There are many things that are important in life. One of them is this: being present while looking forward to the future. Sound like some sort of oxymoron? Well, I assure you, it's not. It's okay to have your eyes on the prize, but don't forget to look at your activity now and your next step. If you don't consider what you should be doing now and what your next step should be, you won't even make it to the ultimate prize. In the realm of the natural, the prize could be the manifestation of a new business, a fresh strong partnership with a company or organization, an executive position at a company, etc. So many people are mesmerized by the future that they lose focus on the present. You are currently in a process trying to get to "somewhere" and you are going to have to learn what it's going to take in order for you to navigate through your present circumstances so you can make sound decisions that benefit you, and not harm you.
You're also going to have to factor in other people, because no man is an island. You don't know when you're going to meet so-and-so who can help you get to your next destination while you are on your journey to the prize. When you meet someone for the first time, be careful that you don't underestimate them just because of how they look or because of something you heard about them. Get to know that person. Be present in the here and now and actually listen to what they have to say to you. You'd be surprised at what you can learn from people when you simply listen to them (and not trying to listen to them while you're on your cell phone, looking at something that has to do with "what's about to happen next" or "what's happening in the future" or what drama is unfolding on social media). That new person you meet, could very well hold one of the keys that can unlock a door you need opened so you can properly take that next step you are seeking after.
Your moves need to be strategic so you can truly optimize each day as well as each season of your life. Have a mind that embraces the future, but be sure to get your mind and heart right for what's happening right now. What you do now will affect what happens in the future. Don't let anything distract you from focusing on what really matters. Get rid of all distractions and get rid of things that are not essential for the task at hand. Get rid of any negative energy around you too. Even if you have to dismiss some people from your circle (no matter how close you are to them) for a little while or for a long time, do what you have to do to make it to the next level of growth and development. The "you" that you are striving to be depends on it.
Set priorities for the present day. Don't try to take on so much now while looking at the future that you get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing because you are burned out all of a sudden, instead of the something that can be prove to be fruitful, even if it is a little something. In the here and now, make a checklist of practical things you can do that will lead to fulfilling small milestones. Then the more you reach your different milestones, your confidence will increase and you will see yourself getting closer and closer to your big, ultimate goal, that is, your prize.
Here's another nugget for you. Do what you can do and don't worry about comparing yourself to other people. Everyone will have an opinion about what you are doing and what you are not doing, so just focus on what you can do while you have the energy to do it now. When you start comparing yourself to other people, you can start to feel discouraged and like you don't "measure up." The person to whom you are comparing yourself might be further down the road than you are or if they started on their journey at about the same time as you, he/she might be heading in a different direction because of their calling, vocation, etc. That person might have access to resources that you don't have and vice versa. So don't compare yourself to other people. One thing I am a proponent of though is getting advice from people who are further ahead of you on the same road you are traveling on. I believe in mentorship because it promotes the ideas of building relationships and giving back to those who are trying to grow.
Last, but not least, take some time each day or make time during a certain month (whether it's for a few days or for a week at a time) to get away from all media. That could mean tv, radio, or social media, or all of the above. Get away on a mini-vacation (it doesn't have to be some extravagant one) to clear your head. Instead of spending hours on your phone, go get some fresh air at a park and read a good book, go walk around town, visit a friend and just have a conversation, do something that does not require you to look at a screen. You'll be amazed at how many great ideas will come to you because you are not so focused on what's going on with regard to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the news, etc.
When you take time to be present, you'll realize how much you could be missing if you had not committed to being HERE, RIGHT NOW. Time is a precious commodity. You can earn and lose money, you can gain material things, but one thing you cannot get back once it passes is time. You don't want to wake up one day and feel like you have a bunch of regrets because you were not present when you needed to be. So make the most of your time now while you can.
To find great success, there will be many times when you'll need to have the courage to move outside of your comfort zone and outside of what you are familiar with and try new things. I learned early on that there is no room for complaining if we are not willing to make the necessary changes to get us from one place in which we might not particularly feel satisfied to a better place.
