This is an exciting, yet nerve-racking, time of year. It’s time for our kids to go back to school and join countless others in learning the basics of math, English, science, and more. Yet, parents (and children) can get nervous because of other things they might learn. It would be nice to shelter our kids forever and never let them experience heartbreak, loss, grief, disappointment, or sadness. But by doing that, aren’t we also keeping them from joys, triumphs, victories, friendships, and ultimately a Godly character? While this season may be difficult for some, let’s take a look at these back to school videos by Freebridge Media for encouragement as we send our children back to school.
As the school year draws near, let’s take a moment to pray and ask God to watch over our children. To protect them, guide them and give them the courage to live out their faith.
As the school year approaches, we need to take a moment to pray for our children. We need to ask God to watch over our children. To lead them, protect them and help them make right choices. We need to ask God to empower them to live out their faith and show them how to be an example of God’s great love.
As our children head back to school, it’s time to take a moment and ask God to protect them, lead them and guide them. It’s time to pray for God to grant our children wisdom, strength and courage as they live out their faith. It’s time to take a moment and ask for His hand on the new school year.
This year, as your children head back to school, stop and take a moment to pray for God’s hand upon them, His strength to carry them and His love to surround them. “A Prayer For Our Children” is a great reminder of the importance of hitting our knees and asking God to walk the halls of our schools.
Leadership is like a many-faceted diamond. To define leadership in small and simple terms is to remove the beautiful complexity of the diamond, and replace with with a sheet of glass. We want easy definitions of leadership so we can lock in and press forward, but inso-doing, we take something that is beyond three-dimensional and make it flat and lifeless and powerless.
In these thoughts, I’m taking the diamond of leadership, making an observation about the view through one cut edge, then turning it for another view. And I’m just scratching the surface of what many others have already discovered about what it means to be a great leader.
Most leaders protect themselves and their interests. Great leaders cover those around them, and move their organizations forward underneath the safety of that covering.
Many leaders are trying to figure out their own purpose and calling. Great leaders are discovering that their greatest purpose and calling is to help those around them figure it all out.
Many leaders create friendships so the job gets done. Great leaders create jobs so the friendships get done.
Many leaders coerce. Great leaders invite.
Many leaders believe the ends justify the means. Great leaders focus on treating the means with integrity and honesty and love, then allowing God to create the best end possible.
Many leaders believe that the size or their organization matters most. Great leaders believe that the size of every team member’s heart matters most.
Many leaders try and remove the tension of not knowing. Great leaders learn to dance in the middle of that tension.
Many leaders hide their weaknesses. Great leaders confess them.
Many leaders have core values that serve the organization. Great leaders help people to fully embrace what it means to live and breathe and find life within those core values.
Many leaders talk first. Great leaders listen first.
Many leaders control. Great leaders trust.
I suppose that If leadership is getting the people around you to do your bidding, then Hitler was a great leader. But if leadership is pouring into others so they discover the best way they can pour into a needy world, then Jesus stands atop the leadership boards.
For in Jesus, we find Someone who both loved and challenged people fiercely. We find someone who always invited people into something that was far bigger than themselves – something He called “the kingdom” – and we experience a man who alone offered the keys to that door’s unlocking. We see a leader who lived for the glory of His Father, but who created a band of rejects to help a dying world see that glory.
And I just can’t get beyond the fact that, over and over and over again, we only see and hear invitational language on the lips of Jesus, never coercion and guilt and pressure. Jesus came because He loved the world so much, but that love never lost its invitational nature to either follow Him with everything, or not.
I want to be more like Jesus, and let any leadership I offer to my family or church or organization flow from there. And I never ever want to abandon the multi-faceted diamond of leadership in favor of something that fits into a few simple catch phrases, but lakes the oxygen away from the soul of anything I lead today.
This article originally appeared on GaryMo.com. Used with permission.
By now, you have likely become fairly familiar with Hillsong United’s newest album, Wonder. (Unless your primary residence is located on a remote island or under an actual rock.) Just a few weeks ago they were teasing us by releasing their single of the same name, and now the full album is FINALLY here in all its glory!
As an avid listener of all things UNITED since “All of The Above” (2007), I was ready to go when this album dropped, and have already given it “100 billion” listens. (See what I did there…?)
Now, I don’t know about you, but I cannot simply “listen” to a new worship album. One does not simply listen to the album as if it were any old song. No way. This requires your full attention, and since I am way too “active-minded” to sit and simply listen, I like to do something the first time I hear an album that I call “walking the album.”
If you have never tried this, you should. Basically, I put on my headphones and some good walking shoes, hit “play,” and walk from track one all the way through to the end. The walk acts as a sort of “first date” between me and the music. It allows me to take in every word and every tone. The experience of this kind of aloneness with the music allows me to experience and adopt the new thing that God is doing through the songs. It provides me the opportunity to be in a sea of people…while still being in my own world and in my own head.
It goes a little something like this…
Run Time: 71 Minutes
This album absolutely blew me away lyrically. Every verse, tag, and chorus brings new perspective and anointed verbiage to timeless kingdom truths. The theme, “Wonder,” is brilliantly woven through every single track. I walked down the street, making my way through the disorderly crowds of people, thinking, “Have you ever seen the wonder?” This album beautifully illustrated the gospel truth that I know my city (and every city for that matter) needs to hear.
You won’t find any traditional “fast” songs on this album. While “Wonder” and “Not Today” are certainly of the medium-tempo variety, the album spends most of the time diving into the depth of His presence. Without hesitation, I can say that “So Will I (100 Billion X)” is my absolute favorite track, and it appears that my fellow listeners agree with me as the song has already reached 1.5 million listens on Spotify. As a worshiper, I identify with the wonder that is our Heavenly Father, the Creator of one hundred billion galaxies.
The time alone with this album allowed for God to broaden my view of things that He has been speaking to me. It’s crazy to think that some of the very things that God has been dealing with my heart on are in this album, that the work that God is doing in every individual member of his kingdom, He is also sowing it into His kingdom as a whole.
My final thoughts on the subject are surprisingly mixed. While there are several new songs that have become instant go-to’s for my personal worship time, there were also one or two tracks that didn’t really peak my interest. But here are the top 5 tracks that I can’t stop raving about:
Be sure to check out the full album!
Let’s be real. If the church– the gathered community of believers– are not a welcoming group of people, then who would want to stick around and find out more about who Jesus is and what He has done? The church desperately needs to be a welcoming community, inviting people to come and see this wonderful news that Jesus has given us. Just read the words Jesus spoke in the Gospel of John:
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
– John 13.35
Maybe it’s time that we, the church, should put a little more emphasis on being a welcoming community. I’m not talking about membership, just yet; that’s a different conversation altogether. What I am talking about is simply being welcoming to those who decide to come to our service. This could entail saying “hi,” “hello,” “how are you today?” or “glad you are here.” It could be anything, really! If church exists to simply say “hi” to our immediate group of friends, or to sit with those we know, then I think it is safe to say we are grossly missing the point. The gathered people of God exist to glorify Jesus, and that includes being welcoming to those we don’t know. Here is one more verse before we dive in with some amazing mini movies from Freebridge Media:
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
– Hebrews 13.2
This verse deals specifically with hospitality, but the concept of welcoming people, loving people, and of being hospitable to others all weave together into the point of loving others. That is absolutely something we are called to do.
If you decide to focus in on this theme one week during your services, then I encourage you to check out some of these mini movies from Freebridge Media that focus in on welcoming others.