Three Leadership Qualities – Part 3

Before reading this be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2

This is the last section and probably the most important quality in Christian leadership. You can be the most competent leader in your field. You can act with integrity more than anyone else. But, if you don’t display concern for the well-being of others then your leadership status with others crumbles. This may not be true for all types of leadership but it is true for Christian leaders. Let me break it down for you…

Display Concern for the Well-Being of Others

Display – make a prominent exhibition of something where it can be easily seen by others (dictionary definition). We are on display for the world to see. If you haven’t noticed, people love to talk bad about Christians. They love to point out our flaws, as if we are to be perfect. Leaders are in the light even more. Your attitude and your actions are on display whether you want them there or not. Everyone is looking to you since you are the leader.

Concern – A matter of interest or importance to someone; to involve oneself in the life of another. You can’t fake this. To be concerned about someone means you have to go out-of-the-way for that person. You have to care for them. I think of Robin Williams’ suicide the other day and how many thousands more we never hear about. They probably didn’t feel like anyone showed any concern for them. Being concerned about someone is genuine. It is taking out of your own life and time and priorities to see about someone else.

Well-being – A state of being comfortable, healthy, and happy. We always want to make sure we are in this state. But, how often do we care if someone else is in this state? Being comfortable means we aren’t anxious. Being healthy means we aren’t sick. Being happy means we aren’t sad or depressed. This is a lot of work just for ourselves. How much more time and effort do you think it takes to care for someone else’s well-being?

Others – Used to refer to a person or thing that is different or distinct from one already mentioned or known about. That is, someone other than yourself. We already love ourselves. Why not love others too.

You put all this together and it seems like a monumental task. And, it is. Being unselfish is the hardest thing you can ever do in this world. Caring about others is draining and time-consuming. “My commandment is this – to love one another just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends.” John 15:12

Look at Yourself

Leaders must be willing to sacrifice their lives for their friends. Their friends would be anyone who they are leading. Do really display concern for the well-being of others? Do you go out of your way to make sure those you lead are okay? Do you take time out of your day for people other than yourself? Would you drop everything for someone in pain that needs help? Robin Williams death should remind all of us to look at those around us and care for them. Show them the love of God in us. You may be the most charismatic and qualified leader in the world. But, without love, everything you do is fruitless (1 Cor. 13:2).

I realize I didn’t share many Bible quotes on leadership. So, next week I will have a blog post with nothing but Bible verses that relate to leadership.

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Combat Ready Devotional #5

And now, if you will diligently listen to me and keep my covenant, then you will be my special possession out of all the nations, for all the earth is mine, and you will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you will speak to the Israelites.”

Exodus  19:5, 6

A Holy Nation

God wanted the nation of Israel to be Holy and follow God’s plan for them. All they had to do is keep the words of His covenant. Which, obviously, was very hard for them to do since they really didn’t keep it. But, I thank God for His grace that He showed to them and to us.

Today, we aren’t living under the Old Covenant anymore. We live under the New. We don’t have to sacrifice animals anymore for forgiveness of sins. Jesus has already shed His blood for us. He has written His law on our hearts. But, God still wants us to keep His words. He wants us to live them out. He wants us to love others as He has loved us. He still wants us to keep His covenant. And, by doing so we too will become a holy people and a kingdom of Priests.


This is an excerpt from the upcoming companion devotional to Combat Ready. These devotionals are not in the same order as they will appear in the printed book and may not be in the final form. To read more devotionals click here. To purchase the original book, Combat Ready, click here or go anywhere else books are sold.

Categories: Being a Christian, Devotional, Exodus | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The World Book Blog Tour

The World Book Blog Tour provides a format to get acquainted with authors and their works. Each author is invited by a friend who in turn invites more friends. It’s sort of daisy chain of creativity. Thanks, readers, for taking a minute to check it out!

Thanks as well to Steve Warner for inviting me to take part in this blog tour. Steve has enjoyed success as a counselor for many years. His book, Milestones: On the Road Home, is a collection of reflections on living in grace and truth. Gleaned from Scripture, over 25 years of counseling experiences, and real-life examples, Milestones is biblical, insightful, and fiercely practical. It offers guidance to challenge and encourage you on your road to intimacy with God and others.  The questions for reflection, suggested prayers, and identified “milestones” for each chapter bring the relational message of God’s Word all the way home—to your heart!

These are the questions posed by the World Blog Tour:

What am I working on?

I am working on a companion devotional for Combat Ready. I am posting the daily devotionals here on this blog as I do them. I am also planning on going back to school to finish my Master’s degree soon. I am on sabbatical as a pastor so I am working at a property management company, which I love.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

The genre I am writing in is a very small one, Christian Military, so there are not too many other books similar to mine out there. Although I was not a Christian while in the military, I believe my experience in the military has made me a better Christian. My writing has a military background, but I write in the way where everyone can understand it and get something from it.

