Category Archive: heart

Wrong Assumptions Can Kill You

 

Hey Friends,

If you are like me in any way you have, and continue to make, wrong assumptions. When we lead, minister, or serve with wrong assumptions we can get the wrong results. I spent all day Wednesday with a great leader and consultant, Dan Novak. He has a PhD in leadership and is a great man of God. He added much value to me and Faith Promise. We have used him several times at Faith Promise and he always helps us. I can recommend him without reservation.

Before he spent the day with me he interviewed two focus groups made up of staff members. I didn’t know he was going to do that but it proved invaluable. As Dan unpacked how some of the staff viewed things I was surprised. I was surprised because I thought everyone understood my heart as the leader. Wrong assumption! This is not their fault, but mine.

I know what’s going on in my head but no one else does. After 28 years of marriage you would think I would have learned this lesson by now! Not a smart man. Dan pointed out some things I know to do, but need to improve on.

Things like:

  • Listening WELL! This is a gift and an art and I’m not great at it.
  • Sharing with people how I arrive at decisions. This shows my heart and trains new leaders at the same time.
  • Making sure everyone FEELS heard in a decision.
  • Being present when you’re present.
  • Not forgetting as senior leader my voice counts more than I realize! Being careful of hallway conversations and quickly being negative about an idea or question.
  • The expert can be wrong. I can crush creativity and young leaders by quickly telling them an idea will not work…
  • As a leader gets older he or she (Me) thinks they can quit filtering what they say with kindness. Being older is not a license to be ugly.

We all judge ourselves by our intentions and everyone else judges us by our actions. They can be very different.

Lest you think the day was negative, it was not. We talked strategy, vision, process and many other things. This list above shows areas I need to work on. I asked Dan in to discuss the overall health of Faith Promise. He said of all the organizations he has worked with, we are at the top in health. As the lead shepherd it is my job to make sure the Church and its leadership are healthy.

I asked Dan if the staff could be healthy and the membership not be healthy. He said that was not very possible. We will set a date for next year and see if our great health has improved. The healthier we are the stronger the Body will be.

The thought for the day is: Let people see your heart.

Love you and I pray you know it.

Pastor Chris

 

A Heart of Honor

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What Lights Your Fire?

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Are You Sacrificing Your Soul?

Hey Friends,

This blog is vital for your survival! I hope I have your attention. I am a pilot and enjoy flying. There are sometimes I want to fly but I can’t. The FAA says my plane needs an “annual.” That is, it must be grounded and checked out by a professional aviation mechanic. This is the law and records must be kept that prove the plane was maintained. This is a good rule! I do not want to be at 10,000 feet and say, “That dosen’t sound good!”

Our souls are the same – they need maintenance. They need to be taken off line regularly for rest and repair. I have watched so many of my friends in the ministry burnout, flame-out, rust-out, or just crash and burn in the leadership position God has placed them. This is just as serious as a plane crash. When the pastor or the leader of the organization crashes, the church suffers serious damage. So, are you doing regular maintenance on your soul?

Wayne Cordeiro, in his great book, “Leading On Empty,” warns about miles with maintenance.  “In 2006 the FAA grounded all DC-10s because on one flight the engine fell off, resulting in the death of 213 passengers. This unthinkable flaw didn’t take place overnight; it was the result of successive time of ignored maintenance.” This is a great picture of leaders pushing it too far and past the limits until the engine falls off. The crash can destroy so many lives.

“But Chris, I must push it to the limit for the Lord.” Yes, we go hard for Jesus, but are you protecting you soul? The Creator gave us rhythms for life. The Sabbath, silence, solitude, daily devotion, rest, your body (the plane) requires maintenance, and the Manual written by the Great Engineer has made it clear. To forgo the maintenance will destroy the plane and most of the people around you. That includes your family, friends, congregation and many others. This is not the will of God.

Leadership or ministry is a marathon and your must care for your soul and spirit.

How are your maintenance records? For many leaders, if you don’t care for yourself the people around you will let you go till you drop. I am so grateful for the people around me, and the Body of Faith Promise, that they care for me as the pastor too much to let me crash and burnout. That is why they gave me a 30-day sabbatical.

