Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The Children Shouldn't Die

So, with the coming of back-to-school just around the corner, I was reflecting about the past school year and how there were more shootings than ever before. It's a tragedy. It should not happen, not on our watch. At the gym I heard the tv running and an ad popped up for one political candidate promising they would do something. They were right in one thing they said, "Children should not have to fear going to school." But the idea that we can create a law to change people's hearts and intentions is far from a strategy that will work. You can't legislate morality. 

My friends, this is a spiritual battle. It is fought and won on spiritual grounds. As the body of Christ, it is our duty to intercede for the children. I could go on and on writing my heart out on this, but today I simply want to invite you to pray. Pray for the protection of our schools, pray for the salvation of our teachers and their students, pray for God to arrest and seize every evil intent before it's acted upon. 

Last night I was at a prayer gathering with my church and the Lord pressed upon my heart to pray a thing that seems impossible, but for Him it is! I prayed that this year there would be no school shootings. You heard me, zero, nada, none! It is not beyond our God to hear and lend Himself to answer this call. Church let's unite in this prayer for the next generation. Let's not allow the devil another inch! 

I'm not one who typically send on chain mail, but please pray this with me and encourage all those who call on the name of our Lord Jesus to do the same. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke. Let's do something. Let's pray!

"Dear God, our Father who loves us and cares for all children. Hear our cry to you. Our cry for the children of this nation. Surround them with your protection, keep them from harm in their classrooms and throughout their day. Send your servants to be a light in the schools; praying and proclaiming your heart. We ask that You send Your warring angels to fight for the lives of these kids and that you act Oh' God. Stop ever attack before it is acted upon. We pray those who are tempted into harming others would encounter You and Your loving grace and would be turned away from evil. In the name of Jesus, the name You gave us, we declare victory and salvation for our children this year. We boldly ask that not one child would die out of violence at school and that not one school shooting would happen. Thank you, In Jesus' name, Amen. "

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

That's Just My Luck!

"That's just my luck." It's a phrase we hear all too often when something terrible, unfortunate or down-right awful happens. When we do this, we have ascribed the "bad events" of the day as normal occurrences for our abnormal selves. When I say or think this phrase, I often also am thinking about how I, unlike everyone else, can never seem to catch a break. This thinking, however, is extremely flawed. I am not more unfortunate that anyone else, my misfortunes just have a greater affect on me so they feel like they are greater and more frequent for me.

Let me go back to the thought about ascribing normalcy with our words. There is a theory in the study of Communication called "Social Constructionism." This theory holds the idea that language, more so, spoken words have a tremendous impact on our reality. The things we speak help shape our reality. In scripture we see forms of this taking place: Gen 1: God spoke the world into being. Gospels: Jesus spoke healing and life (and death to one unfruitful tree), Acts: The apostles speaking healing and declaring the Kingdom. Also, we see that throughout the Bible followers of God are commanded to speak and decree things into being (Job 22:28, Rom. 4:17 (in reference to Abraham), Prov. 18:21, *and more).

Back to the "my luck" saying; you may be thinking that you're not speaking bad 'luck' upon yourself, you're just stating the facts. This is true, but it is also true that you're agreeing with the enemy's plans over your life. You see, he wants you to think and believe that bad things are you lot and should be expected as your norm. It would be his utter defeat if you started believing, speaking and acting like God's own inheritance is your portion (WHICH IT IS!!!! Rom 8:16-17). You were not made to inherit "bad luck" and you were not saved to keep it. God's plans for you are so much greater!! He needs you to accept all the goodness He has for you so it can spread.

For example: Today on my ride, the forecast said that it was a small percentage for rain. I dawned my motorcycle gear and headed out. To my surprise (but not too much since this is FL and we ALWAYS get rain in the afternoon), I saw dark clouds up ahead. Now, I could have said, "Geeze, that's just my luck; as soon as I leave the house the clouds come out." However, I didn't (I'm learning to accept that Jesus wants good things for me and desires to answer my prayers). I said a short, "Lord, please don't let it rain on me." When I got safely home, as I was shutting the door I heard thunder overhead. I thought to myself and thanked the Lord for being so good to me. Then it dawned on me that I should expect His goodness to show up in my life. I was not "lucky" that it didn't rain on me, I was blessed! I truly believe He wants to bless His kids (more that we can imagine or hope that He would).

