reverse trip to the promised land

We all have the image and story in mind when we talk about the Promised Land.  The people of God were freed from captivity in Egypt and began their journey to the Promised Land.  And some of us right now feel like this is where we are at.  Maybe on the journey.  Maybe still not yet freed.  Or maybe we are in the Promised Land and do not even realize it.  I think our Promise Land experience has a lot to do with our Promised Land perspective.  We may be in the PL right now, but because our hearts are not right, our attitudes are a bit “off”, we can’t fully submit to authority, etc, we think we are in captivity.  Be faithful in seeking God on where your heart is and attitude and thoughts etc.  This is the lens that we need to use to see where we are on our PL journey.  If we are not careful…I think God will take us on a reverse trip to the PL.  I think sometimes God needs to take us out of the PL that we are in right now and take us on a trip to captivity in Egypt, to work on some stuff inside of us.  If that is you…work on those things…get right with God…get your perspective right…make necessary amends…seek wise counsel…put your travel plan together…and then get back to your place in the PL that God has prepared for you!

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what James taught me about titles

Today, I feel we live in a culture that is eating, living, and breathing titles.  It has become a standard of success or a destiny to shoot for.  It has become this thing that is attached to our email signatures, our business cards, on our slides during presentations, etc. I get that we need those titles for identification purposes and so another individual can clearly know who to come to when a problem arises, or sign offs need to happen, etc.  And I know that a good and humble leader can also navigate these areas well.  The downside comes when that title is what you lead with…when that title becomes what you feel entitled to…or maybe when that title is where your very identity is wrapped up in.  I love what James taught me about this.  In James 1:1a it starts with “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”.  See, this could have gone two totally different ways from the same author.  It could have went the way that we just read together or maybe like this.  Hey, its me!  You know..James…Jesus’ brother.  You know the Messiah.  The One doing all of these miracles.  And so on and so forth…yada, yada, yada.  But, I think James knew what approach was going to speak louder and clearer to more people. Think about how you are using your title?!  Are you using it humbly or using it to boast?  Are you using it to help others or to use others?  Are you using it to advance the Kingdom of God or your agenda?  Just some random thoughts from my quiet time.

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trusting in God

You know what I like?!  Is when people talk about struggling with trusting God for whatever situation in their life and someone drops the standard church answer…Well in Proverbs 3:5 it says to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  And that is true.  Do NOT misunderstand me.  But let’s be honest.  It is not always that simple or easy.  Or, it is easy to be in this frame of mind when everything is rocking and rolling.  But, I have spent some time recently journeying with someone very close to my heart.  They heard God ask them to walk away from a career that they had worked very hard to get and that God blessed them with.  They were very good at what they did.  Everyone had amazing things to say about them and their work ethic.  Questions came like, “why would God give this just to take it away?”  and “He knows this is my hearts desire, so why?”  Those things are hard to answer.  Lets remind them of trusting in God but lets also give them a big hug.  A shoulder to cry on.  A safe place to vent.  Lets not quote scripture, mic drop, and be gone.  Lets take journeying with them serious.  Lets commit to seeing this through with them.  Lets commit to pray faithfully for them.  Lets stand in the gap with them.

Lets let them know that while they are growing in trusting in God that they can trust in us!

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ask someone to join the team

This is an interesting post.  It is very transparent and honest.  Yesterday, I got asked something new.  I got asked to join a team.  I did not give the meaning of this much thought at the time, but as time lapsed it really hit me.  I am 41 years old and I had never been asked to join a team in this sense.  I was never that gifted athletically growing up…I know, I can see the shocked look on your faces through the web!  Seriously, it was so bad that I was on the other side of the spectrum.  You know… We will take the little girl with the three legged cocker spaniel and you take Funk.  I am not saying I have not been on some incredible teams…I have been so blessed in that aspect.  I have just never been officially asked to join a team in the sense that I was yesterday.  This was about commitment.  This was about honor.  This was about digging in through the good, bad, and ugly.  This was about sacrificing for something bigger than myself.  This was about not quitting on my team.  It made me feel really good!  I wanted to pass on this great leadership nugget.  Don’t just fill a spot on the bus.  Invite someone to be part of the dream!  Cast the vision.  Share you heart.  Make sure they know the cost.  Then make the official ask.  I guarantee it will change your team dynamics for good.

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mid year thoughts

As we are about to turn the corner into the second half of the year I wanted to shoot this out.  It is about goals.  Hopefully, you set some goals at the beginning of 2016.  Now is a great time to look at those goals and see where you are at.  It can be a great time to make some minor tweaks to them.  Remember, set them high enough to challenge yourself but not too high that they are all unattainable.  If you see some that are clearly on one side or the other…make the necessary adjustments.  It’s ok to shift mid season.  You wouldn’t realize halfway into a road trip that you were going the wrong way and keep going, would you?  Second, if you didn’t set any goals at the beginning of the year, do not let that keep you from finishing strong.  Don’t wait for 2017.  Do not put off for tomorrow what you can do today!  Take some time today and set some goals.  You can read here some thoughts I had at the beginning of 2016 on setting goals.  You are responsible for your growth!  Not your boss, your parents, your pastor, etc. They all play a role in that growth, but at the end of the day, if you do not grow it is your fault.  Are you going to grow in the second half of 2016?!?!

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who are you hangin’ with

Who are you hanging with?!?!  Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  I do not know if the number side of this is true, but I do know the people you hang around is important.  If I was to list my inner circle crew here…I won’t because most of you know I was a professional meth addict and can’t remember jack without printing off my emails and using 540 post-it notes a day as reminders, I would forget someone’s name.  But if I did list them, it would be a very short list.  It is not because I cannot make friends but because I care more about depth than width in my list.  I want to be surrounded by people who encourage me, build me up, support my dreams, talk me off of the ledge, have my back when the bottom falls out…those types of situations.  BUT, I also want them to tell me when I am blowing it, making bad leadership decisions, the message I gave sucked, I didn’t give my full attention or best effort.  I don’t want people who only tell me what I did that was great…most of us know what we are good at.  I want people who speak freely, in love, into my life to make me the best version of me that I can be.  People that help me live out my God-given potential and calling.  So this is part one to this blog.  Here is question one: Is who I am hanging with making me become the Version 2.0 of me?  If not, it is time for some course correction!

Here is part two.  Am I that kind of person to other people in my life?  Am I there to invest in someone?  Am I there to help someone take the next step towards their dream?  Am I there to help someone get to the next level?  Do I have their back?  You get the point.  This is also two-sided.  Am I there to speak in love to a difficult area that needs correcting?  A difficult growth edge?  An obvious moral area?  We cannot have all grace and no truth!  Here is the second question: Am I helping someone become a better, new and improved, Version 2.0 of themselves?  If not, evaluate that today on the drive to work or home from a meeting.  Ask God to place someone in your life that you can pour into!

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lean into the situation

Yesterday I made the last trip back and forth from Durham to Knoxville in the moving process. This started out as 119 days that we would be separated as a family. As of today we are on the 4 day countdown clock!  This was a lot tougher than at least I thought it would be. The first few weeks I was in push back mode.  I found myself having difficult conversations with God.  I could tell I was extra moody and was not myself spiritually. Like anything in life…we have a choice. I could have kept on wrestling this process OR I could lean into it. I chose to lean into it and look for the blessing in the journey…the testimony in the test…the growth edge for me in this season. I am coming out of this season with the greatest dependence and trust in God than I ever have had.  I have this new and deeper understanding of my God given calling of the pastor of my home. I know I can endure anything for a season to walk in his plan and purpose. I know better than ever that where God guides, he provides. I have a deeper understanding of denying myself and taking up my cross.  The list goes on and on. 

So here is my question. What situation do you need to lean into right now in your journey so God can continue to develop the work which he started?!?!

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an honest post about fear

Here is me sharing my heart and being very honest about fear.  Some of you know me and I believe that I am not alone in thinking and feeling this way.  Over the last 8 ish years I have become very aware of my fear of fear.  Let me unpack this a bit.  I have this very warped blend of a fear of success and a fear of failure at the exact same time.  I know…messed up right!  My fear of failure is not in the act of failing.  I dig an opportunity to grow through and from failing.  I think a lot of us never reach our full potential in Christ because we won’t risk more and put ourselves out there.  I love to learn from my mistakes and grow as a leader from them.  I also love to share openly about my experiences with others in hopes someone might save a step along the way.  My real fear of failure is the leading up to and chance I might not have it all together.  Now, here is the part about fear of success.  I have this fear that at some point, I will peak or get so comfortable in my role that I lose the desire to grow.  It is a season I just came out of.  I was no longer challenged and internally lost my desire to move the ball forward.  It was a horrible place to be as a leader. 

