Thursday, October 27, 2011

How Do You Take Your Coffee?

How do you take your coffee?  Do you know certain people well enough to be familiar with how they take theirs?

People are looking for a place where they belong - where they are known.  There’s a certain comfort in having leaders who know and believe in you.  As leaders we should aspire to really get to know the people God sends our way.  We should aspire to know them to the point where they are comfortable sharing their struggles and successes. 

Maybe even get to know how they take their coffee… 

In Acts 2:46-47 the believers, “worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s supper and shared their meals with great joy and generosity all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people.  And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.” 

What an awesome picture of reaching people through small groups! A  coach recently shared a testimony of a lady who was attending a small group.  She was amazed at the love and the bond the people shared, and she got born again during one of the meetings!  That is New Testament evangelism at it’s best!  Small groups provide the perfect opportunity to get to know someone deeply and lead them to a life-giving relationship with Christ.

In the superficial world we are all living in, there are a lot of people out there looking to meet someone who truly cares about them, who is even interested in the little things like how they take their coffee.  I have a question for you.  Who has God sent to you?  Do you take the time to find out what is going on in their lives and share the hope they have in Christ?  In this fast paced world, that’s the challenge isn’t it?  Small groups give the perfect setting to complete that challenge!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Passion vs. Capability

Sitting around the conference table was a group of capable women leaders each with tremendous responsibility: family responsibilities, work responsibilities, and ministry responsibilities. The agenda for the meeting had been completed and each was eager to move forward with their day.

And then the Holy Spirit “interrupted” their schedule and showed up at the meeting as only He can.

Just as the meeting was about to close, the facilitator asked each woman about her passion…what makes her heart jump…what does she pray for in her quiet moments…what spurs her on. 

One by one, each woman began to weep as she shared the dream of her heart. The facilitator observed the tears and wondered what had touched each woman so deeply to evoke such an emotional reaction.  And then it occurred to her, she had touched upon that which was most precious to each woman – passion.  Each woman in this group was a great leader not because of her capability but because of her passionate love of Christ!

A woman that is fulfilling the call of God on her life and living in the passion zone is a woman that is most fulfilled. Some of these women were living in the passion zone and some were awaiting the dream to come to fruition.

Leadership skills can be taught, but passion is ambiguous and intangible.  It is a beautiful commodity that resides in a person and creates enthusiasm that can spread like wild fire.  Peter was a man filled with passion which at times got him into tremendous trouble with Christ.  Up until the book of Acts, the reader sees Peter in blunder after blunder after blunder which culminates with denying Jesus three times. BUT Jesus loved Peter and after His resurrection fully restored him to full fellowship (John 21:1-23). In Acts from Pentecost on Peter is a leader. All the passion he had for Christ was channeled into leadership that impacted the world and continues until this day.

So the question becomes, what is your passion? What evokes tears within you? What spurs you on?  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Gift of a Day

Life in the desert, at first glance it is austere and dry and without life and hope. It is those times in life, the unforeseen the unexpected the unplanned, events all in the tenor of  a life that  happens. We wonder how did we get here and how will we get out. It is at this very point that the gift of  a day and one step at a time become the most relevant. We can't survey the future for we are exhausted in the how, while looking back reminds us of what was lost. What is left but the day.

The day is the  most basic increment given to us by God. We know the ill comfort of the trite phrase take one day at a time. But what we need to see is the wisdom, purpose and fatness of one day at a time in Him. The other basic increment is the step. The day and the step, every restoration every retro redemption of things past and each deep and powerful work is built on the foundation of these elements. God has given us the day and he will always provide revelation as to the next step even if it is resting and waiting. “ He makes us lie down in green pastures”.  If you are in the desert realize that it is pregnant with purpose, Hosea 2: 14,15 NIV.  It is in the gift of a day even if that day is in the desert  that He speaks tenderly to us, He re-establishes His provision and turns the valley of trouble into a door of hope. 

Remember Israel walked in a incredible display of power, received daily provisions and the shoes on their feet didn't even wear out and yet they focused on what they didn't have. Thankfulness in      the desert will always focus on the testimony of  what God has done for the purpose to say that he will do it again. It frees us to walk the day and fulfill the words of Jesus,  “Don't worry about tomorrow it will take care on itself. “

Monday, October 24, 2011

Keep It Simple

What I find so interesting these days is how elaborate presentations are when you attend weddings, showers, birthdays and other celebrations.   There is so much effort in making a “statement” and having themes to events.   I appreciate the time and effort it takes to create these environments.  

