“Are You In It For The Long Haul?”
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding it’s shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)
That verse in Hebrews is very special to us. It has always reminded us to keep going! I am reminded of a time of prayer when I heard the Lord speak to me, “Pat, never desire to hear the cheer from the crowd, but listen for the cry from the cloud!” Those that have finished their race are cheering us on! I truly believe that the greatest hindrance to the called is not whether or not they have open doors to their calling, but whether or not they are willing to finish the race that they have been called to. Recently, Karen and I were asked a very loaded question by a very dear friend. The question was: “What would you say is the one thing that is critical to surviving and thriving in ministry for the long haul?” This question caused Karen and I to move into a time of reflection, and as we responded via text to the question, we came up with “7 Keys to Longevity”:
Key 1: Shut some things and open others! What we mean by this is, learn to shut off your mind and trust Jesus; learn to shut away in the secret place; and be sure to shut the door on the enemy’s schemes such as fear, futility and failure spirits. But, always open the door of faith daily, open the Bible for revelation and open up to receive wisdom and direction from those who have earned the right to speak into your life.
Key 2: Learn to be patient in your in-between season! It is in the waiting that true motives are revealed. Nothing can be trusted till it’s tested! A repetitive lifestyle of obedience leads to consistent seasons of growth! You must prioritize personal prayer time and secret place encounters. Without a devotional life you will have an emotional life.
Key 3: We must remember that God doesn’t not answer our tantrums or rants, but He honors obedience. Remain sober in all you do!
Key 4: If you’re not a giver then you will never see lands that were waiting on a map called Faith to get you to your destination!
Key 5: It’s a marathon and not a sprint! You will burn out if you expect to accomplish all your goals overnight. It's a process that has to develop and grow. Anything birthed too quickly ends up being unhealthy. It’s about consistency and pacing yourself in order to be effective. There are many shooting stars that fizzle out when instead we need bright and shining stars in the night. (Phil. 2:15).
Key 6: We must always have a healthy balance between our family and ministry. The first church was in a garden! When your family is out of whack and not healthy then ministry will begin to suffer as well because your heart becomes hardened and divided. Guard against the tyranny of urgent. Prioritize your family’s needs over others. We must always ask the question, “Does my family want to be pastored by me?” That question has always helped guide our decisions and actions. Your family deserves to see people that are real all of the time.
Key 7: Choose to live a life of no offense! When offense comes make sure you have already forgiven in advance and then it can’t own you!
We pray that these “7 Keys to Longevity” bless you! Remnant we are not only called to start great things for God, but too always remember that medals are only awarded for the finishers! Don’t let the enemy trip you or detour God’s plan for your life! THERE IS A SEAT BESIDE THE KING AWAITING YOU!