Wednesday, September 28, 2011

#2 The Big Deal About Seasons of Silence

When God begins to transform you into the leader He has called you to be, you will go through SEASONS of SILENCE - times when God hides you away to deal with the foundation of your heart. 

What do you do when God is silent and you feel left out?  How do you react during those times? 

I can definitely point to specific times in my life when God seemingly HID me in silence.  Times where I began to question my calling and the vision He had birthed in my heart.

If I've learned anything from those experiences, I've learned NOT TO GIVE UP.

When God anoints you, He calls you to do those things that the ORDINARY person cannot do.  If He calls you...He will qualify you.

It is CARNAL to give up...but it is GODLY to press on! 

Paul tells us in Galatians 6:9 "Be not weary in well doing, for in DUE SEASON you shall reap IF you faint not!"

Peter tells us "...humble yourselves...under the mighty hand of God, that in DUE TIME He may exalt you." (1 Peter 5:6)

Even John the Baptist dealt with SEASONS of SILENCE:
  • Luke 1:76-80  76And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; 77To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, 78Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 79To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. 80And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel.
  • At His dedication (Luke 2:21-22, 39-40)
  • The next time we hear of Jesus, He is 12 years old (Luke 2:41-52)
  • The next time we hear of Him, He is 30 and beginning His public ministry.

There will be times when you are HIDDEN away so that the FORMATION of your FOUNDATION can take place.

When God "called" me - I was 15 years old. 
  • I didn't immediately run to the State of Ohio and apply for my own 501C3 to establish a not for profit organization or file to incorporate "myself." 
  • I didn't hire a marketing firm, manager, agent or road crew. 
  • I didn't try to get booked on Daystar or TBN.
  • I didn't establish a website with FREE gift offers.
  • I wasn't old enough to drive.
  • I still had GI JOE action figures.
  • I didn't have a clue what I was doing.
  • I had just experienced an incredible GOD ENCOUNTER...but didn't know how to interpret it or where to go from there.
  • I didn't actually "PREACH" until a year later...and even then I had no clue what to do, where to go, how to develop or how to HONE my ear to God's voice.

From the time of your calling to the fulfillment of that will experience SEASONS of SILENCE. 
  • I now realize that those were the QUALIFYING years of my life.
  • The years where God put people in my life to SHAPE me, CORRECT me and HELP me deal with my JUNK.
  • They were trying to get me over the hump of pride, dysfunction and a misaligned mindset.
  • Thank God for those people!
  • Thank God they still speak in my life.
  • Thank God I heeded to their counsel...lest I be a renegade, a loose cannon and one of those classic examples of "what not to do."
Every leader MUST go through SEASONS of SILENCE.  It's during that time...
  • Your character will be tested.
  • Your motives will be tested.
  • Your tenacity will be tested.
Whatever you are...will show up during your SEASON of SILENCE.

Laziness Can't Be Taught

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is nearly 85 years old and still works a full week from 9-5 plus several evening shifts and on weekends.  She has to be nice to thousands of people every week, shake hands with hundreds of them, share her mid-day and evening mealtimes with dozens of them, and look absolutely perfect a all times no matter what.

She's been doing it since 1952.  And she has to travel thousands of miles every year to events in far places where she's expected to be charming and perform.

There are many things one could say about her...but LAZY is not one of them!

She takes her responsibility serious and is constantly aware of what is taking place in her kingdom.  In once sense you could say she is a MICROMANAGER.

When you hear the word MICROMANAGER one tends to believe it that is "taboo" when it comes to leadership.  In our culture, most leaders do not want to be accused of this.

I'm convinced that all of us need to be held to ACCOUNTABILITY
Without it, we are a TRAIN WRECK waiting to happen.

Every leader needs to be EMPOWERED to casting a compelling vision and experimenting with ideas that may be out of the box.

Our personal preferences should not DICTATE every decision we make.  The freedom to explore will actually MAXIMIZE our abilities!

Getting the right team in place is VITAL.  Leaders who are SELF STARTERS are an incredible asset! Leaders who are LAZY hold up progress and certain things don't get done.

