Conviction is the fuel for strong and effective leadership. It’s what drives a person to live or die for what he believe and to lead others to do the same. However, when you lack belief in what you seek to communicate and accomplish…
• Fear seizes the day
• The vision will burn out
• You will quit
• There will be casualties
I am sure that you could, in your minds eye, come up with leaders – whether you know them personally or not – in whom you have seen this story play out first hand. I know for myself that I have seen and been under leaders who lacked the conviction to maintain their vision and therefore could not effectively communicate with and lead others. They had great ideas and maybe even some initial energy and passion that gave excitement to what they did. But, because they lacked conviction, that energy fizzled and the people they were leading…
• Lost hope and fell away
• Or discovered direction elsewhere
But why is this?
Why do leaders need conviction? And if they need conviction, how do they develop conviction so that it renders them unmovable?
Worldview is what drives the conviction of a leader or any individual.Your worldview will fuel your conviction. Al Mohler in his book ‘The Conviction to Lead’ expounds on the relationship between your worldview and conviction:
“Worldviews work by organizing ideas. At the most basic level of our thinking, every single one of us operates out of one unified understanding of the world. As [Thomas] Sowell says, these worldviews are the ‘silent shapers of our thoughts.’ You might even say that they are sets of ideas that make the world operational for us. If we did not believe these ideas, we would have no idea how to make sense of the world. We cannot rethink our basic understanding of reality every morning. Basic moral judgments are embedded within our worldview.”
Whether good or bad, your worldview will fuel your convictions – grounding you at the very core of your being. I believe without a shadow of doubt that a biblical worldview is eternally true. As I have stated, all people have a worldview. Assuming you’re a Christian and one who takes leadership in your sphere of influence, the question remains is whether your worldview biblical? Is it founded on an immoveable understanding of who God is within the realm of His written word or a God that you have imagined? It will determine what kind of leader you are. It will determine your ability sustain your vision. It will determine how you lead others. It will determine the rest of your life.
Be not moved away,
When churches are looking and interviewing prospects to serve as Pastor, they often want to know something about their ministerial priorities: and rightly so. If a man cannot articulate his vision and how he hopes to accomplish it, what business does he have leading the people of God? Pastoral ministry requires direction and focus.
But what should be the priorities of church ministry? Or, more specifically, where does a vision for the next generation fit among the priorities of church ministry? Most of us are familiar with what have traditionally been the “the big three”: baptisms, budgets, and buildings. Success in ministry is often gauged by these things.
But while we have measured the success of the church in more immediate terms, we have often forgotten or ignored the future of the church or been guilty of poor investing. It has been mistakenly assumed that a successful youth group will lead to a new generation of church leaders and faithful Christian fathers and mothers. But the evidence tells us otherwise. The twentieth century witnessed the rise of youth ministry. But it did not witness the end of youth washout or nominal church membership.
We cannot guarantee that all of our children will faithfully follow Christ. But we can make a wise Biblical investment that will affect the next generation for Christ. That investment is in the the fathers of the next generation. Pastors cannot afford to assume that the men under their care are doing alright. They need to be discipled in the essential Biblical elements of being a godly husband and father. This assumes that the Pastor is also mentoring men in personal discipleship and is a model as a churchman, husband, and father. Ideally the church will be served by more than one pastor, so that one man does not have to shoulder this burden alone. Investment in men, in particular fathers and husbands, may seem slow and futile, but the investment pays long-term dividends for the Gospel and the future of the church. It is absolutely necessary if we are to change the next generation for Christ.
For God’s kingdom and glory,
As I listen to the Christmas carols sung across the system in the store where I work, I am struck by two things:
The first thing that strikes me is the amazing grace of God in salvation. Such phrases as “God and sinner reconciled”, “It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth”, and “Remember Christ our Savior was born on…” remind me of the saving mercies of my God in Christ. The incarnation season is full of joyful reminders that God has blessed me “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3)
The second thing that strikes me is the ignorance of most of those who sing these truths, the significance of what they sing, and the ignorance of most who hear. I am moved to pray that God will open the eyes of many of them to the truth of the Gospel. It is not unusual for people to think of Christ as a savior in some general, benign sense. The moral influence of His life and the Martyrdom of His death are considered noble and significant. But the personal need for a substitute and the remedy for our sin problem are not issues one naturally things of and require the work of the Holy Spirit. That is why we pray that God will not only have mercy on those who listen in blindness and ignorance, but that He will also use those of us who know Him as instruments of grace.
