Aug. 12, 2014–Pray with Thanks, not with Angst

pray with jooyDo not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

For a number of years now, I have been offering those who are going through what could be labelled “fearful” situations a Scriptural prescription.

It is one that I heard Paul Keith Davis first mention at a Conference in Toronto at a time when I was facing great uncertainty about my future. The enemy had managed to stir up fear in my spirit. I knew God would take care of everything, but, truth be known, I was not confident about it.

“Dr. Davis” prescribed a daily reading of Psalms 27 & 91. Out aloud. At least once a day. You could do it more frequently. There was no danger of an overdose :-)

No sooner had I received the prescription than I started to take the recommended daily allowance and began to saturate my mind with verses such as these:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day…” (Psalm 91:4-5)

I experienced such great relief after following this prescription that I freely began to dispense it to anyone who was willing to take it…and most did.

However, I also began to notice that not all who took the RDA of these psalms experienced the same results as I had. This puzzled me, because God says very clearly in Isaiah 55:11 about the word that goes forth from His mouth: “It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

As I was seeking Holy Spirit for some revelation on this, He took me to Philippians 4:6 where Paul reminds us to offer our prayers and petitions with thanksgiving.” 

That is when I realized that the attitude with which we follow the prescription had a lot to do with its effectiveness. So, for example, when someone read them out aloud with fear, expecting the worst to happen despite the best outcomes promised by God, they got what they expected—more attacks or the same attacks with greater intensity.

On the other hand, those who recited those same verses with the joyful expectancy that God will keep His promises achieved great results. Why? Because they had no fear of the enemy. They did not expect the enemy to flex his muscles and inflict greater damage upon them. They would not even allow that thought to have any life or influence. They took it captive to Christ, locked it up and threw away the key!!

They replaced anxiety with thankfulness. They started praising and thanking God for the victory that was theirs. After all, it was guaranteed by the Creator of the Universe. Why would they worry about the promise not being kept?

Dear DWOD friend, have you been reading out Scriptural affirmations similar to Psalm 27 & 91 and not seeing good results? Could you be unintentionally sabotaging the outcome with your attitude?

Stop praying with angst. Pray with thanks instead. It will make a world of difference! I can’t wait to hear your testimonies!!

Aug. 10, 2014–He Knows Something You Don’t

50 km speedA stretch of highway that I take frequently has some dramatic changes in speed limits…especially as you transition from an open stretch of farmland into the village of Wainfleet. We go from doing 80 km/hour for six minutes to 70 km for 45 seconds and then 50 km for another 3 minutes before revving up to 80 again.

Our subscribers should be aware that it is as rare to see someone driving their vehicle at the posted speed limit of 80 km as it is to see Fidel Castro at the Republican Convention :-) Yours truly has confessed in a previous column that 80 km in Metric translates to roughly 99 km/hour in SamMetric.

All of this to say that most drivers barreling down Highway 3 at speeds in the vicinity of 100 km/hour find it very difficult to slow down when they get to this particular ribbon of asphalt. They get even more frustrated when they are forced to remove their lead foot off the gas pedal by the slow driver ahead of them.

You may find this hard to believe in view of my confession two paragraphs back, but I morph from speedster to slowpoke in a hurry and adhere strictly to the posted limit until I get through the village and spot the 80 km/hour sign again.

At times I’ve seen drivers behind me signal their displeasure when I do this by swiftly displaying one half of the peace sign. Sometimes bullies draw perilously close enough for a bumper-to-bumper smooch and back off with a screech when I do not give in to their demand to increase my speed.

Why? You see, I know something they don’t know.

What they don’t know is that our provincial (state) government has discovered a cash cow within that small stretch of highway through the village. Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) love to park their vehicles at select spots and pick off unsuspecting speeders with regularity. You can see the blue lights flashing and hear the Cha-Ching! Cha-Ching! as you drive by another victim, I mean, violator.

(For the record, yours truly has not contributed to the coffers of the Province of Ontario for an offence committed on this particular stretch. I plead the fifth with respect to other locations)

There are times in life when we too may be frustrated at being slowed down just as we are cruising along on the road to our destiny. Could it be that God has a reason to make us take it easy through certain stretches because He knows something that we don’t know?

In Hebrews 12:1-2, we read: “…Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…” Doesn’t this conjure up an image of Jesus as the “fore-runner”, the “lead driver”, who is going just ahead of us?

