Aaron Summers

4 Moves to Beating Betrayal

In Betrayal, Leadership on August 28, 2014 at 7:47 am

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Betrayal brings a sickening feeling to mind, body, and soul.  When those who were warm become cold we panic.  When everything seems to be fine and then we are handed our walking papers our hearts sink.  How do we handle the stress of betrayal?  What are we supposed to do?  Whether it is friendships that falter, marriages that fail, or jobs that are ripped from our grip, betrayal shakes us to the core.  Paranoia establishes itself as you begin to fantasize about who the next betrayer will be.  You start to over-analyze the smallest decisions, trying to maintain a mental and emotional balance.

John and his wife had been married for a several years and had raised their family.  The perfect couple, by community standards, ended in divorce because of an infidelity that resulted in a child from earlier in the marriage.  An entire family, church, and community rocked because of betrayal.

Billy had been brought in to lead the organization.  This young, bright leader brought to the table fresh ideas that would enhance the morale and economy.  After a few years he was fired by the same people who hired him citing that he just wasn’t the right leader.  In actuality, Billy was introducing new players into the decision-making process and the power base had been threatened.  A man’s psyche and family lay in ruins because of dissension and betrayal.

Moses had been given the job of leading a miserable lot of people by the very hand of God.  The people had been given their freedom from the hand of Pharaoh’s taskmasters.  God proved His might by parting the Red Sea sealing off the Egyptian army inside the walls of water.  For the multitude the voice of God was the voice of Moses.  The hand of God was the hand of Moses.  He personified God for them in the midst of good and difficult times.  He had given his life to leading them.  What went wrong?

1 Then the whole community broke into loud cries, and the people wept that night. 2 All the Israelites complained about Moses and Aaron, and the whole community told them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to die by the sword? Our wives and little children will become plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?”

4 So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and go back to Egypt.”
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell down with their faces [to the ground] in front of the whole assembly of the Israelite community.

There are thousands of stories among us that speak to this issue of betrayal and dissension.   How do we handle betrayal from those closest to us or held most dear?  How should we respond in these moments?  The resolve necessary to walk away with the fewest scars comes from God.  Peek into the next few moments in Moses’ life and we find a few truths to take with us.

Move #1  Feel the Weight

Moses and Aaron fell down before the people.  It is impossible to not feel the emotional weight of such an occasion.  Feel the weight.  Emote.  Allow grief to run its course.

Move #2  Stay Close to God

It is easy to interpret Moses’ falling down before the people as a posture of worship before God.  No matter how much you have been hurt, God is the ultimate balm for the wounds of the soul.  Good grief affords faith the proper room to breathe and relieve us of the pain and stress.

Move #3  Have Integrity

When given the opportunity to respond about your situation be kind.  Moses sticks up for those who were calling for his head and position.  When God, an outside source, wishes to inflict damage Moses responds with logic and kindness.

Move #4  Let God Fight the Battle

Our sincere response of kindness and integrity is honorable before God.  We must accept the sovereignty of God as supreme in its judicial process.  However, we must not groan or glory in His decision.

8 Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6

We cannot control every facet of life.  We do have considerable control, and responsibility, over what we say and do in response to betrayal.  In the hurt, bow down with your face to ground before God and wait for Him to reveal His majesty and glory.

4 Must-Do’s and How We Should Say Hello

In Church on August 26, 2014 at 9:31 am

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My flight left at 630 am en route to Love Field in Dallas for a new pastor’s in Texas meeting.  I arrived early and made my way through the terminal and out to the ground transportation.  There to pick me up a wondeful man by the name of Walter Criss from Brookhaven Baptist in Dallas.  We chatted as we waited for 3 other guys.  He took us all the way to the front door.  As we exited the van there were people at the door with smiles and greetings for us.  We walked in the door and found others there to greet us.

I made my way through the registration process and received my name tag and welcome folder.  I then spent the next hour being greeted by everyone who is a member of the group.  I sat down at a table of those who are new in the Panhandle of Texas.  I watched as the area reps worked the room without regard to whether or not we were in their area of Texas.  I met reps from the nine areas, 8 of whom I may never meet again!  The ministry personnel also were greetin each of us and asking where we live, serve, and expressed genuine interest in our “story”.

From this time I was impressed that if our churches, each Sunday, would welcome like this our churches would overflow before too long.  Here are a few tips for us to consider.

1.  In the parking lot.  I am aware of one church that has volunteers who stand out by the road and smile and wave as folks drive by and/or drive into the lot.  They serve to provide a positive presence as people even drive by!  So often we in the churches feel good if we just shake hands if they make it into the worship service!  What if we took it outside?  Not the lobby.  What if we took our greeting to the parking spaces and greeted people as they drove up and walk them to the door.  Am I out of my mind?  How many volunteers would it take?  A better question would be does God’s love start at the door of the church or the door of the car?  I would agree it starts before they arrive, but in this context should we not greet them as early as possible?

