Sacred Over Scared

This week I begin my last full semester at UNCG. It’s a pretty exciting feeling, but at the same time, plenty of unknowns that go along with that. The things that are unknown in our lives can cause us to fear a great deal of things. Will I be able to support myself? Is this the right move? What happens if I got it wrong? These questions make us afraid, they scare us because the unknown is a scary thing. You see, life is full of these scary unknown situations. We have questions about each of our futures and the purpose we have in life, while at the same time, events come up in our lives over and over that cause us to question our God. We see people close to us pass away, we see the pains of addiction, we feel the sting of the hand that was laid on us, and we remember the words of death spoken over us. You see while those things may not have happened to you, but we are all affected in some way by those in our lives. We feel the pain and question why these happen to us; we begin to lose hope. But there is hope. There is always hope. I look back at my own life and I have watched friends lose their battle with depression, and I will never get a chance to see them again. When my friend passed away two years ago, I had no idea why or how God could let that happen to my friend who helped me gain confidence in myself and helped me be who I was in Christ. I began to lose hope, but God gave me new hope. You see in that moment I made a choice. I chose to follow and trust, even when I had every right in my mind to be angry, I chose to be sacred over scared.

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Seeking His Presence

It’s now been a full week into the New Year. How have you done with your resolutions so far? Yeah me either. It’s funny how quick we can lose doing a resolution, so I’m trying to set goals for myself. While these seem similar, my goal is going to be things I aspire towards, where a resolution is a hard start and if you fail, it feels like you have made a huge mistake. I choose to set goals that I want to do daily in order to strive for more out of my life. Last week I talked about the characteristic I choose to take on for this coming year; how I want to be like an avenger. Goals are a bit different. Some goals I’ve set for myself this year are things I want to do that will help me be better at my daily walk. I want to write each day so that I can get better and grow as a writer. I want to read at least fifty pages a day, which is a lot, but I want to continue to read more and learn more through reading. I want to meet more people and learn their stories. I want to spend money wisely and avoid things in life that bring me down. The biggest goal I set for myself this year is this, I want to seek the presence of God each day and step into what he has set out for me.

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Get Back up and Rise

As summer comes to a close, with classes starting, kids heading off to their first day, and the wonderful cold weather is right around the corner, it’s easy to lose sight of what we gained during the rest. For me, the twenty one days of prayer my church began has now ended and free time has drastically shifted with my classes. I learned so much about myself and where I believe God is calling me, but moments like this are when I can get discouraged. When I am living with freedom and have a purpose, that’s when the enemy begins to pick at my surface and get under my skin. I believe we all have been called to a greater purpose, that’s one of the reasons why I write, I want everyone to know what they have the potential for. But what do we do after we have that purpose in our minds? I start running towards it with all that I’ve got, and I start to hear the lies from the enemy. It takes many forms, the hurtful comment of someone around you, the position you wanted and being overlooked for it, and the dangerous place of our own thoughts telling us that we can’t do it. We fall down. Those moments and situations happen when we begin moving towards our higher purpose. It would be pretty depressing if I left it there right? One thing I am learning is that not only are those lies and attacks on our spirit, but we are called to get back up from the ground and rise up to the calling on our lives.

I am by no means a perfect person, nor do I have all the answers to the big mysteries of life. What I do have is experience and a trust on God’s word. I’m dealing with discouragement in my own life, and I know how it feels to feel worthless. My dream is to be a writer and a next gen pastor, and those are big dreams with a huge risk, so trust me when I say that the enemy is trying to stop me from attaining that goal. You may have a similar calling or a completely different one, but no matter what it is, you are not alone in your pursuit of it. Discouragement wants to isolate you and make you believe that you’re the only one struggling. Discouragement hates community. When we realize that each of us struggles, we can defeat the discouragement and make moves towards our full potential. I want to share what I am learning on how to get back up and rise towards my calling, and I want to help you do the same in your own life.

Life will knock you down.

