AWAKEN

AWAKEN
AWAKEN NOW!

Monday, July 24, 2017

DON'T SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WISHING

In a perfect world things are perfect. This is not a perfect world-far from it. You're going to have to adapt or spend the rest of your life being its "victim". I'd rather be a victor.

I think the problem with most of us is we sit back and wait for life to happen to us and then we respond to it. We are counter punchers-and not very good ones at that. We allow other people and external circumstances to create our reality. We conform to the cosmos. Because of that we live in a perpetual state of emergency. As ridiculous as this sounds, many people like this because they can blame other people and circumstances for their miserable condition. They don't have to take responsibility for their actions or inactions. They don't have to be faithful because someone was unfaithful to them. They don't have to work because a supervisor did them dirty 10 years ago. They don't have to go to church because a church did them wrong last year. They don't have to be kind because someone was cruel to them. They don't have to give because they gave to someone else and they squandered it away. They don't have succeed because someone told them they were a failure. They can remain obese and unhealthy because someone told them they were fat and stupid.  

I am emphatic toward those that have been abused in their life. I understand that our social and economic environments have helped mold us into the persons we have become. But the truth is we are writing our own books, chapter by chapter, page by page, word by word. You may write what others tell you to write, but you're doing the writing. You choose what you allow in your book. 

You say, "I couldn't help what happened to me." 

That's probably true. You can't help what people do to you, but you can dictate how you respond to it. We are all self-made, but only the successful dare to admit it. 

Each of us must make a painful assessment. Which parts of our lives can we change for the better? Once we have settled that we must change them or we must stop blaming anyone but ourselves.

We are made in the image of God. We are created to be awesome. You must stop hijacking your divine purpose. You must walk in the Spirit, living in the attitude of Christ, allowing His presence to shine the path for you. You must make up your mind to change. Those around you will not want you to change. They will try to keep you from rising to the next level because they are not willing to go with you. You must go anyways. Stop allowing toxic people to write your story. Stop blaming the past. Stop blaming the government. Stop blaming your parents. Stop blaming the devil. Stop blaming drugs and alcohol. Stop blaming your ex. You must move forward.

Go to church! Hang out with some godly, positive people that can influence you toward a healthier life. Get involved in ministry. Make a conscious decision to give more of your money and time. Be a part of the solution. Stop waiting for someone to write you a million dollar check ... it isn't happening. Go to work. Be an entrepreneur. Create something. Write something. Read a book. Learn something new. Pray that God will revive your vision.

You were made by a creative God. You were made in His image. So be creative. 

Don't spend the rest of your life wishing.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

GO TO CHURCH!


I am sure that you will be at work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, working 40+ hours next week, regardless of how tired or sick you are. And for those that need to mow or go fishing or whatever it is you need to do ... call your employer Monday morning and don't go to work. Do your chores on a work day, not the Lord's day. Take your kids to Sunday School, they need that far more than the bounce house. Teach them that God is your priority.

Being a part of a church isn't just about being entertained and "getting a blessing". It's about being a part of a community. It's about supporting each other. It's about hearing the Word of the Lord. It's about spiritual growth. It's about worshiping together. It's about reaching the least, the last, and the lost.

I hear some of the dumbest claims from carnally minded people. For example:

1. I CAN LIVE JUST AS GOOD AT HOME AS I CAN AT CHURCH! 

Really? That sounds like an intelligent argument to you? That's equivalent to saying you can live just as good at Walmart as you can Kroger. Let me share a secret with you ... you're supposed live holy every where you are.

2. I DON'T NEED A PREACHER. I CAN READ THE WORD OF GOD AT HOME.

Again, does that really sound logical to you? First of all, those that say those type of things hardly ever pray or read the Word of God. They never witness to the lost. I'm not sure what they mean by "serving the Lord".

Secondly, the Apostle Paul wrote, saying:

Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:


You cannot be perfected (matured) in Christ without apostles, prophets, evangelists and teaching pastors. Do you have your own personal pastor at home? Do you have an evangelist scheduled to show up at your house tomorrow?

3. THE CHURCH ISN'T A BUILDING, IT'S THE PEOPLE. 

Ok. Did you know that words can have more than one meaning? For example, the word fly. The fly is buzzing around my head. Zip up your fly. The plane can fly. My wife is fly. Etc.

The word church does refer to the body of Christ, but it also refers to the place the saints go to worship. How about these Scriptures?

Re 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

How many bodies does Jesus have? One or seven?

1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Ro 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house.
 
Going to church isn't about LIVING right, it's about SERVING right. You may be able to live just as good at home by yourself, but you will not serve as good by yourself. So don't say you are SERVING God if you're not actively engaged in ministry. Don't say you're serving God if you don't care enough about the body of Christ to fellowship it Sunday and mid-week.

We must stop with the empty, lame excuses for not loving God and His house. The truth is those that don't have a desire for God, His Church, and reaching the lost are simply preoccupied with their own interests.

Go to church tomorrow! Your pastor is studying and praying for the message God wants you to hear. Go to church tomorrow. Go with something in your heart to bless someone else with.

Friday, July 14, 2017

WINNING THE WINTER WARFARE


Ps 74:17 Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.

I can remember how funny winter time was in Florida. If the weather dropped down below 50 folk got crazy. Many of them have NEVER seen snow! If it snows they render it a state of emergency. Why? They’re aren’t prepared! Us Kentuckians are driving around, having snow ball fights, making snow cream, and they’re freaking out. They have very little salt, salt trucks, plows, etc. ... Why? They aren’t prepared, but to be fair ... it almost never snows there, so they don't need to be prepared.

Seasons change and few people really “like” winter. Leaves are falling. Things are dying. I have noticed an unhealthy amount of depression among the people of God and it seems to be getting worse. Why does this happen?

Here are 10 practical reasons:

1. SAD: You may have what's called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. The condition is marked by the onset of depression during the late fall and early winter months, when less natural sunlight is available. It's thought to occur when daily body rhythms become out-of-sync because of the reduced sunlight.
    
2. YOU’RE NOT MOVING ENOUGH: It’s easy to curl up on the couch and do nothing. Exercise and motion helps you physically.
   
3. YOU WORRY ABOUT MONEY DUE TO ECONOMICAL HARDSHIP
   
4. OVERWHELMED WITH FAMILY OBLIGATIONS
   
5. YOU’RE NOT EATING RIGHT
   
6. FEELING ALONE
   
7. GUILT FROM PAST LIFE SITUATIONS AND MISTAKES
   
8. OVER SCHEDULED
   
9. YOU BECOME A HERMIT, COOPED UP ALL THE TIME
   
10. UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS (EVERY THING MUST BE PERFECT)
                                   
Your attitude will determine your altitude. If you can’t think right, you can’t be right.