Sometimes it takes us digging deep to see what gifts, talents, and abilities God placed inside of us that we have yet to explore to make certain changes. But if we're going to go to the next level in life, we've got to explore options we didn't even think to consider all because we've been stuck in the boxes of "this is all I know" and "this is just how we've always done things". Don't let certain social constructs you might have grown up with keep you mentally imprisoned when you know something more is out there for you to explore.
You don't get to be your best self by only going for what's easy and convenient. Sometimes you've got to be challenged so you can then make a bold and daring move and challenge the status quo! You never know, God might use you to help others understand what He wants them to understand so they can have the opportunities to embrace becoming their best selves too! But you can't help free others if you are still in mental and social chains yourself. So what are you doing to be free?
One way you can make sure you are challenged and growing is by networking and meeting people that get you to think about different issues from fresh perspectives. Preconceived notions can prove to be dangerous when they are not rightly corrected when they need to be. You'd be surprised at how many people think they are right about so many issues when in actuality, they couldn't be any more off-base. Sometimes you need someone to tell you, "No, you're wrong, and here's why..." A wise person appreciates it when he/she gets to elevate their thinking because of good correction coming from a good, reliable source.
Another way to make sure you are challenged and growing is by studying topics you might not normally approach. Several examples of things you could learn about include art, cooking, marketing, science, technology, politics, and business & finance. A well-rounded person typically makes for a great conversationalist. It's not that you have to be a know-it-all, but you just might find yourself more comfortable in new settings than you ordinarily would be if you can learn how to bring some real substance to a conversation about something that's on a higher level than what you might be used to. Adaptability is crucial for navigating through the waters of "getting out of your comfort zone." You've got to be flexible. Moreover, if you want people to take you seriously so they can see you are worth investing in (with regard to time, energy, and especially money), you have got to show people that you are not a one-dimensional one-trick-pony. What worked "back then" might not cut it now. What you did to wow people "there" might not necessarily work "here."
So keep learning, keep challenging yourself, and keep growing. Sometimes these tasks might seem daunting, and there will be times when you feel quite uncomfortable, but you can do it! No one who ever made great strides in whatever they set out to do was ever comfortable all the time during the process. It's time for some pressure and pressure makes diamonds!
Most people don't want to work with someone else who doesn't bring their A-game each time they come into contact with each other. So, of course, it's important to know what you're talking about whenever you speak on something. Study your craft. Definitely do your homework and do your research on the field you are in. But when you enter into dialogue with people in your field (or maybe in another field you might not be able to call your home), don't try to act like a know-it-all. You might actually know a lot, but you don't have to act like it in an arrogant manner. There is great value in real humility. Let others sing your praises and do the same for others. Also, in dialogue, learn how to ask the right questions. Don't just make statements, but ask good questions. It shows that you are genuinely interested in what others have to say, and that you don't want to hear only the sound of your own voice. People respect that. People appreciate it when others with whom they are conversing are not narcissistic. A good conversationalist knows how to ask good questions and WHEN to ask those questions. Timing is key.
One more thing, listen to people to understand them, not just to respond back. So many people miss the mark on this as they are often in a rush to get their point across and they end up cutting across people when they are mid-sentence. Listen more than you speak. This is something I myself am working on too, because I see the value in being a good listener. Sometimes if you just listen to a person, you will get the answer to the question you have been dying to ask. Patience is another key in engaging people the right way.
When people know you are a good listener, you'll be surprised at how many people will want to talk to you and engage you on a variety of subjects. They know you care about what they have to say and they know you'll make the conversation interesting.
In this day and age, we need leaders to rise up and take their rightful places in our various communities across our land. But it’s not just about leadership. It’s not enough for people to direct a group of people—whether that group is large or small—to a certain destination, and yet that group of people remains unchanged in their mindsets, in their hearts, and ultimately in their ways. By the time the group gets to where they need to be, that group needs to be transformed. That’s where transformational leadership comes into play. In order for transformational leadership to take place, the leader must first have had a transformative process him-/herself. The leader must have gained some knowledge and wisdom that puts him or her on a higher level than the people he or she is about to lead. Then the leader must know how to apply that wisdom in practical ways so the people he or she is about to lead can “get with the program.” Most people are like sheep in the sense that they need a shepherd to guide them from one place to another. However, unlike sheep, people need to be able to take what wisdom they gain from their leader(s) and apply it in such a way that it changes the way they see the world around them, the way they think, the way they speak, and ultimately the way they do things.
