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W39D3 - Values

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds
of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what
the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of
Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should
not shepherds take care of the flock?'" - Ezekiel 34:2.

God was upset with the leaders in Israel because of their misguided values. Instead of taking care of their followers, the leaders were taking care of themselves and God was not pleased. God places leaders in the church and over other entities like business and government to take care of people and meet their needs. When this doesn't happen, leaders use their power, which is given to empower others, to grab what is most important to them - money, position, ego-inflating projects. One interesting point in today's verse is that God is watching leaders and holds them accountable for the attitudes and values they have - or don't have!

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to once again revise or develop your leadership values, especially regarding how you relate to others.. First, determine what kind of leader you will be, preferably before you start leading anything. Then explain in 2-3 sentences how that value will be expressed as you lead. Then put those values in order of priority and attach a Bible passage that epitomizes that value. Finally, review those values regularly to hold yourself accountable.


W39D2 - Persuasion

“Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them
whatever I command you. Do not be terrified
by them, or I will terrify you before them" - Jeremiah 1:17.

Jeremiah spoke as a prophet to Judah. He had no official title, position or authority, except that he carried the word from God concerning what God's people should do at that point in history. Jeremiah had nothing but his credibility, the words he spoke and direction from God as he stood before the people, most of whom had little interest in what he was saying. Yet the Lord told him to stand up and speak without fear. Seldom are leaders without any leadership authority like Jeremiah, yet they are commissioned with the same task of standing in front of people and followers and using words to persuade them to take a particular course of action or adopt a certain attitude.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Leaders who use a command-and-rule style get results, but the results stop when their authority stops or the pressure is removed. Your Step today is to examine if you have influenced or controlled people as you lead. If you are afraid to stopc controlling because people may not do what you desire, then you are using power to get your way. In that case, it's time to address your fear and adjust your style, using power to influence rather than rule.


Computers for Kenya

I had Pastor Qampicha Wario from Sololo, Kenya on my radio show last Saturday. What a treat it was to have Qampicha Pic 2him in the studio to talk along with his ministry partner and my friend, Janet Helms. We talked about his work in northern Kenya, close to the Ethiopian border among many tribal peoples who are 85% Muslim. Pastor Qampicha has a school, thanks to the efforts of the Kenya Christian Education Partnership (KCEP), which Janet helped found, and we designated 40 boxes from our last container to go to Sololo. As you can see from the pictures, it was a joyous time when the boxes arrived. We are committed now to continue providing educational and recreational supplies to this important work.

Qampicha PicI told Qampicha and Janet that I had a surprise for them during the show. Last year I surprised them during a broadcast with the news that we would help them start a library. This year I gave them two of the ten computers they need to start their computer room in the school - in the studio, live and at the end of the show.  It made for great radio, if I do say so myself! The recording of the show will be on my website late Monday if you care to listen.

This coming Friday night I am serving as emcee for the KCEP Sololo Boxes annual banquet when we are raising money to expand the school in Sololo. Last time I heard, there are still tickets available ($100 each) and I urge you come out and support a wonderful cause. You can order the tickets online or by calling 1.724.900.3918. And if you have any resources to donate, don't wait - do it now! You can drop items off at ACAC on the North Side or write me and we will arrange a pick up/drop off or shipment. If you have a working laptop that you no longer use, we can use that too. Just let me know and we will arrange the transfer. Thanks, and I hope to see you this Friday!


3 Reports from Kenya

It was a busy week hearing from our friends in Kenya and doing Kenya-type things. In this first post, I will pass along to you the messages I received from Peter and Francis. First, let's look at one from Peter. (Just so you know, my church had collected some wheelchairs, walkers and crutches that they could no longer use, so we sent them over in the last container):

Dear Dr. John,

Kenya WheelchairThe WAPIS family passes greetings to all our partners. The consignment that you sent has brought much hope to situations which were pathetic. In one on our government hospitals in our area the only wheel chair they had was an old one on which the wheels were worn out. This hospital serves more than 500 people per day and most people require the use of a wheel chair around the hospital.  The only available one was the worn out one. We responded by donating one to them and for sure it looks the most decent tool in their lobby. The next wheel chair we have donated to an older lady who could not move on her own. She confessed before the wheelchair she would spend a month without enjoying the joy of sunshine, but today she can. Thanks for this donation and may God bless you.

