All, Devotions, prayer|fasting
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Top Posts I Read The Week Of May 12th

So, over the past couple of weeks my heart has been struck by the need to study more on prayer. As Christians and leaders, we tend to be willing to do almost anything for God except pray. I cannot tell you the last time I talked to someone and they were overflowing with great things to say about their daily prayer time. After many conversations I do not think this is because we do not love God. We simply do not know how to pray or what prayer actually does. Therefore, this week’s top read posts is going to be all about some great prayer blog’s I have read this week.

The following are The Top Posts I Read The Week Of April 20th:

1. 50 Great Prayer Blogs
2. Three Keys to a Better Prayer Life
3. 6 Tips for a Better Prayer Life
4. The All-Time 10 Best Tips on Prayer for Beginners That I Have Ever Heard
5. What’s the Secret to a Great Prayer Life?
6. 8 Ways to Pray
7. How to Pray Better in Public and in Private, Too (Tim Keller)
8. A Better Way to Pray
9. 12 Secrets to praying more effectively
10. wikiHow to Pray Effectively (Christianity)
11. How to Pray Effectively (Rick Warren)
12. Tim Keller’s 5 Steps for Effective Prayer
13. How to Develop a Dynamic Prayer Life
14. 10 Tips to Help Your Prayer Life

Here’s the question for the day. What is one tip you would give someone to help their prayer life take a step forward?

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Book Review: From Pew to Pulpit: A Beginner’s Guide to Preaching

Author: Clifton Guthrie
Genre:  non-fiction
My Rating: Must read (for preachers)
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Pew-Pulpit-Beginners-Guide-Preaching/dp/0687066603/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492715242&sr=1-1&keywords=From+Pew+to+Pulpit+

From the Publisher:

A down-to-earth, practical introduction to the ins and outs of preaching for lay preachers, bivocational pastors, and others newly arrived in the pulpit.

Recent years have seen a considerable increase in the amount of financial resources required to support a full-time pastor in the local congregation. In addition, large numbers of full-time, seminary trained clergy are retiring, without commensurate numbers of new clergy able to take their place. As a result of these trends, a large number of lay preachers and bivocational pastors have assumed the principal responsibility for filling the pulpit week by week in local churches. Most of these individuals, observes Clifton Guthrie, can draw on a wealth of life experiences, as well as strong intuitive skills in knowing what makes a good sermon, having listened to them much of their lives. What they often don’t bring to the pulpit, however, is specific, detailed instruction in the how-tos of preaching. That is precisely what this brief, practical guide to preaching has to offer.

Written with the needs of those for whom preaching is not their sole or primary occupation in mind, it begins by emphasizing what every preacher brings to the pulpit: an idea of what makes a sermon particularly moving or memorable to them. From there the book moves into short chapters on choosing an appropriate biblical text or sermon topic, learning how to listen to one’s first impressions of what a text means, moving from text or topic to the sermon itself while keeping the listeners needs firmly in mind, making thorough and engaging use of stories in the sermon, and delivering with passion and conviction. The book concludes with helpful suggestions for resources, including Bibles, commentaries, other print resources and websites.

My Observation:

Many of the “preaching” books today focus a lot on “why” we preach or the health of the one doing the preaching. That is great but this book already assumes those books are there. Instead, this book is geared to help someone with little to no experience preaching and it helps them prepare for their turn on stage. I wish this book had of been familiar to me about 10 years ago. There are countless ideas and methods that can help not only the occasional exhorter but also the seasoned pastor. This book will also help cut down on your preparation time. You will not get much out of it if you are not a frequent speaker but if you are, add this to your annual read list. 

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Book Review: How’s Your Soul?

Author: Judah Smith
Genre: non-fiction
My rating: If you have time
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Hows-Your-Soul-Everything-Matters/dp/0718039173/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492715077&sr=1-1&keywords=how%27s+your+soul+judah+smith

From the Publisher: 

Judah Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Jesus Is ______, explores what it looks like to cultivate a healthy soul in the midst of a busy life and points readers to the soul’s only true home and place of rest and fulfillment: God.

