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YOUR influence

Summer 2010

live out


{

letter from the editor

} {PUBLISHER} Elisa Morgan, M.Div. {MANAGING EDITOR} Mary Byers, B.A. {ART DIRECTOR + GRAPHIC DESIGNER}

I like words. I suppose that’s no surprise since I’m an editor. But as much as I work with words, I sometimes realize I only have a surface understanding of what a word means. That’s when I turn to a dictionary get help. I looked up “relish” when we selected it for our theme this month. I understood it could be an appetizer or an hors d’oeuvre. And I also understood it meant to enjoy something. But what else? The dictionary defines it as “pleasurable appreciation of anything.” My favorite synonyms are, “savor,” “gusto,” “zest” and “bask.” Often, when I learn a new word or more fully understand a familiar one, I’ll pull out my journal and explore it in the pages of the wellworn spiral notebook I got for a quarter at a back-to-school sale last September. Focusing on an individual word, and asking what I can learn about life, love or leadership through it, has taken me surprising places. And that’s why I continue to do it. When I wrote “relish” in my notebook, I thought of Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” He savored it. He basked in it. He delighted in it. He relished it. God knows what it feels like to relish something because he relished creation. And he relishes us. The thought of God relishing his work relaxed me a little. So I wrote, “What do I relish?” I made the usual list: friends, family, work I enjoy. Then I added reading and writing and a few other things. As I wrote, a tiny, niggling voice asked, “How

Cindy Young,

long has it been since you’ve really been able to relish anything?” I lifted my pen off the page. How long had it been? I wondered. I realized I’ve been a little uptight lately. My “To Do” list is long. Deadlines manage me instead of me managing them. Family needs seem to trump my own. I put my pen to paper again and wrote, “What’s keep me from relishing each minute, each day, each life I come in contact with?” I made another list. Distractions. Commitments. Taking things too seriously. Worry about the future. All were legitimate reasons. But I decided I needed a makeover so that I could relish more and worry less. My makeover arrived with each article for this issue. It starts with Mary DeMuth’s “The Secret of Relishing God,” a delightful look at what it takes to grow closer to him. It continues with our “Voices” contributions as I read about relishing health, hobbies, and surprisingly— obedience. Keri Wyatt Kent shares tips for spiritual development through solitude and Carolyn Custis James tackles the topic of identity theft. Their words have stayed with me long after I finished reading them—and well after I closed the pages of my notebook and stopped writing. But that’s just one of the reasons I love words. They have the ability to change us from the inside out. Here’s to your own transformation! Relishing life,

Mary Byers MANAGING EDITOR, writer@FullFill.org

B.A.

ADVISORS

Tracey Bianchi, M.Div. SPEAKER AND WRITER

Jonalyn Fincher,

M.A.

AUTHOR, SPEAKER, APOLOGIST

Beth Flambures,

C.P.A.

BUSINESSWOMAN

Carla Foote,

M.A.

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, MOPS INTERNATIONAL

Phyllis H. Hendry PRESIDENT, LEAD LIKE JESUS

Bev Hislop, D.Min. ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, WESTERN SEMINARY

Carolyn Custis James,

M.A.

PRESIDENT, WHITBY FORUM FOUNDER + PRESIDENT, SYNERGY FOR WOMEN

Laurie McIntyre, M.A.C.E. PASTOR OF WOMEN2DAY, ELMBROOK CHURCH

Patricia Raybon, M.A. RETIRED, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM

Constance Rhodes AUTHOR, SPEAKER, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF FINDINGbalance

Liz Selzer,

M.A. M.Div., Ph.D.

PRESIDENT, CEO MENTOR LEADERSHIP TEAM

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Copyright 2010 Mission: Momentum.

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SUMMER 2010


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Secret 4 The of Relishing God

Three Jesus-followers shaped my spiritual life. Whose are you shaping? By Mary DeMuth

12voices:

GARDEN DELIGHT By Carla Foote SAVORING THE MOMENT By Vivian Mabuni SIGNS OF OBEDIENCE By Julie Kaiser

contents

Summer 2010

16 SPIRITUAL FORMATION: Soul Flow by Keri Wyatt Kent

{ columns } 22 COACHING COMMUNITY Coaching for the Glocal

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By Liz Selzer

19 MAYBE IT’S JUST MY IMAGINATION by Julie Arduini 20 RESTING PLACE

28 THINK Identity Theft! By Carolyn Custis James

29 WORLDLY WOMEN Is Your Calling to Be a Global Thinker?

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24 A WOMAN OF INFLUENCE A Leader of Leaders: A Conversation with Laurie Beth Jones by Mary Byers

By Shayne Moore

30 OVERFLOW: DEVOTIONAL LIFE Contemporary Reflection by Connie Williams

33 FOUR-LETTER WORD Take 34 MALE BOX Where Women Belong By Darren Kerstien

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Classic Thought by Oswald Chambers

35 MY FILL Taste Buds in Training

32 QUICK FILL

By Elisa Morgan SUMMER 2010

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The Secret of Relis 4

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by Mary DeMuth

{

in focus

I met three Jesusfollowers over the span of twenty years. All relished God.

hing God

All possessed the kind of heart I long to have. And all lived wholeheartedly for God’s kingdom. They were the kinds of leaders I want to emulate, those whose passion for God spilled over not only to those they directly ministered to, but to everyone who crossed their paths. They were leaders who oozed Jesus.

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The first leader has no name in my memory. We met in a hiccup of a moment at Urbana ’87 on a bus ride to the venue. The Indian man sat next to me, greeted me, then shared his heart about Jesus, how he was willing to die for him. Joy flew from him in an infectious way as he shared a snapshot of his story involving conversion and persecution. In those short moments, he exuded Jesus. In the aftermath of meeting him, I wondered if God had planted an angel on that bus. He led me, infectiously, to Jesus.

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MORGAN SESSIONS

Don’t let age define the


depth of your relationship with Jesus. In Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis, we see an interesting interchange between a now-older Lucy and Aslan (who represents Christ): “Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.” “That is because you are older, little one,” answered he. “Not because you are?” “I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”1 Growing in Christ doesn’t necessarily correspond to your age. All three folks I met were in their twenties and early thirties, yet they found God to be bigger the older they got. They pressed into Jesus, needed him. Unfortunately for us, we have so much, so we don’t need him. The less we need him, the smaller he is to us. Don’t settle for plodding along, believing each year you’re growing. The heart that relishes Jesus is the one that runs after him, who finds maturity not marked by years, but by yearning to be near. On the flipside, realize that the young people you lead have great potential. Don’t see youthfulness as a detriment. Instead, encourage those God puts in your path to grow their hearts, to see God bigger no matter what a person’s age.

