Archive for February, 2009

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Leading in Turbulent Times

February 25, 2009

This is a repost of an earlier article.  With everything going on in the current events, thought it would be good to revisit it.

As a Christian leader, please know now is the time to shine. Because of our stature within the organizations we serve and the natural disposition of associates to seek our counsel, we are poised to be able to show the fruits of putting 1 Thessalonians 5:19 to work. Those around us naturally look to us for cues on how to act or interpret the most recent news in the market.

With the market in turmoil, I’ve been exposed to a number of my clients’ anxious phone calls, questions about the future of the company, and more close to home, how are they going to be affected. I could be worried about the status of my position, whether my bills would be paid, how would I provide for my family and the other items on the list of eternal worries, but if I did that, would I not be any better than those who did not know Christ? Aren’t we supposed to be in the world but not of the world? If we have anxiety and spend time biting our nails about the economy and the state of the world market, what then do we have to offer the lost? After all, acting in this manner, we are not showing we have anything more to give them than what the world does. This should not be the case.

I understand there are restrictions around what we can and cannot say in the workplace about our faith. (Even though, based on my reading of Title VII, it protects Christians too, but that’s another blog.) There are ways we can show Christ through our actions, words, and most of all, silent conviction. Think for a moment of the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” If that is truly the case, what picture do you present when you have the opportunity to interact with one of the clients you support? Is it a picture of worry? Anxiety? Anger?

If we portray the “solid rock” we stand on through our actions, we do not have to necessarily lead a Bible study in our office, or carry the Bible in our hands during meetings, or place a poster of Christ behind our desk for people to know we are more than just card-carrying Christians… we are true believers. When the disciples were upset with the waves and the wind of the storm they were facing, Jesus was asleep. He knew His destiny, He knew that God would protect Him and He rested in that faith. When the disciples awoke him, he almost seemed (at least through my version) as if he could not believe they woke him up for that “little storm” that was tossing their boat. With only a few words, “Peace be still,” the waves, rain, and wind came to a screeching halt. They were no more. Christ knew the providential protection of his father in heaven, but was still trying to teach that to his disciples. If you notice, they remark at his calm nature when trying to wake him, the thought had entered their minds, “What does he have that I don’t that he can remain so calm?” Jesus had honest, pure faith. Jesus did not begin a huge “lesson on the boat” series, choosing rather, to teach them through his actions.

As a Christian leader, we have the wonderful ability to touch several divisions within the organizations we serve. Right now, if we were to look outside of our boat, we would see the storms of this life. We would recognize the fear and anxiety of those around us. With this said, we have a critical choice to make in this moment. Do we choose to show anxiety about the storm tossing our boat, or do we choose to do like Jesus did and rest in the sweet faith that God is ultimately in control. If we show that type of silent, convicting faith through our actions, those who do not understand will come to us, seeking that which we have… peace. It will be in those moments the Holy Spirit will be with you and allow you to work great mini-miracles of faith by simply sharing your own personal testimony with someone who is standing on the shifting sands of life.

Do not let your position in the company be a hindrance, but rather

  • Choose to fan the flame of your Spirit’s fire by daily spending time with Christ in prayer and in the Word
  • Test everything and only hold on to what is good. How do we do that? Recognize the feelings we possess by their fruits. (more on that in another blog)
  • Make the conscious effort to stay away from evil. With the market crashing as it is and the anxiety level of those around us, the temptation to jump in the hog mire will become more attainable. Remember, Christ will always provide you a chance to flee.

Do you have some ways that you’ve used in the past that work? How about stories? Please share.

Stumble It!

About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

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Christian Sword- The Handle

February 12, 2009

The Sword Itself

swordLet’s look at the sword as a weapon and it’s relation to the spiritual warfare we, as Christian Warriors find ourselves exposed to daily.

The Handle

Starting with the basics, the handle is critical to the sword.  It goes without saying that you must have a handle on the sword in order to be able to use it.  Otherwise, it is too sharp and would slice you as much as it would your enemy.  This is true of the Word of God as well.  Oftentimes, a Christian Warrior wears their most powerful weapon in a sheath around their waste as a way to prove they are truly a Christian Warrior.  Unfortunately, in order to effectively deal an effective blow against our spiritual enemy, we have to be able to first pick it up.