“How’s your soul?”

It may seem like an odd question, but it’s what pastor and bestselling author Judah Smith chooses to ask his friends, rather than “How are you?” It’s a way to look past the externals and consider what’s going on inside, in that essential part of us that is often overlooked in the struggle to make our way through everyday life.

In the rush of living moment to moment, many of us find ourselves simply surviving, struggling daily with frustration, restlessness, boredom, and ever-fleeting joy. But if we would pause, we’d find that the things that matter most in life, what we are searching for in our busyness—stability, peace, hope, love—are rooted in the health of what Judah calls the “inside you.”

In How’s Your Soul?, Judah explores that “inside you.” Sharing his own, often humorous, mistakes and foibles, he helps us find our way through the emotional roller coasters of life to discover the soul-healing essentials of rest, responsibility, restraint, and relationships, all rooted in what he calls the soul’s only true home—God himself.

How’s Your Soul? is an invitation to find lasting emotional satisfaction and stability by bringing our feelings into alignment with God’s truth, moving beyond simply surviving, and learning how to live each day with eternal significance.

My Observation:

Honestly, this book had a few moments of brilliance but otherwise it wasn’t really for me. I don’t know if I didn’t like the book or I just expected something different. Either way, I admit being disappointed. It seemed a little too “surface” level for what I expected from Judah Smith. Judah seems to spend almost the whole book convincing us that his soul needs attention and if his does, our soul probably does too. The hope was to find a book that already assumes we know ours souls need nourishment and, instead, move straight into how to get that accomplished. Anyway, Judah Smith is a great author. If you have the time, read it and maybe you will get something a little more or at least a little different. 

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All, Leadership
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Top Posts I Read The Week Of April 20th

The following are The Top Posts I Read The Week Of April 20th:

  1. Train For Success
  2. Are You Exceptionally Likable? 9 Reasons People Decide They Like You
  3. Bad Body Language Habits You Need to Break ASAP
  4. Why Every Weekend Should Be A Three Day Weekend
  5. How The CEO Of Newman’s Own Carries On An Unconventional Legacy
  6. What Do the Most Successful CEOs Have in Common?
  7. Advice For Those Who Believe They Give Great Advice
  8. 10 Signs You’re a Follower Instead of a Leader

Well, that is my Top Posts for the week.  What other great posts did you read?

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Books
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Book Review: Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms

Author: Tim Tebow
Genre: non-fiction
My Rating: Should Read
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Shaken-Discovering-Identity-Midst-Storms/dp/0735289867/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492714554&sr=8-1&keywords=shaken

From the Publisher:

Who are you when life is steady? Who are you when storms come?

Most of us have been on the receiving end of rejection, a broken dream, or heartbreak. And while this is not an easy space to go through, when we are grounded in the truth, we can endure the tough times.

In this powerful book, Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow passionately shares glimpses of his journey staying grounded in the face of disappointment, criticism, and intense media scrutiny. Following an exceptional college football career with the Florida Gators and a promising playoff run with the Denver Broncos, Tebow was traded to the New York Jets. He was released after one season.

In Shaken, Tebow talks about what he’s learned along the way, building confidence in his identity in God, not the world. This moving book also features practical wisdom from Scripture and insights gained from others who have impacted Tebow in life-changing ways.

Though traveling hard roads is not easy, it’s always worth it! Your Circumstances do not Define You. Your Identity Does.

What do you do when life takes an unplanned detour? When the unexpected happens? When doubt or negativity tries to rise above your faith? Most of us can relate to these questions.

Through a dynamic lens of story and insight, Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow tells what he’s learned during the highs and the lows of his journey in the NFL. Shaken also features practical wisdom from the pages of Scripture and moving narratives of individuals—from celebrities to cancer patients—who have impacted Tebow’s life. Their inspiring stories will encourage you also to tackle fear, overcome bitterness, and take on the obstacles life throws at you.

