Ran across this article by John Maxwell… My Father used to call this “stickability.”
Resolving To Finish Strong By John C. Maxwell

I once heard that 91 million Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, but that 70 million Americans break those commitments within a week! Going to a health club seems to confirm the stats. During the first week of January, gyms are packed. All of the treadmills are in use, people are lining up for a turn on the exercise equipment, and it’s hard even to find a parking space. Yet, by about the third week of January, you can park in the space nearest the front door and exercise on any machine that suits your preference. What happens between January 1st and January 21st? People demonstrate their unwillingness to finish.

Character, discipline, sacrifice, tenacity-these qualities aren’t stylish, but they are surefire ingredients for any leader who wishes to finish strong. As we enter the final month of the calendar year, I encourage you to make the most of the remaining weeks in 2010. Live and lead in December so that you’ll end this year on a high note and cruise into the New Year with positive momentum.

CHARACTER

Emotions are unreliable allies. One moment they propel us forward, while the next minute they impede our progress. People guided primarily by emotion must feel good before doing right. They make popular choices, choosing whichever route is most convenient. They are concerned about protecting their rights instead of taking care of responsibilities, and they are easily discouraged by adversity.

Emotion might drive us to make a decision, but character, or discipline, is what keeps us going when the journey gets hard. A person with character makes decisions on principle, not on the basis of what is popular. He or she honors commitments instead of catering to convenience. High-character, disciplined individuals work steadily regardless of circumstance, creating their own momentum by dint of a steady work ethic.

SACRIFICE

Being a finisher requires recurring installments of sacrifice, not a one-time payment. Sacrifice is a leader’s constant companion. As influencers, we must give up to go up, ever exchanging our rights for greater responsibility.

I believe most people expect to pay a price to achieve their goals. Yet, many people seem to have a vague concept of sacrifice, viewing it as something distant or far-off. Consequently, when their goals demand a significant investment, people are bewildered and resist giving up anything. If you desire to finish strong, you will need to sacrifice earlier than expected and to give up more than is comfortable.

TENACITY

Pierre and Marie Curie had made 487 experiments to try to separate radium from pitchblende. All had failed. “It can’t be done; it can’t be done,” Pierre Curie lamented. “Maybe in a hundred years it can be done, but never in our lifetime.” Madame Curie replied, “If it takes a hundred years it will be a pity, but I dare not do less than work for it so long as I have life.” Madame Curie’s tenacity goaded the scientists into making another attempt and opened the door to new scientific discovery.

Tenacity means quitting only when the job is done, not when you’re tired. Much of life is spent laboring in the trenches. To reach the finish line, you must wade through tedious details, take care of thankless tasks, and tie up thousands of loose ends. Most people tire along the way, settle for second-best, and stop before reaching their goals. However, a select few push on, refusing to stop until they’ve taken hold of their dreams.

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There was once a community of Believers who were so totally devoted to God that their life together was charged with the Spirit’s power. In that band of Chist-followers, believers loved each other with a radical kind of love. They took off their masks and shared their lives with one another. They laughed and cried and sang and served together in authentic Christian fellowship.

Acts 2 tells us that this community of Believers, this Church… offered unbelievers a vision of life that was so beautiful it took their breath away. It was so bold, so creative, so dynamic that they couldn’t resist it. Verse 47 tells us that ‘the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved'”    

(from Bill Hybel’s book Courageous Leadership)

Questions…

Where has that beauty gone?
Will the Church ever see that power again?

 Few of you have ever heard of Ron Wayne.A lot of you have used the products that stem from his creation.All of you need to know his story because it’s a warning to all of us.

Along with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Ron Wayne cofounded Apple Computer Inc. on April Fools Day, 1976. Yes, there was a third founder of Apple. But few people know that because just twelve days after he signed the agreement he himself drafted that would have given him 10% ownership of the company, he sold back his shares. For $800. If he had stuck it out, today he would be worth around $22 billion.

