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The Book of Acts #36: You Cannot Worship a God You Don’t Know

Can you really follow a God that you don’t know? Just as Paul saw an altar “to an unknown god” on his missionary journeys, you too could be trying to follow God without knowing about him. This message will get your spiritual walk back on track and point you in the right direction to truly know whom God is!

OP-ED: What the First Thanksgiving Can Teach A Divided America

AS PUBLISHED IN FOX NEWS, NOVEMBER 18, 2017: In November 1621, the American holiday we now know as Thanksgiving began with an unprecedented cornucopia of food and fellowship marked by genuine . . . thanksgiving. And for good reason.

About 102 Pilgrims had endured a 66-day voyage from England across the Atlantic to Massachusetts aboard the Mayflower the year before. They were guided by a God-given appetite for unhindered religious freedom.

Roughly half the Pilgrims had died of disease and malnutrition by the time the survivors sat down for the meal to give thanksgiving with Native Americans. The gathering was more than unlikely. It was a genuine miracle – a miracle that Americans would benefit to remember on Thanksgiving this year and beyond.

America’s current course – marked by division, hatred and selfishness – is completely out of alignment with the brick and mortar set by the Pilgrims and Native Americans. Today we need a modern miracle – a miracle that requires the seemingly contradictory component of human intentionality.

CLICK HERE TO READ IT ON FOX NEWS

The Native Americans and Pilgrims had their share of huge challenges to overcome. But overcome them they did – setting an example for Americans today.

If these two groups were able to sit down together at a table – despite differences in language, culture, beliefs, appearance and even basic tastes in food – then we can certainly do the same today with friends and family, and with those who may have different beliefs than we do.

The unlikely unity between the Native Americans and the Pilgrims seems sadly bizarre to so many of us today. But if we are willing, there are lessons here for us.

The quest for freedom and fellowship is part of human DNA. A re-embracing of this truth with a commitment to celebrating it could be the very thing that truly makes America stronger together and great.

This Thanksgiving, we have a chance to resurrect the spirit of the first celebration, not just during the meal, but far beyond. The meal can be the symbolic launching pad for a perpetual repeat of the miracle that took place almost 400 years ago.

What if we did more on this Thanksgiving than merely thank God for the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberries? What if we made this Thanksgiving a national reset and returned to the spirit of the first feast?

What if we each looked for ways to get America back on track, to restore her to her long-lost luster that emulated thankfulness, generosity and diversity? Why, we’d have the kind of America that each of us, deep down, truly longs for. In the end, it’s also the only America that really works.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” says Proverbs 13:12. Regardless of your belief in the Bible, a soul would be hard-pressed to prove that our nation is whole and healthy. The hope for American unity, which is deferred at this juncture, has indeed weakened our national heart.

Each of us longs for the miraculous in the everyday grind of life. It’s time to bring the miraculous back as America’s new normal. If that seems puzzling, think more deeply and the fog will lift.

This Thanksgiving is our chance. It’s America’s chance to rediscover that strength is possible through diversity – if we each come to the table with a trait that seems so foreign to America these days, but is far from impossible to muster.

This was the trait that brought people of different ethnicities and backgrounds together for an unforgettable meal that did far more than fill bellies. It forged the fabric that became America.

The trait is humility, and it’s what brings people together. It’s the essential ingredient that makes unity possible. If you don’t believe this, you just may be among the many who think Thanksgiving is simply about eating until we have to unbuckle our belts. 

What can you do to make the spirit of Thanksgiving a growing trait of your life every day of the year? You can start by considering this coming Thanksgiving as the re-launch of you. You can begin to look for common ground between you and others, rather than the differences

Look for things you can compliment rather than criticize. Recognize that there is a God-given reason why each of us has two ears and one mouth – to listen, at a heart level, twice as much as we speak.

Will listening make our differences go away? Of course not – but you just may find that all of life will begin to be more harmonious and enjoyable.

An attitude of gratitude, and some humility, goes a long, long way to making all of life much, much better. If you begin to incorporate these simple things into your life, this Thanksgiving will be the start of the miracle you’ve been searching for.

Red, yellow, black, brown and white, we are all precious in God’s sight. This Thanksgiving is a chance for each of us to be part of a fresh miracle – one that our nation needs, big time, and which each of us can fire up the spark. We really can sit down at a table, together – this Thanksgiving and beyond – if only we are humble enough to do so.

Michael Anthony, CourageMatters.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I publish my blogs here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy, chime in.

My first book, to be published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. If you want to learn more about me, just click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or click here to explore the potential of having me speak to your group.

If you like solid Bible teaching and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate the Courage Matters App, available on iTunes and Google Play. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GenesisYork.com— and be sure to introduce yourself.

Fox News Op-Ed: What the First Thanksgiving Can Teach a Divided America

Fox News Op-Ed: What the First Thanksgiving Can Teach a Divided America

AS PUBLISHED IN FOX NEWS, NOVEMBER 18, 2017: In November 1621, the American holiday we now know as Thanksgiving began with an unprecedented cornucopia of food and fellowship marked by genuine . . . thanksgiving. And for good reason.

