Love And Grow Like Christ In An Increasingly Dark World

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Love from roses

With this post, I am excited to share some reflections from my recent devotions and book readings over the past month. I’ve been reading the book titled, Quiet, written by Susan Cain which is about introversion. And I’ve also recently finished reading the book titled, Tortured For Christ, written by Reverend Richard Wurmbrand which is about the persecution of the Underground Church in countries closed to the gospel. Additionally, my Pastor’s current message series titled, Culture Shift, is very timely to my recent introspections. The message content in all three has seriously challenged my thoughts and hopefully my growth as a mature Christ-follower in this tumultuous day and age. With that said, my heart in this post is to share some spiritual leadership takeaways that can help you and I to love and grow like Christ in an increasingly dark world.

To begin, I’d like to go through a brief overview of the cultural climate of America from the 19th Century to the cultural climate that we now find ourselves in the 21st Century. I believe it has significant relevance for how we can love and grow as mature believers in Christ during these times and how we can have the greatest influence for God’s kingdom on earth.

The Cultural Climate Of 19th Century America – A Culture Of Character

In the 19th Century, the strength of American society rested primarily on a culture of social character. A person’s strength of character is what primarily influenced other people in society. 19th Century America was characterized by the Agricultural age, people working on farms, representatives being statesmen, popular sermons being truth-based like “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards, and popular books affirming the culture of character like Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.

In Susan Cain’s, Quiet, she communicates that a culture of internal character in the 19th Century could be described with words like citizenship, duty, work, golden deeds, honor, reputation, morals, manners, and integrity. As I further study the 19th Century period, I think the primary domestic spiritual emphasis in America was a pious devotion and the major foreign spiritual antagonism to America was state religion.

The Cultural Climate Of 20th Century America – A Culture Of Personality

Contrastingly, in the 20th Century era, the strengths of internal character in the 19th century society shifted to strengths of external personality. Inner virtue of character was no longer the strength that primarily influenced people in the 20th Century, but rather the effective outer charm of personality. In the 20th Century, America was characterized by the Industrial age, people working in factories, representatives being politicians, popular sermons being prosperity-based like “Your Best Life Now” by Joel Osteen, and popular books affirming the culture of personality like How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

In her book, Susan Cain communicates that a culture of external personality could be described with words like charisma, magnetism, fascination, stunning, attractiveness, glowing, dominance, and energy. As I further study the 20th Century period, I think the primary domestic spiritual emphasis in America was the gifts of the Holy Spirit as awakened by the Azusa Street Revival and the major foreign spiritual antagonism to America was social fascism and atheistic communism.

The Cultural Climate Of 21st Century America – A Culture Of Self-Love

Unfortunately, in the 21st Century, I believe another shift in our American society is taking place and it is a shift from a culture of external personality to a culture of self-love. In the 21st Century, America will be characterized by the Information age, people working on computers, representatives becoming autocrats, popular sermons “itching the ears” of hearers, and popular books affirming a culture of self-love.

This 21st Century culture of self-love can be described with words like selfie, proud, boastful, radical, fanatical, hoarder, heretical, terror, hater, and survivalist. As I further ponder the implications of the 21st Century society, I believe the primary domestic spiritual emphasis in America will be the fruits of the Holy Spirit developed through heightened persecution.  For the Christ-follower, our response to any form of personal persecution provides a litmus test for distinguishing between selfless love for others and selfish love for oneself. In a dark and depraved society, having the genuine fruits of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) will be the only way to effectively live as a Christ-follower in the 21st Century when the major foreign and domestic spiritual antagonism to America will be religious fascism and increasing social depravity.

If we dare to objectively survey the current cultural landscape in 21st Century America, we can clearly see the culture of external personality giving way to a culture of self-love which has significant implications for you and I living as Christians in this day and age. Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat, InstaGram, iPods, iPads, and iPhones have given everyone the opportunity to share their iThoughts, iBeliefs, and iOpinions with the whole world. In this type of iFocused culture, the spiritual stakes are high because everyone has an easy and free platform to propagate their individual agendas with their only governor being the mental, emotional, and spiritual state of the individual person. On top of that, the rapid advancement of religious fascism overseas and within America along with the advancement of depraved social lifestyles pose major foreign and domestic spiritual antagonisms that seriously impact the fabric of our society – making it an extremely dark and wicked culture such as it was in the days of Noah. Isn’t it interesting that Hollywood produced a major feature film this year titled Noah?

