Previous month:
July 2014
Next month:
September 2014

Pastor Peter Checks In

I just received an update from Pastor Peter and I always like to pass them along as quickly as possible so you know that you gifts and contributions are being passed along as quickly as possible and being put to good use. This week Peter wrote:

Dear Dr. John,

Widows ChicksAt long last the one month holiday for our student is gone and from tomorrow they return back to school. Small Kids We had a busy time in the library with all the kids coming for revision and computer classes, We have to confess without your support of computers, house rent and books, this good work would not have been possible. We have talked with ministry of education in our country and they have produced elearning textbooks and software for the same, and we hope when we get their pricing we can update the library. The kids will receive their donation of books, pens, shoes and other stuffs you sent as soon as tomorrow when the schools open. The majority are in great need and these shoes will go along way. The widows team is also on track with jewBoxeselery and with poultry keeping and so far they have about 50 mature and more small chicks. Without the support of all our partners this could not have happened. In the lives of all this people you have made a difference. May God bless you.

He is the reason for our living,

Pastor Peter

I am glad to see our Operation Chicken Coop back up and running in Banana and bearing fruit, or in this case chicks. And of course Peter will need financial help to obtain the textbooks and the elearning programs he mentions. I know you will be generous and enable  us to keep this work going and thriving. As I always remind you, you can give through my website via Paypal or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO  Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.


Week 35, Day 1 - Emotional Intelligence

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves
and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and
purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we
have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and
his word is not in us" - 1 John 1:8-10.

Emotional intelligence is defined as functioning in self-awareness, knowing what one is sensing and feeling so that person can understand how their emotions are impacting their actions. Leaders of all people must function in that awareness, for they have the power to make decisions that can cause great good or pain. When leaders deny the reality of their emotions, they often operate in what is called their 'shadow' and followers never know if they are relating to the real person or a hologram that appears real but is actually wearing a mask or functioning from motives that even the leader may not understand.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to spend some time probing your inner person. You will do this by asking questions and making requests of the Lord you may not often make. Pray this prayer found in Psalm 139:23-24: "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Don't deny or excuse what you hear, but record it in your journal, repent and determine to seek help.


Rest Stop 34

"For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh
day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest
to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it is to be
put to death. Do not light a fire in any of your
dwellings on the Sabbath day" - Exodus 35:2-3.

If the Sabbath is to be taken literally, then no one can turn on a light in their home, drive a car, ride an elevator or cook a meal on the Sabbath, which sounds spiritual, but can simply be a carnal desire to follow some rules that make one feel spiritual. The true sense of a Sabbath is to take time to reflect on one's spiritual condition. In today's passage, the sabbath was a time to bask and live in the light that only God can provide. That light is to expose sin, give guidance, provide wisdom and give insight from God's word. Leaders must examine their business and leadership practices under and in the light of God's word and adjust anything that is contrary to or raises itself up against the knowledge or will of God.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Rest Stop today is to not light a fire today in your home. No, that doesn't mean you cannot turn on the heat or stove, but rather to spend more time than usual in God's word. Your assignment is to pick on book or epistle and read it today and every day this week. With your journal open, ask God both to evaluate your leadership performance in light of this book and to give you new insight that will make you a more effective and godly leader or follower.


W34D6 - Relationships

"You have increased the number of your merchants
    till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky,
but like locusts they strip the land
    and then fly away" - Nahum 3:16.

In Nahum 3, the prophet Nahum spoke out against Nineveh for a variety of sins. In this particular verse, he confronted their bad business practice of partnerships that were designed to take and not give. These partnerships seemed to be predatory and had only one vision in mind: maximize their profits and then move on to new fields that they could strip bare. This offended the Lord, so much so that the prophet, God's mouthpiece, spoke out against the practice to condemn it. Leaders must determine the nature of and reason for their partnerships in business, but these partnerships (including those with employees) should benefit many and not just the self-centered interests of the company and stockholders.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to do a partnership assessment with your staff, suppliers, customers and other publics. Is the nature of these partnerships to take and serve self-interests, or do they exist to benefit the environment, the community, and the long-term interests of employees and their families? Is everyone better off due to these relationships, or do you need to adjust the purpose of some of them to reflect an attitude of servant leadership?


W34D5 - Collaboration

"You have increased the number of your merchants
    till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky,
but like locusts they strip the land
    and then fly away" - Nahum 3:16.

Companies and organizations form alliances with their clients, suppliers, customers, employees, donors, volunteers, neighbors, local and national governments and labor unions. These partnerships can be predatory, vying to greedily destroy the environment, competitors, rivals and other organizations. These partnerships can also do tremendous good and produce positive results for both society at large and the people and companies involved in those relationships. Leaders create or perpetuate the culture and mindset of these partnerships, so it is up to that same leadership to set the tone for the type of partnerships and collaborative efforts of which their organizations will be a part.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Leadership Step today is to consider all the partnerships of which you are a part. Are you happy with the results they are producing? Do you like the spirit with which they function? What role can you play in helping to shape, mold and change these collaborations into forces for positive change and societal contributions? It all goes to the business philosophy with which you function and, as a leader, you get to mold that business mindset daily.


W34D4 - Ethics

"Dishonest money dwindles away,
 but whoever gathers money little
by little makes it grow" - Proverbs 13:11.

