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

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Three Things Young Leaders Can Do To Increase Their Influence

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Many people aspire to leadership. It’s often a good thing. However, many younger leaders get into a position of leadership and influence and then become overwhelmed by the tasks, responsibilities and falter, causing a domino effect that can not only hurt others but eventually cost them their influence altogether. Here are three suggestions for those younger leaders moving into prominent leadership positions.

  1. Find a mentor. Being that you as a young leader have not been down this road before, finding others who have is one of the first things I would highly recommend. This means that you will have to seek out those who may help you, humble yourself to ask for help and then be determined to learn all you can from them when given the chance. Mentors are not really that hard to find but it does take seeking them out. Young leaders need to ask for the time and make sure to come to mentoring times ready and willing to learn.
  2. Ask good questions. When you secure a mentor, make sure that you don’t waste any of their time not being prepared. Come with a definite goal in mind. Prepare ahead of time with good, meaningful questions. Do you homework, knowing what it is that you feel can best help you given your task or responsibility. It will not only make the most of your time but will lead to better engagement and discussion. Stay curious and inquisitive.
  3. Discipline in reading and study. There is a vast sea of information already available to anyone who is willing to take the time to read and listen. From books, ebooks, podcasts, and videos, the wealth of tutelage afforded to anyone who is willing to learn is immense. For any young leader, my advice would be to make sure you take ample time each week to read and study the scriptures of course but also make it a habit to read other source materials. Learn from all walks of life and you will most certainly increase your influence.

What other habits would you suggest for young leaders? Comment and share below.

Observations Of A Prodigal #5

Prodigal

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. Luke 15:20

 

Sin’s A Domino!

Sin affects in many ways. We sin against God and man at the same time. Even if we don’t directly sin against man, our sin still affects our relationships with man and certainly every sin affects our relationship with God. Sin is the domino that sets off a ton of other dominos. This young boy learned that principle. His sin was not limited to a single relationship but multiple ones. I’m sure any of us can look back with great heartache and see the ways our sin has affected the way others respond to or treat us. It can leave a huge hole to climb out of!

Possessing Or Possession?

The boy’s perspective changed drastically. It’s amazing how some time, distance, hardship and heartache can do that! Initially, he thought he was somebody because of what he had instead of who he was. However, it’s who has us, not what we have that counts. For a while the possessions possessed him and now that they were gone, so was his self-esteem. His self- worth was in the dumps. But then again, how many us are right there with him? We somehow have forgotten that our worth is not based upon our choices but upon our birthrights! Once a son, always a son. This young man was worthy because he was a son not because of what he had or had not done. We must remember this. Our worth as a child of God goes beyond any goof-up, mistake or sin. We must make every effort to remember that it’s not so much about self-esteem as it is esteeming God highly. When we do that properly, we will understand how much we mean to Him too.

Far-Sighted?

I’m near-sighted, which means I can only see things close to me. I use glasses for this problem. I believe that this father was far-sighted because he could see the son a long way off, recognize him and respond to him! He also didn’t care about the stuff that was near, like the stench, the mud, or the dirt. So here’s a father running rather undignified, to his son with no concern for himself, his attire, or his protocol. It’s his son! And nothing is going to get in the way. Nothing! He’s been watching, waiting, and praying for this day and now it’s here!I love the fact that the son seems to be walking but the father is running. I love the fact that the father throws his arms around him and kisses him. These are all initiated by the father. The son simply receives all the father wants to give him. How much more the incredible picture of God running to us, taking the first steps in embracing and kissing us.

Full, Not Half.

The father was filled with compassion. He could have been angry, upset, bitter or any number of other justifiable emotions. Yet, he is full, not partly or half but full of compassion. The word “compassion” means “with suffering”. Ever heard: “this is gonna hurt me more than you”? That’s the case here. Every time we turn from God and go our own way, God’s heart breaks.

It Is Over!

