Your schedule’s jammed. Your mind’s packed. And you’re headed into an important prayer meeting for your organization. How do you shift gears?

That was me a few weeks ago. There was no margin in the day, no time to take a walk before the meeting, and—truth be told—not much time to even breathe.

Another staffer was leading the meeting, so she laid out the topic, we discussed it a bit, and we worshiped.

Even so, it was difficult for me to engage.

We began to pray, and I waited as others started to interact with our Father. Little by little, their prayers lifted me. It was as though spiritual oxygen was wafting into the room as they praised God and recounted His faithfulness. A theme began to emerge, and my spirit began to revive.

Before long, I was hearing from God and able to participate. We had a powerful time of prayer, and each of us left the meeting buoyed up by the experience of talking with our Father together.

5 Reasons Leaders Need the Body of Christ

1. You’re not the end-all. If you believe your prayer and insights somehow have to be superior to everyone else’s, shed that. God is the end-all, and He distributes His wisdom and gifting through the whole body of Christ. It’s an easier way to lead—knowing it’s not all on your shoulders.

2. You won’t always be at the top of your game. Are you okay with having a bad day or being “off” a bit? If you aren’t, you’re somehow attempting to be super human. But you are just human, period. And God knew that even leaders would need strong, supportive comrades around them. David’s mighty men come to mind.

3. God designed us, including leaders, to need each other. Leaders aren’t the head of the body of Christ, Jesus is! So, we can take ourselves off the throne, and rightly fulfill our leadership role while making plenty of space for others to play their role. And we can cultivate a culture of mutual encouragement.

4. Staffers experience playing a key role. When you focus on your gifting and role, and allow others to function in theirs—they experience the thrill of fulfilling their God-given calling. Plus, you’ll experience far greater buy-in when others are invited to the table.

5. The outcome is exponentially greater. If one can chase a thousand, two can put ten thousand to flight. This biblical principle is true of the body of Christ. When staffers share in discernment and exercise their giftings, God creates momentum, synergy, and a final product that reflects His multifaceted wisdom.

When you’re maxed as a leader, resist the urge to camouflage it. Allow yourself to be human, allow yourself to be seen as human, and embrace the body of Christ around you. Leaders aren’t the head of the body of Christ, Jesus is! Be a leader who is real, and who is welcoming the body of Christ around you.

“Leaders aren’t the head of the body of Christ, Jesus is! Be a leader who is real, and who is welcoming the body of Christ around you.”

- Lisa Hosler

How is God teaching you to both lead and welcome the body of Christ around you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

As Christian leaders, we want to know God’s heart for our ministries and obey His will. But exactly how do we discern His heart, and how do we know when we’ve received the full download?

Let’s lay a little groundwork, and then I’ll share a scenario from our ministry.

Our Concealing, Revealing God

God knows all, and while He conceals some treasured things, He invites us to call to Him so He can reveal His incredible will to us.

Recently, a small group of our staff gathered to discern the program for a ministry event. We had a general idea about its theme and how we’d communicate it. But we’ve learned to go to the Lord with ears and hands wide open.

As we talked and prayed, God showed us that the theme was right, but our initial plan for communicating it was off. So we adjusted our plans. And we experienced a level of peace and joy.

But a few days later, the peace lifted. Something wasn’t right. We went back into discernment mode, and God shifted one final aspect of the program.


Everything clicked into place. The event was smooth, creatively put together, impactful to our supporters, and God-honoring.

How to Hear the Fullness of God’s Heart

1. Gather in prayer. Choose the staffers who are most connected to the project, event, or issue, and meet with God together. Start with musical worship and/or Scripture—it’s a great way to fully focus on God. Talk with Him about the issue at hand, expressing your various thoughts about it.

2. Listen with hearts wide open. Surrender any preconceived ideas you may have, and quiet your mind to hear impressions from God, Scriptures, ideas. Listen closely to the prayers of your comrades. The “Christ in them” will speak to you, too, as they’re praying.

3. Glean God’s will. As everyone prays without an agenda and lays their thoughts before the Lord, He will begin to reveal and shape His plan. He does this through His Spirit, through His Word, and through the way He prompts the actual words you pray.

4. Proceed with God’s plan. When it seems like the discernment is coming to a close, ask if anyone is sensing anything more. If not, conclude the prayer time and take the next practical steps God’s revealed.

5. Keep your spiritual antennae up. As you’re moving forward with God’s plan, keep listening to Him. He may have a subtle or a substantial adjustment to make. Be willing to receive that from Him, and weigh it with others for confirmation.

