Baggage Claim

“Baggage Claim” is the name of our current message series at church.  Our pastor, Mac, started the series off this past Sunday. 

What a great message for anyone.  We all have baggage.  He listed out the types of baggage:

1.  Hurts and wounds.  Those things that others have done or said to you that have hurt you.
2.  Bitterness – not engaging in forgiveness.
3.  Circumstances – these are things that are nobody’s fault including yours.
4.  Family – what our family looks like and how the relationships work within them.
5.  Failures – moral  or mistakes

Mac then went into a discussion of Joseph in Genesis 37-50.  He referred to Joseph as the “Biblical Baggage Holder”.  Jacob had a lot of things going for him in his life, and a lot of them fell into many of the categories above.  However, he did not let his baggage label him or rule him.  He actually allowed God to use his baggage for good.  If you are not familiar with the story, you should read Genesis 37-50.

The moral of the story is that no matter what our baggage is, we need to allow God to use it for good.  Don’t turn away from it necessarily, but definitely turn it over to God.   He can then use it to help others and to heal you. 

I have some baggage in my life that I am not necessarily proud of, but I’ve worked through it with God by my side, and I’ve given it over to Him.  He has begun to use it for good and I’m amazed by that.  Something that can seem so heavy as you carry it around day-to-day can be lifted to God, in turn, lightening your load and helping others.   God can do amazing things with your baggage.

He also allowed you to go through those trials and mistakes for a reason.  So that he could use you in a certain way.  Your baggage is part of you and it has made you who you are, and remember God loves you just as you are……baggage and all!

Cliff Notes from the Spur Leadership Conference

This conference was so beneficial and I really gained a lot of insight from it.  These were some great speakers all bringing something unique to the table.

The Bible verse that originally inspired this conference a few years ago was Hebrews 10:24  “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” 

I’m going to just run through all of the main points that I highlighted throughout the two days, and I’ll reference who said them. 

They started off the conference with my pastor, Mac Richard.  He did a great job, as usual.  He talked about the stages of Leadership, and here are some of the main points I got from Mac’s presentation:

  • Your dream should be something that is different and sets you apart.
  • If you want influence – then serve someone.  
  • Most people play to the level of our expectations (so increase your expectations)
  • Spur the people you lead to community and accountability.
  • The one secret of realizing your dreams…DO NOT QUIT!!

Next was Kem Meyer, who I think is great and very entertaining.  I’ve been following her blog for awhile now (link is under my Link List), and I intend on reading her book “Less Clutter, Less Noise”.  Here are some main points from Kem:

  • It’s not always what we say.  It’s what people hear.
  • Don’t let your ego get in the way.  Ask yourself, “Do I care more about what I have to say than the person I’m listening to?
  • It’s easy to miss something you’re not looking for.

And to make that last point, she played this video….

Very interesting isn’t.  If we stay focused on something, we may miss something that is right in front of us.  And we may be focusing on the wrong thing, when the right thing is right there!  Don’t miss those things…

Our next speaker was Governor Rick Perry, he is the governor of Texas.  He was a very warm and gracious speaker.  I really enjoyed his presentation.  He was honest and heartfelt and he is a Christian man who focuses on God everyday.  His main points were:

  • Because of sin, we need government. 
  • People of faith need to be more vocal than ever before
  • Your faith needs to transform your heart.

Steve Price was the speaker after lunch, and that’s a hard spot to fill, but he was great!  He was a very energetic and dynamic speaker.  He is the HR Director for Dell’s Global Consumer Business.  He told some great stories about his son, and his daughters, to drive home a couple of these points:

  • You have to DECIDE to change, or you never will.  It’s only over if you DECIDE it’s over.
  • You need to say to yourself, “It ends today – I set my old me here and begin new”
  • Leaders know that winning matters and they have a compelling vision to get there.
  • Leaders are dedicated to the purpose and they complete the mission.
  • You become what you look for in life.

 The last speaker of the first day was Roy Spence.  He is the co-founder and chairman of GSD&M, a leading marketing and advertising company here in Austin.  Their clients include Southwest Airlines, BMW, PGA Tour, Dreamworks and many more.  Here are his main points:

  •  If you feel like everything is coming in on you and you are backed into a corner, never give up, because that is when the tide will turn.
  • When one door closes, a new one opens, but sometimes we are so focused on the door that is shut and we miss the open door.
  • If you’re not enjoying the journey, then do something else.

He also talked about the 2 main jobs of a leader:

#1:  A purpose based leader needs to tell the purpose early and often.  And be clear about it.

#2:  Protect the troops, fess up when you mess up. 

One of my favorite speakers was Steven Furtick, who spoke first the second day.  He is only 29 years old and he is the lead pastor at Elevation Church in Charolotte, NC, they opened 3 years ago and they now have 6,000 attendees. Wow.  He was extremely dynamic. 

The first thing he talked about was having a vision, and that when we have no vision, we cast off restraint.  So we give in to many sinful things when we do not have a clear vision for our life. What a great point!  He referenced Proverbs 29:18, which says” When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.  But whoever obeys the law is joyful.”  NLT.  And here are some of the other main points he talked about (all of them were so good, he was such an inspiration!)

  • Call out someone’s potential when you see it, you have no idea what you can do with influential words to people. (his pastor had faith in him, and he never forgot it and says that is why he is where he is today.)
  • Work with what you’ve got.
  • Have a BIG vision, even if you don’t know HOW it will happen.
  • Even if it looks like nothing is there – believe it will be.  See it as big, over and over, until it is!
  • If you tell people your vision, and they don’t laugh…then your vision isn’t big enough.  People should laugh when you tell them the vision.
  • The difference between a daydream and a vision is the audacity of acting on it!  You have to do it!

The last speaker was General Tommy Franks, who joined the U.S. Army in 1967.  In 2000 he was promoted to four-star General and assigned as Commander-in-Chief, United States Central Command.  He led troops in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. 

He was refreshingly funny and honest.  He is man full of integrity and conviction, with a great sense of humor.  Here were some of his main points:

  • Be careful from who you take counsel.
  • The greatest risk to our way of life right now in America, is within us.
  • In this country you can do anything you want to do, because you want it.  Do not wait for someone to do it for you.
  • When he was going off to way his dad told him to be FEISTY  – F-Focused; E-Energized; I-Integrity; S- Solve the Problem; T-Take the Blame; Y-Yes!  (say yes when your superiors ask you to do something, no matter what it is)
  • Nothing good comes without a price.]
  • Nothing good happens after midnight (this one was for the 10 or so high school students that attended)
  • Don’t be in a rush.
  • Some decisions don’t matter – but some decisions will be with you the rest of your life.

Whew, I know that was long, but I wrote down so many good points and I wanted to share them.  It was a great conference and hearing these people speak in person was so motivating and uplifting.  I definitely want to go next year.