24 Oct 2012 RudolfKabutz

The Future-Thinking Mountain Biker

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On a lovely fresh morning, we went mountain biking in the largest known meteorite crater on earth. The crater located at Vredefort in South Africa. The overall diameter of this crater is about 300 kilometers. The wild-card event of the meteorite hitting earth turned a depth of 17 kilometers of rock layers upside-down, which led to a significant change of events many years later: gold, which is otherwise located at a depth of about 3 kilometers, was found on the surface of the earth. The resulting South African history developed very differently due to this single highly uncertain but very impactful event.

Regent University - Meteorite impactThis meteorite impact was a long time ago, but as we prepared for the mountain bike ride, we had to start thinking of the future: which route should we ride amongst all the possible routes? Before we set off, we had a good look at the overall landscape surrounding us. On the satellite photographs of the circular meteorite crater, we found a little hill close by in the fairly flat valley. This hill was composed of rock that had melted due to the intense heat of the impact explosion. These rocks had been mined in an old quarry because of the beautiful patterns that the fluid rock made amidst many other rock fragments. By first seeing the overall system, we were able to plan out our route, get a rough idea of where to travel, and anticipate some of the challenges along the way. We then knew how to get to the little hill.

As we started cycling in the cool morning breeze, the shortest route would have been to head straight towards the little hill which we could see in the distance. The others in the group were too skeptical to follow unknown paths through the brush and grass. Instead, we followed the wide tar road that took us on a long loop to the other side of the hill. This was fine with everybody. Once we were closer, a small jeep track took us right into the quarry. By then the group had established sufficient trust that these paths were actually leading to the desired location. They became more willing to move along these smaller and less used paths.

Once we came to the top of the hill, an amazing change in perspective happened: all of us could see our starting point in the distance! Our group became ready to even take new routes. To get back home, we scouted out narrow footpaths that the cattle had taken through the bush. This was a lot more risky, because we might have had to backtrack if a path just stopped, or we could even have gotten lost when the location became unclear. Our group struggled to follow these fuzzy paths, because they were not completely clearly visible. We kept our vision focused on our goal, which kept us going. Only once we returned exactly to our starting point did everybody rejoice that we had found the best route home!

As you think about taking a team into the future with you, you might consider these questions:

Regent University - Mountain biking1. While you are thinking ahead, how can you help others to see the overall picture?
2. How can you prepare people to “see” where they will be going, even when paths are unclear?
3. In which way can you help your team to build trust in the route that you are guiding them?
4. What will help you obtain consensus for moving ahead to reach the goal?
5. How can you prepare each team member for the rough challenges they will encounter en route?
6. How can the team remain motivated and enthusiastic along the journey?
7. Which unexplored paths would you want to leave aside for the sake of staying with the team?
8. How can your team celebrate once you have reached the desired goal?

Future thinking becomes useful when the insights about potential developments from past events are used in the present. Well, until the next meteorite hits, we hopefully will be able to plan and implement a few more exciting mountain biking trips with our teams riding into their future!

17 Oct 2012 KevinMills

Define Your Rat Race

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Regent University - advertisementsGosh we’re busy – North America in general. We suffer daily from a thousand noises – coffee shops have baristas calling orders across the room, while loud fusion music tries to set a culture and tone.

While this goes on in the background, we’re bombarded by advertisements on our coffee cups, napkins, phones and laptops – all of which try to make their priorities our priorities.

Communication and information overload has become the norm in our culture. As business and technology expert, Peter Senge, so cunningly stated – technology has far by-passed human ability. Consequently, we are left in a perpetual state of catch-up. Ironically and worst of all is that it’s a catch-up that is not defined.

It’s one thing to be racing towards a defined finish line – it’s another to be in a race with an undefined end. Ask yourself, do you have a defined “finish line?” Do you know what career accolade and/or achievement will mark the accomplishment of personal success? What income bracket? What degree? What house, car, family, spouse? Or have you relegated yourself to believing you’ll “know it when you see it”?

