Monday, December 31, 2007

Reinvent Yourself

Reinvent Yourself
Matthew 7:7-8 & Romans 8: 31
In the game of chess, players can become grid-locked, where after countless moves, neither opponent can gain the upper-hand. The game can stretch out to where each player is only making meaningless moves that merely extend the game; and it becomes clear that a meaningful advancement or victory is simply not going to be achieved. At some point, the two players can agree to a provision called, “stale-mate”, in essence calling the game a tie. At that point they can wipe the board clean and start a new game.

Oftentimes our lives and/or careers seem to drag along in perpetual stale-mate: nothing is advancing and the likelihood of meaningful achievement is simply not realistic. The answer is not to quit – the answer is to “re-invent.” The week between Christmas and New Year is an excellent time to reinvent yourself, and the way to do that is to take on the mind of God. We do that by steeping our minds and souls in His word, the Bible.

This week, recognize what area of your life is stale-mated, and commit to changing “ho-hum”, “same-old, same-old” thinking about that aspect that has kept you from advancing.
Shed Your Limitation Thinking - Our self-created, self-imposed limits are not God’s limits. Our scarcity economy is not consistent with God’s abundance. Our “cant’s” are simply and blatantly wrong. Our “cant’s” are God’s “done-deals.” God’s economy doesn’t contain “lack” and “poverty thinking.” God’s economy starts with the fact that He is our source. Satan wants you to fear the future and d.o.u.b.t. the fact that God has taken care of our every need. But, isn’t that his nature - the enemy’s job is to deceive us. Our cares and needs have already been amply supplied. Fear and d.o.u.b.t. are not consistent with the Word of God at all. In 2008, we must purposely turn loose any and all fear and d.o.u.b.t. We must choose to abandon any and all scarcity and/or “lack” thinking. We must choose to shed any limitation thinking – thinking that has held us back in shackles for years.

Vision Great Accomplishments - By being consistently in God’s Word, you will be empowered by knowing the mind of God and His will for your life. He has a tremendous plan laid out for you. You’ll begin to grasp His plan, the clarity of which will inspire and stimulate your thinking. But if you’re not in consistent communion with Him by reading His Word and conversing with Him in prayer, you’ll never know what that plan is. And if you’re not living life according to His plan, you are sentencing yourself to a meaningless existence – a life of “stale-mate” that leads to nothingness. Nothingness is not His plan for you, but nothingness can certainly be the result of not going to Him constantly and faithfully seeking His will for your life.

Ask God, and You Will Know What His Will is for Your Life - When you ask, you also put yourself in position to receive. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus is telling us in no uncertain terms to go forward with God’s plan for our life. We know God’s will by seeking His will and asking Him to reveal His perfect will to us. He will reveal His plan for you without fail when you trust Him completely.

Be Bold - “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 You’re not living the Gospel message if you’re moping about, intimidated, or non-expectant. I’ll take that one step further and say, “You do not truly understand the power and importance of the Gospel message in your life if you’re not filled with joy and excitement!”

God has given you power that cannot be vanquished. We can and must be bold! When He gives you a plan, it will be accomplished through His mighty power. When you are with God, defeat is not an option. If defeat is not an option, then it is time to strike out on your own to accomplish your God-given initiatives – to implement the plans God has ordained especially for you. When implementing God’s plan, you will never be mistaken. The road will not be easy, but “easy” is a man-made concept that far too often deceives and tricks us into missing God’s true plan, sidetracking us into the pursuit of our own pleasures – human devices
Deny the Enemy - The enemy has no power over you unless you give it to him. I say an emphatic “NO” to the enemy in the name of Jesus Christ. You must verbally and confidently do the same. The enemy has no power in God’s presence. The enemy is pre-defeated. However, without God’s presence and authority in your life, the enemy will easily find an opening and have his destructive way over you. He can have power over you if you do not consciously and constantly call on the name of Jesus in all circumstances. God’s authority trumps satan’s power every time, and so we must insist on requesting and proclaiming the authority of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Father, asking them to be present in our lives continually. This is an essential and imperative modus operandi – the only way to live our life every single day – a life of empowered faith.

Reinvent - Your faith can and should grow by leaps and bounds the moment you ask God for a more dynamic, more empowered faith life. Your trust in God should grow multiplicatively. Ask that He will multiply your ability to completely trust Him. Your financial situation can and will sky-rocket. Ask God, in the name of Jesus, that He will multiply your ability to comprehend every financial opportunity and move, and then believe that all of these things WILL come to pass. Don’t be apathetic. Don’t be wishy-washy. No, be empowered, confident, and highly expectant of a great victory. It will happen in and by the mighty power of God Himself.

God has in store a mighty change and a great victory FOR YOU and Me! Be firmly committed to ‘no more stale-mates.’ Rather, let us renew our minds, recharge our faith, and rely on Almighty God to clearly show us His way. And then let us experience the very best year of our lives. I’m excited and thankful in advance for your renewal and reinvention. Be bold, courageous, and highly enthused as you confidently march forward.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Hunting Season Thoughts

I have some pictures I want to share from my opening weekend hunt last November. This is for all you hunters. But First, I want to share a few words with you.

As we go through our lives, we are to be fishers of men and not hunters of them. The point I want to make is that Fishermen cast bait in an attempt to get a nibble and catch fish. They do a lot of luring to get their fish and even the right fish. Hunters, unlike fishermen, while they may bait what they are hungin, they actually stalk and sneak up on their pray and then kill. Jesus told Simon and his brother Andrew to follow him and that He would make them fishers of men. (see Matt 4:19 & Mark 1:17) I don't think they really knew what He was saying when He told this to them. This, howerver, is the exact method we should use in sharing Christ with non-believers. We should fish for them and not hunt for them. And when we fish, let's make sure that we are not fishing in a stagnant pond. That would be like hunting in the same spot and expecting Polar Bear to show up in the desert. When we have the opportunity to share Christ with someone, do it from a fisherman's view by "casting the bait" and luring them to Christ by first being an example and second by giving them little nuggets of wisdom that would encourage them to want to know more. Be the trailor or the advertisement such as in a movie and then allow them to decide how much they want to nibble or take the bait to get to know Christ more.

Now, here are a few pictures of the Axis Buck and Sika Buck that I got this past opening weekend near Rocksprings, Tx in Novemeber.  I've got a trophy Axis already but this one weighed in at 200 lbs and it's got a beautiful colorful hide. I snapped some really nice shots of a bigger Sika Buck but I just couldn't pass this one up...I just wanted to have this Sika Buck to add to the collection of exotics from the ranch.

How exciting!

http://picasaweb.google.com/AlbertSurovik/DeerHunt2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Handling Success

Handling Success
II Chronicles 16:16-31

You are successful by virtue of God’s continual and abundant gifts of grace, provision, and love – all heaped upon you. The more you obey and love Him; the more you make Him the center of your life; and the more you are thankful for the many gifts he has given you, the more you will see Him amazingly at work in every aspect of your life.

Hezekiah was one of the few good kings of Judah to actually love, serve, and obey God as his predecessor, king David had. Scripture makes it clear that Hezekiah was victorious, innovative, and successful in all he undertook. God made Hezekiah look like a champion as the Assyrians were threatening to annihilate Jerusalem. He (God) intervened through many miracles and wonders to rescue the people of Judah. He also gave Hezekiah great riches and honor (v27).

I teach Christ-centered entrepreneurial and personal success as a profession and business. One of the points that you will hear often within the body of our extensive training is that success can actually be one of the worst things that can ever happen to a person if they are not very careful. The primary drawback to success is that it can easily take the place of serving and loving God. We can unwittingly become dependent on success – the accomplishment itself, rather than rightfully depending on God.

The fact is, few individuals handle success well. Why - because with accomplishment, wins, and/or financial gain, pride inevitably steps into the picture. Pride deceives us into thinking that our success is self-created. We get puffed up, thinking our talent, work, and special abilities are the reasons we’ve excelled. We start feeling invincible, and we stop being humble before God. We stop being grateful to Him for His mighty works, while thinking of our success as our own creation. We can easily fall into the trap of thinking that "we’ve got it made". But the fact is, we didn’t make the success. After our initial self-congratulations, we then become dependent on our accolades, titles, positions, and the material objects we’ve received in the process.
Dependence on our success, or anything other than God Himself, is a major mistake!
Hezekiah was greatly esteemed by the people of Judah due to the fact that he was king at the time God performed many mighty miracles - most notably, delivering the land from their powerful enemies. But it wasn’t Hezekiah who was responsible for that success. Yes, he was in office and he received the accolades; but it was God who sent an angel to wipe out the opposing forces (see vv 20-22). Sennacherib, king of Assyria, had to withdraw in disgrace after he had taunted, threatened, and demeaned Hezekiah publicly. To make matters worse, the disgraced Assyrian king was soon-after killed at the sword of his own sons. The rescue of Judah, and Sennacherib’s demise were orchestrated and actuated by God, not Hezekiah.
Hezekiah, according to the worldly viewpoint of his countrymen and even his enemies, was greatly successful. But as we read on, the chronicler says that Hezekiah grew complacent in his success. He took his wealth and victories for granted. When one begins to take his/her success for granted, they tend to forget that it was only by God’s kindness (v25) that they were privileged to receive those signs, healings, and victories.

