2018: The Year of God’s Provisions

2018: The Year of God’s Provisions

We believe 2018 must be a special year of God in our lives as leaders. Often we become so centered on what we must do to succeed that we forget what He does through us so we can succeed. In our first two blogs for this year we have seen 2018 as the year of God’s presence when He delivers us from fear and the year of God’s power when He overcomes all that overcomes us. Now, in this last of our first three-blogs for 2018, we see it as the year of God’s provisions when He acts to meet some of our greatest needs in very intense ways. God offers us three provisions we desperately need if we are going to lead in today’s world.

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2018: The Year of God’s Power

2018: The Year of God’s Power

As we start 2018 we are focusing on God’s special role through us as leaders. We tend to think what we do determines what we achieve for Him and forget that what He wants us to do is beyond anything we can do apart from His enablement So as we begin 2018 we aim to transform our fear into freedom, our inferiority into confidence, and our emptiness into God’s fullness for us as leaders. Last week we focused on the sense of God’s presence that delivers us from fear. Today we turn to our dependence on God’s power that delivers us from dismay, a concept we don’t often discuss but a struggle that is even deeper than fear.

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2018: The Year of God's Presence

2018: The Year of God's Presence

Over the next several weeks as we start 2018 I plan to look at God’s special role for us as leaders. Often we become so focused on what we must do to succeed that we forget what He does through us so we can succeed. Many times we become so gripped by the fear of failure or anger over our inferiority that we lose confidence and become discouraged. So at the beginning of 2018 our aim is to transform our fear into freedom, our inferiority into confidence, and our emptiness into God’s fullness for us as leaders. Today’s blog focuses on a sense of God’s presence that delivers us from fear.

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From The Hardest Year To The New Year

From The Hardest Year To The New Year

At the beginning of 2017 I faced the hardest year of my life after a fall and severe brain injury that required 80 days of hospitalization and several months of rehabilitation. I am now recovered and entering one of the most challenging years of my life. I have gone from near death to greater life than ever.

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The Care of Christmas

The Care of Christmas

Christmas is one of God’s most precious seasons, the time when He may celebrate the most. It’s hard to think of God celebrating at Christmas, the season of one of His greatest sacrifices. Easter is when He gave His most painful sacrifice, of course, but to accomplish Easter He had to send His Son to earth at Christmas, and all three of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, knew exactly what this would mean. He can celebrate Christmas though because that’s what makes His passion for people possible in the first place. This is why He wants us to rise up, speak up, act without fear, and bring His celebration to the lonely, the struggling, and the suffering everywhere, to say to them, “Behold your God (Isa 40:9-11)” who cares for you at Christmas.

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The Celebration of Chrismas

The Celebration of Chrismas

Christmas is a beautiful season of glorious trees, bright lights, rich music, wonderful concerts, glorious celebration—yes, Christmas is a beautiful season. But not in July. In July Christmas would be strange, weird, crazy, a leftover that should have been put away and now needs to be thrown away. The decorations are out of place, faded, and finished in the summer heat. Who wants Christmas on the Fourth of July?

Christmas is like life: alive, energetic, colorful, beautiful until, as Isaiah the prophet said, “the breath of the Lord blows on it.” Then the flower fades and the color goes, and Christmas is over, only to come again next year. While Christmas fades it always returns because the word of our God stands forever.

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The Cry of Christmas

The Cry of Christmas

Prepare the way of the LORD, make straight . . . a highway for our God

The world is in a turmoil we have never known. We hear it in the cry of a generation that faces struggles in ways no generation before them before. They face wildernesses brought on by war, deserts caused by the destruction of death across much of the globe, deep valleys of despair and discouragement, and rough moments in life no one can escape.

What hope can we offer the world in our times?

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The Comfort of Christmas

The Comfort of Christmas

t’s Christmas time, for many of us our favorite time of the year.

This is the season of brilliant lights and beautiful color, of celebration and laughter, of holiday parties and family traditions, of rich memories and precious anticipations. There is no season like Christmas.

Yet for many of us there’s another side to Christmas, a dark and colorless side, a season of painful memories and family struggles when those who should have brought us joy have brought us sadness and grief and deep hurt instead. There is much silent suffering at Christmas time as many among us find it to be the most hurtful time of the year.

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The Glory of Business

The Glory of Business

God has created us to pursue business, but not only to provide for our needs and make a profit. His primary purpose is to experience the glory He designed for us when He gave us the life and gifts He provided for us.

The problem is many of us don’t understand what God has done. We tend to think that living for God is one thing, but conducting business is another. What we miss is the fact that God is not only interested in our going to church and participating in Bible study but also in how we run our business and even more in why we run our business. In fact why we run our business is as important to God than how we worship and what we learn in Bible study.

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Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

It’s Thanksgiving. But let’s suppose you can’t be very thankful this year.

Let’s suppose you have spent more than five years pouring yourself into a group of people who are not thankful for you at all. You have given them everything you have. You have not charged them anything for your sacrifice. While you have not complained to them or asserted yourself over them, you have been faithful to them and truthful with them. You have given them all you can possibly offer them, and they have freely taken what they wanted and rejected the rest. No one has given as much to them as you have, and no one has been more ungrateful than they have been. You have supported them, encouraged them, given to them, corrected them, confronted them, endured them—and all you get back from them is petty criticism that puts you down and misrepresents you. And it’s happened once again. This time, you fear, to a precious friend of yours whom you sent to them with a note of correction and a promise that you will return to see them.