My Observation:

Really is a great book. This book about having the proper perspective and if you are a college football fan, you’ll enjoy hearing Tebow’s journey through the Pro League. I cannot help but think many college players have similar experiences in the pros. 

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Leadership
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8 Fascinating Leadership Articles to Read Right Now

Guest post from HERE.

Today, we were thrilled to dispatch the first edition of our Leadership That Works Newslettera curated monthly digest of the very best leadership links from around the web (compiled by the enthusiastic leadership wonks at ConantLeadership). In the event that you are not subscribed to our mailing list but still have an insatiable thirst for leadership knowledge – never fear, we’ve also compiled the 8 intriguing articles from our newsletter letter right here.  Hope you enjoy — and stay curious! (And, if you like what you see, you can sign up for our newsletter right here).

Yes, You Should Take Work Personally.

Duncan Coombe, in this Harvard Business Review article, adds to the ever-mounting evidence that the axiom, “it’s not personal, it’s just business” is really awful career and leadership advice.

To Be Happy, Focus on Your Craft, Not Prestige.

This great The Atlantic interview with the author of the book, If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?, reveals enlightening truths about what truly fulfills leaders. It turns out, if you focus on the power, money, and prestige — you don’t necessarily get better or happier. But if you find something you love, and focus passionately on mastering it — success, and happiness are more likely to follow.

The Extraordinary Power of Deliberate Practice.

The way to achieve excellence is through deliberate practice — but it’s much more challenging than ordinary practice. How do you keep going, even when practicing with purpose is really hard? This wonderfully practical post from The Quiet Leadership Institute tells you exactly how to master deliberate practice and reach your goals.

The Leader as Artist.

This fascinating post from Brain Pickings wholly captures the idea that leadership is a craft — requiring the same attention and creativity as painting or design. Using supporting insights from maker-turned-leader, John Maeda, the article argues, “that human relationships are an act of creativity and craftsmanship, a supreme art . . .” A delightful read.

You’re Probably Not Telling, or Hearing, The Truth Enough. 

Mindy Mackenzie, author of The Courage Solution, noticed a crisis in the modern corporate landscape: people weren’t telling the truth. Why? “Because people didn’t have the courage to tell it. People were afraid of the consequences. So I wrote this book to show them how to tell the truth diplomatically but effectively.” In this interview with Skip Prichard, Mackenzie shares empowering tips for truth-telling in your leadership.

Why Autonomy Is More Appealing Than Power.

“People were nearly two and a half times more likely to take a job that gave them more autonomy than they were to want a job that gave them more influence” writes Melissa Dahl in this interesting post from New York Magazine that should serve as a reminder to leaders: if you want to engage people, trust them to do their jobs.

How to Change Your Focus.

“We have a choice about where to aim the lens of our attention” writes Seth Godin in this short but effective post on why changing our default approach to challenges is the key to doing better work.

Optimism Starts at the Top (But so Does Worry).

By re-framing the often asked question, “what keeps you up at night?” to “what gets you up in the morning?” — this post in Strategy + Business shows why leaders should be motivated by the excitement of opportunity, as opposed to the dread of failure, if they hope to better engage employees.

Thanks for reading,

Your friends at ConantLeadership

P.S. If you discovered an enlightening, must-read leadership link recently, drop us a line in the comments and share! 

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My Book Reading Rating System

I have added a section to my book reviews and wanted to share them with you. This is in response to conversations I have had where people talk about not having much time for reading. They say that they only have time to read a few books a year so which ones are good but not necessary and which ones need more attention. Since it is not worth having the conversation about how we make time to do what we want to do so everyone has time to read, I decided to play along and add a rating system.

Here is my new book rating system and what they mean:

Must read– Add to the top of your reading list. This book is worth reading now. I will be reading it again. 

Should read– It’s a good book but not life changing. I might read this again but not likely. 

If you have time– This book is something that has enjoyment but nothing to go out of your way to read. Definitely don’t buy it. Instead, check for it at your local library. I will not be reading this book again. 

