Tag Archives: Support

Alone in a crowded room: In ministry, some are around you, but not necessarily with you

Photo Apr 13, 6 23 36 PMListen, let me start by saying, you won’t have it all. You won’t always have the support you need. You won’t always have people that see the vision as you do. That may not be your desire, but that is the divine plan, because nothing happens outside of God. However, if you remember who you’re working for, you’ll have a better chance at maintaining your focus, especially when it’s just you and God.

There’s a statement that I posted on social media last week and it was reiterated on my weekly radio broadcast. I said: “Sometimes God will get you alone just so that you can see that you were getting lost in the crowd”. The point I was trying to make was there are times when we feel as if we need to be around everybody in order to be somebody. We get so caught up in being positioned that we fail to be in position, and being in position is being where God placed us, not necessarily where we think we can generate the most buzz or get the most exposure. The deeper I go into ministry, the clearer this message gets for me.

Such is the case with ministry at times. Sometimes we’re more concerned with being on the scene, creating a scene, or just being seen, than we are with the actual call to ministry. Something else I stated on that broadcast is this: “The call has always been greater than the called”. That means that what I’m called by God to do will always be more important than I am, more essential than what I have to offer, and bigger than I am.

However, even as God has called many of us to something bigger and something greater, the actual work we’re called to do may be more focused and concentrated. We may not be called to minister to the masses, but we may be called to pour into one mind that will minister to the masses. We may not be called to be on the grand stage, but we may be called to set the stage for what’s to come. Jesus Himself said that we would do greater works than He did (John 14:12). That doesn’t make us greater than Christ, but Christ set the stage that we could and should perform on.

Where this gets difficult is when we inject our own ambitions into the equation. Where we lose focus is when we decide what our ministry should look like, instead of following the directives of God. Where we wind up wasting energy is when we decide where we want to have the most impact, as opposed to allowing God to build the audience for our gift.

When this happens, we can find ourselves around people that care little to nothing about what we have to offer. We can end up trying to position ourselves so that our gifts can be noticed and utilized, but to the purposes we have in our own heads. We try to make ourselves available to people that, quite honestly, see us as a threat to what they’re doing (even though we’re all supposedly on the same team). We believe that we’ve come to a place of sharing, encouragement, and brainstorming, when in fact, we can find ourselves in places of resentment because we’re viewed as peculiar (even though that’s what God called us to be).

Where we can find ourselves alone in our ministry is when we’re really and truly about The Kingdom, but we’re mixing with people that are about the opportunity. It’s easy to go to a place with “What can we do for them” on your heart, but the agenda of the room is “What can you do for me”. At some point, you look up and realize that you’re in a crowded room, but you’re all by yourself.

You may find it difficult to find support in rooms like this because often times, true ministry is not at the heart of the room. However, what you can’t do is fall into a state of discouragement or start having a pity party for yourself. Don’t confuse people not actively supporting you with their not wanting or appreciating your gifts. Some people aren’t supportive because they’re trying to figure out from a distance how you do what you do, and how to incorporate it into what they do.

The reality is some people are just like the people in the lottery line. They wanna sow as little as possible, but get the windfall of your talent. I know it’s tough to swallow because of the path that you’ve been chosen to walk. I know it’s hard to understand how we can be so anointed, and yet, so opportunistic, but this isn’t the time to lose faith or hope. This is the time to remember your role model. This is the time to remember Jesus!

Jesus did not have a quid pro quo ministry. It wasn’t do for me and I’ll do for you. We are saved by grace. It’s free. Sure, we ought to run for Jesus because of what He did for us, but faith is all that’s required. And yet, there are some rooms you can’t be in if you don’t have anything to offer but you. There are some circles you’re not allowed in without a title or status. There are some places where you can buy your way in, but can never serve your way in. Some rooms are just more monetary than missionary. And yet, you must go forward in your call anyway. You must persist for The Kingdom.

So, how do we carry on when it seems as if we have to carry the load alone? Understand that we can never claim to truly know the hearts of men, but discernment is still available to us. We may not know their hearts, but we should know our own. We should know what it is that God has placed deep inside of us. Rest assured, the easiest way to lose your faith is to lose sight of your who and your why.

