Train Them Thursday – Come As A Witness!

Date August 9, 2018

There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.” (John 1:6–8, NASB95)

 

He came as a witness. Have you ever had to deal with people who want you to do something but they have never done it themselves? Maybe they encourage you to take a trip, but they’ve never gone there. Perhaps they want you to start a new exercise regimen, but they look like graduates of Couch Potato University … with a PhD, no less! Or maybe, just maybe, they ask you to try that new restaurant out. They’re all excited so you go, only to find out it’s awful! You ask them afterward, “I thought you loved it?” only to have them respond, “Oh, we’ve never gone. We wanted to see if you liked it!”Ugh!

If you are like me, before you expend time, money and energy, you like to see what others who have purchased that product or service or have gone to that restaurant or on that trip have to say about your purchase or plan. Those are the valuable people in my life, and in yours as well, I would assume.

That is exactly what discipleship is all about. We share what we have experienced. No one can be more persuasive, more confident, more authoritative than the person who has been there and done that. They have the joys or the scars to tell you about. Exclusive insights come from those who have walked the path we long to take.

All John knew he shared. He knew God, so he talked about God. He understood from infancy that the Son of God was coming, and that was what He taught. And when Jesus arrived in front of him, he simply pointed people to Jesus and encouraged them to follow Him.

Witnesses simply share what they know. God has called each one of us to disciple others, whether they are the same as us or they are of another ethnicity. Before we can do that, we have to have experience with God and with His Son Jesus.

Today, stop and ask yourself: “Do I know about Jesus or do I really know Jesus? Have I chosen to follow Him? Am I surrendered to His leadership? Have I been discipled? Who will I disciple?”

 

Train Them Thursdays seeks to wed the Great Commission directive of Jesus with the practice He employed while on Earth. Each nugget is meant to encourage the reader with a “can-do” spirit to realize that discipleship is something each person is both capable of and empowered to accomplish. Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, writes each thought and they flow out of decades of his tried and true field-testing in multiple settings from rural to inner city. He welcomes your comments below.

Willing Worker Wednesday – Focus On Those Who Respond!

Date August 8, 2018

 

He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:11–13, HCSB)

 

But to all who did receive Him. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get distracted by the negative? All the time I see the spot on my shirt and not the beauty of the garment. When one person makes a snide remark, I remember that instead of the dozens of compliments I have received at almost the same time. What a mess we are!

Being an effective and willing worker for the Lord Jesus turns that around and chooses to focus on those who respond. I am not the 4thperson of the Godhead, and neither are you. We can’t change anyone. In fact, we have a very hard time changing ourselves. Right?

So, when someone responds, that’s God’s indication that He is working in his or her heart. “Go with the goers,” the saying says. Take a few minutes right now and make a list of the people within your sphere of influence who listen to you  … those who respect us enough to listen to what we have to say and consider it. That’s our “Goers” list. We will want to pour your time and effort into those people.

So, what should we do with them? How do we work with them? What does God expect us to share with them? “He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name.” Show them how to fully embrace and live out being God’s child. Being childlike is totally different that being adult-like or Bible school or seminary-like.

And be the living example of what it means to live by faith, to “believe in His name.”Notice that it isn’t about creeds and rules; it’s about relationship (being a child who has a loving father) and belief (knowing we are loved by our Daddy in Heaven. (When Jesus prayed He used the Aramaic form of Father, “Abba,” which is best translated, “Daddy.” That’s a great example for us, and a great place to start!

Show – don’t just tell – those you are working with what it means to be the small child with the powerful and loving daddy. The one who can be trusted and called on whenever there is a bully, a boo-boo, or a bad day. Our Father in Heaven loves his kids – that’s what we show.

 

Willing Worker Wednesdays are dedicated to explaining the core realties of servant leadership – the Biblical principles and methods used by God’s faithful people throughout time. They further reflect the lifestyle of Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords as He walked on this earth announcing the Kingdom of God had arrived. These brief lessons are written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and come from his extensive ministry within the local church, in higher education, in church consulting and as a Biblical author and leader.

 

Turn-Around Tuesday – Blaming Others Won’t Help!

Date August 7, 2018

 

The man replied, “The woman you gave to be with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate.” So the LordGod asked the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”” (Genesis 3:12–13, CSB)

The woman you gave me to be with me! Blame is the clearest evidence we are human. Just listen to any toddler and you will know that, “I don’t know!” often does most of those messy things that happen in the house.

