Church Planting, Evangelism, Leadership, Missions, Uncategorized

Going “Over the Walls” in Cambodia

This is a short video report of my activities here in Cambodia.

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Handling Accurately God’s Word

Open Bible

In my daily Bible Reading I’m at the Book of Job, Chapter 9.  In particular verse 2 jumped out at me:

How can a man be righteous before God?  If one wished to contend with Him he could not answer Him one time out of a thousand.”  (New King James Version)

It’s so important for us to have a correct understanding of who God is and who we are. He is the potter and we are the clay.  We must honor Him for His awesomeness and don’t think for a moment we are equal to Him.  (Isaiah 64:8)

But now, O Lord, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand.

That’s true, but on the other hand we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).

 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

We who are believers in Jesus Christ are not a worm, but His children whom He has raised up and given power and authority.  We are not those who grovel in our sin and unworthiness.  It’s important to understand how we were, but not how we are now.

The Apostle Paul admonishes us to “handle accurately the Word of Truth.”  (2 Timothy 2:15)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

As we seek to understand God and His Ways and His Will for us, it’s essential that we not take one truth and emphasize that truth over another.  It’s important for us to not take one truth – like the righteousness of God and the unrighteousness of mankind – and emphasize only one side of the truth.  One truth in  God’s Word is often balanced by another truth.  We must take each teaching or Bible verse within it’s context.  We must understand the whole perspective of God on a subject (Acts 20:27).

For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.

How do we discover the balance in God’s Word?

Briefly, I can say:

  1. Read the Bible.  We must read the Bible a lot to gather much information about the whole Story of God.  We must read the Bible in small portions to think about it, pray about it and study it.  The first step is Read the Bible!
  2. Understand the Context of any one truth or Bible verse.

a.  First there is the Covenant Context.  Which covenant does that truth or             scripture belong in – the Old or the New?  Does the Old Covenant (Testament) truth apply to New Covenant (Testament) believers?  Can we find that Old Covenant Truth re-affirmed in the New Testament?

b.  What does the Bible say about that entire subject?  Compare that Bible verse with other Bible verses.  This takes study and it takes resources that will help you find the other Bible verses on that subject.  The internet is very helpful nowadays.  In the past I had to buy a lot of books, but now, those books are on the internet.

So here’s the point:  Read the Bible a lot for context.  Read the Bible in small portions for meditation and study.  Seek to find the Big Picture from God on that subject. I recommend having a good Study Bible with you to help you bridge these gaps for you.  In this way the Word of God in the Bible will become useful for our own lives and the lives of others.

 

 

 

 

 

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

The Value of Listening to Understand

Listening 1God gave us two ears and one mouth…that should be a clue to us.  Many people use their mouth more than their ears.  They don’t listen to others to understand, but only to reply.  These people miss out on opportunities to learn, grow and affirm others in their life.

In the book of Job, after Job’s calamities, his three friends came to visit and sat with him for 7 days without saying a word.  They just let Job speak and share.  Sometimes it is a time just to listen, not correct, not give our ideas or not even respond…just let the other person share.

John Maxwell says, “People don’t loose intimacy when they stop talking, but when they stop listening.  Leaders (people) seldom realize how much their listening empowers the other person.  Because they are leaders the sheer act of listening speaks volumes that even a great speech can’t communicate.”

Again, John Maxwell suggests:

  1.   Listening communicates the value of the other person and his or her thoughts.
  2.   Listening communicates love and understanding and care for their needs.
  3.   Listening communicates a desire to grow, learn and remain teachable.

Why not practice just listening to someone for a change and reflecting back to them what you hear them saying, and affirming them rather than sharing your ideas or solving the problem?  It might do a lot to make your relationship with them even stronger.  Listening creates a relationship where your input is valued.  Another time will arise for you to share your thoughts on their issue.

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Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Leadership: Partnering with God and His Plan

20160705_102656While leadership principles can be found throughout the Scriptures, they are not taught in a systematic way – just as no single doctrine is taught systematically through the 66 books of the Bible.  Instead, God chooses to teach these principles experientially, through the lives of ordinary people in history.

