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Leadership Through the Journey

Knowing what vehicle you are driving and making the most of the journey.

 

I love my drive to work.  Not the distance but the view and the back roads.  Most mornings I jump in my little VW Jetta and start my morning drive through the country.  About a mile from my home there is an exciting curvy road near a river that slaloms between power poles.  I usually drive the road at a pretty good clip weaving in and out of the poles with ease.  I see it as a challenge to be conquered each morning.  Can I best my last time?  Remaining within the speed limit of course.

However, the other day I jumped in the AWD crossover and set out on that same road with a vehicle full of family.  I was making great time, but the vehicle was too sloppy and tended to roll and list against my tight cornering skills.  I looked over and my wife had a firm grasp on the “OC” handle (Christian lingo) and a look of discomforted fear in her eyes.  She looked at me and stated, “You are not alone in your zippy car honey…we’d like to remember the ride and be alive to enjoy the destination.”  Or something like that.

Needless to say I slowed down and came to a couple of realizations that day.  First, as a leader there are times that I personally grow in leaps in bounds.  I come to new understandings and gain new visions of where I am to head next.  I jump out into a new faith journey with gusto and accelerate around the obstacles of life watching them disappear in my rear view mirror.  My fresh vision of life is exciting, and my desire is for those I am journeying with to experience a similar growth of faith.  So, I gather up the troops and unload all of my ideas, dreams, and visions expecting everyone to jump in the VW Jetta and zip along with me.

Although my intentions are good the reality is that, as a leader, I am actually driving a large awkward bus and not my little zippy VW.  The bus takes longer to get moving, takes far more fuel, corners awful, and prefers downhill grades.  Momentum has to be established on the downhill stride so that there can be just enough speed to make the long uphill jaunt.

Suddenly, it doesn’t seem as fun to drive.  It’s hot or it’s cold as no one can agree on the temperature for the ride.  It’s noisy or too quiet and most people prefer their own form of entertainment on the trip.  It begins to smell funny and people begin to ask, “Are we there yet?”  Then someone says, “I am getting car sick” and another, “I have to use the restroom”.  With that the trip comes to a temporary halt.  The most depressing part is that we’ve only gone 60 miles on a 1200 miles trek.  This is gonna be a frustrating and long journey together.

Learning to lead through the long haul is a test of patience and humility. The best example for this is Jesus and His relationship with the disciples.  He could’ve come down to earth, called the disciples, and then sent them out fully gifted and equipped the very next day.  Instead, Jesus took three long years to reveal to them that the Kingdom He was establishing was spiritual and not earthly.  Actually, after three long years the disciples still didn’t get it, so the Holy Spirit was given to them for spiritual enlightenment.

Jesus also didn’t expect them to catch everything the first time.  He knew the hopeful destination for His life and ministry.  However, no matter how much teaching and vision casting Jesus did for the disciples they were perplexed by the present reality and overwhelmed by the future promise.  He beautifully described what the Kingdom of God was, and yet His followers struggled to grasp the fundamentals of the faith.  Nevertheless, He continued to patiently lead them in their faith journey.

Now let me be clear.  I am not comparing myself to Jesus.  As a leader I stumble and falter, and at times I don’t love the way I am called to.  I can, however, strive to lead, love, teach, and cast vision like Jesus did.  He did so patiently, directly and took every opportunity He could to live it out in front of those He loved.  Jesus’ journey on earth was an intentional invitation of sharing life with those he led.  As a leader the destination is important, but patiently loving those with us on the journey is imperative.  Take them along for the ride of their life and enjoy the journey even the untimely pit stops!

 

Journeying with Jesus,

Steve Broughton

steve@restoringhopeministries.com

www.restoringhopeministries.com

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Footprints in the Snow

Footprints in the Snow

 

                The sun had just risen and the dog was begging to go out for his morning “walk” but to my surprise the grass was not to be seen.  Instead it was once again lying underneath eight inches of snow.  Since the dog won’t walk too far in deep snow I decided to blaze a trail in front of him so that he would venture out away from the house.  By the time I made it to the corner of the house my feet were wet and cold.  Let’s just say that Crocs don’t make the best snow shoes in the world and I hadn’t had my cup of coffee yet so my common sense was still in bed.

