Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God – Part One

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Praising GodOne day on the streets of our city, a young man about the age of 20 was asked this question by an interviewer: “What is a leader?”  The young man thought about it for a minute and responded, “I think it’s a little more than a gallon…”

Well, I don’t think this is exactly the definition that the interviewer had in mind. The shortest definition for leadership that I’ve ever heard is that “leadership is influence” taught by John Maxwell. Great military leader, Bernard Montgomery, defined leadership as “the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose, and the character which inspires confidence.”

The Leadership Mandate From God

Regardless of whether or not you and I know the definition of leadership, in the kingdom of God, we are all natural born leaders because God created us in His image and He has given all of us a mandate to lead. Genesis 1:27-28 affirms our leadership mandate stating, “God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.’”

It is clear from the biblical account of creation that men and women are natural born leaders. However, to be a spiritual leader in the kingdom of God, it takes more than just God’s mandate to lead. Spiritual leaders in the kingdom of God are also anointed by the Holy Spirit to lead and they are appointed to lead in spiritual service by God alone.  J. Oswald Sanders says this about spiritual leadership, “Spiritual leaders are not elected, appointed, or created by synods or church assemblies. God alone makes them.” In John 15:16 Jesus told His disciples, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit.”

The Difference Between Natural Leadership And Spiritual Leadership

According to Mr. Sanders, there is a significant difference between natural leadership and spiritual leadership. Many of the differences are highlighted below:

  • Natural Leaders are self-confident              
  • Spiritual Leaders are confident in God
  • Natural leaders know men                          
  • Spiritual leaders know God
  • Natural leaders make their own decisions                       
  • Spiritual leaders seek God’s will
  • Natural leaders are ambitious                    
  • Spiritual leaders are humble
  • Natural leaders create methods                 
  • Spiritual leaders follow God’s example
  • Natural leaders enjoy command                              
  • Spiritual leaders delight in obedience to God
  • Natural leaders seek personal reward                                 
  • Spiritual leaders love God and others
  • Natural leaders are independent                            
  • Spiritual leaders are dependent on God

Regarding the process by which God qualifies spiritual leaders to lead in His kingdom, Mr. Sanders writes, “Often truly authoritative leadership falls on someone who years earlier dedicated themselves to practice the discipline of seeking first the kingdom of God. Then, as that person matures, God confers a leadership role, and the Spirit of God goes to work through him. When God’s searching eye finds a person qualified to lead, God anoints that person with the Holy Spirit and calls him to a special ministry.”

The Outward Physical Expression Of Inside Spiritual Growth

After my return home as a prodigal son back into my heavenly Father’s arms, the Lord began to privately develop my spiritual leadership as I intimately pursued Him in close personal relationship. However, during that time, to the casual observer of my physical activities on the outside, I may have seemed like just another Type A over-achiever; but, on the inside, God was doing a deep restorative work in my soul, preparing me for true spiritual leadership and service in His kingdom. People who knew me during those days might recall how much weight I lost and all of the physical training that I was doing in preparation for an Ironman triathlon. It took 3 years of training for the Ironman and most of that time, I didn’t tell many people that I was even training for an Ironman.

I first started training with 14 miles of outdoor riding, then training for the two-day 75 mile MS Tour Ride, then a back-to-back ADA century ride, then run training for my first half marathon, then a full marathon, then my first sprint triathlon, then an Olympic triathlon, then a half Ironman triahthlon, then a second half Ironman triathlon, and then the full Ironman triathlon. Then two and a half years later, the 3,000 mile Race Across America – the world’s toughest bicycle race.

