Tag Archives: leadership

Tithe Journal #2

This post is part of the Tithe Experiment series

Giving (21/01/10)

$250 to tithe account

Needs

10/01/10 Finding it hard not to doubt that God will provide all we need. Looking at the budget it’s so easy to worry about how we’ll get by. Faith often requires us to step forward without being able to see beyond the step right in front of us, it’s hard but necessary.  Fighting the urge to give a little less in order to feel more secure, please pray for us that we wont give in and will continue to trust God completely.

 16/10/10 Was reminded this last week that simply giving money isn’t the deal, we need to give our time and serve as well. That’s something we knew we needed to do but finding it hard when we don’t currently attend a specific church. We need to live lives that share the love of God, not just give money away. We need to find where God wants us to give, both our time and our money.

Another big news item for us is that we’re going to have another baby in August! We are SO excited and can’t wait for Anabelle to be a big sister. We need to trust God that He will continue to provide everything we need, especially with the extra costs of a baby.

As always we’d really appreciate your prayers and your comments/encouragements, please feel free to say hi!

God’s Provision

21/01/10 Today we saw God provide for us again. We needed some cash to get a tree removed from our yard as part of the landscaping project but didn’t have it. I had unused gym equipment for sale on the bulletin board at work that wasn’t getting any bites until today when a young guy called about it and came round and bought it! Right when we needed it, God provided, Awesome!

God encouraged me today to keep pursuing Him by giving me an opportunity to help a young youth pastor in the area. I was feeling really flat and discouraged about my future path in ministry but God used this to spark the flame again and encourage me to keep being faithful to His calling even when I can’t see the next step. That was a lesson I needed to learn, again! 😉

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When you’re self-centered, nobody can do anything right.

OUCH! These words hit me like a ton of bricks when I read them… in my quest for God and for a church home I’ve been far too self-centred.

I know all about church existing for God’s benefit and not our own, that serving God is a self-less pursuit and my desires usually need to take a back seat.. but am I too self-centred?

I know that deep down in my nature I’m quick to judge and more of a pessimist than an optimist, I find it easier to see the things I don’t like over those I do. It’s not pretty, I don’t like it and it’s something that I’m working on, but none the less it’s there and being aware of it is a plus right?

Is this the reason I haven’t wanted to attend church or look for a new one? Am I too critical, too quick to judge and not nearly quick enough to wait for God to speak to me about where He wants us to be?

I need to focus on Jesus, I need to fix my eyes again on who He is and who He is calling me to be. Only the transforming power of Jesus can change my inner most thoughts and desires and make me more like Him. I am a work in progress and I thank God that today He pointed out this flaw in me. It’s now my job to respond… 

God I repent of my self-centred ways, make me more like Jesus, more loving, caring, quick to listen and slow to judge. Lord please lead me in your ways, I surrender my life, my plans and my future to You, there is no better to lead my life. I am Yours I submit to You. 

Have you had to overcome self-centredness? How did you do it, work through it? I’d appreciate the encouragement!

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How Do You Make Tough Decisions?

questionI’d like your help and advice.

2010 is going to be a year of change for me and my family in many ways. Yes the past five years have been full of change but things are coming to a head and decisions need to be made for changes that need to take place come the new year.

How do you do it? How do you make life changing decisions that affect more people than just yourself? If it was just me, I could easily live with the results of my decisions, but when my decisions affect others, it makes it exponentially more difficult. I know that many people face this every day and so I’m asking for your advice.

I’d like to know, what’s your one piece of advice on making tough decisions while honouring God? How do you make the tough decisions and how do you deal with the fallout? Please lay it on me and help a me out

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God – The Master Economist

coins

“Nothing is wasted in the economy of God.”

I know this phrase, I’ve heard it said a ton of times and I understand what it means on an intellectual level, but lately God’s been showing me what it means in reality and it’s blowing my mind!

If you’ve been a regular reader and been following my story you’ll know that over the last five years or so God has been shaking up my world. I left a job I loved as a pastor and took a job working for the government because I needed to provide for my family. I know it’s not a long-term position but it gets hard some days to come to work when I know that I’m called to be somewhere else. But God has been opening my eyes to see Him at work in all these things and I want to share that with you as both an encouragement to you and as a testimony to God’s faithfulness and goodness!

Here’s what I found once I stopped feeling sorry for myself and took a few moments to look at what God was up to:

  • I was a youth pastor and God gave me a job working in the Office for Youth where I have the opportunity to influence how the government works with young Australians now and into the future, how awesome is that!
  • I miss being able to ‘pastor’ people but God is opening up opportunities for me to minister right where I am to people in need.
  • I’m learning how to connect with a huge range of people and realising just how insular I had become when only working for a church. This lesson I will take with me for the rest of my life!
  • I’ve learnt more about God’s will, goodness, mercy and grace in the last few years than I have in all the years before. I owe it all to being in a place of discomfort and feeling like I don’t fit.
  • God’s building into me right now the skills, traits and attitudes I’ll need to serve Him in the future!

Where I am now may be a stepping stone, but God is using all things to work for my good and I don’t want to miss it! So take heart, open your eyes and see what God is teaching you in the here and now, learn from it and use it to build your character so that you’ll be ready for whatever God has next for you.

Nothing is wasted in God’s economy!  What is God teaching you today?

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How Full is Your Bucket?

