Mission Magazine Radio

A Stranger Taken In, Part II
This week’s story is the continuation of a previous story that I’ve shared entitled “A Stranger Taken In”. A few weeks ago my sister walked into Wednesday night church with a homeless gentleman named Ricky. At church, we were able to get Ricky some clothes, some food, and he even came to the church service.

A couple weeks later, after Sunday morning service, our family decided to go to a near by Wendy’s for lunch, something we rarely do. When my sister walked in, lo and behold, she just happened to have Ricky with her once again. So, we bought his lunch and all sat down to eat. After our meal, Ricky began telling us something amazing. He explained that just a few day before we first met him, he had desperately asked The Lord to bring a change in his life, that he was tired of his ways and wanted to start doing things God’s way. Then, we showed up in his life one Wednesday night! Ever since then, he had spent all his spare time reading the Bible in his tent. This man was beginning to blossom!

Listen to this week’s segment to hear the rest of the story of how God answers Ricky, the homeless man’s prayer.

A Third Generation Missionary
When asked why she became a missionary, Esther Marsh said there were two things her missionary parents did….1)they lived what they believed and 2) they involved their children in their ministry.

For more information about the Marsh family, go to www.gospel2africa.org

Honor Your Father and Mother and Your Children
God says in Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother…” Many years ago my sons, ages five and seven said, “We celebrate Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. Why isn’t there a Children’s Day?” God said, “Honor your fathers and your mothers.” Why didn’t he say, “Honor your children?” So today, I’m starting with 7 ways you can honor and affirm your children. Expressing praise may or may not come naturally to you, but it’s important. Here is a checklist which gives you 7 ways to affirm your children:

Hug your kids every day. Hugs build bonds and foster a sense of security and comfort. Research says there are health benefits to hugs too! If you don’t live with your kids full-time, make sure they get hugs every time you see them.
Say “I love you” every day. Sure, your kids know, hopefully, you love them. You demonstrate it every day by what you do for them. But hearing the words makes a difference. Say it when you praise them or after disciplining them; but say it! And say it often!
Compliment your kids at least three times each week. Think of three things to complement each child on. Maybe it’s their appearance, improvement in a certain area, their interaction with a sibling or praising a character trait they demonstrate.
Ask your kids one way you can improve as a parent. They’ll appreciate you valuing their opinion and you’ll set an example of humility. Then, if the suggestion is accurate, act on their feedback.
Say “thanks” often even in the busyness of juggling the family’s schedule and daily needs. Find things to say thanks to your kids. Thank them for doing their chores, sharing with their siblings or just being awesome in general.
Show excitement to see your kids when you come home. Make coming home a big deal. Intentionally greet your kids. Seeing them is the highlight of your day – show it!
Surprise them. Do something nice or give them a gift/treat. You don’t have to wait for birthdays or special occasions to surprise your kids. It doesn’t have to be pricey. Pick up ice cream for dessert or leave a funny note on their bed.
For more ways to affirm you children, click on the following links:

101 Words of Affirmation Every Child Wants to Hear

Listen to these 2-minute podcasts to review the 7 ways you can affirm your child:

Affirm Your Child – Part One Affirm Your child – Part Two

Now let’s focus on the commandment “to honor our fathers and our mothers.” When I hear this commandment, I always think of a story with the title, The Wooden Bowl. What does this story tell us about honoring our fathers and our mothers?


Author Unknown

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. “We must do something about father,” said the son. “I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.”

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl! When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometime he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, “What are you making?” Just as sweetly, the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.” The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

Honor your father and your mother and your children by remembering that Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12

The Antidote
In my last post I wrote about what I believe is the greatest fear for most of us. In this post, I’ll talk about the antidote to that poison.

In Fear Part 1: The Greatest Fear, I shared that I believe the greatest fear is the fear of the unknown, or uncertainty. I believe that we have an antidote to this fear: our faith in God.

Hebrews 11:1 says this:

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

When we’re dealing with the unknown and with uncertainty, we still have certainty in our faith: our faith in God, our faith in ourselves, and our faith in our friends and family.

I experienced some of this uncertainty and the antidote faith can be when I first considered doing the Coach’s Corner radio spot on Mission Magazine Radio (which then grew into this blog). I didn’t know if I had the time or competence to do something so new. I wondered what people would think. I had a lot of uncertainty around this project, but my faith acted as an antidote. I believed that God wanted me to try it. I had faith that even if I failed, I’d be fine. God is God and my friends would still be my friends. My faith reduced my anxiety around this opportunity.

