Sunday, September 30, 2012

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: Does The End Justify The Means?

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: Does The End Justify The Means?
Without clear absolutes, boundaries or vision our core values and integrity are at risk of becoming the casualty of morally and ethically questionable methods.

Divine Conversations: Recommitment of Faith

Divine Conversations: Recommitment of Faith
I remain humbled how God continues to use our prayer room in the southern suburbs of Adelaide to impact lives as far away as Brisbane!  Read more >>

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Peace & Freedom

Over the past couple of weeks my family have had the privilege of getting to know a Muslim Iranian family who have only been in Australia for about 9 months.  We have shared a meal in each others homes and have taken the time to gain an understanding of each others culture and faith perspectives.

What has struck me about this family is their perception of Christianity.

They have come from an oppressive environment where freedom to choose their own religion and to live their lives according to their own worldview doesn’t exist!  Culturally they may be aligned with Islam, but spiritually and socially they are searching for the freedom to choose a different way of life.  In direct contrast to how they view their own cultural faith, their perception of Christianity is that it is a religion of “peace and freedom.”

Jesus told his followers, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (John 14:27)  While beauty queens may want “world peace” and political leaders may advocate for world peace, real peace is actually found through a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Jesus is God with us and He gives us a peace that transcends conflict through the inward presence of God amidst conflict.  The Apostle Paul describes it as “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, [that] will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:7)

Far from binding Christians under a legalistic code of conduct, faith in Jesus Christ liberates people from endless striving to be good enough.  Jesus affirmed his mission of liberation when he said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” (Luke 4:18)  God’s Spirit sets us free from the power of sin and death by fulfilling the righteous requirements of the law (Romans 8:2-4).

It seems this Iranian family’s perception of Christian faith is closely aligned with the mission of Jesus to bring “peace and freedom” to those who seek after Him.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Heart of Worship

If there is one thing that touches my heart as a father, it is to watch my children engage in passionate worship!  This photo was taken at the South Australia Creative Kids Concert and captures a precious moment that stirred deep feelings of joy and pride as I watched my daughter express her love for God.

I can only imagine the depth of what I felt as a human father would be but a drop in the ocean compared to what our Heavenly Father feels when His children expresses a heart of worship towards Him.  

Rick Warren describes Worship as "anything you do that brings pleasure to God."  Just as my children bring me immense pleasure when they express their love for me as their dad by their words and actions, I pray my life will bring pleasure to my Father through a perpetual expression of love in thought, word and deed.

Monday, September 24, 2012

How Big Is Your God?





There is a classic scene from the Avengers movie where the villian Loki asserts himself as a god in a confrontation with the Hulk.  Undeterred by this self-confessed god, the Hulk threw Loki around like a ragdoll, declaring him to be a "puny god." 

How big is your "God"?   Scripture describes the Creator of the Universe as a Mighty God (Joshua 22:22), a Powerful God (Joshua 4:24), an Awesome God (Deuteronomy 7:21).  Imagine if God's greatness is measured by the level of our faith?  In most cases He too would be seen as a puny god!  While God's greatness is not dependent upon our faith, our faith will determine how much of His greatness we experience.  If we believe in a great God, we can expect great things!

The prophet Isaiah saw God "high and exalted" and declared Him to be "the Lord Almighty."  His vision of an Almighty God empowered him to confidently respond to God's calling, "Here am I, send me!"  (Isaiah 6:1-8)

I don't believe in a puny god, but a great big God "who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." (Ephesians 3:20) It is this belief in a great big God that is the foundation of my calling and gives me the faith to believe and attempt great things!

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hillsong - Saviour King

Welcome Home

Tonight we had a powerful Holy Spirit encounter during our Divine Conversations prayer meeting!  While singing Hillsongs "Saviour King" the line in the song "Let now the lost be welcomed home by the saved and redeemed" literally gripped our hearts.  I heard a tangible gasp by those around me as we were captured by the implications of this line.  It was as though the Spirit had paused a moment of time to emphasise the gap between God's vision for the world and His church.

We pray fervently for the "lost" to have a life transforming encounter with Jesus Christ and for the "saved" to have a life transforming encounter with Holy Spirit!*  We grieve about those who bear the name of Christ but do not reflect the unconditional love of Christ.  We dare to believe for a church where "the Lord adds to [our] number daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47). 