The Christian journey begins for all of us by responding to His invitation: “Follow me.” Chances are you associate such following with the drastic decision of those who were called first to leave everything behind and go with him.

But following is really something that happens on an ongoing basis, isn’t it? Every day, every hour, every moment of your life you are following Jesus. He knows what lies ahead of us. He has been there. He is already there.

Sometimes He speeds up and bids us follow fast. Other times He slows down because of the traps that lie ahead. (Disclaimer: Radar Traps are not the work of the enemy, as evil as the OPP may appear to the offender…lol!). Most of the time He proceeds at a steady pace.

Dear DWOD friend, you are simply called to trust and follow Him. So, don’t get frustrated when He makes you slow down. It is simply because He knows something you don’t!

Aug. 07, 2014–Surrounded by so great a cloud…

surrounded by so greatTwo summers ago, Sulojana and I and our sons were at Yankee Stadium in New York for the very first time, watching a game between the Yankees and the Orioles along with our sons. For the record, we were in Section 202, Row 14, seats 32-35.

As the first inning began, we heard an unfamiliar chant erupt from the section next to us. Not the usual “Go Yankees, Go!” that one would expect. We soon deciphered the chant and discovered that the fans were calling out “Dickerson, Dickerson”. Chris Dickerson, the center fielder that day, turned toward the chanting fans, promptly took off his cap and bowed slightly, acknowledging their cheer.

They then called out “Ichiro, Ichiro” and waited for Ichiro Suzuki, the left fielder to respond, which he did with his patented smile. They moved on to Raul Ibanez, the right fielder and then on to every one of the infielders except the pitcher and the catcher. It was quite obvious that every player relished their name being called out.

Later on, I would learn that we were witnessing a Yankee Stadium tradition. These are the famous (notorious?) Bleacher Creatures who occupy a block of seats in Section 203 and go through this “Roll Call” at every home game.

It reminded me of Hebrews 12:1 which begins with the words: “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…”

Friends, the Lord wants us to remember that as we run towards our destiny, we are not alone.

The Father watches over us.

Jesus runs ahead of us (that is why v. 2 says that we run “fixing our eyes” on him. The Holy Spirit is within us.

And, if that wasn’t enough, we have this “cloud of witnesses”–here on earth and in heaven–cheering us on, calling out our name…

Wow! I get goosebumps just thinking about it. That is why we are able to run “with perseverance”, with that “Never Give Up” attitude. Amen?

“Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, we will never surrender to our circumstances.”

(This post first was first published as the DWOD for Oct. 16, 2012)

Aug. 04, 2014–Delegating Joab to do David’s Job

002I don’t know about you, but whenever I’ve heard anyone re-tell the story of David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba, the narrative usually begins with the second verse of 2 Samuel 11: Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath.

His curiosity is aroused, he is overcome with lust, he sends for Bathsheba, the deed is done…and the rest is history.

But there is a telling detail in the first verse that is not always highlighted by most story-tellers. Here is how it reads:

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 11:1)

Had David done what he ought to have done—which is to lead the army into battle—he would not have stayed behind in the palace, gone for a walk on the roof, taken out the binoculars…well, you get the idea!

On the surface, it looks as though there was nothing wrong with David deputizing Joab to lead the army. After all, under Joab’s leadership, they accomplished their mission successfully.

But the fact of the matter is that David should’ve been where the action was—on the battlefront. That is what the commander of the Army does. By choosing not to exercise the leadership that was rightfully his, he sets the stage for the big mess that follows. You cannot delegate Joab to do David’s job.

Are there times when we too are tempted to stay back in Jerusalem when we ought to be front and centre in Rabbah? After all, Jerusalem is a safe place to be, with no additional responsibility.

You may be familiar with the saying: “A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what a ship is built for…” Since you are part of a “royal priesthood” (I Peter 2:8), we could say that “A royal soldier is safest in the palace, but that is not what a soldier is meant to do!”

You are meant to be on the frontlines of battle, in hostile territory occupied by unbelievers and controlled by the demonic forces of hell. It is there that you show up wearing the armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-17) ready to handle everything the enemy throws at you.

Staying in the safety of your home base (e.g. church building or small group) could potentially lead to problems. You could give in to temptations of the flesh. They may not necessarily have to do with lust or other sexual sin (although that is a distinct possibility). At the very least, you could end up satisfying the carnal desire to play it safe when it comes to living out the Christian faith—to keep it all to yourself without sharing with others, thus fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)

We could end up being behind closed doors all the time, debating the merits and demerits of evangelising a certain way vs another. Or we could get focused on simply getting our needs met with a particular style of worship, a certain version of the Bible, etc. No matter what we do, we could end up ignoring those who are caught in the clutches of the evil one.

