A Different Kind of Harvest

planting gardenI love spring time even though we are not quite there yet, we are getting closer every day! The jonquils are blooming in Georgia and that means spring is very near. This morning I read a passage about planting and harvesting a different kind of crop. It was a lesson that I had heard many times, but I was challenged to plan further out each time.  Paul uses the analogy of a farmer planting seeds to teach about giving. Check this out….

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need, and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, 

“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-9 NLT)

I realized that for a farmer to have a good crop later this year, he must plan now. He must organize and measure the fields, prepare the soil, get the seeds ready to be planted at just the right time. In all of this, the farmer taking a risk with his time and resources. His crop is then at the mercy of sunshine and rain in appropriate doses. He can’t control either of those. The farmer decided to plant and is certainly hopeful for a harvest. If the same farmer never organized, prepared the fields or planted, he would be an idiot to expect a harvest. This is an ancient axiom – “You reap what you sow” (Galatians 6:7-10 NLT -The Apostle Paul).

Paul is talking about a different kind of harvest. He is talking about a harvest that I may never get to take part in. I’m planting seeds of giving that will bless someone else so that they will turn their thankful hearts to God. I believe giving should be done with anonymity as much as possible. I believe that people who give to be noticed have received their reward -notice by others. On the other hand, people who give because they are called by God will be noticed by Him and rewarded by Him quite differently.

Giving is a way of “paying it forward”. Giving is blessing others with no concern over reciprocation.  Giving with a thankful heart, produces eternal blessing. Giving with a self-centered, “look at me”, produces temporary blessing. I call that “giving with strings attached”. I want to grow in my giving and generosity, not so that others know and will be impressed. I want to give from a generous heart for the Lord, because I know Him, and He can use people like me to bless others that I don’t even know. That is a different kind of planting and a different kind of harvest. This type of giving is incredibly different than some of the giving I’ve done in the past. I need to keep my eyes on the eternal effects of my “seed sowing” type of giving.

Pressing On!


Heads Up

woman creating a frame from fingersI like it when I get a “heads up” that something is about to happen. I do realize that the element of surprise is gone with a heads up, but I can mentally prepare when something is going down that affects me and my family. Most recently we’ve had two storms come our way and the weather predictions have missed the mark significantly. My family was preparing for the worst with the wind, rain and possibly tornados that never came. I was thankful for the heads up from the meteorologist. I must say that it feels like they were a bit over dramatic with some of the predictions, but “better safe than sorry”.

The Apostle John is seeing things he can barely describe. These things are happening in a context that he can barely get his head around. He is hearing voices from heaven. He is seeing these massive angelic creatures. One particular angel had one foot on land and another foot on the sea. This angel made some declarations that were giving a “heads up” of sorts. Check this out…

Then the angel that I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. He swore by the one who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it: “There will no longer be a delay, but in the days when the seventh angel will blow his trumpet, then the mystery of God will be completed, as he announced to his servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:5-7 CSB)

When I look back at the Old Testament and how the prophets tell about the coming of Jesus – He comes. There is consistency with the Lord that comes through His Word and the words of the Apostles, prophets and servants of the Lord. I’ve heard of people predicting when the Lord will come again and they’ve been wrong. I’m not sure when He’s coming again, but the Word says that He’s coming. I think the theme of Revelation could be summed up in a couple of words: “Be Ready”. We don’t know when, but He promised to come. I look at the overall view of Revelation as a “heads up” of sorts. I need to be attentive and alert to the things of God. I need to be aware of His call upon my life. I need to make my life here count for eternity. I should live today like I’ll die tomorrow. I should live in complete surrender to His Will and His Way – I’ll be ready when He comes. I’m going to use this “heads up” wisely.

Pressing On!


2-4-6-8 Delegate

Delegating Word Cloud Concept in red capsOver the years I’ve been involved with several projects that was built in stages. It is very common for large projects to be built out in phases. A new phase is an opportunity to continue to build upon the recent success, but it’s also a time when changes can be implemented a bit easier. I remember a stupid little phrase that a good friend told me when I seem bogged down in planning. He would say: “2 – 4 – 6 – 8 – we must learn to delegate”! I can be way more productive when I learn to delegate tasks that others are gifted at and can do instead of the responsibility follow on me.

Nehemiah had been the “general contractor” on the rebuilding of the Temple as well as wall of Jerusalem after the people of Judah had been in captivity for over 70 years. He was called by The Lord to do this project. He organized the workers. He put together the materials. He had to play a bit of defense against some enemies nearby. After the work was completed a new phase of his leadership began. Check this out…

1 After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in place, the gatekeepers, the musicians and the Levites were appointed. 2 I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do.

4 Now the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and the houses had not yet been rebuilt. 5 So my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials and the common people for registration by families. I found the genealogical record of those who had been the first to return. (Nehemiah 7:1-2; 4-5a NIV)

Delegation is not “skipping out”.

Delegation is not “ducking the work”.

Delegation to me is working much smarter than harder. If I can surround myself with people with similar work ethic and skill, then together we can accomplish much more work product than I could ever do alone.