There is so much to celebrate about the church, but at times the attitude of the "saved and redeemed" towards the "lost" is less than welcoming!  It seems when the comfort or security of the "saved" is disrupted by the behaviour of the "lost", the "saved" are quick to forget what they have been "redeemed" from.  

We are The Salvation Army and the salvation of the "lost" is not only the core of our identity, it is the core of our mission and ministry.  It is affirmed in both our Soldiers and Officers covenants as the core of our commitment to Jesus Christ:

"I will be faithful to the purposes for which God raised up The Salvation Army, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, endeavouring to win others to Him, and in His name caring for the needy and the disadvantaged." (Soldiers Covenant)

"Called by God to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as an officer of The Salvation Army...to live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life." (Officers Covenant)

May we "be responsive to the Holy Spirit's work and obedient to His leading" to create an environment of worship and fellowship within every Corps where "the lost be welcomed home by the saved and redeemed."


*Not a theological distinction, rather a discipleship observation of Christians who are not filled with the Spirit even after receiving the Spirit at conversion.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

For Better For Worse

I attended a beautiful wedding yesterday and witnessed two people who are very much in love enter into a life long covenant with each other.  Whenever I conduct or witness a wedding, the line in the marriage vows that always captures my attention is "for better for worse."  It is a reminder to me that covenants should not be entered into lightly and that the commitment made is not conditional upon happiness, success or the absence of conflict.

I have made three significant covenants in my life - Soldier's Covenant, Marriage Covenant, and Officer's Covenant - each representing a significant relationship that requires an unconditional commitment to another.

In my Soldier's Covenant I promised:  "I will be true to the principles and practices of The Salvation Army, loyal to its leaders, and I will show the spirit of salvationism whether in times of popularity or persecution."

In my Marriage Covenant I promised:  "To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part."

In my Officer's Covenant I promised:  "I bind myself to Him in this solemn covenant to love and serve Him supremely all my days."

While people enter into covenants with all the right intentions, it is increasingly evident that covenants are becoming more and more fragile during times of crisis and conflict.  I have watched people walk away from marriages, abandon churches (Soldiership) and leave ministry (Officership) at an alarming rate.  Now, you and I both know that because of the sinfulness of humankind there are circumstances that make some covenants impossible to keep, but we can also agree that far too many people break a covenant when it is no longer convenient, when they are challenged, going through a crisis or experiencing conflict.

Covenant keeping requires a determined WILL - a determination from the outset to "stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured" (Colossians 4:12)
Covenant keeping requires a determined FAITH - a determination to stay faithful to a faithful God whose "divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life" (2 Peter 1:3).
Covenant keeping requires a determined LOVE - a determination to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." and to "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39)


Note:  References to 'Soldiership' and 'Officership' are positions within The Salvation Army relating to membership and full-time ministry.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: Friendly Fire

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: Friendly Fire
One of the harsh realities of leadership is that leaders come under fire from those they lead, and often don’t hear or see it coming!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Zealous For The Lord

About midway through my Officership, while undertaking a review process, I was described as being too passionate and intense and it was suggested that I may want to consider being a little less zealous in my ministry and leadership.  The suggestion of being any less passionate than how God has wired me is unthinkable in my mind and incompatable with my spirit!

John Maxwell, in his book “Put Your Dream to the Test,” articulates well what I feel about this perception of being too passionate, “I have never seen anyone anywhere at any time achieve anything of any value without the spark of passionate desire!  It provides the energy that makes dreams possible.”

I am a driven person and for a period of my training to be an Officer I was almost led to be convinced that this was somehow a negative quality.  But when I discovered that my drive was an Holy Spirit zeal to pursue God’s calling upon my life with every fibre of my being, I rejected that lie and embraced the person the Spirit had empowered me to be!

Zealous means enthusiastic, eager, passionate, intense.
Zealous means full of, characterized by, or due to zeal; ardently active, devoted, or diligent.

A person who is zealous passionately pursues that which they are devoted to!

In Matthew 22:37 Jesus told his disciples to “Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your mind.”  Fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ are zealous people!

The problem with zealous people is that they live in a largely apathetic world, where apathy is the antithesis of zeal. 

Apathy means a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern – indifference.
An apathetic person has an absence of interest in or concern about emotional, social, spiritual, philosophical and/or physical life.
 


What happens when zeal and apathy collides? 

