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blogger recap

what follows is a quick list of some of my favorite posts from other bloggers that i read. if you missed them, take some time to check these out. i'll give a quick "why i liked it" point so you'll see why it stood out to me this year:

blank leadership

was reading an interview recently with falcons owner arthur blank - here's what he had to said with regard to what's tangibly different this year from last year:

The relationship [Mr. Dimitroff - Gen. Mgr.] has with has with the head coach, I wouldn't say it's unique in the NFL but it's not characteristic of many clubs. He and Coach Smith, in terms of football philosophy they absolutely see things through the same lens. It doesn't mean they agree on all players, but their basic philosophy in what they are looking for is very similar. That means all the energy between the two of them and their relative departments is all positive. They are not spending dilutive time trying to build walls or take them down, all those things that are very counterproductive. That from an organizational standpoint has been very positive.
what resonated with me were these specific statements:
  • absolutely see things through the same lens
  • doesn't mean they agree on all players
  • what they are looking for is very similar
  • means all the energy between the two of them and their relative departments is all positive
  • are not spending dilutive time trying to build walls or take them down
  • from an organizational standpoint has been very positive.
based on my own experience in the retail, marketing, management, and church work - there is a lot of wisdom to gain from these words.

some questions to ask:
  1. do i know the overall agenda/purpose of the organization, department, division or ministry? do my intentions, motivation and actions support that purpose or agenda?
  2. regarding those that are direct reports below me and those to whom i am a direct report - are we operating with the same set of values, lens', and priorities?
  3. what can i observe as being counterproductive to the overall direction of the organization, department, division or ministry? in other words, speaking in automotive terms, what wheel is out of alignment with the others?
  4. in terms of energy, where are we loosing steam? in other words, what is it that causes me or the organization to loose steam?
  5. finally, in terms of church, who's kingdom am i building?

how much do you want to change?

been thinking about this as we approach the day when we celebrate the birth of our Lord - Christ...here's the thought going through my head...

how much do we want to change?

in my role working with pastors, denominational leaders, local church leaders, church planters and others, we talk a lot about change.

we want it
we study it
we think about it
we talk about it
we dream about it
we even reminisce about it

but do we actually do it?

better yet, do we really want it?

one definition of 'change' is 'to make other than it is'

but too often we don't want 'other than it is' - we only want what it is, repackaged.

as we approach Christmas, think for a moment how much Christ had to change:

philippians 2:7-8 are perhaps two of the most powerful 'Christmas' story passages ever - how much did Christ change:
  1. He made himself nothing
  2. He took the nature of a servant
  3. He became like a human (made in human likeness and in appearance as a man)
  4. He humbled himself
  5. He died
talk about change? - there it is - He did it!

i'm convinced that more often than not, our talk about change merely makes it to the point of the listener's ears - and never beyond...

why?

i heard ed stetzer say this recently in an interview...

"we won't change
until the pain of staying the same
outweighs the pain of change"

read that again...

we won't change...

until the pain of staying the same...

outweighs the pain of change...

so the question is not really how much do you want to change, it's more of, how much pain are you willing to endure because once you do change, things will not be the same - which leads to, how much pain are you really in right now?

and if you're struggling with this and struggling with change, remember the amount of change that Jesus endured to reach you and i?

NO amount of change that you may have to go through will ever exceed the amount of change He had to go through.

so...
if you want to reach those far from Christ...
if you want to have a heart for the broken and desperate...
if you want to see humanity as Christ did...
if you want be moved with compassion as Christ was...
if you want to see the next generation of people come to know this amazing Savior you know...
if you want to?

then you have to be in enough pain...enough pain to change your current situation for the one THEY are in...enough pain to ExChange your life for theirs...

but that's asking a lot isn't it?

that requires giving up a lot of comfort, security and safety...

that's radical...

and that's Christ!

are you like Him?

mutual submission

this is taken from an andy stanley podcast about creating a cuture of mutual submission in your organization, business or churh...

