How To Trust God’s Plan For Your Life

The Secret To Living The Life You Were Meant To Live

I don’t think trust comes naturally. Let’s face it, trust doesn’t come easily or naturally to most people. The reason? We’ve been through hurts or difficult seasons that leave us feeling a little jaded.

Trust involves awkward moments. Those situations when you don’t know exactly what to do or say.

You’ve been in one of those haven’t you?

It was when you started a new relationship or took that new job. Maybe when you were trying to open yourself up and be more transparent because you knew transparency was the right thing to pursue in your life.

But you found it hard to trust what others would think or say. We never get too old to feel those emotions that many people relegate to the grade school playground. In fact, that is probably the place where you began developing some of your trust issues.

Trust is hard because it involves fearful moments when we are unsure of other’s reactions and thoughts.

You’re going to Pin this, right? I sure hope you will!

Navigating through the emotions surrounding trust can make you feel like you are on unstable footing. The highly guarded areas of your life could topple at any moment, it seems.

Yet in all the tension that surrounds opening up and allowing trust in your heart, you find that trust is the exact quality God uses to propel your life forward into his plan.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#trust is the exact quality #God uses to propel your life forward into his plan. #faith #Jesus” quote=”Trust is the exact quality God uses to propel your life forward into his plan.” theme=”style3″]

Without trust, it is impossible to fully realize the plan and purpose of God for your life. In the absence of a trusting heart, you cannot experience the joy God so longs to bring into your life.

So…How do you trust?

What are the essentials of it?

On this, I will take my cue from scripture.

Proverbs 3:5–6 NLTse

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

The secret to living the life you were meant to live is wrapped up in a package called trust.

Here’s how you do that.

How To Trust God’s Plan For Your Life:

  1. Give God all your heart. (Trust the Lord with all your heart.)

    • Don’t hold anything back.
    • Allowing someone, even God, into the recesses of your heart isn’t always an easy task. Why? Your heart is the place you’ve shoved your unresolved issues and deepest fears. But unless God has access to every area of your heart, he cannot do a recreative and restorative work in it. Trust begins by giving God complete access…no closed doors.
  2. Stop trying to make sense of everything. (Do not depend on your own understanding.)

    • There are people who will never be able to trust God’s plan in their life because they simply have to get it all figured out before they will act upon it. But here’s the question…Isn’t trust about taking action when things seem blurry, hazy, or obscure? Isn’t trust all about taking steps and relying on the direction of someone other than yourself?
  3. Seek God’s desire instead of your own. (Seek his will in all you do.)

    • Trusting God’s plan means seeking God’s desire and will for your life. Sometimes it might seem to involve risk, pain, or difficulty. At other moments, joy is overwhelming. But this one thing is true either way: You cannot trust God and seek your own way at the same time. 
  4. Be open to his leading. (He will show you which path to take.)

    • The one thing I’ve found true about God through my own journey is that he never leaves you hanging. God demands trust, but also proves to be trustworthy by virtue of his leadership in your life. God won’t require trust without also walking ahead of you and leading your life in the right direction. If you’re open to his voice, he will show you which path to take every time.

Question: In what areas of life are you currently learning to trust God?

Here’s a growing list of articles, posts, and resources to help you build strong faith. If you grow your faith, it will be a key to living an effective life. Enjoy!

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How To Lead Your Family To Grow Happier And Stronger

The Power Of Shepherding Your Family

Taking care of your family in our present day culture and context isn’t always easy. There are twists, turns, and decisions around every corner. You have to sort through a myriad of ideas and choose what’s best. But you love your family. You want to take care of them, so you do everything to do just that.

There is an idea that can help you take better care of your family. It is one that many people may not fully understand at first, but the more you think about it, I believe the clearer it will become.

In fact, this idea is one of the most powerful and essential ideas you can put into action as it relates to your family. What is it? Well…it involves making the decision to take on a different sort of role in your family. Making the choice to be more than a mom, dad, husband, or wife.

Taking on the role of a shepherd to your family sets you up to take better care of them than ever before. Plainly put, a shepherd is a pastor. You need to be a pastor to your family. In fact, if God has given you a family…you are the pastor to your own little flock whether you realize it or not. And this is an important and essential role.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Taking on the role of shepherd to your #family helps you take better care of them. ” quote=”Taking on the role of a shepherd to your family sets you up to take better care of them than ever before.” theme=”style3″]

You may or may not be a religious person, either way, this idea is something that can help, promote, and encourage strength in your family. If you are someone who attends a church, you probably have an immediate image come to mind when you hear the word “pastor.”

