MARRIED TO THE VISION

As a leader God has placed a vision in your heart that is unique to you personally, to your church, and a vision that is effective to reach your community.  That vision is the “WHY” that drives your organization.  It is the reason why people get out of their beds early to serve, why they give to their church, and why they tell their friends and family about the church they love so much.  They understand what their church is uniquely about and not only that but they have personally experienced it!

Vision is like the gas in the engine of your organization.  Yes you have the tangible elements of the mission, systems, staff, and structure, but none of those things are going to get you very far without the fuel that is the vision.  The reality is people do not rally around service times, they do not rally around buildings, and sadly they rarely rally around the directions of the writers of the Bible.  But they do rally around a vision that takes those things and clearly explains why we do what we do and how that impacts real people in our communities.  That is the vision that God has placed in your heart as the leader.  That is the fuel to get the engine of your organization running and to keep it going.  That is the “WHY” that people rally behind and sacrifice for.

Unfortunately most leaders over time forget the importance of their mission and start focusing more and more on the engine and less and less on the fuel.  They allow modifications to take place that have nothing to do with where they are going and allow outside hands to tweak the organization in ways that suite them personally, but doesn’t benefit the organization moving forward.  The greatest understanding a leader must have is this.  We are married to the vision God has given our church and we never cheat on that vision under any circumstances! Too many leaders are unfaithful to their vision and that single thing is what is killing their organization more than anything else.  They are creating a culture of infidelity when it comes to the vision of their church where anything goes. If we know anything it is that an affair strains a relationship more than anything else because it rocks trust to its core and without trust people will not sacrifice in ways that an organization needs for it to succeed.

Now as leaders we don’t cheat on the vision intentionally, but what happens is we start to focus more on the tangibles of our present and less on what we are building and where are we going.  So we start letting things like money dictate our decisions, talent run the show, and strong personalities have a deciding opinion even though it is contrary to our vision.  We are scared that if we say “no” that they will dismantle our engine and leave us broke down on the side of the road. What we don’t realize is we are already broke down because we have no fuel we are just distracted by all their modifications that are just a false sense of progress.

So where do we go from here so that we can be 100% committed to the vision God has given us?  Here are three things to help us move forward:

1. Physically write out your vision.

You have to clearly state why you do what you do.  How can you stay faithful to something you don’t even know what that something is?  Gray areas are organizational killers! We must simplify and clarify what we are about as an organization. Before you do anything else block out time in your schedule to figure out your vision!  You can also read my post here to help you clarify your vision.

2. Physically write out your “HOW”.

Now that you know your vision you need to figure out “HOW” you are going to achieve that vision.  This needs to be what your organization does and you need to keep it simple.  No more than 4 or 5 things.  A healthy church cannot be a ministry buffet and have more events going on than the event center  in your city.  You have to write out only what you are about, how you will achieve that, and build from there.  Maybe start extremely small and grow from there.  Like we are only going to focus on our Sunday service for the next 6 months until that is solid and then add the next step.  But simplifying your “HOW” keeps the vision clear and your people unified.

3. Your vision becomes your litmus test.

Everything is ran under the filter of your vision.  Every idea, every ministry, every opportunity, every lead team member, every staff member, etc…. If it doesn’t marry seamlessly with your vision then it is a no go.  That sounds harsh, but unnecessary modifications just mess up your gas mileage and keep you from going the distance that you were created to go!

4. Be willing to lose people.

You will lose people when you say no! Brace yourself and expect it, but you are losing people that are not helping but hurting the organization.  We as leaders have to be ok with losing a few to gain many.  The reality is that the people you lose need to find a church with a vision that they can rally around just as much as you need people to rally around your vision.  In losing people you are actually benefiting them and yourself because a healthy organization is not a forced relationship.  When we lose people that are not sold out our vision the mood rises, the growth starts happening, and the momentum takes off!

I would love to hear your thoughts below…. What are the biggest compromises that hurt your organizations vision?

Failure is NOT a Bad Word!

Failure is a word that is wrapped with so many negative connotations.  We grow up being told that failure is the WORST thing possible. You “FAILED” your class! You are nothing but a “FAILURE”! You “FAILED” me! Growing up with these descriptions being ingrained into our DNA there is no wonder why we run from failure and stay as far away from it as possible.

Unfortunately our fear of failure actually creates the very thing that we are trying to avoid.  We “FAIL” to become what we could because we don’t let “FAILURE” stretch us towards our potential.  Here is what you must understand… You will make mistakes and you cannot let them turn into regrets because the reality is they are actually possibilities. 

