“6 Leadership Tasks for Easter” by Chuck Lawless

Every now and then someone writes a blog post that is says exactly what you are thinking and in such a way that it is hard to write something better. Dr. Lawless did a great job communicating to those of us who are in the ministry. I encourage you to read his thoughts.

Here is a link to his post:  http://thomrainer.com/2014/04/15/six-leadership-tasks-easter/

However, I think there are lessons here for every believer as well. Here are my thoughts based off of his post.

1. Spend time meditating on what God has called you to do. Ministry is not just for those “called”, but God has gifted every Believer with gifts. There is something that God wants each of us to do. You will never feel closer to God than when you are doing what He has tasked you to do.

2.  Reach out to others who have lost hope.  There are people who are hurting all around us:  broken homes, loss of loved ones, job loss, loneliness, and those who are walking a journey with a major illness. The are some many hurts that the list could go on for pages, but what really needs to happen is for us to reach out. You may never know what a phone call, card, or even a text could mean to someone.

3. Give somebody a second chance. We all have people in our lives who have hurt us in some way. Easter is a time of what happened in our lives when someone paid the ultimate price for our forgiveness. It is easy for me to justify my hurts and pain, but in order for me to be in a right relationship with God I need to learn how to forgive.

4. Serve with renewed vigor.  Has your devotional life become stale and stagnate? Easter week is a great time to renew your walk. Maybe you need a new devotional book, a new Bible reading plan, or just making sure you carve out time in your day to spend with God.

5. Let God surprise you.  It is amazing what God will do when we bring our life back into focus with Him. When we are allowing Him to have control of your lives you never know what He will do.

6. Slow down.  Many times our lives are so busy we rarely take time to slow down and just be with God. We become so busy with “doing” that we forget what Easter really means. We forget to do all the things we mentioned. Spend some time this week focusing on Easter and see what God has in store for you.

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Are You All In?

 

imagesDuring my devotional time this morning I was reading in the book of Luke. One thing that kept standing out to me was the radical lifestyle Jesus wanted for His followers. Two times during my reading today He sent His disciples out with just the basics. Multiple times He talked about not worrying about the things of this world, but be concerned about the things of the Kingdom of God.

All of us have seasons in life when we tend to worry more than others, and if we are totally honest that is our natural bent. However, Jesus always calls us to do what is not normal by the worlds standards. It is easy for us to get caught up in our daily lives: family needs, money, job pressures, loneliness, and our own wants. Life the way Jesus intended is much more intentional.

Living the Christian life has to become a daily intentional pursuit. Most people wake up and go through each day waiting for life to happen. Yet when you read the Gospels you see Jesus never just walked through life haphazardly. He knew exactly what God wanted Him to accomplish. I know what you are thinking “ yes, but He was the Son of God’. That is true, but do most of us really pray “ God what do You want me to do today and use me to accomplish Your will”.

In our modern terms we would say “ Are you all in?”. Jesus wants it all without any hesitation on our part. Are we totally committed or are we too focused on what we want and what we want to

 

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Alzheimer’s Take’s a Harder Toll On Women Than Men

ImageAlzheimer’s takes a disproportionate toll on women, according to a report released Wednesday from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Women are far more likely to develop the fatal disease than men: one in six women over 65 will get it during their lifetime, compared with one in 11 men.

Read More:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/19/alzheimers-disease-caregiving/6566179/

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What Will the Next Generation Do?

Kelly ClarkKelly Clark the Snowboarder from the U.S. Olympic Team tweeted recently  “My ceiling will be the next generation’s floor”.  What a great perspective on yourself and your talent. Not many people can truly say what she did and mean it. Most people, and I think especially athletes, have a hard time handing off to the next generation.

Think about this in our own lives “ what ceilings are we leaving that will be the next generations floor”?  Are there things we are subconscious hanging on too that we are afraid to let go of that if we do we will somehow be less significant? Our tendency is to keep everything we have accomplished to ourselves secretly hoping no one surpasses us.

What would it look like if we viewed the world from the perspective of “ I want the next generation to go so far beyond anything I have done in my life that my ceiling is their floor”? Not that I have completely mastered this mindset, but I do think this is one of the reasons why I try to spend so much time with those who are younger than me.  I have a heart for Young Married couples so my wife and I teach a class on Sunday mornings. I meet with a group of young men once a week and pour into their lives.  I am not perfect and there is so much I could do in this area, but that is what drives me.

