Tuesday, May 22, 2012

5 Different Reasons People Seek Out a LEADER

I am unable to do ministry in the power of God without the following:  
  • Enablement
  • Empowerment
  • Envisioning
To bear fruit in a way that pleases God  and to bear fruit in every good work, I need the mind of Christ to help me:
  • Perceive
  • Process
  • Perform
To effectively equip people for the work of the ministry, I need the Lord's infusing of:
  • His mind
  • His power
  • His guidance
Five different reasons people seek out a LEADER
  1. Motivation
    • They want someone who will motivate them to GET INVOLVED and stay involved in ministry.  In essence, a cheerleader or a coach who will call them, text them, email them, visit them, eat with them, pray with them and keep them encouraged.  In my own ministry, I've found that to some people I'm viewed as their "buddy" or their "bro."  I'm only needed for motivation. 
  2. Resolution
    • They want a leader who knows how to resolve conflicts through wise negotiations. Sometimes people show up at church in CRISIS MODE.  They're dealing with a failed marriage, failed relationships, failed finances or a multiplicity of failures.  They're looking for someone to help  them through their difficulty and bring resolution to their relationships, riches and religion.
  3. Action
    • They want a leader who identifies the course of action to take.  Someone who will say, "This is the way walk ye in it."  It's encouraging when you find a leader who knows what they want to do and what steps it will take to get there.  All of us want to be around people who are SOLUTIONARY and able to ACT when it's time to act.
  4. Adjudication 
    • They want a leader who will make DECISIONS which are in the best interest of the people, even if those decisions may not be popular. Knowing that a leader will do what's best for the WHOLE is a relief, especially in a world of partiality and politics.  Sometimes people come from a church experience where decisions were made to appease a certain family or to keep "Sister Hoopendiddle" happy.  In those cases, the BIG PICTURE gives way to personality and personality can be very persuasive.  People want a leader who will make TOUGH DECISIONS in the face of conflict that are best for the whole while at the same time loving all parties involved in any given situation.  If you have a leader who does this...you better hold on to them.  Chances are, you'll need their wisdom in days to come.
  5. Cultivation
    • They want  a leader who will TRAIN and DEVELOP leaders to help in the ministry. Simply put, some people are looking for a FATHER!  Someone who will believe in them and give them ample time to develop, grow, nurture and fulfill their calling, character and commission.  One of the things I love to do is MENTOR!  My life verse is Psalms 145:4 "One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts."  This verse keeps me continually conscious of my assignment.   I'm presently praying for MORE SONS to mentor/coach/father.  The level of the relationship isn't the most important thing...it is the joy of knowing I'm fulfilling my calling and building HIS KINGDOM in the process!
I want to express my love to all of my Spiritual Fathers today!  Ray Hylton, Leeroy Hill, & Wayman Ming Jr.  I'm so blessed to have them in my life!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Power of Agreement

I love our church!  BFWC continues to grow and win people to Christ.  That's what excites me!  I get excited when I see people come to Christ...and even more excited to hear the testimonies from our members who are WINNING people to Jesus in their places of employment, neighborhoods & in the community!  


Yesterday we talked about THE POWER OF AGREEMENT!  (Matthew 18:19)  
  • Agreement is the forerunner to the manifestation of the power of God.
  • Satan fights agreement and attempts to sow division.
  • Although our church isn't perfect - through unity - we see success as we operate with POWER, INFLUENCE & EFFECTIVENESS!
  • On the flip side of UNITY there is DIS-UNITY.  Disunity causes us to focus on our DIFFERENCES which results in DIVISION.
  • Satan knows that if he can keep the Church divided, he can keep the Church powerless.
  • There is also an unholy unity. (Genesis 11) tells the story of those who built the tower of Babel.  Their agreement gave them power.
  • The people we choose to be in agreement with says something about what things in our lives are important and what things are unimportant.
  • Two is an important number.  God has designed it so that it takes two to multiply.  When you get at least two...you move out of addition and into multiplication.
  • God steps into the mix and MULTIPLIES!
  • The devil knows that if he can get us to get OUT OF AGREEMENT with God then he'll use his hissing voice to create DISCORD in our lives.
  • God is a God of order.  Disorder is meant to cause distraction.
  • Numbers 1 - 10 ~ the first verse of each chapter starts our saying, "The Lord spake unto Moses."
  • However, chapter 11 & 12 start differently - 11:1 "and when the people complained...", 12:1 "and Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses..."
  • God deals with their discord and starts speaking again in Numbers 13 - "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, "
Coming into AGREEMENT isn't about being a "YES MAN" - coming into agreement is about understanding that when agreements are allowed to be broken, the people's ability to do what God has called them to do is also broken.