“You shall call His name Jesus.” Jesus comes from the Greek form of the Hebrew Jehoshua and means “deliverer”. Many people are happy to have Jesus “come into their hearts” and be delivered from hell, marriage problems, financial problems, depression or any number of other ills, while holding onto their sins. But deliverance “from” something also means deliverance “to” something. And followers of Christ are not only delivered from hell, they are delivered from their sins and into a new life in Him. In much the same way that Moses delivered the Old Testament people of God from the bondage of Egypt and Joshua delivered them into the land of promise and obedience to God, so the New Testament believer is saved from sin’s power and penalty (and ultimate its presence) until a life abundant in Christ; a life lived to the glory of God (which is the great point of salvation, after all).
This is the burden and glory of Christmas for us: the burden of being surrounded by a humanity in need of a Savior and the glory of a salvation complete in Christ. “Therefore he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25) “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Because of the Saviour,
Check out what “Go” looks like for Amy of Loving the Lord Ministries!
Now that you know what Go looks like for Amy, What Will Go Look Like for You?
Passion4Christ 2012 | October 24-28 | Perrysville, Ohio
Registration is open now – don’t miss out!
Amazing how God’s truth never goes out of style. Fashion and music come and go and fade, but the truth of God’s Word is fixed. I would like to share a devotional I did 20 years ago at a lady’s conference in Mississippi. My life situations have changed, but not the message of my gracious loving Savior. My desire is to encourage you to be different on the inside by making Christ the focus – and the outside will be taken care of!
I would like to share what the Lord has been doing in my own life lately – teaching me how to be different… Malachi 3:15 says “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” This Scripture speaks of the prophesy of the last days – but I want to focus on “when I make up my jewels.” The Lord is referring to you and me – those who are saved and belong to Him. We are God’s precious jewels. A jewel is a precious gem. The dictionary puts gem like this: A precious stone that has been cut and polished; a beloved or highly prized person. God is in the process of cutting and polishing us to be His prized jewels. Proverbs 31:10 says: “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” We are different, special and worth a lot to His kingdom.
Many years ago in England there lived a woman whose love for the Savior and beautifully consecrated life were an inspiration to all who knew her. About midnight on February 4, 1974 she took her pen and wrote the words of a hymn. We still sing it in our churches today. “Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.” She closed the song with: “Take myself and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.” Francis Ridley Havergal meant those words and proved them everyday by the way she lived. Four years after she wrote this hymn she wrote in a letter to a friend: “The Lord has shown me another little step, ‘Take my silver and my gold’ now means shipping off all my ornaments to the church missionary house” (including a jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess.) She kept back only two brooches for her daily wear. Nearly fifty articles of worth were packed up and she said she has never packed a box with such pleasure. Oh, that more of us today had that kind of dedication to Christ and that kind of burden for His work. Would we be willing to give up our dearest earthly treasure that others might hear the gospel?
Probably not many of us have the kind of jewels she had but we can pray Miss Havergals prayer: “Take myself and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.” As I read this, it prompted me to look into my own jewelry box and clean it out, organize it and evaluate it. Just as I did this, the Lord began to show me things in my jewelry box that relate to evaluating my spiritual jewelry box. I’d like to share some treasures of truth from my jewelry box.
As I was cleaning out my jewelry box I cam across some special necklaces but they were so knotted and so tangled together. I know that you know what I mean. I had to very carefully work getting them all sorted out. My life this past year has been like this, so it seems. The Lord has allowed difficult situations to come into my life. I’ve been learning that sometimes waiting for God to answer and struggling to be sure of His leading are marks of spiritual maturity. I have known rejection, physical pain and learned in my ministry how to forgive my enemies.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” I wasted so much time on my problems I was not seeking the Lord with my whole heart. God’s thoughts are not evil towards me. These difficulties are brining me closer to that expected end He has for me. We can’t be different if we are not willing to suffer for Christ and be willing to seek and search for Him with our whole heart. The Lord has been untangling me!
