Unwavering resolve

by: Jonathan Day, Lead Pastor

Over the past five weeks, our church has been in a sermon series called Re-Build: A detailed look at the Old Testament book of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah was a common man in a unique position. He was secure and successful as cupbearer to the Persian King Artaxerexes. Nehemiah had little power, but he had a great influence. He was trusted by the king. He was also a man of God concerned about the fate of Jerusalem.

As Nehemiah’s conviction grew over Jerusalem, his ability to look beyond himself began to surface in an incredible way.

Nehemiah realized what God had called him to do at this specific time in his life must become his highest priority. I wonder how many times the creator of the universe calls you and I to a specific purpose and we choose to categorize that purpose as something other than priority. The danger in choosing this position often results in regret.

Regret is to feel sad or sorry about something that you did or did not do. When we look back over our lives, it will be the inaction not the action that we will regret.

Six years ago when God called me to plant Watermark Church, I was not sure that I would be able to handle the task. I knew it would be hard. I knew there would be opposition. I knew there would be many mountains and valleys. Though there were many uncertainties, the thought of standing before the creator of the universe one day and him saying, “Jonathan, you played it safe, but I want to show you what I had planned for you,” honestly shook me to the core. I didn’t want to be in the “What If” category.

What I love about Nehemiah was his unrelenting ability to look beyond himself and not allow the obstacles, needs, challenges or the enemy to weaken his resolve. He was not a “What If” man.  Now the reason that he was able to take this position was due to his belief in a mighty God and this is also what he allowed to shape his perspective. From beginning to end, Nehemiah prayed for God’s help. He prayed as he was beginning his task, he prayed throughout the task and he prayed when the task was complete.

Do you believe that God has called you to something much bigger than yourself? If so, you can find hope in the life of Nehemiah. He was a man that would not settle for the ordinary.

You may not have Nehemiah’s unique abilities or feel that you are in a position where you can do anything great for God, but there are two ways you can become useful to God. First, be a person who talks to God. Welcome him into your thoughts and share yourself, your concerns, feelings and dreams with him. Second, be a person who walks with God. Put what you learn from his Word into action. God may have an “impossible” mission that he wants to do through you.

 

Ministry, Mindset & Margin

By: Jonathan Day, Lead Pastor

As I look back over the past three years as a church planter, the word “perspective” has been hanging ou13439159_10210199342086653_323771086123675325_nt in my mind. When God called me to plant a church five years ago, I had many pre-conceived notions of what it would look like: Inviting Venue, Cutting Edge Worship, Vibrant Small Groups, Hundreds of People in Attendance. Wow, was I in for a wake up call.

Very quickly I found myself immersed into “ministry”. Working with leaders, volunteers, core team members, etc… Though I knew planting a church would require long hours, detailed preparation and intense organization, I never saw or even thought that I would put myself into a position that would lead to burnout. I had mentors and pastors clearly warn me that if I was not careful, burnout would sneak up on me and it would grab me before I knew it.

Two years into our church plant, I was doing exactly what I was warned against and furthermore what I had told myself would never happen.  So often, our mindset sets sail with a clear direction and before we know it, the wind blows, the water rises and we become caught up with the “logistics” of our calling rather than the “purpose” of our calling.

A navy psychologist who was attending our church at the time, pulled me aside one Sunday after the service and asked me if I was practicing well care for myself. I had never really given much thought to my spiritual or mental well being since I had planted the church. He began to explain the importance of taking time for myself so I could be on point for the task that God had called me to. Then he made this statement: “A Church will only be as healthy as its leader”. Talk about a wake up call.  For the first time on this journey, I took a step back, reflected, repented and decided that there would be a shift in my mindset.

With that shift, the Lord began to speak to me about margins. Typically when we hear the word margin, we think about a page layout in Microsoft Word or Mac Pages. When I draft a letter to someone, the margins in the program that I’m using make sure I stay in the lines. The margins also make sure I don’t put too much content on one page.

When we look at our relationship with God, when we look at the calling that He has placed on our lives, are we implementing margins? Do we place boundaries around ourselves to make sure there is a healthy balance in our lives? I was not and it lead to frustration, weariness and a weak defense system. When that defense system is weak, the enemy identifies the target and attacks. Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (NIV).

I have implemented margins into my life. Margins that will allow me to cultivate a stronger relationship with God, my wife, my children, my church & my friends. I would encourage you to take some time and do an assessment on your flow. Once you assess your flow, ask yourself this question. “Is my flow in the margins or out of the margins”?