Our mistakes are just opportunities for us to learn from the past and confidently step into the next phase of our journey with more knowledge of where we are going.

Our mistakes also stretch us beyond our comfort zones.  Brad Lomenick said it best in his book H3 Leadership, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Choose courage over comfort”.  We never truly reach our potential as individuals and as an organization unless we are willing to get out of our own heads, face our fears, and courageously try new things.

As leaders it is our responsibility to champion this type of thinking and encourage our team to step out of the box and try new things.  What is the worst that can happen?  Really? You may take a few step backs, but that is just giving you a running start!

My biggest fear is that I will let my success of today be my demise of tomorrow because I let the comfort of familiarity hold me back from moving forward.  Now I don’t mean that you should change everything, but I do believe as a team you need to ask yourselves a few honest questions.

1. What is not working?
What is just not working in your organization or your church? What takes up a lot of time, but you are not really seeing the fruit of the investment? What feels stale or old?  What are you just not excited about? Or what is a major hole or opportunity you are missing?  Be completely honest and allow that from your team.

2. What is something I want to try, but I am nervous about?
What is an idea you have been mulling around that you want to step out in faith to do, but for some reason or another you won’t pull the trigger?  Maybe it’s a teaching element in your services, maybe starting a blog, maybe a financial or a marriage campaign, maybe restructuring some systems or programs, maybe adding another campus, maybe a video series, or maybe it is adding a staff member.  As a leader we must be thinking of whats next and sometimes we have step out of our comfort even when we feel nervous.  Now I am not saying to blindly pull the trigger and hope for the best, but I am saying that staying put and never moving forward eventually leads to a declining organization!

3. Who are you empowering?
Are you giving your team the authority and the confidence that they can run their departments successfully or are you micromanaging and hovering over your team?  When someone is always watching you and waiting for you to fail it demoralizes you and you will always live up to those expectations.  However, when someone gives you their support and they express how much they believe in you it builds a confidence and resolve that is priceless.  I tell my team all the time to take a risk and go for it because what is the worst that can happen?  Maybe we fail, but in that we learn from our mistakes and we lead our teams through it.  Leaders take problems and turn them into solutions and when you express that kind of support in your people they will always rise above the challenge!

Failure is not a bad word and stretching yourself is the only way to grow.  So start growing, start learning, and realize a failure is just a step in the right direction when you have the right mindset!

 

It is ALL in the DETAILS!

I don’t know many leaders that do not desire growth in their organizations and I definitely don’t know any Pastors that do not desire for their churches to grow.  However, as leaders many times we focus on the wrong things that we think are holding us back from that growth.

We live in the “if we had” mindset that robs us of our potential and our growth…
If we had that equipment…
If we had that budget…
If we had this staff position filled…
If we had that building…
If we had their graphics…
If we had their location…

Yes, would these things be awesome and would they help your organization… You better believe they would, BUT not having those things is NOT the reason your organization is failing to grow.  The reason that most organizations struggle is because they are so consumed on their “if we had” check list that they ignore everything they already have.  They are so concerned with the Big need that they neglect all the details that are currently impeding their health as an organization.

This is stewardship 101 straight from the mouth of Jesus! “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” Luke 16:10

I can promise you one thing that if the details are ignored everything else is in vain! People make a first impression of your church in less than 10 minutes and that impression is all based on the details!  If they are not greeted as they walk in their immediate response is “these people don’t care about me”.  If the bathrooms are dirty their mind starts thinking “they can’t take care of their bathrooms…how can they ever take care of my family”. If they feel lost or confused because of a lack of signage or a service flow that is more insider friendly than outsider friendly then they feel uncomfortable.  If they feel nervous dropping their kids off then all they are thinking about during the service is their kids…

DETAILS MAKE OR BREAK AN ORGANIZATION.  The impression is made before the worship starts and the Pastor speaks.  So what are your details saying?

Walk through your facilities in the shoes of a first time guest. How clean are they, how is the signage, how is the decor is it inviting?  Think through your service flow and whether you are a church that expects guests every week.  Is the kids check in secure and easy does it put parents at ease? Do your bulletins, print materials, and pre service slides give clear next steps to someone new? Do you welcome guests multiple times and introduce yourself?  All of these put together either create a huge WIN or a huge loss depending on whether or not you ignore or address them.

Your details speak much louder than your sermons. If you get the details right then growth will happen and you will see down the road that your “if we had” list will be accomplished.

