As we sat together on the couch, my husband turned to me and said, “Instead of wars, let’s just figure everything out with basketball. If your team wins, your country gets the land. If our team wins, our country gets the land.”
I know it’s an oversimplification, but doesn’t it sound nice?
Christmas has a lot to do with bodies, if you stop to think about it. The nativity narrative in Luke begins with the news that the aged body of Elizabeth will soon bear a son. Then, a virgin named Mary learns that her body will soon contain the very Son of God. When God’s Son is born, he has a real body, one that starts out life in weakness and dependency. If you take away the bodies, you really don’t have Christmas at all.
My hope is that this series on transformational leadership has inspired you to take your leadership to the next level and to the next generation… My prayer is that you would leave the indelible mark of Christ on every work that you touch, and that God’s work through you would transform the systems of this world throughout the ages.
Regeneration—a word we don’t use often enough. It describes salvation and the realities of our new lives in Christ. This word suggests that salvation necessarily comes with changes in the way we act, speak, and think. In other words, regeneration speaks of being transformed. Although this may feel like a farfetched notion to some people, even to believers, it is a Biblical guarantee. 2 Corinthians 5:17 assures us that for those of us in Christ, “the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!”
I step through the doorway onto the deck, down the stairs, and out onto the driveway, which is concrete, gritty and warm—almost hot—beneath my feet. It is the thick of summer now, and our tomatoes hang heavy on the vine, laughing at our inability to accurately predict how many tomatoes one plant will bear… On lazy days like these, when no deadlines or meetings or other commitments call, I am most assuredly drawn outside—always barefoot, a dog or two sauntering or bouncing at my heels.
Our nation and the world are asking for transformational leadership. It has always been the domain of Christ’s body to rise to the occasion every time direction is needed. This series on transformational leadership will explore ways that we can gracefully and confidently step into the role that God has called us to hold.
Jesus knew the power of compassion. He knew that desiring good for those we have named “enemy” retrains our brains and transforms us, through the literal renewing of our minds. Practicing loving-kindness and compassion makes it possible for us to de-escalate divisiveness and point people toward something more.
Though it’s reassuring to realize that Jesus himself, the Son of God, faced opposition and disagreement, this realization doesn’t always help when we face our own conflicts at work. When it seems as if a coworker is trying to throw you under the proverbial bus, your gut reaction might be to retreat or to lash out. However, as followers of Christ, it’s important to remember that our goal is always to build loving relationships and to live at peace with everyone, as much as it depends on us — even at work.
Prayer and consistent reading of the scriptures are the perfect combination for growth. My spiritual life changed for the better once I looked at prayer and Bible reading in the proper context. Too often we read the Bible and pray because we buy into the superstitious ideal that neglecting to do these things will incur the wrath of God or result in a very bad day. However the power in these exercises is that they promote growth, by fine-tuning our ability to hear God.
Recently I was in Italy for several weeks traveling with friends. One of my favorite destinations turned out to be the Piedmont region, which is the home of some of the best vineyards in Italy. This was a surprise for me since I’m not a wine aficionado. (Of course, my friends more than made up for my deficiency!) Still, one of the most interesting events of our tour was a talk given by a representative from one of the leading vineyards in the area. He began his talk with a startling statement, “The quality of the wine is based on the suffering of the vine.”