Tag Archives: purpose

Settle Your Disputes Quickly

Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life. (Philippians 4:2, 3 NLT)

Sandwiched between forgetting the past in his own life and giving us the imperative to “Rejoice in The Lord” is Paul’s plea for reconciliation between two leaders. Euodia and Syntyche had worked together in Paul’s ministry but some conflict separated them.
Satan had caused a rift and Paul was praying for it to be healed.

When two people are effective in ministry, watch for satan to try and destroy their relationship. Beloved be on guard against needless dissension. The Bible says “Iron sharpens iron,” so expect some conflict as you serve Christ, but do not allow it to hinder your mission. Let love prevail over all disputes; reconcile your differences as you continue your mission.

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So Live Your Life; Really?

T. I. and Rihanna sang the song “So live your life” as an anthem to one of his albums. It was a song encouraging us to live life to the fullest by achieving our dreams and doing what we determine best for us. At first the song seems to provide sage advice. But I ask “Is that the appropriate way for a Disciple of Christ to live?

Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ calls that perspective living as “an enemy of the cross.” He writes: “I have often told you, and now tell you with tears in my eyes, that many live as the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18 GWT).

Living your life focused only on pleasure and materialism is both shortsighted and selfish. Pursuing happiness in this life with no regard for the next is antithetical to Christian faith. Jill Scott says that she’s “living her life like it’s golden.” And she is correct in regarding her life as a precious gift from God. However, living your life appropriately entails living your life by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

In other words, you choose daily to live your life from a heavenly view. You acknowledge that your life is not lived based solely on achieving your goals, fulfilling your dreams. Rather you intentionally surrender your life to Christ and seek to achieve Christ’s purposes. To do otherwise is what Paul classifies as “living as an enemy of the cross.”

Spend some time thinking about whose purpose you’re promoting and why.

A Sure Sign of Maturity

“Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus. Whoever has a mature faith should think this way. And if you think differently, God will show you how to think. However, we should be guided by what we have learned so far” ( Philippians 3:13-16 GWT).

Maturity recognizes the role God has played in one’s life. It acknowledges that God’s gift of life does not come without struggle, setbacks, and stress. Notwithstanding, maturity learns from each experience, taking each lesson and using it to propel his or her life further along its chosen path. A mature person fails forward using failure as a guide for what not to do.

Paul realized his past could not be used as a bench upon which to sit. Despite past success and failure, his life was not complete. Paul determined to exceed expectations and set his life on a course to achieve more. Maturity reaches for the furthest galaxy, decides to climb the highest mountain, and traverse the widest ocean. Maturity seeks its best self, never settling for mediocrity. Paul set goals impossible to achieve without the help of Christ and others.

Paul refused to be limited by his past, broke numerous barriers, and had the testimony of a well spent life. I urge you to challenge yourself to greatness. You have God’s life within you; you can achieve more than you think!

Reach Past the Past and Achieve Your Potential

 19The Lord said to Moses in Midian, Go back to Egypt; for all the men who were seeking your life [for killing the Egyptian] are dead.  [Exodus 4:19]

            Moses began his adulthood at odds with the law.  Presently he’s living as a fugitive.  He had run from Egypt after committing a capital crime – that of killing an Egyptian guard.  The Pharaoh sought to take his life, but Moses fled.  He ran and kept on running until he came to a wilderness place called Midian.

            Presently, he is living based on his past not his future.  He has developed a comfortable life in Midian.  He is married to Zipporah, the eldest daughter of Jethro, the High Priest of that region and settled down as a shepherd tending the sheep of Jethro.  Moses has settled; his original dream suppressed – his role as deliverer, rejected and his label as murderer, accepted. That label, murderer, lived in his mind for 40 years. To observe his life, you would say Moses was doing quite well.  But what Moses put behind him, destiny brought back to him.  A spiritual encounter quickened his conscience and challenged his reality.  Moses could no longer stay in that nice, pretentious, settled existence. He realized he was living a lie.

Uncle Albert and I were discussing conflict and issues and he said to me, “When time fixes it, it is well fixed.”  When your future becomes your present, you can stay in your past no longer.  Destiny waited until time had passed, the situation had changed, and Moses was receptive.  Moses realized that the life he settled for conflicted with the life he was destined for.  Moses could no longer exist in his present; his future had invaded his now!

Yet, his past had a strong grip.  It reminded him he was a felon, a fugitive no less.  The past brought up all the reasons why Moses should remain in Midian, in his comfortable, settled life.  Again, “When time fixes it, it is well fixed.”  After 40 years, Moses was no longer the talk of the town.  His record had long since been exonerated.   His record was clean; he could do whatever he liked.  The only thing keeping him in Midian was his mindset; he needed to exercise courage to break free from the prison of his mind.  Moses rejected the voices of the past and with faith moved toward his future.  He lived a life of power, adventure, challenge, and purpose.  His wife gained in her respect for him and his sons honored him.  Dad had taken off the shepherd clothes and put on the mantle of deliverer.  Life was worth living now because Moses had stopped settling and starting directing his life in concert with his potential.  The past had lost its grip.  Moses was free!

            Judge Greg Mathis had a past.  He grew up in the housing projects of Detroit, and as a teenager was well on his way to a life of crime.  Mathis was a gang member who dropped out of school, was in and out of jail.  But, as a promise to his dying mother, he vowed to change his ways.  At age 18, he turned his life around, earning his GED, continuing on to college and earning a jurist doctorate degree.  Despite tremendous obstacles and odds, Mathis became the youngest judge in Michigan’s history and was elected a Superior Court Judge for Michigan’s 36th District.

