Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Future is Now

The Future is Now

It's vitally important to have dreams and goals for the future. The bible tells us in Proverbs 29:18, where there is no vision, people live in unrestrained and undisciplined ways which produces confusion and disorder. However, looking ahead should not prevent us from seeing the opportunities at hand right now.

It's not uncommon for us to get so focused on where we want to go, that we can easily lose sight of current realities. By current realities, I mean things like relationships, situations, needs and opportunities that are part of our lives right now that could be a link to our desired future. We must not limit our dreams in light of our current realities, but neither should we underestimate the connection our current realities can play in helping us achieve our goals.

A healthy balance is usually a good thing. Let's keep moving toward our goals without ignoring the possibilities that surround us right now. Rather than waiting for something special to happen, understanding what you have available to work with right now is often the best place to get started. Acting like our calling is a future event is a common behavior that holds people back. Our calling does involve the future, but the future is built on what we are doing today.

That's what Empower NBCA School of Ministry is all about. Growing into our God-given calling by getting busy with present opportunities to learn and serve. Because the future really is now. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Under Construction

Under Construction

The story goes that as a man was walking through a large city one day, he came across a large construction site. Curious, he asked one of the workers what they were doing. With no emotion, "Laying bricks" was all he said. Still curious, the man asked a second worker what they were doing. Without looking up, the second worker replied, "Earning a paycheck". Finally, the man encountered a third worker, to whom he directed the same question. This time, however, he received a much different response. The third worker stopped for a moment, looked the man right in the eye, and with
excitement on his face and awe in his voice, he answered, "I am building a cathedral". 

How is it that outwardly, people can appear to be doing the same thing, yet inwardly they are experiencing different realities? It's all about attitude. It's all about perspective. It's all about seeing the bigger picture. That's what Empower is really all about. Sure, we are a school with classes and teachers and books. But there is much more. Empower is a mindset, it is an understanding of how God wants to make you into someone who is making a difference. Down deep, that's what we really want. We want our life to matter, we want our life to make sense, we want our life to count for something special.

The third worker from our story got it. He saw beyond the daily grind. He saw beyond the task at hand. He saw the lasting result of his labor. It was under construction, but he was empowered by his vision, which transferred into empowering his activity. His inward reality impacted his external performance. From where I sit, that is a good example of living empowered.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Place Called There

A Place Called There

The account of Saul's conversion to Christ is an amazing story. It appears three times in the Book of Acts, in chapter, 9, 22, and 26. When something is repeated that often in Scripture, we need to pay attention. His experience left a lasting impression on Saul (who later became known as the Apostle Paul), and it became the driving force of his life. He used his story to convince others of their need for salvation, and of Christ's mandate to preach the gospel to all men.

As Paul recounts how he had a vision of Jesus along the road to Damascus, we can learn from his experience. After an intense light from heaven knocks him to the ground, he hears the voice of the Lord. He responds with two question. First, who are you Lord? And secondly, What should I do?

These two questions sum up the hunger of the human heart. Within each human soul, there is a desire to know God and to know how we can honor him. The Lord answers his questions by saying, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, and then he tells him to go into Damascus, THERE you will be told what you are assigned to do.

Why didn't Jesus just tell him everything right then and there? Why was Saul instructed to go into the city to receive further information? Could this be a pattern for us to follow? Just like Paul, do we also have a place called there, where we will receive what our hearts long to know? Of course, God can do whatever he likes, and I don't think everyone's experience is exactly the same. However, I do think  this story highlights an important truth for us all. There are places and people that God intends to use to help shape and direct our lives. 

That's what Empower NBCA School of Ministry is all about. To be a place where people can come to learn more about what God wants them to do. To be a place called there.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Destiny Road

Destiny Road

Destiny is an interesting yet often confusing concept. We all like to believe there is something good out there waiting to happen for us. However, there are plenty of differing ideas on how this is supposed to work.

Is it fate? Some heavenly force that predetermines all of life for us. Or is it personal responsibility? Picking ourselves by the bootstraps and pushing through the obstacles of life with grit and a positive outlook? Maybe it's a combination of both, knowing that God has a plan for us, yet also being aware of our need to search it out and follow the plan with faith on Destiny Road.

