Shavings for this week

For you who received the Wood Chip (request these above – Join the Prayer Network), here is more on my neighbor.  We see each other often.  A few days ago we got a nice layer of fresh snow.  So both of us were shoveling it out of our driveways and sidewalks.  We started talking and he suggested we make a snowman.  Yea, two “grown” men making a snowman.  I forgot to get a picture, but it ended up being about six feet tall and looked more like a monument (bad one) of some kind.  Well, it gave us a chance to just chat and conversation moved to faith.  Yesterday we decided to take a walk around our neighborhood.  I ended up sharing with him about my skiing accident my senior year of high school.  He was shocked at how much “I” had overcome and was told by doctors that wouldn’t be possible and yet I do them still today.  It was so wonderful how he interjected that my faith must have had something to do with my recovery.  The truth is that God had done the overcoming and even now, nearly 30 years later, God is still getting the glory as I share the story.  Please pray for my neighbor as I can see God working in him.

Love relationship with God – the current shavings of my heart.  As I have been asking God what His church is to be, the Inter-National Church of Wroclaw, He keeps leading me to the key being loving Him.  I was prayer walking last week and asking Him how He wanted to reach the tens of thousands of people in the apartments, and I sensed Him saying by them seeing His love in His children.  My next question was – how exactly?  I believe He confirmed once again His answer of a daily personal relationship with Him.  Not a “religious” quiet time, but a daily time with Abba out of a broken heart seeking Him.  I encourage – yea challenge – you to die to yourself every day so that He can lead you to seek Himself with all of His power working in you.  He expects His children to move from knowing we need Him every moment of every day, to living it according to His will.  But I am maybe the only one that needed to hear this message and all of you have a relationship with God that is so dynamic that others see Jesus when they see you.

I must stop for now, but will continue to share my heart and journey even if it is only for me to hear.

Prayer requests:
Planning for the new Sunday Bible study
Teachers at the language school
Denise, teaching, and her trip next week
Praise & Prayer this coming Sunday night
God’s will to be done!

Thanks for your prayers.

Special part 1 – Spiritual Leadership, Wood Shavings

Lessons on Leadership, part 1
Special Wood Shavings

I continue to discover that leadership is more of an art than a science.  Add to this the element of a spiritual context and it even gets more challenging, I think?  (It is likely that I am making it all more complicated than it really is – I have a tendency to do this with nearly everything.)  For example in John 13 Jesus washes the feet of the disciples and tells them to do likewise.

For the last 30 plus years I have been a leader in various ways.  The first situation I remember is when I gathered some of my junior high friends to do cleanup at construction sites where my dad worked.  Early in high school I was elected to lead an informal, which grew into a formal youth group.  At the time I really didn’t think much about the process of leadership or efficiency or stuff like that, I just liked to do stuff with other people.  One of the lessons from the recent training is that I generally don’t do stuff unless it is with others.

Since those high school years there have been a variety of leadership roles from project manager of a production class in college to starting a new ministry in Russia.  What continues to baffle me is why people “let” me lead.  Generally speaking I do not have some key natural abilities for productive leadership.  I realize this sounds negative, but it isn’t to me.  God has, I believe strongly, called me to be a spiritual leader!  So now more than ever I am seeking God’s heart, through prayer and study, for His leadership of me.  My greatest desire is to become what God designed me to be!

It is likely people have chosen me to lead in the past is because I like the “spotlight” a bit and I like a challenge among other things.  My hope and prayer is that these traits grow so that I truly become a Godly leader.  The training confirmed that I too often venture into leadership without all the “tools” necessary to be successful.  I have a lot to learn.

Something also confirmed about me is that I consistently like change!  It is said that the only thing consistent is change.  I guess this is convenient for me since I like it so much.  Before going any farther though about consistency I must state the fact (often assumed and therefore under respected in my opinion) that God is the ONLY consistency in all of existence.