Not that a small group is not an event of some sort in your home…but it certainly is not ranked up there with those celebration parties, where it is about food and fun.  Not to say that a small group isn’t about fun.

This summer, I was challenged to think about what a small group IS.   I do not recall that any answer was given.  But the challenge was to think about the value of a small group versus any other gathering of people that someone might arrange in their home.   Why small groups?  Why have them?  Others have get-togethers and socialize and get to know one another, even serve one another and “feel the love.”  

Really I am not overflowing with too many answers here. But one thought has crept to the top of my list:  the concept of being “IN HIS NAME”.   The simplicity of “where 2 or 3 have gathered in My Name, there I am in their midst.”  So Jesus is a guaranteed guest.

So what happens when Jesus shows up?  Good question.  I am searching the gospels even more for the answer.   There is power, healing, fellowship, connection to God.   Life change.  Food. Cannot forget that!  Jesus was not just there with the scrolls laid before Him speaking the Word.   He was touching people and loving on them as well as teaching the Word.  

So do not be intimidated by what you might think it means to lead a group.  Follow in Jesus’ footsteps, keep it simple, keep it about His presence, invite Him to show up, He will and it doesn’t matter what snacks are on the table.   When hearts speak to hearts, the things of the world fall to the side and the Holy Spirit ministers to each believer mysteriously.   And all you did was run the vacuum!  

Now I know there is much more that you as a small group leader do than just run the cleaner, to love on each member.   I do not want to undermine that at all.  But the simplicity of devotion to Christ and each other is what comes through and is noticed the most.

Thanks small group leaders for all you do!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

From the Place of Peace

The place of peace is the place of power.  In a world where will live by the rule of "what can go wrong will go wrong" and "what goes right you have to put your shoulder to and push".  We naturally learn the act of striving. Striving is the spiritually useless activity of anxious effort rooted in our own strength. It is not the place of power. 

We in Christ are invited into a special place. “ a green pasture” “ still waters” Psalm 23. It is the place of rest where we are made to lie down and our soul is refreshed. It is a place of peace. And here is the wonder of it all, something we are not used to. It is the place where God brings us things. “He prepares a table in the midst of our adversity”, what a beautiful and powerful picture of what God does when the storm is raging. The table is the place we sit at and rest while he brings us that which we need.  I submit to you it is the place of power. It is the sabbath day rest pictured in Hebrews, it is meant for the here and now. We will never change this world running anxiously along side it. 

James, was just put to death by Herod and Peter was in prison awaiting the same fate.  And here he was chained in the inner cell between two guards while several more stood watch. And what was he doing, “ he was sleeping”, say what!  I don't know about you but sleeping is something that I would find hard to do considering the pending circumstances. Then it occurred to me Peter was able to sleep in prison because he saw Jesus sleeping in the boat while the storm was raging. What an awesome picture of where we are invited to stay in God. Note the place of power,  the prison was shaken the chains fell off and when Peter got to the gate it opened by itself .

I am not against momentum or getting out of the boat, however there is one place our heart should never leave and it is the place of peace. It is that which will bring power and give hope to a tired and weary world ground down with the pursuit of empty temporal things. In Romans Paul ask this question,  “God who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Good question!  Where would you like to reside, green pastures and still waters will always be the place of power that will overcome the circumstances of life and give hope to those buffeted by the storm. We can change the world from the place of peace.

The fruit of trust in peace, take the time now, a green pasture and table prepared await!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Good Listener

Wisdom comes to he who listens

Who doesn't like a good breakfast or lunch with a brother or sister, love exploring the treasures in a persons life or unearthing the gifts that are within? There is nothing like setting the prisoner free and removing thoughts that create captivity. And I always consider a meal eaten while listening a success, for if my plate is empty and my brothers is half full I have met my objective, to listen. However, a meal consumed is just the beginning of the benefit.

Talking birthed in the arena of listening will always have a greater impact. I used to get somewhat anxious when I was going into a situation and did not know the person or had no idea what to say. Yes I love depending on the Holy Spirit for the words to say  however, how much more should we depend on Him to have ears to listen. It has occurred to me that not knowing what to say may well be the best start to any conversation in helping and pastoring people. The need to listen and listening is the area where we hear the need, as well as the Holy Spirit. 

Seeking to listen and asking questions to understand continue to keep us in a place to hear the important and the relevant. Guiding in helping people process and understand the solutions to the challenges they face can always be best accomplished by asking questions and listening. Some people are looking for advice, more often they just want someone to listen and at other times they just process as they hear themselves speak. 

