Archives For michael hyatt

best

At the church where I serve as lead pastor we are in our annual stewardship emphasis time.  For the fourth year in a row we’re watching the video series The Blessed Life by pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church in Southlake Texas. It’s an awesome series and now in our fourth year as become part of our church.

This past week I heard Robert say something that had not previously jumped out at me when talking about putting God first. He said and this is most likely not an exact quote, “God is perfect and cannot accept second best.” That statement hit me like a ton of bricks.

In this post I’m not going to debate the correctness of the statement. The point I want to make is wrapped in a question.  Why wouldn’t we want to give God our best? He gave us His best.

The subject in the videos is tithing. I believe in tithing and that any Christian who has been taught tithing and still refuses to do so is rebelling against the Word of God. I know it’s a strong statement but I believe it.  The Bible says that if we don’t tithe that we’re robbing God.  As Morris points out tithing pre-dates the law and is also found in New Testament scripture. As far as I’m concerned there is no room for any debate so I’m not interested in debating it with you.  When you put God first you do so with your finances too.

The statement, “God can’t accept second best” also hit me in other areas.  I had to ask myself a lot of questions and continue to do so. Why? Because I want God to have my best in every area of life. I’ve begun to ask questions such as.

  • Do I give God my best in my daily behavior?
  • Do I give God my best in how I keep my home?
  • Do I give God my best in how I participate in a worship time at church?
  • Do I give God my best in my church attendance?
  • Do I give God my best when I prepare to teach a class or preach a sermon?
  • Do I give God my best in how I relate to my wife?
  • Do I give God my best in how I raise my children?
  • Do I give God my best in how I treat other people?
  • Do I give God my best in how I dress?
  • Do I give God my best in the tidiness of my vehicle?
  • Do I give God my best…………..

Do you get the point. I just typed the question in no particular order as they came to me and could have kept going.  Do I as a mature believer, follower of Christ seek every day to give Him my best?  I should.

I will fail at times but God is a God of grace.  I should accept His grace, not beat myself up and continue to do all in my power to give Him my best.

This is not a message of works. It has nothing to do with salvation.  You can’t be good enough to be saved. This is a message of a Christian realizing that God deserves our best because He gave us salvation.

Are you giving God your best? If not will you?  Let’s all try together.

Follow this link to my book, The Eye of A Needle.

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Photo by Jeff Scurlock

I’ve never been able to quite grasp the hardness of life. You know, life is hard and on a purely human level I do not  understand it. I’m sure a lot of it is because I’m a spoiled westerner.

Some days I blame poor emotions and struggles on the weather. It doesn’t help when the sun is hidden behind cold gray clouds that hover over cold, drizzly dampness.  But what about the days when the sun is shinning, the air is crisp and there may even be the sound of singing birds? What’s up with that? Why can’t those days always be upbeat and happy?

The human emotions are a puzzle. I’m no doctor and have no scientific knowledge of the interworking of the human brain.  I’ve heard words like hormones, depression, happy, sad, joy, joyless, etc., etc.,.

I love those days when everything seems right, those days when the body feels strong, energetic, rested and ready.  I love it when I feel the emotion of happiness and peacefulness.

As a follower of Christ I find myself hanging onto His Words.  Things like “in this world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  For me that means that everything that wages war against my emotions and my physical well being has already be taken care of.  Yes I have to deal with the heat of the battle. Jesus said that I would have tribulation.  I have to deal with the swinging of my emotions but I also hang on to those words, “I have overcome the world.”

As a child of God I’m an overcomer. It matters not what my emotions say. I’m an overcomer. My responsibility is to remind myself of that. To wage a war of positive faith on those things that try to drag me down.

Proverbs says that “the power of life and death is in the tongue and that they that love it will eat it’s fruit.”  What does that mean? It means that I’ve got to push through the negative emotions and crazy hormones to speak faith into my life.  When my emotions say gloom and despair my mouth needs to say joy and hope. When my emotions say defeat my mouth needs to say victory.  When my emotions say death my mouth needs to say life.  Don’t forget that as a believer that when you speak positive things in life it’s not some new age, mind over matter babble.  It’s the mouth of a believer speaking what their God says. Putting faith in Him not our words.