Pr 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...

EMOTIONAL WINTER TIME

Ps 74:17 Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.

Whether we like it or not, winter comes.

FOCUS IN THE WINTER (PAUL 2TIMOTHY 4)

One of the dangerous things about corresponding with writing, especially on the internet, is if you’re not very careful, what you say and how they read it are two different things.
   
You ever hear of the phrase “rose shaded glasses”? Bitter shaded glasses ... There are some people that have a disposition that causes them to read their feelings into everything they read or see. Because they feel that way, or because that’s how they’d respond, they see that in everyone else. 
   
2Ti 4:21 Do thy diligence to come before winter.
   
What doesn’t come across in the writings of Paul is his emotion. What was he feeling when he wrote these words, particularly in our text? He was facing death, abandoned, accused, alone – at the end of his life. He asks for nothing but the company of Dr. Luke, a favorite coat, and some parchments. “Do your best to get here before winter” Paul says in verse 21. But although he faces such emotional and physical trials that will end up costing him his life – Paul gives one of the most encouraging messages to his young protégé Timothy – a message that ought to keep us going when the going gets tough.

We close down during the winter time   

STAY ON TASK
   
2Ti 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Paul is in prison here. He is suffering. He is lonely, but he is focused. Preach, Timothy. “There’s a day coming when men won’t want to hear the Word. Preach while you have time.”

We have a choice: Do we allow winter to cause us to be bitter or better?

NELSON MANDELA: Before becoming president of South Africa in 1994, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years by the South African apartheid government. His crime? Standing up against a government that was committing egregious human rights abuses against black South Africans.

He said: Prison taught him self-control, discipline, and focus—the things he considers essential to leadership—and it taught him how to be a full human being.

JOHN BUNYAN: When John Bunyan was asked to recant in order to get out of prison, he would ask, "Christ visits me every night. Why would I want to be any where else?"
           
3 THINGS GOD DOES IN THE WINTER SEASON (JOHN 15)

Are you expecting a harvest? What must we do?

1.PREPARE & RECEIVE

When you’re in a winter season, ask God: “What” ... not “Why”.
When we start asking “What” instead of “Why” things will get better. “WHY is this happening” isn’t the most important question, but WHAT does God want to do; and WHAT is God preparing you for are the supremely important questions.

Joh 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 

Jesus said, "My father is a gardener. He knows how to process and prepare us."

TAKE NOTE: Winter makes way for Spring.

2. PRUNE & REMAIN
Joh 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Cut off (sinner) or cut back (saint) ... Everybody gets cut! I’d rather be cut back than cut off.

Joh 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

3. PROVE & REVEAL
Joh 15:2 ... that it may bring forth more fruit.

Weeping may endure for the night, but Spring time is coming! If you will submit to the process, God is going to bring forth amazing fruit in your life. Our life will reveal His glory to this world!

FOLLOWING THE PIED PIPER



I felt the Spirit quicken my heart. I had to rise and ask His design. My heart hurts. Oh, the burden!
 
Are great many are running hard toward hell. They march like mindless zombies. Their stride is in rhythm with the Pied Piper's, with Satan's hypnotizing melody. It is beautiful, but wicked. It is unlike anything they've ever known, saw, or felt, but it numbs them from feeling the sting of their conscience; the pull of the Spirit, checking them, convicting them over the crimes they've committed against God.

Even many of those that sit on our pews are dabbling in the forbidden. They move forward with a glazed expression upon their faces. They're oblivious to the thick darkness that moves upon our land; of the imminent destruction that looms near. Their eyes are blinded by the god of this world. While their life consists of little more than cell phones and social networks, Delilah rocks them into a deep coma. Like Samson, they will be afflicted.

To the luke-warm, the self-righteous pharisee, the hypocrite, the prayerless mother, the burdenless, Spiritless father: Will we reject Christ? Will anyone try and stop the lost from following Satan to hell? Will anyone lift their voices, breaking the trance? Will anyone be alarmed? Will anyone break free from the steely cords that hold them, that have them entangled, making them slaves to this deceitful world and its diabolical ruler, long enough to make an eternal difference? Is there anyone who will pray; intercede for the souls of our youth?

God, wake us, shake us, break us before it's everlastingly too late. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IF YOU DON'T ASK, THEY WON'T TELL



My marriage is incredible. I thank God for it everyday. I've said many times it would be perfect if I wasn't in it. Fortunately, I am, so she'll have to work with what she's got.

While preaching tonight, I said the following to my 10 year old son, Josiah:

"Josiah, when was the last time you heard momma and daddy yell and scream at each other?"

"Yesterday."

An awkward silence fell upon me-which I loved-and my face took on the coloration of an albino. It was not the answer I was looking for-at all, but it was perfect. You had better be ready for the nitty gritty when you ask your children questions. They see things a little differently than we do and will tell it. Although embarrassing, it was helpful. I kissed his forehead and thanked him for being honest. He's an awesome man of God.

A couple of day ago, I spoke to my wife with aggravation in my voice. We were not yelling ... my wife will confirm it. LOL. And I wasn't really aggravated at her, I just projected those feelings toward her while discussing finances. It wasn't the first time in 19 years, but maybe it'll be the last ;) Pray for Sister Lamb. She has her hands full.

I felt encouraged and convicted at the same time.

1. I was encouraged because my son knew he was supposed to speak the truth.

2. I was encouraged because my son thought what we were doing was yelling and screaming. That means we've come a long way because we used to yell and scream a lot.

3. I was encouraged because I pastor a church that laughed at me. They didn't walk out on me. They aren't judgmental toward me. They know us well enough to know the adult reality of the situation. I love RT.

4. I was convicted because, whether we were yelling and screaming or not, my son saw what I doing as yelling and screaming. It produced fear or anxiety in his heart. Something that grieves me. I must exercise more temperance and be more gentle with my words.

I've asked my sons and daughters many times how I am doing as a father and husband. I ask them what I can do to be better. Most of the time I get an A, every so often they lay out some hard truths that are difficult to swallow. That wasn't an original idea. S.M. Davis taught me to ask my family those vulnerable questions. I thought it was a great idea and has brought forth much godly fruit.

I'm writing this because I think it's a great practice for all of us. We get so wrapped up in things we don't realize how our attitude is affecting others.
 
Fathers and mothers ... ask your children how you're doing. Don't get angry with them. Don't talk down to them. If you do, they'll never be honest with you again and you will never become a better husband or father.


