2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 35,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

SALT and LIGHT

#3The Bible says that we called to be SALT and LIGHT to the lost.  Matthew 5:13 says “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” If you tell people that you are a Christian and then live your life as if you were not, then what kind of influence are you having on people? SALT is added to give flavor and influence the taste of the food.

Likewise, God has called you to influence those around you in such a way that your life should point others towards CHRIST, not away from HIM. If you are not living your life in such away that is pleasing to God and leading others towards HIM, then you are no longer good for anything ‘except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot’. Today is a new day, repent and turn your life around. Decide today that you are no longer going to live for yourself, but for GOD! It is tyme for you to stand up and start LIVING OUT LOUD (LOL). Become the person that God has called you to be, fulfill your purpose. Live your life in such a way that you are leading others towards Christ, using words if necessary. Let your LIGHT shine brightly and your SALT influence many.

*Photo(s)/Resource(s): Danielle Grehn

It’s Tyme For A Change!

Romans 12 1-2 (The Message)  So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

#3For the last eight years, President Obama centered his entire presidential campaign over the issue of change. He convinced the entire nation that “It’s tyme for a change!”  He was extremely motivational in his speeches for this new change and the world watched as our nation experienced a moment in history, the first black American President. We watched in awe and clung to every clever word that came from his lips. The truth is we are ready for a change in our lives. Most Americans feel the uprising within themselves that call for something different. They are tired of the same results of their mundane lives.

The kind of change that we are all looking for does not have to do with the trends in this world that will come and go. The kind of change that we are looking for is everlasting and unending, something that is constant and unwavering. I am here to tell you that God wants you to make that change as well. In the passage in Romans, God wants your life to be changed so much that it is transformed into something new. A change that takes place from the inside and eventually permeates to the entire outside of you.

Don’t be like the current culture that keeps changing it’s mind on what they want or don’t want. That type of change will drag you down to world’s level and understanding. God wants more for your life and wants to do more through you. The type of change that needs to take place in your life will be as monumental as the presidential election, it will be history in the making. This type of change can change the course of history in your life, which in turn can affect the course of history in others lives.

Like the late Michael Jackson sang in his song “Man in the Mirror” that “if you want to make the world a better place, you better look in the mirror and make a change”. Change starts with you, not others around you. It is tyme for YOU to step up and make the change that God is longing for you to embrace. Be the person who you were created to be. Be a history maker and help change the lives of others around you. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for a change!

Photo(s)/Resource(s): Danielle Grehn

Cancel the Audition!

#3Do you ever struggle with knowing what your purpose in life is? Do you often wonder if you missed the mark or the window of opportunity to do what you were called to do by God. I just want to encourage you that it is never too late and you are never to old to fulfill the call of God on your life. Even if you feel like you have missed the boat or have been wondering around in the dessert for too long, you can still rise up and do what God is calling you to do. Jeremiah 29:11 God knows the plans He has for you and they are perfect and HIS timing is perfect. Ask God today to help give you the clarity you need to know what your purpose is and the courage to step out in faith and do what HE is calling you to do.

Before you were even born, God chose YOU! (Jeremiah 1:5) God already chose you to do what HE has called you to do so cancel the audition. Stop trying to prove yourself worthy of the part when the ONE you really need to impress has already given the part to you. The only thing that you need to do now is show up and plays the part that God has given you to play. Stop comparing yourself to other people because God has not called you to be like them, HE has called you to be just like YOU!

He has a special part in the play that only YOU can fill. So many tymes in our lives we try to imitate others that we want to be like, when all we have to do is be who God has called us to be. When you start to compare your behind the scenes reel with other peoples highlight reel, then that is when you start to feel insecure about who you are. The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence, it is the same color as your grass. What you don’t see on the other side of the fence is that the lawn on the other side still needs to be mowed and weeded like yours. Your security and clarity comes from Christ alone!

HE is your rock and cornerstone, put your trust fully in HIM. Believe and trust in God’s word for your life today. God may only give you one word today, but know that HIS one word is enough!

