Dedication

We went to the build site today to dedicate the classroom we built.  We all gathered around and prayed over the building.  It was a moving experience.  In the words of one of team members Sam Laymon.  “As I laid my hands on the building and begin to pray i could see generations of students coming in and out of that building.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Our goal at Global Reach (The missions arm of Church of the Harvest) is to have long term impact.  Even though we take short term missions we want to have long term impact.  So when I partner with people I want to be someone who has a proven track record and great vision for the future.  Then we purposely work on projects that will benifit long term.   Like, instead of just doing a crusade, we do events through the local church and center everything around that so when we are gone, whatever we have done short term, has pointed people to a more long term connection.

Like instead of renting equipment for an event, buying the church some equipment then use it, then when you leave they have the long term effect of this new piece of equpipment, instead of a one or two night event of rentals.

Building classrooms at Watoto ensures, literal generations of orphans will be cared for, educated, as well as encourage to lead using biblical principles and leadership.

Short term trip, long term impact.  God is good, and thats it.

We are here safe and sound

sorry it has taken a minute to get this post up, but this is the first time I have gotten to a place to get on the web.  There will be pictures on the next post, later today.

We are having a great time, everyone is doing well and feeling great, we started with a bang last night.  We invited leaders from the next generation from two colleges here in Kigali and had around 280 show up.  We packed the church building out and the worship team really were anointed, its an amazing thing to worship with Christians around the world and realize they serve Jesus just like we do.  The whole team expressed what a great moment it was.  I spoke to them about healthy leaders being dreamers.  It was a great night and a great response.

The team is out today, one group is painting school rooms for the local church here who also runs a school, one of the best in the nation.  This will help them move forward in development and accreditation.  The worship team is practicing and setting up to do a high school assembly this evening, and the other team went to an elementary school in an impoverished area and gave them shoes.

God is doing great things in and through the team.

thanks for all your prayers and support, not only for us on this short term team, but for the ministries here long term likc Christ Church Rwanda, and Rwanda Outreach.

More to come…

Team is Everything

I love the church, and all it is.  One thing I like particularly is the way Jesus set the church up.  He created us all and gave us specific talents, gifts and skills, and then showed us that unity is the key to being a powerful organization.  Working together is very important.  In our world more and more the team concept gives way to a superstar mentaltity, but the truth is no one achieves greatness on their own.

As we intersect the lives of others on our journey towards significance everyone of those encounters contributes to the whole of our lives.  Whether the contribution is small or large, it effects the outcomes of our lives and influences us in one way or another.  We all, no matter how gifted or skilled, or talented we are or think we are, must realize the true path to significance is traveled with company.

I love the team we have going to AFRICA, a great group of diverse people who love God, and want to pursue his purpose in the earth.  Don’t go it alone, Team is everything.

I Hear Voices

As a leader over the years I have learned there are numerous voices speaking to you at all times.  Voices of good counselors, voices of family, voices of people who have an opinion about what your doing, and distracting voices speaking about nothing in particular.  These voices speak more in some seasons and less in others, but rest assured when its time to make a decision or you’re in transition your life will become voice central.  You’ll think your brain is a switchboard.

There are also some supernatural voices speaking to you.  That of God and even the enemy.  I can’t stress enough, how important it is in your life as a leader to listen to the right voices, especially in high pressure transitional seasons.  Listening to the wrong voices in certain seasons can cause you to miss destiny moments, God connections, and future opportunities.  It can literally cause your life to take the wrong path.  Not that you can’t come back from a mistake like that, but sometimes its a long way around.  If the voices you are hearing, are fearful, doubtful, cynical, negatively critical, shut them out!

In 2 Samuel 10 there is an account that is incredibly sad.  Especially for a leader.  As a leader you know there are certain relationships that come into your life that are meant to help you grow,develop, teach and sometimes even protect you.  God arranges such relationships and they are such a blessing.  In this passage of scripture we see that God arranged this for a young leader and because he listened to the wrong voices, he killed the relationship, and sealed his fate.

