Everybody Loves a Gift

This morning as I sit in the cafe of my hotel here in Rwanda, I think about all the gifted people Ive met in the last two weeks. This trip is almost over and as always I am moving into that contemplative mode. I am thinking about what I have seen, what we have done, those we have encountered and the wonderful relationships that God has allowed me the opportunity to continue or begin.

As I think about all this one of the things that popped into my head was a question. Why does God give us gifts? By gifts I mean, talents, abilities, skills, propensities, and certain personalities, or even spiritual gifts, that we read about in the Bible.

I have come to a conclusion: The gifts are given to us, but not for us.

I have met artists on this trip, one in particular who has become a very good friend, and I look forward to our continued developing relationship. His Name is Ludigo http://www.ludigocreations.org He is truly a gifted individual, not just as an artists but also with an entrepreneurial mind. He was telling me that much of the art world is moving to more of a cause minded approach, which he says is an antidote to the natural insecurity that many artists deal with. It gets the focus off the gift or the art and on to the cause, which gives more meaning to the gift itself and more confidence and creativity to the artist.

I love this concept, and it reinforces my conclusion that God gives gifts to us, but not for us. Do we get pleasure in employing our gifts? Yes. The pleasure however should be in the reception of the gift by someone else not merely in the gift itself or what it does for us.

This mistake is made in the church all the time. We can make the mistake of putting the focus on the gifted not the gift giver. We make the mistake of putting emphasis on the gifted and not the purpose of the gift.

The gift is not our purpose, it is merely a tool to express our purpose. I think we avoid all these mis steps if we understand, God gave gifts to us, for others. Not for us to set around and rave about the gifts but to use those gifts to make a difference in the lives of others.

Don’t misunderstand me, we should take huge delight in the gifts God has given us and enjoy them to the fullest, but never lend to the gifts some kind of virtue.

Remember if you are gifted it is what it implies. You were given something. You can’t take pride in something you were given, you didn’t earn it, and you didn’t create it, so the proper response to it is to be grateful for it, and be intentional in using it.

I want to encourage you if you have gifts in your life, use them. Don’t sit on them, don’t sideline them, don’t avoid them. Use them, but, in using them do so with the understanding that they were given to you for others, for the kingdom of God, for the church, for the community, for expressing the purpose of God in and through your life.

Everyone likes a gift, so give yours out and make someones day.

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The Isolation of Insecurity

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Proverbs 18:1 He who isolates himself, rages against all wise judgement and seeks his own desire.

When I think of this text or even just the idea of isolation, the culprit that comes to mind is insecurity.

It seems to me that insecurity’s ultimate end is isolation. If I fear rejection, if I am threatened by others, if I am guided by the approval or disapproval of people the ultimate end for me is isolation. It may not be total isolation, or even physical isolation, at minimum it will be emotional and relational isolation.

Not getting out of relationships what you could. Not doing as well as you could on a career path. Possibly finding independence but interdependence seems to avoid you all together.

If we truly look at insecurity, it involves us in pettiness, and pretense. Insecurity refuses to hear what wise voices say, it rages against the judgement of those trying to help.

It is such a contradiction. Needing peoples approval but being so insecure or afraid of rejection, we want people to approve but will not acknowledge that we need them. Thereby isolating ourselves from true, vulnerable friendships.

Insecurity seeks self, is focused on self, is centered around self, and cares only for self.

An unhealthy obsession with self will result in a self implosion, which is the ultimate result of insecurity.

How do we avoid the isolation of insecurity?

1. See people as partners, not competitors.
>Realize interacting with others even competitors can build you and
make you stronger if you take the right perspective. Don’t be
threatened, be inspired.

2. Learn to learn from others.
>Don’t be so busy trying to impress with what you know, that you miss
opportunity to learn something you don’t know.

3. Make it about purpose not about self.
>practice making things about the goal and not about the person.
EVERYTHING IS NOT ABOUT YOU. Know it, believe it, achieve it.

The sad thing about insecurity is that a lot of people who are highly insecure also have a high level of potential, and are incredibly talented. It grieves me to see potential greatness defeated before it really gets started over foolishness like jealousy, fear of failure, negativity, disrespect and approval addiction. Ultimately ending up alone, disconnected, realizing that what they feared has come upon them.

Be the you God intended when He created you with all your specific gifts, talents, personality and potential. Focus on that and you will find confidence not in your own abilities but in the purpose and power of God.

Healthy Church 1

Jesus instituted the church to be hell’s worst nightmare. People loving God, loving each other, and loving people into a relationship with God.

