Challenge, Encouragement, Issues of the Day, Leadership, Training

The Two Sides of Integrity

Integrity has two sides: that which you will not do and that which you will do.  The latter is often forgotten when it comes to integrity.  Integrity is adhering to principles that you or your ethical and moral side hold as truth and of value to follow.  Integrity by definition is being “honest” and walking in, “soundness of moral character.”

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Challenge, Encouragement, Healing, Issues of the Day, Training

The Bondage of an Offense and Six Healing Steps

Many years ago, I worked with someone who continually picked up offenses.  With tremendous immaturity and insecurity, they made life miserable for everyone around them.  We walked on eggshells when this person was present.

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Challenge, Encouragement, Issues of the Day, Training

Money Issues are Ultimately Heart Issues

Someone once said that money issues are ultimately heart issues.  Perhaps that is most likely true as Jesus spoke it this way, “For where you treasure is there your heart will be also.”

 

Consumer debt, financial mistakes and overcharging can simply be exposing a heart that is not seeking first God’s resources, God’s answers and God’s kingdom.  It might be trusting me more than trusting Him.  The Apostle Paul shared that he knew how to live with much and he knew how to live with little.  The key was walking in contentment.

 

It is well known that Mother Teresa’s earthly possessions could be carried about in a five-gallon bucket, but at the same time she believed God for millions of dollars to run her organizations that existed all over the world.  One could easily identify her heart when it came to money.

 

I once counseled someone who was $30,000 in debt created by an addiction to internet pornography.  One could easily identify that heart as well.

 

How about you?  Where is your heart when it comes to money?  Who owns your bank accounts, your IRA’s and your home?  Making investments for a financial return vs. creating consumer debt is wise, but making eternal deposits into the lives of others is wiser still.

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Challenge, Leadership, Training

Ten Leadership Mistakes to Avoid

I have compiled this list over years of being a leader which encompassed years of personal leadership mistakes. They say worse than making a mistake is not learning from ones mistakes. Included are scriptures that help address the specific mistake. Admitting our mistakes is tough, but not as difficult as hiding them. Hopefully these truths will help you in your life of leadership.

  1. To derive any form of identity from leadership. Leadership is from a position of servant hood and humility. The older I become, the less I know. Rick Warren was quoted as saying, “Humility is not that I think of myself as less; it’s that I think of myself less.” (Mt. 20:26-28; Phil. 2:5-7)
  2. To go end-around and not face problems directly. Going to others (with the problem) that are not a part of the problem or a part of the solution. (Mt. 5:23, 24; Eccl. 7:21, 22)
  3. To not guard the spiritual environment. Examples of spiritual environments would be natural parenting, being a husband/wife, spiritual parenting, eldership or being a small group leader. To not allow gossip, broken relationship and bitterness into the environment. Handle people as God’s people, not yours – caring about the spiritual health of those whom you lead. We will answer to God for our spheres of influence and what we fail to guard, we give to the evil one. (II Cor. 10:13-15; Rom. 12:18) (Sphere of influence or metron (Greek) – see II Cor 10:13.)
  4. To make excuses for the inner, felt symptoms rather than stopping to consider and listen to them. Often you cannot put your finger on the issue, but you know it’s there. Follow your gut – the spirit. Too often we give in and trust another’s opinion. (Is. 30:21; Eccl. 8:5, 6)
  5. To guard your mind and spirit from legalism. Legalism is often a cover up for sin or at the very least, false humility. Legalism brings control and breeds autocratic leadership. The more religious some leaders become, the more strict and legalistic they can become, which means less grace and less freedom. (Gal. 3:3-5; Gal. 5:1; II Cor. 3:17, 18)
  6. To guard against promotion of persons who have chronic problems with sin, or finances, or anger or negative habits. You will Peter Principle them. (Num. 32:23; Ps. 119:133; Jn. 8:34)
  7. To work very hard at not rescuing people. Sometimes the consequences are the best training tool from God. Work as preventively as possible. If you rescue once, you will have to rescue again. (Prov. 19:19; John 5:1-6)
  8. To consider expansion before considering depth. The current church has become known to be a mile wide and an inch deep. We want to avoid this syndrome. We must go deeper before attempting to go broader. (Prov. 24:27)
  9. To take responsibility for another’s accomplishment. Always give credit where credit is due. Someone once said, “The first time I give a quote I mention who said it. The second time I quote it, I fail to mention who said it. The third time I quote it, I said it.” Let others promote you; do not promote yourself. (Prov. 27:2, 17, 21; II Thes. 2:6)
  10. To promise promotion without at the same time promising tests and adversity. Anointing does not necessarily mean a person is full of character. Character and discipline, holiness and integrity come first, then promotion. The next generation may desire what we have, but do not skip the process of tests and maturation. (Ps. 26:2; James 1:12)
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Encouragement, Issues of the Day, Leadership, Training