If you are bored– This book is something I sort of regret reading. I finished it but not with fond memories. If you read this one, you probably have nothing better to do. 

Don’t waste your time– Most likely did not finish this book. Get away from it quickly because it will most likely explode. 

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Leadership
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Leadership Websites & Blogs to Explore

Guest post from Here.

Time and time again Steven and I (Vetter’s co-founders) remind ourselves that we must not work on Vetter in isolation. We must not let ourselves get disconnected from the opinions and thinking of managers and leaders both within our user base and in the broader world. There are a number of websites that we monitor to keep abreast of the latest leadership and management thinking and we thought our readers might want us to share our to-10, listed below in no particular order:

1. Manager-Tools

We’ve been a subscriber to Manager Tool’s podcast for about 3 years now. The MT crew’s core trinity of One-on-Ones, Feedback, and Coaching make it a great educational resource for managers of all sorts. For more information, we recommend diving into: http://www.manager-tools.com/manager-tools-basics

2. Great Leadership by Dan

Great Leadership by Dan features a regular stream of high-quality articles on such topics as how to act like a leader, succession planning, performance management, and much more. Blog posts are often written by guest bloggers and their cross-section of opinions and views adds to the breadth and depth of this valuable website.

3. Management Craft

Microsoft
Management Craft tags itself as ‘Discussions about state-of-the-art business management’ and we whole-heartedly agree with this description. I discovered this site via a link from another site to the classic post “Birthday Butterfly Flap Post”. This is a great resource for managers looking to refine their craft.

4. Marshall Goldsmith

Marshall Goldsmith has years of management experience and skill under his belt and his website is a wealth of information for those who manage teams both large and small. For a truly enlightening read, check out this page that contains eleven excellent leadership articles including ‘Try Feedforward Instead of Feedback’ which greatly effected much of our thinking about the concept of feedback.

5. Forbes (Leadership sub-section)

Forbes’s sub-site is definitely not the most focused on this list but that doesn’t make it any less valuable as a management resource. Because of its famous brand name, this website benefits from New York Times best-selling guest writers of the highest quality such as Christine Comaford, George Bradt, Lisa Quast, and Cathy Huyghe.

6. The Practice of Leadership blog

Microsoft
Posts are often infrequent on The Practice of Leadership blog, but when they arrive, they are usually pretty beefy and in-depth. Be sure to check out the recommended reading section. Sure it’s intimidating – who has time to read and review all those books – but it’s also a great resource for all things management related.

7. Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog

John Hunter’s blog is not a direct leadership blog per se but it does touch on leadership issues via posts on lean thinking and manufacturing, six sigma, customer focus, systems thinking, Toyota Production System, and innovation. It’s well worth the time it takes to find the leadership articles as Mr. Hunter has some interesting ideas from a corner of the world we don’t hear much about (Southeast Asia and Oceania).

8. Linked 2 Leadership

Linked 2 Leadership describes itself as, “a group of global professionals dedicated to leadership development, organizational health, and personal & professional growth”. We describe it as a solid leadership-based website with a profoundly dedicated fan base. The site has a pretty extensive roster of guest bloggers who integrate such disparate topics as Education and Technology and make it all relevant.

9. Three Star Leadership

Wally Bock’s Tips of the Day are the highlight of this site and we find ourselves checking this site several times a week to catch up on Mr. Block’s words of wisdom. Recent tips include: ‘Keep a list of mini-projects’ and ‘Time off should be time off’ – sage advice for managers coping with a variety of issues.

10. Dilbert.com

Microsoft
Sometimes it’s easier to figure out what the right way is by seeing it done the wrong way. That’s the heart of the message that Dilbert creator and writer has illustrated for over twenty years. Learn how not to lead at Dilbert.com!

Conclusion

Take a few minutes each day to check out our top ten leadership websites, bookmark your favorites, and create a resource that you can refer to for ideas, inspiration, and continuing education in the ever-changing world of management and leadership.

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Leadership
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10 Highly Engaging Leadership Links

Guest post from here.