If your struggling today with depression, hormones out of whack, down in the dumps, discouragement etc..  Hang in there.  If you need the help of a physician, get it.  Have a relationship with Jesus, read His Word, speak His Word.  Remember, as a believer, your already an overcomer. Sometimes you just have to remind yourself of that.

 

My book, Eye of A Needle would be a help for you during difficult times. It’s only .99 in the Kindle store.

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In 2012 I wrote a book, The Eye of A Needle.  It was fun, hard, challenging, relaxing and more. The day came that the book was finished and uploaded to my self-publishing provider. I remember when the first hard copy arrived in the mail for me to proof. It was a dream come true.

This morning I opened my book in the Kindle app on my iPad and read the introduction. It encouraged me. I needed it. I thought that I would share these words from the introduction with you on this site.  It’s not an attempt to “bait” you into buying a book. As a matter of fact I have lowered the Kindle Version price to .99 cents.  You can also buy the paperback version from amazon.com. There is a link at the bottom of this post to amazon.   However I will make you this offer. If you want a paperback copy of my book I will give it to you.  Free! No cost. No Shipping and Handling.  I will pay for the book and the shipping to get it to you. All you have to do is request it in writing via snail mail.  Send it to me at 108 Florida Street, Brewton, AL 36426.  The reason I’m requiring you to ask by mail is that I want you to at least invest some effort in getting it. Email is too easy and it won’t mean as much to you. I will not use your address for a mailing list. It’s that easy.

Now, The Eye of A Needle, The Introduction

How many times in your life have you used the word impossible?  How many times have you thrown it out carelessly in a conversation as a way of avoiding even the slightest challenge?  Do we really stop and consider the power of our words when we throw them about like a plaything? The truth is, Words hold power.

Proverbs says, “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat it’s fruit.”

Have you considered that when you tell your children “it can’t be done, that it’s impossible,” that your words may be killing a dream?  Proverbs says that “those who love it will eat its fruit.” Love what? Life or death!  Maybe we should really reconsider how we use the word “impossible’ and , when we do use it, to make sure we disclaim that statement with the following statement; “but with God all things are possible.”

Don’t tell your children that it’s impossible for them to make the team. Don’t speak negative about others’ dreams and aspirations. Don’t make it a habit of tearing down dreams with your words. Be a builder. Tell those around you that you believe in them and that you know that with their determination and God’s help that anything is possible.  If your initial response tends to be negative, hold your peace, think about what you are about to say and then speak faith. If someone is believing for something big, your encouragement maybe be invaluable to them.

If you’re the one with the dream, stay away from dream killers. Don’t listen to those who are negative or don’t believe in you. When they do get a negative word in, replace it with faith.

Impossible is defined by dictionary.com as “not possible; unable to be, exist, happen, etc.  Unable to be done, performed, effected, etc.k not to be done, endured, etc., with any degree of reason or propriety; and impossible situation. Utterly impracticable;”

In this book I’m going to use scripture and life stories that will rekindle the flames of your faith and remind you that nothing is impossible.  Nothing is impossible when determination is coupled together with faith.  Nothing is impossible when you say what you believe and believe what you say. When you live what you believe and put actions behind your words, nothing is impossible.

We should all be challenged. I am challenged as I write this book to believe more, to accomplish more.

I’m going to use words like “dream”, “big” and “possible” to describe that thing God is calling you to do or that thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish. It might not be literally impossible but it might be so BIG that it looks impossible. My point is this: Whether I use “possible,” dream” or “big” the outcome of your situation all depends on your determination, your faith and your confidence in God and the promises of His Word.

When someone tells you that it can’t happen, that you shouldn’t try with any reasonable expectation of success, or that it’s utterly impracticable, you tell them that in the Kingdom of God, nothing is impossible.