A friend of mine also recently experienced how faith can act as an antidote to fear. She was facing some medical issues and was afraid that she might have a very serious medical condition. The uncertainty of it was causing her a lot of deep anxiety. After some very good time of listening to her concerns and anxiety, I asked,

What’s the worst thing that could happen?

I ask this question often in coaching because I believe that a problem named is a problem tamed. Every time I ask this, whether in a coaching session or not, I can sense anxiety fading away, taking the wind out of the sails of fear. My friend said that the worst thing that could happen in that situation was that she might die and not be able to invest heavily in her grandchildren’s growth. I asked if she could handle that. She replied that she would hate it, but could handle it because God is God, and God is good. She knew she was in God’s hands. Her faith in God blew away the wind of anxiety and uncertainty.

I received two messages recently that related to the topic or fear, worry, and faith. One came from a friend of mine, a pastor in Miami. He periodically sends texts to his flock and his friends. His text for me that day was titled: “The answer to your worrying—Philippians 4:6,19.” Take a minute to read Philippians 4:6 and Philippians 4:19. Thank you, Newton, for that timely message.

The other text I received was from a friend who heard the Fear Part 1 radio show and offered this quote for the Fear Part 2: The Antidote to Fear radio show:

Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.

How cool is that? Thank you friend, for that message.

Chuck Swindoll says that the most common message in the Bible is “fear not.” I believe him, because it seems to be everywhere in the Word. I believe our level of faith determines our level of anxiety and fear. Feed our faith and starve our fear. I like that!

My experience with God is that when I do take the time and effort to feed my faith, God leads me to unexpected places. If I find myself fearing for my job and I choose instead to feed my faith—in God, in my friends and family—I become secure, whether or not my job is secure. Maybe God will allow this terrible thing that I fear to happen to me, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. My faith takes away my worry and my need to control the outcome.

What a huge blessing this is! I suspect Paul felt this when he was in chains in prison. He showed a joy that couldn’t be taken away and a peace that passes all understanding.Imagine how rich life would be if we had no fear, and how much we could accomplish!

In part 3 of this series, I’ll write about why this antidote so often escapes us and why fear so easily gets a grip on us. I’ll also write about courage and the role it plays in all of this.Until then, feed your faith and watch it grow. Watch it starve your fear to death!

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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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Romans 8:28 / A Foot Massage / Thank you, Congressman Coble / Blindness & Feedback

Romans 8:28
Many of us are familiar with the verse in Romans 8 that says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NASB), but did you know that this verse even applies when you do something completely stupid?

In this week’s episode, I share a story of redemption that started six years ago with a stupid decision, and has recently ended with God giving me a major “redo”. Here is the gist of the story, without going into too much detail. Six years ago, at the age of fifteen, a friend and I entered a place we shouldn’t have entered, with motives we shouldn’t have had. Fast forward to recently, and I found myself in the same location, but this time to share Jesus with the people there. God’s redemption stories are a work of art!
Listen to this weeks episode to hear what happened.

A Foot Massage
When my friend, Pat, was dying, she asked, “Karen, will you please massage my feet?” This request made me feel a little uncomfortable. I didn’t know how. I wasn’t trained. Although, I did remember how wonderfully soothing and relaxing it was when having my feet massaged during a pedicure.

Anyway, Pat handed me a bottle of lotion and I began to massage –or rub softly and tenderly. While I massaged, I prayed that she would feel Jesus’ touch. I pictured in my mind that Jesus was releasing waves of quiet, soothing peace throughout Pat’s body and mind. Gradually, I could feel Pat relax and then she was sleeping.

In your caregiving, I hope that you will consider giving a suffering friend a loving foot massage. It will be a gift to the friend and to you.

In another story, Larry George shares about receiving and then giving a foot massage:

One memory I have of my dad is about the time my dad rubbed my feet. Sounds crazy? Let me explain. Being one of nine children, dad wanted to spend time with each of us. I remember one cold wintery night when I was about 10 years old and was wearing my cowboy boots on my paper route. These boots were too big and had a hole in the sole. They were a pair my grandfather had given me, and I loved them. I would wear a couple of pairs of socks and use plastic bread sacks in my boots to keep my feet dry.

On that wintry night, my Dad had a service call to make in a neighboring town and looked me up on my paper route and asked me if I wanted to go with him? I quickly said, “Yes!” and got into his truck. As we drove, my feet began to hurt because they were so cold and had gotten wet.

When we got to the service call, dad could see I was hurting. Inside the building he had me sit down and pulled off my boots. He, of course, scolded me because my feet were wet. He said, “Larry, you have to take care of your feet. If you lose them, you can’t walk.” He began to gently take off my socks and put them on a heater and then began to rub the feeling back into my feet. This not only helped my feet, but it also made me realize how much dad loved me.

