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Rahab was Rehabbed

Abilene North City

If the city of JERICHO had a yearbook, Rahab probably would have been voted “least likely to be saved”… well, that or “most popular!”

Rahab was young, a Canaanite, and a woman, which meant she was someone’s property. She was also perceptive, intelligent and well informed, AND she was a prostitute…not a hostess or tavern keeper as some theologians have tried to argue…NO…she sold her body to men for money. In fact, this designation stuck with her even after she was saved from destruction. The writer of Hebrews referred her as “the prostitute Rahab” (11:31) and James refers to her as “Rahab the prostitute” (2:25).

But, Rahab was Rehabbed!

She was redeemed! She went from HARLOT to HERO! She believed in God AND acted on what she believed. She followed the instructions the spies gave to her, immediately. She hung a scarlet rope out of her window. Simple, yet powerful. But it changed everything for her and her family. 

  • Rahab became the FIRST recorded Gentile convert.
  • Rahab married Salmon, one of the two spies whose life she saved. Rahab and Salmon had a son named Boaz…and Boaz married Ruth.
  • Rahab is listed in the genealogy of Jesus as one of the great-great-great-great (you get the picture) grandmothers of Jesus. She is one of only four women mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus’ family; three of them were adulterers. Women were typically NOT included in genealogies. (Matthew 1:5)
  • Rahab’s name is included in among the great company of magnificent examples of faith — Moses, Abraham, Sarah, Noah, and Joseph. (Hebrews 11:31) 
  • Rahab is a supreme example of the power of putting faith into practice. (James 2:25) 

God is in the business of redeeming people

In my experience I’ve noticed that God doesn’t redeem someone to impress others; he redeems us because he loves us and wants us to be useful for the purpose for which he created us in the first place. It’s easy to discount someone, isn’t it? Had you met Rahab you might have said, (under your breath) “I think she still needs a little work!” “Clearly, God isn’t done with her yet.”

If you want divine results then follow her example by putting your faith to work. Put your actions where your faith is.  Like it or not, the truth of our words is proven by the work of our life! We can say anything we like, but what we really are is proven by what we do! A life that belongs to Jesus will be a life that wants to be involved in the things of God! The fruit of your life proves the root of your life!

Scriptures: Joshua 2:1-24, 6:17, 22-25; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25

(Photo Cred: Beth Holland, on a rooftop in Abilene, Texas, 2016)

 

 

 

 

 

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Time Escapes

ashleys-painting-time-escapes

“Time Escapes” by Ashley Holland, Acrylic on Canvas

My dad was a preacher and my role model.  One of the things he modeled to me was coming up with a theme for the coming year.  This has proven to be a great habit that keeps time from becoming elusive and escaping.  For example, “Knees to the Floor in ’74” was one of dad’s themes.  He would then use that as the theme of our annual New Year’s Eve youth rally in Winslow, Arizona, where I grew up during elementary and middle school, to kick-start the New Year.  Then for the entirety of 1974 he focused on understanding and integrating prayer into his teaching and daily life.  It was a lot of fun even if at times a bit cheesy.  I have tried to follow his example of having a theme each year in my own life, albeit without his flare for rhyming.

Write Your Personal Theme for 2017

My primary thought for 2016 has been Solomon’s wisdom:  “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)  That wisdom has captured my imagination because it means that the most important leadership tool I have is something other than my experience, knowledge, skill or network.  Each of those qualities matter for sure, but the more important and lasting concern is the health of my heart because that is the beginning point of everything else in my life.  I encourage you to write down your personal theme for 2017 which might be a word or scripture or quote.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”― Soren Kierkegaard

Think New Thoughts 

Let your thoughts be guided by your theme for 2017. According to Solomon, the beginning point for a new life is a new heart!  It stands to reason that when you learn to think in a new way, that you will start to live in a new way.  A person’s mindset is the beginning point for a new life.  Our mindset is the sum of our beliefs and thoughts.  Having a theme is helpful because it helps you to become an observer of yourself.  For example, does what you say and do reflect your new thoughts?

