Monthly Archives: June 2013

Turns Out there is Hope After All

hope

It is July 4th week and there is a lot of talk about trouble in America. Many people are lamenting the spiritual condition of our country and some are even saying there is no hope for America.

After this week, I beg to differ.

We just finished a week of summer camp for teenagers. As I reflect on the experiences of the week, I have a renewed sense of hope and positivity. Here is why:

I met some young, dynamic spiritual leaders who are willing to sacrifice an easier life in order to serve as a positive influence in the lives of others. Leaders like E.J. Mirelez and Perseus and Lorena Gross (Confess and Be Free) and Israel and Erin Noboa care enough about today’s teenagers and tomorrow’s leaders that they give of themselves in unbelievable ways. They exude hope.

I watched adult local leaders, pastors, youth pastors and youth leaders serve the kids of their churches and communities. They did without sleep, they gave personal finances, they put up with nonsense – all because they believe in their kids. They are reason for hope.

I watched some pretty troubled kids be transformed. Many of the teenagers at camp come from very difficult backgrounds. Many of these kids do not have positive role models at home. Some are neglected and abused.  Some of them have little exposure to hope. But once they saw it in action, they embraced it! They are hope!

There is hope for the world! The future can be bright. We cannot give up on the possibility of our country and world turning to Christ. This week showed me that when true hope is offered, it is received.

Maybe instead of spending our time lamenting about how bad things are, we should get busy sharing hope. It works!

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FEAR (get over it)

Fear get over it

I want to address one of the more powerful forces in the universe – fear. Especially as it relates to how we process life and opportunities, fear can control, intimidate and dominate our lives.

The term “paralyzing fear” is legit – some fear is so powerful that it actually leaves us unable to move.

The biggest trouble with fear is, it controls our ability to dream. Some find it nearly impossible to visualize a positive outcome because their fear dominates any optimism. Like a playground bully, fear intimidates the vision right out of many leaders. Napoleon Hill said, “Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop.”

Don’t let your fear of the future control your future!

Don’t allow fear of repeated failures to dictate your future!

Don’t tolerate fear as an uncontrollable force!

It can be controlled.

Here are some insights on how to beat fear:

Identify your fear. Ignoring it or denying it won’t help. Label it by name. Fear is an enemy.

Face your fear. Unless your fear is based on some life-threatening danger, face it down. Stare at fear right in the face. You may find that fear itself is intimidated by courage. Fear is a liar.

Push back. A good old fashioned, “I’m not gonna take it any more” attitude can result in fear backing away from the fight. You might need some help with this one, enlist a friend or two to help you push back. Fear is a coward.

Move in for the kill. Once you detect that fear is backing up, don’t let up. Push it all the way to the hell from which it came. Fear can be defeated.

Apply God’s Word to your fear! The phrase “fear not” appears 365 times in the Bible (one for every day of the year). “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. “II Timothy 1:7 (NLT) God does not want you under the control of fear.  Rather, He wants us to live confident and powerful lives.

Get over your fear and live out your dreams!


Drill Down

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We are increasingly becoming a generation of hoppers. We skip from one job to another, from hobbies and interests and even from one relationship to the next.  It is no wonder that we have trouble concentrating, our attention spans are short and we are easily bored.

There may be a consequence that is bigger than boredom – many of us are not living out the ultimate purpose of our lives. Rather than laser sharp vision and fulfillment, most people settle for mediocrity and mundanity. This can be a consequence of a refusal to focus on the main thing.

It’s time to drill down deeper into things that matter. Even as it is confusing to try to focus on more than one thing with your eyes, multiple emphases in life can ultimately frustrate.

Drilling deep will require some practices that we may not be currently employing.  A few examples are:

Exercise self-discipline: We must resist the temptation to flit from one concentration to the next. As children must learn to pay attention in spite of distractions, so we will need to develop this skill. It is a matter of growing up and doing what may not come naturally. Be mature enough to say “no” to non-essentials that prevent you from digging deeper.

Ignore the flash: There is a lot of competition for your attention. There are plenty of interesting sights and sounds that are vying for your focus. Learn to tune out the noise.  Don’t make yourself a slave to the loudest voices and brightest lights or else you will drive yourself crazy chasing them.

Give up on hip: Many people are trying so hard to stay connected and current that they end up being completely irrelevant. Trends change faster than you can. Be aware of who God created you to be, pursue that vision with everything you have and let the rest of the world keep spinning toward their nauseating dizziness.

Abandon the “messiah complex”: You can’t save others. You are not their answer. Let’s learn to entrust others to God and simply do what He has called us to do.

Drilling deep takes strength. But the result of deep drilling will be the discovery of precious gems unexplored by those who bounce around the surface of life.


You are Needed

you are needed

The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. 27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” I Corinthians 12:12, 18, 25-27 (NLT)

We need you to be at your best. You possess unique giftings that are necessary for larger success; when you win, we all win. As part of a team, we will all get more done. Individually, none of us will accomplish much of significance.

The challenges our generation faces require someone with your abilities. There are enough problems; we need you to be a part of the solution.

You can opt out, but someone else will need to step up, your job still needs to be done. If someone else steps up to do your job, who will do their job? It doesn’t take long for the entire thing to unravel.

We need you to contribute. Please join in. If you do, you will enjoy the fulfillment of a job well-done as well as great success for the body of Christ.

You are needed!