Monday, June 24, 2013

No One Can Run On Your Fuel But You

Surrounding yourself with the right relationships is crucial to your growth and wellness. If you are starving for success, one of the best ways to get things MOVING in your life is to associate with ACHIEVERS.  Watch how they work. Read their books. Learn how they think.  Honestly, you'll inevitably become like the company you keep.

Every time I've entered a new season in my life, God has brought just the right people.  He has brought people who have two things that I need:  KNOWLEDGE and a willingness to SHARE it.

Proverbs 13:20 "Become wise by walking with the wise..."  

If we're led only by those whose insight is no deeper than our own, how far will we get?  Jesus said, "When a blind man leads a blind man, they both end up in the ditch." (Matthew 15:14)

We are in constant need of being STRETCHED!  If we limit ourselves to only surround ourselves with people who laugh at the same jokes or share identical ideas, we rob ourselves of personal growth and we remain comfortable in a fishbowl.

If you're going to progress to the next level,
spend time with those are already there
- or who at least know how to get there.

Successful people, for the most part, are WISE and WILLING to share their insight with you.  When you're around them, there's no need to be embarrassed for a lack of understanding in a particular area.  They will not make fun of you!  Only arrogant people do that. They themselves are seekers of truth and wisdom and are willing to impart to anyone who's seeking wisdom.

Until Jesus comes, we remain in the school of the Holy Ghost.  God will send us acquaintances to teach us.  Remember this...the people who are imparting wisdom to you in a particular area...didn't always have that wisdom.  

The greatest indictment against NOT KNOWING is NOT LEARNING, so today seize every opportunity to learn! But make sure you pick the right people!

Recognizing RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS is a learning process.  Become more discerning about the company you keep.  Sever the ties of toxicity. A toxic relationship is like a leg with gangrene. If you don't amputate it, the infection will spread.  Unless you have the courage to cut off what won't heal, you'll end up losing more!

Find people who share your GOALS or your INTENSITY.  When you feel passionately about something, but the other person feels complacent, it's like trying to dance the "Hokey Pokey" with somebody who only wants to waltz. 

Never walk anywhere with anyone who doesn't share your PASSION for the thing you're supposed to be doing together.  Although we can correct certain issues through teaching and leadership, you can't teach somebody to care.  If they they don't care, they'll affect your environment, ruin your productivity and break your rhythm with constant criticism and complaints.

No one can run on your fuel but you.

You'll never be able to force people to be as passionate about your destiny as you are!  Forcing them to accept your goals as theirs is a mistake.  They've got to run on their own steam or they'll drain you!

God intends for us to be PARTNERED for POWER!  He'll hook you up with the right PEOPLE for the right PLAN to fulfill the right PURPOSE in the right PLACE!

Ecclesiastes 4:9 "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:"

FILL up and use the FUEL God has given you!  You CAN and WILL achieve your dreams!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shake It Off and Keep Going

Remember the story of the mule that fell into the well?  The farmer couldn't get him out so he decided to bury him.  However, the mule had other plans.  He "shook off" every shovel of dirt and stood on it.  

No matter how much dirt was thrown on him, he just kept shaking it off and stepping on it until finally he stepped out of the well.

Life will either BURY you or BLESS you; the difference lies in having the right attitude.  Paul had it. "In all these things we are more than conquerors..." (Romans 8:37).  When they throw dirt on you - and they will - just shake it off, and use it as FERTILIZER and grow STRONGER.

Jesus said, "Offenses will come..." (Luke 17:1).  Expect them.  You'll be taken advantage of. You'll be criticized, misquoted, misrepresented and misunderstood. The way to avoid this is to do nothing and stay in your comfort zone.

Every leader has to learn to PERSEVERE.  It's not what others say about you, but what you say about yourself after they get through talking.  Kenneth Tynan says, "Critics are people who think they know the way; the problem is, they can't drive the car."  When you understand that, you'll be able to love them, forgive them and keep moving forward.

David tells us a wonderful story about the PALM TREE.  Psalms 92:12 says "The righteous will flourish like a palm tree."  Here's some observations about the palm tree:
  • You can cut it, but you can't kill it. It's life comes from it's heart not it's bark! It thrives even under attack.
  • It bends, but it won't break. Storms will blow other trees away, but not the palm tree. It's resilient.  It may bend all the way to the ground but when the storm is over it will straighten back up and actually be stronger in the place where it bent!
  • It's depth always exceeds it's height.  It's roots go deep in search of water.  When you stay connected to the streams (Psalms 42:1) you'll never be uprooted, barren or blown away.
Difficulty and pressure is par-for-the-course.  It doesn't matter how many Scriptures you read, conferences you attend or seminars your absorb, you are not exempt from struggle.  We do not live in a bubble.  Ask Job, Joseph, Daniel or Paul and you'll hear them speak about PERSEVERANCE

Perseverance Produces:
  • Willingness to accept whatever comes.
  • Determination to stand firm
  • Insight to see God in it all.
If you're feeling discouraged today...know that you're NOT finished!  That only happens when you quit...and quitting isn't an option for YOU!