Now I know this is kind of a melancholy statement, but in order to get up, we must know that things won’t always be easy. I know for me when I really took ownership of my relationship with Christ, I thought things would be easy, I was mistaken. I have been made fun of, I have felt the hurt of addictions from those around me, and I have seen friends get to the lowest depths and pass away. Life is not an easy thing, contrary to those stick figure bumper stickers, life is not always good (Are those even still around?). Once we see where we are being hit from, we can train ourselves to be prepared the next time. Rather than being complacent in our pain, we can choose to get back up and fight. Like a true hero, we know what is right and we know what is better for us, so we fight for what we believe in. I love the character of Spider-Man, and if you want to know a hard life, look at Peter Parker. The identity of this hero went through it all, no parents, his uncle that raised him was shot and killed, he was constantly made fun of in school, has to fight maniacs, and watched his girlfriend die. Talk about a hard life, and the thing is, this fictional character probably has similar struggles as you. Parents not there, loved ones dying, and okay maybe fighting bad guys isn’t a common thing, but we all fight demons that lie to us in our head don’t we? Everyone has battles they face, but Spider-Man never gave up, he saw what he was called to do, and fought for that purpose.

Community will help you get back up.

This is a key element to fighting discouragement. We were not meant to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, that’s never been our job. Building a community of people you trust and people who are wise, will help you grow and step into what God has for you. Spider-Man had Uncle Ben, a man who knew what responsibility was and guided Peter Parker through his walk into being a hero. Want a more real life example? Joshua. Not me, Joshua from the bible. Moses was the leader of the Israelites, and Joshua chose to follow him and learn all that he could from a great leader. Joshua knew that being in the presence of God and having community with people he trusted would benefit his life. Moses chose Joshua to take over leading the people when he was going to die, because he knew that Joshua would be a wise leader. Joshua stepped into his purpose of leading. Find your community, confide in them, and they will help you get back up when you feel down.

Keep the fire burning.

Once we get back up and fight against what brought us down, we cannot stop. The enemy hates wisdom, so when we pursue wisdom, we keep the enemy away. Think about it from our web slinging friend again, do you think Spider-Man stops one villain and says, “New York is safe forever now!” Of course not, he is on guard for what may come next, just like we should be. We are not invincible, so prepare yourself for what comes next. Does your dream require hard work? The answer is always yes because only good things come from hard work, so work hard. Train your skills, take a hold of every opportunity to get better and gain experience that will help you. Know that you may fail and life may throw hardship at you, but remember to keep that fire in your heart burning bright.

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I may not know what you’re going through, and it may seem as if you’ll never get back up again. Know that I have been through dark times as well, and I’m still getting through it. I know that it seems like life would be easy if we just quit, I have felt this over and over about my pursuing of being a next generation pastor. I want to quit when it gets hard or when someone tells me what they think of my dream. It’s easy to get angry and depressed, starting to listen to the lie that says maybe I’m not cut out for that dream. No matter how crazy your dream seems or how much discouragement you feel, know that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. Our dreams for God’s purpose in our lives should be big, because the enemy we all face is complacency. Instead of being discouraged, be determined. Be determined to run after the vision God has placed in your life, understand that life will knock you down sometimes, so rally around a community, and keep the fire burning in your heart. When we do this, nothing can stop us from rising up to your potential. I plan on being determined to run after my dreams no matter what, what will you do?

Choose to be determined and never discouraged.

-Joshua Thomas

Pausing to Live in the Moment

It’s so easy in life to get caught up in what might come next and prepare for the next big step in our journey. I know for me this can cause huge anxiety and make me fear the next steps or fear starting a new chapter in life. What would happen if we were to stop and live in the moment, taking each step as it comes and not worry about what may come? I have been thinking about this idea a lot over the past few days, especially because many of us will be starting a new chapter and the end of the summer. For me, I am attending a new university after spending time at a community college. To be honest, I am nervous. New situations are always seem to be a giant beast in my life, new faces and places can fill me with anxiety, yet I have nothing to be afraid of. Sure the possibility of something going wrong is present, but I have nothing to be afraid of. I think everyone struggles with this to an extent, we all have fears that can cause us to have a high anxiety about what may come. The funny thing is that what we think may happen often never comes at all! We get trapped in an endless cycle of fear and forget something that might be the most important factor in our life. This one key idea can cause us to move from a state of fear, and into a life of freedom.

As I was reading in my bible this morning I read a verse which instilled in me a sense of peace, not just for moving into a new environment, but standing against the fear that causes us all to hide. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This verse makes things start to click together. When we trust God, we don’t have to worry about anything. That’s the key, no matter what situation, trusting God will guide you through anything. You might be thinking, “Well that’s great but it’s easier said than done.” Which is a true statement for most things, and that’s why I want to share today how and why this is the best option from my personal experience and what I am currently dealing with. My goal is to help you and me get through any situation that brings us anxiety and come out trusting completely on God.

