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Sunday
Jul192015

Getting "Older" but not getting "Old."

I’ll be 76 at the end of this year!

Older is a biological fact, whereas getter old is an attitude and state of mind, at least in my humble opinion.

Some say you are only as old as you feel so, in actuality I am 35. I have a lot of passion in my spirit, dreams in my heart and more miles left on my “tires” as Jesus continues to show His grace toward me and allows me more years.

Here are three passages of scripture which currently motivate me:

“They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.” (One translation has it ‘fresh and flourishing’) Psalm 92:14 (NIV)

By His grace and with the power of the Holy Spirit, I want to continue to be fruitful and flourishing, like an older tree with great fruit on its aging limbs.

“Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the Lord said to him, ‘You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess.’” Joshua 13:1 (ESV)

Even though I am older, there is much to do for the Kingdom and, like Caleb when he was 80, I want to continue to try impossible things, climb difficult mountains, do what I've never done--all for Jesus.

“So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.” Psalm 71:18 (ESV)

Since an integral part of my calling is leaving footprints in the hearts of God-hungry leaders, this verse has become a ministry life verse for me. Application-wise, I take “forsake me” as not being usable any more. I deeply want to be used in impacting the next generation of leaders through coaching, writing and teaching.

Now that we have camped a bit on the serious side, let me throw in a little humor. As I age, it’s important to keep my sense of humor and not be a dour old fart like some older people. I don’t want to become one.

 You can tell you’re getting older when… (Sources unknown)

  • Everything hurts…and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work!
  • You feel like the morning after and you didn’t go anywhere the night before!
  • You know all the answers, but nobody’s asking you any questions.
  • You sit in a rocking chair and you can’t get the darn thing going!
  • You burn the midnight oil until 9pm!
  • Your back goes out more often than you do!
  • After painting the town red, you have to take a long rest before applying a second coat!
  • You look forward to a dull evening.
  • When you have two choices you choose the one that gets you home earlier.
  • You realize that everyone has a photographic memory, but everyone doesn’t have film.
  • You’ve seen it all, done it all, but can’t remember most of it!
  • You understand that he who laughs last, thinks slowest!

I end with what I want to become as I age:

Lord, you know better than I do that I am growing older and will some day be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must have something to say on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from the craving to straighten out everybody’s life. Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it does seem a pity not to use it all, but I do want a few friends at the end!

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details. Give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing and the love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.

I don’t ask for improved memory, but for growing humility, and a lessened arrogance when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong!

Keep me reasonably sweet. I do not want to be a saint—some of them are so hard to live with. A bitter old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see the good things in unexpected places and gifting in ordinary people, and give me the grace to tell them so.

Amen

Adapted from a 17th century nun’s prayer…Author Unknown  

Saturday
Jul182015

How to identify "Character" in potential leaders

Character is still important and still prominent in the biblical passages on leadership. But how do you spot “Character” in potential future leaders?  Here is Dan Rockwell to help us identify character in leaders before we pick them and give them responsibilities.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

You dare stand with men and women of character. But, protect yourself from leaders who love position, rely on authority, and need admiration.

Character invites respect and loyalty.

Five ways to spot leaders with character:

  1. Under authority.
    • Fully embrace organizational values.
    • Speak well of those in authority.
    • Supportive of board decisions.
    • Publicly stand with decision where there was private disagreement.
  2. Able to press through resistance.
    • Tenacious when it comes to excellence.
    • Willing to suffer for principle without retaliation.
    • Serving others when it would be easier to serve self.
    • Prepared to disadvantage self for a higher cause.
  3. Open to correction.
    • Willing to acknowledge wrong.
    • Passionate about improvement.
    • Open with ideas they’re learning.
  4. Passionate about next steps.
    • Haven’t arrived.
    • Not self-sufficient.
    • Provide second chances.
    • Trust others who have expertise.
  5. Emotionally steady.
    • No tantrums.
    • Openness to suggestion.
    • Curious regarding disagreement.

A leader with character believes success is about others.

What do you look for in leaders with character?

 

Thursday
Jul162015

Everything looked good until chapter 11

He was one of the wisest men who ever lived.  He had a father who was not perfect, but had an incredible walk with the Lord. He authored three books of the Bible. 

He was on a roll in most areas,until chapter 11. 

 

In the first few verses we see it all come unraveled and slide toward political and personal disaster.

 I Kings 11:1 begins: "Now King Solomon loved many foreign women." One thousand to be exact! Are you kidding me? Seriously, one thousand wives, princesses and concubines. Some would say it was the cultural norm in those days for kings to have many wives. Maybe it was but, still, one thousand?!

My mind is still reeling from the practical, spiritual, physical and emotional implications of one being husband to thousand women. These women turned his heart from the Lord toward other gods; and, we are told in verse 9 of I Kings 11, that the Lord was angry with Solomon.