Someone is waiting for us on the other side of our OBEDIENCE and our ABILITY to come into agreement.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Momentum 5-14-2012

What a week at Bethel Family Worship Center...so in awe of all God is doing!  Here are a few thoughts...

  • Wednesday we had a super ACTION Night...and it never gets old seeing people GROW in Christ! 
  • We continued our series "The Making of a Leader" with an emphasis on "The Ministry of Helps."  ANDREW was our focus and he was a great example of someone who is CONSTANTLY bringing people to Jesus!
  • On Thursday evening we gave hope and assistance to 98 people in our FOOD PANTRY OUTREACH!  Sharing Christ's love in tangible ways is important in fulfilling Jesus' mission!  
  • Saturday was full with a JOY Fellowship Luncheon (Just Older Youth 60+) at Gray Brothers Cafeteria & UPWARD Flag Football!  Fellowship & Outreach - a winning combination! 
  • Sunday - HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!  Our Connections Cafe served Fresh Fruit & French Toast...YUM!!!  It was great connecting with new families and seeing families celebrate MOM!  It was also a special time as we dedicated children unto the Lord.  My heart was full to share a message "Enlarge Your Territory" .... here's some highlights:
    • Expansion - this always involves stretching.
    • Lengthening - cords in the Scripture represent relationships.
    • Stakes - (strengthening) speaks of our foundation.
    • Our expansion is often limited because our mind still carries it's old value system and personal ethics.  Even though we're saved and have entered into the Kingdom of God - we bring that stuff with us.  This is where we need to be modified by the Holy Spirit for the "new creature" (2 Corinthians 5:17) to prevail.
    • God is trying to push us past COSMETIC THEOLOGY to a HEART THEOLOGY.
    • So along comes the ENLARGEMENT PROCESS which begins with a breaking of our limitation thinking.
    • If we can breakthrough the dysfunction we've carried - we'll understand the real MEASURE of our INFLUENCE!
    • Apostle Paul was crystal clear about his SPHERE OF INFLUENCE!  He knew what he was called to do and where to do it!  His influence caused others to find their own MEASURE as well!
    • When it came full circle it produced what we call SYNERGISTIC POWER OF ALIGNMENT!
    • This is where real FATHER/SON Relationship plays out!
      • The son fulfills the father's vision till the son's vision comes to fruition...which in turn fills the father's vision.
    • Paul described this in 2 Corinthians 10:15-16 when he was ENLARGED to reach them...they too were increased...and thus ENLARGED his measure once again!
    • The goal after you discover your INFLUENCE is to avoid INTERRUPTED PROGRESS! (I shared FIVE FACTORS that can interrupt your progress)
    • Finally, I shared an important principle about being "FREE" from people.  I know that sounds funny - but the essence is that sometimes, the very people  you are called to reach can, knowingly or unknowingly try to superimpose their own limitations on you.  
    • If you are going to be able to help people get FREE...you have to be FREE of people.  Free of their subconscious fears of abandonment and change that are projected on you to hold you in a place they are comfortable with - rather than pushing you into the place God has called you to.
  • We wrapped up Sunday with some exciting news about BFWC's 2013 Church Planting Initiative!  Planting churches, mothering churches, partnering with churches, etc., is something BFWC has done and plans to continue doing!  These are exciting times for BFWC as we've been planning for a new church plant for more than two years.  Stay tuned for more exciting news! 
The best is yet to come...special thanks to everyone for your passion, fervor and generosity!  God's Kingdom is advancing because of it!  I love what God is doing at BFWC - I especially love the great team we serve with!  

