Archive for: May, 2013

A Plan for Achieving Personal Success

May 28 2013 Published by under Life

By Michael Goldsmith

Michael_Goldsmith_CROP

President Calvin Coolidge is credited for giving us the quote, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are overwhelmingly powerful.”   Persistence, determination, and perseverance.  All three are necessary ingredients for lasting success.  In Proverbs 3:16 we are instructed, “Every prudent man acts with knowledge.”  The Living Bible puts it this way, “A wise man thinks ahead.”  Moses would have understood both Coolidge’s thinking as well as proverbs instruction.  From his life we gain 5 insights for achieving personal success.  Moses had to settle some personal issues in order to achieve the greatness of leading the children of Israel into freedom.

 

1.  The Identity Issue.  In Hebrews 11:24 we read, “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.”  Moses was born a Hebrew, but raised in the extravagance, opulence, and wisdom of Egypt.  On the day that he witnessed an Egyptian guard beating a Hebrew slave he had to make a critical call about himself.  Who would he be?  If an Egyptian prince being groomed for the palace leadership, he would simply turn his head.  If an Hebrew born and bred slave, he would have to get involved.  Moses had an identity crisis and settled it.  He was a Jew and whatever that cost him he was willing to pay the price.  Many people are wandering through a fog because they haven’t settled the issue of who they are.  Knowing who you are will not guarantee success but it certainly is a prerequisite.  What are you going to be called and what are you going to refuse to be called?  Good questions to think about.

 

2.  The Responsibility Issue.  When you read through Hebrews 11, especially verses 24-29 that deal with Moses, you’ll find several verbs that indicate action on the part of Moses.  He was willing to take responsibility for his circumstances.  Where you are today is basically the result of every choice you’ve made leading up to this day.  That’s a hard reality to swallow.  It’s much easier, less painful, and convenient to find someone to blame for our circumstances than it is to be honest and forthright enough to say, “I’m achieving my goals or I’m wasting days and losing time because of my own choices.”  I am a strong advocate of personal responsibility.  Hebrews 11:24 pinpoints the moment when Moses started accepting personal responsibility.  It says, “when he had grown up.”  There comes a moment when we’ve got to grow up and accept responsibility for ourselves.

 

3.  The Priority Issue.  If you’re going to make life count, you have to settle the issue of what is really important to you.  You’ve got to ask yourself hard questions and answer them honestly.  Questions such as:  What is the most important thing to me?  What am I going to live for, die for, hold close, and let go?  How am I going to spend my time, money, and energy?  When they’re standing at my grave, how do I want to be most remembered?    In verse 26 we are told that Moses, “considered the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.”  There are three things you’ve got to decide.  What you’re going to live for.  How you’re going to live that out.  When you’re going to get started.

 

4.  The Adversity Issue.  Life can be hard.  A father once told his little girl, “Life is hard and as soon as you realize that it gets a lot easier.”  Moses’ decision had consequences.  Every decision has consequences.  For Moses it was “not fearing the wrath of the king,” (v. 27).  Every life is going to have its tales of hardship, difficulty, adversity, and pain.  Life can be cruel, disappointing, unfair, without reward, and humiliating.  You’ve got to decide what you’re going to do about those isolated moments that are standing in your way.  Will you let them be barriers or bridges to your future?  Will they be paralyzing obstacles or new discovered opportunities?

 

5.  The Integrity Issue.  Moses not only knew who he was but he was sold out to live a life of character.  When you settle the character issue of your life it will help you to act in the face of popular opinion, activate the protective power of God, anticipate God’s supernatural intervention, and achieve a lasting legacy.  Thousands of years have passed since Moses and we’re still learning from his life.  Galatians asks us a very important question concerning integrity.  Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?  Or am I striving to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”  Good words from the Good Book.

 

Michael Goldsmith has pastored congregations in North Little Rock, Conway, Pine Bluff and Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.   He now serves with Global University as Director of Advancement for a project in a sensitive country.  You can reach him at mgoldsmith@globaluniversity.edu.

2 responses so far

What A Great Idea!

May 20 2013 Published by under Ministry

By Rev. Tom Greene

IMG_8910B

I’m not really sure when it happened. As a matter of fact, I didn’t realize when it happened. I just know that it did.

I’m speaking of the day that I was no longer the younger ‘Timothy’ observing and interacting with the older ‘Paul’. It seems that suddenly the pages of life have turned toward the back of the book and I find myself to be the older leader in the equation.