1 C. S. Lewis, Prince Caspian (England: Puffin Books, 1978), 124.

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The second leader, Paul, I met in Northern Ghana in 2008. As a local ministry leader, he accompanied our team as we fellowshipped with the village where my then 12-year-old son Aidan raised money for a well. Late one night as we bumped over potholed roads, Paul shared his story. I asked him why he waited to marry. He shared that he was the first from his village to complete high school, then college, but that during that time, he had very little money. He didn’t want to bring a wife and children into that poverty. Then he said, “Mary, for ten years I didn’t know if or when I would eat.” He learned naked trust during that decade, as evidenced by his quiet faith bursting from him. And that made him an empathetic leader who trusted God to provide, not merely financially, but in every area of his life.

In Mark Buchanan’s book The Rest of God, he advocates abstaining so we can better relish life in the present. He writes, “We eat ourselves stuffed daily. There’s nothing to anticipate, nothing to make us stand back, astonished and thankful.”2 We glut ourselves, taking in everything we want when we want it. Part of learning to relish is resting in less. My friend Paul relishes his food. When his wife cooked a feast for us, he smiled, thankful for the moment when God had given so much. I fear I’ve become so accustomed to plenty that I’ve forgotten how to relish simple things—a great meal, the touch of a friend, my son’s face, the sunrise. Relishing erupts from restraint in other areas of life. I have to eat simply on other days to enjoy a feast fully. I have to stop my work to call a friend. I must slow down long enough from my tasks to interact with my son. I have to deprive myself of the virtual world to appreciate the scenery of the actual one—the one God made. In a busy ministry life, I have to cease in order to relish. To lead well, I must retreat. Taking away the good leaves room for the better.

Learn to abstain so you

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2 Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God (Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group, 2006), p. 163.


can appreciate the feast.

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The third leader was Lei Wah. She shepherded me when I was a young missionary to Malaysia in 1989, a place where it’s not easy to be openly Christian. Several of us slept in a large upstairs room, stretched out on too-short mats under a circling fan. I’d wake to music. She’d place contraband worship tapes into her boombox and sit before it, her arms raised heavenward, praise songs escaping her lips. Tears wet her face as she worshiped. She threw her soul into the praise, her life. Her quiet leadership taught me to realize what a privilege it is to worship and serve Jesus, and how little I value it.

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worship as a lifestyle.

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My Indian friend worshiped God in sharing his story. Paul pointed to God as provider because of his past. Lei Wah sang her praises first thing in the morning. All three aspects are worship. It’s that minute-by-minute conversation with God throughout the day. It’s an anticipation of what he will do next. It’s praising him in the moment, no matter how difficult that moment is. It’s embracing Jesus in the midst of interruption. I love what Henri Nouwen said about his real work. “My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted until I discovered the interruptions were my work.”3 Perhaps interruptions are God’s way of helping leaders relish him in the moment, to prove to ourselves that we’re the sort of followers who are interruptible.

Relish Retreat

Relish Devotional

3 Henri J. M. Nouwen, Reaching Out (New York: Bantam, 1986), 79.

The unnamed Indian man, Paul, and Lei Wah taught me how to relish. How to savor. How to take zestful pleasure in Jesus.As I sojourn down this path of Jesus-loving, I can’t shake their

example. When I’m basking in mediocrity, I see their fervor. When I feign worship, I see their enthusiastic dedication. When I’m ill-content, I see their contentment. I want to lead others the way they led me. Relishing God should be our highest priority as leaders. We are to “seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give [us] everything [we] need” (Matthew 6:33, NLT). So enamored with him in that kingdom quest, we will grow beyond our years, rest in less, and worship in the moment. Perhaps someday others will write stories about our vibrant faith, how our enthusiasm for Jesus rubbed off on them. That’s my wish—to be that kind of leader. ■ Mary DeMuth loves to help people turn their trials to triumph. She’s a national and international speaker and the author of nine books. Her memoir, Thin Places, was recently released. She lives with her husband and three kids in Texas.

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)

voices ) )

Relish

Finding, understanding and using your unique voice is a lifelong process. Read as these women share their voices and then consider your own.

By Carla Foote

Garden Delight

I enjoy looking at beautiful gardens almost as much as I enjoy creating my own.

Carla Foote enjoys her garden in Denver and blogs about gardening and faith. She is Director of Communications for MOPS International.

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What is a chore for many is soul-food for me. Recently I was on vacation and had a little free time to visit an arboretum. I was torn between the Japanese garden and the rhododendrons, fearing I didn’t have time for both and not wanting to feel rushed. Since it was the peak of rhododendron season, I decided to wander that direction, amazed by the colors, scale and grandeur of the bushes and also by the effortless way they were scattered through a wooded area. After strolling through the rhododendrons, I looped back to the parking lot and eyed the entrance to the Japanese gardens. I checked my watch and fidgeted. There was a $5 charge for admission, not much, but I probably had only 30 minutes at the most to go through the garden. Was it worth it? I wavered. Then decided $5 would be worth it for even 10 minutes, because I was worth it and I wanted to see the gardens. On a rare impulse—which went against my frugal nature—I bought the admission and even added on $5 for the pack of postcard images of the garden. Enjoy the splurge I thought, it’s my gift to myself. The gardens didn’t disappoint—my breath was taken away by the bank of bright pink azaleas that looked painted onto the hillside. I relished my choice. It was uniquely me and was good for my soul.


Savoring the Moment

MORGAN SESSIONS

I watch her walk

to the steps that take her down to the playground where she goes to school. Her ponytail sways slightly and I smile at the way she walks with such confidence and purpose. Then tears well up as I whisper a quiet prayer, “Thank you, Father, that I am here today to drop her off at school.” I picture for a moment what life would be like for my daughter and her brothers if I wasn’t around. And I understand, once again, that each day

God gives is a gift. It matters to her that I am here. Even on my worst days as a mom, wife, friend, and daughter, being here makes a difference. Last year my family and friends helped me battle breast cancer. We—and it truly was a “we” endeavor—went through fire and water and God brought us out to a place of abundance (Psalm 66:12). It was a tremendous undertaking and the imagery of war and battle was spot on. An army of

By Vivian Mabuni

amazing people came alongside us and at times carried us through treatment that lasted ten months. My soul has been altered through the journey and especially through allowing people into the hardest parts of the battle. It has been a humbling and powerful lesson for me to think about the time, money and help that was focused on fighting for my life. I look at life now through different lenses. Every day is a gift. Life

is precious. Worth saving. Worth fighting for. It matters that we are here.