6. Make adjustments. When you’re certain God has made a correction or a change, implement it. Have faith in God’s ability to further clarify things, the fact that as His “sheep,” you hear His voice, and that you and your team have remained in a discernment mode together.

7. Move forward in peace. Step out with confidence, believing that You’ve heard from God. And also knowing that we see through a glass darkly, and that God’s not calling us to perfection. There is grace and peace as we seek, hear, and obey Him.

Visionary leaders are prone to hear from God and leap. But as you’re seeking heart on an issue, it’s wise to stay in a posture of prayer and listen for further discernment. As a leader, if you want to walk in the full counsel of God, listen to Him with others, and obey. And then keep listening, and keep obeying.

“As a leader, if you want to walk in the full counsel of God, listen to Him with others, and obey. And then keep listening, and keep obeying.”

- Lisa Hosler

How has God helped you keep your spiritual antennae up while discerning and obeying His will? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

Let’s be honest. As leaders, there are days—sometimes seasons—when we feel like we’re losing ground. Our brains are foggy. Our decision-making is dull. We feel one step off with the Lord. Fortunately, God has a remedy.

When I’m doing my morning stretch routine—supporting most of my weight with one hand—occasionally it’ll slip. Not out from under me, but enough to get my attention. A quick spray of water increases the grip between my hand and the mat.

It’s not unlike the power of God’s love in our lives.

There’s nothing fluffy or superfluous about God’s love. It’s the glue that keeps us connected to Him and the motivation that keeps us progressing in Him.

“God’s love is the glue that keeps us connected to Him and the motivation that keeps us progressing in Him.”

- Lisa Hosler

Yes, our salvation forms the bedrock of our relationship with God and is based on the reality of Jesus’ death on the cross, His payment for our sins, and His resurrection from the dead.

But… “God so loved the world…”

He never intended our salvation—and our relationship with Him—to be absent love. The actual experience of the love of our Father (1 John 3:1), the affection of Jesus (Phil. 1:8), and the fellowship of His Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14) are part and parcel to our salvation experience.

3 Simple, Essential Ways to Stay Grounded in God’s Love

1. Draw near. Draw near to work, and work will draw near to you. Ever feel surrounded by work? Maybe that’s what you’re drawing near to! Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you. It’s not that we don’t work; it’s just that we start from a place of embracing our Father and experiencing His encircling, empowering love. Intentionally draw near.

2. Read Scripture. There are countless passages on God’s love. Find one or two, read them slowly, and allow the truth of the words, the reality of the love, to saturate your spirit. I read Philippians 1:1-11 this morning and came away with firm footing in the love of my Father. Marinate in God’s truth.

3. Worship. We worship whatever we gaze at, and whatever we gaze at is magnified. If you’re fixated on work, or problems, they become monstrosities. But if you gaze at God, He is magnified in your heart and in your life experience. Everything else—the deadlines, the pressures, the workload—diminishes to its true size. Worship in spirit and in truth.

Paul prays for the Philippians—and us—in Philippians 1:9-11 –

As leaders, if you want to make wise decisions, if you want to do things with excellence, if you want to lead a pure life, if you want to bear righteous fruit, if you want God to be glorified through you—start by abounding more and more in the love of God.

What are some ways you stay rooted and keep growing in the love of God? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

Leaders are busy. Wise leaders are busy doing the right things. But how do you know what’s right?

At the ministry where I serve, we’ve found that what’s “right” is determined not by our own human wisdom, but by God’s higher ways and thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Can you imagine the gap between heaven and earth? Neither can I, but I’m grateful God willingly closes it by sharing His wisdom with us. If He wasn’t willing, Jesus wouldn’t have taught us to pray, “Father, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

What’s “right” is gleaned as we set aside our own thoughts and ways, ask God for His, and ask for God’s heavenly version of our ministry to come into existence.

That’s what we’ve done at Align Life Ministries. We seek to do what’s right by operating according to our mission and core values, which have been shaped by God’s heavenly perspective—through His Word, through focused prayer, and through the counsel of spiritual advisors.

3 Examples of God’s Higher Perspectives for Align Life Ministries

1. A leadership mandate. God helped us understand that while He’s called us to be a pregnancy resource ministry, He wants us to swim upstream, to do things in fresh, daring ways. And He wants us provide spiritual leadership and direction to other ministries. So that means we take time to come alongside of other ministry leaders. This blog is one example.

