Foundation Shaken


Have you ever had something shake the foundation of your being? You know one of those moments where you feel like the world is coming to an end or should? I just had that happen to me. It’s amazing when God tests your resolve or who you are in Him. When your foundation is shaken and you feel like you are in the eye of the hurricane, remember that you are a child of God and if He is with you what or whom can stand against you.

But I confess that it just happened to me because of news I received from someone very dear to me. This is exactly how  the enemy wants us to feel – fearful, unsure, indecisive, confused, low self-esteem, and anything else that he knows will make you fall and blame God in the process. I didn’t blame God but I did questioned Him as to why and His response was – “have you forgotten everything else I have done in your life?” Boy did that hurt but it took me from questioning God to worshipping Him and thanking Him for that slap in the face – lol
So remember – “And we know that God causes everything to work together* for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28
So don’t ask God why but what do I need to learn.
God bless you!

New Journey

I have not written in a while and just a few minutes ago a submitted several pieces that I had written before so it was easy to cut and paste them. Hence the reason for this particular topic today.

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Many times in our lives we lose focus and somehow get out of the path that will take us from the place we find ourselves to the place we want to be. I recently attended the Leadership Summit hosted by Willow Creek Church and I would definitely recommend it to all young and old. At the summit many great leaders spoke on different topics but the theme seem to be the same, leaders are not born they are made. The steps that it takes a person to get to the level that these great men and women have attained are steps that anyone can do.

One of the things that really hit home for me were the questions, “how passionate are you with what God has placed in your hands? and how close are you with the people you serve?” As leaders we tend to correct more than we’d like to admit versus a true leader who connects with people. So I have decided to start a new journey to refocus, reinvent, and reenergize my passion for what God has currently placed in my hands and I wanted to take you with me.

You will see my shortcomings, failures, successes, victories, and the process that I will take to get from where I currently am to where I want to be.  Where do I want to be? That question will be answered in the next post. So please stay tune and comments are always welcomed.

God bless!

Leadership – Character Part II

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Good leaders, the best leaders, are constantly looking for an edge. They are learning whatever they can, in order to gain new insights, hear fresh perspectives, and see new opportunities. There’s a quote, often attributed to the Roman writer Seneca the Younger, that reads, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”  
– John Maxwell 

Leadership is defined as the action of leading a group of people or an organization. In order to be a leader one must followers. A leader also needs to have character. Character is defined as the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves : someone’s personality. Character is what sets good leaders apart from normal leaders. What I mean by this is that a good leader will always be trustworthy, their word is there bond, never lie even when it may end a relationship, etc. Good leaders will learn from past mistakes and experiences and will always work to keep improving themselves and learning new things constantly.

Let’s face it: when everything goes well it is easy to adopt the right attitudes and do the right things. But character is developed when we go through difficult times of suffering and testing. In fact, nothing reveals character more than difficult times. When pressures are applied to your life you will know exactly who you really are. Like a lemon, juice is only delivered when it is squeezed, you will expose your true nature when you are being tested through hard times.

Tough times reveal not only who you really are but will also provide opportunities to grow in character. Paul, writing to the believers in Rome, says: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.“(Romans 5.3-4 ESV). Knowing that God can change the difficult things in life in ways that will shape your character, Enjoy yourself in times of trouble. Too often we cry to God to relieve us of the harsh circumstances rather than asking Him to help us discern what he wants to teach us with such tests. All who pass tough times with God will see how his character is perfected.

A solid character is not the result of a moment but of a lifetime. Character is not received by the laying of hands or by attending a one-day seminar. There are no shortcuts to building good character. It takes time. When God wanted to train Moses, he took him into the desert and kept him there for forty years. Joseph worked for thirteen years as a slave before he was ready to lead a nation. David spent years as a fugitive on the run from King Saul before God considered him ready to assume the high office of King. Jesus spent three years shaping the lives of his disciples. Paul waited three years in the wilderness before God used him to lead the church.