Vivian Mabuni has been a missionary with Campus Crusade for 21 years. She currently serves on the Epic National Executive Team (ministry to Asian Americans) with her husband, Darrin. They have three children, Jonathan, Michael and Julia, and live in Mission Viejo, CA. ■

Even on my worst days as a mom, wife, friend, and daughter, being here makes a difference. SUMMER 2010

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Before long, the God of the universe was using Facebook to nudge me towards obedience.

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Signs of Obedience By Julie Kaiser

Recently God gave me an opportunity to obey him. This was not an opportunity I relished— he wanted me to approach a relationship I feared I had damaged years earlier during some church unpleasantness. The friend had moved away before I organized my emotions enough to express sadness over the situation. Now God wanted me to reach out to her. But I was full of questions: “What am I going to say? How will I approach her? This is going to be awkward. Surely, she’s moved on.” My questions went unanswered. Yet, his initial request pressed on me. Before long, the God of the universe was using Facebook to nudge me towards obedience. Every day her smiling picture faced me from the top right side of my screen as someone “to friend.” Shaking my head at God’s persistence, I finally clicked on her name. Brief information included her hometown, which caught my attention.

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My husband and I were traveling to a conference in that very city. I messaged her on Facebook with a lunch invitation for that conference weekend. “Would love to catch up with you,” I wrote. In a couple of days, I received a gracious response. She was out of town that weekend, but she appreciated the invitation. She shared the latest in her life and sent warm

greetings to me and my family. My relief felt overwhelming as I relished the rewards of obedience.

■ Writer and editor Julie Kaiser is learning to better appreciate “obedience opportunities” in her life. She lives with her family in central Illinois.


By Keri Wyatt Kent

{ spiritual for mation

}

Our souls need a balanced diet of solitude and community.

flow soul

AUNDRE LARROW

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“I have this recurring dream,” my friend Rhonda told me as we sat at the corner Starbucks. In the dream, she is given a newborn baby to care for and to feed. However, she keeps realizing that she has neglected the infant—often for a few days! “In the dream, I’m panicking because I don’t even remember where I put the baby. Eventually, I find it, but it’s not doing well, and I have to try to revive it,” she said. The dream had mystified her. “But I had an epiphany,” she told me, excited. “The baby is me.” As she said those words, I was nodding, saying, “The baby is you.” What does it mean to care for yourself? God has given you a tender soul to nurture— how’s that going? My friend, like many of us, wishes her husband, children and friends would meet her emotional needs, connect with her spiritually, feed her. And while these people do nurture her, they can never be enough. She’ll still be hungry, unsatisfied. Rhonda is in a season where her soul is seeking more, hungry for truth, poised to move closer to God. James 4:8 says, “Come near to God, and he will come near to you.” But how do we do that? Jesus said the two most important things in life are to love God and love your neighbor. They’re two facets of the same beautiful gem, two equally important requirements for a wellnourished soul.

A Balanced Diet Two spiritual practices that help us grow in loving God and loving others are solitude and community. These practices feed our soul, but only if we have them in balance. If we only have solitude, time alone with God or maybe just with our thoughts, we will stay alive, but we won’t thrive. Likewise, if we are never quiet or alone, we won’t have a personal relationship with God, only a corporate one. We’ll replace talking to God with talking about God. Or, we will allow other people to take the place only God should have. Our souls need a balanced diet of solitude and community.

Eating Alone Just like other relationships, friendship with God requires time. This may seem obvious, but our hurry and busyness often starve our souls. What would happen to your soul if you had time to just enjoy God? The spiritual practice of solitude, simply spending time alone with God, in which we can talk to him, read his word, or just be in his presence, is an essential component of our spiritual diet. In order to do this, we may have to slow down the pace of our lives. It may be that in order to say “yes” to God, and to feeding our souls, we may have to say “no” to the frantic pace of our lives, which is often caused by saying yes to far too many things—even good things. What have you said yes to, thinking it would fill you, but that is actually starving your soul? If you think solitude is impossible in your life, think beyond traditional prayer and reflection. Turn off the radio when you are alone in the car. Trade a few minutes of Facebook for a few moments on a devotional site, or just to be quiet and breathe. Take a few minutes during your lunch hour at work to go for a walk around the block to just settle your heart. Let your children play on the floor at your feet and just talk to Jesus about your day. However, if we never move out of that solitude into community, our growth will be stunted. We will feel full, as if we’d eaten too much sugar, but malnourished.

Dining Together So the second and very important step toward soul feeding is to take the love God has poured into us, and share it with others. We put into practice the things we have read, prayed, reflected upon. We give love to others, but also receive God’s love through them. We serve, and allow others to speak truth into our lives, to give us love. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each

other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Even in this short verse we see the ebb and flow of God loving us (in this case, by showing us forgiveness), which enables us to love others (by showing compassion and forgiveness to them). Who do you need to forgive? Do you believe that doing so would actually nurture your own soul? Some of us love solitude and would prefer to spend time alone. However, if we only read our Bible but we never engage in community, we will never truly understand the text, because we have not lived it. We will be fed by engaging in the struggle of actually acting in kind and compassionate ways, which is always more challenging than simply thinking compassionate thoughts. For some, community is the easier of these two disciplines. We learn from others, or get a lot of satisfaction out of leading or serving others. When we love on others and receive love from them, we feel fed. We are satisfied when we accomplish tasks, especially for God. But if we only love our neighbors but never spend time alone with God, again we are malnourished. In his classic book Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “only as we are within the fellowship can we be alone, and only he that is alone can live in the fellowship … Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.” When we ignore our soul’s need for solitude, we will look to others to feed us. We will become parasites, feeding on others. But when our soul is fed by God, we can bring a fully satisfied soul into relationship with others. The French poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote: “love … consists in this: that two solitudes protect and border and greet each other.” We can pour out what God has filled our souls with, and find ourselves strangely satisfied, in a beautiful paradox. ■

■ Keri Wyatt Kent is a full-time freelance writer, speaker and author of seven books including Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity (Zondervan). She and her husband are the parents of two teenagers and live in the Chicago area.

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Maybe It’s Just My Imagination By Julie Arduini

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Ever been at an event where you’re in the group, but not really? The others are talking and laughing about things you’ve never done. My recent experience had me sitting with other moms who happen to work outside the home, which I applaud, by the way. Stay with me on this. As they converse I learn they are lawyers. Full time lawyers, wives and moms who made it on time to the event we were all to be at. Full time lawyers, wives and moms who made it on time to the event we were all to be at AND remembered the dated information we were asked in advance to bring. Guess out of all the moms who forgot to bring the information? The work from home writer. That would be me. God laid on my heart to share about: INTIMIDATION. I fall for this often and you’d think I’d know better because my favorite quote outside the Bible is from Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one intimidates you without your permission.” Well I gave those ladies an access pass because by the end of the event I was convinced I was the worst woman ever and I had no business being a part of this. Then God tapped me on the shoulder, so to speak, and gave me what I’m wondering is a positive -ion word” “Could this be your imagination?”