As a person who has been “Zealous for the Lord” throughout my life since childhood, it has been my painful experience that the collision between zeal and apathy often brings opposition, misunderstanding and judgement from others.  It also creates a "Holy Discontent" within that remains dissatisfied with the status quo.

In Scripture, the prophet Elijah had been “Zealous for the Lord” in a familiar story about his confrontation with the prophets of Baal.  What was a monumental display of prophetic power in Elijah’s life (a legacy of his prophetic leadership), became a struggle with fear and depression as he faced a full-frontal attack against his leadership.  This mighty man of faith became crippled by fear.  Yet, beyond Elijah's encounter with God in the "gentle whisper" at the cave, it is what God spoke into Elijah's life that provides us with prophetic wisdom for those who experience opposition for being "Zealous for the Lord"


"And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” 

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave." (1 Kings 19:9-13)
 


1.  Remain in the PRESENCE OF THE LORD 

God’s COVENANT does not change during times of suffering and opposition.

“As I was with Moses so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (Joshua 1:5)

Whenever human beings go through a period of conflict or struggle, there is a tendency to withdraw from the places where we draw strength and try to manage our circumstances on our own.  This is true for social connections with others as well as our spiritual connection with God.  Rather than withdrawing from God's presence in these times (if that is at all possible?), it is essential to remain in the PRESENCE OF THE LORD.  However, our desire or ability to remain in God's presence during conflict and opposition is dependent upon the patterns and habits that are in place when life is good.  If you don't have the pattern of prayer and being in the Word when the path is smooth, then the chances are you won't go there when the path is rugged!  

Jesus remained in the PRESENCE OF THE LORD in the Garden of Gethsemane which empowered him to face the pain and struggle of the cross.


"Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus

When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram.  Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet.  Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:14-18)



2.  Return to the PLACE OF ANOINTING 

God’s CALLING does not change during times of suffering and opposition. 

“Repent and do the things you did at first.”  (Revelation 2:5)

This tendency to withdraw during times of conflict also manifests itself in relation to pursuing God's calling or purpose.  I have seen way too many godly leaders abandon the pathway of duty when things get tough!  God's direction to Elijah to "go back the way you came" was a call to return to the PLACE OF ANOINTING to realign with God's purposes.  In difficult times it is easy to lose perspective and passion for what God has called you to do.  Returning to the PLACE OF ANOINTING restores our passion and renews our purpose to be ZEALOUS FOR THE LORD!  

In the PRESENCE OF THE LORD in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus returned to the PLACE OF ANOINTING and was able to say, "Yet not what I will, but what you will." (Mark 14:36)

 
“It is not incidental that the death of Jesus has come to be known as the Passion. The cross of Jesus Christ points to everything that God is passionate about. God the Son so passionately hates the destructive force of sin that He was willing to die to overcome it. And He so passionately loves humanity that He was willing to give even His own life on our behalf. You know what you are really passionate about when you are willing to lay you life down for it.” (Erwin Raphael McManus, “Uprising”)

Friday, September 14, 2012

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: Positional Leadership

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: Positional Leadership
Regardless of the style or situation, it is commonly agreed that leadership is more about influence than position.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: Who's To Blame?

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: Who's To Blame?
There seems to be a default setting within human beings that automatically passes blame onto someone or something else when things go wrong.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Interfaith Symposium

What does a Buddhist, Baha'i, Muslim, Sikh, Jew and Christian have in common?

No, this is not the opening line of a bad joke!  

Today, I took the opportunity to attend the 3rd Annual Interfaith Symposium conducted by the Multifaith Association of South Australia.  This was my first time attending such an event and it left me with a lot to think about the way Christians interact with people of other faith traditions.

As a full-time Christian minister for 16 years, I have belonged to three different Minister Fellowships/Fraternals and I am currently a member of the South Australian Council of Churches Local Ecumenism Sub-Committee.  During this time I have seen first hand the struggle many Churches and Christians have interacting with each other over denominational and theological differences within the same faith, so the interfaith dialogue presents a whole new level of challenge for the evangelical church.

Interfaith dialogue confronts us with the tension between the universality of the Spirit and the particularity of Jesus.  While we believe Holy Spirit goes before preparing the hearts and minds of ALL people for Salvation, we also believe that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to Salvation.

