American Foundations? Part 2

In honor of the July 4th holiday I am going to continue the theme I began in my last blog about America’s Christian history. Like it or not, it is impossible to deny the roots of this nation are solidly anchored in Christianity and the God of the Bible. In fact, anyone who has been to Washington, DC and kept their eyes opened has seen what I am about to share. Not one thing I mention is made up or elaborated to make it seem more than what it is. This IS America and I am proud of that fact.

Nearly every corner of the Capital building, and other structures throughout our nation’s capital, clearly point to our Christian heritage as our source of national strength. The architects who were commissioned by our government to build these things were given specific instructions to ensure that future generations would know what beliefs and practices had made this nation great. If our founders went to such great lengths to permanently fix these truths before our eyes, how can we expect to thrive and find our place of world leadership once again if we willfully ignore the very things that brought us there in the first place?

The Capitol Building itself in Washington, DC points to the Lord’s presence in our national history. In the House Chamber is the inscription, “In God We Trust”. Above the Gallery door is a marble relief of Moses, surrounded by 20 other lawgivers from history. At the east entrance to the Senate chamber are these Latin words, “Annuit Coeptis”, which means “He (God) Has Favored Our Undertakings”. Over the southern entrance to the Senate chamber are the Words “In God We Trust”.

In The Rotunda are the paintings of  “The Baptism Of Pocahontas” and “The Embarkation Of The Pilgrims” which clearly shows William Brewster leading the pilgrims in prayer to God. In an open Bible in this picture are the words “The New Testament According to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ”. In this same painting are the words “God With Us” on the sail of the ship.

The Capitol has a Christian chapel that is available so our lawmakers can go in and pray and meditate on Scripture to get God”s heart for the laws they pass. In that chapel is a stained-glass window showing George Washington in prayer under the inscription “This Nation Under God”. Psalm 16:1 from the Bible is etched on that window: “Preserve me, God for in Thee do I put my trust”. And… do you know what is at the top of the Washington Monument, the tallest structure in Washington? On the east facing side of the Washington Monument, the thing that catches the first rays of sunlight every morning, is the Latin inscription, “Laus deo” which means, “Praise Be To God”!

Only the willfully ignorant atheist, the mentally incompetent or the blind foreigner who does not know English could possibly believe that Christianity is not at the root and in every foundation of the United States. Unless we physically destroy these structures where our lawmakers meet and what they walk past daily, they will continue to stand as a witness to the truth. These things have defined to every generation what our founding fathers believed and practiced. Like it or not, these are the facts and this IS America. To believe anything else simply means you have believed a bold-faced lie, and it’s time to change!

America, the real America, is Christian in it’s foundation and real Americans are Biblical in their approach to governing this great  nation. Those who do not have this belief system as their own should not be in any position of political authority since they are at odds with the core values so clearly displayed by our founding fathers.  Unless we as a nation embrace this fact, and demonstrate by our vote that we agree with this truth, we will go the way of every other nation that has arrogantly forgotten God.

My conclusion? Unless there is another great Biblical awakening in this nation the day will come when our own rebellion and defiance of God will bring us to the tipping-point of destruction. If we fail to be broken in spirit at that time, and still refuse to turn to the One who loves us and died for our sins, this nation will be no more. My questions is, why do we need to get to that point? Why not learn what we must from history, embrace our foundation and align ourselves with it?

If your eyes and heart are open, and you really can see the truth of what I have said, then you know the future is in your hands with every vote you cast. My prayer is that we will vote from a Biblical worldview and once again be a nation that walks in God’s blessing demonstrating that our motto “In God We Trust” is once again a living reality.

American Foundations The Bible?

I begin this blog today with a direct quote from one of the most loved and famous Americans in all of American history.  As you read this quote I want you to consider the thoughts and emotions that begin to rise up and roll around inside you. Then, ask yourself why?  The answer may shock you, but read on please …..

“Let my soul watch for the coming of the Lord Jesus; let my bed put me in mind of my grave, and my rising from there of my last resurrection. O heavenly Father, so frame this heart of mine, that I may ever delight to live according to Thy will and command, in holiness and righteousness before Thee all the days of my life. Let me remember, O Lord, the time will come when the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise and stand before the judgment seat, and give an account of whatever they have done in the body, and let me so prepare my soul, that I may do it with joy and not with grief…. I beseech thee for the sake of my dear Redeemer in whose most holy words, I farther pray….”