He is the reason for our living,

Pastor Peter

Also in the last container, we had sent along some donated baseball little league tshirts and those shirts show up in almost every picture I receive! The children love and need them and that is an unexpected blessing from the last container we sent over. Here is what Peter had to say about the container in general:

Dear Dr. John,

This is a wonderful experience seeing how the consignment you brought has made such a significant Kenya Shirtsimpact here. The children continue receiving blessings of clothes, shoes, pens and writing materials. We wish to let all our partners know that every item they donated in love and was packed with outmost joy is bringing transformation in many families' lives. May God bless you and don't give up on this noble work. Your generous contribution is truly bring meaning and hope to many deserving people.

He is the reason for our living,

Pastor Peter

And finally, here is a word I just received today from Pastor Francis:

Hello Dr. John,

I hope this finds you in good health. We are fine and the children are well and continuing with their education amidst the many challenges facing them and us as a Ministry. Where we are today is not where we were last year and as we face every single day we see God by our side holding our hands. It's amazing to see these children grow every second seeing how merciful God is. They are living testimonies of what God can do to restore a broken life taking into consideration the unusual stories of the many orphans who end up in criminal acts, in the streets and even in wrong hands of people who only abuse them. We have been taking care and educating orphans as young as three years old and they grow well without complications and today we and they are better off.

Thanks to you and your brothers and sisters who are involved with the commitment of donating for the food that keeps the children to see the next day. This is a worthy project to do for it brings out God’s goodness in society when the helpless are support. Getting a dollar a day to feed one child is not easy but you have always offered support and big hope to these children and we are moving on and along with them to Zion.

Blessings,Blessings,Blessings,

Pastor Francis

I know that Pastor Francis can use some help right now, and I don't have much to send him. Please consider a gift today to help him feed the orphans under his care. You can give using PayPal through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you for your contributions of goods that we send over and thank you for your financial help. Together we are doing a good work.


Week 39, Day 1 - Power

"When Herod realized that he had been outwitted
by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders
to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who
were two years old and under, in accordance with
the time he had learned from the Magi" - Matthew 2:16.

In today's verse, Herod was old, but was not happy to hear that a king had been born in his kingdom, a king that Herod did not approve or appoint. So he set out to restore order in his kingdom by ordering the execution of any male child in his region in order to wipe out his competition to the throne, for Herod had been appointed by Rome and he had plans for his sons to succeed him, not this child about whom the Magi had told him. The hallmark of an authoritarian leader is anger. They believe they own what they lead (sometimes they do) and anyone who does anything to harm or damage what is theirs brings an eruption of emotion. This anger is how they control people and get them to do what the angry leader wants.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine the role that anger plays in your leadership style and role. Are you known for your outbursts of anger, disgust or sarcasm? How do you act when you become angry? Do you speak angry words or show your anger in some other way? Reflect on why you become so agitated when people don't do what you want or expect. Remember, God appointed you, and you don't own your position; you are simply a steward.


Rest Stop 38

"Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him" - Psalm 62:1.

This psalm of David begins with a declaration that salvation comes from the Lord. Any person who does not know or who has not experienced this salvation will be 'restless,' for their soul will be searching for some way to earn this salvation that only God can give. This represents the true spiritual nature of a sabbath rest, for it is a condition where people cease striving to gain what they cannot earn and accept God's grace of salvation with joy and gladness. Leaders who do not know this salvation try to 'earn' their legacy through hard work, memorials, buildings named after themselves and nepotism - hoping that appointing their children as successors will help give meaning to meaningless lives without God as their focus and source.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to insure that you have entered the true rest that God had in mind for His people in Christ. Have you put your faith in Him for your salvation? Have you ceased from your efforts to gain that salvation through good deeds? Are your good deeds a result of your saving relationship with Christ or an attempt to earn the benefits that only faith can bring? Are you resting in God's love and forgiveness or are you futilely working to obtain them?


