Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What's Your Opinion?

I remember one of the first times I stood in front of my very first middle school group as their Youth Minister, sharing about how we should treat each other. I was using Philippians 2:3-5 as my text. And looking back, I'm not sure I had a clue as too what I was doing... (I was pretty much sharing my opinion.)
In that passage of scripture it tells us: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

Powerful words I thought. We should treat others as we would want to be treated. We should treat others the way Jesus would treat them. (I should have thought that one through and distributed wristbands with the letters WWJD. But, someone else ran with that idea a couple of decades later.)

I went on to tell the middle school students about the dangers of selfish ambition. Little did I know that most middle schooler's greatest ambition was to get out of homework and sluff-off their chores. Ah, and vain conceit... I'm glad they didn't know what that meant, because I sure didn't!

Since that Wednesday evening in the mid-1970's, when I thought I had a good understanding of God's Word, I have come to find out that there are many great truths in those verses for all Believers.

In our relationships with others, which are driven by our conversations (verbal, texted, posted, and commented on), It's good to remember these life-principles:
  • Don't be selfish in conversation. Allow others to express themselves without our quick response about us. A good way to check how we are doing with this: How many times do you use the words I, me, my, mine, and I'm in our conversations? (Again, which includes verbal, texted, posted, and commented on.)
  • Be humble. Just because we know the right answer doesn't mean we have to share it. Our opinion is sometimes just that: our opinion. Share truth, not what we think.
  • Value others. (Including valuing their stories above ourselves and our stories.) When someone shares a story, concern, idea, or opinion, don't be so quick to follow with our own story, concern, idea, or opinion.
  • Be interested in other's interests. Don't be so quick to share about your interest.
  • Treat others the way Jesus would when He interacted with others. (Read the Gospels... There is a wealth examples of the way Jesus treated others.)
Here are a couple of takeaways to try:

  • When someone says something, force yourself to simply listen and smile without any comment or response with your story.
  • When someone posts something, resist the urge to say you like that, you own that, you've had that (or your mom did), or that bothers you too. A simple wow, thumbs-up emoji  or pressing the "like" button proves humility, keeps us from being selfish and conceited, and values others over ourselves.
Keep your opinion to yourself, and... LeadWell!

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Red Badge Of Courage, Revisited

I remember reading the book "The Red Badge Of Courage" in Jr. High School. I remember being captivated by the main character Henry, who fled a Civil War battle because of cowardice. And throughout the story, because of the shame of his cowardly act, he sought a war wound, a "red badge of courage" so to speak, to erase his guilt and humiliation.
Did you realize that most people, including most Believers also seek to wear a "badge" throughout their lives. But it is not a badge of courage, but rather a badge of defeat. 

There isn't a week that goes by that when I ask someone how they are doing, they give a "barely getting by" response: Still breathing. I'm making it. I'll survive.


It seems that most Believers live lives of defeat, limits, and emptiness. "Glass half-full" is how one of my friends puts it. And they enjoy living there: Let me complain... You think you've got it bad... Pity me.


But we don't have to live with that outlook...


Jesus said in John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


We think that Jesus came so we can have our sins forgiven, and then hold on and hope for the best until we get to heaven. But that is an incorrect theology. The above verse, and so many others in God's Word, tell us that Jesus came to give us life to the fullest: Abundant life!


We don't have to live defeated, limited, and empty. Rather, we can live lives of victory, abundance, and freedom. We don't have to wait until the weekend, or until we get our "beach therapy" to find life, rest, and purpose. We don't have to wait until football season to have something to be passionate about. We can have a full life every moment of every day.


It's all about perspective... and faith. We must know what God says in His Word about us, about the life He has for us, and how to continually walk in that life.


Do you want to wear a "badge" so all can know who you really are? Don't wear the badge of defeat. Wear the badge of full life! Lead Well!


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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Are You Safe?

The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe. (Proverbs 18:10)
This powerful verse from the book of Proverbs should be an encouragement and an exhortation to all of us. There is hope, life, and truth in this verse. Here are some of those truths…

The Name of the Lord: Many Christians tag all of their prayers with a quick “in Jesus’ Name, amen.” without considering the power behind that short phrase. When we call on the Name of the Lord, heaven stops and God’s attention is focused on us. When we say “Lord”, He says, “Here I Am”.

Strong Tower: God is a refuge for all Believers. He’s an impenetrable fortress that protects, defends, and covers. Picture a mountain fortress that has no outside access, yet is full of abundant provision and supply. Nothing can get in to harm us, and yet we still go through the exit and “play in front of the enemy” instead of resting in the safe place of the Lord's Presence.

The Righteous: Here is where the responsibility falls on us. We must seek to live righteously. Many Believers live their lives the way they want, and then when trouble hits, they cry out “Help!” We must take on the responsibility of becoming the righteous people that God has called us to be. Being a Child of God does not give us a free pass to live the way we want.

Is Safe: Safety needs to be experienced always, not just when we are in need of help. While driving, we don’t move over and drive on the wrong side of the road when no cars are coming. We know that safety is experienced when we stay between the lines of our lane. In the same way, God wants us to experience the safety of His protection all of the time, and not only when we have a problem or a need.