Dreams do come true and principles, if lived out, actually do prevail! :-)  To God be the glory!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thirteen Years and Counting...

Thirteen years ago today, my family and I headed to Indianapolis to serve as senior pastors of Bethel Family Worship Center.  It's a little surreal when I look back to where we started.   Although Beverly and I had been raised in the ministry as PK's and had served in several ministry positions - serving at BFWC was definitely something new and would prove to be a learning experience right out of the gate for a young 28 year old minister who thought he knew what he was getting himself into. :-)

One day, I hope to write a book and share how those early experiences shaped us and gave us an internal fortitude to persevere. 

If I've done my math right - in the past 13 years I've preached (just at BFWC)...
  • 676 Sunday mornings (add another 416 for 8 years of two morning services)
  • 520 Sunday evenings
  • 676 Wednesday evenings
That's 1,820 opportunities to share the Gospel message!  (Not including the mentorship, teaching, revivals, conferences, etc.)

The further along I go, the less answers I have and the more questions I find myself asking.  At the first of the year, I asked myself, "What if this Sunday was the last opportunity I ever got to preach?"  I had to search deep within to ask, "what would I say?"  Honestly, this has affected the way I preach.  I want to preach like a man ON FIRE - full of passion and I don't ever want to leave the platform full of regret!

This past Sunday morning, Beverly and I met a lady for the first time - she was a guest of one of our families.  She told me that she really loved the service and she also loved being yelled at!  I had to laugh out loud!  Her smile was infectious and she was truly sincere!  Inside my heart, I was thinking...I don't ever want to deliver a "half-baked", "half-hearted", "half-prepared" message.  Every time I have the privilege to stand before people...I want to give 100%!

Another question I could ask myself is "Am I waiting on God to do something for me that He has clearly asked me to do?"  How many times have you heard people say, "I'm just waiting on the Lord?"  Have you ever considered what that sounds like?  It sorta sounds like "I'm so fast that I outran God...and now I am waiting on Him to catch up to me."

Friends, when God has called you...you have to do what He says to do.  God didn't just give Joshua the land...He said "TAKE IT!"  I'm not sitting around waiting on God...He's waiting on me.  For that matter - I have no intentions of sitting idle and watching the world go by.  BFWC - if you think we're going to sit by and let the world pass us up...think again!  We're MOVING FORWARD with our dreams and we're more excited than ever!

Every leader has to make uncomfortable decisions!  It seems that everyone can talk about the problem, see it, discuss it, pray about it and so on...but there are very few people who are usually willing to do something about the problem!  This is what separates the MEN from the BOYS!  Along the journey, we've had to make some tough decisions...those decisions caused some people to be upset, angry and even leave.  Stepping up to do what's right means you will have to embrace the fact that sometimes God will put you in an uncomfortable situation.  But this is REAL LEADERSHIP!

I'm still PASSIONATE about what God is doing!  When I lose my passion for what He's doing I need to resign.  Good leaders are passionate about what God is passionate about.  In other words, you are trying to find out what God's doing and do that...not the other way around.  The truth is...BFWC belongs to Jesus...not me!  I am merely a steward, not an owner.  The church is HIS Bride...not mine.  His agenda must prevail...not mine!

As we move forward...I still need other people!  God didn't call me to do this alone.  I'll will never be able to do everything in our church well!  I learned this years ago and held a deliverance service for myself that I AM NOT SUPER PASTOR!  If I kept doing what I was doing...I would have burned out and never accomplished anything.  Learning to ASK FOR HELP was a struggle at first, but in order to walk in health and produce health in the church I had to learn how to ask others for help!  There are certain things I can do...and there are things I shouldn't attempt to do.  I've found that there will always be people who enjoy helping...if I'll just ask!

