Thursday, August 7, 2008

One Definition of Leadership

  1. Align (around vision)
  2. Empower (People support what they help create.)
  3. Serve (People are not there to serve you; you are there to serve them.)
  4. Collaborate. (In the organization and between organizations)

[Mark Beeson/Bill George]

Bill George Says Leadership Must Change

"I think leadership must change dramatically in the 21st Century. Command and Control leadership styles must change to 'empowering others ... '"
People in an organization often know more than their bosses. Give them opportunity.

People are looking for meaning and significance in their work.

What Kind of Leader are You?

We must become BELOVED LEADERS.

The “Beloved Community” was Dr. King’s phrase. There can be no beloved community if there are no beloved leaders. You must let a force come on you and flow through you.

AGAPE love = the unconditional love of God.

AGAPEO = to be loved and loving simultaneously. We lead by loving the world. This same John wrote, “God so loved the world…” God wants to do something about education, forced child prostitution, and all the other problems in our society.

When Jesus comes back it’ll be Justice. Until then friend, it is “Just-us.”

Nobody loves across racial lines like God! There was a force beyond this place that came into this place … and loved everybody. A leader needs love! Go ahead and get all the knowledge you can, read all the books you can, but if you can’t love across racial lines you can’t lead!

We must be loving leaders.

We must be an ABIDING LEADER.

John says, “… love of God abides in us ... ” People must see that. We abide in something beyond us. Some people don’t step out and lead in a multi-cultural world because they feel like they are not qualified.

It’s not about qualification!

The church should be multi-racial and multi-ethnic. Tribalism is still a deep evil force that courageous and bold leaders must take on. No matter where you are, you cannot escape disparities around the world that exist because of race, class and place! Disparities exist in the church!

We abide in the force of God’s love.

We stay where the hurting people are; we created dwelling places. Sometimes, to lead, we have to stop dreaming about church buildings and we need to have visions about dwelling places where hurting people are.

We must be CONFESSING LEADERS (1 John 4:15).

Take responsibility. Say, “My bad,” when you mess up. Take responsibility. Jonah had to say, “The reason there is a storm in the world, is ‘my bad.’”

NOTE THIS ... When high pressure collides with low pressure a storm erupts. When the high pressure of God's will bumps against the low pressure of what we’d rather do, a storm erupts.

There is no institution in the USA that can make the case, “We only cater to people who are like each other.” That’s “low-pressure.”

The Confessing Leader says, “I’m confessing, ‘I don’t know what to do.’”Whatever you are, confess that. Be honest. Wherever you are, just confess that. What if we actually did something about the system and ethos that created the black church, and the Korean church? What if we saw ourselves beyond black and white?

(1 John 4) Some things have to be rearranged. A case can be made for ethnic specific churches ... but, we still cannot deny all of the communities around the world that are mobile, hip-hop and multi-cultural. Crazy kids come in all colors and sizes and places all over the world. We don’t need any more grown men with “little” in front of their name.

[Mark Beeson/Ephrem Smith]

U.S. Senator Sues God

Nebraska Sen. Ernie Chambers (I-Omaha), an atheist, is moving forward on a controversial lawsuit he filed last year against God for creating "fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes, pestilential plagues, ferocious famines, devastating droughts, genocidal wars, birth defects and the like." The senator also blames God for causing "calamitous catastrophes resulting in the wide-spread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon million of the Earth's inhabitants including innocent babies, infants, children, the aged and infirm without mercy or distinction."

When the court told Chambers the lawsuit would be thrown out if he was unable to serve notice to his Creator, he argued he had attempted to contact God on multiple occasions, but that he should not be required to verify God's existence when the U.S. government acknowledges God by printing "In God We Trust" on its currency.

The purpose of Chamber's grievances was to call attention to "frivolous" lawsuits after several senators authored bills barring them. Chambers maintains that the Constitution mandates open courthouse doors to everyone — even those who seek to sue the Almighty.


Today's Quote

"Every senior leader that I have seen fail did not fail to lead others, they failed to lead themselves."

[Harvard Professor and author of True North, Bill George]

COG Assembly Focuses on Church Planting

Celebrating the past but embracing a missional future, the Wednesday night General Assembly service focused on church planting. With guest music from Jason Crabb, the worship experience featured Michael Knight, the director of the National Office of Church Planting, who highlighted the stories of planters from diverse contexts on the "mission field" of North America. As a litany of church planters came across the stage, the diversity of age, culture and location was pronounced.

Raised up from around the Church of God, each with particular callings to particular places, the idea of place was significant throughout the night. "God has places," declared Bishop Sean Teal in a rousing message.

Teal's own strategic place has been Chattanooga, Tenn., where the Church of God ordained bishop has a ministry of global influence through a thriving local church, frequent TV appearances and the Church Supernatural Prayer Network.

