Monday, January 26, 2015

A Big Mistake Any Leader Can Make...

You can talk to ten different people on the topic of leadership and get ten very different takes on it from each of them. I've been reflecting a lot on the topic of leadership a lot lately as the Lord continues to shape, mold and change me. Humbly I must say that some of my views on leadership have been wrong in the past and I definitely want to grow from the mistakes I've made. When Jesus came to earth, why did He come? The Jews wanted Him to lead and end the tyranny of the Romans. But Jesus came to love people. Yes, He did come to lead, but first and foremost came to love. If you want to become a better and more effective leader, study and follow Jesus leadership example. His leadership was one based on both love and servant leadership. Because He loved people, He served them. We live in a culture where leadership seems to be more about others serving leaders instead of the other way around. I'm continually challenged by Philippians 2:3-11 which shows us how Jesus led..."Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God,  he did not think of equality with God  as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privilegeshe took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,  he humbled himself in obedience to God  and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor  and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." I've experienced first hand how easy it is to focus more on a position or title. Being more focussed on others serving you rather than me serving others. An effective leader is full of humility and is always putting the best interests of others before their own. At times I've been a leader but haven't loved and that's a dangerous place for me to be. But thanks to several key people the Lord has recently put in my life, I see that leadership is nothing without love. And without love there will be no serving others. Love is the key ingredient to leadership. I can never forget the strong warnings and insights found in 1 Corinthians 13:1-7, "If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." NLT. In the season I'm personally in, I'm learning to become a better and more effective leader by following Jesus example of loving and serving others :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

What Are You Doing Here? Who invited you?

What are you doing here? Who invited you? You don't belong here! These are comments we hear continually from others. They try to make you feel unwelcome and want you to know that because of who you are or what you've done, that you don't belong. Their words and actions cut like a sharp blade. Their stares shred you to pieces. Their gossip and slander behind your back try to make you small, insignificant and unworthy. BUT there is good news! Yesterday at church someone sang a song that resounded to the very core of who I am. God loves me and His desire is to spend time with me. He cares about me and invites me daily to spend time at His table. He never asks why we came. When it comes down to it, who cares about the negative words of others? Who cares about what others do to harm, hurt or attack you? It's the Lord who matters. We need to focus on what He says about us. He must be the one we live for and not the approval of others. With people they praise you one day and the next they'll throw you under the bus. But God loves us every single day. We're His prized possessions. He cares so much for us. Please be encouraged and take a moment to listen to Leeland's song which touched me greatly yesterday...

Monday, January 12, 2015

Nosy people...

I think we've all experienced nosy people. People who have itching ears trying to find out what's happening in someone else's life. As an adjective "nosy" simple means, "(of a person or their behavior) showing too much curiosity about other people's affairs." As a verb it means, "to pry into something." Why do people want to know so much about you and pry into your life? They want to know what you're doing, where you're going, who you're talking to, who you're hanging out with and so on. It's simply because they're nosy! They feel can feel like they're the NSA of the public sector. I think the Bible clearly refers to nosy people in using the term "busybodies" found in 2 Thessalonians 3:11, 1 Timothy 5:13 and 1 Peter 4:15. It refers to those who continually meddle in the affairs of others. Being a busybody can quickly put you on dangerous ground so the warning against being one should be heeded. Have you ever thought why people are nosy? I believe there are four reasons explaining the answer. Firstly, people are just curious. They want to know what's going on because of their curiosity. Secondly, they feel like it's some kind of accomplishment for them to know all about what's happening in someone else's life. Thirdly, they're nosy because they want to gossip about what they know about others. And lastly, they feel that the more they know, that in some way they may actually be able to help that person. I realize that sometimes there are settings where people try to find out as much as they can because their intentions are good and they mean well. For example, a doctor asking a patient questions to try and find out the reason they're sick and what they can do to alleviate the sickness. But in most cases, nosy people never do things for the benefit of another. They want to know for their own benefit. Unfortunately, in the past I've been found guilty of this. But now I see how dangerous and damaging being nosy can be. I'm thankful for the Lord's forgiveness in this and if you've ever felt I've been nosy with you, please forgive me also. Don't be a nosy person or a busybody. Isn't there enough for us to focus on in our own lives?

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Trap to Avoid...