Here is what I have learned with my jacked up view of fear. You can either run from it or lean into it. You can either throw your hands up in defeat or dig in deeper in facing it. You can either let it win or take a step today in changing the course. Fear is always going to be there poking its head up when we least expect it and certainly don’t need it. BUT, we have a choice and we have to own that choice. What will you choose today?!

 

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teaching a middle aged dog a new skill

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We’ve all heard you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. That is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. As a free side note…do not ever allow yourself to go to a place where you feel you cannot learn any more!  Stay hungry and hustle!

I wanted to share about teaching a middle aged dog a new skill.  Our family is in the exciting process of starting our new chapter in Durham.  I was the first Funk family member to make the move.  Last weekend our family pet, Chester, was the second Funk family member to make the move to Durham.  He is our 4 year old cocker spaniel.  We got settled into my second floor apartment.  The first time I was going to let him out to use the bathroom I found out something shocking.  He didn’t know how to go down stairs!  At first, I was blown away.  What kind of dog can’t go down stairs?!?!  He was scared and would not take even one step down.  The first time I ended up carrying him down all the way.  Then I thought, I am not doing this with a 42 pound dog for the next few months.  The next time I carried him down to the last 3 steps and let him get comfortable.  Every time I added a couple of stairs to his journey.  After 2 days, he could do it top to bottom with no problem.

What are you facing today that seems like you can’t do it?  What stairs do you have to climb?  Get after it!  Start with a couple of small steps towards that direction and add to it tomorrow.  Do not ever believe the lie that you cannot learn a new trick!

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what you can do to help

Here is what I feel is one of the best things you can do as a church staff person.  Support your pastor!  One of my mentors, Robert the Bruce, taught me this early on.  He started to coach me and before he taught me about leadership, team meetings, budgets, etc…he taught me to honor and support my pastor.  Here are some of the thoughts he shared with me:

  1. Don’t be another yes person.  Your pastor does not need another one.  Share your thoughts and ideas IN LOVE with them. They need other view points.  If they want to sell apples and you feel oranges…say so.  But, do not miss this.  At the end of the day, they say it is apples, your job is to sell as many apples as you can.  This honors your pastor.
  2. Pray for your pastor.  Ask them specifically what they need/want prayer for.  Commit to doing so.  No pastor will tell you they won’t take prayer for anointing, vision, marriage, kids, etc.
  3. Think steps ahead of your pastor.  Learn how they think and work and do your best to line up with that.  Know what the expect and when.  Learn the small things that can free them up.  Here is an example.  When I travel with my pastor, he never has to ask for anything.  The travel details, itinerary, transportation, receipts, etc are always taken care of.
  4. Support your pastor privately and publicly.  Have their back ALWAYS in the open.  This will build unbreakable trust.
  5. Be the best extension of them that you can be!  Champion the vision and culture.  Learn how and when to respond in a way that they would.  Your job is to be the face for them when and where they cannot be.  Do NOT blow this.

This is not an all inclusive list but a few things I was taught early on.  Hope it helps.

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fight one more day

Not every day goes according to plan. Not every outcome ends up how we think it should. Some days are tougher than others. Some battles take everything you have inside of you to fight. I am not sure what you were facing today but I want to encourage you to fight one more day.

Here are a couple of things I use to help me in seasons like this. The first thing is God. I stand on his word. I stand on his promises. I believe with all of my heart he is a good, good father who desires good things for me.  I also hold on to what I know he has revealed to me. Do not doubt in the dark what God has revealed in the light. 

The second thing was something one of my first sponsors told me a long time ago.  He would tell me that if today was really that tough… Just go to bed! Get up and start over and fresh the next day.  Reflect on the current day and get your plan together for how you can change the outcome of the next day.  We have to own our part in situations like this. 

The third and final thing is something we have on staff at church. It is called vision submission.  Here is a brief summary of what the definition looks like.  Vision submission is the willingness to eagerly and joyfully submit to the Vision and Plan God has given us.  This really means… It is not all about you! It is about seeing a bigger plan. It comes down to trusting those who lead you and who lead around you.

However you choose to walk through your current battle. I want to encourage you to fight one more day!

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the struggle is real with obedience

I just felt like taking a few moments today and recapping my journey with obedience over the last twelve months and hope someone can take a nugget of hope and encouragement away.

I spent five days journeying with the Lord during a season of change in February of 2015. He hooked me up with this radical Pastor and crazy church movement.  I knew in that moment He spoke and told me to move.  But it required getting uncomfortable.  I chose to not obey because of fear.  Coming full circle twelve months later, I have now been a month in this new season and walking in obedience.  God never wastes His vision…His purpose…His plan.  God gets what God wants!

My encouragement is this…if you missed a moment of obedience, it is not too late.  Use a moment today to revisit that area in your life.  God is still in the business of honoring obedience…even if we show up a bit late 🙂

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is it really adversity?

Just an afternoon thought.

No one likes doors to shut.  It can leave us hurt, angry, or disappointed.  Sometimes we work very hard at something and do our part to navigate to the door only to have it shut.  I mean really, all of that effort for what?!  I even feel that we have this tendency to blame the enemy for the doors shutting.  Don’t get me wrong….the enemy is very real and the battle is a daily war.  But, not everything that happens is his  fault.

I have been trying this new perspective on doors.  Cause, I will be honest here…when doors shut on me I get the same way.  I get ticked and have been known to throw some of the nicest black tie pity parties around.  I am trying to shift my focus from a door shutting is negative to the next door God is opening to walk closer to Him and His will.  It is starting to shift my thought pattern to asking God where is that next door and thank you for shutting this door.  And doors shutting can also save us from a lot of headaches and heart breaks down the road that we cannot even begin to see yet.

I have been working very hard on a project lately and can not seem to buy an open door. Again, a new outlook does not mean that there is not some frustrations along the way.  But I am starting to ask God different questions as the doors shut.  I am not giving up at the doors quit yet.  I am still trying to do my part to open them.  While I am trying to pry them open, I am choosing to not see a negative but a God who still knows best!

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a piece from my story to encourage you today

As I was in my quiet time this morning God brought me back to conversation I had yesterday. I was riding in the car with our newest Campus Pastor Trent. We were just coming back from spending the day helping out Pastor Chris at the Hillsborough campus. He was asking me how I got to where I was at today post surrendering my addiction. I shared for a few moments and then shared one of the most important takeaways that I got from that season of my life. 

We serve a good God. We serve a loving, compassionate, grace giving, mercy giving, forgiving God.  

Here’s my encouragement for you today. No matter what you’ve walked through or what you were currently walking through. No matter how far you’ve gone down that deep and dark path. No matter how fast and far you think you have ran from God. There is nothing we can do or no place we can hide, that God cannot touch us.

I want to challenge you to spend a few moments today asking God to invade that area of your life. Just surrender it to Him. He doesn’t want us or expect us to clean all of that junk up before we come to him. He wants is just the way that we are!

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who is taking you to the gym

Just a quick post to reflect and hopefully challenge or encourage someone today. Hopefully we all have someone we are investing in. I had forgotten until recently how valuable it was for someone to take me to the gym. No, not the literal gym. But the gym of exercising and growing my muscle of faith.  Let me add this disclaimer… At a certain level of leadership, it is our job to be our biggest cheerleaders, advocates for growth, and hungry for the next level. But I still think no matter what level we lead at we need someone urging us along. It had been a very long time since I have been challenged to stretch my faith. As I was walking through this most recent chapter, I discovered just how long it had really been.  My faith muscle was very weak. As a few months went by and I would go back and forth about stepping out in faith, I finally got taken to the gym. It was a very simple work out but effective at the same time. All the text said was, when are you going to step out in faith?  

That’s my challenge today for you… When are you going to step out in faith in whatever area that is?

Thank you PBK!

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leader or manager…but from a different view

I wanted to look at this whole leader vs. manager thing but from a different view point.  I would say that we would all have the same definition of these words…give or take an adjective or two.  I do not want to focus on differences but on how we lead these people that are on our team.

I would say most leaders want leaders.  However, I have seen a few positions that only require someone to manage them.  This doesn’t mean that we don’t invest in them or help them grow.  That is a non-negotiable.  This just means that it really only requires a box checker or someone to execute something that is already developed.   We do not need someone to create something, improve something, or lead teams.  It is a clearly identified role.  Here is where I am going with this from the hiring/leading perspective…

PLEASE, do not sell a manager role to them as “leadership”.  Be up front with the expectations, what is required, and the honest deal with what is needed.  The problem is when we mis-sell a position to a leader that ends up with them being a box checker…everything will suffer.  The organization will suffer because at some point the leader will be forced to leave.  This could be a real game changer for the organization that is now headed down the road.  A genuine leader will not be happy for a long period of time checking boxes.  Now, the organization is back to filling a position, the team is back to starting over with connecting and jelling, and could have fall out from the “customer”. It is just so not worth it!

