Learning New Dance Moves

Full confession upfront.  I’ve never been much of a dancer.  Most of my pop culture dancing aspirations died with the moves Kid N’ Play, Cabbage Patch, Running Man, Sprinkler, Macarena, the “Carlton,” and what 80’s kids didn’t try to master the Moonwalk.  Of course these dance moves were for the dance floor (or in my case the bedroom).

dancing the fresh prince of bel air happy dance fresh prince of bel air carlton

The “Dance Steps” I’d like to talk about here have more to do with our relationships.  It is how we interact positively and many times negatively with those closest to us.  More times than not, the years don’t bring us closer together, despite our best intentions or hearts desires.  Like a snowball picking up speed and mass, our relationships become more hurtful and by default more destructive.  The cycle moves from us being Hurt, to Wanting something different or more, to Fear, to Reacting to getting what we want, to us Hurting someone else through our reaction.  Below is a diagram of what this looks like:

Over the next 4 weeks, I will both be speaking at our church about the Biblical gift of relationships, and how we really are BETTER TOGETHER!  Messages can be view the Monday after they are shared.  CLICK HERE for LINK!

Perhaps you can relate to the diagram above, and you have seen first hand the destructive results of these dance steps.  Sooo…. what can be done about it?  Thankfully the Bible gives some GREAT tips that can be applied immediately to any relationships that is in a downward spiral.

  • James 1:19-20, “take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
  • Philippians 2:2-4, “…being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
  • Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

So this week, as you feel yourself on the dance floor moving with the steps of fear in your marriage, as a parent, or as a co-worker, be sure to learn and apply these below dance steps taken from the above Scriptures.

  1. LISTEN:  Instead of assuming you are being attacked, or that you’re needs will not be met, start at the place of listening.  So often when we seek to UNDERSTAND, before we demand to be UNDERSTOOD, we discover that the other person isn’t against us or attacking us.  Give those in your life the benefit of your doubt.
  2. VALUE THE RELATIONSHIP:  While this may seem like a silly thing to list because most of us would say that we value our relationships, at times we act differently.  Our emotional reactions communicate that we value our needs, wants, and desires more than the relationship.  Don’t just look at your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
  3. GIVE MERCY:  I’m willing to admit that others intentions and purposes are not always benign.  However, when you offer mercy as a life-style decision, you not only allow your own soul to stay clean from unforgiveness and bitterness, but you are also more likely to receive mercy from others when perhaps you don’t deserve it either.  It’s a better way to live!

So, even if you are stuck in the 80’s with your dance floor dance moves, it is time to learn some new dance moves for your relationships.  You and those around you will be happy you dd!  Learning new dances moves, MOVES your relationship in a new direction with new possibilities!

How Faith Becomes Fact

On the heels of the recent Presidential Election, the term faith has been thrown around, used, abused, manipulated and misrepresented.  In the next few moments together, I would like to take this opportunity to clearly define what faith is, and why it even matters to us as we live our everyday lives trying to pay bills, raising the kids, cleaning house, working hard, and struggling with a plethora of relational dynamics that only you know you are enduring.

Sooo… WHY is faith important and WHEN does faith become a reality and become “fact.”

First, let’s get a good idea about what faith is through the following Scriptures:

  • Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
  • But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (11:6)
  • And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road. (Mark 10:52)
  • For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)

FAITH is our response to God and to his Word!  In other words… Faith is the pathway(s) we take.  Our faith is seen in our steps (our obedience/response).  Faith is not a bound set of doctrines, a denomination, or a church.  Faith is our response to God and to his Word!  When you take time to study this in the Bible, apparently FAITH IS A BIG DEAL!

Faith is not wishful thinking, mind over matter, or some mental state one must conjure up to feel spiritual.  Faith is not a feeling, and it is certainly not a formula.  The Apostle Paul who was once an enemy of Jesus’ followers, only later to believe on Jesus, writes to a church in Greek culture describing the concept of faith says, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Faith holds onto the promises of God, in Christ, and then walks them out.  This means we often begin down the faith pathway without full understanding of the details, or maybe even the final outcome.  However, our faith in God and his Word (promises) keeps us moving forward.

So, no matter your struggles, questions, fears or frustrations, get to know God and his Word in a deep way, and faith will arise!  Your faith will respond to these revelations, and this is when faith becomes fact (a thing that is indisputably the case).

Giving Birth to God’s Vision in 2017

Like most years, 2017 has started with our church praying and seeking the face of God.  For me this is a holy season, as it sets the direction and pace for the rest of the year.  Without prayer, our best plans have their origin in the human heart.  What I need more than anything is a vision that come from God,  that is empowered of God, and is desired of God.  I don’t want God to acquiesce to my plans, I want to submit to His.

Below are some concepts I picked up from Tim Elmore in the early years of ministry as he invested in  my life.  He compared the birth of God’s vision for our lives, with the birth of a child, and the process God uses.  Vision is not an event, but is a process and journey we must patiently walk.

  1. INTIMACY: This is the Place of BEGINNINGSPeople who catch a vision do so because they have spent time in quietness, solitude and reflection.  They have made space in their time, as well as in their souls to hear from the Spirit of God.  Just as a husband and wife will never give birth to a baby unles they come together intimately, a person will never give birth to a vision without experiencing intimacy with God.  This type of intimacy provides the opportunity for God to speak into your life and future.
  2. CONCEPTION: This is the Place where God’s Seed takes ROOTWhen God’s seed is deposited into your life, it must have time to grow.  All the detail are not clear at this junction, and you may have many questions; however, just like a baby will resemble both mom and dad, God’s vision will resemble both you and Him.  This is the most critical time of God’s vision in your life, as too often fear can cause us to abort the vision.  Be okay with not knowing everything, and trust God with the future.   This is the time to pray into the vision.
  3. GESTATION: This is the time of GROWTHGestation often takes the longest.  It is here when we identify with the burden God has place upon us.  Be sure to not confuse burden for a need, with frustration with people.  If God has burdened you, it is because He is raising you to be a champion for the need and/or vision.  God’s vision always meets a need.  SPECIAL NOTE: when a baby is growing inside the mother, it changes the mother dramatically.  The same is true of the vision growing inside of you… it is changing and taking form.
  4. LABOR: This is the most PAINFUL timeWhile labor may not be the longest, it is often the most difficult.  Like a mother, you will experience labor pains.  They may appear in the form of obstacle, doubts in your own mind, or criticism from others.  This is a time to “clear the room” and only allow those who will help you give birth to be closest to you.  You will be tempted to quit, as the struggle is real, but listen to the voice of God’s Spirit cheering you on, saying, “Don’t Quit!  You’re almost there!  It will all be worth it soon!”  The pain produces the offspring (God’s vision).
  5. BIRTH: This is a time of CELEBRATIONLike a new mother, this is the time to celebrate what God has brought forth, and the care and nurture the vision.  Most aspects of the vision will be very dependent upon you in this early stage, or at least dependent upon others working with you.  However, like a newly born babe, this is just the beginning.  It is the launching point for time to come.  Like many mothers, God may continue to deposit additional visions into your soul, so stay Humble and stay Hungry!

As you consider this year, perhaps the above process can help you identify your progress in God’s vision for your life.  God has formed you with a purpose, and has a vision for your calling.  Every person who is born-again in their spirit has been born into a new calling upon their lives.

If you haven’t already, spend extended-intimate time with the Lord, that His vision might be released into your life.

Portrait of a leader by Tim Elmore (2001 Equip Pub.; Atlanta, GA; p. 16-17)