Copyright 2016 by Bob Rogers
In such a weird presidential election year, I had a weird idea.
With so much discussion in both parties about experience vs. revolution and “Washington outsiders” versus “The Establishment,” I wondered if we could learn a lesson from history. You see, psychologists and economists agree that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. So perhaps if I looked at the 43 men who have already been president, I could see if we have learned something from the last 43 guys who were president that could help us pick the next gal or guy for the job. In particular, I had two questions in mind: 1) What kind of leadership positions did our past presidents have before they became president? 2) What kind of leaders seemed to make the best presidents? Here is what I learned:
Leadership positions of our past presidents
All of our presidents have had at least one of five kinds of leadership experience before becoming president. Of the 43 men, 13 were vice-president, ten were governors, seven were in the cabinet of the president, seven were generals in the Army, and six were in Congress (House or Senate). None of them– not a single one— lacked major experience in American government, unless you can call a general in the U.S. Army outside of the government. That isn’t to say that we cannot elect a businessman or businesswoman or a surgeon as president. It’s just that we have never done that in all of American history. It makes me wonder if there is a good reason for that. (Before somebody says, “Ronald Reagan was an actor,” let me remind you he was governor of California before he became president.)
The kind of leaders who made good presidents
The second question is more difficult to discern. More presidents came to the presidency from the vice-presidency (13), but that’s mostly because being president endangers your life. Of those 13, only five of them got the office on their own. The other eight former vice-presidents came to the office by virtue of the fact that the president died. Ten governors have been president, seven generals, seven in the presidential cabinet, and six came from Congress. But simply counting what position is the most common stepping-stone makes no sense, because some of them were terrible presidents. So why don’t we look at our very best presidents and our worst presidents? This is very subjective, but most scholars and popular opinion polls agree that our best presidents were George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson. So what leadership positions did they hold before becoming president? Washington was a general, Lincoln served in Congress, FDR was a governor, Teddy Roosevelt was vice-president, and Thomas Jefferson was secretary of state. They were all different! If the list of great presidents doesn’t give us any help, then what about the list of worst presidents? I’ll save you the time– the terrible presidents came from every different background, too, with one exception: governors. We had some governors who were pretty bad, but none of the really, really disastrous presidents came to the White House from a Governor’s Mansion.
The lessons learned
So what does all of this teach us? Great presidents have come from all kinds of different backgrounds, but they have had one thing in common: they had some kind of significant experience that could test their mettle and prepare them for the most challenging leadership job in the world. It doesn’t matter so much what experience they had; it matters more what kind of person they became because of that experience. But maybe, just maybe, all other things being equal, being the chief executive of a state is one of the best preparations for being chief executive of the nation.
Many NFL fans are not aware that there is another form of football played on Sunday. It’s called “church football.”
This game is often played by “bench warmers” who do not sing, pray, work or do anything much in the church but sit. They like to put the “backfield in motion” by making a trip back and forth to the restroom or water fountain. During “halftime,” when the music has ended and the sermon has not yet begun, they like to play “staying in the pocket,” keeping their money to themselves as the offering plate is passed.
Church footballers allow their children to run a “draw play” with the bulletin during the service. When the “two-minute warning” sounds and the sermon is almost over, they will try a “quarterback sneak,” leaving quietly during the invitation.
The preacher often tries to catch bench warmers in a “trap play” by calling on…
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Copyright 2015 by Bob Rogers
Are you making a New Year’s resolution? Popular ones include: weight loss, quitting smoking, exercise, getting back to church, and reading the Bible.
One fellow kept a record of his resolution to be more faithful to church. Here’s how his resolutions went year after year:
2012: I will go to church every Sunday.
2013: I will go to church as often as possible.
2014: I will go to church on Easter.
2015: I will DVR the next Billy Graham TV special and watch it eventually.
Can you relate? Why do our New Year’s resolutions often fail? I believe the reason is because they are the best that we can do, and our best is not good enough. The Bible says in Romans 7:18-19, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”
Resolutions are the best that we can do. To succeed, we must do what only God can do.
