“Transitions are almost always signs of growth, but they can bring feelings of loss. To get somewhere new, we may have to leave somewhere else behind.” – Fred Rogers
Transition can be one of the scariest times in any organizations life. As a pastor, I have seen churches that once thrived all but fall apart through a transition to a new pastor. Companies stocks can dip like crazy when leadership shifts happen, because the unknown can be overwhelming. A new leader can be exact what is needed, and propel the organization to new heights. Or, the feign leader may only drive the entity into the ground faster than you could say, “bankruptcy”.
As a leader and mentor, you often see deficiencies in people that they cannot see themselves. One of the great joys of ministry, is helping someone grow in their walk with the Lord, and overcome some of these deficiencies and shortcomings. Sometimes despite my best effort people make poor decisions. I cannot live their life, and they ultimately have to make the choice. It is sad when people make bad decisions that lead them away from the Lord, church, and God’s people.
“America is, and always will be, a shining city on a hill. ‘ – Ronald Reagan
On November 3, 1980, Ronald Reagan gave a speech on the eve of his election entitled, “A Vision for America”. Regardless of your political affiliation, Reagan’s point of the speech was to draw attention to American exceptionalism.
American, in the eyes of Reagan, is the greatest example of freedom and prosperity this world has ever seen. He said this, “I believe that Americans in 1980 are every bit as committed to that vision of a shining "city on a hill," as were those long ago settlers ... These visitors to that city on the Potomac do not come as white or black, red or yellow; they are not Jews or Christians; conservatives or liberals; or Democrats or Republicans. They are Americans awed by what has gone before, proud of what for them is still… a shining city on a hill.”
“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” – John C. Maxwell
Right or wrong, blessings or cursing, life or death. These are major themes of God’s dealings with His people. He consistently set right, blessings, and life within grasp of Israel, and more often than naught they chose wrong, cursing, and death.
“Modesty isn’t about covering up our bodies because their bad, modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves… it’s about revealing our dignity.” – Jessica Ray
Controversial subject warning! This is a soap box for many preachers, and a sensitive topic for others. Unfortunately, many have made a BIG deal of it, and taken the Scriptures, manipulating them to fit their narrative.
Modesty, dress standards, and attire convictions should be discussed, but I honestly believe not to the degree they have been. Many churches spend a disproportionate amount of time dealing with this topic. I want to present a Biblical and honest approach.
Human nature is sinful. As much as we would like our natural man to be moral, just, and equitable… he just isn’t. An evaluation of the world around us quickly reveals that mankind is selfish, self-centered, and self-willed.
It is no wonder that there are hundreds of words that contain “self” in them in the English language. Self-confidence, self-esteem, self-image, self-pity, self-centered, self-conscious, self-critical, self-absorbed, self-abuse, self-acceptance, self-actualization, self-assertion, self-assurance, self-aware, self-conceited, self-congratulating, self-control, self-deceit, self-declared, self-defeating, self-defense, self-denial, self-deprecating, self-destruct, self-determination, self-devoted, self-diagnosis, self-disciplined, self-governing, self-help, self-identity, self-importance, self-interest, self-justification, self-made… and the list could go on and on!
“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank
“He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” – Proverbs 19:17
In my second year at Heartland Baptist Bible College, I had opportunity to work at Bass Pro Shop. Nestled just outside the main downtown area of Oklahoma City, there were always homeless in abundance. At the time, I was only working part time and elected to work 3-4 days of 8-10 hour shifts instead of half days all week. When I worked a full shift I got an hour break for lunch. Being the cheapskate I am, I usually just brought my lunch, ate a moon pie, or ate nothing.
“Everything is hard before it is easy.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
“Don’t complicate whatever is not complicated.” – Demian Bichir
“That was easy”. This was a wildly successful ad campaign run by Staples in the late 2,000’s. If you are unfamiliar with the ad, it had a small red button that said “EASY”, and would be pressed after purchasing office needs from Staples. The idea was that a difficult task really wasn’t as difficult as we make it out to be sometimes. Buying a new piece of office equipment really shouldn’t be that difficult, no, instead it could be easy. At the conclusion of easy of these commercials the button would be pushed and the deep voice would proclaim, “that was easy”. The “that was easy” button became so popular that Staples began to sell them, and before long you could hear the phrase everywhere.
“Men throw broken things away, but God never uses anything until He first breaks it.” – Adrian Rogers
“Pride grows in the human heart like lard on a pig.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Be careful bragging about what “you” have accomplished, God may actually let you do the next endeavor on your own! Aesop gives us a vivid example of this in one his fables: The Gnat and The Lion. The parable that is presented is that of an annoying insect, a gnat, who was buzzing around the head of a lion. The lion roared at the insect to leave him alone, “Don’t you know who I am? Why I am the King of all beast! See my teeth and claws? You will be sorry if you do not leave me alone bug!” The gnat defiantly replied, “what, do you think I am afraid of your claws and teeth? I don’t care if they call you king, I am not afraid.” The gnat then flew directly at the lion and stung him on the nose. The lion filled with rage, wildly swung at the gnat only to catch himself with his own claws.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” – Ronald Reagan
“Those who criticize our generation forget who raised it.” – Unknown
Every time I come through this section of Deuteronomy in my Bible Reading I am deeply convicted. The reminder that I am to pass on what I have been given is immense an unmistakable.