How are you caring for the “plane” you are called to command? More on this tomorrow. You might want to pick up Cordeiro’s book for yourself. My friend, Steve Robinson, at Church of the King told me, “The book saved his life.” He is building one of the greatest churches in America. We all need it.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

P.S. If you sacrifice your soul in a sprint you will lose the long term majesty of the marathon and achieving all the Lord desires and designed you for.

 

A Critical Component to Following Christ

Hey Friends,

I love this quote from Bill Hybles:

“There is no more critical goal in life than to keep a pliable heart before God. God cannot be seen by spiritual eyes that are shut. God cannot be heard by spiritual ears that are plugged. God cannot be followed by a heart that stubbornly stays hard.”

I could not agree more. The previous quote is from Bill’s book, “The Power of a Whisper.” It is a great book dealing with hearing from God and having the guts to obey. Do you? Are you in a position to hear from Him?

Over and over in the Word we are warned about a hard heart or a stiff neck! Jesus dealt more with our hearts than anything else. How’s your heart? Is it soft toward God? It is so easy to walk through this world and have your heart calloused. We all get the “Shaft” and we have all been done wrong. It is easy just to not care as much, forget about the hurts of others, or grow cynical and cold.

It must not be so with us. We are followers of Christ and with a hard heart we will never carry out His commands nor will we be able to care for others like He wants. I know this is easy preaching and hard living, but it must be done. If we do allow our hearts to become hard we will miss so much of what He wants for us.

“Do not let your heart be hardened as your father’s did…” “Out of the heart flow the issues of life…”

How about taking a heart check-up today. Is it soft and pliable before the Lord who died for us?

Just a question!

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Why Are Weeds Automatic?

Hey Friends,

Saturday morning I was sitting on my back deck enjoying the morning and some time with the Lord. I was just mind-tripping and having a grand ol’ time. I looked at the back yard where I had just finished up a serious spring weed eating. I was enjoying the beauty of creation when it hit me that all day the day before I had been fighting weeds. A death match with some serious contenders: poison ivy, vines that had grown several feet, and every other weed known to man. I am writing this on Monday morning and as yet, I am not sure who won.

I am covered in poison ivy, cuts, and bruises. It was an ugly fight. Why do weeds grow automatically? Flowers do not, without some help! Grass does not! The things you want to grow, grow ever so slowly, but the unwanted stuff grows like a – “WEED!” If you are in any way a yard person, you know what I’m talking about.

The same thing is true with our hearts. Weeds grow without effort and the things you want to grow take careful cultivation. Without even noticing it, the weeds will take over. It requires constant and careful consideration as to what you allow to grow in, and on, your heart and mind.

As you survey your heart, how does the landscape look? Is your heart carefully manicured by the Holy Spirit and the Word? Is it a beautiful place for you to meet with Jesus? Is the Holy Spirit comfortable enthroned on your heart? 

Remember the weeds are automatic. It requires no effort for them to grow. Just leave it alone and before you know it the weeds will be in full force. Then it is a fight to get it back. The beautiful things take time to grow – they require watering and feeding. The garbage, well, it just shows up.

Are you creating a garden for you and God? Have you cultivated a heart and attitude that honors the Lord? Do others see Jesus in you? It may be time for some Holy Spirit roundup and some hard work!

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Above All Else!

 Hey Friends,

God said, “Above all else!” This is quite a statement. The wisest man who ever lived said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: “Above all else, guard your heart for from it flow the issues of life.” I preached a message this past weekend on the passage and if you did not hear it, I would encourage you to go to our FPC website and listen. I promise it will help you in a major way.  As leaders this verse should be foundational for our ministries and for our relationships. It is very hard to help others if you do not use your heart.

Solomon said that “all the issues flow” from our hearts.  The problem is that very few of us try to cultivate our hearts or are even in touch with them. Yet, I believe Solomon realized that most of his problems were of his own making. As a matter of fact, most of us cause our own problems. Most of our problems flow from our hearts. The only way to really lead people is to know our heart and be able to use our heart to connect with others. Do you know the condition of your heart? Do you know how to cultivate your heart? Do you know how to protect your heart?

As a leader it is critical that you care for your heart. A way to help is to spend time with our Heavenly Father. Another is to spend some time with some close friends. Keeping the Sabbath and learning how to rest will help your heart. Cultivating our heart is not what most of us have learned how to do. For your walk with God and for the closeness of your key relationships, you must guard your heart. I would challenge you to spend some time meditating on this verse.

