30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30
What did Jesus mean when He said: “It is finished”?
With Easter one day away, how do you feel about your Lenten season? Will you finish well?
Is there anything which you have started that you did not complete?
How can you work on that?
What task is Christ desirous for you to complete?
As Lent ends tomorrow, what will you walk away thinking was the most memorable?
Was there anything extremely difficult about Lent for you? Anything easier?
What lesson will you take from Lent this year that you feel is the most memorable or life-altering?
Walking with God.Genesis 5:24: Enoch walked with God …
Requires use of our will.
We must will to walk with God. We have to make decisions and exercise our volitional power to walk with God. The outward expression and employment of our spiritual “legs” is a picture of what has and is happening inwardly. It is not enough for us to want to walk with God. Wanting something is not the same thing as willing something. The only way to walk with God is align my wants and will with God. Jesus prayed in the Garden that His wants become the same as the Father. He pleaded for another path to walk but ultimately surrendered His will to that of His Father’s will. Once we set our will to walk with God, we must work.
Requires us to work.
Walking in general is work. How much more so to walk in supernatural realms with God! We cannot underestimate the expense, energy and effort that it takes to truly walk with God. We must exercise and execute our plan. Work and discipline are what will help us keep stride with God. This means that time be spent in close communion with Christ so as to work out our salvation. Reading God’s word, memorizing scripture, praying, and fasting are disciplines and the way we work out keeping us in tune and step with God. There will be times to be sure when we will stumble and fall but we must be committed to getting back up and in stride with God again! That work of forgiveness and redemption has already been completed by Christ when he walked the hill of Calvary. We must walk that lonely hill of repentance everyday, bearing our own cross and following Him. When we follow Christ to Calvary we are walking in His steps not of repentance but of obedience to the Father. Obedience is the result of repentance for us.
Requires us to watch.
We have to pay attention to where God is going. We are not walking aimlessly but with purpose and intention. We are not going “anywhere” but somewhere and to that place intentionally and purposefully. Watching our step and making sure we are keeping in step with Christ is vitally important in arriving exactly where and when God does. Christ is walking the road to death and we must go there with Him to find life. He invites us to walk with Him but we must exercise our will to allow the work of Christ to be measured out in and through us. Keeping our focus on Christ alone we will surely walk with God and He with us! Watch and pray. Walk with God.
Wisdom Over The Years
As my 43rd BD has now come and gone, I have given some thought to what I feel like are a couple of major lessons. I’d like to share the thoughts with you to help me remember them and apply them. Moreover, to challenge you to do the same!
1) Write more
As I have been thinking about things I would share with readers like you and kids I mentor, to people that I serve as a spiritual “father” and guide, I cannot underscore how much I wish I had done these two things more effectively over the last 43 years. I’ve long kept a journal…(since 1987). But I have not really kept organized quotes and thoughts in a manner to pass on to prosperity. This is something I will be adopting as a practice in this next year.
What I have come to realize is that I have the privilege to speak into many people’s lives and if I can keep collected thoughts, quotes, even notes of conversations then when important dates like graduations and weddings come, there is some easily accessible information and wisdom available for me to share.
2) Talk less
Listening more requires talking less. Even though I may feel like I have “answers”, that’s not the answer. Often people don’t come to me simply because they need an answer…what they want and need is someone to listen. Making notes, recording the conversation, and even simply stating and rephrasing what is being heard proves to be all some people really need.
3) Celebrate more
One thing I have come to realize is that life really is short…and time with some people that we love can even be shorter. Taking time to celebrate who they are, what they mean and the relationship that is shared has become so much more important to me over the years. Why wait for a holiday, birthday or significant occasion to say the things we need to say? Create a day even if it’s a “you’re wonderful day” and enjoy the people who mean the most.
4) Work less
This is a very hard one for me but I have had some measure of success working less over the years. So much of my time has been spent in doing things well and striving for excellence, which no one would begrudge. However, there are some things that are more important that making sure every detail of “my” plan runs smoothly, things like: people’s feelings, memories, once-in-a-lifetime events, etc. Work can easily consume most of my time, energy and resources and leave very little of “me” to offer others. Working less actually allows me to give more in work and certainly in the areas that really count!
5) Do more
Do more together with family and people you love. As I said above, work can separate us from our families and loved ones. We can all easily justify the time away. What we have to do is make every effort to do more together. Many elements of our society automatically segregate us and isolate us from contact with others and those with whom we share life. After 43 years, I can definitely see the value of scheduling time to serve together with people I love. I see the value of do life together and sharing life’s moments.
