Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Being the CALM in the storm

If you aren't in a storm right now...just will be soon. I'm not a prophet of doom, just a realistic appraisal from someone who has been in my share of storms.

A leader must be the calm in the storm. You are going to encounter your fair share of turbulence and when you do it is essential that you remain calm and provide a steady influence.

There are two types of storms. Storms you cause...and storms God allows. The storms we cause are created through our willful disobedience to God's Word.

Consider Jonah. Here's a guy who purposely got out of the will of God and didn't want to obey the Word of the Lord even though he knew that he should. He pays, out of his own wallet, a fare to board a ship headed in the opposite direction of God's commandment. (amazing how far some people will go to completely disobey)

Jonah gets in a ship with some people who had no idea that a backslidden preacher was on board. He tries to go unnoticed and fly under the radar. However...when you turn your back on God, He will not let go of you that easy. God will send a rescue party called GRACE & MERCY, sometimes disguised as a storm, to find you.

We often speak of the storm from Jonah's perspective. However, what about the people whose boat he got on? They end up throwing all of their STUFF overboard to support this out of the will of God preacher.

Same for you and I, when we let people on our boat who could care less about where we're going...they just want a FREE LUNCH TICKET and a ride away from the direction that they're supposed to be going in. And during the process, we end up loosing all of our stuff trying to support someone who's causing a storm in our life because of their disobedience.


Then there's the storm God allows. Such is the case of the disciples in Mark 4 when Jesus instructs them to pass over to the other side. A storm brews up on the sea and the waves are so fierce that they now fill the boat. Where is JESUS? Asleep on a pillow. WHAT? Does He not care about us?!

Yes He does. He knew the storm was coming. He was so determined to see us through it that He climbed up in the boat too and said "let US go over to the other side."

He's testing your metal. He's trying to see what you're made of. He's looking for a response not a reaction. The true test of your leadership will come when you're facing an uncontrollable circumstance and remain calm during the midst of it!

The worst thing we can do, when facing an unforeseen storm, is PANIC! In fact, uncontrolled panic is a tell tale sign that the wrong leader is in charge. Your leadership testimony can be lost in 30 seconds of a crisis situation if you do not remain calm and steady.

Nothing will raise a leader higher in the eyes of his/her followers than seeing him effectively handle a crisis situation.

I love the example that Jesus gives here...He just calmly steps up to the bow of the ship and REBUKES the wind and SPEAKS to the sea. PEACE BE STILL.

What was He really doing? First, He was calming the PHYSICAL storm on the OUTSIDE and then the INTERNAL storm on the INSIDE!

WOW! What a method to follow in our own storms!

I want to encourage you today to BECOME the calm not only in your storm but for others as well. It was no accident that Jesus was in that boat with His disciples. Allow God to use you as a CALMING AGENT today.

Do you live in an APOSTOLIC house? (Part 2)

God speaks to us in several and many different ways.
  • He speaks through dreams; through visions; impromptu thoughts; signs; wonders; clear voice; unctions; rhemas; events; through His servants; sends angels; but one of the most powerful ways God speaks to us today is through pictures in the Old Testament.
  • He gives you a historical account of what the present operating system should be on the earth in terms of construction of the church.

    1 Samuel 18:1-4 1And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. 3Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. 4And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.

Jonathan standing next to Saul had never seen such an exhibition of the anointing.

  • When he saw the anointing on David he was attracted to David and he then moved to the next level where he attached himself in covenant with David.
  • He recognized the anointing; he recognized that David would be king one day and so he covenanted with him.

In a practical sense this is how many of us have come to be in an apostolic house.

  • We may have been drawn by the Word and the message that is being lived and preached in this household.
  • We came to a place of recognizing the grace of God upon our lives and also that we need that grace if we wish to grow and develop to a place of maturity in Christ.

1 Samuel 20:1-11 1And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? what is mine iniquity? and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life? 2And he said unto him, God forbid; thou shalt not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will show it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so. 3And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death. 4Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee. 5And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even. 6If thy father at all miss me, then say, David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family. 7If he say thus, It is well; thy servant shall have peace: but if he be very wroth, then be sure that evil is determined by him. 8Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant; for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of the LORD with thee: notwithstanding, if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father? 9And Jonathan said, Far be it from thee: for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee? 10Then said David to Jonathan, Who shall tell me? or what if thy father answer thee roughly? 11And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field.

Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David saying let the Lord require it at the hand of David's enemies.

