10.16.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! Monica, Nancy, Michael and I are headed to LA today and would love your prayers!
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
WWJP: “What would Jesus Post?” (Bracelets coming soon) #johnston (Haha!)
Your praise is contagious – So is your complaint. What are you carrying today? #furtick
God isn’t nearly as concerned about what we’re doing for Christ as He is committed to forming Christ inside us. #voskamp
“If your life does not worship God, your lips do not worship God either.” #Tozer
 
 
FYI:
 
 
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
The Scary Truth About What is Hurting Our Children by Becky Mansfield (Blog post but some good data.)
Genius Ways Companies get Kid to Do Their Marketing for Them by Caroline Moore (Interesting!)
3 Vital Tips for Leading Discussion in Small Groups by Trey Gilmore (You know this but still good!)
What the Future of Leadership Looks Like by Tim Elmore

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/70470/the-one-who-died-for-all?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=spot1-2249484&utm_campaign=nl-10/11/2017-2249484
(I’m playing this at training! Zo and Jon… start learning your moves!!
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 

Alarm Bells for Leaders

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  (Galatians 6:7-10)

We can’t pull a fast one on God. He sees all and cannot be deceived. He notices our shortcuts and also our efforts when we do well. To ensure that we live by this truth, seek others to hold you accountable and act as your “alarm bells.” Invite others to ask you tough questions, such as the following:

  • Is my personal walk with God up-to-date?
  • Am I keeping my priorities straight?
  • Am I asking myself the hard questions?
  • Am I accountable to someone in authority?
  • Am I sensitive to what God is saying to the whole body of Christ?
  • Am I over-concerned with building my image?
  • Do I put more stock in “events” rather than “process”?
  • Am I a loner in my leadership and personal life?
  • Am I aware and honest about my weaknesses?
  • Is my calling constantly before me?
Learning to Lead Like Jesus
 
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52
Learning to lead like Jesus is a lifetime journey that begins with humility. “Better to say I am learning, than to say, I have learned,” wise and humble words indeed from Dr. Charles Stanley spoken to me and several staff members at First Baptist of Atlanta in the late 1980’s. As a young pastor, this seasoned leader helped me understand to first follow the Lord Jesus by continuing to learn and grow. For example, don’t say “I’ve learned to be a patient leader”, rather, “I’m learning to be a patient leader”. This reminded me to be a humble, teachable and ever-growing leader who is desperately in need of God’s grace to carry out my responsibilities.
Learning to lead like Jesus is for leaders who desperately need the Holy Spirit’s direction, the Father’s wisdom and the Son’s encouragement. Leaders who are learning to first follow Jesus, learn well. Learning to lead is a lifelong education. We never graduate from Christ leadership school, but we do advance as we become wiser students through our own struggles, failures and successes.
“Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister, and call understanding your kinsman” (Proverbs 7:4).
Wise leaders are learners, but if they stop learning they cease to lead wisely. Leaders who learn ask the right questions, get the most accurate answers, and are able to make the wisest decisions. “How can I get out of the way as the leader, and support the team to be successful?” “How can our organization go from good to great by integrating and sustaining best practices?” The Lord can’t wait to pour out wisdom on earnest and humble hearts seeking to gain what only He gives.
James, the brother—who experienced first hand Jesus’ wise words and actions— defined wisdom in this way: “But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile” (James 3:17, Amplified Bible).
Before Steve Jobs died, wouldn’t it have been wonderfully insightful and inspiring to ask him about the pinnacle of his creation: the Apple iPhone? Seriously, if we wanted understanding into the motivation for and the purpose of his world-changing invention, Steve would be the logical starting point. What was he thinking? What motivated his perfectionism? What was his vision?
In the same way, why not first seek wisdom from the Lord of creation whose majestic exclamation point was humanity—you and me? Doesn’t it make sense to learn how to think from the Divine who molded our mind? Understand how to care for our bodies from the One who perfectly meshed billions of unique cells into a living being? Or engage the heart of God to feel and express the emotions He embedded into our heart, soul and spirit? Wisdom from our Maker makes us more like Him and less like foolish inferior idols. We learn to lead like Jesus by looking to Jesus!
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me wisdom to learn to lead like Your son, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Application: What specific area of my leadership needs to grow more into the likeness of Jesus?
Blessings, Kendall

10.16.17

The Scary Truth About What is Hurting Our Children by Becky Mansfield
yourmodernfamily.com

In the past week, I’ve read several studies that are scary to me… it’s the scary truth about what’s hurting our kids.   We all know that what our kids hear becomes their inner voice, but it’s hard to control what they hear from others, isn’t it?

CNN recently interviewed Dr. Jean Twenge, author of iGen and her interview really worried me – because I saw the truth that I would be facing in just a few short years.   Dr. Twenge started doing research 25 years ago on generational differences, but when 2011 -2012 hit, she saw something that would scare her to the core.   This is the year when those having iPhones went over the 50% mark.

The results of that should scare all of us.

  • This was the year that more kids started to say that they felt “sad, hopeless, useless… that they couldn’t do anything right (depression).”
  •  They felt left-out and lonely.
  •  There is a 50% increase in clinical level depression between 2011-2015.
  • Suicide rate goes up.
  • Substantial increase in suicide rate.
    Before I give you any more, I want you to look at these graphs and look at how they correlate to the iPhones being released.They aren’t hanging out with friends nearly as much.

She goes on to say that we are in the worst mental health crisis in decades.  You can get her book, iGen, with my Amazon affiliate link here, to read the rest of her findings.

Why is this happening?  Why are kids more depressed because of electronics?
Think about when we were in school – we didn’t know every time that there was a get-together that we weren’t invited to and we didn’t see pictures of each outing, game, or party.

We didn’t care what we looked like when we were hanging out with friends, because we were  the only ones that were there- I can remember sitting around with my best friends in our sweatpants, just laughing – I didn’t wear makeup or care if I had my hair fixed just right, because the worry of a phone or camera wasn’t there.

Think about bullies.  When we left the school, we left them.   If teasing happened, it didn’t happen at home.  It didn’t happen so publicly.   Everyone couldn’t see it or know what they were teasing other kids about.  Now, it’s all public knowledge and anyone can join in or watch.   It’s horrifying.