Years later, I was able to return the favor. When hospice told me my father was dying, they encouraged me to rub his feet. They said that the pleasant feeling of having one’s feet rubbed is such a comfort. It helps the person relax and they feel peaceful. I gently rubbed them like he had done to me years earlier. I was so thankful that I could communicate my love for him by lovingly massaging his feet.

In the last stage of my friend Pat’s life, she wrote the following for my caregiving handbook, The Compassionate Congregation: “When I was very ill and in pain, sometimes the only thing that brought me comfort and peace was a foot massage. You don’t have to know how; but, just start massaging. One caregiver said that as she massaged, she imagined waves of quiet, soothing peace flowing throughout my body. And that’s just what I experienced.”

Thank you, Congressman Howard Coble
Missionaries face all sorts of challenges while preparing for the mission field. One of those is obtaining passports and visas. It is not always an easy thing to do.

Over the past 22 years, Congressman Howard Coble, and his assistant, Janine Osborne, have helped several of our missionary families who have had some specific needs with obtaining documents.

Siloam Missionary Homes paid a special tribute to Congressman Coble during our Memorial Day Weekend “Family Farm Weekend.”

Listen as we talk to Mr. Coble and Ms. Osborne about the role they have played in Siloam Missionary Homes.

Blindness & Feedback
Have you ever seen the bold arrowhead in the Federal Express logo—you know, the logo that’s on the side of every one of their trucks?

I’ll bet you’ve seen it dozens if not hundreds of times, and yet if nobody has ever pointed it out to you, I bet you haven’t noticed it. And yet there it is, clear as day, staring you in the right in the face.

Today’s leadership topic is blindness, and about how we all have some.

You know the famous passage from the Bible about the blind man Jesus healed. When he was asked how it was done, the man responded, “All I know is that I was blind and now I see.”

A person who was literally blind said that, but we know that it applies to us too, right? You see that, right? (And yes, the pun is intended.)

Well, everyone I’ve ever asked was blind to the arrow in the FedEx logo, until I pointed it out to them—after a FedEx leader pointed it out to me.

It’s right there between the capital “E” and the small “x,” and it’s in the “reverse” space: the color of the truck, not the color of the letters. And it’s big and bold. And now I can’t not see it! Every time I see the logo, I see the arrow. I was blind, but now I see.

The same is true about seeing ourselves. There are many things about ourselves that we are exposed to all the time, and yet we’re blind to them. Maybe like the FedEx logo, these are things that are in our “negative space.”

Of course there are a multitude of things about me that I know clearly; some of them are open for all to see, while others are hidden from public view. And then there are those sneaky little things that others see in me that I don’t! I’m blind to them, but just about everyone who knows me sees them.

By now you know I like examples, so let me give you a few:

There’s the classic “You have spinach on your tooth”—and your wife, or husband, or friend, or enemy points it out to you.

Another classic: You have toilet paper hanging off the back of your shoe…or you have a tag sticking up from the back of your sweater…or your left pant leg is tucked into the back of your shoe, or…

I’d better stop, you’re probably getting a real geek-certified picture of me right now, and I’d rather not confirm that picture in your mind.

Of course in each of these examples you didn’t really have a chance of seeing the thing you were blind to. You needed someone or something to help you out—a mirror or another person. But here are some examples of things you could see, but just don’t:

Remember the first time you heard yourself on a recording?

“I sound like that?!”

“I do that with my breathing?”

“I say ‘um’ at the beginning of just about every thought I share?”

Or when seeing yourself on video:

“My hair looks like that?”

“I play with my hands that way when I speak?”

“Really? I look away from the people I’m speaking to?”

We’re all blind to different things about ourselves. And a very interesting aspect of our blindness is that we don’t know what we’re blind to. We think we see everything. Just like the expression “We don’t know what we don’t know,” we also don’t know what we don’t see. We think we see it all, but we don’t.

To be strong Christian leaders we need to see ourselves accurately.

We need to know where we’re uniquely gifted—and not!
We need to know where our behaviors are particularly faith-filled and faithful—and not!
We need to know when and where we have particularly good judgment—and not!
Seeing ourselves accurately helps us know when to let others lead, or when to get help. It also helps us know when to step up and lead with boldness.

But we don’t naturally see ourselves 100 percent accurately. So how do we overcome our blindness? Feedback is the key! Feedback helps us see what others see in us—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

There are many kinds of feedback.

The world gives us feedback by how it responds to us.

A stopwatch is great. Video is great. A mirror is great. And all of these give feedback that is often painful as well. I remember looking at my huge buck teeth in the mirror when I was in seventh grade. (I realize now they weren’t that big.)

