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Entries by Dave Kraft (1048)

Friday
May052017

“King David’s Other Sin.”

Everyone knows about David's sin with Bathsheba, but most don't know about David's other sin that may have had wider consequences than his adultery!

The first sin:

King David committed adultery and then murder

“David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’” 

~2 Samuel 12:13a

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”

~Psalm 51:1-4a (ESV)

Psalm 51 has been of huge encouragement to countless people regarding sin in their lives.

This first sin (committing adultery with Bathsheba and then having her husband Uriah murdered) is well-known and has been preached on and taught for several thousand years. In most evangelical circles committing adultery and/or murder would have serious consequences and would, in most cases, disqualify someone for leadership for a long time, if not forever.

Most everyone has heard this story and most everyone would agree that the sin was grievous in God’s sight.  We know that it carried a huge price tag for David in his personal and family life.

The average Bible-preaching, Jesus-honoring, gospel-centered church today would come down heavy on the sin of adultery. Sexual sin among leaders usually results in swift action.

But there is another sin David committed that is hardly ever mentioned. It is more prominent and widespread than adultery, but is, for the most part, overlooked, with scant attention paid to it.

The other sin:

King David took a census numbering the people of Israel

“But David’s heart struck him after he had numbered the people. And David said to the Lord, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done very foolishly.’”   (Emphasis mine.)

 ~2 Samuel 24:10 (ESV)

The story is problematic in that it appears that the Lord suggested David count the people. (2 Samuel 24:1) Perhaps the sin lies in David’s heart and motivation in the counting. At any rate, 70,000 people lost their lives as a result of David’s second sin, whereas two people(husband Uriah and the baby) lost their lives as a result of David’s first sin.  So by sheer body count, the other sin was more costly. 

We pay a lot of attention to the sin of adultery today, but what attention do we give to “counting.” What is the sin in this?

It was Albert Einstein who said, “A lot of what can be counted doesn’t count, and a lot of what counts can’t be counted.”

Allow me to add to that by saying that what really doesn’t count is easy to count and what really counts is hard to count.

 I’m not 100% sure of what David had going on in his heart and values, but find it interesting that he says, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done.” Not just sinned, but “sinned greatly.” He also goes on to say, “I have done very foolishly.”

 Not just foolishly but “very foolishly.” So, he discerns in his heart that he has “sinned greatly” and done “very foolishly.”  As to why he actually did what he did is open to speculation, but one thing is clear and that is that he was convicted that he had sinned greatly and acted foolishly.

So let’s talk about numbering/counting, as it goes on incessantly today in Christian circles. Now, let me be clear in saying that numbering or counting is not wrong in and of itself, but what we count and why we count is where the sin may lie.

I love 1 Corinthians 4:7 in The Message, “Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing?”

Having an unhealthy and unbiblical interest in knowing how much/many of anything I have as a leader and looking to that for significance can be sinful:

  1. Number of people in my ministry
  2. Number of dollars in the bank
  3. Number of hits on the website
  4. Number of followers on Twitter
  5. Number of  friends on Facebook
  6. Number of attendees at conferences
  7. Number of subscribers to my blog site
  8. Number of books sold

Any of these things can become idols and replace love for/of Jesus in my heart and affections, which can lead to being driven (rather than led) to want more and more in every category mentioned above.

John D. Rockefeller was asked how much money it takes to make a man happy? His response: “Just a little bit more.” How much more do we need of the above eight mentioned items (and perhaps you can think of others) to keep us satisfied? Just a little bit more?

So fellow leader, hopefully you have not, or are not, falling into David’s first sin; and, even if you have, there is total forgiveness and restoration available to you. (Psalm51).

But where are you on “The Other Sin?” Are you attempting to get your sense of value, worth and identity by counting—and, thereby, competing and comparing with your fellow leaders? 

1.  Is it time for you to rethink your definition of success, from God’s vantage point?

2.  In your heart have you rewritten, “Well done good and faithful servant”  to read, well done good and successful, famous, better, most popular, fruitful servant?

3.  Is the grace of God and the sovereignty of God your source of stability and security or have you been looking elsewhere?

 

 

Thursday
May042017

How to daily increase your energy!

Lots of leaders are always tired and living on empty. Is there a way to increase your energy level without becoming addictive to energy drinks or talking some pill? Dan Rockwell shares ten ways to find more energy every day.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

10 Ways to Find More Energy Today

#1. Reject the need to be right all the time. The person who needs to be right, ends up drained by fools.

