Love Your Enemies

Randomness, Reflections & Introspection, That'll Preach Sayings

Love Your Enemies

16 Oct , 2019  

This morning on the way to work, I prayed blessings for my enemies (by name) and loved on them! I’ve actually been doing this a lot lately; praying! Praying for people who conspire against me; the ones who try to use me.

Take a look at this difficult scripture meant not for the enemy, but the ones who call themselves Christ-followers.

Love Your Enemies

27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Luke 6:27-36 (ESV)



Red Letter words that we often forget about coming from the mouth and heart of Jesus. Verses 32-36 got me really hard in my feels today as I was thinking about the last few months. Some really hard and challenging text to read but even more so to live. Loving our enemies is important as we mature in Christ and establish his kingdom in our life and on Earth. 

The Heart of Friend

Remember the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Kiss of Judas was met with the heart of friend. How could it be in that moment, that Judas the betrayer, was indeed friend. I often wonder about the passion of Christ to know by name and deed, the one who would betray him. To know that the person he had spent 3.5 years with would betray him. To understand fully that when he recruited Judas as a disciple, he would be signing his death warrant. But Jesus still showed up everyday. Jesus still encouraged, befriended and defended. It is the posture of a “true friend” to love no matter the offense or offender. We can learn a lot from the motives and actions of Jesus.

Loving our enemies DOESN’T mean that there aren’t real issues going on or that the problem is fixed and swept under the proverbial rug. It means that we move forward, walk in forgiveness, and ultimately turn them over to God. That every pain, hurt, disappointment, and struggle is now in the hands of God.

So yeah.. I loved my enemies today and everyday. Prayed for them by name. I have even blessed them and their endeavors.

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Voices In My Head

Leadership, Randomness, Reflections & Introspection, Worship & Prayer

The Voices In My Head

4 Sep , 2019  

One of the questions I get asked pretty often is “who am I listening to now?” I wanted to do a quick journal entry about this very thing. Here are some of the voices that I am listening to now. These are not in any particular order… so head over to Youtube and look up some of these artist, leaders, preachers. Also, be sure to also take a look at My Currents – which has an exhaustive list of people to watch out for and Voices that speak to me.

Favorite Worship Leaders/Teams

  • Dante Bowe (with Maverick City Music & Bethel Music)
  • Will Reagan & United Pursuit
  • HIllsong – United, Young & Free, Worship
  • Elevation Worship
  • Joe & Christian Leaphart
  • Tyler & Kennedy Richardson

Favroite Preachers & Pastors

  • Judah Smith – Churchome – Seattle, WA
  • Chad Veach – ZOE Church LA – Los Angeles, CA
  • Rich Wilkerson Jr. – Vous Church – Miami, FL
  • Michael Todd – Transformation Church – Tulsa, OK
  • Billy Humphrey – IHOP Atlanta Missions Base – Lawrenceville, GA
  • Robert Madu – Trinity Church – Dallas,TX
  • Carl Lentz – Hillsong NYC – NYC, NY
  • Priscilla Shirer – Going Beyond Ministries – Dallas, TX
  • Jordan Sharrett – Gateway Church – Suwanee, GA
  • Christine Caine – A21 Campaign & Propel Women – Sydney, Australia
  • Johnathan Key – Johnathan Key Ministries – Unionville, TN
  • Jentezen Franklin – Free Chapel – Gainesville, GA
  • Chris Durso – Christ Tabernacle – NYC
  • Micah Berteau – The House DFW – Fort Worth Texas
  • Jonathan David & Melissa Helser – Sophie, NC

So there you have it — these are the Voices In My Head ministering to me.. some are near, and some are from afar.

Who are the VOICES in your head?

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Mind Dump

Mind Dumps, Randomness, Reflections & Introspection

Labor Day Mind Dump

30 Aug , 2019  

I do a lot of retrospection, introspection and thinking out loud. Often times, its great for me to just get things off of my chest and out of my mind as I move forward in life. When I do this, I like to invite my readers into what’s going on in my world. So this is a mind dump… a long mind dump. I haven’t done a mind dump in over a year so brace yourself.

