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W26D2 - Decision Making

"After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready
at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding
that God had called us to preach the gospel to them" - Acts 16:10.

Paul was trying to make a business decision as to which direction his ministry should take. He had tried several options but felt God's resistance. Then one night he had a dream, the team made a decision to depart for Macedonia and left immediately. Leaders are expected to make decisions or at least facilitate team decisions. Paul understood that staying where he was (doing nothing) was a decision in itself, and it would cost him something in ministry effectiveness. As risky as it was, he set off in a direction that he had not anticipated and the result was that he took the gospel to the continent of Europe.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you or your team setting on the status quo because it is safer and less risky, especially with a team member who has stopped producing? Then you must see that there is a cost to doing nothing - that making no decision is a decision! Your Step today is to identify about whom you are making a decision not to decide, determine what that is costing you in lost credibility with the rest of your team, why you are so hesitant, and then act quickly!


The Container Drama

Well, the container is in Kenya but it seems that we have upset some of the customs officials. With 17,000 pounds of goods in the container, we have six 'new' guitars to be donated to our library for a music school. Since we did not properly declare those guitars we are being fined for an incorrect manifest and for other offenses against mankind. Proposed additional cost; $2,000. Our pastor would call that the dumb tax: paying the price for not knowing what we were doing. Next time we will know and do better. I always say - it's God's money and God's container. Where He guides, He provides.

On a happier note, here is an email update I received from Pastor Peter today:

Dr. John,

Here from the WAPIS desk I wish to report on the progress of the organization. Due to harmonious Widow's Jewelry 1partnerships we have forged with Purposequest and its partners. As a team our school mentorship programs are a success and many kids continue to access quality education and have a study reference point in our library. Our widows have continued in production of African jewelry [pictures included], which are made from recycled cow horns. Our newest line is production of African kikois printed with Widow's Chicksamazing African wild animals [kikois are colorful Kenyan shawls or scarves].The widows have already started a poultry family [pictured here], which will provide resources for them. We wish to thank all our partners whom have planted a seed in this project and have inspired a smile in many life.Be sure that your good work will not go un noticed.

He is the reason for our living. Widow's Jewelry 2

Pastor Peter

Earlier in the week, I also received this email from Peter:

This is encouraging to hear from your update that the cargo is now in Kenya. This is assuring that the one who started this work is faithful and will bring it to accomplishment. At WAPIS we give God all the glory and we thank you and the team for all the effort you have put toward this. On Monday we are having a consultative meeting in order to plan for the training and the community outreach work on child trafficking course. We have confidence it will be a success.

He is the reason for our living,

pastor peter

I will participate in the child trafficking course when I am in Kenya in August along with Diana my sister-in-law and other family members. Diana's organization is Born2Fly and her work is impacting the lives of millions the world over.

I am not nervous or concerned for the container. I have said all along that the Lord will provide. If you would like to be part of that provision, please contribute today through my website or by sending a check to Purposequest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and thank You, Lord, for your provision, protection and for the privilege of doing meaningful work.


Week 26, Day 1 - Humility

Today we begin to cycle through the Leadership topics for the sixth time this year. Remember that all past devotionals can be found on my blog site, categorized by the topics that are located in the right hand column on the site.

*********************

"It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days
of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his
God and follow carefully all the words of this law and
these decrees and not consider himself better than his
fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or
to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a
long time over his kingdom in Israel" - Deuteronomy 17:19-20.

These words of Moses were directed to the future kings of Israel, who were admonished to follow the words and laws of the Lord just all the other people. They were not to consider themselves better than their followers and thus exempt from morality and integrity just because they were leaders. A philosopher once said, "There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it," which means that somehow the title leader makes the person with the title special or above others. Leaders must not see themselves in a class all by themselves because then they may act like it and the results are always negative.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Do you have this attitude that as the leader you have special rights? The only special rights are those that help you do your job. So if a corner office helps you do your job, then it is warranted. Otherwise it is a leadership perk. The same applies to a reserved parking space, special food or a private bathroom, just to name a few. Your Step today is to do a 'perk' review and eliminate those that came from or lead to an elite leadership mentality.


Rest Stop 25

"Then, because so many people were coming
and going that they did not even have a chance
to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by
yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest'" - Mark 6:31

Jesus kept a busy schedule, even on the Sabbath day when He usually appeared and often spoke and healed at Sabbath services. In this verse, Jesus and his team were so busy that they did not even have time to eat! Jesus' recommendation was that they get away to a quiet place and get some rest. Here their rest was not in response to a specific day but to a especially busy period in their ministry life. This verse indicates that leaders must watch their followers to make sure they stay fresh and refreshed, that rest is earned and required because of work and that rest is taken to re-egage work with new energy and enthusiasm.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Rest Stop today is to take a look at your people and determine if they are in need of rest. If so, then schedule a day off where possible and maybe even the same day off for everyone involved! If you can't do a day off, what else can you do to make sure that your people get away from the pressures of the busy schedules you all keep. If your people are weary, however, but the schedule isn't that busy, perhaps they don't need rest but more meaningful work!


W25D6 - Time Management

"When his father-in-law saw all that Moses
was doing for the people, he said, 'What is this
you are doing for the people? Why do you alone
sit as judge, while all these people stand around
you from morning till evening?” - Exodus 18:14.

Moses was a busy man, but it did not have to be that way. He had no vision or concept of the importance of and strategy for involving others. In other words, he tried to do the work of 100 people rather than find 100 people to do the work. It was not only hard on Moses, but also on the people who were affected by this bottleneck he had created. Leaders must not believe they are indispensible, that they are the only ones who can do certain things, or that their way of doing things is the only correct way. When they have any of those three attitudes, they can act just like Moses and actually wear out their people who are waiting for the leader's decision so they can do their work! 

