The Leadership Bible-The Journey Begins

The Leadership Bible by Andy Starnes-Chapter 2: The Leadership Journey

As we begin our leadership journey we must understand the great responsibility and privilege we are about to assume. We have stepped up to an awesome and amazing opportunity! To lead others in the ‘way they should go’ (Proverbs 22:6) and impact lives for the future of this world and the world to come.

Make no mistake, this is no easy task and it will not be a smooth paved road with rest stops every few miles. Even the pure of heart will face opposition, discouragement, slander, and persecution all the while trying to improve the world that they serve in.

Why is it that those who choose to lead others suffer greatly?

What leadership characteristics will help us along the way?

The world wants leaders, they cry out in desperation for leadership during the dark times, and they are quick to point their finger in the moment that a leader fails them. Pause and remember the life of Jesus for a moment, which is our ultimate example for leadership, who gives a glimpse of the burden of leadership in the following scripture:

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming, the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and illness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” Matthew 9: 35-38

We can learn much from this scripture but for the purpose of leadership let us examine Jesus’ example and learn from His life.

Obedience:
First, Jesus was obedient. He was following the will of His Father. “And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death-even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, “Philippians 2: 8-9.

God had sent Him to the world to save the world and He was faithfully going about His work despite the opposition He had faced and would face. A leader understands that their purpose and direction is not self willed but God-given as we see in the life of Christ.

Humble Servant:
Notice that Jesus was leading through the role of servant leadership “teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news, and healing every disease and illness.” Jesus is God incarnate or God veiled in human flesh yet “who being very nature God, did not consider equality with God to be used to his own advantage; rather He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant” Philippians 2:6-7

Compassionate:
And while He was serving He saw the crowds and had compassion on them. As we begin the leadership journey we must remember that our service to others must be out of love. To have compassion for our fellow man is to see their great need and respond with our acts of service. This is godly characteristic of leadership and it cannot be overstated that if one begins to lose their compassion for their fellow man then they must consider stepping away from their role of leadership.

Next, notice that the crowd was helpless and Jesus stated that the need is great (harvest is plentiful) but there are few who choose to lead them (the workers are few). As we study the Bible, our guidebook for life, we can see that it wasn’t too long after this story that the same crowds who praised Jesus were shouting “Crucify Him”.

It is as if the world does not want the burden of responsibility for the outcome of the world in which they live in. Followers can quickly turn on a leader even if the leader has done nothing wrong. In order to be prepared for such struggles we must be obedient, humble, have a servant’s heart, and have compassion for our fellow man. These are found in one who embraces God’s love for themselves and therefore is compelled to love, serve, and lead others out of their gratitude for what God has done for them.

Do you feel compassion for the needs of the world around you? Are you obedient to the call within your heart? Pray to God and ask for His guidance to be the Servant Leader that He has called you to be.

The Harvest is great but the workers are few. Will you be one of the few?

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Fighting the Fires of our lives:

Fighting the Fires of our lives:

A #Firefighters Guide to Fighting the Fire’s of Life:

Step 1) Size-Up:

At every incident we transmit a size-up to the responding companies. When we face down the difficulties of life let us do the same through Prayer:

Tell God what your facing and share it with someone you trust.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 “pray continually,”

Step 2) Transfer Command to the Ultimate Fire ground Commander:

God has it under control so let us demonstrate our faith by trusting Him. At an incident we transfer command to a higher authority and trust that they are watching over us while we go to work on the problem.

Consider the battle is already won! We are fulfilling our part of God’s plan through our actions.

Romans 8:37 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Step 3) Follow His IAP:

Start mitigating the problem by following His plan by exemplifying our Faith in Action.

James 2:26 ‘As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.’

In your heart, you will know what to do. By praying and seeking God’s counsel He will guide you.

So let’s get started. As stated above, God has the plan so let’s get to work and trust that He will be watching over us, guiding us, and teaching us along the way.

Step 4) Report to Rehab:

We will tire but we can rest in the confidence that help is on the way. He will provide the rest, renewal, and strength that we need to finish the race.

Jesus said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28

‘Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.’ Isaiah 65:24

Firefighter MAYDAY- Who will answer?

Your personal MAYDAY- who will answer?

“The heart of modern firefighting is the ability to go aggressively after a serious fire & extinguish it.” John Norman

In our world, we are tasked with “extinguishing” the worlds problems when in reality we have trouble “extinguishing” our own.

As firefighters, we are meant to go after the problem and not stop till we resolve it.

This mentality, this drive, and this discipline can cause us great heartache when we come upon a problem we cannot solve on our own. We feel helpless & ashamed as if we have failed.

But wait…when others are in need what do they do?

They call 911!

When firefighters are in need who do they call? A MAYDAY.

As a culture, we are often afraid or ashamed to call a personal MAYDAY. If you have ever been left alone, felt trapped, or there is no way out; Let me introduce you to the one who never misses a call, “will never leave you”(Hebrews 13:5), and who will always be faithful.