Husbands and wives ... ask each other how you're doing. Ask them what you can do to make the marriage better. Be honest and sincere. Be ready for some mature dialogue.


Ask your friends how you're doing as a friend. Ask your pastor how you're doing as a member. Pastors, ask some of your congregants how you're doing as a leader. Be ready for the answer.

Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Ministerial Crushing

  PLEASE, READ THIS ENTIRE ARTICLE.

A lot of ministry involves trying to pull people up that are trying to pull you down. Some people can't be helped because they don't want help and no matter how much you want to help them, it's a waste of your time. IT'S CRUSHING.

From a pastoral point of view, I sometimes find myself thinking of how much damage people have done to me. How much of myself I have given that was never reciprocated. How much of my life I've sacrificed for people that don't care. How many wounds I have within that have never healed. How many people have walked out on me when I had to stay. How tiresome it is trying to fulfill a vision that requires the participation of people who don't care about that vision. How I'm often drowning in the pain these things have caused and cannot swim out of it. IT'S CRUSHING.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the first to feel these things and I won't be the last. I do know this, when I start feeling that way, thinking about these things, I'VE LOST FOCUS.

Christian Leaders, if you're there now, I want to share 3 things with you.

1. FOCUS ON CHRIST.  You work for Him. He sacrificed far more for you than you have for Him. If you are hurting because of rejection, He's been rejected more. If people have hurt you, He's been hurt more. If you've had people walk out on you, He's had more. If you've been lied on, He's been lied on more. You work for Him. He gave up everything for you and those that we are trying to reach. He deserves your loyalty and He will reward your sacrifice.

2. PRAY. Ministry is hard-a humanly impossible task. It requires the power of the Spirit. You must stay strong in Christ. You must be filled with God and continuously feel His love and grace. You must stay connected to Him or else the pain will be all you see and feel. Stay close to Jesus. People's cruelty will pale in comparison to His life flowing through you.

3. NEVER FORGET THE VALUE OF ONE SOUL. If you're like me you have the vision, the desire, to see thousands of people saved, but that's not the reality. When you don't see everything you desire happening, you feel worthless. You feel like a failure because the church isn't full, because the people are so unfaithful. You study, pray and prepare so you can feed people that are too busy to even attend the services when you should be studying, praying and preparing for the few that do show up. Dear friend, one person is worth the fight. Jesus would have died for only one person. We, too, must be willing to sacrifice for just one, but we can't do that if we don't remember the value of one soul.

Peace. Love. Hope.
David Lamb

Saturday, June 3, 2017

STUCK IN A MATRIX


I can't help but think the Wachowski Brothers were on to something very real when they wrote the script for the Matrix. No, I don't believe we are all asleep in a pod somewhere in a scientific laboratory, hooked to a high tech computer system, living a simulated life. That's not what I mean.

What I mean is people have been programmed to think and behave in a very systematic manner. We have been taught that certain actions are safe and reasonable and anything other than that accepted system is suspect, even dangerous, and should be avoided like the Black Death. We are so indoctrinated to accept this matrix inspired reality that any person that chooses to go another route other than it is looked upon as stupid and deranged.

We hear the young progressive regurgitating what they've been taught by our government run educational system, shake our heads, and say, "Liberal indoctrination". We hear the twenty-something  quoting the latest verse from a "super intelligent" Hip Hop star or mega-rich, mega-stupid actor like Cathy Griffin or Matt Damon and say, "Hollywood indoctrination". We can see the matrix being played out in everyone's life but our own.

It is because of this that false doctrine prevails so readily. I was raised up around a segment of the Holiness movement that is tongues or nothing. They taught you were an out right, hell bound, sinner until you spoke in tongues. When making my way out of that movement, it wasn't the doctrine itself that made it difficult to get free. In fact, the doctrinal side was the easiest to see my way through. The most difficult hurdle was the cultish teaching that, not only were they the only ones Biblically correct, everyone else were evil deceivers teaching false doctrine, seducing the souls of vulnerable men and women. Once I began seeing the truth of God's Word, I had no where to go. I was afraid of everyone, including those that could've helped me. Thank God for the Holy Spirit.

I see churches choked down by tradition. They won't move or change because no one they know has ever done it any other way. Grandpa did it a certain way and it worked for him (in 1950)! It doesn't matter that their church is dying. It doesn't matter that they are surrounded by dead churches and dying ministries. They just keep doing the same things over and over expecting a different outcome. It's insanity.


I see this every day in the business world. People have been taught the only way to earn a "decent and honest" living is to work for someone else. The accepted approach to life is to work 40 hours a week for 40 years, retire and then try to live on 40% of what you made-if you're successful. Everyone else will be dependent on the government, trying to live on $500 a month in Social Security and Medicare. 

We become like worker drone ants. We punch a clock, do what the boss man says, when he says it, earn what he says we can, celebrate a 3% annual raise, get paid like an automaton every Friday. We live inside the "box", buy from within that box, and then die. It feels kind of like institutional slavery to me. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. If that's the life you want, it's safe and acceptable. It's honorable and you will get everything your factory or boss allows you to have. You will live and die with a fair amount of security, but I wonder if you will die truly happy.

People fear change, they fear anything different. When they're approached with something that's outside the matrix, outside the box, they cower from it. They fear the unknown. They run from it. They fear failure, yet live a life they feel is a failure. So they stand still, trembling, waiting for this weird, large possibility to pass. They want to get back to the matrix as soon as possible.


The Bible says God hasn't given us a spirit of fear. He's given us a spirit of power, love, and a disciplined mind (2Tim 1:7). What is the purpose of this verse? Why do those that live within safe zones need such a powerful weapon? People snuggled up comfortably in their beds, inside the safety of their homes, talking about not having a spirit of fear, look kind of silly to me.

If you do nothing that requires courage, what is the purpose of praying against fear? You need to rise up. Expect those that have accepted the matrix to mock you. Expect peer pressure to come. Expect the fearful to try to keep you within "their" comfort zone.

You can do all things through Christ. You are more through Christ. You are made in the image of God. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. The ship is safe in the harbor, but it wasn't made for the harbor. It was made to sail. You can stay docked for the rest of your life and never incur shipwreck. That's true. But you'll also never enjoy the high seas. You'll never really embrace your purpose. You'll never sail.

We told God we want to go to the next level, but we don't want to leave the one we're at. If you go to the next level you may have to go alone. You will have to leave behind those that won't go with you. They will laugh at you. They will mock you. Some will cry and say they're worried about you. Almost all of them will wish they were you.

We are stuck in a box. It's time to break out. It's time to stretch. It's time to become everything we were called to be!

