A five year old leader in the making



My oldest grand daughter, Mimi, (age 5) lives life outloud and with an exuberance,  determination and energy supply that make the energizer bunny look like he's standing still. My wife Susan and I have various words to describe her, but my favioite one is the "Human Hurricane."  Trying to control her or slow her down is an exercise in futility.  Several weeks ago we were at the park and I was I  was studying her as she bounced from one piece of equipment to the other and inteacted with the children around her. She is athletic as well as energetic.

She colors outside the lines, thinks outside the bun, bends or breaks most every rule established, marchers to a different drum beat and pushes the envelop at every opportunity. That's for starters!

She has all the qualities of a leader and like most leaders, she charts a different path than those around her. I have to tap into all the patience available to me in Jesus to be positive and not critical or judgemental when I am with her.

My role is that of developing the next generation of leaders.  I think I should start with Mimi. I have my work cut out for me!

I drew a few observations from observing and thinking about Mimi:

  1. I would rather have the task of channeling an energetic person than motivating a lethargic  person

  2. It is not a matter of breaking a strong will, but channeling that will so it can serve a higher purpose

  3. Some times the same traits that make a person difficult  to live with or work with also make them successful. For example: Refusing to quit or give up, refusing to take no for an answer, refusing to do things the way everyone else does them, getting upset when things block your ability to move forward toward a reasonable objective.

I see myself as a leader with some of the same traits that I see in five year old Mimi, but she isn't mature enough to see them fully utilized and focused.  Her time will come when she will be leading some grand adventure for Jesus. I pray I live long enough to see it happen.




How Smart Are You?

For as long as I can remember, smart was equated with intellect and brain power.  Smart had to do with grades in school, SAT scores, and one's GPA. This was the case until author Daniel Daniel Goleman kicked the old paradigm in the head by writing Emotional Intelligence in 1997 which redefined how we understand intelligence. Goleman  makes a case for relational intelligence that knows how to get along with others; being smart at building collaborative relationships. The good  news is that emotional intelligence (EI) is not fixed as IQ is generally thought to be. EI can be nurtured and strengthened in everyone.

" But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, fuill of mercy a nd good fruits, impartial and sincere." James 3:17 ESV.

It seems to me that James is equating real wisdom with healthy relationships.  Is he leaning toward EI rather than IQ  in describing wisdom that comes from the Lord Jesus? I find it helpful that Eugene Peterson's  rendering of James 3:17 in The Message starts the verse off with, "Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others..."

This is the era of the team, not the solo leader. Leadership today is more about enabling and empowering than bossing  direct reports around out of personal intellectual brillance. Leaders who are good at developing and maintaining healthy relationships and tapping the power of those relationships will be the most valuable leaders to an organization or church. Long gone are the days in leadership where the know it all does it all as he sits at the top and dictates while both under valuing and under appreciating what others bring to the table.

So, how smart are you?



Michael Jackson

As if you haven't already heard enough about Michael Jackson over the last several days, let me throw my two cents into the mix.

Most of what I am hearing borders on idolatry and worship.  He is being proclaimed as the greatest entertainer of all time, the "King of Pop" to rival Elvis who was the "King."  A genius who  supposedly transformed music all over planet earth. Hollywood stars and other celebs are parading their accolades for Michael; wonderful, innocent as a child, amazing, unparrelled in the history of music.

There is no argument that he was an incredible singer and dancer, but I think the whole thing has gone a bit too far.  The next thing I know someone will be saying they saw him walk on water, or perform a miracle of some sort; anyone who touched his surgical mask was healed.

Charles Barkley became famous for his comment that "I Ain't no role model."  Michael is being hearalded by friends, family and fans as a wonderful Father, a kind soul, a generous man who gave away millions to  charity and a role model that all children, as well as adults, should emulate and admire.