Hire a manager to manage and a leader to lead…just my thoughts…

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A few days into the new year

So, we are a few days into the new year.  Curious on how many people set resolutions or did a growth plan for 2016?! And if you did, where are you at with hitting those these first few days in?!

I am a huge fan of growth plans.  I have done one for the past 6 years.  If you are a leader, it is tough to grow without a plan on how to get there.  No one would take a vacation without figuring out where to go, how much money it would cost, how long to go for, etc.  Your trajectory to better influence is the same way.  We have to remember that we will always be the lid on where we lead.  If we are not growing we are go backwards.

Here are a few thoughts on my approach to a growth plan…

  • Make it custom and keep it simple
    • Don’t use someone else’s plan…using a template is fine but do not use their goals
    • It should be easy to read and easy to see how you are doing
    • Check it regularly to see how you are doing
    • Don’t be afraid to adjust mid year or quarterly
    • Make the goals to push you but be reachable
  • I focus on a few areas on my plan
    • Spiritual
      • My bible reading
      • My daily devotions
      • My prayer time
    • Family
      • Vacations
      • Date days with spouse and daughter
      • Intentionally leading them
    • Ministry
      • Developing a Timothy
      • Investing in leaders
      • Working on communication
    • Sometimes depending on the season, I will add something custom like:
      • Fitness (when I needed to lose 100 lbs)
      • Money…trying to pay off a debt or get a savings set up

There is no right or wrong to this.  The goal is for you to get better against the current version of yourself!  Let 2016 be the year that your influence goes to the next level.

If you have not set some goals or put a plan together for 2016…it is not too late!  Spend a few minutes this week and hit next week off to the races.

 

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Both sides to leaving…

I just wanted to share some random thoughts about leaving.  From both sides…

First, no one stays on a team forever.  That said, as leaders, be ready to lose someone.  It is ok.  Don’t worry about that.  Don’t let that impact your investment.  Do your best to equip them to be all that God wants them to be no matter where that is.  As a leader, it is our job to love on them and walk with them until their last day.  Be a blessing and not a hinderance.  Be a encourager and not a limiter.  Be a springboard for them and not a sandbag.  Saying you care is not the same thing as showing you care.  Your investment with them until the end will show God you care about the resources He has trusted you with.  This is a serious matter.  I walked through this recently with a great friend of mine, Pastor Kevin.  PK left for Colorado 3 months ago and I care even more about him today than when he was on our team.  I want to be one of his biggest cheerleaders and fans.  I knew God was steering him a different direction, and while it was tough and sad, as a leader, it allowed me a new chapter from a different perspective, to continue to invest in him and remain part of his journey.  Please do not cut someone off and cast them a side because they announce they are leaving or they have done all for you that they can.  Be a bigger leader than that.

Second, here are a few thoughts on how to leave.  One of my mentors, RTB, taught me to always leave something better than how I found it.  Give everything you have until your last day.  Do not slow down or lay up.   Do not do it for a person or your boss but do it because it honors God and the calling that He has given to you.  Do not leave destruction in your wake.  Set the team and next leader up to jump off of your shoulders and not to be stuck behind picking up the pieces.  Cast an exciting vision.  Speak hope and life and NOT death and defeat.  It is your job to be the best leader you can be until your last day.  I really believe that how you finish one chapter will greatly determine how you start the next chapter.  Finish strong and be ready to start even stronger!

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what Seattle taught this Packer fan

Wow!  What a great NFC Championship game.  As a Packer fan I was not pleased with the results.  I would have loved to watched the Pack play in a Super Bowl this year.  But instead of crying and praying plagues of frogs and locusts to the individuals who text me to rub it in….I am going to look at three things I learned.

First, never give up.  It doesn’t matter what slump you are in or what you are walking through.  NEVER give up.  Keep fighting.  Keep trying different plays to change the outcome of your situation.  It is not over until the final whistle.

Second, it does not matter how you started only how you finish.  Listen, we all blow it. Make mistakes.  Mess up.  God does not care about what you did last year, month, day, or hour but rather what you are going to do with right now.  He is a God of grace and second chances.  His mercies are new each day.  He provides fresh manna each morning.  If you did not start the game real strong, switch some things up, and finish like a NFC Champ.

Finally, coaching matters.  Seattle kept fighting and calling plays to try different things to score.  I also don’t necessarily feel that kicking all of the field goals in the red zone against the defending champs was great coaching.  Sometimes you have to GO FOR IT.  Point is, coaching matters.  Each play you call matters.  Also, it is not just one coach.  There are assistant coaching who are helping to call the plays and guide the game.  Who are the coaches in your corner helping to call the plays?  THEY MATTER!  Find a coach for your current season that can help you go from down and out to the Super Bowl.

chadjfunk

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God’s view or ours?

I took this picture from my front yard.  Today I saw this great brilliance of bright yellow that God created and I believe, put right in my path to get my attention today.  I feel that God also sees something special in His creation.  Most every other day I would have seen the dandelion that it is.  On those days, God will still see His amazing creation.  That is like a lot of us.  We have this view of ourselves based on what we, others, the world, our flesh, or the enemy shows us.  That is our view.  We see the dandelion in our past, our addiction, our shame, our guilt, our hurt, our whatever that is.  Even in this time, God sees the beauty that He created in us.  The person that is created in His image.  That is His view.  Some of us never get past those areas or to the next level because of our view.  Why not make today the day that you change the view from the dandelion to the brilliant creation that God made?  What is standing in your way?  What do you need to surrender?  Believe that God can and stand on His promises!

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One Great Reward of Leading

I have the privilege of leading two incredible teams in two different ministries.  I love watching life change happen and celebrating victories with our teams.  There is nothing greater than tripling the normal weekend attendance at Easter or watching small groups birth and open up more seats for more souls.  How great it is to see someone lay down a long time addiction at the altar.  I love celebrating folks coming down on a spontaneous baptism weekend and letting the church know they love Jesus.  The stories could go on and on.  All great things but here is one of the greatest rewards of leading.  The moment you give leadership away and watch a team member lead to the next level or have taken the lead on one of these celebrations.  That is great!  If you lead a team and are holding on too tight…STOP IT.  Let it go and let them lead.  Equip and empower your team to DO.  Do not miss out on great victories because you have to do it all or be the “leader” in all areas and initiatives.

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sometimes we must change

Change is not always an easy word to look at.  Change can be physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, or financial. Most of us do not like change because it will require an action…some genuine footwork.  These actions usually have a cost associated with them that we do not want to pay.  Most change will require some tough decisions or hard work.  This is why most people or organizations just stay right where they are.  They are crippled with pride or fear.  It seems like an unmovable mountain to change.  I took a different avenue to change than most people.  As I gave my heart to Jesus in the physciatric ward, on 24 hour suicide watch, as a $500 or so a week crystal meth junkie…I had to change or I was going to die…period.  My mentor at that time told me that the only thing I had to change about myself was everything.  This meant I was going to be making tough decisions and choices.  Today I absolutely love to seek change.  I love to grow and find ways to become better.  I am not happy with just being good.  We never get to a place where we should stop looking at what or how we are doing and what or how we can change to improve and grow. Good is the enemy of great.  Next time you are looking at change…step back for a minute, seek God, pray, have a heart check, look to the positive, seek wise counsel. What do you need to change?

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it is never too late

I had a great reminder that just happened about a week ago and I had to share and believe that it is going to be a great encouragement to someone.  I had the blessing of traveling to Israel with my Pastor and a team from our church this week.  As we flew into Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv to start our weeklong journey it hit me.  Seven years ago I am in a psych ward on suicide watch, a $600 a week crystal meth junkie, going to hell, loosing everything that was important to me.  And now…I am a pastor on staff at one of the most radical churches in the United States and about to walk where my Master walked.  That is proof that there is not a low too low for God to snatch you out of and transform your life.  There is not too much harm done, too many lies told, or too much harm that has happened that the God of all creation cannot fix, heal, change, and make new.  Or too much chaos in your wake that the God of this universe cannot take that mess and turn it into a message.  What do you need to let go of and walk in victory?

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Calling All Men

huddle

Men.  Who won the Super Bowl?  What driver is leading the points race?  What team is in the lead in the Eastern Conference?  Where is that 9/16″ deep well socket at?  Most guys could answer these questions very quickly.  What about these:  How is your families spiritual grow going?  What Book of the Bible are they reading?  What are their dreams? What is the Lord showing them right now?  Most of us cannot answer this second set as easily.

