Mentoring

The Best is Yet to Come

The Best is Yet to Come2“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.” – John 10:10

Let me start this blog off by saying that this is going to be the best year of your life. I believe that with all of my heart! If you’re breathing as you’re reading this (go ahead and take a deep breath just to make sure that’s you) then God is not finished with you.  There’s still a work that He has for you to accomplish. I love how Jesus says it in this verse, “I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.” He’s talking to YOU & I! He wants you to have a FULL life! Another version puts it like this, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” I’m so excited to see what God is going to do in your life this year.  It’s going to be better than you could of dreamed of. Believe me, The Best is Yet to Come!!!

Dream-Big

Over the next few blogs, we’re going to dream. And if I were you, I’d dream big.  I don’t know about you, but I serve a big God.  He has given me some big dreams.  Dreams that are so big that I need His help to see them come to pass.  Are those the kind of dreams you have?  I believe God has a special dream he has already given you.  I’d dare to go as far as saying that some of you already know what that dream is.  Maybe there was a dream you had last year but weren’t able to see it come to pass.  I want to encourage you to get up, dust yourself off and get back to it.  I remember the first time God told me I was going to be a pastor.  Something inside of me thought that it was going to happen the very next year.  Well…was I wrong. It actually took 17 years to see it come to pass.  Should I repeat that? 17 years! There’s going to be a little thing called “The Process” for all of us.  But God is with you & here’s a little secret between you and I…God’s promises don’t have an expiration date attached to them!  I know that’s good news to someone.  Be encouraged today.  God still has greater things for you.  He has a dream he wants you to accomplish.  It might seem a little far fetched…but that’s the God we serve.  He’s in the business of working out the impossible.

So what’s your dream? What’s your passion? What do you have a strong desire for this year? Maybe you want to see God do something new in your family, your marriage, your career, your finances, your spiritual life or some other area in your life.  This could even be the year that you start to give back to those around you in a brand new way.  Maybe God’s been putting it in your heart to open up your house to host a bible study (life group), helping people who might of came from a similar background as yourself or maybe just by being more available with the gifts and talents God has given you.  The possibilities are endless.  If you don’t know, I’d like to encourage you to make some time this week to get alone with God.  Quiet yourself in His presence and ask God to begin to speak to you.  Ask him to show you what He wants you to do this year.

if_you_can_dream_it_you_can_do_it_walt_disney_quote_wallpaper__yvt2

In Genesis 37:5-11, the Bible talks about how “Joseph had a dream.” I want you to go ahead and put your name there. “Wilber had a dream” or “Matilda had a dream.” You see where I’m going with this?  God has a dream for you! Our dreams are like a sharp double edged sword by which we cut through disappointments, discouragements, adversity and evil opposition.  Like we read in the beginning…it’s the thief that comes to steal, kill and destroy.  Maybe the enemy tried to come and do that to your dream this year.  But I want to encourage you to start dreaming again.  It’s a brand new year. God wants the best for you and your entire family.

I remember when I first came to know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior that my dreams were small.  I just wanted to be a different person.  If you’re there, start there.  Once you begin to dream, God will exceed your expectations time and time again.  I encourage you to begin dreaming today. The Bible is full of people who had dreams. So, what’s yours? This is your year and The Best is Yet to Come!!!

“If you can dream it, you can it.” – Walt Disney

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7 Things to Remember… [Part 2]

“They spotted him off in the distance. By the time he got to them they had cooked up a plot to kill him. The brothers were saying, “Here comes that dreamer. Let’s kill him and throw him into one of these old cisterns [pit]; we can say that a vicious animal ate him up. We’ll see what his dreams amount to.”” – Genesis 37: 18-20

Today we’re going to continue with the “7 Things to Remember When You Have a Pit Experience.” We’ve already talked about two of them (1. Are You Ready for Change Yet? & 2. Attacks Will Come) in my previous blog 7 Things to Remember…. So let’s jump into two more thoughts today that I’d like to leave you with.