May we call out on the Name of the Lord, hide in His tower of protection, and stay there.  Always… Lead Well!

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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Taming The Tongue

I have said in this space before, one of the top axioms I try to live by is: Be interested, not interesting. What I mean by this is keep my mouth shut and listen to others, rather than speaking and expecting others to listen to me.
Do you ever find yourself following another person’s comment (both verbal and social media) with, “That happened to me.” or “I like, I did, I have…” We are seeking to be interesting. We are saying: Listen to me about my life.

A good example of this happened when I was listening to a conversation. One person said, "They just found out my Mom has cancer." The other person immediately responded with, "My Mom died of cancer." (ouch!)

Too often we quickly follow another person's comment with a statement or story from our own lives.

Relating the other person's comment to us very rarely enhances their lives. All we are doing is telling the other person how their experience relates to us. We are essentially saying, "It's not about you, it's about me."

Good Believers, good leaders, good parents, good conversationalists, and good friends are interested more than they are interesting. Being interested makes it about others. Being interesting makes it about self.

And when we do speak, consider affirming, encouraging, supporting, and exhorting the other person. In other words, be interested in their lives. Don’t immediately turn the conversation to make it about you and your life.

Ask the other person to tell us why they enjoyed a restaurant they just mentioned (don't tell them about your favorite restaurant). When a person tells of their vacation, ask them to tell you more (rather than telling about your vacation). 

But if they are critical of something or someone, don't join in on the crjiticism and/or gossip. (Remember: gossip includes speaking about people we don't know personally: politicians, celebrities, people who cut us off in traffic, etc.)

Be a positive influence, not a spreader of negativity.

There is great wisdom in what the writer of Proverbs says in 10:17: Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.

May we listen more, speak less, and be much more interested than interestingLead Well!


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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Perspective And Faith

“When will this week be over?” “I can’t wait for the school year to end.” “Could you believe the poor service at that restaurant?” “I can’t stand all of this traffic!”
If we are honest, statements like these work themselves into our conversations, every day. We hear ourselves using these very words to describe our lives. We get annoyed. We get impatient. We don’t like what is happening to us.

And with good reason: Life is difficult.

But as Believers, perhaps we ought to be using different words. Words like:

  • Thank you for my job, Lord.
  • When I am finished with this school year, I will need to find another place to influence people for the Kingdom.
  • I wonder how I can pray for our server?
  • Lord, protect all the drivers on the road.
I have found that how we view the situations where we find ourselves can be simplified into two things: Perspective and Faith.

Perspective: How do I view the situation that I find myself in? Am I expecting the world to revolve around me, or revolve around God and other people? Is this about me or about others?

Faith: Do I really believe that God is working on my behalf to make me more like Christ? Do I really believe all that God says in His Word? Am I demonstrating the way I believe?

Here’s another good question to ask ourselves: Am I talking about how big my problems are, or am I talking about how big my God is? Lead Well!

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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Inda 2017: Epiblog

Here are some highlights from my 15th mission trip to India:

Sharing Christ at a large outdoor crusade...

Praying for the sick...

Conducting Medical Camps in the Himalayas...

Sharing Christ through an interpreter after a worship service...

Commissioning a Sewing Center helping Muslim women develop a skill...

Enjoying Kashmiri Tea...

Connecting with Leaders in Kashmir...

Meeting and being blessed by a 125 year old Believer...

Reconnecting with my good friend, leader, and "Hero" Kelu...































It was an extraordinary time of ministry and mission. I am privileged to go and minister among the people of India, especially the Kashmiri people. As my wife says, "When Brad goes to India, God does miracles and he gets to watch!"

Would you like to be a part of the ongoing ministry in India? The work doesn't stop when I return to the USA. You can click on the "Donate" button at the top right of this page, or send checks to me at PO Box 2125, Ft. Oglethorpe, GA 30742. (Please write "India Mission" in the memo line of the check.) Thank you for blessing me!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

India 2017, #2

On Friday evening, we conducted the outdoor evangelistic meeting in a small village that grew red peppers.  Preach the word and prayed for everyone present…

On Saturday, we kicked off VBS at Ecclesia Church, and unfortunately had to cancel our evening outdoor village meeting because of your new radicals.

 We just finished Sunday morning to services at Ecclesia. Worshipped, preached the Word, and had a great experience in the Presence of God! 

Friday, April 21, 2017

India 2017, #1

Finally arrived in India via London, after 2 flights and 24+ hours! Very glad to be here! (It is 11:00 am on Friday as I write.)

We still had a 2.5 hour trip by car from the airport to Pastor Daniel's home & church campus. Ate some fruit and took a much-needed bucket shower. We leave in a few minutes to perform a wedding. (I'm glad I come to India ready for anything...)

This evening we conduct an evangelistic open air meeting in a village church. Then, I'll catch up on some sleep.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I love India!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

India Video Blog

I'll  be leaving for my 15th mission trip to India on April 19th. Click on this link to get a small glimpse of India and the ministry there: India Video Blog




Would you like to help financially? You can click on the "Donate" button at the top right of this page, or send checks to me at PO Box 2125, Ft. Oglethorpe, GA 30742. (Please write "India Mission" in the memo line of the check.) Thank you for blessing me!