do for one when you can't do for all
  • too often we have this mentality, "well i can't get everyone a new computer, so i'm not going to get any computers"
  • incarnational servant leadership is "i know i cant do for all, but when i CAN do for one, i will"
  • typically the higher up you go in an organization the tendency is to NOT do for one SINCE you can't do for all - you have to refuse that mentality
  • he does a 3 month evaluation and 12 month eval. - "do you have all the tools you need to do your job?" - when he gets one and he CAN do something, he breaks all the rules and gets it
  • you can't greet everybody - so you find someone that you can greet
  • symbolic leadership - you do for one what you wish you could do for all
  • look for opportunities to do the unexpected thing
  • fairness is the enemy of rightness
  • fairness is not a biblical value
  • after the garden of eden, fairness went out the door
  • do what's right - not what's fair
systematize top-down service
  • random acts of kindness are not enough in leadership
  • you have to systematize the way you serve them
  • build it into the rhythm of the organization
  • "how can i build it into our organization, how do i serve people?"
  • he asks people after 3 months to evaluate the organization - they have fresh eyes - anything off purpose or off mission? - do you have a close friend at work?
  • they have staff coaches - these are people that are there so that the staff is NOT frustrated - people the staff can go to in confidence and get help
  • you don't want people going home frustrated about the organization you've created - find a way to get rid of the frustration
  • there are some things - many things - we can fix organizationally if we have a way to vent our frustration
get in the habit of asking, 'how can i help?'
  • stanley has 4 direct reports and a leadership team of about 10 people
  • annually, when setting goals, etc - he tells them to go back and find the ONE thing that he(stanley) can do to help them achieve their objectives - not 4 or 5 things, just one thing that he can do to drop in their area and make a contribution toward their goals
  • he doesn't have to do that - but he's mutually submitted to them
  • the point is NOT to flatten the organization, it's to make it mutually submitted
Other notes:
  • problem with consensus leadership is that it's not biblically modelled to us - Jesus is the head - that's point leadership!
  • if you're thinking about mutual submission, the first question to ask is: "do i really want to do this?" - do i really want to serve back down through the organization
  • when people feel like they are heard at the top - that creates mutual submission.
  • make sure your organization has a sustainable pace...its in the sustainable pace that margin is created an in that margin is where you serve other people.

a pattern of confilct

spent a little time reading this morning in acts 10 & 11 and i noticed something...

backstory:
this is the account of cornelius sending for peter, peter having the tripped out dream (just sayin' it sounds tripped out, not saying he WAS tripped out - it'd blow my mind as well if God showed me something of that nature) about the animals in a sheet, God speaking to peter, the men showing up for peter, and him returning to cornelius' house...

back to the thing i noticed (ok, maybe several things)
  • after the gentiles believed and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, word quickly spread back to judea about what had happened
  • peter got grilled for entering the home of a gentile and even eating with them - shocking!
  • jk, what is truly shocking is the religious posture of these deeply religious people...they assumed the worst - ever heard what happens when we ass-u-me?
  • rather than get the facts first, they went negative first...isn't that the tendency?
  • it's so much easier to go negative than to assume positive isn't it?
  • love peter's positive, calm and deliberate manner of handling the situation
  • acts 11:4 says peter told them exactly what happened - isn't it great to be able to thouroughly, deliberately and exactly be able to retell the course of events - man that our politicians, elitist business ceo's and society could learn that priniciple!
  • you can only do that when you DO NOT go negative with the people that assume against you!
  • after the good news of how the gentiles believed, they partied! it was a God-party thing though...it says they "stopped objecting and began praising God"
  • here's one more thing...when you're doing something completely radical (the whole dream, guys showing up thing is pretty radical to us isn't it?)...you can expect their to be opposition. don't take the defensive posture though. allow God to work in and through you so that His work can be complete. then, if there comes a question or objection, simply, calmly and deliberately explain what happened - much better than a tirade or tantrum isn't it?
  • thoughts...?

challenges leaders face

spent some time recently listening to andy stanley address leaders in a past catalyst conference...
andy's a gifted, dynamic and insightful leader - some great things to keep in mind here...
  1. Your leadership ability has the potential to take you further than your character can sustain you
  2. Leaders get into trouble when their integrity doesn't keep pace with the momentum created by their giftedness
  3. Their is no correlation between giftedness and maturity
  4. Our commitment to integrity can be easily eroded by our love of progress - leaders love progress (that's why many pastors hate counseling...its about getting people back to "zero" so that they can make progress) - leaders don't love the past, don't really care about the present, they love the future and the progress to get there - this can set us up for some unique pitfalls.
  5. The excuse we are most tempted to use: "God promised it, I deserve it" - when you begin to get close to what you think God has for you, it's easy to turn a blind eye to a small compromise that will get us to what "God promised"...then there's the "I deserve it" thing - "I deserve" it will lead to compromise.
life of david
  • when opportunities line up with our prayers and our passions, it's difficult to exercise restraint - ex.: saul in the cave with david there hiding
  • emotional environments are like a fog - you get emotion when you mix prayer and passion (my note: perhaps this is why many pentecostals are so flaky in their theology...just sayin')
  • opportunities must be weighed against something other than the uniqueness of the circumstances surrounding them (see my note above)
  • an opening is not necessarily an invitation from God
  • how do you look at something and the surrounding circumstances and know it's from God?
  • david weighed this opportunity against three things:
  • the law of God - "the Lord forbid that I should do such a thing against my master" - it was against the law to kill the king!...even thought the king is trying to kill you, you don't kill him - seemed like an "open door" - maybe God didn't open this door - maybe the door doesn't matter when compared to the law of God. saul was still david's master - not only is saul the king, he was "anointed of the Lord" - you do not REPLACE what God has put IN PLACE. (my note: perhaps this is why many immature Christians leave their church when correction or even rebuke come - just sayin')
  • the principles of God - "may the Lord judge between you and me" - i know God wants me there, i'm going to wait for God to put me there.
  • the wisdom of God - how wise would it have been for a "wanna be" king to murder the "sitting king" while he's using the bathroom in the cave. that's not the story you want to tell your grandchildren sitting around the camp fire. his leadership would have always been in question because he had murdered saul while he was most vulnerable
  • everything that looks like a God thing, feels like a God thing, is suggested by others that's its a God thing...may NOT be
  • the most direct route is rarely the best route
  • the tempatations of Jesus in the desert by Satan was all about "isn't that what God" it's all the "most direct route"
In summary:
  • weigh every opportunity against the law, principles and wisdom of God
  • decide everyday you will not sacrifice integrity for progress
  • give the right people an all-access pass to every leadership decision - don't decide on your own.
  • being a leader does not exempt you from the need for wise counsel - it necessitates it
  • solomon (wisest man in the world) wrote more about the need for counsel
  • it takes only once decision to compromise your integrity and derail your life
  • never accomplish the will of God by violating the law of God, ignoring the principles of God or ignoring the wisdom of God
  • God is capable of getting you where you need to be, when you need to be

