From Heart to Mouth!

The condition of your heart will determine the content of your mouth. You can only keep quiet on what you really think and feel for so long until the volcano erupts and someone eavesdrop’s in on what is really going on in your personal world. If you want to change the content of your talk, you must allow God to change the theme of your heart. When God changes your heart, his desires become your desires, his thoughts become your thoughts, his ways become your ways and his words become your words.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “The burning heart will soon find for itself a flaming tongue.” When your heart burns for God, your words will ignite and inspire passion in others.

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What Successful People do first thing in the Morning!

244953667202626330_6dsexk5o_cAnd rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place and there he prayed. Mark 1:35

What do you do first thing in the morning? This is a question I’ve often asked different people over the years. I’ve been very interested in how people answer this question because I’ve been a long term believer in what you do in the morning hours sets up your entire day. I want to encourage you to rethink your morning routine. Too often I see, one of two extremes, either chaos or lethargy define people’s morning routines but there is a third option = A sustainable rhythm that invigorates you and makes you feel like whatever else you do today, you’ve already accomplished so much. Jesus modeled to all of us a healthy morning routine that set him and his ministry up for the day. He spent time in his Fathers presence before allowing the busyness of life overtake him. I encourage you to focus on 1 of 3 things in the morning hours. One is developing yourself, another is developing your relationships and the third is developing your career.

Developing yourself can look like exercise, prayer, bible reading, book reading, meditation or anything else that centers you and gets you a healthy body, mind and spirit.

Developing your relationships can look like making family breakfast time an opportunity to chat and get closer to family members. It can also look like meeting up with a close friend or work colleague for a coffee at a cool cafe and just chatting.

Developing your career can look like reading in your field, writing a blog or book, scanning news and reports, formal study or anything that will help you improve in your field.

It’s time to seize the day by seizing your morning hours. What you do from 6am-9am everyday can make or break your day. Don’t just settle to be a night owl. Body rhythms and sleep cycles will all benefit from making the shift to a morning routine. This is what successful people do to set up their day.

Ministry Begins at Home!

DSCF0345_2‘He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church.’ (1 Timothy 3:4-5)

Family is a gift from God and yet it is the most often neglected and abused entrustment in our lives. I think God takes how we treat our families far more seriously than we even appreciate. We are often focusing on ambitions external to our family relationships and justify the pursuit of them at the expense of treating our loved ones with true sacrificial love and respect.

God’s wisdom for public ministry begins with private victory. This means you’re only as good in public as your family life is in private. It lacks integrity when you treat other people better than you treat your own spouse and kids. Could it be that God withholds blessing in the public arena because of the immaturity we react with in our private lives?

1 Peter 3:7 says, ‘Husbands live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honour to the woman… so that your prayers may not be hindered.’ 

God is looking at how we treat those whom he has entrusted us with. We will never rise any higher than our faithfulness in the matters of our household. My ministry begins at home. If it doesn’t work at home then why would I hop onto a platform and tell anyone else to pursue something I’m not totally pursuing myself?

I want to leave a legacy to my children’s children that is of the highest order. I want them to see the consistency of my faith, my love, my hope and integrity and ultimately grow up in the healthiest, God-centered environment that I can provide. I reckon if we gave as much energy to the cultivating of our family unit that we often give to lesser things, the world would most definitely be a better place.

Join me in building strong families and watch what God does in every other arena of your life. The scriptures challenge us, ‘He who neglects his family is worse than an unbeliever.’ Don’t neglect your primary ministry, your household!

The Oracle!

Intimacy and Identity!

identity-manGrowing up I based my identity on what I achieved not on whom I was in relationship with. Whether it be in the sporting arena, the police academy or in the early years of my ministry, I valued myself on how I performed rather than who Christ said I was.

We live in a culture that’s obsessed with accomplishment and image because western society works on a functional paradigm rather than a relational paradigm. A functional paradigm is task oriented and purpose driven. We function together and what little time we have left over we connect and often very surface level.

Living in this functional paradigm can lead to tension and frustration. When we make life about something other than what God intended it to be, chaos is the end result. God intended us to live from a relational paradigm first, a functional paradigm second.

The kingdom of God operates on a relational paradigm. When Jesus was tested as to what the greatest commandment in the law was, he pointed to a relational paradigm, not a functional one (Matt 22:34-40). He said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and… love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ God’s will is first relational, second functional. We get saved through a person, not a task. Jesus said, ‘I am the way’, not ‘This is the way’. Everything God teaches us about life begins and ends with relationship.

Our identity flows out of our intimacy. Jesus is so attractive because he’s so secure in his relationship with his Father. Before Jesus ever healed the sick, preached a sermon, raised the dead or cast out a demon, he had his Fathers approval over his life (Matthew 3). Father God said, ‘This is my son, in whom I’m well pleased.’

We don’t attract God’s presence through performance, we are already attractive to him and he calls us into deeper levels of relationship with him. Intimacy is not an event, it’s a lifestyle. Out of intimacy God shapes our identity and it’s through our identity, that God shapes our destiny. What we ultimately possess in life is determined by who we become.

The more rooted our identity in Christ is, the healthier our relationships will be. The vertical relationship with God precedes the horizontal relationship with others. If there is conflict in our relationships with others, its possibly because there’s conflict within our own identity.

Your identity is inextricably connected to your identity. What do you value yourself by, achievement or relationship?

The Oracle!

Shaping the Future!