Talk to God daily.

This is the biggest and easiest advice I have learned. When we focus on talking to God, we open up a conversation with the creator of everything. This begins a relationship, just like any other you have, you build communication and strengthen that relationship each time you come together. Reading the word will help you narrow in on the answers you need for every situation you find yourself in. Surrounding yourself in the wisdom of God will give you courage to take on anything that may come your way. I find this to be true over and over again, when I am reading the word and talking to God each day, my life feels more guided and direct. It gives me a sense of direction and opportunity to grow and help others, but when I am not in the word, an opposite effect occurs. Yes it’s true, sometimes I don’t read my bible and talk to God each day, and it hurts. Whether I think I have a good excuse or not, when I’m not in the word, life stinks. That’s the best way to describe it, I lose opportunity and lose my direction. All that happens then is I try to redirect my thoughts and steer myself in my own strength, causing me to crash. That’s why it is such a crucial part of my journey and yours as well. Even if it has to be quick in your morning, on your drive to work, talk to God and meditate on his word. You will be amazed at how much that will change everything in your life.

Live in the now.

This is the second part of having peace rather than anxiety. I constantly find myself thinking about what’s next, what do I have to have done by tomorrow, next week, in a year. My thoughts escalate so fast and create fear in me about failure to achieve that which I want so dearly. I forget to focus on the day in front of me. I end up missing the conversations with those around me, forget to look at the opportunities in front of me. I lose what could have been. I never want to miss out on the things that are right in front of me, so why would I choose to miss it when I don’t have to! We need to learn to stop dreading the future and live for the now, because the now in here and tomorrow might not be. Nothing in life is guaranteed, so live for today. This doesn’t mean party like it’s the end of the world, it means that we should use today to get wiser, be more intentional, and not miss out on what God wants to show you today. Is it an easy task? Well of course not, but we weren’t mean to do it alone. God wants us to come to him and trust that what he has to show us today is better than anything we could ever want. So live in the now, because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Be thankful for what you have.

This is the final step to having joy in moments where you begin to feel anxious. We have all been given so much, I mean if you can even read this you have some device that gets you on the internet! This is something that I have to remind myself of a lot, especially when it feels like the world around you is crumbling. You have a family, if that’s by blood or your friends, we all have a family. We are a part of something bigger than ourselves, we have been called to do great works for the kingdom of God. We have been blessed with talents that we can use to help others, we have been given a community of believers to rally around when life gets tough. You have so much, I have so much. Most of us aren’t millionaires or highly influential in a political scale, but none of that really matters. We have been put in the situation we are in for a reason, to use our situations to influence and help everyone we meet. You have been blessed by the creator of all things, have your heart be thankful for every blessing that is big or small. You are blessed.

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This past week my dad and I went to New York City for a few days and this idea really struck me. My thoughts are always trying to see what is coming next or being anxious of what may happen next. My dad and I both have this similar way of thinking, so when you go to a bustling city like New York that could easily be a bad place for us to be. It had an opposite effect, because we were trusting God, and when we focused on that the trip was great. We relaxed, had an awesome time, and were able to make memories in our time of rest. No matter what might be going on in your life or what kind of stress you’re feeling, give it to God. Trust me when I say this because I do it daily. It’s a necessity for me. Trusting God isn’t a one-time deal, it must be a daily choice to stand in him and not our own strength. One thing that I have learned is that God can do all things, no matter what happens. Everything changes, but the love and presence of God lasts forever. You and I, we don’t have to fear anything. So no matter what situation you face, God will walk beside you and fight for you when you give him control.

Pause from your fear and live into the moment that God has given you.

-Joshua Thomas

What Holds You Back

Life is filled with questions. Questions about the future, questions about what I should do and whom I should spend my time with. The list goes on and on, but when we face those questions, something often holds us back. It looks different for each of us, but one thing keeps us from pressing forward. You may be trying to think about what the one thing that all of us relate to when it comes to being held back, and the answer is simple. You are the one who is holding yourself back. Over the first week of Daystar’s 21 days of prayer and fasting I have been thinking a lot about this idea, what is the thing that holds me back, and my answer was me. I hold myself back from accomplishing what God has for me. It’s so easy for me to find myself in a state of complacency, I don’t push myself because I fear the reaction that may occur. New places and different faces cause me to get anxious, so I decided to ask God why that feeling of anxiety is filling me when I try to move forward. The conclusion that I came to was that I have not been keeping God in the right place. Yes, I know you may think I’m some mysterious perfect person, but that’s not true for me or any of you reading. Yes, you. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We all screw up, we all have the days where we don’t feel like turning to God when life gets tough. What happens then is we start putting things in Gods place, good or bad, we take God out of our thoughts. The thing that holds us back, is the failure to press into an authentic relationship with Christ.