I remember knowing I was a very fast runner in fifth grade–until I got to seventh grade and ran into kids much faster than me. This was later verified in high school when I practically needed to be timed with a calendar watch.

I remember hiding the first video I got of myself from a public speaking class thinking “No one will ever see this video,” because I would be embarrassed for them to see me speaking on video. It was only later that I realized I was the only one who hadn’t seen me speaking. My friends and family see me do it all the time.

Another challenge to identifying my blindness is that people just assume that I see the very thing I’m blind to. I may be totally unaware of my propensity to overuse the word propensity, and therefore I continue to use it way too much, driving everyone just a little nuts.

Everyone who knows me figures I’m aware of my propensity for overusing the word propensity so they don’t share their perception about it; they just develop a propensity for putting up with my propensity for overusing that word—propensity that is.

When I see and hear myself doing that in a recording and I ask them, do I say “propensity” a lot? They just roll their eyes and say, “Yep.”

In the leadership development world we use different tools to help leaders see themselves more clearly—to know themselves clearly, a tough thing indeed.

Some famous old dead guy once said, “Make it thy business to know thyself, which is the most difficult lesson in the world.” My experience is that it is indeed a difficult thing to do.

So if it’s so tough, there better be a good reason for doing it. Why is it so important to know ourselves as Christian leaders?

Well, it’s a big part of understanding who God created us to BE, and what God is shaping us to DO.

It helps us embrace the unique gifting we have—and don’t have!

It helps us accept what we didn’t want to be, but are—according to God’s design and shaping.

Understanding who we are, as created by God, and how our fallen nature shows up in us, is critical for leading in healthy and fruitful ways!

I’ve covered a lot; let me summarize the key points:

We are blind to certain aspects of who we are, how we act, how we’re gifted, and how we’re not gifted!
We need others to help us see these things even though it’s usually painful.
We need to know ourselves well, because in that we learn more about who God created us to be and what god is shaping us to do.
And finally, maybe the best way to learn who we are, and to see our blindness, is to spend time with God, alone, listening for his still small voice. Asking the Holy Spirit to give us feedback—to share with us who we are and how we’re not being true to that.

This week, consider gathering some feedback about yourself. Ask people who know you and love you a question or two or three. Maybe questions like:

What do you see in me that is unique?
What is especially cool about me?
If God were to change one thing about me in order for me to be more fruitful, what might it be?
And if someone is kind enough to answer these kinds of questions for you, treat their answers it like a gift! Don’t downplay their answers. Don’t debate their answers. Just accept them with appreciation for their willingness to share their perceptions of you with you.

It doesn’t mean their perceptions are accurate, but it’s helpful to know what people perceive in you—and that’s worth considering as you work to better “know thyself.”

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Wounded Warrior / Saving a Life / Solitude with God / A Stranger Taken In

Wounded Warrior
Today’s wisdom is from Army Staff Sargent Christopher Walker– but first my little story:

On October 11, I was in Washington DC on my way to dinner when I fell and broke my pinky finger. My wound and its wrappings were no small thing: I couldn’t write, shower, put on make-up, and on and on. A month later, my little pinky finger is still swollen, misshapen and sore. I just said, “Ouch after hitting it on the elevator door.” When I joined my husband for breakfast, he had been reading USA Today; so, I asked what’s in the news? He pointed to the cover story which was about the horrific injuries that some of our service members have to cope with as a result of IED’s in Afghanistan. The picture showed Army Staff Sargent Christopher Walker, age 28, a bomb technician, who was wounded in Afghanistan. He lost both arms and his left leg.

I didn’t want to read the article because I just couldn’t stand to hear about horrific injuries inflicted on our young service people. I just do not want to hear about all these terrible sufferings. It is difficult to stay in my little rainbow world if I watch movies like “Schindler’s List,” or “Taken,” or read about slave and sex trafficking of young girls. I don’t want to “know,” because when I “know” as a human being, as a Christian, don’t I have to “do something?”

But it is my responsibility to know….

I decided to read the entire article and now I will do something. I will share one Wounded Warrior’s story: (from USA Today, November 15, 2012).

As I said, Christopher Walker is 28 years old and lost both arms and his left leg.

Doctors’ say, “The physical destruction when a service member steps on an IED is immense: shattered bones and flesh, sexual organs and rectums torn or ripped away, eardrums ruptured, limbs to the shoulder or pelvis cut away, infectious bacteria and fungus propelled deep into body tissues.”

Now, Christopher’s days are filled with what his occupational therapist calls, “the skills of the job of living.”