The father was filled to overflowing with compassion. In his mind, the whole ordeal was over the moment he saw the boy again. The same is true with us and God. It’s over when he says it’s over. Some times we can’t get over it and there are definitely others that can’t get beyond it but God always does. It’s over before you even know it!

EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER WANTED IS ON THE (2)

Think back on a time when there was a domino affect because of some sin you committed.

Is there something that has happened where others have not been able to let you live down or forgive you for? Have to been able to forgive them for not forgiving you?

Where do you find your self-esteem? How is your level of esteem? Where does your self-image find it’s roots?

How do you look at yourself? Does your image line up with what God says about you?

How does your self-worth issues affect your decision-making? Your response to others and to God?

What are you expecting from God? How do you think He’s going to treat you? Do you trust His heart?

What needs to be over in your life? Why not confess it and let it be so?

How’s your compassion for others?

Observations Of A Prodigal #2

Prodigal And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together…Luke 15:13

Making plans?

So how was it knowing that he would be the one leaving the household?  It would take his dad a little while to collect the money because things are usually sold after one dies, not before, to distribute the inheritance. I’m wondering what life was like for the son while he was at home waiting for all this to wrap up? He’s probably making all kinds of great plans, with grandiose dreams of how great life is gonna be once he gets out of the old man’s house. It’s gonna be great to be free, at least that what he thinks.

It’s gonna be great somewhere else!

How many times I’ve thought these same kind of thoughts? Wouldn’t it be great to be somewhere else, doing something, maybe anything else but this? What about the rules or legislation or politics that I have to endure? Is this really the life? It really is quite easy to give in to those dreams of “what if” or “what about” or “wouldn’t it be great”? I have found though, that the grass isn’t really that much greener “over there” wherever “there” is. It’s easy to fall into that trap when you don’t take some time and reflect upon what you do have. Satan is a master at diverting our attention. He’s always waving a carrot out in front of us. We must not take our eyes off the prize in Christ Jesus! When we fail to look around and be thankful, we become embittered because we feel like we’re being cheated. One way or another, we feel like we’re missing out on something. But be sure of this, Satan is NOT showing you the whole, big picture!

Normal routine?

I guess life sort of continued as “normal” for the young man. Not really a lot mentioned here, except that after a few days, the boy gathered all he had and left. What seemed like a graduation day for the son seemed like a funeral for the father. But then life went on, right? Sure the grass got cut, the cattle were fed,  and the “normal” routine continued. But life was anything but normal! Life was listless. I’m sure the father mustered up enough energy to get up in the mornings, only to spend most of his day praying, watching and waiting.

Praying. Watching. Waiting.

Is this not what God does for us? Not that He sleeps but He watches, waits and Jesus prays for us. He longs for us to be where He is. Don’t get me wrong, God is a seeker, the Ultimate Seeker, but there are times when He waits. He doesn’t move because He is waiting for us to move. We’re the ones that leave; we’re the ones that need to return. There have been countless times when God has sought me; we can all attest to that truth in our lives. Sometimes God just waits.

The problem?

What is the problem? The party is going, the lights are flashing, the music is blaring, but there’s only emptiness. There is no joy where there is no life. There can be a multitude of other things but you cannot have joy where there is death. But the party’s just begun! It’ll pass; this feeling of emptiness, it’ll pass. Fill it with any number of pleasures. The only thing is that the pleasures just numb.

Numb-er 1

Numb. That’s’ where all this leads. Numbness. Perhaps that’s where it all began? Numb to the ones that love you, numb to the God who gives you life, numb to the world around you? Why? Because you had to be number 1. You had to have it all, now! You had to push other people aside and not care about their feelings or even their life. It became all about you. It’s kind of funny that when we’re focused on the wrong number 1 it always leaves a 0 (hole). If God’s not number 1, we will be the 1 whose “numb-er”.

EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER WANTED IS ON THE (2)

What kind of plans have you made outside of asking God? What things have you dreamt in your heart that have grown and developed that are not blessed by the Father?