#2. Say yes to activities where you make the most difference. Shoot to spend at least 70% of your time in meaningful activities. Do the stuff you hate early in the day.

#3. Make fewer commitments. Regret drains energy. Learn to say no, kindly and without defensiveness. The bad feeling you have when you don’t fulfill a commitment weakens your soul.

#4. Stop trying to change people. Accept your team and organization as they are. Acceptance isn’t approval or agreement.  People change themselves.

Frustration over battles you can’t win drains energy. Help people improve, when they want to improve. The frustration you feel about them, drains their energy too.

#5. Surround yourself with people who aspire to be better. Look for people who know enough to know that they don’t know. Be one, too.

#6. Look forward to something. Anticipation is energy. Tap into the “I just want to get this done” energy. But, be sure there’s something positive on the other side of “just getting things done.”

#7. Don’t depend on people who are undependable.

#8. Notice small acts of kindness. Appreciate people who hold the door open, for example.

#9. Work within the framework of established authority. Only buck the system when you can make it better.

#10. Look up and breathe deep. Stop looking at the ground so much. People who look down are down. Looking up doesn’t solve problems, it improves outlook.

Bonus: Deal with negative emotion, even if you can’t solve negative issues. The way you feel about a thing change you, not the thing.

Where might leaders find energy today?

Which of these 10 ways to find energy today are most useful to you?

 

 

Tuesday
May022017

I am so tired of hearing this, because it’s an outright lie!

Let’s cut straight to the chase on this.

“I’d love to ________ (fill in the blank) but I just don’t have the time.”

This often comes in response to asking someone to commit to something; or challenging them to spend consistent time with God in scripture and prayer; or serve in some capacity where there’s a need that they could address.

I ask and then hear something along the lines of, “Dave, that sounds like something I could and should and maybe even want to do, but the fact of the matter is I am so busy just now and really don’t have the time. “

As kindly but truthfully as I can, let me say that this is a flat out lie. Every one of us has the same amount of time as every other person on the planet. We have the same 168 hours a week that we had from the day we were born. Time is almost never the issue. The real issue really is values and priorities.

Let’s take the idea of spending time alone with the Lord in scripture and prayer... taking time (making time) to feed ourselves from the living bread. The percentage of Christians who don’t spend daily time is extremely high; some have said 70-80%. Is it any wonder that so many Christians are weak and anemic? But when challenged even leaders will say, “God understands that I love him and I really would like to consistently spend time sitting at his feet like Mary and not be rushing around like Martha, but I just don’t have the time.” Tell your spouse, “Honey, you know that I love you and care about our relationship, but I’m just too busy and don’t have the time to spend with you.” Really?!

In essence, what we are saying is that spending time with Jesus is really not that important to us or we would make/take the time. Someone might protest that this is not so, but in fact it is so. Be honest with yourself. It somehow sounds easier to say I don’t have the time, rather than telling God that time spent with him is not important, or a high enough value for us. Let’s be done with saying “I don’t have time” and just tell the truth!

The same people who say they don’t have the time would suddenly have all the time in the world if they liked to fish and I invited them to meet me at 5a to head out for some fishing. The one who loved golf would be there with bells on at 6a if invited to join me in a foursome on one of the best courses in the area. “I thought you told me you didn’t have the time and were super busy when I asked you about __________;” well, it’s fishing or golf so I make the time. But you can’t, or won’t, make the time to meet with the God whom you state emphatically that you love. What’s wrong with this picture?  Keith Green (the late Christian singer) had a line in one of his songs: “You prefer the light of your TV you love the word and are ignoring me.”  O, yes, we all have time for our favorite TV programs, but can’t drag our bodies out of bed to spend time with the Creator of the universe who gave everything for us. Be honest. How many hours a week do you spend watching TV (and are then too tired to get up in the morning to hear from God?)

Let me give you a simple plan to use. I call it 5/15/5. Covenant with God to spend 15 minutes a day, five days a week, for 5 weeks and then evaluate what happens. During the 15 minutes (certainly you and those you disciple can spend 15 minutes out of a 24 hour day to sit in the presence of the God the universe to hear from him).

  • Five minutes reading a portion of the Bible: Read
  • Five minutes praying over what you just read: Pray
  • Five minutes writing a few thoughts to capture what you heard from Him: Journal

My fellow Christian leader, please join me in refusing to ever say again. “I’d love to _____, but I just don’t have the time.” Be willing to challenge those you disciple, teach and invest in to stop saying, “I don’t have the time.” Make time for what is truly important for Kingdom living and prioritize those things for his honor and glory!