The most important thing for us to remember about our gifts and our talents is they were never just for us. God equipped us to serve others. When we remember what we’re called to be, the rooms we desire to be in will change significantly. We’ll find ourselves in places where there’s no fanfare, no pretense, and no ego or arrogance. We’ll find ourselves in places where there’s a need. That’s why we can’t give up. Because someone is counting on us to follow through!

Galatians 6:9 (NKJV) tells us: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart”.

There’s a space between sowing season and due season that can test even the most faithful of God’s servants. I have to believe that those words in that text were written by the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, because God knew we would get tired. He knew that the road would be rough at some times, and lonely at others. Yes, it is a word of encouragement, but it’s also a word of warning: There will be times when you want to quit!

But I want to encourage someone that’s on the verge of quitting to stop that line of thinking. Trust me, your work is not in vain. What you’re doing isn’t for nothing. God has never made an empty promise to His servants or anyone else for that matter. The harvest is coming. You can still do ministry exactly as God planned it, even if you have to do it alone. I’m a witness that God will bring you back into focus after you’ve exhausted all of your efforts (be sure to examine that last sentence). I’m a witness that God has a special and unique ministry for all of us. Some involve crowds, and some involve a lot of small efforts that yield major results.

I’m a firm believer that God is still moving in the remnant and small groups. What that means is you don’t need everybody to be somebody. Your voice doesn’t have to be in everybody’s ears, just the ears of your God-intended audience. Your gift doesn’t have to be appreciated by everyone, it just needs to help the person or people that it was designed to help. You can walk in your assigned ministry, in a crowded room, or in a room by yourself. You are peculiar for a reason. You were never meant to be like everyone else. Be what you’re called to be. Even if it’s just you and God working. He’s more than a crowded room against you.

Advertisements

Battling a Cain spirit: Our DNA is still a threat to unity in ministry

In my book An Understanding with God, I referenced the fact that we come from a damaged DNA in Adam. David outlines this in Psalm 51:5 when He says we were born in sin and shapen in iniquity. This stresses the fact that sin is a part of our makeup, and if not for the Spirit guiding us, we’re all susceptible. After all, the man that wrote the Psalm wrote it after taking another man’s wife, getting her pregnant, and having that man killed to cover up his sin. And he was a man after God’s own heart.

What this reminds me of is the fact that even God’s chosen can be a mess at times. I myself have behaved outside of my calling, and as long as I’m alive, there’s a good chance I’ll do it again. Thank God for grace, but how do we manage our ministry when it seems that those of a similar vocation in God seem to be at odds with us?

The first thing we need to remember is that DNA. It caused one man in Cain to kill his own brother. He did it simply because his gift wasn’t honored in the same way as Abel’s. This still happens today. We don’t know how to honor one another’s gifts at times, so we try and kill one another. We do this, and when God questions us, we act as if we have no idea what happened.

Understand that ministry can be a wonderful thing. It can be filled with camaraderie, love, fellowship, support, and encouragement. However, it can also be filled with jealousy, backbiting, sabotage, and quite honestly, hate. Depending on who you are, that can either discourage you or motivate you.

What must be remembered is that we’re all on the same team (unless, like Cain, we’re not). We do this for The Kingdom and not for ourselves. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to be. There is no competition, except against the devil because we are trying to defeat him and win the souls of mankind.

If we want to manage our ministries, we have to manage our emotions. We weren’t called to do everything, be everything, boss everybody, or even reach everybody. God has a lane for all of us. We need to find that lane and stay in it until God gives the order to shift. And, as I stated on broadcast last week, when He calls for a shift, you may be shifting alone and away from some people that you thought you’d be working with forever.

The best thing that we can do is to manage our own ministry without trying to manage the ministry of others. We all have a call that we’re responsible for. And truth be told, we wouldn’t be that impressed with God if we were all carbon copies. We have similar vocations, but different administrations. Applaud when you can and should. Pray when you feel you can’t. Because sin lieth at the door. I know we all feel like we’re Abel. But just remember, there’s a little bit of Cain in your DNA as well.

