Navigation
Subscribe

Entries by Dave Kraft (1027)

Friday
Apr072017

What is ETR and why it's so important to understand

It seems like the weather in the midwest and on the east coast so far this year gets crazier by the day; heavy snow storms, hail, flooded rivers, a multiplicity of tornados, significant power outages, etc. The weather has had a financial, emotional and physical price tag attached.

Families have lost their homes and major parts of some cities have been devastated and destroyed. How long will it be before things can be returned to some sense of normality again? What is the:

“Expected Time of Restoration.”

How long will it be before the electricity will be back on? How long will it be before we receive some funding from the insurance company or the federal government? How long will it be before some people can return to their homes?

People are trying to estimate the length of waiting time. There were a number of factors to take into account to answer the question.

As I reflected on ETR, my mind switched gears to the spiritual/relational realm. How long will it take for complete restoration to take place after a person sins, hits bottom, encounters a serious setback in their life, has significant marriage issues, or screws up big-time in their leadership?

Related to leadership, when I’m on a team dealing with a leader who has grievously sinned, we all ask the same question: how long, if ever, before this person will step back into leadership…be completely restored? You can err on either end of bringing them back too soon or keeping them out too long! We unquestionably need the wisdom promised in James 1:5.

Don’t you just hate it when you ask what you think is a simple question of someone whom you assume has a simple answer and you hear, “Well, it all depends.”

Well, the answer to the ETR is one of those “Well, it-all-depends” responses.

1.  When a marriage is in trouble…

2.  When a leader sins big-time…

3.  When a person slips into an unhealthy habit or destructive life-style…

4.  When a teenager enters rehab…

5.  When a spouse confesses adultery…

What is the expected time of restoration?

It all depends:

1.  Has true repentance been expressed, as opposed to just a sorry-I got-caught attitude?

2.  Is the person able to experience the forgiveness God freely offers. It’s clear in 1 John 1:9 that if we confess, God forgives; but some find that harder to accept than others. It’s one thing to know you are forgiven by God and quite another to forgive yourself.

3.  How were sin and difficulties viewed and dealt with in the family of origin the individual grew up in? Specifically, how was, and is, their relationship with their earthly father; or did they grow up without a father or father figure? Was it pretty much a shame-based family culture?

4.  How many times in the past has the person dealt with the same or similar difficult situations, and were they able to learn from the past?

5.  Does the person have a healthy community around them or are they trying to go it alone?

6.  How strong is their intimacy with the Lord? Do they only run to Him when the pain is high and unbearable, or are they used to keeping the relationship vibrant, warm and up-to-date through scripture, prayer, worship, confession and repentance?

7.  What is their working understanding of what God is like? Is he a heavenly Father or a heavenly police officer? Most problems we experience are due to a wrong concept of God. We tend to focus on one concept of God rather than the totality of who scripture declares him to be.

We would all like to see people restored sooner rather than later. 

When we see a gifted and anointed leader “fall,” we would like to see that leader restored as soon as possible.

When we see couples we know struggle with serious issues in their marriage, we trust and pray for them to get it figured out quickly before it gets worse and moves toward a potential divorce.

When our teen goes off the deep end, our hearts cry out for a quick turnaround.

But the ETR really does depend on a number of factors.

Now, there are some things we have no control over--such as our family of origin, our genetic make up, the hard wiring our children are born with, or the choices our teens or young adults may make.

But there are other things where we do have control. How I will respond to my sin--hide it or confess it? How will I chose to relate, with His grace, to life’s curve balls? Will I extend forgiveness to those in my world (family) or hold grudges?

Are you in one of those down/difficult times, or do you have someone close to you who is? How long will it take?  What is the ETR?  Well, it all depends!

 

 

Wednesday
Apr052017

According to Fortune magazine, here is the greatest leader in the world!

As Christians we believe that Jesus is the World’s greatest leader, but according to Fortune magazine, the world’s greatest leader is Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations for the Chicago cubs.

Read below as to why this my be true.