I can’t imagine being a tween or teenager now.   Although- as the parents of children, we have to imagine it, because we have to help our children navigate it.

According to Victoria Prooday of YouRot.com, “There is a silent tragedy developing right now, in our homes, and it concerns our most precious jewels – our children... Researchers have been releasing alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in kids’ mental illness, which is now reaching epidemic proportions:

She goes on to say that “Today’s children are being deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood:

  • Emotionally available parents
  • Clearly defined limits and guidance
  • Responsibilities
  • Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep
  • Movement and outdoors
  • Creative play, social interaction, opportunities for unstructured times and boredom

Instead, children are being served with:

  • Digitally distracted parents
  • Indulgent parents who let kids “Rule the world”
  • Sense of entitlement rather than responsibility
  • Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition
  • Sedentary indoor lifestyle
  • Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification, and absence of dull moments”
    How true… and how sad.

I couldn’t agree more.  According to TIME.com, “Despite the rise in teen depression, the study, which analyzed data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, reported that there wasn’t a corresponding increase in mental health treatment for adolescents and young adults. Researchers said this is an indication that there is a growing number of young people who are under-treated or not treated at all for their symptoms. ”

The article goes on to say that it’s not just teenagers, it’s young kids- in elementary school.  “Counselors like Ellen Chance in Palm Beach say they see evidence that technology and online bullying are affecting kids’ mental health as young as fifth grade, particularly girls.

“I couldn’t tell you how many students are being malicious to each other over Instagram. “I’ve had cases where girls don’t to come to school and they are cutting themselves and becoming severely depressed because they feel outcasted and targeted.” She says she now sees cutting incidents pretty much weekly at her elementary school, and while they vary in severity, it’s a signal that not all is right.”

So… what can we do about it?

– The AAP now suggest screening all children for depression starting at age 11.

– Get back to what we did before phones (back to what our parents did when we were young)… spend time playing games with our kids.

-Spend dinnertime talking.

–Drop everything that you are doing when your kids get home from school to TALK to them.

–Make dinner without having the TV on, the phone close by, or the tablet tuned into something.

–Use any ‘car time’ to talk to our kids (maybe even by not allowing electronics in the car)

-Have your kids do chores: Responsibilities increase their self-worth.   Example: if you don’t set the table, we can’t eat.  If you don’t wash your clothes, you will have nothing to wear tomorrow:
“To develop a high self-esteem a person needs purpose. A key component to high self-esteem is built on how you view yourself in terms of contribution. In other words, in the child development process, chores are a big role in a kid’s self-esteem.” ~impactparenting.com

-Be sure that your child is getting enough sleep.   This is a huge contributing factor.

-Don’t keep a lot of junk food in the house.  Limit junk food & replace it with fruits & vegetables.  If your child is picky, they can certainly find a fruit or vegetable that they like.  (I’ve taught our kids to make smoothies, too, but they have to clean up after themselves or they lose the privilege of making them… they LOVE to make them).

-Take away electronics and tell your kids to “go play!”   Don’t feel the need to always play with them.  My job, as a play therapist, is to teach parents how to play with their kids to help them, so while I always think that playing with your kids is a good idea, but I also want them to play alone.  I want them to learn how to keep themselves entertained.

From the time that our kids were very little, I gave them time to entertain themselves and now they are are all good about finding ways to keep themselves busy (drawing, playing, building, etc..)

– Don’t rescue your kids.   Here’s a recent example that happened in our house:
I’ve started having our kids pack their own lunches (with my supervision), but yesterday one of our sons decided to wait.. .and wait… and wait.  When it was down to 10 minutes before leaving, he asked me to pack it.  I said no and he then asked for lunch money.  I said, “I think it’s upstairs in your piggy bank if you have some in there.” His face said it all.   I wasn’t going to buy him out of this.  It was his responsibility.

IT is NEVER easy to teach our kids these lessons, but they serve our kids well.   He quickly made himself lunch and was on his way.   He learned an important life lesson about preparing himself for the day.

–Talk to your kids about why they need to come to you if something is wrong.  I talk to our kids about all of this and they know that I would do anything to help them.   I say it daily… “If you are ever feeling sad or left out about something and it becomes too big for you to handle easily, come to me.   I want you to know that if you ever hurt yourself, you would be hurting your whole family.   My happiness would go away with yours.”

Yes, it’s a lot to tell them, but it is the truth.  I need them to know it.  It’s not a joking matter and it’s not one to take lightly. Talk to your kids TODAY.

Make a rule with yourself that you will limit YOUR online distractions when your kids are home. Make 3:30-9:00 a no-tech time for you, the parent.   (or whatever hours your kids are home). It will not only benefit your kids, but it will help you, too.

10.16.17

Genius Ways Companies get Kid to Do Their Marketing for Them by Caroline Moore

commonsensemedia.org

In 1975, there was one song every kid knew by heart: “Two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun.” By any measure, it was a viral success.

Companies still use tweens and teens to do their marketing for them. And today’s youth marketing methods still focus on activities kids love, such as sending funny GIFs, watching YouTube, and applying cool Snapchat filters. But yesterday’s Big Mac song is today’s big data grab: The information trail your kids leave behind online equals big bucks for companies. You’ll only find out what you’re giving up by reading the small print in privacy policies. So it falls to parents to help kids build their marketing savvy, think critically about their digital footprint, and be clear-eyed about using so-called free stuff.

You could argue that kids enjoy these gimmicks — so a little payback to the marketers is a small price to pay. But the lack of transparency about how companies track digital data, combined with the risks kids take when they go public, make this an uneven playing field. And remember: kids are kids. They’re susceptible to marketing messages, sensitive to peer approval, and impulsive. But they also don’t like to be tricked. Parents can help kids understand how these ploys work. Learn more about the impact of marketing on kids, how to help your kids view all media critically, and think through marketing messages.

Take a look at some of the genius ways companies are getting kids to do their marketing for them.

