Category Archives: Discipline

The Book of Joel?

Who would have thought?  Inspiration from a small, Old Testament book, that goes by the name of the prophet, Joel.

I am reading through the Bible in one year.  Currently I am well over halfway done, but still in the Old Testament.  I will admit that there are some Old Testament books that I get to and honestly think, “What can I possibly get out of what this book has to say?  I mean, it’s so…well…old.”

And today I find myself landing in a short, three-chapter, book by a prophet named Joel.  First thought, “Here we go again.”  Not very encouraging coming from the “pastor.”

But if there’s something in a small book like Joel that can benefit us today, God can certainly show us where.  So I prayed before I began to read, “God, please show me what you want me to see in this book.  Whatever it is, let me see it clearly.”  And wouldn’t you know it, clear as day, Joel 2:12, 13 popped off the page and smacked me in the face.

That is why the Lord says, ‘Turn to me now, while there is time.  Give me your hearts.  Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.  Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.’  Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.  He is eager to relent and not punish.

There it was.

Popping off the page.

God wants more than my outward show.

You see, we all can be good at putting on a show for everyone.  We are fantastic at convincing people we are one way, when on the inside we are another.  We can show up at church, but internally not allow it to impact us in any way.

God is not interested in the outward show (tearing our clothes in grief).  When the Bible says that, we would need to hear, “Don’t come to Me (God) just by looking like it on the outside.  Don’t show up at church and pretend to be coming to Me.”

God is interested in the internal happenings (tear your heart).  What we need to hear is, “God wants more than the outward show of religion.  God isn’t interested in your record for most Sundays attended in a row.  God is interested in whether or not your heart is fully, completely, 100%, turned, focused and aimed toward Him.  Am I fully surrendered to the God of the universe?

I can be the master of this.  Putting on my show for everyone to see.  Making it appear that everything between God and I is okay, when internally, God and I are experiencing tension.  Tension over whether or not He can have all of me.

Guess Joel is urging me to continually lay down the stuff I want in life and to turn my heart completely to God.  Time to give up the tension and allow God to have His way.

Have you ever experienced that tension?

Am I way off?

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Gettysburg and Leadership!

Some of the staff guys from my church, New Life Christian Church, headed out of town for a few days this week. We left with the mission of hanging out, doing some team building, praying and trying to get a clear picture of what God has in mind for us in the coming months and year. We headed out on Tuesday and drove from Chantilly, Virginia to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Gettysburg is the sight of one of the deadliest and most memorable battles of the Civil War. A battle lasting for three days; July 1, 2 and 3 of 1863.

Gettysburg

View from Little Round Top!

Wednesday morning, we all went on a four-hour bike tour of Gettysburg. The tour was great. Watching eight pastors try to ride bikes in a straight line was downright entertaining. After the leg cramps went away from the 13-mile, four-hour ride, we sat down for some lunch and started chatting about what we learned.

Here are a couple of principles I picked up from the ride.

1 – Leadership Sometimes Means Following!

If you can’t follow the lead of those over you, it might be time for a change of scenery. Just don’t cause a scene on your way. During day two of the Battle of Gettysburg, General Sickles of the Union army, disobeyed a command from General Meade. His move to higher ground (the Peach Orchard) instead of anchoring his line where Meade had directed (base of Little Round Top), nearly cost the Union the battle. A defeat at Gettysburg would have opened the door for the Confederates to take the Capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, as well as take open routes to both Baltimore and Washington, DC.

2 – Leadership Is Making the Tough Calls!

Leaders are leaders for a reason; they make the calls that many people are unwilling to make. Sometimes the call they make isn’t popular, but the leader must make the call. Around 5:00 pm on the first day of the battle, General Lee had the Union troops on the ropes. They were outmatched and outflanked. He then delegated a decision down to General Ewell, a lower ranking General, about whether or not to pursue the already retreating Union forces. His decision? Regroup and attack the next day. Wasting two hours of daylight and precious time with the enemy on the run, the Confederates will not recover from this decision and will ultimately lose the battle at Gettysburg. Leaders, some calls are yours and yours alone. Don’t delegate away your momentum!

Of course, these are just a couple principles. There are many others. What are other leadership principles that you wouldn’t go without?

Leave me a comment and let me know.

Getting My Training On!

Two weeks ago, I started training again.  I haven’t been able to do any sort of training or exercise since I strained my ACL in a fierce game of dodgeball.  Yes, I’m only slightly competitive.  I rehabbed my knee for a few months and am now getting going again with some great fitness stuff.  What is this “great fitness stuff” you ask.  CrossFit.

My neighbor is working toward becoming a CrossFit trainer.  So I didn’t hesitate to jump in and start working out with him.  After week one, I had only worked out one time because I was so sore.  This week I finished my 4th CrossFit workout.  And all I have to say about CrossFit at this point; freaking awesome!  I love it.

But my workout will only be as effective as much as I am dedicated to the workout.

No more Dr. Pepper.

No more late night ice cream runs.

No more eating out.

No more junk food or candy.

Dang it!  Now I really want a Dr. Pepper.

Every time I workout, I’m drawn back to something the Apostle Paul said in the book of First Corinthians, chapter nine.  It goes like this…

1 Corinthians 9:27 – I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.

Now to make sure I’m also training spiritually, not just physically.

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