The church is the body of Christ. In order for a body’s growth to not be stunted it must be healthy. Lets learn from the Bible what the true purpose of the church is.

Matthew 16:18 AMP

And I tell you, you are Peter [Greek, Petros –a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra –a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].

Are there unhealthy churches?  Yes

  >Religion based church (controlling and manipulative)

  >Experience based churches (overly emotionally driven) experience more important than truth

>Sectarian churches (divisive, infighting, competitive)

>Any church (as long as churches have humans in them there will be imperfections and potential to be unhealthy)

Is the church at large unhealthy?  NO

There is a negative PR campaign being waged against the church  by God haters, deceivers, false prophets and preachers.

1. Don’t go to church they are just a bunch of hypocrites.

>There are hypocrites everywhere, people speaking from behind a mask. Not being themselves. Having a hidden agenda. They’re at your school, your job, your home even. This very statement is an act of hypocrisy.

2. Don’t serve in the church they’re just trying to use you.

>In a world where volunteerism is on the rise, why would we assume the motives of the church are to use people. We don’t say that of other identities who operate on volunteer resources.

3. Don’t give to the church all they want is your money.

>This statement is the most ludicrous most churches are using the finances given to positively effect the world. Why is there no one standing outside casinos staying don’t go there all they want is your money?

Thes statements are generalizations and falsehoods based on subjectivity and are not applied across the board in society. Why not? Because there is a campaign to vilify the church in an attempt to make it impotent.

There are many reasons why some unbelievers don’t like the church, and there are many reasons why some believers don’t like the church.

A lot of which are our fault.

1. Infighting
2. Condemning
3. Legalistic
4. Exclusive
5. Holier than thou
6. Hypocricy
7. Scandal
8. Mean spirited
9. Irellevant and impractical

As long as some continue to operate in this way they will be unhealthy and do the exact opposite of their purpose. Hurt people.

The church is a living organism established by Jesus to give life, edify, and build up believers.  To seek and to save those who are lost, and to desimate hell while populating heaven. The church was established to bring together disciples to worship God.

There is true purpose for the church and God wants his body to be healthy and we know that healthy things grow.

As long as there is a heaven and a hell we have no option but to grow.

Lets get healthy.

Go with the flow

This is why we do training. We call it flex training, because the key to global reach work is the ability to be flexible.

We arrived in Denver all was well, then we were informed our flight was delayed which would push us to miss our international connection, then finally it was canceled.

We thought the okc team would get there and could start without us then they were delayed as well. So now we are all meeting up in Chicago in the morning and flying out together. We were able to connect with our point people in country and push our plans back, thank God for a flexible team and point team members who can think on their feet.

Being flexible makes the difference. Keeps you calm, helps your attitude stay positive and enables your team to relax into the moment and embrace change.

Romans 8:28 NKJV

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Whenever things change that are beyond our control we trust God that they will all work together for good.  If it’s the enemy trying to stop us God will take what he meant for evil and turn it for our good.  Whether circumstances impede us God will use them for our good.

So we proceed with full confidence that this will turn out for the good of the kingdom and all those involved.

@Globalreach. #wecandosomething

Parenting With Purpose

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Far to many of us live life in a reactionary way. Merely surviving, change that, merely existing.

Life is much more effective and meaningful when it’s lived on purpose. Parenting, like life, is much less impacting when it’s done in a reactionary way as opposed to a proactive way.

Just because we can’t control everything in life doesn’t mean we can’t control some thing’s. We can control our choices. We can control our decision making. We can control the way we approach parenting.

Having a great family doesn’t just happen. It’s intentional. Having great kids doesn’t just happen its intentional.

You might say sometimes people are intentional about parenting and their kids don’t do well. Maybe so, however you have a lot better chance of things working out better if you’re intentional about it.

Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. (Ephesians 6:4 MSG)

The first part of this verse tells us how not to parent. If you’ll notice the implication is that these are reactive behaviors. The second part of the verse tells us how to parent effectively, notice these are intentional purposeful behaviors. “take them by the hand and lead them.”

Don’t just have kids and hang out with them and expect everything will be fine. Decide what you expect from yourself as a parent, and what the expectations for your family are. What is your purpose? Then make choices that will accomplish that goal.

Ask yourself…

1. Do I have expectations for myself, my kids, and my family?

2. Am I letting life act on me or am I acting on life?

3. Am I taking time to think about and work out our expectations for our kids and family or are we just going along to get along?

