Be Encouraged YOU have specific assignments to fill in the waiting!
Can I be gut-honest with you? I am still not out of a waiting period regarding an aspect of my life, and it is so not easy. Yet I want to struggle well to please my God and be honoring to Him!
This subject is not a light-hearted subject for me. These ideas and keys I share below are one’s I am desperately passionate about as my heart is to faithfully follow God’s path for me. I am still “struggling well” often daily during this waiting period in my life. My best-friend and hero mentor Jeff and I are navigating this together as well as our dear friends Morgan & Tyler.
Morgan & Tyler have been a ray of light and hope as we discuss, study, and share on this topic. They are life-giving friends who desire to persevere on this “the long road”.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
When we are travelling a spiritual road containing pauses, stops, starts and everything in between how do we remain encouraged, faithful, strong, courageous and patient?
When the road ahead is a mystery how do we make the most of each day.
Here are some KEYS for the journey when the road ahead is a mystery.
🔑 FIND a friend who is on the same journey
√ That may mean you need to ask around.
√ LOOK around and find your Morgan & Tyler.
🔑 FIND your assignment to focus on during this time
What is right in front of you?
Do you need to walk into an uncomfortable place and start something new on your own? Consider this seriously.
Be comfortable with simple, small and bumpy!
Has God revealed a future truth requiring character preparation and growth?
How can you be a light to your neighbor, with your friends and family?
Go…be a light during your day… at the grocery, bank, gym, kids’ school, everywhere! Intentionally take this on as your assignment.
If you KNEW you were in God’s will even in “The Long Road” can you still find JOY?
What is your criteria for JOY?
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
Let me encourage you to be a leader like Tyler & Morgan. In fact, we were having a Zoom call with Morgan and Tyler recently, when Tyler shared how he is trying to live during “the long road”. Thus the headline today!
Cheering you on!
When you are doing work God approves….Life is an adventure!
Right before Jesus is about to teach us an important life lesson, we often see something miraculous, as he shows us a profound insight we have not seen before.
John 21:10-14 – “Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So, Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.”
John 21:15-18 – “When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” (Lambs need to be fed)
“Again, Jesus said, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Tend my sheep.” (Tend means to shepherd the sheep which need to be guided)
“The third time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me? “He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” (Care and feed the Word of God to a diverse set of people, in different ways as Christ has done with the disciples)
Jesus Restores Peter after the miracle of filling their nets full of fish.
Jesus was restoring Peter after he denied him 3 times and forgives Peter to free him up to be a spiritual leader uninhibited by his previous public denial of Jesus, his Savior. Then Jesus is asking for a commitment from Peter to accept this purpose of “shepherding men and women as a vocation”. This was a position of leadership which required significant sacrifice, service, and servanthood in the role of an ongoing ministry of delivering the gospel. Peter had been an eyewitness of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and now life on earth. Peter’s heart and love for Jesus is critically important to be able to serve Jesus at the level he is asking of Peter.
Peter will need to be a calm leader, who handles lots of conflict, tension and his heart needs to be bent on caring and being concerned for the welfare of the people he shepherds. He must have the posture of laying down his life for God’s purposes, modeled by Jesus with a heart for caring and loving others.
To truly have people’s best interest in mind as we care for their spiritual journey, our hearts must be in the hands of God. That includes, our thought life, and a motivation that comes out of a surrendered heart to God. Who are you shepherding?
Cheering you on!
P.S. When you are doing work God approves….Life is an adventure!
“Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life,
righteousness, and honor.” Proverbs 21:21
Let’s look at the character of a leader!
I could write a ton of blogs on the topic of the character of leader and how it plays itself out, including specific character attributes that are critical for an effective leader to possess. Yet I have one very specific quality to focus in on.
When I was working on my PhD dissertation on “Generational Leadership Multiplication”, my research surfaced an important truth about effective leaders who multiplied other leaders. They need to possess a commitment to loyalty, unity, courage, humility, and competence. Many more qualities emerged in my research, yet loyalty kept surfacing at the very top.