We will never have all the answers, nevertheless how often has the Father's presence in itself been the answer, simply to say its okay, your not alone. Seeking to have the heart of the Father is the first step in having the mind of the Father and expressing a wisdom not our own. However, it will always start with seeking to understand and listening. We all want the Holy Spirit to lead us, that is knowing what to say, but it is also knowing when to say nothing and just listen.

How can you better guide people by listening?

James 1:19  But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Bayside is a church of approximately 5,000 people and the 10th fastest growing church in the U.S.  So, what makes us so successful?  Is it the building, the strategy, the systems, the great music, etc.?  All those things are great and very much an asset to what we do here at Bayside, but there are three things that really stand out to me. 

1)    God.  I realize this is an extremely obvious one because without God none of this would be possible.  Let me explain a little further.  God births dreams and visions within us, his people.  Without the vision, there is no execution.  The Holy Spirit works in us so that we can do His work and follow the call He has placed on our lives.  The inspired Word of God is preached and is the basis for who we are and the leadership that is in place.

2)    Life-Giving.  You hear about life-giving a lot at Bayside because that’s what we’re all about.  Because death and life is in the power of the tongue and we are church who loves to give life.

3)    Accessibility.  I want to spend a little more time on this one.  One of the main reasons I believe that Bayside is so attractive is because of its accessibility.  From Pastor Randy and throughout the leadership, we believe in being accessible to people.  This is a value that we hold strongly to, because if we are a church who is seeking out lost and hurting people who don’t know Jesus Christ, then we need to be accessible to meet people right where they are.  Jesus was all about making himself accessible and available to people.  We should adopt that same mindset. 

I ask myself, where would I be without the people who made themselves accessible to me?  I know I wouldn’t be sitting at this seat, that’s for sure!

Ask yourself how can I be more accessible to those around me?  I challenge you to invite someone to your small group or to church this week.  Think back to your first experience with Bayside and how it changed your life.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mind programed for the Kingdom

We are from birth slowly programed to think temporal, finite and earthly. This is the result of the seed of sin which through Adam, permeated God's creation. How pervasive and complete was the effect of that event, how progressive the nature and the condition of a mind separated from God. It is in this context that the renewing of our mind takes on incredible significance. 

Hence, the challenge now is to completely revert that condition to think eternal, infinite and heavenly. I know that when we are born again there is an instantaneous and progressive result. We are made new, the work is complete. The challenge with the Holy Spirits help is to think differently about everything. Now to realize the pain we experience is rooted in our thinking, everything about the temporal, finite and earthly is external. It is the reality around us. It is however not the reality in us. 

As I sit here on this couch, which makes me comfortable, type on this lap top which I can touch and see, I hear the sound of the fan and feel the comfort of the cool air on my skin.  And here is the eternal reality of all the things described: they have an expiration date.  Here is the battle ground, its in the meshing of these worlds that our faith is tried. It is faith that sifts through that which expires and that which lasts. It is also faith that brings down the reality of a eternal kingdom.

A typical conflict  of faith and earthly temporal thinking, can be seen in the excessive "how". Faith tells us that God will do awesome things of eternal value, the promises of God set us free, they are Biblical fact.  However, it is not what we know it is what we experience. So, in the midst of this thought there is no lack in heaven, we pray for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven appropriately instructed by our Lord. Faith sees God's will, the earthly mind says, "how". Now I am not saying we should not be specific and intentful in prayer. What I am saying is we should avoid the how. Thinking is overrated and if we rest in the yes, we shouldn't stress in the how. God's ways are infinite, there is no recipe for manna and he does not need a play book.  If I were asked to find water in a desert I would not strike a rock.  Now I ask, how much time do we spend in the how? When we can rest in the yes?

2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.

Numbers 23:19 NIV God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

What promise has God given you, that has been buried in the how?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Increase

The increase is in our hands, no not of our hands but rather in them placed there by God according to His  pleasure. The only thing between the wonders of God and the release of his power is our thinking. Here I tread on an area of hunger searching myself to understand an apparent truth and to shake it from between my ears to experience it fully in my heart and hands. Let's take to heart Paul's prayer for the Ephesians,  “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saintsand his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 

This truth is related in the completed work of Christ. At salvation we are not invited to order off the menu ala carte nor do we go to God as we might go to Publix and pick off the shelf certain items.  The completeness of salvation is that all we need for the task at hand is completely given. Why?  Because we need it all to complete with passion the  purpose for which we are called. So why is this point important?  Simply this, we will never freely use that which we don't realize we have. See, an inheritance is something we do not have to work for.  It is given to us.  It gives us a head start to allow us to build on a foundation already laid. 

