Monday, November 30, 2009


Okay raise your hands if you have some left over turkey from this last weekend. I see those hands way in the back. Now seriously who doesn't have left overs from Thanksgiving. Most of us do because we overestimated how much our guests would eat or we wanted a ready made meal. Well whatever the reason let's agree that leftovers are not a bad thing unless we are talking about manna. Let me explain.

God provided manna (meaning "what is it?") for the children of Israel while they were in the wilderness. All they had to do was pick it off the ground in the morning and eat it. Sounds pretty simple doesn't it? Listen to the scriptural command about "leftovers".

Exodus 16:19-20 (New International Version)

19 Then Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until morning."

20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.

Seems pretty clear to me that you were to take what you needed for you and your family and eat it before it was night. That means no leftovers. Why? Because God wants us to depend on Him for our daily bread, not our weekly bread. What a great picture of God's care for His children.

So the next time you go to your refrigerator and see leftovers remember that God doesn't need leftovers for His children. He always has fresh bread for those who want it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Leadership: We Attract Who We Are

I am studying leadership at Gonzaga and I am amazed at the various definitions of leadership. Here is one I think we can all agree upon, leadership is about one thing: influence. Who you influence is who you will be able to lead. Let's look at an example from the Bible concerning this fact.

In I Samuel 22 David is in the cave of Adullam running for his life as Saul is in pursuit of him. The Bible says that when his brothers and his father heard he was there they came. But don't miss the next part, it says "...and everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented were gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him" (1 Samuel 22:2). Could you imagine how David felt? What a great show of support from his family and others that had followed David's leadership and decided that they wanted to be with him instead of Saul. But I want to point out something that may be obvious to you.

Those who were attracted to David were just like him. David was in distress and he was in debt and he was discontented. Let me stop and ask you about the people that are around you, are they just like you? Isn't this all the more reason that a leader must first lead themselves and overcome their distress? We should look at the people around us that we have influence over and ask the question, "is that really who I am as a leader?" If you are pleased with what you see then keep doing what you are doing. But if you want to be a better leader than you should see those closest to you as a reflection of your leadership.

I want to influence people that are like me, but sometimes I see a reflection of my leadership from those closest to me and I think I still have a long way to go. How about you?

Pumpkin Pie Squares

This is the recipe that some of you requested earlier. Here it is Happy Thanksgiving.


1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter


2 cans (15 oz. each) pumpkin
2 cans (12 oz. each) evaporated milk
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt


1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter, softened

Combine the first four ingredients until crumbly; press into a greased 13-in.x 9 in. x 2 in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile beat filling ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth; pour over crust. Bake for 45 minutes. For topping, combine brown sugar, pecans and butter; sprinkle over top. Bake 15-20 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 16- 20 servings

Denise Goedeken, Platte Center, Nebraska

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Team Building 101

This past weekend I was in a training with two other churches about team building. Our coach was Mel Ming. He showed us a chart and explained the four stages of team building, I want to share them with you. They are taken from the "The One Minute Manager Builds High Performing Teams by Kenneth Blanchard, Donald Carew and Eunice Parisi-Caren, William Morrow, 1990. Here they are:
  • Stage One Orientation: this is the time period where those on the team ask "Where do I fit?"
  • Stage Two Dissatisfaction: this is a difficult time when the team members lose their self-confidence and will express this frustration in fits of anger. Members may say "I can't do anything right."
  • Stage Three Resolution: this is the time you will hear the team members say "I think I am getting it." This is a sign that trust and self esteem is being built into the team.
  • Stage Four Production: this is the fun part of the process where performance as a team and morale meet in the middle.
Why do I share this with you? Because maybe some of you right now are going through one of these stages of team building and you need to be encouraged that what you are experiencing is all part of the process. You as the leader must lead and carry the team until the team gels together as a working unit.

One word of caution. Be very careful and very intentional how you handle delegation and empowerment.Why you may ask? If you delegate or empower too prematurely you will set up a power struggle. Secondly you must understand that even though it doesn't seem that the team needs your direction, they most certainly do need your direction. The work of the leader is to have the end in mind and pursue this goal ethically but persistently. The heart of the leader is to be patient and loving towards the team and at some times carry them along.

Team building is a wonderful thing when it is done right, but it is a process and should not be hurried so that "we can get on with things." Teamwork is a concept that needs more practice and less conversation. Go team!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What a Friend

I was reading about David and Jonathan today, and I was struck with the fierce loyalty that these men shared one with the other. What a friendship they had. Here are three things that stuck out to me.
  • Jonathan and David's friendship was solid through the good times and the bad times.
  • Jonathan and David's friendship was mutual
  • Jonathan and David's friendship was full of self-sacrifice.
I got to thinking about another friendship that was foreshadowed in this text, that is our friendship with Jesus Christ. He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. "What a friend we have in Jesus.."