Instead he now sells stamps out of his home. And plays penny slot machines after midnight. A cautionary tale of what could have been.

Ron bailed on Jobs and Wozniak because he wasn’t sure about the future. Jobs spent a lot of money that Ron was going to have to pay the tab for initially. Wozniak was non-committal. And the prospect of starting a computer company just seemed too difficult and taxing.

Basically, Ron was afraid. Afraid that the payoff wasn’t going to be worth the work. So he quit. And missed out on billions.

Most of us are never going to really experience Ron Wayne’s story on the level at which he experienced it. Most of us are not going to be able to say that we missed out on being responsible for the birth of cool.

But I am afraid that many of us are going to sell out and accept an $800 payoff when we could have made billions. Not literally obviously. But I worry that instead of putting in the hard work and pushing through periods of uncertainty and difficulty, you’re going to take the easy way out and walk away. From your marriage that is struggling. From the calling you know you have received but is tougher than you thought it should be. From the risk you’re supposed to take.

That’s not to say that some people aren’t sometimes called to sell back their shares. The wife that is getting beat by her husband should not wait for a payoff down the road. Sometimes God calls you to a different ministry or career. To move to a new city. To play conservatively.

But more often than not, we sell out before the big payoff because we’re scared. Or we don’t want to do the hard work. Then we use God to justify a decision we have already made out of fear or apathy. And we never know what could have been down the road if we had kept persevering.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Your story is not destined to be a cautionary tale of what could have been. God would rather raise you up to be an example for others of what can be. Of the incredible marriage that is possible through God’s grace and power. Of what God can accomplish through people who stay true to their calling.

God has a much larger payoff for you than the one you’ll receive if you give up now. Persevere. Stick it out. Push through. When the payoff comes, it will be worth the work and the waiting. 

(props to Steven Furtick for this)

The Church that I see is a Church of influence. A Church so large in Ministry that this city cannot ignore her… A Church growing so quickly that buildings struggle to contain the increase.

I see a Church whose heart-felt Praise and Worship touches Heaven and changes earth. …Worship that influences the Praises of people throughout the earth exalting Christ with powerful songs of faith and hope.

I see a Church whose altars are constantly filled with repentant sinners responding to Jesus’ call to Salvation.

The Church I see is so dependent on the Holy Spirit that nothing will stop her or stand against her… A Church whose people are unified, praying, and full of God’s Spirit.

The Church that I see has a message so clear that lives are being changed forever and purpose is fulfilled through the Power of His Word.

I see a Church so compassionate that people are drawn from impossible situations into a place of hope, where answers are found and New Life is received.

I see people so Kingdom-minded that they count the cost and pay whatever the price to see true revival sweep their Land.

The Church that I see is a Church so committed to raising, training, and empowering a leadership generation to reap the end-time harvest that all her ministries are consumed with this goal.

I see a Church who’s Head is Jesus, whose help is the Holy Spirit, and whose focus is the Great Commission.

This is Our Time!

Pastor Jerry

The atmosphere in and around our nation is filled with negative emotions and negative words. The every-day person is subjected to this atmosphere whether they choose to be or not. It is everywhere. The church must build and sustain a powerful, Holy Spirit, presence of God atmosphere that is strong and penetrates the heart of every person, every time they step foot into our services. Spiritual atmosphere is one of the most important issues for the church to build strong and keep strong. Atmosphere is a pervading or surrounding influence, a general mood or environment that is established in our churches. We must cultivate a spiritual atmosphere of the presence of God, open heavens, the fresh flow of the Holy Spirit, hope, passionate prayer and a believing people.

2 Chronicles 5:13-14; Matthew 18:20; Acts 2:1-4; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Mark 2:1-2; Luke 7:16

One of the favorite traditions of the Christmas Season is to light up the night with lights. Before we even turn the calendar to December, neighborhoods and businesses, homes and churches all burst in patterns of red, green, and white. Who doesn’t love decorating the Christmas tree, then turning out all the other lights in the room to enjoy the twinkling lights? Even a single candle burns brightly against the backdrop of darkness.

