Thursday, January 31, 2013

CARETAKERS, NOT OWNERS


By:  V. Grounds

“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this?Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” – 1 Chron. 29:14 (NIV)

John Hauberg and his wife live in a stunning home in Seattle. It is built mostly of glass inside and out. Hundreds of glass artifacts decorate the light-flooded rooms, and even the sinks, shelves, and mantelpieces are made of glass.

You might think that the Haubergs would be in constant fear that something would break. On the contrary, they invite visitors to roam freely throughout their entire home. John is also a connoisseur of Native American crafts, but he has donated his entire collection to the Seattle Art Museum. His motive is not to hoard but to share. “I’m not an owner,” he says. “I am a caretaker.”

John Hauberg’s comment expresses in a simple sentence a basic biblical principle that applies to all our possessions: We aren’t owners; we are caretakers. Legally, of course, we own our possessions. But as Christians, we gladly acknowledge with David that “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1).

By right of creation, God holds the title deed to all that exists, including us and whatever we possess. Temporarily He allows us to use the resources of His world. But in the end it all reverts to Him. Are we being wise and generous caretakers of God’s property?

Naught that I have my own I call,
I hold it for the Giver;
My heart, my strength, my life, my all
Are His, and His forever. —Small

The only things we really lose are those things we try to keep.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

PLAY TO WIN


By:  J. Gordon

There was a time in most of our lives when we had no fear-that feeling when we jumped from the jungle gym and slammed our little bodies to the ground. Perhaps it was when we went on our first roller coaster, or when we were in high school or college and felt that there was nothing we couldn’t do. No goal was unattainable. We were an unstoppable force that would think of something and then make it happen. Then, as time goes by, the world tells us more frequently that we can’t do what we want. The doubters laugh at our goals and try to persuade us from going after our dreams.

They say, “You’re crazy. It’s too hard. Why don’t you do this instead? You should play it safe.” They act as if dreams were meant for others but not people like us. They surround us with negative energy and try to instill their own fears and insecurities in us. We not only begin to know the word “fear,” we start to understand what it’s like to be fearful. With so many people telling us we can’t do something and so few telling us we can, it’s hard not to let fear into our lives. Unfortunately this is how many of us go through life.

Whether you are 20 or 50, many of us become so scared of losing what we have that we don’t go after what we truly want. We play it safe and hold on so tight to the status quo that we never experience what could be. We believe the doubters and don’t take chances that will move us one step towards our dreams. I call this “playing to lose.”

We see this in sports all the time when a team has the lead. They start to think about how not to lose instead of how to win. They hold on so tight to their lead that they start playing safe and scared. You can see it in their energy and body language. As a result the other team takes chances, plays with no fear and eventually gains the momentum and wins.

To live a life filled with positive energy we must learn to repel the energy of fear. Whether it comes from within or from another person, we must overcome fear and adopt a “Play to Win” mindset. Playing to win requires a commitment to yourself that even if you fail, you will never give up and never let your goals and dreams die.

Those who play to win know that success is not given to us. It is pursued with all the energy and sweat we can muster. Obstacles and struggles are part of life and only serve to make us appreciate our success.

If everything came easy we wouldn’t know what it felt like to truly succeed. Obstacles are meant to be overcome. Fear is meant to be conquered. Success is meant to be achieved. They are all part of the game of life and the people who succeed play to win and never give up until the game is over.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

KEEP ON SCRATCHING


By:  John L. M.

Never give up on what you know you really should do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts. Remember overnight success takes about ten years. The "man of the hour" spent many days and nights getting there. Consider the man who said "My overnight success was the longest night of my life." Winners simply do what losers don't want to do.

In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins - not through strength but perseverance. Christopher Morley says, "Big shots are only little shots that keep shooting".

Judas was an example of someone who began the good fight but lacked persistence. Many of the world's great failures did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Stopping at third base adds no more score than striking out.

"You have no right to anything you have not pursued. For the proof of desire is in the pursuit", says Mike Murdock.

Enduring is a military term meaning to hold up courageously under fire. When you feel like quitting, bring more of God into that area of your life.

Proverbs 16:3 NIV says, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."

There is no greater wealth than the wealth of commitment. It cannot be robbed from you.

Trying times are no time to quit trying. The secret of success is to start from scratch and keep on scratching.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

YOU NEED TENSION TO BE HAPPY


By:  B. Sanchez

You need tension in your life.

Because there’s such a thing as good tension and bad tension.

