Our View of God Determines Our View of Change

 

Our View of God Determines Our View of Change

We’d like God to be more conventional and predictable. Yet, if He were, there would be no miracles, no signs and wonders, no dreams coming to pass. There is never nothing going on with God. When you serve God, you are part of a revolution whether you want to be or not, because God is here to change the world, and you are His change agent. He’s developing you so that you can grow others. God wants us to transform and emerge by understanding the possibilities that can be attained through unbridled faith. He has already written the script and is just waiting for us to fill the role.

In two weeks’ time we had let go of our home, our church, our ministry and my father, and even though I knew in my heart that God was in control, my mind was guided by my insecurities instead of my faith. Letting go of something you love or you’re familiar with can be very disconcerting. The more I thought about my fears and the more I expressed my uncertainties to others, the more un- certain I became. My words and thoughts were undermining my beliefs instead of my beliefs determining my words and actions. I was listening to all the reasons why I shouldn’t change instead of all the reasons why I should. My faith was tested not so much by the outward circumstances (as hard as they were) but by my internal response. I was confronted by the same questions all people face when struck by unexpected change: Did I trust God? Did I believe that going to a new opportunity, my father’s death and leaving a church after three years were all part of God’s ultimate purpose in my life?

One of my core beliefs is that God is constantly showing us new things, taking us new places and leading us on new paths that are far bigger than we can imagine. Change can deepen our trust in God. The decisions we make are a by-product of the change that is constantly taking place in our lives. When we have the courage to look at circumstances through a different lens, we will change for the better and make better decisions.

In the midst of my insecurities, I remembered my core beliefs and began to see God’s perspective. I knew it was the right decision to go to Lakewood because of the way God had changed us and prepared us for this new transition.

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Who Is in Control of Your Change?

 

Who Is in Control of Your Change?

My father suddenly passed away and we were moving from Los Angeles to Houston. How was I going to go to Houston now? My mind raced from one thought to the next: Mom needed me; we were still packing; my family was in shock; Dad was gone; we had to make funeral arrangements; how could I inspire others at my new job when I was reeling from grief? How much change can a person deal with at once? Unexpected change has the possibility of paralyzing us.

Change can mask itself to look like a problem when in reality it is the answer in disguise. We can’t always see that the thing that might be holding us back is the very thing we have been holding on to the tightest. Change will force you to step onto the playing field when you have been comfortable in the stands. I do not want to just live life to be comfortable; I want to live life to make a difference. Yet, you always have a choice: you either run from change or respond to it. You can either be afraid or affirming, passive or powerful. It all depends on whether you are handling the change or God is handling the change.

Have you ever experienced more change than you could bear? It’s overwhelming . . . but it’s not over! Vertical leaders don’t run, they respond. They are not passive, but are powerful because they know that if they remain in Him, and His words remain in them, they can ask whatever they wish, and it will be given (see John 15:7). When things shift in life, it can be like a hurricane or a soft rain. It just depends on who is controlling the weather. Let God calm the storms in your life. His predictions are always right. At that moment, I asked God to take control of my life, to be the pilot, not the co-pilot.

I’ve never understood why people say that God is their copilot. The copilot doesn’t control the plane; the pilot does. The copilot gets orders from the captain. I don’t know about you, but I’m not giving God the orders when He’s the One who wrote the manual. Maybe we struggle with indecision because we have taken control and made God the copilot. Remember the plane that miraculously landed on the Hudson River after an engine failure? Thank God the captain was flying the plane and had the experience to know how to glide the plane and lay it down on the water. He knew exactly how to respond to the sudden change. Sometimes you really need the captain!

A week after my father’s death, we celebrated his life and buried his body. We gave our farewells to Faith Community Church on Father’s day weekend, and the next day got in the car and left for Houston to work at the largest church in America. Talk about overwhelming! The only thing I knew in the midst of the chaos was that God was in control.Sometimes that’s all you need to know. Moving to Houston actually was the greatest move of our lives. Everything went to a new level but we could have missed it.

When you are about to do a presentation and your computer crashes, who is in control? When your profits are on a downtrend and you don’t know why, who is in control? When your marriage is falling apart and you don’t know what to do, who is in control? Either God will control our change or the change will control us.

