There are more people in slavery today than any other time in history. Estimates are that as many as 27 million people are enslaved. 27 million!
On the fourth of July, we celebrate our freedom, but I sadly can’t stop thinking about all those individuals who are not free today. I especially mourn for the children and women who are victims of sex-trafficking. Can you imagine what it would be like if you, your daughter or your granddaughter lived the following story?
I was only nine years old when I was playing outside with my cousins. I thought it was the best day ever. The feel of the warm sun browning my skin was amazing. The sound of splashing water filled my ears as my triplet brother and sister cooled down in the inflatable pool we bought only the day before. Everything was fine until that black van came around the corner. I was counting for our amusing game of hide and seek. I was almost done, “97…98…99…100…ready or not, here I come,” were the last words I freely said before my ability to speak was taken from me.
The large hands that pulled me by my ponytail were the last things I felt before my body went numb and all emotions were taken from me. I was shoved into a prison like cell that became my home for the next six years.
They held me captive and used me as a slave for all kinds of things that have scared my memory and body forever.
I finally escaped on the 9th of July, 2013, my 16th birthday. With the help of my only friend, I got out of their captivity and ran for four whole days before they finally stopped chasing me. I can only hope my friend got out too. My debt to him is unpayable as he was the boy that saved my life. I can never forget the many living nightmares that were engraved into my memory, nor can I go back to my family. I shall build myself a new life here in this deserted town and hope my voice and personality may return one day.
I am free. I am safe. I am me.
Can you imagine what that would be like?
You can change life for children, women and men around the world. The justice movement needs your time, talents and passion. There’s something for everyone to do—choose how you’ll get involved.
A first step might be to understand the problem. Go to www.ijm.org/the-problem to read stories. These are real people. They could be your child, your grandchild, your daughter.
Then, the next step is to TAKE ACTION. There’s something for everyone—choose how you’ll get involved. Here are some suggestions on how you can get involved: www.ijm.org/get-involved
Yes, we can change life for children, women and men around the world. The justice movement needs your time, talents and passion. There’s something for everyone—choose how you’ll get involved. Will you?
Sharing the Gospel in Ecuador
Lewis Beeler, Jr, is a second generation missionary. His passion is to share the love of Christ with anyone he comes in contact with. His ministry, along side his parents, Lew & Jan Beeler, includes starting a Bible Institute, church planting, a Christian book store and more.
For more information on the Beeler’s ministry, go to www.beelersinecuador.org or you can e-mail Lew, Jr at Lhbeeler@gmail.com
Faith and Leadership
It’s 2:00 AM… and you can’t sleep.
You have a huge decision to make which needs to be communicated to your team at 7:30 the next morning. This decision will affect hundreds of people. If you mess this up it could cost you everything – or at least it feels that way.
You’ve listened to dozens of people about the facts, their perspectives and even their opinions. You’ve studied articles that relate to your decision. You’ve spoken with other leaders to gain their perspective. You’ve done everything you can to determine which is the best choice – and yet, here you are very unsure as to what to do.
As a Christian leader you care deeply for the people that are depending on you and the last thing you want is to do something that will hurt them. However, you’re also charged with doing what best for the organization.
For the last week, and now specifically at 2:00 AM it seems that these two values are at odds with each other.
So what do you do?
Welcome to The Coaches Corner: A place to grow for Christian Leaders.
Have you been in this situation before? I suspect all of us have to one degree or another.
Many leadership decisions are just inherently uncertain. A friend of mine who led at a very high level in a multi billion dollar multi-national company used to say every one of the decisions he had to make was impossible.
All of the decisions that had a possible answer where already made at lower levels. Once a decision got to him it meant that nobody else was able to figure it out.
So what do good leaders do in these situations? What do good Christian leaders do in these situations?
Turn to faith.
If you believe that you aren’t making this decision alone, but that God will guide you – and is guiding you – you will find the wisdom and confidence needed to lead – not only through the decision itself, but also through the ensuing journey of defending it and leading people through the chosen path.
Today, I’m talking about faith and the importance of real faith for a Christian leader.
Before I go further, let me give my simple definition of Christian Faith. It consists of two components:
First it means believing that the God who created ALL THINGS really does exist!
This seems so obvious, but I’ve experienced many times when my actions suggest that I don’t believe God is really there. I’ve seen this in others many other Christians too.
I may profess that God is real, but then my actions suggest that I’m feeling the pressure of carrying the weight of the world on my own shoulders. I’ve heard this described as practical atheism where my words confess one thing but my actions show another.
So the first component of my definition of faith is that I really believe that God exists. The second component is that I believe God’s promises.
God makes dozens if not hundreds of promises in the old and new testament. Through our human eyes and very limited perspective it may look like God doesn’t always keep them.
For instance, our prayers aren’t always answered the way we believe they should be. But then God only promised that he would answer our prayers. NOT that he would answer them the way we’d like them to be.
But we also confess that God is always faithful… always trust worthy. Do you believe this? If so, then all I have to do it do my best.
Pursue God. Seek God’s wisdom and guidance. Make tough or impossible decisions and then lead them the best way I know how. AND trust that God will be with me. AND trust that God will be with everyone else too, every step on their journey. As the leader I don’t’ have to carry all of the weight. Ultimately, that’s God’s job. All I have to do is be faithful to what I believe God wants me to do.. and make the decision I believe God would have me make.
So Faith comes down to two simple things:
Do I believe in God? (Is he really there?)
And do I believe God? (Can he be trusted?)
This kind of faith is a powerful attribute of great leaders. It allows them to make the impossible decisions and still sleep at two AM. It allows leaders to lead their people with confidence and humility.
What does a leader with this kind of faith look like?
A leader with deep faith exudes a confidence in the future. He has this confidence because he trusts in God.
He also exudes a humility because he knows its not him that will make all things work, but it’s God that will.
She has humility knowing that all of her decisions won’t be the right ones, but she also has confidence that God uses all things, even poor decisions, for the good of those that love him (scripture here?)
She has confidence that even if she makes a significant mistake, God is still with her and with each person that this mistake will affect.
Does this mean that leaders can make flippant decisions and NOT do their homework? No, there are still consequences to NOT doing your work well. There are still consequences to making a poor decision.
But, God is still there – still loving everyone – still using all things, even a poor decision, for the good of those that love him. God will be faithful to his promises.
This kind of faith helps leaders to gain greater clarity and wisdom. Brain science has shown us that a brain that is less anxious functions better than one that is more anxious.
This kind of faith gives leaders greater peace knowing it DOESN’T all depend on them. Not only will God be with them going forward, but God will be with each of the people their decisions will affect.
With this kind of real faith, a leader can do his or her best to make the best decision possible at the time it needs to be made and then lead his or her people on the chosen journey.
Next week I’ll talk about another topic that will challenge all of us to be better Christian leaders.
I hope you’ll join me.
Until then I pray that you experience God’s amazing grace AND rich blessings.