"we" vs. "i"

had some friends and college students over on sunday night for our monthly "unwind" event - it's an opportunity to just have a low-key fellowship time with young adults, young ministers, college students and those that feel called to ministry. this past week i spent just a few minutes in a few passages from ephesians - thought i'd share them here just to hopefully encourage you...btw, thanks for reading and listening - i pray that God uses this blog to help you, entertain you and encourage you.

paul writes something in chapter 2 that is key for all of us to remember - but, before i get there...

ephesians 3:1 paul says, "for this reason, i, paul, the prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ for the sake of you Gentiles"

ephesians 4:1 says, "as a prisoner for the Lord, then, i urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you received."

finally, ephesians 6:20 states, "i am in chains now, still preaching this message as God's ambassador"

what is paul saying? well, in case it escaped you - he's in prison! that would be a place of loneliness and abandon - ever been there? yea, me too!

i tried to take that moment to encourage everyone to realize that there are going to be times in ministry and life where we feel isolated, alone and maybe even abandoned. it was great to see the candor and honesty of everyone as they almost all raised their hands to say that they had recently been in that place.

what i didn't point out - because i didn't see it at that point - was also this fact: even though paul was alone (in prison) in all three of these passages paul is not focused on his aloneness or lonliness...look again: "for the sake of you Gentiles" - "live a life worthy of the calling you received" - "still preaching this message" - it's all about the others he's made a difference to.

here's the "landing strip" for this devotional thought - ephesians 2:10 says, "for we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

did you see it?

it's right there - two words in!

"WE"

we-who?

we...paul...his listeners...the men and women he helped disciple...anyone following Christ that would listen!

ok, maybe you saw it - but did you "catch" it - "it" is this:

although paul was a prisoner, although he was in a terrible place of loneliness and abandon - he still choose to see things through the scope of "we"

even in jail paul realized that he was doing the good works of Christ Jesus - you know, the works prepared in advance!

let me land this plane with these "nutshell" thoughts:
  • we will be lonely at times (whether in ministry or not)
  • we may even be or feel abandoned (there's a difference)
  • most of us won't face the prison of loneliness that paul did
  • but if we do...
  • we are not alone - we have others and we work together because it's God's design
  • finally, if you are in a place of loneliness and you have either isolated yourself or allowed yourself to be isolated - please find someone to help you - alone is not a good place

so this is Christmas...

in franklin county!

after a long day of laundry (yes, i do the laundry) and cutting two truck loads of firewood, i decided at the last minute to take the kids to the local Christmas parade in royston. in this area, i think it must be the biggest thing other than the local rodeo. we saw lots of police cars (sirens blaring), fire trucks (sirens blaring), political leaders, police cars, fire trucks, community groups, police cars, fire trucks (did i mention the sirens?), a few businesses, a few churches, (no marching bands...big disappointment), police and fire trucks and...

before i get to perhaps the most interesting "float" - let me just say that i truly love living here and have a high regard for our community (and police cars and fire trucks). some have told us that there's a mindset that is not open to "outsiders" - we haven't really seen that.

we decided at the last minute - ok, we had 13 minutes - to get to the parade. we made it! whew! traffic wasn't bad (never is) and we were able to line up on the parade route in our car and sit and wait...then it started...

the police cars started (obviously with sirens blaring) and the whole event lasted about 20 minutes. but, the most interesting "float" was the "_____________ Septic Company" "float" (insert whatever humerous thought you wish here about the word "float" and a septic company being in the parade). it gets better...

they didn't have just one entry, they had 2 - guess you could say they wanted to cover the bases (#1 & # 2...). and pulled behind "float" #2 (which was really just a truck, but the word float works better since its a septic pumping company)...behind "float" # 2 was a trailer...on the trailer was an overweight 50-something year old man sitting on a toilet...it gets better...

next to the man on the toilet was another toilet with a goat standing on top (yes, the seat cover was closed) wearing a georgia bulldogs sweater...

so this is Christmas...

