RSS Robot

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  1. Hillary Clinton Picks Jesuit-Influenced Catholic For Vice President Running Mate LTRP Note: The following is posted for informational and research purposes and not as an endorsement of the source or the content. “Kaine’s Catholicism has been strongly influenced by the Jesuits – the order Pope Francis is part of that has long been associated with education and social justice.”—Washington Post “‘A Pope Francis Catholic’: Now […] The post Hillary Clinton Picks Jesuit-Influenced Catholic For Vice President Running Mate appeared first on . View the full article
  2. Our Advocate in Heaven

    “Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.” (Job 16:19) It is significant that here, in what is probably the oldest book in the Bible, two vitally important New Testament truths are anticipated. Job somehow knew that he (and, by implication, every other person as well) has a “record” in heaven. This is the only occurrence of t... More... View the full article
  3. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20) The doctrine of verbal inspiration implies that not only are the words of Scripture inspired, but the very order in which they appear is also inspired. Studies by commentators and translators have rightly noted that a change in the order o... More... View the full article
  4. Forest Fire Prayer Request for Warren Smith Please pray for our author and co-worker, Warren Smith, again. Another forest fire is nearing their property this afternoon as we write this, and the neighborhood is being evacuated. As we reported a couple weeks ago, Warren’s house underwent a house fire causing extensive damage (due to faulty wiring). A forest fire began about the […] The post Forest Fire Prayer Request for Warren Smith appeared first on . View the full article
  5. Cutting-Edge Christianity or Shamanism? By David Dombrowski Editor at Lighthouse Trails Publishing I find it rather interesting how God has orchestrated things in life, which demonstrate His great love and ongoing mercy to ordinary people like myself. But, more specifically, I am thinking right now about how years ago I happened to come across a copy of a nearly […] The post Cutting-Edge Christianity or Shamanism? appeared first on . View the full article
  6. Local Kenyan Government Praises Bryce Home Program Presented by Understand the Times, International Compiled by the Bryce Homes in Kenya Board THE SURVEY REPORT OF BRYCE HOME PROJECT KENYA BY THE KENYA GOVERNMENT OFFICERS FROM THE MINISTRY OF GENDER AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT While the Bryce Home support project have been making progress in Kenya, it came to our attention that the local […] The post Local Kenyan Government Praises Bryce Home Program appeared first on . View the full article
  7. Leadership is hard, and biblical leadership calls for gospel maturity more than many leadership roles. I’ve been exposed to many Christ-like and some toxic leaders. The road of toxic leadership is a bad one. The stories don’t end well for either the leader or those he leads. Eventually, the leader implodes; and those he led end up hurt, dismayed, and often wounded enough lose their faith. The only perfect leader is Jesus, and every one else is capable of leading poorly. Yet, the call to biblical leadership is a call away from fleshly leadership tactics or traits—what, for this post, I will call “toxic leadership qualities.” In the next two posts, we will examine 14 toxic leadership qualities. They exist, in some form, across every kind of leadership context and different kinds of churches. They exist wherever there are carnal or immature leaders. We will see the first seven toxic traits in this post, and then the next seven in part two. If you are a leader, in any context, these qualities will diminish your ability to lead and influence well. If you are a “follower”—it is vital for your own health and growth that you find a leader who is seeking growth and accountability to avoid these traits. Here are the first seven warning signs of toxic leadership: 1. Places Personal Success Over Gospel Service—A secular leader essentially says, “You’re here to help me succeed.” A servant-leader essentially says, “I’m here to help you succeed.” Toxic leadership places the “prestige” of the leader over the care of others. In an over-emphasis of the leader’s personal accomplishments and significance, he might view it all as “my ministry, my people, my…” Conversely, servant leadership, while it may be respected, isn’t demanding or driven by that respect. Servant-leaders are driven to help others grow, help others experience joy. They desire to see others thrive in the gospel. To a servant-leader, the ministry is a call, not a merely a career; and the church family is the Lord’s heritage. A servant-leader’s greatest joy is not his personal success, but the joy and flourishing of God’s people. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19) 2. Demands Blind Loyalty Rather than Biblical Unity—Toxic leaders demand loyalty rather than develop it. What team doesn’t need loyalty towards one another? But there are two problems with demanding loyalty. First, often it is “blind loyalty” that is emphasized. This, in itself, is a bright red warning light on the dashboard of leadership. The emphasis of something the Bible forbids should give serious concern. Second, even reasonable loyalty can’t be demanded as much as it can be developed. If a strong team loyalty isn’t growing organically, can it really be coerced into place? Reasonable loyalty grows from the context of integrity and humility. When the team is healthy in biblical direction and relationships, loyalty grows organically from the garden of close-knit hearts. Therefore, it generally doesn’t need to be emphasized, as much as appreciated. A leader should be humbled that co-laborers would develop an appropriate sense of support and commitment, not only to the leader, but to the whole team and to the cause of the gospel. Where loyalty is absent in a God-given relationship, there is a character problem either in the leader or follower. Over-emphasis of loyalty is evidence of a deeper problem—either an insecure leader or a fracturing team. Put another way, if I were a leader in your life, and didn’t have your loyalty, then I probably wouldn’t get it by demanding it. Maybe it would be appropriate to have a conversation about why I don’t have it, how I could develop it, or what is fundamentally flawed or broken about the relationship. 1 Peter 5:3 “3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” 3. Expresses Hostility Towards Questions (Rather Than Transparency)—Biblical leaders should be approachable and able to field a question. A toxic leader is continually spooked or made hostile by questions—sometimes because of insecurities, and other times because he has something to hide. This hostility is an indicator of a problem. People have questions, and most questions are honest and sincere. Most questions come from people who are spiritually engaged and supportive of ministry. There’s a funny irony on this point. Leaders who most fear questions always generate more questions, and not easy ones. This leader creates a culture of suspicion, which generates many more questions. Toxic leaders are afraid of questions and therefore tend to be less communicative. They often have something to hide, and therefore avoid accountability. They surround themselves with compliant hearts who would rather not ask a question. Their general lack of communication leaves people wondering and needing more information. This is counter to the biblical pattern of leadership. 2 Timothy 3:10 “10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,” 4. Over-Reaches for Final Authority in Counseling and Decisions—The Bible knows nothing of a single-counselor with ultimate final authority (or veto-power)—except Jesus. To the contrary, the Bible emphasizes a multiplicity of counselors in decision-making. If God has given you a “multitude of counselors” to confirm His given direction, and you allow any one man to veto that confirmation, you have usurped Jesus’ Lordship in your life. One man among others, offering wise counsel, is biblical; one man wielding absolute control, in spite of others, is not biblical. I can safely say, if I had allowed any one man to veto God’s clear leading in my life over the years, I would have missed a great number of God’s greatest blessing and opportunities for my life and ministry. Proverbs 11:14 “14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Proverbs 15:22 “22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.” 5. Over-Emphasizes Authority and Morphs it Into Lordship—The continual emphasis of “position, title, or authority” exposes a gap in understanding the nature of biblical authority. Continually reminding people “who is in charge” is a sure sign of one who really isn’t in charge. A father or mother that must always yell, “I’m in charge here!” generally isn’t in charge and isn’t leading well. Where biblical authority is lovingly expressed, people know where the authority rests—for it is being used to serve and care for them. The biblical use of authority generates appreciation, respect, and order because it is fully accountable to “the great shepherd of the sheep” and knows its place to “care for souls” and not to oppress them. (See Hebrews 13) When a spiritual leader is over-emphasizing or over-reaching his authority, there is a deeper problem. A servant leader exercises authority under Christ’s authority, without the need to relish it, restate it, or reach beyond its scriptural bounds. That same spiritual leader is comfortable with the principle of “the priesthood of the believer”—the idea that every individual believer is accountable personally to Jesus Christ in all decisions and directions. 1 Corinthians 11:1 “1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” 6. Avoids Personal, Confrontational Conversations—Servant leaders are, by definition, problem solvers. (See Acts 6) That’s what leaders do—they resolve, reconcile, and serve by bringing hearts together in the fellowship of the gospel. Therefore, biblical leaders must become secure enough in Christ, and courageous enough in His grace, to be able to calmly and competently enter into potentially confrontational and controversial conversations. Toxic leaders do three tragic things with possible confrontation. First, they avoid it. They dismiss problems, disregard concerns, avoid questions, hide sin, etc. Second, they become passive-aggressive and misuse the pulpit to confront publicly. Third, when confrontation becomes unavoidable, they become carnal, slanderous, hurtful, and make it personal. Contrast this with the Apostle Paul’s call for a leader to help two ladies in Philippi to reconcile their discord: Philippians 4:2, 3 “2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.” 