You’ll Be Sunk Without This Guy In Your Boat…

If you’ve ever been whitewater rafting, then you know as well as I do that you NEED to have a weird-looking hippie in the back of your boat…the grungier the better.

WHY? Because he has already been where you are going…and he knows how not to DIE along the way.

In life, we are all moving along towards our purpose one way or another. Some of us are coasting along happily, some of us are freaking out in the rapids, and others of us have relegated ourselves to just surviving on the banks after a total wipeout.

But if we are Christians, there is One who is present with us all…urging us to get back out there on the river of our purpose, and lean into Him for wisdom so that we can properly navigate these unpredictable waters of our lives.  He is our GUIDE, otherwise known as the Holy Spirit.

Jesus spoke of Him, saying: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will GUIDE you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that ARE TO COME” (John 16:13).

He has already been where we are going and he knows the way. Yet 3 questions remain:

  1. Is he in your boat (are you a Christian yet)?
  2. If so, have you decided to yield to him? He is a gentleman and will not force himself or his opinion upon us. We are ultimately ‘the boss’ of our boat, but he is there to help if we will honor Him and let him be the GUIDE that he can be.
  3. Do you know how to hear him? I had been a Christian for 6 years until I was convinced that I “heard” the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. It took a while to be able to discern which voice in my head was his!

THIS might really help you…here are 5 distinguishing characteristics of the thoughts in my heart that I have come to KNOW are His voice:

1) His thoughts have LOVE in their tone. God is Love (1 John 4:8). Love is patient and kind, always hopes, always trusts, and never fails. The Holy Spirit does NOT and will NOT use the tactics of the enemy to accomplish his purposes: guilt, shame, condemnation, fear, control, and manipulation are not in his arsenal.

2) His words are CONSISTENT. The Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture (“all scripture is God-breathed”) and He will many times speak to us using the Word that we have hidden in our hearts. So that means that we need to have disciplines of reading, listening to, and memorizing the Scriptures.

3) His thoughts are CONVICTING. He is the HOLY Spirit, after all. If we have any unconfessed sin, He will reveal it to us as we linger with him. As we remain in the light of his presence, he will show us our sin and give us the opportunity of being forgiven and cleansed (see 1 John 1:9).

4) His words are REVEALING. Take a look at prophecy in the Old or New Testaments and one thing will become clear about the Holy Spirit…He is not always clear! Jesus spoke in parables in order to hide the golden nuggets of the Kingdom for the seekers to find. The Holy Spirit speaks in mysteries and prophecies that are only pieces to a much larger puzzle, yet which bear the unmistakeable imprint of His voice. Sometimes one of the ways that I know it is the Lord that is speaking to me is because it seems out of left field. I will ask one question and then the next thought that will come to my mind will be something that seems, at first, to be quite random. But I have learned to trust these adventures. Usually, the Holy Spirit will take me down a path of trust until I find that I am forced to deal with the root issue behind the presenting problem that I originally asked about. He knows how to get to our hearts, and the direct approach is usually not the path he takes.

5. His ways are LIFE-GIVING. He is not the author of depression or disease.  He is the comforter, the redeemer, the healer.  I am convinced that the majority of the work of the Holy Spirit is for encouragement rather than rebuke.  He is willing to be tough on us because he loves us, but I would encourage you to stay in your prayer closet until you sense his kindness all over you again.  I promise you…He has some words of life to share with you!

At the end of the day…in the river of our lives, we are SO much better off having a GUIDE in the back of our boats. He knows the way; He has our best in mind when He gives us direction; and, most importantly, we can trust Him. I encourage you to get to know your GUIDE better than ever today. He is just a prayer away…

Golden Rule Delegation–6 Sequential Steps to set your people up for success!

Leaders, have you ever delegated a task or responsibility to someone, only to end up having to “own it” for them in the end, to keep everything from crashing? How frustrating is that!

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In those instances, I have found myself thinking (and even saying—gasp!) “It would have been easier to do it myself!”

And then the Lord slows my roll. 🙂

I had one these instance happen the other day and when I was trying to process how this happened and started asking myself why there seems to be a pattern of this happening, I finally did a dangerous thing: I asked God “What’s the real issue here?”

The startling thing was that he answered immediately. As soon as I got done utter my prayer of frustration, this thought entered my mind ever so gently: “Did you practice the golden rule?”

Huh?

Did you practice the golden rule when you delegated? When you asked this person to own this responsibility, did you ask them the way you would want to be asked?

