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Almost Isn’t Good Enough

I want to talk to you today about when “Almost Isn’t Good Enough.”  When I use the word, “almost”, what does that word do for you?  The word itself means – very nearly.  Ex: In this last Super Bowl, the Atlanta Falcons almost won. But, almost isn’t good enough.  

Here’s what’s interesting; this word, almost, only appears 11 times in the Bible.  In 4000+ years of biblical history, the word “almost” only appears 11 times.  It’s not a word that is used a lot by God’s people.

I think “Almost isn’t good enough” is one of the most important phrases in our life. I think too many people live in the “almost syndrome”. That’s what I call it. It causes us to fall short of our achievements and acquiring our very best in life. How many people say, “I almost applied for that promotion but then I talked myself out of it.”?  How many people have said, “I almost finished my degree but then life just happened.”? How many have said, ” I almost landed that perfect job”? Or, “I almost got married.”? God wants us to go all the way! Almost isn’t good enough in achieving God’s best for our lives. It’s the tyranny of almost.

We can’t live our life on “almost”. We must tell ourselves, it’s not good enough.   Even the great Apostle Paul didn’t say, “I almost fought the good fight. I almost kept the faith. I almost finished my race.” No, he went all the way.   I think one of the saddest verses in the Bible is King Agrippa speaking to the Apostle Paul in Acts 26:28 ” You almost persuaded me to become a Christian.” Well King Agrippa, almost wasn’t good enough!  It never really is. Our spiritual heritage isn’t to be lived in such a way where we say, “well almost”.No, almost isn’t good enough.

If you are going you’re going to see your dreams come to fruition then we need to become individuals that don’t settle for almost. We need to be people who go all the way.  

What’s it going to take for you to finish your goal? Almost isn’t good enough.   So, you say, ” I almost applied for that promotion but I talked myself out of it.” Ok, so next time that opportunity comes your way, what will you do differently?  

Maybe you’re at that stage in your life where you almost finished your degree but then life started to happen. Alright, is it still a goal? Do you feel your life would feel more accomplished if you finished that degree? Then go all the way! If not and you’re satisfied where you’re at, then write it off and move on to the next goal.  

For the person that said they almost got married once; what happened? Was it on your end or theirs? Did things just not work out? Is there something in your life you feel is missing? What would you do differently next time? Do you want there to be a next time?    

Here’s what I want to encourage today; select something in your life that you almost achieved – a goal or dream you were pursuing; whatever it might be. It could be related to your health, finances, spiritual or relational. What’s the thing that you almost achieved? Now look at it and ask what 3 things could I do in my life that could help me move toward the achievement of that goal? Because almost isn’t good enough.  

I want to encourage you today to Go All The Way!  Make the adjustments that need to be made and begin to nail down the definable action steps that could move you towards accomplishing it so you can be one of those people that say, “All the way, not almost!”     Let this thought stir around in you and motivate you.  

Have a great week!

God Bless,

Carl 

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An Unfair Advantage

The other day, Gloria and I were sitting down and having lunch with our youngest son.  As we were talking about a particular subject, I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to say to him, “You have an unfair advantage in life.”  I’m going to share my thoughts concerning that but I’m wondering, “What do you consider an unfair advantage that you have in your life?”  

Sometimes we need to take inventory, not of things we don’t have in our life or are missing; but the things we do have. So, if you started to take inventory of your life, what are some of your unfair advantages? These are things that would give you a competitive advantage. Not that we are competing against others but against ourselves to be the best version of you that you can possibly be for the glory of God.    

I’ll name a few:

Not everyone has a Nutritious Diet
Good parents
Straight teeth
a good personality
a positive attitude
physically attractive
intellectually attractive
emotionally attractive
good personal hygiene
clean and professional attire.    

When I was talking to my son I said, ” You know son, God has given you a gift of leadership. You have a responsibility with the gifts that God has given you to recognize, utilize, expand them and understand that it’s a cherished gift God has given you.”    

Each of you reading this, God has given you a cherished gift. (Or two or three or more)  You have something that is not of yourself. You can’t take credit for it. It was given to you by God.  It’s called a “Grace Gift“. This is something that is unmerited. This gives you and unfair advantage if you recognize it, utilize it, expand it and if you honor it.  

Take, for example, the very fact if you were born in America; you were given an unfair advantage.  The average person lives on $2 per day. If you were born in America, half the battle has already been won for you.  That doesn’t mean we don’t have problems or challenges in this country, but if we can’t succeed here, try it somewhere else in the world. It isn’t as easy.  

I think the unfair advantage that we also have is if you are a person of faith; a follower of Christ, God says in Deut.28 “If you will harken and obey God with all your heart, He will make you the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath.” God Almighty promised that you would be blessed going and coming and that everything you set your hands to would be blessed and would prosper.  I’m sorry, but as people of faith, that gives us an unfair advantage.    

I was reflecting on the story of Daniel and how at a very young age he was kidnapped from Jerusalem and taken to Babylon and how he rose to the top. The Bible tells us that God blessed Daniel and his friends and made them ten times smarter than all of the Babylonian young men. Guess what that causes? An unfair advantage.  

I believe people of faith can be smarter, stronger, happier, more fulfilled and that gives us an unfair advantage.  Think of how as a Christ follower, we have a different work ethic. We don’t work as unto the paycheck, the boss or unto the company; we work as unto the Lord. We dedicate for God’s glory which gives you an unfair advantage.  You come to work with a better attitude, you work harder, do more and the result will be that you’ll continue to move up in life. Upward mobility is going to be in your favor because you have an unfair advantage.    

If we live Godly lives and obey God’s commands, deal with stress in a Godly way; that gives us an unfair advantage because you’re healthier, happier, you have a better outlook and a better perspective on life. Once again, it continues to put you over the top.    

I hope today, you’ll take inventory and thank God with a humble heart for the blessings He has blessed your life with. You’ll begin to take advantage, utilize, recognize those unfair advantages. Not to be better than others but to be the best you can be to hopefully inspire others around you to follow Christ and to take inventory of the unfair advantages that God has given them as well.  

I pray God’s best over you.

God Bless!  

Carl

 

 

Owners Mentality

Wishing all of you a happy Holy Week! This is an important time for millions of Christians around the world. For those of you that may not know, from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday is called Holy Week. The most significant events of mankind occurred during this time period 2000 years ago. This was the final week of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ leading up to Good Friday and then Resurrection Sunday this Easter Sunday.  I am so excited for this weekend. Hopefully, you are in a good church. If not, we invite you to be apart of Trinity Church this weekend.      

So, Today I want to talk to you about the difference between ownership and renting or what I call –  an ownership mentality.  The other day I was driving through my neighborhood and saw a sign in front of someone’s home that read “For Rent”.  The Holy Spirit impressed in my heart, making me think about someone who owns a home vs someone who rents a home.  A person that owns a home has a huge buy in. They have a 15-30yr mortgage. A person that is a renter has a 6 month to 1-year lease. So in 6 months or a year, they can be gone. They don’t have any ties or commitment to that home any longer.  It got me to thinking that many people go through life with a renters mentality instead of an owners mentality.  See, when you have an owners mentality, you approach life differently. You tend to treat things differently. Someone who owns their home will treat that abode differently than someone renting a home.  We all should know that if you ever buy a pre-owned automobile – never purchase a car that was a rental! Reason being,  people beat up rental cars because they will be turning them back into the rental business in a day or two.  

So, in life, we want to make sure we have an owners mentality.  When people don’t show up to work because they have a job but instead, they have a calling; they don’t show up with a renter’s mentality. No, they have a sense of ownership and feel empowered. When we have a sense of ownership, we have a higher level of buy-in.  Gallup did some research and found that only 13% of employees are actually engaged in their work show a sense of accountability and are highly motivated. How are we getting anything done in America?  

Those that are highly engaged have a sense of ownership. You can notice someone who walks around a campus or a church that has a sense of ownership, they don’t do just enough to get by. These people treat that place as if they had part ownership in it. We know that ultimately God is the owner of everything and yet we are stewards and God has entrusted ownership to us.  As Christ followers, we live with that sense of mission and purpose.

So here is the difference between Owners and Renters:

Owners prepare and prevent; Renters repair and repent.
Owners mentality accepts responsibility and is accountable for their results; Renters just give excuses.
Owners come with solutions; Renters only give suggestions.
Renters have a job but owners have a mission and a passion.    

An owner gets to open up two gifts every morning; their two eyes!  They wake up and approach life with a sense of mission and excitement.    

As a pastor, I appreciate church members who have a sense of ownership and not a renters mentality. You can’t build a great work that’s influencing the community and winning people to Jesus if you have a staff and a membership of renters. Do you see what I am saying? See, a renter will be in a church for 6 months to a year and then they’re looking for greener pastures. But, someone who has an owners mentality is there for decades. Their family becomes a generational family in that church. They are the ones that continue to push vision and mission forward.    

I want to encourage each of you out there today to have an ownership mentality. When you enter into your marriage relationship, you aren’t a renter who is there for 6 months or a 3-year lease, it’s for eternity! Enter into your friendships with an owners mentality.  I hope you have an ownership mentality throughout life.  

Go out and win! You are God’s Best,

Carl

It’s Your Move

Every day is a gift from God and we can’t take anything for granted. Every moment of life counts. As the Apostle Paul said, ” To live is Christ, to die is gain.” Either way, we win. Every day we need to live life. Don’t let a day pass without Capra Diem – seizing the day.    

I want to talk today about It’s Your Move. Life really does resemble the game of chess. I remember growing up and playing chess with my friends. It was a fun game to learn. When you make strategic moves in the game of chess, you advance your position. Eventually, you can checkmate your opponent and win the game. Life is like that. Your life is like a game board. The strategic moves we make will determine whether we will chalk up more wins or losses.  In life, we want more wins.

Let me give you three key strategic winning moves you can make in your life today that can help you have more wins than losses:

1)Forgive
2)Forget
3)Move Forward.  

Without trying to sound super spiritual, I believe that if we want to continue to move in the right direction, we can’t get stuck in unforgiveness. We have an incredible memory to be able to recall the people that have done us wrong in life. A lot of times, people get stuck in the area of unforgiveness. This could be with a marriage, a relationship, a child, or a co-worker. So many people can’t move forward because they can’t forgive. I want to encourage you of the importance of moving forward in your life.  Number one, you have to forgive. You have got to let it go. It’s not worth it! Don’t allow whoever that person may be to live, rent free, in your mind and in your heart.    

Then, after you forgive, you have to forget. So many are unwilling to forget the bad things others have done to them or the bad things that have happened in their life. Or, maybe, the bad things you have done. We’ve all made mistakes.  The Apostle Paul talked about forgetting those things which are behind. Too many people are stuck in the past because they’re stuck in life looking through their rear view mirrors and they don’t remember the good things that are happening in their life. Instead, they are looking at only the bad things that have occurred.  So, we need to let those things go and know what’s ahead of us is far more important than what’s behind us.  Granted, we want to learn the lesson of the past experience and learn from that failure that may be occurred in our life. These are strategic moves that are going to move you forward in life.  

And the final thing you need to do is to move forward. There is really only one direction in life and that is one step at a time; continually moving forward.   So, what’s the next step that you are needing to take to get unstuck and move your life forward?  What’s that next step spiritually? What’s that next step financially? What’s that next forward step in your relationships? What’s that next step in your career? So many get to the border of God’s full blessing in their life and they’re unable to take that next step.  

You know, it’s crazy that the children of Isreal wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years and when they came to the border of the Promised Land, they were unwilling to go forward! So, they had to take another trip around and around in the wilderness because they weren’t willing to take that step across the border into the Promised Land that God had for them.    

So, what’s your next move? What’s the strategic move in your life that’s going to push you forward in the direction God has for you? I want to encourage you to forgive whoever you need to forgive; forget what has happened (Paul said to forgive those things which are behind, I press toward the quest of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus) and take that next step. Move forward!  

I hope you have an incredible rest of the day. Don’t forget that some exciting things are starting THIS weekend! Palm Sunday! Churches all around the world are going to be celebrating Holy Week. We hope you will be apart of an awesome Palm Sunday service in your home church. If Trinity is your home church then we look forward to seeing you this weekend.

Take care and God Bless!  

Carl

GO HIGHER!

In leadership circles, there is what is known as the hierarchy effect. It is basically this: the higher up you go in an organization, the happier you will be. When organizational life is studied, those at the top levels are usually the happiest. You may think that makes sense but here’s the thought I want to share: If they say the higher you go, they happier you are; I think that really the opposite is true. I think the happier you are, the higher you will go.

We know that happiness is an inside job. Happiness is something we need to determine each and every day, moment by moment and that we don’t need to allow the circumstances in life to rob us of the joy of the Lord. That’s what we have as Christ-followers – this incredible relationship with the living Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gives us joy. A joy beyond the certain circumstances or situation we may find ourselves in.    

So think about this, the happier you are, the farther you will go in life.  I really believe that having a positive, faith-filled outlook concerning our lives is half of the battle. Half of the battle is how you see yourself in Christ and in the world.  

Here are two important questions for you to consider:

1) How do you see yourself? When you view your own life, how do you see yourself? 2) Where do you see yourself headed?  What’s your goal? What’s your future and vision you have for your life? Hopefully, you have set your sights high on what you can do and what you can achieve in life.  

Don’t give me this, “I’m too old.” I was doing some research a couple of weeks ago and I was stunned to realize that most people that have impacted the world did so in their 70’s and 80’s. Go figure! Look at those people that get elected to one of the most powerful positions, Presidents; they are normally in their 70’s. Moses was 80 when God called him to go back to Egypt to deliver the Hebrews from the Egyptians.  

So those of you in your 20’s, wow! You’ve got 50-60 awesome years ahead of you!   So you have to dream big. Believe big and know that God can do big things in you and through you. Nothing you are facing in your life right now, no circumstances you may be confronted with is bigger than God. Never compare yourself to the circumstances of life but rather compare the circumstances of life to how big God is. That’s what David did when he was a teenager and that’s how he was able to defeat the giant. So, set your sights high on who you are in Christ and what you want to accomplish and take action.  

Ponder for a moment, if the higher you go, the happier you are; then we should be the happiest people in the world.  I was on Periscope earlier and I had never gone through to look and see what kind of people are on there but this time I did. To me, it looked like there was a lot of unhappy people.  

As a Christ follower, we should be the happiest because we’re the highest! How high are you? The Bible says in Eph 1:20-21 ” we are seated with Christ in heavenly places.” Wow! You are seated at the highest seat in the universe! We are seated with Christ. So, we should be the happiest people, no matter the current circumstances but that doesn’t mean we deny the current situation or deny the current news we receive. I received some extremely challenging news this past week but I know God is in control and He is sovereign. Our hope, faith, and trust are in Him and with Christ, we are unstoppable.  

So get higher by getting happier! I hope you have an awesome rest of the day.

God Bless!  

Carl