Do you find these words disturbing? Do they make you feel somewhat uncomfortable or uneasy because they are so passionately religious? Do you have a feeling in the pit of your stomach that somehow these words have no place in American government, or on the lips of anyone genuinely considering a career in public office? If so, then you have bought a bold-faced lie, and been sold a false bill of goods by those who have rewritten American history and redirected the very essence of what America was designed to be…. One Nation Under God!

Who wrote these soul-searching, humble words? Was it a fire and brimstone preacher of the 1700’s who was trying to snatch souls from the poisonous touch of the devil? Perhaps it was a monk who was hidden away in a monastery seeking to live a penitent, simple life away from the corruption of a sinful world. No… it was a twenty year old soldier who in 1752, was wanting to live his life in perfect alignment and harmony with the God of his Salvation. That twenty year old was none other than the one who would one day become the father of our nation, and our first president. It was George Washington! Does  that shock you??

These words were penned by Washington’s own hand in a prayer journal that he kept. That journal was sold at auction several years ago and has been authenticated as having come directly from Washington himself. Imagine if you will, any of our current politicians writing or speaking such a thing. Imagine this being included in every history book in America since it is a true reflection of the heart of our founding fathers, and the core beliefs that established our form of government. Does that seem impossible, unthinkable and illegal to you???

If you answered yes to the above then you now know just how far we as a nation have fallen. This divine experiment we call “American Democracy”, was all designed by Christians. In fact, our own history records that it was Benjamin Franklin who convinced that first assembly of patriots to stop and pray, and ask for God’s help when they were deadlocked in drawing up our founding documents. Our foundation was anchored upon the truths of Scripture, and our founding Fathers knew that America could not work and would not last outside of the moral, ethical and spiritual structure provided only by biblical truth.

I am convinced that we are running out of time. The godless leaders we have elected to public office, have in turn enacted godless laws that are fundamentally changing the core, the vision, the hope and the future of our nation. If you doubt this then consider what John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson on June 28th 1813. “The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence were the only principles in which that beautiful assembly of young men could unite…And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity”.

The upcoming elections this November, and the presidential election that follows in 2016, will determine a great deal. I dare say, they will determine more than most of us could ever imagine. The outcome of these will define whether we even exist as a Christian nation, or remain a stronghold of freedom and a beacon of hope in an increasingly dangerous world. As we have become systematically secularized, and believed the lie that Christianity has no place in government, even the most uneducated can see that we have also declined morally, socially and economically. Pick up any newspaper on any given day, and you will see the truth of this splashed across the headlines.

The question I am forced to ask, and the one we all must ask ourselves before the next elections come, is quite simple. How far down into this mud-hole of godless self-destruction can we go before the blessing and guidance of God is lifted off our nation? History has numerous examples of societies who chose to forget God and reject His design for their existence. The end results have never been good. When a nation fails to fulfill it’s God-given purpose, then it has no purpose, no vision and no reason to exist. Without a vision, or reason to exist, a nation begins to devour itself and soon becomes another footnote in the history books of other nations. Is this what we want for America? How much you pray and how well you vote will determine the answer!

The above quotes came from “George Washington:The Christian”, by William J. Johnson, Christian Liberty Press, publisher, & “In God We Still Trust:, by Dr. Richard G. Lee, Countryman Publishing, Page 185

Being In The Right Place

I often have an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time. Strange things just seem to happen that don’t often manifest in the lives of others. Some may call it a divine coincidence while the skeptics just fluff it off as pure chance. I however, see something much greater in all these situations. I have always been fascinated by all that God has made. His creativity and diversity is absolutely amazing, and I deeply appreciate every nuance of it. I believe God enjoys showing me just a few of the amazing things He can do. I am an “audience of one” and He continually says, “Hey Bill, take a look at this! What do you think?” Let me give you just a few examples and you can judge for yourself.