Leaders who simply take people from one place to another are not operating under the umbrella of transformational leadership. When one follows a leader who is practicing transformational leadership skills, the follower will eventually come up to a higher level just like their leader did before them. We need more people to rise up to higher levels of seeing, thinking, speaking, and doing because we are beginning to run out of leaders. When we look at the state of this nation right now, it is not difficult to see that we are facing dire straits. We have an incompetent “president” in the White House and I seriously doubt he will be transforming anything for the better. If anything, he will make many things worse for millions of people.
Now we need to look at a few things transformational leadership does besides help people to see, think, speak, and do better. First, transformational leadership makes people who are following the leader accountable for the progress they make. A transformational leader is not going to let you slack off and not contribute to the betterment of yourself and of the group as a whole. Secondly, transformational leadership raises the bar for other leaders, regardless as to whether those other leaders are in the same sphere of influence as the transformational leaders or not. For example, when you look at a figure like Bishop T. D. Jakes, you can’t help but to be impressed. For a man to come up the ranks the way he did, it takes vision from God, tenacity, strength, diligence, and stamina. Too many leaders now are just making up things as they go along (so there’s no real revelation from God being employed), and when the going gets tough they give up, because they have no stamina to endure the hard race. Moreover, because they had no real strong foundation on which to stand, their house that was built on the sand crumbles down. When that house built on the sand comes crashing down, all those in the house (i.e. the followers) come crashing down with it. Matthew 7:27 states, “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” “… And great was the fall of it.” What a terrible thing it is when leaders and their followers fall because their “house” was not built on a sure foundation! So what is a sure foundation? It is God’s Truth, the truth that as a leader, you cannot do it all by yourself. We need community, for no man is an island. It is the truth that honesty and integrity will always win over lies, deception, and trying to cut corners to get a job done. It is the truth that you have to be rooted and grounded enough to be able to make a difference where you are. It is the truth that not every day will be sunshine, but the storms will come sometimes. However, when the storms come, you can stand ready for them because your foundation is strong. It is the truth that God reigns supreme and if we invite Him in to lead us and guide us, understanding that He will never leave us nor will He ever forsake us, then we cannot fail. If God is for us, then who (or even what) can stand against us?
The third thing that transformational leadership does is that it causes one to tap into gifts and talents he or she did not even know were lying dormant inside of them. See, sometimes we think we do not have certain gifts, talents, and abilities; if we are not careful, we can become envious of others when they exercise the gifts that we think we do not have. The truth is that it is not that we do not have certain gifts, talents, and abilities; rather, it is that they are lying dormant inside of us. That begs the questions: how do we awaken those gifts inside of us and once they are awakened, how should we properly use those gifts and talents? Going a bit deeper, we might ask, in what context should we use those gifts, talents, and abilities? In other words, when and where should we exercise them? Transformational leadership will bring you to the point where you are forced to explore those questions for yourself. However, it will not leave you to your own devices in the execution of those gifts, talents, and abilities until you are truly ready to soar. As a sociologist, one of the top rules in understanding the people and world around us is to realize that context is everything. To prove the point, take the example of two professional singers. One is coached and trained in singing R&B and the other is trained to sing for the opera. No one in their right mind would bring the R&B artist to sing for the opera crowd and no one would bring the opera singer to perform for the R&B crowd. People who have truly been transformed by the leadership they sit under know how, when, and where to utilize their abilities to affect positive change in their communities. Moreover, they know why they need to use their gifts and talents, and they know to whom they are to direct their energies and efforts.
Last, but not least, transformational leadership makes a person who used to only be a follower into a real transformational leader him-/herself. If like begets like, then transformational leaders beget transformational leaders. If a transformational leader is really doing his or her job well, then it is impossible for them to not have great transformational leaders come out from under them and then do that which will transform others.
