Getting God Involved: #POL (pray out loud)

Years ago, I drove a minivan, primarily because I had three very young children at the time. My baby was only three months old. She sat in the middle row of the van, and then my older children were 6 and 4 years old and they shared the third row in the van. I had just picked them up from school so it was approximately 4pm. My 6-year-old son was in kindergarten and my 4-year-old girl was in preschool. As I was driving home, the two older children were kicking each other in the back seat and pulling each others’ hair and poking each other. The noise was escalating, as well as my patience. I was telling them to stop in every form and fashion that I could muster while driving, but I couldn’t reach them because they’re in the back row.

I felt completely helpless.10931270_852771151436544_6896406816489065577_n

I didn’t know what to do because they weren’t listening, and then the baby started to cry. So, I grabbed the steering wheel and I said prayed out loud (POL), “Oh Lord, You have to help me. I have to go home with these three kids, and I’m outnumbered. Please do something to give me the strength to make it through this night.” And right then, in the rear view mirror, I saw my son nudge my 4-year-old daughter and say, “Emilee! We’d better stop it. Mom just got God involved.”

Getting God involved is the purpose of prayer. Prayer means that we include God, even if it’s in a time of crisis that you need to pray out loud. At that moment, we know that some how our prayers reaches heaven and God intervenes just by speaking His name.                                                                 ——TL Adamson

Life Centered Prayer

In my Masters of Ministry Class this semester, we are focusing on the spiritual health of the minister (or ministry worker). One of the assignments had to due with self-examining ourselves at night. The term for this kind of prayer is Life-Centered Prayer.

Since coming to the Lord, I have been more comfortable at night with opening the Word to summarize my day and to pray for the next day. However, to self examine myself is very different. The concentration is not on the Lord but on me. How did I represent the Lord throughout the day? Typically, confession and repentance prayers are self-examination. When really aligning ourselves with the Lord to confess and repent over the things that break His heart take mental and physical strength to be still and quiet our spirits to align with the thoughts of God.

At night, we are more tired and looser in our convictions. Think about Peter and Judas, both sinned at night. Our flesh is weaker and our minds are not as sharp. Even if we can study better at night, a big factor has to do with having our bodies finally calm down from following every distraction. By self-examining at night, I had a lot less grace for my shortcomings and a lot less strength for the battle.

Accountability before the Lord is everything when it comes to growth and being entrusted with greater spiritual works and gifts.. Spiritual formation from the rising of the sun until the time it goes down is a necessity. We need to take responsibility for our own behavior, acknowledge that behavior and move on thankful for His love and His grace to forgive us.

We worship a loving, giving and forgiving God. Regardless if it is day or night, let’s confess and be thankful that He forgives. Let’s take responsibility for our shortcomings. And let’s ask Him to remind us to not fall into the same traps that separate ourselves from Him or others again. We can trust Him without ourselves, good and bad, both in the morning and the night.

Can we compartmentalize convictions from callings?

Bobbye and I attended a new networking meeting hosted by Rebecca Garcia. She entitled the group “Christian Women Entrepreneur Network.” We were asked to open in prayer and dedicate the group to the Lord. The women who attended were very sweet and sincere in their efforts to improve their lives, including their businesses. I was impressed by CWEN’s agenda to include prayer and worship in a network gathering.

As the agenda for the day began to enfold, Rebecca called a panel to the front to answer questions of how to incorporate faith in the workplace. The panel did a fine job of answering the questions but I liked how Rebecca’s summarized the problem; she stated that there is a common misconception that one can separate faith from their occupations. That statement struck me funny and has left a nagging pull in my mind. As an evangelists and teacher of the Gospel, my calling determines my convictions even greater than my convictions determine my calling. I am called to evangelize so I became a nurse. Daily Disciples is on radio, television, and has the convictions to spread the Gospel through multimedia because of the Great commission. Obviously we are not all called to be evangelists, pastors and teachers. But can we as a Christian people actually separate our faith from our every day life?

Is it possible to compartmentalize our convictions from our callings (or occupations)? Regardless of our occupations to be engineers or contactors or window washers, Jesus Christ makes it clear that our faith is the foundation in which all other things spring. It is from the abundance of our heart that our mouths speak. How can we separate our hearts from what we speak and do?