BucketThis post is part of the series on lessons from the GLS 2009

So tell me, how full is your bucket?

Some of you are wondering what am I on about, others of you are wondering what you bucket is supposed to be full of and maybe some of you know exactly what I’m about to say.

While attending the Global Leadership Summit I heard Bill Hybles ask the very same question, he asked us how full our buckets were and if we knew how to refill them. The bucket he was referring to contained the source of our energy, vitality, leadership, drive and influence. It’s the bucket that makes us feel like we’re running on rocket fuel or running on fumes and its level plays a huge role in how effective we are as leaders and influencers.

When the bucket is near the top we have energy to get the job done, nothing is too big a challenge and our enthusiasm is infectious, others catch the vision and are inspired to power ahead. When its near the bottom things seem too big and too hard, we become ineffective and we’re at risk of throwing in the towel. While we’d all love to be running on full all the time, the reality is that life drains the bucket, that’s just the way it is.

So if we want to continue to be effective we need to learn how to refill our bucket. Our bucket is filled by finding those things that make us feel alive, relaxed, rested, energised and excited. We need to do them at least weekly but preferably daily and we simply have to schedule them into our lives if we want to continue to be the best people we can be. They come in all shapes and forms, from hanging with people socially, spending time with that special someone or the kids or grand kids, playing sport, sleeping, reading, surfing the net or whatever you do that lets you relax and refill.

Personally I know the best way for me to recharge is down time by myself. Taking time to just play my guitar, or be alone in my study to read, reflect or even type posts :-). This fills my bucket and helps me to face whatever tomorrow will bring. If I don’t do this regularly then I become tired, ineffective and down right grumpy and that’s no good to anyone!

So again I ask, how full is your bucket? What do you need to do to refill, renew and stay effective?

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How to Change the World…?

peopleworld

…one life at a time.

I was discussing with a good friend the other day ways in which we should be engaging the world with the Gospel message. It’s a given that in today’s world people don’t want to know what you have to say until they can see you living what you believe. People want authenticity; they want to know that what you do matches what you say. If we look for examples we see that Jesus was concerned with meeting both the physical and spiritual needs of people. Almost every account in the bible Jesus meets a need and speaks truth to people. If we’re to follow Jesus then we too must look to meet needs and speak truth, the two go hand in hand. 

Often we’re reluctant to engage people in our communities because getting involved with people can often be messy. We feel their hurt, we share their pain and often we are stretched in our faith, resources and emotions. Its hard work, it takes time and let’s be honest, it’s easier to just keep to ourselves, our agendas and our needs. 

Humans are all about relationships wouldn’t you agree? So it makes sense that the way to make a difference in our world is by building relationships. But how do we do that? How do we start to build relationships with those we don’t know or haven’t really met? 

There are a lot of courses and information on how to build relationships with people and most of them are really useful and offer great tools. But in the end that’s all they are, tools, and tools are no good if you don’t pick them up and use them. You can have all the tools in the world but if you never actually go and put yourself in situations where you can use them then they are useless. 

If you want to meet needs, help people and introduce them to Jesus, the first and most important step is to simply ‘go’. Training is great, but you can do that as you go. You don’t have to know everything, in fact saying that you don’t know can be very powerful if followed with, “let’s go find the answers together”. That there is discipleship and relationship all in one. 

Want to change the world? Then you have no option but to go and be salt and light to a hurting world. You don’t need all the answers, you only need a willing spirit and a desire to get in and get messy with those around you. 

How do you build relationships with people? Do you find it easy/difficult? What suggestions do you have, please share!

Related post: The Church of Tomorrow

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Faith Like a Child

hold hands

It seems that I’m learning a lot from my daughter lately and I love it! God is using her life to speak and encourage me. Jesus said in Mark 10:14-15 that we need to have the faith of a child if we are to come to God. This got me thinking about what child-like faith looks like, how do I get it and how do I keep it?

I’m not saying that we need to revert to being children but there is something unique about the faith of a child that we can learn from. As I watch Anabelle learn and grow, two things leap out at me as examples of child like faith.

Children believe what you say

Anabelle trusts me because I’m her dad and she believes me without question. She knows that when I say I love her I mean it! She believes that when I tell her the oven is hot, or that the bin is not a fun place to play that I know what I’m talking about. And yes I often have to tell her many times as she learns, but in the end she learns that what I’m saying is true and trusts me.  When it comes to God, He’s asking us to take Him at His word, to believe what He says and that He knows best. Often we have to hear it from Him a few times before we ‘get it’ and trust Him

Trust leads to challenge

As children get older they continue to trust but they begin to question. They want to understand the reasons why they trust and believe what you have told them and as parents it’s our job to teach them how to learn. Our job is to teach them how to find answers to their questions, so they know why the oven is hot, why the bin is not a good place to play and the reasons why we love them.

 God wants us to learn and grow also. He’s designed us to ask questions and to seek knowledge and understanding. We need to remember however that as a finite being there is a limit to how much we can know and understand. There’s a place where our limited understanding ends and we have two choices: throw our hands in the air and say it’s all too hard and walk away, or trust in what we do know about God and leave the rest to faith, trusting God at His word.

I think Jesus uses the example of having faith like a child because of it’s simplicity; seek understanding, ask questions, learn and grow and take God at His word, trust Him with your life and follow Him where He leads.

 What about you? Faith like a child, is it really as easy as that?

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