Loyalty can exemplify itself in many ways yet let me illustrate loyalty with a story about Kendall my granddaughter. Many years ago, I witnessed Kendall defending a friend who was a significant part of a small group of friends. Most of the friends in this group had lost patience with this girl. She was acting prideful and often made life all about her. The group wanted to just cast her out. My granddaughter Kendall said to her friends – we should not reject this girlfriend – instead let’s talk to her about the issues going on and not ignore her but continue to accept her as a friend. We owe her the loyalty and respect to let her know what we see going on. They did just that – they dealt with the issue head-on instead of rejecting her with no explanation.
This is a beautiful example of strong character. The character of loyalty. It also played out with the characteristic of kindness, mercy and so much more. I was so impressed with how she stood up for her friend, was courageous enough to have many difficult conversations as she exemplified loyalty at a very young age.
Today, Kendall is a part of a sorority at Purdue University and her leadership responsibilities both in the sorority and as a student shine a bright light as a leader who thinks of others first, puts aside her own interest to consider the interest of others as she does what is best for them in a variety of situations. Her leadership qualities take into consideration the needs of others and what is best for the group.
What Kendall did was not simple, and she received some push back as she stood up for her friend. I am sure you can understand this type of leadership is not easy and comes with its share of complications.
Being a strong, loyal leader takes courage and dealing with fear head-on! It also comes with the possibility of rejection and so many other aspects that could prompt fear.
Being a loyal leader requires multifaceted courage.
Let me encourage you to be a leader like Kendall. I would love to hear about your stories of “Loyal Leadership.”
Cheering you on!
P.S. We are all “Adventurers – As soon as we find something we care about more than FEAR!” – I truly can’t remember who shared this thought, but I love it.
Recently I said to my husband Jeff, I think I just crashed into myself. He actually understood exactly what I meant – which was surprising to me. I was pondering a situation I was in and did not seem to have a reasonable answer. I was trying hard to solve this problem and I just felt like all the best solutions kept running into one another with no answer to my dilemma. There was no clear outcome or no clear solution. Ever feel this way?
It wasn’t a situation where I had gotten myself into this mess, it clearly was circumstances that had me in a hard place. I started to seek where God was in middle of the hard place. God had not taken it away or removed me from the situation or opened a door for a way out…I continued to pray and ask… “God, where are you in this situation? What are you developing in me? I prayed and asked, are you building resilience? Patience? Empathy? Wisdom? My character in general? Are my eyes on the wrong things? Was God breaking a habit, a thought process, or a pattern that needed to be interrupted? Lord, if it pleases you, show me what you are doing in this trial? What should my spiritual eyes be seeing. James 1:2-5.
When God doesn’t remove something, what purpose does He have “in it”? That doesn’t mean he caused it. It could be the enemy, someone else’s influence, or even something I got myself into it. Since God is sovereign in all circumstances and says he will work it all out for my good, let’s look for God’s hand or presence in the hard things of life. (Romans 8:28) More recently I have been asking him, “Where are you in this God?”
Faith ▶️ Pray ▶️ Focus
My faith that God is guiding me leads me to pray and then look for what I should be focused on. What are the Blessings from the hardship? What good is God bringing from the hard?
What do you see God doing in your hard circumstances today? Journal it! Pray and ask God for insight and wisdom.
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God,
and take every thought captive to obey Christ…”2 Corinthians 10: 3-6 –ESV
“Taking every thought captive to obey Christ” suggests we need a filter. A filter that knows and understands when negative or untrue thoughts are capturing our attention. To take captive means to trap, seize, control, secure, and conquer. To stop those ungodly thoughts Paul tells the Corinthian believers, and us, we must destroy arguments and opinions raised against the knowledge of God. There is a clear delineator between untruths and our tendency to hold on to them. This delineator (or pattern) is what we must readjust.
You have heard it said, it is best to not just stop doing something but replace it with something better. The truth of God’s Word is what we want to replace negative reoccurring thoughts that don’t get us anywhere.
