The views, thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author. They are not and do not necessarily reflect the opinion(s) or position(s) of the organization, board of directors and/or any other individual(s) or entity (ies) affiliated or unaffiliated with Christians in Public Service, Inc.


 

Monday, March 8, 2021 6:12 PM

Monday, March 8, 2021 6:12 PM
Monday, March 8, 2021 6:12 PM

The Church, Not Obama or Gays Made Possible Same-Sex Marriage
Thursday, March 4, 2021 8:49 PM

The Church, Not Obama or Gays Made Possible Same-Sex Marriage

Thursday, March 4, 2021 8:49 PM
Thursday, March 4, 2021 8:49 PM

Reprinted from March 24, 2020

This, I know, will make many fellow believers fighting mad and some likely will call me everything but a child of God.  

But as I, along with millions, helplessly look on at the unfolding nightmare of COVID-19 and how at the beginning of this crisis in America, President Trump and many of his supporters blew it off as a hoax, I can't help but be sad when I think of how the church in America, once a leader in public thought and positive change has capitulated so much.

Even now a defiant Jerry Falwell, Jr. is willing to risk students and faculty next week by opening the doors of Liberty University, the conservative Christian college founded by his father, saying the COVID-19 pandemic is all a conspiracy against the president. He expresses what many Christians still unfortunately and wrongly believe.

It is unfortunate that we have developed over the years such an antagonistic relationship with the government. 

“They are willing to destroy the economy just to hurt Trump,” Falwell said.

The church in America once was a beacon, a safe-haven, with many of its leaders partnering with government and community leaders to right wrongs, stand strong and help when justice and righteousness were under attack and dangerous threats threatened us.

Sadly though today, many church leaders are more concerned with getting and maintaining political clout and currying favor with Washington, DC politicians, at the expense of the reputation of the Christian church as a whole. While many churches are doing incredible work in their communities, on the whole, studies show a definite and steady decline in confidence in the Christian church and faith in general.

Equally sad is that many church leaders can't see what the rest of the world does and those doubting the authenticity of our faith. This is by no means an indictment but an observation and uncomfortable truth many know but would not dare say.

Scripture teaches us to examine ourself and while the church over the past decade has done a lot of fingerpointing, it has done little self-examination.

Even more, way too many are existing within echo chambers where the reverberation of their own words bounce off one another and where none find any fault in the other. Many live and worship in a parallel universe it seems, not engaging culture and are shocked and angry when culture comes knocking at the doors of the church.

Having said this, let's take a look at the most defining issue of the 20th century that rocked to its core, the Christian church in America - same-sex marriage.

Christianity is a religion. Christian is nothing more than a descriptive name given to first-century followers of "the Way" - followers of the radical leader from Nazareth - Jesus Christ.

We never read where Jesus refers to his followers as "Christians." The first-century believers were given that moniker. We, as Christ-followers were not intended to be "a religion." And marriage? Let's take a closer look.

God always intended marriage to be between one man and one woman. Jesus reiterated it. And full disclosure, I believe every word of the Bible to be God-breathed and true.

Having said this, it is the church, the "Christians" who are to "blame" for the convolution of marriage. Why do I say this and what do I base it on?

The instant God's people signed off on for economic reasons (namely property) a man and woman having to have a license to be "married," that put "marriage" squarely into the legal system. And marriage for all intents and purposes became a legal union and a holy one with more weight given to the legal aspect, not God's.

Marriage is a contract. A contract. God's design and intent were that marriage would be a covenant. A holy covenant between one man and one woman and the two would become one. It was intended to be under the auspices of the church and its leader.

It's why you have to go to a court of law and not a church of God to get a divorce. Only the law can dissolve a contract. And in some cases, depending upon the circumstances, even though "divorced" (i.e. the contract legally dissolved) by the court, the covenant in the eyes of God still stands. Which means, remarriage in some cases though "legal" by law is not recognized convenantly by God. But that's another blog for another day.

