Many times, in the busyness of life we move forward a little bit like the Energizer Bunny. We keep going and going and seldom stop to rest. We just don’t have enough time, it seems, and we find comfort in this reality so we never stop. I confess that I have worked myself sick before. Although in the West, we highly value productivity, overworking can become detrimental, as it could lead to exhaustion and burnout. The church is not excluded from this pressure.
by Kailey Bradley-Thomas
As counselors, we (attempt) to facilitate change for our clients on a regular basis. A critical piece of this is acknowledging that change and transition are gateways to growth and healing, a natural part of life. This sounds lovely in theory, but in practice, change can be exhausting for both client and counselor. Outside of the counseling arena, change is also exhausting. However, I would like to argue that change is an essential part of what I think it means to be a good leader. It is also a key part of the faith journey. Change reminds us that we are not in control and forces us to humbly bow our heads stating, “maybe we don’t have this whole thing figured out.”
The metaphor of seasons is one that has defined my faith journey more than anything else. I have experienced seasons within my faith journey of both spring and winter. It is a part of the natural cycle of our world. However, we grit our teeth and grasp onto a notion that we can avoid change. Despite our best efforts, leaves change and fall and summer turn to winter and then back into spring again. I used to think that being a leader means having all the answers in competently displayed Excel spreadsheets. I used to think that a good leader handled change with elegance, finesse, and detailed powerpoints. However, when my life is in a time of change I am a bundle of anxiety and my elegantly meticulous spreadsheets begin to look more like squiggles. Continue reading
By Nate Bebout
Sometimes friends ask me how I,
stay above the fray of political intrigue.
As a servant of the Church
whose members are both
conservative and liberal,
traditional and progressive,
how is it that I can remain engaged
without engaging in the furious,
incessant fight for truth?
Is it weakness or wisdom
that muzzles the mouth
of a person with a voice that resonates with so many?
Wouldn’t it be better, they ask,
for you to release the prophetic fire
that no doubt burns in your belly,
and put the issue to rest?
by Latanya M. Hughes.
As believer’s, our prayer life gives us access to the divine throne room of God. With this access, we have the privilege of receiving God’s innermost secrets. As we boldly enter into His presence, our prayers move heaven to respond to our needs. God reveals His expectations and promises; therefore, nothing is hidden from us. In fact, Jeremiah 33:3 clearly states that we should, “Call on God, and He will answer and tell us great and unsearchable things, that we do not know.” This call is an invitation from God for us to take Him at His word. Will you accept God’s invitation? If so, He will disclose some amazing secrets to you. His divine wisdom will empower you with spiritual insight. With this information you will be able to accomplish God’s divine purpose for your life.
Furthermore, if you knew that God would respond to your prayers, would you pray? God does answer prayers and no situation will keep Him from responding. Prayer is the key to unlock the doors of heaven. Every unknown question can be found when you set aside time to talk to God. Whenever there is an intimacy with God, He will release confidential information. Prayer is a time of communion and learning what God desires from us. Whatever you are going through, God can speak to it and change it. God is the creator of all things and we can do nothing without Him. When we put God first, He will not only listen, He will do the unthinkable.
When Cardinal Timothy Dolan moved to the podium to pray at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, his prayer may have struck you as oddly familiar.
The passage he prayed from is very similar to Solomon’s prayer for wisdom in 1 Kings 3. But, it’s not the version Protestant Christians know, because it’s not in the Bible that we read.
By Dr. Dawn Morton for Christianity Today.
Seeing two women lead our church gave me the freedom to pursue the gifts God had given me.
I was brought up under the leadership of two women pastors, Sister Opal Eckert and Sister Mary Slaughterbeck. It was a small country church, and God chose these women to mentor me in leadership, especially church leadership. These women knew how to serve others, loving and caring for those around them. They knew their Bibles, not only for information but for transformation.
Today, we bring you a message by Ms. Lori Lower. She serves as Registrar at Ashland Theological Seminary. The message was recorded on Wednesday March 23, 2016 during our Seminary Chapel.