Christopher explains, “The normal things you do: wake up in the morning, go to the bathroom, shower, get dressed, get yourself ready, grab something to eat and head out for the day. It’s just normal, self-sufficient, everyday life. It’s pretty much where I’m trying to get back to.” He’s wearing a t-shirt printed with the phrase, “Wounded Warrior (some assembly required)”.

Christopher is learning to walk on an artificial leg and use computerized prosthetic arms, devices that read his muscle impulses. “It’s like starting over. Like an infant, you’ve got to learn to use your hands, artificial hands, again. The other day, I practiced using a knife and fork, slicing putty in a dish.”

“There are days that are horrible,” he says candidly. “It can be just…getting a can out of the refrigerator. You’ve done it a hundred times; but, that day you drop three in a row.”

“Some days things go well. Some days things don’t. You just got to keep going,” he says. “It’s complicated. But I’m happy I’m alive. I have a wife. I have a daughter. And…I didn’t want to die.”

Back to my story…Suddenly, my little crooked pinky finger is “no big deal.” My list of other annoyances has vanished! Today, I have learned some wisdom from Army Staff Sargent Christopher Walker. Today, I am passing on this information to you. What will we do about our wounded warriors? We can pray for them. We can learn more ways to care for our wounded warriors by going to my website www.wisdomofthewounded.com and search Wounded Warriors.

Help us Lord to care enough to do something. Amen.

Additional Resources:

Wounded Warrior Project: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

Team Rubicon: http://teamrubiconusa.org/

Upworthy: http://www.upworthy.com/how-disasters-like-hurricane-sandy-might-be-saving-veterans-lives?c=ufb1

Saving A Life
Christina North, a certified lifeguard, was at the lake with her friend, Cameron. He had run ahead of her to dive off the end of the pier, despite her warnings. But, when she got there, she could see him floating face down in the water.

Was he playing around? Should she do something?

Listen as Christina shares her incredible story and how God used His Word to provide comfort during this tragic event.

Solitude With God
I like to be alone…together. No, I’m not talking about being alone with my wife, with my family, or with my friends.

I like to be alone, all alone, so I can be together with God.

Do you notice a significant difference between Christian leaders and non-Christian leaders? Should there be a significant difference between them?

I’ve worked many years in the for-profit business world, and I’ve been highly engaged with many non-profit organizations, and now in my work I’m intimately connected to pastors and church leaders.

I’ve seen a lot of leaders, many of them Christians and many of them not. Sometimes it’s easy to see a difference—and often it’s not. Why would this be?

My observation is that many of us Christians quickly forget what we profess to believe when facing tough decisions, or pressure, or highly anxious people.

I’ve often talked about the impact of anxiety on our ability to think straight, and how it affects our ability to remember what we profess to believe and value.

Our world is an anxious place. Whether you’re in the for-profit world, the non-profit world, or the church world, you will face anxious people and anxious situations.

So what can you do to be less anxious when everything around you is trying to entice you to join the anxiety party?

Spend time with God! Alone. And do it often.

Even Jesus went to lonely places to be with God.

God is not ever anxious! And just like anxious people and situations draw you toward becoming anxious yourself, time with God seems to just naturally make you less anxious—and eventually even calm.

A couple of years ago I was coaching a pastor who was being asked to go from the second chair to the lead chair in his church. He had been a lead pastor before and knew the effect it had on him and on his family, and he didn’t want to go there again.

During a time in prayer, he clearly sensed the Holy Spirit telling him that if he would spend an hour with God each day—not just when he was working on his sermon or studying for work purposes, but just being with God through his Word and through prayer and silence—then he would be fine in the position of lead pastor.

When he was describing this to me, something inside me resonated. I believed the Holy Spirit was telling me to do this too. So I began to get up early enough to spend an hour, sometimes more, in God’s Word and in an intentional relationship with God.

Even just talking about this gives me a sense of calm. Virtually every day I’m reminded of God’s power, of God’s love, of God’s promises to me.

I’m also reminded of the fallen nature of our world, of the people I will come into contact with, and of my own fallen condition!

I’m pretty sure that this time with God makes me a different person. I’m pretty sure this time with God makes me a different leader—hopefully a Christian leader who reflects the truth and love of Christ.

I know you’re incredibly busy as a leader! I can imagine many of you saying right now that you’re too busy to take this much time to be with God. I get it. I too am not getting everything done that needs to be done in a day.

Even though that’s true, I’ve come to believe that I need to be with God!

I think it was Bill Hybels who wrote about being too busy to not pray!

Why is prayer and quiet time with God so important for a leader who is so very busy?