The church is referred to as the bride of Christ. Why? It is an illustration of the covenantal relationship between Christ and the church as God intended it to be between one man and one woman.

The church, not gay activists or President Barack Obama laid the groundwork for same-sex marriage. Decades ago when the church stood by, allowed and gave hearty approval for economic reasons, God's holy covenant to be exchanged for man's legal contract, man then got to define the terms of the contract.

So the church was left standing flat-footed on the sideline stomping its feet, huffing and puffing with no power. No power to take back what God had given it. It long ago abdicated it, and continues to abdicate it in other life and cultural issues such as immigration, healthcare and other socio-economic issues.

We have lost our voice and the voices that are speaking are so aligned politically, that it alienates so many. We are to draw people, not alienate them.

When the world exercised the right given over to it by the church, the church protested in court (the legal system) but the legal system recognized the legality of the right of two people to enter into a contract. A contract that can never escape the covenantal original intent of the Creator.

Church leaders lashed out at Obama, LGBTQ activists, flooded talk radio and Christian media with verbal protests, pointing fingers at everyone but itself. And still does.

What did it think the world, governed by the god of this world, would do but change the very intent and plan of God?

The church in America is not in trouble and increasingly a nonfactor in culture and crises because of "them" but because of "themselves." And until truth once again matters more than political clout and money, Christianity in America will continue its downward slide.

This current crisis as horrifying as it is, is both a blessing and a curse. God and church leaders are not even part of the national conversation. The medical community can only do so much but only the Word of God and the love of God are salves for hurting souls. And so many people are hurting.

The good news? We have an opportunity to begin again. A wonderful new beginning with new opportunities to be the leaders we were meant to be in the culture. Salt to help preserve the country for future generations and light in an increasingly dark world.

It's time for the church to lead. I pray we just don't focus on getting past this and miss "the this" God is revealing to us. The world needs light in darkness and is desperate for truth, love, justice, righteousness, hope and compassion.

God has hit reset. Let's run with endurance the race set before us. We can ill afford to keep dropping the baton.

In Character
Monday, March 1, 2021 11:09 AM

In Character

Monday, March 1, 2021 11:09 AM
Monday, March 1, 2021 11:09 AM
 
My name, Dorothy, is of Old Greek origin and it is used mainly in English. The meaning of Dorothy is 'gift of god'. It is a biblical name derived from doron which means 'gift' ; theos 'god'. The name was borne by two early Christian saints, notably the 4th-century virgin martyr Saint Dorothea of Caesarea.
 
In the Bible, a name denotes the character of a thing. The problem with many of us as we leave Black History Month and dash into Women's History Month and all the other celebrated man-designated months --- whatever it is we are on the outside, is what we will celebrate along with a world that doesn't know the God of the Bible as we should, on the inside.
 
So we act according to the characteristics of what that external characteristic is, but most of the time, not in accordance with the character of who we are.
 
Who are you? Do you know? Are in character or out? I remember going on a VIP behind the scenes tour at Disney World. I remember us going through this long hallway like tunnel where all the characters would mingle and where there was this huge wardrobe room. I mean huge. And one of the things I will never forget is this - no matter who those people were we met and who they may have been personally, Disney World required that they always be "in character." It didn't matter if Snow White was really Mary Jones. The moment she set foot on Disney property, she was in character as Snow White.
 
Do people know your character? Do they know you by your character? One of the immutable things about God's character is that He doesn't change. He's the same yesterday, today and forever.
 
People don't want to believe this, but it's true. God is predictable. Why do I say this? Because He never acts outside of who He is - He never acts outside of His what? Character.
 
We know the consequences of sin because He tells us what He will do in response to it. We know what He will do when we seek first His kingdom because He tells us. God cannot lie. It's not His character.
 
So back to my question, what is your character? Do you know? When people see you, encounter you, interact with you, do they first have to wonder which Mayor, City Councilperson, Tax-Assessor Collector, Judge, City Manager, Supervisor, Director, Employee, will show up today? It's not about our title, but character.
 
