43 years ago on Friday I was in a service in a small town in Saskatchewan, the Canadian province where I live
I want to share with you something the Lord has been speaking to me about…
There are two scriptures that have been speaking to me over and over again recently
And the focus of the scriptures is “passion”
Or, how to energize your life so you live it ‘alive’ for the Lord – up, excited, engaged
But first, a video that I discovered this past week…
This past weekend I was in Manitoba ministering
Over a decade ago I heard a prophetic word from a recognized international prophet that I was to write a book. I was busy pastoring and church planting. So, I put the word to one side and thought that I would do it later, probably much later. Several years after that the same prophet was back in the network of churches I relate to and prophetically spoke a number of things over my life – including that I was to write books. That’s ‘book’ but plural. My reaction? I went up to him and said, “What do you mean books?” I don’t have the time to write even one book – the one you first prophesied over me. Now you are saying ’books’.” I was not happy.
Did I start writing? No! I was busy ministering. Then a few years later as I was flying home from overseas the Lord spoke to me at 36,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. He said that writing a book or books was not taking time away from my ministry. Writing books was part of my ministry and He would make the time for it to happen. I made the decision right then to begin preparations to write books. The desire to write was released. I decided to write the books.
Did it happen? Not yet. You see, often we miss God’s best for us because we think “it is not the right time to begin.”
John Maxwell tells the story about his childhood. His father’s favourite riddle to them went like this: Five frogs were sitting on a long. Four decided to jump off. How many are left? John goes on to say, the first time his father asked him that, he answered “one.” His father responded, no, there were still five. Why? Because there’s a difference between deciding and doing!
So, I had decided but that is not the same as actually doing it. I just kept thinking, “It is just not the right time. I am so busy…”
Then I read this the other day. “The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.” Oh, how true! At least in my life.
So, now is the right time to start growing and developing in this new field of work and ministry. I have done more than decide. I am now intentionally doing.
Maybe you have something you know you need to do or should be doing. And, the pressure is building. But, you are still making excuses including suggesting that it is not the right time to begin. Well, it is time to stop procrastinating and move forward in your life. Now is the time to accept the next challenge and start growing even if you feel that you are not ready. Don’t wait until tomorrow.
Author and professor Leo Buscaglia asserted, “Life lived for tomorrow will always be a day away from being realized.” The reality is that you will never get much done unless you go ahead and do it before you are ready. If you are not already intentionally growing, you need to get started today. If you don’t, you may reach some goals, which you can celebrate, but you will eventually plateau. Once you start growing intentionally, you can keep growing and keep asking, “What’s next.”
It is always the right time to be intentional about accepting the next challenge and growing into it as you move forward in faith.
Do you have a sense of direction? Any person who wants to grow as a person but doesn’t know himself will fail to accomplish any growth as a person. To grow you must know yourself: your strengths and weaknesses, your interests and opportunities. You must be able to gauge not only where you’re been, but also where you are now. Otherwise you cannot set a course for where you want to go, And, of course, every time you want to learn something, you must be able to take the new thing you’ve learned today and build upon what you learned yesterday to keep growing. That’s the only way to gain traction and keep improving yourself.
To reach you potential, you must know where you want to go and where you currently are. Without both of those pieces of information, you’re liable to get lost. Knowing yourself is like reading “You Are Here” on a map when you want to find you way to a destination.
I have observed that there’re really only three kinds of people when it comes to having direction and thus purpose in life.
1> People who do not know what they would like to do
These people are often CONFUSED. They lack a strong sense of purpose. They don’t possess a sense of direction for their lives. If they are growing, they are unfocused about it. They dabble. They drift. They can’t reach their potential because they have no idea what to shoot for; what direction to go in.
