Write it down.

Sitting at my desk early this morning.  Writing out my goals, thinking about what type of actions I need to take today in order to step into what I believe God has for me.  You would think that I would have learned the lesson by now, I’m 36.  Why do I continue to write out goals and think about improving every year.  I don’t think I’ve ever actually met the goals that I’ve set, but for some reason I continue to write them out, continue to believe that one day I will keep my resolutions.

Harvard studies show that only 3% of people actually write down their goals, 13% had a set of clear goals in their mind, and 84% had no goals at all.  Goals are not all about money but it is a good measurement.  After 10 years the participants were studied about and the results were astonishing to me.  The 13% that had clear goals in their mind earned twice as much as the 84% that didn’t have any goals written down. TWICE.  The 3% that wrote their goals down on paper averaged an incredible 10 times the amount as the 97% that didn’t write down their goals.

Now we can get into the whys and all of that but just let that sink in for a bit.  This study shows the potential that is unlocked in us when we simply put on paper what we want to see happen in our lives.  It holds us accountable, it keeps us motivated.  I try to write my main goals for the year out every day, because I want to remain focused on the important things in my life.  So when I get tired, when I am discouraged, when I feel sorry for myself, I can remind myself that there is something more that I’m going after.

Your goals are your roadmap.  If you don’t have a roadmap you wander.  Don’t wander in the wilderness of life, write them down, weekly, daily.  What are you going after?  What do you want to see happen in you and your family’s life?  Make S.M.A.R.T goals.

Be Blessed,

What is your calling?

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I’m a fan of the Church. Just like some men like to research the newest and best hunting equipment or cars, I enjoy researching and studying churches and pastors. All of my heroes growing up were preachers. It’s a hobby, I appreciate men and women of God that do great things in service of the Lord. I don’t make the mistake of diving deep into what people say about them or their personal lives because I understand that they are simply human. I appreciate without trying to depreciate what others have done. So with that being said, I feel like I’ve been hit my a freight train because for the past 7 years I’ve been following, listening and learning from a guy named Perry Noble. He was the Pastor of one of the largest churches in North America for 16 years. I didn’t agree with a lot of what he did or said but I learned and appreciated his ministry. I hadn’t seen or heard anything from him for a while so I googled his name. He and Newspring had parted ways. I won’t go into why but I was crushed, it grieved my heart.

Pastor Pete and Perry’s departure from their churches have gathered headlines because they were leading thousands but their situations are not unlike the masses of lesser known Pastors that are separated from churches each year. These are men and women that have decided to give their lives to build the kingdom of God and they are dropping like flies. What are we doing wrong? Have we forgotten that we are in a war?

Pastoring and living for God is not for the weak or faint of heart but it’s for the warrior. Please understand my heart, I love trends and being relevant. I’m not traditional in the way I pastor and interact with culture, but I think we’ve gone a little too far. We’ve made the ministry into a fashion show, we’ve made the church our runway. I wear a suit because my wife likes me in a suit but I don’t see anything wrong with casual dress at church. I think many of the traditional ways we do church are getting in the way of reaching unchurched people. I don’t do “beat em up” church, I don’t pastor from the posture of fear. I’m a hope dealer, I pastor through the message of hope, faith and love. In my opinion those are issues that we have to navigate with regard to our own convictions. But I pray that our liberty hasn’t made us dull to the fact that we are meant to be warriors.

I feel as though my fellow ministers and I are at a crossroads. I believe that each prior generation had a similar battle. Not sure any generation has passed for some time and that is what has lead us to this place. Peter, James and John along with the Apostles had a similar battle arise. The church was growing, their popularity and effectiveness had made demands on their time. The “church” needed more of their time.

Acts 6 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists,[a] because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. 2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

My contemporaries and I are not confronting an different enemy today than every generation of ministers before us. When the enemy finds a tactic that works, he sticks with it. The enemy wants to distract us from what really matters and what we are called to do. We are called to be warriors, we are called to the Word and to Prayer. Peter and the Apostles appointed people to take care of the work of the church, so they could give themselves to what they were called into.

