Why You Should Be Working on Your Dream NOW!

Living in Chicago is, as Charles Dickens says in the Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

It is the best of times (at least for Christians) because there’s a dark political, moral, and corrupt cloud hovering begging for light (Matthew 5:13-14).  It is the worst of times because we’re witnessing some activists, politicians, glory-seekers, and even preachers/pastors clamoring for the spotlight to build their platform. It’s sickening.

Dream Big, Set Goals, Take Action, concept, tags on the table.

Watching this tragic drama unfold reminds me of Tony Gaskins’ quote:

If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.

According to this quote, if don’t wake up and begin pursuing your dreams, someone will recognize your abilities and recruit you to help build theirs. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong, improper, or illegal about helping others fulfill their dreams, remember God has something He wants you to accomplish that only you can accomplish.

However, it’s possible to work on both at the same time. Everyone has the same thing in common: 24 hours in a day. Since time is passing, why wouldn’t you be working, at least, part-time, on your dreams.

The good thing about seasons:

They have a beginning and an end. Be encouraged…You’re going through a season: Though God may seem distant, He is never far. Though God may seem silent, he is never still.

Going through a season

Why The Next Phase of Civil Rights will focus on Economic Empowerment

In 2016, our country will elect a new president, and many speculate what America will look like after President Obama’s term expires.

Since I can’t predict the future, the one thing I know for sure is that economic power comes through business ownership, and pride in ownership of property and neighborhoods. Everyone wins when this happens.  That’s why I’m compelled to share one of the most amazing TED talks I’ve ever heard by Margarita Anderson.

My Black Year: Margarita Anderson

Margarita Anderson and her family were featured in national headlines as they lived exclusively off Black businesses, professionals, and products for an entire year. Her stand, chronicled in her book, “Our Black Year,” was called The Empowerment Experiment.

Illustration depicting a roadsign with an empower concept. Sky background.

Now, she tours the country to increase awareness about economic inequalities that starve Black neighborhoods and deny Black businesses, and how proactive support of these businesses can create jobs and curb crime in America.  Check out her video explaining her family’s experience supporting black businesses. 

Many believe the next Civil Rights Movement will be one of economic empowerment.  What do you think?

What to do When There’s Bad Blood

Mars Hill Mobile App
November 15, 2015

Bad Blood is defined as having unpleasant feelings or animosity between people.

No matter how badly you want peace, there are some relationships that may never be fully restored. But doing this one thing can help you find peace about any relationship.

Bad Blood

Photo Credit: Twibbon

If you’ve ever experienced “Bad Blood” in a relationship and want to know what to do, find a quite place and listen to “Bad Blood.”   You will laugh, think, and come away with a solid strategy. You can CLICK HERE to listen NOW!

I’d love to hear your thoughts?

#MotivationalMoment: The Danger of Comparisons

The Real Reason Why Comparisons are Dangerous and Useless

We all do it: we look at what others are doing and wish we were doing that too.

Truth be told, you cannot be happy and envious at the same time. In fact, one of the greatest secrets of having happiness in your life is learning how to eliminate comparisons.

Why Do We Make Comparisons

Our brains have a natural tendency to make comparisons as a system of developing logic and reasoning. And all the ways we compare ourselves to others are the same ways we find value in our lives. The answer isn’t to stop making comparisons, but to remember what God thinks about us.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

David, the author of this Psalm, declared that God is present at conception and birth.  Since we are made in the image of God and God has a special purpose for each person who is born. We live in and with our bodies all our lives, and we know how amazing they are. God formed us as He wants us to be, and we must accept His will no matter how we feel about our genetic structure, our looks, or our abilities.

Made in the Image of God

God’s character goes into the creation of every person. When you feel worthless or even begin to hate yourself, remember that God’s Spirit is ready and willing to work within you. We should have as much respect for ourselves as our Maker has for us.

Check out today’s #MotivationalMoment: The Real Reason Why Comparisons are Dangerous and Useless.

Motivational Moment | The Danger of Shortcuts

So many people are in such a hurry to success that they eagerly take any shortcuts that come their way. In reality, shortcuts usually lead to disappointments rather than quicker success.

Shortcuts

The key to any long-term success is to take the necessary steps to steadily progress rather than skip any of them.

Remember: What comes easy won’t last long, and what lasts long won’t come easy.

 

#PrayFirst | Day 8

Pray for F.O.C.U.S. (Follow One Course Until Successful)

Welcome to Day 8 (the FINAL day) of our #PrayFirst Campaign!

For One Week, we will pray for One Minute every hour about One Topic as One Church to One God! Pray for the first 60 seconds of every hour and watch God bless the other 59 minutes! There is power when God’s people pray in unity. Join us as we answer Jesus’ prayer “May they be ONE” (John 17:21).

Copy of #PrayFirst Focus

If you’d like to know more about our #PrayFirst Campaign you can:

  1. Click HERE to read the overview
  2. You can read our Day One Devotional on Faith HERE
  3. You can read our Day Two Family Devotional HERE
  4. You can read our Day Three Finance Devotional HERE
  5. You can read our Day Four Facilities Devotional HERE
  6. You can read our Day Five Fulfillment Devotional HERE
  7. You can read our Day Six Family Devotional HERE
  8. You can read our Day Seven Devotional on Finishing Strong HERE

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves…Really?

Although it sounds great, it’s not in the Bible.  No matter how good it sounds, if we demonstrate some effort to improve, God will give us a little push in that direction.  So we decide to make it by sheer willpower and discipline.  The problem is, we run out of steam and lose focus.

Next year, millions will make and break resolutions because they’re trying to solve a spiritual problem through earthly means.  The challenge we all face is that we want to be transformed.  However, we tend to look within ourselves for the solution.  The solution resides outside of ourselves.  The solution is God.

Transformation is a problem that we cannot solve.  That’s why God sent Jesus!  Apart from him, we can do absolutely nothing!  In Galatians 3:3, Paul reminds the Galatians that God has given them His Spirit and with this – combined with their faith, they can make it.

Who Does God Help?

God doesn’t help those with themselves.  God helps those who abide with Him and those who walk with Him in faith (John 15:1-5).  Our efforts were never the impetus for God’s transforming grace.  Nor will they be the impetus for our changed hearts.

The Bible says that we are justified by faith.  We don’t need willpower or self-effort as much as we need faith that God will accomplish in us and for us what we can’t do ourselves.  He is the source of what we long for and need.  Willpower and self-effort can only take us so far in our desire to change.

What’s The Point?

 Change is Possible

Focus is Required

Dependence on God is Foundational

Focus requires discipline. As the famed personal finance guru Robert Kiyosaki defines it: Follow One Course Until Successful.

follow-one-course

Prayer of F.O.C.U.S (Follow One Course Until Successful)

Lord, right now, eliminate all distractions for the time it takes me to complete my priorities. Help me to turn off the wifi, silence cell notifications, and schedule F.O.C.U.S. time with you. Help me to stay on task and Follow One Course Until I’m Successful. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

#PrayFirst | Day 7

Pray That You May Finish Strong

Welcome to Day 7 of our #PrayFirst Campaign!

For One Week, we will pray for One Minute every hour about One Topic as One Church to One God! Pray for the first 60 seconds of every hour and watch God bless the other 59 minutes! There is power when God’s people pray in unity. Join us as we answer Jesus’ prayer “May they be ONE” (John 17:21).

Copy of #PrayFirst Finishing Strong

If you’d like to know more about our #PrayFirst Campaign you can:

  1. Click HERE to read the overview
  2. You can read our Day One Devotional on Faith HERE
  3. You can read our Day Two Family Devotional HERE
  4. You can read our Day Three Finance Devotional HERE
  5. You can read our Day Four Facilities Devotional HERE
  6. You can read our Day Five Fulfillment Devotional HERE
  7. You can read our Day Six Family Devotional HERE

Finishing Strong Requires a Proper Motivation

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (3:14)

Paul said that his goal was to know Christ, to be like Christ, and to be all Christ had in mind for him. This goal took all of Paul’s energies. This is a helpful example for us. We should not let anything take our eyes off our goal—knowing Christ. With the single-mindedness of an athlete in training, we must lay aside everything harmful and forsake anything that may distract us from being effective Christians.

What’s Holding You Back?

Paul had reason to forget the past—he had held the coats of those who had stoned Stephen, the first Christian martyr (Acts 7:57, 58, Paul is called Saul here). We have all done things for which we are ashamed, and we live in the tension of what we have been and what we want to be.

Because our hope is in Christ, however, we can let go of past guilt and look forward to what God will help us become. Don’t dwell on your past. Instead, grow in the knowledge of God by concentrating on your relationship with him now. Realize that you are forgiven, and then move on to a life of faith and obedience. Look forward to a fuller and more meaningful life because of your hope in Christ.

Pray That You May Finish Strong

Jesus, help me to finish the race and to make my life a testimony to Your grace.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

Lord, help me to rejoice in hard times because that shapes perseverance, character, and hope in me.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

Lord, help me to live my life in such a way that I will be victorious in You and find You in eternity.

Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:24b-25

#PrayFirst | Day 6

Pray For Your Family and Friends

Welcome to Day 6 of our #PrayFirst Campaign!

For One Week, we will pray for One Minute every hour about One Topic as One Church to One God! Pray for the first 60 seconds of every hour and watch God bless the other 59 minutes! There is power when God’s people pray in unity. Join us as we answer Jesus’ prayer “May they be ONE” (John 17:21).

#PrayFirst FAMILY

If you’d like to know more about our #PrayFirst Campaign you can:

  1. Click HERE to read the overview
  2. You can read our Day One Devotional on Faith HERE
  3. You can read our Day Two Family Devotional HERE
  4. You can read our Day Three Finance Devotional HERE
  5. You can read our Day Four Facilities Devotional HERE
  6. You can read our Day Five Fulfillment Devotional HERE

#PRP – People Reaching People

At the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago, our theme for 2015 is People Reaching People (#PRP). Jesus commissioned the church to continue His ministry of reconciliation to the lost; and He both modeled and taught a strategic formula that would facilitate that great endeavor. Scripture has a word for this – Evangelism (Outreach).

Evangelism (Outreach)

Evangelism is the act of telling the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to others. It’s derived from the Greek word euangelion, meaning “gospel” or “good news.”

The verbal forms of euangelizo, meaning “to bring” or “to announce good news” occur some 55 times (Acts 8:4,25,35; 11:20) and are normally translated with the appropriate form of the word “preach.” Evangelism has to do with the proclamation of the message of good news.*

From the beginning, God has consistently focused on a specific group, as his initial target for evangelism. That is, He primarily perpetuates His Kingdom through those close relational connections that we all have, those eight to fifteen people He strategically placed around each one of us.

Throughout the New Testament, whenever God’s Spirit changed a life, a world changer was born. Whether it was a demon possessed man, a swindler named Zacchaeus, a royal official with a dying son, a tax collector named Matthew, a Centurion named Cornelius, a businesswoman named Lydia or a recently unemployed Philippian jailor, they all were sent back home to their close relational connections. Again, Scripture has a word for this – Oikos.

Mars Hill’s Outreach Strategy

Oikos, the Greek word for “extended family,” encompasses our relational worlds—anywhere from eight to fifteen people, on the average, whom God has supernaturally and strategically placed in our circles of influence. And, if those relationships frame our primary evangelistic targets, then that reality must frame the strategy for our church.

Pray for Your Circle of Influence – Family and Friends

Make a commitment to pray daily for your circle of influence – your family and friends. Write their names down and pray:

LORD, I pray that they (CALL THEIR INDIVIDUAL NAMES) would sense God’s presence in their lives and that You would draw each one to You. Lord, I offer myself to You every day as an instrument in this process. In Jesus’ name. Amen

*G. William Schweer, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, ed. Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), s.v. “EVANGELISM,” WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

#PrayFirst | Day 3

Pray for Your Finances

Welcome to Day 3 of our #PrayFirst Campaign!

For One Week, we will pray for One Minute every hour about One Topic as One Church to One God! Pray for the first 60 seconds of every hour and watch God bless the other 59 minutes! There is power when God’s people pray in unity. Join us as we answer Jesus’ prayer “May they be ONE” (John 17:21).

If you’d like to know more about our #PrayFirst Campaign, you can click HERE. Also, you can read our Day One Devotional on Faith HERE and Day Two Family Devotional HERE.

#PrayFirst Finances

Get Rich or Go Broke Trying

Rich a subjective term. It’s an ever-moving target. It’s like trying to nail jello to the wall. Defining“rich” is as personal as taste preferences of food or fashion. Many times, even when you are considered by others to be rich, you don’t think of yourself that way.

Why? It’s all about perspective. The problem is you don’t “feel” rich. For the sake of this devotional, I won’t define rich…I’m leaving that task to you. I will, however, share a tip that’ll help you “feel” rich regardless of your income.

Fire The Jones’

We all know “that” family… the happy, perfect family who seems to have it all. Everyone has a “Jones” family on their block, and while some shrug their shoulders and don’t care that the “Jones” just brought home a new Mercedes, others feel as if they need to not only keep up but to outdo this neighbor or even friend.

Occasionally, we make questionable decisions to impress the others. The earlier we recognize our self-worth isn’t tied to our possessions, the sooner we’ll reach financial freedom. There’s no shame in driving a second-hand car with a few miles. You don’t need the pressure of working extra hours just to cover credit card payments.

Pray for Your Finances

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (ESV)

Lord, I surrender my financial affairs and concerns about money to your Divine care and love. I ask that you remove my worries, anxieties, and fears about money, and replace them with faith. I know and trust that my debts will be paid, and money will flow into my life. I have only to look to nature to see proof of the abundance you provide. I release all negative thoughts about money and know that prosperity is my true state. I commit to being grateful for all that I now have in my life. I learn to manage my finances wisely, seeking help where needed. In Jesus’ name. Amen