by Lance Cashion | Jan 20, 2021 | Discipline, Encouragement, God, Personal Growth, Productivity, Self-Discipline, Wisdom |
Two of the best disciplines we can adopt are detachment and reflection in order to gain perspective and make plans going forward.
Yesterday the church cabinet staff had our regular meeting. Our cabinet is comprised of pastors and ministry leaders representing about two dozen ministry areas of the church. We were asked a reflective question that can help shape the future of our ministries. I think this question is applicable life, family and business as well as ministry.
Here’s the question:
What have you learned in the past 12 months?
My process for answering the question…
So much has changed in the last year. I invested more time reflecting and praying than planning. Some would argue that focusing on the future and moving ahead are more important than reflection. I am a contrarian and argue that detaching in order to assess events, changes in the ministry environment and taking an honest look at the good and bad are keys to planning. I’d say that the more complex the issues and events of the past, the more important reflection becomes.
I intentionally employ a slowed-down version of the OODA Loop.
The OODA Loop is an acronym that stands for:
The OODA Loop concept was put forth by the great military strategist Colonel John Richard Boyd, United States Air Force. Simply put, it is the decision-making that occurs in a recurring cycle of observe – orient – decide – act. An entity (whether an individual or an organization) that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, can thereby “get inside” the opponent’s decision cycle and gain the advantage.
To put it another way, “(The OODA Loop) explains how individuals and organizations can win in uncertain and chaotic environments.” – Tyler Pearson
You and I run through the OODA loop thousands of times per day. Next time you are driving somewhere, you’ll stop at a red traffic light (hopefully). Your act of stopping at that light was acheived by the process of the OODA Loop. You observed an intersection ahead and saw a red light. You oriented yourself in proximity to the intersection and the vehicles around you. You decided that you were going to stop at the red light (smart move). Finally, you took action and applied the brakes and stopped your car at the intersection. You just experienced the OODA Loop. When the traffic light turns green, your loop begins all over again. Check out the video below this post to learn more…
In my reflection, I take time to observe what has happened and how all that has happened is effecting current conditions and how past decisions (good and bad) have shaped current conditions. This must be an honest assessment of self and my decision-making. Honest feedback must be gathered from trusted partners. This is where the organizational hierarchy is allowed to be flattened where all team members are on the same level with the leaders and everyone has a seat at the table to provide input.
I take in information I have observed and start to carefully orient myself and get my bearings. I’ve had some experience and training in land navigation (Land Nav). “Land navigation is the discipline of following a route through unfamiliar terrain on foot or by vehicle, using maps with reference to terrain, a compass, and other navigational tools” (Wiki). Honestly, I am terrible at it. However, I understand the most important exercise in Land Nav is ascertaining my current position on a map. If I don’t know where I am on a map, there is no way I’m going to reach my destination. The same goes for orientating myself in the current moment in time in order to decide or plan for the future.
I learned two major lessons in the last 12 months in ministry. It struck my how these lessons apply to life, family and business.
1. BE FLEXIBLE: There is a great line from Gunny Highway (Clint Eastwood) from the film “Heartbreak Ridge” where Highway is addressing his platoon of misfit Marines. He said that in facing adversity on the battlefield a good Marine will, “improvise, adapt and overcome.” In other words, we must be flexible. In the last year of ministry, I had to learn to be flexible due to changing conditions and challenging situations in ministry. Our 2019 pre-COVID plans were often set aside, particularly in regard to events. Therefore, we had to improvise and adapt ministry operations in order to overcome obstacles and accomplish our mission. COVID never changed our mission but our means of achieving our mission changed dramatically.
2. BE DEPENDENT ON GOD: Another lesson I learned was not to hang on to anything too tightly. Due to challenging circumstances and changing conditions, I learned a deeper dependence on God. He reminded me that He is in ultimate control and He would see to it that His purposes would reach completion. Sometimes God puts us in a place of desperation where we come to realize that He is the only one who can make things happen. And sometimes God accomplishes this in surprising ways. Therefore, I learned to be open-handed with my plans and projects knowing that God could step in at any moment and change things. There is a kind of freedom in that experience.
What does all this mean for you?
I believe that if you take time to detach, reflect and observe how things have unfolded and decisions you made (good and bad) in the last 12 months, you can orient yourself. Then, you can make plans and decide how to best move forward. Finally, you can act (completing the OODA Loop).
Remember, being flexible is key to success in an ever-changing environment in ministry, business and in the home. At the end of the day, remember that God is in charge. Your responsibility is to pray, plan and walk in obedience to His Word and purposes. Leave the results to Him. His plans and ways are higher than yours. Be open-handed with your plans and projects knowing that God owns it all and loves you. He will surprise you beyond your understanding.