Storms come for a reason.  They also come for a season.  Discover the reason and become wiser.  Outlast the season and become stronger.  But never quit!
  • Adjust your sails.  
  • Measure your growth. 
  • Choose kindness instead of criticism.
  • Choose cooperation instead of independence.
  • Choose discipline instead of impulsiveness.
  • Choose professionalism instead of incompetence. 
Charles Lindbergh said, "Success is not measured by what a man accomplishes, but by the opposition he encountered, and the courage he maintained in his struggle against it."

Drive and Determination, not talent, will lead to your success!  Anybody who ever did anything worthwhile had it.  Jesus gave us the formula for success when He said, "Staying with it - that's what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won't be sorry." (Matthew 24:13 TM).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

No More Dramarama

If you've lived on this planet for any length of time you've discovered that there are some people who DELVE in DRAMA!  Not "dramas" as in movies, TV shows, etc., but rather "drama" as in the petty ridiculous conflicts that get blown way out of proportion for no reason at all.

This kind of drama can be defined as: "Making a big deal over something unnecessarily."

You would like to believe that petty social drama ends the day you leave high school, but sadly, this is not the case.  No matter how old some people are, they can still find ways of adding unnecessary conflict to their relationships, places of employment, church, home, etc.

Sadly, this kind of drama increases stress, ruins relationships and erodes the one thing that none of us can afford to waste...TIME.

The key to living with less stress, having better relationships and making the most of your limited time is to ELIMINATE as much of the drama from your life as you can.

Try this...

1. Never Assume

Assumptions are where drama starts.  Somebody does something that bothers you, and then you run off and start making assumptions about why they did it.  

What you observe someone doing is fact.  If that bothers you, then you need to deal with them face-to-face (one-on-one).  The moment you start making assumptions about their reasons or motives is the moment you move out of the realm of rational thought and into the world of unnecessary stress.

You have no way of truly knowing what a person is thinking or why they do the things they do.  Catch yourself when you start making those assumptions; if you want to live drama free, let those assumptions go and simply resolve to deal with the observable behavior.  Better yet, talk with the person face-to-face with the right spirit, at the right time and in the right place. 

2. Avoid Hearsay

Problems tend to increase exponentially with each additional person who is added to the communication chain.  If I hear you say something, I can be pretty sure of what I heard.  If Lucille tells me that Henry told Mildred that Chester heard Sally say something, chances are that the story you are hearing bears little resemblance to the actual truth.

Each additional person alters the story to some degree.  They may remember things differently.  They may add in emotion or verbiage that wasn't there before.  They may just be flat out wrong.

If you hear something through the grapevine, it might be worth investigating it.  But if you work yourself up into a frenzy based on third, fourth and fifth party communication, then you are just feeding the drama machine.

Never talk about someone until you talk with them.

Don't get pulled into this.  Skip hearsay all together and go straight for the horse's mouth.  It will save time and cut the drama factory way down.  

3. Be Direct

Drama is nothing more than a byproduct of our inability to communicate like logical, rational adults.  That's why it's so prevalent in High School. This is also why it should be totally unacceptable in the adult world.

If you have a problem with someone, talk to them about it.  If you believe that someone has a problem with you, talk to them about it.  Direct conversations nip drama in the bud.  This is not to say that direct conversations make all problems go away, but they will help you cut through the nonsense and deal with the real issue.

Relationship challenges begin and are compounded by passive agressive behavior and indirect communication.  Don't text it.  Don't email it.  Don't voice mail it.  Don't Facebook it.  Don't tweet it.  Go directly to the person and speak with them face-to-face.

4. Take the High Road

Never fight fire with fire.  When you find yourself the victim of some small offense, your first instinct may be to respond in kind.  While this may feel good for a moment, it usually just escalates the situation and makes everything worse.  If you truly want to live drama free, then you need to be willing to be the bigger person and let things go.

You don't need to get in the last word, you don't need to "one up" the other person, and you certainly don't need to make them pay for wronging you.  Just let it go, and watch the drama flow away.

5. Avoid Drama Queens

After you've made sure that you are not creating the drama yourself, the best way to keep your life drama free is to eliminate drama queens (or kings) from your life.