Dear DWOD friend, let it never be said of you that you delegated Joab to do David’s job. Whenever you are tempted to stay back in Jerusalem, may you rise up and head on to Rabbah or wherever the battle may be raging that particular day. The price you pay for playing it safe could very well exceed the cost of waging war.

Aug. 02, 2014–Do Not be Deterred by Detours

QEW CrashAnd having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. (Matthew 2:12)

Our Canadian subscribers may have heard about an unexpected event that happened on one of the busiest stretches of the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) that connects Toronto to Niagara Falls on Thursday, July 31.

A dump truck driven by an impaired young man tried to speed through the Burlington Skyway with its bucket raised. Needless to say he was not successful in his attempt. The bridge’s overhead trusses impeded his progress. Unfortunately, due to the structural damage caused, the bridge was closed indefinitely to Toronto-bound traffic.

This would have been simply filed under the category of “just another news item” in my cranial cabinet…except for the fact that I had to take that route twice over the weekend—once on Friday and again on Saturday. The Friday trip would see me in the vicinity of the Skyway around 9 a.m., which would be shortly after rush hour. On Saturday I would have to contend with heavy traffic as many motorists headed to cottage country or other destinations on this “long weekend”.

Traffic reports on the radio were not very encouraging when I headed out Friday morning. The most logical alternative routes were simply jammed with the unexpected increase in volume. One was moving along at the pace of a parking lot. The other was infinitely faster, at snail’s pace.

The announcer very calmly suggested that all motorists should allow themselves an extra hour at least to make it through the gridlock.

How was I going to make it even remotely close to the scheduled time of my meeting? Should I cancel or at least postpone it to a later date?

Detours. No one likes them at the best of times. You simply detest them when they crop up unexpectedly. Yet, they cannot be avoided, whether you are travelling on the Queen Elizabeth Way en route to cottage country or the King’s Highway on the road to your destiny.

Just as an impaired driver was responsible for this particular detour, so also it is in life. It is the stupidity, cruelty, frailty or naiveté of others that can delay your progress. You end up paying the price for their mistakes.

Sadly, such unplanned detours often deter travellers from pursuing their destiny. Unable to handle the prospect of a seemingly infinite delay, discouraged by the need to take a previously untraversed route, many simply do not make the decision to keep moving, detour and all.

So, what do I do? Pray, of course and seek Holy Spirit direction.

Enter thought into conscience. Thought entertained and enacted. Use Google Maps to chart a route that avoided highways. Exit 1 km ahead of everyone else. Follow directions closely, driving where one had never driven before on roads one did not know even existed hitherto. Get back on the QEW. Voila! Destination reached despite detour with only a 15 minute delay.

Oh yeah, the extra time in the Buick provided me with the opportunity to listen to recordings of prophetic words spoken over me and Sulojana several years back. I thanked God for those that had already been fulfilled and those that were on their way to being fulfilled after unanticipated detours and the resulting delays. (Hint, hint!)

Dear DWOD friend, are you on a detour right now on the road to your destiny? Do not despair. Do not be deterred by the prospect of taking an alternate route.

In the verse quoted at the top of this post, it was the evil intentions of King Herod that forced the Magi to take the long way home. Yet, the detour was absolutely essential in the grand scheme of things for the purposes of God to be fulfilled.

Make good use of the additional time. Fill it up with praise and prayer and prophecies (did you get the hint…lol!) And you too will reach your destiny in good time. In God’s time.

July 26, 2014–Follow-Through Prevents Falling Through

baseball swing follow-throughIn the summer of 1981, the United Church of Canada sent me on a four month internship to two churches in Northern New Brunswick.

My living quarters during this stint was a cute little one-bedroom house located right on the premises of Upsalquitch United Church. It was also a gathering place for the children of the village who would come every day after school looking for the student minister.

Of course, they were not content to simply sit and chat. They were used to being active. One day they suggested that we could have a game of softball soon. So I went to Campbellton and picked up a glove. (Did I tell you that I did not tell them that I’d never played softball before in my life?)

The next day came…everyone showed up with their gloves. Play Ball! Soon it was my time to bat. The pitcher lobbed the softball in my direction. It looked about the size of a Florida grapefruit. I swung the bat as best as I could and made contact. The ball was in play heading toward third base.