At this Interfaith Symposium I shared in fellowship with various faith traditions who have a mutual desire to understand and experience "God."  I heard a Catholic Sister talk about God being bigger than any one belief system, a Baha'i representative describe "manifestations of God" having the sole purpose of revealing God for the progress of humankind, a Buddhist discuss meditation as being a means to lead people towards love and compassion, and a Sikh explain how a Guru shows the pathway towards enlightenment.  In this dialogue I was exposed to very real and very different faith journeys, yet the same innate desire to know God.

There is much I've still to learn about interfaith dialogue, but these things I do know!  The same Spirit who breathed life into my spirit, breathed life into the Muslim, Sikh and Jew (Acts 2:17) and the same God desires all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4). 

I am becoming more convinced that the various faith traditions I engaged with today are man's attempt to make sense of the partial revelation they have of God (Romans 1:20) and that our role as Christians is to find a point of connection with the revelation they already have.  By joining in on the conversation that has begun with the Spirit we open the conversation to a fuller revelation of God through Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:9-10).  For me, this changes the traditional evangelical approach that rejects other religions as a threat to Christianity and sees them as an opportunity to advance the journey of faith.

To explore the universality of the Spirit further read my paper on Spirit in Other Religions?

Friday, September 7, 2012

What Are You Reflecting?

"In our community it is so easy to focus on the tragedies.  God wants us to be a mirror of Christ to the world so that when they look at the Church they see Jesus.  When they look at the Church they see the solution not the problem."  (Dr. Robi Sonderegger)

Everytime we turn on the TV, open a newspaper or surf the internet we are confronted with a perpetual reminder of the brokeness of this world.  With such a saturation of bad news it is easy to be overwhelmed by the tragedies of the world and to allow all that is wrong in the world to dominate our thinking.  Clinical pyschologist Robi Sonderegger asserts that "whatever you focus your attention on you get more of," which supports the Apostle Paul's call to the Roman Christians to "be transformed by the renewing of the mind" (Rom 12:2) and to the Philippian church to change the focus of their thinking to all that which is good (Phil 4:8).  

Far from being a denial of reality or a new form of 'positive thinking' theology, it is a recognition of the truth that to a large extent we are what we think!  

As a redeemed people of God we possess the knowledge of the good news of Jesus Christ which has the power to transform our lives. If this life changing knowledge of God dominated our thinking instead of the evil of this world, then maybe our view of ourselves and the world would shift from brokenness to wholeness.  Maybe we would project an image of hope rather than perpetuate an image of despair.  Alter the image and the reflection will change.

Imagine if the Church turned its eyes upon Jesus and reflected His character to the world, so that when the world looked at the Church they really would "see the solution not the problem!" 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Edge Conference 2012 Highlights - 2

At the close of a phenomenal conference I find myself reflecting over the amazing teaching and new friendships gained the past couple of days with a grateful heart.  Once again Holy Spirit spoke directly into our lives giving insightful and timely revelation to our specific leadership and ministry context.  Praise the Lord!!  Below is a final summary of my highlights from the various speakers as recorded in my notes (unfortunately, I missed sessions 5-7 due to study commitments at Tabor College):

Session 8:  Dr Robi Sonderegger

"Through the power of inference people can believe that they are great."
Clinical psychology understands that whatever you focus your attention on you get more of."
"If you are going to succeed you need to have a renewing of the mind."
"In our community it is so easy to focus on the tragedies.  God wants us to be a mirror of Christ to the world so that when they look at the Church they see Jesus.  When they look at the Church they see the solution not the problem."
"If we can unite together as the Church and reflect the heart of God we can make history."
"The Church can be the answer if we will embody and reflect the love of Christ."
"No one ever died from a snake bite.  We don't die from the bite but the poison that remains in us.  Unless we deal with the poison of the past, we cannot change the future."
"Imagine if forgiveness and reconciliation, the heart of the Church, were integrated into the world."
"While we remain focussed on the problem we perpetuate the pain."

Session 9:  Paul De Jong

"We have a need to declare favour.  We have got to stop working for favour and declare it."
"God's provision is based upon his agenda, linked with our wholehearted commitment."
"I need to activate the seed that has already been sown."
"God says, 'If you can trust Me (faith) and I can trust you (works) then supernatural outcomes are the resulting reality."
"Why don't you reduce the revelation you are receiving and apply the energy of faith you already have and you will see momentum (be faithful with the little and God will bless you with more)."
"The more time you spend in God's Word the more your hope will turn into faith."
"Faith (my application of what God puts in front of me) is the substance of things hoped for."
"God's revelation and my application is what God has called me to."
"The global Church is God's primary expression of His Kingdom here on earth."

