Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Friday Feature 1.31.14 – Spotting Leaders You Can Trust

So, an article about leadership stood out to readers this week. Take a look at it here:

25 Ways to Spot Leaders You Can Trust

Obviously, as a leader, I’m challenged by this. Here are a few comments.

1. In general there is a lot of humility here.

I’d agree that leaders who know their strengths and don’t come across as “know-it-all” types are easier to relate to. The people who have influenced me the most in leadership have showed more of what they’re learning than what they know.

2. Boldness is balanced with the humility.

There is a time to be bold. As a leader it’s something I’m learning but certainly don’t have perfected. Boldness takes several forms on this list and in real life.

It can be toughest to simply tell the truth when it’s easier to couch it in easier terms. I guess the risk is saying the truth regardless if people will like it, or you.

3. This is very Scriptural, even though references are absent.

Glancing through this list, the distance between each item and a Scriptural concept is not far. Always good to base your leadership on Scripture and not just on what someone is teaching about leadership.

Think. What kind of leaders are attractive to you? If you are a leader, what on this list challenges you the most?

Act. How can you encourage leaders you know with anything on this list?

Think and Act 1.29.14 – Some Thoughts on Diet and Exercise

This might not be what you think. Man it seems like there is a lot of stuff out there about what to eat, how to stay healthy, and how evil certain foods are. Here’s a less than thorough stab at things I try to live by.

1. The desire for good health is great!

We are currently not on a major company medical plan, but I did often wonder how much of my premium went to pay for people who absolutely trashed their body through poor decisions and care.

Scripture would certainly lead us to avoid abuse of alcohol and gluttony. Scripture would encourage exercise. So, on the surface these things are great.

2. Healthier lifestyles mean more energy for Jesus.

This should really go without saying, but if you stop and think about it, sickness really can take away from things we’d love to do for the Lord. We want to be ready to serve at any time we’re called, and doing our best to care for our bodies (yes, some things are out of our control) can make us more ready to serve with great passion and energy.

3. Here is what works for me when it comes to eating and exercising.

I train my body so I can eat. I’m not going to stop eating sugar and processed foods; neither am I going to over-indulge. For me, balance works well. We eat pasta, bread, chicken, tortillas, cereals, with plenty of servings of veggies (although probably not always fresh veggies).  I like eggs, pancakes, and meats like bacon, turkey, and pork chops. We eat out of boxes and cans, but not exclusively. About once or twice a week I’ll get a pizza, some fried chicken, or a fast food meal. I drink a lot of coffee (around 2-3 cups per day) and a handful of cans of pop in a week. I try to drink water every day. Over the course of a 52-week year I am exercising pretty intensely in around 40 of those weeks, casually the rest of the year.

So what does all this get me? Well, I lose very few days to sickness, more like a few evenings or some time in an afternoon if I slow down. I’d guess I have three or four multi-day stretches of feeling sick or drained in a calendar year. I feel like my energy is pretty high as my schedule can be demanding. Our family’s health is pretty close to mine. We try to keep our home clean and we’re sensible about being around sick people when we can avoid it.

This is just what works for us. It’s not the law by any stretch, but I think we’re balanced. We eat sensible portions and we stay active. Junk food is a treat, not a way of life. The biggest Biblical values here are self-control and discipline. Yes, it takes discipline to avoid over-eating and stay active, but it works.

And no, I don’t think there is any way to avoid some types of cancer or illness. Some things can strike at any time with little explanation. This is not about the big stuff, it’s about the day to day effort to keep energy as high as possible.

4. When it comes to eating and dieting programs, do what works, but . . . 

A lot of people engage in various food consumption/exercise programs that seem to work at varying levels. Many use the programs with great success. Great!

I think where my only level of concern comes is the industry that is often developed around these programs. The fitness and dieting industry in the U.S. is very lucrative – I’ll let you do your own research. When money is involved, motives can easily get blurred.

I’d simply ask people to be well informed and do what works for them. If this is an area of struggle, talk to people you know who’ve lost weight, taken healthy steps, and find out what works for them.

And, in all cases, stay within the guidelines of Scripture! That will always give you the best chance to make the most of life!

Think. Are there ways you’d like to improve your health?

Act. Pray and be sure being healthy isn’t an un-healthy fixation. Then, ask God to lead you in specific ways where you can make small, encouraging gains! Use your new-found energy to serve the Lord!

 

Tuesday Rambling 1.28.14 – Snow Days, the Super Bowl, the Economy.

A few topics and a few thoughts. Welcome to Tuesday rambling.

Snow Days

  • I guess I’m at a loss for why some parents seem so upset about the snow days. Does it mean extra effort to find care for them, or extra time when they’re at home?
  • Well, yes. I was unaware caring for kids when things came up would be such a surprise.
  • Maybe extra time with your kids could be a good thing?
  • I understand the frustration as I like routine as much as anyone, but we have to flexible and our kids (or school administrators making tough decisions) shouldn’t be a scapegoat for interfering with our plans.