3. Losers Focus on What They’re Going Through

We talked about this briefly before but I want to state it again here.  Having a title, doesn’t exclude you from experiencing trials.  Maybe you’re a pastor, a leader, a manager at your job or someone with some kind of authority…that title doesn’t stop trials from coming your way (wouldn’t that be great?). As a matter of fact, it feels like they grow, last longer and come at a quicker speed than before.

I write this thought because when you go through your pits, you have a choice on how you will respond to that situation.  I have learned that while losers focus on what they’re going through (the here and now, the short term effect, their feelings, etc.)…Champions Focus on Victories.  We all experience the pressures of life. I know negative thoughts come to our minds on an almost daily basis. I know we’re surrounded by an enemy that bombards our minds, our eyes, our hearts and our families…but we have a choice of whether or not we’re going to let that poison effect us.  Let’s stay positive…only the devil & his demons like negativity. Joseph could of focused on what he was going through…but he didn’t. He kept going forward every step of the way. What are you focusing on today?

There are no short cuts to anyplace worth going to.” – Abraham Lincoln

4. How do You Respond to People?

Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” I think this one is going to hit a nerve for some of you. Why? Because this was something that I had to experience too.

How do you respond to people when you’re in a pit? I learned that when I would go through something, I would take it out on the people around me. Maybe this doesn’t apply to you, but maybe you know people like that.  When things don’t go their way; they get irritable, moody, angry, they get loud and…I think you see where this is going. (Ok, maybe those were just for me.)

Just take a moment and think about how you have been treating people lately.  Have you been sowing love, kindness and joy? When you see people going through a trial you went through years ago…do you offer a word of wisdom or are you thinking “you got to get over it you sniveling little sissy.” What about when you see someone that you haven’t seen in awhile? Are you quick to greet them with a loving embrace and say “it’s so good to see you” or do you think “where have you been?” It grieves me when I see people shoot the wounded. We should be the first to respond with grace…especially when we go through our pits.  Look how the pits changed Joseph.  It has a way of softening us.  We see later on when God brought people his way that Joseph responded with compassion.  He was quick to help them out.  How have you been responding to the people that God is bringing your way today…even if you are in a pit?

Let me end today’s blog with a great story. You never know how God will repay an act of kindness…

Late one blistering night, a couple dashed out of the rain into the lobby of a small Philadelphia Hotel hoping to secure a room for the night.  But much to their disappointment, the hotel was completely full.  “There are three conventions in town” said the cheerful front desk clerk.  “I’m afraid all the hotels are completely booked, you will not find a room anywhere in this city.”  The couple started to turn away and the clerk continued, “…but I can’t send a nice couple like you out in the rain at 1am in the morning. Would you be willing to sleep in my room? It’s not exactly a suite” he added. “But it will make you comfortable for the night.” The couple was reluctant to put the man out. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll make out just fine.” And so finally they accepted his offer. In the morning the elderly gentlemen said to the clerk, “you’re the kind the of manager who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United States. Maybe someday I’ll build one for you.” The man at the front desk simply smiled and thanked him.  Two and a half years later, the hotel clerk received a letter from the elderly gentleman.  In it was a round trip ticket to New York City and a note. The note reminded the clerk of the night he had helped the couple and invited them to come up as guests. He had nearly forgotten about the incident.  But he decided to take them up on their offer. They picked him up at the airport and took him to the corner of 34th Street & 5th Avenue in Manhattan.  “That (pointing to a mammoth, giant new building made of reddish stone on the corner of 34th & 5th Ave) is a hotel I have just built for you to manage.” The clerk looked at the elderly gentleman saying, “Are you joking? You must be joking.” And the man responded, “I can be assured that I am not” with a smile. This is the story of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (One of the most historical 5 Star Hotels ever made.)

You never know how God will repay an act of kindness.  I want to challenge you today to sow kindness, love, joy and compassion to those that God is bringing your way this week…even if you find yourself in a pit experience.