I think the next level comes in the form of questions. One of the business men I follow, Jason Womack, ask’s a simple question “what can I help you with?” So many times we do not start with the basic questions, we just assume we know what people need and impose the answers to questions they have never asked. We also need to ask ourselves questions. Am I laying a foundation for the next generation or just making a living? What areas of my life am I working on that are worth handing on to the next generation or is everything all about me?

Yes we all need to make a living and we all need to do some things that are just for us. We need that renewal time in our lives in order to be better spouses, parents, friends, and workers. However, if we do not build into our lives some form of a legacy I believe that we will have missed a great opportunity to take our lives to the next level. Many times we falsely believe this takes money. Money can help, but there are many organizations, especially intercity, who would love to have just one hour of your time a week. That one hour of investment into a young person can make a world of difference.

Your call – will the next generation go further because of you or will they fall behind? There is no staying the same in life.

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Been A While

It has been a while since I have last written. I have had an extended time of dealing with some health issues and then some special projects at work. Hopefully in the next few weeks I will be back to posting again. I have missed writing and sharing with you and look forward to interacting with you more in the future.

 

Have a great week.

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Mother’s Day

IMG_1118Today as per my usual custom for Mother’s Day I wore a red rose bud in the lapel of my suit. What makes this even more special this rose bud come from the rose bushes that we got from my mom’s – father’s – house. It is one of the few plants that people have given us that still is living. I am so grateful that he did not leave us grass and if you saw my yard you would understand, but in my defense we have several trees so I am growing great moss at the moment.

The interesting thing about wearing a rose on Mother’s Day is that you end up explaining what it is for: red if she is still alive and white if she is not. There seems to be a dividing line in age. If you are under 50 you usually do not know much about this custom, but the senior adults in my church always love the fact that I still do this. It is a great touch and a nice way to pay respect to mothers.

I am grateful for my mom and all that she has meant to me. She has given me a great foundation especially spiritually and I know that much of what I am is because of her prayers. She continually gives and sets the example of what a mother and a wife is supposed to be. One of the best things that she does is that she loves my wife! We joke and say that if something ever happened she would choose Janice over me. While that is not really true, she does love her to the point of it would be a close call. What a gift that is for a son.

I am also grateful for the example of what my wife is for our daughter. It is fun to watch them get closer as my daughter gets older. God picked just the right person for us. My family is truly blessed in that we have a family with good relationships.

I have thought a lot about mothers today. Mother’s Day is different for everyone. In the young couple’s class that Janice and I teach some had already said goodbye to their mothers, some people have strained relationships, and I got an opportunity to pray with a lady this morning who for the first time on Mother’s Day understood forgiveness and grace as she was set free from the guilt of an abortion from many years ago. What a great time to celebrate those people who have influenced us in so many ways.

 

Thank You to all of the Mothers !!

 

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Legacy

There is a lot of talk these days about legacy. What it is and how to leave one. Sometimes the greatest legacies we leave are the one’s we do not think about.

Last week I was visiting the hospital and went in to visit a lady and her mother. The mother was the one who was not feeling well.  Her brother had also just drove in to visit her from North Mississippi We started talking and sure enough there was a connection – this actually happens a lot when you live in Memphis and have relatives in Mississippi  J  He mentioned that a man named Joe Crawford baptized him. I told him that was my great grandfather on my mother’s side. Immediately his eyes watered and he told me of how my great grandfather had baptized he and his brother when they were just boys in a small country church that my great grandfather had pastored. He could not wait to call and tell his brother that he had met me.

Needless to say I was excited and glad we got to meet. I actually have several Ministers and Deacons in my family and I am proud of all of them. My great grandfather has been dead for many years and yet I am still getting the opportunity to meet people he had influenced.

The thing is, my great grandfather never did any of that to leave a legacy or even thought about leaving a legacy. He just went about his business doing what God called him to do. I got to thinking how it was a great moment to meet this gentleman and be associated with my great grandfather for what he had done, but there was nothing that I had done on my own. I was just related to the man who did the work.  In heaven – unlike here on earth, who I am related to does not matter, nor what they did does not matter. Each one of us will stand on the fact that either we believed in God and what Jesus did for us on the cross or we do not. Knowing someone important, being related to someone in the ministry or giving a lot of money will not be what gets us into heaven.

I am grateful for my spiritual heritage and I am doing my best to pass along those important elements to my daughter. We need to build those things into our families, but we cannot rest on the laurels of those who have gone before us. Each day it is our decision to live for Christ.

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Cross Walking

cross walking 1Last week our church did our annual “Cross Walking” on the weekend before Easter. We have 6 Crosses that we walk up and down the main streets in Collierville with. My time was at 8am and in the picture you see a friend of mine who was taking my place in the next hour.

