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Our Kenya Girls Say Thank You

Phyllis EOTOO LtrAlice sent me two letters this past week from two of the orphans - Deborah and Phyllis - we have sponsored and sent off to boarding school. I just love reading these letters for several reasons. When I was young, my mother made me sit down and write thank you letters, similar the ones the girls wrote (that is a lost practice I am afraid). What's more, I know these girls and I know what they have been saved to and what they have been saved from. Without Alice and without their education, they would be reduced to street children being shamelessly abused and used by unscrupulous men and women.

I ask you to read these two letters (click on them to enlarge) and think of your Deborah EOTOO Ltrown children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, family friends or children in your neighborhood. Thank God for their protection and provision, and then pray for Deborah, Phyllis and all the children we are helping. Finally, please send a year-end gift to help these girls and others like them. Their school fees will be due in January and I am going over with a team in February - and they will need our help then as they do now.

As always, you can give through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. You may wish to sponsor a child to send them to boarding school for a year or you may wish to do something special to honor your own family or the memory of someone gone on to be with the Lord. I will honor any request you may have - just please help the children today, now during this Christmas season. Thank you for your help.

Week 48, Day 1 - Service

"The idols speak deceitfully,
    diviners see visions that lie;
they tell dreams that are false,
    they give comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wander like sheep
    oppressed for lack of a shepherd" - Zechariah 10:2.

God often chooses to accomplish His will through leadership. He expects leadership to give the people direction and care, not to dominate them for personal gain or mislead them through useless leadership strategies. In today's verse, the Lord spoke through the prophet to reveal what happens when people have poor or no leaders: they fall prey to oppression from the loudest voice or the latest fad. The Lord further revealed that the oppression comes from their lack of direction, so they wander like sheep. Leaders must be mindful of their God-given role to care for His flock regardless of whether they serve as leaders in or outside the church. This role can be most ably fulfilled when leaders have the mindset of servants and not that of lords or masters who are immune from God's direction or judgment.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to continue to grow in your understanding and application of servant-leader principles. You can become familiar with the writings of Robert Greenleaf, the father of modern servant leadership studies at his website. Or you can download the attached article from my book, So Many Leaders, So Little Leadership, where I discuss biblical servant leadership so you can continue to grow in your role as a servant.

Download Site Srvnt Ldrshp Home

Rest Stop 47

"Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you" - Psalm 116:7.

This is an interesting verse where rest is concerned. The psalmist was previously at rest but had lost it somehow. He began to employ self talk, convincing himself that it was better to return to his rest than stay in his turmoil or anxiety. The writer had to come up with some convincing reason to rest and he decided to reflect on and remember God's goodness toward him. The implication is that he should enjoy God's blessings and remember, if things were currently not good, that God will and can restore his fortunes as before. Therefore, he made the decision to rest (indicating that rest is a decision). Leaders should reflect on this verse and strive to use the past to give them comfort in the present and hope for the future whenever circumstances get tough and try to rob them of their joy and rest.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to use your self talk to help you find rest. Is your mind racing, causing you to worry or fret about the future, thus robbing you of the present? Then develop a strategy to combat your worry. If it were someone else fretting, what would you tell them? That's exactly what you should tell yourself - and keep on thinking it until you find peace. The best answer to worry seems is thinking about what God has done for you in the past.

W47D6 - Organization

"When the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom
of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of
his table, the sitting of his servants, the attendance of
his officials, their clothing, his cup bearers, and his
ascent by which he went up to Yahweh’s house;
there was no more spirit in her" - 1 Kings 10:3-5.

Solomon presided over what could be called the glory days of Israel, when resources were plentiful and and royal activity was at an all-time high. Solomon was teaching, building, lecturing and expanding the kingdom, and he entertained foreign dignitaries who came to hear his wisdom. The Queen of Sheba 'saw' Solomon's wisdom in how he had organized his kingdom to handle all this activity and she was impressed - and this was a woman who had a large kingdom and operation in her own right. Leaders must at some point pay attention to how they will organize everything they do and produce to maximize its exposure, profits or impact. Disorganization will cost any organization something and leaders must address this eventually, no matter how visionary or entrepreneurial they may be.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to evaluate your company's organizational prowess - or lack of it. Are you more visionary or administrative? If you are visionary, then who is your counterpart in your world? Who handles the details and pays attention to the policies, human resources, and all the other unexciting but necessary practices for successful business? Do you honor this person and their gift or do you see it and them as necessary pain to be tolerated?

W47D5 - Goals

"It took Solomon thirteen years, however,
to complete the construction of his palace" - 1 Kings 7:1.

Solomon was a builder and spent 20 years constructing the Temple and his personal residence. What he wanted to build could not be finished quickly, so he had to learn how to plan and work for the long term. Leaders are under tremendous pressure sometimes to produce short-term results, causing them to avoid or lose sight of the long-term benefits they can bring to their organizations. Thus they should be asking where the company wants to be in five, ten, fifteen or even twenty years - and what needs to happen today to hasten and contribute to those long-term goals.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to give some thought to the long-term goals you would like to be associated with and remembered for in your organization. You don't have to do this by yourself, but you can convene various groups to deliberate the long-term company (or family) vision. Then facilitate a process to identify the goals that will make the vision a reality. Be prepared to stay the course as short-term urgencies try to steal your momentum and zeal.

W47D4 - Purpose

"So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your
people and to distinguish between right and wrong.
For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” - 1 Kings 3:9.