I’m challenging myself to make daily decisions to parent with purpose and know the results will be fruitful.

How?

1. Prayer. Pray for my kids, their future, our relationship, and their purpose daily.

2. Communication. Talking to and listening to each other until we come to mutual understanding.

3. Give clear, concise, guidance and direction. In order to be purposeful, your kids must know where you stand. Hypocrisy is a parents enemy.

4. Lead to the goal. Ask yourself an honest question: if my kids follow me where will they end up?

Parent on purpose. It will release the potential in your children.

The Secure Leader 6

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“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations-that’s what I had in mind for you.” But I said, “Hold it, Master God! Look at me. I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!” God told me, “Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’ I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there. I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it. Don’t be afraid of a soul. I’ll be right there, looking after you.” God’s Decree. (Jeremiah 1:5-8 MSG)

Secure leaders enjoy affirmation but don’t have to have it. They get their fulfillment in their purpose, not from popular opinion.

It’s always been amazing to me how important the opinion or affirmation of others are to a leader. I think every leader, if they are being honest, can Remember times when the affirmation or approval of others were entirely to important to them.

This is truly a significant difference between a secure leader and an insecure leader.

The insecure leader needs constant affirmation. In order to move forward they must have people who dote on them, and tell them how great they are. It’s almost as if affirmation is the fuel that keeps them going.

The sad part about this is in every leaders life there are times we must stand alone. It’s the very essence of leading. Sometimes you are standing out front by yourself.

The secure leader wants their followers to be with them, and to be happy, however their main goal is to reach their destination. To accomplish the purpose. They find their fulfillment and satisfaction in their purpose not in popular opinion.

The insecure leader will never get very far, because they are dependent on the emotional responses of others, and we all know how inconsistent that can be.

The secure leader will normally achieve their goal because they keep leading no matter what, realizing that’s what leadership is. Getting people from where they are to where they need to be whether they like it at first or not, or whether it’s hard or not.

Like Jeremiah, we need to keep our focus on what we were created for, our purpose as leaders and not on fearing those we are leading.

Remember affirmation and approval can be addicting. Leadership is not a popularity contest it is a journey of purpose.

How?

1. Know your purpose.

It’s been said, if you don’t know where your going your not going to like where you end up.

2. Let fulfilling your purpose be enough.

People stroking your ego may feel good for the moment but it won’t be enough in the long haul. Especially when some of the same people will speak against you when they don’t agree.

3. Learn to affirm yourself.

Encourage yourself. Celebrate your wins.

4. Acknowledge your need for affirmation.

Every human being needs affirmation. It’s ok to get it and to give it, but we can not get addicted to it or make decisions based on it. Appreciate it and let it go.

Be secure in your purpose and don’t seek affirmation.

Circle of security

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A strong man is a secure man.

Men, insecurity is by no means a women’s issue. It just looks different on a man it’s still just as real. So many men suffer with insecurity and it is one of the major things holding them back.

>It’s hard to be confident when your bound by fear of failure

>It’s hard to be sure footed when your standing on the slippery slope of peoples approval

>It’s hard to be independent and interdependent when you’re emotional bound by needy, clingy feelings

>It’s hard to be in control of yourself when you are obviously so out of control trying to control others because your threatened by them.

>It’s hard to value yourself as a man when your reactions are that of a boy much of the time

>It’s hard to play on a team or lead a team because your jealousy of others precludes the possibility.

You can try all you want to be strong but until we deal with the monster of insecurity in our lives strength will evade us.

Have you ever felt like you were sabotaging yourself?

Do you want to succeed, but you get in your own way?

Do you often feel intimidated by pressure, certain challenges, or certain people?

Do you have a lot of times where what you are portraying on the outside is different than what you are feeling on the inside?

Insecurity is imbed in us through a cycle. First let’s define what it really is, it’s fear. And second lets admit we are all susceptible to it.

Everything begins with how you think.

***if insecurity is fear that is cyclical in nature and creates major perpetual bondage in our lives how do we break the cycle? We break the cycle by creating a new cycle.

Insecurity controls our lives when we inappropriately relate to four basic spheres in our lives.

1. How we relate to God
2. How we relate to ourselves
3. How we relate to others
4. How we relate to our purpose or destiny.

If we relate to these areas properly in our lives it will create a positive cycle of security, confidence, and self control.