Do you want to be a better person this New Year? Here’s the Bible’s secret to being different: Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “…let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith…” The answer is “keeping our eyes on Jesus”!
John Crossen is a cancer patient, who fixes his eyes on Jesus for 30 minutes, five days a week. He has a hologram card in his wallet with an image of Jesus, and while he takes radiation treatments, he lies still and looks at the picture. He also puts the picture on his night stand. “It’s the first thing to greet me in the morning and the last thing to see before I close my eyes at night,” Crossen said. “A reminder that His love lives on, no matter what.” (Janie Magruder, “The many faces of Jesus,” The Arizona Republic, Dec. 24, 2005.)
While Mr. Crossen found comfort in an image that reminded him of Jesus, the truth is that we don’t have an original image of Jesus. Or do we? Don’t the Gospels in the New Testament give us a true picture of Him? Don’t we see Him in the lives of those who serve Him? May I suggest that if you really want to be a better person, then forget about making a New Year’s resolution, and have a New Year’s revolution, instead. Decide to fall in love with Jesus, and all that He stands for, and your life will be changed not just in 2016, but forever.
If you do, the Bible makes this promise: “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6).
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” — Genesis 1:26, HCSB
Essay Copyright 2015 by Bob Rogers
The Bible says that human beings are made in the image of God. Scholars debate the theological significance of this– that humans resemble God as spiritual beings, rule with God as stewards of His creation, and have a relationship with God by faith. But let’s come down to earth and think about the practical significance of this:
If we are made in the image of God, then abortion is wrong, and murder is wrong, euthanasia is wrong and war is wrong unless it can be shown to be justified by saving more lives than it takes, because these things kill a soul that is made to be with Jesus.
If we are made in the image of God, then racism is wrong, sexism is wrong, pornography is wrong, kidnapping is wrong, and slavery is wrong, because it devalues somebody who is made in the likeness of the king of kings.
If we are made in the image of God, then it is wrong to abuse a child, or abuse a wife or husband, or abuse an elderly person; and it is wrong to neglect and mistreat people because they are poor or mentally unstable or mentally handicapped, physically disabled, or unable to care for themselves due to illness. For each human life is a spiritual life, capable of spending eternity with Christ, so how we treat them down here on earth will be remembered forever up there in heaven.
Unless you have been living in a cave somewhere, you probably already know that Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has been sent to jail by a judge for refusing to issue any marriage license since the Supreme Court imposed same-sex marriage on all 50 states, causing an eruption of opinions on both sides of this issue.
On one side are those who would make her into a martyr for the faith. While I believe the judge could have been far less harsh (a gay couple in Kentucky who acted in civil disobedience in 2013 against the law were only fined one penny), we should remember that Mrs. Davis is not a private citizen; she is a government official who has sworn to uphold the law, and she could have resigned her position and advocated for change as a private citizen.
On the other side are those who mock her as hypocrite, especially since she has been divorced multiple times. This ignores the fact that Mrs. Davis only recently became a Christian in 2011, and her multiple divorces happened before she had a life-changing conversion to Christ. Now she openly acknowledges her sinful past, says that Jesus has changed her life, and she sincerely wants to obey Him now, no matter how hard that may be. That is not hypocrisy; that is honesty and courage.
Much more could be said about it, but Russell Moore has written by far the best blog that I have read on this subject. Please read this link to his blog before making any comments here.
Yet I submit that we need the church. (I’m talking about the people, not a building. The early church met in houses, and many meet in homes today.) In fact, we cannot be biblical Christians apart from the church. Why do I say that?
1. We can’t use our spiritual gifts without the church. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to all believers, but it is always in the context of the church. Romans 12:5-6 talks about how we are all part of the body of Christ as we have different gifts. It says in 1 Corinthians 12:7-12 that every believer is given a spiritual gift for the common good, because we are all part of the body of Christ. Prophesying, teaching, serving, giving, leading, showing mercy, and so many other spiritual gifts are either done among members of the church or together with members of the church.