Here is just a peek into what the Bible has to say bout this:  Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.  Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go…  1 Timothy 3:4 He must manage his household well, with dignity…

I think we can all work on forward progress in leading our homes.  Read the Bible.  Read books.  Listen to podcasts.  Find an example of a godly husband/father and latch on.  Let’s up the prayer for and over our families.  God has called us to be the pastors of our homes. Let’s rise to this calling and lead our families in a manner that is honoring to God!

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Fighting Through

army man

Lets be honest.  Sometimes in our roles as leaders we face days, possibly looooong seasons, that seem like the end is never coming.  I just want this post to serve as encouragement to you that the end is coming.  You are in your current role as a leader because you ARE good enough!  You WILL bring the team the victory or win.  You ABSOLUTELY will cross that finish line.  Keep on pushing through.  Keep on fighting. Find some wise counsel to sit with (Proverbs 15:22 Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed).  Step back and breathe.  Break it down in to bite size segments and start tackling it.

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Return on Investment

roi

It is the start of a new year.  This should mean we have completed looking at where we started 2013 and where we finished 2013.  My look at that included my blog.  It was April the last time I blogged.  That is when I reviewed the return on investment for my blog.  I felt that I was not getting out a great enough return on what I was investing into it.  I am in a new season and feel that this is a great time to re-start blogging.

As leaders, it is always important to look at the return on investment for what we are doing.  This might be a blog, events, ministry direction, people, resources, etc.  Everyday we are working with limited resources with time, finances, and people.  It is our job as leaders to make sure we are getting the most out of those pieces.  Make sure you can measure your results!  Sometimes a fix might be a simple move or restructure and other times it might be a difficult conversation with someone very close to us.  As leaders we have to be able to make tough decisions to improve our ROI and try things that are out of our comfort zone and stretches us.  It is all about the bottom line.

How is your return on investment looking?  What changes do you need to make?

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emotions are great indicators

emotions

Lately I have felt like I have been caught up in a whirlwind of emotions…almost like puberty 2.0 or the girl before prom.  Whatever the case, I have been really digging into these a little bit and wanted to share what I have discovered.  I think a lot of times the world and people tell us to hide our emotions.  We also hide them behind a mask, addiction, relationship, job, or something else.  We hear “to suck it up”, or “put our big boy/girl pants on”, “its not that big of deal”, etc.  I feel sometimes that can be true but I also believe that emotions can be great indicators of our health level.  Emotions are like the indicators on your car.  Tire pressure low, check engine, change oil, low fuel etc.  I think we have to be careful not to be too dismissive of our emotions.  We need to dig in, unpack, and most importantly seek God to speak and reveal to these emotions.  I look at the life of Jesus.  Jesus felt emotions.  He was angry at the Temple over the money changers.  He cried when Lazarus died.  He felt compassion when he fed people and healed people .  He also felt love, joy, peacefulness  and much more.  Jesus felt what we feel.  Our emotions tell us things.  When our emotions are telling us to slow down we need to slow down.  When they are telling us this relationship has run the course we need to move towards closure.  When they say set boundaries  we need to set those boundaries.  When God gives us direction on these emotions we need to listen.  If He is saying this season or chapter of our journey is over we need to quit fighting Him and ask Him to show us the next chapter.  Seek first God!  I believe God gives us emotions to keep our priorities in order.  Just my random thoughts…

Today I will face my emotions and see what God is showing me!

chadjfunk

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Bitterness

I want to share a word from a video we watched in our small group the other night. The video was of Adrian Rogers and he was preaching on bitterness. Wow! This message blew me away! I think it blew all of us away and really hit home. Rather you are a baby in your walk or a mature believer, bitterness is something we ALL need to be aware of. In fact Hebrews 12:14-15 warns us of bitterness by saying, “make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many”.

One thing that Rogers said, that I absolutely love, is that “bitterness blows out the candle of joy”. We can never feel true joy if we are harboring bitterness in our heart! The seed of bitterness is a hurt and the soil is a heart that harbors hostility. Rogers warns that because the root is underground it is easily hidden. With that said if we get truly honest with ourselves we know if we are harboring any kind of anger, resentment, or hostility towards another. Personally, I believe it is hard to hide from others because it is etched in everything we do. Bitterness shows up in how we treat others and how we speak.  If we are unforgiving and hold grudges or if we find fault in everything and are critical you can bet there is bitterness that is being harbored.

Rogers went on to talk about the fruit of bitterness. Obviously it is rotten fruit! Bitterness, if not addressed, will affect us in every area of our lives. We will feel it physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Another quote I absolutely loved from the video was that “hatefulness and holiness don’t dwell in the same heart”.  If we want to live in freedom and walk in the victory that the Lord wants for us we have to eradicate bitterness from our hearts.

Rogers highlighted three things we have to do to rid ourselves of bitterness. First is let God reveal it. Pray Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”.  Second we must let grace remove the bitterness. Going back to Hebrews 12:15 “see to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many”. The final step is letting God replace that bitterness. It’s a process but if we really want the joy and freedom that Christ died for it’s a process we must go through.

I am so thankful for our small group and the spiritual growth that is taking place there.  If you’re not already plugged into a group I pray you that you will consider taking that step. I believe that small group really is the foundation of spiritual growth. God loves us. He wants us all to walk in the freedom and victory that Christ died for. My prayer for you is that you will start the process to rid your heart of the bitterness.

brandimfunk

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Jesus had ridiculous patience

Well 2013 is here and if you are like me you are reviewing you new growth plan.  It is time to celebrate the successes of 2012 and look to the ways to reach your full potential in 2013.  If you want a great growth plan to download click here.  This is one my Pastor put together from his latest book The Plan of Your Life.  As I reflect back over the last few growth plans, one area that I continue to need to work on and grow in is patience.  It is definitely not my spiritual gift!  I have decided that maybe the reason I am not growing in this area is because of lack of commitment on my part.  Usually I can, and need to take ownership when I do not hit the mark.  I focus on other areas, or start strong on patience and then fade out by mid March.  I have decided to change that this year.  I am going to pick patience as my topic of study for 2013.  That said, I give you all permission to hold me accountable on how I am doing.  See, the truth is, I just don’t kind of struggle with patience.  I struggle with patience for myself, having patience with others, and patience with God.  I took my focus on patience to Jesus.  Jesus had to have crazy, ridiculous patience.  Look at all of the distractions He faced.  His calendar on His smart phone never matched up with what He was currently doing.  C’mon, feeding of 5,000 has to take a toll on patience.  “My side dish is not correct”.  “I asked for medium rare”.  And look at the disciples.  The are the picture associated with patience in the dictionary if you asked Jesus.  Peter surely screamed out to Jesus somewhere “Have patience with me”!  I mean really, this is Peter we are talking about.  Jesus modeled patience.  I need my focus on patience to go from where I am on it to where Jesus wants me to be on it.  It is like anything else we want or want to achieve.  I have to be intentional with this.  There has to be a road map.  There has to be accountability.  2013, here I come.

Today is the day I will start my journey of growth in patience!

chadjfunk

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Disney Does It Big!

Our family took a vacation to Disney World during the summer.  What an amazing experience.  Our nine-year old, Taylor, had the time of her life.  My magical experience did not stop there.  I cannot stop reflecting on the great service and incredible vision I got to experience.  From the moment you arrive on the WD campus every moment is based upon letting you experience the “Most Magical Place On Earth”.  One of the small details that caught me was every employee calls little boys and girls princes or princesses.  As I looked around (yes, I am the people watcher in my family) all of the employees smiled all day long.  The grounds were kept spotless.  There was always bright lights and happy music.  You could feel the excitement in the air.  This experience did not just happen.  It was from great leadership and a brilliantly cast vision.  It was intentional.  If we expect to get somewhere and take people with us they must know where we are going and the steps we have in place to get there.  What if we set out each day to make our homes, our work, our communities, our church, and our world the “Most Magical Place On Earth”?  What if we would strive to replace doom and gloom with hope and Jesus?  We must believe that we can make a difference!

Today is the day I will give my best to make my environment the Most Magical Place On Earth!

chadjfunk

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Luke taught me a lesson

This past weekend my dad and I took a trip to the Ocoee River.  We stayed in a cabin for 3 days, went whitewater rafting, and got to go horseback riding.  This was the second time we got to raft together and it was a blast.  Honesty counts…I did fall out of the raft.  Hours after rafting we climbed on some horses to go on a trail into the mountains.  This was pretty big for a city boy like me.  My horses name was Luke.  I thought go with a biblical name and we would get along…not the case.  Luke had a tad bit of an attitude.  Luke was either really hard to work with or really easy to work with.  Luke was not supposed to eat the grass…but it happened to be his favorite.  To get him to stop eating the grass you had to pull up hard on the reins.  This took a lot of hard work and effort.  But to get him to go left or right, or start or stop took very little effort.  It was a simple light tug on the reins.  This reminded me of my walk and recovery.  Sometimes I get things very easy and sometimes they are very difficult.  Sometimes I am very easy to coach and other times I am like Luke and the grass.  I am learning that when things take a little more work, don’t give up on them, but stay the course.  Work hard and let yourself be coached through the situation or lesson.  If change and growth were always easy we would all be light years ahead of where we are.  It takes work and patience.  Find someone to help you on your journey!

