Podcast about Racism with Benjamin Lee – Part 2

This will be the last post for the Men’s Daily Briefing. Thanks again for all your support and encouragement!

Please check out my new website, ShepherdingTalk.Com

Make sure to listen to our podcasts with Benjamin Lee on Racism, part 1 and 2.

Racism and prejudice are real and they still exist. We discuss how we as Christians and leaders can help move forward toward healing.

Benjamin’s books, coaching resources, and podcasts can all be found on benjaminlee.blog.

Check out Benjamin Lee’s “Nehemiah Effect” section of his website that has a great collection of videos, audio and articles on racism. Here is a short description of the “Nehemiah Effect” work that Benjamin is doing:

“After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis I decided to create the Nehemiah Effect. I had a lot of people asking me, “What can I do.” “What should I say?” The idea behind the Nehemiah Effect comes from the story of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. Nehemiah was a man of action. He saw a problem and took action. His faith was in God. Like Nehemiah, we all can do something to help others. We can do something for good. My newsletter and information on my website provides different ideas we can do to do good to others. I also provide articles dealing with racism, along with book recommendations for people who are looking to learn more about racism.”

The Nehemiah Effect by Benjamin Lee

Podcast about Racism with Benjamin Lee – Part 1

Racism and prejudice are real and they still exist. Today’s podcast is part 1 of a discussion I had with Benjamin Lee about racism. We discuss how we as Christians and leaders can help move forward toward healing.

Click here to listen to Part 1 of the Shepherding Talk podcast on Racism with Benjamin Lee.

Benjamin’s books, coaching resources, and podcasts can all be found on benjaminlee.blog.

Check out Benjamin Lee’s “Nehemiah Effect” section of his website that has a great collection of videos, audio and articles on racism. Here is a short description of the “Nehemiah Effect” work that Benjamin is doing:

“After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis I decided to create the Nehemiah Effect. I had a lot of people asking me, “What can I do.” “What should I say?” The idea behind the Nehemiah Effect comes from the story of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. Nehemiah was a man of action. He saw a problem and took action. His faith was in God. Like Nehemiah, we all can do something to help others. We can do something for good. My newsletter and information on my website provides different ideas we can do to do good to others. I also provide articles dealing with racism, along with book recommendations for people who are looking to learn more about racism.”

The Nehemiah Effect by Benjamin Lee

Shepherding Talk: My New Website and Podcast

You all have been such a blessing and encouragement to me since Men’s Daily Briefing began in 2016. It began as a focused way to encourage men, but evolved into daily encouragement to a general audience. The feedback and support has been awesome! There have been times life dealt me a blow or two and others willingly carried the ball for awhile (Shane Blackmer, Andy Harrison etc.). I’m so blessed to have such great friends!

During the past few months, I’ve been working on a new website called Shepherding Talk. This website, blog and podcast are all devoted to teaching leadership through the Biblical lens of a shepherd with his sheep. The Bible is full of this imagery and that is how God relates to us, as a Shepherd with His sheep (Psalm 23, John 10).

At this point there are 40 plus articles on the website. Many articles from Men’s Daily Briefing will eventually be migrated over there.

Shepherding Talk

The Shepherding Talk Podcast will be a weekly interview with various leaders sharing their perspectives on Biblical leadership. Right now, there are 7 podcast interviews on the website. I’ve interviewed church leaders like Max Dawson, Roger Shouse and Benjamin Lee about various aspects of leadership. More interviews are coming, Lord willing!

The Shepherding Talk Podcast is available on platforms like Apple, Spotify, IHeartRadio, etc.

We will spend a lot of time on church leadership, but we will also talk about other ways we are shepherd leaders: in our families, marriages and communities. Everyone is a leader, and everyone can have a shepherd’s heart.

We will talk about the attitudes of leadership. For example, see Episode 7 where Benjamin Lee shares his passion for a positive “I Can Do” attitude.

We also will deal with current events like Racism. The next podcast to post tonight is Part 1 of a conversation about racism with Benjamin Lee.

Please subscribe to our weekly newsletter! Instead of a daily newsletter, we will post an article and podcast every week.

If you like it, please recommend it to your friends!

Men’s Daily Briefing. I’ve chosen not to continue the Men’s Daily Briefing website for practical reasons. I don’t want to focus on two websites at once! Again, thanks so much for the great encouragement!

My personal goal is to take the articles from both websites and turn them into books soon. Please pray for me in this effort. Thank you!

A special thanks to Benjamin Lee for being such a spark of energy and encouragement to get the Shepherding Talk website going. Also thanks to Roger Shouse and Max Dawson and Jason Hardin for helping me get the podcast off to a great start!

The Anti-Mask League

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 – What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. (10) Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us.

