A Picture of Forgiveness

READ
Take some time before you begin to rest in silence. Let your mind settle. Silently read the passage.
Genesis 50:15-21
[If you want to read more, like I did today, read these chapters in Genesis, too: 37, 42, 45 & 50]
 
THINK
Read the passage again, this time aloud, listening specifically for a word or phrase that touches your heart. When you finish, close your eyes. Recall the word or phrase, taking it in and mulling it over. After a few moments, write it down. No need to write anything else, yet.
 
PRAY
Read the passage aloud again, searching for how forgiveness is illustrated in the text. Think about what it feels like to be the forgiver, as well as what it feels like to be the forgiven. How is this expression of love meaningful to you? Briefly note your thoughts. 
 
Stop and listen for what God is inviting you to do or become this week. Perhaps his invitation will have to do with a new perspective on who you are in his eyes, or maybe you sense an action he is calling you to take. After your prayer, write down what you feel invited to do. 
 
LIVE
Take time to meditate on the following quote from the Book of Common Prayer, and let it become your own, “Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten; nor the hope of the poor be taken away.”
 
 

Read more...

Praying for Bhutan

For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your prosperity, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.
Hebrews 10:34
 
Until the 1980’s, Bhutan was largely isolated from the rest of the world by its Himalayan geography, poor infrastructure and poor international relations. In 2008, the country adopted a multiparty constitutional democracy and implemented a new constitution that officially protects freedom of religion. Most Christians in Bhutan are of Nepali heritage; however, believers are focused on reaching ethnic Bhutanese people with the message of Christ. The few Bhutanese Christian leaders in the country are focusing on biblical and ministerial studies. 
 
Christians make up about 1.5 percent of the population. The king is considered to be the defender of the Buddhist faith. The government works covertly to discourage the spread of Christianity. Christians are considered followers of a Western religion. There are not church buildings in Bhutan.  Christians often lose their jobs, are passed over for jobs or are not able to find jobs because of their faith. Many Christians must practice their faith in secret – burying their dead at night or deep in the forest in hidden locations. 

Read more...

Like a Firework…

Read: Matthew 6:19-23

Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples not to store up treasures for themselves on earth, but to store up treasures in heaven, “where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.”

St. Augustine once said that since every creature is made ex nihilo, it carries with it the heritage of nonbeing. There is a kind of penumbra or shadow of nothingness that haunts every finite thing.

This is a rather high philosophical way of stating what all of us know in our bones: no matter how good, beautiful, true, or exciting a thing or state of affairs is here below, it is destined to pass into nonbeing. Think of a gorgeous firework that bursts open like a giant flower and then, in the twinkling of an eye, is gone forever. Everything is haunted by nonbeing; everything, finally, is that firework.

But this is not meant to depress us; it is meant to redirect our attention precisely to the treasures of heaven, to the eternity of God. Once we see everything in light of God, we can learn to love the things of this world without clinging to them and without expecting too much of them. Think of how much disappointment and heartache could be avoided if we only learned this truth!


Read more...

Cynical or Successful?

Right now, you are becoming either cynical or successful. One thing will determine which you will become. Over my decades as a leader, I’ve seen influencers whose hearts have grown cold or were set on fire. When I noticed what made the difference in these leaders, I made a commitment to follow the example of those whose hearts were on fire. Here’s how to do it…

We’ve all been around cynical people and influencers. They are no fun. They are a downer at parties and in conversations. But what makes them like this? As an influencer yourself, you will need to understand what makes people become this way.

And here is how they became cynical…THEY DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO HANDLE THEIR HURT.

You will become hurt in ministry leadership and in life in general. Many times this hurt will catch you off guard. Someone will say or do something or NOT say or do something that will hurt you. I’ve found that many times in my own life, the people who have hurt me had no idea or intention to do so. And let me be clear, I’ve done my share of hurting others too.

But, I have also had many experiences of people intentionally trying to hurt me. Make no mistake, there are some mean people out there. There are some people out there who don’t like me and talk bad about me. People may consider me their enemy, but the feeling is not mutual. I remain steadfast in my position: I have no enemies.

I could tell you some of my own horror stories. I’ve been cheated, stolen from, lied to and about, betrayed, and on and on. And if you’ve been leading for any amount of time, you have your own horror stories too. Some are worse than others. My point is we all will become hurt in life and leadership.

Do you know what the #1 reason is people leave ministry leadership in my experience? They get hurt, and they don’t know how to handle it. They allow it to derail them from leading and influencing. This is tragic because I’ve seen great leaders fall away from being an influencer because they didn’t know how to respond to hurt.

If you DO NOT handle hurt the right way you will…

…quit

…become critical

…become cynical

…feel sorry for yourself

…allow your heart to grow cold

If you DO handle hurt the right way you will…

…go on

…become tougher

…become tenacious

…show grace and mercy

…allow your heart to grow stronger

In my next post, I’ll share the 3 ways you can handle hurt.

Keeping leading!

Jeff Eckart, CEO
Never The Same


Read more...