Author Archives: Earl J. Griffin, Sr.

About Earl J. Griffin, Sr.

As a John Maxwell Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker, I can offer you workshops, seminars, keynote speaking, and coaching, aiding your personal and professional growth through study and practical application of John’s proven leadership methods. For over 40 years, my tract record as a proven leader has been exemplary both in the United States Army and as a Pastor in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. As a John Maxwell Certified Coach, Mentor, and Speaker, I use this expertise and experience to help leaders grow to their full potential. Coupled with my John Maxwell Certification is my Master of Science degree in Leadership Development, from Walden University. I am uniquely skilled at helping corporate leaders in the areas of human resources development programs, middle and executive leader development programs, and mentoring practices within the workplace. Both my professional time as an Organizational Development Specialist within the United States Army and my tenure as Senior Pastor within my church help me assist leaders in resolving the ethical dilemmas of leadership and developing the cultural skills necessary to lead in diverse multi-cultural organizations. Let's develop a sustainable relationship that benefits both your organization and that helps you achieve your personal leadership goals.

Three Reasons to Wait on God

 

Job 38:1

And now, finally, GOD answered Job from the eye of a violent storm

Introduction

Some of you grew up like I did. When thunderstorms would arise, mamma would call us in the living room, make us sit down, turn out the lights and caution us to be quiet because every time it thundered that meant God was talking.

 

And now, finally, God answered Job.  Job had been through hell. He lost family, property, wealth, and reputation. All while maintaining his integrity and clinging to his finite knowledge of God. After praying and fasting, while enduring his affliction along with emotional trauma, God had said nothing.

 

And Now, Finally, God Answered. Can you hear Job’s exasperation? Job, the man God loved.  Job, the man God bragged to satan about his righteousness and faithfulness. Job suffered without hearing a Word from God. Can you with Job the test of his faith?

 

And now, finally, God answered. God chose to answer Job in God’s own timing. God chose to answer Job from within the eye of a violent storm. From a interlude, a quiet place, within a violent storm, before the worst of the storm would pass. God answered Job from within the eye of the storm. From the eye of the storm that Job was in or the eye of the storm God created just from which to talk to Job.  But Job had to be still so Job could hear God’s answer. Is there a storm raging in your life? Are you expecting, are you listening for God?

 

Transition

 

The text says:  And now, finally, GOD answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. Job has waited.  Job is suffering. He and his friends have debated the righteousness of God and the sinfulness of man and how justice is administered within that context. And now, finally, God speaks from the eye of a violent storm. In other words, God has decided God has heard enough of human reasoning about a situation that God created. Lord, have mercy.

 

But the question I’m wrestling with in this text is what does the context of God’s answer say about God?

 

Move 1

First, it says God knows. God knows everything concerning you.  Job declared, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold.”  God is intimately aware of what you’re going through. God is not in some far off universe, taking care of other things and leaving you holding the bag.  No, God, the Holy Spirit is present in the earth and God knows what you’re going through.

 

Our ancestors left us the knowledge of the spirit world complete with angels, ancestors, and God.  This world is not our home nor is it the only dimension of existence.  And declared to us that God operates in every dimension.  They said God is everywhere present at the same time and God knows all things.  Somebody say God knows.

 

Beloved, nothing that you experience is experienced apart from the knowledge of your God.  He knows.  Hallelujah!

 

Move 2

But let us move on.  Second, it says God is Sovereign. God answered Job from within the eye of a violent storm.  God met a storm with a storm. And spoke with Job in the most dangerous, deceitful part of the storm.  It’s called the eye of the storm.

 

The eye of the storm is the only peaceful part of the hurricane. … The center of low pressure in the storm is the eye. The lower the central pressure, the fiercer the storm, and the higher the winds – nevertheless, the eye is calm and peaceful.

 

God said time out to both storms and showed his sovereignty over both storms.  The storms in Job’s life and the storm he came to speak with Job from. This shows us Beloved that God is Sovereign over any circumstance or situation you face in life. God is not intimidated by any storm that comes up in your life. Lord, have mercy.

 

Move 3

Third, it says God can be trusted and that God wants us to trust Him.  Trust His Knowledge, His Judgement, and His Power all of which are rooted in His love. I hear Job speak his faith when says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”

 

Job is determined to trust God despite the violent storm he is experiencing in his life.  All his foundations have been destroyed, his reputation, his family, his prosperity.  Yet, Job holds on to his faith. Job keeps on praying, refusing to accuse God of injustice concerning him, and praises God no matter how tough his life gets.

