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.

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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

Leadership Questions For Life

MAY 13 - SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Leaders can be defined in many ways depending on what area of life or organization we talk about. But what makes a good leader and how can one work toward great leadership? What are the deeper roots for leaders? Here are a few questions to consider that will help regardless of what kind of leadership role you serve.

Do I feel called to lead?

What I mean is do you find yourself leading? Stepping out and taking charge? Or living with a “must” act or do “something” passion? This is what I would consider the “call” to lead. We are all leaders to some degree as parents or friends. There are people we influence and affect as we speak wisdom and knowledge into other’s lives. Sometimes we just end up in leadership while other times we step up into leadership. Either way, is there a deep unquenchable desire to make something happen? If so, you may have the call to lead.

Am I qualified to lead?

This could be from an educational, experiential aspect or perhaps through consistent mentoring and training within a company.  There are definitive qualities that organizations will set forth as they look for the leader to helm the ship. On a deeper level,  there are certain core values that leaders must possess and maintain as foundations for their leadership to be effective. What are your values and character like? Are you qualified? Can you become qualified?

What is the vision for the future?

Leaders are meant to burn and to blaze. Leaders should be trailblazers leading the organization into the wild unknown.  As Proverbs 29:18 says “where is no vision, the people perish”, thus underlining the importance for the leader to cast vision. Do you have a vision of what could be? Would your vision be capable without you stepping up?

What is my passion?

Passion is the fuel that not only ignites but burns within the leader, motivating the leader as well as the team. Feeding the fire and being the one who fans the flame are both required for those who want to succeed in leading an effective team. If you don’t know what you are passionate about, don’t take a position on the team. The leader must know and be able to articulate with emotion what the passion of his heart is.

How do I really feel about people?

Some people simply want to be a leader because of the power and the prestige. Before taking on the role of leadership, be aware of how you really feel about people. Do you sincerely care about their futures? Their dreams? Their hearts? Or are you more concerned about yourself? The leader’s ultimate assignment is to care for people. Do you equip and empower people? Or do you feel like people just get in your way? How do you really feel?

Do I spend time with people?

It’s really hard to lead people when you are not around people. Leadership is not about sitting in an office, setting protocol and making money. Leadership as most people define it would be relational influence. The more time you spend with people, the more meaningful the relationship. If you don’t spend time investing in people in some tangible way, it will be very difficult to amass a following of committed people. The people who will carry you into the future are the people who feel like you are sincerely committed to them.

Am I growing personally?

Oftentimes the business world is most concerned with the bottomline. Leaders who do not grow the business, coaches who do not win championships, usually find themselves out of a job pretty quickly. One of the things that makes leaders effective over the long haul is to be personally growing and developing. With culture changing nearly every year, leaders must adapt and adopt new practices, technologies and evaluate everything that’s “old”. Someone once said: “Leaders are readers” and reading is essential to growing. Leaders can also use podcasts, audibooks, or group roundtables to enhance their growth. In this time in history, there is no real reason for a leader not to be growing.

Who am I leading with?

The days of the Lone Ranger leader are gone. Transparency, accountability, and integrity and on the short list of qualities people look for in bonafide leaders. Having a “posse” who rides along with you through life, keeping you on the right path and “getting your back” when the heat comes is highly valuable as a leader. The question is, are there people who want to lead and do life together with you? Find those few people and do all you can to keep them close.

Do you know your weaknesses?

Ignoring weaknesses is something leaders may be tempted to do but rest assured Satan knows where and when to attack. Not only knowing but preventing and strengthening weaker areas is something effective leaders must focus time and energy diligently. Pretending there aren’t weaknesses in leadership or within the organization is a recipe for disaster. Do you know where you are weakest? Are you doing something about it?

These are just a few questions that I find helpful. How about you? Share your thoughts in the comment area.

George Profile

George Lockhart is the mission and creative arts pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA and a missionary with Vision 2 Hear ministries.

You Know Who Pt. 3

You Know Who

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  He said to them,“But who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:13-15

Mistaken Identity?

Have you ever been the source for a mistaken identity? You know, someone thinks you’re someone else? Maybe you have their features, or you sound like them? Whatever the case someone has mis-named you. Really it can be funny sometimes to see their reactions. I know when I’ve done that before, my response or even their sometimes to play it off is to say: “well you just have one of those faces”.

But that’s not the case here. Jesus wants to make sure these guys don’t mistake Him for someone He’s not. So He asks: Who do others say I am? And then, who do you say I am?