We are known by our character. Not what we are --- but who. And as people of God we, no less than Disney, should always be "in character."
 
Moses asked God who should he tell Pharaoh sent him, God said tell him, "I am that I am sent you."
 
Because the character of God is immutable and unchangeable. So should be ours. Show up each day in character!
 
 
The Shaking Of America
Friday, February 26, 2021 4:59 PM

The Shaking Of America

Friday, February 26, 2021 4:59 PM
Friday, February 26, 2021 4:59 PM


The ungodly tension we're in as a nation cannot long last. It will not last. Many Christians have bent to the will of the Adversary in further dividing ourselves along racial and political lines. To the point where we can't even have a conversation or amicable disagreements on social media without name-calling and anger.

God will intervene and even now is intervening to right this ship in such ways that neither side will be able to take credit for smooth sailing after such stormy seas. If we don't destroy one another first. Are you right or left? Blue or red? A Conservative or a Liberal? Progressive or regressive?

In the great and small schemes of things and people, only God's side will matter. Are you on His side?

God is shaking up the shakeable to reveal that which can't be shaken. His will. His power. His truth. His word. His authority. His Kingdom.

We can do nothing apart from God; and in a blink of an eye, as has been made clear to us with the now over 500,000 Americans dead of COVID-19 in less than a year - all of our time here is short and can end suddenly without warning.

God has no respect of person, position, power or pedigree.

We as individuals and as a nation are blessed beyond measure, blessings we have and often take for granted. We are blessed more than we deserve yet far too many of us act as if we deserve it all. We don't.

Prophets of old in their generation admonished their own. They did it not on their own, without any righteousness of their own, but on behalf and at the behest of righteous God.

We, too, as people of God must boldly speak and admonish our own in our generation. We know a lot of what we're seeing isn't right, yet many of us are too afraid to speak up for fear of risking the loss of support, relationships and or status.

God has no respect of person, position, power or pedigree.

Let me ask you this. If you knew today would be your last day on earth and tomorrow you meet God, would any of that still matter as much, if at all? Would the focus of your attention change?

Which begs the question, who is to be pleased more than God? Who can compare to God? What can people do to us that God cannot overrule or reverse? Yet many fear the wrath of a man more than the wrath of God.

Concomitantly, what can people take from us that God cannot replace ten times over or one hundred times better?

We must speak truth not on our own accord because we all are as filthy rags before Holy God. Not based on who we are, but who He is. The One who is blameless, all-powerful, perfect and in whom there is no darkness at all. He used others in the past and He wants to use us now in marvelous ways.

The question is, how willing are you to be used by God to stand for truth even if it means standing against your political party or others whom you think hold your future in their hands? Guess what? They don't. The same God holds theirs.

What are we apart from God and what do we have that He has not given? The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. The Lord raises up and the Lord puts down.

No amount of wealth impresses God. No amount of false worship appeases God. No amount of power can equal God's.

Notoriety, fame, reputation, human feats, exploits, and records mean nothing to Him.

No human endorsement moves God. He is God and God alone. He sits high and looks low. The earth is His footstool and nations, yes even the great America is as only a drop in a bucket to Him. He is God.

As a Christian and as a leader, if God has placed you in a position of high regard and authority, your first allegiance is to Him. Not your political party and certainly not to any other human.

Who created the nation to which we pledge allegiance? Who formed the hand we raise to take an oath or gave us voice, reason, and ability to even recite the Pledge of Allegiance? 

How dare we boast of the created with a wink and give but a cursory nod to the One who created it and us all.

How dare we worship the created rather than the Creator. As we continue in exalting the political elite, calling that which is good evil and that which is evil good, there will be a hefty price to pay and the bill is coming due.

Who will stand for right and call that which is wrong, wrong? There is increasingly no distinction between those of God and those who aren't.

Is there little wonder why so many Christians are losing their effectiveness, impact, and witness?

