The Mouth Speaks what the Heart Believes!

Matthew 12:34 “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Jesus’ teaching is simple and yet deeply profound. Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees about the connection between what’s in their hearts and what’s coming out of their mouths. Our words are a direct reflection of whatever is going on in our hearts. A tree is known by its fruit. Whatever the condition of the tree, so shall the fruit of the tree be. Our words are the fruit of the health or sickness of our hearts. It’s no use trying to control our tongues (James 3:8) if we first aren’t allowing the Holy Spirit to change the condition of our hearts. If we want the quality of what we say to improve, the health of our hearts must become our primary priority. This requires us to become heart conscious, not just word conscious. Many of us attempt to keep up appearances with our words but neglect the weightier matter’s of the heart. Ask God to change your heart and your words will take care of themselves. Explosive Insights!

Catch the Little Foxes!

Song of Solomon 2:15 Catch the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyard. I ran from Sydney to Melbourne and raised $160k for my local church in 2008. It was a monumental challenge and was not helped by my little toe on my left foot turning black and getting pancaked for 1,172km. It didn’t matter how fit I was, the tiniest thing became my biggest issue. The same principle applies in life. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference and if you don’t pay attention to them, they will take you out. The challenge is many of us think we can take shortcuts with the little things and get away with it, however, you ignore them at your own peril. What are the little foxes in your world stealing the fruitfulness from your vineyard of life, work and health? Identify them and catch them before they spoil your vineyard. 

Get out of your own way!

complacencyJohn Maxwell once said, “If we could kick the person responsible for most of our problems, we wouldn’t be able to sit down for weeks.” Life is an invitation to get out of our own way, so that God can have his way through us. The economy isn’t my problem and the devil isn’t my problem, I am my biggest problem. Too many of us are committing self-sabotage and blaming it on external circumstances. What you can’t see, you can’t guard against or prepare for. We need to ask God to gently reveal to us areas in our character that are blind spots and apply Gods grace to whatever he reveals to us. The more out of the way you are, the more God will have his say through you.

Don’t be like Samson!

thumb.phpJudges 13-16 gives an apt description of a person’s life that ended so badly when it started with such promise and favour.

Samson had a massive calling on his life and was anointed for great influence, however, the wheels started falling off very early in his journey. He was a powerful and strong individual on the surface but lacked real substance under the surface.

His immaturity spiralled out of control and was on display for us not only to observe but to heed the lessons of his life. Samson liked the ladies too much. He was impulsive and hasty. He lacked self-control and discernment of people and their motives. He didn’t control his appetites and was prone to extreme exaggeration. I believe he acted in this way because he fundamentally underestimated what God had entrusted him with.

Samson had everything going for him – anointing, favour, calling, strength, looks, influence, miraculous provision BUT he blew it all because he thought his strengths gave him the right to have whatever his eyes saw and whatever his heart desired. Wrong conclusion.

He became so distant from God that he didn’t even know God’s anointing had left him. What a tragedy! Hot tip. Don’t be like Samson. If there are any tendencies in you similar to Samson, get real with yourself and with God and with a mate and repent. Life’s too short and the anointing is too precious to waste on lesser vices.

The Oracle!

 

 

Live in the Bullseye!

Don’t live on the periphery of what God has put you on the planet for. Live in the Bullseye. Too many of us settle for far too less than what God intended for us.

Imagine a blank A4 piece of paper folded a dozen or more times into a very small square and placed in your pocket. You carry it around with you day after day, year after year until finally you die. Imagine standing before Jesus and he has in his hand that little screwed up and folded up piece of A4 paper in his hand. Jesus then proceeds to unwrap the tiny A4 square piece of paper until it’s completely unfolded to a full piece of paper.

He looks at you in love and says to you, ‘You settled for this little square corner of life, when I called you to stretch, grow and live and contribute far more than you could have imagined.’ How do you think you might feel in that moment. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking, ‘Oh Crap’.

The pain of regret is the worst pain of all. It’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to pursue that dream. It’s never too late to say sorry or forgive or believe again. But you’ve got to make a decision to stop living on the periphery and start living in the bullseye of what God has really called you to.

