Leadership, Randomness, Reflections & Introspection, Student Ministry

Special Announcement: New Season, My Time Now

31 Oct , 2018  

Many of you who are my friends & regular readers know my well-documented struggle and tension in ministry life. Over the last 14 years of ministry, I’ve personally related to Joseph and his journey to the palace and platform. Through moments of faithfully waiting on the Lord, this journey of transition & preparation had its share of emotional struggles which were a roller-coaster of questioning my calling/purpose, joy/sadness, and hope. Following Jesus is hard in our human state but it’s the most beautiful adventure… an adventure I am glad to be on. To fully know that the Creator of the universe, the God-man Jesus Christ, the One who makes dead things live… to know that He is for you is unlike anything else. He has made this whole thing – this entire journey – worth it as He makes this next season of my life, though unknown in parts with details being worked out, even more, worth it.

That being said,

it is with great pleasure, joy, and hope I announce that I have accepted a pastoral position at Transformation Life Church located in Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville metro). This church is little over 1 year old and is pastored by two amazing leaders – Pastor Kevin & Pastor Hope Burroughs. They have been leaders/pastors at 2 megachurches in the metro-Atlanta area. They have led and trained countless leaders in church growth, missions, and outreach. I will serve as a Team Pastor, involved in just about every area. Some great things I want to share about this church:

  • Heart for an authentic and healthy church (engaging worship, community, solid biblical teaching)
  • Passion for a multi-cultural and multi-generational church family.
  • Our love for a God-centered, Jesus focused ministry both personally and corporately as a church
  • People-first mindset, not programs for program sake. Simply put, we love people more than our programs

I believe that the knowledge I have gained in the last 14 years at 3 unique churches affords me the opportunity to sit and collaborate at the table of influence with strategic leadership. Also, I believe that my teachable spirit, humbled nature, and character gives me the opportunity to lead in a greater capacity. I’m still releasing the book (release dates is early 2019) as well as still running Corey Gibson Ministries. CGM will still be active and available.

There are a lot of great things in store that I can’t go into detail right now.

NOW WHAT

I am asking for strategic and prophetic prayers on this journey. Here is how:

  1. Prayers for me and the church… God’s directions, will, & provision to be released. Believing a great movement to happen not just in the church but in the city and region.
  2. College-aged students, 20 somethings and young families that are in Mid-Tennessee.
  3. Prayers for community and to build relationship/friendship
  4. Intercession for an abundance of resources

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Corey Gibson Ministries

CGM, Leadership, Projects & Initiatives, Reflections & Introspection

ANNOUNCEMENT #2: Corey Gibson Ministries, Inc.

7 May , 2018  

Awaken This Heart ministry has officially become Corey Gibson Ministries as of March 6th, 2018. This came about after several months of prayer, trying to define my role in life, and legacy of kingdom work. I have traveled and done ministry under the name Awaken This Heart ministry for the past 10 years. Originally, it started out as my personal blog and traveling ministry for when I would speak at churches. I felt a shift to focus more on living and leaving a legacy that would not just impact my life but others. This has taken shape in the form of coaching, mentoring and developing leaders, the new book project forthcoming, and some other endeavors. 

Corey Gibson Ministries or CGM is a non-profit ministry recognized by the state and IRS. This means that we are legalized as an incorporated non-profit organization to conduct ministry and business as such of a religious corporation with a 501(c)3 seal and a governing board of directors. This allows me to travel and preach the gospel under a legal entity as well be protected. We can accept and receive donations, do business as a tax-exempted corporation and provide needed resources to a hurting society. This Fall, CGM planned to launch two initiatives to reach local communities and give back. More about this as it draws near.

Website & Online Presence

With this announcement, I will launch a new website – www.coreygibson.org or www.coreygibson.co. This site you will be able to book speakers, collaborate and work on projects/initiatives, join a network, and donate/give. This site will launch officially on my birthday, May 25th.

The current site www.mecoreyg.com as of today will turn into a social hub where you can get connected with me, have live interactive chats/videos and more. It will serve as a landing page for all my adventures God is leading me on. Lastly, my journals (aka blogs) will remain freshly updated on this site via the address journals.mecoreyg.com 

Mobile App

A new app update will be made available this upcoming week. The update on iOS/Andriod stores will feature the new name, icon/logo, navigational change as well as a revamped journal section. You can still download (Awaken This Heart) the current app now, and be notified when the new update is available. Over the next month, I will be working with Pushpay to offer a fresh new app design, resources/content, mobile app giving, messages and interactive ways to connect with me and the ministry. We will have a seamless update and upgrade process once the fresh app is made available for the end-user. The planned launch of this fresh app will be mid-Summer.