Today, despite your challenges, you are living a life of success, probably not on a numerical or positional scale that Hezekiah experienced. Nonetheless, you have great success in your life regardless of ledgers or comparisons. Your success, where you are right now, is something you should greatly appreciate and never take for granted. God has given you great miracles, signs, healings, and victories that you should be exceedingly thankful for, regardless of your socio-economic or power level. Your success is not just a past or present phenomenon; your future also holds great promise as well. God has an exciting future for you – one of amplified miracles, favor, blessings, and wealth as you obey and love Him. You can trust in God’s goodness and abundance both now and forever.

The stern side of this message is that God is angered when we don’t recognize the good He has done for us. Hezekiah’s complacency and pride greatly angered God. Vs 25 states, "But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him, and on Judah and Jerusalem."

The story takes a good twist, however. Thankfully, "…Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord’s wrath did not come upon them during the days of Hezekiah." (V26) How are you handling your success? Have you recognized it? Are you thankful to God for it, or are you like Hezekiah prior to his repenting? It is a serious folly to not be fully aware of the success that God has given us. It is also folly to not recognize that He is currently doing a magnificent work in our lives. We must constantly recognize our many blessings, and fall humbly on our knees before Him in expression of our sincere gratitude. Psalm 24:1 makes it clear, "The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." That certainly is all-encompassing, and includes our very selves, as well as our success, accomplishments past, present, and future. He has bestowed many riches on us – many successes, and many miracles are occurring daily for you and for me.

Let us think of ourselves in terms of our success. Each of us has many victories to count and savor. And we continue to be successful as we recognize, love, obey, and depend upon our mighty God. He wants you to know that you are successful. He wants you to know that He is the source of that success. And He wants you to know that he is and always will be faithfully and consistently caring and providing for you.

That is super reason for our humble thanks and our constant adoration, and that is how we should be handling our success – today, right now. To Him be the glory - all praise and gratitude to the God of success, provision, rescue, power, miracles, and wonders!
By: Tim Darnell
* * * * * * * * * * *
Prayer: Father, we thank you that you have given us great success, regardless of what the world may think. We repent of not recognizing your many gifts and that You are constantly at work in our lives. Thank you, oh Lord, our Creator and great Provider. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Serving the Almighty!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Prepared For Battle...Are You?

God continues to strengthen me and prepare me for battle by surrounding me with mighty Warriors who are without a doubt shielded with the Armor of God found in His Word. I'm sure that many Christians, including me at one time in my life, heard the words "put on the Armor of God" but we truly did not grasp the power in it. We in many ways were, and some still, are not in tune with the supernatural power within His mighty Word. I think many miss the power in the Word because they don't understand that the "comfort zone" is so evil and so "of the world". Christian Warriors reveal the power of mighty Men and Women of God coming together for the purpose of Glofying Him, giving credit where credit is due, preparing each other for battle to build His Kingdom. And that just super charges me with a nuclear battery charge...as Doug Firebaugh would say.
One can be in the Word of God and read the Bible over and over again and be equipped with the Armor of His Word but until they experience the revelation of His Word, they are just missing out...period. I speak this coming from that same experience. The power in the Word with mighty Men and Women of God, Warriors equiped with the Word of God who stand up for Christ and not only listen to the Word but do what it says. The power of your words shared reveal without a doubt that we all know not only who we are but Whose we are.
I find that most people don't immediately see our purpose and it is an enourmous loss for they are truly missing what the Lord is making available for them and it is a challenge the I have to present this gift to them. I accept part of the responsibility for not revealing the message in a way that speaks to them and gets down to the point of meeting their needs. I am able to learn and become equiped by applying the Word of God. Christian Warriors reveal the power and might of God and I continue to gain the wisdom of the power and might of the Lord and what He has created me to be for His sake.
Yes, His Word makes me enthused, inspired, and determined to be congruent with what God's will is in my life and it is an awesome feeling going to battle with Mighty Warriors of God.

With God on our side, Who can be against us?

God Bless!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Don't Just Sit There...Do Something!

 "Get Up And Do Something!"
Notes:
"Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, "Why stay here until we die? If we say, 'We'll go into the city'-the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let's go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die." 2 Kings 7:3-4

We've all got gifts that are given to us to build up the Body of Christ. The accuracy of the Word of God is infallable. Jesus Christ paid the price for us so that we don't have to work our way into God's favor. All of the prophets of old died and were buried but none of them raised from out of the grave. Only Jesus raised from the dead. Up from the grave He arose. We are all given individual authority. That authority gives us the supernatural power to make things happen so that we don't sit back and watch things happen but that we make them happen. We are given the authority to lead and make a difference. Most people don't care to do anything and rather stay comfortable just being comfortable. Friends, standing for Jesus means being uncomfortable and getting into action and gettin up and doing something.

Your relationship with God gives you the weapons and the power and authority to get up and do something. Your pastor is called to teach and is most likely pretty well versed in the Word of God because he has decided to complete a level of training and get educated in the Word. You have just as much authority and power as your pastor. What makes you any different? You have that same authority to learn the Word as well, you've just got to plug into the Bible and learn the Word of God and then by doing that you build a more personal relationship with Jesus Christ and then you learn to know Him, Like Him and Trust Him just as much as your pastor or any other Christian.

I'd rather move in the direction of potential than to sit down in the obvious. It's time that we start moving out into the potential that God has put into our lives. This potential comes in different forms. Some are very minor and some very much moving.

The older you become the less tolerant you become to unappropriate behaviors and issues. When you are younger in life, you have a tendancy to just let things go and not make an issue of it. Then as you get older you start to question and hold people accountable. You might say it's because you are getting older and you are more cranky. Listen, It's not older and cranky but It's wiser and more mature. You don't just sit there and say, oh well, whatever will be will be. No!!! Listen, when the enemy steals your stuff, you are to get your stuff back seven times. The devil comes to rob, kill, steal and destroy. You can't just sit there and do nothing, you've got to do something. God gives you the authority to go into the enemies camp and get your stuff back. Be known to be a spiritually violent man in the enemies camp.

Here are a couple things to understand:

1. You are never more teachable then when you are most vulnerable
What this means is that when you are confronted with a challenge or an uncomfortable situation and you don't know what to do, you become vulnerable and you learn. You fall off a cliff and hold on to a branch and you're just hanging there, you become vulnerable. You're open to many differenct ways to get you out of that situation.

2. You're never more alert than when it's too late
Picture yourself cleaning a fireplace getting ready for the winter and you just get all absorbed into vaccuming out the fireplace. You are in the fireplace and the fireplace is all clean and you turn around and look into the room and it's completely black from smut and ashes you just vaccumed out into the air in the room.

We need to learn about our authority. God's given us authority and ability in Genisis Chapter 1. He's given us authority and dominion over everything. Over every creature in this earth. You are given every tool that you need so that you don't just sit there and take it but that you take back the authority given to you.

There are Giants to Slay and Kingdoms to build and we come together as Chrisitans and ask that we be raised up, turned loose and guided to do the work you created us to do. The Bible tells us it is not works that get us into heaven, Eph 2:8-9. For if your heart believes and you confess with your mouth that Jesus is your savior and that he died and rose again and ask Jesus into your life, you are saved. Religion makes it tough and God makes it easy. The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you and me and He tells us that we will do even greater things than Him so Lord we pray for complete authority and power to get up and do something and to make a difference for you.

Do business with God and your life will be changed forever and ultimately your eternity will be changed forever.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Meditation

“And now dear children, continue in Him, so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming.” I John 2:28

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies Himself, just as He is pure.” I John 3:2-3

Lord, I pray for my friend who is reading Your Word right now, to purify them from all doubt, hesitation, fear, and sin. Give them renewed purity in You, to be more like You, Father. Give them an extra measure of boldness and willingness to fight the fight that they have already undertaken with a courage that is even more determined and resolute than ever before. Enable my friend praying this prayer to receive and accept a new position of leadership in their life, to spread Your Word, and to receive favor that allows their life to be light and goodness for all to see. Give them an uncommon boldness and a clear recognition of the impact for which You have destined them. I thank You in advance for these and all of Your rich gifts, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, we praise Your holy name, Amen.

Blessings.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Whom Do You Fear?