Today is the day that I will stay the course in tough areas!

chadjfunk

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this and that

It has been a little bit since I have done a blog but it is time to get back in the game.  I took the summer off from a few different activities and things to really pour into my family.  Let me tell you it was so worth it.  We had an amazing summer cram packed with great family time and many memories.  Disney was definitely at the top of the list.  But this past week our daughter went back to school, starting 4th grade, and so it is time to get plugged back in.  This is going to be a few random thoughts and the things I took away from them or the lessons that God showed me.  August 15th was my last day at the job that brought me to Tennessee.  It was tough to say goodbye but so exciting on the other hand.  From this experience I learned that you have the ability to set the tone for that experience.  How do you want to go out? and how do you want to be remembered?  I gave 110% right up to the time I walked out of the door.  This firmed up the times that I had a chance to share the Gospel.  My walk matched my talk.  Do everything we do to honor God!  I left honoring my God, my boss, and that company.  August 16th came next.  Brandi and I celebrated our 15 year anniversary this day.  That is a great reminder that GOD CAN.  God has not just restored that relationship but He has strengthened it, made it new, and made it something truly special today.  No matter what you are facing or going through, there is ALWAYS hope in the blood of Christ.  There is no such thing as too much, too many, or too far for the God that we serve.  Lastly, is the new job I am taking.  This is going to be such an amazing opportunity to be a part of such an incredible team.  Here is what this chapter is teaching me early on.  We never get to a point that we are above an attack or temptation.  Jesus was tempted so lets not think we are beyond it too.  The enemy will use any and all chances to whisper to us about fear, doubt, worth, etc.  Remember that those things are not from God.  My mentor reminded me “to not doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light.”  When you know it is from God, move forward and never look back.  God will not leave us or forsake us.  Look back at times that God has come through and lean on them.  This is why I feel that keeping a journal is so important.  It is our historical data.

Today is the day that I will fully trust in God all areas of my life!

chadjfunk

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Last full day of 3rd grade present

Our nine-year old daughter Taylor is amazing.  She is such an incredible young lady in Christ.  She has gone places in her walk with the Lord that I did not see until my 30’s.  I know she is going to do far greater things for the Kingdom than I will ever be able to accomplish.  Sometimes she sees things so simply and has a way of teaching me.  This morning was one of those days.  I went in to wake her up for school and congratulated her on having one full day of third grade left.  Her first sentence to me was this: “I get my handmade gift from my teacher today”.  She was so happy for that.  What if that was our first thought?  That today we get a gift, just for us, from our Teacher.  What if we could not wait to get up and open what God has for us?  I believe this could radically change each day for us if we had this approach.  God has something so special for each of us today that He made just for us!  Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God.  Seek that handmade present!

Today is the day I will seek what God has for me.  Today is the day I will recover.

chadjfunk

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Guest Post: “Accountability Counts”

When I first sought out recovery for healing from the anger, resentment, and hurt I had towards my husband, I read books and prayed A LOT. I was asking God to show me how to let go and let God. I can remember specifically praying this prayer, “God I’m not the brightest crayon in the box, show me how to turn it all over to you”. I thought I was never going to get it.  I didn’t have a clue on how to take the first step towards healing.  I read books on how to be a better Christian woman, wife, and mother. I read books on how to have a mind more like Christ. During this time my recovery was weak and slow. Don’t get me wrong, I read some really good books, and had some great talks with God but my growth was just not as fast as I had hoped for. During this time my husband who was involved in various groups and then began leading in a ministry was blooming into this beautiful flower. I was happy but I was also sad because I wanted to have the freedom at the level that he had.

If I were to guess I would say I’m not the only one who has taken this approach in their recovery. The thing is this, growth and healing comes from community. It’s biblical. When I began seeking out others who understood my pain and hurts I began feeling better. In time God started to use me, for the newcomers that walked through that door who had the same hurts that I once did. Galatians 6:2 tells us to “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”. We need to be in community to help get us thru some of our toughest times. The enemy is so good at getting into our heads. We need a group who is in our corner, people that we can call on. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 is very clear on this need and tells us to “encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing”.

Growth partners are so important and I have been blessed with some amazing people who have helped show me the love of Christ and my value in Him. I have had some great people encourage me to give back because this will not only help others but bless me tenfold. Boy were they right! If we want to continue to grow in Christ and recover from whatever our past hurts were, community and groups are the answer.

I have seen so many people enter community and begin the healing process and then think they can do it on their own. They drop out, they stop calling friends and they eventually fall back into old habits and thinking. Don’t let the enemy take you down! Hebrews 10:24-25 says “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the day approaching”.

We need each other to heal and grow. We all have a story. We all have talents and can help out others in some way. Proverbs 27:17 says “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”.  Who is helping you? Who are you helping? We get out of our recovery what we put in. Where are you at? Are you happy? Do you want more? Don’t let the busyness of life keep you from community and growing in your recovery. The enemy will use whatever he can to keep you away. Don’t give him that power. Let’s recover together!

brandimfunk

 

 

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We Must Take Action

The definition of action is the act of doing something or something done.  Action requires a decision.  There are so many of us want to do the right thing.  We want to join a small group.  We want to work some steps that will bring healing or change.  Deep down we know we need to be accountable.  Then on the other hand we don’t know if we want to.  It may be scary or too much work.  We are wishy-washy.  We are not hot or cold but rather lukewarm.  We can’t make a decision one way or the other.  That in itself is making a decision.  There is someone in the Bible like that; his name is Pilate.  He did not want to condemn Jesus and he also did not want to upset the people.  He sent for a wash basin and washed his hands clean of it.  That was his way of saying I decide not to decide.  Guess what Pilate you made a decision.  We know there is action that needs to be taken but how do we start.  Almost everyone knows the difference between right and wrong, but most people don’t like making decisions. We just follow the crowd because it’s easier than making the decision to do what we know is right.  We all will face many decisions in our lifetime that require us to take action.  How will we choose to approach them?  We need to pray the prayer the psalmist did when he said, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalm 143:10).  Not every action we take will turn out to be the best choice.  But here is some sound foundational advice to start with:  Proverbs 3:6 tells us, “In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.”  I would much rather take action and fail horribly doing what I feel God was leading me to do than sit back, take no action, and miss it all together.  Are we going to turn our lives and wills over to the care of God, or are we still going to try to be in control of our lives?  If we are to go and grow to be all that God called us to be We Must Take Action.

Today is the day I will take action to move in a positive direction towards God!  Today is the day I will recover!

chadjfunk

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Time for Spring Cleaning

Why is it that when we get the phone call that someone is on their way over to the house we frantically straighten everything up?  Why is it that when we have company like our parents or in-laws coming to stay the house is never cleaner?  Or most of take time in the spring or fall to do a good deep cleaning.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”  Does this guest not deserve to come to a clean house?  I mean we are talking about the Holy Spirit and our body is referred to as a temple….sounds important to me!  What areas do you need to clean up?  Where do we start?

Clean Your Heart: The Bible encourages us to draw close to God and allow our hearts to be cleansed. We can’t clean ourselves. Instead we must draw near to God and ask Him to do the cleaning.-Psalm 51:10-“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. “-Hebrews 10:22-“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

Clean Your Mouth: As your heart gets clean, your mouth should follow. This is not just talking about bad language.  This should also include negative talk that contradicts the Word of God and complaining.-Luke 6:45-“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”-Philippians 2:14-“Do everything without complaining or arguing…”

 

Clean Your Mind: Take the trash out: This is a tough one for most of us.  What are you putting into your mind?  Garbage in is equal to garbage out. What kind of music are you listening to?  Is it positive and feeding you with wholesome thoughts?  How about TV and movies?  We must feed our minds and spirits the Word of God instead of the garbage of this world.  Guess what…Real Housewives of Wherever are not that real!  Jersey Shore is not reality!-Romans 12:2-“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”-2 Corinthians 10:5-“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

 

It would not be a true and deep cleaning if we looked only at the spiritual and not the physical.  God wants us to work and grow all of us not just bits and pieces. 

 

Exercise your mind:  When you study the elderly, the ones who are still sharp as a tack are the ones doing word searches, crossroad puzzles, games, trivia, and reading.

 

Exercise your body:  Even 15 minutes a day can reduce risk of death by 14% and extend your life 3yrs[i]. Walking, jogging, weights, or group programs are a great place to start.  Just pick a starting point and dive in.  Set a plan and have accountability.

 

Good diet:  Even something small such as reducing your daily amount of soda.  Substituting a veggie or fruit for that bag of chips or candy bar is a simple way to begin.  It does not have to be a night and day transformation it just has to be a beginning. 

Change unhealthy habits:  Get into a good sleep routine.  Take time to rest (https://chadjfunk.com/2011/10/03/rest-matters/)…even God took a Sabbath.  Stop worrying about the things you cannot control.  Remember the serenity prayer. 

Remember it is not a journey of perfection we are on but a journey of progress.  What areas do you need to clean up?  Today is the day I will seek God’s direction for areas in my life that need a good fall cleaning!  Today is the day I will recover!

 

chadjfunk
[i] http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20110816/15-minutes-exercise-every-day-reduces-risk-death

 

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Oh Leader Where Art Thou

Leader…what is the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear this word? Maybe you have an idea of what is means to you; some sort of descriptive word comes to your tongue. Maybe you have someone in mind. Maybe there was a person who taught you leadership or someone who exemplifies leadership. Keep in mind these people or examples can be either good or bad. Whatever the case, we all have our ideas or basis on what it means to be a leader. After having the privilege of studying some of the best leaders there are over the past couple years I have definitely decided on one thing. A great leader will not have to tell you they are a leader. You will just know. You will know this by how they carry themselves, how they conduct themselves, the way they speak, the way they think, the way they interact with people, the care and compassion they have, the attitude they have, and many other great attributes. A good leader will make you want to be around them.  This is the kind of leader I want to be!  If you are looking to be a better leader, find someone to learn from. Find a person who is a good example of leadership and can coach you along the way. Study them and ask questions. Find out what blogs they read and what books they recommend.  Find out what conferences they attend.  Who do they look up to? Social media provides a great “free education”. Follow great leaders on Twitter and subscribe to great leaders blogs. If you want to grow as a leader, do what it takes, put in the footwork, and pay whatever the cost to be a great leader. How do you want to lead?

Today is the day I will grow as a leader! Today is the day I will recover!

chadjfunk

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The T-Rex is my kind of dino!

Take just a second and look at this picture…Tell me this guy does not look like he would be one cool dinosaur to hang out with.  While this may be true on the surface I bet inside he is battling some issues.  I bet his friends and society have labeled him.  I am always drawn to those who are labeled….you know…  “he will never change”, “she has always been like that”, or”there is no hope for them”.  I was and am one of these people.  I can’t help but think the other dinosaurs would have put unfair labels on the T-Rex because of his short arms. He did not look like the “other” guys.  Can’t you almost hear them now, making fun of him?  I believe the T-Rex was so successful because he used what he HAD to make up for what might be seen as a short coming or character defect.  He was over 20′ tall, 40′ long, and weighed up to 8 tons (pretty good-sized 🙂 ).  He had great vision and an amazing sense of smell.  The tail was extremely powerful.  Rex could cover 15′ with each step and hit top speeds of 25 mph.  He could have sat back and felt bad about something that seems unfair or was not going the way he felt it should be going…but he did not do that.  Each of us have faced in the past and will face things in 2012 that will not seem to be “fair”.  Maybe we will be labeled by people.  Maybe we will be hitting a rock bottom.  The exact circumstance does not matter as much as what are we going to do when it arises.  How are we going to tackle these areas when they come?  Are we going to look at our T-Rex arms or are we going to focus on what God has given us to work with right now?  Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity but to give you a future and a hope.”  Stand on this when trouble comes.  Look to this when life is not the bowl of cherries and rainbows and unicorns that we would like it to be.  Start this new year right…seeking the Lord with all that you are.  Make sure your growth plan is done.  If you do not have one, get one here from Dr. Chris Stephens.  Get accountable.  Make this your best year yet.  Do not let your T-Rex arms bring you down, but rather let them shift your focus to all that God is doing in your life and all that He has given you right now to work with.  Today is the day I will let my T-Rex arms grow me and not hinder me.  Today is the day I will recover!

chadjfunk

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STINK. STANK. STUNK. GRACE—guest blog by POTSC

So excited and honored to have People Of The Second Chance as “guest bloggers” today.  Please check out their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.  They pretty much tell my life story in everything that they do.  They are an amazing group of people who are making a difference in this world.  Life IS all about second chances and radical grace.  I am so thankful for the second chances and grace that I receive on a daily basis.

Here is what POTSC have to say:

Christmas can get hectic.  Parties, presents, travel, family … stress.  Before you know it, you’ve turned into a seasick crocodile.  A bad banana.  As cuddly as a cactus.

Or maybe it’s the people around you. Your Grinch of an aunt or Scrooge of a boss or your brother with a heart that’s two sizes small.

But the great thing about Christmas is that it’s a great time to show grace to all those toadstool sandwiches in our lives.  And, it’s a time when all of us have received some grace ourselves.

So this year, ask yourself who you’d give a second chance to.  Who do you NEED to give a second chance to. Trade in the 39 and 1/2 foot pole, wash the garlic out of your soul, and embrace a life of second chances!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Today is the day I will extend grace to those around me!  Today is the day I will receive grace that someone extends to me!  Today is the day I will recover!

chadjfunk

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Thankful Around Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving tomorrow and Christmas right around the corner, I am always drawn to gratitude this time of year.  December 11, 2006 is when I gave my heart to Jesus and my life has never been the same.  It can be hard to keep an attitude of gratitude all year-long but really, if you are born again how bad can today really be?  How can you not be thankful?  Can what happened yesterday, what just happened, or what might happen tomorrow be that bad?  After all you are going to get to spend eternity in heaven with God!!  Everyday should be filled with gratitude for salvation.  Moving on.  I am so thankful for my amazing wife who has supported me thru good and bad.  She is my best friend, my biggest fan, and my most valuable critic.  I am thankful for an amazing relationship with my daughter Taylor who is such a young lady of God.  I pray that God will use her to impact His kingdom in ways I cannot dream.  I am thankful for my amazing parents and all of the support and love they have shown me over the years.  I am grateful for the godly men in my life who mentor me, coach me, lead me, encourage me, push me, motivate me, speak hope into me, and hold me accountable.  I am thankful for such great friends who have stood by me and have had my back when others did not.  You guys are the best!  I am thankful for my church Faith Promise, my Pastor Chris Stephens, the staff and their passion and pursuit of the lost and hurting, and specifically the ministry of Celebrate Recovery. We experience living grace every Monday night!

Let me ask you this?

  •  What are you thankful to God for? Offer prayers of gratitude to our Creator.  Philippians 4:6, tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Psalm 107:15 shares with us to “give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and wonderful deeds for men.”
  • What individuals has God placed in your life that you are thankful for?  Colossians says “Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other.”
  • What can you put on a gratitude list?  Come on….we all should have a gratitude list!

If we do not take time to continue on with a grateful heart, the things that we were once grateful for become things that we become entitled to.  God did not send His Son just so we could exist or just keep on expecting.  Instead of looking ahead and giving God a wish list, give thanks for what you have in your life right now.  Today is the day I will be grateful!  Today is the day I will recover!

 chadjfunk

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Wanting more!

I was in my quiet time and reflected on my need or desire of wanting more.  I seem to be at a “gotta have more” phase.  Now I feel my heart is right and my motives are good but it still gets me thinking.  I am one of them people who will do “this” when I get more of “that”.  We can do a vacation when we have more money or my big one lately is trying to break into vocational ministry.  Then I thought about Moses.  God asked Moses what was in his hand.  Moses replied “it’s just an ‘ol stick” [at least that is how my version reads :)]  God told Moses to throw it on the ground.  It was more than just a stick.  I feel sometimes our focus needs to be shifted.  Instead of asking God to put me into vocational ministry, my prayer should be God let me use what is in my hands to expand your kingdom.  Let me be grateful for what I have in my hands instead of those things being what I feel entitled to.  If we all just stepped back for a minute, looked at our immediate surrounding/conditions/resources, are we using what we presently have to do all we can do?  Probably not!  Instead of just waiting around to get more, let us push forward, using what we have right now to do all we can with it.  Today is the day I will use my that ‘ol stick in my hand to the max!  Today is the day I will recover!

chadjfunk

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No longer a victim…I am victorious

As I grow in my faith I see and appreciate more and more what God is doing in me. I don’t forget where I came from honestly, because I never want to go back to that place. Many of you reading this blog know Chad’s story. As his wife I got a front row seat to the chaos and hurt that came with his choices. For a long time I allowed myself to be a victim.

