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The following are posted articles related to an upcoming eBook, An Enemy Lies Within, due out in early 2019. Simply select the article title to view it. Use your browser back button to return to the list.

Preface

Introduction

3 Realities of Workplace Leadership

Did Jesus Christ die, suffer, and sacrifice so we wouldn’t have to?

7 things Christian leaders must stop assuming

Why Should We Think about Thinking?

Which covenant is more difficult to possess?

The Carnal Mind’s Resistance of the Truth

Lives are Hanging in the Balance

Is That Really What You want to be Asking For?

Is the Carnal Mind our Greatest Enemy?

Overcoming Our Carnal Mind – Phase One

Persevere in Phase One – Taking Every Thought Captive

Overcoming Our Carnal Mind – Phase Two (or is it Three?)

Overcoming Our Carnal Mind – The Faith and Mind Connection

Overcoming Our Carnal Mind – The Disciplines (Part 1)

Overcoming Our Carnal Mind – The Disciplines (Part 2)

Overcoming Our Carnal Mind – The Disciplines (Part 3)

Overcoming Our Carnal Mind – The Disciplines (Part 4)

Adjusting your conflict attitude

Overcoming Our Carnal Mind – Postscript

Our Purpose

Approximately ten years ago, I attended a lecture on the physiology of the brain – at a workplace leaders’ conference. What was I doing at such a lecture? What was such a lecture doing at a workplace leaders’ conference? God orchestrated that lecture, at that event, for my edification and encouragement.

The presenter showed us how scientists observe physical changes in the brain of patients recovering from alcoholism; that new electronic pathways are created over time. It occurred to me that this research scientist was talking about the renewal of the mind. I came to understand that the renewal of the mind is as much a supernatural miracle – at the physical level – as the healing of terminal cancer through prayer (something I have also witnessed). The notion captivated me.

This discovery connected well with my prior vocation, where I worked with a team of enterprise architects to change the way banking executives thought about the use of technology. Our ultimate purpose was to transform their business with technology. We called this “changing their paradigm”. The analogous term in Scripture is “mindset”; others prefer “worldview”.

Whatever you prefer to call it, I spent more than a decade in the technology field proving that changing someone’s paradigm is much easier said than done. As promising as technology was to their bottom line, the executives I worked with resisted us religiously. Why? Because it required them to change the way they did business – to transform their thinking about work.

The ensuing twelve years of workplace ministry have proven that the mind’s resilience to change exists in every sphere – no less with my brothers and sisters in Christ. This is lamentable; for our transformation into the image of the glory of the Lord requires the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2; 2Corinthians 3:18).

Over the years, this matter of the mind has become increasingly important to me. I have tried to make it important to others. And so, we’ve come to the writing of this short thesis and study – to encourage and help Christians think about the way we think, and to empower them to think in line with God’s prescription for the renewing of our minds.

Ultimately, my hopes and prayers are for transformation and reformation of the church in America. Read the rest of this entry »

Our heart’s desire is that you have yours in the coming year. I am sure you feel the same about those in your spheres of influence and responsibility. And so, I offer you three year-end encouragements. Please pass them on.

Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

First, the LORD has promised to give you the desires of your heart. Consider that for a moment. Every desire God has placed in your heart, for every good work He created you to walk in, has been promised to you by the Creator God. Nothing is impossible, if it is in His will… and you meet the condition.

The only thing that stands between you and those desires is your unwillingness to be soft in Him. That is the meaning of “delight” in this verse. Encouragement #1: Be soft like clay in the Potter’s hands.

Second, God has a way for everything – including the way we manage our time. I recently wrote an article that speaks to this subject. Encouragement #2: Make whatever sacrifice is necessary to spend time with the Father that very much enjoys speaking with His children.

Third, humility is indispensable for the Christian… and likely something different than our minds have been led to think. A. W. Tozer, in his book God Tells the Man Who Cares, puts it this way:

I have met two class of Christians: the proud who imagine they are humble and the humble who are afraid they are proud. There should be another class: the self-forgetful who leave the whole thing in the hands of Christ and refuse to waste any time trying to make themselves good. They will reach the goal far ahead of the rest.

God is working in us to will and do to His good pleasure, which is to give us His kingdom (Philippians 2:13; Luke 12:32). He works best in and through those that have committed their entire way to Him (Psalm 37:5). Encouragement #3: Pray for me and others you love in this regard.

God bless you with the desires of your heart.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

P.S. Please continue to pray for An Enemy Lies Within. We are nearing completion, but there is still much to do and funds yet to raise.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the voting for the cover of An Enemy Lies Within. Cover #3 received slightly more votes that Cover #1. We are hoping to have the eBook available by the end of the year; your prayers are appreciated. The following is an excerpt from the book.

