Pride vs Humility

Prior to giving my life over to Christ I did not battle with pride. I WAS prideful. I thought, though I am not better than the next person, NO ONE was better than me. I could stand on a stage and talk in front of 1000s and be fine as I couldn’t care less what they thought of me and/or what I was saying.

When I became a Christian and had the opportunity to teach, I FREAKED OUT. Why? Well, in reading the Bible I learned that teachers are held accountable, by GOD! (Check out Paul’s letters to Timothy).

As I learned more about abilities give at birth or learned vs spiritual gifts, given at baptism, I learned that I do have a gift of teaching. I can let the enemy use it and do it to get all the glory for myself, or I can let God use it and point all the glory up to Him.

What I still battle with, which you can read in 1/2 my earlier posts, is pride. God gave us abilities and we should not be prideful in them, yet we should be confident in them, right? How do you be confident in them, while not being prideful, while expressing humility?

I know that was written in a circle, as that is what my brain has been stuck on…until last night. We went to church and it was a terrific service. Check out “God Can Use Anybody” from April 3rd.

Pastor Rick talked about my favorite subject, how everyone is necessary in the Kingdom of God. We are all built to serve, using our God given abilities, to help others grow.

In the sermon, he said something that was a BIG AH-HA for me…

“Humility is not denying your strengths, it’s admitting your weaknesses.”

What I learned today…I can be CONFIDENT, not prideful, in how God made me. I can be humble in the fact I have a LOT of weaknesses. A LOT.

 

Advertisements

Holy Week is Coming!

As we head in to Holy Week preparing for Easter. Let’s take a look at what the week looked like for Jesus each day.

Take time in your day to pause and reflect as you read. If you find yourself with a few more moments, go to your Bible and look up the “Read More” verses at the bottom of each daily blog.

This is what our week will look like –

Sunday – Day 1: Palm Sunday’s Triumphal Entry of Jesus in to the City

Monday – Day 2: Jesus Clears the Temple

Tuesday – Day 3: Mount of Olives

Wednesday – Day 4: The Bible is quiet about this day…was it a day of rest and anticipation for Jesus?

Thursday – Day 5: Passover, The Last Supper…if you haven’t taken part in a Passover supper, find one in your area or Click here for directions as it is a VERY moving experience.

Friday – Day 6: Trial, Crucifixion, Death, Burial

Saturday – Day 7: A day in the tomb

Sunday – Day 8: Resurrection Sunday!!!

Moving through this exercise for this week, I pray God speaks to you through the verses. I pray He prepares your heart by helping you get one step closer to Him.

I pray that as you walk through the week, you remember Jesus Christ died and rose for YOU. That you are loved and can have hope that you will be able to thank Him when you get to heaven.

I pray that you are so firm in your faith that you reach out to invite others to go to an Easter service with you. I pray those people find a connection with Jesus and give their lives to Him.

What I learned today…we need to walk through this week every year. Slowly and intentionally.

 

Who? Me?

Have you ever had one of those moments where you have walked in to a situation and thought, “What in the world am I doing here?”.

I do that at work, a LOT. I look at God incredulously a LOT and ask Him, “Do you REALLY think I belong here?”. You know, those days were you feel SO different.

Not smart enough. Not young enough. Not old enough. Not thin enough. Not “Holy” enough. Not male enough. Not female enough. Not “hip” enough. Not quiet enough. Not “soft” enough.

I do alllll the time. Now, I know you can say, we need to remember God created us all beautifully for a specific purpose! And I hear what you are saying because I get it. I just feel completely under-qualified 85% of the time. The other 15% of the time, I think I’ve got it.

Last night Chad and I were invited to a function. It felt like a hush-hush deal so I didn’t bring it up much at work. I felt privilege to have been afforded an invite. I was excited to see who would be there.

When we arrived, it was a small, narrow building and I saw some familiar faces right away. (Now remember, I am VERY socially awkward with small talk, even with people I love.)  I saw wonderful people from the worship and production teams and only a few others. People that I REALLY like and admire…but rarely have words to use around them in my awkwardness, so Chad and I were thankful to have a couple faces that we could connect with.

As the evening began, I was YET AGAIN in awe of the leader of our worship team. He truly has a heart for God. I am not close enough with his wife, but I can safely assume she does as well. As he started the evening, he took time to thank each and every person that had helped with the release of their first EP (“First” ironically is the name and you can click here to purchase it on Itunes now). As he walked through each name, you saw each person feel honored and hold their head a little higher because they were SEEN and Valued.

As I was looking around thinking, what am I doing here, I was praising God for such amazing people. We were in a room full of people that use their time, energy and gifts pouring their talents back out to the Lord who provided them all of those things.