Quiet time with God reminds me who I am and whose I am.
Quiet time with God reminds me what I believe and what I value in life.
Quiet time with God makes me a less anxious person; it makes me a calm person.
When I’m calm I think more clearly and make better decisions.
When I worked in the automotive design business and felt great pressure to get work done faster than we could really do it, someone came up with this expression: “It seems like we never have enough time to do something the right way, but we always seem to find the time to re-do it when it turns out to be wrong.”

Being calm helps me to do the thing right in the first place and not have to re-do it later.

When I’m calm, I also treat people better. When I don’t treat people on my team well, it either costs their full engagement in our mission or it requires me to go back and clean up the mess I created. Neither of these is a better outcome than just treating them well in the first place.

When I’m calm, my decisions are better, my relationships are better, and my mental and emotional health is better. Even my physical health becomes better!

So what do you think? Are these good things for a leader?

One of the things I do when I’m with God is read from Sarah Young’s devotionalJesus Calling. These are messages she sensed from Jesus each morning after just being still in his presence.

As I was in the middle of constructing this message over a few days, one of these daily devotions included the following:

Be still in my presence, even though countless tasks clamor for your attention.

Nothing is as important as spending time with Me. While you wait in My presence, I do My best work within you: transforming you by the renewing of your mind.

If you skimp on this time with Me, you may plunge headlong into the wrong activities, missing the richness of what I have planned for you.

Sound like something important for Christian leaders?

If I plunge headlong into the wrong activities, it’s not just me that gets affected, it’s also the people who follow me.

Another thing I do is spend time enjoying the Bible—not just trying to get through it, but engaging it at a comfortable pace and following where my curiosity takes me.

I spend the great majority of my time doing just these two things while also talking to God as I’m reading.

I also spend time with God in more formal prayer. I like “ACTS” prayer. The “A” stands for “acknowledgement,” so I spend time acknowledging who God is—how awesome and merciful he is. Thinking about who God really is and what his character is blows me away. It makes me want to praise him!

The “C” stands for confession: I spend some time confessing my sin, admitting where I fall short of what God created me to be and to do.

Anything that separates me from an intimate relationship with God is sin. That can even be making an idol out of going to church or being too busy doing “good” things to be with God.

If something separates me from my relationship with God, it is sin.

Next in the ACTS prayer is “T,” where I spend time expressing my thanksgiving to God. And this is an amazingly long list. I’m often overwhelmed with all that I have to be thankful for.

I believe that every good thing in me and my life is a pure gift of God’s grace, and I’m so blessed to have so many good people and things in my life.

The “S” in ACTS prayer is for supplication—I ask God to intervene in my life and in the lives of others. And God has promised that whatever I ask for, if it’s done for God’s will, it will be given.

So that’s it: why I think all Christian leaders need to spend significant time alone and together.

If you aren’t already doing this, please try it this week and see what happens.

If you do, I’d love to hear about it. Send me an email at cornerthecoach@gmail.com.

A Stranger Taken In
n Matthew 25, Jesus explains that the righteous will be welcomed into the Kingdom of God at the end of the age, because they fed the hungry, gave water to the thirsty, clothed the naked, visited the sick, and came to those in prison. Opportunities to do these very things are around us every single day.

Before service on Wednesday nights, my church has a three dollar meal for the community, and serves excellent food. It was during this meal a couple weeks ago that just such an opportunity arose in my own life when my sister showed up with a stranger. This stranger, was a middle-aged man who was wet, dirty, and sunburn. As my sister and he sat down and joined our conversation, an incredible story surfaced. Listen to this weeks broadcast to hear what happened.

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I Felt Stuck / White Lake / Attitude of Gratitude / Pastors as Leaders

I Felt Stuck
For missionary kid, Carol Carew, Central African Republic was “home.” Now as an adult, Carol talks about the difficulty that is part of having to leave the country where you grew up to come back to the US. She says, “A piece of you lets left behind in the country where you grew up.”

Listen as Carol shares her heart.

White Lake
On August 11, 2011, while on a family vacation at White Lake in Elizabeth Town, North Carolina, I had a diving accident that put me in a wheelchair. Because my family has been going to White Lake to spend time with friends and family every year since my dad was a boy, the year after this tragic accident we had a tough decision to make… Do we go back? Though this decision was tough, it wasn’t difficult! Of course we have to go back!