So far so good, right? I started running toward first base. (Did I tell you that I’d never played softball before in my life?) All I could hear was the sound of laughter as they watched me run for my life with the bat tucked under my arm. My cover was blown.

The interesting sidebar is that they were too busy laughing at my faux pas, that I made it safely to first base. My first ever hit. Wow!

Once their bellies had ached enough, one of the boys was kind enough to teach me what to do with the bat after one hits the ball…and a few other elementary principles of hitting.

The main thing I learned from this quickie lesson was the emphasis on the Follow-Through of the swing. He demonstrated how when you follow through properly, the ball travels farther. Otherwise, I would continue to hit little nubbers with a poor excuse of a swing that stopped once contact was made between the bat head and the ball.

Those of you who are golfers understand what the follow-through is all about too, don’t you? Making contact with the ball is great. But the ball is not likely to go too far unless you follow through with your swing!

One of the greatest joys of serving Jesus is helping those who do not know Him as Lord and Saviour to make a personal commitment to follow Him. But, we need to realize that this is simply the point at which the bat head makes contact with the softball.

It is our responsibility as those who “make disciples of the nations” to carry on with the Follow-Through process. This may entail several visits over a cup of coffee or a meal where you answer questions and teach basic things such as how to read the Bible and how to pray. It could mean that you take them with you wherever you go and show by example how to live as Jesus did. You may need to keep in touch with them over the phone or social media every day, sometimes several times every day.

All this Follow-Through will prevent that newly minted believer from falling through the cracks. And your impact upon their lives will be way more than you could ever ask or imagine. Some of the people you mentor/parent will exceed your expectations and make you go “Wow!” Who knows what would’ve happened had you not taken the time and the effort for the Follow-Through?

Dear DWOD friend, please make sure that whenever God gives you the opportunity to make contact with someone that you also Follow-Through. It is a surefire way of preventing newbies from falling through the cracks.

July 25, 2014–Asking for Help activates Hope

helpPlans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. (Proverbs 15:22)

(Thanks to DWOD subscriber Jewelcy Jawahar for forwarding this story in an e-mail. FYI, Jewelcy and I were classmates from Grades 1-5 at Morton English Primary School in Nagercoil, India.)

A farmer died leaving his 17 horses to his three sons. When his sons opened up the will, it read:

My eldest son should get 1/2 (half) of the total number of horses, my middle son should be given 1/3 of the total horses and my youngest son should receive 1/9 (one-ninth) of the total.

Since 17 is indivisible by 2, 3 or 9, the three sons started to fight with each other. With such a mathematical impossibility staring them in the face, they gave up hope of ever honouring their father’s will on their own.

In desperation, they decided to seek the counsel of a farmer who was considered to be quite smart, to see if he could work it out for them.

The farmer friend read the will patiently. After giving it some thought, he got one of his farm hands to bring over one of his own horses. That increased the total to 18 horses.

Then he began to divide the horses according to their father’s will.

Half of 18 = 9. So he gave the eldest son 9 horses. 1/3 of 18 = 6. So he gave the middle son 6 horses. 1/9 of 18 = 2. So he gave the youngest son 2 horses.

As you can see, 9+6+2 add up to 17. This left one horse, which was the farmer’s to begin with. The farm hand took it back to its stable.

Problem Solved!

One thing I have been stressing to couples who go through the marriage preparation process with me is this: “Do not hesitate to ask for help when you run into trouble.”

The worst thing you can do when you have a problem and cannot figure out a solution is to keep it to yourself. Yes, you need to try on your own first. In a marriage, a husband and wife must do all they can to work things out—individually and collectively.

But when your best efforts do not produce results, you could be tempted to give up hope. You could even come to the conclusion that there is no solution to your problem except to get a divorce.

This is when you need to look beyond yourself to someone else. You are so locked up in your problem and your unsuccessful solutions that you cannot see anything else.

Someone looking at your issues from the outside can see things that you cannot see, simply because you are too close to the problem! The brothers in this story were so caught up in the indivisibility of 17 by 2, 3 and 9 that they could not see a way out.

But when they sought the help of their farmer friend, they opened themselves up to the possibility of a solution. Where there was only despair in the air, now there was hope.

Dear DWOD friend, on the road to your destiny, you too will run into situations where you will find yourself frustrated with your inability to solve a problem. Do not despair. If you look around, you too will discover that God has already placed others around you who can come up with a solution to your problem.

