Building People. Spreading Hope.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Be a History Maker

Inside each of us there is a desire to do great things in life. God put that dream in there so that we can change history. Our lives are not to be like a leaves floating through life but to make an eternal impact. We’re born to make history.

We all start off with great dreams and visions in life. Children go around in the capes trying to be a super-hero. Unfortunately negative experiences and words of people convince us that we’re merely ordinary. We give up our dreams and settle for the average life. At best, we’re satisfied with the American dream – big, house, big car and a big bank balance. None of this is wrong in itself but if that is where our dreams end then we’re dreaming too small.

Last week I was attending a funeral of my dear friend Mr. Tim. He was only in his mid-sixties but his life came to an abrupt end. He’s in the loving arms of Jesus now. Please pray for his family. What I liked about his funeral was that people came forward to attribute greatness to his life by the lives he touched. Some flew in from out of town. The room was packed with people. Every person in the hall was touched by Mr. Tim in one way or other. I myself went to the microphone and shared how his life and partnership continues to change lives in Asia. Apart from his sterling character, Mr. Tim was a history maker. He will meet the people he touched and spend eternity with them worshipping our Lord.

It is easy to get so busy and focused on the natural things of the world that sometimes we have no time left to think about eternity. Yet, what is unseen is much more real than what we busy ourselves with every day. When Jesus walked on this earth, he constantly pointed people to heaven and life after death. Our time on earth is short-lived but eternity is forever. We too must spend our time, effort and energy in the light of eternity. God wants us to make our mark in history.

Often we look in the mirror and think, “What difference can I make?” That is one of the biggest lies of the enemy. God has put gifts and talents in each of us to make a difference in our world. Parhald is a young man in the Himalayas who had to quit school in seventh grade. There was very little opportunity in his village so he joined the revolutionary fight for an independent state in his region. He carried weapons and lived the guerilla lifestyle fighting for their cause. During his short visit home, a family member challenged him to serve God and do something great with his life. Shortly after, Prahlad came to our Mission Training Center and received short training in the Bible. Long story short, for the last sixteen years, Pastor Prahlad is serving the Lord full time with our ministry. He has been instrumental to touch hundreds of thousands of lives in the Himalayas. He is a true example of what God can do with an ordinary person. Pastor Prahlad is a history maker!

I meet people every day who are living an ordinary life but deep inside they have an uncanny desire to do something great for God. Lawyers, business persons, housewives, students, professionals want to be part of Build International Ministries because they know we’re touching thousands of lives with the Gospel every month. No matter what you do, always think of yourself as a history maker. There’s more to you than what you think. You are here on earth to make an eternal impact. Nothing is too small when you do it for our great God.

Friend, don’t settle for a mediocre life or even the American dream. I challenge you to find and live God’s dream for your life. He wants to use you to make history. Like my friend Mr. Tim, Pastor Prahlad and Jesus, we too are born to touch lives for our God. Together, we can make our world a better place to live and make an impact in eternity. You are a history maker!

“If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21 NLT).

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Understanding Your Value

Many people go through life, feeling very little of themselves. I’ve been there myself. They entertain thoughts like, I’m not attractive. I’m not smart. I’m not educated.  I’ll never amount to much in life. The enemy wants to deceive us into believing that there’s nothing good in us. This is the enemy’s biggest lie!

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor like you love yourself.” This is not some ego trip prescription he gave us. He is not suggesting that we become narcissist and obsessed with ourselves. He is telling us to like and love ourselves so that we can love others.  This cannot happen until we understand our true value. The price of a commodity is not determined by the product itself but by what the market is willing to pay for it. God paid the ultimate price for you and me. You’re nothing less than spectacular!

Cynthia Ann was born on February 20, 1966. She was one of four children. Her brother Jeffrey died of leukemia when she was only ten years old. She had turbulent teenage years but astonishingly Cynthia graduated first her class from high school. She left to study engineering but in order to support herself Cynthia had to get a $4 an hour job shucking corn. So she quit college to take up a modeling job in Chicago.

Cindy had the perfect measurement to be a model. At five feet nine inches tall, she had the perfect figure. However, she had one flaw. Cindy had a mole on the left corner of her upper lip. How could this mole ever allow her to be a supermodel? In the beginning of her career, the mole was removed from her earlier modeling pictures. Later, Cindy came to terms with the mole on her face. She decided to go “natural” with her mole. A symbol of imperfection but it brought the greatest fame for Cynthia. It was the imperfect mole that separated her from the masses in the modeling industry.

