Leadership crucial in the church, life


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WHY IS TRUMP CHOOSING SO MANY MARINES FOR LEADERSHIP POSITIONS?

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, today, I’d like to talk about leadership. I’d like to take you to a blog written by Chris Bollinger. Chris is a military air defense professional, retired Marine and he’s also a screenplay writer. He makes the point that Marines have a certain qualification that perhaps is unique with just Marines.

DR. REEDER: He brings this phenomenon — many of us have noted it — that this particular administration under President Trump has had a penchant to reach into the military for leadership to bring those leaders from military into the positions of civil leadership or governmental leadership.

GOOD LEADERSHIP IS BIBLICAL — AND HARD TO FIND

Immediately, there’s concern, “Well, is that the military taking over?” I think it’s something else that’s happening and that’s this. We all know that leadership is crucial. If you look at the Word of God from a Christian world and life view, whenever God says to do something, He first raises up a leader. He frames the leader, forms the leader, develops the leader and then the leader is used. The leader is always imperfect and, almost always, the Lord surrounds him with another leader because of the plurality of leadership which is crucial in and of itself.

In the church, where there are elders — plural — if you see, we call them the elders, presbyters — plural — of the church because, with every man’s strength, you get his weaknesses, which it means you need a plurality of leaders.

But you need leadership and so here is our present president reaching into the military in general, but by the way into the Marine Corps very specifically, which is what this article highlights. You’ve got General Maddox who’s the Secretary of Defense, you’ve got General Dunford, the head of the joint chiefs of staff, you’ve got General Kelly who is the chief of staff in the White House and they’re all Marines.

And then you look at in society where someone recently did an article about how many corporations now look to the military where they try to find these junior officers that are retiring at 20 years of service and bring them into their corporation and groom them for leadership.

THE MILITARY, THE MARINES IN PARTICULAR, PRODUCE GREAT LEADERS

I think there’s a couple of reasons why. One is how the military in general and, by the way, the Marine Corps in particular… I remember the day I went down to fill out the papers to volunteer in February of 1969. I remember my dad’s stories of being in the Marine Corps.

Tom, there’s always been something about the Marine Corps experience, not only how they develop their Marines but also how they develop their leaders. I think it is also comparable in the other branches of the service, as well, which is why the military has become this fishing pool for leadership in our society.

Other places don’t develop leaders. I don’t look into the world of academics and I don’t find leaders there. In fact, I find very frightening people, recently, and you and I are thinking about doing a program on this. Alan Dershowitz, when the academic elite get together at Martha’s Vineyard, they won’t have him there because he had made an argument from the Constitution — which is what he is, a Constitutional lawyer, and he had made an argument that defended President Trump’s actions while making it clear he wasn’t defending President Trump but he was arguing about the Constitution. Well, now he’s not allowed because they just can’t handle that around him.

Anybody that can’t handle someone who makes a defense of the Constitution that I can’t answer tells me that person’s not much of a person. First, they can’t learn and, secondly, they can’t handle somebody that can persuade them or someone that instructs them.

IN A WORLD WHERE LEADERSHIP IS LACKING, EVEN THE MBA PROGRAMS LACK PRINCIPLES

Therefore, I don’t look to the academic world for leadership and I don’t look to the media for leadership so where do you look for leadership? Well, if you’ll go to the colleges, they have jettisoned ethics in the MBA programs. The corporate world doesn’t go to the place where they ought to be getting their corporate leaders from the MBA program because they’re not turning out leaders with any principles.

Where do they go? They go to the military.

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, is it safe to say the opposite end of a strong Biblical leader is someone who says, “I’m a victim”?

DR. REEDER: One of the things you’re looking for is, without arrogance or self-importance, you’re looking for someone who is not a victim in life but who knows how to lead others to victory in life. And I think that’s why we’re seeing this phenomenon is the military is the place where that’s happening and, the Marine Corps, they do some very pointed things. As this guy points out, you never see a Marine, when he goes into a hotel, having his bags carried by anybody — he carries his own bags and, by the way, he’ll carry the bags for other people. He also notes that they always eat last — they never eat first but they always eat last.

