Praying For My President

Tomorrow just as I have done for the last eight years, I will pray for my President.

Today is the last full day of the Obama Administration. For the last eight years, my biggest fears were either the President would be assassinated, or he would be involved in some scandal. I prayed everyday that these things would not come to pass.

People may differ about some of his policies – the Affordable Care Act, the opening to Cuba, the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. In my opinion while by no means perfect this President and his family have been positive role models, for America.

Jesus, in Matthew 5:48 tells us, “Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (The Message Translation)

This time tomorrow, Donald Trump will be the President. His manner of being, and political agenda are in no way aligned with the way I think, act or live. My notion is to oppose him and everything he stands for.

However, Jesus tells me to love my enemies. Jesus tells me to seek to understand my enemies. Jesus tells me to let my enemies bring out the best in me, not the worst.

Therefore, tomorrow just as I have done for the last eight years, I will pray for my President.

-I pray for his safety.
-I will pray that he governs with wisdom.
-I will pray that he uses his position and powers to help the least of God’s people.
-I will pray for our nation to be at peace.

I will pray for my President – I will pray for President Trump.

What Do You Do with The Mad That You Feel?

Brothers and Sisters,

Regardless of your political opinion, this week has been epic with the election of Donald Trump as our next president.

Many who supported Secretary Clinton are mad about the outcome.

Many who supported Mr. Trump were mad about the direction of the country, and voted for a different outcome.

Irrespective of why we are mad, the question today is, “What do you do with the mad that you feel?”

In 1968, America was mad!

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated.

The war in Vietnam was raging, with young Americans being killed by the hundreds weekly.

American Cities were aflame – there were riots in Detroit, New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Kansas City, and Wilmington.

Fred Rogers, the beloved host of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, wrote a song that attempted to put the madness of 1968 into context for children of the day.

I present this song in hopes that all of us, regardless of our side of the divide in this election, we will learn what to do with the mad that we may feel.

Peace, Grace and Love

Your Brother In Christ

Marben  

What do you do with the mad that you feel?

Written by Fred Rogers | © 1968 Fred M. Rogers

What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong…
And nothing you do seems very right?

What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?

It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man.

Is A Great Leader, Leading You?

5 Traits of Great Leadership

Leadership makes the difference in all that we do.  Enterprises from businesses, churches, schools and even families thrive when they are being guided by great leaders.

The world suffers from a lack of great leaders, and we followers can easily tell when we are not being lead greatly.   Here are 5 traits to consider in the quest for great leadership.

  1. Great Leaders Really Do Put People First

Enterprises of all types are quick to say that putting people first is a prime directive.  Here are some behaviors indicative of great leadership:

  • Business: The chief HR person reports directly to the CEO with the same title and status as her other direct reports. Does the company pay more than minimum wage? Do they offer health insurance, 401K, employee development opportunities and other benefits?
  • Churches: In a church of up to 150 members does the pastor know you by name? In a church with over 151 members is there a Deacon or small group leader charged with knowing you and your family?
  • Schools: Is the school proactively reaching out to parents? Have you met all of your children’s teachers?
  • Family: Are you eating dinner together at least 4 days per week?  Are these dinners without electronic devices like televisions and cell phones?
  1. Great Leaders Have A Vision

Leaders who lead greatly have a vision for what should be done now and in the future.  The vison is communicate and is shared, agreed to and lived by everyone.   Here are some behaviors indicative of great leadership:

  • Business: As an employee do you feel that you are doing something meaningful beyond collecting a paycheck? Are there clear job descriptions along with accountability systems to monitor performance?
  • Churches: Do members understand their role in realizing The Great Commission?
  • Schools: Are students encouraged to set and meet educational goals?
  • Family: As parents have you set clear standards for the household?
  1. Great Leaders Are Even Greater Communicators

Ronald Reagan was dubbed as “The Great Communicator.”  The 40th President of the United States earned that title because of his skill at talking persuasively and using folksy anecdotes that ordinary people could understand.   Great leaders are even greater communicators.  Here are some behaviors indicative of great leadership:

  • Business: Are leaders committed to gathering ongoing feedback from all levels of employees via various sources both formal and informal?  Is the state of the business including financials, major decisions and challenges regularly communicated?
  • Church: Is the business of church communicated in a timely, completely and regular fashion? As a member can you recall and explain the sermon topic?
  • Schools: How flexible is the school in communicating with students and parents? Can parents email teachers?
  • Family: Are parents and couples committed to regular, open and honest dialog, creating true trust where any subject can be discussed.
  1. Great Leaders Are Decisive

