Friday, February 27, 2009

Christ For The Nations- Session #4- How To Avoid The Worse Ministry Experience Of Your Life

Below are some of the links that I referenced in my talk. It is obviously not possible to avoid the worst ministry experience of your life, but learning to ask good questions going in is just as important as praying about taking that step. A few keys that have helped me to hang tough during difficult ministry seasons:
Positive- Always keep a positive Spirit. God works everything together for our good.
Promises- Remember the promises of God because He is faithful.
Passion- Always keep the flame of God's Spirit burning in your heart. Nothing great is ever accomplished without passion.
Preparation- Your current season is always preparation for the next, so be a lifelong learner.
Perspective- The Creator of the universe is for you and not against you. He can turn the tide in a moment so make sure that your thoughts are His thoughts. See life from God's perspective, not simply the temporary problems of the day.

Prep for ministry job interviews
Questions That You Need To Ask, click here
Job Offer Checklist, click here
Assessing Yourself, click here
Gifts & Interests, click here

Research websites that have helpful content. Many have free e-newsletters that are packed full of wisdom & insight for ministry issues.
www.edstetzer.com
www.pastors.com
www.churchleaderinsights.com
www.swerve.lifechurch.tv
www.mentoringleaders.com
www.evotional.com

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Christ For The Nations- Session #3- Becoming A Next Generation Leader Worth Following

CLARITY PREPARES YOU TO BECOME A LEADER

1 wrong thought caused an entire generation to miss the promised land. (Numbers 13:25, Joshua 2:8)
Clarity enables you to see what God sees. To lead people in the Kingdom of God, you must know God & be able to discern His thoughts. The Bible is a revelation of God's thoughts. (ROMANS 12, 2 Cor. 10:4-5, Isaiah 55, Jeremiah 29:11)

Key thought-To be a leader worth following, you’ve got to know who you are. All great leaders know their strengths and their weaknesses. We’re a bundle of both. Leadership is not ignoring one in favor of the other. It’s being honest about them. Good leaders don’t try to be something they are not. They are self-aware. Jesus defines himself 18 times by saying, “I am…” He didn’t let other people define him. He defined himself. If you’re going to be a leader, you must know who you are.

COURAGE ESTABLISHES LEADERSHIP

KEY THOUGHT- As a leader, you have no idea what hangs in the balance of your decision to act courageously. The leader isn’t necessarily the first to identify an opportunity. The leader is the one who has the courage to seize it, initiate, to set things in motion, to move ahead.

A. DAVID’S leadership was established in an environment of uncertainty and fear. (1 Samuel 17:10-11)
*whenever there is fear, there is opportunity. Whenever there is great fear, there is great opportunity.”

B. David’s leadership was established through his courage, not his talent or his calling.
-killing Goliath did not make him a leader, but it marked him as one.
-the incident in the valley of Elah didn’t equip David to lead, but it certainly equated.

C. David was courageous, but he was not careless.
-there is a difference between acting courageously & carelessly. That difference is preparation. (1 Samuel 17:40)

D. David’s courage empowered others to act courageously.
-When David killed Goliath, there was an immediate reversal of momentum on the battlefield. (1 Samuel 17:51-52)
-David, through one act of bravery, gave an entire army something they severely lacked: courage to engage the enemy.

CHARACTER IS THE FOUNDATION OF LEADERSHIP

You can lead without character, but your won’t be a leader worth following. Character provides next generation leaders with the moral authority necessary to bring together the people and resources needed to further the Kingdom.

Key thought- All Leadership is built on trust!

Christ For The Nations- Session #2- Church 3.0

Relevance- using what is cultural to say what is timeless.
For those with no biblical reference point, the beginning point is often that of relevance. They are asking, "Does this have anything to do with my life?" Or "Is it relevant?" Since we know it is true and we know it is relevant, we have to help them see that it is both. After you have done the most important part of working through the Scriptures to understand and convey them accurately, then help your hearers understand why they should pay attention. So, we would encourage you to start like this:

1. Why is this important and how does it relate to me?
2. What does the Bible say about it?
3. What am I going to do with what the Bible says about it?


Instead of:
1. The Bible says this.
2. It is important.
3. You should do it.