It's not so much where we stand on issues but how we stand on truth. Truth today is determined by our talking heads of choice rather than by the Head of the church - Christ.

The real danger is the infusion of the political into the spiritual and thus we have painted ourselves into a corner and like cornered wounded animals, we are angry and more apt to fight anything or anyone that could actually help.

Americans are locked, loaded and ready - increasingly oblivious to the fact that we are destroying one another and if not careful, the country.  

What can be shaken is being shaken. And when it's all said and done, we all may be shockingly shaken to our very core.

 

7 Common Principles of Uncommonly Great Leaders
Thursday, February 25, 2021 6:01 PM

7 Common Principles of Uncommonly Great Leaders

Thursday, February 25, 2021 6:01 PM
Thursday, February 25, 2021 6:01 PM

Rare are great leaders that started out to be great. Great leaders become great not by taking leadership classes but by taking chances in life and on themselves - their talents, skills and passion.
 
They neither ask for permission nor wait for others' approval. They see a problem and seek to solve it or an issue and they are compelled to resolve it. They are driven by passion, pain and/or disdain for the status quo with a deep-seated belief they were created and destined for more. They have a healthy restlessness.
 
While there are many factors that distinguish great leaders from good leaders, two salient ones are evident. Great leaders are great because birthed within them is an attitude of discovery about themselves and a passion for something they feel strongly about and they want to do something about.
 
They discover as they take calculated risks and go for opportunities, talents and gifts they otherwise would not perhaps have known they had. It is in "the doing" that they discover them. Some things come about only as we walk them out.
 
Self-discovery. Self-awareness. I talk alot about these in my book, "Why We Fall: The Power of Self-Awareness." If you aren't self-aware, you're not ready to lead. Great leaders are aware of their weaknesses, triggers and blindspots and with intentionality, stridently refuse to allow any of these to sabotage their success.
 
It is not enough to be passionate. You must excel at your passion. Great leaders do. Good leaders have merely discovered a job they will be satisfied doing for the next umpteenth years until "retiring."
 
Great leaders never retire from their work because their work is not their job. Good leaders work their job hoping for a good retirement. Great leaders work their work with the understanding that no one can retire them from their work, only from a job.
 
Good leaders are afraid to make waves but great leaders cause tidal waves. Good leaders are common. Great leaders are rare.
 
And we are experiencing the impact of the lack of great leadership. Good is good enough in good times. But in distressful times, great leadership is not an option but a necessity.
 
What separates the good from the great and the common leader from the uncommon leader? In a word - principles. Why? Because principles never change. Never.
 
Good leaders follow rules that are subject to change over time. Great leaders practice principles that never change regardless of the times.
 
I have learned to live my life by principles not rules. Rules are rigid, situational, legalistic and as a rule (pardon the pun), generally broken. Leading to self-loathing, sometimes depression and sense of failure - leading to do-overs and self-promises to next time do better. Great leaders don't have time to waste entertaining such.
 
Principles on the other hand are not rigid and uncommonly great leaders tend to operate from a set of seven common principles:
 
1. They own their past  Great leaders understand that no one can hold over their head that which they have already acknowledged and that which has been made known.
 
They won't allow their past to get out in front of them, thereby removing a roadblock and avoiding a career detour. They recognize the inherent danger and always stay out in front of it.
 
Great leaders understand human behavior and know that people are more apt to forgive a confessed mistake than a covered-up lie. Own your past. Make right what you can and keep moving forward.
 
Great leaders never look back. They merely glance back at obstacles they overcame.
 
2. They know what they bring to the table and aren't afraid to walk away- When we don't know our worth we can't get upset when others don't respect our value.
 
Great leaders never undervalue themselves. Never. Too many of us underestimate our worth, work and talent. Great leaders are willing to walk away from the table rather than agree to a deal that deals them the lesser hand.
 
Be willing to walk away when others try to take away your power or diminish your contribution. Never give away your power and know that people can’t take what you are unwilling to give.
 