Today we dispatched the second edition of our Leadership That Works Newsletter,  a curated monthly digest of the very best leadership links from around the web (compiled by the enthusiastic leadership wonks at ConantLeadership). In the event that you are not subscribed to our mailing list but still have an unquenchable thirst for leadership knowledge – we’ve also compiled the 10 articles from our newsletter letter right here for your reading enjoyment.  This month’s links touch on productivity, decision-making, credibility, and much more. Enjoy, and stay curious! (And if you like what you see, you can sign up to receive leadership insights from ConantLeadership here).

You’ve Got to Evolve Your Purpose, Always.

This Harvard Business Review article shows why your purpose, like you, is always evolving. Therefore, you need practices for ensuring your work stays meaningful in the long-term, not just in the present.

Don’t Be the Boss Who Cries Wolf.

In this excellent Strategy+Business article, author Augusto Giacoman tells you exactly why you must put credibility first if you want to get anything substantial accomplished as a leader.  And he tells you precisely how to do it.

Why Leadership Development Is a Must.

“A common misconception is that simply because someone excels in the current role, that success will automatically translate to the next level” writes Marty Fukuda in this Entrepreneur article that spells out four compelling reasons to make investing in leadership development a top priority.

The 4 Trillion Dollar Cost of Gender Inequality.

Bridging the US gender gap in work entirely would produce an estimated $4.3 trillion in additional GDP in 2025″ finds McKinsey & Company in this fascinating, research-backed article that puts the cost of the gender gap in the workforce (and the enormous economic opportunity to be found in fixing it) in stark terms.

Be More Specific When You Talk About Trust.

“As important as trust is and as much as we talk about it, the problem is we are not always talking about the same thing” writes Jesse Lyn Stoner in this helpful post that explains in detail the four different dimensions of trust. Stoner encourages people to be more specific when gauging and evaluating trustworthiness in ourselves and others.

How to Deal with Blamers. 

“The opposite of blame is responsibility” writes Leadership Freak in this actionable post that spells out six practical ways to empower blamers to own their responsibilities more fully.

Yes, Relationships Are Part of Your Job. 

If you’re not comfortable pushing yourself to more fully connect with people, you have to get out of your comfort zone and find ways to do it anyway urges Mary Jo Asmus in this tough-love post; Asmus lays out four ways leaders can better build relationships, even if it doesn’t come naturally.

Be Here Now.

Thin Difference asked a diverse group of people from their online community how they keep themselves centered on their leadership journey. Their answers, compiled in this interesting collection of insights, make for interesting and inspiring reading.

You’ll Never Have Enough Information.  

But you still have to make decisions in a timely manner, given the information available to you. Mickey Addison, in this General Leadership article, paints decision-making as an art that gets better with practice; the more you do it, the better you can strike the balance between decisive and hasty.

Plants Can Make You More Productive.

“What we see, hear, smell, taste, and feel impacts our actions” writes Leigh Stringer in this Quiet Revolution article that outlines ways we can change our environment to “nudge” ourselves towards better habits. What’s most interesting is that “biophilia” – or humans’ innate preference to be around natural splendor — can be leveraged for higher productivity by incorporating natural elements like water and plant life into our work environment.

What leadership links did you discover this month that challenged, intrigued, or inspired you? 

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A Pastor’s Response to “I don’t feel God’s Presence at church”

The other day, I talked with a fellow pastor who was so discouraged. His church was being criticized by people saying they did not “feel God” at church. This pastor was brokenhearted. After reflecting on this a while and after much prayer, I felt the need to shed some light on what some may being feeling concerning the presence of God in church. This could easily be a lengthy blog series posting many different concepts, however, I will try to place this into bullet points.

First of all, let’s get on the same page about what the church is not and what it is. That may bring a lot of clarification by itself.
Church is not… a weekly church service.
Church is not… a building or club.
Church is not… a concert, gig, or party.
Church is… what that Bible calls the “Body of Christ” or the “Bride of Christ”.
Church is… the people of God.
Church is… a time when God’s people come together to celebrate and seek God together.