By the time we were driving back to white lake for our 2012 trip, I had preached at dozens of churches, shared my story at schools and camps, and had really begun a ministry. We couldn’t possibly miss an opportunity to return to the lake and share the power of Jesus with the people who had seen us go through such a tragedy. While at White Lake that following year, I was given the opportunity to share my story at a local church and to speak on the dock near where my accident occurred – we were having a victorious vacation! While all of this was great, there is one encounter in particular from our revisit that still stands out. This encounter shows the power that stopping to pray for someone can really have! Remember to never pass up an opportunity to lay a hand on and pray with someone… You just might get blown away!
Listen to this week’s episode to hear the story!

Attitude of Gratitude
Giving Thanks Even in Captivity

Our Bible tells us often, “To give thanks in all circumstances.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Surely, that doesn’t mean when one is in captivity and being tortured?

On June 5, 2002, fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Smart was taken from her home in the middle of the night by a religious fanatic, Brian Mitchell. She was kept chained, dressed in disguise, repeatedly raped and told she and her family would be killed if she tried to escape.

In her book, My Story, Elizabeth further describes her experience in captivity:

I was always terrified. Terrified of what was coming. Terrified of the thought that it was thirty years before Mitchell would die and I could be free. I had no dignity. No freedom. No power over my body. No power over what I ate, what I drank, what I heard, or what I read. It was endless hours of indoctrination—hearing about my captor’s journey, hearing how smart Mitchell was and how he was the chosen one. I was a prisoner in heart, mind and soul.

On Thanksgiving Day, 5 months into her captivity, Elizabeth said:

I knew that I was supposed to count my blessings. But, I wondered if I had anything to be thankful for? At first, I didn’t think so. Then, I started to make a list:

• I still believed in God.
• I knew that Jesus was the Savior of the world.
• I knew that Jesus was near. I felt His presence every day. Jesus was the only reason I had been able to keep my sanity. He kept me strong and gave me hope. Nothing that Mitchell could ever do to me could take away my faith. Yes, that was something to be thankful for.
• I still had a family. I didn’t get to be with them, but someday I thought I would.
• I was hungry, but I was healthy. Though I didn’t get any dinner, I had been able to eat lunch at the Home Town Buffet which had turned out to be a really great meal. Millions of people around the world hadn’t eaten anything all day.
• One day I would be able to get away from my tormentors.
• One day I would be free.
• The gray tent kept the sun off.
• The trees around our camp kept the wind at bay.

I kept adding to my list of blessings until I eventually fell asleep.

I am humbled by Elizabeth’s example of finding things to be thankful for even in her horrific situation . . . even in captivity. Maybe her story will inspire us to also be thankful in whatever situation we find ourselves.

Today, when asked how Elizabeth has been able to overcome what happened to her, she credits her attitude of gratitude. She says, “I believe in gratitude.”

Elizabeth continues, “When I first got home from being kidnapped, I was so grateful to be back with my family, so grateful that they cared and had not given up on me. I was so grateful for a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in and hot water to take a bath. I was so grateful for food to eat, for shoes that fit, for clean clothes. I was grateful for literally everything.”

Elizabeth has resolved that whenever she starts to feel sorry for herself, she say, “Elizabeth, you have everything back now! Be grateful.”

“Give thanks in all circumstances.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. I challenge you and myself to start making a list.

You can read more about Elizabeth’s story in her new book, MY STORY. If you read it, her story may impact your story.

Pastors as Leaders
Over the years I’ve been a coach, I’ve coached around a hundred or so business executives. And in the last five or six years, I’ve coached about seventy-five pastors. I’ve learned that the pastor’s role is a unique leadership role. In today’s post I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned about pastors as leaders.

Pastors have many bosses…many more than most of us do. In some cases, every person in the congregation feels like the pastor’s boss. Pastors study and then preach perfection just about every week, regardless of what’s going on in their lives. It could be that your pastor just had a really bad fight with his or her spouse Saturday night, and yet he or she has to get up on Sunday morning and preach a message from the pulpit about God’s perfect love, knowing that he or she didn’t behave that way the night before.

Pastors’ lives are very complicated, and yet every Sunday we ask them to get up and make it look like everything’s great. A high majority of pastors are people-pleasers. They don’t like it when people are unhappy with them. One of my favorite quotes that relates to this is from Robert Kennedy:

Twenty percent of people will be against anything.

These people-pleaser pastors are set up to fail from the very beginning. They won’t be able to please everyone, no matter what they do.

Many pastors enjoy being the center of attention—that might be a little of what drew them to becoming pastors in the first place. And, at the same time, they need to preach about selfless service and selfless love. It’s an interesting mix, to have this desire to be at the center of attention and to preach being selfless.

Most pastors, week after week, pour their hearts and minds into their messages. On Sunday mornings they get up and preach those messages the very best they can. And, after putting so much into it, people will approach the pastors at the end of a church service and say “You know what, that wasn’t quite right…” or “Did you consider trying this metaphor…?” I’m sure that sounds to the pastor like those people just aren’t please with their work, which can be really difficult.

