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Leadership-the subject of character

There will not be enough space in weekly leadership posts to exhaust every possibility about the subject of character.

However, it should go without saying that a leader’s character is invaluable. Without godly character, a leader cannot succeed in leading as God desires.

Character is the very substance of leadership. Where there is character, there will always be leadership.

John Maxwell claims, “Talent is a gift, but character is a choice.” Character in leadership will be indicated by the actions created from the choices made. With each choice, character is developed.

Within a fortune cookie from several years back the following statement was found: “God gives us one face and we make for ourselves another.” This is character.

Why is it so significant to examine areas regarding leadership character?

How should character be defined? How does character define our leadership? What happens when our character is flawed or seen as no longer credible?

We will explore these questions and other important areas about the need to understand character and our leadership. We will also consider several practical areas in developing leadership character.

Keep Pressing Forward

The Lies of Denominationalism by John Stultz

I Corinthians 14:33clearly states that God is not the author of “confusion”. In the original Greek, the word ‘confusion’ comes from the root word meaning ‘disarray’. If God were such an author, humanity would never be able to clearly understand God’s Word, by which we all are to live. We have all encountered individuals in our lives who, speaking on one subject or another, would say one thing to one group of people and something different to another. Finally, we all just stop believing them completely.

This is the EXACT reason why so many people believe God does not exist. They look at the mess that “Christianity” has become by the hands of men and they say to themselves “what kind of Supreme Being could possibly be behind all of this?” And the answer to that is clear: NONE! Since denominationalism is utterly confusing and contradictory, with one group teaching one thing, another group teaching something utterly different, and yet another teaching something in between, AND, since scripture clearly teaches that God is not the author of such confusion, then who IS behind all of this? There is only one possible response. Satan is behind it. He IS the father of lies – John 8:44. In addition to this, in Matthew 16:18, following Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, Jesus said that upon the foundation of Peter’s confession that Jesus was, and IS, the Christ, that He would build His church, SINGULAR, not churches, plural.Jesus only built one church - HIS church. And, because of this, there is no such thing as being a “hyphenated” Christian – a Baptist-Christian, Methodist-Christian, or, Lutheran-Christian, etc.In addition, the apostle Paul was VERY clear, when he said, speaking of religious unity, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, AND that there be NO divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement”– I Cor, 1:10. How, “in the world” (no pun intended) does denominationalism follow this verse??Obviously, they do not.

Denominations have built their different doctrines on yet another lie, namely, that all scripture is open to one’s own private interpretation. This false belief says that we are free to interpret God’s inspired Word any way we please, AND that this interpretation will perfectly acceptable to our Heavenly Father. According to this line of thought, if we feel a passage applies to us, we will decide to go by it. But, if we do not particularly like it, or, if we believe that it no longer applies, such as baptism for the remission of sins, or following the New Testament examples left for us, then, we can just ignore it,or explain it away by saying, “well, I know what it ‘says’, or APPEARS to say, but, we just don’t believe that way”. In response to this, I would ask our denominational friends one important thing: Where is the verse, or verses, that tell us that such “picking and choosing” is acceptable to God? And, what right does ANYONE have to say to God that something important enough for Him to include it in His inspired Word just is not worthy of our obedience to it? Think about this - no one can change or rescind an order in the military unless he/she is of equal or greater rank to the one who originally gave it. Just who, here on earth, fulfills this? Also, Peter, in II Peter 1:3, states that we have been given all things that pertain to life and Godliness. Are the teachings found in the New Testament mere “suggestions” for us to follow? No! Why not? God knew that if He gave us a choice of obeying or not obeying His word, that we would ALWAYS choose not to do so, wanting, instead, to do what WE wanted to do, or what doing what WE thought was best.

This raises the question of how so many people can believe that this is OK with God? How can we ignore plain passages on how we are to live and how God wants to be worshipped,and then do whatsoever WE want to do with no doubts and no guilt? In II Peter 1:20 God, thru Peter, states that no prophecy came to us by the prophets own private interpretation. Now, if the prophets were not free to “interpret” scripture as they gave it to us, through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, essentially saying what they THOUGHT God wanted said, kore what He meant by it, then, how can WE, who are not inspired, POSSIBLY think we have the right to do these things?Again, there is one simple reason. The devil has deceived US just as he deceived Eve in the Garden. There, he told Eve “Oh, it’s OK, go ahead and eat! You know you won’t die! God just doesn’t want you becoming like Him, that’s all!” Today, he is telling us – “go ahead and change that passage, or, ignore the verses you don’t particularly want to follow. It’s OK! You ‘won’t surely die!! After all, you are still obeying MOST of what He says, aren’t you?” And, just as in the garden, when lightning bolts from heaven do not rain down upon us, we reason that it must be OK with God. And, so we would not really notice what was happening, satanm otivated us to change just one little thing at a time. The first change began with the leadership. He influenced one elder to begin asserting influence over his fellow elders. When they allowed it, he asserted more and more influence, until he assumed complete control of the whole church. This idea moved from one church to another until each church had one elder – the ‘pastor’.It then continued with this one assertive man taking control of several churches, until he became the ‘bishop’ of many churches. Then, satan influenced these leaders to change more, and more, and more, just to suit the feelings of themselves and others, until the New Testament church disappeared altogether, being changed into the Catholic church.

