Archive

Monthly Archives: May 2016

May 26, 2016

Leader

Written by Petra M. Rodriguez

Where does Leadership begin? Leadership usually starts at home, as we learn how to make productive and wise decisions from our parents. When parents lead by example, it teaches us to be strong leaders. Leaders are charged with the task of not only holding everyone on their team accountable, but holding themselves accountable as well, thereby setting an example of what they expect from the team.  There’s hardly anything worse for company morale than leaders who practice the “do as I say, not as I do” philosophy. When this happens, you can almost see the loss of enthusiasm and goodwill amongst the team. It’s like watching air go out of a big balloon. This allows the opportunity for much disappointment and let down. 

As a leader, your team looks to you for guidance and strength. Part of being a great leader is to inspire the people around you, inspiring them to push themselves and return the team to greatness! To do this you must show them the way first by setting a good example.  If you make a new rule, you must follow it first, then your team will follow it too.  

We are all leaders whether we think so or not. Family, friends, and people all around us are looking for someone who will inspire them to do more and strive to be better. We can all set good examples and not just do the “same old-same old” routine.  Be a positive example they can follow.  Sometimes, to be that person, it takes courage. With a positive attitude and a genuine heart, we can help build people up on our team. Eventually seeing them become team builders themselves, leading people to excel everyday!

 

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” John Maxwell

“A leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” Arnold H. Glasow

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” John Maxwell

 

REFLECTION

Be courageous -It has been said that courage is not the lack of fear, but the ability to face fear, and overcome it.

Be an optimist – Everyone can choose to be an optimist or a pessimist; to see the best in people or the worst in any moment.

Know what you believe in and live it! – An effective leader clearly understands their core value, objectives, and important beliefs. They live their convictions and lead with integrity to build successful people.

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May 19, 2016

A Frozen Heart

Written by Kelly Elders

I recently read an article of a Pennsylvania man who was found dead in the snow. He told his dad he was on his way home in sub zero temperature and when he never arrived his father went out searching for him. The father found his son in the snow, frozen with no pulse or heartbeat. He was taken to a nearby hospital. Doctors could not declare him dead until his body was warm. He was given CPR and chest compressions for over two hours then flown to another hospital where they were able slowly warm the body. Miraculously, as his body warmed his heart began to beat again. He made a full recovery only losing a couple fingers and toes due to hypothermia.

Sometimes in our own walk we can struggle to survive the severe storms causing us to fall and freeze. When others look at us they see death but God will surround you with people who refuse to call you dead!

Keep Moving

Have you ever felt frozen or stuck? With no heartbeat or passion to move forward? So many times situations in our life can cause us to get stuck and soon have no passion for the vision ahead. Growing up in the midwest we knew that you could not dress too warm when you went skiing in the snow because you would warm up fast. Movement kept me warm in the snow. It’s when we stop moving, stop reading, stop attending church, stop surrounding ourselves with the right people that can cause us to get stuck. Eventually, our pulse on the things of God slows down and soon our heart stops beating with purpose.

Feed your heart with books, podcasts, inspiring sermons and music but remember nothing can warm your spirit like the Holy Spirit. Spending time alone with God and saying aloud your thoughts, fears, prayers and thankful words can heal your heart like nothing else. Another way to stay warm in the cold elements people embrace each other to generate heat. The same is true when your heart needs warmed is to surround yourself with people who are hot, not in looks but in spirit. Find one person or group that their hearts are pumping and they are excited about their own future and the future of the Church. Once you do this your heart will beat again.

Pump The Heart

Sometimes we find people in the same predicament. Frozen in their ways, no heartbeat for the things of God, and no pulse to the heart of God and we give up and declare them dead too soon. When truly they need someone to shock their heart, pump the heart and warm their hearts again. I know in ministry we can tend to become frustrated or even bypass those stuck but we are called to warm their hearts with love and words of possibility. Sometimes it includes effort on your part. God is looking for people who are strong enough to manually pump the hearts of those frozen due to the elements of this life. The heart was pumped for 2 hours not a lifetime. There was a time the young man had to be taken to a more advanced facility to continue the process. We are all just part of the process. Be willing to get unstuck from that frozen place so you can one day be the one pumping someone else’s heart and love them to life.

