What To Do During Uncertain Times

In today’s message we looked in Luke 5 at the story where Jesus called His first disciples.  He asked them to trust Him by faith, even though they were in their own time of uncertainty. They were fishermen who had caught no fish.  In their culture…no fish…meant they didn’t get paid that day.  Who could know if there would be fish tomorrow?  Could this have been a week with no fish?  Having been self-employed I know what it’s like to face the uncertainty of cash flow. Still, in the midst of their uncertainty, Jesus called them to their greatest show of obedience.  Because of their willingness to face the unknown and walk by faith, God used them in incredible ways to launch His Kingdom.

 

We considered 5 principles about times of uncertainty in our own life from this story. 

 

1. Times of uncertainty will come.  They are a part of life.

2. The fact that uncertainty causes you to question or be afraid doesn’t upset God.  God’s plan is not diverted because of our periods of doubt. 

3. Faith that is developed through uncertainty produces some of God’s greatest work.

4. In spite of uncertainty ultimately we need to have faith. 

5. Uncertainty is not a call to give up.  It’s a call to surrender more of ourselves to Christ. 

 

To hear this message, go to our podcast site and listen to: What To Do During Uncertain Times.

College President’s Firing a Good Leadership Reminder

“What I do in my private time is of no one’s concern but mine.”  I’ve heard that line all my life.  I wonder if that statement is less true, however, for those who are in leadership positions, especially those who desire to lead people towards some sense of a better life, who work with students or children, or who are representatives of other people in their leadership.  In a day in which authenticity is such an admired character trait, it is important that leaders not be one person on the job and another when off duty. 

Did you see the story of the college president who resigned for helping “keg up” someone of the age he was supposed to be leading? 

 

I certainly don’t want to kick a man when he’s down; although with $400,000 he has a pretty good cushion to rebuild his career.  I do think his story though serves as a reminder to those of us in leadership positions that what we do in our private time does matter.  For that reminder I’m thankful. 

Americans are Boring

Americans are so boring sometimes. While we watch conventions on TV every night, work 45 hours a week average, and take less vacations than the rest of the world, some countries are finding ways to simply have fun. 

 

Look what happened at this Tomato Festival in Spain.  Be sure to check out the pictures. 

 

And I was going to have a salad tonight….

 

Anyone for starting some new traditions here? 

Donald Miller Prayer at Democratic Convention

The current debate is whether a believer could pray at the Democratic Convention for fear that he/she would be seen as endorsing a party.  Frankly I don’t understand the dilemma and would think we would take any opportunity to advance the message of the Gospel on national television and to a national audience.  Cameron Strang, editor of Relevant Magazine (a great magazine we all read around here) turned down the offer and so Donald Miller, author of “Blue Like Jazz” accepted. 

Anyway, I just saw the prayer today.  I think Donald did a great job.  Do you have an opinion here?  You can watch Donald’s prayer here:

Donald Miller Democratic Convention Prayer

Of course, since some in my church have launched my own campaign for president, I’m really not paying attention to the conventions much this time.  (J/K)  See my earlier post if you are confused.  http://www.ronedmondson.com/archives/310

Week 2: Purpose Driven Life

Our community group is going through Purpose Driven Life.  For some of us this is a refresher and for others it is the first time.  (Interestingly, everyone in the group owned a copy of the book, but not everyone had read it.)  Last night we considered week two.  As a supplement to the book, I asked these questions.  We had lots of good discussions and I’m still pondering my answers. 

 

1. What does it mean “to please God”? 

    Do you believe your life brings God pleasure? 

2. How do you feel about the statement: Worship is not for your benefit? 

3. What is something your children do that makes you smile?  

    Would you rather have your children’s time or a plaque for the wall? 

    Do you want your children to trust you? 

    How do you think these the answers to these questions translate to your relationship with God?

4. If it’s true God smiles when we trust Him completely, is He smiling now about your trust in Him? 

    Where are you struggling/need to trust Him more? 

    Where are you struggling/need to obey Him more? 

5. What is one fear/worry/burden you need to surrender to God? 

6. What is the greatest barrier you have to prayer?

7. Have you weathered a time when God seemed distant?

      What did you do? 

8. How has your relationship with God changed over the years?

 

Spend some time considering these questions and your own answers to them. 