If you look closely, you can spot a Divine Pattern:

  1.  God always takes the initiative executing His plan.
  2. Then he looks for a person who will submit to Him.
  3. Then He makes that person aware of a need.
  4. The need becomes the personal burden of the person whom God has chosen.
  5. Eventually the person embraces God’s plan and feels he/she must act upon it.
  6. God’s Vision becomes his or her Vision.
  7. Finally, the person calls others to join in fulfilling that vision.

God chooses ordinary people who will submit to Him and take a risk – the leadership challenge.  I meet these wonderful people every day in my life and work in Cambodia.  Why don’t you become one?  Become a bridge for God’s plan to be established on earth as it is in heaven.  Become a bridge for people to get from nowhere to somewhere!

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Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development, Uncategorized

What Makes and Effective Executive?

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(Photo by Kaitlyn McCaul, Willamette Valley, Oregon)

by Peter Drucker

An effective executive does not need to be a leader in the sense that the term is now most commonly used. Harry Truman did not have one ounce of charisma, for example, yet he was among the most effective chief executives in U.S. history. Similarly, some of the best business and nonprofit CEOs I’ve worked with over a 65-year consulting career were not stereotypical leaders. They were all over the map in terms of their personalities, attitudes, values, strengths, and weaknesses. They ranged from extroverted to nearly reclusive, from easygoing to controlling, from generous to parsimonious.

What made them all effective is that they followed the same eight practices:

  • They asked, “What needs to be done?”
  • They asked, “What is right for the enterprise?”
  • They developed action plans.
  • They took responsibility for decisions.
  • They took responsibility for communicating.
  • They were focused on opportunities rather than problems.
  • They ran productive meetings.
  • They thought and said “we” rather than “I.”

The first two practices gave them the knowledge they needed. The next four helped them convert this knowledge into effective action. The last two ensured that the whole organization felt responsible and accountable.

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Church Planting, Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development

Leaders are Not Satisfied with the “Status Quo” but Reach for More…

long-high-bridge

Status quo is a Latin Phrase meaning the existing state of affairs, particularly with regards to social or political issues.  It means whatever is normal.  Some people are satisfied with how things are and make no movement to change it.  Others are not satisfied with how things are but they, too, make no move to change it.  However, a leader is not satisfied with how things are and takes initiative to change it. That’s one of the chief characteristics of a leader.  

In my Daily Bible Reading I came across a man the Holy Spirit singled out as  He led the writer OF 1 Chronicles to list over 600 names.  One man among those 600 stood out because he was a leader:

1 Chronicles 4:9-10

 9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; but his mother named him Jabez, saying, “Because I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would indeed bless me and enlarge my border [property], and that Your hand would be with me, and You would keep me from evil so that it does not hurt me!” And God granted his request.

This morning I’m meeting with two staff pastors at our Phnom Penh church to evaluate the members and attenders at our North Campus.  We want to see who we have as leaders or potential leaders.  By the way, what are the characteristics of a leader?    Jabez shows us four characteristics of a successful leader who pleases God:

Four Characteristics of a Successful Leader Who Pleases God

  1.  He/she overcomes internal lids.  The mother of Jabez put a name on him that means suffering.  She apparently thought her newborn son was a pain for her.  Jabez might have grown up with this stigma on is life every time someone called his name. He may have had to deal with inferiority and rejection, but he overcame the internal lid to his potential leadership. Many people complain because they are poor or lack an education or never had some of the positive experiences others have had.  Some people never move forward because of limitations they set upon themselves or personal disciplines or the difficulty of their situation.  Leaders overcome internal and external lids.  They just find what it takes to overcome !
  2. He/she looks to God as his/her Source.   Whether you are the leader of a family, business, organization, ministry or church you will need the grace of a Higher Power to help you.  Successful leaders who please God know that to lead their family, their business, their organization, their ministry or church they need God, and they cry out to him day and night for favor, wisdom and strength.
  3. He/she is not satisfied with the Status Quo.  The big difference between leaders and non-leader is that leaders do not just see what needs to be fixed or changed, but they get up and gather the resources to make the change.  They exert personal discipline, sacrifice, develop their understanding and skills and move forward.
  4. He/she is committed to personal integrity.  The successful leader who pleases God does not cut corners.  He is honest in his relationships with people, staff, finances and time.  He/she chooses to take the high road even if he has to personally sacrifice lose to be honest with his employees, staff, vendors, donors, and others to whom he relates.  He does not lie and is not dishonest in reporting.

