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.


 

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.
 
A Trap With Our Name On It
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 4:31 PM

A Trap With Our Name On It

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 4:31 PM
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 4:31 PM

Many Christians serving in public service are oblivious to the reality that the world of politics is the devil’s domain. It was handed to him by God. Satan even reminded Jesus of this as he repeatedly tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4:5-6).

In fact, Paul reminds us in his letter to the Corinthian church that Satan is the god ("small g") of this world and has blinded the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4). The Adversary rules, but God overrules.

Given this is true, no Christian, no matter how strong in the Word we are, no matter how many times a week we attend church; and, no matter how much we love Jesus – none of us is smart enough, wise enough or experienced enough to avoid the traps of the Enemy. And he makes them glitter like gold.

Why? Because he knows us by name, even more he knows the name of our favorite sin. He has us pegged. While we may sometimes forget, he never forgets that we are in a battle with him for our life, our way of life, our gift of life and our eternal life. He knows we're at war and he never ever waves the white flag - even though he also knows that at the cross, God had made good on his word in Genesis 3:14-15.

Spiritual warfare is real. Sometimes we are prone to forget this because we become way too comfortable in our roles, routines, titles and positions. This is when the Adversary positions himself for victory over us.

We forget while he never stops remembering - present-tense participle, meaning he is always in the act of remembering. We remember when we come up against something we on our own can't resolve or make sense of. Then, we remember.

For some that "aha moment" comes way too late. When the divorce is imminent or when the handcuffs are slapped on.

When we step into the world of politics, we step onto the devil’s territory and no one but God knows the territory better because it all belongs to him. Think of earth as an outpost or colony of heaven because this is exactly what it is.

The whole of the Bible is the story of God and his  kingdom told through the lives of humans. God is spirit. Satan is spirit. Angels are spirits. You and I are spirits, wrapped in humanity just as Jesus the Christ.

Satan knows what traps to set for you and for me, where to place them, with whom and when. Do you have a big ego? He has a trap for you. Proud? He has a trap for you. Low self-esteem? He has a trap for you. Overly ambitious? Eager to please? Crave power? Prestige? Money? He has a trap with your name on it.

Afraid to be anything but politically correct at the expense of God’s truth? He has a trap for you. Got a lust problem? He has a man or woman waiting for you - one who, if you take the bait, will wreck your career and life.

But for the Holy Spirit at work in our life, the Adversary has an irresistible trap set for you and for me. As with any enemy, our Enemy studies us. And though he doesn’t know all as God does, he was created a powerful angel by God and though fallen, he has been around since there was human life on earth. He knows intimately, humans. He was there in the garden with Adam and Eve, and he is where he wants to be in the course of our life and career.

We just don't know when, where or in whom he or one of his demons will show up. He knows every kind of human personality because he has seen them all.

He can predict with uncanny accuracy, based upon centuries of data, what you and I will do if he planted the right thought and laid the right bait. He is a masterful and wicked strategist, manipulator and trapper.  He knows us better than we know ourselves. Only God knows us better.

As a Christian in his world of politics, he has set strategic traps for you. We read about brothers and sisters getting trapped all the time. This is not happenstance, it is strategic and by design.

We can’t traverse this political territory without God. He knows where the Adversary has placed every trap for us and once entrapped, by His grace and mercy only He can free us.

God said His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). Don’t be naïve and don’t be fooled.

You are in enemy territory and every encounter is a potential trap. Ask the Helper, the Holy Spirit to help you to know. He is the only one who can.

Avoid the devil’s traps. Pray throughout the day for protection and wisdom to spot them and avoid them. Because for sure, there is a trap somewhere, in your day, along your way with your name on it that the Adversary has designed and set ... just for you. 

Take care, take a second, third and fourth look if you must. But whatever you do, please don't walk headlong in the devil's trap.

