ACTION

Ethnolinguistic map of Uganda.

Image via Wikipedia

As I sit here at the watoto village called Subi I realize the difference between talk and action.  It is clear that much of the church world can talk with the best of them.  We have a tendancy to tell about the things we are going to do, or cast vision about what we should do, but There is a significant difference between talk and action.  We all know this, but when you are in Uganda and you see the results of acting on what you say it is an eye opening experience.

It seems to be this simple for the Skinners.  Uganda has an orphan and Widow problem, we are going to do something about it, lets take them in.  Now what ever that means in terms of practically building facilities, raising leaders, creating a philosophy is merely steps of action on the way to doing something about the problem.

James said, I’ll show you my faith by my works.  Yes we must talk, we must share, we must cast vision, but at some point for things to change, action has to be taken, and if we just keep it simple the “way” to do it will become clear, as long as we are committed to ACTION!

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Team is Everything

I love the church, and all it is.  One thing I like particularly is the way Jesus set the church up.  He created us all and gave us specific talents, gifts and skills, and then showed us that unity is the key to being a powerful organization.  Working together is very important.  In our world more and more the team concept gives way to a superstar mentaltity, but the truth is no one achieves greatness on their own.

As we intersect the lives of others on our journey towards significance everyone of those encounters contributes to the whole of our lives.  Whether the contribution is small or large, it effects the outcomes of our lives and influences us in one way or another.  We all, no matter how gifted or skilled, or talented we are or think we are, must realize the true path to significance is traveled with company.

I love the team we have going to AFRICA, a great group of diverse people who love God, and want to pursue his purpose in the earth.  Don’t go it alone, Team is everything.

I Hear Voices

As a leader over the years I have learned there are numerous voices speaking to you at all times.  Voices of good counselors, voices of family, voices of people who have an opinion about what your doing, and distracting voices speaking about nothing in particular.  These voices speak more in some seasons and less in others, but rest assured when its time to make a decision or you’re in transition your life will become voice central.  You’ll think your brain is a switchboard.

There are also some supernatural voices speaking to you.  That of God and even the enemy.  I can’t stress enough, how important it is in your life as a leader to listen to the right voices, especially in high pressure transitional seasons.  Listening to the wrong voices in certain seasons can cause you to miss destiny moments, God connections, and future opportunities.  It can literally cause your life to take the wrong path.  Not that you can’t come back from a mistake like that, but sometimes its a long way around.  If the voices you are hearing, are fearful, doubtful, cynical, negatively critical, shut them out!

In 2 Samuel 10 there is an account that is incredibly sad.  Especially for a leader.  As a leader you know there are certain relationships that come into your life that are meant to help you grow,develop, teach and sometimes even protect you.  God arranges such relationships and they are such a blessing.  In this passage of scripture we see that God arranged this for a young leader and because he listened to the wrong voices, he killed the relationship, and sealed his fate.

The Leaders name was Hanun, he was the King of Ammon, the son of Nahash.  He had just taken the throne of Ammon, because his father had died.  I’m sure his heart was in full grieving mode, while at the same time trying to lead a nation, and establish himself as king. Transition doesn’t get bigger than this, decisions are tense and pressurized.  He had to think about the best interest of the kingdom, his family, their standing in the region, so many things must have been racing through his mind.  Not to mention he was hurting.  He had lost his leader, his king, his father.

At this time David was ruling over all Israel, he had taken his rightful place as King and God was giving him great success.  He expressed his desire to build God a house, and this blessed God so much that he made a covenant with David that his family would set on the throne of Israel forever.  David was winning every battle, he was a force to be reckoned with.  People who opposed him militarily quickly found it wasn’t wise to do so.

David heard of the death of King Nahash, and he remembered that Nahash was kind to him.  David said I want to show kindness to Hanun and Ammon because they have lost their king.  So David sent some men from his kingdom to comfort the young king.  To let him know everything was going to be alright.  To, no doubt, console him and give him confidence that David himself was watching out for him.  Then it happened.  He heard the voices. The princes of the people of Ammon said to Hanun their lord.  “Do you think that David really honors your father because he has sent comforters to you?  Has David not rather sent his servants to you to search the city, to spy it out, and to overthrow it?”