Peace. Love. Hope.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

CONFESSION: I'D TELL YOU IF I COULD TRUST YOU!



Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

I LOVE THIS VERSE! I wish I could use it!

A preacher friend of mine and I were discussing this verse. He told me James was not talking about sins, just “faults” (lapses in judgment, car wrecks, forgetting to pay your phone bill, and other benign things like that). That’s the safe approach, but that’s not what the word fault means. Well, it does mean that, but it goes much deeper ... and darker.

First, what is a "fault"? The definition is simple:  a side-slip (lapse or deviation), (unintentional) error or (wilful) transgression: – fall, fault, offense, sin, trespass. The word fault means any error or deviation, whether it’s innocuous or grossly wicked. Robertson, the linguistic master, simply translated it “sins”. Faults are sins according to every Greek lexicon in the world (or at least the dozens I’ve studied).

I love how the Amplified Version renders this verse:

James 5:16  Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].

James 5:16 tells us there is healing in confession. The opportunity to admit to another human that you have sinned and then have that person pray for you–not destroy you with that information–is priceless. It is deeply therapeutic. My question is: Who do you confess your sins to? Who can you trust? Who can you sit down with and say:

    “I have failed miserably. I’ve done the unspeakable. I need help.
         Will you pray for me?”
 

I am not a Catholic–not by a long shot. I don’t believe you can go down to a confessional booth, confessing your sins to a mortal man, say a few “Hail Marys”, and then have that man remove your sins from the eternal score card. NO WAY! But ... I do understand why the confessional booth is such a popular concept. 

Now, contrary to what you may think, I’m no fool. I know (for many) the confessional booth is like a “get out of jail free” card. Sin. Confess. Sin. Confess. Sin. Confess. Repeat. But there are others that go to the confessional booth because the Catholic church offers an answer to James 5:16–it’s a flawed answer, but an answer nevertheless. They are able to walk into a private setting, confess their sins to another human–saying it aloud, feeling the weight of those words, and then walk away knowing it will never be repeated. That’s powerful and appealing to fragmented humanity.

There are men that are drowning in pornography addiction. They want out, but are now enslaved by it. Sure. I know. All they have to do is repent and God will help them. That sounds great! But it’s not always that easy. Every vile image they’ve viewed has been etched into their memory. The affects of pornography are powerful and lingering. Some of these men would be healed if they could share their issue with another man, be held accountable, and then have that other man pray for and with them. There’s a reason James 5:16 was given to us. It means exactly what it says: there is healing in confession and prayer.

The Church should be the one place we can speak openly of our issues. Christians should be humble and reflective of where God has brought them from. Some professing Christians seem to forget they were once sinners. They can be judgmental and hypocritical. Gossip is their second language and they speak it fluently. Deadly poison is in their tongues. This should never be.

We have to change this, but how?

1. START TAKING ABOUT IT. Discuss this subject in Bible studies. Start talking about why we don’t or won’t confess our sins to each other. Talk about the danger of gossip. Talk about being trustworthy. Put this issue on the table for discussion.

2. BECOME THE SOLUTION. Be faithful. Be trustworthy. Stop gossiping. Stop listening to gossip. Pray for those that are in trouble. Make yourself available. Stop using other people’s faults to make yourself look better. Chopping other people down only gives you the illusion of rising. You’re not. You’re only destroying your neighbor and making yourself look like a fool in the meantime. Try to remember where God has brought you from and where you would be if He left you.

3. FIND SOMEONE YOU CAN TRUST. Find someone that’s proven themselves to you and ask them if they will be your accountability partner. Ask them if you can talk to them about the hard things. Ask them if they will pray for you and not use your confession against you. Try it out, little by little. Let them gain your trust. Do the same for them. 

James 5:16 is medicine for the body of Christ. As long as we have no vehicle to administer that medicine, the body will stay sick.

Peace. Love. Hope.
Pastor Lamb
 

Friday, March 17, 2017

HOW CAN WE SLEEP WHEN MEN ARE DYING?



Some years ago, I turned down a particular road, drove about three miles, only to discover that the road was impassable due to a bridge being washed out. I whipped my car around, making a sarcastic remark about how "it would've been nice if these morons would've put up a 'BRIDGE OUT' sign so folks don't waste their time driving down this road. Furthermore, someone could get killed!" As I was making my way back, I happened to notice in my rear view mirror a 'BRIDGE OUT' sign. And then another. And then another. In fact, there was a 'BRIDGE OUT' sign about every thousand foot, all the way to the entrance of that road. They had warned me, but I wasn't paying attention. I felt stupid. I was the only moron out there that day. 

Now, let me ask you this...

If your child was traveling down that road and I had intentionally removed every 'BRIDGE OUT' sign and they plummeted over the edge into a river, drowning, would you blame me? Would you think I at least bore SOME responsibility for their death? 

I know you answered "yes", and rightly so, but this is happening every day in the spiritual realm, yet very few feel they are responsible.

God has basically called us to do two things: 1) Tell the world they are driving on a road toward an abyss called "Hell"; and 2) Tell them about the ONLY altnernative path-Jesus Christ. (Mt 28:19, Mk 6:7-12, Acts 4:12, Acts 1:8, Luke 24:46-49, Isa 61:1-3)

We are God's warning signs, but many of us have removed ourselves from the pathway that sinners walk. When they fall into the horrid depths of hell we feel no pain, we take no responsibility. After all, they're the ones that chose that path; they're the ones that didn't pay attention to the danger ahead. Right? WRONG! 

Yes, they are free willed moral agents who choose their own path, but we are called to warn them of the dangers that path harbors! We are to offer them an escape route! So, yes ... we are also to blame!

I know you're too busy or perhaps too afraid to evangelize, but it won't matter what excuse you offer, there will be a responsibility to bear at the judgment of God. 

So you still aren't convinced? Here's this:

Eze 33:8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

You're still not convinced because, after all, you're not a "watchman"? I understand. Honestly, I do. 

That reminds me of the woman who was brutally raped in the parking lot of a huge apartment complex. It was later discovered that hundreds of people watched it happen, yet no one tried to stop it or even called the police. He raped her, stood up, and just walked away, leaving her destroyed, lying in a bloody heap on the concrete.

A journalist went door to door asking each resident the same two questions: 1) Did you see it happen?; and 2) Why didn't you call the police? 

Every single person that witnessed the rape had the same answer: "I thought someone else was going to call."

They should've all been convicted of complicity!