 

Job is determined to trust God even if he died.  He declares, “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.”  Anybody here determined to trust God even unto death.  Hallelujah!

 

Move 4 Conclusion

The fact of the matter is that there will be storms in your life.  But be of good cheer, because God your God knows all about you. Not only that, but your God is Sovereign over your life.  Is there anything too hard for God?  So, beloved you can trust God when you can’t trace God.  Hallelujah!

God came to Job in the eye of a violent storm, the winds were gushing over 120 mph, the rain was falling with cyclone force, the trees were toppling over, and the roofs were torn from the foundations, property was demolished and God came to Job in the eye of a violent storm.

Somebody say, the storms are passing over hallelujah!  The context of God’s answer indeed says that our God is an awesome God.  He knows, He is Sovereign, and He can be trusted no matter the test.

 

 

We Need Rhema Words of Faith

In my view, anyone who elevates the Bible above all other literature, cultures, and morays is doing it a disservice. The Bible should be interpreted in context alongside all the other bodies of knowledge handed down through generations. Was the gospel Paul preached written prior to him preaching or did he claim a new Spirit revealed gospel? In the 1st century, he was labeled a heretic by the religious community. His gospel survived because he fashioned it to answer a dilemma regarding the salvation of Gentiles and their status with Jews. It was in his mind a new revelation and he suffered to give it Birth. We have such challenges to salvation in our time that need bold voices to speak and reveal what God is saying in our time. Anyone who lives by scripture and verse has not allowed the Spirit to speak. Even Paul cautions against such dogmatic positions. I’m sure Paul did not envision his letters being canonized in a book by an oppressive regime and given as the final Word of God in any matter. In fact, Paul urged people to pray and ask the Holy Spirit for understanding and deeper insight. Even the Law of Moses was not final for Jesus in many sermons reinterpreted it and issued a new edict based on a higher knowledge of God’s Intention. We should be students of the Word engaging our total being in a conversation with God and the Word people have shared regarding God’s Word revealed to them. The Holy Spirit empowers such boldness and I pray for more disciples like Paul who will take the steps to hear a fresh word from God in this season and not a stale cultural bread steeped in the past.

Learning to Live Apart from Jesus

Learning to Live Apart from Jesus

John 16:4-15 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

4 But I’ve told you this so that when it happens you’ll remember what I’ve told you. I didn’t tell you this at first, because I was with you. 5 “Now I’m going to the one who sent me. Yet, none of you asks me where I’m going. 6 But because I’ve told you this, you’re filled with sadness. 7 However, I am telling you the truth: It’s good for you that I’m going away. If I don’t go away, the helper won’t come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 He will come to convict the world of sin, to show the world what has God’s approval, and to convince the world that God judges it. 9 He will convict the world of sin, because people don’t believe in me. 10 He will show the world what has God’s approval, because I’m going to the Father and you won’t see me anymore. 11 He will convince the world that God judges it, because the ruler of this world has been judged. 12 “I have a lot more to tell you, but that would be too much for you now. 13 When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into the full truth. He won’t speak on his own. He will speak what he hears and will tell you about things to come. 14 He will give me glory, because he will tell you what I say. 15 Everything the Father says is also what I say. That is why I said, ‘He will take what I say and tell it to you.’

 

Introduction

Today is Pentecost Sunday.  But what is Pentecost? This celebration of Pentecost is derived from the Celebration of the Festival of Weeks, originally a Harvest Festival observed by the Hebrew People of Israel during the time of Moses well into the modern era. Exodus 23:16 says “Celebrate the Festival of the Harvest with the first produce harvested from whatever you plant in your fields. “Celebrate the Festival of the Final Harvest at the end of the year when you harvest your crops from the fields.”  It occurs on the fiftieth day after the Passover, a celebration of Freedom from Egyptian Bondage by the Hebrew People.

From whence does this term arise in Scripture? On the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after the resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon those followers of Jesus who had gathered together in Jerusalem. Acts 2:1-4 records, “When Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Passover, came, all the believers were together in one place. 2 Suddenly, a sound like a violently blowing wind came from the sky and filled the whole house where they were staying. 3 Tongues that looked like fire appeared to them. The tongues arranged themselves so that one came to rest on each believer. 4 All the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.”

What happened on the first Pentecost continues to happen to Christians throughout the world today, though usually not in such a dramatic fashion. We rarely get a heavenly wind and tongues of fire anymore. Nevertheless, God pours out the Spirit upon all who put their faith in Jesus Christ and become his disciples (see Romans 8:1-11).

