“Holding Out on God Hanging on to Me”; Brent’s “Thirsty” Prayer…

If we turn back or grind to a halt on the path of following Jesus because of fear of any kind- than we are holding out on God…

At “Thirsty Wednesday” last night, Brent Ingersoll prayed that God would “show us a vision of our calling and grant us the courage to walk into it without fear and insecurity“.  As he poured out that prayer, I immediately felt the power of seeing myself and our congregation at Kings Valley Wesleyan Church moving in freedom and courage into all that God has called us to be and do.  Then I quickly recognized that this would truly be miraculous and would not happen without God’s grace and without Him bringing a change in me and in us as a church.

I enjoy listening to people as they talk about what God wants them to be and do.  Their dreams, struggles, successes and failures – all help me to stay in the game and to find hope for my journey. Lately a friend of mine said to me that he feels that the biggest barrier standing in the path of living out our calling is “getting over ourselves”.

He’s right!!  I’d love to experience everyday life with a strong allegiance to the rights of the kingdom of God as a higher value than my so called personal/individual “rights“.

What if we lived each day with a focus on His will being done on earth as it is in heaven?

What if I were not so sympathetic with myself and others when we hold out on God because of fear and insecurity and leave His mission unaccomplished?

What if it wasn’t considered normal amongst us any more to hang back and take our time in making the courageous sacrifices  necessary to show our world that Jesus cares and is here to rescue them no matter what they are going through or no matter what it might cost us?

Getting over myself and my wants is a heartbreaking experience sometimes… sad as I am to admit it…  But, I do believe the answer still lies in finding my contentment and fulfillment in allowing God to completely fill me with His perfect love.  I John 4:18 (NIV)

18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

If we turn back or grind to a halt on the path of following Jesus because of fear of any kind- than we are holding out on God.  How can we be satisfied with that?

I am becoming increasingly discontent with myself over this issue and sometimes I even get angry about it and I am sharing here because I feel many of us are stuck and would love to break through these barriers of fear and insecurity.

A New Decade… Gulp!

There is a foundational reality that we all live in the midst of…

Acts 17:26 (NIV)
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

God knew that we would be alive in these times.  It seems from what I am reading that the coming decade is going to be very challenging and likely our paradigms are going to be shaken to the extreme.  Are you up for that?

I am praying for myself, my family and friends that we will be more aware of what really matters to God concerning our lives and have more integrity toward what He values.  If by His grace we do that, we will be ready to face the “shake ups” and dilemmas of this new decade.

Happy New Year!

 

We Were Born for This…

We can’t help a culture of people who are looking for a shepherd unless we own our responsibility to be leaders…

I was reading Matt. 11:35-38  (NIV) this morning.

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

If I can allow myself to see my world the way that Jesus does, what will I see?  The “harvest” Jesus talks about is still waiting all around us.

HarvestJesus uses two images here to describe what He sees… the first is a massive gathering of sheep without a shepherd… the second is a harvest that is waiting to be gathered in.  We can’t help a culture of people who are looking for a shepherd unless we own our responsibility to be leaders.   Neither can we fulfill our life mission unless we search for it in the context of gathering in God’s harvest… connecting people with faith in Jesus Christ.

We were born for this!

“Safe Hiding Place” or a “Place of Empowerment”?

The Holy Spirit knows what He is doing and He will lead us if we will stay humble, courageous and gracious toward each other….

The times we are living in, according to Bob Johansen of “Institute for the Future” (author of “Leaders Make the Future“), have produced a VUCA world…  full of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.  He goes on to predict that the next ten years are going to be an incredibly difficult and challenging time for leaders.

How should we as Jesus followers respond to the world culture where we exist every day?  Will our churches serve as a hiding place where people can escape from a VUCA world, or can we be a place of empowering for people to turn and lead movements of change and promise as they are drawn to embrace Jesus and His teachings?

These are times of wide-sweeping and fast paced change.  I am concerned that many in the church are resisting the idea that the changes have begun and our world will never be the same.  While we enjoy the benefits of having peace with God through Jesus and the closeness of our church family and the security of our religious traditions, there is a world all around us full of people who are uncertain and some even terrified about the future.

What are we doing to position ourselves to communicate the hope we have for stability in our VUCA world?

The hope we have is in the kingdom of God.  You and I will not capture the attention of our world around us if we don’t seek God for wisdom and a plan that will provide hope and leadership to a culture that Jesus sees as sheep, helplessly wandering around in search of a shepherd.

I hope you are investing time in God’s word with new eyes searching out the principles of Jesus kingdom and his ways of living life and serving people.  I am completely convinced that we need new methods, ideas, new revolutionary approaches to expressing the presence of God in our homes, friendships, businesses and culture.  It is our world’s only hope.

There is a movement of people right now who are seeking God’s help as they deconstruct what they have become so accustomed to as “church life“. By His grace they are rebuilding lives and church families that are ready to lead in a revolution of love and service in Jesus’ name, in whatever community in which they live every day.

Changes are here and they won’t be easy.  But the Holy Spirit knows what He is doing and He will lead us if we will stay humble, courageous and gracious toward each other.

“Deep Change” or “Slow Death”?

Just received this re-tweet from a friend this morning…

@cnieuwhof: Every organization faces one of two alternatives: slow death or deep change.

