It’s a new year…are you ready for a change?
Need a little help getting started? Join me over the next few days as we explore the pathway to a positive future.
There is no better time to refashion your life than now. Change starts with a few easy steps, some goals, and persistence along the way.
Just ask these people…
- Jennifer earned her Ph.D. and now teaches at a university.
- John and Joanne enjoyed two weeks of sun and fun in Hawaii.
- Patrick wrote and published his first book.
- Joyce graduated from college at the age of 74.
- Anna lost 57 pounds in just three months!
What makes each of these people and events remarkable? They all set goals and then worked hard to achieve them! Whether it is losing those extra pounds, saving for that once-in-a-lifetime vacation, or reaching for your dreams, there is a way for the impossible things to become possible.
Once you get focused and develop an action plan, positive results will follow! 2018 is the year to uncover those hidden and forgotten ideas and make them a reality.
What Are Goals?
Goals help us to make meaningful progress towards our dreams. They launch us into the realms of possibility.
A goal is an aim, destination, ambition, or objective which is achievable through planned and directed effort.
Goals are our path forward. They provide us with a destination, a life map. If we were planning a vacation, we would start the trip knowing our journey’s end. We chart a course and off we go. There may be different routes, some more direct and others more scenic. We may run into traffic jams, roadblocks, and construction delays. If we are determined, we press through the obstacles because of the benefits once we arrive. I have never stopped my car, turned around and said “This isn’t worth it. I’ll just cancel vacation this year!”
Goals function in the very same way. They give us an endpoint, a destination to work towards. Like the roadmap, they guide our decisions and actions and give us a course to follow.
What would you like to achieve in your lifetime? What is your passion? What problem unsettles you and demands attention? How do you plan on seeing your ideas come to pass?
These key questions are designed to help unlock the hidden potential within you. And we are just getting started.
Join me in my next post we take charge of our life and jumpstart 2018!
My heart beats, red, white, and blue!
Because the 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays, I thought we might find some inspiration from history. These patriotic quotes are from several presidents, a first lady, and a few recognized leaders throughout our past. Take a moment to reflect on the sacrifice and service of these patriots.
Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. Adlai Stevenson
If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under. Ronald Reagan
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Theodore Roosevelt
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson
Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country. Calvin Coolidge
Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits. Thomas Jefferson
And so, my fellow Americans… ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. John F Kennedy
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. Abraham Lincoln
Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth. George Washington
America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. Harry S Truman
It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. Eleanor Roosevelt
And with a touch of humor comes this quote from Mark Twain…Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it!
I hope these quotes inspire you to become all that God has created you to be…to your family, your community, and to your nation.
Happy Birthday, America!
Summer is a time for celebration!
The official start is Memorial Day, the end Labor Day, with the 4th of July tucked between. But did you know that there are many other lesser holidays to celebrate throughout the Summer?
If you are a writer, these are some great topics for a blog post, journal entry, or addition to a novel. Are the kiddos bored? Think about incorporating one or more into your family fun time for a change of pace.
Leaders can also break the monotony of the workplace by building a day around one of these quirky holidays. Just think of the possibilities!
So here are just a few of the many wacky and unusual celebrations this Summer. Click on the links from www.holidayinsights.com for the history and some additional tidbits:
21 National Selfie Day
22 National Chocolate Eclair Day
23 National Columnists Day Hey, writers! Send an editorial to your local newspaper.
23 Take Your Dog to Work Day Don’t forget the baggies!
24 Swim a Lap Day
26 Forgiveness Day
27 Sun Glasses Day
28 Paul Bunyan Day
29 Camera Day
29 Hug Holiday
2 I Forgot Day
4 National Country Music Day
6 National Fried Chicken Day
7 Chocolate Day
8 Video Games Day
9 National Sugar Cookie Day
10 Teddy Bear Picnic Day
11 Cheer up the Lonely Day
13 Embrace Your Geekness Day
15 Cow Appreciation Day Can you say MOO?
16 National Ice Cream Day
17 Global Hug Your Kids Day
20 National Lollipop Day
21 National Junk Food Day
22 Hammock Day
23 National Hot Dog Day
25 Threading the Needle Day
28 System Administrator Appreciation Day
29 National Lasagna Day
30 National Cheesecake Day
1 National Girlfriends Day
3 National Watermelon Day
4 National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day
5 National Clown Day
6 Sisters Day
7 International Forgiveness Day
9 Book Lover’s Day
10 Lazy Day
11 Presidential Joke Day
15 Relaxation Day
16 National Tell a Joke Day
17 National Thriftshop Day
19 National Potato Day
21 Senior Citizen’s Day
22 Be an Angel Day
25 Kiss and Make Up Day
26 Women’s Equality Day
27 Just Because Day
30 Frankenstein Day
31 National Eat Outside Day
These are only a sampling of the many different wild and wacky holidays that you are yours can celebrate. For a complete listing go to the website.
Celebrate the Summer!
Yesterday, our nation’s capital experienced a wake-up call. A lone gunman targeted a baseball practice where Republican representatives were playing. His motivation? Rage, frustration, and political prejudice. His actions are condemned by members of Congress, but I have one question to ask them…
When leaders model the wrong behavior, what doors do they open to their followers?