This post is not intended to make a political statement or to make an argument for “masks” or “no masks.” I’m just getting that out there from the beginning.

I was reading several articles this morning about the Influenza epidemic of 1918 and 1919, and it amazed me how things just don’t change. On one side the anti-mask league believed they were defending their liberties, while the other side called them “mask slackers.” Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes are so true when he wrote that “there is nothing new under the sun.”

Wherever we land in this debate, we must always remember that God’s glory must be sought above all things. Also we must not take some issue like masks and let it become another issue over which we as Christians wrangle. Let’s not press our liberties over our brother’s best interest, and may we not assign the wrong motives to someone who walks into a store without a mask.

Romans 14:7-8 – For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

Galatians 5:13-15 – For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

Here are some articles for your consideration that I found interesting on the intense debate a century ago about masks and the Spanish Flu.

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article244267462.html

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article241614086.html

https://www.businessinsider.com/san-francisco-anti-mask-league-1918-spanish-flu-pandemic-2020-5

https://escholarship.org/uc/item/5q91q53r

God Bless You

“God bless you!” No, there’s nobody around who sneezed. It seems that one of rare occasions I hear someone say, “God bless you” is when someone sneezes. But are we actively wishing the blessings of heaven upon others? This is the expression of a Christian’s heart toward others, because this is God’s heart for others, too.

When I was growing up, I got the impression that we shouldn’t say, “God bless you” to someone unless we knew they were sound in doctrine and living right with God. People were afraid, I believe, of “bidding God speed” to people living in error (2 John 10).  I think we get two concepts confused. We confuse approving sinful behavior with wishing God’s goodness to come upon those in sin.

But we really need to think about this. Does God bless those living in error? Sure thing. Does the Lord bless your enemies? Yes. Does God bless those who are wicked? Absolutely. Does He bless the most wicked, heathen, nasty, disgusting sinner? He sure does (Matthew 5:44-45; Luke 6:27-28,35).

Why does God do that? Look at the following verse that shows what God’s goodness and blessings are designed to do for everyone.

Romans 2:4 – Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Whether you wish someone God’s blessings, God is blessing them. If you choose not to say “God bless you” to someone, God is still blessing them. As long as any person is breathing air and living in this world, he or she is partaking of God’s rich blessings. And we should want that! Those blessings are intended to drive people to God!

Acts 14:17 – “Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”

God is kind to the ungrateful and evil (Luke 6:35), so what is to be said of us as God’s children? Can we wish God’s blessings upon everyone? We should, God does.

The Issue Isn’t the Issue

James 3:16 – For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 

James 4:1-2 – What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 

A husband and a wife get into a big bruhaha over how and where to spend the holidays. Each is convinced he or she is right and the other is outside his or her mind. The line is drawn in the sand, feet are firmly planted in his or her position, and it turns into a knockdown-drag-out fight.

Let me ask this, was the real problem for that couple where to spend the holidays? Was the “issue” over which that couple fought really the issue? Can you see that there is another problem that has nothing to do with where to go for Christmas? In the Scriptures above, James tells us that if there is disorder and fighting, then something is underlying the current “issue” we are fighting about.

The nation is always divided, we just have a  new issue that comes across the scene over which we can fight. And the same goes for families, churches, organizations and businesses. You have a meeting at work that goes sideways, and tempers flare as you discuss a new project or declining sales projections. Was the “issue” the issue, or are there underlying attitudes that are clearly the problem?

Here are a few things I’ve learned about the “issue”:

  • We will always have “issues.” There will always be things that we will disagree on, and will have the potential to turn into a major fight. Those “issues” are never going away.
  • The issues will change. This is probably the same as the previous point, but we may think we settled an issue, but then a different topic comes along and exposes the same underlying problems. New issues…same relationship and attitude problems.
  • We can agree on an issue, and still not be united. You can see this concept played out in Scripture, in politics, in the church, etc. Folks in a church may all agree on certain doctrinal stands, but are they united? We will find out when other issues hit the fan. You and I might find an issue upon which we can clearly rally. But when the “next issue” comes along it may expose that we were never really united.
  • We have to pray and calmly seek God’s guidance to look past the current issue. May God, the Great Physician, help us to see the real sickness and problem underneath instead of treating the symptoms. I may sneeze because I have allergies, you may sneeze because you have a virus. We have to understand the root problem, otherwise our treatment of the symptom may not work. In fact the treatment of the symptom could be dangerous.

For our meditation today, we can remember that when there are fights and quarrels, there is something underneath the surface that has nothing to do with the current issue.

Extreme Ownership

I want to send out a book recommendation today. This is an awesome book on leadership written by two Navy Seals who led successful Seal operations in the battle of Ramadi in Iraq. Jocko Willink and Leif Babin developed some incredible insights on leadership of successful teams during some of the most bloody and intense combat situations in Iraq.

