TN Capitol Prayer Day 1

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My prayer for today is based around Jesus’ words in Matthew regarding obedience. “Obedience is thicker than blood. The person who obeys my heavenly Father’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:50b.

Heavenly Father,

I pray that you would bring your spirit of wisdom and understanding to Congress in the coming weeks and months. I pray that obedience to your Word would reign as the primary motivation in creating new legislation–not adherence to the desires of men.

You say that obedience is thicker than blood. That those who obey your Father’s will are your family. Father, would you forgive us for our selfishness? Would you give us a glimpse of what obedience to your will means for our lives?

We ask for your covering, your protection and your kindness to penetrate the walls of the Capitol. Please send your angels to stand guard around the grounds and in the offices of our representatives. May your Word set the direction and the standard for decisions made by Tennessee’s leaders.

Amen

The Problem with Freedom

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Memorial Day, 2014
I don’t know that I’ve ever given Memorial Day it’s true respect. Quite honestly, I don’t know that I can without having experienced the life of a soldier. But to the degree that I’m able to say thank you, today I honor the lives of those who fought and died for the right for us to live in freedom.

Unfortunately, I think we’ve messed up freedom for ourselves. The goal of freedom isn’t to re-enslave ourselves, but that’s what we’ve done. The goal of freedom isn’t to live in constant conflict with one another, but if you look at Washington from the lens of the media, that’s what we see. The goal of freedom, as I see it, is this: to empower life. Yet, what we have done, in many ways, is to empower death–to render freedom powerless by installing a mantra of control, the exact antithesis of freedom–rendering the lives of those who paid the ultimate price for freedom far less valuable.

When a prisoner is set free after decades behind bars, he finds freedom baffling. He finds it difficult to navigate the dozens of significant and insignificant choices he has to make daily. In some ways, it becomes preferable to default to being controlled again in order to remove the weight freedom brings. It’s the same in our lives when we choose to surrender our rights as American citizens to those who wish to decide for us what is best and what is not. When we, as a society, chose to defend freedom by sending our young men and women of to war, did we intend to negate their efforts by living in a system that surrenders it willfully?

On this Memorial Day, determine to live free. Determine to make choices that empower life. Determine to honor the lives of those who paid the ultimate price by fighting our own fight to remain free.

Why Budgets Don’t Shrink

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When a good employee finds a way to save money, he pats himself on the back. But his manager is thinking how he can leverage that savings for other needed items.

The CEO, however, is trying to find greater profits for his shareholders and wants to find ways to increase efficiency with that savings.

Either way, the budget doesn’t shrink – until the market forces it to.

The Blame Cycle

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To avoid being wrong,

Blame the person.
Blame the system.
Blame the unknown.
Blame the universe.

Or take the blame and offer to help fix the problem – even if it wasn’t your fault.

Politics and the Church

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A politician must learn to communicate in multiple, often competing, realities. That is why her job is so difficult and near to impossible to navigate cleanly. When her heart, which is set to serve others, enters a system where winning and losing are the same thing, where truth is rarely straight forward and where doing good requires money to change hands, weariness and distress pull her down. Those who expected great things see failure even when she’s making the best choices possible. Her servant’s heart must choose between leading in a manner that inherently creates conflict or remove herself from the leadership position altogether. What a choice!

But that is the essence of leadership – knowing that the best decision is not the easiest decision and being willing to move forward anyway. Her naiveté once knew the difference between right and wrong. Now those notions seem childish and ignorant. In order to survive she must reorient herself to the idea that every good decision has negative consequences. With every decision she creates friends and enemies. She was not raised like this. No one prepared her for life in the lion’s den.

A Church that trains up leaders without a real understanding of the complex nature of leadership positions is a Church without representation in political office. A leader may surface and enter this realm of competing realities, but she is set up for failure from day one. Navigating the complexities of political life, let alone the personalities who thrive on subjective truth and nuanced social norms, must be learned on the job instead of coming from previous training. This is not a fair fight. Her innocence is tainted and emotional walls of ‘savvy’ political speak are raised. It affects her entire life. She becomes disillusioned with her lack of preparedness and seeks refuge in worldly systems that enable her peers to survive.

In order for the existing Church to raise capable leaders equipped for the political realm, something must change.