What was the ultimate result of this process? The simplicity of the New Testament teachings morphed into the confusing mess that it is today as many, who disagreed with the teaching of the Catholic church, then split off and started their own church, which was the birth of the first 1st denomination. After that split, then, when opinions differed, they also split off, then others split off from those churches, and so on, and so on, until we come down to today with well over 600 denominations, and who knows how many more smaller ‘splinter’ groups have been estabished. And since we still have not witnessed God’s wrath coming down upon the false teachers here on earth, we feel that these hundreds and hundreds of denominations, all with their own collection of doctrines, MUST be acceptable to God, right?

Unfortunately, we must give satan the credit he is due. He is VERY good at getting millions and millions of people to believe his lies and to make those who do succumb to them to feel perfectly justified in doing so!After all, “we human beings DO have our rights, don’t we?”And, because of OUR exercising these ‘rights’, we are losing hundreds and hundreds of formally faithful congregations of the Lord’s church to these horrid lies as leadership after leadership just doesn’t see any difference between the truth of the Bible and the lies that the devil and his servants are continually spreading among us. John 8:32 plainly states “Ye shall know the TRUTH, and the truth shall make you free.” Note: this plain inspired verse does not say “Ye shall know the ‘truths’, or, your personal version of the truth that appeals to you” and that these beliefs will be OK with God, regardless of what they are.”

Some may STILL ask “what’s the big deal? They still teach SOME of the truth, and they DO believe Jesus is the Christ.” To answer this, please consider this. One brother here that I spoke with about this agreed with my illustration of God’s word. Namely, it is like a high mesa located out west. It is completely flat on top, with a vertical drop-off all around. Staying within the boundaries of its flat surface provides safety. But, if we go beyond the boundaries of its surface, whether by one step, or by a huge leap, it would bring certain death. It would not matter how close or how far we went over the edge.When we hit bottom, we would be just as dead.When we “go beyond” God’s word, either adding to or taking away from its truths, when we pass from this life and stand before God in judgment, the result resulting condemnation will be the same.

Brethren, we must gird ourselves with the truths of God’s word and we must all be willing to enter the battlefield where the most important war of all time is currently being waged and is being LOST.. What are the “spoils” of this war? The spoils are the souls of all of the people who are being duped by the evil one, which, unfortunately, includes many formerly faithful brethren who have fallen prey to satan’s lies. Their salvation is literally hanging in the balance.

One final word must be said. In Ezekiel 3:18-19 God tells us that if we warn those who practice iniquity of God’s judgement and their need to come back to God, If they do not listen, they WILL die in their sins, but we will have saved ourselves. However, if we do not warn them,yes, they will still die in their sins, butk,lwe will suffer the same eternal consequences. Remember, we must ALWAYS be doing God’s will. Matt. 7:30 states that if we are not gathering others for Jesus then, we are actually scattering them abroad.

True Christians everywhere must realize that what is now going on, both in our brotherhood and in the denominational world IS OUR BUSINESS. We must always stand for the truth and do our best to warn those around us of their impending doom when they do not abidein the truth of God’s word. Many will never listen, brethren. But, we ALL MUST TRY.And, God willing, WE WILL SAVE SOME – I Cor. 9:22.

– John Stultz

GOD’S VIEW OF SIN by Robert Stapleton

Nearly everything looks different to those that participate and to those that observe. The football player verses the “armchair quarterback,” the automobile driver and the so-called “backseat driver,” and the sinner and God. It does not take long to see how people tend to view sin differently than God. Atheism denies its existence while materialism views it as a violation of one’s conscience. When we consider religious people we see a varied view. There are those who see sin as pre-destined, while others view it as a matter of birth and other as a matter of individual free will. To sum it all up, we could say that God’s view of sin is much graver than man’s view. In this article we want to give serious consideration to God’s view of sin and, hopefully, be encouraged to take the same view as He does.