We are living in an insanely busy time and society – define your personal goals and be as specific as possible. We are living in a time where the prevailing marketing attitude exacerbates and influences a never-ending paranoia of “falling behind” the Jones’.

Define what success is to you and be content when it’s achieved – this requires a moral and personal ethos mooring.

16 Oct 2012 JaniceDaynette

Facing the Goal

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Regent University - soccer teamSoccer season is officially over, at least in my household. It has been a fun year for my daughter who moved up to the varsity team. The coach approached her at the beginning of the season and asked her if she would consider playing on the varsity team. You see, she was a ninth grader and junior varsity was where she was to play. She is a good athlete. When she asked my advice, I wanted her to consider the possibility of less playing time, since she would be the youngest player on the team. I allowed her to make the decision and she chose to play with the older girls. As I suspected, she had little playing time, but she enjoyed the season and the games. My daughter has a wonderful temperament and is truly a team player. She never complained about her limited playing time on the field. When she played, she played hard. The coach surprised the parents with this wonderful photo and I knew from the moment I saw this photo that I had to share it. It is my current screensaver and my main Facebook photo. It gives me so much joy to look at this photo. Look at it closely, what do you see?  Do you see the colors and the uniformity of the team? Do you see their pony tails moved to one side so that you can see their names? Do you see the team? It’s funny. I see the team, but I also see each individual girl. Maybe because I watched them play during the season. Maybe it’s because I talked to their moms and dads during the season. We cheered, laughed and carpooled together. Each girl contributed her skill and gifts for the benefit of the team. There were some losses, some injuries, and even a few miscalculations. But more importantly, there were precious moments these girls shared together as a community, linking arms with those who supported them and joined them to face their goals. Maybe I like this photo because to me, it represents each new day and the communities that are a part of our lives. Every day I make sure I am facing in the right direction and I am not alone.

So what does this look like from the field, from the stands, and from the opponent’s team? As a seminary graduate student, I am surely on the field. I understand what I am supposed to do, but there are times when I just can’t get a good kick to the net. Life is pretty busy and that busyness appears as obstacles. Sometimes, just sometimes, it feels harder to focus and time is moving on. Even so, I keep running while keeping my eye on the ball and realize I am playing for the team.

From the stands, I see my friends and family who are supporting “the game.” They help whenever I need them; they just can’t play. I am thankful for their support. From the opponent’s team there’s another strategy. My opponents are trying their hardest to make sure I don’t connect with the ball and score for the team. Opponents are everywhere. I am equally thankful for them because they are making me a better player. God led me to seminary because He knows we (He, my community and I) can kick it so the net. So be reminded in all you do: Embrace those who encourage you, expect opponents, keep your eye on the ball and take the shot!

15 Oct 2012 TonyaJohnson

Life Happens

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Life Happens! This is one phrase that perfectly sums up what I’ve been going through lately. As we strive to reach our goals, we are reminded that the journey is not always smooth. At times, we experience bumps and dips along the way in the form of unexpected circumstances and challenges; yet we must be willing to make room for these encounters, keep the faith, balance ourselves and continue to stay the course.

Regent University - ChessI truly thank God for keeping me in the midst of life’s great ups and downs. For the most part, I’ve been able to overcome those rocky roads when life seems to throw a few curve balls. We all have them. Things that seem to break out just when a semester starts, is about to end or when an important paper is due. While on this journey towards completing a Master’s in Education, I’ve certainly had a few. For examples: painful leg and foot cramps during finals, anemia which tried to slow me down, an in-law who suddenly went AWOL (not from the military); two family members that were in the hospital at the same time, and a loved one who recently went home to be with the Lord… Even when a situation is not directly happening to us, it still affects us. It’s just like a chess board or puzzle, when something is missing or out of place, the entire game is affected.

