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These Are Their Stories – Stephen

These Are Their Stories – Stephen

  Throughout the course of this year, we at Freedom to Lead will be intermittently featuring segments called “These Are Their Stories.” We will be telling stories of men and women throughout Asia and Africa who have been impacted by God’s work in their lives and leadership through Freedom to Lead. In our first edition we heard from “Owen” in Zimbabwe. This week we hear the story of “Stephen” from Nigeria. Stephen just started participating in Freedom to Lead’s The Garden Project. He is the husband of one, father of two. Stephen works as a church planter among his people in Nigeria. After spending a few hours that morning discussing Leadership for a Healthy Church through stories, images and music, Stephen leaned over the table to me and said with light in his eyes, “I have been craving for something like this! Something that I can take back to my

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These Are Their Stories – Owen

These Are Their Stories – Owen

Throughout the course of this year, we at Freedom to Lead will be intermittently featuring segments called “These Are Their Stories.” We will be telling stories of men and women throughout Asia and Africa who have been impacted by God’s work in their lives and leadership through Freedom to Lead. In this first edition of “These Are Their Stories” we hear from “Owen” (not his real name). Owen is a young leader in his late 30s who just started participating in Freedom to Lead’s The Garden Project. He and his wife have 4-year old twin girls. Owen works with the Church of the Nazarene among his people in Zimbabwe. He tells these stories in his own words. In November 2018 I had the opportunity to attend a training workshop on leadership which was conducted by the Freedom to Lead International® (FTL). The FTL team took us on a one-week intensive

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The Year Ahead

The Year Ahead

  As winter creeps slowly into spring, Freedom to Lead is also experiencing a new season. Our travel calendars are packed full from now until December. We are grateful for being able to continue what was birthed back in 2009. At the same time we wonder how to cover all the opportunities. New initiatives are being started and new dreams are being explored. 2019 is a year of possibility. This year Freedom to Lead will be celebrating ten years. In the coming months you will be hearing more about this as you will be invited to celebrate with us. Celebrate what God has done. Celebrate how The Garden Project has taken root in churches and communities. Celebrate that we get to see impact on the lives of ministry leaders around the world as they are set free to be all that God would have them be. 2019 is a year of celebration. Changes

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The Sleepy Invasion

The Sleepy Invasion The Stage was set. God was about to make His move, to enter time. Would He come with mighty wonders and signs? Would He light the skies as far as one could see? Would angels shout His arrival with trumpets and drums? Would the whole earth rock from the impact of his landing? The Great Sustainer, by whom and through whom and for whom are all things. The Almighty who is more powerful than any army. The One who holds in His hand all life. The moment came for His invasion. And the only sound we hear is the gentle breathing of a sleeping baby. While most everyone’s attention was on Governor Quirinius’ census, few noticed the birth of all births lying in a cattle trough behind a hotel in Bethlehem. In the words of Martin Luther, “He whom the world could not enwrap / yonder lies in

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Savoring New Stories that are Old Stories

Savoring New Stories that are Old Stories

Before Luke launches into Christmas, he issues a call to remember. Luke starts with a new story that is really a familiar story. It’s a story about a childless, old couple. Luke called them “righteous.” They were careful to follow all God’s commandments. They were good people, models of piety. But now they are old and childless. One day God sent his messenger, the angel Gabriel, to Zechariah, and scared the old man half to death. Gabriel’s message: Your prayers have been answered. Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will call him John. Zechariah had understandable doubts. Would his wife really celebrate in the tradition of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Hannah? Luke is telling a new story while allowing us to savor an old one. He invites his reader to remember God’s kept covenant. Zechariah knew the old stories. Maybe this is why Zechariah didn’t laugh – like

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Will You Give Us a Seat at the Table?

Will You Give Us a Seat at the Table?