GENERAL DEFINITION - We first want to notice a general definition of what sin is from God’s perspective. God describes sin as the transgressing of His will (1 John 3:4). He, further, describes it as man not doing what he knows to do right (James 4:17). And even further, He views sin as unrighteousness (1 John 5:17).

SIN AS GOD SEES IT - When we consider the Scriptures, we are provided a “window” that allows us to see sin as God does. We see that God views sin as self-destructing and defiling. The Psalmist speaks of evil hunting down the violent man and overthrowing him (Psalm 140:11). From Scripture we see that the sinner is often far more destructive to himself than to others, even those he intended to harm (Proverbs 8:36). The Bible is clear concerning the fact that sin is shown to be destructive (Isaiah 3:9-11). From this text we see that denial of sin will not make it go away. We can, also, note from the Scriptures that saying “everyone does it” won’t ever make it right (Exodus 23:2). When it comes to sin, even our best efforts are seen as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

Additionally, we note that God sees sin as hateful. Those that discriminate unjustly for advantage are an abomination to God (Deuteronomy 25:13-16). In Psalm 5:4-6, David summarized God’s attitude toward sin when he indicated the following.

God has no pleasure in wickedness

There is no place in God’s presence for evildoers

Workers of iniquity are hated

The wicked will be destroyed

From Proverbs 6:16-19 we see seven things that disgust God.

Pride - James 4:10

A lying tongue - Colossians 3:9; Proverbs 19:5

Hands that shed innocent blood - Matthew 27:14

Those that devise evil - Amos 5:14; 3 John 2

Those that are swift participants in evil - Romans 3:15; Matthew 2:1

Those that bear false witnesses - Romans 13:9, 10

Those that are sowers of discord - Proverbs 16:28

It is also quite revealing to note that God sees sin as separating and alienating. In Isaiah 59:1, 2; 64:7; and Hosea 5:6 we clearly see the fact that sin results in separation and alienation of man from God. The writher to the Hebrews indicated that there is a great depth to which one may fall in sin (Hebrews 6:4-6). The Apostle John indicated that some are so deep in sin that intercessory prayer is useless because such individuals are unwilling to turn from their sin (1 John 5:16). Man needs to be careful that he not allows sin to become such a force and presence that it alienates the only One who can help (Isaiah 55:6, 7).

In further study, we may see that God sees sin as enslaving and progressive (Romans 6:16). In a careful study of sin, we see that it results from a lack of self-control (Romans 7:23).

THE BIBLE EXPRESSES THE DIVINE SUMMARY ON SIN - Sin is seen to be universal (Isaiah 53:6). The Apostle Paul pointed out that both the Jews and Gentiles were convicted under sin (Romans 3:23). Even Christians are not immune to the possibility of sin in their lives if they give into temptation (1 John 1:8).

We may also note that sin is internal in origin - no one can make us do it. The Scriptures indicate that what controls the heart controls the man (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 15:18-20; Luke 6:45). We must understand that sin is inexcusable in view of natural revelation (Romans 1:20-31) and written/inspired revelation (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Titus 2:11-13).

Sin looks different to man than it does to God. Man may offer several excuses. It is often heard.

“After all, everybody does it.”

“I just don't see anything wrong with it."

“You don't want me to be unhappy do you?”

“It’s not as bad as what others do.”

“I can always change later.”

However, regardless of how we see, or don’t see, sin, God sees it as:

Self-destructing and defiling

Hateful

Separating and alienating

Enslaving and progressive

In the end, it can easily be said that sin, by nature is:

Universal - Therefore, everyone needs Jesus

Internal - Therefore, everyone needs the gospel

Inexcusable - Therefore, everyone must accept personal responsibility and take personal action - 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Keep The Ball Rolling… by Turner

Keep Pressing Forward
Now that we have all the hoopla of the New Year’s festivities behind us, it is time to keep the ball rolling.

Apart from the challenges of learning to write 2016 instead of 2015 (usually takes about a month), what areas do we need to focus on regarding our leadership?

We need to take the adequate time to evaluate what has been done over the past year. The only true picture for the year ahead is built upon understanding past failures and successes.

We need to implement the proper changes necessary to bring appropriate growth. Change is essential to growth, but understanding the proper changes is the key.

We need to provide the appropriate support to the individuals who will contribute to the changes. Remember that any progress made by proposed changes will not be made alone.

We need to work according to available resources. Using and building upon our strengths will increase our strengths for greater stability and development.