*Paul demonstrated this when he was invited to speak to a completely Jewish audience in Acts 13:16-20.
*When communicating to the less educated at Lystra (Acts 14), he used examples of nature, sea and crops. He spoke to an agrarian people with agrarian metaphors.
*When Paul was in front of a very different audience in Athens, his starting point was different which is found in Acts 17.

*The apostle Paul began where the people he was speaking to were. For the Jews, the starting point was their ancient history rooted in the Old Testament Scriptures. On the other hand, Paul connected with the Greeks at their point of relevance. Notice that he presented Christ in both cases. For us, we may start in a different place, but the context of the message needs to be Christ and the fullness of Scripture. The key is where the communication begins. Scripture sets the agenda and shape of the message, but every message needs the question, "Why is this important to me/us?" If there is no point of connection, the message is simply meaningless facts rather than life-changing truth.

Why is it so difficult to become relevant to our culture?

Answer- Instead of looking to the future, we become fixated on the past.
Jesus taught us to love the World, not our traditions. Traditionalism is the worship of our past experiences and methods. Instead of looking to the future, we become fixated on the past. We must remember that Jesus taught us to love the world, not our traditions. (illus. Nehushtan- Numbers 21:4-9, 2 Kings 18:1-4, John 3:14)

How do I become relevant in my life?

We need to follow the advice of the Apostle Paul that was given to the church in Corinth. "To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." 1 Corinthians 9:21-23

Church 3.0- Postmodernism is simply the abandonment of absolute truth. This requires us to reach our emerging culture in different ways. For a full synopsis of what I taught on the emerging church, click here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Christ For The Nations- Session #1- Carpe Culture

"From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take." 1 Chronicles 12:31-32

Statistics showing the decline of the influence of Christianity in our culture.
*4 out of 5 young people say that Christianity is anti-homosexual; half describe it as judgmental, too involved in politics, hypocritical, and confusing; 1/3 believe their faith is old fashioned & out of touch with reality; & 1/4 of young people believe it is boring and insensitive to others.” (pg. 33) For more stats, click here
*Christianity is no longer the default religion of Americans. click here
*Christianity is no longer keeping up with the population growth. click here
*State by state analysis regarding the influence/importance of Christianity. click here
Church attendance statistics for the United States, click here

1. Can the church impact culture? The answer is yes. We need to remember how Christianity has made an impact on the various cultures of the world throughout history.

2. Should the church impact culture? Matthew 5 teaches us to be salt (preservers) and light (illuminators of truth) to a rotting culture

3. How can the church impact culture? Acts 2 shows us that when God birthed the New Testament church, He did so by His power & by the Holy Spirit. The miracle of Pentecost was not simply a strong wind, fire & speaking in tongues. The miracle was that the various speaking groups heard the gospel in their own tongue. RELEVANCE.

What is relevance? Very simply, relevance is using what is cultural, to say what is timeless. (illus.- the cultural containers)

The truth of God is relevant to every culture and to every person, but it must be translated to the hearers in a comprehensible manner. (good article from Dr. Ed Stetzer that goes into more detail, click here)

What cultural container do you need to use to reach the people with the living water (message) of Jesus Christ? We need to become missional Christians if we will be able to 'seize the culture' around us with the truth of the gospel!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Two pretty good videos

VIDEO #1 This video is from a speaker that I enjoy and learn from explaining what happens when we are regenerated (changed by Christ).


VIDEO #2 This video is a great reminder of why you shouldn't do drugs. Pretty hilarious!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

MADE, Pt. 3- Non-Refundable Gifts (part 2)