Do you feel free or bound right now? In what ways are you acting as a slave of the world instead of a Son of The King?

If you could be anywhere else, doing anything else, what and where would it be? Do you believe you are doing what God desires for you to do? Why do you want something different?

Has Satan been trying to distract you from your purpose in life? How and what does he use to do this? How can you better defend against such thoughts, schemes, and plans from him?

In what ways have you not been thankful for what you have? In what ways have you taken advantage of the from God?

How does it feel to know God’s watching, waiting and praying for you? Is there someone God wants you to do this for?

Do you feel empty inside? With what are trying to fill the void? How focused are you on you? Are you number 1 in your life?

What words come to your mind when you think of describing the younger son? How about the Father? What colors come to mind?

If you were filming this movie, where it would be taking place? Who would star in the lead roles?

Observations Of A Prodigal #1

ProdigalThe younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ Luke 15:12

Many of us would never think to just go to our dads and demand from them our share of the inheritance. I mean, inheritance is simply an after death issue. When I read the story of the prodigal, I see a couple of things that just blow me away!

First is the audacity of the youngest son. Come on, dude! How selfish can you be? How arrogant, insensitive, careless, can you be? It’s like he’s basically saying to his dad: “You’re as good as dead to me already.” Wow, can you believe that? He’s all about himself. It’s not that his home life is bad, it’s just that he thinks there more to life than what he has. He somewhat feels like he’s missing out on something. And he doesn’t have time to wait for the old man to kick the bucket to get his share of the stash.

If this was my kid, I’d have to fight a response out of anger and certainly I’d be heartbroken. I doubt seriously that I would make arrangements for him to take anything. What had this father done to deserve this kind of treatment? What was that was so bad about the father’s house? Nothing. The issue is not the father’s house, supply, care or anything like that. The issue was son’s heart. The son simply did not love the father the way he should. He had no respect, no care, no love. If it’s one thing I’m learning it’s that you can never make someone love you. It will never work. Love is a choice. We choose and are chosen in love.

This brings me to the second thing that just blows me away. It’s the father’s response. The father goes out and begins to sell off his stuff to meet the sons’ request. And not only the youngest son’s share but the oldest too! The father gives both boys their inheritance now. It’s like the father died. He sacrificed not because he was obliged to but because he loved his kids. The father could have had the boy taken out and stoned for being a rebellious child. That was the law of their culture. But Jesus pulls a fast one here. He shows a Father who doesn’t demand we love Him but is willing to give us the option to love Him back. The father puts no stipulations on the money, no terms for the boy, just gives it to him and allows him to choose his own way. This is a love that simply astounds! One that would never let me go but allow me to leave if I so chose.

I find that it’s quite easy to live the prodigal life. It’s easy for me to demand of others, to try and make them love me. It’s easy to demand of God and for me to not love Him back. It’s easy to forget what the Father has provided for me. It’s easy to think life would somehow be better somewhere else. However, it’s just not true. The prodigal life is not one demanding so much of an inheritance for me as much as it is not desiring to remain with the father. There are far too many times when I just feel like rushing out into the world and doing my own thing. Far too many times I feel that I’m somehow missing out on something. But time after time, I hear God simply say; “it’s your choice. I love you but I can’t and won’t make you stay. I just want you to choose to love me back. I’m your Father and this is where I will be.” And thankfully, His kindness is enough to lead me to repentance!
EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER WANTED IS ON THE (2)
If you were making this a movie, what city would this be filmed in and why?

What is it about the grass on the other side that makes it look so much greener for you?

What lies have you bought that make you believe life would be better elsewhere, doing otherwise?

What Truth do you know to fight and dissolve those lies?

How would you respond if your child demanded their inheritance now? Would you give it to them…or really give it to them?

What characteristics or character qualities do you see displayed in just the first couple verses alone?

How would you say you’ve been like the younger son?

What does the father’s response reveal to us about how God treats us and how He wants us to treat others, especially in a family situation?