God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are the three in one. The crew that will never leave you.

He is your Holy Father, your friend, and the one who gives you counsel. “Before they call, I will answer. While they are yet speaking, I will hear” Isaiah 64:24

Don’t be afraid of calling the personal MAYDAY. Our pride should not keep us from getting killed (literally or spiritually). It is our dependence on the one who will never leave us that will make us stronger.

“Be strong & very courageous”(Joshua 1:7) because God is with you always. “For with God Nothing is ever impossible” Luke 1:37

The Living Symbolization of #Brotherhood

The living symbolization of Brotherhood: You

The badge upon our uniform is symbolic of the knights of St John who risked their lives to save their brothers from the perils of fire.

The trumpets on an officer’s collar are symbolic of leadership and management. These trumpets were used by the first incident commanders to verbalize commands to the firefighters before the use of radios.

The helmets we wear are similar in design of those of the past. They are stronger and safer but they bear the mark of tradition.

A question to reflect on: Do you merely wear the uniform or do you exemplify the behavior of a firefighter no matter your dress code?

Try this: The next time you are out in public, try to figure out who is a firefighter by their behaviors. (They can’t be wearing firefighter t-shirts and etc.) Now try to figure out if they are firefighters in their hearts and not merely looking for another T-shirt.

Then ask yourself: Am I a firefighter in name only or is it a matter of the heart?

The service that firefighters provide is physical display of our core beliefs and values.

There are very few professions that will ask you to commit to risking your life against overwhelming circumstances for someone you may have never met.

This is the mark of a true servant: an individual who values the lives of others and serves them sacrificially. These individuals do not ask for a reward, recognition, or a thank you. They only ask for the opportunity to serve.

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-5)
Worthy of the calling you have received:

Brotherhood goes deeper than the powerful display of support of one of our brothers during a crisis. It is the daily moments of fellowship, counsel, struggles, and smalls acts of service that we give of ourselves to each other.

It is not about rank, role, or title. It is the very spirit of what we do. We accomplish nothing alone whether it is attacking a fire, performing CPR, cutting a ventilation hole, or performing community service. Each and every day our service is just that:

OURS!

It is a responsibility that is took on by the strong and capable shoulders of the firefighters together. The trials, conflicts, and adversity we face are meant for us to collectively share the load. We are to help one another and look out for one another in every aspect of our lives. This is the mark of brotherhood.

Are we exemplifying this in our daily life?

Have we grown bitter due to outside circumstances?

The challenge that lies before us is to care when no one else does. It requires a heart big enough to hurt with someone but not absorb their pain.

It requires one who cares nothing for recognition but would give everything for the benefit of another.

Let us change the environment around us and bring back brotherhood by our daily words, actions, and values. It is up to us.

Fire Service Leadership-The Servant Leader

Fire Service Leadership-The Servant Leader

#Fire Service #Leadership: The Servant Leader

“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is a sin.” (James 4:17).

In the fire service, we have all witnessed examples of leadership: good and bad.

As a young firefighter, your character, habits, and future perspective were all shaped by those around you. Take a moment and remember an experience where you witnessed a role model fail to do the right thing.

In that moment, how did you feel?

What impression did it leave you with?

How has that experience affected your views on leadership?

Wherever you are, whatever role you may be in, there are those that look up to you and watch everything that you do.

Whether you realize or not your role in life is in effect leading others by your actions, words, and beliefs. I have heard it said:

“There are five Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the life of a Christian. Most people will never read the first four.”

As leaders in the fire service we must hold ourselves accountable. We must walk in integrity, disciple/mentor, and train others up in the way they should go.

If you profess to be a Christian and are in leadership you have found yourself in a position of double accountability.

Our words must match our lives because not only have you professed a belief that preaches it you are now teaching others.

If we choose to paint a false picture of ourselves to others we are setting them up for disappointment.

As a leader in the fire service you are accountable for the lives of those in your sphere of influence: their well being, their ability to do their job, and for their future.

As a leader more is caught than taught. Those that are in your sphere of influence are watching your daily actions or lack thereof.

Why is this important?

Any confident leader who doesn’t have a solid moral foundation will ultimately fail the organization personally and or professionally.

Anyone can learn to be competent in their profession but to be exemplary is to be the one standing up for truth, caring for others, and leading by example (at home and at work).

We are all ultimately responsible for the future of the fire service. We are accountable for those nearest to us in our sphere of influence.

If we are not directly influencing those around us, those within our fellowship, we are failing to act and failing to lead. We are, in a sense, being morally negligent in our duties to others.

The greatest understanding that you can comprehend about becoming a leader is that you are responsible for the future of others. How are you investing in that future right now?

The future of the fire service depends on you living out your faith, your beliefs, and your values each and every day.

“The act of Leadership is the basic part of the Christian life (Ken Blanchard)”.