Mind Dump

  •  I have had a few people ask me about Transformation Life Church and what is going on with that. In short, I parted ways with them at the end of July. There was a lot of things that took place that led to that decision, but ultimately, I felt it was best to move forward. Absolutely wish them the best on their endeavors and know God’s vision will go forth for the city of Murfreesboro, TN.
  • What’s Next???? To be honest… I don’t know, and I am perfectly okay with that. I am in a resting season (once again), and looking forward to taking some time NOT grinding/striving to get a ministry position. This is a great season for me… probably the best season since leaving Atlanta back in 2013 to move to TN.
  • I am not working with any ministry staffing/recruiting firms. I haven’t put my resume out there or applied to any position. I have had two direct offers to apply for a student pastor & associate pastor position but haven’t felt lead in moving forward with them. The mindset that I am at is that if God wants me to be vocationally at a church, he will directly open up a door. I am simply going to go at the pace of grace the Lord has set. His timing, his season, his pace/rhythm! 
    I am working a regular job as a Contracted IT Analyst for a Fortune 500 company. Absolutely love this line of work and enjoy working with technology.
  • Wrote and published my first book back in April of this years. Book sales have been good.. a lot of great reviews from friends and people I don’t know. You can grab a copy at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and my publisher’s site. Also available on iBooks, Nook, Kindle and Google Play Books. THANK YOU to all who supported this project with good wishes, buying a copy, reviewing, commenting, sharing, or liking my post. I know of a few churches who purchase multiple copies for their bookstore, two small groups who are going through the book together and the countless of people engaged in the book – THANK YOU! Thank you to my family and close friends for showing love and support.
  • There were some failed expectations and hopes, especially from those that called themselves friends. A lot of those “friends” didn’t even support my book or ministry. Some of them were ghosts & absent; a few didn’t buy, most didn’t share/comment/like. Even the ones who received a free copy didn’t even do anything. Yet, they are the main ones talking about revival, community, friendship, and supporting people. The same ones posting photos/videos of other people’s books, albums, clothing line and more, yet not one word to me about what I had going on, and all the wild still calling me “friend” and “bro” in my face. Most of the people whom I supported in their callings, loved in success/pain/shame and covered their sins/shame/failure… not because it was fun or easy but because it is what you do as a friend and brother or sister. I said all of this to say – I LOVE and THANK YOU! Thank you for making the pages in my book more real than ever. Thanks for allowing me to truly walk out a Jesus Focused Life. They are the real MVPs.
  • A few months ago, I spoke on Instagram about being offended and hurt by some things. I stated that we have the choice to be and remain offended or not… the choice is ours. If we choose not to be offended… that doesn’t mean everything is perfect and that we don’t hurt. It just means we don’t allow it to steal our joy. Your joy is vitally important as you walk out this faith-filled life that God has designed for you. Joy shapes the miracle that God will do and ushers the presence of the Lord. Never allow offense (whether merited or not) to steal your joy. If so, the offense of yesterday could cost you your miracle and will enable you to miss what Jesus is doing today. 
  • As I have stated before, this is the best & healthiest season I have been a part of in awhile. I have spent the last few weekends with some great and dear friends. People who not only believe in me – but the calling and influence God has given me. 2019 Labor Day weekend was a great one. I am excited about the rest of the year, and all of the MORE God has for me.
  • I went to 3 weddings (Kalamazoo, MI and 2 in Atlanta) this Summer for some good friends of mine. Was great to get out of TN and visit with them, celebrating their day.

Prayer Points

  • For the past month, there has been a constant prayer for three main things – Favor/InfluenceWisdom, and blessings. These three things express in 4 miracles I have been praying about for over a year now… Financial BlessingsOpen Doors for my ministry & book, a Spouse, and Health & Wellness. My theme and prayer for 2019 has been the MORE
  • Favor & Influence with God and people. Strategic connections with people to get me to the next level of where God wants me to be. Favor in everything I do. A favor that surpasses my experience, education, and background getting me not just in the room, but influencing the room.
  • Wisdom in all that I do. Wisdom for life, ministry, and business. Wisdom with relationships. Wisdom in what and how I do and say things
  • Blessings to flow in and throughout my life. That I am blessed so much that I live in generosity, blessing others. Blessed to take care of business. Blessed to support ministries, businesses, and projects. That whatever I put my hands to would be blessed. Random checks in the mail, bills paid, and debt-free.

How can I pray for you and your family? How can I pray for your ministry or business?

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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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Leadership, Reflections & Introspection, That'll Preach Sayings

The Collection: October 2017

1 Nov , 2017  

The Collection

A journal entry of some of the quotes, tweets and statuses that have wrecked my over the past month. I will try to jot them down and let you in on the insight God is speaking to me. Some will be from well-known people, some are friends of mine but ALL are worthy of mentioning and deeper soul-processing.

 

“Talent and charisma may get you there, BUT integrity and character will KEEP you there!” – @jcworley

Reminds me that my character matters more than my skills and personality. How well I live our the character of my life, speaks greater volumes to keep me in line and aligned.

“In scripture, God repeatedly shows us the assigned vein connected directly to His heart. This vein is JESUS and all things flow through Him.” – @jcworley

Just pierced…. stay connected to the vein!

“Reminded today that our adversity can be our advantage. May our opposition and resistance cause us to rise and soar to new heights.” – @JasonTLaird

The people that rise against you, are there to to make sure you rise up (shoutout to the Falcons). Maybe to adversity plays a bigger role in our promotion than we wish to give credit to. #EmbraceTheResistance

“Unity values togetherness over preference.” – @isaacgross

There is by far no better statement for our culture today than these word. It (Unity) is the pressing prayer of Jesus before his ascension to heaven. We need unity not just as a nation but as believers and followers of Christ Jesus. Burn the preferences, and build together.

“Small minded leaders bash other leaders. BIG leaders promote other leaders, of all sizes, even those “more popular” than them.” – @chrisdurso

Much needed wisdom for leaders no matter the sphere of influence or sector. This will be the test to see if one goes to the next level in leadership

“Speak to people’s heart way before you decide to speak to their actions.” – @LandonPickering

THIS is for everybody — pastor, young preacher, Christian, church children’s volunteer, usher, and accountant. A leader told me a long time ago that… “relationship earns me the right to speak into people’s life.”

“The love of God compels us.” Oh to live motivated, compelled, and controlled by the Love of God alone.” – @billyhumphrey1

The radical love of God pushes us forward… this is the mandate to live by. All we do is from and by an overflowing love from God. Live in the overflow.

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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

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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