Christians are meant to live in the presence and power of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit helps us to confess Jesus as Lord (1 Cor 12:3), empowers us to serve God with supernatural power (1 Cor 12:4-11), binds us together as the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12-13), helps us to pray (Rom 8:26), and even intercedes for us with God the Father (Rom 8:27). The Spirit guides us (Gal 5:25), helping us to live like Jesus (Gal 5:22-23).[1]

But it didn’t start out so easily.  Jesus was labeled a blasphemer by the church of his day, cast out of its synagogues, put on trial for heresy, and finally crucified as an enemy of the State.  Jesus had to persevere in his struggle to convince a dying, hierarchal, oppressive religious system that he had found a new living way.  A new way to view God that of Father.  A new way to express God’s concern for humanity, that of Mother.  A new way for humanity to interact with one another, that of brother and sister and friend.  Jesus taught the love of God, the Compassion of God, and the Mercy of God toward all people most especially sinners, outcast, and rejected in society.  He came to liberate, celebrate, and bring justice within society.

Pentecost, then, is about liberation, celebration, and justice.  Pentecost signifies that the oppressed in the world who accept Jesus Christ as Lord have received power for living.  And this outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon believers, frees believers to live lives being led by the Spirit that do not conform to the worldview of those without such a relationship with God. The aim of believers is to live as Jesus lived meaning to meet the challenges of spiritual evil and wickedness with the same clarity of thought and power as Jesus.  Believers who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit move to a different level of knowledge and understanding.[2]

Move 2

Because of Pentecost, the world is constantly being introduced to Jesus Christ, the revolutionary man who preached justice, lived justly, and died on behalf of justice.  And the church knows that the world we live in is not a just world.  Oppression and oppressors are thriving while God’s people are living under heavy weights of persecution and injustice.  The life and message of Jesus is far reaching in its influence in the world.  The church witnesses that the manifesto of Jesus is being realized though not yet and declares that a day of reckoning is at hand.

The Holy Spirit empowers the church that makes the mission of Jesus Christ its own and brings hope, healing, and help to those in need.  A Pentecost Church is a church on the forefront of advocacy for the poor, widowed, orphaned, and immigrant.  A Pentecost Church speaks life to those engaged in alternative lifestyles, addicted to money, sex, and power; the Pentecost Church speaks a word to those on the brink of suicide reminding them that evil cannot win.  Reminding them that God has a remedy for evil.  To all those like David who think the powerful elite have it made.  The church says be patient, keep serving the Lord because Justice is coming.

For I hear James the Church Moderator declare in James 5, “Pay attention to this if you’re rich. Cry and moan about the misery that is coming to you. 2 Your riches have decayed, and your clothes have been eaten by moths. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be used as evidence against you. Like fire, it will destroy your body. You have stored up riches in these last days. 4 The wages you refused to pay the people who harvested your fields shout to God against you. The Lord of Armies has heard the cries of those who gather the crops. 5 You have lived in luxury and pleasure here on earth. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered people who have God’s approval, even though they didn’t resist you.”

Thus, equal pay legislation, reform of our criminal justice system, advocacy for universal healthcare, welfare reform, and social security issues are all things that Pentecost Churches fight for.  They fight for the least of those among us and they stand to speak truth to power.  But not only do they advocate, the Pentecost Church creates.  The Pentecost Church creates programs to educate, employ, and liberate those for whom society is intent on denying freedom.  The Pentecost Church is not a begging church, it is a Church inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit to make a difference in its community and in the world.

Move 3

So, while we’re apart from Jesus, we are instructed by the Holy Spirit to do the works that Jesus did.  Jesus did not allow the Law of Moses to restrict his activity in the world, rather he reinterpreted the Law of Moses to better fit his understanding of who God is.  Jesus did not sit idly by and quote scripture to keep from influencing the world for God.  Often from the mouth of Jesus, we hear the words, “But I say unto you…”

When these words were spoken, people knew a change in attitude and behavior was expected to spring forth. When the church hears the world minimize people based on their socio-economic standing, lifestyle, neighborhood, and race the church uses these words of Jesus to say, “You have heard what the world says, but up in here we say unto you . . .

The Spirit looks at the “letter” but is not confined to the “letter.” The Apostle Paul writes, “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”[3]

It is in the context of such a life-giving word followed by action against evil that the Pentecost Church impacts lives.