6) Be more
The older I get I have seen a few tendencies to become “ok” with some things in my life. What I have been reminding myself much lately is that Christ has not called me to an “ok” life but to one where I actually become more than ever before. A life where I sincerely become more than I ever thought I could be. This doesn’t happen apart from discipline and effort, which can seem to wane as time goes on. I have to remind myself that I can’t live for the present but must continually strive for perfection, knowing that I will fall short of God’s glory. Nonetheless living in the full-out grace afforded me in Christ and becoming a masterpiece according to all God intends.
7) Worry less
If there’s anything that I am coming to grips with it is this: worry less! So much time and mind space is used and occupied by this very thing: worrying about people and their opinions. Little by little, worry chokes out freedom, liberty and fun and life quickly becomes existence. The older I get the more I realize that some things just don’t merit the amount of attention I give them. In the scope of eternity, so many things are meaningless. I’m having to learn how to pitch them to the vast emptiness of space and embrace all that Christ has in the present moment. Living by faith doesn’t mean living stupidly or haphazardly but it does mean living with only one opinion in mind and that being Christ’s. There are far too many things that Christ has called me to and desires for me to experience than being locked in a stale old box…seems like that’s a casket. I’m 43 and not ready to die yet. In fact in many ways, I feel like I’m just now coming alive! Glory to God!
George is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as student pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA
“The foundation for your future is determined by the choices you make today.” George Lockhart
Thinking 15-20 years into the future is not something that may come very naturally. Living in a society of instant coffee, microwaving, and texting technology can make even the most patient of leaders lose their hair! However, there is no shortcut to effective spiritual leadership. I’d like to offer the following 7 things to help you impact the future.
“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:11
It’s difficult to start out with a character trait as harsh as this one but in order to be a leader there must be discipline. Personal, financial, and spiritual disciplines must be embraced by every leader and practiced throughout every facet of life. This quality must be practiced each day to effectively achieve the greatest potential within. For any student desiring to become an effective leader, discipline is one of the first character traits that will set you apart from everyone else.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5: 13-16
Jesus has called us to be agents of change. We are to create an atmosphere of change everywhere we are. It’s not that we just make something happen as much as something happens because we are there. Light doesn’t ‘make” darkness leave. Darkness leaves because there is light. Simply being there is enough to cause the change. Are you that kind of leader?
Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jeremiah 6:16
As a leader, it is imperative that time is taken to look back over and through situations to learn and glean lessons God is working into your life. Living a fast-paced life makes this difficult but God desires for us to look and learn and this is hardly ever done without stopping! One of Satan’s greatest tools is to get us so wrapped up at warp speed that we have no clue where we are heading. Taking Sabbath, vacations and small respites even throughout the day to focus and recalibrate are essential to arriving at God’s desired destination.
There is no word more hated or more necessary than work. It is easy for the leader to feel as though he is exempt from work. This mentality can destroy everything the leader has “worked” for. It is through work that the leader continues to achieve and maintain a healthy relationship with employees and staff. A good working relationship allows the leader to gain respect of others, stay in tune with others and ultimately accomplish
more. “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. John 9:4
Leaders must do their due diligence to work hard. Moreover leaders should work smarter! Leaders learn from the mistakes of others, they study and prepare for work and they facilitate a good working environment. Leaders understand that work takes work and they do all they can to make sure that the most work within a time frame is accomplished.
Regardless of who you are or your tenure of leadership, adaptation allows the leader to remain a leader for longer. Someone once said, “if you don’t bend you will break.” Adaptation is one attribute that cannot be ignored in the name of tradition or fear. The leader must be willing to adapt and be able to assist others in adaptation. One can only do so by being flexible in schedules, concepts and ideas.
Just as inflexibility can be a hindrance, let me warn against change for change sake. Adaptation means learning how to flex, shift, mold, bend and shape a ministry. The leader must be attentive to the right timing for adapting and adopting new systems, rules and operations. Adopting without adapting to your own culture and people will lead to abandonment- you’ll be standing alone.
For many leaders, significance is traded for importance. Leaders can fall into the trap of feeling that importance is what really matters. However, importance only strokes leader’s ego. Significance on the other hand, focuses the leader on others and compels the leader to make sacrifices necessary for the success of others. I have long valued the quote: “The cost of significance isn’t cheap; if it were it wouldn’t be significant.” Leaders are willing to surrender being important people to realizing that people are of most importance, which in turn leads to significance.
A great leader comes to a point when they realize that their lives must be invested in future leaders. Leaders must at some point quit trying to build a “following” to building other leaders. Leaders must train and equip other leaders who will eventually leave to lead other ministries.
Influence requires time well spent. A leader cannot effectively influence people they are not around or with. Influence demands attention, detail and much, much time in a shared journey.
A leader who learns to add these 7 traits to their character will not only be light years ahead of their peers but will also radically affect the future. Boldly Go!