Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Encouragement & Wisdom for Leaders #3: Philippians 2:17

Intentionality is always the first step in working toward a goal or plan. As a leader you have to know your reason why and have a game plan for what you're working toward. This is also applicable in other areas of service and desired growth. Do everything on purpose and with a purpose if you want to experience any kind of success in whatever you're pursuing.

There was young guy and gal that responded to an altar call one Sunday after a convicting message at our church. This couple also decided to be baptized that same day. Guess how this couple came to our church? Another guy named Hesus that was intentionally invited to play flag football with the men's ministry invited them. From that first connection point with flag football, Hesus comes to know Jesus. Some months later Hesus intentionally invites a young couple who responds to Jesus and gets baptized. Hesus was invited on purpose and with a purpose, and then Hesus invited the young couple on purpose and with a purpose. God did the rest.

Don't waste the opportunities or the influence you have. Do everything on purpose and with a purpose and you will experience success in your leadership. But remember, success in leadership is never without cost.

“Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.” -Philippians 2:17 (NKJV)

This is the call of leadership: giving of yourself as an offering, sacrificing, and serving for the faith of others. Apostle Paul said he gladly welcomes this call and rejoices!

Sometimes as leaders we do not get recognized for all of what we do. Sometimes as leaders we feel unappreciated for what we do for those we lead. This is part of the call of leadership. Paul understood this clearly, and despite the sacrifices and giving of himself he was glad and rejoiced with those he led. Let us follow his example.

As a Christian leader, an essential component of doing everything on purpose and with a purpose is looking to hear from the Father, “Well done”. Until then, let us intentionally embrace this call and cost of leadership with gladness, knowing if no one else sees God does. And let us intentionally rejoice with those we lead as we see them grow more in the image of Jesus.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017


From January until today I have been spending my morning devotion with God in Genesis. No commentaries. Just me, the Holy Spirit, and His Word. Each day I would read either a chapter or multiple chapters, and then I would journal my personal gleanings and takeaways from my reading that morning. Upon journaling I began posting some of them on my social media to share with others. I would bookmark each post with #morningdevoinGenesis (at least on Facebook, Twitter not so much). It appeared many were blessed by them in some way. So, I figured why not post them all as a blog and hopefully bless many more as well!

I almost covered every chapter in Genesis. So go grab a cup of coffee or tea. Sip and read away.

May the Holy Spirit speak to all who read them!


Chapters 1-11 of Genesis makes 2 things clear:
1. God is unquestionably sovereign over all.
2. Mankind, post-fall, is inherently sinful.

Chapter 12
Many times God will call us to leave our comfort/what’s comfortable in order to do something great in us and through us to bless others. (Gen. 12:1-3)

Husbands, don’t be afraid of the beauty of your wife like Abraham was. She is your blessing from God. He will protect her. (Gen. 12:11-20)

Chapter 13
Everything that looks good isn't always good. Sometimes things that look good are the center of wickedness & destruction. (Gen 13:10-13) #learningfromLotslessons

Genesis 14
Melchizedek was identified as king of Salem and priest of God (Gen. 14:18). Abram was identified as simply "Abram of God Most High" (Gen. 14:19). Neither is wrong. However, Abram's identification is better. Desire to be identified not by our titles/positions but by our standing in God alone. #knowyouridentity

Genesis 15
"Don't be afraid (insert your name). For I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward." (Gen 15:1). Remind yourself of this truth daily!

Genesis 16
Sometimes our spouses are wrong, but God never is. (Gen. 16:1-2)

God sees all your afflictions and distresses. He’s not blind to it. (Gen. 16:11-13) #trustHim

Genesis 17
There is no longer a physical distinction between the people of God & unbelievers. But there is a spiritual one, circumcision (cf. Rom 2:28-29). Our regenerate heart (i.e. actions, attitudes, motivations, beliefs, obedience, etc) is what distinguishes God's people from unbelievers. #cutoffmyfleshLord

Genesis 18
We serve the LORD through serving others in joy and gladness (Gen. 18:1-5).

During difficulties in life we need to ask ourselves, "Is anything too hard for the LORD?" (Gen 18:14). The answer is always no. Trust God.

It's easy for us to question what God is doing, even wonder if it's the right thing. Yet Scripture says, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen 18:25)

#serveGod #trustGod

Genesis 19
Men, stand up for your wives & children. Don't punk out under pressure like Lot did (Gen. 19).

If God tells you to "escape without delay and don't look back lest you be destroyed" (Gen 19:17, 26). Heed His counsel or suffer the consequences!

