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

Authentic Love for People

4 Apr , 2017  

Guest Blogger, Michael Vanden Berge shares some candid thoughts on authentic love.

If I talk a lot about God, the Bible, and Church, but I fail to ask about other people’s needs, I’m simply making a lot of empty religious noise. If I graduate from theological seminary and know all the answers to questions you’ll never even think of asking, and if I have all the degrees to prove it … and if I say I believe in God with all my heart, soul, and strength, claiming to have incredible answers to my prayers, but I fail to take the time to find out what makes others laugh and why they cry, I’m nothing. If I sell an extra car and some of my books to raise money for poor starving kids somewhere, and if I give my life for God’s service and burn out after pouring everything I have into the work, but do it all without ever once caring about the people, the real hurting people—the moms and dads and sons and daughters and orphans and widows and the lonely and forgotten—if I pour my life into the Kingdom but forget to love those here on earth, my energy is wasted, and so is my life.

Here is what love is like … genuine love. God’s kind of love. It’s patient. It can wait. It helps others, even if they never find out who assisted them. Love doesn’t look for greener pastures. Love doesn’t boast. It doesn’t try to build itself up to be something it isn’t. Love doesn’t act in a loose, immoral way. It doesn’t seek to take, but it willingly gives. Love doesn’t lose its temper. It doesn’t keep changing its mind. Love doesn’t think about how difficult the other person is, and certainly, doesn’t think of how it could get back at someone. Love is grieved deeply over the evil in this world, but it rejoices over truth. Love comes and sits with you when you’re feeling down and finds out what is wrong. It empathizes with you and believes in you. Love knows you’ll come through just as God planned, and love carries on to the end. It doesn’t give up, quit, diminish, or go home.
Love perseveres, even when everything goes wrong and the feelings leave and the other person doesn’t seem as special anymore. Love succeeds 100 percent of the time.

That, my friend, is what genuine love is.
My friend lets pour out His love onto others. Let’s make Jesus look good, for he is that good.

Love is grieved deeply over the evil in this world, but it rejoices over truth. Click To Tweet

Michael Vanden Berge - Authentic Love

Michael Vanden Berge, Reaching the Hungry, Missionary. Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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Reflections & Introspection, That'll Preach Sayings

God, Our Father!

26 May , 2016  

Anyone who is close to me or knows me well, know that this season (past 2 years) have been a redefining season of my life in the area of who God is and how he is pruning or cultivating me. LOTS of ups and downs, but through it all – I’m constantly reminded of who I see God as the most in my life as of late. I see, feel and know him as FATHER. His nature as a father is so critical to me right now. It’s overwhelming and at times, I just sit and think of how good he is. He is a good father. I listen to Housefires’ song “Good Good Father” so much, simply to hear the words – “You Are Perfect in All of Your Ways.”

Here’s some of the encouragement I can deposit into you.

// 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth (width) and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:14-21 \\

WE have a father, who is God that is intricately in love with us that he expresses His love in 4 different and precise dimensions. He is so for us that he wants to exceed our expectations and wildest dreams. He loves us so much that He eagerly wants us to be filled with ALL of him. This is OUR FATHER… this is OUR GOD!

His only requirement is that YOU & I stay in Him and He in us. I urge you beloved, DON’T  neglect his wooing and nudges for more. Stay near to Him. Lean on his wisdom and love. Receive his fullness that he joyfully wants to give to us.

goodgoodfather

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Guest Speaking, That'll Preach Sayings, Worship & Prayer

Allured Towards Love

19 Mar , 2012  

This past Tuesday, I gave the message for theExchange Young Adult services as a guest speaker. The whole message was centered on being allured back into the desert by God – for LOVE. The restored bride will have a clear Bridal Paradigm and will ultimately understand her identity. We know this as the “Divine Betrothal” for the end of the age.