Why do I write what I do?

Easy answer: I love it. First, it gets me closer to God. For me to write something worth reading, I need to be in the Word of God more and in deep prayer. I want what I’m putting out to be inspirational. Second, it is a way to reach people. I’m not a great talker, so I use my writing to do my talking. Third, I’ve been told I’m good at it. I’m my greatest critic so I think I need a lot of improvement. I’m not aiming to be the greatest writer ever, I just want to be able to reach a few people for the kingdom.

How does my writing process work?

From the big picture to the details. When I wrote Combat Ready I started out with an idea, comparing military life to Christian life. Then I did a general outline for the chapters. Then I did a detailed outline for each chapter I was working on. I spent a couple of hours every Monday writing (until I got closer to the end, then it was almost every day). I stayed disciplined with not spending too much time writing and letting it simmer. Now, again, I am only using Monday’s to write my devotional.

Next stop of the World Blog Book Tour?

J. V. Carr is the author of Username: Bladen, a Christian fiction book with a good modern twist. What if messing up insanely in a video game could somehow cause serious catastrophic events on Earth? Like maybe a devastating hurricane or an airplane crash? That’s what happens to eighteen-year-old Bladen, after he’s chosen to play in the real-life game Arcis. At first he thinks it’s cool, until his dreams become plagued by a black widow spider that begs for his help; death players want to murder life players like him on Earth, and Bladen realizes that when a level is lost, disasters can’t be stopped.

Bladen’s life becomes more and more tormented, as he stumbles between two worlds filled with hatred, jealousy, and love, until he hits a turning point and has to decide what he wants—to continue to sacrifice in the game, even if it costs him his life, or give it all up for his first love. Be sure to visit her blog and buy her book on Amazon.

Daniel Dorey is the author of The Olive Principle: Finding Your Way Back to GodDaniel is a police chaplain and has a doctorate in Theology. In The Olive Principle, minister and author Daniel R. Dorey discusses the reasons believers are lured away from God and recommends action steps to accepting the challenge of becoming a true servant of God. Complementing the study of scripture, The Olive Principle unravels the twisted deception used by Satan. Dorey brings you face-to-face with the truth and assists you on the path to spiritual maturity. Be sure to buy his book.

Heather Thompson Day is the author of four books, Hook, Line, and Sinker, Cracked Glass, How to Feed the Mediavore: The 30 Day Challenge, and The God Myth: And Other LiesHeather Thompson Day is working on her PhD at Andrews University. She teaches Communications courses at Southwestern Michigan College, Ferris State University, & Andrews University. She resides in Berrien Springs MI with her husband Seth Day, and her two children. Be sure to read her blog and buy one of her books.

Categories: Being a Christian, Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Three Leadership Qualities – Part 2

To read Part 1 click here.

As I continue this leadership series I want to remind you about the first quality, performing competently. All good leaders, especially Christian leaders, must know their job. Christian leaders must also know their Bible well. This week’s leadership quality builds from last week’s.

Act With Integrity

A part of performing competently (as I briefly mentioned last week) was to live out what you are teaching. An excellent biblical leader will not be a hypocrite. That is, they won’t tell someone to live a certain way while they secretly partake of those same sins. I could end this blog post with that, but, acting with integrity is more than just doing what is right when nobody is watching. There are three more important aspects of integrity.

First, acting with integrity means you keep your word. Some of you may have heard the saying, ‘my word is my bond’ (‘word is bond’ for short). This is crucial for Christian leaders. That means we won’t say we will do something without fully knowing we can and are able to do it. If you say you are going to be at work at 8 o’clock then you don’t show up at that time, you are not acting with integrity. You must do what you are say you are going to do. It’s that simple. It may not be easy but it is simple. See James 5:12

Second, acting with integrity means communicating clearly. At first, this may not seem like it has anything to do with integrity. Let me explain. Say you are a Christian leader and you have a few subordinates. You have a good idea in your head for the future for all of them. You have a plan in place to make your organization, or church, or whatever it is great. You carry out your plan but you fail to tell all of those who work for you or who you minister to. You may tell them aspects here or there but never your full intentions. This is poor integrity. It seems as though you were trying to deceive others to get what you wanted. It may have been innocent. You may have had the best intentions for the others but they didn’t see it that way. I have learned over the years that leaders must over-communicate. Communication has always been a poor quality of mine and that is one thing I strive to do better.

Third, acting with integrity means have good morals. Again, this is real similar to performing competently and to what I mentioned above about doing what is right when nobody is watching. Nevertheless, I needed to mention it here for clarity (communication). Great Christian leaders have good morals. They are nice to other people even when they don’t deserve it. They never talk badly about a person when they aren’t there to defend themselves (gossip). They strive to live an upright life.