BAM! Golden Rule Delegation—what would that look like? So I got out my journal and this is what I came up with…

“Do unto others what you’d have them to do to you.”

How would I want my leader to delegate a task, responsibility, or leadership role to me?

Dear Leader,

1. Let me know you love God and care about me. HEART.

– Let me see through your actions that your chief motivation is for building the Lord’s Kingdom, not your own.
– Ask me questions about my life, my family, my purpose, my dreams.
– Pray for me.

2. Let me see what you see. EYE.

– Convey the cause—I will be drawn to what I am called to.
– Share your strategy—what’s the overall plan of attack?

3. Clarify the mission in writing. TARGET.

– Define the non-negotiables—boundaries, cultural necessities (outer circle)
– Define the primary objective—make clear all expectations: NO LAST MINUTE SURPRISES!! (secondary circle)
– Paint a picture of what “mission accomplished” looks like—(inner circle)

4. Give me the tools I need to succeed. TOOLBOX.

– Protection—prayer, covering of leadership
– Provision—resources to get the job done: $, people
– Communication—simple and excellent systems defined

5. Don’t leave me alone. COACH.

– Be a regular voice in my life that develops me as a leader.
– Support me when I fail and help me get better.
– Bring guidance, encouragement, correction, and wisdom.

6. Challenge me to step up in a significant way. STAR.

– Display that you know me in how you ask—knowledge of my dreams, my gifts, my current situation, etc.
– Be specific with this “big ask” and call me higher. Tell me what you see in me and how this assignment could move me towards my purpose.
– Ask me to pray about it and get back with you at a specific time.

Doing this exercise made me realize that in my own leadership I have a tendency to do #1 and #2 well, and then I jump straight to #6. In fact, when I was writing this out originally, I listed the “STAR” portion third…because that is my normal M.O. Later on, the Lord showed me that that was exactly the problem.

Because my leaders like me and feel alignment with the vision, they many times feel compelled to say “yes” to my premature BIG ASKs, but they don’t really know what they are saying “yes” to because I have not done the necessary due diligence of steps 3, 4, and 5 to help them adequately know what success looks like, count the cost, and then feel like they have the backing to go out there and do it well. OUCH.

Today is a big learning day for me. Looking in the mirror is sometimes painful, but in the end it is good. I am grateful that God loves me enough to be honest with me.

What about you?

This is HOW I would want my leader to delegate something to me. How would you want your leader to ask you to help?

Are you SURVIVING or THRIVING?

Right now, as we are all gearing back up to head into the new school year and all that the fall season entails, let me ask you a question:

Are you planning to survive, or are you planning to THRIVE?

In John 10:10, we learn that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy…but Jesus says that He came that we might have LIFE, and have it to the full.  In essence, Jesus is saying that He wants us to thrive.  He wants us to be hitting on all cylinders, to experience life in all its beauty and joy, to (as Thoreau put it) be “sucking the nectar out of life.”  Yet how many of us, if we are honest, are actually experiencing this abundance that our savior says he came to give?  

As a pastor to several hundred people in Charlotte, NC I have the privilege of getting to know all kinds of people and get to hear all sorts of stories.  Unfortunately, most of the stories are filled with tragedy, hurt, and a hefty dose of heartache.   And usually, those human hearts that have ached long enough inevitably decide to build up walls of self-protection to try to prevent future hurts from happening.  Therefore, the longer we live, the more we tend to live insulated, isolated, and fragmented lives…”safe” behind our walls.  Sadly, the thief has been having his way.

Yet Jesus still beckons us to come out and play.

He patiently promises that if we will risk all and follow him…if we are willing to surrender control and find ourselves on a faith adventure that doesn’t necessarily promise rose petals…then and only then may we find ourselves on the verge of awe, tasting goodness, experiencing beauty.

I don’t know about you…but I want more.

I want more of God this fall than ever before.  I’m tired of the level that I have been living on.  The sermon that we heard at Redemption the other week from Dharius Daniels opened with this quote “God will allow you to live on whatever level you settle for.”  My question to both you and me is this…what level is that going to be?

Will we settle for the level of surviving…or will we reach up with arms outstretched in faith for a new level of thriving…a level which we perhaps have never touched before?

I have decided that I am reaching up…I hope you will join me.