Something you may not have thought about before: is your unwillingness to accept that God wants to bless you keeping His blessing from spreading to someone else? My friend, bad luck is not your portion. Misfortune is not from God. He has called you His precious, adopted, chosen, child!!!! And He is a good Father! No dad who is worth his salt ever wanted bad things for his kids. Note aside: I am not saying that bad things will not happen to you (we do live in a fallen world the last time I checked), nor am I saying that God's will is for you to have "your best life now." I am not preaching a prosperity gospel where Jesus died so you can have a Mercedes. What I am saying is this: Your "NORMAL" should include God's favor. Don't let the devil lie to you and make you think that "bad luck" is just how your life is. He saved you and set you free from that life when He bought you with Jesus' blood. When something unfortunate does happen and you're tempted to think "oh' that's just how my life rolls," stop yourself and return that thought to its sender!

When we are focused on our problems, our eyes leave Jesus. When we encounter a hiccup from life and manage to keep our eyes on the Savior (it's not easy and it takes practice, I'm still getting there myself), then our entire perspective changes. We no longer think, "That's just my luck," instead we ask Jesus how He sees it. Is this situation for your benefit (we know that God will work it for your good Rom. 8:28)? Is it so you can learn something? Is it correction for a sin or fault of your own? When we start talking to Jesus about our issues, they become an opportunity to draw nearer to Him.

I challenge you, the next time you're faced with what you'd call, "just my luck," ask Jesus how He sees things, and then start decreeing what He says about you. Speak life!

*For more verse on this check out:

Monday, 23 July 2018

But Who Am I?

Identity Crisis

So as you all know, I got married late last year. It was an awesome wedding (my personal favorite); held in my parents' front yard with a bluegrass band and handmade d├ęcor, it was just our style. Anyway, with the wondrousness of getting married also came the headache of changing my name. 

Oh yeah, that's a little tid-bit of fun that no one really prepares you to handle. It starts with a trip to the social security office (which for most people is seamless; I however, forgot my SSN when I got my marriage license and had to sort a whole mess of problems, including my hubby being legally married to a man from IL... Ooops). Regardless, that's just the start. Then you have to get your driver's license changed and then all your bank documents, accounts, subscriptions, etc. After almost 9 months of being "Mrs. Whitaker" I am still finding accounts that I have not yet updated. It's a big deal.

I had a run-in with one of the banks due to them not wanting to use my new name to open an account because I was already on file with my old name. It was a source of frustration for me because I was thinking the whole time as they opened up a new account under my old name of "Carolyn Reams," "That's not me anymore, that person does not exist." I knew who I was and wanted to be seen as such. The things that called me according to my past did not reflect the person that I am today.

If you were wondering where this post was going, it's here: when we come to Christ, we are reborn as "New Creations." Scripture tells us that the old has passed away, behold all things have become new (2 Cor 5:17). When someone calls or treats us according to our old nature, we should not go along with it. God has revolutionized who we are. It is not like Jesus came in and gave us a make-over. That's too much like a divine cover-up. Instead, He changed the very make-up of who we are!!!! I really want that to get through.... He changed the very make-up of who we are!!!!

We are no longer sinners. Before you call me a heretic, I did NOT say that we don't sin any more BUT that we are not longer called according to our old nature (aka: "sinners"). We often look at Paul's discourse in Romans 7 as a stand-alone chapter (this is where he talks about how he doesn't do what he wants to do and does do what he doesn't want to do regarding sin). But it doesn't stop at chapter seven, and his argument didn't start there either.

Take a look with me. In chapter 6 he says: v7 "For the one who has died has been set free from sin. v10-11 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourself dead to sin... v18 &22 and having been set free from sin, have been made slaves of righteousness. These are just a few of the verses where Paul declares our freedom from our past way of life (if it is our past way of life, STOP speaking like you're still a sinner!!). A sinner by definition is someone who is still stuck in sin, if you're in Christ you've been freed from sin, so start living in your freedom.