Psalm 27:1 Proverbs 14:27

Fear is actually a good thing for several reasons. In the natural, fear points us to and reveals Giants in our lives. Fear is the compass that identifies our Goliath. That which we fear is most likely to be the very thing that needs to be dealt with in our life - NOW.

In reality, only one fear is necessary - the fear of God. That proper fear takes the place of all other fears. When we recognize God's awesome power we take on a healthy fear for Him, an all-consuming respect that rudders our ship. That fear is a very healthy quality, providing us inner peace and serenity.

David had the right perspective. He says in Psalm 27:1, The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?

A healthy and genuine fear of God amazingly allows us to not have to fear anyone or anything else, including death itself. Through Jesus, we have even taken the fear of death out of the equation. Through Him, we have eternal life, meaning we have transcended death itself.

Proper fear replacing irrational and unnecessary fears is extremely empowering as we dedicate ourselves to Slaying Our Giants. It is the perspective that allows us to move on to a better life. Solomon says in Proverbs 14:27, "The fear of the Lord is the fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death."

I'll say it again, "when you fear God, there is no need to fear anything else." That's right, I said "anything" else. Imagine how gaining release from past, consuming fears will free up your life. Imagine how many times you have allowed yourself to be stopped by unfounded fears. Imagine the confidence that you will develop in the absence of fear. With Christ, our past fears are unfounded and unnecessary. The roles and rewards that eluded you in the past can become reality with the deep confidence we experience in Christ that replaces fear!

It's time to bow down at the altar of Almighty God, rather than bowing down at the altar of fear.
Can fear be a good thing? Absolutely, but only if it is the proper fear. Respectful fear for Christ, accompanied with steadfast love, obedience and trust for Him is the sign of genuine Christianity.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Involvement or Commitment

Jesus is on a great search for people who will make an unswerving commitment to follow Him. Open your Bibles to Luke 9:57-62.

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." 58 Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." 59 He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." 60 Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God ." 61 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." 62 Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God ."

There is a problem with mere involvement—

The first man in this passage makes a very powerful and profound promise to Jesus that he would follow Him wherever he went. I believe that the man was sincere, he wanted to follow Jesus, he wanted to be a part of what Jesus was doing, and he wanted to make a difference. All of these things are good things that might motivate some of us, but I want you to understand something extremely clear the desire to serve must also be coupled with the right reason for serving.

It would seem that the man described here was willing to be involved with the ministry of Jesus and there was nothing wrong with that other than the fact that Jesus was looking for something more. Jesus was looking for a total and full commitment.

The sad reality is that most people settle for being involved without ever making a commitment. The pun about the chicken and the pig is funny but how close to home does that hit when we honestly look at the commitments we have made in our lives.
There is a massive difference between being involved and being committed. Being involved means that you can do what you want, as you want and when you feel like doing it. Commitment means that you are at the call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.
To make the decision to just being involved, and it is a decision, is one that creates a system of cheating. We cheat God of giving Him our very best, we cheat others of what we have to offer and we cheat ourselves of the blessings of Christ that come only when we become committed. Far too often we settle for being involved in the work of Christ and never actually making a commitment to it.

Commitment is what Jesus is looking for in all of our lives and He wants us to have the desire to serve Him not just on Sunday morning but each and every day that we draw breath.

Let’s use an example from right here in the life of the church. If you make the decision to show up on Sunday morning and that is the limit to your commitment, you will never truly grow deeper in your walk with God.

Why do I say this? It takes giving of yourself to the work and ministry of Christ to have a growing relationship with Him. It takes a desire to study and know the Word of God to become deeper in your walk with Him. It takes a desire to put our priorities in line with God’s priorities. This means that He is first and foremost in your life. Anything that comes between you and God in nothing more than a stumbling block in your spiritual life.


The Problem of misplaced priorities

The second man is called to follow Jesus but asks to go and bury his father. The response we see here almost makes Jesus seem cruel because Jesus says to let the dead bury the dead. What is going on here?

1. There is nothing wrong with caring for your family because your family is a gift from God and you are instructed by scripture to take care of them. Jesus is driving at the issue of priority. Jesus wants us to make Him first in our lives and no other place will do.

2. Jesus wanted the man to understand the urgent nature of His mission.
Jesus came into this world to save us from the power of sin and death. The mission of the church should be the same, to reach a lost and dying world with the message of saving grace through Jesus. However, we get so busy with “church work” that we never seem to get to the real work of sharing the gospel with others. Jesus wanted the man to understand that there was an urgency to winning lost people. It is an urgency that I believe that most churches have lost.
We must understand that, if we are truly going to follow Christ, we must get our hands dirty in the work of outreach. There is a lost and dying world out there that needs the hope that we have in Christ.

One of the greatest problems in the church today is that we have misplaced our focus onto programs and policy instead of placing it on ministry and people. If we fail to reach people, we are not failing the church or the denomination; we are doing nothing but failing Christ Himself.

The Problem of misdirected focus
The third man that comes to Jesus makes a reasonable request to go back and say good-by to his family and again Jesus makes a statement that sounds rather harsh when He tells the man that he is not fit to follow. Why does Jesus do this?

Notice what the man says to Jesus, but first let me go back and say good-by to my family. We read this and think nothing of what is being said here other than a simple request. However, there is something deeper here than the request. The fact that is so often overlooked here is that the man had his first commitment to someone other than Jesus.

We are often guilty of this very act. There are far too many times that we allow something or someone to draw us away from a deeper relationship with Christ. We sometimes allow family commitments to draw us from church. We sometimes allow work commitments to draw us from our time reading the Bible. We allow simple intrusions to draw us from times of prayer.

We are much like this man because we are far too often focused on what we lose by following Jesus. Instead we should take a careful look at everything that we gain by following Jesus. We gain His presence, His peace and His power.

Luciano Pavarotti tells the story about how he made the choice to be a singer. At a young age his father introduced him to singing and he took to it with great skill and enthusiasm. At one time in Pavarotti’s life he was enrolled in both vocal lessons from a professional tenor and college studies to be a teacher. When he graduated from school he faced a dilemma to either become a singer or to become a teacher. When he asked his father about which course to take, his father responded: “If you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.” Commitment is the key. Choose one chair.

It is absolutely impossible to live a Christian life without having a complete commitment to following Christ.

Commitment is the Key
Until I am committed, there is a hesitancy, a chance to draw back. But the moment I definitely commit myself, then God moves also, and a whole stream of events erupt. All manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings, persons and material assistance which come my way begin to flow toward me - the moment I make a commitment. Quoted by John C. Maxwell in The Recipe for Leadership Injoy Life Club Volume 12 Number 9.

Jesus is on a search for people who will commit their lives to Him. Can He find you among those whose hearts are fully committed to Him?

Focus on the best and refuse to live with anything less. I believe our Creator put us here to thrive and not just survive, but it takes decision and then commitment. First is the becoming, then comes the experiencing. Many are so stopped on the inside, they are not going to experience it on the outside.

It is the START that STOPS most people.

Don’t procrastinate on your commitment. That is delay, putting off of things, not finishing what you started, and not even starting what you said you would.

Procrastination is a stronghold of the evil one. Plain and simple. If you constantly practice this, you may need to get some prayer over it to conquer it!

You may not believe it, but it is... and a tool that he uses to keep us from doing the actions that God has put in our hearts, and will help create our Success.

Why is this such a tool for the evil one? Why do so many people suffer from this?

Simple...

The evil one will do all he can to get us to procrastinate, as it causes a delay in us giving God Glory, and it allows the evil one to control us in a way we are not aware of.

Understand this:

God is a God of Starting, and Finishing. And there is no exception to that.

If we are going to become more Christ-ike, and let our Success mirror the Glory back to Him, then we need to be aware that every time we delay in doing what we know we need to do, we are being manipulated like a puppet by the evil one with his puppeteer strings of Killing, Stealing, and Destroying….manipulating our Success.

There are Seven things that can cause Procrastination (There are more than these, but we will list only 7 for this training today):

1.) "Perfectionism"
2.) "Overwhelm"
3.) "Imagination"
4.) "Fear"
5.) "Habit"
6.) "Over Analyzing"
7.) "Focusing on you being in control, instead of God".

Do you see any of these in you? Or anyone you know? All of these are part of what catalyzes delay, and in doing so, causes a delay in giving God the Glory for the Success He wants for our lives.

Most want to experience success, but they are not willing to commit and pay the price. Be—on the inside, then comes the wealth on the outside. 7 out of 10 people who win millions in the lottery end up broke. Why? They won millions, but they never Be-came a millionaire. Set your sails and relentlessly pursue it. Commitment is the key. Let’s stop our procrastination.

Solomon states in Proverbs, “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers.” He also says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed”. Those two verses are powerful, yet only a small example of wisdom found in the Word of God – teaching that is more relevant today than ever.
God Bless!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How Do I Grow My Business?

