Make Sure You Know Your “WHY?”

I want to share an article with you all that was sent to me this morning.  This is written by Lauren Hunter.  Many times as leaders and volunteers and people in general we want to make a difference and wonder if what we are doing is really making a difference.  Here is some wonderful information and number one is the question “WHY?”  It’s something I base everything I do on.. I ask myself, “self, what or who am I doing this for?”  The answer keeps me going when things are not so easy.  Enjoy!

ImageWhy do you serve or volunteer at your church?  Some people serve because it’s the right thing to do.  Others serve because there’s an opening.  Someone needs to help out, right?  I’ve known people who serve because someone asked and they couldn’t think of a good excuse why not to.

Churches have a problem, though — burnout.  Whether it’s after a week or several years, a lot of volunteers and church staff experience it. What if there was a way to help prevent this problem before it starts?  I don’t know if it’s 100%, but in my years at my church, I have learned a lot of ways to stave off burnout.

1.Know the why.  If you serve for approval, out of guilt, just to help out, or because you couldn’t think of a good reason not to, you might be headed for trouble.  Your relationship with Jesus is what should guide your serving, but you also need what I call a “big why:”

What motivates you to get up when you’d rather sleep in?  Why do you stay a little longer when you’d rather go home?  For me, it’s people.  At my church lives and eternities are saved every week and I get to help.

2.View what you do as a privilege.  A few years ago I noticed a change in how a lot of leaders referred to what they did.  It’s a simple thing, but it’s profound.  Change the word “have” to “get.”  I get to arrive early on Sundays at my church’s satellite campus.  It sounds odd, but it really helps me.  When I see what I do as a gift, I find it easier to do difficult things.

3.Learn to expect hard things.  Sometimes it will be difficult.  We live in a fallen, imperfect world.  Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble…” (John 16:33 NIV), don’t act surprised when it happens.  Is it relationship trouble, money trouble, equipment trouble?  Whatever it is, decide in advance to make the right decision.  Don’t leave it up to the heat of the moment.

4.Forgive early and often.  Everyone you’re around will eventually disappoint you, make you mad, treat you poorly, etc.  They’re human and imperfect just like you are.  Give them the grace that you’d hope others would give you.  Forgive more, not less.  See if you can be the most forgiving person.  I’d rather err on the side of forgiving more, not less.

5.Trust your leaders.  I’ll admit that this is hard.  I spent years harboring resentments and thinking I knew better.  When I finally gave that up and started trusting people, I was amazed at how light I felt.  When everyone around you is always wrong, your head toward disaster.

The path to significance and meaning isn’t paved with dollars or fame. It’s paved with sacrifice and humility. While some people make a difference through their own selfishness, at the expense of others, most of us can put aside our plans and ambitions and really make a difference, a difference that outlasts our lives, a difference that changes lives and affects generations.

Life Change! Real?

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The Word of God is powerful. I don’t think any of us who believe have a problem with that statement. Where we find the disconnect is in the Word’s effect on our daily lives. It seems we have very little to show for all the Word we have encountered. This is what caused me to question, just what is missing here?

I’ll first begin by stating I am a “career” Christian meaning I was born into a Bible Belt wearing family who read the word and attended Church regularly. Oh and by regularly I mean we did not miss! We believed and to some degree followed scripture. However we were missing a lot that we knew to be true in daily exercising our faith.

There was fear in our home. Fear of lack, fear of sickness and general fear of the worst that could happen just might.  We knew what The Word said about fear yet we felt genuine cause to allow it to hang around us; influencing the decisions we made.   In that aspect the Word really was more in our heads than in our hearts.

There in lies the problem. The word is not meant to grow in our heads but in the fertile soil of our hearts.  We can gain access to the portables of our minds and recollect scripture but how many of us can gather the fruit of a seed well planted in the soil of our heart?  Here and only here can the Word accomplish what it has been sent to accomplish .