Those verses I shared deal with what is before chapter 7, where Paul talks about his flesh. What comes after is often overlooked. Chapter 7 ends with Paul saying "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the Law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin." THEN in chapter 8 he continue (the reader should understand that when Paul wrote, he did not use chapter breaks so his reader would not have confused this as a separated thought). He says: "There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.!"

Hallelujah! I'm not a "sinner" I am a slave to righteousness!!! There's a saying out there in the church that seems good on the surface, "I'm just a sinner saved by grace." It has the appearance of humility, but it neglects the POWER of Jesus that transformed you into a new creation. Sinners get saved by grace... and then they are not sinners anymore. That's the glory of our God!! He made beauty out of what was worthless, not by lowering His standards and accepting sinners into His kingdom but by loving sinners so much He transformed them into saints.

My fellow saints, identity is HUGE! I heard today in a sermon from Benny Hinn that the enemy sees you as you see yourself. If you see yourself as a sinner, he's gonna jump on that like a cat on a mouse. If you see yourself as the redeem, righteous hands of Jesus then your foe trembles in fear.

This issue of identity is heavy on my heart. For a long time I was a saved Christian but still lost. I didn't know who I was or who God made me to be. I hope to write more on this topic, as I learn more myself. It's a journey and it starts when God called us out of sin into sainthood.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

It's Super-Natural!

Well folks, hello again. I know, I know, it's been a year since I last wrote; but hey, if you're gonna start writing again you gotta do it some time. :) Now is as good as any.

Funny how life changes. Since my last post, I've gotten married, bought a house, gone to Bible school (not what you think), and gotten a dog... Oh! and I've come back to the US of A. :) If that were not enough, I also was led to start a new ministry at my church for young adults (and convinced
by a friend to start writing this blog again). So here it goes...

By my title, you may have guessed that some crazy awesome things have happened, and you'd be right! Last night the young adult group went to worship at the beach. I figured there is no greater place while living in FL to see the greatness of God and engage in inspired worship. I was right... But not for the reasons I thought. I was expecting a calm and sweet trip to the coast, to see the ocean and the sky and reflect on its bigness and how great God was. Instead, He struck us all with the awe of His power and glory!

Reckless Trust Being Tested 
You see, in FL we have these things called, thunderstorms. Every day around 5pm the skies open up and a torrent washes away the heat of the day (at least during summer). One would think a "wise leader" such as myself (that statement is in question) would have expected that our evening event in the open air would be subject to these storms and would have planned to visit the coast during a less stormy time of year. But no, not me. I thought nothing of it while planning, and to my surprise it all turned out for the better.

You see, as we were driving all together in a 15 passenger van, the skies opened up, pour water from the heavens that nearly eclipsed our sight of the road ahead. We made the choice to keep driving, as I had planned for a friend from Vero to meet us 2 hours north of him at Cocoa Beach. Lightning was striking all around and all hope of clear skies was eliminated. We began to pray. We spoke of the greatness of our God and His power over the storm. We prayed for the waters to part and for us to worship on dry ground. We prayed that the rain would surround us but not touch us and the storm would make way for His worshipers. Things were bleak, the thought of turning around crossed my mind more than once. I was responsible for those who followed me out there and I didn't want to put them in danger. Driving on these roads seemed as if I'd already done that. But we had started out to see God's glory at the ocean and I felt that He would make a way for His worshipers. If nothing else, we would have a bonding time of finding shelter. Again, I will say, it looked as though there was no hope. Some of our party who were in different vehicles turned back but I was determined that we would at least give God the chance to work a miracle. And work one He did!

Unexpected Glory
We arrived at the coast and to our awe and amazement, there was no rain above. Praising Him because of His miraculous answer to prayer we walked down to the seaside and again we saw the glory of God. Lightning was striking over the water, rain came down to our left and darkness was on our right. We stood with mouths agape as again and again in the skies God performed a heavenly light show for us.

We worshiped there and sang praises to our God, we meditated on the things He has done for us and marveled at His glory. That was not all the Lord did for us, as if He were drawing the curtain and lighting a performance stage, the sky lit up shades of orange and pink and red as the sun neared its resting place. Again, awe gripped our hearts. A natural phenomenon that for us was supernatural.