You might ask yourself, what in the world was he doing all that for? I can imagine that many people may have thought that I was trying to find an identity outside of Christ through over-achieving activities. I can truly understand how some might think that to be true of me during that time in my life. And to state the obvious, it does take a lot of effort to do an Ironman triathlon and ride a bike across America. However, for me it was more than just the effort and the rewards attached to those significant physical achievements in my life. By the sufficiency of God’s grace freely given to me through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I can say with purity of heart and a clean conscience before the Lord that I had nothing to prove or anything to earn by such physical pursuits. The truth is that all of my physical training at that time was simply an outward expression of my spiritual training on the inside as I sought to love Jesus with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, learned how to walk more closely with Him, and diligently pursued His kingdom.  

The Mirror Between Physical Disciplines And Spiritual Disciplines

While people could easily see my physical training on the outside at that time, unless you knew me well, most people couldn’t see my spiritual training on the inside during that same time. I was not only training in the physical realm through the pursuit and practice of physical disciplines, I was also training in the spiritual realm through the pursuit and practice of spiritual disciplines beginning with my water baptism, then my freedom weekend retreat, my daily prayer meetings with God, my daily devotions in the word of God, my writing of hundreds of bible verses on note cards to memorize in prayer, my weekly praise and worship to God with tears and weeping, my faithful participation in small group no matter what, my completion of the Biblical Foundations class, my faithful serving in the parking lot every other weekend, my leading of small group every week, my engagement in the prison ministry at Rayburn Correctional Center, my 1 day, 3 day, 5 day, 7 day, 10 day, and 21 day fasts, my mission trip to South Africa, my daily prostration on the altar of God as a living sacrifice crying out to God to know me, search me, and change me from the inside out.

The Spiritual Leadership Development Sharpening Process

What was God doing in me during that time? Through the process of developing the physical disciplines necessary to complete an Ironman triathlon and the simultaneous pursuit of the spiritual disciplines necessary for growing in Christ, I was learning the principle of Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another.” Throughout the three years of training for Ironman, I did not train alone, but rather trained with one of my best friends in life. Committed to run the race of life together, we both trained for Ironman, sharpening one another, so that we could both strongly cross the finish line. And we did. Additionally, I can tell you that during those physical training days with my friend, I was also being sharpened spiritually with the help of my awesome Pastors. In their good hands, I was being taught how to pursue God and live for Him as a spiritual leader in His kingdom. I now stand today with a healthy fear of the Lord, amazed at His faithfulness in my life, and humbled by His grace to give me the opportunity to be a spiritual leader in His kingdom…a tremendous privilege I do not take lightly.

I share this personal story to emphasize that spiritual leadership development only happens through the diligent pursuit of a real personal relationship with God and other spiritual leaders in His kingdom. Must you complete an Ironman to become an impactful spiritual leader in God’s kingdom? Certainly not! But you must love Jesus with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength as well as seek first His kingdom and all of His righteousness in your life. As Christ followers, none of us are exempt from pursuing and practicing the spiritual disciplines necessary to grow us as spiritual leaders in God’s kingdom. If we truly desire for the Lord to mature us, qualify us, appoint us, and anoint us as impactful spiritual leaders in His kingdom, nothing less than loving God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength will do.

To His glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God– Part One Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God – Part One , in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Dare To Hope

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Scripture

Lamentations 3:21-24 “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!’” New Living Translation

Observation

In these verses, Jeremiah, also known as the weeping prophet, refuses to succumb to utter gloom and despair over the sin and rebellion of the people of God in his day. Although the sin and rebellion committed by the people deserve God’s full judgment, Jeremiah reminds himself that the Lord’s unfailing love, His unending mercies, His faithfulness, and His tender mercies are new every morning. As a result, he throws himself on the rock of God’s love and faithfulness where he dares to find his hope in the Lord.

Application

Even though my sin and rebellion against God deserve His full judgment, like Jeremiah, I will remind myself of the Lord’s unfailing love, never ending mercy, faithfulness, and new mercies every day through the complete and total forgiveness of my sin by my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. No matter what, I throw myself on the rock of His love, faithfulness, and inheritance of my salvation in Him which is where my daring hope comes from.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I praise You for You are Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness! Thank you Lord for Your faithfulness that reaches to the heavens and Your tender mercies that are new every morning. Despite my failures, sin, and rebellion against You, I dare to place my trust and hope in You, the Lord my Righteousness in Christ Jesus, because You are good, You are faithful, and Your word is true. I love You Jesus! Amen!

