Cross Culture…We Lead Up… Your Capacity

Capacity: How much you can handle and how much you can produce

John Maxwell talks about the law of the lid. Maxwell states, “Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. The lower an individual’s ability to lead, the lower the lid on his potential.” The lid represents the ceiling of your life.

Can you make the lid go higher, or better yet, can you take the lid off?

With God the answer is yes, the lid is off! Remember the words of Jesus when He said that with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. That sounds to me like there is a lid that has been removed. Restrictions have been taken off, and you can live a limitless life!

You must realize there is a vast difference in knowing that, and actually living it out. It is the difference in intention and action. We intend, but we never act.

A few weeks ago, in our staff meeting, we were going to talk about an exercise that we do here called Blue Sky Thinking! We begin by reminding them that with Blue Sky Thinking there are no obstacles, nothing blocking the way and you have unlimited resources. With no lids, no walls and no restrictions, what would you do? I’ve always enjoyed this exercise. The creativity at first is minimal, because we are accustomed to taking restrictions, liabilities, and weaknesses into consideration, that’s the world we live in.

Our current circumstances, past experiences and the culture in which we inhabit daily, creates an environment that stymies dreaming. All that stuff creates barriers, obstructions and restrictions to what we want to do. Even though I can tell you that the barriers are removed, the restrictions are non-existent, and no dream is too farfetched for God to bring about, most of us still dream and think within the man-made restrictions.

Let me give you an example from nature to show you how we behave as well.

Fleas (don’t start itching just yet) can be trained. Fleas have a natural ability to jump. They don’t fly and they would never be able to catch your dog in a foot race. How do these tiny insects get around? Fleas are amazingly adept at flinging themselves into the air. Cat fleas, our most common flea pest, can propel themselves a full 12 inches forward or upward. That’s a jumping distance equal to roughly 150 times its own height. Some sources compare this to a human landing a long jump of nearly 1,000 feet. Scientists placed fleas into a glass jar. They left them in the jar for three days, then removed the lid. When placed into the jar, the fleas adjusted the height of the jump to just under the lid, or their current limitation, so they wouldn’t hit their head any longer. After the lid was removed the fleas still jumped to the height of the lid. They then removed the fleas from the jar completely. Even though the jar had been removed, the fleas never attempted to move beyond the boundaries they had been introduced to. They were in the jar for three days and it affected them forever.

( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-Dn2KEjPuc ) Click here to watch a video on this!

How long have you been in the negative environment in your life? How long have been bumping into those restrictions? Even though Christ has removed all of those them when you accepted Him, are you still living within the boundaries of your past or even your present circumstances?

You will never know the restrictions have been removed until you take a leap of faith! Martin Luther King Jr. said it this way, “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

You have the capacity to make a difference! You have the capacity to move beyond the limitation or the perceived lid! Often times, we stay and jump with the rest of society because we are afraid to stand out, for fear of the criticism of others. Critics are a lid that you put on! Ignore them and go after what you’ve been born to do! Critics are like fleas, who survive by sucking the life out of others. There is a treatment for that. The first thing you must do is remove yourself from the environment of the fleas.

Capacity can be increased in your life. Here are a few suggestions for you:

  1. Hang around people who are doing what you want to do.
  2. Challenge the status quote. Charge out of the “this the way it’s always been” mindset!
  3. Strengthen your character, hang around eagles not chickens.
  4. Increase your competence: take a class, read books, interview successful people.
  5. Increase your capacity by taking your commitment to the next level. Reinvigorate your passion. True commitment is the difference between “I kind of want to do something” and “I will do this at any cost!”
  6. Build your Confidence. You’ll never be motivated by those who aren’t motivated.

You can never share dreams with those who aren’t dreamers. You can’t talk about achieving your goals with those who don’t have any goals!

  1. Ask God to help you! You have not because you ask not!

 

2 Corinthians 9:10 in the New Living Translation says:

“For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.”

Make this declaration! Beginning today, I’m expanding my capacity for success.  I’m taking the limits off.  I’m enlarging my borders which are without limitations.

I no longer have a lid! I will be all that God has called me to be, in Jesus name!

