Foundation Shaken


Have you ever had something shake you the foundation of your being? You know one of those moments where you feel like the world is coming to an end or should? I just had that happen to me. It’s amazing when God tests your resolve or who you are in Him. When your foundation is shaken and you feel like you are in the eye of the hurricane, remember that you are a child of God and if He is with you what or whom can stand against you.

But I confess that it just happened to me because of news I received from someone very dear to me. This is exactly how  the enemy wants us to feel – fearful, unsure, indecisive, confused, low self-esteem, and anything else that he knows will make you fall and blame God in the process. I didn’t blame God but I did questioned Him as to why and His response was – “have you forgotten everything else I have done in your life?” Boy did that hurt but it took me from questioning God to worshipping Him and thanking Him for that slap in the face – lol
So remember – “And we know that God causes everything to work together* for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28
So don’t ask God why but what do I need to learn.
God bless you!

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Life in all it’s Splendor

Doesn’t it seem that when things are going badly they end up getting worse and the closest to a resolution you have isn’t even a resolution but seems to add more oxygen to the fire? Many times we go through these different stages in our lives where we end up wishing we were non-existent or swallowed by the earth.

We all go through this syndrome but the big difference is how you come out on the other side. It is natural to feel overwhelmed and unnoticed when going through a tough situation. Many times you feel like you’re the only person on this earth. The bible has some interesting ways of looking at our situations.

jesusconquersFor instance, in John 16:33 it says,”I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have[perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

This alone gives us the strength to continues to keep going because we know that Jesus already conquered our troubles, problems, situations, and any circumstances that may seem overwhelming. In Romans 8:28,31,37-39, He says,”And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.” and,”What then shall we say to all these things? If God is for us, who can be [successful] against us?” and, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced–beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is great news because it means that we are not alone and that we have already been given the out of our situations no matter how rough, hard, or troublesome. Jesus has provided the resolution to our desolation.

I am not saying that it will be easy or that it will be a breeze but what I am saying is that we no longer have to suffer as deep or as long as we would have without Jesus Christ.

Journey – Day 2

These segments are going to be done one every two weeks or once a month. In the last post, I talked about how my journey is beginning with the correction or revamping of my leadership. But it seems that’s not where it is going to start after all. Everything we do and say all starts with us. We need to figure out what we are doing, why am I not reaching my potential, and why am I not able to get from where I am to where I want to be?

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Each of us has a journey that only we can make and sometimes that means making it alone. The struggles and situations that will come during this journey no one else can take. But don’t be discouraged because the bible says,”This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (NLT)” These words of encouragement are very helpful. To understand that He that created you will be with you always is a great way to begin anew.

This journey called life will surprise you in ways you can’t even imagine. Sometimes the people you think would give the most help, will be the first to abandon you in the midst of your trial or situation. But this too is a test because this life was given to you to accomplish what God had purposed for you since before time began. What happens is that we get so caught up in our own self-pity that we forget to let go because we become blinded and don’t know any other way exists. I am, by no means, denying nor belittling the pain and anguish and the embarrassment and fear of the opinions of others when we come to realize the error of our ways, but if we analyze it correctly, we can make this realization a fresh new start, a beginning of what can ultimately be our grand entrance to a new life and a new you.

loneliness11This came to mind when I reflected on my own situation and wondered why am I still not moving forward. “The choices we make in our personal lives will inherently affect the choices we make in every other aspect of our lives.” This was more true for me than I liked to admit. The personal choices I had made throughout my life have definitely affected the other areas of my life. When I look back to the moment I became an adult to this moment the two areas that consistently show up as my negatives, apart from others, are procrastination and lack of a sense of urgency. To admit that I lack certain integral traits that would make me more successful in life, in ministry, and in general is no easy task and even worse to admit it to the public is even more terrifying. But when you get to a point where the only place to look at is up, nothing makes you more free and open.
As much as it hurts and as embarrassing as it is, when you are honest with yourself, there is a sense of freedom that is unexplainable. Self analyzation is one of the hardest must do you will ever have to undertake but a necessary one. Since early on we’ve been taught to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, self-everything but we will never see the errors of our ways if we keep thinking that way. Someone else has to evaluate our performance in order for us to truly know how we are doing.
What are you struggling with in your life that is hindering your growth potential? Can you be open enough to admit these lacking traits? Do you have someone who can be honest with you?