In Exodus 18 Jethro told Moses that he was trying to do all of the work and in doing so he would wear out and hinder the progress of Israel.  I agree with Jethro.  But there are quite a few instances in the Scriptures where MICROMANAGEMENT is essential...
  • Adam was micromanaged by God when he was told what trees he could and could not eat from.  Adam was empowered but ALL empowerment comes with direction and accountability.
  • Moses was micromanaged by God when he was given the vision of what to build and how to build the tabernacle...down to the measurements and color choices.
  • Joshua was micromanaged by God when he received the battle plan for Jericho.
  • Nehemiah was a micromanager - and also one of the most effective leaders in the Bible.  He empowered leaders, shared his authority and accomplished much!  However, when he returned in chapter 13 the vision God had given had fallen apart and was in complete disorder.  HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? He had leaders in place...they were empowered...BUT when a vision gets too far from the person God originally shared the vision with then it will always become DILUTED (taken away from) or POLLUTED (added to).
  • JESUS WAS A MICROMANAGER - He called people to follow Him.  He gifted and empowered them...He sent them out and the did incredible things.  BUT...when you look in the Gospels you'll see that many times He CORRECTED and INSTRUCTED them.  He didn't just let them do their own thing...He took OWNERSHIP of His leadership and LED them.
  • When the Holy Spirit came we were not only empowered to "do things" but He moved in us to make sure we get it right.
  • Even Paul was a micromanager - he literally wrote the majority of the New Testament...writing to the church and church leaders about what to do and what not to do. (also known as micromanagement)
Sometimes micromanagement is essential!
  • Leaders can sometimes become LAZY
  • It is good for us when God uses the Holy Spirit to put PRESSURE on us or other people to do the same.
  • When this happens it causes us to dig deeper and make corrections.
People don't do what you EXPECT
they do what you INSPECT.
  • If we don't embrace the CALL of God we'll embrace laziness because it's much easier to be lazy than to do what He expects.
  • The right thing is not always the easy thing.
If you're a Pastor/Leader don't give into the fear of what people think when it comes to MICROMANAGING.  You can't allow the labels people try to put on you to dictate your calling and ministry.

You must oversee the vision God has given you.  At times you'll have to put pressure on those you've empowered.  If you're working with someone who has a problem with being held accountable they will hide behind the accusation of "micromanagement" to excuse themselves from their ineffectiveness.

Someone who loves the church and loves you will not get mad when you occasionally ask some really tough, specific questions about a particular issue; in fact, they will embrace it because they know that having "that" conversation will CLARIFY the vision and will also prove that you actually CARE about them and their work.

As a leader, you'll never know everything about everything...but you should know something about what God is pressing into you.  Don't run from responsibility because of fear of more work!

Whether you're OVERSEEING the ministry from the 10th floor or the ground what God called you to do.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

#1 The Big Deal About Loneliness in Ministry

Deal with it! 
Quit whining!
Grow up!

Wow...that's tough to hear when you're navigating through the difficulties of ministry.  I don't care how long you've been in ministry, how seasoned you are or how tough you think you are...NO ONE enjoys dealing with JUNK...especially me.

However, I met a pastor one time who told me that he enjoys conflict.  He seemed to have a sparkle in his eyes when he talked about personality conflicts and turmoil.  He seemed to live for a good fight.

NOT ME...I enjoy peace.  I like to lay my head on my pillow at night in rest. To me, conflict is no fun and it certainly isn't easy to deal with when you're physically or emotionally drained.  Dealing with junk gets old. However, conflict is inevitable. 

Ministry has ups and downs.  Bottom line...sometimes it's just plain difficult. 

BUT the good news is that God teaches you something through every situation that adds value to your life and catapults you to the next level.

We could talk about lots of things that add stress to the ministry...lying, gossip, disrespect, disloyalty, sin, pride, rebellion, fornication, adultery, laziness, disunity, and more...but I want to share some things with you that I've learned over the years that have helped me to keep going even in the face of difficulty.