  • Jonathan again calls David to vow because he loved him as his own soul.
  • There was this powerful soul tie between David and Jonathan, but Jonathan wants to remind him of this and that it extends to his children - make my children part of this covenant.
  • So the covenant is ratified.
  • Jonathan dies with Saul in the battlefield and the nurse that was carrying Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth, 5 years old, he fell and became lame.

2 Samuel 4:4 4And Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.

  • The nurse dropped the baby, who broke both his feet and grew up lame.
  • Several years go by and David is promoted - he has moved through Adullum, he has moved through Hebron, he has moved to Zion, he has conquered all his enemies and is in a position of rest.

2 Samuel 9:1 1And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?

David is a man of great integrity. Here he reaches his position of rest and while he is sitting on his throne and thinking to himself...

  • Who were the ones that were with him in his journey?
  • Who were the ones that encouraged him?
  • Who were the ones that supported him?
  • Who were the ones that loved him?

He realized that Jonathan was a man that loved him and entered into covenant with him.

  • Now that he was in a position of great influence and power - is there anyone remaining of the house of Jonathan?
  • David needed to keep the contract before God.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Do you live in an APOSTOLIC house? (Part 1)

An Apostolic household places a demand on fathering. It is a household where a demand is being placed on every family member to grow to a place of maturity in Christ.

Apostolic houses are not looking just for members to attend but they are looking for sons who are willing and ready to commit to a lifelong covenant relationship.

  • The purpose of an apostolic house is to lead people into their position of Kingship in Christ.

In order for you and me to come to that place of maturity in Christ we need to follow the pattern as God has set it in place in the Word and which we also see manifested from the life of Jesus with His disciples.

We see how Jesus through the model of father and son relationship equipped and grew his disciples to a place of maturity in Christ.

Jesus had the spirit of Sonship.

  • The word "son" means one who is submitted to another.
  • Jesus was completely submitted to His father, that is why when He was 30 years old, when He was baptized by John, the Father spoke from Heaven, "this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased."
  • From that time he was baptized in the Holy Spirit and received power and authority for his public ministry.
  • He began to minister with the authority that was given to him by His Father.
  • So through Jesus' obedience He has now become our High Priest.

In the same way that Jesus progressed from faithful son to High Priest, we too have to start out by learning to be faithful sons in our relationship with God.

  • Jesus said, if you have seen me you have seen my Father, for the Father and I are one.
  • Isaiah tells us "unto us a child is born, unto us a SON IS GIVEN, his name shall be called, ...... EVERLASTING FATHER, ... "
  • So today Jesus is also our Father, as He is one with His Father, He is the image of the Father.

Today we as the church need this same spirit of sonship that Jesus had with His Father.

  • The relationship of spiritual father to spiritual son.
  • We need to show the true nature of God to the world.
  • Jesus came to reveal God is a Father.
  • The Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father.
  • The nature of God is God is a Father and God is love.

Jesus prayed in John17:21 that the world needs to believe that the Father sent the Son.

  • In order for this to happen the church needs to show the same kind of unity in our relationships inside the church.
  • The secret for winning nations in not better organizations or better preaching or even more churches.
  • Love is the key, love that joins the hearts of people together, the church in unity, this will draw the world into the church to find salvation.

SONSHIP: As a Household of faith we then place a demand on sonship. Sonship consists of the following attributes:

  • S - Sons that will Submit to the Spiritual Father and Set man of the House;
  • O - Take Ownership of the vision;
  • N - Bear the Nature and personality of the set man and spiritual father;
  • S - Support the set man;
  • H - Honor the set man;
  • I - Intimate with the set man;
  • P - Protect the set man.

Fix What's Broken

Consider your sphere of influence today. Is there any part of it broken?

It could be a relationship with a spouse, a parent, a child, a friend. It could be that something is broken in your career or ministry.

Identifying the broken places helps us to see what job God wants us to do for Him.

God has called us to do more than just go through the motions in life. He has called us to be BUILDERS!

  • God builds RELATIONALLY

There are three kinds of people in the world:

  1. People who make things happen.
  2. People who watch what's happening
  3. People who wonder what happened.

God has called you to be a BUILDER! If you're going to accomplish this task, you'll need help to get it done! You cannot do it alone.

  • Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.
  • Even Lavern had Shirley.
  • Even Batman had Robin.
  • Even Laurel had Hardy.
  • Even Tom had Jerry.
  • Even Chip had Dale.
  • Even Lenny had Squiggy

God will hook you up with someone...your blessing is coming wrapped up in some FLESH! Yes...I said flesh. God will use a real human with real skin to help you accomplish your God dream!