Follow peace. Let go of control, and let God steer the ship. He knows which direction to go and where to turn. Don’t be afraid of change, it may be the very thing that propels you to a better life and a brighter destiny.

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Driving Lessons

Driving Lessons

Have you ever been late to a meeting and decided to speed through traffic, only to stop at the next red light and notice that in the next lane over is one of the cars you so urgently passed a while back? Speeding does not guarantee that you’ll get there faster! Speed may not get you there faster, but knowledge will. If you know the right road to take, understand where traffic is the heaviest and prepare ahead of time, you can almost always get there right on time. When you take time to reflect and plan your day according to what’s best for the program and the team, you will experience more growth than you ever imagined.

Have you ever made a sharp turn and driven your front wheel up on the curb and have it drop back down onto the road with a bang? At first it seems like the car is fine, but soon you notice a slight pull to the left. As long as you keep your hands on the wheel it seems fine. Six months pass and that slight pull is beginning to make the steering wheel shake. It’s not that bad, you think I can still drive the car. Months later your tires are worn, the wheel bearings are just about shot, the front end shakes and if you let go of the wheel your car veers sharply to the left. When the wheels are out of alignment, it always gets worse.

I’ve seen many leaders work this way. They are good people who have had success, but somewhere along the line their focus shifts, like a car going out of alignment. They begin to compromise their core purpose or belief. Ever so slightly they begin to entertain ideas that shift the company in a self-serving direction. At one time it was about building the team, but now it is about building themselves. They want success so badly that they forget to focus on the core values that got them there. It’s important to continue to ask, “Why do we do the things we do?”

I’ve been honored to spend time with many leaders across the country and encourage them to explore why they do what they do. In one meeting, I asked a group of talented and effective leaders why they used a certain component of their program. What were they hoping to accomplish? A bit surprised by the question, the only answer they could give was that they thought it was cool and other people would think it was cool too. “Well that’s great,” I said, “but why do you do it? What is the message behind your program? The cool factor will wear out if there is no principle. The message is what keeps it in alignment.”

To stay in alignment, we have to continually ask three questions. Why do we do what we do? Where do we want to take people? Does what we do line up with our core principles? A vertical leader is not afraid of the questions, because they know it will lead them down the right road.

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Accept Yourself In 2013

Accept Yourself in 2013

You may not think highly of yourself, but God wants you to like who you are. Here are 5 practical tips to help increase your self-acceptance and improve your opinion of yourself:

1. Never speak negatively about yourself. The communication of your faith is made effectual by acknowledging every good thing in you through Christ Jesus, not by focusing on the wrong.

2. Avoid comparing yourself to others. Peter encountered this obstacle when he compared himself to another disciple. He said, “Lord, what about this man? Jesus replied, If I want him to stay (survive, live) until I come, what is that to you?…” (John 21:21-22 AMP). We are not called to compare, only to comply.

3. Let God determine your worth. Remember that you have already been accepted by God.

4. Keep your flaws in perspective. It’s ok to see where you want to improve, but make sure you appreciate your progress.

5. Discover the true source of confidence. If you place your confidence in God, you can’t help but have a healthy attitude. Do your best, and leave the results to Him.

Prayer Starter: God, thank You for accepting me even when I have trouble accepting myself. Help me to acknowledge the good qualities You’ve given me and keep my flaws in perspective as I find my confidence in You.

Contributed via Joyce Meyer

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Listening To The Right Voices

Listening to the Right Voices

Every December, like most children in America, I looked forward to Christmas. I loved everything about the season: setting up the tree, decorating the house, dropping hints about gifts I wanted and, of course, watching the Christmas specials on television. Back then no one owned them on DVD, so we had to check the TV Guide to make sure not to miss the classics like Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer and It’s a Wonderful Life. One of my all-time favorites was the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Little did I know that Charles Schultz’s dream for the Charlie Brown Special was almost squelched because of some well-positioned dream breakers.

