In Between Sundays

The Nun

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It was Saturday morning and the retreat was winding down.  The nuns of St. Michael’s and their parish priests had drawn aside for a time of personal renewal, worship, and quiet reflection.  It had been a productive time of Bible study, laughter, prayer, and appreciation.

As the group gathered for their final assembly, Father Jonathan led the group in a boisterous song and then segued into a time of reflection and sharing. “Who would like to begin?” he asked.  “What did God say to you this weekend?” The silence ended as the nuns, one-by-one, began to share.  Some spoke of answered prayer, while others gave voice to a renewed sense of mission and calling.

After twenty minutes or so, Father John sensed the moment was drawing to a close. “Is there anyone else that would like to share?  Anyone?”  Sister Mary Alice sat quietly at the back of the room as she was not known for speaking out.  There was another long pause and then surprisingly, Sister Mary Alice raised her hand, stood, and began to speak.  Surprised at hearing her voice, the group turned in their seats, anxious to hear what their quiet sister had to say. 

She began: “I had a dream last night.  It was an unusual dream.  We were not dressed in our traditional habits.”  And in a hesitant whisper, she continued, “We were wearing prom dresses.  They were bright colors – pastels with frills and shimmering gowns.”  The room went silent.  “And, Father Jonathan, you were not dressed in your black clerical attire.  YOU WERE WEARING A TUXEDO!”  The nuns erupted in laughter; everyone now smiling and wanting to hear more.

Mary Alice recalled various places in the room from her dream: “Over there, a band was playing jazz!  A punchbowl!  Cookies!  Dancing, laughter, flowers, and music!  It was wonderful!  I’d never seen anything like this before!”

“I sat in a folding chair watching everyone dance.  As my feet tapped to the music, I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder and I heard a voice whisper in my ear . . . ‘Mary Alice, would you like to dance?’  I nodded and he gently took my hand and guided me to the center of the floor.  His strong hands took mine and I closed my eyes as we began to sway to the music.”

“Then I heard him say, ‘Mary Alice.’  In that instant, my eyes opened and . . . I KNEW WHO HE WAS!  It was Jesus.  I was dancing with Jesus. He smiled and continued ‘Mary Alice, I want you to know something.’  He leaned forward and whispered in my ear . . . ‘Mary Alice, I’m crazy in love with you.’” 

The dream ended.

A story?  Yes, it’s just a story.  But, you must know Jesus is crazy in love with you.  Think about that for a moment.  Ephesians 2 says “. . . because of the great love with which He loved us.”  1 John 3 says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us . . .” Galatians 2:20 says, “. . . the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  And, Romans 8 says, “(nothing) will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Live today in the confidence that you are loved immeasurably by our great Savior.  He is crazy in love with you!

Posted by Ted Burden with

Lone Ranger Leadership Part 2

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“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” - 1 Corinthians 12:12

This text speaks into one of our core values at Fellowship Bible Church; the value is TEAM – “We, is better than me.”  We truly believe this!  That, God uses people who have surrender their lives, talents, skills, and are willing to serve in mutual submission to one another and King Jesus.  God’s design for the church was never intended to be a lone-ranger-led institution.  And yet, it requires leadership at every level.

At Fellowship, we’re smack dab in the middle of preparing to go (grow) to two worship services; February 25th is our day.  Much time has been spent in preparing for this transition.  As leaders, we’ve prayed.  We’ve sought God’s answer in scripture (see Joshua 4).  We’ve consulted.  We’ve prayed more.  We’ve listened to where God is leading the church.  And in this lab of life called “Leadership 101”, here’s what I’m learning. 

Here are four symptoms of a Lone Ranger Leadership style:

  • The “know-it-all” - no one knows everything about everything. (Except that one guy I sat across from on the train to Philadelphia); it usually manifests itself in argumentative fashion.
  • “I’m never weak” - admitting a weakness is actually a sign of strength. Acknowledging weakness doesn’t make a leader less effective.
  • The big ego - As a leader, it is prideful for us to attempt to do everything. Upgrade performance and set aside pride by playing to strengths and delegating weaknesses.
  • “No one can do it as good as me.” This approach will kill you.  Left untended, you’ll soon look like a circus act with 14 spinning plates on long sticks.  The crash is inevitable!

Peeling off the Lone Ranger mask and getting to the truth of who we are as leaders is essential.  Like it or not, leadership requires the courage to walk in the dark. The darkness is the uncertainty that always accompanies change. The mystery of whether or not a new enterprise will pan out. The reservation everyone initially feels when a new idea is introduced. Including the risk of being wrong.

Confession:  Team Fellowship, I need you – your wisdom, your prayers, your counsel, and you to hold me accountable.  And Team Fellowship – we need the power of Jesus to keep us connected to Him and one another. 

Posted by Ted Burden with

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