Dr. Henry Cloud wrote a significant book entitled Necessary Endings. Cloud wrote, “When we fail to end things well, we are destined to repeat the mistakes that keep us from moving on.” He shares observations why pruning may be essential for an organization to move forward; why many leaders struggle to understand that endings are a natural season in life; the difference between pain with a purpose and pain for no good reason; hoping versus wishing; three kinds of people; creating urgency and motivation for change; how to handle resistance; and, many other excellent insights that best position leaders to succeed in the future.
Sadie is amazing. Her body is constantly wracked in arthritic pain yet her countenance reveals mostly joy. She has more broken bones than most football players. Her abusive husband died leaving her penniless and with no insurance to handle her ever-mounting medical bills. Still, she does not complain. Her ’96 faded blue Ford Taurus won’t start so she must rely on the help of others to get around until she can find the money to pay a mechanic to fix it. Her son is addicted to meth and her daughter is in her fourth relationship with a man who is a total controller. If anyone was a candidate for bitterness it would be Sadie. Yet she is serene and confident in her faith. She consistently encourages others—an empathy distributing angel in a world of mean, selfish people. What is her secret?
My ranger friend Chaplain Bruce took me out prospecting not far from Pikes Peak. In our backpacks we had multiple water bottles and coconut water and we were pretty sure we would not get thirsty. What we did not count on was deviating from our plotted course or how steep some of the climb would be. By early evening, as we descended through forest, we ran out of fluids and Bruce’s legs severely cramped up. Had we gone much further the same thing would have happened to me. It is easy to get dehydrated in the dry air of Colorado. Water is life.
Scripture—Used in favor of Universalism
2 Thessalonians 2:3,4—This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Meliorism is the belief that the world is getting better as a result of human effort. In 1913 this doctrine was extremely popular. Technology and improved living conditions led many influential people to the conclusion that utopia was attainable through the hard work of good people. What a shock they encountered when scores of nations went to war in 1914.
John 4:7-9—A woman of Samaria came to draw water. “Give me a drink,” Jesus said to her, for His disciples had gone into town to buy food. “How is it that You, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” she asked Him. For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.
German immigrant John Roebling began building the Brooklyn Bridge in New York in 1870. In 1883 it was completed along with an amazing story of three people’s determination.
Mr. Roebling was told by bridge building experts to give up trying his impossible design. Undeterred, he talked his son Washington, also an engineer into helping him. Together they hired a crew and began work. While conducting surveys for the project, a ferry pinned John’s foot against a piling so severely injuring his toes that his foot required amputation. Then the crippled man developed a tetanus infection which led to his death!
Wolfgang Simson was scheduled to speak to church leaders in Cairo, Egypt at 5:45 P.M. His contact arranged for a taxi 45 minutes ahead of schedule and gave the cabbie the address. Thirty minutes later they arrived but it was not the right place. The only Arabic Simson could speak were the words for left, right, straight ahead and counting from one to ten. The German knew he was in trouble and quickly prayed for help. God answered immediately telling him to prophesy to the taxi driver. Simson protested, “Lord, I-I’m Lutheran and I don’t even know which direction it is.”
Several years ago I walked with Dad along the Hudson River where as a cadet I used to run the two mile run. While walking I prayed for the salvation of my A3 company mates. As we were praying the Lord prompted me with the thought, “Why don’t you recruit a Christian from each of the other 35 companies to do the same thing you are doing.” Unfortunately, instead of going home and recruiting others to pray, I procrastinated. But the Lord is faithful and about a year later I had occasion to visit with Craig, a classmate in Virginia. He invited several of our classmates over for a mini-reunion. While we were together, I shared with them the concept of weekly prayer for our company mates. Craig got excited and said he would join me and pray for B4. That was the encouragement I needed to get moving in sharing this prayer opportunity with others.
