A Word From Guest: Dr. Naima Johnston Bush

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The Women’s Ministry Council is pleased to introduce you to Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, from Refreshing Life with Naima.  Naima is a supporter of our ministry work.  If you will be attending our live training event in Florida, on June 30th, we will have a few door prizes from Naima to give away.  PLUS… expect something special from her at our LeadHer Conference on October 6th in Hobe Sound, FL.

It is summer time, and perhaps your ministry is taking a break.  This break from ministry obligations is a perfect time to lean in the Lord, seeking His guidance and direction for you personally.  Dr. Naima Johnston Bush has a few words on what hinders us & how to move beyond those hinderances.  

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4 Things That Keep You From Achieving Your God Given Dreams!

Inside of each of us is a purpose, a destiny only we can fulfill. As the cares of life encompass us we often lose sight of those original dreams that the Lord has placed in our hearts and settle for living a life of just getting by. Take a moment and ask yourself right now, are you truly living a life filled with Christ’s purpose? Are you walking in the fullness of your ministry and applying your gifts to advance the kingdom of Christ?

Most of us are not. I wasn’t. Until I quit my job in 2002 to form Broken Box Ministries. It wasn’t always easy, I didn’t have the tools, resources or information to do what I felt God was calling me to do. Furthermore, I felt that I was just too old to move forward and begin pursuing my dream. It seemed impossible…. I was so unsure of what to do or how too even do it. I needed to trust the Lord. All this is summed up in one of my favorite Tweets;

“When nothing is sure, everything is possible!”

Maybe you’re not called to quit your job and go into fulltime ministry, but you still have a dream! To start a business or nonprofit? Be a missionary? Start or grow a ministry at your church? There is a problem you are assigned to fix, something only you can accomplish! So what’s holding you back? After traveling the country and talking to tons of people I’ve discovered 4 things that keep people from achieving their God given dreams, and I’m working hard to help people overcome these issues. Ask yourself, are any of these me?

Number 1 –  Fear

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

We’re all afraid of something, but moving forward in spite of this fear is a true testament of not only courage but of faith. Perhaps you’re not moving forward to pursue that dream because you fear that God didn’t really call you to it, you’re not good enough, you don’t want to face rejection, you’re afraid it won’t work out… The list can go on and on.

Maybe you tried once and you believe you failed. But did you really fail?  Ask yourself if there was any fruit at all from the situation, did you learn anything, get closer to God, bless anyone? What we think of as failure can be a part of God’s plan for us. Just look at Thomas Edison, how many times did he fail before he got the light bulb right? Look it up… and I’m sure we can believe that electric lights were part of God’s plan!

But the first step to overcoming fear is admitting it to the Lord; then taking a step in the direction you feel He’s calling you to. You can move forward to overcome your fears. God believes in you, so you just need to believe in yourself.

Answer the following questions:

What Are Your Greatest Fears? Take these fears to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to help you move past them. After praying how do you feel? Keep praying and believing and you will see change!

List five practical ways you can overcome your fears. For example if you fear you’re not good enough to do what God is calling you to do or you don’t have the ability, make a list of all the scriptures you can find that tell you who you are in Christ and what you can do through Him. Read that list daily until the Word is hidden in your heart. What other ways can you think of?

Number 2 – Lack of Resources

You may feel you can’t go forward because you don’t have the proper resources to do what you know you’ve been called to do. There is always a way to get started, even if you don’t have a million bucks in your hand. If God called you to do it, then you have what you need in your hand – Read Judges Chapter 6 and use Gideon as role model, I do!

There is one simple fact that cannot be denied when you are facing a lack of resources to move forward in your God given dream. You know someone somewhere who has what you need or knows someone who has what you need. All you have to do is pray and then ask. I’ve gotten more stuff that I’ve needed in the last few months from folks simply by asking! Staff volunteers, recording equipment, financial donations, assistance in booking just to name a few. The Word tells us to ask and we shall receive, so get to asking. And remember God’s law of reaping and sowing, if someone asks you, be sure to give it if you got it!

Answer the following questions:

What are your biggest needs to get started?

Who can you ask for assistance to get moving? List those folks:

Select a concrete date on when you’ll ask them for what you need:

Remember!

  • Don’t be afraid to ask them for suggestions if they don’t have what you need

  • Take what they are willing to give, God can do much with a little

  • Apply the 2 Step Approach, “Pray and Then Ask!”

Number 3 – You Think It’s Too Late

One of the things I hear from people is that they think it is too late for them to achieve their God given dream.  But, I believe that as long as there is breath in your body there is time to achieve some part of the dream that God has placed on your heart, for the advancement of the Kingdom.  It may be modified, it may not grow to be exactly what you thought it would be, but if you still have strength, you still have time.

