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Leadership is probably one of the top five topics I have used this slightly important little blog to talk about over the last ten years. I am passionate about it because of how important it is and how desperately I always want to improve. As always, the best leadership reflections start with what Jesus modeled. Jesus showed us that personal influence is more effective than positional authority, although there is a place for both. One of the essential components of personal influence is to demonstrate vision, not just with snappy statements and taglines but with a way of shaping the future. Leaders influence by teaching and showing people how and what to see over the long haul.  That’s what Jesus did. He helped people perceive and interpret the world around them. He then acted on the potential and opportunity.

The Gospels demonstrate Jesus doing this over and over again. He was constantly shaping how people see. We pray that as a church this is what we are doing. God is moving, and we are looking at the position He has placed us in with fresh vision and perspective. Stay tuned as summer wraps up and we head into the fall. The Holy Spirit is really pressing in on us to see how we can meet the needs of our community for His glory. Influence is a powerful privilege that we can use to shape our world and community for the Kingdom of God.

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Battling an Epidemic

I have the privilege of being involved with the leadership of Adult and Teen Challenge USA.It is a faith-based drug and alcohol rehab that was started in 1958 by Dave Wilkerson. He wrote the book, The Cross and the Switchblade, which is the story of how this organization was formed. The  60th anniversary was celebrated in Washington D.C. this past weekend. There are 84 corporations throughout the United States, many of which have multiple centers for men, women, and adolescents. For many of these centers, we cannot add beds fast enough.

Dealing with the opioid crisis that has gripped this country is a big part of our challenge. One of the highlights for a few of us involved with this organization this past week was to sit down with the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams. Faith-based solutions are getting the attention of federal and state leaders, and we are preparing new programs to meet the need. I doubt any of us do not have a loved one who has experienced the grip of addiction.

Please continue to be in prayer that we find God’s favor as we work with those in Washington, D.C. It is very much needed to be able to move forward into what we see God doing.

One time to say never.

In one week we saw two tragedies in our community. First, the devastating July 4th holiday crash of a family of five on Rt 1 and then the senseless murder-suicide of a family of five not more than ten minutes from our church.  In contrast, the story of the 12 boys and their soccer coach who were rescued from a cave in Thailand was so encouraging to follow. From the beginning, it did not feel like a story that would end well. Every week we hear about and even experience accidents and tragedies where even the believer can wonder where God is in all of it. Why do miracles sometimes occur and other times they don’t? We just will never understand while we are on this earth.

What God does promise is that He is never-failing. In Hebrews 13:5 He says, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” Quite often in difficult situations, we feel like God has forsaken us. We expect some sort of exceptional miracle to occur and it does not always happen. That surely does not mean God is not there when we need Him. He is always with us and He is our helper” in time of need. Just like His own Son, we experience times of great darkness, but we must remember The Light. We too are called to be the light in a fallen world. So next time you are going through or hear about a tough situation, remember… He never leaves or forsakes.

The Church Defined

The focus at Trinity, even before our first service, was simple: Worship God, Obey His Word and Serve His people. This last part, in concert with the other two, will drastically change when we open the Coffee Run Campus. One thing God continues to make clear is He is building space that will be much more than a place to have church but a place to be the church! We are called by Christ to love and serve those in need, to be His hands and feet on the earth. Soon we will have significant space and land available to do that very thing.  We pray this has always been our approach. From our blend of local and global missions, to the purchase and operations of The Well, to our desire to meet the needs of our community, everything should point back to what Christ has called us to be. Our thrust is outreach and partnering with other organizations. From the beginning we also wanted to not just duplicate what other great churches were doing but find new needs to fulfill. Sure, we learn and use things that work and have been proven but churches like people should be different. So, continue to be in prayer on how God is preparing us to be the Church.

The longest day and I………………

People have different ways of recognizing the Summer Solstice. The longest day of the year marks the official start of summer and a lot more. For pagans there are several rituals which we should probably avoid. For the rest of us we get to enjoy the longest stretch of daylight in the year. The day also marks all kinds of cool things with tides, earth movement and impact of the sun. In our area we get around 15 to 16 hours of sunlight on this day. This year, I felt a lot of pressure to get more done. Not sure that I did. What really struck me was even the longest day of the year goes by just as fast as every other day. Whether it’s June 21st or December 21st, our lives seem to fly by. Regardless of where the sun is in the universe, the Son of God will soon be calling us home. I pray we are using the time He has given us on this earth for His glory. The Lord tells us quite often in His Word how quickly our lives pass by. When we stand before Him, “I didn’t have enough time” will not be a valid excuse. So how did you use your 15-16 hours of sunlight last Thursday? More importantly how are you using each and every day for the rest of your life?

Missed Opportunity

Almost weekly we see major corporate responses to scandals and the fall out to horrible examples of character. However, this week was pretty impressive. Less than 12 hours after Rosanne Barr’s racist comments in a tweet, ABC canceled her show.  They instantly fired hundreds of people and let go of millions of dollars in commercial deals that were associated with the show. (I am not even going to get into how obviously insensitive her remarks were and honestly, I never liked the show when it was on 20 years ago). My point is how quickly a statement made on social media can explode and leave undaunted repercussions in its wake. In the same week the president of the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers was accused of secretly fostering five ‘burner’ Twitter accounts to disparage his own players. He could be fired before you even read this.

Instead of fueling culture wars and getting presidents of sports teams fired, why can’t we use this instant access to every word from everyone for Christ? If our goal is that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, I think we have found the way to make that happen. This is something that can very easily start with us. If we use our platforms for encouragement and reinforcing the lens of scripture on this crazy world, it could rub off. It can be very appropriate to stand up for something wrong and use these tools to reinforce that, but let’s make our knee jerk reactions positive and look for ways to draw our culture back to Christ, not push it away.

No excuses required. What’s wrong is wrong.

About a year ago news stories began to break about popular influential men who were being accused of sexual assault. Our nation was appalled that such a thing could happen, especially in Hollywood. The headlines quickly spread to all types of industries, colleges and even the church. Soon the #MeToo movement emerged. Within 24 hours of its launch 4.7 million individuals jumped on the thread. As courageous victim after victim came forward, men in positions of power and influence fell.

Sexual misconduct is tragically prevalent in every area of society and the church is not exempt. I believe this is another opportunity for the church to lead and show the power of Christ. We can’t do that if we do not ask ourselves tough questions. Our leadership works hard to make sure every base is covered, and every possible protection is in place. The church should also be a place where the power of the Holy Spirit is available to help those struggling with sexual brokenness. Luke 5:31 says, “it’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

Again, we want to prevent, protect and care for the victims. That care means to help take the shame and suffering away. It means demonstrating love and teaching from God’s Word. It’s ironic that something birthed in Hollywood has become such an opportunity for the Church. Let’s be a church that steps up.