Maybe I am missing something here. Doesn't he also have three children by at least two different women neither of whom he was married to when he passed?  Hasen't he been a self-admitted abuser of perscription drugs which he was warned about for at least four years by close friends and family? Then we have the issue of the cosmetic surgergies that permanently disfigured his face. Add to these that he was known for outlandish spending sprees  and questionable financial decisions that, at last count, left him in debt to the tune of 400-500 million dollars. Some are saying his estate may make more money by him being dead than alive.

This is another example of talent and gifting being elevated above character and relationship. Some say we need to separate his personal and professional life and just focus on his professional accomplishments.  We are still trying to do this with Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, but it remains a big stretch.

I'll end this divergent take on Michael by saying that I would rather look up to a less talented but character rich person as a role model for me and my family than a genius with questionable character and morals.


Thy Will Be Done

I love music, especially worship music. Every once in a while a song comes along that completely captivates me, enthralls me and draws me into the heart of God.

There is a song in the Luthern Hymnal. It was written by Charlotte Elliot who lived from 1789 to 1871. It is titled, "My God My Father, while I stray."The refrain in the song is "Thy Will be Done" which in my thinking is actually a better title; sorry Charlotte.

Here are the words to some of the verses that one of our bands uses:

Thy Will Be Done

My God my Father while I stray
Far from my home in life’s rough way
Oh, teach me from my heart to say
Thy Will Be Done

Though dark my path and sad my lot
Let me be still and murmur not
Or breath the prayer divinely taught
Thy Will Be Done

But if my fainting heart be blest
With the Holy Spirit for its guest
My God to Thee I leave the rest
Thy Will Be Done

If thou should call me to resign
What most I prized never was mine
I only yield Thee what is Thine
Thy Will Be Done

Renew my will from day to day
Blend it with Thine and take away
All that now makes it hard to say
Thy Will Be Done

Then when on earth I breath no more
The prayer, oft mixed with tears before,
I’ll sing upon that joyful shore
Thy Will Be Done

The words to this song have become a daily part of my prayer time and meditation. I listen to a rendition of it almost every day and it literally moves me to tears of joy and surrender to the will of my sovereign Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Let me share just one thought from these incredible and insightful lyrics.

Renew my will from day to day, blend it with Thine and take away all that now make it hard to say Thy will be done!

I realize that the secret to my life in, and with, Jesus is surrendering every day and every moment to His known will for me. I am constantly thinking; what is it in my life that He needs to take away that makes it hard to say, Thy wil be done? Is it pride, laziness, selfishness, anger? And the list goes on.

If you are interested, E-mail and i will send you a mp3 with the song as we worship to it here at Mars Hill Church.





Past Present and Future

I am reminded of the the boy in grammer school who was asked to name two days in the week that begin with the letter T. He replied, "today and tomrrow." 

I have been thinking lately about living today, not tomorrow or yesterday.  It has occured to me that it is very easy to live with yesterday's regrets or tomorrow's fears which can rob me of the energy to live in the moment; live today.

I want to learn from the past, live in the moment and plan for the future.  I want to live neither in the past nor in  the future, but don't want to ignor them.

The Past

There are so many things I can regret; wish I could relive, undue, change.  It can easily eat my emotional lunch and rob me of what Jesus is doing right now.  I can play the tape over and over again and dig myself an increasingly deeper emotional hole.

Someone put it well in saying, "Use the past as a guide post, not a hitching post;" A lot easier said than done.

The Future

Dreaming is good as it relates to the future, but day dreaming can be a giant waste of time and night-mare dreaming is even worse; allowing my mind to toy with worse-case scenarios. What if that happens, what if this happens?  Years ago a couple share Psalm 112:7 in the Living Bible with Susan and me. "He does not fear bad news nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him." What perspective that verse has given us through they years.

Most Christians are familiar with Matthew 6:33 but haven't given much thought to Matthew 6:34.  In Eugene Peterson's The Messsage, verse 34 reads "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."

I want to live right now and give all my energy to the moment, the people, the circumstances I am in, and not truncate what He is doing by investing energy in what I can't undue from the past or predict for the future.