Genesis 20
Don't put your family in harms way bcuz of your assumptions (Gen 20:1-11). Trust God and walk in wisdom and integrity. #samethemetrustGod #dontpunkoutmen

Genesis 21
God does not forget His promises. He’s already planned when they will be fulfilled. (Gen. 21:1-2)

Parents, trust God with your children so they will become whatever He has for them to become. (Gen. 21:20)

Genesis 22
God sees our obedience to Him as reverence of Him. (Gen 22:1-12)

Genesis 23
Live all the years of your life. Don’t let life pass by. (Gen. 23:1)

Genesis 24
Abraham remembered what God said, then he made his decision in faith trusting God to remain true to His word (Gen 24:1-9). As should we. Saints, remember what God says in His word, then make decisions in faith trusting God to stay true to His character. #morningdevoinGenesis #trustGod #moveinfaith

Genesis 25
Husbands, cover in prayer every barren area of your wife’s life. (Gen. 25:21)

Nothing escapes the sovereign plan of God, even in the womb. (Gen. 25:23)

Genesis 26
Sometimes God brings famine in our lives to get us to move (Gen 26:1-5). Complacency is a killer to mission and vision.

Be careful dads and moms, our children follow us and may even repeat our same mistakes (Gen 26:6-11). Guard them from this. Use wisdom in parenting and the power of prayer to not pass on bad generational patterns.

Don't assume the 1st place God leads us to will be 'the one'. Sometimes God test our obedience and humbles us first to prepare us before leading us to a place for a season to grow & bless us. (Gen 26:17-22, 32)

Sometimes your growth in Christ can intimidate others. Don't take it personal. Bless them instead. (Gen 26:26-31)
Never forget, our decisions can grieve others connected to us. (Gen 26:34-35)

#toomeatynottoshare #receiveandheed #theSpiritspeaksthroughtheWord

Genesis 27
The dysfunction in our families are not outside the sovereign plan of God for our life. He knows what He's doing, even when it may seem like He doesn't. (Gen. 27ff)

Genesis 28
"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go...I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you" (Gen 28:15). The purposes of God in our life will prevail or God is a liar.

When you realize that you're in the presence of God, tremble in awe and marvel at Him! (Gen 28:16-17)

The place "Bethel" came into being as a memorial after Jacob's encounter in the presence of God (Gen 28:18-19). How often do we relish and remember our intimate encounters with Jesus so much so that we seek to return repeatedly?

#trustHim #seekHim

Genesis 29
Let us never think women cannot be shepherds (Gen. 29:9). The Spirit gifts those in the Body how He wills (1Cor. 12:11).

Husbands, do we love our wives enough that we weep for them and would do double labor for them? We should. (Gen. 29:11-28) #guilty #helpmelovemywifeLord

Genesis 30
Jacob said "my righteousness will answer for me in time to come" (Gen 30:33). How true is this? Either your righteousness will answer for you before God or Christ righteousness in you will answer for you before God.

Genesis 31
Jacob called God "the Fear of Isaac" (Gen 31:42, 53). Powerful! "The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread" (Isa 8:13). #feartheLORD

Genesis 32
We need to repeatedly proclaim to ourselves, "I will never let You go God. No matter how much I have to wrestle in my life, no matter how out of place my life gets, I will never let go bcuz of how You have blessed me with You." (Gen 32:24-29)

Genesis 33
It is the leader's responsibility to know the state of those who follow them and how fast or slow a pace they should lead for their people's benefit. (Gen 33:14)

Genesis 34
Inordinate affection can lead to obsession and destruction. Be careful. (Gen. 34)

Genesis 35
Repentance gets our heart and mind right for worship. (Gen 35:1-2)

Sometimes God will birth in us and through us something we may not see as beloved but others will, and yet it will be brought forth with great sacrifice. (Gen 35:16-19)

Genesis 37
Sometimes your God-given dream may lead you into some unfortunate events. But don't think God is not the One orchestrating the outcome for His glory and purposes. (Gen. 37) #trusttheSovereignOne

Genesis 38
2 lessons learned from Judah, the son of Jacob, in Genesis 38:1-26. Temptation can appear more appealing during the difficult times when we need to be comforted. And it's during those times that we need our community of faith around us, supporting us, bcuz in those weak moments it's easier to give into the sins we would otherwise say no to on a good day. #gottawatch #communityisnonnegotiable

Genesis 39
From the story of Jospeh, we see that the favor of God = the Lord is with you in what you do and what is done to you. (Gen 39:1-23)

An obedient believer can be an unbeknownst blessing in all their environments and a witness for God (Gen 39:3, 5). Don't shortchange your obedience or be resistant to being a blessing in your environments, see it as an opportunity for God to be made known.