Be You 

Another reason I have focused on that verse is that what I feel and think in my heart is who I truly am.  That is what I need to pay attention to.  I am not what I am outwardly but what I am inwardly.  I’m not necessarily who others think I am but rather who I am in my heart.  I may put on a good face for others to see, but that is not necessarily who I am.  I am what I think, say and do in private.  Haven’t you noticed that what is private today often becomes public tomorrow?  And so, I’ve paid close attention this past year to the set point of my heart.  When necessary, I’ve worked to reset my heart in the same way that we reset the thermostat in our homes.  The temperature in our homes always returns to the set point.  That’s always been the case for God’s people.  God always does his part.  He just needs us to do our part by guarding our heart.

As 2016 comes to a close and a new year is on the horizon, let’s guard our hearts, hope in the Lord, enjoy the journey, plan well, apply wisdom and see what good things the Lord provides in 2017.

https://danholland2819.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/want-to-make-a-difference/

 

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12 Helpful Guidelines for Finding a Job

job search check list03If you’re looking for a new job then I don’t have to tell you how nerve-racking the process can be. While looking through some notes recently I came across this checklist which I developed while job hunting. I thought it might be helpful to someone else, so here it is. While this list may not be everything you need, at least it will get you started down the right path.

1. Make an exhaustive list of possible opportunities

Don’t overthink it … start a running list … keep building it …whenever you think of a possible opportunity add it to your list immediately. To be successful you’ll first need to be successful in landing a job. 

2. Know the length of your runway

I’ll never forget meeting with Jim Griffith at Starbucks in Celebration, Florida. We were meeting beacuse I was planning to start a church and needed his professional guidance. After formal introductions his first question was: “Are you independently wealthy?” He wasn’t smiling. He asked because in order to give me the best advice for moving forward, he needed to know how much time I had until the money ran out. Don’t run out of financial runway and end up crashing. Sometimes it’s just necessary to work at something while you are looking for the next job or client. Don’t concern yourself with what others may think, unless their going to support your habit of living in-doors and eating. 

3. Write an effective, clear resume (check online for help)

Start with brainstorming all the jobs/clients you’ve had and put them in order. Under each make a list of accomplishments and responsibilities. Don’t overlook the value of inviting others to be part of the brainstorming process. Choose active, powerful, and emotional words over passive, overused, throw-away words. If needed ask for someone to help you lay out the information in a clear format. 

4. Write a strong cover letter

Customize it, 3-4 paragraphs including introduction, hit the highlights of your career, and let them know when they can expect a follow up call or email from you…usually within one week. When possible send your resume to someone specifically as opposed to a general email beacuse you’ll have a better chance at getting looked at.

5. For public positions include a photograph and links to videos or blogs in the cover letter

Make it easy for your prospective employer to learn about you. 

6. Send your customized resume

Include full address and email … make it simple to contact you. Whenever possible send the resume to a person rather than a general mailbox or company because a person will decide to hire you, not a company. Have someone proofread everything for grammar, spelling, and overall accuracy.

7. Throw a lot of bait in the water 

Finding the new opportunity IS your job … or it is your second job, if you already have a full-time job … work the process … no one is going to do this for you.

8. Keep accurate records

Where did you send a resume? When did you send it? Who did you talk to? When did you talk to them? What is your next step?

9. Follow up when you said you would

10. Build an arsenal of references 

Don’t put references on resume’. Do not underestimate the influence of someone else speaking on your behalf. Deal with references at the interview, if possible. Tailor references for the specific job.

11. Be relaxed in the interview 

Dress sharply. Don’t be careless with your poster (slouchy), use of language, and interjection of humor. Even as you wait use good poster and kindly acknowledge others in the room. As you enter the room look the interviewer in the eyes, give a firm handshake and smile

12. Trust God to deliver in his time

Work as though it all depends on you; pray as though it all depends on God. Above all, as you work through this process and build your own list, remember to pray. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

(Special thanks to Vicky Mixson, Chief Communications Officer at Wycliffe, for her guidance and professional council.)