Leading Ahead of Schedule

I am enamored with this thought as a leader to “lead ahead of schedule”, but to lead in such a way it takes a tremendous amount of confidence. Confidence is something you must have as a leader, as an entrepreneur, or as a Pastor.  Now when I say confidence I don’t mean ego.  I mean a confidence in where your organization is going.  Having this confidence does not mean you will not have doubts at times or that you are always Mr. Optimism. Confidence is knowing the potential that is in your organization and seeing its future.

As leaders we must lead ahead of schedule.  We must be out front of our team seeing the future that we know is possible.  I have always had this confidence that there was greatness in our church and our team members even from day one.  I remember when we were a church of maybe 40 people (counting kids and dogs) and I just knew our Church was the place to be and missing out was a huge mistake.  Now some people may see that as being naive or bias, but I was confident in our hearts and our future.

Leading ahead of schedule.

I have always told our team at every stage the same thing…
When we were a church of 500 I said we are not a church of 500, but 5,000.  When we were 600 it was 6,000, when we were 700 it was 7,000, and so on and so on.  As a leader you must understand that you are just waiting for your present to catch up with your reality.

Leading ahead of schedule forces you not to settle with your present. If I am going to be a pastor of thousands that means I need to be a leader of that capacity and if we are going to be a church of thousands than that means there is a higher level of excellence that we must expect for ourselves. When we lead ahead of schedule we are pushing ourselves to a higher level we know we are capable of even if we can’t see it yet.

That confidence that pushes us to lead ahead of schedule is faith.
As Hebrews 11:1 states,“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

Faith is not leading out of fantasy but faith is leading out of diligence and that diligence takes us to the greatness we were destined to live! Look at where you are now and know it is not a period in your sentence of life but a comma.  Push yourself to higher heights and help your team reach the greatness that you know is inside them.  Lead ahead of schedule because you are just waiting for your present to catch up with your reality!

Consistency is EVERYTHING!

Guess what?  Overnight success is a BIG FAT LIE.  It is a myth and does not exist!  Success only happens when we do the right things consistently over an extended period of time… If you have ever read Jim Collin’s book “Good to Great” he calls this the Flywheel concept.  That at first it is extremely difficult to push the lever and get the flywheel moving, but if you keep pushing soon momentum will take over.

I am convinced most people never live their dreams because they don’t have the grit to stay committed to the process.  Commitment without a time limit leads to a Dream without a height limit.  Most people have great ideas and great dreams, but most people never see those ideas and dreams manifest into reality because they don’t have the resolve to see them through.  Dreams and ideas are easy.  Everyone has dreams. Yet very few people actually live their dreams. Why? Because very few people are willing to stay consistent long enough to see results.  A farmer doesn’t plant seeds and then after a week gets mad because they haven’t sprouted immediately so he ignores them and then goes and plants something else.  No he understands it takes time for things to grow and during that process he waters them, fertilizes them, and is constantly removing the weeds so those plants can flourish.  We must do that with our dreams, ideas, and our organizations.

Is it hard? You better believe it is hard.  You have to hustle in those moments of waiting, you have to have faith, and you must be disciplined to stay committed to the process.  Dreams without discipline are just fantasies and too many people are living fantasies when we were intended to turn those dreams into realities.

So how do we stay committed during the process?

1. Know where you want to end up.

It is important to picture what your dream would look like completed.  Picture the end result… If the book was completed what would the cover look like, if the storefront was up and running how would it be laid out with all its products, if the website was running how would it function, what would your logo be, how would your week run if you were working your dream Full Time, design the house you want to build, or what is your perfect clothing size? Whatever your dream is start picturing the dream completed so that you have a target in mind.

2. Set Goals.

Goals are meant to be steps that lead to your dreams.  Now that you know where you are heading start figuring out your first steps and give yourself a deadline to accomplish them.  Create a list of 5 or so goals and give yourself 4 to 8 weeks to accomplish them.  When you start attacking your goals in small chunks and in short spurts of time you become less overwhelmed and you naturally create momentum for yourself.

3. Figure out where you need to grow.

There are certain areas you will need to grow in to see your goals accomplished.  Be honest with yourself and come up with a few things you need to develop to fulfill your goals you just set for yourself.  Maybe you need to develop discipline to stay focused and use your time wisely, maybe you need to recruit a team and you need to work on vision casting, or maybe you need work on being more organized so you can accomplish your tasks with everything else you are working on.  Do an honest assessment of yourself every time you set new goals and watch your goals get accomplished and leadership increase.