Monday, November 16, 2009


We as Christians all know how huge forgiveness is in our lives and the lives of others around us. I just read an article about the power of forgiveness in the lives of six perpetrators of violence during the years of apartheid in South Africa. I was amazed that a fact that is known in the church is now being discussed outside of the church. Here are three things that I want to share about the power of forgiveness.
  • It can have the same effect on those who have offended as well as those who have been offended.
  • Those who have received forgiveness are more likely to extend forgiveness to those closest to them.
  • Those who have offered forgiveness are much happier and healthier people.
Those seem to be three great reasons to forgive the one who has done you wrong. How about you, will you choose to forgive today?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Independent of Interdependent

There are three stages of human development, they are as follows:

1. Infant (dependent upon someone else)
2. Child (independent, "I can do it myself.")
3. Adult (interdependent, "I need someone to help me with this.")

Looking at this list I find myself thinking "I know I should be asking for help, but I can handle this." I want my own way and don't want anyone to interfere with my desires. Sounds kind of petty doesn't it? There is one word to describe that tendency, sin. Some might say it is selfishness, or even others would contend that it is an attitude that doesn't reflect the best interests of others. They are all right. I think we need to become dependent on God and interdependent on others, I will give you three reasons.
  • We can't do it by ourselves.
  • We need to be valued by others as we are valued.
  • It is just not much fun when you can't share the burden.
Life is full of ups and downs, and some may say that there are many more downs than ups. If we are going to be a family as Christians we need to work with one another and value each other for who we are.

So, are you independent or interdependent? Sure you may be able to do it by yourself, but there are people that need what you have. Today, share your talent with others and find the freedom in not having to do it by yourself.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Future

I have a challenge to you today. Don't just do things for the present do them for the future. Are you the CEO at a company, don't just make decisions based upon today's information. You must do what is good for the future of the company that you now lead. Our greatest legacy should be the one that we leave when we are gone. Here are a few suggestions to do this

1. Plan your exit (someday) as you reach your new assignment
2. Pick your successor (if you are able)
3. Postpone immediate gratification so that those who come after you will enjoy their labor

Go out now and live with the future in sight, after all the future is tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why are You Afraid?

As I was reading I Samuel 18, it constantly used the term afraid when it was talking about King Saul. Let me set the scene for you.

David has just killed Goliath and all of the women are singing his praises. Okay men that was a pretty cool moment wasn't it? Then King Saul begins to be afraid that David is going to take the kingdom away from him. Wasn't it already prophesied that God would give the kingdom to another? Seems like to me you can't be afraid of losing your position as long as God has put you there, and you can't change God's mind about moving you on. So, if you are in this situation maybe you should remember that God is in charge. Okay back to the story. King Saul is so enraged that he asked (read forced) David to play the harp for him in the throne room and then he tries to kill him with a spear. Now listen to what the Bible says next in verse 12 "Now Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him..." That seems strange to have fear and the Lord in the same sentence doesn't it? But maybe we can get some more information as to why Saul was afraid. Look at the last part of verse 12 "...but had departed from Saul." Now that is a reason to be afraid.

Saul saw the presence of God on the life of David and he was jealous because he remembers what it was like to enjoy the presence of God. Who can you most identify with today, Saul or David? Are you afraid because you are without the Lord, or are like David ready to do whatever the Lord says?

Whether you are most like Saul or David the good news is that you can always come to God and know that He will cast out all of your fear.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Do you feel weak today? It's Monday, and all of the excitement of the weekend ended with the rign of your alarm clock. I am always pretty sedate and semi-comatose on Mondays. My level of adrenaline has been expended and I am trying to charge my batteries. These are the days where I need strength. How about you?

I read a very encouraging passage of scripture that I want to share here with you.

The Lord gives his people strength.
He is a safe fortress for his anointed king. (Psalm 28:8)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What's It Take to Be a Champion

I am a die hard Phillies fan and I was disappointed when they lost last night. Oh well, at least its not the end of the world. Life will go on. This got me to think about what it takes to be a winner. Here is my take on the subject.

1. Practice: there is no way we will overcome without having a regular regiment of exercise and team building skills.

2. Proper Thinking: if you constantly run yourself down and others around you, you will never get above your own expectations (low) that you have set for yourself.

3. Positive Performance: There is nothing like watching somebody so effortlessly using their talents. I think of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice and how they used to work together so well to win football games. They were winners on and off the field. Let us strive to be these kind of people.

A shout out to the Philadelphia Phillies for a great season and a great series, we are proud of you. Who knows what will happen next year.

Monday, November 2, 2009


As a parent I sometimes make mistakes. Whew!! Got that off of my chest. How about you? I sometimes feel as though my parenting style is trial and error. Kind of like, "well that didn't work so well." Case in point, the other night.

I went with some friends to a local High School to "trick or treat" with my kids. I didn't know what to expect. Well, I guess we should have skipped that trip. My kids are very sensitive and did not like the amount of "fright" and "darkness" that were a part of the atmosphere. I thought it should have been toned down for the kids but I guess that didn't ask me. Seems as though if your child hasn't been desensitized to this kind of stuff it is pretty scary. I am glad that my kids and I were able to talk about this trip, but I am sorry that I took them and they got scared.

As a parent I must protect my children and look out for their best interest, but sometimes as a parent I am going to make the wrong choice. It is then when I can ask them to forgive me and try to do better the next time. Maybe parenting is supposed to be a process and not an event. When I decided that me and my house would serve the Lord I guess I didn't take into account my shortcomings. Well, gotta get back up and stay true to my decision to serve the Lord, how about you?