Preaching The Gospel

Sunday, November 30, 2008



Having lots of money without the ability to manage it can end in heartache. What does the Bible say about wisely managing your finances?
a. Make a habit of SAVING.
You need to save for the future of your family and for unexpected circumstances. It’s recommended you save at least 10% of your income every month.
 Try to save at least six months of income, then if you are forced to go without income you can still live.
 Open a special account for future school fees for your children.
 Save for your old age, so that you won’t need to depend on the compassion of others in your old age.
 An increase in salary doesn’t mean an increase in life style. Save the increase in salary and your bonuses. Added income means added savings, not expenses.
b. Don’t become a guarantor for someone else’s debt.
Becoming a guarantor for someone else’s debt means that you are responsible for the debt of the other person. You don’t know if that person will be able to pay off all of his debt in the future. If he doesn’t pay it off, then you must pay all of his debt!
c. Don’t desire instant riches.
Repeatedly we read in the paper about people who invest their money with high sounding promises that the money will multiply several times over in a brief period of time, but apparently they are deceived and their money disappears. If an offer seems “too good to be true”, you need to check on the precise return, because usually it is indeed too good to be true.
d. Live in the 4 dimensions of God’s love.
Remember that God already designed you to be blessed. God made a binding promise to bless you, and He already has given you His first and His best (that is Jesus Christ) so that you can live abundantly. When you manage your finances, make sure you apply the principles of the 4 dimensions of God’s love:
 Are my finances a positive influence and do they help others?
 Can my finances become a blessing for future generations?
 Through finances, can I become closer to God?
 Is my character developed and am I applying the principles of integrity and honesty in my financial management?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Developing a Vision When You're Not a Visionary

Developing a Vision When You're Not a Visionary
It's easier than you think.
by Kevin Miller

My wife, Karen, and I are both in leadership at our church. So dinner-table discussions often come back to how to help other Christians step into leadership. Volunteers tell us, "I might be willing to facilitate, but I'm not sure I'm a leader." People don't consider themselves leaders, because when they say leader, they think of only one type: a strong, visionary leader. And they know they're not that.
But you don't have to be a visionary to lead well. We've found we can help people move forward as leaders when we say to them, "You can develop a vision even if you're not a visionary." Here are six ways that mortals like us can see where a group needs to go:
1. Tie in to a bigger vision that's already in place. First, ask, "Do I even need to come up with a complete vision from scratch?" Chances are, you don't need to. In most situations, a leader earlier on or higher up has already set a vision, and you can tie what you're doing into that.
Barb is taking on the women's ministry at our church. Does she need to create a vision? Not really. First, her ministry is part of a church, and churches have been going on for 2,000 years and already have a vision: to make disciples through worship, fellowship, teaching, prayer, missions, etc. Second, her ministry is part of our local church, which already has a vision to "Build a sanctuary of transformation" (read: "Become a place where people's lives change for the better because of God"). And finally, Barb's inheriting a women's ministry that already has a vision to encourage women and help them draw closer to God.
So Barb doesn't need to ask, "How do I come up with a vision?" Instead, she can ask, "What part of this vision do I want to build on? How can I improve our fulfillment of that?"
If you aren't starting with a vision, though, here are five ways you can work toward one.
2. Pray and wait on God. This is what most Christians think of when they think of "getting a vision." What does it look like? That varies.
Maybe you'll be reading Scripture, and the particular section captivates you. That's what happened to a guy named Francis: He wandered into a church and heard being read Jesus' words to the rich young ruler, "Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and come follow me." He actually did what he heard, and that's why he's now known as St. Francis.
Or you may be inspired by someone else's ministry. When you see what he or she is doing, you realize, "Oh, that's what I could be!" For example, hearing preachers like John Ortberg and Tim Keller moved me; I saw that preaching in a way that touches both mind and heart would be a great way to invest my life.
Or maybe you'll literally have a middle-of-the-night experience. Billy Graham founded Christianity Today because "About two o'clock one night in 1953, an idea raced through my mind, freshly connecting all the things I had said and pondered about reaching a broader audience. Trying not to disturb Ruth, I slipped out of bed and into my study upstairs to write. A couple of hours later, the concept of a new magazine was complete." (from The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham, Zondervan, 2005)