Every leader will DEAL with:

  • We've all heard the phrase..."it's lonely at the top?"  Although we shouldn't attempt to do ministry alone...there are times when the leader will have to stand alone. 
Leadership can be and often is lonely. 
  • Every leader desires to have friends and yet, we cannot allow a spirit of "familiarity" to come upon those God has placed under our leadership.
    • I've learned that you must beware of becoming "entangled" in the lives of those in whom you're leading.
    • Becoming too familiar will cause most people to no longer be able to see you as the leader.  They will begin to see that you are human; and although in one way they want you to be so, in another way they are disappointed if you are.
  • In ministry, especially as a pastor, you have to look for "divine connections" when it comes to friendships.  We all need friends, but those friends need to fall into two categories:
    • Friends in ministry - people doing the same thing I am doing.
    • Friends outside of ministry - people who do not work for me and are not directly involved with my ministry.
  • Honestly, there have been a couple of times that I've made the mistake of trying to be a "best" friend with some guys and it didn't work out.
Loneliness can come from being misunderstood.
  • Even Jesus' family didn't understand Him - they thought he was out of His mind. (Mark 3)
  • His disciples didn't really understand Him or His call.
  • John the Baptist understood Him more than anyone and even he said, "are you the one or do we look for another?"
  • Jesus knows what it's like to be MISUNDERSTOOD.  Hebrews 4:15 "We have a High Priest who understands us and our weaknesses and infirmities."
If you've been called by are different!
  • There will be times that you don't feel like you fit in.
  • You will feel misunderstood.
  • Only Jesus will be able to figure you out.
Jesus could not totally open up His life to anyone.
  • John 2:24-25 24But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
People who are not called to what you are called to will not be able to understand your responsibility level.
  • Matthew 26:40 40And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
It's easy for people to say, "Cast your care," when they do not carry your burden.

It's easy for people to say, "Laugh more and have fun," when they are not the ones who need to prepare for meetings, training, conferences and pastoral duties.

You'll be bombarded with requests, phone calls, emails and more!  Sometimes it seems that everybody you get around wants something, needs something, expects something, has a question or needs counseling for an urgent decision.

birds fly in flocks, but EAGLES fly alone!

Giant oak trees do not grow in clumps, they are usually by themselves, perhaps on a hill - and they look majestic!

Learning how to DEAL with loneliness will help you LAST in ministry.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Couldn't Sleep Last Night

I could hardly sleep last night.  I was up at 3:00 am this morning thinking on the GOODNESS of the Lord.  It's as if I had an overwhelming sense of WARMTH in my soul.

God has been so good...and He is doing SO MUCH in our church.  I always want to be TRANSPARENT with in that transparency I'd have to say...sometimes I let the critics get to me...but when I began to think about the things God is doing...I just melted in my heart.
  • Last Wednesday night I talked with a couple that began coming to our church within the past few months - and as a result they're STILL TOGETHER and NOT DIVORCED!
  • A young couple that started comng to BFWC because a person in our church bought their meal at McDonalds - as a result...they came...RECEIVED CHRIST...went through pre-marriage counseling with our marriage ministry...and I had the privilege to marry them!
  • I talked with a family last week that told me that they have GROWN more at BFWC in the last year than their entire Christian life!
  • A student told me this past week that they couldn't imagine life without BFWC...they had GAINED THE FAMILY they had always longed for!
  • A pastor called me last week and said that BFWC had provided him so much inspiration and encouragement!  He has been watching our services LIVE over the internet before his service begins!  He said, "whenever I'm dry...I tune in and get REFRESHED!"
  • Beverly and I met with a lady a couple of weeks ago that needed a yesterday!  She emailed us today and LANDED a GREAT JOB!
  • Our TRANSPORTATION MINISTRY is busting the SEAMS!  An entire family got saved this past weekend!  I can't wait till we BAPTIZE THEM!
  • STREETLIGHTS led 38 people to CHRIST on Saturday!
  • UPWARD Basketball & Cheerleading evaluations begin next month! Still thanking God for the families that have joined BFWC as a result of this incredible outreach!
It just hit me this morning that LIVES ARE BEING CHANGED AND IMPACTED FOR JESUS CHRIST - and that's what it's ALL ABOUT to me!

At breakfast this morning, I nearly burst into I was still overwhelmed with the GOODNESS of GOD!  Sure...there are down days...who doesn't have them?  BUT there are more UP than DOWN

You must not lose your joy in the down times.  You just have to keep going forward with the VISION God gave you.

I want to see SOULS SAVED!
I want to birth SONS into the Kingdom!

I want to see people RESTORED and EQUIPPED!

This morning I thought about what God has done...but then later today I began to reflect on what HE IS ABOUT TO DO!
  • Our CARE Pastors - Leeroy & Maxine Hill, moved to Indianapolis over the weekend and are READY TO ROLL!
  • I'm bubbling up inside cause we've got more news to announce VERY SOON!
BFWC - there are some awesome things about to happen ... it makes me want to JUMP, RUN and SPIN! lol

I love serving with you! 