Is it possible that we do not realize that this life is where eternal life begins? It is in this life on this earth that we come to Christ to enter into eternal life. Jesus said, “I have come to give you life and life abundantly.” (John 10:10) Eternal life starts here, not when we are dead. It is in this life that we develop a relationship with God the Father as we do His will on earth as it is in heaven. The Holy Spirit gives us gifts to do God’s work to bear fruit that has eternal ramifications. We cannot be responsible for others choices but we will be held accountable for our own. We will stand before God someone day alone and give an account of how we used our talents.

As a Christian, is it possible to separate your heart from your head? Yes, but we will have no peace until they align. As a Christian, is it possible to separate our convictions from our calling? No, because if we are truly Christians, our faith impacts the life we live as much as the air we breath. Satan is the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). Whose air are we breathing? What kind of life are we living? How do we determine our convictions? Why are we working and for what purpose?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34

Happy Easter! He has RISEN indeed…

Summary of 2014 Power of Friendship Tour

As we close out this Power of Friendship Tour 2014 year, Bobbye and I visited 11 cities across the nation from Honolulu to New York City. Our final stop was Boston on November 2, 2014. The man who asked us to host these events is Ron Walters, Vice President of Salem Communications Ministry Relations. Here is his summary of the year:

“The Friendship Tour [could] not be clearly defined.But once you see it, you’ll see how terribly unique it is … and difficult to define. It isn’t a clinic, and neither will the attendees walk out with a notebook filled with friendship data, quotes or statistics. I’ve attended 10 of the Friendship Tour stops, and even though I ‘get it’ I still struggle to define it.
 
I saw an interesting quote from the Chairman of the Psychology Department at Stanford University that said men develop a better and stronger mental health when they have a great friendship with their wife. But women develop a better and stronger mental health when they have great friendships with other women. This event exemplifies that point. Suffice to say, God uses these ladies in a profound way and these events are a powerful tool for Him… It is amazing that at every event God shows up.”

We would like to Thank the Salem Radio Stations who took a risk and partnered with us this year. We met new friends and we saw the Lord move in miraculous ways. Here are some of the Women’s Comments who attended:

  • your presentation connect with the things that people face in life.
  • I learned how to be a committed friend to others and God
  • thank you for being honest
  • the theme was great and the 2 personalities (Bobbye and Tonilee) testimonies and personalities were awesome and how they connected with one another.
  • Everything was fantastic!
  • I loved the honesty –these girls are the REAL DEAL

Thank you for coming to the events. We are looking forward to seeing you next year at the Power of Love 2015. The first event is in our hometown, San Diego on Saturday, January 24 at Point Loma Nazarene University. Early bird special is $20 right now at dailydisciples.org

Connect with us on twitter: @tonileeadamson    @bbrooksM4W      @dailydisciples

And we are expanding our radio presence so we will keep you updated through DailyDisciples.org

We value your prayers and support! We love you all…A special thank you to our team: Terri, Emilee, Ruth, Tres, Rhoda, Kathi and Stacie. We have all been through a lot this year and you truly live up to the name “The Gideon Girls” as your faith has made us strong through our weakness to see God move.

All to the Glory of God!

TL

Tormented Mind

I just saw a video of myself preaching and even after all these years, I am still embarrassed and uncomfortable. It is like I am ashamed of the work God does through me. If the Lord is not ashamed to use me, why do I still become ashamed?

Obviously, I know the answer. I preached it in that very sermon I just watched. If God is for me, should I be against myself? If God is for me, should I care if others are against me? It should be a given that we become tormented in our minds to move forward in faith. The essence of faith is struggle. Faith is seeing with the eyes of our hearts, not the eyes in our heads. We need to push through the obstacles and issues while preaching to ourselves, “With God, all things are possible.”

If you are struggling today with yourself and your limitations, let me tell you…you are not alone! I am right there with you and I have been preaching the Word since I was 14. I am now 50. Now I understand why I read two times this morning in Isaiah 41 and Psalm 109, “I have done this.” Whether we interpret the circumstances, gifts and callings as good or bad, God has done it. We need to trust Him for ourselves. I am just thankful that He is not limited by our humanity. He sees us as saved, redeemed, sanctified and as saints. Oh Lord, help us to see what You see and live in the confidence of Your strength. –TL AdamsonIMG_0667

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.     Philippians 1:6

Joy

photoYesterday, I had the privilege to hear Meadowlark Lemon from the Harlem Globetrotters speak at a Thrivent Financial Seminar.  As a kid through my adult years, I remember watching him do all those fancy basketball moves and amazing hoop shots. He was entertaining, talented and very inspiring!  Today he is not as agile or as tall as I had pictured him, but Meadowlark still has a radiant smile and a contagious joy. He is a humble and kind man.

