Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Impossible is Possible, Part 4

I’m glad to be back bringing you this week’s Moment of Truth. We have been in a series of evotionals on the topic “The Impossible is Possible” and I hope they are challenging you and bringing inspiration to your life. This week I want to deal with a subject that is intrinsically tied to Godly success: HUMILITY. Of course, the arch enemy of humility is pride. Now, it’s important we all be honest with ourselves and admit we ALL struggle with pride in some form or fashion and to admit that is the first step to addressing this debilitating issue and finding true freedom to live the life God has for us to live.

If you are ever going to do anything big in life, confidence in the ability that God has given you is of paramount importance. However, pride is the vain belief that you and only you are the reason that anything ever happens. It is a spirit of independence from God and His holy work in your life. A great man once told me a line I’ve never forgotten, he said, “even postage stamps become useless when they get stuck on themselves.” When Paul wrote so pointedly about a man “dying to himself” this is the very essence of what he meant. When one can empty himself of himself, the stage is set for the impossible to become possible.

Years ago I heard Zig Ziglar say something that affected me profoundly. He said, “You will always have everything in life that you want if you’ll help enough other people get what they want.” Incorporating this concept into my life has made an incredible difference. True leadership always begins with servanthood while selfishness always leads to destruction. Now, being a servant is one of the most unnatural things you can do simply because we are conditioned to think only about ourselves. It’s born into us. Isn’t it interesting that you never have to teach a baby to be selfish or rude or to throw a fit when they don’t get what they want. Why? Because it’s what comes natural. We have to train our children to say “thank you” and “please” and to share.

When you read the scriptures about what components are necessary for greatness you find a very different perspective than what you find from the world. Jesus made it abundantly clear that the way to the throne room was through the servants quarters (Matthew 23:11). When we learn to forget ourselves and put others first, life changes not only for us but for every one around us as well. Egotism is the only disease where the patient feels well while making everyone else around them sick. I have observed in life that people who boast about being self-made usually have a few missing parts. Now here is the kicker, the bible never tells us to pray for humility. It says “HUMBLE YOURSELF.” That means it’s an inside job, it is an attitude that we must cultivate as an act of our will.

Let me end our talk today by sharing a prayer that I do think helps our journey towards humility. “Lord, give me the wisdom to know the difference between holy confidence and unholy pride then grant me the strength and desire to then remove what is not like you from my life.” Until next week remember, when you find yourself on a high horse, DISMOUNT.

All for Christ,
J. Mark

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Impossible is Possible, Part 3

Thanks for joining me again today as we continue our series of evotionals on the thought “The impossible is possible.”

Today I want to build our thoughts around one of the most indispensable components necessary to achieve the impossible, PERSEVERANCE. One of the best definitions of success I’ve ever heard came from a man named Vernon Sanders. He said, “Success consists of simply getting up just one more time than you have fallen down.” He’s right. Failure must be framed properly in the mind so that it does not scare or debilitate you from future attempts. Failure must be seen as a bridge not a barricade, to success. I love Psalm 37:23-24, it says “When a man walks with God, though he may stumble at times, he is never down for long.”(Message) Failure is proof you are not finished, it may look like a fact but it’s really only an opinion. It’s not how far you fall but how high you bounce back that really matters and makes the difference.

Theodore Roosevelt once challenged a young man who was fearful about a risk he was about to take with this immortal quote, “If you try to do something big and fail, you are vastly better off than if you had never tried to do anything and succeeded.” I have hid these words in my heart and remind myself of them often.

Beginning in January I am launching a new sermon series here at CCA with this title “ENGAGE- RELEASING YOUR GOD-GIVEN POTENTIAL. My spirit is being prepped and my faith seems to be high as I think about the future of our church and the vision that He has called us to. I know there are plenty of difficult days and steep obstacles that stand in the way of the dream God has for us but what gives my heart an infusion of “SPIRITUAL ADRENALINE” is the fact I know it is God’s dream for us and not simply a good idea. Because of this, I am ready for the fight.

The death of a dream never happens because of a failure, dreams die because of indifference and apathy. I heard Ed Cole once say, “You don’t drown because you fall in the water, you drown by staying there.” The best way to go on after a failure is to simply learn the lesson and forget the details. There are a thousand things I wish I could go back and do differently but I can’t and truthfully those negative experiences have served a tremendous purpose in my life. I have missed it before and feel quite confident that I’ll miss it again but I have resolved to never stop pulling the trigger. I don’t have a problem reaching for more bullets.

How about you? Where are you? What is it God has called you to do? What dream does God have for you? Don’t allow indifference, apathy or fear victimize your destiny. The only way to comeback is to go on. A wise old business man once told me something I’ve never forgotten so let me pass it on to you. He said, “ Remember your life is like a tea bag, it’s not worth very much until it’s been through some hot water.” I’m finding that to be true. I pray for you the power to persevere and release your God-given potential so until next week, remember if God is for you who can be against you?

