like to think that we desire to bring addition and multiplication to those we serve, rather than subtraction and division.

10 things we recognize about Onesiphorus:
  1. Dedicated – committed himself to Paul’s needs.
  2. Persevering – he searched for Paul till he found him.
  3. Faithful – didn’t stop his service with a one-time act.
  4. Overcoming – when you serve someone else’s needs, you have to learn to overcome other people’s opinions and assumptions.
  5. Selfless – he put Paul’s needs, interests and wishes before his own.
  6. Achiever – evidently he achieved his goal of serving his leader.
  7. Merciful – he was not ashamed or embarrassed of Paul’s chains.
  8. Humble – humility is a strong characteristic of anyone who serves someone else.
  9. Hard worker – he was not afraid of the menial tasks.
  10. Risk taker – it’s always a risk to stand up for what you believe in.

Onesiphorus is definitely a great example to all of us. He provided REFRESHMENT to his leader.

Ask yourself I bring refreshment or depletion to those I serve? If it's the latter, then ask yourself...what can I change today that will begin to add strength and vitality to the one I've been called to assist?

May God give each of us the spirit of Onesiphorus!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

With a PLAN you can accomplish anything!

Mark 3:9 And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.

Jesus gave his disciples instructions to get a boat prepared for Him. The crowds were growing and His enemies were on the prowl. In fact, His enemies were planning how they were going to destroy Him.

Jesus planned his next step. His enemies were pressing around Him and the multitude was drawing from Him. He needed this boat to be conveniently nearby so that he could either make an exit in a hurry or He could continue to teach the multitude from a safe place.

Nonetheless, he planned this and told His disciples the next step in His plan. "Get me a boat...quick!"

We too must plan our next step. We must plan for potential adversities that may come our way. If you've planned accordingly, then the adversity can become an advantage.

We've all heard the saying, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." That is true, and even more so in ministry today. Churches must plan for the next step and be ready to take that step when the timing is right. We'd all like the right circumstances and the most favorable options to be present when a decision is made to move forward...however, seldom are circumstances "just right."

Our planning must include "long range" and "short range" together. Long range is the thing we envision in our hearts. Short range is the next step required to move in that direction.

It's like planning to pay off all of your debt in five years. In order to do that you must start today (short range) making the right choices that will assist in debt relief (long range).

Planning has been a lifesaver for me personally. Almost everything we do at BFWC is done with careful, strategic planning. In 2004 we launched two morning worship services. It was the natural step for us with limited seating. We planned six months before we made the transition. When it finally happened, everyone was excited and felt prepared to make the adjustment.

Here's some keys that helped us:

Key #1 - Destination
You must determine where you're going. Begin with the end in mind.

  • We prayed and sought the Lord's guidance.
  • We envisioned having two morning services and what it would look like.
  • We saw it in our mind first.
Key #2 - Information
You must know your terrain. Gather necessary information to make quality decisions.

  • I remember asking pastor's and leaders who had been through this process themselves to explain to me what they experienced.
  • The research took about 30 days and included lots of phone calls and any information I could find on the Internet.

Key #3 - Motivation
Know the steps it will take. You must set achievable, markable, goals to make the vision a reality.

  • After gathering the information, we begin to put our timeline together.
  • We set our schedule for 6months out, 3 months out, 1 month out and 1 week out.
  • At each benchmark we became more and more enthused about what was coming.
Key #4 - Organization
Plan the work. Planning is the launching pad for success.

  • We put pencil to paper and mapped out two identical services.
  • We determined how much man power would be needed to make this happen.
  • We asked for volunteers to attend the early service.
  • A lot of preparation went to preparing new signage, advertisements, notification to newspapers, basically anywhere people could read our service schedule. When the time came we would have to switch everything from the Internet to paperwork.
Key #5 - Implementation
Work the plan. Faith without works is dead.

  • The day finally came and we launched the additional service on Easter Sunday.
  • Our leaders were enthused and it was exciting to move into uncharted territory.
  • I had an excitement in my heart and a tinge of nervousness too.
  • Everything went well because we had planned for this moment for over six months.
Key #6 - Administration
All transition must be managed. Management includes finances, time, and people.

  • We counted the cost.
  • Organized the team for both services.
  • Doubled up on ushers & greeters.
  • Asked the worship team to assist in both services till we could grow more musicians, etc.

Key #7 - Evaluation
Chart your progress. This is the point of "re-vision" that brings you back to step one in the process. Continue the process until you reach your objective.

  • After the first week, we evaluated how things went.
  • We began to tweak each week to see how we could improve.
  • Within the first few months the dust settled and it felt like we'd always been doing this.
  • Now we track both services for attendance, offering and demographics.
  • One thing we've learned is that people like having options.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Relating To Your Pastor

Relating to your Pastor takes work! All of us have a Pastor/Leader in our lives that we are called to serve. Ephesians chapter four tells us that one of the gifts Jesus gave the church is the gift of a Pastor. When we learn to receive and appreciate this gift, I believe we will begin to experience the contentment, peace, joy, purpose and satisfaction that should be experienced in ministry. 