The Hidden Enemy

“The devil made me do it”, popularized by Flip Wilson in the 1970s, has found its way into the American church. It’s the way we like to think. The devil is our most popular enemy.

If we cannot blame the devil, there is always the world to point our finger at. Our government is a particularly favorite scapegoat. I experienced this several years ago while discussing the decline of Christian values in society with a brother in the Lord. Expressing a genuine and deep-seated frustration, he pointed in the direction of Washington, D.C. and said, “If they just hadn’t taken prayer out of school!”

I started to agree and then it occurred to me: If Christian parents taught their children the importance of prayer before every meal (and every class), prayer would still be in school. If Christian parents encouraged their children that God answers their prayers, students would be praying for every sick friend and teacher. God would be glorified!

Only Christians have the power to take prayer out of school. Depending on the government to keep it there is submitting to the wrong authority. Pointing our fingers at the government is blame-shifting. It’s all a bunch of bad thinking – and we don’t think twice about it.

It is time we came to terms with the enemy that lies within. It is time we recognized that we have three – not two – enemies trying to deceive us. Read the rest of this entry »

A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. Matthew 10:24-25

Previously, we suggested there are two simple questions any Christian can use to assess their obedience to Christ and the effectiveness of their ministry:

  1. Who is discipling you?
  2. Who are you discipling?

The article seemed particularly challenging (I am only the pen); and more so for the shepherds of God’s people – pastors, preachers, teachers, etc. Being a member of this group, I was reminded: These two questions should be answerable by every Christian in every sphere of influence we have been given responsibility for as leaders.

A dear friend – and the man God has assigned to disciple me for the last 12-15 years – shared a perspective that may prove to be even more challenging. You may not like what you read. It may even offend some of you.

Generally, it’s best not to say such things at the beginning of an article. We are swimming against the current here simply because we do not want you surprised and distracted. This way, we can simply say it without a bunch of dancing around. I trust you will consider the truthfulness of it, and apply all that is worthwhile.

“Disciple Making Works”

That’s what my friend said, “Disciple making works.” He didn’t mean what I thought he meant. He went on to explain (this is the way I heard it), “Every leader is discipling everyone they lead into some understanding; and into the life that understanding prescribes. They are doing this whether they intend to, or not.

“We are either making disciples into some understanding about Christ and His Church, OR, we are making disciples to Jesus Christ Himself that He might make them as He is Himself. And it always works.” Read the rest of this entry »

Have you ever thought, “I don’t have time to manage my time?” You are not alone. It is ironic how little time people invest in making sure they are making good use of their time. Worst still, the busier we are, the less time we invest to make sure our busy-ness is worthwhile and profitable. I recognize this is not news; just consider it a reminder that time is the one thing we cannot get back, or produce.

That reminder suggests two opening words of encouragement. First, though He is timeless, God is the producer and owner of time. Secular self-help books and articles are not the place to turn for help with time management – particularly when you have access to the Author. Second, God will do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or think with the time we surrender to His good work.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13

As a conscientious leader, you are already making plans for next year (if not, you should be). Regardless of your success in 2018, you may be thinking about taking things to the next level (it is the American way). Before you do that, consider some time management strategies that will help you focus 2019 on the One Who has given you that time:

  1. Establish your calendar before the chaos begins – daily, weekly, monthly, etc. If the Lord is your CEO, then lay your calendar out before Him (as an offering). Allow Him to manage your time in His supernatural ways.
  2. Put to-do items on your calendar. Treat them like meetings with important clients. Don’t allow interruptions. Stay focused. You have been given the gift of self-control. Use it.
  3. Don’t let your smart phone manage you. Set your attention towards God’s voice, rather than that of men. Return phone calls when you cannot do anything else (e.g., driving). If necessary, allocate 30 minutes in the middle and at the end of your day to return calls.

Remember, business and spiritual growth are processes. Be patient with yourself and those in your spheres of influence. Also, decisions are more important than actions. Setting aside time to make good decisions is one of the most profitable things you can do.

Finally, consider this: Read the rest of this entry »

There are two simple questions any Christian can use to assess their obedience to Christ and the effectiveness of their ministry:

  1. Who is discipling you?
  2. Who are you discipling?

If you cannot answer the first question, you are likely not being discipled. Unless you are in their inner circle, this is not your pastor nor your Sunday School teacher. Making disciples requires relationship.

