“If travel teaches us how to see, how come every time all I see is you?”
~Ika Natassa, Antologi Rasa
Take a minute and look into your heart. How do you feel about yourself? If your answer does not agree with God’s Word, I encourage you to begin today renewing your mind about yourself.
See yourself as God sees you. Study God’s Word and you will find out that you are precious, created in your mother’s womb by God’s own hand. You are not an accident. Even if your parents told you they never really wanted you, I can assure you that God wanted you. You are valuable, you have worth, you are gifted, you are talented, and you have a purpose on this earth.
Not only must we ask God for things He has promised us but we must receive them (see John 16:24). If you feel unworthy, you probably won’t ask, and even if you do, you won’t receive by faith. Don’t let feelings rule you anymore. Take a step of faith and start improving your quality of life today. Believe that you make good decisions, that you are a valuable person with a great future, and something good is going to happen to you today!
Pray: Lord, I ask You to imprint Your love into the depths of my heart. I believe You have a great future for me and that I can walk in Your purpose for my life. Amen.
From the book The Confident Woman Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright 2011 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords.
1. The difference between preparing and not preparing is MASSIVE.
Apart from knowing the songs and learning the lyrics, setting aside time to prepare my heart before God is the most important thing — it allows the Holy Spirit to speak, puts a verse on my heart, and gives me ideas.
2. Receive constructive feedback.
From those around you who have been doing this for longer than you. I want to lead people the best way I can each time, plus I don’t know everything so I need to remain humble and teachable.
3. Have a plan.
If you don’t play an instrument, grab the Music Director, or a musician and together, figure out the keys of the songs you’ve chosen, any potential creative moments you might have, specific transitions, etc. That way you have a plan in place that has been practiced, but you also have flexibility to change if you feel to do so.
4. Have an opinion.
Especially if you’re a co-worship leader. When the senior worship leader asks you what you think of a song, idea, or moment – have something to contribute! You could have a great idea that no one has thought of yet.
5. Run your song list by someone else.
I always get a second eye to look over my list, just to make sure it’s the strongest and most relevant it can be. This can mean you may need to tailor a song list to a specific service and then tweak it slightly for the next one.
6. Don’t strive when you lead, but don’t step back either.
Lead with the authority that has been given to you. Yes, there is a spiritual weight to the platform, which includes the responsibility we have to lead people to Jesus, but lead confidently knowing you’ve been given the platform and entrusted by your pastors.
7. You will have a train wreck and you will be okay.
A close friend and mentor told me this and a week later, I had a beauty! Don’t stress – it keeps you humble and you learn from it, plus they make for great stories!
8. Watch, listen and learn every chance you get.
We never graduate from learning.
9. Your primary service to the church is to lead them to the presence of God.
Don’t think for a second that worship leading is your moment to shine or preach, especially when you are taking ‘the gap’. If it adds to the service and allows you to arrest the atmosphere, then do it; but if it takes away from Jesus and what your primary purpose is, leave it out.
10. Be yourself.
You are unique and God speaks to each of us differently, so lead accordingly. God has put something on your life, so lead from that place.
Even in the good, I’ll follow You. Even in the storms, I’ll follow You.
Listening to I Will Follow by Jon Guerra
Preview it on Path
Corporate jobs may be frowned upon by many millennials, but they’re still meaningful to God.
“Yeah, you’re a bit of a YUP,” my friend smiled. I stared back at him, confused.
“What? Really? No way. You think?” I responded, contemplating the claim.
“Think about it. You work downtown. Have your own car. You’re buying your own house soon. You dress up every day and you work in a big office building. Young? Check. Urban? Check. Professional? Check.”
“I guess you’re right.” I paused, chuckling. “But I’m not your typical YUP. I’m just your regular guy.” Defenses up, I did my best to avoid the stereotype of one of those stuffy entitled guys in a suit, recalling my journalism days and my dreams for the future.
“Oh for sure.” He said. “But does it matter if you’re a YUP or not? You’re there for a reason, God’s using your gifts and you’re following His direction, right? You’re in the right place so long as you keep faith, trust in God and seek to show His love to the people you work with.”
My friend had a point. Most twentysomethings, especially those in the the Church, want to do something meaningful with their life—and they often think that translates directly into working in full-time ministry, dedicating their life to creating art or starting their own nonprofit. All those things are worthwhile and good goals, but looking around my church at the twentysomethings who are making a lot of big life decisions, rarely do I see an example of a young millennial who has gone the traditional route of a four-year college degree to find themselves in a cubicle on the 11th floor—or at least who are happy being there. It isn’t the ideal of many who seek to serve the Kingdom of God.
Having worked in a corporate setting for a few years, I’ve often questioned why I still walk to the same desk every day.
Corporate work offers many opportunities to serve God, to show love to people and to be a good steward of what you’ve been given.
But while our communities and churches certainly benefit from photographers, artists, writers, musicians, artisans, chefs, carpenters, fire-fighters, hard-laborers, entrepreneurs and small-business owners, those who have found themselves in a corporate gig have just as much to contribute to both the Church and the Kingdom as any other talented individual. In fact, corporate work offers many opportunities to serve God, to show love to people and to be a good steward of what you’ve been given. Here are a few reasons your corporate job matters:
1. It’s a Place to Exercise Your Gifts.
Maybe you’re naturally good with money, or you’re an excellent copywriter. You have a knack for creating sound business plans, handling budgets and organizing people. Whatever your gifting may be in terms of your professional skills, your corporate position may be the perfect place to exercise and develop those gifts. Often, organizations will even pay for your professional development or schooling in order to advance you in the company or give you greater responsibility. And the demands of the corporate business world also call for the application of sound biblical principles of honesty, integrity, accountability, a solid work ethic and a love for people, including colleagues and customers.
