Comfortable?

2016-04-20 07.11.59.png

 

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

Three Things Young Leaders Can Do To Increase Their Influence

2016-03-07 09.58.59

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.

Journaling: 4 Reasons Why You Should Start.

journal why you should start

Ever since 12th grade I’ve been journaling. Poems, notes, a few drawings with a multitude of thoughts and prayers have filled about 20 journals over the last 28 years. Why am I such a big proponent of journaling? Here is a short list of why I think everyone should practice this discipline.

It’s easy.

For even the least creative, artistic individual, journaling has never been easier. With apps that can voice record or phones that can video, saving your ingenious concepts to silly moments has never been simpler.  For many, the thought of journaling is synonymous with handwriting or long form records of the day, but it doesn’t have to be. What if you looked at journaling as saving your to-do list and simply giving commentary? Or taking pics posted to Instagram and cataloging them? Or even using an online journal/blog to keep a record by easily dragging and dropping pics or status updates you or friends have posted? Because there are so many ideas, thoughts and to-do’s throughout the day, journaling them is an easy way to ensure you follow through or follow-up! Most of the time we have our phones or tablets with us, so why not employ them to save a few thoughts along the way? It’s as easy as pushing a button!

It’s creative.

Nowadays there is no reason for any person to use the cop out: “I’m not that creative”. Journaling doesn’t have to be creative per se, meaning that you don’t have to be extremely elaborate in decorating your pages etc. Simply using a different font or color, (colored pens or markers for handwritten) adds creativity. Stretching yourself to use a journal does allow you to be creative. Your creative juices will flow more and more as you use journaling and you will see that what was once a drudgery is now a delight! Journaling allows the creativity within each of us to be uniquely expressed. It forces us to slow down, reflect and evaluate, which effectively inspires creativity.

It’s historic.

Keeping a journal allows you to chronicle your life story. From mountaintops to valleys, my journals include joys and sorrows, praises and prayers. I have poems of all sorts, Bible study notes, pictures, and important records saved in journals. When I get nostalgic I read through my journals and reflect. When I need some encouragement as to God working in my life or answering prayers, I can search through handwritten journals or search tags in my electronic journals. Keeping records of my life events is not something I have ever regretted doing because in many ways it is my autobiography. I have a record or not only the events but my feelings, and inner most thoughts. In some cases I have my own voice or pics which makes it very accurate on all levels as I can instantly recall what I meant or thought or felt.

It’s something you won’t regret.

There are moments in life we will never forget. Record them. And there are tons of things that we will never remember…unless you have a record! Journaling increases your memories vastly and gives you a flashback guide. Sometimes I spend a few minutes writing/ journaling, while other times may be more like an hour. But at this point, I don’t regret any amount of time I used creating these wonderful words penned/typed by my own hand as a testament of who I am and what I’ve done with my life. I don’t think you’ll regret your investment of a few moments each day either. Start your journal today!

If you are looking for resources on journaling or tips, let me know. I can send some samples. Otherwise, here are a few apps I would recommend if you are serious about getting into this discipline for life using your smart device or tablet.

Apps:

Evernote

Evernote

 

 

Day-One

Day 1

everyday-me-icon

Everyday.me

George ProfileGeorge Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as the creative arts and missions pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA

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.

Devotionals For Leaders: Where? What?

Devotionals For Leaders (2)

It was by faith Abraham obeyed God’s call to go to another place God promised to give him. He left his own country, not knowing where he was to go. Hebrews 11:8

Obedience Is The Key.

Where do I need to be and what do I need to do? I have struggled with those questions often throughout my time on earth. You may have too. They are very important questions. However, I’m finding this to be true over and over again; God is more concerned about my obedience than my location.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that God has specific places for specific people. This does not negate the fact that God carries those people there. He sends those people there. He somehow manages to get those people there as would be the case for Jonah and the great fish.

Who I Am? vs. Where I Am?

The issue with God is not can He use me where I am or where He’s taking me. The issue is who I become along the way and through the situations. God’s greatest ambition is conformity to that of His Son. There is none who was or is more obedient than Jesus. Obedience is a benchmark of Jesus, even obedience unto death on a cross (Philippians 2).

God seems to have a greater concern about developing me into a certain person than taking me to a certain place. How does He do this? No other way than through the revelation of Himself. So often, I want God to reveal His plan instead of Himself. I want to know the in’s and out’s, the details, the lowdown but God does not cave into my desires. He instead fulfills me with Himself. For me to become all that God wants, I have to stop looking ahead and start looking up.

Which Way Do I Go?

Abraham went out not knowing where He was going but He knew Who he was going with. He was going with God. I wonder how many times I have gone without God…knowing where I was going but oblivious that God was not with me? The knowing of the Christian walk is not to a place but with a Person, the person of Jesus Christ. As we walk with Him we become. We move forward at times but we move inward all the time. Obedience is an inward job and the only way to accomplish it is to obey.

Maybe God is not sending me anywhere except to Himself? Maybe that’s the ultimate destination?

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.