Today, Cindy Crawford is a household name. She has appeared in more than 400 magazine covers. Cindy is considered one the greatest supermodels of our time. Certainly she’s beautiful all around but mostly she’s recognized all over the world by the mole in the corner of her lips. The one thing that should have disqualified her from stardom is the very thing God used to give her an unprecedented career in modeling. God will do the same for you!

Friend, don’t focus on your weaknesses, focus on your strength. Learn to think good about yourself. Many people mistakenly think that’s not being humble. Humility is not about us. It’s about accepting who God made us to be. It’s about ascribing everything we are and everything we have to our great God. Humility is deflecting the glory to our heavenly Father.

This is what our Master had to do for Himself. In Luke chapter seven, John the Baptist, sent his disciples to ask Jesus who He was!  Interestingly, Jesus did not say He was the son of a carpenter with no education and no sophisticated manners.  He didn’t say he was from a little town of Bethlehem.  He boldly said, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard; that the blind see the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.”  Jesus knew who He was. He knew His value and purpose on earth.  He was humble but He didn’t look at Himself as less or inferior. He gave full credit to His heavenly Father.

We must learn to do the same with our lives. When Jesus died for us on the cross, His blood made us worthy. We were sinners but His mercy bought us with a great price and now we are sons and daughters of God. It will be offensive if we did not accept God’s value on our lives. In God’s eyes, we’re priceless created in His own image. We don’t have to brag about ourselves but we can brag on God. We belong to the Royal class we belong to God’s own family. Shake off the insecurity. Like Cindy, overlook the mole and accept who you are. You may not be on magazine cover but you’re tattooed on God’s Hands!

In case you haven’t heard it lately, you’re beautiful, your future is bright and you’re extremely valuable. I’m grateful that you’re in my life. I’m praying for you!

“I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16 NIV).

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Closer Than They Appear

Modern inventions and convenience have made life so efficient that we like everything instant. Waiting is not something we enjoy, yet it is a big part of our life. Patience is still a virtue.

How we wait is vital to how long we have to wait. When we learn to wait with a good attitude, it becomes more tolerable. Waiting on God’s timing is vital to our growth and victory. The scripture says, For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right” (Psalm 84:11 NLT). When we learn to trust that God is not holding back any blessing for us then we’ll live a more joyful life.

Have you ever noticed the words on the passenger side of the mirror? It says, “Objects on the mirror are closer than they appear.” Life is often like the words in the mirror. We get tired of waiting for our promise but God is saying, “Hold on to my promise; answer to your prayer is closer than they appear.” When a tough season seems to last forever, look in the mirror and remind yourself, “My victory is closer than they appear. I’m not going to give up now.”

We can learn from the children of Israel. The Promised Land was only few days journey. God was leading them. They started off with great joy and excitement. But somewhere along the way they became victims of doubt and discouragement. Instead of trusting God, they became fainthearted. Soon they began to murmur and complain. It wasn’t that they were lost but discouragement set in and a short distance turned into an epic journey! We must learn to wait patiently for God’s goodness.

You may have been waiting for God to move for a long time. It may be a health issue. You may be looking for a job. Perhaps it’s a legal situation. Others of you are concerned for your loved ones to be saved. In business, you’re waiting for the sales deal to close and the commission to come in. We all are waiting with different expectations. I have good news for you. Your answer is on its way! If the Lord were to move aside the curtains, you’ll know that your answer is closer than they appear. Some of you are only days, weeks and months away from your breakthrough. When it happens, everything will change! If you knew the appointed time of your miracle, would you give up now? How about a week or a month or even year?

God has a set time for your miracle. It won’t be one second late. Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean God is not working. There’s a story in the Bible where a high ranking army officer named Naaman was struck with leprosy. It was the scourge of the society then. A young Israeli maid told the commander’s wife that there was a prophet in Israel who has a cure for the dreaded disease. When Naaman met Prophet Elisha, he sent him to dip in the river Jordon for seven times. This was an insult for Naaman. He threw a huge fit. He said, “Why should I listen to this Prophet that I do not know? Is there not a cleaner river in my own country?” Finally, Naaman’s servants spoke some sense into him. I can imagine Naaman’s skepticism growing with every dip. Thank God, he didn’t quit. After the seventh time Naaman came out with brand new skin like a young boy! God kept His Word and performed a great miracle! (2 Kings 5:1-19).

