Get Past the Setbacks

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With 80 days until the new year we made the decision to go for our goals. Maybe we wrote something down. Perhaps we imagined what the future could look like if everything worked in our favour.

We started off with great levels of energy, we laid out the plan, made some progress and then, for a whole bunch of different reasons, it all just grinds to a halt. Lack of time. Slow progress. Distractions. General procrastination on our part. People not helping. Perhaps it’s all a little bit harder work than we thought it would be.

When these inevitable times come along, we can think on 3 things…

Perspective. We are never as good as our best day. We are never as bad as our worst day either. Keep the perspective right. Keep looking ahead. Keep doing the right things. Be consistent. Be determined. It doesn’t mean it is over. It’s just something that needs to be overcome and worked out.

Big Picture. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Keep the bigger view in front of us will remind us that this is a journey and journeys take time. There will be twists, turns, obstacles and set backs. Once we accept this inevitability we will better placed to not lose hope and just keep on doing what we can.

One Step at a Time. We are excited about the end game, yet in reality it’s the next step which is the most important. Concentrate on the one step. We are so busy painting the final detail we often miss out on what needs out attention right now.

Keep being brave. Keep going. Ask the hard questions. Take some time to think things through.

What is the one thing I can do to keep things moving forward? What one thing can I give my attention to right now?

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Psalms: Encourage Your Soul

I love reading the Psalms. If I am ever feeling disheartened, frustrated, maybe even a little lost in my relationship with God, myself or others, then I read a few Psalms.

For me, Psalm 28 was not a complicated read. The beauty with most Psalms, is the simplicity of them. Most times you can understand what the writer was trying to convey without the need for great study or commentaries. Just spend a moment waiting on God and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what God wants you to receive.

 

I wrote this one in my own words, to capture what I felt the Psalm was saying to me…

Call on God. He is not deaf. If He was then we would be no better than those who don’t know Him. Bring your pleas to Him. Trust Him. Know that He hears us, He answers us and He helps us. When we see what He has done, we must thank Him. Know that He is the leader of our life, in all things, our strength and shield, He saves us. 

The challenge for me as Christians is to remain consistent in my relationship with God , just as He remains consistent with me. He hasn’t moved, I have. He hasn’t stopped speaking, I have stopped listening.

As I wrote yesterday about how the secular can squeeze God out, I have a renewed focus to be more deliberate in using my time wisely. If God is important then what I do should evidence that.

Why not take a moment, read Psalm 28 and then share what you think it says to you. 

5 Ways to Staying Healthy in My Role

Reflecting again on those things that are important to me that I believe help me to stay healthy in my role ~ as a husband, as a Father, and as an Executive Pastor in my local church.

Keep reading the Word of God. Every morning, be it 5 minutes or longer, I was check out the scriptures. Sometimes it’s part of a devotional I may be doing, other times it just picking it up and reading a portion. Either way, it is food for my spirit and just one key way in which I maintain my spiritual health.

Keep praying. And not just for myself. Each day I have specific things or people that I pray for. This has been a disciplined approach otherwise I would just pray for me all the time and I really don’t think that is right. I journal my prayers to help keep me focused cause my mind can easily drift, plus I have a record too of all that God has done for me.

Time with my family. They may not consider lounging about watching the television as anything special but often our just being in the same room is enough to keep my soul refreshed. We may play a game, watch a film or go out somewhere, that’s not the most important. To keep me healthy it’s about being with the people who the most special to me.

Doing a good days work. I love helping to build local church. It’s definitely where my heart is and I feel that I am in the right role. I like to know that what I am doing is making a difference and helping to bring the vision to pass. My soul is stronger and healthier when I have permission to be in my role, am empowered to lead and to help get stuff done, either just me or with others.

Getting a good nights sleep. Work hard, play hard and then sleep well. Enough said. If I don’t have enough energy for what God is calling me to, the person to blame is usually me. I’m not going to let tiredness from late nights be the reason God doesn’t use me.

One thing you notice as you read about successful people is that they not only had ideas and dreams but they were also willing to learn and discipline themselves to see those ideas and dreams actually happen. It was usually the simple things that would bring the greatest reward.

What would you add to this list?

Set Apart

“But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.” ‭Psalm‬ ‭4:3

To be set apart to God is to be different.
To be set apart to God is to be favoured.

To be set apart to God is to live life in a way that others may describe as peculiar.

Be angry but don’t sin. We can have complaint but it must not drive us. To be angry at injustice is not sin but to how we respond may be.

Ponder things but stay silent. To have an opinion is alright however it doesn’t mean it should be shared.

Give the right things. Be generous with what God has given you. Be encouraging in your speech.

Trust in the Lord. Know that He is with you and in being set apart for Him that He will answer you.

Sometimes the simpleness of Gods word can confuse us in to thinking there must be more. Yet I think more often than not it is that simple. God doesn’t complicate things, I’m more than capable of doing that myself.