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

4 Steps to Writing Effective Goals

Hightower Wedding_thinking 04Do you have a vision of the next 365 days? Maybe you have vision beyond that!

Imagine that one year from today you are sitting comfortably in front of a fire talking with your wife, husband or friend and you make this statement: “This has been the best year of my life.” What would make you say that? Why is that statement true? What would have to happen between now and then in order for that statement to be true?

A vision is a ‘tomorrow statement’ made today. Yet all too often, vision gets dusty because it remains in the realm of dreams or worse…delusions. However, this doesn’t have to be true for you. You can move straight to your vision of the future if you are willing to set goals today.

Goals with clearly defined steps move you toward a desired future.

Effective goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Compatible. Or to say it another way effective goals S.M.A.C.!

A goal must be SPECIFIC

What is your goal? In order to accomplish your goal first break it down into achievable steps. Now turn those steps into the simplest possible tasks. Finally, assign each task to what a Daily Action List.

A goal must be MEASURABLE

In order to accomplish a goal it will need to be assigned a time limit. Have you set clear and specific deadlines for your goals? DO NOT SKIP THIS: In order to be effective a goal must be written down and include due dates. A goal that is not written down is just a dream.

A goal must be ACHIEVABLE 

Be realistic. If you find it difficult to hold down a job you probably should not make it your goal to be a millionaire this year. That would be delusional. Are your goals realistically doable with the time and resources available? Dream within the context of your life and not someone else’s life. In other words, avoid the temptation to measure yourself against someone else.

A goal must be COMPATIBLE… 

…with other goals and highest truths in your life. Is what really matters most to you reflected in your goals? Why is this goal important to you? What motivates you to want to achieve the goal? A scripture? A person? A belief? The problem is not that there are so many options. It may be just as simple as this: you have lost the ability to choose wisely. More choices just mean more choices. But the ability to choose wisely means moving into your best year ever.

Review your goals daily. In fact, rewrite them every day. Years ago I wrote: “There is so much to fill our time that the one who has the greatest desire to achieve the goal will accomplish it because they will fill their time with meaningful activity.” I still believe that to be true because effective goals lead to meaningful activity; and meaningful activity reflects the highest principles and deepest truths of your life.

As you write your goals consider this advice from SOLOMON.

The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. (Pr. 21:5)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Pr. 3:5-6)

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. (Pr. 3:7-8)

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. (Pr. 3:9-10)

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

4 Steps to a Winning Team

WINS pic
What is your leadership plan? Your systems are perfectly designed to get the results that you are currently getting.

Here’s an idea that came from our Lead pastor Justin Miller. Actually the skeleton comes from him…I’ve taken liberty to add some additional thoughts. It’s a basic leadership lesson on how to get WINS as a leader. And this is easily applicable to parents or presidents.

 

“W” is for WHO?

Who will lead? Do you have the best person possible to lead? have you settled for a warm body to fill the spot or did you find a leader of leaders?What are the expected outcomes? When are they expected to have results? Leaders lead best when they are most clear about where they are leading. How will they know if they’ve won the game? Jesus spent the night in prayer before he chose the twelve disciples. A lot of people followed him…only a hand full would go the distance with him. None were perfect. One betrayed him, not because he didn’t love him, but because he loved himself more…greed does that to a person.

“I” is for INTENTIONAL.

The more deliberate and calculated you are the better those you lead can lead. Resist the temptation of saying silly things such as “God’s in control” when the truth may be that you are using that as a cover-up for ineffective leadership. Don’t merely hope for the best, plan for the best? Choose your activity wisely over merely what will make you look busy. When possible, choose the clearly defined roadmap over a lot of good ideas that are all over the map. Clarity about your destination makes a lot of decisions for you. Work backwards from your desired result. One last thing: constantly look for individuals who are “highly relational-leader of leaders”.