Social Media Apps
If you were a retailer, wouldn’t you want to create a store kids never had to leave and virtually follow them around to find out what they liked so you could sell them more? That’s the idea behind the Justice Store’s Live Justice app, which lets kids create profiles, connect with friends, and upload photos and videos of themselves (sort of like a kiddie Facebook, but only for customers). It offers wishlists, exclusive content, and deals, as well as delivers advertising directly to your kid (and tracks everything she does in the app).

Shareable GIFs
Iconic sneaker brand Converse taps into the “reaction GIF” trend with its back-to-school First Day Feels campaign, a series of 32 shareable images starring Stranger Things actor Millie Bobby Brown. Kids can use the images to express themselves in photos instead of words. Companies can track the path of these GIFs and may follow their digital trail — which could be used to create demographic profiles for marketing purposes or to potentially share or sell that information to other brands.

Geofilters
Pioneered by Snapchat, geofilters are images that businesses create and make accessible to a specific location. Say you’re a lemonade stand at Coachella. Make a really cool filter only people near your booth can get. Concert-goers will love sending out the image either to fellow attendees, so they can find you (just look for the booth that matches the Snap) or to the poor souls who couldn’t make the show and enjoy the delicious, refreshing drink. The images serve as advertising, deployed by users. Both Snapchat and the third parties have access to the user data.

Promotional Events
What’s cooler than the next Star Wars movie? Augmented reality. What’s cooler than commercials? Disney’s Star Wars Treasure Hunt — a giant game that fans want to play so bad they may not notice that they’re totally promoting your product. Taking place in 20,000 stores across the United States in fall 2017, Disney’s Last Jedi treasure hunt uses an AR app (sort of like Pokémon Go) to lead players to stores to find Last Jedi characters. The app lets you take photos and videos and upload everything to your social media account — infinitely magnifying the reach of the event.

Product Reviews
In the internet economy, the people who watch other people on YouTube have as much value to companies as the YouTube hosts themselves. The folks who do product reviews on YouTube — called social media influencers — for things like makeup, clothes, and hair products typically get free products from companies so that they can discuss (i.e., promote) them. But it’s the audience for these videos that companies really want to reach. These (mostly) teen girls are highly prized trendsetters and word-of-mouth influencers who will tell all the kids at school about the latest thing she saw on YouTube. The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on social media influencers to make sure they’re disclosing their sponsorships. That won’t change word-of-mouth marketing, but it will at least clarify that social media influencers are compensated.

Hashtag Campaigns
Some kids live for Instagram glory. Some companies live for free advertising. That’s the arrangement behind Levi’s #LiveInLevis campaign. Take a cool pic of yourself wearing Levi’s, add the hashtag, and wait for the company to leave a comment asking to feature your photo on their site. Voilà — instant brand ambassador! It’s called “user-generated content,” and marketers love it because it conveys authenticity when real people use your product. Most user-generated content becomes the property of the brand after they post your image.

10.16.17

3 Vital Tips for Leading Discussion in Small Groups by Trey Gilmore

youthspecialties.com

Youth ministry is coming to an era where small groups are vital to the success and longevity of students in ministry. They provide relationships for students, and if done well can create a bond of friends and a mentor (small group leader) who are inseparable. I recently realized that a lot of the success of the group depends on the leader’s ability to facilitate discussion. Some leaders are incredibly gifted at this and others really have to work at it. I’ve developed three huge tips for leading healthy and vital discussion in small groups.

1. BE INCREDIBLY INTENTIONAL ABOUT HOW YOU READ SCRIPTURE.

This may seem rather small and unimportant. But if students can’t understand any of the Scripture you are reading your entire discussion and study will be inadequate. What I mean by this is if you are reading the Bible in any context of your group, pay close attention to how they can focus on what you all are covering. I generally tell our leaders, never have students read one verse at a time in a circle. Because no one is listening, they are just staring at their verse waiting for their turn. It ends up completely futile, and most times leaders need to reread it for them to understand anyway.

Furthermore, if you have a student read the entire passage and its more than a few verses, remember 2 things.

  1. Make sure they can read well. I know it seems kind to include everyone in reading, but if a student is really struggling reading it is going to distract the whole group. It doesn’t mean exclude them, just have them engage in the study in a different way than reading the passage.
  2. Cut in during verses that are troublesome or take a timeout from the verses if there has been a lot said. Don’t just plow through 15 verses for the sake of getting it done, because most times students won’t remember anything because they are so blasted with information. If you want them to discuss and wrestle with the Scriptures you must be intentional about the delivery and form of how they will hear and understand it.

2. LEAD THE GROUP.

Don’t forget to be confident within the small group. Students want to see that you are confident AND passionate about the study and the students. If they can tell that you are just showing up, they won’t focus or engage nearly as well. Leading a small group is all about setting the tone and the environment for students to feel safe and comfortable. It creates an opportunity to share and grow together. You need to speak into the discussion as if you were a student yourself. When I lead a group, I almost always find a way to inject my own personal “wrestlings” within the discussion.

For example, if we talk about the friendship between David and Jonathan, I would say something in the discussion like: “I have a really hard time making close guy friends like Jonathan and David because I feel like no one values it or supports the idea of it. I just am personally struggling with the thought of how I can invite close guy friendships into my life…”

When you give a little bit of yourself to the group, students can realize that you are human just like them, and you aren’t this flawless, perfect, Bible-scholar of a robot. Because no one wants to be in a group with a perfect robot. The greatest thing that you have to offer in small groups is yourself.

3. ALLOW FOR PURPOSEFUL VARIANCE.

Now I know that “purposeful variance” may seem like an oxymoron, but stay with me here. Often times leaders will ask a question or want feedback from students in the group and you will have this student who just says something completely wrong or borderline heresy. Our instinct as leaders is to immediate cover up their wrong answer and correct them with the right one. By doing this, we don’t allow for students to wrestle and to question, we just shove answers down their throat. So allow for variance in that you allow a wrong answer and direct it to the thoughts of other students.

For example, Johnny answers the question “What do we have to do to receive the gift of salvation?” by saying “I think you just need to be a good person. You don’t really need to accept Jesus, but just live a good lifestyle.” Immediately in your brain, your red flag goes up, but here is how you handle this. You say “Hmm, well why do you say that?” and he will explain, then you say “Well what do you all think of that?”  Engage the entire group in wrestling with this.