I always think of Abraham and the promise that the Lord gave him and Sarah, the promise became Abraham’s dream and although he saw some of it come to pass, he didn’t see it all come into fruition. But he did what God called him to do after getting hemmed up in Egypt, messing around with his nephew Lot and having a child with the handmaid. Delays, these were delays, but they did not take the Lord by surprise! God still brought forth His promise to Abraham, his dream of being a father. In essence Abraham set the foundation for a dream that would belong to the entire world. A dream that would turn into a blessing for the whole world.

So the past does not matter, the time to start is today. What if the dream in your heart, is simply this, the foundation of a bigger dream that will meet the needs of millions of others?

Get Moving! Don’t wait another minute, the Bible tells us…

If you wait for perfect conditions you will never get anything done.

(Ecclesiastes 11: 4)

Ask yourself, what does your dream entail that you feel is limited by time? For example, what if you felt you were suppose to be a champion figure skater, you love ice skating, but now in your 40’s you’re to old to pursue that dream. But you know the Lord has placed that passion in your heart. After much prayer, you could found a ministry that reaches out to figure skaters, or arranges free lessons to children who can’t afford lessons while also training them in the truths of the Word of God. Or maybe you could become a coach’s assistant and win a future world champion to the Lord, who will then share the gospel with millions through their athletic efforts. Time does not diminish the promise of God!

Answer the following questions:

List the limitations you feel you’re facing because you feel it’s to late.

Spend some serious time in prayer asking the Lord to reveal to you how your original dream should look now. Journal those answers, then make a commitment to do one thing everyday to achieve the dream.

Number 4 – Lack of Trust

Ultimately, the real reason we don’t move forward to achieve our God given dreams is a lack of trust. We either don’t trust ourselves or we don’t trust the Lord. Nobody wants to admit that they are having trouble trusting God, but I think most of us are not even aware that we’re not trusting the Lord.

Maybe you don’t trust that you heard from the Lord and you don’t want to make a mistake. Maybe you’re not sure what the Lord is telling you to do. Maybe you don’t trust that you can do what God has called you to do. But this is where your faith must kick in. This is where you have to walk by faith. I’m sure Noah must have wondered if he was really hearing from the Lord when he began building the ark. But God had placed in his heart a dream and the dream saved the future.

The truth of the matter is if you really desire to please God, if you really want to follow Him and you start to take steps to do what He’s placed in your heart to do if you are out of order the Lord will correct you. Failures may occur, and things may not always work out like you think they should but that does not mean God has not called you to move forward in this dream.

Nothing replaces prayer and fasting and the word for getting direction from the Lord. Make up your mind that you will walk by faith and not by sight, trusting that Lord will lead you, outline the dream and lay it on the altar, pray over it, speak life over it and then begin to move forward in faith!

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

(James 2 :17)

To Build Trust:

Spend time practicing listening to and for the voice of the Lord, so that you are attuned to hearing His direction for the advancement of the dream that He has given you.

Commit each step to the Lord and ask for confirmation of those things, which He has called you to do. Get wise counsel.

Remember you can hear from the Lord for yourself, sometimes you have to just trust that you know and take a step.

Simply take a step in faith and see where God takes you!

Answer the following questions:

Give your dream a name, describe it, what is it and what does it look like?

List all of the ways that God has come through for you in the past:

Ask yourself, how is this any different?

For Further Reading: The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkerson

Remember, your God given dream is not for you alone, but for the advancement of the Kingdom, the glory of the Lord and in the service of His people. On that last day you want to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant!”

So get cracking, the HARVEST is ripe and the LABORERS are few!

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This article is taken from: Go With What You Got, Dr. Nay’s Guide To Develop Your Dream, Pursue Your Passion and Achieve God’s Will For Your Life.   © Dr. Naima Johnston- Bush, Refreshing Life with Naima www.ministryofnaima.com
A dynamic singer, speaker, educator and author, Dr. Naima Bush uses her artistic gifts to communicate the love of Christ across the nation ministering at over 100 dates a year. Naima has written and produced her debut album entitled, Everything, her sophomore album, This Place and her latest CD, The Deeper Project. Naima is the author of Called To Sing, 13 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting In Music Ministry, Dr. Nay’s Random Life Lessons, Go With What You Got; Dr Nay’s Dream Development Manual, Confessions of a Big Girl and her newest book, Lessons from the Back Seat or How I Learned to be a Wife.
Originally from New York City, Naima holds a BA in Sociology/Women’s Studies from Ohio Wesleyan University, a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration and a PhD in Educational Foundations from The Ohio State University. Naima is the founder of The Refreshing Life with Naima, a Christian lifestyle organization dedicated to empowering women to live lives of exuberant joy, powerful prayer and sincere gratitude.
Naima is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Christian Songwriters and Musicians International, and ASCAP. Naima is an ordained minister and is married to Pastor Jon Bush, they live in New Llano, LA with their doggy children, Bianca and Bucho.  

