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Monday, October 28, 2013

Empowered People, Empower People

Just wanted to share with you what I shared with our awesome leaders today at CCA.

Yesterday I read a great tweet and wanted to share it with you.  Here is what it said...

Never Delegate.  Always Empower.

I love that.  I am always looking for things I do that I can delegate to others, but empowering them to do it takes on a whole new meaning.

When people feel empowered by a leader they feel a part of the team and they feel ownership.  I have found that when people feel ownership, they complete their task with greater excellence, have more fun, and always seem to empower others to help them.  

Empowered people, empower people.

So, who can you empower today?  Maybe by letting them set the next menu for your next Life Group Meeting or letting them show the new guy/gal on your team the ropes? 

Empowering people is a way of training them, developing them, and allowing them to use their gifts and talents to advance the Kingdom of God.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Follow the Leader

When I was in elementary school, the teacher would line the class up, put a leader at the front of the line and say, “Ok, now everyone follow the leader.”

And where that leader walked, we walked.  When they stopped, we stopped.

There are times in our leadership life that we have to stop and take a look at where we are leading our people.  Because where we lead, they will follow.  

I have learned over the years that if I am feeling like my team just isn’t where it should be, then maybe it’s me. Ouch!

Many times we can get so focused on what we are doing that we forget to stop and pay attention to how we are doing it.

Here are a couple of great questions to ask ourselves that may help us out-

-On a scale of 1-10, how would I rate my attitude when I serve and lead?

-On a scale of 1-10, how prepared am I?

-When I serve or lead, do I reflect the mission and vision of CCA to LOVE God, LOVE People and SERVE Others?

-Am I more focused and concerned with the obstacles than the opportunities? (We are a portable church and have PLENTY of both!)

Our people are not just following what we do, but they are following how we do it.

If we are never prepared, they won’t feel it is important to prepare.

If our attitude stinks, their attitudes will probably stink too. 

Here’s what John Maxwell says in the 21 Irrefutable Laws ofLeadership, True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned.  It comes from influence, and that can’t be mandated.  It must be earned. 

When I was in school it was mandated that I follow the leader.  If I didn’t, I would get paddled. (Do they even still do that today?)

At CCA the people on are teams do have a choice to follow or not to follow.  And when we are prepared to lead and have great attitudes,

they will want to follow.

And you will be leading them somewhere great!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Prophet, A Prostitute, and Eric

Isaiah 12:1-6 & 17:1-14, 2 Chronicles 28:16-29:2, 2 Kings 16:10-18, 18:1-8, 15:30-31, 17:1-4, Hosea 1:1-2:13
Last night I came home from the office and sat out on my back patio and finish reading one of my all time favorite Christian fiction books, Redeeming Love.  I discovered it while packing last week and decided to begin reading it again.
The book is based on the story of the prophet Hosea and Gomer who we just so happened to read the beginning of their story today.  I would say that was a coincidence, but I don’t really think so.
The story of Hosea and Gomer is an incredible picture of redemption, love and forgiveness.  And after reading Redeeming Love again I am once more humbled that God would forgive me over and over. He never gives up on us even when we have at times blatantly turned our backs on Him.  His love really is extravagant and incomprehensible.
At the end of the book the author, Francine Rivers, shares how she came to Christ.  She was a secular romance novelist at the time but even though her and her husband were successful on the outside, on the inside their lives and marriage were decaying, fast.
Until one day they moved to start a new life, in a new town, with new business.  The day they pulled their U-Haul up in front of their new home a little boy named Eric came out to welcome them and help out.  He told them, “Have I got a church for you!” to which Francine and her husband rolled their eyes.
But one day they realized the new town, new job and new life was not helping like they had hoped so they decided to give this church a try.  There they found love, they found hope, they found new life, they found redemption.
Had Eric not come over that day and invited them to church, there is no telling where Francine and her husband would have ended up, but I am pretty sure it would have been divorce court because it was that bad.
But Eric did go over that day.
And today, Francine Rivers has authored almost 30 Christian books that have touched and change more lives than anyone will probably ever know this side of heaven.
So, who do you need to invite to church today?  You NEVER know the plans God has for that person’s life.
And how incredibly humbling is it that He uses US to accomplish His will!?! Even through a simple invite.
For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose. Philippians 2:13
Stay tuned because tomorrow we will see how things work out for Hosea and Gomer.
p.s. I encourage you to go to francinerivers.com and learn more about her books and life.

