Sometimes I Am Full of Envy

Sometimes I Am Full of Envy

In the Christian Church there is a standard list of deadly sins

The list was first compiled by Pope Gregory the first around the year 600

            • Lust – 2 Timothy 2:22
            • Gluttony – 1 Corinthians 10:31
            • Greed – Hebrews 13;15
            • Sloth – Proverbs 6:6 (excessive laziness)
            • Wrath – Romans 12:19
            • Pride – Jeremiah 9:23-24
            • Envy – Proverbs 14:30

Today we will be looking at the last one – “ENVY”

The Ten Commandments were given at Mt. Sinai around 1450 B.C. so these are still the Oldest foundational moral commandments that Christian hold to

However, the seven deadly sins are biblical but nowhere do they appear as a list in the Bible

There is a list of seven deadly sins in the Bible and they are found in Proverbs 6:16-19 where it states, “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him…” Read more

Leaders in the Church – Part Three

4> Put others ahead of yourself.

Most times when we are starting as leaders our leadership is very “me” focused. To increase your potential as a leader you need to be focused on others; especially on equipping and empowering others. I want to encourage you to make the shift from me to we. Why? Because these three factors will make you want to change

A> Reality — As the challenge escalates, the need for team work elevates.

Every worthwhile dream is greater than the individual who initially holds it. When we recognize that truth, it motivates us to ask others for help. But we also need to realize that people are most likely to help us after we have helped them in some way. So, we need to put others ahead of ourself. When we equip and empower our team, everyone is able to work together to achieve even the largest dream. 

B> Maturity — With one tiny exception, the world is composed of others.

I define maturity as unselfishness. It’s being able to see things from other people’s perspective because you value them. It means building ladders so that others can climb, not fighting to climb to ladder yourself. Effective leadership can never be all about you, because you are not the only one on your team – you are leading others.

C> Profitability – Measure your success as a leader by what you give, not what you gain

No matter what you do to make a living, you should judge your success by how much you are able to help others. Do this and you will increase your leadership potential. In the end, life is about people. Never forget it. Take care of those you lead instead of taking care of your career and reputation. If you are willing to make “success” about giving rather than gaining, you will find your life to be greatly rewarding. And your leadership potential growing.

So the question to be answered: What do you want your life to stand for?

As you grow old and draw near to the end of your life, what kind of impact do you want to have made on the world? I hope you’ll choose to add value to people. And I hope you’ll choose to become a leader of greater potential and higher capacity. The more influence you develop, the greater the positive impact you’ll be able to make. 

A true story of a singer who saw the potential he could have as a leader and how being a leader could impact and change lives…

Singer Michael Bublé loved his grandfather, Don Demetrio Santaga, who built a house in Vancouver 50 years ago and lived in it until his dying day. Santaga loved his house and hoped it would stay in his family after his death

During the final 8 years of his life, Santaga was unable to live alone, so Bublé hired a Filipina healthcare worker named Minette to care for him

At first Santaga resented having a nurse, but the two quickly became close. Bublé and Santaga came to view Minette as part of the family, and near the end of his life, Santaga shared his final wish with his grandson.

When the older man died, Minette took the opportunity to return to the Philippines to visit her family, whom she had been supporting with her income. While she was gone, Jonathan and Drew Scott, the celebrity “Property Brothers,” came to Vancouver and did extensive renovations on Santaga’s home. It was an amazing makeover.

When Minette returned, she was met with television cameras from the crew of Celebrity IOU. Michael opened the door and ushered her in, saying, “Welcome home.” Minette’s hands flew to her mouth and her eyes filled with tears. “It is so much, really so much,” she said. “I have no words right now. It hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s beautiful.”

“You can only imagine what it’s going to mean to her,” said Bublé.

A leader who saw an opportunity  to increase his potential.

Leaders in the Church – Part Two

We are looking at how to increase your potential as a leader regardless of where you may be leading – family, friends, work, community, or the local church. Last time we saw:

1> Ask questions and listen to understand and find your people (those willing to follow).

2> Connect with people before asking them to change.

A> Let them know you value them

B> Identify the value they place on themselves.

Self-worth is foundational to belief and change. The moment your belief in yourself goes up, so can your commitment to help yourself and thus change. If the people on your team don’t believe in themselves, as the leader you need to try and help them find that belief. You need to encourage them. You need to speak positive words of affirmation. You need to teach them. And you need to help them put wins under their belts. Does that always work? No. But if their self-worth never rises, neither will they feel comfortable enough to follow your lead and be more willing to believe they can change.

C> Tell them growth is expected and growth means change.

