Rejoice | Mourn

weeprejoiceYears ago, I was sharing some exciting news with a friend of mine that I greatly admired. It was a bit of a sensitive subject for him since he was desiring some of the same things to transpire in his life. He responded to my excitement by saying, “That’s good for you, but you will understand if I am not too excited.” I most certainly did understand--he had experienced a lot of heartbreak and I am sure it was a sore spot for him--but I still felt a little bit deflated. About a week later my good news turned sour, and I was heartbroken. Once he heard my bad news, he said to me, “Hey, if you need anything, you know I am here.”

I thought, “There is no way I would ever go to you. You are willing to cry with me but not rejoice with me.” Immediately I had an understanding to Paul’s admonishment in Romans chapter 12.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
Romans 12:15(NIV)


We all love to celebrate; we equally dread mourning, but we will all go through spots in our lives where there will be reasons for both.
“There is a time for everything... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1,4
Whether you are in a season of rejoicing or a season of mourning, you don’t want to go at it alone. I mean, how fun is it to celebrate by yourself and how difficult is it to mourn and have nobody to help you along?

I’ve known a lot of people throughout my life who wanted to rejoice with me on a big win in celebration. However, when the difficult seasons came, they were nowhere to be found. No calls, no text, simply silence. On the flip side, I have had people that were readily available when I was going through a difficult time. They want to offer advice, or insight, but they never want to celebrate with me. They are compassionate, but not celebratory. It’s so difficult to receive anything from a person that is only with me on one side.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for both types of folks in my life. However, my life is most enriched by those that are willing to do BOTH with me. Rejoicing and morning with others is at the core of living in community.

Here are a couple of thoughts in rejoicing and morning with others:
Rejoicing
1. Celebrate the small.

There is no victory too small to be celebrated.
Keep in mind that just because _you_ don’t think something is significant, it can be significant to them. You never know how much hope and prayer has gone into what has just transpired in their life.

2. Be excited for the person.

If somebody shares with you something that they are excited about, be excited with them and for them. You don’t have to be excited or even like what they are excited about, but you like them and you are excited for them! Have a genuine love and a rejoicing spirit for others!

Mourning with Others:
1. People mourn differently.

Some people want to mourn alone, others want to process things with another person. Don’t make the mistake in thinking that just because somebody is quiet that they are not processing. Don’t ever try to force somebody to talk about the situation they are mourning. You don’t have to give answers and solutions to help speed up the mourning process. In fact, that is a poor way to mourn with others. Mourning is a process, and it takes as long as it does for each individual.

2. Be available.
Although people may prefer to mourn alone, they should never have to be. Let them know you are there and check on them from time to time. Not with advice, but with availability. Some of my greatest encouragement in difficult times was folks simply telling me that they were there for me, or they were thinking and praying for me.

Let’s continue down the path of genuine, authentic community, and be a beacon of hope or a party waiting to happen for the friends God has put in our lives.


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Leadership Price-Tags

pricetag

You may have heard it said, “Don’t follow me, follow Jesus.” It sounds spiritual, and I believe people are very well intended when they say it. What if I told you the Bible doesn’t teach that. In fact, the great commission was established by the concept of influencing people because Christ has influenced us. (Matthew 28:19) We can only make disciples through influencing others! Paul made this statement “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV) The New King James vision uses the word “imitate.” Wow. What a statement, what a standard.

Influence isn’t free, it has a cost. Impact can happen in a moment but influence takes time, energy and effort. It cannot be overlooked that Jesus and 11 of the guys that changed the world with him were persecuted, hated, and all but one of them were killed for their desire to transform the world. Influence is costly. Leadership is costly.

When shopping for a new shirt, the first thing I do is check if it’s plaid (Well most of the time;)) I then feel the shirt, and proceed to look at the price tag. No matter how much I like the shirt, if it is not in the budget or seems over priced, I won’t buy it.