7. Uses the Public Pulpit to Deal with Private Conflicts—A toxic leader takes private, resolvable issues, and uses them in the pulpit to coerce people. Or he takes personal matters to the pulpit to vent or rage or threaten. The verbiage might be vague, but people know “who” or “what” the pastor is referencing. Verbal jabs and innuendos make the message clear, although plausibly deniable. The target person “gets the message” and is hurt. Observers are put in fear not to “cross the leader.” But mature Christians see through the game, and they will view the leader as either insecure or malicious. They will lose respect and trust, and probably don’t stay around. As they leave, the cycle repeats itself. Most importantly, this tactic is a tragic misuse of the sacred responsibility to teach and preach the word of God from the pulpit. God warns us about this use of this type of force or cruelty. Ezekiel 34:4 “4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.” ——————— Toxic leaders hurt people, hurt themselves, and hurt the cause of the gospel. By God’s grace we can avoid these carnal tendencies, and seek to become leaders like Jesus. These are only the first seven of fourteen toxic leadership qualities. Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for the last seven in the next post. View the full article
  8. “It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:43-44) In this portion of this great chapter on the resurrection—first that of Christ, then the future resurrection of t... More... View the full article
  9. Roger Oakland – Report 1 From Rome, Italy As we reported a few days ago, Roger Oakland headed for Rome, Italy with three other Christian brothers this week. Roger will be attending a symposium on the environment in Rome where he plans to present a report he has written from a biblical point of view (this report may become a Lighthouse Trails booklet […] The post Roger Oakland – Report 1 From Rome, Italy appeared first on . View the full article
  10. The Delightful Law

    “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” (Romans 7:22) To many people, the law of God is harsh and cruel, consisting of an unreasonable list of “thou shalt nots.” But Scripture teaches that “the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12). The &ldquo... More... View the full article
  11. Understanding Shamanism LTRP Note: For those who think that shamanism is a far cry from the contemplative mysticism being practiced in the church today and that this warning has nothing to do with Christians, think again. The realms reached are the same, and the results can be the same too. By Nanci Des Gerlaise (author of Muddy […] The post Understanding Shamanism appeared first on . View the full article
  12. Letter to the Editor: Reiki in Society? Now Shamanism! Dear Lighthouse Trails: SHAMANISM? A recent Columbus Ohio magazine had a story about a reiki center. Among other “professional therapies” offered at that location was “shamanic services.” Shamanism is defined by Webster’s as: “religion . . . characterized by belief in an unseen world of gods, demons, and ancestral spirits responsive only to the shaman.” […] The post Letter to the Editor: Reiki in Society? Now Shamanism! appeared first on . View the full article
  13. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3) The word here for “foundations” is not the usual word for, say, a building foundation. Used rarely, a better translation of this word would be “purpose,” or “basis.” The fear expressed is not that the foundations of our faith might be undermined but that ... More... View the full article
  14. How POKEMON and Magic Cards Affect the Minds and Values of Children (and a Warning About Pokemon Go) LTRP Note: With the recent Pokemon Go craze, we thought this article from 1999 by Berit Kjos about Pokemon was very timely and needed. For those who aren’t sure if Pokemon Go is OK or not, do a search on the Internet to read some of the scary stories happening to people. We linked to […] The post How POKEMON and Magic Cards Affect the Minds and Values of Children (and a Warning About Pokemon Go) appeared first on . View the full article
