Who’s Glory Is It Anyway?!

Our true motives for doing thing often surface when it is time for credits… How much they mean to us is often a window into the “why” we do things. I think John the Baptist was clear on why he did what he did and never lost sight of it.

7-8As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.” (Mark 1:7, The Message)

It is important for us to realize that in serving God, the significance we seek is Him glorified and revealed to the world, not our name in lights. Our is that of merely setting the stage and “creating a platform” for God to “appear” and change lives.

We cannot change people’s lives and God does not require us to! All He needs us is to be is the platform creators for His working in people’s lives by testifying of who He is and that He longs to have life-changing and intimate relationships with people.

When attention is (sometimes repeatedly) drawn to us we should always hastily turn all attention to God, the one who does the transforming and life giving work in people’s lives.

We all want our contribution or work recognized and acknowledged, but if it comes instead of or at the expense of Christ being recognized and being revealed to people, could it be we’ve joined the enemy’s camp?! I say this because the enemy’s goal is to not only keep people from Christ but draw attention away from Him. Like John the Baptist remember that you are not the reason but Christ is! As we serve Christ remember we serve Him not ourselves!

The Language of True Conviction

Over the next few days I’ll be at the Youth for Christ Africa Pioneering Conference. The heart of the conference is pioneering. Specifically, reaching the young people of the African continent with the message of Christ. It is humbling to be part of history in this way. As I interact with leaders from across the continent, I realize I’m in the midst of Pan-African leaders, whose hear and resolve is that of seeing God glorified in the lives of young people on our continent. In many different ways I hear them echo the words of David Livingstone:

“I am immortal till my work is accomplished. And though I see few results, future missionaries will see conversions follow every sermon. May they not forget the pioneers who worked in the thick of gloom with few rays to cheer, except such as flow from faith in the precious promises of God’s word.”

The words of Livingstone epitomize true conviction and “savage resolve” to seeing God’s purposes realized. These words come from a man with eyes beyond His time. They echo selflessness and speak of willingness to be the first in the firing line. This is the nature of pioneering and pioneers.

My heart cries for the same flame and language of true conviction. I pray God would cause the same to burn in your heart. Pray for us as we seek God and are challenged to further His cause for the lives of young people on the African continent. May He raise laborers that know no obstacle. Pray He encourages the despondent laborers on our continent to be refreshed and encouraged with an inextinguishable passion and endurance.

Your language says a lot about your conviction(s). As you look at your ministry, what dominates your language?

(Thanks David Kadalie for the David Livingstone quote)

Confidence For The Ministry Leader

Leadership can be challenging, especially in times where none of those we lead express confidence in us. What can be even a greater challenge is when you, as a leader, have no confidence in your leadership either!

Those we lead can lose confidence in our leadership perhaps due to a series bad decisions. Perhaps from feeling you are not making a wise decision on something in particular. Sometimes the leader doubts himself and draws courage from the confidence and affirmation from those he leads but not always.

But when the needed affirmation does not come what can the leader do? I don’t have many ideas or suggestions for this but I think I have one that must always be the first option and not the last resort:

4-6 David and his men burst out in loud wails—wept and wept until they were exhausted with weeping. David’s two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail widow of Nabal of Carmel, had been taken prisoner along with the rest. And suddenly David was in even worse trouble. There was talk among the men, bitter over the loss of their families, of stoning him.

6-7 David strengthened himself with trust in his God. He ordered Abiathar the priest, son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the Ephod so I can consult God.” Abiathar brought it to David.

8 Then David prayed to God, “Shall I go after these raiders? Can I catch them?”

The answer came, “Go after them! Yes, you’ll catch them! Yes, you’ll make the rescue!” (1 Samuel 30:6-8, The Message)

When you get to challenging situations with your team or organization, one thing the leader must never, do is fall in the same despair as those he leads. The survival and thriving of an organization is dependent on the leader rising above the despair of the ones he leads.