LEADERSHIP STEP: First, begin today doing a time inventory, keeping track of how many hours you are working every week. Then do a careful assessment of the work you are doing, keeping only those things that are part of your job description or that only you can do better than anyone on your team. In other words, your Step is to get as many things off your desk and mind as possible so you can focus on the important work you have to do - and that's leading!


W25D5 - Finances

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will
hate the one and love the other, or you will be
devoted to the one and despise the other. You
 cannot serve both God and money" - Luke 16:13.

When leaders begin to serve money or money interests, their leadership is often compromised. Obviously every business must make a little more money than they spend or it is out of business, so there is nothing wrong with maximizing profits. When leaders try to maximize their own profits or when they maximize profits at the expense of quality or people, however, then decisions can be made that will serve money and forget or minimize God and integrity. Once that happens, it is difficult to dethrone money as the supreme ruler when personal or corporate decisions are made.

LEADERSHIP STEP: There is only one antidote to greed and that is generosity at both the individual and corporate level. And this value must be developed and expressed before you deal with large sums of money. What can you do today to help your organization make a decision that is not in their best financial interests, but rather the interests of the poor or your community's welfare? Do you have a chance to do that in your personal finances? Don't delay; act now!


W25D4 - Productivity

"Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly
to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in
them, because if you do, you will save both yourself
and your hearers" - 1 Timothy 4:15-16.

Leaders are role models and not only what they do but also what they become are significant teaching examples that others tend to emulate. Thus leaders are the standard bearers for the organization and set the tone for ethics, attitude and example. In today's passage, Paul urged Timothy to make progress by giving himself wholly to the work at hand and to have a public posture so that everyone would see his progress. Leaders must model humility, but must do it in a public kind of way so followers can know what that humility looks like in action and see leaders as they respond to the pressures and temptations of daily work.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to open up your life for the benefit of others. While everything in you might want to hide your growth, productivity and decision-making process, you have a responsibility to work in a glass office so others can see into it. How can you do this? A few examples would be teaching at your staff meetings, holding special teaching sessions via video or in person, writing a book, starting a blog or being more transparent with those you mentor.


W25D3 - Attitude

"Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body,
arm yourselves also with the same attitude,
because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin" - 1 Peter 4:10.

Peter Drucker once said that leadership's effectiveness is often determined in part by their ability to endure pain and suffering and still lead. Leadership can indeed be a painful experience, for they must deal every day with the uncertainties of life and business, the fickleness of employees and customers, and the nature of leading that makes leaders the targets for criticism, competition and people who chafe under anyone's authority. This is where Jesus can especially help leaders, for He certainly understands what it is like to suffer and not respond, but rather stay the course with exceptional leadership.

LEADERSHIP STEP: How is your attitude toward suffering? Are you bearing up under the pain of leadership and still leading? Your Leadership Step today is to search your heart and see if any bitterness has crept in toward anyone who has betrayed or offended you in your work (or family) and if that has caused you to retreat for self-protection. If you have, then forgive them, perhaps even set up a meeting with them, ask God to forgive you and get back to being a leader.


W25D2 - Coaching

"And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak,
of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. He has filled
them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers,
embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen,
and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers" - Exodus 35:34-35.

The Lord gave two men in this passage ability to do two things: produce excellent works of art with their hands and teach others. They were not only to do the work, but they were to find and ready others to do creative work themselves. It is interesting that this coaching and teaching were gifts from God, so those two men had both a divine gift and a responsibility to teach and coach. Leaders have the same mantle, for it is not enough for them to lead. Leaders must also equip others to lead and prepare for the day when a successor takes over for them.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today's Step is to plan for the day when you will be replaced. This may not happen for quite some time, but that is not in your control, for it may happen sooner than you expected through promotion, resignation, an unforeseen setback or even death. Identify three or four people whom you can coach and into whom you can pour your experience and knowledge. Don't hold back out of fear or overconfidence in the future; prepare your successor(s).


Harambee

Here is the message I received from our agent in Kenya last night:

The container was loaded on the wagon so now am waiting for it to arrive in Nairobi, hopefully this weekend - Beverly.

Of course, this is fantastic news and I hope to begin the distribution of resources to our partners as soon as Harambee 1possible. This has been a learning experience for all involved, but already this week 110 boxes of books and supplies came in to our possession. This makes the need for warehouse space even more crucial as our work to collect educational supplies for Kenya continues to grow (if you can donate space, please let me know).

Harambee 2Yesterday we had our second annual Harambee Breakfast for Kenya and it was a fantastic gathering (pictures attached - click to enlarge). Harambee is a word that means "a communal work when a gathering takes place to accomplish a task or to hold a competition." Those who had been to Kenya shared their experiences (some tearfully) and we showed a few slides and videos. The team had the room decorated beautifully and the breakfast food was perfect. Then we received an offering for the work there and people gave generously as God empowered them to give. All in all, it was a great day.

Earlier in the week, I came under some fear that we would not have enough money to clear the container when Beverly requested $4,000 more to pay the local fees, taxes and duty. I determined, however, not to get under Harambee 3that financial pressure since it's God's money, God's container, and His work. Two days later, a $5,000 check arrived unexpectedly and I thought, "It truly IS God's work!" and I don't ever have to take on the burden.

As you can see, God's hand and favor are on this project but we need your help to continue. Already the supplies are coming in for the next shipment. I am going over to Harambee 4Kenya in July and I cannot go empty handed. I always work to give each ministry partner at least $1,000 when I visit and I will be seeing all our partners on this trip. I need your help. Please give generously as God has given you the ability and, as you do, know for certain that you are giving toward the help and support Harambee 5of widows and orphans in need.

You can give through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you in advance and thank You, Lord, for showing yourself strong on behalf of our Kenyan friends and family in need.