  15. I believe the Great Commission is worthy of—and even calls for—purposed times and strategic plans for spreading the gospel. Thus, we have several times and locations each week available to members of our church to meet up with a partner for the purpose of saturating our community with the gospel. And yet, there is a danger in using only those times for sharing the gospel. In reality, we are surrounded by people who need the Lord—some of which are our family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. We want to lead them to Christ as well, even if not on a Thursday night at 6:30 or a Saturday morning at 10:00. Acts 8:4 tells us of the early Christians, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” How do we also develop this “everywhere mentality” where we are ready to share the gospel at all times and are seeing fruit among our friends and family? In my recent book, Take It Personally: A Practical Guide to Owning and Obeying the Great Commission, I suggest four ways: 1. See People as Souls The Bible tells us that when Jesus “saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them” (Matthew 9:36). We too easily see people and are moved with frustration at the inconveniences they may bring or we are moved by intimidation of what they would say if we spoke up with the truth. Remember the eternality of a soul as you encounter people throughout your day or week, and it will help to make you more mindful of developing relationships with people with whom you want to share the gospel. 2. Look for Opportunities We have a tendency to “miss the forest for the trees.” But there are people all around us who need the Lord. How can you see and seize these opportunities? By specifically looking for them! When you make a specific soulwinning visit, go also to the homes on both sides of the people you originally purposed to visit, invite them to church, and see if there is an openness for you to share the gospel. When you’re going through the checkout at a store, give the clerk a tract with an invitation to your church. When a coworker tells you about a difficult situation, offer to pray for him, and then tell him what a difference knowing Christ personally makes in your life. You would be surprised how many opportunities there are to share the gospel when you are looking for them. First Thessalonians 2:4 says, “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” You and I, too, were “put in trust with the gospel.” And we should look for opportunities to share it with those around us. 3. Steward Relationships Less than two months after Jesus rose from the dead, the Apostle Peter preached in Jerusalem, and Acts 2:41 records, “the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” What an incredible victory for the gospel as Peter preached that day! But do you remember who led Peter to Christ? It was his brother, Andrew (John 1:41). Andrew’s faithfulness to witness to his own family played a part in the backstory to Pentecost—even though Andrew himself didn’t preach the powerful sermon of Pentecost. When you and I steward the relationships God has given us, who knows the outcomes of that faithfulness? God has placed specific relationships in your life—family, neighbors, coworkers, friends, and even briefer acquaintances such as your barber or accountant or child’s soccer coach. See these relationships as a gift from the Lord, and nurture them for the purpose of sharing the gospel. You may not share the gospel every time you see that person. But if a particular moment isn’t the right time or the person doesn’t respond to the gospel the first time you share it with them, continue to nurture that relationship. Continue praying for that person and be careful to maintain a good testimony for the Lord while you wait. Another Christian may have the opportunity of a chance-encounter to tell the gospel to them, but you have the opportunity to also live the gospel before them. Use that opportunity wisely. 4. Obey Every Prompting of the Holy Spirit One of my favorite soulwinning stories in the New Testament is that of Philip and the Ethiopian man in Acts 8. As you read these verses, picture yourself in Philip’s shoes—first, as the Lord tells you to go to the desert (not where you would expect to find someone and share the gospel with them) and then as He tells you to run and catch up with the royal caravan from Ethiopia: And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.—Acts 8:26–29 I can imagine that Philip could have felt uncomfortable with these instructions. But what Philip didn’t know is that God had already been working in the Ethiopian man’s heart. In fact, the man was right at that moment reading Isaiah 53 and had questions about it that led to a natural presentation of the gospel (Acts 8:30–35). Because Philip obeyed the Holy Spirit, as awkward as it may have felt to do so, this man got saved. When the Holy Spirit nudges your heart to speak to someone about salvation, don’t ignore His prompting. Even though the situation may not feel comfortable to you to speak up in, you have no idea how God is already preparing the hearts around you. But He knows, and He does prompt us to witness for Him at just the right moments. This is one reason why it is important that we seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 instructs, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). When we are living in surrender to the Holy Spirit, we will be more sensitive and obedient to His promptings to witness. And we’ll have the opportunity to share the gospel and bear fruit in times and places we never expected. Related posts: 5 Ways to Engage Your Community with the Gospel 10 Ways Everyone Should Prepare for an Evangelistic Sunday 5 Ways to Develop a Spirit of Grace in Your Church View the full article