Culture or Christianity? Which side are you on?

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What’s your AQ — Attitude Quotient?

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What is your FQ–focus quotient?

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

One of my good friends in ministry was Dr. Bill Hinson.  We knew each other injohn ed college, and we were in seminary together at Emory. He became the pastor of the largest Methodist Church in America at First Methodist in Houston, Texas.  I had the privilege to work with him on a lot of things for renewal in The United Methodist Church.  He retired early to North Alabama; sadly, he suffered a heart attack and died.

Bill was a great preacher.  I’ll never forget his telling about lion tamers who go into the cage with lions.  They carry a four-legged stool.  They also carry whips, poles, and pistols, but the purpose of the stool is fascinating.

The lion tamer always holds the stool by the back and points the four legs toward the face of the wild animal.  The animal tries to focus on all four legs at once.  When he does this, a kind of paralysis comes over him, and the animal becomes weak and disabled because his attention is fragmented and is unable to focus.

Too often we try to focus on too many things, and we become victims of discouragement and disappointment, and ineffective living.  A lack of focus is destructive.

One of my favorite passages is Hebrews 12:1-2.  The backdrop is an athletic event, the race.  The writer describes that the runner always runs with focus and purpose.  He says, “We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus, who is the Alpha and the Omega of our faith.”

You never see a runner win who is multi-focused while he is running.  You don’t see him waving to people up in the crowd, or “hot-dogging.”  The runner who wins focuses on the finish line and runs straight towards it.  He  doesn’t  look at his competitors!  He doesn’t get distracted.  He is focused!

One of the big differences in success and failure is how well we are able to focus.  Someone has said, “The successful man is the average man – focused.”

When a football team goes out of town for the big game, much of the planning centers on how to keep the team focused.  Play off and championship games carry with them many distractions.  The more focused a team can be, the better it will perform.  Last year a German soccer team immediately changed hotels for its training camp.  They found that a beauty contest was taking place at that resort hotel with 400 Russian models.  Smart coach!

There is a convicting Old Testament story about a guard who was looking after an enemy who had been captured.  His responsibility was to focus on keeping the prisoner secure.

When his leader came to check on him, they discovered the prisoner had escaped.  The leader wondered how that could happen.  Was the guard overpowered by the prisoner, or did some colleagues come and help the man escape?  He asked the guard to explain.  His explanation was, “While I was busy here and there, the prisoner escaped” (1 Kings 20:39-40).  The guard had not stayed focused on his duty!

Stay focused on your purpose.  A huge traffic jam recently occurred in Alabama where a truck driver took his hands off the wheel to pull out a loose tooth.  He crashed his 18-wheeler along Interstate 20.  While he grabbed hold of the troublesome tooth, he lost control, jack-knifed and veered off the road.  He forgot about driving and focused on pulling his tooth.  The highway patrol verified his dilemma when he said, “He had the tooth in his shirt pocket as proof!”  But that did not untangle the traffic jam or fix his truck.

Remember, a lack of focus can paralyze you.  Stay focused!

What is your FQ – Focus Quotient?

John Ed’s blog posts appear in For His Glory each week.1
Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

1Listen to John Ed Mathison's one-minute daily devotional on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/johned.mathison/ and click “PLAY" on the audio YouTube in order to listen.  Or you can go to his ministry page at  https://www.facebook.com/JohnEdMathisonLeadershipMinistries/

What’s your GQ–your Growth Quotient?

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Time to exercise. No excuses.

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A “Yet” Mindset

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

In life we have two choices – we can focus on the bad things that happen or we can focusjohn Ed on how good God is.

Our tendency is to focus on the negative, but that can play tricks with our minds. The Bible reminds us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Ps. 23:7). Our mindsets govern our actions and attitude.

There is a book in the Old Testament called Lamentations which addresses a negative mindset. In the first three chapters, Jeremiah gives a long litany lamenting how bad things are. His beloved city, Jerusalem, which “once thronged with people, was silent now. She sits like a widow broken with grief alone in her mourning. She was once a queen of nations, is now a slave” (Lam. 1:1).

