Your Voice or God's?

For nearly a year a wrestled with a truth, something that wasn't very good, in my life. Over the past 3 years I have led the tough transition of a church in crisis. We have moved from survival to sustaining to surpassing in that three years. The final phase only came after a long hard look at my life and heart. The truth is, in today's media driven and pop cultural church, many pastors are working hard to accomplish a goal they were never called to accomplish. I found myself in this trap....I was working to find a voice and be discovered, not to be developed and hear God's voice! I truly believe until we can say these things out loud, repent and search our hearts God has little to NO room to do something significant through us.

I have mentioned before that I spent years begging God to change lives in our church. I spent many days, weeks and months agonizing over the fact that it wasn't happening. Occasionally we would have a person discover Jesus, and occasionally we would baptize someone. But, I knew that it was never the level that God had called me to. I knew there was more, and I knew God had created and called me to more.

In early 2010 God brought me to two places in scripture that really shook me. The first was Matthew 12:33-37 Jesus talks about the fact that a tree is known by it's fruit. While many good things were happening in our church, there was not a ton of fruit. My ministry, my leadership and my life was not producing a ton of fruit. I was simply maintaining life, not helping create more! That was unsettling.....Then God took me to Mark 11:12-14 where Jesus approaches the Fig Tree. The tree was "healthy" and was producing leaves, but had NO fruit. So, Jesus cursed the tree and said it's usefulness was done. Move ahead to verse 20 and you will see that the tree Jesus cursed had literally dried up and died completely. God does not honor our lives, our ministries and our churches when we do not produce fruit.....PERIOD!

The reality is that the fruit we produce is the source of new life. The fruit from any healthy tree provides food, provides nutrition and the seeds of that fruit produce new trees and more fruit. In order for the fruit to grow and be healthy, the tree must be well feed and watered. That food and water comes from Jesus, the bread of life and the living water!

For me, I had to stop and realize I was spending more time on my endeavors and desires than being well fed. I had to rearrange my life. It took a season of refocusing, a season of growth in my personal life, my family and my walk with God long before my ministry would see the effects. Within months, the changes were evident. Our church began to see the effects. Lives are being changed daily, weekly, monthly. There is life, growth and vibrancy like never before. The things that I had begged God for, were becoming a reality. But, it all hinged on me and my relationship with God.

Pastors/Leaders.....As goes your life, so goes your church/ministry. Your people will grow at the measure in which you are growing. Your people will produce fruit, when you are producing fruit!

Are you spending more time trying to develop your voice or hearing God's voice?