Lead Well: 10 Steps Towards Gods Future For Us

 

 

 

 


We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps [Prov 16:9 NLT]
We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it. [Prov 16:9 Message]

When I was younger I don’t remember having any great ambition to be something or someone in the future. Maybe you did. I would have loved to have been a sportsman of some sort as I was pretty good at a few. I can complain about lack of opportunity but I lacked the discipline needed when the opportunity came along.

Since then I have discovered that leading well is less about the destination and more about the steps along the way. It is less about what I achieve and more about who I become along the way.

Don’t get me wrong, we need the big dreams and a vision of a preferred future but it is the steps we take along the way which determine where we get to. And then we need to happy that when we get ‘there’ the preferred future may doubtless look different to what we anticipated.

Dreams are exciting and in reality, quite easy. We can all imagine great things. Steps though are more tricky, they represent where the rubber hits the road.

Steps take courage.
Steps involve action.
Steps are time consuming.
Steps demonstrate our faith in God.
Steps will grow us.
Steps can be hard work.
Steps can be quick sometimes or slow at other times.
Steps are often lonely.
Steps take us somewhere.

Steps are Gods to determine. After all, He wants to get us to where we ‘need’ to be more than we want to get to where we ‘think’ we should be.

At the age of 47 I never imagined I would be where I am, doing what I do, but I am. God’s plans have worked out how He saw best. To say I have faith in Him means trusting where I am and the journey I am walking are the steps He is wanting me to take.

My responsibility is simple ~ keep walking, one step at a time, with God very much in the lead position.

Why not take a moment to thank God for where He is brought you to?
Then pray and give Him permission to keep ordering your future steps.

 

 

Walk With God: 7 Words to Help You Discover True Rest

Rest is not about doing nothing.

When the Israelites were instructed by God to take a Sabbath year for the land every seven years, it didn’t mean a year off, becoming lazy and just sitting with their feet up.

They were aligning themselves with a God-created rhythm which would bring blessing into their lives. As they rested the soil it would gain strength and ensure its future fruitfulness. In the meantime they would continue to build their home, look after their flocks, care for each other and take some intentional time to draw close to God.

For us then to rest has to work the same way. It is a rhythm of grace we are invited to walk and work with Jesus. It is a true rest which brings blessing to our lives.

As we rest our souls we gain strength and ensure our future fruitfulness.

As I withdraw from the day to draw close to God I have found these words helpful.

PAUSE: We can be so busy doing that the hardest thing to do to withdraw is to actually stop and make time just to be with God. We have to remember that however driven we may our true identity is never found in what we have accomplished but found only in knowing whose we are.

THINK: Meditate on God, thank Him for the journey so far. Like the Israelites were being reminded about their past, we were once slaves to sin but now we have been set free. Think about all the good things God has done for and thank Him for them all.

REFLECT: Take a scripture, read your word, worship and reflect on what God is doing  and saying right now in your life. Don’t over think it but all the Word of God to speak to you.

LISTEN: This goes with the reflect. Having tuned out the noise and removed the distractions, we will be better able to hear what God is saying. We can be very quick to bring all our requests to God, yet make no time simply to listen and hear His voice.

CAPTURE: When you hear something, feel something, see something, then capture it. I use a notebook on my phone and the Evernote app for noting down particular scriptures and thoughts that go with them.

RESPOND: We have to be willing to be obedient to what God is saying to us. Through obedience is where the blessing comes. That was key for the Israelites and the rhythm of the Sabbath. In keeping it, God would bless them, prosper them and provide for them.

TRUST: Ultimately, acting on the word of God requires faith, which is simply us choosing to trust God is more than able to do what He has said He will do. Having paused, taken time to think on God, reflect on all He has done in our lives so far, listened to His voice, captured what He is saying and then responded, trusting Him should begin to come much more easily.

What do you think? How might this help you when taking time to truly rest with God?

Build Church: Know the Why

Why are we here? One of life’s great questions. For the Church the simple answer to the why would be about reaching people, making disciples and honouring our Saviour. All good. Yet each part of has its own unique contribution, something to celebrate and harness, the one thing which makes us distinctive.

As a leadership team we have been talking about this and here’s why it’s important for us to do so.

Simon Sinek in his book ‘Start with Why’ says that ‘people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it’. WHAT can change but WHY is simple. It’s the discipline to never veer from the cause.

It captures the heart. The vision, the cause, is the why. It can grab someone’s imagination as they begin to see what could be possible.

It’s bigger than what we do. Why isn’t what. What we do can almost be irrelevant when we understand why we are doing it. That kind of belief can help build great success.

