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How To Be A Good Messenger

I was at a seminar a number of years ago and heard one of the speakers say, “Your life is your message”.  Ever heard that?  At first I thought it was pretty cool; evidentially we all have influence and obviously something important to say. Then I thoughtfully considered my life up to that point and I rethought the whole thing and concluded, “That is one of the scariest things I’ve ever heard!  My life is being broadcasted as a message??  To whom?  Where?  Why?”  

Since I heard that “message” those many years ago, I’ve actually come to not accept it.  What once seemed so profound, after having been turned around in my mind with on-going studying of leadership, purpose, right-living, mentorship and prayer now seems flawed.  I’ve learned that it is not so much what we all proclaim to be true, but what we DO in truth that actually points to a message.  It is not that my life is a message, but rather my life is a product of a message that I believe in strongly enough to actually act out.  In truth, my life is closer to being a messenger than being a message.  I myself am not truth…..I’m not capable of being an example of truth pure and honest because of my sinful nature. But the good fruit I bear points to a truth that is at work in me.  I pray you don’t miss that distinction.  Let me give you an illustration.

I frequently  lead the music portion of worship at our church.  I stand before a congregation and invite them into a set of lyrics in which we proclaim the attributes of God, the salvation offered by his Son, the mercy we seek, the blessings we want to bring in our world.  If I am the message as I live out my role as a leader on the platform, it would mean that when I sing those words, I would point to myself as the example pure and true of these things.  However, before a song even ended, somewhere in my mind, my thoughts, I likely would have already allowed some sinful nature to sneak in (like, wow….that phrase I sang was so awesome-sounding) and the message is contaminated.  The real message would be, “I like to sing with you all about God and praise Him, but I also hope you like how I’m singing and I’m up here because we all need to use our talents for God and I’ve got some and ooops, I just added two beats extra to that chorus…sorry band….here comes the core of the song…..wait, I don’t think I was concentrating enough on the words of that verse we just sang…..I’m not sure God is accepting this as worship if I’m not paying 100% attention to Him and these words rising up to Him….but really, I’ll try harder now….”   Meanwhile, my fellow worshipers see me singing the best I can to lead them to praise God.  If I were the message to everyone on the outside, I would be, “This is how you worship God!”, but now that you know what goes on in my brain, do you really think I am the message??

Of course not.

I am a messenger with this message:   “Even though I am sinful, there is a Savior available to us all that will use us just as we are and purify our worship and lead us to a deeper knowledge of Him.”

The speaker back at that seminar went on to inspire people to become a great message.  What I would like to share with you now is what I’ve learned it takes to be a great MESSENGER.  And that begins with knowing what you truly believe at the core of yourself.  This is tricky because there are a lot of things you and I have heard that we think sound so awesome and true and right, but if we really believed them, our lives would look differently.  So to be a good messenger, you have to get honest with yourself about what you apparently DO believe.

For example, if I believe God loves every person ever born and desires to have a relationship with them, then I would pour everything I have into finding ways to point them all to Christ.  I would be convicted!  But I see a thug on a news-clip who was arrested for murder and drug possession and I preach, “Good riddance”.   Okay, let’s clarify what I REALLY believe (some people are too scummy to be viewed as beloved of God)…..and then go to work on bringing greater truth into that so I change.  It’s perfectly human to not completely believe things you think are right and true…things you want to believe because you should.  But learning to be honest about your beliefs will help you in being the messenger you aspire to be for the messages you truly believe.

So how do we be the best messengers we can be?  What is involved in living a life that reflects the truths we believe?  I’ve put together a list I believe will help us do just that.  In up-coming posts, I will expound on each of these, but for today, here is the list I’ve been pointed to in the years of listening, learning, observing and questioning I’ve done.

One last note:  as a mother of 5, I have an hourly training ground for this list of what makes a good messenger.  If there are any lives we ought to be most intentional about being a message to, it is that of our children.  Amen?

Traits of a Good Messenger

1.  Know the message

2.  Believe the message

3.  Live the message

4.  Be changed by the message

5.  See a need for the message

6.  Be able to promote the message

7.  Stay out of the way of the message

8.  Be ever-grateful for the message

I bet you are thinking already.  See!  You are a messenger and you relate as one!  See you in my next message, “KNOW THE MESSAGE”.