JESUS “TRAINED LEADERS” BY TEACHING THEM  SELFLESSNESS AND QUIET STRENGTH

Are there Biblical principles here that Jesus, in his leadership training, used when he told his disciples in regard to being first when they wanted to know, “Do we get the seat of honor?” he said, “Listen, if you want to be first, you’re last. If you want to be the leader of all, then you are the servant of all.”

By the way, here’s something else: who trains leaders in the Marine Corps? Go to Quantico and look at the sergeants training the future leaders. Tom, I even had an experience in that as I did a commissioning ceremony for a second lieutenant in our church and there with him was a gunny sergeant. And I took the liberty, even though I was there to give a Biblical perspective and to pray for his installation, I said, “If you don’t mind, just a little personal word here, I’m looking forward to how the Lord is going to use your leadership. And I’ll tell you, one of the first things the Lord would have me to tell you is you get fastened to that gunny sergeant over there and listen to him. He’s one of the most important people in your life.” And that’s what Marines do — they develop a relationship from their own training forward with enlisted men and the enlisted men are engaged in their training.

And the other thing is this: they are expected to learn that you don’t just learn from people who have ranks higher than you but you learn from people who have ranks lower than you. That’s part of what it means to be trained — you’re a learner and you learn 360 degrees.

THE NEW LEADERS MUST COME FROM THE CHURCH

However, I’ve got another proposal, Tom. It’s in my book, “Leadership Dynamic,” that’s being republished in October — “3D Leadership,” would be available — and that is simply this: the church should become a leadership factory, defining, developing and deploying leaders in every sphere of society. We would be the ones that people would look to — again, the John Newtons who would produce the William Wilberforces. The great Presbyterian pastor, Dr. Phineas Gurley and Dr. James Smith who influenced, and developed and led to Christ Abraham Lincoln.

There are so many examples of when the church has developed leaders for every sphere of society — the family, the government and the business — who operate from a Christian world and life view and bring Biblical principles to bear in all of life.

Tom, I think this article has highlighted something that’s very important. First, there will always be a need for leadership. Secondly, instinctively, society will start moving toward those institutions that produce leaders that benefit society. Third, the places where they go will be places where they teach leadership that is principled, ethically driven and that is other-concerned, not self-promoting and that shows a conduct in life that has courage married to humility, that has conviction married to compassion. That’s what we’re looking for is those two threads of strength and courage. Joshua says, “Be strong and courageous,” and the other thread, sensitivity and compassion.

TRAINING CHRISTIAN LEADERS MUST START WITH STUDYING OUR SAVIOR

Of course, the leader of all from my Christian world and life view is my Savior and I love the moment in the Book of Revelation when John is utterly in despair for there is no one who is worthy to open the seals of the book and then a voice from Heaven says, “Weep no more. There is one who is worthy.” And John looked and then he saw the lion of Judah standing as a lamb that was slain.

There’s our great king and there is the picture of leadership, lion-like in life and lamb-like in heart. There is the Lamb who had given Himself, yet He’s standing, strong and courageous, the victor over sin, death, Hell and the grave. And He can make you a victor and He can make you a leader in your home, in your marriage, in your church and in society but first fix your eyes on Him. See Him and His leadership as He goes to the cross, counting it all joy to lay down His life that we might have victory and lay down his life in victory as He comes forth from the grave — victorious, our great Savior and Lord. Come to Him and watch what He does to make you like Him.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

 

Ledbetter: Alabama’s teachers are standing tall with return to classroom instruction

All of the personality traits, values and life lessons that we carry with us as adults were shaped and instilled in us by the people we encountered in childhood. For many, the strongest influences came from our schoolteachers, who opened new worlds of knowledge and taught us skills that remain with us today.

Consider for a moment the music teacher who taught you to play an instrument, the math teacher who led you to a love of numbers, the history teacher who brought to life the stories of our nation’s past, or the English teacher who inspired you to love great literature.

Teaching is one of the few professions whose impact continues to last for decades after the individual who does the job retires.

As many children across Alabama are preparing to return to school even while the coronavirus pandemic continues, teachers have never been more important or vital or deserving of our deepest appreciation.

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Returning to brick-and-mortar school instruction will, hopefully, restore a sense of normalcy to our children’s lives in these decidedly abnormal times.