I am indebted to the men and women of God who willingly poured themselves into me as a young minister. It was rare that they actually sat me down for one on one teaching. It was a God ordained mixture of role model, occasional advisor, and generous availability. The Pauls in my life came in the form of lead pastors, administrative leaders and godly laymen that saw in me what I didn’t often see in myself and determined me to be a worthy investment.

For a number of years now, the role has been reversed. I now possess the opportunity and responsibility to be the Paul in the life of young Timothy. But only if and when Timothy is confident that this veteran has experience and knowledge that is worth receiving.

Please bear with me as I share a few principles (or perhaps pet peeves) that I have gained along the way for today’s versions of Paul and Timothy. I will let you decide if you are Timothy or Paul or in the transition stage of both. I am confident there is no magic number as to age or experience that determines it. I do know that I plan to keep a few heroes in my life to ensure that learning never ceases for me personally.

 

PAUL:

1. UNDERSTAND THE REQUIREMENT THAT YOU INVEST IN THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERSHIP.

I have been troubled for many years when I see lead pastors who hire staff to ‘do their job’ without seeing the opportunity to use those years with a younger leader to prepare them for a lifetime of service.

2. THE HARD TIMES OF OUR MINISTRY SHOULD BE A SEED FOR THOSE WHO FOLLOW US TO BE MORE EFFECTIVE.

“It won’t hurt him to go through the same hardships I did”, said the lead pastor of his youth pastor. Personally, I would like to think that the challenging days that my grandfather endured are what paved the way for me. He preached in the days of brush arbor Pentecost so that I might preach in the finest churches in America. His family survived the ‘keep the preacher poor’ mentality so that I could be free to pursue my dreams without starving my children.

 3. STOP LOOKING FOR THE FINAL CHAPTER OF YOUR LIFE.

“Well, I’ve just about done my time.” We speak of ministry as though it is a prison sentence…as though our age is a deal breaker. Paul ‘pressed toward the mark’ and didn’t declare himself useless to the ministry until his personal acknowledgement that the ‘the time of my departure is at hand’.

 

TIMOTHY:

 1. SEEK OUT THE HEROES THAT WILL PREPARE AND EQUIP YOU FOR GREATNESS.

As a young man, I developed an insatiable hunger to look to, learn from, and live in the shadow of those that were going before me. And thank the Lord I chose heroes whose lives raised the bar for me. I sat across the desk, the lunch table or in the passenger seat many times and received what could not be taught in a classroom. And yes, I would often learn what not to do from their mistakes. Nevertheless, I was still learning.

2. DON’T JUST CRITICIZE THE PAST, DO IT BETTER.

You will never offend me by taking what I have attempted and doing it more effectively. However, attacking and trashing the traditions of the past will never validate today’s leader. Believe it or not, what you determine as old school was actually edgy at the time. You may even be shocked to discover that what worked in the past may still have relevance when done well. ‘New and improved’ is often better than ‘never proven’.

3. YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE DOES NOT GUARANTEE YOU A PLACE OF LEADERSHIP.

I am convinced that my birth date does not disqualify me from being effective. I am as committed to relevancy as I have ever been. Perhaps my experience can even contribute to such. However, I have witnessed some of my peers that refuse to pursue what God is doing today. Likewise, Timothy, please know that your youth does not give you a pass. Take advantage of Pauline wisdom, today’s techniques, and the ever relevant Pentecostal power and be the best generation of leadership ever.

Today’s church cannot rest on its past. On the other hand, the church cannot assume that the best is yet to come. However, in a world where half the population is still waiting for an adequate presentation of Christ, we have no choice. With Holy Spirit direction and empowerment, we must pursue the greatest days of the Church. This might be a good time to read Paul’s letters to Timothy. Paul and Timothy working together. What a great idea!

 

Tom Greene is a founding partner of the ministry advancement group of Greene&Raley. He previously served in positions including National Director of Men’s Ministries, National Director of Youth Ministries and Oklahoma District Youth Director for the Assemblies of God in addition to several local churches. Greene may be reached at: tomgreene71@gmail.com.

 

4 responses so far

The Need for Time-Outs

May 13 2013 Published by under Life

By Rev. John Maempa

Copy of JohnFromStaffSports enthusiasts are familiar with coaches and players calling for time-outs at strategic moments in the game. By definition, a time-out is a halt in the play. This allows the coaches of either team to communicate with their players to determine strategy or inspire morale. A time-out can also give players a much-needed break from intense physical activity. Time-outs are important to the success of the team.