New Ministry, New Website, New Book Project = Same Corey. SAME JESUS!

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Leadership, Reflections & Introspection

Announcement #1: New Book Project

2 Apr , 2018  

So those who know me, know that writing journals (aka blogs) are an outlet for me to express my feelings, wisdom, and thoughts. For the past 4-5 years, I’ve had friends come up to me saying that the Lord has a lot that he wants to release through me and give to his people. They would say things like, “there’s a book in you”, or “you should write a book about your experience.” This has happened several times when I lived in Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Alabama, and back in Tennessee again. This has been a dream of mine for about the last 4 years and it is finally coming together. I am already about 85% done with the manuscript and will start the edits soon.

I am pleased to announce that I have signed a deal with one of the largest Christian Publishing companies, Thomas Nelson & Zondervan to be a part of their self-publishing division WestBow Press. Both Thomas Nelson and Zondervan are a part of a larger Publishing House called HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. Thomas Nelson and Zondervan have released books by Judah Smith, Chad Veach, Rich Wilkerson, Craig Groeschel and other popular pastors/communicators of the Gospel. I have agreed to self-publish under the Westbow Press name for my upcoming book.

While I can not release the name of the book yet due to legalities (awaiting copyrights and finalization) I can say that we are planning to release the book this Fall. The book will be available online as an ebook and in both Hardback and Paperback formats. I will be partnering with some locally-owned bookstores in key places once released to have them carry the book as well as some churches.

The book will be a short read that will focus on leadership and growing as a disciple that’s focused on Jesus. I want to help leaders fulfill their God-given purpose and live a life in pursuit of Jesus. Be on the lookout starting in early Summer for a big social media push and marketing campaigns.

I am very excited about this new writing project and the doors the Lord has been opening lately (announcements 2 & ##3 is coming soon).

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Never Lost - Jesus

Randomness, Reflections & Introspection, Worship & Prayer

The Day I …

23 Aug , 2017  

Tired but not knocked out

It was a peaceful night outside… I laid in my bed at midnight listening to some worship music (Never Lost – Rita Springer & Catherine Mullins) on repeat. Anyone who truly knows me knows that I am a repeater – by accident and on purpose. This night, it was on purpose. I even jumped on Instagram to post a picture about the song. About 15 mins go by and something shift in my heart and mind. I was completely discontent with just about everything. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and that I needed to get away. For me, my favorite times with Jesus is when I drive and it’s just him and I. I jumped in my car and start driving while still listening to the worship song on repeat. As I started to drive from my house, it started to lightly rain and drizzle. I ended up at a Walmart. It was here that forever changed my night.

It was about 12:30 am, August 16th, 2017… and I screamed at God. In prayer, I began to explicitly and passionate scream about my situation and how I felt. I laid everything that was in and on my heart. Every feeling, emotion, doubt, brokenness, hurt and concern. I admitted my struggle with not feeling God near in times of uncertainty, lack of faith with seemingly unanswered prayers, feelings of tiredness (mentally, spiritually and physically). It was after this moment that I felt a nudge of the Spirit. I begin singing the song I was listening to as a declaration over my life. The chorus of the song says this:

Wind, listen to the sound of power on my lips
Jesus has broken the curse, He has never lost a battle
Who are you great mountain, that you should not bow low
Jesus defeated the darkness, He has never lost a battle

Immediately started to cry as I began to sing these words not just out of my mouth and heart… but from my spirit. My lamentation slowly became my praise. After about listening to the song all the way through in silence, I changed the song to King of My Heart. I started praising Jesus for the victory before it happens as well as thanking him for what he is doing in my life and what he has already done. I listened to this song two more times before changing the song to a Spontaneous Medley by Daniel Bashta. While leaving from the Walmart parking lot, I felt at peace and was able to go to sleep when I got home. It was probably the best night’s rest in a long time. Fast-forward to 6:30 pm that same day…

My pastor at the church calls an impromptu prayer meeting that he felt the Lord whispering for the church and what was next for our context of ministry. I went in, tired and hungry for the Spirit of God and natural food! I went to the altar just to kneel and sit as I soak in God’s presence. This song that I have never heard, Extravagant by Bethel Music came on. As I was praying and listening to the words I begin to get teary-eyed. One of my best friends came over and just passionately prayed over me hope, strength and fulfilled promises. The song changed to I Need You More by Kim Walker-Smith. I haven’t heard this song in years, so I started to sing it out loud. My pastor came over as I was just sitting down on the floor and laid hands on me. He asked if I would stand and begin to speak life into me. He prayed over me hope, fulfilled promises and endurance for the journey. While all of this was going on, I received text messages from two other best friends who responded to my earlier text about prayer and my experience the night before.

