#684 - YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS ABOUT HONOR

Since returning from my summer sabbatical, God has been requiring of me that I give honor to others in ways that I, if I'm being honest, am not the most comfortable with. Here are a few things I'm learning:  

  1. Honor communicates gratitude.
  2. Honor attributes value. 
  3. Honor should be extended when it is earned.
  4. Honor doesn't have to be earned to be extended. (Respect is earned, honor is extended.) 
  5. Honor should be given both privately and publicly.
  6. Honor, when not given privately first, is disingenuous. 
  7. Honor requires humility because it's not about you. 
  8. Honor is a form of dying to self.  
  9. Honor is a way you become less so someone else can become more. 
  10. Honor shows preference for someone other than yourself.
  11. Honor, when reciprocated, feels great.
  12. Honor, when not reciprocated, feels lousy. 
  13. Honor can't be given expecting anything in return. 
  14. Honor strengthens the body of Christ.  
  15. Honor honors God. 

Who might God be requiring of you to honor?

#681 - THINK AT LEAST 10 YEARS OUT

So much has been said about seizing the moment. Living in the present. Taking it one day at a time. And I'm all about it! (Who needs to carry the burden of what's going to happen in the future when the present can already be so overwhelming.)

ON THE OTHER HAND...

When it comes to influence and impact, we've heard this said before as well,

We overestimate what God can do in 1 year and we underestimate what God can do in 10.

As I look at the type of influence I want to have in people's lives, the type of influence of I want our church to have in the city, the type of disciple-making movement I'd like to see multiply...

I NEED TO THINK FARTHER OUT.

Deep impact doesn't happen over night. Systemic change doesn't take place in an instant. Trust isn't built over the course of days. Life transformation can't be rushed. 

THE MOVEMENT CHURCH has been going for almost 5 years, and I feel like we're just starting to see what is possible if we keep at this thing!

So as much as what you do today is of extreme importance, the timeline you are giving yourself to experience the results you desire is equally important.

Pick an arena where you desire to have deep, real, long-lasting impact. Then, commit yourself to that work for 10 years.

Don't be perplexed by the amount of time it is going to require to build something deeply influential. Just accept it. Great things don't grow overnight.

#680 - FALLEN HEROES

I am grieved by how their sin stains.
I am frustrated by how their flesh won.
I am sickened by how their victims suffer.
I am devastated by how their family aches. 
I am saddened by how their church struggles.
I am overwhelmed by how their actions impact.

I AM SOBERED BY HOW THEIR STORY COULD BE MINE.

BUT...

I am thankful because God's love heals.
I am hopeful because God's grace restores.
I am joyful because God's purpose remains.
I am grateful because God's justice exposes.
I am prayerful because God's power overcomes.
I am cheerful because God's Church perseveres.

I AM MINDFUL BECAUSE GOD'S WARNING IS THIS:

"Take heed lest you fall." 

#679 - THE DISTANCE NECESSARY

LEADER...

Bless to the extent that you want to be blessed.
Honor to the degree that you want to be honored.
Support to the level that you want to be supported.
Affirm to the magnitude that you want to be affirmed.
Encourage to the depth that you want to be encouraged.

DON'T HALF-ASS IT. 

The farther the "distance" you travel in loving people well, the more you resemble Jesus Christ who went as far as one could possibly go to give of Himself for the sake of others...

HEAVEN TO EARTH.

#675 - SIMPLIFY

When it comes to simplifying your personal life...

Simplify your wardrobe by having less clothes.
Simplify your home by having fewer things.
Simplify your schedule by having less commitments.
Simplify your finances by having fewer expenses.
Simplify your relationships by having less conflict.
Simplify your phone by having fewer apps.
Simplify your faith by having less doubt. 

When it comes to your professional life...

Simplify your management by having less direct reports.
Simplify your success by having fewer goals. 
Simplify your processes by having less steps.
Simplify your training by having fewer expectations.
Simplify your day by having less distractions.
Simplify your productivity by having fewer objectives.
Simplify your communication by having less messaging. 

Do less. Have fewer. Achieve more.

SIMPLIFY. 

#674 - 5 QUICK LEADERSHIP THOUGHTS

Tomorrow, I'm leading a meeting with several of the leaders from our church. As I prepare to share, here are a few leadership thoughts I am considering passing along:

  1. LEAD YOURSELF > LEADING OTHERS - Would you follow you?
  2. MODELING BEHAVIOR > REQUIRING BEHAVIOR - Do you do what you expect your team to do?
  3. BECOMING SOMEBODY > DOING SOMETHING - Are your team members growing or just "doing?"
  4. ACHIEVING A VISION > COMPLETING A TASK - Are your team members inspired by a dream or are they driven by a to-do list?
  5. DELEGATING AUTHORITY > ASSIGNING RESPONSIBILITY What decisions can your team members make without you?

#673 - WHY PEOPLE DON'T LIKE YOU

I heard Andy Stanley say this in a sermon. The thought is simple, but it is quite thought-provoking. 