7 Things to Remember…

“They spotted him off in the distance. By the time he got to them they had cooked up a plot to kill him. The brothers were saying, “Here comes that dreamer. Let’s kill him and throw him into one of these old cisterns [pit]; we can say that a vicious animal ate him up. We’ll see what his dreams amount to.”” – Genesis 37: 18-20

Have you ever had a pit experience in your life?  Maybe it wasn’t like Joseph where he was thrown into a pit by his own brothers (they actually wanted to kill him).  But maybe it was a different pit.  It could be a financial pit, maybe a relational pit where things just aren’t the same anymore with your spouse or it could be some kind of storm or trial.  One thing I have learned over the years…is that you can’t bypass the pits in life.  They’re going to happen to all of us.  The question isn’t whether pits will come into our life or not…but what are you going to do when you find yourself in a pit? Over the next few blogs, I want to share with you Seven Things to Remember When You Have a Pit Experience.  I pray that these will help you overcome the pits that might be coming your way or possibly that you’re in right now.

1.  Are You Ready for Change Yet?

This is always the first thing we have to ask ourselves when we find ourselves in a pit.  I’m pretty sure Joseph even asked himself this question too.  It’s a question I think will come to our minds: how is God trying to change me? God is always trying to change us. If you’re married, I’m sure you can say an AMEN to that. Why? Cause as soon as you get married, you’re going to go through changes.  But these are good changes.  I can testify that marriage has made me more gentle, kind, etc.  I’ll never forget the day when God told me, “be careful how you talk to my daughter.” That got my attention right away. We have to be willing to change.  Sometimes we hold back the blessings of God cause we refuse to change.

 2.  Attacks Will Come

The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.  We can’t sit around and complain about what we’re going through.  I’m sure you probably knew someone like that when you were younger.  And chances are, some of them might still be like that today.  Instead of letting life beat you up, you have to begin to speak things into existence. I do this all the time.  You have to begin to say things like, “Favor is coming, provision is coming, blessings are coming, healing is coming, salvation for my kids is coming, finances for these bills are coming, doors are going to open, my husband is changing for the better, my wife is changing for the better…” or even things like “I have great potential, I can change, I can get a degree, I can become a great parent, I can get a better job…” I guarantee that things will begin to change because you first changed. Joseph was a great example of this! He found himself in a pit, he was sold as a slave, his family turned on him and he found himself in jail.  If anyone had a reason to get bitter…it was him.  But he actually changed things around and God began to promote him.

In the next blog, we’ll continue our journey through the Seven Things to Remember When You Have a Pit Experience…

 

You’re So Full of It

On the past few blogs, we’ve been going back and forth on the subject of “About My Father’s Business.” In the next few blogs, we’ll pick back up on that subject…there’s so much more to share.  But I want to shift gears for a moment and tell you something that I really think you should hear.  I don’t know if you realize what I’m about to tell you and how it can change your life. I think even other people have been wanting to tell you this for awhile now and hopefully by the time you’re done reading this blog, you’ll feel provoked to tell someone else the same thing. Are you you ready? Now don’t rush through this…you could miss it.  Ok, here it goes: your so full of it. You really are! YOU’RE FULL OF POTENTIAL!

Potential – “something that can develop or become actual, existing in possibility, untapped energy, etc.”

I love what Paul writes in the passage above.  He was a man full of potential and he KNEW it! He knew that God wasn’t done with him yet.  He knew that God still had a future ahead of him to do great things.  It’s the same for you reading this blog right now.  I want to let you know that there is still a future ahead of you.  Your best days and most blessed days are still in front of you.  As long as you’re breathing, God has great things ahead of you.  He still wants to use you to reach more people than you ever had.  He still wants to help you become a better spouse, better musician, better minister and so many other things that might pertain to your situation right now.  He hasn’t forgotten about you.  And he hasn’t forgotten about your dream.

As I reflect on potential, I think about the famous artist Michelangelo.  He touched the world through his creativity, his talent and imagination.  One thing that really caught my attention was the fact that he had so many unfinished works (paintings, sculptures, etc.).  There’s actually a museum full of all the unfinished works that he did.  I’m sure there’s a story behind each piece but the sad thing is that museum resembles so many people out there today who live their life with wasted potential.  Don’t be that person.  Choose to go against the grain.  Make a stand that you will be different.  You might be in a time where God is using things to bring out hidden potential.  He could be chiseling away areas that will slow you down…so it might hurt.  But it’s to make you into his masterpiece.  And unlike Michelangelo, God wants to finish his masterpiece in your life.

