How to Get More People to Follow You

How to Get More People to Follow You

DucksAnd no, we’re not talking about Twitter! We all want people to follow us in real life. Or at least we should. If you’re a parent, a teacher, a boss, an employer, a pastor, a supervisor, a speaker, a politician, a writer, an artist, a coach, or just about anything else, you’re true success, your true impact, depends almost entirely on how others follow you.

And as a Christian, you should be especially interested in getting more people to follow you. As Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Trying to get more people to follow you is what much of leadership is all about. Wanting to lead has nothing to do with pride, even though some leaders have a lot of pride. Christian leadership is nothing more than one beggar showing other beggars where to find bread. If you’re starving and you found food, wouldn’t you want to let the whole world know where to find it also?! What you’re trying to get others to do may actually save their lives!

If we’re following Christ, as Paul said, we should want as many others to follow us as possible. Because you see, it’s not really us we want them to follow.

Continue reading...
5 Reasons to Leave Your Church

5 Reasons to Leave Your Church

Walking AwayGoing to church is something most Christians assume they should do. It’s fashionable for some people to quote Hebrews 10:25 to someone else who doesn’t attend regularly: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together . . .” Going on a guilt trip, anyone?

I hope you’re part of a wonderful church family and are at church every chance you get. But it’s not that way for everyone. Some people have been seriously wounded and wonder if this church thing is worth it after all. Is it ever OK to separate from the church you’ve been a part of and go elsewhere? What would be a big enough reason to leave your church?

Being part of a community of faith is important. It helps people live longer. God designed us to connect with other believers in ways that would help both us and them develop into the mature followers of Jesus that He needs us to be. Your physical, mental, relational, and spiritual life will be healthier as a result of being closely connected with a body of believers. That’s a given.

There are plenty of reasons people might give for leaving a church that aren’t “good enough.”

Continue reading...
When What God Said Doesn’t Happen

When What God Said Doesn’t Happen

You’ve prayed, over and over again. Perhaps you’ve asked other people to pray for you also. You were hungry to hear from God, and you did. Your heart leaped when God’s voice spoke to your soul, telling you something you desperately needed to hear. Everything was going to be alright.

But things didn’t go as you had hoped. The thing you believed you heard from God didn’t come to pass. The cancer returned. The job didn’t come through. The marriage you thought was God’s idea turned into an unfaithful nightmare. The open ministry door turned out to be a blind alley. And you’re left wondering why. What do you do when what God said doesn’t happen?

When I was thirteen years old I prayed hard for something very specific. I can remember the time and the place when I believed I heard God tell me that the thing I was praying for would happen. It didn’t.

Continue reading...
If You Feel As Though God Has Left You

If You Feel As Though God Has Left You

Her pain seeped out through the words in her message: “Have you ever felt like you were totally left by God, like He suddenly just cut you off for no reason? What if you couldn’t feel love or encouragement from Him even after seeking/wanting it so long? Did you ever get upset that way? Was there ever really an answer or revelation for that? Mostly I feel hurt and confusion. Why? . . . I hope I didn’t go too far, or go too long from God being upset. I hope I don’t go to hell.”

Yes, Janice (not her real name), I’ve felt cut off from God. I’ve felt hurt and confused and upset. I’ve wondered why God didn’t make Himself known to me when I kept asking and asking and asking. I’ve worried that there was something terribly wrong with me that no one could help me with, not even God. I’ve felt as though the confusion would last forever, and that there was nothing I could do about it.

Thankfully it’s been many years since my own dark experience. I walked that journey for four years. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. But as a result, I can weep with those who weep. I’ve been there. You often hear people say “Just do the next right thing.” But if you’re like me in that darkness you have no clue what that next right thing is. And forget about holding on to hope for the future; you don’t even have enough light to take one more step.

If I could talk to the “me” sitting in the corner of my room, feeling like a puddle on the floor, here’s what I would say. And perhaps this will be helpful for you as well:

  1. Don’t quit. Sometimes the best you can do is to just keep on breathing. But that’s enough. As long as you’re breathing you’re still alive. And as long as you’re alive God can do something for you. If you can’t believe that for yourself, hold on to my belief in that for you. It’s not over yet.
  2. Choose the people you spend time with. When you’re in pain you’re especially sensitive to the words and actions of others. Choose to spend time around people who are faith-filled, encouraging, and who support and lift you up. Save difficult relationships for later.
  3. Cultivate quiet. God doesn’t often add His voice to a multitude of confusing noises in your head. If you work on one thing, work on putting the noise out of your mind. Healing music, nature, sleep – look for any way possible to experience calmness and quiet.
  4. Keep on showing up. You never know what God will use to break through your confusion and pain: a church service, a Bible verse, a Christian book, a TV program, a godly counselor, a special Christian event, or even a website such as this one. Don’t search frantically, but just keep showing up.
  5. Continue to pray. Yes, I know you’ve prayed, in tears, perhaps hundreds, thousands, or millions of times. Don’t stop praying. God’s shoulders are big enough to handle all the junk you throw at Him. It’s OK to cry, yell, plead, and fall apart in prayer. Then be quiet and listen.

I could wax eloquent with a lot of theological talk to prove to you that God is still there, and that He cares about you. But that may not mean much to you right now. It’s your heart that needs healing more than your head. I can offer you a hand of love and hope, and be there with you in the darkness. But in the end it’s God Himself who will heal you.

You may never have an intellectually satisfying answer to all of your questions. But I can promise you that He Himself will become the Answer. One day you’ll hear His voice. If you care enough to still be reading this, I can guarantee that He has not left you. He knows what it will take for you to hear Him, and He will make Himself known to you.

Just don’t quit. Please don’t quit! Light exists, and it is good. Very good! And you can find it.

No, God hasn’t left you! Just hold on! He’ll find you.

Your Turn: When things look dark and confusing, where do you find quietness? What helps calm your mind? Leave your comment below.

Tweetables: why not share this post?

  • 5 things I would say to myself in the middle of my darkness and confusion.        Tweet that.

Did you enjoy this article? Interested in more to help you live FULLY ALIVE?

Get your FREE Resource Guide: 7 Keys to Living Fully Alive – from the Inside Out.

I Want to be Fully Alive!

Continue reading...
What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Reading the Bible

What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Reading the Bible

There’s that little voice in your head that says, “Read the Bible!” Intellectually you accept the fact that as a Christian, reading the Bible would be a good thing to do. But you don’t feel like reading the Bible.

You’re tired. The Bible is too difficult to understand. You don’t know where to start. Last time you tried you got bogged down in a long list of names, dates, or numbers. It seems the Bible happened a long time ago, and it’s a real stretch to make it mean something for today. If you DID read the Bible, you might even find something in your lifestyle that you would have to change, and you’re not ready for that. And on top of it so many people disagree on what the Bible really means, so who’s to know?

Or maybe you’re one of those who has read and studied the Bible a great deal. You know a lot about the original writing of the Bible, and the circumstances behind each writer and book. But your soul is tired because every time you try reading, your mind kicks into high intellectual gear trying to figure out something new or thinking of something you need to study.

The Bible is a collection of stories, poems, and letters written by many authors over many years.

But it’s so much more than that as well. God means the Bible to be His letter directly to you. It’s a means by which He works to change you from the inside.

Here are a few thoughts on what to do at those moments when you just don’t feel like reading the Bible.

  1. Pray about it. Let God know how you feel – weary, guilty, nervous, frustrated, confused. Ask Him to guide you to where to read, and to make those verses mean something to your soul.

Continue reading...