Are you a person committed to change?
This time of year, we’re all thinking about change. We’re going to change our diet, go to the gym, and finally lose that unwanted weight. We’re going to change our spending, budget more tightly, and finally save up that extra cash. We’re going to change our schedule, make more time for the Lord, and finally make 2015 the year we read our Bible every day.
The first step in finding your vision is to dream. God loves dreamers. Dreamers bring about the changes our world so desperately needs. God uses dreamers to turn dying churches into vibrant communities of excited, effective people. God taught Abraham how to dream.
In our lives, we all go through transitions. I call them transitional storms because throughout our lives we are just transitioning time and time again. Transition is the ability to go from one place to the next (as Jesus told his disciples in Mark 4:35). Jesus said let us go over to the other side. To transition from this place to another place. And if you’re going to move in transition, there’s a few things we have to know if we’re going transition well. It seems like our life is one big transition. It’s interesting to me that just about the time we get good with one thing – all of a sudden there’s a transition in our life. You will find in life that constantly you will go through transitions.
In high school, I noticed a strange phenomenon. The freshmen got smaller every year. It was really weird.
When my friends and I walked onto campus for the first day of our freshman year we were legit high schoolers, admittedly a little intimidated by the seniors, but plenty cool in our own right.
Not so with the punks that came in the next year. Something must have happened at the middle school to stunt their growth. None of the new ninth graders were anywhere near as big, smart, or mature as we had been the year before.
Whenever people come to us with various requests, it is necessary that we make the distinction between the voice of God and the voice of man. Discerning the voice of God is seldom easy. Pastors are apt to make more mistakes in this area when they are starting out in ministry. I said yes to more things in my earlier days than I do now. Hopefully, as I have grown older I have learned to discern God’s voice better. But even after many years, this is no simple thing.
“This was God’s will for my life.”
A lot of us are on a frenzied search to discover God’s will before we stick out a toe, and we have a romanticized idea that if we’re walking with God in the right way, we will always know his calling ahead of time. True, the promise all the way through Scripture is that God will lead his people, but the promise does not necessarily guarantee clarity, and there is an important but subtle distinction to be made between the two: the certainty that he will lead and the clarity of the leading.
If Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret is that most innovations fail, innovation’s blind spot is the failure to see that protecting the past is as important as creating the future.
Recently, while discussing what makes for a successful serial innovator™ with a group of pastors and business leaders, I was struck again that when it comes to leadership and innovation, all the sex appeal is on creating the future. But all the peril comes from failing to protect the past.
I want you to meditate on this following scripture:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in Heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Because North Coast Church has been somewhat innovative over the years and successfully made lots of changes, I’m often asked by other pastors and leaders about the best way to go about making major organizational and ministry changes.
My answer often surprises them. I usually tell them to, “Slow down.” It’s not what they expect from someone with a reputation as an innovator. Now let me be clear. I don’t tell them to stop. No way. But I often tell them to slow down. And here’s why:
Where our first reminder is to manage our changes rather than try to manipulate them, and our second reminder is to trust in God and rely on our faith rather than allow our frustrations to get the better of us, the last reminder to keep in mind in seasons of change is…