It seems as Christian leaders, we are so fearful of being wrong or wrestling that we just brush it all under the rug when in reality we are dying to ask seemingly dumb questions or prod a concept deeper that no one wanted to let us talk about. When you engage the group in a conversation they are able to wrestle through it together, and they will take ownership of what they are learning and discussing as opposed to you just laying down the law on them. I’m not saying that you don’t instill any type of doctrine and solid theology in them, but don’t be so quick to grab the reigns and choke the variance that may be healthy for questioning students, especially high schoolers (You may have to be a little tighter with middle schoolers).

You can also allow variance by breaking the routine. Maybe you pick a certain student to read the passage or you let a quiet student know that he is going to have to answer this question in a few minutes. Don’t always assume that having everyone go around in a circle and answer is the best philosophy. Some internal processors are going to be terrified because they don’t have time to externalize their thoughts. Allow for the silence. Leave room in your group for the Holy Spirit to work in ways you would never have planned for or deemed imaginable. Loosen your grip on the schedule of the group, and allow variance, because it will truly allow students to feel open and vulnerable.

As a final word, please note that every small group is different! Gender, age, demographics, size, and leaders all can change the dynamic. But these three tips work for most groups you’ll encounter and have led to great success in any type of ministry I’ve been entrusted with. If you have other ideas/questions, I would love to know about them! Youth ministry is ALWAYS changing, and if we aren’t always learning we will fall behind.

10.16.17

What the Future of Leadership Looks Like by Tim Elmore
growingleaders.com

I get to meet some of the most amazing students as I travel. In fact, our entire team of speakers (at Growing Leaders) meets them, from secondary schools, to universities to international schools in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. As I meet these students, I am noticing something different. They are examples of the global research done by Universum last year: Generation Z possesses a deeper interest in leadership than the previous three generations did at their age.

But there’s a uniqueness they bring to the subject.

Instead of looking like leaders from the Baby Boomer generation—where it seemed to be about power and perks or command and control—today’s emerging generation approaches influencing the world differently than past stereotypes.

Case in point: Emma Yang.

I recently watched Emma’s TedX talk, from Washington D.C., and was amazed at both her simplicity and intelligence. She described how she learned to code at 6 years old. She’s now in the 9th grade and is quite the entrepreneur. For her, coding isn’t just about games, but about the connection between technology and real life. Across the U.S. and the world, talented and ambitious young people are pushing beyond the boundaries of school, finding new ways to learn advanced computer science, tackling big challenges, and beginning to map out an uncharted future.

Five Characteristics That Make Up the Future of Leadership

I actually believe Emma is a picture of millions of kids today. Savvy. Smart. Wanting to make a difference, whether or not it’s called “leadership.” Here are five common elements I find in many of these students that I believe will define their leadership:

1. They want to solve problems they care about.

I remember doing “story problems” in math class and discussing hypothetical scenarios in literature class. While there’s nothing wrong with these, they are artificial. Emma’s adventure began when her grandmother struggled with Alzheimer’s. Suddenly, someone Emma knew had a problem and she realized she could use her skills to help solve it. She began to develop an app to help Alzheimer’s disease patients—like her grandma—to manage their daily lives. The app is called Timeless and it is the first of many future creations from Emma.

2. They want to cross-pollinate subjects.

As smart technology redefines the marketplace, experts are divided on how it will disrupt life for future workers. With such uncertainty, how can we prepare students to thrive in tomorrow’s workplace? I believe our best bet is to combine disciplines. For instance, cross-pollinate a student’s technical skills with passion, relational skills, and the curious mind of a scientist. “That’s where Emma truly stands out,” said Cole Calistra, Kairos’ chief technology officer. He received an email inquiry from Emma back in 2016, and has been collaborating with her ever since. “Emma has the vision to stitch together different pieces of technology to solve a real-world problem,” Calistra said. “I don’t know how you learn that, but she did.”

3. They want to explore technology on their own.

The students I meet actually desire more freedom to explore on their own. They want to learn but feel the adults in their life (while they appreciate them) don’t trust students to probe and find answers without help from an adult. Students have expressed to me they believe adults “have no idea what their life is like.” While this may or may not be true, it’s their perception. Fortunately for Emma, her teachers and family gave her just enough encouragement, direction and freedom to “own” her learning. Family meals and serendipitous school conversations were her fuel.

4. They want adults to be “guides” not “gods.”

Emma’s journey began in Hong Kong, where she lived for the first decade of her life. Her dad, Adrian Yang, was working as a software engineer at an investment bank. When Emma was 6, her dad introduced her to Scratch, a kid-friendly programming language. “I just let her explore,” Adrian said. And, boy, did it work. Emma’s family and teachers served as Sherpa “guides” to suggest ideas, but they let her do her own work. They did not prescribe her path, but chose to describe ideas for her to consider. This is now how supervisors should approach team members. While I believe in authority, I also believe we’ll need to change the way we express it.

5. They want to “move the needle” as they influence the world. 

Like so many, Emma doesn’t want to do something if it doesn’t really matter. As her TedX talk reveals, by the time Emma was 10, she had developed a passion for computer science. She took part in the Technovation Challenge, an international competition for girls using technology to solve social problems. Emma’s prototype for an app to help sports teams diagnose concussions won second place. A light bulb went off. “I realized I could make an impact,” she said.

Let me ask you a question: do you have any Emma’s near you? How are you empowering them to pursue their goals?

10.09.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
We can only hope for what we desire. #cslewis
 
Your view about how the world will end affects how you live today. #furtick
 
The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances. #Elliot
 
If you are not entertaining God’s truth, you will be entertaining Satan’s lies. You do not have the option of a neutral mind. #Willard
 
 
FYI:
1. Videos that are free to download… https://thebibleproject.com (Thank you, Annie!)
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
What Do You Do When Your Self-Worth is Challenged? by Alex McElroy (Interesting thoughts on helping students with self esteem.)
Greater Leadership in Children’s Ministry by Dale Hudson
Biggest Changes Generation Z Brings to the Adult World by Tim Elmore
Every Kid is One Caring Adult Away From Being a Success Story by Josh Shipp
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

A new youtube site with some great videos… https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmO1sDtd5024JJ7rBY7nWMg
Check out two of them…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBJFiMPTzM4
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtoevOdB7m0
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Growing a Greater Faith 

For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Luke 7:8-9

To the degree, I submit to authority is the extent to which my faith grows. For example, I may not agree with or even like the decision-making process at work, but I can still trust those who have authority over me. Trust is the highest form of relational health, with it I am able to gladly follow my superior’s lead, without it I struggle to stay loyal. Most of all, I can trust the Lord’s authority and by grace remain submitted to Him and His will with a spirit of humble, grateful faith. Pride bows up against being told what to do, but humility willingly submits, trusts and obeys. 