The next piece of jewelry is my Noah’s ark necklace. This speaks of God’s promises. God always keeps His promises. As I began to get back into God’s Word and pray and look to Him for answers, it was then that I began to see He was keeping His promises to me. Hebrews 13:5 says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” It is really being different when we don’t look to our emotions to survive but to rely on God’s promises. It takes great faith and God’s grace to be different. Women of the world do not operate on this principle. But it has to be a moment-by-moment thing in our lives. I love this verse (2 Peter 1:3) which says it so perfectly: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” Ladies this verse tells me that we can and should be different because He has give us all to function in life for Him. He has given us the ability to forgive, the power to be that godly mother, wife and friend. The list could go on and on. It is not easy. I fail everyday. Some days I feel like I fail every moment.
Then God gave me a gem of inspiration from my jewelry box. You know in my jewelry box is some jewelry I like then there are those pieces that really go together and match and when I put them on, boy, do I feel confident. I don’t know about you, but when our hair is fixed and we like what we have on, we feel pretty confident about ourselves. I was reading Proverbs 3:26 and that Scripture just leaped out at me. It says, “For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” I was running around putting my confidence in everything in my life except in the Lord. Ladies, I think we, as Christians and churchgoers, can be guilty of putting too much confidence in the wrong things.
…It might be in our husbands
…It might be in a job
…It might be in money
…It might be in acceptance of others.
This verse says, Pam, even when everything seems to be falling apart around you, you can put your confidence in the Lord and he will surely give you rest. And believe me, it can fall apart. I know I homeschool, I am a pastor’s wife and I am a mom. But I am God’s jewel because I have trusted Him as my Lord and Savior and he becomes my confidence. Confidence means trust, a trusting relationship, a feeling of assurance. Do you have a trusting relationship with Christ?
The next piece of jewelry I cam across was a charm bracelet that I had when I was sixteen, given to me for my birthday. There were a lot of junk jewelry pieces I threw out, but I just couldn’t get rid of this bracelet even though I would not wear it. This charm bracelet brought to my mind a very favorite song of mine. “When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss…Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.” The last few months the things that charm me most have been different. You know I found myself reading a country sample magazine for hours but not spending much time in God’s Word and prayer. We must give to the Lord those things that charm us most – and they may even be okay things or really good things. Philippians 1:10 says, “That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.” When you start choosing the excellent things you will be different and it will be though.
My next gem is not a piece of jewelry, but it is a treasure! A silver box. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Oh to be able to minister grace to others by our encouraging words. When words come out of our mouth, they should be like little presents all wrapped up to be given away. Our words should be a gift to each other – verbal presents that would encourage others. We all have those special people who have been our sliver boxes – encouraging us to keep going, smiles to lift us up. Maybe someone in your past is responsible for you being in the ministry today. I keep this silver box by my bedside (a large one!) to remind me that my children, my husband and everyone I encounter today may need a silver box. It doesn’t need to be a lot, sometimes just a hug, a smile or a special note… just the silver box someone needs. If you are like me some days, I need to tape it to my head to keep me in line!
Lord, teach us to choose the excellent things in order to be different. What is in your spiritual jewelry box? Deep prayer, Scripture memory, Bible study, forgiving that person hard to forgive, being a better witness to the lost – things that are excellent! Mending a relationship, or just getting closer to someone in need. Does your spiritual jewelry box need cleaning out or just organizing, to fit more into it.
Ladies, we need to always be making a clean sweep of our homes, and our personal lives. Sweeping out all the sin that has collected just as junk collects in our lives. God may bring something to your mind from long ago: ungodly thoughts, unforgiveness, wrong motives, complacency, the list goes on. The Lord is gracious and merciful. What a freeing thought!
I close with the last verse I quote earlier…
“Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.”
In His Love,
In the wake of yet another Father’s Day (my 29th), perhaps we should ponder the importance of a father’s place and the impact of a father’s love. Father’s Day is an emotional day for me as I bask in the appreciation of my own family and thank my Heavenly Father for the gifts that are mine. I cannot look upon the sons God has given me, and the blessed woman who bore them, without exulting in the love and grace of my God. This moves me to pray that God will keep us all in that love and grace.
