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  • Dare to Drop the Pose from Craig Groeschel


    I Had Been Living a Lie

    One Sunday, I stood before my church, filled with fear. Fear that they would think I had failed them as their pastor, that I had let them down. But I was finally ready to tell the truth—I was sure it was what God wanted me to do.

    I hadn’t had an affair or stolen from the church funds. In fact, my sins were small, everyday things; they were all just hidden from view. From the pews, it looked as if I had become everything and done everything a pastor should—and I worked very hard to keep it that way. I had played the part to perfection.

    And that was the problem.

    I’m going to share the story of an impostor exposed. It’s more than the story of one Sunday morning, though. It’s about how, over a lifetime, a reasonably well-intentioned follower of Jesus can succeed at building an impressive exterior but fail miserably at being the real thing—the person God so lovingly created in the first place.

    You may not like me after reading this book. But on the chance God might use my story to help you put down the masks and reclaim the real you, it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

    Factors That Made the Actor

    From my earliest childhood memories, I remember “playing the game.” Maybe you played it, too. I’d try to say the right things at the right times to the right people. When the people or circumstances changed, so did I.

    As a young child, I tried my best to please my parents. In school I made sure my teachers got my grandest act. There’s nothing terribly wrong with that, but looking back, I see that those were just practice runs for what would come later.

    As a teenager I did almost anything for acceptance from my buddies. I partied, swore, lied, cheated, and stole. I thought these things would help my popularity. Whether that lifestyle gained me friends is debatable. What it could have cost me in the long run is not. By the time I started college, I was playing so many different roles that I began to lose track of the “real me.”

    Honestly, I began to wonder if there was a real me.

    At nineteen I became a follower of Christ. And the parts of my life He changed, He changed miraculously. He cleaned house. But in a darkened corner here, a locked closet there, I continued to believe I was better off putting up a front.

    Except now it was a new front, a spiritual one. It was still the same old game, just played out on a different stage.

    Within a few years, I became a pastor. You’d think that becoming “a man of the cloth” (whatever that means) would have shaken the deceit right out of me. But as a young pastor, I simply turned pro. My church members observed my finest performances. And I fooled many of them, but I didn’t fool myself...

    And I didn’t fool God.

    I entered seminary after I had been a pastor for a while. One of my professors taught me many invaluable ministry principles. In fact, I still practice most of what I learned from him, and I’m eternally grateful for his friendship and leadership. However, one of the things he shared with me I now believe was not only wrong, but incredibly dangerous. He called it the “pastor’s mystique.” And he told us ministry trainees that we had to guard it at all cost. “People think they want their pastors to be normal, everyday people,” he used to tell our class, “but they really don’t. They want to see you as superhuman, better than the average person. Church members want to believe your marriage is always strong, your faith never falters, and you are virtually without sin.”

    I hung on every word, soaking up his advice.

    Week after week, my professor returned to his warnings about a pastor’s mystique: “Keep your guard up,” he’d say. “Don’t let them know the real you. Always dress the part. Always talk the part. You’re a pastor now. And you can never let them into your life. Or you’ll regret it.” This sounded logical to me.

    He’d obviously been deeply wounded in his ministry and wanted to help us avoid similar pain. I knew then—and still believe—that he meant well. So I took what he said to heart and continued perfecting my “good pastor” act. I’d smile big at the church members, shake each hand with both of mine, and end each conversation with the pastor’s best line: “God bless you.” Somewhere on my journey, though, I forgot that God called me...not to be like a pastor, but to be like Christ.

    That’s when my spiritual struggles started. I wasn’t living with gross, unconfessed sin—at least not the kind that gets pastors fired. And my motives weren’t bad. I loved Jesus and His people. Every bone in my body desired to make a difference for God in this world. I poured my heart fully into ministry, enduring long hours, boring meetings, grueling classes, temperamental people, and plenty of good, old-fashioned church conflicts—all for Jesus.

    After a few years, I became good at being a pastor. Ministerial words flowed from my mouth. I learned what to say and what not to say. Weddings were a breeze, and funerals were becoming easier. Preaching came naturally, and my counseling skills gradually improved. Most people said I was an “up ’n’ comer,” the kind of pastor who’d rise quickly through the ranks to a bigger church. From the outside, everything looked good. But God doesn’t look at the outside.