I've seen too many people associate their worth and value with things they shouldn't. Your worth and identity shouldn't be found in what you do, what others say or what you have. Your identity should be found in Christ and nothing else. Unfortunately I've seen too many people base their identities and worth on things they have, things they've done and are doing, or even their titles or positions. As easy as it is to get caught up in this, we must always be alert to not fall into its trap. What if we focussed on those things God says when it comes to our value and worth? What if life wasn't all about what we have or are doing, and was all about Jesus? One of the most important lessons I've learned recently is how our lives can become so busy doing and doing. Yet in all our doing we can forget the One who shows us what we're to do. Even if many of the things I was doing were good, beneficial and rewarding, what's the point in doing them if I'm not spending time with Him and doing those things He has for me? As you read the Bible and see those things God says about you, believe them. If He says He loves you, then He loves you. It's not conditional or based on something we do. If He says He'll never leave us nor forsake us, then He won't. If He says your sins are forgiven, then they're forgiven. You are so valuable and precious to the Lord. Period! Don't ever let someone tell you differently. Check out the lyrics to one of my favorite songs and let the Lord speak to you through it :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Does Disagreeing Mean You're Bitter Or Offended?

I think there's a lot of confusion when it comes to disagreeing with someone or something and being bitter or offended. Often people think that when someone does disagree that they are for some reason bitter or offended. I do think that disagreement can definitely lead to someone being bitter or offended if they're not careful. However, saying someone is bitter or offended simply because they disagree with someone or something is absurd. Think about times when you disagree with your spouse. It certainly doesn't mean you're bitter and offended with them, does it? It's funny that some people might think you are though. Disagreement does not equate to bitterness and offense. Don't read into it and make it a bigger deal than it really is. I think we can learn from the example of John Mark with Paul and Barnabas. Sure there was disagreement but I don't think there was bitterness or offense between anyone. If you see how things ended up with these men, their disagreements were just that and nothing else. But as I started off, disagreement can lead to bitterness or offense, but only if you'll let it. My encouragement to you is don't allow it! Bitterness and offense is a horrible place to be. It's a prison! Disagreements are part of life, but bitterness and offense make life miserable.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Your Personal Convictions Should Be Your Personal Convictions and Not Someone Else's

As a parent I'm always helping and supporting my kids as they develop their personal convictions to help them live out their walk as Christians. I realize that personal convictions are important, but they must be what they are called, personal. Melanie Stone defines personal convictions as, "...a specific boundary of behavior that God has set for a person individually; however it is not necessarily a commandment defined in the Bible, nor is it a behavior meant for others to follow." Unfortunately too many people seem to be confused when it comes to personal convictions. Firstly, they are often based on Bible verses, but are often personalized. For example, if the Bible says we're to live holy, a personal conviction could be developed to achieve this. It may look like not watching R rated movies., but again, that should be your choice. And how it may look for one person may look completely different for another, which is fine. Secondly, personal convictions are just that, convictions, and are not Bible. The Bible is the infallible word of God, whereas personal convictions are developed from the Bible, but are not equal to the Bible or higher than the Bible. Another thing that arises with personal convictions is when people think others should live out their personal convictions instead of their own. If this were the case they wouldn't be called "personal" convictions. It doesn't mean that people can't adopt someone else's convictions, it simply means they shouldn't feel like they have to or should live out someone else's. Never should a person try to put their own personal convictions on someone else. Personal convictions should be personal with the goal of growing as and living as a Christian. If you don't have personal convictions I highly recommend you develop some. They should have the goal and purpose of helping you live victoriously as a Christian. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hearing Problems

Too often we hear people say, "I can't hear you," but actually what they're really saying is more like, "I don't want to hear you!" I'm seeing more and more examples of this in every arena of our culture. People plugging their ears because they don't want to hear what's being said (and I don't mean garbage talk). I'm sure from time to time I've been guilty of this myself, but definitely now realize the dangers involved when we choose to do it. What would make someone not want to listen to what you're saying? Maybe they feel threatened by your words or perhaps it's not wanting to hear the truth? Busyness could also bring this into play and so could pride. In fact there are many reasons people don't want to listen to what others say, but what's important is seeing and understanding what things we need to listen to. The perspective and view of others could be the very thing that helps us keep on course and grow as a person. How are you when others want to bring a different opinion, perspective or idea (and I'm not taking about what the Bible clearly says, but the practical living of such things). Things that are more personal preference or philosophy? Helping with life, your choices and decisions, your schedule, taking care of yourself, your marriage, and practical parenting, what you should and shouldn't do, etc. Are you quick to plug your ears? Perhaps you're formulating your response as they speak ignoring all that's being said? When others come to you don't be so quick to move your fingers up to your ears. That person may have something you need to hear. I know recently I've worked on this and greatly benefitted from it :) Try it and see what happens...