Archive for October 2010

Ignoring Alarms

October 30, 2010

Recently, I was in a building when the fire alarm went off. Everyone continued about their business as if nothing had happened. I walked into the hallway and no one was leaving the building. Everyone was ignoring the alarm, including yours truly!

As it turned out there was no reason to be alarmed that day, but as I thought about it later, there can be great danger in ignoring alarms.

In Psalm 19 we are told, “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart… Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.

One of the purposes of the Bible is to warn us, to serve as an alarm against the dangers of this world. Sadly, there are many folks who ignore the Word – or never bother to read it in the first place.

However, it also tells us there is benefit to hearing and heeding the Scriptures. In fact, the reward we are told, is great.

My prayer is that each of us will be more diligent in hearing and heeding those alarms!

 

 

A Leader’s Heart by John Maxwell

October 13, 2010

“A Leader’s Heart 365-Day Devotional Journal” is a wonderful collection of Bible verses, excerpts from John Maxwell’s works and journaling prompts for the reader’s own thoughts.

Each month has a different theme such as “Effective, Godly leadership means giving what you have so that God may be glorified in all you do,” “Leadership is more art than science. The principles of leadership are constant, but the application changes with every leader and every situation” and “Commitment is the one quality above all others that enable a potential leader to become a successful leader.”

Each day’s brief devotion fleshes out those thoughts.

The book is handsomely bound and has a presentation page. It would make a nice gift for any leader.      

I post these reviews as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger Program. I receive a free copy of the book, but am not required to give a positive review.  Check it out at http://www.booksneeze.com

“Transforming Church in Rural America” by Shannon O’Dell

October 10, 2010

“Transforming Church in Rural America” by Shannon O’Dell is an interesting work.

The author relates his call from a large urban church to a struggling (read dying) rural congregation. He goes on to describe a process by which the church grew numerically as well as spiritually.

The book is intriguing and encouraging, but I feel Pastor O’Dell crosses the line from “this is what God did – and can do” – to “this is the recipe for everyone to follow to make this happen in your field of service.”

He gives us deep insight in the pastor’s personal struggles in the work of the ministry and his template, for which he uses the acronym V.A.L.U.E., is strong.

However, there does seem to be the conclusion that his experience would be valid in every rural situation. While I agree there are a lot of sacred cows which need to go to slaughter, there are some parts of his premise (literal satellite campuses of Brand New Church) I’m not sure will be viable options everywhere.

Overall, the advice in the book should be taken as one would eat a crab – pick out the meat and leave the rest.

I post these reviews as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger Program. I receive a free copy of the book, but am not required to give a positive review.  Check it out at http://www.booksneeze.com

Watch Your Step!

October 3, 2010

“Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established.” –
–           Proverbs 4:26

Recently my class completed the annual trek up Mt. Pisgah which is located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina. (A couple of you who read this were along for the climb and will relate first hand to this!)

Pisgah isn’t Mt. Everest, but it is a bit of challenge and it does take preparation, physically and mentally. And, once the trek begins, it takes care. Care to watch the trail and to literally “watch your step.” There are loose rocks and the path isn’t always straight and there are other potential dangers along the way. So, if one isn’t careful, it is possible to get into trouble in a whole lot of ways.

With the proper preparation and care, the climb is great experience with a wonderful view from the top.

The verse above gives us the same advice about a journey much more important than any mountain hike and that is LIFE.

To “ponder” means to think about it, but it is more than that. It means to give considered thought to a thing. Mental preparation and thoughtful follow through.

The “path of your feet.” This may seem like it goes without saying, but I have discovered where my feet go, the rest of me follows. Of course, we know that for walking, however in day to day living we often spend a lot of time pondering (or dare I say worrying) over the outcome of various aspects of our life which would be taken care of if we just pondered where we are going with our actions and behavior.

We worry about this and that, “what will happen to me, or mine,  if that occurs”, “what about that?” The same is true on the mountain. You can worry about falling over the edge, but if you watch your step…

If we do the right thing, in the right way at the right time (watch our step) those other things will take care of themselves.

That is what the verse means when it says all of our ways will be established.

My prayer is that you will be reminded to watch your step, ponder each one and, in turn, God will bless you with a great journey. To be sure, there will challenges and a few rough places, but He’ll be there with you and get you safely home. And, the reward is worth the journey!