Saturday, January 23, 2010

Future Orientation

I am amazed at the difference it makes in my life when I stay focused on the future. I meet a lot of people who like to whine and complain about their current circumstances. I fight the temptation at times myself. Check this out... Proverbs 4:25-27 says, "Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil." In essence, stay focused on the future and the path that is required to get there. Don't let yourself be distracted by activities that don't contribute to the vision God has placed in front of you. Make sure your feet are moving forward! Wow! What a challenge to us today. What is the vision God has for your marriage, for your ministry, for your work? Don't let anything get you off the vision. Stay focused and keep putting one foot in front of the other. This is wise living! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Power of One Idea

This past Sunday God did something pretty amazing at South Bay Church. We had over 50 new people step up and make one of the most important decisions of their lives. They made a decision to use their gifts and talents to serve and be a part of God's kingdom. We prayed like crazy all week and worked like dogs trying to get ready for this day. Through this experience I learned a significant leadership lesson.

The solution to your problems can often be found in one idea or one strategic step. South Bay Church is moving from one to two services on January 31. Which means that we needed to double our volunteer base in less than one month. We got in our "war room" a few weeks back and started asking God to give us a solution to this problem. We felt like he gave us what is now known as the "t-shirt idea" from God through Renan! :-) We had over 100 t-shirts made with four different colors. Each t-shirt had the South Bay logo on the front and each color represented one of our ministry teams. I taught out of the book of Esther about making your one life count. At the end of the message I challenged every person to make their life count. "God's kingdom is moving forward with our without us" I said. "but if we say 'yes' to His call to serve than we get to be a part of something so much bigger than just our lives." At the end of the message each person had a small commitment form in hand and the colored t-shirts lined the pipe and drape surrounding those in their seats. During the challenge time each person was given the invitation to fill out the card and go grab a t-shirt signifying their desire to be a part of the South Bay vision to change the world! Standing by each group of shirts were the different team leaders. I had everyone in the church count to 3 with me and then we clapped and hollered like crazy for all of those who were taking the step to get in the game. Initially only one person stood up. I was about to pee in my pants. Then another 50 stood up all at once. Wow! It was one of the best moments in the history of our church. Watching people struggle and then say, "I am not going to live for me anymore, I'm going to start making a difference." God used one idea that came from a brainstorming meeting as a staff. When Renan said it in our meeting we all said, "That's it!" We all agreed! It took us close to 45 minutes of brainstorming to get that one idea, and that was actually relatively short. I feel like in the past I've often stopped short of the one idea or been to lazy to mine for it. I think God uses our brains and infuses creativity for the purpose of extending his kingdom. I just think we've got to be willing to get in a room with our teams and do the dirty work of brainstorming until it comes! The vision and impact is worth it.

What problem are you facing today, both personally and organizationally? Get a whiteboard, get your team, ask God to move and start brainstorming. Watch and see if He doesn't give it to you!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You Get What You Tolerate

You get what you tolerate. That's true in your family, at your job, and many areas of our personal lives. I recently had this revelation in training my son. Whatever behavior I'm willing to accept he will give me. If I give him 5 requests for obedience before I enforce consequences, he will always wait until he knows the consequence is coming. If I accept only immediate obedience he will learn to obey immediately. Often we accept things in our life that we should not accept. Some of you are facing an addiction to some chemical or some habit that you know needs to be annihilated, yet you continue to tolerate it.  Others are in unhealthy relationships with a spouse or a co-worker and you continue to accept their abuse and dysfunctional communication. At times in my life I want to accept behavior patterns of anger or a lack of joy that I know need to change. I find myself wanting to make excuses for a lack of excellence or a lack of commitment in my life and in our organization. I am challenged by this thought: "when we accept apathy and carelessness with the tasks of the kingdom it becomes the norm." I am being challenged today to not accept anything less than God's best. In the power of His Holy Spirit and because of His grace I am seeking to acknowledge areas in my life, in our church and in my family that need to change. I am learning to say, "that's not acceptable" to myself and to our team. In love I am learning to say, "you are better than that, God has put something greater inside of you." The vision God has given me for my life and for our church is worth calling people to a higher standard of living. What are you tolerating that you know you shouldn't tolerate? In the power of the Holy Spirit and with God's love challenge yourself and those around you to take it up. The vision is worth it! 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Join us for awakening!!