The Leaders name was Hanun, he was the King of Ammon, the son of Nahash.  He had just taken the throne of Ammon, because his father had died.  I’m sure his heart was in full grieving mode, while at the same time trying to lead a nation, and establish himself as king. Transition doesn’t get bigger than this, decisions are tense and pressurized.  He had to think about the best interest of the kingdom, his family, their standing in the region, so many things must have been racing through his mind.  Not to mention he was hurting.  He had lost his leader, his king, his father.

At this time David was ruling over all Israel, he had taken his rightful place as King and God was giving him great success.  He expressed his desire to build God a house, and this blessed God so much that he made a covenant with David that his family would set on the throne of Israel forever.  David was winning every battle, he was a force to be reckoned with.  People who opposed him militarily quickly found it wasn’t wise to do so.

David heard of the death of King Nahash, and he remembered that Nahash was kind to him.  David said I want to show kindness to Hanun and Ammon because they have lost their king.  So David sent some men from his kingdom to comfort the young king.  To let him know everything was going to be alright.  To, no doubt, console him and give him confidence that David himself was watching out for him.  Then it happened.  He heard the voices. The princes of the people of Ammon said to Hanun their lord.  “Do you think that David really honors your father because he has sent comforters to you?  Has David not rather sent his servants to you to search the city, to spy it out, and to overthrow it?”

When he heard this, their vicious insecurity stabbed at his heart and fear overtook his mind, and he lashed out without thinking.  He took the men that David sent to him, shaved their beards, and cut their clothes in half from the waist down.  In other words he shamed them, and embarrassed them.  Consequently this action put them at odds and David’s armies overcame them and what they feared would happen did.

What do we learn from this.

1.  Don’t make rash or big decisions when your hurt?

I think because of Hanun’s hurt and grief he listened to counselors that were full of insecurity and it demolished favor God was trying to establish in his life.

2.  Don’t listen to voices that are insecure, immature, fearful, doubtful, or cynical.

people who base their thoughts and opinions on this type of thinking will bring no good results in your life. NONE!

3.  When you are going through transition take your time.  Don’t be pressured into doing anything urgently.

He acted so quickly and in that moment destroyed his future.

4.  You will ultimately be responsible for the decisions you make don’t be pressured into making them.

The sad part about this is imagine what that relationship with David could have meant for his kingdom, or for him personally.  He could have been in covenant with David which would have meant blessing, protection, brothorhood, community, connection all the things a leader needs.  He lost it all in one rediculous decision brought on by hurt and insecurity.  Moral of the story is when you’re hurt, and in leadership you will be, don’t listen to the wrong voices.

Listen first and foremost to God.  Secondly to good counselors and mentors who will be objective and not moved by your feelings.  Third base your decisions making on the word of God, it is God speaking to us by the way.   It could mean the difference between Success or failure.

What voices are you listening to?

YALC Session 2

This morning we started with powerful praise and worship, another great interview with Joe Reed on “between the trees.”  He interviewed Natalie Boyce.  They call her “Hitler”  Really Joe?  Let me just say, as a person who has been interviewed by Joe Reed, I do not recommend it!

Grant Pankratz the Executive Director of Youth America Spoke on “Pioneering Spirit”  He said, “My goal is to make the young people that come to Youth America fall in love with their local church, because Youth America can’t really disciple people, its the local church that disciples people.”

He spoke on the five characteristics of a pioneer.  I encourage you to go to http://www.harvestokc.com and listen especially if you are in the first phases of staring something.  Pioneers are different and have a different role, so some of the principles they live by are extreme.  It takes an extreme person, with extreme methods to create the inertia to get something off the ground.

What do you think?

 

Youth America Leadership Conference, Session 1

What a great start! Some of the funniest Skits and performances I’ve ever seen, a cover of a journey song that spelled out the “plight”  and crazy thinking of local Youth Pastors, Joe Reed’s “Between the Tree’s” interview was truly something “special.”  On a more serious note the praise and worship lifted us all as we sang and gave praise to God.

Joel Stocksdill in a powerful, unassuming way, spoke a much needed and strong word on the “Matters of the Heart.”  In short we place to much importance and attention on superficial things the the way the “world” views success. Using the story if Ishbosheth in 2 Samuel 3, he challenged us to be strong leaders unencumbered by fear, weakness (unwillingness to fight), and selfish ambition.  All matters of the heart.