    The First of Many Confessions

    One Sunday, after another week of performing my best for God, I stood to preach His life-changing Word. As I approached the pulpit, the truth hit me squarely between the eyes. I hadn’t prayed at all. Not that day. Not the day before. Not the day before that. To the best of my knowledge, I hadn’t prayed all week. And I called myself a pastor. That’s when it dawned on me:

    I had become a full-time minister and a part-time follower of Christ.

    From the outside, I looked the part. “God bless you,” I’d say, followed by the promise, “I’ll be praying for you.” But that was usually a lie.

    Stepping onto the platform to preach that morning, I admitted to myself that I was not a pastor first, but a regular, scared, insecure, everyday guy whose life had been changed by Jesus. And if Jesus really loved me as I was (I knew He did), then why should I go on trying to be someone I wasn’t?

    I stumbled through that sermon, forcing the words to come out. The message was superficial, plastic, shallow...but true. I held nothing back. It was the biggest public risk I’d ever taken. It was also my first authentic sermon. I had preached many times before, but this was the first time the real me made a showing. In the middle of my talk, something started to happen, something new...

    God made Himself known.

    The reality of His presence is hard to describe, but it’s even harder to miss. Some people cried quietly in their seats. Others sobbed openly—not so much for my sins, but for their own. Before I had finished my confession, many gathered at the altar to repent along with me.

    As the tears and words flowed, God’s peace replaced my fear. His assurance pushed away my doubts. Christ’s power invaded my weakness. In that moment, Jesus became as real to me as He had ever been. The Savior was with me...and I believed He was pleased. “Well done,” I felt, more than heard.

    That’s when it all changed. I became a full-time follower of Christ who happened to be a pastor. No more make-believe. No posing. And no playing games. From that moment on, I would be who I am. Or nothing at all.

    Leap of Faith

    Why would you want to read a book about a pastor’s confessions? Maybe you don’t. But then again, maybe if you give Him a chance, God will do something in you that you didn’t expect. Like He did for me. Be honest with yourself. Are you tired of pretending? Living to please others? Acting a part? Doing everything to cover up who you really are? Stop hiding. Be who God called you to be. Live for an audience of ONE.

    Am I saying you have to confess all your garbage in front of a whole church? No. With some issues, that might be what God requires of you. But with more personal matters, it’ll be wiser to divulge them only to a small, trusted circle of friends or a lone accountability partner. But playing the fugitive from truth will never bring you peace. The problem is that it’s easier to stay the way you are—to coast and live an average, complacent life.

    You could avoid risk and keep acting. That’s what most people do. In fact, you’ll often be rewarded for faking it. No one will complain. The status quo is always comfortable. You’ll blend in. Even though you know you were created to stand out. But if you’re sick of shallow, empty relationships—if you’re craving deep, sincere community—then you’re going to have to take a chance. You’ll risk harsh judgments, misunderstandings, criticism. But think about the reward.

    Imagine living in the freedom and holiness of God. Dream about releasing guilt, shame, fear, and doubts. See yourself closer to God—and the people around you—than you’ve ever been before. The choice is yours: Life as it has been, or life as it could become.

    It is my goal to live the most authentic, transparent, vulnerable life a Christ follower can. And here is what I’ve found:

    Some people don’t like me. But that would be the case no matter what, wouldn’t it? On the other hand, others not only like me, they love me deeply. And they don’t love the image I once portrayed. They love the real me who God created. And I love them.

    The more honest I have become with God, myself, and His people, the richer and deeper my relationships have grown. Before, I was always afraid of being found out. I lived in constant fear of exposure—but not anymore. I overcame my fear because I took a chance. And I’ll continue to take obedient, truthful chances.

    This book is all about risks. As you turn each page, you’ll likely experience new discomforts. This road of honesty is the path I chose to take. I won’t play it safe. And neither should you. In fact, you can’t play it safe and please God.

    The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Even when our faith is small, God can do great things. I pray that my confessions will help you take that first step toward living a life free of fear...and secrets...and doubts... and insecurities. A life of honesty. A life that pleases God.

    The life you were created to live.

    Excerpted from Dare to Drop the Pose by Craig Groeschel Copyright © 2014 by Craig Groeschel. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

  • The Things We Do For Love


    "What a person desires is unfailing love ..." Proverbs 19:22a (NIV)

    I had everything I wanted yet felt empty and confused.

    My life was full of relationships and accomplishments I'd worked hard to gain, but none could fill or fulfill me.

