Wednesday, May 10, 2017

HOW TO GROW

Shared from City Pastor Greg Rogers: Hope 4 My City

I have an old wooden handled one wheeled plow.  It doesn’t’ need an ox or donkey to pull it.  There is no engine to turn a set of blades, it only has one curved blade.  It’s designed to be pushed, pushed back and forth to move the earth of dirt below.  The first year we planted a garden at this home, I tilled the plot with this plow.  I removed weeds, grass, and lots of rocks with a lot of back and forth effort. Now the ground was reading to receive the seed.

Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
    for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes
    and showers his righteousness on you.  Hosea 10:12

Breaking up the fallow, unplowed ground of your heart is not about working for your salvation.  It is not trying to make a better you.  It is preparing a suitable place for God to work and produce fruit in your life.  It is about recognizing that the normal flow of our lives is toward a self-centered complacency that hardens our heart by the comfortableness of unconfessed sin and a slow building resistance to the Holy Spirit’s nurturing.
So what may the breaking up the fallow ground look like?

1.       It requires tangible effort.  Just knowing the terminology does not mean that you have done the work.  Looking at my plot of untilled soil and thinking about the work that needs to be done, did not make it happen.  I had to put my hand to the plow and exert energy.  I sweated a lot and my hands blistered.  Many are familiar with the verse and think they have fulfilled it by “being open”.  It’s not your brother, or sister, but it is me o Lord, standing in the need of prayer.  When do you give God time to search your heart to see what does not belong?
2.      Expect resistance.  There are weeds that have taken root.  There will be a pattern of living that you may be unwilling to part.  Don’t settle for the “this is just the way I am”.  The ground must be broken in order for the new fruit of the Spirit to be prosperous in your life.  If you are comfortable with little white lies, STOP, because God is NOT.  He can give you the ability to speak the truth.  Deceitfulness flows in the direction of Satan, remove it from your heart.
3.      Expect a harvest….in time.  We are such a quick fix, gotta have it now, and see immediate results culture.  But God’s principles of harvesting and nature require order and time.  The ground is plowed so that the earth is ready for the seed.  But fertile soil produces an abundant harvest.  So also, give the Holy Spirit time to help you identify and remove sin and its effects in your life.  One right decision leads to another right decision.  Walk in step with the Holy Spirit and you will not carry out (bear the fruit) the desires of the flesh.

The end result is a more intimate relationship with the Father.  Our verse says that you will reap the fruit of unfailing love.  You will know that even though God does not approve of any sin, He is deeply committed to you.  There is pain to know that we have chosen so many times to reject God’s way.  But a restored relationship has great joy when the offensive obstacles are removed.  

David confessed  and asked that God would restore the joy of his salvation and take not the Holy spirit from him.  Tenderness toward our savior is one benefit from breaking up the fallow ground.

Jesus said the one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God.  Your fruitful life is before you.  God has great plans today, and the next days for your life.  O that we could see how He plans to use us each day for His glory.

Adapted and Shared from the writings of Pastor Greg Rogers, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 

http://www.hope4mycity.com/

Monday, March 13, 2017

[P]ainful Reality: Making Extraordinary Ordinary (leaders of all kinds)

I AM EXTRAORDINARY

I AM EXTRAORDINARILY NORMAL

I AM NORMAL

Recently my wife and I surrendered to a deeply personal and insightful assessment of our life, leadership, marriage, ministry and preparedness for church planting. You may not care about ministry or church planting, but all of us care about personal and professional development, about family of whatever nature we live family, and about leadership. So, this applies to everyone. 

After 3 days of deep-dive-interviews and assessments, we came out with more information than we can process in a week. So, we are taking time to process together and decide what the information tells us. In general, however, we came away with one huge glaring reality. The reality was not a surprise, but a confirmation and reminder, both to us, and in regards to most people around us. The reality is...

I AM EXTRAORDINARY

I AM EXTRAORDINARILY ORDINARY

I AM ORDINARY

This is not low self esteem. This is not overly critical. This is possibly one of the most important realities we can have in a society that magnifies and celebrates fame over familiar. See, you may connect with this conclusion when I say, I don't sing or dance great, I don't dunk a basketball or make blockbuster movies. I don't get invited to speak to nations or create life changing medical solutions. I can't cook very well and I only type 40 wpm. Truth is, my knees hurt most days and my hair is falling out, my kids don't always like me and I'm pretty sure my computer is about to crash. 