Monday, June 17, 2013

It's Monday

2 Chronicles 21:8-20, 2 Kings 8:23-29, 2 Chronicles 22:1-9, 2 Kings 9:1-10:31 
really like Mondays.
But I really don’t like waking up on Mondays to see posts on social media that say, It’s Monday.  UGGGGHH!!! :(   I feel sorry for these people because it makes me think of how depressing their lives must be to feel this way.
I like Mondays because it is a new week, a new beginning, another chance to do something great and make a difference.
Although after reading our chronological reading today I will agree that it was a little bit of a depressing way to start a Monday too.  We read about a lot of death, pain and destruction.
But the saddest of all lines was in 2 Chronicles 21:20.   Jehoram has died as foretold by Elijah and in verse 20 it said, No one was sorry when he died.
Nobody valued Jehoram while he lived and no one lamented him when he died.  What a depressing life he had to live.
Any difference he made was toward evil and not good.
Any emotion he had was toward hate and not love.
Any sacrifice he made was toward pagan gods not God.
And when he died, no one cared.  Rather they were relieved.
My prayer for us on this Monday is that we would we would live today, and everyday, to make a difference toward good and be a living sacrifice so that others’ lives would be changed because God is working through us.
If we live like this, everyone we know will be sad when we die because we did not live a depressing life, rather we lived a life that made a difference in theirs.
Today is a new week, a new beginning, another chance to do something great and make a difference!!
It's Monday. YEAAAH!!! :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sticks and Stones

Proverbs 11:1-13:25
Those who control their tongue will have long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything. Proverbs 13:3
Truer words have never been spoken (pun intended).
You may not realize it but you create with the words you speak. As a matter of fact, if you read Genesis 1 you will see that it was the words God spoke that created everything!!
Then God said, Let there be light…
Then God said, Let there be space between the waters…
Then God said, Let the waters beneath the sky flow together in one place…
Then God said, Let the land sprout with vegetation…
Then God said, Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night…
The God said, Let the waters swarm with fish and other life…
The God said, Let the earth produce every sort of animal…
When I was growing up there was a saying we always said when we didn’t want another kid to know they were hurting us with their words.  We would look at them and say, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
The first part of that saying is true, the second part is not because words can hurt worse than broken bones.
Proverbs 18:21 tells us that life and death are in the power of our tongue.
Words can heal, and words can kill.
The tongue is such a small part of the body, but with it you can encourage, uplift, guide, show love and restore.
But with it you can also discourage, break hearts, show evil and destroy.
So, what words will you use today? Because they have to power to destroy a relationship, your future and your present.  But they also have the power to heal relationships, create a future and allow you to enjoy the present.
But it is up to us whether or not we are going to speak life or death.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Props to Solomon

1 Kings 7:1-51
2 Chronicles 3:15-14:22
Did you notice that it took only a little over 7 years to build the Temple but 13 for Solomon to build his own house?
Some commentaries I read insinuated that this revealed Solomon’s divided heart suggesting that he cared more about his palace than his place of worship.
But one commentary suggested that the reason it took only 7 years to build the temple was because there were numerous years of preparation and planning for it. I personally like this idea better and feel at this point in Solomon’s life this is probably a more accurate account of why the temple was built so quickly.
The other reason I think it is a more accurate account is because it is true.  Solomon’s dad, King David, began preparing for the temple years before the first stone was ever put in place (1 Chronicles 22).
Planning and preparing ahead made building the temple easier for Solomon.
When we plan ahead it makes our life so much easier too.  We may not be building a temple but we are building a life. When you plan for retirement, plan out a vacation, plan out a meeting, plan out how you intend to teach and train our kids, then you have set yourself up for success.
I believe Solomon had quick success building the temple because of the years of prepping for it.
If Solomon’s heart was so divided at this time then I believe he would have built his home first. And props to him for waiting 13 years before moving into his home. I definitely would not want to do the same.
So, what will you begin planning for today?  It will allow you to have greater success tomorrow!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Prayer & Expectancy