Every person new to a business has one thing in common with everyone else in that business—every single one was a beginner at one time. Often our excitement and enthusiasm is high, but our knowledge is low. Success is not mysterious.

Success comes from doing the correct things, correctly, long enough. The “long enough” part of this equation is really up to each person. You must stay consistent with your business and commit to doing the right things to grow. It's important that you do the right things because you can be doing things right but if they are not the right things, you can have a very long road to achieving your ultimate goal. I suggest you not let your education hold you hostage and keep you from becoming something other than what God is calling you to do. Don't conform to the world. Be a world changer. Be a leader. Every person has an opportunity to lead and people are desperately seeking leaders to lead them in their journey. As you are in your journey, don't get hung up on the obstacles that come your way, work throught them knowing God put them there to strenghthen you. And remember, the reward is in the person you become when you get to the end of your journey.

Your Dreams

Most of us stop dreaming as adults. It has even been said that most people work hard enough to not get fired, and most employers pay people just enough so they don’t quit. Many people go through most of their adult lives having never given their ABSOLUTE BEST to anything. The good news is that you can change today. No, you can't go back and make a new start but what you can do is change today and make a new ending. You can break out of the pattern of mediocrity and design the life of your dreams.

You need to define your dream. Those who have a clear picture of that dream will be more excited, consistent and persistent. You will consistently take the steps necessary for success as long as you have enough reasons why you want to succeed.

Write down your dreams and share them with someone you trust. Your dreams will fuel your desire, motivation and efforts as you build your business. Dream BIG dreams. Where do you want to be in 3 years? What would your ideal life look like? How big would you dream if you knew you could not fail? Where would you live? Where would you travel? What ministries would you support? What would your income be?

Next, write down your specific income goal for 3 years from today. What will your monthly cashflow be in 3 years? What are your top 3 dreams that this cashflow will help realize?

Next, break down to your 1 year monthly cashflow and your 6 month cashflow.

One final thought on dreams. Protect them . Well meaning friends and family will do their best to steal those dreams. Protect them with a passion as they will be attacked. There are trained recruiters out there trained to recruit others into their world of negativity, pessimism and complaining. They are “dream stealers.” Most of us can identify some family members that have their Masters degree in stealing dreams.

Attitude – setting yourself up to succeed

You must realize that your personal attitude is a choice. A business acquaintance, Ron Acker, posted a powerful email to one of my business Yahoo Groups last week about a woman with 3 hairs, then 2, then 1, and then had no hair. She was thankful that she did not have to fix her hair on that last day. It is about attitude. I think it was Zig who stated, your attitude will determine your altitude. Your responsibility is to choose to be positive and to expect good things to happen. Expect your business to grow. Expect people to want to break free from the bondage of their JOB.

You will find that all the top performers in any business have challenges too. They have good days and challenging days. They experience obstacles, challenges, setbacks and disappointments but they do not let themselves get down. They maintain a positive attitude and positive expectancy. In addition, you must be coachable. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel or as Tim Darnell once shared, don’t always focus on trying to be a fixer. Be a doer.

How do you stay positive with the right attitude? Focus on your dreams and Fuel your dreams with a daily commitment to read good books, get into God’s Word, listen to inspirational audio programs, and associate with positive people. Stay plugged in with a mentor and plug into leadership through phone calls and conferences. Do something every single day to advance your business. Bless people by sharing a Paul Zane Pilzer or a What do you want? CD, share your site via email, post to your blog, connect with business prospects. You will be amazed by the compounding effect over time.

Remember, most people like to associate with positive individuals. Therefore, by cultivating a positive, winning attitude, you will attract the right people.

Many people are looking for ways to do better financially. Many people have a genuine desire for change in their life and yet they don’t know what to do or how to do it. Regardless of the desire whether to get out of debt, send kids to private schools, etc. they are simply looking for a way out or the answer to their prayers.

If the person you are speaking with has a desire for change, you can offer solutions to produce results.

Goals are dreams with deadlines. We use incremental goals to move incrementally towards our dreams. Goals provide direction and focus and are important. Just write them down and have a deadline and if you miss the target, it's okay...it's not like you're passifying some boss.

Goals are the steps that will lead you to realizing your dreams and your ultimate success. Set the right goals that are worthy of your focus, time, effort and energy.

Review your goals for clarity and focus. Keep them in front of you and stay focused, have them on your desk and you will always remember WHY you are building your business.

Counsel with Mentors, it's the only true shortcut to success.

If you evaluate achievers from any walk of life, you will find they have a mentor or coach. Success leaves clues so tap into the experience and wisdom of those who have gone before you. Counsel with the wise and become wise.

Review your time commitments, priorities, activities, and most importantly, results and progress. This is also the place to get help with questions and challenges that you may have. Although you are ultimately responsible for your own success, you're mentor will help you as much as you will allow.

As you build your business, you will find that your success is determined by how many people you can help and influence to become successful. Zig Ziglar says that you can have anything you want in life if you will help enough people get what they want.

Get Started Now….It’s Time for Action

Now is the time for action. As you get into business building action, remember that business needs exposure. Your growth and success will be determined by the number of new people you share your business with on a daily and weekly basis.

Keep it simple:
I Invite people to see what you do, send them to your website
I Share the impact that my business has in my life.
Repeat Often!!!

Your first task is to share your business as I will share my Advantage Conferences business with 5 people in the next 24 hours. No excuses, get into action and have fun. The more you share, the more confident you will become and your business will grow.

Do something positive everyday to grow your business and stay plugged into action.
Continue to lead my example. Remember, business is about duplication. Make sure you are setting the right example. Each day, ask yourself…. "if everyone in my business did what I did today, would my business have grown?"

Keep your business simple and look up for guidance. For God has plans for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future.

Be Blessed to Be Blessed.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

A Call To Commitment

I share this message with you expecting it to encourage you to be committed in your walk with Jesus Christ. I was blessed with this message today from one of my Mentors and a brother in Christ, Jack Weinzierl. The message is powerful. I encourage you to follow the words of James 1:22 and "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."
Ask me how you can be part of this powerful call.

Be Blessed.

A Call to Commitment by Jack Weinzierl

Dear Heavenly Father, we pray that You would touch us and pour Your Strength into us Lord. Wean us from depending on the world, as we only want to depend on You, as You will always give us the strength we need. Lord shine Your Light of Success on our lives today.

In Jesus' Name we pray, Amen.

Today’s call is about commitment and all of this training can be applied to your business, marriage, family and all aspects of our lives.

I want to introduce you to a mythical church member that I am going to call Kenny. When we first meet Kenny he is attending services at First Church , but he left because the services were too formal, every one on the platform wore a tie. He and his family then wandered over to Grace Church because they had a great choir. But before long, we hear they are “happy” at the Christian Worship Center . But before long they move their membership to the Community Church because of the great Bible teaching. After that the youth program at New Hope catches their eye. Now at least for the moment, they are at the church uptown, at least until something else catching their roving eye. What ever happened to commitment?

Why do you suppose that there are close to 100 million church members in America yet they are not making more of a moral and spiritual impact? Why is that on Sunday morning thousands of churches have more empty pews than full? Why is it that the average Sunday School in America has less than 66 in attendance and that the average worship service has 84? Why is it that only 50% of the number on any church membership roll can be expected to attend? If Christians really believe in a real Heaven and a real hell, how can we be so silent? . . . The answer to all of these questions is tragically simple! God’s people have made a decision about Jesus….but have never made a commitment to Him.” [Charles Stanley]

There is of course a difference between a decision and a commitment. Perhaps this cannot be seen any clearer than it is in the failure rate of marriages in America . According to statistics at least 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. Why do you suppose that is happening? Charles Stanley in his book, Confronting Casual Christianity, says that it is because these couples made a decision but did not make a commitment. Every person who married made a decision! They stood before a preacher and made promises and recited vows. They made a decision, they kissed each other and walked out together to live but not necessarily “happily ever after” and not necessarily together. So why did they divorce? The answer is that they made a decision, but they did not truly commit their lives to each other. But when a couple marries and makes a commitment to one another that is a different story.

The same is true in the church. The reason that the church is not making more of an impact in our society is that many church members made a decision about Christ, but have not made a commitment to Christ.

When the pilot of a giant airline is speeding down the runway, there is a certain point where it staying on the ground is no longer an option. When he crosses that line, he is committed to the air, he will take off or a disastrous crash is imminent. At the point the pilot can no longer change his mind, he is committed.

Unfortunately churches are filled with members who have never got off the ground. They have been sitting there gunning their engines, making noise but getting nowhere. They have been planning on it, meaning to, wanting to, trying to, going to, aiming to, hoping to. But tragedy of tragedies, they have never got off the ground.