the truth about you

recently received a new book/resource from thomas nelson for review by marcus buckingham titled, the truth about you (if you'd like to preview a bit of it, click here)
a little background...i heard buckingham a couple years ago at catalyst and was blown away - great, great, great speaker! very engaging and insightful. i've known people that have read his "strengths" book and been really helped by them. i haven't read them, so when i was offered one of his books for free to review, i jumped at the occassion. let me say this in one word - letdown!

first, the bad, then the good...

bad:
  • novelty packaging - i know its important to grab the shopper's attention with packaging and covers...but this is "gadgety" at best - it's packeged in 3 section: first a 20 minute DVD, then a 100 page book, then a "re-memo" pad - save yourself the trouble and just watch the video - then you've got it
  • way too long - this book could've been written in 25 pages or less
  • lack of spiritual theme - i know this subject matter doesn't require "support verses" from Scripture - problem i see with is that it doesn't have a "verse foundation" - in other words, it's purely based on observation of human behavior with NO reconciliation or reflection of Scritpure
  • the "re-memo" pad is way to large to carry around - as advised to do
the good:
here are a few quotes that REALLY stood out to me:
  • "your organization doesn't care primarily about you or your strengths"...it "cares most about performance"
  • "a weakness is any activity that leaves you feeling weaker after you do it"
  • "a strength...any activity that makes you feel strong"
  • "people join because of the 'why'...they stay because of the 'who'...in the end they quit because of the 'what'"
  • "in the end, the 'what' always trumps the 'why' and the 'who'"
  • ask this question, "WHAT will i be paid to do" (he consistently hits this point over and over and for good reason)
  • i like his "one last tactic" for dealing with our weaknesses - suck it up and move on (not exactly his words but really close)
so, who is this book good for...those working with young adults trying to figure out their life's purpose, those in career transition or career discovery...those going through midlife crises regarding their job - it may not really be a crises, you could be in the wrong place! i wouldn't recommened this book to everyone and the price is prohibitive (lists @ 29.99 on back) enough to say that it should really only be for a small audience. i think the text and premise of the book belong better in a better crafted "purpose-driven" type book

stewardship of a problem - pt. 2

given some thought about yesterday's post - in fact, at one point last night while thinking about it, i almost pulled it down. i began to wonder if my language was too forceful...then i got over it!

seriously, i've encountered SO MANY stories similar to this one - you have to remember, i have a: dad, brother-in-law, sister, cousin, roomie-from-college, and many, many pastor friends (not all the same person - i know it's georgia, but come on) that i talk to...i just have never been able to formulate it into one succinct issue...

the stewardship of a problem

today i want to talk about a few principles that help in these scenarios:

1.) the principle of expecation - my good friend todd wrote this post several month ago and it still sticks with me - in his post he said
For revival to start it requires people that come expecting God to do more than they normally expect. It requires faith, raised expectation and effort. If you want the same old same old then show up with your same old expectations and that’s what you will get. The only thing holding back revival is our satisfaction with the status quo.
now, go back and re-read that last line - did you get it? it's anointed and it's true
2.) the principle of overreaction - don't remember where i heard this from (and i may have even blogged about it here...) - when the disciples came to Jesus asking if they should send the crowd away, he asked what they had (there's an important point!), he blessed it, it was multiplied and there were LEFTOVERS - Jesus overreacted! he didn't wait to see if it was a "bump in the road" (the people may be hungry...), he didn't send out a polling committee to analyze the situation, the potential impact and the forcasted future - he overreacted! but, of course, he was the messiah....ok, what about peter and john in acts chapter 3 with the beggar - he asked them for money (acts 3:3) - peter "overreacted" and offered healing - not a bad deal for that guy! todd calls it "flying into motion" - whatever you call it - DO SOMETHING! - DON'T do NOTHING!
3.) the principle of thanfulness - seriously, when we face these scenarios...you know, the ones where we are stretched, challenged and discomforted, we MUST embrace them with an attitude of thankfulness BECAUSE we have the opportunity to steward it well - which leads to the last...
4.) the principle of stewardship - more and more in my walk with Christ, i'm convinced that realationship - spelling intentional - and stewardship are keys to our growth as followers of Christ