4. Do NOT Quit.

Just make the commitment now that you are committed to the process.  Quiting is NOT an option and you ARE going to stay committed to the process.

Do the right things, the right way, consistently, and watch the growth happen in your organization and your life!

The Two Most Important Jobs a Leader Has!

Morale & Momentum michael s carlton

There are many things that a leader must keep track of when it comes to running an organization.  Some are large responsibilities and some smaller day to day tasks, but there are two things that I believe are absolutely the most important for a leader to focus on which is Morale & Momentum.  As a leader our main goal has to be to keep Morale up and Momentum going in our organization.  Other areas may be important, but if morale is down and if you have no momentum then everything else is meaningless.

So lets discuss how we keep morale up and momentum going in our organizations…

KEEPING MORALE UP

1. Value your team. You know that it is impossible for your organization to be successful without your team (if not you need to understand that), but does your team know that? As leaders many times we suffer from this complex where we just assume everyone knows how we feel or what we think.  As a leader always assume that no one knows how you feel and with that mind set always over communicate the value in your team members and watch how you gain tremendous value in your organization.

2. Serve your team. Leadership is not about us but the people we lead and we must spend our energy inspiring and empowering them.  As leaders we must spend our time developing the leaders in our organizations.  Spend time with them, supply them with the resources they need, send them to conferences, and listen to their needs, their struggles, and help them lead through them.  We serve our team not the other way around!

3. Celebrate your team. As the leader we don’t need the credit we have the title and that should be enough.  You elevate and celebrate every team member and never take the credit for yourself.  Listen to me when we celebrate others and not ourselves it builds loyalty, trust, and commodore that money can NEVER buy!

KEEPING MOMENTUM GOING

1. Communicate where you are going.  We need to be consistent with communicating to our team the vision of our organization and where we are going. People want to be apart of something bigger than themselves and they want to work hard for an organization that is making a difference.  Dream with your team and dream beyond the realm of rationality.  Dreaming creates excitement and excitement builds momentum.

2. Communicate your values constantly.  When team understands where we are going then they need to understand why we do what we do.  To get our organizations to go in the same direction then we must communicate the WHY behind the WHERE.  You need to create and physically write down a list of 5-10  team values.  After you create these values we must communicate them frequently to our team.  An African proverb says it best “If you want to run fast, run alone; if you want to run far, run together.” We must run together as a team and the only way you do that is to clearly understand the values of our organizations.

3. Strategically plan your calendar.  As church leaders we always know their higher attended Sundays than other Sundays and we must use this knowledge to our advantage.  Don’t just create a killer Sunday service for you high attended Sundays, but create a killer service that is followed by a very relatable series. Your large Sundays need to domino into each other and that only happens by planning your calendar in a way that helps them flow together. If a large group of people accept Jesus at large attended Sunday service their next logical question is “whats next?” and as the church we have to help them answer that.  Look at a speaking calendar a lot like someones journey of personal spiritual growth so you can help your people walk through those stages of spiritual growth.
*A side note always plan your best series in your lowest attended months to help domino into the next large Sunday.

4. Celebrate the wins. Celebrate the wins publicly and celebrate them often.  Nothing creates momentum in our teams better than seeing the fruit of God moving in our organizations!

Remember we can do everything right, but if morale is down and momentum is at a halt then everything else is vain.  Make these two things your number one focus as a leader and I know you will see the benefits in your organization!

I HATE the word Delegate!

Blog Photo

Ok Ok… I may be slightly over exaggerating, but I really really dislike that term.  I mean I understand the concept of using this word to describe leading in your organization.  The reality of this is 100% true. You can not do it all by yourself!  But the problem with the word “delegate” is in most leaders minds whether that is consciously or subconsciously it means to assign tasks. Many leaders hear delegate and think it means removing things off of their plate.  While this may be partially true.  If this is your motivation it creates micromanaging leaders who are only assigning tasks instead of authority.

Micromanaging is just as ineffective as being a lone ranger leader and doing everything yourself. What we have to do as leaders is not “delegate” but “empower” the people on our team.  Something happens in your mind when you start telling yourself you are going to empower people.  You no longer assign just a task, but you start assigning authority and that builds leaders.  A task creates a busy employee, but authority creates empowered leaders! We must understand duplication is the only thing that leads to multiplication.  If you want to multiply the growth in your organization then you must duplicate yourself as a leader.