Spiritual Implications For Christ-followers Living In 21st Century America

In this wicked and depraved culture, the people who will have the greatest influence during these perilous times will be genuine followers of Christ who are baptized and anointed by the Holy Spirit. Personality alone won’t cut it in the dark places of 21st Century society where we are now finding ourselves in America, and neither will character for that matter. Personality power and character power can be self-generated; however, anything of self-generated power will not last in the days ahead. The only power that will have any enduring strength in a very dark and wicked culture will be true spiritual power grounded in a genuine faith in Christ. True spiritual power is far different and superior to personality power and character power because it can never be self-generated. It can only be generated through a genuine faith in Christ that is fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit regardless of the personal cost.

Unfortunately though, for many sons and daughters of the Most High King, particularly in our highly blessed nation of America, we mistakenly think that having a genuine faith in Christ and true spiritual power from the Holy Spirit means that we get a chalice of glory, but not a cup of shame, we get a robe of many colors, but not a mantle of mockery, we get the role of leader, but not the role of foot washer, we get the crown of life, but not the cross of death.

The Paradox Of True Spiritual Power In Christ

To think this way is truly unfortunate because the life of a genuine Christ-follower empowered by the Holy Spirit with true spiritual power on earth is characterized by the same spiritual paradox of Christ’s own life while He lived on earth. When Jesus walked the earth, He was indeed our Sovereign King, but He was also our Suffering Savior. As Christ- followers, our lives on earth gain true spiritual power as we are shaped and molded into Christ-likeness by sharing in His reign as a child of our Most High King, but by also sharing in His obedience as a follower of our Suffering Savior. In Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus tells His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny Himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Christians in other countries where the gospel is illegal have a keen understanding for what it means to take up their cross and follow Jesus, even unto death if it be in His will. As a result, they gain true spiritual power by serving Jesus as their Sovereign King and their Suffering Savior through the daily persecution they experience.

Two Spiritual Principles That Shape The Life Of Every Genuine Christ-follower

In his book, Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders teaches that there are two spiritual principles in the kingdom of God that shape the life of every genuine Christ-follower: the Sovereign principle and the Suffering principle. To be a genuine Christ follower, there is no way around these two spiritual principles. James and John, the apostles of Jesus, learned this directly from Jesus.

In Mark 10:35-45, the bible tells us, “Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, ‘Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.’  36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  37 They said to Him, ‘Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.’

38 But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’

The New Living Translation reads like this: “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?”

The Suffering Principle In The Kingdom Of God

39 “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” Then Jesus told them, ‘You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering.”

The Sovereign Principle In The Kingdom Of God

“But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones He has chosen.”

James and John wanted the glory of Christ – sitting at His right and left – but not the suffering of Christ. They wanted the power of Christ – do for us whatever we ask – but not the shame of Christ – nail scarred hands. At that moment, they wanted their will to be done in their life, but not His will to be done in their life. How often do you and I approach God in the same manner as James and John did in that moment? Like James and John, we want Jesus to make us happy, make us important, and give us whatever we ask for; however, Jesus will have nothing of this form of Christianity because He is more concerned with developing our personal Christ-likeness rather than our personal comforts.

The Sovereign Principle And The Suffering Principle Are A Holy Combination

The holy combination of the Sovereign principle and the Suffering principle forms the foundation for how Jesus develops His followers into His likeness so that we can have true spiritual power that loves others selflessly and rocks our dark world for Him. These two principles are further highlighted in the scripture verses of John 15:16 and 1 Peter 4:12-18.

In John 15:16, Jesus says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”

We don’t get to choose our assignments. We don’t get to pick our roles. We don’t get to say who sits on the right and the left in the kingdom of God. These matters of choice are left solely to the sovereign will of Almighty God the Father. He alone chooses, He alone qualifies, and He alone empowers each person with true spiritual power that bears lasting fruit.

And 1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.