Look at yourself

Are you acting with integrity as a Christian leader? Are you keeping your word that you promised to others? Are you communicating your intentions clearly? Do you have good morals? Strive to be excellent in your leadership. Don’t be a lazy leader.

Continue reading with Part 3…

 

Categories: Being a Christian, James | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Three Leadership Qualities – Part 1

Excuse me while I start this blog with a mini-rant. Listen people, if you want to be in a leadership position you must take responsibility for your actions and those of who you lead. I’m sick of leaders who are more than willing to take the credit for when things go right. But, God forbid something goes wrong. Then those same leaders are quick to deflect, blame someone else, or pretend like nothing has happened. If you are unable to take ownership of the mistakes made by you, your staff, or those who you lead then you don’t need to be in a leadership position, period! …and I’m done with my rant.

Biblical leadership

This is going to be a three-part series on three qualities all biblical leaders must have (which also applies to all leaders). I will spend the next three weeks on each quality. These three qualities are a must-have. There is no way around it. If you can’t live up to them then you shouldn’t be a leader. There are way too many pastors, elders, deacons, and church leaders out there who are leading people astray. They are in a leadership position because they want the power not because God has called them. Or, maybe God did call them but they have forgotten that call.

Before I get started let me get three obvious Christian leadership traits out of the way first: called by God, submitting to God, humble attitude toward others (servant). Now, I bring you the first leadership quality all leaders must posses.

Perform Competently

This means you know what you are doing in your job. To be a leader means you have to be able to do your job very well and be able to teach others to do it. Mistakes will always happen. But what will separate great leaders from average leaders is what comes after the mistake: acknowledge it, learn from it, and never do it again. If you keep making the same mistake repeatedly, then you are not performing competently.

For example, I’m a carpenter. For me to be a good carpenter I have to know exactly how to fix something or build something before I start the project. If I start something before knowing what I’m doing then I’m not performing competently. I am a competent carpenter because I have the ability, skill, and knowledge to do carpentry work.

When it comes to biblical leadership, this means you are living out what you are teaching. You know your Bible well. You can teach others what the Bible teaches. You live as a child of God. Again, this isn’t saying you are sinless, but you do sin less. Like I said two paragraphs above about mistakes, you recognize when you sin and acknowledge it. Ask for forgiveness from others and God. Never let that sin take you down.

For me, it’s easy to recognize a biblical leader who is performing competently. They have confidence. They know what they are teaching and living out. They know and read the whole Bible, not just a few verses here and there. They know God is real. They know Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave. They know Jesus is coming back again. They know they will be united in heaven with all the other believers and spend eternity with our Savior. They have the Holy Spirit. They have swag. And, most importantly, they have a humble attitude toward others.

Look at yourself

Now, if you are a leader, ask yourself, “Do I perform competently?” I’m sure your answer will be yes. So here is a harder challenge, ask those you lead if you perform competently. I urge all leaders to strive for this quality. If you don’t think you are there yet then maybe you need to step down for a while until you can be at this level.

As a biblical leader you are never going to know all the Bible but you should have a really good grasp on what the Bible teaches and what you believe in. You should be able to teach others competently using the Bible as a guide not your own thoughts. You should be able to take people through the different books of the Bible and show them what they are about. Study the Word of God and stay connected to God through prayer then you will become (or stay) a competent Christian leader

Continue reading Part 2 now…

Or jump ahead to Part 3…

Categories: Being a Christian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Combat Ready Devotional #4

Isn’t this what we told you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone so that we can serve the Egyptians, because it is better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!’”

Exodus 14:12

Serve The LORD

The Israelites had a narrow vision. They didn’t see what God saw. They were happy being servants in Egypt, at least they had all the food they can eat and all the water and wine they can drink. Life wasn’t too bad for them, or so they thought. They didn’t want to go through the process of God eliminating their bad habits so they can serve Him instead of Egypt. They didn’t want to be a holy nation. They didn’t want God so God allowed them to die in the desert.

God has great plans for you even though you can’t see it. To realize these plans you have to be torn away from serving the wrong master. This is a painful experience. It’s easy to see why the Israelites complained. We want the best of what this world has to offer. But, God wants to offer you the best of the next world. To get that, you must put aside everything that gets in the way of you serving Him alone. Don’t look back. Trust in God.


This is an excerpt from the upcoming companion devotional to Combat Ready. These devotionals are not in the same order as they will appear in the printed book and may not be in the final form. To read more devotionals click here. To purchase the original book, Combat Ready, click here or go anywhere else books are sold.

