She Leads…As a Team Player

By Becky Luke
Women’s Ministries Secretary – Kroc Corps, Honolulu HI

As a child, I always wanted to be the leader. Whether it be on the school playground playing follow the leader, a team captain on the field or even a leader on a special project. It gave me great joy to be able to lead. But not knowing how to be an effective leader does pose a challenge.

On the school playground, I would gather a bunch of kids together, elect myself as leader and begin dictating what we were going to do. Not once did I stop to ask anyone what they wanted or if they had any ideas. I was six and didn’t know what leadership was other than telling people what to do. I didn’t notice the facial expressions or whispers from my frustrated and irritated followers if I got upset when things didn’t go my way. I had a goal in mind but didn’t know how to communicate it. At this point, being a bossy leader was not fun. I soon found myself standing alone at recess while everyone else were having fun just running around playing a simple game of tag.

As I got older, my social interactions definitely improved. I was liked by my teammates, always encouraging and good at the game. When I was chosen to be team captain by my coach, I was excited and congratulated by my teammates. They were happy for me and I was ready to lead my team. Until……. It was game time. I thought that being a leader was leading my team to victory. But didn’t know that victory wasn’t defined as winning the game. When the game started, I lost myself. I was not being encouraging or motivating and the trust and respect I once received from my teammates was gone. I yelled from the sidelines, made disappointing noises and flailed my arms in the air when a ball was missed or opportunity to score was wasted. As our players came off the field for a break, you could see the frustration and irritation on their faces. No one spoke to me. After the game, my coach pulled me aside and explained to me what I did wrong on that particular day. Knowing I had failed embarrassed me. But I sucked it up and owned up to my failure. It was awkward at the next practice as I stood in front of the team and apologized for my actions.

Once I started working, I was starting to recognize characteristics of an effective leader. Dictating and yelling was not an effective way to lead. I was given a great opportunity to build a team to work on a special project. I felt I was ready to take on leadership. Excited and eager to begin, I gathered the best of the best and built an amazing team. We worked together to brainstorm ideas and suggestions. Everyone had a voice. After all, these people were the best of the best. Everything was going well. The team was making great progress. Goals set forth by the team were being met. Then, issues began to arise with the production. Afraid that the project wasn’t going to finish on time, I began to panic. Knowing I wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, I asked everyone to stay late. The work needed to get done. Not once did I consider obligations the team may have had outside of work. Morale went down. Progress slowed. Project wasn’t completed on time.

These were times in my life where my leadership capacity differed. Looking back, I see progress in my ability to lead but I still didn’t meet the mark. Through the examples set before me, along with leadership trainings, I realized that building great relationships, honesty, accepting candid feedback, valuing the strengths of others, leading by example, being transparent, showing respect for others, good communication, positivity and so much more are all part of what makes a great leader. You must also be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. When you figure out what those are, own it and work on it with God’s help.

In times of failure and defeat, I turn to Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart. And don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and He will give you success, to give me comfort and encouragement. I know God is always there to help me in these hard times and has always been faithful.

July 2022 Inspire Newsletter

For the month of July we are focusing on how hope is like an anchor.

We have this hope as an anchor for our soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19a

In this Inspire Newsletter you will find clever anchor craft ideas, an encouraging word, and monthly Bible trivia questions about seafarers in the Bible.

As always, we include inspirational ideas from Women’s Ministries around the USA Western Territory to inspire you and your Women’s Ministries Group to try something new.

“Hope is called the anchor of the soul because it gives stability to the Christian life. But hope is not simply a ‘wish’ I wish that such-and-such would take place rather, it is that which latches on to the certainty of the promises of the future that God has made.” R.C. Sproul

Download this month’s newsletter:

Need previous issues of the INSPIRE Newsletter?  They can be found at the following links: June 2022,  May 2022April 2022March 2022, February 2022, January 2022December 2021, November 2021October 2021September 2021August 2021July 2021June 2021May 2021, April 2021March 2021February 2021, January 2021 December 2020November 2020October 2020September 2020August 2020July 2020June 2020May 2020April 2020March 2020February 2020January 2020December 2019November 2019October 2019October 2018-September 2019

July 2022 Devotional: A Godly Character

By Major Millie Bearchell
Personnel Officer – College for Officer Training

“The true test of a man’s (persons) character is what he does when no one is looking.”
UCLA former basketball coach John Wooden

There was a brief period in time when Brian and I were not Salvation Army officers due to a family situation that needed to be addressed. During the seven years, Brian completed his master’s degree and obtained his teaching credentials and began a new career as an elementary school teacher. I worked at a large mega church as the director of their care and concern ministry department. Together, we had the arduous journey of “beginning again” with a new direction and journey in life.

