Archives For passion

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I love being able to learn from other leaders that are doing fantastic things for God!  Being in Wichita does make it a little difficult to get to see other leaders very often.  Fortunately, the internet has made things a little easier, and many leaders like Andy Stanley, Tony Morgan and Perry Noble are doing Webinars that can bring people from all over the world together to glean from these great leaders.  I just learned of Andy Stanley’s this morning.  It is called “Drive-In” and he has a few of them scheduled through March.  Click on the link above, and see if you can schedule some time to make one or all of them!

top_10This is the last post in the “Ten Things I Have Learned This Year.” you can see the other posts here, here and here.

8. It is important to remember that we are a part of something so much bigger than ourselves, our church, and our affiliation (denomination, fellowship, whatever…).

  • I am not minimizing the importance of the local church.  Not at all.  It is God’s plan for us to reach people.  But, it is part of a BIG plan that God has to bring people into the Kingdom.
  • We have to remember that everything that we do as a local congregation of believers gives people around us a view of what God and His people are all about.  So, if you are some wack-job that preaches hate and intolerance (to personal preferences – not core doctrinal issues) than you give those in your community (and unfortunately, maybe even a larger audience) a view that God’s people are a bunch of idiots.  You also give people that are visiting your church, maybe for the first or last time, something other than the hope, acceptance and love of Jesus, which is what they are looking for.  As the people of God, we have to create an atmosphere that allows us to show the love of Christ to people in a non-judgmental way.
  • If you are a part of some denomination or fellowship of churches, that is great.  Those things are helpful for the big picture as far as home and foreign missions are concerned.  But it is sad when a pastor or a church get so “affiliation” minded that they forget they are called to build a church, not an affiliation.  I literally have heard pastors say that another pastor would have made a great leader an their affiliation if he had not been so focused on his church.   Excuse me?  Jesus did not die for you affiliation…
  • We need to have a big picture mentality that allows us to work with others to accomplish the work of God.  I like how Paul said it in Philippians, “I don’t care if they preach Christ out of envy or good will, the important thing is that they are preaching Christ.”

9. With that in mind, we should live our lives as if we are a part of something big

  • God has a purpose and a plan.  We should live to be a part of that, knowing that we were are involved in is God redemptive process for man.
  • We are a part of what God wants to do.  We need to see where we fit that plan, and dig in to love God, love others and serve both!
  • Why do so many Christians walk around like they do not matter, and like what they believe does not matter.  They walk around like it is a small thing to be a Christ follower!  Stop it!  We are a child of the Most High God!  Live like it!
  • Live your life as if the person you are in contact with at this very moment is a divine appointment from God… because it is!  We are a part of His master plan!

10. God is sovereign.  The end!

  • So many times over the last year I have had to just sit back, take a deep breath, and remind myself that God is in control.
  • I have had to remind myself that no man is bigger than God, even if they think they are.  No circumstance is beyond God’s control, even if it seems like there is no escape.
  • If I believe that I am a part of God’s great plan, than I have to believe that the things He allows to come into my life are also a part of that plan, and will help me to be exactly who He intends me to be.

In another post this year, I shared a passage from Job that gave me great strength.  I have gone back to that passage many times this year.  Job 23:8-14 says:

8 I cannot find God anywhere— in front or back of me,

9 to my left or my right. God is always at work,
though I never see him.

10 But he knows what I am doing, and when he tests me,
I will be pure as gold.

11 I have never refused to follow any of his commands,

12 and I have always treasured his teachings.

13 But he alone is God, and who can oppose him?
God does as he pleases,

14 and he will do exactly what he intends with me.

It is such a comfort to know that He is in control, and that He will do exactly what He wants to do with me to fulfill His purpose and plan!

I hope I am always learning… I cannot wait to see what God has for me in 2009!

top_10Continuing on from Monday and Tuesday

5. Ministry without passion is just you going through the motions

  • Seriously, if you are not passionate about what you are doing, you are not really doing anything!
  • God has gifted each and every one of us to do something that only we can do for Him… that comes with a passion.  If you do not feel that passion, maybe you are not doing what God has gifted you to do!
  • I am not talking about waking up in the morning and wanting to stay under the covers… or even just wanting to call in sick for a day.  I am talking about when you wake up in the night, your first thoughts go to what you do, and how it excites you!  I am talking about you standing in line in a store, and you hear someone talking about church or Jesus, and you light up, knowing that what you do for Him fires you up!
  • As servants of the most High God, how can we be more passionate about trips we will take, games we will play and sports teams we follow than we are about the God we are called to serve that changes lives and does things that only He can do?

Ok, again, think about it… God has called us to serve Him… how cool is that… how humbling is that?!!?

With all of that in mind…

6. If you are not passionate about what you are doing, you are cheating yourself, God, and the people you serve.

  • God deserves better than a half-hearted attempt to serve Him.  Jesus went ALL THE WAY to the cross, the least we can do is go all out in our service to God.
  • You need to be totally sold out to what God has called you to do.  People can tell the difference between someone who is passionate about serving God and others and someone who is just doing something because it is either their job or because it is a religious exercise.
  • How can we expect others to be passionate about serving God if we are not?  If God has placed us to lead or serve beside people, we need to exhibit a passion and fire what God has called and gifted us for.  The passion is contagious!

