Dear Salvation Army, The Fish-Bowl Effect…

Dear Salvation Army, are we fooling ourselves?
Are we seeing one thing within our ivory towers while the reality looks quite different?

Please don’t take offense.
I mean no disrespect.
I just wonder if there are times that we are disconnected from how things truly are as opposed to how we perceive them to be.

It’s like the notion of missing the mark of evangelism & missions…It is like aiming for the lost with a harpoon when what you needed was a loving hug and a warm cup of coffee. Or perhaps, there is this grandiose idea of what success will look like (we envision a mega church with people all neatly lined up trying to get in) when in reality it is meeting with that single mother and ensuring she has enough to feed her family and she takes the leap of coming to church on a Sunday morning.

Do we miss the mark because our notion of successful mission has been aligned with a faulty or unrealistic sense of who we are serving and what they need? It can become that illustration of insanity, ever endeavoring to do the same thing over and over again, only to realize that it hasn’t worked in thirty years.

Perhaps we need to wake up.
I fear we have become too insulated in our own fishbowls, be it the corps, divisional headquarters, territorial headquarters or beyond. We cannot sit in our offices and expect the people to come to us. Yes, our branding is recognizable, but that doesn’t mean that we become lazy in our planning and in the reaching for the lost, hurting and oppressed. We cannot afford to sit in our fishbowls. We cannot become complacent, overly busy with interior paperwork, when outside in our communities families and individuals need to see the hope that the Holy Spirit is prodding us to give because we serve more than just an Army, we serve the Lord first and foremost.

Dear Salvation Army,
I am fearful that we have lost our way, because of mission drift.
I am fearful that leaders from every rank have forgotten what it means to have a heart to God and a hand to man. This is a broad brushstroke, not aimed at offending, but perhaps prodding those who need it. There are many, many saints in our Army. I wish to recognize that as fact, may we ever endeavor to emulate their great faith!

Lastly, we cannot program our army to death.
We cannot course correct without first dispelling the faulty realities that have gotten us to this point.

Questions to Ponder:
What fishbowls do we need to get out of today?
Do we truly know the communities and people that we have been commissioned to minister to?
Have we prayed about our mission and vision for the lost in our areas of influence? (Not all of these places will look the same, or require the same kinds of ministry tools to reach the lost and disciple the faithful).
How can we (I) encourage 1 person today (maybe more, but start with just one)?
Can we pray that God would reveal to us the hindrances and hang ups in our lives right now that prevent us from having a greater impact on the Kingdom in His name?

As I sit here and write this, I admittedly have first considered the fishbowls that I have placed myself in. No, this has nothing to do with appointments or rank, but as a follower of Christ there are walls that I have constructed that have not been ordained by Him. Constructs that insulate my selfish heart and profit nothing for the Kingdom of Heaven. Perhaps you can relate, dear Soldier. I believe that if we do not first dispel these walls and climb out of our fishbowls, so too will our impact for the Kingdom be limited.

Can we identify these fishbowls?
Are we prepared to climb out of them?

Something more for our Army to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

PonderCast – “Letting Go”

Do Not Worry (Matthew 6:25-34)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Click Here to listen to today’s PonderCast: “Letting GO” 

Something more to Ponder today!
Please subscribe, share and leave your comments and questions below!
Thanks for tuning in, and check back tomorrow for more content to ponder!

Ponder Cast #6 “Judgment Call”

Welcome back to Pastorsponderings.org, please check out our latest Ponder Cast #6 “Judgement Call”.  To listen, please click on the link here:
“Judgement Call” Podcast Link
Please subscribe, share and tune in often as we post new content almost daily!
Last week we jumped from like 3,000th place in the “Spiritual/Religion” category on our podcast host site to 94th…that’s just crazy!  Thanks for listening and supporting the Ponder Cast!

Ponder Cast #3 (A Pastorspondering.org Podcast Series) “Diligence and Perseverance”

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:15,16)

Please click on the link below to listen and download our latest “Ponder Cast” – #3 “Diligence and Perseverance”.
Also please share, and subscribe!   Thanks!

Podcast Link:
http://scottstrissel.podomatic.com/entry/2015-04-30T10_51_44-07_00

3 Warning Signs – When Leaders Are Out of Touch with Reality.

Image

It happens from time to time in every organization.
Perhaps those appointed, elected, or assigned to the responsibilities of leadership forget what it was like to be led.  Perhaps along the way of corporate or organizational “ladder climbing” they lost touch with true tangibles which are grounded in reality.  It can be true even within the Christian world that power corrupts absolutely.  

What are the warning signs as leaders that we ought to be aware of?  What kinds of tools can we utilize in our leadership models in order to stay relevant and lead with passion and vision so that others will follow?  I think it begs to be said but authoritative leadership cannot be respected or maintain just by brute force.  The result of leading in such a way is a leadership of fear and not respect.  Good leaders strive to make additional leaders along the way, not subjugation and “my way or the highway” philosophies.

3 Warning Signs – tools to help leaders stay in touch with reality:
1.  Cultivate a spirit of authentic humility:

Image
When the veneer and “polished” shine wears off of new leaders it is important to live within a spirit of authentic humility.  Those with whom you are leading need to know you are human and that you do not place yourself above their needs.  Humility within good leadership is usually developed not born.  It is much easier to lord over followers barking out orders and playing favorites.  It is easy to become a bad leader.  It is much harder to be a good leader.  Good leadership takes work and deep consideration of the needs of their followers.  Becoming humble despite the potential privileges that leadership can offer speaks volumes to those being led.  When we adopt a true spirit of humility within leadership, the paradigm of “top down” organizational structure is turned on its head…and this is a good thing!     