“Above all else.” Think God meant it?

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

How Hungry Is Your Heart?

Hey Friends.

As a leader in the Kingdom of God, how hungry are you for God? Let me give you a portion from my journal about how hungry I am!

“Praise Your Holy Name. I am looking for the next step to go deeper into your Spirit. How can I take that, Lord? You knew I’d be here, you bought me here. Brought me here with a significant price. Your Son! How can I not walk free considering the price You paid? You paid too high a price for me to stay shackled. Lord, Spirit and Abba, am I barking up the wrong tree? Are we stuck in these clay pots – tethered to the Terra Firma, stuck to the ground?  Lashed to the physical world when the spiritual world is what I want. Hard to get even Your saints to substitute physical for spiritual for a temporary fix until we get to heaven. Doesn’t seem right! Holy Spirit, guide and, “You will lead us into all truth.”  This is a door I need to understand. Abba, just like all throughout my ministry I have spent all the money that came in, I have so many blind spots, prejudices and paradigms that block me and hinder. Jesus, You, “opened the eyes of the disciples so they would understand.”

“Without You, I am a fish out of water on the dock, floundering,  flopping, gasping for air. The fish is made for the water and You created us for You – for fellowship and for worship…  I can never get enough of You. NEVERENUFF! …”

How hungry are you for God to move in your heart, life, ministry, and family? The world sees much about us – it should see our ravenous appetite for the heart of God.

Just a thought,

Pastor Chris

 

Can God Expand Our Heart?

Hey Friends,

Two weekends ago I shared a message with all the campuses of Faith Promise about God expanding our heart. Notice the word heart is singular. “We are many members and are one body.” Since the Scriptures teach we are one body, that means we have one heart. So, can God expand our collective heart? What do you think?

I believe He can, but in the church of today it is not easy. I started attending church when I was 22 years old. So, I didn’t really grow up in church. What I can say is that I did not catch the heart of Jesus in His church! What’s mind boggling to me is how we can spend years in His church and not gain His heart? Does that make sense to you?

We have just finished a series called, Another Day in Paradise. The thesis was Isaiah 61:1-3 which is the job description of Jesus – and is ours as well. With over 400 compassion commands in the Cannon how can we miss them? Maybe not all of us, and maybe it was just me, but I don’t think so.

Did you gain the heart of Jesus for the hurting and the helpless in church? If you have developed the heart of Jesus, how did it happen to you? For me, I am learning it by time in the Word, surrender to the Spirit, great friends, and books I’m reading. We all want the heart of the Master. Together, let’s ask Him to expand and break our heart for what breaks His.

Just a thought…

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

A Heart That Moves God’s Heart!

Hey Friends,

As you know, we are asking FPC to give our Lord a million dollar offering this coming weekend. I know the economy is horrible and many of our church members are out of a job. How could I believe this could happen NOW? Great Question! Let me tell you how. I received this letter yesterday from a lady who has recently been visiting:

“Dear Church Family,

I have recently started attending Faith Promise. I am a member at another church in Knoxville, but never really felt welcome or challenged to serve the Lord. You all are so wonderful to me and my granddaughter who comes with me every Saturday night. I always feel such a spirit of love when I am here. I have been challenged by the Holy Spirit to empty out a small savings account and trust it to God’s work at the Miracle Offering. Please pray that I will have the courage to go through with this as it is all we have. I want to do great things for God and I know He will provide for my every need. So if you all could pray for me and my family that we will trust God for the increase, I would appreciate it.”

That is one of the reasons I believe God will come through. We all have read how the disciples continuously failed the Lord with unbelief and hardness of heart. Let’s not  make the same mistake. We have more than they did. We have the Holy Spirit in power. We have the full revelation of the Word. We also have a track record of watching God come through.

If we are going to change the world we have to believe! Do YOU? I pray so.

Let the miracle weekend flood.

Pastor Chris

P.S.  For those of you in the area, you won’t want to miss an awesome opportunity for personal growth tomorrow afternoon.  Join Chuck Carringer, our Pastor of  Family Ministries, for his monthly leadership seminar on August 19 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. at Faith Promise Church.  The topic will be, Enlarging Your Leadership Credibility.