stewardship of a problem


a ministry colleague and i were talking today about a "problem" that they potentially have in their church...i'll create a parallel hypothetical problem here: let's say that you have 25 teens show up UNEXPECTEDLY for your wednesday night youth group meeting. it creates several problems right away...
  1. you only have space for 12-15
  2. your ministry volunteer only brought enough supplies/resources/giveaways/bribery-items for 10 (because although we can seat 12-15 we "usually" only have 7 or 8 show up)
  3. the "back up" volunteer didn't show because it was rainy/cold/icy/whetever-it-is-that keeps-your-people-home-on-a-wednesday-night
  4. crowd control will be at best "difficult" because 25 teens are not going to sit long in an environment where they are not: challenged, interested, cared for, accepted and entertained (yes, entertained...church should NEVER be boring...the opposite of entertaining)
  5. how will we go forward "if they all come back"
in my analysis of similar situations (based on experience from many different churches and scenarios) the stewardship of the problem really started BEFORE the problem...here's what i mean:
  • the teens showed up "unexpectedly" - why in the world do we think that they WON'T show up? seriously, the lack of faith and expecation is literally similar to throw up in my mouth - catch you off guard? good! because it's killing the church...it's repulsive, unappetizing and blinding us to the expectancy that should come with serving God!
  • the problem before the problem was that leadership didn't do enough to prepare for this "what-if" scenario (and YES, i've been very guilty of this...not ashamed to confess this!) - leaders - you, leaders - i'm talking to you...you HAVE to prepare for these "what-if" scenarios - then EXPECT them for cyring out loud! seriously, we can't prepare for EVERY "what if" scenario - the problem is that we tend to prepare for NO "what if" scenarios.
  • the problem before the problem was the the "back up" volunteer didn't show because she didn't see the vision - she hadn't caught the passion and she wasn't "all in" as they say in poker tourneys! leaders, you, leader - we have to do what it takes to get people to be "all in" - if they are not "all in" then figure out what's wrong with your leadership...change, care, reach, train, love, encourage, cry, pray, and serve them so that they will become "all in"
  • the tendency in most churches is to only see things as a "bump in the road" (my phrase that i've used in similar situations)...what if? what if the "bump in the road" is actually a NEW road God is putting you on? could this be a test? could it be that God WANTS to see 25 or 250 in your youth group? of course it could be! but how well will we respond to the test? will we see it as a NEW road or a "bump" in the same old road we've been travelling?
  • when God sends "new problems" your way, EMBRACE them! solve them! love them! (don't loath them)! and LOOK for more new problems...because new problems are an opportunity for stewardship...how will we respond?

monday morning mind dump

it's been a quick couple of weeks and i haven't had much time to post...so here are some thoughts and some "catch-up" things...
  • spent one week in branson at the sr. adult convention (no, i don't qualify as a member of that group yet todd, rachel and jeff). i went because bill has been sick the past few weeks with some sort of virus (he was to go, but had to back out).
  • branson looks like a great family destination. we took in a couple of shows while there - one was great, the other was supposed to be great. i'd love to see the area when the leaves haven't fallen. the bus ride out was long, if i had been driving myself i think i would've driven straight through (and shaved some time off as well). driving through tennessee and kentucky was cool - love to go through those states.
  • lessons learned while in branson: sr. adults are like teenagers ("are we there yet" & "is it time to eat yet"); thankful for those that have blazed a trail following Christ before me...they've kept the faith alive, the dream a reality and made a difference "in their generation" - may it be true for ours!; spicy margarita mix fruit does not go over well with sr. adults; the cheese grits in branson tasted like dressing/stuffing (depends on where you are from) - that's JUST WRONG!; our students @ SWCU are really learning a lot from dr. trammel - great speaker!; if you walk to s'bux in 16 degree weather and order a hot coffee, it'll be a cold coffee rather quickly; our CEM team is doing a great job in all they do - love the teamwork and commraderie that i saw
  • when i got back from branson, it was time for vacation...we spent one day at the world of coke (really cool place to visit), got sick from drinking all the samples - if you go, you must try the "beverly from italy" (its the taste that keeps on tasting) - i was hoping they'd have the "new coke" from the mid-80's - been jonesing for some of that for 28 years now (jk) - seriously, nothing is as good as the original - now if i can just find the world of mt. dew
  • also spent some time with family in north carolina, north georgia and central georgia - it was the "tour de turkey" for us - great time visiting with all of our family - we are really blessed to have such great family (and thankful for all of them)!
  • the dawgs lost - i honestly didn't think we were a #1 team, but i didn't think we'd end up out of the top 10. what follows are my novice opinions... i know richt says no coaching changes, i think it's a bad decision. i think we need some new leadership in defensive coaching - everything rises and falls on leadership! 5 games where the opposition scored more than 35 points (359 total points scored against us all season). we weren't ready for the triple option threat. i know injuries plagued us this year, but missed tackles and missed assignments are no excuse.
  • the falcons look really impressive - matt ryan is the real deal - great leadership!
  • we spent one week with the folks at COTN - great to worship with them. we love the people there and it's great to be with them when we can.
  • got a new iphone - i've used a LOT of phones (i worked for att/cingular) and i must say this is the most impressive device i've ever found - the competition (blackberry storm, etc) will play catch up with this device for a long time! the batterys isn't great, but the available apps and simplicity of use is remarkable
  • i bought my wife's Christmas gifts first this year-that should be worth some points:)

