I came across this quote a few weeks ago, wrote it down and stuck it in my wallet. I pulled it out today and thought… that is really great! 

“The Kingdom is God’s presence and power breaking into human personality and culture to bring about the glorious renewal of life.”

Where have you seen God’s Kingdom lately?

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Here is a challenge this week… Choose one person in your life, could be in your family, your work place, your home group and start praying for them. Ask God to open your eyes to what the Holy Spirit is doing in them.

Do you have that person in mind?

So, I gave a chapter of “Connecting” by Larry Crabb to our shepherds. Let me know if you want a copy.

I would like to highlight some important aspects and set forth a challenge to you for application. This chapter was all about developing a vision for another’s life. Not a selfish vision, but a God breathed vision; not a vision that focuses on obstacles or challenges, but a vision that focuses on hope and grace. A vision that requires us to pray like crazy and dream bigger than ourselves.

    Here are 5 observations to remember when encouraging the people God places in your life:

1) A Spirit-inspired vision sometimes includes an idea of what a person could do, but it ALWAYS centers on who that person could BECOME.

2) A Spirit-inspired vision for someone reliably creates anguish in the heart of the visionary.

3) A Spirit inspired vision for someone is necessarily the product of spiritual discernment. Without ongoing fervent prayer, our vision for others becomes self-serving.

4) A Spirit inspired vision sometimes develops best when the one about whom we’re forming the vision is farthest from God.

5) A Spirit inspired vision is less concerned with practically moving someone in a good direction and more concerned with catching a glimpse of what could be.

So, take some time this week to consider who God has placed in your life. Can you begin to see one person the way that God does? Ask the Spirit, Our Lord, for help doing this. Then respond, have patience and hope for what God wants to see happen among us.

What part of this is most changeling to you?
Where have you caught a glimpse of Spirit inspired vision?
When has someone spoken God’s words into your life?

Have you celebrated recently? I mean taken time with your home group, servant team, or friends to rejoice in what God is doing? If you haven’t… DO IT!!

God is at work in us and all around us. Sometimes its easy to focus on the what’s next without cherishing the Glory of God at work in our lives and the lives of others.

Some Suggestions:

  • Simply go around and have people share things they have seen God doing, possily at the beginning of a home group gathering.
  • Have paper and pens for everyone to write on through the course of an evening and a big box to put them. Pull out the pages over time and read them out loud.
  • Post on your blog about how God is moving.
  • Ask God to help you see how he is working your life and in the lives of others.
  • Sing at the top of your lungs when you realize the love of God and how you get to be a part of it.
  • Post a comment here saying something you would like to celebrate.

It moving towards Thanksgiving and there are many things I could write about being thankful for the blessings God has given to each of us, but I want to suggest something to you. If you are reading this and you are a leader or a part of a team of people… think about those you work together with, think about the gifts, talents, abilities, and unique aspects that these folks bring to your life and work. 

 

Take some time to notice, to thank them, to remind them they matter to you, and most importantly to God.

A priest was walking down the road and found a monk praying on his knees. He stopped the monk and said, “You must be very close to God.” The monk replied, “Yes, God is very fond of me.” 

 

My initial reaction to this story is how self-centered and off base the monk is to respond that way. I thought for sure the next commentary in my book on servant leadership would be something about how he was self focused and needed a reality check… BOY WAS I WRONG!! 

 

Instead, the author (Greg Ogden) suggests that in order for us to really be servant leaders as Jesus was we need to know how much God loves us already, regardless of performance, regardless of all the good things we do to further his kingdom, regardless of how much we pray or how little we seem to screw up… God loves us, that is why we love others. 

Its simple right? You may be thinking, “Traci, this is not rocket science 1 John 4:19 says we love because he first loved us; John 3:16 says for God so loved the world that he gave his son… there are many other passages that describe this same thing, what is so special about this realization?”

 

My answer is, I have known all of those verses and have studied and incorporated them into my life over the years in many different ways, but as I am working with our church and trying to empower people to use their gifts and think about serving I have been challenged. I recently read an account in John 13 where Jesus washed the disciple’s feet. This passage was prefaced with Jesus knowing that all things had been given to him by the father and the assurance that he had about returning to be with him. 

 

Jesus probably wouldn’t have gone to the cross if he didn’t have that assurance. Guess what, we have the same assurance! In our fears and failures, we have the love of God and have been called his children as well. There is no need to strive and get acclamations for our gifts or our deeds.  We serve a God who is very fond of us. 

 

Do you believe, deep down, that God is fond of you?

I have the privilege of working with the new home groups that are starting throughout our community. This morning I just spent some time reflecting on Mark 4:30-32

Again Jesus said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” 

 

I started praying and dreaming for our church. The smallest of all the seeds… it grew into a huge tree that birds are perching in… I am encouraged. I am excited. Lets continue to plant our seeds.

Most of the reading I have done over the past few days has pointed me towards grace and humility. The challenge I have for each one of us to ask ourselves,

  • Why am I serving? 
  • Where does my motivation come from? 
  • Am I excited about what God is doing in my life and the lives of those around me? 

If you are anything like me, you probably get pulled towards wanting to gain your own recognition or glory for things that you do. You may even feel a pull towards striving for perfection every step of the way. You may fill your life up with busyness and repeatedly extend your “to-do” list to make yourself fell important… (maybe that is only me 😉 

Then we are reminded by the Apostle Paul…

Philippians 2 begins with: 

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort by his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. 

 

No room for comparison.

No room for beating ourselves up with merit based expectations.

As Jeff or Solomon might say, “smoke or bubbles”… 
LOTS OF ROOM FOR JESUS!

 

I started thinking… What encouragement do I have from being united with Christ? What comfort have I experienced by his love? What power have I received from the Spirit? How has my heart become tender? Where has my compassion expanded? 

 

There are plentiful and abundant answers to these questions in all of our lives. We get an opportunity to extend this joy and peace to others!!!! How awesome is that??? 

 

As we serve together let us look to the greatest humble servant as our example and come together around common purposes and goals to see His Kingdom come!