Coolidge Personnel Advisory Board
Pastor Bill is pleased to accept the honor of an appointment, by the City of Coolidge, to the Human Resource Personnel Advisory Board.
The Board convened on Friday July 12, 2013, from 12:00 Noon to 5:00 PM, to consider the appeal of a City employee’s discharge.
Speaking the Truth
Leadership is a most revealing role. It puts character on center stage under the punishing bright lights of notoriety, scrutiny, and second guessing.
It certainly did for Abraham Lincoln. Few world leaders have walked as closely to the success/failure line, or carried as much national burden, as did our 16th president. And in retrospect, those white-hot challenges defined his presidency. Leadership under fire tends to do that. Under the perspiring spotlight of conflict—whether in the White House or in the pulpit—character, whether pure or flawed, will be clearly revealed.
It’s difficult to imagine Lincoln running for office in our day. Surely his stovepipe hat and baggy black suit wouldn’t score well in the opinion polls. And how would his stoic, wrinkled face and unkempt beard look on the television news? Even his Gettysburg Address would be an affront to today’s political correctness. He just wouldn’t sound or look presidential.
But leadership is not about appearance or surveys – it’s about character and vision and wise choices. Anyone can grandstand for the cameras; whipping a partisan crowd into a frenzy is a piece of cake. But only a rare breed can make the gutsy calls. Those white-knuckle decisions in the face of opposition are what build a person’s character and legacy.
Lincoln was a classic example:
• William Seward detested the new president, saying, “Lincoln is totally incompetent!” You’d think a new president would distance himself from such a critic. But Lincoln liked the creative, albeit brash ideas of Seward. So Lincoln appointed him Secretary of State. Later Seward would write, “Executive force and vigor are rare qualities. The President has the best of both.”
• Edwin Stanton skewered Lincoln publicly saying, “He hasn’t a token of intelligence, and he looks like a giraffe.” But Lincoln wanted the highly organized Stanton on his staff and made him Secretary of War. When Lincoln died, it was Stanton who said in posthumous respect, “Now he belongs to the ages.”
• At the onset of the war, Lincoln’s cabinet begged him to acquiesce to the South’s demands and to avoid divisive and disastrous results. But Lincoln stood firm, saying, “It takes more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.”
To make matters worse, the poisoned pens of New York and Washington newspapers viciously attacked Lincoln, calling him “a third rate country lawyer,” “a dictator,” “an ape,” and “a buffoon.” His predecessor, James Buchanan, openly declared that Lincoln would destroy the nation.
Like a left-handed pastor in a right-handed church, Honest Abe didn’t fit the mold. But America didn’t need another politician, it needed a leader. A hot-air filibuster was not the answer. America needed a remedy that placebo politics couldn’t cure. And more often than not, churches need the same thing from their pastor.
Pastors are called upon to preach a truth that flies in the face of worldly thinking. The job requires blinders and a strong resolve, Solomon-like wisdom and Elijah-like toughness, and a willingness to go it alone. Being a spokesman for God is not for the faint of heart. It’s only for those who walk by faith, prep through prayer, proclaim God’s word, and leave the results in His hands. Popularity isn’t their goal but presenting “every man complete in Christ” is. And in the end, each of us will be judged for our faithfulness and character.
Scriptures are filled with timeless examples of godly leaders who rammed the fortress of public opinion with the words, “Thus says the Lord …”
• Isaiah didn’t score any points with Jerusalem’s religious community when he spoke of their “heartless worship.”
• Jeremiah was an object of ridicule in Judah when he warned of a judgment day for the sins of the nation.
• Hosea chided Israel’s faith as “morning dew that disappears by noon.” And the masses razzed him for his negative preaching.
• Amos pointed his long, accusatory finger at the idolatrous living of Israel, who shot back with insults of the prophet’s lack of sophisticated credentials.
Speaking the truth can be a difficult assignment, but it’s still the Pastor’s assignment, with the help of the Lord, it is my assignment. And in the end, it is faith and character that will determine how faithful we’ll be to that assignment.- May we Stand Firm in the Truth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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