Lessons in Practical Leadership

In our recent move to our new home, I discovered a book given to me by my late Mother-in-law, Janice Kessel, who has been with Jesus now for almost 14 years. The book is titled Leadership by Charles Swindoll. Janice gave me this book in 1985, fresh off the first printing as we were returning from Italy from our first tour of duty in the navy and getting ready to assume command of a Construction Battalion Unit back in the good old USA. A country we had come to love even more having been gone for 2 years. Janice’s handwritten note in the book included “I hope this little book will give you some insight into the responsibilities, the satisfaction and the source of good leadership abilities.” This was 36 years ago and 11 years before I became a Christian.

Although I am sure I must have opened the book back then, I don’t remember reading the book until this recent move. Since discovering this book again, I have read it and the associated scripture many times in the last 6 months. It’s an easy read and based entirely on the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.

In the last 36 years based on my career positions, and serving as a deacon and now elder for Faith Assembly, I can confidently say that the four leadership actions the book describes from Paul’s letter are absolutely right on, not so difficult to understand, but not quite as easy to put into action without loving people. 

Without Paul using titles for the four leadership actions he describes, the book calls these:

  1. Sensitivity to Needs
  2. Affection for People
  3. Authenticity of Life
  4. Enthusiastic in Affirmation

 The scripture verses for each follow:

Sensitivity to Needs. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children (1 Thess. 2:7).

Affection for People. Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us (I Thess. 2:8).

Authenticity of Life. Nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working day and night not to be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, that you might follow our example (I Thess. 2-9-10).

Enthusiastic in Affirmation. You are witnesses and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers, just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring you as a father would his own children, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2:10-12).

The bottom line of these leadership actions for work, church, or home are:

  1. Treating and appreciating people as people
  2. Caring for them appropriately
  3. Allowing people to get to know the real you
  4. Encouraging them in the issues of life
  5. Being sensitive to promptings to keep wise boundaries as may be necessary  
When my mother-in-law wrote that I would have insight into “the satisfaction and source of good leadership abilities”, I am certain she was praying that one day I would discover it isn’t about me, it is about Jesus who modeled love and these leadership actions with great success as did many who followed including the apostle Paul! 
 
I am still working on it, and one day by the grace of God hope to get much closer to achieving it. Thank you Janice and thank you Jesus! may all of us continue to build our practical leadership skills to the glory of God. 
 
Author: 
Randy Ortgiesen
Elder, Faith Assembly

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When life gets tense, remember these 3 things

When Life Gets Tense Remember These 3 Things

When life gets tense, remember these 3 things

It is really hard not to let circumstances around us in life make us upset.

We feel we aren’t treated fairly or get upset with someone when they make a comment on social media. We see presidential debates, we have disagreements, we have differing views and it can become wearing. We often look at others actions or words and become upset because it’s not what we think or believe. Maybe this is you or maybe not, but I know at times I have struggled with not letting the outside influence my heart and my relationship with God.

Whether it’s something that comes up at work or within family, we are sure to come across unpleasant situations.

It can be in the form of personal attacks or verbal arguments, disagreements with co-workers or friends on social media… you name it. We can easily let these situations start to influence our heart, our relationship with God and those around us.
 

The Lord has continued to bring three very important reminders to me when I am struggling with these things.

ONE:  God calls me to a pure heart

The Lord continues to remind me to keep my heart pure when it comes to matters that tend to make me upset or feel wronged. It doesn’t do any good to focus on someone else’s views or comments when I have no control over it. When we have a pure heart, we draw closer to God. The Bible says in Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for that shall see God.”

TWO:  God calls me to prayer

Instead of feeling angry towards another person or situation, I am called to pray for those things. If someone has wronged me, pray. If people don’t see the political world how I see it, pray. Don’t pray for the things I want, but the things God wants to come out of situations or how he wants to work in someone’s life. Matthew 5:44 tells us to Love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
 
THREE: God calls me to love
 
The last reminder is to love. Luke 6:27 says “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who persecute you.” First, we have to hear, second is to love and third is do good. Let us come together before God and ask him to help us love those around us. Not the easy to love, but those that need to see the true love of God.
 
