Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Increasing Radiance

Psalm 92:12-15, The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh & green, proclaiming, 'The LORD is upright, He is my rock, and there is no wickedness in him."

Proverbs 4:18, "The path of righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shinning ever brighter till the full light of day."

I turn 30 years old in less than a month. I know I am still barely an adult, but I'm almost the age Jesus was when He started His public ministry. It's kind of interesting to notice how people change as they get older. I promise you I have a few new gray hairs every week. I'm on my way to a white head of hair by the age of 40. I'm cool with that. It's much better than going bald. I've also noticed that it gets harder to stay in shape and things start to sag. Maybe not at 30, but you get the idea.

Here is the other thing I'm evaluating with my life as I turn into a new decade. People don't always age well when it comes to their character. Many people flame out or have a moral failing in their 30's. They live with passion in their 20's, but then they lose heart. The trials, disappointments, and failures of life begin to produce bitterness and selfishness. Ahh, I hate that.

Increasing love for God is not guaranteed. I deeply desire to live a life that is marked with increasing radiance. I want to live a life that grows in impact and fruitfulness. I'm committed to finishing this next decade strong. I want to be running harder after Christ on the day I turn 40. I want to be more holy, a better leader, a more intentional father, and a more selfless husband as the days, years and decades turn. I want to stay fresh and green, I wanted be planted in the house of the Lord and flourish with Him as my source of life.

You have to fight for the life God is asking you to live my friend. You will not drift to His best for your life. It's going to require lots of repentance, lots of soul searching, and hard running after Him. You will fall at times, but the beauty is that God has His eye on you. He sees your heart. If you make Him the passion of your soul, He will make you live with increasing favor, increasing radiance and increasing fruitfulness.

Monday, May 23, 2011

When God Looks at You!

Judges 6:12, "When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, 'The LORD is with you, might warrior."

Why does God call Gideon a mighty warrior? Gideon is everything but a warrior. He is hiding in a winepress and living in fear of the Midianites. I know God goes on to use this man in great ways, but at this juncture in chapter 6... Gideon is a coward! Immediately following this interaction Gideon seems to question everything God asks Him to do until Gideon's only option is to obey.

Packed in this verse is a very powerful principle that applies to our lives in the 21st century. When God looks at you, He sees who you are becoming and calls out your potential! God is the master of taking us from where we are to where He wants us to be.

When God looks at you He sees: a courageous husband, a wise leader, a humble servant, a selfless wife, a focused student, a strategic business man, and a loving co-worker, a disciplined person. He sees where you are going and who you are becoming.

Not only does God see where you are going but He speaks to you as though you are already there. God is calling you out today to challenge you and encourage you to step into who you will one day become.

Let Him speak to you and walk in who He has called you to be. Let your head be held high with confidence. Walk in your freedom. You are a child of the King, you are forgiven, you are loved, you are His.

Oh, one more thing... God is with you. If you are in relationship with Him, He places His Spirit upon you to help you become the person He is calling you to become.

If that doesn't make your day, go get back in bed and roll out on the other side!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Need 2 Change

Recently I've been reading through Howard Schultz's new book titled, "Onward." I'm about 1/3 of the way through with the book and it's a fascinating read. Basically the book is the story of the decline of Starbucks, his return to CEO and the turn around of the company.

There is one key learning I'm gleaning from the book.

One primary job of a leader is to determine the strategic changes that need to happen at any one given time and then empower a team to see these changes through.

Great leaders are able to discern the changes that need to happen and then execute no matter what the cost.

Here are some of the challenges I feel when it comes to making this happen...
* At any one given time there usually about 10-12 major changes that need to happen in my life and in our organization. How do I determine the most important change?
* The day to day demands of leading an organization can really cloud my ability to get "above the fray" and see what changes need to happen.
* Major changes do not automatically and require a great deal of organizational energy.

So here are some keys I think to help ensure that I'm leading properly when it comes to organizational change...
* I need to make sure that my time alone with God... prayer/bible study is guarded so that I'm hearing from God about the vision for our church.
* I need to make sure that there is time in my schedule (at least one day away away from the office each month with no operational agenda) to think creatively.
* I must engage the key leaders of our organization into this process because they see things I don't see and in most cases will be the ones to execute the changes.
* I must have the courage to make the change when I believe God is leading us to make them... no matter what the cost.

Here are a couple questions for you to consider:
* If time and energy was not a limiting factor what changes would you make in your life/organization?
* What are the things that you are currently doing/responsibilities that you have/relationships you are in, that if given the chance you would not start up again?
* What is the change you know you need to make, but you lack the courage to execute it?
* What are the key habits in your life that are contributing to the momentum and success you are currently experiencing? How can you maximize these habits for greater impact?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Addition From Sunday

Yesterday I did a message titled, "Regret Free Risk." I taught from the story found in Joshua 3 where Joshua leads the nation of Israel across the Jordan. My main point was this... A life of extraordinary faith begins with a small step of courage.

Here are four areas where God leads us to have courage-
1. The courage to step out.
2. The courage to hold back.
3. The courage to prioritize.
4. The courage to surrender.

There is one addendum that I wanted to add on to my message. I only have 30 minutes to communicate the message so there is stuff I have to leave out...

I wanted to give you a few questions to assess risk and determine if God is leading you to take the steps...
* Do I have a clear leading from God in this direction?
* Are there biblical principles that I would violate in taking this step?
* What do godly men and women advise in this instance?
* Is this the right season to take this step?
* Am I being motivated by fear or faith?

After running a decision through this grid, I usually get about 70% of the way on big decisions and then I take the the next step I believe God is leading me to take. This includes decisions like: starting a 2nd/3rd service at South Bay, beginning a capital campaign, hiring a new employee, family decision to adopt, etc....

I hope this helps!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guest Blogger: Stacie Wood

OH. MY. GOSH! You have got to try that! Skydiving was perhaps the most fun and exhilarating thing I have ever done. SO worth it. Even if you are scared, just have someone push you out of that plane, and I promise you that you will not regret it once your feet land back on the ground. It is crazy exciting!

Here's the video I took of Andy as he discovered that we were going skydiving yesterday:

He seems pretty calm in the video, right? What you don't see is after the camera stops rolling he immediately started checking his pulse and telling me that his heartrate was through the roof! He sat in a chair in our living room with his iPhone and didn't move for about 20 minutes. I asked him if he was okay and found out that he was reading articles about the risks factors in skydiving! He found out that you're more likely to die in a car accident over the course of a years time than you are by skydiving. That helped a little. :-)

It was so great that Jennalene, Jack, and Archie went with us. That really relieved a lot of the stress and made the day more lighthearted and fun.

Andy was scared, but not so scared that he couldn't even enjoy it. By the time I landed on the beach, he and Archie were already talking about when they could come back to do it again! I knew he would love it!! :-)

We have so many good pictures...I think there's close to 500 total. So it's hard to find my absolute favorites. But I'll share a few really cool ones.