And, if you will notice, with perhaps some encouragement, Adam and Eve both chose to blame someone else! What is amazing is that we can be so shameless when we are blaming others. Did you notice Whom Adam chose to blame for his troubles? God! Yes, he called out Eve for the negative influence, that’s for sure. However, listen to Adam’s words which I am emphasizing here with capital letters … “The woman YOU gave to be with me.”

Audacity. That’s what we choose all too often instead of humility when we are in the midst of our problems. Now, granted, most of our problems are not 100% our fault. We are pushed, shoved, aggravated, or cajoled into a bad decision. But, make no mistake. The decision is ours and ours alone. We are responsible for that choice.

If we want to turn our problems around, we will have to choose to accept 100% ownership for our attitudes and actions. We did this; we thought that; we chose. That’s the attitude of a turn-around. Triumph begins with accepting our part in our problems.

And again, I want to say not all problems are of our making. My wife’s death wasn’t my fault – we’ll deal with that along the way. However, most of my problems have some element of personal responsibility in them.

Choosing to own my mistakes is the first step to turn-around. Confessing my wrong choices to God and asking for both His forgiveness and His mercy – not giving me what I do deserve – will begin to turn around even the consequences of our mistakes. Today, drop to your knees and know the God who loves you will listen, forgive, and work to bring turn-around to your life!

 

Turn-Around Tuesdays are designed to bring hope and help, insight and encouragement to those of us who are simply overwhelmed by the flood of problems life throws at us. No one is immune to trials and troubles, but God has a way of lifting us from life’s torrents. Each short thought is written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and comes from his life-journey with the God who never leaves us or forsakes us.

 

Magnificent Marriage Monday – Marriage Comes With the Blessing of God!

Date August 6, 2018

God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”” (Genesis 1:28, CSB)

God blessed them! No matter what you are going through right now – whether you are not married and looking, you are in a marriage right now that’s flat or worse, you’re in a great marriage, or you are widowed and wondering if there will be another to share your life – remember, marriage comes with a blessing! This is why marriage is magnificent at any age!

What is the blessing though? Notice the words above again and find the two keys to God’s blessing. First, God calls younger couples to have children – lots of them! While many cultures seek to limit the number of children we have, either by official rules or peer pressure, God longs to bless marriage and make it magnificent by giving us kids … and a bundle of them!

Notice the words He uses to describe this truth: “Be fruitful!”Whoever wanted one or two grapes? “Multiply!”When it comes to our retirement account, who wants to multiply by one or two? “Fill the earth!”This will take a LOT of kids! Marriage becomes magnificent for younger couples when they choose to have children!

His second blessing follows logically. God commands married couples – and their brood of managers (kids) – to take over the world they live in! “Subdue it!” Such are the words of conquest. “Rule!” Again, this is the language of being King and Queen of your realm. God is telling each married couple that the key to a magnificent marriage is to get up, get out, and get going! God wants you to grab control of the world you live in – starting with your home and then moving outward.

When a man sees himself as the King and his wife as the Queen of their kingdom and vice versa – in subjection to God and King Jesus, of course – everything changes! Today, take command of your lives. Work together to increase God’s rule in your sphere of influence.

And pray for one another. Get on the same page. Become Kingdom-oriented and pray for God’s will and whim through your magnificent marriage. He put you together to accomplish great things!

 

Magnificent Marriage Mondays are helpful hints, clues, ideas and solutions for the child of God who is looking for a spouse, in a relationship with someone, or are already married. Each post seeks to bring help, hope, and honesty to your life and make the rest of your life, the best of your life. They are written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and come from his 38 years, 5 months and 2 days experience with his wife, Melodee, who was promoted to Heaven on November 11, 2017. He is currently seeking God’s will for his new life partner.

Hope For Today – Taking Care of Your Community

Date August 5, 2018

I’m Dr. Matthew Lee Smith and I want to share some Hope For Today to remind us that our community is such a HUGE mission field!

Hope For Today is a part of the ministry of Eagles In Leadership. If you would like to know more about the hope God gives and His abundant life through Jesus Christ, I would invite you to check out our website: EaglesInLeadership.org.

 

Just push the media button below to hear this encouraging message!

 

Faith Filled Friday – Make Disciples!

Date August 3, 2018

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, ESV)

 

Faith is … assurance … conviction. Do you know anyone who’s a life-long member of Vacillator’s Anonymous? VA is a fictitious organization but since high school, I’ve had a friend who could have been its founding member. “Wishy-washy” was the term we used back then for this guy. “Perhaps,” “Maybe,” Well, sort of,”were all favorite go-to phrases for our friend.

Not knowing, or worse, not declaring one’s certainty is a tragedy of a life poorly lived. When we are fear-filled and choose to pull back we lose the vigor that seizes those who possess daring faith.