What about your faith? Do you believe or do you doubt? Are you ready to forfeit your reward for which you’ve stood strong for so long? The answer to your prayer is closer than you think. Don’t be short sighted. Friend, you’ve come too far to turn around now. Hang in there. Wait with expectation from the Lord. With every passing day, remind yourself, “I’m one day closer to my victory!” God is working. Your breakthrough is closer than you think.

“We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (Hebrews 6:12 NIV).

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Get Back Up

Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes it can feel like there are more down than up. Everyone goes through periods of discouragement and failures. It’s not falling that keeps us down but our failure to get back up.

How fast we get back up when we fail determines how successful we become. Great men and women learn to get up quickly. There’s nothing wrong when you have a bad day, bad decision or even a bad year but there’s nothing right staying and wallowing in our wrong choices. The sooner we learn to get back up the faster the scenery of our lives will change.

When we fall, one of the first things we have to deal with is our own conscience. For a Christian, the Holy Spirit is there to convict us. The Spirit never condemns us but He gently steer us back to God. On the contrary, the enemy is the accuser of the brethren. The sooner we accept our wrongs, take ownership and repent from our wrong ways the sooner we’ll experience God’s power of restoration and reinforcement to get back on the road to success.

I know many people who made a mistake years ago but are still sidelined by their wrongs. They forgive others but they cannot seem to forgive themselves. Being trapped in the mistakes of our past is a miserable prison. Some believe that they’re out of reach from God’s mercy. Just the opposite is true. In the Old Testament our sins were barely covered by the sacrificial blood of the animals. In the New Testament, our sins are not just covered but they’re eradicated. They’re gone forever!

One of the greatest mistakes Peter made was to deny Jesus three times. In most of our minds that was the unforgivable sin. But Peter knew better. After walking, talking and hanging around with Jesus, he knew the power of God’s love and mercy. Peter wept bitterly and repented from his sins. Later, on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon Peter, he became a transformed man. The same person who denied Christ three times was now preaching to thousands and proclaiming the Gospel fearlessly. Historians say Peter was crucified upside down because of his faith. What brought such radical change in Peter’s life? He learnt the secret of forgiving himself and allowing the Holy Spirit to revolutionize his life.

Not all people make serious mistakes like Peter. Sometimes we get angry with our kids and we let that eat our day. At times we lose patience in traffic or long grocery line and we allow that to affect the rest of the day. When we get rejected by a sales call or a negative email, we can get easily discouraged. When the best client leaves us or we lose our job, we can be upset for days. Many people never recover from hurt and betrayal. I say this in love but there has to come a point when we have to forgive the offender or ourselves for our own good. We have to get up quickly and move forward in life.

Walt Disney was fired as a newspaper editor on the grounds that “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. The proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it will only attract riffraff. Friend, don’t let your mistakes hold you back. Your wrong choices don’t define you. They’re just expensive lessons you’ve learnt.

Today, I urge you to take inventory of your life. Don’t hang on to the past mistakes and disappointments. Today is a new day. God’s mercies are new every day. Give your mistakes to God and allow His Holy Spirit to empower you again. You’re not washed up. God didn’t sideline you. You’re still in the game. Like Peter and Disney, there’s a comeback waiting for you. Remember, the difference between success and failure is the person who gets up one more time than the other. Let’s start over. I’m praying for you!

“The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again” (Proverbs 24:16 NLT).

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

You Have Everything You Need

A lot of people I know are always looking for something else to start enjoying their lives. They think if only I had a better education. If I was married or if I had a different job then I’d be happy.

Parents think I’ll enjoy life when my babies start going to school. Then they think I’ll enjoy life when the children leave home. Business men and women think I’ll enjoy life when we turn a better profit. Working folks think I’ll enjoy life when I retire. It’s good to have goals but it’s also important to enjoy every day of our lives.

It’s alright to want more, to improve or to grow but if our focus is always “what else” we have to get in order to be happy then we’ll live frustrated all our lives. A better way to live is to think, “This is all I need for right now in order to enjoy life.” We can continue to strive or we can enjoy the gift of today.