That’s the thing about intimidation. I find half the time it doesn’t even exist. As I connect with people from my past on Facebook I realize people I felt so inferior to felt the same way about me. What I used as a tool to compensate for what I didn’t possess (that cheerleader status or brilliant mind) was what those folks liked about me—my wit and creativity, especially with writing. God even took me back to a scene in high school when I was the young pup on the yearbook copy team. I was also the only girl for a time. The boys teased me something terrible, mostly because they were older. I was intimidated. One day they got a hysterical idea to only allow me to ask them one question a day, so it better be good, they warned. Well the intimidation stopped when the next day they asked if I had a question. I smiled and said yes, I do. I asked the boys where lint in dryers comes from. This blew them away. It wasn’t yearbook related and it took them off guard. They treated me like an equal from then on, or maybe they had been, and my woe-is-me imagination had them pegged all along. Whatever the case, I challenge you to surrender intimidation if it’s an issue for you. The very thing you feel you lack is

most likely what the other person is feeling intimidated by you. Guess how much time we could save in relationships if we just cut through the intimidation? I’m wondering if it goes back to another negative -ion word: deception. We fall into the trap that we’re not good enough. We believe lies to the point we don’t even want to hang out with ourselves. Truth: God is not a liar. He doesn’t break promises. If he says it, you can take it to the bank. And he says you are a wonderful creation. He loves you. He loves you when you are the lawyer and when you are the writer. He loves you when you forget stuff whether you are the lawyer or the writer. He loves you if you are married, and he loves you if you are not. He is not the author of intimidation. He does author imagination though—if you would allow yourself to think beyond the past and present and see what is to come for you. In Jesus’ name, it’s all good. We just have to stop being intimidated and in his strength, go for it! ■ Julie Arduini is a writer and public speaker. Her writing is included in such works as the Peculiar People release, Delivered and James Stuart Bell’s God Encounters. She is also a marriage channel blogger at Exemplify Online and Adding Zest. Julie confesses she’s surrendering the good, the bad, and maybe one day, the chocolate. She lives in northeast Ohio with her husband and two children. ■

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resting space

It’s not that we are being dropped into some heavenly drama already in progress. We don’t find purpose by being used by God in some miraculous intervention or to be his stand-in because he needs our assistance to help someone. We are called to abide in him, to live in communion with him. We are called to practice the presence of God, whether it gets

It is enough— and everything—to belong to God and know it. noticed or not.

—DALE HANSON BOURKE, SECOND CALLING, PAGE 170

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coaching

Liz Selzer, Ph.D., is President and CEO of Mentor Leadership Team and adjunct professor at Denver Seminary and Colorado Christian University. Liz enjoys teaching women to gain perspective on the ways they can be used in the kingdom.

community

ministries and even families with diversity challenges. DEFINITION:

Culture: a shared system of beliefs, attitudes, and values that create expectations and norms for behaviors.

By Liz Selzer

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Coaching for the Glocal

G

OOGLE SEARCHES, FACEBOOK PAGES, TWITTER, WEBINARS, SKYPE, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS … the electronic

world has given us access to every corner of the earth. Global is becoming local, or “glocal.” In our homes and offices, cultures are thrust against one another. Too often we assume that people are basically like us and will communicate, expect, perceive and respond to life and work challenges the same way we do. Even though it would seem that globalization would decrease cultural differences as we become more aware of the diversity in the world and less surprised by it, research shows that this is not the case. Globalization is actually increasing these differences, and glocalization is making things more difficult for the organizations that work across cultures. One study found that 50% of overseas mergers and acquisitions produce negative returns to shareholders due to cultural clashes (Abbott et al, 2006). What can be done? Cross-cultural mentoring is a strategy to maximize glocalization. Mentoring is proven strategy that helps organizations work through many challenges of diversity— geography, generational and gender, as SUMMER 2010

it creates bonds and relationships that transcend these issues. It promotes appreciation over irritation and synergy over division. For diverse cultural situations, it is a must. As much as we would like to be people who are oblivious to the discomfort that the unknown presents to us, we often approach others from a base of fear of the unfamiliar rather than curiosity for something new. Becoming aware of some of the cultural differences we come in contact with is a proactive first step. Views on self esteem, responsibility, choice, control, tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity vary from culture to culture. Even social norms such as pace of business, how to address another, dress, gender roles, or power distribution can cause disruptions in relationships. Click on “Get More” to the left to get a bonus continuum to see where you fit. Mentoring (intentional relationships that encourage growth) is a great way to begin to learn about other people so that we can appreciate the differences in them rather than being irritated by people who we perceive are just not like us. It is an important activity for organizations, churches,

awareness, and a sense of common growth goals. Ask questions: Don’t assume you know what the other person is thinking or feeling. Ask questions like “What does this mean to you?” and “How important is this to you?” Develop a genuine sense of curiosity for them and their culture. Study culture, but don’t generalize. Cultivate intentional awareness and understanding: Through personal

reflection, be aware of your own cultural biases and then listen to the other person to see what cultural biases they might have. Talk openly about these biases and how they can bring depth to your relationship through varied perspectives. See diversity as an impetus plus. Create a safe place to relate: Embrace the things you have in common without making assumptions and find places where you agree. Set expectations/ boundaries that fit for each of you. What may be comfortable to you may not be so for others. Safety precedes growth and collaboration. Help others see how their growth can blossom in their lives: Make sure

that the goals fit the cultural norms. Whether you choose to mentor or select a mentor for yourself, this type of partnership helps people and organizations work through the challenges of diverse generations, gender, geography and glocalization— all of which affect your ability to lead well in changing times. ■

REDMAL / ISTOCKPHOTO

Cross-cultural mentoring: working with an awareness and appreciation of cultural differences while developing a trust relationship that facilitates culturally appropriate steps toward growth.

Guidelines for working in culturally diverse mentoring relationships: Pray: Ask God for humility,


Register Today for America’s Premier Christian Fundraising and Stewardship Summit!