God bless, Leah

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Our Daughter’s Perspective of A Home Education

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Many are the days of lessons, schedules, discussions, “discussions”, and work when it comes to learning and teaching how to educate one’s self.  As a mom, I don’t always know if the home schooling decisions are arriving at the destinations we dreamed about.  Our desire was that our girls learn to be students by choice, not by label and that they bring their whole understanding of self and world to the table as the delve into subjects that have impacted the human experience in every which way.  As a great teacher once said:

A solid education begins with self-knowledge that is adequate to lead and discipline oneself.  Then demands an understanding of the world in which we live and carry out our mission.  Finally, to understand the connection between the two.

With a simple assignment to write a paragraph that expresses a conviction, I was treated to the following bit of work by our daughter,  Maddie.  Both the topic and the content of this piece were of her own choosing.

“There are many advantages to homeschooling children instead of sending them to public school. Three of them are the ability to control what you’re child learns, the ability to show them a worldview that is good in God’s eyes, and the ability to give them control of their time.
First, you are able to control what you’re children learn. As a parent, it is you’re job to be the child’s biggest influence and teacher. In school they are exposed to a lot of wrong, and told what to do by someone whose morals aren’t the same. In school there’s a lot of pressure, and a lot of stress. You will find that by being home-schooled, you’re child will be comfortable with being himself and being their own person with their own beliefs. And you will have influenced that.
Second, is being able to show them a Godly worldview. Through studies you can show you’re children that God is omnipotent, present, and alive everywhere. You can show them the truths he shares and teach them about absolutism. It overall can change their life. And lastly third, you give them control of their time. The years from ages five to eighteen are crucial to learning and discovering one’s purpose. By giving you’re children control of their time as well as the things that we covered before, you give them a place and an atmosphere to be spoken to by God. You give them independence and accountability to their own actions and time investment.
This is why homeschooling is a great idea, and gives more promise to you’re children’s future.”

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Parenting for the Glory of God

Having my head in the game of parenting is akin to working on a doctorate in philosophy.  All thoughts and revelations about what I am doing or what I am seeing prompt me to inquire deep in to the genesis of many things:

“Now why is that happening?” 
“What does that look like in 5 years from now?”  
“Is that a reaction to something new or an expression of something old?”
“What do I do with that?”  
“Shall we pass on that and trust it will be addressed by a growing character?”  
“What would more love in this instance do to transform this child?”
“Is this issue testing my capacity….and will I have the courage to accept it and grow?”  
“Is more diligence due?”  
And the toughest of all, “Is that because of me and my thinking?”
 

Tissot

 

Having 5 children of our own and adding the responsibility of continuing my own education, there is not a day that passes that I am not in prayer over one or more of these questions.  And except for the rare moment when I can talk deeply with another parent and even be able to express with words my myriads of thought, I am walking around in a “Museum of Philosophy” alone, earnestly seeking wisdom from the Holy Spirit.

Two years ago, I walked into a new wing of this “Museum”: the homeschooling wing.  Now in this room were historical, mathematical, literary, rhetorical, artistic, logical, and scientific displays with blank plates for descriptions set beside each of them.  I instinctively knew before I would inscribe onto the display boards what we were seeing, I had to know WHY we were viewing them.  Not long after I was confronted with that task, I met a woman who would give me the most valuable piece of advice I’ve ever been given.

I met her at a homeschool conference (from which frankly I got very little else) in a
vendor booth.  She noticed my wide-open wonder at the hundreds of books and kits and my lack of awareness for curriculum design.  Truly, I was both excited and overwhelmed by the amount of material produced that can be brought into a home to be devoured.  It was truly a king’s feast set before a peasant girl.  I was attracted to the material that was presented with excellence and less attracted to the “home-spun” materials in zip-lock bags, but still I wondered what was in the bags that might be a treasure, too.  The reality was I had a desire for it all, but a budget for almost none.  That’s called “longing”.

So in her compassion, the woman approached me gingerly and began as all great leaders do, with a question:  “What do you think about all this?”

“I’m not sure.  To be honest, I am very new to all of this.”

“New to homeschooling?”

“Yes.  But because I feel called to it, I know to just begin wherever I am.”