I once was less than 10 feet away from a 3-foot diameter ball-lightening that came sizzling down the river. It hit the metal bridge I was standing on and boiled the water where it went into the ground. Fish floated to the surface completely dead yet I was fine. On a clear day a small tornado about 50 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter came roaring down with the sound of a jet engine and cleared the treetops. It dropped down on the water and passed within a few feet of the canoe my wife and I were in. The thing threw up a spray of water, weeds and cattail fuzz, but we were untouched.

Want a few more? A massive bolt of lightning hit a large rock fireplace 15 feet from where I was sitting. Every hair on my body stood straight up and stones the size of my head were blasted into the air. I was momentarily deaf and blind from the flash and concussion. When I came to my senses I saw that fragments of rock and large stones had been driven a foot or more into the hillside right behind me, but not one thing had hit me. How about this one?  My wife and I were in our canoe one day and a wild duck flew right in alongside us. It stuck with us for the better part of an hour. When I started up our electric trolling motor and we glided off, it continued to fly right next to us just above the water, refusing to leave.

The list could go on and on but I am sure you get the point. I seem to continually experience the most bizarre and unusual things, and I love it. It keeps my life exciting, it keeps me alert and I am in awe of all that surrounds me in the natural and spiritual world. In fact, three days ago I had another interesting encounter that showed me just how good God is. I am certain that only He could have set this one in motion and I am so glad I actually got to participate in this one as it unfolded.

My phone rang, and that’s not unusual, but the area code was not one I have ever called. In my mind I was thinking “Oh great a telemarketer has gotten my cell number”. I was about to hit the reject button when I had a “knowing” I was supposed to take this particular call. Against my normal actions I picked up the line and said, “hello?” The moment I did there was a noise at the other end that sounded like someone had just had the breath sucked right out of them.

The tone of the voice I heard next was part fear and part unexplained expectation that had a hint of pure terror in it. A young woman said, “Hello? Hello? Who is this?” I was caught off guard by the urgency of the request so I also hesitated for a moment to respond. Finally I said, “Did you intend to call (and I stated my number)? “Yes, yes” she replied, “that’s the exact number I dialed. Who is this? Are you…..”. and then her sentence trailed off with no ending. Once again I responded, “Well who were you calling?” Then what she told me brought the entire conversation into focus.

This had always been her grandpa’s phone number and when I answered, for just a split second she thought I was him. I actually sounded like him in so many ways and even the tone of my voice made her think that she may have somehow made a divine connection to this man she so dearly loved. You see, her grandpa had died back in March and his phone had never been turned off. She would call his number once in a while, when she really missed him, just so she could hear his voice on the answering machine and be comforted. When I pickup up the line, and my voice sounded like his, well… you can imagine it was quite a shock.

We talked for quite a while. During our conversation I told her that I was a pastor and she actually choked up a bit when she heard this. Apparently she had been looking for some sign that her grandpa might be in heaven. I discovered that in her mind I was that sign, and now she was at peace. When we said our final “good-by” she said, “I’m so glad a pastor has my grandpa’s number. He was such a wonderful man. It makes me feel good to know this little part of him is still here even though he is gone. God bless you pastor, and thank you.” And I said “Your are welcome my dear, call this number any time.”

Could God use a phone number and a stranger on the other end to bring comfort to a young woman in a time of distress? Absolutely! If you understand His creativity and boundless love for His creation, you also know that nothing is impossible for Him. He can reach across the miles, restore the missing years, heal a broken heart and bridge the gap between the living and the dead. He is just amazing and that’s why I get so excited when I can see and even participate in the little miracles He does.

How about you? Are you amazed and delighted by the creativity found in His creation? Are you still touched by the beauty before you and moved by the wonder of the life that is all around you? If you have lost that amazing sense of expectancy then let me encourage you to begin looking for it again. Take a moment to pause and see all the incredible things that are happening all around you. Slow down and participate in life, don’t just move through it. Take a chance, start a conversation with a stranger, become present to the moment and enjoy the journey. Who knows, today you might become someone’s answer to prayer!

