Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kingly Destiny Lifestyle!

Manage Your Destiny

By John Garfield 

Fundamentals - The difference between servant and King is like a structure with a foundation that starts with our heart’s desire. When things go against us in life it’s wise to reassess that foundation. We all “labor to enter into rest.” The sweet spot in life is when building the Kingdom is fun; our heart and God’s heart are both on the same path. We feel the favor of God, the wind is in our sails, divine appointments flow toward us, ministry happens, people are blessed, and finances grow in abundance. In short, life is a lot of fun.

What if it’s not fun? Kings engage in big dreams, take big risks, and engage the enemy in big battles. It’s not too surprising to experience seasons when things are not “peachy.” Kings are typically blessed with a level of tenacity that gets them through challenges. That perseverance can be good and bad; good if the foundation is in order and bad if the Lord is really knocking on our door to make an adjustment. Sometimes we try to wear optimism when it’s just a cleverly disguised form of denial; an excuse to maintain the status quo when change is needed. All of us are currently at a self-imposed station in life that is exactly where our attitudes and actions have led us! If we want a different result in the future then it’s time to tweak the foundation or we just end up with more of the same… for years at a time.

Laying that foundation, or checking up on it once in awhile, goes through a discreet series of steps that you and I can "manage" to make sure our Kingly foundation is on the Rock. This progression is the birth process for a level of creativity that will lead us into managing our destiny instead of “hoping and praying” things will go well... and whining when they don't.

#1 Heart’s Desire – The Kingdom lifestyle begins when we give ourselves permission to pursue our heart’s desire. Self discipline is good but you cannot make sacrifice a lifestyle – that’s religious bondage. You have to enjoy what you do and have fun at it. Jesus endured the ultimate sacrifice but his motive was the joy set before Him (Heb 12:2). It was one lousy day followed by a party for the rest of eternity!

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. 5 We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. Ps 20:4-5

You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah You welcomed him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head. Ps 21:2-3

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:4

Here’s the first foundation stone for life in the Kingdom; Go shopping for the will of God inside the desires of your heart! Give yourself permission to get totally excited when you find those desires. Run after them with all of your heart. Fervent prayer that avails much is rooted in strong personal desires. Do you have any? Strong feelings are the seed bed for the nest step - imagination.

#2 Imagination (the eyes of your heart) – The second step is dreaming about how you want to see your heart’s desire manifest. You have to see your dream in your heart and mind. Paul prays that the “eyes of your heart may be enlightened.” We “picture” in our mind the desire of our heart. Without that “vision” of how we want the future to go, we are prone to perish (Pro 29:18). Take the time to meditate, daydream, imagine… it’s key to creativity and an integral part of how faith works. What do you want your future to look like?

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance… Eph 1:17-18 NIV

We get what we focus on. If our eye is good, the whole body is full of light. But when the eye (focus) is bad the whole body is full of darkness that produces evil (Lu 11:34). Jesus counted "looking" as adultery because he understood thoughts produce actions. Lesson learned; manage your focus; manage your thought life. ...think on these things (Phil 4:8). Use the power of your thought life to produce the fruit you want.

#3 Affirmation – Learn to put your dream into words and in a journal or prayer diary. We devoted an entire newsletter to this step in Use Your Words that is well worth reading. Confessing the desire of our heart is a huge reinforcement to our faith and an important step in the creative process. We believe, therefore we speak. Affirmations are self-talk. Praise is God-talk for giving and granting our personal desires; a natural expression of our words that is very powerful.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45 KJV

It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak 2 Cor 4:13 NIV

Caution: make sure your words have roots in the foundation of your heart’s desire and in the heart of God's desire. Affirmation is the 3rd step – not the first. Godly desires conceive to expand the Kingdom just as lustful desires conceive to produce evil (James 1:14-15). It is possible to use words and imagination to build a tower of Babel and have God working against you – that’s when it feels like life isn’t flowing in your direction.

#4 Proclamation – Hearing our own words express our heart’s desire resonates in our spirit with what God is doing. When it dawns on our hearts that those desires really are rooted in God’s will, a whole new level of boldness and authority comes into our lives. We don’t just confess those desires, we speak things into existence creatively the way God does. Notice the power of words in the verses below. Proclaiming, releasing, and binding with the spoken word are the keys to this Kingdom lifestyle. It’s like getting the keys to dad’s car!

…the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. Rom 4:17

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him." Luke 8:24-25 NIV

"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. 23 "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:22-24 NIV

"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." Matt 16:19-20 NASU

#5 Creation (work) – Many believers think God is going to perform miracles for them. He does, but we have to realize that “signs follow” our initiative. The final step in this process is action; sometimes referred to as work. However, for Kings this process of working to create something feels more like recreation than work because it’s all about manifesting the desires of our heart! It's what we naturally want to do and enjoy doing. Get it? It’s fun!!! Work and wages are for servants; creation and recreation and profits are for Kings. The joy of the Lord really is our strength. God delights in this final step of bringing things into reality with us because He knows the connection with joy.

