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As we look back over life, many of us remember a time when we were younger that we just didn’t feel ready to take the next step.  We’d say things like…“I’m just not ready to settle down yet and get married” or “I’m not ready to have kids yet”.  Then someone older and wiser than us would come along and remind us….you’ll never be ready.  Eventually you come to that realization and you take those big steps.  It’s not all that different in other aspects of life. For some of us we proved ourselves trustworthy and hard-working on the job quickly.  In doing so you were given opportunities to do harder things.  Unfortunately, out of fear of failure, lack of confidence, and maybe just not totally knowing what to do we sometimes turn those things down. It’s interesting how we can look back on our lives and see times when we said no to opportunities and realize how we missed out on growth opportunities.  I know I’ve missed out on some for sure.

I think about these things because all too often as a leader in the church when I ask younger men to step up to lead I get a bunch of excuses why they aren’t able to.  Simple excuses like…I’m too busy, I don’t know enough about the Bible, I don’t feel qualified etc.  The saddest part about all of it is that almost never do you get an excuse along the lines of no because they don’t feel like God wants them to do that specific thing because God is directing them to lead in another way. More often than not, men are just opting not to lead and missing out on opportunities to grow.

There are all kinds of places we can look in the Bible to see evidence of leadership by young men and sometimes even young boys and teenagers.  Probably one of the best examples we can look at is the disciples. While we don’t have record of exactly what ages they were when Jesus called them to follow Him, most believe they were young men, some possibly even teenagers.  Each of them had to make a choice when Jesus asked them to follow Him. In that moment each of them could have said no for various reasons.  They would have to leave their careers…none of them were Jewish scholars…none of them had spent time preparing and getting qualified to follow Jesus.  Despite that fact, each one of them said yes.  I know some along the way during Jesus’ life chose not to follow Him, but I wonder if Jesus might have asked some to be his elite force of early church leaders only to be told no for any number of reasons. What an opportunity this would have been to pass up but, in our youth sometimes we say no and miss out.

In a time when we need more men than ever to step up and say yes to not only following Jesus and also to lead here are some important thoughts:

  1. Men are designed by God to lead. Yes, we all have different personalities, but we also have spiritual gifts from the Lord. Leading doesn’t always mean standing on stage and preaching.  I don’t care if you lead from behind the scenes or in front of the crowd, God has a place for you to lead within the church that fits your gift set.
  2. Men need to stop making excuses. When people tell me no they’re not willing to lead without giving it an ounce of prayer; most of the time you’ve just told me you’re making excuses based on fear, selfishness and feelings of inadequacy…not because God told you no.
  3. Men need to trust the Lord. I’ve heard it said…”God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called”. Every one of us is unqualified to serve the Lord in every way apart from the leadership of God himself.  Trust the Lord to equip you and give you the ability to do anything and everything that He wants you to do.
  4. Men should learn to be comfortable with being unqualified. Churches have too many people as it is running around doing ministry in their own human power instead of the power of the Holy Spirit.  Maybe if we would just say yes to the Lord, be content with the fact we aren’t able by ourselves, then we’d rely on the Lord enough to actually accomplish something God sized!

Before I conclude, let me remind you older guys out there…we need you.  We need you to care about the younger men, we need you to show us how to lead, show us how to use our gifts.  I know some of you have served faithfully and led well in the church for many, many years…but if you don’t help the next generation of men learn to lead…who will lead the church when you’re gone?  Who will lead the church now to be relevant to younger families? 

From one young guy, who has made plenty of mistakes by saying no plenty of times when God was probably trying to grow me…let’s start leading!  Whether it’s inconvenient, uncomfortable, challenging…let’s say yes to doing God things instead of saying no to all things!  Let’s learn to lead!

Posted by Jeremy Shirley with
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Wow! Can you believe that the 2018-2019 school year will begin in just a couple of short weeks?  Like a swinging pendulum, excitement and anxiousness seem to be the two primary emotions that battle for control over my household.   