We are FAR from perfect - but we're making great strides to become the church God has called us to be!  We are on a JOURNEY...and I am so glad that He is allowing me to be a part of this!

I love to see what God is doing!  IT PUMPS ME UP!  Shoot me an e-mail and let me know what you're seeing the Lord do in your life!  DON'T KEEP IT TO YOURSELF! (

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Called To Lead?'ve been called to lead?  Where do you start?  What's the next logical step?

In Ephesians 4:11-12 the groundwork for leadership is laid.

  1. Equip the saints or assist them to fruitfulness and service.
  2. Pass the torch along to future generations - discipleship - (2 Timothy 2:2)
I like to call this the "222 Principle."

Raising up leaders is a mandate for every leader.  A leader doesn't just lead...they raise up others who will do the same - thus multiplication takes place.

However, that process ONLY works if a real transformation takes place in the heart and the truth and purity of the Gospel is lived out.

Paul, the author of Ephesians, is not only an Apostle but also a Pastor.  He says that GODLINESS in leadership must be present in order to produce Godly offspring.

The ultimate goal for all of us is that we end up LOOKING like JESUS...our MODEL.  He modeled character and expects us to do the same.

  1. The CALL of God - everyone is called, but leaders are divinely called or appointed to lead. (Isaiah 6:8-9)
  2. HEARING from God - the ability to lead can come through natural skill and reasoning but more importantly is being RECEPTIVE to the promptings of God. (Matthew 16:13-20)
  3. FAITH - your faith will be tested in three areas: (Genesis 12:1-20; 17:1-27; 22:1-19)
    1. Risk
    2. Trust
    3. Surrender
  4. A higher STANDARD - every leader is held to a higher standard to model Jesus' behavior, words and deeds. (James 3:1)
  5. CHARACTER traits - ethical character is not only expected in mature leaders but must also be sustained.  Failure in your character requires removal until restoration is accomplished. (1 Timothy 3:13)
  6. COMMITMENT - every leader will be called to demonstrate total commitment to: (Acts 26:19)
    1. The spirit of their calling
    2. Discipleship
    3. Adaptability
  7. HUMILITY - every leader will be called to demonstrate humility and willingness in their leadership.  Gideon is prime example of this.  (Judges 6:1-8:35)
  8. A TEACHABLE spirit - If no one can add to you then you'll eventually discount yourself from being stretched for promotion.  God places people in your life who have a voice to speak instruction and training.  David was humbled and teachable as he listened to his critics and the prophets. (Acts 13:22)
  9. VULNERABLE - the ability to be totally open - hiding nothing - refusing to be defensive.  (Matthew 26:47-54)
  10. SECURE - Knowing who you are without being arrogant. (John 13:1-17)
  11. PLEASE God not people - every leader is called to increase the faith of people in God not bow to popular opinion or the mood of the people. (Numbers 13:1-14:45)
  12. Lifestyle of PRAYER & FASTING - every leader will have to maintain a disciplined fasting and prayer time. (Acts 13:1-3)
  13. VISION casting - keeping your mind and affections on the things of the Lord will cause your dreams to be in alignment with the Word of God. (Acts 16:6-10)
  14. UNITY and harmony - working in harmony with others is not only spiritual but also practical. (Acts 1:14)
  15. Take the LEAD - as a leader you will be called to step up and lead when others refuse to. (Exodus 27:1-28:43)
  16. Delegated AUTHORITY - learning how to stay under authority will release you to walk IN authority.  (Exodus 28:1-2)
  17. BOLDNESS - leaders will be called upon to lead during unpopular seasons. (Luke 3:1-20)
This is just a small sampling of what it takes to LEAD.  I believe that EVERYONE is called to lead something!  No matter how big or small...we are ALL called to lead.

As you lead, do your best to model Jesus and you'll be miles ahead of those who are merely leading to get a position and recognition.

You may not be called to lead an entire congregation - but you may be called to lead part of it.  Recognize where you fit best through the process of experimentation and then decide to build on your strengths while working on your weaknesses.

Wherever it ends up being...determine to keep your heart pure while learning from your leaders, staying under cover and being content in your heart.

