Resiliency is a huge strength for small churches.
— Read on www.christianitytoday.com/karl-vaters/2018/june/small-churches-leadership-culture-vaters-vanderbloemen.html
How I wish I could say this to my problems or when life serves me a plate of unpleasant situations [in other words, bullshit!] At a restaurant they’ll change it right away and make it right. Unfortunately, life is not like that, on top of taking so long for things to get resolved or better.
In life we’ll experience a lot of unpleasant situations like pain, suffering, hurt, adversity, disappointment, injustice to name a few. We can’t control these things, but we can control our responses to these things so we don’t get bitter, resentful or jaded by life, especially in our relationships.
My friend Joe Onosai [https://www.facebook.com/Pastor-Joe-Onosai-152891391456623/] taught us recently to guard our heart.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT
Two things I got when he shared this passage:
- This is the only place in the Bible where it says “above all else.” In other words, make it a top virtue, goal to live by more than anything else.
- The word “Guard.” When I thought about the word “guard” I came up with a few other words, like Protect, Watchful, Alert, Awareness, Steadfast. People who don’t guard their hearts allow their hearts to get polluted, contaminated and eventually they become very cynical, critical people that just spew verbal venom all of the time. Defiance is developed from this.
So here are a few things we can do to stay the course:
Take some time to reflect on the facts, not your feelings about the unpleasant situation. Reflection is the pause that gives us perspective. The right perspective gives us clarity. Clarity will give us the best outcome. We say “Zoom Out” to get a wider perspective on the possibilities of a solution[s]. Creativity means there is always an answer. It’s not about who’s to blame or fault.
Talk with other people you trust. Seek their counsel on the situation. Be vulnerable and transparent as much as required. Don’t withhold any details. Don’t fear rejection, or worry about being accepted. The truth will set and keep you free.
Write out some practical next steps that you can take towards resolving your situation. Many times some of the steps that we need to take include things we don’t want to do like apologizing, or asking for forgiveness from a person we don’t care for [I call this eating glass]. Our pride and ego gets in the way and hinders us from moving forward. This is how many people get stuck in their lives and never grow or mature. They create a lid for themselves and everyone else around them.
Go back to the people you sought counsel from and present your steps to see if it makes sense or you’re not missing any other crucial steps. In some situations, one missed step, can make the difference between breakdown or breakthrough.
I say “When we walk together, we WIN together!”
If you’d like to learn more on how to live your purpose and reach your full potential in life email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes the voices of the crowd become louder than the voices of our core.
In the midst of the frenzy or fog our listening ability weakens and the main voices of our lives that guide us and protect us, is drowned out by our ambitious efforts.
Our inner circle, the people we trust the most including Jesus, are shunned because it’s saying opposite of what our flesh desires.
To help us from becoming pridefully deaf, we can remind ourselves of these three things :
1. Core Values
- Values that are non-negotiable and absolute that you live by. Trust, Honesty, Integrity to name a few.
2. Core Beliefs
- Your beliefs and principals as a person that govern what you action in life. They should align with your values so you have a solid foundation in your life and the life of your loved ones.
3. Core Voices [Inner Circle]
- These are the voices of your inner circle comprised of people you trust the most. These voices carry a lot of weight when they speak into your life. Not everyone can speak into your life.
When making critical decisions in your life, needing guidance or direction, processing thoughts to action, go to these three areas before proceeding forward to minimize the drama mamas in our already crazy life.
You ever had those days where nothing goes right or seems to be right? Nothing's working, super irrimatateed, end of long lines, phone not working, no wi-fi, no one can get your order right, traffic is at a stall; a/c is broken, boss wants to fire you, strangers cursing at you for no reason?
I've experienced all of these at one time on more than one occasion. So what do you do on days like these? Here's my remedy:
- Even if you're at work, take a break, take a walk, go for a drive.
- Go do your favorite thing or eat your favorite thing.
- Listen to your favorite music. I like the classic 80's and hard rock, Def Leppard, Boston, (revealing my age).
- Talk, text, or be with a favorite person in your life. For me, it's my grandkids.
- If it's Happy Hour, order your favorite drink and make your friend pay for it.
- Look at pictures or videos of your favorite memories.
- Reshift your focus to something other than your situation or problem.
- Focus on the future. Something you've been dreaming or planning to do.
- Abundant mindset says there is always a solution/option and there's more than one solution/option.
