Monthly Archives: December 2012

5 Steps Towards Greatness (Part V) – Surrender

The pyramid of Khephren (Khafre)As mentioned in Part IV of this series, Jesus was not released onto the ministry He was called to fulfill until He had passed the test set for Him by the Holy Spirit.

Now, while being equipped, prepared, tested, and released onto ministry is one thing, actually fulfilling the purpose to which we are called is quite another. The essential quality we must have to run a good race and so win the prize of greatness that is set before us is the quality of surrender. We must have a heart and attitude that thinks nothing of ourselves but thinks everything of God. We must not rely on our own ability but wholly depend on His ability.

Jesus had this heart and attitude. The bible tells us that although He was equal to God, He made Himself of no reputation (thought nothing of Himself) but out of love and in humility and obedience took the form of a man and sacrificed Himself on the cross (see Philippians 2:5-9). Wow! How incredible that is for so many reasons. What a love driven surrender to purpose!

See, surrender was behind every single thing that Jesus did while on earth; surrender to the will of the Father as revealed by the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus said ‘I only do what I see the Father doing and I say only what the Father tells me to say (John 14:10, John 5:19 paraphrase).  This is why He stayed behind to spend time with the biblical scholars in the temple at the age of twelve; why He chased out the money changers and traders out of the temple; why He willingly chose to die on the cross for us instead of choosing to let the cup of wrath that we deserve pass from Him.

Indeed, Jesus has shown us that surrender is the final ingredient needed to achieve true greatness that the previous four keys simply give us a chance of attaining.

But there is more! He not only showed us the key to greatness through His life, He also taught us. He taught us that the greatest person in the kingdom of heaven is one who becomes as a child and humbles himself (see Matthew 18:4). Just as a little child is wholly dependent on his/her parents for every single thing and those parents are the center of the child’s world, so does the Father desire to be the center of our world. He wants us to center our life around Him so He can lavish us with the very best that He has planned out for us. He wants us to center our life around Him so He may grant us life and grant it to us more abundantly.

Lightbulb MomentWhen we are most helpless is when Christ is most helpful.

So here is my question to you: Are you living the abundant life of love, joy, peace and so much more? If not, it may well be that you are holding onto something that should be surrendered to God. What is it? Offense, past experiences, past hurts, a person, a relationship, an idea, some fear, pride? Whatever it is, it is time to surrender it so that you may move forward towards greatness!

Now is the time for you to once again commit to a life of surrender to Christ. There is no better Christmas present to give you than Jesus. He is the present that will deposit all other presents you could ever imagine onto your lap.

Lightbulb MomentSurrender your life to Christ who is calling you today and He will take you on an adventure you will never forget.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

3 Comments

Filed under Success

5 Steps Towards Greatness (Part IV) – The Test

The pyramid of Khephren (Khafre)Having being equipped and prepared for the purpose to which we have been called, the final hurdle we all have to overcome prior to being chosen by God onto greatness is the test of our faithfulness and readiness. Even Jesus was not exempt from the readiness and faithfulness test. Indeed, the bible tells us that He was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted (tested) by the devil (Matthew 4:1). It was not until after He passed that test in the wilderness that He was released onto His ministry. How do we know this? We know because the bible tells us that Jesus began to preach the gospel of the kingdom for the first time only after departing to Galilee –  after His wilderness experience (Matthew 4:17).

Just in case you think the Test only applies to Jesus who was both man and God, I want to assure you that this applies to ordinary men. Elisha was an ordinary man who was put to the test before he became a prophet. After calling Elisha to walk with him for years, Elijah suddenly told Elisha to no longer follow Him. In essence, Elijah was telling Elisha that their journey together was done (2 Kings 2:2)! I can only imagine what Elisha was thinking at the time. I imagine it may have been the following:

‘I can’t believe this guy. After I have served him faithfully for years, now he is just dumping me…especially after I left my family and my livelihood behind’.

Elisha could have chosen to depart in rage, BUT he did not and so passed the test of faithfulness. Later, when the sons of the prophets for lack of better words said ‘dude, your master is about to leave you man, why don’t you just go home?’ Elisha did not despair or say in his heart: ‘these guys are like top notch Christians, I will listen to them’. No! Instead, Elisha told them to hush their mouths (see 2 Kings 2:3)! See, Elisha was ready to follow Elijah wherever he went and so continued following him. For this, Elisha was rewarded with the mantle of prophet and a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.

What does all this tell us? It lets us know that a hefty reward is the end of our readiness to follow Jesus to wherever He leads us…even if it is towards the wilderness. It lets us know that a prize follows our dogged determination to stay faithful to Him no matter how great the temptation. Thus, we have to start taking a look at tests and temptation differently. Rather than wail and gnash our teeth at another attack from the devil, we ought to look at it as a last ditch attempt by a frantic enemy to keep us from the blessing that God wants to shower upon us. But here is the thing, the devil cannot stop us from greatness since we have been equipped with the Holy Spirit – the very power that conquered the grave and put the devil underfoot. Therefore, tests of the wilderness (where trials and tribulation abound) and of temptation should simply strengthen our resolve to push through by the grace (power) of God.

