|We celebrated Martin Luther King Day Monday on his actual birthday. His life, although flawed like the rest of ours, showed that He loved God and wanted to exhibit the fruit of His spirit noted in Galatians 5 https://biblehub.com/galatians/5-22.htm. For those of you who didn’t read my last blog post, https://thankfulinallthings.com/my-thoughts-on-how-i-will-grow-in-2024/ I share that this verse will be a focus for me as I try to live out my One Word for 2024 prayer. Here is what I wrote a couple of years ago on how we can be motivated to live better lives with a heart of service.
On this day do you remember? There is a reason that Dion’s song, “Does anyone here” https://youtu.be/a5hFMy4pTrs remains one of my favorites. When we fret about where our world is today, look back. I was 11 when JFK was killed and 16 when Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were also assassinated. It was a very divisive and scary time. My question on this MLK Day is not do we remember these men, but in our remembrance, how does it motivate us to be better men and women?In preparation for the MLK King Day in 2022, I had the privilege of helping our local newspaper find people to share their thoughts on what Martin Luther King’s life meant to them. Here is the link should be interested in what was written https://dailyprogress.com/specialty_publications/page-s01/page_ae2d0e53-5094-53ca-9d82-7d42579185d9.html Dr. King lived a life that left a legacy for all to follow. It causes us as Jeff Burton writes, to “ask ourselves, how is it today that I can act; what can I do to leave this place better than I found it; to do our small part to inspire others for good” Nathan Walton, in the publication noted above, asks, “What story are we telling?…..This day gives us an opportunity to tell a new story for our own moment” As we look back this MLK quote should help to move us forward. “We have come a long, long way but we still have a long, long way to go.”Former City of Promise ED, Mary Coleman writes that our story needs to be one where we have learned from the past so we can be exhorted to help make a brighter future. She asks, “Where do we go from here? Will we choose chaos or community in a unified manner that King describes as persevering togetherness.” Yes! There is my 2022 Word. Unity. Uncompromised Never-ending Intensity Toward YES! We can be motivated by others to make our story one that sets an example for those around us. It can be a story line that causes Breakthrough by lifting up others and like MLK, motivating them to pursue peace while making a positive difference in the world versus creating divisiveness and selfishly ignoring those who need our help. Dr King was in no way a perfect man. But he was a man who believed he was redeemed by His Creator and called into a work that would ultimately cost him his life. This gives me hope as I hope it will you. It teaches nothing is impossible for those who love God. Luke 1:37 promises us “that we have the privilege of serving a God who can literally do anything, and there is nothing that is impossible for him.Therefore let us strive to live out the beatitudes noted in Matthew 5:1-12Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you..Like Dr King, When we live our life this way, we will leave our personal legacy that others will continue because of the way you motivated them.Please subscribe to this blog so you can receive an email notification when new content is posted. I can be reached by email at [email protected]
Make no mistake. All of us are called to be leaders. Stop for a moment and think about who is looking for you to lead them through their lives or even a challenging moment. Are you willing to step up and if so, are you prepared to take on the responsibilities that come with being a leader?
Dave Anderson shares to be a good leader, we must first learn to be a good follower. “Before West Point expects cadets to become leaders, they train them how to be good followers. America’s leadership university designs the entire freshman (plebe) year around the idea of followership. Before you can effectively lead others, you need to understand how to be a good follower.” That way we can harken back to what it felt like to follow someone who set a positive example of what leading others looked like to you and how it may you feel. Dave goes on to say and I paraphrase, “The definition of Selflessness is putting the needs of others before our own needs, desires or convenience. When we can learn to do that as a follower, it creates a habit that will prepare us to do the same thing when we are called to lead others in the future.” Check out his character test here. https://www.becomingaleaderofcharacter.com/my-mirror-character-assessment Be honest 🙂 How did you do?
Another term for selflessness is servant heartedness. Think about how you felt when being served. Doesn’t it make you want to go out and serve others so they can be made to feel the same way? It is what I call “turning the word gratitude into a verb”. Being served by others will help us learn the impact we can have when we serve them. One lesson that is very hard to learn for one in a leadership position is asking for or accepting when offered, someone’s help. The misnomer here is that leaders are to be strong and not show a weakness or vulnerability. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Think about a beautifully wrapped present that someone wants to give to you. The present doesn’t become a gift until the person receiving it accepts it. Its purpose is left unfulfilled. My friend, Kim Farrar, says it this way. “I cannot bless you if you won’t accept what it is I am trying to give or you say how can I repay you?”
John Maxwell writes, “If you’re all alone, that means nobody is following you. And if nobody is following you, then you’re not really leading.”