 

We need time-outs in everyday life as well. The apostle Paul often employed the analogy of running a race to the life of a Christian. “If only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me” he wrote in Acts 20:24. Toward the end of his journey, he said, “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Then there are the familiar words by the writer of Hebrews in 12:1, “Let us throw off everything that hinders…and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

 

Life often seems like a race. It’s fast-paced, intense, and demanding. That’s why time-outs are necessary. Jesus understood the need for those during His earthly ministry. In the Gospels we find references to Jesus going up onto a mountainside to pray. On one occasion, He went by boat to a “solitary place.”

 

Prayer and meditation are important ways to take time-outs. Like in the sports arena, it can be a time to get instructions from the Coach. It can be a time to be refreshed and encouraged by the presence of the Holy Spirit. And, sometimes, whether we pray or not, it’s good to just get away from the frenetic pace and take a walk in a peaceful place, enjoying the beauty of nature. These can be recharging and refreshing times. Be sure to set aside time on a regular basis for prayer and also take those moments for solitude. It’s not wasted time.

 

Prayer: O, Lord God, thank You for those times of refreshing that we can have in prayer and in our times of solitude. Help all of us to know when a time-out is needed. May we be careful to take those moments and allow Your presence to encourage and strengthen us. And may we also be careful to listen to Your instructions so that we’ll be better prepared to handle the tasks and opportunities before us. Amen.

 

Rev. John Maempa is director of the Office of Prayer & Spiritual Care for the General Council of the Assemblies of God. To learn more about the OPSC, visit www.prayer.ag.org.

One response so far

The Question of Competency

May 06 2013 Published by under Ministry

By Steve McMichael

Steve_McMichael_Crop

In the ministry we sometimes find ourselves seeking self-esteem when our greatest need is God-awareness.

Have you thought about your job lately?  We are servants of the Most High God! As such, we present God’s word to His people.  We are supposed to be giving His council!   No wonder so many ministers struggle with self esteem. Have you ever felt completely inadequate? Today?

The reality of my inadequacy came crashing down on me recently. I had just completed a Bible study with a group of West African refugees when one of them, a tall gentleman, approached me for prayer.  His presence was a bit intimidating, as he loomed over six feet tall and wore a stoic expression.  He began:

“My father was killed.
My mother was killed.
My brothers were killed.
My sister was killed.
Life is hard.”

He said nothing else.  It was my turn. I was supposed to say or do something to help him, though I felt completely exposed and helpless. At last I drew up the courage to pray, and then he left.

I went to the Bible after that, bruised but seeking.  I found myself at 2 Corinthians 3.  Paul is defending his ministry, and he states that he is an able minister, graced with a competency that comes from God.   Here’s my takeaway from this passage:

Dependence
No matter where you are, or what you are doing in ministry, competency comes from the Spirit of God. Any other source is, at best, lacking. Study is commanded (2 Timothy 2:15) and experience is profitable, but nothing substitutes for the Spirit of God when we face the point of a need.  He must give us the words, ideas and strategies. How liberating to know that we do not have to produce life but only pass along the life He gives!

God’s Nature
We will never act as compassionately or relate so completely with people as God does. Fortunately, our job does not require us to convince God to do anything.  He is ever ready to yield His awesome power. We may ask boldly for divine intervention, not as a religious exercise, but as an expected reality.

Courage
Thus far this has been a great review of well-established truth, but the final ingredient requires action.  Competent ministers take courage and act on dearly-held truths. Because I need what only God provides, and because He is good and willing to help, I will act (pray, plan, say etc.).  We come back to the point of action, but equipped with far more than our resources, education or experience could provide. Courage is drawn from the same well as the rest of our spiritual life: God’s inexhaustible goodness.  When there is a need, it is time to act.

These are the ingredients for competency: a heart and attitude dependent on the Spirit, an awareness of God’s goodness, and the courage to believe He is willing to act here and now.

Allow me to return to the gentleman in my story earlier. He remained in the Bible study. His countenance has softened and he is excited to study the Bible.  Healing and peace are reworking His life after unimaginable hardship.

Allow God to take his place as the inexhaustible source of wisdom and power.  Act from that place of confidence and get ready to get busy, because His love for people is dynamic and untiring.

Rev. Steve McMichael is a Global University Alumnus from the Berean School of the Bible and the Undergraduate School of Bible and Theology. McMichael currently serves as an International Pastor.

2 responses so far