It keeps us going when it gets tough. What we do can get boring, inconvenient or tiresome. On those cold, rainy days we can opt out of ‘what’. The why reminds about the difference we are making or the reason for what we are doing.

It encourages people to be creative. If the why is clear then people have a freedom to be creative with the what. Leaders shouldn’t have to come up with all the best ideas, instead, the ‘why’ creates an environment where great ideas can sprout from anywhere.

It brings what we do to life. When those within get the why, then people will see what we believe through what we are doing.

I have not always been great at explaining the why. I know that I still get it wrong.  I can argue it’s not my role as I’m not the lead man, but that’s a cop out. If I lead people then I have to be concerned about the why. If I am part of the organisation then understanding the why is my responsibility. If it’s not clear, I should ask.

Telling people what to do isn’t difficult. To articulate the why though, requires time, thought and care. That’s a whole lot of effort. It doesn’t always come easy. I have to give more than a ‘just because’, or point to my position.

It has to be important because the why is inspiring, it stirs up passion and people are more willing to give their time, talent and treasure to a really good, strong, clear why.

What is the kind of ‘why’ you would be willing to be part of?

Lead Well: The Right Start

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge [Proverbs 1:7a NIV]

Start with God – the first step in learning is bowing down to God [Proverbs 1:7a The Message]

Anything we do has a start.

Anything we want to do has to have a start.

To get fit. To lose weight. To learn a new language. To become better qualified. Whatever it is for us, the only way it happens is by making a start.

A good start makes all the difference.

To lead well in life we have to start somewhere. As a Christian I can place my focus on any number of good practices ~ reading my Bible, praying every day, listening for Gods voice, connecting with others, enjoying some time in worship.

To lead well in life we have to start at the right somewhere.

Know our place. Know our position. Know our purpose.

This verse is a simple reminder to me that to lead well in life is to start with God.

To know my place is to remember that I am not God, and that He is. It is to honour Him and to ‘bow down’ before Him. It is to be humble before God.

To know my position is to walk with God, to be led by the Holy Spirit, listening out for His voice and being continually in conversation with Him about all life brings.

To know my purpose flows from these. As I honour God ad walk with Him, my purpose becomes clearer and my life naturally becomes about the things of God, not my own selfish ambitions.

Start well. Run well. Finish well.

Leading like this will cause others to follow.

Why not take a moment thanking God for who He is in your life? If necessary, make today a new start.

Walk With God: Wholeness 3.0

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. [Philippians 1:21 ESV]

If WHOLE 1.0 can be described as the time we would speak of being whole but only through the accumulation of those things which could make us feel more significant, secure and accepted. Temporary stuff like the right job, the right partner, the right title, the right house filled with all the right material items or that people just like us.

The challenge with wholeness is that when life takes a bite out of us or any of these are lost, where will our sense of wholeness come from then. The only thing that truly satisfies us and makes us WHOLE is the acknowledgement that none of the above do and only God can.

Then we begin the journey from WHOLE 1.0 to WHOLE 2.0. We add to our basic faith as we walk with God through life. We gain from our experiences and from the answers to those difficult questions. We add some spiritual knowledge, some self-control, some perseverance, some godliness, some kindness and some love. [2 Peter 1:5-9]

If I’m honest, wholeness to me can still be about what I accomplish or achieve. It can be centred around how people view me and whether I am admired for who I am and what I do. It can be about filling life with the right kind of things.

Yet the Apostle Paul has a different measure. And this challenges me. I’m calling it WHOLE 3.0. His sense of wholeness came from a place where the only measure for a WHOLE life was Jesus. The ability to see he would be WHOLE in life and WHOLE in death.

It was not about accomplishment unless it was in respect of what he got to do for Jesus and to extend the kingdom of God.

It was not about recognition except to do everything always with the intention to bring glory to God.

It was not about how people saw him or about his reputation but instead was that more may come to accept Jesus as he kept on sharing the good news.

He deemed himself whole when he had much and when he had little. [Phil 4:12]

He deemed himself whole whether he would continue to live or whether he would die. [Phil 1:21]

He deemed himself whole just by living a life of righteousness. [Phil 2:14-15]

Where the desired fruit from my labour may, at times, be more earthly, Paul was always focused on advancing the kingdom for his precious Saviour, Jesus. His transformed life and sense of WHOLE impacted every aspect of the life he lived.

His goals were gospel focused.

His time was utilised on purpose.

His willingly served others.

His lived a righteous life.

He only wanted what he had. Jesus was more than enough.

He was present for every moment.

He focused on eternal values.

His inner peace remained strong despite the external pressures on him every day.

