Calling All Shepherds… Yes, All of You

by DanWolgemuth on April 22, 2016

I’m several weeks away from a Youth For Christ USA National Board meeting. It’s in this context that I will receive my performance review. The process started several weeks ago and included the candid feedback of my Cabinet, of the board members, along with my own perspective related to my job performance. It’s a part of a regular rhythm that characterizes a good board.

Yet today, in the context of a day-long gathering of business leaders in Denver, I was challenged to consider another facet of my role in leadership that isn’t captured in my job description. It is the powerful word of God that articulates the message. It’s the Bible that swipes a highlighter across the ideals that should mark any and every leader. My friend, Jeff, read it, but it was unmistakably the Holy Spirit who pushed it uncomfortably into my soul.

Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, (Proverbs 27:23)

A shepherd.

A lofty call to a humble position. The posture of service in the noble beaconing of God.

A shepherd… as followers of the one and only Good Shepherd.

Shepherds who know well the condition of the flock. Attentive stewards.

The words from the pen of Solomon and the heart of God rang true, even as they struck a familiar chord. Several years ago in the context of a YFC/USA National Board meeting, Holly Culhane, a long-term member of our board, a successful entrepreneur, and a passionate follower of Christ began to articulate a vision for a message that God was etching deeply into her soul.

The vision revolved around the calling of every leader to model the character of a shepherd… of the Good Shepherd. To love, lead, and engage with the sheep entrusted to us.

To provide.

To protect.

To be present.

Today, the words of King Solomon pressed firmly on keys of this chord. I heard Holly… but more precisely I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Know well the condition of your flock.”

The stirring in Holly’s heart has become a fresh calling for her and her husband, Doug. They call it PresencePoint. (www.PresencePoint.com).

The mission of PresencePoint is to invite shepherds; to invite me; to invite us, to live into your calling. Into the part of my job description that didn’t make it into print.

The concept is brilliantly illuminated in the concluding words of direct communication between Jesus and Peter… his revised job description…

Feed my lambs.
Tend my sheep.
Feed my sheep.

If we love Jesus, we shepherd sheep.

The calling is clear. The role is selfless, and gritty, and humble, and thankless… and just like Jesus.

Your flock. Do you know them? Are you paying attention to your herd?

Thanks, Holly, for hearing the voice of God’s Spirit before I did. Thanks for doing something about it. Thanks for stepping out in courage. You and Doug inspire me.

Yes indeed… live into your calling.

Shepherds on assignment. Stewards on behalf of the Good Shepherd.

www.PresencePoint.com

With the help of God. By the hand of God.

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The Keys to the Kingdom

by DanWolgemuth on April 15, 2016

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  (Matthew 16:19)

Recently in the course of racing from a conference call to an appointment, I found myself digging in my pocket for the keys that would give me access to a rental car and a hotel room.  When I arrived at an office complex where I had a meeting, a bar-coded name badge gave me the necessary electronic permission to avail myself of a bank of elevators that took me to the nineteenth floor.

Keys open possibilities and they restrict them.  They launch, ignite, and extinguish.  They unlock and they prevent.  Keys grant authority… they mysteriously open and close.

A plastic card, an oddly shaped electronic fob, an elegantly crafted antique skeleton key… all have purpose.  Access.  Control.  Power.  Strength.

In the waning moments of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He placed the keys of the “kingdom of heaven” in the palm of Peter’s calloused hand.  In the days ahead, they would bounce around in his heart like a single key in a bottomless pocket.  He would fiddle with them, misplace them, try and force them into the wrong lock.  But ultimately and confidently, he would slide them into the lock and he would masterfully release the gospel to a crowd of listeners in Acts 2.  “And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below,” he would declare, because he had the keys (2:19).  “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” he would add, because he had witnessed firsthand the power of the gospel.  (2:21)

So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.  (Acts 2:41)

The keys to the kingdom of heaven:  unlocking an explosion of God’s power through the release of the Good News.

The Lord sets the prisoners free.  (Psalm 146:7)

He frees captives and prisoners with the only key that fits the lock:  God’s Good News – the Message of hope; the formula for freedom.

Keys… now in the palm of our hand.

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“I Need Help”

April 8, 2016

It was just about two weeks ago that our daughter and son-in-law welcomed a 10-month-old into their home. I’ll call him JB. In fact, JB was not only welcomed by Alli and Chris, but by Desmond (5) and Abe (1-1/2 ). JB joined us for Easter and a family birthday celebration, even as he merged into […]

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You Messed With the Wrong Person

April 1, 2016

On September 11, 2001… time stood still. Our country stopped. Planes quit flying. A hideous enemy struck with devastating force and wonderful, innocent, unsuspecting people died. But while the metal of the World Trade Center melted into a molten pool, so too the resolve and commitment of a disconnected and fragmented people came together. A […]

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Beyond a Hero

March 24, 2016

Against the backdrop of focused evil, heroes emerge. Names surface from the ashes. Individuals step in harms way on behalf of others. From Brussels, to Paris, to Columbine… heroes. Brave and strong. Courageous and committed. Raising a fist to injustice and prejudice and hatred. Standing in the gap. Blood- splattered photographs expose the risk. Funerals […]

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Cling to What is Good

March 18, 2016

This week Mary and I participated in a half-day marriage seminar. The presentation and conversation propelled me to a moment… to an instant… to an experience that took place in a hospital room on July 14, 2012. Mary was four days removed from a serious cycling accident. A skilled and seasoned Orthopedic surgeon had meticulously […]

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Squeezing the Gospel Out of Every Orange He Grows

March 11, 2016

I had never met Charles before, but his warmth and gentle kindness traversed the years with ease. We were seated next to each other at a Youth For Christ fundraising banquet in central Florida. The room was full. The energy was high. It was because of the generosity of Charles and his wife that 400 […]

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Bill Eakin… the perfect art critic

March 4, 2016

Creative juices splashed across the canvas with thoughtful intent. No brush stroke wasted, no colors misplaced. The artist stands in circumspect silence. Reflecting on the effort. Remembering the inspiration. Anticipating the reaction of the critics who will evaluate the magnitude of the work. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ […]

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The Gate and the Golden Rule

February 26, 2016

Revisited Enter by the narrow gate.  For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. ~ Matthew 7:13, 14 He had […]

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Right at General Electric; Wrong on Love

February 15, 2016

a zero–sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant’s gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of the other participant(s). Welcome to leadership in the Jack Welch era of General Electric. I lived it. I performed inside of it. At the outset, this […]

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