Thank you Jesus

I said all this to say… this journey with Christ is not always easy or even pretty but it is worth it. We have to be vulnerable with Jesus and others we trust. God doesn’t grow apathetic or emotionally disconnected to our situations. God is not easily offended when we approach him with our cares, cries, laughter or even screams. He can take our issues! This was what made King David so near and dear to God, that God called him a man after his own heart. David gave everything to God – good, bad and ugly. In seasons of good & joy, seasons of weakness & failures and seasons of uncertainty, David honored God with being vulnerable and honest. This is what it means to be in an authentic relationship.

As I am writing this is what the Spirit of the Lord is saying:

The voice of fear, doubt, and hopelessness may be screaming loud in your mind but the voice of Jesus whispers a louder word in your heart and spirit. His voice says you are loved, not forgotten and filled with hope. His voice says “I have never lost a battle and I won’t lose one now. I will fight for you and you will overcome – just as I have overcome the world. Keep believing, keep enduring and keep declaring… my faithful son and daughter!”

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#tcgwky

Leadership, Reflections & Introspection

#tcgwky – Round 1, Fight!

30 Jul , 2017  

I’ve had several people ask me what this hashtag (#tcgwky) meant in relation to my last social media post. The letters represent “The Comparison Game Will Kill You.” It comes from the thought based out of my 13 things in 13 years, specifically #13 – Comparison Kills. This journal is so important to me and to leadership, that I decided to have one of my best friends (Pastor Johnathan Key) co-write this subject with me. He is all too familiar with this subject and the impact it has on a spiritual and/or business leader. His portion will be featured in part 2 a.k.a “Round 2, Fight!” – which you can view here.


This is what I wrote during my last leadership journal…

#13 – Comparison Kills: Maybe one of the most dangerous things we can do in ministry is to allow the comparison game to get the best of us. This game is consumed with jealousy/envy, vanity, friendly fire and an unhealthy need for competition. The church/ministry, event, and leader are not in competition with me and what I am doing. We are on the same team. Yes, it is wise to see what others are doing & how they are doing it. Sure “borrow” an idea or fifty-two… but obsessing with their model, their size, their leadership focus/style and their arts/media is super unhealthy. I cannot help but wonder even in my own life how much this comparison shapes my thinking. Every time I get on Instagram or Facebook and see the latest, I wonder how damaging it is to my own soul seeing well-meaning people I admire doing things I want or dream of doing. If you and I aren’t careful, we will end up wishing we were someone else and lose focus on our calling, gifts, and purpose.We all have a race that we have to run, but I can’t run my race while watching yours in your lane. I think Robert Madu gives the best picture of this while ministering about Saul and David. Longevity in ministry is paved when we get our focus off of others and back on God and the WIN.

I want to expound on this a little more…

The comparison game is a killer to the health of a leader. It steals the joy and passion for the very purpose that leader has. Comparison is a constant nagger causing vision, purpose, and faith to continuously be called into question. It can destroy friendships and partnership. Lastly, it also seeks to eat at the mental health of a leader. This deadly game has become game over for a lot of people. In my honest opinion, it is the greatest threat to a spiritual leader. It is one of Satan’s favorite snare and tool to use in destroying a pastor and leader.

One of the most dangerous things we can do in ministry is to allow comparison to get the best of us. Click To Tweet

When we begin to compare negatively… we are essentially telling God that what he is doing in us, is not better than what he is doing in someone else. We look at their status and position, their numbers/size, giving/sales, social media friends/followers, their likes/comments, and their every day and simply lose focus on the God-moments that is happening within our own lives. Often times, the clear indicator of being a character (player) in the comparison game is the unwillingness to celebrate others OR the feeling of not enough in relations to others. THE COMPARISON GAME IS A LOSING BATTLE THAT WILL LEAVE YOU WOUNDED, LONELY AND IN DISOBEDIENCE!

This played out too well in the life of King Saul, who was filled with unbridled jealousy and enviousness. He saw David as a threat simply hearing silly girls chant “Saul kills his thousands, and David his ten-thousands.” This little serenade started a saga of hatred and attempted murders. It snowballed and ultimately landed David as King and Saul dead.

