You say, "I am allowed to do anything - but not everything is good for you. You say, "I am allowed to do anything" - but not everything is beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NLT)
In just two months, it will be one year since my family and I followed the call of God and moved to Europe. I count it such an honour to be able to have the freedom to follow his leading and end up living in such a beautiful place like Scandinavia. Many people have said to us "How exciting! You get to live in Europe!" To which for the most part, I reply with an enthusiastic, "I know, right!?!". But the truth is, even though it has been one of the most amazing seasons of my life it has also been one of the most difficult. There have been so many dreams fulfilled yet so many frustrations to work through!
New culture, new languages, new friendship circles, new opportunities but also, new risks. It can all be a bit overwhelming sometimes. Out of the many things I am learning at the moment, if I had to pull out one overriding spiritual principle that I feel is being strongly developed in me at the moment, it is WISDOM! Many close friends look at our situation and say "Oh my, you guys are hanging on by FAITH!" And as much as that is true, that's not really the unfamiliar territory. Ever since I first stepped into ministry, it's been one faith step after another and to be honest I'm not sure that it is ever going to cease and nor do I want it to! I have a conviction that we should always be believing for bigger, better and more impossible advancements in God's Kingdom!
Developing wisdom however, seems to be a little more of a complex! No longer are we under specific job role descriptions or task lists from a Senior Pastor, the day to day development and growth of Lift Leaders is definitely more dependant on a "What is the next step to take?" Approach with God. Europe is a very different place to the Australia that I grew up and honed my ministry gifts in and I'm discovering that it's not so much about the principles of what we DO, but more a case of gaining the ability to assess WHAT to USE and WHEN.
Everybody knows that one of the realities you face when you move from Australia to Europe is that you are making a climate sacrifice! It tested my resolve last week when I learned Brisbane (where I come from) on average has 283 days of sunshine a year. And here I am, still trying to come to terms with the fact that summer didn't actually happen in Denmark this year!! (Quite literally!). On the upside however, being in Europe is not all doom and gloom. There are many and various positives that I could list but one little niche that I enjoy is the delightful selection of automobiles - I am just a sucker for a slick European "whip". Another convenient coincidence is, that I get the joy of frequenting Germany...the land of the Autobahn (Non-speed limited highway).
On one of my recent jogs around the neighbourhood, I was having an all too familiar daydream about just how great it would to be to upgrade our ever-faithful family car (which is an immense blessing to us) and enjoy the spoils of something not just European, but quintessentially Scandinavian. Like a new stylish Volvo SUV (pictured above). Oh! How I could glide down that beloved Autobahn in style at 240Km/ph not at the usual screaming 140km/ph that our endearing battler does. But in that very moment, The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said "Joel...all that extra speed and comfort would be wasted on you, you can't even drive that fast on a day to day basis". Despite the many obviously stark realities (like actually being able to afford such a vehicle) I realised that on my local streets, it wouldn't just be bad for my relationship with the Police, it could potentially be fatal for me and others!
Even though a shiny new luxury car CAN and WILL drive a high speeds in delectable comfort, the CONTEXT of my surrounding environment would prove to make life not just extremely uncomfortable and regrettable but potentially cut short! This very revelation started to unpack in my mind, the very thought that just because we are capable of doing many things with our lives, skills and abilities doesn't mean that every context calls for it! As a leader, there is just as much wisdom in knowing WHAT as know WHEN to do it!
In Ecclesiastes 3, it says that ..,"there is a season and time for every activity under heaven". It doesn't matter how right an idea is, if it's at the wrong time and place then it's never going to be the right. The world is full of talented and well meaning people! But, what will set you apart as a truly fruitful leader is your ability to have wisdom in how you apply yourself and your works to the world around you. Wisdom can be found on a good day or a bad day. Whether it is making the most of a good situation or learning from a bad one, having hunger to grow wiser and be a better decision maker is the thing which will take you further than hard work alone ever could. As it says in Proverbs 4:7 "Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!"
Maybe today is a good time to ask yourself a few questions:
- Just because I can _______________, does that mean I should?
- How can I maximise ________ to get better with ____________?
- Does my situation of __________ call for a response of ____________?
- Even though I feel __________, I am learning to be __________?
REGISTRATIONS ARE NOW OPEN!!
If you'd like to secure your place at either of the Lift Leaders Summits, head to www.liftleaders.com/summit2018
Some praise and prayer points I'd like to share with you:
- Lots of travelling ministry.
- Great responses to the ministry we've been giving.
- Many exciting open doors for more Impact throughout Europe.
- More lives transformed and believers activated as we travel and minister over the next month.
- For wisdom as we develop resources for Lift Leaders and plan 2018.
- Preparation for the Lift Leaders Summit in 2018
- Health, protection and provision for my family.
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