Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Have You Been Working Out?

Have you been working out?
 I love when a friend stops me and says 
“wow.  you’re looking good.  Have you been working out?" (that doesn't happen as often as I would like :)

So, I ask you - Have you been working out?

Chances are the answer is no.  Your reply is that you’re too busy.  Too much going on right now.  You admit you need to get back in the gym, after you get through your busy season. 

A mentor of mine said: "if you are too busy to exercise…  you’re too busy. " 

That hits me right between the eyes. No excuses. 

I want to take this beyond just exercise and healthy diet.  Consider this notion:

We should ALWAYS be in training

I love Tim Tebow.  I know there are many opinions about his football skills and the hype around his popularity.  However, the quality I love about Tebow is that he is always in training mode.  He has conditioned himself to be at peak performance level.  Even though he is not currently playing for a football team, he understands the importance of preparing himself so he is ready when opportunity comes.  He is doing more than just working towards a goal of winning some games; he is on a journey of perpetual excellence and discipline.  

That inspires me.  That motivates me.

You and I need to be training ourselves in the areas of our gifting and our life’s work (our calling, if you will.) If you are newly married, you need to train to be a good spouse.  If you are a new parent, you need to train in parenting.  If you are a manager at work, you need to train in learning the art of good management.  Not good with finances? train yourself in learning spreadsheets and systems that will get you on track.

Become a master.  Train and practice.  Watch videos, read books, attend a class.  Get feedback.  Have a teachable attitude.  Preparation, preparation, preparation.  Prepare - write it down - then, tomorrow, look at your notes and edit them again.  Put time and focus into whatever you give yourself to.  The laundry can wait.  Let the lawn stay long through the weekend.  Don’t watch the re-runs on tv.  Invest yourself today.

1. Training is a mindset
Don’t wait until opportunity comes to start preparing.  Prepare yourself everyday - starting NOW!

2. Training takes focus
What are you going to cut out of your schedule so that you can train with focus and clarity? Don’t give in to the myth that you must keep carrying everything that you are carrying in your life.  Let some things fall away and fall behind and start blocking out some time for personal training.

3. Training costs you something
If you think you can’t afford a class or buying a book, I would say YOU CAN’T AFFORD NOT TO.  In your life, you are either investing or you are drifting.  Don’t let life just happen to you: make your life!

Reflect on your life - what is important to you? what is your dream? 

Begin taking on a training mindset.  You are not training just for where you are currently - you are training for where you are headed.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Worship God

Today, I am worshipping God just because.  You want to feel better? come before God with your worship.  You have a concern on your mind? Leave it…come and worship.  Something not working out the way you had hoped? Today…don’t talk to God about it…come before Him with worship and adoration.

Psalm 95:6
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

Today is not the day to ask God to bless you; it’s the day to bless God.

Psalm 34
I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth. 

Have you failed God? Is your sin right before you? Don’t even let your sin our your failures block you from entering the very presence of God! Jesus has made a way! If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and have put your trust only in Him to save you from your sin and from death, you belong to Him! His precious blood that He shed on the cross for your sins covers you.  

Hebrews 10:19-22
 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.  By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.  And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house,  let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

You too can approach a Holy, Righteous God and worship with no fear, no guilt, no shame! Because of His Son, Jesus.

Jesus, You are worthy of my worship.  Take my life.  Use me for Your Holy purposes.  I give to You today.  I adore You.  Nothing else in this world satisfies.  You satisfy over and over again, day by day.  You lead me in paths of righteousness for Your Name sake.  

You, O Lord are the focus on my attention, the center of my affection.  You have been so good to me.  I magnify You today.  It’s all about You.  I am here worshipping You in your presence.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Matt's Prayer

Thank you, Lord for the good days - I look forward to them.

Thank you, Lord for the bad days - they remind me that good days are coming.

Thank you, Lord for strength - it comes from You.

Thank you, Lord for weakness - it forces me to rely on You.

Thank you, Lord for giving me purpose - it reinforces my daily agenda and it gets me up in the morning.

Thank you, Lord for sabbath - it quiets my spirit long enough to rest in Your love and Your power.

Thank you, Lord for speaking to me - I live by every word you impart.

Thank you, Lord for the times of silence - it builds my faith, and reminds me that You are working even when I can't seem to hear You.

Thank you, Lord for answered prayer - it proves Your faithfulness and Your generous nature.

Thank you, Lord for unanswered prayer - it teaches me to wait on Your timing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Define the Culture

Jesus Christ is the greatest leader history has ever seen.  One reason I can make that claim is that He had the biggest and most lasting impact on mankind - Christianity.  What intrigues me is how Jesus accomplished this – through disciples – common people.  These men and women were NOT leaders, not nobility.  They were different from each other.  They had issues and struggles in their lives.

So, how in the world did one man, Jesus get a motley crew of common people to work as a team and follow His leadership? Jesus did not pay them a salary.  His task was not an easy one, nor had it every been done before.  The price to join His team was high, yet these disciples willingly gave up everything to follow Jesus – some eventually gave their very lives.  How did Jesus develop these undeveloped, undisciplined individuals into a team of powerful leaders that would build the greatest organization in the world?

The Answer:

- Jesus defined the culture with his people -

Define Your Culture

If you want to make an impact, if you have a calling in your life to accomplish something great and lasting, you will soon learn that you must partner with people. 

To enlist great people and to keep them, you must have a great culture.  YOU CAN build that.  YOU DEFINE that.

It takes nurturing, investing, feeding, celebrating.  My friend and Mentor, Kadi Cole says “you GET what you CELEBRATE.” You must be intentional at creating that culture.

There are three ways that I view the people around me - three ways I DEFINE the CULTURE:

1. A Winning Team
I want the people I work with to feel like we are all a team.  I clarify for each person what their role is on the team and how the part they play interacts with others.  I constantly point people to our shared mission.  I set goals for the team and then demand that team members set personal goals for themselves – all aligning with and accomplishing the mission.  I celebrate the team when we accomplish goals.  A great team loves to win the game.  I make sure to celebrate markers that show we are winning – we are accomplishing our mission – and, we are working together as a team! 
We work hard –  We play hard.   ....and we do it together.

2. Growing Leaders
A healthy culture is full of people that are growing.  Healthy things grow.  A sign of healthy people is that they are growing - and when they begin growing, they become motivated to grow more – to reach higher! When you help people around you grow, you are saying to them “You are valuable to me.  You are worth my time and investment.  I see potential in you.” People around you begin to realize that they are more than just a team member, they can expand their influence and have greater impact!

3. Loving Family
People’s deepest longing is their need to belong.  They want to be loved unconditionally.  When you build the culture of a loving family, you create a sense of belonging and security.  A loving family culture says “I care more about WHO YOU ARE than WHAT YOU DO.” John Maxwell says “People don’t care how much you know until the know how much you care.” The most worthwhile time you can spend is to take time to care for people around you.  That takes patience, and listening, and a desire to understand.

I want you to know something – 

YOU can define your culture.  

You can create an environment where great people are drawn to you and want to accomplish great things with you. 

Take a few simple steps this week to begin defining your culture.