*Photo(s)/Resource(s): Danielle Grehn

You don’t have to know the roadmap if you know who created the map

If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, Any Road Will Take You There!

There is a passage from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll which cleverly illustrates why it’s important to know where you are headed in life:

Cheshire Puss, she began, rather timidly, as she did not know at all whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. Come, it’s pleased so far, thought Alice, and she went on. Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?

That depends a good deal on where you want to get to said the cat.

I don’t much care where, said Alice.

Then it doesn’t matter which way you go, said the cat.

… So long as I get somewhere, Alice added as an explanation.

Oh, your sure to do that, said the cat, if you only walk long enough”

How many people do you know who just seem to be wandering aimlessly through their lives, without any apparent sense of direction? Another way of phrasing the quote would be to say, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

To put this into Life Coaching parlance, every goal should have a Well Formed Outcome.

So what then, is a Well Formed Outcome? Quite simply, it means being very clear….. crystal clear, on the outcome you want from a particular goal. Notice that we use the word “outcome” rather than “objective” for the goal. This is because outcomes consider the consequences of achieving the goal, rather than just the goal itself. For instance, let’s imagine someone sets themselves a goal to get promoted in their career – that is, the objective of the goal is promotion. So they work very hard, put in lots of hours and take on lots of extra work that no-one else wants to do, and after 2 long hard years they achieve their objective and are rewarded with promotion. Unfortunately though, their marriage is at breakdown point and their kids hardly know them, because they have not been around for the last 2 years!

In considering promotion as an outcome, you would think about the conditions of achieving it – for example, “Is it worth the cost to my relationships?”, or “What else might suffer if I really go for this?”

Another feature of a Well Formed Outcome is that it is stated in the positive. Let me just ask you not to think of a pink elephant…. What did you think of? This is because the way the subconscious mind works is that it can’t represent negatives without first turning them into positives. So saying, for example, “I must stop smoking” focuses the mind on exactly the thing you want to stop. By saying “I am a non-smoker“, you are giving your subconscious an alternative self image to focus on, and one which is aligned to the outcome you want to produce.

Remember, don’t say what you don’t want, say what you do!

Comparison

“Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood.” (Genesis 37:31 NIV)

Comparison2For many, comparison is one of the most difficult battles to conquer. In fact, many tymes it is the FINAL battle. When we’re free of comparison we’re truly free! Comparison = Compare + I + Sons. It’s comparing yourself to the other sons (i.e. the story of Joseph). Joseph’s brothers is a perfect illustration that jealous comparison causes you to say things you’d never thought you’d say, do things you never thought you’d do and go places you’d never thought you’d go. Comparison causes you to betray the Father. Joseph’s brothers brutally betrayed their father because of the jealousy they harbored toward Joseph.

Yet, Judah (The oldest) had no idea that the Lion (Jesus) would come from his own family lineage. Jealousy, envy, and comparison blind you to your own promise and potential. Judah’s name means praiseworthy. He had a destiny too but couldn’t see it from the jealousy in his eyes. Our jealousy toward others is because we don’t recognize or believe in the greatness in ourselves. Comparison literally imprisons you. Notice later the brothers ended up in an Egyptian jail and it all started from their jealous rage against Joseph. Envy is dangerous. It is a murdering spirit that exists mostly between brothers with the same dream (I.e. Cain & Abel).

Roter und Grüner ApfelWhen you compare yourself to others successes you question God’s wisdom and accuse Him of unfairness. It causes you to reject the unique and significant thing the Holy Spirit is orchestrating in YOUR life. Your envy of other’s gifts causes you to despise your own gifts and render them inactive. Only when you accept God’s sovereignty in His distribution of gifts, will you be able to fully discover and develop you own (i.e. the parable of the 5, 2 and 1 talents). Refuse to envy other’s success. You have no idea what past hardships or present struggles they’ve had to endure to get there. Envy is a poverty spirit. Don’t fall for the lie that God has run out of favor and there’s none left for you. When you despise the God-given success of others you despise God Himself. Celebrate what God is doing in others.