2. A kingdom perspective. Another eye-opener was that our sole focus was not our own little ministry. Instead, God wanted us to also care about the well-being of the ministries around us, to work in unity together—whether local, regional, national, or international. Acts 1:8 lays this out beautifully.

3. A calling to share expertise. In three decades of ministry, we’ve acquired a wealth of knowledge about the sacredness of life, sexual integrity, and post-abortion recovery. Ephesians 4 talks about equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. As we’ve matured, God’s led us to develop materials to equip others with the expertise He’s given us. Our new sexual integrity curriculum for youth leaders is an example.

How to Tune Into God’s Higher Ways

1. Slow down. The enemy to discerning God’s wisdom is speed. Slow down, and determine to wait on God for His ways and thoughts for your ministry.

2. Lay aside human wisdom. We had lots of great ideas for doing ministry in the early days. And lots of them fell flat. Lay aside your own plans and look for God’s 3D, heavenly version.

3. Seek God. Talk to God long and hard with your comrades, until you’re in agreement that you’ve heard from Him and discerned at least the next step toward His vision.

4. Seek His Word. As you’re talking with God, have His Word at your fingertips and comb through it for insights, direction, and confirmation.

5. Heed counsel. Pay attention to advice from your board, from any spiritual advisors, and from the clarion call God is speaking to the greater body of Christ across regions, the nations, and often worldwide. Apply it to your ministry, according to His will.

Leaders are faced with a plethora of projects and priorities each day. But a wise leader pushes them aside, seeks the Lord, and chooses only what’s right. As we discern what’s right for our ministry by pressing into God and His ways, His kingdom will come—through our ministry on earth—as it is in heaven.

“As leaders discern what’s right for their ministry by pressing into God and His ways, His kingdom will come – through their ministry on earth—as it is in heaven.”

- Lisa Hosler

How has God taught you to discern what’s right for your ministry? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

As leaders, besides wrongly categorizing our days into ministry and non-ministry segments, we also tend to categorize people. There are the people we relate to on deep level, those we’re just friendly to, and those we typically wouldn’t associate with. Problem is, Jesus didn’t function this way.

Yes, there’s wisdom in not putting ourselves in risky situations—especially when we’re by ourselves. But there are a lot of people we cross paths with who aren’t threatening.

Like the lady I reached out to in the thrift store a month ago.

She readily responded when I initiated a conversation and was eager for prayer by the end. She expressed interested in attending church with me, and we texted back and forth to finalize our plans.

That first Sunday, she wasn’t able to come. I knew our interaction was real, and that God had ministered to a deep place within her spirit. So I invited her again and prayed she would come.

She did!

When my husband Ron and I went through the church doors, she was sitting on a bench right inside. She jumped up, gave me a hug, and said to Ron, “Did she tell you our story?”

“Did she tell you our story?”

Think about this with me. If she felt as though I was reaching out to her because I felt sorry for her, or because of her obvious need, or because I viewed her as a project… WE wouldn’t have a story. In fact, she probably would’ve been veiled in shame, and may not have even come to church.

But because of God’s impartial love—that He somehow poured into her heart as I spoke with her—WE had a story! WE shared a God-moment that was mutual. She was struck by the fact that God had heard her cry for help, and sent me. And I was equally awed to witness God at work in her life.

Yes, WE indeed had a story. And more pages have been written as we sat beside each other for the service, spoke with the pastor and a few key women afterwards, and had breakfast together the next day.

4 Ways to Foster a You & Me Mentality

1. Pray. Ask God to give you Jesus’ love for other people, and eyes to see them like He does. Keep on knocking, keep on asking, and the door of God’s heart of compassion for others will be opened unto you.

2. Get convicted. There’s no better place than the Word to drive conviction into your bones. The kind of conviction that keeps you from walking right past people all around you. God’s not willing that any perish; I don’t want to be either.   

3. Reach out in honor. Speak to others, especially those you’d usually pass by, in the same way you speak with your close friends—with candor, humor, love. Be genuine. Be yourself. Exhibit a sincere interest in their lives.

4. Take the next step. Listen for what that may be as you’re talking. It may simply be to let them know you’ll be praying for them, and following through. Or perhaps they have a practical need that you’re able to fill next time you see them. Or maybe the relationship progresses to the point of meeting for coffee.  

Jesus sat with the tax collectors and sinners. He embraced sick people. He didn’t lord it over others, He laid down His life for others so they could receive Him as Lord. As leaders, let’s lay down our lives, our agendas, and our stereotypes, and love people like Jesus does.