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A Dog In A Tree

A Dog In A Tree

At a recent session of the Wednesday Morning Men, a men’s Bible study I teach every Wednesday morning (what else would the Wednesday Morning Men be except a gathering for men and when else would it meet except on Wednesday morning) one of the regular guys, Wayne Mitchell, talked about something his grandmother said to him when he was in his late twenties. Wayne questioned her about prominent pastors who promote themselves, become well known, and then fall. She said, “They’re like a dog in a tree.” Wayne had never heard that phrase before so he wondered what she meant. She replied, “You will never see a dog in a tree who got there on his own. Someone had to put him there, and he cannot get down without help. Dogs can’t climb trees, and when someone puts a dog on a limb he barks, growls, whimpers, but if no one gets him down, all he can do is jump —and usually he gets hurt when he jumps.”

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The Giants are Going and the Pygmies Must Taking Over

The Giants are Going and the Pygmies Must Taking Over

Recently one of my former students sent me an e-mail about a current article in Christianity Today on Karl Barth, one of the most influential theologians in the early part of the twentieth century who had an adulterous relationship for much of his married life. The article was revealing, penetrating, and distressing as it spoke of such terrible sin in the life of one of the most significant thinkers in the past one hundred years. My former student, now a man with thirty years ministry experience and a key theological thinker in one of the largest evangelical countries in the world, reminded me of a time when he came to my office to ask me a question about a group of similar situations. Three key American spiritual leaders, one a past successful pastor and head of a major international ministry, one a well known Dallas pastor, and the other a prominent leader elsewhere in the country had committed adultery and been removed from their influential roles.

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God's Call

God's Call

In the summer and winter of 1944, the sovereign God transformed my life from temporal and purposeless to eternal and purposeful. Here’s how He did it.

During that time my name was Douglas Rice, I had no home, no father not much of a mother, and she intended to put me into a religious boys’ home when I turned five late in 1944. I have no idea where I had been for the first four plus years of my life, but that winter I and my half-brother, Donald, lived with Anna Keeler, known to us as Mother Keeler, a British immigrant and a member of the Salvation Army. Mother Keeler contacted an associate pastor in Philadelphia, where we lived, and asked him if he knew of a couple who wanted to adopt a little boy who had no future. Amazingly he did. He knew Bill and Mildred Lawrence.

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When God Forgets You

When God Forgets You

How do you respond when God forgets you? He forgets your cell phone number, your e-mail address, and your Face book page. He doesn’t recognize your picture or recall your address or even your long unused landline. How do you feel?

As far as you can tell God has forgotten He even created you let alone had a plan for your life. All of those identity defining expectations He once gave you are long gone and never thought of—at least by Him.

Perhaps you’re like Moses who defended one of God’s enslaved people only to have to flee for his life. Once he was a member of the most elite family on earth but then he married a woman utterly unlike Pharaoh’s daughter. Instead of a prince he become a shepherd, hearing nothing but bah, bah, bah all day long.

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Renewed, Refreshed, Refocused

Renewed, Refreshed, Refocused

On January 29th of this year I fell down some stairs and fractured my skull, caused a concussion, and spent eighty days recovering from significant brain damage. Now I am virtually well and I have much to rejoice about. I invite you to join with me in thanksgiving to God for His grace and faithfulness.

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The Leader, Not Leadership

The Leader, Not Leadership

At Leader Formation we focus on the leader rather than leadership.

Effective leadership is our aim, but we have learned that leadership collapses when competent leaders lack godly character. God has used leadership from the beginning of time, but time after time we see leadership fail because leaders fail. Look at Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Peter, Mark and on throughout history, and you will see that leadership is flawed because leaders are flawed.

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When Does A Leader Talk About Their Fear?

When Does A Leader Talk About Their Fear?

When does a leader talk about his fear to his followers? Never?

The apostle Paul disagrees. He talked about his fear when he shared his faith, when he showed the Corinthians that, while he came to them in fear, he acted by faith and bore fruit despite his feelings. “When I came to you I came with fear and trembling (I Cor. 2: 3).

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Haddon Robinson 1931-2017

Haddon Robinson 1931-2017

n 1960, during my senior year of college when I was accepted by Dallas Seminary, I saw a picture of Haddon Robinson and thought, “What can a guy that young teach me about preaching?’ He looked the same age as some of my classmates, and all the professors I ever had looked like professors, like in their forties and fifties.

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When a Leader Stops Leading

When a Leader Stops Leading

It was the spring of the year when leaders took their troops out to defend their territory and protect their country. But this spring David, Israel’s leader, did not take his troops into battle. He had spent seventeen years on the run for his life from King Saul when he lived in caves in the wilderness though he was no risk to Saul. He had opportunities to take Saul’s life, but he would not touch God’s leader.

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Real Leadership

Real Leadership

How do you value leadership? Is leadership all about what you do? The people you influence? The organizations you direct? The decisions you make? The success you accomplish? Certainly these are expressions of leadership, but are they all that leadership is?

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