During this time, we attended the church where I was employed, and we eventually became involved in ministry as much as our schedules allowed. Money was very tight to say the least, as we had to relocate homes, find jobs, and make the adjustment to living with a substantial increase in monthly financial obligations.

We have always relied on God and growing up we were taught the importance and value of tithing. I would have to say, that this time in our lives, as older, mature adults, we relied on God more than we ever had. We never wavered though in our tithing. Even though we were attending a mega church, with a large budget and our tithe was small in comparison, it never occurred to us to not tithe. There were times, when we only had $20.00 for gas, or $75.00 for food, but we never went hungry and not once did we suffer or lack for our needs being met. Times were tough, but Scripture and prayer were my (our) lifesavers.

“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4

The word “character” is from the Greek word dokime, which is a noun. The verb form is dokimazo, which means: “to be approved, to put to the test for the purpose of approving.” Thus, it means: “proven character”. It is through the trials of life that we mature in Christian character.

Do suffering and trials always cause a believer to mature? Could suffering and trials have a negative effect on Christians? Sure, they could. Hebrews 3:12 (NKJV) says, “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.

The author is writing to believers telling them to constantly be watching out lest there be found in them an evil heart of unbelief. Listen, believers, we ALL have the potential to doubt God, the capacity to unbelieve. We are capable of doubting God, and it is particularly under the pressures of stress and trouble that can cause our hearts to harden and our character to be tarnished.

Using our story as an example, God sees each of our hearts. He is a God of love and grace. He never gives up on us and no matter what circumstance comes our way, or we find ourselves in this day, God is developing and molding our character so we can be more like Him. May we hold onto the promises and keep our eyes focused on Him so that we can claim the promise of Romans 5:5, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

July 2022 Bible Study: Shine Like a Star

By Major Beth Desplancke
Territorial Women’s Ministries Program Secretary

A Bible Study on the Book of Esther

Summer is here and the sun is shining. What about the sunshine do you enjoy (or perhaps don’t enjoy)?
Jesus is the light of the world, and He tasks His followers, believers, to shine His light to others (Matthew 5:14-16). What does it mean to shine?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines shine as: 1. To emit rays of light; 2. To be bright by reflection of light; 3. To be eminent, conspicuous, or distinguished; to perform extremely well; 4. To have a bright glowing appearance; 5. To be conspicuously evident or clear.

When Jesus calls us to shine it is because He wants us to be world changers. A beautiful example of someone who shone brightly and changed the world is Esther.

We probably know the story of Esther, but basically, King Xerxes banished his wife, Vashti, and he needed a new queen (Esther chapter 1). A beauty pageant was held to find the next queen.

Read Esther 2:2-4.
After 12 months of beauty treatments, Esther was able to go before the king and ultimately, she was chosen to be the queen of Persia. Yes, she was beautiful on the outside, but that is not what made her shine.

Haddasseh was her Jewish name; Esther is her Persian name. Esther’s name means “star,” and she shines brightly in dark circumstances; God used her dramatically to save the Jews. Let’s look at four “star” qualities that Esther had, that we too should have in our Christians lives, as we shine brightly for the Lord.

Her Faith.

Read Esther 2:5-7.
⦁ What do we learn about Esther and Mordecai in these verses?

In these verses we see the first ray of light in a pagan, godless land. In chapter 1 we see scenes of wealth, pride, drunkenness and gluttony, betrayal, rage and conniving politicians. Then suddenly we meet the cousins Esther and Mordecai. They are Jews; they are God’s chosen people. We too, live in a dark, sin-filled, world, and today our world, our communities need the light of Christ.

⦁ What does Ephesians 5:8 challenges us to do?