Finally,  “A twelve-year-old boy was saved at a revival. Later, his friends questioned him about it. One said, “Did you see a vision?” Another said, “Did you hear God speak?” The boy answered all of these questions with a simple no. “Well, how did you know you were saved?” they asked. The boy replied, “It’s like when you catch a fish, you can’t see the fish or hear the fish; you just feel him tugging on your line: I just felt God tugging on my heart.”[4]

The Holy Spirit tugs at hearts exposed to demonstrations of God’s power in the world. I trust that he is tugging on yours today.  There is much work to be done, “the world is groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God.  Beloved, a Pentecost Church can live apart from Jesus because it sees itself doing the work of Jesus, speaking the words of Jesus, and having the same results of Jesus.  Beloved, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to help us live apart from Jesus.  Amen.

 

References:

[1] http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/what-is-pentecost-why-does-it-matter/

[2] 1 Corinthians 2 differentiates among the world’s wisdom and the wisdom of those led by the Spirit.

[3] 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

[4] http://ministry127.com/resources/illustration/he-felt-god-tugging-on-his-heart

Pentecost is a Justice Movement

Slave owners selectively chose certain black men and women to teach how to read; the slaves thought themselves special. The slaves went about teaching other slaves to read and most of the time the Bible was used to do such education. Can someone tell me why the slave owners would choose the most difficult book to comprehend to use as a teaching aid to black slaves?

Anyone can learn to read; its the critical thinking piece, however, that is necessary to become learned. Slave owners taught black slaves how to read, interpret, and fight to ensure nobody questioned, analyzed, or contradicted those words and created schools to reinforce the basic teaching they gave them. It is still the same today. Blacks fear to lift their eyes above the words and think for themselves. The Bible with its fear of hell, fire, and damnation, has enslaved people for generations and those who gave it to us and other (so-called) minorities gave it to us because it served their purpose.

The descendants of slave owners still violate the teachings of the Bible and do so with impunity because Black people refuse to think critically about what they are reading and remain paralyzed to create a new ethic for the issues of our time. Could the Bible be the real “Willie Lynch Letter”?

Stop regurgitating to me what the Bible said, I need more of what the Holy Spirit has revealed as a result of your own study and critical analysis unless you believe that the interpretations of your Anglo-Saxon Scholars are the only valid ones available. This is my prayer, Lord, free me from the confines of words on a page and liberate me to a world of knowledge only revealed by your Holy Spirit through intentional study, meditation, and prayer.

Nat Turner was taught how to read; he had a natural zeal for it. But why did his reading result in an uprising while other slaves’ reading resulted in conformity to the slave owners rules? For me what transpired was Pentecost! And Pentecost always results in nonconformity. Pentecost is a justice movement not bound by literal words on a page. Pentecost comes with power to change the world! Help me Holy Ghost!

Post-Resurrection Power for Pre-Resurrection Failure

Subject:  Post-Resurrection Power for Pre-Resurrection Failure

Text:  John 13:21-32
21 After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23 One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; 24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. 31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

 

Introduction

Well, it’s been about 3 years and much has happened.  Jesus intentionally chose 12 men to follow him as disciples and women raised funds to ensure his ministry would be successful.  But for this moment let us consider what happens when your inner circle breaks down when it betrays and denies you right before your very eyes.  For this is not a backdoor affair, this is a public denial by those whom Jesus handpicked to take his ministry to another level. That is the case within our text.  The entire 12 abandon our Lord when he should have been able to count on them most.  It’s amazing what pressure on your convictions can produce.

So Jesus is seated at the table with his disciples, breaking bread with them and the Holy Spirit gives him a glimpse of what he will have to endure in the coming days.  Among this revelation, Jesus sees Judas, his treasurer betray him, his closest ally, Peter denies him, and then the other 11 desert him.  Talking about a vision from God, Jesus certainly had one.

These are not strangers, these are close associates, his disciples.  Men who supposedly have left all to follow Jesus, all ambitions, all worldly pursuits, all worldly desires for power and prestige.  Men who have traveled with Jesus across the Palestinian valleys and the Judaean hills.  They have crossed the Sea of Galilee with him, even endured criticism of him, and have had intense debates regarding theology with him.  They know him, and yet they don’t know him as well as they should. The fact is it is in the hour of greatest adversity, that they get a chance to discover that they are not who they think they are.  They are not the courageous 12, they are more like the hateful 8.  They’re a hot mess; they are pre-resurrection disciples in need of post-resurrection power to be effective witnesses.  Hallelujah!

