Archive for the 'Leadership' Category
When you make a decision in your life, how do you know it is the right thing to do? Quick decision-making often results in poor decision-making. Long and drawn-out decision-making often results in paralyzing others that look to you for leadership. Therefore, how are we to know when we are making the right decisions in life?
Preparation is really one of the important things about decision-making. For those of us who are Christ-followers, a passionate daily walk with Christ can help aid us towards effective decision-making. I want to challenge you to ask yourself six questions when making a decision in your life?
Question 1: Do I have a word from God’s Word about this decision?
When the trucking magnate J.B. Hunt was alive, he used to read the Bible through about once every 18-20 months. Although he would tell you he had a limited education, he shared with me wonderful insights he had from his walk with Christ. As a former truck driver who founded the powerful J.B. Hunt Transport, he would say that the Bible was like his road map for life. As he read it, God would make clear to him where he needed to go and what he needed to do.
The Bible is the GPS system for Christ-followers today! We do not have to walk in the darkness of decision-making. Through God’s Word, we can have God’s way lit for us. God’s Word always shows us God’s Way! The Holy Spirit never leads us away from God’s Word.
The most important step you can take daily is to read God’s Word. Ask God to give you a word from His Word about the decisions that you have to make. Some decisions you do not even need to pray about because the answers are already clear in God’s Word. His Word can keep you straight and on target towards His will.
Question 2: Is this what Jesus would want me to do?
As you become aware of Jesus’ life from the Word of God, clarity is gained in decision-making. Through the lens of God’s Word, the will of Jesus becomes crystal clear. Before you just haphazardly declare God does or does not want you to do something, stop long enough to ask yourself: Is this what Jesus would want me to do? If the decision you make does not represent the person and character of Jesus Christ properly, then Jesus probably is not leading you to make that decision.
Question 3: Have I valued what others have told me?
Decision-making can be confirmed or questioned when godly, holy people become a part of your decision-making process. Godly counsel can help us. Ungodly counsel will never help us. Decision-making is about the will of God, not about our will. Do you take the time to seek godly counsel about important decisions? Are you listening to this counsel? Do you value what these counselors are saying? You need to give your godly counsel time to consider, to pray, and then tell you the truth about what they believe is God’s will, not what they think you want them to say.
Question 4: Have I saturated this decision in prayer?
Before we question others, godly or not, and before we stress ourselves out, laboring over decision-making, we need to make sure our decision-making is saturated in prayer! Christ-followers need to follow the New Testament model and saturate decision-making in prayer. Prayer needs to be your first choice, not your last choice. We need to pour our hearts out to God, pleading for a Word from Him, desiring to honor Jesus in every way, and valuing the godly counsel of others. Call out to the Lord about the decisions that lie before you!
Question 5: Am I willing to leave it all in God’s hands?
King Jesus rules! King Jesus reigns! May His Kingdom come and may His will be done on earth, as it is being done right now in heaven! Daily, we must go to the Lord being committed to trust His Sovereign ruler-ship over all things! If He can turn the hearts of kings, He can open and close doors, and change circumstances in the twinkle of an eye! If King Jesus wants it to happen, He can make it happen. We must pray believing this and walk away willing to leave it all in God’s hands! We cannot resent outcomes. We cannot become bitter over the results. We cannot wonder endlessly, asking why. We have to leave it all up to King Jesus!
Question 6: Will I trust the Lord with the outcome?
This fifth and sixth question are cousins, really close cousins! Relationships are built upon trust. We must trust God knows what is best for us even when we do not know what is best for ourselves! We must leave the results in God’s hands, walking in 100% trust. Absolute trust! Complete faith, believing God’s will is never denied. He has the final word!
From now on… slow down. Ask yourself these questions. Take time to answer them. Be honest with yourself completely. Be resolved: I want the Lord’s will in all things.
My Wednesday blogs are for pastors! Each Wednesday I will write a word for pastors, as well as church leaders. We can also learn something from one another as leaders, so here you go!
My Mornings are for God
In 1980, at an evening session of the Texas Baptist Evangelism Conference in Dallas, I heard the late and great W.A. Criswell challenge pastors to give their mornings to God. The following Sunday, I stood before the small church I pastored, the First Baptist Church of Milford, Texas, and announced to them my decision to give my mornings completely to God for prayer and study. All these years, I have lived by this firm commitment. So what do I do in this time with God?
My Morning Schedule, Sunday through Thursday
Over the years, on a typical day, my schedule has evolved into me typically getting up at 3:00 a.m. from Sundays through Thursdays. If I am traveling, this schedule is negotiated and, of course, Sunday is a very different kind of day due to responsibilities.
On Saturday nights I usually struggle going to sleep, anticipating the day ahead. My goal is to be in bed with lights off by 10:15 p.m., if possible. My alarm goes off at 3:00 a.m. and I head into the family room, get a cup of strong coffee or green tea, my iPad, (on which I keep my prayer list), my Bible, and my journal. I begin in prayer, moving into the Word, interweaving with prayer, and journaling a prayer to God — which I’ve done daily since January 1, 1990. I am a big believer in having a spiritual journal.
At 4:45 a.m. I jog on my treadmill for an hour, going over my sermon, praying through it, and talking through it aloud. This is where I move to mastering the sermon. After an hour on the treadmill, I call a prayer partner for a few minutes. I have called this man every Sunday morning since 1989, it is a practice I strongly encourage pastors to develop. I then eat a very light breakfast and head for the shower.
By 7:35 a.m. I am on my way to church. After touching base with our leaders for ten minutes, I am in my office for prayer and additional study. By 8:40 a.m. I am on my way to greet church members and guests in an informal setting and by 9:00 a.m. I walk into a prayer room with several men who lay hands on me and pray for me. By 9:10 a.m. I walk into our worship center, greet more people, and begin the worship experience. At the present time, I preach two major services, one at our Springdale campus and another at our Pinnacle Hills campus. After the second service, Jeana and I greet people for at least 20 minutes, we usually leave the campus around 1:00 p.m. I may or may not have a luncheon, but whatever the schedule, I look forward to a brief nap in the afternoon.
Monday Mornings through Thursday Mornings
Again, the alarm goes off at 3:00 a.m. After water goes on my face and I grab coffee or green tea to help me start the day, I head to my home study. The first 90 minutes of my morning are spent in prayer and the Word devotionally. I reference a long prayer list on my iPad, which continually grows and is updated. I always end up in my prayer journal, writing a prayer to God daily.
By 4:45 a.m. I am totally into my sermon preparation. I take this very seriously. For a pastor, there is nothing that is more important than developing your personal walk, followed by preparation to teach and preach the Word of God. From 4:45 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., with the exception of one hour for exercise and personal fitness, I am in study preparation. Sometimes I will respond to emails if it fits into the moment. If not, I wait. By 10:30 a.m. I am in the shower and by 11:30 a.m. I am on my way to a lunch meeting.
Friday and Saturday Mornings
I usually sleep in until 6:00 a.m. on Fridays and 6:30 a.m. on Saturdays. I always begin my day with God for at least an hour to 90 minutes. On Saturday mornings, I move into sermon preparation, mainly working on memorizing the sermon. I finish around 9:00 a.m., which during college football season is just in time for my favorite television program, ESPN’s “College Game Day.”
Take Away for Pastors Today: Give Your Mornings to God!
Giving your morning to God will transform your life and ministry. Nothing, and I repeat nothing, is more important than your own personal spiritual development and walk with God. It will transform your life and ministry. So pastors, devote yourself to a deep study time giving yourself to prayer and the study of God’s Word.
Yours For The Great Commission,