“N” is for NEXT Step

What is the Next Step? This is the time to determine where you are in the journey. Clarify what the next step is. Or perhaps you need to take a little different approach and describe the Next Stage – which implies a larger piece of the pie. Just make sure that there are next steps for everyone. Are there clear next steps for everyone and does my team know them? Work back from the desired outcome.

“S” is for STORIES.

Sharing stories is how your organization can clarify and transfer your values and truth to others. in fact stories are the next best thing to actually experiencing an event. Stories shape culture. Experience is preferable over a story. However, the next best thing to experience is a well told true story that captivates a person’s attention and imagination and helps them to paint themselves into it. The well crafted story is the single most powerful tool for bringing about change. It’s not the only thing, but next to first-person experience it is most effective. Don’t just tell facts…tell stories. Stories capture the heart.

In the end, we don’t want to be busy, we want to be effective. I want my life to count.

So that’s the deal…Now go lead.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Breakthrough

As I consider my experience in Taekwondo the thing that stands out to me most is that in both Taekwondo and life we should always be willing to give a little more than might be required or expected. In order to do that you may need to learn to concentrate on what you know with your mind rather than what you see with your eyes. Let me explain.

taekwondo break Micah 2014

Action Photography by Micah Holland

One of the first real tests that a martial artist faces is the test of breaking a board. Each time a student begins to learn how to break a board we instruct them to kick beyond the board or to kick through the board. To help him or her grasp this concept we remove the board so that the student is able to visualize the point to which they should kick or strike. The goal of course is for them to concentrate their focus, energy, power and aim beyond the fictitious barrier.

Most students do well in this exercise. Then comes the actual test. Everything changes the moment that they see an actual board standing in the way. At that point something happens in the mind of the student. Rather than concentrating on kicking beyond the board their full attention is captured and placed on the board itself. The board is suddenly obstructing their perfect view of their goal. What seemed possible now feels impossible. 

Why does that happen? Why will a student agree to concentrate kicking to one point, practice kicking to that point and then suddenly and somewhat unconsciously completely lose sight of their goal? Why do they suddenly become in danger of fixating on the board? Is it that the student doesn’t trust their instructor? I think the explanation is a rather simple one. This change of focus happens because the board is real. Breaking the board was a nice goal and thought but actually breaking through the board is another matter entirely. What the student knows in their mind and believes in their heart is hijacked by what they see with their eyes. They believe their instructor, but then they begin to think and that is the problem. It seems that the more they think about the board the more they stop believing they can actually break through the board.

Action Photography by CI Roy Reid

That is a powerful lesson in life itself. You may know that there is more then what you might be able to see in this life and so you make your goal to live with faith, courage and determination. Yet, sometimes whenever you face physical, relational or financial obstacles (to name a few) hope, faith and joy can suddenly be hidden from sight. And then what happens? You focus on the problem rather than beyond the problem to the solution. You focus on what may become a source of pain rather than the joy that lies just beyond it. In some instances you may find that you have been fixated on the “board” in your life for years!

Now, because you have lost sight of the goal, you may continually and courageously kick against the very real obstacle and it hurts again and again. Why are we suddenly afraid of the trouble we face? While there is no simple answer I would like to submit that it might simply be due to a loss of sight. It seems to me that in the same way that a student might be suddenly afraid of seeing the board, although he or she knew that there would be a board to break, that we can suddenly be afraid in life.

We fear the board because we do not want to suffer.

We certainly don’t want to cause ourselves unnecessary pain and suffering. And so we do everything in our power to avoid the pain we expect. In other words, we want to break the board, but we don’t want it to hurt! We want to move through each challenge without suffering in any way. Yet suffering leads to perseverance, perseverance leads to maturity / character, and character leads to hope, according to scripture.

Something powerful happens in the human spirit whenever we focus our attention and belief on something that is outside of ourselves and beyond our trouble. For me, whenever I focus my attention on Christ and eternal life that is beyond anything on this earth, I also find exceptional joy and abiding peace. And when I focus on joy I am better able to break through obstacles that life presents. Not always without pain and not always on the first try. But that’s life.

Not accomplishing something the first time is ok.