Now back to the issue of liking change.  I tend to be very adaptable and good at naturally going with the flow.  I have been characterized as being a – chameleon.  As a chameleon I adapt to my surroundings, not that I try to hide.  The danger with having these traits is that I can easily be too adaptable and go too much with the flow.  I am learning that a few of the greatest factors related to change are: truth, facts and convictions.  This is terribly inconvenient since I enjoy most “feeling” my way through nearly everything.  Feeling in this regard is more related to intuition and regular adjustment (change), which may or may not align with the truth and facts.  The nature of using intuition is antithetical to convictions.  (But I really didn’t want to write that last statement and want to defend otherwise.)

I will stop for now, you might already think I was really done long ago.  I would love feedback – good, bad, or ugly (but please share the bad and ugly with kindness).

But wait, there is more.  Hahah.  The following are my first impressions and intuition.  What do you think?  What do you think God thinks about these topics?

My definition of a spiritual leader and leadership:

A spiritual leader is a man or woman who: 1. is in the lifelong process of loving God in every way and passing it on to the next generation (Shema, Deut. 6:4-9), 2. constantly seeks to obediently follow Jesus, 3. is empowered by the Holy Spirit, 4. is informed by the Bible, and 5. is motivated by the desire to glorify God.  The natural and progressive result is a person whom God uses to lead others to Himself!  This person is a disciple maker (Matthew 28:18-20).  Only Jesus was and is a perfect Spiritual Leader, Disciple Maker.

Spiritual leadership is the process of God using a spiritual leader to lead (encourage, influence, guide, mentor, ?) others to be Jesus’ disciple makers.  This is a process of God’s design and will.  It is God’s Will – God’s Way (a phrase I believe God gave me some years ago).  It is about BEING who and what God made us to BE and from that flows the doing.

Key verses: Deut 6:4-9, Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 6:40, (I need to add lots more)

Wood Shavings

So what else to update?  Ah, yes, here are some things.

You may be wondering about previous people I have encouraged you to pray for: Edyta, Greg, Bartek, Ola and more.  Please keep praying for those people, but sadly God has not given me contact with them for some time.  Edyta and Greg left the guy for example and for a little while I will also not be at the gym (trying to get a different membership arranged).  I am also concerned that Ola is no longer employed at our local grocery store.  But I will keep praying for them and looking for ways to reconnect.  Lord willing I will soon have a new crop of contacts to share with you.

We had seven of us at the Prayer & Praise on Sunday.  Two families were represented.  Sadly this is not a great time to meet for many other families, but God continues to challenge us to persevere.  Please pray for two more families to join us, at the moment I have no names to give you.

I have a goal to write a special Wood Shavings (WS) in the near future about our training in Prague.  We learned a lot and some of it I want to share and hopefully it will be encouraging.  But in general it was challenging – very challenging.  I will let you know when I have posted the special WS.

I asked for prayer in the Wood Chip for the youth group this week.  I don’t know much about their time, but my prayer is that they will all return with a deeper passion for the Lord.  Please also join me in praying for the leaders, that their love for the Lord will be contagious.

I think I shared before the Denise and I feel led to start a Sunday morning Bible study program for internationals.  If I didn’t, oops, and I am doing it now.  I am confident we are to work out the details this month, a month later than originally intended, and hopefully start the first Sunday in March.  We intend to start with groups for children, youth, and adults.  At this point we need prayer in the areas of: meeting space, leaders, materials, and people to join the studies.

Enough for now, thanks for praying.

Wood Chip

Hi from fickle weather Wroclaw.  Today I woke to snow that went to sun, then overcast to now a mix.  I think winter is still winning the battle here, but not for too much longer.  Thankfully we are able to enjoy the shifts from the comfort of our apartment.  We truly are blesses so very much.  Sometimes it is good to slow down and acknowledge from where the blessings come.  Thank you Lord for a worm place to live!

I think last week took more out of Denise and I than expected.  We both feel a bit drained and decided to take it extra easy this week.  Denise does not have teaching this week so it should be a bit like vacation for her.  But when there is more time we tend to fill it will getting together – our very reason for being here.  So please pray for wisdom and renewed energy this week.

Lots more to update that you can find in the Wood Shavings.

Prayer request:
Strength and rejuvenation for Denise and I
The 1st Baptist Wroclaw youth group on a ski retreat
Meetings this week with ministry partners
Planning for Sunday morning Bible studies in English

Thanks for praying.