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to the online home of pastor, author, teacher, and speaker
Thomas E. McDaniels

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Steps from Success to Significance

successLike most of us I must admit I was once privately enamored with the idea of success.  I am not talking about success as the world gives but I would slot my definition as “biblical success.”  Even though that was my definition it certainly does not mean the motive was right.

Of course like most Christians I reasoned as to what real success looked like for me.  Probably something like several thousand members in my church, a thriving CD & DVD ministry, some trans-local travel, a National spot on TBN, and an above average middle class social rating.  Sounds real good and many would say, why not?

Well of course the questions is; is this biblical success?  And of course the answer is no.

My intention is not to define biblical success because it will vacillate from one person to another.

However, my intention is to share my success to significance transformation.

Face Reality

My first challenge was to realize that God had called me to be a success in ministry but not in the way I had it defined. My success was to be faithful to Him and to the people He had called me to Pastor.  My success was never in numbers but a number.  My number was to be faithful to the 1.  Each one.  One at a time.

It was not because my church was small.  Even though 700 is not large it is significant and it is considered a large congregation in our town of 75,000.  Even though this was a nice accomplishment I had to face reality that I was not designed or intended to hit the national scene with my awesome sermons.

 Success Can be About Me 

Many Christians hide their desire for success and others feel like it’s just evil to want more. I do not feel that way.  I do believe that success was more about me than about God.  In other words success can be laced in wrong desire, wrong motive, and me focused and I am not saying that all success is ungodly or wrong.

Misguided success is often self-focused but significance focuses on others.

The way I approached my day a few years ago was more me focused because I was looking for success when actually I already had it.  I learned the filter establishes my daily approach.  In my desire for success my daily prayers were often self consumed and centered on me.  I was seeking God for open doors and for favor that brought the right people into my life. My daily activity included improving myself, self discovery, and working hard to gain the attention of the right people.

 Significance Moves the Bar bar

In the last few years God has opened my eyes to what is most important and that is not because I do not have any success.  I have experienced so many great opportunities that a major percentage of Pastors would be envious.  Our ministry is debt free and owns over 3 million in property and another million in assets.  We have planted 3 churches with another plant coming in 2017.  So we have success on many fronts and a variety of levels.

But the Lord has shifted my thoughts from success to significance.  For me, significance means a major shift in the approach of ministry and the preparation for the day.  I am now ready to give myself away on many levels.

The levels include:

Mentoring

The mentoring level is more about relationship than activity or style.  In simple terms it can be topic focused or just hanging out together and doing life.  This level is more caught than taught so it is very personal and relationship driven.

Empowering

This is about inspiring others and can include everything from prayer to conversation. The end result is that the person you are with is empowered to do life with greater passion and solutions.

Imparting

Imparting to others is about catching the heart and spirit of the mentor. This is not about behavior, it is about learning how the mentor thinks and being able to apply that thinking to every situation.

Now it’s your turn.

What does significance look like to you?

 

 

Save

Your Piece Matters

In this short clip Pastor Tom reveals to us that life comes at us in pieces.  God reveals Himself precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little there a little! 

 

Missing Pieces

 

In this short clip Pastor Tom talks about how we as people know and realize we have missing pieces in our life. He goes on to talk about how we need to become THE MISSING PIECE in others lives.

 

A Transformed Life and a Renewed Mind

mindI recently received a call from an individual that was in the middle of an intense spiritual battle. The warfare was an assignment from the enemy specifically designated to draw this individual back into old behavior and renewed temptation.

 

This can occur to any and all of us at any given time. The enemy is relentless to attack and or distract. Spiritual warfare is real and the enemy loves to distract us through these arenas.

 

We all know that the battle is in the mind.  This post is focused on that topic.

 

Isaiah 55:8-11

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

 

Most of us understand that God does not think like us. Most of us also understand that God has a greater grasp on life that we humans. His ways are higher. Higher is defined as lofty, high up, soaring. These words indicate that God wants to give us thoughts that cause us to live higher, to soar and to “live up” to the purpose that he has for our lives.

 

This is just the beginning of our journey. Many of us have found several intersections in our journey of walking with God.

 

These intersections include:

  • Transformation
  • Separation
  • Association
  • Observation

 

Let’s break these four words down in our study.

The Power of Transformation…

 

The greatest transformation (change) is when the unbeliever becomes a believer. The Bible calls this regeneration. This is the moment we become born again and God deposits the Holy Spirit in our spirit.