Your Faith Must Match Your Vision 

God is showing some people some amazing visions these days, myself included. There are businesses that He wants to birth, ministries that He wants to bring to fruition, and dreams that He wants to fulfill. The only thing that can stop us is a lack of faith, not a lack of resources. 

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that it is impossible to please God without faith. That tells me that impossible is where our dreams die. Impossible is what will cause us to lose when we’re born to win. Impossible is a disappointment to God. Impossible shouldn’t be in our Spiritual nature because it’s not in God’s. 

Scripture also tells us that faith the size of a grain of a mustard seed can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). Therefore, if your vision is larger than a mountain, you must increase your faith even more. At the bare minimum, we should all have mustard seed faith. Just imagine what a little boost can do for you. 

Scripture also reminds us that with God, nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37). Therefore, we must remove that word from our vocabulary. The struggle that we have with the gap between our vision and our faith is we’re often in moments of discomfort when the vision comes.  

God shows you the business plan when you’re broke with a mountain of bills. God shows you the plan for the ministry when people are still questioning your call and your ability. God shows you the better career when you’re barely holding on to a job that you hate, but you need for your survival! Yes, God will show you the best of life when it seems that you’re at your worst points. That’s not a time to shrink in your faith. That’s when you must grow! 

I encourage those that may be reading this to see God more clearly than you see your circumstances. You could have all the money in the world, but if you lack faith, you’ll be scared to invest it in your dreams. So see the vision more clearly than you see your lack of income and/or opportunity. God will never lead you to it without a plan to feed you through it. Trust Him more than you fear failure. He’s committed to you. Increase your faith. See the vision clearly. Watch God work!

Get Ready For Your Elevation!

There comes a moment when God wants some alone time with His children. Away from where we think we should be, and certainly away from where we used to roam and from what we used to be. Maybe He called you out of a bad relationship. Maybe He called you out of physical or spiritual bondage. Maybe He called you off of an unfulfilling job or out of a church where you could no longer produce. Or maybe, just maybe, He called you away from who you’ve been, so that He can bring you to be what He wants you to be.

It’s during this time of isolation that God will shape you and mold you into what He wants you to be and what you need to be for the next level of your journey. It’s during these moments when God will cause you to re-evaluate your life and whether or not you’re effectively operating in your purpose.

It’s during these times that even those around you may seem as if they’re “funny acting”, they have no time for you, or they’re kicking you out of their circle. But 2 Corinthians 6:17 says “Come out from among them and be ye separate, says The Lord”. So, know that they’re not kicking you out, they’re kicking you up! God has a new you waiting at the next level!

Know that your isolation is preparation for your elevation. Enjoy your alone time with God. Don’t despair when your phone calls go unanswered. Don’t worry when the enemy attacks you for leaving your former place. Be not dismayed when you had more company in bondage than you have when your chains fall off. Get ready, child of God. It’s time for your elevation!

(Like that “Isolation for Elevation” t-shirt Rev. Jackson is wearing? Click here to order yours in support of the “Your Life with Purpose” radio broadcast!)

Read an excerpt from the upcoming book “Overcoming Your Pharaoh”

Overcoming10 (1 of 1)Click here to order now! In the meantime, please enjoy this excerpt from our Chapter on failure:

Character is formed in adversity

The adversity that we face during our trials and our failures is in fact what develops us. It’s in the adversities of the long and winding road to success that we learn just how fragile our dreams can be. It’s during those times that we develop not only what it takes to be successful, but also what it takes to stay that way. However success is defined for you, you’ll need some grit and determination to maintain it. Nothing can teach you that like falling on your face can.

I understand that none of us like to fall short, but there are so many lessons that can be learned from our failed efforts. I often tell people to learn to see God in everything, and where you can’t see God, you should seek God. Believe it or not, there are times when God made it hard for us, just as He did for Moses by the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. There are times when we claim a faith that hasn’t been tested, so God puts us through it by allowing a few no’s to come our way and allowing a few doors to be slammed in our faces.