Most ethical failures in leadership and business involve money. Those involved are usually looking for a shortcut to obtain riches, although some are only involved in petty theft and pilfering. Yet stealing small is stealing still, no matter the size of the take, and God is watching to take away what someone unethically obtains. Leaders must learn to be content with what they have and work faithfully to make it increase, both personally and for their organizations. The Bible is clear, however, that someone who is unfaithful in little things (or a small amount of money) is just a few steps away from being unfaithful in larger, more significant things (like a larger amount of money).

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to reassess your heart where money is concerned. How faithful are you in the little things like small amounts of money or things that don't cost very much? Do you use the company postage meter for personal mail? Use company office supplies like they were your own? And how about the bigger things? Are you looking for shortcuts to get your hands on a lot of money? What price are you paying for that pursuit of a big payday?


W34D3 - Values

"What is more, I consider everything a loss because
of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my
Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider
them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him,
not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness
that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—
yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his
sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow,
attaining to the resurrection from the dead" - Philippians 3:8-11.

There is no more brilliant writing in the New Testament than Paul's letter to his favorite church in Philippi. In it, he repeatedly explains his concept of leadership and the values that go with it. In this passage, Paul acknowledged that he experienced some loss in return for gaining Christ, but he expressed no regret. He renounced any attempts at or gains from self-righteousness and determined that only benefits in Christ really mattered. He also confessed that he lived in the power of resurrection life as he was suffering in this life and looking forward to the life to come in his resurrection from the dead. Every leader should have a life philosophy and blueprint for living just like Paul as he decribed in this letter and passage.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine your thinking about the themes raised in this passage along with how they are playing out in your life. Especially look at two of them: suffering and loss. There are no guarantees that your leadership will be successful and without pain. Are you prepared to risk losing what you worked for as you pursue God's will? Are you willing to suffer for His sake as a leader? Are you carrying out your plans or His as you lead?


W34D2 - Persuasion

"I plead with you, brothers and sisters,
become like me, for I became like you.
You did me no wrong" - Galatians 4:12.

Paul had a special relationship with all the churches he founded and that gave him some measure of authority in their lives. Yet he was always careful not to overstep that authority, but rather spent a great deal of time and energy appealing, even pleading with them (but seldom ordering them), to adhere to the standard of behavior he expected from them as believers. Effective leaders do the same thing, for they know that if they order someone to do something, they may get compliance for a while, but the people ordered will revert to old behaviors eventually and true change and transformation will not occur once the leader's authority is removed. That means leaders must communicate a vivid picture of the benefits or necessity of the issue for which they are advocating.

LEADERSHIP STEP: If you are not going to resort to power to get people to do what's best, then you must develop the skill of passionate persuasion to get the job done. Your Step today is to examine the tools you use for persuasion - speech, writing, media, meetings - and the effectiveness of the relationships you have with your followers that enables you to produce the results and the changes you need to make your people and company better off in the long run.


Upako Report

I heard from both Peter and Francis this past week, and Francis sent some pictures along with a request for the next installment of Mary's school fees. He is also appealing for help with a generator and school fees for Mercy (the tallest girl pictured below). Here is what Francis sent and wrote:

Dr. John,

Upako ShoesIt is well with us this end and God has mercifully kept us. We are happy and very grateful for the Upako Red Jerseysdonations we received.The children have good shoes and they feel the goodness of our American friends. God bless all of you for the donations.

Mary will be going back to school on the 29th and we need school fees and shopping for her. Mercy is still with us and we are looking for help to send her to high school.

Finally we are praying that we find generators to light Upako.

Blessings, blessings, blessings - Pastor Francis

The children pictured above aer showing off their sports jerseys and new shows, all of which were donated Upako Shoes 2and sent over in our last container shipment. We can easily ship a generator if someone wants to donate one, along with bikes, books, educational supplies, undergarments and anything else your heart moves you to give. Pastor Francis has asked many times for help with Mercy's schooling and with an economic development project as well. We are waiting on the Lord for that asssitance.

If you can give to our work in Kenya, you can see from the pictures what a difference it makes in the lives of the children, many of which are victims of poverty and being with parents. You can give through my website for Mary's school fees or any of the above-mentioned causes or you can send a tax-deductible contribution via check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you for your generosity and may the Lord bless you for your faithful giving to those in need.


Week 34, Day 1 - Power

"Hear this, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel,
who despise justice and distort all that is right;
who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness.
Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they look for
the Lord’s support and say, 'Is not the Lord among us?
No disaster will come upon us'" - Micah 3:9-11.

In this passage, God alerted the leaders to the fact that He knew what they had been doing and He was not pleased. Notice that each one of the leadership roles was doing what they were doing only for the money, and had in effect become mercenaries - giving their services to the highest bidder. What's more, they did this and felt like God was not going to judge their perversion of power; in fact, they felt confident the Lord was on their side! Leaders must all deal with the 'big three' of temptations - sex, money and power - and in this case, the leaders had failed miserably over two of those 'big three.' The lesson is that God is watching leaders and will hold them accountable for any abuse of power.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Leadership Step today is to examine your relationship with money and power. Why are you doing what you do? Is it for the money? Are you using your position and authority to enrich yourself? This is not to say that you cannot be rewarded handsomely for your work or gifts, but you cannot allow money to be your main motive. Of course, the major antidote for greed is generosity, so also look at your giving habits during today's reflection.