Category Archives: Accounhtability

Proper Response

Biblical-Eldership-Church

In my previous post, I discussed what a biblical Elder should look like (or smell like), citing work done by Dr. Lynn Anderson on this matter. Elders are shepherds, mentors, and equippers. Knowing that, how should I react, and how should I relate to my Elders. Let me suggest a few items for consideration and prayer.

First, we need to pray for our Elders daily. These men are under the call of God to lead the flock of which we are a part. The least we could do for them is to pray.

We need to be willing to be mentored and equipped for works of service. I would dare say that we should look for areas of service where there is a need, and where we have skills to help meet that need, and VOLUNTEER to take care of that area. We need to let our Elders know that we are with them.

Dr. Anderson asserts and I agree that we can help our Elders by shepherding flocks ourselves. At Vero Christian, we call those flocks “Life Groups.” Our Life Group leaders shepherd the people in their group. If there is that rare shepherding need that arises needing an Elder’s attention, this need is reported to the Elders. Otherwise, the Life Group leader and his group members handle the shepherding needs of the members of their group. This is a TREMENDOUS blessing not only for the people in the Life Group, but for the Elders as well.

We all play the role of shepherd to someone. Whether it is raising your children in the faith, teaching a Sunday School Class, discipling a fellow Christian, mentoring a younger man or woman, or leading someone to Christ. Realize that God has designed you for those roles. God expects each of us to mentor others. On purpose. As Paul told Timothy, we are to “teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.

Elders who have a servant’s heart can overextend themselves, taking on responsibilities that should be delegated to others. They see areas of need, and often dive in to handle that need themselves.  What if we, members of the flock, looked around at areas of need (preparing and serving Communion, helping in the children’s ministry on Sunday mornings, etc.) and VOLUNTEERED to meet those needs? We would be serving the body and would be obedient to God’s call on our lives.

I wonder what would happen if we approached an Elder and asked them to mentor us? Yeah, you are right. They probably would faint. It would be fun, though, wouldn’t it? I mean to have an Elder pour themselves into us. Having an Elder looking at our lives, seeing what God can do through us, and casting a vision for us in that manner. You thought I was referring to making an Elder faint, didn’t you?

The body of Christ is healthier when we all function as we were designed. God has gifted each of us in different ways, and those gifts are to be used for the building up of the body of Christ. Biblical Elders will shepherd, mentor, and equip. Christians will respond by being willing to submit to the Elders; by being willing to be mentored by someone who is further along in their faith journey than us, or someone who has a skill set we need to learn; and by being willing to allow someone to equip us properly for works of service.

I declare this to be “freak your Elders out week.” Approach an Elder and ask how you may be of service. Better yet, tell them about how you have seen a need and how you are willing to meet that need.

I would love to continue the conversation in the comments section below.

Be God’s.

Affirmation

My oldest son Elliott and I are currently reading Bob Goff’s book, Love Does. Yeah, there are three links in my last sentence, and you should check them all out! Every chapter in this book grabs me, stomps on my toes, and/or has me standing and cheering “YESSSSSSSSS!”

satan does not deserve the respect or the credit of having his name capitalized, even at the beginning of a sentence. Now, I understand that many folks want to give him more credit than he deserves, but satan is a wimp. He is a liar, a braggart, a self-deceived and self-deceiving cast out from heaven.  Now, I understand satan can be stronger than we humans can be, and I understand folks fear satan for what he can do in their lives. However, those people are allowing satan to hold that power over them. I refuse to do so.

I am not claiming that satan does not wage war against me every day.  He does.  I am simply saying that I call him out for what he is: a spineless, wimp of a wannabe god. I recognize that satan does indeed have power to wield, but I will battle that power with the superior power of God’s Word and God’s people in my life.

I have spent much of this week drawing closer to God, while expressing my pure hatred for death.  Death was not part of God’s original design, but satan helped facilitate death’s entrance into the world when he enticed Adam and Eve to sin. God is the Father of Life, while satan is death’s daddy. I long for the day of Christ’s return when those who are in His Kingdom, those who are His Bride, go to be in His presence forever, and when death is told to “go to hell.”

Meanwhile, I want to encourage those who are doing their best to follow Christ daily to resist satan and to draw closer to Jesus. I want to remind us that satan holds no power over us unless we give him that power. Instead, let us draw from the mighty power of our Heavenly Father by spending quality and quantity time in the Bible, in prayer, and in doing life together with fellow believers.