Categories: Being a Christian, Books, Devotional, Exodus | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Fig Tree Reborn: Baptism

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Combat Ready Devotional # 3

Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron in the night and said, “Get up, get out from among my people, both you and the Israelites! Go, serve the Lord as you have requested! Also, take your flocks and your herds, just as you have requested, and leave. But bless me also.” The Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and they gave them whatever they wanted,and so they plundered Egypt.

Exodus 21:31, 32, 36

This is what Pharaoh, ruler over all of Egypt, told Moses after the tenth and last plague that killed his eldest son. The Egyptians forced the Israelites out of their land. Essentially bribing them with all of their jewels and goods for them to leave immediately. This was God’s plan all along. He had hardened Pharaoh’s heart during the previous nine plagues so He can show off His awesome power. So the Israelites and all the world will know that He is the One True God.

Israel had to suffer through some of the same plagues the Egyptians did. But, they made it through. In your life you may be going through some personal plagues. It may be at work, school, or at home. Be like the Israelites and patiently wait through it. In the end, you will be blessed for what you went through. You will be richer too. You may not be financially richer but you will be spiritually richer. Allow God to work His miracles in your life. Wait for His plan to come together not your own plans.


This is an excerpt from the upcoming companion devotional to Combat Ready. These devotionals are not in the same order as they will appear in the printed book and may not be in the final form. To read more devotionals click here. To purchase the original book, Combat Ready, click here or go anywhere else books are sold.

Categories: Being a Christian, Devotional, Exodus | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Must Read! Combat Ready by David Wolstenholm

Heart Of Fiction: Bloggin' A Book

Combat Ready

Searching in your faith? Believe in God? Having tough times in your life? If you’re looking for spiritual answers in your own life, then this a terrific and inspirational book for you!

Even though this book is mainly how the author found God through the military, I think the author’s journey finding God and his advice from personal experience will touch the hearts of many. His honest encounters with alcohol and drugs are indicative of the author’s humility, God’s love and mercy. I give this book a five star and have to say it’s a must read! It’s available through Westbow Press and other retailers. 

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The Difference Between Salt and Light

The Bible tells us to let our lights shine. Jesus first talks about this on His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13-16). The Bible also tells us to be salt. Jesus said for us to do this on a few different occasions. But what does it mean? How can I be salt? How can I be light?

Light

Light is seen, especially in the darkness. We are to be a light on a hilltop. We do this by our actions. This is what people see. When darkness, or sin surrounds us, we stand out because we act differently. We handle ourselves differently. We look differently. Our actions line up with what the Bible teaches. We are unselfish. We are good to others when they aren’t good to us. We are confident and bold because we have assurance of salvation. We are optimistic and filled with hope. We aren’t afraid of the enemy because we know we are on the winning team. When things go wrong we aren’t crushed because we have hope in the future.

To be light, we have to act like we are children of God. We have to be children of God. When we humbly follow Jesus and are filled with the Holy Spirit then we will have the fruits of the Spirit. These are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These attributes will naturally show up in a person who is connected to God. Spiritual fruit is what shines in the darkness. You don’t need to think about doing them, they just come naturally when you are fully connected to God.

Salt

Salt is tasted. Salt enhances the flavor of what it’s put on only when it is used in moderation. Too much salt destroys food. Salt is what we say. We need to preach the gospel in moderation. Sometimes food doesn’t need any salt. Sometimes we don’t need to say anything we just need to be present and live out the gospel (light). Saying too much can destroy someone and make them run away from God. Be careful of how much salt you put in people’s lives.

However, sometimes we need to put on a lot of salt. We need to talk a lot about the Bible, God, and the gospel. Every situation is different. Be mindful of the people you are around and how much salt they can take in. We are here to flavor the world with the gospel.

Balance

Jesus talks more about being the light of the world than being salt. Behaving as Christians is more important than talking about being a Christian. The New Testament mentions the word salt only seven times. However, it mentions light about 91 times. Clearly the Bible is teaching us that what we do is more important than what we say.

Be moderate in how much gospel you preach into someone’s life. If they don’t want to hear it, then don’t say anything, just show them. I hear of too many stories of people being turned away from Christianity because Christians just don’t know how to shut up. We need to close our mouths sometimes and show God’s love with our actions. Stop being a hypocrite. Stop doing the opposite of what you say other people should do. Have a proper balance in your life of salt and light.

Personalities

Yes, I understand that we all have different personalities. Some people like to talk a lot while others prefer to listen more. I’m the latter. I have no problem being light. But, sometimes I should be more salt and I miss out on opportunities to spread the gospel message. On the other hand, people who enjoy talking sometimes put too much salt in people’s lives and may not even realize it. The key is balance. Know who you are and who the other person is and give the right amount of salt. You can never be too much light but you can be too much salt. Don’t hide your light (Luke 11:33), let your light shine!

Categories: Being a Christian, Galatians, Matthew, New Testament | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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