I always like this time each year when I do this. I get a chance to reflect and think about what the Cross really means and how Christ must have felt during that time. As people drive by you get the occasional honk and wave. Here in the South there is still a respect for the Cross, although last year I did get a “gesture”.

imagesThis year as I was walking I noticed that there was a digital speed limit sign that displayed your speed as you approached. I begin thinking about how the Cross and the speed limit sign were similar. As you approach each of them you are confronted and there is a decision to be made. As in the case of the speed limit sign you can use it as a wake up call  and slow down, continue if you are doing nothing wrong, or you can choose to ignore the warning and pay the consequences down the road.

So it is with the Cross. It can encourage you, or it can make you stop and reflect and challenge you to make some changes in your life. However, you can also choose to ignore the Cross, but there will be cost on down the road. As people drove by that morning each person was making a decision.

What is your decision?

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My Dad’s Birthday

This is a repost from a couple of years ago.

Yesterday was my dad’s birthday and we are going out with them to celebrate tonight. Birthdays are always a great time to remember how special people are to you.

My fondest memories are just spending time with my dad growing up. He took time out of his schedule to be with me. There were times almost every day it seemed. Little things like working around the house, yard, or cars. It seems like something always needed fixing and he could fix anything. Unfortunately for my wife I did not inherit that skill. He also involved me in his hobbies such as “ham radio”, and computers. On the weekends he would carry me hunting and we would spend time in the car on the way and back just talking.

You never realize what a priority that was in his life until you have a job, responsibilities, and a family. What makes that so different than today’s world is that we make such a big deal when we spend time with our kids. We make sure everyone knows about it, we facebook about it, and tweet about it. For him we were just doing life together. It was a natural flow and not some event to be broadcast. He actually enjoyed spending the time with me.

My Father also loved my mother. As a child you do not realize how special this is until you meet those whose life is not like yours. I never saw my parents fight although I am sure there were times when they disagreed about things; they never created an environment where you were afraid. It was a very stable house.

My Father also made sure we made it to church each week. He was a deacon and a leader. He also became my R.A. Director (Royal Ambassador) at church when I went through that program. He not only invested in me, but many other young men as well who always seemed to say how much he meant to them as well when we would see them years later. He gave time – the one commodity that is more precious than money and the one thing you cannot replace with money or gifts.

Thanks for the heritage Dad !

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Bruce Update and Man In the Mirror

Today I am celebrating my friends 50th birthday at the Siteman Cancer Center in St Louis. We are here for a check up after his bone marrow transplant back in October.  This is an incredible place and they do some amazing work. I tell Bruce “Next year instead of going to the doctor lets go for a run to celebrate your birthday. Maybe we could do 5.1 miles for 51 years”. I explain to him that I think that is a reasonable goal for him and would worry about him trying to do 51 miles. He gives me one of those looks like “ yea, you think I am the hold up?!” I am sensitive about my friends that way.

I am sitting here in the waiting room looking at all of the people. There are seven floors of nothing but cancer patients. We are just in the part where they draw blood and there are three waiting rooms full. As I look around I see friends and family here supporting their loved ones. I see caregivers who are very tired, sleeping and many with bags under their eyes. You can see and feel their stress. Young people and old people, some with hair and some without- cancer hits them all. It does not take long to realize just how blessed I am sitting here among these heroes.

It is three weeks before Christmas. For some they are excited for what they will get to celebrate this year. Others are wondering if this will be the last Christmas they spend with loved ones and some know that this will be their last Christmas. Some thing’s in life are gradual and some things like my friends life – change literally overnight. Five minutes in this waiting room will change your perspective on life and what is really important.  Me ? – I can’t wait to get home tonight and hug my family.

As a funny side note. Bruce and I were in the elevator heading down to breakfast and this couple looks up and the man says I look like I could be the brother of a friend of his. I laugh a little and say “ I am assuming he must be a great looking guy?” and they grin and say yes. They tell me he is a comedian. I respond and tell them some days that is close for me as well – I am a minister. He asks where I serve and I tell him. He then informs me that he has a men’s ministry “Man In the Mirror” and his name is Patrick Morley. I am blown away and tell him I have read a lot of his material. He thanks me and says it is good to meet us. We get off on the ground floor and we go different directions.  You just never know who you will run into.

Bruce is making good progress and his numbers are looking up. They are adjusting his medications and each day he gets stronger. He has a great attitude and his determination to get back to triathlons is strong and empowering. However,  I think what I admire most is how he is letting God use this in his life. The conversations he is having  with others and his daily walk are great examples. God is always with us.

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