Time in the Bible

Use the reading plan that best fits you.  I have, for the past couple of decades, read the One Year Bible plan. You get a does of Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs every day. Last year, as readers of this blog know, I added an immersion into Colossians in my daily reading.  This year, Peggy and I are immersing ourselves in 1 Peter as our couples devotion. I personally love the Bible App from YouVersion. Others prefer to use a Bible from their bookshelf. Whatever. I just cannot over emphasize the importance of daily immersing yourself in God’s Word.

Time in prayer.

I use desconsos to help remind me of prayer matters. My wedding ring reminds me to pray for Peggy. Grinding Juan Valdez Café reminds me to pray for Dale and Jeanie Meade and the Colombian Christian Mission, a glasses-wearing flower sticker reminds me to pray for Francesca Rodriguez. I have desconsos reminding me to pray for my kids, my grandkids, the folks at Vero Christian Church, the lost in our community, etc. I have dedicated times of intensive prayer, and I have an attitude of prayer through the day.  I am not a master of prayer by any means. I consider myself a novice but I work to make prayer a discipline in my life every day.

Time doing life together with fellow believers.

I disciple a couple of different men right now. I am in a Life Group. I lead two different praise teams at our church. I LOVE the time I get to hang out with Peggy. Well, you get the picture. There is no such thing as a “Lone Ranger Christian,” and it is important to surround yourself with believers for encouragement and accountability.

I pray that this post is an affirmation for you. Don’t give satan credit he doesn’t deserve, but don’t think that you can overcome his schemes on your own. He knows you weaknesses, and will attack in those areas.  What are some ways you counter those attacks? I would love to continue the conversation in the comment section below.

Be God’s.

WES

As an already self-confessed depressaholic, I want to examine further this notion of my battle with WES (Whiny Elijah Syndrome).  DISCLAIMER: I in no way consider myself to be anywhere near the spiritual stature of the prophet Elijah except in the fact that he, too, could be whiny.  That is the full extent of the similarities between this great prophet of God and me.

Honestly, this is the 3rd time I have tried to write the post. I struggle with writing it, because I am struggling with WES. I want to keep things in a general tone, and offer some hope for those of us who are afflicted with WES.

Alone

We have read of Elijah’s great victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18).  What a resounding victory for God and what a blessing to have been a part of that victory. Right? Then, Elijah runs off by himself for his pity party. in 1 Kings chapter 19, he whines to God about being the only one left who is serving God.

Okay, so that is the basic context for my treatment of the Syndrome. When I experience tremendous “God victories,” I can count on the whining to commence shortly thereafter.

Why does WES afflict me? Let me wrestle with three possibilities.

1) Physical Exhaustion.

Times when great things have been accomplished to bring glory and honor to God can be physically exhausting for this mere human being. A great deal of energy is expended, because I do not believe in doing anything halfway. I am all in for God. I “leave it all out there on the court” (since some people are still in the NCAA March Madness phase. For the record, my bracket was busted on the first day of this year’s tourney).

I’m as mental as mental can be, I must say.

ed2

2) Mental exhaustion.

As my favorite SNL character of old, Ed Grimley  would say, “I’m as mental as mental can be, I must say.” While I am of above average intelligence, it is hard work mentally for me to do the things I do for the Lord. I enjoy every minute of it, but it is taxing to say the least. I am not trying to be terribly self-deprecating, or even to just put myself down, and this is not false humility, I recognize that I am a two talent servant (as opposed to a five talent servant, or even a one talent servant), and I am okay with that.  I also know that my service to the King is not just physically, but mentally exhausting.

3) Spiritual exhaustion.

I confess that during the times when I get too busy “doing” God’s work, I can tend to slack on simply “being” God’s guy. Arron Chambers’ book “Devoted” is a great reminder to me to just slow down and “be God’s.” That phrase has served as my signature ever since I “borrowed” it from the late great Rich Mullins in the early 1990’s. Spiritual exhaustion sets in when I am trying to do too much on my own, and not allowing God to “do” through me. I tend to get seriously grumpy and whiny then. Just ask Peggy.

So, how can we guard against WES, and how can we come out of that syndrome and back to a more healthy place? What i have to say sounds simple, but it is not.

Get away, rest, immerse yourself in Scripture. Or as Psalm 46:10 puts it: “Be still and know that I am God.” Being still does not come naturally to me. I struggle with stillness and with silence. I have to force myself to get away.  I’m not talking about running away, I’m talking about the purposeful time away from people to draw closer to God.  Being silent and listening for God is another struggle. My mind races, and I like to fill the silence with noise (even Christian music is noise in this instance). Reminding myself that God is God and I am not even close is something that I find healthy to do.  No, I don’t have a “God complex,” but there may be times I act like it. Again, just ask Peggy.