Those who say it’s impossible should get out of the way of those that are doing.

End of Introduction.

“The Eye of A Needle Kindle Version.”

“The Eye of A Needle Paperback from Amazon.”

Remember: To receive your free paperback copy of The Eye of A Needle request it by mail. Send your correspondence to Jeff Scurlock 108 Florida Street, Brewton AL 36426

expectations

I looked up the word Expectation and was surprised at the depth of the definition (I’m being a little sarcastic). The word Expectation means the act of expecting. Wow. Isn’t that deep. Then I looked at the word expect and it means “to look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate the occurrence…..”

God’s Word is full of scripture that encourages us to expect.

In Mark 9:14-24 we see the story of a man who came to Jesus wanting his demon possessed son to be set free. He told Jesus “I brought him to your disciples so they could cast him out and they could not.” Jesus’ response was directed to those disciples. “O faithless generation….” Jesus wanted his disciples to face this situation with faith and expectation. They didn’t.

One of the biggest challenges in Christian leadership is getting people to believe that no matter what their circumstances are that they can/should be expectant about the future.  If things are bad, they don’t necessarily have to stay that way.

I’ve often spoke of those who have what I call a Doris Day theology. I hate to blame Doris but she did sing the song, Whatever will be will be. The future’s not ours to see.” The fact is… it’s easier to live with that mentality than to believe and stretch for things.  It’s easier to just have no anticipations, no desires, no belief that anything can be accomplished beyond where they are.

We see more in more in our western culture, able bodied men and women giving up or not ever trying at all to be anything. They are quite content to wait for someone else to give them everything they need. They would rather trust welfare that to step out in faith and accomplish something.

Our society has become so un-driven. Young men and women who should be in school preparing for the future or should be in the work force by now still living with parents, refusing to grow up. The problem is made much worse by parents who enable their lazy, un-undriven children by giving them what they need and requiring nothing of them.

Don’t think that the problem is age specific to young adults. It’s not.

There are more than enough scriptures and stories within those scriptures that teach us to reach beyond where we are. They are lessons for us.  With all my heart I know that God wants us to have expectations in our life.

Mark 11:24 Jesus said, “whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”  It takes expectation to pray. So many just don’t bother to pray.

Matthew 21:18-21 herein is the story of the fig tree cursed by Jesus. Jesus’ instructions were “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, “be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Do you see how loaded verses 21 and 22 are?

  • Assuredly, I say to you. Jesus was sure of what He was saying.
  • If you have faith and do not doubt. You will do what was done to the fig tree, but ALSO if you say to this mountain, ‘be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.
  • And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

I understand that there was repetition in the previous two paragraphs but that repetition is warranted. There is no expectation like speaking to the mountains of life and commanding them to move.

Luke 8:41-55 includes two separate story lines within the same text taking place at the exact same time.  First is Jairus a ruler of the synagogue who had a daughter dying and knew that if Jesus would come to his house that his daughter would be healed.  The second person is a women (no name given) who had an issue of blood. That means that she had female bleeding and it had been taking place for twelve years. This lady was expectant. She said to herself that she knew that if she could just touch Jesus’ clothes that she would be healed.  Guess what. The story ends with both getting what they expected. Jairus’ daughter was actually raised from the dead and the woman was healed.

Isaiah 54:2-3 is a scripture about being expectant. It says, “Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, And your descendants will inherit the nations, And make the desolate cities inhabited.”

The missionary William Carey preached form Isaiah 54 and said the message was two fold.

  1. Expect great things from God.
  2. Attempt great things for God.

 

In 1 Chronicles 4:10 Jabez prayed what some would characterize as a bold selfish prayer. I would say, it’s a prayer of expectation.

“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, hand that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” so God granted him what he requested.”

So now I will leave you with one last scripture. One that i recommend that you commit to memory.

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you gray and mighty things, which you do not know.”

Expectation!