This tradition is well suited to the real celebration of the season. The Bible says that when Jesus Christ was born, light came into the world (John 3:19). In fact, more than 200 times in the Bible, God is described as light. Whenever God appears, light appears. It happened in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, all the way until the end of time when the book of Revelation tells us that in hell there will only be darkness and in heaven there will only be light.

When we celebrate Christmas, we remember the day in history when Jesus stepped from heaven to earth, bringing with Him the light that drives out the darkness in man’s heart. This is amazing news! John 1:4 says, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

The Light helps you find your way.

If you feel lost, alone, and trapped… searching but not finding, Jesus Christ is the light.

If you feel cruelly crushed under the wrongs done to you, Jesus Christ is the light.

If you feel overwhelmed by something that you just can’t figure out, Jesus Christ is the light.

Before any of us turned to Jesus, nothing made sense to us either. We couldn’t sort out anything in this mixed up world. But since receiving Jesus as our Savior, we understand what’s going on. Suddenly Christmas is so much more than a stale exchange of gifts and some silly guy in a red suit. At Christmas we celebrate the forgiveness of sin that can only be found in Jesus, the gift of Christmas.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

The Light exposes your heart.

Think pitch-black… now light a candle. Suddenly darkness is chased away. But it begins by facing the hard reality of who you are: a person in need of God’s grace. Are you willing to see yourself in this new light? When you come to the light, all that is sinful and sour that is in you is exposed.

The darkness of your heart can’t be denied anymore; it can’t be hidden or pushed away. But you can’t have what the light of Jesus Christ offers you until you let it expose who you really are.

We were all born with a sinful, dark heart. That doesn’t change until we first recognize how desperately we need God and how we have broken His law and are under His just condemnation (Romans 3:23). When you choose to come to Jesus, the first thing that happens is that the light exposes your heart.

The Light dispel the darkness.

Now for the good news. When you expose your heart to the light and you see what you really need, the light of Jesus Christ chases away that darkness in your heart.

There is no darkness in any human being that the gospel can’t get to. You may have read this far thinking, Sure, this is all good news for some people, but you don’t know what I’ve done.

There’s no place where you have been that Jesus’ light can not go. There’s no sin that you have fallen into that the light can not overwhelm with grace. No sin is so dark that the light of Christ can not penetrate its depths.

What qualifies Jesus for this transaction? He took on all your sin when He died on the cross in your place. His blood covered the darkness of sin; He paid the complete price. He deserved none of it but He took all of it. The greatest injustice of all would be to continue to live in the darkness from which Jesus suffered and died to set you free.

Sin offers only suffering, sadness, shame, and slavery but Jesus, the light, brings hope, healing, forgiveness, life, love.

Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” …John 12:35-36

It’s your choice. Make today the day that you are saved from the darkness of sin. Don’t put it off. Let the True Light of Jesus light up your life this Christmas Season.

Before he came home, the Prodigal Son did a little brainstorming in the pig pen he called home. “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’ ” (Luke 15:18–19, NKJV)

Great plan. He wasn’t returning home with just a problem, he was returning home with a solution to a problem. “Make me like one of your hired men.” I blew the whole son/inheritance thing, that’s broken. What if we fixed it by me being like a hired man?

That was his plan. And it was solid. But when he returns and the father runs to him, embracing him the second he appears on the horizon, what happens? He’s not allowed to say, “Make me like one of your hired men.” He gets the rest out. The repentance, the confession, that spills out of him like marbles down stairs but “make me like one of your hired men” doesn’t.

I think one of the reasons is that the father didn’t need the solution. A well put together plan wasn’t the price of admission to his arms. Maybe, despite what we think sometimes, God cares more about souls than He does solutions.

God doesn’t want our solutions. He is the solution.

God doesn’t ask for our fixes. He is the fix.

God doesn’t need our plans. He is the plan.

God doesn’t want your solution.

He just wants you.