When a person knows better, they are supposed to do better. When a person has been transformed from the inside out, they are supposed to want others to be transformed too, because they know just how powerful being transformed really is. Transformational leadership is not satisfied with the status quo. Transformational leadership does not rest until people have become aware of all that God made them to be and subsequently take responsibility for doing their very best to actually become all that God wants them to be. In this day and age, more transformational leadership is what we need now more than ever.
For those of you have read my last two posts "Lord, Search Me" and "Lord, Break Me," I hope you have been encouraged by and edified by them. Now it's time for the last installment in this three-part devotional series. This one is called "Lord, Send Me." After the Lord searches our hearts and breaks us down to purge out from us those toxic things that are hurting us, He sends us out to share with people whatever He wants us to share (a message centered around the Gospel) and to help people in practical ways to share His love. (Feel free to use this for a Bible study group or for your own personal devotional time.)
Think About It:
The histories of men and women who have responded to God’s call have one thing in common. They have all encountered a personal transforming vision of God. For some it was like Isaiah, Moses, or Paul, who were given literal visions of God. For others, it was a vision that was the result of spiritual insight and revelation of who God is through His Word and Spirit. We see this referred to in 2 Corinthians 3:18, where it declares we are those “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image.” Ephesians 1:17-18 and 3:18-19 refer to seeing God through revelation and spiritual understanding that is given by God deep within our spirit. May each one of us see, in Isaiah’s renewed call, our own call to be sent as a prophetic voice within our sphere of influence and beyond.
Name a place you would love to be sent to and a place you would never want to be sent to. Why?
Talk about the last time you felt compelled to do something out of the norm. How did you respond? Could it have been God sending you?
Read Jonah 1:1-3, Exodus 3:10, and Isaiah 6:1-8. At the present time, do you most identify with Jonah, Moses, or Isaiah? What might be keeping you from fully surrendering to God?
Just like brokenness, being sent is not a one-time experience. God may require it of us many times and in many different ways. To what or where are you being sent?
Why is it so important for us to genuinely identify with the sins of those we are trying to bring to repentance and faith in God?
If you are unable to abandon yourself to God’s call, what steps do you need to take to get past that?
Lord, Thank You for calling us to a life during which we are to be sent by You to do Your will. Your will is to ultimately see Your kingdom come in the Earth. You desire that people who have an understanding of Your amazing love for us are willing to go out and show people the power of a relationship with You. For us to help others to see humanity’s need for You daily, help us to first come to the end of ourselves. You have searched us and shown us our pride and sinful ways. You have broken us and are putting us back together the way You see fit. Now please give us a heart of compassion for a lost and dying world. Anoint us in a fresh way and allow each of us to say like Isaiah, “Here I am, send me.” Thank You for working through us and all around us to see the fulfillment of Your will, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The secret of being blessed by God is to participate in His agenda for the world - to be a part of what he is accomplishing on earth. Instead of praying, “God bless what I want to do” pray “God help me to do what you’re blessing!” Each morning pray “Father, I know you’re going to doing some amazing things in the world today, and I’d like the privilege of being included in some of them.”
Fulfilling the mission you were made for will require you to abandon your agenda and adjust to Gods agenda.
Read the following scriptures about people who surrendered to God leading and call.
Matthew 28:16-20, Luke 1:35-38, Hebrews 11:8-12, Romans 10:13-15
What will be your first step of obedience to His call this week?
If you read my last post that served as a devotional, then you know that I said I'll be doing a few of these devotionals over a couple days' time. My last entry was about the Lord searching our hearts daily. This devotional is about the importance of the Lord breaking us from time to time. Once the Lord has searched our hearts and reveals to us the areas of our lives that need to be worked on, and once we submit ourselves to Him, He takes us through a breaking process during which He purges out of us those things that are hindering our growth and development in Him. Moreover, it's not just God breaking us, but it's also us learning how to pour out our lives in such a way that it resembles one pouring out everything from a vessel. We learn what it means to live broken lives. It's not that we are to be messed up people, obviously, but we are to live sacrificial lives for the sake of being a blessing to people whom God places in our lives. (Feel free to use this for a Bible study group or for your own personal devotional time.)