What is it that you are believing God for in the days, weeks and months to come? Please click the comment button at the top of the page and leave your comment here.

Get a copy of my book, The Eye of A Needle – Affiliate Link

Check out Expect A Move of God in Your Life, Suddenly – by Joyce Meyer  –  Affiliate Link

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Great blog by Michael Hyatt the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing on why you should write your goals down.

Michael Hyatt is author of the New York Times best selling book, Platform:Get Noticed in a Noisy World. AFFILIATE LINK

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Photo by Jeff Scurlock

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13

There is no scripture and no way that I want to imply that you shouldn’t have memories. Memories are part of life and especially in the life of a believer. The Bible is replete with scripture that encourage us to remember what God has done for us. Not only to remember but to tell it to our children and our children’s children.

The problem arises when we let our past hinder our future. When we allow ourselves to be shackled with the disappointments and failures of days gone by. Who hasn’t been disappointed or had to deal with the pain of failure? Who hasn’t been tempted to quit because of those disappointments.  You’ve heard it before. Someone says, “I’ll never allow myself to fall in love again,” or something similar.

I believe that it was the pain of disappointment, failure, jail time or whatever else that caused the words of the apostle Paul to be so potent in Philippians 3:13 when he said, and I paraphrase, “I’m putting the past behind me and focusing on what is in front of me.”

Do it today. Decide to not let the past hinder your future. Yesterday should not be an anchor keeping you from your tomorrow.  Decide now to move forward. Forgive those who have hurt you. Embrace those who love you and press forward into an exciting future that is full of possibiliites.

 Get My Book, The Eye of A Needle, Here.

worry

Are you stressed out? Are you stressed because you’re worried about something? You’re not alone. Worry is a real problem in the lives of “Most” people.

The Bible is very clear when it comes to worry.  In his letter to the Philippians in chapter 4 the Apostle Paul said, “Don’t worry about anything.”  What? That’s right. He said not to worry. It’s easier said than done. I’ve come to grips with the fact that it’s not about not worrying as much as it is about what to do when you are worried.

Worry is an enemy.  It’s an unfruitful waste of time. When you think about it, worry is unreasonable. What do I mean? You’ve never changed a circumstance by worrying about it. Worry is also unhealthy. Medical articles are replete with evidence that worry damages your health.

So here is what you should do when your worried.

  • Make a decision that based on the previous evidence that you refuse to worry. It’s not enough but it’s a start.
  • Pray about it.  Philippians 4:6  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.   Pray about the very thing that you are worried about. Take it to Jesus and mix your prayer with praise for the answer.Allow the peace of God to take control of your thoughts.
  • Change what your thinking about. Stop thinking about worry and start focusing on good things. Philippians 4:8  …. brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Does it sound too easy? Does it sound too easy to be true? I dare you to try it. It sure beats being worried.

Here are a couple of good books that will help you in the quest to overcome worry.

The Battlefield of The Mind, Joyce Meyer

The Battlefield of The Mind Devotional, 100 Insights That Will Change The Way You Think, Joyce Meyer

Get a copy of my book, The Eye of A Needle here.

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Fight all of your battles on your knees and you win every time.

Charles Stanley

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Facebook has changed the world.  The change that it has brought is also having an affect (some good some not) on churches and relationships.

I am not God, not all knowing and so I don’t have all the answers. In this article I am not trying to set myself up as judge and jury.  Some of these points could have a scripture attached to them others are just common sense.  Remember, we are called to let our light shine.

 

  1. Use Facebook for good only.
  2. Don’t use Facebook to attack anyone or anything unless it’s to take a stand for Godly morals in society.
  3. Don’t use Facebook for personal attacks. Not even statements with underlying meanings.
  4. Don’t use Facebook to air out family drama.
  5. Don’t use Facebook to air out church drama.
  6. Don’t use Facebook to vent about workplace drama.
  7. Don’t post pictures that give the appearance of evil.  Your picture might be absolutely innocent but for viewers it might imply something sinful.
  8. DO use Facebook to share encouraging words.
  9. Do use Facebook to share the Word of God.

