“BUILDING A WINNING TEAM”

We are currently in a busy and exciting sports season. Playoffs and championships, the road to the Super Bowl, March Madness and events like this cause fans to go crazy. I enjoy watching sports as well. My teams have good years and bad years, but I still support them as a true fan should. The thing that I find so interesting is the components of a championship team. You see, you can’t buy a championship team; it can only be built. Even the great superstar athletes have to have teammates they are able to play well with. Finding strengths and weaknesses is part of that building. When each player is able to lean on one another with that kind of trust, they become even stronger. A player can excel in one area, but struggle in another. No one player can do it all, so you build a team that weakness doesn’t bring defeat, it ignites unity. A teammate should never become jealous of another player because that one is strong, where he or she is weak. You must recognize what you bring to the team, and that’s why you’re there. Don’t let your personal insecurities cause the team to be defeated.
 
Obviously, this is a big topic, and I could go on with the different elements of winning as a team. I would just like to ask you what your team is? Is it a church team, a business team, maybe a school team? Whatever it is, are you winning? Are you transparent with your teammates? Can you lean on each other? No matter what your team is and where you’re involved, you need to win. That’s what matters. You should be able to walk away from a project feeling like together, you won. There are many things I could talk about if you’re not winning. However, I will say this; if you are jealous of someone on your team that is strong where you are weak, you’re hurting the team. Please stop trying to be like them. Don’t talk bad about them. Don’t magnify their weaknesses and minimize their strengths. Your personal issue will inevitably become a team problem. Do you want the team to win, or do you wish you to be viewed as the winner? You might not realize that you could be keeping your team from winning.
 
Because winning teams are built, I encourage you to do whatever you can to help make the team you’re on a winning one. Be one of the reasons your team is winning, not why it’s losing. Be a unifier, not a divider. Cheer when your teammates are using their strengths, and be there to help them when they are weak. Walk away from reading this blog with a made-up mind that you are going to do everything you can to make sure your team wins.

“21 DAYS OF FOCUS”

Today, our Church begins, what we’re calling “21 DAYS OF FOCUS.” The definition of focus is to bring something to the center of attention. It also means, having clear vision. I’ve heard a lot about 2020 being the year of vision, and I love that, but what good is a vision without focus? We don’t just need vision; we need a clear vision. We have to make sure we have the right things at the center of attention. So, for the next 21 days, that’s exactly what we’re going to do. In fact, it’s going to be a year of focus for us. We all get busy with other things in life, and before you know it, certain things start becoming blurry and out of focus. Here is a list of some things that we are bringing to the center of attention.

PRAYER
FASTING
BIBLE READING
FELLOWSHIP
RELATIONSHIPS (Marriage, family, and friendships)
FINANCES
YOUR GIFTS AND CALLING
MISSION AND EVANGELISM (Reaching out to the lost and hurting)
FAITHFULNESS TO THE HOUSE GOD

You are more than welcome to go on this journey with us. If you are a part of a Church that is doing something similar to this, that is great, and I am praying for you and your Church. Let’s set the pace for 2020 by joining together in unity and focusing on things that might have become blurry in our lives.

“WAIT FOR CLARITY”

We are three days into 2020. How are you doing on your goals? Remember, you have to maintain a consistent pace to last throughout the year. It’s not about how great you start, but how well you end. You will experience highs and lows as you strive to reach your goal. Don’t let the highs cause you to be overconfident, and don’t let the lows convince you to quit. No matter what you want to see happen in 2020, it will take daily commitment to achieve it. Things might look a little blurry now, but begin to focus and wait for clarity.

“INVENTORY AND REPORT”

It’s hard to believe that we are just a few days from closing out 2019. The year is ending, and the last quarter of the year is too. For businesses, that means it’s inventory and report time. What all did they sale, how much is left, and what did they make. It sounds simple, but it requires a lot of detailed work to get an accurate report. This report helps them know what to prepare for in the next year. Things like where to set their budgets, what is left over that still needs to be moved, and establish a clear vision for 2020.

What if we did the same thing but on a personal level. Why don’t we spend a little bit of time taking inventory and creating a report to close our year out? You can have your own list of things you’d like to know about, but here are just a few ideas.

How well did I treat others?
Did I increase my prayer life?
Was I consistent in Bible reading?
How well did I share the gospel?
What other books did I read, and which ones are unfinished?
Did I manage my finances well?
Was I faithful in tithing and giving to those in need?
Did I experience personal improvement?
Did I manage my time well?
Has there been an improvement in my marriage? (If applicable.)
Have I taken proper care of my health?

Again, these are a few things that I’m looking at as 2019 comes to an end. My suggestion is that you make yourself a personal list and answer each question honestly. How you close, this year will help you transition into the next one. Take inventory, create a report, and establish a personal vision for what you want to accomplish in 2020.

“IT’S A NECESSITY”

The need for prayer has never been more imperative than now. I’m not talking about a few words spoken in passing; I mean God’s people lifting up their voices with all their might with the purpose of a complete breakthrough. The church is under attack, our marriages and families are being targeted, and the enemy is not letting up at all. The attack on our Nation is not from another country, but rather from the kingdom of darkness. There is a war going on, and we must not neglect the weapons we have to engage in it.

Before you call it quits on your marriage, tell me how many hours you’ve invested trying to save it. Maybe you’ve stayed up all night worrying about a particular problem, but have you prayed during the night for victory? I would encourage you that the bigger your situation is, the harder you need to pray. There is nothing you can get through until you pray through. Your perspective will change, your passion will be revived, and you’ll feel a fresh anointing when you pray. It’s not a suggestion; it’s a necessity.

“THE ENEMY’S GREATEST FEAR”

You can be loud without being rude. You can make a point and not make an enemy. The subject you’re standing for might cause controversy, but keeping the right attitude is imperative. Tearing down those who don’t believe like you doesn’t help your cause. This is important for everyone but especially Christians. From politics to other denominations, how we present ourselves is now seen everywhere because of social media. There is a big enough war going on against righteousness without us looking for more reasons to fight against each other. I can promise you this; God’s people standing together in unity is the one thing the enemy fears the most.

“NO APOLOGIES”

I will never apologize for preaching and showing mercy. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” No one will get it all right and live mistake-free. So, the mercy that I show to others is the same mercy that will be shown to me in my shortcomings. Who doesn’t want or need that? Mercy is not denouncing living a Godly life; it’s being honest enough to admit that at our best, our righteousness is as filthy rags. I choose to focus on people’s potential, not their weaknesses.

I personally believe that God’s grace didn’t just save us, but it is still saving us. Grace cannot be applied until mercy is shown. Mercy looks beyond the errors of an individual, so grace can bring salvation and continue to save.

Galatians 6:1
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

While others may choose to judge and condemn, I’ll be standing on the side of mercy cheering and rooting for those who have messed up to try again!!! NO APOLOGIES!!!

“AN AGGRESSIVE PURSUIT OF UNITY”

When a church or any movement is experiencing revival, they will inevitably feel the attack of the enemy. The devil hates it when God’s people begin moving in a Holy, anointed progression. He will strategically plan a way to try and stop what is going on. The problem is, there’s not a lot he can do. We are the church, and Jesus said the gates of hell could not prevail against it. So, what can the enemy do to hinder it? He can only do what he has always done, and that is to try and destroy us from the inside out. He can’t defeat us, but we can bring defeat to each other. Our unity is what helps bring revival, and when we cease from being united, we will eventually be defeated.

We need to be aware of how the enemy is going to attack. He will try and cause division between the members. Hurt feelings, gossip, and sowing discord is the only successful strategy the enemy has. When one brother gets offended at another, and a sister begins to harbor feelings about another sister, the attack is on. We cannot afford to start fighting each other. That’s what the enemy wants us to do. We have to understand what is going on and turn our fighting toward the enemy and not each other.

None of us are perfect, and at times we’re going to say things we don’t mean. We all have bad days and mood swings. But let us work hard on protecting the unity of our church or group. Learn to forgive and work hard on putting things in the past. If you feel like someone has an issue with you, stop waiting on the other one to make the first move and go ahead, make it yourself. Put aside your agenda, keep your problems off social media, and protect the body of Christ.

We need each other.
We desperately need to build up one another.
We need to choose love over everything.
Give your brother or sister the benefit of the doubt.
Stop chasing rumors and aggressively pursue unity.

“BE THAT ONE”

One of the most important things you can do is also one of the hardest to achieve. Be quiet. Being right doesn’t always mean being loud. The loudest one in an argument is not necessarily the winner. I’ve also discovered that helping someone doesn’t mean you give them tons of advice. Sometimes listening to someone is more important than talking. Don’t get me wrong, having something to say is valuable, but what you say, how you say it, and how long you say it is an excellent act of wisdom.

I think you will find in the Gospels, that even though Jesus spent a lot of time teaching, He also spent a considerable amount of time listening. Nobody had more to say than Him, but we find Him sitting down with people and listening to them. He taught His disciples, but He also let them talk as well — what an incredible example for all leaders to follow. You don’t just lead people by talking; you can also influence them by listening.

So, practice it and achieve it. Let it be a goal of yours to listen more the next time you’re in a conversation with someone needing help. Be slow to speak, but in a hurry to listen. Somebody needs someone to talk to. Be that one.

“WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”

To lead means precisely that; you lead, guide, direct, and point. You take someone or several where they can’t get to without your directing them. What an incredible responsibility and load for a leader to carry. If you think about it, a leader can only take you in one of two directions. Forward or backward. The leader can either move you ahead or turn you around and take you back in the direction of where you’ve already been. To make the ones you lead better, the leader has to direct them forward. Real Increase is in progress, not digression. Even though moving people ahead can sometimes be uncomfortable, it’s imperative.

I think it’s also essential when an individual or a group chooses a leader; they need someone that will take them where they haven’t been. It can be devastating for a company, church, or any organization to appoint a leader that takes them in the direction of their past. The past should only be a reminder, not a destination. You need someone that can see and lead you beyond the point you are currently. A leader needs to hear your desires and have a plan to get you there. And I can promise you, that place is somewhere you’ve never been or seen.

So, leaders, if you’re going to lead, then move them forward. If you need a leader, make sure the one you choose is looking ahead of you, not behind you.