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by  Steve Shermett, AMC President

"Core values are enduring beliefs which your institution-and the people who inhabit it-hold in common and  endeavor to put into action. Core values guide your institution's... staff [and] administrators... in performing their work"    (The Web Glossary for Higher Education).

1. INTEGRITY  - honesty and blamelessness

As servants of God, our character is of utmost importance "for an overseer must be blameless, as a steward of God" (Titus 1:7).

Abraham Lincoln said that for a man to train up a child in the way he or she should go, he must walk that way himself.

Ted W. Engstrom wrote:

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost;
When health is lost, something is lost;
When character is lost, all is lost.

In ancient China, the people desired security from the barbaric hordes to the north; so they built the great Chinese wall. It was so high that they knew no one could climb over it, and so thick that nothing could break it down. They settled back to enjoy their security. During the first hundred years of the wall's existence, China was invaded three times. Not once did the barbaric hordes break down the wall or climb over the top. Each time, they bribed a gatekeeper and then marched right through the gates. The Chinese were so busy relying upon the wall of stone that they forgot to teach integrity to their children.

"He who walks in integrity walks securely; but he who perverts his ways will be found out" (Prov. 10:9).

2. KINDNESS - concern and compassion

Integrity without compassion is heartless.

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Messiah's sake has forgiven you" (Eph. 4:32).

If we can't get along well, we can't work together well. "Love is kind" (1 Cor. 13:4).

"But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you are not destroyed by each other" (Gal. 5:15).

Kindness is the only language that the blind can see and the deaf can hear. "Therefore, as God's chosen ones, holy and loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience" (Col. 3:12).

While boarding a moving train one day, one of Mohandas Gandhi's shoes slipped off and fell on the train tracks. As he was unable to retrieve it, Gandhi - to the astonishment of his fellow travelers - calmly removed his other shoe and threw it down the track to where the first had landed. "The poor man who finds the shoe lying on the track," Gandhi explained, "will now have a pair he can use."

   C. R. Gibson wrote:
I have wept in the night for the shortness of sight
That to somebody's need made me blind;
But I never have yet felt a twinge of regret
For being a little too kind.

3. DILIGENCE - persistence and endurance

   President Calvin Coolidge wrote:
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve
the problems of the human race.

It took Moses 40 years to get the children of Israel through the wilderness

It took Noah 120 years to build the Ark. What if Noah quit? Where would you be?

Wayne Gretzky, the great Hockey player said, "You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take."

Celebrated photographer, Jacob Riis, quoted in Reader's Digest, said, "I look at a stone cutter hammering away at a rock a hundred times without so much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the 101st blow, it splits in two. I know it was not the one blow that did it, but all that had gone before." The apostle James said, "Take the an example of endurance" (Jas. 5:10).

When things go wrong,
As they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile,
But you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest if you must,
But Don't You Quit!

Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up through the pace seems slow
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup
And he learned too late when the night came down
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit
It's when things seem the worst
That You Mustn't Quit!

4. INNOVATION - transformation and creativity

   In his article, "Let Innovation Thrive," Stewart McKie wrote:
Business leaders today put a value on activities that encourage innovation.... A 2003 study by Cheskin and Fitch Worldwide found that 26 percent of companies define innovation as a solution that identifies and addresses the unmet needs of consumers, while 23 percent defined it as a process for the "advancement, improvement, or better way of doing things."

According to Webster's Dictionary, 'innovation' is "change made by the introduction of something new; change in established laws, customs, rites or practices."

God is innovative: He spoke via a burning bush! He spoke via a donkey. He gave Israel a Covenant, then a New Covenant. God made a change for the better "by the introduction of something new."

"But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises" (Heb. 8:6).

Innovation is a better way of doing things. Let's always pursue a better way of serving God and of bringing his message to others.

5. EXCELLENCE - quality and distinction

Martin Luther King, Jr. said:

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, "Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well."

"Only mediocrity can be trusted to be always at its best" (Sir Max Beerbohm).

In our service to God we can strive for one of three things:
1. Lousiness.
2. Mediocrity.
3. Excellence.

Which of those three would you prefer your employees choose? Your restaurant manager? Your doctor? Which do you feel attracts people more: lousiness, mediocrity or excellence? Which do you believe is more successful? Which, then, should we choose in our service to God?

Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields) said, "Good enough never is."

The work and lives of great men are marked by a dedication to excellence. Abraham Lincoln said, "I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my very best each and every day." Max L. Lucado said, "The quest for excellence is a mark of maturity." And Og Mandino: "Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later."

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58).

Have a job to do? God chose the best for His job! He wanted excellence in the building of the tabernacle and Temple, and He gifted men with supernatural skills to do the work excellently.

And King Solomon sent and brought Hiram out of Tyre.... And he was filled with wisdom and understanding, and cunning to work all works in bronze. And he came to King Solomon and did all his work. (1 Kings 7:13-14)

Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "See, I have called by name Bezalel.... I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship. And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab... and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you" (Ex. 31:1-6).

K (kindness) + I (integrity) + D (diligence) + I (innovation) + E (excellence) = KIDIE

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