Author Archives: Jack

Cooperation with your Transformation

          God is committed to our transformation. In fact, He has given us everything we need for life and godliness.

2 Peter 1:3-4

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

          In my previous post we saw that God shoulders the lion’s share of responsibility to transform us, however, there are things we can do to help expedite our transformation.

“God is obligated to fulfill His promise of transformation,

He is not obligated to fulfill your potential.”

          God has given us the ability to be transformed into His image. He has given us the “Down Payment of the Holy Spirit” to guide us and Jesus Christ as the model for us to follow. God has given us everything needed to be conformed to His image and yet, how far we get in the transformation process is greatly dependent on our cooperation with His plan and purpose.

          Two things we must make routine for healthy cooperation and consistent growth are daily intake and exposure to the Word of God and beholding His glory.

#1) Renew our minds to the written Word of God.

Romans 12:1-2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

          The mind is the battlefield in the fight for the Kingdom. The Mind of Christ is found in His Word. If we say we love God and don’t love His Word, we are deceived. The way we think, the way we perceive things, the way we see people, are all affected by our understanding of God’s Word. To gain a heavenly perspective requires daily exposure and intake of the Word of God.

1 Peter 2:2-3

 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

          Notice it says, “as newborn infants, long for the spiritual milk.” No matter where we are in our spiritual development, we should have a hunger and longing for the Word like an infant craving milk it needs to grow. It’s not saying only babies need the milk, its saying that we ALL should desire the Word and depend on it like a newborn babe depends on milk. It is that critical for our spiritual growth and development.

#2) Being doers of the Word

2 Corinthians 3:15-18

Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

          In verse 16 it says, “when we turn to the Lord, the veil is removed.” What does it mean to “turn to the Lord?” Turning has to do with repentance, turning from old, carnal thinking to a new and living way! It is only after the action of turning (repentance) that the veil is removed, and we are able to see His Glory

          What is His Glory? Any made known, made seen attribute of Christ is the glory of God revealed. Healing, the fruits of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, revelation in His word, these are all the glory of God revealed. We receive Christ (the Word made Flesh) by acting on the Word that we know. If we simply read the Word academically, instead of letting it speak to us, correct us, and shape us, we forget who we are. We forget that we are a blood bought child of the Living God with a new nature, a new purpose, a new destiny!

          Beholding His Glory Is directly connected to being a doer of His Word. Without being a “doer” of the Word, our capacity to see and understand truth is compromised. It takes obedience to the Word to behold His Glory. Without obedience to the Word, we forget who we are and see with the carnal eyes of the old man with his fallen nature.

James 1:22-25

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

          Blessings and transformation are promised to those who are doers of the Word.

God’s Promise to Change You

process4

          Have you ever heard this old saying?

“God loves you too much to leave you the way you are.”

  Praise God there is scripture to back up that statement!

1Thessallonians 5:23-24

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

          We tend to assume that since He was so gracious to save us we now have the responsibility to “tow the line, shape up, do what is right, separating ourselves from carnal tendencies and worldly lusts.” While this is certainly what needs to happen, God never intended us to shoulder all the responsibility of sanctification and transformation. The truth is, we are no more capable of doing this on our own than we were before Christ.

          “Salvation is not an event as much as it is a process.”

Philippians 2:12-13

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

          Christianity is a glorious journey of salvation and transformation. Saving us from death and eternal damnation and transforming us more and more into His image. Paul exhorted Timothy to work this out in His own life with “fear and trembling.” Why? Because God is doing the heavy lifting here! HE is the Great Potter, and WE are the clay. Clay does not have the power to change itself, it can only be changed by another influence.

potter1

So, what is our part?

          Lay our lives down on the Potter’s wheel, let the washing of water by God’s Word clean us and make us soft and pliable allowing the hand of God’s grace to shape us into His image.

How to Change a President

Why is it Hard to Read the Bible?

          Have you noticed that reading the Bible is actually harder than reading a secular book or magazine? I have picked up a good fiction novel and finished it within a day or two many times. In fact, I have read Christian books about the Bible and have been able to cruise through most of them in a short time as well. However, when I pick up the Bible and determine to read say…5 chapters, by the time I am done (if I finish) I am exhausted! Why is that!?

          When asking the Lord about this He gave me some real insight as to why this happens and I want to share.

          First off, the Bible is a LIVING book! God’s Word is ALIVE and ACTIVE, it is full of GRACE and TRUTH!

HEBREWS 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

          Anytime we are exposed to the living Word of God it requires spiritual and physical effort. The impact of truth on the carnal man cause the fallen nature to DIE! Your carnal man does not want to die so the flesh resists even opening the Bible, let alone reading multiple chapters.

Consider this passage of scripture in light of these thoughts:

Exodus 33:20-23 But He (GOD) said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 21 And the LORD said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 “So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 “Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.