Remarkably, a Roman soldier who commanded 100 men found great favor in the eyes of the Lord. A non-Jewish protector of the people, with the full support of the Jewish elders– in the past this military leader leveraged his influence, resources, and man-power to construct the local synagogue. In today’s terms, the centurion helped build the local church, though he did not attend church. This man’s goodwill was not forgotten when his most valuable servant fell deathly ill. Motivated by gratitude, the religious leaders and friends asked Jesus to heal him. 

Jesus did. Why? Because of the great faith of the humble leader, “Say the word,” knowing a word from Christ can heal. This military man was familiar with giving commands and being under command. Since the centurion trusted and followed the authorities over him, so his subordinates had faith in his leadership. Jesus compliments the Roman leader’s faith and character as a model of what being under God’s sovereign power looks like. Great faith is the result of humble submission to authority with the fruit of obedience, gratitude, and generosity.

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority” (1 Peter 2:13).

Have you totally surrendered your life to the authority of Almighty God? The truth of His Word trumps other contemporary opinions. One indicator of submission to the Lord is submission to the authorities He has over your life: government, church, a work supervisor or your spouse. Even when you experience an unfair authority, you are called to carry yourself with the spirit of Christ. Your faith grows to the degree you trust that the Holy Spirit is at work–knowing your part is to remain faithful, especially in the small things. Humble submission grows great faith.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my faith to trust Your authority and the authorities You have placed over my life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Application: To what authority do I need to totally surrender, trusting the Holy Spirit is at work?

 
Attitude Adjustment

For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.   Ezra 6:22

 

Attitude is everything; it can lift you up or bring you down. It is a barometer of your heart. If your heart is not right, your attitude will suffer. Attitude is critical because it influences your course of action. If your attitude is negative, your words and behavior will be too. There is a difference in being a realist about negative circumstances, and living with a chronic bad attitude. Naïve are those who ignore warning signs of trouble, and carry on oblivious to the storm clouds of sin.

However, your attitude is rooted in who you are in Christ, so there is no need to be fearful, guilty, or insecure. The attitude that Jesus exhibited was one of humility and servant leadership. His attitude reflected submission to His heavenly Father, which resulted in service, generosity, and love for people. Jesus was joyful and hopeful, because He rested in the will of God. Do not allow another’s bad attitude to influence yours. Be the attitude influencer instead. Greet a frown with a smile, crush criticism with affirmation, and listen patiently until fury loses its steam. A positive attitude will eventually outlast and overpower a negative one. Most of all, pray for those who thrive on negativity. Pray for them to be set free from their hurt, anger, guilt, and insecurity. God has you in their lives to reflect the Almighty and to encourage an attitude adjustment through Him.

God is the genesis of a right attitude, and He is the right attitude sustainer. He wants His attitude to be our attitude. This is why you need a daily attitude alignment from your heavenly Father. Each day, your attitude gets knocked around and abused by life. If left unattended, your attitude will drift into wrong thinking, harsh words, and bad behavior. Self-pity and anger can begin to replace selflessness and forgiveness. With just a little bit of daily tweaking, your attitude stays in line with His. It is subtle, but sometimes attitudes need to be adjusted moment by moment.

Lastly, slow down and pray when you feel your attitude eroding. When you’re in the midst of a bad attitude, don’t make important decisions; the time isn’t right for that. You will regret every decision you make during a time of emotional upheaval. Be patient, and wait until your anger has subsided, your heart is cleansed, and your attitude is objective. Almighty God is into attitudes that trust Him and reach out to others with compassion and understanding. Open-minded and reasonable attitudes lead to rich and robust relationships. Anyone can be negative; so don’t be anyone, be different. Allow God to shape your attitude on the anvil of His heart.

An attitude molded by God is infectious and transforming. Allow Him to change yours, and then trust Him to change another’s. The Bible says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5).

Post/Tweet today: Attitude is everything; it can lift us up or bring us down. It is a barometer of our heart. #wisdomhunters

Blessings, Kendall

10.09.17

What Do You Do When Your Self-Worth is Challenged? by Alex McElroy

youthspecialties.com

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to an entire junior class on what to do when your self-worth is challenged. Our young people are facing enormous pressures nowadays. Along with overt peer pressure, there is covert peer pressure through social media. We have to be able to give them the tools to manage these pressures and help them to see what Christ sees in them.

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. When a keen-eyed employee at Goodwill came across a striking painting of a woman sipping a cup of tea, she knew well enough to set it aside. “I didn’t know how much at that time, but I said, ‘We have some money here,’” MARIA RIVERA, A WORKER AT GOODWILL in Manassas, Va., told NBC Washington. Turns out, the work of art is a rare piece by Italian 19th-century painter GIOVANNI BATTISTA TORRIGLIA and is worth about $12,000.

RECOGNIZING OUR VALUE

Much like we don’t always know the value of a painting, others often don’t recognize our value. As a matter fact, sometimes we even devalue ourselves. Low self-worth can be a silent killer when it comes to fulfilling your purpose. Not understanding the value you have to a church, a team, a community or even your family can cause us to feel like life isn’t worth living. I remember times in my life where I questioned my worth, my value and my reason for living. Those thoughts led me to some dangerous and destructive behaviors.

In a day and age where we live in constant comparison to other people, it can be difficult not to gain our understanding of our value through a comparison of those around us. If this comparison helps us strive to achieve more, that could be a good thing. However, the opposite is often the case. Many young people have been indirectly trained to lie through social media by posting those things that paint themselves in the best light and this causes their true identity to get lost in the shuffle. If they attempt to reconcile their lives with a standard that they see, or believe they see online, it is a recipe for disaster.

