Leadership

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Commander

Friday, May 18th, 2018

General Norman Schwarzkopf was known as “Stormin’ Norman.”  In preparation for this week’s sermon I read several articles on his military life throughout Vietnam, Operation Desert Shield, and Operation Desert Storm. He definitely has earned the title “great military commander.” In fact, he might pass muster as one of, if not the greatest military mind of his generation. He was very quotable as well:

“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”

“True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job anyhow.”

And one more (and this is off the topic of leadership): “I’ve managed to convince my wife that somewhere in the Bible it says, ‘Man cannot have too many shotguns and fishing poles.’ ”  🙂

While he stands out as a great military mind and hero, we are studying one right now: Joshua. It takes a leader-a good one- to take over from a leader and be successful. Moses had led the people of Israel for 40 years, but he was now dead and had left the leadership reins in Joshua’s capable hands. He was now the Commander-in-Charge. No, that is not a misprint. Joshua knew the Commander-in-Chief was God.

This Sunday I’m going to take a look at Joshua’s track record (where he proved himself) and then ultimately show that his real power came from his willingness to submit to God in a faith-defining moment (Joshua 5:13-17).  Prayers for this weekend would be much appreciated. Thanks ahead of time.

Recap

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

The Spring of ’18 Day of Service is history. Several things to note:

We served more people than we ever have. We not only did individuals, we were a tremendous help to the organizations we lent our hands and back to. You can see which ones we helped by going here. It has been a long winter, especially for the kennels and Horse Angels. MyPath needed spruced up and cleaned up, especially with the recent flood of about a month ago. The same goes for Cooper Commons (a park) and the county fairgrounds. We were also able to help some local people by cleaning out gutters, cleaning up garbage, raking leaves, and just generally sprucing some things up.

The weather was absolutely beautiful. I prayed for the rain to hold off until at least 4:00 and it bypassed us completely.  I’m not vain enough to think my prayer made a difference but I’d sure like to believe it did. 🙂  I actually think the rain formed to the east of us. But I’LL TAKE IT!  Made for a great day of work.

With the combination of OVCF, The Connection, and the Owen County Chamber of Commerce, we had about 70 volunteers. As you can imagine that was much larger than just a church of our size could do, so it was good to partner with the other two.

I believe we made a difference for those we helped. And that is what it is all about. I received some texts Sunday night from people we helped. Made me feel good. I know we are not to do service with that in mind but it never hurts to know you have been appreciated.  One of OVCF’s “prongs” of our vision statement is “To be involved in our community.” I like it when we can say, “We are.”

Next up, Lord willing, is the Fall Day of Service planned for November 4 (probably).

Visibility

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

I shook things up a bit last week with a podcast of me and the guys at The Connection-a local church here in the community. Today is our Day of Service and I plan to post a summary sometime this week. They are calling for rain this afternoon so I am praying for it to hold off until at least 4:00 (our scheduled stopping time).

So I decided to shake things up again. Today is music video day. Now…I could go calm but that might put you and me both to sleep. Not good. I could go country…but that ain’t going to happen! I could go with a worship song but that would be the normal thing to do. Or I could go wild and blow your doors (ears) off. Not today.

One of my favorite arena rock groups was Kansas. Their makeup included two followers of Christ. One, Kerry Livgren, was the writer behind their monster hits Carry on Wayward Son and Dust in the Wind, both written before he came to faith in Christ. Both still had meaningful lyrics. Kerry has since suffered a stroke that has limited his guitar-playing ability, but not his mind and his heart for Jesus. Like many groups, as members age or grow tired of the grind, Kansas has changed much of their personnel. Steve Walsh has retired, his voice breaking down as well as his health. A new lead singer has taken his place. I tend to think he is every bit as good as Steve on some things.  He sounds, at times, like Greg X. Volz, the former lead singer for Petra before John Schlitt.

The song I’m featuring is NOT a religious song, although it certainly has some application to the religious world. It is not meant to be a political statement on my part either, although I am against dictators and madmen. I am also against religious hucksters who promise the world but have no way to deliver. Followers of health/wealth prosperity teachers (I will refrain from naming names at this point) take note. Followers of Bill Johnson, Bethel Redding, and anyone involved in the New Apostolic Reformation take note.  Here is the song by the group now known as Kansas.

Hope you enjoy it but more importantly, catch its message.  And please, don’t shoot me for my choice of music. 🙂 You might incur the wrath of Jo. Then again…

Transition

Friday, May 4th, 2018

I started writing this post with the title TheGap. But I changed it because there would be those who would troll the internet and see that title then start spamming me on all things related to TheGap, a store I have never even been in. And why would I want to be? I’m not a girl. The two which are mine are way beyond Gap clothes (I think).