One Thing
The thing that we saw was an answer to prayer; we witnessed God in His divinity and power show off a little. We went to the coast to see His creative glory and were blown away by His majesty. The I ponder is "what would have happened if we had not endured the storm?" In short, we would have thought our night was ruined. We would have NOT seen God answer our prayer. We would have Not witnessed His expounded glory. We would have walked away disappointed.

God taught me last night not to give up when the storm closes in, when things look impossible and hope disappears behind the clouds... maybe that's when breakthrough is about to come. Perhaps God is waiting for your perseverance, perhaps His delay is for a greater display of His glory. Perhaps your breakthrough is around the corner.

Nothing Impossible
As we drove, I wanted all of our young people to pray with me in faith that God would come through for us. I turned to the back and asked "Would you pray with me for the impossible?" The reply I got was, "Nothing is impossible for God." This is SO TRUE! Nothing is impossible for our God!! We saw the impossible happen, but we would not have witnessed our answer to prayer if we had turned back. 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

In Sorrows and Suffering: Three things I've Learned Through the Hard Times

Suffering. It’s something everyone born in flesh will experience, or has experienced. As believers in Christ Jesus, and Him as the Son of a Good God, we have many outlooks on how and why we end up in painful situations. Now I do not claim that God causes us to directly suffer, but in the cases where we let Him, I’ve seen that He uses our pain to shape us, to refine us and to make us more like Him. He works all things together for the good of those who love Him. We know this to be true, but really, why do bad things happen to good people? It’s a question that mankind has asked for many years, and not one that I intend to completely tackle but will indirectly give some insight into one of its possible answers.

That being said, I’m not anywhere near being able to speak as an authority on the subject of suffering, however, this season has brought to my attention some of the benefits it has had in my own life.
Here are a few things I have seen in my life as I’ve walked through painful situations:
  • 1.       Suffering unites us and equips us. All throughout the new testament, especially in the letters to the churches, believers are urged to pray for one another, care for one another and encourage one another through the suffering they are facing. We (believers) all share in the common bond of denying the flesh and choosing to suffer for our Lord. We are all on the same journey towards Christ-likeness and the Bible points out that this journey does not come without trials and testing. We are encouraged to keep the faith through our difficult situations, because we know that we are not in this alone. Now our modern day American suffering may not be close to the same as first-century persecution (though we may one day face the same); however, we are all still united in our call to deny the world and follow Christ. I’ve found that I can relate so much more to those who are struggling after I myself have struggled. The pain of doubt and fear have caused me to have greater confidence, now that I’m on the other side. Without my questioning, I would not have the answers. Without my answers/confidence in my own faith, I would not have what I need to minister to others facing similar challenges that I’ve overcome. So, in a way, God gives us different challenges to overcome so that we each have someone to turn to when we are facing the same, and vice versa. This way we function as a body and not as individuals. Paul mentions this kind of comfort circle when he addresses the church in Corinth (2 Cor 1).
  • 2.       In our suffering, we experience God in a new way. I never knew the comfort of the Holy Spirit until I knew the suffering of my soul. In my pain, He came through as the Comforter. A thing I never would have known apart from my struggle. See my blog post: “Wine and Woes.” We get to experience Christ in our struggles. Just as in Daniel chapter 3, where God deliberately chooses not to save His three brave followers from the fiery furnace, but instead joins them in their fire. He protects them and delivers them, but He does not keep them from the trouble. Is was through the fire that they were found to be with Jesus, in their life’s greatest trial they had fellowship with Christ. They were brought from their situation with strengthened faith that brought the king and his kingdom to glorify God. Maybe your trial is to point someone to Jesus through the way they see Him with you as you endure the fire.
  • 3.       Suffering make us more “perfect.” I was amazed at seeing in scripture where is says that even Jesus was perfected through His suffering (Heb. 2). Now if there is anyone who doesn’t need more pain to be perfect, it’s Jesus (I mean, I thought He was already the complete picture of fullness and perfection already). Yet, scripture tells us that even Christ had something to gain through His pain on this earth.* Since He was completely man, I like to think it is that He learned more about who His Father was and also how to relate with our pain. I don’t know about you, but I’m nowhere near close to Jesus status when it comes to righteousness…. What makes me think that God should always swoop in and deliver me from the pain that, may in fact, be the very thing to draw me closer to Him. In my times of deep sorrow and frustration, I have found that the gentle voice of my loving Father is always present to point out the things that were caused because of my own sinfulness. This purging of sin from my life is a painful process, but I would not be who I am without it. In fact, I relate to the Apostle Paul when he says he rejoices in his suffering because he knows the good thing it produces within him.

