Monthly Archives: February 2015

Spirit-filled Leadership Series – Vol. 3: If it’s going to be, it starts with me

Sometimes the unintentional becomes habitual.
Not because we want it to, but because we let it.

relianceRecently, I’ve found myself holding back on moving forward. Specifically, in regard to “missional” opportunities I want to pursue. The reason why: I got caught up in the unthinkable habit of thinking I had to rely on others before I plowed ahead. The fact is, I am only holding myself back. It’s all part of the stories we tell ourselves that become our reality. This “reality” is a perceived reality and is based on a distorted substantiality of actuality.

Relying on others can cause several repercussions. Allow me to elaborate.

  • Waiting can be a time-suck. Think of all the good you could be doing and progress made toward your goals if you only applied yourself by taking matters in your own hands. Jesus healed on the Sabbath. He didn’t wait until the next day or ask the Pharisees (religious leaders) for permission. He did what he needed to do when he needed to do it. Which brings us to…
  • Permission can be over-rated. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, permission may not be required. Rather, it is simply a representative affirmation of agreement, consent, or approval from others. In other words, it may be totally unnecessary.
  • Empowerment is also over-rated. This is a struggle for me. Both direction and authorization from a decision-maker or enabler are good things to have. But if it jeopardizes positive momentum, it then becomes a set back. The need to feel empowered is a fabrication within our own minds. Empowerment is equated with importance and relevance. Neither of which are necessary components to getting things done. They are self-serving.

In thinking about this, I come back to a phrase I learned long ago at Southwestern Advantage. In fact, I’m guilty of teaching it.

If it’s going to be, it starts with me!

This is true in just about every viable scenario. Results start with action…  We harvest what we plant… We reap what we sow… Accountability begets responsibility and vice-versa…

In Galatians 6, we can find wisdom in this domain of discussion:

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          – Galatians 6:4-5

This goes beyond “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” In my opinion, this is a very self-centered, narcissistic phrase. The unintentional habit for which I will be breaking the cycle: I will cease chasing others to obtain permission or be empowered to pursue opportunities. I alone am responsible for my own work and conduct. When it comes to matters of the Spirit, timing can be everything!

Like this post? Check out previous posts from the Spirit-filled Leadership Series:
Spirit-filled Leadership Series Vol. 2: Six Word Not to Be Used Lightly
Spirit-filled Leadership Series Vol. 1: Relationships or Fences?

By Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com

Snowflakes and Salvation

Being stuck in the house for three days because of an ice storm, I have had four options: work from home, work out, continually eat all the bread and milk I hoarded prior to the storm, or troll Facebook. Well, I’m proud to say I did all four.

There was something I saw while viewing everyone’s sledding and snow pics that caught my attention. It was actually shared on Erica Pearson’s FB wall, a regular contributor to this blog. It was this:

snow Jesus

In Tennessee, we laugh about the state of panic a few snowflakes can cause. But this is such a simple example of how our priorities are mixed up. They are off kilter. Our priorities are placed in the now rather than for the future.

What I am about to say is not meant to be offensive or turn anyone off in any way. I say this because I love you. So much, I would like to spend eternity with you. I’m not one to hardcore preach doomsday rhetoric about fire, repentance, and the tough times ahead as revealed in the book of Revelation. At least, I don’t do it in a manner that turns people off or away, but rather, hopefully, the opposite. So, I’ll just say it:

Jesus is coming back. With that being the case, do you have your act together? Are you prepared like you would be for a winter storm?

Even though I have my bread, milk, and toilet paper… I’ll be honest, I’m not as prepared as I want or need to be. Some questions I have for myself:

Am I living the life God has called me to?
What more can I do? What more can I give?
What opportunities am I not seeing God has put in my path?
Am I spending enough time in the Word?
Am I applying what I learn?

Am I witnessing or sharing Christ with others?
Am I doing it enough?
Do my children see Christ in me?
Is Jesus proud of me and my efforts?

I’ll say it over and over again. Being a Christian takes effort. It’s uncomfortable, exhausting, a rush, and rewarding all at the same time.

Here’s where it gets uncomfortable for me: based on an honest self-audit, my personal grade leaves a lot to be desired. But, oh how I desire so much more! Rather than giving up anything for Lent, I’m going to start a new tradition – I am going to add something. I am going to enhance myself rather than deprive myself of something inconsequential. (I have my wife to thank for this idea… thanks Kim!). For me, my addition will be found within the questions above. So how about you? What can you add for Lent that will better prepare you for the return of Jesus?

A sidenote: the KJV verse at the bottom of the photo above is a little ominous with all the “ye’s” and a “cometh” in it. The NLT version is less daunting, but nonetheless still potent in translation.

You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
                                                                                              – Luke 12:40

treycampbel1010@gmail.com

Original source of the picture above: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jesus-Christ-is-KING/191900549668?fref=photo

My loneliness has found a home

By Mishelle Phillips, shellbokey@gmail.com

Is anyone like me and you are so afraid of other people’s perception that sometimes you don’t put the really good stuff out there? For example, being a Christian…

Depending on the crowd and the amount of time I have to explain myself, I feel anxious about the “label” of Christian; not because of what the REALITY of being a Christian is, but rather what others will THINK that means. Something like, “So that’s where you say a Box churchprayer to Jesus, so you won’t go to hell and burn forever, and then you crawl in this big box called “church”, check your brain upon entering,  stop doing all the fun stuff, start acting like all the other people in the box… and above all, be vigilant about keeping the box clean, allowing no one in unless they agree to all the aforementioned terms.” Well that’s just awful!