 

Cross Culture…We lead up. Team Chemistry

Chemistry isn’t a word we normally hear in the church setting. We use a different word, unity! The Apostle Paul gives quite a descriptive take on the body of Christ. For a moment, allow me to compare it to a team.  Every team has roles, and the members of the team fulfill those roles. The team doesn’t work or win, without each part playing their role to the best of their ability. 

The body of Christ, or the team, has many roles. The Apostle Paul labeled them as body parts. The meaning though, and the consequences are the same as of a team. If the parts/roles are fulfilled and the individuals fulfilling those roles do them to the best of their ability, then the team wins! The church wins. The opposite is also true. 

No doubt, you’ve witnessed a team with all the roles being filled, every person doing exactly what they are assigned to do, yet, the team wasn’t successful. Meanwhile, the opposing team may have been less talented people fulfilling roles, even have a few roles vacant, yet they came out victorious. It came down to team chemistry. One team was enjoying each other, feeding off each other, playing off each others ability. Through that, they overcame the insufficiencies they had because of the chemistry of the team.  

Team Chemistry = Every part working seamlessly together towards a common goal. 

To have team chemistry, each role must understand it’s importance! They must understand that the outcome is totally dependent on them. Now I know what you’re thinking. You mean the equipment manager is equally important as a Lebron James to the team? I could argue the equipment manager is more important, or at least equally important. Lebron James wouldn’t be able to play in his street clothes on the court, so the equipment manager having the uniforms there is of vital importance. No equipment manager means no team on the floor. The equipment manager doesn’t make the starting lineup, but he is of great value to the team. 

In the church, there are parts that never make it to the headlines, but they are equally important. Chemistry is every part playing its role for the success of the organization. Every part must understand it’s value, and we cannot devalue another.

The Apostle Paul said it this way in 1 Corinthians 12

22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. 27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it

Honoring one another and the gift that is within each of us, is what brings “harmony”.  Honor is the key ingredient in chemistry. In the church, when honor is given is often when people, who’ve done equally important things, can feel that they’ve been left out. This leads to people becoming upset or frustrated. However, when one is honored all parts should be glad. Why? Because when one member is honored, we are to be glad for the whole, the entire body or team. That’s keeping the chemistry (unity) of the team. 

When you witness people getting upset, frustrated or even angry over another individual’s accolades or success, you’ve witnessed the enemy at work. The enemy introduces pride into the situation and pride is a chemistry killer. Pride is about me, chemistry is about team!Humbleness and honor go hand in hand, and both produce unity in the body of Christ. 

Chemistry is vital to the church, for when the church is in harmony with each other, there is a commanded blessing. 

 

Psalm 133

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

1Behold, how good and how pleasant it is

For brethren to dwell together in unity!

2It is like the precious oil upon the head,

Running down on the beard,

The beard of Aaron,

Running down on the edge of his garments.

3It is like the dew of Hermon,

Descending upon the mountains of Zion;

For there the Lord commanded the blessing—

Life forevermore.

 

 

Cross Culture…We lead up. Your competency

 

And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility

21 But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. 22 They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. 

In both references above, the issue at hand is growth. Growth creates problems and for those problems to be solved, there must people who can help solve problems. 

In Exodus, Jethro said these people had to be capable. In Acts, it reads they must be full of the Spirit and wisdom. Both are describing how a leader should have competency when placing people into leadership if you want to move the group forward!

Whether you know it or not you’re a leader. You’re leading yourself first and foremost, and more than likely you’re leading someone else. However, the most important person you’re leading is yourself. The capability of leading ourselves is a skill that many ignore. By ignoring it, we are not improving or increasing our capabilities; therefore, we become stagnant. 

We often will get into a comfort zone. We get comfortable with the ways things have been and the way things are. We continue to do the things that we are comfortable in doing, but expect a different result. That doesn’t happen! What you’ve been doing will produce the same results you’ve been getting.  Leading is about moving forward!

Are you moving forward, or have you become stagnated? 