    Frustrated by my aching emptiness, tears streamed down my face as I thought about the guy I dated through high school and college. Our future plans had crumbled under the pressure of me expecting him to be all I needed. I had been crazy about him — a little too crazy.

    I'll never forget the time a friend mentioned my ex-boyfriend was heading to our hometown for the weekend. We worked near each other, so Friday afternoon I parked by his office and waited for him to leave.

    We both "happened" to be at the same fast food restaurant, at the same time and bumped into each other. After getting my order, I got in my car and followed behind him, hoping he'd see me, realize he couldn't live without me and signal to pull over so we could talk.

    Seriously, what was I thinking? As you can guess, he never stopped. I was hopeless and humiliated.

    A few weeks later, I was taking a walk around my college campus. My eyes drifted to the buildings, dorms and other landmarks of memories. Suddenly my mind filled with a collage of faces, reminding me of my efforts to win the approval of advisors, friends and professors — hoping their affirmation could fill my emptiness.

    Although I was graduating soon, had a few great job offers and achieved success in many ways, my heart still felt restless. And I couldn't help but wonder: Why was all that I had never enough?

    A thought rushed through my soul, stringing together two words I had never put next to each other. I sensed God answering me.

    Renee, all you have ever wanted is unconditional love.

    Unconditional love? I didn't know there was such a thing. Then God whispered into my soul: You'll never find the love you long for in anyone or anything but Me. I AM the unconditional love you're looking for.

    The thought of God loving me without any conditions was inconceivable, yet something deep in my soul told me it was true. I'd been looking for love that didn't have to be earned. Love I didn't have to fear losing.

    Honestly, it was hard to see how God's love could fill the emptiness in my heart. It took time, but I came to understand that God created me with that need for fulfillment so He could meet it.

    Our key verse, Proverbs 19:22a, says, "What a person desires is unfailing love."

    The word "desire" comes from the Hebrew word ta'avah, which means: to greatly long for, deeply desire or crave. Interestingly, unfailing love is mentioned over 30 times in the Bible, and not once is it attributed to a person. It is only attributed to God.

    God gave us a desire for unfailing love because He knew it would lead us back to Him.

    His love draws us to Him. Only we can stop God from reaching the deep and hidden parts within us that need Him most.

    Will you invite Jesus to look into your heart today so He can show you what, who and where you might be looking to be filled and fulfilled? Then ask Him to fill and fulfill you with the promise and reality of His unfailing love instead.

    Jesus, help me stop searching for fulfillment in anything or anyone but You. Will You satisfy me with Your unfailing love and help me depend on You to meet my deepest desires and needs. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: What or whom do you look to, to fill and fulfill you?

    Write down steps you can take to transfer your hope from other things and people to God to satisfying your longings. Start by talking to God and processing this struggle with Him.

    Power Verse: Psalm 90:14, "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org

  • Attentive to Instruction


    They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read. Nehemiah 8:8

    The Lord God Almighty instructs individuals from His Word the Bible. His gift of an instruction manual for living is necessary to know how to live life purposefully. If we wonder what is the wise thing to do, we look into the pages of Scripture and learn from those who made smart and foolish decisions. Yes, people who already experienced what we have not experienced can show us what to do and what not to do. The Bible is full of practical teachings that demand our keen attention.

    However, it takes our intentionality to be instructed well. The education process in eternal matters engages our heart and mind. So we learn, not to impress with our newfound information, but to humbly apply insights for living. We are not just moved by emotion, but we are moved to make Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives. We grow intensely attentive to the Holy Spirit’s work the more we grow in understanding of Scripture. Instruction frees us from ignorant assumptions.

    "Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:9-10).

    Moreover, wise are we to learn from those who study and give clear meaning to the inspired written word of the Lord. Seek to sit under those who rightly divide the word of truth. Find those absent of pretense in their presentation and who instruct out of weakness from their own struggles. Clear teaching comes from one who is clear about their own propensity to sin. Yes, those who instruct well in the ways of God, walk in the ways of God. Learn from a humble heart.

    We know we are attentive to instruction from God’s Word, if we read and apply Holy Scripture. We gain insight, as we read books that give fresh meaning to ancient writings. We are perceptive when we discuss the life principles we are learning with other honest individuals who help us refine our thinking. Regular attendance at a church that gives practical understanding of the Bible is an indicator of our attentiveness. Most of all, humbly learn from the Spirit’s instruction.