3. Gather a group and jointly develop a vision. When I used to take on a new role at work or church, I would (a) gather a group, (b) cast my vision for this area, (c) see who got on board with the vision.
Then I noticed that my wife did things differently. She would (a) gather a group, (b) talk and pray with all of them, until they all jointly came up with a vision, (c) not worry about who got on board, because they already were on board. When people come up with the vision, they want to help make it happen. Two years ago, Karen created an adult-education ministry at our church, and people said to her, "Wow! How you'd get such a strong team of people to help?" The answer was simple: She let them develop the vision.
If you use this approach to find your vision, be sure to assemble a "dream team," people with strong gifts in the area. Then, set a few basic parameters, so the group has just enough direction to start the conversation.
Why did I think I have to come up with the vision by myself? Now I try to gather a group of strong leaders and together talk and pray and develop a vision. That takes longer, but the ministry lasts longer.
4. Listen to the people you want to help. You don't have to be great at coming up with vision, if you're willing to listen to the people you want to help. If you listen well, people will tell you what they really need. In other words, the people you want to serve help set your vision.
Twenty-five years ago, a guy at Christianity Today named Keith did research among pastors who were getting our Leadership Journal and asked them, "What do you need?" One big answer: "Trained lay leaders."
We tried an annual 130-page journal for lay leaders, and it lasted only 3 years before it died. We prototyped a 4-page print newsletter in 50 churches, but those churches collectively yawned. One day I was talking to two pastors and I said, "I don't understand. You say you want trained lay leaders. So we published a long journal, and you said it was too long. We published a short newsletter, and it didn't wow you. What do you really want?"
They said, in essence, "Choice, customization, convenience." So we launched a loose-leaf notebook (pull out just the page you want and photocopy it to train your leaders) and then a website, Today, Building Church Leaders is one of Christianity Today's most successful websites, reaching thousands of church leaders through its newsletter and many others through the site.
The point: Where did the vision for that come from? Not from us. It came from the people we wanted to help.

5. Stay in your gifts and let them guide you. The idea here is that God has already shown you much of what he wants you to do in life by the way he made you. So ask yourself, "What has God given me? What passions? What skills? What opportunities? What concerns?"
My wife, Karen, who's on staff at our church, was talking with a young woman named Laura. Laura said, "I couldn't lead the college ministry. I'm not a visionary." So Karen told her, "Well, you recently graduated from college, and you like college students. So if you did work with college students, what would you do?" Laura talked nonstop for 15 minutes. She had more vision than she thought she did, because she already had the suitable gifts for college ministry. As Laura talked about "Here's what I care about and what I would do," her gifts began to express themselves in a solid vision.
6. Solve some problem right in front of you. Often vision is born by passing through the narrow and dark birth canal of problems. You see the problem, and you start to work on it. You don't necessarily feel inspired or see lights. All you are doing is trying to solve some problem right in front of you. But later, everyone else says, "What a great vision!"

The Bible's classic example is Nehemiah. He hears a terrible report about the few remaining Jews living in Jerusalem: "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire." The news makes him cry. Nehemiah fasts, prays, and begins to ask for help and to assemble the people and materials. Today we hold up Nehemiah as an example of a visionary leader: he conceived and launched a staggering city-rebuilding project. Nehemiah was simply trying to solve one problem right in front of him.

Bringing your vision to fulfillment. Once you've got your vision, through one or more of the six ways listed above, do something with it. Some people don't like the word "vision" because they've seen it stand for "lots of hype and nothing happens." My sister-in-law worked for a huge credit-card-processing company. She told me, "The execs would come down and say, 'You're all leaders.' They'd say, 'We're going to be world-class.' But then they'd go back to their offices, and nothing would really change."
To avoid hype, dedicate yourself to fulfilling your vision. In Acts 20:24, the apostle Paul says, "I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me." Bill Hybels comments on this verse: "What is Paul saying? I think he's saying, 'The moment I received my vision from God, fulfilling that vision became the pressing priority of my life.'"
Kevin A. Miller is a vice-president for Christianity Today International and assistant pastor for Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois.
This article originally appeared on Gifted for Leadership, Christianity Today International's website and blog for women who have the spiritual gift of leadership.
Copyright © 2007 by Kevin A. Miller.

