Embrace the Unknown

There are going to be times in our lives when faith must be our greatest motivation.  In fact, most times we will be uncertain of the results of our actions.  We have to learn to embrace the unknown.

I have discovered there is something exciting about not knowing … it’s almost as if your passion grows because you just don’t know.  Each of us has to learn to embrace the unknown … and here is why … we will never know everything!  We only have limited knowledge … and that is where faith comes in.

Scripture declares, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1).  In other words, our spiritual life is really about trusting God with the unknowns.  Don’t run from what you don’t know … embrace it!

Abraham was told by God to leave home and go to another place that God would give him.  The Bible says this, “He went without knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).  There are going to be times when we don’t know what lies out in front of us … but we must embrace the unknown because “in order to be what others are not you will need to go where others have not been.”  And that means you will face a lot of unknowns.

Don’t get nervous. God has a promise – he will always be there with us and for us!  Embrace the unknown.

See What God Sees

There are three areas where we need to see what God sees.

First, we have to see what God sees in us.  This is very difficult for a lot of people … let me be honest this is often difficult for me.  We can easily look at our life through the lens of our failures, mistakes, past and shortcomings.  Beyond that we can label our lives by not just what we did wrong … but what we failed to do right.

Anybody been there?  And we wonder why it is hard for us to see our potential … that’s all because our vision is blurred by our own limitations.

Second, He also wants us to see what He sees in our circumstances.  This is even more difficult because if our circumstances are currently messed up, screwed up, and blurred up … we have a hard time seeing God’s hand in the difficulty and His hand in the process.

Scripture teaches that “the steps of the godly are directed by the Lord.”  That means God is going to use that challenge … that problem … and that storm to bring direction, correction, confirmation and yes your destination.  Don’t let the current condition discourage you – choose to see what God sees.

Third … and this is the hardest … we have to see what God sees in others!  I know … you are thinking right now … the other two were ok … but you don’t know what that person did to me … you have no clue what they said about me … they hurt me … they cheated on me … they beat me down …  God doesn’t see anything in that person … they lied to me, abused me, used me.

Are you asking me to SEE positive in that person?  Yes, I am … simply because God saw the good in us … he saw our potential, and he even saw our sin.  Yes, that person may deserve the stare! But choose to see what God sees — a son/daughter that He loved enough to send Jesus.

We have to learn to see what God sees!  Here’s why: If you learn to see what God sees you will eventually seize what God sees.

Lessons from Inside Lakewood w/ Joel and Victoria Osteen

Lakewood ChurchThis week I had the privilege to take a trip with my family and staff to INSIDE LAKEWOOD with a day of leadership lessons and principles with Joel & Victoria Osteen.  Mary and I have had the privilege to be around the Osteens for the past few years, but this was exciting because we were able to bring the staff with us to SEE what we see in Joel & Victoria.

One of the most interesting things about Lakewood Church is that it took 13 years for the church to break the 200 barrier.  Wow.  There have been a lot of seeds planted in its 50 year history that have made this amazing church what it is today.

So here are some leadership lessons/things I learned:

  1. In order to see what God sees you have to raise your level of expectation (Victoria).
  2. Leaders always have to take their limits off of God (Joel).
  3. God places within you the desires of your heart (Joel).
  4. In a service not a moment can be wasted.  It is way too easy to get sloppy.
  5. A great service is built on consistency.
  6. A church of 1,000 needs a thousand guests each year to maintain its size.  You basically have to grow 20% per year to stay the same.
  7. Church should be a celebration.
  8. Joel will change anything/everything if he feels it needs to be changed.
  9. 90% of Lakewoods efforts go into the weekend services.
  10. Joel’s key to preaching: Keep it simple and leave people with 1 thought.
  11. John Osteen built Lakewood to 6,000 people w/ 20 staff members – he believed in volunteers.
  12. Churches should be forever young – use the young people in your church – on the stage and behind the scenes.
  13. Your greatest seed is the people in your church.
  14. Don’t build a road for the next generation – build a ramp (Israel Houghton).
  15. God gives you the grace for the criticism you face.  If you don’t have any critics find some.
  16. If you can’t celebrate where someone else is God will never bring you there.
  17. I would rather have influence than income (Joel).
  18. When you have great influence you will have great opposition (Lisa Osteen Comes).
  19. Lakewood is built on a culture of honor (Paul Osteen).
  20. You can’t keep good people if you don’t empower them.
  21. Let people use their gifts and talents – but keep them aligned with your vision.
  22. Understate your success.