When the special was in the last stages of production, the network executives began to express concern. Typical of dream breakers, they saw the problems instead of the possibilities. They complained about choppy animation, poor sound quality and the lack of what was then an industry standard––a laugh track. Charles Schultz believed the audience should laugh when they wanted to and did not need to be prompted. The producer’s main concern, which they felt guaranteed the program’s failure, was Linus’s now-famous rendition of the Christmas story.

The dream breakers were convinced they would lose ratings and corporate sponsors because Americans would not want to spend their prime time listening to a cartoon character quoting the King James Version of the Bible. In response to these dream breakers, Charles Schultz, in typical dream maker fashion, responded, “If we don’t tell them the real meaning of Christmas, who will?”

The CBS executives were looking to make money, not change lives. Fortunately for every child who has watched the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, Charles Schultz saw something greater than just a cartoon. He saw the possibility of impacting a nation. The scene of Linus telling the true story of Christmas was voted by TV Guide as one of the top 100 scenes in television history. On the night it aired, most of the nation watched that special. The Charlie Brown Christmas Special has won more awards and accolades than any other.

All of us will face dream breakers. Dream breakers are not always bad people. I’ll bet most of the CBS executives who were opposed to Charles Schultz at the time can now look back and see their mistake. All of us, at one time or another, have been a little off track and said words that could shatter dreams. What causes good people to break dreams? Pride, ego, jealousy, negativity and a need for control can all cause good people to become dream breakers.

Charles Schultz never lost his focus in the midst of some very powerful negative voices. His determination to tell the story of Christmas in a simple yet profound way literally made history. Your focus will determine what you listen to. I see people who live a life so far below their potential because they are listening to voices that have broken their dreams. They stay in jobs and under leaders who impress to oppress. These leaders are never happy, it’s never good enough, and they are never for anybody but themselves.

At some point we have to realize that there are always going to be people who are not for us, no matter how hard we try. We have to shake it off and refocus. Don’t chase after people who pull you down; chase after people who build you up. Choose to be around people who want to know your dreams so you can dream together. If we settle or accept our lot in life, we will never reach higher than the status quo.

In their song “Meant to Live,” by the band Switchfoot, the lead singer screams the chorus, “We were meant to live for so much more . . . have we lost ourselves?”1 Have you ever found yourself just going through the motions and not living in all that God has for you? After years of trying to please others, sometimes we give up and stop living in our true identity and purpose. We lose the identity and purpose that God gives us when we try to gain the acceptance of others. It’s always a mistake to try and make the dream breakers happy instead of seeking to please the One who gave us the dream. Dream breakers can take the form of bosses, parents, negative friends and even pastors.

When we dig down deep and ask God what we are meant to do, we discover our true identity. Our focus shifts from pleasing those who refuse to be pleased, to pleasing the One who already loves us and wants the best for us. When we find our identity as a person and leader in God, we are not as concerned about pleasing dream breakers. Dream breakers are not interested in your life; they are interested in their agenda. You do not have to settle, as a leader, for anything but God’s best. You do not have to accept what people say about you when God is for you. You can listen to a million voices or tune into an audience of One.

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Know Who You Are

Know Who You Are

One of the most important things to learn as a leader is to Know Who You Are and understand who God has specifically made you to be. Leadership is about knowing who you are without being defensive about who you are not. Despite your gifts and abilities, you can never be all things to all people.

If you don’t know who you are, someone will tell you who they think you should be. God has a plan for your life, but so does everybody else. Vertical leaders don’t tell someone what he or she should be, they show someone what he or she can be. Each leader has one primary objective, to make “team” the number-one cause. You can’t build a great team unless you are willing to trust them. Your team will never fulfill their God-given destiny unless each leader intentionally reaches out to help others find their destiny.

God has predetermined that when you live in Him and He lives in you, greatness is flowing in your bloodline. Coming from a royal lineage, you have nobility within you! What fulfills your soul will ultimately be what sustains your life. What sustains your life will ultimately be what controls your destiny.

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” You are a child of the Most High God. You already are destined to a life of victory; all you have to do is believe and initiate your destiny. You might hear people say, I’ve made too many mistakes already and I’m not sure I can carry on that legacy. Remember though, what takes man a hundred years to do, God can do in a split second. God will accelerate the process whenever you are willing to make a change. When building leaders, you are creating a path for those you lead to go out and do what they were born to do. What you build in others can change the course of history, because the leaders you’ve inspired will make history.