Hurting as a result of trying is ok. Pain does not mean that you are doing something wrong; sometimes it’s a result of breaking through something. However, it is not ok to give up just because you are tired. There is no valid reason for not trying again: if you fall down seven times, then get up eight.

Back to the board-breaking…I learned to focus on a point beyond the board. All was well until I was required to face the more difficult challenge of breaking through concrete. First degree required that I break one 2″ concrete cap with my hand. Second degree black required breaking through two 2″ concrete caps with my foot. The lessons I carried into breaking concrete were things like: Don’t overthink it (huge lesson)…It’s been done before…You are well prepared…Trust your instructor to put you in situations that are both challenging and sometimes difficult…Always give your best.

Having said that, times of testing in both Taekwondo and in life can be useful markers along the journey just to confirm that you are experiencing progress. I like that I am always learning and always teaching.

Why did I pursue 3rd Dan Black Belt?

Once the testing was over, individuals were allowed to ask questions of me in a public forum. One of those questions came from my wife. She asked me why I did it? She said, “A lot has happened in the year leading up to this point of testing. At any point you could have decided not to move forward. Why did you do it?” After thinking for a moment I answered to the audience, “I decided to persevere because I knew that if I did and was successful, it would allow me to work toward a fourth degree. But if I didn’t, it would be the end. I didn’t want it to be the end.” 

I am humbled by the fact that while many began this race, few (by comparison) have come this far. I am thankful for each person who invested time, energy, suggestions, training and encouragement. While I am so grateful to each instructor and students, I am especially grateful to Kwanjangnim David Turnbull and Sahbumnim Wendy Turnbull. I hope that there will be many opportunities to help others experience breakthroughs to their dreams and goals.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Goal Setting, Leadership

 

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Racism

On this episode of Real Talk, Host Justin Miller invites Pastor Brian Broadway to discuss the ramifications of Racism that are still prevalent in today’s culture. Even as far as finding its way into our church!

While on a flight to Amsterdam I asked a young 20 something Dutch man how his people thought of Germans? I was intrigued by the history of Germany moving into parts of Europe and how it still had influence on how the Dutch might view Germans, just beacuse they were Germans and not in any way connected to the events of WWII. To refresh your history, on May 10, 1940, German troops invaded the Netherlands bringing war to the country. It ended five days later as Dutch forces surrendered and German occupation of the Netherlands officially began. Five years later, the Netherlands would be liberated.

The young man said that how the Dutch viewed a German depended greatly on the generation of the Dutch person. For example, his grand-parents hated Germans and refused to be around them. Why? During WWII German soldiers took their food and instructed them not to help anyone who was a Jew – a command they ignored, often sneaking food to a Jewish family at great personal danger. If caught they would have been arrested or killed or both. As a result, his grandparents were intolerant of all Germans. On the other hand, the younger generation had not suffered at the hand of the Germans and as a result were much more tolerant of them. 

As an American I have been taught to view racism through very narrow colored glasses. As someone that grew up in the Holland household, we did not see people according to the color of their skin, a part of my history for which I am grateful. As a preacher I spent a year and a half preaching for an African American congregation. Since we had in common our faith in Jesus Christ, we regarded each other as family. Once when I was preparing to move on to another congregation I asked the congregation if they would consider joining with the (mostly) white congregation across town. But that was not to be because of the disrespectful way they had been treated by (some) of the white people of the congregation. Rather than being disappointed in their response I was grateful that they had invited a white man into their congregation and life. And even at the age of 24, I wondered if I had represented the love of Christ to them. Yet when I step back from my limited history I hope to be able to see a larger context in which to address this matter. 

Textbook definition of racism

…the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. To be sure, racism is a a condition of the human race and not only of one race. It seems to me that the ebb and flow of suffering often depends upon how much actual or perceived suffering has occurred at the hand of the aggressor.

So what do you say? Is racism a the result of ignorance, an attitude of superiority, intolerance of differences, or the product of suffering? Whatever you may think, Jesus offers a solution…

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Uncategorized