Jesus, in the Gospel of Mark tried to get his disciples to realize this when he looked at the crowd of people and said to them, “you give them something to eat.” Why after preaching the Gospel, casting out demons and healing the sick they still struggled to understand that the increase was in their hands,“ they asked are we to go and spend that much on bread”? Oh the distance between the heart and the head is both ever so short and ever so long. Jesus started with what the Father already provided as He broke the bread and the fish and gave it to his disciples, and as they distributed it, the increase was in their hands. Even now God wants us to realize, “the incomparable great power for us who believe”.

So what is the point?  Let us no longer wait for what we already have. God said to Gideon after he tested God and then God tested him, “go in the strength you have”.   Gideon was living in impoverished Israel, in the poorest clan and the least of which. Even the newest of Christians are completely endued with incredible power. All they need do is step out,  to go in the strength you have  is the show up strength, relying on the power of the Spirit in us. Peter got it, he said “ silver and gold have I none but such as I have I give unto you rise up and walk” Yes the first step in giving something away is to realize we have it. 

Now that I am done speaking to myself, I invite you to join me and step out in the power we have in Christ. Speak words of life, create life giving experiences and spiritually feed and heal the sick, the hurting and the lost.  

Let us remember when the disciples were straining at the oars and  Jesus was about to pass them by, they cried out. Jesus did not intend to get in the boat. Yes our Lord is always faithful and He hears when we cry out. But Mark 6 states “they did not understand about the loaves”. And what did they not understand was simply this, that the power they needed to calm the storm was in their hands. Our God  has not held back one thing but rather has provided all. 

Trust God, show up and step out, incredible things will happen ! 
Ask God in what ways you can step out. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Forgiveness, My Testimony

On April 2, 2002 my life was changed forever.  I got a phone call from my dad, he was calling from the hospital with words I never thought I would hear.  My sister was in the ICU and my mother had died.  How could this have happened?! 

My 17 year old sister Stacy was in a coma fighting for her life.  Her head was fractured on every side and she had bleeding and swelling in her brain.  She had a broken arm and collarbone among other injuries.  The area of her brain affected was speech and memory.  Doctors anticipated that she would need a lengthy stay in a rehab hospital if she ever came to.  Stacy continued to sleep while we had my mother’s funeral.  One day her head swelled so badly she was hardly recognizable. 

Meanwhile, the man who caused the crash was being prosecuted by the state for negligent homicide because of how it occurred.  I started to look for revenge against this man who had caused the terrible accident that had stolen so much from me.  I was hurt.  I was angry.  I was confused.

But then 10 days after the accident Stacy woke up!  The first thing she did was to try to call our mother on the hospital telephone.  My father and a trauma counselor told her that mom had died.  On mother’s day that year she watched the funeral we had videotaped for her.  The one ray of light in the midst of this tragedy was the miracle God was doing with Stacy. 

In the beginning, the doctors had given her a 75% chance of having some type of brain damage.  They also said she would likely have to learn to cope with a speech impediment.  But after only one day in the rehab hospital it was evident that her speech and mental capabilities were rapidly improving.  She was discharged. The doctors called her the Miracle Girl!  A month to the day after the accident Stacy was back in school and got a 99 and 100 on 2 pop quizzes! 

I began a 2 year journey that brought me to the point of forgiveness.  In the beginning of this process I couldn’t fathom forgiving the man who had killed my mother.  I would drive by his street and think of ways I could get back at him. 

“Forgive and you will be forgiven…”  Those words haunted me daily.  I just wasn’t ready, so I got involved in the court process.  I learned that I couldn’t find justice in the justice system.  Of course, what I was really looking for was revenge.  God showed me that my heart attitude had to be right and not accusatory.  After a long battle within myself, I decided to let God be the ultimate judge.  If you seek revenge in your heart it will only turn into bitterness and hate, and thwart the calling of God on your life and your relationship with Him and others. 

I realized I had to let it go!  I had to get rid of the blame and the hate. To live with a pure conscience was of greater value to me than trying to avenge my mother’s death.  So I chose to forgive him.  When I made the conscious decision to forgive, my heart started to soften.  I was still hurting but the anger and confusion began to fade. 