Before you go back to the hustle and bustle of your day, I want to leave you with one thought: DREAM BIG again! What’s your dream? Do you still dream? Are you still reaching for things that at one time you thought were impossible?  For instance, if you want a new car…I hope you’re not taking time and picturing yourself in a pinto! Who does that? But see yourself in that car that you’ve always wanted.  Maybe it’s not a car, but maybe for God to renew your marriage. Or maybe you’re believing God to come through in a different situation.  But whatever it is, don’t give up.  God’s dream will come true if you let it.  There are so many examples of dreamers in the Bible with Daniel, Joseph, Peter and Paul (just to name a few).

Start living your dream today!  Don’t get caught up with living an illusion.  That’d be like me retiring from pastoring and trying to become the starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers or trying to be a center for the Los Angeles Lakers…it’s not going to happen.  I’ll never forget years ago when a man of God prophesied over my life that i was going to be a pastor one day.  When he was done praying, I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. The thing was…it didn’t happen right away.  It actually took 16 years for that dream to unfold. Your dream might still be unfolding in your life.  Don’t give up.  Nobody can keep you from your destiny. Not a friend, not a family member, not the enemy….only you! God’s plan has no expiration date on it.  He hasn’t given up on you so don’t give up on Him!

 

About My Father’s Business (A Fighting Spirit)

“Nehemiah prayed, “Oh listen to us, dear God. We’re so despised: Boomerang their ridicule on their heads; have their enemies cart them off as war trophies to a land of no return; don’t forgive their iniquity, don’t wipe away their sin—they’ve insulted the builders!”

We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. The whole wall was soon joined together and halfway to its intended height because the people had a heart for the work.” – Nehemiah 4:4-6

In the past few blogs, we have been talking “About My Father’s Business.” Today I want to talk about a man that was sold out to His Father’s Business.  His name is Nehemiah.  If you know his story, you know where I’m going with this.  In the beginning of the book of Nehemiah, he receives some really big news.  I don’t really want to focus on the news…but on his reaction.  He responded to this news in a way I hope we all can one day respond to things that God is telling us.  He really took it to heart, he digested it, he thought intensely about it…but ultimately, he prayed about it.

There was an action behind it.  Let me ask you a question, “are you putting action behind the news (vision, purpose, etc.) that God has given you?” Has God been sending people your way to deliver some important news? Maybe a loved one? A spouse? A friend? God sent Hanani (his brother) to tell Nehemiah some important news.  Nehemiah could of thought, “What does that have to do with me? That’s in another city, why would I care? What am I going to get out of this?” and many other thoughts.  But the key here is that he took it to prayer.  And it was in prayer, where God birthed a vision for him to rebuild the walls.  Could it be possible that God has been trying to birth a vision in your prayer time?

Not only did Nehemiah begin this journey in prayer…but throughout his ENTIRE journey we see him often return to prayer.  The scripture above (half the journey later), we see him talking to God about his enemies.  Let me throw this thought in for free: whenever you are doing something great for God, you’re going to have a few enemies along the way.  But one thing I want to tell you, is that they are not fighting against you, they’re fighting against God! God could be calling you to start a business, restore your marriage, step out into ministry or many other things.  Those are all great things, and when God is behind it…even birthing that into your heart…he’ll help you achieve those goals.  I’ve always believed that where God guides, He provides.

Just recently, God birthed a big vision into my heart.  People told us to “go away.” Our response was very similar to Nehemiah…”WE KEPT AT IT.” People told us “can’t you find somewhere else?” You know how we responded? WE KEPT AT IT.  They even said, “it’ll never happen.” You know how we responded? I think you’ve caught on by now.  And it’s the same in your life.  If God has been the one pushing you, tugging at your heart or whispering in your ear…just keep at it.  He’ll help you see that vision come to pass! It was after 52 days, when Nehemiah was able to step back and say, “Look at what the Lord has done!” Stay encouraged today, He’s on your side! And greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world!