Helping You Help Others

I’ve dedicated and spent most of my adult life in some form of counseling profession, e.g., foster parent, group home leader, social worker, marriage and family counselor and overseer. My foundational basis of counsel has always been the word of God. The truths found in this book have radically changed my life from the inside out, so why wouldn’t these same truths change the lives of others? And it is on that basis that a number of years ago I put together a book that lists those scriptures and connects them to specific areas of need.

We called it, Counseling Basics, Helping You Help Others. In it we look at the roots of issues in our lives. We consider the counseling process – the process of change. Then we cover specific areas like: depression, stress, co-dependency, anger and emotional wounds. Chapter after chapter lists scriptural responses to more than a dozen areas that affect most of our lives or the lives of those we love and care about.

The truths of the scriptures never grow old, never loses their power and are never outdated. You can trust these truths for yourself and in helping others. I love God’s word and I trust that you do as well. It is more current than tomorrow’s newspaper. After all, The Counselor authored these words of counsel.

You can find and order this book here.

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Encouragement, Issues of the Day, Parents, Training

The Sin of Greed; The Blessing of Generosity

Were you aware of the fact that greed is sin? Not sure if I ever heard a sermon on that subject, but it is. Jesus once told the Pharisees that the inside of their cup was full of greed and self-indulgence. Yikes! Greed was even in a list of sins that Jesus mentioned in Mark chapter seven. And in Luke He told us to be on guard from all kinds of greed.

The Apostle Paul in Ephesians described greed as a “continual lust for more.” Then he went on to say that among us there should not even be a hint of greed. In Colossians it was called an “earthly desire.”

No matter how you look at it, greed in the Bible was not a good thing. But, I’ll tell you what is…generosity. You might say being generous is the opposite of greed. I wasn’t raised to be generous or greedy, but I have discovered that one is far more productive, satisfying and pleasure-filled than the other. That tight grip of greed is self-centered and perhaps that’s why Jesus was so verbal about it. The ones steeped in a religious spirit were greedy and self-consuming. It represented everything He was not.

It was with generosity that God sent His only Son. It was with generosity that collections were taken in the early church for the churches that were in need. It was a generous spirit that caught the eye of our Lord when He saw the widow placing her few copper coins in the offering plate. We can be generous with a lot of money or very little money; rarely is it the amount. We can be generous with our possessions and our time. We can possess a generous heart, just like our Father.

How generous are you with that guy holding the sign on the street corner, your restaurant server, the paper or mail delivery person, your garbage hauler, your local church, missionaries, your children, your spouse or your neighbor? A generous lifestyle is a prosperous lifestyle.

 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25

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Issues of the Day, Leadership, Training

What Happens When The Church Affirms Sin?

