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Archive for the ‘ministry’ Category

Discovering More Clarity with My Calling

In business, you set up and maintain a business identity.

It speaks to who you are and what you do. It becomes your brand. And it is how others come to know your business.

Ministry is similar, but there is a subtle difference between the two.

Firstly, the ministry calling is based on God giving you your marching orders. He usually pricks the heart of the believer for a cause or concern that invokes compassion or conviction, causing the believer to follow the leading of the Lord and His Spirit in that given direction.

Secondly, the ministry calling evolves over time. After one’s initial calling, God reveals more along the way. Greater clarity on the big picture is provided along the way during the journey.

My journey started around 2005 with an idea that would eventually take the form of Life Path Ministries & Services in 2008. It include Bible Stories & Beyond (Bible lessons and activities), All Men Edified Now (A.M.E.N.) (a monthly small group Bible study), and Operation Reach Out (evangelism and outreach). I added a weekly newsletter, self-published books of poetry and ministry guidance, and Bible study activities for A.M.E.N. over the course of several years.

I was content with what I was doing for God. I was confident that I was in the right place and on the right track.

Comfort Zones Cloud Clarity

Comfort zones can become dangerous places for anyone with a calling from God. That’s a particular place where business and ministry are truly similar. The amount of overlap is difficult to determine by degrees, but they at the least run parallel to one another once you get into the danger of comfort zones.

I knew what was doing in both ministry and business. I was struggling with completing my degree between Organizational Leadership at Chapman and Business Administration at Azusa Pacific. I knew how to do the work. I knew that the work was both important and critical. I even knew that the Lord had more in store for both myself and the ministry.

I was in a strange place. I was in an unknown zone. People applauded my work and what I was doing in the name of the Lord, but I felt an uneasy tension or frustration of the unknown lying ahead. I was engaged in what Keith Haney points out as motivating others like Jesus, but I had no name for it.

The evidence of the work was visible with tangible results, but I struggled with pinpointing what exactly it was that I was doing. Let me clarify that to say I struggled with what to call it. I was stumped with how to categorize it. I didn’t know what box to check when describing it.

Was it a ministry like Prison Fellowship, Salvation Army or YMCA? Was it a para-church ministry like Focus on the Family or 700 Club? What was this thing that I was doing?

I could not articulate it with clarity or with confidence if asked.

It took me over 12 years to realize . . .

I am in the inspiration business.

I am a preacher, rooted in a steep biblical basis of study and interpretation. I am a teacher and facilitator, focused on making tangible life connections for those with whom I study and lead. I am an evangelist, fired up with a passion for both those who the Lord calls “the least of these” and “sheep without a shepherd” similar to other street ministry efforts across the country.

I am in the inspiration business.

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Fruitful pic

Photo by Lukas from Pexels

 

Earlier this with week, I started a YouTube Influence Challenge through Think Media#GrowWithVideo.  Sean Cannell  kicked the 7-day challenge off in Day 1 Session #1 by driving home some hard points that call for self reflection, but he was careful to state that making videos for YouTube also requires a formula. Heather Torres led Day 3 into a challenge to develop our own introductory videos using the “secret formula.” The point of this is real simple: even developing and posting videos to YouTube requires a formula.

Oftentimes, I hear the cake baking analogy to the point of exhaustion when it comes to the right ingredients or mix of items. Whether it be a Sunday sermon or a professional development Zoom meeting with PowerPoint slides shared, cake baking seems to be the way many explain what is needed to reach a point of success.

Jesus used a differed methodology during a different time. He used what people understood to teach a life lesson.  He shared allegorical stories called parables to capture attention and drive home a point. He mastered the teachable moment and made the most of the opportunity to teach a life-changing message on a miniature scale.

The parable of the sower offers a word picture of sowing seeds and the potential outcomes. The parable occurs in Matthew 13:1-9. Jesus shares it and ends it with “Whoever has ears, let them hear” in verse 9 according to the NIV.

LifePath_hoody

The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”              – Matthew 13:10 (NIV)

At some point His disciples want to know what’s behind the parables.  That is when Jesus opens the spiritual floodgates. He unleashes the formula for fruitful ministry through His explanation of the parable to His disciples in verses 18-23.

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. – Luke 8:11 (KJV)

Jesus broke down the faulty and failing, even fertile, hearts as the soil. The seed is identified as the word of God. The results vary based upon the conditions, the season. Rocky and thorny soil doesn’t allow the seed to take root. Thorny soil leaves folks in a condition where they “bring no fruit to perfection” (Luke 8:14, KJV). The seeds on the pathway are snatched up by the birds quickly, not even reaching the soil. It is the see that finds the “good ground” that is fruitful, “which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15, KJV).

bible

So, what’s the formula for fruitful ministry?

You need to sow the RIGHT SEED in the RIGHT SOIL in the RIGHT SEASON.