I also believe that delegation gets “buy-in” from others. When a team comes together and everyone contributes – there is a great sense of accomplishment as well as a greater work with less stress on everyone. I also believe that the Lord gifts us all differently. There are those who are gifted leaders and then there are those who are gifted at doing the work very efficiently.

The church was started with delegation right out of the gate. Check this out..

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV)

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NIV)

I’m more effective when I learn to get others involved in my work.

I can serve more people when I delegate some to others.

I give others the opportunity to grow and be involved when I delegate.

I have more energy and life in me after a day or weeks worth of work.

Delegating can be challenging to the person who likes how they do things. I can get so much more accomplished in a shorter time frame when I learn to delegate. I think all great leaders (big or small), parents, teachers, government officials, pastors…. everyone, should learn this concept.

Pressing On!


Ritually Prepared


Hands folded in prayer over open russian Holy Bible on black backgroundI have a few rituals that I do every day, almost without exception. I make coffee in the morning, I shave, I shower – the morning ritual or routine. I can do some of the rituals while I’m half asleep. I like to rise early in the morning to have time to read and meditate upon the Word of God. I guess that my time in the Word is actually a ritual or routine as well.

The Lord had given Moses and His people several regulations as well as rituals to perform daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly. These were mostly rituals of worship and repentance. The Lord has expectations when they come before Him. He has just given them instructions about which animal was clean and which was unclean. He’s pretty specific on all of these instructions. He sort of wraps it up by giving a bit of logic regarding being clean. Check this out…

44 I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. 45 I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

46 ‘“These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves about in the water and every creature that moves along the ground. 47 You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.”’ (Leviticus 11:44-47 NIV)

I believe that the Lord likes it when I prepare to come before Him. I believe He likes it when I’m prepared to spend time with Him in His Word. I also believe He likes the spontaneous times that I speak with Him and give thanks for Who He is and What He’s doing in my life. I don’t ever want my “ritual” (aka habit) of spending time in His Word to become mundane and drudgery. I want to prepare to meet with Him. I want to take time hearing Him speak into me. I believe that this is the best way to prepare for any day that I face. I do not get up in the morning and offer animal sacrifices because Jesus was the Ultimate Sacrifice for sin. I do think it’s important to submit my heart before Him and sacrifice my opinions and my ideas to His. He deserves my utmost Honor and Respect. I want to be ritually prepared to meet with Him and ritually prepared to take on today.

Pressing On!


Preparation For Presence


God's mercy at the CrossI remember as a kid joining Boy Scouts. I learned the motto at the first meeting – Be Prepared. Preparation is something I do to get ready for something else. I like to be prepared for work and any meeting I have. I like to be prepared when I’m taking a day off or several days off. Preparation is a really important part of today, as I get ready for something in the future. In fact, some choices I make today will really shape my future.

Moses had given all the instructions to the people as well as to Aaron and his sons, who were to serve as High Priests. The day is here when Aaron and his sons begin their ministry. There were lots of preparations to be done. There were lots of sacrifices and rituals to be completed according to the Lord’s commands. They carried out each sacrifice to the letter. Then – it happened – the Lord showed up. Check this out….

23 Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24 Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown. (Leviticus 9:23-24 NIV)

I want to always be prepared for the Presence of the Lord. I want His Glory to be over me and in me. Today is Sunday and I look forward to joining my church family in worship. I think it’s important to prepare for the Presence of God in me every day of the week. Today should be extra special because of the appointment of worship with my church family. There is something special when I join my brothers and sisters in worship. His Presence is always there – sometimes He’s way more obvious than at other times. I believe the Lord is ALWAYS where His people are.

As I finish writing this I listened to the song: “Holy Spirit” by Bethel Church. I want the Lord to know that He is ALWAYS welcome in my heart. Sometimes, I really need to clear some stuff out of my heart to make sure He has room to take over my heart.

Pressing On!



Prepared Not UnpreparedI remember as a young boy learning the Cub Scout motto: “Be Prepared”.  I learned early on that to be prepared means to think through what’s next or where I’m about to go next. I learned that to have a good outcome, we have to prepare some things ahead of time.

Jesus was at the home of friends and His words reminded me of a valuable principle. Check this out…

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42 NIV)

Sometimes I get so busy preparing for an event, that I don’t show up to the event – mentally. The preparation part can easily distract me.  I’ve often told a bride and groom during wedding counseling that don’t get so busy planning this big wedding event and making it beautiful that you don’t really take in the special moment of that big day.

If I get too busy preparing to meet the Lord, I might just miss the fact that He showed up. His Presence is priceless. I don’t want to miss His Presence – ever. If I get busy preparing to worship, I might just miss the Person I came to worship.

I’m not knocking preparation, because I believe that proper preparation can make His Presence even more powerful and precious. (I didn’t intentionally make that a tongue twister!)  I can see Jesus in the ordinary events of my life. I can also see Him in the well-planned and well-prepared events of my life. I don’t want to miss either.

When Jesus is the focus of my preparation, I certainly don’t want to miss what He does when He shows up. He changes situations. He changes perspective. He changes lives whether I’m prepared or not. One thing is needed….Jesus, Only Jesus! His Will – His Way is the ONLY way!

Pressing On!