Teal's message pointedly addressed much of the Church of God's current struggle to commemorate its past while attempting to capture something of the pioneer spirit so characteristic of early Pentecostalism for the future.

Teal especially challenged ministers to go beyond the routine tasks of vocational obligation and recapture "ministry as a bread-breaking exercise," where the Word of God is preached from a place of lived experience. He called the Church to recognize the ways that God gives us "redirection through rejection." Drawing on the rejection of Jesus through the cross as the precursor for resurrection, Teal explained that "Rejection is not personal, it's spiritual. You can't take rejection personally, must take it spiritually. It's used by God to put you where you should have been in the first place!"

It was a timely message for a church in transition, a denomination that must follow the Spirit the only way He can be followed — on the move. Forward movement may involve leaving some things behind: "If God is through with it, you need to be through with it too ... If God is moving on, then you need to be moving on and move with those who are moving with God." Following the undomesticated Spirit of God comes at great price, as God's chosen method is to "sacrifice your way to the next level."

North American church planters find themselves embedded deeply within the larger story of people of the untamed Spirit, men and women who know what it is to sacrifice for the sake of following God to new places.

God Keeps Good Books

Bishop Eugene Weakley, former Pastor, General Appointee and State Overseer of Tennessee for 14 years has written a new book entitled God Keeps Good Books.

It is a most interesting book with great insight into a life of true ministry.

You can order a copy from the White Wing Publishing House at


or e-mail the author at

Pastor Makes Himself Homeless to Learn What Those to Whom He Ministers Feel

Trying to imagine what it's like to be homeless, hungry and at the mercy of strangers is an image most Americans can dismiss at will. Not so with Dr. Charles G. Hawkins Sr. who decided to understand the homeless by becoming homeless.

Wandering the streets for nourishment, chilled to the bone, dead on his feet while seeking shelter like vermin, the founder of the Memphis Day Shelter discovered first-hand what it means to be left behind in America, to be viewed as human waste stripped of dignity and worth.

As pastor of the Whitehaven Church of God of Prophecy and district superintendent for work in the Memphis area, Hawkins said his contact with the homeless had been confined to seeing a few of them standing in doorways and over ventilation grates during the winter.

"Suddenly, I found myself in daily contact with them as we provided basic needs of food, shelter, showers, use of phones and lockers, as well as laundry facilities," said Hawkins. "I found myself submerged in an atmosphere and culture that was totally foreign to me."

After about three months of daily contact, Hawkins said he was counseling a young man, explaining how easy it would be for him to become a productive member of society if he could just put forth a little effort to improve his life.

"You just don't understand," the young man said. "Everyday you leave your comfortable home, drive down here in your big car and drive back to your nice home and sit down to a nice meal with your nice family, and then you retire to your nice bed for a good night's sleep. Sure, we like what we receive at the shelter, but when the day is over, what do we have? Nothing!"

Hawkins was speechless. He realized he didn't understand what these people were going through and they knew it. The face of that young man, setting him straight, filled with desperation, haunted him.

Hawkins was familiar with the old Native American adage, "Never judge a man until you walk a mile in his moccasins." Having fought for his country in World War II, spoke out against segregation during the civil rights era and dedicated his life to the service of others, the Mississippi native decided to walk more than a mile in the shoes of the homeless. He decided to live like them for a week. Without telling a soul, not even his wife, Hawkins started to make preparations for one of the most challenging experiences of his career. Taking few people into his confidence, Hawkins was later advised not to begin his experiment in Memphis, being so well known, and not to go it alone. Taking this to heart, he selected St. Louis, Mo., and chose the first client of the Memphis Day Shelter, a man named Bill, who had been on the streets for four years. No one at the church or the shelter had any idea what Hawkins would do on March 27, 1987.

Excerpts from his journal reveal a harrowing experience of desperation and determination to understand what it truly means to be without home and hope in America.

Hawkins' transformation was so complete his own son did not recognize him when he left home for Missouri. He would take no money, no baths, no shaves as Hawkins, age 60 at the time, was let out in the center of the business district of St. Louis with his friend and guide, Bill.

"Even though I was wearing long thermal underwear, a wool shirt, an all-weather jacked, heavy shoes and long wool socks, I felt chilled to the bone within five minutes out in the street," said Hawkins. Within a few minutes, the pastor who is often mistaken for Billy Graham, said he was totally exhausted but had to continue to walk and walk and walk.

"I never realized there was no places just to rest," he said. "We finally found a Greyhound Bus Station. I soon learned that there were no seats available for people like us in the station. The same was true of the restrooms.