So here it is a quick statement on what it would take a book for me to explain. There is no problem with the Word nor is there a lack in it’s power. The problem is in our soil. We are not preparing the soil of our hearts to receive the seed of scripture. We will never see the fruit we all desire until we plant the right seeds in the right place.

Too many times we plant seeds of fear doubt and unbelief in our hearts through music, video and television and are shocked when these seeds begin to sprout and bear fruit of distrust, addiction and rebellion. Listen, if you want to see a different crop in your life plant something different… The Word.

Ok so now we know what to plant, the Word. Now we know where to plant it, in our hearts. This might be the most crucial step we’ve missed. What kind of soil  is our heart? Is our hearts good soil? Are the “birds of the air” stealing from us? Is our soil too shallow to take the pressure? Might the thorn seeds we’ve planted in our past be choking the word?

I’ll write more about this in the near future right now read mark 4 and the parable of the soils. Do a spiritual soil test. Secondly read Ezekiel 36:24-30. Lets start here with new soil and fresh seeds.

by Pastor Doug Bell

Christmas MAGNIFIED

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Mary was asked to carry the unbelievable. Mary’s response was, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” Luke 1:46. Did she realize what she was saying? I think so. In the midst of what could have overwhelmed her she was choosing to magnify something greater than her fear, the opinions of others and the certain pain she would surely face. Mary chose to focus not on what she was going through but on the one who would carry her through.

In Luke chapter 2 Simeon sees the salvation of the Lord and speaks again to this soul of Mary, the same soul that magnified the Lord. Luke 2:35 Mary is told her pain has only just begun, verse 35 “a sword will pierce through your soul also.” This sword would not pierce her body but her soul. Could she have known that as the sword would pierce her babies side that same sword would be thrust through her soul?

What is it that you are facing? Is it unbelievable? Does it cause pain that surely will not end now but sometime in the future with a final event? Let me encourage you with a question, what is it that you are MAGNIFYING? Is your focus on an event, circumstance or an unavoidable pain; or is it on the one who will carry you through it?

Let our answer by as Mary’s, “My soul does magnify the LORD.”

When I Want To Roar

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LifePointe’s recently has become more of my life with Paxton and Cooper. So sit back and enjoy this latest installment. As our family was driving the other day Brandi and I was listening to the singing coming from the back seat.  Every parent knows this to be true, we can tolerate singing of any type over sibling bickering secessions. So we listened rather than tuning them out.

The words to their song went like this, “when I’m feeling mad and I want to roar, I take a deep breath and count to 4”  yes I just sung that and truth be told so did you.  This originally sung by Daniel Tiger hence the term “roar”. Immediately I turned to Paxton and said, “Son you just taught me a valuable lesson about knowledge vs. wisdom.  See Paxton has a short temper and can get fired up fairly quickly.  Yet he knows this song, this truth really, that we should take our time and think before we respond.  This rarely happens for him right now.

We are all like this in different areas of our lives.  We know the truth in our head but we don’t apply the truth in our lives.  Knowledge is the truth we know, wisdom is the application of that truth.  Take this passage for example, Luke 2:10-11 “do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”  We all have knowledge of this scripture both believer and nonbeliever but the question is this have we applied this knowledge in our daily lives?  Are we still living in fear?  Are we still living in the knowledge that a Savior exists or are we seeking Him with our lifestyles?

This Christmas season ask yourself are you reciting the words or living in the promise?  Remember, “when your feeling mad and you wanna roar take a deep breath and count to 4.”  Take note of the songs you are singing then ask yourself, are they more than words?

Aside

I’ve been asked…

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I’ve been asked my thoughts on the presidential election more times than I can count.  Yes I have thoughts and opinions concerning the issues of our nation as does anyone else who is passionate about the direction of the country we love.  More than once I’ve logged in to express my views usually in response to something I’ve heard or read only to hear the Holy Spirit quietly nudging me in a different direction.  The direction I’ve been moved toward is less about a political mandate and more in the direction of a Biblical one.  Every problem I see socially and politically can be traced back to this most basic principle, we’ve removed the God factor.  I can not begin to tell you how discouraging it is to see the Church so passionate over an election and so melancholy about the Kingdom.  So here are three responses I believe we the Church needs to make in action toward our current circumstances.