No Genuine Christ-follower Is Exempt From Growth Through Suffering

By highlighting these verses and also speaking of the sufferings experienced by persecuted Christians, I am not implying that we will all experience the same kind of physical sufferings as our brothers and sisters in the Underground Church. However, I am implying that none of us are exempt from being developed into Christ-likeness through suffering. While it’s not likely in America that we will suffer physical crucifixion like Christ did and many modern day martyrs of our faith in the Underground Church around the world, it is certain that we will all learn obedience by the things we suffer just as Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane – the crucifixion of our will to His will through yieldedness and submission to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.

Romans 8:17-18 states, “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share His suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.”

The good news is this: there is nothing we can give, no cost to great, and no suffering too painful that can compare to the glory that will be revealed in us and through us as children of our Most High Reigning King and obedient followers of our All-Loving Suffering Savior.

Crushed Christians Reward Others With The Love Of Christ   

In the book, Tortured For Christ, Reverend Richard Wurmbrand writes that “when you crush a flower, it rewards you with the pleasant smell of its aroma.” And he further shares that likewise, when we are crushed as Christians, our lives should reward others with the love of Christ. As we desire to be used greatly by God, my prayer is that we can embrace the great crushing of our wills to His will so that we can be His noble vessels to share His great love and compassion to a lost and hurting world around us.

To God’s glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Love And Grow Like Christ In An Increasingly Dark World Copyright 2014, The Make It Happen Learning Institute. You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Love And Grow Like Christ In An Increasingly Dark World, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission. All other rights reserved.

3 Reasons Why Jesus Would Attend The Global Leadership Summit

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The SummitAs a promotional strategist of the Global Leadership Summit for Church of the King in the Gulf Coast Region, I have asked myself this simple question:

If Jesus was living on earth today, would He attend the Global Leadership Summit?

Well, after much thought, I have come to the conclusion that if Jesus was living on earth today, He would indeed attend the Global Leadership Summit for the following three reasons, (although I am quite certain there are many more reasons than just these three):

Reason 1: Jesus was a tomorrow-thinker

When Jesus walked the earth, He was always thinking about the future – the future for the Church, the future for His disciples, the future for you and me. He never focused on the past as He came to make all things new in us and through us. One day while thinking about the future for His disciples, He told them in John 14:2-3, “There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come again and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”

Because Jesus was more concerned about the future than the past, He took advantage of every opportunity in the present to build a brighter future for you and me. As a result, if Jesus was living on earth today, He would attend the Global Leadership Summit because the Summit challenges leaders to think about tomorrow and build a brighter future for others.

Reason 2: Jesus educated the people He mentored

When Jesus walked the earth, He knew that His mission could not be fulfilled without teaching His followers the principles of His kingdom. To do so, He spent hours teaching His followers the principles of the kingdom of God. Give and it shall be given to you, serve others to be great, and die to self to find life, are a just few of the many kingdom principles that Jesus taught His followers while He was with them on earth. In Luke 11:1, the Bible records the account of when Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. “Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As He finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Whether it was teaching his disciples how to pray, how to heal, how to give, how to love, how to have faith, or how to make disciples, Jesus was always educating the people He mentored.

Because Jesus knew that people would learn what they teach, He taught His disciples to teach others and make disciples as well. Proverbs 9:9 commands teachers to, “Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous and they will learn even more.” As a result, if Jesus was living on earth today, He would attend the Global Leadership Summit because the Summit helps to instruct the wise so they can become wiser and it helps to teach the righteous so they can learn even more.

Reason 3: Jesus never tried to succeed alone

When Jesus walked the earth, He did not walk alone nor try to achieve success by Himself. Jesus knew that His mission was bigger than Himself so He called others to walk with Him and help Him achieve success. “One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers – Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew – throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, ‘Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people.’” Matthew 4:18-19 NLT

Because Jesus valued people, He gave people an opportunity to join Him in accomplishing His mission. The truth is that Jesus needed others with like-minded hearts and passion to help Him change the world and do what the Father asked Him to do. As a result, if Jesus was living on earth today, He would attend the Global Leadership Summit because the Summit gathers leaders from all over the world with like-minded hearts and passion to change the world and do what the Father has asked us to do.

Don’t miss God and don’t miss an appointment with Jesus at the Summit!