    "You gave your good Spirit to instruct them" (Nehemiah 9:20).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to learn from those who can instruct me well in Your ways.

    Related Readings: Psalm 25:12, 32:8; Daniel 11:33; Romans 15:14; 1 Corinthians 2:12-16

    Post/Tweet today: Those who instruct well in the ways of God, walk in the ways of God. #attentivetoinstruction

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • A Small Church Known as Hillsong

    In 1978, a small church was planted in Australia by newly married Brian and Bobbie Houston. Their humble beginnings were rooted by a Christ-centered vision- one that focused on stirring up authentic praise and worship. They believed sincere worship was so powerful, it could pull heaven to earth in a powerful display of hope and faith.

    Thirty years later, they became the mega-church plant known as Hillsong.

    Thriving in over ten countries across the globe, Hillsong has made world-changing strides in Christ-culture as well as praise and worship music. The Hillsong Creative team consists of hundreds of singers, musicians, songwriters, and production volunteers whose passion is creating and worshipping. Since 1988, they have recorded 18 live albums and several youth albums that are distributed worldwide.

    Their most recent project, Zion, was created by Hillsong United, a musical branch of the Hillsong Creative Team. This group consists of various collaborating artists whose common goal is to musically express the truth and life found in Jesus. The album, Zion introduces a new reality-- one that invites us to step into the extraordinary life Jesus has prepared for each one of us.

    The most distinct song on the album, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” is a breathtaking, cinematic piece that seamlessly displays the purity and intimacy of our response to God’s love for us. The song ebbs and flows like the ocean itself. Sung with ethereal beauty, the words soar over an electronic symphony of blending melodies.

    Experience the Live Version of “Ocean (Where Feet May Fail)” here:

    In this interview, Hillsong United’s musicians talk about the story behind “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”:

  • A Godward Heart from John Piper


    A Word to the Reader

    One of the reasons I put together collections of short meditations is that my life has been changed as much by paragraphs as by books. Books on one topic are valuable. They let the author explore all the angles of an insight. But where do the insights themselves come from? Usually they come from paragraphs. Even sentences. For reasons not entirely explainable, God can make a single paragraph life changing.

    Perhaps some evening your soul is hungry. Not for anything in particular, just a soul-hunger. A longing. Something is needed beyond what television is going to give. Something about God, or about the meaning of your life, or about eternity. You’re tired and you know you probably can’t stay awake to read twenty pages. So you pick up a book that you know focuses on eternal things, a Godward book. And three minutes later you have seen something, and you will never be the same again.

    It may take a lifetime to sound the depths of what you just saw. But the seeing happens in an instant. It’s as if God takes the paragraph in his fingers and uses it to adjust the lens on the eye of your soul, and something wonderful comes into focus that you had never seen before.

    Isn’t it amazing to think about the relationship between God’s focusing fingers and the human activity of writing and reading? You may have read that same paragraph before, perhaps just the other evening. But this time God put his fingers on it and turned the lens just one more focusing notch. What this means is that I should pray as a writer and you should pray as a reader. We should ask God to do this focusing.

    I think of your reading and my writing as a kind of partnership in the pursuit of a Godward miracle. I write, you read, but God gives the sight. What we both want is this miracle of seeing—seeing lifechanging things about God and life and eternity.

    In one of his letters the apostle Paul said, “By reading you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:4, author’s translation). But was reading enough? A few sentences later he prayed that they “may have strength to…know the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18–19). Something more was needed than reading. Something from God—he called it “strength to know.” Earlier he had prayed that the eyes of his readers’ hearts would be “enlightened, that you may know” (Ephesians 1:18). Something from God is needed—in answer to prayer. This is what I meant when I said that God takes a human paragraph and puts his fingers on the lens of the eye of your soul. The slightest turn and we are made strong with sight. We are never the same again.

    So I have written. And you are reading. And God is ready to act. My words are not Scripture. They are not infallible like God’s words. But my earnest aim in all I write is to be faithful to God’s written Word in the Bible. To point to God and his Son and his works and his ways. My aim is a Godward book in the hope that God will put his fingers on its paragraphs and turn the lens of the eye of your soul, ever so delicately, and bring glories into focus.

    This is how God forms us into his image. “Beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is our aim: From a Godward paragraph, to a sight of glory, to a Godward heart.