When you’re going through a rough patch, don’t expect to stay there. Don’t build a house where you’re meant to build a tent. Expect God to supernaturally change things in your favor. Business maybe slow but you’re not limited to man’s economy you’re tied to God’s economy. There’s never a recession in heaven. If you’re single and you want to be married don’t look at your limitations. There are seven billion people on earth! Don’t you think God has one matching partner for you? If you want to finish higher education, don’t just look at your own resources; consider what God can bring to the table. Faith is not looking at what you have in the natural but tap into God’s provision through Jesus Christ on the Cross. You may be sick in your body today but don’t forget that Jesus is still our Healer. He healed a man who was wasting away by the pool of Bethesda for thirty eight years! God has everything you need and He knows how to get it to you.

Once, Samson was faced with a very challenging situation. He was surrounded by his enemies. It happened so fast that he couldn’t devise an escape plan. But God was with Samson and He anointed him with supernatural power. In the middle of nowhere, Samson saw a jawbone of a donkey and went on a rampage. (Judges 15:14-15).  That day, he killed one thousand men with a jawbone of a donkey! May be today you’re going through some serious troubles. You don’t see any escape. You’ve got a bad report from the doctor or maybe you’re drowning in debt. No matter how impossible your situation looks, remember God is with you. Jesus said, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.” Don’t stress, don’t panic - you have everything you need. I have learned it’s not so much what you have that matters but does it have God’s blessing on it or not that makes all the difference. In case you’re wondering, God blessed you when He made you and the blessing always overrides the curse. You have nothing to fear!

If you have low expectation, it will destroy your marriage, business and purpose in life. Change your thinking. Is there anything too difficult for our God? No! Your life will follow your thoughts, words and action. Expect more from God. Remind Him of His promises. Hold on to them with confidence. You have everything you need. When Jesus fed the five thousand, He started only with two fish and five loaves. God blessed it and it multiplied! You too have gifts and talents that God will bless and multiply. It will bring you before great men of influence and authority. When God called Gideon “You mighty man of valor” he looked around for someone else. God doesn’t consider what you have right now but what you can become. Today God is saying, “You mighty man/woman of valor!” What you believe has a far greater influence on your life than what anybody else does. Will you take the challenge and become what God has in store for you?

Friend, you have everything you need. Rejoice in the goodness of God. Don’t spend all your days looking for more. When you need more, He’ll give it to you. Enjoy the blessings God has given you today. When you’re in peace, you’re powerful. You have everything you need!

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 2:3 NIV).

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Stay Hungry

Much of life’s success is our desire to get what we want and be what we want to be. While we should not be driven by fame, prosperity and vain glory, we should always have a passion for life. When we lose our purpose, we begin to die.

Many people today are going through the motion. Like a robot they get up, get dressed and rush to their work place. They live for the weekends and life’s never exciting for them. They eat the bread of complacency and idleness in their spare time. They’re breathing but there’s no life, purpose, excitement or zeal in them.

Yesterday, I was in Target with my daughter Cassandra. We came across an associate who was working very diligently. She had a big smile on her face and every time we passed by her, she radiated positive energy. When we went to the checkout counter the same young lady was there. Again, she was very friendly, energetic and had a smile on her face. My daughter noted immediately and said, “Wow! She’s friendly and excited about her work!” I said, “Yes, she’s going to go places in life.”

When we’re at our job or business, we must have the same enthusiasm and zeal for our work. This is where many Christians are failing. We’re great in church but we act like we’re serving the devil on Monday through Friday. This attitude affects our performance. It devalues what we’re capable of doing in the marketplace. On the contrary, when we’re hungry and passionate about doing our best in the marketplace we draw in God’s favor and continue to rise to the top. The higher we go the more influence we’ll have. The more influence we have the better witness we can be for our Lord at our work. Being a passionate worshiper in Church is great but when we’re on top of our game at work, we’re being a witness for our Lord among the non-believers. Let’s get hungry and up our game to please the Lord at our workplace.