Destiny involves a destination. There is a place we need to get to. But it's more than just that, it also involves the path we take to get there. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that as believers in Christ, we enter into a relationship with him that includes a God-ordained plan for us. There is a path prepared for us to follow, yet we must apply ourselves to the pursuit of this destiny or we may miss it. 

That's what Empower NBCA School of Ministry is all about. Helping people grow in faith and in their understanding of following God's plan for their lives. Are you confident that you are on Destiny Road?

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Built to Last

Built to Last

There used to be a time when things were built to last. Advertisers would tell you about the long-lasting quality of their products. But things have changed. We now live in a disposable society where having the latest and greatest things seems to be of primary importance.

It doesn't take long before a newer version of things comes along, and entices us to upgrade. Upgrading is great, and the constant stream of innovation has made the world a better place in many ways. However, when it comes to following the call of God, let's not forget the value of standing the test of time.

Jesus said in John 15:16, You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit - fruit that will last. Lasting value and enduring impact is the goal of God's call on our lives. We are not called to be a flash in the pan, here today and gone tomorrow. When the Lord gets hold of our lives, we are built to last.

We need not be opposed to new things. We should take advantage of all the tools at our disposal to serve the Lord. Yet, let us guard against the cultural mindset that can blind us to our true purpose. Let's not just live for today, let's keep the big picture in view. Let's stay on the cutting edge without forfeiting our commitment to bearing fruit that will last.

That's what Empower NBCA School of Ministry is all about. Growing disciples that will remain. Developing leaders that will endure. Making an impact that is built to last. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Time Change

Time Change

Here we go again. This weekend we change the clocks again. The spring and fall ritual of moving up or turning back the clocks one hour.

Time is an interesting thing. It controls and directs our lives in so many ways. It's one of those things that we all seem to want more of. Yet no matter how hard we try, we each feel the limitations of time. Whether we change the clock an hour ahead or an hour back, it's still ticking. Each day still has only 24 hours.

There is so much we could do, if only we had more time. Rather than wishing for more time, maybe the better approach is to make the most of the time we have. The Bible calls it "redeeming the time". (see Ephesians 5:16)

A friend of mine was recently badly injured in a motorcycle accident. He spoke of lying on the road after the accident, not sure if he would survive. He felt regret that he had not done more for the Lord during his life. Thankfully, he did survive and is now recovering. But his story challenges us to take a hard look at our lives. How are we using our time?

That's what Empower NBCA School of Ministry is all about. Helping people redeem the time by seeking out the call of God on their lives, and preparing to follow the call wholeheartedly. There is no greater use of our time than to spend it in the service of our Savior. 


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Traits of a World-Changer

Traits of a World-Changer

It's been jokingly said that there are three kinds of people. Those who watch things happen. Those who make things happen. And those who don't know what happened. There is some truth to this statement, and it gives us something to consider. How are we changing the world?

History records many people who have impacted the world in profound ways. Freedom fighters like  Moses, Martin Luther, Abraham Lincoln, and Nelson Mandela. Inventors like the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell. Explorers like Magellan, Christopher Columbus, and Lewis & Clark. And the list goes on of thinkers, writers, musicians, scientists, humanitarians, and soldiers and statesman who have left their mark.

Not everyone has made such large or noticeable contributions. Countless others have been a great blessing just by being a loving parent, a good friend, or a faithful employee. Being a world-changer doesn't necessarily mean being famous. But there are several common traits we can identify among those who make a significant difference in the world.

First of all, they live with a strong sense of purpose. They don't live randomly or haphazardly. They have visionary focus and an intense feeling of mission. Secondly, they live by their convictions. Most people have no trouble verbalizing their beliefs. Having the courage and commitment to live by those beliefs isn't as common. Lastly, they are people of action. They understand that while change begins with ideas, it must eventually be converted into meaningful action. World-changers and difference-makers follow through with strategic action.

That's what Empower NBCA School of Ministry is all about. Developing the traits of a world-changer. How are you changing the world?