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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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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

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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

 

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

 

Personal Limits

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A thought: Everyone has limits – and that isn’t a bad thing – it’s simply true.

Examine your capabilities…maybe you see in yourself a mad pursuit of one thing and then another. Stop.

Maybe you’re in a place where by faith you are prepared to trust that God has ordered your steps according to his own purposes. If that is so, then be patient and enjoy life as God gives it.

If on the other hand your limitations are self-imposed, then do something about it and move on with your new life. How can you do that you ask?

First: Focus Your Mind on Christ. Concentrate on him. If you look beyond whatever is going on in your life you will find Christ. Have you ever wondered how Christ made it through the pain and agony of the cross? He did a couple of things that you can do as well. First, pray – actually cry out. “He cried out to the one who was able to save him and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” No one gets a hall pass from learning obedience. Second, submit to God’s will. “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered….” Heb. 5:7-8. Third, focus on the joy set before you. “…who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame…” Heb. 12: 3 So, focus your heart. Truth is that you can put up with anything so long as you have focus: cross, shame, whatever. 

Second: Run with Perseverance. Don’t run aimlessly. That’s how Jesus did it. Keep your eyes on the finish line. “Run the race marked out for us.” Heb. 12:1 In other words live life intentionally. Do you know what race you are supposed to be running? Have you noticed the markers?

Third: Throw off everything that is hindering you. Like a runner, strip down and commence to running. Just take the next step. For sure, dump sin: whether its attitudes or habits, dump them…because they are weighing you down unnecessarily. About the sin thing…Jesus said if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off…you’ve read that before (Matthew 5:30). Obviously, don’t actually cut off your hand! Jesus meant that we should deal drastically with sin…as is necessary. He is addressing how you think and what you love. Hey, even a blind man can lust. Most of all, he knew that the more you love the Lord, the more you will seek to please him.

“Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.” – Ecclesiates 5:19-20

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Mind Your Head

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“Mind Your Head,” the sign read. Not that it mattered because I wasn’t paying attention. I was having so much fun in London, certainly not reading signs and the next thing I knew, “WHACK!” I had hit my head…and it really hurt! Then I saw the sign but it was too late.

“No duh!” I thought. Have you ever done something like hit your head and then get mad like it was someone else’s fault? Only there was no one to blame but you. The sign would have been more useful had I read it before I nearly knocked myself out. There should have been second sign that read, “Told you so.”

Life is a lot like that…just when things are going fantastic, you can become complacent so that you ignore the most obvious signs. Recently, Justin Miller, lead pastor of Real Life Christian Church, gave our team a heads up on three destructive behaviors. Sometimes you may think that nothing can stop you or go wrong for the simple reason that things are currently going so well. Here’s a heads up on what can derail your life and plans…in a big way.

Warning: Please don’t make this all about “church” or “spiritual things” – that would be an enormous miscalculation. The truths mentioned below are just true. If you want to wreck a church, family, friendship or company, ignore these signs. But you don’t want to do that, so here we go.

First, Secret sin will stop you. Don’t live in sin. That is don’t practice sin so that you’re getting good at it and growing your appetite for it. What Achan did in the story of Joshua (chp. 7) was calculated. He knew personally that what he was doing was wrong and his family thought it was a way of getting ahead. Truth was ignored so by the end of that story Achan was aching. The worst part is that his self-centered behavior ruined his family as well. This was a community deal. What is done in secret will be shouted from the rooftop. Everyone suffered because Achan and his family ignored the sign. Don’t be that guy.

Second, Selfish ambition will stop you. If you stand for gossip in your family or backstabbing in your business then look out! Not everybody that you pay is for you and wants you to do well. Not everyone wearing the uniform wants to be on the team; sometimes they’re there because they get a check. And the thing is, as the leader you need to do something about that. Jesus said that there would be wolves among you…people with an agenda. Watch out for those people…and, don’t be one of those people with a secret agenda. If being where you are is all about you, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t end well.

Third, Schisms will stop you. Jesus said a “house divided” couldn’t stand. Not that it would struggle to stand. Not that it would have a hard time standing. No. He said that when there are schisms or divisions you would not stand. Be very careful with hallway conversations and water-cooler conversations. Lots of leaders have ignored the signs of division in hopes that they would just “go away.” Those leaders have suffered for ignoring the signs. Listen, whether or not information about someone is true: gossip, slander, undercutting leaders and co-workers are still divisive behaviors and are therefore a threat to the existence of your family, business, church, or school.

Whenever I witness such consistent negative behaviors in someone, I imagine a sign hanging over his or her head that reads, “I don’t really want to be here.” Don’t misunderstand me…Critics are not all bad or wrong. They’re just critics! When your critics are right, set aside your pride long enough to make some personal changes. However, as Miller said, “I don’t mind having critics, I just don’t want to employ them.” If you are a leader, and you have noticed a consistent negative pattern, then it may be time to release that certain someone to their future.

I hope that everything is going great in your life: marriage, business, church, friends, family, financially. I also hope that your team is pulling in one direction together.

Now…Mind Your Head!

 

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