How are you feeling?

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How we feel, drives so much of what we do (or don’t do) and can in some cases, result in how we are viewed and who we become. God created the feelings and emotions we experience and no one should tell you that you’re not entitled to experience a particular feeling.

When those feelings drive what we believe, how we act and who we become however, then we’ve allowed the fox to run the hen-house; we’ve allowed the enemy to claim victory. A prior pastor of mine and great man of God, Dr Chris Stephens would say, “If we are a train, our feelings need to be the caboose, not the engine”. This is so very true but far too often we allow our feelings to serve as the engine of our lives.

Our feelings are often a direct result of our thoughts. It was once said that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste”, and this is true. But it’s also true that the mind can simply be a terrible thing!

The new testament speaks repeatedly of the mind. It says that it can be twisted toward death (Romans 8:6), that our minds can be led astray (2 Corinthians 11:3), and deceived (Romans 16:18).

But it doesn’t have to be this way. In Romans 12:2, Paul tells us that we can be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This is what we should all desire; a true and profound renewal of our minds. Ephesians 4:23 says that we can be made new in the attitude of our minds and 1 Corinthians 14:15 says we can pray with our spirits and our minds.

Above I sited Romans 8:6, indicating that our minds can be twisted toward death. But the good news is in the second half of that scripture. There it says that a mind controlled by the Spirit, brings life and peace. I think I’ll take that!

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of “The Purpose Driven Life” said this: “The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. If you want to change the way you act, start by changing the way you think.” The emphasis here once again, is on our thoughts, which drive how we feel.

If you’re not feeling how you’d like, let’s remember two things: First, the love and character of God does not change, only we do…and second, let’s take Paul’s very wise advice in Philippians 4:8: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”

Go ahead and do that, right now…Feel better? I know I do  smile-image

 

 

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Every Day is Christmas

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If you are a Christ follower, the title of this post is a truth that you should seek to live out. For most of us, Christmas day is (or should be) a day filled with anticipation and joy. First, anticipation of what the day will bring. A hope and expectancy of love, laughter and the warmth of family and friends who mean so much to us. Our sense of how very much they mean seems to be heightened on Christmas day. We truly cherish the gift of our loved ones.

The joy we feel comes from a few sources. First and foremost, from the ability to celebrate once again, the great gift we’ve been given in Jesus. We also receive joy from the giving and receiving of physical gifts. There’s an excitement about both, what’s in “the box” we’re about to open, and a joy in watching others open the box we’ve lovingly shared with them.

So why do I suggest that every day is, or should be Christmas? Because for those of us who strive to follow Him, each day holds anticipation of new gifts for us to give, and receive. The gifts that are ours to open, are mysteries that are only revealed as we seek Him afresh each morning. Like the gift we unwrap on Christmas morning, God will reveal the contents of the gift He has for us this day, as we pursue him with confident anticipation.

The joy of giving that we’ll encounter, comes first from those gifts He’s given us. We’ve all been blessed with gifts from God but unlike traditional Christmas gifts, these gifts are not for us to keep. These are the most valuable of gifts; the gifts He’s given us for the sole purpose of sharing with those around us. Which is the second and greater joy; the giving of these gifts to others.

In Romans chapter 12, Paul talks about the different gifts we are given and how to use them…In essence, we are to re-gift them. Nowhere does it say we’re to put these gifts in a display case or worse yet, put them back in the box they came in.

So tomorrow, when we rise to greet the new day, let’s be sure to do two things. First, we should open the gift He gives us with the reckless abandon of a child tearing open a gift on Christmas morning…And then, we shouldn’t waste a moment in stepping into our day and being intentional about sharing that gift with others. After all, as with everything, we are merely stewards of what we’ve been so freely given. Let’s trip over each other in the free giving and humble receiving of the gifts He’s entrusted us with.

 

Leaders Creating Leaders

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Those of us who have been around leadership for any length of time know, that our goal is not to lead so as to create more followers, but to lead in way that creates more leaders.

Leadership that relies heavily on you to generate the ideas, create the vision and oversee it’s implementation is a limited and narrowly focused leadership. More importantly, it is a leadership (and thus an organization), that cannot be maintained for the long haul.

Asking ourselves what type of leader we are, should take us back to the question I asked in segment #1 of my video teaching series; “The Timothy Leadership Sessions”. That question is: “Why do I want to lead?” For a full vetting of that question, watch the video, but in summary the only right answer involves the desire to positively impact the lives of others…And while that includes being a part of providing someone’s basic needs of food, shelter, being cared for and being known, it goes much further than that.

Among the most important goals of leading others should be unlocking their potential, teaching them what you know, and then empowering them to do the same. This is what I touch on in the final leadership segment of those sessions which is entitled: “Next Level Leadership”.

In 2nd Timothy 2:2, Paul says this better than I ever could: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others”. You see, Timothy “heard” Paul say these things. This means Timothy was along for the ride, literally…he was present as Paul led.

The lesson here is that as leaders, we should not walk alone. In other words, don’t just teach or tell someone the way to go, show them by bringing them along as you lead.

We can learn a lot from geese…Yes, geese. Most of us know that geese fly in a “V” formation. The leader flies at the point of the “V” for a period of time, then drops back while another goose takes his place as the leader. This is done primarily, to share in the additional energy needed in order to lead. The lead goose bares more of the wind resistance and ultimately needs others to shoulder that burden.

When we bring others with us as we lead, and ultimately allow them to carry some of that leadership, we encourage and empower their leadership, and conserve our energy to be able to continue to lead for the long haul.

Don’t like the goose analogy? Well how about this…For three years Jesus taught, showed and literally lived with His disciples to prepare them for what would become their leadership journey of a lifetime. Since there was no better leader, there could be no better model; so how about you and I follow it as we partner with others, in their leadership journey of a lifetime.