Don’t allow this image to overshadow the idea that I’m presenting to you. Here’s what I mean…

I am a pastor. Not only to my family, but as my vocation. As a pastor, I certainly love it when families attend our church services, but, for far too long families have completely relegated their spiritual development to the church.

Obviously I’m pro-church, but I do not believe the church is the foundation of your family’s spiritual development…you are.

As a husband, wife, mom, or dad…married couple or single parent…YOU are the most influential person, God-ordained, essential element of the spiritual well-being in your family. They need you. They need you to be their pastor and shepherd them.

Your family exists because God placed you together, so it is important to take on the responsibility of leading them and shepherding them.

[clickToTweet tweet=”It is important to take on the responsibility of leading and shepherding your #family.” quote=”It is important to take on the responsibility of leading and shepherding your family.” theme=”style3″]

Here are four ways to be a shepherd to your family.

(This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it does capture the high points about what you need to do to shepherd and pastor your family)

  1. A shepherd feeds the flock.

    • Shepherds are willing to take on the responsibility of their family’s spiritual development, even at a personal cost. In fact, there is always a personal cost. Someone who loves their family and wants the best for them will be willing to set their own needs to the side and pay the cost.
    • As a shepherd to your family, you must make the choice to plant good things into their life. Whatever you plant, you eventually harvest, so make the decision to plant unity, strength, love, care, compassion, and other good things into your family. Tear out the weeds of bitterness and strife.
  2. A shepherd guards their flock.

    • As a parent or a spouse, you need to be on guard about what is coming against your family. You are the prime line of defense, and you cannot delegate this position.
    • You must stay awake at the wheel and watch over what influences seek to undermine and harm your family.
    • All the while, you are building a hedge around your family by keeping them away from the negative influences of things that would try to injure them.
    • Now…as a sidebar note: Please understand that I certainly realize that God is the good shepherd and the also the ultimate one. But this fact does not abdicate our responsibility from us. There is always a role you play as well.
  3. A shepherd fights for their family.

    • Your main avenue of fighting is through prayer.
    • It’s OK that you don’t have all the answers, but don’t just accept your situation, pray about it.
    • Pray harder, bigger, and more than you’ve ever prayed.
    • Pray for your spouse.
    • Pray for your marriage.
    • Pray for yourself that you will make the right choices.
    • What you pray and say to God makes more impact than a thousand words you could say to someone else. God has the power to move mountains in your life.
  4. A shepherd loves, no matter what.

    • Your family needs to know how much you love them.
    • Even though you might not agree with all the choices your children or even your spouse make, let them know you love them.
    • Use your words, coupled with action.
    • Don’t push them away when things get rough, but draw closer as the tough times come.
    • Remember, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ, so model that same sort of love in your own family.

Question: What are some other ways that you might take on the role of shepherd to your family?

Here are some other posts you may enjoy:

Spiritual warfare: How to fight and win

5 Good Reasons To Keep Going When You Feel Like Quitting

Simple Leadership: 5 Great Ways to bring simplicity to your leadership

A post for Pastors and Church Leaders

Leadership is notoriously complex. It would be nice if simple leadership was within our grasp. We wrestle with problems, issues, and sometimes people. Not to mention that leaders need to point a clear direction on subjects like vision, mission, and values. Faith based leadership isn’t any easier either. Pastors struggle to lead their churches under a burden of leadership that won’t let up. Often they want to quit. I know, because over the years I’ve wanted to quit as well.

The key to continuing is to make simple leadership your goal.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Pastor, make simple #leadership your goal.” quote=”Make simple leadership your goal.” theme=”style3″]

Here’s five ways to work towards simple leadership:

1. Don’t take everything so seriously.

When I first began this church leadership journey, there was a pastor who told me to preach every time like it was my last. With all the passion, enthusiasm, and knowledge I have. To be clear, I think his advice is good. Pastors who preach should always preach like everything depends on their message, because God gave them their message and because it might be someone’s last shot at finding Christ. However, it’s also good to keep things in perspective.

Unless you die or Jesus returns, there will be a another Sunday.

If everything hinges on you, or on one church event, or one church ministry, you might as well pack it up now. The church is stronger than you, so stop taking yourself so seriously.