Really think about your life and ministry… like really think about it. Are you seemingly playing in this game of negative comparison, losing sight of your identity, your vision, and your race? Are you more concern with what others are doing instead of what you are doing? How’s your motive when you look at others and that they are doing? Can you celebrate them without the “I wish that was me” or “I can do that, too?”

THE COMPARISON GAME IS A LOSING BATTLE THAT WILL LEAVE YOU WOUNDED, LONELY AND IN DISOBEDIENCE! Click To Tweet

A moment of transparency… Lately, this comparison game and struggle has gotten the best of me. I see a lot of my friends I personally know succeeding at life, relationships, and ministry, while I feel stuck in a transitional holding pattern. Some days my heart aches to have a wonderful highlight reel of life, always on the go, traveling, speaking, being creative and simply enjoying. I came face to face with this comparison monster about a month ago and it has caused me to take close introspection, refocus on Jesus and pursue my callings. So I decided to get rid of what has caused most of this – SOCIAL MEDIA! I have currently been off of all social media for the 2 weeks now and it feels great. More time is spent worshipping, in prayer and doing intentional things for my life. I encourage anyone to take inventory of their life and remove the comparison between you and someone else. Find joy and hope in the thing that you are doing. Celebrate others wins, encourage when someone is down and embrace this journey of life.

– Pastor Corey Gibson

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#tcgwky

Guest Post, Leadership, Reflections & Introspection, That'll Preach Sayings

#tcgwky – Round 2, Fight!

28 Jul , 2017  

#TCGWKY = The comparison game will kill you.

This journal series was co-written with Pastor Corey Gibson. See what he says about #TCGWKY in Round 1, Fight! of the series.

In just the last few years, I’ve been in three distinctly different seasons of life and ministry. I’ve been in the role of leading a ministry that was “small”, I’ve been in the wilderness of transition, and I’ve been in the driver’s seat of a nationally recognized movement. The idea that the spirit of comparison is exclusive, or even stronger, in any season is just as rich of a lie as that destructive sirens’ promise that better grass exists. When I worked with a small ministry, I wanted to be in a bigger one. When I was in transition, I just wanted to be wanted, the way I felt everyone else who had a platform was… wanted. And when I had somehow “arrived” into my dream position, piloting a ministry that had influenced me for years, I was still just as empty and green as I had ever been. Shades of inadequacy and hues of envy colored the way I viewed everything.

I have watched friends fall at my left side and brothers abandon calling at my right hand. And in my most vulnerable moments, I can tell you that the same spirit has not just come nigh my dwelling, she has kissed my ear on my own couch as I gaze into an iPhone wondering when I will ever “matter”. She has taken my place in bed, next to my wife, while I pace through hallways and try to develop ideas like adding rungs onto a proverbial ladder. I’ve read enough books, listened to enough podcasts, and heck even preached enough sermons about not comparing peoples highlight reels to your life. It’s easy to say “Amen” to, but seemingly impossible to escape.

I chased success like some mythical white beast, that was always just far enough from my hands that I would never really reach it. I found myself constantly pursuing something other than the pursuer, and you simply can’t live like that. All in all, I found myself subscribed to the idea that working harder was the answer. There’s nothing wrong with hard work, but my every movement became about proving

something to someone. I didn’t care much who it was, but I had an intrinsic need for validation that was achingly insufficient – all because my life didn’t look like the Instagram feeds that I had idolized. All because twitter followers somehow eluded me but migrated to everyone else. Because I couldn’t for the life of me gain a blue check on Facebook. Because I only got to speak at four camps per summer, and not ten.

There’s a reason it feels like you are always chasing… running and gasping for each breath, holding your ribs in exhaustion. Because comparison NEVER wants to you to know satisfaction. No matter how big the ministry, how influential your social clout, how perfect your airbrushed photos are, there will always be another dying star that vies for your attention. And if we do not make a conscious choice to abdicate comparison’s power of our life we will make our spiritual dwelling in the slums of rejection.

