December 25. Christmas comes on the same date every year. Then why do we feel so frazzled? We might need to reconsider not just how and who we serve, but why we serve. Imagine how our relationships could be strengthened if we perform each task we put our hands to as an act of service. Jesus Christ showed us how to serve.
Greetings, friends. Yes, today is December 5 – can you believe only 20 days until Christmas? Deep breath. Let’s invite Jesus to bring us peace. As we give attention to Advent, with our second Sunday yesterday, some of you lit the Bethlehem Candle or the Candle of Preparation which reminds us to welcome Jesus.
“As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: ‘A voice of one calling in the desert, Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.” Luke 3:4-6
Dear Friends and Family,
Thanksgiving is coming! I am thankful to share our first Experiencing God Through His Names FB study group finished on October 31, 2016.
Wow, such a special group! We were joined by women and men, ages spanning generations, from places across the USA. Enjoy these comments from a few of the group’s 45 members:
Inquiring leaders want to know, “How can we improve those on our team?” “How can we acquire, train and retain talent?” It’s worth considering. We must view our team members as co-laborers brought to us by God. He has given them to us to steward, and allows us to nurture and encourage them along the way. So, let’s grapple with the opportunity of how best to engage our team members to connect with God. As leaders, we can lead them closer to God only if we have gone there first.
A common attraction at our local county fair is the house of mirrors. When a person walks into the exhibit, one sees their reflection “rearranged” depending on the shape of the mirror’s width or height. One mirror makes you appear
“Be careful, sweetie,” my dad’s strong voice cautioned me to avoid the object in the road. He’d just removed the training wheels on my Schwinn; so even though I was seated securely on the banana seat, both hands on the handlebars, the front tire still wobbled a little. I focused intently on the path ahead, “Yes, Father,” I said. I veered to the left just a little and swerved to avoid the obstacle.
“Father is one of the most familiar and commonly used name of God.”
However, some cannot relate to God as a caring, tender and involved dad, like mine, because they’ve been disappointed by their own negative personal paternal experiences. So what’s the big deal about ‘spiritual fatherlessness’? A lot.
I am an avid runner and I try to keep a regular running routine. I’ve found my favorite app for my Iphone 5, Map My Run, helps me track my running mileage, my pace and even tells me how many calories I’ve burned.
Last week, I was enjoying my run, breathing the fresh air deep into my lungs, just getting warmed up. I had heard the woman’s voice tell me: “Distance: 1 mile, pace 9.3 seconds, split 9.3 minutes.” A few minutes later, in the middle of my second mile, a different woman’s voice startled me with, “Hello Gorgeous, you are looking better all the time, your fabulous future awaits, find out more here.”
I thought, “Are you kidding me? My Map My Run app was interrupted by an advertisement from a psychic app?” I couldn’t believe it! And then it occurred to me that wherever technology is, there will be those who try to distract us from truth. I reminded myself that “I am a child of God, the evil one cannot touch me, I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit.” As I affirmed my identity of “who I am in Christ,” I knew the evil one could not touch me.
Are you lonely at the top?
Isolation comes when leaders make unpopular choices, enforce difficult executive motions, balance ragged budgets or make risky solo decisions. At these times, leadership can seem like a forlorn and friendless wilderness.
A recent survey cited in The Harvard Business Review states “half of CEOs report experiencing feelings of loneliness in their role, and of this group, 61 percent believe it hinders their performance. First-time CEOs are particularly susceptible to this isolation. Nearly 70 percent of first-time CEOs who experience loneliness report that the feelings negatively affect their performance.”
As leaders, we can guard against any looming temptation to prefer seclusion. We must refuse to believe isolation is an essential ingredient in our leadership role. This is a lie. We walk in truth when we choose to make intentional connections with our team an indispensable and an essential priority. Team relationships are not just good for leaders, these associations are needed for team vitality.
Dear Friends — It’s going to be an AMAZING AUGUST! Each Friday during this month, I will share interviews with those I connected with at ICRS in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am so excited to share this compelling interview with my dear friend, AWSA sister, Heidi McLaughlin. Heidi is currently launching her third book, Restless for More: Fulfillment in Unexpected Places.
Here is how Heidi describes her new book: “We are driven to find life’s greatest meaning and joy. But we have lost our way. The truth is, we’ll never find our deepest fulfillment through more pursuits, accomplishments or doing more. We’ll find it through an intimate, loving relationship with God and through healthy and loving connections with others.”