Before he can lead others out of hopelessness he needs to lead himself out of it first! David, king of Israel, looked into the future by looking to God. Seeking God allows us to see from a vantage point that builds or strengthens our hope and expectation for what lies ahead.

Moments of uncertainty and diffidence can be either defining or destructive depending on where you turn to ‘lift yourself’ out of the situation and ultimately the team around you. The depth of the leader’s walk in seeking God directly affects the boldness with which He faces the future and leads others into it.

The confidence of the leader is derived from the assurance of having God’s backing for an endeavor, from seeking God’s face. The leader confident of God’s backing will lead his people confidently too! Your first option for building confidence in leading as a ministry leader must be seeking God and not your last resort.

The Speed Of ‘Destruction’

I was just thinking about a visit I took to a city I love. As I looked at how the city had changed, I compared the images in the city to the ones that were lodged in my mind since I was last there. What I saw saddened me. The grass overgrown yet it used to be cut by the city‟s municipality / council.

More than half the traffic lights were not working and not much, if any, maintenance had been done to most buildings recently. Cars, even in the city center move in zigzag at a snails’ pace because of the potholes that have become common place on the roads.

The infrastructure seemed to be on a steady decline from neglect. To a greater extent the reason for the derelict sight  was due to economic chaos that has speedily destroyed the city. The heartrending images in this city demonstrated the regressive impact that neglect, in general, can breed.

There is an author I can’t remember, who referred to how neglect activates the “law of nature‟, whereby even the most beautiful garden, if neglected, will become a jungle. A lot of areas in our lives have the potential to fall apart when we do nothing to consciously maintain them.

For instance, when parents neglect spending quality time with their children, divides are created culminating in a breakdown in relationships and other manifestations of dysfunctions in the family.

Part of a definition of neglect by www.wordweb.info suggests giving little or no attention to something. Perhaps giving little or no attention to improving your skills in your career or work environment could put you in danger. Could it be possible then, that if we are not making any conscious effort or giving attention to improvement in whatever area, we step into the “neglect zone‟?

If so, this could mean that if we are not in any way improving, we are getting worse. As a thought: I don’t think we can accept that we could ever be at a stage of maintaining the status quo. It is either we are improving or getting worse.

Neglect is what I’d like to think as one of the major root causes of backsliding. It all starts with missing a day in a week without spending time with God. Then two days the following week. It may start by missing a Connect group meeting or church on to a point where it becomes routine and eventually one is classified as ‘backslidden’.

It may be not complimenting your spouse like you used to, culminating in diminished appreciation all round. Neglect could also take on the face of not responding to our friends plight for help like we used to.

The speed of ‘destruction’ is not as fast as we think. Nothing ever “just falls apart” suddenly. It is usually a gradual letting down of the guard. If we do not intentionally and constantly asses our teams, systems and lives we are actually working against ourselves.

When was the last time you really took sometime out and did an honest assessment or evaluation of your life, leadership, family, friendships? Based on how you have been expending your time and resources are your priorities still the same? Are you on course? Are there any areas where you are now slacking because it is no longer as easy as it used to be?

I’d like to challenge you to look out for areas of neglect that could have manifested themselves in the life or your family, organization or team. Even in your own personal life. Take note that even the things that seem small or insignificant could be serious. Lots of termites can destroy a large house!

Recognizing these things could save your relationship with your children, your marriage, career, connect group, department you serve in… After all, it is the small foxes that spoil the vine.

Getting Voicemail Right

I am not always available to answer my mobile phone. I’m either in a meeting or training session or driving and on rare occasions I forget switch the ringer back on and it just happens not to be in my pocket.

On those occasions I cannot give attention to a call, I’ve “asked” voicemail to take messages for me… Somehow, the “subconscious me” feels if someone can’t get a hold of me, leaving a voice message says, “it’s important we connect” etc.

Sometimes leaving a voicemail may be the only opportunity for you or the sender to communicate something urgent before they’re also unavailable. The point of leaving voice messages is to at least communicate something.

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