"I asked Bill why he didn't tell me they did not want us in there. He replied, 'You said you wanted to experience things the way they really are.' I never knew there was so few places just to sit down and rest," Hawkins admitted." I really never thought that I would have the uneasy feelings I was experiencing because I knew that I could pick up the phone, call someone and end the whole thing in a matter of minutes. On the contrary, I was almost ready to panic, even though I had only been on the streets for four hours."

Asking for help, they were directed to a church 10 blocks away that served meals. "They were getting ready to lock the door when we walked in," said Hawkins, who received a piece of bread, a bowl of macaroni and cheese, a bag of cornquistos and a cup of tea. This was just the beginning of hitting rock bottom and falling through to a level of desperation Hawkins knew nothing about.

Shelter and nourishment were just the tip of the iceberg for a man who was struggling with an incomprehensible hopelessness that could only be understood by walking this walk. In a column he later wrote, Hawkins said, "Something happens to the individual who must survive on the street. He begins losing his self-esteem and many times turns to crime or falls prey to any number of life-threatening situations."

His companion, Bill, even told him how he had been robbed, beaten by thugs, stripped of everything but his clothing. Bill spoke of homeless people who had been beaten, unclothed and sodomized, even murdered, according to Hawkins. "The trauma and cruelty that is part of this subculture was finally getting through to me," said Hawkins as each agonizing day crept along. "It's not just a matter of food and shelter, it is much deeper. In this environment, the value of human life depreciates rapidly."

Not only was his life's value in question, Hawkins felt the painful sensation of being an object of derision, as fine citizens chose to look the other way or through him rather than at him. "It was during our third day on the street that I began to sense the feeling of isolation these disenfranchised people experience that so destroys their self-esteem," he said. "It was as if I had become invisible, and even though there were people all around, no one seemed to see me except to express their dissatisfaction with my presence."

"I pray that those who read this book may afterward be more conscious of the many people who, for whatever reason, are struggling just to keep body and soul in tact," he said.

According to Hawkins, from the day he returned from his journey into the world of the homeless, he and others began work on a program to address the issues that contribute to the homeless problem. "Since that time, we have helped many families cope with some very deep-rooted problems," said Hawkins. "For me, the greatest tragedy of homelessness is knowing that one can pass from this mortal frame and no one will be there to mourn his departure."

If Hawkins can help it, that sad situation will improve, although he said he realizes poverty is something inescapable in this system, since Jesus Christ himself foretold at John 12:8, "The poor always ye have with you."

Still, Hawkins, now 81, said he was able to put out his book "at a minimum of expense in order that the maximum proceeds from its sale might go to benefit the many homeless of our nation."

To purchase a copy of this intriguing book, contact the author at

Flight Attendant Sues Joel Osteen's Wife

A jury was seated Wednesday in a lawsuit alleging the wife of nationally known pastor Joel Osteen assaulted a flight attendant.

Opening statements were set for Thursday in a case Victoria Osteen's lawyer called "silly." But Reginald McKamie, attorney for Continental Airlines flight attendant Sharon Brown, said he hopes the trial will show "that celebrity status doesn't take precedence."

Brown accuses Victoria Osteen of assaulting her before the start of a 2005 flight from Houston to Vail, Colo. Brown alleges Victoria Osteen threw her against a bathroom door and elbowed her in the left breast during an angry outburst over a stain on her first-class seat.

Joel Osteen was at his wife's side Wednesday in court. McKamie said he expected to call the couple as witnesses.

Will the public or the jury hold Victoria Osteen to a higher standard because she is a pastor's wife? Do people have an unrealistic expectation of clergy? Is it open season on clergy and their families?

Joel Osteen pastors Lakewood Church in Houston where about 42,000 people attend each week and where Victoria Osteen is co-pastor. His weekly television address is broadcast nationally and internationally.

Some potential jurors during questioning admitted to being star-struck by the Osteens and that their respect for them might affect their judgment.

"He has gotten me through a lot of tough times. I would believe what he has to say. I have a lot of respect for him," one female in the jury pool said.

Other potential jurors said they didn't like preachers or televangelists and that ministers can lie.

Is the flight attendant using this incident to go after deep pockets? Does she have a bias against clergy?

Brown wants an apology and punitive damages amounting to 10 percent of Victoria Osteen's net worth as part of her suit.

Victoria Osteen's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said before jury selection began Wednesday that Brown's claims are false and that what happened was a "minor incident." Hardin also asked a judge to throw out an FAA report detailing the alleged incident, saying the agency's investigation was "incredibly incomplete."

"This is a very silly case," Hardin told reporters.

According to court documents, Brown claims that she suffers from anxiety and hemorrhoids because of the incident and said her faith was affected. She is also suing Osteen for medical expenses for counseling.

EXTRA: Did you know that Brown has previously claimed she was attacked in another incident by an airport employee, according to a deposition she gave in the case? Does this effect your feelings about this case?

Click "comments" below.