- Focus on the promises from God's Word. I keep a list of verses sorted by topics in a note app.
- I also read different devotionals according to the season or situation I'm currently in.
- Change our perspectives, change our beliefs, change our beliefs, change our behaviors.
- Faith in not mystical or magical. Faith is believing in something and someone that is real.
- Faith is the substance of our hope when we face impossible situations.
- It's the reason why we can have the abundant mindset.
- It's the reason why we know God will come through for us all the time.
- It's the reason why we know our situations always work out for the best in the end.
Just remember, a crappy day is just that, a crappy "day." It's not the end of your life or story. It's one page in the book of your incredible story that God is writing. You determine how your story ends by the way you respond to adversity, suffering, problems and pain.
In the span of your life, you'll always have a way higher percentage of good days than a few crappy days.
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Galatians 6:9 NLT
Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.
Hebrews 10:32-36 NLT
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Romans 8:28 NLT
Relationships are the most important value we will action in life. You can have all of the money and materialism you desire, but without meaningful relationships, it is all worthless and meaningless.
King Solomon thought all of his riches and women would bring fulfillment in his life. Instead it brought despair, disappointment, and distance from God. His life ended in emptiness and poverty.
Relationships will also be the most difficult value we’ll attempt to action. A lot of pain, adversity, suffering, injustice to name a few experiences that may discourage us from being involved in meaningful relationships. We all have weaknesses, faults, flaws, and failures (gaps) in our communication, listening, abilities, love, beliefs, overall humanness.
But because of God’s unconditional love for each one of us, He created people as a gift to us to fill in those gaps to make us whole, complete. From our strengths to our talents, to our abilities, to our spiritual gifts, they are all to be used to serve others; to fill the gaps in our lives.
They say a house is not a home until you fill it with the people you love. The church is the same way. It’s not a church until you fill it with people you love. We have a huge gap of lost souls in the church today. We’ve become self-focused, self-reliant and exclusive, neglecting the very reason for God creating us in the first place.
Let’s not forget God’s incredible gift; people and His incredible opportunity to fill the gaps in each others lives to experience the fullness of Christ and His love.
“Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith.”
1 Thessalonians 3:10 NLT
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.””
Matthew 28:19-20 NLT
Adversity is something none of us likes to face or experience. If you’re like me, from an early age I was taught adversity was a negative thing and usually because of something I did. A lot of guilt, regret would follow me through out adverse circumstances.
As I grew in my relationship with Christ and read His word I learned adversity, like pain is something God will use to shape, sharpen, and strengthen our character. It’s kind of like vegetables or exercise (I dislike both with equal passion), we may not like or agree with it but it’s good for us and has a positive effect to our health.
Two things I’ve learned from adversity:
- Adersity brings out the best quality of a person. Just like the irritation of sand in an oyster will produce a beautiful pearl. The internal conflict, struggle, fighting will produce something beautiful in us.
- Adversity teaches us the principle of adaptability. We learn to adapt through all of the curve balls, storms, injustice that life will throw at us. We don’t adapt to survive, but to serve. Part of the story of Joseph is to show us how to serve even in unfavorable circumstances.
Don’t give up or give in, God will always have your back and count your adversity, suffering as an offering to Him. In the end, you will be radically blessed!
So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 3:7-8 NLT
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.
2 Thessalonians 1:3-7 NIV
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. Romans 5:3-5 NLT
I read this amazing devotional today and wanted to share the revelation I got from it.
This is why we never give up when we feel like quitting or going the extra mile or giving in to the devils lies and condemnation.
The two areas the enemy will always challenge and taunt us in is belief and hope. The devil knows how powerful we become when we are steadfast and strong in these areas. There is basically nothing we cannot do or stop us.
If you wake up in the morning or (sometimes at night) and greeted with negativity, guilt, worry, etc. Remember this verse and poem to encourage you to do what God has called you to do regardless of the bigness or cost of your vision.
Because Christ was resurrected, we have victory, power, and freedom!
We can believe in miracles today because of the miracle of Jesus being raised from the dead.
He is not a one miracle kind of a guy. The bible says if every miracle was recorded, the world would not have enough room for a book so big.
Expect your miracle and answered prayer to come to a reality!
God is Real…Real is God!
Here is the devotional:
If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain and your faith also is vain.