10. Do use Facebook to share your life with those who you love.

Note: Be careful about sharing intimate information, especially if you have Facebook friends who you do not know.

11. Do use Facebook to build community.

12. And DON’T let Facebook replace having conversations, social contact and real life relationships.

Just twelve points that I just wrote without much forethought, you can add more. What do you think?

 

depressed

There’s a fascinating story in the Bible found in 2 Samuel 12:13-24.  It’s the story of a king who made a series of serious mistakes.  David was a great man, “a man after God’s heart.” Even great men make mistakes. Not only was David a great man, his mistakes were massive.

First: He stayed home from a battle he should have been part of.

Second: He allowed himself to look lustfully at another man’s wife (Bathsheba).

Third: He had sex with her.

As a result of the first three mistakes he found himself in a difficult position. Bathsheba is pregnant.

Fourth: He brings Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah home from the battle in the hopes that he would sleep with her and it would appear that the child was his.  Uriah refused to go into his house and lay in his own bed while his countrymen were at war.  Because he would not sleep with Bathsheba David made his fifth major mistake.

Fifth: He had Uriah killed so that others would not know the baby was not his.

David made five major mistakes, then he married Bathsheba and the child, a boy was born.

Later in the story David is confronted by Nathan concerning his sins and told that his son by Bathsheba would die.

In spite of all the sin, the agony and the guilt of the sin this boy represents a dream for David. Isn’t it the case that the boy represents the father? That the father lives vicariously through the son?

Now David has the dreadful news that his dream is dying and will die.  It makes me think of the dreams that I’ve had in my lifetime that didn’t survive and the question must be answered, what do I do when my dream dies? I’d like to use David’s story and try to answer that question.

First I must tell you to fight for your dream as long as it’s alive.  In verse 16 of 2 Samuel 12 it says that David fasted for seven days and pleaded with God for the child. But the boy, the dream died. This is where you find yourself in life sometime, Maybe not the death of child but the death of a dream nonetheless.  Now what? According to David’s story here is what you must do.

  1. Get Up! In verse 20 of 2Samuel 12 it says that David arose from the ground.  If you spend the rest of your life grieving over the loss of a dream you most assuredly will not ever accomplish anything else. You will not ever, enjoy life again. You must get up!
  2. Repent. If necessary, apologize to God and those in your life who may have been affected by failure in your life. 2 Samuel 12 says that after David arose that he “washed himself.”  Failure leaves a yucky feeling in the soul of a man. Don’t let that yucky feeling of failure stay in your life. Wash it out.
  3. Go after a fresh touch of God in your life.  The story says that David “anointed himself.” The oil of anointing in the Old Testament is a type of Holy Spirit. David’s story reminds us that the best place of healing and new dreams is found in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
  4. Change clothes. What? That’s right, change clothes. The garment represents the attitude. It’s still that way. Have you ever spent the day in pajama’s or just sloppy old clothes because you were down in the dumps? David had on clothes of mourning so he had to change. The changing of clothes represents the changing of your attitude. I want to encourage you today, change your attitude.

Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude!

Change from mourning to rejoicing. Change from defeat to a new. Whatever change that is necessary to move forward. Do it!

  1. Worship God. David did! In spite of his disappointment and pain he worshipped God.  Worship will get you into the presence of God. In His presence there is fullness of joy. In His presence there’s a new dream.
  2. Get your strength back. He ate. In other words, move on with life. Stop dragging around the corpse of a dead dream and move on. God’s got something for you to do.
  3. Get you a new dream.  In verse 24 it says “Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon.  David went to Bathsheba and got a new dream. A new son.

It may all sound a little preachy but that’s ok, I’m a preacher. The point is this. You only have one life to live for God. What will you do with it? Lay around a morn over yesterday or make the most of today. The choice is up to you.

Your comments are welcomed.

Follow this link to get a copy of my book, The Eye of A Needle.