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Posts Tagged ‘Leaders’

After hitting the huge pothole the car drove terribly.  The steering wheel vibrated in my hands and the entire car had a constant shake.  Driving to the repair shop I was ready for the bad news.  The tires and car were fine.  The pothole had simply knocked my tires out of alignment.  Once they were aligned the vehicle ran as smooth as ever.

The project was a mess, behind schedule and over-budget.  The project manager called the entire team together.  Grievances were aired, apologies given and received, and goals were re-established.  Everyone exited the meeting with a clear sense of direction and purpose.  The project team was aligned and the project proceeded on time and on budget.

The plant was experiencing another motor failure.  But this time the maintenance team took a deeper look to determine the problem.  In the end root causes were addressed and the pump and motor were carefully aligned which resulted in the motor to running smoother and longer than ever before.

The young man in the prison cell was truly repentant of the things he had done.  He hadn’t meant to hurt anyone, but in the end his family and the person he had taken from had all suffered.  As he sat there he considered all he had lost, not the least of which was his freedom.  He had even said a prayer earlier in his life and said he wanted to be a Christian.  But his life was not reflective of the Christian life and he knew it.  He got down on his knees and prayed for forgiveness and asked God to help him live the life he wanted him to.  He began reading the Bible.  He began living the life described there.  When he was pressured, the tendency to return to old patterns of thought and action rose up.  But a whispered prayer, “Help me Jesus” and then thoughts of how would Jesus want him to respond came to mind.  The transformation took time.  But the more he aligned his life with what he read in the Bible, the more peace he felt and the easier it was to do the right thing.

In every case the improvement occurred when alignment was achieved.  One definition of alignment is for different parts to be in the correct relative position, i.e. the four tires of your car, the pump and motor in a coupled machine.  A second definition is the organization of systems or activities so that they match or fit well together.  The project team in the example above is a good example of this.  In the last example of the repentant man, both of these definitions are applicable.

Before we dive into what it means to be aligned with God and His plan for our life we need a little context.  There are essentially three phases in life and they are sequential.  They are the transgression phase, the transaction phase, and the transformation phase.  Sadly, some persons never leave the first one.  A significant number experience the first two phases, but either fail to realize the tremendous benefits of the third phase or they stall in the pursuit of it.  Blessed are the persons who experience all three, especially the ones who experience the first two early and live long in phase three.

The first phase is simply our life before recognizing our deep need of God’s grace.  Paul explains this succinctly in the book of Romans summing it up in Romans 3:22, ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’  The second phase is the glorious doorway into a restored relationship with God by accepting Jesus’ sacrificial death on our behalf.  This is the primary theme of the New Testament.  In one of the very last of Jesus’ exhortations captured in the bible we read these words, ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.’  Revelation 3:20.  Salvation through repentance of sin and accepting of Jesus as Lord and Savior is God’s desire for all people.

But this is where the fun begins.  God has a life full of joy, peace, exhilaration, adventure, literally fulfillment in the richest possible way, in mind for those who seek Him.  When we choose to follow Jesus and allow His Holy Spirit to guide us we are walking in that third phase – the transformation phase.

Lest I unintentionally mislead, the transformation phase is not all pleasure.  Old habits and thought patterns die hard.  Ways of living that are contrary to the life God has called His children to are culturally engrained into us.  We will find that transformation in us means we will swim against the current at times.  It means we will have to deny our natural inclination to satisfy our own desires before others.  And because we live in a broken world we will suffer simply because of that brokenness.

The key in the transformation phase is becoming aligned with God in His work.  I see three arenas where God is at work and we are to join Him.  He is doing a work in us.  He is doing a work in the lives of those directly touched by our life.  He is at work in the World.  Alignment with God in this work is a critical success factor in the results as well as the pace.

There are three primary ways we need to align with God in this transformation.  The first is to read the Word of God and allow God to use it to transform our thought patterns.  ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’  Romans 12:1-2.  These two verses must be read together.  The transforming of our mind is not simply a mental exercise.  We are to act upon this new way of thinking.  We are to cease conforming to the old way of thinking and the ways and patterns of the world.  The bible is the Word of God.  It is the stable place we can always turn to for the clear picture of God and His desire for His children.

The second alignment is with the Holy Spirit.  At the transaction, we not only had our sins forgiven, we were given a very great help to live the life of faith.  God placed His Holy Spirit in us to be our guide and counselor.  Jesus talked about this in his final meeting with the disciples before His crucifixion.  ‘And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.’  John 14:16-17,26.

The Holy Spirit is God living in the believer.  Yet He does not overwhelm us.  He is gentle and seeks to lead us into truth and into obedience to the Father.  As we align ourselves with the Holy Spirit’s leading, we will learn to discern His voice.  Obedience brings greater clarity the next time the Holy Spirit speaks.  Learning to tune our hearts to the Holy Spirit also means the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil are muted.  They don’t necessarily go completely away, but the more we lean in and listen to the Holy Spirit, the less frequent and less vocal these temptations are.  The converse is also true.  The less we listen and follow the Holy Spirit, the louder and more frequent the voices of the world, the flesh, and the devil become.

