Today a friend shared a story with me. He said a lady he was talking to had been in a car wreck on Saturday(My friend runs a body shop). She was still very upset and stressed about the accident. My friend tried to let her know that the car is just a possession and that the good thing is she was not injured in the wreck. The next day she called back to talk about her car. She said that her daughter had called her on Monday and in their conversation, her daughter asked her why they have not had her funeral yet. Her daughter gave her a CD from NewPointe Church. The topic was Purpose is Essential. She loved the message and now knows why they have not had her funeral yet.
Do you know why we haven’t had your funeral yet? Why are you still here? If you want to find out check it out for yourself. Purpose is Essential
As many of you know, I was part of a team that went to Amman Jordan and then to Dohuk Iraq. I have been back a few days now and thought I would share some of my thoughts about the trip. The main purpose of this trip was to encourage the Christians in Iraq. We put on a conference for them in Dohuk for four days.
- I was surprised by all the progress in Iraq. Lots of construction and activity going on. We were in the Northern part of Iraq, which is a safer area. This area is definitely growing and thriving.
- There were a lot of young people. Young adults, teenagers and children were everywhere. I was surprised that most of them wore designer jeans and shirts. Kind of a European flare. I saw lots of children with suits and dresses on. Of course this was during one of their holidays after Ramadan.
- We heard that 80% of the Christians have left Iraq.
- The Christians in Baghdad and Mosul continue to be in danger. They must be very careful, because the terrorists are still very active in those cities. We met with 22 Christians from Baghdad and one family from Mosul.
- The Christians we met with really know the Bible well. It is obvious that they read it a lot and are hungry to learn more. They also are very passionate when they sing and worship.
- The people I met are very similar to us. They love their families and friends. They like to have fun, eat and fellowship. They face many of the issues that we do like finances, work, relationships, marriage struggles.
- The church in Dohuk is growing and they hope to build a new building soon. They have land, but need to develop it before they can build.
- There are some great possibilities for church plants in several cities near Dohuk. God is opening up doors in areas without Christian churches.
- The churches in Amman are changing. Most of the Iraq refugees have moved on, so now the growth is coming from Jordanians. We have two churches in Amman with young energetic pastors. We are looking at a third location in a newer part of the city.
- I am very encouraged after meeting the leaders in Amman and Iraq. These are strong, confident leaders that have a vision for their cities and country. These men and women are being strong and courageous for Jesus.
- We need to pray for the churches in Jordan and Iraq. Pray they have favor with the authorities. Pray that they are bold and courageous with their faith. Pray that families will be attracted to these churches. Pray that they can reach children and teenagers in creative ways. Pray for financial strength and integrity in the churches.
Everyone can play a part in helping in Jordan & Iraq. You can pray regularly for the churches there. You can give money to NewPointe’s missions budget to help fund the work. You can go on a mission trip and give your time. Pray, Give, Go.
Well, my trip to Jordan & Iraq was amazing. We had a chance to meet some great people and really encourage them. The language barrier was a little tough, but I made some friends without talking much. It’s amazing how similar people are no matter where you are from. Families, children and teenagers are all similar. We are just wrapping up the trip. About to head for home in about a half hour. When I get home I will be posting some pictures and writing out some of my takeaways from this trip. God had me here for a reason. I am so grateful for this opportunity to make a difference for Him.
God also had some lessons for me as well. Got to go for now.
We welcomed 22 people from Baghdad today. We had another 30 or so from Dohuk. Scott Bell started off the night by talking about God’s part and Our part in being good stewards. Afterward we had chicken and beef sandwiches and got to know each other better. Several could speak English, but most could not. Many young people, which surprised me. Lots of young families. This is very encouraging. I am up tomorrow morning at 10 am our time. I am talking about Debt and Elizabeth will talk about Counsel. Then we will participate in some baptism’s after lunch. They have an inflatable pool they set up tonight. I can’t wait to see the baptism.
