Category Archives: Ministry

Critical Advice

As we move forward in the development of our true identities and purposes, the more public we allow our work and intentions to become, the more criticism we are the subjects of.

We need to learn to listen to the “advice” under the influence of the Holy Spirit. We are never as bad as our critics say nor ever as good as our dogs say. We are exactly what our Father says. Sometimes He says something through people who have opinions that differ from ours.

If He says you are a dancer, but someone else says that you don’t dance well, find out what is true about your ability shortage and learn to do what you can’t yet do.

Take enough critical advice to find your weakness and use it to become awesome, not to become separated from your courage and faith.


 

Successfully Led

We should be very encouraged regarding our callings. Jesus wants the success that He died to make  possible in our lives to happen!

When Jesus went to his hometown once (Mark 6:5), the doubt of the people there created a space where He couldn’t do miracles. He marveled at their unbelief.

When Jesus went to Capernaum once (Matthew 8:5), a centurion he encountered there had faith that created a space where Jesus could do a miracle without even having to go to the man’s home, where his servant was paralyzed. Jesus marveled at his faith.

If you create a space in your home, your business, your job, your ministry, where Jesus can lead you by His Spirit, He will lead you just like He led the fishermen who fished unsuccessfully all night in John 21. He simply told them to fish on the other side of the boat and He filled their net with success.

He wants to lead you to awesomeness. Expect it. Create the space for it by looking for it. Never expect to fail, no matter what happened all night. Or what didn’t.

Valuable Mistakes

Ray Dalio is one of the most successful business men on the planet, if you count how much money you make as an indicator. His company has created $45 billion income since 1975. He currently has $14 billion personal net worth.

He says that PAIN + REFLECTION = PROGRESS.

It means something like: if you just study your successes (which we like to do), you are not really preparing for the future. You are already likely to do the same good stuff again and have the same successes again.

The valuable study to perform is, instead, lengthy, in-depth study of your failures (which we hate to do). You are likely to repeat them again with little or no preparation, too!

SO, if you want to change the future of your mistake-likeliness, study the failures to find out how you got fooled. Find out why you believed the lie. Dig until you discover what looked good that turned out to be poison. Who did you believe when you shouldn’t have? What do the teeth of the rake look like, barely hidden in the leaves, just before you step on them and break your nose with the rake handle as it flies up?

Israel had an astonishing success at Jericho. Then, they had an astonishing failure at Ai. When they found out what went wrong, they should have had an unending flow of success by always acting in light of the information they received from Yahweh about their failure.

A Profitable Servant

Lord, You are the meaning of my life.
I am the meaning of Your death.
I know You have called me
From the grave of who I was
And chosen me to bear
Your name and story to the nations!

Jesus, use me while I have a breath
To shout and blow the trumpet!
Jesus, use me to display Your power
To those who’d have me burned!
Jesus, use me to show those who hate me
How much love you have for them,
And let me be a sacrifice of joy!

Lord, You are a King without a start.
I love You, Lord, with all my heart.
Fill me with the faith of Daniel
And his three young friends.
Let me be a slave that brings You profit!
Let me serve You,

Jesus, use me while I have a breath
To shout and blow the trumpet!
Jesus, use me to display Your power
To those who’d have me burned!
Jesus, use me to show those who hate me
How much love you have for them,
And let me be a sacrifice of joy!

©2003 Douglas Thomas

HERE’S THE AUDIO LINK

Preparation

One of my heroes pointed out to me recently a sports team proverb:

“What you are at practice is what you will be during a game.”

If you are not working hard to be ready for opportunity, opportunity will be missed to the point of maybe not even being recognized.

If you are questioning your effectiveness in ministry, or your strength of character, or if the way you are viewed in Heaven might be less than flattering, spend more time in preparation – practice harder.

John Wesley perceived grace to be the power of God to change and empower believers to powerful, culture-impacting lives. He believed that there are means of grace – activities that can make us more available to the work of grace in our lives. Study and memorization of Scripture, prayer, fasting, relationships in which no secrets of sin or weakness are hidden, and other acts of faith could bring us into greater positions of being influenced and formed by God’s grace. Some people today call these “spiritual disciplines.”

It is God Who works in us both to will and to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:12,13). It is the burdens He picks for us that are easily moved by the yokes He fits to our necks.

If you are struggling with the yoke, ask for more burden. The more you are moved by what breaks His heart, the more empowered you are to be yoked with the power to change it and bless Him.