As important as mothers are, it is significant that God is not a mother, but a father (feminist intrusions upon the person of God notwithstanding). There are, in this designation, some concepts that are critical to Biblical fatherhood and our understanding of the role and responsibility of a father (these concepts are not exhaustive, but I trust helpful).
#1: God as a father holds authority over His children, those who are His by creation and more specifically those who are His by redemption. Since God is the ultimate father, He holds ultimate authority or sovereignty over his children. He rules their lives.
Similarly, earthly fathers have authority over their children. Since they are not God, that authority is limited. They are not sovereign. But that does not diminish their authority. It does add to it serious responsibility and accountability to God.
#2: With this authority and responsibility comes pleasure: not the sensual kind that so quickly comes to mind, but pleasure of the heart; the pleasure of seeing the design of God fulfilled; the pleasure of seeing growth, maturity, authority and responsibility transfer to the next generation. God takes pleasure in His creation: “For your pleasure they exist and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
And an earthly father takes pleasure in seeing the work of God in his own children. He takes pleasure in the gospel and gospel living being transferred to the next generation. So the pleasures of fatherhood, in particular Christian fatherhood, are similar to and analogous with the pleasures of God the Father.
#3: The third concept seen in God the Father that is crucial to Biblical fatherhood is love and devotion. I say love and devotion as one concept because of how they are related. God’s love and devotion to His children and His glory in their lives is everywhere apparent in Scripture. God is pleased to glorify Himself through the love He displays and lavishly bestows on His own (see Zephaniah 3:17). That love will always result in their god, no matter how hard or troubling things may seem (Romans 8:28 & 29 and 2 Corinthians 4:17 & 18). What father cannot relate to this love and devotion? The genuine love of a father moves him to do, not just the seemingly good or enjoyable things, but also the hard things, because he lives and acts with the future, indeed eternity, in view.
These three concepts are connoted, if not denoted, by our passage (1 Thessalonians 2:11 & 12) as Paul communicates with his children in the faith. “For you know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father does his children, that you should walk worthy of God, who has called you unto His kingdom and glory.”
Mothers Day has come and gone. There has been a lot of attention and uproar over a comment made in the media by a liberal woman. She said, “Mitt Romney’s wife did not know how to work. She was only a stay at home mom!” The high calling of being a mom is beyond measure – one of the greatest callings a woman could possibly have. Over the years the occupation of being a stay at home mom has come under attack.
I did a devotional one time on being a mom. I read the following in Tough Job Raising Children by Della Efron:
“If you could tape a woman’s conversation during the day it would sound something like this: Don’t leave it there, take it up stairs, is that yours? Don’t hit your brother, I’m talking to you, just a minute please, can’t you see I’m talking? I said don’t interrupt, did you brush your teeth? What are you doing out of bed? Go back to bed! What do you mean there is nothing to do? Go outside, go read a book, turn it down, take a jacket, well take a sweater, take one anyway, get the toys out of the hall, get the toys off the stairs! Do you realize that could kill someone! Hurry up, hurry up – everyone is waiting, I’ll count to 10 and then we’re going without you! Did you go to the bathroom? If you don’t go we’re not going, what’s gong on back there? I said stop it, give me a kiss, make your bed, clean your room, set the table, I need you to set the table, don’t’ tell me it’s not your turn! Please move your chair into the table and sit up, just try a little, you don’t have to eat the whole thing; stop playing with it and eat it. Ask your father, when he comes home, we’ll see, calm down! Is that really the truth? I’m sorry that’s the way it is. Hi, honey, welcome home.”
This is funny, but the truth is it is real! As mothers, God is faithful in all the hustle of being a mom. As we train our children and nurture them, it’s a comforting thought as time ticks by that God gives us direction and strength to accomplish what we ourselves cannot do. Every moment with your child is building and molding their character. We are preparing them for life. “My times are in your hand.” (Ps. 31:15a) We journey with them. Sin in my life is revealed and the Lord molds and shapes my character. We have been called by God to chart our children’s course. You learn to know your child individually, like Christ knows us individually.
