Thursday, January 30, 2014

Recently while watching just a few minutes of American Idol my attention was captured by one of the contestants. It was a young lady who at one time had a recording contract in Nashville but lost it all due to her addiction to alcohol.  Something she openly talked about on the program.

But here she was now,  on the back side of her failure, embracing a new life and going for it again on American Idol.  It obviously took great courage for her to take this step.  No doubt she had to overcome fear and not worry about what others thought about her.

The idea that converged on my mind was that inside this lady was a "second chance!"  She was willing to take the risk and give it another shot.  She overcame  a failure mentality and took another chance because another chance was on the inside of her.

At this point the singer was more focused on pursuing her dream than she was on her past failures.  While she reflected on her failures she in no way allowed the past to control her but instead she was pursuing the passion of her heart.  In other words, she was DREAMING.......AGAIN!

Did she learn from her past mistakes?  Only time will tell that story but I believe she did! The point is she had a "second chance" on the inside of her and she was chasing her dreams. And when you pursue your dreams opportunities seem to come your way just as it did for her.

You and I can get knocked down in life but we don't have to stay down.  We can fail but if we pick ourselves up and keep trying we're not failures!

As I close this blog I"m challenged to ask myself, is a "second chance" on the inside of me? I know it's in the heart of God.  In fact He loves "second chances!"  He can turn things around in your life with just one Word  and give you a NEW DAY!

"No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead."  (Philippians 3:13 NLT)

 Just in case you didn't watch the show, this young lady received a "YES" from all three judges and she's on her way to Hollywood.  She may or may not win the competition but in my book she's already a winner because she was willing to try again.

And when you and I try again,  opportunities come knocking on our door and God says "YES!"

Loving "second chances!"


Saturday, January 18, 2014

As I write this blog I'm sitting in the cafe at Christ for the Nations Bible School in Dallas, TX. observing students who have just left the morning chapel service and who are now lining up (a long line) for a morning cup of "joe" before going to their first class.

As I'm writing I can sense the energy and passion in the room that is flowing out of these young men and women who are on fire for Jesus Christ and excited about being equipped and empowered for their upcoming journey in the ministry.

Some will be pastors, pastors wives, missionaries, evangelist, associate pastors, worship leaders, children's pastors and youth pastors.  Some will start businesses and fulfill their ministry in the marketplace as they represent the Kingdom of God in business.  Some will simply work for a company and serve God through serving their employer.

But what really breaks my heart and stirs my heart to action is that "some" of these young students  will lose this passion, energy and fire at some place in life when they face difficulty, discouragement, distraction or devastation.  Statistics tell us that approximately 80% of Bible School Students will leave the ministry within five years of entering vocational ministry.  Honestly, that just blows my mind! 

When I think about those who once had a passion to serve God and others and have now walked away from ministry and in some cases their relationship with God I can't help but think about the following verse Jesus shared with His disciples.

"Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few."  (Matthew 9:37)

This verse seems clear to me!  If my heart is for the harvest I must also have a heart for the workers!  This is one reason my wife and I are so passionate about encouraging people all over the world!  We need more workers in the harvest field not workers leaving the harvest field!

If you're reading this blog and you're one of the statistics I mentioned above I want you to know it's not over and your best days are before you!  Your heart may be broken but our Heavenly Father loves you and wants to heal your heart and restore your life and ministry!  Never forget, if you will allow God He will turn things around and work all things (even the bad) out for His  glory and your good!  It doesn't mean all the pain will immediately go away but it does mean that God will bring purpose to your pain and with time His purpose will become far greater than your pain!

But the greatest thing of all is you'll experience God's presence in a powerful way and peace will flood your heart!  You'll hear the voice of God once again saying, "You're My Son or You're my Daughter!  I've never left you or forsaken you.  I've been with you through it all and I still have a great plan for your life!"

Never forget what I'm about to write!  The restoring power of God is far greater than the destroying power of Satan!  Which power are you going to allow to work in your life?

Maybe you're reading this and you're on the verge of quitting.  Let me "scream" at you, PLEASE DON'T QUIT!  Don't jump off the quitting cliff because the landing can be painful! It may seem like a relief when you jump of the quitting cliff  and you're soaring in the air but when you hit the rocks on the bottom it can hurt. Yes God can restore and He will if you quit.  But the pain you experience after quitting can sometimes be far greater than the pain you're experiencing before you quit.

Before I close out this blog let me give you a couple of simple steps that will be a huge help to you during the painful moments of life and ministry.  These steps don't seem really "deep" but I believe they're crucial to longevity in your walk with God and what He's called you to do.

1.  Stay close to God!  Don't allow your difficulty to drive you away from God.  The Bible tells us that if we stay close to God He will stay close to us.  In other words, you're as close to God as you want to be.

2.  Stay close to friends!  I have some close genuine friends that have been a huge help to me and my family during our painful moments.  What do I mean by genuine friends?  I'm not their friend for what I can do for them and they're not my friend for what they can do for me.  Some might disagree but that's the wrong motivation to be friends.  We're friends because there is a divine flow between us and God has obviously joined our hearts together!  I love these kind of relationships!

Your relationship with God and your relationship with close friends. Don't neglect either of these and you'll walk through your painful season and come out on the other side a stronger, wiser and more humbled person.

I love it! Hey it's time to DREAM.......AGAIN!