Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

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Enemy Behind the Lines: Fear

April 3, 2009

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.”
H.P. Lovecraft

Here is an interesting list for you to consider:

  1. The number 13
  2. Air
  3. Body Odors
  4. Dentists
  5. Dust

So what do all of these have in common?  They are all listed as diagnosed phobias.  The list of diagnosed phobias was pretty exhaustive and surprising.

Alektorophobia.  That is the phobia I have.  Pretty terrifying and to save you some time researching, let me define it for you.  I have a gripping fear of chickens, well, roosters primarily.  Oh, and I have another one, Coulrophobia.  Again, another serious phobia I have of clowns.  I know you are laughing to yourself, but you have them too.  Those silent, hidden fears that keep you caged in yourself.

I found it interesting that when trying to determine the total number of phobias, the answer was quite simple, “there are as many phobias as there are things and situation.”  When I reread over Genesis, I read about the numerous items God created, but found it interesting that fear was not one of them.  So when did fear become so common and accepted as something just to name and accept.  Who comes up with all of these names for the million phobias listed? I would daresay Adam had the easier job naming all of the animals.

Why is fear considered an enemy behind the line?  Interestingly enough, even when you would describe yourself as fearless, you truly are not.  I found this to be true personally.  Granted, I have a distorted fear of clowns and roosters, I thought when it came to faith, I could be considered as fearless.   After comparing myself to some of the people in Scripture, I am not that fearless.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,  – Acts 16:25

After reading about Paul and Silas singing in the midst of facing almost certain execution… painful execution, I can’t really say I am all that fearless.  Of all of the emotions and all of the possible behaviors to display in a time like that, I can’t say that I I would have necessarily chosen to sing hymns to God first.  That, in my humble opinion, is pretty fearless. In today’s environment, we need more of that type of fearlessness.

Most of us, however, would recognize our other fears or phobias.  Those who are afraid of heights stay away from high places.  Others who are afraid of flying don’t even go to http://www.travelosity.com to price flights, it’s just not an option to consider.  And those of us who are afraid of clowns, we steer clear of circuses.  We are able to embrace the fears we know about, but not the fears that are “behind the line.”

If I asked you to speak to a group of people regarding your testimony or to simply share the Gospel with them, unless you were agorophobic, you would not have a tremendous problem with it right?  Chances are, the group I assembled would be somewhat believers ready to receive or at least listen to what you had to say right?  Let’s change the situation.  What if I were to ask you to stand up in a crowded movie theater before a movie started share the Gospel?  Ok, that feeling you just felt in the pit of your stomach, that is the enemy behind the lines… fear.

We all have it, fear of failure, embarrassment, humiliation, or rejection.  This fear is the fear crippling many Christians, especially Christian Men in today’s society.  As a man, it is easy to be the bold one in business, the “take no prisoners” type.  Personally, at one time in my life, I felt great pride in taking down an opponent whether it be a competitor in business or simply someone who, in my opinion, needed to be put in their place.  It was almost second nature.  The tide has shifted though for those of us who have submitted ourselves to Christ.

There is a fear infested in us that lies dormant, it seems, until we commit ourselves to Christ and take up His armor and mission rather than our own?  Suddenly, your ability to “take down enemies” seems to be nonexistent when it comes to defending your faith.  What am I speaking of?  Let’s say someone in your office speaks about women in a lewd and disgraceful manner.  Will you stand up and tell them that it is no longer acceptable to speak in those ways about women?  Ok, if you answered yes, let’s take it one step further.  If you were asked why the sudden change, would your answer be, “Because I have committed myself to Christ and we are to love and honor our wives as Christ loves the church, not speak about them so harshly.”  Yeah, not as easy.

Fear cripples most of us and we do not know how infested our camp is with fear until we are faced with one of these moments.  Most of the time, myself included, we back down and simply retreat thinking there will be another day to fight.  I have thought the same, but have been asked by Christ through my spirit, “What if the battle you needed to fight was today?”  That’s a hard question to answer.

Paul and Silas may have had some fear about singing hymns while in prison, but then again, what did they have to lose?  Chances are, they were told they would be executed or beaten.  They had a bodily threat where today, most of us only have a threat to our egos.  Paul and Silas had a greater fear though: the fear of the Lord.  They knew who was truly in control and submitted themselves to Christ again, in the midst of their fear.  Sometimes, that is all Christ is wanting from us, simple submission.  I am quite sure that as these two men sang, their fear began to subside back into the darkened corners of the prison where it belonged.

As a result of their prayers and praise through their fear, a Phillippian jailer was converted.  Their choice to overcome their fear through fervent prayer and worship saved not only the jailer, but his family.  What a testimony we have in this passage!  As a Christian Warrior, we are called to be bold and fearless in Christ.  Greater is he that we serve than he that comes against us.  If we all were to realize this slippery enemy in our own camp, perhaps Christ could use us more to reach out to the lost men we are constantly working with, speaking to, working out with, coaching with, etc.  Could you imagine the impact it would have on the Kingdom?

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

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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.

urch Development as a Church Consultant.