The Two Sides of Hospitality

The twoMessages of

There are two sides to hospitality that send very distinct messages.

The first side is the “Welcome”, and the message it sends a warm welcome to those we encounter.  This message ranges from making sure information about our ministry is easily accessible, invitations to the women to our events, how we encounter women directly, etc.   The welcome is warm and inviting, and it let’s the women know that we want them to be a part of our ministry and lives.

The second side of hospitality is the “Care”, and the message it sends is that we value and care about the women who are a part of our ministry and lives.   It shows up in the little details of our events, as we follow up with the women afterwards, how we plan out our events for the year, etc.  Care says that we see the women and their needs, that we value them, and that we want to ensure they enjoy our time together … so they will desire to return.

When we speak about the Hospitality Industry, we often think of hotels.  Their “welcome” message is found on their website, commercials, and even how the building looks as you drive by.  It makes you want to stay at their hotel over another.  For parents, the hotel that has a kids playground, splash pad, or mini water park is going to win out over one that does not.  Hotels know this, so their welcome actually focuses on the kids.  For the couple looking for an anniversary getaway, the hotel is going to promote quiet days relaxing at the beach or poolside, spa services, and local nightlife in walking distance.  They know WHO they are targeting and they make sure that the welcome message clearly speaks to those individuals.

Once you are at the hotel, hospitality moves into the care.  They want to make sure that you have a good time at their location because they want you to come back, and they want you to recommend the hotel to others.  Therefore, they do everything to ensure you have a great time.  I remember once walking into a family hotel, on every bed was a towel that had been shaped into a zoo animal.  My kids LOVED this.  When I planned a women’s retreat at a hotel, several years ago, I found a gift basket with all sorts of goodies left for me as a token of appreciation.  This hotel wanted to ensure they would keep our business for future events.  Little details leave a lasting impression.

In fairness, when we serve so many different women (in various walks of life) it can seem like a monumental task to try to reach each person on an individual level.  What I can tell you is that the women see the effort that you have gone to, and that speaks volumes.  It’s not always about the actual, physical and tangible, things that you do but the heart behind it.

At a women’s retreat many years ago, we were staying on a campground in bunk beds.  This was not a luxurious retreat, but more adventurous.  Every night during the final activities, we went through the bunkhouse and placed a treat bag on their pillow.   A hand made, decorated gift bag or box, that contained treats made by a volunteer, with a little gift tag with a verse.  Did we have women who were probably on diets?  Sure.  Did we have women who avoided sugar for various reasons?  Definitely.  Did we have a few women who just didn’t like chocolate?  Probably.  Even when they didn’t particularly get to enjoy the item itself, they appreciated that the team was dedicated to caring for them so well.  We wanted to make the event special, and the women to feel loved and cared for.  That goal was met.

Take Away Point:

Hospitality doesn’t end at the welcome mat.  Once you have extended the warm welcome, hospitality shifts focus on to caring for the women well.

An Acts 2 Ministry ….

What is anActs Ministryin an Acts Church

Over the last few weeks we dove into Acts 2 to learn what an Acts 2 Church is, and then we applied that information to the ministries within the church.  What does an Acts 2 Ministry look like?  Five main points were:

  1.  An Acts 2 Ministry is Consistent.  It meets regularly, in expected ways, in order to establish new habits that will replace the old.  It isn’t about creating a full calendar to make a ministry look big or successful, but rather about creating a full calendar that our members or those we serve can be intentional about carving time in their schedule to be in community with fellow believers.  It also provides regular opportunities to invite others.
  2. An Acts 2 Ministry is a Teaching Ministry.  This ministry teaches the women how to transform their minds to think to God’s ways first.  Whether it be a devotional at the beginning of a fellowship event, Bible Studies, workshops, conferences, etc.
  3. An Acts 2 Ministry Fellowships with One Another.  An Acts 2 Ministry isn’t about quick, once a week/month, check ins with each other.  It is about building community, binding us to one another in deep connections, and walking through life with one another.  The lone sheep is far more vulnerable to attack than the ones packed into a tight flock, under a Good Shepherd.
  4. An Acts 2 Ministry is a Praying Ministry.  From the leadership down, an Acts 2 Ministry is united in prayer.  As fellowship connects our lives, prayers allow us to worship God with each other.  As we pray in thanksgiving for His blessings, as we cry out for His intervention, and when we stand in the gap… praying for those who have lost the words in their grief; prayer connects us to God and each other in a very personal way.
  5. An Acts 2 Ministry Worships Together.  Not only by lifting our voices in song, but in our obedience, our prayers, our teaching, our fellowship… we are worshipping God together.