Daniel in the Bible was in a foreign land. He worked among the heathen people. Daniel and his friends had excellent work ethic. This brought great favor to Daniel. As a result “God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief” (Daniel 1:9). Daniel had a gift of interpreting dreams just like you have a gift from God. When the decree went out to kill all the wise men of the country, Daniel interpreted the king’s dream. “Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon” (Daniel 2:48). In modern times, you can say, “all the employees were threatened to be sacked from their job. But when they saw Daniel’s excellence and performance at work, he was spared and promoted to be the manager of the whole department!”  Friend, you’ll not be at your current position forever. Blossom where you’re planted and your promotion will come sooner than you think. You’re the light of the world in the marketplace. Shine don’t whine!

I heard about a world famous cellist in his eighties. He practiced five-six hours every day. When a reporter asked him why he still practiced every day, the famous artist said, “I think I’m getting better at it!” What would happen if we as Christian would rise up and perform better every day? I believe just like king Nebuchadnezzar, we’ll have company presidents running to us offering us promotion, more control and influence at our work place. Let us remember, we don’t work unto people, we work unto our Lord. Our job is our ministry! Let’s become the best representation of God in the marketplace. You’re not only there for a paycheck you’re preaching a sermon with your life. What people see in you is what people believe about your God.

Let me proclaim a blessing over you today. “You’re smart. You’re intelligent. You’re creative. You’re disciplined. You are surrounded by favor. You are in the right place at the right time. You are the solution and not the problem. You have keen insight and nifty inventions. You save your company from waste and you add to the company’s bottom line profit. You provide a vital service; you cannot be replaced but only be promoted to a higher position.” Stay hungry. Promotion comes from the Lord.

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' (Acts 20:35 NIV)

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

God’s Thoughts on the Lost

Lately my life has been surrounded by people who are passionate about sharing the Gospel with those who are hurting, crying and dying. What is God’s heart for the lost?

I’ll tell you, the closest and dearest thing to God’s heart is lost souls. He is not sitting up their waiting to punish us but the burning desire of His heart is to reconcile man/women to God. It’s God’s will that none should perish but have eternal life.

Religion is mean and condemning but God is love. In the heart of God is mercy. God hates sin but He’s not repelled by the sinners; He is drawn to redeem us with the blood of Jesus. Yesterday, I met Dr. Pool who is a Cardiac Surgeon. His testimony touched me deeply. He’s the only doctor I know who prays for each of his patients out loud. He’s healing the heart of his patients in more than one ways.

I’m fully convinced that God is speeding up the harvest all over the world. Recently I met a young man who used to be a member of a Satanist Church right here in Dallas. After God saved him miraculously, he began to debate with a young lady about the Gospel. All her life she has been a Mormon. After talking back and forth for about six months, she gave her life to the Lord. Today, they’re happily married and can’t wait to share the love of Jesus with others. I see God is working intensely to reconcile man to God everywhere I go.

Many Christians look at our society and gasp at where our culture is heading. It is easy to throw up our hands in the air and give up in despair. This is what happened to Paul in the Bible. Once He was in a city that was so filled with idols that he was filled with righteous indignation. Yet, before he left that city Paul’s heart was filled with compassion; he preached the Gospel to them and many came to know the Lord. Friend, let’s not gripe about what’s going on in our culture instead take the time to share Christ with those who are lost. Love – conquers all!

In the heart of God is mercy. We too must not condemn people but show them God’s mercy. Once, the religious leaders caught a woman in the adulterous act. They dragged that woman to Jesus wanting his approval to stone her. I always wonder why they didn’t condemn the man! Jesus loved the sinner and He still does. He said those that are without sin cast the first stone. Everyone left. He was the only one without sin qualified to cast the first stone. But He didn’t. He showed mercy, forgave her and said, “Go and sin no more.” Friend, if you want to be like Jesus, quit stoning people!

What is the value of one soul? The Bible says that Jesus crossed the sea to reach one man who was filled with demon spirits. Today people are in all sorts of troubles, some are filled with demon sprits and they cannot help themselves. Yesterday, I met a young man. His marriage is falling apart. He told me that nobody would counsel them for more than two times. They want them to go to the “professionals.” Sadly, people don’t want to help unless they’re paid! Where is the heart of compassion? Jesus crossed the sea to set one man free. We should have compassion for our fellowmen.