Should we take our work seriously? Sure. But don’t take yourself so serious. Simple leadership demands that I understand the fact that I’m expendable. God has other people who can take my place, and frankly, probably can do a better job than me.

Every situation, event, problem, issue, or question is NOT life and death. Some are. But most aren’t. Taking everything so seriously will add complexity and undue stress to your leadership. So stop.

2. Take time for your family.

God gave you your family. They need you. They don’t just need a part of you. You may be the pastor of a great church with loads of potential, but you are also the pastor of your family, and they deserve to have you around.

Each parent only has their children at home for a little while. What those kids remember is up to you.

Church is important, but so is your family.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Church is important, but so is your #family. #pastor #faith” quote=”Church is important, but so is your family.” theme=”style3″]

I’ve never served in a large church. They have always been what I would call a normal size church of around 200 people. In a church this size there is a temptation to do too much. And the people who pay for your overwork is your family.

Make a plan to spend a few days together. Take a vacation. Enjoy a movie. If the church is going to fall apart because you aren’t there for a service or two, then you have much bigger problems anyway. However, I doubt your church will crumble if you miss a service to take some time with your family. In the long run, a strong family helps to create a strong church.

3. Focus on the most important things.

What are the top three things that only you can do? To have simple leadership, those are the things you need to focus on.

There’s no way that a pastor can effectively lead everything in a church. Your focus will be divided and eventually you will burn out. It’s just a fact. You can look at any statistic website you want and find that pastors quit at alarmingly high rates.

If you don’t want to end up being a statistic, stop focusing on everything and begin focusing on your top three things. This doesn’t mean you don’t care about everything, because any pastor worth their salt will care. It simply means you cannot give everything equal focus. Your church might not understand at first, but they will thank you in the long run.

My top three are preaching, leading toward our vision, and shepherding people. At this point, these things are not negotiable. Maybe your top three are different. That’s OK. But whatever they are give those things your one hundred percent. The key to simple leadership is focusing on a few things instead of  half-heartedly leading many.

4. Build friendships with people.

There used to be this notion that a pastor or church leader had to separate themselves from those they lead. The idea was, if you get too close to people they won’t respect you as a leader. What a dumb idea!

The closer you get to people, the more vulnerable you allow yourself to be, the more real you actually become. People don’t follow leaders because they appear larger than life, they follow them because they see something of themselves in their leader.

Believe it or not, those you lead want to be close to you. They care about you just like you care about them. Or, they would care about you if you gave them the opportunity to know you and be close to you.

I love the people I have the chance to serve. They are some of my closest friends. I love working with our church board, and count them not only as fellow leaders, but friends. Did it start out this way? Probably not. Friendship takes time, effort, and the willingness to put yourself out there. But you know what? I’m glad I did.

Whenever or if ever I have to leave my current leadership position, I won’t just be leaving a job, but I will have built life-long friendships that I cherish. It makes a pastor’s job much easier when he or she is friends with those they serve. If you want to have simple leadership, start being a real friend to those you serve.

5. Don’t stress over about things outside your control.

This is easier said than done. I get it. But let me ask you a question…

Why would you stress about something you have no possibility of helping? A motto I’ve lived by that serves me well is: Only stress about what you can help.

If I can’t personally fix the problem, or resolve the issue, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about it, I’m just making up my mind not to stress about it. There really is a difference.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Only stress about what you can help. #pastor #church #faith” quote=”Only stress about what you can help.” theme=”style3″]

Simple leadership destroys stress. It does it by making proactive decisions about when and where to use stress. Honestly, stress can be leveraged into a great tool, but only when applied in the right way.

Think about it…almost every hand tool requires stress and pressure to do what they were made to do. A hammer turns stress into action that drives a nail. A screwdriver uses stress to put things together. But you don’t see people using a hammer or screwdriver to paint their wall. Why? All the stress in the world won’t work in that situation.

Pastor, if something is outside of your control, stress isn’t the answer to fix it. Trusting God is.

In conclusion…

At its core, simple leadership revolves around trusting God. Simple leadership learns to recognize that everything cannot revolve around you. You can make the choice to create simple leadership that stands the test of time or you can choose to add layers of complexity to your life and organization. Which are you going to choose?

Question: How do you practice simple leadership?