1 Kings 2:1-12, 2 Samuel 23:1-7, 2 Chronicles 29:26-30, Psalms 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 &11
David, the man after God’s own heart, left us today.  But, one day we will stand in the halls of heaven and get to hear him recount his stories in person.  That’s something that’s hard for us to wrap our minds around, but it is true, and I can’t wait to hear him tell about Goliath & one stone, the lion & the bear he killed with his bare hands, and his incredible faith in God whom he knew would never fail him.
Today, we read one of David’s psalms that said, Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3
David was a man of war, but he was also a man of prayer.
There have been numerous prayers over CCA in the past 5 years.  In fact, this is a picture of the very first prayer Mark prayed over us.
CCA 2008
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3
We had no idea what to expect God would do through this group of people who were gathered that day.
At times, it has been hard. But it is the hard times that teach us to pray hard. 
So we prayed, hard.
And waited, expectantly.
God has directed our steps, every step of the way.
God has made ways, where there were no ways.
God has changed the lives of people who were desperate for change.
Today, are you needing your steps directed?  Do you need a way made for you?  Is there a loved one that you are crying out for God to intersect their lives?
Pray, then expect.
Expectancy is the breeding ground for miracles.
Do you need a miracle today?
Pray, then expect.
If you are seeking answers today you won’t find them, but if you seek God, the answers will find you.
Sometimes it will be exactly what you prayed for, sometimes it won’t.
But I promise, it is always better than expected!!
CCA Yesterday
If you are looking to learn more about prayer, The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson is a great book to read.  I began 2013 by reading this book. And God has answered 3 HUGE prayers I have been praying, some for years.
God loves you and He wants great things for you.
Pray, then expect!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Winning Combination

1 Chronicles 20:1, 2 Samuel 11:1-12:25, Psalm 51, 2 Samuel 5:14-16, 1 Chronicles 14:3-7, 1 Chronicles 3:5-9
I frequently counsel with people and usually the reason they come to me, or any other person for that matter, is because they have something in their life they are trying to overcome.
I try my best to help, give advice, pray for and encourage them but because I can always see the look of, Once I get this beat in my life, life is going to be great on their face I let them know one of the biggest lessons I have learned in my life- Once you conquer the battle in your life right now, there is always another one waiting for you.
Sounds pretty depressing doesn’t it?  But it is so true.
BUT, what we gain from our battles is so much greater than what we lose.  It is in our fighting that we learn
  • God’s faithfulness
  • Patience
  • Perseverance
  • How to give thanks IN everything
  • That God, who is for us in our battles, is greater than ANYTHING that would ever come fighting against us
  • And so much more!!
However, there is a kicker to all this, it means that we can not be passive in life, we have to always be on guard for the next punch the enemy may swing at us.
As we read today, King David, the great warrior was not sitting on ready, in fact he let his guard and defenses down.
He was at home at a time when kings normally go out to war (1 Chron 20:1) strolling on his rooftop after an afternoon siesta.
And the enemy swung, and David was not ready, and the rest is forever a part of his history. David, the man after God’s own heart, stole, murdered and lied.
The battle you are facing right now is not going to be your last one. This was not David’s last one. But how you choose to fight it will determine #1 the outcome and #2 the next one.
If you stay alert (1 Peter 5:8) and learn from this one, the next one will be easier to win.
Not because we have mastered anything, but because God is the master over everything.  Including our battles.
He is fighting for you.
The least we can do is fight for us too.
And as I tell the people I counsel, refuse to let the enemy win.
You + God = A winning combination!!
Now let’s go fight!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Greatest Battle Ever