Church growth isn't a formula...it's simply doing what God has called you and believing He will bring the increase.  I've talked to lots of pastors and leaders who are interested in seeing their church grow.  Friends, you can extract principles from many areas - there's nothing wrong with that - there's nothing new under the sun.  However, you have to be true to your heart and what God is speaking to you.  The results are up to Him...the work is up to us.  If we'll do the work...He'll give the results.  My job as a pastor is NOT to find the latest, greatest church growth methods...but rather to be completely faithful and obedient to the vision God has poured inside of me.

God didn't call me to perfection.  One thing I've learned is that people can identify more with my mistakes than my successes.  The bottom line is...I'm not JESUS...but I'm pointing people to Him!  BFWC doesn't need me to be their hero...they need to know about JESUS and how, without Him, I would be completely messed up when it comes to living this life!  Leading with integrity is embracing honesty.  I don't get up and tell all my business but I do allow my weaknesses point to Christ's strength!   On the flip side, when you talk about your struggles there will always be people who criticize you.  Remember, those people usually delight in finding fault in others so they don't have to deal with their own mess.  They want you to be perfect...but they are not perfect...which makes them a hypocrite.  Love them through it and just be honest. :-)

Thirteen years and counting...and having a BLAST!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Don't Date a "Playa!" (Ladies please read this!)

WARNING - You might be offended by the content of this blog.

We must educate ourselves if we're going to do better.  Ladies...really? Do I have to write a blog about this?  

First , allow me to address parents - WILL YOU PLEASE MONITOR YOUR CHILDREN?  Kids who are left to themselves will bring their parents much shame. (Proverbs 29:15)
  • DO NOT let your child's boyfriend / girlfriend hang out with your child in their bedroom alone.  
    • Are you kidding me?  You say, "I trust my child." Are you serious? Again I ask, are you serious? If you're allowing this...YOU ARE THE PROBLEM! Get a grip, drink a dose of reality and have someone slap you in the face to wake you up to the real world!
  • DO NOT close the door on any room where your child and their boyfriend or girlfriend are...unless you are in that room with them!
    • Keep all the doors open!  
  • DO NOT let your children stay up all night texting one another!  
    • Take the phone! In fact, read the text messages their sending and receiving.  If everything is honest and above reproach - they'll have no problem with you reading their messages.  If they throw a fit...ask yourself WHY? It's more than a matter of privacy or respect - YOU'RE NOT RAISING A HARLOT at your house!  You're raising a MAN or a WOMAN of GOD!  While you have them in your home...and while you're paying the bills...YOU BETTER TAKE YOUR RIGHTFUL PLACE and RULE YOUR HOUSE!  If you don't...your child, better yet - their boyfriend or girlfriend, will be running your house!
Now where was I?  Oh...

  • Never date a man who treats you like a used Kleenex. You deserve better. You are a Proverbs 31 woman! He don't deserve you.
  • Any man who won't open your car door - won't open his heart to you either.  Kick that "player" to the curb and set yourheart on JESUS! Matthew 6:33
  • Don't settle for dysfunctional behavior. It's not acceptable to be treated like trash. You are not a punching bag!
  • Fall in love with JESUS - He'll send you the right man in His time. Until then, pour your tears on His feet in worship!
  • Will Abigail please rise up? Never marry a fool. (1 Samuel 25:25)
  • Some men will say anything to tickle your ears. But, if they don't respect you, your parents or your convictions - You better throw Jonah over!
  • A man who will embarrass you publicly has no respect for you. Imagine what he'll do in private? Throw Jonah over before you sink!