 

II Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

 

When we receive Christ we receive a new way of seeing life. All things become new because we now have a new way to understand. Old ways are passed away and ALL things become new! This is amazing all by itself!

 

Jesus told Nicodemus that he could not see the Kingdom without being born again. So being born again imparts to us the ability to see things from God’s perspective.

 

This is the beginning place of us grasping a portion of the way God thinks. The Apostle Paul said I have the mind of Christ. There are distinct subjects in your life where God can impart to you His actual thought concerning a matter.

 

We can know God’s thoughts two ways….

  1. Through His Spirit (God reveals His thoughts through the Holy Spirit)
  2. Through His Word (God’s Word is His thoughts and that is why Paul could say, “I have the mind of Christ)

Transformation continued…

 

Romans 12:2

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is               good and acceptable and perfect.

 

Transformed is a fascinating word. It is broken down into 2 Greek words.

 

-Trans means Meta and Meta means change

 

-Form means morph and morph means form

 

When we put the 2 words together it means to “change form.” God ultimately desires us to change. He changes us by His word and by His Spirit and a multiplicity of other ways. But no matter how we break it down it ultimately goes back to our thinking.

 

The Bible tells us that we are the sum total of what we think…as a man thinks, so is he (Proverbs 18:21). So we are what we think we are. This is precisely the epic reason God wants us to change our thoughts.

We will either master over our thoughts or our thoughts will master over us.

 

A few verses…

 

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

 

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5

 

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

 

The Power of Separation…

Separation is a necessary concept when journeying with Christ. One of the primary acts we must allow is the willingness to separate from everyway we used to think and the way we used to live.

 

Separating the way you used to think will be necessary to journey with God. We may face the need to unlearn more than to learn. The transformation occurs as our minds are renewed.   The word renewed is defined as renovated. God begins a total renovation when we become a child of God.   This is certainly a war and a war you must win. It will be encountered on a daily level in the mind.

 

 

mind1

The battlefield for your life is your thought life.

 

The Apostle Paul said he recognized a war in his members and the battleground was in his thought life. God often has to remove or destroy our old thoughts before He can give us new ones.

 

The separation includes God removing and destroying your strengths and your most gifted areas. We often want to hold onto the areas that we are good at but God wants to take those so He can make it great. God knows that when we are weak we are strong. This is more separation.

 

This means exchanging our ways for God ways and includes putting off our ways and putting on the ways of Jesus.

 

When we fail to separate ourselves we end up walking in only partial truth. The scripture says that the truth is in Jesus. The end result is that partial truth is equal to total bondage!

You control your destiny by your thoughts!

The Power of Association…

 

Association is far more powerful than we imagine. God designed us to be influenced by people, places, and things. This is the way that life works through association. The struggle is that the negative is transposed just like the positive and eventually input equals output. In other words what comes in, comes out.

 

This is why God says to write His word on our hearts. He is saying associate with me through my word and when you do My word will penetrate your mind and invade your life.

 

Blessed is the man, who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prospe
r. Psalms 1:1-4

 

Notice the words “in His law he meditates day and night.” Meditates is a word of association….with the WORD. Notice what happens. He becomes strong like a tree. He begins to yield fruit, never dry up, and begin to prosper. The word prosperity is not just talking about finances but prospering in life.

 

  • God relationships are prospering
  • Spouse relationship prospering
  • Kid’s relationship prospering
  • Financial relationship prospering

When we consistently associate with the Word of God we will experience the transformation of our soul.

 

Now, it’s your turn.

 

Love to hear your thoughts and comments! 

 

Gifts to Share

 

Pastor Tom reveals that we each have gifts and everyone has the gift and ability to contribute to OTHERS!

 

Shut Down to Go Up

still

“”Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:10-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When serving becomes routine…

God spoke to me yesterday saying that “When serving God becomes more important than knowing God then it is time we get still and know.” Make no mistake serving is a vital part of ministry, and is critical for the life of the church and for joining God in Kingdom building. 

There is no doubt that we are to be active participants in our salvation. Paul reminded us that we are to “work out out salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Meaning we are to walk in obedience to God, but the problem arises when our obedience becomes mundane, habitual, routine, and heartless.

Service can easily become all these and still be done with good intentions and for a good cause.

But, it is crucial to know that when we simply get in the business of service it is usually because serving has become the god we serve. Serving should never replace our getting still and knowing God.

A sure WARNING SIGN happens when serving has become the God we serve.