Now that I have shared the three reasons why Jesus would attend the Global Leadership Summit, I want to highly encourage you to make plans to attend the Summit this year. I can promise you that you will not be disappointed! In fact, I will go as far to say that even though Jesus will not be there in bodily person, I can assure you that He will be there in Spirit person. Bill Hybels, Founder of the Global Leadership Summit, and the Willow Creek Association Team have been in prayer seeking God for each Summit speaker whom God has lined-up to speak this year. As a result of their earnest prayers and the earnest prayers of many others, I am confident each Summit speaker will be anointed by the Lord and His presence will be felt and experienced at each of the Summit sessions. I know this to be true because it has been true for each of the four prior Summits that I have personally attended. For a brief video introduction of the Speakers for the 2014 Global Leadership Summit, please click Speaker Introductions.

In closing, let me strongly encourage you…don’t miss God and don’t miss an appointment with Jesus at the Global Leadership Summit this year! For more information on how you can participate in the Summit on August 14th and 15th at any Church of the King campus in the Gulf Coast Region, please Click 2014 Summit.

Thank you and have a blessed Make It Happen day!

 

 

Let Belief Reign

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6 Gap Mountain Top View

Have you ever had a time when you’ve believed God for something big and then you actually saw His faithfulness manifest right in front of you by His bringing to pass what you believed Him to do? When that happens, the goodness of God and His faithfulness simply overwhelms me. God is so good!

The Annual 6 Gap Century Ride

Recently, a group of friends and I traveled to Dahlonega, Georgia to do the annual 6 Gap century ride. It is called 6 Gap because it involves riding a bike over 6 beautiful Georgia mountain passes for a total of 11,200 ft. of climbing elevation. Now let me tell you the good thing about riding a bike up 11,200 ft. of mountain elevation…what goes up, must come down…and coming down is always better than going up.

We arrived in Dahlonega on the day before the ride to check-in and get our gear ready for the ride. After we checked in, we visited the race expo and we all decided to purchase the official 6 Gap riding jersey which we thought was a great idea. But after I bought the jersey and even more so, while I was actually climbing those huge mountain passes on my bike the next day, this dreadful thought raced through my mind more than a few times. “What if I can’t finish this ride? I will never be able to wear the 6 Gap Jersey…”

Well, the good news is that I did finish the ride and I can now wear the jersey in good conscience as an official finisher of the 6 Gap century ride. However, during the ride when I was faced with each successive imposing mountain pass, I wondered if I had been a little too presumptuous in buying the jersey BEFORE I actually finished the ride. Or was it indeed, an act of faith based upon my training and my belief that God was actually with me through the peaks and the valleys of that ride.

In foresight and even now in hindsight…I know I wasn’t acting from a state of presumption because over the several months leading up to the ride, God had been speaking to my heart about “standing in the gap”. And because of it, I had a strong sense that God was with me for the 6 Gap ride and that He wanted me to experience a great ride with Him.

Standing In The Gap Takes Belief In A BIG God

Since about last summer when I hosted See You At The Office, the annual marketplace prayer campaign, God has been emphasizing to me the importance of “standing in the gap” for our nation; therefore, when my friend told me that he was going to do the 6 Gap ride, I was inspired by him and also by God to do the ride as well.  And you know what? I think there is something healthy about attempting a big thing that has the very real possibility of failure. It stretches you. It increases your thinking. It requires you to plan and prepare. And for me, it even builds my relationship with God and my faith in Him – my very BIG, All-Powerful, All-Sufficient, Heavenly Father.

Anytime you step out in faith to do something BIG, there will always be unbelief lurking at every corner in your mind saying that it can’t be done. However, we don’t have to believe words of unbelief, especially when we know God is with us and He is for us. Instead, we should think BIG and believe BIG because God is BIG! It is so unfortunate that many people live lives that are much, much smaller than what God actually has for them because of small thinking and unbelief.

Do You Know That Belief And Unbelief Cannot Reign Equal In Your Heart? The Truth Is That One Will Submit To The Other.

Just imagine that you are Moses leading Israel out of Egyptian slavery and you encounter the Red Sea with the Egyptians fast approaching on horses and chariots. You have nowhere to go and you are the leader. What do you do when God says to part the Red Sea with your staff?