It is when we pass the readiness and faithfulness test that God says ‘okay, I can choose this one for his/her love for me does not flick on and off like a light switch’. You see, the bible tells us that many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). If we want to be chosen, we have to pass the test. In order to pass the test, we have to be equipped with the One who has never failed. In order not to fail at what we do, what we choose to do must be what God has called us to do!

Food for Thought: You have to pass the test in order to get the best

1 Comment

Filed under Love, Purposeful Living, Victorious Living

5 Steps Towards Greatness (Part III) – Preparation

The pyramid of Khephren (Khafre)If we want to be great, we have to follow the example of the great One; we have to follow in the footsteps of the one who was chosen to be great. I am careful to use the word ‘chosen to be great’ because although Jesus was called to be great, as a man, He had to show Himself worthy to be chosen! It was not until He had proven Himself worthy that everything was given into His hands (see John 13:3). Although God called Jesus to save humanity (see John 3:16) and then proceeded to equip Him with the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 3:16), God had to test Jesus before releasing Him unto His ministry. If you do not believe me, just read what the scripture tells us in the fourth chapter of Matthew.

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1

See, it was the Spirit of God that Jesus the man was equipped with that led Jesus into the wilderness (into hardship) to be tested by the devil for the express purpose of seeing whether Jesus was ready for the mammoth task that was before Him. I love that Jesus did not shirk away from this challenge. Jesus did not complain, moan, and groan at the difficulty that He was going to face like some of us do when any difficulty come our way. Instead of complaining and perhaps ‘justifiably’ deciding not to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in going into hardship in the wilderness, Jesus simply yielded Himself to obedience.

Lightbulb MomentJust because things are hard does not mean it is NOT God. God never promised it would be easy, He has promised there will be victory.

But Jesus did not simply say ‘Oh, well! God is sending me into hardship! He sanctioned this and it is all down to Him to save me.’ Rather than simply throw His hands up in fatalistic surrender, Jesus embarked upon a period incredible preparation. The bible tells us that He fasted forty days and nights. He did this so He would be prepared for the test that was to come. Yes, the preparation took a lot out of Jesus, but it was the same preparation that made Him ready to combat the test the devil threw at Him.Without this preparation, would Jesus have failed the test in the wilderness? We will never know! Likewise, when we adequately prepare for our God-given mission, we will not have to undergo failure. We may undergo setbacks, but we will not fail!

Lightbulb MomentPreparation is vital if we are to enter into greatness; this part of the journey is solely our responsibility.

It is in preparation that most of us who are called miss the boat so that we are not chosen. Most of us are looking for favor; we want to be noticed by someone and be elevated without putting in the work to be noticed. Without preparing, we are found wanting when the test, which is simply an opportunity to show what we are made of, comes.

See, Jeremy Lin understood the importance of being prepared (being ready and staying ready). When he finally got His opportunity with the New York Knicks, He was ready to pass the test! He was worthy of what He wanted. Would he have been granted another opportunity? We will never know!

Lightbulb MomentPreparation is what makes us worthy of the greatness we aspire towards, therefore, we should stay ready for we never know when God says to us ‘it is your turn to be great’

2 Comments

Filed under Purposeful Living, Teaching, Victorious Living

5 Steps Towards Greatness (Part II) – Equipped

The pyramid of Khephren (Khafre)

Having called Jesus to partake of flesh and blood in order to reconcile mankind to Him, God did not simply leave Jesus to his own devices. He did not say “Alright Jesus, I called you and you have answered My call. Now, go do what I have asked you to do in your own strength”. No! God ensured He granted Jesus with the ability to carry out the purpose for which He was born; He empowered Jesus and equipped Him with the secret weapon of the Holy Spirit.

Just as there is no point in your boss telling you to cut a tree down without furnishing you with an axe or saw, there is no point knowing the purpose for which you were created without being furnished with the ability to complete your task. The same God who has called you will without fail equip you with the ability to carry out the task He has given you.

Therefore, we do not have to worry about how we can ever accomplish what at times may seem like the mountainous task before us. God knows we cannot do it on our own power; that is why He deposited the Holy Spirit inside of us to strengthen and empower us.

Even so, many of us ignore the very key to victory (the Holy Spirit) on our journey but instead ramble about the place trying to accomplish the purpose to which we have been called in our own power. Alas, this is akin to trying to trying to fight an enemy without putting on our armor; it is foolishness at best. Our failure to utilize the Holy Spirit or yield to the Holy Spirit’s direction is the primary reason we stumble and fall. Should we stumble and fall, unfortunately, too many of us start to question the call of God on our lives and we simply give up. In essence, we give up on God and spend our time chasing all those things that keeps us busy and may even bring us great material wealth but at the end of the day still leaves us empty!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: To be great, we must utilize the tool of the Holy Spirit.

See,  since God wants us to accomplish His purpose His way, and the only way we can do this is by listening to the voice of the Lord spoken through the Holy Spirit within us (see John 16:13), we must always leave room for the Holy Spirit to operate in our lives. We must learn to obey that voice that tells us to act in a way that will NOT violate the principles, statutes, and character of God.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: The equipping is God’s responsibility, but the use of the equipment is our responsibility.