Awaken 21- 21 Days of Prayer from South Bay Church on Vimeo.

For all the details go to:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Under Promise, Over Deliver

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to over promise and under deliver. I find myself fighting the temptation to make lofty promises that I can't fulfill. This happens for a number of reasons. At times I over estimate my ability to fulfill a promise and there have also been instances when I wanted to impress someone else. I've noticed that every time I over promise and under deliver I loose credibility in a persons eyes. On the flip side, every time I under promise and over deliver I gain credibility in people's eyes. We are trying to create a culture at South Bay where we keep our word. When we tell someone we will do something, we do it. Our word is our bond. Our yes is our yes and our no is our no. I want to be honest with people when I can't fulfill a commitment and I want to learn to have a proper estimation of what I can reasonably accomplish. This must be true for compensation, deadlines, prayers, and any other commitment we make. Who have you over promised to recently? Watch your words and become a person who fulfills their commitments. Watch people begin to trust you and rely on you at a whole different level.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Inspiring Greatness in Others!

Have you ever noticed that great leaders make everyone around them better? Take Scottie Pippen for example. Running up and down the court with Michael Jordan he was a 6 time NBA champion, without Jordan he was still a very good ball player, but never would have reached his potential. Great leaders inspire greatness in other people. 

One time I was sitting around a table with a mentor of mine. He pastors a very large church and in my opinion is a great leader. I was timidly sharing the vision God had placed in my heart for South Bay Church. He looked right at me and said, "God placed that vision in your heart and he's given you all the gifts and talents necessary for it to come to pass. Start believing God by believing in who He's called you to be." I cannot tell you how much that one comment impacted me. I noticed something about this leader. Everyone on his team has an heir of confidence that God has placed a holy calling on their lives. He just oozes this and inspires it into other people. He helps others believe the truth about who God created them to be! 

I know this can kind of sound like psycho babel, but isn't this what Jesus did? He took a group of blue collar fishermen and said, "I will turn you into fisher's of men." And He did just that. Those uneducated ordinary folk would go on to change Jerusalem and extend the gospel to the ends of the known world. 

Here is what I am learning. Those leaders that have confidence in who God has created them to be, are much more adept to inspire greatness in others. The leaders who lack confidence in their calling and gifting will constantly put down others and try to always put that person back in their place. I've been around people like this. There is one person I shared my vision with and he in essence said, "you better be careful who you share this vision with because if it doesn't come to pass you are going to look very audacious." Wow! I'm so glad for my other mentor who gave me the other perspective! I want to be the kind of person who raises the water level and commitment to Christ whenever I enter a room. I want to make people better and call out what God has placed inside of them. Their dreams, their goals, their visions and their talents. A part of me living with greatness is helping others become great! As we inspire greatness in others they will in turn inspire greatness in us. 

If you ever start to feel like you are the only one with good ideas or good plans you've missed this principle. If you look down on young leaders because God is using their lives and you are more mature and wise, you've obviously missed out on the way Jesus is establishing His kingdom. If people are afraid to share their ideas and thoughts because you will smash them with a hammer, umm... I don't think you've gotten this one. If you are the one always doing the talking... you still don't have it! 

Let's be cheerleaders for those around us in ministry and inspire them to dream and believe God to build a mighty movement through their lives. Let's get some courage and some confidence in who God has created us to be and start inspiring greatness in one another. After all, if you are called by God and in a relationship with Him doesn't the scriptures say, "the same power that raised Christ from the dead is living inside of us through the Spirit of God." Is there anything greater than that? Umm, the answer is NO!