Although our system of government isn't always just, God's is. He doesn't overlook or forget anything! He WILL convict the professing church world of being complicit. The hoards of the "so-called" redeemed stand idly by, watching Satan's mass rape and mutilation of humanity. They do nothing about it because they either don't care or expect someone else to do it. And they CAN DO NOTHING about it because they're prayerless, powerless, worldly, and self-centered. Far too many are more dedicated to their employer and kid's professional t-ball-while-synchronized-swimming coach than they are God and the Church. 

Jesus, the Son of the living God ... Pray for us sinners!

I fear that many of the professing Christians I know are going to be shocked when they discover God was serious when He said:

"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Revelation 3:16

One night, a preacher and his very young son were coming home from church. They came upon an overpass where there was a great number of ambulances, firetrucks, and police cars lined up as far as they could see. There had been a terrible wreck. 

The man got his son out of the vehicle and walked up the embankment to see if there was anything he could do to help. When he came to the top of the embankment, he beheld, to his shock and unbelief, the mangled, lifeless corpse of an individual who had been thrown from a vehicle during the wreck. He covered the eyes of his son, picked him up, and carried him back down the hill as fast as he could. He tried to explain to his son what they had just witnessed in an attempt to comfort his little heart. Once they got home, the father prayed for him, hugged and kissed him, and then sent him to bed. 

At about 2 o'clock in the morning, the dad got up. He noticed that his son's bedroom light was still on. He opened the door and reached for the light switch, but noticed that his son was still dressed in his suit coat and tie, sitting on the side of the bed, quietly weeping. He asked him why he wasn't asleep. The son replied with these heart crushing words: 

"Dad, how can we sleep when people are dying?"

That's my question,too. 

How can we sleep while people die and go to hell?

God is going to ask us why we have removed ourselves (His warning signs) from the highways and hedges. He's going to show us the faces of every man, woman, boy, and girl that went to hell, partially because we didn't do what He had called us to do. 

That, my friend, should make you tremble in fear no matter how busy or tired you are.

Please, repent of your backslidden condition. Remove every idol from your life. Go to work for God. Souls are counting on it. God is commanding it!

Peace. Love. Hope.
Bishop Lamb


Friday, March 3, 2017

WHEN THE LEADER'S HEART BECOMES ANGRY AND BITTER

The following thought has been on my mind for several days now: You cannot allow yourself to be angry or bitter with those you've been called to love and save (1Co 9:22), regardless of how difficult or disappointing their actions are.

Then Pastor James Coffey posted the following yesterday:

"Ministry has the potential to be discouraging and lonely at times. It is easy to allow that frustration to shine through inadvertently if we aren't careful. One valuable lesson that I've learned about working with people is that they are much more likely to put their faith and gifting into action if they are inspired. Jesus had the same life changing impact on his culture that we experience when reading the scriptures. He spoke truth that was convicting to the core of humanity, yet he did so with a love and compassion that inspired people toward faith and action. If you are a pastor or leader who has become frustrated by the inactivity of others, be careful that you don't allow it to develop into anger or bitterness. An angry leader will not inspire change or increase productivity. You will appear to others as someone who is angry and discontent. You will only push the people following you further from their calling and responsibility as believers. People feel compelled when they see us as leaders finding joy and fulfillment in our calling and purpose. Setting the example will propel others toward pursuing the same. True leadership doesn't dictate, it inspires. Correction and conflict will be necessary at times, but it will be counterproductive 100% of the time if it is done in anger rather than love. If you say you love them but appear to be angry, they will interpret your appearance more often than they will your intentions. Make sure they see your heart and not your frustration."

Then Brother Todd Sloggett posts this quote from Mother Teresa today:

"People are unrealistic; illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway."

Then I remembered what Paul told Timothy nearly 2,000 years ago:

2Tim 2:24  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26  And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

There's a deep, life and ministry altering message here.

Monday, February 27, 2017

WHEN YOUR PASTOR RESIGNS (FROM A PASTOR'S PERSPECTIVE)

 
A friend of mine wrote me recently about how upset he was over his (sorta/kinda) pastor resigning. He couldn't understand why God would do that. He questioned whether the pastor even knew the will of God. He questioned the pastor's integrity.

I've had to deal with and answer this type questioning many times. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of pastors and leaders out there that live sinful lives and abuse the people. There are plenty of examples of preachers compromising and doing terrible things. I also know that great men of God are often stereotyped because of these wicked hirelings. I'll rebuke the sinful preacher, but I'm also quick to fight for the men and women of God that are trying to work for Jesus.

This will be a very long post, but I am going to share my response to him with you, hoping you can see things from a pastor's perspective. I know there are great churches and very faithful saints out there, so the things I said to him aren't applicable to everyone. If you are one of the faithful, Thank You. Please, continue what you're doing. The kingdom depends on you. Souls depend on you. Keep praying. We're living in the days of the great falling away, you're important!

"Dear Brother __________. I understand everything you're saying. I also understand why you're hurting. It's perfectly normal. And I want to be sensitive to your situation. I count you as a friend-you've been through a lot lately.

But with that said, I'm having a hard time agreeing with your perspective because, not only do I understand how you feel, I understand how it feels to be a pastor.

In a previous message, you said the following to me:

"We have become discouraged about not having a home church..."

"of course the ___________ church and the people are nice and treat us good but we still don't feel a part of or at home."

After reading that and then reading your complaints about them resigning and how you now questioned the _________'s for leaving, I feel like you were wrong and certainly weren't being fair. (I'm speaking to you as a friend. I'm not bothered at all.)

People celebrate when we (pastors) start churches. They believe us when we say God sent us. They tell everyone how much they confident us. They tell people we're their favorite preacher. That all sounds good, but God didn't send us so we can be people's favorite preacher. He sends us so we can build the kingdom of God, winning the lost, and discipling men and women. We can't do that without help, so God sends people to help us, but it's here we find the problem.

The members expect us to be faithful. They expect us to always show up. They expect us to be at every service until we die, yet they come and go as they please. The members can stay home for any reason, or no reason, and if we challenge them they get mad at us and come to church even less, or find another church to not attend.

People have all kinds of reasons and excuses for not being at church, but that doesn't change one thing when it comes to a pastor and his wife's broken heart. We study and seek God for the message and then the people we studied for don't come to church because they stayed home to clean their house, or had a family reunion, or a birthday party, or were tired, or went to the park, or had a headache, or had to work, or had company, and/or a thousand other silly reasons. Church is the last thing on their priority list. Everything else takes precedent over church. They will be too sick or tired to come to church, but miraculously make it to work the next morning. They can live without church, the pastor, his teaching, the preaching, and fellowship, but they can't live without the almighty dollar. People do what they want when they want, but expect the pastor and his wife to work, even if they have to work alone. I've actually had people take new jobs that wouldn't allow them to come to church services and they wanted me to change the service days or start another service night just so they can come. I hadn't forgotten that they missed half of the services before they took the new job. The only thing better than having 2 services that people don't attend is having 3! I was already dying from preaching to empty pews and fireless hearts. I guess they wanted to kill me quicker.

