The Danger of Drop Ceilings…

Standard

kingscrossingThe King’s Street Train Station was built somewhere between 1904 and 1906.  The Train station was beautifully ornate and full of exquisite design details such as four clock faces designed by   E. Howard & Company.  It was magnificent but things became old and needed a face lift. Drop Ceiling tiles were installed in the 1960’s to modernize the Train Station.

For years passengers sat in the waiting areas of the Train Station without understand the beauty of what was just above their heads. The danger with drop ceilings is that we can get comfortable with the view and not be willing to do the work to restore the beauty!

628x471celingCan you imagine? If all this time you looked up at a stained, dirty drop ceiling that is suspended above your head since the 1960’s  and never realized what was right above it!  What keeps us from looking or better yet from being willing to remove the ceiling that is limiting us from great things?

The most ornate dreams remain hidden above the ceiling of today’s perspective.

This truth occurred to me in a conversation with a dear friend just this week.  This simple conversation about what is under the surface created a deep, internal desire to tear down my drop ceilings and begin to dream of the possibilities of what lies underneath. The dreams(just like the ceiling above) have always been their but something was hanging in suspension blocking the view of the original design of the space.

How about you? What drop ceiling has been placed between you and your dream.  Maybe your dreams were put on hold to pay off debt or work on your marriage.  Your dream maybe be hanging by a suspended wire because of fear and doubt. The question you need to ask yourself revolves around timing.  Is it time to do some remodeling in your current season of life? Are you ready to pull out your 6ft ladder and take a peak at what is above your drop ceiling? When you are ready- let me give you some practical steps to take to begin this dream remodeling process.

1. Take down the old tiles.

In order to devote the time and energy to reworking what is beneath, you must be willing to let your current view end. Change is uncomfortable but necessary if you want to remodel that dream. Know that it is gonna be messy during the demo process. Be sure that you remove all the tiles to prepare for the beauty of what is to come.

2. Remove the frames.

In order to get back to the dreams that are above the ceilings, you must depend fully on the original design of who God created you to be.  Frames represent things or people that that have come support in place of God.  Key people need to remain in your life but your direction and guidance must come from God.  Let him build the framework of your dreams- not other people.

3. Refurbish the original ceiling.

Repair what needs to be repaired. Those unattractive things  that drove you put up the drop ceiling are still there.  Before you slap a fresh coat of paint to spruce things up- take the time to get alone with God and get accountable with people.  Cracks don’t disappear. Repair what is broken and then restoration can begin.

King’s Street Train Station completed a complete renovation in 2013.  The hard work and dedication to restore the original architecture is breath-taking but greater is the magnitude of your life as you become all that God has dreamed for you to be!

451px-KingStreetStationLobby

KingStreetStationWaitingRoom_big

The impact of your leader. A case study for Patrick, Angel and Marianne.

Standard

I have a theory. Please allow me to share it with you so that you might share your thoughts:

As leaders we must know that our belief in our followers plays a key factor in their success.

Here is how I reached this conclusion.  First I am a follower.  I am a follower of Jesus Christ.  As my leader, his belief in me plays a key role in my success in life. I believe that he wrote Jeremiah 29:11 for me. I believe I am his workmanship and that I have purpose and a call on my life. His believe in me is a key factor in my success.

I am also a wife.  My husband, Patrick, thinks and believes in me at certain levels and his believe in me is a key factor in my success.  For example, He believes that one day I will be a writer and speaker.  He believes it way more than I do but his belief in me spurs me on to success.

Turning the table for a moment, I also have two incredible daughters. My belief in them and what they will become is a key factor in their success. My oldest daughter has expressed her desire to open a home for women who have been rescued from human trafficking. I believe that she can do this!  I communicate this to her, encouraging her, resourcing her and reminding her what she will become if she will believe in herself.  My youngest daughter is going to be an incredible mother and teacher.  Her heart is so tender and sweet and I believe that she will marry a mighty man of God and raise amazing kids as she pours her ability to teach into the lives of thousands of children.  I believe in her and because I believe in her- she believe she can do it too!

Think about those that you have been given the honor to lead. Maybe in your home, at work, in ministry.  What you believe about them is shown in your actions.  What are you saying? How are your investing and growing them? Do you ask them about their dreams and what God is calling them to do or are your conversations business as usual? One word of encouragement can be the catalyst to increasing your followers success. Taking the one moment to see potential in them and encourage them to grow can make all the difference.  Being a leader is not a position, it is a relational responsibility.

Let’s keep it practical!  Take a moment a write down 3 people in your life.  A family member, a friend and a team member.

  1. Patrick
  2. Angel
  3. Marianne

Now- be intentional about believing in them.  Write it down then communicate it to them this week.  Write a handwritten note or face-to-face communicate that your believe in them.  Your words are seeds that planted in the right soil, in the right season will reap a harvest beyond our wildest dreams!

1. Patrick. I believe he will be a success in his new job. He is smart and creative. He is fun to be around and I believe He can grow his territory to 3 million in 2014!