He opened his message by quoting Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” He then opened his Bible and said that he is an ordained minister today. Wow!

His main point became evident.  This legendary basketball player was very humble, thankful and still amazed by the opportunities he enjoyed throughout the years. It always surprised him that others took notice of him and thought he was special. Meadowlark shared two stories of how he overcame the pressure to find peace in extremely stressful tryouts when first starting his basketball career. He said that it had to do with the encouraging words of others who spoke to him by name. I immediately thought of the Lord saying that He knows our name and calls us by name (John 10:3) as He is our Good Shepherd. Am I listening to the Lord and trusting His lead? Does His voice calm my fears? Do I hear Him call my name louder than I feel the stress of the situation? Does peace reign over panic and trust reign over turmoil because He promises to love me, lead me and protect me? Is the gospel so real in the depths of my heart that I am not ashamed of it and can I say that I am not ashamed of the work of God in my life–even through the traumas and dramas day to day? I could really sense the Lord’s presence as Meadowlark spoke. God clearly had a message for me. I prayed, “Lord, are you telling me that I need to be joyful in all circumstances? Are you telling me that I am not finding peace through Your presence? Let me know and change me.”

He then gave credit to Jesus’ words in John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” It was clear that his life experiences did not make him humble and joyful; instead, it was his relationship with Christ that made him joyful to appreciate his life experiences.

Meadowlark Lemon closed by saying, “I give away a basketball at every speaking event and today I am choosing this woman in the front row who has been smiling at me.” It was me! To my amazement, he threw the basketball to me and then said, “You catch like a girl.” I did not think that was so bad since I am a girl. But I thought it was great that on the basketball, it has his signature with his number 36 and “Hall of Fame 2003.” Later, he wrote my name above his name. Wow, he chose me and by it, the Lord confirmed to me that I too need to maintain and sustain the joy of Lord as evidently as this amazing man.

There is no reason why God chose us to have a relationship with Him. However, He sees our faces before Him, knows our name and calms our anxious hearts (if we choose to let Him). Does our attitude reflect the joy of the Lord?

In our travels of the United States with the women’s friendship tour, we receive prayer requests from women who are struggling with many, many very serious life circumstances. All of us will struggle in this world: debt, death, divorce, depression, health, relationships… BUT the joy of the Lord can be our strength. God has given each of us gifts and talents to be used for His glory on earth as it is in heaven. We too can be thankful regardless of our circumstances. God loves us and He is faithful. Set your mind on things above as God understands your deepest hurt. Let Him heal you, keep His commandments, abide in His love and allow Jesus Christ’s joy to fill you. (And let me tell you…I am preaching to myself and now I have a basketball sitting in my favorite chair to remind me!)

Please know we are here to pray for you…www.dailydisciples.org

What are the convictions of Christian leadership?

The effectiveness of our life hinges on the extent of our relationships. God the Father has a relationship with the Son, Jesus Christ. God the Father sent the Son to this earth for us to have a relationship with God the Father through the Son. The two greatest commandments are relationship based:

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12, NIV)

A large part of the relationship building, maintaining and sustaining process deals with our own personal self-awareness of our gifts, talents, strengths and natural capacities. We cannot love our neighbor as ourselves until we can come to know and accept ourselves. That concept is very difficult when we are taught to think of others over ourselves even though the Lord says to love others as yourself. Self love, obviously is natural, so servant leadership becomes even more of a challenge. Implementing leadership empowerment in ministry is not something that can be enforced or mandated through promotions and titles. I just finished Jim Collin’s book, Good to Great. Chapter 7 is entitled The Technology Accelerator as he states that, “disciplined people, who engage in disciplined thought, and who then take disciplined action” can work together through a leadership model. This section in his book, he was discussing the Hedgehog Concept and addressing three intersecting circles:

#1 Circle: what is our team deeply passionate about?

#2 Circle: understanding what you can be the best in the world in a literal sense?

#3 Circle: what drives our economic engine?

He is basically saying that we need to find the intersection of profit per acts. The hedgehog concept brings up very challenging questions when dealing with any kind of ministry. I do believe that every ministry needs to honestly ask and answer these questions before moving forward with leadership development. Can God and does He raise up teams to do a powerful work without all 3 circles since God is not dependent on the ways of man? Absolutely.  But I do believe that many ministries and churches spring up and can be successful for a season, but have difficulty maintaining a long term presence without addressing these questions.

