A Leader’s Lament

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Sometimes I care too much, my ego trumps reason
Sometimes I don’t care enough, it depends on the season
I beat the drum often, not wanting others to forget
Not sharing in my passion, they insincerely acquiesce

Only a few things matter, yet my brain is scattered
One word of criticism, and my worth is shattered
When it comes to living, when it comes to teamwork
Everyone talks the talk, but the walk is misgiving

“We” are stronger than “I”, as long as “I” gets the credit
My humility most impressive, I’ll tell you all about it
I want the truth, desperately seeking transparency
Yet words are guarded, dishonesty flowered deceptively

I’m here for you, I’ve got your back
I believe in you, there’s nothing I lack
Unless someone disagrees, unless someone moans
Then I need to step away, I need courage on loan

A fish out of water, is a fish out of air
I have something in common, it’s something I share
Take care of my cause, take care of my needs
Then I’ll let people know, you are a wise man who leads

But leading isn’t popularity, it isn’t first to please
It isn’t taking polls, it’s not putting people at ease
It means having deep convictions, having secure beliefs
It means staying true to course, not taking relief

The hill I climb is lonely, often feeling stranded
The hill I climb is baren, often taken for granted
The hill I climb is noble, the hill I climb is inspiring
As long as it does not get in the way of your living

Females raped and murdered, where is the rage?
It seems important, but message gets back page
The church is the answer, the message of justice we bring
But the words get muted, arguing over the songs we sing

Children die before 5, $20 is the solution
My debit card is low, comfort my main concern
I have the money, but I’m keeping up with the Jones’
Car, House, Boat, busy paying off the loans’

The world needs billions, seems overwhelming
Billions would not compare, if Christians were tithing
I can’t do it all, but I can open the door
If I learn to say “No”, I can do so much more

Boys without role models, absent of fathers
They are not on my block, so why even bother
But the needs are great, the opportunities do not lack
I am the change I pray for, but my schedule is packed

Options are good, until there are too many
Poverty cries out, “I don’t have any”
America the beautiful, everyone given equal chance
Unless born in the hood, equality becomes a fat chance

More concerned about position, more about my security
My dreams are much more daring, as I live in my safety
Been told to be quiet, told “balance” is for the wise
There’s no more heroes, “well rounded” is our demise

I check my heart, I check by pride
I check my will, putting desires aside
I live in abundance, my challenges are few
When I say I have problems, I ask, “Compared to who?”

People want the world to be like them
I say, they should want the world to be like HIM
As soon as I say my theology is a lock
I have just put God right in a box

My faith is bigger than Republican or Democrat
My faith is stronger than where the world is at
Jesus created this world, then gave his life
He asks me to love this world, then give up my life

Sometimes I care too much, my ego trumps reason
Sometimes I don’t care enough, it depends on the season
But one thing I know, one thing I am sure
That loving orphans and widows is a religion that’s pure!

What Will Be Said?

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WHAT WILL BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

A generation blinded by wealth where poverty cannot be seen.

A generation who talks about feeding the hungry while paying for Weight Watchers because they can’t stop eating.

A generation that believes in sheltering the homeless, as long as they’re not near their over bloated homes.

A generation that worries about their growing status and expanding pleasures while children are worried about empty bellies and fragile futures.

WHAT WILL BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

A generation that is more globally aware than any other generation yet is obsessed with celebrity reality shows and stock market results.

A generation that is technologically brilliant yet socially stunted.

A generation that knows things ARE getting better but is afraid to finish the job.

A generation that is torn between self-indulgence and self-righteousness.

WHAT WILL BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

There is enough food for everyone.

Churches have more roofs than there are homeless.

Most diseases that kill are preventable.

The lack of education is fixable.

WHAT WILL BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

We prayed for the poor while building bigger barns.

We preached for justice while closing our eyes.

We fought sex trafficking while watching pornography.

We judged the homosexual while worshipping our idols.

WHAT WILL BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

We ignored building God’s kingdom while building our own.

We gossiped of our brothers and sisters while singing songs to our Creator.

We multi-tasked and networked while sitting alone.

We opened our mouths to poverty while closing our wallets to solution.

BUT WHAT COULD BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

We tithed, creating a mass of wealth that stunned the world and ended extreme poverty.

We adopted the orphan, ending the foster system as we know it.

We supported organizations like International Justice Mission, declaring that the end of slavery would happen on our watch.

We sponsored children around the world ensuring them an education, antiviral HIV drugs and an introduction to faith.

WHAT SHOULD BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

We decided that the gates of hell would not prevail and good would win over evil.

