Expand Your Skills to Succeed
If you want to succeed in life, your education cannot end when you graduate. All leaders are learners, and you need to continue learning the rest of your life. Because the moment you stop growing, your contribution to your company stops growing also.
Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” (NIV) It’s important to work smarter, to sharpen your ax. You waste less time when you do this.
How do you sharpen your ax? By filling your head with learning – read a book, listen to a seminar, take a class, attend church. If you keep learning, then God can continue to expand your horizons.
“Do yourself a favor and learn all you can; then remember what you learn and you will prosper.” (Proverbs 19:8 TEV) The solution to most of life’s problems is training. So learn all you can.
That’s why I encourage my congregation to take notes during my sermons. Did you know that if you don’t, then within 72 hours you’ll forget 95 percent of what you hear? So you may look real spiritual, but you’re not real bright.
Learn all you can and remember what you learn and watch how God blesses your work.
RW, Daily Devotion
God doesn’t recruit you without a calling. God calls everybody to use the gifts and the passion that they have, but not everyone picks up the phone.
The only way you’re going to hear is if you listen. You’ve got be quiet, you’ve got to get alone and spend time with God.
When Mordecai sends Esther word that the Jews are going to be annihilated, he essentially says, “Don’t think that you can just ignore this disturbing trend. Yeah, I know it’s been tough, but this is your destiny. God put you here. It’s no accident that you are a Jewish girl and now the queen of Persia.’
It’s important to read on and see Esther’s response to Mordecai in Esther 4:15, “Go, gather together all the Jews and fast for me. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law” (NIV).
Esther knows confronting the king is likely to mean certain death. She’s going to have to use her gifts of beauty, brains, and personality to persuade him. But before she goes to see him, she sets aside three days to fast and pray before God.
When you are seeking God’s call on your life, follow Esther’s example. First, get all the support you can. Second, you need extended time alone with God. I want to encourage you to schedule a retreat with God. Whether it’s an overnight, a weekend, or longer if you can, you won’t hear God’s call on your life if you don’t get alone with him.
- Prayer for the City which is suffering from a lonely battle for peace and freedom and righteousness.
Does your small group have ground rules?
All relationships have ground rules. Small groups are no exception.
Even if you have not formally established the ground rules for your group, members likely perceive a set of guidelines. Unfortunately, conflict can result when different people have different ideas about what conduct is expected in any group, including a Bible study. In general, small groups and other church groups are more fruitful when rules are not unspoken.
So what are the basic ground rules that you should have for your small group? This will vary between different groups, but the following five are a good baseline.
1. What happens in small group stays in small group.
People often share extremely personal information in small groups. This is generally a good thing, as it builds bonds and helps leaders in the discipleship of their community. However, this can go awry if people share this confidential information. Even if the information is not used for gossip, it still can make members reticent to talk about their challenges and other personal information. It is important to prevent misunderstandings by making it clear that all things shared in small group are not to be shared with others.
2. Everyone gets a turn.
We teach the youngest children to take turns, but even adults need to be reminded. It is important that no one in your small group community dominate conversation and also that every share their thoughts. If you have members who are more comfortable sharing when not in face to face discussions, consider getting a program such as StudyChurch. This allows more introverted members to contribute in ways they find more comfortable and also lets people who came unprepared get a chance to review material before weighing in.
3. Don’t take disagreements personally.
The most fruitful small groups often involve lively debate. However, this requires disagreement. Group members should be prepared to disagree in a polite and constructive way. The flip side of this is that they should be open to hearing people disagree with them. Doing this in a polite way is not just a great way to learn about different interpretations of God’s Word, but practice for success in real life as well.
4. Respect each others’ time.
There is a reason people are angered when others are late; if it happens often, it implies that the latecomer does not respect other people’s time. Similarly, forcing group to stay late shows a lack of respect for time. People in the modern world have a variety of commitments, so respect their time by always beginning and ending on time.
5. Do unto others.
The Golden Rule is one of the most important rules for all interaction. It’s important that members use common courtesy and show respect for each other. Everyone should feel respected and heard in a community of their brothers and sisters in Christ.
These are just the basic ground rules, so feel free to add others that are specific to the needs of your community. Setting ground rules will make your small groups go much more smoothly. Members will understand what is expected of them and how they can make the experience better both for themselves and others around.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13 NIV).
Have you noticed how common sense isn’t so common? A lot of smart people are not too wise. They may be educated, but they don’t have wisdom. They may have all kinds of degrees, but they’re a washout with relationships.
James 3:13 says that wisdom is a lifestyle: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (NIV).
Wisdom has nothing to do with your intelligence. It has everything to do with your relationships and your character. It’s not a matter of what you say with your lips but what you live with your life—not a matter of your words but of your works and not so much your diplomas but your disposition.
How can you know if you’re wise in the ways you relate to people? The Bible lists the characteristics of wise people in James 3:17: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (NIV).
“Pure” means uncorrupted and authentic. In 1 John 3:3 this word is used to refer to Christ’s character. It means you have integrity. If you’re wise, you’re not going to lie to others, cheat them, manipulate them, or be deceitful.
All relationships are built on trust and respect. If you’re not honest, who’s going to trust you? Who’s going to respect you? You must have integrity in your life.
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely” (Proverbs 10:9 NIV). They’re not afraid of being found out because they don’t say one thing to one group and another thing to another group. Someone said, “No one has a good enough memory to be a habitual liar.” Eventually that person is going to slip up. But if you’ve got integrity, you can walk securely and confidently in your relationships because you know you’re not putting people on.
Wise people do not compromise their integrity, because they know that having integrity is the only way to maintain healthy relationships.
Talk About It
- Do you consider yourself a wise person? Why or why not?
- What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?
- Why is it important to have integrity in the small ways you relate to people and not just in your closest relationships?