Number one.  We must PRAY!  It seems there is more zeal for the cause of “in school” religious freedoms than for the practice of “in home” prayer.  Makes you wonder if the loudest voices are even recognized by the ear of God?  No government will save a people regardless of party or platform.  There is but one who sits on the thrown and this election nor the next will determine that.  2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Number two.  We must get out of DEBT! I see so many struggling financially in todays economy. As I sit and listen to people who are choosing between gas and food it breaks my heart.  I literally looked at Brandi the other night and said, I do not understand.  We are recently a one income home and yet we are not struggling to decide between food or gas.  I say this unapologetically due to the intentional sacrifices we’ve made as a family to get out of debt.  We have learned a common sense rule; if we don’t have the money to buy things, we don’t buy them.  We have taken every tax refund and other unexpected sum of money and put toward paying off credit cards, loans and cars.  Every time we paid a bill off we celebrated getting a monthly raise in our income.  Want to see this country get out of debt?  It starts at your address. Luke 14:28 says, For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

Number three. We must VOTE! Yes you read me correctly.  I am a patriot.  A lover of this great nation of ours. I believe without exception that we are a chosen people by God to shine a beacon light in this world.  I also believe in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence and all the rights a government can not provide but must uphold. We have this wonderful duty as Americans to come together with like mindedness and differing opinions and cast a vote. This should not be a divisive separation of a nations people, but a celebration of the promise of liberty we have to voice our beliefs even if they are not shared beliefs.  Finally resist to complain about a process if your not part of the process.  Sitting on the sidelines and refusing to vote is a vote, think about it. God bless the United States of America. Deuteronomy 1:13 & Romans 13:1 read those.

“The Holes in Dad’s Hands”

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This morning as I was out driving the sun was shinning down through the trees into the truck where Cooper and I were riding.  It was a gorgeous day and we were out and about just the two of us.  It’s been nice with the single cab truck to have Cooper sitting with me in the front, in his car seat of course and passenger air bag turned off, safety first.  Looking at his little body sitting there I was watching his every expression and just thinking to myself how proud I was to be his dad.  He has such a big personality yet he is so small and fragile, totally dependent on me and his mom to take care of his every need.

As we drove, I reached over and placed my hand on his leg just so I could touch him.  I quickly noticed how he was staring at my hand.  He observed every inch of it visually and even rubbed my knuckles and the small hairs on top of my hand; it was like he wanted a mental picture of my hand that would last forever.  I could remember doing the same with my dad, and even the last time I saw him, at his funeral, guess what I did?  I took notice of his hands.  Those hands that had held me when I was born hugged me tight with his language of love and had sometimes been used to discipline me I was now seeing for the last time, at least on this side of heaven.

Cooper then looked up at me with his piercing blue eyes, long lashes and innocent love and said to me, “dad you have holes in your hands.”  Do they hurt?  He was speaking of the hair follicles on the top of my hand and fingers.  I said, “No son they don’t hurt, and one day you too will have those holes in your hands.”  Quickly I was taken into a place with my heavenly Father.  Only now I was the little blue eyed boy looking up at my dad, Jesus and saying, “Dad, you have holes in your hands, do they hurt?”  Tears began to stream down my face then, as they do now while I type this; He looked into my eyes and said, “Not anymore son.”  Then He lovingly said to me one day, everyday you too will have these holes in your hands.

I was curious how this could be and why it should be.  Didn’t He take my place?  Must I too have these “holes” in my hand?  The answer came as I was directed to a scripture in Luke chapter 9 verse 23, “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”  The Father wants each of us to come into a place of such maturity that others can see the “holes” in our hands as a reflection of the crucifixion of Christ that marks us as disciples as well as, sons and daughters of the King.  It’s a daily decision to be crucified with Christ so that others can see the “holes” in His hands have filled the “holes” in my heart.  Take time today and notice the Father’s hands.