Today I see it in a much different light. It was through all the horrible experiences that I lived with that I came to know Christ so how on earth could I ever act like a victim? At the time I couldn’t understand it but God was blessing me every step of the way. If not for everything my husband and I went through I would have never hit my knees and I would have a one way ticket to hell today.

When I came into recovery many people sympathized with me and loved on me and told me how sorry they were that I was going through what I was. Some of them had good intentions no doubt, but others secretly were enjoying the misery. Better me than them right?  It took some time but eventually I surrounded myself with Godly people who understood me and did not think I was worthy of being treated in such a childish way. Boy, were they right! Prov. 27:6 tells us faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Once in recovery I had a group of people, Godly people who did not allow me to drown in self-pity. They called me out when I needed it and I thank God for them. They helped me grow, though my feelings may have been hurt at the time. They loved me enough to tell me I needed to take the next step. Who do you have that is willing to love you enough to tell you you’re drowning in self-pity and it’s time to move forward? See I thought I was the victim of others and their choices and that I wasn’t the one who needed the help. It was those Godly people that were willing to get raw and real with me that showed me I too was pretty messed up.

In recovery it is imperative that we surround ourselves with people who push us forward. Sure it is nice to have a sympathetic ear once in a while but if day in and day out we are struggling and our friends are calling or emailing to take care of us how do we get better? We don’t, we stay the same. Perhaps we need to find that someone who in a loving and kind way, tells us that it is time to pick ourselves up and get focused. We will never grow if we do not have a support system that pushes us to the next level. Prov 13:20 says that he who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.

In recovery we do not need yes people. We need people who are telling us to build a bridge. Life stinks sometimes and it does for everyone. I have no idea what your story is or where you are at in life. What I do know, is that on my worst day I have eternity with my Heavenly Father so how can I be a victim of anyone or any circumstance? I can’t and I shouldn’t and I thank God for putting those people in my life who keep me focused on that. I appreciate when my friends and even my husband (though not necessarily at the time) call me out and tell me to get over it. Without the wisdom of the Godly people around me I would still be stuck and not moving forward. If you are saved, forward is the only direction you need to be focusing. Who do you have to help you get up right now wherever you are at? Find them and let’s start marching forward for the Kingdom!

brandimfunk

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rest matters

We live in a fast paced society.  We can have virtually any type of food delivered in 30 minutes or less.  We can go thru a drive-thru and get prescriptions, coffee, dry cleaning, and much more.  The internet keeps getting faster and faster and we can have instant access to brand new movies on demand delivered to us in seconds.  We race with the traffic on the interstate going from A to B.  It is a how we want it and when we want it kind of world.  We also have to add in our responsibilities that include jobs, school, family, church, volunteer opportunities, hobbies, leisure, running errands, and SOOOO much more.  All that said, it stands to reason we will get tired.  I believe the key word is “will” not “if”.  There is a great recovery acronym H.A.LT.  It stands for: do not get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.  So why is it that when get run down and are at the end of the rope we try to come up with a plan to get it under control and find a break?  I love what Matthew 11:28 says: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”  We do not have to run this race alone.  We do not have to find the solution on our own.  Our rest is in Him!  Take time on your face before God.  Seek if you are truly where He wants you and that you are doing what He has planned.  What extra stuff are we putting into the mix that does not need to be there?  God has a great recipe for our success and journey.  You would not take a good chocolate cake recipe and add some extra eggs or flour to it…so why do we add to God’s recipe?  After we seek God’s direction we get to take a little ownership in this also.  Take time to just flat-out chillax.  Find something to do that takes your mind off of the rat race…and do it. Take time to unplug.  Shut off the email notification dingy thing-a-ma-jig, turn off the cell phone, iPad, and your laptop.  Find some people you can trust and delegate a little bit to them.  My Pastor always reminds me that I am running a marathon and not a sprint.  Do you think rest is for the weak?…Even GOD took a day off (Genesis 2:2)!  Today is the day I will rest in Him!  Today is the day I will recover!

chadjfunk

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Feeling the clock tick

I glanced at the blog over the weekend.  To be honest, I was a bit disappointed in myself.  When I added doing a blog to my personal growth plan at the beginning of the year, my goal was a post every other week.  I saw that it was into the third week since I had posted.  I have been blessed lately to be a part of my Pastor’s Coaching Network Group.  He asked a question last week that I had been giving a lot of thought.  He asked me what I felt my biggest barriers are?  I am ready to answer him today…it is time.  Chuck Carringer (http://www.chuckcarringer.com/), Family Ministry Pastor at Faith Promise Church, told me once that time is one of the most precious resources I will ever have.  Today, I fully agree.  I have been pushing it to the max lately and have really heard the ticking of the clock.  What I wouldn’t give for a 26 hour day!  Recognizing the problem in its self is huge.  But, we can not stop with just recognizing it.  We need a plan to get past what we are struggling with or going through.  Today at work I have been reading as much as I can on time management from some people who excel in this area.  It is important to find out who may have suggestions, who has walked through it, or who is an expert in it.  Then soak in as much as you can!  I am not going to take my car to Panera Bread to find out why it sounds like it does.  I am going to take it to a trained mechanic.  Here is a link to a website that I have been all through today: http://michaelhyatt.com/category/productivity.  This guy had some great tips I could take away.  I love what Proverbs 12:15 says “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”  There is nothing wrong when we ask for direction or seek help.  I would rather ask for help today and claim victory than struggle on my own without success.  I am ready to put a plan in place!

Today is the day I will recognize a problem area AND seek help/direction!  Today is the day I will recover!

chadjfunk

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What is having accountability or a sponsor all about?- Part 2

Last blog we talked about the importance of accountability and having a sponsor.  Today I want to take it a step further.  What are the qualities of a sponsor?  When you are selecting a sponsor or accountability partner look for the following qualities:

  1. Does their walk match their talk?  Be certain that the person that you choose as a sponsor is someone whose life example is worthy of shadowing.
  2. Do they have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you see the characteristics of Christ developing in them?  Are they showing the Fruit of the Spirit?  Do they show the Mind of Christ?
  3. Do they express the desire to help others?  There is a difference between helping others and trying to fix others. Compassion is key!
  4. Are they a good listener? Do you sense that they honestly care about what you have to say?  Look for eye contact, or the person acknowledging what you are sharing with them.  If we are willing to open up, we deserve someone to show support and be a good listener.
  5. Are they strong enough to confront your denial or procrastination? Do they care enough about you and your growth to challenge you?  We do not need someone who simply co-signs our crap.
  6. Do they offer suggestions? Sometimes we need help in seeing options or alternatives that we are unable to find or see on our own. A good sponsor can take an objective view and offer suggestions. They should not give orders!
  7. Can they share their own current struggles with others? Are they willing to open up and be vulnerable and transparent? I don’t want someone who goes on like every day is a bowl of cherries and unicorns.  I want someone who lets me know their human and that they have struggles or problems in life.
  8. How Do I Find a Sponsor and/or an Accountability Partner?  LISTEN AND LOOK FOR YOUR STYLE.  Find someone who has what you are looking for.  If you want to grow in prayer, find a prayer warrior.  If you need help in being a better spouse or parent, find someone who excels in those areas. You don’t just stop at the car dealer and purchase the first car you see…this is no different.

Here are a few final random thoughts and ideas in closing that have been very useful to me over the years:

  1. Find someone of the same-sex as you.  This will eliminate a lot of problems from a lot of different angles…period! It is also not recommended to have your spouse as a sponsor. The roles of spouse and sponsor are basically incompatible; we are either blind to the character defects of our beloved or likely to be too critical. Besides, the temptation to control a spouse is hard enough to resist without add the pressure of sponsorship.
  2. Can you relate to this person’s story? If you are choosing someone to be your sponsor, does he or she meet the qualities of a good sponsor that we just covered?  For me it helped to select a sponsor who has victory in the similar hurt, habit, or hang-up as I do and who has experience in where I want to go.
  3. Get involved!  Find a place to serve and get plugged in.  Some great opportunities to meet people and find a sponsor can happen when serving.
  4. If you ask someone to be your sponsor and/or an accountability partner, and that person says no, do not take it as a personal rejection. If they turn you down, go and ask someone else! You can even ask for a “temporary” sponsor and/or an accountability partner. Remember, these are not lifetime commitments.
  5. Most important, ask God to lead you to the sponsor and/or an accountability partner of His choosing. He knows you, your situation, and your needs.  He has someone in mind already for you. All you need to do is ask and be patient.

