Putting Others First?

John Maxwell says that if you are a leader and no one is following you, then you are merely taking a walk.

I can talk about success, skills, visions, plans, strategies, discipline and many other things, but the most important principle for me as a leader is how to relate to followers.

I must be sensitive to others, my disposition is far more important than my position. I must constantly ask what is best for those who follow me. My heart should be ruled by a servant attitude and not self preservation.

I should learn to speak kindly because the words I speak will bring out the best or the worst in people. The way I treat people on the way up is how people will treat me on the way down.

Leadership means putting people first.

 God is trusting me to bring out the best in the people around me. To heal their brokenness, their failures, and help them achieve success in finding their destiny and releasing their God given potential.

Every person desires to be somebody and they need to know I care, before they will care that I know.

 I have so much still to learn…..

 In the Bonds of Calvary,

The Game is Fixed!

 Have you ever met someone who wants to give up before the game is over? 

One of the most frustrating things in any sport is when people want to quit because they are behind. 

I think that the same is true in the church world as well.

 I guess we need to be reminded whose side we are on. 

The game is fixed!

The Book says we win!

I know that we take some hard hits.

I know that we sometimes get knocked out of bounds in life.

Sometimes the scoreboard might show that we are behind.

God says we are the winner.

The only way a believer can be defeated is if we give up and quit. 

I have decided to stay in the game and win!

In the Bonds of Calvary,

Anger is NOT a Sin!

I am amazed by the number of people that I encounter who manifest “Anger”

Many Christians have made the right decision. They are going in the right direction but they have gotten stuck in a search of God’s promise.  These are often God ~ fearing, Bible ~ believing people who have settled for something less than what God promised in His Word.  It is virtually impossible to count the number of Christians who are stuck on the right path, but they have settled in their personal place of anger and displeasure. 

 To understand why someone would choose to settle in a place of anger, we need to understand the origination of that powerful emotion.

 Anger is usually the result of some injustice.  It can be as simple as a misunderstanding or as tragic as a broken promise.  It may have come from damage imposed upon a child in his or her innocence.

 Anger can be the result of a perceived fear, real or imaginary. 

For many people anger is thought to be a sin and therefore not to be acknowledged.  It is often repressed, and the person becomes a victim first, he or she is victimized from the event that produced this anger, and secondly, from the anxiety of expressing this feared emotion. 

Please note that anger is not a sin.  It can be a positive motivation or a negative inhibitor.  How we respond to the emotion of anger is our choice and responsibility.

I am aware of that emotion in my life but will continue to choose to respond in a Christ-like way.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

This is What I Have Decided to do:

I took a look back at what God has done  

Then I began to look forward to what God will do

  I suddenly heard what David said and it began to resonate within me…….

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11

And,….it was decision time again……. This is what I decided to do

I will forget about yesterday

I will not worry about tomorrow

I will make today count

I will be helpful to people

I will keep my heart pure

I will act upon my dreams

 I am going to establish my priorities

I will analyze my assets and liabilities

I will focus on my strengths

I will surrender to God’s will

 In the Bonds of Calvary,

The Oncologist said…….

Yesterday I visited with my primary oncologist who said, “Everything looks good! Blood counts are up. There is no growth of the tumor. See you in four months.”

Well that’s great news again and I give the glory all to God who has certainly been in the middle of all of this. I have been surrounded by a great medical corps and by tremendous friends and fellow laborers who have never ceased to pray for my recovery from this attack that trespassed and violated my body. I am deeply touched and warmed by the many responses to my need for a touch from God’s mighty healing hand.

Today I met with the Radiation Oncologist who also concluded  that the tumor had shrunk. She said, “You look good!” (That’s what she said) “Come back in six months.”

Today I am grateful to God. He continues to amaze and challenge me every day. I am thankful to you who are a part of my life through this blog and continue to make kind remarks in support of what I am trying to do.

And, I am thankful that you will continue to pray for me as I continue to testify of His goodness, grace, and mercy.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

There Are No Superstars!

The Bible is full of stories of people who trusted God and the POWER of GOD was great upon them. I think of Joshua whose dramatic defeat of Jericho stunned godless people into developing a healthy respect for God’s power.