Something that stood out, as each point was developed, was this final component…

An Acts 2 Ministry is Led by Example.  

Each of the five points begins with the leaders setting the example and the expectation.

Our leadership must be consistent.  We can’t have a revolving door of leaders who try to reinvent our ministries every year.  Leaders must also be meeting regularly to discuss the progress of the ministry, make plans, and keep each other focused and accountable on God’s purpose for the ministry.  Leaders must be in consistent alignment with the church they serve under, and most importantly with God’s Word.

Our leaders should be open to teaching.  Either by teaching others, or a willingness to be students; sometimes both.  Not everyone is called to teach the Word of God in front of a large classroom or small group.  However, the Great Commission calls us to go out and make disciples and teach them.  Every leader should have the ability to share the Word, whether it be in one on one conversations, participating or leading in small groups, or larger events/workshops.  Some will be gifted to teach formal theology and some will be gifted to teach by example of living a Christ filled life.

Our leaders should be fellowshipping, with those they serve and with one another.  The Disciples spent a lot of time with Jesus, but also with each other.  In their fellowshipping, they were able to teach one another, rebuke one another, hold each other accountable.  They loved each other like brothers, and even in their disputes reconciled.  We set the example for Christian fellowship for others.

Our leaders should be praying.  In our own personal lives, whether it is audible prayers or prayer journaling… again we are setting the expectation and the example.  If this is an area where we lack confidence, we still set an example as we seek out ways to improve our prayer life & share with others how we have grown.

Finally, our leaders should ever be in a posture of worship.  Others will watch how leaders respond when times are good, and even more so when times are difficult.  I remember once going through a difficult time, and I had to make some hard decisions.  A few days later, I was speaking with a friend who was aware of the situation, and she made a comment about seeing me at church that Sunday.  She said that I walked as if a load had been lifted off my shoulders.  She was trying to understand how in the midst of this chaos I seemed so unburdened by it.   She saw something I didn’t even realize was apparent, and this created a beautiful opportunity to talk about faith and trust.. even in the trials and the storms.

Leaders, you are the tone… lead by examples… and set the expectations for those whom you are in charge.  Lead well.

Trailblazing {Devotion by Jenny Andrews}

trailblazing

I became the director of a mentoring ministry in my local church at the age of 28. To say that I was scared would be an understatement. I don’t know how many times I questioned God and His calling in my life at that moment. I thought to myself, often, surely this is a mistake.  Who am I to lead in this area?  But, the Lord knew just what to do with me. He gave me the strength and courage to persevere through the unknown many times.

I didn’t grow up in the church or how to start a ministry. I started to read books and educate myself on ministry; meanwhile I was in college going to school for a degree in accounting. It then hit me one day that I could use the tools I was learning in my business school to apply them to my new ministry. I became organized and started to see the tools the Lord was giving me in the business world as blessing for His kingdom. After 6 years in the ministry I had everything down pat. The ministry grew, and I am now teaching others how to start their own ministry in mentoring. What I also came to understand was that I was a trailblazer in this type of ministry for my church.

The word trailblazer is defined as:

1.a person who blazes a trail for others to follow through unsettled country or wilderness; pathfinder.

2.a pioneer in any field of endeavor:

Isn’t that what leadership is? We are all leading in new areas of our life whether in ministry, at home, in the work place, or other areas. We are all trailblazing in leadership. I think it is amazing that there are no two people alike in this world and that the Lord has a specific call on our individual lives.

Most recently I was speaking at a Native American Women’s Conference and I met a woman who said to me, “Jenny you are pioneer for your people the Lakota.” Her statement impacted me in a positive way and made me reflect on all the Lord was doing in my life at that moment. He used her to remind me that He is the leader of my trailblaze and that He will be the one to set the path before me. I now trailblazing in a new area with a new season of calling in life, but I am embracing it thanks to that one sentence said to me.

We all get to be trailblazers. I know it comes with unchartered territory, but can I remind you that the Lord has already equipped you. I leave you with this passage in the Bible because it assures me that although this may be new area of leadership to you or me it isn’t to the Lord.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.