Think About It:
We all have at least one thing in our lives that God wants out of our lives. At the same time, we all need at least one thing that God is trying to put in our lives. Through a breaking process, God reveals Himself to us in such a way that we realize that the thing(s) we thought we needed are actually holding us back from truly connecting with God on a deeper level. Moreover, during that same process, God shows us what we truly need, and we begin to understand how gaining what we lacked can help us to draw near to God. The true test in a time of breaking is what hard decisions we must make in order to please God. If you are worried about how your life will be after you are broken, be encouraged. God has a way of working through broken things in miraculous ways. God uses ordinary, broken people every day to spread the Gospel and to do other great things that bring Him glory. God wants to use people who are passionate about allowing God to work in them so that He can work through them.
What is something you hate to see get poured out or wasted?
Read Mark 14:3-5, 22-25. What point do you think Mark was trying to make by putting the stories of the woman and of the Passover next to each other?
Are you trying to stay strong in an area of weakness or hold on to something you need to pour out? What’s keeping you from giving it all to God?
Read Psalm 119:67, 71, and 75. How is affliction beneficial to us?
What is one area in your life that God is breaking down? What is one area in which you need to ask Him to begin tearing walls down?
Describe what a broken and poured out life could look like.
How has God used broken areas from your past to help others?
Lord, thank You for revealing Yourself to us each day. Thank You for giving us the courage to pray a dangerous prayer like “search me.” Now please give us the courage to pray this, “Lord, break me.” Forgive us for holding on to the things we need to pour out or let go of. Help us to surrender all to You. Break us. Break our hearts for what breaks Yours. Then break us, build us up again, and cause us to run after You like never before. You are the Potter, and we are the clay. Break us, shape us, and mold us however You wish. Thank You, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Consider something in your life that needs to be poured out to God. Empty every last drop of what needs to be poured out for God and leave it there at His feet this week. Start each day by seeking God first and as you seek Him for direction, ask Him to give you opportunities to rely on His strength alone. It might not be easy, but remember, it will be worth it.
(Some of the preceding questions and statements have been taken from www.life.church.)
Over the next couple of days, I'll be sharing some devotional type of material my wife and I put together some time ago that I hope will be a source of encouragement and perhaps even a challenge to many people. This first one is about how we need to invite the Lord Jesus in to search our hearts, not just in big moments in our lives, but every day, so we can stay on track with regard to where He wants us to be so we can please Him. (Feel free to use this in a Bible study group or for your own personal devotional time.)
Think About It:
The greatest encouragement for the believer in Christ Jesus is to enter into the presence of an all-seeing, all-knowing God who knows us intimately. Because we have been justified by grace though faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we can stand in His light and be examined by His holy presence. We can allow Him to examine our thoughts, attitudes and heart's desires and then "bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). Let’s have a willingness to put away anything which is grievous to God and to His Spirit and be directed by the Word of God in our daily living.
What difference do you see between what you feel when you are hiding something versus when you can openly share things about yourself?
Read Jeremiah 17:10. What does this show you about your relationship with God?
Read Psalm 139:23. David used the word “search” meaning to explore, dig, probe, examine, and investigate. From this Scripture we know that God will show us our hearts, our fears, and our sins.
How might how often we pray and/or the kinds of prayers we pray reveal the state of our spiritual health?
Have you ever been afraid to pray bold prayers? How might your life be different if you begin to pray with increased boldness?
Lord thank You that You are the God of truth. Thank you that Your Word "is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," according to Hebrews 4:12. We know that nothing is hidden from You, especially not our hearts. Forgive us if we have tried to hide from You in any way. Give us the courage to come to You with humility and honesty with regards to the condition of our hearts. Transform our hearts so they are receptive to what You want to do in us to transform our very lives. Thank You, in Jesus Name, Amen.
Psalm 139:23: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Why is it important to pray this scripture? Because our hearts and lives quickly get cluttered up with dirt, dust and rubbish. It is so easy for us to let wrong things in and to harbor them. It is easy for us to become slack and careless and spiritually insensitive. It is easy to become guilty of wrong attitudes towards others, to become prayerless, to become careless about the desperate need of men and women around us who are without God and without hope for this life and for the life to come. It is easy to become formal in our worship; to become lukewarm in our love for the Lord Jesus. These are the reasons why we should pray David’s prayer, that God will reveal to us our sin and our failure and that He will be unsparing and faithful in doing so.
