I've really struggled lately with my growth process as a leader.
It is one of the hardest things when you see things other people can't see and aren't willing to change. Being involved with leading things this year has been one the most rewarding things ever. Coming up with an idea, expanding it, making it happen and seeing people's lives changed or impacted in the end is by far one of the greatest things I have done.
Though, sometimes dealing with people or circumstances that you cannot change or are not able to do on your own is incredibly difficult. I found myself walking along the road tonight in very cold weather (mid winter), dark skies and alot of unanswered questions. It's funny how when you get to end of yourself, God shows up and says or does exactly the thing you need most.
Leadership at times can be a real lonely place and at times feels like nobody even understands what you're carrying. Amongst my emotions and full head I realised something that completely changed the way I felt.
I realised God sees what I see.
God feels what I feel.
God goes through what I go through.
My mind was immediately reminded of the anguish Jesus went through in the garden of Gethsemane. His whole emotions, physical body, mind space and spirit was in complete overload at the knowledge of the cross.
"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them.
Jesus saw what others didn't see. Yet, He powered on towards what He knew what needed to be done. He knew that although people didn't understand what He was going through at the time of Gethsemane and all the way through to His death, it was worth it.
I realised at that moment somewhere between taking one foot off the ground and putting the other down that it's worth it. Leadership at times feels lonely, unthanked and unseen... but it's worth it. Serving even when nobody sees or acknowledges you - it's worth it. Praying for your unsaved friends even when you haven't seen any results for a while - it's worth it. Staying integral in the secret or in the place of temptation - it's worth it.
Jesus understood that even though the cross was going to cost Him everything he had it was still worth it. I'm sure that even when He was hanging there slowly, loosing all strength and ability to stay alive, He saw the purpose.
It's worth it for the people around you to come to a knowledge of Jesus or to grow closer in their relationship with Him. It's worth it for the people who are one day going to look at your life and be hit with the power of pushing on. It's worth it for the church to become more effective in reaching the world. It's worth it for the chance for people to know the Creator of the world, the Saviour of mankind,
and its worth it for people to meet the One who can transform lives to a place of worth, purpose and salvation.
I recently attended the Pursuit of Excellence conference in Manukau and there were some incredible things preached at some of the sessions which I found totally revamped the way I live life.
One of these was a message preached by an English pastor Paul Scanlon.
He preached about the Will of God, which is always a controversial topic to many believers in the modern world. He used the scripture in Proverbs 20:24:
"A man's steps are directed by the LORD."
IMPORTANT: It's not the intentions of a step, it's not the plans of taking a step; but its theSTEPS which God directs.
So many times I know I get frustrated not knowing the next step or even knowing the direction in which God wants me to take. I realised the majority of these times I'm actually just sitting around waiting for God to put everything in place perfectly for me without having to step out abit.
It's like I'm asking God to drop some incredible vision into my lap, have some guy to immediately walk up to me and offer me a full time, paid leadership position or all the red cars on the right hand side of the road to all line up facing the direction to confirm its a sign from God before I do something.
"God uses people in motion."
- What things are you wishing were different? - What steps are you taking to allow God to use you more? - What are the things you've struggled with holding you back from fullness of life, taking a risk or from obeying God?
"If nobody in your church or your city is in motion, then sometimes God will even resort to using unsaved people to see his will accomplished."
We need to be doing something for God.
Paul Scanlon refers to the two different opinions on the will of God as being the two "Schools of Devine Guidance".
The first school of devine guidance has their mission statement as:
1. I don't move until I recieve God's guidance.
The second school of devine guidance says:
2. I don't expect God's guidance until I move.
These are two very subtle differences but two very life altering thought processes. Many times personally I've slipped into the first 'school' and just waited around for God tell me exactly where to go. I've found its only as you're taking intentional steps in different areas of life that I hear God clearly say where to go.
Please understand, I'm not saying for example, that if you're unsure about drugs, go ahead and try it and let God direct you afterwards. I'm getting at a hinderance in our personal growth - both in our relationship with God, in our effectiveness in ministry, and in receiving even more of the fulfilling life God has for us.
"The reason churches flourish are not because of their location, colour of their lights or carpet. The reason churches are growing rapidly compared to ones just down the road is the first one is doing something and the second is praying or thinking about doing something."
The challenge is to constantly be stepping out in faith, believing God to come through and to direct.
If you're unsure of where God is leading you, take a step using wisdom, and expect God to come through for you.
Common. Step out.
Do what you've wanted to see happen for such a long time. Step out.
Bethe answer to the frustration you've felt. Step out.
Let your life become one that's in movement - in motion,
taking steps that God can then use
to direct you towards ALL the things He's planned for you.
