What’s your PQ-your purpose quotient?

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What is your EQ–Your expectation quotient?

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What’s your TQ–your Trust Quotient?

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May I have a word with you?

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Just for laughs . . .

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What’s your AQ — Attitude Quotient?

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What’s your FQ? your faith 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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What’s your QQ –your Quit Quotient?

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What is your TQ-Team IQ?

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Time to exercise. No excuses.

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Is that the truth?

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Fighting, Finishing, Faith

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

When you pick someone to fight, be careful about the illusion of outward appearance that can be deceiving. Nobody except God would have picked the little shepherd boy David to fight a nine-foot tall Philistine Goliath. What you see on the outside doesn’t always measure what is on the inside! An old adage says “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog!” Let me give you some modern examples of effective fighters:

A Brazilian mugger recently attempted to rob a woman. She appeared to be an easy target. Little did he know that she was a mixed martial arts champion. Monique Bastos, 23, is a professional MMA fighter. She knocked the man to the ground and wrapped her legs around his neck in a “lion killer choke” until police arrived. It was videoed by an onlooker. The mugger picked the wrong woman to deal with!

A great American fighter died in 2015. His name was Ben Kuroki. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, Ben wanted to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Force. He was rejected by recruiters – they doubted his loyalty since he was the son of an immigrant Japanese farmer.

Ben drove 150 miles to another Army recruiter who signed him up. He had to endure a lot of doubts and racial slurs, but once people began to see his skills, they made him a B-24 tail gunner. Despite the policy that people of Japanese descent could not serve aboard bombers, Ben flew missions over North Africa. The rule was superseded because of his superb talents. He said, “For the first time I belong.” He also went on missions in northern Europe and took part in raids over Nazi oil fields in Romania. 310 fliers

in his group were killed. When he finished 25 missions, the policy was to let people go home. Kuroki insisted on flying more raids “to prove my loyalty.” By outward appearances, he was considered “ineligible.” But inwardly he made a difference in American history. His crew mates nicknamed him “Most Honorable Son.” In 2005, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. At the ceremony, he said, “I had to fight for the right to fight for my own country, and now I feel vindication.”

Another Japanese American who fought a different kind of fight is my friend Rev. Ben Sawada. He was constantly fighting against Satan who seeks to destroy – Ben always won! He grew up in Mobile, Alabama and entered the Methodist ministry. He had to endure the same kind of doubts and racial slurs that all Japanese Americans endured during the 1950s and 1960s. Ben is one of the finest Methodist ministers I’ve ever known. I’ve spoken at a lot of churches where he has served, and he is always referred to as one of the most beloved pastors of that church.

Ben Sawada has a keen sense of humor. He once was invited to speak at a banquet that drew people from several states. A high ranking Methodist was also at the head table and just assumed Ben couldn’t speak English. He made such statements as “like-ee tea or like-ee coffee? Like-ee food?” Ben said nothing. After Ben gave a stirring speech using impeccable English, he sat down, and the man and his table mate were embarrassed and astonished. Ben, in his inimitable way, looked at him, smiled and said, “Like-ee speech?”

Whether you are fighting giants, muggers, American enemies, or Satan’s forces – don’t judge an effective fighter by an outward appearance. Be sure you are wearing the full armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18). Be like Paul who finished his career saying “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (II Tim. 4:7-8).
Are you ready to fight, finish, and keep the faith?
John Ed’s blog posts appear in For His Glory each week.
Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

How do you look at things?

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Are we drifting?

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Let’s get it right

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Having The Good Life

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

Do you want more of God’s kindness and peace? Do you want to john edknow God better? Do you want to be open to His power which gives many rich and wonderful blessings that He has promised? These are all questions that Peter asks in 2 Peter 1:2-7.

It all begins with faith. Faith is when we receive the gift of God’s grace and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord. Years ago someone shared with me an acronym of faith as Forsaking All I Take Him. That’s faith.

Peter reminds us that faith is the beginning, but not the end. Some people view faith as an insurance policy or ticket to heaven, but hope that it doesn’t interfere with their present lives. Faith is the beginning that leads to the life of peace and blessings and the gifts of God. Peter then lists four steps to what he calls “the good life.”

Step 1. “To obtain the gifts of God, you need more than faith – you must work hard to be good” (2 Pet. 1:5). I’ve been around people who say they are Christians but are not very good people. Their faith hasn’t filtered down to their language, or attitudes, or pocketbook, or motives. I don’t think that’s real faith, because faith expresses itself in being a good person.