Great ministry time at the end, the front filled with youth pastors, breaking out of all kinds of heart issues to grow and develop.  One of the greatest qutoes of the night was during the prayer at the end.  Joel said, “groups are not grown by crowds but by developing sons and daughters who develop sons and daughters.”

Truly a night to remember and lives were no doubt changed.  I encourage you if you are in the area to come out to the night sessions, they are open to the public.  7 pm tonight.

My prayer is that God will daily examine my heart, keep my motives pure, let Galatians 2:20 be the motto of my life.

Thats my take on Session 1.

Having an Audacious, Aggressive, Attitude=Great Leadership.

 

Goliath challenges the Israelites scene from M...

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True Leadership is to go beyond the mediocre.  To raise the lid on average.  To take followers farther than they’ve been before.  It is important to realize if we want our leadership to be significant, we have to rise above the mundane, the passive, the pretentious and attack life with an audacious, aggressive, attitude.

I think it was Stephan Covey that said, “either you act on life, or life will act on you.”  When you decide to lead, you’re taking on much more than merely moving followers from point a to point b.  You will encounter, mindset struggles, and attitudinal obstacles.  Issues you didn’t know were there, and challenges you’ve never faced before, and in order to overcome and be successful on the other side of all that, you have to have audacity, which is to be bold and daring! You have to embrace being aggressive, which is to be assertive and likely to attack.  These two qualities are imparative to your attitude towards leading if you want to make a difference.

King David was just such a leader.  Even before He became king.  I’m referring to the battle between he and Goliath of Gath.  I don’t need to rehearse the whole story with you, most likely you know it or have heard it.  You can find it In 1 Samuel 17. The following are principles taken from that account, which show us the heart of great leadership.

1.  Make a decision to Fight

  • Don’t let fear rule you;  If you lead you must not be ruled by fear.  As Joyce Meyer says, “sometimes you have to do things afraid.”
  • 2 Timothy 1:7, God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of love, and of power, and of a sound mind.
  • Don’t let the unexpected surprise you or scare you.  Goliath was a surprise to the Israelites and scared them, but David was not moved.

2.  Refuse to be moved by people who don’t get it

  • People don’t get it, because they are too familiar with you. They can’t see in you, what God sees in you.
  • People don’t get it because your courage reveals their fear
  • People don’t get it because they have good intentions but wrong perspectives
  • Stand your ground, don’t let anyone talk you out of your victory, do what you know God Called you to do.
  • Acts 21:11-14, well intentioned Christians attempted to talk paul out of the will of God for him, because they were afraid for him.  Love them, and let them go.

3.  See the cause in the Crisis

  • The army saw the crisis, Saul saw the Crisis, David’s brothers saw the Crisis, David saw the Cause. His brother accused him, and David simply said is there not a cause?

4.  Always remember your past conquest in God

  • God helped David kill the lion and the bear that were attacking his sheep, he could also help him defeat the giant.  It’s that simple

5.  Use the weapons God has given you. (your talents, your time, your treasure)

  • You have to give of your self, you can’t expect someone else to do it, we have to do our part. Can’t just go thru the motions. David could not use Saul’s armor, he had to go with what he knew.  A sling and some stones.  He sacrificed himself for the greater good.

6.  We conquer and prosper when we trust God and Speak our Faith.

  • David was sure God would cause him to win, so much so, that he told the giant he would take his head, and had no sword to take it with.

7.  You must act in Faith aggressively

  • David ran toward the fight.
  • David refused to deny the problem
  • David didn’t wait for the problem to come to him.
  • David didn’t ignore the problem
  • David acted in Faith and watched God do what He does.
  • Make the decision in faith, take a step of action in faith, give in faith, speak in faith, live in faith.

8.  Your influence will encourage others.

  • When David Struck the blow, the Israelites realized, although the odds were stacked against them they could conquer, so they joined the battle.  They stopped observing and started fighting.

So, in that one fight, David teaches us so much about leadership.  You can do it, have an audacious, aggressive, attitude and you’ll be a great leader.