I want to challenge you to “get off the ground.” In Romans 12:1-2, the Apostle Paul issues a clear call for commitment when he says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (NKJV)

The word “present” is a technical Greek word used for offering a sacrifice. This is a voluntary act, it does not say “I command you,” it says “I beseech you or I beg you.” This is something that is completely up to you. He says the motivation is to be, remembering “the mercies of God.” Close you eyes for just a moment think of all that God has done in your life. Think of the “mercies of God” based on what you have received can you really say that you owe him nothing. When we reflect on the goodness of God how can we be anything other than committed.

Today I want you to see with me three clear calls to commitment that every believer has to face. This is based on the supposition that you made more than decision about Christ and that you have already made a personal commitment to Christ.


Commitment to Personal Growth
We are called to commit ourselves as disciples. Disciples are learners. We should never reach a point in life at which we are no longer learners. We never reach a point in life at which we have arrived. The truth is that most believers have never reached past the point that Paul says they have to be fed with milk when they should be ready for meat. (Heb 5:2, 1 Cor 3:2)

Make a commitment to continue to grow spiritually. Take positive steps to do so. Start a Bible reading plan. Set aside time each day to pray. Read good Christian literature. Watch some good Christian programming. Plug Into our Mindset calls every week. Never give up on learning.


Commitment to the Local Body
The author Jerry Bridges comments in an article on commitment, “As I have watched the parade of people through our church, and other churches. I wonder why so few commit themselves to a local body of believers in a significant way. Many sit and soak and do little else, and they flee at the first sign of trouble or pressure. They fail to become involved or to give; the priority for corporate worship falls far down on the list. They criticize all that is wrong with a specific local congregation. . . What can we do besides comment or complain? We need to accept the challenge to commit ourselves to responsible membership.” [Jerry Bridges. Spirit of Revival. “Commitment” (April, 1994) p. 29-30]

The local church is the first level of commitment outside of our personal relationship with the Lord. The local church with all its imperfections is still the Lord’s major avenue through which he accomplishes his work. The church gathers for worship, teaching and fellowship to gain power to carry out the ministry as each member is scattered to their various places of responsibility in the world. The member who “forsakes the assembling together” (Heb 10:25 ) forfeits the power of a corporate identity. But some people just do not see church attendance as a necessity.

They see recreation as a necessity.
They see Yard work as a necessity.
They see Entertaining as a necessity.
They see Viewing sporting events as a necessity.

But church attendance and participation rank with visiting Grandpa’s grave, calling your college roommate and viewing the new wing of the art museum. You have every intention of doing it …., unless of course something else important comes up. In far too many lives, church attendance seems to be relegated to last place. I sometimes think that the Rotary club does a better job of eliciting weekly attendance from it members than the church does. Be In your place!!!!

Commitment to church is deeper than just attendance to the worship services, but it does begin there. But if we are really to get to know the people of our church it will be in the context of involvement in a small group such as a Sunday school class. You will never truly feel a part of this church by attending the Sunday morning services and going home. Be Involved!!!

Commitment to a local church also demands loyalty. When we criticize our church to the outside community we are shooting ourselves in the foot. Who is going to come with you to a church that you have torn down in their hearing? You need to be loyal to the staff and workers of your church. If you have concerns then go directly to the person concerned. No they are not perfect but then neither are you. Do not be guilty of spreading seeds of discontent. Be loyal!!!

Some of you need to make a commitment to get involved in the life of the church. Be faithful to the services. Get involved. Get to know the other people of the church. Invite people outside of your current circle to your home. Be loyal to your church.

Commitment to Ministry
Commitment to a local church means deciding on a church “home” and moving in for a permanent stay. Commitment to the local church also means actively using the talents and gifts to serve in the various ministries of the church. Paul reminds us in Romans 12:6 that “we have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” Ministry means putting those gifts to work. We need to be a part of what the church is doing not just spectators.

Will you make a commitment today? If you have not committed yourself to the Lord, then you need to begin there. Once you have committed yourself to the Lord will you commit yourself to personal growth, institute some practical steps to do so beginning today. Will you commit yourself to your local church? Be in your place. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from being a part of the church. Be Involved. Commit yourself to begin building some new relationships within the church. Be loyal. You will never get your neighbor to visit a church that you are constantly finding fault with.

Will you make a commitment that you are going to look for opportunities to put your talents and abilities to work? The greatest ability is availability. Don’t wait for someone to ask you, volunteer to help. If we all make those commitments today, the church would be a different place. The church would be what the Lord intended it to be!!!!

Commitment separates the “Doers” from the “Dreamers”

Foundational Scripture:
Psalms 37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

Let’s establish “just what is commitment” this afternoon. We will find out just how vital commitment is in our everyday relationships. We can not be successful in life, nor can we be successful Christians without commitment. I hope to expose areas that we need to commit afresh and anew, and then teach on how to identify areas in which we can strengthen our level of commitment.

The difference in a contribution and total commitment is usually the difference in failure and success.

Many have heard this story, but it fits in so well with what we are addressing today.

A chicken and a hog were walking past a church building one day when they noticed the Sunday morning sermon posted on the outside bulletin board, "Helping the Poor." They walked a ways when the chicken suddenly came across with a suggestion. "Say, Brother Hog, why don’t we give all the poor people a nice breakfast of ham and eggs?" The hog thought a moment and replied, "That’s all right for you to say because for you it is only a contribution, but for me, it’s total commitment!"

Here are a couple definitions--
Commit = Bind oneself to a pledge. Entrust to another’s care
Commitment = A pledge based upon honor

The world has never seen a leader who lacked commitment. Commitment gives us new power. No matter what comes to us – sickness, poverty, or disaster – we never turn our eye from the goal.

What is commitment? To each person, it means something different; however the principle remains the same.

1. To the Boxer, it’s getting off the mat one time more than you’ve been knocked down.
2. To the marathoner, it’s running another ten miles when your strength is gone.
3. To the soldier, it’s going over the hill, not knowing what’s waiting on the other side, with reckless abandon to self, yet committed to a cause.
4. To the missionary, it’s saying good-bye to your own comfort to make life better for others.
5. To the Christian Entrepreneur, it’s all that and more because everyone who is watching your life is depending upon you to get back up again, run that ten miles more, to display courage when faced with the unknown, and to die to self for the betterment of others.

Example: There is no such thing as partial commitment. When the pilot of a giant airliner is speeding down the runway, there is a certain point where he cannot decide to remain on the ground. When he crosses that line, he is committed to the air, or the plane crashes disastrously. That pilot cannot change his mind when the plane is two-thirds of the way down the runway.

The True Nature of Commitment
A. Commitment Starts in the Heart

1. Some want everything to be perfect before they’re willing to commit themselves to anything.
2. True commitment always precedes achievement.
3. It is said that concerning the Kentucky Derby, the winning horse effectively runs out of oxygen after the first half mile, and he goes the rest of the way on heart.
4. Michael Jordan stated, “heart is what separates the good from the great. If you really want to make a difference in other people’s lives as a Christian, look into your heart to see if you’re really committed.

B. Commitment is always tested by action

1. It’s one thing to talk about commitment. It’s another to do something about it. Commitment “separates the doers from the dreamers”
2. The only real measure of commitment is action.

Quote: Arthur Gordon acknowledged, “Nothing is easier than saying words. Nothing is harder than living them day after day.”

Example: Someone told me about a newly elected judge who had won office in a special county election. During his acceptance speech, he said, “I wish to thank the 424 people who promised to vote for me. I wish to thank the 316 people who said that they did vote for me. I wish to thank the 47 people who came out to vote last Thursday, and I wish to thank the 26 folks who actually did vote for me.”

As a Christian entrepreneur, you will face plenty of obstacles and oppositions – if you haven’t already. And there will be times when commitment is the only thing that carries you forward. If you want to get anywhere worthwhile, you must be committed.
C. When it comes to commitment, there are really only four types of people:

1. Cop-outs. People who have no goals and do not commit.
2. Hold-outs: People who don’t know if they can reach their goals, so they’re afraid to commit.
3. Drop-outs: People who start toward a goal but quit when the going gets tough.
4. All-outs: People who set goals, commit to them, and pay the price to reach them.

III. How Do I Improve My Level of Commitment?

A. We Must measure it.

1. We may truly believe we are committed to our business and walk, yet our actions indicate otherwise.
2. Spend a few hours tallying up how you spend your time and where you spend your money. Look at how much time you spend with your business, in service with family, in health and recreation activities, and so forth. Figure out how much money you spent on living expenses, entertainment, personal development, and giving.
3. All these are true measures of your commitment. You may be surprised by what you find.

B. Know what’s worth dying for.

1. One of the questions that every Christian must ask is “What am I willing to die for?”
2. If it came down to it, what in life would you not be able to stop doing, no matter what the consequences were? Spend time alone meditating on that thought. Write down what you discover. Then see if that matches your Christian ideals. Would you die for your faith?, your marriage?