The meaning of life cannot come from those that live it alongside us. It must come from someone somewhere who transcends those with whom we live this life. If that were not true, then as our minds and desires shift so would our value and the meaning of life itself. Everyone has a purpose and that makes them inherently valuable to the earth. It’s up to them to make sure that what’s inside of them comes out. We have to help them be the solution to the problem they see! If they are confused as to what problem to solve – usually whatever frustrates you is what you were born to solve.

So what should they do when their self-worth is challenged?

PROPER FOCUS

They must focus on the things they can change. So often they get bogged down by where they have erred and by what people want them to be or do. However, there are certain things we will never be able to change about ourselves or our past and to attempt to do so is an exercise in futility. No matter how hard I try I cannot make myself taller. Additionally, many people have notions of reinventing themselves to be someone else. If we focus on who God called us to be, there won’t be time left to devote to becoming who we pretend to be. When our focus is not in line with His focus, we tend to find ourselves wallowing in self-worthlessness.

PROPER ACTION

Teach them not just to focus on who they should be, but take action to become that person. Ask them ‘what are you good at? What skills do you have?’ They should spend most of their time maximizing those traits and abilities. They can make a list of their strengths and keep it somewhere visible so that they always have a counterpoint to the naysayers. Then have them make another list of their weaknesses and spend time improving those. As our young people maximize their strengths and improve their weaknesses we will watch their self-worth increase!

PROPER STANDARD

Make sure that the standard they are trying to achieve exists. Many will say, “I’m a perfectionist.” I’ve said it. However, perfection is different to different people. This means that perfection is a relative term. Anything that exists in relativity does not exist in actuality. Using someone else’s definition of perfection as your metric for success is going to leave you unfulfilled and possibly hurt in the process. Success, on the other hand, is based on maximizing what’s in you. Success is personal and it looks different for everyone. In essence, you are only competing with yourself. Our message to them must be don’t try to be perfect. Try to be successful.

10.09.17

Greater Leadership in Children’s Ministry by Dale Hudson

relevantchildrensministry.com

We live in a challenging day, don’t we?  We’ve been called to reach Generation Z.  They are the largest generation on the planet.  74 million in the U.S.  2 billion in the world.  9,000 babies are born and join Generation Z each day.

They have an attention span of 8 seconds.  They are digital natives and interact with up to 5 screens a  day.  The average age they are exposed to pornography online is 11-years-old.  Terrorism is a way of life, they are growing up walking through metal detectors at their schools, large event venues, airports and more.

Gen Z’s parents are struggling as well.  Over 2 million of Millennial parents are addicted to drugs (either prescription or illegal).  Much of this is driven by an opioid epidemic.  Babies born to a parent taking opioids has increased by 300% in the last 10 years.

If we are going to reach today’s kids and families, then it can’t be business as usual!  It will take greater impact and influence.  How can we have greater influence?  How can we make a greater difference in people’s lives?  It will take greater leadership.  The saying is true, isn’t’ it – everything rises and falls on leadership.

Greater impact is made possible by greater leadership.

This is certainly not the first time a group of disciples like us have been called upon to have greater leadership.  Think back with me to the early disciples.  They had the challenge of taking the Gospel to the world.  And it was a world that was hostile and totally unfamiliar with the Gospel since it would just be unfolding.

Jesus knew it would take greater leadership for the disciples to effectively impact the world with the Gospel and so He began preparing them.  You see many incidents in Scripture where He taught them what greater leadership looked like.

One of those times is found in John 15.  Throughout this chapter, He explains greater leadership to the disciples.  And the entire chapter can be encapsulated in verse 13.  Here’s what it says.

There is no GREATER love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

In this verse, we see the 4 elements of greater leadership.  Ultimate leadership.  The best kind of leadership.  Leadership that is a game changer.  Let’s examine it.

1. Greater leadership loves people.  

Notice again what He says. 

There is no greater LOVE than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

The foundation for greater leadership is love.  It reflects the heart of God for people.  If you want to have greatest leadership, then…

Ask God to renew your love for the kids and families in your community.

Ask God to give you a fresh love for the volunteers and people you serve with.

Ask God to fill your heart with love for those who are far from God in your neighborhood.

Ask God to break your heart for the broken families in your city.

Ask God to give you unconditional love for the child who seems unlovable, uncontrollable and uncooperative.

When people know you truly love them, it opens their heart to your leadership and influence in their life.

2. Greater leadership serves others. 

Look at the verse again.

There is no greater love than to LAY DOWNone’s life for one’s friends.

We have been told that leadership is about taking charge…climbing the ladder…having power…exercising authority…advancing no matter who you have to go over to get there…getting the office with a window view…being known as powerful…taking….getting.

The disciples had seen the same thing modeled.  The Roman government ruled by fear, power, punishment, strength of the army and force.  The religious leaders of the day lived in a class above the ordinary person and lead by rules, regulations, pomp and circumstance.

But then Jesus came and taught them about a greater kind of leadership.  Look what He says in the verse above.  He tells them greater leadership is not about getting, but about giving.  It’s not about taking, it’s about laying down.

He not only taught this greater kind of leadership, He modeled it.  In Matthew 20, the disciples were arguing about who would have the greatest authority…the greatest title in the kingdom that Jesus would establish.  Again, they were reflecting the leadership they had grown up with.  Leadership that is established by power and force and position.

Jesus tells them this.

You know how the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.  But among you it will be different.

Here it is. He’s about to tell them about a different kind of leadership.  A greater leadership.

But among you it will be different.  Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.

Whereas the world says leadership is about how many people serve you, Jesus says greater leadership is flipped.  Greater leadership is about how many people you serve.

He then models this by washing the disciples feet.  While they were busy arguing about who would have the best title, Jesus took a towel and water, got down and washed their feet.  In that culture, only the lowest servants washed people’s feet.  It was the lowest job, the lowest position in the kingdom.  When there were no servants present to do this “demeaning” task, the disciples weren’t about to wash anyone’s feet.  So Jesus used the opportunity to show them what great leadership looks like as He washed their feet.