She replied, “That’s exactly right.  But may I offer another thought?”

Without hesitation, I responded, “Yes!  I’m open to pretty much anything right now.”

“What you really would benefit from is beginning with the end in mind.  Take whatever time you need to put together a list of 10 things you want your children to truly know before leaving home.  What do you want them to understand deeply and do instinctively?  Then print that list out and put it inside your cupboards, above your doors and desks.  Keep a copy in your Bible and journal.  Then every decision you make about what to learn should be filtered through that list before it becomes a priority or a non-essential.  And when the world wants to steer you differently, look long and hard at that list and never give in.  Never give in.”

I knew with those last 3 words that the Holy Spirit was speaking through her.  “Never Give In” (by Stephen Mansfield) was one of my top 5 most favorite books, and it spoke to my soul.

Within 3 days of the conference I had my list.  I think back on that process and I can see God protected me from any feeling of in-adequateness or fear;  it was as if God’s finger wrote the list.  I say that because as time has gone by, the list proves to be filled with more wisdom than I know I am capable of displaying.  In fact, I am instructed by the list almost daily and am drawn to live my life by the same 10 standards that are now laid out before our children.  They are deeply Biblical and profoundly relevant in this time in history.

Before you read that list of 10 things we want our children to know before they leave our home, I highly recommend you depart from this post, mid-reading to construct your own.  I was uninfluenced by anyone but the Holy Spirit in ours, and it is the sweetest part of its birth.  Do not deprive yourself of that same delight.  In fact, I am praying as I write this paragraph for your list to be authentic and thrilling, challenging and comforting.  For it to be authentically your family’s own.

One last note.  The List of 10 will require of you to commit to change.  It has less to do with what are the right things to learn than what is the right thing to become.  Search your heart as to how strong of a commitment-maker you are, and ask God to expand your capacity.  That’s the gold-standard behind it all.  It’s what makes it worth it, for your submission to God’s will brings about the only glory that truly stands:  God’s glory.

10 Things We Want Our Children to Have Learned

Before They Leave

1.  That their life is a gift from God to this world at this time.  It has both significance and purpose.

2.  Family is the essential core of living in this world.

3.  People over things; relationship over task.

4.  Succeeding has a price, and if the task is God’s will, it is always worth it.

5.  Learning is life-long.

6.  Forgiveness is holiness.

7.  Serve out of love for Christ, love for yourself, and love for others.

8.  Never give up.

9.  The Bible has all your answers.

10.  Create.

In these next few weeks, I will break-open what we are understanding each of these to mean and how we apply them in our every-day lives.  I hope it blesses you.

Until then, I pray for each of you.  God bless, Leah

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Chesterton on the Vow of Marriage

vow of marriage

G.K. Chesterton

by G.K. Chesterton

The revolt against vows has been carried in our day even to the extent of a revolt against the typical vow of marriage. It is most amusing to listen to the opponents of marriage on this subject. They appear to imagine that the ideal of constancy was a yoke mysteriously imposed on mankind by the devil, instead of being, as it is, a yoke consistently imposed by all lovers on themselves. They have invented a phrase, a phrase that is a black and white contradiction in two words—’free-love’—as if a lover ever had been, or ever could be, free. It is the nature of love to bind itself, and the institution of marriage merely paid the average man the compliment of taking him at his word. Modern sages offer to the lover, with an ill-flavoured grin, the largest liberties and the fullest irresponsibility; but they do not respect him as the old Church respected him; they do not write his oath upon the heavens, as the record of his highest moment. They give him every liberty except the liberty to sell his liberty, which is the only one that he wants.-The Defendant

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What the Man Cherished Most

The following poem was written by my daughter, Ella who is 9 years old.  According to her, she “just wanted to write a poem”.  According to me, it is a very sweet piece of art that makes me think of the precious movie “UP”.  Enjoy the endearing love as you read “What the Man Cherished Most”.

What he cherished most that day,
Is a mystery in this very way.
What meant to him so much?
What got piled in the dust?
 
How he loved it,
How it died,
With himself,
I can not hide
 
Tis this very thing he loved,
Left him in the dirty dust,
But it has stayed,
Cause it must
 
In the way,
I can not keep,
The story of the,
Thing he need
 
Even in his old old grave,
It stays with him,
Till this day,
 
How he loved her,
how she stayed,
with him in,
their very grave,
 
Up with God,
There they are,
Singing praises,
To the king.
 