2.  At the door.  I am thankful to serve a church that has wonderful, caring people at the door!  We have representatives at each of our doors and they are absolutely lovely people who are warm and inviting.  We have some who will give assistance to those who need it getting up the walk.  When do your people first feel welcomed in your place?  How long are they on your campus before they are noticed? 

3.  Introductions.  My wife’s father is well-known for two things:  pigs and introductions.  My kids laugh at how he begins each new conversation.  He will ask “What’s your name?” and “Where are you from?”  Every time.  When people enter your facility, are they met with those who are interested in them or just moving them on to the next space?  The generations we all are tring to reach desire a relationship.  If we will engage in conversation and genuinely listen we are well on our way.  As we do so, let us provide opportunities to help them be known by us and know about us.

4.  Where’s the coffee?  This younger generation, which I still hold I am a part of, loves coffee/cokes/water and more.  Providing opportunities for moments of connnection over coffee or snacks in a central location allows for growth of friendships.  During this time, key people engage in conversation.  This is not a time to dump the church calendar to them.  It is a time, however, to relate.  Talk to them.  Show genuine interest.  Love.

God loved the world by coming to us and engaging us.  Are we doing the same with those who pass by our churches?

Change Is Our Only Constant

In Chrisian Life, Faith on August 25, 2014 at 9:05 am

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Change is appealing and abhorred, exciting and dangerous combined.  Whatever you think of change, it is not simple.

I was in the 4th grade.  Dad had put in for a transfer from California to Kentucky.  At the time, I did not understand what God was doing.  While young, I had been raised to think and speak for myself and I did!  I was unhappy with the plan and the process.  I was not consulted, as if I should have been.  My parents were in charge of this decision and I was not.  As I look back I realize now that it was for the best and God was working mightily in our family, but in the moment I could not see the larger picture.  Of course, I was mad and pouted about it for a while.  It was not long, though, and I had made new friends and settled in just fine.

This experience is just one of several dealing with change.  I could fast forward to later moments in my life, where, as an adult, I faced change and was not very happy either.  I tend to be a creature of habit and comfort.  When God starts messing with that it can be unnerving!  The “firsts” are always moments of change:  first year of marriage, first career change, first child, first day of school, first teenager in the house.  Every one of these create change that takes a while for adjustment.  For me, God was working in wonderful ways.  I look back and treasure each one.  Yet, going through the process has its moments.

Change is appealing and abhorred.

I have grown up Baptist…Southern Baptist.  It is not in our nature to think of change as appealing.  As churches face neighborhood, cultural, staff or employee changes it is often met with resistance.  We like what we are used to and find ourselves not liking the process.  Our mind tells us that God is working and will provide great blessing.  Our hearts are tied to that which is simple and comfortable.  On the one side we run from change.  We argue about change.  We kick against the goad.  Our culture believes in personal rights and demands strong input.  When decisions are made, like moving in the 4th grade, that are not what we expected or feel are unfair, we are distraught.  Doing life the same way every day is not appealing either though.  During the industrial revolution, Ford began by having people do the same job every day for their career.  He discovered that rotating people to new jobs to learn to things was productive and efficient in the long run.  Change actually proved to be appealing over time, though not everyone liked it at the beginning.

Change is exciting and dangerous.

My wife and I were flying to a national convention several years ago and walked down the jetway to board the plane.  We were talking and laughing as we entered the hatch, found our seats and sat down.  The stewardess soon came on the PA and expressed her delight as we prepared to fly to Canada.

Wait.  What?

We were supposed to be flying to Atlanta, GA!  In that moment we knew something went very wrong.  While it would have been exciting to go to Canada, we would miss the meetings we were supposed to attend.

I went to college but worked weekends back home for living expenses and date money!  I had made poor choices in High School and, with God’s help, was making changes in my life.  One of those was to stop the party lifestyle.  I was working the drive thru window handing out food when some of my buddies came through.  They invited me to a party and I politely declined.  When asked for a reason, I said that I felt like I needed to make changes in my life and needed to just go home after work.  They never spoke to me again.  The dad in me, now, says “Well, they were not good friends.”  However, losing friends was tough.  Change was necessary.  Yet, it was dangerous too.  I had to be willing to lose to win.

Finding Faith

Managing Change is a constant in our lives.  Physically, we change every minute.  God designed our bodies to change with every breath.  More dramatically, we face change in our health, our family, and our friends.  We face sickness, death, and birthdays.  None of which do we enjoy, but we manage.  As we face change let us pause to consider these words from Hebrews 11.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

Managing change involves faith and trust.  If we have trust in God we can see His way through the progress and pain of change.  In our relationships, when we have trust in those making decisions it will allow for us to see our way through as well.  God has a plan for your life and mine.  Do not doubt, things will change!  Let us, like those who have gone before embrace it will faith that can move mountains.

 

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