Greater leadership is servant leadership.  It’s an oxymoron, isn’t it?  Servant and leadership.  But that’s the beauty of greater leadership.  Before you can become a great leader, you must first become a great servant.

Greater leadership is about replacing your “ego” with “we go” as you invest in others.  It’s not about being powerful, it’s about empowering others.

Good leaders are starts.  Great leaders create stars.

Average leadership ponders its rights.  Greater leadership ponders its responsibilities.

3. Greater leadership depends on God. 

The third component of greater leadership is found in the next part of the verse.  Look what it says.

There is no greater love than to lay down ONE’S LIFE for one’s friends.

In this chapter, Jesus shows them that the life is found in the vine.  As life flows from the vine into the branches, fruit comes forth.  He reminds them that without the vine, the branches can do nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  Nothing is going to happen without the vine.

Greater leadership acknowledges that without God nothing of eternal value will happen.

That’s good news for leaders.  You see, greater leadership is not based on how talented you are, how charismatic you are, how big your budget is or how nice your facilities are.  It’s about the power of God working through you.

Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 2:

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

Greater leadership is not about walking in your own confidence.  It’s about walking in Godfidence.

4. Greater leadership builds friendships.

Notice what Jesus calls the disciples in the last part of the verse.

 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s FRIENDS. 

Jesus shared with them that greater leadership leads through relationship.  The word He used for this is “friends.”  The word “friends” carried a special connotation.  It was a reference to kings who would have a group of special friends that he brought close to him.  This group of friends would be the king’s trusted inner circle.  He would ask their advice before anyone asking anyone else.  They had access to the king 24/7.

You’ve heard the statement “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”  That’s what greater leadership is all about.  It’s earning people’s trust and respect over time through relationship.

Jesus also tells them that He is not going to call them “servants.”  Rather they will be His friends.  When someone leads servants, the people serve because they have to.  They don’t have a choice.  They are made to serve.

But greater leadership leads through friendship.  When you lead through friendship, people follow you because they want to.  You lead through motivation instead of mandating.

Greater leadership invests in people.  Greater leadership is there for people in their time of need.  Greater leadership goes on a journey with people.  Greater leadership is not about what you want from people, it’s about what you want for people.

If you want to see people serve with you for the long haul, then focus on relationship.  The amount of time people spend serving with you will be in direct correlation to the depth of the relationships you build with them.

Greater leadership loves people – ask God to renew your love for people.

Greater leadership serves others – ask God to give you the heart and attitude of a servant. 

Greater leadership depends on God – before you serve, fall on your face before God and ask Him to fill you with His power and anointing.  Acknowledge that without Him you can do nothing. 

Greater leadership builds friendships – invest deeply in the people God has called you to serve with. 

Do these things and you’ll make a greater impact.  You’ll provide greater leadership for the kids and families God has called you to serve.  

Do these things and God can use your leadership to turn the world upside down. 

10.09.17

Every Kid is One Caring Adult Away From Being a Success Story by Josh Shipp

joshshipp.com

We asked 1,843 teens what they lie to their parents about…here’s what they said.

Most parents wish they could get inside the mind of their teenager.

As someone who has worked with thousands of teens and parents for over a decade, I have a direct line of communication that allows me to ask some candid questions. With so much in the news recently about the issues teens have been grappling with — from suicide to cyber bullying.

I wanted to know what teens are actually thinking about these topics. So I asked our online community of 13-18 year olds and 1,843 of them responded.

Because this survey was anonymous, there’s no way to account for the demographics of the survey participants beyond their age range. Because of this, it’s difficult to make generalizations about the data. But clues do emerge that can be helpful to parents and other caring adults.

The following were key findings from the survey.

For experts, therapists and psychologists who work with teens, these results were in line with what they’re seeing in the field and in their practice.

“The percentage of teens lying to their parents about suicide and drugs is consistent with my conversations with them,” said Ross Szabo, the Wellness Director of the Geffen Academy at UCLA. “This is the main reason it’s vital to open communication with teens from a young age about their emotions and coping skills.”

Additionally, psychologists who work with teens are quick to point out that a teen having thoughts about suicide is not the same thing as a teen planning his or her own suicide.

“Most teens aren’t eminently suicidal,” said Dr. Jerry Weichman, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Weichman Clinic who specializes in adolescents.  “They have suicidal ideation which means that they have thoughts about suicide simply because they are so overwhelmed by the various situations they’re struggling with in life because they have no other way or tools1 to deal with how they’re feeling so this is where their mind takes them to.”

For many parents, it might be alarming to see that nearly a ⅓ of teenagers are lying to their parents about having suicidal thoughts, but if you understand the interior life of teens, it begins to make more sense.

“When they have suicidal thoughts they’re worried they will be labeled for the rest of their lives, so they hide,” Szabo said.  “Some teens don’t want to open up, because they don’t want their parents to worry about them.  And others don’t know how to tell anyone what they feel, which is why it’s important for parents and adults to begin those conversations.”

The anonymous survey revealed some other interesting data:

Here, again, psychologists who work with teens aren’t surprised by the results of the survey.

“It is not surprising the school stress is highest, given the tremendous pressures on teenagers to achieve, and the increased competition for college,” said Dr. Gene Beresin, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and executive director of the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds.  “Also while unemployment is high, students who are not going to college feel increased pressures to achieve in school.”

But meaningful connections are what help teens process stress and cope with life, and ironically, it may be the lack of those human connections that drive teenagers to their biggest stress point: school.  Dr. Jennifer Freed, a licensed therapist and executive director of the AHA! teen program, proposed that the way schools operate don’t allow for much meaningful connection.

“Teens are stressed by school because most schools do not address the whole person but favor achievement and popularity,” Freed said.  “Healthy relationships are the key ingredient to a fulfilling life and yet schools rarely focus on the skills necessary to have healthy and diverse connections.”

But regardless of the causes, experts agree that teens need to talk to their parents.

“Few teens are going to talk with their parents about ‘drugs, sex and rock-n-roll’ – well, at least the drugs and sex,” Beresin said.  “What is worrisome is that almost a third would NOT talk with their parents about suicidal thoughts.”