See.....I AM NORMAL, I AM ORDINARY. 

So.....WHAT IS THE POINT. 

Before sharing the point, let me share this leadership lesson from a recent book I reviewed. Then, I will share my punch line at the end. 


In reading leadership books, which I do somewhat regularly, I have fallen in love with most everything by Patrick Lencioni. 

I largely love his work because of how he presents his conclusions, through story. He tells what he calls "leadership fables", where most of us who have been part of a team, can find ourselves somewhere in the story. Even if we have not been part of a corporate team, we can imagine the teams he tells us about, and find application in what he teaches. 

That being said, I also want to learn to apply the proven ideas he shares, to my everyday life, even if I'm not the high caliber leader he seems to write about. 

In one book I reviewed recently titled "The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive", he shares about four simple but proven and profound practices that could transform our life. However, I want to learn to apply them even if I'm not the Extraordinary Executive. 

The Four Obsessions are.....disciplines...

1. Build and Maintain a Cohesive Leadership Team. 

2. Create Organizational Clarity.

3. Over-Communicate Organizational Clarity.

4. Reinforce Organizational Clarity Through Human Systems.


The Four Obsessions are....disciplines...

Be Cohesive
Be Clear
Over-Communicate
Reinforce

There are tons of details inside the four obsessions, the four disciplines, and we will only understand and apply them if we study and be honest about where we can improve. But, believe me, this material is worth it, and very helpful. 



THE POINT.....to be the best ordinary we can be, the best normal we can be, the best me I can be, without the intimidation and pressure of being extraordinary, according to the mystical and famous definitions the world tens to feed us. 

Remove the pressure of becoming an extraordinary fitness model with perfect abs, arms and butt. Insert a powerful goal of being the best "healthy person" you can be with disciplines of exercise, healthy diet, reasonable sleep and friends to live healthy with. That sounds very different now doesn't it. So, why don't the magazines sell us that second version of life? 

Remove the pressure of becoming an extraordinary father, mother, pastor, manager, artist, teacher or factory worker. What about the goal of being the absolute best YOU and what about growing and changing and improving with a never-ending diet of learning. That sounds doable. 

Remove the pressure of becoming something you are not made to become, but raise the bar on our daily disciplines that can produce the greatest YOU possible. 


BACK TO ME AND SHANNA: We are indeed, extraordinarily normal and ordinary. However, we serve a truly extraordinary God, with a call for us to aim our heart, home, life and career toward transformation and growth, to the Glory of God, In Christ. So, we look into the Word of God and the History of the Church and find challenges to grow and to serve this extraordinary vision of an extraordinary God. But, we have to be real about where we are and where we need to grow, not hold up the perfect template of what Extraordinary might look like and make that our idol. 

I pray and hope we all can challenge ourselves without the voice of a false god and enemy telling us to spend our days becoming something we are not and probably will never be.

We are not taking the low road, actually, we are setting the bar higher and higher, however, we are just setting the right bar for us, not the bar the rest of the world tells us we have to reach.  

TODAY I WILL REJOICE IN BEING THE BEST ORDINARY, THE BEST NORMAL, THE BEST I CAN BE, HOW ABOUT YOU!!! 




Thursday, January 12, 2017

DAYFOUR [Janurary11] #ReImagine21Days2017



I am a day behind on my blogging.

So, today I will share Prayer Requests for you to add. 

The Ramsdell Family
(Faith, Finances, Health, Unity, Power, Emotions, Anointing) 
Billy, Shanna, Elizabeth, Hosanna, Benjamin, Victoria, Elias

The Church
(Team Members, Finances, Plans, Logistics, Goals, Anointing)

The Church Team
(Leaders in Children, Worship, Admin, Seniors, Singles, Military, Outreach, Teaching, More)

The City & Pastors
(Unity, Hope, Church Planters, Gangs, Schools, Military, More)

Please keep us all in prayer during this 21 days. 




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