I totally resonate with the idea that our church is experiencing “deep change” and I definitely choose it over slow death. I know that I have been experiencing deep-level change for several years now and only recently been feeling like I am getting into a good rhythm again.

The church represents the “unshakable” kingdom of God on the earth.

Are we courageous enough to go through the changing process and allow Him to mold us and empower us to provide the answers for the questions the world is asking?

So What I Hear You Saying Is You Don’t like Me

Part of living in truth and “walking in the light” is the freedom I can give you to not like me or what I do if you so choose…

I’d love to know what you think…

Was Jesus likable? What drew people to Him? I think Jesus was likable except to those who cared too much about how other people viewed them.

The Bible teaches that “If anyone claims to live in him they must walk as Jesus did.” I John 2:6. If we are like Jesus we are going to love each other. When you love each other you protect, trust, persevere… all of those things found in I Cor. 13. But, I don’t think I can find anywhere in the love chapter that we will always “like” each other.

Part of living in truth and “walking in the light” is the freedom I can give you to not like me or what I do if you so choose. You need to do the same for me. Once I feel as if my like or dislike for you or something you might do is going to overly affect you or cause you to change a direction that you feel strongly about, our relationship gets complicated.

Prayer: Father God, help us to grow in our inner character to a place where we can dislike each other once in a while but still walk in grace, truth and love.

It’s Too Late!

A battle cry for those of us who long for people in our culture to embrace the life connecting and life renovating experience of knowing Jesus Christ…

I just read a startling quote from Seth Godin’s book, “Tribes“.

It stung because it cuts against the grain of my way of thinking… or maybe against my hard wired tendency to want to keep the waters calm. Anyway, he writes “By the time you realize that your corner of the world is ready for an innovation, it’s almost certainly too late. It’s definitely not too early.

Now, that is a battle cry for those of us who long for people in our culture to embrace the life connecting and life renovating experience of knowing Jesus Christ. Shame on us for consistently waiting too long to change. If you are just realizing that innovation is needed in the way we engage our culture and in pursuading them to follow Jesus it may almost be too late.

You Are the Leader People Are Looking For

You and I were designed by God to lead. I’m not talking about leading churches or businesses or organizations. I’m talking about embracing the fact that you are a God-designed leader in our culture…

It amazes me that Jesus left His mission to save the world in the hands of a small group of people. But He did. I believe that He knew what He was doing.

The Holy Spirit arrived in power about a month and a half after Jesus left the earth to return to His Father. Trusting that the Holy Spirit would inspire, empower and keep them connected His disciples picked up on Jesus’ vision of their culture… that the world around them was full of people who were like “sheep without a shepherd.” Somehow they believed Jesus when He told them that THEY were the light of the world. They were designed to lead others to really “get” that Jesus was the Shepherd their culture needed.

What about us? You and I were designed by God to lead. I’m not talking about leading churches or businesses or organizations. I’m talking about embracing the fact that you are a God-designed leader in our culture. People all around you need you to lead. The question is where are you leading them?

My prayer for us is that we will own our destiny as leaders and show those around us what it is like to know Jesus Christ and live in true freedom. The freedom that religion can’t offer. May we have the courage to flesh out a faith journey that trusts Jesus presence and His ways in every unpredictable situation.

He is ready to help us and I believe our best days are yet to come.

Who’s on Your Shopping List?

I heard a shocking statistic.

There are 143 million orphans in the world today.

143million.orgThen I heard of a website www.143million.org that offers several ways that people can invest in helping to improve the quality of life for one of these children. I was especially drawn to a project called “410 bridge” www.410bridge.org

You can read about it there, but it provides a great way for you and your family to connect with children and villages in Kenya, Africa. So, can you make some extra room on your Christmas list?

Passion to Help People or an Obsession to Reach Goals?

It is time to rediscover faith in the unshakable kingdom of God that is so secure that those who live in it and under its authority have the courage to love with no strings attached…

Bill Robinson writes in his book, “Incarnate Leadership“, “Perhaps our desire to be good leaders has elbowed its way in front of our desire to be imitators of Christ.

I have been investing a lot of time lately in books that offer help for those who aspire to lead in these chaotic days we are living in. A recurring theme is that we must lead from the middle of things. The platform for leadership is in loving, learning and serving in the places where we desire to lead.No Strings Attached

In order to do that, we need to rediscover what it means to love with “no strings attached“.

People who have grown disillusioned and clearly skeptical of leaders who are stuck on top of the pedestal will resist us if we love with an agenda. If we are careless we can make even the goal of “converting” people to faith in Jesus Christ a selfish agenda. Is it more about relieving our obsession to reach the goal of them “making a decision” and/or “praying a prayer” or about actually helping them experience the love and grace of Jesus?

It is time to rediscover faith in the unshakable kingdom of God that is so secure that those who live in it and under its authority have the courage to love with no strings attached. We can do so because we have experienced and have total confidence in the magnetic pull of the Spirit of Jesus once someone begins to get a taste of His goodness. I guess I am saying that He is the only one who is pure enough in heart to truly love with an agenda. Or maybe it’s because He doesn’t confuse obsessing over reaching an end goal with a genuine passion to help people experience His kingdom.

Prayer: Father, help us to rediscover a life of love and service in your Name. Help us not only to do the kinds of things you would do, but depend on you for the right motivation… loving with none of our own strings attached so that you can draw our broken chaotic world to the realness of your kingdom.