Step 2. “We should learn to know God better and discover what He wants us to do” (2 Pet. 1:5). James reminds us that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). Faith puts us in such a position that God’s gifts become evident as we use them to serve Him. The big struggle in life is determining whether we are doing what we want to do or doing what He wants us to do.

God has given each of us a gift. Many people are too often recruited to serve at church just to fill a slot. They feel guilty if they say no, so they try to serve in an area in which they are not gifted. That can end in frustration and burn out. People who know their spiritual gifts, and then deploy them in His service, discover the greatest joy there is in life. Jesus said, “When you lose your life in My service, you find Life” (Mat. 10:25).

Step 3. “Become patient and Godly, gladly letting God have His way with you” (2 Pet. 1:6). Being patient means we are on God’s timetable and not ours. It means we don’t put a period where God puts a comma. Patience is not a weak term, but a strong term, because it requires us to allow God to be in charge of our motives and actions (Tweet this). The word patient is followed by the word Godly which means that we do things the way God would do them.

Peter says “gladly.” I’m afraid a lot of times in life we only reluctantly let God have His way with us. We even complain about it at times. When we submit to Him gladly, we open up the possibilities of what God can do through us. Step 4. “Enjoy other people and like them, and finally you will grow to love them deeply” (2 Pet. 1:7).

This means that we have to learn to relate to people. We have to communicate. We can’t harbor prejudice. We first begin to like people, then we can grow to love them. Read Matthew 22:37.

Peter then gives a warning –“Whoever fails to go after these additions to faith is blind indeed – or at least very short-sighted.” God has given us faith so that we “can live a strong, good life for the Lord” (2 Pet. 1:9).

The Good Life is a gift provided for us through faith and our works that are a result of that faith!

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

Remember Remember

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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!!

Radical Risks Are Rewarding

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Is it the whole truth?

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Shouting time

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Anger is one letter short of Danger

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Life is lived for a purpose

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Help With Obeying

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A New You

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Choices Determine Consequences

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Radical Generosity

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Money: Attitude and Action

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Step In The Water

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Handling Success

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Surplus or Sacrifice

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Wise Words

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The Changeless and the Changing

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Growth Requires Change

By John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Ministries

Change is always difficult because most of us don’t want to change.  However, thejohn ed amount of growth is often dependent on the amount of change we are willing to make.

My experience with Sunday School at Frazer is an excellent example.  Early in my ministry I put together a visionary group called the Joel Team to help discern God’s vision for the future.  One layperson suggested that Sunday School attendance had to grow in our church.  This bucked the trend because United Methodist Sunday School had been declining over the last 50 years.  Our Sunday School was small, but these creative laypeople began to discuss how we could change that trend.

We discovered that some of the larger Sunday School classes were meeting in smaller rooms, and some of our smaller classes were meeting in larger rooms.  This isn’t good stewardship in the use of the facility.

Let me remind you that Sunday School classes have a tendency to have ownership of their space.  They go to great efforts to upgrade the looks of their classroom.  The window treatments, the altar tables, etc. are oftentimes personally made by members of the class.  One layperson suggested, “Why don’t we look at Sunday School attendance every six months and rearrange the rooms to give the largest rooms to the largest classes.”

Caution!  This is a huge change.  People began to see that every Sunday School class might have to change rooms.  But the question is – do we want to grow a Sunday School or do we want to have business as usual and keep our own rooms?  Change would be necessary.

The Joel Team, consisting of people from all age groups, said that our core value is to grow our Sunday School. To do that it would be necessary to place the largest classes in the largest rooms.  It was voted on and passed unanimously, because the core value did not center around the inconvenience of change but the vision of growing the Sunday School.

Every six months the average attendance of each class is recorded and the rooms are assigned accordingly.  The Sunday School grew to three sessions each Sunday morning.  Each room is used three times.  If you go to Frazer today you will see no permanent Sunday School class names on a door.  There are actually three slots for 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 Sunday School.  Each class has a nameplate that they can slide into that slot.  The classrooms change accordingly to average attendance and the size of the room.

It has also created a bit of competition.  If you want to keep your Sunday School room, you need to be inviting people and growing!