C. Use the Edison method.

1. If taking the first step toward commitment is a problem, try doing what Thomas Edison did. When he had a good idea for an invention, he would call a conference to announce it. Then he’d go into his lab and invent it.
2. Make your plans public, and you might be more committed to following through with them.
At this end of the call, you will have the opportunity to make your commitment public and then follow up on the Yahoo Group. Put it in writing. Put yourself out there.

Our culture is one that does not see commitment as something of importance any more. Here are just a few statistics to prove my point.

Signs of Reduced Commitments in Life ( America 1990)
1. The divorce rate is climbing: half of all new marriages end in divorce
2. Adults feel that they have fewer close friends than did adults in past decades
3. Brand loyalty in consumer purchasing studies has dropped in most product categories, and by as much as 60% in some categories.
4. The proportion of people willing to join an organization is declining in relation to churches, labor unions, political parties, clubs and community associations.
5. Book clubs and record clubs are less likely to attract new members when multiple year or multi-product commitments were required.
6. The percentage of adults who sense a duty to fight for their country, regardless of the cause, has dropped.
7. The percentage of people who commit to attend events but fail to show is on the rise
8. Today’s parents are less likely to believe that it is important to remain in an unhappy marriage for the sake of the children than they were 20 years ago.
Cited from The Frog in the Kettle by George Barna

Jesus is on a great search for people who will make an unswerving commitment to follow Him. Open your Bibles to Luke 9:57-62.

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." 58 Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." 59 He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." 60 Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God ." 61 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." 62 Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God ."

There is a problem with mere involvement—

The first man in this passage makes a very powerful and profound promise to Jesus that he would follow Him wherever he went. I believe that the man was sincere, he wanted to follow Jesus, he wanted to be a part of what Jesus was doing, and he wanted to make a difference. All of these things are good things that might motivate some of us, but I want you to understand something extremely clear the desire to serve must also be coupled with the right reason for serving.

It would seem that the man described here was willing to be involved with the ministry of Jesus and there was nothing wrong with that other than the fact that Jesus was looking for something more. Jesus was looking for a total and full commitment.

The sad reality is that most people settle for being involved without ever making a commitment. The pun about the chicken and the pig is funny but how close to home does that hit when we honestly look at the commitments we have made in our lives.
There is a massive difference between being involved and being committed. Being involved means that you can do what you want, as you want and when you feel like doing it. Commitment means that you are at the call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.
To make the decision to just being involved, and it is a decision, is one that creates a system of cheating. We cheat God of giving Him our very best, we cheat others of what we have to offer and we cheat ourselves of the blessings of Christ that come only when we become committed. Far too often we settle for being involved in the work of Christ and never actually making a commitment to it.

Commitment is what Jesus is looking for in all of our lives and He wants us to have the desire to serve Him not just on Sunday morning but each and every day that we draw breath.

Let’s use an example from right here in the life of the church. If you make the decision to show up on Sunday morning and that is the limit to your commitment, you will never truly grow deeper in your walk with God.

Why do I say this? It takes giving of yourself to the work and ministry of Christ to have a growing relationship with Him. It takes a desire to study and know the Word of God to become deeper in your walk with Him. It takes a desire to put our priorities in line with God’s priorities. This means that He is first and foremost in your life. Anything that comes between you and God in nothing more than a stumbling block in your spiritual life.

The Problem of misplaced priorities

The second man is called to follow Jesus but asks to go and bury his father. The response we see here almost makes Jesus seem cruel because Jesus says to let the dead bury the dead. What is going on here?

1. There is nothing wrong with caring for your family because your family is a gift from God and you are instructed by scripture to take care of them. Jesus is driving at the issue of priority. Jesus wants us to make Him first in our lives and no other place will do.
2. Jesus wanted the man to understand the urgent nature of His mission
Jesus came into this world to save us from the power of sin and death. The mission of the church should be the same, to reach a lost and dying world with the message of saving grace through Jesus. However, we get so busy with “church work” that we never seem to get to the real work of sharing the gospel with others. Jesus wanted the man to understand that there was an urgency to winning lost people. It is an urgency that I believe that most churches have lost.
We must understand that, if we are truly going to follow Christ, we must get our hands dirty in the work of outreach. There is a lost and dying world out there that needs the hope that we have in Christ.

Our greatest problem in the church today is that we have misplaced our focus onto programs and policy instead of placing it on ministry and people. If we fail to reach people, we are not failing the church or the denomination; we are doing nothing but failing Christ Himself.

The Problem of misdirected focus
The third man that comes to Jesus makes a reasonable request to go back and say good-by to his family and again Jesus makes a statement that sounds rather harsh when He tells the man that he is not fit to follow. Why does Jesus do this?

Notice what the man says to Jesus, but first let me go back and say good-by to my family. We read this and think nothing of what is being said here other than a simple request. However, there is something deeper here than the request. The fact that is so often overlooked here is that the man had his first commitment to someone other than Jesus.

We are often guilty of this very act. There are far too many times that we allow something or someone to draw us away from a deeper relationship with Christ. We sometimes allow family commitments to draw us from church. We sometimes allow work commitments to draw us from our time reading the Bible. We allow simple intrusions to draw us from times of prayer.

We are much like this man because we are far too often focused on what we lose by following Jesus. Instead I believe that we should take a careful look at everything that we gain by following Jesus. We gain His presence, His peace and His power.

Luciano Pavarotti tells the story about how he made the choice to be a singer. At a young age his father introduced him to singing and he took to it with great skill and enthusiasm. At one time in Pavarotti’s life he was enrolled in both vocal lessons from a professional tenor and college studies to be a teacher. When he graduated from school he faced a dilemma to either become a singer or to become a teacher. When he asked his father about which course to take, his father responded: “If you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.” Commitment is the key. Choose one chair.

It is absolutely impossible to live a Christian life without having a complete commitment to following Christ.

Commitment is the Key
Until I am committed, there is a hesitancy, a chance to draw back. But the moment I definitely commit myself, then God moves also, and a whole stream of events erupt. All manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings, persons and material assistance which come my way begin to flow toward me - the moment I make a commitment. Quoted by John C. Maxwell in The Recipe for Leadership Injoy Life Club Volume 12 Number 9.

Jesus is on a search for people who will commit their lives to Him. Can He find you among those whose hearts are fully committed to Him?

Focus on the best and refuse to live with anything less. I believe our Creator put us here to thrive and not just survive, but it takes decision and then commitment. First is the becoming, then comes the experiencing. Many are so stopped on the inside, they are not going to experience it on the outside.

It is the START that STOPS most people.

Don’t procrastinate on your commitment. That is delay, putting off of things, not finishing what you started, and not even starting what you said you would.

Procrastination is a stronghold of the evil one. Plain and simple. If you constantly practice this, you may need to get some prayer over it to conquer it!

You may not believe it, but it is... and a tool that he uses to keep us from doing the actions that God has put in our hearts, and will help create our Success.

Why is this such a tool for the evil one? Why do so many people suffer from this?

Simple...

The evil one will do all he can to get us to procrastinate, as it causes a delay in us giving God Glory, and it allows the evil one to control us in a way we are not aware of.

Understand this:

God is a God of Starting, and Finishing. And there is no exception to that.

If we are going to become more Christ-like, and let our Success mirror the Glory back to Him, then we need to be aware that every time we delay in doing what we know we need to do, we are being manipulated like a puppet by the evil one with his puppeteer strings of Killing, Stealing, and Destroying….manipulating our Success.

There are Seven things that can cause Procrastination (There are more than these, but we will list only 7 for this training today):

1.) "Perfectionism"
2.) "Overwhelm"
3.) "Imagination"
4.) "Fear"
5.) "Habit"
6.) "Over Analyzing"
7.) "Focusing on you being in control, instead of God".

Do you see any of these in you? Or anyone you know? All of these are part of what catalyzes delay, and in doing so, causes a delay in giving God the Glory for the Success He wants for our lives.

Most want to experience success, but they are not willing to commit and pay the price. Be—on the inside, then comes the wealth on the outside. 7 out of 10 people who win millions in the lottery end up broke. Why? They won millions, but they never Be-came a millionaire. Set your sails and relentlessly pursue it. Commitment is the key. Let’s stop our procrastination.

Solomon states in Proverbs, “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers.” He also says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed”. Those two verses are powerful, yet only a small example of wisdom found in the Word of God – teaching that is more relevant today than ever.

God Bless,

Albert "PeeWee" Surovik
Advantage Conferences
Christian Entrepreneur
Caldwell, Tx (New Tabor)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Spiritual Reproduction by John Maxwell

Spiritual Reproduction by John Maxwell

In the Great Commission, Jesus said that we were to make disciples, not converts. He didn't tell us to go out and just save people, but He said to make disciples, to reproduce ourselves.