God gives the pastor a burden for their city, but again, the people have a thousand excuses why they can't come and be a part of ministries that will effect that city. They won't volunteer for evangelism work, they won't commit to children's ministries, they won't show up to prayer meetings, won't clean the church, and hardly show up on work days, yet they still expect everything to get done. They can go out to eat several times a week; they can buy anything they want, but won't tithe. The church suffers financially, hindering what the pastor can and cannot do to fulfill the vision of reaching the city.

God can give the pastor a vision, but often can't implement the vision due to the unfaithfulness of the people.

I see this everyday all across the country.

Dear brother, your reasons for not going to the __________'s church may be valid, but for you to get upset when they left is simply wrong. If God sends a pastor to a group of people and the people won't help him, God will move him somewhere else. God doesn't love the church members any more than he loves the pastor and his wife. He won't allow us to be destroyed by unconcerned church members.

 Furthermore, there are times the Pastor and church get along fine and work beautifully together and God will still move them somewhere else. It's His business.

If we confidented the pastor when they said God brought them we should confident them when they say God is moving them.

God moves church members to other churches. God moves pastors to other churches. That's His business. I do find it funny that both pastor and members accuse the other of not obeying God when they move.

Now, I know that was a little hard, but it's the truth. I just wanted you to see it from another perspective.

I love you, Brother ______."

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Five Lessons to Learn When Your Vision is Nailed to a Cross



I GOT SCHOOLED

I have a tendency to interpret what God says to me. Don't get me wrong, I want to know what God means when He speaks, but if I'm not careful I will prematurely expand it. Let me illustrate:

Some years ago, while the pastor of a beautiful church in Florida, I had a strong impression that I would start a Bible/Ministry School. Because I'm a "whole hog or die" kind of guy, I was totally committed to being at the church. So I just knew that I would start that school there. I've learned a few things down through the years, so I didn't tell anyone God told me to start a school, but I did mention it, I insinuated it. I had misinterpreted His will, if it was even Him that had spoken to me-I'm still praying about that.

THE APOSTLES GOT SCHOOLED

The Apostles were raised in a Judaic culture which held the Word of God in the highest regards. It was God's Word. It was the final authority. They taught their children its precepts at every possible opportunity.

They were well versed on the subject of the imminent coming of their Messiah. They had spoken of it day after day. They had memorized every verse dealing with His arrival, but there was a problem with their interpretation. They were taught and believed that the Messiah would literally take over the temple in Jerusalem, sit upon a throne, and rule the world from there. Who would debate that was an incredible vision for what was to come? Not me. Their vision was mighty, it just wasn't God's vision. They were living under the oppressive hand of Rome and had read their desperate desire to be delivered from that oppression into the Word of God. They had committed the egregious Theological error of eisegesis. 

In John chapter twenty-one, verses one through three, we see the results of misinterpreting the will of God. They were looking for Jesus to sit upon a throne in Jerusalem, break the power of Rome, and give them liberty right then and there. Unfortunately, they watched their vision be nailed to a cross and then buried in a tomb. 

WHAT WILL YOU DO WHEN YOUR VISION IS NAILED TO A CROSS?

They didn't know how to handle this contradiction, this frightening disappointment. Was the Bible wrong? Was Jesus not the Messiah? They had placed all of their chips on Jesus being the Messiah, but now He was dead. 

Peter said, "I don't have an answer for this. I can't explain why it didn't work out like I thought it should. I've preached a lot of bold things about Jesus, but now He and my hopes are dead. I'm going fishing". 

All of the other Apostles went with Peter. Why go fishing? And why did Luke, the doctor, go fishing with him? This answer is actually very simple. Peter went fishing because it was familiar to him. Luke went with Peter because Peter was familiar to him. People run to what they know when their hopes and dreams don't work out like they want. I've watched new converts run back to a man, a woman, a drug, alcohol, etc. I've watched saints run back to their busy-ness, their hobbies, their depression, their isolation, etc. People run back to what is familiar. 

When the heat was turned up, John Mark went home to Jerusalem (Acts 15:37-40); Demas went back to Thessolinika (2Ti 4:10); Cleopas and his wife took the Damascus road home (Lu 24:13-35); and Peter went back to fishing (John 21:3).

We need to seek God for His will. When we get ahead of God we set ourselves up for failure. When we get ahead of God we miss His will. We become discouraged and sometimes depressed. 

We can lose our purpose and direction. When you sink your heart into doing what you feel is God's will but it falls apart at the seams ... it can rock your world. It can make you question everything. It can open up doors for Satan to shake your faith.

Here's five things you can do when your will is nailed to a cross:

1. Be merciful to yourself. God's will is far above ours. We love Him and want to work for Him with all of our hearts. When He speaks we take off running to what we think He wants. We miss everything else He said because of our zealous desire for Him.

2. Don't immediately discard what you felt God spoke to you. It may happen at a later date, in a different place, or slightly different manner.

3. Don't be afraid to start over. Better men and women have had to.

4. Learn every lesson you can from your mistakes and try to not make them again.

5. Pray for a greater sensitivity to the Spirit. Ask Him what His will is before you come to too many conclusions on your own.    


Watch the following Devotional Video on this subject! 



Monday, February 13, 2017

A Cry For Revival (The Burden Of My Heart)



I want to see revival in our city. When I speak of revival, I mean a couple of different things. Revival is bringing that which is dead back to life or restoring something back to usefulness. So revival could happen in an individual's life, in a family, in a church, or in a community. What I am ultimately longing for is another awakening in America as a whole.

I don't mean to be a pessimist, but the American church of today is not what it was a hundred years ago; much less what it was in the book of Acts 2,000 years ago. Genuinely powerful Christianity is dying in this country. I have dedicated my life to seeing it revived.

As I travel the world preaching, I find that some want revival, some don't, and some don't think they need it. But whether we see it or not, our churches are losing their hunger for the lost and are almost powerless. We have grieved the Spirit. Where are the signs, wonders, and gifts of the Spirit? Revival would restore the church to what it's supposed to be and if the country as a whole will not seek God for revival, then I'm looking for congregations, or individuals that want revival. If the saints at Revival Tabernacle don't want revival then I'll pray for the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers into our vineyard.