So even with the discomfort that life can bring, I know that God ultimately works it for my good. This year I have been to so many funeral services I have lost count. Yet, it is an awe-striking thing to seeing a life well-lived come to conclusion. In the pain of death, there is a subtle beauty to the life God shaped. In those moments of memory, we see the hand of God through a person’s life to accomplish great things. Of all the memorial services I went to, the God-glorifying testimonies were never from a person whose life was easy, whose pain was non-existent, or whose path had no struggles. In every great story, the protagonist much overcome so great challenge. We don’t sympathize with the ones who sit in the dust and complain at why life isn’t easier or why they have a hard task; we rally behind the valiant who face hardship, pain and challenge head-on. God has a great story He is writing!

Write now I would say I am in a place where I am hesitant to pray for God to deliver me from all my troubles. I know there is something He is teaching me through them so I desire to face them head-on, and not to disregard what's for my good as something solely from the enemy (I used to have a childish mindset that anything that was painful to me must have been the devil at work). Now I see that correction, training, attaining to perfection, they all require hard work, and yes, sometimes a little suffering. I don't deny that sometimes pain is the result of a door left open that the enemy uses to afflict the righteous, but it's not that way every time. Sometimes it's the enemy, sometimes it's because we live in a fallen world, but ALL the times God uses it for my good!

My encouragement to you is to keep your eyes on your story’s author, even in your pain. Hold fast, knowing that He is all-good, all-loving and all-knowing and that He is working your situation towards your good and His glory!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Wine and Woes

A short disclaimer before you read the rest of this post. I am one who likes to take the words of Paul to Timothy and enjoy the occasional glass of wine... It's good for the stomach. I like the warmth a sweet red provides as it glides its way down and the taste as it dances across my tongue. I do not ever drink to get drunk and feel it is wrong to do so, but on a recent occasion I realized why some people do. 

After a conversation with a dear friend, I hung up the phone with an ache in my heart. Words exchanged and thoughts considered caused my chest to contract and upon reflection, I would equate the feeling similar to my heart being placed in a blender and poured out on the road for a reckless matatu (Kenyan bus) to drive over. Is this description exaggerating a bit? Perhaps, but none the less, it's how I felt in the moment. 

Image result for wineAs I walked home from work that afternoon I thought of the half empty (yes, at this point my outlook made it seem half empty vs half full) bottle of wine sitting in my fridge and how easy it would be to drown my sorrows with the comfort of a little escapism. I wondered if this situation warranted me getting drunk for the first time and decided it did not. In all this I realized that it's an easy thing to do, turning to a drunken escape, when you're feeling so broken. 

That night I cried myself to sleep. Between the sobs I dozed off until I was too exhausted to weep anymore. I know at this point you must be wondering what could have happened that my reaction would be so severe. My point in this post is not to focus on the who or what that made me feel this way but rather on the grace of God that is present in my story. 

In the morning I woke up not feeling so broken, rest has a way of bringing a sweet forgetfulness to the hurts of yesterday... at least for me. Though my heart felt like it had been returned to my chest, it was still a broken mess. Though the extremity of my emotions had subsided, the residing pain had not vacated. Knowing that I needed a time away with jesus, I opened my Bible to continue my quest to read through scriptures in the course of this year. I opened to Luke. I read the part about new wine in old wineskins and vise versa, then after, what I had never seen before, a sentence jumped out at me. Jesus said, "And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, 'The old is better.'" This took me back to my first experience with the Holy Spirit's presence in my life and how awesome and powerful it was. Yet, even as awe-striking and life changing as it might have been, it didn't compare to that moment walking with God daily in a growing maturity. His dept and love for me was shown in such a way that we have a familiar knowing of each other. Holy Spirit is no longer someone new and strange. i had fear when we first met but now, we walk together and He guides me in stillness. A thing far greater than when I began this journey with Him. 