Why? Because comparison and rejection are winning dance partners, and our western-progressive-Christian minds are the ballroom. A month ago, I found myself back in this place of transition. This time not just in employment, but in calling, in residence, in economic status, what felt like every aspect of life. At the pinnacle of this change, I laid in bed one night for hours listening to the same song on repeat. “I’d rather see your stars explode” by a band called Slaves. (If you’re some hyper-purist, don’t listen, they aren’t even remotely a Christian band). But I lay there incessantly hitting “play again” all for a three-line bridge towards the end of the song where the singer says, “I’m gonna show what I’ve got left. You haven’t even seen my best. Just wait.” Somehow without me even noticing, years’ worth of rejection began surfacing and I found myself weeping, gritting my teeth and bitterly declaring those three lines of lyrics over and over again

All of that to say this, the comparison had made me believe that I would never live without being in someone else’s shadow. A predecessor, a successor, an illegitimate idol who fits into skinny jeans better than I ever have hopes for, the list goes on…

That night I made a decision that the world would see my best. No matter what it took. I persuaded my own heart to trust that I still had something left inside to offer. The only way we kill comparison is regaining security in our God-given identity. Mine is different than yours. And it’s different than my wife’s. It’s different than the pastor with 12,000 followers and it’s different than the guy’s who preaches in a living room for 12 people. We must come to a place where we unashamedly embrace our differences, where we celebrate the favor of God on our friends and on our rivals, where we cancel our premium subscription to Satan’s lies and rejoice in who we are as children of God. I’m more and more convinced daily that genuine revival and comparison cannot cohabitate. The reason is, revival and comparison are at war for who gets the glory. If we authentically desire a move of God, comparison must die.

Revival and comparison are at war for who gets the glory. If we authentically desire a move of God, comparison must die. Click To Tweet

-Johnathan Key

Johnathan is a national speaker and church consultant with a passion for training leaders to “make things better. always.” With 13 years experience in ministry, Johnathan now travels spreading fires and coaching pastors, leaders, and volunteers to understand that revival is a choice. He is a husband to Andrea, Dad to Israel, and Unashamed Skylanders collector. Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Website

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Leadership, Reflections & Introspection, That'll Preach Sayings, Worship & Prayer

13 things in 13 years… Leadership & Life

10 Jul , 2017  

13 things in 13 years… Leadership & Life

This month marks 13 years in ministry as an adult. In the past 13 years, I have learned a lot and wanted to share with my readers and friends some of the greatest leadership principles and life lessons I’ve learned. Not by any means am I saying that I am perfect in all of these things, but it’s something that I am consistently doing or improving in. All of life is a process of and for growth…