W38D6 - Influence

"This is what the Lord said to me: 'Make a
yoke out of straps and crossbars and put it
on your neck. Then send word to the kings
of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon
through the envoys who have come to
Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah'" - Jeremiah 27:2-3.

Jeremiah was a prophet in Judah but his purpose was to be a prophet to the nations (see Jeremiah 1:5). The challenge was that the nations did not recognize or worship Jehovah, Jeremiah's God. In today's passage, Jeremiah was sent to give a word to the envoys visiting Jerusalem to bring back to their masters. In bringing the word, the Lord had Jeremiah wear a yoke worn by an ox around his neck in order to help get the message across to them. The best Jeremiah could hope to do was influence those envoys, for he had no authority over them or their king masters. At times, that is what leaders can hope to do: influence others so they willingly choose to listen and follow their leadership wisdom.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Jeremiah became part of the message that he brought to the envoys when he wore the yoke to help express his message. You too must become part of your message, using whatever media possible and any illustrations necessary to influence others. Your Step today is to do an influence check. Are you using social media to communicate? Is your communication lively or dry? Do people pay attention when you speak? What can you do to improve?


W38D5 - Wisdom

"Who is wise? Let them realize these things.
    Who is discerning? Let them understand.
The ways of the Lord are right;
    the righteous walk in them,
    but the rebellious stumble in them" - Hosea 14:9.

The prophet Hosea reiterated what other prophets and wisdom writers had written and said: true wisdom is to know and walk in the fear of the Lord and the ways of God. God's ways 'work,' for He is committed to be personally involved in any processes or relationships dedicated and committed to do His will, regardless of the cost. That does not mean that the righteous (including leaders) won't be tested or even experience outcomes that in the short run do not work out for their personal gain or benefit. Yet wise leaders walk in God's will because it is the right thing to do and not because it always works out to their advantage.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to once again review and study wisdom where it is mostly found in the Bible and that is the book of Proverbs. Go to the Bible Gateway site and enter a search for the words wise or wisdom and look over the lists (there are many references). Choose three verses to reflect on today, and then choose three more every day this week. Jot down in your journal your insights into wisdom and how you can apply it to your current situation.


W38D4 - Knowledge

"When you come, bring the cloak that
I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls,
especially the parchments" - 2 Timothy 4:13.

In the days of the Apostle Paul, there were few libraries and fewer books that could populate them, for writing materials and literacy were scarce. The Jews were all literate for one reason: so they could read and study God's word. Paul was also a Pharisee, and that group devoted large chunks of their lives to reading and study. It is no wonder then that God chose Paul to do be the lead apostle to the Gentiles, for Paul was not only learned but also kept on learning and growing. Leaders in any field should follow Paul's example and continue to grow and gather knowledge, both in their field of expertise and in the leadership skills they need to promote organizational and personal success.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to map out a reading program for the rest of the year. Keep in mind that your 'reading' can be 'listening,' for there are many great audio books on the market, and many ways to obtain or download those books. First, choose the area that you would like to focus your reading. Then identify the books of interest to you in that area. Then making reading (or listening) a part of your daily routine, even if it is only for five minutes.


W38D3 - Self Awareness

"My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes" - Job 42:5-6.

Job summarized what he had been through and concluded that before he lost everything, he had only heard about God. After that, he had seen God and it gave him a better perspective of who he truly was - he was insignificant when compared to God. That is a lesson many leaders who are impressed with who they are could afford to learn. Not only did Job see an awesome God and a relatively un-awesome Job, but then he humbled himself and admitted that he had erred in his judgment and his ways and vowed to 'repent', which simply means he wanted to turn his thinking around and move in the opposite direction.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to humble yourself before God to insure that you, like Job, are not someone who has simply heard about God without a proper vision of who God is. You can do this in several ways. Consider a time of fasting. Perhaps you can do some volunteer work that involves menial tasks. Maybe you need to seek reconciliation with someone from whom you are estranged, or ask forgiveness for a situation or relationship you botched.