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INKED with Intent

Tattoos have gained increasing acceptance in our society in recent years.  It used to be only the rebellious outlaw types had tattoos.  Bikers, convicts, etc.

Not so much anymore (although I am secretly rebellious).

If you follow this blog much, you know that I write a lot on leadership and Biblical encouragement.  That said, this post is not going to address any Biblical position about tattoos.  If you are a follower of Jesus and do not think believers should have them I totally support your personal views.  This is not a right vs. wrong post, so please refrain from making it one.

This is simply sharing my personal story surrounding my tattoo.

So, love it or hate it…..here it is!

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The pocket watch | It is slightly warped, as if beginning to melt.  It has typical roman numerals for time, but if you look closely the hour and minute hands have been replaced by the magnet needle of a compass.  There’s lots going on here.  This pocket watch looks a bit different.  The same can often be said of God’s TIMING and DIRECTION in our lives.  As we follow His guidance in faith, His ‘where’ and ‘when’ usually don’t look a thing like our plans.  Can you relate?

The puzzle | If you’ve done many jigsaw puzzles you know that the best method is to start with connecting all the border pieces.  Then you fill in toward the middle.  Notice, my tattoo has no border yet.  It also has a couple pieces laying off to the side…not put in their respective place yet.  Ok, so two things here.  1) God’s way of piecing together our image of Him doesn’t seem logical.  He works from the inside out!  2) Those two pieces off to the side?  Yeah, He’s never really done artistically rendering us.  There will never be border pieces when we allow God to continue working on us.

Conversation | Those who have tattoos have stories behind each one.  They can tell you precisely what it means to them.  For me, the design was meant to hold a bit of symbolism as to create intrigue.  When people ask about it, that’s my window of opportunity to share my story of walking with Jesus.  How it isn’t always easy or clear, BUT that He has ALWAYS BEEN THERE with me every step of the way.

* Minor side note:  This tattoo looks FREAKIN’ AMAZING!

Thanks for stopping by the blog, and God Bless!

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‘Godly’ Doesn’t Always Equate to a Good Leader

GODLY – Resembling the heart of God the Father and the modeled life of Jesus. This is my personal, simplified definition.

LEADERSHIP – According to John Maxwell, “Leadership is influence.” (this is my favorite definition) And then there’s Peter Drucker who says that, “The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.”

Now, I fully agree with both of these guys.  If you’re not familiar with them you need to check out their books!

I am blessed to work in a Christian environment at a 501c3 where I live.  Having mostly worked full-time in churches for over 25 years, I couldn’t have made that same statement about all the places I’ve worked. Recently, I heard someone at work state, “He’s such a godly man.” The person she was talking about was a leader too.

Allow me to make a statement from the opposite perspective.  It is entirely possible to lead well even if you are not godly.  You see, leadership also includes things like character, abilities, vision, morals, and discipline.  And for most of us, becoming a strong leader is a process…it takes time.

For example, I’ve known many board members and volunteer leaders in the church who had incredible hearts for God. They genuinely loved the Church, God, and others…BUT they were terrible leaders.  This issue boils down to one simple fact.

 

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Not everyone is called to be a leader.

I’ve witnessed the Church, with good intentions, put way too many individuals in leadership positions simply because they were willing and exhibited Godly character.  The problem is that if they are not called by God to lead in the Church, we are usually doing the Church and that leader a tremendous disservice.

What do you think?

Aside from godly character, what are other traits seen in solid leaders?

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Things to START/STOP in 2017

I hate New Year’s resolutions!  The problem is that they are usually too big (and vague).

Lose 100 lbs.  Run a marathon.  Write a book.  Blah, blah, blah.

I learned a long time ago that small, incremental changes in behavior lead to more sustainable accomplishments.  So my plans for 2017 are going to change throughout the year because I plan to have many small goals that will be checked off as they are met, thus being replaced by new goals.

I am a huge fan, however, of focusing on just One Word for the entire year.  One Word that provides constant encouragement and reminds me of what I’m supposed to be striving toward.

Proverbs 16:9 reads, “We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it.”

Making my plans for 2017 is one thing.  It’s a good thing.  But remembering that my effort alone is not going to be enough to succeed.  I must lean into God and ask him for accountability.