Session 10:  Geoff Woodward

"Defining moments are when you can only see what's in front of you right now."
"Defining moments don't turn up with signs on them, but turn up in the ordinariness of life as problems."
"Some of the most gifted people have the least impact because it is more about character."
"Who we appoint defines our leadership."
"Do you know what you are called to do or are you spiritual velcro?"

Session 11:  Glyn Barrett

"There is something to be said about tenacity, to hang in there long enough to live a legacy and to leave a legacy."
"God saw the problem before He gave you the promise."
"Through Him we can achieve far more than in our own capacity."
"There is a "yes" in heaven, but an "amen" that needs to be spoken by us.  Agreement releases the promise."
"Hear the "yes" of God and say "amen" so that you will walk through the process to obtain the promise."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Personalising Holy Spirit

I have been interested this week to listen to the way Leon Fontaine makes reference to "the" Holy Spirit when he speaks.  In referring to "the" Holy Spirit, he omits the article "the" and simply addresses Holy Spirit directly in conversation.  This reflects for me a personalisation of Holy Spirit as a distinct person of the Godhead with whom we can enjoy a personal relationship, rather than an impersonal dimension or force attributed to God.

When you listen to Leon speak you get a sense of an intimacy with Holy Spirit as real and personal as with Jesus Christ.  You rarely hear a Christian refer to "the" Jesus Christ, yet you often (as have I) hear Christians refer to "the" Holy Spirit in prayer and conversation.  It is refreshing and revealing to engage with Holy Spirit in this intimate way.

I observed a similar relationship while reading Clark Pinnock's book, The Flame of Love, which reveals his deep personal love for Holy Spirit which challenged me to engage with the Spirit of God more intimately.  Leon has renewed this desire within my own spirit to pursue an intimacy with Holy Spirit that will be reflected in the way I pray, preach and personalise this divine relationship.

Edge Conference 2012 Highlights - 1

The Edge Conference is an annual event hosted by Edge Church International at their south campus in Reynella, Adelaide.  They provide great worship, Holy Spirit inspired teaching from international speakers, and exceptional hospitality to invest into the lives and ministries of church pastors and leaders.  Below are some highlights from the notes I've taken throughout the conference:

Session 1:  Danny Guglielmucci

"Change is worth going through.  Change will bring the right result if you don't give up"
"We need to be into all that God wants in order that we will reach a lost and broken world."
"I used to think that preaching doesn't do much, but I've come to understand that preaching can activate a culture."
"Don't despise prophesy"
"The world can activate biblical patterns when the Church doesn't."
"Non believers are applying biblical principles to their lives and it is working!"
"Three reasons why Christian leaders burn out:  Self appointed ministries; being called by God but in the wrong role; doing the right role but in the wrong way."
"There is a tiredness that brings refreshment when you are doing the will of God."

Session 2:  Leon Fontaine

"Spirit Contemporary - Holy Spirit working through contemporary leaders.  Not the Holy Spirit dumbing down the message to make it contemporary."
"When it comes to the will of God for the leader, there is an on-going need to be filled with the Spirit.  We need to lead a continuously Spirit filled life.  He does not have a plan for your life outside of being filled with the Spirit."
"There are two things you must maintain:  Stay full of the Word and full of the Spirit."
"Sometimes in the Church we miss the transitions into new seasons.  We cling on to the previous blessings of God and miss the new blessings."
"The Church needs contemporary pastors who will respond to what the Spirit is doing today."
"Spirit filled people submit themselves one to another.  The arrogance is gone and they have a humble and teachable spirit."
"The spiritual gifts are not for the Church, but for the streets."
"We need to teach the church how to use the gifts as people in the world, not just pastors in the Church."
"The gifts should not draw attention to us, but give glory to God.  It's not about you, but about Jesus."
"God resists the proud, so when pride is present, the gifts die."
"Holy Spirit doesn't need to put on a show, He doesn't need you to dare Him, or back Him into a corner, or quote a dozen verses to get Him to act!  All we need to do to have the Holy Spirit to flow through us in healing and miracles is to get rid of us.  Less of us, more of Him!"