Humility in leadership has the ability win advocates not just “followers”.  What I mean by that is this – some followers will just follow out of obligation, but to cultivate productivity, respect and genuine leadership one must gain advocates within those you lead.  Being humble while leading is absolutely one way to cultivate these kinds of relationships within your organizational base.  

Image

2.  Listen to opposing arguments & perspectives

Image
Good leaders aren’t afraid of criticism, in fact they willingly engage in productive ideas sharing.   This doesn’t mean that the vision or mission of the organization should be sidetracked by opposing views but rather a good leader will listen to alternative methods to accomplishing the same mission and vision.  All too often I think insecure leaders are unwilling to be challenged because they lack the confidence in their own leadership abilities.  They see opposing or alternative views as threatening, even insubordination, when in fact others (even followers) are striving to accomplish the same goals and objectives.  Suddenly, instead of listening to other people’s opinions and ideas, the insecure leader will shoot them down and reprimand because they feel their leadership abilities are in question.  Lack of true listening as a leader is a warning sign for poor leadership and a polarized organizational vision.  

A good leader desires to actively listen to those they lead and seeks to consistently improve the mission through innovation and ideas sharing.  When a company or organization values the thoughts and ideas of others within the team, the mission can advance faster and more efficiently.  Great leaders are willing to fight for the ideas and thoughts of those who are subordinate yet passionate about mission.  Listening, really listening is crucial to great leaders.  Without such an ability, common leaders (which far out number great leaders) will ignore, plod on, and become out of touch with reality.  

3. Invest in People not the Product (or Mission): 

Image

Equipping, discipling, and developing future leaders must be a valued focus of great leaders.  Yes the mission or product is important to the success of whatever organization but without the people doing the hard labor behind the mission or product the organization will eventually fail.  All too often the mission (or product) gets placed above the people.  Suddenly people are not treated like people but rather just another number or warm body to facilitate the desired outcomes.  When this happens the company or organization can become a cold place to work.  Those who work there might be begin to feel unimportant, morale might be low, vision can be misplaced for simply “survival”, and the passion for the mission might evaporate entirely.  

In the vein of this warning sign, leaders might sense something is wrong with the organization or company, but because of their disconnectedness to the reality of those they serve in leadership, they may conclude that the remedy is another program or ‘relabeled’ slogan.  Without the aforementioned characteristics of great leaders, (Authentic Humility and Active Listening) the common leader will strive to improve the company or organization through more program and success driven ideas without the inclusion of its followers.  When this happens the common leader has decided that they will invest in the product or mission over the people.  All too often, through this impersonal leadership method, common leaders will sacrifice the few (or the many) for the sake of marginal product/mission success.   

These are the warning signs of leaders who are out of touch with reality.  The reason I write this today is to help us decide what kind of leader that WE want to be both in life and in our places of employment.  These are very common threats to any organization or company, and without corrective steps and measures, attrition rates within the organization or company will increase.  Coupled with that loss, the mission and vision will become harder and harder to accomplish and the investment in people instead of product (programs and mission) will be abandoned.  

I, for one do not want to become disconnected and out of touch…do you?  

Image

-Just something else to ponder today…be the kind of leader that you aspire others to be!!!

 

“Sermon on the Mount” Part 1 (Listening to the Teacher)

 

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

  1.  When Jesus sees us, he makes time for us.

An item in “The Report Card” told of a study done in Colorado in which 3000 high school seniors were asked about their best teachers. From their responses this composite was drawn. The ideal teacher (1) is genuinely concerned and interested in students as individuals; (2) requires students to work; (3) is impartial in dealing with students; and (4) is obviously enthusiastic about teaching. 

Today In The Word, Oct, 1989, p. 25.

 

  1. What do you want Him to teach you?
  2. Are you ready to be taught?
  3. What kinds of barriers prevent you from hearing His teachings?
  4. Are you ready to do what he says?
  1. When Jesus teaches us – we need to come to Him. 
    1. What does coming to him require from us?
    2. Our time?
    3. Our obedience?

How we admire the obedience a dog shows to its master! Archibald Rutledge wrote that one day he met a man whose dog had just been killed in a forest fire. Heartbroken, the man explained to Rutledge how it happened. Because he worked out-of-doors, he often took his dog with him. That morning, he left the animal in a clearing and gave him a command to stay and watch his lunch bucket while he went into the forest. His faithful friend understood, for that’s exactly what he did. Then a fire started in the woods, and soon the blaze spread to the spot where the dog had been left. But he didn’t move. He stayed right where he was, in perfect obedience to his master’s word. With tearful eyes, the dog’s owner said, “I always had to be careful what I told him to do, because I knew he would do it.”

Our Daily Bread.

  1.  
  2. Our Attention?

 

  1. Our faithfulness?
  1. Are we ready to hear Him today?
    1. Or are there distractions along the way?
    2. What is He teaching you?
    3. We are all guilty of ignoring Him.
    4. Holiness begins with our commitment to follow Him. 
    5. Will you sit at His feet and listen?
    6. Do you have a daily devotion time carved out?
    7. Are you giving Him your best not the rest?
    8. These teachings are so important in this life…may we commit to Him this week..and study what He is telling us! 

 

 

Sermon Podcast: “Two”

 

“Two”
Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.
40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,
42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Do we open up___ our houses__ to Jesus? (v.38)

Are we willing to sit______at His feet?
(v.39)

What are our Distractions and Demands______________?
(v.40)
There are two choices.
What is the “one”______thing that is needed for us? (v.42)
Prayer:
Dear Lord I long to sit at Your feet. I long to listen to Your words and do what You would have me do. Teach me to prioritize my life. Teach me to understand how worry can be so crippling to my spirit this day. Teach me how to revel and worship at Your feet. –Amen.

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