Today, praise God, I am reminded that God never gives us more than we can handle. I am also reminded of the words of Jesus, which Paul shares in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, saying,

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distress for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

It’s a great comfort to know that, no matter what we go through in life, we can draw strength from God, who’s our rock, sword and shield. Today my spirit soars higher and higher as this familiar verse from Psalm 61 fills my heart “…when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I…” (KJV).

So what pressures, burdens or stressors of life are troubling you? Let go and let God have His way in your situation. Let Him see you through it. He cares for YOU!

11 Oct 2012 FrederickJones II

Social Entrepreneurship: Creating Social Value in Your Community

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At Regent University, in my Organizational Innovator class, we have discussed the benefits of social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs make a difference in the marketplace and community because they combine innovation, resources and opportunity to address critical social and environmental challenges. Social entrepreneurs focus on transforming systems and practices that are the root causes of poverty, environmental deterioration and the accompanying loss of human dignity. They are change agents that establish for-profit or not-for-profit organizations, and their primary objective is to create sustainable system change.

Regent University - Robertson HallRegent Law’s Center for Global Justice interns, professors, and students create systems of social change by applying their faith (i.e., their confidence in God and His ability), courage, expertise and wisdom to make an impact in the fight against human trafficking, both domestically and internationally. Their initiatives influence corporate social responsibility by providing a service of transforming social and environmental conditions, increasing the standards of human self-esteem.

Regent undergraduates and graduates have the opportunity to collaborate with organizations that adopt a mission to create and sustain social value in their state and local communities. My wife is an upcoming social entrepreneur, whose purpose is to give people hope to live their dream life by creating practical and creative ways to achieve and release their God-given passion. Along the journey of completing her doctorate program in organizational leadership, she teaches a young CEO workshop to youth groups. Young people learn about domestic and global leadership to change their world and the world around them. Young people’s hearts become zealous to become entrepreneurs that create social change, and leaders living out their purpose.

In essence, social entrepreneurs fundamentally are changing the way society organizes itself to approach social problems. It requires a committed person with a vision and determination to persist even when they face tremendous opposition. The ability to bring about positive change to people and communities is not an easy project at first. People naturally resist change in any sector. However, the benefit that social entrepreneurs gain by creating social value is discovering a precious treasure within one’s heart that is worth more than gold.

So as a Regent student, you can think about ways to start a business or become a part of a business that is aligned with your purpose in life. Once you have prepared your heart with confidence, courage and commitment, create jobs that will make an impact and increase social awareness in our economy, our community and our nation.

10 Oct 2012 JonathanSalmen

The Burden-Bearing Church

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“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6.2

Have you ever had one of those days where the world seems to be falling down on you? Or a day where you just don’t feel right? Let’s face it: we all have had those days. The problems of life just get to us. Feeling this way makes life a burden, like we have something on our chest and can’t get rid of it.

Regent University - Bible pageBut then Jesus comes along, telling the Pharisees that all their mud pie and lawn chair laws are stupid. These laws don’t glorify God; they only give people more burdens to worry about. Jesus tells the people that they can have rest in Him and that His “yoke is easy, and his burden is light.”We’re not alone in feeling this way. In fact, many Jews during the time of Jesus felt exactly this way. Matthew 23:4 says, “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders.” Matthew is referring to the Pharisees here. The Pharisees with all their “extra laws” were making it a burden for the people to live. Imagine being accused of sinning for picking up your lawn chair or making a mud pie on a Sunday morning. This is essentially what was happening to these burden-laden Jews.

 As the Church, we are to continue Jesus’s burden-bearing mission with the power of his Spirit living inside us. If you see a fellow brother or sister struggling with a burden, bear it with them. Pray for them, talk with them, and walk alongside them. Jesus took the biggest burden of all, sin, but until He returns we are to bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

09 Oct 2012 TracyRuckman

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

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Regent University - comfort zoneButterflies in the stomach. Sweaty palms. Inability to focus. Restless sleep. No, not from the Mexican food I had for dinner, but from stepping out of my comfort zone.