  1. Jesus is Everything
    Jesus is the main thing and matters more as we sojourn through life. He is the rhyme and reason for living. The centrality of all of life is found in him. Jesus is the ONE we worship, love and Gospel we teach/preach. He is the ONE we point people to. We give him pre-eminence as he has all authority and power. ALL that we do, should be from an overflow of intimacy with Jesus and in devoted obedience to him.  He is the only truth & way to salvation and hope in life. This is our first priority as leaders. Acts 17:2-3 | Colossians 1:15-23; 2:2-10; 3:1-4 | John 1:1-18; 14:1-14 | Luke 2:36-38
  2. Trust the Voice of the Holy Spirit
    Right before Jesus ascends to heaven to be at the right hand of the Father… he sends us the Holy Spirit. The leadership of the Holy Spirit is so crucial to the day to day life that we live. The Holy Spirit bestows gifts from the Father to us to live accordingly in regards to the Great Commission. We are also empowered to live according to the Gospel and commissioned to walk out the Sermon on the Mount as a lifestyle. We must subscribe to the leadership of the Holy Spirit!!! He is the leader Jesus gave us… so we must walk in his ways! Beloved, leave plenty of room for the Holy Spirit to move through your services and lives as he deals with our hearts. The Holy Spirit is actively alive as a person to Counsel, Convict, & Comfort Us. Acts 1:1-8; 2 | John 14:15-31; 16:5-15 | Luke 24:49
  3. Define the WIN
    As if to say… what’s the purpose? As leaders and in life in general we have to know the purpose to why we do whatever we do. No matter what it is, such as planning an event, preaching a sermon or partnering with an orphanage, the WIN is vital. This WIN keeps your focus, allows you to set goals and makes leading others easier. Vision, Mission, and Core Values all shape your WIN. Great questions to ask yourself – “What is the WIN for my life, family, business and/or ministry/church?” Another question to ask – “How can I help someone else defined their WIN?
  4. Authentic Community Matters
    This is a big one for me. Simply put, the people you do life with matters. Your close friends and family, your spouse, your business partners, your mentor and the ones who speak directly into your life – all make up this authentic community. You set who is in this community. BE CAREFUL who has an ear to your voice AND whose voice you have an ear to. Your authentic community must have the right to support/champion, encourage, confront & correct you. Your community needs to be people who love and believes in you, not just what you do or what they can get out of it/you. God is a God of relationship and community. More about friendship and authentic community…
  5. Rest well
    The hated 4-letter word for a hard-worker. Often times, this is one of the hardest things to do especially as it relates to ministry and entrepreneurship. REST! We’re called to rest and it’s biblical people. Our God, the Creator of the Universe, rested after creation. Most of the miracles of Jesus are surrounded with Jesus resting either before or after the miracle. When I think of resting well, I am always reminded of Psalm 127… Isn’t it funny right before the fruit (offspring/children) comes from the man’s labor, rest was a need. Do not neglect the times of resting in the Lord. In a society that always has a constant go and move now mentality, God calls us to rest. Even the battle in the mind feeling like we always have to be doing something, God calls us to rest. Make no mistake about it there are things to do, important things… but rest is needed in order for you to not burn out. You and I can rest in the finished work of the Cross. Interestingly enough… resting well requires being refreshed and being refreshed comes from repenting as we spend quality time with Jesus.
  6. Forgive quickly (Move forward)
    Simply move forward from the hurt and pain. I have learned after several years in ministry to just let things go. Forgive quickly and move on as you free yourself from the burden. I love how Jesus handles no doubt with joy a moment of denial from Peter. He poetically tells Peter to keep the WIN alive by feeding Jesus’ sheep (people). The Bible never records Jesus seeking an apology from Peter for denying him or even Peter offering one up. They just moved forward with the mission. This is to say regardless if you ever get an ‘I’m Sorry’ or apology from the person that done you wrong — FORGIVE & PRESS FORWARD IN YOUR MISSION. If you don’t pain will cripple you to move forward and the weight of it all will consume you.
  7. Own the mistake/Failure isn’t final
    We have all been there and done something completely stupid. We’re humans after all. I’m personally all to acquainted with the apostle Paul’s statement of doing what I don’t want to do (Roman 7:15-20). If you make a mistake, own up to it and don’t make excuses. Repent quickly and seek counsel, if need be, from a trusted friend. This is a sign of a true leader. Leaders are willing to take responsibility even if it’s not a wrongdoing of theirs. Likewise, we will all fail at something. You are not your failure. It doesn’t have to define you and keep you in chains/bondage. Break free from it by owning the failed thing by admitting to it. Failure is not your identity and it isn’t final! “TRANSPARENCY… light can only shine through something that’s transparent.” – Chad Veach // Sidenote: True leaders also at times own the mistake of others so that they don’t have to bear the guilt, shame, exposure, and punishment. Don’t believe me… look no further than Jesus himself and the Cross. We are all recipients of this.
  8. Be Guarded
    Sure this one could have fit under “Authentic Community Matters” but this is so important that I had to make it a separate point. GUARD your time, heart, and yes.  Are you married, guard your marriage/spouse? Those with kids, guard family time. This is not about a defensive strategy, but rather an offensive tool and protection. You must protect yourself. The right yes, to the wrong person or time, is so damaging as a leader. Develop boundaries and create personal policies/procedures for this. We as leaders must strategically cultivate the “art of no” so that we can produce the “fruit of yes.” I remember 12 years ago, I had a huge opportunity at an amazing church, but I turned it down, to protect my character. Often, we think of faith as saying yes to impossible things. We also need to look at it as saying no to something great, because we know God has something better. Hard but needed as a leader.
  9. Be faithful & faith-fill
    Are you found in the house of being consistent and then filled with faith? Like when people describe you, do loyal, supportive, constant and steadfast come to mind? How about a person who just believes the absolute best of an impossible situation? These two character traits are so crucial to a leader as they set the trajectory of your calling. Be faithful in your time, resources and friendship. Be faith-fill to the point where people look at you a little crazy because overwhelming hope and joy are displayed. Surround yourself with these types of people… it is contagious!
  10. Honor unconditionally
    I know, I know… we like the honor part but hate unconditionally part. It’s hard, so I really do get it. But if we want to lead well, we must also honor well. How’s your honor in public AND in private??? This could make all the difference. How about your honoring even when it’s not reciprocated? “Honor is vital in the Kingdom. A culture of honor that seeks to uplift and encourage others produces superb growth conditions.” – Graham Cooke
  11. Enjoy the journey
    Life is but a vapor… here one moment and gone the next. Enjoy the journey God has you on, no matter if it wasn’t what you expected or schemed up in 7th grade.
  12. Pray always. Worship always.
    Prayer has the power to make ordinary men and women, extraordinary, SO PRAY. No matter the season of life, and no matter the circumstances – Prayer and worship ALWAYS win. I have personally talked myself out of crazy things just by praying or rocking out to worship. When life gets you down… worship lifts you up.
    – If we fail in prayer, we fail everywhere.
    Pastor Daniel Gray
    – Any sermon that is not birthed in prayer is not a message from God no matter how learned the preacher.  A.W. Tozer
    If God answered all your prayers would it change the world or just your world?Pastor Chris Hodges
    – Worship is our response to what we value most. As a result, worship fuels our actions, becoming the driving force of all we do. – Pastor Louie Giglio
    Your worship provokes victory. Pastor Johnathan Key
    – Worship reminds us who God is and who we are. As our soul worships, we stay level, grounded in God, and become our authentic selves.Pastor Judah Smith
    Previous Journals on Prayer & Worship: My Prayer Is Worth It |  A Dog and Her Crumbs  |  Embrace the Worship
  13. Comparison kills
    Maybe one of the most dangerous things we can do in ministry is to allow the comparison game to get the best of us. This game is consumed with jealousy/envy, vanity, friendly fire and unhealthy need for competition. The church/ministry, event, and leader are not in competition with me and what I am doing. We are on the same team. Yes, it is wise to see what others are doing & how they are doing it. Sure “borrow” an idea or fifty-two… but obsessing with their model, their size, their leadership focus/style and their arts/media is super unhealthy. I cannot help but wonder even in my own life how much this comparison shapes my thinking. Every time I get on Instagram or Facebook and see the latest, I wonder how damaging it is to my own soul seeing well-meaning people I admire doing things I want or dream of doing. If you and I aren’t careful, we will end up wishing we were someone else and lose focus on our calling, gifts, and purpose.We all have a race that we have to run, but I can’t run my race while watching yours in your lane. I think Robert Madu gives the best picture of this while ministering about Saul and David. Longevity in ministry is paved when we get our focus off of others and back on God and the WIN.