Warning: Don’t dream of having zero tension in your life. 

The reason why you can stand up is because there’s tension in your feet, in your ankles, in your knees, in your hips, and in your spine. If there was no tension in your body, you’d be a mound of jello on the floor.

Some people dream of sitting on the beach, lying on a recliner, their feet propped up, sipping a tall glass of orange juice, and playing on their iPads. Do that for one day and you’ll be happy. Do that for one week and there’s an off chance that you’ll still be happy.   Do that for one month and I’m sure you’re bored to death. Do that for one year and I bet you’re going crazy.

If you want to be happy, you need tension in your life. 

And do you know where good tension comes from?

Tension comes from Vision…

This Tension Will Keep You Alive

During World War II, in a Nazi concentration camp, cruel doctors experimented on the most effective way of crushing the human spirit. They thought that what would do that was to remove every remaining shred of physical comfort. So they removed chairs, beds, and extra clothes in the prison cells. Prisoners suffered… But somehow, they survived. 

Next, the prison guards cut the food ration to half.  Again, the prisoners suffered, became exceedingly thin… But they survived. Next, they increased their work hours from 12 hours to 16 hours a day. Again, the prisoners suffered tremendously, became sickly and fainted at different times… But they survived.

It seemed as though nothing could break the human spirit.

Finally, the Nazis tried one last experiment. One morning, the prison guards asked the prisoners to dig a hole in the ground. So the entire day, with shovels and pickax and wheelbarrow, they made a gigantic hole. 

The next day, when they woke up, the prison guards asked the prisoners to cover the hole again. The prisoners were perplexed and didn’t understand, but they obeyed. 

The next morning, the prison guards asked them to dig the hole again. Everyday, they asked them to do the very opposite of what they did the previous day. On and on it went. 

Result? Two weeks later, the prisoners began to die one by one.

Why? More than our need for food, or comfort, or sleep—we need purpose. We need the tension of purpose. When what I do has no more purpose, something in me dies.

When there is no purpose, there is no pull.

Where there is no target, there is no tension.

Is Your Heart Big?

God gave us a big heart. 

But many people’s hearts are small.

Why? Because they are not stretched. Because stretch comes from vision.

Your heart was designed by God to be so big, it can stretch from your present location to your future vision.  Jesus said, your heart will be where your treasure is. If your vision is very important to you, even if your vision is far away, your heart is already there with your vision.  Your heart is here in your present location and there in your future vision. And there lies the beautiful tension that will keep you alive!

Is Your Vision Big Enough To Pull You?

       Here’s what I realized about life: The bigger the purpose, the bigger the pull; The farther the target, the stronger the tension.

If you talk to kids and ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” some of them will tell you of their wild, crazy dreams. “I want to be a Pilot!” or “I want to be a preacher!” or “I want to be a billionaire!” Kids say it with so much confidence and certainty.

       Sadly, after just a few years later, all that childlike confidence flies out the window. Why? One reason: Because well-meaning adults take it away from them. Adults say, “Be realistic. You’re poor. Your parents are poor. You’re not very bright. You look ugly. You’re not very special. You’re setting up yourself for big disappointments. If I were you, you should lower your dreams.” Soon, harsh reality sets in. Negativity sets in. Discouragement sets in. Frustration sets in. And all those big dreams fly out of the window as well.

       When that happens, the heart becomes small. Tension disappears. And people begin to live small lives.

Today, I’m here to help you recapture this fantastic childlike ability to dream. Start dreaming big dreams again. Cast a big vision in front of you. A big vision is better than a small vision, because a big purpose has bigger pull. But big visions are necessary to create enough tension to draw us out of our reality.

Big Vision Is Better Than Small Vision

      Four years ago, I declared on stage, “We dream of building 1000 Feasts” around the world. At that time, there were some well-meaning friends who told me, “Bo, be more realistic. Perhaps 100 Feasts is a more doable figure. You might just be setting yourself for failure.”

       Today, after four years, there are 110 Feasts around the world. Despite the fact that I’m telling all the leaders of the Light of Jesus, “We’re not in a hurry. Don’t go fast. Enjoy everyday of the journey.” But our leaders are saying, “We’re not going fast. Bo, this is slow!”

       We’re experiencing a pull because we have a big vision.

       Let me ask you, “What’s your vision?”

Focus On Your Vision-Giver

       Remember this story? As long as Peter fixed His eyes on the Vision—Jesus—He was able to walk on water. But the moment he looked at the winds and the waves, he started sinking.