The elders of the First Church didn’t have access to all the tools I have now but they were effective because they knew they had an enemy. They knew their enemy was deceptive, ruthless, and evil. They knew their enemy took on the form of an angel at times, sheep at other times. They knew their enemy would never stop until forced to back down by a Stronger one. They knew their enemy couldn’t be converted or played with. They knew their enemy loved to make one feel proud, strong, and wise. They knew their enemy if allowed a foothold in their life would not stop until he had established a stronghold. They knew that their enemy had to be beat back and that these things only happen by prayer and fasting.

I understand this is not a popular take. I understand better than most the allure of finding a easier way to Pastor. Going the easy route works over the short term, but the issue is that it’s not sustainable. The only way to survive as a Spiritual Leader is to be spiritual. We have to invade the enemies camp, we only have the power to do that if we are men and women of prayer and the Word.
Our world is different than the world of the First Church, but our God, mission, mandate and enemy is the same. Don’t disregard the “work” of the Church but make sure it’s in it’s proper place. Raise up leaders to serve the Church so you can give yourself continually to prayer and the ministry of the Word.

Don’t do ministry alone

img_0177Don’t do ministry alone.

I’ve been cooking a lot lately, not because I have to but because I enjoy it. I never thought I would say that but I do. A few days ago my wife asked me to wait on her to get home from work so we could cook together. I was a little offended at first, I was all like, “You don’t think I cook good enough for y’all?” She was sweet and said, “Nothing like that, I just want to cook with you.” So I waited until she got home and we cooked together, we had a great time. It was a lot more fun and it tasted better as well.

This goes against my nature.

I’m naturally a loner. I’m okay with my own brain, and I can get lost in my own mind. I tend to get things done quicker by myself. This spills over into other areas of my life as well. I know what I can do, I like the simplicity of it. I battle with the Lone Ranger mentality.

But in ministry and in living for God in general, being the lone ranger is not healthy.

It reminds me of the saying that if you want to go fast go alone but if you want to go far take someone with you.

Let someone in. Pick up the phone and call someone. Drive a few miles and have coffee with a friend. Don’t get so caught up with the work of the ministry that you forget that you need healthy relationships in your life.

Ministry is a silent killer, I mean if you are silent it will drain you. Form healthy relationships with those that are your contemporaries. They need it just as much as you need it. Attach yourself to elders that will invest in you. Invest in those that feel a call into ministry. These folks will become your family.

Many times once you take a step into your true calling, there is a separation between you and your biological extended family. Sometimes it’s because of distance and other times it’s because your thinking and priority has changed. You need others that can step in and be a support to you and your family.

I’m still figuring this out. I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that you shouldn’t do ministry by yourself.

Be blessed,

3 keys to a next level prayer life.

We all know we should pray. Most of us really do want to pray. Then why do we have such a difficult time developing a prayer life. We spend more time enlisting other people to pray for us than we spend personally in prayer each day. I’m thankful that I have multiple people in my life praying for me each day but there isn’t any prayer more powerful than personal prayer.

Now we have all sorts of reasons(excuses) why we don’t pray but it really boils down to the cold hard fact that we aren’t disciplined in this area of our lives. You are disciplined in other areas, you make sure and get up in time to make it to work, you cook dinner for the family, you finish everything so you can watch your favorite show. The reason why disciplines in these areas are easier to develop and maintain is that if you don’t show up for work on time the penalty is swift and severe.
Researchers say that if a punishment or reward is not swiftly felt after an action then there is not a link made by that person cognitively. When you begin to fail to be disciplined in your spiritual life the punishment or consequence is not immediate. God is not going to strike you blind because you didn’t spend time with Him in prayer. But the effects will be felt, they build over time until you don’t recognize your spiritual condition any longer.
Here’s the three disciplines that will transform your prayer life. The first is that you schedule a time to pray. You set your alarm each morning, you have a specific time that you have lunch, you need to have a specific time to pray. It doesn’t have to be the exact time every day but it needs to be a deliberate thing that you set each day. I worked retail for many years and my prayer time was during my breaks. I’d take my sandwich, and my Bible and get alone with God. Those were defining moments in my walk with God. Many of us drive 45 minutes to work, take 15 minutes of that time and pray.
The second discipline is have a set place. Make a space in your home that you can escape to and pray. I have a chair in my office that I sit in and pray regularly. In this space make sure and have your Bible, your Prayer Journal, a pen, but leave your phone elsewhere. Your prayer space can be anywhere but make sure that it’s a place where you can get alone with God.
The last discipline that we all need is a set plan. I know that prayer is having a talk with God and it’s not a monologue but it’s always good to have a plan. There are many great prayer guides that you can find. These guides will help you find your flow in prayer. One of my favorites guides in prayer is the one that Jesus told his disciples about, The Lord’s Prayer.
The discipline of prayer is like many healthy habits that are hard to form but easy to break. Once you establish a routine in prayer of time, place and plan then you will feel yourself longing for that time with God. You will find yourself in the Spirit more and more even if you are doing other things because you’ve established a connection with God that is beyond time, place or plan.
Prayer is the life of a Christian. The rewards of a prayer life are immediate, delayed and eternal. Don’t delay this incredible opportunity that you have today to strengthen your prayer life. Set a time, set a place, and get a plan.