Belief And Unbelief Cannot Reign Equal In Your Heart…One Will Submit To The Other

Just imagine that you are Peter sitting with the other disciples in a boat. It’s dark. It’s in middle of the lake. The wind is blowing. The waves are raging. And you think you see the Lord walking on the water.  You yell out, “Lord, is that you?” What do you do when the Lord responds, “Yes Peter, it’s me…get out the boat and come to me.”

Belief And Unbelief Cannot Reign Equal In Your Heart…One Will Submit To The Other

Just imagine that you are Martha and your brother, Lazarus, has died. It’s been four days and Jesus shows up. You tell Him, “Lord, my brother is dead…if only You were here.” What do you do when the Lord responds, “He will rise…roll the stone away.”

Belief And Unbelief Cannot Reign Equal In Your Heart…One Will Submit To The Other

Have you ever been in an impossible situation where belief and unbelief battle for supremacy in your heart? You see, it’s one thing when you are just imagining that you were Moses, Peter, or Martha in their impossible situations. But it’s another whole thing when it’s your real life impossible situation and there is the seeming possibility in the natural that the Lord may fail to move the imposing mountain. When there is the mountain of a personal health issue, or the mountain of a rocky marriage, or the mountain of a prodigal child, or the mountain of a struggling financial situation, make no mistake about it, unbelief will wage war against belief for supremacy in your heart. What do you do then, because belief and unbelief cannot reign equal in your heart…one will submit to the other.

Small Belief In A Big God Can Move Mountains

There is good news for you and I when we find ourselves in these kind of impossible situations because Jesus says that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. The Bible states in Matthew 17:14-20, “At the foot of the mountain, a large crowd was waiting for them. A man came and knelt before Jesus and said, ‘Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.’

Jesus replied, ‘You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.’ Then Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy, and it left him. From that moment the boy was well. Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, ‘Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?’ ‘You don’t have enough faith,’ Jesus told them. ‘I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.’”

The Battle For Supremacy In Your Heart Between Belief And Unbelief

When we read this story and Jesus’ rebuke of the disciples, we often focus upon the faith of the disciples or lack thereof; but what about the faith of the man who brought his son to Jesus? Even after he brought the boy to the disciples and they couldn’t help him, the man didn’t give up. He still had faith enough to bring his son directly to Jesus for healing. And the striking thing about this story retold by the gospel of Mark is that even though the man struggled with unbelief, he overcame it through belief in Jesus.

The Bible states in Mark 9:21-24, “So He (Jesus) asked his father, ‘How long has this been happening to him (the boy)?’ And he said, ‘From childhood. And often he (the demon) has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’”

The battle for supremacy in this man’s heart between belief and unbelief was raging strong; however, belief as small as a mustard seed in Jesus forcefully overcame unbelief in the natural and the impossible mountain in his life was moved by God. There is no mountain in your life or mine that cannot be moved by the promises of God and faith in His word because God is good, His word is true, and He is faithful!

Stay The Course With Committed Belief

I’ve learned in life that spiritual breakthroughs often come slowly over time as we keep on believing God, walking by faith and not by sight. A little crack in a concrete dam will eventually create a huge crack that will cause the whole dam to fail and the water to breakthrough. In the spiritual realm, God’s word combined with prayer and fasting creates the crack that will eventually bring the spiritual breakthrough and the manifestation of what God has promised. We see this in Daniel’s life and it will happen in our life the same way with prayer and fasting.

I like how the Message Bible paraphrases Hebrews 6:11-16 regarding faith in God and His faithfulness to fulfill His promises. “And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them. When God made His promise to Abraham, He backed it to the hilt, putting His own reputation on the line. He said, ‘I promise that I’ll bless you with everything I have — bless and bless and bless!’ Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him.

Four Ways To Make Unbelief Submit To Belief And Have Belief Reign Supreme In Your Heart

On the basis of Hebrews 6:11-16, let me give you four ways to make unbelief submit to belief in your life and have belief reign supreme in your heart.

  1. Read God’s Word because you must know what He says about the situation in order to believe Him to do something about the situation.
  2. Believe God’s Word because He will do what He says He will do.
  3. Pray and fast because breakthrough happens in the supernatural before it happens in the natural.
  4. Never, ever give up because God is for you and He is with you.