study bible review

The Chronological Study Bible (Bible Nkjv)
i recently received a copy of the chronological study bible and thought i'd offer up my review of it here:
  • it's defintely not the bible you want to take with you on sunday to church, because the layout of it is so different from that of standard bibles. navigating to various passages in a bible study or sermon would make it difficult to keep up.
  • it's laid out in chronological fashion (of course some areas are up for debate on the exact sequence of events) - here's an example: in skimming along 1 chronicles one goes from chapter 25 to chapter 26:19 to psalm 15, then psalm 24, 42-49, psalm 84, 85, 87 then back to 1 chronicles 26:20
  • this is a GREAT study bible to understand the historical context of many of the events.
  • there are numerous (almost too numerous!) short articles relating to things such as: customs, people, plants, culture, laws, etc - typically, there are 3-5 short articles per "spread" (two pages open, laying flat) - the problem is that it's almost an overload of information - for me it was a bit of a distraction, BUT, knowing that it's a study bible (and not one i'd use for regular daily reading), will keep me coming back to it
  • one more issue regarding the articles is that some of them refer to (or cite) a passage of scripture on a previous or following page - rather than appear on the SAME page as the passage cited - felt like a bit more work in layout could've prevented that.
  • this will surely be a bible i keep nearby for study and reference work - chronological bibles are nothing new (see here) - but this one offers some great contextual pieces that supplement the text
  • you can read about the details of what this study bible offers here

how to know if you're a leader

continuing in my thoughts about leadership...

my last post dealt with the fact that perhaps the biggest crises facing us is not energy, going green or even abortion - it's the fact that there is an continental sized deficit in leadership!

when the leadership crises is resolved, others issues are resolved!

think about it:
  • balancing the nation's budget - needs leadership!
  • overturning radical judicial zealots - needs leadership!
  • raising a family - needs leadership!
  • reaching and changing a community - needs leadership!
  • making an impact into drug-blanketed neighborhoods - needs leadership!
  • rescuing women from sex slavery/trade - needs leadership!
  • leading a church - needs leadership!
  • leading a small group - needs leadership!
  • coaching a child's team - needs leadership!
  • making significant changes in one's own life - needs leadership!
all of the above situations are very real areas where their is an obvious and apparent leadership crises because there is a leadership deficit.

so, how do you know if you're a leader?

take a look around!

leadership is NEVER alone...
  • who are you leading?
  • at work?
  • at church?
  • as a coach?
  • in the school pto?
  • in your neighborhood?
leadership is never alone!

if you're alone, you're not a leader - you're a follower...that's ok, just don't try to act like a leader - be the BEST follower you can until you lead again...

thoughts...?

perhaps the greatest crises facing us...

this year has brought tremendous challenge and change to all who live in the US as well as around the globe. we have seen the crises of energy and oil dependence rob our checking accounts on a more frequent basis as the price of oil sky-rocketed. we have seen the affects of greed on the part of not just the CEO-elite, but also on those who really had no business purchasing homes that were way beyond their budgets. whether poor or rich, we have witnessed the effect of "instantaneous gratification" become the modus operandi for men and women.

we have seen the shift of thinking from "work hard, save, save, buy" to "i'll work when i want, do what i want, finance what i want and get what i want." what used to take families 20+ years to obtain, is now sought after with only a couple of years of marriage or career pursuit. our selfishness to have, do, and buy has rendered the final verdict that we are a nation and a people that are greedy.

we have abdicated responsibility. instead of assuming personal resonsibility, we shift blame to the government...and then look to them for a handout to bail us out of the mess our greed has put us in. (responsibility is another post for another day).

but perhaps the greatest crises facing us is...
leadership

over the next few days i'll elaborate more on this theme, but for today, i challenge you with this one key thought...

how can i lead MYSELF better?

think about the following:
  • i've heard it said, (code for i don't remember who said it) "your gifting may get you to the platform, but it's your character that will keep you there"
  • before you can lead others, your relationship with God MUST be solid, pure and devoted - see ps 51:10-12...then look at how david realizes this point in vs. 13.
  • we've all done it...watched a leader, and as that leader lead, begun to evaluate how we would do it differently...then we somehow assign a "grade" or "evaluation" of that person's leadership - forget that for a moment
  • evaluate yourself and begin to formulate the "grade" you would assign to yourself as a leader of yourself
  • how'd you do?

ways to pray for obama

lee grady has written an article identifying 10 ways to pray for obama - read it here - i'm going to summarize below.

But when I got up this morning, I turned all my attention to the fact that Jesus Christ is still on the throne. His government is what is most important. Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, the Bible says “the nations are like a drop from a bucket” to God (Is. 40:15, NASB). That includes the United States. We may boast about being “the greatest nation on earth,” but He who sits in heaven has a different perspective. Let’s take a big sigh of relief now and remember that God is sovereign.

