Thursday, November 24, 2011

Once you lose "it" what is there?

As I was reading this morning in the book of Matthew this is what Jesus says in chapter 5 starting in verse 13:
"You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt should loose its taste, how can it be made salty?   
Salt when it is good has an affect on that which it has proximity to.  People of influence have a say into the lives of people when they have maintained and guarded their ability to influence them.  My mind goes to all of those leaders who have unfortunately had a place of influence then through a decision made in a moment or living a life not dealing with a personal stronghold they are dealing with end up succumbing to it and loose the platform God had put them on, was putting them on, or was preparing for them.  If you think of the leaders who have fallen where is the potency of their influence now? They might have a slight bit of residue, but they will ever get back to the level of influence they once had. 

As you can tell Im comparing "salt" to "influence".  I have heard it said that the only way for salt to loose its saltiness is for there to be a chemical reaction, such as what happens when it is diluted in water.  If we desire to have or maintain influence and make a difference in this world we MUST guard our influence/life/reputation from being diluted.

What are some simple common things that can dilute our influence?  

  • Inconsistency between our words and our actions-hypocrisy
  • Not living I life focused on others.  If we want to be great Jesus said we must be the least.  What to have influence?  Get ready to serve and put others ahead of yourself.
  • Flaunting our personal freedoms, such as:
    • Drinking alcohol-NOT biblically a sin but at some point in the growth of our platform it may diminish our ability to lead more people if we flaunt it
    • Abrasive or questionable entertainment
    • Abrasive jokes or humor

What are some things that will add to our influence?

  • Integrity
  • Living a life focused on purity
  • Truly loving and serving others more than ourselves
  • Putting others feelings and perceptions ahead of our actions.  Think of others.  
  • Being passionate about guarding what God is entrusting to us and wanting to do through us and not doing anything that would put that in jeopardy

It is not that we can not do certain things, it's that if we live life not thinking of how what we do affects others we will slowly and quietly loose our ability to lead and have influence.  Because ultimately we are not living a life of love towards others. If we live a lifestyle which flaunts our personal freedoms we will diminish the number of those we can reach because of perception. That is why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:23, "All things are permissible but not all things beneficial."

Let's above all else not become diluted by the things in this life.  Let's commit to a life on integrity, love and service putting others first.  We will then maintain our "saltiness", our "influence", our ability to lead.  We do that and God will use us as a platform to make His Name and Kingdom great!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Longevity In Life/Ministry

I have been studying the book of Isaiah this month and I was stirred with hope this morning when read I Isaiah 40:28-31 which says,

 "Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth.  He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding.  He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless.  Youths may grow faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint."

This portion of scripture really speaks to me because our family is about to launch full force into a church plant in the Hampton Roads area in September of 2012.  Understanding how to navigate large undertakings I believe is essential.  Here is what I took from the above passage:

  • God is sovereign, all powerful, all knowing, everything began with Him and ALL IS HIS, He has always been and always will be, He is the one that has NO LIMITS
  • He loves giving, it is part of His says, "...He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless"
  • Everything else may and WILL fail without Him
  • TRUST is the key:
    • I see trust as a massive ingredient to accessing what God has for us.  When you are constantly fearful or anxious it can be traced back to a lack of trust.
    • Stress is also another side effect of a lack of trust
    • Making a decision to trust puts God in His rightful place, a place where He can be who He is...GOD
    • Making a decision to trust puts us in our rightful place to receive from God, a place of genuine is a place that is out of our control or selfish manipulation
  • The Promise:
    • If we can make the decision to trust we get the reward of that decision!  We will soar on wings like eagles; we will run and not grow weary; we will walk and not faint.
      • Ever seen an eagle soar?  It is effortless.  The ability to soar does not come from them, they are accessing something they have found.  God also promises the ability to run and not get tired, the ability to walk out everything He has for us and not faint (not burn out)  in the process

If we can learn to be intentional and make the decision daily to truly trust, we will access the promise to do things with a Sovereign God involved.  That means not just this vague faith that we have help but you have A WRITTEN PROMISE from the One who spoke the earth into existence.  He is not a liar and if He said we will get these things if we trust, you can bet IT WILL HAPPEN.  He will give you the ability to do things that others may not be able to do and to do them in an effortless way.  The ability to soar instead of constantly flapping your wings trying to stay in flight.  He will give you the gift of longevity!  The ability to run and NOT GET TIRED.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:30, "My yoke is EASY and My burden is LIGHT".  If we are feeling anything other than that we have carried too much of God's responsibilities.  Let Him be God, and let us remain submitted and sold out to one of the greatest keys to victory ever, TRUST.


Friday, November 11, 2011


So I just finished reading a few chapters in Proverbs this morning and I came across Proverbs 27:18 which says, 

"...Whoever looks after his Master will be honored.."  

I love the simplicity of this picture!  It is when we place priority on God's desires and God's agenda that we truly begin to see His favor come to rest on everything that we do.   It is not realistic to expect God to elevate our influence or position if we are still stuck in our own selfish ambitions and are not bought into what He wants to do through us, it does not work that way.  The first part of the verse has to come first.  We will see God's favor if we can serve God and honestly be looking to what He desires, what He wants. If we can be the type of people who are consumed with a passion to please our Heavenly Father then we will see His mighty right hand move on our behalf at EVERY TURN!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

LSU vs ALABAMA 2011 - What People Believe In They Clothe Themselves In

So Sarah and I are staying at the Hampton Inn in Birmingham AL in order to attend the ARC (Association of Related Churches) 2.0 Training for church planters at Church of the Highlands and I go down to get breakfast and there having breakfast is a sea of red (Alabama fans)  then a sea of purple and Gold (LSU fans).

The thought quickly comes to me that, "What people believe in is what they clothe themselves in."  The Alabama fans believe in Alabama.  The LSU fans believe in LSU.  I can tell this because the evidence is ALL OVER THEM.  You can tell a lot about a person and what drives them by what they are wearing.  This does not always mean physically. Everyone clothes themselves everyday in other ways.  

For example:

  •  We get up in the morning and decide whether or not we are going to be gracious or be inpatient. 
  • Whether we will show love to people or distain.  
  • Whether we will honor others ahead of ourselves or promote our agenda with ruthlessness.  

When people come into contact with you what are they IMMEDIATELY perceiving what you might be or not be clothed with?  Because from that they will make a very quick and most times correct assumption as to what you believe.  People are not as ignorant as we sometimes make them out to be, they can see right through you.

Today, I challenge you to clothe yourself with Christ.  If He is what you have said you believe in then you need to clothe yourself in love, which is among other things:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • selflessness
  • forgiveness
  • love for the truth
  • humility

Clothe yourself with what you say you believe in.  Make it exude from every part of your life and people WILL see it and glorify the Name of Jesus Christ.