I believe that everybody has the potential to lead in some capacity and I urge you to follow what God is putting in your heart and do everything you can to prepare yourself to be a leader who is pleasing to God.

 

 

 

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Leadership, Personal Development

People Are Our Reward

 

multitudes-of-people

As I’ve been reading through the Bible Books 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings and now starting 1 Chronicles (9 chapters of genealogies!) I can’t help but notice that a father may be a righteous and good person and leader, but the son turns out to be a evil and bad leader who oppressed people.  Or on the other hand, the father may be evil but the son turns out good!  What’s the deal?  Why is this?

I know godly men and women – parents – who have invested in their children the best they know how but their children turn out bad kids who use drugs, steal and spend time in jail.  Why is that?

Then we have people who do not follow Jesus nor practice the principles in the Bible, yet their kids turn out good!

To tell you right from the start, I don’t have a concrete answer!  

My wife and I, Cynde, are the parents of four children.  We’re proud of our children and they all turned out good in my estimation…not perfect, but good.  Especially as I consider mine and Cynde’s own lack as role models in many areas.  Two of my sons are pastors, however, I’ve never put any pressure on any of them to follow me in pastoral/church ministry.  One of my children is involved in Education at this time and the other is studying and will probably be involved in the sphere of Arts and Entertainment.  I believe that being a Christian minister is not more important than being a Christian in the sphere of Education, Arts and Entertainment, Social Relationships, Business, or Government.  Each are of equal value as we all represent the Kingdom of God in the sphere in which God has called us.

However, here’s a couple thoughts and pieces of advice:

  1. Every person is born with sin.  That sinful nature creates rebellion and independence in us.  Regardless of the positive Christian upbringing we have received, if we choose to turn to the Dark Side, every person has the free will to do that.

Genesis 4:6-8

And the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you so angry? And why do you look annoyed? If you do well [believing Me and doing what is acceptable and pleasing to Me], will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well [but ignore My instruction], sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you [to overpower you], but you must master it.” Cain talked with Abel his brother [about what God had said]. And when they were [alone, working] in the field, Cain [a]attacked Abel his brother and killed him.

2.  We are called to discipleship.

Genesis 1:28  28 And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

God’s focus is on people, not programs.  The earth was created for people.  Our biggest investment and greatest reward is people.  It will not be church buildings or ministries that we present to the Lord when we stand before him, but the people whom we’ve had the opportunity to positively influence.  That includes our children.  I really, really encourage you to invest in the biblical education of your children – Bible knowledge, application of the knowledge and teaching and modeling good character.  Not just from 0 to 5 years old, but throughout their time in your home and under your influence.  I really, really encourage you to lead a small group of men, women, children or youth with a systematic study, prayer and fellowship.  Your reward will be the people whom you influence.

3.  You and I must be spiritually healthy.  If there is any possibility of furthering righteousness in the next generation it begins with me and you being spiritually healthy. That means a real, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ…not just Christian habits of attending church, prayer, Bible reading and giving.  While all of these are good Christian habits they can be done without an on fire relationship with Jesus.  What we want to see incarnated in the next generation is not just taught, but “caught” when they see and follow our examples.

What I’m talking about here is thinking beyond ourselves into the influence we can have in the next generation.  In our children and in men and women, boys and girls whom we help lead  to Jesus and grow as a Christian.

I’d like to ask you a question:  How would you rate your relationship with Jesus?  Hot on fire and moving aggressively forward?  Or, drifting, kind of cold or “not what it could or should be”?  Or perhaps you say “I’m okay.  It could be better or could be worse.  Kind of in the middle, but I’m okay.”  Jesus calls this level of relationship “Lukewarm.”

Revelation 3:15-16

15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!

Yikes! Here is the principle:

What leaders do in moderation, followers do in excess.

If you’re a little lukewarm, then it’s likely that those who watch you or follow you are a lot lukewarm.  If you’re a little lazy in your relationship with Jesus or your work, it’s likely those who are watching you will be quite lazy.  If you fudge a little in your moral stance it’s likely that those who are watching you or following you will drift even further away from God’s standard.

Remember, we don’t live for ourselves.  Man’s Mission from the God of the Universe is to live for others.

2 Corinthians 5:15

15 and He died for all, so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake.

Let’s pray that Jesus help us to focus on what’s important to him:  People.

 

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