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Friday, August 28, 2015

Innovation Driven by Inspiration

The more I read my Bible and follow the steps of Jesus, the more I realize that His ministry was all about restoration and expansion. Everywhere He went He preached a similar message, a message of hope and repentance to restore us to a right relationship with Him.

I also see that He didn’t settle down in one spot. He moved around and left instructions for His followers to spread the message as well.

He was about building His Kingdom, but the only difference was that His Kingdom was meant to be in the hearts of His people, and His people are all around the world.

He truly had an innovative Kingdom mentality that was meant to be expanded, not focused on one people group, in one city, one country or even one continent. I also notice that Jesus used various means, and methods in His delivery, yet His message remained the same.

I mean have you ever wondered why He went with Jairus to heal His daughter when he could have just thought it and accomplished the same outcome. Or how about when He healed the dangling paralyzed guy in the middle of a newly roofless house. Why did he forgive his sins first, and then heal His infirmity? And I’ll tell you what, one of the first things I want to know when I get to Heaven is “why mud in the eye for the blind guy?”

Jesus has a repertoire, and a very creative one at that, He is open to new methods to deliver His message. He modeled it for us in the very way He lived His life on this earth, and He is definitely all about expansion of His Kingdom. So why does it seem that we His children get so caught up with our little “kingdoms” and lose sight of the big picture?

The more I’m around Pastors and missionaries and just about anyone in ministry, the more I see that many times our focus is on buildings and numbers and bank accounts instead of life change that comes through Jesus, whether it be in Rochester, NY or Kathmandu Nepal, life change is life change and that needs to be what our ministries are all about.

The whole method vs. message debate basically is a belief that is lived out when we consciously or subconsciously say something like this…”well, we never did it that way before”, and many times is at the heart of why churches and Christians stagnate and in the process bring the Kingdom expansion progress that Jesus wants, to a stand still. I’ve seen this lived out, I’ve heard those words directly spoken, and if I’m honest with myself, I’ve often thought them as well.

So as I take a little pause and reflection time today I'm reminded that His message never changes, but His methods and His messengers do. We need a Kingdom mentality that is not halted by “we’ve never done it that way before!” We need to Innovation driven by Inspiration that comes from God.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Momentum...

Lately it seems like I’ve been giving out a bunch of gifts. Every time I turn around I’m handing someone a souvenir from a trip, a present for their birthday, a momento for an anniversary or a thank you note for their thoughtfulness.

All this giving has caused me to spend some time contemplating the whole concept of gift giving and gift receiving, especially as it relates to our relationship with God and His purposes for our lives.

Every time I travel to another country I look around for something to bring back for my wife and kids, you know something that represents the country I visited and will also be something they will appreciate and enjoy.

For my wife I like to bring back a nice piece of clothing, a necklace and some chocolates (she always shares!). For my daughter I look for a doll or a bracelet, or something dainty and precious, and for my son a soccer jersey, a ball cap and more chocolates.

I always look for specific things for them based on what I know they like and based on what I know represents the country I’m visiting. This has been my mode of operation as it relates to gift giving for quite some time now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Success through Failure

Failure is one of those things that none of us really wants attached to our name, our identity and definitely not our legacy.

In our culture it has a real stigma attached to it. A stigma that can sidetrack, sideline and totally knock out, the best of the best from achieving greatness in their sport, business, education, relationships and ministry.

Failure is something that we are taught to avoid at all costs, but recently as I thought back to an inspirational poster that I had hanging on my office wall for years, I began to wonder if we have the failure idea all wrong.

Now I’m not talking about purposely going out there and tanking a shot, or blowing a ministry opportunity. No I’m talking about doing the absolute very best that we can at all times, but when we do fall short realizing that it is an opportunity for us to learn and grow and get back out there to do it better the next time.

I realize that there are circumstances that people fall into that will take them out of eligibility for a certain role because of a moral decision that caused them to fall. Ministry is a perfect example of that. I mean how many times have we heard of a Pastor or ministry leader of some sort making choices that have morally compromised themselves and disqualified them from ministry? Too many times that’s for sure.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Greater Than...

It seems like I've been sharing alot of these illustrations in various conversations with people recently...so I thought I'd re-post one of the most difficult and at the same time eye-opening and freeing reflections I've ever pecked out on my computer.

It's called "Do you trust me?" and it was written as a reflection of the events of 11 years ago, and it's a reminder all over again that Peace is Greater than doubt!

Man it seems like lately God is just nailing me with thoughts, and concepts through the tunes in my mp3 player. He does that some times, I think it's a cool variation that He uses to get my attention with something He has for me to ponder and pray about.

I love my time in His Word, it's always so fresh and new, but it's amazing to me how God in His mighty repertoire can use things like music to get through to me as well.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Star of the Scar

Since 2006 the month of March has become an interesting month for me. It was a month that tested my faith, challenged my beliefs, made me question some things and created what would become painful memories.

It was a month that reminded me of a statement that I’ve used for many years with students and adults that I’ve ministered to. It’s a statement that packs an incredible punch when you think about it, because if we really took it to heart and used the purpose of it to empathize with others, what a huge difference we could make in this world. The statement is “every scar tells a story!

It’s true isn’t it? You and I have all kinds of scars that we carry with us, physical scars, emotional scars; spiritual scars…all kinds of scars. I’m learning more and more that pain happens; you can’t avoid it, and with painful things comes scars. It’s what we do with the pain as it’s healing, and once our scars have formed, that’s the key.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lead or Lead?

Many years ago, I began my Master's Degree studies in the field of Organizational Leadership. The first class in that program was called "Philosophy of Leadership."

I found it interesting then, and still to this day agree that a person's philosophy shapes who they are and drives where they're going.

My personal philosophy of leadership comes from an understanding that leadership involves a lifelong process of developing skills and abilities necessary for becoming the most successful leader I can be. I need to keep learning and growing if I’m going to effectively influence and mobilize people to accomplish mutually accepted goals. Leadership is a huge, seemingly indefinable concept, but the acrostic below captures the key points of my personal philosophy of leadership.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Fullness...

"Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. 

They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. 

But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christand the emptiness of the universe without him. 

When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Encounter of HOPE

One of the most hope filled encounters that I will not soon forget was a face to face sit down conversation with one of the most amazing guys I've ever met!

This guy has had such an incredible ministry of encouragement over the years that every time I'm with him I leave a richer, deeper, better person in the Lord because of our time together.

His name is Brian and besides being one of the most spiritually in tune people that I know, a regular prayer warrior, and an unbelievable truth giver, He also has Autism, Tourette Syndrome and OCD.

He can't communicate through spoken word, but when He sits down at his Dynavox machine, and his mother holds his wrist to calm his movements, and he begins to peck with his pointer letter after letter to form the sentences He needs to deliver...I stop and listen, and listen good!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

God Lasts

Isaiah 40:25-31 (The Message)

25-26 “So—who is like me? Who holds a candle to me?” says The Holy.

Look at the night skies: Who do you think made all this?
Who marches this army of stars out each night, counts them off, calls each by name.

—so magnificent! so powerful!— and never overlooks a single one?

27-31 Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying,

God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”?


Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.

He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.

And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.

For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.


                                                                                                            (Photos courtesy of Paula Gattine)