You can sow tirelessly under the wrong conditions and find no fruit. You can sow time and time again with no results due to it being the wrong kind of soil or the wrong season. You cannot force the fruit. Jesus said the right mix will “bring forth fruit with patience, according to the King James Version.

  • RIGHT SEED: Your ministry work must be rooted in the Bible, God’s Word. If your message is about anything else, it won’t take root in the soil of the heart.
  • RIGHT SOIL: You minister to the heart and soul of people. You do not win souls via debate and logic. You win souls based on the Spirit and the Word working on the heart of an unbeliever. Heartache and pain might have prepared the way. Disaster or disease might have readied the person to receive the message. Unemployment or a new normal via COVID-19 might have opened the heart to hear the message, but the soil has to be right and receptive.
  • RIGHT SEASON: You cannot force the fruit. Fruit emerges in its season. Psalm 1 speaks of a believer when it says: “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season” (verse 3, KJV). You do not determine when it’s fruit-bearing season. That’s God’s work. Like Paul one shared to the brothers and sisters of Corinth, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6, ESV). God gives the increase and He does so in the season in which He determines for it. Bringing forth fruit requires that patience Jesus mentioned.

Take this formula into consideration while you are ministering to others. It might not be the right season. Just remain patient. God can turn things around in His own timing. It might not be the right soil. If you do not feel like you are breaking ground and getting anywhere, you can continue to support and allow someone else the opportunity to be used by God in the situation. Imagine if God wanted you praying for the person (like Paul planted) and another was to step in and usher the person into the faith (like Apollos watered) , and then God would give the growth.

Finally, check yourself. You must keep the Word as the message. That is the right seed. Without the right seed, your ministry and its work will fall flat all of the time.  You might see some growth spurts but nothing will remain sustainable.

But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown (Matthew 13:23, NIV).

F.I.T. Friday Focus Freebie Link

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Today marked another day in my personal journey on a week of works.   I am humbled by what I learn from Psalm 119 time and time again.  I was inspired to take initiative to take things further, especially with Black Friday approaching and our week of works is taking a totally different spin.

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Check back on Friday for Life Path Multimedia’s Black Friday Freebie.   I will schedule a post for 8 AM EST on Friday to go live with a link to some new and fresh content that is totally free.  That means that you can access more of what Life Path Multimedia has to offer without having to use leftover cash from the early bird specials and sales.

I feel compelled and convicted to share openly and freely on this Black Friday.  There are a lot of ways that we can get caught up in the widespread consumerism of the holiday shopping season, but I want to shed light on going about things differently.  Just look at last year’s Cyber Monday and Black Friday sales stats to see where most people have accepted this type of spending as the norm.

Do not be mistaken, Life Path Multimedia makes money from our online stores for publications and downloads.  Even our Life Path Gear is a money-maker per se.  However, it is all with open and honest intent.  Our money fuels our ministry work.

This is not about raising enough money to “keep the lights on” or providing believers with an opportunity to “keep from robbing God.” It’s strictly about supporting the ministry of Life Path Mobile Ministries.  We want to do more.  We need to do more.  With your support, we can truly do more.


Leadership

With Life Path Multimedia pushing for  Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday, the least we could do is give you a freebie on a Friday. just because.

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“Be not simply good – be good for something.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Imagine if you had nothing getting in your way, nothing holding you back.

What would you do with your life?

Could you see yourself doing whatever you could to help someone else?

Could you see beyond yourself and make a difference for someone else?

Just imagine if you had that opportunity.

No obstacles.

No opposition.

No other objective.

Just being in the position to do good for someone else, uplifting their spirit and blessing them through what God has already done for you.

Now it’s time for a reality check.

The only thing holding you back from doing such mighty works is you.

YOU…Your Own Unwillingness

If you could somehow shake that unwilling spirit, then you can do it.

Oh, that’s not you?

Then it must be. . .

YOU. . . Your Own Unworthiness

That is the pitiful self image that says that you are not worthy of doing good because you know that you are of no earthly good.  Our Bibles tell us that we are a “new creation” based upon the work of the Lord.  We are worthy!

So, you still think that’s not you?

How about. . .

YOU. . . Your Own Unfaithfulness

You just don’t believe that God can use you in such a way.  You don’t believe that you can be a blessing, especially since you are in the need of a blessing yourself.  Elijah was fed by ravens by a brook, and then he was fed by an impoverished widow.  There was another widow who gave all that she had when she placed two mites in the offering.

Get YOU out of the way and let God have His way.

Sit YOU down and set yourself up to be a blessing to someone.

Give YOU his walking papers and give God an open opportunity to use you like He’s never used you before.

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8 (NASB)

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“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” – John 10:11 (NKJV)

The modern society has made what we consider pastoring a mere shadow of what we truly should expect of the man of God today.  We may never get out of ordained and anointed pastoral leaders what we could get out of them because we can never drop or shed expecting more out of them than they have been called to ever do in the first place.

After all, just like the rest of us believers, pastors are Christians.  That point sometimes gets missed.  Plain and simple, they are Christians just like us.

