Monday, July 12, 2010

Youthful Leadership with April Berends and Drew Bunting

This past week began with fireworks in Grand Lake. Absolutely amazing! Grand Lake consistently puts on one of the best Fourth of July celebrations in the area, and they don’t seem to be keeping that a secret as thousands and thousands of people gather year after year. Most of the Calvin group found their place along the lake, amid the masses, to watch the boat pull the firework barge across the water for the entire crowd. Some bits of burning embers fell a little too close for comfort by the seated crowd, but I think that everyone would agree they witnessed a great display of explosive celebration.

On Monday, April Berends and Drew Bunting led the group in a discussion on Youthful Leadership—considering the strengths and difficulties of being a young leader. We were asked to consider Ephesians 3, specifically verses 20-21: Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than we could ask or imagine, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen

We discussed, as a group, thoughts on discernment about God’s plan for our lives, reflections on our personal gifts for leadership in God’s kingdom, ideas of a Ministry of Presence, and the concept of living in the present as participants in God’s future. Both April and Drew reminded us of the importance of paying attention to God’s work in our lives and that we should continually be humble and hopeful as the future belongs to God, not to our personal agendas.

We received a rare treat on Wednesday evening as Drew Bunting performed a concert for us. He played for us several of his songs that displayed both his self-ascribed quirky sense of humor and Christian beliefs. He plays in a way that surely demonstrates his love for God ad love for music. Finding that balance of being a Priest and song writer has not been without it’s challenges, as Drew himself said, but I believe, and I think everyone who attended his concert would agree, he has found it.

Friends and Family: though it might seem hard to believe, the Calvin College Leadership Challenge Institute is at its midpoint. We are entering into our sixth week and have our mid-summer retreat this coming Wednesday. Please pray that the words and wisdom of the speakers so far have been met with openness and discernment and that the speakers yet to come continue in the offering of their hearts to the Calvin Program. Pray that each member of the Calvin group is mindful of God’s presence and that their time here in the mountains is viewed as more than just a job for the summer. From April and Drew’s Presentation: Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine:  Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever

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Posted by David Hartwell on 07/12 at 12:39 PM
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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

SMR Week 4: Incarnate Leadership with John Witte

On June 28, John Witte, Dean of Residence Life at Calvin, shared with us ideas about Leadership using Christ as a model. Before discussing five aspects of Incarnate Leadership, John asked us to consider that we can’t always know how our present state will play into the greater story of our lives. Looking back at major moments—growing up, high school, choosing a college, choosing a major—has a way of reminding us that God was there. It’s often unclear how God’s presence played a role in major life events until after the fact, sometimes years after. John encouraged the group to remember that God is with us this summer. We are in Colorado, at Snow Mountain Ranch, belonging to the Leadership Challenge Institute for a purpose. Maybe it will take years, maybe less, to realize why we are here, but God is with us—working in and through us.

John Witte then delivered to us thoughts on leading like Jesus. Undoubtedly, as Christians, we desire to model our lives as our Savior has called us to. John pointed out to us aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry that are important to remember and model in our own lives. They are:

Jesus dwelt with those he led
Jesus’ disciples beheld him
The glory of Jesus was a reflection of his Father
Jesus led with grace and truth
From the manger to the cross, Jesus sacrificed.

Using John 1:14 as the basis, we worked through these points about Jesus’ life to try and understand how to be more effective, authentic Christian Leaders. John 1:14 says: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

On Wednesday morning, a group of Calvin students, with John Witte and his sons, kayaked atop the peaceful waters of Grand Lake. The sun was warm, the water still. It was a great morning to paddle amidst the mountains on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. The vacation homes that line the lake were nearly as awe-inspiring as the peaks that serve as their backdrop. However—and spending weeks in the Rocky Mountains has illustrated this point to us with absolute clarity— large houses, boats, and fancy cars may showcase an earthly wealth, but these mountains around which we live and play showcase a wealth of love that God has for His earth and His people.

Posted by David Hartwell on 07/06 at 03:37 PM
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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Steve Peterson: Leading with Integrity

Last Monday Chaplain Steve Peterson led the LCI group in a discussion about what it means to have integrity and how that relates to being an authentic Christian leader.

Integrity inspires trust and trust inspires confidence,” he said.

But before we got to that we spent some time discussing what integrity really means. We gave personal definitions—being consistent in words and actions, what you do even when no one is around to see, being unified, lacking corruption, the list goes on. All are good definitions, but defining integrity and living with integrity are drastically different things, the latter requiring living faithfully and living strong in our values.

And this brings us back to the quote on confidence. Having confidence in your leaders is crucial, and we, as leaders, aspire to be viewed as confident. Confidence, here, is not to be confused with arrogant or egotistical, but rather it has to do with a firm sense of unwavering trust, faith.

From Matthew 23 again, we learned about Jesus’ revulsion against hypocrisy. In this too, we as leaders need to focus on being integrity-building and not image-building. Remember, integrity inspires trust and trust inspires confidence.

Last Wednesday the Calvin Crew journeyed about 30 minutes down Highway 40 to Hot Sulphur Springs. Despite some slight mosquito irritation and the smell of sulphur, the 20+ natural hot tubs lining the mountain rocks were tranquilly peaceful. Not too shabby a way to end a day in the Rocky Mountains. 

Posted by David Hartwell on 07/01 at 11:50 AM
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