Leaders have a responsibility to their constituents. They are in a position to influence others with their words and actions. If they choose a course that is offensive, mouthy, and verging on violence, their followers assume that they can also do the same. Unfortunately, not everyone has self-control or knows where the boundaries are. Leader’s actions raise and lower the bar for what is the acceptable and the appropriate response.
I believe much of the violence we have witnessed in the last few months is stirred by the rhetoric and reactivity of Democratic leaders in Congress. (I would also add the media and Hollywood stars to the list!) After the election, instead of accepting defeat graciously, they chose to extend the battle with vitriolic attacks on the new president.
“He is not my president!” many stated. Even at the inauguration, many refused to attend in protest. When leaders model the wrong behavior, it opens the door for others to imitate and even surpass their efforts. Although they did not call for violence, did they turn a blind eye to it?
And now it is on their doorstep.
Please, do not misunderstand me. This is not a political poke at the Democrats. It could have easily been reversed with the Republicans pointing the finger and on the attack.
Leadership has a responsibility to those who look to them as an example. Think about how your parents raised you. If mom and dad said it was OK, you felt a freedom to experiment. If they drank alcohol, so did you. Whatever their normal was, you probably echoed or surpassed their actions.
Men and women in the US spotlight have chosen to react in immature and hateful ways. Their words and anger spark others who cannot or will not respect the boundaries of human decency. The result is a bloody head of the President, calls for assassination, destructive rioting, and now a shooting of Congressmen.
As the verbiage and demonstrations have escalated since the election, where were the leaders to diffuse the violence? Instead of lessening the impact of a few radicals, they fueled the fire with their own rhetoric and plans. When leaders model the wrong behavior, they open doors to the horrific.
Wednesday was a wake-up call for Washington.
When will it end? When leaders realize that they are the doorkeepers.
The supernatural realm is real.
It is God’s place of power and promise for all believers.
But it is not enough to just sample God’s provisions for his children. He wants us to develop a lifestyle of walking in the supernatural Kingdom of God.
We all start from a place of ignorance. Quite often, we just don’t know what we don’t know. But when we master the basic spiritual concepts, we build a foundation and gain confidence to move forward.
As we prepare to engage in ministry, let’s examine five distinct steps which lead us into a pathway of perpetual power. Each successive step moves us towards a lifestyle of supernatural service.
5 Steps to Perpetual Power
1. Knowledge. This is the first step. We begin by recognizing that we are somewhat ignorant! It’s not that God’s ways are complex; they are simple. But sometimes we need instruction because the kingdom of heaven functions differently than the world in which we live.
In the natural realm, we know that if an apple drops from the tree and hits the ground, it illustrates the Law of Gravity. But do we recognize that although they are unseen, God has created spiritual forces and they are also at work?
Many of us have not grown up in a Christian culture where the power of God is normal; it is not second nature to us. Discovering true spiritual knowledge reveals possibilities that were foreign to us. Sparks begin to fly!
If this is new to you, don’t be discouraged. Even the first disciples needed training. They lived alongside Jesus for a period of over three years. During their training, they grew to understand the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why” of service to their Lord. Not only did Jesus teach them, but he allowed them to gain hands-on experience along the way. They observed. They ministered. They grew. Knowledge laid the foundation for their future actions in ministry. They understood who they were in relationship to Christ.
For several years, I trained traveling teams for a collegiate Christian ministry. Each weekend, these teams traveled across the Southeast preaching, leading worship, and inviting their audience to respond to the message. The ministry team would then pray for those specific needs. After one training seminar, I had the opportunity to observe the group at a local youth outreach. The ministry was amazing! The students didn’t hesitate to boldly pray with power and authority. Many were saved, immersed in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and received healing. The training had catapulted these young men and women into a new dimension of ministry where they were confident of their ability and position in Christ.
In addition to the nuts and bolts of practical knowledge, we must also “know” our Lord. We must become familiar with his nature and his word which dictates his will. We may need to ask ourselves the familiar question, “What would Jesus do?” How can we answer, if we aren’t familiar with the compassionate nature of our Lord? As we grow in understanding and the knowledge of him, we will gain insight into his ways.
2. Confidence. The second step is confidence. The practical and spiritual knowledge we gain gives us the courage to step out of the proverbial boat.
Remember Peter’s experience walking on the water? He had seen the miracles of Jesus and was confident of Christ’s power to uphold him on the waves. Yes, Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink, but he was the one disciple who ventured out of the boat and actually did defy natural law. Peter actually walked on the water!
As we develop confidence in who we are and what God has invited us to do, we are no longer wondering whether we should or even could offer spiritual assistance. We become assured of what we know, and now have the certainty to proceed forward. Our faith is energized and that confidence produces action.
3. Action. With a foundation of knowledge and confidence, we become Christians in motion, active for the Kingdom of God. We are able to pray with others whenever and wherever the Holy Spirit prompts us. Ministry isn’t always confined to a church setting. In fact, God is on the move within our community, workplace, school, and neighborhood.