For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper.
Psalm 91:3

A Divided America Will Not Long Stand
Saturday, February 13, 2021 8:22 AM

A Divided America Will Not Long Stand

Saturday, February 13, 2021 8:22 AM
Saturday, February 13, 2021 8:22 AM
Race. Not same-sex marriage. Race. Not abortion. Race. Not gun control. Race. Not healthcare. Race. Not the church. Race. Not gun violence. Race. Not even COVID-19. Race.
 
We have found a vaccine for COVID-19 but there is no shot in the arm nor pill to swallow to cure the insidious disease of racism that is eating away at the heart and soul of America.
 
Racial division is the fissure in the bedrock of America. It always has been and permeates throughout every American system. 
 
Dr. Charles Lawrence once wrote, "racism in America is much more complex than either the conscious conspiracy of a power elite or the simple delusion of a few ignorant bigots. It is part of our common experience, therefore, a part of our common culture." 
 
Racism is interwoven throughout the fabric of Americana. It is the show stopper.
 
America is great. But it can and will be no greater than it is unless we somehow, someway find our way out of the fog and forest of racism.
 
Many whites say they are tired of hearing about it. Imagine how exhausted they would be if they and their children had to live it 24/7 - never knowing when they or their child will be shot for no reason or falsely accused or yelled at in a store or denied opportunities and equal justice.
 
Of course this is not the reality of all blacks in America, especially those who have learned to play along to get along by keeping their mouth shut and head down in exchange for promotion and inclusion. There are a plethora of these from pastors to politicians to business people who gladly allow their blackness to be used as a testament to show that racism really doesn't exist, giving comfort and cover to whites who want to deny the same.
 
It is a hard conversation to have and an even harder reality to live. But what we must not do is pretend that it is not our reality. It is.
 
Abraham Lincoln lost his life because he dared forge "a more perfect union." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. too was murdered because he dared dream of an America where all Americans, regardless of the color of their skin would live freely as God created, equal in how we all are treated and viewed.
 
The Roman Empire was the greatest most powerful of its day. No outside force could defeat it. It defeated itself. At the very epicenter of power, interwoven throughout the legions of authority, was immorality so perverse it toppled an empire. Racism is immoral. Racism is sin. 
 
Internal moral rot ate away at the very fabric of Roman leadership, citizenry and government. They never saw the collapse coming because the economy was strong, their unmatched military might was feared throughout the world; and, the religious leaders were in lockstep with the government, protecting their own self-interests and the interests of their chosen, corrupt officials. Sounds familiar? Those who dared take a stand against the religious and political leaders were crushed.
 
Stark, unbridled immorality, corrupt government leaders and compromised religious leaders blind and drunk on power who had lost any semblance of moral authority, were in no position to call out the very corruption from which they benefitted.
 
Many of the most influential religious leaders, while not joining in, by their very silence gave tacit approval and did nothing to stop Roman leaders because their religious interests were being protected. That's why they had such a problem with Jesus when he arrived on the scene. He was having none of it.
 
Abraham Lincoln predicted that America would not be defeated by an enemy without, but from within. 
 
Racism in America is much more complex than either the conscious conspiracy of a power elite or the simple delusion of a few ignorant bigots. It is part of our common experience, therefore, a part of our common culture. - Dr. Charles Lawrence
 
America, as great as she is, cannot long withstand the greatest internal threats to the Republic - rampant immorality, weak and corrupt leaders who have lost their way, their conscience and credibility; and, the increasingly violent and widening racial divide.
 
Racism is an insidious evil. What is more evil is that it is perpetuated and has been given cover and energy by a large swath of the white evangelical church.
 
A country as divided politically and racially as America will not, cannot long stand. I believe there are more blacks and whites who get this than don't. So, what keeps us from working more closely together for the betterment of all? Dr. Lawrence told us, "It is part of our common experience, therefore, a part of our common culture." In other words, it's who America is.
 
With a keen awareness of the times, I dare say a day is coming when President Lincoln will be proven right. Not if but when. And as we watch daily the disintegration of this nation, it's only a matter of time.
 
Black History Month 2021

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