Revival will come when we adhere to 2Chronicles 7:14. And if the American church does adhere to it, we may see another great awakening.

This is just a brief description of the burden of my heart.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Burnt Out Minister is Irrelevant


I've been reading staggering statistics about clergy burnout. Statistics revealing how depression, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes are incredibly high among ministers. Did you know the life expectancy of a minister is much lower than the average person? 1,500 preachers leave the ministry every month. Why? I know what some will say, "They're hirelings. They don't pray. They don't love God. Etc." I'm sure that's true way too often, but that's not always the case. And those that readily say such things usually aren't pastors.

We are living in a different world than the men of old. Did you ever consider the fact that John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Finney, Jonathan Edwards, General Booth, A. B. Simpson, etc, didn't have access to phones, planes, cars, internet, Facebook, email or text messaging? If the congregation got a hold of them it was on Sunday or via horse and buggy. And if your preacher was a circuit rider ... you DIDN'T get a hold of him.
 
They didn't have to compete with cell phones, ipads, ipods, television, radio, internet or Hollywood. People weren't gospel hardened and entertained to death. People didn't expect the preacher to cater to their every whim because they knew they COULDN'T cater to their every whim. Now, compare that with the hundred phone calls, text messages, emails, and literally thousands of Facebook messages I receive per week! I'm not unique, any pastor worth their salt has a similar story. Today's pastor is on call 24/7! The expectation level is insane. People want them to be at all places at all times having the answers to every dilemma. The minister (and whole family) never fully meet the requirements demanded of them because they haven't yet figured out how to be God! John Wesley attributed his long life to taking naps as often as he needed. If today's minister takes a nap someone rings the door bell and accuses them of being lazy and sleeping all day. (Been there and done that!)

But concerning the men and women of old ... they had revival and we (for the most part) do not. They spent most of their time praying, reading, and preaching. Their greatest stress came from wrestling with God, not men. 
 
They understood that the church belonged to God, not them. They understood that counseling can never take the place of the unadulterated preached Word. They understood that the hard-hearted and stubborn laity sitting in the pews were lost and in need of conversion and not to be reckoned as church bosses.

The answer? You need to remember that you're a Christian before you're a pastor! Let's spend more time in prayer and the Word, talking to God about men; and less time on Facebook, answering text messages and counseling people to do what we've told them a hundred times from the pulpit.

If you're tired, sleep. If you're on the verge of burning out, shut your phone off, take a few days off, spend time with God and your family. Learn how to say "NO"! If you're overweight and your health is breaking down ... man up! Get some discipline. Eat right and exercise! It'll pay off in the long run.

Don't let your wife suffer because you're ministering to another man's wife and don't have time for her. Don't lose your kids trying to save other people's kids. If you burn out you will wreck yourself and then be irrelevant anyway. You have no business overseeing spiritual business if you can't overseer your own personal business! (1Ti 3:5)

Don't allow anyone to push you beyond your capacity. And ... remember it all belongs to God. He's the husbandman. Let the divine stay up all night. Let the omnipresent be every where at all times. Let Him be responsible for HIS church. You? Just do what you can. You ask what the people will think? The true Christians will understand and be merciful. The hypocrites? Who cares?
Let go and let God!
Peace, love, hope!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

READY & RIPE FOR REVIVAL

READY & RIPE FOR REVIVAL
I laid down last night with perfect peace of mind. The overwhelming feeling that this country has reached a condition that is amazingly ripe for REVIVAL has overtaken me more so than ever before. The darker the night the brighter the light will shine. AMERICA is the greatest country in the world, but she is wicked. Sin dances in the streets and the "saints" hide in the corner of the church. 

Homosexuals put on massive parades and celebrate their "pride" in every major city in the country. 200,000 "women" marched through the streets of Washington, D.C. telling every one how nasty (and stupid) they are. Where's a Margaret Thatcher when you need her? She once wisely said, "Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't." Can I get an "Amen"? While the heathen flaunt their debauchery, daring anyone to say anything lest they be a racist, the "saints" hide in the corner of the church ashamed to speak the name of Christ. 

The Church doesn't seek revival, she doesn't have to ... President Donald Trump is going to save us! An honest-hearted brother recently told me that because Donald Trump is now our President we won't have to lock the doors of our houses anymore! A Trump Presidency will cause the entire country to quit lying and stealing! Donald Trump will no more save this country than Barak Obama destroyed it! NO! Sin is destroying this country! Prayer-less, burden-less, worldly minded "Christians" are destroying this country! Men who would rather talk about the darkness and never build fires are destroying this country! Silence is destroying this country! A church that is more interested in being entertained than changing the world is destroying this country! A praying, powerful, heavenly minded Church is the only hope this country has! I want REVIVAL! WE CAN HAVE REVIVAL, BUT IT WON'T COME WITHOUT US PAYING THE PRICE! 

In 2Ch 7:14, God said, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 

PRAYER, RIGHT LIVING AND EVANGELISM WILL MOVE THE HAND OF GOD! THE HAND OF GOD CAN MOVE THIS COUNTRY! -- Pastor Lamb

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

RECALCULATING


Have you ever missed your turn and had your GPS unit inform you that it's recalculating? Me, too, both while driving and in life!

For the most part, technology is awesome! Where would we be without it? On the other hand, I have lost a few things because of it. Do any of you know more than five phone numbers by heart? Nope? Me either. I have three phone numbers memorized: mine, my wife's, and the church's. I used to know a hundred, but it isn't necessary for me to memorize numbers any more because I have them all logged into my smart phone under the person's name.

I also have no idea how to get any where outside of Madison County. PRAISE GOD FOR GOOGLE MAPS! I follow my GPS. I don't pay any attention to landmarks or road signs. I follow the GPS! Without it, I'm pretty much lost regardless of where I am. That's terrible ... I know.

One of the beautiful things about a GPS unit (or google maps) is it won't allow you to go 127 miles past your destination. Have you ever got caught up listening to music, talking on the phone, or simply zoned out and drove 20 miles past your turn? Yep, me too! I love (and sometimes hate) the fact that when I overshoot an exit, the GPS unit is extremely stubborn. "Recalculating! Take the next left. Take the next left. Make a u-turn in 200 feet. Recalculating. Take the next left."

I know everyone of us have missed a turn here and there. We set out to achieve certain things, to accomplish certain goals, but we zoned out and overshot our exit. We feel as if we're useless or have lost so much time that we can't get caught up; we can't make it there on time. Although we've missed many turns, God is merciful! He'll RECALCULATE our route.