My pray, my hope even, is that I not only know that I am set apart to God but that I also live based on the truth that I am set apart to God and that my life demonstrates this reality of being set apart to God to any and all who are around me.

Real Always Win

But Jesus put it right back on them. “ Why do you use your rules to play fast and loose with God’s commands? …..Isaiah’s prophecy of you hit the bull’s-eye: These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it. They act like they’re worshiping me, but they don’t mean it. They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy.” [Matthew 15:3-9 MSG]

Big show is not what God wants. Fancy words, clever talk, making things sound grand, these are not the things that God is really interested in.

Walking with God is at its very best when we are just ourselves. Open, honest, vulnerable, true, and real. Real always wins. Fake doesn’t fool anybody, least of all God.

Real is about respecting God in all that we do. Not pretending. Not covering ourselves. Not wearing our masks anymore. Not playing fast and loose with Gods commands.

Real is about what is going on in our hearts. Honest in our pursuit of God. Loving Him with all we have and all we are. Not perfection but doing the best we can. Reading His Word and applying it to our lives, no longer chasing what we fancy.

Real is what attracts others to Jesus. When we don’t mean it, when we are half-hearted towards God, we don’t fool anyone. People are looking for a genuine faith. People are wanting us to demonstrate how a real faith can make a difference in our lives.

Big question then: How real are we?

Dignity ~ a Lost Art

Some of us have forgotten how to carry ourselves well. In all different kinds of circumstances the ability to be a person of dignity seems to have been lost. Maybe we see it as weakness. Perhaps we think it’s not strong to be dignified. I wonder of we have become to brash in our dealings.

Dignity is about understanding the situation, the gravity of it and maintaining your integrity, handling others and what’s happening, whether good or bad with the same level of respect. 

Dignity in defeat. 

Dignity when winning. 

Dignity in our conversations. 

Dignity places value on others. 

Dignity in leadership. 

Dignity through times of personal loss.

Dignity in how we dress.

Dignity with others.

Dignity when things don’t go the way we think they should.

Some times we lose our dignity and maybe that can be good for us. It can mess with that sense of entitlement we can so easily lean towards. Other times we lose our dignity and it embarrasses us. It reveals a side of us that we wish others hadn’t seen but by then it’s too late, it hasn’t shown us of well. We think we are being humourous but actually we are being inappropriate. We think we have an opinion worth sharing but in reality we are just being opinionated.

Dignity influences. I would rather be known as a person of dignity than not. It may not be flashy or an ‘out-there’ character trait but it helps build the right kind of reputation with others. As a Christian it means I show off my God the best I can.

Dignity helps me lead well in life. It’s a quiet strength that goes unnoticed. Dignity, or the lack of it, only reveals itself when we are pushed, prodded or poked, by life or people. Without it I don’t consider to be leading the best I can.

Dignity helps me not say some stuff. It causes me to think things through before blurting out, before posting, before commenting on a topic in a way that it just shouldn’t be said. In otherwords it helps me keep my mouth shut and that can only be a good thing.

Dignity protects me. To lack dignity is to be thought of as insensitive, rude, inappropriate and be without discretion. When you become known for those things you may discover that people avoid you and where does that leave our ability to influence, build connection and lead people to Jesus.

Let’s make sure we are people of dignity first. Let’s keep it. It will open closed doors, breakdown prejudices and build bridges. It will give us opportunity to share the reason we live this way and point people to our incredible Saviour.

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. [1 Thessalonians 4:11-12]

 

Adventure 

Go into all the world and make disciples…

Jesus tells us to. As our leader we listen to what He says and we follow. 

Go, speak and be. Share the good news. Be the good news. 

Sometimes we shy away from what the disciples considered a great adventure. Maybe we are too quick to look for reasons to opt out rather than how the disciples looked always to opt in. 

So, let the adventure begin. 

What do I have? More than I care to admit. The best news about Jesus that the world needs to hear. The gifts and all that God has blessed me with. The ability to help those I can help. 

Let the adventure begin. Let’s see where it takes us. Are you in?

Audacity

Enjoyed an evening with some of the men from Xcel Church tonight.

Pastor John reminded me tonight about the need to show a bit of audacity from time to time. Audacity is important to overcome apathy because it involved faith and faith is the antidote to apathy. Audacious faith is about speaking to situations and not just talking about it.

Joshua showed audacious faith when he asked God to stop the sun. That’s definitely out there. Who would even dare ask for such a thing? Yet the encouragement is for me to have my own audacious prayers – relational, spiritual, physical and financial.

There is victory in audacity.

Actually it doesn’t just work in faith, sometimes it works in other areas of life as it’s about doing something that sometimes doesn’t make sense. Start a new business. Change your financial habits. Turn the TV off. Go for the dream job. Marry that special someone. Join a gym. Love your spouse the right way. Or whatever it might be for you.

Where will you put your audacious faith to work? What could you do different that might just change your life?