What is God’s thought about the world? Millions in Asia are racing towards eternity without hearing the name of Jesus. They’re into idolatry but they don’t know any better. We just came back from China touching over 3,000 lives. The communist government says we cannot preach the Gospel but God is working in China, India and other parts of Asia where the world’s most unreached people live. Should we live in the luxury of America and forget about the crying, sighing and dying world? God forbid! Let us have the heart of love and compassion like Jesus. The closest thing to the heart of God is the salvation of mankind. You and I are called to be ambassadors. We have the Gospel of reconciliation. Like my friend Dr. Pool, let us also share Christ with as many we can. For God so loved the world… We too must love people!

“We have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart” (I Corinthians 2:16 AMP).

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Dealing with Grief and Loss

A great friend of mine and another general of God passed away today. He was much too young to be gone but now He’s in the safe Arms of Jesus. Death is the highest promotion for a Christian but it’s never easy on the family and friends left behind.

What should be our attitude when a loved one passes away? What happens to them? How can we peacefully transition into life without our loved one? Does God’s Word provide any light on these matters? Today we’ll discuss a few things about death and beyond. This is not comfortable but it’s good for us to stop, think and face the reality of life.

Of course none of us are mortal. For centuries human beings have tried to hold on to their loved ones or helped them on to heaven with traditions. According to the Bible, we’re born once and die once. God is a loving God and He doesn’t send anyone to hell which was prepared for the devil and demon forces. Jesus gave us clear teaching that “those who believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” When we do not accept God’s free gift of Salvation offered to us through the Cross of Jesus Christ, we send ourselves to eternal damnation. This is not God’s plan for us and neither should it be ours.

When a Christian dies, his/her spirit goes to heaven immediately. And there is a great celebration over a death of a saint of God. That’s what my friend is experiencing right now. There’s no pain, crying, sighing or dying in heaven. It’s an eternal bliss in the presence of God. Our job in heaven is to worship Him forever. This is what the Bible teaches about life after death.

When someone has lost someone dear in their lives, it is important to grieve with them. Hasty words of comfort can shorten their grieving process. We should mainly offer our condolences and be ears for them to process their grief. We’ve to be careful not to offer too many advice or hurrying them along in their grieving process. One of the worst things we can do is to make them feel like it’s not a big deal since their loved one is in heaven. Instead, we should try to empathize with them.

Another way we can show our support is to offer practical help with food, childcare, transportation, hospitality etc. Losing a loved one is the most stressful thing in the world. Our body, mind, spirit, soul and emotions are all worked up in knots. We can alleviate people’s pain by being understanding and kind. Keeping our voice down, spending time with them and helping with practical chores are great comforts for the grieving family. This is the time to be extra sensitive and not make jokes or hurtful remarks. Scripture says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15 NIV).

If you have a loved one who has lived a full life, make sure to make as much preparation as possible ahead of time. Practical things such as making a will, funeral arrangement, paying off debt, life-insurance in place, dividing wealth and estate to the next generation are all sensible planning. This will reduce stress for those who are left behind. If you haven’t put some of these things in place for yourself and your family yet, now is a good time to put paper work in place. You don’t have to fear about the future but A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions (Proverbs 22:3).

Friend, life and death is a matter of seconds. If you have not invited Jesus into your heart the most important preparation you can make is to ask Him to be your Lord and Savior. Will you say this prayer with me? “Heavenly Father, I’m a sinner. I need a Savior. I believe Jesus came, lived a sinless life and died for my sins. He rose again from the dead and went to be in Heaven. I believe He is coming back to take us home. I repent from my sin. I confess Jesus Christ is Lord. Now I’m born again. Give me power to live a righteous life by filling me with the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.” Friend, if you sincerely prayed this prayer and meant it from your heart, you are saved. Now go and tell someone what you just did. Be in church this weekend and tell someone that you just got saved. We’re praying for you. 

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25 ESV).

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Family Matters

With back to school fever, parents, grandparents and children are shifting into new gear. Summer holidays were fun but now it’s time to settle back into the routine. Our family is a gift from God and we should not take it for granted.

One reason the family has been so much under attack is because it represents God the most. For decades now the family values have been reduced to shreds. But a family belongs to God and He will not allow it to fizzle out. Fads come and go but our families are here to stay. Therefore, we might as well learn to get along with each other. We shouldn’t just endure our family but enjoy them.

Everything God does have an order. The solar system circles in a certain motion. The waves of the sea have rhythms and even the law of nature operates in a certain order. If a family has to be healthy it must also have God’s order at home. Today let’s discuss a few principles from God’s Word about family matters.

