Birthdays and Ministry / Was He Proud of Me? / Where the Rubber Meets the Road / The Greatest Fear

Birthdays & Ministry
Birthdays can be a great time of celebration or a disappointment when life gets too busy. As a missionary, how can you balance the two?

Missionaries Robert and Esther Marsh have found a way to celebrate, even when they have a busy schedule.

For more information about Robert and Esther, go to www.gospel2africa.org

Was He Proud of Me?
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” – Jim Valvano

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 15, so Fathers don’t forget that Father’s Day is a perfect time to tell your children that you are proud of them. Yes, you heard me right; Father’s Day is a perfect time to tell your children that you are proud of them.

You can say to your son or daughter – no matter what their ages:

“I love to hear you tell jokes. You make other people laugh. That is wonderful.”

Or, “I like the way you help Mom in the kitchen. You help make our family happier.”

Or, “I enjoy fishing with you. Remember that big ugly fish we caught

last summer?”

If your child is older, you might say things like:

“I am proud of you.” Then tell them why you are proud. For example, “I am proud of the way you kept a positive attitude during the past challenging year.”

Or, “I really think it’s great the way you spend time with your children each week!”

Or, “Thanks for setting a good example for your kids by exercising regularly.”

Or, “I enjoy hanging out with you. I like going to baseball games with you. We talk, laugh and just hang-out together.”

If you say these heart-felt, affirming words to your children, you will be energizing, encouraging and equipping them to realize their potential. If they are also fathers, they may want to become even better fathers.

Please, affirm your kids this Father’s Day and not just on Father’s Day, but on many days all the yearlong.

I believe that no matter what a person’s age, we still want to know that our dads are proud of us. My Dad died nearly thirty three years ago. Previous to his death, he told me often, “I love you,” but I don’t remember him ever saying, “I am proud of you, or I like the way you . . .” I knew that he loved me, but I have always longed—even today—to know that he also liked who I was and was proud of me.

I remember asking my mother sometime after my Dad died, “Did Dad ever say to you that he was proud of me?” She said, “Your Dad loved you.” I responded, “I know that, but did he ever say, ‘I am so proud of Karen because she graduated from college, or because Karen is a good mother?’ Did he ever say anything like that?” She quietly responded, “Your Dad didn’t share his feelings much.”

Please affirm your children.

Many years ago, I had a friend who was a very talented artist, but he was so angry inside that he made himself and his friends uncomfortable. Why was he so angry? I believe it was because his parents never affirmed his artistic gifts. As an adult when he would show them his portfolio, they would flip through the pages like one does when quickly flipping through a book to see if there is anything of interest. They didn’t comment, just set the book down on a nearby table. His parents also told him on several occasions that he should get a real job! He was already a good art teacher!

Will each of your children say, “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”

Where the Rubber Meets the Road
While driving past the homeless shelter that my mother and I serve at once a month, we saw an interesting sight. Leaving the driveway of the shelter was a man with a car tire, and a bicycle. The interesting part was that he was attempting to ride the bicycle and carry the car tire at the same time… This was not working well.

While honestly this sight was a bit humorous, as we drove by, I immediately knew that we were being presented with an opportunity. This man needed help, and we had a decision to make whether to act, or drive on by, leaving him with this difficult situation. The interesting thing about this particular opportunity we were presented with was that, if we didn’t stop, this man would have been ok. He wasn’t hungry begging for food; he wasn’t thirsty begging for water; in fact he wasn’t asking for anything. It can be easier to decide to help someone when it’s life or death, but do we inconvenience ourselves to help someone who just needs a quick lift? Do I inconvenience myself so that someone less fortunate won’t be inconvenienced?
Listen to this weeks episode to hear what happens.

The Greatest Fear
In today’s post I’m going to explore fear…in fact, what I believe to be the greatest fear of leaders, and of people in general. This blog is designed to help you grow as a Christian leader. Knowing your fears and being able to overcome your fears is necessary to becoming a great Christian leader.

So what is the greatest fear? Public speaking? I’ve been told that some surveys rating people’s greatest fears rank public speaking as a greater fear than death itself. I recall the first few times I spoke in front of a group. It was very scary. A friend of mine, who is an amazing public speaker, used to throw up before every speech. This is a big fear for a lot of people.

Could our greatest fear be the fear of failure? The fear of rejection? The fear of losing your job? Those are all strong fears, but I would argue that none of them are the greatest fear.In my years of work with leaders, I’ve come to believe that the greatest fear is the fear of uncertainty.

Fifteen years ago my mother came down with an illness. As she began to go through tests, it became clear that she might have liver cancer, which would be really bad…probably terminal. For about three days we didn’t know if she had terminal liver cancer or not. At the end of those few days, the doctors reported back that she did indeed have liver cancer. It was a very sad moment for all of us, and I remember my mom saying, “Well, at least now I know.” That surprised me. It almost came across as if the not knowing was harder than dealing with the reality that she was going to die. We had four wonderful months with her in hospice care. I think those months were so good for us as a family partly because we knew what we were facing.

Here’s another example that leads me to think that uncertainly is our greatest fear: I’ve heard that battered women, after living in fear for their lives with their abusive spouses, confess that they didn’t leave for so long because they didn’t know where they would go, what they would do, or what their lives would look like on their own. The amount of uncertainty in that is huge, and I believe that many of these women feared the uncertainty more than they feared the threat of death.

Author Susan Scott, in her book Fierce Conversations says this:

A problem named is a problem solved.

I don’t quite agree with this, but I like the expression. What she’s getting at here is that when a problem is named, a lot of the fear goes away, even if the problem is terrible. I’ve changed this saying to go something like this:

A problem named is a problem tamed.

I think that once we name a problem, it has a lot less power, even if it’s terrible, like terminal cancer.

So what did Jesus have to say about fear and worry? Take a moment to readMatthew 6:25-34. It seems to me that Jesus was talking about uncertainty in this passage, and that he’s offering us an antidote—a solution—so we won’t have to be so afraid of uncertainty.

In my next post I’ll talk about what this antidote to the fear of uncertainty is. In the meantime, I encourage you to reflect on your fears and if uncertainty might be at their root, and I pray that you will continue to experience God’s rich blessings.

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