We rarely Get still…

Psalm 46:10-11 comes from a longer section of Scripture that proclaims the power and security comes from God. David was so busy doing that he would have easily forgotten about knowing God.

As the church we often get so busy doing that it is almost as if we become robots in our service. God created us with a healthy balance of getting still and KNOWING and loving God enough to serve Him by serving others.

For many of us who are tired weary and  who keep going to the point of burnout God created you with an innate need to Be Still and KNOW because without slowing down and getting still we forget to let God kindle our relationship with  Him. Sometimes in serving, we do not adequately care for our own heart or soul.

We serve because No one else will do it…

We often get to the point in our serving that we serve simply because no one will, we think that no one else can serve in an area the way we do, or we believe we are gaining favor with God.

Serving is just a way that we show God that we love Him by loving others. It does not gain favor with God. It is not eternal life. Jesus said that “eternal life is to know God.” Not know just know who He is but know Him intimately, trust Him fully, and rely on Him only.

God can and will use someone else when it is time to be still and know. A vital part of Jesus’s example in serving was taking time to get still and spend time with His father.

So how do you know when you need to be still?
1) You’re motivation is fading.

2) You are numb in worship – you no longer feel the highs or the lows.
3) People drain you.
4). The small stuff makes you angry.
5) You struggle with hearing God.
6) Sleep and time off don’t refuel you.

Now it’s your turn and we would love to hear your comments and ideas. 

So what is the answer when your service becomes mundane or routine?

 

teddyThis is a guest post from Teddy Ott. He has lived in the Ore City/ Diana area for 24 years. Teddy has been married to Kelly who teaches at Ore City Elementary, and they have two grown children, Andrew and Mary Beth.  Teddy has been a teacher  and coach for over 8 years. Teddy has also been a Pastor and teacher for over 14 years. He has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Liberty University,  Masters in Educational Leadership from Lamar University, and a PhD from Newburgh Theological Seminary. Teddy is an accomplished author of over 10 books and lifetime learner who strives to make a lasting difference in every life.  You can find Teddy’s books at Tate Publishing and online at https://www.facebook.com/teddy.ott.94?fref=ts and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OttTeddy. 

Belief over Circumstances

 

This clip is taken from the Hope Rising series.  Pastor Tom uses an illustration from Abraham and shares with us the principle of speaking those things that are not as though they are here NOW!

 

The Secrets of Serving

greatness

 

I find that most people are generally in search of wonderful experiences and on a daily basis expect positive things to happen.  Some of us are looking for miraculous things to occur.  And still others may be looking for something spectacular.

 

We search for the spectacular in a variety of places. We search for it through high profile people, or people we feel have mastered certain talents. We also search for it through social media, TV, or at our places of worship.  

 

The most amazing thing is that we often fail to realize that we carry the ability to make a difference and even enter into greatness.  

 

Greatness is often not what we perceive and certainly can be distorted by both personal and corporate values.  I stand with a view defined by scripture…the greatness among us is the servant of all.  This certainly challenges our normal thinking. 

 

We have then tendency to believe that greatness is achieved by accomplishments, accolades, and degrees and I do not want to minimize those, however I do want to interpret them as defined through the Word of God.

 

Serving others defines greatness at the highest level…

 

Serving is defined as the desire to contribute to others by performing a duty or act of service.  Notice the word contribute.  We miss the hidden power of contributing to others.  Contribution is the 6th greatest need in the life of human beings.  God knew that we have the need to give to others and not continually receive or take.

 

Contribution or contributing to others may be one of the greatest secrets of emotional, spiritual and philological health.   Psychologists tell us when we serve others we receive the value of something called a “helpers high.”

 

“Helpers High” occurs when we step up to serve and make a contribution.  When we serve our endorphin’s are released in our bodies and these endorphin’s enhance our mood, attitude, and emotional makeup.  Psychologists compare this to a runner’s high after running 3-5 miles or more.  The point is God created us knowing our greatest need is to serve rather than being served.  I believe that contribution is the most often overlooked attribute of serving.

 

The benefits of serving:

 

1. Serving others is God’s secret weapon of discovering your purpose

Serving is like eating your personal vegetables it is laced with hidden power and awesome unseen benefits.  Bernard Melzer wisely said; there is no better exercise for the heart than reaching down and helping others.

 

2. What looks menial is often monumental

Serving is rarely convenient and often seems minimal.  God calls it entering the zone with the greatest.  Jesus looked menial but certainly was more.  A little boys lunch seemed menial yet fed over 5,000 people. Your serving seems menial but brings magnanimous results. 