As I sat in the quietness of my room, alone with the Spirit of God and as I meditated on the Scripture I had just read, I was reminded of how Paul instructed believers not to be filled with wine but to be drunk on the Spirit. This took a whole new meaning for me as just the night before I wrestled with wanting to escape reality. Paul's command here was that we turn to our Savior and our true Comforter in our times of despair. That instead of trying to escape our present pain through drunken stuper, we turn to Jesus and lay our pain at His feet. We invitee the Comforter to heal our brokenness. 

In the same way, Paul says that he rejoices in his suffering and that it is for Comfort's sake (1 Cor 1:5-7) that he embraces the pains of life. That he may truly know the comfort and peace the Spirit brings. I can honestly say that this morning, as I say in God's presence I felt comfort in the depths of my soul that far outweighed the anguish of the day before. I would not have known this comfort if it had not been for my pain. I say with Paul that for this reason, I rejoice in my suffering because through it, I experience a new depth of God's love and grace towards me. 

Image result for Dad hug
I did not receive any directions for what I should do, I did not hear God tell me that I had been right or wrong the day before, I did not even hear him say anything about the future of this friendship under fire. All I know is that the presence of God was tangible, and like a bear hug from your Dad that brings so much comfort, God's presence embraced me in all my brokenness and placed the pieces of my heart back together. 

I want to encourage you today. If you are struggling or hurt or in a place of anguish, allow the Spirit of God to be your comforter. Don't numb the pain through escaping reality, be it through alcohol, movies, entertainment, etc. but embrace it because it may just be the tool God is using to bring you closer to Him. We appreciate food so much more when we are hungry. Perhaps your situation is creating in you a hunger, and a need, for God's comfort. 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

A New Book Shows It's Old Hat

3.5, that is the number of months I have remaining in Kenya. As such, I have refocused my efforts here to make sure I am spending my time wisely. One thing that being in a new place has caused me to do is to write reviews of where I am every four months. I look at my home life, my work life, my spiritual life, and my social life. Based on my observations I write out recommendations for myself for the following season. I analyze my performance on past goals and set new ones to refocus my efforts and increase the value of my time here. This is a practice that I hope to continue when I return home. It has been invaluable to my learning and growing here in Kenya and I think it'll work for you to if you want to be a person of growth. This picture is how I visualize my goals for the next few months.

One of my goals is to read three new leadership books in the course of this next term. I started by picking up John Maxwell's "Developing Leaders Around You," as it seems very pertinent to my future plans. in it he talks about what makes a good leader. I read through chapter four thinking it was good advice and noticing lots of similarities in his other book "Developing the Leader Within You," also a good read, but it was not until I read through 2 Corinthians later that day that I realize these leadership principles are no new thing. In fact, the Apostle Paul demonstrates them so well, he basically wrote the book on it... Well okay not really, but the way in which he relates to his followers -and those he is training into leadership, has so many similarities to Maxwell's advice (he is a preacher, so who knows, maybe he got his tips from Paul).

I was so impressed by the similarities of Paul's discipleship approach and Maxwell's advice on developing leaders I thought I would share a few of the parallels. I will start by sharing few of the principles outlined by Maxwell and then will relate how Paul expertly uses the same methods. Before I jump into this, however, I want to share with you that 2 Cor is a letter written to a church with whom Paul had a long-standing relationship. He had spent time with them, built churches with them, and given them correction for misconduct. As you read the letter you can see Paul is very specific to details dealing with their situation and their history.