IF PEOPLE DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE REALLY LIKE, THEY DON'T REALLY LIKE YOU.

We all want to be liked. So, in an effort to be liked, we, often times, hide things about ourselves that we believe aren't likable. The problem is, because we aren't being fully honest, the version of us that people ending up knowing and liking is a false, "cleaned-up" version of ourselves. In other words...

When you lie about who you are, people don't end up liking you, they end liking who they think you are. 

What a tragedy. If you are liked yet unknown, who are people really liking? 

For many years I have labored (I use this word because it hasn't been easy. It's always uncomfortable and many times embarrassing.) to live a life that is quick to reveal the most shameful, regretful, and unattractive things about who I am. I've done this for many reasons, but here are a few that quickly come to mind:

  1. I want to be free - pretending is a heavy burden to carry.
  2. I want to be healed - you can't receive healing for what you won't confess.
  3. I want to be trusted - people are typically only as honest with you as you are with them.

But after hearing Andy Stanley say what he said, there is another benefit to living an honest life before others...

I CAN BE SURE THAT THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE ME, LOVE ME.

If you find yourself dissatisfied with people liking a version of yourself that isn't real, I encourage you to open yourself up, in a real way, to someone you can trust. If they still like you afterwards, you can be rewarded with the joy of knowing they actually like you! If they don't like you afterwards, they will be exposed for never liking you in the first place! Better to find out sooner than later!

#672 - THE POWER OF 15 TIMES

Maybe you haven't been working out like you committed to. You haven't been spending time with your kids or your spouse like you promised to. You haven't been eating healthy like you should. You haven't been keeping up with your spiritual disciplines like you feel convicted to. You haven't been using your creativity like you desire to. You haven't been managing your finances like you set out to. 

WE'VE ALL BEEN THERE.

I was there just two months ago. It's embarrassing to say, but it was the end of May, and I hadn't exercised at all in 2018. Not even once! But, with the Oakland Half-Marathon less than 75 days away, I knew I had to start running again.

I WENT ON MY FIRST RUN, AND IT WAS EMBARRASSING.

3 miles took me 34 minutes and 5 seconds. That is a pace of 11 minutes and 21 seconds per mile. I don't remember the last time it took me that long to run 3 miles. And it wasn't just the time. It was how I felt too. I was breathing heavy. I was aching. It was bad. 

On that day, I briefly wrote about it here, and decided that things needed to change. 

Over the next two months, I ran exactly 15 times. An average of once every 4 days. Not a super consistent amount of times, but consistent nonetheless. 

And after just running 15 times, I am proud to share that last Saturday (my 15th run), I ran 10 miles in 1 hour and 28 minutes. That is a pace of 8 minutes and 52 seconds per mile.

I HAVE NEVER RUN 10 MILES THAT FAST IN ALL OF MY LIFE!

Though I'm older than I've ever been. Though I'm heavier than I've ever been. After just 15 times, I am faster than I've ever been!

The moral of the story is this:

WHAT IF 15 TIMES IS ALL YOU NEED TO GET BACK ON TRACK?  

With your health. With your relationships. With your disciplines. With your creativity. With your dreams.

Not 100. Not 50. Not 1. Not 7. But 15.

I think many times, we get overwhelmed by what is required of us to get "back on track." So we never do. We either overestimate how long it's going to take (and don't get started) or underestimate how long it's going to take (and quit too early).

15 TIMES.

Pick a discipline, pick a habit, and over the next month or so, commit to executing that habit 15 times. More may come of it than you might think!  

If you feel so inclined to, hold yourself accountable to what you're going to do 15 times by dropping a comment below! I would love to support you in your endeavor!

#665 - A SIMPLE BUT PROFOUND LEADERSHIP SHIFT

Developing Leaders > Recruiting Volunteers

Recruiting Volunteers is an event.
Developing Leaders is a process.

Recruiting Volunteers requires management.
Developing Leaders requires leadership.

Recruiting Volunteers takes care of the present.
Developing Leaders prepares you for the future.

Recruiting Volunteers is more about the organization's need.
Developing Leaders is more about a person's potential.

Recruiting Volunteers is much needed.
Developing Leaders is more necessary.

#663 - THE BENEFITS OF NOT PREACHING

Due to someone else preaching this Sunday, a cancelled service next Sunday, and the week after that me being out of town to officiate a wedding, I am not going to be preaching for the next 3 weeks. 

Though I absolutely love to preach, four days into the week, I'm already starting to see the benefits of getting a preaching break. Here are a few:

  1. I can focus my thinking and work on other aspects of pastoral ministry. During any given week my thoughts and energies are on my upcoming message for at least 30 hours. I am so grateful that this week I am going to be able to spend many of those 30 hours thinking through and working on our leadership development process - another very key element of growing a healthy church! If I didn't take a preaching break, where would I have found the time to put this much intentional thought into such a critical piece of the pastoral leadership pie!
  2. I can give others who are gifted and called to preach the opportunity to do so. Though it may seem obvious, it must be stated: If I don't ever take a break, when will others get the opportunity to take a turn?! I love that taking a preaching break doesn't only give me rest, but it also frees up the platform for others to step up and into what God has called them to do!
  3. I can experience a Sunday from the vantage point of someone who attends. This Sunday I look forward to sitting in our service to experience and enjoy it without the thought of preaching on my mind. I look forward to singing without worrying about preaching. I look forward to interacting with the others who attend. I look forward to receiving from the preaching. It's gonna' be great!