A day or two a go some of you may have read the post I put up on Atheism. Firstly, I want to thank Rob who left a comment on the Atheism post I put up a few days ago. I think blogs are a good way to discuss alot of different things ranging from sport to religion.
Religion / faith / belief, whatever you want to call it, is an incredibly huge part of life; sometimes causing splits between families or friends and even causing war between nations.
The majority of people have their own belief or decision about what is true, often being a main thing that people base their life upon.
For those of who you who haven't read Rob's comment:
"What a load of crap. Atheism uses facts to determine truths, while religion uses rumours and faith in un proveable statements. I trust peer reviewed research by educated people over a single book that was written by a bunch of story tellers."
The reason I have posted his comment is not to make him feel judged, but to allow some more thought on this topic which I know for many people is very important to discuss.
I'd love to have anyone and everyone's feedback around the idea of Atheism compared to faith in Jesus.
Keep your eyes on here and it'd be great to continue this theme as it is something very important to discuss.
This is off James MacPherson's blog which I think answers alot of why I love being a follower of Jesus - He actually gives genuine meaning to life. "Atheism has made something of a comeback in the past 12 months with people like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris arguing passionately that belief in the transcendent is folly.
Atheism, the absolute belief that there is no Absolute, is the mother of ...
Materialism since without God, matter is all there is.
Hedonism since without God, now is all there is.
Relativism since without God, opinion is all there is.
Humanism since without God, we are all there is.
Nihilism since without God, random chance is all there is.
Atheism reduces human life to nothing more than random (nihilism) molecules (materialism) expressing irrelevant opinions (relativism) in the eternal now (hedonism).
It seems to me that while theism might make little sense to Dawkins, atheism makes nonsense of everything."
I believe God has an awesome plan for each of our lives.
Life was never intended to be something we just use up through work hours, worry and sleep.
As someone once said "Life is your coin, you can only spend it once". When Jesus said in John 10:10 "I have come that they may have life and life to the full", he wasn't meaning half empty or half full - but overflowing the cup.
God is into overflow. He loves to take what we have, combine it with EVERYTHING He has, and expand it into something we could have never even dreamed of.
After an incredible sermon preached today by a fellow Bible College student, I was inspired to think more about why I am here today. Why was I born in this generation? Why did God choose to create me now instead of last century or 100 years in the future from now?
After another sermon around the same topic (haha looks like God might be trying to tell me something), at our youth camp last weekend I was sucked into a old school Bible story.
It was on the life of Esther, the Queen who was previously an orphan with little confidence and personal vision.
The thing that hit me about her story was a verse in Esther 4:14 which says: For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"
Her choice whether or not to stand and defend her nation determined not only the lives of her family and friends, but the future of an entire nation.
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.
What is it about your life that made God create you for such a time as this?
It's not something that should cause you to shudder in insecurity or fear of whether or not you can accomplish what God planned for you - God will take care of that part.
What we need to decide is whether we'll say yes.
Whether we'll say yes to what it costs.
Whether we'll say yes to the things God asks of us (whether they be small or big).
Whether we'll make the choice to stand in the gap for both the lives of our friends, family.... and our nation.
This weekend just gone by we had our youth camp for church. It was awesome, games, movies, hanging out, FOOD and services encountering God. We also had both an incredible youth leader and very good mate come and speak at camp at both of our 2 services throughout the weekend.
The first night he spoke about the things we are passionate about. He used the illustration of how he is passionate about finding the right pair of jeans, and the feeling he gets after reaching the end of his complete day search to finish finding the perfect pair.
But, do we feel the same passion when we open the bible or hear God speak to us?
I think there are definite positives about comfort and familiarity but it is also definite negative if it limits our desperation for God and it numbing our motivation and passion to go deeper in our love for Him.
Personally, I struggle at times to continue reminding myself the purpose behind why I spend time with God. It is easy to slip into the mentality of wanting more of God because of requirement or because I know it helps my ability to lead etc.
But those reasons can often lead into turning our relationship with God again into religion - something that Jesus came to destroy.
We need to constantly reevaluate our love for God and our reasons behind why we do the things we do.
Do we lift our hands in worship because we know people will be wondering why we aren't or because the desperation I have for more of God can't be expressed in any other way than lifting my hands wanting more of Him? (Just an example - not wanting to start a discussion about the controversy etc over lifting of hands)
Am I living my Christian life out of things I feel I should be doing or because I want to know God deeper?
Because I want to love Him more?
Because there is no one else that even comes close to being worthy of my worship and honour?
Kia ora and welcome to my blog. I live in Auckland, New Zealand (home of the All Blacks, Middle Earth and the most beautiful country in the world). I lead LifeChangers Church: Hibiscus Coast, and love seeing God change people's lives through finding a relationship with Jesus.