Many of you feel as if you've dropped the ball with your spouses and children ... maybe you have, but God's not finished with you! Perhaps you've wasted money and time on drugs and alcohol, hurt your family and friends. You've overshot your turn by 100 miles. If you can stop for just a second, you will hear the voice of God saying, "I'm recalculating the best route for you to get to where I intended you to go. RECALCULATING!"

Brothers and sisters, God is recalculating our journey! You may not have been obedient in the past. You may not have paid attention in the past. You may have even intentionally took wrongs turns, going in the opposite direction that God wanted you to, but His mercy endures forever!

The Apostle Paul said:

Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
 
Only in Christ can we truly start over. Only through Jesus' mercy can we still make our way toward the mark that God has set for us. If you will choose obedience RIGHT NOW, you can forget the many wrong turns of the past. It may take you a little while to get there, but you can know that every turn you make, every mile you travel, is taking you to the will of God!

Be encouraged! God is RECALCULATING your journey!

Peace, Love, Hope,
David Lamb 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

8 LEADERSHIP LESSONS LEARNED FROM GIDEON


Yesterday, I read the eighth chapter of Judges during my daily devotions. I was inspired with how strong of a leader Gideon was. I want to quickly share the major points that stuck out to me.
           
1. GREAT LEADERS KEEP LEADING (JUDGES 8:4-8)

Gideon and his men were weary from pursuing their enemies, yet the Scripture states they continued their pursuit. He would not give up just because leading wasn’t convenient.

Leading can be a grind; it can snatch the life right out of you. We often find ourselves weary, but we cannot stop pursuing. This doesn’t mean there aren’t times we need a vacation, but strong leaders keep pursuing long after they feel fatigued. They don’t quit when the going gets tough. Great leaders keep leading.

2. GREAT LEADERS ADDRESS OPPOSITION DECISIVELY (JUDGES 8:16)

Gideon wasn’t afraid of or ignore opposition. He dealt with internal (his son) and external (his enemies) problems quickly and decisively.

If I’ve learned anything over the past 20 years it’s that most problems don’t go away just because you ignore them. Sidestepping contentions only allows them to pile up, creating a synergistic effect that makes conflict resolution exponentially more difficult. Deal with stuff right, but deal with it immediately. Great leaders deal with opposition decisively.

3. GREAT LEADERS INVEST IN THEIR FAMILY (JUDGES 8:19-20)

Gideon was invested in his family. He took time to teach his sons. He took the treatment of his family seriously. Great pastoral leaders are invested in their families.

I don’t want to sound cold or accusatory, but most people are fickle. Church members will cut you off in a second. You can be the big kahuna today and the scum of the earth tomorrow. You’ll spend weeks, months, even years, pouring into some people who tell you they love you, only to find them walking out, turning on you, and that without warning. Invest in your spouse and children. They love you unconditionally and will be there long after the people have left. Not to mention your family is your first ministerial priority anyways. The Bible teaches us if we can’t lead our own houses we have no business leading others (1Ti 3:5). 

4. GREAT LEADERS EQUIP OTHERS (JUDGES 8:20)

Gideon delegated and trained those that fought with him. He gave his fellow laborers an opportunity to win. He gave them the opportunity to participate in their victories.

Delegation is one of the hardest things to do, but it must be done. And ... it must be done right. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way. I’ve spent much time asking people to do things that they did not know how to do. When people don’t have the necessary knowledge to fulfill the task you’ve asked them to do, they become frustrated and quit. After several experiences of delegating jobs to people, only to watch them quit or do them half-heartedly, the knee-jerk reaction is to just do it yourself. This invariably leads to burnout. Do yourself a favor and train the people you’re delegating responsibilities to. It may take weeks, even months, but it will be worth your time. You will be able to cover far more ground with TEAMS working together as opposed to you working alone. And don’t forget to allow everyone to share in the victories and successes. No man is an island. You didn’t get where you are by yourself, unless of course you’ve swam out to an island.

5. LEADERS ARE CONCERNED WITH THE KINGDOM OF GOD, NOT THEIR EMPIRE (JUDGES 8:23)

Gideon was successful. He led his men to many great victories. God’s favor was with him mightily, therefore, the people responded by asking him to rule over them; to be their king. Gideon said, “No. God will lead us.” Gideon was humble. Gideon knew who had truly given them the victory. Gideon was a man of God. This point is what prompted me to write this article. My heart was filled with the utmost admiration for Gideon. He didn’t even hesitate to point his men toward God. 

There are far too many dictatorial pastors in our churches. They pastor “their” church; “their” people; and operate “their” ministries. They want glory. Everything they do must be seen of men or they feel like they’re a failure. Listen, we work for God. We use His provisions. We breathe His air. His life keeps our heart pumping blood through our veins. Give God the glory for everything. Stop trying to lord over God’s heritage (1Pe 5:3). I see this over and over with pastors who think everyone has to come to "their" church. Real pastoral leadership isn’t about building your own kingdom, it’s about building the kingdom of God. If your labors cause someone to yield to Christ, yet that person attends another church, so what!? God rules. The Church is His and it's much larger than our littler congregations.

6. GREAT LEADERS MESS UP (JUDGES 8:24-27)
Gideon messed up big time! Even after all of the great things he did-even after pointing to people to God-he caused them to err in their faith. He asked them to give him their golden earrings which ended up yielding about 71 pounds worth. By today’s prices, that’s approximately $1.2 million dollars worth. He took the 71 pounds of gold and made it into an ephod (a sleeveless garment worn by Jewish priests) and a breastplate. You talk about bling bling–a 71 pound golden garment! The ephod was so amazing the people of God started worshiping it. Wow! 


Don’t get me wrong, Gideon didn’t mean for this to happen. He would have never made it had he known what they would do, but he didn’t discern the heart of the people and made a terrible judgment call.

You and me are going to have lapses in judgment resulting in mistakes. You might as well get ready, it’s just part of leadership. But be humble. You have to learn to repent, apologize, and then move on! Do better the next time. Don’t allow your failures to paralyze you.

8. LEADERS ARE A BLESSING TO THOSE AROUND THEM (JUDGES 8:28)

God’s favor on Gideon was a blessing to the Israelites. Despite Gideon’s lack of discernment and Israel’s idolatry, God honored Gideon’s faith and humility. He gave Israel 40 years of peace.

Stay holy. Stay humble. You may stumble here and there, but God isn’t fickle. He knows your intents and motives. If you’ll stay faithful to God and His kingdom, the blessings of the Lord will overtake you and those blessings will overflow, saturating everyone around you.

I hope these 8 lessons help you!

God bless,
Pastor Lamb