God bless and Merry Christmas.

All for Christ, J.Mark

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Impossible is Possible, Part 2

Grab something and hold on, here comes this week’s moment of truth.

Remember we are in a series of e-votionals entitled the “THE IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE.” I want to title this particular installment “SAFETY LAST.” For many years “safety first” has been the motto of the human race but I promise you this, it has never been the motto of great leaders. Leaders know that in order for dreams to be realized, dangers must be faced. If you want to succeed in something you must either have a chance or take one. Herbert casson once noted, “You can’t get your head above water if you never stick your neck out.” He’s right. In fact, I believe a dream that does not include risk is not really worthy of being called a dream at all.

If you never risk anything you’ll get it every time. I love the quote I read not long ago by a man named John Newman; he said, “Calculation is good but only in moderation, in the end calculation never made a hero.” If you endeavor to release your full potential and desire to fulfill your God-given dreams you will have to venture into waters over your head. Trust me when I tell you, no one gets a free ride. The truth is, if you never risk anything you risk even more. John Stemmons once quipped, “When your chances are slim and none, go with slim.”

We all love to talk about and celebrate people who have done and are doing incredible things but the problem is too many people are content to celebrate from the stands instead of participate in the race. Listen, please, THE RACE IS NOT ONLY FOR A FEW IT IS ALSO FOR YOU. Every person we admire and appreciate for their accomplishments somewhere along the road had to not play it safe and at some point had to make some courageous decisions. WHY NOT YOU. Refuse to join the cautious crowd that plays simply not to lose… if you’re going to play, you might as well play to win.

I believe a huge key is simply to not focus on the risk as much as the results. Develop an attraction to the destination and the difficulties that you encounter along the journey may, at times, delay you but they will never be able to deny you. God is no respecter of persons but he is a respecter of principles and the Bible makes it clear the principle that moves Him the most is FAITH. Faith by its very nature is risk-oriented. If you have no risk, you don’t need faith. So my simple message to you is, JUMP, LEAP. RUN, GET OUT OF THE BOAT, however you want to say it, success never favors the safe or timid, success always favors the bold.

Until next week remember ,SAFETY LAST!

All for Christ, J.Mark

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Impossible is Possible, Part 1

Today I want to start a series of E-votionals that I pray will challenge and propel you to new places in God as well as new levels of effectiveness in life. For the next several weeks I want you to embrace this truth, “THE IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE.” Think about it, almost everything we enjoy today was impossible yesterday. Deep inside you lives an impossible thought, a dream longing to come true, a mission placed there by your heavenly Father. But why? Because He specializes in the impossible. It is where He is at His very best. Life can be a perpetual barrage of “things” coming at us.

Fear, faith, friends, mistakes, anger, indecision and a list to numerous to name engage our time and demand our attention and these things can at times leave us with the impression that things are impossible or at least incredibly difficult. The Bible says God can do more than we can ever imagine. One of His most defining characteristics is His ability to transform impossible situations and make them possible. My heart for these next weeks has simply been stirred by Matthew 19:26, “with men this is impossible but with God all things are possible.”

Let me give you three words to get us started and season your spirit for miracles.

1. BEGIN- Begin to prepare by praying for God to open your heart and mind to a new way of thinking. The word says that transformation happens when our minds are renewed (Romans 12). Let me say it this way, the road to miracles is paved with a new mind. If you read the story in scripture about the dialogue Jesus has with a man by the pool of Bethesda you will find his greatest hindrance was not his paralysis, it was the fact he was convinced there was only one way to be healed. Jesus revealed that miracles come in multiple ways and to believe that there is only one way for God to move greatly limits our ability to receive what we need. When we paint God in a corner, the corner becomes the circumference of our world. Ask God to open your eyes to the whole court, miracles begin here.

2. BECOME- Become aware of what your feeding your spirit and your mind. Too often we allow other people’s opinions to become our reality. There is enough opposition to our dreams as it is without giving time and place to people with negative and pessimistic attitudes. Now I’m not saying be rude or mean to those who may be this way, I’m simply saying identify and be aware of faithless talk and spirits and refuse to allow them to infiltrate your life. Surround yourself with people and environments that are full of faith and where God is viewed in His proper context. The Hebrews called Him ELOHIM, the God of ALL POWER.

3. BELIEVE- Faith is a choice not an emotion. It is not a feeling, it is a decision. Make up your mind today that you know God loves you and wants the best for you and that those dreams that are in your heart are there for a reason. I know the road to purpose has many potholes and obstructions along the way but I have to say I am completely convinced that my life and my mission are undeniably blessed and I choose to believe that all the dreams God has placed inside my heart are becoming and will become reality.

So until next week remember the words of Christ, “All things are possible to them that believe”

All for Christ, J.Mark