Our negative thoughts are a threat to our walk with Jesus. It interrupts our journey forward in faith and obedience to God. The NASB says “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God…”. To “destroying speculations” and replace with truth makes a lot of sense. There is stability in truth.
Shifting Thought Patterns is in Your Control
Our minds are powerful tools that can be trained. As we apply this new thought process with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit we can live in “truth”. We have the power to refocus our thinking on the things written in scripture.
Filtering the input that comes into our lives and into our minds is imperative. The more we think with the mind of Christ – the more we are transformed. When we take time for godly input, to study God, his words, memorize, meditate on his words, and walk in his ways, we build stronger filters. We stop allowing worry to run rampant and enslave us to negative thoughts. What thought do you need to take captive? Trap it, conquer it and replace it with life-giving encouraging thoughts!
Cheering you on!
P.S. If you would like to read more on this subject, I highly recommend Jennie Allen’s book “Get Out of Your Head”.
Have you been through disappointing circumstances lately? Are you frustrated, or discouraged? Know you are not alone; I am speaking to many women almost daily who feel the same.
To be truthful, I expected many things to come to fruition this past year that are yet to be realized! We can learn a lot about ourselves in pressure filled times as they show us what we are made of and they reveal a lot about God. I believe God is teaching and showing us right now, who “we are” and “who God is”.
In Exodus 3:14 Moses had just encountered God at the burning bush and God had asked Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses was fearful and questioning his own capabilities. So, Moses asks God, “who should I say your name is?” Then God said to Moses; tell them “I am who I am”. God was teaching Moses an important lesson which applies to us today. God is “I am who I am”. The meaning of this concept is God will be with us always. God’s presence is who he “is”; and he will be with us always, wherever we go. Joshua 1:9 reminds us of this principle; Isaiah 41:10 says I am with you; Matthew 28:20 says I will be with you always. Romans 8:38-39 reminds us NOTHING can separate us from God; he will be with us always. God’s presence is all we need.
How does this relate to our current circumstances? God is with YOU! The hardest part is not to try and get out of the situation, seek GOD and know he is with us. Normally, I want to get out of a hard situation as soon as possible. Yet lately I have been trying to find God in the middle of it, and not rush out of it. It is still very tempting to want to rush out of a difficult situation.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit and as we pray, trust God. In fact, trust God he has a purpose. One of the most important lessons God is teaching us now is that we can trust HIM, his PROMISES and his WORD. Even when we do not see a way out. Even in the pain. Our job is to trust God and trust his timing. This is one of the hardest “walks of faith” we can live. Be patient, trust God, look for his presence. How is he comforting you, where do you find him? Journal what you see and learn. Ask God “where are you in this situation”?
My friend Faith is one such person who looks for God in her circumstances. I have seen Faith endure when she doesn’t understand. Faith serves God locally and globally; even when her children were young, she went on mission trips to serve those in need in places such as Greece serving refugees, Lebanon serving women and together we both were on a trip to Rwanda Africa serving adoptive parents. Even when she didn’t understand the outcome she went. Her children will tell you today, having a mom who loves those in need and leaves the comforts of home to go serve them is full of life changing lessons for their lives.
Serving those in need even at the cost of our own comfort is a profound gift.
As a rock climber and outdoor adventurous; I am willing to take risks that lead to new heights, both spiritually and physically. Even though this type of venturesome spirit is in my DNA, that doesn’t mean it is always easy; in fact sometimes I find myself in a very challenging place. In the rock climbing world pulling a roof is a figure of speech for climbing around a large piece of rock that is called a crux. It is a large piece of rock that jets out and is very difficult to navigate around yet is part of rock climbing if you want to get to the top of a difficult climb. Do you see the spiritual correlation?
A spiritual crux is a hard choice, trial or test. You may even call it a set of hard choices, a set of tests or even a desert. It is when you are in a situation where you need to try a bunch of ways out. You try many different options to figure out where God is leading you or what in the world he is doing in your life. You try up…No? You try down…No? You even try sideways…Nope! You pray through it all. Paul in Philippians 2:12 refers to this as working out our salvation. It is a part of being on the road of sanctification; the journey of life. I don’t know anyone who has not had to experience a crux in life or experienced the spiritual gymnastics of pulling a roof. It is just a part of our spiritual journey.
In fact, my dear friend Lauren is one such pioneer who is a bit daring (maybe more than a bit). She is venturesome and courageous in life and she will take risks to follow God in ways that require a courageous spirit. Even though she thinks I am a bit crazy to be a rock climber, she experiences her own adventure in similar ways. She follows God in powerful ways, listens to him, wrestles out what it means to learn deep spiritual lessons. She is like Caleb in Numbers chapter 13, going places many would say is too scary because there are giants. Like Caleb Lauren trusts God’s faithfulness and his promises, even in the face of fear. Lauren and I both believe following God to and through a spiritual crux is worth it and we realize it is taking us deeper into where God has called us and it has and will have a beneficial outcome. As friends on this spiritual adventure, we encourage one another to “pull a roof” and in essence get around the hard things in life.
P.S. To learn more about Lauren Franco: The Founder of [gather], an organization committed to loving, understanding and working together with women from all different backgrounds impacting the would for good. Lauren leads a vibrant team of women who are courageously changing the world for good; check it out www.thegirlswhogather.com.
“Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lapidoth, was leading Israel at that time.” Judges 4:4
“She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided.” Judges 4:5
Deborah has much to teach us as leaders today. We can learn from her strength, wisdom, courage and leadership skills. Understanding her story and role in biblical history gives us a context as to why we would choose to model our lives and leadership from her life.
Deborah was a prophet, a leader who listened to God and followed God’s instructions to a mighty victory over the Canaanites. She was a part of the 3rd generation in the “Promised Land”. Historical evidence records that Deborah was blessed for her obedience to God. She had a reputation of being someone who was instructed in divine knowledge by the inspiration of the Spirit of God. This is quite impressive! As a prophet Deborah’s role was to hear from God, follow God, reveal the nature of God to the people, lead the people in ways pleasing to God, as well as to call people to be obedient. She was respected as a public expounder and speaker who delivered the message of God to the people of Israel.
Deborah made wise and godly decisions as she was known to be a wise judge who followed God. In other words, Deborah judged Israel as God’s mouth to them. She was known for making good decisions, bringing order and setting up a process for handling a demanding workload. Her influence brought historical recognition both in religious matters, governing and military matters. Her obedience in conquering Canaan was important to God as she needed to deal with conflict, mediate disagreements and make hard decisions. Is there a hard but important decision you need to act on?
How else can we learn from Deborah’s example? Read Judges 4 – 5 and list her strengths, wise actions, courageous ways and leadership skills.
Ask yourself…”are there any leadership skills you can further develop”? Share your thoughts with another leader. How can you model your life after Deborah?
Have you been putting anything off that you believe God has already told you to proceed?
Can you work more time into your schedule just “listening” to God?
Being Taught By God by Nancy Jernigan – April 1, 2021
As a leader guiding a team either at a church or for a non-profit; how we learn and grow is super important. One of the most important elements younger leaders watch in other leaders is how we model hearing from God and how we allow God to guide us in our life decisions.
In order to be guided by God and hear his voice we must practice hearing from God as Paul talks about in Hebrews 5:14. Our senses must be trained by God to hear God and know His voice. This takes continual time and patience as part of our spiritual journey. Right now, I am seeking God on two very important aspects in my life and I know God asks me to join Him in hearing from Him and being disciplined in my time.
Here are some of my favorite scriptures on being taught by God. These scriptures reiterate how God teaches us. They describe how God will teach us. God desires to teach us – what a fascinating concept!!
Psalm 32:8 – “I will instruct you & teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you..”
1 Thessalonians 4:9 – “Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.”
John 6:45 – “It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.”
Col 2:6 & 7 – “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
1 Corinthians 2: 13 – ”This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words”.
Isaiah 54:13 – “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the PEACE of your children.”
Psalm 16:7 – “I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.”
One of my favorite thoughts contained in these verses includes the concept of God directing me in the night including what course to take. This verse also means to take counsel from God regarding our emotions and feelings at night. So God guides and teaches us when we sleep. When you go to sleep, ask God to teach you, calm your emotions and strengthen you for the future. Ask God to show you which direction to take and then spend some time listening to him so you can follow His direction. Then share with others what God is teaching you!! Would love to hear from you, too!
Nancy P.S. This pic includes Morgan Brown, who is a pastor at Parkview Christian Church and inspires me to be taught by God in bold ways.
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Welcome to the “Inaugural” Post – This post is a little bit longer than most because it is more of a “position paper” on leadership development than just a post. I hope you find these thoughts encouraging and inspiring containing a few ideas you would like to ponder as time goes on….
Leadership Development Circular Spectrum – Nancy Jernigan, March 2021
There are many aspects, approaches and ways to address leadership development. I am looking at leadership development from the perspective of multiplying, building up and raising up leaders in a church, ministry or non-profit setting.
I believe leadership development is a spectrum. At one end of the spectrum is a very educational approach with courses, classes and even formal education. At the other end is a purely inspirational, coaching approach that allows for both equipping as well as encouragement. This leadership development spectrum also allows for everything in between. Each individual can learn, expand and become more qualified in order to be a stronger leader both where they currently lead as well as preparing them for future roles. These opportunities inspire leaders to not stay stagnant. Offering a spectrum of learning options allows for an individual to be intentional about expanding their knowledge in a way that prepares them where they were not previously prepared. We as leaders are setting up the environment for people to become aware of continuous growth opportunities and the ability to never stop learning.
Let’s imagine this leadership development spectrum not as a continuum but as a circular body of opportunities that allows for a “leadership model” to offer a variety of experiences and knowledge base to prepare an individual in the best way for their actual situation, current needs and growth opportunities for their future. Another reason for the circular graphic illustration is we are continually learning new insights and applications of previously learned concepts – it is not a simple line of learning.
Subsequently, using this framework inspires a plan that allows for a fluid and flexible setting and considers the needs and desires of the team we are developing. Leadership is not about us, it is about helping, serving and raising up people and then releasing them. We are to offer lots of encouragement and remember to speak out loud the gifts you see in others. Offering your unique perspective and a different set of eyes on someone’s situation in itself can be a huge encouragement. Setting aside our own interests for the interests of the group or individual is a much-needed discipline. This is why Paul in Ephesians 4:1-4 encourages us to live with humility, in unity and to let this unity ignite our actions. If we as leaders have this goal in mind, we are constantly asking, how can we raise others up, give them more opportunities, inspire growth and set up the environment for others to excel and be released into new ways? This is selfless leadership in action by equipping others and not thinking about what I can gain!
A very important part of leadership development is equipping and multiplying new leaders. Yet sometimes a leader needs to learn some new skills; but does not need to become a multiplier. Not all leaders are multipliers. Encouraging and helping prepare leaders to lead well, care for their team and spread the gospel requires a shepherding leader who is most concerned about those they are raising up. Encouraging leaders to live out their faith, like the stories in Hebrews 11 takes a servant leader. We clearly need well-trained leaders of all kinds.
Pray for the leaders you know! Pray for your team, their opportunities, their decisions and for God’s will to be done. Let Nehemiah 1:11 be an example to you. Pray before all matters, pray often and let your heartfelt prayers be that of a servant who delights in revering God’s name.
Finally, I will address many aspects of the “Leadership Development Circular Spectrum as illustrated below. This “Leadership Development Circular Spectrum” is just a glimpse of the many leadership options. Stay tuned, as we discuss ways to grow as a leader. We will learn from others, share resources, videos, podcasts, webinars, and hear from others how they are leading in practical and creative ways.
When You Are Doing Work God Approves….Life is an Adventure!!