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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

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

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

Paul’s Growth in Suffering

Take a look at 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 to see what Paul learned during some horrific and trying times in his life. Paul admits that he and his traveling companions were “so utterly burdened beyond our strength.”

While we won’t focus in this article on the trials and pain, we will zoom in on what Paul learned through his trials. What growth did Paul experience through the pain?

  • He praised God and blessed Him as the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3). The suffering was abundant but so was the comfort from God (2 Corinthians 1:5). Paul came through the suffering with a fresh focus on God and he praised and blessed God. Suffering can lead us to see how awesome and good our God is.
  • He was able to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Paul’s eyes were focused on others after his suffering. That’s one thing we learn from suffering, we learn how to see others with compassion and empathy.
  • He saw his sufferings were for others, and helped them grow (2 Corinthians 1:6). Sometimes our pain is for the benefit of others. When we come through the fires of trials and we are still walking with God, that gives courage to the others around us!
  • He grew in a bond of fellowship with his fellow brethren who also had partaken in the suffering (2 Corinthians 1:7). The Corinthians and Paul shared in the same sufferings, but they shared in the same fellowship, intimacy and comfort from God. They became a “band of brothers” like those who fight in war.
  • He knew his trials helped him rely on God who raises the dead and delivers us from dangers (2 Corinthians 1:9-10). Paul said he learned not to rely on himself for deliverance, but on God who alone can deliver. Even Paul had to learn not to trust himself but trust in God.
  • “On him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again” (2 Corinthians 1:10). Paul’s hope grew and became solidified through his suffering. He went from great despair (vs. 8) to unshaken hope (vs. 10).

How have you personally grown through your own trials? What new lessons have you learned through the pain?

They Had All Things in Common

Acts 2:44 – And all who believed were together and had all things in common.

Acts 2 gives us an account of the beginnings of the church, God’s kingdom as prophesied for thousands of years. At the end of chapter 2, we see this new church gathering together, praying together and worshipping together. Then we see them freely and gladly sharing their possessions with one another.

They had “all things in common,” Luke wrote.

I want to consider this phrase and connect it to other things that are said in this context in Acts 2. They certainly had a mindset that all things they owned were to be shared with their brothers and sisters. But where did that mindset come from? What brought such an attitude in people that led them to freely and gladly share anything they had with the others?

Because they had all things in common! Let’s look at the context around that phrase to see that this new congregation shared more than possessions.

They Had All Things in Common.

  • They had in common their brokenness before God (Acts 2:36). Each one of them had crucified the Savior and Messiah. The sin, guilt and shame before a holy and just God was shared by each person.
  • They had a common need for a Savior (Acts 2:37). They all were cut to the heart. Each one of them recognized the need for salvation and turned to Jesus. Every person in this group knew that Jesus was the only way.
  • They had a common entry into the kingdom (Acts 2:38,41). Each one had gladly received the word, repented of his or her sins, and was baptized into Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of those sins. Young or old, rich or poor, male or female, they had all obeyed the same gospel.
  • They had a common practice (Acts 2:42). This new congregation of saved people “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Each person in this group had committed to doing it God’s way. He or she had also committed to be with those who were like-minded. They spent time together and prayed together. They sang together and took the Lord’s Supper together. As a group they committed to following the apostles’ teaching because it came straight from their Savior, Jesus Christ. An intimacy developed in this group, didn’t it?
  • They had a common attitude (Acts 2:46). Collectively, this group was glad and generous in their hearts. Each person stood in awe of the power of God as it was displayed through the miraculous working of the apostles (Acts 2:43). As a church their hearts were full of praise for God (Acts 2:47).

So, why did the church lovingly and willingly share possessions with each other? Because they shared the same heart. They truly had all things in common.

Losing the Battle in the Brain

Proverbs 22:13 – The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!”