The “pick it up” aspect of the weapon is as simple as spending daily time in the Word.  You can learn so much about previous battles and heroes of our faith who used the Word of God effectively.  Learning how the heroes of our past used the sword of the Word will have an impact on how you use it.  Granted, we may not be able to identify totally with Peter or Paul and their struggles, but we could empathize and see some of the similiarities in our struggles.  How did they use the Word to either get them through the battle they were in or simply use it for peace?

Another aspect of the handle of the sword is the ability to know how to hold it or in our example, how to wield Scripture.  I am not endorsing a blanketing of Scripture for all of life’s worries.  That’s a great tool to use if it works for you, but for most, this is not effective.  One tool or method to use this highly effective weapon is to memorize Scripture.

Before I lose you, I want to be clear that we are not talking about memorizing all of the Bible and be able to draw some Scripture verse out of the recesses of your mind at any given moment.  I am, however, inviting you to look at the battles you’ve already faced.  Now, let’s look at Scripture to find verses that are applicable for those battles.

Perhaps you have dealt with some financial warfare. (Yes, our enemy can use financial strife to get to us.)  Would you need to pull out every verse that deals with financial issues?  Of course not, but what you could do is use the verse that most applies to your particular situation and memorize it.  When the enemy begins to stir up anxiety, stress, anger or whatever other fire-bomb he decides to use, you can simply repeat that memorized verse to yourself as a reminder of the promises Christ has given us.  That is using the handle.  If you aren’t in it, you won’t know it, if you don’t know it, you won’t wield it.

If you would like more on the Christian Sword, check out the  series of post covering the uses of Scripture in the daily life of every Christian Warrior.

The Handle

The Guard

The Blade

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

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A Warrior’s Sword

February 9, 2009

swordThe most effective piece of armor to be used against any enemy is the warrior’s sword.  Unfortunately, for most Christians, I would daresay this is the one piece of armor that is rarely used, and if used, used effectively.  Truly, the sword for the Christian Warrior is to be that of  “he sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  But for most of us, we do not know what this means?

So as a Christian Warrior, using our weaponry can be tricky if not properly trained.  Sure, anyone can quote a Scripture verse from memory, and many do so, attempting to swat at the spiritual enemy as if it were merely a fly.  There’s a difference in using that type of approach versus using the Christian Warrior approach.  We have to remember that when Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, especially the passage we are discussing, Ephesians 6:10-20, war was a bit more personal.

Unlike the current wars where the weapons are designed for warfare from a distance, the warfare of Paul’s day was up close and personal.  When the enemy was at your doorstep, they were literally at your doorstep.  Because of the types of societies in those days, you always had to be on your guard and ready to fight if needed.  Today, we have become a bit more sociable, of course I am using those words lightly.  Granted, there are pockets of our world where the type of environment Paul was afflicted with still exists, for most American and even some of the more modern era countries, the idea of hand to hand combat is something you read about in the history books.

In spiritual warfare, the enemy is at our doorstep.  For those of us who are Christian Husbands or Christian Fathers, this war is a daily one.  Unfortunately, the enemy has succeeded in training most of us to be either too busy with our work, or too skeptical of the “hype” of  spiritual warfare.  As a result, many of our fellow warriors have fallen after being injured by the enemies most common weaponry.  Some have fallen to greed, others to lust, others to rage, some to adultery, and yet the list goes on.  Somehow, over the past century, the Christian Men, Christian Husbands & Christian Fathers have allowed the enemy to gain ground.  We have an unreal statistic of the number of children growing up fatherless, another statistic that is more in favor of divorce than long marriages, and the list goes on.  Why has this happened?  Part of the reason is due to the Christian Warriors of the former years not knowing how to effectively wield their sword.

The Sword Itself

Let’s look at the sword as a weapon and it’s relation to the spiritual warfare we, as Christian Warriors find ourselves exposed to daily.  The next series of post will cover the uses of Scripture in the daily life of every Christian Warrior.