The question must be asked of us as we pursue our life’s dreams: How bad do you want it? That question must be answered in what we’re willing to go through to get to where we say we wanna be. If you’re ready to give up at the first sign of trouble (we’ll discuss that in the next section), then you should be wondering whether or not what you’re pursuing is for you. It’s not enough to just be talented or gifted in something. You have to be courageous enough, tough enough, and mentally strong enough to endure. Whenever you’re chasing your calling, your purpose, your passion, or your career, know that it will be a marathon and not a sprint.

Excitement will only take you so far. Enthusiasm will only take you so far. Just wanting it so bad will only take you so far. Even drive has its limitations. It’s what you do with opportunities that matter, and even more so, it’s what you do when there are no opportunities or when opportunity is snatched away from you by forces that are working against you.

It’s not just about God’s promises to you, but it’s also about whether or not you’ll let God mold you into the person that you need to be in order to live out the promise He’s made to you. If you read your Bible carefully, God often promised prosperity to the unprepared, the uncertain, the unwilling, and often the unqualified. It wasn’t until He molded them to fit the promise that He’d made to them that they were able to live out their purpose.

The benefit of your adversity is in the fact that it often prepares you for the next challenge. Even if the next challenge is unique in nature and something that you’ve never seen before, if nothing else, you come to rely on the fact that God brought you out before, and He can do it again. It’s during those times when things aren’t working out that we learn to see God working it out.

During those moments when it seems that nothing will ever go right, that’s the time when we must draw on the strength that God has been developing in us through our various trials, disappointments, and failures. James 1:3 tells us that the trying of our faith brings patience in us. Even if God isn’t the cause of your adversity, it is God that can make you stronger through your adversity. It is God that can help us to overcome when we feel overwhelmed.

To purchase other works, please click here to visit our bookstore!

Can you clap?: How we can support people in ministry when they’re winning

img_3357If there’s anything that keeps ministries from thriving as they should, it’s this false idea of competition that we have. It seems odd to say that, as the church ought to be a place of support, but universally, we struggle with this. We struggle to clap when we see someone else winning. Something that should inspire us to greater heights, seeing God bless the hands and the works of our contemporaries, often sends us back to our perspective labs in an effort to outdo one another.

I know, this isn’t true with everyone, and if this isn’t you, you shouldn’t be offended. In fact, I caution you from being offended by proxy because someone you’re close to is like this. But we all know people that just don’t know how to clap when other people are winning. And it’s not just about being a “hater”. Maybe they’re impatient. Maybe they’re frustrated because their time hasn’t come yet. Honestly, they may be jealous because they desire a gift that someone else is thriving in. Whatever the reason, we in the Christian community have to get rid of this spirit.

There’s enough of us doing enough things that we should never have to go far to support one another. But if there’s something that I’ve found as I’ve gone into business for myself, it’s that people would rather support the name of a total stranger than someone they see each Sunday. Not in all cases, but definitely in many cases. This spiritual hostility isn’t new, however. In fact, Cain killed his brother simply because he didn’t have the capacity to clap for him instead of slaying him. Even after being warned by God, he allowed sin to overtake him. So a pertinent question then becomes, how many of us would rather kill the dreams of our brothers and sisters, through word of mouth or lack of support, rather than support it? Something to think about, for sure.

So with that being said, other questions become clear: Can you clap? Do you have the capacity to support, even when your time hasn’t come? I’m not asking you to get behind something that isn’t godly or isn’t being done in spirit, in truth, and with an effort towards excellency, but when you see a godly work going forth, one that represents God properly, can you clap?

Here a few suggestions on how we in various ministries can clap when someone else is winning:

Support with your presence and your finances – This is so very important as it pertains to helping others to succeed: Don’t just send out invitations to what you’ve got going on, attend something! And not just the major events so that you can be seen. Attend some small events, even when you’re not on program. And when you do show up, be engaged. Don’t drop in and then drop out. Your presence matters! Now, it’s understood that we can’t be everywhere doing everything. It’s also understood that financial situations sometimes prohibit us from supporting things with money. But when you can, do. It’s disappointing when you see people in places that cost 10 times what you asked for, but never supporting your endeavors.