A return to the classroom and even resuming the online instruction that some are adopting will also help our students maintain their education progress and continue the important social and emotional development that interaction with their peers and instructors allows.

Our English second language learners will receive the communication skills they need in order to better assimilate, and many low-income students will receive the healthy nourishment from the school lunch program that might be denied them at home.

Given the current circumstances and environment, I recognize that some of our public school employees may have a sense of trepidation about returning to school, and that is certainly understandable. Wearing a face mask to do something as simple as shopping for groceries, paying for gas or walking into a restaurant offers all of us a constant reminder that COVID-19 is a very contagious virus.

But our teachers and educators are setting their concerns aside and answering the call to duty.

I know that Gov. Kay Ivey, State Superintendent Eric Mackey and the staff of the Alabama Department of Education took great care in developing the “Roadmap to Reopening Alabama Schools,” and local school boards are being equally diligent in creating and implementing their own safety guidelines.

The importance of sanitization will be stressed more than ever before, and billions of dollars made available to Alabama through the federal CARES Act will help ensure that any resources that are needed to reopen schools safely will be readily available.

As the majority leader of the Alabama House, I can also offer assurances that the legislature stands ready to pass legislation or make appropriations that are necessary to ease the return to classroom instruction once we are in session.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted an even deeper appreciation of the frontline heroes who have remained on the job and provided the most essential services throughout the crisis.

Doctors and nurses in our hospitals and health clinics; grocery store and other retail employees; law enforcement officers, emergency workers and firefighters; postal workers; sanitation workers; restaurant personnel; and those in dozens of other professions are among those who continued working even when times were their toughest.

I am proud to say that the teachers, school nurses, administrators and support personnel in Alabama’s schools also rank high upon the list of those who have stood tall, and their already invaluable service to our state is even more important to students and parents in each of our cities, towns and crossroads today.

Helen Keller, one of Alabama’s most inspirational figures, once said, “It was my teacher’s genius, her quick sympathy, her loving tact which made the first years of my education so beautiful. It was because she seized the right moment to impart knowledge that made it so pleasant and acceptable to me.”

As I close by wishing everyone a safe, happy and healthy school year, we would all do well to keep Helen Keller’s words in mind.

State Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) serves as majority leader in the Alabama House of Representatives

5 hours ago

Alabama Ag Commissioner Pate gives update on unsolicited seed packages from China, urges public to stay ‘vigilant’

MONTGOMERY — Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) Commissioner Rick Pate gave an update Monday afternoon on the spate of seed packets from China that people across Alabama have received in recent weeks despite never having ordered anything.

Pate said that after the state seed labs had performed tests on the packets they had collected from individuals across Alabama, and none of them proved to be dangerous.

“Right at 50% of them proved be some kind of weed flower … 41% were vegetables, and 9% were herbs … we found no noxious compounds, no dangerous compounds,” said Pate at the event.

However, he warned, “They might send out the first seeds that weren’t treated with anything, have a sense of security come about, and then later send something out that could be harmful.”

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The commissioner further urged members of the public to refrain from planting any unsolicited seeds and continue to report them to the Department.

“At the very least something criminal has gone on here,” stated Pate, referencing laws that prevent seeds from being moved across state lines without being inspected by the relevant agencies.

Pate said his department had collected 252 seed samples as of Monday morning.

A total of 385 individuals in all but 11 of Alabama’s 67 counties have received one of the packets, according to information relayed at the press conference. State workers will be collecting the remaining samples soon.

(AL. Dept. of Ag/Contributed)

“Because we’ve got such a good food and drug lab, because we’ve got such a good seed lab, we knew this was inside of our comfort zone,” Pate said of the decision to conduct the seed tests in-house as opposed to shipping them to the federal government.

Andy Tipton, division director of Food Safety and Ag Compliance, said that 25 states had reported similar seed packets showing up at consumers’ doorsteps. He added that the ADAI was turning over all relevant info to the FBI, who were monitoring the situation.

Pate further told Yellowhammer News that one of the prevailing theories remained that the cause was an internet seller running a scam to artificially inflate their customer numbers and create opportunities for fake reviews.

He ended his press conference saying, “We have no idea the reason for this happening, but it doesn’t mean we can stop being vigilant.”