First, the husbands! It is God’s plan for the husband to be the head of the family. Let me assure you, men did not come up with this idea. God did! Many men have abdicated their role as the leader of the family and that’s why we have such havoc in our society. Leadership is not to be confused with dictatorship. Leadership is making sure the right person is making the right decision. Involve your wife in important decision making process. It’s smart because if the plan fails you have someone else to share the blame with! Men it is not enough to be lions in your career but now it is time for you to lead your family in spiritual things. Don’t just provide for our family financially but provide for their emotional, mental and social needs also. You’ve got to make her feel secured of your love and provision in every area. Your wife and children need your praise, understanding and validation. Give up control and allow your wife freedom. More is caught than taught. Children become what they hear. Lavish them with affirmation. Catch them doing something right and brag about it. Teach your children responsibilities, Godly values and establish healthy boundaries. Discipline is still in God’s Book. Unconditional love is like glue that binds your family together. If we want our women to follow us as the church needs to follow Christ then we must also lay down our lives in service to our family God gave us. Remember, no man was awarded for what he received but what he gave.

Ladies, you’re beautiful so your job is to make everything beautiful. God has given you incredible gift to love and nurture your family. You look most beautiful when you operate as the “helper.” A woman’s value is the same as of the husband but our roles are different. Don’t assume the roles of your husband, it makes him feel inadequate. The most important thing your husband need from you is respect and honor. The more you brag about him in private and in public the better he will perform. Remember, men are little boys trapped in large bodies. Don’t focus on the 20% your husband may not be best at rather focus on the 80% he’s good at. Let God change him. He’s got a heavy Hand! When you create an atmosphere that is filled with fun, peace and laughter, everybody will want to hang around the house. Just the opposite is also true when a home is filled with strife and stress. Don’t sweat the small stuff. You don’t always have to agree on everything. When you cannot agree on an issue with your husband, yield and let him make the final decision. Be comfortable but look your best at home as you do in public. Your tenderness mixed with gracefulness and prayers are mighty weapons that will melt every heart. You are the most valuable treasure in the family!

The scripture says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord.” Turn down the volume and turn up the respect. There will be authorities you’ll have to submit to all your life; start practicing at home. You’ll live long and it will go well with you. Your parents are the only free life lessons you’ll have. Take their advice; it will save you a lot of heartaches. Learn, grow, belong - your family is the only thing God chose for you. Accept and admire your family. Dedicate yourself to the things of God and high ambitions and you’ll see success in every step of your life. Don’t like what I have to say about today? Talk to God! These are His ideas.

God’s thoughts on family: (Ephesians 5:22 – 6:4, Colossians 3:18-21, I Peter 3:1-12).

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

For Leaders Only

We all have a God-given nature in us to help others win. The best leaders are those who help other people succeed. Being a leader is not always easy but its rewards are great. The fact that you’re reading this today tells me that you’re a great leader.

Leadership is all about people. Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments into two. We must love God and people. We cannot love one without the other. Today we will talk about how to inspire others to rise to the top.

Affirm the positive in people. Religion has taught us that God is sitting up in heaven waiting for us to make a mistake so He can punish us. This is sad but just the opposite is true. God is looking for us to do one thing right so that He can promote us. We should operate in the same way. Instead of throwing dirt on people, we ought to dig for the gold in others. Most people know when they’re doing wrong and what they need to do to correct it. When we affirm the positive in people, we fuel them to come up higher. I’ve found people do more of what we brag about and less of what we nag about. Let’s maximize the positives and minimize the negative.

Highlight the good. None of us have arrived. We are all work in progress. Whether we’re at work or with our family, we all have goals, standards and expectations. When people are putting their best effort forward, we have to spotlight the growth and not the weakness. Dwell on the good.  When we focus on the strength and growth of others we’re helping them come up higher.

Celebrate the victory. We like to talk about our own success and reminiscence our own victories. When we celebrate the success of others we add value to them. When you hear about someone overcoming a struggle or buying their first new home, or a better car, get excited with them. Don’t dwarf their victory by immediately sharing one of your own. Let the people bask in their glory for a while. It’s healthy for them. Small victories set people up to overcome the big ones. People will make mistake. Minimize the failure and celebrate the victory.