I’ve heard some church members comment that their pastors only work on Sundays—just one day a week! This is so far from the truth as I’ve experienced it in my work with pastors. Most of them, because they’re people-pleasers and because people have so many needs, are constantly working and trying to help people. I heard one person describe a pastor’s life like this:

Being a pastor is like being a stray dog at a whistlers’ convention.

I would ask you to encourage your pastor to find a safe place where he or she can be fully human and let out all the emotions around the work of ministry that can’t be let out to members of the church, and maybe not even at home. Frankly, there are enough troubling situations at any church that bringing it home can start to bring down a pastor’s family. That can set up a situation where a pastor starts to look in unhealthy places for relief and support.

I would also ask you to consider giving your pastor a copy of All Things New, my fable about a pastor who finds himself struggling, and how other pastors were very helpful to him. You can get a free PDF of the book at www.all-things-new.org. You might also ask your pastor or his or her spouse if some of the things I shared in this blog are true, and how you might be able to support your pastor and his or her family in their lives and ministry.

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Judging Others / God’s Plan / Why I Love Mom / God’s Providence

Judging Others
I used to have a tension inside of me about judging other people: Should I judge them or their performance for the good of the organization, or should I heed the Bible when it says “judge not, lest ye be judged”? I was taught as a business leader that I need to be a good judge of people. Leadership is about vision and team building. And to build a good team, leaders need to be able to judge others accurately.

God Had Other Plans
After spending months and months raising support, they were finally at 100% and were ready to go to Central Africa Republic. But, they did not know that God had other plans for them.

Why I Love Mom
Wonder why women live longer? Cause we are made for the long haul… (We can’t die sooner; we still have things to do!!!)

God’s Providence
Sometime back, I was asked to come in and do an interview on the radio program entitled Robbie’s Hobbies. I arrived early in order to get set up and caught the tail end of a young man telling his recovery story from drugs.

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A Boy Born on Friday/Grieving the Loss of a Pet/Grace/A Funeral Encounter

Grieving the Loss of a Pet
On Sunday, June 18, my granddaughter, Anna, was walking her dog on a country road and a truck hit her pet, Inky. Inky died. Immediately when I heard the news, I wrote her a text saying how sorry I was that her special “Inky” had died. But I wanted to do more. I prayed for God to show me how else I might care for Anna in her grief. Several ideas emerged in my mind. One was to contact my sister, Anna’s aunt, and Debbie and Julie, cousins of Anna. All three of these individuals are dog lovers. I sent them the following text: “Anna’s dog, Inky, was killed last night by a truck! Anna was walking him on the road! This is very hard! If you wish you can text her at _________. Please include her in your prayers! Thanks!” They all responded. They all remembered what it was like to lose a beloved pet.

A Boy Born on Friday
Koffi serves as a missionary in Togo, Africa. His name means “the boy born on Friday.” When asked, what if you have a brother born on Friday, too? Well, then you are “Big Boy Born on Friday,” or “Small Boy Born on Friday.”

When asked about his ministry, Koffi shares about reaching the people of Togo by reaching the children first. As parents see their children change after accepting Christ as Savior, they become interested and begin to attend church.

A Funeral Encounter
A few months ago, I was asked to do something that is currently a bit out of my comfort zone… I was asked to preach a funeral for an older woman who had just passed away. I’m new to this sort of thing, so with slight nervousness I agreed. As I began the process of getting ready for the service, I found that it can be a very rewarding experience. I spent the week getting to know the woman who had passed away through the stories and fond memories of her family.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

Wow. The meek will inherit the earth. Really? This might have something to do with grace: God’s unwarranted favor.

In the blend of nature and nurture that makes me who I am, God’s grace in me includes:

The people and experiences that have helped form my character and skills
My vocation and ministry: the doors God has opened and the doors he has closed
My ideas and inspirations

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MMR 04-19-14

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MMR 04-12-14

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Chile for Christ

Missionaries Chad and Ruthanne have been working in Chile for the past seven years. They have learned that being a missionary is more that evangelization, it is also discipleship. “It is more than just teaching, it is listening to the questions, and then answering them according to God’s Word.” They have been teaching the people to dig into the scripture and find out three things…”What did you find interesting? How did you see God? How did you see man?” And then they are taught how to apply it to their own daily lives.

Their story is very interesting…from eating horse at a funeral, to learning to fix your husband’s dinner without complaint. You will be blessed as you listen.

For more information about Chad and Ruthanne, you can contact them at crmbal@gmail.com

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