So how do we break out of the trap? Well a few things need to happen. Pray about what you’re placing in front of God, once you figure this out, then you can step into freedom. This can come in any size or shape. It could be a love of money, or it could even be your ministry. That’s mine, I find myself putting the ministry I do above my relationship with God. In my mind, I get worked up into the idea that if I am not directly in ministry, I have accomplished nothing. The enemy steps in and causes me to start believing this lie, so I focus on my ministry more than my God. I forget the reason I love doing ministry in the first place, because God radically changed my life and I want to help others experience that same relationship. It became an idol, so even something that can be used for good, could have been my downfall. Pray and think about what could be preventing you from your relationship with God. No seriously, do it right away, I’ll still be here. Now that you’ve prayed and thought about it, I want to spend the next few paragraphs on how we move from there. There is hope, you and I were made for bigger and better things, so press into your purpose.

Know that you are royalty.

God didn’t create us to be people enslaved to our selfish and worldly desires, he created us to be heirs. This idea comes from Galatians 4:6-7 which says, “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” God says that not only are we not slaves, but that you are a child of the highest king. He designed you to be exactly who you are, we are all unique and all have a great purpose for our lives, yet we choose to be slaves of this world. This is such a backwards idea, an heir to an empire would not live in the pit, but would live like royalty. We should live like we are a part of the royal family, because we are! Realize that what you have been making an idol of in your life, is keeping you from living into royalty. Live like an heir to the kingdom.

In our weakness, we are strong.

It’s important to understand that when we choose to put God first and live in royalty, we can’t do that all on our own. I’ve been reading through many of the books in the bible that Paul wrote and I have been amazed at how strong he was, even when he went through the hardest struggles many of us will never experience. One theme that keeps coming up over and over is this, even though we are weak God makes us strong in our weakness. That is an incredible testament to how much we need God. Paul says it best in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” The moments where we find ourselves walking away from what we should do or let our fears hold us back, remember that in any time of weakness, when we rely on God, he makes us strong. Once we start trusting God, not even our human weaknesses can prevent us from achieving the purpose for our lives.

Run after wisdom.

This is the final part to breaking that mental wall that holds you back from your greater purpose. I actually have started memorizing a verse that we are using in Daystar Kids, and it is incredible how applicable it is for every part of my life. Proverbs 8:10-11 says, “Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” Where does this wisdom come from? Well many places, but the number one is through reading the word. I can’t express enough how important this is, just try it and you’ll be amazed at how your life will radically change. The second is looking towards those who have gone before you, the people that you look up to. Talk with them, learn from them, and most importantly, listen. Wisdom can be found easily as long as you look towards life giving people and scripture. Running after wisdom will cause your fears to fall away and help you live in freedom.

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It’s hard coming face to face with what we actually put our trust in, because often we don’t want to lose what’s working. What we forget is while we are just existing, we are holding ourselves back from what could be, and what could be is a bigger purpose for your life that we can’t possibly comprehend. We don’t know the outcomes of life, and often this scares us. It causes us to not step out and take a chance on what God has for you. I don’t know what’s in store for my life, and to be honest, I don’t think I would want to know. All I know is that I am making a commitment to pursue Christ first in every area of my life, recognizing that I am an heir to the kingdom, that in my weakness God makes me strong, and to run after wisdom that gives life. When I step into this way of living, I have become free, I no longer will be held back by my own fears because I know that God holds me in the palms of his hands. We become free in our dependence on Christ. No lie from the enemy can stop me, and no words from those around me will ever make me compromise what the word of God says. We are all unique, we have a greater purpose, and we need to choose to stand with God. When we make this decision, nothing can ever again hold us back.

Choose to trust in Christ alone.