I recently spoke and taught at a writer’s conference in Atlanta. I spent several weeks preparing for the conference, making my PowerPoint presentation for the workshop, and trying to write my keynote address – but it just would not come together. I had the basics down – an idea, a general outline, and I even started building a PowerPoint presentation for it. The night before the conference, the ending finally came to me, but the middle was still a mess. I left for the conference confident I’d have time that night to work on it.

The first keynote speaker presented that night and in her talk, she mentioned something in my own speech. I pondered that. But when I got back to my room that night, school work was due, so I focused on it and then went to bed exhausted and worried that I’d never get the speech done.

The next day, another keynote speaker took the platform. He, too, mentioned another part of my speech. That really got my attention and all day I prayed, asking God whether I should change my speech. I sure didn’t want to look like a copycat. But that night, my speech flowed together and I was finally able to put the finishing touches on it – tweaking it to acknowledge the two speakers who had already mentioned those particular areas I’d already written.

One more keynote address before my own. And yes, she too, mentioned something that was in my now-finished speech. To the world, that might seem a bit spooky, or perhaps just a simple coincidence.

But I don’t believe in coincidences, do you?

The Bible says, “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13 NIV).

He took hold of my right hand and guided me through the whole conference. God orchestrated the entire event, down to the tiniest details. He knew what each of the keynote speakers were going to say, and He knew what He was going to have me say.

I was terrified to step out of my comfort zone, when God was preparing every step of the way for me. He even saw to it that my hotel room included my favorite two-digit number. The conference gave me an opportunity to meet some incredible writers and make several new friends. Stepping out of my comfort zone blessed me in unexpected ways because God never left my side, and He’ll never leave yours either.

The beginning of each school year always takes me out of my comfort zone. Am I too old to be in school? Can I keep up at my age? With my full-time job? New classes, new professors, new books, new syllabi – all of it can be overwhelming at times.

Take a deep breath. You’re not alone. God knows where you’ve been and where you’re going. And as one of the keynote speakers said, “He’s got YOUR back!”

27 Sep 2012 LindaOwen

Learning at 1500 MPH

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I just finished my first year of graduate studies, plodding along at the turtle pace of one class a semester, or nine semester hours per year. Too slow, perhaps?

Actually, considering my husband and I logged over 14,000 miles on our Trustee Toyota at the same time, I was studying at 1500 miles a (semester) hour!

Regent University’s distance education program fits well into a busy lifestyle like ours. While racking up the miles visiting family, friends and staying plugged into a ministry, I’m still able to pursue my graduate degree. When my family is on the move, Regent University moves with us–as long as there’s an internet connection or café somewhere!

Regent University

Ottawa, Canada - Three trips in three semesters

What makes the distance education program even better is the Christ-centered, dedicated professors who provide well-organized, comprehensive instruction and follow-up. Each professor I’ve had has personally prayed with and encouraged me, and always pointed me to Christ through their syllabi, projects, readings, and desired outcomes. School email, Blackboard technology (Regent’s online learning “classroom”) and online library resources faithfully support professors and students, and knit them into a team, working toward the same end—to equip one another to serve the Lord and be a light to the nations!

Regent University

Inner-City Christian Coffee House, Ottawa, Canada

Such a Christ-centered and distinctly professional program is convenient, but not easy. Although, nothing worthwhile really is. Studying on the road–or at home for that matter–requires focus and discipline, learning how to prioritize time, energies, and assignments. Sometimes it means pulling away from the crowd to read, watch a video, or pour oneself into a research project. Or it might mean owning library cards from different cities like I do.