Don't assume temptations are one and done. Some temptations are persistent and ongoing until you slip and give it an entrance to catch you up (Gen 39:7-18). But don't fret, our slips and falls and the schemes of the enemy to destroy us don't catch God by surprise. The grace of God keeps us in our slips/falls and in the enemy's plots and He sets us up for some greater purpose in His plan (Gen 39:19-23).

Prison doesn't have to be prison when God is with you. (Gen 39:21-23)

Genesis 40-41
Man, so much in a chapter and a half of Genesis. I probably could've noticed more. Heart check definitely this morning.
1. Serving others with the right heart can redeem a bad situation and create opportunities for God's glory in your life (Gen 40:4-8). Do we trust God enough to do this? Now, this doesn't mean it will be a quick turnaround, it may take a while for something to come of it (Gen 41:1ff). Nonetheless, we are to trust God and continue to serve others faithfully (in whatever way that may be).
2. When your spirit is troubled, who do you call upon? Pharaoh called upon his ghostbusters (Gen 41:8). What about you?
3. Joseph's gift made room for him and brought him before a mighty man (Gen 41:9-15, cf. Prov 18:16). Serve others (w/the right heart) faithfully, who knows whom God may lead you before.
4. Serve others (w/the right heart) in such a way that your reputation of service speaks highly of you. (Gen 41:15)
5. Always defer the praise of your gifts to the giver of the gifts --> God and His glory. (Gen 41:15-16)
6. When God shows you what He's gonna do, you heed. When God repeats Himself, take heart. (Gen 41:25-32)
7. Bcuz everything has a season. Have a plan for the seasons of famine. You don't know when it may happen or whom God may send to you for that wisdom. (Gen 41:33-37)

#serveGodthroughservingothers #servefromtherightheart #alwaysdefertoGodsglory

Genesis 42
1. Joseph tested his brothers' words to verify their truthfulness, even though he knew they were telling the truth (Gen 42:16, 20). How much more us with those who claim to be speaking truth?
2. When things start to go badly we're quick to blame God (Gen 42). What we don't see is that it is part of His set-up for our future.

#stopbeinggullible #testeveryword #trustGod #Godgotthis

Genesis 43
At times it may be difficult, but do what is right and trust God with the outcome. (Gen 43:8-14)

How great is it to know that in Christ we can sit at the same table with different ethnicities & social classes. Oh how the OT saints would've loved that privilege. (Gen 43:32) #allarewelcome #nomoreseparation

Genesis 44-45
1. Don't be so quick with your words. You may commit to something you will regret later. (Gen 44:8-10, cf. Eccl 5:2)
2. Honoring your commitments with the right heart can unknowingly impart grace in situations. (Gen 44:30-45:1)
3. In God's economy don't ever think your decisions are for your purposes alone. God's purposes will always prevail overall, even through our decisions. (Gen 45:4-8)
4. Reconciliation is beautifully intimate. (Gen 45:9-15)
5. Sometimes the greatest blessings from God can cause us to doubt momentarily (it's too unbelievable) but then revive us for the next season. (Gen 45:25-27)

Genesis 46
Let us not presume that God does not or cannot still speak to ppl through dreams. Who knows, maybe God knows some ppl need the shock value. (Gen 46:2)

Genesis 49
In Genesis 49:5-7, Jacob said Levi was an instrument of cruelty, angry, and self-willed, and that he wouldn't be part of Levi's council or union. Yet, the tribe of Levi is where the priests came from. Ponder that. The takeaway: Don't assume every pastor will come from a pristine past. All of us were once instruments of self and some of us were instruments of cruelty. Now we're redeemed as instruments of God's grace. #wontHedoit #thescandalofgrace

Be careful not to bear other people's burdens too much that you become enslaved (Gen 49:14-15). Use wisdom and moderation.

How's that for a legacy, being remembered and spoken of as someone who uses/d beautiful (edifying) words. (Gen 49:21)

How's that for a legacy, being remembered and spoken of as someone who remained strong and faithful by God through adversity. (Gen 49:22-24)

Genesis 50
Scripture demonstrates that we (believers) should not seek personal retribution upon those whom may have a valid reason for it; for we are not in the place of God, and what was meant by their evil against us in reality was permitted by God for our good (and possibly others) in some way. (Gen 50:15-21)

March 8, 2017