Now, here are SEVEN reasons why you MIGHT NOTfeel‘ the presence of God at church:

This list assumes you are already a born again believers and have a relationship with God.

1. God is under no obligation to touch you with His presence.

Don’t get me wrong. God wants His creation to feel His presence. That is why we were created. We were created for fellowship with Him. However, as King and Creator of the Universe, He is under no obligation to bless You with His presence just because you showed up for church that day. He is God and His agenda is not our own.

2. Sin separates us from God’s fellowship.

When you sin an break the heart of God, the sin in our lives separates our fellowship with Him. You can see evidence of this all the way back in the Garden of Eden. When the first two people sinned, the result was they had to be separated from God and His goodness. When Jesus paid for our sins by His death, burial, and resurrection our past, present, and future sin can be washed away. However, just because our sin is taken care of in the eyes of eternity, that does not mean there are no consequences for sin. The wages of sin still manifest themselves through earthly consequences and our separation from His presence. If you noticing a lack of God’s presence in your life, make sure there is no unconfessed sin in your life.

3. You get out what you put in.

When you go to church, what is your mindset? Are you ready and expecting God to meet you there or are you critical and wondering what will happen?  When I was sixteen, my parents made me buy my first car. When I asked why, my dad said, “So you will respect it more. You need buy-in.” There are too many people attending church today without any buy-in. They do not give, they do not serve, and they are not really part of the local congregation.  People around the world meet in houses, basements, huts, or underground caves. Therefore, perfection of the service flow has nothing to do with your experience with God. It’s more about the position of your heart and the hunger you have for God’s presence that makes the difference.

4. Do you support your pastors or criticize them?

Remember pastors are people too. It hurts when you are critical because they work hard to try and create environments where people can connect with God. Planning a worship experience is hard work.  It is physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining. For me, it usually takes about three days to fully recover from each Sunday only to get ready to do it all over again. I love what God has called me to but that does not make it easier. Your pastor is looking for team players not Monday morning quarterbacks. Trust me, your pastor knows exactly where are the problems are and wants to fix it more than you do.  Join the team and help make things better.

5. The pastoral staff is trying harder than you probably realize.

There are probably exceptions to this one but, for the most part, your church is most likely trying harder than you are giving them credit. It takes a lot of time and energy to schedule people to serve, get the services scheduled, handle all the stuff that goes on outside of Sunday, pastoral care events, counseling, plugging people into ministry, crisis moments, sermon preparation, future planning, financial accountability, etc. The church does not do everything just on Sunday. Many times the church does not have a specific area of ministry covered because no one has stepped into that role yet. If there is an “empty spot” at church that drives you crazy, that could be God showing you an area for ministry. Jump on the team and help your church reach more people for the Kingdom of God.

6. The church needs you on the team not criticism.

I think I have covered this sufficiently above. The main idea is to realize nothing is made better by criticism. Jumping on the team and using your time, talents, and treasure is how you can help make things better.

7. You may be a victim of a consumer based culture.

Our culture is becoming more self-centered by the day. There are so many options and so many opportunities to get exactly what you want and exactly how you like it that we begin to believe all of life is supposed to be like that. Modern technology and opportunity is great but we must be careful not to allow ourselves to become spoiled and bring that into the Kingdom of God. The economy of God’s Kingdom is not being served but serving. Jesus said those who want to be first must be the last. It is those who sit in their chairs week after week complaining that end up receiving the least amount of God’s presence. Do not allow the enemy to lie to you by saying that church is all about meeting your needs. Church is a place to gather with your brother and sisters in Christ, celebrate the goodness of God, get equipped for reaching others, then going back out to win more people to Christ. You can look throughout church history. The only time the church began to become stagnant was when it thought only of itself and making itself feel good. As long as we are thinking about others, God’s presence will move among us.