Dare To Hope Copyright 2012, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the personal devotion, Dare To Hope, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

3 Characteristics Of A Person Called To Bless

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In my What On Earth Am I Here For small group this week, I learned that “What matters in life is not the duration of your life, but rather the donation of your life.” Wow! What an awesome perspective to have about your life!

Even as a young man graduating with my MBA in 1991, I would have to say that if someone shared that statement with me back then, I don’t think I would have fully understood its meaning. And even today, when I think about it, I wonder if I fully comprehend its profound meaning in a life as my own. I guess I can say this much. I know I’m not where I want to be with the donation of my life unto others; however, I am thankful that I’m not where I used to be when I first started my life journey as a Christian more than 22 years ago.

As I reflect back over my life, I think I really started to learn something about this when I went on my very first mission trip to Mexico. At the time, I was young in the Lord, recently married, and building a new home. In the process of building my home, I befriended the Christian man who was framing my house and he invited me to join the organization he founded to help raise funds for missions building projects in other countries. After the funds were raised for a building project, he would then take a team of volunteer men on their own expense to travel to the country and complete the building project with the help of a missionary in that country.

Well, the first missions project that I felt God was leading me to participate in was the building of a new church in Mexico. We raised $3,500 and took a team of 10 people on a bus to a remote village in Mexico somewhere south of Brownsville. As we began to prepare for the trip, I was thinking to myself…what kind of church can we build for only $3,500? And the truth is, I didn’t even believe that we could build a church for $3,500 so I figured to myself that we would probably end up just doing some maintenance work or something to help the church rather than actually build a church.

Once we arrived, I quickly experienced what some might call “first time missions culture shock” because the remote village where we were building the church had homes that were made of mud, sticks, and hay. The church structure was the only structure in the town made of cinder blocks which the President of our organization had arranged to be put up before we arrived. The water supply for the village was nothing more than a large mud hole in the ground that supplied the livestock and the community. And to make my missions culture shock worse was that the leader of our team shared with us that the Pastor and his wife were going to cook us breakfast while we were working in the little village.

When I heard this, I honestly began to have fearful thoughts of becoming ill from the food. So I told the leader, “I don’t think I will be able to eat the breakfast.” And he said, “You have to eat the breakfast because they are offering us their best and you will offend these kind people if you don’t.” Without any further discussion, I began to pray, “Lord help me!”

When we arrived at the work-site on the first morning, the leader came and told us that he had good news…we were not going to be fed breakfast. But then he said, we were going to be fed lunch. I was thinking, “Lord, how am I going to get through this without becoming ill?” So when the time for lunch came, we were invited into the Pastor’s one room home with a mud-brick oven. And as we sat down, we were served freshly baked tortilla bread, freshly cooked refried beans, stir fried chicken with a coca cola, and Christian music playing in the background. All I can say is that the Holy Spirit was so overwhelmingly present as we gave thanks to God and broke bread together with that precious brother and sister in Christ.

Furthermore, the Lord did an amazing work in me that day to help me see my selfishness and to become ever more grateful for all of His blessings in my life. After that trip, I made a commitment that no matter how prosperous I might become in life, I did not want to ever forget the blessings of God in my life or forget the fact that as a Christian I am actually blessed to be a blessing to others.

With that in mind, I would like to share three characteristics of a person called to bless.

1)    Dying to Self

A person who is called to bless must learn how to die to themselves and present their bodies as a living sacrifice to the Lord.

I like what Romans 12:1-2 says in the Message bible: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” MSG

Learning how to die to self is not easy and the truth is: it cannot be done without the help of the Holy Spirit. 

In Matthew 26:41-42, Jesus tells His disciples, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” NKJV

Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane praying about the Father’s will to bring Him to the cross when He told His disciples that the Spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak. Even though Jesus was the Son of God, His flesh did not want to go to the Cross.  He prayed three times to His Father for the cup of suffering He was about to experience to pass from Him, but nonetheless, by the Spirit of God in Him, He yielded His flesh to the will of the Father and not His own will.

It’s no different for you and me. If we are going to be a true blessing to others, we will have to learn how to die to our flesh, walk in the power of the Spirit, and yield our will to the Father’s will for our life.

In Luke 9:23-24, Jesus tells the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.” NLT

The process of dying to self matures us and makes us more like Jesus.

2)    Living Generously

Secondly, a person who is called to bless must learn how to live generously towards others.

Have you ever heard the saying, “You make a living by how much you get; you make a life by how much you give”? I don’t know who made this statement; however, I do believe it is applicable in the kingdom of God.

In Matthew 5:38-42, Jesus says, “Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.” MSG

The person who lives generously towards others – friends and enemies alike – has come to the realization of how generous God is towards them…even when they don’t deserve His generosity.

In Romans 5:8, the apostle Paul tells us, “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” NLT  And in Matthew 10:8, Jesus tells us to, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” NKJV

This video from Chick-Fil-A titled Going The Second Mile perfectly demonstrates the principle of living generously towards others.

3)    Being a Service Enthusiast

Thirdly, a person called to bless must learn how to serve others with enthusiasm and passion.

I learned from reading Joel Osteen’s book, Your Best Life Now, that the word “Enthusiasm” comes from two Greek words: En Theos which means inspired by God; therefore, “Service Enthusiasm” means service inspired by God.

In Ephesians 6:5-8, the apostle Paul says, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart [passion]. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.” NLT

When I was a young leader, I had the privilege of leading a very large division. In my role as the leader, I had to teach my team the difference between service enthusiasm and service bureaucracy. Because I have seen the detrimental effects resulting towards people from service bureaucracy, I have honestly grown to hate service bureaucracy. I also believe God actually hates service bureaucracy too because it is ultimately characterized by a lack of faith in Him. In Numbers Chapter 13, the Bible tells us that a whole generation of God’s people had to perish in the wilderness because of the whining, complaining, and unbelief that fostered an attitude of service bureaucracy. When you have the time, I encourage you to find the story in the Bible and read it. It is pretty astonishing to read about the severe consequences that God allowed through the sin of service bureaucracy.

An attitude of service bureaucracy is present when people say things like:

  •  “We can’t do that, it’s not possible.” [This is rooted in a lack of faith]
  • “We tried that idea many times…it will never work because of this, that, and 20 other reasons.” [This is rooted in a lack of a leadership]
  • “That’s not my job to solve that problem…it’s not in my job description.” [This is rooted in a lack of responsibility]
  • “You want me to do what? I don’t get paid enough to do that.” [This is rooted in a lack of gratitude]

On the other hand, an attitude of service enthusiasm is present when people say things like:

  •  “I’ve been thinking about that problem and I think we should try this or that to help solve that problem.”
  • We can solve that problem and we can do it now because God is with us.”
  • “Count me in regardless of the pay because I want to make a difference with my life.”

A person with an attitude of service enthusiasm will serve others with passion and enthusiasm because it is the right thing to do and they do it with a positive attitude. Because service enthusiasts are creative, faith-filled, passionate, positive, and always willing to do more than what is asked of them, they are marketable people and will go far in life especially when they know God and believe Him to fulfill His good plan for their life.

So let me encourage you to fulfill your calling to bless by:

1)     Dying to yourself and taking up your cross to do God’s will and bless others.

 2)     Living generously towards others as you freely give to others what you have freely received from Christ.

 3)     Being a service enthusiast willing to go the second mile to serve others with enthusiasm and passion.

Thank you and have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

3 Characteristics Of A Person Called To Bless Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, 3 Characteristics Of A Person Called To Bless, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Set Apart

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Scripture

Jeremiah 1:5 “I [the Lord] knew you [Jeremiah] before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” New Living Translation

Observation

In this verse, the Lord tells Jeremiah that He knew Jeremiah before the Lord formed him in his mother’s womb. Furthermore, the Lord tells Jeremiah that before he was even born, the Lord set him apart and divinely appointed him as a prophet to the nations. This declaration from God is the calling that Jeremiah needed to hear from God, be encouraged to follow diligently after Him, and step forward into his divinely appointed destiny as a holy, set apart, unique, prophet of God to the nations.

Application

If the Lord knew Jeremiah before He formed him in his mother’s womb, I can rest assured that the Lord also knew me before He formed me in my mother’s womb. In fact, the Apostle Peter says in Acts 10:34, “God is no respecter of persons.” And if this truth is not astounding enough, I can also trust that the Lord has a holy, set apart, unique, divine calling and appointment for me as a child of God, just like He did for Jeremiah. In Luke 12:6-7, the Bible says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Understanding that I am worth more than many sparrows to the Lord, that the Lord knew me before I was even born, and that He has set me apart with a God-ordained calling in Him, encourages me to: 1) carefully listen for His still small voice, 2) follow diligently after Him, and 3) courageously step forward in faith into my unique divinely appointed destiny in God.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I praise You for You are El Elyon, God Most High, Creator and Possessor Of Heaven And Earth! Thank you Lord for knowing me before I was formed in my mother’s womb and creating me with a unique divinely appointed destiny in You. Help me Lord to carefully listen for Your still small voice calling me, leading me, and encouraging me to courageously step forward in faith into my unique divinely appointed destiny in You. I love You Jesus! Amen!

Set Apart Copyright 2012, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the personal devotion, Set Apart, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

3 Essential Aspects Of Work As Worship

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Work as WorshipWhen reading about Jesus in the Bible, I find He spent a great deal of His time in the marketplace ministering to all kinds of people. The reason I think Jesus was so often found in the marketplace is because the marketplace is where most people spend each day seeking to fulfill their purpose and destiny in life. Ephesians 2:10 reads, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” This verse tells me that before the creation of the world, God prepared a destiny for each of us to walk in with Christ and bring Him glory. I believe when Jesus came to earth as the Son of Man, He went into the marketplace where people were seeking to fulfill their God-ordained purposes in life with Him. Two thousand years later, I don’t believe anything has changed. Jesus still wants to minister to people in the marketplace where they can be found seeking to fulfill their God-ordained purpose in life with Him. However, for Jesus to do this today, God’s people must embrace the following three essential aspects of “work as worship” in the marketplace with Jesus.

1)      Work As Worship Redeems The Purpose Of Work In The Marketplace

Work as worship in the purest form, fundamentally entreats the redeeming purposes of God in the marketplace; however, the unfortunate reality is that many people view work as a four-letter curse word rather than work as worship. Tragically, such a misconceived view of work causes God’s redeeming purposes for work anywhere in His kingdom to be forfeited to the evil purposes of the kingdom of darkness. If God’s people, His kingdom ambassadors on earth, do not understand God’s redeeming purposes in work, then how will God’s kingdom shine forth in the marketplace arenas of our world as a city that is set on a hill? Sadly, it will not because God has given you and me the personal privilege and responsibility to shine His light through us by our good works glorifying Him in the marketplace. Matthew 5:16 states “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” This admonishment from Jesus applies to good works on Monday through Saturday as much as it applies to good works on Sunday. God can be glorified and worshiped in all of our work when we truthfully embrace our work as worship unto Him and not unto men.

2)      Work As Worship Truly Matters To God In The Marketplace

Colossians 3:23-24 states “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Please hear the spirit of God in this matter of truth. We serve Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, in all of our work including our work in the marketplace. God cares about our work in the marketplace because He cares about people and He designed our work to help Him take care of people. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God foreshadowed His provision for their spiritual needs by the shedding of blood to cover their sin AND He also foreshadowed His provision for their temporal needs by covering their bodies with clothing. Since then, God has been caring for the spiritual and temporal needs of man and woman – eternal spiritual beings created in His image, living in a temporal and fallen world. This means if you are in the clothing business, you are actually doing work that matters to God by helping Him provide for people’s clothing needs. It’s the same for anyone in the marketplace doing work that helps God care for the temporal needs of people. The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:19, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” When you discover the temporal needs of people that God is supplying by your work in the marketplace, you will discover God’s ordained kingdom purpose for your work in the marketplace.

3)      Work As Worship Fulfills The Two Greatest Commandments In The Marketplace

Responding to a lawyer about the greatest commandment in the law, Jesus answers in Matthew 22:37-39, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

When we approach our work as worship, we fulfill these two great commandments of the Lord in the marketplace by doing our work in a manner that glorifies God with wholehearted love for Him and doing our work in a manner that benefits others through our genuine love for others. Loving God and loving people is the cornerstone of true work as worship in the marketplace with Jesus!

Thank you and have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

3 Essential Aspects Of Work As Worship Copyright 2012, Gary J. Borgstede. You have permission to reprint 3 Essential Aspects Of Work As Worship, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission. All other rights reserved.

Valley Of Blessing

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Scripture

2 Chronicles 20:26 “On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today.” New Living Translation

Observation

This verse highlights a day when the people of Judah, under the reign of King Jehoshaphat, celebrated a huge victory in the Lord. Just prior to this celebration in the Valley of Blessing, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites had declared war on King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah. As they were marching towards Judah, King Jehoshaphat declared a fast and prayed to the Lord for deliverance. The Lord heard his prayer and the Spirit of the Lord communicated that the battle was not King Jehoshaphat’s battle, but rather God’s battle. King Jehoshaphat sought wisdom from God, stood still in the presence of the Lord, and watched the Lord deliver a complete victory. The victory was so great that it took three full days for the people of Judah to gather the plunder from the battlefield. On the fourth day, they gathered at the Valley of Blessing to praise the Lord and thank Him there.

Application

There are times when I find myself just as King Jehoshaphat, faced with an opposing situation that is simply too big for me to handle and I don’t know what to do. It is in those times when I must follow the example of King Jehoshaphat and seek the Lord for His guidance, wisdom, and protection. In a humble posture of complete yielding and dependence upon the Lord, I can position myself to trust the Lord, stand still in His presence, and watch the Lord accomplish the victory on my behalf. As I give praise to the Lord in every circumstance as a child of God, the battle becomes God’s battle and not mine which assures me victory as well as a valley of blessing.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I praise You for You are Jehovah Tsebioth, the Lord of Hosts! Thank You Lord for Your name being a strong tower where I can run to it and find safety in every situation. I place my total trust in You and have no fear of any adverse circumstance prevailing against me because You are for me. Help me Lord to always remember that Your faithful love endures forever. I love You Jesus! Amen!

Valley Of Blessing Copyright 2012, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the personal devotion, Valley Of Blessing, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

The Borgstede Family Constitution

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  • ForeverKeep God the focal point of our family and relationships
  • Remain married until death, thru sickness and health, for richer or poorer
  • Pursue long-term active involvement in church and community
  • Teach our children the fear and admonition of the Lord
  • Maintain a stable home environment that fosters full utilization of God-given talents and potential
  • Love and respect one another unconditionally with the help and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

The Borgstede Family Constitution Copyright 1991, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint The Borgstede Family Constitution, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Culture Development – Rx For Expansion

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Expansion

Expansion

The culture of an organization reflects the values of the organization and will drive everything inside the organization. In fact, I will assert that culture is the most dynamic force in an organization because it is the outward expression of the organization’s internal values that are held as firm convictions by the people inside the organization. Emphasizing the organizational strength and power of culture, Dr. Sam Chand, author of Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code, says “Culture will eat vision for lunch!” I believe this statement by Dr. Chand because everything in an organization will ultimately revolve around the written and unwritten culture code inside the organization. Understanding the unseen powerful dynamic of culture is extremely important for faith-based leaders if they desire to build an organization that glorifies God, benefits others, and endures in the marketplace. I believe faith-based leaders can only effectively do this by intentionally developing the organization’s culture code with practical faith-based values communicated in the make-it-happen language of the marketplace.

Culture Development Clarifies Core Ideology And Builds An Organization That Lasts

In their book, Built To Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras write, “Core ideology defines the enduring character of an organization – its self-identity that remains consistent through time and transcends product / market life cycles, technological breakthroughs, management fads, and individual leaders. Core ideology provides the bonding glue that holds an organization together as it grows, decentralizes, diversifies, expands globally, and attains diversity within.” Core ideology that is well defined within the organization’s core values and also well reflected in the organization’s culture will effectively empower organizational leaders to build the organization in a way that will stand the tests of time. This is true because core values provide the character definition of the organization and culture provides the life expression of the organization’s character as it exists through time.

Developing Culture Builds The Internal Foundation Required For External Growth And Expansion

Any farmer knows that a seed can only reproduce after its own kind. It would be completely foolish for a farmer to plant watermelon seeds and expect to harvest tomatoes because watermelons can only reproduce watermelons. In Luke 6:43-45, Jesus further affirms the principles of reproduction in the kingdom of God by stating, “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs never grow on thorn bushes, nor grapes on bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” These principles of reproduction affect all forms of reproduction including organizational reproduction; therefore, before an organization starts reproducing itself through growth and expansion, it is absolutely imperative that the organization’s core values are clearly defined and appropriately reflected in its culture because the organization will simply reproduce after its own kind. Noble, strong, God-honoring, people-loving organizations will reproduce noble, strong, God-honoring, people-loving teams, departments, branches, divisions, regions, and new corporate entities.  

To help organizations effectively develop the organizational culture that fully reflects the organization’s core values, I recommend the following 4 practical steps to developing culture:

  1.  Clearly define an organizational core values statement based upon a timeless enduring core ideology that can be effectively communicated to the people inside the organization over and over and over and over again.
  2. Write, tell, and archive well scripted organizational stories that effectively communicate the core values of the organization to the people inside the organization and tell those stories over and over and over and over again.
  3. Strategically design frequent celebrations and planned events that encourage people inside the organization to celebrate the core values of the organization over and over and over and over again.
  4. Conduct semi-annual culture surveys to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s life expression of the organization’s core values through the perceptions and feedback of every person inside the organization and to make appropriate life expression adjustments that continually clarify the core values over and over and over and over again.

Thank you and have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Culture Development – Rx For Expansion Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint Culture Development – Rx For Expansion, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Convicted In Christ

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Scripture

Revelation 1:9 “I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus.”

Observation

As the writer of the book of Revelation to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, the apostle John reveals his identity in Christ as a fellow believer by stating 1) he is a brother in the Lord, 2) he is a partner in suffering, 3) he is a partner in God’s kingdom, 4) and he is a partner in the patient endurance of the call of Christ for all believers. Furthermore, he unashamedly declares his conviction in Christ as a person banished to the island of Patmos for preaching God’s word and sharing his testimony about Jesus.