The Oracle!

Refuse to Lie Down!

One of the principle weapons Satan uses to disable God’s people is discouragement. Every person I’ve ever met and conversed with about their personal life journey have got reasons to feel discouraged enough to want to quit. Sadly, some people do quit and give up. Thankfully, others refuse to lie down and inspire us by their example.

We live in a fallen world that is characterised by selfishness, doubt, pessimism, discouragement and darkness. The kingdom of God is counter-cultural and is marked by generosity, faith, optimism, hope, encouragement and light. If your life is going to reflect the kingdom of God more than the kingdom of this world, you will have to be intentional about it because your flesh will naturally default to the spirit of this age.

I wrestle with discouragement a lot. It can come over me like a dark cloud and blanket me in such a way that it feels oppressive. The only way I break through it, is not by positive self-talk but by pressing into the sanctuary of God’s presence. In his presence I’m reminded that nothing is too hard for him. In his presence, my joy returns and I find the strength to keep believing, keep moving forward and keep positioning myself for greater things to come. God’s presence is a tower of strength and when we distance ourselves from him, we become a target for the devil to take us out with discouragement.

Too many of us accept the lies of the enemy too readily. Too many of us allow Satan to steamroll us with a barrage of condemnation and accusation, as if we were utterly powerless. But the truth is, we are powerful in God and his purpose for us (Ephesians 1).

I encourage you to draw a line in the sand and make a decision to stop entertaining the discouraging string of ideas Satan sends your way. Stop the broken record of wrong thinking and renew your mind with God-Truth. Life is fleeting and days pass by so quickly. Don’t give your best thoughts and years to the enemy of your soul. Your better than that and Gods calling on your life is too precious to let go of just because you’re in a season of discouragement. Refuse to lie down.

The Oracle!

Connect your Vision to your Diary!

I define vision to be a clear and compelling God-given picture of the future (as per my Vision book 2006). I think it’s also more than that but we have to define it in some way.

I was speaking to Steve Addison last week and he feels that the word ‘vision’ has been over-used and that it doesn’t mean a whole lot  anymore. He prefers to use the word ‘Need’ and suggests that when God gets a hold of a leader, he re-defines their character with his character and opens their eyes to a particular need and gives that leader energy and ideas to resolve the need. Not bad at all, I like!

Whether you call it a need, or a big cause or the big idea, I don’t care. What I care about is that you connect your big vision to your daily schedule = Diary! If you don’t, you’ll be like me sometimes and get totally frustrated with feelings of not accomplishing what God put me here on the planet to do. Can you identify with this?

When I have felt frustrated for longer than a few days, I ask myself, why? Invariably, it generally comes down to a disconnection between the great cause God’s put in my heart and my own daily schedule. It’s really simple, if you want to see your vision come to pass and avoid feeling like you are wasting your time, then you need to know what jump starts your heart and you need to actively schedule the right activities in your diary around the big idea.

One of the best bits of advice from all the books on time management I’ve read is simply this, “Organize and Execute around your priorities”.

When I feel frustrated with vision output vs time spent I return to the prayer closet and ask God to speak to me about what he has called me to do and what his vision for my life’s work is. When I do this, he always, always, always says the same things but the whole process distills life into its rawest and simplest form. I’ve found that after 2-4 weeks of living post this encounter, life gets complicated in the minutia and demands and expectations of others. I have a real problem with people approval and I have OCD expectations of myself. This makes for an intense feeling of drivenness that I like when sanctified but I hate when not. We are to love people but worship God, not people. We are to love results but worship God, not results.

Your diary should reflect the vision you are seeking to fulfill. If it doesn’t, your kidding yourself. The big rock activities of your week should be spent on the big rocks of your vision. My vision for Activate Church is:

  • Disciple thousands of people
  • Transform the community we are apart of
  • Plant churches across the globe
  • Produce resources to help people grow in their ministry

While there are things I do that don’t fit into anyone of these big rock categories, If I don’t get intentional about aligning my diary with these goals, I get frustrated and my family feels like they’re living with a bear who has a sore head. You get the idea? Make it work.

Grace!