GPS for Your Journey – 3 Habits to Keep you on Route

gps-sat-nav

Listen rather than look for direction in your journey

The chain saw ripped another scrub tree as we cleared the north Florida site for construction. VVVMMM!. Cell phone. “Not now”, I thought. “Answer that”, said something within me. Chain saw still buzzing. Ear plugs in. I could feel that direction more than hear it. I choked off the saw and walked around a building to cut the noise of the dozer. I thought, “If this phone call leads to something signficant I will not forget it”. I found a quiet place.

Work Interrupted

“David Winter?”, It was a teaming partner. “Yes, can I help you? I said”. “David, there is an opportunity coming out of the Air Force Reserve I think we need to look at. But it is due in three weeks and you’ll have to come to Washington DC in a few days and help write it”. I had site work to do. Leaving could delay the project. But I had been praying for an open door to grow federal contract work. Should I leave existing work and chase this?

I have worked for years in mundane workplaces. Years where my desk was the only terrain I’d see. It was my own choosing. A life of comfort is easier than a life of faith. But moving to Florida from Wisconsin did not allow complacency. I had an office to build, staff to hire, and clients to gain. I needed help to create a backlog of projects from nothing.

Created to Follow

The Lord whispers in Jeremiah 10:23 an ability we do not have:

I know that the way of man is not in himself. It is not in man to direct his steps.

But if it’s not within us to know direction do we give up and go back to complacency? No, although it would be easier. He promises instead to be our guide as we follow Him. If we follow what we cannot see then we have faith. Then doors are opened for us. Doors we cannot see. In this story above, I did leave the job site, go to Washington, and write the proposal. After 6 months we were notified that a new door was opened; we won a $25M contract. It was the first large design-build contract win for me. But most meaningful was the way in which the Lord directed me to it. The opportunity was just not on my radar.

3 Steps to Clearly Hear

Our hearing can be seasonal. Great instruction followed by silence. What happens if you are off route? Turn and believe. When I need to hear clearly again I do these things:

  1. Pray Every Morning: a friend once said this to me, “You will never hear and follow the rhythm of the Holy Spirit in your life unless you pray regularly”.
  2. Read the Word Every Morning: reading the Bible cleans our spirit and mind and prepares them to receive.
  3. Talk with Him Every Day: speak and meditate to the Lord. He likes to jump into these conversations.

Have fun this week hearing from the Lord, you may just see His smile as you follow Him.

A Story of Moving From Two Sides – Her Perspective

To let go allows God to mend you

To start over allows God to mold you

To move ahead allows God to mature you  

(Susan Miller, After the Boxes are Unpacked – Moving On After Moving In)

This is the second post on moving.  This one is written from “her” perspective – my wife, Melanie.  

Dave and I were married 11 years with established friends, a home church and close with family when the first BIG change happened.  We were serving happily with my parents in the ministry.  Dave was established at work.  But, I would travel to different parts of the country and would have desires to live different places.  I just never thought it would be part of our plan. But the Lord was stirring in Dave to step out in faith and be challenged.  The Lord opened doors to us quickly thereafter and presented an option that would advance Dave’s career and give our family opportunities.  It would allow us to give our girls the education we wanted them to have.  When Dave told me he thought an offer was coming that would move us to Florida, 22 hours from Duluth, Minnesota, it freaked me out.  I never thought we would move.  Immediately I began to ride an emotional roller coaster.  I would miss everyone.  How would we put together a life on the other side of the country?

But I just wasn’t ready.  In my stubbornness and my lack of faith, I put my foot down.  I said , “I cannot do this”.   So, together we decided to turn down the opportunity.  We gave it up.  We said in our hearts that if  God wanted this for us He would bring it back.  After this decision we were both very let down and felt like something great was missed.

Four months later the offer came back.  It was even better for our family.  I decided that I need to trust Him.  I realized my husband could hear from Him.  That was the turning point. It was when I began to release the plans for my life and let God do what He wanted.  Then, in unity, we decided to take the offer to move to Florida.

I have learned that the Lord doesn’t blindly pull you through life.  He is good enough to lead us and confirm His leading to comfort us.   He comforts us as we walk the path He has for us.  There were many confirmations He gave that comforted me in the move.   The greatest confirmation was in our first visit to Florida.  At Destiny Worship Center, as Pastor Steve Vaggalis spoke, the words went directly to my heart.  He spoke of  stepping into a new season, letting go of the old, moving toward the new, and trusting the Lord.   He spoke that it was time to step in to the new season with faith.  I knew that this was the Lord’s Word for me and it cut me to the heart.  It was what I needed to to move forward.

Here is a list of things that helped me move forward in a difficult season of my life, a difficult move.

  1. Realize God’s plan may be bigger than you.   God has a plan bigger than you can know.  So you will not always understand it. He wants to stretch you  to help others as He grows you up.  He will need to move you from your comfort zone to do that.  Look at the big picture and not just the current corner of your life.
  2. Realize God is good.  God has your best future in mind.  He loves you and cares for you.  He won’t lead you into evil.  It will be ok!
  3. Release your situation to God.  You need to release your situation to the Lord and follow Him.  It’s a matter of trusting what you cannot see.
  4. Release your feelings of Loss.  Release your feelings of loss to the Lord and He can begin to heal you.  In each season of life there is blessing and loss.  Release any sense of loss to Him.  To help me do this, I clung to Psalm 138:8, “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me“.
  5. Believe that the Lord will protect you.  I had to trust not only the Lord, but also Dave.  Trust that the Lord can protect you even if you or your husband make a “wrong” decision.
  6. Realize you are teaching your children:  As a mother, remember your behavior will be copied by your children.  Realizing this helped me stay encouraged for them.  I wanted to model a behavior of how to hear from and follow the Lord.  Remember your words, attitudes, and actions are being watched and affect those that come after you.  Be a Mom that shows them how to step out in their life and live in God’s big plan.
  7. Don’t Fight with God:  Don’t fight God, he knows what’s best for you.
  8. Don’t Fight with your husband.  Don’t fight your husband, he wants what’s best for you
  9. Have a sense of humor – Growth is a part of the plan of your life.  Enjoy the adventure!
  10. Be Thankful.   Be thankful and embrace the opportunities the Lord brings you!