Even though the process of forgiveness had started, something was holding it back.  I felt like I had to tell this man that I forgave him.  I did not want to!  In fact, this was the last thing I ever wanted to do.  At one of the final court hearings we were in a room with him and I talked to him and his wife, I held his hand and told him “I forgive you.”  It was by far the hardest thing to do but from that point on, my heart was free!  I can’t begin to describe how wonderful it is to live with a free heart – free of anger, hurt, bitterness, revenge and hatred.

When I was asked to share this testimony of forgiveness I realized that I did not even remember his whole name!  You can be free!  Forgive!  Life is too short and God’s plan for you is too precious to keep bitterness and unforgiveness in your heart!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Restore Joy

Just recently I have entered into a new relationship and let me tell you, it’s absolutely amazing! I was thinking about that today and how “new love” is always so exciting and joyful. I began to think about our Christian walk with that parallel. You know how in the beginning when you first start running after God, it’s exciting and new. Then years pass and you’re still following God, but there’s not the same fervor or excitement that you had in the beginning. Do you ever feel like that? It’s not abnormal to feel that, but I do know that God does not want our relationship with Him or with others to be mundane and boring. It got me thinking about this verse that David wrote:

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.
-Psalm 51:12

Sometimes we need to do just this, "restore to me the joy of Your salvation." Remember what it was like when your love for God was fresh and new. Draw upon that memory to restore the joy back into your relationship with God and others. Fall in love with Jesus all over again and walk in the love he has empowered you with.

Think of a few things you can do to restore joy in your relationship with God, others or life in general.

Monday, October 10, 2011

People Need and Encounter

People need an encounter.

Harassed and helpless, we owe people an encounter with God.  Jesus looked on the crowd and saw them as harassed and helpless. A world attaining and striving for the temporal, accomplishing much with no eternal value is sated with a blindness to its helplessness. For at the end of a day a man in his own strength may feel completely capable but is absolutely helpless to know God without an encounter.

God spoke of the people of Nineveh as not even being able to spiritually tell their right hand from their left. We are called to look beyond the shallow strength of worldly success and see the helpless masses and bring them not just a message but a message with power that affords the experience of an encounter with God, Hagar said “ I now see the one who see's me” 

We are the hands and feet of the kingdom moving forward, God doesn't  have a plan B. We are it, where we go the Kingdom goes. We are not waiting for heaven, the Kingdom of God is among us, no it is in us. Four words Jesus used to describe the crowds, harassed and helpless, ungrateful and wicked (NIV), all conditions overcome by God's love and a encounter with the Kingdom..... The Kingdom in us!

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Second Look

It was a very uncomfortable situation. I was sitting across the table from the department manager, describing how it was becoming difficult to work with my boss. He challenged me to go again to have a conversation with my supervisor. I felt a knot grow at the bottom of my stomach. Fear was settling in and I realized that I felt intimidated.

Unfortunately, the feeling of intimidation had led my mind to play with thoughts that were not true of me. And playing with these thoughts led to decisions that were not the best for me or for the outcome of the situation. Fortunately, now that I could recognize the feeling I had something to work with.

First I refused to react any longer. Secondly, I talked to God about this feeling. He showed me how my reaction to intimidation contributed to the strained relationship. I had not expected my conversation with God to go this way. But He is a gentle Father desiring that all go well with me. I thanked God for showing me my part in the conflict.

When confronted with conflict, typically we think we are the victims of injustice or some wrong and in our hurt we become defensive. If not careful, our hearts get hardened. God’s gentle revelation to my contribution permitted me to take an offensive position in a positive manner. Clothed in humility, and admitting my part, I actually had a position of strength before my supervisor.

I have to thank my boss for causing me to take a second look. As leaders, we cannot offer all the answers, but we can re-direct others towards God. Though it is flattering to feel needed and sought out, the case needs to be re-directed to God. Pray together for the Holy Spirit to reveal the underlying issue. Our Father desires these conversations. It is not a burden for you to carry as a leader. You just know enough to point them to the true healer!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Don't be Stupid


I said it.

Jesus said it in Matthew 7:26

"But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards."

When we gather together to study his words, he is there.  Jesus, the Word, is there among us.  And here's the thing, he is with us even when we're not gathered together to study his words.  


The Word.

Is living in us.

Wherever we go, whatever we are doing, he is with us.  If you don't already, begin talking with him throughout your day.  I would suggest using your "inside your head" voice when you're in public, but hey, that's your call.  The point is, the more aware of his presence we are, the more we are able to work his words into our lives.  Nothing is off limits, no detail is too small or unimportant.  Make him your go-to not your last resort.  

