10 Lessons It Took Me Years To Understand

Here are 10 lessons it took me years to understand:

  1. If you have to impress the friend, he or she isn’t much of a friend.
  2. “Just once” probably is a bigger deal than led to believe.
  3. The sooner you decide to get your life headed in the right direction the more time you have to enjoy it.
  4. There are few shortcuts to success.
  5. Hard times come naturally in life…determine early to use them for God’s glory and to help others.
  6. Kids grow up too fast. Enjoy them at each stage.
  7. There is wisdom with age. Always be willing to learn from those who have lived and experienced more of life.
  8. The longer you wait to forgive someone the longer it takes to heal your heart.
  9. If you don’t act on what you feel led to do, because of fear or indecision, someone else will and you will miss the blessing.
  10. More success in the world does not automatically bring more happiness, more success with the things that matter most does.

What are some lessons it took you a while to learn?

Do Ministry Even If You Can Do Something Else

Praying Hands With BibleOne of the most frequent “encouragements” I have heard from pastors to those that are sensing a call to full-time vocational ministry is:

Don’t do ministry if you can do anything else…

I have made it a practice never to give that advice to people seeking my counsel. That cliché sounds good, but I am not sure it is practical, helpful, or even completely true.

For years, I resisted a call to ministry, partly because of this advice. The simple fact was that I could do some things besides ministry. I had some success in business. In fact, at one point I was extremely successful in my field. In my own strength, I found I could do many things.

What I could never seem to do on my own was find contentment. Resisting God’s call on my life for vocational ministry took me down numerous career changes looking for that one thing I was “supposed” to do. It wasn’t until I surrendered to full-time vocational ministry that I discovered what I was “designed” to do. I never knew contentment in my work life until God was my employer.

My advice if you are truly called to ministry is to do ministry, even if you can do something else. Nothing provides peace and contentment in life like obedience to God’s call on your life. For more thoughts on the call to ministry, click HERE.

Are you running from a call upon your life? Are you resisting something God is calling you to do?

The contentment you are looking for in life may not be found until you obey.

Just saying…

The Real People Behind The Online Presence

I enjoyed meeting some of the people that I admire online this week at Cultivate Conference in Chicago. Names that appear bigger than life to me, because I enjoy their blogs and work so much, were up close and personal. I shook the hands of people like, Jon Acuff, Kem Meyer, Scott McClellan, Kent Shaffer, Tony Steward and Rhett Smith.

I think the humbling thing for me was the reminder that these are real people. I heard a couple of their stories. They have real stories too.

Sometimes I think we tend to forget that behind the bigger than life appearance a strong web presence gives someone are real people with real stories…and real problems and challenges to life.

That’s true for all of us…

That’s true for me….

The fact is that I blog a lot. (Some would say too much.) There may be the tendency to believe I know what I’m talking about sometimes….

…Sometimes I actually do…

…Many times its because I learned a lesson the hard way…

But with everyone that has an online presence, including in my case, it’s important to remember that the online presence may not be a complete picture of reality. We can seem to have it all together through our blogs…but behind the computer sits real people with real stories…and real problems and real challenges to life.

What’s your current problem or challenge?  Do you clean it up well online?

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

n39520409352_465Can I be completely honest with you about something?

I don’t understand cancer. I hate it.

I know all about sin and how this world is corrupt and broken and how everything will one day be redeemed, but there is something mysterious and scary about cancer.

I have so many friends who have been affected. It’s rampant in my own family right now. I hate it.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Perhaps no other cancer has been so prevalent in our church. We have numerous breast cancer survivors at Grace Community Church. These women encourage me with their faith and resolve to not only fight the disease, but to make the world a better place in spite of their sickness. Some of the heroes of faith to me right now are these women.

This month our local Clarksville Family Magazine featured one such woman, Kelly Blevins. Kelly, and fellow Grace girl Lynne Woodson, have decided to use their experience with cancer to launch a local support group for other breast cancer patients. This type ministry fires me up, because it addresses real and practical needs. I want to be their biggest cheerleader!

Have you experienced the devastation of cancer in your life, either personally or with people you love?

Have you marveled at the faith of those with cancer?

Take some time today to pray for a cure, to pray for God’s comfort, and to pray for those families struggling with cancer.

One Contrast Between Leaders and Managers

One contrast between a manager and a leader is that good managers enjoy stability…

The best managers love systems that work…

…While leaders love chaos…

They may not admit it, because it sounds somewhat morbid, but leaders love when things are just a little messy…

The truth is leaders love fixing a problem…

Leaders love leading a charge through adversity…

Leaders love a challenge…

It’s not that leaders don’t want things that work well…

Leaders just thrive on change…on adrenaline…

Since, leaders are heads up more than heads down…

…And tend to see the big picture over the details…

Real leaders thrive best when everyone else is looking for a leader.

He or she loves figuring out solutions to different situations….

Leaders love forming a new strategy…

Leaders love shaping a team through rough waters…

Leaders love attaining those things everyone else said couldn’t be attained…

Leaders love to lead…

In fact, if things get too comfortable…well…I wrote about that concept HERE.

Considering this observation, are you more of a leader or a manager? (Read THIS POST for more on this subject)

Be honest leaders: Do you agree? (Feel free to disagree.)

Eliminating Sin From Your Life

You got to love (or not) the staff I work with at Grace Community Church. They put a lot of effort into their work (nonsense) sometimes.  Now they are in the product design/info commercial phase of ministry.  If we sell enough of these, we are buying a new building!

By the way, the only real way to rid your sin problem is through Jesus Christ. Don’t want to confuse the literal thinkers.

Encouragement To Pursue A Dream

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The most common reasons for not pursuing a dream or goal are the fear of failure or the uncertainty of success.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”

 

If you wait for perfect conditions, you will most likely never act.

  • When you have a dream or vision
  • When God lays something on your heart
  • When you feel a pull in a certain direction
  • When opportunities prevail

The best time to act on it is NOW!

Are you still nervous about moving forward? Do this simple test:

  • Is it sinful?
  • Does my moral conscience tell me it’s wrong?
  • Does my spouse disagree? (God will not lead a couple in opposite directions.)

If the answers are all “no’s” then quit making excuses for your delays and get going…

The sooner you move towards completion the sooner you will reap the rewards.

What dream do you need to begin pursuing?

The Before And After Picture of Your Story

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What do you think of when you look at this picture?

I know what I am tempted to see:

I see an eyesore…
I see what’s left of someone’s dream…
I see a has been building…
I see a useless piece of rubble…

…But what if this were only the before picture?

What if the AFTER picture was a brand new remodeled, modern building utilizing the front wall of the old building?

Would that make a difference in your perception about this picture?

Sometimes we tend to look at the present and forget about the amazing power in a future.

Your current story may be awful. You may feel your dream is gone. You may wonder if anything good can come of your brokenness.

One thing is sure; you cannot change your story, but you can allow the power of God to work in you to bring about a better story.

Never underestimate the power of God’s intervention in your life. He uses broken, mixed up, hurting, fractured stories to mold and shape some of His greatest work.

Are you ready?  Have you got one of those great stories of God’s power to change a life?  I’d love to hear it.

(For more ideas on how to recover from a painful past, read this POST and this POST and this POST.)