As I listened to this book on Audible, I saw so many parallels to Biblical concepts of leadership. It’s a must read in my opinion.

I’m on my second time through this book, and I highly recommend it.

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals LEAD and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

 

For Now We Live

For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord (1 Thessalonians 3:8).

When you read 1 Thessalonians 3, you can see the heart of Paul was anxious as he thought about the brethren in Thessalonica. He was really concerned about them and how they were doing spiritually, now that he was gone.

Two times in chapter 3 the phrase, “When we could bear it no longer” is used. They couldn’t take it anymore. Paul sent Timothy over to Thessalonica to see how they were doing and bring back a report.

You can read chapter 3 to see a noticeable change in tone. Once Timothy came back with good news, Paul’s whole demeanor changed.

But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
(1 Thessalonians 3:6-10)

Paul was in the middle of being persecuted for preaching the gospel, but now he could endure the trials and afflictions? Why? Because he heard good news about how his brethren the Thessalonians were doing. It gave him some more gas in his tank. His statement says it all, “for now we live if you are standing fast in the Lord.”

Grown kids need to remember this. Your stand for faith will give life to your parents. College students, remember this. When you stand for Jesus, even when your parents are not there, you cause your parents to live! You put gas in their tank. It’s amazing what we can endure when we know that others we love dearly are living strong for Jesus.

Standing on a Platform of Wood

Nehemiah 8:4 – And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose.

We had an awesome study on Zoom last night with the people from our camp. Sadly, like many things, our camp was cancelled this year. Thankfully, our camp leaders are working to keep us all connected, even with the disappointment of not having camp.

Ryan Cummings led the study last night and talked about dealing with disappointments. He spoke of the people of Israel and Judah returning home from Babylonian captivity. They dealt with disappointment after disappointment. One of the things he brought up is something I never noticed before.

During the days of Nehemiah and Ezra, they set up a time where Ezra would read the Law of Moses to the people all day, and the priests would all teach and explain the Scriptures. It was a time of renewal and revival. But it was also a reminder of disappointments.

Ezra stood on a platform of wood. I’d never really thought about it, but Ryan pointed out that the previous platform upon which King Solomon prayed was a platform of Bronze.

Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court, and he stood on it. Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven, (2 Chronicles 6:13).

From bronze to wood. From millions of people to tens of thousands. From a giant magnificent temple to a more modest structure. From being owners of the land to being servants in the land. Disappointment after disappointment.

Yet, what do the people do? They worship! They praise! They sing! They read from the word! They repent and make commitments to follow God again! Even if the preaching and teaching of the word came from a wooden platform instead of a bronze one, the most important thing was that the word was still preached.

Life is full of disappointments. We can make our own lists of things that went wrong in life. It just didn’t go how we planned. But even when we stand on a platform of wood, we must praise God and worship Him. Make the best of what you have and the situation in which you find yourself. Nehemiah and Ezra didn’t have the ideal situation, but they still ensured that the people were taught and encouraged.

The way of the Lord is not just?

Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? (Ezekiel 18:25,29).

The people of Israel accused God of not being fair. God turned it around on them. It was their ways that were not fair. Just read Ezekiel 34 to see how the Jewish leadership was treating people. That was injustice to put it mildly. God is always just.

Look in Ezekiel 18 to see the “just” nature of God. God doesn’t want anyone to die in his sins. He wants the wicked to repent and turn from his wickedness. God wants the righteous person to stay on the right path.

Here are six examples in Ezekiel 18 to show that God is just.

  1. If a man lives by God’s word and is a righteous person, he will live (Ezekiel 18:5-9).
  2. If a righteous man raises a wicked son, the wicked son doesn’t get extra credit points for being a righteous man’s son. He will be punished by God for his wickedness, even if his daddy was godly (Ezekiel 18:10-13).
  3. If a wicked man raises a righteous son, the righteous son is not going to be held accountable to God for the sins of his wicked father (Ezekiel 18:14-20).
  4. If a wicked man turns from his wickedness and chooses a godly path, God will save him and he will live (Ezekiel 18:21-23,27-29).
  5. If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and decides to live a wicked life, God will judge him for his wickedness (Ezekiel 18:24-26).
  6. God will judge everyone according to his ways and deeds – That is fair and just (Ezekiel 18:30).

Think about this! How much more “fair” can you get? You are judged by your own deeds. It is not a rigged system that exists in so many places, like politics and business. God doesn’t judge you by other’s deeds and words, He judges you by your own. If your parents are evil, you don’t lose your relationship with God. If your parents are righteous, you don’t get to ride into heaven on their coattails. God is fair – He judges you by what you say and do and how you respond to His word. It’s not anymore complicated than that.