And then, the leader said MY name. What?!?!? He said he was thankful for my support. Through the thick and thin they new I was always cheering for them and praying for them. Soooo, I teared up, because I couldn’t believe he’d point that out!!! Isn’t that what we are suppose to do? Love and support each other? Pray for each other? I felt like it was a privilege and honor to have a position where I can support and pray for them. Shouldn’t we all be doing that for each other?

So as I stood there praying my heart out, asking for God to show people His love and His mercy. I felt God strongly say there is someone here that NEEDS to know THEY ARE SEEN. I looked behind me and thought WOW, God must love her a LOT to be having me awkwardly step over and give her a big hug in the midst of it all. He wanted HER to know that she is KNOWN. Did I have a chance to truly explain that? Nope. But I am hoping she felt it through my look and hug. Sadly, she left before I could get to her again. I prayed God would stay with her.

Who in your life are you not SEEing? Who did He put in your life that you can support and pray for. Not in a big way, but in a way that says YOU MATTER.

What I learned today…Be thankful for those in your life. Acknowledge and honor the gifts God gave them. I need to always thank God for the opportunity to work for Him. And to constantly ask Him to show me who He needs me to tap on the shoulder, hug and let them know they are SEEN.

 

Stuck on David: Numero Uno

I am completely stuck in 1 Samuel 17. The whole thing!!

For example, in the first 2 verses –

“Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines.” (vs 1-2)

Okay, something hit me. Notice the Philistines gathered their forces for war, while Saul and the Israelites assembled.

If I was a betting person, based on these two sentences, I would’ve bet on the Philistines. However, in life I don’t. When something needs to be done, I generally look for the fastest and the strongest. The ones who can get-it-done.

What these 2 verses remind me of, is that I might be trained to jump on the train of the fastest moving, shiniest, strongest looking, etc.. thing available, and I should be praying for who GOD wants me to lean on or fight for. Not necessarily who I think should be backing. God knows the story of everyone all around us. Those teams, groups, people who might not arrive to a task theand ready. They might be the ones who show up and need time to process the situation. It might even look like there is no way they could ever succeed at the deed…but if God wants them to, they will.

Who is around you that you may be overlooking? Do you consistently go to your “go-to” people rather than giving others a chance?

I am a firm believer in try. Try and succeed, woooo whoooo! Or Try and fail…and learn.

Both are okay.

What I learned today…I need to pray for God to open my eyes more to those around me that I might be overlooking.

Don’t “Pray” for Me

Have you ever come across people that say, “I’ll pray for you”, and as soon as they walk away, you have the feeling like that was just a parting Christian term that they say all the time? Me, too.

Are you someone who has said, “I’ll pray for you”, and then TOTALLY forgotten to actually do it? Me, too.

I have found the very best thing to do is –

  1. STOP and pray for them, with them right then and their.
  2. As you walk away, take a moment to pray for them, while you are walking away and it’s fresh in your mind.

With the first suggestion I have found that their is generally enough time to pray for someone. Why? Because that is what God would want us to do, so He extends the time for us! Tell you what, grab a watch with a second hand or a timer and watch 30 seconds go by. It’s actually quite a long period of time! If you wait for each second to pass, you see how a little can go a long way. Pray, even if it’s for 30 seconds, pray.

With the second option, make sure you take a moment and pray for them as you walk away. If people you are walking with start a conversation right up, say, “Hold on for just a second.”. You don’t have to say you are going to pray, or maybe you do.

God still listens to “microwave” prayers. You know, the quick ones that are “Please, God”. The goal is to talk to Him more!

What I learned today…To NOT be someone who just talks about praying for someone, but to consistently PRAY FOR THEM.

Helpful Hint – Wherever you seem to stop and pray for the longest time, or whatever area you look at the most, put up post-its of who you need to pray for. My list around my computer has names I change frequently, as I hear of prayers being answered, and others stay consistent as they are always in my prayers.

20160223_131455 - Copy

 

 

EPIC Fail At Work

Okay, so yesterday was going great…until I failed in an EPIC way. Now, you might complete disagree with me, but just wait until after you hear it all… I even talked with a couple people about it, as they could tell I was “off” at an evening event…and they didn’t think it was epic…so you might not. BUT, it is to me.

At around noon I was invited to a meeting that started at 2:30pm concerning a project I am help with. I hit “attend” and didn’t think twice. When I arrived, there weren’t many people, and we weren’t waiting for many more per the leaders of the meeting. I thought it strange the leader of the project hadn’t shown up, yet, as he is fairly prompt.

I felt the nudge to call and see where he was.

I ignored it.

The meeting was about to start and I felt the nudge again.

I ignored it.

As they said, okay let’s get started, everyone is here – I felt the nudge…

Guess what?