Melanie

Trust Releases Control – 5 Steps to Victory

Trust requires releasing control to another

I prepared.  I opened my heart to constructive criticism and opened the door to the performance review. It had been 7 years of trying to get along with a boss that clearly did not like me.  Sure, I had a lot to learn when I first joined the company but after several years there just seemed to be nothing I could do to grow the professional relationship.  First, I was too maverick.  Then, later, as I gave my life to Christ, and learned to submit wholly to authority, it was something much deeper that made this boss angry with me.

The performance review suddenly turned an ugly corner.  “You’re just a maverick Dave”.  It was followed by a 10 minute emotional rant.  I am not even sure of the words anymore but I do remember the viper eyes and the curl on her upper lip as she spewed venom and ripped me.  I was floored.  I was in total submission to her authority, was making my utilization goals, and just brought a half million dollar account in the door.  I will be honest with you.  I opened up my heart thinking it would help me learn.  Instead, it made me extraordinarily vulnerable and I was completely undone. How should I now respond?

Still emotional, I prayed, “Lord, I have done well and supported the leadership.  I will not get angry with her.  Instead, I give this situation to you.  I trust you to deal with this”.  Soon after, my family and I began to pray 2 Thessalonians 3:2, “that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men”.  I was shaken for weeks not really sure where I stood at my job.  Wondering if I would be released.

The breakthrough came suddenly one morning 7 weeks later.  Someone from the corporate office flew into town.  Within hours, even though I had not said one word to anyone in the company, my boss was let go and I was given the leadership position.  Our office moved locations too, from skanky to swanky. It would be the beginning of turning the  office around and tripling revenue and profit.  It taught me that relinquishing control to the Lord is a powerful response to injustice.  David wrote in Psalm 37, ” And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them; he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him“.

Something powerful happens when we fully trust the Lord.  There seems to be a line in the sand when we encounter a situation in which we are helpless.  We must cross the line and come to a place where we say, “I give this situation to You”.

Is there an injustice in your life that is beyond your control?  Here are some steps that have helped me trust, step back, and relax while the Lord moves:

1.  Stop Trying To Fix It:  You must cease from your laboring and worrying.  It is evidence that you are not trusting but rather controlling.

2.  Understand that Trust is more powerful than Control:  Realize that He is more powerful than you.  So, as you let go a more powerful Team is on the scene.

3.  Ask the Lord to Take Care of the Problem:   This is where it all begins.  Until you do this you still own the problem.

4.  Relinquish Control:  Tell yourself that you have drawn a line in the sand.  It is no longer your problem to fix.

5.  Stand in Faith:  It takes time to move mountains.  Spend the time waiting being more productive.

What things do you need in your life that are beyond your control?  What would be the result if you took your situation through these steps?  Would you add any other steps?

 

The World Needs Your Dream

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Identify Your Big Dream

A few weeks ago I was walking in downtown Nashville during a break from a training seminar. I was thinking about specific dreams that I had for the future. Some very big dreams and goals. In total they were more than I had the resources for, and that was just the beginning.

I was overwhelmed and said, “Lord, if you want me to do these things then I will need your help”.  Just then as I walked around a corner was a church with a sign that said – Don’t Stop Dreaming, God Provides the Way. I had to laugh.

Understand Why You Dream

Webster defines a dream as an aspiration or goal. Other dreams are images and emotions we have during sleep. But the dreams I am writing about are the ideas in the core of our being that we think of as we gaze out the window thinking of what could be. They are the answer to the question, “If I could do anything without respect to resources and without respect to time I would… (you fill in the blank). Why do we have aspirations and goals in life? Could they be a ladder connecting us to a fulfilled life? Could they be whispers of divine purpose?

Bill Johnson in his book, “Dreaming With God” tells the story of Matt McPherson. As a young man Matt McPherson had made a hobby of making and shooting compound bows. One day God spoke to him and said, I know every answer to every problem in the world. If men would only ask me, I would give them the answers. Matt was compelled to ask the Lord how to build a better archery bow. Several weeks later at three o’clock he woke up seeing a piece of paper suspended before his eyes. On it was a sketch of a compound bow revealing a new concept. When his wife, Sherry, asked him what he was doing he said, “I think I’m having a vision”. He was. In response to his prayer, God gave him the initial concept for what would become the Mathews Archery Company, changing the archery industry forever.

Compound bows have an intrinsic problem to them: they have two cams/pulleys that must be properly synchronized to get the bow to work correctly. The idea that God put on the suspended sheet of paper was a whole new concept in bow design. It was a single-cam bow that eliminated the synchronizing issues. This idea turned the archery industry upside down.

Bring It To Life

What dream do you have that can turn the world upside down? Is it a new kind of business idea that can add wealth to society? Is it an innovation to simplify our lives? Is it a charity to pull others up from poverty? Is it a church planted in an abandoned city? The world needs your dream.

What one thing can you do today to take one step toward the dream The Lord has placed within you?

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