The Honorable Sid Jones, former Assistant Secretary of Treasury gave his “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” lecture to over 55 senior leaders from industry, the military and the government. His address punctuated the bleakness of the current U.S. economy, future dangers and possible remedies. He foresees an economic collapse for America given the great number of aging adults and the demands they place on social security. In describing U.S. assets and priorities one of his statements grabbed my attention. “We spend as much on security as the rest of the world combined.” Those words reminded me of Psalm 61:5.
Kathleen and I drove from Houston to College Station. We were on our way to College Station to visit Texas A&M. We met COL Howe the Professor of Military Science and director of one of the largest ROTC programs in the country. Texas Aggies are known throughout the U.S. for their enthusiasm, patriotism and high performance. So I was more than a little surprised to learn that it is normal each year for 50% of the graduating ROTC cadets not to contract with the military. They spend four years engaged in military training and study, dress in their distinctive military uniforms, live in barracks steeped in military tradition and yet forego receiving a commission in the military. Incredible!
Revelation 22:17—Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Anyone who hears should say, “Come!” And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift.
Perhaps one of our most unstated worries is that we might not get into heaven. Does this thought trouble you? I suspect the reason many Christians hesitate to talk about this is for fear of being thought less spiritual or identified as a doubting Thomas. Yet, before Christ came to earth, during His life in Israel and following His resurrection, people’s apprehension towards the afterlife has always been a real and meaningful dread. Read what Paul wrote to the Galatians in the verses of meditation below:
Nigeria is a nation of over 146 million people—the largest populated country in Africa. It comprises more than 250 ethnic groups of which the following are the most populous and politically influential: Hausa and Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo (Ibo) 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, and Tiv 2.5%.* In mass Nigeria is over twice the size of California. The nation is located on the Gulf of Guinea and shares borders with the countries of Benin, Cameroun, Chad and Niger. Our team ministered in the city of Jos which literally means Jesus Our Savior! Jos is part of the Plateau State (Nigeria has 36 states) which sits in the middle of the country.
Psalm 34:4--I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
At the age of one month he was dedicated to be a witch doctor and to one day replace his grandfather. But as a ten-year-old he ran away mad because the ancestral spirits wanted him to start practicing divination. Consequently, this young boy grew up rejected by both his paternal and maternal family.
Recently, I spoke to about 400 men on the topic of unwinding. I could not find the word unwind in Scripture, but its synonyms relax and rest are plentiful throughout God’s Word. There is a strong theological foundation for rest. Did you know that God modeled unwinding? Genesis 2:2—“ By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done.”
David Ole Kereto was born in Narok, Kenya, the Maasai son of a witch doctor. By tradition he was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps. One of the highest honors for a Maasai male is to become a warrior. To achieve warrior status, one must kill a lion or a man. To kill a lion, tribesmen will surround the big cat and agitate it by shouting. One of the men then steps forward making himself a target. He holds a spear in his right hand and a stick sharpened to a point on both ends in the other hand. When the lion attacks it usually lunges for the spear hand. Just as it leaps, the Maasai shifts the stick to his right hand and as the lion opens its mouth he thrusts it between its jaws. David accomplished this at age 15 thereby becoming a Maasai warrior!
Charles and I were having a great discussion when I asked him what would happen if a truck came around the bend at a high speed and accidentally struck and killed him? What would he say to God when the Lord asked him why He should let him into heaven? Charles said, “Well the operative answer would be that I believe in Jesus Christ and am sorry for my sins.”
Every week, Tuesday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., I have the privilege of helping lead an emergency food ministry. What is somewhat unique about this organization is that each person who comes into our facility reads a pre-intake form which tells them that they are about to receive food but must first agree to meet with a counselor to discuss personal and spiritual issues.
Isaiah chapter thirty contains a stern message from God to a nation consistently at odds with His will. Judah was rebellious, deceitful and unwilling to listen to His instruction (vs. 9). The people told the prophets to stop telling them what was right. They asked them to speak pleasant things and to share illusions (vs. 10). I’m reminded of Paul’s word to Timothy when he foretold a time “For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new” (2 Timothy 4:3).