One day in Border’s bookstore, I was simply sipping coffee and flipping through a magazine to pass the time. A young lady sitting to my left began to share about an upcoming operation, and I could tell she was distressed. I used the opportunity to pray with her and asked for God’s peace to surround the situation. The effect was immediate. He was faithful to answer my prayer and respond to her need. I left Border’s encouraged by the fact that God had used me. She walked away knowing there is a God who loves and cares for her every need. It was a divine appointment.
As we become more in tune with our Heavenly Father and his will, our actions become consistent and reliable. We move from the active phase into the fourth step. Consistent actions produce positive habits.
4. Habits. This fourth step is a result of faithfully responding to God over a period of time. It generally takes about six weeks of consistent behavior for any new physical action to become a habit. Spiritual habits are developed in a similar fashion. With commitment and practice, our ministry habits will last a lifetime and touch the lives of countless hurting people.
Consider how a sprinter trains.The runner exercises and develops his muscles, practices his starting stance, and perfects his running strategy for the upcoming race. When the starting gun sounds, he doesn’t hesitate or fumble off the blocks, but moves smoothly into the actions he has trained his body to perform. It has become second nature to him.
As representatives of God, our actions should become second nature as well. Of course, there will be challenges, missed opportunities, or seeming “failures” as part of the learning process, but it is habits…good habits performed over a lifetime…that birth the final step. We all desire to be successful!
5. Success. Jesus has sent us into this world to make disciples, pray for the sick, and deliver the oppressed. Success in the eyes of God embodies these characteristics. At the end of our lives, we all want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Ministry is no longer limited to the church and the altar. God is at work in neighborhoods, job sites, schools, and anywhere the Holy Spirit finds a need. Many of my future posts in this series will equip, guide, and assure you that you have a place in God’s plan. Follow the pathway to perpetual power. God wants to use YOU!
Look for the release of my upcoming book, Empower, which is a training manual for active ministry.
From Genesis to Revelation, God has always wanted connection and intimacy with his people. He wooed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He dwelt among the Israelites in the Tabernacle of Moses. Jesus lived his life among the Jews. And at the end of the Bible, God promises to once again reside in the midst of his people.
Connection and empowerment are two sides of the same coin. If we connect to God, his power will flow through us to others. Conversely, power is the product of a vibrant relationship with God. This is the beginning and foundation of all ministry. We act in cooperation with what heaven already wants to do.
When we walk closely with God, we begin to recognize his prompting and respond. Our hands and words become a channel of his goodness towards others. Without him, we can do nothing:
I am the vine; you are the branches…If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:5-7
Peter and John understood the power and authority given to them. They knew their assignment. One day as they approached the temple, they saw a man lame from birth at the gate called Beautiful. Peter spoke these words to the cripple: Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. Peter took him by the hand, helped him up, and the man walked, jumped, and praised God. (Acts 3:1-10)
When we connect to God, we become sensitive to the way he operates. We begin to see with his eyes, hear with his ears, and act with his hands.
In my experience, I have seen God respond to three things…faith, need, and expectation. When any or all of these are present, God is ready to act.
Faith is an important concept, a necessary component of effective prayer. It is the confidence of what we hope for and the assurance of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) Some believe that the person receiving ministry must attain a certain level of faith before they can receive from God. But that viewpoint does not agree with scripture.
In Mark 2, it was the faith of a few friends that prompted them to lower their sick companion through the roof. Many came to Jesus believing he could heal, but sometimes it was Christ’s faith that activated the power of God. Faith is an essential part of the process, but it is not limited to the one receiving ministry.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6
God also responds to Need. There have been times when my presence and ministry are an answer to someone’s prayer. A mother or father may have asked God for intervention, and I found myself as the vehicle that provided God’s reply.
When I worked as a tutor, I was called to assist a young man who was flunking his freshman year of high school. It was Spring and he had just broken his leg in a skiing accident. My assignment was to help him complete the school year. Although nothing was ever said, I sensed that his mother had prayed desperately for an answer to the dilemma. God answered by sending me. In just two months, God reversed the situation in a miraculous way. The young man finished his freshman year with A’s and B’s and went on to be very successful in high school and then college. The compassionate heart of God responded to the need and the heartfelt cry of a mother.
Finally, Expectation is the third component which triggers a response from God. When someone asks for prayer, they anticipate a touch from God. Their expectant hope becomes the connecting point to the power of God. It elicits a reaction and he moves on their behalf.
During times of ministry, I have seen firsthand the difference that expectation makes. Those who come forward with high expectations are much more likely to receive from God. When their hopes are centered on God as the source and not a person, he responds. Their confidence becomes the bridge that joins the natural to the supernatural realm.
And I pray that you…may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God…who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…Ephesians 3:17-20
Connection to God is the basis for all ministry. It makes us sensitive to his leading and empowers us to act. How do we stay connected? The Apostle Paul instructed the church to be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18) The verb tense here actually means to be continually filled. Once is not enough. When we connect to God and walk in his fullness, the overflow will impact the lives of others.