            As I prepared to turn around and head back to the front door our dog spotted some tracks and took off to find the culprit that had invaded his territory.  Suddenly with a burst of energy he bound off chasing a cat into the woods.  I found it interesting how he suddenly didn’t mind the deep snow any longer.  The cat being the wiser of the two pounced through some briars and my dog being the denser of the two followed with gusto.  After a few minutes of detanglement and a bloody nose the dog limped back to the house with his tail tucked between his legs.  The cat mocked his retreat by peering down at him from a snow covered fallen limb.

                The next day I decided to take a short walk around the house to “pre-spot” the tracks in the yard so as to not have a repeat of yesterday’s blunderous morning. As I journeyed out near the woods I found several different tracks in the snow.  There were cat tracks once again around our house and I figured out that day that the warmth of the chimney attracted our feline nemesis.  As I meandered deeper into the yard I discovered deer tracks coming out of the woods up one of our trails.  As I continued near our corner bush there on the ground were some bird prints of all shapes and sizes.

                I wouldn’t have known who was visiting our property every evening if the fresh snow wasn’t there to reveal their daily routes.  The combination of snow and light helped to reveal the life that was sitting right there in my own yard.  The snow captured the animal’s habits and the light revealed it.

                There is a verse in a stanza from David’s writings that we all know.  “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Ps. 51:7, ESV)  We have been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 4:17) and the Light of the Gospel (2 Cor 4:4) revealed our continuous need for a Savior. 

                 Now the question becomes where do our tracks end up?  If someone were to follow our tracks today would they have heard of the wonders of salvation and freedom?  I know that this is a rather abrupt transition but please come with me.  Take a moment and read the rest of Ps 51.  What was David’s response in verses 13-15?

                David says, “I will teach others of their need for salvation and open my mouth to declare your praise.”  (SBP, Steve Broughton Paraphrase)  Our tracks should actually have butt and knee imprints as well.  Times where we sit and share God’s love with others through the Gospel and also kneeling imprints as we give Him the glory due His name for His great salvation and hope.  If we were to sidetrack to Isaiah 58 we would find that our tracks should lead to those who are oppressed.  Take some time today and see where Jesus’ footsteps took Him.  Skim through the Gospels and then ask God to send you on mission.

                I can’t wait to hear about how God was honored and glorified because of your decision to blaze a new trail for Him.  It may get deep but God wants to reveal His love through you.  Ultimately our journey isn’t even about us it is all about HIM!!! 

 

                                                                                                     Journeying with Jesus,

                                                                                                     Steve Broughton

 

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Mugs & Memories

      It’s an early Saturday morning and my wife has left for work.  A moment ago I came in from bringing in today’s wood for the woodburner and making sure that a good fire was going before grinding some beans and brewing a pot coffee.  I opened all of the blinds so that I could enjoy the sunrise and then poured my morning cup of “joe”. 

      However, this morning as I picked out my coffee cup I found that I had some interesting connections with the mugs in the cupboard.  I was reminded that each one has a memory or two attached to it.  I tend to be rather picky about my coffee mugs.  I won’t buy them at yard sales or take them from a vendor, usually.  Over the years I have hand selected each one.  The one that I am drinking from this morning was purchased after I received the “all clear” from my eye doctor after my fourth surgery to restore my sight.  It was a celebratory mug and I remember how God provided the most excellent doctors and nurses that I could have hoped for.  Not to mention a supportive family who were patient with me through my long recovery.

      I have many mugs with many memories attached to them.  One is from our honeymoon, though it has been packed away since we broke the matching mug.  I typically buy a mug when I go on a special vacation with the kids or a special trip with my wife.  I have two sitting on my desk that have been relegated to pen duty since they each have a crack and I refuse to discard them.  One is from Round Lake Camp, where I went as a kid, served as a dean, and most recently led a retreat for our Discipleship Group Leaders.  The other mug is from a trip that my dad and I took to Cabelas a few years back.  In my cupboard I have a metal camping mug that I used to leave on our woodburner to keep warm while we played cards with our friends.  My smallest mug is from a furniture store that I had worked at as a woodworker as well as a salesman.  This mug recently reminded me that by the time the store was closed and the owner moved to California they had sent out at least three employees into fulltime ministry.  I’m not sure that they will ever know the impact that they made in the Kingdom by providing us a place to work and share our faith.

      By now you are probably wondering how long is this guy going to ramble on about coffee mugs?  Fear not as there is a point to this little devotion.  I have two questions for you today.  The first, what memories do you have about special people that have shaped your life in a positive way?  The second is somewhat weightier than the first.  What are you going to do with the investment that these people have made in your life? 

      I was recently reminded that I have a deep responsibility to carry on the torch of friendship, love and, discipleship.  Each one of the memories that I have shared with you were life changers.  Some in small ways and others were monumental.  However, the bottom line is that I have a calling to pass on what has been offered to me. 

      We were created to have connections.  Often times our excuses of inactivity in the lives of others are based upon our laziness and/or fear.  We tend to allow the fear of rejection, failure or lack of knowledge to sidetrack our God given call of love and friendship. 

      Here are a few reminders that I needed to hear today when it comes to investing into the lives of those around me.  First, people reject God daily so if they reject Him of course there is a chance that I may be rejected as well.  It’s a risk worth taking.  Second, someone took a chance on me and helped to mold my life.  I would not be where I am today without those encounters both good and bad.  They have shaped me and molded me.  Third, we are leaders by design.  There will always be someone looking to us for some sort of direction.  If a parent then your child.  If a boss then an employee.  If an employee then a customer.  If a coach then your team.  On and on it goes and it never stops.  Someone is always watching you and taking their cues from your daily walk.  You most likely are already impacting the lives of those around you.  Are you making the kind of legacy that you want to leave behind?  Are you being intentional with the time that God has given you?  Every encounter is an opportunity to invest in the life of a person near you.  Don’t waste it today!

 

Ps.  My wife asked me to slow down on the mug purchases as our cupboards are full.  But that won’t stop me.  I have a big desk and a lot of pens that need a home.  Now what kind of memory am I going to make today?

 

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.  God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.  I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”

Romans 1:8-12 (NIV)

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Biblical Counseling

New Hope Church (Wooster, OH) and I are partnering to offer Biblical Counseling on Fridays.  I am a member of the Association of Biblical Counselors (http://christiancounseling.com/content/philosophy-of-ministry).  My main focus is on marital counseling.  If you or someone you know is in need of help please feel free to contact me.  For more information about me you may visit our About Us page.

If you would like more information please contact me by email at: steve@restoringhopeministries.com

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Your Secret Name

The July Your Secret Name Conference in Powell, OH was amazing.  There were over 120 people seeking freedom in Christ and many people discovered it.  I had the privilege of speaking as one of the workshop leaders and was humbled by how God used that session to encourage people to work through their fear and pursue the God Who is pursuing them.

 

We have now led two Your Secret Name Conferences and have seen many people find liberty in Jesus.  Please be looking for more information in regards to an upcoming 4 hour mini-conference that we will be hosting at New Life Church (Bellville, OH) in September.

 

Wow!

I had no idea that it has been so long since I had logged into this website.  The Secret Name Conference at New Life Church in October went great and we have heard stories of growth and freedom from several participants.  Some have asked for us to host another conference soon.  We are looking at the calendar and considering hosting one in the Spring.

In the meantime I have joined the Your Secret Name Team and will continue to pursue opportunitites to share this powerful message of freedom and hope.  Be looking for some of my newsletter articles and thoughts soon.

I have also updated the About Us page check it out.

 

Journeying with Jesus,

Steve