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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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Leading Against the Current

January 26, 2009

Against the current…

Alewife and Blueback herring, Ticonic FallsWhen you first read the subtitle, what did you visualize? If your first visualization was of a river, you are in good company. Many of those I introduced the subtitle to thought of the same thing. I must confess that I too though of a river the first time I discerned this was to be the title. Over time, however, I began to see what Christ was truly meaning by this theme. Against the current… you fill in the gap.

Perhaps “the current” for you is a particularly hard financial circumstance that seems to crush your will to lead. Maybe your “current” is a troubled relationship whether it be with a spouse, friend, co-worker, or family member. Maybe your “current” is an internal battle with a beginning reaching back early into your childhood that still affects every day of your life. Whatever your “current” is, we are calling for a Rebellion.

One of the “current” situations I would like readers to walk away with is that of spiritual warfare. Sometimes, just saying these words will elicit a strong and often nonchalant response out of today’s Christians. It seems as if we have forgotten that we are not to be of this world, merely in it. With all of the references to spiritual warfare and the war craft of our adversary in Scripture, it seems today’s Christian goes to the battlefield not only unknowingly, but unprepared. So what is the “current” that I am alluding to?

Using our example of the Spartan army, one could definitely say they went against the current of their day. When their neighbors were engrossed in theology and the arts, the Spartans held true to their traditions of daily training and the development of a regimented society centered around the call to be a warrior. Even during times of peace, the Spartan nation trained for war. Unlike their neighbors, they were aware of the propensity for nations to sit quietly and then suddenly erupt in war. So against the “current” of their day, Spartans were aware that ware was not a matter of an “if” as much as it was “when.” Regardless of the “when”, the Spartan nation would be ready. In fact, when Persia mounted her army to invade the Greek nations, it was not long before Athens and the other Greek states eagerly sought out Sparta to lead the charge to defend their nations.

Currently, most Christians do not actively believe there is a battlefield out there. Some preachers in the mainstream media have shied away from this controversial topic. As a church, we have become so active in evangelizing; we have forgotten the importance of equipping our new Christians for the battle they will encounter. As with the Spartans, we are to know it is not a matter of “if” as much as it is a matter of “when.”

For some Christians who are struggling with the battle of mounting debt and financial troubles, they are not aware there is a demon actively working to use financial disparity to separate them not only from God, but also from their spouse, family, or friends. For the Christian fighting a past of abuse, whether it be when they were a child or when they were older, they are fighting a demon whose intent is to devalue them in their own minds enough to not even have the reality of God’s perfect love register with them or seem attainable. Regardless of your “current” status, there is an adversary actively working on your circumstances to separate you from Christ. For Judas, he used greed for money and power to lure him away from Christ. For Peter, he used that of fear. For Samson, he used pride. Even today, we have unfortunately seen the fall of many Christians who were lured away by the “current” battle of their day.

Part of Satan’s victory begins with us not acknowledging he exists. Read that sentence again. If you are going to fight against the “current” in your life, you must admit there is someone working against you. Look at your “current”, what in life causes you to challenge Christ? Do you feel that Christ could not possibly forgive you because you are such a sinner? If you believe that, then you need also believe the enemy is active in your “current” battle. Satan wants you to feel that Christ’s love is unattainable and that you are just not worth it. Do you feel like simply giving up with your “current” battles of life? Then you’d best believe that Satan is actively seeking to destroy you. He knows that your strength is in your thoughts of yourself and by defeating that, he can defeat you. The enemy is “current” in the world.

Our call in Scripture is the rebel. We are to rebel against the fleshly desires we have and to want that pleasing to God. Scripture calls us to rebel against the notion that we can simply do good works only and get to heaven that way. Scripture calls us to rebel against legalism of faith and seek intimacy over routine. Scripture not only calls for us to rebel against our “current”, it provides us the ability to do it.

In the following chapters, we will discuss the weapons Christ not only used, but passed down to us. He’s provided the training, but it is up to us to wield them effectively against the enemy. The enemy of your “current”.

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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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Making a Plan- ACE

December 2, 2008

Now that you have been over some of the Servant Leadership characteristics, you may find yourself wanting to address some of the “opportunities for growth” in your performance  Personally, I love to use acronyms to help me remember certain items of interest.  So, if you are looking for one to keep in mind when starting your new leadership style or before too much longer, your New Year’s Resolution, I thought I would offer one for the taking:

ace

Articulate

In order to make a plan, you first have to know what it is. This is where articulating the plan comes in. It is the critical first step.
• Articulate your greatest areas of concern first.
• Articulate your plans of attach for each one.
• Articulate who you could involve to help hold you accountable.

Construct

• Now that you’ve articulated your plan, it’s time to put it on paper.
• You will use the guide sheets provided to you to frame up your plan of action.
• Once you have your outline, if you feel so inclined, you can formalize it by writing out a detailed plan to share with your accountability partners.

Execute

• So know you’ve articulated your plan, put it on paper, and now it’s time to execute!
• This might be the harder part since some of these areas are ingrained habits. Include Executable items and deadlines on your plan.
• Once you’ve started the wheel, be sure to review it in 30,60,90, and 180 days for progress. Change it if necessary!

Hope this little one helps you in your planning.  This week is all about short and sweet!

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About the Writer:

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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.