A Mouth Full of Salt

Jesus was the greatest COMMUNICATOR that ever lived.  He used earthly stories to reveal heavenly principles....better known as a "parable."

Everyone loves stories.  Stories are like a window to the truth.  They let you view into another place or dimension.

His stories were packed full of relevancy.  If He was speaking to a group of farmers, He would use illustrations that pertained to agriculture. 

He knew His audience and He knew how to create a storyline that highlighted heroes, created legends and inspired His followers to excellence.

A good communicator uses three things:
  1. Revelation
  2. Illustration
  3. Application
If you'll notice, Jesus never used Himself as the hero to any of His stories.  He made other people the hero.  Thus we read about the Good Samaritan, the Wise Virgins, the Poor Widow, etc.

Our LIFESTYLE will make us a hero in the eyes of others if our communication consists of the following:
  1. Speak the truth in LOVE
    Ephesians 4:25
    "Therefore, putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another."
    • The opposite of truth is a lie.
    • We learned a phrase in elementary school, "liar, liar pants on fire."  I never could figure out why it was just their pants that caught fire.  LOL
    • The Scriptures teach that "all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." Revelation 21:8
    • We must put away lying in order for TRUTH to have the right away across our tongue.
    • Then there is the matter of speaking the TRUTH in LOVE.  Just because you know something to be true doesn't mean you have to BLURT it out with a hasty tone.
      • Ephesians 4:15 says "but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ."
    • It's not what you's how you say it.
    • You may have truth in your mouth like a loaded cannon - but you must delicately speak that truth so that it is laced with love.  Then it will be received better.
  2. Speak through you ACTIONS
    Ephesians 4:28
    Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let hm labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
    • Remember, we also speak through our actions.
    • Conversation can also be translated as lifestyle.
      • James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let him show by good CONDUCT that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
    • I've heard it said all my life that "actions speak louder than words."  This is true and a reminder to us about how we conduct ourselves everywhere we go....home, work, church, community, etc.
    • A person who is truly repentent for their sins will have a humble attitude and contrition will be visible in their forward walk.
    • I've been there.  My parents taught me that after you repent - you still have to make the crooked path straight by your actions from this point forward.  Even if God forgives me there are still requirements on my part to keep.  I must keep my word.  I must allow the process of restoration work in my life.  I must yield to those who keep watch for my soul.  I shouldn't try to draw attention to myself - in fact I should try to fly under the radar and limit any more waves from the ripple effect I caused.
  3. Speak in PURITY
    Ephesians 4:29a
    "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth..."
    • It boils down to guarding your life and motives.
      • Matthew 7:3-5 "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye?  Hypocrite!  First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
    • Our words should be sweet, pure and loving towards all people.
    • We won't give an account for what other people say...we will give an account for what we say and how we conducted ourselves.
    • Choose to speak only words of purity.  Refrain from idle chatter and gossip.  Never let it be said of you that you were involved in speaking ill of other people.  Then you'll sleep well at night and have rest for your soul.
  4. Speak words that BUILD, not destroy
    Ephesians 4:29b
    "...but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."
    • Our words are either BUILDING or DESTROYING others.
    • When we speak edifying words to our children, we are encouraging them and sparring them on to do greater things.
    • We can all find something good to say if we look for it.
    • Our casual conversations with one another should go beyond the old flesh routine of "kicking it" on one another all the time.
    • To be honest, someone who is always "kicking it" on others wrestles with the ability to carry on a healthy conversation...probably because of some hidden self-esteem issues.
    • I challenge you to say something EDIFYING to the first person you see after reading this.
  5. Speak what the HOLY SPIRIT is speaking
    Ephesians 4:30
    "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."
    • If you remember, the Holy Spirit only speaks what the Lord says.  His actions line up with the words of our Lord.
    • The same should be true of us.  Our conversation should line up with what the Holy Spirit is speaking.
    • Honestly, the things people say today through facebook, etc, is enough to make angels blush and are not in alignment with the counsel of the Scriptures.
    • When we determine to speak only what the Holy Spirit is speaking we will be given words to speak at the appropriate time in the appropriate way. (Matthew 10:19)
  6. Speak with a RIGHT ATTITUDE
    Ephesians 4:31
    "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice."
    • Paul told Titus that we are "to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men." (Titus 3:2)
    • Keeping the right attitude takes work especially when you're mocked, disrespected and the target of dysfunction.
    • Paul said, keep a right attitude and refuse to lower your demeanor by hanging on to bitterness or anger.
    • Think of Jesus - He was lied on.  They trumped up the charges against Him.  They beat Him beyond recognition - and all He had done was DO GOOD to each and everyone of them.  However, they brought Him before Pilot to be sentenced and Jesus looked into the whites of Pilot's eyes and SAID NOT A WORD.  Oh...He could have...but He didn't.
    • He put all of that JUNK far from Him and rose above it.
    Ephesians 4:32
    "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgive one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."
    • When you've been given'll extend grace to others.
    • Grace is God giving us what we don't deserve.
    • Mercy is God keeping back what we do deserve.
    • Pastor Hill taught me this principle well.  He told of his early days in ministry where he was real hard on certain issues until those same issues affected his own family.  Then he received a new heart regarding how to deal with others.
    • Regardless of what others are saying and doing - we are responsible for what we say.  Our words should be FULL OF GRACE and FLAVORVED with SALT (salt is a preserver).
    • At no time should we gouge one another with hateful words...even on our worst day.
    • Our motto should be what Apostle Paul said in:
      • Colossians 4:6 "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Incredible Hulk