Anything other than abiding in the Holy Spirit is folly! When Moses decided he knew better than God when he struck the rock instead of speaking to the rock, it ended up costing him the joy of entering into the promise land. When Solomon decided he was no longer going to heed the voice of the Lord not to engage in wedlock with non-believers, it ended up costing him the kingdom and his peace of mind. When the Man of God decided to take a detour from the path God had laid out in front of him, it cost him his life (see 1 Kings 13:11-30)!

Thus it is clear. We must refuse the urge to answer the call of God on our life in our own strength for doing this is dangerous business! Rather, we must allow for the equipping (empowerment) of the Spirit and then walk in step with Him as He leads!

“But the Lord said to me: ‘Do not say I am a youth’, for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. – Jeremiah 1:7

Power Thought: My God who calls me will also give me the ability to fulfill my calling and lead me aright; He is with me and will not allow me to falter.

3 Comments

Filed under Love, Purposeful Living, Victorious Living

SuperChamp Musing: Brainstorming versus Blamestorming

What do you do and whom do you blame when adversity comes your way? The answer will impact how you look at people, the quality of your relationships, and whether you spend more time in the wilderness or the promised land

Leave a comment

Filed under Audio

5 Steps Towards Greatness (Part I) – The Call

The pyramid of Khephren (Khafre)The scripture tells us that many people are called BUT that few are chosen (see Matthew 22:14). What a shame! It is truly a tragedy that too few of us ever achieve the greatness to which God has called every single person that walks on this earth. Here is the truth! The same God who calls us and says ‘You can be great’ desires to choose us to be great; He longs to say to each one of us ‘You will be great’. Unfortunately, too many of us are either ignorant of the steps required for greatness or we are unwilling to follow in the footsteps of Jesus in doing the work that is required to be chosen.

Now, God in His love did not make us fully responsibility for being great but made it a shared responsibility – our part being the easy part. Even so, just as Jesus had a part to play in being chosen after being called by God, we also have a part to play in being chosen. So then, what part do we play and what part does God play? This will hopefully become clear as we peek at the 5 steps towards greatness.

The Call which is the first step towards greatness and is God’s responsibility. While in heaven, God called Jesus and said something akin to: ‘Son, it is your time. I have now called you to partake of flesh and blood (become human) for the sole purpose of reconciling and restoring mankind to us. This is what I am calling you to do. Ready to go?’. See, Jesus who is Spirit became a human with a living soul for the sole purpose of doing that specific will of God. Likewise, just like Jesus, we are all spirit beings who have been called and temporarily placed on this earth to do a work and to achieve a purpose.

“For we are his workmanship (masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus unto good works (purpose), which God has before (prior to being born) ordained that we should walk in them” – Ephesians 2:10

Lightbulb MomentThe first step towards greatness is to know the specific purpose to which God has called us.

If you do not know your purpose, do not despair. Just keep your heart and ears open and God will reveal His specific purpose to you in due time. Prophet Jeremiah did not know his purpose until God said to Him: ‘Hey Jeremiah, I am now calling you to be my mouthpiece (prophet) to the people of Judah. I created you specifically for this purpose and I am now letting you know that this is the purpose for which I created you’.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet unto the nations” – Jeremiah 1:5

Note that what is important is God’s call on our lives and not our call on our lives. It is only God’s purpose for our lives that streamlines our life’s energy into a single laser beam focus that is able to cut through distractions and foolishness while bringing true and sustained fulfillment into our lives. . It is only by following the will or purpose of God for our lives that we walk worthy of Him, fully please Him, and are fruitful in everything we do – for His power follows His purpose (see Colossians 1:9:10).

Conversely, our lives fall into the learned behavior of idleness without His purpose (see 1 Timothy 5:13). Now, idleness does not simply mean that we are doing nothing. Busyness that comes from following our own purpose is empty in the end and so is still idleness! Why? It is because idleness is defined as doing anything that is unimportant, insignificant, or holds no real worth. An example of this is idle banter where we are busy talking but our banter adds zero value. Since anything without God (love) is valueless and we know that God is great, we see that is it impossible to attain true greatness with God’s purpose (love) being involved.

So how do we recognize idleness? The symptoms of idleness (or lack of God-giving purpose) includes being easily offended, gossip-mongering, being a busy-body, depression, never being satisfied, being a workaholic, dilly-dallying, lack of commitment etc. Just think of how these lead to broken relationships!  So in reality, the root cause of many of the problems we encounter in this life is simply the lack of purpose or the shunning of God’s purpose. So we now see why Satan does not want us to walk in purpose (our responsibility). He knows if he can get us away from our purpose, he has a foothold in our lives and cause us problems. If you don’t believe me, just ask Prophet Jonah how Satan tried to kill him and tortured his life simply because he ran away from the purpose to which God called Him.

So today, instead of continuing in idleness, ask God to show you what He has called you to do! If you want to be great, you must know what He has called you to do at this point in your life

Food for Thought: It is impossible to be great without following the great One

5 Comments

Filed under Success