So I decided to use Transition because it is probably a better word to use anyway. If you follow my blog you notice a new banner. A new banner means a new sermon series.  As you can see it is called COURAGE, and will be a series from the book of Joshua. My plan right now is for the series to go until the middle of July.

This weekend is on Joshua’s call to fill the gap as Moses’ successor.  Joshua has been with Moses from the beginning and has shown himself to be a great learner and fantastic leader. Joshua 1:1-9, my focus for this weekend, gives four essentials to Joshua’s commissioning as a leader. As a leader, I know I would do well to listen well to this passage.

If you are close by and are able to, I would love to see you. Even if you aren’t, I’d like to challenge you to take the passage and read it and study it. Find those 4 essentials and then make an effort to apply them. Thanks ahead of time for your prayers.

Service

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

I haven’t been very active here or at other blogs this week. There is a reason for that.  It is called

DAY OF SERVICE

Ever since 2009 (with a few years in between) and now, we have had an annual, and sometimes semi-annual Day of Service. We go out and serve in the community in various ways. We do oil changes and minor repairs in the Fall but this year is extra special. First, here is where we are serving:

MyPath-a trail which is only part of the proposed trail from the Y to McCormick’s Creek State Park

Horse Angels– a horse rescue farm run by Sue Whitman, a local vet

The Brown-Cunningham Kennels– Gary and Becky rescue dogs and have quite an operation for 2 people

Cooper Commons and OC Fairgrounds– flood waters play havoc with both places. We plan to help clean up

Local people who need help with yard work and other minor repairs and clean up

The exciting part of this for me is the involvement of two others: The Connection-a community church (they have been our partners for 3-4 years); and the Owen County (OC) Chamber of Commerce. I am on the board of the Chamber but Cassandra Toth is our new Executive Director and she wanted to get involved in some way with cleaning things up in OC. When I told her what James (one of the pastors at The Connection) and I had planned she jumped on board with us.  Here is the really cool thing: we met yesterday (Wednesday) and compared notes, etc. We have over 70+ people helping. 70+!!!

2 churches + 1 chamber = making a difference

What a phenomenal event it would be if it became a county wide Day of Service! All sizes, shapes, colors, makes and models coming together for one day to help clean up the town of Spencer and the county as a whole. Little baby steps though to start. The weather is supposed to be good (you can pray for that). But I can’t wait to make the rounds from 1:00-4:00 this Sunday to see what is happening!!

And if you are involved in OVCF, we will only have one service this Sunday at 10:00.

Legacy

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

In my last post, I talked about a legacy of faith. One of the responses was basically not seeing the sense in worrying about it. We die…that’s it. Since I don’t believe that death is the end…and since I do believe that dead men speak (not audibly)…I searched for something I had read years ago.  I found it! Of course, if you get the right people the answer is easy. 🙂 🙂  Here is why I want to leave a legacy of faith behind:

A great example of this is Jonathan Edwards, the Puritan Preacher from the 1700s.  Jonathan and his wife Sarah left a great godly legacy for his 11 children.

At the turn of the 20th century, American educator and pastor A.E. Winship decided to trace out the descendants of Jonathan Edwards almost 150 years after his death.  His findings are astounding, especially when compared to a man known as Max Jukes.  Jukes’ legacy came to the forefront when the family trees of 42 different men in the New York prison system traced back to him.

Jonathan Edwards’ godly legacy includes: 1 U.S. Vice-President, 3 U.S. Senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 13 college presidents, 30 judges, 65 professors, 80 public office holders, 100 lawyers and 100 missionaries.

Max Jukes’ descendants included: 7 murderers, 60 thieves, 50 women of debauchery, 130 other convicts. 310 paupers (with over 2,300 years lived in poorhouses) 400 who were physically wrecked by indulgent living.

It was estimated that Max Juke’s descendants cost the state more than $1,250,000.

One can perhaps question the research. I saw one source cite the VP as Aaron Burr (duelist with Alexander Hamilton). I even saw one source which completely discounted the research on Max Juke’s life. Even if both are true, that doesn’t change the truth of what we leave behind is important.  We either leave life or poison behind.

I choose to leave life.

Surrender

Friday, January 12th, 2018

The images will never leave our minds. What we were doing at that moment will always stick with us. The stunning news that a plane had flown into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in NYC on September 11, 2001 stopped us in our tracks. We wanted to believe it was just an accident. Then plane #2 flew into the other tower and we knew then it was not an accident but an act of terrorism. That fact was confirmed even more by the flight into the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania. “Ground Zero” was established. A nation was galvanized. Politicians for one small moment put aside their party hat and all agreed this cannot happen.

