Faith

Without faith it is impossible to please Him… —Hebrews 11:6
Faith doesn’t always make sense in the common physical realm. Faith not only transcends our present realty but also transforms our futures. If you want your faith to be reality ready it must be tested continually. Someone once said: “a faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted”. God tests our faith not for us to fail but for us to demonstrate His power. Peter didn’t fail at walking on water; he succeeded! But his faith wavered and he fell. Peter failed to walk all the way to Jesus by faith on the water. Jesus comments that Peter’s faith had diminished as he continued further into the storm. (Matthew 14:31). God allows storms in our lives so that our faith will be strong enough to make it all the way to the end. (1 John 5:4-5, Revelation 2:26, Revelation 3:21). Don’t let your faith fail!
God wants to perfect your faith in your present reality. This is done through the common trials of life that provide the furnace of faith. It’s in the daily common trials that our faith is made more precious for the future. (Romans 8:28). Although faith transforms our future it also transitions us from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18). We are becoming what God is making us through our faith in Christ alone. May your faith in Christ be strengthened today. Whatever comes your way is meant for that purpose: to strengthen you and glorify Him.

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Leadership Lessons: Luke 5:1-11

“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:1-11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

http://bible.com/114/luk.5.1-11.nkjv

The Test Of Leadership

Jesus gives Peter a small test. Peter’s boat is one of two. Jesus asked for Peter’s boat. Is he open to being used?  Passing this small test opened up a greater dialogue for Peter and ultimately shaped the rest of his life.

The Trial Of Leadership

In every position of leadership there are going to be trials. The role of a trial is to render a judgment. In this case Peter was on trial. What would he do, trust his own judgment or trust Jesus? Jesus was putting Peter through some trials to see his responsiveness even though Peter had a long unsuccessful night. Trials produce stress to see how we will respond. Leaders endure the stress and trust that Jesus is bringing about a result we cannot even imagine.

The Triumph Of Leadership

In the end, Peter makes a remarkably honest declaration: depart from me because I am sinful! Leadership isn’t about being perfect but about being willing to step out and even fail. Peter failed often and yet the Lord kept His promise by making Peter a fisher of men. The triumph was not because Peter passed each test well but because he endured to the end. When we are given roles of leadership the Lord isn’t asking us to do anything but to be obedient to His commands and requests. Even though we are sinful people, Jesus still uses us in great ways to bring people into His kingdom. 

5 things to start the new year

As school is getting back into the full swing, I wanted to share five things to help us all look at the school year afresh. Even though I have students in mind, these things can apply to anyone, anywhere.

1) Start with God. I know it seems like a given but there’s no doubt that as time, busyness and complacency set in, starting each day with God may become a challenge. It’s important to not only be disciplined in having time with God but also to be directed. What does that mean? It means having a plan. Decide when and what you are going to read and study. Make it part of your homework routine. Use the Youversion Bible app for reading plans and then use a journal to record your thoughts and prayers. You’ll be amazed at how different your days will be!

2) Start praying for your classmates and friends. Inevitably there are people in your classes and friends on your bus…people that you work with who need your prayers. You don’t have to blatantly ask for prayer requests…just listen for needs that you overhear and pray silently about what God wants you to do. He may want you to speak up to help meet the need or He may simply want you to seek Him in prayer over a period of time. Praying for the people around you is a great way to see and be part of what God is doing.

3) Start seeing yourself as an agent of change. Regardless of where you are or how much you like being there, God can and does want to use you to bring about godly and lasting change. He can use you to demonstrate His mercy, grace, kindness, and love if you are willing to be that vessel for Him to pour it through. God isn’t limited by our inabilities but our unavailability. Will you be available to Him to bring lasting and effective change?

4) Start looking for ways you can be involved. As a servant of Jesus, you have to take a position of service. In what way can you help another? How can you serve your school or job better? How about the community? How can you give back? One of the greatest ways God uses us is by being involved in acts of service to those around us. Look for a way to be involved today.

5) Start giving your best. No matter what, you can always give your best to the situation. Remember you are not responsible for what someone else does but you are responsible for you. You can always rise above the gossip, crude jokes, meaningless banter and give the best version of yourself to others and to the Lord. Don’t withhold the good that is in you for fear of standing out. Be all that you can and were created to be and that will bring God glory. Use your brain, your gifts, your talents and your time wisely and give all you have to achieve the greatest good you can. Don’t compare your best with someone else. You’re not in a competition. You only have to answer for you and you and God know what your best is. So start giving your best to everything you do and you will most certainly bring the change God desires and the glory God deserves.

3 Thoughts From My Time With God

39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Matthew 27:39-40 NKJV

1) Don’t misunderstand what Jesus says. The people thought he was talking about the physical temple building but He was talking about Himself. Think about all the things that happen as a result of misunderstandings. Do your best to get all the right information. Ask questions. Seek for the Truth. Look for the spiritual things beyond the physical things. How have you misunderstood what God is doing lately? Is there something you need to get clarification about?

2) If Jesus would have saved Himself, He wouldn’t have saved us. We have to get away from selfishness. Jesus was the most selfless person ever. He wasn’t trying or focused on saving Himself. How has self-preservation been your focus? In what ways have you been selfish?