This is easy when you meet new people or are dealing with someone you aren't very close to.  Once you realize they are "drama prone," minimize (or if you can, eliminate) the interactions you have with them.

With people you are close to, have a long history with, or are related to, or who are genuinely good people who's one major flaw is their tendency to make a big deal over nothing, you don't have to cut them out of your life altogether.  Just acknowledge that quality about them and, when they start acting up, don't get pulled into their "drama tsunami."

We are products of our environment.  To live drama free, get as many drama creators out of your life as possible. 

Delete, Delete, Delete

You may never be able to eliminate all the drama from your life, but with just a little bit of focus and discipline you can certainly minimize how much you have in your life.  It's well worth doing - the less drama you have in your life, the more room you have for fun, joy and great relationships!

Ephesians 4:29 "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."

You Are a Lofty Dreamer!

God loves DREAMERS!  He GIVES new dreams and MENDS broken ones!

Dreaming has a way of moving you closer to the way that God sees things.  When you dream, you see yourself rising above your limitations; and moving from where you are to where He wants you to be.

The real question about dreams is: Do you have the courage to act on your dreams?  James 2:20 tells us that FAITH WITHOUT WORKS is dead...if that's the case then a dream without DILIGENCE is dead too!

God expects us to put elbow grease with our faith!  He's not going to miraculously lift us out of our dream and set us down in the middle of its fulfillment.  Our job is to lay the foundation.

The children of Israel had a dream of The Promised Land.  However, the only way to get there was through the wilderness.  It's in the wilderness that they learned to:

  1. Trust God daily for what they needed.
  2. Discover His power in the "Red Sea situations" of life.
  3. Learn how to be led by Him.
  4. Keep their eyes on their destiny and move steadily toward it.
  5. Refuse to become like those who murmur, complain and never make it.
What are you dreaming about?  What has God given you a glimpse of?  You'll never out-dream God!  "God can do...far more than you can ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!" (Ephesians 3:20 TM)

A dream from God will remain in your heart even when life seems to have buried it.  Maybe someone has told you it's too late.  Don't believe it!  (Noah started building the ark at five hundred!)

Run after your dream no matter how far fetched it may seem!  Our dreams our like our children; they're our offspring.  They're the joy of our present and the hope of our future!  Protect them!  Feed them!  Encourage them to grow, for as long as you have a dream - you'll never be old!

Joseph pursued his dreams in spite of betrayal by his family, repeated attempts at seduction by Potiphar's wife and false imprisonment.  Joseph's dream carried him all the way to his destiny as ruler of Egypt!

A God-given dream will lead to God-honoring results!  A God-given dream will never cause a nightmare for others.  Paul writes, "Long before we heard of Christ...He had...designs on us for glorious living." (Ephesians 1:11 TM)


When you seek the Lord for that dream...He'll reveal it to you!  When He does, remember three things:
  1. Dreams are specific, not general; personal, not public.  God won't give somebody else your dream, He'll give it to you.  He may confirm it through others, but He'll reveal it to you first.  When He does, don't share it with the wrong people or you'll get hurt.  Like Joseph's brothers, they won't be able to handle it.
  2. Dreams are usually outside the realm of the expected.  Often they'll cause rational people to look at you and say, "You've got to be kidding!"  Before God does the miraculous, He may ask you to do the ridiculous!  Are you prepared for that?
  3. Dreams separate leaders from followers!  Dreamers are always a minority.  Those who live by sight will always outnumber those who live by faith!
Follow your God-given dream!  You are a LOFTY DREAMER!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Serving Is The Gateway For Increased Anointing

The more intimate we are with Jesus...the more of His nature we POSSESS and PRODUCE.  After all, Jesus said when we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit. (John 15:4)

Intimacy with God is essential for GROWING in the ANOINTING of service.

I'm amazed to hear people boast of their "right" to lead a ministry, etc., when their evidence or track record of consistent serving is hit and miss at best.

Each week, churches are enlisting the help of "called" people to become bus captains, teachers, nursery care-givers, custodians, ushers, greeters, musicians, singers, parking lot attendants, and moreHowever, we live in a "serve me first" society.  A culture that demands "something for nothing."  A culture that carries the spirit of entitlement.  A culture that says "give me a position and then I'll be more faithful."  

Today's culture is completely opposite of what Jesus outlined in Mark 10:45 when He said, "For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many."

So, while churches are requesting help from volunteers who proclaim a "call of God" upon their life, still many remain on the sidelines, uninvolved and uninterested in serving the greater good when it comes to where the rubber meets the road.

If you are "called" to do something for The Lord, you'll be doing it WITH or WITHOUT a title and you'll do it without wanting to be seen or recognized.

