PILLAR 1: IDENTITY I love the parable of the talents that Jesus taught in Matthew 25, where different people were given different talents. Listen, we are not supposed to compare or compete. There is no competition in the Kingdom. Someone might have five talents, someone might have two, and you might be the one with the one talent, but do not go burying it in the sand. You steward it well and invest in it, and you multiply it, and you work with what you’ve got. Don’t look at everybody else’s situation; look at what God’s given you. It’s your heart, [...]
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PILLAR 1: IDENTITY Who you are is who God says you are, and that can never be taken away from you. With that truth in mind, how do we live out our identity? How do we move forward in who God says we are? As we consider this question, we’re going to look at places where our identity comes from, and the ways our legitimacy is tied in with our identity. Finally, we’ll discuss how we can grow up into our God-given identity. What are some places where I get my identity? The world is going to put some [...]
PILLAR 1: IDENTITY Welcome to our new series on The Whole-Hearted Leader! Are you ready to become the best version of you, so you can positively influence and impact the world around you? Let’s talk about the first pillar of the whole-hearted leader: your identity. Who do you think you are? Understanding ourselves is vitally important. When we know and understand our true identity and how we are designed (and how others are designed), we are able to fully come alive and be authentically ourselves. What comes to mind when you think of the word “identity”? You know, identity [...]
Are you or a loved one passing through a season of suffering? Perhaps you’re wondering, “Where is God in all this? Why do innocent people suffer? Why do bad things happen to good people? If God loves me, why is He allowing me to go through this?” Sometimes, it’s hard to understand why we experience hurtful, painful experiences – even when we love God and are wholeheartedly serving Him. Without trying to minimize your pain, I want to encourage you that suffering does not just randomly happen in our lives. God does not bring suffering our way – it comes because [...]
God loves to partner with us – He puts His stamp of grace on our words of faith and makes them happen. And, as we walk in step with the Holy Spirit, we find that there’s a time to prophesy, a time to pray, and a time to put God’s plan into action. The Father loves it when we come up with faith-filled ideas! Sometimes, we’ll say something really good, and the Father goes, “Yeah, I like that!” And then, boom! He puts His grace on it and makes it happen. It’s like when my child comes up and says, [...]
I remember when it first hit me that the Lord said I was an intercessor. And I thought, “Really?” In my mind, intercessors were those women who were on the prayer team. They were these little old ladies that would get up at 5 in the morning with Jesus, and from their mouth to God’s ear made stuff happen in the world. They were the intercessors – earth-shattering prayer warriors. I didn’t see myself as that. I saw myself as maybe a teacher or something else, but I didn’t see myself as an intercessor until the Word of the [...]
How do we persevere through those times that just don’t make sense – when there’s grief when there are questions when there’s hurt? We know where to be on the alert because our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). We literally live in a war zone, not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12). We don’t want to live in fear of persecution, but we need to be prepared and built up spiritually so we’re not destroyed by it – instead, we are [...]
Sometimes, discussing the topic of persecution is like feeding spinach to a baby. The baby is happy to get banana, but with spinach, you just have to keep putting it back in! As Christians, we love hearing about the good stuff, but we have to realize that there’s going to be hard times as well. Are we prepared to go through the suffering of persecution? And are we ready to persevere? The more we grow in God, the more our light will shine in dark places, and the more noticeable we will be. It’s like Isaiah 60:1-2 says, “Arise, shine, for [...]
We all love an underdog story – a Cinderella story – where someone climbs to the top, overcoming all kinds of circumstances. We love that! And, when we’re watching a sports event – we secretly do not cheer for the team or person who is the ten-time champion – the ones that have been on a roll for ten years or whatever. We’re saying, “Where’s the underdog that’s going to topple these people?” And when that underdog shows up, we’re all rooting for him or her! Why? Because we all identify with the suffering. We identify with the struggle. Everybody [...]
On Sunday morning, November 5, 2017, worshippers at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church heard shots ring out in the parking lot, and looked up in horror to see a man in the doorway, wearing black tactical gear and wielding a semi-automatic rifle. He began systematically shooting virtually everyone in the pews. When the massacre was over, 26 men, women, children and babies lay dead or dying, with another 20 injured. The killer was from our nearby community of New Braunfels, Texas. As I was praying over my brothers and sisters, God reminded me of the thrill of victory and the [...]