~Brandon

P.S.  I will be posting a series of videos in the coming days entitled “Planning to THRIVE this Fall.” They come from a challenge that I presented to the courageous people of Redemption Charlotte.  I recorded it and plan to make it available because I really feel like God revealed some things to me and has been answering a lot of my questions lately…and I’d love the opportunity to share what I’ve been learning with you.  Some of my questions include:

  • Is there a recipe for thriving?
  • What are the components to the life of a fully engaged disciple?
  • How do we grow in abundance as we mature?

I hope to address these questions and more in the coming days, and I hope you will engage in the quest with me. Cheers! ~BB

New Disciplines for a New Dimension

Hey Guys,

I went running the other day and had some fresh thoughts about the seasons we are in and how the little things we are doing each day determine where we are heading.  Check out this Personal Pep Rally and also listen to the offer I make at the end…I’d love to hear from some of you to see how I might be able to serve you and your mission.

P.S.  As promised in the video…here is the link to the message by Levi Lusko: Practice Makes Permanent.  Enjoy!

The Power of Example

In honor of Father’s Day, I made the following Personal Pep Rally video.  This is really about the legacy of my father, John Berry.  He has displayed the power of example for my brother and I throughout our lives, and he has made both of us want to follow in his footsteps in terms of our Humility, Integrity, and Simplicity.

Check it out!

What are some of the lessons that you learned from your father?  Let’s talk…leave a comment below!

Nobody likes Weak Coffee

Our lives are a lot like a cup of COFFEE to those we influence.  We have the ability to wake people up, add flavor to their day, maybe even give them a taste of something so they want to come back for more…but no matter what, I’ve yet to meet a person who likes weak coffee!  Check out this Personal Pep Rally to gain some insight and wisdom on how you can be STRONG and full of flavor…the answer may surprise you!

Living From the Inside Out

Leaders, I got so jacked doing this Personal Pep Rally!! What would our lives look like if we got up every day and got ourselves living from the inside out!?!

  • We would accomplish our purpose!
  • We would meet our goals!
  • We would go to sleep at night without regrets…

So, let’s do it!  Fresh start tomorrow…

Please also consider leaving a comment and let me know how this is hitting you.  Is it this simple?  What are your barriers to living this way?  What are some ways you are learning to live from the inside out and accomplish your purpose?  Let’s talk.

 

“HELP!”–why is that word so hard to say?

Have you ever been absolutely gripped by the fact that you are just WEAK at something?  I sure have.  Tonight was just that…

weak man

NIcole and I got all four of our world-changer kids in bed and (gasp!) I discovered that I still had a little bit of energy left and wanted to write…you know, share a little inspiration and goodness with the world!

And then a HUGE gray cloud of depression enveloped me.

You see, about a month ago I got inspired, bought some domains and launched a few websites, one of those being this blog.  I say “launched” because that was about all I did.  Since then I have spent HOURS trying to figure how to set up the perfect blog that will meet all of my needs until eternity…and as you could guess, I got trapped in the paralysis of analysis and never really got out of the starting blocks…until…

After speaking to myself in Whinese for a few minutes, I decided to do something CRAZY: I asked my wife for help! 

I can’t remember how exactly I got her on my team for this, but before I knew it little miss “coleyberry.com” grabbed my laptop, installed a simple theme, resized a masculine header, and did a gazillion other things that would have taken me weeks to do, and then told me to get to writing…which I am!

Wow, I love this woman.

Married Men, let me give you a simple word of advice…value your bride.  God gave her to you and actually designed her to be strong where you are weak.  That’s why she’s called your “helper” in scripture, the very same word used to describe the Holy Spirit.  She is your #1 recruit, your plowing partner, your soul-mate, and best friend.  If you haven’t done so lately, tell her how awesome she is and how much you appreciate her.  And don’t forget to do what I did tonight after I wised up:  When you recognize that you’re stuck in an area of weakness…humble yourself and ask her for HELP.

Chances are…she’s probably better at it than you and it would do you both some good to practice some mutual submission and get something accomplished together.  You’ll be glad you did.

WordPress Re-launch!!

Well, I am officially a blogger again!

I am really excited about getting to figure out how to blog using wordpress instead of the dinosaur program I had before.

My hope and goal in all of this is to offer life-giving content to help you (my audience) discover your purpose and be passionate each day about becoming who God created you to be. I plan to write blogs occasionally but my main goal is to upload a short video or (vlog) called a “personal pep rally” on a consistent basis (at least weekly) so that you can have a fresh dose of inspiration to go out there and “dominate your day.”

Let’s DO THIS.

~Brandon