To God’s glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Let Belief Reign Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Let Belief Reign, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Birth Of A Dream

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Scripture

1 Samuel 1:20 “So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.” NKJV

Observation

In this verse, the Bible tells the story of Hannah’s dream. The dream to have a child was alive in her heart, but was barren in reality. However, during that time, even though she was mocked and scorned in her barren state, she did not abort her dream or become bitter in her heart. Instead, Hannah wisely and humbly took her complaint to the Lord. Because of her humility and trust in God, in the process of time, God birthed her dream into reality with the birth of her son whom she named Samuel.

Application

There are times in life when dreams may seem to be barren. Additionally, during the barren state, there may be times when others may mock and scorn the dreams that God has put in my heart. However, like Hannah, I must place my trust in God, humbly submit my complaints to Him in the privacy of my prayer time, never become bitter, and never ever abort the dreams that He has put in my heart. As I yield to the Lord’s will for my life, in the process of time, barrenness will yield to faithfulness as God births my dreams into reality.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I praise You for You are El Elyon, God Most High, Creator and Possessor of Everything In Heaven and on Earth! Thank You for the dreams that You have placed in my heart to help leaders build organizations to Your glory and for the benefit of others. I put my trust in You and believe that in the process of time, my dreams to bless and equip leaders in Your kingdom will become reality in the marketplace. I love You Jesus! Amen!

Birth Of A Dream Copyright 2008, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the personal devotion, Birth Of A Dream, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership

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Powerful QuestionAs a leader, I have learned that one simple question, asked at the right time, has the power to change a life when someone exercises the courage to honestly answer the question. I believe that powerful questions can often times provide the keys to unlock closed doors, unleash new worlds of discovery and adventure, and ignite tremendous growth in people’s life and leadership.

Therefore, I have compiled 100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership which I pray will be a powerful resource for your personal growth as well any other people that you lead. As a practical resource for growth, please feel free to read them, ask them, answer them, use them, and share them in any way you like.