 Understand that reading God’s Word is your carnal man’s FACE to FACE encounter with God! To truly die to self you MUST have constant exposure to His Word.

GALATIANS 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

          If you maintain a disciplined approach to reading and studying your Bible you will be successful in “Dying to Self.” This is a core message of the Gospel and without the old man dying, you will never experience the fullness of the new man in Christ.

COLOSSIANS 3:10 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

EPHESIANS 4:21-24 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

  • Is the Bible harder to read than other books? YES!
  • Is it more beneficial than any other book? YES!
  • Is it spiritual food and nourishment for us? YES!
  • Is it required to live a successful Christian life? YES!

          So be encouraged! The Bible is just as difficult to read for others as it is for you. So discipline yourself to have DAILY exposure to, and INTAKE of God’s Word and put to death that nasty old flesh so the NEW MAN, CHRIST, may live in and through you in fullness!

JC

How to Deliver Truth

Love is the license to speak truth

            Sharing the truth of God’s word is an important part of the Christian life. At some point we responded to truth and made a decision to follow Christ and now we have a responsibility to share that truth with others so they will have the same opportunity that we had. With that new responsibility we should keep in mind the manner in which we deliver that truth.

           Truth is received in the manner it is delivered. The Word of God is truth. It is also a sword, a double edged one at that. Truth should never be delivered with the intention of “straightening someone out,” or “correcting someone.” Scripture is profitable if it is delivered with the right heart. If it is delivered with wrong motives it can actually drive people away from God instead of drawing them to Him. This is a real problem in our generation.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

This passage is repeatedly misused to justify Bible bashing, finger pointing, and a judgmental approach to correcting people in the name of God. A self-righteous assault on people is a reproach on Christ and opens one up to the influence of religious spirits. Not to mention hurting the one we are supposed to be helping.

          Notice that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God.” God is love according to 1 John 4:8

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Therefore, all scripture is given by the inspiration of Love. When the Word of Truth is shared it should be inspired by Love.

          If the delivery of truth isn’t inspired by Love it is NOT profitable for doctrine, it will NOT reprove, it will NOT correct, it will NOT instruct, it will NOT complete, and it will NOT equip. It just cuts, and it cuts deep. Love is the license to speak truth. If we don’t have genuine love and compassion in our hearts toward the ones we are speaking to, we have lost our license to speak on God’s behalf.

            I really love a perfectly cooked rib-eye steak. It may be my favorite food in the world, but if it is served to me wrapped in a dirty diaper I am not going to eat it. It’s the same with delivering truth. The word of God is so powerful it can change a life, but it must be palatable, seasoned with salt, full of grace, and delivered in sincere love for it to be received.

   If we are not imparting God’s grace, communicating God’s heart, and being a vessel of God’s love, we should remain silent. If we can’t correct that on the spot, we may need to stop and reschedule the conversation for another time, giving us time to pray or seek council from another leader.

“Don’t be pressured into speaking when you know your heart isn’t right.”

            There is a simple rule that will keep us from a myriad of problems if we apply it.

“When you speak, be sure it’s an Improvement on Silence.”

            Following this rule does a few things,

  • It slows down the conversation and keeps us mindful of the power and purpose of our words.
  • It diffuses conflict that arises from elevated emotions.
  • It teaches us the value and power of silence.
  • It gives us greater control over ourselves and the entire situation.
  • It allows us time to hear from our heart what the Holy Spirit is saying in the situation.

   Personally, I believe this is what was happening in John 8:1-11 when Jesus was writing in the sand with His finger while everyone pressed Him for an answer to judge the woman caught in adultery. I think Jesus was simply giving His heart time to tell His mouth what to say.

            Not being willing to speak until He heard from the Father is a lesson that every leader should take to heart. There are few worse feelings than knowing we have hurt one of God’s children with our words.

            As leaders, we think before we speak, selecting words that nurture and build up rather than tear down and destroy. When faced with hostility we speak gently to diffuse anger and emotions rather than feed them. When faced with uncertainty, we are slow to speak, letting silence speak to the person and God speak us.

“Godly communication isn’t merely a skill; it is a discipline.”

Your Evil Little Tongue

Watch! …and Pray

How we SEE is how we BE!

 

Christian Leadership Development #7

The Skill of Delegation

delegate2

          As the ministry grows the necessity of delegation grows as well. The need for delegation arises when we reach our natural and spiritual limitations. When a ministry becomes more complex, a point is reached where the leader is no longer able to cope with every aspect of the ministry on their own, realizing that neither time nor their own efforts are adequate to meet the needs of the people they are leading. Before this point is reached a plan for delegation should already be in place.