             “It pains me to think of all the hurt that I caused my neighborhood, my community, my family,” said Mathis.  “That’s why I’ve made a lifetime commitment to redeeming myself and changing my life and helping to inspire other street youth to redeem themselves and change their lives. With Judge Mathis, [Television show] I hope to reach even more people with my story and, hopefully, make an even bigger difference in the lives of others.”  His past ran into his future and became his present.

            Two monks belonged to a convent that did not believe in touching a woman.  They were walking down a road one day toward a river they needed to cross to get to their convent.  When they got to the river, they encountered a woman.  The woman asked them to help her across.  The monks looked at each other for a moment.  Then one monk just picked up the woman and carried her across the river.  He let her down and the two continued their journey.

            About two miles down the road, the monk who had done nothing said to the one who had carried the woman.  You know that we are not allowed to touch a woman, why did you pick up that woman?  The monk who helped replied, “I put that woman down nearly 2 miles ago.”  If anyone is still carrying her, it is you, not me.”  And with that he continued walking.

A Family that Stands Together

Duck Dynasty won because Phil Robertson’s family refused to continue without him. A & E said its core company values were “inclusion & mutual respect. ”  What Robertson said didn’t conflict with those values but they offended some people and rightly so.  How can we have a genuine conversation about issues of race and sexuality if we silence voices with whom we disagree?

Of note for us is what Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. ” A&E was a house divided and they retracted their decision.  This is a lesson for us as a people,  we need to stand together towards some common goals in 2014.  We need to refuse to compromise even if others are offended.  Dr. King taught, “If you don’t stand for something,  you’ll fall for anything! ”

Take a stand in 2014!

Consistency: The Second Responsibility of a Leader

 “A double-minded person is unstable in all his ways.” ~  James 1:8

“Consistency is the key to your breakthrough,” Creflo Dollar, Pastor, World Changers Church International, Atlanta, GA, exclaimed with a robust, determined tone.  I remember it like  he said it at coffee this morning.  I was seated in the second row of the Minister’s Conference that year, struggling to build a new church in Grovetown, Georgia.  We had been engaged in many things but had not really found our niche in the community.  I had explored several types of worship up to that point and was led to attend this conference and join this ministry as one of Creflo Dollar spiritual sons.  I had my core team with me for the training and we were excited.  

Fast forward to 2013 and I still hear those words, “Consistency is the key to your breakthrough.”   What does it mean for a leader to be consistent.  Aldous Huxley, once wrote, “Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to  life.  The only completely consistent people are the dead.”  Perhaps he was right; consistency is contrary to nature because according to Creflo Dollar you can’t be consistent without exercising self-discipline.  Tony Robbins, a major personal development guru, said, “It’s not what you do once in a while that shapes our lives.  It’s what we do consistently.”  I have concluded that consistency is something that leaders grow more adept at being.  It is vital that leaders develop this trait because consistency is a leadership quality that develops trust among those you serve.

As a little boy I could depend on my parents chagrin and chastisement should I produce inferior work at school or church.  In the military, my infantry squad required a consistent regimen of training in order to become proficient in combat ready skills.  As a pastor, church leaders need to know what to expect from me in terms of behavior, decision-making processes, and operational procedures.  In other words, consistency in a leader’s approach to getting things done is key for the team to know how to assist that leader in the effort.  In the Army, we called it commander’s intent.  When I knew what my commander wanted to accomplish and when he wanted to accomplish it, I could then engage all my creative and problem solving skills to bring that vision into fruition.  A leader needs to ensure that his team knows his intention, his purpose, his modus operandi.  This is the second responsibility of a leader and it must be consistent from one day to the next.  When it changes, it should be because of an intentional, articulated, and necessary change in circumstances/direction.

Leaders who are not consistent, send mixed messages to their team.  That produces conflict and inertia within the organization.  As a leader, the more consistent you are, the better results you will achieve among those who follow your vision.

Defining Reality: The First Responsibility of a Leader

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality” ~ Max De Pree

There I was.  I had just walked into my new role as Senior Personnel Sergeant charged with leading a group of soldiers tasked with performing all the human resource management tasks for our unit as well as being excellent in the execution of common tasks for a combat soldier.  Each of the men came up and introduced themselves and I did my best to size them up based on their demeanor, voice tone, and presentation.  It became obvious to me who the leader was; a specialist with about three years on the job.  He was the one who briefed me, told me my job, and proceeded to direct all the others.  He was fun to watch; it was clear he had no clue as to what role this personnel office really played within the unit.  He was just completing tasks as they came in and sticking to a schedule of reports that had been directed by the commander.  He was a good manager; but he was not a leader; he had no vision.

The role of defining reality involves discovering and committing to the vision of the corporation, not just the tasks of a unit or team.  A leader does not read procedural manuals to learn processes per say; rather, a leader reads procedural and policy manuals to learn the vision and culture of the company.  A leader intuitively desires to know the big picture; how can I add value to the company as one of its servant leaders.  He or she is looking for where the company is, where the company is headed, and processes used in the past and in the present to reach that vision.  From this data, a leader helps his or her team discover purpose, identity, and value in their role within the company.  A leader defines the reality within which that team operates as a part of the entire organization.  Do you remember the song “Misfits” in the movie Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer?  In that song, the principal question that needed answering was, “Why am I such a misfit; why don’t I fit in?” Leaders define reality for the team in such a way that they understand how their role fits into the bigger picture of the company. Additionally, leaders use their influence to ensure the gifts of each person under their purview are maximized.  Leadership is influence beccause leaders cast vision; they define reality in such a way that people enjoy performing their roles in excellent fashion.