Friday, October 30, 2015

The Spirit of Fear

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7

Fear is not to be taken lightly.

On Thursday I shared a post I wrote on Halloween of 2013 titled The Perplexity of Halloween. In this post I shared how I didn't understand people's fascination with death and fear on this day. So many people seem to be fascinated with fear. They dress up in the scariest costumes, watch scary movies and even go to haunted houses hoping to be scared. But fear is not something to be trifled with.

Fear is a spirit.

Paul told Timothy that God did not give us a spirit of fear. This tells us two things, one that fear is a spirit, and two that fear is not from God. Any spirit that is not from God is a spirit of the enemy. Back in December I wrote a post about the importance Knowing Our Enemy. One main part of knowing our enemy is knowing our enemies tactics and methods. Fear is the main tactic of our enemy.

So why would we play around with fear?

I think one of the tactics the devil has put into play is trying to make light of fear. Fear holds us back from God's will more than anything else so the enemy wants us to let down our guard to this weapon. He makes us think it is fun and something to play around with. He makes us think we are cowards if we can't take the scariest movie out there. In the end we end up completely unaware of the fact that this fear is holding us back. 

So should we run and hide from Halloween?

This seems to be the response of many Christians. Shut your door, turn off your lights, and don't acknowledge anyone but in a sense this is just another way of giving in to fear. Paul doesn't stop in letting us know what fear is, he also lets us know how to fight it. He says that God gave us a different kind of spirit, He gave us a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. We need to allow ourselves to be taken over by these three things and it will allow us to fight this spirit of fear. 

By acting out in love and power we are truly combatting the enemy's strategies.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

An Everlasting Kingdom

"Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, 
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations."
Psalm 145:13

In the United States, as well as many other 'western' nations, we have been blessed to be in a nation friendly towards Christianity. We have been blessed to be in a 'Christian' nation. However that Christianity is becoming less and less prominent in the government and in the media. It is unfortunate however I wonder if it is as big of a problem as we have made it out to be. 

Many American Christians seem to be desperately trying to reverse the trend of our government to go against Christian values. They are pushing for bans on homosexual marriage, bans on abortion, greater favor towards churches and ministries, etc. Well I believe that there is nothing wrong with trying to campaign for Christian values in politics I do not actually see this in the Bible.

I would even dare to say that focusing our attention mostly on politics is unbiblical.

Think about the early church. They were in one of the most anti Christian governments in the history of the world. Yet you never see them trying to change the government. Jesus never once attempted to change the government during his ministry. The only time it records Jesus even approaching anyone in government is when he was turned over to Pilate to be crucified. In that moment he had a prime moment to convince someone in authority and he barely even spoke. 

Jesus never tried to change politics, He tried to change individuals!

Moving on to the disciples as they started the early church. There is really only one time that we have recorded in which one of the early church member spoke to a Roman, government official and that was Paul to King Agrippa in Acts 26. At this point Paul does tell his testimony of his conversion and comes close to convincing Agrippa to become a Christian, but it is clear that Paul is speaking to the individual not to the nation. Paul is not advocating policy but is simply telling the testimony of how Christ saved him. 

That brings us to today. Everywhere I look I see Christians trying to change politics, but how much are we trying to change the individual? Don't get me wrong, I realize that there are many Christians out there who are trying to reach out to the individuals, but there are also many who are so focused on changing the laws of this country that they don't seem to have time to share their testimony with their neighbor. They post political posts on Facebook but never post how Jesus changed their life. They send out petitions to ban homosexual marriage but never have even attempted to reach out to the homosexual. They attempt to pass a law against abortion but have never sought out the young woman who made a mistake, got pregnant as a teenager, and is scared out of her mind as to how she can take care of her baby. 

What does it matter how Biblical our nation's laws are if we are not willing to reach out to our neighbors in a Biblical manner?

