I have always been one who constantly evaluates if I am in the will of God. Am I working at the right place? Am I doing everything I am supposed to do at work, home, and as a pastor? Is there something that needs to change? I’m always seeing areas of improvement. The execution is always the greatest challenge.
I’m sure many of you are like me. You are great at evaluating and seeing deficiencies, but you can get lost in the execution. Maybe you are the opposite. You can execute all day long, but you don’t see the necessary areas of improvement. You just want to dive in and do something if someone gives you the green light.
I see so many correlations with the Christian life. The Holy Spirit reveals the areas of improvement and can empower the execution of the improvement plan. The devil can put up blinders so you think you are perfectly fine, or you may see the deficiencies but are paralyzed when it comes to execution.
Where are you in this today? Can’t see anything wrong with yourself? See something wrong and can’t seem to move forward? Or are you doing well? Keep pushing through. Don’t let the devil stop you from being the best you can be for God’s glory!
You may remember just a few months ago my son Jesse who is a professional bull rider was thrown from a bull during a rodeo and was stepped on by that bull , snapping Jesses leg in half.
Just wanted to report back that he is doing great with the rod they put in him. No crutches, off pain meds and is shooting for November to get back on and compete again.
Earlier in ministry, I wanted to be like the well-known guys. I wanted large followings, denominational titles, a large salary, and all the accolades that go with it. Now that I’m almost 37, and I don’t care about any of it. I am a divorced and remarried pastor (which does not set well with those from my former denomination). I do not pastor a large church. I don’t have biceps bigger than my head or a 6-pack. I’m a no-frills kind of guy.
As I have gotten older, I have discovered how pretentious many pastors can be. They will be quick to offer to help you then ignore your calls. I have nothing to offer these guys, so I would be so lucky if they were to speak to me in a dark corner at Walmart.
Why is it? I’m obviously no threat to them. They are busy building their own kingdom, and I can’t help them advance it. It’s sad, really. It isn’t sad from my perspective, because I am glad to not be entangled with those who have built denominational monuments unto themselves. I just know that one day when they can no longer help someone else, they will find themselves abandoned also.
I am reminded of when the disciples argued about who was the greatest. They had it all wrong. Approximately 2,000 years later, not much has changed. Now we have social media to advance these leaders in their self-made kingdoms.
To those who feel like you and your work means little to your community or your audience of just a few, you have a Savior who is looking down and saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” He isn’t impressed with the guy who climbed the denominational ladder by pretending to care about people. Every one of us will be judged according to our personal works. Walk in humility. The proud will soon come to a fall. When they do, be the one who is loving enough to restore them to a place of humility and more genuine impact. I can guarantee God will bless that.
When I first entered ministry, I was very young. As Evangelist Junior Hill says, “I didn’t know an adverb from a proverb.” I had to be teachable because I had no experience to bring to the table. The older I got, the more I realize I still need to be teachable.
Common sense tells us that older people can teach us things, but what about our peers and those who are younger? I constantly learn from those who are in different vocations, cultures, age brackets, etc. There is a high level of humility in one who is willing to submit to the fact that he or she can learn from anyone.
As you approach life today, stop and take time to learn from everyone around you. You might be surprised at what you will learn.
Preparation has been a key part of much of my life. In order to preach, I have to prepare. In order to lead worship, I have to prepare. So I won’t look scary to the world in the morning, I must prepare. Life is full of preparation. I would like to make a few suggestions about preparation that will help you and others in the long run.
- Prepare for emergencies by saving money. Getting a paycheck does not mean you must spend every penny. What will you do when you have to replace tires or pay medical bills?
- Prepare for death by making funeral arrangements now. The greatest thing my grandparents did prior to their passing was paying for everything except obituaries and last minute stuff which barely cost anything. Some of us think we are invincible. Then we die with no foresight and leave our children in a mess. No matter how young you are, get the ball rolling so others know your final wishes.
- Prepare to meet God. This is the most important piece of advice I can give. Repenting of your sins and entering a relationship with Jesus Christ is the greatest decision you will ever make. I’m not talking about being “churchified” or doing more good than bad. I’m talking about your sins being cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
I could write about so much more, but these issues are so important because the lack of preparation in these issues often leads to more difficulty. You and others will be better off when you and I get things together. Adjust plans as needed, but life is ultimately about laying up treasures for eternity. While you’re at it, prepare others to meet God too.
When I was in school, it seemed like I was much more willing to learn things. Then I became a “big boy” and had to learn the tough things you can’t learn in a textbook like money management, handling marital conflict, raising children, etc.
When it comes to spiritual growth, I sometimes want to take the lazy route. Instead of growing in the Lord and the fruit of the Spirit being a byproduct, I would much rather receive it as a pretty package from the Lord (especially patience). Don’t give me the difficulties to produce patience! Just give me the gift so I can enjoy the fruit of it.
The Apostle Paul had to learn something. As he penned the letter to the Philippian believers from a jail cell, he said that he had to learn in whatever situation he was in to be content. He did not say that it was natural or a gift that fell out of Heaven. He had to learn it through the difficulties of life.
We often talk about learning things the hard way. That is truly how we learn most things. We do not develop our spiritual muscles when everything is going great. It is developed when friends betray you, your spouse walks out on you, the checking account is negative, and nothing else seems to be going right. It is then that we develop strength and character when we draw close to the Lord.
So, what character traits do you need today? Whatever they are, you must learn them.
This is ‘ the joker‘ Hes 19 and I believe he heads up a gang here in Florida. ( read this first then link is at bottom)
He reminds me of a student I had when I opened a new school for violent and expelled kids, but I don’t think my student had ‘ the joker'” yet tattoed on his face.
At any rate if you play the video clip don’t have any little ears in the room..He’s shouting out to a rival gang. The video clip works but may have to tap the arrow a second time.
We will get into gangs later but just though you might want a peek at their real world..here is what your teens are around out there too.