Here are some guidelines:

1. Pray daily for your Pastor
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you.
  • It's difficult to have strife with some you pray for daily.
  • As you pray the word over your Pastor, you can expect to have your heart knit with his/her in the Spirit.
  • The spirit of an armor bearer is revealed in 1 Samuel 14:7 And his armour bearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.
  • God is looking for people who will be with their assigned leader - heart and soul.
  • Jesus said we are to "watch and pray..."
  • If it is your hour of trial or your leader's hour of trial, determine to build your spirit so that you may remain alert and prayerful.
2. Learn your Pastor's ministry
  • 1 Thessalonians 5;12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you.
  • A good leader will always take notes and learn from his/her Pastor's ministry.
  • Not only will this allow you to store up some great Holy Ghost nuggets, but it will also show your Pastor that you have respect for his/her ministry and desire to pull from his/her anointing.
  • Build relationship - get to know whom you are serving.
  • Having a good relationship will guard you in tense times - especially when the enemy tries to get you to be offended. (i.e., phone call not returned, unanswered email, etc.)
3. Stay clear from all areas of strife
  • James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
  • As you assume a role of leadership in the church, you will probably have the opportunity to come across some people who are plagued by a critical spirit.
  • Hebrews 12:15 shows us a "root of bitterness defiles many."
  • If God has called you to serve under this Pastor, it is your responsibility and duty to remain loyal to his/her direction and vision whether you agree 100% with the way he/she chooses to get things done or not.
  • Put on "Godly Garments." Be careful of the attitude you wear when serving your leader.
  • If we strive to wear a garment of humility, kindness and congeniality our leaders will safely trust themselves to us.
  • Ask yourself: Do I always complain to my Pastor? Do I continually share the "lion" or the "honey?" Am I draining my Pastor by carrying a critical spirit?
  • If so, put a guard on your mouth and change the way you speak.
4. Be willing to receive correction
  • There will be times when your Pastor/Leader will need to correct an area in your life. If you're knit to your Pastor's heart, you'll realize that the correction is for your betterment and development as a leader.
  • The Bible speaks of pride. "Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud." (Proverbs 16:18-19)
  • Refrain from pointing out your leader's faults as they're correcting you. if you feel like they need to be corrected, you will have to do that later. When they are correcting you, it is not the time to correct them.
  • Make sure you have no resentment or bitterness in your heart towards those that correct you. If you are tempted to have wrong feelings toward someone that has corrected you, pray and seek the Lord until you have full victory.
  • If you feel you were corrected wrongly, don't gossip to others about it, but seek God as to what you should do about it. Keep in mind that when you have done right and you suffer for it and take it patiently this is acceptable with God. (1 Peter 2:20).
  • Satan will try to attack you in this area - because no one likes to be corrected. If the enemy is successful, he will destroy the relationship you have with your Pastor/Leader.
  • James Dobson commented that 1,500 ministers are quitting the ministry each month.
  • As no other time in history, we must be aware of the enemies devices and not allow ourselves to fall into the trap of bitterness.
  • It says a lot about a person who can receive correction and still stay where God has planted them. In fact, there are great dividends for people who receive correction (even if it's not what they want to hear or how they want to be addressed) and keep on going.
5. Keep your Pastor informed
  • It is critical that you keep the doors of communication open to let your Pastor know what is going in your ministry and life.
  • You should keep your Pastor updated at all times on what you are doing.
  • Don't fall into the trap of thinking your Pastor doesn't care about what's going on with your ministry.
  • However, remember that as you are focusing on the needs of your particular ministry, the Pastor has the "whole picture" to be concerned sensitive to that.
  • Remember, there is a time and place for everything.
  • Do not "unload" on your Pastor as they're getting ready to preach or minister.
  • Allow your concerns and needs to take a backseat to discerning your leader's need. There will be an appropriate time to deliver the mail.
  • Also, the Pastor shouldn't have to learn about conversations and issues that have happened in the church while facing an angry parishioner. Keep your Pastor informed of things as they happen - at the very least through a quick email.
  • Never let your leader learn of something after the fact - usually when it's reached the boiling point - if you know it...they should know it.
6. Strive to fulfill your Pastor's vision and not your own
  • Luke 16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's who shall give you that which is your own?
  • You must get a revelation in your spirit as a leader that you are called to promote your Pastor's ministry, not vice averse.
  • You are called to be a servant and operate in the ministry of helps (1 Corinthians 12:28).
  • Your dreams will only come true as you serve faithful where God has placed you.
  • Learn how to personalize your service. What one leader desires will be different from another.
  • Each Pastor or leader has a different set of gifts and needs of service than another.
  • Learn what your leader's are and personalize your service.
  • Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.
  • Be attentive to promptings. (i.e., casual conversation, body language, etc.)
  • Ask yourself: Why am I here? - hopefully not just for a position or title.
  • Elisha's double-portion anointing had it's humble beginnings as a servant to Elijah.
  • His heart remained humble because there was no ulterior motive.
  • He wasn't there to "climb the ladder" to success. He poured water on his hands and as a result was refreshed himself many years later.
  • You are called to the high place of laying down your desire for ministry in order to fulfill someone else's.
  • You may have to constantly reaffirm why you are there because it will produce major tests.
  • Lay your desire before the Lord and determine to remain with your leader until Jesus comes.
  • Serve.
7. Develop loyalty to your Pastor
  • Determine to be where you assigned leader is.
  • Have you considered where Joshua was when Moses went up the mountain to receive the law of God?
  • We can only assume he was somewhere close by because he was right there with him when he came off of the mountain forty days later.
  • Remember, how can your ministry to him or her be developed if you are not in place?
  • If you are constantly calling off work - you won't have a job.
  • If you are hit and miss with your attendance - pretty soon, your Pastor will begin to expect you to call off and will actually be surprised if you show up.
  • What is your pattern? Have you formed an unhealthy cycle?
  • Your Pastor spreads the table each service to feed the entire body a healthy spiritual meal.
  • A continual absence sends a clear signal that you're not hungry for what they're feeding or you'd rather feed somewhere else.
  • In addition, if you cause your leader frustration due to inconsistent attendance, mood swings, pouting and slothfulness - your leader will begin to pour into others who are standing in the wings ready to serve.
  • If we sow loyalty, we will reap loyalty.
8. Having done all to stand - STAND with your Pastor
  • People will always have an opinion about what you should be doing. (i.e., spouse, family, friends, peers, etc.)
  • Learn to still the voices around you and make a decision to obey God at whatever cost.
  • Stay in the Word of God and be sensitive to the voice of the Lord - not the voice of public opinion.
  • Remain faithful in your position until the Holy Spirit releases you with the blessing of your Pastor.
  • The last thing you want to be known for is having an illegitimate ministry. There's a Scriptural name for this - "Bastard Ministry." (That which is not fathered)
  • People will always speak when they see an anointing in your life.
  • Do not be moved from the high place of service to chase a premature vision.
  • Remain faithful to God and He will reward you.
  • When that time of reward comes, you will have the confidence to do His will.
As you can see, relating to your Pastor (or leader) can be quite a challenge. However, if your heart is broken and your spirit contrite, you'll do just fine. One day, when a word of prophecy is needed or a great ministry task must be performed...they'll come looking for the one who poured water on their leader's hands. That day will come if you "wait on the Lord." That day will be aborted if you "grasp for ministry rather than inherit it."