Esther demonstrated faith in her God, no matter what she experienced. She was taken from her home, to live in the palace. Despite not being surrounded by other believers, and being surrounded by the life of the palace, nowhere do we see Esther compromise in her lifestyle. We don’t see her acting like the others

Read Esther 2:8-10, 15, 17.

⦁ What did Esther not do?

⦁ Two times in these verses what does it say about how people responded to Esther (v. 9, 17)?

She won their favor; it wasn’t because of who she was, it was who she had shining in her and through her – the Lord. She is remaining distinct, and without revealing her Jewish identity, people see something different in her. She never panics when taken from her home, or when difficulty arises. She trusts in God and that is all she needs. Her faith in the Lord carries her through, and it is her faith in the Lord that helps with her next star quality.

Her Courage.

⦁ How would you define courage?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Bethany Hamilton, the professional surfer who lost an arm to a shark attack said, “Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.”
Esther was such a woman. In chapter 3 we discover an evil plot – Haman wants to destroy all the Jews. In chapter 4 we see that Mordecai hears of this plot and is mourning. Esther hears of Mordecai’s distress, and she too becomes upset, and wants to know why Mordecai is so distraught.

Read Esther 4:5-16.

⦁ What does Esther learn from Mordecai?

⦁ Why was Esther hesitant to act at first?

⦁ What was Mordecai’s wise words to Esther?

⦁ How did Esther act courageously?

This is a dark world, and bad things will happen, but we don’t need to be afraid. We have the Lord who journeys with us, and He has already defeated our enemy.

⦁ What does 1 John 4:4 tell us?

⦁ What does Peter tell us in 1 Peter 3:14-16 about facing difficulties?

⦁ What words of comfort does Jesus offer us in Matthew 10:26-31?

I have read that there are 365 “fear nots” in the Bible – one for each day of the year. We need not fear anything or anyone, if we have God on our side. And the best way to shine the light of Christ, is not to be fearful when the world around us seems like it is spinning out of control. In her faith, Esther trusted God and knew that God was in control. Because of her faith, she had courage to act. Part of our shining as lights is having the wisdom to know when to act.

Her Wisdom.

Esther demonstrates wisdom over and over again, by listening to Mordecai’s advice and guidance

⦁ What does the book of Proverbs tell us about listening to wise advice? Read Proverbs 12:15 and 13:20.

Esther’s wisdom comes through prayer. Esther didn’t panic in face of danger, and she didn’t rush ahead without thinking. She showed wisdom by waiting to act.

Read Esther 5:1-4.

⦁ How long did Esther wait to act?

⦁ What had she been doing according to chapter 4 before she approached the king?

Prayer should always be our first response; not worrying. We can shine the spotlight on the Lord if we are people of prayer rather than people of panic.

⦁ What does Philippians 4:6 tell us to not do and to do?

So, this wise woman invites the King and Haman to a banquet, and then the king asks her what she wants.

⦁ How does Esther respond to the king’s question (Esther 5:7-8)?

In chapter 7 we see Esther holding the second banquet, and this time she acts and speaks up and tells the king what Haman is plotting.

Read Esther 7:1-8.

⦁ This time when the King asks what Esther wants, how does Esther respond?

The king issues a second decree in Esther 8, allowing the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves. Through Esther’s wisdom, the Jews were spared, and God’s light was shone to a dark world.

Her Speech.

Nowhere in 10 chapters of Esther’s story will you find anger or agitation, violence or panic, rashness or reaction. Esther knew that out-of-control emotions wouldn’t help her avert disaster. She chose gentle, persistent, persuasive and sweet speech.

⦁ What does Proverbs 13:3 say about our words?

Notice what words are not recorded about Esther; not once is she recorded as moaning and groaning or complaining about her situation.

⦁ What does Paul advise us to do as believers in Philippians 2:14-15?

God needs bright lights shining for Him in this dark world. Things aren’t any brighter than in Esther’s days. And God calls all of us to shine, to be a star – not a star that says “Look how great I am,” but a star that points others to God.

Jill Briscoe writes, “Have you ever looked at your particular situation and realized that God wants to use you on the stage of history in a way similar to the way He used Esther? People are dying in the darkness, and He wants to hang us up like stars at night to bring attention to the Light of the world – Jesus! What a sense of worth it brings us, to realize that like Esther we are center stage in God’s thinking… for just “such a time as this!’”