Super Bowl

  • I really am rooting for a good game. I’d be fine with either team winning.
  • No, I don’t hate Richard Sherman. He’s an example of what’s wrong with our culture – how we like to zero in on someone’s mistake. The headlines were much bigger for what he did than for when he apologized.
  • Are there any spiritual lessons that can be taught regarding the Super Bowl?
  • Prediction: Denver 28, Seattle 26

Economy

  • I randomly heard this thought on the radio. America needs more job creators than job seekers.
  • What would it take for average people to come together and create a couple of jobs?
  • Is thinking up an idea or pooling financial resource to employ someone else a way of loving your neighbor?
  • I really don’t have any plans here. I’m just thinking out loud. Maybe it will make you think too.

Sermon Quote:

  • I preached last Sunday on Psalm 51. It’s a great Psalm and it shows us much about God’s character.
  • As part of the sermon I challenged the Christian’s response to repentance. What I mean is this: when we see someone responding to God working, turning away from sin and repenting, what is our reaction?
  • The summary God laid on my heart went something like this: “Repenting of sin before God doesn’t show there’s something wrong with you. It means there’s something right with you.”

Monday Challenge 1.27.14 – Generosity, Leadership, Poverty

Another Monday. If you’re anywhere in the Midwest, we’re in for another doozy of a week weather wise. Why not be challenged by something you read?

Link of the Week

Regarding money: Are you generous or selfish?

Question: Well . . . which is it?

The Christian Faith

1. One of the most significant days in church history – a VERY good read on the Muslim faith.

Question: What is one thing you take away from this?

2. We should be engaged in the battle.

Question: As 2014 begins, do you have a plan to engage in specific ways this year?

3. Here are nine things you should know about poverty. This pertains to American poverty.

Question: What is the most specific way you are challenged by reading this?

4. Can you spot leaders? Here are 25 ways to do so. As a leader, I found this challenging.

Question: How can you use this article to challenge leaders in your life?

Some Encouragement For The Cold Weather

Let’s be honest: this weather is brutal. It’s tough on many aspects of life, significantly influencing major structures of our society such as government, education, churches, and business.

It is tough to endure this long of a stretch of very difficult weather (going into the third week now with some decent days in between). I feel for people who really really struggle with this. I want to offer encouragement. I hope something you read below may lift your spirit in the coming days and throughout the rest of winter.

1. This IS God’s plan for us.

The more bitter we become about the weather, the more possible it becomes that we are upset with God. His purposes are His and we should ask for strength to endure this difficult season rather than embrace bitterness toward the One who is in charge of the weather.

2. Praise Him for what you have.

If you have little squares in your floor or baseboard that blow warm air into your house (from a machine in your basement that generates that warm air), praise Him. If you have a fridge and cupboard full of food to eat, praise Him. If you don’t have to risk the death of half the population because of insufficient food, medical knowledge, and ways to fight the cold like they did in colonial America, praise Him. If you have a large tank that takes fuel and heats water so you can take a hot shower and warm your body up, praise Him.

3. Extra home time means extra family time.

If you are home more because of the cold weather, it means you will have more time with your family. Perhaps the normal work and school routine are an idol. Maybe God wants a little less “productivity” and more time to be together with your family? Maybe you could use the extra time for games and making family memories!

4. Extra home time can be used in encouraging ways.

Extended time at home can be productive. You can learn new things. You can pray for missionaries. You can e-mail missionaries and encourage them. Extra time could be used to grow in your knowledge of God’s Word. You can bake some cookies and take them to someone in your neighborhood who might be lonely.

5. If you’re struggling with depression . . . 

Maybe you don’t fit into the “family” mold. Maybe you’re by yourself a lot. And maybe this type of cold extends the time you spend by yourself because other things aren’t going on. Maybe you just struggle with depression and this season is tough.

If that’s you, don’t hesitate to ask for prayer. Instead of complaining, say: “I’m praying God protects my attitude through this difficult weather.” If you’re really struggling, ask trusted friends to pray for you, that you will be able to keep your spiritual fervor. If you’re really concerned, visit a doctor and ask if what you’re experiencing is more than normal.

Stay connected to God, and stay connected to others. Use the phone to find out how you can pray for others and catch up however you can. Whatever you do, know this season won’t last. The 30+ degree temps in the 10 day forecast will seem balmy compared to highs around zero!

6. Use the down time to pray and plan activities for warmer weather.

Brainstorm. What could you do with your extra time this summer? How could you minister? Are there opportunities you’ve missed in the past because you’re too busy? Take time now to think through what you could plan later.

I could write more, but time doesn’t permit. Any ideas you have to keep this time useful and glorifying to God?