Quotes I like:

  • "I have a problem. Will you help?"
  • "TEAM - Together Everyone Achieves More."
  • "None of us is as strong as all of us."
  • "A star can win any game. A team can win every game!"

When God starts putting your "dream team" together He will help you like He helped Nehemiah. (Nehemiah 2:9-20)

  1. Rest & Refocus (Nehemiah 2:9-11)
    - Fast, Pray, Act, Fast, Pray, Act, Fast, Pray, Act
    - "A leader leads from the knees up!" - Chuck Swindoll
  2. Investigate before you Initiate (Nehemiah 2:12-16)
    - Find out what you're up against...good & bad.
    - Spend time in SOLITUDE (Nehemiah 2:12-15)
    - Spend time in SILENCE (Nehemiah 2:12b, 16b)
    - Do your walking before you do your talking!
    - Take inventory of the situation; do some fact finding; don't let yourself be driven by the emotion of the moment; keep a level head.
    - Do your background work before going public.
  3. Motivate People to Cooperate (Nehemiah 3)
    - Plainly define the problem (Nehemiah 2:17a)
    - Simply state the solution (Nehemiah 2:17b)
    - Evenly share the work (Nehemiah 3)
    - Clearly see the Lord (Nehemiah 2:18)
  4. Learn how to Discourage the Discouragers (Nehemiah 2:19-20)
    - We can count on God! (Nehemiah 2:20a)
    - God can count on us! (Nehemiah 2:20b)
    - The enemy can get out of Dodge! (Nehemiah 2:20c)

Alignment - A Release of Blessings!

Righteousness...a word that is not stressed enough. But what does it mean? Righteousness is actually a word that implies "right positioning."

To be righteous means to be in ALIGNMENT with AUTHORITY; to be in right standing with authority or to have correct fellowship with authority.

In other words, righteousness describes the relationship one has with authority and the benefits/privileges received as a result of that righteous relationship.

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Jesus said you can RECEIVE all these "things" if you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. (proper positioning in Him)

What things?
  • Physical needs
  • Social needs
  • Emotional needs
  • Psychological needs
  • Financial needs
  • Security needs
  • Even your self-significance, self-worth & purpose

From this one verse God speaks of two priorities...the KINGDOM of GOD and the RIGHTEOUSNESS of GOD.

  • Kingdom refers to the governing influence of Heaven on earth.
  • Righteousness refers to right alignment and positioning with that authority.

Are you walking in alignment to authority?

The principle of righteousness is so clear in this first that it mandates each of us to consider our positioning. If we are not positioned under authority then we are out of alignment to God's protocol.

On this side of eternity, God chooses to use "delegated authority" to lead His body towards His kingdom. Thus, you have have leaders in the body of Christ who are submitted to Christ, the head, and followers likewise who are submitted to that leader.

Choosing to position yourself under the authority of your leader places you directly in line to receive "THESE THINGS" (Matthew 6:33). This is a choice each of us make everyday. When we make the right choice we become recipients of God's blessings in our lives. Those blessings show up in multiple ways!

However, if we choose to remain out of alignment to God's delegated authority in our life then we not only hinder our ability to receive blessings but we also distort God's image to the world. God is a blesser and it brings Him great pleasure to bless His children. Yet, He cannot bless a mess! His very Word prevents Him from condoning rebellion, manipulation, obstinacy and even disobedience.

1 Samuel 15:23 "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king."

The world then looks at our fragmented life and receives a distorted image of who our God is. We make God look like He's a cheapskate or insensitive to our needs and stingy with His blessings. Our "out of alignment" to His authority pushes us out of the umbrella of supernatural covering.

God can't cover what won't come under.

God wants to bless His family! He is so good! he wants to share all His goodness and all He has with us, because He loves us. God's will for us is good!

Let me encourage you today to remain ALIGNED in proper positioning (Righteousness) and see grace work overflowingly in your life.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Honesty & Transparency

In the same thought process of mentorship, one of the key ingredients for any mentor is to maintain honesty and transparency with those they mentor. This is where real trust is built and the lack of it can cause any ground gained lost in a matter of minutes.

As a relationship is forged, real insight can be offered in any given situation. We commonly refer to this as a “teaching moment.” Teaching moments are vital in a mentoring relationship. Jesus often used teaching moments when He explained parables, encountered religious people, performed miracles and so forth.