Questions to Ponder
⦁ How can you shine your faith this week so others will see God?
⦁ What courageous task is God calling you to this week, where you can shine Him?
⦁ How will you shine God through wise decisions this week?
⦁ How will you shine God and His love through the words you speak or the words you choose not to speak this week?

In closing pray this prayer of joyful surrender by Mother Teresa of Calcutta:
Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that my life may only be a radiance of yours. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with
may feel your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus. Amen.

Download a printable version of this Bible Study:


July 2022 Craft: Suncatchers

By Becky Luke
Corps Program Coordinator
Ray & Joan Kroc Center, HI – Hawaiian & Pacific Islands Division

Supplies Needed:

  • Coloring pages printed on basic white printer paper. Picture needs to fit in the mason jar lid. If your coloring pages are too large for the mason jar lid, custom print at a lower percentage.
  • Mason jar lids (wide or regular mouth)
  • Any type of oil – this is the element to make your coloring page translucent
  • Cotton balls
  • Scissors
  • Twine or Ribbon
  • Glue – Tacky Glue
  • Paper towel – to protect work area and absorb excess oil

Instructions:

  1. Color your coloring page using watercolor paints, markers or any other material you choose.
  2. Once colored, use a cotton ball to apply oil to your art. Make sure to cover all the paper. You don’t have to drench the paper, just cover completely. Dab excess oil up with a paper towel or tissue and allow to dry for about 5 minutes.
  3. Using the mason jar lid, trace a circle around the art and then cut the circle, inside the line so the art fits inside the mason lid.
  4. Apply a little bit of glue inside the lid and place the art in the lid, art side facing outward.
  5. Wrap twine around the lid, tie a knot to hold in place. Leave at least 4″ of twice and tie a knot at the top so you can hang your sun catcher.

Download printable instructions of this craft.

More Than Conquerors – IHQ Bible Studies

More than Conquerors is a collection of 23 Bible studies developed by women from different parts of our Salvation Army world. Unlike previous collections, Let Justice Roll and Time to be Holy, the 2022 studies are written exclusively by women under 40-years-old, providing an intentional platform for younger voices.

Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, World President of Women’s Ministries, writes:

Being ‘more than conquerors’ is not about pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps and trying harder, neither is it about coming up with the right plan to make something happen. It is not about us at all! Paul declares in Romans 8:37 that we are ‘more than conquerors through him who loved us’. Being ‘more than conquerors’ is recognizing Jesus is with us even in the grit of the battle and that it is only with his help that we pull through and keep pressing on. Jesus is true to his promises as he lifts our heads and helps us see beyond the giants, the obstacles and the trials that loom before us.

Go to https://salvationarmy.org/ihq/more-than-conquerors For the Bible Studies in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Swedish. Tamil and Swahili.

Also check out previous IHQ Bible studies: Let Justice Roll (2021) and Take Time to Be Holy (2020)

She Leads… By Including All

By Major Nancy Helms
Spiritual Care Director – College for Officer Training

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2: 3-7

Some of the greatest lessons on leadership have been passed on to me from my son Cameron, who has special needs. Cam was born with profound deafness, cerebral palsy and cognitive delays – none of which have stopped him from achieving mammoth milestones throughout his life journey. I was recently taking a walk with Cam, and about halfway through our walk we ran into one of his martial arts friends and mentors on her way to class (we live on the grounds of the campus his class is on). I totally spaced out and forgot it was karate night (insert facepalm to the forehead). In my brain I’m going back and forth – “should I run ¾ of a mile home, get his stuff and meet up with him to get him changed, or just forget it?” I knew he would be devastated if he missed his class, so I decided to hurry home and retrieve his gear.

Much to my surprise, Cam walked in the door of our house right behind me. No joke, that’s the fastest ¾ mile he has walked in a very long time. He was sweating profusely, and we still had to get him dressed. It takes me quite a while just to get his gloves on, as his left hand has little dexterity, and as soon as I get one finger in, another pops out; but together we made it happen.