Now I am going to be 100% honest with you it’s way more difficult up front to empower than to delegate.  It’s easier to just micromanage a task and have it done exactly the way you want it done, but it will grossly limit your organizations growth and potential in the long run.

So how do we empower the leaders on our team and set them up to succeed?  John Maxwell said, “if someone can do it at 80% as well as you then let them do it”. But I like how Craig Groeschel says it a little better, “if they can do it at 50 to 60% as well as you but with momentum then let them do it. This will  let them grow into it and one day they’ll surpass you”.

So we need to discover our team members potential, empower them with authority, and also we need to set them up to succeed. Here is 4 ways to empower your team so that they will achieve success.

1. Be Clear With Your Expectations.
When you’re transferring authority you are not assigning a task, but an area of responsibility.  With that you have to be crystal clear on their responsibilities, your expectations, and the fact that you will be giving them feedback along the way. You cannot over communicate these things upfront.  The more clear you are on your expectations the less confusion they have, the less anxiety they develop, and the more confidently they will move forward.

2. We Champion Their Ideas.
When you empower someone they are going to think out of the box and differently than you and as long as they still align with the vision of your Church then you must encourage that. There is no greater feeling as leader when your team is dreaming and working on their own accord.  There is nothing like seeing your team rally the people they lead to accomplish a project or an event.  We must encourage that drive. We do that when we constantly champion their ideas and give them permission to run with their ideas.

3. We Help Them Grow Through Feedback.
We must let our team members know that we desire for them to be the very best they can be and that growth happens through feedback.  Feedback is a great thing, but only if they understand the motive behind it and if it is given in small chunks.  Many times as leaders we like to go over a list of all the things to work on, but too much feedback can actually cause them to feel defeated.  The relationship with your team members is a process and we grow one step at a time.  Think long term with your team members.

4. Celebrate Them!
You need to see the wins and celebrate the wins that your team is accomplishing.  Lavish your team members with praise publicly and privately as they continue to knock it out of the park.  Nothing builds confidence and encourages more initiative in your team than when their leader celebrates them!

Duplication is the ONLY thing that leads to multiplication. Empower your team and watch your organization not just see addition to its growth, but multiplication to its growth.   Empowering leaders attract leaders!

 

4 ways to create a healthy culture

Culture is vital…I mean EXTREMELY vital to the success of your church or organization.  A great vision can be destroyed by an unhealthy culture.  I have heard it said like this, “Culture will eat vision for breakfast”.

So what is culture?  Culture is when what you say and what you do line up.  Culture is what people feel and experience in your church or organization. For example: I don’t want to just tell people I value them and that I love them,  I want people to feel and experience value and love.  That understanding goes beyond words, but is a set of values that are discovered through actions.

4 ways to create a healthy culture

1. You must clarify what you value.

A good way to do this is to ask yourself what do we want to be known for when people describe our church or organization?

Make a list of the things you want people to say about your organization.  This list is how you develop and clarify your values and when your values are lived out it creates your culture.

At Bloom it was our desire that we create a culture that “Every Person Matters”!  That every person that attends our services whether they’re new or not  feels welcomed and loved.  That we show they matter by honoring them every week by putting forth our best.  Every person can be a part of a Lifegroup and every person can go through the process and get plugged in and start serving.

2. Quit talking about it and start doing it.

The culture you desire will never exist in the future if you don’t model it in the present.  Culture starts with the leader.  When we identify what our values are we immediately start modeling those values.  Culture is not built upon excuses, but expectations.  What are your expectations for yourself, for your staff, and for your volunteers?

If our staff or volunteers are not living out our culture it is either because we as the leaders are not modeling it, we have not clarified exactly what we desire, or we are ignoring teachable moments to train and build our team.

3. Understand it takes time

Culture is not built in a matter of days, but a matter of months.  You have to be consistent with your values even when you think no one is getting it.  Because when we continue to model, clarify, and teach your values they will eventually get it and they will start to live out that culture!  It takes time and discipline to build lasting values.

4. Celebrate the wins

People will repeat what gets celebrated.  Encourage and celebrate your team.  Too many leaders are on the lookout to give correction and not enough are on the lookout to give affirmation. Give a public shoutout to someone who goes above and beyond, celebrate them on social media, send them a card, or give them a small gift. I promise you that when you celebrate wins the wins will multiply inside your organization and build a healthy culture.

Here is what you need to understand… Culture is the fuel for momentum and the heartbeat of your vision.  If you want to see your organization move forward and see your vision fulfilled you must build a healthy culture!