Any Alabamian still receiving one of the packets can report it here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

5 hours ago

Alabama basketball star John Petty returning for senior season

University of Alabama star forward John Petty, Jr. will return for his senior season, the player announced on Monday.

The Huntsville native was a second-team All-SEC honoree this past season, after leading the Southeastern Conference in three-point percentage.

Petty was considering entering the 2020 NBA Draft, however he decided to return for a final season in Tuscaloosa after evaluating his prospects. Another college season could see Petty lock down his chance at being a first-round pick.

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Tide head coach Nate Oats released a statement on Monday afternoon celebrating Petty’s return.

“It’s great to have John back for his senior year,” Oats said. “He is certainly one of the best, if not the best, shooters in the country which is extremely important to us with how we play.”

“He’s made it clear that it’s his goal to become a first round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and we’re going to work with him to make sure he’s in the best position to reach that goal. Let’s get to work!” the coach concluded.

Follow along with the Bama men’s basketball program here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

6 hours ago

State of Alabama, University of Alabama System officials unveil GuideSafe app aiming to keep schools virus-free

Key figures from Alabama’s government and university systems joined to announced the new GuideSafe platform that bills itself as the key for students to safely return to college campuses amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The GuideSafe platform will help the state fulfill its promise to test every single college student before they return to campus, and the platform will provide a space for ongoing health monitoring throughout the semester.

The unveiling took place over videoconference, where State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis “Fess” St. John and other key players detailed the importance of GuideSafe to the upcoming semester.

GuideSafe was developed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and tech company MotionMobs. It will be provided to any educational institution in the state that wishes to use it.

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Governor Kay Ivey apportioned some of Alabama’s CARES Act funds for the development of GuideSafe and the universal free testing for college students.

St. John on Monday praised Ivey’s “decisive action to provide funding” for the testing initiative and other campus reopening measures.

(Click for higher resolution version that will open in new tab)

GuideSafe will be accessible via app on smartphones and tablets and via web browser on any computer. Students will be invited to join the platform in the coming weeks.

One of the key features of the GuideSafe app is that it will track the location of students via smartphone and then inform them if they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

“This new app – using Google- and Apple-led technology and created by UAB faculty, staff and MotionMobs for the people of Alabama – is a necessary tool in our effort to return to college campuses safely this fall,” said UAB President Ray Watts.

The app also allows students and faculty to report symptoms as they experience them, and get directed to a nearby testing site if necessary.

“The combination of these tools enables every participating college, university and K-12 school to engage faculty, students and staff regarding on-going monitoring of symptoms, exposure and risks of acquiring COVID-19,” said Sue Feldman, professor and director of graduate programs in health informatics at UAB.

A general factsheet on GuideSafe is available here.

Watch:

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

6 hours ago

Trump fires TVA board chair after outsourcing uproar

President Donald Trump on Monday announced that he was removing the Tennessee Valley Authority’s board chairman, Skip Thompson, an Alabamian.

Thompson, a resident of Decatur, is the president and CEO of Corporate Billing, a subsidiary of Birmingham-based National Bank of Commerce. He previously served as the president and CEO of both First American Bank in Decatur and First Commercial Bank in Huntsville, as well as serving on the board of Decatur Utilities.

Trump appointed Thompson to the TVA board in 2018. He was elected chairman of the board last year.

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The president on Monday cited TVA’s plan to outsource information technology jobs overseas as the reason for firing Thompson and one other board member. Trump warned the other board members that they would be next if the outsourcing continued. The president also called on them to replace the organization’s CEO, who Trump said was making far too much money.

The president added, “Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board: If you betray American workers, you will hear two words: ‘You’re fired.’”

The TVA is the electricity provider for much of North Alabama. Self-described as “a corporate agency of the United States,” it is regulated at the federal level and not under the jurisdiction of the Alabama Public Service Commission.

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) applauded Trump’s move on Monday.

“TVA fires AMERICANS & hires cheap foreign labor,” the North Alabama congressman tweeted. “TVA executive salaries EXORBITANT. TVA=NO competition, unlike private sector execs who compete to earn profits to earn pay… WAY TO GO [President Trump]!”

RELATED: Doug Jones: ‘The TVA has lost its way’

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn