Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Spiritual Leadership"

“A shepherd’s work cannot be done effectively without a shepherd’s heart.” Spiritual Leadership was written by J. Oswald Sanders. It is a twenty-two chapter, two-hundred forty-eight page book that will challenge you to answer the call to become a Christian leader.
Sanders exposes the reader to many accomplished leaders who served Christ throughout their life. David Livingston, Peter, Nehemiah, Paul, and Charles Spurgeon are just a few examples. Do you seek power, fame, or riches? For each of the topics Oswald introduces, he displays the difference between worldly desires and Christian ambitions. Along with this, he includes the world’s definition and a Christian description of leadership. This book is meant for ages junior high and older because it does deal with some serious issues. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends because it will encourage them to evaluate their leadership skills. J. Oswald Sanders addresses many different areas of leadership. Some of the highlights were: discipline, vision, wisdom, decisions, courage, humility, integrity, and sincerity.
Many of the topics did apply to my life, but one of the issues seemed to be targeted right at me. Many times I find myself trying to perfect things. Oswald Sanders noted that a perfectionist might not always be a good leader because he may set that standard too high for himself or for others around him. My commitment is to do my best to set reasonable goals in the future.

Light in the Realm of Darkness

We are physically and spiritually dead! Until we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior there is no hope for life beyond eternity. We are held to the passions of this world, continually boasting about our rebellious and selfish desires. Not until we humble ourselves and accept God’s gift of unending grace will we be able to trust and put our faith into His open arms. Once that is accomplished we need to have a desire to not follow the trends of this world, but to follow the footsteps of Christ. My personal application is to rely on Christ continually and to not follow the desires of this world.

A Lifetime Away

Is it possible that one wrong decision could dictate the rest of your life? Maybe you have chosen to make some bad decisions in your life, can you still be forgiven? How to Ruin Your Life by Forty is written by Steve Farrar and is co-authored by his son Josh Farrar. Interestingly, this book started out as a graduation speech for high school graduates. The speech was then told at other events and eventually more topics were added to it. Finally, Mark Tobey, a man from Moody Publishers encouraged Steve Farrar to take the speeches he had created and publish them into this book.
The decisions you make will effect you the rest of your life. In chapter one the author shows the difference between cause and effect. Farrar also points out that not only will the choices you select effect you, they will impact the people around you. Chapter two deals with starting the race of life and finishing it strong. A stunning fact was that one out of every ten people fall to worldly desires before they even reach forty.
Steve Farrar also tackles the question: why do we exist? He points out that God has a plan and purpose for each and every person. It is in chapter five where a major question that every human beings will face sooner or later is discussed. What career field should I enter? With much prayer and discernment God will open and close the right doors. The author reminds the reader that you should not begin a job you do not love because that will lead to a life of misery. He also points out that you should utilize the strengths and talents God has given you instead of letting them go to waste.
The next couple of chapters deal with finding the right mate. Farrar stresses the importance of not getting sexually involved with anyone before getting married. He also emphasizes that once you are married divorce is not an option.
Relying on God and trusting in His guidance is the topic of chapter eight. The second to last chapter focuses on decisions past, present and future. Confessing your sins is the main cornerstone when you have made a wrong decision.

Chapter ten, which is the conclusion to the book talks about the importance of reading God’s word daily. When Satan comes at you with flaming darts, will you be able to defend yourself? Spiritual warfare is no laughing matter, in fact Steve Farrar states that it is essential to guard our hearts continually.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is in their middle high school years and up. It will challenge its reader to make wise decisions. Remember, before making your next decision; think. Will this choice I am about to make ruin my life by the age of forty?
After reading this book, I decided my personal application will be to guard my heart from any arrows the devil shoots at me. I also purpose to constantly rely on God’s help.

Glory in Tribulations

Radiant beams of sunshine were beating down. The recently trimmed grass brought an additional sense of grandeur to the air. To begin my typical routine, I lined up with fellow teammates to start the familiar stretches and drills I had become accustomed to from the beginning of my baseball season with the Indianapolis Home School Kings. After finishing warm-ups, the visiting team took their allotted time to prepare in the infield because they were up to bat first. When they were finished, our coach reviewed our previous game reminding us about our positive and negative game plays. It was now our turn to take the playing field. I hustled out to my normal position in the infield, second base. Once catching, fielding and throwing a good amount of baseballs, it was time for the baseball game to begin! Butterflies fluttered in my stomach. Because of some of the errors our team made, it took us a lot of grit to end the inning. When the bottom of the inning began, it was almost my turn to bat. I was on deck (the offensive player who waits for the batter ahead of him to complete his at bat). Whoosh, the
pitcher threw a wild pitch! Now it was my duty to retrieve the baseball since there was no one on base. I headed to the backstop at a quick jog. Pop! A sharp pain shot through the left side of my foot. What was happening? I could still walk, right? No, no I was limping!
Early this summer I was faced with a very difficult experience. While running to get a baseball, my foot had unevenly turned, therefore twisting it. At first, I thought I might be able to walk it off. I also placed ice on my foot to dull the throbbing pain. When the pain wouldn’t cease from irritating me to death, my mom decided that I needed an x-ray. Once the baseball game was over, she and I headed to Immediate Care to discover what really happened to my foot. After the specialist examined my foot and the x-rays had been taken, the doctor confirmed that the fifth metatarsal of my foot was fractured (broken). Had a dagger just been thrown in my heart? Many thoughts rushed in
my head! Why now? Why me? I found out that I would be out for eight weeks, most of the time being spent using crutches. What was God trying to teach me? Since the time of the injury I have learned to be much more patient. It also helped me to remember to rely on God continually. If I had to select one verse to summarize this event, I would chose Romans 5:3- “ And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.”