There they lay
In his kingdom
But with no doubt
In any way,
 
He still loves her,
Till this day.

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Freedom: The History of an Idea

The following essay can be attributed to the Foreign Policy Research Institute (www.fpri.org).  It is written in June of 2007 by Professor J. Rufus Fears (1945-2012) who was an American historian, scholar, teacher and author on the subjects of ancient history, the history of liberty, and the lessons of history.  He has written extensively on freedom and liberty, and released more than a dozen titles for The Great Courses lecture series.  This essay is a compelling  discussion on our understanding about freedom.  In it, he answers the question:

Is freedom a universal human value, which all people in all times and places desire?

I would challenge you, as the reader, to think about this question yourself before you begin to read Prof. Fears essay.  Sometimes we need to reveal our own value systems and understandings before we can assimilate higher thoughts.  It is in the challenging of our thinking that we grow, so ask yourself first,  “How would I answer that question?”  And once you can articulate your own thoughts, bring this new measuring rod of truth to the edges of your understandings and see if they remain or are transformed.

I know mine were.

“Our foreign policy since the time of Woodrow Wilson has been based in the belief that freedom is a universal value, one that is wanted by all people in all times. But why, if freedom is a universal value, has the history of the world been one of tyranny, misery, and oppression?

Socrates taught that our first task in any discussion is to define our terms. Thus, the starting point here is identifying what we mean by freedom. We never disagree, Socrates tells us, about empirical questions; it is about values that we disagree. No value is more charged with meaning than that of freedom.

If we carefully examine the ideal and reality of freedom throughout the ages, we come to the conclusion that what we call “freedom” is, in fact, an ideal that consists of three component ideals: (1) national freedom; (2) political freedom; and (3) individual freedom.

National freedom is freedom from foreign control. This is the most basic concept of freedom. It is the desire of a nation, ethnic group, or a tribe to rule itself. It is national self-determination.

Political freedom is the freedom to vote, hold office, and pass laws. It is the ideal of “consent of the governed.”

Individual freedom is a complex of values. In its most basic form individual freedom is the freedom to live as you choose as long as you harm no one else, Each nation, each epoch in history, perhaps each individual, may define this ideal of individual freedom in different terms. In its noblest of expressions, individual freedom is enshrined in our Bill of Rights. It is freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, economic freedom, and freedom to choose your life style.

In the United States, we tend to assume that these three ideals of freedom always go together. That is wrong. History proves that these three component ideals of freedom in no way must be mutually inclusive.

You can have national freedom without political or individual freedom; Iraq under Saddam Hussein and North Korea are examples. In fact, this national freedom, this desire for independence, is the most basic of all human freedoms. It has frequently been the justification for some of the most terrible tyrannies in history: Nazi Germany had national freedom but denied individual and political freedom in the name of this national freedom.

It is quite possible to have political and national freedom but not individual freedom. Ancient Sparta had national and political freedom, but none of the individual freedoms we expect today.

The Roman Empire represents two centuries that brought peace and prosperity to the world by extinguishing national and political freedom, but in which individual freedom flourished as it never had.

From the Declaration of Independence to the First World War, the history of our own country provides a dramatic example of the separation of these three component ideals of freedom. After 1776, the United States had national freedom. Adult white males also had political and individual freedom. White women had a considerable degree of individual freedom but no political liberty until 1920 and the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. Until after the Civil War, African-Americans possessed neither political nor individual freedom. In 1857 the Supreme Court formally ruled that African-Americans did not have the right to individual or political freedom. The soldiers of the Confederacy fought valiantly for their political, individual, and national freedom while defending their right to deny individual and political liberty to a considerable proportion of their population.

Thus, clearly, throughout history, these three components ideals of freedom have not been mutually inclusive.

Had we learned this lesson of history, Americans might have avoided crucial mistakes in our recent foreign policy in the Middle East.

History demonstrates that one of the most basic human feelings is the desire for national freedom. You may hate your government, but if someone invades you, you may very well fight in defense of your country. Napoleon learned this in Spain. History should have taught us to be skeptical of the claim that we would be welcomed as liberators in Iraq.