13 things in 13 years... Leadership & Life

Leadership Principles and Life Lessons

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Reflections & Introspection, That'll Preach Sayings, Worship & Prayer

and if not…

24 May , 2017  

— LORD —
Even if today didn’t go as planned,
and if it’s not at all what I hoped for,
and if we’re not yet quite what we hoped,
and if I’m not yet quite “there yet”,
and if life’s not unfolding to our Plans
and if the diagnosis is not great
and if the forecast is not good
and if not… and if not… and if not… 

YOU STILL ARE.  You still are GOOD and still GOD… even if it all goes well.
And I will be the person who will still… rest in you.
The person who will still worship during the darkness of night.

“and if not — He is still Good. He is still God… He is still faithful. So I’ll just trust wholeheartedly, wait faithfully, and keep moving forward towards Jesus.” IT IS WRITTEN, AMEN! – inspired by Daniel 3:17-18

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Definitely learned this one over the years… Jesus is still good and faithful despite it all.

 

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Guest Post, Randomness, Reflections & Introspection, Worship & Prayer

Worship: It’s not always what you think!

27 Mar , 2017  

Guest Blogger, Lucas Lash shares his thoughts on Worship…

What is worship? How and why should we even worship in the first place? Worship is a necessary part not only in church but in our very own relationships with God. Every day, each one of us worships something, whether you believe in God or not. Sometimes we don’t even intend to, but by how we think and how we use our time, we are always focused on something. It’s easy to get misled and worship those things, and by this I mean we tend to get distracted by so many things we come across in our daily lives. We go to school, we go to work, some of us have kids, or we are focusing all our attention on our boyfriend or girlfriend or even our spouses. Our schedules are so full and we cram so many things into our days that we don’t prioritize the time necessary to worship God and spend time with Him. That is crucial for our relationship with Jesus, and I’m guilty of the same thing sometimes. We fill our plate with work, sports, family or friends, and all those things are great and God blesses us with those things, but I think Jesus deserves a little more than the 5 or 10 minutes a day and then moving to the next thing on our schedule.

I wanted to spend some time pondering the question of why we should even worship God in the first place. It seems like such a small question in our faith, but it really is very significant to remember why you are worshipping God. I want to share a verse that has definitely been one of my favorites ever since I first heard it. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If you’re a Christian, then you believe Jesus died for your sins, to take the full penalty and weight of your sin and endure the wrath of God so that we don’t have to. It’s very simple, but every time I spend time thinking about this truth it breaks me down and brings me back to the simplicity of why I am a Christian. I chose to follow Jesus because I have witnessed the love God has for all of us, and I want to share that with others and give back to God all that I have. That’s why I worship, and really it’s the only reason we should worship God. Not out of a state of fear or pressure, but out of a revelation of God’s faithfulness and love. Jesus came down to this earth and endured all the pain and suffering that we really can’t even imagine, and Philippians 2:8 says this, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” I think that is amazing. Jesus was God and He came down to this earth because He loves us, and died the death we deserve, all because He wanted to spend eternity with you and I. So again I come back to the question, “Why should we even worship God?” Well, because I believe He deserves it. He deserves every piece of me; my heart, and my life. And for what God has done for you and me, and what He is doing for us each day, I will worship Him and tell the world how awesome and great He is.