 

3. Serving others opens the door to newness

When we choose to serve we position ourselves for change and newness. Becoming a new volunteer in a church or organization shifts your schedule, and your relationships.  You also break the habit of your normal routine.  These alone are great contributors to a new season. 

 

There are people that you are supposed to know and serve with.  These new relationships are keys to your next level and your next season of life. Stepping up to serve is one way to discover these people.  And there are specific people that are assigned to be in your life and serving opens up these possibilities. 

 

And there’s more.  There are people that can never be reached for Christ without being served and you are that agent of assignment.  One of my favorite quotes is; serving requires no degrees, no accolades and no definable skills, only a willing heart.

 

A Little Parable ANYBODYQUOTE

 

This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

 

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

 

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

 

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.

 

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that

Everybody wouldn’t do it.

 

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did

what Anybody could have done. 

 

Let’s decide we are that “somebody” who answers the call to SERVE! 

 

Now it’s your turn. 

 

Leave a comment of how serving or being served has changed your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Promise is Not Our Timing

In this short clip Pastor Tom describes the struggle of getting out in front of God’s promise.

 

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

word

James 1:22-25

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

 

This passage describes us as a people that have the tendency to forget what kind a person we can be. This is often due to the daily struggles of life. This is why the scripture challenges us to look into the word consistently and often. We are also promised blessing when we comply. We are not blessed for doing it. We become blessed from doing it!

 

The practical application of looking in the mirror certainly applies.  Most of us look into a mirror every day.  The mirror is a powerful tool to show us our reflection and the areas of our lives that need attention.  The mirror reflects the imperfections and assists us in making necessary changes.

 

“When we look into the mirror we must let the mirror talk back and tell us what to fix”

 

The mirror also reflects our image. These images may include what needs brushed, adjusted, washed and changed. The mirror also reflects what should be set aside or what needs to be added.   It also reveals what is missing such as jewelry, watches and other accessories.

 

Again, this can be associated with the Word of God.  The Word reveals what needs to be washed, changed, set aside or added.  The Word has the ability to reveal what is missing in our lives. 

 

I have listed below a few reasons it is vital to look into the Word.  

 

1).  Looking into the Mirror Regularly

When we develop the habit of regularly reading the word we also develop a deep sense of who we are in Christ. We often forget who we are because our Christ image is underdeveloped or morphed. We find and resource our image through what we hear and understand from God’s word. People who regularly look into the mirror understand the mirror has a voice. It speaks back to us!

 

2)  Living out the Changes the Mirror Reveals

The Mirror or the Word is to be an active part of our daily life. In other words, there must be a point in our life where the Word of God is applied to every area of our life and walk. God’s Word is a light unto our feet and a lamp unto our path (Psalm 119:105). It is meant to be our guide.

 

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).”

 

3)  Using the Mirror as a Source for Seeing

As we have stated a mirror reflects. In the natural a mirror serves us to help us see what others are seeing. It helps us to arrange our hair, clothing, etc. In the Spirit it is identical. The scripture reflects our hearts and minds and reveals to us the changes we need to adjust to reach our spiritual potential.

 

“The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account

(Hebrews 4:12-13).”

 

The word is living and powerful. The word living means active and is defined as energy. It means to operate and to work. God’s word has an inherent power. This means when God speaks, what he speaks carries the power to fulfill what he said. This is the way God’s word saves, heals and delivers. God’s word also pierces our soul and challenges our minds.

 

This means that His word penetrates our soul and breaks down the strongholds and the dark places. The word clearly shows the ability of God’s word to divide the soul from Spirit. This means it reaches into the soul and apportions truth to the dark places and enlightens our heart to turn toward Him.

 

4) Mirror Gawking mirror

We often make fun of the ladies or people who spend a more than average time in front of a mirror. But the truth is that mirror gawking has its advantages. In the natural it is proven that when you know how you look, it instills a personal self-confidence. It also gives you a boost in knowing that everything about you is in order. Here, is where we need to grab the symbolism of how the Word of God produces the same results for our Spirit Man.

 

So here are a few powerful points about mirror gawking.

 

When you mirror gawk you will….

 

Remind yourself of who you are

 

Remember how awesome God is

 

Rehearse God’s promises

 

Resist the devil

 

Reject all lies and deception

 

Revive your soul and feed your Spirit

 

Now it’s your turn.  Share in the comments section how the Word of God has served as a mirror for your life!

 

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