Archive for September, 2010

How Not to Pray: Praying for Attention

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Jesus talks about how not to pray in Matt. 6:5-6.  The first thing he mentions is how only hypocrites pray to be noticed.  They love the attention so much, they go out of there way to find an audience for their prayers.

Prayer shouldn’t be a show to impress others, but rather a conversation with a holy God who desires an intimate relationship with us.

One way we can be authentic in our prayer life is to pray secretly.  Praying secretly encourages us to go to God with proper motives.  When you pray secretly, a specific place becomes a holy place where you alone meet with him.

There’s something special about alone time with God.

T. J.

Categories: Growth

Stay True

September 29, 2010 1 comment

Philippians 4:1 says, “Therefore my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord.”

You may be experiencing difficult times right now, but if you are a Christian, you have to stay true to the Lord!  There can be no other option!  Rule everything else out right now!

Will people let you down?  Yes.  Do circumstances suck sometimes?  Absolutely.  Would it be easier to quit than to endure?  Perhaps, but you can’t give up on God because he has never, nor will he ever give up on you!

Let this speak to you.

T. J.

Categories: Growth, Leadership


September 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Do you need grace in your life right now?  I sure do.

Here’s one way to get it:

“…God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

T. J.

Categories: Growth

Facing Fear

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Here are just a few ways our fears can be detrimental in our lives:

  • They kill our confidence.
  • They limit our potential.
  • They keep us from taking action.

We shouldn’t allow our fears to control us, but I’m learning when they are harnessed and re-directed, our fears prove to be beneficial.  Consider these stories in Scripture of people who faced their fears and ultimately experienced a stronger faith in God:

  • Moses – leading the children of Israel out of Egypt
  • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – refusing to bow to an idol and being thrown into a furnace of fire
  • Mary – becoming pregnant by the Holy Spirit and carrying Jesus when everyone knew she wasn’t married
  • David – facing Goliath
  • Daniel – getting thrown into a den of lions because he refused to quit praying to Jehovah
  • Gideon – going into battle against an army of thousands with only 300 men
  • Jonathan – attacking a group of Philistine soldiers with only his armor bearer and one sword
  • Jesus – humbly submitting to his Father’s plan to be crucified for the sins of all mankind

God’s desire isn’t for us to avoid our fears, but to develop a stronger faith in him through our fears.

Sooner or later, we will all face fears in our lives.  In those moments, we can allow our fears to freeze us, or we can harness our fears by choosing to trust a sovereign God who always has our best interest in mind.

T. J.

Categories: Growth, Leadership

Encounter: Mission

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment

If you are a follower of Jesus, you are required to tell others about him.  No one is exempt.

It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t know a lot about Scripture.  It doesn’t even matter if you are a new believer.

Part of your mission as a Christian is to tell people how Jesus Christ has changed your life!

But God won’t make you share your faith.  He doesn’t make us do anything.  He gives you the choice to obey him or reject him.

Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord ask this question, “Whom shall I send as a messenger to these people?  And who will go for us?” Isaiah stepped up, and even though he knew he would experience rejection, he answered God’s call.

What about you?  If you’re a Christian, have you embraced the mission you’ve been given to spread the gospel?

T. J.

Categories: Growth, Leadership

Encounter: Confession

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

As a result of the vision the prophet Isaiah received from God in Isaiah 6:1-4, he felt ruined.  His personal weaknesses and failures were exposed by God’s holiness.

So what did he do?  He did the same thing we should do when we get a glimpse of God’s holiness—confess and repent!  In verses 5-7, Isaiah confessed his helplessness in order to deal with his sinfulness, which put God’s redemptive work on display!

God’s grace and mercy met his need, as one of the seraphs took a coal from the altar and applied it to his lips.  Isaiah’s sin was atoned for, his guilt was gone, and he was equipped to do what God had called him to do.

When was the last time you, as a leader who God has specifically called to be a part of His plan to redeem mankind, caught a glimpse of God’s holiness?  When was the last time God’s character moved you to confession and repentance?

T. J.

Categories: Growth, Leadership

Encounter: Vision

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

In Isaiah 6:1-4, the prophet Isaiah experienced a transforming vision from God that required a response!   Vision has been defined as “an idea of a preferred future; usually given birth through a growing dissatisfaction in the way things presently are.”

At the time of his encounter with God, Isaiah would have been dissatisfied with the rebellion of God’s people and discouraged by the message of judgment God sent him to deliver.  Isaiah had an idea of a preferred future for God’s people related to the way God originally intended things to be.

Most of us won’t get to experience a vision like Isaiah saw–a vision of God’s holiness and glory on display through flying seraphim, the thundering voices of an angelic choir, and a temple full of smoke.

However, God can place a vision in a leader’s heart to do something extraordinary for him!  He can cause a “holy discontent” to take place that will force that person to dream of what could and should be in relation to his plan to redeem all of mankind.

But in order for that to happen, in order for us to receive that vision from God, we have to be in constant pursuit of him.  Isaiah experienced the vision while he was in God’s presence.

If you desire to know and fulfill the vision God has for you as a leader, you have to stay connected to the only One who can give birth to the vision, and then cause it be realized for his glory!

T. J.

Categories: Growth, Leadership