-Joshua Thomas

Starting Over

The idea of starting over and moving into an unknown is a daunting feeling. Often I find myself moving in one direction that I think is where I should go, but my path is changed. Even when I think I am following God’s path for my life, I can never be sure. Moments like this cause me to face the process of starting over. This has happened in my past, through the process of salvation, and it happens continuously. I’m sure we all face this on a regular basis, and to be completely honest, I don’t always want to change. My human self wants to stay safe, safe in the arms of complacency. Risks are unknowns to all of us, the outcome is often built up drastically in our heads, and we use that as an excuse to not change. Over and over in my life, I see myself taking steps in one way, thinking it is the best way, but it feels like the door that was once open, has now been slammed in my face. This is an awful feeling. Doubts are built up in my head, and I begin to doubt my potential. Whether it’s due to mistakes in our past, or the fear of new things, we refuse the gift of starting over.

Notice how that paragraph ended with the word “gift” used to describe starting over, yeah I did that on purpose. It is a good thing to start over, and I know this is true because I have been reading about one of the strongest leaders in the bible that started over. Paul was an amazing servant of the Lord who wrote most of the New Testament, but before he was Paul, he was a terrorist. His birth name was Saul and he was responsible for the capture and murder of Christians, but when God stops him where he stood, he gave Saul the chance to start over. He really started over, completely changing his career, I guess being a terrorist was his career (A bit creepy if you ask me), and giving him a new name. I hope none of you are in the business of being a killer, but God wants to help you start over. In reading through the ministry of Paul, I think there are three key elements that God has in regards to giving you the gift of starting over.

Your past does not define your future.

One of the biggest lies that Satan or the world may throw at you, is that you can never do anything good because of what you have done. This is so wrong, we all screw up and no one is perfect, so don’t be depressed because you won’t be perfect. God doesn’t use perfect people, he uses the broken. I have to remind myself that no matter how much I’ve screwed up, God wants to use me and elevate me from the dirt. If God can take a murderer and change him to becoming one of the most famous leaders in the bible, he can use you and me. The coolest thing about God is that he gives us another chance, something that I have been witnessing first hand from some of the hardships that I have witnessed and experienced through this past year. I have seen friends find their way back to Gods plan, I have seen the church rally around the family of a friend who passed away, and I have seen the redemptive possibilities that are here for my family. While my stories may seem distant, I know that you have been going through hard times as well. Let me tell you that your past and the struggles you have faced will never define your future. Your future is defined by how you follow Christ.

Trials Produce perseverance.

When we are faced with starting over, it is often the result of a struggle or problem that has risen up in our life. Unless you are an optimist, it’s not easy to see the good in situations like this, situations that test us and cause us to question everything. Paul during his time of ministry, faced many trials. He was imprisoned and faced death over and over, but he saw the purpose that it would be used for. Romans 5:3-5 says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” In the midst of the hard times and looking in the face of starting over, we have hope. A hope that is pure and godly, one that will give us a vision for more, rather than a fear of what might happen. The struggles we face guide us to the path we were meant to walk. So what does this mean to start over? Starting over essentially translates to redirecting my vision to where God wants me to be. Our passions may change, our path may have a shut door for us to find a new path, or God may have a sudden direction he takes you. All through the changes, when we keep God first, the rest will fall into place. This may mean changing a profession, not chasing after that one dream but following another, or letting go of things that will hold you back. Remember that in all things, even the trials, God will guide you.

Change is ongoing.

This is the final piece, and it’s the one you may wish I hadn’t revealed. The process of starting over and fully following Christ is continual, meaning that we are never fully finished. We have to constantly be redirecting our minds towards what will give us life. This is why fasting is such an essential part of our walk, taking something that we have elevated to the highest place in our life, and cutting it out for a season in order to focus on what is truly important in life. Currently, Daystar Church is in the time of their twenty one days of prayer and fasting, I am participating because it is such a life giving time to cut something out and grow in Christ. We are praying for a revival to come not only to our church, but to our city. It gets me excited to know that so many are on the same page of craving more of what God has in store for all of us. So ask yourself, what am I holding on to that prevents me from connecting with God? Knowing that the change will be continual and a process that we must strive for.

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The hope I have for you and myself is that we would both learn to start over. To hit the reset button for our life and follow God rather than our own desires. This thought of starting over can feel massive, like looking at a mountain and realizing how small we really are in comparison. The thing we forget when gazing upon the mountain is that we follow the God who created all things, put the stars in the sky, and crafted that mountain with his hands. That same God is with you. God may have you change your path, your dreams may radically change, but that same God will never leave you. He has never left me, and trust me when I say this, because I have faced many mountains in my life. God will help us overcome our toughest mountains when we redirect our focus on him alone. Don’t be afraid, God is with you. No matter what you have faced in the past, no matter what trials you face, and no matter how hard the change may seem, God will always be with you.

