You’ve worked hard to develop deaders. You put in the time, effort, and energy required to set standards, develop culture and to set systems in place. 

Yet the results seem to elude you. You just don’t see it heppaning in the leaders, or in the people. How long can you persist? Even your leaders have second thoughts about you and your approach. In this situation, it is easier for us to “reset” to default like we do with our phones. 

This is the easy way out. I do it on my phone without a second thought. It’s getting easier on the laptop as well. But in Leadership, the “reset” button can be costly. When you “reset” to the good old way of doing things, you may feel some comfort because of familiarity. But don’t. 

Stay focused. Persist. Stick to your values. Keep building on your values. Avoid the reset button. Keep listening to that inner voice of the Holy Spirit within you. 

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Need a shield?

When you sense that you are cornered by the circumstances of life, God will be your shield. When you’re surrounded by more people who oppose you than support you, God is your shield. 

The psalmist David knew what it’s like to be cornered, outlawed, and exiled. He faced some of the most treacherous, painful things that anyone could imagine. Maybe this was his secret:

“My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart” (Psa 7:10).

He truly experienced the “shield” of the presence of God. Once he even lost everything to his enemies and his men were talking of stoning him to death, but “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam 30:6c). 

Do you need a shield today? 

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The father’s delight

I saw the face of that father, looking into the eyes of his newborn with delight. It was an amazing sight. It was a look of joy that I had never seen on his face. Never before. But this time, it was different. He looked into the face of his newborn with a sense of deep love. His countenance was entirely altered. 

Israel, after experiencing correction from God, was set for a change. Their enemies would be destroyed, and they would be set in proper relationship with Yahweh their God. 

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing (Zeph 3:17).

Because he loves us, he corrects. The correction is a vital part of his love for us. He will save. Even now, he rejoices over you with gladness. He wants to quiet you by his love. And, he is singing over you. Do you hear him?

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Two sides of pain

On one side, distress comes as common every day struggles of life: Sickness, debt, sorrows, and opposition. Although these are common for most people, we feel that we have more than others. 

Then we begin to wonder if God is punishing or disciplining us. We think of all the things we’ve done to deserve such punishment. We wonder: What if I could have done better?

Sometimes, the pain turns to grief. The psalmist said:

“I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I dreanched my couch with weeping. My eyes waste away fecause of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes” (Ps 6:6-7). 

Then quickly he turns around and shows his trust in God: 

“Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping” (Ps. 6:8).

This is the other side of pain. In the midst of our distress, we realize that God sees us and hears our groaning. Yes, there are two sides to pain. 

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For the sake of a meeting

         Scheduled, organized, and productive meetings are certainly a delight. You walk away with a sense of satisfaction that your time was well invested. But sometimes I’ve walked away wondering what we actually accomplished. 

         During those times, I’ve wondered if it would have been better to have collaborated on a Google Doc or held a video meeting. Much of what we did was fill in the blanks with names, dates, and details.

         Yet during a live meeting, there is a lot more in the dynamics than the details that we sorted out. Values are shared, relationships deepened, and comradery is furthered. Another positive is that each person is valued along with their perspectives and opinions. These benefits may be part of a video meet, but not at the level of a face to face meeting – certainly not with collaboration. So let’s meet, for the sake of a meeting.

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Covered with favor

But you say no, I’m often covered with disfavor, opposition, and shame. It seems impossible to be covered with favor. 

“For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield” (Ps 5:12).

According to God, you are covered. But you say: “What about the opposition that I face? What about my sickness? My financial troubles are too much to bear. I just can’t seem to get out from under the load. How can I be covered with favor?”

It is those difficult situations in your life that require a covering of God’s favor. His favor will carry you through each situation. God’s favor will give you an “advantage” as you go through your problem situations. 

Believe it. Accept his favor. May you be covered with his favor!

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How desperate are you when you bring your requests to God? How badly do you need that which you are asking for? If you’ve got plenty of options lined up and God is one of those options, then you’re not desperate. Half-hearted requests only require a half-hearted answer, or none at all. 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer 29:11-13). 

Half hearted seeking won’t work. How desperate are you? God already has plans to prosper you. But do you want him? If God is just an option, then he’s not interested.

Jesus said “if you want to be my disciple, deny yourself, take up the cross, and follow me.” it’s all or nothing. 

Are you desperate? 

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Angry responses

I suppose anger is not the problem. The angry response or the response in anger is the major issue. The famous verse “be angry and do not sin” (Ps 4:4) also comes with some additional instructions (be silent – trust in the Lord).

Responding to anger can get tricky. So, the first step is to silently ponder the situation. Understand who you are in relation to God and understand the other person as well. Acknowledge the offense, and God’s mercy to us as well. 

The second step is to trust God. The text says “offer right sacrifices.” Sacrifices put people in right relationship with God and each other. It has a true restorative function. Offer the offenses and the entire situation to God and trust God to “balance” the unbalanced situation. 

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But why do you want to plant a church?

Some set out to plant with an entrepreneurial focus. They want to establish something that is lasting and memorable. While this sounds good, you’ll be left in the dark when the results just don’t stack up. 

Others have the desire to step out and try something new. But once you’ve planted one, you are finished with what you set out to do. Then you’re ready to hand the church over to someone and try something else. 

Jesus commanded his disciples to make disciples. In his life, Jesus impacted the lives of many people in his community. Later, the disciples reflected on the life of Jesus and said: “He went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). His impact on the community was tremendous. 

But why do you want to plant a church? If you set out for entrepreneurial reasons or for a “project,” you’ll be disappointed. Rather, impact the lives of many people around you one by one, and make disciples who also make disciples. Then you’re on a good track. 

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Don’t believe the evidence

The evidence may be based on external factors. That’s not a problem for people who solely rely on the external. Yet their percept\ion is sorely limited.

There is a spiritual level that thrives behind the surface. The “natural” people cannot see the spiritual.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12).

The psalmist David recognized this long ago when he said “Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people” (Ps 3:8). He clearly recognized that all the external evidence points to his doom. But he saw a deeper reality in the Lord. He tapped into the spiritual realm.

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