If you want to move forward and lead yourself better, you have to increase your competency. To increase our competency, we have to know ourselves. Do you know your strengths? Do you know your weaknesses? Beyond knowing them, are you willing to admit you have them, especially the weakness part? You’ll never improve yourself living in denial, nor can there be healing in hiding. You improve yourself by admitting you have weaknesses and a need for healing, and then take the necessary steps in improving yourself. 

If you don’t know what areas you need to improve in, find someone who will be honest with you, and ask them. Ask your family, your friends, and trusted teammates. The things, or areas where you need to improve, are often completely obvious to those around you! Some areas to look at for developing your competency are: communication and listening skills, delegating, giving and receiving feedback, encouraging, hiring, work ethic, technology, or discipline. Take a moment and think on those things. What areas do YOU feel you need to change?

We have been using a simple little system for our staff called the Enneagram test. The Enneagram shows you how you view the world. You can find that here:

https://www.enneagraminstitute.com

There is another tool called the Myers-Briggs. This tool shows you how the world views you. That’s a whole another level of charging out of your comfort zone. You can find that here: https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/take-the-mbti-instrument/home.htm?bhcp=1

I would encourage you to charge out of the comfort zone you are in! You charge out of a comfort zone by challenging the way things are. 

Stretch your thinking, increase your understanding, do something you’ve never done, enlarge your capacity for increase by believing for something you previously thought was impossible. 

The bible is filled with people who charged out of their comfort zones! They did it by believing God and then they went for it! You can too!

Believe God. . .like Abraham, who left what was familiar and held onto the promises of God. 

Believe God. . .like Noah, who had never seen rain but built an ark. 

Believe God. . .like the Centurion, who knew that one word from Jesus would bring life to a dead situation. 

Believe God. . .like David, who took a rock and defeated the giant. 

If God is going to enlarge your borders, you’ll need to leave your comfort zone and the predictable behind,so He can increase your capacity to believe and receive beyond your previous expectations. 

 

The Culture of the Cross… Your Character

Have you ever been ready to cook a meal, only to notice that you are missing some key ingredients? Suddenly,you find yourself scrounging around looking for substitutes!  Or your mind starts wondering what the dish would taste like if you just altogether skipped putting those ingredients in. Maybe it will turn out and maybe it won’t, but it’s just a dinner dish, right? The truth of the matter is that we either didn’t put the effort in when it came to planning this meal, or we just didn’t take the time to go to the store and pick up the necessary ingredientsto make the dish! 

Let me ask you this. 

Do we make those same judgment calls when trying to become the individual God wants us to become? 

If I just leave this out, maybe don’t tell the whole truth. If I just substituted this for that, then maybe I can just make it all work out. Far too many Christians and Christian leaders have been substituting and leaving things out,and then when we are put to the test, we don’t pass the taste test. We look, taste and sound nothing like the recipe book (The Bible) says we should. 

Look at the litmus test placed before the disciples in choosing people to serve tables. Serving tables seems like such a mundane task. Can’t we just get people that don’t fit anywhere else and make them the servers?That’s not the way it went at all. You will find this in Acts 6:3 (Feel free to read the whole chapter in your study time). 

And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility.

Seven men who are well respected. This to me speaks that these men had to have good character. These men would be serving widows, so if they didn’t have good character they could possibly take advantage of these widows in their time of grief. 

Regardless of the simplicity of the task in which you find yourself serving in, we as Christians are to serve with integrity! It’s a marker of your character. The small thing that doesn’t deserve your integrity or your best effort, will become the ceiling of your life. If you cannot be trusted in small things, you’ll never get the privilege to serve in larger ones. 

Furthermore, as leaders we must ensure that we don’t lack character in choosing people to serve. I know the pressure of our day is to create a place for everyone to serve, and that is our duty as leaders. However, there is also a biblical mandate to ensure that we choose people to serve that are well-respected, full of the Spirit and of wisdom!

These seven men were going to serve in a hot mess!People were already grumbling and complaining! There was frustration that was being exhibited to the point that it reached the Apostles. Because of the emotions that were prevalent, these seven men were going to have to present a unified front. They needed to get along! Other people’s complaints and frustrations can be a wedge of division to those who are serving. When frustration from others begins to creep in, it will magnify the character flaws of the team. Strong character helps build team chemistry. Character is vitally important when serving a frustrated and devastated people! 