What do you think, about what they Think?

Why do some people see themselves as less than, small, insignificant, without worth? I’m sure there are a lot of reasons why people see themselves that way, but i think there’s one reason why they stay locked into that view.

I believe the way we think, effects the way we view life, behave, and respond to others and this creates a cycle in our lives. A good example is the way the israeli spies who went into cannan on behalf of moses saw themselves. When Moses asked them if they were able to go in and win victory in Cannan, they said although the land is magnificent, we can’t defeat them, they said something very important. We are as grasshoppers in their sight, and our sight also. Meaning they saw themselves as small and insignificant, therefore unable to apprehend the promise of God. It didn’t matter that God had proven his power over and over, they could not move forward, because of the way they saw themselves.

The question is how do we see ourselves, and what is that producing in our lives?

Think about this process. The way we think determines the way we behave. Our behavior evokes certain responses from people. Those responses reinforce the way we think.

Example:  A person thinks no one likes them, they are a social outcast.  If that’s what they think, when they go out in social gatherings, the way the posture themselves, and the look on their face says very clearly to people, “I don’t want to be approached.”  (There thinking is effecting their behavior).  As a result people stay away from them, or are awkward around them.  (there behavior is evoking a response).  The response reinforces their original belief, “People don’t like me.”

We can all relate to this cycle in our lives on different levels in different ways.  What is important is that we realize it starts with the way we think.

How do we break this cycle and begin to think in ways that will cause us to move forward in life and stay away from this downward spiral?

1.  Begin by having a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Knowing Jesus helps you truly know yourself.  God created you and wants to have a relationship with you.  He created you with purpose, and wants to redeem the purpose with you and give your life meaning.

2.  Begin to think of yourself the way God does.

God sees you with the eyes of potential.  The Bible said you are made in the likeness of God.  It also says that we are beautifully and wonderfully made.  God loves us, wants to be in relationship with us, and has a destiny for us.

3.  Discipline your mind to think positive thoughts about your life and purpose and your behavior will follow.

If you think Right, Your behavior will be positive, peoples response will be favorable, and that will reinforce the way you think.

4.  Always remember the only opinion that actually counts, is God’s.

Don’t let other people determine our destiny, let Gods thoughts rule in your heart and mind.

What are your thoughts?  Please Share…

Wasting Away in the House

The Return of the Prodigal Son (1886-94) from ...

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We continued the series, “Outbreak” at harvest this weekend.  One of our points was one thing that changed when the new testament church was born was a realization that is God’s goodness that brings blessing on us, and His goodness that reaches and changes mankind.  Not the fairness of man.  People want everything to be “Fair.”

The truth is we don’t really want God to be fair.  If God was fair, then we should be under an eternal damnation.  We are imperfect sinful humans, and He is a holy God.  So in order for us to be in relationship with him, our sin had to be dealt with.  It was not fair that Jesus should have to pay our penalty.  It was not fair that Jesus took a beating on His back for the sake of our healing.  It was not fair that he had to take on human flesh to accomplish all of this.

However I am so glad He did.  When we have this attitude of man’s fairness it implies that we somehow deserve more than others.  We think, “I’m living right.”  “I’ve been a Christian for a long time.”  So God is going to bless me more than others.  The truth is we can’t earn the blessings of God.  God blesses us because He loves us, because he is good.  Sometimes we allow our pride to be irritated when God blesses people that we feel like are not as far along the spiritual maturity road as we are.

Realize this today, God loves everyone else as much as He loves you.  Now remember this is no lisense to sin, this is not lisence to be immature spiritually, but spiritual maturity is not about earning anything, it about believing the right things, its about realizing who you are and who’s you are

A perfect example of this is the story of the prodigal son.

Luke 15:25-31 (NKJ) “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

We have confused the idea of this story.  We have confused the word prodigal with the word rebellious.  The word prodigal means wasted.  When the younger son took the inheritance and left his family, he wasted his money, his talent, his time, his relationships.  His life became a waste.  A waste of potential and purpose.  The son I am interested in today however is not the one who wasted his life away from the house, but the other prodigal, the one who wasted his life while still in the house.

