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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

If you sing for the Lord, this is a must-read

In 4 Sentences, John Wesley Teaches Us How To Sing In Church
"Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he comes in the clouds of heaven."
---Quote from Select hymns with Tunes Annext: Designed chiefly for the Use of the People Called Methodists
This exhortation is fitting for all of us who aim to worship God as we sing, whether we are writing or leading the songs being sung, or if we're in the gathered worshiping congregation, or in our cars, or even exercising while listening to worship songs.


Wherever we are, in whatever we're doing while listening to and/or singing songs of worship, we should have our hearts fixed upon our Savior, tuned to sing HIS praise. It's too easy for us to miss the meaning of the words we're singing, to be caught up in the swelling dramatic sounds accompanying the lyrics.


Keeping my focus on the Lord in every word and lyric sung is a difficult challenge for me, and I'm sure for every worshiper. However, with the help of God's Spirit we are able to sing with the eyes of our hearts opened to see the Risen Christ, to ponder the depths of His love and the meaning of His sacrifice for us.


Praise God that His Holy Spirit enables us to sing spiritually.


Bobby Gilles is Sojourn Church's Director Of Communications, and works with Lead Pastor Daniel Montgomery to communicate Sojourn's mission and vision. He co-wrote the children's book Our Home Is Like A Little Church, published by Christian Focus. As a former radio disc jockey and music director, he was twice named a National Top 10 Finalist for Gospel Music DJ of the Year.Originally published at (Bobby Gilles). Republished with permission.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Loving Instead of Lecturing

"I hate night class. My throat is on fire—"
During the lengthy pause, I wondered why I had answered my cell.
"—and I got a 65 on the test."
Kyle's cranky attitude set my stress on fire.
Twice a week, he griped about Spanish night class and twice a week I lectured about ten key ways to study for college.
I gripped the phone. The semester ended in a few weeks. Not much time left to pull up his grade. "Come home and we'll talk about it."
He cut our connection with a typical, "Whatever".
What did he expect? You have to work hard in college—even if you are still in high school. His college transcript reflected these grades. That's what dual credit meant.
That's not what he needs to hear.
Lord, of course that's what he needs to hear. Slacking off is not an option. Where's his drive? His motivation?
Love on him. No lectures. No advice.
Over the last year, I'd given a lot of advice in an attempt to fix him. Study more. Use better time management. Make a plan.
Beg for extra credit.
Love is the fix.
This has nothing to do with love, Lord. Love doesn't motivate him or push him to try harder. Look at all the mistakes I made when I was seventeen. I didn't realize my choices then would affect my life now.
This isn't about you. Love on him.
The garage door opened with a slow grind and a few seconds later, the back door slammed. Kyle wandered in, dropped his backpack on the couch, and kicked off his shoes in the middle of the hallway. I opened my mouth—
Love on him
—closed it and wrapped my arms around him. Taller than me, he rested his chin on the top of my head. Where was my little boy?
He shivered. "I'm cold and my throat hurts."
Ah, there he was.
Love on him. Say the opposite of what you want to say.
I wanted to say, you were sick last week. Instead, I hugged him tighter and mumbled into his chest. "Do you want to take a hot bath? I can make you some hot chocolate." I waited for his standard, "whatever".
It didn't come. He pulled back and lifted the corners of his mouth, just a bit. "A bath and hot chocolate?" His smile deepened. "You gonna run this bath and make the hot chocolate?"
I headed into the kitchen and grabbed a mug. "Right now.
"We're not gonna talk about the test?"
"Nope." I filled the cup with milk and stuck in the microwave.
He picked up his backpack and shoes and headed for the stairs. "Cool. Be right back."
I slumped against the counter. You were right, Lord. You always are.
Kyle needed loving, not fixing. He needed understanding, not pressure—so he could relax, renew, and recharge.
Exactly the way I do when Jesus loves on me.
Now, Lord, help me remember that next week.
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7 NIV).
Lori Freeland is a freelance author from Dallas, TX with a passion to share her experiences in hopes of connecting with other women tackling the same issues. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a full time home school mom. You can visit her blog at

Work Successfully with Difficult People

resource from: Whitney Hopler/ Editor's note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Elizabeth B. Brown's new book, Working Successfully with Screwed-Up People (Revell, 2012).