  • Steer clear of the following...
    1. The "Negavator" - This guy has more pick up lines than a box of tic-tacs.  His name is Mysterio and he wears a dumb looking hat - trying to be cool.  This guy will try to make you fall for him by PUTTING YOU DOWN!  He's the "Negavator" and he enjoys making snippy remarks about you that make you feel like an inch tall.  Somehow he has the ability to put you down and keep you in his pocket all at the same time.  His spirit will jump off on you and you'll end up turning into a "Negavator" too!  You'll end up being rude to all your family and friends in the process!  (The same people who have put up with your junk and know you!)
    2. The "Serial Texter" - Look...I love to text too...however, there comes a point when a guy has to pick up the phone and make the effort to TALK WITH YOU!  The Serial Texter keeps you at arm's length with his magical texting device (aka, his iPhone, blackberry, etc) which he uses as a means to avoid any real conversation. 
    3. The "Back pocket" guy - this is the guy who keeps you in his back pocket for a rainy day; who doesn't remember your birthday, but calls you after someone else dumps him!  And unfortunately, some girls come running whenever he calls, secretly hoping that this time he'll realize he loves you!  Really though, he has a draft text to another girl saved just in case you aren't available. 
    4. The "Mind Bender" - this guy is from another planet.  His sole purpose is to bend your mind through manipulation. He'll convince you that you're the only one for him, even though he's dating 10 other girls...and one of them is your best friend.  He'll use his powers of mind persuasion to get you to run his errands, walk his dog and do his laundry while he sits on the couch playing video games and texting ex-girlfriends.  He'll make you think you're crazy for thinking he's cheating on you with his powers of DOUBLE-TALK and GUILT TRIPS.  Even when you finally break up with him, he'll try to make you think that he's the one who has been wronged.  Kick this GOOF BALL to the curb and keep on going!
    5. "Two Face" - this guy is like sweet and sour chicken at Panda Express!  One minute he's nice the next minute he's mean.  He knows how to whisper sweet nothings (and that's what they really are) in your ear to try to get you to like him - but when he's with his friends in public he acts like you're the bubonic plague.  He won't let you get to know his family or friends and nearly every word out of his mouth is a lie.  He's so good at spinning lies, his lies have little lies inside of them like Russian nesting dolls. 
    6. The "Under Cover" guy - this guy will be around one minute and then disappear for days, weeks on end, only to resurface like nothing happened.  You'd think he's with the C.I.A. deep under cover!  It's more glamorous to think that than what he's actually doing - sitting at home playing Xbox and ignoring your calls.
    7. The "Ish" guy - this guy can never make any firm plans.  He says, "I'll see you Tuesday"ish" or Wednesday"ish" (That "ish" means sometime between 6 months from now and never). The "ish" guy can use his favorite saying for anything.  "When was your birthday?  I want to say "May-ish?"  I love "you-ish."  His lack of commitment for even small things is an indicator he's not for you!
  • Do not date losers.  In fact, you should only date BELIEVERS!  Guys who are SOLD OUT to Jesus!  Guys who weep when they worship God!  Guys who want to talk about Jesus more than themselves!  Guys who lift their hands in worship and carry their Bible!  Guys who don't cuss and talk nasty!  Guys who KNOW HOW TO TREAT A WOMAN OF GOD!
  • Do not spend the night with a man you're not married to!  Who do you think you're fooling? If you go on a trip with a man you're not married to...you'll end up sharing a bed and having sex.  You aren't fooling anyone.  IT'S CALLED FORNICATION.  IT WILL SEND YOU TO HELL. Keep yourself PURE!  Remain a VIRGIN until your WEDDING NIGHT!  That's what God wants for you!  Have something to offer your future husband!  Honestly, once a guy has been with a girl and she's yielded to his pressures - he has LITTLE RESPECT for her at that point!
  • THINK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE! If you're one of those girls who can't stand to be alone...and you feel you have to have a man... you'll more than likely be the girl that gets hurt and messes up her future because she thought a man could fulfill her.  When in truth, NO MAN can validate your worth!  
  • Seek God for who He wants you to be with.  Settle in your heart that you are CONTENT to be married to Christ!  THEN...He will give you someone that has prepared themselves the same way!  The worst thing you could do is settle for the first guy that comes along and think that this is the only guy who will ever like you.  LADIES - there are plenty of fish in the sea!  God will send out a fishing boat to reel him in when it's time!  
I know this blog is bold...however, I GRIEVE at the dysfunction I see in our society and even in the church world.  GOD HELP US!  We must DO BETTER!  Our children's future depends on it!  

I am committed to laying an ax to the ROOT...for I grow tired dealing with the symptoms.  I'm sure someone was offended by this blog...I have no intention to hurt anyone's feelings...my heart is to SAVE this next generation from DYSFUNCTION!  