When asked to write a blog relating to "spiritually preparing your kids/family to go back to school" my first reaction was …."REALLY LORD!?"  I don't know if I do everything right in sending my kids off to embark on another school year.  I asked another, more mature and wise member of the Women's Ministry to write the blog.  She declined, but made a good suggestion that we ask the ladies who attended the July "This is My Story" event to give their recommendation as to what seemed to bring success in their homes.   I find it no coincidence that the three suggestions most prevalent seemed to echo the verses from Jesus' prayer to His Heavenly Father for His Apostles just before going to the cross in John 17

1) Pray with your child every morning before school and every evening.  Bring any concerns and all praises and place them all on the altar of the Lord. 

2) Be in the WORD with your child, even if it is just one verse for the day.  

3) Let your child know that you are there for them and then be there for your children just as God is there for us when we choose to take advantage of the privilege of speaking with Him.

Like a still vibrant photograph burned into my memory, I can vividly picture the first day of pre-school for my oldest.  I can still feel the raw heartache and nerve wracking fear that accompanied the realization that my precious child, whom I protected and nurtured in the serenity of my home, was now being placed into the calloused and depraved world of school.  Can you relate?  Do you think God knows what that feels like?  Well, I believe the verses from John 17 clearly depict that Jesus felt a lot like we mothers do when He was about to leave His apostles in the world and go to the Cross of Calvary and then home to heaven.  Look intently at what Jesus prayed for to His Heavenly Father in John 17.  Dear mothers, these verses contain all the advice and direction we need to heed IF we want to succeed in "spiritually preparing our families for the school year."

When reading John 17, visualize yourself as Jesus but, you are praying for your babies whom you are placing in the world as you go to work or about your daily tasks.  Notice in John 17:1"Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven as the hour had come."  Moms, keep your focus on the Lord as another school year begins.  God the Father already knows just what you and your family need.  You need only to be still, humble yourself, and bring your requests to the Lord. 

Verse 3 reminds us where eternal life comes from and that is by knowing God and Jesus Christ whom he sent.  Did you catch that?  A true life on earth and for eternity comes from "Knowing God and Jesus."  How well do you and your family know the Lord Jesus? 

Verses 6-10 are where the prayer gets to the heart of the three suggestions made by the ladies at the event.  Jesus says "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of this world.  Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7. Now they know that everything that you have given to me is from you. 8. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9. I am praying for them.  I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them."   

Do you see from these verses the importance of being in and teaching the word to your children, giving your children back to God because they are His anyways, and the need for praying for and with them?  Jesus continues to stress the importance of staying in the Word IF his apostles are to remain unified with the Lord and asks for help for His apostles in Verse 11: "Keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me."  Ladies, don’t be discouraged if you haven't done as well as you should in praying for your children and showing them in the Bible who God is and why they can rely on Him daily for their needs.  God's grace covers that.  Simply make today the day you become obedient to God's Word.   

I encourage you to read the entire 17th Chapter of John and I close with my final point from Verses 15-19: "I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19. And for their sake, I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth."  Notice there is no shortcut.  The Word of truth is what we need if we are to be in the world but not of the world.  Think of God's Word as that "moral compass daily reminder" pointing you and your children to the correct path.   Jesus knew the Apostles would require divine protection from the evil one and He made it a priority to ask His Heavenly Father to do just that.  So, don't forget as mothers to do the same for your children.   

Lastly, my sisters in Christ Jesus, note what we are to mimic in Verse 19.  Jesus consecrated Himself, which means He set Himself apart for the Father’s will, in order that believers might be set apart to God by the truth He brought.  Do not delay....go to God today, as Jesus did, and ask the Father to equip you with all you need so you can consistently display Christ to your family.  Keep yourself and your family in His Word and pray without ceasing so that it may go well for your household throughout the school year.  

Posted by Dana Mosher with

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