2 Peter 1:3 says, “According as His divine power has give all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue.” Is being a full time mom is a job that prepare us and our children for life? You bet! Because we never worked outside the home, have we never known real work? Well, a mother is:
- A physician
- An interior decorator
- A cook
- A dietitian
- An expert at clothing repair
- A teacher
- A child psychologist
- A judge
- A purchasing agent
- A bookkeeper
- A repair man
- A taxi car driver
- An engineer
- A telephone operator
- A maid
- A janitor
- A gardener
- A just plain mom
Oh, the rewards far outweigh any struggle or hardship.
My Reward: My 30 year old son, Daniel, wrote a poem for me on Mother’s Day – I share it with you. And I am grateful my job was once “just a stay at home mom!”
From a moment that a child is conceived
Ignites a sovereign gift that is received
A gift only known by a mother’s heart
With no hesitation, committed to the part
How she cradles with care the child
Sleepless nights carried by a smile.
Love is given, unending selflessness
Wait of generations, guard carelessness
Clear is the task that lies ahead
A heart for Christ toiling to embed
Only the best is what she desires
The child plays, no notice conspires
A day grows ever more into a week
Weeks, months & a year they flee
Sacrifice is forgotten often overlooked
Investment merely in memory booked
Then dawns a day of pure understanding
Overdue gratitude with fore commanding
He is resigned to unpayable debt
A mother’s love given with no regret
As we observed earlier, love is not a static or inactive quality. It is more than a sentimental emotion. We who are children of God are not meant to be receptacles or containers of His love only. We are to be channels. God’s love is not mean to be contained. It is meant to overflow.
There is something of a progression in the verses of 1 John 4 beginning with verse 11.
Verse 11: “…if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
Verse 12: “If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His love is perfected in us.”
Verse 16: “…and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.”
Verse 18: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…”
Verse 19: “We love Him, because He first loved us.”
Verse 20: “If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar…”
Verse 21: “And this commandment we have from Him, that he who loves God love his brother also.”
So the one who knows the love of God in his life, loves the people of God. He dwells in God and His love. He does not live in fear but in faith. And he or she cannot hate a brother or sister in Christ. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 5:5: “…the love of God has been shed abroad (poured out) in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
So what does this say to the people of God? Is it our aim to be channels of God’s love as husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, and as siblings? Can we as pastors and people, as brothers and sisters in Christ be constrained by the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14) to not live unto ourselves but unto Christ and His body, the Church and to glorify Him by the love that we have for one another?
Check out what “Go” looks like for Elizabeth of Global Encounters!
Now that you know what Go looks like for Elizabeth, What Will Go Look Like for You?
[This video is also available on Vimeo at: https://vimeo.com/42953743]
Passion4Chrsit 2012 | October 24-28 | Perrysville, Ohio
Registration opening May 1st
A few weeks ago I had the privilege to attend a conference that I have wanted to go to for a very long time. Always love it when God opens doors like that. It has been one of my bucket list items to attend T4G [Together4Gospel] and to check it off was pretty sweet. You may be thinking, “bucket list? T4G? Ok”. Yep, it was on there.
I know people say this a lot after they attend a conference – and believe me I have been to a bunch of them – but it was truly the best conference I have ever attended. Not so much because there was so many like-minded people there or that the worship in music was so rich and glorious. It was Awesome! No, it was the focus of the conference that made it so sweet, and the word that was preached still reverberates in my mind and heart.
The gospel is the main thing. I know you hear me speak of this often, and I make no apology for it. Paul’s command, “be not moved away from the gospel”, burns within my heart, and I pray that I will only grow in how I live it more and more each and every day that I have breath. It’s all I have in this world that will last.
However, this conference only served to solidify this like a rock in my life. I will not go into each message that was preached, but I am wetting your appetite, hoping it will motivate you to go and listen to each message. Each one built on the other, the biblical reality that the gospel is broad in its application in our life. Yet, as the theme focused us, we underestimate the power of a spirit wrought application of the gospel. Whether it is the Lord breathing life into a lost soul or the aged believer who is still fighting the good fight of faith. And that underestimation affects everything – family, leadership, relationships, church life, missions, worldview, how we engage culture, etc. It is eternal in its scope to change the depraved heart for the wondrous and glorious God of the universe.
So. Take some time to listen to the messages of T4G. I have left you the link below to where they are. And never ever underestimate the power of the gospel.
Be not moved away,