In serving one another, we should do all that we can to strengthen and protect our character. 

Myles Munroe stated, “Solid Character will reflect itself in consistent behavior, while poor character will seek to hide behind deceptive words and actions”. 

In terms of building character, what you do speaks louder than what you say. If you are serving, then serve and act to build a character that is well-respected.

The Culture of the Cross…Brings a Higher Level of Living

The Cross of Calvary can be viewed in so many different ways. The intention of the Cross was to put a life down. Every aspect of the Cross was humiliating. It was a curse to be hung on a tree. (Deuteronomy 21:23) Every part of the crucifixion was intended to be negative. I can barely stomach watching the scenes of the crucifixion in movies. The horror of it all bothers me. 

When I look at the Cross, as negative as the intention of it was, the results of it were completely positive. In a simple way, I’ve never looked at the Cross as a minus sign, but as a plus sign. The Cross was horrific for Jesus, but it was a blessing for us. I believe that was what the writer of Hebrews had in mind when he wrote, 

Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne (Hebrews 12:2). 

It wasn’t in the pain of the Cross that would bring Him joy! It was in what the cross was going to provide for each of us, a chance of salvation and relationship with Him! It wasthrough the Cross that our penalty would be paid. Jesus paid the price through pain, a price we did not have to endure. Now that the penalty has been removed, we can come into relationship. 

Look at what you would still have to carry had it not been for the Cross of Calvary. How do we know what we would be carrying? Look at what Jesus carried TO the Cross. He not only carried the Cross, but He carried so much more to Calvary.

Here’s what Isaiah said that He carried to the Cross…

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; 

it was our sorrows that weighed him down. 

And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, 

a punishment for his own sins! 

But he was pierced for our rebellion, 

crushed for our sins. 

He was beaten so we could be whole. 

He was whipped so we could be healed. 

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. 

We have left God’s paths to follow our own. 

Yet the Lord laid on him 

the sins of us all. 

He carried our weaknesses, our sorrows, our sickness and the sins of us all. Think on that for a moment. Someone else carried your weaknesses, someone else carried your sorrow, someone else was punished for things that you did, and then someone else was billed for the treatment you received for the disease you had. That sounds like a pretty good deal! All you have to do is believe in and on the Person that did that for us; however, it doesn’t end there. That’s just a few of the things that are taken out of my life. If it ended there, it would be a minus sign. Remember, the Cross is a plus sign! The writer of Hebrews conjures this thought up of what was added to us by The Cross of Calvary

But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. 

This new way is so much better than the old way! The old way, before the cross, was about your sacrifice and obedience to the rules, regulations and requirements. Everything was dependent upon your success or failure of keeping the unkeepable. The new way that the Cross provided was dependent upon the success of Jesus. He, stated it was finished, completed, and then brought back keys that showed the victory was in His hand. In Jeremiah 31, it speaks to us that this new way wouldn’t be written on stones like the old way, but it would now be written upon our hearts. It would no longer be about the external, but rather the internal. Meaning that everything God would require out of us, His grace put into us! 

The old way produced death, but the new way produces right standing before God. The old way produced an inaccurate view or veiled view of God, the new way,although still veiled, gives you a more accurate view of God. (2 Corinthians 3:6-13)

Before my sin was stirred up and used against me, it produced within me wrath. I was condemned and living in bondage. Jesus carried all of that away, and now I have forgiveness, liberty, mercy, faith, truth and life more abundantly. (Further study: Romans 8:2,12; Romans 3:24, Romans 10:6-10; Romans 11:27; John 14:6; 

2 Corinthians 5:18; Galatians 5:1) 

For everything that He took off me and cleaned out of me, He placed and provided something so much better to take its place. 

I once carried a yoke of guilt and condemnation. Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I may still have a yoke, but it isn’t heavy and it isn’t a burden. The Cross took away everything that caused me to be down, and brought me up to a higher level of living. The Cross will always lead you up!