God wants to make our valleys of trouble a place (or opportunity) of hope, so there is a learning process that must begin. When God is seeing that we are learning… he holds back his decrees and judgment so that he can tenderly teach us. He allures us back into the desert (or wilderness). (Hosea 2:14-23) Allure means (for this scripture) “take my hand… I’m going to lead you somewhere. I’m going WITH you and I’m going to be in there WITH you!” It’s in the desert that God allures us to where we learn to desire and love him. Where He will teach us our new name and how we should embrace Him. This is a process we don’t want to graduate from as it will last until the bridegroom (Jesus) comes for his bride. (Church/God’s People)

Being allured to the desert is a tremendous feeling as it shows how much the Father loves us, but it also gives us a clear picture of Jesus loving his Bride. Jesus wants privacy with us, so He can romantically and passionately love us. He disciplines those he loves and loves those who he disciplines. We need to change our mindset concerning this word discipline… it’s not a bad thing, but a good thing. It is related to teaching and training. God doesn’t use this wilderness experience to expose us and make us naked, but rather to guard or protect our hearts as he desires us. Everyone’s desert experience is different, but we as Christians must go through it… Jesus went through it. Remember the Garden of Gethsemane. It seemed like a place of tremendous anguish but it proved to be a place (desert) God, the Father called him to. He understood the Father’s love, and purpose for his life.

Embrace the allurement to the desert that God is calling you to… I promise you – there are benefits for such people who embrace their Bridal Identity – if you don’t believe me… read Hosea 2:17-23 (while you are at it, look at Revelation 21) Enjoy your new identity — as the Bride of Christ!!!

** audio message – http://messages.mecoreyg.com/main/main/9965267

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Leadership

Authentic Repentence

3 Nov , 2007  

For the past couple of weeks, the Lord has been showing me and speaking to me about repentance in our generation. So I begin studying this thing we call repentance and came to 4 underlying fact….

  1. that in order for there to be authentic forgiveness, there must first be sincere repentance/lamenting.
  2. Repenting and apologizing are different to a degree.
  3. God always wants to bring us back into a state of repentance
  4. Through sincere repentance… the judgment/Wrath of God maybe relented

Lets break it down….

  1. That in order for there to be authentic forgiveness, there must first be sincere repentance/lamenting. When we repent, we are relinquishing all rights and benefits of the sin we have committed. It’s an act of saying and believing. Repentance in a sense is a type of worship because we are admitting that we have sinned and that we must be forgiven by the only one who can give us total forgiveness, Jesus! When we repent we turn away from sin and turn to Jesus. First Sincere Repentance… Then True Forgiveness – 1 John 1:9
  2. Sincere Repenting and apologizing are different to a degree. We can only repent to God. Repenting always has some measure of love in it.- Luke 7:41-48 It is a turning away from sin and acknowledging that we were “lost” in that moment. When there is repentance that is sincere… GOD HAS TO FORGIVE YOU. An excuse/reason can NEVER be given when we repent for what done.. Repenting is an act of spiritual and soul cleansing… Repenting should bring about change and learning Apologizing is only done toward people… and they have a choice to forgive or not to forgive you. It’s knowing you have done wrong and admitting it to the person. When you apologize, often times there’s an excuse with reasoning. Apologizing is an act soul cleansing.Apologizing should bring about change and learning
  3. God always wants to bring us back into a state of repentance. God is always trying to get us to come back to Him as people. God is willing to relent or to cancel the Judgment instead of issuing it. Through prayer, God changes what He releases in our lives. The course of events or the end result can be changed. One of the great examples of God’s willingness to relent is found in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. “Upon learning of God’s intentions to judge the city, Abraham asked the Lord if He would relent and save it if there were only fifty righteous people in it. The Lord said that He would, so Abraham pressed the question. Abraham said, “If there were only ten righteous in the city, would You spare them?” The Lord told Abraham that He would” (Gen. 18:22-33).
  4. Through sincere repentance… the judgment/Wrath of God maybe relented. When there is sincere repentance, change is brought forth. There is a learning process that begins. When God is seeing that we are learning.. he holds back his decrees and judgment so that he can tenderly teach us. He allures us back into the desert. (Hosea 2:14-16) Allure means “take my hand… I’m going to lead/show you somewhere. I’m going WITH you!” It’s in the desert that our Father allures us to where we learn to desire and love him. Where He will teach us our new name and how we should embrace Him.

The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it. (Jer.18:7-10)

I will leave you with this…..

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.(2 Chronicles 7:14)

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