Jeremiah describes his initial reaction. “I begged my allies for help. False hope, they could not help at all. Nor could my priests and elders. They are starving in the streets while searching through the garbage for an ounce of bread” (Lam. 1:19). “There is no one anywhere to help” (Lam. 1:21).

He continues, “I cried until tears no longer came. My heart is broken as I see what has happened to my people:little children and tiny babies are fainting and dying in the streets. They cry out, ‘Mama, Mama, we want food’ and then collapse on their mothers’ shrunken breasts. Their lives ebb away like those wounded in battle” (Lam.2:11). Jeremiah describes himself like one who “cannot escape. I am fastened with heav chains. My path has been filled with detours” (Lam. 3:7).

In the midst of this sad litany, Jeremiah changes his way of thinking. The key word is in Chapter 3, verse 21, when he says, “Yet.” I love that word “yet.” It means that change is fixing to take place. He says, “Yet there is one ray of hope. God’s compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. God in His faithfulness, His loving kindness begins afresh each day” (Lam. 3:21-22).

The quality of life we enjoy sometimes hangs on the ability to use that word Yet. Read my blog from July 15, 2015, about the prophet Habakkuk regarding the Yet mindset. Habakkuk knew how to let the Yet mindset govern his thinking and actions. When you get down, get up to the Yet mindset that focuses on His compassions and His mercies and His faithfulness. (Tweet this)

One of my favorite hymns, based on Lamentations, says – Great is Thy faithfulness /Great is Thy faithfulness / Morning by morning new mercies I see / All I have needed Thy hand hath provided / Great is Thy faithfulness Lord unto me.

This hymn is a great witness of how faithful God is. We discover it every day. The last verse says – Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth / Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide / Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow / Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.

That’s a Yet mindset! It doesn’t deny the fact that things can be tough, but it affirms the fact that God’s faithfulness is stronger than our toughest situation, and His blessings are in the thousands!

We have a choice. A choice determines a consequence. You can choose to live on the negative side – and focus on how bad things are – and you can be completely overcome. Or you can say “Yet” and let God help you change your thinking to the positive side – to focus on how faithful and merciful He is. The Yet mindset makes possible unbelievable results!

Let God help you get a Yet mindset!!

Anger is like a bomb

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Do We Get It?

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Are You Having A Good Day?

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Two Tongue Tamers

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Proactive Or Reactive

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The “Yet” Mindset

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

All of us face tough times and difficult situations in life.  We are walking down the hallwayjohn ed of life and turn a corner and all of a sudden we are stopped dead in our tracks by something we didn’t expect.  It can either cause us to turn around and run, or serve to help us face life with confidence.

God never puts us in situations that He doesn’t provide the things necessary to face those situations.  The witness of the Bible and history is that people of faith have confidently put their trust in God and discovered that apparent stumbling blocks can be turned into stepping stones.

One good way to face this is what I refer to as the “Yet Mindset.”  I was recently reading in the Book of Habakkuk because of a devotional by my friend Mark Sartain.  Not often do I read that book as devotional literature.  Habakkuk and the people of Israel were facing some really tough times.  They rounded a corner and faced a depressing situation.  Habakkuk declares, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails and the fields lie empty and baron; even though the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty!” (Habakkuk 3:17)  That is a tough situation.

But Habakkuk had a “Yet Mindset.”  He said, “Yet I will wait patiently.”  Notice that little three letter word “Yet.”  After cataloging the tough situation he says, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.”  The “Yet Mindset” prepares us to wait patiently and rejoice for the upcoming victory that God is going to provide.

The “Yet Mindset” begins in the mind.  It is connected to our thinking.  Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you are right.”  The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi and said, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 2:5) It is how we think.