Bad Leadership

 Have you ever followed bad leadership? 

 

In my Leadership and Empowerment class we are addressing this issue.  It’s amazing to me that many people continue to follow what they would consider bad leadership even when it leads the organization in a direction they no longer agree with.  Even “toxic” leadership, which I define as leadership that significantly injures or destroys a person, organization or nation, can find seemingly committed followers.  My question is why? 

 

Honestly, looking back over my life, I have had periods of time where I followed bad leadership.  I complained inwardly; I may have even voiced my opposition to others, but I continued to follow and for the most part did nothing to change the situation until I left the organization.  In the meantime, not only did the organization suffer, but it wasted my time and energy and ultimately kept me from pursuing my own dreams and goals or from realizing my own potential as a leader. 

 

So, think with me on this issue.  Here are some questions to ponder:

 

1.  How would you define good leadership?

2.  How would you define bad leadership?

3.  What would keep you in an organization under bad leadership?

4.  Can a person with bad leadership skills learn to provide good leadership?

5.  What should a person do when they find themselves in an organization suffering from bad leadership? 

 

 

“This Inviting People Thing Really Works!”

One of our worship leaders shared a great line in an email to me.  He and his wife met a couple from our area at a marriage retreat recently.  As they got to know the new couple over the weekend they found out the couple didn’t currently have a church.  The worship leader and his wife invited the other couple to attend our church.  Here’s the shocking part of this story.   You might want to sit down for this one.  You aren’t going to believe what happened next. 

 

THEY SHOWED UP!  They actually came and even better…they liked it and have actually returned.  In Michael’s email to me he wrote, “This inviting people thing really works!”  I love that line.  That line is true.  That is the simple principle which has built Grace into who we are as a church today; no advertising; no fancy brochures or mail outs; simply the art of the personal invitation. 

 

It reminds me of when I was pastor at another church several years ago and as soon as I arrived they wanted me to start an outreach program.  They had considered and tried all kinds of formal, organized programs and nothing had really worked for them.  I gave them one of my own.  I taught them one Sunday how to grow their church. It is a genius plan. I highly recommend it still.  It’s called the “Wanna Plan”.  It worked great and the church that had been stagnant for years began to grow again (actually very quickly). 

 

The “Wanna Plan” goes like this.  Read slowly so you don’t miss anything.  You approach someone (could be someone you know or someone you don’t know) and say, “Hey!” Go ahead and practice that part.  You can even try different ways of saying “Hey!” if you want ranging from super-excited to semi-mellow.  Don’t try to tackle the next part, which is much more difficult, until you get the “Hey!”downpat. 

Then, carefully, not too fast and not too slow, in a pleasant sounding voice ask the people, “Wanna come to my church?”  Now try that. Ask it as a question; not a statement.  Say it with enthusiasm!  After you’ve rehearsed each of these rather tricky lines a few times until you’re sure you have them, try putting them together into one phrase.  I know what you’re thinking: This is too much information at once, but you can do it. I promise!  It goes like this: “Hey, wanna come to my church?”  (If you need to you can write this on a cue card in case you get too nervous and forget your line.) 

 

This complicated system, if you can master it, really does work. Try some of the magic today. 

Back From Vacation

Pretty much today is just a regular day. Of course, regular is a relative term.  Regular this past week was a bit different than what regular regularly is.  Today is already not regular in the sense that I’m sitting outside a little after 7 AM and it is almost too hot to be out here.  (I just left the Northwest.  They claim 15-20% humidity as being high. It didn’t start getting warm until 11 AM.)   It’s not going to be regular in the sense that when people call or email I can’t give the excuse, “I’m sorry, I’m out of town.”  It’s not a regular day because Cheryl isn’t with me right now…(and I miss her).  It’s probably not going to be regular in the sense that I’m more than likely not going to eat every 2 hours today.  Other than those differences, it’s just a regular day.  Whatever regular is….

No Wonder They Call it the Big Sky State

Here’s why: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus another shot from today. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the park where I went running this morning: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kudos to Cheryl for the pictures.  Tomorrow we drive to Glacier National and Canada.  More to come.  Looking forward to hearing Cheryl say “Wow!” a lot tomorrow.