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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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.

Am I Missing The Mission?

AM I

Where there is no revelation [or prophetic vision], the people cast off restraint… —Proverbs 29:18

Carrots?

A vision is given to drive me beyond myself. Pushing and compelling, a vision holds a proverbial “carrot’ just out of my reach. The vision is meant to force me to know God and know myself and keep the priorities right: God first. It’s impossible to have a  real vision from God until I have a real vision of God Himself. Until I see Him clearly, every other “vision” is about self.

My efforts and exercise of faith cannot be found in my own strength but only in Christ. Placing my faith, hope, trust and love in Christ alone will keep the vision right in front of me and continue to compel me to the greater things God has for me and wants to do through me. When God gives a vision of Himself, I will see myself clearly as Isaiah (Isaiah 6) did and proclaim “Woe is me! I am undone”! It is then that I will hear God’s voice and know what it is He wants me to do. It may not even be a direct command per se but simply overhearing God’s heart and desires as I have seen Him.

Knowing Is Not Enough!

Even knowing the vision is not enough. I can know Who God is and what God wants (through His word), but until I understand that the vision God gives is not meant to just be a mission for me to accomplish but meant to also accomplish something within me, I will fail. Jonah is a great example of this as He was God’s selected prophet to go to Ninevah. Yet Jonah chose to try to escape the mission God was trying to work in his own heart by thinking that God would just send someone else or perhaps just save the people because He was a God who was “slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness” anyway.

I can clearly see from Jonah’s example that God is not content to give me a vision for someone else. The vision is meant for me; to work in me. The vision is to help me see that I have my own sin to grapple with whether it is in forms of racism, elitism, or just being a “complainer” all of which Jonah seems to suffer, or some other innate spiritual malady. Moral alignment is not all God is looking for. God is looking for people to love Him and obey Him out of love not a sense of duty.

Beyond Me.

God doesn’t put things within my reach…They are just beyond me. This is not taunting by God but compelling me to continue to seek His face, His wisdom, His goals and not my own. When the vision itself becomes the goal, I can become perfectionistic and fail to remember that God is the One I need to chase after. God is the One perfecting me and the vision. He is not concerned so much about the vision, as though it rested solely upon me. He wants me to KNOW Him. He is most concerned that I have the right vision of Him, knowing that He alone is the One I am reaching for. When God alone is my goal, I will practice discipline and restraint because of Who He says I CAN be and become all He MADE me to be. The right vision will give me the right mission and if that vision is anything other than God, I am missing the mission.

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.

Devotionals For Leaders: By Invitation Only

07 - 10 - 2015

“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19b

They went back to work with the family. It’s just what you did when you didn’t cut it. After years of studying and training, the rabbi sent them packing back to the family trade. The fishermen found in Matthew 4 were not cut out to be rabbi.

As they are going about their daily routines of mending nets, clearing them of rubbish, they simply do what they were “good enough” to do. They weren’t smart enough or “clean” enough to be considered rabbi material, so there they were doing the only thing they were “qualified” to do. Enter Jesus.

Jesus comes walking along and simply extends an invitation for them to follow Him. Without any hesitation, they leave their family and their family trades to do what they had dreamt of doing since they were little Jewish boys: be a rabbi!

Whether you know it or not, you were created to serve God. You were made by Him and for Him. And even though the rest of the world may not believe you cut it, He believes in you! You may be the last in the class. You may have failed too many times to count, but Jesus still calls you to come and learn from Him. To follow Him. To change the world.

On that glorious day, Jesus walked close enough for them to hear Him extend the invitation of a lifetime. They took Him up on it. I don’t know about you but I sure like to be invited. There’s nothing worse than the feeling that you’re not wanted or welcome. These guys were the outcasts of their time, the rejects, if you will. But here they are now with an invitation from the very Son of God!

How incredible is it when we realize that God has extended a personal invitation to each of us to join Him in His world and His work? Just as God has called you, believes in you and has entrusted things and people into your care, would you extend the same invitation on behalf of the Son of God? Would you be the voice in the storm of rejection and failure that says you’re still wanted and welcome? The fact of the matter may very well be that more people would be willing to join us and God if they simply felt invited. 

Spend some time praying about the people that God wants you to invite into a journey with you and Him. Pray about the people that God wants you to extend the invitation to do life together.

Final thought: Sometimes all it takes is an invitation to change a life.

Devotionals For Leaders: god of feelings. God Of Faith.

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We walk by faith, not by sight. —2 Corinthians 5:7

There is no other way for a Christian to live than by faith. Yet time after time, we try to live in another way. Whether it’s by sight, or by feelings, or by the counsel of others, we seek to circumvent faith. God will not have it! Faith is required for all those who are called by His name. Hebrews 11:6 makes this abundantly clear:

 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.