People who don't really listen to what others have to say, people who won't cooperate with others, people who offend others with their rude or mean-spirited words and actions … unfortunately, every workplace in this fallen world is full of people who are messed up. Factor in the personality clashes that occur on the job, and it's easy to see why many people struggle with how to get along with the people around them at work.

But with God's help, it is possible to work successfully with difficult coworkers, customers, or supervisors. Here's how:
Realize that just one person – you – can change a relationship for the better. You don't have to wait for difficult people to change in order to change your relationships with them. In fact, often, difficult people simply don't change. But God has given you the power to choose to be unflappable, imperturbable, and unflustered by difficult people. Whenever you make that choice, you improve the dynamic of your relationships.
Ask God to give you His perspective on difficult situations with people at work. Pray about each difficult situation you're facing with each difficult person at work. Honestly consider how much of the problem is due to other people, and how much your own behavior (even your reactions to others) has contributed to the problem. Ask God to give you the wisdom you need to deal with each situation as you should.
Defuse tension in conversations with difficult people. Rather than reacting negatively to negative comments that difficult people make to you on the job, decide to respond positively despite their negativity. Defuse the emotional tension by either politely laughing off their comments or making a polite, non-committal statement that you've prepared for such situations (like "Interesting. I'll consider that.").
Appreciate and respect the temperament differences between you and others at work. You and each of the people you work with has been hardwired differently by God. Don't waste your time and energy trying to change other people's personalities. Instead, realize that each of you can contribute in unique ways to achieving workplace goals, while expanding each other's perspective on your work. Don't view the temperament differences between you and the people you work with as personal challenges. Instead, figure out how to use those differences strategically to accomplish more together than you could separately.
Choose new behavior around difficult people to inspire them to change their own behavior. While people's temperaments never change, their behavior can and does change. If you change the way you react to difficult people's behavior so that they can no longer get what they want by behaving the way they have in the past, you force them to behave differently around you to accomplish their goals.
Communicate to understand each other better. Ask the people you're having trouble getting along with to meet with you to talk about contentious issues between you, with your mutual goal to understand each other's perspective better (rather than to debate). Ask respectful questions and listen carefully. Seek agreement, or at least compromise.
Consider whether or not your personality fits your company's culture. Every company culture has distinctive qualities that meld well with certain people's personalities and not with others. Ask God to help you discern whether or not your own personality fits well into your current workplace. Keep in mind that you should enjoy your job and see that you're making positive contributions there.
Decide whether or not to stay in your current job. If you choose to stay, know why you're choosing that, and also know your limits and set up boundaries accordingly. Think about how you might alleviate some of the tension (such as taking a sabbatical or changing positions within the same company). If you choose to leave, leave with dignity and express gratitude for the experiences you've had there.
Refuse to define yourself by what others say or do to you. Your worth isn't based on other people's reactions to you; it's based on the reality that God loves you completely and unconditionally. Don't allow difficult people to control your confidence. Instead, ask God to help you see yourself as He sees you.
Cope well with stress in your workplace. Even though stress can make you feel out of control, the fact is that you do have the power to do something about your stress. Identify what situations, events, or people trigger stress in you while you're working. Then plan specific steps to take to eliminate as much stress as you can and cope with what remains by relying on God's guidance to deal with it. Invest in your life outside of work so you'll have healthy relationships with friends and family to turn to after work, which will reduce your stress levels. Don't let your job overtake other areas of your life; regularly ask God to help you keep each area of your life in the proper balance, centered around Him.
Manage your emotions well. Your emotions have only the amount of strength that you give them. Don't let you emotions guide you; let God guide you. God will empower you to deal successfully with even the most emotionally troubling circumstances at work when you place your trust in Him rather than in your emotions.
Give and receive forgiveness. Rely on God to help you through the process of forgiving the people you work with who have hurt or offended you. Ask people who you have hurt or offended to forgive you for your mistakes.
Communicate wisely with difficult people. Combine careful words with kind actions as often as possible when communicating with difficult people at work. Keep in mind that they may misinterpret your words, but they can clearly read your body language. Sandwich comments about a negative behavior that they need to change between positive comments to make it easier for them to listen to you.
Handle bias against you carefully. Deal with prejudice against you in the workplace quietly, without rancor. Document interactions that show bias and remain calm as you go through proper channels (such as human resources) to deal with it.
Learn how to work with people of different generations. Some of the problems you experience getting along well with others may be due to generational differences. Focus on what you can learn from people of another generation, and be willing to help them learn from your perspective.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Never think you've done too much for Christ