“As leaders, let’s lay down our lives, our agendas, and our stereotypes, and love people like Jesus does.”

- Lisa Hosler

How is God stirring a passion in you for interacting with others you wouldn’t normally reach out to? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments Section below.

Note the plural on the word delays. If you’re like most leaders, there’s not just one project or hire or goal that’s on hold—there’s a plethora. Aaaaaaaah! How do we embrace delay and displace angst?

I’ve been working on a big project for several years. Seasons of great progress have been followed by seasons of no progress—or so it seems.  

It reminds me of the freeze frame photo above, where the woman is being catapulted through the air into a body of water. Look at her at any point along the way, and she appears motionless—as though she’s absolutely stuck in mid-air.

That’s how delay feels in real life—like being stuck, hindered, helpless.

But God.

Let’s look at it from His perspective.

6 Biblical Perspectives On Delays

1. “In the fullness of time.” All throughout Scripture, this concept is repeated. It refers to God choosing the exact right time for a major event to take place—like Christ’s birth, or His return. God is right about the timing of Jesus entering the world, and He’s right about the timing of our project completions.

2. God works for the good. Romans 8:28 says God is constantly working on our behalf—orchestrating people, situations, relationships, and projects—for our good and the fulfillment of His purposes. Our part involves trust and surrender.

3. Spiritual Warfare. Daniel saw a vision of an angel who attributed a three-week delay to a spiritual battle in the heavenly realms (Dan. 10:10-14). He assured Daniel that his prayers were heard and God was responding. The take-home message for us is to faithfully cry out to God straight through delays.   

4. Our focus. Hebrews 12 opens with these words: “Run with endurance… looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus persevered and prevailed. When we fix our eyes on Him, we’re empowered to do the same.

5. Our character. James 1 reminds us that any kind of trials help us progress toward “perfection and completion.” Ha! So we’re concerned about project completion, and God’s concerned about character completion. Take another look at the woman in the photo. She’s in a much better position to enter the water at the far right than she was at the launch.

6. Faithful in little, faithful in much. As leaders, we’re geared for the “much”—the big splash at the end of a long, wild ride. But Jesus exhorts us to keep our hand to the plow that’s in front of us. As we’re faithful in the little, He’ll bring about the much.

I’m convinced that one of the enemy’s chief tactics is to shift our focus from what’s right with Jesus to what’s wrong with everything else. He knows it’ll bring discouragement, distraction, and demotivation for the tasks at hand. So as leaders, instead of focusing on the seeming delay, let’s focus on the Lord of time and seize each day.

“As leaders, instead of focusing on the seeming delay, focus on the Lord of time and seize each day.”

- Lisa Hosler

What’s a good perspective God’s given you in the midst of delays? Feel free to share it in the Comment Section below.

Ha! As leaders, when are we NOT under the gun? Every week is busy. Every project is urgent. But we can learn to step away from the barrel and steal away with our Father.

A few days ago the gun was pointed at my head. I needed to write a brief speech for a fundraising event, and my time was limited. I whispered a prayer and began scanning our Stories file for inspiration. Nothing. Not that the client stories weren’t good; I just wasn’t having cohesive thoughts about the speech.

So I decided to take a walk. Counterintuitive, because the last thing I had time for was a stroll through town. But I’ve learned that a change of pace, a change of scenery, and—most importantly—engaging with my Father, are the best ways to hear from Him.

I gazed up a lot during that walk. I noticed beautiful architecture gracing old buildings. Menacing gargoyles darting from roof corners. Carefree birds winging across clear skies.

My mind became clear as well. As I walked and talked with God, He seemed to say, “Review the stories again and look for a theme.”

Back at my computer, a verse came to mind and a fresh theme emerged. Yep. That’ll work. Thank You, Father!

What NOT to Do When You’re Under the Gun

1. Panic. The Father of Lies is notorious for shooting bullets of fear, doubt, and pressure at you. Recognize his lies and refute them with Truth. Your Father is with You; He’s your #1 Helper.

2. Cram. College all-nighters come to mind—forging ahead when your body is tired and your brain is dead. Resist the urge to soldier on, and ask God for His version of a reprieve. 

3. Settle. This happens when you decide your work is good enough and it really isn’t. Never settle for a solely human outcome. God’s input and outcome for your project will be far superior.