Obama has been elected president of this country, and that means I have a biblical responsibility to support him in prayer—even if I challenge his policies.
Whether you voted for Obama or not, you need to pray for him. Here are 10 ways I plan to intercede for him regularly:
1. Pray for Obama’s protection.
2. Cover his wife and daughters in prayer. Pray for Obama’s wife, Michelle, and their two daughters, Malia and Natasha, as they face invasive cameras, nosy reporters, maniacal fans and dangerous enemies. Obama is not only a politician but also a husband and a father.
3. Pray that Obama will govern with God’s wisdom.
4. Ask God to keep our president humble.
5. Pray for wise and righteous advisers to surround him.
6. Ask for the spirit of reconciliation.
7. Pray that Obama will adopt pro-life convictions. Many politicians have changed their views on key issues while in office. In the 1800s some leaders who favored slavery later denounced it. In the 1950s some who opposed racial integration later became champions of it.
8. Bind all evil forces assigned to manipulate our president.
9. Pray that Obama’s door will remain open to the church. Pray that Obama, who claims to have a personal faith in Jesus Christ, will unapologetically welcome Christian leaders into his company and seek their counsel.
10. Pray that our nation will enjoy God’s peace and blessing during the Obama administration.


i encourage you to read the entire article here.

things we must do after the election

on election day +1 these thought are going through my head:
  1. find peace - my peace is found in the relationship that i have with Christ and His Lordship in my life. my life is absent of fear or worry because God is sovereign and His plan is being unfolded
  2. pray for our president-elect - i have prayed for our president-elect and his family. the gravity and intensity of the leadership chair he is assuming is enormous - he needs our prayers!
  3. set the example - i will model calmness and take the high-road in the spirit of patriotism before my children. fact is, i'm proud to be an america (where at least i know...ok, never mind). i'm proud of our nation and the model that our founding fathers established for fairness in the election process. i want my children to know that its ok to not have your candidate win, its ok to disagree, but that after all is said and done, i'm and we will move forward
  4. pray some more - we will pray and ask God's blessing on the obama family - and we will not do so based on agenda or fear, but becaue truly i want him to have God's leadership in all things
  5. move on - that's right, it's over - it can't be done - it's in the past. now, it's time to move on. get involved. put your money where your mouth is. and your time and your energy and your resources. we should be a part of the process, but our hope and confidence should always be in God
next couple of days, i'm going to cut and paste some thoughts from others that resonate with me...

my thoughts about today...a day history is made

i'm writing this shortly before lunch on november 4 (election day 2009) - but waiting until later in the day for it to post...

...i've spent time this morning helping prepare my children for another day of school, preparing my wife's first cup of coffee, watching a bit of news, mowing the back yard, praying, reading and thinking. in other words, its another day in my life...routine, yet every moment cherished because of those that are a part of my life - just like tomorrow will be.

i've chosen to wait to post this until its definite as to who the winner of the election is. at this point (11:10am) i truly think it'll be obama that wins - will i be dissappointed? sure. is it the end of the world and am i going to tuck my head in the sand for fear of impending government growth and higher taxes? absolutely not!

as i was praying (and cutting grass this morning) these are the thoughts that i pondered:
  • Rom 13:1 indicates that God establishes government - simply put, human government is better than NO government. now, the problem is that it is human - not divine. when we begin to think of government in terms of one party more "favored by God" than another, we lose sight of the fact that ultimately it is God that is in control. does this mean that God is pleased with all human government? no way. in fact i would venture to say that more than likely there's a lot that God is NOT pleased with in regard to government
  • because i'm writing this pre-results, but i essentially believe the post-results will indicate an obama presidency...i began to wonder...what God are you telling the church to do? ...how do we respond to a man that is so blatantly pro-abortion (yes, it IS a big issue to me...in fact, it's enough of an issue to sway me one way or the other for a candidate)? ...whats next for the Church of Jesus Chirst? our hope is never to be in a political system of any sort - have we sinned by doing so? ...finally, and this is really the ultimate absolute of the mattter...what am i PERSONALLY responsible for?
if you're a frequent reader of my blog, you know that i consider mark batterson's writing a must read. mark pastors a thriving a-political (there's a thought!) church IN DC...i appreciate the candor and tact with which he approaches matters such as these - but i particularly appreciate his latest sermon - the political elephant - you can listen to it in it's entirety here...below i've hit a few points that really captured my feelings. these thoughts give us a framework to move forward with - they are a challege for the church to return to what Christ mandated Her with - they are simple, but powerful. what follows are mark's remarks (except the last paragraph).

  • we need to think critically and biblically and tactfully about every issue facing our country. I think every political issue has spiritual overtones or undertones. I think we need to be engaged in the political “process.”
  • I also believe that the church exists to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. And all too often, our politics actually gets in the way of that. Our political positions can be obstacles that keep people from getting to the cross. And Jesus didn’t come to set up an earthly Kingdom. He came to redeem us from our sin and setup a spiritual kingdom that would transcend every earthly kingdom.
  • Blood is Thicker than Water

  • our allegiance to Christ comes first. Our allegiance to each other, as a spiritual family, comes second. And our allegiance to whatever political party we are part of comes third.
  • Our Kingdom is Spiritual

    Philippians 3:20-21 says:

    20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
  • We are first and foremost, citizens of heaven. We are part of a spiritual kingdom. And our prayer is this: Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done!
  • If you don’t vote don’t complain.