What have you been seeking after lately? Maybe you have been praying for a new sense of direction? Or seeking a new mountaintop experience? Or maybe you have just come to a place where the desire for the work is just not satisfying any longer? Regardless of where you are, God is still there even though you may not sense Him. God calls for us to use a different kind of sense…and uncommon sense called faith. God delights when His children continue to trust Him, knowing His heart, faithfulness and trustworthiness to do all He said he would do, even when they grow tired and weary. Faith is not always easy and this is what God is driving home to you. However, according to the Hebrews 11: 6 verse, faith is always rewarded.

Faith cannot be rooted in feelings for if it were so, your faith would be different each and every day! Faith must be rooted in something that is immutable, unchanging, which alone is God. God is reliable, unlike our feelings and we have to learn to trust even though we do not feel like it. We have to see God come through time and again regardless of how our feelings are. This “absence” of God is merely an absence of feeling God. For many of us, our feelings are our god.

We want to feel good about decisions and life and we wait for those feelings to come. Yet God wants us to know He is good and to trust Him that even though we may not feel good, He is good. This is the essence of faith: God is here, always, unchanging, reliable, and able to do all He said and all He has called you to do. The sooner you can have faith in that, the sooner your feelings will begin to change.  Feelings try to keep you where you are or take you to a place where you once were. Faith always calls you forward; it never allows you to remain where you are.

Leaders must learn to walk by faith. They must be visionaries, not only casting vision but casting themselves into the vision. Faith is throwing oneself overboard like Peter but only at His command. Faith is not stupidity but serious obedience. God is not going to expect you to have faith in Him for something immoral, harmful or ignoble but He will call you to faith to right all of those wrongs. God’s call to faith is for matters and issues of mercy, justice and love and leaders must learn to crawl before walking. Taking simple steps toward issues of conscious and heart demonstrate our faith in God and His power to work through us to bring the world back to Him. Much faith is required.

Sometimes God wants us to stay right where we are doing what we are doing. Yet our feelings want to take us to a place that is more thrilling or exciting. God doesn’t reward us based on the thrill of our adventure but on our “faith”-fulness. The hard decision may be to not move at all until God calls us. Once again like Peter in the boat we need to say: “Lord, if it’s You, command me to come to You…” (Matthew 14:28). Otherwise, don’t seek after new and better feelings…seek the Lord!

Final thought: feelings are not god but trusting in God will bring the right feelings. Faith is best demonstrated when I don’t feel like it but act in obedience to God’s call.

Devotionals For Leaders: Certainly Uncertainty

TRAVEL

Where did we ever get the idea that following Jesus was safe? Definitely not from reading the scripture! Person after person in the Bible not only had their faith tested but many of them lost their lives because of that very faith. No, following Jesus is not safe and that’s for certain.

Nor is following Jesus predictable. We can try to figure out God’s next move but to our own chagrin. We try to guesstimate based on our previous experiences and God does something new and completely different. God will not be boxed in, nor will He be predictable. Our God is really edgy and on the wild side to be honest. You can be certain about that.

When it comes down to it, if you want a safe predictable life, then Jesus is not the God you want to choose. With Jesus, the one thing you can be certain of is uncertainty. God will not disclose to you everything He knows but that which you need to know at the right time. He may not even disclose anything for that matter. His point? That you would know Him and trust Him, not what else you know.

People want a common sense kind of life, one that makes sense to them and others. But God doesn’t promise a life that makes sense…just ask Job! What God does promise us is a life that makes us trust, love, forgive, believe, hope, and give Him glory. Oswald Chambers said:

The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy.

As leaders it’s important to realize that you don’t know it all and to be ok with that. Leading doesn’t mean you have to know how it all plays out. It means that you are the first one to step out into the glorious uncertainty. God doesn’t call us to safety first or common sense living. He calls us to the life of uncertainty where we are completely certain of Him.

John the Baptist even had to grapple with this, being locked in jail for preaching against the king’s immorality. From prison, John sends his disciples to Jesus wondering if He was the One or if they should look for another. Jesus sent them back telling that He was the One that scriptures said would come. But what Jesus didn’t say was that He was the One who would deliver John from prison. Jesus didn’t do what others may have thought He would have/should have done. Jesus and John were cousins, sharing in the same line of work. Joh even baptized Jesus for goodness sake! Yet in that certain uncertainty, John knew from the beginning of his ministry that following Jesus would be dangerous. He knew that it could eventually cost him his life. And it did.

Jesus doesn’t promise you an easy path. He doesn’t promise to be a God you can box in or act in the ways you want Him too. He DOES promise to never leave you. He DOES promise to always take the bad or ugly or difficult or hard and transform it into something beautiful. He’s asking you to trust Him with the certain uncertainty because He’s not once ever failed and He’s certainly not gonna start now.

Final thought: following Jesus is certainly not always easy but it’s certainly an adventure you will not ever regret. If you want a safe, easy, predictable life, choose another god. If you want an abundant life, follow on.