Leadership has some price tags….
1. Pursuit of Approval
Think about every famous leader you like. Now look at how many people that are against them and hate them. There are probably as many critics as followers.
As leaders we need to be like-able, but our priority is not to be liked. We all like to be liked, the problem comes when we
love to be liked. It’s hard. For me, this is probably the hardest thing about leading. I am people oriented and I love people deeply. Leaders have to come to grips that leading sometimes means losing popularity. Leading is often against the grain, and you cannot make everyone happy. Part of leading is making difficult decisions. I have had to come to face the fact that I cannot lead everybody.

2. Rights
My wants and rights as a leader have to take a backseat to my influence. The leader understands what needs to happen is more important than what I want to happen. There are a lot of things you can do as a person that you cannot do as a leader. Leaders don’t fight for rights, they fight for influence. Don’t allow your freedoms to cost you your influence. Leaders have to live at a higher standard because we never want to potentially risk their influence.

John Maxwell says, “Credibility is a leader's currency. With it, leaders are solvent. Without it, they're bankrupt.”

We develop credibility by our choices and by being faithful. By following through with our word and commitments consistently over time.


3. The Convince of Making Excuses
Leaders do not have the luxury of making excuses. Being responsible means that we take care of what is in our hand. We have to be on top of things. We don’t leave things undone and complete tasks. Leaders are competent enough to figure our creative ways to make things happen. I want to encourage you to try to live your life never making excuses. When others say, “it cant be done,” you say, “lets figure it out, lets make a way.” (See my blog on being a solutionist.)









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Amen: Living in God’s Yes!

amen

2 Corinthians 1:19-21 (NKJV)
19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us--by me, Silvanus, and Timothy--was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. 20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God.

It’s always encouraging to share something that is burning in your heart and it is reciprocated with an “Amen” to what you are saying. The preacher in me loves to hear “amens" from the crowd while I am preaching. It’s a great affirmation from the group of people I am sharing with, but it is also a hearty confirmation that they get what I am saying. The word amen is an ultimate declaration of agreement. In technology, a digital amen could be likened to the like button or a thumbs up! (There is even a suggested emoji for Amen!
🙏 )

In English, the word amen means “verily” or “truly.” In Hebrew, it is a firm interjection that means “so be it.” We often end our prayers with the declarative exclamation of amen. As to say “Yes! So be it!”

I wanted to encourage you today that God has an Amen. There is an exclamation point from heaven over our lives, a great big “So be it” from heaven! Jesus is heaven’s amen over us.

There are several things that God says amen to in our lives! The only thing we have to do to get the amen of God active in our lives is to trust the amen that he has already spoken in Jesus.


1-The Love of God!
We cannot get out of the love of God! God cannot do anything greater than He did 2000 years ago when He sent Jesus! He can’t undo what was accomplished that day, it is the very proof of God’s love. No greater demonstration could have been made for him to send Jesus to come and die for us. (Romans 5:8) God so loved the world that he sent Jesus! (John 3:16)

2-Our Right Standing
You may think God is done with you because you blew it, because you sinned … again. I mean you did the thing that you vowed to never do … again. However, our right standing, or our righteousness, is not determined by us performing well. It was decided by God when He sent Jesus for us. Beloved, you did nothing to earn your righteousness and you can do nothing to maintain it. The only thing that secures your righteousness is trusting God that Jesus was enough.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.


3. Our Identity
You weren’t just made right enough to live in the house, but to be part of the family. You are a son. You are a daughter. You are royalty. You are His prized possession. The end. My kids sometimes don’t act the way I want them to, but they are still my kids. That wont change.

James 1:18 (NLT) He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

4. His Promises
His provision and His promises have already been said yes and amen to. Provision, freedom, peace, joy, physical and emotional healing. God doesn’t say no to any of these things. Either He has promised them or He has not. Either they are promises for all of us, or none of us. God will not undo what He has already done. He already paid a very high price for our healing and freedom. He already sent His Holy Spirit to fill us and lead us with joy and peace. God is not a man, that he should lie.(Numbers 23:19) It is time that we start believing God that He is good for His word and His promises!



amenSQ2



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