2> People who know what they would like to do but don’t do it
These people are usually FRUSTRATED. Every day they experience the gap between where they are and where they want to be. Sometimes they aren’t doing what they want because they worry that it will cause them to neglect other responsibilities, such as providing for their family. Sometimes they aren’t willing to pay the price to learn, grow, and move closer to where they want to be. Other times fear prevents them from changing course to pursue their passion. No matter what the reason, they, too, miss their potential.
3> People who know what they would like to do and do it
The third kind of people know themselves, possess a strong sense of passion, are focused on purpose, grow in areas that help them move closer to their purpose, and do what they were created to do. The word that best describes them is FULFILLED.
Most people fall into the first category. They don’t know what they want to do. I believe the main reason is that they don’t know themselves as well as they should, and thus remain unfocused in their growth – if they grow personally at all.
Knowing yourself isn’t necessarily an easy thing for everyone to do. What makes finding themselves and growing to their potential difficult for some people is that it can be a bit of catch 22. You have to know who you are to grow to your potential. But you have to grow in order to know who you are. So what’s the solution? Explore yourself as you explore growth.
The way to start is to pay attention to your passions. In my life my passion is to teach and mentor young men, raising them up into the calling that God has on their lives and releasing them to accomplish their purpose in the Kingdom. This involves four areas represented by the word REAL: relationships, equipping, attitude, and leadership. My passion led to my growth. But then my growth led to my passion as I discovered my love for and ability to mentor the next generation of apostles and prophets. That continues to be a major focus of my life and ministry even today after 40 years.
So, self-awareness is the key to growing, changing, finding one’s passion and purpose, and then moving from where you are to where you should be and need to be to live fulfilled and on purpose.
A major theme in my life is the desire to add value to people and make a difference in their lives. One of the ways this happens is in a mentoring relationship (see yesterday’s blog – “Christians Can’t Be Passive). A mentor can be a great encourager when the person they are mentoring is wanting to grow and develop in the Christian faith and in their calling. In other words, they are not passive but are willing to invest time, effort, and even money to move forward in their knowledge, understanding, and application of biblical principles. To mature as a believer and minister.
In our world today we often substitute other words for “mentor.” The most familiar and common is the word “coach.” A coach is someone who carries a valued person from where they are to where they want to be. The key is ‘they want to be.” Otherwise, as I mentioned yesterday it just ends up in frustration… like pushing a parked car with the brakes on uphill by yourself. Not interested.
In an article called, “A Coach By Any Other Namer” Kevin Hall describes what it means to be a coach. He writes,
- In other cultures and languages, coaches are known by many different names and titles.
- In Japan, a “sensei” is one who has gone further down the path. In martial arts, it is the designation for master.
- In Sanskrit, a “guru” is one with great knowledge and wisdom. “Gu” means darkness, and “ru” means light – a guru takes someone from darkness into the light.
- In Tibet, a “lama” is one with spirituality and authority to teach. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama is the highest ranking leader.
- In Italy, a “maestro” is a master teacher of music. It is short for “maestro de cappella,” meaning master of the chapel.
- In France, a “tutor” is a private teacher. The term dates back to the fourteenth century and refers to one who served as a watchman.
- In England, a “guide” is one who know and shows the way. It denotes the ability to see and point out the better course.
- In Greece,. A “mentor” is a wise and trusted advisor. In The Odyssey, Homer’s Mentor was a protective and supportive counsellor.
All these words describe the same role: One who goes before and shows the way. No matter what word you use to describe them, coaches make a difference in others’ lives. They help them grow. They improve their potential. They increase their productivity. They are essential to helping people effect positive change.
Andy Stanley in “The Next Generation Leader” states, “You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without outside input you will never be as good as you could be. We all do better when someone is watching and evaluating … Self-evaluation is helpful, but evaluation from someone else is essential.”
John Maxwell states, “In my opinion, good coaches share five common characteristics. They…
- Care fort the people they coach
- Observe their attitudes, behaviours, and performances
- Align them with their strengths for peak performance
- Communicate and give feedback about their performance
- Help them to improve their lives and performance
We all need at least one mentor in our lives.