Monday, July 23, 2012

Three heroes at Aurora

Leadership, heroes, portraits of courage, its all found in the three young men who gave their lives so that their beloved girlfriends could live.

Here's the headline from a local Aurora, Colorado news paper: 

'Dark Knight Rises' shooting: Three heroes died in Aurora taking bullets for their girlfriends

The Daily News goes on to report:

 Three survivors of the Colorado movie-theater massacre escaped with minor wounds, but were left with broken hearts because their heroic boyfriends died saving them.

In final acts of valor, Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves used their bodies to shield their girlfriends as accused madman James Holmes turned the Aurora cineplex into a shooting gallery.

The Daily News goes into detail and describes for its readers the acts of valor in detail. For instance, we are given a detailed account of what happened by Jansen Young the girlfriend of Jon Blunk. She tells the Daily News how Jon pushed her to the floor and used his body to cover and protect her from the spray of bullets coming from the gun of a deranged mad man. 

In the words of Jansen Young's mother, "he pushed her down on the floor and laid down on top of her and he died there."

The article goes on and chronicles how each couple met and how they fell in love. Three couples who met and fell in love, and three heroic men who gave their lives for the ones that they loves and adored.

Two emotions for me are touched, one, we still have young heroes today; men who are willing to put others before themselves. As tragic as this shooting was the nation can see that there is still a fabric in our society that is good and ideal. 

With all the self love and narcissistic behaviors that we are bombarded with on a daily basis, it is a breath of fresh air to have read what these three young men did; their acts of valor and selflessness will stand out for a long time in a culture of self love and self interest.  

My second thought was how Jesus willing laid down his life for us. I think Romans 5 verse 8 sums this up "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

I think how our Savior being totally innocent would willing give his life for us guilty sinners. It is such an amazing thought and reality to know that Jesus "paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow." 

This story of the shooting in Aurora has left me thinking about "sacrifice." We as a nation thank those three young men for reminding us that there is no greater gift that can be given to another than laying down of our lives for those that we love.

The thought of Christ laying down his life for me, not innocent in any way, but guilty and an enemy of the Savior, brings me to my knees. It is unfathomable to think that one would give his life for an enemy, but that is exactly what our savior did for His body---the church.






Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Leadership is influence

I recently (August 2011 graduated) decided to go back to school and get a masters degree. As I took out the school's catalog, I started to search for a major that looked interesting, (and had the least credits) and would help in the field that I was currently in (social work).

Well, I decided to take up professional leadership---a track that seemed to me  the most practical. I reasoned that in some regard we are all leaders, whether we are dads, moms, husbands, wives, students, or teachers, we all lead in some respect.

So, I concluded that I fit at least two areas of leadership, being a father and a husband. But as I pondered even further, I said, "hold up here," I claim to be follower of Jesus, so I'm a leader again, I'm doing social work, so I'm a leader again, I'm a small group facilitator, so I'm a leader again. It really struck me that leadership touches every aspect of our lives.

All of that for this: The one sticky from all my courses that has permeated my every fiber is that leadership is "influence." Plain and simple, leadership is plain old "follow me as I follow Christ"---I thinks we heard that somewhere before.

Now, I don't know if I needed to spend buku dollars to learn that, but that is beside the point. Maybe for me it took four years and (36 credits) for that sticky to sink into my thick skull, but I think I got it.

Everything that we do, every word that we speak, is going out and influencing those around us. This influence can be either negative or positive. Influence goes both ways: it can be good or bad.

Leader, let your influence first come from you yourself being influenced by the God of the Scriptures. Let every being of your personhood come under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Allow the Word of God to sanctify your heart, mind, and soul.

Then go out after having been in the presence of God and influence those around you for the glory of God. Allow your influence to preach the gospel of grace to others. Let your Godly influence shout out and proclaim the God you serve.

Well, you got this for free, it is a simple message, but it is foundational to the christian life. Influence is the foundation for all leadership teaching---you will find influence taught in all leadership books whether secular or Christian.

So christian, go and be the light and salt to the world.

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