Avoid procrastination and pursue dedication. Seek out and follow the counsel of those who are closest, then give our best to every endeavor.

49 Days of Thankfulness.

49 Days of Thankfulness.
Day #49: BEAR VALLEY'S WOMEN'S DEAN, SHERYL TURNER (pictured here with her husband, Bob Turner).
For 50 Days, in an effort to build unity, we are encouraging everyone to declare your thankfulness for your brethren. It is time we start building each other up, rather than tearing each other down. Write a post, write a card, give a hug, whatever. But let some brother or sister know how much you love them every day of this challenge.
Sheryl Turner leads a wonderful women's program at Bear Valley. We am so thankful for her and all she does. 3 reasons why we are thankful for her involving HOME:
1. She makes new students and their families FEEL AT HOME, through her kindness, hospitality, caring and concern.
2. She is a pillar and rock IN HER HOME. She is an example to all as she cares for and loves her family as a wife, mother, nana, and daughter-in-law.
3. She has a HOME IN HEAVEN. It is easy to see her walk with the Lord. Heaven is her goal and she wants to help every one she meets to make it theirs.
I am so thankful for the pleasure of getting to know Sheryl. She is such a good example to my family and me. I am thankful the Lord blessed us by bringing her into our lives here in Denver. ‪#‎50DaysOfThankfulness‬ ‪#‎ILoveBearValley‬

BV Thankfulness 49

50 Days of Thankfulness.

50 Days of Thankfulness.
Day #44: Bear Valley Bursar, Lynn Hite
For 50 Days, in an effort to build unity, we are encouraging everyone to declare your thankfulness for your brethren. It is time we start building each other up, rather than tearing each other down. Write a post, write a card, give a hug, whatever. But let some brother or sister know how much you love them every day of this challenge.
Mrs. Lynn does a great job with the huge responsibility of disbursing the financial support. We are so thankful for her and all she does. 3 reasons we are thankful for her involving SUPPORT:
1. She is a great SUPPORT to her family. Talk to her for only a few minutes and you quickly realize how much her children and husband mean to her. In large part due to her, her son and daughter has blossomed into wonderful young adults, and her husband has grown into a powerful servant of the Lord.
2. She is a great SUPPORT to the work of the church. Mrs. Lynn is active as a teacher, is involved in girls' camps, women's retreats, Teens in the Word, and many other outreach efforts to spread the gospel; always doing all she can for Him.
3. She is a great SUPPORT to the Bible Institute. Supporters, students, and staff all rely on the support they give and receive to do the work of the Lord. The hub in the middle is Mrs. Lynn. We literally could not do what we do without her faithful service.
We are so thankful for Mrs. Lynn and her family. They are such great examples to all of the students and staff. ‪#‎50DaysOfThankfulness‬ ‪#‎ILoveBearValley‬
Pictured is Mrs. Lynn up in the mountains.

BV Thankfulness 1

Determined to Finish by B. Turner

A new class of students began a two year journey a week ago at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. The anticipation unfolds into reality. There is an overwhelming feeling too difficult to describe.

What have I gotten myself into?
How will I ever get all this work done?
Is it possible to keep this pace?

When facing overwhelming challenges, even self-inflicted, the most important question to ask is “how can we finish well?”

Spiritual leadership faces many challenges which can and will be overwhelming. These challenges can distract and/or discourage us. We must remember to ask; “how can we finish well?”

Finishing well requires a few simple steps.

Determine the priorities. Discouragement leads to quitting. Leaders cannot allow this to happen. Know what is worth dying for and give yourself to it.

Work hard. A post from a few years back about the Mumford and Son’s band shared the secret to their success. The point was a simple, but powerful truth. They work hard.

Keep your eye on the goal. Challenges bring distractions. Peter encouraged Christians facing persecution to keep their focus.

How well we finish is just as important as how we begin.

Bob Turner
BTurner@WeTrainPreachers.org
WeTrainPreachers

Update on the Lord’s work in Eastern Samar Philippines

KTTR.org - Update on the Lord's work in Eastern Samar Philippines
"The Bible Study Center just finished with our discipleship class, I started teaching them the subject about the OLD TESTAMENT SURVEY, next this Thursday there will be a quiz based on the topic that I have discussed this evening."- Report from Edwin Inso, evangelist in Eastern Samar.
The number of students at the Bible Study Center- (an outreach of churches of Christ) serving nearby ESSU university students and others is growing so much so that one night students had to meet outside the door! Most of these students have already obeyed the gospel and when they complete their education at ESSU and at the Bible Study Center they will take the good news all over the Philippines! Please keep the work Edwin is doing in your thoughts and prayers. God bless, Jamie

Philippines  6-17 Inside

Philippines  6-17

Philippines  6-17 outside

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Evangelism – A New Sister in Christ

Evangelism in action

Baptism of Imelda

Evangelism!