100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership

  1. How do you want to be remembered in life?
  2. Who are your core trusted advisors?
  3. What has God been doing in your life lately?
  4. What are your greatest leadership strengths?
  5. What are your greatest leadership weaknesses?
  6. What activities replace the energy you expire relationally, physically, mentally, and spiritually?
  7. What are your top 3 to 5 personal goals?
  8. What are your top 3 to 5 professional goals?
  9. If you could achieve one personal goal that would make your life better, what would it be?
  10. What is the greatest limitation or barrier to achieving your top goal?
  11. What “Well Dones” have you desired and NOT achieved in life?
  12. How does that make you feel?
  13. Will you allow me to give you some guidance in that area?
  14. How full are your emotional, physical, and spiritual tanks?  Empty, quarter, half, full?
  15. What theme does God seem to be emphasizing in this season of your life?
  16. What are you looking for God to do in your life during the next 6 months?
  17. When was the last time you became angry and why?
  18. What are your most compulsive bad habits?
  19. How do you intend to break your harmful bad habits?
  20. What has God been saying to you through His Word recently?
  21. What passion is God stirring in your soul?
  22. What season best describes your spiritual life right now: winter, summer, spring, fall?
  23. What’s exciting you most in your spiritual journey these days?
  24. How will you measure progress in your personal and professional life?
  25. What does personal and professional success look like for you?
  26. Who is the one person in your life who has helped to make you who you are today?
  27. What is the most risky decision you ever made in your life?
  28. What is the one thing you like the best about yourself?
  29. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  30. What is the one character quality you value most in a person?
  31. What did you always want to be when you were young?
  32. Who is your favorite biblical hero of faith and why?
  33. Where do you expect to be living 20 years from now?
  34. Suppose you only had 6 months to live, what would you do with your time?
  35. What person in life do you feel the closest to and why?
  36. When was the last time you cried in front of another person?
  37. When was the last time you cried by yourself?
  38. What has been your biggest disappointment in life?
  39. What has been your biggest failure in life?
  40. What will you be when you grow up?
  41. What was it like growing up in your family?
  42. As a child, how was your relationship with your mom?
  43. As a child, how was your relationship with your dad?
  44. What percentage of your time do you spend on business, personal, and family time?
  45. What have you learned from your greatest success in life?
  46. What have you learned from your greatest failure in life?
  47. If you could invite any 5 people (living or dead) to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
  48. If you knew you were going to die today, what would you most regret?
  49. What are your personal expectations of your family members?
  50. What are your professional expectations of your business associates?
  51. What person in life do you admire most and why?
  52. What would be the perfect evening for you?
  53. What is your most treasured memory?
  54. Have you ever felt or experienced hate in your life?
  55. Have you ever felt or experienced unconditional love in your life?
  56. When was the last time that you were personally involved in a conflict?
  57. How was your last personal conflict resolved?
  58. For what in life do you feel most grateful?
  59. When was the last time that you felt powerless in your life?
  60. What are the God-centered ambitions in your life?
  61. What are the self-centered ambitions in your life?
  62. Who has been your most influential example of godly leadership?
  63. What are the greatest honorable ambitions in your life?
  64. Will you forgive me?
  65. Who in your life do you need to forgive?
  66. What was the low point of your life last week?
  67. What was the high point of your life last week?
  68. Do you have a written plan for your life?
  69. What is holding you back from writing a personal life plan?
  70. As a leader, what do you stand for?
  71. How can I best serve you?
  72. When was the last time you had a WOW experience?
  73. Where is your favorite place to be alone with God?
  74. What compelling God-centered ambitions do you have for your business?
  75. What compelling God-centered ambitions do you have in serving God?
  76. How well do you maintain self-control when things go wrong?
  77. How well do you handle criticism?
  78. When was the last time you profited from criticism?
  79. What can you do to turn your disappointments into creative new opportunities?
  80. Do people trust you with difficult and delicate matters?
  81. Can you accept opposition to your viewpoint or decision without taking offense?
  82. How well do you cultivate friendships?
  83. Can you hold steady in the face of disapproval and temporary loss of confidence from others?
  84. Do other people’s failures annoy or challenge you?
  85. Do you direct people or develop people?
  86. Do you shun or seek the person with a special need or problem?
  87. Do you more often criticize or more often encourage people?
  88. Who do you say Jesus is?
  89. If you met Jesus today, what would you say to Him?
  90. What are the obstacles that keep you from praying?
  91. When was the last time that you felt rejected?
  92. If you were stranded on an island, what 3 books or magazines would you most desire?
  93. If you were granted a wish and could instantly and permanently acquire one leadership quality, what would it be?
  94. If your reading highlights were turned over to a psychologist for character analysis, what would they conclude about you?
  95. How long does it take you to overcome the feeling of failure?
  96. What do you do or where do you go for renewal from fatigue?
  97. What changes in your life have been difficult for you in the past year?
  98. How do you deal with people who believe they are never wrong?
  99. How can you better direct your energies to do the work God has for you to do on earth?
  100. As you look back, how have you seen God at work in your life preparing you for leadership?

To God’s glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership Work Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, 100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Ministry Heart And Mind

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Scripture

2 Timothy 4:5 “But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.” NLT

Observation

In this verse, the Apostle Paul is encouraging his son in the Lord, Timothy, to carry out the work of the ministry that God had given him. As an uncommon mentor, Paul knew that fulfilling the work of the ministry would include days of suffering for the Lord; therefore, he wanted to make sure that Timothy, his uncommon protégé, was appropriately prepared in his heart and properly focused in his mind for the challenges he would face in the ministry.

Application

To carry out the ministry that God has given me is not easy because it includes the baptism of suffering that all spiritual leaders must go through to become like Jesus and it requires me to keep a focused mind in every situation I encounter on the ministry journey. Loving God with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength helps me embrace the fellowship of Christ’s suffering as a minister of the Gospel. Loving others as myself helps me keep a clear ministry mind in every situation. In doing this with the help and grace of the Lord, I plan to effectively carry out the ministry God has given me in telling others about the Good News of the Gospel.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I praise You for You are gracious, merciful, compassionate, and faithful! You know every detail of my life and ministry to others. As You lead me and guide me on every step of the ministry journey, I place my complete trust in You to mold me, shape me, teach me, and keep me as an effective minister of Your grace, truth, and love! Help strengthen my faith in all sufferings and focus my mind in every situation. I love You Jesus! Amen!

Ministry Heart And Mind Copyright 2013, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the personal devotion, Ministry Heart And Mind, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

The Power Of Transformational Leadership

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Transformational LeadershipI’ve heard it said that anything healthy is growing and I believe that statement to be true. Healthy things grow and if they are growing well, they are reproducing and multiplying. In fact, everything God created, He created with the power to reproduce and multiply itself.