As a pastor, I was constantly aware of two commitments: one, to have a congregation that understood discipleship; two, to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. These are the two things that I, as a leader, feel that I am accountable for. And churches that are growing have been able to successfully do both.

Spiritual Reproduction Is What Discipleship Is All About!

Discipleship is not:

1. Just a Christian education

It's not about implanting information for knowledge's sake.

In other words, it's not just going to Sunday school class. It's not just imparting information. It's not us just learning things mentally. That is part of discipleship, but that isn't the ultimate goal.

2. Cookies and punch

Fellowship is to take place in the church; discipleship takes place in the world.

We're good at coming together for food and fellowship, and we enjoy that, but discipleship is more than that. Fellowship takes place in the church, but discipleship is to take place in our church world to reach out to the people around us.

3. Scripture memorization

Intellectual exercise is not enough unless there is life change .

It's not just memorizing scripture so we can go around quoting what God's word says. Discipleship is more than knowing God's word. Discipleship is living God's word. It's applying the scriptural truths to our hearts.

Discipleship is not just imparting knowledge. What are we doing with what we teach on Sunday? What are we doing with the word of God? Do we take God's word and just read it and say, "Well, you know, I think that's good, people should follow it," or do we look at it and apply it to our own hearts and lives?

There's a passage of Scripture that just grabs me: John 7:17. Listen to these words. "If any man will do my will, then he will know whether my teaching is of God or not." Did you catch the sequence here? Did you notice that doing God's will comes before understanding God's will? The most popular messages I ever preached were on knowing God's will. People were always saying, "How do I know the will of God for my life?" Do you know how you know the will of God?

You know the will of God not just by thinking, not by just studying, not just by taking out your pen and writing notes, but God's will begins to unfold within us as we utilize it in our lives, as we walk in the light. We become disciples of Christ as we begin to take God's word and do something about it.

At the end of every message that I give, I usually scribble two words with a question mark: So what? I'm asking myself every time I speak to people, "So what?" "So what, John, you just gave a message. Was there something that needed to be applied? Was there something that needed to be shared? Was there something that needed to be exercised?"

I contend that we are educated as Christians way beyond our level of obedience. What would happen if, after I finished a Sunday morning sermon and gave an application, we didn't have church again until people did something about it? (Some people I wouldn't see until the next Easter!) Do we take God's word and really apply it?

Discipleship is...

My desire is to make disciples. That's the command that Jesus has given me, and in my view, discipleship is:

1. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:20)

It's a command, not a suggestion, to imitate what Jesus did with the twelve. He said, "Make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you."

2. Multiplication through reproduction (II Timothy 2:2)

We must "multiply" as Christians, because addition won't keep up with the population growth. Discipleship is us multiplying ourselves in the lives of others. "And the things that you have received from me in the presence of many witnesses, those entrust to the faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

3. Apprenticeship (I Thessalonians 2:7-8)

Jesus lived with His men and invested His life in them. Here's what Paul told the Christians. "We choose to be like children or like a mother nursing her baby. We cared so much for you that you became so dear to us that we were willing to give our lives to you when we gave you God's message."

I can’t help but be inspired by Jesus in these passages! In His time, there were two models of discipleship: the Greek model and the Hebrew model. The Greek model was teaching—we think of Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Alexander the Great. It was an enlightenment, information that pleased the mind. But Jesus discipled according to the Hebrew model: on-the-job training. Jesus took his twelve disciples with him and they experienced things together.

Disciple-making involves a developmental relationship where a mature Christian invests and mentors a willing apprentice so that he or she not only matures as well, but also becomes a multiplying Christian.

Question: What do you possess, spiritually, that you can pass on?


Question: Do you know of any people who could benefit from your spiritual maturity?


Question: Although you are not perfect, would you commit to multiplying at least one spiritual discipline or quality in someone else?

Early in my preaching career, in my second church in Ohio , I decided that I wanted to be a disciple, and began to call the pastors of some of the great churches all over America . I wanted to learn something from men who had been very successful. I'd call them and say, "You don't know who I am, but my name is John Maxwell and I'm a pastor and you're a great man of God and you have a great church. I want to learn from the best."

For about the first five years of our married life, Margaret and I never could afford a vacation, but I’d speak at a revival somewhere near a city with one of those great churches. And when I called the pastors of these churches, because they didn't know who I was, I would say, "I'll give you a hundred dollars if you'll give me 30 minutes of your time." I was making $12,800 bucks a year, but I wanted so badly to be a disciple and to learn. I wanted so badly to sit at the feet of somebody who knew more than I knew.

I would go to these pastors for my appointment and walk in with my tape recorder so that I could record the answers. I had a legal pad with pages of questions, and I would ask my questions as fast as I could with that tape recorder on. When the 30 minutes were over, I would turn off the tape recorder, put my stuff back in my briefcase, stand up, reach in my pocket for the hundred dollar check already made out to that pastor and hand it to him.

Interestingly enough, in every single case, those pastors would look at that check and smile. They saw a kid who wanted desperately to build a great church for God. And they'd hand my hundred dollars back, and sometimes they'd ask me to go to lunch with them. I would accept, but usually I couldn’t eat. I would just ask more questions.

Often, I’d leave those lunches, get in my car, and bawl like a baby. For the last hour, I had spent some time with what I would call a great man of God; and a little bit of that spirit, a little bit of that man, a little bit of that sense of God that was in his life had begun to ooze into my life. Peter tells us that the elderly women should pour their lives into the younger women, that there ought to be a desire to enhance the body of Christ, where we become our brother's and our sister's keeper. And those who are more experienced in the word begin to help those who are younger in the word.

Younger Christians are so much fun! They don't have a clue, but they're fun! I had one come up to me and show me John 3:16. He said, "Look what I found." It's just so much fun to be around a new Christian because they're so happy; they're so joyful. Our problem, as older Christians, is that we get to a certain level where we've been there, done that, and we've kind of got our system worked out. All of a sudden we forget that our obligation doesn't stop with our own spiritual development, but our obligation is to begin to pour ourselves into someone else.

The Original Blueprint...

I desire for us as Christians to begin to pour our lives into one another. Jesus did such a good job of this. Jesus modeled for us a lifestyle of spiritual reproduction. It was "on the job training" in real-life contexts.

Early in my preaching career, in my second church in Ohio , I decided that I wanted to be a disciple, and began to call the pastors of some of the great churches all over America . I wanted to learn something from men who had been very successful. I'd call them and say, "You don't know who I am, but my name is John Maxwell and I'm a pastor and you're a great man of God and you have a great church. I want to learn from the best."

For about the first five years of our married life, Margaret and I never could afford a vacation, but I’d speak at a revival somewhere near a city with one of those great churches. And when I called the pastors of these churches, because they didn't know who I was, I would say, "I'll give you a hundred dollars if you'll give me 30 minutes of your time." I was making $12,800 bucks a year, but I wanted so badly to be a disciple and to learn. I wanted so badly to sit at the feet of somebody who knew more than I knew.

I would go to these pastors for my appointment and walk in with my tape recorder so that I could record the answers. I had a legal pad with pages of questions, and I would ask my questions as fast as I could with that tape recorder on. When the 30 minutes were over, I would turn off the tape recorder, put my stuff back in my briefcase, stand up, reach in my pocket for the hundred dollar check already made out to that pastor and hand it to him.

Interestingly enough, in every single case, those pastors would look at that check and smile. They saw a kid who wanted desperately to build a great church for God. And they'd hand my hundred dollars back, and sometimes they'd ask me to go to lunch with them. I would accept, but usually I couldn’t eat. I would just ask more questions.

Often, I’d leave those lunches, get in my car, and bawl like a baby. For the last hour, I had spent some time with what I would call a great man of God; and a little bit of that spirit, a little bit of that man, a little bit of that sense of God that was in his life had begun to ooze into my life. Peter tells us that the elderly women should pour their lives into the younger women, that there ought to be a desire to enhance the body of Christ, where we become our brother's and our sister's keeper. And those who are more experienced in the word begin to help those who are younger in the word.

Younger Christians are so much fun! They don't have a clue, but they're fun! I had one come up to me and show me John 3:16. He said, "Look what I found." It's just so much fun to be around a new Christian because they're so happy; they're so joyful. Our problem, as older Christians, is that we get to a certain level where we've been there, done that, and we've kind of got our system worked out. All of a sudden we forget that our obligation doesn't stop with our own spiritual development, but our obligation is to begin to pour ourselves into someone else.

The Original Blueprint...

I desire for us as Christians to begin to pour our lives into one another. Jesus did such a good job of this. Jesus modeled for us a lifestyle of spiritual reproduction. It was "on the job training" in real-life contexts. Note Jesus' IDEA of spiritual reproduction:


I Instruction in a real-life context.