When Solomon discovered his purpose to lead Israel, he was confronted with the scope of the job and his inadequacy to fulfill it. What was his response? Did he go to school to get an MBA? Enlist a mentor? Appoint a more seasoned cabinet of advisors? There is nothing wrong with any of those practices for a leader, but Solomon chose none of them. Instead, he prayed and asked God to give him wisdom. It was this wisdom in response to his prayer that has been Solomon's best-known trait through the centuries, and it came as a result of prayer. Leaders must pay attention to all sorts of personal development strategies and practices, but there is none more important as prayer as they carry out their duties with full awareness of how much they need God's help.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to make prayer a higher priority in your daily regimen. When you realize your purpose requires more than you have to give, it should lead you to prayer. When do you pray? How long? Do you have a prayer list? For what and whom are you praying? As you reflect on these questions, also give thought to how you can deepen your prayer life. How can you increase your time in prayer? Have you considered a prayer retreat?

W47D3 - Attitude

"For the Israelites will live many days without king
or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without
ephod or household gods" - Hosea 3:4.

This verse was a pronouncement of judgment by the prophet, declaring that Israel would have to function for many days without any leadership. God is a leadership God -- He works through leadership, speaks to leadership, gives vision and dreams to leadership, and judges leadership, holding them accountable for what they do, say, don't do, and don't say. Leadership must have the attitude that they are serving by God's choice and will be held accountable to represent God by doing His will and manifesting His preferred attitudes and behaviors. That can prevent leaders from building their own kingdoms or adopting arrogant and prideful attitudes.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to understand that you are leading by God's choice and you are God's gift to your organization or family in that capacity. That means that you must humble yourself and learn about leadership from God's perspective. Identify a leadership book today -- not necessarily a Christian one -- and commit to read it before year's end. Then find another one and keep on learning and growing to be the best leader God had in mind for you to be.

W47D2 - Change

"He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making
everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these
words are trustworthy and true'" - Revelation 21:5.

If God is making everything new, that means He is in the change business, transforming all things from how they were to how they are going to be. Therefore change is not something that must be tolerated or engaged when there is a crisis, but rather change must be seen as a business and life strategy. Technology progresses, people come and go, one market opens up and another closes down, a calamity affects world markets, and princes and politicians assume power and are deposed. Wise and effective leaders understand that they deal in change and help their organizations and the people in them to adjust to and prepare for the reality of change.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine your own attitude toward change to see if you consider it an inconvenience or a God-ordained way of life. Do you talk about the good old days or have you kept up with the latest trends in technology and social media? Do you decide regularly to preserve the status quo or do you lead change initiatives to improve and modernize your operations and business strategies? Are you resisting inevitable changes in any area?

Alice Sends Her Thanks

As promised, I sent $1,000 this past week to Alice at the Each One Touch One Orphanage in Nairobi to help feed and care for the children as they approach their Christmas school break. Of course Alice was thrilled and grateful, and here are two thank you notes she sent my way this past week:

Dear Dr. John,

If l was within you sight, you would see real happiness on my face and l guess on those of the children and the other EOTOO members. Thanks so much for responding to our request favourably. May God bless you and your family even as you continue to provide food for the EOTOO children. This is not just a boast from within but it resounds from the verbal expressions of all those that have seen the kids; that "they look health." May God make you spiritually as healthy and even bless you with more wealth to share and peace of mind.

With lots of love from the kids and the members,

Alice for the team
And here is the second, along with the receipt she referenced in her email and a picture of two of the young men who we are supporting through these funds (click to enlarge):
Dear Dr. John,

Joseck and JacksonTo have a friend of EOTOO like you has been a blessing in many ways. The Sophia fund under your able hands has fed the children well and given us the adults peaceful minds. When asked about the services we provide for the children, we proudly name "feeding." And whenever we pronounce that word, what actually is in our minds is the Sophia Fund. Thanks very much for sending to us throughAlice Receipt Western Union Kenya Shillings 87,126 under the said Fund.  It was withdrawn today by myself and banked in the children's account as per the attached banking slip.

May God be your guide all the time and may the name of Sophia live on the lips of many for years to come.

Did you notice what Alice said at the end of the first message: "May God make you spiritually healthy and bless you with even more wealth to share and peace of mind." That is my wish for you and for us as we work together to help raise these orphans. As we approach the holiday season, I ask that you give as you have for these last five years to help these children and their guardians. Please give toward their feeding and education by sending your tax-deductible contributions using Paypal through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and supporters here in the United States. I am thankful for you and for the opportunity to work together to help and bless a little piece of the world.

Week 47, Day 1 - Strategy

"They make many promises,
    take false oaths
    and make agreements;
therefore lawsuits spring up
    like poisonous weeds in a plowed field" - Hosea 10:4.

This verse sounds like a testament to modern life rather than a pronouncement from an ancient prophet. It seems that the strategy Hosea was referring to was one that included making a lot of promises and breaking them, thus leading to court cases to try and sort out who was responsible to do what. Leaders must be careful not to rely on the legal system to conduct their business and not to succumb to or be intimidated by people who threaten legal action. The key is not to make any promises that cannot be kept and to conduct business in such a way that, when it is examined under the scrutiny or lawyers, juries and judges, those business practices will be upheld as legal and ethical.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine the nature of your promises to your volunteers and workers. Is your strategy to be transparent and honest, or are you trying to outfox your people by being shrewd and coy? Do you play fast and loose with the truth, stretching it to suit your purposes or are you open even when it reveals information not beneficial to your position? Would everything you do and say hold up if scrutinized by a legal team heading to court?