Have you ever second-guessed yourself after completing a task? Have you ever replayed a situation in your mind thinking of everything you should’ve done differently? Yeah, me too – ALL THE TIME!
I have a tendency to replay every message I preach and torture myself over every little thing. I dissect every lesson, every staff meeting, every service trying to correct things that fell short. It’s mind-numbing and it can drive you crazy!
What does success for the Christian look like? How do we know if we are accomplishing what really matters? How do we know we’re making progress?
Do we measure this in attendance in our houses of worship? How would that even apply to those who aren’t pastors? Do we add up the hours we’ve spent in prayer or chapters we’ve read in our Bibles? What about the people we’ve shared Christ with? Do they count as success?
Many would argue that it’s faithfulness, not success, that God is after. Ok then, how do you measure faithfulness? How do you know you’re on track?
I’ve put together three simple principles to help to clarify our personal vision. These have not been thrown together for the sake of this article. These three principles have helped to define my christian life and ministry for many years.
1. PRAY FULL
The Key Word Here Is: PRESENCE (as in God’s Presence)
This is priority number one. Everything begins here. You’ve probably heard it said, “you can’t give what you don’t have.” If you read the account of Peter and John going to prayer in Acts chapter three, you’ll find their encounter with the lame beggar. Peter says to him, “such as I have give I thee…” To what was he referring?
They had just come from the upper room experience (Acts 2). They had prayed until the Holy Ghost was given and they were filled. They had received of God’s presence, they had been educated by the words of Christ, and they had something to give.
The phrase I use, “Pray Full”, isn’t exclusively about the act of prayer. Rather, it has to do with our ongoing communication with The Lord. It includes Prayer, The Word, Fasting, Worship, Church Attendance and Fellowship, etc.
This has to do with being filled with God’s Presence.
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
2. PREACH EMPTY
The Key Word Here Is: PASSION
This has to do with your pulpit. And yes, you’re supposed to have one! The places you go, the people you talk to, the business you are involved in, are all opportunities to give away what you have in you.
You can’t skip to this step and bypass #1. You’ll end up frustrated, trust me! I know you may be uncomfortable with the word “preach”, but it accurately describes how we’re to interact with the world around us.
In our “please don’t offend” culture of political correctness, people shy away from getting “preachy”. To preach, simply means to proclaim something. For the Christian, this means the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (read 1 Corinthians chapter 1)
You must be passionate about what you believe! When you are deeply passionate, you WILL passionately proclaim it!
Remember, your pulpit will be different than mine. I fill a physical pulpit in the church I pastor. I also have a pulpit outside of our church. This blog is a pulpit. My interactions in our community are pulpits. They’re all opportunities to proclaim what I’m passionate about!
3. PRESS ON
The Key Word Here Is: PERSEVERANCE.
The difference between those who finish and those who give up comes down to this: perseverance. It’s the determination to keep going, to overcome. It can be the difference between finishing and failing, and even life and death.
Many times, I find myself getting stuck right here. Struggling to make real progress. Here’s the secret: sometimes it has more to do with not giving up than it does with making progress.
The folder I used to use for preaching notes
Commit to Press On no matter what. After a while you’ll begin to notice that you are making progress!
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:…”
This is where these principles really come into play. You’ve prayed. You’ve given until there’s nothing left. Now what? This is the time that giving up becomes an appealing option. When you’ve tried and tried yet feel you’re not making a difference.
The answer? Press On! In spite of how you feel or how it seems – Press On! When no one’s there to cheer you on, or pat your back – Press On!
These 3 principles are what govern my life and ministry. Without them I would’ve probably given up a long time ago. I have a tendency to focus on everything I said, should’ve said, or messed up on. That’s why I developed these principles. I can’t change what’s already happened. What I can do is Press On so that I can Pray Full, Preach Empty, and Press On some more!
PRAY FULL – PREACH EMPTY – PRESS ON!
You will begin noticing that most of my articles will be categorized by theses principles. I want to help you bring clarity to your life, be filled with all God has for you, develop your “pulpit”, and encourage you to persevere!
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