 

 

 

About My Father’s Business (Total Commitment)

So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. – Philippians 3:15-16

Commitment: an agreement or pledge to do something in the future; something pledged; the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled

As we continue in our discussion of “About My Father’s Business,” I want to take a look at the word ‘commitment.’ Paul was definitely a man that exemplified commitment during his ministry here on earth.  Even while he was writing these very words, he was also modeling this to the people he was speaking to.  One thing Paul realized during his ministry…was that there was a price to pay.  And that price was total commitment.  In the previous scripture, Paul talks about wanting everything that God had for him.

Now let me shift to you…I know that if you’re taking the time to read this, you want everything that God has for your life.  So let me ask you another question…and this might hurt a little bit. Are you totally committed to God?  Let me ask you that one more time…and please take some time to think about this…”are you totally committed to God?”  Are there areas that have caused your vision to be a little blurred? Are there sideshow attractions that have been taking away your time, energy and focus from that plan that God has for you?  Maybe you felt this was the year for you to focus on your marriage…have you been doing that?  Or maybe you felt you really wanted to work on being a better parent, student or employee…have you been doing that?  When you’re totally committed to God and the plan that he has for you…He’ll help you stay on the right track.

It’s never too late to get on the right track.  That’s one thing I love about God, He’s always ready when you’re ready for change.  You’re not alone.  If you’re on the right track, I want to encourage you to not grow weary in well doing.  And if you’re not, start today.  One step in the right direction can make a big difference.  I’m routing for you, you can do it!

In the next blog, we’ll talk about how Nehemiah put action to the vision that God gave him.  And that despite the opposition that came his way, God was right there to help him overcome every obstacle that tried to stop the work that was being done.

Here Today & Gone Tomorrow?

Thank you for taking the time to read this  blog today.  With all the many things that you could be doing right now…it’s a blessing to know that you are taking time to invest in your spiritual life.  I share this next statement with people every chance I get…and I hope you catch what I’m about to say…”The Greatest Win is Within.”

Over the past 30 plus years I have seen people here today and gone tomorrow (they’ve come from all walks and levels of life). What’s separates those who will be here tomorrow from those who won’t is one simple word that I want to focus today’s blog on…FAITHFULNESS! I pray that it will add value to you as a christian, a minister or even a student of God’s beautiful word.

Let’s jump right into it…are you faithful?  If you take a moment to look at your life, can you answer that question truthfully?  Now this is between you and God…I really want you to take the time to think about your life and your relationship with God. So, let me ask you again because repetition is the mother of all learning…Are You Faithful?  Are you faithful to God? Are you faithful to your spouse? Are you faithful to your career? If you take the time to really answer those questions…you’ll see that we could all grow in our faithfulness.

Now why do I take the time to ask these questions? Because I want you to be the kind of person that will be here today and also here tomorrow.  And sometimes that means we have to ask ourselves the hard questions…sometimes that means we have to make some adjustments…sometimes we have to take the time to build our character today so we’ll be here tomorrow…sometimes we have to have the mindset that “I ain’t giving up!” Hopefully that’s you today. I don’t just want to give you a feel good message and send you on your way.  I want to challenge you, provoke you and get you to be better than you were yesterday so you’ll be a man or woman that will stand the test of time.

Before we close today, I want to give you three quick stories of faithfulness:

  1. Richard Hooker.  He was a writer who endured 21 different rejections.  Finally, after 17 years a publisher took a chance on him.  From those writings came the hit TV Show “MASH” which ran for many years.
  2. Theodor Geisel was an American writer who underwent 23 different rejections.  He got creative by changing his name but still submitted his writings.  Today he is best known as “Dr. Seuss” and his stories continue to touch lives to this very day.
  3. God. “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” – Deuteronomy 7:9
I’ve learned that God is pleased by what he does and does what he pleases. If we can learn from someone what it truly means to be faithful…it is God.  Don’t give up! You might be going through a tough time at the moment…but you’re going to come out as gold if you hang on.  It’s all part of the character that God is forming in you.  You’re stronger today than you were yesterday and if you take the time today to make the necessary adjustments…you’ll be someone who’s here today and here tomorrow too! I know you can do it.  God has been faithful in my life for over 30 years…and I know he can do the same in your life as well! He is faithful!