 

Move 1

This turn of events, this traumatic incident in his life, caused Jesus to reflect on the words of King David, the Psalmist King.  King David, when faced with the dire circumstance of betrayal, lamented in Psalm 41:9, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”   I wonder if he was being prophetic or if Absalom’s betrayal hurt him just as much as Judas’ betrayal tormented Jesus.  But let us move on, it’s lunchtime and we cannot linger here.

It is traumatic because Judas does not betray Jesus until Judas is blessed by Jesus.  It is only after he receives the bread that Judas yields himself to Satan.  Can you imagine that?  You bless your inner circle and then your inner circle betrays you.  Lord, have mercy!

That’s a message all by itself; let us move on.  The Holy Spirit gives Jesus a vision only of betrayal, denial, and abandonment or so it seems; because despite his tortured soul at this revelation from the Holy Spirit, Jesus sees what will happen post-resurrection.

 

Move 2

And that’s why we celebrate Holy Week.  We assemble because we understand the blessing of post-resurrection.  Yes, when pressure is applied, we may fail, but that’s pre-resurrection.  Yes, we may betray friends, deny allies, and even abandon loved ones in their hour of greatest need, but that is pre-resurrection.  Pre-resurrection happens in the face of unforeseen circumstances wherein we thought we could stand only to discover the pressures of life beat back our resolve and revealed our cowardice.

How many times have we resolutely proclaimed a stand for righteousness, justice, and equality only to back down in the face of our opponents?  How often have we made vows to God only to see ourselves fail to fulfill our vows?  This is the stuff of pre-resurrection. Stuff we are called to overcome with post-resurrection power.

But isn’t it good to know that there is fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s vein and sinner’s plunge beneath that flood lose all their guilt and shame.  I’m so glad that God has given us a solution to our pre-resurrection blues.  For I hear the Apostle Paul declare, “When I would do good, evil is always present within me.”  And then Paul asks the Questions:  “Who shall deliver us from these pre-resurrection struggles?”  “I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!” These words led the hymn writer to exclaim, “What can wipe away my sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus!  What can make me whole again, nothing but the blood of Jesus!’

I stop by here on this Wednesday of Holy Week to share with you that there is post-resurrection power for pre-resurrection failure. His Name is Jesus.

And if your inner circle breaks down, if your life has been turned upside down just remember that it was in a similar incident that Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.” It is in that hour when your entire world is turned upside down, that God will get some glory out of your life. It’s a matter of perspective

Sometimes, you have to be left alone, ostracized, rejected and abandoned in order to see the glory of God in your life.  Remember beloved, God is not dependent on your friends or your associates to use you.  God does not need you to get over 1,000 social media followers in order to make you a sponsor of the cross of Jesus Christ.  Jesus saw his betrayal, denial, and abandonment as an opportunity for God to be glorified and so should you.

 

Move 3

Let us pray.  Heavenly Father, may we be able to surrender our will to yours, our friends and family to you even in pre-resurrection circumstances.  For we believe that your post-resurrection power is more than enough to bring glory to your name.  Let us view our situations as Christ viewed his:  as an opportunity for you to show up and show out.  Bless your word today, in Jesus Name, Amen.

Is the Church Leading the World to Jesus Christ?

“Dear friends,
I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish. What has happened is that some people have infiltrated our ranks (our Scriptures warned us this would happen), who beneath their pious skin are shameless scoundrels. Their design is to replace the sheer grace of our God with sheer license—which means doing away with Jesus Christ, our one and only Master.” (Jude 3-4, The Message Bible)

I look to the church to lead the world to Christ. What I see baffles me! I remember well how when I received a call to Christ and Christ’s gospel, I went to my beloved Willard W. Allen Lodge No. 108 and bid farewell to my brothers. They were happy for me that I had discovered my life’s calling and understood my decision to fully commit myself to the of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Is the Church transforming culture or is culture transforming the church? Are the two so intertwined until they are no longer singularly recognizable? Grambling State University has the Bayou Classic, a game that alumni and well-wishers look forward to each year. I daresay they have supporters committed to going to this one game even if they miss all the others. They prepare for it in advance to include budgeting, putting in time off at work, scheduling reunions, etc. It is of the utmost importance to them.

Do you as a supporter, no as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ have that one service, that one day you have committed to the Lord and refuse to substitute for anything else? For me, it is the Holy Communion Service. Despite what I have going on, it is my commitment to be at my church partaking of the Lord’s Supper with my members. I do whatever I can to keep this commitment above all others.