Be blessed,

 

Three questions concerning your prayer life.

img_01403 questions concerning your prayer life.

Everything flows through your connection with God. When I say everything, I literally mean everything. Your spiritual, emotional, even physical well being flows out from your relationship with God. Your connection with God is your prayer life. For a long time I assumed that my spiritual life and the other facets of my life were separate. But as I matured in my relationship with God I’ve begun to understand that behind everything is the spiritual. Your awareness of that fact will lead you to a greater understanding of the critical role that prayer plays in your existence. I don’t want to just exist but I want to maximize the fulfillment, joy, and potential of my life, so my prayer life needs to be strong.

I have heard it said that there is no wrong way to pray, but I believe that’s entirely unbiblical. There is a wrong way to pray and there is a right way to pray. The efficiency of your prayers have to with the question of why, what and how you pray.The WHAT and HOW you pray are important but in order to get to the root we have to discuss the WHY of your prayers.

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
James 4:1-3 NKJV

James writes here that we can pray from the same well that fights and murder stems from, Lust.
The first building block of a powerful connection with God is breaking down the WHY of your prayer life. Is it so that you can have more? Why do you want more? Do you want more in order to be a blessing or do you just want more in order to build your own life. More is not bad in itself, it becomes harmful when you are no longer thankful for what you currently have. How can I tell if my motive is correct? It’s harder that you think, Jeremiah, the great Old Testament prophet, said “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” The number one way to know your motive is to ask, What am I doing with what I currently have in my life?

The second component of the WHY is, Do I pray out of religion or relationship? An immature christian prays because if they don’t pray they won’t get. They won’t be blessed, they won’t go to heaven, they won’t _______________. If I don’t pray God will be mad at me and if God is mad at me then the Devil is going to get me. This is a form of Idolatry, this is the type of prayers that the heathen prays. If I don’t pray then God won’t bless. This is faulty reasoning, Scripture clearly states that God is Love and He is Good. We should never approach him out of fear. Many of us have prayed from the fear that if I don’t my right standing with God will be compromised. Sons and daughters only fear Fathers that are tyrants and our Heavenly Father is not a tyrant. I don’t have to pray, I get to be in my Father’s presence.

We should approach our Abba, with awe and reverence, like a 5 year old that thinks his Daddy hung the moon. We pray because we love God and desire to be in relationship with him. I hope my children don’t tell me they love me because they want a toy or the don’t want to be punished. I hope when they haven’t seen me in a while and they run into my arms it’s not just because they want to see what I brought them. I pray that we approach God not out of fear of manipulation but out of love and adoration.

We need to examine our WHY periodically to make sure our connection with God is on solid ground. Once we have our WHY right then we can move on to the WHAT and HOW. We will get to those in a later post.

Be Blessed,

Reading List Starter

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Readers are leaders.  If you want to succeed in life and in your walk with God you need to develop the discipline of reading.  If you will make it a point to read one chapter a day, you will be surprised how many books you could read in a year.

In prior generations, libraries were full of bookshelves and took up massive amounts of space.  Today, libraries can fit in your bag.

I recommend the Kindle App over the Nook or iBooks.  But that is my personal preference, in my opinion the Kindle Store has a wider selection of books.

These books are what I am reading for the 1st and 2nd time. (Currently)

Circle Maker – Mark Batterson(favorite book on prayer)

Simple- Bill Hybels (powerful book for this generation)

Dangerous Calling- Paul Tripp (every minister needs to read)

Spirit of Phyton- Jentezen Franklin(looks of sermons here)

The Essential Guide to Healing- Bill Johnson

These books are some of my all time favorites that have shaped my spirit.