Time and how you spend it is the key element to character building and the foundation of a great leader. How are you spending your time? What new things are you trying to learn? From whom are you trying to learn? For what purpose are you trying to learn?

Leadership – Character

Leadership

Leadership is defined as the action of leading a group of people or an organization. In order to be a leader one must followers. A leader also needs to have character. Character is defined as the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves : someone’s personality. What kind of leader do you aspire to be? Where would you like your leadership to take you? Who are your heroes in the Leadership Arena?

I have begun a study of how to become a more effective leader. I have been a pastor for about 4 years and have been in different roles and have had success in some areas and failed in others. After doing some deep inner reflection, I found that my failure was not due to knowledge of God’s word or to my abilities to connect with others but the hard truth is, it was due to my character. I wasn’t shady or stealing or anything negative in that sense but I was not a person of character in the sense that my word was many times broken.

As a leader, your followers will look to you guidance. But if they can’t trust you, what kind of leader are you? Trust, integrity, and humbleness were my downfall. I thank God for the second chances because I have been working in these areas. Tough to admit but the lack of these character signature in me has stunted my growth as a great leader in my church.

God is good though. He has allowed me to redeem myself and give retribution. Next time we will focus more on what God looks for vs. what men look for in a leader.

What are some of your stories?  This was my honest confession.

 

God uses a Process to Prepare His People

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We have all been there. Getting ready for a new job, new home, new semester at school. When you think about these things, what do you notice about the process we go through? There is a preparation stage. There is a what you do stage and there is a check or audit stage and finally an action stage. All of God’s prophets, great men and women, and leaders go through the same stages just with different outcomes.

In the story of God’s people being delivered out of Egypt, we see that there is a preparation that takes place during the journey in order for the people to go into the promised land. We notice that in that preparation none of the people who started the journey, except for Joshua and Caleb, were able to cross to the promise land. What happened? You would think that at least Moses should have been able to finish the journey of crossing over but he didn’t make it either. Many times we suffer the same outcome. During the preparation phase we falter and instead of continuing, we give up and let go of our dreams and stop following the course that God had set us on.

Now that the next generation made to the promise land, their next step was to do. They had to take care of business. God told them to conquer and that’s what they started doing. But it wasn’t just about conquering the surrounding people, it was also about conquering their own fears, insecurities, guilts, and other things that will later ignite God’s wrath due to their disobedience. Everyday we must conquer our fears, our insecurities, our weaknesses, and other things in our lives to help us get to the next level. As a great leader said in his book,”Madness – Your ability to achieve your dreams is in direct proportion to your willingness to make sacrifices”

What are you willing to sacrifice in order to obtain the preparation necessary to become the leader God has called you to be?

Are you self or God sustained?

sermon-1-abrahamic-covenant-01-16-638If God is our provider, why is it that we depend so much on what we earn? True He has given us the strength to work and He also states in His word that he who does not work will not or should not eat.

One of the hardest things to do is trust in someone or something that one cannot see. Most christians talk about God providing for their needs but it seems to be only by word of mouth because their actions speak something totally different. I can speak this way because that used to be me. I relied so heavily on what I could do that I didn’t allow God do what He wanted to do. In every one of those instances I saw my life changing for the worse. I have since then learn to trust God in almost everything I do. I say almost everything because I still seem to do things on my own without consulting with Him.

I am currently going through something very difficult and many times I find myself still trying to do my own thing and it gets me in more trouble than when I let God do His. I guess one of the hardest things to do is to let go. When you’ve done something for so long and then you to try to allow God to govern your life, that is one of the most painful but rewarding moments in one’s life.

Are you still trying to run things? Or are you allowing God to run things?