Yesterday was a great day for many of us associated through Know The Truth Radio. We gained a new sister in Christ, Imelda de la Cruz. We rejoice greatly at this addition to the Lord's family. Now, let me tell you about evangelism and how this event came to be. Evangelism is simply the act of sharing the gospel. It may take the form of an invitation to services, a request for a Bible study or an invitation to listen to a particular program. The content is the good news of Jesus and His one time for all sacrifice for our sins. In obedience to that gospel we believe the message. We repent, or determine to change our ways to conform to His. We confess this faith and are baptized or immersed in water for the remission of our sins.

Several months ago, our brother Henry Doty invited an online acquaintance to listen to www.kttr.org, our online radio program. Imelda started listening and participating in our chat box. Not long after this, Henry messaged me and said that Imelda was interested in finding out more about the churches of Christ. So we started looking for a local minister in her area. It took some doing, but  Remir de Mesa, another friend of Henry's and a minister in New Jersey, who is from the Philippines, contacted Ed Maq. He agreed to go see Imelda and assist us in this evangelism effort.

Evangelism at work

After contacting Imelda, Ed was intent on setting up a Bible study and then a group study. He also enlisted the aid of Efren and Joy Esteban, Christians who live near Imelda. They invited her to services and continued to have studies with her and some of her neighbors. Imelda continued to listen to www.kttr.org and participate in our chat box. After several studies conducted with her by brothers Ed and Efren and sister Joy and the evangelism they were doing, this weekend, Imelda decided to put our Lord on in baptism and was added to the body of Christ. Randy Macapagal, another local minister also assisted. We rejoice with her and with our Father in heaven as we now have a new sister!

We want to thank all of you who consistently and faithfully support us here at www.KnowTheTruthRadio.org. It is our greatest honor and privilege to hear of the gospel being preached and received and then obeyed, in some small part because of what we are doing. Evangelism is so simple in some ways, an invitation, and in others so difficult because we have many excuses. Consider these events and our new sister and don't hesitate to suggest a visit or a listen, anywhere in the world! We will find and contact a local member of the Lord's church to see it done. God bless and thanks again for being a part of this great work, evangelism!

Steve Weeks, for KnowTheTruthRadio.org

Bitter or Better posted by Jerry Groves

Bitter or Better posted by Jerry Groves

Many struggle with the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police. Others also struggle with police officers being able to do their jobs and go home to their families. What do we do when we see what seems to be asserted instances to use deadly force toward a certain demographic of society?

DO WE BECOME BITTER OR DO WE TRY TO MAKE THINGS BETTER.
BITTERNESS BLINDS US, MAKING US UNABLE TO LOOK AT THE FACTS OR SEE THE TRUTH.
BITTER EYES SEE THINGS FROM THEIR SKEWED, PREDETERMINED BENT.
BITTERNESS CAN INCITE RASH AND FOOL-HARDY BEHAVIOR WHICH BRINGS MORE PAIN AND SUFFERING.
Most of us can’t truly understand the plight of the homeless though I have sympathy for them and do what I can, because we’ve never been homeless.
Most can’t truly understand what its like being a police officer caught in a situation with a potentially hostile assailant and having to make a split second decision to shoot or not to.
Many can’t know how it is to be young, black and male feeling like you have a target on your chest.

The dander, on both sides of the issue is to have our proverbial heads stuck in the sand. It’s time to wake up and fix this. Most cops aren’t bad and most black men aren’t criminals.

IN ANY CASE WE SHOULD NOT BECOME BITTER BUT SEEK TO MAKE THE SITUATION BETTER BY

1. Keeping calm
2. Getting the facts
3. Asking God for guidance an thanking him for his mercy
4. Showing the world the love of Christ.

“Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man,
lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare”. Proverbs 22:24-25

PRAYER

Holy Father and merciful Savior. Please help us look to you in time of crisis. While the world has gone mad please help us to wait on your answer. Mighty God and Righteous Father I pray for truth and justice. I pray for peace and equality. I pray we as your people will train our children up in the way they should go and teach them your commands day and night. I pray for those sworn to serve and protect us all. I pray for their safety and security. I pray you will give them the ability to do their jobs and keep us safe. Father I pray you help us see the bad apples and policies and give us the grace to change them. Help us to see one another as you see us.

We love you Father
In Jesus Name

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