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16:23-24 NIV

In the Greek, ask means "to require" or "a demand for something due" and is also translated as “desire.” Aiteite is the same word used in James 4:2, “You do not have, because you do not ask (require of) God.” Jesus paid the price for life more abundantly. Your inheritance is due to arrive the minute you step out because Jesus already paid for it. Possess your land. It will please your Father and you will have fun doing it. Too often “asking” stops at a beggar's request and becomes “faith without works.” The balance is asking plus initiative and work… get out there and do it.

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates — all the Hittite country — to the Great Sea on the west. 5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 "Be strong and courageous... Josh 1:3-6 NIV

Let these five steps lead you through a Business Plan.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Leadership Lessons

How To Gain Loyalty

By Author Unknown

Some of the things you can do in your own congregation to rectify any lack of loyalty are:

1. Teach the difference between faithfulness and loyalty.

2. Remind your people that, according to their new nature, they already want to be loyal. Unless they are outright rebels, disloyal acts come out of ignorance and/or weakness of the flesh.

3. Let them know, in light of their sharpened understanding, you are expecting them to be loyal. They will be what you expect them to be.

4. Be careful about whom you appoint to places of responsibility. Look for loyalty, not just faithfulness.

5. As a leader, practice those qualities of leadership that will help people become more loyal to you. Remember, you are representing Jesus to your people. We are faithful to Jesus because He is our Master and Lord. We are loyal to Him because He is our Brother and Friend.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Watch yourself in apostolic etiquette

The Apostolic Ten Commandments

By Roger Sapp 

1. Thou shall not make thyself a god to the people that you lead. Thou shall not present thyself as perfect, faultless, or above questioning. Thou shall not allow thy people to adore thee and have an exalted or unrealistic opinion of thee. Thou shall not replace Me as Father to My children.

2. Thou shall not allow prophets and others to flatter thee and mold thy opinion of thyself above thy actual capacity to supernaturally function in thy ministry calling. Thou shall maintain and present to others a realistic view of thyself. Thou shall not vainly call thyself by a ministry title even if others are willing to call thee by that name. Thou shall not be encouraged to self-exaltation through the self-righteous religious example of others. Thou shall not use self-serving logic to avoid humbling thyself before Me and other people. Thou shall take a humble posture before Me and My people and empty thyself of glory as did My only begotten Son Jesus.

3. Thou shall not require an unquestioning loyalty from others before serving them. Thou shall not seek another covenant from them before freely giving thyself to them. Thou shall not forget that they are already in the New Covenant with thee because of Calvary. Thou shall not calculate their capacity to give financially to thee before serving them. Love them as I have loved thee freely without cost or expectation of reciprocation. Thou shall not resort to pragmatic techniques to increase offerings. Thou shall not become a hireling.

4. Thou shall not hide thy humble origins and humble circumstances in ministry and seek to be known among the great and mighty. Thou shall not be a spiritual social climber. Thou shall not walk in the way of least resistance for the honor of men. Thou shall not purchase a theological degree based on experience to impress others rather than earning one by legitimate theological study. Thou shall remember the humble details of the season of thy salvation. Thou shall not forget the day of grace and the mercy of Christ that saved thee.

5. Thou shall learn to rest in thy Savior Jesus Christ about thy calling and purpose and not seek to fulfill thy destiny by controlling other people. Thou shall function in thy present grace and not seek to function in a prophesied future grace.

6. Thou shall not use the darkened wisdom of the world to control and manipulate others. Thou shall not use intrigues and scheming to harm others. Thou shall not pit others against each other. Thou shall not create a police force and spies in the church to enforce standards and to inform on others. Thou shall walk in innocence and integrity in all thy ways not matter what the outcome may be.

7. Thou shall not have two standards of conduct. Thou shall not have a hidden and secret standard that allows for the carnal appetites of leaders and a public standard that encourages righteousness. Thou shall not practice hypocrisy.

8. Thou shall not interfere with or weaken the marriages of others by usurping the covering authority of husbands and fathers by exalting thy fatherly authority over the families of My people.

9. Thou shall not compete with others in ministry for the allegiance of the saints. Thou shall not build buildings and believe that this activity is building the church. Thou shall not think that apostolic work is recruiting other believers and churches into a network. Others have created denominations before and it was not apostolic work then either. Thou shall focus on the numerous lost and build where others have not built. Thou shall plant new churches in new areas. Thou shall expand My kingdom and not just rearrange it for thy purposes.

10. Thou shall be an equipper and releaser. Thou shall not discourage or subtly punish someone from starting a new work or from seeking to fulfill their calling or vision. They do not need thy permission to serve Me from their hearts. Thou shall never assume that I am not sending them or that they are unprepared. Thou shall be a blessing and not a curse to them even in disagreement

Pastors Resources

How to Attract New People to Your Church Right Away

Whitney Hopler

Are unbelievers regularly visiting your church and coming to Christ as a result? God wants to use your church as a powerful tool to draw others into relationships with Him. But, for that to happen, you need to make your church a place that focuses outward and does servant evangelism in the community every day.

When your church consistently offers hope to the people in your local area, you'll see right away that new people are attracted to your church.