2. Angel was born to be an encourager. Her ability to speak life into people and encourage them is truly life altering.  I believe that Angel will influence every pastor and leader within the Grow network and because of her heart for Loving People- the kingdom will be forever changed.  I believe she can create a shortage on lifesavers in Alabama with her vision and heart!

3. Marianne will be fully empower to be a rescuer! She is an overcomer and is called to help other women overcome. Yes, I believe it will begin in Birmingham but God will expand her realm of influence and will tear down the walls of human trafficking so that all people can walk with her as overcomers!

 

Lessons from a farmer

Standard

Image

On Day 2 God created seed-bearing plants. Right after the heavens, the day and land; God created seed-bearing plants. There is such significance to this divine decision.  He created all things to live under the principles of sowing and reaping.  This week my family and I are staying in a 130 year old Bed and Breakfast at the foot of Lookout Mountain in Mentone, Alabama. We adventured through the Desoto Falls yesterday and admired the canvas painted by the Creator himself! Did you know that a giant sequoia can measure up to 20 feet wide and 300 feet tall? That is the width of a school bus and the height of an entire football field.  That is huge! It’s hard to think that a single seed produced that large of a tree.  It’s equally amazing that that one tree will produce over 400,000 seeds per year. That is a lot of power in one seed. Your Creator knew that when He created seed-bearing plants on day two. Just like the giant sequoia seed, God knew what you would produce when He created you. He knew inside of you are thousands of seeds of prayers yet answered, gifts yet used, hope and joy not yet experienced.

As you spend this last day of 2013 preparing for a new year don’t miss the opportunity to look back at your seeds already planted and deciding what you want to sow in 2014. You may not see the evidence of the reaping immediately but one day what you have sown will be reaped. Maybe God put a dream inside of you a long time ago and the reaping of that dream hasn’t taken place yet.  Maybe you have been praying for a family member to turn their life around and that prayer seed hasn’t grown yet. Be confident to know that one day it will!

God can accomplish more in one day than we can accomplish in a lifetime. Mark Batterson

Practically, what is our role in this sowing and reaping? We have to do what we can and God will then do what we can’t! Let’s take lessons from the farmer….

We must be as strategic as the Farmer.

A farmer looks at the field and designs the layout based on what WILL BE rather than what is.  The farmer thinks through seasons, storms, and the next generations of growth. 

We must maintain the mindset of the Sower.

The Sower takes the time to till the ground and remove anything that will hinder the growth of the seed. The sower places the seeds in the right place in the right time. The goal of the sower isn’t to see the seed fully matured but to plant for generational growth. The sower, like the farmer, has the mindset of what will be.  It sees each seed as potential rather than work.

We must be as diligent as the Planter.

The planter works the field with care and intentionality. It protects, waters and rotates crops as needed. The planter knows when to reap the harvest and sees the fruit of the diligence of the farmer and the sower. 

We must be equally like-minded.  As you prepare for 2014, be strategic.  Sit back and look at your entire calendar for 2014.  Make strategic decisions about what, where and how you will accomplish your goals. For example, one of my goals is to spend intentional quality time with the women God has called me to lead. I will strategically meet with them 3 times this year.  I want to look at the seasons of life and be strategic.

Secondly, we must see our lives with the mindset of the sower. My oldest daughter wants to open a Dream Center to rescue women from human trafficking.  The decisions I make must be filtered with the mindset of a sower!  What seed planting needs to happen in 2014 that will help her reach her full potential?

Last, I must be patient and diligent in the watering and planting.  I am believing for radical life change in one of my family members.  I must be patient to know that if I will focus on the little things like they are big things, then God will focus on the big things like they are little things(@Mark Batterson).

Let me continue to encourage you to think about your Big Four priorities as we roll into 2014 tomorrow. What seeds need to be planted in your spiritual life, your family life, your dream life and your career?

Blessings to you and Happy New Year!

2014- My year of balance, I hope….

Standard

I admire your intentionality in getting your life in balance before 2014 arrives!  That type of dedication will net you great results!  Way to go…

Have you ever met an out-of-balance person? It may even be you! Maybe you’ve met the one who says “Yes” to every opportunity but can’t fulfill any commitments. How about the ones who fear disappointing people so badly that they never fully commit to anything.  The one common denominator is a lack of balance.  Most of us live in between the expectation that we can be and do it all…. and…. the reality that we can’t.  Our lives today seem disjointed if they are not full of activity and to-do list.  I think a measure of activity is what God intended for each of us, but we have abused and profaned what it looks like in today’s culture. Hard work is great for us.  What we have perverted is the WHY behind the work.  Our motivation has lost its true purpose.  Don’t get me wrong- I want to have a nice car, great roof over my head and I love a good steak on the grill!  All of those blessings are the side benefits of the hard work, not the direct goal. We each were designed with Jeremiah 29:11 in mind.  Our gifts, talents and ability were created to serve HIS purpose, not our own agendas.

