Praise the Lord!
He is Risen!
Praise the Lord!
He is Risen!
Desiring God has a great devotional for you for this Holy Week. Check it out and download the e-book.
From their blog: “Today we launch a new devotional eBook, Love to the Uttermost: Devotional Readings for Holy Week. Beginning Palm Sunday (March 24) through Easter Sunday (March 31), we invite you to join us in focusing on the self-giving love of our Savior.”
Have a blessed Palm Sunday and Holy Week as you focus your attention on The Lamb of God.
Good Saturday afternoon! It’s a chilly, cold, wet day here in Indiana, but you can see the promise of spring in the green shoots starting to appear in the flower beds, robins everywhere, and most of the snow has melted away.
More and more, I am being impressed with the power of words to build up or to tear down. Often, your words are a part of your legacy – you can either cause deep wounds that leave scars for a lifetime or you can speak words of grace that stay with others for their lifetime and even beyond in those that they touch.
I came across a poem today about Dietrich Bonhoeffer that speaks of the lasting impact of his words. I hope it impacts you as it did me.
EASTER SPOILS 2012
This is the end – for me, the beginning of life. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer (from his last recorded words)
Words to a prison friend, spoken in haste.
Gestapo men had come to transfer him,
Low Sunday, sixty-seven years ago
Today. The next morning, he’d be hanged with others.
No question who was strong and who was weak.
A room of prisoners praying, when the door
Burst open. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He went
But only after saying his goodbyes,
Stealing a few more minutes as a man
Might steal his own possessions from a thief.
Words can survive the worst, which is love’s trick;
Can, on occasion, be the love they praise.
On this distant Easter night, the world still writhes
In its uneven pain. Wakeful, I hear
Bonhoeffer voicing love’s contingency,
Love’s need, the thousand ways love dies and dies
And may live on in something someone says.
- Charles Hughes
What will be the legacy of your words spoken to others?
In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins makes the statement that a Level 5 leader is a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. As most of you know, this book has had a great impact in the field of leadership. A great concept and revolutionary right? Well, let’s see what another book has to say about the subject.
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3
“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, . . .” 1 Peter 5:5
“. . . be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your work is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:15
I enjoy and highly recommend the reading of good books by credible authors on the subject of leadership. However, if you have been called to and assigned the humble task to lead and shepherd others, do not neglect the reading of and living out of the teachings on how to do so by the Great Shepherd. He was and is the perfect example of deep humility and unflinching will.
Peace and grace to you this week as you serve others,
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
These passages of Scripture have been important to me as I have had the privilege and duty of leading and shepherding other people. These passages remind me of some of my responsibilities and, more importantly, of what the Lord expects of those that are in positions of leadership.
So some questions today for you – are you doing justice to others? Are you kind? Are you walking in humility? Do you pay a fair and living wage (that is if that is in your scope of responsibility)?
The Lord has high expectations of those He has placed in leadership.
Blessings on your day today!
This is a good article by a good friend of mine at Life Action Ministries – Del Fehsenfeld.
Good morning – it is a cool, crisp, beautiful morning here in northeast Indiana.
Do you enjoy having your faults pointed out to you? How about when you made a poor decision? Did it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you were “coached” on that decision?
Better yet, how about that time someone challenged you about something in your life you did not even realize was there? A blind spot? How did you react? My initial reaction is often indignation – they don’t really know me! Who are they to criticize me? Yet, deep down, I would realize that they were right – that I did have something in my life that was holding me back.
As painful as it was, and still is, I began to slowly see and receive the value of a rebuke – the value of someone challenging me about issues in my life because they care deeply about me. I still don’t really like it as I struggle with having too high of an opinion of myself, but the rebuke of a friend is a precious gift.
Proverbs 15:31-32 says: “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.”
So embrace rebuke – it is “life-giving” as it says in the Scripture. Bring it on!
Peace and grace to you today,
Good morning! I hope that your week is getting off to a great start. Let’s get started with a hard topic this week.
“. . . when God trusts people with His assignments, He often first crushes them.” (Crawford Lorritts) That doesn’t sound very appealing does it? It’s not appealing to me at all, however, I was once again confronted with the fundamental need for brokenness as I read through A Tale of Three Kings. This short and powerful book is a picture of two unbroken kings, Saul and Absalom, and one very broken king – David. The contrast is powerful and sobering. Think about this: David’s life after his anointing by Samuel was often marked by pain, suffering and betrayal. The manner in which David submitted to his treatment by Saul was a work of the Lord in his heart. The times in the caves fleeing and fearing for his life are part of what produced the brokenness in him that the Lord desired for David. It was hard and painful, but oh so needed.
