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Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Exercise


Here's a great Thanksgiving exercise worth doing annually.

Take out a clean sheet of paper, and write the following at the top: My Personal Board Of Directors.

In the middle of the page, draw an oval to represent a large conference room table. Print your own name at one end of the table. Around this table, print the names of six or seven others who currently influence you the most, in a positive way. They may be living or deceased. They may be people you have not met, such as authors, media personalities, sports figures, or musicians. They may be people you've known for decades. These are the voices you turn to, listen to, and learn the most from. These are the voices you take seriously when you want counsel, ideas, motivation, companionship, guidance, or a boost of confidence.

Now write a short description by each name that identifies the reason he or she is on your Personal Board of Directors. For example, “He always makes time for me,” or, “She never makes me feel like my ideas won't work.”

Finally, write a short personal note to at least one of your Personal Board Members (a living one), or a phone call, thanking this person, letting him/her know that he/she is on your Personal Board of Directors, and why.

I was taught this great exercise by Kathy Koch, Founder of Celebrate Kids, Inc. (http://www.celebratekids.com/). With her permission, I have shared it with many others over the years.

Several of my Personal Board Members have been at my table for more than 35 years. My wife has been on my Personal Board for over 45 years!

What a difference these people have made in my life. They are the friends I cannot afford to live without.

Who is on your Personal Board of Directors? Maybe you cannot limit it to six or seven. Get a bigger piece of paper. Thank one or two of them today, and be sure to let them know why they are on your Board. You will be glad you did, and they will be glad, too. It will be a Thanksgiving gift to treasure.

One more question: Did you include Jesus on your Personal Board?

He's been on mine for 58 years.

Thank you, Lord!

John Taylor (left) and Bill Laney (right) have been on my Personal Board of Directors for 35+ years.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The People We Can't Afford To Live Without


Two are better than one. Especially at work.

We seem to be living at a time when friends are more necessary than ever. What may come as a surprise to many, is that a person who has a best friend at work is seven times more likely to be engaged in his or her job. This may seem counter intuitive, but it is the discovery of Tom Rath.

Who is Tom Rath? He's the best-selling author of How Full Is Your Bucket?, StrengthsFinder 2.0, and Vital Friends: The People you Can't Afford to Live Without.

Rath puts meat on the term friend. He does this by identifying eight different types of friends. As I summarize his eight types below, I urge you to think about the people in your own life who fill these various roles. And consider how you might be filling one or more of these roles in other people's lives: 

Builder: a person who motivates you to accomplish things you would not otherwise accomplish.

Champion: a person who sings your praises to others.

Collaborator: a person who has similar interests, and shares those interests with you.

Companion: a person who is always there for you.

Connector: a person who introduces you to others (without being asked!).

Energizer: a person who gives you a boost.

Mind Opener: a person who challenges you to think outside the box.

Navigator: a person who provides guidance for you.

As I read Vital Friends, I couldn't help but think of the people in my life who have filled the roles described by Rath. It was easy for me to see why he calls these the people we can't afford to live without.

As King Solomon put it, in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12,

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor;
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Friday, November 13, 2015

This Pastor Doesn't Say It Any Longer




"The most important thing happening this week in our city is what's happening right now in this sanctuary!"

That's what Dr. Vic Pentz, Senior Pastor at Peachtree Presbyterian, Atlanta, Georgia, used to tell his congregation on Sunday mornings. But this pastor doesn't say it any longer.

Has he backslidden?

You be the judge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YboJIUVm8Cc

Friday, November 6, 2015

Poor Atlas


Dr. Robert Osborn is the Executive Director of Wilberforce Academy, St. Paul, Minnesota. He is a brother we greatly respect, and Wilberforce Academy is a work our readers should know about. I asked Bob if he would write a post about his work with international students, which he kindly did here. My wife, Kathy, and I have had international students living with us off and on for 40 years. These students have come from Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. We have touched many nations through our home and our family. But Bob carries the process much further.

Poor Atlas.

The entire globe was on his shoulders. 

Now, imagine a lever by which you can leverage the future of the nations that span that globe.  And imagine not having to leave your home in the process, but actually having the opportunity to impact the destiny of whole nations from your doorstep.

Welcome to the world of international student ministry and Wilberforce Academy.   While churches invest large amounts of funds to transport families overseas where missionaries often spend years wrestling with major cultural, linguistic and religious obstacles that make sharing the Gospel difficult, God has dropped more than a million international students in North America (and three million elsewhere around the world).  In many cases, the finest brains come to North America because of our renowned universities. 

They are at our doorsteps, waiting for our welcome. Many are open to the Gospel, especially those from Mainland China, which sends the largest percentage of international students (more than 1/3rd of the overall total).

Not only do some of these students find Christ here, but at the Wilberforce Academy we’re also preparing these students to creatively, courageously, skillfully, and intelligently apply a Christian worldview to the challenges facing their societies and workplaces.  We call these students whom we mentor “redemptive change agents,” that is Christ-animated agents of change whose horizons are denominated by the Kingdom and whose academic training, when brought under the yoke of Christ, yields rich fruit.  By the grace of God, we prepare them to be advanced professionals skilled in making known Jesus Christ and His healing balm throughout their nations.

Thangboi has founded two Christian schools in Northwest India, while Emmanuela prepares to depart for Cameroon in 2016 where she will design children’s curricula for Cameroon’s churches and public schools.  Ricardo advocates in Jamaica’s courts for his country’s most vulnerable children.  Nearby in Haiti, Abbel champions a vision for teaching Christian worldview to his people while also managing programs for Compassion International.  In Zimbabwe, Masango teaches conflict resolution skills, while, in Togo, Ameido will very soon arouse the entrepreneurial potential of her country’s young college graduates who now only wait for government jobs.  Kisongo, from his base in Minneapolis, is transforming the church landscape in eastern Congo because of his teaching on a Christian worldview, and, very soon, he hopes to also empower the development of businesses that will create desperately needed wealth.

The world at our doorsteps awaits.  Will you rise up with the love of Christ, and a desire to teach the only worldview that matches the shape of reality?  Will you then train these future leaders who await your hospitality and your friendship, and help them to disciple their nations?

If you do, you will be leveraging what Atlas could only carry.

And you will know blessing unimagined.


For more about Wilberforce Academy click here.