The moment you choose to ask for help, you step out of the solitary cell of despair and into the hallway of hope. Now it is just a matter of knocking on a door and discovering that 17 is not indivisible after all!

July 21, 2014–The Gift of Spurring Others On

Neil BergAnd let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…(Hebrews 10:24)

Neil Berg and I first met in 1985 when I was called to serve Rosemont United Church in Regina, Saskatchewan. I quickly discovered that he was a musician of professional calibre who played bass guitar (mostly), but was versatile enough to play rhythm and/or lead, as required.

The music at Rosemont in those days was all organ-ic. It seemed such a shame to me that we were not making room for such a talented musician in our midst to give God glory with his incredible gift.

Neil suggested that other musicians in the church get together at his place and just “jam!” His basement was loaded with professional gear—amps, speakers, a keyboard, several guitars, microphones and cords galore! Several of us took him up on the offer and started meeting regularly.

Although Neil was clearly the standout in the group, he would never hog the limelight. As a matter of fact, he delighted in shining the spotlight on the rest of the band.

I still remember the song we played during the offering when one of our Sunday morning services was broadcast on national television on “Meeting Place” a CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) program. Neil insisted that everyone in the band take turns singing one verse each of “Glory to God” (by Jim Strathdee)—even me (although I was way down the scale musically speaking)!

He just had that ability to spur the rest of us on to excellence. A few years down the road, with the addition of more musical talent, we formed a band called Crossover. Neil introduced us to such Southern Gospel classics as “Bread upon the water” which became our signature song.

When band members came up with original compositions, he was very open to having all of us learn these sophomore productions, offered suggestions and made them sound way better than we ever could on our own! Without any of us realizing it, he had raised the bar in his own gentle way.

In addition to playing at churches, Neil took the band to Seniors’ Homes, where he and the gang delighted in bringing musical refreshment to the residents. He had such a big heart and was one of the most unselfish givers I have ever met in my life. His ever-present smile and sunny disposition lit up every room he entered.

Even after we left Regina in 2003, Neil still kept in touch with us, forwarding funny and sometimes controversial e-mails and calling us from time to time. Neil could really talk, so our conversations were never marked by brevity J

We had one last chance to play together in 2012 when our family returned to Regina for a service to celebrate the ministry of Rosemont a week before it ceased to exist as a congregation.

It was just like old times! Other than a touch more grey than before, it was the same old Neil. Like fine wine, he had only improved with age. The same twinkle in the eye. The same mellifluous vocals. The same fingers making the bass guitar vibrate with virtuosity.

One of the musicians who played with us at this reunion was barely 12 years old when Neil gave him the opportunity to be on the keyboard for a song here and a song there. Spurred on by that initial encouragement, that shy young boy has since blossomed into a confident singer, songwriter and worship leader named Sathiya Sam.

Neil Berg passed away Sunday night from a brain aneurysm at the young age of 72. Sulojana, the kids and I thank God for Neil’s life, his musical gifts and other accomplishments, his service to the church and the community. I especially honour him for his gift of Spurring Others On.

“Go rest high on that mountain
Son, your work on earth is done
Go to Heaven a shoutin’
Love for the Father and the Son.”
(Vince Gill)

Dear DWOD friend, as you read these words, I pray that you too may be known as one who “spurred others on to love and good deeds.”

July 20, 2014–Hey! I know your name!

Joshua Mills with featherOn Monday, July 14, Sulojana and I were blessed with the opportunity to attend a meeting hosted by Eagle Worldwide Ministries in our region. Joshua Mills, son of our good friends, Ron & Nancy Mills was ministering that night.

As with any meeting where Joshua ministers, there were manifestations of God’s glory that evening. Gold flakes appeared on Joshua’s face. And an angel feather dropped on the open Bible held by a woman sitting right in front of us.

No one was surprised by these signs or made a big deal of them…that’s just what one could expect to happen when Heaven touches earth!

Although we’ve been at meetings where Joshua has ministered before, we’d never met him personally. This time, we really felt that we needed to at least say ‘hi’ to him. We caught him just as he was about to leave the tent.

“Hi Joshua! I’m Jeeva Sam and this is my wife Sulojana. We’re friends of your Mom & Dad.”

How would he respond to that introduction? Would he say something like: “Yes, of course, I recognize your name! Aren’t you the co-founder of Destiny Word of the Day with Darren Canning? My Dad worked with you and Darren on a project where you guys took turns doing reflections on the Book of Acts over 40 Days of Fasting, right? I see that you’re quite prophetic too! You’re the guy that got the download about the Barrie to Buffalo Portal, am I correct?”