About 102 Pilgrims had endured a 66-day voyage from England across the Atlantic to Massachusetts aboard the Mayflower the year before. They were guided by a God-given appetite for unhindered religious freedom.

Roughly half the Pilgrims had died of disease and malnutrition by the time the survivors sat down for the meal to give thanksgiving with Native Americans. The gathering was more than unlikely. It was a genuine miracle – a miracle that Americans would benefit to remember on Thanksgiving this year and beyond.

America’s current course – marked by division, hatred and selfishness – is completely out of alignment with the brick and mortar set by the Pilgrims and Native Americans. Today we need a modern miracle – a miracle that requires the seemingly contradictory component of human intentionality.

CLICK HERE TO READ IT ON FOX NEWS

The Native Americans and Pilgrims had their share of huge challenges to overcome. But overcome them they did – setting an example for Americans today.

If these two groups were able to sit down together at a table – despite differences in language, culture, beliefs, appearance and even basic tastes in food – then we can certainly do the same today with friends and family, and with those who may have different beliefs than we do.

The unlikely unity between the Native Americans and the Pilgrims seems sadly bizarre to so many of us today. But if we are willing, there are lessons here for us.

The quest for freedom and fellowship is part of human DNA. A re-embracing of this truth with a commitment to celebrating it could be the very thing that truly makes America stronger together and great.

This Thanksgiving, we have a chance to resurrect the spirit of the first celebration, not just during the meal, but far beyond. The meal can be the symbolic launching pad for a perpetual repeat of the miracle that took place almost 400 years ago.

What if we did more on this Thanksgiving than merely thank God for the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberries? What if we made this Thanksgiving a national reset and returned to the spirit of the first feast?

What if we each looked for ways to get America back on track, to restore her to her long-lost luster that emulated thankfulness, generosity and diversity? Why, we’d have the kind of America that each of us, deep down, truly longs for. In the end, it’s also the only America that really works.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” says Proverbs 13:12. Regardless of your belief in the Bible, a soul would be hard-pressed to prove that our nation is whole and healthy. The hope for American unity, which is deferred at this juncture, has indeed weakened our national heart.

Each of us longs for the miraculous in the everyday grind of life. It’s time to bring the miraculous back as America’s new normal. If that seems puzzling, think more deeply and the fog will lift.

This Thanksgiving is our chance. It’s America’s chance to rediscover that strength is possible through diversity – if we each come to the table with a trait that seems so foreign to America these days, but is far from impossible to muster.

This was the trait that brought people of different ethnicities and backgrounds together for an unforgettable meal that did far more than fill bellies. It forged the fabric that became America.

The trait is humility, and it’s what brings people together. It’s the essential ingredient that makes unity possible. If you don’t believe this, you just may be among the many who think Thanksgiving is simply about eating until we have to unbuckle our belts. 

What can you do to make the spirit of Thanksgiving a growing trait of your life every day of the year? You can start by considering this coming Thanksgiving as the re-launch of you. You can begin to look for common ground between you and others, rather than the differences

Look for things you can compliment rather than criticize. Recognize that there is a God-given reason why each of us has two ears and one mouth – to listen, at a heart level, twice as much as we speak.

Will listening make our differences go away? Of course not – but you just may find that all of life will begin to be more harmonious and enjoyable.

An attitude of gratitude, and some humility, goes a long, long way to making all of life much, much better. If you begin to incorporate these simple things into your life, this Thanksgiving will be the start of the miracle you’ve been searching for.

Red, yellow, black, brown and white, we are all precious in God’s sight. This Thanksgiving is a chance for each of us to be part of a fresh miracle – one that our nation needs, big time, and which each of us can fire up the spark. We really can sit down at a table, together – this Thanksgiving and beyond – if only we are humble enough to do so.

Michael Anthony, CourageMatters.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I publish my blogs here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy, chime in.

My first book, to be published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. If you want to learn more about me, just click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or click here to explore the potential of having me speak to your group.

If you like solid Bible teaching and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate the Courage Matters App, available on iTunes and Google Play. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GenesisYork.com— and be sure to introduce yourself.

The Book of Acts #35: Entrusting Your Child To God

Parents and guardians, you absolutely can entrust your child to God. In the process, it’s your responsibility to protect them from filth. This powerful message will help all of us have a deeper appreciation for young adults – and the fact that forgiveness and salvation are only possible through faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation cannot be earned. It’s a gift from almighty God.

Leadership Lessons: Why You MUST Address Your Weakest Link

Leadership Lessons: Why You MUST Address Your Weakest Link

If you’ve been on a team, whether at work or in a service organization like a church, you’ve seen it. And if your leaders don’t address it, you’re going to continue to see it. I’d like to help you consider why you must address your team’s weakest link. If you don’t, the weakest link will address your team.

When a team is first assembled, and the tasks initially discussed, people are excited and there is lots of positive energy eminating from nearly everyone. Unity seems evident as you discuss goals and the advancement of the company/church vision. But as time passes, it becomes clear that one or more team members aren’t giving it their all — and the entire team begins to suffer. The organization’s goals may be met — but at a significantly slower pace and with much less positive impact than they would have otherwise. The company/church vision will suffer (it may even end up being something that is only written on paper and discussed in meetings, not fulfilled). 