Read more from Kelly Elders at her blog.

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May 12, 2016

Peace In Troubling Times

Written By Judy Smith

We can have peace and contentment in the midst of troubling times. We think this is impossible when everything is caving in on us, and in the natural this is true. If this rings true then we are forgetting the One and only wise and powerful God we serve. In my forty-four years of loving and serving Jesus, He has not let me down. In every circumstance, He worked it out in His time as I prayed, trusted, and drew nearer to Him.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength me. We face an unknown future because we do not know everything that the days ahead contain. Even so we can prepare for whatever lies ahead. We must view life as a learning opportunity. We can ask God what He wants us to learn from any situation that we face. Daily bible reading and prayer prepare us to receive instruction and direction from God when we set aside specific time to listen. He encourages us with His presence and promises. We can ask the Holy Spirit to give us spiritual eyes to see the lessons learned.

Thee situations we face today can build a greater confidence in God and give us the  assurance that in Christ we can tackle what lies ahead. Incident after incident, lesson after lesson,  and year after year, as we experience God’s great faithfulness, grace, and power we will gain the confidence to say, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

In tough times Paul was stretched, beaten, and left for dead. Paul did not ask why me Lord. He asked Lord what do you want me to do? What do you want me to understand from this situation? Paul learned through everything he experienced that we should not rely on ourselves, we should rely on God.

He pulls us out of our circumstances.

2 Samuel 22:17, 20 HCSB He reached down from heaven and took hold of me; He pulled me out of deep waters. He brought me out to a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.

Difficult days come unexpectedly like a flood. You cannot plan for them, neither can you prepare for how they affect you. Though outside and unexpected forces may be the cause, they mainly come through the common aspects of life. It is the abundance of small, daily problems that can overwhelm us.

Even as adversity rages, remember that Jesus is your great lifeguard and that He is able to deliver you. Turn each problem and each overwhelming difficulty to Him. Surely He will lift you out of the deep waters and bring you out to the spacious place where you can breathe and have peace.

Psalm 31:23-24 Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person.  Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.  

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Rejoice and be thankful! As you walk with Jesus through each day, practice trusting and thanking Him all along the way. Trust is the channel through which His peace flows to you. Thankfulness lifts you up above your troubles.

He does His greatest works through people with grateful trusting hearts. Rather than fretting and evaluating, practice trusting and thanking Him regularly. This will revolutionize your life.

In closing, here are three scriptures to encourage your heart.

  • Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
  • Psalm 95:1-2 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
  • Psalm 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

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May 6, 2016

Go Far

Written by Remaliah Evans

As women our plates tend to stay full and then we begin living on our own strength, and nearly completely independent from God. How do we know when we are operating in our own strength or in faith? Listen to what you are saying and pay attention to what you are thinking. A telltale sign is if you are constantly saying or thinking, “I’m tired”. Now you may be legitimately tired. The question is why are you tired? Are you tired because you are working long hours and loosing sleep? Or do you feel drained no matter how much sleep or rest you seem to get?

I can work long hours for a period of time, however it is not healthy to work long hours and remain sleep deprived on an extended basis. For several years I kept two jobs and eventually I felt the Lord telling me to quit the second job. I did not quit my second job because I wanted the extra disposable income. One day I fell asleep while driving and I crashed into a road sign. Fortunately no one was hurt except my little Corolla.

The Lord told me to quit my second job because He knew I was not sleeping enough, and because quitting my job would require me to develop the discipline to budget and also trust Him to provide. Disclaimer: I am not advising you quit your job. In my case I knew that God was telling me quit my second job and I was disobedient. Having a second job was me operating out of my own strength because one, I did not ask God if should take a second job, and two I never went to God and asked Him to help me financially.

It is not a far-fetched idea that God would provide for us. He provided for Jacob, Esther, Joseph, Daniel, Moses and the widow who nearly lost her sons. Many times we operate out of our own strength because we do not believe that God will help us in certain areas of lives. But God is a good Father and like a good father He is concerned with every area of our lives.

