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I recently spoke at the graduation ceremony for a group called "Leadership Stephenville.
" As I understand it, these groups are sponsored by Chambers of Commerce all over the nation as a way of training up the future leaders of our communities and educating them regarding how it is that a city actually functions.
More or less.
The graduates and others met in the meeting room of a local downtown restaurant.
Nearly 70 people attended.
I had been told that I could speak about anything I wanted, a dangerous thing to say to me, as some would agree.
The only thing I could even think of was this:"Tell them about the greatest leader of all time.
Tell them the truth.
" During my speech, I asked the group, when it comes to leaders whose example we can emulate, who can we think of who was setting an example that was worth following? Was it the business leaders of Enron or WorldCom? No, for these men ultimately fell as a result of their scandalous behavior.
We can read book after book, attend conference after conference, listen to tape series after tape series, only to hear fallible men try and teach us everything they know about leadership.
The blind leading the blind, in my opinion, for so many people's experiences are little more than repeated mistakes.
I mentioned to the graduates how I had recently heard that actor/comedian Jim Belushi had just written a book on relationships; an odd occurrence from a man who has been divorced five times.
I commented that every one of us was a leader because every one of us was in a position of influence over others.
Somebody is always watching.
That being said, we must decide if we are going to be a good leader or a bad leader.
I commented that Adolf Hitler was a great leader that an entire nation chose to follow in the most horrific ways.
He simply was not a good leader.
So who was it that we should follow? I warned those present that what I was about to tell them was either absolute truth or it was a lie.
"And I wouldn't lie to you," I added.
I told them that, years ago, I decided to follow a leader who was raised in a poor family and, from an early age, took part in his father's business.
I talked about the worldwide organization that he started that has lasted some 2,000 years and has involved millions.
I mentioned how he taught so many wonderful leadership principals including when he turned his greatest adversary - a man named Saul from a place called Tarsus - and turned him into his greatest asset.
It wasn't long before the attendees in this Bible-Belt crowd realized that I was speaking about Jesus Christ and I enjoyed watching the smiles come to their faces as some were nodding and smiling in agreement.
One black man, grinning widely and nodding, mouthed the word "Amen" at one point.
I mentioned to them that Charles Finney, a lawyer in America's early years, recognized that there was one book on the shelves of all his colleagues that he, personally, did not possess.
It was the Holy Bible.
"Think about that," I asked, "what better thing could a person do to ensure that he would function from a perspective of truth and fairness than to consult the teachings of the one who created truth and fairness? Finney got a Bible, read it, and became an evangelist.
" I mentioned a teaching that I had once heard which was entitled "The Class the Stars Fell On.
" The message referred to the West Point graduating class of 1915 which numbered 164.
More than one third of that extraordinary class, which included the likes of Eisenhower and Omar Bradley, won stars, 59 in all - 24 brigadier generals (one star), 24 major generals (two stars), 7 lieutenant generals (three stars), two generals (four stars), and 2 generals of the army (five stars).
The nearest competitor to that graduating class was the Class of 1917, which produced 43 generals.
I challenged the class that they, too, could be the class the stars fell on or, better yet, be the class that fell among the stars.
How so? By aspiring to live as Jesus lived and do that which He taught, that's how.
I said a bit more but finished with these words, "Now, some might think that this is the epitome of arrogance to think that one should aspire to be like Jesus.
I disagree for the book of Ephesians tells us that we SHOULD be imitators of Christ.
Logically, that means hat we CAN be...
" I said some more but finished with this: "...
in closing, shoot for the moon.
The worst that will happen is that you'll land among the stars..
..
" Interestingly, the evening's keynote speaker was unable to attend making mine the only speech anyone was going to hear that night.
Apparently, God was going to share the stage with no one.
If you, too, would be interested in learning more about the leadership principals taught and exemplified by Jesus - all of which can be applied to anyone in a position of influence over anybody else from those who run a household to those who run a football team to those who run a nation - please request my booklet "Our Father's Business: A Leadership manual for People who Lead People.
" Simply hit REPLY and type LEAD in the SUBJECT Bar.
I'll need those interested to PayPal a nominal fee to aid with postage.
I'll respond with details.
Thank you in advance.
Every blessing! Michael A servant of God t.
e.
a.
m.
ministries A Ministry of Discipleship & Encouragement to the Body of Christ across Planet Earth P.
O.
Box 633 Stephenville, Texas 76401 Your Town For Jesus! Tune-in to "Your Town for Jesus" on KSTV radio 93.
1 FM in Stephenville, Texas each Sunday after Church about 12:05.
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