Friday, March 5, 2010

I Need a Tan

I remember camping at Cave Run Lake in Morehead, KY as a child. My uncle & aunt loaded us up with their kids and off we went for a few days of fun in the sun. That was a trip to remember. I had lots of fun swimming, fishing, sleeping in the camper, eating by the fire...and of course fighting off mosquito's with bug spray.

One thing I'll never forget about that trip was the terrible sunburn I got. It was so painful, I could barely move. However, I got an awesome tan when it was all said and done!

Think about how much money we spend to make sure our "outside" looks good. From our clothing, hair, skin tone, etc. We spend hours outside in the sun or in a tanning bed, trying to get our tan just right.

But how does our inside look?

Do we spend time getting our "spirit man" in shape? When we spend time working on our "inside tan" or "God tan" we discover that the light of God begins to illuminate beauty.

Spending time with God involves:

  1. Prayer - a set time of prayer and a continuous prayer work well.
  2. Worship - singing a "new" song (something out of your spirit)....simply expressing our love to Him.
  3. Reading the Bible - hiding God's word inside us allows the word to germinate and produce much needed fruit in our lives.
  4. Fasting - denying ourselves of whatever it is that takes precedence over our love relationship with Jesus. (i.e., food, TV, facebook, coffee, shopping, Internet - you name it - when you sacrifice these types of things you are sending God a clear message that you are SERIOUS about pursuing Him!)

What should our inside, "God Tan", look like? Well, quite possibly it could look like Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

These characteristics don't come by our own strength. These things are produced by the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we spend enough time with Him, we'll start acting like Him. The same can be said for our best friends. Have you ever noticed that when you spend a lot of time with a friend, you find yourself laughing like them or talking like them? It's just like that with the Holy Spirit - the more time we spend with Him the more we'll become just like Him!

Do this today: Get your Bible, a journal, headphones and worship music - go for a walk or find a quite corner at Starbucks and just spend time alone with Jesus.

Moses spent so much time in the presence of the Lord that his face was tan. :-) How about us? If the sun can leave an imprint on our outside skin, think about what our insides will look like when the SON leaves His imprint in us. We'll be acting, thinking and behaving just like Jesus.