Becoming a Disciplined Person

Too many people see life as a waiting room. People sit and wait for their names to be called. But progress in life – moving forward to maturity and effectiveness in what we do and achieve – does not come looking for us. We won’t achieve great things accidentally. Never forget, as one of my mentors taught me, “Everything worthwhile is uphill.” Achieving what you want in life takes time, effort, consistency, energy, and commitment. A word for all of this is “self-discipline.”

Self-discipline is what allows us to grow up, mature, develop, learn new skills, hone our present abilities and talents, accomplish, succeed, impact and influence those around us. If you are my age self-discipline is still needed as you work towards leaving a legacy behind when it is time to head home and meet the Master, Jesus. Self-discipline is what makes those things possible and puts success within reach – whatever your goals are and however you determine success.

Here’s the good news. Self-discipline is something you can develop. You don’t need to be born with it. In fact, few are. It is a choice you make and then keep on making. So, let spend a few minutes looking at how to develop self-discipline… Read more


Train Your Brain

There is so much going on in the world and also in the Kingdom right now …

There is also so much going on at the same time in our personal lives …

For me, it can, at times, be overwhelming

The Lord is doing so much with all of us during this season as we face so many events and situations that are new to many of us: Read more

Steps and Stops

The Psalmist wrote that “the steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in His way” (Psalm 37:23). But someone has wisely observed that God lovingly orders not only our steps but also out stops.

At one point in his second apostolic journey, the apostle Paul experienced successive divine “stops” within Asia Minor (known then as “Asia). The first time, the Holy Spirit prevented him and his team from pushing on to its western reaches – the coastal area north of the city of Ephesus. The second time, they tried to go north into Bithynia, “but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them” (Acts 16:6-7). Finally, Paul looked to the northwest – to Troas – a seaport just across the Aegean Sea from Macedonia. Given the roadblocks of previous days, he may have turned toward Troas somewhat tentatively. But whatever uncertainty he arrived with was quickly dispelled. God met him there with unmistakable instructions; sometime in the night, Paul had a vision of a Macedonian man pleading with him, “Come … and help us” (Acts 16:8-9).

Suddenly all those stops made sense! God wanted them to bring the message of Christ to Macedonia. Paul and his apostolic team were so certain that God had made Philippi in Macedonia their top priority that Luke writes: “Immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the Gospel to them” (Acts 16:10).

Leaving Troas on a ship, they docked overnight on the island of Samothrace and landed at the coastal city of Neapolis the next day. As always, Paul wanted to get to work quickly, which in this case meant travelling to Philippi, the leading city of the region.

The one thing lacking in Philippi at that time was a Jewish sanctuary. Consequently, the Jews who wanted to gather on the Sabbath did so on the banks of the Gangites River – a source of fresh water necessary for ritual cleansing. So that’s where Paul and his companions went, finding a group of women assembled for prayers. One was named Lydia, an apparently prosperous Gentile businesswoman who worshipped the God of the Jews but knew nothing of their Messiah, Jesus Christ (Acts 16:14). When Paul spoke to the group about Jesus, Lydia responded with faith. Afterward, her home became the gathering place for all the early converts in Philippi (Acts 16:40). Thus the church in Philippi was planted, and Philippi became the first European city to receive the Gospel of the Kingdom from Paul. 

As with many other places where Paul preached, persecution followed close behind the founding of the church in Philippi. But not even persecution and imprisonment could taint his memories of ministry in that city – a ministry that was sparked by a vision in the night and launched on the side of a river with a group of godly women.

Some years later, during his first imprisonment in Rome, Paul thought about and prayed for the church he had established there, writing those believers perhaps his most intimate and personal letter. By then Paul had spiritual children across much of the Roman world, but the Philippians had a unique place in his heart. In just four chapters, he uses I, me, and my well over 100 times, with the word I appearing 69 times. In this spirit of constant gratitude, Paul expresses his heartfelt affection: “I thank my God in all my remembrances of you” (1:3), “I hold you in my heart” (1:7), and “I yearn for you all” (1:8). This is a book about fellowship from the hand of a man who intimately loved his brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Imprisoned, not knowing his fate, Paul nevertheless wanted to express his love for this group of believers, along with the deep satisfaction and pleasure he gained from their fellowship and their progress in the Lord. Well aware of their concern for him, Paul longed for them to look at his difficult circumstances in a positive, hopeful way – understanding that God could use these events to advance the Gospel and reach people Paul might not have otherwise reached. He strongly urged them to refocus their gaze on Christ, strive for unity, and be on guard against the false teachers who had slipped in among them.

