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Consider the Source

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” -Proverbs 4:23

I love the book of proverbs. There are so many great tools that add layers to your life. The above verse is a great one. It’s like a hammer, simply essential. One time early in my ministry, I was struggling with receiving criticism. At the time I was a worship leader and this lady came up to me after church and said I wasn’t very good at leading. She said I sang too low and a higher key would engage more people to sing along. That may not seem like a big deal to you, but at the time it crushed my very fragile ego. Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with constructive criticism. If done the right way, criticism can be one of the biggest growth catalysts of your life.

However, the challenge is to learn how to take the criticism you’re receiving and place it into categories, mainly as ‘constructive’ and as ‘trash’. Early in my life I didn’t know how to do this and, if I’m honest, it’s still sometimes a day by day process.

As I said earlier, I was receiving some criticism and didn’t really know what to do with it. An older, wiser leader gave me a phrase which has been huge in the process of categorizing negative comments. Here it is…

“CONSIDER THE SOURCE”

“Consider the source” has been the key to allowing certain types of comments into my heart and others that do not even make it past my ears.  Here are some questions to ask next time you are being confronted with criticism and how to know what to listen to and what to throw away. In essence, it’s how we can consider the source.

1. Does the person know your heart?

Hurting people hurt people. That needs to be learned early and often. Sometimes people will say negative things simply as a way to cope with their own issues. Their not mad at you really. Their upset with someone else. You simply were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Before you take their words to heart ask if they know you. Do they know who you really are?  Do they love you? What’s the motivation behind their comments? Are they for you or are they simply trying to use you as a punching bag?

2. Are they willing to back up their comment with help to make it better?

Talk it cheap. Is the person daring to give you negative feedback willing to work through the issue with you. There’s a big difference between, “You stink” and “You stink but I want to help you get better.” Both hurt but one of them implies ownership for the words spoken. There’s another blog post coming for the importance of not saying anything you are willing to back up but… that’s later.

3. Do they want the best for you? 

I’ve had people criticize me that knew me. However, their comments weren’t to make me better it was just to inform me of my issue. That’s not a true friend. Just because someone knows you does not mean their out for your best interest. Anyone with an ex-spouse can tell you that. What’s the motivation behind their comment? Are they trying to make you better or simply remind you of their superiority?

 

Criticism isn’t going anywhere and the truth is not all of it is bad. We cannot grow with out being stretched, pulled, and sometimes torn. The trick isn’t to hide from criticism but to figure out what is worthy of your attention and what needs to be thrown into the garbage where it belongs.

So, there’s my three ways of qualifying the words of others. Is there something different you use? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

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Stay Positive: I’m Confident (Wrap Up)

This past Sunday, we finished our latest series entitled “Stay Positive”. In this series we talked about the importance of staying positive in a negative world. Over the first four weeks we talked about Optimism, Gratitude, Encouragement, and a spiritual look at Enthusiasm.

For the last part of this series, we talked about the one closest to my heart, the desire to stay confident.  If we’re honest, we all have things attempt to rob our confidence. For some it’s the fear of the future. They’ve finished college, now what? For others, it’s the expectations of others. How do they measure up in the eyes of others? Still, others have a problem with their body image. If they could lose those last few pounds, gain some muscle (but not too much) be generally look good naked, they would finally be happy. (yeah right) These confidence killers plague all of us.

That’s why we no longer want to live on the unpredictability of self-confidence. We want to live with God-confidence. The three statements to live by are:

God is for me.

God wants to help me.

God is working on me.

These three truths can help you make it in the most stressful, confidence-sapping moments of your life. We do not rest in our own abilities but in the ability that God has in us.

We do not live FOR the approval of God but FROM the approval of God.  Below is the entire message. Let’s grow in our God-confidence together.

 

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Book Reviews, Read Everything
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Book Review: Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly

So I’m sitting with some pastors the other day and one guy says, “Have you ever read the book Killing Jesus“. Everyone begins to smile and nod except me. I was the only one who hadn’t read it. This guy looks at me like he’s about to tell me the cure to cancer. He says, “That book is amazing. I listened to the audiobook and actually thought I might have pull over while driving. It made the story of Jesus so real.”

After hearing that, I found myself visiting audible.com and listening to it myself on the way home that very day.

OMG!

This book is exactly as advertised. Bill O’Reilly and Mark Dugard do an amazing job of combining scripture and historical accounts to bring the story of Jesus to life like never before. More than one time I actually gasped out loud… that doesn’t happen to me.

Here are the following reasons I would suggest reading this book:

> Great way to tie in historical events during the time of Jesus to the narratives of the Gospels.

> This book will bring you face to face with the horrors of crucifixion much like the Movie The Passion of the Christ did for so many in the 1990s.

> It will give the other ‘characters’ in the Bible a lot more detail than you ever knew before.

Disclaimer- This book isn’t written to convert people. It’s written for historical entertainment. That being said you will have to take a few things O’Reilly says with a ‘grain of salt’ and do your own research before making conclusions.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to any student of the Bible hoping to gain fresh perspective on the life and times surrounding Jesus.

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Book Review: Unashamed by Lecrae

By far, Lecrae has shattered the box of Christian music forever. His book has challenged expectations again. Who would have thought a christian rapper would ever write a book or that it would be any good? But it was so good. Lecrae’s book, Unashamed, is an honest and sincere look at the author’s life. We travel with him through his massive highs, equally massive lows, and everything in between. What we find is an ordinary man with an extra-ordinary calling on his life and his pursuit of stretching himself to become everything God has created him to be.

Here are a few of my takeaways>>>

>> One aspect that really spoke to me was Lacrae’s honestly about the struggles all Christians face when it comes to ‘earning our faith’. He talked about how we struggle to understand God’s love for us because we struggle to see ourselves the way he does. Lacrae eventually realized God loves Him before he ever makes those right decisions. He’s operated FROM the acceptance of God not FOR the acceptance of God.

>> He talks a lot in the second half of he book about having a Christian World View. I thought I knew what that was but apparently not. His ideas brought fresh insight to an old conversation about who we as believers should be on the world stage. He challenged me to view myself in the same way.

>> Finding his own unique voice in the music industry. Whether you are a music, public speaker, business owner, or a single guy looking for a date; everyone is looking for something to make them stand out. It’s amazing to realize that many of us spend most of our lives trying to ‘fit in’ when we should really be looking to stand out as our own unique self. That’s probably my number one takeaway. The question of “Who am I?” “What makes me unique?” “What is my unique voice in this world?”

I have a personal ranking system with all books I read ranging from 1 (never admit I read this) to 10 (I need to read this again, blog about it, tell the world). This book definitely made it to a 10. It’s filled with great stories, great questions,  and great encouragement. This is the kind of book that I’ll probably end up buying a few extra copies so they can be given away to guests.

You should definitely give it a try.

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TD.2
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T.D. Jakes Speaking on Leadership

This is a amazing video where T.D. Jakes speaks on leadership.
It’s a must watch

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