We can never change our actions until we change our minds.  We can never make progress in life until we make some changes.  George Bernard Shaw said, “Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

A “Yet Mindset” is about a mindset of confident waiting and rejoicing.  The “Yet Mindset” is not one that just helps us get by the best we can.  It is a victorious mindset.  It is not a mindset that is trying to stay close and play a good game, or even trying to tie the game – it is a mindset of how God wants to give us victory. David writes, “Trouble will last for only a second, but His favor lasts a lifetime.  Weeping may stay all night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)  “You have turned my crying into joyful dancing; you have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.”  (Psalm 30:11)

Look how Habakkuk closes out his book.  His last words were the result of his “Yet Mindset” when he says, “The Lord is my strength.  He will make my feet like the feet of a deer, and will make me walk in the high places.”  (Habakkuk 3:19)  Wow!  Feet like a deer and walking in high places.  The “Yet Mindset” declares, “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.”  (I John 4:4)  Paul had the “Yet Mindset” when he affirmed; I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:3)

Let God help you get the “Yet Mindset.”
John Ed’s blog posts appear each week in For His Glory.

Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

What Time Is It?

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministriesjohn ed

Someone has put together the following scenario.  What if you had an account at a bank that would credit your account each morning with $86,400?  It would not carry over a balance to the next day because it deletes whatever part of the balance you didn’t use that day.  I expect we all would try to draw out every cent before the sun set.

There is such a bank – it is called TIME.  Each morning it gives you 86,400 seconds.  Each night it writes off everything that you did not invest for a good purpose.  It never carries a balance.  It allows no overdraft.  Each day it opens a new account for you.You can’t borrow from yesterday’s account.  You can’t put aside a little of that time for tomorrow’s account.  You have to live on today’s deposits.  That makes it awfully important to invest wisely how we spend every second.

We invest in a lot of scientific research on keeping time accurately.  It was just released in April 2015, that we have a new atomic clock that is so accurate that it will not gain or lose one second in the next 15 billion years!  Now that is accurate!  No worry about correct time.  The important thing is how well do we use our time, even if we might today be keeping it inaccurately.

I am not good with technology.  Every six months we have to change our clocks involving Daylight Savings Time.  I never can remember how to change the clock in my car.  My brother George has the same challenge.  He told me not to worry about it because he said, “John Ed, at least, your clock in your car will be accurate six months out of the year.”How we use each second is oftentimes the difference in doing something significant, or missing out.

Sometimes it is the difference in finishing first or second.  Alabama is famous in the NASCAR world for the running of the Talladega 500.  That is big in our state.  Do you realize how close those races are?  They drive those cars for 500 miles, and the difference in first and second place is less than one second.

In 2011, the margin of victory for Jimmie Johnson at Talladega was .002 seconds.  Now a second is very short.  This is not a tenth of a second, nor a hundredth of a second, but one thousandth of a second.  That is a close margin. In 2010, Kevin Harvick finished first by a margin of .011.  That is less than a tenth of a second.  In 2002, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won in .060.

Time is valuable.  You have as much time today as anybody else.  Don’t waste it or use it unwisely today. Time is a real treasure you have. Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift.  That is why it is called “the Present.”

Some phrases we use are “killing time” – “spending time” – “passing time.”  I think the best phrase could be “investing time.”  Ephesians 5:15 says, “Be careful how you live, not as unwise people but as wise making the most of time.”

What time is it?  It’s time to be wise with our time!

John Ed’s blog posts appear each week in For His Glory.
Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

Dead Or Alive?

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Answered Prayers

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The Coaching Continues

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Distinguished Or Extinguished?

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T he Selective Deafness Team

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India Ministry Part II

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

40 years ago David Mohan started a church in Chennai, India. That church has john edcontinued to grow until today it is one of the leading churches in the world. Each Sunday he has 14 worship services beginning at 5:00 am. In September, I preached at the 10:30 to 12:00 worship service and the 4:30 to 6:30 afternoon worship. They average between 4,000 to 7,000 people at each worship service!