I can see that family and their faith are very important to them. They are looking for meaningful relationships and to see hope in a difficult world. Many of the people we are meeting have great joy, even though they are living very hard lives. One young man talked about his job as a truck driver in Baghdad. He said it is very dangerous and he did not see much hope for improvement in the future in Iraq. My prayers go out to all those that are feeling that helpless and hopeless feeling. These few days are important. God is using this time to shape me and each of the people that are here. Well I need to work on my Debt talk. Blessings.
We are alive and well in Jordan. Made it in yesterday and went straight to a church to preach. I talked about Seeing yourself the way God sees you and not those around you. When David was annointed King, no one, not even his family believed he had King potential. But God told Samuel to annoint David King anyway. God looks at our hearts, not our outward appearance. He sees what is in us and what we could be, if we follow His plan. David went on to do great things for God, because he caught the vision God had for his life. He made mistakes along the way, but his heart was right.
I Got no sleep on the 11.5 hour flight over here, so I was exhausted last night. I Got a good night sleep last night until the 4:40 am Mosque loud speakers started blaring.
We are 7 hours ahead here, so I am getting ready to eat breakfast. We will spend the day in Ammon, and then leave for Northern Iraq tonight. Blessings
Jump Start Your Life
Recognize the power of quitting:
Jim Allen said “to be a real winner, you have to stop doing the stuff that’s not good for you.”
This principle is very powerful, because it can free up a lot of time. We need to quit things for the right reasons.
- You quit something you don’t do well to start something you do well.
- You quit something you’re not passionate about, to do something that fills you with passion.
- You quit something that doesn’t make a difference to do something that does.
- You quit something that’s not your dream to do something that is.
So what do you need to quit doing tomorrow?
Learn to say No:
This has been very difficult for me over the years, because I am a people person. Think about great Olympic athletes and all they had to say no to in order to train to become world class.
- Stop being a people pleaser.
- If you always say yes when you’d rather say no, you’ll find yourself unhappy, and going through the motions.
- Saying no allows you to direct where you put your energy and spirit.
- Saying no brings more freedom to your life
- Saying no allows you more time for the important relationships in your life.
Track what you are doing:
- If you want to change your financial situation, you need to know how you are currently spending your money.
- If you want to lose weight you need to start keeping track of everything you eat and how often you exercise.
- If you want to change your workplace habits, you must find out how you are spending your time at work.
Once you know where your money is going, where your time is going and what your putting into your mouth, you can begin to make changes. Look at your life as a series of choices instead of obligations.
We all get tired, we all have stress, we all have problems. We need to find ways to fill our tanks and recharge our batteries on a regular basis.
Here are ten nourishment center that I have found to be helpful in my life:
- Music – What songs lift me?
- Thoughts – What thoughts or quotes inspire me?
- Experiences – What experiences rejuvenate me?
- Friends – What people encourage me?
- Recreation – What activities re-charge me?
- Spiritual – What spiritual disciplines strengthen me?
- Hopes – What dreams inspire me?
- Home – What family members care for me?
- Giftedness – Which of my gifts activate me?
- Memories – What memories make me smile?
So what do you need to quit doing? What or who do you need to say no to? What do you need to start tracking? What do you need to do to nourish yourself?
Someone asked me my opinion about what identifies a person that is good at building strong relationships. I made the comment that great leaders are great at building relationships. If you want to improve as a leader and improve any relationship in your life try my top five thoughts.
Here are my top 5 keys in building lasting relationships:
- Be Present – Give people your full attention when you are with them. Focus on them, look them in the eye. Make them feel like the most important person in the room.
- Listen well – Ask questions to make sure you understand what they are saying. Repeat back what you heard them saying. Use your body language to let them know you are listening.
- Take the initiative – Be intentional about meeting with them and spending time with them. Keep track of how long it has been since you spent quality time with the person you are friends with.