Delegating to work colleagues

Delegating to work colleagues
by Odette Pollar

Find out how to delegate to your peers without putting any noses out of joint.
In the new team environment common to workplaces, groups are composed of colleagues, and delegation is not always a top-down activity. Delegating in this context differs from the traditional hierarchical style in significant ways.
1. The entire team is likely to know what each member is doing.


In a boss/subordinate relationship, delegation is not always made public. In group settings it may be the team leader, or any member of the group, who gets the group to agree on specific tasks. This usually means more flexibility and choice about who does what than in the traditional top down situation.
2. If a colleague does not have the same goal as you, it's difficult to get them to do what you want.
Show sensitivity in this situation.
• When asking for help, indicate what resources are available and what support you can give
• Allow extra lead-time so that the person you are delegating to can fit your request into her timetable
• Point out how the task benefits her or helps the department as a whole. Does the project offer her a chance to be noticed by other departments? Will it help her career prospects?
• Offer to do one of her jobs in exchange so that she'll be free to do yours
• If all else fails, your supervisor may need to talk to her supervisor to clarify the importance of your request for help
3. Track the work and get progress reports from all parties involved.
This lets everyone know what other members of the team are doing and ensures that interim deadlines are being met. A quick email to everyone stating what task has been agreed upon is a good reminder. Without this key step, you have no room to manoeuvre if a problem crops up.
Don't forget to thank people for their efforts. It goes a long way!
Traditional delegation tips.



Seorang anak diminta untuk memetik setangkai bunga yang sangat indah
dan langka, namun terletak jauh di bawah jurang yang diapit tebing
curam. Si peminta bahkan mau membayar mahal bila anak itu bersedia
untuk diturunkan dengan tali dan mengambil bunga tersebut. Setelah
berpikir beberapa saat, anak itu mengatakan bahwa ia bersedia turun
ke jurang asalkan yang memegangi ujung talinya adalah ayahnya. Apa
alasan anak itu mau menempuh bahaya? Tak lain adalah karena ia
percaya kepada ayahnya, bahwa ayahnya tidak akan mencelakakannya.
Kita bisa melihat bahwa sang ayah memiliki satu kualitas diri, yang
disebut kredibilitas sehingga si anak merasa yakin sepenuhnya
terhadap diri dan kemampuan ayahnya.

Kita cenderung lebih mudah untuk memercayai orang yang sudah kita
kenal dan kita anggap dapat dipercaya. Namun, bagaimana jika kita
ditempatkan di lingkungan, khususnya organisasi, di mana orang-orang
yang terlibat di dalamnya tidak saling mengenal kepribadian masing-
masing. Tak mudah meraih kepercayaan dengan kondisi individu yang
seperti itu, karena itu kepercayaan membutuhkan waktu untuk bisa
tumbuh dan bukti bahwa seseorang benar-benar memiliki kredibilitas.

Berangkat dari pertimbangan itulah, edisi kali ini menyajikan satu
karakter pemimpin yang fundamental. Untuk bisa memenangkan loyalitas
dan memberi pengaruh bagi para pengikut, seorang pemimpin haruslah
menjadi seorang yang dapat dipercaya. Materi-materi berikut kiranya
bisa menolong untuk semakin membangun dan mengembangkan kredibilitas
diri Anda.

Selamat belajar!

Redaksi e-Leadership,
Lanny Kusumawati

"Orang yang dapat dipercaya mendapat banyak berkat,
tetapi orang yang ingin cepat menjadi kaya,
tidak akan luput dari hukuman." (Amsal 28:20)


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