It’s really interesting sometimes to hear the differing responses to who others think Jesus is. Even in this passage, He’s identified by the common people as a prophet or good teacher.Jesus does not lack in titles or labels. But Jesus cuts to the real chase. The issue is not really what others think about Him; it’s what you think or know about Him.

Jesus asks the question point blank, maybe within five feet of each of His disciples. There’s only one response: You are the Christ! Son of the Living God!

Jesus goes on to say that’s exactly right. However, Peter, nor the rest of them could have come to this conclusion on their own. It had to be revealed, or unveiled,  if you like.

Ta-Da!

It’s not that Jesus or God don’t want to be found but more like they want to be uncovered.It’s kind of like a “ta-da” moment. It’s kind of like the rolling back of the panel on the Price is Right. You know it’s a car behind the screen. It’s just proven when it’s rolled back.

In all of our knowing Who Jesus is, there’s still some rolling back that God has to do in order for us to have a clearer picture of Who He really is. God has to unveil Jesus, reveal Him to us, show Him to us…but don’t worry, there’s not a Father in the world who doesn’t like to show off His kid! Ta-da!

Questions To Consider:

In what ways has God revealed Jesus to you? What pictures do you have of God that are accurate with scripture and which ones are flawed?

In what way could God use you to reveal or unveil His Son to someone else?

Ask God to help you not mistake His identity. Ask God for a “ta-da” moment to-day.

Devotionals For Leaders: No Clones Allowed

no clones allowed

As leaders it’s vitally important that we encourage people to be like Jesus and not try to make them “like us”.  God has created each person as He likes and gifted each one uniquely and differently. This means that each and every person is not only a one-of-a-kind but created with intention and purpose. And that purpose is not to be like you or me but like Christ. God is not into making clones: No clones allowed.

Be careful of putting demands on people that God doesn’t place on them. As leaders we push people toward Christ, not pull them toward us. We compel people with Christ, the real Christ, not our version of Him. People become like Christ when we lift Him up and not ourselves. People don’t want to hear or see us; they want and need to see Christ. As the Greeks said in this verse: “Sirs, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:21)

When Jesus was dealing with “sinners”, His command was simply “go and sin no more”. Jesus never gave them a list of things to do to feel or become more spiritual. He simply told them to go and live life to the glory of God. Jesus’ way of life was far beyond a spiritual discipline. Jesus is the only standard by which any of us should measure.  Just because someone doesn’t do life with God the same as I do, does’t mean they are not right with God. As a leader, the goal is not that everyone become like you but that everyone would be like Christ. And Jesus was more concerned about loving God and loving others; serving them and modeling a relationship with His Father than the rues of the Pharisees.

Our goal as a Christian leader needs to be seeing Christ formed in those around us. Yes Jesus had “spiritual disciplines” which He did consistently, but did Jesus ever give any other other “discipline” outside of loving God with our heart, soul, mind and strength or neighbor as ourselves? Sure the disciples prayed and went to temple and they knew Torah but these were not requirements to following Him. These were not even things that made His disciples, His disciples.  In fact, several of the “disciples” failed out of the religious school and were sent back home. Jesus didn’t call His disciples to follow Him into a routine of spiritual disciples. Rather He introduced them to routinely seeing God at work among them. His call/command was to follow Him and He would make them what they were meant to be, i.e. “Fishers of Men”. Jesus will do the same with our followers but we must trust God is making them and not we ourselves.

There is liberty that comes from obedience. Helping others know and understand the word of God is part of our role as a Christian leader. However, we are not to weigh people down with this kind of “yoke”. Jesus told people to take up His yoke as opposed to the yoke of the Pharisees because His yoke was “easy and light”. (Matthew 11:28-30) What did Jesus mean by this? I believe His intention was relationship. As they walked with Him, they would learn. They would grow in relationship not in or by rules. They would become like Him and not like the Pharisees. They would hence know God instead of trying to become god.

Helping people grow in love and wisdom is better than teaching a set of dogmatic rules. In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul admonishes them to do all things with love, otherwise it benefits them nothing (1 Corinthians 13). Presenting truth can be done without demanding people that people learn it or apply it the way you do. Our opinions as leaders may be important but we should never become so caught in them that we forget to demonstrate grace along with “truth”.  Christ has commissioned us to make disciples but this is not the same as making “clones”. God is not looking for clones or even “converts”. He is looking for “little” Christs.