Faith is an action word. Some speak of it as risk. Others categorize it as almost a gamble. If it weren’t for the object of our faith, surely all of faith would be a game of chance. But faith isn’t like evolution. We don’t place our hopes on time and chance. We place them in the Person who is Almighty, all-knowing, and all-powerful: God Himself, Yahweh, Creator of the Universe.

When we realize that our faith isn’t blind and it isn’t random, but that it is grounded on something more solid than the real estate we are on right now, we find ourselves growing more confident. Confidence is infectious. It builds inside us until it has to come out, often in dynamic or explosive ways.

That’s the assurance of things hoped for.” Faith assures us … it’s our insurance policy against despair. Faith tells us, “Things will work out because God is faithful and loving.” Such a certainty calms the heart and soul because we know that, “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4, ESV)

Faith is all about the supernatural. It is the conviction of things not seen.”In the Old Testament God repeatedly mocked the false gods by making one claim: “Can they predict the future and tell you with 100% accuracy that those predictions will come true? I can!” Our God is amazing. He knows the future. He shares what He knows with us, piece-by-piece, as we need it. And, when He doesn’t share, we gain comfort by knowing the God who loves us is working everything out.

 

Faith Filled Fridays hopes to boost your trust in God and accelerate your daring and courage in everyday life. Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, writes each encouragement out of a heart that has known both great joy and great loss – his wife of 38 years, 5 months and 2 days was promoted to Heaven on November 11, 2017. Through every experience, God has proven Himself more than faithful and trustworthy.

 

Train Them Thursday – Make Disciples!

Date August 2, 2018

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:19–20, NASB95)

 

Go therefore and make disciples. Many people aren’t very mechanical. I know I am one of those who is far more book-smart than tool-smart. That’s how God made me. Maybe God made you more mechanically inclined. Could you send me your contact information? I’m always in need of your help!

When Jesus gave this command He had already spent three years of intensive, 24-hour a day, 7 days a week life-on-life training with the disciples. They watched Him in every conceivable situation. Whether He was leading or being attacked, walking along the dirt roads of Israel or teaching over the clamor of the city of Jerusalem, Jesus gave those He discipled full access.

When Jesus calls us to “make disciples’ He assumes a few things. First, we have chosen to follow Him with our lives. This isn’t a part-time, religious event we attend. Jesus is our King and Lord, Master of our Universe, so to speak.

Second, He also assumes that we have been discipled. Jesus knows that we cannot share what we do not possess. That is one of the reasons why He came to Earth. He chose to disciple the twelve. And, in so doing, He knew there would be a model that would not only be reproduced through the lives of those whom He personally discipled, but also a written record of how He discipled and what He did as He discipled. We call this journal of discipleship The Gospels.

As we dig through the historical records of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we will be doing so chronologically. In so doing, we are attempting to understand what Jesus did first and second and so forth. As we do that, we will see how discipleship succeeds and what we should be doing with our disciples.

Working with people is wonderful. Discipling them is commanded. Choose to do more than follow Jesus. Choose to obey Him and make some disciples. By the way, we’ll be done when we reach the world!

 

Train Them Thursdays seeks to wed the Great Commission directive of Jesus with the practice He employed while on Earth. Each nugget is meant to encourage the reader with a “can-do” spirit to realize that discipleship is something each person is both capable of and empowered to accomplish. Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, writes each thought and they flow out of decades of his tried and true field-testing in multiple settings from rural to inner city.

Willing Worker Wednesday – Life and Light For Humanity!

Date August 1, 2018

 

Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:4–5, HCSB)

That life was the light of men. Have you ever noticed how dark our world is becoming? Whole neighborhoods are too dangerous to drive through. Some sections of town are filled with crime. There are even churches where it’s not safe to join because of the “hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, [and] factions.” (Galatians 5:20, HCSB)

As humanity takes on a self-serving and dehumanizing tendency, the follower of Jesus wonders, “What hope is there for a people so swept up by the darkening culture?”

Of course, as always, the hope of the world is found within the people who God who have Jesus as their Lord and King. He is the great Rescuer, the great Savior of all peoples.

But how does Jesus rescue a world trapped in such death? He breathes life into the dying corpse of humanity. One. Person. At. A. Time. That’s how you came alive. That’s how life is spread.

Life brings hope. Possibilities. Change. Life creates. Life promotes. Life sustains. Life transforms. Life brings more life. Life brings light. And light, by its very nature eradicates darkness. It simply pushes back the gloom. It dries up the fog. It penetrates the impenetrable.