When Heaven Invades Earth- Bill Johnson

Hosting the Presence- Bill Johnson

The Best ? Ever- Andy Stanley

Visioneering- Andy Stanley

Deep and Wide- Andy Stanley

Next Generation Leader- Andy Stanley

David and Goliath- Malcolm Gladwell

Tribes- Seth Godin

Purple Cow- Seth Godin

The Blessed Church- Robert Morris

I could continue but check out some of these.  They will inspire you and take you to the next level.

Blessings,

 

 

3 Vital Relationships in your spiritual Journey

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3 vital relationships in your spiritual journey.

I’ve had the luxury that not many people have. I was raised around great men of God. These men were not perfect but they were pretty close. My grandfather was my first pastor and that enabled me to see ministry from behind the scenes at an early age. My father was in ministry for a time as well. My stepfather became my second pastor and I was old enough to really understand the depth of this calling. I understand that I have a unique heritage and spiritual background but I feel like this gives me a certain insight. I believe that there are three God ordained relationships that every believer(lay or minister) needs to have outside of their family and friends.

The first relationship is your pastor. This should go without saying but in our culture today we need to be reminded of it. A pastor is an integral part of proper spiritual development. There are many descriptions of what a pastor is and a good Google search will help you with that. I only want to illuminate the importance of the role in your life.

True anointing only flows from the top down.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing— Life forevermore.”
Psalms 133:1-3 NKJV

Find a Pastor that you can trust and submit yourself to his spiritual authority. Find a Pastor that you can receive his word as the Word of God for your life. Find a Pastor who loves God and loves people and is not trying to build their own kingdom. Your Pastor is the ultimate authority in your walk with God. A true pastor will understand this authority and use it wisely and never for their own selfish gain.

There is so much more to add on the relationship with your pastor but that will have to save for another day. But your key responsibility in this relationship is to trust and follow the leading of your pastor. If you cannot do that then you need to find a pastor that you can follow and trust.

The second relationship that every believer needs to cultivate is that of a mentor. Your pastor may not be your mentor. This is a totally different relationship. A mentor closely resembles that of a teacher. I remember during high school I had to take AG. AG class was mostly guys that wanted to get out of choir or some other elective. In AG, I learned how to weld…funny I know, I knew how to weld. But my teacher was really hands on, which meant he taught us a few concepts in a class room but most of our time was spent in the shop where he modeled those concepts. Then eventually he allowed us to participate and he watched. If we had questions, he answered them.

A mentor is someone that is doing what you desire to do but simply has been successful at it and desires to help you. Rarely do mentors initiate this type of relationship, the mentee is responsible for this. Find someone that is in or close to your circle that has been there and done that. They can help you navigate some of the tricky situations of life. Your responsibility in this relationship is to be eager to learn, take what they say and do your best to apply it to your life.

The third relationship that every believer needs to cultivate is that of a mentee. This is a person that is being guided by the mentor. It doesn’t matter where you are on the spectrum of spirituality you can be a mentor to someone. Every believer needs to have someone investing in them and then investing into someone else.

The key thing to remember in this relationship is that you are called to build up faith and encourage.

“when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
II Timothy 1:5-7 NKJV

It’s vital that you have these three relationships in your life if you desire to fulfill God’s purpose in your life. Be prayerful regarding these relationships, don’t rush into them. Make sure you keep your spirit right and receive correction well so that you can give correction well.

Blessings,

3 ways to get God’s attention.

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About a month ago, Bekah, the boys and I went to New Orleans for the weekend.  We had never been as a family so we were excited about eating beignets at Cafe Du Monde and visiting the French Quarter.  I expected to be overwhelmed by the architecture, food and the pure craziness of it all, the Big Easy didn’t disappoint at all.  What I wasn’t expecting was the random guy with the karaoke machine rapping to the tourists as they walked down Canal St.  He was rapping and his friend was trying to hand out his CD to people as they hurried past.  He was just trying to get noticed, if I’m to be honest it made me a little bit uncomfortable but he didn’t care.  He just wanted to get noticed.

If you are anything like me you can feel swallowed up by noise of life.  In the sea of 7 billion people, how do I get God’s attention?  When there are people infinitely more qualified, people that have better morals, disciplines and heritage than me, Why would God ever choose me?  Why would God choose me to bless, choose me to use?