Committed to raising up the next generation,

Russell Hylton

Leaders Wear The Pants!

Levi-Strauss ran a campaign last year that targeted men for a line of Dockers pants.  The company printed a "Manifesto" that goes like this...

"Once upon a time, men wore the pants, and wore them well.  Women rarely had to open doors, and little old ladies never had to cross the street alone.  men took charge because that's what they did.  But somewhere along the way the world decided it no longer needed men.  Disco by disco, latte by foamy non-fat latte, men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny.  But today there are questions our gender-less society has no answers for.  The world sits idly by as cities crumble, children misbehave, and those little old ladies remain on one side of the street.  For the first time since bad guys, we need heroes.  We need grownups.  We need men to put down the plastic fork, step away from the salad bar, and untie the world from the tracks of complacency.  It's time to get your hands dirty.  It's time to answer the call of manhood.  It's time to wear the pants."

In this modern world of political correctness and "just do enough to get by" we need some HEROIC LEADERSHIP!  Not only in our homes...but in our churches!

  1. Leaders who are not afraid to get their HANDS DIRTY!  
  2. Leaders who are NO LONGER CONTENT to remain on the sidelines!
  3. Leaders who will take the INITIATIVE and take RESPONSIBILITY!
  4. Leaders so full of PASSION they will do ministry without a paycheck!
  5. Leaders who won't work just any old job...unless they can be totally SOLD OUT to what they're doing for Christ!
  6. Leaders who will do WHAT IT TAKES to get the job done.
  7. Leaders who are NOT CLOCK PUNCHERS!
  8. Leaders whose WORK ETHIC means they come early and leave late!
  9. Leaders who STICK WITH IT when others give up!
  10. Leaders who MEASURE SUCCESS in INCREMENTS instead of one big fanfare!
  11. Leaders who ENDURE failures!
  12. Leaders who can keep going without RECOGNITION!
  13. Leaders who walk in HUMILITY and can identify what it's like to be last and hungry!
  14. Leaders who can HANDLE SUCCESS with humility and gratitude!
Leaders Wear the Pants!

  •  Do Right - every leader has to do right.  We have an obligation to God and to those who are following us to do the right thing.  We cannot afford to put our selfish desires ahead of God's plan.
  • Treat Others Right - we must never forget to treat people with dignity and respect.  People are people - real flesh and bone - not numbers and statistics!  We must care for other people with compassion and conviction.
  • Stay Right - in whatever season we're in, we must treat our ministry opportunity with humble stewardship.  It is not to be taken lightly!  We must carry the ministry of God like an egg in our hand.  One wrong move - could fracture it or worse...destroy it.  Every day is an opportunity to be the best steward I can be.
  • Lead Right - when I'm communicating clearly, those who are following me won't have to scratch their heads in wonder. They're as much as part of the team as I am.  They deserve to know where I'm headed and the place I lead.
  • Line-up Right - I MUST never refuse correction and I MUST always be open to constructive criticism. Doing so will keep me in alignment.  If I ever think I have all the answers or am infallible - I'm a train wreck waiting to happen.  I MUST be transparent and open.  I MUST take responsibility for my actions and missteps.  I MUST be accountable to those whom God has placed over my authority. 
Leaders Wear the Pants!

Every leader is a decision maker who communicates vision and direction.  They are driven with passion, they know the taste of victory and the agony of defeat and for certain one thing they will have is followers.  When you have followers, you have people who look to you for direction, challenge and encouragement.  At some point, they'll learn to trust where you're going and decide to follow.

If you're not ready to lead...then get out of the way!  Leadership is a high calling with A LOT OF RESPONSIBILITY!  We don't lay our responsibility by the door just because we accomplished a task or reached a goal.  We have a responsibility to PEOPLE... especially the people we're leading - they have real ideas and desire to succeed both in work and in life.