Why are you working in the job you are in? Do you hate it more days than you love it? Does it align with your God-given talents and abilities? If the answer is YES- then run your race! Finish with humility and integrity. If you are not sure- this is the perfect time to start searching God’s will for your life.  Let me encourage you to begin your 2014 with a season of prayer and fasting.  Take some time and remove the distractions so that you can hear God’s will for your life.  Avoid the temptation to bring God your list of things you need him to do for you. Instead, devote time to listen.  Your only goal should be to hear God’s will for your life.  When you know God’s plan your only role is to run the play he has called!  And trust me- when God plans a touchdown for your life, you’ll score every time! There is a touchdown dance in your future my friends…

Let’s make this practical.  I would like to encourage you to ask God some questions about four areas of your life.  Take a moment and write these down.  I encourage you to pick a journal or if you’re a techy, phone type- grab a great daily journal app.

Simply ask yourself these questions and take captive the thoughts in your journal.  God gave you that incredible mind to think, process, and make decisions.  Be willing to take a few minutes to get alone with him so that you can hear what He has for you.

Spiritual Life:

Lord, what in my spiritual life needs to be developed? What is keeping me from you? What have I allowed to take more space in my thoughts and attention instead of you being the center? What part of my character needs to be shaped to look a bit more like you?

Family Life

Jesus, you are a relational Savior!  You know best how to love and forgive people. Who in my life do I need to spend more time with? What areas of my family relationships need to grow this year? What do you want my home life to look like?

 

Dream Life (ministry/mission/big picture)

Lord, help me dream big. Why am I afraid to dream? What is completely impossible for me to do without you? What can I do to allow you to work through me? What areas do I need to increase trust and faith so that I can live out these big, audacious dreams?

Career Life

God, how do you want to use me in my job? How can I steward the gifts, talents and influence you’ve provided? Who do you want me to reach on the mission field of my company?

Once we have the answers to these questions- we will be well on our way to developing measureable, practical goals for 2014. Over the next couple of days we will look at each of these four aspects of our lives in greater detail.

Devotion decisioning

Standard

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

We are days away from a new year.  This is the moment each year we take time to look back and ask ourselves what we want to be different.  It is a moment where we choose to dream or survive the year. You will choose what you will be devoted too this year y your actions, not your intentions. We start every single year with amazing plans of intention but our execution begins to dissipate by mid-January. This morning I am meeting with a group of key ladies that God has placed in my life. They are beautiful, smart, gifted and called women of God.  This morning is all about strategy. We will plan and dream together about what God’s will is for our lives.  This is fun but not the key reason we are meeting. It is actually two things: prayer focus and accountability.

You can have the best plan in the world but unless it is soaked in prayer- it simply is not blessed.

The people of Israel back in the day of the kings make me feel so much better about my sometimes weary path!  It amazes me that this chosen group of God’s people escaped captivity and took a journey they thought was about just arriving to the destination- “The Promise Land”.  The trip should have taken 11 days. After 10 months they arrived to the final portion of the journey- taking hold of the promise of God. They sent men out to scout the land. The land looked great but in the eyes of most of the people- the giant looked bigger.

On the second trip into the promise land 40 years later when Joshua was placed as the leader over the people, he knew the mistakes made by the previous generation. It was not that they didn’t believe God. They simply let the problem be larger than God’s ability to deliver on his promises.  That is why Joshua said..

Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you. Joshua 3:5

I don’t know what is ahead of you in 2014. New Job, new baby, new family? New struggle, financial decisions, or maybe even a sickness that is causing you to worry.  What ever your giant, know that God’s plan for you is to take hold of every promise He has spoken over you and the life of your family.   Prepare yourself to enter in. Let it not be 40 more years of wanderings for you in 2014.

Practical Point. Start by writing it down. Journal what you would like to see happen in your life in 2014.  Tomorrow we will take these goals and make them executable. As you capture your thoughts, place them in four categories:

1. Spiritual Life

2. Family Life

3. Dream Life(ministry/mission/big picture)

4. Career Life

Have a blessed day and I’ll see you tomorrow for next steps.

Authenthic Leadership Lessons

Standard

There are thousands of leadership blogs, books, quotes and conferences available to those who desire to learn.  I am a fan, trust me!  My bookcase is highly loaded with the likes of Marcus Buckingham to John Maxwell! If you want to purchase a gift for me- a leadership book will not disappoint.  I am a raving lunatic for leadership lessons that I can actually use with my family and in my career. If I am going to invest my time in reading and applying a principle- please Lord let it have the ability to grow me and the people God has called me to lead. The greatest leadership book ever written was scripted by man under the direction of a Holy God! It is my greatest source of truth and I fully intend to learn from many like Jesus Christ,  King David, Saul, Ruth, and Moses. This blog is my personal application of lessons that I feel are practical, applicable, useable and realistic! In Habakkuk 2:2 we are reminded the importance of writing it down.

Write down the revelation. Habakkuk 2:2

Mark Batterson, the man who authored The Circle Maker, wrote this quote and it has forever changed my view of writing…

The shortest pencil is longer than the greatest memory. @MarkBatterson

I hope that this blog will be a refreshing source of practical help in your season.  Your feedback and comments are always welcome.

Many Blessings,

Amy G. Jones