ARE YOU ALLOWING ONE PERSON ON YOUR TEAM TO WEAKEN EVERYTHING?

All of this can be for no other reason than one or two members of a team not giving their all. What’s a leader to do? Your decision will determine the success of the team — and if your team fails, your organization will suffer. 

NON PROFIT NONSENSE
Before we move on, let me say this about church leadership and teams before I type another period: There is this unwritten assumption that churches and other non-profit organizations should accept lower standards than for-profit organizations because so much of what they do depends upon volunteers. People who aren’t paid, it’s thought, can’t possibly be as motivated as those who get a paycheck for their efforts. In reality, the exact opposite should be considered: until someone, whether a volunteer or employee, is motivated by more than mere money, they haven’t begun to give their very best.

Is mere money your greatest motivation? Do you, and the people on your team, understand that work is actually worship?

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Money cannot rightly be our highest motivation for anything because it is temporal. Utlimately, what we do is an act of worship that reflects our attitude toward God — for better or worse. What’s your worship looking like these days? Do the people on your team(s) know that they aren’t merely working, but worshipping? It simply comes down to the quality and passion of our worship. If that’s addressed, the work will take care of itself.

What is your work ethic telling others about your attitude toward God? Is he worthy of your best? Does he motivate you, and if so, to what extent? Are you merely working for money, or is honoring God in all you do the bedrock of whatever you set out to achieve? Do the people on your team understand that work is, ultimately, worship?

TIME TO TAKE ACTION
What’s a leader to do? What are team players to do? Here are a few things to ponder and implement so that your team(s) thrive:

IS MERE MONEY YOUR GREATEST MOTIVATION ON HOW YOU WORK? IF SO, YOU’RE MISSING THE POINT.

1. Exchange a work mentality for a worship mentality. If money is your greatest motivation, you haven’t begun to reach your greatest potential. If you’re the leader, help the people on your team(s) understand this. It should inspire them. But don’t think that giving them a rousing pep talk once will solve the motivation issue. This is something you’ll have to revisit with them again and again and again. Focus on grasping this yourself, often, first. Then, teach it to your team(s). 

2. Help those who are not giving their all, but are capable of doing better, realize that they are holding everyone else back. It’s outright wrong for someone who can do better

DO ALL YOU CAN TO INSPIRE PEOPLE TO GIVE THEIR ALL. THE SUCCESS OF YOUR TEAM AND ORGANIZATION DEPENDS ON EVERY INDIVIDUAL SUCCEEDING.

to be allowed to function at a sub-par level when their performance is hindering everyone else. God has called you to make the most of your life — the only life you’ll get this side of eternity. We need to help people who don’t understand that laziness and sub-par performance is not just a personal issue for them. It’s an issue that affects the ability of others to reach their God-given potential.

 

One day, we’re all going to give an account of ourselves before God — but have you ever stopped to think that the failure to give God your best could actually be hindering others from reaching their greatest potential for God? (I feel convicted even writing that, but it’s true and it’s motivating).

You and your people need to understand that the person who isn’t giving their all is hindering the strength, productivity, positivity and success of everyone else on the team and organization. Allowing that to continue is nothing other than irresponsible, poor leadership.

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM? JUST BECAUSE OTHERS WON’T SAY SOMETHING DOESN’T MEAN THEY DON’T SEE IT. IT’S THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LEADER TO ADDRESS THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.

3. Stop pretending other people on the team (and in the organization) don’t see the weakest link. In truth, they often do, but won’t always say so. If you’re a leader, one of your responsibilities is to address the elephant in the room that everyone sees but won’t acknowledge. When a leader is mum about a team member’s poor performance, he or she invites and nurtures team and organizational dysfunction. You’re allowing your team or organization to be undermined from the inside out.

The failure of a leader to address poor performance ends up sending the message, “It’s alright. What we do isn’t really important after all. That talk about giving our best? Well, we didn’t really mean it. Our vision? It’s not as vital as we’ve all been kidding ourselves.” It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But leadership that settled for mediocrity (or worse) is leadership that invites and nurtures missed potential as a matter of habit.

Get your head out of your bucket. Address poor performance in team members so they rise to their greatest potential. When they rise, the whole team will move forward. If they don’t, the whole team will suffer.

ARE YOU LEADING AS YOU SHOULD? HAVE YOU BECOME THE WEAKEST LINK ON YOUR TEAM, HOLDING BACK YOUR COMPANY, CHURCH OR GROUP? WHAT CAN YOU DO TO GIVE YOUR ALL SO THAT YOU AND YOUR TEAM(S) SUCCEED?

Lost your motivation to give your all? Consider Colossians 3:17 (NIV): “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Michael Anthony, CourageMatters.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I publish my blogs here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy, chime in.

My first book, to be published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. If you want to learn more about me, just click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or click here to explore the potential of having me speak to your group.

If you like solid Bible teaching and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate the Courage Matters App, available on iTunes and Google Play. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GenesisYork.com— and be sure to introduce yourself.

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