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Tuesday
Dec082009

The Jesus Look

This past week, I read Luke 22:61, 62, where a certain look from Jesus literally dissolved a  generally self-confident Peter into bitter weeping; something that so-called strong men hardly ever do. What was it about that look?  What does Jesus see when He turns and looks at me/you?

What is there in His look? In what ways is He encouraged and/or disappointed as He takes a good look at me?

"And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.
And Peter remembered the saying of the
Lord, how He had said to him, before the
rooster crows today, you will deny me three
times. And he went out and wept bitterly."
- Luke 22:61, 62


Here is what I wrote in my journal:

Jesus, what do You see when You “look” at me? Do I weep when I realize what I am, compared to where I could be with and in You?

When You look at me, I think You see a follower who:

  1. Genuinely longs to have a deep and developing love relationship with You even though I fall short 
     
  2. Wants to learn to live in responsive obedience to what you tell me

  3. Wants to live simply and humbly as I am surrounded by plenty and pride

  4. Understands his gifts and capacity and desires to stay focused but is often distracted

  5. Experiences vitality and vision as a sheer gift from You

  6. Wants to be a man of prayer on behalf of young leaders

  7. Still struggles with lust, anger and impatience

  8. Wants to remain teachable and be a life-long learner; to stay flexible in spirit and attitude, not rigid as I often am


What does Jesus see when He “looks” at you? How are your responding to “His look?”

Tuesday
Dec012009

Ouch, that hurts!

What leader is there that has never been criticized? It goes with the territory.  Harry Truman reportedly said, if you can’t stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen.  If you want to be free from criticism, don’t become a leader--especially a church leader. Criticism is not bad. In fact, in many (if not most) cases it can be one of the better things that happens to you.  It gives you the opportunity to practice patience, kindness, understanding, forgiveness, teachability, and the list goes on.

Here are three groups of potential critics.

  1. Loyal friends. These people really love you and want what’s best for you and your ministry. Thankfully, they are willing to speak truth into your life and ministry. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”  Yes, some times friends wound us, but it is for our good, not to intentionally bring us harm. They really do love and care about you, your family and your ministry...really they do!

  2. Helpful observers. These are people in your ministry world who have significant disagreements.  At times they can be confrontational and feel the need to go public with their discontent. They are not out to “get you” or “destroy you.” They simply don’t agree with the direction you’re headed, a position you’ve taken, or a decision you’ve made. Let them talk, thank them, ask them questions to better understand their issue and listen with an open mind and heart.  You might, for example, learn something about the way you make decisions and how you communicate those decisions. We need to engage these individuals and not make every disagreement a personal me-verses-them issue. Always ask if there is any truth to what they are saying. Check with your “loyal friends” to see what they think about the criticism offered by the “helpful observer.”

  3. Hurtful observers.  These people do have an agenda and are out to get you, cause you pain, torpedo the ministry. They can be wolves in sheep clothing.  They want to draw you into a fight, use you and your ministry for their own ends. They are the people who are trying to get Nehemiah to come down from the wall and have discussions with evil intent. The best thing you can do is ignore them. Giving them time or fighting them only makes them stronger; they are getting attention. You will never satisfy them or keep them happy. When you have discussed one issue, there are a lot more where that one came from.


So!

  1. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all critics are in the third group.
      
  2. Be willing to listen to anyone to learn if there is any sin for you to own and repent of

  3. Pray for lots of wisdom to know whom to listen to and how much of your precious time you should invest with your critics...they can keep you pretty busy.

 

 

Monday
Nov232009

What is driving your leadership?

One would assume that leadership would be about the cause of Christ and for the benefit of those being led, but that would be a wrong assumption.  Unfortunately, a lot of leadership is all about the leader.  