Then, I remember David, who when just a boy awed the entire Philistine nation by his daring and deadly attack on Goliath.

As I see it, they allowed God to exemplify His power through them.

How did they have that kind of faith and how did they persevere through it all?

Faith isn’t an easy thing. God does not necessarily respond to our faith with overnight miracles and by changing tough situations into beds of roses.

I have talked with many fulfilled and mature Christians; I always try to find out what their secret was. When I find a person who is truly mature in the Christian faith, I find a person who had not had an easy go of it in life.

On the norm: those who have the strongest faith seem to be those who have gone through the toughest of times and heartaches.

I have learned that there are NO SUPERSTARS in this life. There is no such thing, really as a great person.

 THERE ARE JUST ORDINARY PEOPLE WHO NEVER GIVE UP !!!!

 In the Bonds of Calvary,

A Pardon Has Been Issued

Back in 1830 George Wilson was convicted of robbing the U.S. Mail and was sentenced to be hanged. President Andrew Jackson issued a pardon for Wilson, but he refused to accept it. The matter went to Chief Justice Marshall, who concluded that Wilson would have to be executed. “A pardon is a slip of paper,” wrote Marshall, “the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged.”

2,000 years ago God the Son – Jesus the Christ issues a pardon….

BUT just like in the case of George Wilson – the value of the pardon is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned… If it is refused, it is no pardon….

We don’t have to accept the life Christ did to give us. We can refuse.

I have accepted His offer!

In the Bonds of Calvary,

The Results of My Most Recent Cat Scan

Late Thursday I was at the VA for a Cat Scan. As you might recall it has been four months since the last one.

The doctor read the scan this morning (as a special favor) because waiting ’til the 15th seemed like a long time.

When he called a few minutes ago he started out by saying,”It’s a good report!” and then he gave me the details.

That mass (cancer) that trespassed my body 17 months ago has shrunk another 3/4 inch. The lymph nodes are no longer inflamed. The rest of my body was scanned and there is no sign of cancer in any other organ.

Well, Glory to God!

I was standing in front of the church on my cell phone hearing this information and couldn’t help but shout.

I am preaching a funeral today. Once again I am reminded how vapor-like life is.

The great news could not have come at a better time…..for me.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

The Hound of Heaven

The British poet, Francis Thompson, wrote an epic poem known as “The Hound of Heaven.”

In it he pictures someone fleeing God, only to find that the Lord patiently and triumphantly pursues him until the wayward one rests in the Lord. The central point of this poem is its astonishing assertion that sometimes human beings flee from God and that God actually pursues and follows human beings.
“I fled from God, down the nights and down the days; I fled from God, down the arches of the years; I fled from God, down the labyrinth of my own mind. In the midst of tears, I hid. Under running laughter, I hid from God. Up visited slopes I sped, shot precipitated over chasmed fears. … But those strong feet of God came after, ….. with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace; with constant speed and divine instancy. …..And a voice, more persistent than the feet, spoke and said: You are my precious one. I will not let you go.” Yes, that is the way God is. So persistent, so diligent, so untiring in His pursuit of us .

I think I will stop running.

 In the Bonds of Calvary,

Giving and Loving are Verbs

A problem about giving is that it’s a verb–(something you do).

 It carries with it the implication that it’s something that sometimes happens and sometimes does not.  But that is certainly not how it’s supposed to work. For loving and giving are not only verbs, they are also adjectives. They describe our lifestyles and the lifestyles we were made for.

Life is meant to be lived outward, toward the world. Life works best when we do it that way. We are, in fact, hardwired for generosity.

Think for a moment of a person in your life who embodies the idea of loving their neighbor, of living generously, someone who is generous to you. Now, remember their eyes, think of the lines on their face and the turn of their mouth.

Hold that image.

Now think of someone who never seemed to think of anyone but themselves. Someone who is self centered. Remember their face. Can you see their eyes, the lines on their face, and the turn of their mouth?

When you look at those two faces in your memory, can you see one who is living the way we were meant to live and one who has completely missed the point?

Which one do you suppose looks most like the widow in the Gospel story? We are hardwired for generosity and when we live that way, it shows in our faces and in our lives.

It’s not about giving, not about making a gesture. It’s about the way we live, and the key word is generosity.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

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