Head For The Hills

A common prayer is “God I want more”. Whether it be more of His love, His power, His favor, or just more of Him in general, we have been created with a desire to want more. I know personally I find myself asking the Lord to reveal more of who He is to me daily. But being a follower of Jesus involves an interesting tension: being full and still being hungry. We are full of His spirit, but we should always be hungry for more.

In life, we can get caught up in a desire for more materially and unconsciously neglect the desire for more spiritually. Material wealth has become more sought after than spiritual health. Solomon, also known as the preacher, had this to say concerning wealth:

Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think wealth brings true happiness.  Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NLT)

Material hunger can be fed, but can’t ever truly be satisfied. That’s why I love Jesus, he feeds us and satisfies us, but He always leads us to an even greater revelation of who He is.

So my thought this morning is what do you do when you feel like you’re ready for more, and you truly desire more, but you don’t feel like you’re getting more? What’s like to be in a dry season of spiritual growth and not know how to get things flowing again? I know what it’s like when bible study becomes routine, and prayer becomes obligatory. When you’ve planted something but not seen it grow. In prayer, the Lord showed me this yesterday:

You have sown much, and bring in little. You eat, but do not have enough. You drink, but you are not filled with drink, you clothe yourselves, but no is warm, and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes. Haggai 1:6 (NKJV)

Do you see the yourself in this passage? Whenever we are in seasons of dryness, and we keep trying to do things our own way, it never works. I believe with all my heart, we shouldn’t be working to get to a certain level, we should believe God will meet us where we’re at and then take us to where He wants us to be.

Go up into the mountains and bring wood and build the temple… Haggai 1:8 (NKJV)

This verse speaks volumes. When we have those seasons of dryness, emptiness, lack of fulfillment, God makes it really clear what we are to do: Go up (change your perspective) into the mountains (a place of solitude) and bring wood (the revelation of the cross) to build.

I have more on this that I am still marinating on. But for now, when you feel like nothing seems to work, my prayer is that you would head to the mountains, head to the hills, to encounter God and let Him reignite your passion.

-Billy

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The Still Small Voice

I’ve said it hundreds of times, and you probably have too: “The Lord spoke to me.” I’m always amazed by this statement. And here’s why:

First of all, it’s unbelievable to think that the Creator of the universe would care enough to speak to us.  Because if God was like me, He’d have to create a checklist of duties just to stay productive. I mean He must have so much else to do. If He was like me, He’d have to prioritize what tasks were important. But in the midst of the miracles He performs, the lives He restores, and the millions and millions of prayers He hears, He loves us enough to speak to us. We’re always His priority! Speaking to us is not God’s duty, it’s actually His joy.

Secondly, the phrase “God spoke” makes me question. Like does God really audibly speak to us like people speak to us? My first year in ministry, I literally felt like I was begging God to audibly speak. Part of me really desired to hear Him and what He had to say, but the other part was kind of just interested in hearing whether or not He had a super deep voice like you hear in the movies.

On another level, Elijah had this same desire: To hear God’s voice.

11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. (1 Kings 19:11-12)

Like many situations in our life, Elijah needed God to step in. But notice the form of His intervention. The wind, the earthquake, and the fire all revealed God’s power. But for the situation, Elijah needed God’s peace. He needed the comfort of God’s tender, quiet love. I’ve learned that the times I’m expecting God to do something my way, He reveals another part of Him I didn’t think of.

God may never audibly speak to me how I think He should. But He will always speak to me how I need Him to. Whether He speaks through voices of people, words on a page, or songs on a radio, He still speaks. My prayer is that whispers of God remain more than enough. That a new revelation will shatter an old expectation, and that I never miss His still small voice.

-Billy

The 10 Traits of a Team Member

When you think about it, team plays a huge role in the way we do life. Sure, we have our moments of independence and at times, isolation. But without team we are unable to truly make a difference in the area we are in. Individuals can influence, but teams can transform. I recently taught my team on 10 Traits of a Team Member. Here’s the quick version:

1. I Understand Team

Most people can’t be on teams, because they truly don’t understand team. A real team isn’t just structured to do work together, it’s structured to do life together. I want people who get team, and can get others to understand it.

2. I Have Learned To Honor

What’s important to you as the leader, should become equally important to your team. Your team members will only learn to honor, if you will teach honor. Proverbs 15:33 is gold here, “The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”

3. I Know How To Communicate

Teach your team to communicate their ideas and feelings. Rarely should it be on the leader to go and investigate whether something is wrong with their team. Most people will say, “They’re the leader they should come to me first.” But great teams have people that will communicate to the leader first. Have a culture that is not built on “they should” but is built on “I will.”

4. I Am A Prayer Starter and A Problem Solver

If people on your team know how to start praying, and keep praying, they will solve problems. We need prayer on our teams! And not just a seasonal prayer life, but a constant prayer life. Great leaders don’t always focus on what’s now, they are leaning into and anticipating what’s next. And prayer is a great tool to do that.

5. I Have A Can Do Attitude

There’s nothing worse for a positive environment than a negative voice. Of course logistically, there reasons why we can’t do things, but we must learn how to voice them the right way. I want people on my team who not only believe we can do something, but voice their belief (or their concern) the right way!

6. I Have Developed Life Skills

When it comes to building a team, I want people who have developed a sense of responsibility and accountability. People who know how to properly introduce themselves to strangers, people who know how to keep their car clean, and for some even their rooms clean! People who don’t show up 5 minutes late to meetings with a Starbucks in their hand. Moving on…

7. I Have The Right Tone

The timing of God’s promise has a lot to do with the tone of our spirits. If we are going to have a strong team, we need people who understand the power of their tone. Tone affects atmospheres! If you are in an atmosphere of faith and confidence, the last thing you want is someone coming in with a tone of doubt and sarcasm.

8. I Don’t Gossip

Not much to say here, if you are a true team member, what’s said about others is actually said about you too. Don’t get caught engaging in something you don’t know. I love the story of Jesus walking on water. The Bible says that disciples yelled out “It’s A Ghost” (but it wasn’t). So they made something bigger and more serious than it actually was. Gossip works the same way, it has us expanding our imaginations, but also limiting the purity of vision.

9. My Maturity is Bigger than my Personality 

Personality is important, especially in student ministry, but at the same time our maturity is what separates us from the people we are leading. I have huge personality, like I love to have fun and mess around. But there’s a time that maturity has to be the leading factor.

10. I Am Sold Out to This Vision

When leading a team, you want to know that the people you’re leading are really present. They can be present physically, but are they there mentally and spiritually. Make your vision clear enough that people understand it and can become committed to it. I believe it was Andy Stanley who said “The easiest way to kill a vision, is to start another one.”

Praying for you and your teams!

– Billy