(Comment and share your thoughts below)
*This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of my employer or my church. The opinions of expressed by guest authors and commenters do not necessarily represent my opinions.
by Lance Cashion | Dec 2, 2020 | Christianity, COVID-19, Culture, Current Affairs, Politics, Theology, Wisdom, Worldview |
Originally posted Dec. 2, 2020
The following section is a flow of ideas – holding little back – including editing.
For further discovery and investigation, see additional links below this post.
Did you know the richest most powerful people in the world have a plan for your life?
Who knew that these ivory tower elite angels have your best interest at heart? I know you’re a breathing a giant sigh of relief – with your mask on, of course. Get ready because, here comes ‘The Great Reset!” (que applause).
Lockdowns and health safety measures have negatively affected churches, small business – including restaurants and schools. Meanwhile, big box stores and national chains are crowded and companies like Amazon are making profits hand-over-fist. You can go to Walmart with hundreds of other unmasked bandits but you dare not go to worship God at your church. People are watching their life’s work evaporate in front of their eyes through edicts issued by government officials who swore to protect them. The US Constitution was NOT established to protect the government from the people. It was established to protect the people from government intrusion on individual, God-given rights. That is reality on the ground but not in the ivory towers.
We’re observing the arbitrary application of law and medical science (if you want to call it that). Once government officials took all decision-making power from individuals, obscured medicine, and handed information operations over to Big Tech – personal freedoms and individual rights evaporated overnight. Everything is politicized now. That’s why the rules, solutions, masks, no-masks, lockdowns, etc. are all arbitrary. Tyranny is always arbitrary authoritarianism.
Ever wonder why many politicians in charge don’t heed their own warnings or follow their own orders?
Do your part … or else!
If you haven’t already, you will be asked (or forced) to sacrifice your personal freedoms and God-given rights on the altars of ‘greater good’ and ‘public safety’. If you don’t comply, you will be shamed, cancelled, black-listed, no-fly-listed, fined, harassed or arrested. All this for a virus that has a 99% plus survival rate. It’s not the bubonic plague, people.
Don’t you know? There is a massive global problem – a crisis!
We’re in this together, remember? Therefore, you must make necessary sacrifices to solve the problem. However, you can only choose solutions offered by the people who want to control you – Big Tech, Big Media, Big Pharma, Big Government, the UN and groups like the World Economic Forum. They are a cult of experts who know how to run your life better than you – and you better let them run your life or they will censor you or call you a name or lock you up.
The ‘Great Reset’ is one of those all-encompassing solutions created and promoted by global elites at the World Economic Forum and embraced by government leaders and globalists – for your good and protection. “We’ll get through this crisis together!” reads the banner. It is a revolution looking to upend human civilization, dismantle it and build it back better.
The vision of the World Economic Forum is to fundamentally transform the entire world economy and interdependent societies made up of 7 billion people into a uniform, single system. They call it ‘The Great Reset.’
It is “a proposal has been circulated among global elites and it goes by the name, ‘The Great Reset’. The values undergirding it are the standard cant—‘inclusion’, ‘fairness’, ‘equality’. It also includes promises of debt forgiveness and universal basic income. Alarmingly, the people behind it are some of the wealthiest and influential in the world. And wouldn’t you know it, their plan just so happens to include the abolition of property and the investiture of power in a global authority of some kind.” (Theology Pugcast)
You’ve heard, “never let a good crisis go to waste”. Well, COVID presents a global crisis on a silver platter to those who would love nothing more than to gain more power.
It’s never been about the VIRUS. The ‘issue’ is never The Issue – The Issue is always the Revolution! “In other words, the cause is never the real cause, but only an occasion to advance the real cause, which is the accumulation of power to make the revolution.” (David Horowitz)
“The COVID-19 crisis is affecting every facet of people’s lives in every corner of the world. But tragedy need not be its only legacy. On the contrary, the pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world to create a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous future.”
“Left unaddressed, these crises, together with COVID-19, will deepen and leave the world even less sustainable, less equal, and more fragile. Incremental measures and ad hoc fixes will not suffice to prevent this scenario. We must build entirely new foundations for our economic and social systems.”
Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum
A New Gospel and a Different Salvation – “We must build entirely new foundations for our economic and social systems.”