Further reading:

How to improve your leadership by leading with integrity

How to be a better leader and influence more people

Four limiting beliefs you should stop believing immediately

Giving up on your dream: 25 questions to ask before you do

How To Improve Your Leadership By Leading With Integrity

Four Foundational Ideas To Improve Your Leadership Integrity

Leadership is not about gaining followers. It is about influencing the followers you already have, but leadership goes deeper than that as well. Leading with integrity is the key to lasting influence.

History reveals the fact that some leaders should have never had followers in the first place. Why? Because, at their core, those leaders were tyrants. They were the worst examples of humanity, yet they still managed to influence their followers; in some cases, millions of people.

When you follow a strict definition of leadership, these people technically were leaders because they had a following. However, leadership does not begin with a following.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Leadership doesn’t begin with a following. It starts with your choices before you have one. #lead” quote=”Leadership doesn’t begin with a following. It starts with your choices before you have one. ” theme=”style3″]

Leadership starts before your following even exists, and if you don’t make the right decisions during your leadership infancy, you may never make it out of the nest.

The art and skill of leadership start at the core of who you are. Leadership is born from your innermost being. Ultimately it derives from your personal integrity or lack thereof. The person you are when no one is looking is the best indicator regarding what sort of leader you will be when people are.

  • Are you lazy and lethargic when no one is looking or diligent?
  • Are you motivated by greed and need when no one sees or are you honest?
  • Do you cut corners, find a faster way, or skip the hard stuff when no one is looking or do you make up your mind to be resilient and resolute even when it seems not to matter?

The fact is, who you are deep inside always matters as it relates to your leadership ability. If you want to know the best time to grow your personal integrity so that it affects your leadership for good, the best time is when no one is looking.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The time to grow your #integrity so that it affects your #leadership is when no one is looking.” quote=”The time to grow your integrity so that it affects your leadership is when no one is looking.” theme=”style3″]

Now, it can be hard to keep up the pace, make the right moves, and cut no corners when no one seems to care. Indeed, life would prove easier if you didn’t have to worry about leading with integrity, right? In the short-term, maybe. However, in the long-term view of your leadership, integrity matters most.

Integrity is the essential quality that keeps some leaders from imploding on the job. Their inner strength of character directs their decisions toward the good of others instead of filling their own pockets or succumbing to their vices.

Start working on your integrity now, even if no one sees, and you can be a leader who positively impacts the world around you. That is the essence of leading with integrity.

Four ways to start leading with integrity when no one is looking and why you should:

1. Make someone look…be accountable.

One thing that leaders tend to shy away from is accountability, but leading with integrity demands it. We have our vision, plan, or dream and we don’t see the need to submit our thoughts to anyone else. This notion, however, is riddled with landmines. The lack of accountability in your life will eventually be your greatest liability. When it seems like no one is looking, find at least one person who will look. Ask someone. Be proactive and seek out accountability, and you will never regret that you did.

2. Do the hard things now.

It’s not that leadership gets any easier, because it doesn’t. Doing the hard things first is a character building process that increases your integrity. Learn to instill a work ethic into yourself now, while no one seems to notice, and that ethic will be there when the temptation arises to “delegate” all the hard work to your followers, employees, volunteers, etc.

3. Work on excellence now.

Be a person who takes pride in their work. The world doesn’t need more half-hearted leaders. You may not feel like the best leader right now because it seems no one is watching, and that’s a good thing. Use this time to build into your life. Work on constructing in yourself, the qualities you most admire in other great leaders. Make the best use of your day by doing everything you do in a manner that you won’t be ashamed of later.

4. Stick to your commitments even if no one notices.

This one is simple, if you cannot keep your promises when you have only yourself or a handful of followers, then you won’t keep commitments when you have a thousand followers. Leading with integrity means, committing yourself to making a difference in other people. You must want to see your followers thrive. This quality begins with a firm commitment to yourself. So if you have a blog, be committed to a schedule whether you have a handful of readers or a thousand. If you have a job, show up and work hard, whether your superiors seem to care or not. If you have a leadership call on your life, commit to develop it even if there are no opportunities for you at the moment.

Growing into a person of integrity is the most beneficial pursuit you can have if you want to be a great leader and influence people for their good. These four ideas are part of the foundational core of leading with integrity. Will you pursue them?

Question: What steps are you taking to grow your integrity?


Faith Building Challenge

I believe faith and leadership go hand in hand. If you need to build your faith, take my free 5 Day Faith Building Challenge. It will be the jumpstart you need to get your faith growing. Join the challenge by signing up below.

