Shoot For the Moon!

Grant Frazier said, “life is full of obstacle illusions.” That’s a great quote and it’s so true. Many obstacles are in the way of completing our goals.

What are your goals? You do have some, right? You have written them down, I am sure. What are you planning? What are you daydreaming about that is worthwhile?

Everybody needs goals. Everybody needs things ahead of them to accomplish. What goals are you focused on?

Zig Ziglar says, “I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness and focus on a specific goal, you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.”

We are kept from our goals not by obstacles but by lack of sheer determination and guts or old fashioned courage. The simple fact  of the matter is it takes real guts to achieve your goals.

Goals do not achieve themselves. They require focused intensity over time to make them real. Even small goals take a small amount of guts to realize. Life changing goals take life changing intestinal fortitude.

If you wonder why so many of your goals fall through the cracks, the answer is simple. You lack the guts to achieve them. Bold but true. Sadly, there is no other explanation.

Rise up – take life by the throat and accomplish your dream. You have some choices.

1.    You can remove your goals – dismiss them until next year. Eliminate them for now.

2.    You can reduce the size of your goals.

3.   Rise up – pick up your performance and commit to their achievement. Go for it! So what if you don’t hit all your goals? You’ll have a blast trying. The journey toward them will be rewarding.

Shoot for the moon! Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

Go After Your Dreams!

Nothing is worse than living with an unfulfilled dream. It never shuts up, it blunts your confidence, breaks hope in your life, leaves you depressed and screams, “You’re done!” But .. it doesn’t have to be that way.

All of us know the barriers, hindrances and obstacles that have kept us from living up to our God-given potential and following our dreams.

We have dreams,visions and goals for better marriages, better jobs, better financial conditions and better lives. There seems to be so many things that are in the way, keeping us from experiencing all that God has for us.

Some of those barriers are the result of our own making. We have sabotaged our own lives, yet we keep tripping over ourselves. Other people or circumstances may have caused physical, mental, emotional or spiritual road blocks in our lives.

Aren’t you tired of making excuses and being a “victim”?

Aren’t you tired of facing the same obstacles but not doing anything about them?

Today, you have the opportunity to make a decision. Today, you get to say, “YES, I will overcome the obstacles, I will knock walls down, I will no longer make excuses and I will go after my God-given dreams.

Choose to follow God…choose to follow your dreams! Make the decision today.

Extraordinary Life

Robin Williams’ character in the movie, “Dead Poets” says, “carpe diem, seize the day boys; make your life extraordinary.” That is great advice. Carpe Diem is a Latin phrase that means, ‘seize the day.’

Too many of us are living ordinary lives instead of the extraordinary life that God has for us. I am not talking about rock star status or saving 10 children from a burning building. I am talking about seizing the day and making a difference in people’s lives. What do you need to do to seize your day and make life extraordinary?

Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 16 tells us to “redeem the time because the days are evil.” There are two words in the New Testament for time; “chronus” – clock, time or measured time and “charos” meaning season of time or opportunity, fixed point in time. The word in Ephesians is ‘charos’. We must seize the opportunity that is in front of us…seize the day, the moment, the opportunity.Make life extraordinary!

It is one thing to talk about what you are going to do or what you are going to accomplish. It is quite another to actually do it, to reach that goal, to finish that project, to start writing that book…make today count!

What task will you accomplish today no matter what? Seize the day! Act on this moment. Go do it! Make your life extraordinary!

Here are four ways you can make your life extraordinary.

· Organize

Clear your desk, clear your mind. Have a well-organized, highly systematic approach to get that goal, project or idea done.

· Prioritize

Remain focused on what’s important. Do that one thing that will give you your desired results.

· Optimize

Remember, time is a gift. You must make excellent use of your time.

· Synergyze

Create chemistry with those who can help you and you can help them. If your dream is big, you’ll never be able to do it alone. And more than likely, you will discover people with the same goals as you. Create powerful interpersonal synergy.

Let me encourage you to seize the day. Make your life extraordinary. Life is too short for the ordinary.

Undivided Heart

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is that of Joshua and the children of Israel crossing over the Jordan and conquering the Promise Land. There’s no question that Canaan was God’s appointed land for His people. It was God’s perfect will that all the tribes be in the land flowing with milk and honey. Anything short of Canaan was settling for less than God’s very best.

Why is it that so many of us do not experience God’s best? That supernatural victory, that Promise Land that is ours for the claiming. So many times, we stop just short of all that God has for us.

In Joshua, chapter 22, the 2 1/2 tribes of Rueben, Gad and the 1/2  tribe of Manasseh settled for less and stopped short of the Promise Land. They settled on the East side of the Jordan. They were “borderline believers.” They had divided hearts.

When we read the story, we discover an amazing truth that has profound but practical application for our lives today. Will you live on the edge? Will you live too close to the enemy?

When you straddle the fence, it is difficult to tell what side or whose side you are on. When you live your life trying to be politically correct, socially accepted or have the intention of not offending anyone…when you live to close to the enemy, you will have a divided heart.