Day 1 – New Journey

This is the first day of the new journey. The first thing I did today was read Proverbs 3:34-35, “The lord mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble. The wise inherit honor,but fools are put to shame!” It’s kind of interesting that the first thing I did was read since for me it has always been a struggle. But reading is part of the education that I want to continue receiving. It also allows for my vocabulary to expand, my mind to widen and my soul to feed. I am also reading the book “Madness” by Jossy Chacko and “The Heart of a Leader” by Jon Byler. Both of these books focus on leadership and it seems that my journey has begun with the shaping of my leadership as a whole. Interesting place to start, huh.

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Many of us are leaders but we’ve been so used to following that we forget our place. I am a Chaplain, a Pastor, a Musician, a Poet, a Brother, a Father, a Son, and a Friend. Which of these roles are you in as well? And in which role do you think your leadership is used?

I am all of the roles and a leader in all of them. But I have come to realize that I have allowed certain situations in my life to take control of the outcome of my leadership. Which means I have failed as a leader. Do you fall into this category as well? Are you willing to admit that you have failed as a leader in certain areas or in all? Why have you failed? What has taken your focus away?

 

Evernote Employee Inspiration: Meet the Idea Man, “Mr. Evernote” — Evernote Blog

In this series, we spotlight employees and the clever and creative ways they use the product! Get some inspiration from Evernote insiders. In a way, Josh Zerkel is “Mr. Evernote.” As head of the Evernote Community and Certified Consultant programs, it’s Josh’s job to spread the word about Evernote to groups around the world, and…

via Evernote Employee Inspiration: Meet the Idea Man, “Mr. Evernote” — Evernote Blog

New Journey

I have not written in a while and just a few minutes ago a submitted several pieces that I had written before so it was easy to cut and paste them. Hence the reason for this particular topic today.

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Many times in our lives we lose focus and somehow get out of the path that will take us from the place we find ourselves to the place we want to be. I recently attended the Leadership Summit hosted by Willow Creek Church and I would definitely recommend it to all young and old. At the summit many great leaders spoke on different topics but the theme seem to be the same, leaders are not born they are made. The steps that it takes a person to get to the level that these great men and women have attained are steps that anyone can do.

One of the things that really hit home for me were the questions, “how passionate are you with what God has placed in your hands? and how close are you with the people you serve?” As leaders we tend to correct more than we’d like to admit versus a true leader who connects with people. So I have decided to start a new journey to refocus, reinvent, and reenergize my passion for what God has currently placed in my hands and I wanted to take you with me.

You will see my shortcomings, failures, successes, victories, and the process that I will take to get from where I currently am to where I want to be.  Where do I want to be? That question will be answered in the next post. So please stay tune and comments are always welcomed.

God bless!

Leadership – Character Part II

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Good leaders, the best leaders, are constantly looking for an edge. They are learning whatever they can, in order to gain new insights, hear fresh perspectives, and see new opportunities. There’s a quote, often attributed to the Roman writer Seneca the Younger, that reads, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”  
– John Maxwell 

Leadership is defined as the action of leading a group of people or an organization. In order to be a leader one must followers. A leader also needs to have character. Character is defined as the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves : someone’s personality. Character is what sets good leaders apart from normal leaders. What I mean by this is that a good leader will always be trustworthy, their word is there bond, never lie even when it may end a relationship, etc. Good leaders will learn from past mistakes and experiences and will always work to keep improving themselves and learning new things constantly.

Let’s face it: when everything goes well it is easy to adopt the right attitudes and do the right things. But character is developed when we go through difficult times of suffering and testing. In fact, nothing reveals character more than difficult times. When pressures are applied to your life you will know exactly who you really are. Like a lemon, juice is only delivered when it is squeezed, you will expose your true nature when you are being tested through hard times.

Tough times reveal not only who you really are but will also provide opportunities to grow in character. Paul, writing to the believers in Rome, says: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.“(Romans 5.3-4 ESV). Knowing that God can change the difficult things in life in ways that will shape your character, Enjoy yourself in times of trouble. Too often we cry to God to relieve us of the harsh circumstances rather than asking Him to help us discern what he wants to teach us with such tests. All who pass tough times with God will see how his character is perfected.