Application

I once heard someone ask this question, “If you were accused of being a follower of Christ, would there be any evidence to convict you?” In contemplating an answer to this question, I believe there would be significant evidence in my life to convict me as a Christ follower provided that I share the same evidences that identified and convicted the apostle John as a fellow believer and follower of Christ. To accumulate such evidences in my life, I must faithfully live my life in a way that affirmatively answers the following questions: 1) Am I a true brother in the Lord to other believers in Christ? 2) Am I a true partner in the sufferings experienced from a personal faith in Christ along with other believers? 3) Am I a true partner with other believers in building God’s kingdom in my generation? 4) Am I a true partner in the patient endurance of the call of Christ for all believers during my lifetime? 5) Am I faithful to unashamedly share the good news of the gospel with others and tell them about my relationship with Jesus?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I praise You for You are Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord my Righteousness! Thank You Lord for Your unfailing love towards me that never gives up on me even when I have failed You and have demonstrated a weak conviction in You. By Your overwhelming grace in my life and the power of Your Holy Spirit working in me, help me to grow in Christ day by day in ways that produce solid evidences of my life surrendered to You, my Lord and Savior. I love You Jesus! Amen!

Convicted In Christ Copyright 2012, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the personal devotion, Convicted In Christ, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Chemistry Development – Rx For Execution

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Execution

Execution

There are some things in life that just plain go together and if they didn’t…well, life wouldn’t be the same. Imagine life without the following combinations:

  • thunder and lightning
  • macaroni and cheese
  • shoes and socks
  • soap and water
  • salt and pepper
  • questions and answers
  • songs and dance
  • bread and butter
  • and for my Grandma Clara’s sake, let’s not forget…spaghetti and meatballs!

For the Italian record, I’m really not sure how anyone could even think about having spaghetti without the meatballs? I realize I’m being light-hearted at the moment; however, there really is something dynamic that happens when things that are meant to be together actually do go together. And it’s the same way with any team. When a team of people are meant to be together and they actually do go together, great things can happen with such a team.

Chemistry Development Fosters A Spirit Of Team Unity

In Ecclesiastes 4:12 the Bible states, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” When a team has good chemistry, people on the team stand together which allows them to accomplish so much more than each person could accomplish working alone. In fact, the acronym for the word TEAM that I like best is – Together Everyone Achieves More. The truth is that good team chemistry fosters a spirit of team unity that can only be experienced when a team works together, stands together, and experiences team life together.

This does not necessarily mean that everyone must be clones of one another in order to have good team chemistry. No, I believe good team chemistry actually involves a sincere appreciation among team members for the real differences that each person brings to the team. God has created each of us with different strengths and talents which can be combined with other people’s strengths and talents to make any team stronger as a whole. Any wise investment advisor knows that there is strength in a diverse portfolio of investments. The same is true for a diverse portfolio of people on a team. Teams are strong because people on the team are created differently!

Developing Chemistry Maximizes Team Execution

In his writings, the apostle Paul teaches that the human body is the sum of all the individual parts of the body and that the body cannot function well without each different part working together. Specifically, in 1 Corinthians 12:14-21, he writes, “Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, ‘I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,’ that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,’ would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’ The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’

Imagine how difficult it would be to write a letter or enjoy a bowl of soup if a person was without a thumb. Although the thumb is only a small part of the body, it has tremendous value to the overall effective execution of the body. When considering all of the people roles on a team, do you know that each person on the team is like the thumb to the body in their value to the team? A team missing one person with the right strengths may experience great difficulty in effectively executing as a team. Understanding this truth, team members must exercise diligent care in finding the right people with the right strengths to fill all of the right roles on a team.

To help teams effectively do this, I recommend the following 4 practical steps to developing team chemistry:

  1. Include well-known personality and strength assessments in the talent recruitment process to gain a better understanding about the creative design of any new potential team member.
  2. Conduct team interviews in the talent recruitment process to gain greater insights about the interpersonal dynamics of any new potential team member.
  3. Assign an organizational mentor or sponsor to each new team member to assist them in learning the culture of the organization and help orient them to their role on the team.
  4. Host team talent reviews on an annual basis for senior leadership to assess each team member’s role clarity, organizational impact, and developmental opportunities within the organization.

Thank you and have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Chemistry Development – Rx For Execution Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint Chemistry Development – Rx For Execution, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

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