The secular materialistic worldview sees everything through the lens of economics, politics and power dynamics. It is offering a much different gospel than the Gospel of the Kingdom offered by Jesus Christ. They offer a different salvation than from sin and eternal separation from God (spiritual death). The good news of “The Great Reset” is that man (global elites) has the power to re-imagine and re-make the entire world into his image (think Tower of Babel). We the people must be saved, not from sin but from the virus, climate change, economic disparity, capitalism, private property and all maladies of social injustice and inequalities. The savior they offer is the state (government). The government, like a loving father, promises to care for all people equally.
We only need to place our trust and lives in the hands of groups like the World Economic Forum and United Nations. Then there will be a new era of health, peace and environmental harmony! We just need to follow certain rules and give up a few individual freedoms and rights (like private property) for the benefit of collective humanity. Sound like heaven on earth? Wrong, its a living hell because when the government provides for all of your needs and is the arbitrary lawgiver – you are a slave.
Humans are easily deceived and manipulated – particularly in times of crisis. So, here we have a bunch of secular godless lackwits with degrees from prestigious universities offering a new gospel and different salvation. I would remind them all that intellect is not synonymous with wisdom.
The Great Resistance
The “Great Reset” is not only weapon’s grade stupidity, it’s dangerous. Ideas have consequences and bad ideas have victims. Collectivism and materialism have been transformed into secular worldviews of total reality that include their own religious practice. At it’s core, its global communistic socialism where the state takes the place of God and the collective takes the place of the individual. More people have been murdered under socialist/communist atheistic regimes in the 20th century than all previous centuries combined… Again, bad ideas have victims.
The Christian must understand that ‘The Great Reset’ is just another false gospel preached by false prophets and followed by a bunch lost people looking for self-centered salvation. Sure, the language sounds enticing. It’s like Geo-political utopian mental porn with catchy phrases, prognostications and promises casting a spell on the hearts of man – beckoning to his deepest desires. It’s a trap to put man in bondage on a global level. Not all the glitters is gold my friend. And if you take the bait, you’ll get the hook.
“I always thought the most powerful weapon in the world was the bomb. I have changed my mind. The most powerful weapon in the world is not the bomb. It is the truth.”
Father of the Soviet Atomic Bomb
The Christian worldview is the foundation of response and resistance. Our primary weapons are prayer, the truth, and the Gospel of the Kingdom. “The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world. Instead, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We tear down arguments and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.…” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
In order to engage a false gospel and false prophets, the Christian must first have wisdom and discernment. The only way to grow in wisdom and discernment is to read, study and meditate on the Bible. Second, the Christian must have courage and fortitude to engage. Finally, I believe the Christian is historically and culturally obligated to counter, demolish and tear down this worldview. We owe it to God and our children and grandchildren, out of love for them. God is the only one who has the power to redeem and restore all things. Until that time, the Christian and his church will contend for truth, express robust biblical faith and GRIT [Guts, Resilience, Integrity and Tenacity] for the world to see.
If it gets a little messy, so be it – it wouldn’t be the first time.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” – Mark 8:36
Further Reading and Investigation
Now is the time for a 'great reset' - Klaus Schwab
“To achieve a better outcome, the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a “Great Reset” of capitalism.” Click to read article…
Here's how life could change in my city by the year 2030
(Ida Auken – Member of Parliament, Parliament of Denmark)
“Welcome to the year 2030. Welcome to my city – or should I say, “our city”. I don’t own anything. I don’t own a car. I don’t own a house. I don’t own any appliances or any clothes.
It might seem odd to you, but it makes perfect sense for us in this city. Everything you considered a product, has now become a service. We have access to transportation, accommodation, food and all the things we need in our daily lives. One by one all these things became free, so it ended up not making sense for us to own much.
First communication became digitized and free to everyone. Then, when clean energy became free, things started to move quickly.” Click to read article…
Building Back Better: Why we must think of the next generation
“Building back from COVID-19 will be an inter-generational effort. Decisions being taken now about what sectors of our economy to prioritize and what opportunities to seize in the recovery effort may impact the lives of children and youth disproportionately. Securing a healthy, safe future that is more resilient to global threats is fundamental, as this emerging generation of voters and consumers are increasingly aware.” Click here to read article…
by Dr. Tom Price, Dr. Glenn Sunshine & C.R. Wiley | Podcast - Theology
by Lance Cashion | Nov 23, 2020 | Christianity, COVID-19, God, Jesus Christ, The Church, Theology, Wisdom, Worldview |
What if the Church treated sin as seriously as we do this virus?*
Billions of people will contract COVID-19 over the next couple years, more than 99% will survive.
Sin has a 100% death rate. Billions will die in their sins apart from Salvation in Christ.
We do all we can to keep people ‘safe’ from illness but we do try little to help people ‘get saved’ from hell – eternal separation from God.