Great leaders don't mind giving; however, they are willing to walk away rather than give away too much. If you’re not ready to walk you’re not ready to fly.
 
3. They are risk-takers - Anybody can swim in shallow water but big fish are only found in the deep.
 
Great leaders are risk-takers. Calculated risk-takers. They understand that nothing is ever "safe." Every great leader took a risk. A good number of people have great ideas for great businesses but would rather die than try.
 
The degree of your success will be determined by the degree of risk you are willing to take. Only risk-takers win big in the end. What are you willing to risk to recover what you’ve lost or to gain what you long for?
 
If you are unwilling to take a risk, you may as well take a seat and watch life pass you by - because it will. Take a risk and work it. No pain, no gain. No risk, no reward.
 
4. They owe none and refuse to be owned by none - It's hard to be bold when you're broke.
 
The borrower becomes the lender’s slave (Proverbs 22:7); the rich man’s wealth is his fortress and the ruin of the poor is their poverty (Proverbs 10:15).
 
While money can't buy happiness, it gives us options. Options are necessary to achieve greatness. Money isn't, options are - and the two are joined at the hip. There is no honor in being broke.
 
A broke man or woman will always have their hand out and never positioned to extend a hand up. Greatness demands being positioned to give a hand up - but not if we live with our hand out. Those who owe, go to the back of the line.
 
It is impossible to lead the line when forced by debt, to tow the line. We can only deal from a place of strength when we are beholding to no one. Great leaders understand this simple truth - it is hard to be a bold leader when you are a broke follower.
 
5. They stay a step ahead - Good leaders keep pace with the pack, great leaders out pace the pack.
 
Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire businessman Mark Cuban, has said one of the keys to his success is figuring out where the crowd is going and beating them there. Great leaders always have their antennae up and have learned the art of anticipation.
 
If all you can see is all you can see you lack vision. Good leaders have sight. Great leaders have vision and the uncanny ability to look beyond what they see.
 
Walt Disney looked out over a vast swampy land in Florida and saw the Magic Palace and Disney World. His contemporaries merely saw a swamp.
 
6. They are highly perceptive - If you want people to be for you, you must first make them believe you are for them.
 
Great leaders have the ability to make people feel as though they care about what they care about.
 
They give voice to their fears, anger, phobias, frustrations, hopes, dreams; and, makes them feel as though they are one of “them.” Great leaders understand this simple truth - if you want people to be for you, you first must make them believe you are for them. And they will follow you anywhere. 
 
You can’t speak to a need and certainly not meet it if you never take the time to find out what that need is – real or perceived. Great leaders understand that people act on perceived need and part of their appeal is their ability to get out in front of and speak to, that very need.
 
Whether it is authentic or not, people perceive it to be and in leadership and life, perception always equates to reality - no matter how inauthentic it may be. Great leaders learn to speak the language of those they lead.
 
7. They will fight to the death for their name, brand and reputation For leaders who would be great, their name, brand and reputation means everything. Without these, people wouldn't trust them to lead them out of a paper bag with a hole at the bottom.
 
Great leaders will let a lot slide, but never a lie that would besmirch their name or character. Never allow even the smallest lie to go unanswered. Small lies can bring down great leaders.
 
Never allow anyone to re-brand or re-define you by your silence. Silence always signals consent. You must answer your critics’ lies with truth; and those who misrepresent who you are, with facts. We sometimes feel we should always turn the other cheek – not so.
 
Not when your reputation is at stake. Fight for your name, your brand, your work and never let go unanswered a lie that would cast a shadow over who you are, cause others to doubt who you say you are; and, overshadow the great leader you have worked so hard to become.
 
Leadership is about greatness, not mediocrity or simply being good. Times are too bad to settle for good. And in a world filled with apathy and average, good is not good enough.
 
Jesus said in John 9:3, "we must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work." 
 
Be great, not good. Great leaders work their work.
 

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