I am not referring to legalism or an obnoxious mean spirited person or those with a Pharisee type attitude who wear a badge of holiness and stick their noses up at everyone. I am talking about an undivided heart. Do you remember the story of Lot? He positioned himself too close to the enemy and disaster took place. His heart was divided.

It’s so easy to fall in to the trap of an undivided heart with so many distractions and so many things competing for our heart. May today be the day we surrender our own agendas move back in close proximity of Jesus and have an undivided heart.

Expanding

Last Sunday for Mother’s Day, we went to the Cheesecake Factory, one of our favorite restaurants.  My wife and I have eaten at this restaurant in many different cities including Baltimore, Miami, West Palm Beach, Naples and of course, in the Atlanta area.

It is an excellent restaurant that offers a wide variety of menu options. The food is delicious and the service is great. Every experience that I have ever had has been a pleasant one. The cheesecake is amazing… banana cream and vanilla bean are my favorites!

The California based restaurant is now going global. They are preparing to open 12 restaurants over the next eight years in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru and even in the Middle East. Cheesecake Factory, CEO David Overton said, “we certainly weren’t the first in but we don’t want to be the last in either.”

The Cheesecake factory is expanding and trying to reach more people.

We as a church are doing the same through multi-sites. We are expanding New Season to different areas and to different states.The multi-site plan isn’t new and it is not a fad. Multi-sites will allow us to raise up new leaders, expand our culture of multiplication and of course, spread the gospel.Who would have ever have guessed that we would be one church in three different locations in 7 years as a church!

Technology today offers so many possibilities for reaching more people. Similar to what Cheesecake Factory CEO, David Overton said, “we weren’t the first in, but by God’s grace, we won’t be the last!” 

God is doing something! Join with him and lets be apart of expanding his kingdom!

God Factor

Yesterday in the Georgia campuses, we started a new series called, “Curveball” and I preached out of II Chronicles.

In chapter 20 of II Chronicles, we read the story of Jehoshaphat facing an impossible situation. His life and country were under pressure. Their circumstances were overwhelming. Annihilation was certain without God’s intervention. “The battle is the Lord’s” was declared, believed and acted upon. The first thing Jehoshaphat did was to acknowledge who God is.

We need to recognize God for who He is. In verses 6 – 9, and in vs. 12, we have a declaration of who God is. “LORD, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us. Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

Jehoshaphat starts telling God how great, mighty, powerful and sufficient He is.

We serve a big God! We should be attempting really big things. We should be dreaming the impossible dreams. God is not lacking in the power department. His resources are unlimited, His grace is unending and His character is unquestionable.

So what are you attempting that’s bigger than you? What do you need God to intervene in? When you pray do you acknowledge Him for who He is?

Here are my take always from Sunday

I. How We Pray Indicates How We Believe

II. A Proper View of God Will Increase Your Faith and Decrease Stress and Worry

III. Never Let the Gravity of Your Problems Outweigh the Greatness of God’s Promises

Leadership is Key!

In my 20+ years in ministry, I have learned thousands of lessons. Outside of the spiritual, learning to walk with God and having his anointing, leadership would be the biggest lesson. Leadership is key!

Leadership is something every organization has to have. Leadership is the most important aspect of any team, any organization or any church.

There really isn’t a hard, fast way that you have to lead. Some people have charismatic personalities. Others are quiet and reserved. Some leaders are extroverts, while others are introverts.

True leadership gets things done. Leadership makes thing happen! Leaders excite and motivate people around them. Leaders equip people to make a difference.

Warren Bennis and Bert Nanus interviewed 90 leaders from a variety of professions. They were trying to detect some underlying principles that could be identified from people who were extremely successful and were used to make a huge impact. The study became a book called “Leaders”. The nailed it down to four distinct qualities that every leader must possess:

Leaders bring attention to their vision.

Leaders communicate in clear, creative ways.

Leaders trust people. They give others power to get the job done.

Leaders believe in themselves to reach their goals.

Your church, your business and your family needs leadership.

Out of the four qualities that Bennis and Nanus gave, which one (or ones) do you need to work on the most?

Vision Matters!

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Without goals and dreams and Godly ambition, people perish. Without that “fire in your belly,” that calling or drive, that purpose and passion inside of you, you will die. You must have a vision. You have to own it, share it and make it happen.

Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric said, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.” Wow, I like that quote! I not only like it, I believe it, I embrace it and I live it.

I close my eyes and think and imagine what could be and what should be, and what action I need to take to make it happen. I am not just speaking of a project, a job or something you have to get done because you have been told to do it…I am talking about a vision! A preferred future. I am talking about your life!

A life without vision is wearisome, a vision without passion will have no life. Passion without vision is just the heart’s way of throwing a tantrum. Passion always accompanies the vision. Vision without passion won’t get you anywhere because you will lack the drive to make it happen.

What vision do you have that you are completely passionate about?