If you’ve found yourself in a corporate setting, take a step back and examine your circumstance. You have skills and talents that got you there. In what ways can you honor those God-given gifts, where you are, right now?
2. It Provides Ways to Serve the Church With Your Expertise.
Church isn’t just a place to show up once or twice a week. It’s a gathering of a diverse collection of people to worship God together, to learn of God’s Word together, to serve our communities together. It’s also the living, breathing Body of Christ.
Every single person has the ability to contribute to the health of the Church, and your corporate experience and gifts might be exactly what the Church needs. You have the ability to help someone get their small business running, assist a local business with marketing, bring your organization or leadership skills to your church’s next conference or children’s event and even use your accounting skills to help your church balance its budget.
You probably know more than you think, and you can use that knowledge to help the Church and Body of Christ in ways that others simply cannot.
Your corporate job gives you insight into standard business practices that others can benefit from. You probably know more than you think, and you can use that knowledge to help the Church and Body of Christ in ways that others simply cannot.
3. It Offers Opportunities to Reach the Unreached.
As a follower of Christ, you have influence in your place of work. In every office, there is someone who needs to know the love of Jesus, who needs to hear the message of the Cross, who needs someone like you to speak truth and life into their circumstance. This is perhaps your biggest opportunity to find purpose in your corporate work. God can and will use you to reach people in finance, accounting, marketing, advertising—whatever the field.
Rather than looking at corporate work as the evil scourge of the earth (though you certainly want to make sure your personal values align with an organization’s corporate values), riding the elevator to the 11th floor every day may be exactly where God needs you to develop your spiritual character, your gifts and to reach those who are broken, empty and living without knowing their Savior.
Your corporate job matters so long as you keep in mind what you are putting in and what you are getting out of it. As long you’re developing, learning, reaching others and honoring the Lord by doing work with excellence and fervor, that gray cubicle may be the exact place you need to be.
In my study of successful people, the one thing they all seem to have in common is a passion and dedication for reading. Below are three firsthand accounts from highly influential people highlighting the importance of reading.
1. Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger
I group these two together because of the extent to which they share the same ideologies. The duo is legendary for their longstanding business and investing prowess through investments at Berkshire Hathaway, which has consistently outperformed the market since its inception.
The result has spawned an army of devoted followers and has earned Buffett and Munger titles of two of the richest men on the planet. As a testament to their influence, thousands of people fly in from across the world to spend just a day listening to Buffett and Munger speak at their annual shareholder’s meeting.
So when Buffett or Munger give advice, we should listen. The two largely share the same philosophies on best business practices and investment styles, and they also happen to agree on the same method for success. In a 2007 commencement speech given at the USC School of Law, Charlie Munger said:
I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.
He goes on to reference Buffett as an example of such a learning machine:
If you watched Warren Buffett with a time clock, I would say half of all the time he spends is just sitting on his ass and reading. And a big chunk of the rest of the time is spent talking on the phone or personally with people he trusts.
Buffett echoes his partner’s sentiments. When asked how to get smarter at a conference, he held up a stack of papers and said:
Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will.
2. Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban seems to achieve success in every industry he enters, whether it’s business, entertainment, technology, investing or sports. He started and sold his first business, Micro Solutions (a systems integrator and software reseller), despite never having formally studied technology or software. How did he do it?
The reason, according to Cuban, is that reading gave him the competitive advantage to succeed where others couldn’t, and this applies to all endeavors. As he explains in his book, “How to Win at the Sport of Business,”
I read every book and magazine I could. Heck, three bucks for a magazine, twenty bucks for a book. One good idea would lead to a customer or a solution, and those magazines and books paid for themselves many times over. Some of the ideas I read were good, some not. In doing all the reading I learned a valuable lesson. Most people won’t put in the time to get a knowledge advantage. Sure, there were folks that worked hard at picking up every bit of information that they could, but we were few and far between. To this day, I feel like if I put in enough time consuming all the information available, particularly with the Internet making it so readily accessible, I can get an advantage in any technology business
3. Malcolm X
Perhaps the most inspirational example of the importance of reading comes from the life story of Malcolm X. He dropped out of school upon completing the 8th grade, disgusted with the educational system after a white teacher at the school had discouraged him in his dream of becoming a lawyer.
Out of school, Malcolm X eventually entered into the world of drug dealing and pimping in Harlem at age 18, then got into larger robberies and was arrested and incarcerated for larceny at age 20.
However, Malcolm X began to turn his life around during his time in prison, partly through his conversion to Islam, but more so through a fellow inmate who inspired in him a serious passion for reading. He writes in his autobiography:
In every free moment I had, if I was not reading in the library, I was reading on my bunk. You couldn’t have gotten me out of books with a wedge […] In fact, up until then, I had never been so truly free in my life […] My homemade education gave me, with every additional book that I read, a little bit more sensitivity to the deafness, dumbness and blindness that was afflicting the black race in America. Not long ago, an English writer telephoned my from London, asking questions. One was, ‘What’s your alma mater?’ I told him, ‘Books.’ You will never catch me with a free fifteen minutes in which I’m not studying something…
These three people worked or continue to work in a range of fields spanning business, investing, technology, politics, public speaking, civil rights and leadership.
They lived or live through different periods of time with different purposes and missions in life. Yet the common link among them is their affinity for reading and their accreditation of success to that key trait.
The takeaway is, regardless of your endeavor, your current situation, your upbringing, or the path you wish to take in life, reading is the key to upward mobility. It may not guarantee success, but it surely increases the chances of it.
Fortunately, the amount of time we spend reading is entirely within our control, so get to it.
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