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Boot Tracks Of Life

Every now and then we all need time to ourselves. It has to be a day, or at least the better part of one where it’s just you and a quiet place where no other human soul is near by. For me, this time and place of solitude happened Saturday where I spent the afternoon on one of my favorite trout streams. It was a perfect early summer day and I took my motorcycle a few hours north into the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. The water was crisp and cold, the sky was a deep blue as a few clouds floated by and the trout were biting. Other than being with my wife, this is my favorite place to be in all the world.

For nearly 30 years I have fished this particular stream and I have never, ever seen another living soul on it. What I have seen year after year, is one set of boot tracks other than my own. They would show up, just like me, about four or five times during the trout season. I would drive to my stream and there they were, a size 8 or 9 Vibram-soled boot tracks moving from one deep hole to the next. This interloper went to exactly the same hidden spots I had found and it really irritated me. Honestly it felt like the stream had somehow been defied by another, and on more than one occasion I almost abandoned it.

Why, you might ask? To begin with every old-school trout fishermen like myself, is a purist. That is, they know a secret trout stream really is a sacred thing and they keep it that way. It’s a place where your soul is refreshed and your mind renewed. Here you breathe in the deep, earthy smells of the forest and appreciate the beauty of what God has made. You can still sip the ice-cold water that has been purified as it tumbles over a thousand rocks. I can’t explain why, but when you bow your head and drink this holy water, it satisfies more than just your thirst. It reconnects you with the basics of life and says, “welcome home son”. Every time I kneel in this place of solitude to drink, I meet with God, and I feel His pleasure because I have come once again to enjoy His creation.

Saturday, as I got near “my stream”, a very old green truck was parked on the dirt road where I usually park. And… there they were, those boot tracks going from it right to the bank of my stream. I was upset as I fished and I followed the tracks down stream to where a massive glacial boulder sits in the middle of the stream. The tracks had stopped for a moment, turned upstream, and then moved on. I pulled some huge, native brook trout from this deep hole and my heart sank when I realized that my mystery man had been there. I was glad that for some unknown reason he had not fished it, but non the less he had been there, and that was enough to upset the balance of nature. This was just wrong and I was the man to set it right.

I quickly baited my hook and had just flipped my night-crawler into the water when something caught my eye. Down stream about 300 yards was the owner of the boots. I could hardly believe my eyes. After all the years we were finally about to meet face to face.  I wanted to let him know I was not happy about the unmitigated gall of him fishing “my stream”. I finally pulled a nice trout out of the water and then I sat down on a rock to study the one who had eluded me for so long. I was on a mission to uncover who this man was and why he had invaded my private world.

I could see by his use of a walking stick that he was very old and needed it to keep from stumbling into the stream. He had a fishing poll in the other hand and a handmade wicker creel, just like mine, slung over his right shoulder. He moved with a painful ease from rock to rock that really surprised me. I watched in amazement as he stopped mid-stream to balance himself so he could send his line into a hole that was right below him. I had fished this stream hundreds times and never noticed that particular spot. How could that be? The fluid dexterity of his cast, and the precision of where his worm landed, told me this was no ordinary “old man”. I felt like I was watching a secret symphony and he was the master conductor. His pole was the baton and it was clear that he alone knew how to pull the very best music out of what the stream had to offer

I finally approached the man and he glanced up, quietly nodded and smiled at me. I sat there stunned as he pulled a beautiful 14 inch, native speckled trout out of a place I had walked by for years and never noticed. The shock of white hair that protruded out from under his water-stained Fedora caught the breeze has he slid the beautiful, flopping fish down through the opening in his creel. Then to my surprise his weathered hand reach out and shook mine and he said “My name’s Jim, … so you’re that other set of tracks that have been on my stream all these years”. Huh???? On His Stream???

We sat there on this beautiful day and enjoy each others company. He told me he had seen my tracks for the first time nearly 30 years ago and always wondered who I was. He never tried to “catch” me because he saw how I respected his stream. I never left trash, never brought anyone with me and only came a few times during the season so as not to over-fish things. He liked that so much, he had left me alone. Then he honored me with something I did not expect. He said, “I could tell you were just like me, You love this place, so I decided to let you share “my stream”. Now that I’ve met you I’m glad I did”.