As we approach the Christmas holidays, we can’t help thinking back to our Thanksgiving. Uncle Ed likes white meat; cousin Megan dark meat. Oh yes, can’t forget the onion casserole. And we must remember to get a highchair for little Chrissy. Let’s not forget that Aunt Beth needs someone to pick her up. And we need to make the dining room table bigger. Where did we put those extension slats? It’s all so busy but so exciting – great food, familiar conversation. Catching up with those we haven’t seen in a while. And, at the center of all of it, thanking the Lord for all He has provided. Could I ask you, in this season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, as you gather with family and friends this year, to “give FTL a seat at the table?” To remember Freedom to Lead International in your prayer as you sit down to eat? I don’t know

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Thanksgiving Looks A Little Different This Year

Thanksgiving Looks A Little Different This Year

Thanksgiving looks a little different this year. Today I am exchanging turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin for ugali, chapatti, and mandazi. Instead of watching schoolchildren perform plays about pilgrims and Indians I am watching a host of nationalities and tribal groups as they role play stories of old. But one thing remains the same: I am deeply grateful. This week Freedom to Lead is in Kenya. Next week we will go on to Zambia. In these weeks I am rubbing shoulders with men and women leaders from many nations who are deeply committed to the work of Christ and to leading well in their spaces. And I am deeply grateful. My large extended family in Florida is gathering potluck-style on folded tables outside. And while I miss being with them this year, I have a different kind of family right across the table from me here. My Family Across the Table

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Investing In My Twelve Year Old Self

Investing In My Twelve Year Old Self

As I approach Thanksgiving this year in the context of being a member of a ministry that seeks to raise up Christ-centered leaders, I think of a man who poured character and principles of leadership into my own life. Mr. Rhodes Bob Rhodes was my scoutmaster in the little town where I grew up. I can still see him in my mind’s eye, standing in front of the small group of us rowdy twelve- and thirteen-year olds. I can still picture him speaking of the importance of being men of excellence, doing acts of kindness, and putting others before ourselves. Every Monday night he would meet us in the basement of the Lutheran church and help us work on how to be better citizens. He would teach us how to address our elders or someone on the phone. Every year he took us to camp and spent a week hiking

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The Impact of Images

The Impact of Images

Freedom to Lead International® (FTL) uses culture-specific images, objects, and sketches that reinforce learning about Christ-centered leadership. In this post, one of the participants shares with FTL the impact of these images in his own life and ministry. Video Transcript (English translation) Rice Field Well, of all the modules we have gone through – I remember the one that spoke of the field from which I learned patience. And often as-as I said from the beginning, I’m very sanguine, I like to rush things and get results as soon as possible. But with this module I learned how to prepare people like a field – to sow the seed, to maintain and nurture it until the harvest. It can be a long process. — Often when someone comes to church or has just accepted the Lord, I have learned that I should be patient and work alongside the person until

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Season of Prayer

Season of Prayer

Will you join us for a season of prayer throughout the month of October? Listen to more about this here:   You can download an electronic copy of the entire October calendar by clicking here.

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Treasure in a Clay Jar

Treasure in a Clay Jar

Frequently I ask people to name the leader who has personally influenced them the most. People typically respond describing leaders who are neither famous nor incredibly successful. In fact, they often talk about leaders who would not even be considered leaders by conventional definitions. Yet these leaders left an indelible mark. They bring to mind the Apostle Paul’s image of “treasure in jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Common on the outside, but the content is priceless.  My mother was one of them. Her Beginnings Nancy Jean Howe was born on January 27th, 1936 into a troubled home. Her father was a musician. Her mother gambled on horses at the race track. The marriage didn’t last, so Nancy was shuffled between sparring parents until her father died when she was twelve. Her mother then moved them to Hawaii where Nancy finished high school. Nancy met Richard – a Navy cook

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Remember Your Story

Remember Your Story

The Discipline of Remembering Remember your leaders who spoke the Word of God to you – Hebrews 13:7a Since childhood, the churches I’ve attended emphasize “holy habits” that should be part of a Christian’s routine; bible reading, prayer, and deeds of compassion are always high on the list. However, the practice of remembering never seems to make the cut. That’s a mistake. Remembering our story of God’s faithfulness is essential to our present faith and our future hope. Rooted in the History of God’s People The discipline of remembering is rooted in the history of God’s people. In the Old Testament, the people of Israel successfully crossed over the Jordan River on a dry riverbed. Before they moved on, God instructed Joshua to appoint twelve priests – one from each tribe – to return to the riverbed and take up twelve stones. God directed the priests to pile these stones

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