1. Relate to God

***the proper way to relate to God is as your father. And not just any father but the perfect father.

Matthew 7:9 (nkj)

In this manner therefore pray, our father in heaven hallowed be thy name

Roman 8:15. (NKJ)

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear but you received the spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out abba father

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gifts from above and comes down from the father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

***God wants us to view him as a father?

How are you viewing God?
>Great Creator
>Cosmic trickster
>Distant higher power
>Mighty judge
>genie in a bottle

When you truly relate to God as your benevolent father what do you have to fear. This is the first building block of security in your life understanding how to relate to God as father.

**he owns everything
** he’s more powerful then everyone
** he created wisdom
**he has no limitations.

+God your father, is the beginning and the end
+God your father is the first and the last
+God your father shall supply all of your need
+God your father is the all in all
+He is the everlasting father there was no beginning to him and there will be no end.

If this is your father, what do you have to fear?

>What failure is too big?
>What problem is too complicated?
>What person is too intimidating?
>What financial or emotional issue are to overwhelming?

Your father is bigger, better, and stronger than anything.

Who’s your daddy…God is that’s who

2. How to relate to yourself.

James 1:23-25 (NKJ).

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-26 NKJV)

***First start with the real you. No facades or faking here. You can’t build on a faulty foundation.

Be real, then be right. Once you reach a place of authenticity then build on that foundation by viewing yourself through the eyes of potential

See yourself for who you are then for who you can be.

>Let the word call you out then keep you in
>Let the word rebuke you and then reflect Christ in you
>Let the word Strip you bare then clothe you in righteousness
>Let the word kill all the pretense in you and fill you with the reality of who God made you to be.

Know who you are and get comfortable in your skin.
>You can’t reflect the opinions others have of you and be secure
>You can’t reflect pressure that life has placed on you and be confident
>You can’t reflect your past and be victorius
>You can’t reflect your friends, family, or environment and be yourself

You must be who you were created to be a reflection of the Son.

So relating properly with God causes you to relate properly with your self. If God is my father than I am his son. And if I’m a son of God I don’t feel the need to constantly prove myself to others, I don’t fear the disapproval of others.

3. How to relate to others.

Every person God brings into my life or puts me in theirs whether positive or negative serves a purpose to push me towards my destiny.

How do you relate to others? (how do you view them?)

>Are they the competition?
>Are they out to get you?
>Are they in your way?
>Are they holding you back?

The proper way to relate to others is to…

>appreciate the role they play
>appreciate the role you play
>appreciate the way God uses others to bring out in you what you were created for.

1 Corinthian 12:12-18 (NKJ)

For just as the body is a unity and yet has many parts, and all the parts, though many, form [only] one body, so it is with Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). For by [means of the personal agency of] one [Holy] Spirit
we were all, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, baptized [and by baptism united together] into one body, and all made to drink of one [Holy] Spirit. For the body does not consist of one limb or organ but of many. If the foot should say, Because I am not the hand, I do not belong to the body, would it be therefore not [a part] of the body? If the ear should say, Because I am not the eye, I do not belong to the body, would it be therefore not [a part] of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where [would be the sense of] hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where [would be the sense of] smell? But as it is, God has placed and arranged the limbs and organs in the body, each [particular one] of them, just as He wished and saw fit and with the best adaptation. (1 Corinthians 12:12-18 AMP)

You need others and others need you.
They are not the enemy.

Proverbs 18:1 (nkj). He who isolates himself rages against all wise judgement and seeks his own desire.

Relating to God properly causes you to relate to yourself properly which causes you to relate to others properly. Why be insecure with others when you see their role in your life as a benifit not a battlefield

The cycle of security is at work. Offense is being chased out, confidence is rising and cowardice is leaving.

4. How to relate to your destiny or purpose.

How do you relate to your destiny?

>Afraid of failure?
>Afraid of people?
>Afraid of surrender?
>Afraid of sacrifice

Relating properly to your destiny

>Acknowledge that you have one
>It is highly important no matter what it is
>It is not a mystery, it’s in your personality, your gifts and skill set, your relationship with God
>It is where true fulfillment lies as a human being.
>Your destiny and purpose is what God created you for and fits you best and is what He expects your contribution to be.

Relate to God > to self > to others > to purpose.

When I understand God created me for a purpose it cause me to relate to him more intimately as my father. This cycle creates security and confidence in me and chases insecurity out of my life.

>If I know God as my father whom or what shall I fear.
>If I know myself for who I am and can be then I need not fear inadequacy
>If I know the role of others in my life then I need not be jealous or threatened
>If I know my purpose then I need not compare because nothing is greater than what God has created me to be.