    A very special word of thanks is due to David Mathis, executive editor at Desiring God. David helped me assemble these meditations from all the different places and times where I had written them. After I reworked them for this book, he provided his sharp theological, stylistic, and formatting eye to help me refine them for final release. I admire David’s gifts and love his friendship. Thank you, David, for your partnership.

    I have enjoyed a long and happy relationship with Multnomah Books, especially in bringing my shorter writings to publication. A Godward Heart is a continuation of what we began in A Godward Life, Book One (2001), continued in A Godward Life, Book Two (2003), Pierced by the Word (2003), Life as a Vapor (2004), and Taste and See (2005). I am thankful for this publishing partnership for the sake of spreading what I pray will prove to be life-changing, Christ-exalting paragraphs.

    Excerpted from A Godward Heart by John Piper Copyright © 2014 by John Piper. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

  • The God of the Dark

    Close your eyes for a second. Well, close your mind's eye. Think back at all the beautiful moments you have seen throughout your life. Some of us may have less than others and that's ok. Just bring some of them back.

    Perhaps you were standing on the edge of the crashing waves on the Pacific Ocean. Others may have experienced the rocks of Zion National Park. Some have lain on a grassy plains in the middle of Nebraska and have been in awe of such a grand land. Perhaps you have enjoyed the peacefulness of a bubbling brook along the Appalachian Trail. It doesn't matter where you have been in life, I am fairly certain that each one of us has been able to capture a moment when beauty was lit up for us.

    There we stood. In amazement as the God of the universe was showing His handiwork. In moments like those, it's almost as if our breath is knocked out of us. Such beauty. Such glorious artwork in the creation. How do we behold such artistry?

    Now picture those places in the middle of the night. The ocean waves still crash against those rocks at 1 AM. Don't they? The majesty of mountains, plains, brooks are all still there in the darkest part of the night.

    Who enjoys those times? God could have given His creation a break in those hours when no one is looking. The ocean could rest. The brook wouldn't have to bubble up. You see what I mean. Why is all the beauty of God's creation that is visible during the day is still there in the darkest hour?

    Perhaps the intent is to remind us of something.

    There are moments in all our lives when we face dark times. The doctor shares bad news with us. We lose our jobs unexpectedly. We discover that our closest friend is actually not as close as we thought. Life is hard. It's not all sunny. It's not all roses. There are dark times.

    And yet, God never leaves us, does He? For even when we don't see Him, we hear Him. Even when we don't believe He is close, He is there. Those dark moments in life, yes, He is still there. Right with us. Just like a crashing wave at 1 AM. We may not see it, but it's still there. We may not see the vastness of the plains of Nebraska in the darkness of night, but they are still there. Reminding us that God is the God of the light and the God of the dark.

    “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)

  • The Letter Black - Up From the Ashes

    Have you heard the new album from The Letter Black yet?  Continuing on sonic strength of their previous albums, Breaking the Silence and Hanging By a Thread, their new release Rebuild, proves to be just as strong.

    Rebuild is produced by former RED guitarist Jasen Rauch and mixed by David Bendeth, It is a full of energy-infused, hard-hitting collection of songs.

    Check out their new single, Up from the Ashes, here.

    What do you think?

  • I Don't Do Fancy


    "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." 1 John 4:7 (NIV)

    I'm not a spontaneous or particularly fancy person. Some people I know are, and their creativity amazes me. They whip up a gourmet dinner from leftovers in the fridge and what's in the cabinet. They create craft projects out of dried macaroni, spray paint and shoe boxes. They can think of birthday party games, favors and food that leave the celebrant feeling like a million bucks.

    Not me. Ask my kids.

    I'm thankful four out of five have summer birthdays and we have a pool! Cut up a watermelon, order pizza and voila!

    It's not that I didn't care. Or that I didn't want to do more. But for so many years in my early parenting, I was overwhelmed with managing a job, home and very active children. Plus I believed my celebrations had to look a certain way. Since I didn't possess many creative skills, I always felt like a party-failure.

    It was years later I realized most people don't really remember all the whoopla of a big party. There might be some shock-and-awe at first, but when the streamers fall and the balloons droop, people are more apt to remember moments inside those events. For example, at my 8th grade graduation, the only memory I have is of my older sister fixing my hair. Granted it was a long time ago, but her loving gesture meant the world to me.

    People just want to feel loved. Remembered. Noticed. Valued.