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Dad, Baseball, & Destiny

Dad, Baseball and Destiny

My father was an avid baseball fan. The New York Yankees were his favorite team, and his favorite player was Mickey Mantle. When Mickey told America to eat Wheaties, my dad thought his hero was talking directly to him through the television. My father begged his mother to buy him Wheaties so he could play baseball like Number 7. Dad not only ate his Wheaties like Mickey, but he also drank his Yoo Hoo Chocolate Soda like Mickey and talked with a Southern drawl like Mickey. He even ran like Mickey, with his shoulders back and hands to his side. My father eventually played Little League, Pony League, and high school baseball. He even had the opportunity to pitch against Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, who went on to pitch for the New York Mets. Without realizing it, the New York Yankees and Mickey Mantle nurtured destiny seeds in my father’s life: God’s vision for a father and son.

My dad was a life long Yankees fan and took me along for the ride. Growing up in northern California, I wanted to root for the Oakland A’s, but my dad’s stories about Mickey and the Yankees were too hard to resist; and because I wanted to be like my dad, I began to follow the Yankees.

When my son Cory was born, the first thing I bought him was a Yankees cap. Cory heard stories of Mickey Mantle and other great players, and he, too,∂ became a Yankees fan. A few years before my father’s death, all three of us went on a baseball road trip. Three generations of Yankee fans watched games at Yankee Stadium, visited the Baseball Hall of Fame, and drove to Baltimore’s Camden Yards to see the place where Babe Ruth grew up. All of this happened because Mickey Mantle told a little boy to eat his Wheaties.

Every time my father told me a story or played baseball with me, he encouraged what I’ve become today and will be until the day I die: a full-blown, die-hard, pin-stripe wearing, Yankee loving, baseball fan for life. I’m not a Yankee fan for life because of the New York Yankees; I’m a Yankee fan because my dad’s hero planted a seed inside of a little boy who passed that seed to another little boy who is currently passing that seed on to the next generation.

Who benefited? Well, of course the New York Yankees have made a lot of money from all the T-shirts, baseball caps, tickets and posters we’ve bought throughout the years. Yet, the real benefactors are my family. My dad and I never had a tough time communicating in my teen years. If we got stuck, we could always talk baseball. Each generation in my family, from my father to my son, has played baseball, and we have great memories of family days at the ballpark. The road trip that my dad, my son and I took was, for me, the single greatest experience between fathers and sons.

These things didn’t just happen. I believe God wanted my family to connect and create memories that would last a lifetime. My dad’s love for baseball watered God’s seed of a father and son relationship. Just as my dad before me, I, too, use baseball to build a relationship with my son. To lead another life, one must be willing to give up a part of his or her own.

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Random Thoughts

If “You” want to do something that has never been done before you won’t find it in a book other wise it wouldn’t be in a book. There are no new ideas under the sun, but there are plenty beyond it. Search for the mind of God because his ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts. Clear your mind of what you know & open your mind to what God knows. You will see & do things differently!

 

Random Thoughts

A Vertical Leader sees life on a different plane and inspires extraordinary change which helps others soar above their circumstances.

 

When I allow God to be my satellite I am able to rise above because what I can’t understand, God can. What I can’t move, God can. What I can’t resolve, God can. What I can’t see, God can.

 

Our voice might be able to reach a village, but Gods voice can shake a nation. Began to speak with the vocal chords of the God of the universe.

 

 What has ever happened supernaturally that makes sense? Nothing truly great ever makes sense.

 

Too many times we let our minds determine the outcome when God’s mind is already made up. God already knows he can do it, he’s just waiting for us to make up our mind that He can do it. Our thoughts hold us back more than any enemy ever could.