The best way to describe worship is WOW! The sanctuary seats 5,200 people. Every seat was taken with people sitting on the floor and many standing around the walls. A fire marshal in the U.S. would have been extremely busy at New Life in Chennai.

The first overflow auditorium that seats 1,200 people was full. The second overflow room seats about 900, and it was full. They have screens set up outside for people who can’t get into any of those three venues. They had over 42,000 people attend worship that day!

Worship isn’t convenient for the people. The church has only one and a half acres. There are no parking places. People come by public transportation. As I left the 10:30 worship service, outside the building it looked like a college football game. There were buses lined up to give transportation for people who had been attending church. There was another huge set of buses that were bringing people to the next worship service.

In traveling from the hotel to the church at 10:15 on Sunday morning, we suddenly encountered a traffic jam. I asked the driver if there was a wreck up ahead. He comment was, “No, the church is about a quarter of a mile away and the traffic jam occurs at the ending of each worship service and the beginning of the next worship service.” They have a lot of policemen directing the traffic and allowing the people to get to public transportation.

I also preached at the 4:30 worship service. It started raining pretty hard about 4:00. Since many of the people travel on motor scooters, I figured that the rain would deter a lot of people from coming to worship. I was wrong again. Rain didn’t seem to affect the attendance.

New Life has sent out 150 missionaries from the local church in recent years. They came back for a missions’ conference in September. I had the opportunity to speak to the missionaries on Saturday, then speak at their missions’ rally on Saturday night. The New Life Church took pledges to support their missions.

The witness of the missionaries were so compelling I felt it a privilege to make a financial pledge for their mission work! The missionaries taught me something about prayer. It wasn’t just something that they casually do. The first prayer request was from a missionary who said his two nieces had been kidnapped by terrorists.

They had been given three days to pay a ransom or the girls would be killed. The missionary asked for prayer. Wow! There was intense prayer. The other requests centered around fellow missionaries who were in prison, some who had been beaten, etc. They actually had a special time to pray for all of the churches around the world that are being persecuted.

On Monday we began the Pastors’ Conference. There were 1,140 pastors who came for training. Like the pastors in northern India, they listened intently, took copious notes, and were eager to learn. I’m scheduled to go back to teach 3 more times in the next 2 years.

It took me about 33 hours to go from Montgomery to Chennai. You lose a lot of sleep and don’t eat much, but my life was refreshed by Christians who really know what it means to live out Christian commitment and to be faithful to carry out the Great Commission.

WOW!!

John Ed’s blog posts appear each Thursday in For His Glory.

Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

I Promise

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Who Is John Ed Mathison?

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Backyard Bonanza

By John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

A couple in California’s Sierra Nevada, who desire to remain anonymous, reallyjohn ed got a surprise recently when they discovered an old tin can buried in their backyard. It looked like a piece of rusted trash, but then they saw that there was some dirt-encrusted metal discs inside the can. When they cleaned the discs, they discovered rare 19th-century U.S. gold coins! Of course this set them to looking for more cans in the backyard. They did discover seven more cans.

Early estimates suggest that the gold coins are worth over $10 million. They have connected with a renowned collector who is going to offer the coins at auction in May 2014. The couple was very cute about the incident. The man said, “It was very hard to believe. I thought any second an old miner with a mule was going to appear.”

$10 million right in their own backyard. I know a lot of people have gone searching for gold out in California. Today there are still a lot of panhandlers who look for gold. This couple found it in their own backyard.

There is something about human nature that always thinks the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. People think if you go somewhere else you might find success, happiness, love, etc. The joy of living is not “out there” – it is right in our own backyard. God has equipped each of us with everything that is necessary to discover all the joys of life that He has given to us.

Years ago a man named Russell Conwell made a lot of money traveling around the world making a speech called “Acres of Diamonds.” It really had this same theme. It was about a farmer who sold his land to go out and look for diamonds. He traveled the world and spent all his money. He never found them. He then learned that the man who had bought his farm had actually discovered one of the largest deposits of diamonds in the world. It was in his backyard all the time – but he thought he had to go somewhere else.