The final alignment with God’s transformation is submission to Godly leadership.  The Church is a big deal to God.  It is so important that it is referred to as the bride of Christ.  Through the Church, God’s transformation of the world is taking place.  The Lord has raised up leaders who have specific responsibilities to fulfill.  As I ponder this, it occurs to me that everyone has a leadership role in God’s economy.  The difference may be in scale, but not necessarily in importance.  The mother of a young child is leading that child and that is vitally important.  As is the pastor of a mega church.  Yet every leader is also a follower of someone else.  Asking the Lord to guide you to a bible-believing church and then aligning with the leaders has placed there is a vital step.

These three alignments work together to create a firm foundation for transformation in me, in the persons around me, and in the world.  Not unlike a stool with three legs, these support us whether we are sitting at rest or standing to reach higher than we can normally reach.  Take away any one of the three and the stool no longer works.

We are created to live in intimacy with God, the lover of our souls.  This life carries with it great blessings, not the least of which is the process of being changed into the whole, beautiful person God had in mind when He created us.  While this process continues our entire life, we facilitate this transformation by aligning ourselves with the Word of God, His Holy Spirit, and Godly leaders.

Feel free to join me in this prayer.

Lord Jesus, we want to live the transformed life you created us for.  We say yes to the work you are doing in us… in our family and friends… and in the world around us.  I offer myself to you anew today.  Take the broken pieces of my life and put them together in the way you know they need to go.  Take the supple pieces of my life and shape them to the form you have in mind.  Reveal the pieces of my life that need to go and then help me to leave them for good.  And whatever is good in me please use for your glory, the world’s good, and my joy.  In Jesus name.

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The Beginning

A group of friends from work decided to commit to one another to pray for our company and co-workers.  This blog is an outcome from that effort.  While this began as a Lenten discipline leading up to Easter 2011, several of us found so much encouragement in the shared journey that we have decided to continue to pray with and for one another.  Below is the initial posting that we shared.  I will also add a few other posts from that time, but for the most part I will share new material.

I have no idea who else might read this, but I hope that whoever joins us will either be encouraged in their walk with Christ or will be intrigued to enough to seek the One that we acknowledge as God Incarnate – Jesus Christ. 

This is our first posting from March 9

Good Day to You,

A few weeks ago as I was praying, I sensed that I was to make a special prayer effort during the lead up to Easter.  I am going to be more specific about praying for our company, or more precisely the persons within our company in their many different places and needs.  As I have allowed the idea to take shape I have thought of each of you.  I am asking you to consider partnering with me in this season of prayer.  This will begin Wednesday, March 9 and go through Easter.

Since I accepted this “nudge” from the Lord, several things have occurred which give me specific items to pray for.  The CP machine shutdown and the many persons affected by it…The announcements of significant amounts of other market downtime which reflects the difficult markets we live in…Labor -Management discord at several of our sites with P and FF being two with very specific needs at this moment…Health struggles by some of our co-workers…And over all this is the continual need of many that we work with to know the love and forgiveness that our Father offers in and through His Son, Jesus.

Here is what I am planning to do and I offer it up to you as potential ideas for you to consider.

I am going to pray a hedge of protection around the persons working in our company that they would be safe and live lives that bring them to meet Jesus…before it is too late.
I will pray for the leaders of our company and our mills, that they would have the wisdom and guidance to make good decisions.  
I will pray for those who are experiencing life disruptions because of the difficult work situations such as mill closings or multiplied workloads.  As many of you have probably seen, these life disruptions are often the mechanism the Lord uses to get our eyes on Him.
I am going to lift up the persons within the company who are battling illness, difficulty, and loss.
I will lift up my brothers and sisters in the Lord that we might be faithful, consistent, obedient children of our heavenly Father.
There will be times when this prayer is combined with fasting.  (This is completely dependent upon each individual and what they are able and feel lead to do.)

I do not want this to feel in any way like compulsion on my part.  If this is not something you are comfortable with, I respect and accept that.  This is going out as a blind copy initially since some of us will likely not be in a position to commit to this at this time.

I do not mind you asking others if they would like to participate, however I do have a couple of specific requests.  First, I believe that I, and whoever participates, must be respectful of our company’s rules and guidelines (to the extent they do not violate a clear writ of scripture).  That being the case, this will probably be the only e-mail sent during normal work hours.  In the future I will post in the evenings or early morning.  I would ask that you not let this activity interfere with your work either.  Second, I would ask that you prayerfully consider before you invite someone else to join.  This endeavor is specifically for mature believers.  

In closing I want to share a scripture that really impacted me the other day.  I bought a very small bible for traveling so I can have it with me at all times.  It is an NLT translation.  The verse is from 1 Corintians 4:20  For the kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.  That is my prayer today for each of us, that people can see the kingdom of God in our lives because we are living by His power.

Have a blessed day!

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