There are more but these are the main points I feel some may be battling with as it relates to feeling God in your church. Let’s not allow the enemy to separate and divide us. Rather, let’s get on the same team and do the work of ministry. There are too many people living everyday without Jesus for us to criticize one another.

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8 Blessings We Get From Serving

We all want our lives to matter. It’s the reason we do the things we do. We chase promotions and leadership positions because we want to make a difference. We encourage our kids to go to college, get a good job, and make lots of money, in hopes that they, too, will make a difference.

There’s nothing wrong with wealth or influence, but those things alone won’t change the world and they aren’t what we were made for.

We were made to build the church (Ephesians 4:11-13). God made each one of with unique talents, personalities and skill sets. And when we ask Jesus into our lives, we’re given at least one spiritual gift. We get the most joy and make the biggest difference when we use our God-given talents, gifts and abilities to build the church (Ephesians 4:14-16).

8 Blessings We Experience By Serving Others:

1. Serving allows us to discover and develop our spiritual gifts.

1 Corinthians 12 compares the church to a human body. Just like our bodies are made of many parts serving specific functions, the church is made up of people with different skills and abilities. Alone these pieces aren’t very useful, but together we create something beautiful.

2. Serving allows us to experience miracles.

In John 2, Jesus was at a wedding and the couple was running out of wine for its guests. He tells the servants to fill several big jars to the brim. When they served the water to the guests, it was wine! The guests never knew what happened; the servants were the ones who witnessed the miracle. The same is true for us when we serve.

3. Serving allows us to experience the joy and peace that comes from obedience.

1 Peter 4:10-11 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms… so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” Serving is a form of worship, a way to express gratitude for what Jesus has done for us,  and to share the love and grace we’ve been given.

4. Serving helps us to be more like Jesus.

We shift our focus off of ourselves onto others through serving.  We begin to see others as Jesus sees them.  And we see Jesus IN others (Matthew 25:40).

5. Serving surrounds us with other Christians who can help us follow Jesus.

When we’re working side by side with other people, a bond inevitably forms. This was part of God’s plan for how the church is supposed to work. That’s why Hebrews 10:24-25instructs us to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together… but encouraging one another.”

6. Serving increases our faith.

As we move out of our comfort zones, God increases our faith by revealing new potential — in ourselves and in His Church.  When we see what He can do when His power is at work within us, we begin looking for the doors He’s opening rather than pushing our way through the one’s He’s closed (Ephesians 3:20).

7. Serving allows us to experience God’s presence in new ways.

Encouragement and healing go hand in hand. As we encourage others and they find healing, we’re encouraged. It’s the reason so many people who go on mission trips say they came home feeling like they got more than they gave.

8. Serving is good for your soul.

Studies have shown that volunteering is so good for the mind and body that it can ease symptoms of stress and depression. Tapping into our gifts and passions builds self-confidence, energy, and strength.  Serving others can also be the best distraction from our own worries.

We make all sorts of rational explanations for not serving:

I don’t have time.

I don’t know what I would do.

I don’t have any special skills to contribute.

They don’t need me.

But the reality is the Lord doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called. God used men and women with similar doubts to change the course of history. Moses didn’t think he was a leader or speaker, but God worked through Moses to bring Israel out of slavery. David was the youngest (and therefore most insignificant) of all his brothers, but God worked through David to defeat a giant and eventually made him a king. Paul used to kill Christians before he met Jesus, but he went on to become one of the most highly-regarded and prolific writers/church planters in history.

 

 

Guest blog post by: Veronica Sexton

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Leadership
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Top Posts I Read The Week Of March 17th

The following are The Top Posts I Read The Week Of March 17th:

  1. The Worry Trap: 10 simple ways to break free
  2. “The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” —Stephen Covey [Photo]
  3. Three Evernote Alternatives and How They Stack Up
  4. How You Can Find an Antidote to the Poison of Shame
  5. These Mistakes Are Costing You Your Happiness in Life
  6. Don’t Waste Your Pain, Make a Meal out of It

Well, that is my Top Posts for the week.  What other great posts did you read?

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