Crawford Lorritts in his powerful book Leadership As An Identity, identifies four common attributes of a leader called by God: 1. Brokenness, 2. Uncommon Communion, 3. Servanthood As An Identity, and 4. Radical, Immediate Obedience. As you see, Brokenness is first as you will not be able to live the other three without it.
In this article, Dr. Lorritts goes on to say:
“Every person God trusts with His assignments has been characterized by brokenness. God does not use anyone greatly who comes to Him feeling fully developed and capable. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue excellence and the development of everything God has given you (see 1 Timothy 4:12-16). But brokenness is a permanent sense of God-neediness.
God does not trust His assignments to people who have not slain the desire to appear significant. Godly leadership cannot be an extension of your own need for attention and admiration. You can’t prostitute God’s assignments as an opportunity to be visible and praised.”
Dr. Lorritts goes on to say that brokenness is based on two things: surrender and an acute awareness of the pain caused by personal sin.
As hard and frightening as it may seem, embrace brokenness. God’s assignments are all about Him – His glory. It is not about me, you or whoever – it is about Him. If He has given you an assignment, if He has called you to lead, you must embrace brokenness. An unbroken leader is a dangerous leader – to himself and to others.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, . . .” Psalm 51:17
Seek Him this week and surrender to Him – embrace brokenness,
Good morning! I have been a tad inconsistent in posting over the last two or three weeks as we have been transitioning to another job, state and house! As I mentioned before, we have moved from Life Action Ministries to Ambassador Enterprises in Fort Wayne, IN. Ambassador is a partner with Life Action and a Christ-centered company, so the transition has been a bit easier.
One of my recent assignments was reviewing the book Work as Worship by Mark Russell. This is a good book that gives you a different perspective on work. For so long I, as do many others, viewed someone in full-time vocational ministry as “first-string” ministry and those in the secular workforce were not really in ministry. They at best would have the opportunity to support those “really” in ministry.
Work as Worship shows the fallacy of that viewpoint. The book is filled with the stories of people who are leaders of businesses and who see their work as ministry. They are impacting lives and changing society through their work.
The book covers twelve themes:
Think about it – your work, whatever it is, should be an act of worship of Jesus. So, are you doing you work “as unto Christ”? Or are you just trying to get by?
Today, this Monday, enter into your work with passion and energy as you worship Him and represent Him in your workplace.
Blessings on your week!
Good morning – rainy and warm here in southwest Michigan!
Our lives are a great story – an epic if you will and hopefully the primary theme throughout our story is Jesus Christ. Sprinkled throughout our story are chapters containing great joy, great pain, tremendous blessing, great loss, times of walking intimately with our Creator and times when He seems so far away and silent. Sometimes our story is an adventure novel, sometimes a tragedy, sometimes it is a love poem, and even at times a comedy!
We also have “chapters” in our lives and our family is about to enter a new chapter. For the past eleven years, we have served as deputized missionaries with Life Action Ministries here in southwest Michigan. God used this ministry to work deeply in our lives so many years ago at First Baptist Church of Brandon, Mississippi. We were overjoyed when we were finally able to join the staff of LIfe Action. Being a part of the community of Believers at Life Action is an extraordinary privilege. I have never encountered a group of people before that are so intent on living lives of authentic Christianity. Not perfect mind you, but always seeking to grow in their walk with the Lord and one another. We have been radically and forever changed by this community.
However, the Lord is now moving us. Beginning next week, I will go on staff with Ambassador Enterprises in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Ambassador is a Christ-centered company that has long been a partner with Life Action. I will be partnering with a great guy, Randy Carman, in co-leading the Learning & Growth Division of Ambassador. The position is a great fit for me and Ambassador is a high-speed organization that seeks to exalt Christ and to advance His kingdom through business as well as coming alongside ministries and helping them to become even stronger.
I will become a part of Life Action’s Advisory Council and still attend and help with the Board of Directors’ meetings. Also, as part of my role at Ambassador, I will become a consultant to Life Action, especially in the areas of leader & people development.
The opportunity to serve at Ambassador is exciting for us and is a tremendous opportunity. However, leaving a people you love is never easy. And change is hard on a family. So, if the Lord brings us to your mind, we would appreciate your prayers as we “turn the page” to begin this new chapter in the life of our family.