So let's be smart.

"These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock." Matt 7:24-25

What part of your life do you want to work his words into?


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Follow to Lead, Lead to Follow

I’ve been thinking about leadership lately and recently we have been implementing and reinforcing some more requirements in higher levels of leadership at Bayside.  The interesting thing is often times we get some push back with people saying, “Why do I have to go through this course or why do I need to go to the retreat?  I’ve been in leadership for a long time and I’ve been a pastor before…etc.”  We have these requirements for a number of reasons:

1) Commitment – in order to be a leader, a certain level of commitment is required. 

2)  DNA – it’s important that our leaders understand the DNA of Bayside.

3) Servant Leadership – this is the one I would like to break down a little further.

For those of you who may not know me, I have a thing for ballroom dancing… I know, who would have thought?  In the movie, Take the Lead, Antonio Banderas’ character is a ballroom dance instructor.  In one scene, he is talking with all of the students’ parents and explaining the benefits of learning how to dance.  He uses an analogy of lead and follow.  If the woman can learn how to follow and trust, then the man can feel confident in leading.

What I take from this principle and apply it to us as leaders is that, we have to learn how to properly follow before we can effectively lead.  This is why we are called followers of Christ.  We are in this because we choose to follow Jesus and submit to His leadership and examples.  In that same way, leaders must learn to follow and trust leadership.  Only then can we properly lead others into being fully devoted followers of Christ.  So, in order to lead, you must first learn to follow.  As you lead, you are following the path that God has you on.

Ask yourself, do I have trouble submitting to leadership?  If so, ask God why. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Fragrance of Influence

Residing in each one of us is something so powerful that it can shape the destiny of our lives as well as the lives of others.  That something is influence.  Influence as a noun means an effect of one person or thing on another, and as a verb it means to persuade or induce. 

While everyone has influence, women wield their influence differently than men.  A woman has influence with her husband. Perhaps this is why the enemy targeted Eve. He knew she had influence. It is in our DNA to use our influence to connect, network, and gather people together. Twitter and Facebook have nothing on us! We seek to give to others and find joy in advancing a cause. That is why there are more women leading non-profits than men.  Christ-followers live our lives to advance the cause of Christ in our families, the market place, communities and in ministry.

We can wield influence for good or for bad. Take Herodias in Mark 6.  Not only was she married to Herod but also to his brother, Phillip. John the Baptist told Herod it was not lawful for him to be married to his brother’s wife so Herodias held a grudge against John and wanted him executed but she had no power to get this accomplished. However, she did have influence over her daughter who eventually asked Herod for John’s head, and Herod had him executed. Just think what could have happened had Herodias been under the influence of Heaven!

Influence is like a fragrance – it lingers when we pass by. What does our fragrance leave: bitterness, envy, strife, and anger?  Or does it leave peace, joy, grace, and mercy?  What fragrance are we carrying into our kitchens, our work place, and churches?  By cultivating a relationship with Jesus through reading the Word, praying, and staying in fellowship, we can ensure a life-giving fragrance as we seek to influence others for Christ.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Spend Your Inheritance

Obama is right, only not in this world. (please forgive me for the political spin). 

It is in the confines of the Kingdom of heaven that an inheritance spent lays up treasure in heaven. We are all called to spend the riches of heaven in this earth,  it is a travesty to leave them sitting in the bank. 

Every promise and miracle in scripture comes with the spendable power of do it again. Every testimony of God's power has a blank inserted for the next name to be filled in. A spendable inheritance and the chain of testimony is the vehicle from what God has done to what He will do. This is where we are called to reside. We can  focus on divine intervention and we can live beyond our means. The means of the humanly possible. 

I have given thought and have chosen not to think of the things not done for they are only the basis of disappointment and foundation of not expecting anything. They are the trap to thinking less of God and failing to live within the inheritance of the kingdom. Do we build the chain of testimony or do we build the chain of lack?  And do we let our fear of excess leave us standing in lack?   Let our trust be ruthless, for regret is more often based on what we don't do and action we didn't take. 

Every Christian starts with a deposit of the miraculous, the experience of Salvation. 
Our hearts are the place where we string together every good thing and every intervention, we can only build on the miraculous with the with the blocks of supernatural expectancy, faith.  All of God's promises are yes in Christ, (2 Cor. 1:20) it is the inner vault of intimacy where our inheritance is to be spent. 

Spend away!  It will result in treasures in heaven.  A treasure of lives impacted and potential unlocked. 

What are you going to spend today?  Tell us in the comments below.