Yes, I was legitimately tired because I was working two jobs, however when I quit my second job I had time to sleep and I was no longer tired. I am a recovering workaholic and I enjoy working because it is easier to work and accomplish work goals, than it is to deal with problems, character flaws, and develop meaningful relationships. When I work excessively, I am operating out of my own strength. The Lord says to work as if I am working unto Him.  There are times when God will instruct us to do works that require immense time and energy, however when we are acting in obedience to Him, and when we are fully submitted to what He asks us to do, I find that there is a grace to do the work.

I have been blessed to help organize a few large events. Over four to six months, this involves a myriad of emails, meetings, follow up calls, trainings, creating forms, and dealing with a slew of vendors. While there are definitely a few late nights, for the most part I do not realize how tired I am until after the event. Typically the day after the event I crash and I am in wonder at all that God allowed the team to accomplish. After one or two days of rest following the event, I am refreshed and fully recovered.

This is not adrenaline, it is the grace of God that rests upon us when we are obedient. When we are obedient and seek Him first, He is faithful to strengthen us. The word says seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to us. The kingdom of God is the rule and the reign of God, and righteousness is to be in right relationship with God. So when I seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness I am saying,” Lord, first I seek You so that You so that You will rule and reign in my heart and in my life, I am submitted to You. Above all else, I want to be in right relationship with You.”  

            When we do this, then all these things will be added to us. In reading Matthew 6:31-33 we find that the “things” referred to are food, water, and clothing, in other words necessities. God’s strength and grace are also necessities because we are called to do life WITH Him.

Another sign that we are operating out of our own strength is when we continuously say or think “I can’t do this.” When we say we cannot do something we are likely operating out of own strength because we are relying solely on ourselves. First, we must believe His promises that the steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord, and that Lord leads us along the path that is best for our life. Thus, wherever the Lord leads us is ultimately beneficial. Second, regardless of what it feels like, God’s intentions for us are always good. He does not set us up for failure and wait for our demise.

To rely on God we need faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The word says that we can do all things though Christ who strengthens us. We must change our thought patterns and speech. Whenever we hear ourselves say or think “I can’t do this” we can immediately say out loud, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I hate public speaking; it is scary and nerve wracking. I become nervous and speak extremely fast, there are awkward pauses, and even more awkward endings. I am on a team that shares a brief word of encouragement with my church about once per month. Every single time I tell myself I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. As I tell myself this, I realize that I am not alone and that He is here to help me. It also reminds me that it is not about me, it is about what He wants to communicate through me. My motivation shifts from simply wanting to be a good public speaker; my mindset shifts from performance to believing that God will use me to bring encouragement and hope as I share His word. It is not magic. I did not declare, “I can do all things thought Christ who strengthens me” and poof! I was suddenly a prolific public speaker. However over the past two years I have grown slightly more comfortable with public speaking and I am improving as my confidence remains in Him and I ask Him to give me the words to speak.

If we believe His word then we will speak, pray, and declare His word over our lives. Even when life does not work out the way we want, when we declare and believe His word, we are operating in faith and we learn to focus on Him, and not our problems or disappointments. We learn to trust Him and His love for us despite tragedy and opposition. We learn to walk in faith and walk in His strength because trying to do it on our own strength is maddening.

The most difficult season was when a close family member passed away. The death was sudden and I was livid, confused, bitter, and for the first time I felt like life just stopped for a while. After years of hoarding my emotions, suddenly my emotions would no longer go ignored. And for many months following the passing I had to keep choosing to seek God for His strength and direction. I went to God with my unforgiveness, rage, bitterness, and questions because I knew that there was no way that I could make it through such loss without Him. It was either go to Him for His strength, or be devoured by bitterness and sorrow. During that time I had faith in His promise that He would perfect that which concerns me…. and He did.

Faith without works is dead. I had faith in God to heal me and walk me through the grieving process. The works were to not stress out, and to go to Him whenever I felt overwhelmed or burdened. The works were to keep praying and believing that God would bring healing and understanding.

We walk in faith one decision, one step, and one moment at a time. And as we see God’s faithfulness, faith becomes a way of life because we discover that His word is true and that He is trustworthy. We walk in faith when we walk in agreement with Him and His word. When we walk with Him, we will always go far.

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