As God reveals things to you, do the following:
You will benefit from this spiritual heart examination. God will show you your heart, what you fear, where you have fallen short and missed the mark, and how to operate in the power to live victoriously.
2016 was one interesting/crazy year, depending on who you ask I guess. We saw some true heavyweights in the realm of music, film, entertainment, and pop culture pass away, namely: Alan Rickman, Frank Sinatra Jr., Doris Roberts, Chyna, Prince, Afeni Shakur Davis, Muhammad Ali, Pat Summitt, Rev. Tim LaHaye, Kenny Baker (the man behind the droid R2-D2 in the Star Wars films), Gene Wilder, Shawty Lo (Carlos Walker), Tommy Ford, Gwen Ifill, Alan Thicke, Craig Sager, Carrie Fisher, and many others. We even witnessed the election of Donald Trump……. Okay… moving on now…
For me personally, the fall marked two types of transitions: (1) a job transition in which I went from working at the Sheraton to my new job as a graphic artist at a local sign company, and (2) I transitioned in maturity, as I learned the hard way to leave certain people I thought I knew in the past. The second one was really difficult for me because I felt close them, but the closeness I thought I had was not healthy.
But no matter how the year was for you, as we approach a new year, be determined to leave anything that was negative for you behind you. Don't let anything hold you back from experiencing what God might have for you in this new year to come.
If anyone was hating on you or tried to harm you in any way, pray for them, forgive them, and let 'em go. It's not worth it to hold bitterness and resentment in your heart. It'll eat you up inside. Forgiveness is not so much for them as it is more for you, so you can heal.
If you had put your trust in the "system" and it failed you [once again], this new year redirect your trust so that it's in the Lord, and not in any man or system. The Lord will provide for you and take care of you better. Put your trust in Jesus and watch Him blow your mind as He blesses you in unexpected ways because you are His child so that makes you cosmic royalty!
If you had unfulfilled goals and dreams, don't see it as a failure. See it as the right time for the fulfillment of your goals and dreams has yet to come. And remember you are not your mistakes and "failures". That is not your identity. You are not to be defined by your mistakes and uncompleted tasks. You are defined by your faith in God and determination.
This new year, YOU WILL succeed! You will see greatness, not only in the lives of those around you, but in your own life as well. You will not sit on the sidelines and watch life go by. You will get on the field and score and make it a win. You will be someone that others look up to. You will be one of the ones that God sends people to for advice, help, and encouragement. You will help others fulfill their goals and others will do the same for you. You will be a good friend to people.
If you had drama with friends or foes, you will remember that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph. 6:12). Leave the drama in 2016.
I believe that 2017 will be an awesome year. Believe that nothing can stop you in your journey. And if you stumble, it's okay. It won't be the end of world. Never let a stumble in the road mark the end of a journey. Don't be so hard on yourself. Don't take yourself too seriously. If you didn't get to have fun in 2016, then have lots of fun in 2017. Don’t forget TO LIVE! Expect God to do big things this new year. Be encouraged. In Isaiah 43:19 God declares, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” God is doing a new thing in me, in you, in our families, in our communities, and even in our nation, I believe. Get ready for it.
2017 here we come!
This is part 2 of "My Church Is..." We will never have all the answers. But I believe our local churches should be a place where we can come together in community to seek the face and heart of a loving God who does have all the answers. It's at church where we can figure some things out. ... Feel free to use this content for your local Bible study group/small group from church.
Think About It
Many people don’t come to church, let alone Christ right away because they feel like they have to have everything right, or everything figured out. Once they get their life “cleaned up”, then they can approach God. IT’S NOT TRUE! Unfortunately, this wall hinders many people that desperately need and want Jesus. Jesus wants you just as you are, right where you are. Once you come to Him, He will be the One to transform you from the inside out and help you to “figure it out.”
Why was it important for Jesus to be intentional in where he went, who he ministered to, and how he ministered to people?