Another layperson suggested that the best way to grow our Sunday School is to start new classes.  Because the tendency to give a new Sunday School class a room that is not being used (because nobody else wanted that room) you design defeat for the new class.  The Joel Team suggested that we give the best classrooms to the new classes.  That was a big mindset change for Sunday School classes.

All of these ideas passed our governing body almost unanimously.  Because the Joel Team had representatives from every age group in the church it was not a case of “they” making a decision for radical change, but it was a “we” are a part of that deciding body.

If these proposals had been my idea, I would not have been retained as pastor very long!  But this was the vision of the laypeople.  When laypeople have ownership, vision becomes reality.

What was the result – Frazer grew a Sunday School that became the largest Sunday School attendance of any United Methodist Church in America!!  The amount of change dictates the amount of growth.  Vision became reality when people were willing to change.

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

See Any Stirrups Lately?

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The Challenge Of Change

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Football Has Changed

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The Times They Are A Changin’

By John Ed Mathisonjohn Ed
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

Bob Dylan’s classic song “The Times They Are A-Changing” was written years ago, but it is so appropriate for today. He sang, “Come gather round people wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown – and accept it that soon you will be drenched to the bone. If your time to you is worth saving, then you better start swimming or you will sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changing.”

The times are a-changing. The water is growing. The people that are not able to figure out how to swim are sinking like a stone. Businesses, churches, and organizations that are successful know how to figure new ways to swim to navigate the change.

One example of change is the cell phone. How many of you used a cell phone 15 years ago. Some of us still have trouble with them today. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that there will be 7.1 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide by the end of 2015. This is up from 2.2 billion in 2005. Remember that the current global population is about 7.2 billion.

Six years ago one of the most popular cell phones was the Blackberry. I remember debating as to whether I should get a Blackberry or an iPhone. I picked the iPhone because I was told it was easier to use. Seven years ago Blackberry accounted for roughly half of the smartphones in the North American market. Blackberry didn’t change with the times – today it accounts for just 0.6%. Using new tools like the cell phone to live in today’s market does present challenges. The overwhelming use of the cell phone has prompted “cell phone loss anxiety” which is referred to as “nomophobia.”

According to a report, 73 percent of people said they panicked when their cell phone was misplaced; 14 percent responded that they become desperate; and 7 percent said they become physically sick. Change can be helpful, but it can also be challenging.

Cell phones have changed the way I do things. I travel most every week and stay in a lot of hotels. The way I pack my suitcase has changed. Because of noise in hotels, I always packed a noise maker, an alarm clock, a legal pad for making notes, a Dictaphone, a flashlight, and a camera. Now I don’t have to pack any of those things because they are all on my iPhone. It has changed the way I travel.

The cell phone has enhanced the use of social media. It has changed the way we do a lot of things. A few years ago people dressed up if they were going for a special picture at graduation, a wedding, an awards banquet, etc. Today you better be ready to have your picture taken anytime, anywhere, by anybody.

Businesses and organizations are relying heavily on social media to get their message out. So much of business today is done online. How well are we willing to use social media in the church? How willing is the church to change to current opportunities to expand the gospel?

The change in today’s culture among young people is very noticeable in the use of video games. It was recently reported that this year video games will bring in more money ($92 billion) than films ($62 billion) and recorded music ($18 billion) together. Is there some way that the church could utilize the immense popularity of video games to communicate the Good News?

Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing” points to the situation today. There is an answer! It is in another song we sing in church which says “Change and decay is all around I see, Oh Thou who changest not, abide with me.”

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

Are You Having A Good Day?

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Two Tongue Tamers

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Proactive Or Reactive

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Band aids don’t work

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Leadership

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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

How Will You Finish?

By John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

The Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia is the largest 10K race injohn ed the world.  Thousands of people participate.  This year’s 46th running of the Peachtree Road Race produced an interesting conclusion. Two runners were out in front of the field towards the end of the race.  One was American Ben Payne.  The other was British competitor Scott Overall.

Ben Payne is in the Air Force and stationed in Colorado Springs.  He was the leader coming down the home stretch.  But Ben made a strategic error.  A few steps from the finish line he put up his index finger indicating that he was cruising to victory.  What he didn’t realize was that Overall was sprinting to the finish and quickly gaining on Payne.  He passed him right at the finish line.

Now the finish was so close that nobody knew who had won.  It took a couple of hours to determine that Overall had won by 9/100ths of a second.