Dear God, help me to live a WHOLE life like this. Completely sold out for you, where all the other stuff really doesn’t matter. Where Jesus is more than enough. To be bust about kingdom purposes, every day. Amen

 

Walk With God: Don’t Be a Jonah

I think it comes naturally to be a Jonah. To run from the call of God rather than towards it. To disagree with what we are being asked to do. To dare to believe we know better.

You cannot outrun God. You cannot outrun the call of God. 

Haven’t we all been there, wondering how we ended up where we did. We should have gone in one direction but we chose another. We find ourselves in a dead end or  simply in the wrong place and in trouble.

That’s Jonah.

So, let’s not do a Jonah.

He found himself inside a giant fish.

He never needed to wonder how he got there, he knew.

It’s a rough moment for Jonah. A 3-day rough moment until the fish threw him up but God has a myriad of ways to capture our attention. And more importantly, a second chance to be obedient.

Lesson learned, you would think.

Jonah continues to be frustrated by the way God behaves. God doesn’t do what we would do. Where we would call for judgement and punishment, God provides love and forgiveness. In our way of thinking this is not fair yet to God, it’s the perfect illustration of fairness.

We want fairness to be toward us but then to determine whether it should be given elsewhere. That is not fair.

God’s long arms of abounding love and slow anger is completely fair. Everyone can receive it, especially those who respond to the call to repent, who turn their heart back to God. It doesn’t seem fair but it is, and I am a thankful recipient of it.

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that He said He would do to them, and He did not do it [Jonah 3:10]

So, let’s not be a Jonah. Instead let’s be more God-like in our working out of fairness in the way He deems things to be fair.

Maybe we should check our hearts today. Is there something God asked to do which we have our done best to ignore, turn away or even run from. Repent, then go for it and get back on the job for God.

 

Walk With God: Get The Word In

I am currently reading through the Bible and journalling thoughts, comments and notable verses as I read. It’s an interesting journey. Today included Psalm 86. Here is my paraphrase…

Preserve my life

Be gracious to me

Gladden my soul

You (God) are good and forgiving

You (God) abound in love

Give ear to my prayer

No works are like Yours

You (God) are great and do marvellous things

Teach me Your way

I give thanks to You

You (God) have delivered me

You (God) are slow to anger and abounding in love

Show me a sign

Show me Your favour

In my walk with God, as I take time to pause I have always been amazed and reassured how the perfectness of Gods word can bring encouragement to me every day. The simpleness of these statements make them even more powerful and when I speak them over my life I am giving them permission to change me.

Why not take these 4 words and use them to bring the word of God alive in your own reading.

PAUSE and wait on God. Reflect on the PERFECTNESS of His word for you right where you are. Acknowledge how POWERFUL those words are. Give them PERMISSION to work in you and through you throughout your day.

Lead Well: Repentance & Forgiveness

Leading well in life can be a challenge, even at the best of times. We will enjoy great days, followed quickly by what I lovingly refer to us ‘other days’.  We can create success out of nothing, yet sabotage ourselves just as easily.

And the biggest of sabotages will not come from problems we cannot solve, or from people who refuse to work with us, and not even from missing out on the success we consider we deserve. The greatest of sabotage will come from ourselves and how we respond to the mistakes we make along the way.

Will we cover up? Will we keep living like the other stuff hasn’t really happened? Or will we face the truth of it?

These are pivotal moments. Back in my twenties when I was confronted about certain lifestyle choices I had a decision to make. Ignore it or do the right thing. I had lied, covered up, behaved badly and now it had finally caught me out.

What I did was the hardest thing I had ever done, yet at the same time, it was the best thing I have ever done. I had some really difficult conversations with people I loved and asked them to forgive me.

It was a journey of repentance and forgiveness which was excruciatingly painful but beautifully liberating, all at the same time. I had learned one of my best lessons and I acknowledge that without travelling this path, I may not be leading the life I now am.

Be ready to repent. Be ready to ask for forgiveness. These two might be our greatest defence, helping us to keep leading well in life and to fulfil our true potential for God.

Repentance breaks the hold of whatever it is that has a hold of you.

Repentance disarms those things which can sabotage your God-given potential.

Repentance brings the truth out in to the open where it can then be dealt with.

Repentance gives God permission to get involved and to turn things around.

Repentance leads to forgiveness which leads to an outpouring of grace which sets you up for the future.

Repentance reminds you how much God loves you and how much those closest to you love you as well.

Let today be a pivotal moment kind of day. Be willing to be confronted or to confront yourself. For what and where do you need to say sorry? Who do you need to ask for forgiveness? Take the first step on this journey and don’t allow them to control you anymore.