Sunday
Apr302017

"7" effective ways to get your team super motivated!

One of the primary responsibilities of a team leader is to keep the team members motivated and engaged. But how do you go about doing that on a consistent basis? Peter Economy (seems to be his real name) shares some outstanding thoughts on this.

Originally posted by Peter Economy

Check out these 7 effective ways to get your team super motivated and fully engaged in your next project!

1. Show people you work with how much you value them

Often, we forget to express how grateful we are for the work other people do. Whether we think they're putting in a little or a lot, it's important to thank them. Sometimes, it can even be the push that some members need to work harder.

2. Create a welcoming workspace

When you have a space that feels warm and welcoming, people feel more inclined to contribute to the atmosphere or add their own input. It doesn't take much effort--just a collaborative environment and an open mindset.

3. Encourage collaboration

When people are able to work with others on the team directly, rather than communicating through a leader, it makes it much easier to get more things done, at maximum satisfaction levels.

4. Don't discourage happiness

Small things, like laughter or positive thinking, are crucial to providing your workforce with stability and a sense of fulfillment. The way to engage the most amount of people is surely in creating a work environment filled with joy, so don't discourage that kind of thinking--or worse, prevent it from happening.

5. Offer encouragement in the face of failure

Rather than berating your team for doing something wrong, which will only result in discouragement and a lack of desire to keep working, offer encouragement. Show them that failure is okay, so as long as they learn from their mistakes.

6. Give space for self-management

Micro-management is one of the least effective ways to lead. Rather than hovering over everyone to make sure the smallest things get accomplished, leave people with their own sense of responsibility. Set the goal, then encourage your employees to find their own path to achieving it.

7. Don't waste people's time

Don't ask people to convene for useless reasons, like holding meetings when there's nothing to discuss. People will be irritated and less likely to work when there's actually stuff to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday
Apr292017

The hardest thing Leaders have to do

It was one of the most helpful leadership tips I have ever heard/received. My wife, Susan, and I were at a summer training program with The Navigators in East Lansing, Michigan.  It was an evening meeting and the speaker, Jack Mayhall, made this comment, “If you become a leader, plan on being misunderstood.”  I didn’t think much of the comment at the time, but did write it down.  Fast-forward 49 years and I have experienced being misunderstood numerous times and have learned a ton!

So what is the hardest thing leaders have to do?

I would say it is learning how to get along with many different kinds of people, starting with those who misunderstand you, often followed by criticizing you, judging you, labeling you, questioning your motives, questioning the authenticity of your walk with Jesus;  sometimes questioning everything and anything. It always hurts and is always painful on multiple levels.

For me personally, the hardest of the hard was hearing from a person on a team I led question whether I was even a Christian. That comment sent me into the woods to pray and think long and hard about my leadership style and philosophy that would elicit that kind of comment. I had some significant repentance to do.

Along the lines of getting along with all kinds of people, James 3:17 brings fresh insight to me which I seriously need.

In the ESV it reads, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”

In The Message it reads, “Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.”

Now here is the take-away for me!  Godly wisdom is simply doing the hard work of getting along with others.  James is equating wisdom with relationships, which I have never understood before.  I always thought of wisdom as making good decisions…being able to apply information and things I understand to various aspects of my life.  I had never (until meditating on James 3:17) equated wisdom with relationships…being misunderstood, criticized, judged, etc. and still being able to relate to those people in healthy, biblical ways.

It’s hard work (as The Message says) to get along with others. It’s hard work for employees to get along with their employer. It’s hard word for parents to get along with their kids (especially when they hit the teen-age years.) It’s hard work for team members in the church and in the market place to get along with each other… learning to celebrate rather than resent each other.

Sometimes the hard work is speaking the truth in love, which Ephesians 4:15 encourages us to do.  Not so loving that I’m not truthful; but also not so truthful that I’m not loving. Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek church put it this way:

“Truth telling is more important than peacekeeping…the well-being of the other person is more important than the current comfort level in the relationship…peace at any price is a form of deception from the pit of hell. A relationship built on peacekeeping won’t last. Tough love chooses truth telling over peace keeping and trusts God for the result.”

I don’t know about you, but finding the balance between being loving and being truthful is a lot of hard work--work that some leaders (including yours truly) are reluctant to do.

So here are two conclusions I draw:

  1. Being in leadership means being misunderstood along with all the other things that flow from that
  2. Truly wise leaders are always learning how to get along with all kinds of  people as they strike a balance between truth and love

Question to ponder:

How wise are you…really?  You might be street smart or book smart, but are you people smart?

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