4 Elements Of Big Prayers And The Great Potential Of Them

Praying Big Prayers Can Change Your Life For The Better

Let me ask you question today: What big prayers are you praying?

A better question is: Are you praying for anything BIG?

Here’s what Scripture says about your prayers…

Mark 11:22–24 NLTse

22 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God.

23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.

24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.

Jesus connects two thoughts: Belief & Prayer

Why would you even waste your time praying for something that you don’t believe will happen?

I think many times we just HOPE God will do something but we don’t BELIEVE that he REALLY WILL.

We are like the little kid who looks at mom in the check out line and hopes she will give us the candy bar.

We don’t really believe she will, but we hope she will.

When you come to God…you have to BELIEVE BIG, but you have to do more than that. You also have to Pray BIG.

Praying big is the proof that you actually do believe big.

When you start to ask God for things that might seem crazy or impossible, it’s the proof that you believe BIG.

[clickToTweet tweet=”When you ask #God for things that seem crazy or impossible, it’s the proof that you believe BIG. ” quote=”When you ask God for things that seem crazy or impossible, it’s the proof that you believe BIG. ” theme=”style3″]

You can pray for anything is a statement that needs to be taken literally again. In fact, you should pray for things that are so BIG it scares you just a little.

[clickToTweet tweet=”You should #pray for things that are so BIG it scares you just a little. #Faith #Quote” quote=”You should pray for things that are so BIG it scares you just a little.” theme=”style3″]

Why? Because you are praying for things that are bigger than your ability to control.

If you don’t get anything else from this email, I hope that you will desire to pray for things bigger than you can handle, and bigger than you can control, and bigger than you can understand…and bigger than you can figure out HOW God will do it.

Here’s four things you need to know about praying Big:


You’ll know when you are praying big because it will push you out of your comfort zone.

I have some things I’m praying right now that push me out of my comfort zone everytime I pray them.

In fact, praying BIG PRAYERS may even make you feel a little foolish at first. You may feel like, “How can I pray THIS? God has never done THIS for anyone else I know. Why would God do THIS for me? Why would God answer THIS prayer for me.”

I’m telling you, when those thoughts start to cross your mind…when you are a little afraid to tell people what you are praying for because you know that they might laugh…that’s when you are beginning to pray big enough.

Big prayers are bold.

How do you think the disciples felt when they walked up to the gate called beautiful?

They saw the beggar looking for some spare change from them. They knew that they weren’t going to give him what he asked for.

See…when you pray small…it’s like you are asking God for some spare change. It’s like that’s all you think he can do for you…Just a little bit.

Acts 3:6 NLTse

6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

How much faith do you think it took for Peter to say that out loud where every one could hear him?

Peter said I don’t have money…but I have something else. Where do think Peter got ahold of the something else? He got ahold of the power of God through prayer.

Peter saw the move of God and experienced the response of God to a church in prayer, in unity, in faith, and in expectancy. It happened in Acts chapter 2.


What I mean is that BIG PRAYERS literally shape your future.

If you really believe that God is going to answer your prayers, you’ll be careful what you pray because you understand that it is going to come true in your life.

Show me the size of a person’s prayers, and I will show you a picture of their future.


Scripture says that God has endowed your words with creative power and ability.

Let me ask you a question: If YOUR words have the power to create reality…HOW MUCH MORE does BIG PRAYER have the power stretch and create your reality?


I hear Christians complain about where they are in life and what is happening or not happening and my response is: If you don’t like your life, start praying for it.

Don’t just pray…but PRAY BIG!


Here’s my challenge to you: Start praying BIG whether you believe God will answer or not.

The simple act of BIG, FAITH-STRETCHING PRAYERS will begin to grow your faith. If you keep on praying them, you will eventually believe what you are praying for and God WILL MOVE according to your faith.

BIG PRAYERS increase your vision.

They open your eyes to possibilities.

The longer you pray something big the more faith you grow to receive it.

In conclusion…

I challenge you to:

  • Pray for BIG things…even when BIG THINGS seem completely impossible.
  • Pray for BIG things…even when you are not sure how it will all work out.
  • Pray for BIG things…even when you are a little afraid of how it will push you personally when God DOES IT.



Are you praying BIG for anything?

  • I challenge you to write down 5 things that you need to pray about.
  • Then, write down 5 BIG PRAYERS that you will pray about them.

Here’s a growing list of articles, posts, and resources to help you build strong faith. If you grow your faith, it will be a key to living an effective life. Enjoy!

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