Who is God calling you to lead? Even if only one person comes to mind, be the best leader you can be by finding ways to serve them well. Love and care for them as God loves and cares for you. That way you can confidently move lives forward (wink, wink, Liza Myers Borches) implementing what Dave Anderson writes about Followership. That it is a foundation to leadership. Someone who learns to be a good follower, will be more prepared to be a good leader.” There is noone better to follow first than our Lord Jesus Christ. When we do he promises in Matthew 4:19 to make you “fishers of mankind”.
Please subscribe to this blog to receive email notifications when new content is posted. You can reach me by email at [email protected] I would love to hear how you did on Dave Anderson’s character assessment
Affordable housing was the topic on my radio show a couple weeks ago. I had the opportunity to speak with two Realtors whose initiatives resulted in four families buying homes when they never thought it possible. I congratulated them saying, “you all can always look back and be thankful knowing your efforts has and will In the future, help others experience homeownership.” It reminded me that our individual decisions to go out and serve can and will make the world a better place. I saw a powerful video about Rick Rescorla that illustrated this very point. Very few know his name but his one act cost him his life but saved the lives of 2700 fellow employees. https://youtu.be/J8XfwZAKPMk As I wrote last week, he exemplifies choosing not to retreat but to strive forward on behalf of others.
Two scripture passages jump out at me when thinking about how knowing we have made a difference in the world allows us to be thankful. Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” 2 Corinthians 9:11,12 “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”
The ultimate verse though is Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” The greatest motivation to do good works is not so that we can be applauded or told how much someone appreciates you. It is that God exhibited the greatest act of love by allowing His son to die for us and therefore when we got out to serve others, It is like we are serving Jesus himself.
I read a book years ago with the title, The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom. It follows the life and death of a man named Eddie who is killed and sent to heaven, where he encounters five people who had a significant impact upon him while he was alive. Thinking about it reminds me of the opportunity each of us has to create positive or negative ripples out into the world. I think we would all agree, like Eddie in the book, we would rather have people smiling when they say to you “I remember when you…….” I bet the almost 2700 people who survived the tower collapse on 9/11 remember what Rick Rescorla did for them.
“Ever present Father, You are active in everything and everyone and every moment, moving the world toward the full manifestation of your loving reign. Help us to love ourselves wholly up to you; to be instruments of your will in this and every moment” Gregory Boyd
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One of the first days I was in the hospital unable to move due to Guillain Barre Syndrome, a friend asked me, “Do you ever ask Why me? I cannot tell you why but I was in a weird way comforted and encouraged that the question had never entered my mind. Instead, I made the choice to have a mindset of “what do I and the people caring for me need to do for me to get better?”
This blog post came into focus from three very different places this week. First, a good friend talked about “why is it always about what I need, I deserve, I earned and entitled to instead of about what God has done in my life? The second was a brief devotional by John and Stasi Eldredge on “guarding your heart so you prevent negative thoughts from growing in this time of social distancing. Here is the link. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=214262996537588&external_log_id=d77d5d6df9a10b37ff6523ec739b195a&q=stasi%20eldredge Finally, while walking this morning I listened to a sermon, where the pastor challenged those listening, “how has Covid-19 shown you that your identity and security have been in the wrong places?” All three thoughts though different brought to mind the fact we all can choose how we will respond when faced with challenges.
Hasn’t it been a long week? Just a week ago, we celebrated Easter. We sang Hallelujah, He is Risen and found ourselves uplifted knowing we have Hope because God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us. A week later, are you still living in Hope or have you gone back into a state of anxiety and discouragement? A week before Easter over 2000 years ago, everyone was shouting “Hosanna in the Highest”. A week later they were screaming “Crucify Him’. In one short week they went from praising Jesus and what He has done to wanting Him dead.
The point is how we choose to live and behave is our chose. Here are some examples of who how we can choose to live our life. Loving vs Hateful, Fearful vs Courageous, Greedy vs Generous, Anxious vs Peaceful, Selfish vs Servant-hearted, Helpful vs disagreeable, resentful vs grateful, bitter vs kindhearted.( *see verses below) Stasi Eldredge shared in the video seeds get planted in our hearts and unless we nourish them positively we can find ourselves succumbing to the attitude “it is all about me”, III, vs desiring to offer hope and light to others.
A year ago, I was in a Rehab Center excited that I had been given the green light to go home. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be there without being able to have visitors. Am I happy that I have been in self-isolation for more than 6 weeks now because of a compromised immune system? No. but I choose to be grateful that this irritation pales in comparison to what others and their loved ones are going through right now. You see, We all have a chose to live our lives out in certain ways. No one can force us to be one way or another. Revelation 3:20 reinforces that very thing. He knocks but it is up to us to answer and open the door. The answer will determine whether you will experience true peace knowing you are living the life God intended for you. One that as Galatians 5:22,23 says produces, ” the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Let’s all go out and encourage others to choose these.
*additional scripture verses. 1 John 4:19 “one who say I love God,” but hates his brother is a liar” “Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give!” – Proverbs 21:26.
Michael [email protected] www.thankfulinallthings.com