A second lesson of history we should have pondered is that freedom is not a universal value. Great civilizations have risen and fallen without any clear concept of freedom. Egypt—,the civilization that built the pyramids, that created astronomy and medicine, did not even have a word for freedom. Everything was under the power of the pharaoh, who waso have the security of a well regulated economy under a king. Time and again throughout history people have chosen the perceived benefits of security over the awesome responsibilities of freedom.

In fact, it can be argued that the Middle East, from the time of the pyramids down until today, has had no real concept of freedom.

Russia from the time of Rurik, the first Viking chieftain of Russia in the ninth century, down to Vladimir Putin, has never developed clear ideas of political and individual freedom. Thus we should not have been surprised when the Russian Revolution led not to freedom but to Stalin and one of the bloodiest despotisms in history.

China has no tradition of political or individual freedom. The noble teachings of Confucius are all about order, not freedom.

In fact, the very beginning of civilizations in the Middle East around 3000 BCE and in China around 1700 BCE represented the choice of security over freedom. Civilization began with the decision to give up any freedom in order to have the security of a well regulated economy under a king. Time and again throughout history people have chosen the perceived benefits of security over the awesome responsibilities of freedom.

History thus teaches that freedom is not a universal value. Our Founders knew and acted upon the lessons of history. The Founders, unlike us, thought historically. They used the lessons of the past to make decisions in the present and to plan for the future. They understood that tyranny and the lust for power, not freedom, is the great motivating force of human action and of history. But the Founders also believed that the United States could chart a unique course in history

Our country does have a unique legacy of freedom. That is both a cause for hope and a caution as to whether our unique ideals of freedom can be transplanted to the rest of the world. For in the U.S. we have achieved a unique balance of national, political, and individual freedom.

We have never been conquered; we simply cannot imagine what it would be to be under the rule of a foreigner. Our experience is very different from that of France, for example, or Germany.

We take political freedom for granted. We have regular elections no matter what the circumstances. In 1864, in the midst of the greatest war in our history, we held elections. The Europeans wondered after 9/11 what would happen to America; we went ahead with another election. In a way it is a good thing we are so secure in this freedom that we take it for granted. With that comes our deep love of the Constitution. Of course, Americans may not know what is in the Constitution, but they know it is good and resent any effort to tamper with it.

As to individual freedom, where could one have so much of it, including the basic freedom to create a better life for yourself and your children? People clamor to get into America, because individual freedom opens up a whole new world.

So how did we come to this unique legacy of freedom? Again, history is our guide. Our American legacy of freedom is the product of a unique confluence of five historical currents.

First, there is the legacy of the Old Testament, the idea that we are a nation chosen by God to bear the ark of the liberties to the world. Our Founders believed that deeply. Abraham Lincoln believed it deeply. Franklin Roosevelt believed it.

The second current comes from classical Greece and Rome. The legacy of Greece and Rome is the very basic one of self-government, consent of the governed. The kings of Babylon were chosen by God, Saul was chosen by God. The pharaoh was God on earth. But in Greece and Rome, men said “We are free to govern ourselves under laws that we give ourselves.”

Thirdly, Christianity took the idea of Natural Law from Greece and Rome and turned it into the belief that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The freedom that for the Greeks and Romans had been limited to the citizens of Athens or Rome now became a universal proclamation under Christianity.

Fourthly, England gave us the notion that government is under the law, no matter how powerful that government is. In the Watergate hearings, Sen. Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.) quoted the old saying that “the wind and rain might enter the cottage of a poor Englishman, but the king in all his majesty may not.” The law governs the king himself, and our Cohe law. So the frontier in Russia becomes the home of the gulag. Latin America has the tradition of Christianity and the Old Testament, and of Greece and Rome, and of the frontier. But Spain lacked the powerful English concept that government is under the law. Thus Latin America, despite its industrious and intelligent population and its natural resources, has never developed a stable basis for political and individual freedom.

Fifthly, there is the contribution of the frontier. From the very beginning, America has been about the frontier. It is what led men and women to Jamestown and Plymouth. The frontier was the vast, seemingly endless land stretching before us. The frontier meant equality of opportunity. Even the best ideals of Greece or Rome or England could never flourish, because they were always cramped. But here there was land and the ability to start over again. This mattered more than all the ancient hatreds and class frictions that had existed under the old world. We cannot understand why Bosnians, Serbs, and Croats speak the same language but kill each other. Their hatreds have been festering for centuries, but here they pass away. That has been the unique gift of the frontier.