3 Questions to discover your Vision

MP3 Version at the bottom

I get asked by many pastors and leaders a lot the “HOW” question.  How are you growing? How do you get more people to attend your church? How do you grow your client base? How do you grow your organization?

With Leaders we are obsessed with the “HOW” because we want that next level, we want that growth, we want that expansion, but that CANNOT be our first question we ask!

The first question that has to be answered is the “WHY”.  Why do you do what you do? What is going to separate you from every other organization? What is your vision? What does this look like?

You cannot just have a blanket statement or a generic answer like “Well I am called to pastor a Church”. Ok that is great, but what does that Church look like? Having a generic answer without being able to answer the why is like someone saying they want to be a writer.  Thats great but what are you going to write about?  Are you going to write biographies, teaching materials, or romance novels?  Are you going to write books or blog posts?

You have to get more specific with your calling.  There is so much uniqueness with people and you have the ability to impact those people that will connect with your heart, but first you have to ask the “WHY” question because that’s your Vision.

3 Questions that help you discover your Vision

1. What am I just naturally good at?

Ask yourself what are you or what is your organization just naturally good at? Now this question is not answered by what you think you should be good at?  See many times we find ourselves playing the clone game where we look at other organizations and try to be carbon copies.  It doesn’t work that way.

So ask yourself what are we gifted at? Where are we excellent or heading that way?

2. What am I passionate about?

You have to enjoy what you are doing or you’re wasting what is already precious time in a very short life.  Do NOT pursue something because it is a good idea, but pursue something because you’re passionate about it!  Good ideas will never fulfill you and they will never give you the resolve to be successful.  John Maxwell said perfectly “Passion provides the fuel in a person’s life to keep them going!”.  If you are not passionate about something you will burn out and quit!

3. What will work?

Now I know you may think that is the million dollar answer, but you should know the demographic or market well enough that you can see where the needs are not currently being met.  If you don’t have that understanding you have not put in the due diligence to succeed because success takes a TON OF WORK. Understand the people you are trying to reach and see where their needs are not being met and thats how you reach a group of people who are not currently getting their needs mets.

When these three answers come together it is like magic.  That is the vision!

Like the Bible says “Without vision the people will perish” or as other translations say “run wild”.  If you do not answer the “WHY” your organization will run away from you and you will be left picking up the pieces.

You MUST answer the “WHY” before the “HOW”!

Building The Altar Moments In Life

Life is a fickle beast.  It has its ups and its downs.  It has its joys and it has its tears.  We are on the ride of our lives in this theme park filled with emotional roller coasters.  We humans are skin and bones that wraps an emotional soul.

Emotions can be a great thing as it forces us to look in the mirror and truly be honest.  No more fake facades and no half meaning smiles.  Just raw emotions.  It can cause us to love someone deeply, to feel immense pain for someone, to have a passion for life, or to realize that we are hurting.  Most importantly emotions if we allow them can draw us into a place of complete awe, adoration and to be completely captivated and dependent upon our Savior.

The sad thing is that I see so many people become ashamed of their emotional state.  People who think that unless they are perfect they are considered a weak believer or even in sin.  However I feel like if we can identify our emotions it can bring us the greatest healing, hope, and strength.  David was the greatest example of that in the book of Psalms in one instance he would be crying out how the world was crashing all around him, but towards the end of those passages he would conclude that though he is weak his God is strong and will rescue him.  I heard a quote once that said “it’s ok to sit on the pity pot just don’t stay there long enough to get a ring around your butt!”

There is nothing wrong with identifying and feeling our emotions.  Where that becomes dangerous is when we stay in our emotions and don’t look to our God for strength.

So how do you find strength in God? YOU REMEMBER!

6 We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’7 Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” – JOSHUA 4:6-7

I love these verses! God does a great miracle and Joshua tells them to build a memorial an altar.  He says when the generations of people who come after us see this memorial they will REMEMBER the great miracle our God did today.  When they may be filled with doubt or stress may the remember a time when God rescued His people.  When they are filled with an overwhelming emotion may they remember when God held back the overwhelming waters of the Jordan river and allowed us to walk into the promise land. May they REMEMBER!

We must build the altar moments in our lives.  It’s those moments that make us realize exactly what Paul meant when he said “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” It is not my strength that gives me peace it is the strength of my saviour and it is when I can remember all the times he has already been faithful in my life.

Build the altar moments and REMEMBER!