I discovered Jim was 92 years old and had fished this steam for nearly 80 years. It had been a very good run for him but this was to be his last fishing trip. He was in the end stages of cancer and had very little time left. When he awoke that morning and realized it was probably his last good day on earth, he decided to spend it on “his stream”, and …….. I am so glad he did.

The afternoon sun moved across the sky and finally Jim and I prepared to part company. We shook hands once again and as we did, Jim said, “well I guess this is going to be your steam now Bill. Take good care of her and she will take care of you.” With that, Jim leaned on his walking stick and painfully headed back upstream to his truck. I watched him as he went. He stopped every so often and looked around, knowing it was his last adventure. I am sure he was remembering that past 80 years and the hours he had spent in this unchanging sanctuary as all the world had changed around it.

As he rounded the bend and was just about to disappear from sight he turned to watch me make my next cast into a deep, clear pool. Then he waved a final good by and was gone. At that moment a thought crossed my mind, “The baton has been passed and I am now the conductor on “our” stream in this river symphony.”… And as that thought surfaced in my mind a nice speckled trout hit my line. Somehow I knew I had caught that one for Jim ….and I was now the conductor,… and the stream was now playing its symphony of life for me.

My question for you today is this; “what boot tracks have you left in the lives of others”? If you happen to encounter any of them on the river of your life, will that meeting leave a lasting impression that is good or bad? If you develop your character and your compassion, then you will be like Jim who passed the baton on to me with honor and sincerity. If you don’t, then you will defile every life stream you walk in and leave no life song but pain and empty regret. Now is the time to make those changes so your boot tracks will be a blessing even to strangers you may encounter in your last moments of life. Live your life well, and let your river symphony, your life song pass that blessing along . Life is way too short to live it any other way!

A Change Of Season

Everything has its own season. Birth, childhood, growth, career, old age and death all have their time and place in our existence here on planet earth. The river of time keeps flowing and there is little we can do about it. I was hit today by just how consistent that transition is, and how quickly it can happen. I realized how one season can blend into the next when I stopped to eat breakfast this morning at my favorite diner, Pete’s Sandwich Shop.

Pete’s was founded in 1905 in Johnstown, NY by the Agnostopolus family. It has been an uninterrupted fixture here on Main Street for the past 108 years. In fact, it was founded the year my father as born, so it holds a special place in my heart for that reason. The father handed it off to his son and daughter, John and Jean, who are now 86 and 91 years of age. Jean has lived her entire life in the apartment connect to that place and never felt the need to marry. John spent his life there as well, but He married and had several children. One of John’s sons, Mike, now runs this family business. Today I saw Mike sitting at the counter while someone else was behind it serving up breakfast for those who have been loyal to this place for decades. That simple change to this family’s amazing legacy was a reminder of how quickly seasons fly by.

What struck me was how this changing of the guard happened while I was absent. My life has been very busy and it has been months since I stopped in to get breakfast. The prices have changed since I first went there in August of 1986, and that was to be expected. Two eggs, two slices of toast and two cups of coffee are no longer $1.82. That changed happened about 8 years ago and I had to adjust. My old booth was still there and all else looked as it has for the past 60 years. But, there behind the counter were two new faces, and as stupid as it may sound, that difference was a bit unsettling. Then I learned the young man was Mike’s son, and the young lady was his girlfriend. Family is family so that allowed me to make yet another acceptable shift in reality and life made sense once again. The legacy was being passed along and I could flow with that.

The real impact came when I asked Mike where John and Jean were. He said that John only came in once or twice a week now just to get coffee, chat with friends and serve a few of us old-timers. At age 86 I guess I can accept that with a grain of salt and give him the grace to back off. He has been opening for breakfast at 5:30am all these years so he deserves to sleep in at this point in his life. However, when Mike said that Jean had been placed in an adult retirement home in Amsterdam 3 months earlier, something in me was shaken to the core. A permanent change had taken place after 91 years of constancy, and there was no going back. Jean would never again be behind that counter, bent by age but smiling and informative of the town’s business, as she brought morning coffee. I would never again see her watering the ancient plants in the sunny storefront windows, or hear her evaluation of world events. She had aged, as we all have, and that passage of time had finally taken its toll. A season had come and gone and I had been distracted and missed the transition.