ITodd Bishop & Joel Osteen am so privileged to have a friendship with Pastors Joel & Victoria.  They have influenced our ministry in so many ways.  But they have influenced me as a pastor even more!  This has been one of the greatest resources to Mary and I.  Thank you Pastor Buddy Cremeans for making the introduction!!!

There is so much to these amazing pastors.  Joel & Victoria are some of the most humble people I have ever met – they work very hard – and they are extremely loyal.  The greatest thing I love about this family is that they are who they are – what you see in public is who they are in private.

This is a friendship I will treasure and protect!

Push Through It.

I have discovered that those you succeed in anything have the amazing ability to HOLD ON … to never quit … to PUSH through!  Don’t ever give up. Press on … push through.  2 Corinthians 4:1: “Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up.”

You are more than you think you are … you can do more than you think you can … you have more than you know you do.  If you truly want to experience REAL LIFE … the John 10:10 life … you have to PUSH through every problem … OUTLAST any obstacle … and SUCCEED over every setback.

Let me ask you a question: “What do you do when life ruins your plans?” You know, when things don’t go the way you planned … when it almost seems as though God has responded the exact opposite of what you hope for … what do you do?

  • First, recognize pain is part of the growing process. Its part of the process none of us like but it still pushes us to grow.
  • Second, understand that everything in life is temporary. No body is designed to live forever and nothing is designed to endure forever. Everything is temporary.
  • I also believe complaining only prolongs the pain. The more you talk about it … the more you feel the agony of it. Don’t complain what you have been through … celebrate that God has brought this far.
  • Finally, realize the best thing you can ever do is never give up … push through the pain and problems.

Life is never going to be picture perfect but we all need to PUSH through.  And if we learn to PUSH THROUGH IT we will develop the abundant life God has called us to.

2015 – Faith Declaration

Faith DeclarationStanding on this faith declaration for 2015.

“Today I am convinced … that the best is before me … I declare that 2015 … is the year of opportunity … I am expecting … open doors … restored relationships … God’s favor … renewed passion … I will not … stay stuck in 2014 … I am moving forward … I am declaring … miracles … breakthroughs … healing … forgiveness … increase … answered prayers … I am committing to … Jesus … God’s Word … my church … and my family. I am ready … in Jesus name … Amen.”

Declare it.  Believe it.  Live it.

Never Stop Believing!

You will become all that God wants you to be.  Don’t stop believing.  Just because things did not go the way you planned does not mean that you are done.  Believe. The Scriptures teach “all things are possible if you believe.”  Never stop believing.

You see, if you believe it you will receive it.  But if you walk around believing that you are destined for failure, losing and bad breaks you may never experience the best for your life.

 Believe for your marriage.

Believe for your children.

Believe for your health.

Believe for your finances.

Believe for your church.

Your best days are not behind you – they are before you!!!!  You are destined to finish what God has started in you because finishing brings glory to God. Jesus was praying to God in Heaven and he said, “I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4).  Believe that you will accomplish everything He desires and you will bring glory to The Father.

Don’t stop believing.  This is the YEAR OF OPPORTUNITY!  That means open doors, miracles, increase and favor are heading in your direction!

Finish Strong.

I have discovered: “How you end one season determines how you will start another season.”  That’s why it is so important to finish strong.  This sets the platform to starting strong.  You can’t start a new chapter in a book, if you didn’t finish the last chapter.  You can’t do that in life either!

How you end one chapter of your life will create the beginning to the next chapter.  Focus on what God did right. Keep your eyes on the doors he opened up. Thank him for every day that he blessed you with.  Finish strong every season strong!

Don’t take shortcuts. Don’t look for the easy way out.  So start smart … calculate your decisions … and make sure you finish everything giving your very best!!!  Jesus said it this way: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25).

You see, if you finish your life on the foundation of Jesus Christ when the storms come in the next season you will be standing strong; Simply because you built strong during the last season.