Over the course of the 25+ years, Lori has worked at ATS where she has seen that the registrar position gives her an opportunity to indirectly influence the Kingdom. She considers her job to be incredibly fulfilling and loves the chance it presents to encourage others. The Lord has gifted Lori with sensitivity and discernment, and she is always amazed when He very specifically leads her to pray or encourage somebody.
Lori and her husband, Gary, do cowboy action shooting and are often traveling to shooting events, where they enjoy camping. They hope to travel out west sometime soon.
Lori also enjoys reading, especially inspirational historical fiction novels, and she is involved in musical activities at the seminary and her church.
TEXT: Philippians 2: 5-8
Ms. Lori Lower serves as Ashland Theological Seminary’s Registrar. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, we bring you a message by Presiding Bishop F. Josephus Johnson, II, better known as Bishop Joey Johnson,. He is the Organizer and Senior Pastor of The House of the Lord in Akron, Ohio. The message was recorded on Wednesday February 24, 2016 during our Seminary Chapel at Ashland Theological Seminary.
Bishop Johnson is a renowned Bible Scholar, counselor, educator, conference speaker and workshop facilitator. His experience in leading one of the city’s largest churches for forty-two years has equipped him to impart wisdom for issues related to church growth and development, business management, leadership and team building.
As a visionary, Bishop Johnson founded The Johnson Leadership Institute, where he utilizes his skills to train and mentor pastors and other church leaders. As a lover of The Holy Scriptures with keen intellectual curiosity and insatiable appetite for reading, Bishop Johnson founded Emmanuel Christian Academy and Logos Bible Institute to present opportunities to children and adults to be educated and equipped in God’s
Bishop Johnson authored six books, The Church: The Family of Families, God Is Greater Than Family Mess, The Eight Ministries of the Holy Spirit and The Eight Ministries of the Holy Spirit Study Guide and most recently, The Biblical World Through New Glasses and Lord of the Flies: A Leadership Fable.
Bishop Johnson is married to Pastor Cathy Johnson.
Today, we bring you a message by Dr. Marvin A. McMickle. He currently serves as the 12th president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. The message was recorded on Wednesday January 20, 2016 during our Seminary Chapel.
Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1948, Marvin A. McMickle is a 1970 graduate of Aurora University in Aurora Illinois with a B.A. in Philosophy. His alma mater also awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1990 as well as the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2000. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1973. That school also awarded him the Unitas Award in 2007. He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ in 1983. Princeton later named him a Distinguished Alumnus in the school’s bi-centennial year of 2012. He was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in 1998. In 2010 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio.
By Dr. John Shultz
“So that my whole being might sing praises to you and never stop. LORD, my God, I will give thanks to you forever.” Psalm 30:12
Psalm 30 begins with a rehearsal of the many ways that God has blessed David. His enemies had not triumphed over him; God had kept him alive and healthy, had delivered him from death on many occasions and had delivered him from certain defeat:
- You pulled me up, you brought me up from the pit
- You didn’t let my enemies exalt over me
- Your anger lasts only for a second
- You hid your presence, but then you turned my mourning into dancing
David’s recollection of his experiences with God led him to the standing ovation we find in the last verse. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been moved to cheer wildly for a sporting team I wasn’t watching.
I’ve never joined the audience in a spontaneous burst of applause at a concert I didn’t hear. And I’ve never been a part of a hearty “amen” for a speaker when I wasn’t present for the speech. As our days unfold, I want to encourage us to watch and listen, to remember and rehearse God’s hand around us and his Spirit within us. As we do, our standing ovations for God will be spontaneous, passionate and eternal.
May our whole being sing praises as we remember the one who has been our shelter from the rain, the medicine for our pain and the cleanser of our stain. May we give thanks forever to our maker, defender, redeemer and friend.
Dr. John Shultz serves as President of Ashland Theological Seminary and Professor of Counseling. In 1981, Dr. Shultz was hired at Ashland Theological Seminary as the first counseling professor. Over the years, he was a key component in local counseling, founding Cornerstone Psychological Affiliates and co-founding Appleseed Counseling and Case Management.