1 Samuel 26:1-29:11, 1 Chronicles 12:1-7, 12:19,  Psalm 56
In our reading to day David and Saul part ways, never to see each other again.  After all the ups and downs their relationship has endured it truly was a miracle that one did not take the other’s life at some point.
But David has proven to be a faithful servant, even to an undeserving king.
I love what David said in his final words to Saul…
Now may the Lord value my life, even as I have valued yours today. May he rescue me from all my troubles. 1 Samuel 26:24
Saul did not value David’s life but David’s reward was not going to come from his enemy, but from God.
God had delivered Saul into David’s hands more than once giving David the opportunity to exercise faith and patience.  See, God promised David the kingdom but He did not give him the command to kill the king to get it.
David was given the opportunity to rendered good for evil, to him from whom he received evil for good. Becoming an example to us, not to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
Have you ever had to do that?  Do good unto those who are definitely not doing good until you, but are instead making life for you or your loved ones very difficult.
Let David be an example for us today.
Saul was fueled by fear, insecurity and pride. That is what your enemy is being fueled by too.
David was fueled by a desire to follow hard after God.  Let that be what you are fueled by too.
David, the great warrior, let God fight this battle for him.
In what battles do you need to do the same?
When we value our enemies, no matter how hard it is, God will value us even more.
And will rescue you from your troubles.
David, the shepherd boy is soon to become King.  When he does he will know he won one of the biggest battles to get there: the battle over himself.
May we do the same.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

He is the Reason

1 Samuel 4:12 - 8:22
The end of our reading today was a little heart breaking.  Israel, whom God has done so much for, whom God had chosen to be something special revealed that they didn’t want to be special any more, they wanted to be just like everyone else.
Although it may look like it, Israel requesting a king was not the problem.  In fact, God’s plan was for them to one day have a king. (Deuteronomy 17)
The problem was the reason they wanted a king- to be like other nations.
We get into trouble when we want the right things in life, but for all the wrong reasons.
Wanting a spouse is a right thing (It is not good for man to be alone. Gen 2:18). Wanting a spouse so you can be fulfilled in life is a wrong reason.  God, and God alone, is meant to satisfy us completely.
Wanting a great career is a good thing.  Wanting a great career so you can boost your ego is not.
One saying I have heard my whole life, and I am sure you have as well, is this-
Be careful what you wish for.
It is so true. Even good things in our life can bring troubles.
Marriages are great, but they are a lot of work.
Great careers are, well great, but they are, well, a lot of work.
But when you want these things for the right reasons the difficult days are much easier to navigate.
Israel is about to go through some difficult days. God is going to let them have what they want, but God is not going to walk through it with them.
If our decisions are always based on the right reasons, God will always walk with us through the hard days.
Israel rejected God as their King, yet they cannot escape His rule because God is the one who will appoint their new king.
God was not going to then, and will not now, step off His throne even if man asks Him to.
When we do not resist the rule of God, we will benefit from the rule of God. But if we resist the rule of God, we will only hurt ourselves.
Israel's reasons for their request was so they could be like everyone else.  God wanted them to be special.
God wants us to be special too and He alone always need to be our reason for everything we do.
We were His!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Great God, Weak Me

Judges 7-9:21
Gideon is one of the greatest stories in the Bible that illustrates how God intentionally uses the weak to do mighty things.
God did not, and does not, call people based on their ability, but their availability.
And I love how our great God reassured our weak Gideon today in Judges 7:10-11…
But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah.  Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.
Why was it that God felt He had to reassure Gideon of the victory before the fighting began?  Do you remember yesterday that our reading ended with Gideon asking God not once, but twice to give him a sign that He was going to do what He promised?
So today, before Gideon could even ask for another sign, God went ahead and gave it to him.
When I came to Judges 6:36-40 (where Gideon asked twice for a sign) I noticed that a few years ago I had written in my Bible beside the text, God is a patient God.  I wrote that because I noticed how God willingly accommodated Gideon’s 2 requests and did grow impatient with him.
When God calls us, he knows we are weak, sometimes scared, uncertain of ourselves and sometimes uncertain of God, and yet He is always patient with us.
Oddly though, we can be some of the most impatient people on the planet.  It’s why we have road rage, fume at WalMart when there are 38 check out lanes and only 7 open, and get frustrated when our internet slows and it takes 6 seconds instead of the normal 2 to load a webpage.
And yet, God is always patient with us.
So far we have read about Noah, Abraham, Moses and Joshua, all men whom God did great things through, not because they were great men, but because they said, Yes to a great God.
God may never ask us to command an army, then reduce that army down to 300 warriors to fight against thousands of our enemy, but whatever He does ask, if you just say Yes, our God will do mighty things through you too, not because you are great, but because He is great...
And always patient with the impatient.