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Monday, October 27, 2014

Follow my example

I read a rather bold and nervy statement today. From a well known Christian leader. This person said, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” Quite a statement huh? 

After all it’s not possible is it? Keep your eyes on Jesus, not me. Don’t watch other people, keep your eyes on Jesus. I’ve heard it many times. Hey, I even said it! 

But we can’t dismiss the above statement. Because the Apostle Paul said it in 1 Corinthians 11:1. Yes, it’s in the Bible.

I don’t know about you, but this statement kind of scares me. Can I truly tell someone this? I’ve got to be honest, I don’t know. I really don’t have my act together. I fail at times. The twisted sister inside sometimes rears her ugly head. 

But maybe that’s the problem. As long as I keep my eyes on myself, there’s going to be trouble. I’ll be stumbling around in my self conscious misery, of no affect to others. 

But if my eyes are on Jesus, if my focus is on him, then the perspective is entirely different. 

You’ve perhaps heard the saying, “You are the company you keep?” Spend ample time with Jesus and I’ll guarantee you that people will be seeing His powerful influence in your life and actions. 
So, yes, we can tell others, “follow my example as I follow Christ.” It is possible. And truth be told we are an example regardless. 

Yea, maybe people are supposed to look at Jesus not us. But they do watch us. 

Charles Barkley, the former NBA Basketball player once said that he’s not a role model or an example, he’s paid to be a basketball player. I love what fellow player Karl Malone remarked, "Charles...I don't think it's your decision to make. We don't choose to be role models, we are chosen. Our only choice is whether to be a good role model or a bad one."

So as Christian leaders in our churches, ministries, jobs, or families, we can’t just opt out of it. “Hey don’t look at me, look at Jesus.” It sounds like a cop out when you look at from this perspective doesn’t it? 

Don’t give into the lie that your life has no impact. Believe me it does! The choices you make, your attitude, and the company you keep, i.e. Jesus, impact those around you more than you’ll ever know. 

As you follow Jesus, people watch. As you love and worship Jesus with your life, even through the tough times, your life radiates hope. 

Be a Jesus follower, and nurture other Jesus followers. 
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Storeroom

When the Lord opens new doors of ministry for me, it can be intimidating. I struggle with feelings of inadequacy. “What do I have to offer? I’m not educated or trained”, etc... 

Then there are times when I minister to others I feel my weaknesses and inadequacies so strongly; it feels almost foolish to try. I truly feel that I have nothing to give. It seems much safer to keep what I do have, rather than give it away. 

I have felt drained to the core. One more demand, one more pull at my vessel will surely take me over the edge. Just place me back on the shelf, thank you. 

Nevertheless, I have found that when I take my eyes off myself and allow the Lord to minister through me, I always find His anointing there. He truly is enough. 

If you are really struggling, let me encourage you today. In Matthew 13:52 it says,  "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

The Lord gave me this verse years ago to assure me. There’s a great word picture here. Picture with me a room in your house that is full of beautiful treasures. Treasures that you have collected through the years, or that was given to you. Every time someone special comes to visit, you take them to this room and show them your precious treasures. 

Not only do you share these treasures, but your visitors leave enriched with one of them in their hands. And so it continues to bless them, and it blesses the ones they show it to. It’s a beautiful progression. 

Dear sister, you have a beautiful storeroom in your heart. God has prepared you through the years and placed beautiful things inside you. Treasures that are uniquely yours. And that will bless others that you open your heart to. 

Not only has He prepared you, but He also prepared the hearts of those who will come into your life. Call it a Divine connection, if you will. 

In other words, He has given you the treasures and He will bring the people to you. You just need to open your heart and share them. 

You are beautiful. You have much to share. Please don’t shut yourself up. Give freely and you will find your storeroom filled to overflowing. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

He is enough

I mentioned in the previous blog that I felt unqualified. I had a legit argument. After all, I don’t have a college degree, I’m not exactly sophisticated, cultured. I’m just a hick farm girl who worked in blue collar jobs. I’m not breath-taking beautiful. I have to work hard just to look attractive and presentable when I walk out the door. I don’t have my act together, I have issues. 