As a leader, you want your people to grow, and you want them to know it on the front end – that growth is expected and that growth means change. If they know you will hold them accountable for growth, the chances of it happening increase dramatically. One of the greatest mistakes leaders make is sharing expectations but failing to later include accountability.

D> Show them change is essential.

It is impossible to get better without making changes. No one has ever stayed the same while at the same time rising to a higher level. Being willing to change is one of the prices we pay to grow. Good leaders increase their potential by helping people recognize and accept that price. You can’t make the changes for them, but you can show them what needs changing, assist them, and encourage them.

E> Keep the connection constant.

When it comes to expectations, leaders can never think, Set it and forget it. People rarely lead themselves forward or correct themselves when they get off track. People want to be empowered. But often what they need most is accountability. Keeping your connection constant and gently nudging them forward provides both encouragement and consistent accountability. 

F> Ask, “Will you help me help you?”

When you ask people if they will help you to help them, you are able to measure their level of participation and commitment. By getting them to declare the ways that they want help to grow and change, you obtain their full buy-in. And if they don’t follow through, you can hold them accountable for what they declared they would do.

3> Demonstrate transparency before challenging people

One of the most valuable things you can do to increase your leadership capacity and potential is to be authentic and transparent with people and to share your story, especially before you challenge them to attempt something difficult.

Too many leaders think they have to project a perfect image to have leadership credibility. They think they always have to put their best foot forward. What they don’t understand is that their best foot is a flawed foot. They miss the power of their own stories of imperfection. A leader’s story of struggle, growth, and improvement can inspire people and change lives. People respect leaders who tell the truth but whop still hold fast to the vision and keep leading people (the team) forward.

Rewards According to the Bible

There is a vast difference in the doctrine of salvation for the lost, and the doctrine of rewards for the saved. 

Salvation is “the gift of God; not as a result of works” (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

Salvation is received by faith in the finished work of he Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:36). 

Rewards are according to the works of the believer (Matthew 16:27).

A great Scripture on rewards is found in 1 Corinthians 3:8-15. Read more

Awesome Signs 

In the book of the Acts of the Holy Spirit accomplished through the first apostles we read: “Then fear came upon every soul and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles” (Acts 2:43). 

Supernatural signs and wonders revealed God’s presence in the early Church. Through miracles, God gave tangible, visible evidence that He, who is supernatural, was in fact present. Miraculous signs occurred frequently. They were part of the ongoing, normal lifestyle of the Church. The testimony of signs and wonders created a healthy fear of the Lord and a sense of wonder in the people. God used miracles and wonders to authenticate the leaders He sent and to prove their message was His own. Miracles also commanded the attention of people outside the church.

Hebrews 2:4 “God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” Read more

Sometimes I Forget to Celebrate

Sometimes I Forget to Celebrate

I am a task oriented person and so I am always working towards the next thing that needs to be done, the next crisis to manage, the next person to connect with

As a result I don’t tend to look back at what has been accomplished and how far I might have come on the journey

I don’t tend to celebrate progress because I don’t often pause to notice it

I don’t think of landmark events in life and, if I do, I don’t think to celebrate

I am not a big fan of the fuss made over birthdays and anniversaries

Sometimes I Forget to Celebrate….

The three exception regarding celebrating are: Read more

Leaders in the Church – Part One

One of the motivational gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8 is the gift of leadership.

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

Leadership by simple definition is influence. And, everyone influences someone. Parents influence their children. Teachers influence their students. Small group leaders influence their members. Church leaders influence their people. Leadership is your ability to lift and lead other people. In many ways, everyone is a leader.

Your leadership ability and potential is not something that is inherent. It is not a given that is built into your character and thus unchangeable. You can grow in your understand of leadership as well as improve your skills and abilities as a leader and thus become a better leader. Your leadership potential is something that can grow and change. Here are some ideas that I work with as a leader as I work to increase my level of influence and thus impact in life and ministry.

1> Ask questions and listen to understand and find your people.

Communication is the language of leadership. Most leaders hold to the illusion that as long as they are talking and giving direction and input, communication is happening. Leaders usually focus on vision and on what they are wanting to accomplish in their leadership. So, their focus is often themselves and what they want. A true leader focuses on others and want to know their people and want their people to know them. Only then can true communication happen.

Questions open up doors and allow us to connect with others. They place value on the other person. And they give us a different perspective. Before we attempt to set things right as leaders, we need to see things right. The highest compliment you can give people is to ask them their opinion. And then to truly listen from your heart.