When he heard this, their vicious insecurity stabbed at his heart and fear overtook his mind, and he lashed out without thinking.  He took the men that David sent to him, shaved their beards, and cut their clothes in half from the waist down.  In other words he shamed them, and embarrassed them.  Consequently this action put them at odds and David’s armies overcame them and what they feared would happen did.

What do we learn from this.

1.  Don’t make rash or big decisions when your hurt?

I think because of Hanun’s hurt and grief he listened to counselors that were full of insecurity and it demolished favor God was trying to establish in his life.

2.  Don’t listen to voices that are insecure, immature, fearful, doubtful, or cynical.

people who base their thoughts and opinions on this type of thinking will bring no good results in your life. NONE!

3.  When you are going through transition take your time.  Don’t be pressured into doing anything urgently.

He acted so quickly and in that moment destroyed his future.

4.  You will ultimately be responsible for the decisions you make don’t be pressured into making them.

The sad part about this is imagine what that relationship with David could have meant for his kingdom, or for him personally.  He could have been in covenant with David which would have meant blessing, protection, brothorhood, community, connection all the things a leader needs.  He lost it all in one rediculous decision brought on by hurt and insecurity.  Moral of the story is when you’re hurt, and in leadership you will be, don’t listen to the wrong voices.

Listen first and foremost to God.  Secondly to good counselors and mentors who will be objective and not moved by your feelings.  Third base your decisions making on the word of God, it is God speaking to us by the way.   It could mean the difference between Success or failure.

What voices are you listening to?

Where do we draw the line between contentment and progress?

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Image via Wikipedia

My wife and I have been talking about how difficult in life it is to be content.  What does it mean to be content?  Does it mean to be satisfied?  Much of the time people struggle with being satisfied.  Life can be going along just fine, yet a disatisfaction creeps over us and causes us to stir it up, as if to say this is not good enough.

Im not talking about people who have nothing, or who are struggling.  I know people who create struggles because internally they are discontent, and disatisfied.  The truth is this is an internal problem.  It literally has nothing to do with external things.  People at all levels of life and from all different places in life struggle with this.  Its killing marriages, businesses, churches, governments, individuals.  Discontentment reveals an internal void.

Don’t misunderstand me to be saying that contentment and satisfaction means you should never try to do or be better, not at all.   I know people who never make an effort and are discontent, I also know people who are constantly working it out, and struggle being content.

Discontent with our lives, our friends, our spouses, our children, on and on leads to one place.  Isolation.  Being discontented is a vicous cycle that leads to our being disconnected and  shrinks our lives into lonliness, which is the fruit of never being satisfied.

The apostle Paul tells us that contentment is very important in our lives.  That no matter what our state is we should not find ourselves struggling and striving.  It’s not things or people or money that satisfies, it’s Jesus.  No matter what your situtation you can be content, because contentment, and satisfaction are all about internal peace, and when we know the prince of peace, we are settled, we are satisfied, we are content.

So move forward, grow and develop, but don’t expect progress or growth to satisfy.  Don’t expect people, things or money to satisfy, those are all externals.  All those things can be blessings in your life, but only one can give you peace.  Get to know Jesus, and in Him contentment can be found.

Independence day…

My encouragement to all on this wonderful celebration of the Independence of the Untied states of America. Is to remember where we came from. Remember what are true roots are. Read for yourselves the history of the men and women who founded this country. Read their very own words. Not words taken out of context to influence history. This Country was clearly founded on the Bible and Christianity. The founders themselves said so. So as we celebrate our Nation, find yourself at church on Sunday giving honor to God, to our leaders, and to our military men and women who are so valiant in there efforts to preserve freedom. God bless America, and God bless you!

David