Should that even be my motivation?

I hope I can be honest. I had pure motives when I started in ministry but I was a little misguided. I can remember youth camps, camp meetings and conferences where I was so focused on being noticed by someone that I probably missed what God was trying to do in my life at that time. I’m thankful that God was patient and I finally learned that getting God’s eye was so much more important than any one person’s eye.  How long have we spent trying to catch the eye of our boss, or the person that we feel can introduce us to the right people.

3 ways to get God’s attention:

1.  Try to catch His eye.  Start focusing on God rather than what you want from Him.

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:31-34‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Seek Him with your whole heart and let trust Him that He will open doors that need to be open.

2.  Stay Rooted.

It is a temptation to follow after every new thing that comes by.  God uses people that He can trust, He raises up people that are willing to serve in low places.

“Jesus went on to make these comments: If you’re honest in small things, you’ll be honest in big things; If you’re a crook in small things, you’ll be a crook in big things. If you’re not honest in small jobs, who will put you in charge of the store? ‭‭Luke‬ ‭16:10 MSG‬‬

If you are not serving in your local church, then don’t expect the blessing or favor of God upon your life.  God gave His only begotten Son to build the church, we should be able to give a little bit of our time, talent and treasure to it.

The boy David wasn’t even invited to the anointing ceremony but God found him because David was seeking him in his place of responsibility.

3.  Start Preparing

David had one great passion in life, God.  He had two great talents, he was a musician and a warrior.  I don’t believe he knew to the extent that these talents would be used to the Glory of God but he practiced these giftings when no one else was around.

So, you have one great passion, you love God.  Begin to practice and prepare your giftings when there isn’t anyone around.  Take classes, read books, do for free what you would like to do for pay.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” ‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭KJV‬‬

This is subject that I love to talk about because it’s been my life’s story.  I want to be a person that catches the eye of God.  Don’t really care if it makes those around me uncomfortable because my eyes are on Him.

Hope this post finds you well.  Leave me a comment, share this post.  Look me up on Facebook under pswillhall.
God Bless

Growing in God: The Bad and Good News

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Growing in God: The Bad and the Good news.

I’ve had many conversations with new believers and young leaders. The #1 question that I’ve gotten from each has centered around growing in their relationship with God or growing their ministry. This is a question that each of us should ask and should pursue. It’s a worthy goal, vision or mission, to grow.

Ps. Chris Hodges says that, “Healthy things grow.”

The reason why new believers and young leaders ask these question is because growth is deceptive. Many times we don’t see results of our growth as soon as we like. We like growth ASAP, we like to see our prayers answered, our ministries expanding, our families restored ASAP. This is a normal reaction, we have been conditioned by our culture to expect things to happen quickly. Everyone has a microwave, we all want high speed internet, 4G isn’t fast enough, we want LTE. If a webpage takes too long to load, GOOGLE puts it further down on the search list. It’s just the way our culture works now.

I’m going to share the bad new first. The bad news is that the Kingdom of God doesn’t use the culture of the world as it’s baseline. We can’t measure what is happening in the Kingdom of God on how the world works. We will end up confused and heart sick.

Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”

When you expect things to happen the way the world works, you will become disillusioned and disappointed in God.

That’s the bad news.

Grow down before growing up.

The good news is that you are growing. Healthy things grow down before they grow up. This isn’t fun because you can’t see what is going on beneath the surface. You’ve got to dig deep before you can build high. Fruit that lasts a long time, fruit that comes back season after season are a result of an expansive root system.

How do I know I’m growing?

(I’m going very basic here and i’ll expand this in posts later on)

1.You are growing if you are having quality prayer time. Quality prayer time is not about the minutes or hours you pray. It’s the fervent prayer of a righteous person that makes the difference.
2.You are growing if you have a consistent level of sacrifice. There has to be an offering on the altar in order for God to consume it.
John 12:24 says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”
3.You are growing if you are reading. I’m not talking about the newest David Baldacci book. I’m referring to first and foremost The Bible. Are you consistently reading and meditating on the Word? Secondly, read inspirational books. In a later post I will give you my current reading list and some suggestions.

Remember before you will ever see sustainable growth, you have to have an expansive root system and that takes some time. Galatians 6:9 says,”and let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year–and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade.”
Tony Robbins