The existence of these elements in other nations and civilizations only underscores the uniqueness of the American experience of freedom. Russia has the tradition of Greece and Rome, Christianity, the tradition of the Old Testament; and it has a frontier. But it lacks that English sense of government under the law. So the frontier in Russia becomes the home of the gulag. Latin America has the tradition of Christianity and the Old Testament, and of Greece and Rome, and of the frontier. But Spain lacked the powerful English concept that government is under the law. Thus Latin America, despite its industrious and intelligent population and its natural resources, has never developed a stable basis for political and individual freedom.

Our heritage of freedom has been forged in war and hardship as well as in prosperity. Our national independence was proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. Name another nation in history founded on principles. An Italian or German will say you are an Italian or German because you speak Italian or German. Traditionally, you were born an Englishman; you were geographical accident. But in America we have said from the start that everyone can come here from wherever they wish. They can speak whatever language is their mother tongue and practice whatever religion they want. They become an American by adopting our principles.

The principles proclaimed in 1776 are the noblest of all principles: we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with the unalienable right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The proclamation of these ideals in the Declaration of Independence is based on the belief in absolute right and absolute wrong. You can deny that today. We seem to have a society that believes there is no such thing as truth. Ethics is all a matter of circumstances. But the Founders believed in eternal truths, valid in all places and all times. And they believed that governments are instituted among men to achieve those goals. That is the purpose of government. And if a government does not fulfill those goals, you have not only the right but the duty to overthrow it.

The absolute truths of the Declaration of Independence are founded on a belief in God. God appears four times in the Declaration of Independence: “Nature’s God,” the “Creator,” “Supreme Judge of the world,” “Divine Providence.”

Thus our national freedom is founded on absolute truth and upon a belief in God.

As the Declaration of Independence is the charter of our national freedom, so the Constitution is our charter of political freedom.

When that constitution was brought forth in Philadelphia, we were thirteen straggling republics along the eastern seaboard. If Benjamin Franklin or George Washington wanted to go somewhere, they went in the same way Cicero or Caesar did: they walked, rode, or sailed. If they wanted to communicate, they did it the same way Caesar or Cicero did. George Washington received inferior medical care to what a Roman gladiator got in the first century CE. And yet that same constitution gives us liberty under law and prosperity in a world of technology that Benjamin Franklin could not even have imagined and when we are superpower of the world. We should never take this extraordinary achievement for granted.

The American people in their wisdom would not ratify this constitution without the promise of a bill of rights. It seems to us extraordinary today that the first Congress kept its promise; and in short order set down and produced the Bill of Rights, which still guarantees these fundamental freedoms of individual liberty.

But there was still slavery, written into the Constitution. God is not mentioned once in the Constitution, but slavery was made the law of the land. To remove that wrong of slavery we fought the bloodiest war in our history, in which 623,026 Americans died. It produced men of great honor and integrity on both sides. It was finally resolved at Gettysburg.

When Abraham Lincoln went to Gettysburg to redefine our mission, he started with the Declaration of Independence. “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” It was unique because it was dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. In one sentence he told Americans why they were fighting the war, to see whether any nation so conceived and dedicated could long endure. In all the rhetoric we had about Vietnam and all that we have heard about Iraq, we have not been told so simply why we were at war.

Lincoln then went on to state that this civil war was a challenge laid upon this nation by God. The more Lincoln grappled with why this terrible war had come, the more convinced he had become that it was sent by God to punish us for the fundamental wrong of slavery. He told Americans that we must resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain and that this nation under God should have a new birth of freedom. And that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.

So this war that had cost so many lives was resolved in a way that no other nation would have. The Confederates simply pledged their word not to take up arms and to go home. The reconciliation began. I think that too is unique in history.

With the Civil War we see the growth of democracy, the move towards extending the franchise to women, 18 year olds. They all become part of this political freedom.