I was having a discussion with my young son about math recently. He was trying to do his math, and I could see he really was struggling to keep going on it. He was working on multiplication problems, and he was just going downhill mentally and emotionally. He had gotten himself worked up to where he didn’t remember 3×7, which he had used over and over. This wasn’t a knowledge problem, it was a battle of the brain problem.

When I began to look at his work, overall he had done 90 percent of it right. But he was telling himself stories, like “I don’t like Math.” “This is too hard.” “I don’t want to do this.” “I need help.” “I can’t figure it out.” Yet he had done most of the work perfectly all by himself. But now he was at the brink of tears and unable to do a simply 3×7 because of the stories he was telling himself. He was shutting down.

So, I held him close to me and hugged him and told him that he wasn’t losing the battle in the math workbook, he was losing the battle in his mind. I had him look at all the right things he had done on that page, and I had him say positive things about himself when it came to those he did right. “I am smart. I can do math. Look at all I did right. I can figure this out.” By the way, brothers and sisters in Christ, do not disregard the power of meditating on the positive and telling yourselves hopeful things (Philippians 4:8). Paul says think about what is “true,” so God does not want us to tell lies to ourselves.

You see, with this son, if he is doing art or building Legos, there is nothing too hard for him. He is designing his own amazing and complex things out of Legos (good grief he is making his own Transformers out of Legos). His artwork for a young kid is just incredible. There is nothing too hard for him there. He certainly has a gift with art and designing things.

Maybe his “gift” will never be that he excels in Calculus or Nuclear Physics, and that is fine! We would not want to push him in a direction other than his natural talents and strengths. But what we do want for all of our kids is for them to learn to win the battle of the brain.

Don’t defeat yourself before you even begin something by telling yourself I can’t do this, or it’s just too hard, or I’m just not able to figure it out. Maybe it isn’t possible for you to do that task. That might be true. For example, the only way I’m ever going to dunk a basketball is if I use a step ladder or if the rim is adjusted to 7 feet! So there are limits to what we can do, no doubt. But that’s not what I’m talking about. My point here in this article is to discuss how we can defeat ourselves from the beginning just by how we think and what we say.

I know I’ve lost that battle repeatedly, and I can see in my kids when they begin to go down that road. Look at that above passage from Proverbs, a person can tell himself there is a lion in the streets when no such lion exists. There is no real lion! The man did not step out to work because he told himself a wrong story in his brain.

What stories are you telling yourself? Are you losing the battle of the brain because of what you are saying to yourself?

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.

Original Intent

Have you considered how Jesus helped others to properly understand and apply the Law by looking at the original intent of the Law? Many times He was correcting how the Jewish leadership were applying laws on the Sabbath, marriage and staying away from unclean things.

Let’s look at a few examples today:

When the Jewish leadership was upset and disgusted that Jesus would eat with tax collectors and sinners, it seems they were looking at laws about staying away from unclean things. But Jesus corrected their application of those laws by looking at God’s original intent.

Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13)

As the Pharisees were harshly judging Jesus and His disciples for plucking heads of grain on the Sabbath, Jesus pointed them to original intent. God did not design the Sabbath as a merciless way to punish men. He never intended to make hungry people starve and suffering people to keep suffering on the Sabbath. That was not the original intent. God did not make the Sabbath Law first and then make man, it was the other way around, Jesus pointed out.

And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27)

The Pharisees once again came to Jesus to challenge Him on marriage. They had many competing views on marriage, especially on what Moses said in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 about marriage and divorce. Jesus took them once again to the concept of original intent. What did God design for marriage from the very beginning? That should guide any understanding and application of any law on marriage, Jesus said.

“Have you not read? …but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matthew 19:8)

As we study, understand and apply the Word of God, we need to look at the “whole counsel of God.” We can run off and apply a passage incorrectly if we don’t consider everything God has to say on the matter. That’s why Jesus often in these discussions asked the simple question, “Have you not read?” (Matthew 9:13; 12:3,5,7; 19:4; 22:31-32). It’s up to us to keep reading, studying, searching and praying for God to help us see His heart so that we can properly understand and apply His word.