WHAT NOW
For parents, this survey can be a way to begin an important conversation.  Remember, your goal is to create a space where your teen really can feel free to share whatever’s going on in their life, and to identify potential reasons why they’re hiding or clamming up.

Step 1: Show these survey results to your teen.

Step 2: Ask your teen some strategic questions like…

  • “Did any of those survey results surprise you?”
  • “Do you think those results reflect what you see with your own friends?”
  • “What did you think the most important question was?”

Step 3: Remember the mantra that vulnerability leads to vulnerability, so (appropriately) share about a time when you were a teenager and you didn’t feel safe sharing something with your own parents.  Why didn’t you talk to them?  What prevented you from talking?

Step 4: Ask your teen, “Do you feel, sometimes, that there are things you have to hide from me?”  If teen opens up about barriers they feel exist between you, try your hardest not to get defensive.  If necessary, use this line: I am so sorry to hear you feel that way.  I certainly never meant to make you feel that way.  What could I do to be better at that?

FINAL THOUGHTS

One of the more chilling results from this survey that we didn’t directly touch on was this: nearly ¼ of teens say that they don’t feel that their parents love and support them.  Now, nearly all teens say that they understand that their parents love them, but it’s that second word – support – that’s the crucial aspect.

Love AND support.  

For some reason, parents have a hard time believing that it’s even possible to love someone deeply and yet not communicate it to them in a way that they understand and feel.  But it is. If this survey helps parents take stock of their relationship with their teen and identify things – however minor – that might be preventing clear and honest communication, then that’s the real victory.

It takes real courage to wade into those conversations because you might hit a raw nerve ending – either in yourself or your teen.

But if at the end of the day, your teen more clearly understands that you are FOR them and want to know what’s really going on inside them, then it will be worth it.

10.02.17

Hi! Happy October!! OCTOBER????? Haha! I am praying for you right now! 
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Our job is to prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child. #elmore
When you feel stretched, it’s a setup for God’s strength. #furtick
Don’t worry about finding your purpose. If you are seeking after God, your purpose will find you. #evans
Being odd for the sake of Jesus is the highest of callings. It’s living an odd life marked by love, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, humility and self-sacrifice. #fields
 
 
FYI:
1. 10 Things to Say When Your Child Says They Don’t Believe in God Anymore…
http://christianmomthoughts.com/10-things-to-say-when-your-child-says-they-dont-believe-in-god-anymore/#more-8114
 
2. Teen Trouble… https://www.heartlightministries.org/2017/09/teen-trouble-take-quiz/?utm_source=CC+Master+List&utm_campaign=70d98c1e72-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5926458580-70d98c1e72-126726953
3. 12 Prayers for when you are anxious by Max Lucado
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
4 Passionate Desires of a Good Leader’s Heart by Brandon Cox
Today’s Kids Are Not Yesterday’s Kids by Dale Hudson (Find your age group!! Memory lane!)
Seven Terms That Summarize Generation Z’s Mindset by Tim Elmore
Apps Stirring Up Trouble in Schools by Caroline Knorr (Yikes!)
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/26201/when-storms-come?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=when_storms_come-2214110&utm_campaign=fp-08/31/2017-2214110
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/69368/today-we-celebrate?utm_source=Christian%20Song%20Tracks%20(Final)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=today_celebrate-2215209&utm_campaign=fp-09/02/2017-2215209
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:

Great Leaders Live By Strong Convictions by Rick Warren

The real foundation of great leadership is character, not charisma. And one aspect of a leader’s character is the convictions to which he is deeply committed. Great leaders have strongly held beliefs. An opinion is something you’d argue about; a conviction is something you’d die for. Pastors, especially, must define the convictions for which they will endure every kind of hardship, and the only way to stand for those kinds of convictions is to live from a deep sense of God’s calling.

If God has called you to the task of leadership, nothing can stop you. Your identity rests in your relationship with him, not the approval of the people you are leading or the watching world around you. Instead of living in the comparison trap or the fear of what people will think, you must develop your convictions – theological, ethical, and practical – and stand by them.

Believe in advance that your convictions will be tested from at least eight angles:

1. Derision. When you’re in leadership, one of the first ways people will try to get you to deny your conviction is to make fun of you. Your convictions may very well be a punchline at times.

2. Discouragement. One of the enemy’s most powerful weapons is discouragement. Why? Because convictions, by their very nature, require courage to uphold. Discouragement usually comes at the halfway point when you’re halfway done with the project or halfway up the mountain.

3. Dread. Fear is one of the greatest threats to a leader’s convictions. I’ve often said, even when put on the spot by secular media personalities that I must fear God more than other people. It is to him alone that I will answer someday for how I stood by the deeply held beliefs he called me to possess.

4. Discord. Few things will stunt the growth of a movement or a church faster than gossip. One rumor or false accusation has the potential to destroy the reputation of a leader.

5. Division. It’s a big challenge for a leader to keep people together in a movement, but it’s essential. And since leadership is all about getting human beings to work together toward a common goal, this challenge is especially difficult for a leader to face.

6. Distractions. If the enemy can’t divide the people of a movement, he’ll provide distractions. Some of the distractions that cause the most problems aren’t bad things but rather good things that aren’t the best things.

7. Defamation. Paul was hounded by the Judaizers. Nehemiah had to deal with Sanballat. Jesus was falsely accused of blasphemy. It’s the pioneers out front who are most likely to get shot in the back. It’s a side effect of an expanding influence.

8. Danger. The Bible never actually promised believers a life “safe and secure from all alarms.” On the contrary, those who lead and have a voice will also suffer persecution and encounter danger along the way.

The enemy will try to use all eight of these tactics to top you from leading. What do you do in the face of such opposition? Don’t give up! Hold onto your convictions. Be persistent. Endure. When you are committed to your convictions, nothing will cause you to quit. And a “no quit” attitude is an essential characteristic of any great leader.

Heart of a Champion (One of my favorites!)

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”                      (1 Corinthians 9:25-27) (NIV)

There is an old saying: Champions don’t become champions in the ring – they are merely recognized there. Boxing is a good analogy for leadership development because it is all about daily preparation. Even if a person has natural talent, he has to prepare and train to become successful.

One of the most famous quotes of President Theodore Roosevelt uses a boxing analogy: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause.”