    That's how we were designed. God created us with a heart and soul to receive His love, so we could share it with others. In fact, loving God and each other is our highest calling. The Bible says it this way, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7).

    Jesus said this, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you" (John 15:12, NIV). The New Testament shows that Jesus loved His disciples by spending time with them, and caring about them deeply. He didn't need anything fancy to show His love.

    Fancy's not wrong. Some people show their love through their creativity. And I applaud them. But for those of us who walk out of a craft store crying because we can't figure out which tie-die kit to buy, maybe a simpler option is more our style.

    Maybe for some of us, we need to remove the self-imposed unrealistic expectations. Maybe we need to focus more on showing love rather than having our centerpieces match what we saw on Pinterest.

    I've learned that it's often the little things that speak love to my friends and family. It's sitting outside at that summer pool party and watching the silly jumps off the diving board. It's abandoning the dishes to play a board game. It's an impromptu potluck dinner with friends on paper plates.

    While I'll still try to make things pretty and creative, it's not my focus. My goal every day is to show love to my friends and family somehow. I may not always accomplish that goal with perfection, but I can come closer to it with God's help than I'll ever be able to pull off a spectacular birthday party.

    Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I've gotten so worried about how my dinner or gathering looks that I've neglected what matters most to You. Open my eyes to ways I can show Your love to others, making them feel valued. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: Remember a special event where someone made you feel loved. What did that person do?

    What can you do this week to show someone you care deeply for them?

    Power Verse: Romans 13:8, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." (NIV)

    John 15:12, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org

  • God's Great Work


    So I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?"   Nehemiah 6:3

    God's great work is where He's got you now. His mission for you is in the moment, not some mystical opportunity that tingles the flesh somewhere in the future. Faith flourishes when it is focused on the task at hand. Like a sculptor with a block of marble not yet hewn, the beginning of the Lord's project may lack form and void. Though unseen, your soul sees what the Spirit has in store, if you persevere. God's great work deserves a relentless engagement of energy.

    The leader who models the way, shows the way. If we wander away from our responsibilities some team members will lose focus. The speed of the leader is the speed of the team. The interest of the leader is the interest of the team. The intensity of the leader is the intensity of the team. Like a rising tide lifts all boats, so the faith of the leader lifts the faith of all team members. A great work is sustained by great leaders who remain engaged in the execution of the mission.

    "He [Jesus] poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet,drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him" (John 13:5).

    Like with Nehemiah, distractors will send disingenuous messengers to create a diversion. They seek to strike fear into the team, so they stumble to complete the project. Seeds of doubtful questions are planted. Has the Lord really called me to finish this task? Is the sacrifice worth what I receive in the end? Am I just being used? Are the motives of the leaders really noble? Is all this effort worth carrying on to completion? Yes, great works survive a crisis of doubt.

    Furthermore, your Heavenly Father is your biggest fan to push through pain and gain His blessing. The Holy Spirit will give you the courage to have a hard conversation with an unfair critic. Your Savior Jesus Christ is your example of how to confront the enemy in prayer and with God’s Word. A great work requires a greater depth of character and a righteous resolve to remain in the process. It is a great work, because God is at work. Work with Him, bring Him great glory!

    "I [Jesus] have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do" (John 17:4).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, by faith keep me focused on Your work for Your glory.

    Related Readings: Genesis 2:2-3; Psalm 90:17; John 6:27-29; Acts 14:26; 1 John 3:8

    Post/Tweet today: Like a rising tide lifts all boats, so the faith of the leader lifts the team’s faith. #God’sgreatwork

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • What God is Teaching Me - Ernie Haase

    I recently sat down with Ernie Haase from Signature Sound and asked him a single question, "what is God teaching you now?"

    Now if you know anything about Ernie, you will know that he is a fun loving man. Not only is he a great singer in one of America's top southern Gospel quartets, but he is a husband, a father and practically a stand-up comedian. At first blush, I thought that Ernie would answer this in a really simple way. Or tell an elaborate joke first.

    Neither. He simply answer the question is a honest way. A real way.

    Ernie: It's very, very simple.

    Be still, just be still.

    There could be 100 amazing things good that happen at a concert and I'll go back and lay in my bunk on the bus and stress and fret over the one thing that didn't go right.

    Now I know that at this point in my life I know that I have ever been in control. God's always been in control, steering me. So I'm just going to relax and enjoy the trip. I'm just going to be still and enjoy the moment.

    So what about you? What has God been teaching you lately?

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