This passage of scripture is the conversation between the older son who stayed home.  The truth was he was being just as wasteful with his life as his brother who left was.  When the younger son came home the father greeted him, loved him, accepted him, and blessed him.  The older son, became angry.  He said I don’t understand, I have been here all this time and you haven’t thrown a party for me, you don’t appear to love me like you do this son who has run away.  The father says something to him that is the answer to living without resentment.  It is the answer to living life with purpose and not wasting your potential.  He said, all I have is yours, at any time that you’ve been here you could do whatever you want.  I do love you, but my love for you does not decrease my love for your brother.  The prodigal that stayed home had an issue with pride, and resentment.  The things he did that made his life a waste were, 1.  He resented his brothers failure, 2.  He compared himself with his brother, 3.  He forgot who he was, 4.  He thought the father was unfair.

How do I keep from wasting my life?

1.  Focus on Gods goodness, not on your or others imperfections.

God wants to empower you to overcome sin, and shame.  If you are obsessed with others failures your heart and mind are not moving in the right direction.  Your going backward, not forward.

2.  Don’t waste your time comparing yourself with others.

Its fine to emulate, and sometimes even imitate what others do.  Don’t ever compare yourself with others.  Compare yourself to the word, and to the potential that God has placed in you.

3.  Remember who you are.

You are a child of the King of Kings.  You are the righteousness of God.  You are empowered by the grace of God.  You have Gods promises at your disposal.  You are a power filled individual, because of Gods power in you.

4.  Focus on the goodness of God, not the fairness of man.

God blesses us because of his goodness, not becuase of our earning it.  Don’ let pride, religeous thinking, or comparison trap you in a life of condemnation, insecurity, anger and fear.  Live above all that by focusing, expressing, and living in the goodness of God.

Excited to be Invited!

Jesus

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Sitting here in starbucks working on leadership track development, about to shift gears to meet with some of our male pastors to brainstorm the Total Man Retreat for 2011.  So in the few minutes I have before they get here, I want to share with you my experience with inviting people to church.  I do and have always loved the opportunities to share the love of Jesus with people.  Really get in deep conversation about it and lead them to a relationship with Him.   However that doesn’t always happen in every conversation we have with people who we would want to come to church.  Many times you have time to merely invite people.  We use a tool at harvest called an invite card.  Its a business card type of an invitation.  It has the information for our campuses on it, and leaves a blank place we can put your name and number.  I use these all the time.

My experience with inviting people to church is simple.  People are excited to be invited.  I haven’t invited anyone to church yet that was antagonistic to me, or rejected me.  They don’t always come but I have never been treated badly when I have invited someone to come to church.  Its a compliment to someone to be invited somewhere.  I say this just to encourage everyone, the normal everyday person, no matter what the “experts” say, are not antagonistic towards the church, or to those who would invite them.  I think sometimes people “experts” make these sweeping statements about how people view the church, that are based on pop culture, but I encourage you to ask the next person who says something like that, “How many people have you invited to church, and how did they respond?”  Usually the extreme silence gives you the answer.

So, here are some easy practical ways to invite people to church or engage them in a conversation about Christ.

1.  Change your thinking:  From they don’t want to hear, and don’t want to be invited, to, They are excited to be invited.

I believe that most people would at least try church out if they were invited to go.  What are you losing to Invite them?

2.  Just invite them.

Be friendly, look for a time in the conversation before you go separate ways to invite them to come to church with you.

3.  Be available for a conversation.

Slow down a bit and be available to talk.  When you are in a public place don’t be glued to your phone, look up and engage people.  People want, and love to talk.  Be available for the conversation and the opportunity will present itself to invite them to church.

4.  Use a tool to help you.

If you have something like an invite card, use it.  It provides you with something to give, it helps you give them information that will keep you connected.

5.  Look for opportunities to do something Kind for someone.

This always creates an open door to talk about Jesus or invite them to church, because they want to know why you did that for them.

6.  look outside your family, and close friends.

What’s wrong with inviting someone you have met for the first time?  Remember they are excited to be invited!