Our lives, our successes and our failures, should be living testimonies of our faith.

St Francis said “In all things go and preach the Gospel and if necessary use words”.

A firefighter by definition is a civil-servant; ask yourself if your service is reflecting positively or negatively upon the future?

The seeds you sow now will reap dividends in the future. We would all do well to perform a leadership values review with a trusted mentor to hold ourselves accountable.

Look in the mirror and remember that you have a direct impact upon the next generation of the fire service.

What legacy are you choosing to leave?

Firefighter Burn-out-The Decay Phase

Firefighter Burn-Out: The Decay Phase
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:31
As one travels along the path of life, we can become weary from the issues of life. Our fiery passion that we all began with is often snuffed out by negativity, conflicts, tribulations, and the diminishing number of passionate firefighters around us.
What can we do to reignite the fire in our lives?
Our fire that has entered decay phase has consumed all of the available oxygen around us and begins to darken and diminish but remains hot. This is a description of our hearts when we begin to burn-out. Our fire isn’t lacking fuel but merely the air to support its growth until someone comes along and opens a door, a window breaks, or ventilation is accomplished and our fire will grow to even bigger than before.
In our lives as we passionately pursue our objectives the very air we need for growth (encouragement from others) can be consumed by the darkness of bitterness (the negativity of others). Negativity can consume our passion and make us believe that there is no hope in reignition. But then, someone recognizes the potential within us. They see a fuel rich environment! And they provide the encouragement that gives our fire the breath of fresh air that was so desperately needed.
A fire needs fuel, heat, air, and the uninterrupted chemical chain reaction to continue to burn. So as we pursue our calling to love, serve, and lead others let us remember the following:
1) Fuel-To continue on our journey we need fuel to keep burning. Those who are the most passionate can and will experience burn-out without replenishing their fuel. This can be prevented by surrounding ourselves with likeminded individuals who can provide guidance.
2) Heat-A fire must continually heat the fuel to pyrolize the material producing the combustible vapors necessary to support flaming combustion. Once we receive guidance from our fuel we can provide heat (positive reinforcement) by training, going to conferences, changing our environment (changing our station assignment), and developing disciplines that keep us burning with passion. These disciplines are prayer, study, teaching, service, and continuous improvement.
3) Air-Without air our fires will go out. This can be accomplished by developing relationships with encouraging individuals who seek out the best in us no matter what we are going through. They always seem to have the right words, at the right time, and they check on us periodically. This is a gift from God to have friends like these. Remember to thank Him daily for encouragement from His word, from others, and for the opportunity to provide encouragement to others.
4) Uninterrupted chemical chain reaction- This where we as firefighters behave differently. Everyone needs an interruption every now and then. The fire service is NOT everything to us, it is a way of life, and our calling but one day we will retire. What then? Is our identity so deeply intertwined with our title that we will lose all hope once we lay down our helmets? NO! The fire service is a part of us but we need time away to refocus, recharge, and rest in God’s peace.
Remember He gave us six days for labor and one day for rest. This was done for our benefit. Practice this by taking mini-vacations from the fire service and we will find that we are renewed and burning with even more intensity for the calling we are blessed with.

As Ray McCormack says “Keep Fire in your life.” I pray that we all keep God’s Holy Fire burning within us and that is a fire no one can ever extinguish.

A Firefighters Parable: footprints in the sand

A #Firefighters Parable: Another version of Footprints in the Sand:

There is a story about a firefighter who was walking through all the incidents of his life with God.

At one point, they stopped, and looked back at his life, represented by the footprints left in the ashes. There was two sets of footprints, side by side. One was the firefighter’s and the others was God’s.

But then, the firefighter began to notice that at those places in his life where he faced great adversity, pain, and disappointment, there were only one set of footprints instead of two. The firefighter felt that God had stopped walking with him when he needed Him most.

The firefighter turned and angrily asked why it was that when he needed God the most in the troubled times of life, that God had abandoned him.

God smiled and said:

“My child, I didn’t abandon you in the most desperate times, it was then, that I picked you up and carried you on.

As you have carried others through the fire so I have carried you”

Remember I told you my child:

“When you pass through the waters,
I will be there with you;

And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am The Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43:2-3)

Jesus said to him “And you stand before Me now as I promised safe and sound.”

The firefighter looking back at all the trials in his life realized that God had never left him nor forsaken him.

He looked at Jesus with a tear rolling down his cheek and said “I trusted the brotherhood to never leave me in a moment of need, yet I doubted you while I said I believed. Can you forgive me Lord.”

Jesus turned and shouldered the firefighter while saying I forgave you while on the cross long ago. You accepted that gift, your heart tells
Me so. I promised I would “never leave you nor forsake you” my friend; now let me show you heaven as I carry you in.”

If you ever doubt and feel angry at God. Open your heart and tell Him for He knows what your thinking. Be Honest with the One who made you and while you are praying May you come to know that He has saved you.

We never walk alone…He is always with us.