Having accountability and prayer partners is a must for me.  I need folks to pray for me every day, but especially when I am in periods of WES. Having some people who have permission to “kick my butt” when needed is also key. Trust me, there are plenty of times when kicking needs to commence.

I confessed earlier that it has taken several tries to write this post. Part of that is because I am in a season of WES right now.  Thanks for allowing me to remind myself of the issue, and some ways to conquer it.  If you have any suggestions on overcoming WES, I would love to continue the conversation in the comments section below. As always, thanks for you prayers, and as always…

Be God’s.

A New Day

2 Corinthians 4:16 says, “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.”

Yesterday was a day of mourning and self reflection for me. I spent the day away from social media, choosing instead to connect on a deeper level with my Lord.  I spent extra time reading from God’s Word, praying, crying out to God in anguish, asking for His comfort. I then turned my focus away from me. I spent time praying for dear brothers and sisters in Christ whom I know are facing far more difficult times than I could even imagine.

I also finished reading Kyle Idleman’s latest book, “The End of Me.” I highly recommend this book.  The timing on finishing it up could not have been better for me.

I did not track food points yesterday, but I did not go overboard on eating either.  I may not have eaten enough points. Oh well.  I did not  go to the gym yesterday, but I was there this morning. See?

 image  image

Am I still disappointed by the news yesterday’s weigh-in brought? Yes. Am I still devastated? No.  Thanks to all who continue to lift me in prayer, and who understand that yesterday, I just needed some time alone with the Lord.  No, I wasn’t hiding. I didn’t have a pity party. I honestly sought out my Lord Jesus, asking for His guidance. I earnestly sought to take my focus off of me, trying to put an end to such selfish thinking, coming to the end of me so that I could experience life more abundantly in Christ.

Today is a new day. Christ is still on the throne.  I have spent time listening to a sermon podcast while working out at the gym. Back on track and so grateful to Jesus for His love and patience with me.

When life’s curve balls come your way, it is tempting to curl up in a little ball, have a pity party and shut everyone else out.  I pray that you will not do that.  If you shut out everyone else, just open up that much more to Jesus and let Him walk you through it.

How do you cope with devastating news? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

Be God’s.

Devastated

Seriously, I did this several times in the past week!

Seriously, I did this several times in the past week!

In June, I began a new, healthy lifestyle including the Weight Watchers plan and regular exercise. I am a type 2 diabetic and weighed more than I ever had in my life. I new that my lifestyle had to change. Over the past several months, I have lost 25 pounds, and seen my fasting blood sugars drop from the 140’s to the 90’s-100’s. My A1c went from 7.2 to 6.0. I recognize that my journey is a marathon, and I know that Scripture teaches to care for the physical body since it is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

I post a weekly accountability note on my Facebook page, and have several people who are praying for and holding me accountable in this new lifestyle.  Today, I am devastated as I have to issue this report:

This past week, I hit the gym again on a regular basis. Okay, four days out of the past seven, and that is pretty regular for me. I did three 40-minute workouts on the Ark burning over 700 calories each time. I did one 30-minute workout, burning over 500 calories.

I tracked my food each day, like I am supposed to, staying within my daily allowance, and using very few flex points over the course of the week. So, it was with a great amount of anticipation that I stepped on the scales this morning. I quickly stepped off rubbed my eyes and tried it again. The scales must be “broken.” Peggy got on and confirmed that the scales were indeed working properly. I stepped back on and to my sheer horror, they say I have gained EIGHT pounds in the past week.

To say that I am devastated today is an understatement. I feel numb. Since I have pledged to post an accountability posting each week, here it is. I don’t want to post this. I just want to crawl in a hole and cry today.

I’ll get over it. Heartbreak Hill is part of the marathon course, and today my heart is broken. I thank you in advance for your prayers and words of encouragement, but seriously, today, I just want to be left alone. I’ll will bounce back, but today is not that day. Thanks for understanding.

I don’t want to be guilty of being one of those guys who only posts “happy, happy, happy” on social media. The struggle is real. Christ is enough, and this too shall pass. But today, I simply ask that you pray for this broken hearted guy, who has got to pick himself back up tomorrow (not today! Today, I mourn.).

Be God’s.