D Demonstration in a real-life context. He not only taught them in parables, but He was also always showing them. He was visualizing. He was incarnating, fleshing out truth before them. Remember the time the disciples came up to Jesus and they said, "Lord, teach us to pray." Do you know why they asked that question? Because they had watched Him pray. They had seen Him go up to the mountain. And when He came back after prayer, incredible things happened in His ministry, and it began to make the disciples hungry and thirsty to know what that man knew. So as they watched him, they begin to want to know more about God.


E Exposure in a real-life context. It's where Jesus would take the disciples into these situations and they would try it.


A Accountability or assessment in a real-life context. After they tried it, and after they experimented, they came back and they talked about it.

If you understand church history, you know discipleship did really well for the first 300 years. The church grew by Christians reproducing Christians. But in A.D. 313, the Emperor Constantine made Christianity a state religion. Worst thing that ever happened was that the head honcho officially ordered everybody to do be Christians. When he said that, he forced people that weren't even believers to be in the Christian church. And all of a sudden, it went from a vibrant body of Jesus Christ, a community thriving with reproduction, to a sterile institution. And we dropped the ball in 313. Since then, the church has tried to come back to this issue of reproducing itself.

This strategy worked right to the 4th century. Then we dropped the ball. Why?

1. Human nature

We tend to drift into comfort zones - the path of least resistance.

There's a tendency for all of us to kind of coast, relax, rest, to lay back. That's the truth for every one of us.

2. Clergy vs. laity distinction

A wide gap grew between clergy and laity

This distinction basically says that there are professionals that should do all that, and we pay them – they’re the pastoral staff or leadership team. There's a tendency to say, "I sit in the pew and I let the leadership team do that. All we are is laity anyway." The word "laity," by the way, comes from the Latin root word "idiot." Clergy comes from the root word "church."

My desire for churches is to cut that clergy/laity stuff completely out. We don't need clergy and laity. Instead, aren't we all a part of the body of Christ? Don't we all have spiritual gifts? Shouldn't we all be using them for the glory of God? Don't you realize you're going to be accountable to God for your spiritual gifts? Just because I happen to be a "pastor" doesn't mean that I'm going to be anymore accountable for my spiritual gifts than you are for yours. You've got to go find out what it is and utilize it for Christ.

We must return to the original blueprint...

As we invest in people, we must be committed to three things:

1. A Person

2. A Process

3. A Purpose

Have you ever sat down with a more mature believer and been discipled one-on-one so that you can just grow in your Christian walk with God? If you've been discipled, have you received enough strength and to turn around and say, “I want to pour my life into someone else?”

Think for a moment, what would happen if every one of us reproduced ourselves even once? Staggering, isn't it? Let's decide to get involved in the kingdom.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Which Road Are You On?

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for each person here and that the Holy Spirit be our guide, speak to us and open our eyes, open our ears and open our hearts to the vision that you have purposed in our hearts, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

I wanted to reinforce just a small part of the powerful Mindset training that Tim Darnell led a few weeks back. It hit me between the eyes.


Your Words Name and Choose the Road You are On – Your words name the road you are on and will travel - not the road you want to be on, think you’re on, or might be on. No, they name the road you are on. Proverbs 18:20 “From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.”

Speak ONLY the Road You are Traveling. If someone asks you for directions to a place they want to be, would you begin naming all the roads that they shouldn’t turn on or be on? Never, ever speak what you don’t want. Don’t name a road you’re not intending to travel - for example:

“I’m so out of shape”

a. If “out of shape” is the road you are traveling, then you are correct in saying, “I’m so out of shape.” Your very words will keep you on that road (out of shape). Your body, muscle tone, immune system, posture, etc. will actively react in conformance with your words and the condition you have named. You will indeed stay out of shape.

b. Rather, say, “I’m getting in better shape every day My stamina is increasing daily. I feel better every day. I’m gaining better breath and endurance. I’m excited about the improvements that are occurring.”

Folks, don't beat yourself up. Don't beat yourself up about how out of shape you are when you're running. You're doing it and that is an improvement in itself. Your self talk should not be negative and self-defeating. Be thankful and fully expect to get into shape and that you will improve every day. Redirect your mindset on what you are accomplishing.

God Bless,

Albert
Advantage Conferences

Your Dream Alive!

Your Dream - do you cherish it? Have you nourished it? Are you excited and energized by it? Do you know exactly what your dream is?

Or, has your dream been allowed to suffocate over the years due to inattention and lack of belief? Have you once had a dream but today that precious dream is barely alive, just barely breathing on minimized life-support?

Your dream is one of the most precious gifts God has ever given you! It is from Him and meant to be brought to reality, not neglected or taken for granted. Your dream should not be approached with procrastination. When God gives you a dream, you are obligated to honor it. You need to care for it like the precious, highly valuable commodity it truly is.

A man or a woman without a dream is no different than the title of the movie that came out several years ago - "dead man walking". Without a dream, you are just taking space. If God gave you a dream, and He surely has, then it's time to reawaken that dream and go after it. You honor God when you honor the dream He's placed inside you.

My dream is to reawaken the hopes and dreams and standards of not just millions of people, but of nations - to let millions of people clearly see that they can flourish and, in turn, become great givers and servers to others! Do you share that same dream? Can you see that entire continents can experience prosperity where they once allowed lack and scarcity to be the accepted norm? That thinking is dead wrong. Scarcity is a satanic deception and poverty is not of God.

Jesus said He came that you might have life and have it abundantly - to the full. That is the Gospel truth. You honor God when you honor His word for your life.

I hope you will not continue to squelch your dream, but rather allow it to be revitalized. Dare to believe in your dream with all your heart! When you do this, your spirit will be born afresh, regardless of your age (young or old) or current financial situation (good or not so good). It's time to honor God by recognizing the dream he has given you. It's time to acknowledge and act on your dream.

The time for rejection has passed. The time for experiencing and living the empowering fulfillment of the life God has birthed in your heart and soul - is now.

Thank you Tim Darnell for these inspiring words.

In His Service,

Albert Surovik
www.TheLeadersView.com

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Guard Your Ears


"Be careful what you are hearing...." Mark 4:24

What are you listening to during the day in your business?

Gossip?

Negative talk?

Dirty Jokes?

Failure Language from the tongues of Life Survivors?

What you allow to go into your ears -- ends up in your heart and your business, if you are not careful.

Let me ask you a question: This is from a Doug Firebaugh training and was drafted by Jack Wienzierl.

Would you allow me to go to the landfill, get 4 bags of filthy garbage, come into your beautiful home and dump them on your beautiful carpet in your living room?

Of course NOT!!!!

How about your bedroom?

Of course NOT!!!!

How about the carpet in your car?

Of course NOT!!!!!

Then how come you allow people as well as yourself to dump filthy negative garbage and input in your ears and mind daily?

DO YOU VALUE YOUR CARPET IN YOUR CAR MORE THAN YOU DO YOUR MIND?

Your business success is based on Powerful thinking, not Powerless garbage! Your business success is based on Building Words, not Destroying. Success is based on the Word of God, not the Word of the World.

What are you listening to daily, and how is it impacting your AC Success?

You know what HEAR stands for in worldly Success ?

" Hardly Embracing Any Results " (amen!)

You know what HEAR stands for in Christian Success?

"His Eternal Actions Reign!"

If you want your actions and Success to Reign, start hearing what Christ has to say, not others who doubt you and create fear in you. Listen to what Christ has to whisper in your ear... ssshhhh... you can hear the Holy Spirit...

"Never Doubt Me. For I am the King of Kings. And you are royalty. Let My actions totally reign over yours. Let My thoughts reign over yours. Let My Success pour into yours, let my Power build up yours, and like my Blood which poured out at Calvary, so shall Success pour into your life and reign supremely in your business! For I am the Master of ALL Success, Who has mastered the World and all of it's evil Failure, Doubt, and Fear! And you need to hear what I say daily! For those who have ears... Listen!"

Holy Father,
I hear You. I hear loud and clear. I am not going to let people dump their garbage in Your House anymore, as You live in me. You must find some of the things I have heard lately disgusting! Fear! Doubt! Negative thoughts! Discouragement! Delay! Lack of faith! You have heard it all. And I am today cleaning house -- my business house! And my mind will not listen to what does not honor You, and let You do Your Success Work in my life! I will no longer let garbage reign in my mind, but You will reign! You actions will reign! Your thoughts will reign! And because of that, Success will reign in my life! Reign the King of Glory! For those who understand, live deep in His Glory! Praise the Lamb Who was chosen before the beginning of time! Hallelujah! Glory to the King! We praise You Jesus!

In Jesus' Name,

Amen.

3 steps that could change your outlook are at http://www.7kplan.com/

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