1 Corinthians 15:14
If . . . locked in my chamber of unchallenged fears
I wait for the dawn
with curtains drawn
If . . . alone in that darkness I cry to be free
yet claim that my Captor
has swallowed the key
If . . . I cling to my memories living only the past
and doubting the future
I give up at last
If . . . in the midst of this battle I turn and retreat
blind to my victory and accepting defeat
Then Christ has died needlessly
And peace is a fantasy
Then hope is a wounded word
“The coming King” is but a phrase I’ve heard . . .
and all the world is lost.
Lord, I believe.
Help me in my unbelief.
And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. (1 Corinthians 15:14 NLT)
Most of us have experienced church in one facet or another. Whether you happen to go with your family, friends on special occasions like Easter or Christmas or were forced by extreme threats; majority of people have not had a very good experience with attending church.
I myself had some pretty weird and far out experiences. I went in and out of the church for a while before really settling down and understanding what church is all about. I have been a Christian now for over 20 years and currently Pastor a church in Hawaii that we had started in 2003.
It definitely has been a journey of adventure and new discoveries about God and His real purpose for our lives. That purpose is to experience true freedom in our relationship with Him to enjoy a deep, healthy spiritual life.
He never wanted us to feel guilty, condemned, inadequate, insecure or what ever other negative feelings we may feel in the most positive and loving environments we can experience. A lot of churches today are so contrary to what Jesus originally intended when He created the church. (Acts 2:42-47)
The church was created so an assembly of people could come together to experience to its fullest; some of the following:
- Enjoy each others company
- Encourage one another in their dreams and aspirations
- Edify one another in everyday situations
- Bless one another whenever possible
- Share unselfishly with one another
- Love each other unconditionally
- Pray with each other when ever possible
- Raise each others children to be successful and respectful
- Live life with vibrancy, enthusiasm, joy, zeal, excitement, creativity, miracles and a super quality of life
It was never to be an environment of intimidation or condemnation. To be judged to a point where we do everything to avoid coming into the church. Thinking we would rather struggle and suffer than come into a place of hope, healing, love and acceptance. This is so sad to me.
We please God not by obeying all the rules and laws that were set centuries ago. We please God by being ourselves and living in freedom. The bible says we are “fearfully and wonderfully” made.
I hope this has helped you change your paradigm, perspective about God that loves and cares for you so much unconditionally! He wants to be your friend…
Did you ever wonder why at times, sustaining healthy relationships is so difficult or takes so much work? Yet its one of the most important things we need to have in our lives for growth and success.
Many people believe they can do life by themselves, that they don’t need anyone else to assist them or to be part of their lives. What they don’t understand is we were born with an innate need to relate with people. Part of the problem we have in society today is we try to replace this need with status, material things, money, superficial friends, social websites to name some of the ways we preoccupy ourselves.
What we don’t realize is that it contributes to the breakdown in our society that’s being repeated from generation to generation. Broken Marriages, Friendships, Families, Workplaces, Churches, Communities and even some countries are the result of the way we relate today.
From the beginning of time God created us to be relational beings. To have authentic, genuine relationships with people. When we look in the bible, we find the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2 the perfect example of a true relationship between two people and God. There was freedom, love, honesty, and trust at its highest level. “They felt no shame”.
The same negative qualities today; selfish ambition, pride, jealousy, envy, to mention a few, have the same destructive results in preventing us from building authentic relationships. Unless we take the initiative to nurture true relationships in all areas of our lives, the breakdown will continue.
I encourage you today to not forsake nurturing true friendships with people and with God. It will be difficult at times, but no greater reward!
CHANCE’EM in the area of relationships…
The Lord always supersedes us. He superseded Peter in his command of the boat, which he had navigated since he was a lad. There is always a testing-point for the soul. Will you surrender the command and let Christ be captain? If so, in the teeth of great difficulties for fish are not caught generally in the glare of day he will fill your boat to the water’s edge. He does beyond all we asked or thought.
In Luke 5:1-11 is an amazing story about how much God cares about our needs in every area of our life. God is very interested in our daily routines and activities. No need is too small or big for God.
I love it when any of our daughters call home and present a need they may have. It is very fulfilling for me by meeting their needs or helping them find a solution to their circumstances.
Our Heavenly Father is the same way with us. Part of God’s agenda everyday is to make you happy, bless you, help to solve your problems, develop your character, prosper you, and grow you into spiritual maturity to experience the best life possible.
Give God a chance and make Him a priority in your life, He won’t let you down!