resource article from Nancy

"And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple"

Luke 14:27

Spiritual exhaustion is natural. When it happens, it affects our attitude and our outlook. Whether you serve in the church or the community, you have probably had the feeling at some point that you've done all you could do: "I've helped in the soup kitchen for years. I deserve a break!" Or "I've led this Bible study long enough. There are plenty of others who should be helping."


I've felt that way too. It's human nature to get tired of serving. We would much rather do our own things; we'd much rather serve ourselves instead of others.


Whenever I start thinking this way – that I've done too much for Christ – I try to think of what He has done for me. Jesus took up my cross and carried it into Calvary until His broken body couldn't carry it any more and Simon was summoned to help him.


I'm so glad He never said, "I've been enduring this abuse for several hours now. I don't think I have to go through this any longer. There are others who can take it from here. I've had enough!" Jesus told his disciples that in order to follow Him, they would have to take up their crosses daily (Luke 9:23) At the time Jesus told them this, they hadn't seen Him taking up the cross they deserved. But I'll bet they thought about it after seeing Him go to Calvary. They must have; not a single one of the disciples who followed Jesus to the end ever turned back. They all volunteered to serve Him to the end of their own lives.


I pray I wont ever get to the point where I think ive done too much for Christ. If I do, that will be a sure sign that I have begun to devalue what He willingly did for me.


For the rest of your life, take up your cross and follow Christ, whatever the cost.



Via iPhone

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

4 Things to Help Develop a Vision for You Life

Do you have a vision for your life?

Life is way too short and you are way too important to God and the plans He has for your life for you to not have a vision for your life.

If you don't have a vision for your life, you will take to your grave a lot of what "could have been"!


4 things to help develop a vision for my life:

1. Know yourself.

If you're 5'3" and 112 lbs. and 20 years old, you won't play middle linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. Ever!

  • Who are you? What are your passions and do your passions align with your strengths?

2. Develop your strengths that align with your passions so you can carry out your vision.

  • Once you discover your strengths– and this takes some time–develop them, hone them, and become an expert in them! This will take about 10,000 hours. Becoming an expert isn't an overnight deal; it takes years of grinding. Are you willing to grind?

3. Learn from people who are doing what you want to do.

  • Learn from successful people who are doing what you want to do. You do this, not to become a carbon copy of them, but to see how they do what they do, and incorporate it into your unique God-given "you-ness."

4. And, finally, if your vision only makes your life better, it's way too small and self-centered. And that sucks!

  • Have a life vision that when you die, not just your family cries, but people you didn't even know cry, because their life was better as a result of God working through your life.

source: just marinating/derwin gray

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Enjoying the Flow of God's Presence

Enjoying the Flow of God's Presence

excerpts from ...Dawn Marie Wilson

Scurrying, hurrying, worrying ... that characterized my ministry a few years ago. As a result, I lost my health, had to give up a ministry I loved, and sat confused in my bedroom one day, wondering where I'd gone wrong.