We decided that the most important part of a church service is what happens once we leave the parking lot.

We decided that it doesn’t profit to gain the whole world but lose our soul.

We decided that God is close to broken hearts and crushed spirits.

WHAT DO I HOPE WILL BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

We shunned consumerism and found joy in minimalism.

We ignored the American dream and pursued God’s pleasure.

We simplified our lives so that others could simply live.

We preached always and occasionally spoke words.

WHAT WILL BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

“God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.”
―Bono

Failure: The Beginning of Grace

F

When I was a freshman in college I was a very responsible student. There were moments in college when I was not a responsible student, but when I entered college I was very serious and I hated getting bad grades.

My freshman year I took a history class that was one of the most difficult classes I’ve ever taken.

It was on American History and there was no text book. The seemingly uninterested professor would walk in, ramble for an hour and a half and then we would take tests on his lecture. And that was it.

The only way you could do well was by taking really good notes. For an hour in a half you would write down what he was saying and he talked fast, without a lot of passion and he was not a very nice guy and my attention span was about 30 seconds.

When people would ask him questions he would say, “Well you weren’t paying attention and I don’t repeat my lecture.” He was just degrading.

The first couple of tests I took I got C’s. And I’m not a C kinda dude. It was very irritating.

There was one paper at the end where we had to write about a historical person and this was going to be 50% of our grade.

I knew I had C going into the 50% of the grade project. I wrote a whole paper on the life and leadership of Harry Truman. I worked through Thanksgiving break and I worked hard. I’d never worked so hard on a project.

When I got my paper back this was on the cover of my paper. “F”

I needed therapy for this one. This one hurt. It was just excruciating and he was such an intimidating professor. I didn’t know what to do.

I didn’t want to ask him why he gave me an “F”, but I did.

I set up an appointment to meet with him in his office. It was the scariest thing I’d ever done. As I walked in, I kept my head low and I swear I could hear Darth Vader breathing.

As I approached his desk I said, “You know I worked really hard on this paper and I don’t know why I got an F.”

He grabbed my paper from my hand, quickly glanced at it and said in a very degrading voice, “Well your references were wrong.”

I’d used one book primarily for those references and as I showed him the book and he shot back, “See I have the same book and your references were wrong. You made them up.” He was challenging my integrity.

As I looked at my book and I looked at his book, I realized that I had happened to have the paperback version of the book and he had a hard cover and so the pages were different.

I gently and humbly showed him the difference and Professor Darth Vader realized that all my references were right and he looks down at my paper and, I’ll never forget this, he drew a line down the right side of the “F” on my paper, and made the “F” an “A”.

I was in shock. I didn’t know what to say? I wanted to say, “May the force be with you!” But I didn’t! I walked out quickly before he could change his mind.

My point is this. In life sometimes we feel like life’s a big “F”, that we failed. And we’re afraid to go to God because our image of God is that he’s an angry, bitter professor. But when we go to God, just as we are, he offers us his grace and he turns our lives from an “F” into an “A”.

“For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.” Titus 2:11

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” Romans 3:23-24

Where there is no vision, people perish

They say that those who can’t, end up teaching
But I say those who won’t, end up critiquing
They say, stay close to those who are for you
I say, those that are for you are sadly few

They say, I’m all about team, but what’s in it for me
But I say, If you have to ask, then it’s more about identity
They say, I am all the way in, you can count on me
I say, in the end, it’s all about their security

They say, things I want to hear, with a face full of fun
But I say, behind closed doors, they wish I were gone
They say, we can do it on our own, we don’t need you
I say, be careful what you wish for, dreams do come true

Miracles don’t happen by dabbling, only by immersion
Miracles happen by many, not just one
Miracles happen by values, by the choices we choose
Miracles happen by vision, not taking others clues

Being popular is dangerous, a worn out treadmill
Consuming your mind, trying to get the lead bill
Fame is cotton candy, sweet at first, then quickly fleeting
It’s the drug of choice, in this celebrity media frenzy

Paul writes that the most important parts are hidden
So why does the man on stage get the recognition
Paul writes my weaknesses are ok because He is strong
So why does the man on stage sing a different song

They say, be sold out, be dedicated, but within reason
I say, I must be fully in, regardless of the season
They say, make sure you get out of the way, let others lead
I say, I don’t think I am done yet, my hurting heart still bleeds

They say, what about local, seems not enough people hired
I say, what about global, to whom much given is required
They say, I can’t afford to live, where is my Iphone 5
I say, they can’t afford to live, many die before age 5

They say, I have to simplify, I’ve lost the American dream
I say, our wants have lost the reality of our true needs
They say, once I get set then I will surely help others
I say, blessings come by first serving sisters and brothers