Being decisive requires making decisions with speed and clarity.  A decisive leader relies on systems and methods to simplify the flow of information required to make the best decision possible.   Here are some behaviors indicative of great leadership:

  • Business: Committed to a constant and consistent free flow of information in all levels of the enterprise. Dedicated to using the performance assessment process to quickly and routinely fire employees for underperformance.
  • Church: Decisive in defense of the core principals of the faith.  
  • Schools: Consistently and decisively enforced rules of student and employee conduct.
  • Family: Parents standing firm in providing consistent rules and norms for the family.
  1. Great Leaders Create A Culture Of Excellence

The culture of a business, church, school or family is a unique identifier. It is composed of things like your products, your strategies your techniques and especially the people.

Culture is a forced multiplier the right culture can propel an enterprise to excellence, the wrong culture can spell doom.

  • Businesses: Embrace active and ongoing feedback, Empower employees by instilling trust and faith in them, Provide timely recognition, Foster innovation, Pay for the performance you seek, Create policies that support the culture you want.
  • Church: Embrace God’s plan for inclusion for all of God’s Children
  • School: Engage all students–not just honor students in powerful learning experiences
  • Family: Get to know your children as people, avoid micromanaging them

 Will You Be My Great Leader?

Are you being led by a great leader?   If not don’t worry great leaders can and are developed all the time.   However, the real point is that while we all are followers we also leaders.

So commit today to becoming a great leader because your workplace, place of worship, school and family need all the things your great leadership can offer.

 

 

Who Is A Hero?

Donald Trump’s recent comments about John McCain’s status as a war hero has unleashed a boatload of discussion about who is a hero.

Donald Trump’s recent comments about John McCain’s status as a war hero has unleashed a boatload of discussion about who is a hero.

Dictionary.com defines a hero as: “A person in eyes of others who has distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.”

Clearly we want to garner the favor, honor, and esteem of our fellow man.  However, ultimately it is how God views our faithfulness to Him that will determine if we are a hero.

Heroes Of The Faith

From Noah in the Ark to David with a slingshot to Simeon waiting for Jesus at the Temple scripture is filled with heroes of the faith.

However, heroes of the faith are not limited to biblical figures. Heroes of the faith walk among us every day.

These are but a few of the faith heroes I have been fortunate to have met.

  • Betty Tolbert: Armed with little money but a lot of faith founded a Christian school in the 1970’s. Brining high quality Christian education to thousands of students including my son.
  • Shawn Kirkland: This man gave up a promising career out west in corporate America to return to his native Pittsburgh; launching a church in the difficult intercity. He has been an inspiration to me and a model for my ministry efforts.
  • Gloria Wicker: Gifted in music, preaching and pastoring. The Reverend, Doctor Wicker is a leader in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. And in the community as the outstanding and effective president of the local school board. I am proud to call her my Pastor and spiritual leader.

7 Heroic Actions

God wants you to be a hero of the faith. Jesus in Matthew 5:5-9  commands us to live lives doing these seven heroic actions of the faith.

  1. Meekness
  2. Gentleness
  3. A Hunger for Righteousness
  4. A Thirst for Righteousness
  5. Showing Mercy
  6. Pureness in Heart
  7. Being a Peacemaker

Blessed Is The Hero

When we keep these seven commandments of heroic faith God will bless us.  And that blessings will provide us with the prowess, protection, and power to go out and do more heroic things. Because we are operating with   the benefits of His blessings.

The benefits of God’s blessings are significant, look how David express them in Psalm 103: 2-5

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Who forgives all your sins

And heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit

And crowns you with love and compassion,

Who satisfies your desires with good things

So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Who Is A Hero?

Therefore who is a hero?  A hero does not have be a person in the military, or a person who is famous, or a person who has accomplished a lot.  A hero is simply a person blessed by God because she is doing the heroic actions of Matthew 5:5-9

Blessed are the meek and gentle—they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness—they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful—they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are those who are pure in heart—they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers—they will be called children of God.

Will You Be A Hero?

Without question John McCain is a true war hero.  Words can never express my admiration,   for his honor, valor and service to our nation.

However, the hero status that we all should seek — is to be heroes of the faith.

God is waiting with open arms to declare us as heroes.  So the question for us is this… Will you be a hero?