What TO DO When You’re Under the Gun

1. Steal away. Such a simple concept—to get away with God; such a hard choice when the pressure’s on. But force yourself, at least initially. It’ll become easier with time, and the rewards are unending.

2. Commune. Relax with God. Talk with Him. Listen to Him. Notice what He’s drawing your attention to. Let togetherness be your greatest expectation.

3. Be inspired. Being with God—on its own—is invigorating. It’s good for your spirit and your soul. Plus, I’ve found when I’m with God, His wisdom and revelation are with me.

Leaders cut their teeth on hard work, determination, and perseverance. These practices aren’t bad, unless they characterize a leader’s modus operandi. Jesus’ m.o. was stealing away with His Father. He worked hard and completed His earthly mission, but He did it in concert with His Father. He was rooted in His Father’s love, inspired by His Father’s vision, and energized by His Father’s Spirit.

“Father, help me to lead and follow like Jesus.”

“When you’re under the gun as a leader, step away from the barrel and steal away with your Father.”

- Lisa Hosler

How have you learned to find God in the midst of a crowded schedule? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

If you want to talk to people about Jesus, you’ll have to get out of your comfort boat. And it gets harder from there. You’ll have to do some water-walking.

At the ministry where I serve, God is impassioning us to see everyone with His eyes of compassion—not just the people we’re officially serving. It’s not convenient, it ain’t easy, but it’s worth it. Because they’re worth it, and He’s worth it.

The other Saturday I’m picking my way through a thrift store when I see her. I mean I really see her—drawn face, hunched shoulders, sad eyes.

I begin praying for her as I roll my little cart in and out of the narrow aisles.

There she is again, not looking up, a wisp of a person.

I roll on, pray on. “Father, I can offer to pray for her. Is there something specific?”

“She’s concerned about her daughter,” seems to be the response.

Oh man. Now I have something potentially helpful to pray with her about. And also potentially not even accurate! “Jesus! Lead me. Give me courage.”

I find my cart rolling in her direction. Now I’m right behind her. Now I’m right beside her! Aaaah! What if she bites my head off and says, “Mind yer own business!”

All of that as I say to her, “Hi, I noticed you earlier and felt led to pray for you. I’m… uh… sensing you may be concerned about your daughter…”

Shock spreads across her face as she says, “Are you a psychic?”

“No, I’m a Jesus-follower, and as I was talking to Him about you, I sensed your concern for your daughter.”

“It’s my step-daughter, but how did you know?!”

“Well, Jesus knows everything. He sees you, He loves you, He wants to help.”

Twenty minutes later, I knew the whole story about her step-daughter, the estrangement, the desire for reconciliation, how she’d visited a church for the first time in decades, and how she’d been crying out to God for help. I got to pray with her. And I got to see her eyes form deep green pools of wonder at the unexpected love God poured into her heart.

6 Keys to Walking On Water Toward Others

1. See. Have a heart to see the people around you like Jesus did—like sheep without a Shepherd, like precious human beings who have a life, who have cares, who have desires.

2. Pray. As you’re drawn toward an individual, begin praying for them. Ask God to pour out His compassion on them, to prepare their heart, to lead you in what to say.

3. Sense. Tune into anything specific God may impress on you for the individual. It may be a word of encouragement, a verse, or a need they have.

4. Walk toward them. This is where it gets really dicey. This is where you chicken out or step out. This is where you need boldness from the Lord. Ask Him; He’ll give it to you.

5. Speak. Greet them. Ask them how they’re doing. Talk to them with love and interest. Talk to them like you talk to your friends. Say whatever uplifting thing God’s given you. Offer to pray for them.

6. Continue. Go with it. Keep talking with the person as long as God leads and as long as they want to engage with you. Be yourself, be natural, be Spirit-led. God knows how many seeds He’s given you to plant.

As Christ-followers, we’re all called to lead—to take that first step, to walk on water, to initiate conversations with others about Jesus. Paul says in Ephesians 6:20 and again in Colossians 4:4, “Pray that I may speak boldly and clearly, as I ought to speak” (ESV, paraphrased).

As I ought to speak. In the Greek, the word ought means “what is right, proper, and absolutely necessary.” As Christ-followers and leaders, sharing Jesus isn’t an optional possibility. It’s an absolute necessity.

“As Christ-followers and leaders, sharing Jesus isn’t an optional possibility. It’s an absolute necessity.”

- Lisa Hosler

In the Comment Section below, share an instance when you felt like you were walking on water as you initiated a conversation about Jesus. How did God help you?

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