The Kingdom of God Needs You

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?” – Luke 15:8 Jesus, as he often did with his followers, used parables to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. One in particular describes a woman who lost a valuable silver coin. In this story, Jesus referenced a Jewish bride who wore beautiful, traditional wedding attire that included a distinguishable headband adorned with 10 coins. In a normal day’s activities, like going to the market and whatnot, she would have kept the headband on, along with its ten coins. This stunning headband was just as symbolic as the modern-day wedding ring and showed she was married.  In this parable, she lost one of the valued coins. She looked through her whole house and couldn’t find it. She looked everywhere in every nook and cranny

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A People-First Culture

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:25 Yesterday, we talked about how having a big vision for our lives and leadership has the potential to empower others. We also looked at how being more devoted to rules and standards than human beings creates a “quack quack” model in our corporate or personal culture and how such a mentality deflates and discourages people. Today, to solidify these concepts, I want to share a story with you. Years ago, pre 9/11, Ken Blanchard, one of the authors of the “Lead Like Jesus” series that we’ve been learning from, was traveling on a Southwest Airlines flight. After unloading his luggage at the curb, he realized he had forgotten his wallet. He figured he would be turning around at that point, but instead,

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Leading Is Loving People

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” – Philippians 2:3,4 We have a family friend named Glenn Stearns, who happens to be a billionaire. In a strange turn of events, my dad officiated his wedding over a decade ago, and since then, he’s become dear to us. In 2019, he starred in his own T.V. show called Undercover Billionaire, which aired on the Discovery Channel. The goal of the program was to showcase the American spirit and to prove that with the right attitude and team, a profitable business can be grown just about anywhere. That said, Glenn was sent to Erie, Pennsylvania with $100 in his pocket, a pickup truck, and a cell phone with no contacts, and tasked with building a million dollar

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Love the Least Likely

“When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.” – Matthew 8:1-3 One of the most powerful things Jesus did after He started His earthly ministry was to touch a man with leprosy. In the culture of His day, lepers were outcasts, and everywhere they went, they were required to announce their presence by shouting “unclean” so that others were warned and could scatter. Furthermore, in many regions, those diagnosed as leprous were required to leave their homes and families to be isolated from everyone they knew, lest they spread the illness to them. Banished to a life of separation and obscurity, the disease

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Words Can Heal

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Though we saw yesterday that words can wound, the more powerful and overcoming truth is that they can heal! In fact, so important are affirmations and positive exhortations in God’s eyes that the Greek term for encouragement — parakleo — is used at least 100 times in the New Testament. Everyone needs to be reminded of who they are in Jesus, even those who don’t know Him yet, and giving verbal utterance to His heart is the best way to do it. Just as the aroma of something sweet has the potential to overpower the less pleasant smells around it, so uplifting speech can overcome the grievous stench of cutting words. That said, encouragement has a purpose far deeper than making a person feel good in the moment. Though compliments

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You’re Not What You Do

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8,9 I’m passionate about people understanding their worth apart from what they do. This is the heart behind the Creed of the Beloved that we say each week at Shepherd’s Grove, and it’s something that I believe we continually struggle with societally. Of course, our bent toward defining human value based on achievement goes back centuries, first to the Roman Empire, one of the greatest and most influential civilizations in the history of the world. Rome was the first meritocracy, which means that attaining power and influence in their culture was based entirely on accomplishment. So true was this that families would permanently memorialize notable members using something called death masks. Moments after a person passed away,

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About treasure…

“Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” -Ecclesiastes 5:10 We put a lot of trust in things like money, gold, wealth, stocks, bonds, property, and inheritance. Napoleon III decorated his table in the nineteenth century with the finest accoutrements for his special guests. They all ate with gold flatware. Napoleon himself ate with an even finer set of flatware made of platinum. But the finest guests, only the most special, very, very honored guests got the most valuable flatware made of aluminum. That’s a true story. The finest piece of cutlery that Napoleon had was made of aluminum, now considered the most common metal on the planet. However, before the process of electrolysis was perfected, it was nearly impossible to pull aluminum from ore; you could mine hardly anything but flakes. So, over time, Napoleon gathered enough of

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