Non-traditional education is becoming the new traditional, and Regent makes it more feasible than it used to be. When I started my educational pursuits in the mid-‘70s, I attended an inner-city college in Denver that had no real campus. Classes were held in various high-rise office buildings or low-rise modular trailers. Through the ‘80s and ’90s, as a mom and sailor, I took courses and CLEP exams as often as I could—whenever they were available on base. Finally, in 2004, after enduring the wiles of D.C. traffic to attend evening on-campus classes, I completed my Bachelor’s degree. That was when I was 50.

Now, I hope to complete my Master’s before I’m 60. Thankfully, Regent University’s online program makes this goal possible and plausible, from the comfort of my laptop and couch. Or car.

I can be a student, pursue my educational goals, AND stay on the road at the same time.

26 Sep 2012 WendyHarris

First Impressions

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Regent fountainI must admit to some internal struggles that I’ve been going through recently. It is nothing earth shattering- just wrestling with the idea of first impressions.  I recently visited a commercial website and was somewhat put off by the spelling and grammatical errors I noticed.  I’m not the grammar police but I do notice common mistakes. I try to remain gracious though as I recognize that I don’t have the best grammatical skills around (I’m often corrected). However, some of the more common problems such as the correct use of “to,” “two,” and “too” and “its” vs. “it’s” will drive me crazy.

We recently went through a due diligence process for selecting a vendor at work. We set up demonstrations with several vendors who had made it through the first cut. During the demonstrations, one vendor in particular had a very poor showing. In discussions afterward with my team and boss,it became clear that this was a fatal error on the vendor’s part. No amount of coercion was enough to get my selection committee to reconsider this particular vendor.

Around the same time, we experienced the first day of school. Outfits were picked out with great care to ensure an accurate first impression. Especially for my oldest daughter who started middle school this year with many students she has never met before.

Coincidentally (well not really – I believe God was speaking to me here), our Sunday morning sermon touched on moving past first impressions to invite others to church. We saw an excellent video short you can find at this link.

Overall, I can certainly imagine there are situations that warrant the use of first impressions and gut instincts. I can imagine walking into a new doctor’s office and immediately leaving if I find the waiting room filthy. I can imagine the necessity of listening to your gut during police work or battle. However, other than for health and safety reasons, is there ever really a good reason to judge a book by its cover?  (See, I used the correct word. :) )  More importantly, what does God expect from us here?  What are your thoughts?

25 Sep 2012 RyanArmes

The Joy of Servant Leadership

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One of the most valuable leadership concepts that I’ve learned since becoming a Regent student is that of servant leadership. As a Masters in Organizational Leadership student, the concept was important enough for the school to introduce it in the very first course, LMOL 601 Foundations of Leadership: History, Theory, Application & Design. In every course since, servant leadership has either been an important aspect of a project, embedded in an assigned reading, or made honorable mention in a forum post by either the instructor or a student. There is no doubt that Regent puts a high emphasis on servant leadership. Personally, I have gained absolutely nothing by practicing the concept of servant leadership, but that is precisely the point. Servant leadership isn’t about what I can gain, but about what I can give. “The focus of the [servant] leader is on followers, and his or her behaviors and attitudes are congruent with this follower focus” (Patterson, 2003, p. 3). In John 13:5, we see Jesus demonstrate servant leadership when he washes his disciples’ feet, “Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (NASB). Bible commentator Matthew Henry calls Jesus’ actions, “a miracle of humility” (1994).

Regent University Servant LeadershipNow that I can articulate servant leadership better, I often walk into my work area in the morning, grab some coffee, log on to my computer, and then think of ways how I can serve my subordinates, peers and superiors in the midst of my daily tasks. Sometimes it means writing a formal recognition package on a subordinate and at other times it means praying for and being there for my superiors when they need that extra effort to get things done. In any case, it means emptying self for the sake of someone else’s benefit. A summation of the life of Christ described in Matthew 20:28 gives us the ultimate example of a servant leader: “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (NASB).

References:

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume. Peabody: Hendrickson.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Patterson, K.  (2003).  Servant Leadership Theory.  Virginia Beach, VA:  School of Leadership Studies, Regent University