I chose to follow Jesus because I've witnessed the love God has for all of us, and I want to share that with others... Click To Tweet

When you look around the world at different cultures and religions, you see different ideas of worship and what it looks like to worship. The question of how we should worship is a strange one, but I think it’s important to talk about. Each of us are very different people, but we all have the common goal and intention of worshipping a God who deeply loves us. How we worship Him will look totally and completely different. God created us to be unique individuals, He doesn’t want us all worshipping the same way and doing the exact same thing as the next guy. He doesn’t want us to raise our arms just because everyone else is doing it, or fall on our knees at the altar just because it looks like a more meaningful experience. God simply wants us to let our walls down and fully accept His love. Once we do that, we feel that incredible comfort and peace that only comes from Him. We let everything down, and open our heart to God, and in response to that, we worship. We thank Him. We praise Him and show Him how grateful and humbled we are. Showing God our gratitude and showing Him love can come in different forms, and as I said before, it will always look different for each of us. For me, my favorite ways to worship God and to praise Him is through playing music and playing drums. I’m one of the drummers for my church praise band, and I do it because I love God, want to make music for His glory, and of course, because I love playing drums! I love skateboarding and doing art, and those things are even considered worship when you do them with the intention of bringing God glory. Each of us has passions and things we love doing, and that’s great! God gives us these desires and fires us up to do things because He wants us to be happy and enjoy this life, but He also wants us to use those passions to grow the Kingdom, reach those around us, and glorify the God who made us.

Worship is such an integral part of our relationship with God. It’s a way for us to communicate back to Him our response to His love. I definitely think He is worthy of it. Worship looks different for each of us, and I believe that’s exactly what God wants. Worship isn’t always through music or singing but it’s the way we live our lives and what we choose to focus on or direct our attention to. Worship is an amazing thing, and God is always ecstatic to hear your voice, to see your heart and your actions bringing glory to the Kingdom. He is and always will be worthy of our praise.

Worship isn't always through music/singing but it's the way we live our lives & what we focus on Click To Tweet

Lucas Lash _ WorshipLucas Lash is a 23-year-old who currently lives in Wichita, KS. His hobbies include drumming, art and design, skateboarding, and running his faith-based clothing brand “Urban Society Co.

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The Road Not Taken

Leadership, Randomness, Reflections & Introspection, Student Ministry, That'll Preach Sayings

The Road Not Taken

21 Mar , 2017  

***Posted this on my Facebook last Friday and wanted to go into some more detail.***

When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God DID NOT LEAD them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the SHORTEST route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” — Exodus 13:17

Sometimes the shortest distance and timeframe is not the best. A wise person once said,”if it’s easy to obtain, it’s easy to lose.” If the people would have gone on the main road (shortest distance) towards the promise land, they would have been easier to spot from Pharaoh… hence face opposition and return to slavery. Often times, the waiting process or journey proves the character and integrity not just of the person, but of the calling.

Young Person & Leaders – Our calling is worth the extra mile… worth not shortcutting or cheating our way, worth the necessary process, and worth the learning experiences. We have a God who will lead us and direct the path. Trust the narrow road he has us on. Psalm 16:11 & Psalm 37:4-5 proves so true, in times of doubt, struggle and taking the “main road” of life.

The waiting process proves the character & integrity not just of the person, but of the calling. Click To Tweet

This reminds me of my favorite poem by Robert Frost entitled “The Road Not Taken.” I wonder how easy it would have been for the people of Israel to take the main road. How much time it would have saved them. I think often how easy it is for us today to go the simple and easy route in life. Life usually presents us with 2 choices – the choice of ease and the less resistance or the choice risk and pressure.

I love how even in Robert’s poem at the end he says, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” This man is faced with a decision to either go where few have been or trot down the beaten path. His decision was to choose the road that only a few have gone, and for him, that made all the difference.

Whatever journey in life you are on… know that God is with you and he has you on the best path for your benefit and for his glory.

Life usually presents us with 2 choices - the choice of ease or the choice risk! Click To Tweet

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