How to Be Joyful

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13,14 The book of Philippians is called the epistle of joy. It carries a theme about how to be a joyful, happy person. Its author, Paul, was an amazing man and servant of God who wrote many New Testament books. Guess where Paul was when he composed this letter? In a dark, dingy prison cell; he was confined. We all agree that prison life is tough, but it was probably ten times worse 2,000 years ago. And yet, Paul was there, talking about his joy. Why was he so happy?  The scripture illustrates that joy was set before

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Grafted Into the Tree of Life

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” – Isaiah 11:1 Today we look at the famous Advent passage from Isaiah 11, verse 1, which is a prophecy about the stump of Jesse. Jesse’s lineage could be thought of as royalty because he was the father of David, the famous Old Testament shepherd turned king. From this stump, which was once a great house, a fruitful tree, a significant living entity that’s been chopped down — from it a shoot will be born. There will be a new king, and He will make things right. The previous kingdoms were centered around ego, selfishness, and violence. But this kingdom that is coming will be one of heart and will even be led by a child. And this, of course, is the king Jesus, who we celebrate and joyfully remember on Christmas

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Become a Conqueror

“It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.” – Romans 4:13 I have a great question for you today: Is it ever too late for God to turn someone into a conqueror? The answer is no! At any age, we can wake up and choose to embrace a new vision or calling from God. For instance, Abraham, the Hebrew patriarch, was 75 years old when he received the promise to be the father of many nations. He was 100 years old when that promise was birthed through his son Issac. I would love to find out how Abraham kept up his vigor, and what his routine of vitamins, healthy food, and exercise was!  In addition, Moses was 80 years old when he saw the burning bush, and God

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A Visionless Church

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” – Colossians 2:8 Yesterday, I told you about my uber-religious elementary school teacher who instilled major fear in me and my fellow classmates. By reinforcing the idea that we should live with constant anxiety about going to hell so that we continually confess our sins, she introduced a toxic theology that was focused exclusively on what you can’t do. Unfortunately, she was not alone in her dogmatic and fear-based beliefs — such thinking has pervaded many sectors of the church for generations. The major problem with this kind of dogma is that it stifles our souls. When we’re constantly fixated on giving things up without having a greater reason, we become joyless and lackluster. If we need proof of

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A Vision-Oriented Culture

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” – Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) Though we established yesterday that culture is actually superior to vision when it comes to leadership, vision is still critical — in fact, it helps to create culture. Knowing this, it’s important to communicate our “big picture” goals to our families, teams, and employees so they can become part of making them happen. Having a clear vision contributes to an atmosphere of ingenuity, innovation, and independence, because when everyone knows where they are heading, they have permission to break the rules to get there. On the other hand, organizations that are not guided by a master plan work only to maintain the status quo. Their answer to every new idea, inquiry, or anomaly is “Well, the rules say…” or “We’ve always done it this way.” Blanchard and Hodges call

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Stubborn Where It Counts

“To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” – Romans 2:7 Have you ever been told that you’re stubborn? I sure have — in fact, I’ve heard it many times. And though most people tend to think such a description is a bad thing, I really don’t see it that way. There are certain areas of life in which it’s beneficial to be persistent and tenacious, especially when it comes to achieving goals and doing the right thing; however, there’s a catch. We should be stubborn for good things but soft toward people. In other words, be stubborn for our vision but soft toward our team, and stubborn for our jobs but soft toward our families. Though mules are thought to be obstinate and unyielding, they are also sweet and compassionate, and this is how we should be as well.

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