Originally posted by Eric Geiger

Three Things the “World’s Greatest Leader” Knows About Leadership

Fortune magazine recently named Theo Epstein the greatest leader in the world. Epstein is the president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs and is known as the architect behind their first World Series championship in over 100 years. He performed the same way for the Boston Red Sox before taking the assignment in Chicago. So most would agree that Epstein is an incredible leader. But his response, when discovering the news, shows he is an even better leader than I imagined. Here is how he responded to the news in a text message to ESPN’s Buster Olney:

“Um, I can’t even get my dog to stop peeing in the house,” Epstein [said]. “That is ridiculous. The whole thing is patently ridiculous. It’s baseball—a pastime involving a lot of chance. If Zobrist’s ball is three inches farther off the line, I’m on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. And I’m not even the best leader in our organization; our players are.”

Besides revealing humor and humility, that quote is awesome for several reasons and shows Theo Epstein embraces and understands these three realities about leadership:

1. You are the hardest person you will lead.

Epstein jokes about being unable to prevent his dog from peeing in his house. Though joking, it does show Epstein is aware of the relationship to leading oneself and leading others. Plato stated, “The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself.”

2. Leadership is about the team more than the leader.

Epstein knows that without the commitment and performance of the team, he would be doomed to failure. He declares the players to be the best leaders in the organization. While the leader impacts the team, in many ways the team makes the leader. A group can choose to doom the leader’s leadership by not following, by not rallying around a shared vision, by not committing.

3. Leadership is frail.

Leaders are not leaders forever. The assignment is temporary. Epstein understands that a few plays turning out differently and he is not celebrated as a hero. Success is frail and fleeting. Understanding our fragility helps us walk in humility and focus on what matters most.

Thank you, Theo Epstein, for a hilarious quote that also has some meat to it.

 

 

Sunday
Apr022017

Confident or Arrogant--How can you determine the difference?

Throughout my 57 years as a Christian, I have hit upon some ideas that beg for an answer to satisfy my curious and processing mind. Sometimes I get some resolution…sometimes not. When I hit on a thought or make an observation, my mind and heart go into overdrive as I study, think, pray and ask for wisdom.

Here are three of the questions and puzzles I have wrestled with through the years

1.  How can we have a free will and God be sovereignly in control at the same time

2.  Why is it that so many Christians don’t seem to grow, mature and become transformed even though they are sitting under some of the best preachers and teachers in the world

3.  What role does obedience play in the Christian life? If everything is of grace in salvation and sanctification and has nothing to do with human effort or what I may bring to the table, where does obedience fit in?

Not too long ago, I had a meal with a very successful young businessman. Even though he is in his early 30s, he has already achieved more than most do in a lifetime of work. He is very confident in who he is, has an incredible work ethic and possesses a very winsome personality.

He is certainly heading toward being the CEO of something before he is 40. I told him to be very careful of becoming proud/arrogant due to how fast he is rising and how gifted he is. He said he would give that some very concentrated thought and prayer.

As we were eating I asked him several questions:

1.  What is the difference between being confident and being arrogant?

2.  How might confidence morph into arrogance?

3.  What is the difference between God-confidence and self-Confidence?

It says in 1 Peter 5:5,6 “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (ESV). No thinking Christian wants to be opposed by God, and yet this verse says God opposes the proud.

I remember many years ago, listening to a very well known Christian leader whom I felt exhibited amazing confidence in his message, his gifting and his work. Someone else listening to the same man called him extremely arrogant. That experience was the first time I began to wrestle with the difference between confidence and arrogance.

Admittedly and intentionally I have not provided answers, but simply raised questions around a critical issue.

Using the comment section below, providing some answers to the three questions above?  Let’s get a good dialogue going on a very important topic.

 

 

 

Saturday
Apr012017

Ten ways leaders can waste time

Time is precious and once it’s gone, you can never retrieve it. There are many ways a leader can let time slip their fingers; not be wise, efficient and effective in how they steward their time. Chuck Lawless shares ten time wasters for leaders.

Originally posted by Chuck Lawless

If you’re a leader, you know the importance of using time wisely. That doesn’t mean, though, that most of us use time well. Here are some of the most common leadership time wasters, in my opinion: 

1.  Checking email. Truth is, we could be doing email all day long. Schedule times to check it.

2.  Disorganized meetings. Most meetings can be more productive and still require less time.

3.  Poor scheduling. Setting aside an hour for a meeting that could accomplish its task in 30 minutes is a misuse of time.