I ignored it and thought he was probably called in to a meeting with people more important. (That can happen).

So, the meeting got started.

At the end of the meeting I went down to find the project leader and tease him for not being there.

He had not been invited.

UGH. Immediately I felt horrible. No, I wasn’t the one in charge of calling the meeting. No, typically I wouldn’t have looked at the invite list as I assume everyone is on the same page, BUT, it was very difficult to see the upset on his face and in his posture. Righteous frustration. I could understand that and I hurt for him.

Now, people have said, I had no epic failure here. A) I didn’t set it up. B) I wasn’t intentionally doing something wrong. The “miss” wasn’t mine to own.

I disagree.

The Holy Spirit was nudging me, and I ignored Him. I was being given clear instructions, and I wasn’t listening. I kept feeling that nudge and KNOW that 100% of the time, I am better off following through with whatever I’m getting nudged about it. I didn’t so missed an opportunity that hurt someone else.

Yes, my heart hurt for the frustration of the situation for my co-worker. But I felt even worse that I ignored GOD, who was trying to get my co-worker in to that meeting.

I failed.

What I learned today…Follow what the Holy Spirit is nudging me to do regardless of what I think. I am obviously not in the “know” like He is.

I CANNOT BE SORRY for Who I Am

We know, from past posts, I battle the feeling of being inadequate a LOT. Sadly, I didn’t battle this in such a life altering way until I joined the church. Within the church, I started feeling like I wasn’t enough. I don’t have a memory that retains Bible verses as quick as others that can recite the whole Bible from memory. I don’t have the theological PhDs that others have. (I didn’t even finish college!) I could go on and on.

Thankfully, God didn’t call me for all of that. He would have given me a better memory if He wanted to.  He could have given me the drive to get a great education if He wanted to. Now, to be fair, I am in seminary as I do believe being educated regarding the Bible is very important. That way I am not going only off my interpretation of the Bible and/or what others tell me, but truly digging in to it and hearing a variety of opinions.

Another battle I face is being born a leader. You might think that is a super sexy role, so why would I think it was a battle? Outside of the church, it wasn’t hard. I could use my skills and they were celebrated and affirmed consistently. Within the church it is different. Well, within the churches I know about, it might be different at yours.

I came in to our church knowing that there was never a ladder to climb. We do not have female pastors. Fine. Our church does not have a female elder. Fine. All of that is absolutely fine. I knew what I was walking in to. I took a position that used my skill set and I absolutely love. I know I will upset some of you, but I do believe that men should be the lead pastors in the church. I also believe, leading the church on the team of leaders, a woman is NEEDED. When women make up over 1/2 the church, their voices must be represented at all “tables”. Not to push the “women” thing, but to work side by side like we were built to do. To help each other and promote GOD through it all. The challenge I have found when working with both men AND women in the church is when I use my gift of leadership. Now remember, I did not ask to be a leader. It’s a gift GOD gave me. In John 15:16 we read “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you.” This is a hard life! Being a “good” Christian is HARD. I don’t think I would’ve chosen to walk in to the craziness it is. But GOD chose me for it. I trust Him.

I battle knowing that He gave me this gift, while others who want it so bad, and strive for it, and educate themselves to become better skilled at it…don’t. We can say that about a lot of gifts. If you have the gift of organization, the rest of us hide and get upset because we aren’t skilled in that way. If you have the gift of teaching, the rest of us hide and get upset because we aren’t skilled in that way….I could go on and on. YOU have a gift the rest of us yearn for. The battle is knowing that God created us all perfectly to do what HE has for us. Though we might want another gift, if we didn’t have the one we uniquely have, there would be an absence in the world.

Romans 8:28-31 says –

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

SO GOOD!!!! Let’s lean on this Biblical truth when we doubt, or battle opposition!

I like what J. Oswald Chambers has to say about it in his book Spiritual Leadership Principles of Excellence for Every Believer.

“I am here neither by selection of an individual nor election of a group buy by the almighty appointment of God.”

We need to be confident as Christians in the gifts He has given us. An even BIGGER step would be to not only be confident in it, but to celebrate others gifts as well. To those who have the gifts we don’t have, celebrate them! And we all need to continuously vow to do our best to enhance and improve the gifts we have been given. It’s not a use it or lose it situation, but it is like a muscle that you have, but can get SO MUCH STRONGER the more you work on it.

What I learned today…I have SO much to say on this subject, I should learn to write more short and sweet blogs.

Women? YUCK. Part 1

When I first started going to our church, I avoided Women’s Ministry like the plague. I know I’m not alone, and I know some of you men avoid Men’s Ministry as well!