What character flaw do you think the younger son had that led him to the prodigal life?

What character flaw do you have that could lead you down the same path?

The father’s response was nothing short of gracious and certainly full of grace. How can you better respond to those around you who are demanding and selfish? To those in your family? To those in your church family?

Quiet Time: Thoughts And Reflections On 3 John 7

Quiet Time

. . . they went forth for His name’s sake . . . —3 John 7

As I prepare to leave the country today for travel to Nicaragua and El Salvador, this is a great reminder of why I am going: to advance the kingdom of God in Jesus’ name. Missionaries serving the King seek to build the King’s kingdom, not their own. I am to be about the Lord’s business and not my own endeavors. The goal is to build God’s people and encourage them in the faith.

Even though Peter had denied Christ three times, Jesus reinstated Peter and asked him of his love for Christ. And of course, Peter said yes, he did love Christ. With each confession, the Lord gave Peter some instruction, that being “feed my lambs”, “tend to my sheep” and “feed my sheep” (John 21:, 15-17). Jesus entrusted caring for people to Peter. He told him that the expression of his love for Christ was to be demonstrated in his love and care for God’s people. Peter’s assignment wasn’t to build/rebuild his reputation but to make the name of Christ greater in his own life evidenced through showering the same love and forgiveness he had received onto others.

The Lord has a plans to be sure. This plan includes using me as conduit of His love. I must stay connected to the Lord and stay in tune with His leading. I have to be “detached” from things of this world and “attached” to the things of Heaven (Colossians 3:1-3). In this way, Heaven flows to earth and it happens through me via the Holy Spirit. My devotion to the Lord must be unquestionable and unstoppable. I have to be unwavering and unflappable in the midst of circumstances that seem unexplainable. God is in control and He is sending me forth in His name and it is my privilege to call on His name in prayer for guidance all along the way.

George Lockhart

 

Quiet Time: Thoughts And Reflections On Prayer And John 14:12

Quiet Time

. . . I say to you, he who believes in Me, . . . greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father —John 14:12

Why is prayer so difficult for me as a follower of Jesus? Because I have become accustomed to life in an instant society. Prayer as a discipline does not yield instant results. Much like general exercise or even intense workouts, the body is pained, energy expended and the results require weeks before the transformation may be noticed. But be assured with the practice of such discipline, there are results!
Prayer is difficult for many of us because it requires much initially, leaving a sense of void or even emptiness. In many regards prayer is “work”. Yet it is the work that yields great results in time and moreover in eternity. It is through prayer that I connect with God, tapping into His power and presence so that I may understand His heartbeat and desires. True prayer is actually communion with Christ and in those transactions of petition and requests, I become transformed because I gain understanding of His will. In prayer I am taught as a child, hearing His Father’s voice of instruction and direction.

Make no mistake though as prayer is also a battlefield in which territory is gained or lost. The man who doesn’t pray, seeking God’s face has already lost. Prayer is a daily defense against the sinful desires and devilish attacks we face. Wherever I am, I can employ this silent weapon of force and overcome the onslaught. But I must pray!

Paul tells us to pray regardless of our situation (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In all things, I can pray and encounter Christ through the Holy Spirit and walk in communion with God. This means that I have to look at where I am as a holy place and time to encounter God. Wherever I am is a place where God can use me to be a laborer in His field if I am a pray-er. God is not surprised by my location, circumstances or issues. In His sovereignty, He is waiting on me to seek Him prayerfully and to become open as an agent of transformation.

God has great ideas and dreams for me which can only be discovered through prayer. Seeking Him continually and laboring in prayer will allow those dreams to come to fruition. Taking sincere time to pray in not just an investment in my future but an investment in eternity for all those that God wants to affect through my life. There is no greater power than God’s Spirit moving through the humble prayers of God’s people.If I want God’s work to be accomplished in me and through me, I have to spend more time in prayer…it’s that simple.

George Lockhart