RELATIONAL GIFTS-
Evangelism: The God-given ability to engage unbelievers with the truth of the gospel in a way that often moves them along in their spiritual journey.
Mercy: The spiritual ability to offer compassion, empathy, and care to those who are suffering or are in need.
Encouragement: The divine ability to use God’s truth to bring courage to those who are physically, spiritually, or emotionally struggling.
SERVING GIFTS-
Serving: The God-given desire to meet practical needs as they arise. People with the gift of serving have a strong passion to be helpful in meeting specific needs in the lives of individuals or in the overall ministry of the church.
Giving: The God-given ability to give away your time, talent & treasure in order to help others and to further the work of the Kingdom of God.
Helps: The God-given ability to see needs and the spiritual inclination to meet those needs in a way that serves others and furthers the work of the ministry.
Hospitality: The spiritual ability to care for others by offering personal and physical resources such as your home, food, personal presence, etc.
UP FRONT GIFTS-
Leadership: The divine ability to see the big picture, communicate vision, & to inspire and lead people to accomplish a goal or purpose for the Kingdom of God.
Prophecy: The God-given ability to proclaim truth, confront falsehood, and exhort others to live their lives in accordance with God’s Word.
Pastoring: The divine ability to give care, nurturing, direction, & instruction to help a group of people grow in their walk with Christ.
Teaching: The spiritual ability to accurately understand and communicate the truth of God’s Word to others in a way that motivates and challenges them to learn and grow.
SUPPORT GIFTS-
Administration: The divine ability to understand what makes an organization or group function and the God-given ability to develop and implement structures and processes which make the organization more efficient and effective.
Discernment: The spiritual ability to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong.
Intercession: The divine ability to pray specifically, consistently, & powerfully for the needs of others.
Knowledge: The God-given ability to bring the truth of God’s Word to the forefront of the life of an individual, group, or church.
Wisdom: The God-given ability to apply the truth of God’s Word in a way that sheds light on specific circumstances and events in people’s lives.
POWER GIFTS-
Faith: The spiritual ability to trust in God’s promises and direction with great steadfastness and confidence.
Tongues: The Divine ability to speak in a language not understood by the one whom is speaking. Can be an angelic (unknown) or human (known) language. If shared in a public setting, it must be interpreted according to Biblical guidelines.
Interpretation of Tongues: The Divine ability to make the tongue understandable to everyone who is there when it happens.
Miracles: The Divine ability to be able to perform works of power that point people to belief in Jesus Christ.
Healing: The Divine ability to be able to cure the diseases of those whom are sick.

Discover Yours By Beginning To Serve Others Today!

MADE, Pt. 3- Non-Refundable Gifts (part 1)

MADE, WEEK 3- Non-Refundable Gifts

Memory verse- “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

Five Categories of Spiritual Gifts
(Scriptural reference- 1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:7-12; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

1 Cor. 12:1, 4-7 (NIV): “Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant…There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

1. Relational Gifts
2. Serving Gifts
3. Up-front Gifts
4. Support Gifts
5. Power Gifts


What Does God Want Me To Do With My Gift?

1. DISCOVER it.
“Eagerly desire spiritual gifts...” (1 Cor. 14:1)
Free online spiritual gift assessment- www.teamministry.com
2. DEVELOP it.
“Do not neglect the spiritual gift that is in you...” (1 Tim. 4:14, GN)
“Fan into flame the gift God gave you...” (2 Tim. 1:6, JB)
3. USE it.
1 Peter 4:10 (NIV): “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.”
Eph. 4:12 (LB): “Why is it that He gives us these special abilities to do certain things best? It is that God's people will be equipped to do better work for him, building up the church, the Body of Christ to a position of strength and maturity?”

Start Speaking!

I shared the devotional below with our staff today. Just like we train our children to speak the right things as they grow, we need to train ourselves as we grow spiritually. This is a great reminder that we need to not only guard what we say, but we need to intentionally speak the right things (prophesy) over our lives. What I mean by that is that we need to speak God's Word over our lives and our circumstances. Are you facing difficulties this week? Start confessing and speaking God's Word! Are you in need of a healing? Start speaking and declaring God's Word. Most of the time we just don't feel like doing that, which is why we need to 'say so!'

Say So
Today's Scripture

"Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has delivered from the hand of the adversary" (Psalm 107:2, AMP).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

Notice this verse doesn't say "Let the redeemed of the Lord think so. Let the redeemed believe so." Of course it's important to think right, and it's important to believe right, but something supernatural happens when we declare something out loud. And, you don't even have to say it to anyone else, you can just say it to yourself–driving to work or in the shower, you can say, "The economy may be low, but I am blessed. I am prosperous. I will lend and not borrow." "I may have had some setbacks, but I know those setbacks are a setup for a comeback!This is still going to be my best year so far. The favor of God is turning things around."

You are prophesying your future. When you say what the Lord has done for you, when you declare that you are redeemed, you are opening the door for God to move on your behalf. The Scripture tells us that He watches over His Word to perform it. When you declare His Word, when you speak His promises, He is faithful to fulfill them and lead you into victory all the days of your life!


A Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, thank You for delivering me and setting me free. I will declare Your goodness. I will declare Your promises. I will declare Your favor so that I can live the good life You have prepared for me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Manly Man Conference- March 6-7, 2009



Registration begins this week for our first ever "Manly Man Conference," this March 6-7th. This is going to be an incredible weekend for the Men of our church as we connect with one another, with God's Word and our Creator! Registration begins this weekend and I hope that you can make it! Here are the details.
Location: Freedom Life
Time: Friday night dinner (low country boil) @ 5:30 p.m., Session #1 @ 7, Session #2 @ 8 (over at 9:30 p.m.)
Saturday morning breakfast @ 8:00 a.m., Session #3 @ 9, Session #4 @ 10 (over at 11:30 a.m.)
Cost: $25 (includes great speakers, great meals & manly resources)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Receiving Guidance From God, Part 2

Yesterday we looked at how to request guidance from God. Today's post is all about receiving that guidance from our Heavenly Father. I want to encourage you to be a man or woman of faith and go beyond requesting something from God, but to position yourself to receive.

This blog post has been adapted from Rick Warren's message, "Learning to Hear God's Voice"
"I will climb my watchtower and wait to see what the Lord will tell me to say and what answer He will give to my complaint. The Lord gave me this answer: `Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance.'" Habakkuk 2:1-2 (TEV)

How To Receive Guidance From God

1. WITHDRAW: Get alone in a quiet place
"I will climb my watchtower..." Habakkuk 2:1 (TEV)
"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Luke 5:16 (NIV)


2. WAIT: Calm your thoughts and emotions
". . . and wait to see what the Lord will tell me. . ." Hab. 2:1 (TEV)
"Be still, and know that I am God" Ps. 46:10 (NIV)
"LORD . . . Every morning, I tell you what I need, and I wait for your answer." Ps. 5:3 (NCV)


3. WATCH: Let God give you a mental picture
"I will look to see what He will say to me." Hab 2:1 (NIV)

4. WRITE: Record the ideas you receive
"The Lord gave me this answer, `Write down clearly. . . what I reveal to you.'" Hab. 2:2 (TEV)

5. WORSHIP: Thank God for speaking to you.
"O Lord, now I have heard your report, and I worship you in awe. . ." Hab 3:2 (TLB)

Receiving Guidance From God, Part 1

We live in difficult days where answers to tough questions seem hard to come by. Many of us are looking for guidance in very important areas of our lives. Since God created us and has watched over our lives, it would be wise to seek His guidance. So how do you do that? Today and tomorrow, I will be answering that very question!

This blog post has been adapted from Rick Warren's message, "Learning to Hear God's Voice"
"I will climb my watchtower and wait to see what the Lord will tell me to say and what answer He will give to my complaint. The Lord gave me this answer: `Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance.'" Habakkuk 2:1-2 (TEV)

HOW TO REQUEST GUIDANCE

1. Believe God Cares About The Details Of Your Life.
"So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat. . . or drink. . . or wear?' . . . your heavenly Father knows that you need them." Mat. 6:31-32 (NIV)

2. Ask God Specifically for Guidance In A Particular Area.
"If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him, and He will gladly tell you." James 1:5 (TLB)

3. Expect God To Answer Your Prayer!
"... God is always ready to give bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask Him; He will not
resent it. But when you ask Him, be sure that you really expect Him to tell you..." James 1:5b-6 (TLB)

Monday, February 9, 2009

MADE- UPSIDE DOWN LIVING

Yesterday I talked about the fact that when we live our lives according to God's Word (the Bible), it turns our world upside down and we live differently. If we want to have lives of meaning and become great, we must become humble servants that love!

Week 2- Memory Verse- “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” Mark 10:43 (NIV)

1. What's Yours is Mine, I'll Take It.
Luke 10:30 -33 (NIV): “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him... Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, 'The one who had mercy on him.' Jesus told him, 'Go and do likewise.'”
2. What's Mine is Mine, I'll Keep It.
Matthew 7:12 (NIV): “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
3. What's Mine is God's, I'll share It.
Mark 10:42-45 (NIV), “Jesus called them together and said, "...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
John 13:3-5 (NIV) “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

How Can I Live with a Servant's Heart? (see also Phiippians 2:5-8)
1. Be available
2. Exercise boundaries
3. Serve intentionally
Matthew 25:40 (NIV): “The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”