Here's how you can attract new people to your church right away:

Place your confidence in God. Remember that God wants lost people found even more than you do. You can count on Him to help you every step of the way as you reach out to the people in your community. Don't let fear stop you from answering God's call to evangelize the people in your local area.

Plan several "big days" throughout each year. A big day is: "an all-out push toward a single Sunday for the purpose of breaking the next growth barrier and setting an attendance record in order to reach as many people as possible for Jesus." Strategic dates for big days occur at various times throughout each year when people are especially open to growing spiritually. These times include Easter Sunday, a day in the fall about one month after school begins when people are thinking about new pursuits, and a day in February because most people aren't very busy then. 

Cover each big day (and the entire process leading up to it) in prayer. Set a specific goal that reflects how many visitors you hope will attend your church's worship service on that day. Ask God to show you what His goal for the day is, and pray for Him to accomplish that goal as only He can when the day arrives.

Take your church's evangelistic temperature. Figure out how on fire the people in your church are about pursuing evangelism. Is their interest hot, lukewarm, or cold? Ask: "How many people are accepting Jesus as their Savior?", "How many baptisms are you doing?", "How many of your people are bringing their friends to church?", "How many first-time guests do you have?", "How many evangelistic outreaches do you have scheduled?", and "How often are you praying for the unchurched?".

Have your pastor lead evangelism efforts. It's up to your pastor to lead everyone else in your church by keeping them focused on reaching others for Jesus. The pastor must guide the evangelism strategy and incorporate it into your church's culture. Use sermons, challenges, announcements, and vision casting to raise the church's spiritual temperature. Have the pastor and others tell stories about when they've recently shared their faith or invited someone to church. Encourage church members to share their personal testimonies during church services. Teach about evangelism through sermon series scheduled at different times throughout the year. 

Immediately after your church presents a message about evangelism, give people opportunities to practice what they've just learned. Hand each person several cards printed with information about your church and ask them to use them to invite others to an upcoming worship service or event.

Hold church staff accountable to consistently make evangelism a high priority. Make sure that they: serve in evangelistic activities, pray for unchurched friends, pray and fast for the church's big days, and invite friends to church regularly. 

Structure your church for growth. Plan regular evangelistic events. Celebrate the good results that God brings from the evangelism efforts of people in your church (such as by holding baptism celebrations and showing video footage of those celebrations in your regular worship services). Ask people in your church's small groups to read, discuss, and apply evangelism book's principles to their lives while holding each other accountable. Allow people to belong to your church before they believe, so that they'll have others around to inspire and encourage them in their spiritual growth.

Mobilize people for evangelism. Help people overcome procrastination with evangelism by creating a sense of urgency about it. Give them deadlines to invite their unchurched friends to specific events and worship services. After you stretch your church's members to evangelize as much as they can, give them some time to rest and relax before you challenge them again. While you want them to pursue an evangelistic lifestyle every week, you don't want them to burn out.

Equip people for evangelism. Have members write down the names of their unchurched friends and encourage them to pray for each one's spiritual growth. Print information about your church (especially its location and service times) on the back of something useful (like a map of your city's subway system, or your local high school's football season schedule) and encourage members to hand these out to people they meet in your community. Give out pens with your church's information printed on them and ask members to give them to friends or use them sign receipts at restaurants and leave them on the table afterward. 

Reward people after one of their friends visits your church for the first time by sending them a handwritten thank-you card and an inexpensive gift certificate to a coffee shop, encouraging them to invite their friend to meet them there to discuss what the friend thought of the church service.

Promote your church. Use mass marketing campaigns (such as sending thousands of fliers out to homes in your region or advertising on local radio stations) to promote your church. Keep the culture of your community in mind when designing your campaign. Make your promotions clear, consistent, and creative. Confine your message to the group of people you're targeting in a certain context (for example, if you're buying an ad in a wedding magazine, focus that promotion on what your church offers young couples). Pray about every aspect of each promotional campaign, and expect God to do something great through it.

Identify the types of people to try to reach. Focus on reaching out to the kinds of people that God is predominately bringing to your church. Those are the types of people that those in your church are best equipped to understand and attract.

Help people take the next step. Urge people who are attending worship services, small groups, and membership classes but haven't yet begun relationships with Jesus to make the decision to say "yes" to Him. Help new believers grow in their faith (through baptism, Bible studies, etc.) and assimilate them into the life of your church.

Adapted from Ignite: How to Spark Immediate Growth in Your Church, copyright 2009 by Nelson Searcy and Jennifer Dykes Henson. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerbooks.com

Nelson Searcy served as the director of The Purpose Driven Community at Saddleback Church before starting The Journey Church of the City in New York City in 2002. He and his 1,200-member church appear routinely on lists such as The 50 Most Influential Churches and The 25 Most Innovative Leaders. His newsletter for pastors and church leaders, Church Leader Insights, now reaches more than 40,000 subscribers and continues to grow by hundreds each month. Searcy lives in New York City.

Jennifer Dykes Henson is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has served as a writer/producer and ministry consultant to organizations across the east coast. Prior to moving to New York, Jennifer worked with Dr. Charles Stanley as the manager of marketing communications for In Touch Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia. Jennifer and her husband are members of The Journey Church of the City.