I'm loving the study we're doing right now on The Beatitudes in Matthew 5.  Last week, we discussed MEEKNESS.  Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." (v.5)

Meekness, by definition, is "controlled strength."  It is the ability to maintain your composure in the face of conflict.

In 1978, Universal Studios launched the television version of Marvel Comics character "The Hulk."  The storyline is about Dr. David Bruce Banner, a brilliant scientist, whose experiment goes terribly awry.  Now, whenever he is under extreme stress, his body undergoes a transformation and he morphs into "The Incredible Hulk."

The Hulk is about seven feet tall hugely muscular and powerful, and has bright green skin.  After destroying whatever threatens Dr. Banner, he morphs back to a normal human form with only amnesia and tattered clothing as evidence of what just transpired. As you can well imagine, this situation is quite troubling for Dr. Banner and causes him no end of problems.

Do you know anyone who turns into the HULK whenever they're under extreme stress?  Perhaps there's a little bit of HULK in each of us.

The famous phrase from the television series is "Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I get angry."

If meekness means CONTROLLED strength then the opposite of meekness is OUT OF CONTROL strength.

Learning how to manage your emotions is crucial if we're to avoid turning into The Hulk.  It's easy for people to fly off the handle especially if they've bottled up their emotions over time. 

The truth is that everyone gets angry.  Part of being human is learning how to deal with anger.  Anger is either EXPLOSIVE or IMPLOSIVE.

  • Explosive are the kind of people that yell at the cashier when they won't accept their coupons. 
  • Implosive are the kind of people that keep their anger bottled in and then express their anger in a huge way.  An implosive person would be the cashier who accepts the rude comments day after day and then one day explodes and shoots everyone in the place.
It's OK to be angry but, what might not be OK is how we handle it. 
  • How do you handle conflict or extreme stress? 
  • Do you lose your cool? 
  • Does the least little thing set you off?
  • Do your family and friends tip-toe around you?

Meekness is the ability to maintain your composure in the face of conflict while avoiding a hulk like transformation.
  • Meekness allows God to vindicate.
    • Only a meek person can refrain from retaliating or trying to vindicate themselves.
    • A meek person does not even feel the need to defend himself.
    • Jesus was constantly being accused of something and He never defended Himself.
    • It takes real power to not retaliate and try to vindicate yourself.
  • Meekness handles correction graciously.
    • There is severe discipline for those who forsake God's way.  Whoever hates reproof will die. (physically, morally and spiritually) Proverbs 15:10
    • Whoever hardens their neck after being reproved will be destroyed.  Proverbs 29:1
    • Fools despise skillful and godly wisdom, instruction and discipline. Proverbs 1:7
    • Being "found out" is a blessing rather than a curse.  God is being faithful to our soul.
    • Correction is the only thing that helps us get from where we are to where we need to be.  However, we often resist correction from God directly or from God through man.
    • Jonah was found out - Jonah 1:1-10 
    • He may have thought he was getting away with something but God sent a storm to correct him and to let him know that He knew right where he was. 
    • God even told the other men on the ship what Jonah's sin was.
  • Meekness means no pouting and no self-pity.
    • Despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  Lift up the hands which hang down and the feeble knees - Hebrews 12:5-8,12
    • Stop pouting around about correction and receive it.
    • We prove our sonship when we receive correction.
  • Meekness is submissive to authority.
    • Submitting to authority saves us a lot of trouble.
    • If we will not submit to delegated authority, we will not submit to God either.
    • If a person is rebellious, it will show up in every relationship.
    • Saul - 1 Samuel 15:23
    • The sin of rebellion is like witchcraft.
    • Witchcraft operates on the principle of control.
    • Anyone who is rebellious against authority is seeking control.
  • Meekness must be sought after.
    • Humility (meekness) must be sought after diligently.
    • It will not be developed unless a person wants it with all of their heart.
    • Apostle Paul said that or behavior should be humble, gentle and meek. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
People who are not meek are hard people.
  • Hard to get along with.
  • Hard to keep happy.
  • Hard to please.
  • Hard to be comfortable with.
No matter how hard you try not to, occasionally you are going to lose your temper.