I have found that even when I’m dealing with a serious situation, I can later use the elements from that situation to teach those I’m leading on “What to do” and “What not to do” when the time comes for them to encounter the same. It’s a true faith building exercise when you stand on your own two feet having been taught through the philosophy of “failure isn’t final.”

Is it risky? Yes, but it builds faith and provides one an opportunity to think outside the box as they navigate through choppy waters.

Will mistakes be made? Sure! But if you’ll give yourself the same amount of grace that God gives, you’ll learn to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake rather than torture yourself through needless condemnation.

Being honest and transparent also means owning up to what you don’t know. There is nothing worse than acting like you are knowledgeable about a subject in front of people only to have your ignorance proven during a test. Admit when you don’t know something. As a mentor you have the ability to find someone who does know the answer.

If you’ll be honest about your lack of knowledge in a certain area, you’ll free your followers to accept the fact that they too don’t know it all either. You will not destroy the faith of those you're leading if it is apparent that your motives were good and that you are trying to do the right thing for the whole. Your followers don't expect perfection, but they do expect and should receive honesty. An honest leader keeps followers' faith intact.

What you do have is perspective. You can offer old fashioned experience and teach from both the positive and the negative. Having the right perspective will keep you focused on your purpose.

Keys to Nurturing your Followers:
  1. Be transparent before them - Don't pretend to know it all or have it all together. They'll see right through that.
  2. Give them your time - One-on-one time with your followers adds to your ability to speak into their lives.
  3. Offer ongoing encouragement - Attempt to say something encouraging to them every time you see them.
  4. Model consistency in front of them - How can you expect them to be faithful, if you're not? Teach them how to be on time, work with excellence, give 100%, etc., by your own example.
  5. Hope the best for them - Mentoring takes time. Growing an oak tree takes time. Hope for the best always.
  6. Acknowledge them - Add significance to them by publicly acknowledging their efforts.
  7. Protect them - Let them know that they are safe in your presence to open their heart and share the innermost ideas and dreams. If they feel safe with you, they'll share their entire heart with you. Thus, an atmosphere of safety produces creative flow.
  8. Support them - They need to be able to connect with you for ongoing support 24/7.
  9. Reward their efforts - Look for ways to bless their work.
  10. Continue to believe in them - As long as they know you're believing in them, it will drive them forward, in spite of mistakes and failures.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Super to your Natural

Ever thought about what the word "anointing" means? In Full Gospel circles we tend to view this word as a "trance-like state" of spiritual power. It is believed by some that to really be "anointed" you'll become more spiritual and empowered beyond your natural abilities.

After hearing someone preach or sing, we're infamous in saying things like, "now, that was anointed" - many times based upon the fact we received a goose bump during their performance or are drawn to their particular "flavor" of ministry performance.

But is that really the anointing?

Are we only anointed when we preach, sing or prophecy? Can we not also be anointed when performing an administrative or operational function? How about when serving another leader? What about cleaning the church?

Are we any "less" anointed in a service role? When I was serving as a youth pastor, a minister whose name I will not mention said to me that "one day I'd have my own church." He made reference that when I stepped "up" into a Sr. Pastor's role I'd experience a real anointing.

Honestly, that type of thinking in the body of Christ has put a bad taste in my mouth. As if...serving in a youth pastor's role was not fully anointed or cleaning the church or ushering was only a temporary place to serve on my way to something "REAL" in God's Kingdom.

Friend, I was fully anointed to serve in every role God assigned me to, regardless of what others thought. To this day, I have a toilet brush anointing. I can clean with the best of 'em and I'm not ashamed to play second chair, carry water, clan a toilet, stack chairs or turn out the lights and lock the door.

Wherever you are presently serving, be assured the anointing of God is upon you in full measure irregardless of other people's opinions.

Here's what I believe...we are anointed by God to perform the task He assigns us to do! Whenever God calls you to do something, He'll also empower you to perform that assignment. It doesn't take long to recognize the anointing in someone else. However, can you recognize the anointing in your own life?

  1. The anointing will give you understanding of what needs to be done.
  2. The anointing will direct you to the practical.
  3. The anointing will cause you to do the unexpected.
  4. The anointing will help you speak words to edify.
  5. The anointing will feed you.
  6. The anointing will make you aware of needs.
  7. The anointing will give you endurance.

Rest assured, if God has called you...He will give you what you need to accomplish His work!