 

Life

Life is defined as the period between the birth and death of a living thing. In this span of time that you are existing in, what have you learned? What makes you tick? What makes you frustrated? What makes you happy? And what motivates you to move forward?
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As for me, I have learned that the small things are what cause
  • Anger
  • Distress
  • Frustration
  • Dissolution
  • Walls in Relationships
I have also learned that it is easier to
  • Blame someone else for your mistake
  • Point the finger at someone
  • Judge others
What I have learned about God
  • He is always in control
  • Allows situations to build character
  • Never betrays
  • Is merciful beyond my comprehension
  • I have learned that in helping someone else, God helps me in return
  • Blessings happen when you don’t expect to be blessed
  • I am only here due to His grace
What have you learned? It would be great to hear from you.  Leave comments below.

How much do you love?

good1 What are you willing to do for your neighbor? What are you willing to sacrifice for those you don’t even know?

Selflessness is a rarity these days. We are more concerned with ourselves than anyone else. It is what is taught in the schools and the workplace.

There are those who would give their place to others or stop and help someone else without expecting anything in return. The story of the good samaritan comes to mind but not because someone stopped to help the injured man on the road but because of the actions of those who are said to be the leaders of a nation and did nothing and just walked away.

If we have the capability to serve and help others as we would like to be served and helped, why is so hard to do so? If you really dig deep, you will find the answer to be something you would not expect or maybe you would – PRIDE. We are too proud to lower ourselves to a servant’s role. We think it to be the lowest form of humanity or think of it as a slave. But Jesus says that who ever wants to be great in heaven will be the servant of all here on earth.

Are you willing to let go of your pride and help someone with whom you have no contact or don’t even know?

Rejoice?

Rejoice-Always What is the first thing that comes to your mind when someone mentions REJOICE?  What does it mean to rejoice?  Is it possible to rejoice in the midst of problems and situations?

Well, let’s see if we can shed some light on the matter now. Welcome once again to Thoughts of Expression.  I have been thinking about this word rejoice for a few days now. And looked it up in the dictionary to get a better understanding of what it is about the word that just impacts.  Here is the definition that impacted me the most: “Middle English (in the sense ‘cause joy to’): from Old French rejoiss-, lengthened stem of rejoir, from re- (expressing intensive force) + joir (experience joy.)” Notice the red letter words. This Old French word really hits the meaning that the bible also gives when it comes to rejoice. Expressing intensive force of experienced joy, WOW. Other words that mean rejoice are: happiness, pleasure, joy, delight, elation, jubilation, exultation, celebration

The verse in the picture says to always rejoice. Now how is that possible? Pope Francis had this to say,”We are not called to accomplish epic feats or proclaim high-sounding words, but to give witness to the joy that arises from the certainty of knowing we are loved, from the confidence that we are saved.” So what does it mean? It means that as followers of Christ, we are to show the world that it doesn’t matter what happens in our lives, we will have joy, it doesn’t matter what situations we find ourselves in, we will have joy because the Jesus told us from the beginning that we will suffer because of this world but He had already conquered the world.  This means that our problems are already solved, situations have already been taken care of, so we are just waiting for the end result and that in itself gives you joy, a cause for rejoicing, a cause for jubilation.

So I will leave with this exhortation from James, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

God bless you and rejoice for He loves you and has already given you the victory.

Don’t Give In

560193f01d6c28e54ad16f1e9a58b372This is the second full week of the new year. If you have made a resolution and find yourself already showing signs of slowing the momentum down, Don’t give up. Great things take time. And all things worthwhile are not easily attained. This is just a little bump on the road.  You can do this.

Many people give up too soon and then find themselves wishing they had just stuck it out a little longer.  This may seem, to many, like a short time and wonder who would actually give up so early? There are many because from the beginning of their journey all they’ve had have been obstacles.

In Galatians 6:9 (NLT) it says, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Many of us get tired of continually doing what is right, keeping our word, staying focussed, staying on a program, etc. But don’t give up and don’t give in. Your reward is soon to come.

So keep working at your pace but keep working. Stay focussed and make short strides or accomplishments and reward yourself for getting there. Soon the ultimate prize will come your way.