Tell me why we are treating a virus more seriously than sin?
Let me take a stab at answering my own question. We take this virus more seriously than sin because dealing with sin is hard, messy and confronts our pride. It’s easier to point outside ourselves and say the problem is “out there somewhere” instead of pointing at ourselves and admitting the problem is “inside my own heart.”
There is nothing ‘safe’ about sin. Until the Church reorientates itself properly regarding sin, we will continue to worship a false idol called ‘safety.’
What is God doing?
God is stripping away our idols. He is revealing the bankruptcy of the people, institutions and systems we trust. He is taking away the comforts and hollow walls of affluence and safety.
In essence, God is reminding us; “You shall have not other gods before me.” – Exodus 20:3
What is the Christian response?
Repent. We admit as individuals and as a collective body of believers (the church) that we’ve enthroned ‘safety’ in the place of God. And we have swept sin under the rug.
Reorientate. We must properly order ourselves and our public theology in light of God’s revealed truth about total reality, His holiness, goodness and the reality of sin.
Live. We move forward as individual Christ followers and as the Church body by grace through faith.
(*) The Church properly defined are the redeemed in Christ – the body of believers. It is also referred to a local body of Christ-followers.
by Lance Cashion | Apr 17, 2020 | COVID-19, Education, Generosity, Stewardship |
Donations can cause supply chain disruptions in neighborhood stores
This is a situation where good intentions can unintentionally cause problems in a local community. What are the unintended consequences of an act of goodwill?
As a local community pastor, I probably receive 2-3 emails or calls per day from nonprofits and agencies asking for supply donations from folks in the community. These requests encompass everything from food, water, PPE, hand sanitizer, diapers, formula, TOILET PAPER, etc. I know many of you receive the same type of requests.
We all want to help! We all NEED to help in some way. However, we need to think through how to help the RIGHT way.
Under normal conditions (non-COVID-19), local stores and supermarkets are very well stocked with essential items. When you or I go to the store, we can buy as much as we need in the full knowledge that what we take off the shelf will be replaced within hours.
You’ve probably noticed the phrase ‘Supply Chain’ mentioned more and more by the media and government officials. The supply chain starts where a product is sourced like a farm or manufacturer. Those goods make their way to distribution centers and then onto the shelves of neighborhood stores where you and I can purchase them.
The COVID-19 Crisis changed everything.
COVID-19 created a panic, which caused people to purchase more essential items and thus putting stress on the supply chain.
What does all this have to do with nonprofits and agencies asking me and you to donate essential items?
Well, unless you and I have a surplus of essential items in our homes to donate, we typically go to our local store to purchase those items. Then we donate them to the organization that is requesting them. While the intention is good and noble, there are unintended consequences.
This can cause supply disruptions in neighborhood stores.
When I go to my local neighborhood store to buy additional items to donate to an agency in need, I am taking those essential items off the shelf at a time when supply chains are stretched thin. Restocking those items may take days rather than hours depending on the item and location of the store.
There are those in our neighborhoods who depend on the availability of essential items in local stores. The elderly couple on fixed income may be able to go to the store once per week to purchase essential items. If I purchase items before they do with the intent of donating them to another area of need in my community, I’ve unintentionally created a problem – a disruption for that elderly couple. They must go without or ask for help.
Again, we’re all trying to help. But we need to be thoughtful of how we help and source supplies in this current COVID-19 crisis because supply chains are crucial on a micro-level.
How can we help the right way? I have a couple ideas.
1. If you want to donate essential items, give from your stockpile first instead of going to your local store. Even a few cans of food, a box of formula, etc can go a long way to helping a family in need.
2. If you do purchase from a local store, limit your purchase to a couple items to donate. Make sure to leave something on the shelves for others in your community.
3. Call your local store manager and ask them when they restock and time your visit. Again, limit your purchases.
4. Instead of donating essential items, ask the nonprofit or agency if you can donate money. Encourage them to source their needs at the distributor level instead of the neighborhood level. Big box stores and grocers will often help nonprofits source much needed items.
5. Help your community nonprofits connect with larger nonprofits and community resources that have access to distributors higher up the supply chain. Organizations like the United Way, Salvation Army and local food banks have greater supply chain access. Collaboration is everything. Help organizations work together to solve problems and ensure supplies get to the front lines the right way while preserving supplies in neighborhoods.
I hope this is helpful in helping you think through how we can avoid causing disruptions in local supply chains. Your elderly and immune-compromised neighbors with benefit from thoughtful giving.
Read previous post: A Church Without Walls – Serving Others
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