By Topic

Communication

Wednesday

March 8, 2017

Jethro Jolt

Read

Exodus 18:17-19, “Moses’ father-in-law replied, ‘What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to Him.’”

Think

We like to be right. We don’t naturally enjoy being told what we’re doing is wrong. So what about when it comes to receiving advice—not unsolicited opinions—but insightful observations? Jethro was the priest of Midian and was well versed in effective leadership. No wonder he was taken aback by the futile and time-consuming methods employed by his son-in-law. Moses had gone slow-Mo and needed a jolt from Jethro to pick up his Mo-mentum! Speaking the truth in love, Jethro offered some great wisdom and perspective. Moses could have taken it as an insult, but fortunately he had a teachable spirit and showed great humility in receiving the advice. Wisdom is a quality of the soul, and within this exchange, Jethro pointed Moses back to God’s calling for his life.

In this series, we’ve talked a lot about the necessity of skipping within leadership, but one thing we should never skip is constructive criticism. Accountability emerges from affinity. Who are you listening to? Usually the people with the most experience have the most to say within a climate of critique. The moment we stop listening is the precise moment we stop leading. Learning is a lifelong process, and great information lacking application is an abomination. Proverbs 16:20 states, “Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful”. Are you teachable and adaptable? Or are you in need of a Jethro jolt? Because when we land on good advice, we will soar to places we never dreamed possible.

Pray

Father God, melt away any stubbornness from my heart. Help me to be humble and open to wisdom and critique. Thank You for placing people in my life who care enough to speak the truth in love. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Act

Read the prologue in Proverbs 1:1-7. Then commit verse 7 to memory: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline”.

 

Tuesday

March 7, 2017

Let Them Hear

Read

Mark 4:9, “Then Jesus said, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear’”.
James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Think

Jesus said, ‘Whoever has ears, let them hear’, approximately fourteen times in the New Testament. He captivated crowds by the authority with which He spoke—and people raptly listened. In the early church, people didn’t have written access to the gospel. The apostle’s letters were circulated around the various congregations and read as sermons. How fortunate we are today to have access to every Bible translation at the touch of our fingers! However, we must credit those who were “hearers of the word”. Comparatively, our listening skills leave much to be desired. In our ADD society, we must remember that hearing is with the ears, and listening is with the brain. Are you merely skimming through Scripture? Or are you listening for God’s voice and obeying His commands?

What kind of listener are you? Some people are pre-occupied listeners. They can’t seem to give others their undivided attention. Then there are those that occupy space, yet their thoughts are a million miles away. And we’ve all fallen prey to those suffering from ‘Interrupter-itis’,  who sit perched and ready to jump in anytime you take a breath. This is the exact reason God gave us two ears and one mouth. Also, there are the armchair experts always on hand to provide unsolicited answers. And finally, although a rare breed, there are those who actually listen. They actively engage in hearing what others have to say. They empathize and wait until the other person finishes speaking. God listens and He wants us to be intentional listeners as well. Good listening is an act of love, requiring patience, and reflects a healthy relationship with Christ. Whether in prayer or in a personal conversation with others, we must remember to listen for what God is speaking into our lives.

Pray

Thank God for constantly speaking into your life. Ask Him to guide you in becoming a better listener and spend a few moments meditating on the name of Jesus.

Act

What kind of listener are you? Over the next week pay special attention to your interactions with others.

 

Wednesday

February 8, 2017

Making a Statement

Read

Ephesians 10-12, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose that He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

Think

In Ephesians 3:10-12, Paul communicates two distinct messages. The first is a mission statement for the church. The second serves as a reminder that our relationship with God is not about us and that the freedom and confidence we share in Christ is due to His strength and not our own. Verse 10 states that the church’s mission is “to make known the manifold wisdom of God”.  Question: Who is our audience? In this scenario, Paul is referring to created beings in the spiritual realm. Christ’s work surpasses all barriers, physical and spiritual. So, he’s saying the church witnesses to everything and every being including Satan himself! A unified and faithful church is just one more reminder of his defeat as well as a powerful display of God’s truth and love for all of creation.

We like to make things about us, don’t we? How easily do we forget what our lives would really be like if we were reliant upon our own strength and power!  We even prioritize our own needs, wants, and desires in our relationship with God in prayer. But the key to effective prayer is to put aside our natural selfishness and autonomous attitude and make it all about God. Jesus is the mediator of our salvation and of all other dimensions in our relationship to the Father. Our confidence is based on what He accomplished! And freedom rings as we live in Christ, through Christ, and with Christ for eternity! Want to make a statement? Humbly praise God with an attitude of gratitude for His omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent power!

Pray

Thank You, God, for giving me hope and confidence in Your strength and power. Help me to not trust in myself, but in Jesus. And remind me of the cross every time my thoughts or actions are motivated by my own selfishness.

Act

Select a life verse that serves as a reminder of God’s strength, provision, and power. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a great place to start!

Friday

January 6, 2017

Happy Endings

Read

Luke 19:10, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost”.
I Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”.

Think

We all love a great story. And with every great story, there’s a situation, a build-up, a climax, and hopefully a happy-ending. Sadly, though, in real life not all stories end happily ever after. For those who don’t know Christ, their ending will result in misery and utter isolation. Because when this life ends forever begins, and forever is a very long time. As believers, our hope is built on a Christ-filled eternity in heaven—a place more glorious and spectacular than we can ever imagine. But as we eagerly await coming face to face with the Savior, we have a mission. It is to populate heaven and depopulate hell. Most often the path to salvation doesn’t occur by the unsaved randomly showing up at church. No, it starts with us as we share our own great story with the lost.