You see, Christ never called us to build a Christian nation. Christ never called us to make sure that our nation on earth is prosperous. Christ never called us to be Americans. Christ called us to build His heavenly kingdom on this earth. His kingdom transcends the United States and any other nation on this earth. His kingdom transcends all earthly laws and politics. And His kingdom is spread through love and truth, together. It is spread through the individuals, through the church. 

What are you doing to spread His kingdom?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

For Such a Time As This...

"For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Esther 4:14

Esther is an interesting story. The king of Persia summons his wife, Vashti, and she refuses to come. He then punishes her by casting her out of her role as queen and putting on a beauty pageant to replace her. Esther is then given the "privilege" of leaving her family and her people and becoming queen to a king who requires absolute obedience and values superficial beauty.

Doesn't sound quite as glamorous as the story we heard in kid's church does it?

We then have the above verse in which Esther is confronted by Mordecai and challenged to present the case of her people before the king. "...who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

You may have found yourself in a situation that is less than comfortable. Maybe you're in a place where you are under valued, struggling financially, or in a state of loss. Sometimes God allows us into those situations in order to direct us to the right place at the right time. "...for such a time as this..."

If you are struggling with something in your life right now have you stopped to look as to how God may want to use you? God may be wanting to use your situation to touch those around you. He may want to use your struggles to save others. However you have to be able to stop complaining, and stop worrying long enough to see it.

Have you come to your place in life "for such a time as this"?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Management Defined

"Management is working with and through other people to accomplish the objectives of both the organization and it's members." - Patrick J. Montana and Bruce H. Charnov

Management is... 

Recently I have started reading Barron's Business Review Book on Management written by Patrick J. Montana and Bruce H. Charnov. Naturally in the study of management theory, practices, and structure the obvious beginning point is to define management. The book presents some older definitions of management but ultimately settles on the definition above. I agree with this definition of effective management and I feel there are several key points in this definition to point out and look into deeper.

...working with ... other people:

First of all, a manager should never find themselves alone on an island. A manager is to work with people around them, whether that is laterally or vertically in the chain of command. There are almost always other managers that are on the same level who should be always looking to work as a team. But even in those rare occasions where the manager is the "top of the pyramid" so to speak, the manager still is a part of the team consisting of his/her employees and also customers and outside partners. A manager needs to always remember that s/he is not alone and needs to recognize those people who are around with the same mission.

...working ... through other people:

In addition to working with others an effective manager learns how to work through others. This is done through the important task of delegation. In my post A Biblical Example of Delegation I share the story of Moses and his father in law, Jethro, and how Jethro had to show Moses how to delegate. Moses was burning himself out trying to personally deal with all of the issues of the entire nation of Israel and Jethro showed how he could set leaders up under him and delegate the smaller issues to them leaving his own energy for those matters that actually required his attention. By doing this Moses was learning how to work through those other leaders. He trained them and equipped them to take care of those issues and then was ultimately able to get more work done by allowing others to do the work. 

to accomplish the objectives of ... the organization:

The first two statements show how management is done, by working with and through others. Now, in this statement and the next, we have the goal of management. Management's first goal always has to be to accomplish the objectives of the organization. A lot of times people like to try and be "people focused" and put their staff's objectives first. However the thing we need to realize is, if the organization fails then the staff are the ones who are hurt. Therefore you must keep the objective's of the organization in the forefront.

to accomplish the objectives of ... the individual:

Though we must look to the objective's of the organization first, we must not ignore the objectives of the individual. When we are leading and managing our staff we should be aware of what their career goals are and do our best to put them in situations where they can prepare themselves for their goals. Often, as managers, we have to weigh the costs and benefits of certain decisions considering both the objectives of our organization and our staff. A common mistake by managers can be to hold staff back from promotion because they don't want to lose that staff from their department. This is detrimental both to the staff's development and to the organization as a whole. When you hold staff back from a deserved promotion you end up with disgruntled staff and most of the time will end up losing that staff from the organization entirely. As a manager we should be constantly looking to how we can help our staff better themselves and reach their goals.