Wednesday, February 24, 2010

So, You Want to Lead - Part 2 "Leadership is Messy"

Today, as I was reading in Leviticus during my devotional time, I noticed all the sacrifices that the Levite Priests were to assist the people with. The Priests were the religious leaders of that time. In my reading, it seemed that a priest always had his hands in blood and guts. Whether it was cutting the fat off of internal organs or sprinkling blood on the altar sides and horns. Imagine what they would look like after a day of serving at the altar.

I am not sure that I could butcher a bull, goat, lamb or even a bird and not get messy. I surely could not sling blood around and not get it all over me.

I remember a time when we were raising cattle and I had bought some older calves to feed out until it was time to butcher them. These large calves were bulls and they were starting to display a bullish attitude. To remedy the problem, I rented a confinement chute and scheduled our local vet to come out and give them an "attitude adjustment". As a side job, I also had him remove the large horns they had grown.

Talk about a bloody mess! By the time the procedures were finished, blood was all over me, the vet, the chute and my van (which I neglected to unhook from from the chute - duh). However, these bulls needed this procedure and the change it brought. It calmed their attitude, allowed them to produce a more flavorful meat, and allowed them to grow more quickly. Hmm, sound familar?

How many of us, if we are honest, were bullish in nature at a time in our lives? Did Christ make a difference in you when he began to cut away those things that made you bullish?

Often, there was someone, perhaps a pastor, mentor or teacher, who was there with us during the beginning of the process, that probably got more than a little messy for us. That is an important aspect of leadership that we who lead, or want to lead must grasp. Leadership is MESSY! If you are afraid or unwilling to get messy when it comes to carrying the love and grace of Christ to your church, community and world, then I dare say that leadership is not for you, until you are, indeed, willing.

Are you afraid of getting messy? If you want to lead, getting messy is not optional.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


"Many years later the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery and cried out. Their cries for relief from their hard labor ascended to God:

God listened to their groanings.

God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

God saw what was going on with Israel.

God understood"
Exodus 2: 23-25 The Message

Imagine how tough a life of slavery would be - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Being in bondage and seeing no way out would be enough to completely break a person. I wonder how many of the Israelites were tempted to give up on their prayers for deliverance? Quite a few, I suppose.

I am reminded about how often we find ourselves in discouraging, fearful and, seemingly, hopeless situations in our lives. But, there is good news! Just as God cared for the children of Israel in their bondage to Egypt, God cares for you and I in the trials and tests of our lives.

Look at what the Bible says about God...

  1. God listened - Just as God heard the cries of his people in bondage, he hears our cries and our prayers today. We can be assured that God has his attention directed toward each one of us at all times.
  2. God remembered - God remembered his covenant with Abraham and did not abandon his people. Neither has Christ abandoned us or his covenant with us - a covenant written with his own blood. Although there are times in our lives when we feel alone, we can stand convinced that Christ will never leave us or abandon us, at any time.
  3. God saw - God was fully aware of his people's situation and, at the proper time, he acted upon what he saw. Isn't it awesome to know that God is looking at us, right now? He knows our needs, our feelings and our desires. He sees us!
  4. God understood - Beyond listening, remembering and seeing, God understands what we are going through no matter how great or how small the circumstance. That's incredible! God is infinitely able to understand, empathize and show compassion to his people. Additionally, when his son, Jesus Christ, became flesh, he also became acquainted with everything we go through on this earth.

We serve a God like that! A real, personal, loving and caring God who is so intimately aware of us, that he longs for a close relationship with us everyday!

I don't know about you, but I think this is stuff to shout about! God is AWESOME!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Obedience is Good! But, to Whom?

"So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own." Ex 1:20-21 NIV

We've been taught since our childhood to be obedient. That's a good thing, for sure; however, who we are obedient to, is equally important. We live in a day that we tend to follow the status-quo in blind obedience to the social norms. A recent poll showed that over 80% of Americans polled indicated that they personally knew someone who claimed to be a Christian. However, only 15% of those people polled said that they noticed a difference in those who professed Christ. WHAT?

The verse above comes from the account in Exodus in which Pharaoh ordered 2 midwives to kill any newborn, Hebrew males while letting female newborns live. Out of their reverence for God, the midwives refused and God was pleased with them.

How many times in our life do we cave into to the expectations of the world and godless leaders simply because of convenience. "But Dave, You aren't talking about anything nearly as serious as the murder of babies!" I'm not so sure.

As Christians, Christ makes a difference in our lives and that difference should be evident by our actions. Those 2 midwives played a vital part in Israel becoming a great nation. They made a difference. You and I can play a vital role in God's Kingdom growing as well.

Our actions are our responsibility, we can be obedient to God, or, by our carelessness and indifference we can be obedient to the world.

Be obedient to Christ and make a difference!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Driving Lesson for Life

" No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." 1 Cor 10:13 NIV

This afternoon, our son, Brandon and I were on our way to a doctor's appointment and a hospital visitation call. My van was slowly crawling up a grade and just as we made it to the top we noticed that the road ahead of us was covered with cars and trucks in every direction. I dropped the van into low gear and tapped the brakes and eventually came to a sliding stop well behind the mess of vehicles. Looking in my mirror, I noticed that I couldn't see over the top of the hill that was just behind us.

I immediately drove the van into someones driveway to get off of the road. Just as I did, a car came over the hill top and instantly went into an un-controllable spin as the driver tried to get the car stopped. Had I stayed on the road, there would have been a collision.

I used the experience to teach our son about thinking ahead and foreseeing problems in driving. He learned a valuable lesson today. Maybe we both did. How many times do we find ourselves in a threatening situation, be it a temptation, a potential compromising position or some other sin and fail to remove ourselves from the situation? Instead of pulling into a drive and getting off of the road that the threat is on, we often fail to recognize the threat until it has overtaken us, or, at least comes way too close.

Just as that driveway was there for us to escape an accident, God says in his Word that he will provide a way for us to escape the temptations that come our way. Are you on the lookout for your escape route?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

From Our 11 Year old Son...

Our 11 year-old son Alex wrote this today...

"The word testimony means how you became a Christian and how you have changed. It could also mean test my money, because if your not a Christian then you would probably buy a lot of junk, and not focus on God. But if you changed you could stop buying JUNK and focus on God. So...Test My Money!"

WOOT! Bring it Alex!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Keeping It Open - Revisited

I wrote this post over one year ago and I thought it fitting for today.


Today, in the wake of yet another winter storm, I dug through the snow on my way to our shed. Once there, I got out the snow-blower that my father had given me last year. As I worked my way down the drive, blowing the snow off of a sheet of soft ice, I watched the snow continue to fall.

"Why am I doing this while it is still snowing?" The thought lingered in my mind for a few seconds before the answer hit me. You see, if I keep up with the task, I will not get buried in it. There is a lesson in that moment that can apply to many aspects of our lives.

For me, it was a reminder that if I keep up with my schoolwork, I will not get behind. If I spend the time with my wife and kids, they will never grow distant from me. The ultimate lesson, I believe, came from the Holy Spirit. If I keep my accounts - my heart, mind and soul, clean before God, I will never get buried so far in sin that I will loose out on all that he has for me.

Daily prayer. Daily confession. Daily GRACE. That is keeping it open!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Three Words

"Those three words are said too much, but not enough." - Snow Patrol

How much weight do the words, "I love you" carry when you speak them? Do they roll off of your tongue easily, as in a polite response? Social media has propogated this - big time! What do you mean when you say, "I love you?"

Just thinking in writing...