          The inability or unwillingness to delegate to others can stall ministry growth and produce burnout in the senior leaders. This is a common mistake that small ministries make and many times it is the reason they stay small.

          A great analogy for delegation is, “the ability to score without touching the ball.” Learning to accomplish things through others involves the skill of delegation and it is an imperative part of effective leadership.

Self-Awareness

self awareness

          The Art of Delegation begins with self-awareness and an honest assessment of our own limitations. Identifying the areas where we are weak will help us target the right people with the right graces and abilities to compliment the ministry. No one likes to admit they have areas of weakness, but the reality is we all have them.

          An honest self-assessment can be difficult and usually requires the input and feedback of other leaders and peers. If you are married, your spouse can be a huge asset in this department. The point is, don’t just trust your own point of view because your perspective can often be filled with blind spots. We all have blind spots and we need others to help us see from a broader point of view. The need for delegation is often a blind spot with many leaders.

          In Exodus 18 we see a powerful example of the need to delegate. When Moses was leading the children of Israel he came to a point where Jethro, his father-in-law, had to point out his need to delegate responsibilities. Moses was sincere, but the need to delegate was his blind spot.

Exodus 18:13-23  And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. 14 So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?”

15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.”

17 So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. 18 Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. 19 Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. 20 And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. 21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.”

blind spot

          Bearing the burden of ministry yourself is never God’s plan. As individuals we are not capable, even with God’s help, to fulfill all He has called us to do. We are called to community and relationships. Every part of the body has a role to play, a function and purpose that will help edify the body as a whole.

          Every leader must come to the realization that he needs to surround himself with solid relationships that he can share the load of ministry with. This is the only way to fulfill God’s plan.

          There is a powerful truth in Ephesians 4 that will help us understand this.

Ephesians 4:16 – From whom (Christ) the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Notice in this passage that supply comes from the joints in the body, not the parts of the body.

          A joint is where two parts meet together, like your elbow or knee. It is the RELATIONSHIP between the parts.

          A healthy joint causes both parts to be more effective, more mobile, and increases the ability and strength of both connected parts. It is no coincidence that Jesus used this analogy. If you have ever had an injured joint like an ankle, knee, elbow, or wrist, you know how debilitating and restricting it can be.

          It is the relationships between the parts that bring the needed supply for ministry growth. If relationships are healthy, every part in place effectively working and doing its share, growth and edification in love is the result.

          This is why it is so important to be deliberate and intentional about who you delegate to. Maintaining a healthy relationship with those to whom you delegate is essential for success.

effective-delegation

Some Guidelines for delegation:

  • Delegate early.  

Make an effort to delegate responsibilities early to avoid unnecessary pressure. This avoids undo stress on the leader and sets up the person you are delegating to for success. Waiting until things get to the point of neglect makes it difficult on everyone involved.  

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” ~ John C. Maxwell ~

  • Select the right person.

Ensure that the person has the character to represent the ministry and the time to take on the responsibility. Before sending them out to tackle the new responsibility, make sure the person has all the training and resources needed to succeed.

“Delegate to people who are better than you and let them do the work. Look for people who will aim for excellence and not settle for anything less than the remarkable.” 

  • Set clear goals and expectations.

Be clear and specific on what is expected. Give information on what, why, when, who and where, but leave the “how” to them. Don’t be too concerned about how it gets done, but that it gets done right and on time. Confirm and verify goals and expectations on a regular basis and get updates on progress. This gives you an opportunity to give needed feedback and encouragement.

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” ~ George S. Patton ~

  • Delegate authority with responsibility.

Giving people the authority to make certain decisions, use their own creativity, and even recruit others to help accomplish the task allows the person to take ownership of the responsibility and shows that you value their opinions and trust their judgement. This helps maintain a healthy relationship and grooms them for leadership.

It is frustrating to be given a task and no authority to make decisions on how it gets done. Micro-managing every task you delegate will run people off and prevent you from building a strong leadership team. The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling while they do it.

“When you delegate tasks, you create followers. When you delegate authority, you create leaders.” ~ Craig Groeschel ~  Founder of Life Church

  •  Evaluate and recognize performance. 

Evaluate results more than methods. Celebrate the wins and give credit where credit is due. Analyze the cause of any insufficient performance but don’t be too quick to take a project back. Rather, continue to work with the person and ensure they understand the project to be their responsibility. Give advice on ways to improve and be willing to be a resource yourself. This sends a message that you believe in them and that you want them to succeed. This approach inspires people and ensures dependability.

“No Leader will build a great ministry that wants to do it all themselves or take all the credit.” ~ Andrew Carnegie ~

          Delegation is one of the most essential requirements for a successful ministry. It is the key to fulfilling God’s vision with excellence and provides an opportunity for others to de­velop their skills and abilities, gaining enough competence to fill higher positions in case of need.