I praise God for the blessing of serving alongside other gifted communicators of God's Word! Not every pastor has the luxury of feeling comfortable with other people in their church preaching on a Sunday, but that's not me! I. AM. BLESSED!

#660 - A PRAYER PREACHERS SHOULD PRAY

Heavenly Father, please give those of us who have the honor and privilege of preaching your Word insight beyond our intellect, anointing beyond our ability, and power beyond our preparation. A move of YOUR Spirit is what we long for!

A few thoughts on why you should pray this prayer...

Pray for insight beyond your intellect because interpretation of the Scriptures is a spiritual endeavor. Our intellect is physical, therefore it is limited. Insight from above can transcend what our intellect can't comprehend. 

Pray for anointing beyond your ability because like intellect, ability is physical, therefore it is also limited. Anointing on the other hand, can cause ears to be opened that otherwise wouldn't be. Anointing can cause walls to be broken that otherwise couldn't be. Anointing can cause miracles to take place that otherwise shouldn't be!

Pray for power beyond your preparation because no matter how thorough you are in your preparation, preaching void of the power of the Holy Spirit is merely a speech. Both believers and unbelievers alike don't need another well put together talk, they need a powerful one!

#657 - FLEE

Pastor, leader, husband...this is for you. This is for me. This is for us.

When certain temptations come your way (you know what it is for you), you shouldn't "hang around." You shouldn't "wait and see." You shouldn't "stay just 10 more minutes." You shouldn't "be nice." You shouldn't "try not to be rude." 

YOU SHOULD FLEE. IMMEDIATELY. 

Get in your car and leave. Ask for a ride home. Leave. Run. Get out of there.

Staying, could cost you everything. 

#656 - GRACE AND GRIT

Ministry requires so much grace.

Grace to forgive. Grace to love. Grace to lead. Grace to discern. Grace to preach. Grace to confront. Grace to ignore. Grace to promote. Grace to decrease.  

But it also requires a helluva lot of grit. 

Grit to persevere. Grit to push-through. Grit to overcome. Grit to endure. Grit to last. Grit to show up even when you don't feel like showing up. Grit to engage even when you don't have the emotional energy to engage. Grit to lead even when you don't know where you should be leading!

For me to do a 30 year run (which is my goal) as the Lead Pastor of theMOVEMENT Church in Oakland, I am convinced...

GOD'S GRACE MUST BE PRESENT, AND MY GRIT CAN'T BE ABSENT.

But as daunting and exhausting as that may seem, I am also thankful of this:

Even my grit is a gift bestowed upon me because of His grace!

So in the end, it's ALL grace.

#654 - A FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON GOD'S LOVE

God loves you.

Just like anything else, when you hear something over and over again, it can tend to not have the same effect on you that it once had.

But the other day, as we were talking about the holiness of God in our prayer meeting, a few thoughts about God's love dawned on me that has given me a much deeper appreciation for the love that God has for me!

God’s LOVE for you isn’t just a by-product of His GRACE, it’s an extension of His HOLINESS. In other words,

GOD'S LOVE FOR YOU ISN'T PITY, IT'S PERFECT. 

God loving you isn’t the NICE thing for Him to do, it is the RIGHTEOUS thing for Him to do.

This is key in our understanding of God’s love for us because it has a direct impact on our ability to respond to His love. Remember, NICE love doesn’t cast out fear, PERFECT love does!

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18

#646 - SHOW UP

Leader, show up.

You never know who is going to benefit. You never know who is going to be impacted. You never know who is going to be blessed by what you bring to the table.

SHOW UP.

Even when you don't want to. Even when attendance has been down. Even when you don't know who is going to respond.

SHOW UP.

One is worth it. Because to the one, you being there, is everything to them. Your ego may believe you are worthy of more than one, but the moment one becomes too small of a number, you have forgotten why you started doing what you do in the first place. 

SHOW UP. 

Because even if no one else does, showing up builds something inside of you that would not have been built if you had chosen to stay home.

#644 - THE TEMPTATION A PREACHER MUST NOT FALL INTO

You can't preach what you want the text to say.
You can't preach what the people want the text to say.
You can't preach what you think the text says.
You can't preach what others have said the text says.

You must preach what the text actually says.

No matter how difficult.
No matter what the cost.
No matter how inconvenient.
No matter how seemingly irrelevant.
No matter how hard it makes your study.

GOD DID NOT CALL YOU TO EASY PREACHING. HE CALLED YOU TO RIGHT HANDLING.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 TIMOTHY 2:15