 

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Your Past Does Not Determine Your Destination

Your Past Does Not Determine Your Destination

The other day I was looking at old videos of when our son Connor was almost 2 years old. Connor was smiling at us, laughing, with full eye contact like a typical child. When I would say something to him he would automatically respond. I saw him playing with his mom and other kids who came over without any hesitation. I have to be honest, it’s been painful for me to watch those video’s because just a few short months later everything changed. When I look back I start to think what could we have done differently? Was this our fault? All these feelings of guilt can come flooding in. Then you start feeling regret, depression, fear, and a myriad of negative thoughts. God does not want us to do that. He wants to show us a greater plan then what would have happened. Dream makers may fall down but they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and move forward on their journey knowing God has a greater plan designed just around the corner. They may not see it now, but God sees it for them. Faith doesn’t make things easy, it makes them possible. I had to let go of that video playing in my mind of what once was, and embrace the new story of what will be.

Dream breakers struggle with letting go of the past instead of embracing the future. At times, it’s good to remember the past but not live in it. New dreams are waiting to come into focus, but they can be blocked by past disappointments, negative words and past hurts. Life-altering moments can be a breakthrough or a breakdown. Never let a past mistake stop you from moving forward. The breakthrough happens when you make the change. One of the key things I convey to leaders is that their past does not determine their final destination. Don’t dig up things God has already forgotten. With God there is a clean slate where you can write whatever dream you have on the chalkboard. The future is too important to live in the past. I wouldn’t change anything about our journey with Connor. It’s like faith, it hasn’t been easy…but with God we have seen what is possible. If the enemy keeps reminding you of your past speak the 3 R’s my mom taught me. RECOGNIZE the enemy, REFUSE to entertain the enemy’s thoughts, and RESIST the enemy and tell him in Jesus name he must flee. The enemy has no control over your future unless he can keep you in your past. Your pain, disappointment, failure doesn’t have to be the end of you living. In the bible when Elijah was being chased by Jezebel he thought his life was over. Even after the huge victory of defeating the prophets of Baal. Yet, while Elijah was thinking the worst, God was planning the best. He heard God through a gentle whisper and God again took care of his enemies. Our greatest success often rises out of the ashes of failure. Keep believing, keep looking up. If you stay in faith what was meant to stop you will propel you to a higher level. The key is to trust God and never Give up. : )

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Where Being Last Makes You First

How do vertical leaders nurture the seeds that God has planted in others? When you give up part of your own glory so that others might shine, you are leading vertically. When I plant a seed in someone else and teach him or her to do the same, destiny seeds multiply. It takes courage and humility to set aside your own glory, but vertical leaders find glory in the dreams of others. True power in leadership comes when a leader, refusing to allow pride to rule him, helps others succeed. To speak the language of team one has to believe that everyone plays a part and no one is more important than another.
Every human being is unique and adds value; it’s not about strong wills or who gets the praise. Someone once said, “It is amazing how much you can accomplish when no one cares who gets the credit.” This is where the first becomes last because someone actually cares about the last person in line. It’s a state of mind that can only come from the state of the heart.
A while back, I caught the end of the biggest race in NASCAR: the Daytona 500. Tony Stewart was ahead of Ryan Newman, and Newman wasn’t going to catch him if he didn’t get some help. Newman’s teammate, Kurt Busch, was coming up fast behind him; but instead of trying to pass, he gave Newman a push from behind that catapulted him into the lead just in time to cross the finish line. When asked after the race about his win, Newman said, “I couldn’t have done it without my teammate. Most guys would never have done something so unselfish, and I can’t thank him enough.” Ryan Newman will never forget that Kurt Busch helped him reach his dream of winning the Daytona 500. The next time Kurt Busch needs help, who do you think will be the first one to step up? Ryan Newman. That’s the power of team building!
You might ask, shouldn’t a leader be driven to achieve all that God has for him or her? Shouldn’t we maximize our potential? Yes and no. We can only reach so high on our own, but when we help others reach their potential, everyone benefits. Imagine if we believed that a leader is great not because of who they are, but because of the team they build.
When I look at leaders, I look first at the army of people who believe in their cause. What have they deposited into others? When leaders raise others up, they don’t lose anything. The leaders rise higher, the company grows stronger and people take ownership for the team. The more destiny seeds you plant, the better leader you become. Why? Great leaders leave great legacies.

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