This afternoon I’m at my home office computer watching the live stream Memorial service for one of the men who encouraged me in ministry. His name is Roy Wheeler and he served in Amarillo, Texas for over 40 years as the Senior Minister for Hillside Christian Church. (Known as Paramount Terrace Christian Church when I was growing up) My first two suits came from Roy and those are a necessity, at least back then, for being a preacher. Roy came up to Joplin, Missouri in April of 1994 to hear my senior sermon and participate in my ordination service for full-time Christian ministry. Later on that day Roy said he was so impressed with my sermon that he wanted me to come back to Paramount Terrace and preach it for all three Sunday morning services before Debi and I left for Moscow, Russia as missionaries.
I wanted to make the memorial service today but with all the Hurricane relief that our Houston area church is engaged in, I just couldn’t make it happen. I’m sure that among all the people who were in attendance, there will be a number of men, like me, who owe part of their journey in Christian ministry to Roy. While it was Jesus who truly called me to this task, it was Roy and men like him who confirmed it. For that I am ever grateful.
This afternoon is indeed one of those times in the race of our lives when we do stop and think about those who have been a positive influence on us. For me, I’d say that the “A Team” list of older mentors in my life, who have encouraged me in ministry, would be Eric Wolfram, Max Goins, Mark Scott, Fred Masteller, Dennis Platt, Bob Gerhardt, and Steve Sigler in addition to Roy. Maybe for you, today can also be a time to remember, thank Jesus for, and possibly reach out to those who have encouraged you.
Likewise, as we live in such a negative culture today, the positive power of the tongue is such a rarity. I often ask myself whom I might encourage like these men have done to me. What about you? The reality is that all of us will be at center stage of a funeral or memorial service someday. At that time, who will be stopping and thanking Jesus for allowing you to be a positive influence in their lives?
Entrepreneurship is a confusing word. Not just because it’s hard to remember how it’s spelled, but because of the many word pictures we put behind it. Business is usually the venue where we see this practice. Even in the market place though, it can equally be applied to someone who starts up a business and also someone who takes an existing company to the next level. I swim mostly in the realm of the Church and discipleship world where the range of applications can be just as wide. A church planter establishes one church in his life that grows to 1000 or more in Sunday morning attendance. Suddenly he is allowed to successfully wear the title. A woman takes an existing ministry to new heights and likewise is awarded the spot light for her accomplishments. The bigger the results, the more the person is called an entrepreneur. Yet those who achieve lesser accolades are denied the headlines.
But I wonder if maybe there’s more to the story here in creativity. Could it be that for true divine entrepreneurship to take place we really need a number of different people, different skills, and different situations? To illustrate, I’m wondering who is the biggest entrepreneur in the fast food business; the McDonald brothers or Ray Kroc? (more…)
Can following Jesus help your business? That’s a good question. The honest answer begins when we realize that there is truly no divorce between the secular and the sacred in life and the Kingdom of God. Jesus really does care about every part of our lives and the Bible does indeed hold many divine principles which apply to the market place just as much as the Sunday morning gathering place. Join us Sunday at 8p Central as we welcome business and leadership coach, Ross Trahan to the show. Ross serves as Vice President of Accelerated Leadership which has raised the standard of leadership, teamwork, and success for thousands of individuals in over a hundred Gulf Coast companies since 1999. How do God and the market place intersect? Tune in at 8p Central here or on Google + to find out. As always, questions are welcomed and we will be giving away a free resource at the end of the live webcast.
News stories began to flow almost immediately about Russell Wilson after his team won the Super Bowl last night. Like many Christ followers I was impressed with his attitude and desire to give God the glory and believing in “the talent God gave him.” Russell was right on as even our breath is a gift from God. But another point that really struck my attention was what Wilson had to say about his father. He referenced his dad a couple of times and specifically noted how his father would purposefully look at challenging situations with the question of; “why not you?” When I heard that it all came together. That kind of fatherly encouragement is something that I’ve observed not only in the story of Wilson’s life, but in many other great leaders. They had dads who believed in them.
Confidence is a foundational building block in leadership development and one that is sorely needed in our day. The principle of speaking about a positive future in the life of a young person by a father or another male leader is of incalculable worth. You just can’t measure how important something like that is to a young boy or man. I know that many people in our day grew up without such a blessing and I can relate to that. But all of us can be encouraged to know that there is a “Father of the fatherless” and one who calls us out of fear and into courage. No matter what our background is, we can know God and know his encouragement in our lives and see a future greater than we’ve ever imagined before.
In addition, as leaders today we can look at those coming behind us and speak into their lives. What we saw passed down from father to son in Russell Wilson’s life is a rarity today. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In addition to my kids, I try to find opportunities to speak even small positive words to kids on my block and around me. Recently I told a neighborhood boy the account of King David and Goliath and then finished my story with; “You know . . . you could be a great king someday too.” Just one man or woman speaking a positive message of potential victory into the hearts of others is just what they need and it might even just be enough to change the world.
So, who are you encouraging today?
Sometimes I just get tired. If anything, the word journey better describes the walk with Christ more than a happy walk in the park. It gets hard at times. It gets fatiguing at times. A marathon, or maybe a triathlon, is more descriptive of what authentic Christianity is like, rather than a Caribbean cruise. Yes, I get tired sometimes. It is tiring to continue to pray for years and not see the results my heart longs for. It is just downright oppressive at times trying to calmly and lovingly speak toward Biblical righteousness in a culture that wholly embraces abortion, homosexual lifestyles, and philosophical relativity. It gets disheartening to see more and more people who wear the name of Christ in Western Europe and America drop Biblical morality like a bad losing streak in favor of liberal cultural and political correctness. (more…)