Develop a habit of encouraging others. When we encourage people we give them courage to achieve the impossible. The other day I had a lunch appointment. The restaurant was very busy and waiters were stretched thin. When a young man came to serve us I sincerely said, “I like your tie.” He came by our table multiple times making sure we’re taken care of. I left him a good tip. Encouragement is like a cork floating in a bucket. The more encouragement, love, respect and honor you pour into the bucket the higher the cork will rise. This is especially true in marriage and other close relationships. When you’re close to someone, you not only see all their strength but also their flaws. We have to decide whether we want to add or drain honor to the bucket. Our encouragement helps people rise higher and perform better.

Think the best of people. If there are two ways to think about someone – think the best. Consistent people do inconsistent things. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Develop a negative into a positive picture! Assume the best in people. Give people something to live up to.

Friend, we are to be a light into our world God. We’re preaching a sermon with our lives at all times. When we live and do what’s right, we’re drawing people to Christ. Our action speaks louder than our words. Let’s draw people to Christ and not push them away. When we help others rise to the top, we elevate our own position. Helping others is not an option; it’s mandatory to our own growth. Let’s lead by example and by inspiration. Look for the gold in people. Celebrate people. Encourage others. What we do for others, God will make happen for us. You’re an excellent leader. I believe in you!

“Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:26 ISV).

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How to Increase Your Audience

No matter what we do, we all want more people in our lives that will contribute to our growth and well-being and vise versa. The more people we can reach the better our chances of winning.

Today we’ll look at increasing our audiences/customers from a business point of view but these principles will work in every industry. It will work if you want to grow your friends circle, church membership or even better your relationship with family.

Let me make something clear. God wants you to have a bigger influence. There is no if, but or maybe about it! He wants you touch more people with your products and services. Your business is bound to succeed because God’s DNA is in you. Everything He does, He succeeds and so can you! You must get this winning attitude deep in your spirit. There must be a champion in you before you can see it happen in the natural realm. God wants you to have a bigger impact. Here are some thoughts and ideas to guide you.

Set aside time to think. Your brain is the most valuable asset God has given you. Average people use less than 10% of their brain. You and I should be the most successful people in the world because we not only have a brain but His Holy Spirit of creativity lives in us. When we set aside creative time to connect with God and His ideas, we’ll draw in a bigger audience. Remember, the devil drives but God guides. Spend less time on your business plan and more time with your Creative Genius!

Focus on customer satisfaction. Don’t start from what makes you more profit. Instead ask yourself, “How can I best meet a need?” When your desire to serve is greater than your hunger to make money; you’ll have more customers than you’ll know what to do with them! Recently, a friend went to eat at Chic-Fil-A and she was served the wrong food. Immediately the associate apologized profusely, she brought her the correct food and returned her money for the inconvenience. You know what my friend did? She came home and wrote about her experience on Facebook. A dis-satisfied customer may tell their friends but a satisfied customer will tell it to the world!

Offer something valuable. The scripture says, “Give and it shall be given to you.” Before you ask for their business, offer something valuable to your audience. For example there are many free email services that you can use to send out helpful information regarding your industry to build an audience. Something practical, something interesting and something valuable that will improve the quality of people’s lives. When you add value; you build a bigger audience. That is what our Master did. Jesus didn’t have a product or services but He deposited value in people. Is there any wonder crowds followed Him everywhere!

Give your audience a sense of belonging. I don’t watch TV but I remember a show from the 80s called, “Cheers!” Their tag line was, “Where everybody knows your name.” Anyone can market to the masses but it’s your specialized and custom made care that will build you the biggest audience. If you’re willing to pay more for a tailor-made suite, people will be willing to pay you more for your tailor-made services. Napoleon Bonaparte was French political and revolutionary leader. He was an expert at making people feel important and included. It is said that he wandered through his camp greeting officers by name and asking them personal questions about their family and hometown. Give your audience a sense of belonging. A loyalty program, recognition, a stake in the company can all keep people more loyal to you. What makes you feel committed? Offer the same to others.

Friend, God wants you make a bigger impact. He will aid you with everything you need if you simply make up your mind to serve more people. Don’t ask WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) rather ask yourself, “What Can I Do For Them?” Take time to think. Aim to please. Offer something valuable. Give them a reason to come back to you. Soon you’ll build an audience that will touch the globe. I’m praying for you!

“Don't be concerned for your own good but for the good of others” (I Corinthians 10:24 NLT).

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