I need OTHER PEOPLE to make my dream come to pass!  How can we move forward without the help of others?  No matter how you view it our blessing is coming wrapped up in some flesh.  God is going to use people to help us get to our destiny!  Leaders must not only move forward but they must also INVEST in the lives of those they're leading.  Friends, we have people around us right now who are able to do what we're not able to do.  On top of that, we must CREATE an ATMOSPHERE where people can tap into their gifts and abilities without fear or jealousy. 

When we're secure in our calling and working on our "internal stuff" - we'll be confident to allow OTHERS TO LEAD US.  This is what's called MUTUAL SUBMISSION.  Obviously, someone has to be the head (leader) or what some refer to as "THE FIRST OF EQUALS", but this mindset will release our team to PUSH ON OUR IDEAS and QUESTION them if it's a derivation of our corporate goal.

John Maxwell speaks about this in his book THE 360 LEADER - in essence, he says, any leader at any level needs each individual on his or her team to apply upon them leadership pressure.  I NEED PEOPLE in my life that will challenge me to do better!  They will use their INGENUITY and EXPERIENCE to help me STAY CLOTHED!  (Genesis 9)

Every leader must be surrounded with people who will cover them.  If something is wrong, we need people we trust to tell us and help us especially when there is a lot of pressure.  LEADING UP isn't about publicly voicing disagreements with our leaders ideas - it's about verbalizing our support and loyalty when the role of a leader is at its toughest point.  LEADING UP requires honesty and commitment to the leader, even when it isn't comfortable or easy.


Who's in charge?  Who's wearing the pants?  Whoever is over us in the Lord is who we are required to answer to.  However, in the order of priorities - we are first committed to Jesus and the Body of Christ and then to the leader.  It's easy to follow someone else when you know they're concern is beyond their personal success.

LEADING UP isn't about disagreeing with our leader - it's about pushing our leader forward in areas they think they can't.  It's about being honest enough to say something that will HELP the situation and provide strength.

We must use wisdom when we do this. We must never do anything to embarrass our leader publicly.  If we notice something about our leaders attitude or actions that's not quite right or out of character - we go to them in private - one on one.  NEVER in front of others.

In a team environment - (i.e., meeting, etc.) we speak the language of our leader in the form of strategy.  We point towards the heart of our leader and communicate their voice with our influence especially when we can tell others aren't receiving or they misunderstanding what our leader is saying.  It's not what we say...but how we say it.  

What does every leader need?  Every leader needs a person on their team to love the church and the leader enough to be honest and open...when its time to push back and when it's time to push forward.  That's the only way everyone will reach their goal - both corporately and personally.

Friends, no matter where we lead...from the top, the middle or the bottom...we MUST WEAR THE PANTS and LEAD!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Do you BELONG?


These words are simple enough. We all use them and we hear them from time to time. Have you ever thought about how we use them? What do they make us think of? Phrases like “being a part of something” and “fitting in.” These come to mind. 

Is belonging a PLACE or a CONDITION? 

On the surface, the word belonging has two simple parts: BE and LONGING.

  • It deals with BEING who we are. (Our identity)
  • LONGING for something. (Strong desire) In essence, we want to be rightly placed in position. 
Here’s what’s interesting…we can use these words and toss these ideas around without ever really touching their power. Without really experiencing what it means to BELONG

Belonging asks TWO QUESTIONS: 

1. Do I belong? 

  • I mean, I can think that I can belong anywhere…but down inside somehow I know that’s not so. So where do I belong? 
2. How do I locate this place? 

  • If we search for belonging with our earthly eyes, we often try to live closer to things we are not meant to live near. You and I know plenty of people…friends, relatives, even ourselves…that use the nearest and quickest thing to fill their deepest and strongest needs. 
  • God made us to be DEEP creatures. We deeply reflect His image. 
  • He gives us great STRENGTH…yet, our strength is renewed when we wait upon Him. 

The question is… “Where am I PLANTED?” 

In Psalms 63:1 David says, “You God, are my God. Earnestly I seek You. I thirst for You. My whole being longs for You in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” 

In Psalms 1 David says, “Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by the streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not whither.” 