Sin. That is not an often-used word today. Very few desire to be reminded of their sin or have their sin pointed out to them. Have we become soft on sin to the point of straying from the use of the word? Certainly it’s a biblical word – one found in the Old Testament and the New Testament, including the gospels. (Numbers 32: 23; I Kings 8: 46; Romans 3: 23; John 8: 34)

As a professing Christian, is it right to mention this word to others? Is it right to discuss sin issues in public and in sermons or small groups? Has the current generation so shied away from this word that it has, at the same time, caused or created an affirmation of sin? Is sin still sin or is there a nicer, more politically correct and acceptable word to use? (I John 1: 8; 3: 4, 6-8)

I prayed to give my life to Christ in 1971 and sin was pretty black and white back then. Preachers preached on it and friends were bold enough to point it out, taking me to the word of God and speaking to me forthrightly about the need for repentance. I embraced it, even appreciated it. I did not grow up in a religious home and I was not equipped with very many moral guidelines. (I Cor. 5: 12; Gal. 6: 1; James 5: 19-20)

If the church becomes lax on sin, then moral guidelines become more and more difficult to determine. From Genesis chapter three, the evil one has determined to make right wrong and wrong right.   If we can no longer identify the right, we’ll never know the wrong and vice versa. The overall purpose of the law, the Ten Commandments, was to point out sin, boundaries (exposing our sin). God was determined that for society to function together in a normal, healthy way there needed to be rules – guidelines of wrong and right. Why? Because He hated mankind? No, the exact opposite; He loved mankind and wanted us to live a long and prosperous life free of sin and disease. (Psalm 119: 11, 133; Matthew 5: 17-20; Romans 8: 3-8; Gal. 3: 23-25; Hebrews 12: 1-10)

There is a deviation in the church today. It seems we’re fearful of calling sin, sin…afraid to offend. We’re afraid that we’ll hurt someone’s feelings or tramp on someone’s toes. We fear backlash from the younger generation who might be quite ignorant of the word of God and what sin actually is. And we can fear persecution from the world that actively walks in sin and does not want to be reminded of their wrongdoing. We live in a culture that defends its sin and calls it “personal rights” or “my business” that ‘hurts no one.’ Really? Alcoholism hurts no one? Adultery that breaks up a family hurts no one? Selfishness in pursuing pornography hurts no one? (I Cor. 2: 25, 27-28)

If someone stole all the money in your savings account, money you worked a lifetime to gain, would that be sin? Would you confront that person of their sin? Would you desire them to be arrested for their sin of thievery? Why wouldn’t it be correct to acknowledge sinfulness as hurting many?

If you work alongside someone who works harder at getting out of work rather than actually working, does their slothful attitude hurt anyone other than themselves? Guessing you’re getting the point. Sin does hurt others; it does have a direct effect upon others in our life. Sin, according to God’s word, is wrong and it is what Jesus died for. Our wrongdoing affects our relationship with our heavenly Father and the price that His Son paid. The Holy Spirit is grieved by our sin because it separates us from God. (Romans 6: 23)

If we profess faith in Jesus, then we must deal with the sin in our life and not whitewash it. It doesn’t matter what we feel about it or if we think it hurts no one else. Sin separates us from our Savior and it can do so eternally. (II Peter 2: 4-10) So, yes, sex outside of marriage is still sin. Drunkenness is sin. Gluttony is sin. Gossip is sin. Stealing is still sin. Coveting what others possess is sin and profaning the name of the Lord is sin. Paul wrote to “flee” from sin because as believers our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and we were bought with a price. (Romans 1: 18-23; I Cor. 5: 9-11; 6: 9-11; 6: 18-20)

If we’re not serious about this thing the scripture calls sin, then we’re not serious about truly following Jesus. Never do we desire to hear one day that Jesus did not know us, even if we claim to know Him. (Matthew 7: 21-23)

Here’s the good news, Jesus gave His life for our sin, not to keep on sinning, but to receive His redemption and His forgiveness. We need to receive His truth today and begin to deal with the sin in our life, allowing His love to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. (II Cor. 5: 21)

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