Course topics to include: • Biblical Foundations for Development • Major Donor Development • Online Fundraising and Direct Mail • Capital Campaigns • Integrated Communications Strategy • Gifts and Estate Design Programs • Your Money Autobiography • Foundation Funding and Grants

And more

The EI Steward Leadership Summit (formerly Steward Leadership Institute) is designed to provide Christian nonprofit leaders with insights and expertise to develop exemplary fundraising programs that excel in challenging times. This is the one national summit that connects CEOs, fundraising professionals, board members, executive pastors and more with the leading minds in Christian nonprofit fundraising and development. Plan now to attend the EI Steward Leadership Summit, Sept. 28 – Oct. 1, 2010 in Denver, Colorado! The EI Steward Leadership Summit is an official training program for the Certified Stewardship Program (CSP). Earn credits towards your CSP designation at this year's summit.

To register visit: www.christianleadershipalliance.org/sls or call (949) 487-0900, ext. 118

The Engstrom Institute was founded by Christian Leadership Alliance, World Vision, Evangelical Christian Credit Union and Azusa Pacific University in honor of the late Ted W. Engstrom, and is designed to equip Christ-centered nonprofits with best practices for organizational effectiveness. Earn CFRE contact hours or continuing education points at the EI Steward Leadership Summit.


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Leaders

A Conversation with

Laurie Beth Jones by Mary Byers

Speaker and author Laurie Beth Jones is a self-described Wind/Fire personality type who loves chaos and change and thrives on challenge— all of which are in a days’ work for this coach and thought leader who challenges other leaders to identify and work from their strengths and allow their employees to do the same.

RYAN M CVAY / DIGITAL VISION / GETTY IMAGES

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Her books have sold over 1 million copies and been translated into 14 foreign languages. Her success has enabled her to commit to seeding multiple microlending institutions in central Mexico, which specifically empower the disenfranchised to become entrepreneurs. Though she’s a power house in the marketplace, she’s a softie when it comes to “Roo” her Bichon-Frise Yorkie mix.

When and how did you first understand that you are a leader?

My call to leadership was realized on the playground of my elementary school. I was crazy about horses then (and still am). I began running around and pretending that I was a horse, whinnying and kicking out my feet, and suddenly kids started following me and doing the same. Pretty soon I had quite the herd stampeding through the swing sets.

satisfaction elsewhere. With ten percent unemployment, the country today needs new tools to help people find and keep their perfect work. Likewise, statistics show that of the 90% who are employed, more than half do not get to use their strengths at work. Jesus, Career Counselor is really about spiritual alignment with your life purpose and calling, and gives “twelve dreams of the Holy Spirit” that can excite and enlighten readers.

What has been the most surprising element of leadership to you?

As women seek Jesus’ guidance, how can they best listen for it?

How few people realize that all of us are called to lead others, whether it is in the home, small groups, the church, or industries. The word “rise” is actually feminine in the Hebrew form, and women especially need to rise into our fullness, and speak the wisdom God has bestowed and entrusted to us.

It will be through a unique, intentional, and cultivated relationship, just as with any relationship that grows and thrives. In order to listen for Jesus’ voice, we need to know what it sounds like, not only in lectures and scriptures, as revealed in the Bible, but also in personal, tender, funny, teasing, and gentle ways. Jesus teases and flirts with me all the time, like having my favorite song come on the radio after I am stressed out, or having a ladybug land on my windshield during a snowstorm in Toledo. Jesus is not, for me, a giant “To Do List Giver,” but more of a Lover and Friend, as well as Lord. I look for him eagerly throughout each day, and see him in so many ways. I hope and encourage other women to develop their own unique love language with Jesus. It is so much fun!

From your perspective, what’s the most difficult part of leadership?

The most difficult part of leadership is doing the unpopular thing—going against the tide. We are so ingrained with a desire to be liked that sometimes it feels easier to put popularity above obedience. Once I realized that I only have God to please, this part became easier for me. If you were to sit down with a discouraged leader, what would you say to encourage her?

I would first ask her how clear she is about her mission, and ask if she could state it in a single sentence. So often discouragement comes because we have forgotten the clarity and power of our focused purpose. Many times I have seen leaders “snap to” energy-wise when they simply are reminded of the one thing they came here to do. I also would gently ask the question, “What will happen if you do NOT do this?” This helps remind her that she may be the only one standing between evil (or apathy) and the great good: the love of God. You have a new book out, Jesus, Career Counselor. Why did you write it and what’s your hope for the book?

Too many people end up with careers “by default.” They do what their parents did, or told them they should be doing. They get in the shortest line at admissions even though it may lead to the wrong major for them. Likewise, many people have gifts in their hands that they are overlooking, seeking career 26

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Where have you felt the most misunderstood in your life?

Oddly enough, the most hurtful misunderstandings I have ever had have been, in the long run, with myself. As I become aware of my go-to personality type, for example, I am learning to seek counsel and slow down to avoid hurting others. As a Wind/Fire, I quite often get misunderstood by Earth and Water personality types. (Editor’s Note: These personality descriptions are from Laurie Beth’s book The Four Elements of Success.) I am trying to better understand the strengths and challenges of my own nature—sort of “How to Tame Your Dragon” type work, so I can dance with others in a joyful manner, rather than what is known as “singe-ing in the spirit” of my own selfish attitudes. Who’s had the biggest influence on your own leadership?

Of course Jesus has, from a role model perspective. My friend and mentor Catherine Calhoun showed me how power could show up in a


a woman of influence

woman in amazing ways. My mother inspired me always to listen to my inner poet and artist in making decisions, and my father gave me a drive towards always seeking newer, higher heights. Describe a time when you felt far away from God. How did you handle it?

Laurie Beth Jones

One time in particular I was forced to look at myself in the mirror regarding how I had hurt someone through a business transaction. The reflection was especially harsh that day. The question I had to ask myself was “Is this the person my Father wanted me to become?” Fortunately for me, and for all of us, a quick turning away, or repentance of that behavior or attitude, was available to me. I am constantly in need of God’s grace. I tell people the only perfect thing I have ever done, and may ever do, is give my life to Christ. All else is imperfection and illusion that he alone can make right. If you were to make a list of “do-overs,” what would you put at the top?

I would have gone to Europe after my sophomore semester in college, rather than enter into a too-young marriage. Patience has never been my strongest character trait, and I regret most those times when I did not have or use it. I also wish I had known very early on my elemental strengths and challenges, as it would have helped avoid hurting others, as well as causing me to miss opportunities. How do you re-fill yourself?

I refill myself by going to the beach almost every day, taking along my journal and computer and Starbucks® gift cards. Watching the waves, jotting down thoughts, sipping a double espresso, making room for Jesus beside me…what could be better than that? ■

Dig Deeper with FullFill™ Rich Media Jesus CEO

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A feature inviting you to think through your theology. By Carolyn Custis James

Theft!

