Friday, June 30, 2017

"Fear Not"

Faith is acting upon some glorious assumptions. As a Christian, I believe that in Jesus Christ, events are altered, lives are changed, relationships healed, and love proves stronger than hate.

Sun Kyi from Myanmar said that it is not power that corrupts but fear. The Bible allegedly has 365 “Fear Nots!” That’s one for every day. Isaiah 43 reads, “Fear not, I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.” In my experience, faith is not belief without proof but trust without reservation.

Trust always embraces the risk of betrayal. There is such a thing as External Trust – that is between institutions and participants. There is also such a thing as Internal Trust which suggests credibility and respect among staff.

Forbes Magazine pointed to the Edelman Trust Barometer; only 18% of those surveyed trust business leaders to tell the truth. Gallup reports that only one in five Americans trusts their primary bank.  Price Waterhouse Coopers said that the number one differentiation factor between the top innovators and the bottom innovators was trust.

Our nation suffers from a deficit of trust, not a deficit of resources. Sadly, trust is easily destroyed by hypocrisy. To most of us, trust is more important than pay or perks.

Proverbs 3:5-6 has it, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”


Friday, June 23, 2017

"The Wisdom of Peter Drucker"

Peter Drucker was the guru of management consultants. He helped reorganize non-profits like The Salvation Army. He regularly provided counsel to the corporate world, such as General Motors. Drucker was not hesitant to express his Christian perspective. As an Episcopalian, he appreciated the formality of their liturgy. He was an Austrian and spoke English with a strong accent. Often, he travelled the world on business but would make a gigantic effort to attend his small group.

Early in my ministry, in the midst of much frustration with the Church, somebody recommended Drucker’s book, “The Effective Executive”. What a revelation! To this day I am grateful for the help that book provided.

He taught me that leaders do things not by default but by design. I heard him say, “Focus only on those things that will make a big difference if successful.” It is clear that leaders have the ability to set something vibrating in others. Drucker suggested that the toughest job in America is to be the President of the United States. The second toughest job is to be the Chancellor of a major University. Think of all the entities that person must deal with, appease and lead. The third toughest job is to be the Administrator of a major hospital. Just imagine the parking issues that person must handle. According to Drucker, the fourth toughest job is to be the pastor of a large multiple-staff church. The man was brilliant.

I added to his list a number five. The fifth toughest job is to be married to any of the above.


Friday, June 16, 2017


Transparency in our culture is often viewed as weakness. We fear our emotions. Not only is it true of grief but also at all of life’s difficult intersections. Guilt, faith, anger, love, fear, success or failure all can bring a storm of emotion we cannot control or disguise. Repression of our emotions is a cultural expectation. However, an emotion such as anger is not easily repressed. It often emerges in some other form; sleeplessness, disturbing dreams, compulsive behavior, headaches, spastic colon and ulcers. Saving face is not in the Biblical record.

Artists of all kinds have to risk unveiling themselves. They open themselves to deep, personal emotion. They risk rejection or indifference.

Remember when Socrates drank the hemlock, he sent the workers away and proceeded to admonish Apollodorus for bursting into tears.

The Bible says, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” In other words, “Don’t go to bed mad.”  Better to get up and candidly deal with it, the demanding emotions, rather than try to sleep on it.  Repression of feelings must not be accepted as the cultural standard. How we express those feelings without causing collateral damage is of utmost importance.

You are made in the image of God; body, mind, and spirit. All three of these human aspects are uniquely integrated. We are also a complex mix of knowledge, will, and emotions. The Savior said, “I have come that you might have life and that more abundantly.”  John 10:10


Friday, June 9, 2017

"Fifteen Minutes Each Day"

I do not intend to reduce our interaction with God to a boring, perfunctory routine. However, I do practice and believe in a daily devotional routine. There are 96 fifteen-minute packages in every day.

Take fifteen minutes each day to realign your agenda to God’s redemptive program: five minutes for reading the Bible, five minutes for reflection on the Scriptures, and five minutes for prayer. Spiritual habits have proven to be productive. I know they can become more rote than real. This practice, when consistently maintained, becomes second nature to us.

‘Virtue”, writes the popular Anglican, N.T. Wright, “is what happens when wise and courageous choices have become ‘second nature’.” Spiritual discipline helps to immerse us in the sea of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.

Ruth Haley Barton in Sacred Rhythms wrote,  “I cannot transform myself, or anyone else for that matter. What I can do is create the conditions in which spiritual transformation can take place, by developing and maintaining a rhythm of spiritual practices that keep me open and available to God.”
No, I am not a promotor of the drudgery of habit. To seek a sense of the presence of the Lord each day can open you to fresh surprises of God’s grace.