After a couple of years, I heard God firmly saying, “GO”. At the time, I had felt as though the ministry was for “pretty” OC Housewives. Coming from running my own company, I couldn’t relate. Didn’t God understand that?

I’ll never forget, when I heard the “Go” from Him, it was January. Each small group was asked to start the latest campaign that our church was doing. I had decided to join a Monday night study, hoping there would be both working women who I could relate to and young moms with kids, who I could also relate to now that I was choosing to be a stay at home mom. That wasn’t a lot to ask, right? I mean, with Him telling me to go, He could at least make it comfortable for me.

I decided to park far from where it was being held, so I could still try and talk God out of me going. That is how strongly I felt. Needless to say, I kept walking. When I arrived, there were some great smiles that greeted me. I also started listening in to conversations that were going on near the entrance with some of the, what looked to be leaders. They were all discussing how angry they were as they were being forced to stop their current study to start this new campaign. I went straight to God and said, “SEE! They don’t even want me here! You wanted me to come and to do this study and they don’t want us here!”

I continued in and was pointed to a table…not with the young women I had asked for…or working women…but with a group of retirees. What?!? What was He thinking???

The women were welcoming and wonderful. When I mentioned how great it would be to learn from their wisdom, they laughed and said, “I don’t know about wisdom, but we can share in all the ways we are doing things wrong. Hopefully that can help you!”

Through the study, I was able to get a peek in to their lives and them in to mine. As the weeks went on, they introduced me to the Women’s Ministry Leader. I LOVED her! After a short talk, she invited me to a Women’s Leadership Meeting. Now, hold on. I didn’t even want to be in a study, much less be a part of the leadership team! I prayed about it and realized that God had been steering me in the right direction, regardless of my thoughts and suggestions to Him.

I accepted the invitation and walked into the leadership meeting with my jaw all but dropping to the floor when I walked in and looked around. The long rectangle tables were set in a rectangle so everyone could face each other. Each either end, there was a leader of the studies being doted on by other ladies. It looked like a crazy sorority competition! Women adoring the individual leaders, petting their hair, etc… It FREAKED me out. As the meeting went on, I was called on a couple of times and mentioned how the room felt very segregated. The women’s ministry leader was trying her hardest to command attention, but you could tell there was a lack of respect. It was frustrating.

In a way, this was a new beginning for me on my journey. Though I wanted with all my heart to jump in with “leadership” lessons, and reorganize the way it was it done, I knew with all my heart, God was asking me to be still and only speak up when asked a direct question. That was a LOT to ask of a prideful leader. It was HARD, but I listened and I learned, a LOT.

The WM Leader became my mentor. She went through heartbreaking ups and downs for the next couple of years fighting indescribable hardships within the ministry. Through it all I was in awe of her relationship with Christ growing stronger and stronger.

Tomorrow I’ll share about one of the horribly prideful moments I had as I grew in that ministry, and how some of my mentor’s words stirred my soul and changed my way of thinking.

What I learned today…Not to forget the lessons of yesterday, and who taught them. And God’s direction is the BEST for us, regardless of how we feel in the moment.

What I look for in a Leader.

Here are 10 attributes I consider valuable traits when looking for new leaders:

Concern/Love for others – You can’t lead people effectively if you don’t genuinely love people. I’ve seen people in positions who have great power, but they don’t appear to love others. These leaders often produce followers well, but they fall short of reproducing leaders.

Not a complainer – Candidly speaking, leadership encounters complainers regardless of what we do. I certainly don’t want to add complainers to my team of leaders. A positive attitude will get my attention every time.

Teachable and open to suggestions – A person who thinks they have all the answers will repel other leaders. People with no desire to keep learning rarely find their place on my team of leaders.

Excellence in following – This is a biggie for me. I try to follow people I lead, because there are times they know more than I do. Many times. Someone who isn’t willing to follow is seldom ready to lead.

Reliability – Leadership is about trust, and trust is developed over time and consistency by doing what you said you would do. I look for people with that quality.

Interest – The people with a burning passion for the church or organization often make great leaders. You can train someone to lead others, but you can’t easily train them to have interest.

Good character – Character counts. Not perfection. Not flawless. But, good character is necessary to be trusted on a team. Integrity. Honesty. A humble desire to always be improving as a person. That kind of character.

Potential – God always saw potential in others they themselves couldn’t see. I try to have eyes to see that in others.

Confidence – Leaders have to move forward when others are ready to retreat. That takes confidence. Not prideful, but a genuine willingness to lead through the hard times; to do what others aren’t willing to do.

People skills – This goes without saying, but you can’t lead people if you can’t communicate with people. You don’t have to be the life of the party (I’m a strong Introvert), but you do have to be able to engage people and make them feel a part of things.

What I learned today…I have to continually hold this list up to myself as well!