What seasonal transitions are now happening in your life, or the lives of those you love? Do you really, and I mean really know? If you live in a place of continual distraction, or unbalanced focus, you will be unconscious to those changes when they come, and that makes a huge difference. Without you seeing so much as a blip on the radar screen, significant things can begin or end in the lives of others, and your input into that transition will be lost forever. My experience was relatively minor, but consider the things that are now happening to those closest to you. Have you been absent when you could have made a real difference in their future by being there at a turning point in their life?

This is one of life’s great questions and only you can provide the answer. My hope is that you will make the necessary adjustments so you can “be there” and help those you love through the places of transition. Seasons will come and go, and opportunities may be missed at times, but the life we have is at it’s best when we invest our time in others. How is your human investment portfolio doing these days? Will you be happy with it’s return? If not, then you might want to reconsider your strategy and decided today that you will just be there when it counts. The future of those you love depends on it, so don’t drop the ball!

The Simple Things In Life

Today is the 16th of June and it is a beautiful early summer day. The sun is just coming up, the trees are filled with lush green leaves and my garden out back is doing very well. I am sipping on my early morning cup of “Adirondack Coffee”. For those of you who never lived in the Adirondacks Mountains that’s hot coffee with a tablespoon of maple syrup and a nice helping of light cream. The busy day has not yet begun and I am just relaxing in the solace of the moment. I am sitting in the stillness, enjoying a few simple things like prayer for my family and friends, and the peace that resided in our house. It is these things that make my life rich and memorable.

It is during these quiet times, that I find myself considering the important things of life, the simple things that really matter. For instance, yesterday was Father Day and I was deeply impacted by all that went on. They were not huge by Hollywood standards, but in my heart and in the heart of God they were profound and gave me lasting memories. A T-bone steak seasoned and cooked to perfection on my grill. Shrimp sautéed in garlic and butter by my wife. A salad made of fresh lettuce, kale and chives from my garden and best of all, time to share all this with my beautiful wife on a magnificent Sunday afternoon.

The day was rich with honor, and words of encouragement were spoken that were life changing. I was blessed by my wife with a card and breakfast in bed. She is an amazing woman and her continual acts of kindness have enriched my life. I was honored by hearing from all three of my sons during the day. They reminded me of how much they love me and respect the life I have lived….every father needs this! The church rose up with additional honor and respect for me as the father of the House. Men and women in the congregation spoke to me and prayed for me with tears in their eyes. They shared how I had impacted their lives and set an example before them for the kind of husband they wanted, or the kind of man or father they aspired to be. It was amazing and deeply touching.

What struck me was that the simple things in life I have done for others is what made all the difference. It was the kind words I spoke to a young lady just when she needed it. It was just being there for my sons when they were unsure and seeking direction. It was showing up to help change a flat tire or take someone to work when it was raining. It was faithfully serving and standing, loving and forgiving when everyone else was doing the opposite. It was holding my ground in difficult situations and being an anchor of stability that brought confidence and peace in troubled times. I didn’t always have the answer, but for some reason at times I was the answer, and that was enough.

Never take for granted the simple things in life. They are the very framework upon which the most meaningful and memorable events of living are most often hung. When we slow down from the pursuit of great things, and relish the moment of a simple thing, we have just uncovered the real treasure of life. These simple acts of kindness might not be the stuff of a block-buster movie, but they are the things that God has given all of us to profoundly change lives and make life worth living. When all is said and done, perhaps the simple things in life are not so simple after all…. 🙂

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True Leadership

Any form of leadership is always based upon people positioning themselves to answer that call, and then walking it out as the responsibilities require. Those who are currently leaders in our church also need to be walking in the truth of what follows. If they can’t do so then they need evaluate why and make the needed changes, or honor God by stepping down from a calling they are not fulfilling. So then, let me put my thoughts down in writing so you can see the specifics of what is looked for in anyone who aspires to be a leader.

To being with, those who are called to be any kind of leadership have a universal standard to meet that I will identify as being biblical. This foundation is in the bedrock of all who are recognized before God and embraced by men. The patterns that are established is what we look for in those who say they want to answer that call. Once that is clearly manifested in someone’s life, the leadership in them is easily recognized. Until then, the potential to be a leader continues to remain just that, an untapped potential.