4.  Mishandled interruptions. Interruptions happen, but they need not waste our time. Handle them wisely and quickly.

5.  Text conversations. It takes a while to type out a conversation. If you have to talk, use the phone.

6.  Unclear goals. If we don’t know where we’re headed, we wander – and that always takes more time than a focused, intentional journey. 

7.  Cluttered desks. I know this addition will probably frustrate some readers, but I do suspect that working through “desk chaos” takes extra time.

8.  Bad filing. Whether it’s in a folder or on a computer, poor filing requires more time to find the documents when you need them.

9.  Poor rest. When we don’t get enough rest, everything slows down. And, our work is often subpar.

10.  Not praying. Praying over the day raises the bar about getting the work done. Commit the day to God, and you’ll strive to work more wisely. 

What other time wasters would you add to this list?    

 

 

 

Saturday
Apr012017

Four critical areas on which to focus

Over the years I have worked with lots of younger leaders and there has been this ongoing debate about the merits or harm of multi-tasking. I have heard numerous leaders, especially the younger, tell me that they can listen to music, watch television and work simultaneously; or check email and listen to a speaker simultaneously.  What I’ve read recently has begun to increasingly say it just ain’t so!

But there is one thing I’m learning that really is so (regardless of your age) and that is that you need to cultivate the habit of being multi-focused. Multi-tasking, maybe not. Multi-focusing, definitely yes.

With that in mind, here are four focuses of a leader.

Focusing on your Lord

As a Christian leader, Jesus needs to be your primary focus. Leadership is essentially about him, not about you, the mission, or the people. When we loose sight of him, it’s the beginning of the end of truly biblical leadership. He needs to be the why we lead, the how we lead and the where we lead people. It is his church, his vision and his mission. I think Hebrews 12:2 says it best, “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of God.” (ESV)  He is the founder and perfecter of not only my walk with Him, but also my work in Him. It is as I am led by Him, empowered by Him and honoring him that my leadership as a Christian will become what he intended.

Focusing on yourself

As we keep Jesus central, we now need to pay close attention to ourselves --understanding ourselves, disciplining ourselves, leading ourselves. The key to being able to lead others well is in leading yourself well. There is a huge emphasis in 1Timothy 3 about leading yourself…about inward character, about fruit of the spirit…“above reproach, sober-minded, self-controlled, gentle.” In fact, this favorite chapter on leadership for many is long on what the leader is and short what the leader does.

Among other things, this means stewarding your time, your energy and your gifting well. As a leader, you need to lead from strength and health… pacing yourself well, eating, exercising, resting and carving out regular time to hear from your Captain. As I coach leaders and conduct seminars I’m concerned about how many exhausted, discouraged and leading-on-empty leaders I encounter.

Focusing on your team

As John Maxwell says, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” Things always go better as we build and work through teams (See Exodus 18).

 As you are led, empowered and honoring him, and as you continue to lead yourself, you are now set to focus on the team that God has given you. Because of your initial and ongoing focus on Jesus and your stewarding yourself well, you have the right motives and healthy energy to shepherd and develop your team as growing disciples so you can equip and empower them in their roles and responsibilities.

If the focus is only on you--with inadequate, or no, focus on Jesus--you will tend to manipulate, dominate and use those under your care (rather than motivate them) for your own selfish purposes.

Keep your direct reports low (3-5) so you have the time and energy to truly care for those under your supervision.

Focusing on your vision

A leader is leading people from where they are to someplace else. What is your vision, your burden? What keeps you up late at night and wakes you up early in the morning? What’s wrong in the world for which God has given you a passion? What do you want to change,  give birth to or get rid of?  You need quality time to think about your vision, put words to your vision and prepare to rally people to your vision. People follow leaders because they respect their leaders, and are and are excited about where their leaders are going.

The chances of you achieving your God-given vision will be directly proportional to allowing Jesus to lead you, staying healthy and strong by leading yourself well and genuinely caring for those whom you lead.

I’m convinced we can only be the leaders God intended as we:

 

  • Focus on Jesus
  • Focus on ourselves 
  • Focus on the team
  • Focus on His vision

 

For maximum fruitfulness and productivity: up with “Multi-Focus” and down with “Multi-Tasking.”