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Monday
Oct122009

Do-attitudes Part 2-Enthusiasm

Last week we started a three-week series on Do-attitudes that go hand in glove with the beatitudes.

We started with excellence; this week, enthusiasm; next week integrity.

Whatever you DO, do it with ENTHUSIASM.  Dr. John Maxwell tells the story of being in a small plane with a pilot friend and noticing the attitude indicator. Not understanding how an aircraft could have an attitude, he questioned the pilot and got an education in life. Yes, a plane does have an attitude; it is the aircraft’s position in relation to the horizon.  When the nose is pointed up it is called a nose up attitude and when the nose is pointed down it is called a nose down attitude. The attitude of the plane directly affects the performance of the plane.  So it is in life.  Nose down: negative, critical, pessimistic; nose up: positive, encouraging, enthusiastic.

DL Moody was once asked how he had become the engaging, enthusiastic communicator that he was.  He responded by saying that before he was to speak, he would go out into a field by himself and ask God to set him on fire. On fire with God-given enthusiasm;amen and amen!
  
Do what you do with a nose up enthusiastic attitude and the performance of whatever you do will be dramatically affected for the better. Those you are teamed with and lead will also be affected. Leaders who do their best and accomplish the most in life invariably possess this contagious characteristic of enthusiasm. Paul's advice to the Colossian believers is as relevant and essential today as it was when he first wrote it, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men" Col 3:23.

Monday
Oct052009

Do-attitudes Part 1-Excellence

I guess I am not as smart as Robert Fulghum, because I didn't learn everything I needed to know in Kindergarten; but, I have learned an awful lot since. One of the things I have learned is that "When all is said and done, a lot more is said than done." Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, said, "Emotion is no substitute for action and action is no substitute for production." Talk is cheap and it seems to me that it’s getting cheaper all the time.

There is a premium on being able to get things done, and done well for the honor of Jesus!

We are all aware of the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. With today’s blog and, for the next two, I would like to deal with three Doattitudes. Doing, after all, flows out of being.  Our identity in Jesus (being in Him) should affect what I do and why I do it (doing in Him).  James reminds us of being and doing working in tandem when says, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith (being) but does not have works (doing) ...for as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”-James 2: 14, 26

Today let’s talk about doing with excellence; next week, enthusiasm; and, lastly, integrity.

Whatever you do, do it with excellence. Tom Peters, in his classic book “In Search of Excellence,” lifted readers to a new level of awareness for the need of excellence in business.  We could use a good shot of excellence in Kingdom work as well. There is an awful lot of incompetence and pure sloppiness in work done in the name of Jesus. From my vantage point, there are at least two reasons for this.

  1. We are trying to do too much and, therefore, lack time and energy to do things really well.

  2. We are doing things for which we are not gifted and passionate and, therefore lack motivation to do things really well.


In my own life I find that when I contemplate what I could do, eliminate what I shouldn't do and concentrate on what I will do (and do it for the honor of Jesus) my level of excellence improves dramatically. For me a great deal comes down to prioritizing and pacing.

 An IBM executive captured the essence of the matter when he said, "doing the best you can rarely means doing all you can and it never means doing more than you can do well."

After He had healed a  deaf man, people said of the Lord Jesus, in Mark 7:37 (ESV)  "He has done all things well."That's what I want for my life and work; doing all things well to honor Him.

 

 

Monday
Sep282009

How the Mighty Fall

I just posted a "Book Note" on How the Mighty Fall, Jim Collins' new book. You will recall him as the author of, "Good to Great" and "Built to Last." These two books deal with how companies and organizations went from one level of success to the next.  How the Mighty Fall deals with what leads to failure as opposed to what leads to success.

Collins describes a five stage process:

1.  Hubris Born of Success

2.  Undisciplined Pursuit of More

3.  Denial of Risk and Peril

4.  Grasping for Salvation

5.  Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death

http://davekraft.squarespace.com/books/

Check it out by going to the link above and clicking on How the Mighty Fall.

I found it profoundly insightful for me personally as well as highly applicable to the ministry I work with and the church in which I serve.

Monday
Sep212009

Simplicity

 

Once again, LA fitness came to my rescue for today’s blog.  As I was on the recumbent bike this morning, there were two TVs on in front of me. On one channel was a fashion show and on the other, a well-known food channel.
 
It quickly occurred to me that both of these are multi-million dollar businesses in the US of A. My first thought was how strange this would seem to a lot of people in the world (who have few clothes and who daily hunt for food to stay alive) to even see shows devoted to very expensive clothes worn by very beautiful people as well as a whole TV channel dedicated to food preparation.

I was reminded of the words of both Jesus and Paul.  In Matthew 6:31-34, Jesus warns us not to be anxious, or put too much emphasis, on food and clothes. In I Timothy 6:8, Paul says, “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”

A verse I have been thinking about for quite a while also came to mind as I watched a parade of different kinds of clothes and different kinds of food; 2 Corinthians 1:12, “For our boast is this: the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God and, supremely so, toward you.”

Ah, yes, the word simplicity.  Now, I admittedly don’t have anything against food or clothes. It is more a question in my mind of how much and how expensive. When we hear about the amount of money that some spend on both of these items, it’s mind-boggling.  Last night on “60 Minutes”, the lady who runs Vogue Magazine mentioned that her yearly clothing allowance was $200.000. I have read of some much higher than that.

So here is where my thoughts are taking me. What should simplicity look like for me in the day and age in which I live? How much is too much and how can I, how should I move from complex to simple in my life-style?  At this stage I have more questions than answers, but am intrigued by the words of Jesus and Paul. I am on a search for biblical simplicity. Do you have any thoughts on this?  I would love to hear them.

 

Monday
Sep072009

Encouragment...pass it on

Monday is my day to write the weekly blog. As I was on the stationary bike at LA Fitness earlier today, wrestling with what this blog should be about, an infomercial came on the TV in front of me that answered the question.

The scene was a packed concert hall people waiting with high expectations for the curtain to open and the world-renowned pianist to take his seat, flip his coattails back and mesmerize the audience with incredible music.  A couple in the audience is talking, and  one says, “I thought you were watching him” referring to their 5-7  year old son. As the curtain slowly draws back they, to their horror, see their son seated at the grand piano playing chopsticks.  In that instant, the celebrity of the evening steps out and slowly walks up behind the boy and, rather than scold him, begins to play along with him turning it into a chopsticks masterpiece.  The expression on the parents’ faces switch  from horror to pride as they rise with the rest of the surprised but delighted, audience to give both the celeb and the boy a standing ovation. The boy and the maestro humbly bow and exit the stage.

Then the caption appears at the bottom of the screen: Encouragement...pass it on!

I have never met anybody who felt they were encouraged too much.  Some people exercise the gift of discouragement, even though it is not one of the gifts listed in the Bible.  I have worked in several organizations and been a part of many small groups and task forces; there is never enough encouragement to go around.  My experience has taught me that people are starved for encouragement, affirmation and love.

I am the first to confess that I tend to be judgmental and a bit of a perfectionist, especially when it comes to how others do things.  I am asking Jesus to empower me to be an encourager, not a discourager.

I Peter 3: 9 speaks to my sinful heart in this regard, “Do not repay evil for evil, or reviling for reviling, but, on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called that you may obtain a blessing.” In Eugene Peterson’s “ The Message,” it reads, “Instead, bless— that’s your job, to bless.  You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.” One way I can bless people is to look for the positive things and encourage them.

How are you doing in encouraging those, blessing those,  Jesus has placed in your life and world?