Christianity is not a company. Christianity is about others, community, discipleship and even growth. However, blind faith without objectives, vision and goals cause stress and conflict. We need healthy, wise leadership to prioritize team building as we work together as a family of believers and as a body in Christ for the long term good of the people. Matter of fact, God’s definition of “long term” is eternity; He asks us to think of the eternal over the temporal (1 Corinthians 4). So, in order to be sustainable, we need all circles answered to make it on this earth in ministry. Is it strange that God uses the principles of man to confirm what He first began with creation? On earth, Jesus was a leader who died on a Roman cross. We are now called to be leaders to lead others to the cross of Christ. That is the first step of any ministry. Can we lead people to Christ? We need to ask ourselves if we are really leaders if we do not have a conviction to lead others to Jesus.

 

management or leadership in the church

In my Master’s of Ministries class, we were asked to read two articles. One was written by Mintzberg and the other by Kotter. Both articles did an amazing job of comparing leaders to managers. Kotter stated, “Management is about coping with complexity… Without good management, complex enterprises tend to become chaotic in ways that threaten their very existence. Good management brings a degree of order and consistency to key dimensions like the quality and profitability of products.” He then describes a leader “by contrast” as one who copes with change.  He believes that the two skill sets are different thus handled by different people with different skill sets.

 Without going any further to discuss Mintzberg’s philosophy, I agree with Kotter. The two roles and personality characteristics are different and in theory, a company should have different people handling these different tasks. In reality however, in today’s day and age of budget costs with minimal staff required to perform at maximum capacity, there are people performing roles and functions that they are not gifted in or called to do. This atmosphere describes my office, including me. I am clearly the motivating, charismatic leader who has a gift to teach and evangelize. Instead, I do whatever is necessary to lay the foundation to allow others to know the Lord better. I answer the phone, create the handouts, vacuum the rugs and clean the bathrooms if necessary.  I believe that God honors servants, and the best leaders are those who work hard to serve others. I do continually pray that I am thankful in the day of small things as well as in performing the tasks of small things (by human standards).

 I read Henry Mintzberg’s article first so I spent more time meditating over his words. Personally, I was bothered reading his article, maybe because I saw my own inadequacies in needing to plan, perform and organize but not wanting at all to control. I expect people to do what they say they are going to do. I really believe that  I am not called to be interrupted throughout the day to review the details that we discussed in an excessively long staff meeting. If we have the right people with the same vision working together for the same common purpose, why does it seem like we are on the same page at the staff meeting until we evaluate the fruit of its implementation? Praise God that He has His way despite the worship, the lack of dessert and coffee and sometimes speakers who are addressing themselves instead of those they are called to help. It is a miracle that anyone comes to Christ today.

 My background is ICU Nursing. I was promoted to charge nurse of a very acute, intensive care unit that specialized in neurological disorders 4 months after starting my job. I had very strong leadership skills but I valued and encouraged and granted raises to those staff members who were great managers. I am not good with the details of things but I get the big picture very quickly. We all had it hard but we worked together for the good and well being of the patient. Changing to full time ministry was like a nightmare when it came to leadership, management and professionalism. I knew that I had a Jonah complex but would be absolutely fine being swallowed by a whale to get out of church politics. Being in a parachurch ministry, my heart is for the pastor’s wife. She is usually the most beaten up, frustrated, passive aggressive person in the room (if she even shows up). And I have to say that there are certain denominations that are consistently worse than others (I believe it is related to their theology).  If the pastor’s wife is sick, how can she help lead the sheep to wellness? We have to take care of our leaders and their families, despite our personal opinions or their personalities. Aaron and Miriam are good examples of what God thinks of us criticizing a leader’s wife.

 Why can’t we in the church value, encourage, accept, respect those men and women who are great leaders? Instead, we judge, complain, harass and criticize.  At the same time, why don’t those great leaders know how to humble themselves to love, serve, train, develop and appreciate those staff members who are great managers? Instead, why do the managers feel like they are treated as the little toe to the mouth of the church? Are we not one body, serving one God, baptized into one faith?

 These articles, comics and charts are true, noble, right…but application on a daily basis is largely missing! Again, I think we are better at beating the sheep than leading them, which leads little room for the gift of management and emphasizes very poor leadership. I get around the nation and women tell me a lot of things. We as a church are found lacking in leadership and management. Judgment begins in the house of the Lord. I pray we can serve within our God-given skill set and I pray that our leaders can humble themselves to learn to love others.