Every 79 seconds, a thief steals someone’s identity …

I

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think

}

Another friend, after thirty years of raising kids, just entered the empty nest phase and feels lost. Their identities have been stolen. Identity theft is a deeply personal issue for all of us. As leaders, we are not immune to the events that have us standing on solid ground one day and in quicksand the next. It only takes a phone call, a diagnosis, or a plummeting economy for our identities to be snatched away. Identity theft is also a leadership issue, for as leaders we must think through these issues for the women and girls who count on us to help them survive an identity crisis. God has a thing or two to say about the subject of a woman’s identity. On page one of the Bible God issues a theft-proof identity card that travels with us—perfectly intact—from birth through the many seasons, demographic changes, and episodes of our stories. When God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26) he moved a woman’s identity beyond the reach of thieves. Enormous benefits come to us from those few words. Here are a few I find life giving. Being God’s image bearer means my highest calling as a woman is to know him. I may do a lot of other things, but this one tops the list. I can’t know who I am or why I’m here without knowing the God who created me to be like himself. My mission in life is to know the God who made me and to imitate what I see in him. Nothing can take this away from me. Being God’s image bearer means I represent God in this world. I am his eyes, his ears, his hands, his feet, his voice. Wherever I go, whatever I do—I speak and act on his behalf. People are supposed to get a sense of what God is like by rubbing shoulders with me. Everything I do matters. Nothing can take this away from me. Being God’s image bearer means it is not possible for me to live an insignificant life. God’s image bearers are kingdom builders. He strategically stations each of us where we have kingdom work to do. Even a cup of water taken to a small child in the dead of night carries kingdom significance in God’s eyes. Nothing can take this away from me. It may still be wise to buy a shredder and check my credit occasionally. But I never need to fear the loss of my identity, for I am God’s image bearer and my identity is grounded in him. And nothing can take that away from me. ■ ■ Carolyn Custis James is involved in equipping women through the Whitby Forum and Synergy. She is the author of several books, including The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules (Zondervan, 2008).

GO EXPLORE: CLICK HERE



JUANMONINO / ISTOCKPHOTO

DENTITY THEFT IS SKYROCKETING. Horror stories abound. Shredders are becoming as commonplace in households as — CBSnews.com toasters. Theft insurance is in demand. According to CBS news projections, “This year alone more than 500,000 Americans will be robbed of their identities … with more than $4 billion stolen in their names.” It can take years to recover. An even bigger identity theft is happening today—targeting every woman and girl, robbing us of the labels that define us and give us meaning. After years of being known as the wife of a successful businessman, my widowed grandmother was visibly shaken when someone addressed her on paper by her first name instead of his. Her identity had been stolen. Times do change. Three generations later, my daughter (seven at the time) thought it was hilarious when a letter arrived at our house addressed to “Mrs. Frank James.” She couldn’t believe anyone would address her Papa as “Mrs.” But Millennials have their own identity struggles. A close friend who spent years building a strong career in church ministry was laid off, with no job prospect in sight.

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An invitation to find your place in this world. By Shayne Moore

(worldly)women

Is Your Calling to be a Global Thinker? HIV/AIDS, I started educating myself and others. I was motivated to learn for a reason. I wanted to know what I could do to make a difference in my world. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was becoming a global thinker despite living in an insular, Midwestern suburb. I wanted to know what I could do to create change in difficult situations for women like me and for families like my own. As I educated myself and got involved I realized that my small gestures—a phone call to a Congressman, a donation to a mission or a Not-for-Profit, reading an article and sharing it on Facebook or Twitter—make a difference, raise awareness, and create change. I realized I have influence and I can tell those around me what is important to me. One of the issues I work toward change is in global maternal, newborn and child health. As a woman of faith, as a mother of three, this topic is pressing to me. Did you know that 4 million babies die every year in the

what’s next?

© ONE / MORGANA WINGARD

Helen leans over her latte and asks, “Shayne, what do you consider to be your calling?” I try to think up an answer to this loaded question. I am a stay-at-home mother, the author of an upcoming book Global Soccer Mom. I carpool, do mountains of laundry, nag about homework and chores, and sing in a band. But my calling? I complain about her tough question, silently sip my cappuccino and finally say, “My calling is to create—to create change— in the same direction of God’s purposes in the world.” After waking up to the realities of extreme poverty and global health crisis like global

first 30 days of life? These deaths mostly occur in rural, developing countries like those in Africa. 500,000 mothers die in childbirth in the developing world each year. Statistics say that 80% of these deaths could be prevented if women had access to basic health services, prenatal care, safe childbirth training, and newborn care. For instance, in some parts of the world women are not educated to nurse their babies right away, or to bundle them up, and many newborns die of hypothermia. These are simple things with simple solutions. Women’s health is important for the developing world because communities need healthy women to raise families and create a strong society. In many developing countries the low status of women, lack of education (boys are educated first and girls are required to stay home to fetch water, cook and clean), and high levels of sexual violence (genderbased violence is acceptable in many cultures) make young women the main victims of HIV and AIDS. In sub-Saharan Africa young women are three times more likely to have HIV than their male counterparts. As Christian women it is time to speak up in our churches, communities and homes regarding the things which really concern us in the world. We can be global thinkers right from our own kitchens and all work together for real change. ■

RE-RUN: Want more? Read “How I Learned I Can Change the World” in the Spring 2010 issue of FullFill. Then watch Shayne Moore in

Be a Global Thinker 

Be a Global Thinker

GET MORE: Find links to help you learn more, get involved, speak up, or donate



Shayne Moore is an author, blogger, speaker, mom of three, and outspoken advocate in the fight against extreme poverty and Global AIDS. Shayne is one of the original members of ONE and sits on the executive board of directors for Upendo Village, an HIV/AIDS clinic in Kenya.