Asking for a person’s thoughts and opinions does not do much if you don’t really listen. Questions start the conversation, but listening encourages it to continue. Listening shows that I want to understand someone before I try to be understood by them. Questions + Listening = Quality Conversation. Quality Conversation = Quality Leadership.

2> Connect with people before asking them to change.

By its nature, leadership is about creating change. As a leader, you are inviting people to change their focus, change their energy, change their skills, and sometimes even change their direction in life for the sake of the team and the accomplishing of the vision. How do you get people to trust you for so many changes? Trust needs to be built on good relationships, and good relationships start with good connections. 

If you are a task-oriented person, connecting may be something you have to work at to achieve. If you’re a people person, building the relationships may come naturally. But making the transition from relationship building to movement requires what I call a leadershift. That “shift” is the transition from connecting with people to helping them make the changes necessary for the benefit of the team.

One of the keys to helping team members make successful changes is to set expectations for them up front. It increases the odds of positive change later in the relationship. There are six steps that should be followed to set positive expectations. These will help you to connect with people and then invite them to follow you as the leader and enter the process of changing. 

A> Let them know you value them

The greatest gift leaders give team members is their belief in them, letting them know that they are valued. If I as your leader don’t value you, I will try to manipulate you for my advantage instead of investing in you for your advantage.

So in setting expectations for people, I clearly communicate how much I value them as individual people, not just as team members. And that means I care enough for them to confront them. I value them too much to allow them to remain the same. Once they know that my expectations for them are birthed out of how much I value them. The environment has been set for the next step. 

More next time…

Can Genuine Christians Learn From the Pagans?

From “Beyond Evangelical” blog by Frank Viola

Welcome to another Thursday UNFILTERED blog post, the only blog that isn’t ashamed to spend Friday nights at home.

Quick history lesson on the word “pagan” since I’m using it in the article title.

The term pagan was used by the early Christian apologists to group non-Christians into a convenient package. At its root, a pagan is a country dweller, an inhabitant of the pagus or the heath (the rural district).

Because Christianity primarily spread in the cities, the country bumpkins, i.e., the pagans or heathens, were regarded as those who believed in the old gods.

So “pagan” is a synonym for people who do not follow Jesus.

Now that we have that cleared up, that’s NOT the point of this article. Read more

Awesome Signs – Part Seven

Along with signs and wonders the disciples walked daily in the fear of God. Members of the church had seen a demonstration of what it means to lie to the Holy Spirit. Frequent signs and wonders imposed an awesome reverence for God on the entire church. This fear “came upon every soul” (Acts 2:43). The word came is in the imperfect tense and denotes a continual, abiding, long-lasting, on-going sense of awe.

Supernatural signs put the fear of the Lord not only on the New Testament Church, but also on those outside the Church. One commentary states, “the non-Christian population felt a certain apprehension over against a group in whose midst supernatural events were taking place.”

Luke refers to the fear of the Lord in the New Testament Church many times throughout Acts. 

Acts 5:11 “And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.”

Acts 9:31 “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.”

Acts 19:17 “And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.”

Fear can be healthy depending on the subject and the motivation for it. Fear keeps people from getting too close to the cliff’s edge. It keeps them from sticking their hands in hot fire. It keeps them from becoming reckless. The fear of God brings positive benefits.

Proverbs 14:26-27 “In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”

Psalm 34:9 “Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!”

The fear of God is an awesome reverence and respect toward God, knowing He is totally righteous and full of mercy and truth; He compensates and rewards the obedient in faith; and He judges, chastens, and punishes the disobedient in faith.

A person’s fears become dominant in their life. The heart that fears the Lord is submitted to Him. The fear of the Lord shapes a God-centered way of life that acknowledges Him in all ways. A person who is aware of the presence of God and has a holy fear of Him allows no room for compromise or neutrality with sin and evil conduct.

Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil

and perverted speech I hate.”

A healthy fear keeps Christians from being self-assertive, proud, and boastful. It continually reminds them that they will give an account to God for their actions and words. Because of the fear of the Lord, they treat their fellow man decently. It restrains them from giving in to their base nature and keeps them from going to extremes. 

Solomon was known as the wisest man on earth. At the end of his life his conclusion was: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). That summarized it for Solomon because he knew, “For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (12:14). In the end, every secret thing will be judged by a righteous God.

Believers need to be sure they fear God, not someone or something else. For instance, the Bible says not to fear false prophets (Deuteronomy 18:22), or the face of man (Proverbs 29:25), or man-made religion (Isaiah 29:13). Many who lead people astray using fear as one of their tools. They appeal to people’s fears while pushing false doctrine, or they use fear of violence to dominate others’ lives.

Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.”

All such fear is man-centered and self-centered, motivated by self-preservation and self-defence. The fear of the Lord is God-centered and motivated by true knowledge of Him, true love for Him, and commitment to do His will.

In a believer’s desire to see the blessing of God and to see the promise of God fulfilled in their life, they must not be at the center of their own life, goals, and desires. When the focus of a Christian’s faith and prayers is “God bless me, and give to me, and meet my needs, and be nice to me, me, me, me,” then their primary concern is not for God’s honour and glory but for their own benefit. To a degree they are not living in the fear of the Lord!

That does not mean God God does not want to bless them. It means that only those who fear the Lord and put Him first experience His real blessing. So, the local church needs to maintain essential teachings on the healthy fear of God.

As Spirit-filled believers, we claim to want to rediscover the life and pattern of the New Testament Church and so see awesome signs and wonders. But I am concerned that the absence of one of its most essential characteristics – the fear of God – will keep us from experiencing awesome signs and wonders. We know the comfort of the Holy Spirit. We have learned to have liberty in the prescience of the Lord. We have experienced the moving of the Holy Spirit and the joy He gives, but too often our motivation is to get whatever we can from the Lord when are in His presence. This is a deficient attitude. It produces a careless lifestyle. Some, in the past, have called it “sloppy agape”. 

The fear of the Lord should impact every aspect of a person’s life. An ever-increasing wisdom will provide new insight into handling life’s difficulties. And, most of all, relationships with others will be conducted from God’s point of view.

Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

When the entire local Christian community is guided by the fear of the Lord, people will be transformed and will show forth the love and glory of God. This in itself will be another awesome sign. All onlookers will see a demonstration of God’s nature in practical everyday living, and when Christian love one another, the world will believe. 

Awesome Signs – Part Six

The nine gifts listed in 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, are the basic supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit. They are direct manifestations given to born again, Spirit-filled (Baptized in the Holy Spirit) believers who are true disciples of Jesus.

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 “For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”

God may equip everyone by personality, temperament, and motivations to match the gifts He gives them, yet the function of gifts goes beyond the personality and ability of people. The Holy Spirit’s supernatural influence makes the gifts operate.

Paul describes the proper attitude believers should have toward the gifts of the Spirit:

      • Be knowledgable. Christians are not to be ignorant of spiritual gifts. They need to think through what these manifestations of the Spirit are and how they are to be used. Each believer also should consider how he can be used to express them

1 Corinthians 12:1 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.”

      • Recognize your own gift(s). Each believer has the potential to function is at least one gift. They receive it for the good of the entire church, not for their own gratification or profit.

1 Corinthians 12:7 “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

All believers have the Holy Spirit operating in them. All have the ability to move in the supernatural “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills? (1 Corinthians 12:11).

      • Desire the gifts needed in a particular church. A Christian’s motivation should be love and a desire to serve and bless others. If love is weak, the gifts will not edify or have their full effect. The Fruit of the Spirit — love — endows gifts with full authority and power to minister grace to others.

1 Corinthians 12:31 “But earnestly desire the higher (best) gifts.”

      • Stir up the gifts. Believers should not neglect their gifts but stir them up. Saints are stewards over the gifts.

2 Timothy 1:6 “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands…” (ESV)

NKJV “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”

      • Guard against misuse and abuse. Once God gives a gift, it will not be withdrawn or recalled.

Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

To avoid misuse or abuse of the gifts, they must remain submitted to the written Word of God. A person may be convinced they have a revelation or a word from the Lord, but if it contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture, it must not be accepted. The church’s only safeguard from delusion is to stay within the boundaries of objective, revealed truth from the Bible.

1 Corinthians 14:37 “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.”

Leaders of local churches also oversee the operation of the gifts. The fact that gifts are spiritual does not mean they cannot be ordered, guided, and judged. God knows the potential for human error always exists, and He has provided for its restraint and correction.

1 Corinthians 14:29 “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.”

Operation of the gifts requires cooperation from yielded Christians; however, human vessels do not become puppets, act unconsciously, or go into trances.

1 Corinthians 14:32 “… and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.”

Believers actively cooperate with the Spirit. They participate intelligently and voluntarily. They are not in an ecstatic, euphoric stupor when the Spirit moves. 

By faith and by an act of the will, Christians obey the Spirit’s prompting to put themselves in positions where the Holy Spirit can use them and manifest Himself through them. 

Romans 6:13b “… present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.”

It is time Christians begin to believe the Lord for more regular, normal manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit in the church. The Lord has purposed to work supernaturally through His supernatural people this way.