The wisest man (Solomon), the strongest man (Samson) and the man after God's own heart (David) all succumbed to sexual sin and paid dearly for it.

I was moved to simply pray for God's grace to be faithful to, and love, the one woman (Susan, my wife of 47 years) God put in my life.

Malachi 2:15b speaks to my heart: "...so guard yourself in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth." (“wife”—singular!)

Through the years, the number of leaders missing out on God's best because of sexual sin is unbelievably high.  By God's grace, I don't want to be one of them. I don't think you do either. 

Who is watching out for you and me, and asking the tough questions?

Are you skating on thin ice at the moment?

Are there things you are watching, things you are reading, things you are doing that need to be confessed and repented of?

 

Tuesday
Jul142015

What discouraged leaders can do to dig their way out?

Sooner or later discouragement will overtake most leaders. What, with God’s grace, can you do to dig your way out before it buries you? Here is Dan Rockwell to help us with that.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

The only reason encouragement matters is because discouragement is real.

Positive thinking addresses the reality of negative. Dark feelings give relevance and power to positive.

15 ways to dig out of discouragement:

  1. Address the problem of feeling like you’re the only one. Ask trusted friends if they ever feel discouraged.  In this sense, misery loves company.
  2. Change your environment. Get out. Get away. Change a routine.
  3. Sleep, but don’t over-sleep. Rest, but don’t over-rest.
  4. Take long walks.
  5. Lift someone else. Get outside yourself.
  6. Ride it out. Give yourself time.
  7. Be kind to others. Hold the door open. Smile at people. Say thank you often and loudly.
  8. Celebrate progress.
  9. Finish a task that you’ve been putting off.
  10. Let go anger. Forgive. Release bitterness. Just draw a line and start fresh with people. Don’t expect your pound of flesh.
  11. Protect yourself from blood suckers.
  12. Evaluate yourself. Use discouragement as motivation to reflect.
  13. Record what you’re learning about yourself and leadership.
  14. Remember that negative experiences often change us for the better.
  15. Pray.

Don’t:

  1. Beat yourself up because you feel discouraged.
  2. Wait for others to encourage you. Encourage yourself.
  3. Make important decisions.

What do you do to encourage yourself?

How do you encourage others?

 

 

Sunday
Jul122015

Here's to your health!

As I get older, it continues to be a huge value for me to experience ongoing transformation into Christlikeness though the power of the Holy Spirit. I have returned numerous times to the truth in Romans 12:2a, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (ESV)  From this verse, I connect continued transformation to what is going on in my mind…how I am thinking about things.

It is, therefore, no surprise that Paul says in Philippians 4:8 (ESV): “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”  (Underlining is mine)

For quite a few years, it has been my practice to (monthly) memorize a verse or short passage selected from what I have been reading in my Bible. As I learn the verse, meditate on it and seek His help in applying it to my life, I experience change in my thinking and, consequently, in my actions.

A verse that I memorized some years ago and continue to review is 3 John 2 in the ESV:

“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.”

Here is some of the “thinking” that has been happening in my old brain as I daily pray and meditate on this verse. Come on in and sit with me for a few moments…think along with me as I share how God is making some things clearer to me and raising some questions for me.

It seems to me that having things go well with me is not the same as having things go well for me. Circumstances might not be going well for me (what is happening to me) but it can go well with me (what is happening in me), depending on my attitude.

Regardless of what life throws my way, I have a choice in how I, by His grace, respond. Sometimes the thing causing the most damage is not happening outside of me, but inside of me.

As I have been thinking about “health,” I think not merely of physical health, but emotional, mental, spiritual and relational health.  I want to be holistically healthy. Poor health in any of these areas can have a significant impact on my total well-being. For example, there are what doctors call emotionally-induced illnesses, meaning there are actual physical issues which have their root cause in our emotions. 

Proverbs 14:30 (ESV), references this:

“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” 

The fact is I can, in essence, be physically fine but still be sick. Different kinds of health are clearly interrelated. Could John be making this connection when he says at the end of the verse “…that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.”

What do you think?

Here is the question I am asking myself: If it is going well with my soul, does that impact my overall health? Another way to put it would be, does poor soul health generate other kinds of poor health…emotional, physical, relational? Let me take it even a step further.  Does the health of my relationship with Jesus (soul health) have an impact on every other part of my total health picture? Now, that’s worth thinking about! Admittedly, I have not done a deep Bible study on this. What I am sharing here are some of my preliminary thoughts as I am praying and meditating on this verse…perhaps, at this point, having more questions than conclusions.

Please weigh in and add to the conversation on this blog.

In closing, isn’t this a great verse to pray for people?

  1. That things may go well with them (even if not for them)
  2. That they may be in good health (all areas of health)
  3. That things may go well with their soul (having a strong faith-walk with Jesus)