You may turn into the hulk if:
  1. You've been offended as a result of a betrayal or being lied to.
  2. You are experiencing so much stress.
  3. You feel threatened, fearful and your self-esteem is on the decline.
  4. You disagree with people over their thoughts, manners or ideas.
  5. You have unrealistic expectations on several issues, people....
  6. You feel powerless to deal with issues centered on discipline, manipulation...
What to do if you've turned into the hulk:
  1. Regain your composure.
  2. Accept your error - don't blame others for the mess you've caused.
  3. Be willing to compromise.
  4. Avoid harbouring negative thoughts about an individual, situation, circumstance, etc.
  5. Choose your battles carefully.
  6. Count to ten.
  7. Relax and meditate.
  8. Talk to someone who is objective.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Don't Eat the Garbage

I consist of three parts:  Body, Soul & Spirit.

All three, at some point or another, have to come in ALIGNMENT in order for my life HERE ON EARTH to function in harmony.

As a believer in Jesus, the third part of me (spirit man), becomes illuminated at my conversion.  When this happens the body & soul have a decision to make.  The BODY has to decide whether or not it's going to yield to the SPIRIT man.  Believe me...the BODY doesn't want to yield to the SPIRIT man and thus the battle to see who will prevail begins on the battlefield of my SOUL.
  • My BODY has had years to boss me around before my conversion.  Thus the mistakes and messes I've made in my body that have tripped me up and caused consequences must still be dealt with in spite of God's forgiveness and grace.  The things I do in the body cannot be dismissed just because I'm a Christian.  The body still has to give an account for it's actions and be willing to receive discipline and restoration.
  • My SOUL is where my emotions live and the will to do something resides.  It's in the soulish realm that I make statements like "I don't feel like it" or "my heart's not in it anymore."  It's in the soulish realm where the battle between my body and spirit is fought to the death.
  • My SPIRIT is where the Jesus inside of me takes up residence.  Since my conversion, He now does the leading as long as I'm willing to allow Him to lead.  The more I strengthen the spirit man, the less chance the body has to gain an advantage on me.  That's why it's imperative that I keep the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, bible reading & worship a top priority in my life.  Without them, I'm a sitting duck and prey for the enemy.
Sounds easy doesn't it?  Well, actually it's quite attainable but not everyone is willing to do what it takes to live a strong spiritual life.  It's simply JUST TOO EASY to live unto the FLESH rather than DIE to it.

When we allow our spirit man to become weak we can easily yield to:
  • Gossip
  • Lying
  • Manipulation
  • Bending the truth to cover my tracks
  • Finding fault in others and a critical spirit
  • Fornication and sexual sins
  • Lack of desire to pray, read my bible, attend church, etc.
  • Stinginess
  • An unwillingness to receive correction
  • An unwillingness to remain accountable
  • Worldly pleasure
  • Etc.
Friend, the longer we live after the flesh...the longer our flesh man will prevail.  We can put on a good "FRONT" for others but God knows what we're really made of.  He knows where our struggle is and He's ultimately concerned with getting us the help we need so we can ENJOY the taste of an overcoming life on this side of eternity.