Session 3:  Paul De Jong

"If you are going to stand up and do what God wants you to do, then there is a lot of stuff in the atmosphere that will come to discolour you (like rust to metal).  Authentic leadership is about being iron all the way through.  We need to expose all of who we are to the atmosphere.  We need to strip away the protective layers of lacquer and become vulnerable and authentic again.  If we don't deal with the discolour we will become disfigured."
"We spend too much time seeking 'favour.'  God wants to bring us back to being 'fresh.'  If we don't learn how to stay 'fresh' we will never live by 'faith.'  I want to come back to a place of 'freshness', the foundation for 'faith' which brings 'favour.'"
"We need to simplify to strengthen."
"Your future is in what leads you."
"The truth is you are going to live out who you are."
"We don't need more seed, but better soil.  What did you do with the last revelation?"
"If you keep trying to keep everybody happy you will be busy doing what God didn't intend for you to do."
"How long has it been since the rhythms of your heart beat with the rhythms fo God's heart?"
"There is a revelation that our inner world determines our outer world."

Session 4:  Leon Fontaine

"There is a huge discrepancy between the early Church and the Church today."
"The adventure starts when we are filled with the Spirit.  The most important thing for your people is to be filled with the Spirit.  We must teach them to understand and use the gifts of the Spirit."
"Being filled with the Spirit doesn't make you weird.  When you get full of God you act more like God."
"Individually and collectively you are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  When you meet with believers in the Church, that is the temple of the Holy Spirit."
"When you become a weapon against God's people and His Church you put yourself at risk - 'no weapon formed against me shall prosper.'"
"I cannot do what God has called me to do without the Holy Spirit and access to the gifts He has given me."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: What's Love Got To Do With It?

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: What's Love Got To Do With It?
Love is a fundamental quality that is foundational to all human relationships and an essential characteristic of leadership.

Monday, September 3, 2012

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: Team Morale

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: Team Morale
Every leader knows that morale has an enormous impact on the cohesiveness and productivity of a team.

Powerful Prayer

“Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, ‘May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God the Lord, the God of his fathers even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.’ And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.” 
(2 Chronicles 30:19-20)

After calling the people of Judah back to a place of consecration through the removal of sin and the return to a covenant relationship through a renewal of heart, Hezekiah prayed this prayer on behalf of the nation.  This is a powerful prayer that gives us some extroadinary insight into the heart of a righteous leader and the character of a gracious God.

Hezekiah acknowledged the goodness of God!  Despite the gap between the sinfulness of the nation and the holiness of God, Hezekiah appeals to God's grace and seeks His favour on behalf of the people of Judah.

Hezekiah acknowledged the journey of his people.  His prayer was for those who had determined to seek after God, regardless of where they were along that journey, rather than for those who had reached a level of religious piety.

When the prayer of a righteous leader is aligned with the heart of a gracious God an environment for miracles is activated.  God longs to heal His people and restore them to a right relationship with their Creator.  Therefore, He responds to the prayer of faith that earnestly seeks after Him and dares to ask God to do what only He can do!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

You Know You Drink Too Much Coffee When...

  • You lick your coffeepot clean. 
  • You spend every vacation visiting "Maxwell House."
  • You're the employee of the month at the local coffeehouse and you don't even work there.
  • Your eyes stay open when you sneeze.
  • You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.
  • Your T-shirt says, "Decaffeinated coffee is the devil's coffee."
  • You go to AA meetings just for the free coffee.
  • Charles Manson thinks you need to calm down.
  • You've built a miniature city out of little plastic stirrers.
  • Starbucks owns the mortgage on your house.
  • Your taste buds are so numb you could drink your lava lamp.
  • You're so wired, you pick up AM radio.
  • Your life's goal is to amount to a hill of beans.
  • Instant coffee takes too long.
  • You want to be cremated just so you can spend the rest of eternity in a coffee can.
  • You have a picture of your coffee mug on your coffee mug.
  • You can outlast the Energizer bunny.
  • You don't even wait for the water to boil anymore.
  • You think being called a "drip" is a compliment.
  • You don't tan, you roast.
  • You don’t sweat, you percolate.
  • You don't get mad, you get steamed.
  • You soak your dentures in coffee overnight. 
  • You introduce your spouse as your coffeemate. 
 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: Competent Leadership

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: Competent Leadership
If character is the foundation of good leadership, then competency provides the framework around which leadership is built.