Start over with Christ.

-Joshua Thomas

21 Days of Prayer and the Leadership of Joshua

As I sit in a coffee shop here in town, I have been reflecting over the past twenty-one days of prayer that just wrapped up at Daystar Church. It has been an incredible three weeks, filled with prayer and extended time in my mornings to read the word and study it. There’s something refreshing about being able to start one’s day off in the word, and actively pursuing Christ throughout my day. At the end of these three weeks, Daystar held its’ revival over three nights. This was a time filled with worship, teaching, and reflection over where we as the church are headed. It was empowering and encouraging to stand there with Daystars five locations, Cross-point Church, and Iglesia International, all coming together in worship. Needless to say this was an incredible time.

A habit of mine, typically, is to choose a book of the bible that I feel God wants me to spend time in and reflect on it during the twenty-one days. The book that I studied during this time was the book of Joshua (pretty good name of a book if I do say so myself). I love the book of Joshua because it encompasses the meaning of what a true leader is, and how his character should reflect the heart of Christ. Joshua was one of Moses’ close friend and follower, one who stood on the word of God. Basically he got it, he understood the power of Christ and did all that he could to best serve God and his people. He wasn’t born with supernatural bravery when he was called to lead the people into the Promised Land after the death of Moses, he trusted in God. As I was reading over his book, a few ideas popped out to me and I think it is important to share for people striving to be a leader that God has called us to be.

God Is Always There In Our Time Of Need.

Joshua was handed the responsibility of leading all of the Israelites into the Promised Land, this was a big duty and he felt overwhelmed, at first. Joshua was fearful of failing in his leadership, but every time he questioned his abilities, God immediately tells him to not be afraid or discouraged, because God said he would never leave him. It’s easy when in a leadership position to fear failure and question our ability, but God tells us that as we pursue him, he will pursue us. We need to trust him because he is the place where we will find the strength to lead.

God Will Use You If You Are Willing to Give Everything To Him.

In the city of Jericho, Rahab, who was a prostitute, took two spies sent by Joshua and protected them from the city guards. Because of her faithfulness and changing of her heart, not only was she saved when the city fell, but her entire family. Rahab changed her ways, and became a part of the lineage of Christ. Had Rahab never given up her past, she would have perished like the others in Jericho, and never live into God’s calling on her life. In our own lives, it’s easy to hold on to the sin of our past and refuse to let go, but if we don’t, we will never live into our full potential.

Be Wise About Who You Build Your Team With.

After Joshua and the people conquer to city of Jericho, and God tells the people to not rebuild the city or their people in the fallen city or they would fail in their next battle. The people listen to this warning accept for one man named Achan. In their next battle, many Israelites perished and they failed to take the city. Joshua was angered by the dissention that had occurred with those he was leading. The actions of one man caused failure. Achan confessed to his actions, but by then it was too late, the blood was already spilled. He was stoned for his actions due to the law. Now that doesn’t mean if someone makes a mistake they should be stoned, the message here is that in our team, we should choose people who are sold out for the same vision that you cast. If not, your ministry can be drastically affected and end up leading to nothing. Build a team that is sold out for the mission and let go of the people who are not passionate about the mission.

When We Fail, Don’t Lose Hope.

Joshua, like many leaders, became discouraged after this failure among his people. God speaks to him again and tells him to not be discouraged, but to learn from the mistakes and press on. We will all fail at some point in our lives, as leaders it can be easy to want to quit after things get tough, but don’t quit! God will use our failure and turn it into something beautiful. Wise leaders learn from mistakes, make the changes to be more effective, and finish the race.

And finally…

Your Life Is A Monument To God’s Power.

Over and over, Joshua is given victory over his enemies, and after every triumph, creates a monument to show God’s power. As a leader, your life is being looked at by everyone, and it can either reflect the power of God or turn others away. We need to be careful on how we use our influence and ask ourselves the reason behind our actions. Is it to bring glory to God, or to make me look good? Joshua took every opportunity to show others that God was in control and that He was the one giving him strength. Your life reflects if you are finding your power in God, or from yourself.

I hope you can take these ideas and apply them to your ministry. You are a leader, whether you see it or not, you have influence in someone’s life. Follow the example of Joshua and find your strength in Christ.

Thanks for reading, and as always, stay awesome.

-Joshua Thomas

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