The Handle

The Guard

The Blade

Join us as we continue to discuss how today’s Christian Men can step up and become the Christian Warrior their family, friends, work, and community need them to be.

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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From one of our readers

February 3, 2009

I have the pleasure of being able to interact with the readers.  One such reader, Dante Bishop, took the time to write about his personal struggles as a Christian Man and Warrior, so I thought I would let his words be this week’s posting.

Trent,

God Bless you for your strength and leadership to highlight, not only the role of Christian men as it pertains to our wives and children, but also the role as Warrior!

This is my first ‘official’ post/comment, and it comes admidst great spiritual meditation and absorption in the Word, seeking God’s guidance. Forgive me if I violate etiquette… or type too much (my 1st response I omitted the email and it was lost.

This Site was to me a Blessing from the Lord!! I have felt as David, in a cave, a just hooked up with the 1st of the Mighty Men (no gender exclusion, though, Tara).

Quick Summary of Need: Gideon, Joshua and David are the three people in the Bible whose lives are most similar to mine (I always ask this question, it is great to ask Believers).

Gideon: because God always gives me challenges MUCH MUCH greater than I – I’ve learned to give them right back to the Lord, follow, obey, and Praise Him.

Joshua: As a leader especially in my ministry for children. 1:1-9 Has been my guiding verse since Jan 2008. Joshua 1:6-8 (NLT)
“Be strong and courageous, for you will lead my people to possess all the land I swore to give their ancestors. [7] Be strong and very courageous. Obey all the laws Moses gave you. Do not turn away from them, and you will be successful in everything you do. [8] Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed.

David: I have faced ‘Goliaths’ all of my life, and never feared, wondering why. Then, I read The Word, and found out why – My love of The Lord, and the Faith that He is with me.

My Need: How to NOT drop the slingshot. How to NOT put my sword down. How to NOT continue to, as my best friend says “come up with a Bible verse to do nothing, or ’show mercy to those who don’t deserve it – enemies’. I’ve felt okay with the ‘deficiency’ of letting evil, or enemies off the hook – I can’t possible GIVE more than God, nor show more MERCY.

This worked for a while. It is now being used against me. I’ll provide my witness later. Praise The Lord, and Thank You for your article!!

*And below is his witness*

The Bible gives us multiple references to warriors and battle, both in the Old Testament and New. In ALL circumstances, God’s anointed warriors (David, Joshua, Gideon…) understood that it was God’s battle (1 Samuel 17:47 (NLT) And everyone will know that the Lord does not need weapons to rescue his people. It is his battle, not ours. The Lord will give you to us!” ), but were ALSO called to ACT (David’s slingshot did not shoot itself…)

Jesus pointed out: John 15:18-19 (NLT) “When the world hates you, remember it hated me before it hated you. [19] The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don’t. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you.

OH DEAR, WHAT TO DO??

Ephesians 6 calls us to put on the Whole Armor of God..Ephes. 6:12-14 (NLT) For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.

Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. [14] Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.

As a man of Faith, I can attest that I remain Spirit led. The Spirit has moved me to, 99% of time, to ACTIVELY take a ‘passive’ role (what a dichotomy) such that I am more apt to follow the tenets of: The employer of the shrewd manager in Luke 16 (Luke 16:9 (NLT) I tell you, use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven).

I also choose ACTIVELY follow the teachings of Jesus is MTH 5:38-48 regarding revenge and Loving our enemies.

I can tell you: I’ve taken ‘worldly’ BEATINGS!! My business is spiritually on Mount Moriah – and I am literally waiting on the ram in the bush (Gen 22:8). Praise the Lord, I have God’s peace, love, joy, mercy, and grace – and stand firm in Faith understanding Mark 8:35 (NLT) If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.

So, What to Do, as a Leader, and a Warrior? Rev. 17:14 (NLT) Together they will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them because he is Lord over all lords and King over all kings, and his people are the called and chosen and faithful ones.” I know that the battle is won. What do I do today? As for me, I will Praise the Lord (Josh 24:15).

**Thank you Dante for sharing your thoughts on the passage.

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

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