Our sense of belonging is actually a sacred sense of God’s fellowship and purpose. Our LONGING is not meant to draw us “just anywhere.” It is a strong and powerful force. Yet, when IDENTITY is tied to INNATE DESIRE, something much strong occurs…ME! My existence moves in BEING and LONGING

God has placed IN US something ascribed to no other creature…HIS IMAGE

Do you belong? 
Do you know where you belong?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Before We Make Decisions

Where can we find the answers to life?  As simple as it sounds...The Bible.  It is still our guide for making Godly, successful choices.  David declared in Psalms 119:105 "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."

Before we make decisions, we need to compare our desires to what the Word of God says.  Here's some things to consider...

Is it blessable?  Can I take this decision before the Lord with a good conscience and receive His blessing?  Or is it something that I know the Lord would frown upon?  The verse we could use to define this is Proverbs 10:22 "The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with it."  In other words, when the blessing of God is upon it...there will be a settled peace within and without.  It will not be a questionable move that causes everyone to scratch their heads in confusion and sorrow.  When something is blessed it will be smothered in sweet peace for everyone involved.

Other things to consider along with that are:
  • Can you truly say "thanks" for it? Can you thank the Lord for it or would it be something which would seem inappropriate to thank Him for?  Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord."
  • Does God get glory through it? Do others see Jesus in it? Is the Lord honored by it? Is He blessed by it? 1 Corinthians 10:31 "...whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
  • Does is appear to be worldly? Is it something that is birthed out of the lust of the flesh or the desire for worldly appetites? 1 John 2:15 "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
  • Will others stumble as a result of it? Even if we don't feel it's wrong, could it be offensive or harmful to those who are young in their faith or those who do not share our convictions? 1 Corinthians 8:9 "...beware lest somehow this liberty of yours becomes a stumbling block to those who are weak."
    • For every action there is a reaction.
    • If we make decisions to please ourselves the consequence will more than likely cause others to stumble or be hurt.
    • We must guard our heart from seeking to do what's best for us...over what's best for the whole.
    • At the end of the day, there is so much to consider. One wrong decision can cause a lot of harm to "the body of Christ."
    • For this reason, TIMING is everything.  We can even make a decision that is right for us...but if it's done at the wrong time it can cause severe damage to others.
    • I honestly believe that God is a God of order.  He doesn't promote confusion or validate actions that cause a mess.
    • We cannot leave a mess for other people to clean up and then claim we're "in the will of God."  There is nothing about a mess that gives God glory. 1 Corinthians 14:40 "Let all things be done decently and in order."  Grace may cover our indiscretions but we still have a requirement to clean up any mess we caused for others or the body of Christ.
  • Would this please God or man? Who are we wanting to appease by our decision?
  • What would the Devil say? Would he be thrilled by our decision and consider it a victory to his forces? Would Hell celebrate our decision as a fulfillment of Satan's desires or would the enemy be angry and disturbed?
  • Have we examined the consequences? What kind of long-term ramifications would we have to face by our decision?  Remember, God will forgive sin and poor judgment, but we may have to live with the result of our decision for the rest of our life.  Galatians 6:7 "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap."
  • Would we better for it? Does the decision we make bring us closer to God or pull us further away?  Will it build our faith or weaken our faith? 1 Corinthians 10:23 "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful but not all things edify."
  • Would I become a slave to Satan as a result? Will my decision require me to yield to the demands of someone or something other than Christ?  Will it cause me to compromise my submission and obedience to Jesus? Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon."
  • Is there ultimate peace? Does our decision bring peace to our inner man or does it create discomfort or distress? John 16:13 "However, when he, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth..."
  • Have we sought the Lord about this?  The Lord promises to give leadership and direction to our life.  We must consult Him in prayer.  I don't believe the Lord will put something in our heart that contradicts His written Word. Proverbs 3:6 "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."  
  • Have we received Godly counsel or advice? If you're asking for advice, make sure you're asking someone who lives a Godly life and has a track record of experience and wise decision making.  Avoid the counsel of those whose Christian life is questionable or have  experience of failure in making sound decisions.  Proverbs 11:14 "Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety."