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Archive for June 17th, 2013

Keep growing

from JO’s sermon tonight:

too many people suffer from “destination disease”;  they’ve reached a certain level, attained a goal, now they’re coasting off of what they’ve already learned.  studies tell us that 50% of people, after they graduate from high school, will never read an entire book the rest of their life.  one reason is we see learning as a period of life instead of a way of life.  we learned when we were growing up, in school;  we had teachers, coaches, parents, that taught us, expected us to learn.  but now we think, “I’m out of school, I’m done with my training, I’ve got my job,” but God never created us to reach one level and stop.  we should constantly be learning, improving our skills, getting better at what we do.  you have to take responsibility for your growth;  growth is not automatic.  what steps are you taking to get better?  are you reading books, listening to teaching CD’s, taking any courses on the internet, going to any seminars, do you have any mentors, are you gleaning from people that know more than you?  don’t just coast through life relying off of what you’ve already learned.  you have treasure on the inside;  there is skill, talent, potential put in you by the Creator of the universe, but it’s not going to automatically come out, it has to be developed.  I read where the wealthiest places on Earth are the cemeteries;  buried in the ground are businesses that were never formed, songs that were never sung, books that were never written, potential that was never realized, dreams that never came to pass.  don’t let that be you;  don’t go to your grave with your treasure still in you.  keep growing, keep learning;  when you stop learning, you stop growing.  whatever you do, get better at it;  sharpen your skills, don’t you dare be at the same place next year as you are right now.

there is so much opportunity to learn, there is more knowledge available today than any time in history;  we have no excuse to not improve.   we don’t even have to go to the library like we did in the old days, the internet comes right into our living rooms.   it wasn’t created just to share pictures, to look up movie times, play games;  that’s all fine, but it is a tool to help you learn, increase.  you have a responsibility, not only to God, your family, but you owe it to yourself to develop what God’s put in you.  if you’re in sales, get better at it;  read books to learn how to communicate more effectively.  people have gone where you’re going;  listen to what they have to say.  take at least 15 minutes a day, turn off the television, invest in yourself.  you should be doing something strategic, and something intentional, every day to improve your skills.  not vague, “I’ll do it if I have time,” no, you’re better than that.  you have too much in you to stay where you are.  your destiny is too great to get stuck.  a lot of times, we’re sitting back, saying, “God, I’m waiting on You, waiting for my big break.”  let me tell you who gets the big breaks;  people that are prepared, that have developed their skills.  you’ve gotta be proactive and take these steps to grow;  when God sees you doing your part, developing what He’s given you, then He will do His part, and open doors that no man can shut. “I’m busy, I don’t have extra time to take training courses, read books, learn something new, I’ll fall behind”;  sometimes, you need to take a break and sharpen your skills. you’ll get more done in less time, you may not have to work so hard.  don’t settle where you are and just coast off of what you’ve already learned, stir up what God’s put in you and get better at it.  this is a call to action;  there are amazing things in your future, God has shifted things in your favor.  now, God is looking for people who are prepared, taking steps to grow, serious about fulfilling their destiny.

this is what David did.  he was in the fields taking care of his father’s sheep;  it was boring, no opportunity for growth.  David could have slacked off, been sloppy, unmotivated, no, while he was out there all alone, instead of being lazy, killing time, he practiced his slingshot day after day, month after month, getting better, sharpening his skills.  when a wild animal tried to attack one of his sheep, he took that sling and stone and nailed it;  he was a sharpshooter, marksman.  when God needed someone to slay a giant, lead His chosen people, He looked to see who was prepared;  He chose a skilled marksman that could hit a target with exact precision.  when God is looking for people to promote today, He doesn’t close His eyes and randomly pick;  God looks for people who have developed their skills.  God didn’t sling the stone, it was the skill God gave David that he had developed.  God has put in each one of you skill that can slay a giant, open new doors, lead to an abundant life;  they key is that skill has to be developed.  every day you spend growing, learning or improving, you’re getting prepared for that new level.  you may be at a lower position now, doing something that feels insignificant;  you know you have so much more in you.  you could easily slack off and think, “there’s no future here, I’ll get prepared after I get that promotion, sharpen up after I get that big break, then maybe I’ll take some courses, lose a few pounds, have a better attitude”;  no, you’ve got it backwards, you’ve gotta start improving right where you are.  start sharpening your skills while you’re waiting.  study your boss, manager;  learn that position, be able to step into their shoes.  when God sees you’re prepared, then He can open new doors.

Proverbs 18:16 (NKJV)

16 A man’s gift makes room for him,
And brings him before great men.

if no new doors are opening, don’t get discouraged, just develop your gifts in a greater way;  improve your skills.  “my supervisor has 10 years seniority, they’re not going anywhere.”  no, if you’ll outgrow your position, outperform, out-produce, know more than them, then God will somehow, some way get you to where you’re supposed to be;  your gifts will make room for you. don’t worry about who’s in front of you, how long they’ve been there, how it’s never gonna work out;  you just keep growing, learning, getting prepared, and the right doors will open. God may not want you to have your supervisor’s position;  that may be too low for you.  God may be about to thrust you right past them into a whole new level.  you develop what God’s put in you, and He’ll take you further than you can ever imagine.  but it’s easy to fall into destination disease;  we’re comfortable, not stretching, learning anything new.  there’s nothing wrong with this, but you have so much more in you;  you were created to increase.  maybe you’re an accountant, that’s good, but don’t settle there;  get your CPA license. there’s a new skill you can develop;  that gift will make more room for you.  maybe you’re an electrician, mechanic, plumber;  that’s great, but what steps are you taking to improve?

in today’s competitive marketplace, with the economy so tight, business so bottom-line oriented, if you’re not improving, you’re falling behind.  if you’re at the same skill level today as you were 5 years ago, you’re at a disadvantage.  you need to develop your gifts in such a way that your company cannot make it without you, or at least things don’t run nearly as smoothly when you’re not there.  if you take a week off and nobody misses you, all the work gets done, sales are just as good, if you’re an owner that’s a good thing, but if you’re an employee I need to sound the alarm;  if you’re not being missed, maybe you’re not needed, you need to kick it into a new gear, produce more than you’re producing, take classes to improve your skills, step it up a notch.  “I’m at a lower position, nobody would ever miss me”;  don’t use that as an excuse to slack off.  you have treasure in you;  you have skill, talent;  once it’s developed, it will cause you to be noticed.

Proverbs 22:29 (NIV)

29 Do you see someone skilled in their work?
    They will serve before kings

you keep sharpening your skills, and like cream you will rise to the top;  God will cause you to be noticed.  this is what Joseph did;  he started at the very bottom, sold into slavery by his brothers.  he didn’t wait until he was vindicated before he decided to be his best;  he developed his skills as a slave.  he was so valuable that he was put in charge of all of his master’s house.  when he was falsely accused and put into prison, he was so valuable there that they the put him in charge of the whole prison.  what is that?  cream rising to the top.  when the Pharaoh needed someone to run the country, and administer the nationwide feeding program, he chose Joseph, a prisoner, a slave, because Joseph developed his skills right where he was, and his gifts made room for him.  don’t let where you are be an excuse to not grow. “I don’t like my job, these people don’t treat me right, I’m uncomfortable, I’ve had unfair things happen”;  no, the treasure is still in you.  God is saying, “it’s time to get it out, start stretching, take some new courses, sharpen your skills.”   we should be so productive, full of wisdom, that no matter where we are, like cream we always rise to the top.  one way you will be invaluable is learn to be a problem solver;  that’s what Joseph was, solution-oriented.  don’t go to your boss and say, “our department is falling apart,what do you want us to do?” no, you’re not gonna get promoted like that;  if you’re ever going to present a problem, always present a solution as well.  if you don’t know the solution, then don’t present the problem just yet.  if you wanna be invaluable to your organization, present solutions, not just problems.

what steps are you taking to better yourself so you can go to the next level?  are you reading books, trade magazines so you can stay up to date?  can you take a course that would give you an advantage?  you have to stay on the offensive.  “I got my degree, I did my part”;  do you know how many degrees are outdated in as little as 5 years?  the world is changing so fast;  if you don’t have this attitude to continue learning, taking these step to grow, then you’ll fall behind.  some of you need to be set free from destination disease;  you’ve reached a certain level, God has blessed you, now you’re coasting. but you were not created to stay there;  break out of the box and learn something new.  God has great things in your future;  He wants to take you where you couldn’t go on your own, but if you’re not prepared, if you haven’t developed your skills, it can hinder you from the fullness of your destiny.  every one of us should have a personal growth plan.  not something vague, “I’ll take the training every once in  while,” no, you need a specific plan that lays out how you’re going to grow;  “These are the steps I’m going to take this year, 2013, to help me improve.”  driving to work each morning, instead of listening to the radio, put on some good teaching CD’s, training materials that will help you improve in your field.  the average American spends 300 hours a year in their car;  you can turn your car into a university.  think about how much you can learn in 300 hours;  that’s invaluable time, take advantage of it.  while you’re working out, make sure you have good information going into you.  I’m not asking you to go study an extra 3 hours a day, I’m saying take advantage of the time that you’re not using right now.  with podcasts you can download these messages that you hear every week and listen to them wherever you want to.  that’s a growth plan.

if you’re going to continue growing, you need to have good mentors, people that know more than you, have gone where you’re going;  let them speak into your life, listen to their ideas, study them, find out how they think and how they do what they do, you can even learn from their mistakes.  there are people all around us that God has put in our path on purpose, so that we can gain wisdom, insight, knowledge, but we have to stay open.  look around this week and see who God put in your life that you could be learning from.  don’t waste your valuable time with people that are not adding anything to your growth.  life is too short to hang around people that are not going anywhere.  destination disease is contagious;  if you’re around them long enough, it’ll rub off on you.  you need to associate with people that inspire you, challenge you to rise higher, make you better, not people that are constantly dragging you down, trying to convince you to settle where you are.  your destiny is too important for that.

young people, you may not be the most popular person in school;  after 20 years, no one really cares who the most popular person was, what matters is did you get a good education, foundation that you can build your life on.  some of my friends that played sports made fun of people that were on the debate team;  now, they work for people that were on the debate team.  high school, junior high, those are critical formative years.  these days there’s so much emphasis on sports;  they teach us teamwork, discipline, camaraderie.  that’s all great, but we need to keep it in perspective;  most people are not going to play sports for a living.  the average pro football career is 3.5 years, and even if you do make it you still need a good foundation.  when you study, learn, take school seriously, other students may call you a nerd;  don’t worry about it, in a few years, they’ll call you “boss.”  it matters who you associate with.  are they adding anything to your growth?  the scripture says to redeem the time

Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJV)

15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

you need to see time as a gift.  God has given us 86,400 seconds each day.  just like you spend $, you are spending that time.  if you’re hanging around people that have no goals, they haven’t grown in 5 years, time wasters, then you’re not being responsible with what God has given you.  it is critical that you surround yourself with the right people.  if you’re the smartest one in your group, your group is too small.  you need to be around people that know more than you, are more talented than you, more experienced;  not to be intimidated, but to be inspired.  God has destined you to do great things;  you have talent, ability, potential on the inside.  but some of you are being limited by the size of your environment.  the people you’re around think small, they’re negative, they’ll pull you down.  you’ve gotta break outta that pot, God has destined you to soar;  surround yourself with people that are going places, inspire you to rise higher.

are you doing anything strategic and intentional to keep growing?   if not, you can get started;  it’s not too late to become all God’s created you to be.  first step, develop your personal growth plan;  “I’m gonna take the 1st 20 minutes every morning and meditate on God’s word, put in a teaching CD driving to work, take 15 minutes before I go to bed and read a book.”  that’s a definite plan;  when God sees you taking responsibility for your growth, He’ll reward your efforts.  in the coming days, you’re going to have an opportunity to step into a new level of your destiny;  God has shifted things in your favor.  there is promotion, opportunities of businesses, divine connections, it’s all in your future.  now is the time to get prepared;  don’t get caught with destination disease.  the treasure is in you;  it’s gotta be developed.  redeem the time.  make a decision to grow in some way every day.  if you’ll keep sharpening your skills, getting better at what you do, God promises your gifts will make room for you.  because you’re prepared, God is going to thrust you to a new level of your destiny;  He’s going to open doors that no man can shut.  you’re going to go further than you can imagine and become everything He’s created you to be.

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