       Do you feel like you’re sinking right now in your problems?

       Focus on your Vision. Forget everything else. More importantly, focus on the Vision-Giver. God is giving you a Vision. And He is telling you that this is what your future will be.

       Don’t pay attention to your problems.

       Don’t pay attention to those who criticize you.

       Don’t pay attention to those who tell you that you can’t do it.

       Pay attention to only two things: (1) Your Big Vision and (2) your Big Vision-Giver. The Bible says,Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

       Ultimately, your Vision is to “be like Him”. When does it happen?   It happens when “Christ appears”. When you see Jesus, you become like Him.

Do you know why worship is important? Worship isn’t singing a bunch of songs. Worship is seeing God.

       Don’t just see your Vision; see your Vision-Giver. 

At the end of the day, you’ll realize that your Vision and your Vision-Giver are one!

Friday, January 4, 2013

7 GOOD HABITS OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE


By:  B. Tracy

Successful people are where they are today as a result of their habits.  Your habits determine fully 95% of your behavior.  Everything that you are or that you will ever accomplish will be determined by the quality of the habits that you form. By creating good habits and becoming goal oriented you can become successful and live a prosperous life.

Successful People Maintain 7 Good Habits
Success in human life has been studied by the great thinkers and philosophers for at least 2500 years.  I have personally studied the subject for more than 30 years.  What I have found is that the very best people have good habits. I have identified seven habits that you need to develop if you want to perform at your very maximum in everything you do.

Be Goal Oriented
The first is to become goal oriented. You need to be a habitual goal setter, and dedicate yourself to working from clear, written goals every day of your life.  All highly successful people are intensely goal oriented. They know exactly what they want, they have it written down, they have written plans to accomplish it, and they both review and work on their plans every single day.

Be Result Oriented
The second habit successful people develop is result orientation.  Result orientation is made up of two practices.  The first is the practice of continuously so that you become better at what you do.  The second practice is that of time management, which means setting very clear priorities on what you do and then concentrating single-mindedly on the most valuable use of your time.  All really successful people are intensely result oriented.

Be Action Oriented
The third major habit you need to develop is that of action orientation.  This is really the most important habit for material success.  It is the ability to get on with the job and get it done fast.  It is your ability to develop and maintain a sense of urgency, a bias for action.  Fast tempo in whatever you do is essential to your success.  You need to overcome procrastination, push aside your fears and launch 100% toward the achievement of your most important goals.  The combination of goal orientation, result orientation and action orientation, in themselves, will virtually assure great success.

Be People Oriented
The fourth habit you need is people orientation.  This is where you put relationships in the center of your life.  This is your decision to cultivate within yourself the habits of patience, kindness, compassion and understanding.  Virtually all of your happiness in life will come from your ability to get along well with other people.

Be Health Oriented
The fifth habit successful people develop is health orientation.  This means that you must fastidiously watch your diet, and always eat the right foods in the right proportions.  You must exercise on a regular basis, continually using every muscle and joint of your body to keep it young and fit.  And finally you must have good habits of rest and recreation that will enable you, in combination with diet and exercise, to live to be 80 or 90 years old.  Remember, your health is the most important single thing you have, and it is completely subject to the habits that you develop with regard to the way you live.

Stay Honest
The sixth habit is that of honesty and integrity.  In the final analysis, the character you develop as you go through life is more important than virtually anything else.  Honesty means that you practice the “reality principle” in everything you do.  You are completely objective with yourself and with the world around you.  You set very clear values for yourself and you organize yourself around your values.  You develop a vision for yourself and then you live your life consistent with your highest ideals.  You never compromise your integrity or peace of mind for anyone or anything.

This attitude of honesty is critical to your enjoying all of the other good habits that you are developing.

Be Self-Disciplined
The seventh habit, and the one habit that guarantees all the others, is that of self-discipline.  Your ability to discipline yourself, to master yourself, to control yourself, is the most important single quality that you can develop as a person.  The habit of self-discipline goes hand in hand with success in every area of life.

Every one of these habits, being goal oriented, result orientated, action orientated, people orientated, health orientated, honesty and self-disciplined can be developed.  You are where you are and what you are today because of your habits.  Your habits have been developing, mostly accidentally, from the time you were an infant.  Today you can take complete control over the shaping of your character and personality, and everything that happens to you in the future, by making the decision, right now, to define and to develop the habits that will lead you to great success.  And when you develop the same good habits possessed by other successful people, you must and will enjoy their success as well.  Your future will become unlimited.