Monday, September 26, 2011


Now I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a rich and fertile hill. He plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes,… Isaiah 5:1-7 (NLT)

The Lord provides the opportunity for us to live in righteousness, to serve Him, and to be productive according to His purposes. You are a part of the vineyard He has planted. He provides for you to grow and produce good fruit. He provides the fertile ground on a hill which is good for soil drainage and sunshine. He uses what happens in your life to enrich you and mature you. He is at work clearing the stones from your life that keep you from growing and depending on Him. Hebrews 12:1 reminds us to, strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us (NLT).

With all that God has done for us and is doing for us and in us, and the way He watches over us, we begin to get the picture that God expects us to grow and produce good fruit according to His will. A good foundation for a productive life that honors God and adds blessing to our lives is the personal time we spend with Him each day. Jesus said in John 15:5 “I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit. But you can’t produce anything without me” (GWT). You have this opportunity every day.

If you want to produce a lot of good – live, listen, and learn everyday from the One Who is good.

Monday, September 19, 2011


He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. Colossians 1:28-29

As messengers of Christ entrusted with the good news of salvation, every believer has been given a stewardship, a responsibility. That stewardship, that responsibility includes proclaiming Christ. The word “proclaim” in v. 29 literally means “the publication of the gospel for the purpose of converting people to Christ”. Think of the many ways that you can “publicize” the good news of Christ and your personal faith story. Use the tools we have in our current age of technology along with building genuine friendships.

Bringing others to the place of believing in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sin is only the beginning of what we are to be about. It’s not just the proclamation that’s important; nurturing, reproving, and instruction in the ways and wisdom of God are just as important. Jesus didn’t say to go make more Christians. He said to go make more followers of Him. The objective is “full maturity in Christ.”

We’re not just helpers. We’re not just encouragers. These things are necessary. But there’s a lot more to it. We are to go beyond just helping people to hear about Christ. We are to go beyond just encouraging people to grow in there spiritual lives. Paul says, “I strenuously contend”. Bringing others to Christ and then bringing them along in their spiritual maturity is hard work. It takes a great amount of energy from you. It takes time, trouble, and tenacity. Give it all you’ve got! We must do all we can, as creatively as we can, as strategically as we can, as much as we can to move one another to maturity in Christ.

Where do we get the energy and power to do this? It’s the energy that Christ so powerfully works in us. It’s a joint effort. You and God. Work hard to make more maturing followers of Christ by depending on His power working in you and through you. That means we must stay plugged in to the power source all the time – God. If we don’t keep our personal time with God consistent, studying His Word, praying from our hearts, and applying His truth to our lives daily – then we lose the charge and must be recharged. Keep the charge flowing. Keep God’s power “on” in your life. Stay surrendered to God's Spirit.  Jesus said, “For just as the branch cannot bear any fruit unless it shares the life of the vine, so you can produce nothing unless you go on growing in me” John 15:4 (Ph). If we’ll put our energy into it, He’ll put His energy into it.

Monday, September 12, 2011


How can you tell the difference between a servant leader and a self-serving leader? Gordon McDonald in his book Ordering Your Private World gives us some clues. He describes two kinds of people in the world: “driven” people and “called” people.

Driven people think they own everything; their relationships, their possessions, their position. Consequently they spend most of their time protecting what they own. Everything they do is controlled by their own self-interest. Therefore when they praise or encourage you, they’re really doing it for their own good.

Called people think everything in life is on loan; their relationships, their possessions, their position. Consequently they are not defensive or protective about their position as a leader. The truth is if a better leader comes along, they will partner with that person and sometimes even step aside and take a different role because the only reason they are leading is to serve people.

Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager, says the key to a servant leader’s heart is humility. People with humility don’t think less of themselves; they just think of themselves less. Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, says when things go well leaders with humility look out the window and give everyone else the credit. But when things go poorly, they look in the mirror and say, “What could I have done differently that would have helped these people be the best they could be?” Servant leaders are willing to take the hit. They know that all people are human and make mistakes.

On the other hand, when things go well for self-serving leaders they look in the mirror and beat on their chests like King Kong, thinking how great they are. When things go wrong, they look out the window and blame someone else. They’re so self-absorbed that everything is filtered through an “I” orientation instead of a “we” orientation.

So how can you tell the difference between a servant leader and a self-serving leader? Watch how they react to feedback. If you give them feedback on how they’re leading and they “kill the messenger”, they’re self-serving. When you give them feedback you ignite their worst fears. You’ve pointed out a flaw in their character, in their leadership. They interpret that to mean that you don’t want them to be involved in any way anymore. To lose their position is their worst nightmare because it defines who they are. Consequently, they have to dismiss you and your feedback. “Self-serving leaders are only interested in maintaining their position and maintaining control.” – Ken Blanchard.

If you give feedback to servant leaders they consider it a gift. They will say “Thank you. This is helpful. I didn’t intend to do that. Is there anyone else I should talk to? Is there anything else I need to do differently? Tell me more.” Servant leaders love feedback because the only reason they lead is to serve.

The question we must all ask ourselves is, “Am I a servant leader or a self-serving leader?” Jesus was quick to answer that question: "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others", Matthew 20:28 (NLT).

Our journey through life is to move from a self-serving heart to a serving heart. You mature when you realize that life is about what you give rather than what you get.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


We Christians should live with defined objectives in life. To follow Christ means we make choices that will direct us to see God-given objectives become a reality in our lives. Paul lists some of those objectives for us to pursue in his letter to the Colossians.

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. Col. 1:9-11 (NLT)

Six objectives are listed for us:

1. Live in a way that will honor the Lord.
2. Please the Lord in every area of your life.
3. Produce good fruit through your way of life.
4. Get to know God better.
5. Be strengthened with God’s power.
6. Learn to be steadfast and patient.

The “gateway” to get to these objectives is to gain “comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God” (Amplified version). Paul says, “We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will…” In other words we should grow deep in God’s truths and gain more insight into His purposes so that we will be able to act on those objectives.

That’s the gateway to getting to the six objectives, but the gateway needs a “key”. The key to unlocking the gateway is PRAYER. Paul says, “we have not stopped praying for you… We ask God to give you…” Prayer is the key. The place to begin to fulfilling the objectives is prayer. Spend consistent time with the Lord in prayer. Live in a constant state of open communication with Him if you want to experience the results of His power in your life. Through a consistent state of prayer throughout the day God then works in and through your life and becomes your strength. Prayer becomes the conduit through which you experience God’s power to do what He wants you to do. The power of prayer is the power of God.

If you want to know and experience God’s power, patience, steadfastness, and joy, then be consistent and avid in your praying.