Show Transparency 

Paul knows who he is and what he has been called to. He shares of his weaknesses (12:1-10 -not a typical act for leaders wanting to "impress" others with their having it all together) and he tells of his hardships as well as admits when he is speaking from his own boastfulness (11:16-30). He does not carry the presumption that he has everything together and is intentional to discuss areas of conflict in his plans to come see them (1:15-17). his open communication on this also shows that he understood that when you don't say something, you still say something. if an area of uncertainty/change is left unaddressed by the leadership then those following will make up their own minds about why their expectations were not met. paul was clear to address these areas and make sure no one made false assumptions about his reasons for what he chose to do. 

Offer Time 

this is one thing that paul did and did very well. I mean, he was pulled in many different directions as ministry often requires, but he purposed to spend time with the Corinthians. He mentions several times that this will be his thrid visit to them. Acts 18:11 tells us that Paul spent a year and a half pouring into the people in Corinth. Time is valuable, it is something you can give and won't ever receive back, but Paul knew the importance of spending time with people. There is no quick-fix replacement to spending quality time in developing people. 

Believe in People 

Paul believed in his followers, despite their hard fall from righteous living as seen in 1 Cor, he still loved them and encouraged them and told them he had boasted about them to others who would visit (7:13-16) and to other churches about their generosity (9:2). He looks passed their faults and builds them up by affirming his belief in them. He says, "I am glad I can have complete confidence in you. (7:16)" What would it feel like to have someone who you look up to say that about you? It would be awesome, I think it would even make you want to live up to that high expectation. 

Give Encouragement and Hope

All through the letter Paul is encouraging them by reminding them who they are in Christ (3:1-18). He gives them encouragement about their future of being with the Lord (5). he calls them to be separate from the world and encourages them that they can have the righteousness of God (5:16-21). he also gives grace and hope for the sinner by telling the people that the repentant sinner should be welcomed back and forgiven (2:5-11), he also expresses his hope for the people and provides encouraging words about Go, their comforter (1:3-7).  

Exhibit Consistency 

Paul is consistent in character and backs this up through his telling of his rights to true apostleship (10-11) and through his explanation of changed plans (1). Throughout thee letter, he not only defends his ministry and integrity but also admonishes them to follow in the consistency of walking with the Lord, as he has shown. 

Lead with Confidence

Paul's ministry exhibited an unusual confidence, he wrote with boldness and speaks with authority that is firmly grounded in his calling as an apostle of Christ. he boasts in God and the call he has. in chapteer 10, Paul defends his ministry and throughout the letter he firmly establishes himself by speaking with authority given to him by God. Confidence is one thing that followers and future leaders need to see modeled, they won't want to go where there is not a sure direction

Provide Security 

Through his forgiveness and acceptance of those who had done wrong and then repented, Paul shows that there are open arms in the body of Christ that provide a welcome to those wanting to return. he demonstrates that there is no being "kicked out" forever; there is security in God's family when you turn back to Him. Paul is also free in sharing of his love for them and urges them to share this love as well (6:11-13). This affirms that their relationship is secure, as he speaks to them as his beloved children. 

Reward Production 

This one is not followed in the business sense of the word, the idea is that you reward people for doing what you want them to. Paul's goal was to bring his followers to repentance. he praises them for their repentant hearts and for their godly sorrow, (7) all the while, affirming his love for them and his desire not to hurt them. 

Establish a Support System 

Paul worked within a network of churches. He shares this freely and encourages the Corinthians to be generous to their brethren. As well as his call for generosity, he says how he has boasted of them to these other churches and how they are accountable to them and to God. he had also sent support to them through other churches' donations (8-9), he gives them emotional and spiritual support through his encouragements. 

Discern and Personalize the Journey

This point is the first one that jumped out at me as I read through 2 Cor. You can tell immediately that he is speaking to a people with whom he has a history. he cares for them and speaks to their needs. he is not shy in addressing their problems and gives tailor-made solutions and advice. he trains them based on their needs, as opposed to giving just generic advice; such as we find easy to give such as: "pray about it," and "WWJD?" He told them what they needed because he knew their situation and was invested in their success.

These are just a few of the principles mentioned in Maxwell's book and I am sure that many more could be found through the life of Paul. I hope that you've found it encouraging, if not just interesting, to see these similarities.

What principles do you think are needed for good leaders?

Where have you seen them modeled in Scripture?