Real ministry is seeing a need and meeting it...NOT...sitting around making excuses for why it can't be done. 

When you are "anointed" for a particular ministry, you'll be so passionate about it that nothing will keep you from fulfilling it.  

Want to be "used?"
  • Jump in with both feet!  
  • Volunteer wherever you're needed! 
  • Step up when asked and when no one asks!
  • Be consistent!!
  • Evidence spiritual growth!
  • Be faithful!
  • Be fruitful!
The longer we serve, the more we realize that SERVING is the gateway for increased anointing and opportunity.  In short, your gift will make room for you. (Proverbs 18:16)

When your gift begins to make "room" for you - the doors of opportunity will swing wide and the attraction of favor, blessing and timing will be clearly evident.  
  • No politics. 
  • No kissing babies. 
  • No empty promises. 
  • No name dropping. 
  • No networking.
Q: What makes the door open?  
A: Service!

Q: What made Elisha stand out from the other guys who attended Elijah's School of Ministry?
A: He would not leave Elijah's side!

Q: What granted Hur's descendants the privilege to build the Tabernacle?
A: Hur wouldn't leave Moses' side!

95% of life is just showing up
and being faithful.

If you want a promotion, you have to show up and do your due diligence.  As Christians, our due diligence is pretty elementary   (i.e., praying, fasting, studying the Word, church attendance, tithing, giving, serving, witnessing, etc.,).  We do these things in the same manner we breath air.  It's not a burden.  It's not a hardship.  It's not something we have to be told to do.  It's just WHO WE ARE as Christians.  

The Holy Spirit in us teaches us, as we remain in the Word and keep our prayer life up, church attendance, etc.  
  • 1 John 2:27 "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
The natural outflow of a steady
supernatural diet is SERVICE.

Serving is the GATEWAY for INCREASED ANOINTING.  Next time you begin to complain that you're being bypassed, overlooked or disregarded...ask yourself..."WHO and WHERE am I currently serving?"

I've found that the people who complain the most are the people who do the least.  In essence, if your plate is full for Jesus you won't have any time to complain, find fault, criticize, vent on social media, etc.  You just won't have the time. :)

In our local church, we are blessed to have an AMAZING TEAM of VOLUNTEERS!  They serve with passion, purpose and precision!  Seldom, do we ever hear a complaint from the people who are giving the most!  What a great group of people to pastor!

I love serving with people who don't constantly gripe, have a bee in their bonnet, a hitch in their get-a-long or a bur in their saddle. :)  When you're doing what you do for Jesus, your service will INCREASE your ANOINTING!  (And that has nothing to do with the has everything to do with you.)

Get busy for Jesus!  Let's keep on building His Kingdom and watching for His return!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Who Says You're Not Relevant?

Relevance = closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand.

Relevance is so subjective.  You can stand in front of breathtaking paintings from the world's most renowned artists and you'll hear varying opinions.  But one thing for sure - you can usually tell the greats from the not-so-greats.

The same can be said for Leadership.  Although, there are varying methods and opinions on how to get the job done, ultimately, everyone knows what's working and what isn't.

You cannot PACKAGE relevance.  It's not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to style, flavor, method, etc.  Whether you wear jeans and un-tuck your shirt or you wear a suit and tie...neither makes you relevant.

Relevance is not a PRODUCT.  It's not about the way you design your church service or the type of pulpit you use (or table) for your notes....neither makes you relevant.

Relevance isn't about PROGRAMS or systems.  You have to find what works for you and go with that.  I remember when we used to ask first time guests to raise their hands.  We stopped doing that...not because no one was doing that anymore...but because of the size and scope of our church.  We elected to use a different system and it added quality to what we were trying to accomplish at that time.

Doing what you do extremely well at the 
right time with the right people is relevant.

The other side of relevance is IRRELEVANCE.  Irrelevance means that what you do doesn't matter.  It could be defined as working hard and only spinning your wheels.  Nothing changes.

If we are leading people to Jesus and their lives are being changed...WE ARE RELEVANT!

It doesn't matter to me if your style of leadership/ministry is considered "old school" or "modern."  

If you're winning people to JESUS,

At the end of the day, it's all about CONNECTION!  Certain things can help us connect and increase our relevance.

For one, consider TECHNOLOGY:
  • We no longer use typewriters; we now use computers.  However, it's NOT ABOUT the computer, it's what you do with it.
  • It's not about the latest's what you do with it.  My smart phone helps me connect with people faster by using the social media tools at my disposal.  With lightning speed I can communicate with thousands of people...NOW THAT'S RELEVANT!
Again, it's not about what you DO or DON'T's what you DO with WHAT you have!

More to come...