So yea, I’m not qualified to be the leader of anything. So no thank you Lord, obviously You have the wrong person. 

We have a wonderful example in the Bible to help us quell all these unfound arguments as to why we can’t walk through the doors that God opened for us. Moses, yes, the same Moses who defiantly stood at the Red sea, held up his staff and watched God spilt the sea in half. The same guy who led all those griping Israelites through the untamed wilderness. Yea, that guy.

When God called him at the burning bush, Moses made argument after argument as to why he can’t do it. 

"Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”  God’s answer?  "I will be with you.”  

"What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"  God’s answer? He gave Moses the signs of the staff turning into a snake and his hand turning to leprosy. 
Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." God’s answer?  "Who gave man his mouth? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

I smile every time I read these passages. First, because the answer to all of our fears is Himself. He gives Himself. We are carriers of His anointing. He has prepared us for every good work. You lack for nothing, because He will prove to be enough. Just give Him what you have. Like the boy with the fishes and bread. Jesus will take what you offer, bless it and feed multitudes. 

Secondly, however you feel about yourself, your issues, the way you look, your past, failures, what you lack, etc...all of that don’t matter a lick to God. 

What He desires is someone who will lean hard on Him, a tender, compassionate heart, someone unconcerned about power and prestige, a servant’s heart that beats for the body of Christ. 

In other words, a broken vessel who like Paul in 1 Corinthians 2 says, “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.”

Do you see that at the end? Isn’t that the objective here anyway? It’s not about setting people up on pedestals. It’s so He can minister to others through our words, our touch, through what we offer to Him. 

Beloved, you may feel ugly, that you have nothing of value to offer Jesus. I want to assure you that’s not the truth. It’s because of Him that you sparkle and shine. It’s Him, His spirit inside of you. Therefore, don’t neglect Him. 

I guess you could call it a joyful abandonment. Anytime I take my eyes off myself and focus on Jesus it’s a good thing. Forget about what I lack, my issues. Just jump out of the boat and walk with Jesus. 

Yea, it’s a bit scary, but wow what an experience! There’s absolutely nothing like the feeling of knowing God ministered through my words, my touch and life. It’s humbling, and it’s just awesome. 

Are you standing at a door right now? Are you hesitate about walking through? Take a step, knowing that He will be enough. Know that He prepared you for this moment and the people who will cross your path. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Unqualified

Almost ten years ago, I was offered the Women’s leader position in my church. I wasn’t exactly bursting with confidence at the time. I was actually nervous and unsure about this big step. I felt rather unqualified to be honest. 

But there was one thing I remained sure about: God placed a heart within me for women. I desired deeply for them to experience the heart of God, to be healed of inner hurts, and to grow into what God had purposed for them. 

So I stepped unsteadily through this new door and now years later I stand once again looking back at this door. If you have been following my blogs, you know I had to give up my position because of my job situation. 

I have changed so much since I first walked through this door. I’ve been stretched and found myself filled to overflowing. I’ve proven my God over and over again when I’ve leaned hard on Him, when I saw the results of what I offered Him. 

It hasn’t always been a rose strewn path. I’ve seen drama, I’ve had a woman point her finger in my face and tell me straight up I wasn’t what she expected out of a leader. I’ve had disappointments, experienced lean seasons. 

I want to share with you some things I’ve learned that hopefully will help you in whatever leadership position you’re in. I’ll just be sharing from my heart. Many times I’ve just wanted to sit down with a fellow leader and spill my heart. Sometimes there wasn’t anyone, but God did send people across my path who were such a help to me. Whatever you do, don’t disregard these people. You need someone to share your heart. However strong you may think you are, you can’t do this completely alone. 

I hope I can be that someone for you through the upcoming blogs.