Today is the day I will find accountability in my life!  Today is the day I will recover!

chadjfunk

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What is having accountability or a sponsor all about?-Part 1

Why do I need a sponsor or accountability partner?  Sponsorship has been a potent, important part of spiritual growth since people first began doing it. The practice of spiritual direction in the life of the Church is a mentoring or sponsoring movement. Christians have a great heritage of mentoring from the Bible. Elisha had Elijah; the disciples had Jesus; and Mark and Silas had Barnabas and Paul. Evidence of the concept of sponsorship is found throughout the New Testament. There were always outstanding Christians traveling in little groups with followers whom they mentored.  Paul commended the Corinthians for doing as he’d advised them to (1Cor. 11:1). He told them to imitate him(2Thes. 3:6, 7).

Having a sponsor or accountability partner is biblical! Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 tells us, “Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone …, there is no one to help him.… Two men can resist an attack that would defeat one man alone.” Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” The phrase “one another” is used in the New Testament over fifty times!

Having a sponsor or accountability partner is a key part of your recovery!  Accountability helps maintain an honest view of reality.  A second key element is making your attendance at your recovery group meetings a priority in your schedule.  An accountability partner or sponsor can encourage you to attend your meetings.  Another way accountability is important is helping you keep on track with your spiritual program with Jesus Christ through prayer, meditation, and study of His Word.  Your sponsor can pray for you and help to keep you centered on God being at the Center!  By providing feedback to keep you on track, a sponsor and/or an accountability partner can see your old dysfunctional, self-defeating patterns beginning to surface and point them out to you quickly. He or she can confront you with truth and love without placing shame or guilt.  Ecclesiastes 7:5 tells us that “It is better to be criticized by a wise man than to be praised by a fool!” The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than helped by criticism.   Hands down we all need accountability.  We all need someone pouring into us, just as we all need someone to pour into.

Today is the day I will get accountability!  Today is the day I will recover!

chadjfunk

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Guest Blog: What Does A Mirror Have To Do With Me?

My daughter who is almost 9 years old has begun asking a lot of questions. She wonders why people do the things they do, or say the things they say. Why do people participate in the things that are inappropriate or against the law? Why are people so angry and unforgiving? We have had many discussions on this topic as she is growing older. I teach my child that we are all with sin and sometimes we make wrong choices. The Bible is clear that “we all fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). That being said, I also encourage her to look at herself and not to be the sin police. As Christians that is not what we are about. Romans 2:1 tells us “we are not to pass judgment on anyone else”.  However, in having these discussions so frequently, I have concluded that a lot of times my answer to her is of one simple statement: People do what people see.

The people we grow up with, the people we are exposed to, and those we hang around have a lot of influence over us, wouldn’t you agree? So it makes perfect sense that people do what people see. If we grow up with parents who make a particular wrong choice/action, it is very likely we too will make those choices. 

This topic really hit me hard a few years ago. My daughter was becoming very sassy and yelling back at me a lot. I began to wonder, how on earth do I correct this? God revealed to me that I needed to take a long look in the mirror. Many times when I was confronted with something I didn’t like or agree with my first reaction was to yell about it. Well no wonder my child was behaving the way she was, she was being taught this by watching me.

I bet if you look hard at situations in your own life you can identify with what I am talking about. Taking a look at ourselves in the mirror is sometimes a very hard thing to do, but it is necessary in our walk with Christ. Corinthians 5:17 tells us that “if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation”. This means we have to continually look at ourselves and our character defects. Colossians 3:8 tells us “we must rid ourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from our lips”. Thessalonians 4:7-8 reminds us that “God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit”.

My point is we are all struggling with something. As Christ followers we have to continually strive to be better and more like Christ. This takes a lot of hard work and desire. Most of the things we have learned in our lives are how to sin. Not many of us have been taught how to be Holy. People do what people see. What are you doing that you have been taught, but want to change?  Being like Christ is a lifelong practice but as we seek Him our desire to be more like Him becomes stronger than our desire to sin. 1 John 3:6 tells us “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning”.  My prayer for you is that you will ask God today what it is that He would have you change.  Remember God loves you “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

brandimfunk

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life water rafting

A few weeks ago I had the experience of going white water rafting.  My dad and I went up to the Pigeon River and went on a 1 ½ hour trip covering two class 4 rapids.  This was pretty extreme for a couch surfer like me.  It was an absolute blast!  I hope to go again very soon.  As I was thinking back on the trip my wandered into how much this trip represents life.  For me I was a tad bit nervous before we left.  When we took the exit to the outpost, my nerves quickly turned to excitement.  This seems to be typical for a lot of my life experiences.  During our trip we experienced periods of pure and serene calmness, class 2 rapids, class 3 rapids, and even class 4 rapids.  Again, so much like life with serenity to storm in 60 seconds.  There was never a smooth transition, much like life.  Sometimes we can be floating along calm and serene and BOOM, right into class 4 rapids.  The guide/instructor gave us two sound pieces of advice: the first was lock your feet in under the tubes in front of you to avoid falling out and the second was if you fall out stay calm, relax, and point your feet up.  As we go through life we need to lock our feet in and hold on.  Know and believe that God will never give us more than we can handle.  He is our calm in the storm.  And if we do fall out (I have), don’t panic but rather stay calm, relax, and look up to Him.  Psalm 18:2–The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  Today is the day I will lock my feet in on the journey of life.  If I fall out of the raft, I will look to my Calm in the storm.  Today is the day I will recover!

chadjfunk

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oh no, not the “G” word…giving

I have been evaluating the term giving and specifically what it means to me in my personal life.  When you hear the word give what do you think?  I think typically most people will go immediately to money.  I do not know if it is our culture, upbringing, or what; but I do know that giving includes so much more than money.  Don’t get me wrong…it also includes money.  We see in 1 Corinthians 16:2 Paul said “every Sunday each one of you must put aside some money and then in Malachi 3:10 “bring the full amount of your tithes to the Temple.”  It is Biblical!  I hope that is not the only place we are giving.  We can give our time.  Serve at church, a local organization that is doing some positive things, get out in the community, pour into the kids (remember that they are not just the future but also the today), or give our time to many other opportunities that are before us each day.  Acts 20:35 shares with us: “remember the words Jesus said…it is more blessed to give than to receive”.  1 Peter 4:10 is also very clear: “each has received a gift, use it serve one another”.  Along this same line we can also give by sharing our talents.  Look at some of the possibilities within your church: praise and worship, tech, hospitality, childcare, creative arts.  In Romans 12:6 we see that “we have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully”. We can also give by being a true friend to someone.  Have you called someone lately just to check in with them, see if they need anything, or just pray with them?  Remember what we are given in Proverbs 27:17-“as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” or Ecclesiastes 4:9 tells us “two are better off than one because they can work together more effectively”.  Be the flat tire friend that someone can call at 3AM when they have a flat tire on County Road 1B that no GPS in America can find.  That is a beautiful way to give.  We can give an example: i.e. going public in believer’s baptism or letting our walk match our talk.  Another area we can give is in sharing our testimony.  This is the story of what God has done in our life and there is nobody better to tell it than each of us firsthand.  I love what Bill Bright says: “The only time we fail at witnessing is when we fail to witness.” 

 I know I can do more than I am doing.  I want to challenge each of us to start right now and give more.  We do not need to wait for a special time to start or let it be our New Year’s resolution next January.  Let’s do it right now.  Find an area you can give more to and just do it.  Today is the day I will push my giving to the max!  Today is the day I will recover!

chadjfunk

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Guest Blog—Watch What We Say

A couple of weeks ago I was reading in my quiet time and I was reminded about the power of our words. As I read I reflected back on how I used to speak especially when I was angry or frustrated.  I have to admit I could feel a sense of embarrassment come over me.  If we are being honest I know I am not the only one who has spoken inappropriately and wished they could take back those words. James 4:11 says Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it.

As I was reflecting I looked back on not just what I have said, but also what has been said to me throughout my life. I still carry some of the hurts with me and I’m guessing many of you do as well. There really is power in the words we speak to each other. Today when I think of that power, I want to use it for good. Don’t you? We feel good when people speak kindly to us. You know the old saying about how you never forget how someone makes you feel? Well as Christ followers we should want people to look at us and remember that we made them feel good.  This is especially true in speaking to our spouse and children.

God wants this for us! I understand that there are people in our lives where giving them kindness is hard to do, but God commands that from us. Ephesians 4:32 says be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Imagine where you would be right now without His grace and forgiveness.

If you are a Christ follower then people should know it. Following Christ is a lifestyle. Once you are saved your life is changed. Colossians 3:7-8 says You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Now the bible also tells us that we all fall short of the glory of God. Yes we will fall but how will we handle ourselves? How will we communicate to the one who upset us? How will our children learn to communicate? We are all a work in progress, but I believe we must make some changes. Do you? How about if we use today to start to clean up our language for Christ!

brandimfunk

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