7. It does not matter if you are traditional or contemporary as long as you are following what God wants you to do for your church

  • I get so ticked off when I hear stories about guys that spend hours preparing articles and writing papers like, “Why such-and-such church is an abomination to God,” or “Why this version of the Bible is of the devil,” or “Why this music is wrong because if you play it backwards is says, ‘Read the NIV'” or something like that.
  • I seriously think when God sees this stuff He shakes His head and just says, “I said you should redeem the time because the days are evil, this is not redeeming the time, it is wasting it!”
  • I am glad there are all kinds of churches because there are all kinds of people.  If someone down the street wants to wear a suit, have services 6 times a week and sing nothing but hymns, that is fine.  I hope they reach people for Jesus.  I am not in competition with them, and it is certainly not my job to judge or critique them.  What they do is between them and God.  Again, I am not competing, they are trying to reach people for Jesus, so I am grateful for them.
  • Seriously, we should spend more time reading our Bible (whatever version it may be), praying, and building relationships with people so we can lead them to Jesus.  All that other stuff is junk, and does not do anyone, any good.

We will finish the top ten up tomorrow.  Man, writing all this stuff fires me up!

This is the second entry of “The Top Ten Things I Have Learned This Year.”  You can see part one heretop_10

3. Loyalty is a two way street.

  • There are those that think that above everything else, loyalty to them and their agenda is the most important thing… even if it means turning your back on what God has called you to do.  For some reason, some people think that they deserve your loyalty just because of their position.  But loyalty usually only goes one way with them.  They are the first one to throw you under the bus if it helps them avoid looking bad.
  • Those that preach and demand loyalty from the pulpit are usually the last ones that deserve it.  You do not have to preach or demand loyalty.  Loyalty is earned from people by your character and your actions.  If you do not have good character, you will not have loyalty.  If your actions stink or are always done with a personal agenda, you will not have loyalty.   Hammering it from the pulpit only makes people resent you, not follow you.  If you lead well, you will have the loyalty of the people you are leading.
  • You have to model loyalty to receive it.  If you are always the one expecting to receive, but never give loyalty, you do not deserve it.  The team you work with needs to know that there is loyalty to the team… loyalty to one another in the day to day stuff (this obviously does not apply to covering sin or secret agendas of self-centered people).

4. If you think you are leading, but no one is following… you are just out for a walk

  • No, this is not an original statement from me, but it is so true.  My desire is to live a life for God that will impact other people.  If God gives me the ability to lead, I need to lead where he wants me to go and to where He wants me to lead others to go.  I NEVER want to be in a position where I decide I will lead where I want to go, or where I want others to go.  That will not only hinder my ability to be who God has intended me to be, but it will hinder others from being able to be who God created them to be, which is the exact opposite of what we are suppose to be about.

That is it for this entry… part three tomorrow!

top_10Ok, I will have to admit that I have learned a lot more than ten things this year.  Just being in God’s Word should teach us a lot more than ten things!  Going through a transition this year has allowed me see and learn some things that I would not have learned otherwise, or at least not to the extent that I would have learned as much.  So, over the next few days, I am going to list some things that have been important for me to learn.

1. People are depending on me to be in the Word

  • Not because I can impart some great wisdom to them, but because me being able to be who God intended me to be is dependent on me being in the Word so I know what God wants.
  • If I am going to lead people, that leadership has to be based on something greater than me.  I will only go so far, but God’s Word has unlimited potential to change lives and help people take their next step towards Christ.
  • My daily time in the Word is the most important time I spend during the day.  It energizes me and empowers me to love God, love people and serve both.
  • It also helps me to be able to be a good example and leader for my family.  They need to know that God’s Word is the ultimate authority in my life.  If I am not in the Word, they will not be.
  • If I am teaching or preaching God’s Word, I cannot rely on past experiences or lessons.  I have to take the time to be in the Word so that God can work on me first.  Only then can I have a message that is worth sharing.  There is nothing worse than hearing someone get up and preach “pretending” they have studied (and everyone else knows they have heard it before… maybe two or three times before!).  That is laziness, and there is no passion in that!

2. You may know what you want, but God knows what you need

  • I am so glad that God works the way He does.  Even during the transition this year, there were times when I thought that things were going to happen, and they did not.  At the time, it was tough, but in the end, God took care of us.
  • God has always done what was needed in my life at the right time.  I may have wanted things to happen quicker, but God had His timing in mind.  And I am so thankful for that.
  • Being able to tell the difference between what we need and what we want is difficult at times.  That is another reason why it is important to be in God’s Word.  It helps us see the difference between perceived needs (wants) and actual needs.  At times, Jesus would meet perceived needs in order to show someone their real needs.  He did not always do that though.  In the end, God’s plan was accomplished.  God’s plan will always be accomplished!

What are some of the things you have learned this year?

(To be continued… tomorrow!)