It’s interesting to consider the factors that shape our future. It’s easy to let the currents of life move us through the ebb and flow of each day, without us really stopping to take note and consider where we are really heading. I think there are several factors that shape our future in an intentional way.

Gods Sovereignty – The heart of man plans his way but the Lord orders his steps. God is sovereign over the affairs of the universe and although you may seriously question the reality of Gods Sovereignty, due to the overwhelming amount of pain and suffering in the world, I find myself believing even more readily in the involvement of Gods Sovereignty in the trajectory of where the world is heading. A cursory glance of Scripture will give you a big picture perspective of Gods Sovereignty involved in the affairs of mankind both in past history and in future events.

Prayer – I think we underestimate the place of prayer in shaping the future. I see Gods partnership with humanity in prayer and His willingness to at times limit himself to our intercession or lack of. Prayer brings us into the mind and heart of Gods intentions for us and is the key communication tool in our relationship with God.

Obedience – 1 Samuel 15 gives us a classic insight into the importance of obedience from Gods perspective. I don’t think it’s what you do that ultimately matters but what you do out of what God has revealed to you to do. My own future has been shaped more so by hearing and obeying God than anything I’ve attempted in my own flesh.

Relationships – Life is a matrix of relationships and the people we are connected to shape so much of our personal future’s. Who you relate to and connect with speak volumes about you as a person and what’s important to you. Ultimately, our relationship with God or lack of is the critical piece of the relational puzzle that must be firmly fixed in the centre of our lives, for anything of significance to be positively shaped in our lives.

Prophecy – Prophecy is Gods revelation of the intention of his heart and mind for people, churches and nations. Each prophetic word from God is pregnant with possibility and must be kissed by a heart of faith for Gods intention to manifest in our reality. Prophecy can warn us of impending events sent to derail us. Prophecy can lift our vision and set our hearts soaring with faith in the midst of a valley experience. Prophecy needs to be tested, understood, interpreted and applied with wisdom for it to be useful in our lives, otherwise, we get defiled by it or lose the potential of it in our lives.

These are some of the key factors that shape our future more than most things. Can you add to the list? What would you say has been key for you in the shaping of your future? Dialogue welcomed.

Grace!

Spacial Relationships

Every relationship belongs in a space in our lives.

Problems arise when we allow someone to occupy a space they shouldn’t be in. I’ve observed that in leadership we can have inappropriate people too close to us and the appropriate people too far away from us.

God didn’t build us to have relational spaces for everyone.

We each have a limited amount of space in which to place people. Our spirit has infinite capacity to be with God but we have emotional limits when it comes to being with others.

Every country has controlled airspace above it. There are specific ‘no fly zones’ that if you violate you risk being attacked. You can’t just fly into a country’s air space. You need to ask for permission and for a commercial airline paying a fee is required.

Everyone of us need to take responsibility for our own ‘relational space’. There are some people that are ‘no fly zone’ people and there are others who are allies and there are others who are partners. Don’t turn your landing lights on for every passing relationship that enters into your life.

I wonder if you have ever been on a vacation with someone you got on well with over a meal but being on a vacation with them was another experience. You came away exhausted and wondering what just happened? Just because you get on well with someone in one space doesn’t mean they are suitable for other more private spaces of your life.

The key question before embarking on a relationship journey is, ‘Have I got space for you?’ Don’t drift into a relationship you have no room for. Think about where you will put this person in your life.

Proverbs 12:26 ‘A righteous man chooses his friends carefully.’

A classic biblical example of spacial relationships is Abraham and Lot. God called Abraham to go to the land He would show him but Abraham invited Lot along for the ride and it proved disastrous. Abraham’s family and Lots family had to eventually separate because the land could not sustain both of them. Abraham had to end up rescuing Lot from disaster. One episode after another occurred because Abraham invited Lot into a space, God never invited Lot into. It was only after Lot had separated from Abraham did God speak to him again about his call.

Heed the lesson.

Maybe there are some things God wants to say to you but he can’t until you reorder your relational space. You are responsible for your relational spaces. Don’t give your most important spaces to the wrong people and sideline the right people from your life.

Gods got a dot to dot plan of your relational world. Pay attention to the sign posts and build significant relationships with the people God wants in your relational space. This isn’t being arrogant, it’s being a wise steward of your relational spaces and emotional well being.

Grace!

God Connections!

“For the body doesn’t consist of one member but of many.”

(1 Corinthians 12:14)

Yesterday, I met up with Ian Green from the UK through a mutual friend and ministry partner (Steve Wyndham). Ian is a preacher, leader and pastor amongst other things and as I sat and listened to his story and shared my own ministry journey with him, I was reminded again of the significance of God connections.

Good opportunities are just that, good. Nothing much changes or is influenced by simply seizing a good opportunity. A God opportunity is different. It takes discernment to see God at work in the connections we make with people and it also take initiative to seize the opportunity that a God connection affords.

A God connection will have mutual benefit for all parties. The way God works, it’s never just one way. God works all things for our good when we are called according to his purpose. The body of Christ is BIG and full of very interesting people. Every now and then God will bring a GC your way and I want to encourage you to seize it. None of us are isolated islands but we are in desperate need of partnership with others. Gospel partnerships are key to Gospel advancement. We see it in the New Testament and we see the principle in operation today.

My life has been shaped, not only, by my decisions but by those God has sent my way to influence me towards his plan and purpose for my life and ministry. This includes my spouse and several significant others.

What about you? Do you recognize a God Connection in your life currently, and if so, what are you doing to nurture and cultivate the relationship?

Grace!