Spending so much time trying to look important
Dabbling has made the church benign and impotent
Jesus said, If you want to gain your life you must lose it
Not for the faint of heart, they are words of immersion

They say, give people rules, it’s the role of religion
I say, rules kill people, it leads to short term conviction
They say, but without rules, our world is undisciplined
I say, we have more rules, than history ever intended

They say, tell people to stop, tell them be strong enough
I say, I stopped drinking by myself, that’s called a dry drunk
They say, living a righteous life is what you don’t do
I say, righteousness means living justice outside the pew

They say, thy kingdom come, they will be done
They say, but you can’t be both democrat and republican
I say, God is bigger politics, He is bigger than religion
I say, it’s mad Grace and the work He has given

In the words of Mr. Chesterton:
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting
It has been difficult, untried, and daunting

In the words of Jesus of Nazareth:
If you want to gain your life, you must lose it
If you want to be greatest become a servant

If you invite someone to a banquet, invite those who can’t reimburse you…
Forgiving your enemy, feeding the hungry, redeeming rather than condemning is the life you are to pursue…

Our attitude is to be like Christ, it’s a life daily dying
It’s an attitude I’m not close to, if I said so I’d be lying
My titles, posturing and positions are taking a toll
My only peace comes from Grace filling this God-shaped hole

4 Things You Should Do Every Day

These 4 things, if you do them every day, will raise your level of joy, lower your level of stress and frustration and raise your level of purpose and significance.

First, learn to GIVE THANKS every day.

We think that once we experience joy, then we will be thankful, but the truth is, when we are thankful, joy is the byproduct.

Being thankful does not necessarily change our outside circumstances, but it does change our attitude and our perspective at how we look at things.

Experts say that practicing regular gratitude can change the way our brain neurons fire into more positive automatic patterns.

Henry Ward Beecher once said, “The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.”

Show me a person who practices gratitude, and I will show you a hopeful and joyful person.

Show me an ungrateful person, and I will show you someone you want to avoid.

William Arthur Ward wrote, “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you?”

The psalmist wrote, “Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.”

Make a list of all the things you are thankful for. Read them every day. Thank God for them every day. Tell the ones who are on your list how thankful you are for them. Read Psalm 100 every day.

Second, learn to practice CONFESSING YOUR SINS to God daily.

We were not made to carry the weight of our mistakes.

It robs us of energy, it leads to depression and it can beat down our souls.

David wrote in the Psalms, “When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. …My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.

Our bodies were not designed to hold on to sin.

Confession is God’s gift to us.

David goes on to say, “Finally I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. … And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone”

Another part of confession is having someone in your life who you can share your sins with. This person is someone who is safe, confidential and wants what is best for you.

In the New Testament James wrote, “When we confess our sins to another human being, it brings healing to our minds, hearts and bodies.”

Practice this confessional prayer from Psalm 51 each day:

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

Third, learn to CRY OUT TO GOD every day.

We all have fears, dreams, frustrations, questions and hurts that are swimming around in our soul.

Holding on to them can lead to all types of strange emotions and dysfunctions.

It is cathartic to tell God every day how you are feeling and what you are thinking about.

And you don’t need a filter with God.

You can tell God everything! The good, bad and the ugly.

It is interesting to me that David who was known as a “man after God’s own heart” wrote a lot of the psalms which I consider the original blues.

David in one moment was telling God how great He was, and the next moment was yelling at God for abandoning him.

One moment he was thanking God for his faithfulness, the next moment doubting if God would come through during difficult times.

I encourage you to read the psalms and learn from David.

I encourage you to talk to God more honestly throughout the day.

Tell Him your fears, frustrations and dreams.

Find a secluded, safe place to be unfiltered with Him.

Watch your energy and clarity increase.

C. John Miller says, “Honest prayer unmasks your real need and puts you in the presence of a rich Christ who wants to meet you as you really are.”

Fourth, I would encourage you to be a DEFENDER OF THE POOR every day.

Psalm 82 instructs us to, “Give justice to the poor and the orphan;
uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people.”

You can do this in large and small ways.

The key is to look for opportunities.

Jesus said that offering food, clothing, shelter, water, fighting for justice and visiting the sick and imprisoned is where you meet Jesus.

Imagine what your life would look and feel like if you met Jesus every day.

No wonder Jesus said that we are happier and more blessed when we are giving rather than receiving.

He also said that what we have been freely given(Grace), we should in return freely give away(Grace).

I encourage you to try these 4 things every day for a few weeks and see how your life changes.

I would love to here your responses!
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