A solid character is not the result of a moment but of a lifetime. Character is not received by the laying of hands or by attending a one-day seminar. There are no shortcuts to building good character. It takes time. When God wanted to train Moses, he took him into the desert and kept him there for forty years. Joseph worked for thirteen years as a slave before he was ready to lead a nation. David spent years as a fugitive on the run from King Saul before God considered him ready to assume the high office of King. Jesus spent three years shaping the lives of his disciples. Paul waited three years in the wilderness before God used him to lead the church.

Time and how you spend it is the key element to character building and the foundation of a great leader. How are you spending your time? What new things are you trying to learn? From whom are you trying to learn? For what purpose are you trying to learn?

Leadership – Character

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Leadership is defined as the action of leading a group of people or an organization. In order to be a leader one must followers. A leader also needs to have character. Character is defined as the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves : someone’s personality. What kind of leader do you aspire to be? Where would you like your leadership to take you? Who are your heroes in the Leadership Arena?

I have begun a study of how to become a more effective leader. I have been a pastor for about 4 years and have been in different roles and have had success in some areas and failed in others. After doing some deep inner reflection, I found that my failure was not due to knowledge of God’s word or to my abilities to connect with others but the hard truth is, it was due to my character. I wasn’t shady or stealing or anything negative in that sense but I was not a person of character in the sense that my word was many times broken.

As a leader, your followers will look to you guidance. But if they can’t trust you, what kind of leader are you? Trust, integrity, and humbleness were my downfall. I thank God for the second chances because I have been working in these areas. Tough to admit but the lack of these character signature in me has stunted my growth as a great leader in my church.

God is good though. He has allowed me to redeem myself and give retribution. Next time we will focus more on what God looks for vs. what men look for in a leader.

What are some of your stories?  This was my honest confession.

 

God uses a Process to Prepare His People

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We have all been there. Getting ready for a new job, new home, new semester at school. When you think about these things, what do you notice about the process we go through? There is a preparation stage. There is a what you do stage and there is a check or audit stage and finally an action stage. All of God’s prophets, great men and women, and leaders go through the same stages just with different outcomes.

In the story of God’s people being delivered out of Egypt, we see that there is a preparation that takes place during the journey in order for the people to go into the promised land. We notice that in that preparation none of the people who started the journey, except for Joshua and Caleb, were able to cross to the promise land. What happened? You would think that at least Moses should have been able to finish the journey of crossing over but he didn’t make it either. Many times we suffer the same outcome. During the preparation phase we falter and instead of continuing, we give up and let go of our dreams and stop following the course that God had set us on.

Now that the next generation made to the promise land, their next step was to do. They had to take care of business. God told them to conquer and that’s what they started doing. But it wasn’t just about conquering the surrounding people, it was also about conquering their own fears, insecurities, guilts, and other things that will later ignite God’s wrath due to their disobedience. Everyday we must conquer our fears, our insecurities, our weaknesses, and other things in our lives to help us get to the next level. As a great leader said in his book,”Madness – Your ability to achieve your dreams is in direct proportion to your willingness to make sacrifices”

What are you willing to sacrifice in order to obtain the preparation necessary to become the leader God has called you to be?

Are you self or God sustained?

sermon-1-abrahamic-covenant-01-16-638If God is our provider, why is it that we depend so much on what we earn? True He has given us the strength to work and He also states in His word that he who does not work will not or should not eat.

One of the hardest things to do is trust in someone or something that one cannot see. Most christians talk about God providing for their needs but it seems to be only by word of mouth because their actions speak something totally different. I can speak this way because that used to be me. I relied so heavily on what I could do that I didn’t allow God do what He wanted to do. In every one of those instances I saw my life changing for the worse. I have since then learn to trust God in almost everything I do. I say almost everything because I still seem to do things on my own without consulting with Him.

I am currently going through something very difficult and many times I find myself still trying to do my own thing and it gets me in more trouble than when I let God do His. I guess one of the hardest things to do is to let go. When you’ve done something for so long and then you to try to allow God to govern your life, that is one of the most painful but rewarding moments in one’s life.

Are you still trying to run things? Or are you allowing God to run things?