Read John 4:4-9
What prompted the woman to give such a hostile greeting to Jesus? How can patience play a role in how you address hostile reactions from others?
Read John 4:10-15.
What is the significance of Jesus asking the woman for a drink first?
What is Jesus offering the woman in these verses?
Read John 4:16-18.
Jesus addresses the life that the woman has been living.
How does being open and honest with Jesus make a difference in her life?
How does being open and honest with the Lord make a difference in your life?
Read John 4:20-24
What would best describe the woman’s view of worship?
What does Jesus describe as true worship?
How do you express worship? Why is it important to you?
Read John 4: 25-26.
It is at this point that the woman recognizes Jesus for who He truly is. She first calls him “A Jew”, then “Sir”, then “Prophet”, and finally, “Messiah”.
What are your thoughts on her progression of knowing who Jesus was?
What did you used to think of Jesus as when you first encountered Him? How has that perception changed or grown?
Lord Jesus, thank You that You have been so patient with us when we have perceived You and do, at times, perceive You in the wrong way. Please forgive us if we have ever treated You as common when You are holy, as less than a top priority when You always deserve to be the highest of the highest priorities. Thank You for revealing more and more of Yourself to us. Let the revelation You give us about who You truly are move us to be challenged to handle You more carefully than ever before each time we have an encounter with You. Moreover where there is revelation, let us experience transformation. We will be so careful to remember that You are worthy of honor, glory, and praise each and every day. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Testimonies are powerful. When you share a testimony about how good your favorite dish is, for example, the people with whom you shared your testimony will probably be more likely to want to try it since you shared your testimony than if you had not shared it. There are many people who would believe in Jesus if only someone told them how great and wonderful He is. We should never be afraid to share our testimony about what Christ has done and what He is doing in our lives. Our testimony about Jesus is a powerful tool in leading others to believe in Him. Our testimony about Jesus also encourages other believers to KEEP believing in Him. Revelation 12:11 says “…they overcame…by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” Pray that the Lord would show you the people with whom you need to start conversations. Prayerfully, those conversations lead to them receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior.
It has been quite some time since my last post! I just wanted to bring something fresh to my blog page and challenge my fellow believers in Christ to think about what church means to them. One thing I am constantly aware of is the fact that church is never to be about "me" and what I want. It's all about Christ and serving Him as we administer the Gospel truth to those who need to hear it and as we help those people in need. Feel free to use the content below for building up a discussion in your own Bible study group or small group from church. (I'll be doing a part 2 for this mini-blog series tomorrow.)
Think About It
Selfishness greatly hinders our spiritual growth. In Scripture, emphasis is placed on relationships to others. We are instructed to love others, serve others, help others, encourage others, admonish others and restore others. If we nurture the selfishness we were born with as sinners, we will not grow into mature and fruitful believers. If we focus only on ourselves, we might miss great opportunities to be a blessing to others to build up the Lord’s kingdom.
What causes people to be selfish? What makes some people unselfish?
What does God think about selfishness?
Read Luke 29: 3
Is dealing with selfishness difficult for you?
What do you believe is the greatest danger of selfishness?
Who is the most unselfish person you know? What qualities or actions have you seen in this person’s life that lead you to believe he or she is unselfish?
Lord thank You for loving us even when we are selfish and stubborn. Help us to love one another and to draw closer to You. Forgive us for letting pride, ego, and various distractions keep us from focusing on how to live a selfless life for You. You have adopted us into Your family. Moreover, You have called us to love our brothers and sisters and to be there for others who need to hear about the saving grace of Christ Jesus. Help us to be the kind of people who lead lives of selflessness and who are in sync with You as we follow Your perfect example, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
It is human nature to be self-centered. We have ideas on how things should go and we get frustrated when they do not go as we planned. We believe that we deserve to have things our way, on our terms. What we fail to realize is that a sense of entitlement and selfishness has crept into our relationships with people and with God. We must strive to overcome it.
We often need reminders of what is really important. Ask yourself: is it worth losing a relationship over? Are your preferences more important than the needs of other people? We need to keep the perspective of following God’s plan and His purpose for our lives rather than just following our desires.
I just want to encourage and inspire as many people as I can for Jesus Christ.