- Don’t try to fix them – Don’t judge them either. Instead empathize with them and just love them. Friends are not projects, that you need to improve or fix.
- Pray for them – When you are regularly praying for someone your attitude and perspective change. Find out how to pray for them by asking them.
Change creates fear of the unknown, fear of failure and feelings of insecurity. If you want to create positive change in your world you will need to be aware of the fears that will come your way. If you are not doing something that makes you uncomfortable or afraid, then you are not stretching yourself. If you do not stretch yourself you will not grow.
Think back over the past year. What have you done that has really stretched you and taken you out of your comfort zone? What challenge did you take on that gave you a knot in your stomach? If you can’t think of anything, you probably didn’t grow much last year.
Leadership guru John Maxwell said “People change when they hurt enough that they have to change, learn enough that they want to change, or receive enough that they are able to change.”
Things are changing around us every day, that’s a given. How you respond to those changes determines your success in life. Whether it is your marriage, your job, your financial situation, your church, your social network, your children, your friends, your health. Everything changes.
Change represents possible opportunity and potential loss. Change can mean growth or grief. It all comes down to your attitude toward change, do you view it as an opportunity to learn and grow or do you view it as an intrusion into your world?
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Man’s mind, stretched to a new idea, never goes back to it’s original dimensions.” How are you stretching your mind?
I love college football and Pro football. I am huge fan of Ohio State and the Cleveland Browns. As I write this I am watching Ohio State play Navy. One of the reasons I like football so much, is that it is a great team sport. It takes a lot of players to fill out the roster of a football team. Each player has a specific role to play. Some play on offense, they run the ball or they block or they catch the ball, or they throw the ball. The offense works together to try to move the ball and score. Some players are on defense, trying to stop the other team from moving the ball and scoring. They tackle, cover and rush they other team in an effort to stop them.
Then there is the special teams. These players try to give their team the best field position they can, so they can be successful. Punting, kicking, returning, tackling. I love special teams. In a way I am on the special teams where I work. Our team of mentors is trying to help people get into position to be successful in life. Sometimes it means listening to problems and offering encouragement and prayers. Sometimes it is to give some counsel and to challenge them to change behaviors. Sometimes its a visit when they are sick. Sometimes it is trying to encourage new behaviors that can help get them down the field. Always it is helping them take their next step spiritually.
The special teams may not get as much attention as the offense or defense, but it is vital to the success of the team. At the church were I work the Care ministry is the special teams, trying to help people in need make it through tough times. Our team tries to be there for the people that need someone to come alongside them for encouragement, support and prayer.
I was watching a news report called House of cards the other night. It was reporting on how the mortgage crisis happened. The lenders were making it easy to borrow money and the people were happy to take it. I was amazed to hear about families that borrowed large amounts of money by tapping into their “equity”. Many did it by inflating or exaggerating their income. This was sometimes encouraged by the mortgage brokers. Some of the families did not understand the terms of the loan. They assumed that they could always refinance later if they needed to. All of this was building toward a certain crash. Borrowing and spending money on the hope that your income will always go up and that your home value will never go down. Overextending yourself through credit is always a dangerous game.
Yesterday I had breakfast with a friend of mine and he made the comment that made me think of the House of Cards, “what are you investing in that could bankrupt you?” He wasn’t talking about mortgages, he was talking about spiritually and relationally. Is your faith a house of cards? Are your relationships a house of cards? Does it feel like things could fall apart at any time?
What are the things you are spending your time on that may be distracting you from your relationship with God? Or what are you investing in that is hurting your important relationships? What are you reading? What are you watching? Who are you spending time with? Who are you listening too? Who are you unwilling to forgive? Where are you spending your money? What are you putting in your body? What are you doing with your body? How are you treating the people around you?
We all need to take a serious look at where we are investing our time, talent, thoughts, attention, money and energy. There may be some things you need to eliminate, change or get out of in order to avoid a bankruptcy, whether that is emotional, relational, financial, physical or spiritual.