NOT!

Instead, he said: “Hey! I know your name! You’re one of the supporters of our Christmas Album on Kickstarter, aren’t you? I’ve been praying for you every day.”

Before I could say anything else, he placed his briefcase on a chair, unzipped a compartment, took out a notebook and opened it up to a page which had some writing on it.

“See! There’s your name.”

There it was. Printed neatly: Jeeva Edward Sam. That’s my handle on Facebook where the Kickstarter appeal had been posted. And, yes, Joshua had promised there that he would personally pray for every person who supported him and Janet Angela Mills in this project.

I had only offered support at the lowest tier. But, a promise is a promise. And here was this anointed servant of God who was good for his word. Honestly, it blew me and Sulojana away!

Is there a correlation between keeping one’s word and manifesting God’s glory? Please pay close attention to these words from Psalm 15:

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?  The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart…who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind (verses 1-2 & 4)

Among the characteristics of one who has access to dwell in the high places (glory realms) with God is a reference to one who keeps his/her word. As Jesus himself taught: “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” (Matthew 5:37)

Holy Spirit showed me that the Father values integrity so much that He will manifest His glory through a follower of Jesus who gives their word and then honours it. No wonder signs and wonders manifest themselves when Joshua Mills is ministering!

Dear DWOD friend, do you want to accelerate toward your destiny? Maintain integrity in all your dealings with others. God Himself will show up on your behalf. Angels will be released on assignment to get you there swiftly. And Heaven will manifest on earth in you, through you and around you.

July 13, 2014–The LeBron James Shift

Lebron-James Heat CavsRecently, the sports world was abuzz with the news that LeBron James had chosen to leave the Miami Heat to play for his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.

In a thoughtful article released through Sports Illustrated, LeBron outlines his reason for leaving Cleveland in the first place and now choosing to return four years later: “When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two.”

LeBron candidly admits that his reason for initially leaving the Cavaliers was purely personal, and dare we say, selfish? It was all about him “seeking championships.” Since he could not see himself winning one in Cleveland at the time, he jumped ship and set sail for Miami.

Was that mission accomplished? With four straight trips to the finals and two championship rings to show for them, a big, resounding YES!

But the LeBron James of 2014 is not the same one who left in 2010. You can sense the change in his maturity level when he goes on to say in the same article: “I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys…I think I can help Kyle Irving become one of the best point guards on our league. I think I can help elevate Tristan Thompson and Dion Walters.” Not to mention recent draft picks such as Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.

What excites LeBron now is how he can help teammates reach greater levels of personal excellence and achieve success together as a team in a city that has never won the NBA title nor any other national championship for 50 long years. “My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.”

Clearly, there is a shift in LeBron’s goals. The joy of seeing his younger, inexperienced teammates blossom into mature superstars under his tutelage motivates him more than shooting for another championship next year in Miami.

Dear DWOD friend, as you advance toward your destiny, you too will need to make this shift that LeBron James has made in his life. What is this shift?

Some would label it as a shift from success to significance. When we first start out on our journey, all we want to do is achieve success for ourselves. But our life moves beyond success to significance when we invest ourselves in others and help them achieve the kind of success that we have already tasted.

It is what the apostle Paul calls “equipping the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12). It is not just about you becoming an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher but about you equipping others to also become one.

You could also call it a shift in mindset from Empire to Kingdom. Rather than focus on building an empire where everything revolves around your enterprise, you choose to invest your time, effort and energy into that which advances the Kingdom of God.

In practical terms, this could mean that you, as a ministry/church leader focus not only on equipping your own team, but anyone in your Region who needs to be equipped, and thus advance the Kingdom.

It could lead someone who is already successful in their own business choosing to bless young entrepreneurs with the benefit of their experience and offering them wise counsel and guidance.

You are now re-defining your criterion of satisfaction from achieving personal success to helping others achieve success.

Years from now, one of LeBron’s fellow Cavs will likely say something like: “I could’ve never made it this far without LeBron’s influence on my life when I played with him in Cleveland.” It is at times such as this that LeBron James will shed tears of joy and be glad that he not only made the move from Miami to Cleveland, but more importantly, the shift from success to significance.

When you choose to make the LeBron James shift today, you too will experience something similar in the days to come. And it will be well worth the shift.