Resist allowing the world’s opinions and pressures influence your heart and relationship with God. Let’s put our trust in God alone – our firm foundation that cannot be shaken. Be encouraged through this song and make it your prayer today.
 

 
Author:
Ryan Bivins, Worship Leader
 
 

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We Have a Choice

We have all been hit in some way, shape or form from fallout of COVID-19. Whether it be financially, socially, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually; we can all relate to those areas being affected in our lives. Just like anything else in life though, we have a choice on how we handle those areas affected.
 

Many things are out of our control, but how we choose to respond is within our control.

 
I’ve found the easiest way to justify or make excuses (at least at the time in my head) is to blame someone or something else for my problems. Or if something doesn’t go the way we like at work, home, or whatever area you want to apply it to, it’s easy to point the finger and think in our head, “If I was in charge this wouldn’t have happened”, or “I could do a better job than that person”.
 
While sometimes these statements may be true, we still have a choice on how we respond. It is no different to apply when it comes to the current situation in our world and more specifically our country. I continue to hear the blame game from everyone and everything I read. Sure, things could always be done better.
 

We as citizens of this country – and more importantly as Christians – have an obligation to be in prayer for the situation and for our all of our leaders. We also are called to be thankful in all situations.

 
So instead of complaining about our current situation, let’s all try to focus on being thankful. Thankful that no matter what, no one can ever take my relationship with Jesus from me. I am thankful that he is always in control because Heaven and earth are filled with his glorious presence.
 
Isaiah 6:3 “And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
 

We can’t run the world better than God. Even if we think he is mismanaging things, we can’t know what He knows or see what He sees. He calls us to live by faith and not by sight.

 
2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
 
This is a call to acknowledge His sovereignty by being thankful in all situations. With everything going on in the world, it’s not easy. But we can choose hope, choose gratefulness, choose to fix our eyes on Jesus.
 
Through all the seasons – through it all – He is faithful and if we are Christ-followers, we are secure in His everlasting arms. Let this song minister to your heart today.
 

 
Author: 
Worship Leader, Faith Assembly

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Our Safety and Hope

During this point in time, our days seem to be filled with uncertainty and fear. We all wait for the most recent Covid-19 updates. Most of us are being prudent in following the advice given to us by our government leaders. They tell us to wash our hands frequently, wear masks, keep our social distance, not to gather, and many other suggestions.

I know God wants me to be prudent in how I react out in public to keep myself safe, but I have to remember that it is God who ultimately keeps me safe. I can trust His sovereignty.
 
I was reading Psalms 4 the other day, entitled “The safety of the Faithful”. I’d like to zero in on verse 8.
It reads “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; For you alone O Lord make me dwell in safety.”
 
First of all, David had an awesome relationship with the Lord. The first part of this verse is our responsibility; I will both lie down in peace and will sleep. David was saying that when he would lie down, he would have peace and he would sleep.
 
Why could he say that? Well, let’s look at the rest of the verse.  “For you alone, O Lord make me dwell safety.”
 
David is saying that because his safety comes from God and God alone he can lie down in peace and sleep.
 

Proverbs 18:10 it says “The name of the Lord is a fortified tower, the righteous run to it and are safe.”

Psalm 91:1-2 says “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’.

So, here’s bottom line: we rest and are safe in the arms of Jesus. By knowing this you can have peace and sleep well! Even though we live in a fallen world where we are not immune to the challenges of this life, we can rest in the assurance that God is in control and our souls are safe in His care.

 
Let’s continue to lift each other up in prayer every day and  encourage one another as we walk through this pandemic. We don’t have to be afraid. We have a God that is bigger than all of this. God bless you and keep you safe!
 
Author: 
Elder, Faith Assembly

 

 

 

               

               


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We Know How the Story Ends

As I listen to the news and the increase in Coronavirus cases, a fast declining stock market, and additional layoffs, I also watch the birds in my backyard. I am struck again that they don’t seem to worry about what they will eat or what they will do next- they just do it. The birds simply follow the instincts God designed into them and they get fed (Matthew 6:26). 
 