If you see something you like, say so! – When did we become so particular about complimenting one another? People will see what you’re doing and will genuinely be impressed, but won’t say a word. You’ll post online about your latest efforts, and it seems as if it kills them to click a “like” button. Or, better yet, they’ll share random things on social media all day long, but never share your upcoming event or your product. We just ignore one another, sometimes out of jealousy, and sometimes just being oblivious. It costs us nothing to say “Well done”, “Nice job”, or “I’m praying for your success”.

When you don’t need it, refer, refer, refer! – As a writer, I come into contact with people that just aren’t avid readers. I respect that and I don’t expect them to buy books. But do you know someone that reads and would enjoy a book like mine? If I fried chicken for a living and you’re a vegetarian, does anyone you know eat good chicken? The point here is that even when we don’t need or use certain things, we know somebody that does. Even when you don’t know somebody offhand, sometimes people will ask you about a product that you know a brother or sister offers. Why not refer where you can’t support personally? There’s more than one way to sow and I believe we miss many opportunities to support in other ways.

Your only competition is you! – Once you realize that another’s success doesn’t hinder yours, you free yourself and you’re able to support. Too many of us are under the impression that supporting someone else takes something away from us. But I’m here to tell you that there’s enough room for all of us, even if our gifts are similar. God made us just unique enough to be similar, but different.

Don’t attempt duplication when you don’t have the anointing! – We sometimes don’t know how to collaborate. This goes both ways. It’s true on the end of the person with the gift and the person that’s being asked to support. First of all, if you know someone that does what you need, use them! You don’t have to start your own thing just to spite them or to prove that you can do what they can do, because sometimes, you really can’t. Sometimes, that’s not your anointing.

At the same time, if you’re gifted, don’t try and overcharge people. Be firm on what your gift is worth, but be fair. Word of mouth can be a blessing or a burden. Also, I know we all like to make a splash, but instead of always looking for big names, why not help someone build a name. We must never forget that we all started somewhere and someone had to take a chance on us. There’s something in us that desires to reach certain levels so that we can be in elite company. While there’s nothing wrong with that, there is something wrong with us when we don’t desire to see people come up the same way we did.

Avoid token or quid pro quo “friendships” – There is a difference between business and friendship, and we must be clear about what we want from people. If it’s business, then support is determined simply by whether or not you have what I need and whether or not the price and quality is right. However, friendship is much different. Friends support your startup work as well as work you’ve perfected. I have friends that have bought every book that I’ve ever written. I don’t know if they’ve read them or not, but when they’re released, they buy them. That’s friendship to me. We shouldn’t choose our “friends” based on what we can get out of them. That’s not friendship. That’s a business arrangement.

 

Overall, we must understand in ministry that we don’t lose when someone else is winning. The only person that loses is the devil, and we should all be praying for his downfall. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 9:11 that time and chance happens to us all. Simply put, even if it seems as if someone is ahead of you, God will offer you a chance at prosperity one day. Don’t waste your time of preparation being jealous or non-supportive of others. Don’t be like Cain, with a poor countenance, plotting your brother’s downfall. Listen to what God told Cain and do well so that you too may be received.

1 Corinthians 12:25-26 tells us that there should be harmony among those that are in the Body of Christ. That if one suffers, we all suffer, but if one is honored, we should all be glad. We must remember that we’re all on the same team and there’s enough for us all to be well fed. 

If we really believe that there’s plenty room at the cross as it relates to salvation, then the same God that is making room for us in Heaven will make a prosperous way for all of us here on earth. If we really believe that Jesus could feed the multitude with the bare minimum, then we should believe that He can supply every need to every entrepreneurial endeavor, sustaining us all. But He won’t do it without our involvement.

The key is for us to support one another. There’s no room for competition in ministry. After all, it’s not our Kingdom that we’re working for anyway. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. The world and they that dwell therein. So be a good steward. Work on your dreams. Support others as they do the same. And clap when they win.