Leaders were faced with making decisions none had thought of making. There were no contingency plans. How could we have conceived of such evil?

My sermon for Sunday is the first of a series called “Transformed.” I’m calling it All In. It reminds me of the story of the chicken and the pig discussing who wanted to start a breakfast featuring eggs and bacon. The pig said, “No.” When questioned by the chicken his answer was simple: “For you it is a donation; for me it is total commitment.” Following Jesus is just that and every Christ-follower must face the question: Am I going to contribute or am I going to commit?” My next four weeks of sermons will be from Romans 12 starting with verses 1-2 this Sunday.  I’d appreciate your prayers this week.

YOU

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Pat Williams, a leadership writer and also senior vice-president of the Orlando Magic, once wrote:

A leader is not just someone who takes charge. A leader is someone who takes charge and does the right thing. It’s not enough to make a decision; it needs to be the right decision resulting from strong character. It is not enough to take action; it needs to be the right action, prompted by strong character. (Leadership Excellence)

There are three illegitimate sources of influence people fall back on: Position, Power, and Prestige. None of those will “hold their weight.” When push comes to shove, they are nothing more than a house of cards.

In your mind, what is the single, most important character quality a leader (or anyone for that matter) can show? If you said “being a servant” give yourself an ice cream treat!  If you don’t like ice cream, I take gift cards. 🙂

Teams won’t be winning teams until they learn to serve each other.  As long as each player is in it for himself or herself, that team will not win. No pitcher has pitched a no-hitter without 8 other guys on the team. We should use our influence not to gratify or satisfy self, but to serve others. We take that very seriously here at OVCF and have worked hard to make that part of our church culture. This Sunday we have one service followed by a meal with The Connection (a church in town we have asked to join us) and then the two churches will spread out into the community doing free service for everyone who called to ask.  No strings attached…just service.

Your prayers for good weather (chance of rain) and for safety would be much appreciated.

Integrity

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Part of my sermon Sunday was on being Authenticity-Minded. That brought in the subject of the title:

INTEGRITY

When I was studying I ran across a couple of quotes which said volumes to me and, of course, used:

Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. Mother Teresa

Another one came across loud and clear:

Integrity doesn’t come in degrees: low, medium, or high. You either have integrity or you don’t. Tony Dungy

It is never easy being real. Or honest. Or vulnerable. Or a person of integrity. Tragically we live in a world where people are more shocked by a display of integrity than the lack of it. More and more people are surprised when someone does something right or out of the ordinary to set things right than when someone fails.

Authenticity involves our integrity. Practicing integrity means our behavior matches our beliefs. But keep this in mind: personal integrity is not the same thing as your reputation. Your reputation is who other people think you are. Your integrity (or lack of it) is who you really are.

Craig Groeschel wrote a book called Alter Ego. In it he tells a story of when his golf coach caught him stealing a golf ball from a miniature golf course and kicked him off the team.  He said, “If you’ll steal a golf ball, you’ll steal other things.” After some pleading on Craig’s part, the coach took him outside to talk and said words Craig says he will never forget:

If you have integrity, that’s all that matters. And if you don’t have integrity, well…that’s really all that matters.

Wise, wise words. And in my mind, that about sums it up.  Any thoughts?

Lazered-in

Friday, October 27th, 2017

When our girls were born in 1975 and 1979 there were no such things as sonograms. Least we had never heard of them. Today, they are pretty much a staple in pregnancies. Most couples have a sonogram done because there is nothing quite like going to the doctor’s office, hearing the assuring rhythms of a little heartbeat, then seeing the image of the baby on the screen. The doctor prints off the black-and-white picture, says, “See that? You have a boy!”; and the parents treasure the opportunity to show their parents and friends, even posting it on social media. The wait for the birth seems excruciatingly painful (in more ways than one), but they do it for the sheer joy of holding the baby in their arms.

The sonogram (in theory) serves as a picture of what is to come. They provide wonderful images, but are really only a shadow of what is to come. And so it is with Scripture. The shadow of the OT gives way to the substance of the New.

There are two core values we hold dearly at OVCF which go hand in hand.  Those values are Word-Focused and Authenticity-Minded. As Paul told Timothy: “Continue in what you have learned…all Scripture is breathed out by God…” A proper focus on Scripture brings a proper focus upon our lives.

My sermon this morning continues the HILLS series by looking at our Core Values.

Jesus-Centered

Word-Focused

Authenticity-minded

I’ll cover the other two next week. Your prayers would be appreciated this week. Thanks.