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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

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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Join us for the initial episode to launch Coffee & Chat with Rev. Bruce.

Our first guest: Viet Mai (Educator, Artist, & Entrepreneur) shares his inspiration and process for his work and artistry. He even gets into his current business and social ventures as well as some community work that he is engaged in at the time.

This trailer serves as a tidbit of insight as to why this guest and why at this time.

Coffee & Chat with Rev. Bruce is a listener-supported podcast. Podcast Partners are a blessing to this effort to continue to share inspiration in new ways. It is our aim to remain listener-supported and not accept sponsorship and advertising funds in order to keep the broadcast voice free and not compromised to any degree.

Listen to the podcast trailer

https://anchor.fm/bruce-jackson3/embed/episodes/Coffee–Chat-with-Rev–Bruce-Episode-1-Trailer-ef9tbg

View the live stream on YouTube JUNE 13th at 10 AM

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Shameless

Shameless

 

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

 

You expect me to be ashamed,

To deny what I have become

And to only accept what the world has to offer.

I forsake the world’s treasures.

I reject the evildoers.

I shall not be ashamed.

 

Shame?

No, I feel none.

I refuse to accept the notion

That my beliefs should conform and not conflict

And that I must be ashamed of myself,

Ashamed of the cross,

Ashamed of My Savior.

 

Shame?

The shame is on you.

Shame on you for your cruel opinions.

Shame on you for your doubt and unfaithfulness.

Shame on you for your unbelief.

 

Shame?

As for me,

I shall remain shameless.

I reject any notion of shame.

 

Lamentations in the Storm

Lamentations in the Storm

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5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” – Luke 19:5-7 (NKJV)

Let’s just say it like this.  In the Gospel of Luke, we see Jesus engaging in some intimate interactions with some sinners.  Similarly, He goes to the house of Levi the tax collector and dines with other tax collectors and sinners.  What is surprising is not the invitation itself.  What is truly surprising is the response of people to the Lord’s invitation.

In Luke 19:6, Zacchaeus is said to have moved hastily “and received Him joyfully.” In Mark, Levi and his friends sat with Jesus and His followers.  This was in response to Levi (Matthew) following Jesus after His initial invitation to follow Him, leaving all of his tax table and other wares behind.  In Luke, it is reported that the tax collector hosted a large feast; “. . .  And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them.” In fact, the Samaritan woman who encountered Jesus at the well went out and shared her experience with others.  And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” Thus, Jesus’ invitation prompted these people to invite others to join them.  Therefore, the invitation inspired them to take action one way or another.

Others responded with despise for Jesus.  In fact, some exhibited such piety that they despised Jesus more than the tax collectors or others.  Pharisees could not get beyond His fellowship with such defiled people.  Other folks just couldn’t believe that a holy man could have fellowship with sinners.   That was definitely the other side of the coin when it came to such a public invitation.

So what do you think? Could you be part of the joyful reception of the Lord’s invitation to the outsiders and outcasts of your community and social order? Or,  do you feel inclined to indict others for their efforts to get down and dirty among the “least of these?”

Pray about it.

Think it over.

You never know what the Lord may bring your way today.

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14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” – Mark 1:14-15 (NIV)

Your ministry will call you.  It will beckon you.  It will bother you.  It will burden you.  Your ministry will require that you get started sooner or later, continuing to weigh heavily upon you until you do something about its unquenchable calling upon you.

Where are you going to start? Where is your Galilee?

When are you going to get started? After a tragedy or major change? What will be your John the Baptist type of incident to kick things off?

How will you get things started? Will you preach of the things to come or the things at hand? What will be your ministry and how will you start?

Go into some serious prayer.  All of us have somewhere that the Lord is driving us and directing us.  I pray that you find your guidance and inspiration for a starting point soon.

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“The only sure way to avoid making mistakes is to have no new ideas.” — Albert Einstein

Ideas lead to innovations. Ideas are to be explored and experimented, even examined. We use ideas to launch new projects and ventures in our churches and the nonprofit realm, to expand and enhance what we already offering our congregations and communities.

Imagine if there was nothing new offered by the church. What if no changes were made at all? What would be the immediate results? The pastor would be shocked as he stepped up to the pulpit to see that he looked out to see a sparse congregation with a sprinkling of people. Picture gearing up for another year at your Christian preparatory academy and discovering no new students and few returning students.

The church and nonprofit sectors are in need of fresh ideas. The old ones have grown stale and stagnant. The wisest man who ever lived said that there is nothing new under the sun, but I would bet that not many of us have ventured out throughout the entire world to know that for ourselves. Thus, we must approach each day as an opportunity to discover new and improved ideas.

  • Read daily: newspapers, magazines, trade publications, poetry, devotionals, biographies, etc. Read daily to learn new things. Slept through Shakespeare in high school? Read “Hamlet” or “Julius Caesar,” even “Macbeth.” Read and discover a new world each day. Or, you can at least learn more about the world you live in.
  • Record and revisit your dreams: Dreamers need to shift to becoming developers and designers. I believe Walt Disney must have been a dreamer. Henry Ford must have been a serious dreamer, too. If you are going to take your work into uncharted territory and go against the norm, you will need to build the blueprint as you go. Keep a journal, diary or daily agenda/ calendar with notes and ideas on a consistent basis.
  • Reflect on your life’s path and destiny: Understand that where you have been has an impact on how you view things (perception), while your perception has an impact on how you view your present and future options and opportunities. A negative perception usually relates to pessimism, while a positive perception is usually related to optimism. Look back in order to see where you are headed. Did you recover from alcoholism or addiction? Maybe God wants you telling your story and assisting others in your church or community avoid similar pitfalls or recover from such experiences. Your testimony is not for your sake alone. God has someone who will be blessed by hearing it and others who will be blessed even further by coming to know.

Keep your ideas growing and developing. Always have a notebook and writing utensil. Use your cell phone. Palm, iPhone, Blackberry, Droid and other similar phones have “document” applications that can help record ideas and transfer to them to MS Word via micro SD card. Use what works for you. Just capture your ideas and work on them.

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