Competition is one of my signature strengths. I don’t like losing or being wrong. By God’s grace I am mellowing with age. So, I can somewhat identify with John when he and his buddies were bothered that someone they didn’t know was taking on demons in the power of Jesus’ name yet wasn’t part of their signature team. I’m sure he felt that that it was completely inappropriate for one who was not spending time at the feet of the Master to minister as a supposed follower. But John and his fellow disciples were misguided in their thinking.
My good friend Dan moved from Tigard to Albany Oregon to work with Dana, another mutual friend. Unfortunately, Dana’s business experienced a downturn and he had to let Dan go. In 2012 Dan felt led to stay in Albany and serve as an Associate Pastor in a Calvary Chapel.
1 Timothy 4:16—Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.
The Apostle Paul wrote his protégé Timothy to encourage him but what makes his words so powerful is his own example. He faithfully paid close attention to his life and his teaching. Next to Jesus, the case could be made that he influenced Christianity worldwide through his leadership more than any other man. His epistles continue as vital roots of the worship, theology, and pastoral life in the Catholic and Protestant traditions of the West, and the Orthodox traditions of the East.
What made Saint Paul such a strong leader was that he:
1 Samuel 16:1—The LORD said to Samuel, “How long are you going to mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem because I have selected a king from his sons.”
Ezra 1:5—So the family leaders of Judah and Benjamin, along with the priests and Levites—everyone God had motivated—prepared to go up and rebuild the LORD’s house in Jerusalem.
For seventy years the Jews lived in exile in Babylon and surrounding nations. Their severe unfaithfulness to God resulted in His fierce punishment which meant they were forcefully removed from their homes. But, in keeping with His promise communicated through multiple prophets, God opened a way through the Persian King Cyrus for the exiles to go home. As we read in the book of Ezra, those who were motivated by Godpacked up their belongings and moved back to their homeland to rebuild the Lord’s temple and settle.
On August 25th,I will serve my last day in the military. Over forty years ago, God graciously allowed me to enter West Point. The military academy took a chance on me as I was a clear academic risk with a weak background in math and sciences. Before I set foot on that military reservation in New York, I claimed Daniel 1:17. “God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams of every kind.” I figured if God could give my hero, the prophet Daniel, wisdom in how to thrive in Babylon, He could help me survive four years of tough courses. He did just that.
Psalm 20:4—May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose.
Whenever a new year approaches there is for many people a sense of optimism. Yes, now I can start afresh. Yes, perhaps this next year will be a better year. Yes, finally the hardships or struggles of this past season may come to an end. But beginning afresh requires finishing the old year well. Very rarely, if ever, can you have one without the other.
Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational, wrote a New York Times Bestseller entitled The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. I listened to Dan speak at a conference for senior leaders at West Point, NY and was fascinated by what he shared. He made a powerful case for how common cheating and lying is in our society and throughout the world.
Jadon is almost 21 months old and being his grandpa is one of life’s great blessings. Jadon’s first word was “ball.” Virtually as soon as he learned how to walk he began kicking balls. He will walk and run around the room for quite awhile either throwing or kicking soccer balls, footballs, tennis balls (well you get the idea) and it is amazing to see his coordination. Jadon’s first phrase was “I love you” which he learned from Mark and Sarah. But his first connection of two different words was “more food.” Mentally he figured it out that more combined with food communicated that he was still hungry.
There is a marvelous tool called StrengthsFinder 2.0. I purchased the book and with the enclosed code answered questions on a website that then listed my top five strengths. I have used this tool with several organizations and with my own family. The beauty of Strengthsfinder is that it reveals what people are good at doing/being. By discovering people’s strengths I am better able to position them where they are best utilized and most satisfied. This is fantastic for team building and for raising morale in any organization where leaders and workers previously focused on weaknesses to their own detriment.
2 Timothy 1:16,17-- May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he diligently searched for me and found me.
A runner sees endurance as vital to finishing a race; a parent sees endurance as the ability to shepherd a child to adulthood. Endurance originates from the compound Greek word: hupo (under) + meno (to remain) to give us the concept continuing under pressure. It is much more than a physical resolve, it is a mental resolve. Without sufficient why, the what loses meaning and we are more prone to quit.