                                      I knew that this was more than a Job experience. I'd made some foolish choices that got me into my condition. Yet I told some caring friends—wise counselors I should have heeded—that I had everything "under control."

                                      I didn't. I wasn't lying; I just didn't know how far I'd traveled into Crazyland. I not only couldn't see the forest for the trees, I couldn't see the trees! All I saw was my own agenda, and from that selfish focus, I couldn't see the signs God was posting to warn me all along the way.

                                      I was brought up short in a "Revival Week" meeting at Life Action Ministries. Dr. Bill Elliff, pastor of the Summit Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, reminded the staff and members of the revival ministry—of which I am a part—that "Everything flows from the presence of God."
                                      There was something about that word "flows" that captured my attention. Nothing in my life at that time was flowing. I struggled between dry and barren and a flood of activity. My heart ached for the peace of a "flowing" life.
                                      I decided that if God's presence is that powerful, I need to understand it more and be intentional in seeking it.

The Bible tells us that God's presence is inescapable (Psalm 139:7; Jeremiah 23:24), but I didn't know how to enjoy and rest in His presence. My personal "Quiet Time"—when I took time for it—had become more duty than delight. It was more about meeting my needs than meeting with God.

                                      Over time, as I focused on pastor Elliff's simple words, my scurrying, hurrying, and worrying dropped away. It wasn't that my calendar was less full, but that I was more filled with the knowledge of God's presence as I considered the activities of my life.
truths to ponder on from this article:
Discover the promise of God's Presence. Jesus, our Immanuel, will always be with His people (Matthew 1:23; 28:20). We have protection, peace, provision, and so many other blessings because of our Lord's ever-present shepherding (Psalm 23).
Relish the Place of God's Presence. God is before His people (John10:4), leading them personally, but also following close behind (Psalm 139:5). He hovers above us with His protecting shadow of love (Psalm 63:7; 91:1) and is beneath us, carrying us through the difficulties of life (Isaiah 40;11; 46:4). He is all around us, surrounding and protecting us (Psalm 125:2). Most precious of all, He is in our midst, delighting in our presence (Zephaniah 3:17).
Be more confident of the Power of God's Presence.Such encourages me in my struggles (Exodus:14), bringing me courage when I needed it most (Deuteronomy 20:1), and comforting me in my trials (Isaiah 43:2).
Learn to dwell in the power of the Holy Spirit. Rest in Him and not my own flesh (Galatians 5:16, 25).
Practice the sweet presence of God,Become conscious of what He desires.Let your life be altered in the Priorities of God's Presence (Acts 4:13). Have an increased consciousness of God's presence. Author says,  I changed what I talked about, what I watched and listened to, and where I went. I cancelled some activities completely because of new heart convictions. I chose activities that aligned with God's will and ways. I made decisions based on His callings in my life, not the expectations of others. In short, my character changed, and I made wiser, godly choices that helped me enjoy and glorify God.

                                      God is always there, but we wander away, or we ignore God, or we disobey and grieve Him; but confession of sin and repentance are God's solution to that wall of sin that blocks the sense of His presence. In the days following the revival meeting that changed my perspective, I tied a piece of red yarn around my wrist. Every time I saw it, I remembered: "God is with me, right now!" The reminder also helped me keep shorter sin accounts with God.

                                      The scriptures tell us that God is "not far from every one of us..." (Acts 17:27). What a blessing. God is our greatest untapped resource for peace. Oh, that we would earnestly seek and fully enjoy His presence!

Dawn Marie Wilson is the director of Heart Choices Ministries, and writes Heart Choices Today. She co-authored with Pam Farrel LOL with God: Devotional Messages of Hope & Humor for Women (Focus on the Family) and posts regularly at LOL with God. Dawn works as a contracted writer/researcher for two national ministries, is the San Diego affiliate director of NEWIM—Network of Evangelical Women in Ministry, and is a freelance writer with Christian Examiner