How do you rate your ability to communicate with others? Is communication a priority for you? Can you inspire and motivate people? Do you express your vision in such a way that your people are able to understand, internalize, and implement it? When you talk to people one-on-one, are you able to connect with them? How about with groups? If you know in your heart that your vision is great, yet people still do not buy into it, your problem may be an inability to communicate effectively. During the coming week, pay attention to your focus when you communicate.
Communication is not just what you say. It’s also how you say it. Contrary to what some educators teach, the key to effective communication is simplicity. Forget about impressing people with big words or complex sentences. If you want to connect with people, keep it simple. People will not follow you if they don’t know what you want or where you are going.
Here’s a story about a junior executive gives a blueprint for effective communication. The young man was invited to speak to a large group for the first time, so he approached his mentor for advice about giving a good speech. The older man said, “Write an exciting opening that will grab everybody in your audience. Then you write a dramatic summary and closing that will make the people want to act. Then put them as close together as possible.”
As leaders we must be able to communicate our vision before we get people to buy into it…
Courage deals with principle, not perception. If you don’t have the ability to see when to stand up and the conviction to do it, you’ll never be an effective leader. Do you stand for right even in the midst of personal loose? Great men and leaders do… Think about it!
This idea of hope is one of the most crucial differences between an unsaved person and a Christian. When an unsaved person dies, there is no hope. The funeral is often filled with despair and loss.
While at a Christian funeral there is still sadness and loss, there is hope as well. I find that in the life that people live who are not Christians they seem so lost. They live for today because they do not know or believe that there is something after this life to look forward to. One of the things that bothers me the most whenever I have attended a funeral of a unsaved person is when they say, “they are in a better place now.” When I know darn well that they are not. How do you use that to reach someone who is there that is lost? But a Christian can truly say, “They are in a better place”
What does the future hold? We cannot know for certain but we can know that Christ is at the end of it if you are saved… I have hope that once I die I will truly be in a better place! This is really a big theological question. But it is also the key to giving us hope. I know that God has promised me eternal life in heaven with Him. So I have hope, that once I die, I still will live! I know this through theology, and through the reading of Scripture.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
Reading the Bible is a multi-faceted assignment. At first glance you may read the Bible leisurely. Some people find it to be an entertaining book, with lots of stories, romance, adventure, and a conclusion where good wins against evil. Sometimes, as Christians, we read it very casually the same way. We know it’s about God and that it’s important, but we read it with no implications for our life, as if it were a fictional entertainment book.
At other times we read the Bible at a different level. Maybe you read it because of an assignment. At class you may have been told to read the book of Genesis and identify the major characters in the book. In that case, you are reading it with your eyes focused on one specific thing.
I challenged myself to read through the whole Bible in a year. This resulted in a just doing it to get it done, checking it off their check list of things to do. This is what I tended to do when I read the Bible straight through… afterwards I felt happy that I read the Bible straight through but I also felt empty because there was not too much of it that I actually retained. Besides the stories that I already knew for the most part.
Recently I have been looking at the Bible in a different way… I get my pen and pad of paper open up to whatever book I am reading through and I take it nice and slow. I let the Holy Spirit speak to me. I look for practical application because I need this to be the living Word of God in my life.
All these approaches have their time and place. You may get someone to read the Bible simply for its entertainment value, but the Holy Spirit uses it to speak to their heart. You may need to get your mind off a busy schedule and just want to read the Psalms and enjoy God’s Word with no agenda. Other times, you may need to study one specific aspect of God. Each time we approach God’s Word, no matter the reason, we have to understand how we approach it. This week, we are going to learn how to study the Scriptures. It’s the building block for everything else we do. Some of it you may already know and you just take it for granted. But it is extremely important that we come to Scripture the way God wants and intends us to.
Why do you read the Bible? Do you find yourself reading it for pleasure or requirement? Do you read it like a fiction or non-fiction book? Do you have a plan and commitment to reading the Bible? Why or why not?
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” (Heb.11:1-3)
As Christians, we all desire to have a good testimony and we all do! Whether you have been a Christian from birth or for three hours we all have a testimony that brings God glory. I was an alcoholic for ten years and God broke the chains of that addiction. That testimony I now have is an excellent tool to use to show that God really is who we say He is. I prayed for a year that God would take me out of that darkness and I believed that God would do it. It is like Hebrews 11:3 says, “…that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” These verses are often called the definition of faith which is true but my definition of faith comes from seeing God work in darkness that had me stumbling around in darkness for years. There was a tipping point that we all have to choose to “really” serve God or just be a fan of Him. That happened for me when I was delivered from addiction. Now I have that testimony to tell people that are in the same boat because God came to heal the sick.
Our testimony refers to many aspects of our Christian behavior and appearance, or what we call our walk. Many people outside of the sphere of Christianity would consider these words to be a code of some kind. But through the influence of the Holy Spirit, we have a supernatural understanding of the importance they play in our life. Hebrews 11 begins by telling us what faith is and how, through faith, our elders in the faith obtained a good testimony. We find that a good testimony is not built by a single act or a solemn promise. Rather, it was obtained through a lifetime of faith and obedience to God’s will. While understanding that a single act cannot build a good testimony, we must also know that a single act cannot destroy it either. Tempering our life with an attitude of humility and repentance before the Lord will help to develop and ensure that good testimony. How has faith helped you to build a good testimony?