Editor: Richard (Dick) Innes
Published by: ACTS International
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Vol. 19 – No. 1217 March 25, 2017
Thought for the week: "Always know with God on your side you are far bigger than your circumstances." – Dick Innes
I asked for Strength
And God gave me Difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for Wisdom
And God gave me Problems to solve.
I asked for Prosperity
And God gave me Brain and Brawn to work.
I asked for Courage
And God gave me Danger to overcome.
I asked for Love
And God gave me Troubled People to help.
I asked for Favor
And God gave me Opportunities.
I got nothing I wanted.
But I received everything I needed.
Not long ago I read about some dogs that had killed 123 sheep in one night.
That seems like a very strange thing for dogs to do. Dogs are supposed to protect sheep. And the interesting thing is that these were not all bad dogs—not at first. They had been good, faithful watch dogs—with the exception of one. He was a sheep killer. Now, how do you think the other dogs learned to kill sheep? The answer is simple: bad company did the trick. There is an old proverb which says, "If you run with wolves, you'll learn to howl just like them." That simply means that you grow to be like the company you keep. If you run with those who curse, you will learn to curse. If you run with those who are immoral, you will soon learn the ways of immorality.1
"Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits'" (1 Corinthians 15:33).
An old legend tells of a monastery in France well-known throughout Europe because of the extraordinary leadership of a man known only as Brother Leo. Several monks began a pilgrimage to visit Brother Leo to learn from him. Almost immediately the monks began to bicker over who should do various chores. On the third day they met another monk who was also going to the monastery and he joined their party. This monk never complained or shirked a duty, and whenever the others fought over a chore, he would gracefully volunteer and simply do it himself. By the last day the other monks were following his example, and they worked together smoothly.
When they reached the monastery and asked to see Brother Leo, the man who greeted them laughed: "But our brother is among you!" And he pointed to the fellow who had joined them late in the trip.
Today, many people seek leadership positions not so much for what they can do for others, but for what the position can do for them: status, connections, perks or future advantage. As a result, they do service primarily as an investment, a way to build an impressive resume.
The parable about Brother Leo teaches another model of leadership, where leaders are preoccupied with serving rather than being followed, with giving rather than getting, and doing rather than demanding. It's a form of leadership based on example, not command. It's called servant leadership.
Can you imagine how much better things would be if more politicians, educators and business executives saw themselves as servant leaders?
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28, NIV).
In his commencement address to Stanford's 2005 graduating class Steven Jobs, founder of Apple Computer, shared how he and his friend, Woz, started Apple in his garage and within ten years it grew to a $2 billion company. He also shared how he was fired from his own organization, and in his words, "I didn't see it then, but getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
"During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, and another company named Pixar. Pixar went on to create the world's first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance."1
Not to the same degree by any means, but in a similar way this is how ACTS was started. At the time I was the South Australian director of a well-known youth organization. I changed our approach to ministry by commencing direct mail evangelism and included reaching adults as well as teenagers. I was told by the powers that be that my ministry didn't fit the required role and was asked to either give up my ministry, stay with the current methods (which weren't working that great anyhow), or get out of the organization. I chose the latter. It, too, was the best thing that happened to me at the time—as frightening as it was. Like you, I've been through other seeming crises, too, which have all turned out far better than I could have ever dreamed or hoped for.
So, if it seems like your world is crumbling around you and your life is truly committed to God and his will for your life, choose to trust your life to him, and, in time, you too will discover that all things do work together for good for "those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for every crisis in my life that you have made to work for good, and turned into a blessing beyond my wildest dreams. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
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Oprah Winfrey: "Books were my pass to personal freedom. I learned to read at age three, and soon discovered there was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi." – Oprah Winfrey
Books by Dick Innes, Editor of Weekend Encounter You Can't Fly With a Broken Wing How to Mend a Broken Heart I Hate Witnessing—A Handbook for Effective Christian
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