God is a God of grace.  He is also a God of forgiveness.  He wants to RESTORE us and see us achieve our dreams.  He has put protocols in our life that will not only HELP us but quite possibly could SAVE us from our patterns of destruction.

Allowing the spirit man inside of you to take the lead
will save you from dysfunction and position you in His will.

When I learn to let the Lord do the LEADING and the LIVING in my life, I cease to struggle with Him and others. long as my spirit man is weak and I'm blaming everyone else for my mess, I'll not only be out of alignment with Him but also with His people.

There are some that would have us convinced that they don't have to live with accountability or receive correction, instruction or a plan of restoration...BUT that is a RENEGADE SPIRIT and a FOOL talking.

A SPIRIT FILLED man or woman of God will not only humble themselves and remain receptive - they realize that Jesus' life is the pattern for success.  You see, Jesus found favor with God AND with man while on this earth. (Luke 2:52) Yes, God's opinion may be the one that ultimately matters in the hereafter, but in the HERE and NOW we must have favor with both in order for our ministry to be received.  There is no BYPASS around this principle.  We will ALL have to take this same route to get to the intersection of opportunity.

How fast I get there depends on me and who is doing the living in me...body, soul or spirit.

If I am going to follow someone today in ministry it will be someone who is mastering this principle in their own life.

Just because there is probably a good piece of meat in the garbage can outside of the restaurant doesn't mean that I have to dig through the garbage when I could walk inside and get a complete meal. 

Wisdom has taught me to take advice from folks who've actually led something, been fruitful, accountable, truthful, faithful and are presently walking in a covered blessing. 

Anything else is merely theory.  Anything else is merely taking a walk.

Just do right.  Nothing less.  You'll get to where you're going and in spite of the hills and valleys you'll learn valuable lessons that will prepare you along the way. 

If I can't do it here...what makes me think I can do it there?  Geography doesn't cure merely changes my scenery.  However, it won't be long till what's IN me will surface again if I haven't mastered the BODY through the SPIRIT.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What if... football officially kicked off this past weekend.  I've heard guys talking about this for the past couple of weeks.  NFL is great...but college football is another animal.  Ladies, good luck trying to pull your husband's from the front of the TV on Saturday's during college football season.

Football is one of my favorite sports!  Game days are memory making moments!  You get to the game early enough to grab some junk food and breathe in the smell of excitement!  You usually run into some people you know and you catch up with one another.

What I love about the atmosphere in the stadium is that there are TONS of people who are just as passionate about football there!  They SCREAM, YELL, GET THERE EARLY, STAY UNTIL WAY AFTER THE GAME...all because they are passionate about football!

That's the PASSION everyone of us need to bring to church!
  • What if everyone in the church was as passionate about JESUS?  We tend to be more excited to see players who don't even know we exist than JESUS the one who knows every HAIR ON OUR HEAD.
  • What if people were just as INTENTIONAL about arriving to Church before the service started as fans are when it comes to arriving to a football game before it starts?
  • What if people were just as excited when a church service went into "OVERTIME" as fans are when they get to see the game continue?
  • What if people in the church celebrated as loud as people at the games do when their team scores?
  • What if people were as passionate about telling others about JESUS...just as passionate as a fan who went to a game and saw an incredible performance?
  • What if people at church could learn to enjoy the EXPERIENCE of worship with hundreds of other worshippers and not worry about who knows who - they do this at football games every week!
On a side note - it's rather hypocritical of person who will go to a football game and not get mad because Tony Dungee didn't come speak to them - but they will go to a church service the next day and get mad if their pastor doesn't speak to them.


You don't have to ask a football fan what their passionate just comes out!  And the same can be said about Jesus!  If we are shows!  HE will subdue our thoughts and our actions...and we will GO ALL OUT to serve Him!

One of the things that I love about BFWC is that we have some awesome JESUS FANS here!  People are coming early to "TAIL GATE" in the Connections Cafe before services!  People are inviting their friends.  We love to WORSHIP and CELEBRATE...and it's not about the pastor knowing the people...but it's about the people KNOWING JESUS!

Say this with me again...PASSION LEADS TO ACTION! 

BFWC, if we remain passionate we'll not only IMPACT Central Indiana but our entire state!  By the way, if you don't think you serve a God that is big enough to reach the entire state of Indiana then He's not a God worth serving!  MY God can...and He WILL - through a church who is PASSIONATE for Him!