In Ezekiel 34:2, we read, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not Shepherds feed the sheep?” (ESV)

Leadership will fall into two broad categories:

  1. Egocentric leadership-All about the leader
  2. Altruistic leadership-  All about the led

If the leader is a genuine servant leader, he will have a God-given dream/vision in mind and will focus attention on shepherding, developing, equipping and empowering those being led toward the fulfillment of that dream/vision. A leader wrapped up in himself makes a very small package.

I think one of the best passage in the New Testament on servant leadership is 1 Peter 5:1-11:  

  • Shepherd the flock (not yourself)
  • Not under compulsion
  • Not for shameful gain
  • Not domineering

The Lord Jesus, by His own admission, came not to be served but to serve and give His life! Is your leadership about people serving you or you serving people? Is your leadership egocentric or altruistic? Do an honest and genuine heart check!

Monday
Nov092009

My personal G.P.S.

One of the traits that I admire in others and, with His help, practice in my life, is being a life-long learner.  This is especially true as it relates to my character.  In I Timothy 3 and Titus 1, two key chapters in the New Testament on leadership, most of the listed qualities have more to do with character and relationships than with skills.

I read Joshua 13:1 a few months ago, “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.’ ”  As I memorized, and have been meditating on that verse, I understood that, application-wise, it impacts both my work for the Lord, and my walk with the Lord. At first I was thinking of remaining land to possess mostly being my workdreams to dreamgoals to reachpeople to influence.  Then I was led to consider that “land to possess” could apply to my character and my relationships.

In some extended time with Jesus, which I try to have once a month, I was led to develop my personal GPS (Global Positioning Satellite).  I wrote three thoughts in my prayer book that I have been praying about daily.

Gracious words - It is so easy to be everything but gracious with the words that flow out of my mouth. I can be judgmental, cutting, unkind, uncompassionate, critical.  I am asking Jesus to help me be gracious in my speech.

Patient spirit - If there is one sin that has caused more trouble in my life than any other it is being impatientbeing in too much of a hurry and not waiting for God’s timing. I tend to rush ahead and take things into my own hands, not trusting the Lord.  Luke 8: 15 mentions “bearing fruit with patience.” That is the first time I connected the dots between being fruitful and being patient. I confess that I hate to wait. I am grateful for His patience in dealing with my impatience. Even at my old age (that is why I can identify with Joshuaold and advanced in years), I am trusting the Lord for personal transformation in this area of my life

Servant’s heart - Just today I read Luke 22 and focused on verses 25-28, “The kings of the gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” I am asking Jesus to show me what true servant leadership looks like.  How can I humbly serve others in ways that don’t draw attention and praise to myself?

As a life-long learner and leader, what has He been showing you?  Can you identify remaining land yet to possess?

Tuesday
Nov032009

Joyfully Inefficient

Now that is a novel thought if I ever heard one.  Joyful at being inefficient?

How is that possible when all our life we have been  admonished to be efficient, hurry up, don’t forget to take your lunch, don’t be late, use your time and money wisely, don’t leave home without it (whatever “it” may be)?

Can creative leadership and inefficient leadership work well side by side in the same group, church or business?  Can you pursue innovation and creativity and, at the same time, be excellently efficient? Maybe not.

Creativity is often not neat, tidy and “efficient.”  Being efficient, in the traditional sense of the word, can kill creativity. It seems like an oxymoron, joyfully inefficient; being a happy slob at work…seriously?

Do you have to choose here…to either be creative and inefficient, or be non-creative and efficient?

Being efficient, it seems, mandates that we not let our creative passions run too wild. Put a lid on it. Be in control. Be predictable.

Maybe we can go down the road of not asking creative types to be overly efficient nor efficient types to be overly creative. On the other hand, can’t we wed the two instead of making them enemies?

How many creative people have walked away from “efficient organizations” because they felt suffocated by all the “bureaucratic rules;” or been fired for not being organized enough? Can we embrace pockets of intentional inefficiency in an otherwise efficient culture, or is that asking for too much?

What do you think about being joyfully inefficient? It would be great to have your comments posted here. Weigh in…whether you are the efficient type or the creative type.