This nation has continued in a unique course of freedom. In World War II we fought and won the war in the name of democratic freedom. We could have withdrawn the way we did after World War I. But we recognized that isolationism had been a mistake. So we shouldered the burden of the Cold War.

Now we have been called again, and the question is, will we find the leadership to tell us why this great challenge is there? Will we find the will to resolve this struggle? Will we find the understanding among ourselves to see the great task that, as Lincoln said, is still before us?

I speak to you not only the legacy of America, but of destiny. I believe that no people in history have ever been more magnanimous, generous, courageous, willing to forgive and forget, and willing to help the world than have the Americans. So after World War II, we raised Germany and Japan up. This remains our greatest foreign policy triumph. We took those two nations that had no long tradition of freedom and made them into viable, prosperous democracies.

Today, because of the United States, more people throughout the world live in freedom than any time in history. If we are willing to accept the challenge, it may yet be our destiny to change the course of history and to establish freedom as a universal value.”

 

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IF

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
 
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
 
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
 
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

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Truly Using Imagination

Leaders need the historical imagination to understand what humankind has been.

They need the political imagination to know what humankind can do in community.

They need the moral imagination to discern what the human person ought to be.

They need the poetic imagination to perceive how human beings can best use their creative energies.

And they need the prophetic imagination to divine what human beings will be, given the choices they make.

Gleaves Whitney summarizing Russel Kirk

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A Tribute To the LIFE Leadership Community

This story came to me from Chris Allen of Atlanta, Georgia.  Chris and his wife Amanda are exceptional entrepreneurs and leaders in communities all around America.  They have every reason to be proud of all their children.  Here is the story of their son, Travis.  Enjoy and be inspired!

A young budding entrepreneur, 20 year old Travis Allen, showed up to his first LIFE Leadership Conference in October of 2011.  What he experienced at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio would forever change the course of his life.  The leadership principles shared from bestselling authors, Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady and visionary Oliver Demille that fateful day inspired him to Dream Big, Lead by Example and Invest in Personal Development! His decision to enroll in the LIFE leadership subscription every month would pay huge dividends that his young mind couldn’t even imagine back then.

Fast forward just two months later he would be featured in Forbes Magazine, hanging out with people like Sir Richard Branson, Deepak Chopra, and CEO of Google Larry Page as a winner of the Google Zeitgeist Young Minds competition.  His crowning achievement came in 2012 as he self-funded, and orchestrated the first Digital Learning Revolution Bus Tour in 2012!  His victories in the face of adversity continue to inspire those around him.

It was just a couple of years earlier that young Travis had a dream to revolutionize education in America! It was at this exact moment that he ran head first in to a brick wall called the status quo! He was told it was a pipe-dream, it would never work, he was too young, nobody would take him seriously, no one would even listen to him, and on and on those in authority with credentials, titles, and certificates discouraged him from pursuing his dream.  Travis responded defiantly to his critics by launching his non-profit organization called the iSchool Initiative with no money outside of what he could scrape together from concerned friends and family.

It would be a long hard road of working in the kitchen at a pizza restaurant while going to school and investing everything he had left into his fledgling company.  Things went very slow at first.  He quickly began to see what he was up against as almost everything he was told began to materialize. It was true that most people didn’t share his vision.  It was true that the educational institutions were toxic toward innovation and change.  It was true that people didn’t seem to take him seriously because of his youth and inexperience in the industry.  It was especially true that young Travis needed a different environment to grow, prosper and fulfill his destiny.

If you plant the fertile seed of a mighty oak in the Sahara desert, what chance does it have to grow into the tree it was destined to become?

A better question is… What happens when you take a young idealistic dreamer and you plant him into the fertile ground of the LIFE community?  What happens when you expose that young mind to the right books, mentors and a community of positive people dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others?

Travis’s decision to invest in leadership development at such an early age and join a growing community of winners is a shining example of the power of reading, listening and associating within the LIFE community!  No matter what your vision or how big your dream is… The LIFE community can help you get there!

As Travis Allen’s Father, I will be forever grateful to the founders of the LIFE business for launching this movement across North America that will undoubtedly touch the lives of millions of people around the world in the coming years.

The 2013 Digital Learning Revolution Tour »

College Students Raise Funds to Launch a Nationwide Bus Tour this Summer to Get Students Excited About Education! #DLRTour #edreform
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