It is impossible to underestimate the impact a disciple maker can have on a person’s life (mentor is the secular term). Much of God’s grace flows down the channels of authority He has assigned for every Christian. This is not limited to teaching, counseling, etc. The life of Christ is miraculously transmitted through the disciple making relationship (e.g., faith, courage, and peace).

The Great Commission is God’s prescription for our participation in the advancement of His kingdom. Finding those that He has designated for our spiritual apprenticeship is vital to our inclusion in His story. Furthermore, it is impossible to make disciples without first being made.

Regrettably, making disciples has fallen out of favor in the church that resides here in America. Consequently, you may have to ask someone to disciple you. Before you do, ask God to identify that person. He loves talking with His children about such things.

Failure regarding our second question is a strong sign of spiritual disobedience. This is a hard judgment. It is also fair, grounded in truth, and offered in love. Read the rest of this entry »

Is anything in life accomplished in an instant? From learning to speak, to winning a girl’s heart, to career advancement, all development is a progression of incremental steps – each one building on the previous.

One might ask, “What if the last step was wrong or injurious?” In that case the next step is toward restoration; and stepping all the more needful.

The point here is that life is not a collection of events, but of processes. Even our birth begins with two cells becoming one, then two, then four, and so on. All physically animate things move in a direction – birth, growing and dying.

Recognizing this, the wise man does his best to organize his steps in the most profitable manner (meaning, he puts more than a little thought into his choices). The laisse faire approach to life rarely ends well.

Knowing that the natural life operates in process, why then would Christians live as though the spiritual life is any different? Why wouldn’t we readily recognize our spiritual life as more than a disconnected collection of events?

I will tell you why; because our carnal mind is at enmity with the Spirit, and opposed to our spiritual development. It is active in distracting and deceiving us.

We are being moved in a spiritual direction – toward evil or good, death or life. We must fight against our carnal mind for the spiritual processes that have been given to us by God for our maturation. These include sanctification, transformation, and salvation.

Furthermore, obedience to every command of the Father and Son is a process (hear, obey, act). Walking in the Spirit is a process. Faith is the process of God whereby His word to us becomes His work – over and over again, faith to faith.

This brings to mind another spiritual truth: These processes are iterative; they repeat in God-prescribed patterns. This is one of the reasons why spiritual disciplines work. Again, this is not unlike our life in the physical realm – the workday being a good example. Repetition and patterns are common to both physical and spiritual development. Read the rest of this entry »

The following includes excerpts from an upcoming book, An Enemy Lies Within. To find out more visit our Facebook page.

Thinking comes naturally to most of us. We may think about different things. We may think at different speeds. Some of us think too much; and some, not enough. But, one thing is true about all of us:

We don’t have to think about thinking.

So, why should we?

Consider the baseball player who wants to be a great hitter. If he is the rare “natural”, he will step in the batter’s box with little forethought and hit most anything thrown to him. The vast majority of us are not so gifted.

At the most elementary level, a hitter must think about the way he is standing in the batter’s box. He must think about how to hold the bat, and to rotate his wrists when swinging. He must think about the strike zone and the field of play.

If he has a good batting instructor, the hitter will learn (in advance) and consider (in process) the repertoire of pitches he will be required to hit. He will come to recognize that the pitcher will try to deceive him with the change-up and slider.

At a deeper level, an accomplished hitter will start to think about the way he is thinking when he steps into the batter’s box. He will have a plan – particular to the pitcher and situation. He will have mentally rehearsed the plan. The best hitters “get into the head of the pitcher” – both discerning what the next pitch will be, and affecting the choice.

Pick anything you want to be good at – sales, parenting, writing, you name it. There are very few things that would not come off better with some thought about the way we think. Those that think before they do something are more successful at the task than those that don’t. Similarly, those that think about their thinking become better thinkers (and doers). Read the rest of this entry »

There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?” David Foster Wallace, This is Water (2005)

My aunt recently returned to her eternal home. Jane was just an ambassador here on this earth. She had been seeking those things which are above – where Christ dwells at the right hand of the Father – for most of her life.

About a year ago, Jane shared that her heart’s desire was to get back to church. God nurtured that desire by bringing the church to her home. Now, she is with that great cloud of witnesses, praising the LORD and cheering us on. God gives us the desires of our hearts when we surrender to Him.

As a side note, I imagine Jane has already had more than one conversation with the Lord about more than one of those she loves here on earth. We should expect some response – some opportunity.

Jane’s transition reminded me of a few things about life. Like fish in water, we often live without realizing what we are living in. Though we value life, we forget it is there. We lose sight of its full meaning.

So, let’s stop and consider some truths about life. Read the rest of this entry »

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