Jude warns us of confusing our commitment to Christ with that of our worldly pursuits and aspirations. I love the Lord and the Lord’s Church; never would I forsake her for obligations to any other group I’m affiliated with. Do you have such loyalty to your church?

The world stands in need of disciples of Jesus Christ leading the fight for their souls. They do not need associates, friends, comrades that flock to the same worldly pursuits as themselves. They who have not God, need those who do to become recognizable and distinct from any other group. The world needs our light to shine its brightest at this very moment in history. I urge you to consider whether your witness leads others to Christ or to something someone, some place, else.
In His Service,

Make This The Year of Execution!

 

People often decide to move forward with their plans after they reach a certain degree of certainty that their plans will be successful.  However, when it comes to moving forward in the things of God, that is not always possible.  God frequently leads us to the next step after we’ve completed the first.  God seems to insist we walk by faith and not by sight.  And often, God does not fill in all the blanks; God leaves certain details out of his instructions and still commands us to move.  See Numbers 13 where God challenged his people to move forward into the promised land with only His Word as guarantee that they would inherit the promise.  But they hesitated; they balked; they were paralyzed with fear not because of what they knew but because of what they didn’t know.  They didn’t know how God would act and so they refused to move forward.  God did not provide all the details.

“. . .. So when we are confronted by indecision, we need to move forward despite our doubts or confusion. We need to move forward, even if we’re only taking small steps. Those steps, regardless of which direction they go in, are likely to give us new information and experience. Our actions send ripples into the world. The situation may change or reveal itself in a new way once we have moved to a new vantage point.  Think of your life as a movie you are watching. You are midway through the movie and you don’t know what is going to happen. But you’re not supposed to know what is going to happen. The movie is not over yet. This is the challenge posed by the demon of indecision: Can you move forward in the face of uncertainty? Can you co-exist with confusion and not-knowing and take the next step?”[1]

God is calling us to move forward; to execute the plans he has given us for ministry in our several contexts.  I challenge you to obey God and do just that.  This year let us resolve to act; to act in concert with the known will of God and then to expect God to show up and show out. Each of you have dreams and aspirations of God making your life better.  You have prayed about it, you have discussed it in great detail; yet, you have not acted in line with your conversation.  You have procrastinated, hesitated because all of the blanks have not been filled in. You may ask can we do it? Who will help us? Where will the money come from?  Among others.  You declare you’re waiting on God and I declare God is waiting on you.  Make this the Year of Execution in your church, in your life, and in your community.

Trust God’s Word found in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.”  Amazing, God has planned for your success; the question is “Why haven’t you acted based on God’s plans?”  Perhaps you’re afraid or perhaps you just can’t handle of the stress of not knowing.  However, when you do not move in concert with God’s plans, the stress of indecision, the stress of inaction, becomes even greater. The truth is we often try to wait until we feel like moving; rather than simply moving in faith.

Trudy Boyle confesses “My number one stress creator is not completing a task I have set for myself or following through promptly. The stress is compounded when I take on more than I can deliver in the allotted time. And my final penchant, which makes up what I call my “stress triangle” is to ignore the whole lot until the last sixty seconds!  How do I let this controllable stress occur? The honest answer is that I sometimes let my feelings boss me around. One of the puzzling lessons I have learned is that, more often than not, I do not feel like doing most of the things that need doing.[2]

Margie Warrell[3] gives us seven (7) strategies for moving past the fear that causes us to procrastinate which leads to our inaction.  I challenge each church to use these strategies as you plan your agenda for the upcoming conference year.  Here are the strategies in a nutshell:

  • Write down your goal and give yourself a deadline.
  • Break your goal into small pieces.
  • Visualize the future you want.
  • Harness fear.
  • Build accountability.
  • Reward progress.
  • Act bravely daily. Starting today

Finally, understand that God rewards action based on his Word.  His Word will not return to God void.  If it doesn’t work, the lessons you learn by doing it will be immeasurable for your future action.  Don’t allow the fear of failure to keep you from your destiny in God.  Make this “The Year of Execution!”

 

 

[1] Krech, G. & Anderson L. (2003). Defeating the Demons of Inaction: Indecision Retrieved from http://www.todoinstitute.org/library/public/defeating_the_demons_of_inaction_indecision.php

[2] Boyle, T. (2003) The Stress of not Getting Things Done. Retrieved from http://www.todoinstitute.com/library/public/the_stress_of_not_getting_things_done.php

[3] Warrell, M. (2013). Why You Procrastinate, and How to Stop It. Now. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2013/03/25/why-you-procrastinate-and-how-to-stop-it-now/#3b4e73481837