I wish I could transport all of you to his class that night so that you too, could see the greatest lesson on leadership I have ever witnessed. His instructor had him demonstrate for the rest of the group some of the moves they had been working on – a solo, so to speak. The instructor also had Cam come up in front of everyone and proceeded to have him lead the group in tandem with him, which empowered Cam beyond what you can imagine. Cam was a step behind in his moves and somewhat clumsy compared to most, which is to be expected with someone that has cognitive and physical delays; but he nailed the moves in his time and with his individual ability. The best part was when the entire class, children and adults, cheered with passion, while giving Cam the American Sign Language applause (hands raised in the air and waving). As I watched from my parked care, tears welled up. I thought to myself, “this is Church and leadership at its best – teaching, encouraging, loving, equipping and including.”

“This is Church and leadership at its best – teaching, encouraging, loving, equipping and including.”

Major Nancy Helms
Cameron Helms and Cadet David Culley (who will be commissioned as a Lt. in The Salvation Army June 5, 2022)

I went to bed thanking God for those in Cam’s life who have noticed him, invited him and included him – those who have recognized his abilities, rather than his disabilities – those who have realized that Cam, too, can lead and influence others. I thanked him for his martial arts buddies, who take turns coming alongside Cam on Monday and Thursday nights, sacrificing their personal training to focus on him. Then again, when we take time to teach and serve others, perhaps we are gaining skills and growing as leaders in ways could never imagine.

For just a moment that night, Cam was a leader – he had a place at the table where he belonged 100 percent. It was powerful experience for this mom to witness. I know without a doubt it is a moment in time he will tuck away in his heart and mind for years to come. He will feel empowered from the memory and encouraged from those around him who cheered him on. When I thanked his instructor for his part in nurturing Cam, he said, “When my life plan was to own a martial arts school, I planned to have a special needs inclusion program for students exactly like Cameron. It’s funny how God reworks our dreams to be better than we could have imagined them ourselves.” His instructor is now training to become a minister of the gospel in The Salvation Army, and I have the privilege of partnering in ministry with him.

“When my life plan was to own a martial arts school, I planned to have a special needs inclusion program for students exactly like Cameron. It’s funny how God reworks our dreams to be better than we could have imagined them ourselves.”

Cadet David Culley

This experience reminded me of how Jesus often led, making every individual feel as if they belonged and had a seat of influence. One of my favorite books is, In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership, by Henri Nouwen. Nouwen was well known in the academic world, having been a professor at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard. He left his notoriety to serve in a home filled with disabled individuals. He said, “Their liking or disliking of me had absolutely nothing to do with any of the many useful things I had done until then…These broken, wounded, and completely unpretentious people forced me to let go of my relevant self – the self that can do things, show things, prove things, build things – and forced me to reclaim that unadorned self in which I am completely vulnerable, open to receive and give love regardless of any accomplishments…I am convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God’s love.” That is the epitome of a servant leader!

I’m so glad I decided to hurry home and get Cam dressed for martial arts that night. It’s one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. Not only did I get to see Cam lead; I also saw a great example from Cam’s leader, as well as those around him, on how to lead from a posture of humility – allowing the student to become the teacher. It was a humbling moment and a teaching moment, for sure.

June 2022 Inspire Newsletter

It’s summer time! This month’s newsletter focuses on the ocean. If you aren’t blessed enough to be able to visit a beach in person, you can make some beach inspired crafts to brighten your home. Enjoy some Bible trivia about bodies of water mentioned in the Bible, and be reminded about the fact God is greater and mightier than the ocean.

Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. Psalm 89:8-9

Download this month’s newsletter:

Need previous issues of the INSPIRE Newsletter?  They can be found at the following links: May 2022, April 2022March 2022, February 2022, January 2022December 2021, November 2021October 2021September 2021August 2021July 2021June 2021May 2021, April 2021March 2021February 2021, January 2021 December 2020November 2020October 2020September 2020August 2020July 2020June 2020May 2020April 2020March 2020February 2020January 2020December 2019November 2019October 2019October 2018-September 2019

September 2022 Game: Jeopardy – Back to School Edition

By Major Rachel Gallop
Denver, CO Adult Rehabilitation Center

Instead of a craft this month, have fun in your Women’s Ministries with this animated (including sound) Jeopardy game (in PowerPoint).

Categories include: History, Science, Bible, Music Appreciation, American Literature, and The Salvation Army.

Have fun recalling facts you may have learned in the past as well as, perhaps, learning new information.

Download the PowerPoint Game (250mb)