Transformational Leadership Is God’s Idea

Regarding animals, Genesis 1:21-22 states, “So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Let the fish fill the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.’”

Regarding human beings, Genesis 1:27-28 states, “So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.’”

And lastly God even states in Genesis 1:29 that He has given human beings every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for food which means that even the plants and fruit trees have God’s creative reproductive power to grow and multiply. Therefore, it should be no surprise that apples reproduce apples, geese reproduce geese, fish reproduce fish, and people reproduce people. And I want to go one step further: leaders reproduce leaders and servant leaders reproduce servant leaders in God’s kingdom. This kind of heart conviction among servant leaders on a team demonstrates the power of transformational leadership through a multiplication team value. John Maxwell observes and further teaches that leaders teach what they know, but they reproduce who they are. That’s why servant leaders in the kingdom of God become servant leaders like our Lord Jesus Christ and then reproduce other servant leaders in His kingdom.

Transformational Leadership Serves People

In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus called His disciples together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  This statement by Jesus is a powerful life transformational statement. He is saying that if we are going to be like Him and lead like Him, we must be different than the cultural leaders of the world. We must become like Jesus leading others by serving them and selflessly giving our lives for them. When we do this well, the kingdom of God begins to grow and multiply because the people and cultures around us become open to the life transforming message of the gospel when they see it actually working in us.

So let me state it again. Leaders in the kingdom of God are servant leaders who reproduce servant leaders in the kingdom of God. As such, servant leaders in the kingdom of God are powerful transformational leaders who multiply themselves and their kingdom impact in the community, region, and world around them.

Transformational Leadership Multiplies Leaders

Do you know that there is a big difference between being a transformational leader and being a transactional leader? Leadership that multiplies growth is transformational leadership; whereas, leadership that merely adds growth is transactional leadership. Let me illustrate with simple math how multiplied growth is transformational and additive growth is really more transactional than transformational.

2x2x2x2x2x2x2=128 whereas 2+2+2+2+2+2+2=14. If this represents a community of 128 people, the initial two transformational leaders who reproduce themselves and then teach the reproduced leaders to also reproduce themselves once each year, the entire community of 128 people would be completely reached and transformed in 7 short years. However, in contrast, if the those initial two leaders were only transactional leaders where they merely reproduced themselves once each year, but did not teach the reproduced leaders to also reproduce themselves, it would take 64 years to reach the entire community of 128 people. This is why transformational leadership is so powerful: transformational leaders reproduce and multiply other transformational leaders.

In 2 Timothy 2:2, the apostle Paul tells Timothy, “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” As each servant leader in the kingdom of God follows this command of Scripture, sharing the Good News of the Gospel and teaching others to do the same, our community, region, and world will be completely transformed by the kingdom of God in a very short time.

As transformational leaders in God’s kingdom, we must always be reproducing ourselves and teaching others to reproduce themselves as well. Think about it! Everything God created, He created with the ability to reproduce and powerfully multiply itself. His awesome creative power is placed in all of His creation in the form of a seed that can be exponentially multiplied and His covenantal promise to us is that for as long as the earth remains, seedtime and harvest shall not cease. This means that you and I have the awesome privilege and tremendous responsibility to continually and consistently reproduce ourselves in the kingdom of God until the day He returns. Together, as you and I grow ourselves and multiply ourselves as servant leaders like Jesus, our transformational impact in the lives of the people and the communities we serve is and will continue to be colossal.

Transformational Leadership Transforms Culture

A simple and practical 3 step multiplication strategy for multiplying servant leaders in the kingdom of God and completely transforming the culture for Christ is as follows:

1)      Discover servant leaders in the kingdom of God

2)      Develop servant leaders in the kingdom of God

3)      Deploy servant leaders in the kingdom of God

Regardless of our individual spheres of leadership influence, as servant leaders in God’s kingdom, if we discover servant leaders, develop servant leaders, and deploy servant leaders, God’s kingdom will grow beyond our wildest imaginations and the culture around us will be powerfully transformed for God’s glory!

To God’s glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Transformational Leadership Copyright 2013, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Transformational Leadership, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

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