You who are His, you who claim His name know that You are the light of the world, the light of your community, the light of your neighborhood, the light of your job, the light of your school, the light of your group, the light of your church, the light of your family, the light of your marriage. (Matthew 5:14-16)

And wherever we are we bring light by speaking life, speaking hope, speaking possibilities, speaking new ideas and new thoughts, speaking encouragement and promise. As His follower, Jesus calls us to spread life. And where that life takes root, light shines. People are filled with hope by faith. They receive encouragement by our presence and they look to Jesus by our example.

Be willing to speak life. It will bring light into your dark places!

 

Willing Worker Wednesdays are dedicated to explaining the core realties of servant leadership – the Biblical principles and methods used by God’s faithful people throughout time. They further reflect the lifestyle of Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords as He walked on this earth announcing the Kingdom of God had arrived. These brief lessons are written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and come from his extensive ministry within the local church, in higher education, in church consulting and as a Biblical author and leader.

 

Turn-Around Tuesday – Trials and Troubles Often Start By Choice!

Date July 31, 2018

 

“No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:4–6, CSB)

You will not die! Our problems are often the result of outside influence. Most of the time, when I find myself suffering, I have done something that I shouldn’t of. And, to be perfectly transparent, I have suffered much in life because I simply chose to listen to that little voice in my head telling me to do things I knew at the time I shouldn’t.

Being “under the influence” is a regular reality for many people. Note that it takes just a little nudge here to push perfect people to choose badly – Adam and Eve have never disobeyed God, thus they had none of the influences we experience because of our sinfulness.

Questioning the words of God is where our problems often are birthed. Whether it comes to marriage, morals, ministry, or meals (gluttony is my personal “pet sin”), choosing to “rewrite” what God meant or said is where life takes an awful turn off the path of life.

Once we choose to be smarter than God’s declared words, we take the exit from life and enter Death’s Valley. Remember, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). The only way to lessen the damage – and note, we can never erase all the consequences of our failures – is to turn-around and get back on the path of life!

Jesus would tell us that turning around and getting back on the path of life will involve a technical issue. The Bible uses the term, “repentance” when it explains this. To “repent” means to turn around in our thinking. Since our thoughts become our actions, we have to change the way we think about the choices we have made.

When Adam and Eve chose to step away, they immediately began to feel the consequences. If you are at that point, take a moment right now and choose to rethink your failure. Ask God for forgiveness. He is gracious and full of compassion. And, then, choose to make some right choices to rectify and lessen the damage of your choices.

 

Turn-Around Tuesdays are designed to bring hope and help, insight and encouragement to those of us who are simply overwhelmed by the flood of problems life throws at us. No one is immune to trials and troubles, but God has a way of lifting us from life’s torrents. Each short thought is written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and comes from his life-journey with the God who never leaves us or forsakes us.

Magnificent Marriage Monday – Made in God’s Image!

Date July 30, 2018

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.” (Genesis 1:26–27, CSB)

Created in God’s likeness! Whatever else marriage is, it is the unity of two people who are fearfully and wonderfully made. God, in His infinite wisdom, puts two of His incredible creations together to accomplish something spectacular! YOU are amazing!

When God brings you together with another of His creation, be sure you are looking every day for the amazing God created in them. So many people have chosen to purchase a lie, believing that either they are substandard or the person they marry will have to be substandard. This is the recipe for disappointment, discouragement, despair, and divorce.

You are so incredible!

When we think of God’s handcrafting of our soul – our body and our spirit – we cannot but come to the conclusion that God has done a great work.

Many of us carry the scars, the damage from bad choices we’ve made or others have made against us. Several of us have chosen to accept the insults and derision of others when it comes to how we look, the way we speak or the way we think. These scripts run in our heads like the nightly news – horror and calamity!

But you are not a horror! You are not a calamity. You are made in the image of God! You have the breath of the Almighty coursing through your veins. Today, choose to hold your head up high and say repeatedly, “I am made in the image of God. The spouse God will give or has given to me is made in the image of God. We are AMAZING! And that’s something I know without any doubt! God doesn’t lie!”

Now, pray for your spouse-to-be or your spouse. Ask God to show you MORE of whom He has made them to be. Then tell them all about what you see! That’s how magnificent marriages blossom!

 

Magnificent Marriage Mondays are helpful hints, clues, ideas and solutions for the child of God who is looking for a spouse, in a relationship with someone, or are already married. Each post seeks to bring help, hope, and honesty to your life and make the rest of your life, the best of your life. They are written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and come from his 38 years, 5 months and 2 days experience with his wife, Melodee, who was promoted to Heaven on November 11, 2017. He is currently seeking God’s will for his new life partner.


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