We don’t have to be Bible scholars to share our story. And often, when we attempt to explain why we believe what we believe to the unchurched from a biblical perspective it backfires. Instead, it’s always great to meet people on common ground. It helps to engage in friendly conversation and get to know a little bit about them—and people love to talk about themselves. Then when the timing is right—and God’s timing is always perfect—we share our stories. We talk about who we were before we knew Christ, what led us to Christ, and what Christ is doing in and through our lives. Eternities are on the line, the stakes are high, and we must love others enough to share about who and Whose we are. Remember, we seek, Jesus saves, and lives are forever changed, because God desires for us all to have a happy-ending.

Pray

Pray for at least three people you know in need of life change and ask God to orchestrate just the right moment to share your story with them.

Act

Prepare to share your story. Write it down. Practice telling it in a precise and concise manner. And be ready when such opportunities arise.

Wednesday

January 4, 2017

Microwave Prayers

Read

I Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

Think

The phrase “But First, Coffee” is currently trending on t-shirts, coffee mugs, placards, coasters, and even key chains. More than anything else in the morning, we lean on caffeine to face the day. And it’s true; coffee does stimulate us to get moving. However, as catchy as “But First, Coffee” is, it doesn’t prepare us for the day ahead. With Christ in us, we’re already prepared from the moment our eyes open and our feet hit the floor. And in order to maximize our daily potential we need to flip the script and stimulate our minds with, “But first, prayer”.

Many of us don’t pray enough because we errantly believe we have to hit our knees and spend a certain amount of time to pray effectively.  Do not be mistaken, all time spent in prayer is great! But as we hustle and bustle throughout the day, extended periods of prayer aren’t always feasible. Today’s verse says to “pray continually”. This means God wants us to include Him in everything we do. And often, quick simple prayers—microwave prayers—are perfect to refocus our minds as we engage in each new task. Therefore, as you move throughout your day keep God in the conversation, listen for His voice, and allow Him to flow through you as you interface with others.

Pray

Praise God for His desire to be in continuous communication with you. Express your love to Him and thank Him for the perfect agenda He has for your life.

Act

Set an alarm on your phone for three times during your day to serve as a prayer reminder. This will help you get in the habit of praying microwave prayers and including God in your daily dialogue.

Tuesday

August 23, 2016

Sending A Message

Read

I Kings 18:21, “Elijah challenged the people: ‘How long are you going to sit on the fence? If God is the real God, follow Him; if it’s Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!’ Nobody said a word; nobody made a move.”

Think

Can you imagine a major airline carrier saying, “Your flight is departing from Atlanta. However we have yet to determine if it will land in New York or Chicago? What kind of message does this send? It says, “We are coming from what is known and destined for doubt”.  Obviously, this scenario is absurd, but is it so far-fetched when it comes to spirituality? Far too many people are straddling the fence when it comes to defining clear-cut boundaries between right and wrong. And Christ followers, we are often just as guilty of duplicity. It’s easy for us to remain silent when it comes to delivering the unequivocal message of God’s truth.

God’s people had gone astray and completely abandoned the Lord’s commands. Having grown impatient with their waywardness, He sent the prophet Elijah to deliver a message to the nation of Israel. Elijah said, “Either worship God or false idols. Choose one or the other and get off the fence”. God loves us too much for us to remain on the fence. He knows it will only lead to a life of utter frustration. Having received the message of the gospel, we are to live out our love for Jesus and walk in a manner worthy of Christ. To do this, we must have a single-minded destination in sight—God’s will. Is your life sending the message of hope in a dark and directionless world?

Pray

Pledge your allegiance to God. Share your renewed passion for single-mindedness and ask for  the wisdom and “stickability” to do what’s right in difficult and defining moments.

Act

Are you sitting on the fence right now? Make a list of any situations or circumstances that cause you to waver. After identifying problematic areas replace each one with a plan or resolution. Then declare out loud your ability to stand firm for what is right through Christ who gives you strength.

 

Wednesday

November 11, 2015

Say “Yes” to God

Read

“I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8

Think

Life is complex. It’s an unavoidable reality of living. What often makes it so complex is the amount of choices we have day in and day out. In our world, we are choked with choice and drowned with decisions. Just a look at the cereal aisle at the grocery store will reveal that reality. But while complexity is certainly part of life, the answer to life is very simple. Simply put, we need to say “Yes” to what God says “Yes” to.

When we agree with God and say yes to the things He has said yes to, the complexity of life suddenly becomes simplicity. We begin to see with clarity where we had been confused. What has God said yes to? The first and most important is our relationship with Him. When we say yes to a relationship with God, we begin a foundation on which we can build a strong, simple life. It doesn’t erase all the choices in our lives. But it does give us the discernment and ability to make the wise choices. Have you said “Yes” to God?

Pray

Thank God for His desire to have a relationship with you. If you have said yes to that, pray for the discipline to continue saying yes every day. If you haven’t yet, you can do that right now!

Act

To be successful, every relationship requires good communication. Today, spend time communicating with God in every situation. Use this day to strengthen your connection with Him!