3) If you are…sounds much like the temptations from the Devil in Matthew 4. The people thought if He would just come down from the cross that would have proven He was all that He said. Jesus wasn’t trying to prove anything to anyone. He had a mission and He accomplished it. Don’t get caught up in trying to be or do something to prove yourself. Do what God wants and created you to do. How have you been trying to prove your worth to God? Or others?

Comfortable?

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What is it you are praying for most? Do you want your life to be comfortable or significant? It’s not impossible for it to be both, but God is much more concerned in shaping us and making us into the image of His son, than making us “comfortable”. Being comforted is different than being comfortable. Being conformed to the image of Jesus is the only way to lead a significant life now that will matter later and this often only happens through discomfort and discontentedness. If God has placed you in an uncomfortable situation rest assured that He will bring you through and the things you learn and who you become will be far more valuable than any “comfort” this life would procure.‪#‎lifecoach‬ ‪#‎mentor‬ ‪#‎discipleship‬ ‪#‎disciple‬ ‪#‎vision2hear‬ ‪#‎v2hwave‬‪#‎v2hawaken‬

New Year Help

NewYearHelp

Happy New Year! I don’t know about you but I take New Year’s Eve and transitioning to a new year very seriously. It’s a natural time of the year to consider life as a whole and to evaluate goals and progress. I didn’t do my normal questions from past year, which have been posted in previous blogs. Instead, I looked at a few areas of life and worked through them to help focus some of my goals and plans for 2016. I basically broke things down into these categories: Preparation, Places, People, and Practices.

Preparation

This area has to do with personal growth. Things that I might want to do in order to become the best representation of Christ and the best version of myself that I can be. This included things like Bible reading, scripture memorization, prayer, exercise, reading other books, etc. We all must look at growing as a lifestyle choice. No one knows it all and everyone hates those who think they do. Schedule time to learn, grow, and prepare for the future. The payoff will be worth it in 364 days.

Places

As I was moving into the new year over the last week, I’ve been considering what life is really about for me and what I feel is essential in making a difference. I came back to Matthew 28:19-20 and was challenged once again about making disciples, not just at “home” but around the world. Whether it’s El Salvador, or India, the point is that I had to look at areas of influence. We all have them. God has given us specific areas where our influence is greater and more powerful. I have the opportunity to travel but just because someone may not doesn’t limit their reach. Take some time and consider how you can reach new and different places in 2016. This could be through social media or your job. Just notice the places you already go and make that a “place” that you want to make a difference in 2016.

People

Certainly this is one of the most important decisions/areas to look at in 2016. We all have people that we connect with; some on a greater, deeper level than others. As Jesus is our prime example here, He took time and prayed about the people He would spend 3 years of His life discipling. I feel like it’s crucial each year to prayerfully consider the people God has placed in our life and ask how to better serve and influence them in the coming year. There is literally nothing more important than investing in people and developing meaningful relationships. BUT make sure those relationships are healthy and growing and moving in the same direction. Even Jesus had a Judas who misunderstood the relationship completely.

Practices 

This final area is about taking time for certain things like sabbath, or vacation, family time or traditions. There have to be certain practices in our lives that we won’t compromise. We all need these times in our lives. These include core values and essentials to who we become as people. Determining what your practices will be in 2016 will vastly help in making 2016 successful. How much margin do you have? How much will you set aside for silence and solitude? How much will you give to technology or away from it?

P.S.

A couple other things to consider as you move into 2016. Choosing a theme or word. Take a few moments and consider what things seem to be happening in your life. Maybe there is a recurring theme or ideal? Maybe there is something the Lord has been reminding you of or about? Here are a few things that may help you. My word for this season…maybe year is “awaken”. With Star Wars The Force Awakens to just feeling like I need an “awakening” in my own life, this is where I am focused right now. Other people have chosen words or themes like these: freedom, peace, joy, liberty, fearlessness, etc. What is God speaking to you about?

Another thought is to make a journal of things that you give thanks for each day. Maybe also take a pic-a-day challenge to record your life in images. Recording your life and daily activities is great in helping stay the course. And even though making a difference is a huge deal, there’s no reason it can’t be fun. So snap away! Write it down. Talk about it. Blog it out. Share your life with those around you and those who are far away. Make 2016 great. Start today!

 

 

 

Draw Near

Draw Near
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. —James 4:8
There must be action on my part to know God. That action, though from God Himself, requires my obedience and action. I have a response-ability. God doesn’t tell me to do things that I simply can not. He may call me to do things I cannot do apart from Him. But with Him all things He calls me to do are possible. Anything that I choose not to do is not because I cannot but because I “will” not. Actions of faith must come from a place of my will and belief in God, not myself. When I look to myself, I “will” not but looking at Christ, He “wills” me to places I would not otherwise.
Living the abundant life happens through acts of my will, not trying to satisfy my flesh. The selfish side of me absorbs and consumes “life” but when I yield myself in death to self, I find the life that is restorative and abundant. God/Jesus are always inviting me into life. The question is will I join them? Drawing near is nothing more than simply obeying the call of Christ to come. When I do, He meets me right where I am.