The REALITY for me has been… I feel lost in myself, afraid of being alone in life, of Enoughnever being enough. But Jesus, this Christ that makes me a “Christian”, IS that ENOUGH. Coming to the REALITY of that has changed everything. The “lost-ness” is gone. My skin feels right on me. I am never alone, because He is my Home. That is something worth sharing! Who doesn’t want to know that He will be whatever they need? Who doesn’t need the Hope of Christ?

 

That awkward church moment that leads to glorious observation…

TBF WorshipAs worship was being led from the stage at the church I have made my home, the lights cut through the darkness almost as clean as the riff of the guitar! The drums thundered as the bass, rhythm guitar and keyboard seamlessly melded into a symphony of musical rapture!

Focused on praise, I was in a place of total nirvana, oblivious to the external world. No pain. No worry. My head into the lyrics on the screens above, the words pierced through my lips as I belted out the beautiful song (to the best of my admittedly limited ability) with 500 others in close quarters.

Then, “it” happened. I got distracted. I lost my nirvana, hallelujah moment.  I heard that thumbs downone, loud voice from somewhere behind me that was not just off key, it should have been locked up. Situations like this can be a little awkward. It’s like the guy who overuses “Amen!” after something the pastor says, mostly at inopportune times where it is quiet and not warranted.

While my attention was drawn away from worship for a second, I had a thought that hit me like a rogue lawn dart:

The most beautiful sound to God’s ears
is not the sound we make with our voice,
but the joy that comes from our heart.

This errant, indifference to musical pitch made me chuckle to myself.

Should this not be how we approach everything in our life? Should we not come alive like a tone deaf guy who worships with all his heart, not afraid to show it and share it?

There are no prequalifiers to being a follower of Christ that says you have to sing like a choir of angels. But Jesus did say in Matthew 22:37 that the most important commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. If you are doing this, who cares what you sound like, look like, or what others will think? Being a Christ follower requires being bold. While I don’t know who the mystery melody-mangler was, I do know this: he was making beautiful music! While questionable to me at first, there was no question with God. What a beautiful sound of love when pure from the heart.

Come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
    – Psalm 95:1-2

Trey Campbell: treycampbell@southwestern.com

Faith comes from hearing

by Erica Pearson, ericalovesbooks@gmail.com 

walkmanI grew up in the age of The Walkman. I fondly remember adjusting headphones to fit my ears just right with scratchy little foam pads that too often fell off. I’ll admit I’ve been a bit baffled to learn of “headphones” that cost three-digits. I simply could not understand what made these seemingly simple devices so different? I mean…a speaker is a speaker… right?headphones This was my belief until Christmas morning. My sister-in-law came in sporting these new fancy headphones. I voiced my opinion and she just sheepishly grinned. Finding one of her favorite songs she placed the magical headphones on my ears. (Cue the hallelujah chorus!)

Hearing………is………BELIEVING.

The sound that resonated in my ears was unlike anything I’ve ever heard. I was an instant fan. My emotions swelled as I was taken to another place in my mind. I was amazed at how this device captured every single small detail of the music. It was as if a symphony was inside my head!

Romans 10:17 reads “faith comes from hearing…”

Too often I find myself “thinking” silently. While there is a time and place for quiet reflection, God’s word tells us that FAITH comes through HEARING. It does not read “now faith comes through thinking.” For me this is a difficult challenge because I am by nature a thinker. I ponder. In truth, I drive myself crazy because I think too much! Anxieties and worries rattle around in my head like a washing machine set on a perpetual spin cycle.

Recently, I put Romans 10:17 to the test.

With a New Year’s Resolution to not sleep in and be sure to start each day with a devotion, I awoke and settled into my recliner with my Bible, and of course a steaming hot cup of coffee. I quietly and read Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in Him, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in Hope.”

My mind began to wander and dwell on all my many worries. I felt my stress level begin to rise.

I whispered, “God of hope fill me with joy…”

To speak into the silence was unnerving. In the quiet of the morning, with only the ticking of the clock, to hear my voice was strange and unsettling. I could hear my own plea. In my voice I heard my weariness. Yet, I also felt a twinge of peace. So again I spoke, “God of hope fill me with joy…”

There it was again. It felt a little deeper this time – a sense of peace. And just like that, my faith in His ability to take charge of my worries began to grow.

Then it struck me.

hearing earcupHearing……is……BELIEVING and Faith……comes through……HEARING.

Like a brand new set of headphones that allows you to hear something old as if you were hearing it for the first time, hearing His Word is believing.

Moreover, hearing Yourself speak His word is life changing!

You can sit in a church and hear it spoken to you. You can listen to the local Christian radio station and hear it sung to you. Nothing will ever compare to the moment your own heart hears your own voice proclaim His word over your own personal life.