Monday, December 15, 2008


Every now and then God likes to mess with me. Not in a mean or cruel way, but occasionally he takes my thoughts and feelings about an idea and reminds me that I know nothing. It is a very humbling experience and it makes me crazy at times. At other times it encourages me that God has everything under control.

I had this myth going on in my head for a while that said to be a really good leader I needed to be “discontent” with stuff. I needed to strive for perfection, I needed to demand more out of myself and I needed to require a greater level of discipline. While some of that is true, God has smacked me upside the head this week to remind me that he has called me to be content in all my circumstances.

First, let me tell you what I am not discontent about. I am not discontent with being a husband and father. I am not discontent of pastoring LifeQuest Church. I am not discontent that I will never be able to dunk a basketball or have a Porsche.

I am discontent over not being a better husband and father. I am discontent that I feel like I am not a great leader at LifeQuest. I am discontent that some of my dreams and plans are not going exactly where I desired them to go. It is in my own failures that I am discontent.

My thoughts of what it means to be a good husband and father are all about me being a good example and model. My ideas of being a great pastor are all about me leading a charge against the gates of hell. My discontent about my dreams center around me not accomplishing my own thing.

Philippians 4:12-13 says “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

The secret to contentment is moving off of our agenda and onto God’s. It is giving up our plans and surrendering to God’s plans for us. It is letting ourselves become lost in the glory and fame of Jesus.

I know that for a while I am going to be “discontent” learning to be “content.”

Monday, December 8, 2008

Spiritual Sculptures

I am constantly amazed at how God moves and works to shape us into the likeness of Christ. It is almost never an easy process and it usually requires some pain. It is very much an art form where God, as scripture notes, is a potter and we are clay. For me, it often feels like God is a sculptor and I am a piece of rock!!!

That has nothing to do with God’s love or care of me, only that I am dense and thick and in need of being chiseled. (No, that is not a resolution to get in shape next year!!) God has to break away the top layers, the cracked places and the imperfect aspects of who I am so that he may be clearly seen in the unique creation that he desires me to become.

I have seen recently three major tools that God uses on me to shape me:

· Scripture- God’s Word is definitely the best tool to refine a fractured heart and life.
· Prayer- Not just spouting off to God but taking time to listen.
· Honest Followers of Christ- They speak into your life like no one else can.

The old saying is that “God loves you just the way you are but loves you too much to leave you that way.” It is a cliché, but it also happens to be true. God wants to shape us and change us.

Are you allowing God to sculpt you? What tools do you need to have shape you in a more powerful way?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Refined by Fire

God’s Word has an amazing way of revealing things about our hearts that we don’t want to hear. It shows up our weaknesses, our deficiencies and our sins. It shows us how deceptively wicked the heart of man can be and how incredibly holy and righteous is the heart of God.

I have been hanging out in Ephesians recently and here are some things God has shown me this morning from Ephesians 4:
* I am not very humble, gentle or patient. (Eph. 4:2) At least I know what to pray for!!
* Christ’s desire is not fir us to do everything, but to prepare others to serve him.
(Eph. 4:12) That is a shot at the ego and pride of every person in “professional” ministry.
* We all suffer from occasional “heart disease.” Eph. 4:18 says our spiritual arteries are hardened by our ignorance.
* Satan uses anger in our lives to develop a foothold in our soul. This is a killer for me!!! It usually surrounds someone I need to forgive for a wrong suffered: either perceived or real.

Mostly it reminds me how much I must rely on Christ as the sufficiency and strength of my life. How has God’s Word been shaping you lately?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Leadership Focus

This morning in my office I have been reading e-mails and blogs from some people that I really respect in ministry. I typically devote the first part of my day to catching up on what some people are writing and saying and thinking through my reaction and feelings about their thoughts. I read stuff from guys I respect a ton: Steven Furtick, Perry Noble, Gary Lamb, Ed Young, Jr., Andy Stanley, etc. All of these guys are pastoring churches that are really making a difference in the kingdom of God. I want to learn from them as much as I possibly can.

One thing that I consistently notice is that they are extremely focused. The men I read and the churches they lead have a singular focus that I strive for in my own life: Jesus Christ above everything else. They are always sharing stories of how lives are being changed because of Jesus. They challenge me, they encourage me and they frustrate me because I am not sure that I maintain my focus as well as I should.

It is so easy to compare lives and ministries with men you have never met. There are so many things behind the scenes that we never hear, but they are doing big things for God and sometimes it is easy to get sidetracked into thinking that because our church is not as large, our ministry is not well known or no one is asking me to write books or speak at conferences that somehow I am insignificant to the kingdom of God. That is simply a case of sin and pride getting the best of me. It is ego at its worst.

When it comes to following God, all of us have things to offer. God never told us to seek out fame or favor, God simply called us to obedience. When you start feeling like you don’t matter in the kingdom, simply ask yourself a questions: “Am I being obedient to what God has called me to do with my life?” If you answer yes, then you have understood that your life matters for eternity. If you are not sure, then ask yourself, “Where can I serve, where can I lead, and where can I grow to be all that God called me to be?” Then call me. Let’s have lunch or grab a Starbucks and talk about where God may be leading you.

You matter to God. LifeQuest Church matters to God. And you have a role to play in declaring the fame and the name of Jesus Christ!!

To paraphrase Stuart Smalley from the old Saturday Night Live routine: “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh darn it, Jesus likes you!!!”