Secondly, pastors are called from among the flock to stand set apart as “called” by God.  They’re still Christians but they have a greater responsibility in regards to standing firm and handling God’s Word.

Finally, God plucks out a set of His own chosen few to serve as pastors and shepherds.  He places His Spirit in them and allows manifestations of Word to emerge within their messages, sermons and Bible lessons. 

He uses them.  He molds them.  He shapes them.  He directs them.  He guides them.  He orders them.  He trains them.

After all, He called them. 

He called them to walk as He walked.  He called them to live as He once lived.  He called them to work just like Jesus did the works of the Father. 

If you want to see Jesus on display in your pastor, help your pastor do the things that allow Him to be display Himself in your pastor.  If you can’t help with that,  maybe you can just adjust your expectations.  After all, they’re still just Christians.

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Look at Luke 5:38.

But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

Read it again.

But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

New wineskins do not change the wine.  New wineskins retain the wine, its fervency and its potency.  They do not burst like old wineskins when New wine is poured into them.

Ask God to show you your new wineskins.  He just may surprise you.  You may find yourself still in the same ministry but with a new and vibrant perspective on how to serve the poor, afflicted, oppressed and needy people in your community.

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Feliz Navidad!
Merry Christmas!
Happy Holidays!

Previously, I wrote about the miracles of Jesus and shared some of the inspirational accounts from the Gospels.  The Gospels depict Jesus as a worker of miracles as well as a messenger of God’s redemption while remaining the Messiah who would serve as the Lamb of God.

But when the time had fully come, 
God sent his Son, 
born of a woman, 
born under law, 
to redeem those under law, 
that we might receive the full rights of sons.
– Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV)

However, the miracle of Christmas is more about God orchestrating everything beyond coincidence.  He set things in order long before they began to unfold in order to redeem mankind.  Christmas marks a celebration of things coming in order to fulfill God’s plan for redemption.

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“You must succeed at doing what is necessary.” – Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill stands out as a prominent figure due to what history has made out of his accomplishments as part of Great Britain’s wartime stance against the air raids of the German Lufthansa during World War II.  However, Churchill’s many quotes should also provide today’s business leaders with some stirring words to ponder.

How many of us view success as “doing what is necessary?” That is not a common perspective for most people, especially those trying to run a business on their own in the hopes of growing and increasing revenue or the pastor of a storefront church who has aspirations of growth and expansion.  Necessary things seem to fall right into the mix with all of the other unexpected fires that have to be put out as one makes it day by day and step by step. Yet, Churchill offers such words to cause us to ponder if what we are tinkering with here and there is really leading towards true success.

Ask yourself if you have done “what is necessary” in order to keep the doors open and the lights on.  Develop a list of fundamentals that have to be in place before you move to bigger things.  Utilize this list as a check-in point for yourself before you get started on your daily grind.  I guarantee that such a checklist is exactly what will come in handy as you work on getting to that crucial point that we all seek so desperately and tirelessly that we tend to call success.

Wizzley

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“I will utterly consume everything

From the face of the land,”

Says the Lord;

“I will consume man and beast;

I will consume the birds of the heavens,

The fish of the sea,

And the stumbling blocks along with the wicked.

I will cut off man from the face of the land,”

Says the Lord.

-Zephaniah 1:2-3 (NKJV)

Consider yourself warned.  God will have a day of reckoning.  he prophets spoke of it.  In particular, Zephaniah spoke explicitly about it.  It would be the type of day that no one would want to see in their lifetime.

Think you have had a bad day? That’s nothing like what will happen when this day comes about.  The Lord will not be slow to anger on that day.  He will set forth His wrath like it has never been unleashed before.

Take care of business, brothers and sisters.  Know that how you manage your business affairs is part of how you reflect God in your daily life to others, especially those who are not of the faith.

  • Are you viewed as shrewd and crafty, ready to cut costs at the expense of the livelihood of your employees and vendors?
  • Do you readily examine the bottom line or the heart of the matter when making decisions?
  • Do you pray over your business decisions and seek godly counsel from other Christian business men and women?

Consider how you handle your business.  Others are watching you.  Others take into account that you say that you are a Christian.  God is watching.  God will not always be waiting.  One day, and we we do not know when, God is going to call us on what we have done and what we haven’t done as His children.

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“Christ came to redeem us from sin and bring us back to serve and glorify Him.”
– Andrew Murray, God’s Plans for You

Let’s get real.  Salvation is part of God’s master plan for all of us.  It isn’t the whole thing, but it is a major part of the plan.  What is highly important is that we recognize that God has a plan.  Even more refreshing for us is that we are included in God’s plan.
That includes your business.  That includes your special gifts and abilities.  That also includes your example that you set for others, especially unbelievers, through how you live your life.  It is all part of God’s plan.
What’s the point of God’s plan?
He shows us love because He is love.  He expects us to live as reflections of Him.   We are to serve Him.  We are to glorify Him.

Guess what?

It’s all in His plan.

 

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