          Every person we lead has amazing, God given gifts and talents. Delegation is a great way for people to function and develop in their gifts. This promotes growth in the individual and brings healthy challenges that stretch their faith and empowers them for Kingdom use.

“The greatest leaders are those who empower others.”

Question: What are two reasons that delegation is important?

Question: Why is self-awareness important when delegating responsibilities?

Question: What are two areas you are weak in?

Question: Can you name three guidelines for delegation?

Question: What was Moses “blind spot” in Exodus 18?

JC

Christian Leadership Development #6

Communicating Grace

grace02

            Once we have given our due diligence to skillful listening we enter the arena of communicating grace.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Grace is one of the most important words in the Bible and can be easily defined as,

“The divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.”

            Grace is God’s influence, not necessarily ours. Keeping in mind that God’s influence, should be palpable in our speech will keep us humble, gentle, and conscious of what is being imparted in our conversations.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

            The word corrupt in the previous passage simply means, “Worthless and of no value.” If our words are not ministering grace to the hearer it shouldn’t be coming out of our mouths. We should constantly be judging our words before we speak, asking ourselves, “Is this going to edify, help, and bless? Am I truly speaking from the Lord’s perspective, or just mine? Is my tone right, are my motives pure?

grace05            As leaders, we must understand that God uses us as a mouthpiece to speak to others. God does not take this lightly and neither should we. The Bible is replete with scriptures about the power and significance of words and the effect they have on our lives. What we say and how we say it can literally be ministering death or life into a person’s life or situation.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

            This reinforces the importance of being a skilled listener, but even more so, the importance of our own intimate relationship with God. Our spiritual condition has a profound effect on our ability to communicate the heart of God.

Love is the license to speak truth

            An area I see young leaders often miss it is in their delivery of truth. Truth is received in the manner it is delivered. The Word of God is truth. It is also a sword, a double edged one at that. Truth should never be delivered with the intention of “straightening someone out,” or “correcting someone.” Let me explain:

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

            Many times this scripture is used to justify the Bible bashing, finger pointing, and judgmental approach to correcting people in the name of God. Usually it is a self-centered, self-righteous assault on people that comes from not understanding their identity in Christ and opens one up to the influence of religious spirits.

            Notice that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God.” God is love according to 1 John 4:8. So we can conclude that if the delivery of truth isn’t inspired by Love it is NOT profitable for doctrine, it will NOT reprove, it will NOT correct, it will NOT instruct, it will NOT complete, and it will NOT equip. It just cuts, and it cuts deep. Love is the license to speak truth. If we don’t have genuine love and compassion in our hearts toward the ones we are speaking to, we have lost our license to speak on God’s behalf.

nausia.03            Let’s say you love a perfectly cooked rib-eye steak. It may be your favorite food in the world, but if I serve it to you wrapped in a dirty diaper you aren’t going to eat it. It’s the same with delivering truth. The word of God is so powerful it can change a life but it must be palatable, seasoned with salt, full of grace, and delivered in sincere love for it to be received.

            If we are not imparting God’s grace, communicating God’s heart, and being a vessel of God’s love, we should remain silent. If we can’t correct that on the spot we may need to stop and reschedule a time to finish the conversation giving us time to pray or seek council from another leader. Don’t be pressured into speaking when you know your heart isn’t right.

            There is a simple rule that will keep us from a myriad of problems if we apply it.

silence speaks

“When we speak, be sure it’s an improvement on silence.”

            Following this rule does a few things,

  • It slows down the conversation and keeps us mindful of the power and purpose of our words.
  • It diffuses conflict that arises from elevated emotions.
  • It teaches us the value and power of silence.
  • It gives us greater control over ourselves and the entire situation.
  • It allows us time to hear from our heart what the Holy Spirit is saying in the situation.

            Personally, I believe this is what was happening in John 8:1-11 when Jesus was writing in the sand with His finger while everyone pressed Him for an answer to judge the woman caught in adultery. I think Jesus was simply giving His heart time to tell His mouth what to say.

            Not being willing to speak until He heard from the Father is a lesson that every leader should take to heart. There are few worse feelings than knowing we have hurt one of God’s children with our words.

            As leaders, we think before we speak, selecting words that nurture and build up rather than tear down and destroy. When faced with hostility we speak gently so as to diffuse anger and emotions rather than feed them. When faced with uncertainty, we are slow to speak, letting silence speak to the person and God speak us.

“Godly communication isn’t merely a skill, it is a discipline.”

Question: What is the definition of grace as it pertains to communication?

Question: What defines a “corrupt” word as stated in Ephesians 4:29?

Question: What are 3 things to keep in mind before we speak?

Question: Before we speak, what should our words be an improvement on?

Question: What license must you have before you can speak on God’s behalf?