Our human instinct

God also designed humanity with certain instincts including to run, hide, and fight during certain crisis situations and I know I have done this well, and sorry to say even against God. Until we get our new bodies as promised in the Bible, our instincts are corrupted by sin. As a consequence of our fallen human state (even though saved perhaps) during this time of great uncertainty, we worry because there is trouble! We worry about how to avoid illness, being able to provide for our families, and yes – even if we will have enough toilet paper to ride out this craziness. 

Are we surprised by this current round of trouble? It certainly could perhaps become the worst many of us have seen in our lifetime, but should we be surprised?

Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  

 

Do we believe what Jesus is telling us?

One of the two criminals crucified next to Jesus discussed in Luke 23 asked that Jesus “remember him when He comes into His kingdom” and since that criminal placed his faith in Jesus and believed him, Jesus response was, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise”.  

Revelation 21:4 tells us how the story ends and the ultimate paradise where, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

 

Jesus knew we would face troubling times

Jesus knew we’d have trouble – that’s why he warned us about this and reminds us that He has overcome! The Apostle Paul further reminded us in his letter to the Philippians that “our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body” (3:20)

Back to Matthew 6:26, Jesus tells us to “look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

 

We know how the story ends

Do you believe Jesus?   Give Him a chance and you will find Him faithful in times of crisis. It is His nature! He stands ready to draw you unto Himself and transform your heart and mind – even in the midst of troubling times.
 
Author:
Elder, Faith Assembly

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Be the Hope – Our Response in Troubling Times

When troubling times arrive at our doorstep, what is our response? Do we fix our eyes on the hope we have in Christ or do we focus on the circumstances around us and wring our hands in worry? As Christ-followers our perspective can – and should – be different than that of the world. We do not have to be slaves to fear. This world is not our home!
 
So can we decide to look at troubling times as an opportunity rather than a obstacle?
 

 

We have a hope that endures

I’m not suggesting we bury our heads in the sand and pretend the hard stuff isn’t happening – that would be denial. We need to be discerning, wise and responsible in light of the challenges presented to us. What I am suggesting is a faith-filled response to the tough stuff life will most certainly throw our way.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
 
As Christ-followers, we have a hope – an anchor for our soul – that the world doesn’t have and cannot give. This hope and peace we have through trusting in Jesus gives us confidence and endurance through trial, not of our own doing, but through the power of the Spirit that resides within us. This confidence comes from the reality that God is still on the throne, still maintains authority, and has eternity in His hands. Big or small, the challenges in our lives are no match for the incredible love and security we have in Christ.
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27
 

An invitation for growth and maturity

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5: 3-5
 
Make no mistake, the hard stuff will come. Sometimes we see it coming, while other times it feels like a major gut punch out of nowhere. There are seasons when we may wonder if the punches would ever stop! The scripture reminds us to not be surprised when the hard things come, but rather to take heart because He has overcome the world.
 
Regardless of how trial rears its ugly head, we are instructed to rejoice – not in the pain itself – but in the fact that we are given an opportunity to grow, to develop perseverance, and build true character. If we are to continue to dive deeper into spiritual maturity, which is God’s will for all believers, nothing grows us faster than hard times if we choose to grow through them rather than duck around them. We have the opportunity to guard our hearts and minds with the truth of the unchanging Word of God, daily let go of our anxiety in exchange for His peace, and stare trial straight in the face knowing who holds the future.
 

A faith-filled response

So how are we to respond in times like these? When the world itself seems to have gone off the deep end, as Christ-followers we can react differently. We can choose to act on faith, not fear. We can choose to be informed and use wisdom. 
 
We can…
  • Dive deep into scripture, cultivate our relationship with Jesus, practicing His presence 24/7
  • Be motivated by love, kindness and gentleness
  • Cling to the Word of God and the truth that will never change
  • Spread hope in whatever ways we can
  • Find ways to encourage and support one another – practically and emotionally
  • Meet needs as the Lord bring them across your path
  • Stay connected in creative ways
 
Remember 2 Corinthians 1:4. The Lord brings our our troubles full circle and redeems our pain.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
 
God bless you and your families as you face these uncertain days ahead, and find ways to bring comfort and hope to others in your sphere of influence. Hang on to Jesus… and be the hope.
 
Author: 
Michelle Marx
Writer/Editor
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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