When the Philippian church learned that Paul was imprisoned in Rome (around AD 60-62), they sent him a gift by way of an emissary, Epaphroditus (4:18). While serving the Philippian church in this way, Epaphroditus fell ill. It appears as though this illness was a source of distress for Epaphroditus, and Paul felt it necessary to pave the way for this faithful servant’s return to the church (2:25-30). In this instance and throughout the letter, Paul’s correspondence is marked by love and joy, from a spiritual father (apostle) to his beloved children in the faith. 

You might, with this summary as background, spent some time reading Paul’s letter (epistle) to the Philippians in the New Testament. 

Now — Next —Never

Now Next Never

As a new year begins it is a good time to have a look at life 

Your life – the life of Christ that you are experiencing – the life of the Church and the Kingdom of God here on earth

To look at how things are right now – an honest look at yourself as a disciple of Jesus

To think about what is next in your life and how you should prepare for the steps the Spirit is guiding you to take

To even look back and see the things that you have done in the past year which should never be repeated in the new year

Now — Next —Never

As I have been reading God’s Word there have been a number of verses that have stood out to me – spoken to me Read more

Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Virtues 

Seven sins & the Christian church

According to Christian tradition, the seven deadly sins (also known as cardinal sins or capital vices) could not be forgiven. However, according to the Bible, these seven deadly sins are completely and totally forgivable by God, but this doesn’t give us free license to commit these sins. Biblically, the only sin that cannot be forgiven is a complete rejection of God’s grace, which is outright rebellion against God—also known as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

The root cause of these sins

Each one of these deadly sins listed above has its root in the desire for more and the human need for excess. Each sin goes against the root of Christianity which is: love for God, love for our fellow man, and love for our bodies (keeping them as clean temples for God, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Paul writes in Philippians 4:11-12, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” This strikes at the root of each of these deadly sins. Paul in effect is saying that God can take care of our needs and there is no need to lust or desire after excessive things.

What cures these deadly sins? Read more

Building Healthy Relationships

I realized many years ago that we are defined by our relationships. You can actually trace your successes and failures to the relationships in your life.
Maybe up until now your relationships have not been as positive, rewarding, and productive as you’d like them to be. That’s okay, because you can learn how to build better relationships and increase your relational potential. You can actually cultivate healthy, stronger, long-term relationships that enable and encourage you to move forward in your life and career.
Here are some suggestions that you can apply to your life to move you forward towards healthier and mutually beneficial relationships…

Read more

Growing Your Potential As a Leader

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. Read more

The Missing Ingredient Is Character

As I get older – I am in my mid-seventies – I am finding that my values are probably deeper and stronger than they have ever been in my life. And I am valuing the area of my character more than many other yet still important areas of life. And I am taking note of character, or the lack of it, in other people’s lives. 

Character is a word that we don’t think about a lot. In fact, often we are not even sure what a look at character truly involves. What are we looking for in a person when we comment on their character or are working to know their character? 

In my study of character over the years I have created a list of what I believe constitutes “character” in a person. These are the qualities I look at and look for…

I invite you to look over this character traits list and pick at least one of these good qualities to begin working on: Read more

You Spell Faith “RISK”

Not everyone is a natural risk-taker. Perhaps you are facing a risky challenge right now. Maybe you are considering taking on a high-risk project. Or maybe you desire to do something significant, and you sense that something big but risky is on the horizon. Or you are considering taking on a project that will require you to learn new skills and go where you have never been (spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and skill set wise) before. I am currently in such a place and so have begun to think about what I am risking. Of course, I also see the hand of God and know that He is asking me to take a step of faith. You Spell Faith “Risk”
On the other hand, maybe you have been risk averse your whole life, and yo recognize how much it has held you back and limited your potential.
No matter what your circumstances are, here are some things you need to know that will help you to step out in faith and take more risks.

Read more

Sometimes I Find It Hard To Forgive

Sometimes I Find it Hard to Forgive

Over the last 50+ years of ministering I have noticed that the number one reason for believers not growing in their faith is that they do not have a deep assurance that they are totally forgiven

  • Forgiven of everything in their past
  • Forgiven for any sin or mis-step in the present
  • Forgiven for any future sin or slip-up that might happen in the future 

And because they don’t feel forgiven

Because they have not – do not – experience this sense of freedom from the burden of sin and guilt

They find it very difficult, if not impossible, to totally and permanently forgive others….

Of course, this is deeply troubling.

Jesus said: Read more