Stop living in the “someday” and start making your vision a reality TODAY.

Someday I will go to…

Someday I will learn to…

Someday I will make…

Someday I will give…

Someday I will build…

Someday I will earn…

Someday I will do…

Make that “someday” today. You don’t have to start big, you just have to start.

One step in the right direction today and tomorrow and the next day and the next, etc…Then you will see your vision start being a reality.

Without vision, you will surely die a slow death.

Vision matters!

Dream Team Volunteers

I am a huge sports fan. My whole family loves sports, especially basketball. My favorite player was Michael Jordan. I believe he is the best there has ever been and it will be a long time before anyone else comes close to measuring up to him.

I love the days when Jordan played for the Chicago Bulls and when he was part of the Dream Team, the U.S. Olympic team made up of the greatest stars in the NBA.

I want to say publicly that I have the privilege to pastor the Dream Team of church volunteers. Our volunteers are the “Michael Jordans” of serving. They step up weekly to give countless hours of their time to serve others and they do it with willing hearts and excellence.

Several times a year, we honor our volunteers at New Season to show them how much we appreciate them.

Tonight we will honor the volunteers from both of our Georgia campuses at our Hiram location at 6:45 pm. Join us for our Mexican Fiesta – full on Mexican theme with Mexican food and a Mariachi band! You don’t want to miss it!

This Sunday evening, we will honor our volunteers from our Tennessee campus with a Memphis BBQ shindig at 5:30 pm at the Holiday Inn Express on Hwy. 51. Make sure that you join us if you are volunteer at the Tennessee campus! 

Thank God for the dream team of volunteers at New Season Church! We appreciate each of you and all that you do!

Lessons Learned On a Big Boat

Last week I surprised my wife and took her on a cruise. It has been a busy time in our lives so I thought a little rest and relaxation would be good. It was an amazing time, I enjoyed getting away and spending time with her.

I was very observant each day of the way things were run on the ship. I watched the staff and even took notes of things that I saw. I came up with 7 leadership lessons that I learned from our cruise.

1. The staff are passionate people! Everywhere you look, the men and women are passionate about what they are doing. From the room steward making monkeys and other animals out of towels and leaving them in our room after straightening up to watching others picking up tiny pieces of paper and debris on the deck, the waiters serving food, the entertainers putting on the shows…everyone had a big smile on their face and convinced me that they loved what they were doing! Successful people are excited about what they do. They are passionate.

2. Communication was absolutely outstanding! Each day we received an itinerary on paper called “The Compass” which listed the time and location of every event on the ship from morning until night. Public announcements were made over the intercom; there was a television channel with the itinerary running 24 hours a day; there were large screens located all over the ship where you could view the itinerary and announcements were made at every production. They made it impossible to miss something! People are down on what they’re not up on. Keep people informed and repeat your words often.

3. They were prepared! After everyone was on board, the crew had a mandatory emergency drill where they make sure you are shown how to put a life jacket on and what area on the ship to go to in case there is an emergency.

The Titanic was such a horrible disaster and hundreds of people lost their lives because there were not enough life boats for everyone. They felt it was unnecessary. Leaders must be prepared for both best-case and worst-case scenarios in the organization.

We must have a plan for all kinds of emergency.

4. The Multiplication factor was obviously taking place.

The Captain wasn’t on the bridge the entire time. He became ill and had to be replaced but we didn’t notice any difference!

It was obvious from the level of service that we received that the entire staff had been well trained in their jobs.

People were responsible for more than one job…you may see a young man bringing Cokes out to people by the pool and in the evening, you would see the same man serving dinner. You may see a girl singing and enjoying the spotlight at one of the performances on the ship but the next day, you may see her checking out beach towels to people.

The captain had surrounded himself with a highly capable and committed team in order to accomplish the ship’s mission.

5. We observed and experienced total commitment to the customer.

The staff was dedicated to making sure you had a fun and memorable experience. We were told over and over that it was their joy to serve us.

My wife Vickie is a devout Spurs fan and she was frantic to watch the game on the ship. We asked if the game was being shown anywhere and it was not. The young man at the Customer Service desk then proceeded to hand me a card with a number giving me free wifi for an hour so we could check the score of the game because he said he could see that “it was important to us.” I was so impressed by that “over and above” attitude.

6. They had people and systems in place. I sat back watching all the people working together and the systems that had to be in place to accommodate 2500 people cruising on the ship. 2 different times for dining, meals that had to be served right away, dishes to be cleared, drinks to be poured, various events happening all over the ship…it was a work of art and the timing had to be on point.

7. Correction was given and taken. Our assistant waiter was late a few times and he would disappear often. We watched the head waiter take him to the side and reprimand him strongly. In watching, you could think the head guy was being a jerk or you could think, he is teaching him now so he will learn and be promoted in the future…so he will succeed!

It is helpful when you hold people to their jobs and at some point, they will be grateful that you did it.

So these are the lessons that I learned while enjoying a week away with my wife. I am blessed and grateful…

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