Raise Your Voice – Pray

Why does something tragic have to happen for us to bend our knees and pray to the God who created us? So many times over the years, when a tragedy hits, we find ourselves as a nation running to the church, a church; some place of worship where we find solace and peace, comfort and hope. Yet every day seemingly, we deceive ourselves into believing that we can do this thing called life without the guidance, peace, comfort and hope that we find in prayer in the midst of a tragedy. Are we morbid? I think not! But in a time and season of war and turbulence across this country and in the nations abroad, we miss the mark when we fail to reach out, to cry out, to fall on our knees and pray.prayer

  • When the planes crashed into the world trade center, people prayed for this country…
  • When bombs went off in Oklahoma people found their way to church and they prayed…
  • When airplanes crash or boats sink, or kids shoot kids in school people pray…
  • When people die, people pray…
  • When people find themselves facing surgery or get a life altering diagnosis from the doctor, people pray…
  • When the constitution for this country was written men and women wept and prayed…

What will it take for us, in this generation to decide that it is better to get ahead of the tragedies of life by bending? By falling on our knees and crying out to an unseen God? The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by name would humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore, or heal their land.”

This land we call America needs healing. We as people need healing. From sea to shining sea, we need healing. From coast to coast, city to city, home to home, person to person we need the Master’s touch. We need to turn from our wicked ways and allow God to heal us!

Won’t you decide to raise your voice today and every day, and cry out for this nation, for our leaders, for your family and give God the space to step into your life. Prayer changes things. You already know that. Raise your voice and pray blessing and peace over our nation. Raise your voice and pray grace over your city. Grab someone and pray for them, their situation and watch God be God and show up right in the midst! God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all you could ever ask or think, but you have to invite him in. How? Raise your voice and PRAY!

Advertisements

On A Personal Note – Remembering 9/11

Today is a day of remembrance for me. I will never forget turning my television on a little after 9:00 AM, back on September 11, 2001 and seeing the second plane fly into Tower Two of the World Trade Center. What a horrific day in our history. I was suppose to fly that day. I never made it to the airport. I knew we were under attack…9-11 Flag

So much changed that day for me and others in our nation! I knew that we would never be the same again, as a nation. We would never walk with the same swagger as Americans believing we were untouchable. We got touched on that terrible day 13 years ago.

Today, as I remember the almost 3,000 Americans who lost their life, their families, who I’m sure still grieve for them, I am hopeful for my unborn grandchildren who will have the privilege to be born in this nation. This is still the land of liberty and freedom! Today, 13 years later, I live in Baltimore, Maryland. This city is poised to celebrate the 200th year of the Star-Spangled Banner.

We should celebrate our National Anthem! We should sing loud and proud for those across the oceans to hear! We still have a voice and we are still are a nation to be reckoned with. We are proud and hopeful for better days.

The challenge in front of us 13 years later is that we have a deficit of leadership in this nation. Where are the men and women willing to posture them self for the sake of Biblical principles this nation was birthed on?

I will never forget the impact President George W. Bush had as he stood with the first responders and he declared that we would find those responsible. That took courage! You can’t teach that! You either have it or you don’t. It was a defining moment for him. He looked like a leader and he sounded like a leader as he stood on ground zero with that megaphone in his hand.

Mayor Guiliani represented his city well in all that he did in the hours, days and even years since September 11. “Rudy” was human in the midst of this terrible day. I saw his humanity, and yet their was undeniable strength and leadership that oozed out of him as he tried to comfort his great city.

Unfortunately, we have faltered in this country in our strength of leadership. We don’t look so formidable today across the various political skirmishes. We look weak as a nation. Why, because those who lead this country are weak. Where are the true leaders who stand for the values this nation was built on? Who are you following today?

If you believe you are a leader, or you wanna be a leader, dare I suggest you go back and study the lives of leaders who have gone before us. There are many who have paid a high price for the freedoms that you and I take for granted every day. We don’t have many examples today, but I am hopeful. Today, I remember the men, women and children who died 13 years ago! There have been many thousands who have died since that day, fighting to ensure we continue to be One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for All! I am hopeful….

Fear Will Kill Leadership

If you are a leader or you wanna be a leader but you operate from fear, it will kill your leadership. You are not a credible leader and you have no business leading others. By definition fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Another definition says it is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; As a leader, confidence is your friend, fear is your enemy. Even if you are uncertain about the decisions you make, fear has to be squashed or people can’t follow you.

I have begun another year of working with potential leaders. Training them for full-time ministry. Each one of my students has the opportunity to be the student leader throughout the nine-month program. Many of these new, young leaders are afraid. I’m not sure they are afraid to lead as much as they are afraid to make a mistake. They want to get it right if for no reason but to avoid correction from me. Yet correction is good. Especially when you are being trained. There is no safer place for a novice leader than to have a teacher, trainer, coach to guide them through the speed bumps and train wrecks that often come when you are leading, whether you are a novice or not.

As I remember all that happened 10 years ago on September 11th, one thing was sure, the leadership in this country had resolve and determination that we as a nation could move on and that our enemies would be more fearful of us in the days to come than the fear they evoked in this nation. I am not sure about the fear we evoke in our enemies 10 years later, however I am hopeful for us as a country. I remember when nations feared America. They had a healthy respect for us when I was younger. I’m not so sure today – but I am hopeful.

As a leader the best options you have when fear creeps in – and it will – is to face it head on. Running from it or pretending it is not real for you, won’t save you. Facing your fear means acknowledging that you are afraid. Where and how you acknowledge it is important. Those you are leading should rarely see it, if ever. Trusted advisers and mentors are my recommendation. What ever you do, don’t push it down. Fear like many other strong emotions has a way of leaking out of us when we least expect it. So face it and then move forward. Action is a great equalizer and has a great way of helping you move past fear. Do something…, Make a decision…, but don’t sit in your fear and allow it to paralyze you.

I tell my students, “I would rather you make a wrong decision, than no decision.” Do something, say something even if it is the wrong something. If it doesn’t work, move on to the next thing. That is leadership. I don’t always have the right answer. I don’t always know what I should do in any given situation I find myself, however I am very good at assessing my options, engaging others to give me input so that I can make an informed decision and keep things moving.

Fear of Failure is a huge obstacle for leaders, whether you are a novice or a seasoned leader. Failure isn’t fun, but it is a great place to gain experience so that you become more effective in your leadership. If you are afraid to fail, you can’t lead. Failure is part of the leadership diet. You aren’t going to get it right all the time, however, you can gain a ton of experience that goes a long way when leading people. Inventor Roger Von Oech says “the benefits from failures are twofold: first, if you do fail, you learn what doesn’t work; and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.”

For Novices or For Seasoned Leaders: When fear creeps in and you don’t know what to do – Take Action! Being paralyzed with fear will erode your credibility with those who are following you. Talk to a mentor or trusted adviser and then take action. If you stop moving because of fear it will be hard to begin again.

Lastly the Bible tells us that God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. A sound mind is the key. Most fear is born in our minds, whether the fear is real or imagined – it hijacks us none the less. Get your head in the right place, develop a clear plan of “attack” and move forward! Enjoy your journey!