Serving

When someone asks you to help them, how do you measure the answer?

Will you only serve me if I agree with you about a thousand things? Or, only if I agree with you about the important things? Will you serve my cause only if I have spent a certain amount of time serving your cause?

Jesus serves people with whom He disagrees.

We should consider doing that too on days.

Kingdom Business

I saw a news item today that was new back in August.

It will take a little time if you read it, but you may find it worth it. There is video also. It is the story of a young business man in Seattle whose generosity-based work ethic seems to be sourced in his relationship with his King.

Part of the story is how his generosity caused fear and jealousy to spring up and reach out to harm him. It so astonished people that it was difficult to do business for responding to peoples’ foolish attacks.

Here is the link.

If every believer has an important ministry, I would guess that 90% or more of the important ministries that believers should be doing must happen somewhere other than in a congregational setting.

Think for a few minutes about what it has to mean that it is the kingdoms of this world – every level of leadership – that will become the Kingdom of our God.

Anticipate Success

Yahweh did not pick you because your credentials implied that you were the best choice for the position He had open.

He rewards obedience, so being cooperative may improve your status in Heaven, but He has picked people who were directly opposed to what He was doing in the earth. Cyrus, king of Persia, was picked by Yahweh because He loved Jacob and because He wanted it known throughout the earth that there was no other God. Cyrus didn’t even know that Yahweh was a god, much less that He is the only true God.

Saul began his work as a murderer of believers.

Your future and your success in it are directly related to Yahweh’s intentions and desires, not your portfolio. After He makes you into who He sees you to be, your portfolio will experience quite an upgrade, but you don’t have to be impressive in the beginning.

Your failures, your attitude improprieties, your poor grasp of what the future holds – none of these can hinder you if you walk where He says walk, and do what you see Him do, and if you learn how to agape.

His call is based on His desire. His call on your life is able to educate and empower you to greatness. His intentions toward you and toward the world though you are His grace at work in the earth to make His name known.

You didn’t choose Him, but He did choose you. He set you in place in the way that He knows is excellent. Your intimacy with Him will give you something to bear in the earth that will look like Him and draw people to Him.

You are qualified by His call on your life. Your responsibility is to take each next step with as much faith as you can manifest, and as much agape as you can bear.

Expect to succeed. He expects you to, and He’s a genius about “what happens next” sorts of things.

Finish Line

The Finish Line on your most important project is out of your reach and out of your control. As you approach it, it could change distance and direction. The adventures between where you are and where it is are yet to be surprising. Or astonishing, or disappointing…

The Start Line, however, is right in front of your toe.

Any changes that are made regarding the Prize or the location of the Finish Line can change lots of things about the path to the Finish Line, but the Start Line is always just ahead of your toe.

When I play chess, I think 3 moves ahead. I will do this, she will maybe do that. I will then do this (move 2), she might do that. I will then do this (move 3), she might do that.

I make my move, my opponent makes a move. I then think 3 moves ahead. I don’t just take the two moves left in my last decision about sequence. I completely refresh. New move 1 (maybe I keep the old move, but I decide afresh). Maybe he will do this. Move 2, maybe he will respond this way. Move 3, maybe this response.

Every next move is the beginning of something. Your life can be like that. Every next decision or action can be the new Start Line.

Even if the last move was a mistake. The next move is Start.

Pre-Believers

Keith Greene was a musician, worshiper, and world class evangelist who met Jesus during the Jesus Movement of the 60’s & 70’s. He died in a plane crash while evangelizing in South America.

During his concerts, he would inspire evangelists in the crowd to charge the gates of hell to bring back unbelievers from damnation. He would convince everyone in the crowd who wasn’t an evangelist that they deserved to go to hell for not having a burning desire to evangelize the lost.

He was wrong. Everyone is not an evangelist.

We may never lead anyone through the “sinner’s prayer.” We may never answer a searching unbeliever’s questions. We do all have the privilege of influencing the unbelievers around us, though.

We are sons and daughters of the most impressive Person anyone will ever meet. The more you bear the fruit of His Spirit, the more you are introducing anyone near you to Jesus. Even without Spiritual gifts, Spiritual fruit can draw people to desire to know Him.

Gifts without fruit are just carnal expressions of God’s power. If you had to choose, I suggest you take fruit over gifts.

Happily, you don’t have to choose between the two. Choose both.