My One Word, then, for the next year will be to REACH!

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Reaching requires stretching.  It can relate to reaching a goal, or the the effort in striving toward something.  As it relates to the Proverbs passage above, I must constantly remember that it is the Lord who is lifting me up to help my reaching connect with my intended target or goal.

I have found that focusing on just a couple of goals at a time works best.  So here’s what I plan to begin with.

Start eating much healthier with intentionality

Stop eating in the evenings

What is something you need to START and STOP?  Comment below.  Also, don’t miss another of my posts.  Click HERE to subscribe!

 

 

 

 

2 Benefits of Keeping our Blessings in Mind

I’m creating a Praise Challenge for the entire month of December.  Follow me on Instagram and Twitter to stay in the know each week.

I don’t know about you, but I have a TON to be thankful for.  The majority of 2016 has been extremely challenging for me.  The Lord, however, has his hands in all of our ‘challenges,’ usually in ways we are not immediately aware of.

Take a quick look at these two scripture passages:

My soul, praise the Lord,
and do not forget all His benefits. – Psalm 103:2
and
Rejoice always!
Pray constantly.
Give thanks in everything,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The issue of Praising Him in everything has been on my mind lately.  It’s been in my devotion time, and it was the topic of our Chapel time at work this past Friday.

Here are just 2 benefits to keeping our blessings in mind every day.

  1. Our challenges and needs become less pronounced as we go about our day when we intentionally try to identify all the different blessings that we do have.
  2. It can change our attitudes.  Our entire outlook on life can do a 180 turnaround when we realize that we really do have many more blessings in our life than we do hardships.

So, do you want to experience less anxiety caused by the things that worry you?  Would you like to have more of an optimistic outlook on life?  If so, start counting your blessings and praise the one who is the true source of all that you and I have to be thankful for.

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If you are interested, here’s the Praise Challenge for all of December.  Every Monday identify 5 blessings in your life.  Then, simply pray over them and praise Jesus for them each day of the week.  If you want, you can even post them on social media to encourage others to jump in too.  If you do, please remember to use #PraiseChallenge on each post.  Each Monday we will identify and share 5 new blessings to praise Him for.

How does that sound?

This December, may you be blessed in your search for all the ways Jesus really is actively taking care of you.

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Who I’m Voting For…And Why!

If you’re like me, you are completely fed up with all the negativity and immaturity that has saturated this Presidential campaign.  Sometimes I feel like America is the laughing stock of the rest of the onlooking world right now.  But worrying ourselves crazy about things that you and I have absolutely no control over does nothing to remedy the problem.

There is a plethora of highly opinionated bashing and slanderous commentary on Facebook and other social media platforms about this election.  It’s nauseating!  And this isn’t even where we should be focusing our attention.

For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. – Ephesians 6:12

Did you hear that?  Our ‘battle’ is NOT against any particular political candidate or party.  It is ONLY against the spiritual forces.  Our personal conduct, posture, and prayer life will ultimately determine not only the direction of America, but the validity of our witness of the name of Jesus to those around us.

For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.  So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:17, 18

What is temporary?  This ridiculous election.  And what is unseen?  Our Lord Jesus and the spiritual battle that has ALREADY BEEN WON!

Watch this music video by Rend Collective.  “Worship is our battlecry in the midst of the fight.  At His name (Jesus) every giant will fall.”  So who is YOUR giant?  Is it worry?  Clinton?  Trump?  The unknown of tomorrow?

To all of us who call ourselves ‘Believers’ and truly follow Jesus, I challenge us.  Vote well and with a good conscience.  But pray harder, and intentionally reflect the character of Jesus throughout this entire election.  Stop the negative posts and comments online about how you ‘feel’ about a candidate.  In stead, post a prayer for America.  Reflect hope, integrity, and faith in a way that highlights Jesus and not this political circus.

Who am I going to vote for?  Well, my ballot will reflect one of the candidates.  But my vote ultimately goes to Jesus.  Though I do not put my trust in our President, Congress, or Senate, I do trust that God is in control and I will pray for those elected to office whether I support their political agenda or not.

Will YOU accept this challenge?  Please leave a comment below.

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