Cultivate God-Confidence

When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth in pointed backwards reminding them of the mistakes that their ancestors had made. How even though they had experienced the incredible miracles with Moses, and the wonder and grace of God, they were still defeated by temptation during hard times.

He tells them…
‘We must be on our guard so that we never get caught up in wanting our own way…’ [1 Cor 10:6 Msg]

Isn’t that the daily challenge for most Christians? Or is that just me? Some days are easier than others. But when things are tough, that’s when our guard can fall, we give the devil a glimpse, an opportunity, then it becomes all about ‘ME’ and having my own way.

He reminds them…
‘We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving him…we must be careful not to stir up discontent…’ [1 Cor 10:9&10 Msg]

He describes these things as MISTAKES that their ancestors made. These are self-centred attitudes. Paul describes them as WARNING MARKERS. Examples written down so that we don’t make the same mistakes. If we can keep our attitude right then we put ourselves in a better place to meet this challenge. How do we stay on our guard?

He tells them…
‘Don’t be naive
Don’t be self-confident (that’s useless)
Know that you are not exempt
Understand that we can fall flat on our faces as easily as anyone else
Remember that God will NEVER let you down’ [1 Cor 10:12-13 Msg]

I realise it sounds easier written down than it might be in reality. My prayer…’Keep me disciplined, keep me focused on the right things, help me put my confidence in you God, even when everything around me might be telling me otherwise. Thank you that you never let me down.’

How’s your GOD-CONFIDENCE today?

How To Walk Into Your Future – Pt1

Shared these thoughts last Sunday as my first venture into our new Preaching Series at Xcel Church about walking into our ‘flashforwards’. Whatever we see in our future – the best part about it is that we can have God right at the centre of it. This means we should be walking ahead…

This is a confidence not based on getting the answers we want all the time but based on the knowledge that God will do what is right for us. The two invariably are not always the same. We may not always know our own thoughts on things but God is never uncertain. His thoughts are always working towards the expected end.

As Jeremiah 29:11 says ‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.

God wants us to be able to move ahead with confidence. By His grace & Holy Spirit he directs the thoughts, affections & designs of all. We can take confident steps into our future knowing that He has already thought about them. (Psalm 37:23)

Paul wrote in Eph 5:15 (NKJV) ‘See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise’

We want God to use us in the future – thenwe need to watch how we walk, to have a walk worthy of the calling to which we are called. The calling is to that of being a Christian and the opportunities that living out that calling may unfold.

Look at Noah – the Bible says there was something ‘different’ about him. He was a man right with God, careful to keep that relationship right, to always do what God asked him to, to keep his integrity. Maybe that is why God could open up what can only be described as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity.

To walk ‘circumspectly’ literally means to walk accurately, in the right way, frequently consulting our rule – so that we don’t act as fools but rather as people who are wise. Too many give no thought about how things look, about protecting their integrity, to think about how their actions represent God.

Instead of getting frustrated with God and wondering why He hasn’t noticed us yet, perhaps we should take more care how we walk, what we fill our time with and give ourselves greater possibility of ending up where God needs us to end up.

So where do we need to take care? How can we improve your walk?
What are we going to do this year to help us walk more carefully?

I Appreciate What You Do

5 words that can make a huge difference to someone on your team. Appreciation fulfills one of the greatest needs that everybody has – recognition for what we do.

It’s easier than we think, it doesn’t need to be something grand.

A simple shake of the hand and thank you will often suffice. It’s a point of contact initiated by you, the leader, to the team member that speaks volumes – it says I’ve seen what you are doing, and you did a great job.

It doesn’t need to be public but that certainly adds power to it. Giving thanks privately is good but to occasionally single people out in front of the rest of the group, although more tricky, can add value to the thanks being given.

Appreciation brings confidence to the recipient. If you only ever interact with your team to tell them whats wrong all the time you will create an envirnoment of negativity and resentment, particularly towards you. True, genuine appreciation goes against the culture and works to create momentum, continued support and a strong team mentality.

When giving thanks, make sure you don’t have your favourites. That certainly won’t help that individual, plus it won’t do you any favours either.

Passing the appreciation test is easy really. As a leader just make sure you are consistent, honest and a great encourager of everybody. Once is not enough, make it a lifestyle of looking for the best in people ALL the time and celebrating that with them and the rest of the team.

Tell me – do you think you pass? do you think you team leader passes?