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CONTEMPORARY REFLECTION By Connie Williams

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& Words

God’s Book offers words of life. They are that anchor our souls when permanent the hurricane winds of human words blow. . Like the winds God’s Words that turn the blades of a windmill, his Words . Catalyst winds, powerful and create mighty but without destruction.

rocks

generate power

life

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Connie Williams is a full-time mom and part-time freelancer. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Fairmont University and resides in rural West Virginia with her husband and three daughters. She has a passion for classic Christian literature and would describe herself as a “poetic ponderer.” ■

WIND COLLAGE BY VICTOR ZASTOL`SKIY/ISTOCKPHOTO + HANS VAN IJZENDOORN/ISTOCKPHOTO

Winds

Harsh words are an icy wind. “Why can’t you do anything right?” is a gust that slices straight through to the heart. Having felt the sting, we cloak our heart in layers for protection. Limited exposure only does some damage but prolonged exposure can have devastating effects. “It’s all your fault.” “I just don’t love you anymore.” Winds so powerful that there is little we can do but brace ourselves and hope we’re still standing when the tempest is past. These winds of destruction know no boundaries. “You can do it.” “I believe in you.” These are motivating winds that propel us forward, catching our sails and continuing us on our course. Like the wind that blows our hair, lifting it from our shoulders, these words lift and carry us over doubt and fear. Compassionate words, “I know how you feel.” Comforting words, “I’m here for you.” Selfless words, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Such simple phrases are perfumes in the breeze like the scent of honeysuckle or fresh rain. There is healing power in kind words. “I love you” whispered softly and sincerely is to the heart a sweet, balmy wind that soothes and refreshes. “You mean so much to me.” A gentle breeze that blows and we breathe deeply, savoring the moment. Words spoken so softly, at times they are almost imperceptible, yet they are more powerful than the strongest gale. Long after they are spoken they live on. Memory invokes the same tender wind. Just as we turn our head to let a breeze dance across our face, so our hearts turn toward the words of love that have been spoken to us.


CLASSIC THOUGHT By Oswald Chambers

Free

Taking the Initiative Against Depression

Tens of thousands of women have joined the FullFill™ community since the digital launch in the Summer of 2009.

T

he angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him,

Note: The works of Oswald Chambers were compiled by his wife, Biddy, after his death in 1917. Taken from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, edited by James Reimann, © 1992 by Oswald Chambers Publications Assn., Ltd. Used by permission Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids MI. All rights reserved. Order My Utmost for His Highest at 800-653-8333 or dhp.org.

JOAN VICENT CANTÓ ROIG / ISTOCKPHOTO

or do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive—only material things don’t suffer depression. If human beings were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity for happiness and exultation. There are things in life that are designed to depress us: for example, things that are associated with death. Whenever you examine yourself, always take into account your capacity for depression. When the Spirit of God comes to us, he does not give us glorious visions, but he tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, his inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things--things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find him there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. If, however, we do something simply to overcome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life.

We are grateful that we have been able to provide this resource FREE to anyone with a heart for recognizing, utilizing, and maximizing her influence for God’s kingdom purposes. Would you consider underwriting some of the cost so we can provide FullFill™ to even more women? Click on the Donate button below to give a tax-deductible gift of any amount.



“Arise and eat.” ( I Kings 19:5)

Donate

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HowTo:

Sleep Deeply Did you know that tensing your toes can help you sleep? Doing so draws tension from the rest of the body. Here’s how:

your life better than it does to think in a way that makes your life miserable.

—VICTORIA MORAN

Timing: Schedule physically strenuous activities for cooler times. And watch out for your animal friends. Larger breeds, especially those with dark-colored fur, can be intensely affected by mid-day heat. Save walks and exertion for cooler hours.

Dress in light, loose, cotton clothing. Natural fabrics like cotton are much cooler than most synthetics (though there are new high-tech synthetics made specifically to keep you cool). Loose fitting clothes allow air to circulate, keeping you cooler. Attire:

Make your own air conditioner by placing a bowl of ice in front of a fan and letting it blow on you. Improvise:

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When working outside, take periodic rest breaks in a cool area. Relax, slow down, pace yourself.

Pacing:

Startling TV Statistics Card Shower Brighten someone’s day by hosting a card shower to celebrate a birthday, end of cancer treatment, an anniversary or another milestone. Invite friends and family to send a card on a specified day and you’ll bring a smile for several days in a row.

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■ The average American watches 3 hours and 36 minutes of TV each day. By age 65 the average American will have spent nearly 9 years glued to the tube. ■ In the average American household, the TV set is on for 7 hours, 40 minutes per day. ■ The percentage of Americans who say they watch too much TV is 49%. ■ The average American youth spends 900 hours in school. On average, this same child watches television 1,023 hours per year.

Hydrate: Drink water. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. By then, your body’s fluids are already depleted.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them. —Mother Teresa

GLASSES BY STEVE GOODWIN + SIGNAL BARS BY SUBJUG; MAIL SLOT BY DNY59

It doesn’t take any more time to think in a way that makes

the Heat

ОКСАНА ЧУРАКОВА ;

quick Fill

Beat

ALL IMAGES FROM ISTOCKPHOTO: FOOT BY SERG MYSHKOVSKY; UMBRELLA BY

■ Lie on your back, close your eyes. ■ Tense your toes. ■ Pull all 10 toes back toward your face. Count to 10 slowly. ■ Relax your toes. ■ Count to 10 slowly. ■ Repeat the above cycle 10 times.


four

FOUR-LETTER WORDS are words constructed of four letters. They are perfectly good, usually innocent words. Some four-letter words come with baggage that weighs down their meaning. Often there is negativity, discomfort or stigma assigned to such otherwise

letter word

interesting and usable words. As we reconsider these words and address them openly, perhaps we can reclaim these words for their contribution to our lives.

TONY CORDOZA/GETTY IMAGES

There’s a lot of taking one can do.

Take a break. Do a double take. Take it easy. Take the high road. Take it or leave it. Take no prisoners. Take a dive. Take a hike. Take all that you can get. Take the cake. Take over. Take cover. Take my word for it. Take it from the top. Take time for yourself. Take offense. Take aim. Take a bow. Take a spin. Take care.

And a lot of confusion regarding what’s appropriate. We know we shouldn’t take more than we give. But should we give more than we take? Or give until we have nothing left to give? And if we do the latter, aren’t we taking leave of our senses? There’s a fine line that separates giving and taking. Sometimes we need to be the giver, and sometimes the taker. But how do we know what to do when? The confusion often results in a lot of giving and not much taking, which leads to selfsacrifice on a grand scale. When did self-care become synonymous with “selfish”? And what’s wrong with taking a break? A timeout? Or time for yourself? Wise women know that it’s impossible to give what we ourselves do not possess. To be tuned into what we most have to give, we must first take an inventory and continually take things to heart. Doing so allows us to fully embrace the idea that our greatest potential for growth comes from capitalizing on our strengths rather than trying to overcome or compensate for our weaknesses. To contribute in a meaningful way, we must take control of any negative self-talk, reminding ourselves that we are children of the King and that God doesn’t make junk. And that taking care doesn’t just have to mean looking after others. We can care for ourselves, too. After all, “… Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16) Here’s to taking a break. ■

CLICK HERE



Share your thoughts! SUMMER 2010

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male

Darren Kerstien graduated summa cum laude in 2007 from Azusa Pacific University with a B.A. in Biblical Studies and a minor in Spanish. He was recognized in his department with the Most Outstanding Senior Award and was recruited by many top law schools. He’s participating in a new program at University of California, Irvine, where he and his colleagues will focus on interdisciplinary research and public service.

box

By Darren Kerstien

Where Women Belong

MALE BOX is a regular feature in FullFill™ where we invite the opinion, perspective and insight of male leaders as they comment on women and their participation in the kingdom.