2. We can’t show we are disciples without the church. Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). We are told to serve each other, teach each other, feed each other, pray for each other, encourage each other. I may know I’m a disciple but I can’t show I’m a disciple if I sit at home alone and don’t show love for fellow believers. No wonder Hebrews 10:25 commands believers not to forsake gathering ourselves together, but instead to encourage each other.
4. We can’t take communion without the church. By definition, the Lord’s Supper is meal of Christians gathered together to remember the body and blood of Christ given for us upon the cross. In 1 Corinthians 11:17-26, the apostle Paul continually uses the phrase “come together” to describe observance of the Lord’s Supper. It says in 1 Corinthians 10:17 observes that by sharing the bread of communion, Christians are expressing their unity: “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” Since we cannot take communion without expressing unity with the church, it follows that refusal to express communion with the church is a refusal to express communion with Christ.
Christ is the builder of the church.
Christ is the head of the church.
Christ is the shepherd of the church.
Christ is the groom for His bride, the church.
Christ is coming again for the church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against His church!
In Genesis, Jesus is the Ram at Abraham’s altar
In Exodus, He’s the Passover Lamb
In Leviticus He’s the High Priest
In Numbers He’s the Cloud by day and Pillar of Fire by night
In Deuteronomy He’s the City of our refuge
In Joshua He’s the Scarlet Thread out Rahab’s window
In Judges He is our Judge
In Ruth He is our Kinsman Redeemer
In 1st and 2nd Samuel He’s our Trusted Prophet
And in Kings and Chronicles He’s our Reigning King
In Ezra He’s our Faithful Scribe
In Nehemiah He’s the Rebuilder of everything that is broken
And in Esther He is the Mordecai sitting faithful at the gate
In Job He’s our Redeemer that ever lives
In Psalms He is my Shepherd and I shall not want
In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes He’s our Wisdom
And in the Song of Solomon He’s the Beautiful Bridegroom
In Isaiah He’s the…
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Article copyright 2015 by Jan Moore
(The following guest post is from my friend, Jan Moore. She ministers as a volunteer chaplain at the same hospital where I work, and is a very involved in other ministry in her own church and community. She and her husband recently experienced the loss of their son. Below she shares 20 things not to say to someone who has just lost a loved one. I’m reminded that Job’s three friends actually comforted Job when they sat with him and wept with him in silence ( Job 2:11-13). It was when they opened their mouths that they caused Job pain. May Jan’s list below be a caution to each of us before we open our mouths.)
My son Jeffrey died three months ago at age 24. His death was unexpected and tragic and left his family shocked and devastated. Our lives have been changed forever.
I have been blessed by the comforting presence of my priest, fellow chaplains, good friends. They have known that there are no words that can truly help so they show their love by hugs, touches, and smiles. They do not need details and do not expect me to ‘get over this and move on’ any time soon.
The comments I have listed below were made by people who I also consider friends: fellow churchgoers, neighbors, relatives. I do believe they thought they were being of comfort, but they were not. I do not believe they meant to cause me even more pain, but they did.
I know some bother me because of my own theology but still I think we need to be sensitive to everyone’s beliefs. Here is the list:
- You don’t seem to be yourself anymore. What’s wrong?
- You aren’t smiling as much as you used to. What’s wrong?
- God wanted another angel in heaven.
- Jeffrey was too good for this world.
- God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle.
- God will lead you to it and then He’ll get you through it.
- Jeffrey would not want you to be sad (or grieving or angry).
- God is testing your faith.
- God is testing your call to ministry.
- I wonder why God took Jeffrey and not (fill in the blank).
- Now you have your own guardian angel looking after you.
- Now what exactly caused his death?
- I understand exactly how you feel. My grandma died when she was 96 and it just killed me.
- Stay busy and you’ll feel better quicker.
- Well, at least you have one child left.
- How’s your marriage doing? A lot of times, people divorce after the death of a child.
- Well, it won’t be that long before you join Jeffrey in heaven.
- Was Jeffrey baptized?
- Where’s God when you need Him?
- Why did God let this happen?