In Luke 15 the prodigal son thought that the real joys of life were “out there.” He left home and went to find them. He wound up broke and destitute and working in a pig pen. His food was the leftovers from what the pigs wouldn’t eat. He then “came to himself” and decided to go home. It was there that he discovered real life.

Wherever we find ourselves today, God will provide everything that is necessary for this day to be as full and meaningful as possible. Happiness is not “out there.” A better marriage is not “out there.” A better life is not “out there.” Success is not “out there.” Check your “backyard!”

The Greek word in Luke 15:17 that we translate “came to himself,” or “woke up” really indicates a whole new way of thinking. It is time to wake up! Paul wrote to the people in Rome, “it is time for you to wake-up.” Romans 13:11

In May, a couple in Sierra Nevada will discover the value of what was in their backyard. I hope we can discover that today!

John Ed’s posts appear each Thursday in For His Glory.

Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106  Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

Following Orders

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Will Your Sins Find You Out?

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

“Be sure your sins will find you out.”  I have heard that growing up.  It is true.  Richard Eggers discovered it recently.

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Time To Dance

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What Do People Remember?

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

How do we want to be remembered? As people think about their relationship with us in the past, what do they remember? What is our legacy? If someone had to place some words on our tombstone, what would those words be? Continue reading

2012 Recap

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

2012 has been a very productive year for the John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries. I have had a variety of experiences in preaching/teaching in many exciting venues. I have been involved in some local church almost every week during 2012.

I had an opportunity to preach/teach in many different geographical venues. During 2012 I have ministered in Continue reading

Thanksgiving Day

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

Thanksgiving is not a day on the calendar but rather an attitude towards life. I think it was Mark Twain who said we ought not to have a day of thanksgiving, but instead to have a day of grumbling. His point was that we should confine our grumbling to just one day and our thanksgiving to the other 364 days! Continue reading

No Accident

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

Excellence is never an accident – that is a sign displayed by my wife Lynn at Mathison Interiors. It is the motto for the business and serves as a constant reminder of how our work should be done. Continue reading

What’ The Cure?

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Director, John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

There are problems in today’s world. The sad thing is that sometimes people choose a false cure to the problem. Oftentimes this is Continue reading

John Ed Mathison

A Legacy Of Integrity, Character and Accomplishment

Here is a portion of John Ed’s biography from the John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries website. Continue reading

New Author Coming To My Blog

I am thrilled beyond words to announce a new author who will appear this season on “…all for God’s Glory.”

Dr. John Ed Mathison, my former senior pastor at Frazer United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama for 36 years, now directs John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries. The purpose of the non-profit ministry, according to its mission statement is,

“first to bring honor and glory to the Kingdom of God. John Ed will accomplish this by speaking at churches, conferences, and leadership training programs on a local, national and global scale. He will also be participating in leadership activities within the United Methodist Church. One of the major goals of this ministry will be to give training opportunities for young pastors.”

One segment of John Ed’s leadership ministry is his blog. John Ed is one of the most effective, powerful and influential writers I have ever read. I found his website and his blog. I emailed him to ask if he would allow me to reprint some of his blog posts, and he agreed. I was overjoyed. Speechless. Excited to know you would get to share his writing.

John Ed’s style is conversational, compassionate and personal. He often interjects stories (some thought-provoking, some humorous, some sad, all good) of everyday people and their dilemmas, tragedies or victories. Then he relates his stories directly to the Gospel message and the Kingdom of God.

I have decided that each Thursday beginning next week, I will publish a post from John Ed’s blog. Here’s how much I respect John Ed’s writing and his unique ability to impact our lives with his writing: If you never read another blog of mine, read “. . .all for God’s glory” on Thursdays.  I promise you his blog posts will bless you out of your socks. (You do wear socks when you read my blog, don’t you?) Whether you wear socks to be blessed out of or not, don’t miss John Ed’s messages we’ll publish Thursdays.

Click here to visit the John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries website.