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about the proper role of women in church leadership. Fortunately, Scripture contains abundant examples of God using women in powerful ways. Unfortunately, male-dominated leadership has greatly succeeded in convincing women that men alone are destined to hold leadership roles. Nothing could be further from the truth! Outside the classroom at Azusa Pacific University, we did not spend much time evaluating which leadership roles women could fulfill. Many of my peers heard a voice calling and we chased after God with our whole beings. Many women and men served our community with grace and persistence, prayed anointed prayers, and spoke with words saturated in the wisdom of God. I had the privilege to colead a bible study with an extraordinarily gifted woman. To me, there was never a choice to listen to her and let her lead—her contribution was clearly God-ordained and significant. I looked forward to discussing various topics with her and believed in the great things God was doing in and through her. I was shocked when this woman told me that our bible study was the first co-ed setting where she felt as though her voice was truly heard. For the first time, she knew her suggestions would be valued and often heeded. It broke my heart to know that my friend had gone much of her life feeling ignored because she is a woman. SUMMER 2010

MARK ANDERSEN/RUBBERBALL PRODUCTIONS/GETTY IMAGES

B

iblical scholars will probably always disagree

I am sure many readers can relate. In fact, in a culture that is male-centered and male-dominated, this story is all too familiar. Some forms of leadership subscribe to a model that is results-oriented and power-hungry. To this day, women suffer a great deal at the systemic influence of male domination and are forced to live with fears, concerns, and double-standards that males never face. This is pernicious and destructive to humankind. Women and men have roles to fulfill together, but for too long these roles have been determined by powerful males who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Leadership is flawed when viewed as a competitive and cutthroat dash to be “King of the Hill.” Rather, leadership should be marked by humility, compassion, and a willingness to serve. Interestingly, these criteria may result in more women than men being chosen to lead! There is a specific need in the Body of Christ for women to fulfill the plans God has for them. I say this not because men might miss out on the benefits of diverse perspectives if women are not consulted, but because the Kingdom of God is diminished and God’s glory veiled when we adhere to systems of power that value maleness over femaleness and view women as second-class citizens. Women lose part of their humanity and divine purpose when they are treated diminutively. Men also suffer (although any comparison is ridiculous) amidst this unjust system because all of our destinies are inexorably linked and when one part of humanity suffers, the whole suffers too. We all share inherent worth and value that comes to us as gifts through the love and creativity of God. In 21st Century Church leadership, part of our task is to define womanhood not as strengths and weaknesses in comparison or deficiency to malehood, but rather to define womanhood and malehood in light of the mercy and power of God. As new definitions emerge, more leaders will be freed to fulfill God’s calling and the Church will shine with the glory of God that links the full spectrum of maleness and femaleness—and transcends it—revealing beauty beyond description. ■


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}

Taste Buds in Training I grew up believing that a relish tray contained three essentials: celery sticks, stuffed green olives and black pitted olives. Just these three ingredients. Such an assumption was likely due to the fact that our relish tray was a clover-shaped silverplate doo-dad with a circle handle for passing. Three compartments meant three ingredients. And the ingredients had to be ones that we liked—thus celery stalks, green and black olives. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas we sent the triad around the table where we three kids fumbled for our favorite. Mine was the stuffed green olives. I took five, sucked the pimento out of each and then fit one over each finger on my left hand, like miniature mittens. It took me most of the meal to eat them off. When I married and shared holiday meals—and relish trays—with my inlaws, I discovered that other ingredients had made their way onto what was now a multi-sectioned tray with far more than my three essentials. Pickled things. Baby pickled corn ear things. Sweet pickles. Tiny cocktail onions. Ugh. Gone were the green stuffed olives and their finger ritual. My new family didn’t care for them. What was yum to them was ugh to me and what was yum to me was ugh to them. Most of us have immature taste buds. We only relish what is familiar, what we’ve been reared on as “good.” Relish— enjoyment of all God allows in life and leadership—is about training our taste buds to appreciate the unfamiliar, the unpredictable, the unknown and the untasted. “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” we read in Psalm 34:8. The Lord is good. All the time. In the sweet and the sour, in the known and unknown. Taste and see. I’m all game to bite into the stuff I like—when life goes the way I want it to go and I get what I want from whom I want it—oh, and when I want it. When I leave a meeting satisfied that all participants heard each other and created next steps that move our individual and corporate goals

forward. When I hold a gathering and experience connection between myself and others and between others and others. When I fall into bed at the end of the day knowing that clearly God’s work advanced. Ahhhh … YUM! But in other moments—so very many moments—the stuff of life that God allows leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. To be honest, I want to spit it out. When team members complain about each other and then turn their criticism on me and I feel misunderstood—or just missed. Or when I sit in a social gathering awkwardly, with nothing to say and no one to draw me out. Or when I stumble to bed, worn out from a frustrating day of three steps forward and nine steps back, begging for sleep but awakening mid-night to wrestle with worry and emptiness. Ugghhh. I turn back to Psalm 34, but this time to its beginning words in verse 1. “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Get that? At all times. Thanking God in all things is a discipline that trains our taste buds to note that God is good no matter what we bite off. Such a practice doesn’t come naturally nor easily. Rather, it comes obediently. I remember when a man I respected greatly challenged me in the midst of a family nightmare, “Have you thanked God for this yet?” I looked at him like he had nine heads. Really? But he was serious. He drew my attention to I Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks to God in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Because I respected this man so much—and only because I respected him so much—I thanked God for the nightmare. The clouds did not part and reveal morning. The darkness around me did not lift. But slowly, day by day, week by week, month by month, my heart moved to see God still present, still faithful, and yes, still good. Taste and see. Go read Psalm 34. Right now. All of it. (I’m putting a link to it right here so you don’t even have to get up. Click on the “Bonus” button.) Take in the reality of the process of training our taste buds through relishing all God allows: pickled corn ears and stuffed green olives—both.

Elisa Morgan, PUBLISHER

SUMMER 2010

www. FullFill .org

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Relish — FullFill Magazine  

Summer 2010

Relish — FullFill Magazine  

Summer 2010

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