Everyone can evaluate themselves to see if they are consistently walking in these principles. In this way each will have an honest answer for those who may want to know “why am I not in leadership?” Use the list below as a guide to assist you in your desire to answer the call. The cry to lead that is surfacing in your heart may be valid, but the ability to do what it requires may not. Only you know the truth and once that is faced nothing can hold you back!

The Leadership Lifestyle

#1. Leaders are consistently early or at the very least arrive on time. This is how they demonstrate to everyone they can be depended upon. It also declares that they really do want to assist where needed. In this way leaders can help with unexpected problems and serve others. It allows the flow of that day to go smoothly so the needs of the people can be joyfully met.

#2. Leaders are faithful to carry out responsibilities in their own department. They build a solid team that can smoothly carry that department when they are not there. If a department is not run smoothly and it is not growing stronger, that means there is no leadership being demonstrated. Real leadership never gives reasons why things are not right. Real leadership provides innovative solutions that make sure things are right. Genuine leadership in a little thing opens the door for trusted leadership in a bigger thing.

#3. Leaders are faithful in giving, both financially and personally in all seasons of life. Giving is the absolute foundation of our Christianity. It’s our first baby step in serving others and in trusting God. Good financial stewardship and good time management demonstrates to God that you will not rob Him of either. They also demonstrate to the church that you will faithfully support its vision and provide for its leaders.

#4. Leaders are involved with and directly engaged in the prayer life of the church. Jesus said that the church He was building, the one the gates of hell could not prevail against, was a House of prayer. It is not and never will be a house of busy works, rushed activities and last minute crises management. Spiritual leaders understand this and are involved in prayer times when they happen. They see prayer as a priority in life and join in because it is the life blood of all they do. Leaders set this good example for the congregation to follow.

#5. Leaders are consistently available to serve the congregation and help lift the load without being asked. Leadership by it’s very nature means people are available to serve and they do it because they love the church and the people who go there. If life continually takes someone away from their place of service then it means one of two things; #1.  they are way too busy and God needs to reorder their life or #2. leadership is not a priority because they only want the recognition and not the responsibility it demands. No one can lead were they are not consistently available to serve.

#6. Leaders are directly involved in the life of the church. Leaders love being involved in small groups and gatherings outside of Sunday morning. They tend to invite others home for lunch or call others to just connect and see how they are doing. They love being involved in the lives of the people or the ministries that change people’s lives. They just show up when things need to get done and they do it with joy. This tells everyone they are invested in the vision of the house.

#7. Leaders honor those already in leadership. When we honor and serve all those God has placed in leadership over us it not only defines our heart but it pleases God. Scripture says “give honor to whom honor is due”. It does not say “give honor to those you think honor is deserved”. As humans, leaders mess up but when we serve them, listen to them, catch their heart and honor them anyway it produces unity. Those called to be leaders always release honor because they know dishonor causes division.

#8. Leaders build a life of intimacy with God. They desire to have that time with Him and don’t allow the demands of life to get in the way of it. They know such intimacy keeps them tender and keeps them sensitive to His heart.  True leadership is more about heart-to-heart connection than it is blindly serving because there are needs to be met. Genuine leaders will find God’s heart before they become His hands and feet.

#9. Leadership is a calling that manifests in a specific life style. It lives and breathes in the heart of someone and they adjust their life to fulfill it. They often sacrifice personal time, finances and desires to accomplish what is in their heart for that place. True leaders don’t see leadership as a position. It is something they give their lives over to so they can serve the vision of another. It’s not doing certain things a certain way to reach a certain goal. It’s a surrendered life that serves others so together they can accomplish the vision that has been created and is being birthed in that place.

Is there a question in your mind as to why you may, or may not be a leader? Take a moment to look in the mirror of your life and do an honest, hard evaluation. Then, take a little more time and consider the above…and you will have your answer. If you are committed to the call, you will make the changes needed to answer it. If you are not, you will continue doing as you have and miss the life you were intended to live. As always, what we end up with is up to us. My sincere hope it that you will choose well!