Your tyme IS coming! Comparison causes you to mar the credibility of others. When you do this you attempt to tear down the reputation that God is building in them. The truth is, when you put someone else’s candle out it doesn’t make yours shine any brighter! Envy also causes you to secretly celebrate someone’s failure. Have you secretly celebrated someone’s failure or even wished it? Repent and believe your season of favor is coming!

Comparison1Finally, comparison stems from a deep insecurity that you are not valuable, beautiful, smart or adequate enough. The power to overcoming comparison is the grace of God. It is to believe that you have been made complete in Christ and that He is your identity. Nothing compares to Jesus and because you are in Him you have all the qualities that make you great. You have HIS qualities. When you fully accept that you are His most loved son or daughter, your life will begin an amazing transformation. By recognizing the greatness within, you can fully rise to your potential and discover the incredible life that God has waiting for you. You have everything you need inside to become all God has made you to be! The power of God’s grace causes you to focus on what Christ has accomplished for you and therefore you are set free from the envy of other’s accomplishments. In fact, embracing grace empowers you to celebrate other’s successes naturally!

*Photo(s)/Resource(s): Tony Sutherland

Charisma vs. Character: Which is More Important for Leaders?

All leadership is built on two things—character and competence. Those are the twin values of leadership. Charisma is optional.

Some of the most charismatic people of the 20th century were also the worst. Hitler, Mao, and Marx and Mussolini were all charismatic. Charisma has absolutely nothing to do with leadership. If you possess it, it’s merely a bonus and, if you allow it, it can actually get you into a lot of trouble. Real leadership is built on character and competence.

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 3:8-10 (GN), “Church leaders must be of good character and sincere. They should be tested first and then if they pass the test they should serve.”

One of the realities that has burdened me is the number of young leaders I see starting or moving into established churches who have tremendous talent and charisma, but who often lack the grounding of character. So in the last few years, I’ve been mentoring and teaching young leaders and addressing the need to put down roots and grow deep in the soil of God’s Word and in the history of the church.

And for 30-plus years now, we’ve been addressing the issue of competence by repeatedly teaching pastors and church leaders how to plant and lead healthy churches that have a great commitment to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

You really need both character and skills to be a good leader. If you have character without competence what you have is sincere ineffectiveness. But far worse is when you have competence without character. If you have competence without character you become a menace—a menace to a church, a menace to a small group, and a menace to society.

To gain greater competence, read. Then read some more. I often tell Pastors that 25 percent of their reading should be among contemporary authors. Another 25 percent should be among authors from the immediate past generation of great leaders who are now in heaven—men like D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Adrian Rogers, and W. A. Criswell. Another 25 percent should be among authors from the Reformation period up until the modern missionary age—from Luther, Calvin, and Wesley up to D. L. Moody’s age. And a final 25% should be from the early church fathers up to the Reformation—from Athanasius who penned the Nicene Creed to Balthasar Hubmaier, the great Anabaptist contemporary of Zwingli.

If all you ever read is books written by your contemporaries, you’re no smarter than anyone else around you. But if you see how history repeats itself and how you can learn from it, you’ll be a huge step ahead. You also gain competence by getting trained and there are plenty of great conferences to choose from.

But remember, the maturity you need for ministry is not about skills alone. It’s also about character. And the maturity of your character is not about age, it’s not about your appearance, it’s not about your achievements, and it’s not about mere academics. It’s about your attitude. That is the determining factor of spiritual maturity. Character is the habitual ways you respond to the situations of life.

Character is not your reputation. Reputation is what other people think you are, but character is what you really are. D. L. Moody said, “Character is who you are in the dark.” Character is who you are when nobody’s looking. Character is who you are when you’re not on stage. Character is the real you. And God knows your character.

Charisma doesn’t impress me, and it doesn’t impress God. And if charisma impresses you, be careful. Re-train your heart to long for deeper character and greater competence. Those are the two rails on which great leadership runs.