The U.S. lost a 10K to the British on July 4th, 2015.  We had the victory won – but Ben celebrated a little early.  He failed to finish.  I am glad that 239 years ago America did not just start a race.  We enjoy our freedoms today because our forefathers finished the race!

I am glad the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence didn’t put together a document on which they could negotiate and potentially back out.  They signed a document that they knew would cost them dearly, but it would represent the very foundation on which this nation was built.  They faced extreme opposition within this country because no one thought that the states could gain independence.  But we had leaders who were willing to put their lives on the line and finish!

Our early forefathers put together our first flag.  It was the symbol of what this nation stood for.  It has been subsequently modified 26 times.  In 1958 President Eisenhower commissioned a contest to modify the flag to include the 50th state.  Interestingly, a 17-year-old high school student, Robert Heft, decided to participate and made it his class project.  His design of the American flag was accepted, which we display today.  Interestingly, he made a B- on the project.  Today we need to make an A+ on finishing the task for the principles on which this nation was built!

A lot of people have gone to battle under that flag.  Over a million Americans have died.  They were willing to finish the course!

I had an opportunity to go to Paris Island for a few days and view firsthand what our Marine recruits go through.  It is a huge challenge.  They take boys and make men out of them.  But they have to finish the test before they move forward as Marines.

At Paris Island there is that huge statue of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima in 1945.  250 marines went up the ridge, and only 27 came back down – but they finished the task.  Many of them were just young boys.  They didn’t quit when the going got tough.  One was interviewed and asked how it happened and he said, “We were knocked off the ridge six times, but we came back seven times.”  They finished!

More important than a 10K road race is the race for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness today.  The Brit runner beat the American runner in Atlanta on July 4th, 2015.  The Americans beat the Brits on July 4th, 1776.  Will we finish victoriously?  Read II Timothy 4:7.

How will you finish?

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

Promise Keepers

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Funeral Focus

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

Funerals are a reality in our culture today.  This isn’t really any differentjohn ed from years past.  Everyone will die.  All cultures have some form of expression and focus to acknowledge the death of a person.  The Christian focus is on a celebration of life to come.The attendance at funerals is always interesting to see.  I am oftentimes surprised, both positively and negatively at the number of people who attend.  Will Rogers once said that the biggest factor determining the number of people who attend your funeral will be the weather.

An interesting thing just occurred last month in a rural part of China.  The Chinese government is forbidding strippers from performing at funerals in the country.  They have called the burlesque send-offs “uncivilized.”  Evidently family members hire strippers to attract large crowds to funerals.  They think a large attendance at the funeral is a way of guaranteeing good fortune for the deceased in the afterlife.

Part of this new crackdown by arresting strippers and their employers is a result of the “Culture Ministry.”  The Culture Ministry said, “This type of illegal operation disrupts the order of the cultural market.”  They should also have said something about social morals.

Britain has also recently had an interesting twist to funerals.  In order to get more people to come, you can hire weeping professional grievers for wakes and funerals.  You order them from “Rent-A-Mourner.”

The cost is $68 per head.  The rented mourner will read up on the deceased’s life story “so they converse with other mourners with confidence.”  That is sad.  Yogi Berra always had a lot of interesting things to say.  One of his best was, “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.” Some funerals in today’s culture are interesting.  They are often eloquent eulogies and high tributes to the poor soul in the casket, or urn.  Upon hearing the eloquent things said about the deceased, some attendees wonder if they are at the right funeral.

A good Jewish friend shared with me recently about his father’s attending a funeral of a friend.  The presiding Rabbi told of so many extremely good qualities (greatly exaggerated) of his deceased friend that he told those sitting around him that he needed to be excused.  When asked why, he said, “I want to peep in the casket to see if that’s my friend.  I might be at the wrong funeral.”

Abraham Lincoln once listened to all the good things said at the funeral of one of his generals. Lincoln observed, “If he had known he’d get a funeral like this, he’d have died much sooner.”

The important focus about a funeral is not how good the deceased looks, or the quality of the music, or the cost of the casket, or the flower arrangements, or the eloquence of the eulogy.  The focus is not about how many people are coming, but where the deceased is going!

Jesus said, “”I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25) Paul sounded the victory for the Christians, “O death, where is your is your sting?  O grave, where is your victory? Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Focus – Christians never see each other for the last 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

Imposters

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