  • I think we need to quit complaining and quit grumbling. We need to stop pointing out what’s wrong and become part of the solution. Otherwise, we’ll continue to be known for what we’re against instead of what we’re for.
  • Respect Those in Authority

  • What is more important than how we vote on Nov. 4 is how we live on Nov. 3 and Nov. 5. We vote everyday with our lives. We vote every day with our feet, our hands, our lips, and our wallets….ultimate change does not just happen one day every four years. —Shane Claiborne

finally, it's simply incredible to see that in America, there IS opportunity for everyone - i think it's wonderful that we do have our first black president. is he my choice? no! but apparently he is God's choice for this season and i will do all that i can to pray for him and believe that God will use him to govern the affairs of men rightly and justly - may God bless America and may God bless Barak Obama!
will you believe with me that God is not only in control,
but that His will is being done and will be done?

why things stay the same

recently received my latest issue of fast company...a secular business magazine...and found this quote in the opening editorial - hope it'll challenge you to think for a moment...

"Emory University professor Gregory Berns writes...
our brains are biologically engineered to engage in repetitive thinking"

please understand that there is no acknowledgment of God in this statement...having realized that...
  • perhaps this is why many pastor's sermons sound the same...uh oh, might get in trouble for that one - except that i too preach and have noticed this can happen in my own speaking
  • perhaps this is why many leaders face crises moments in leadership with the same set of lenses - rather than seeing each crises as a stand-alone event allowed by God to forge character, tenacity and faith in us
  • perhaps this is why sin "so easily entangles us" - because repetitive thinking is rote and doesn't really really require much thinking at all
  • perhaps this is why the maintenance mindset is an easy trap to fall into
  • perhaps...
the article goes on to quote a dutch designer who says, "assaulting sensibilities can build creative capital" - let me springboard off of that statement and say that i think it's imperative for leaders in any organization to find new sources of input (of course, prayer, bible, etc are the FIRST source of input) - but what about other input into our lives - such as: relationships, building friendships with others in other areas of expertise (just this past weekend we had supper with some friends of our...the dad/father is brilliant - a pilot, an IT security analyst expert and wants to be a medical doctor...i was fascinated as he and i talked about flying...thinking all along about what he is telling my and how it can crossover into other areas of life), other sources of input can be: podcasts, magazines, life-experiences, travel, documentaries, etc.

this is why i'm a big believer in exposure - exposing others to new situations, methods, etc so that thinking is shocked out of the repetitive nature and into a creative nature...

i was recently exchanging ideas with a pastor who is motivated to see his new church move beyond the 100 barrier...my counsel to him was this, "you've got to shock the system" - in other words, what you've done up to this point has worked...it's taken you from 0-75 attendees and you are solid in worship, teaching and fellowship. however, in order to go to the next level, something has to change - for him, specifically, one thing that needed to change was that he needed to lay down some responsibilities that he's carried since day 1, hand them over to some one else (i.e., pass along ministry) and carry only the things that he could as sr. pastor.

church...ARISE!

Letter from Dutch Sheets
October 20, 2008

Dear Praying Friend,

In 2000, I wrote the 2nd most important letter of my life—a call to prayer for the elections of that year. I’m now writing what may be my most important letter. I knew the importance of those elections in 2000 was beyond any in my life up to that point and that the spiritual warfare surrounding them would be unlike anything any of us had ever seen. That letter was read by millions of people and I believe millions of them responded by praying. I also believe the prayers turned the tide.

You may question whether President Bush was the right choice; obviously, he has made some blunders in his tenure as president. But two of his decisions alone left no doubt he was God’s choice: Roberts and Alito.

These two Supreme Court Justices have proven critical in the process of breaking the hold of humanism, death and anti-God agendas that have ruled the Court for 50 years. I assure you that more devastation—the shedding of innocent blood, immorality, decay of the family and an erosion of our godly heritage—has flowed into our nation through that institution than any other door in America. Many times more. The poison allowed into America through their decisions is beyond any of our abilities to articulate. The reality in America is that you don’t need to control Congress or the White Hose to rule the nation. You only need 5 people – 5 out of 9 on the Supreme Court. And for decades those who disagree with just about everything you and I stand for have been in control!

In Bush’s two terms, the process of turning this around began with the appointments of Roberts and Alito. Now, we win some cases 5-4 and lose some 4-5. (We barely outlawed partial birth abortion. The vote of one judge saved thousands of babies from this horror.) We need one more conservative Justice for a consistent majority, then more to build a strong majority.

In Obama’s own words, “the next president will appoint at least one, perhaps two or more Supreme Court Justices.” He’s right. Almost certainly two or more older, liberal Justices are waiting until after the elections to retire, in hopes of Obama winning and appointing more liberals to replace them. And he certainly would. He voted against the confirmation of Roberts and Alito. So did Biden. And Biden led the fight against Justice Thomas several years back, another of the 4 solid conservatives. Make no mistake about it, the two of them do have a litmus test for Supreme Court Justices, and a major part of that test is Roe vs. Wade. McCain and Palin, on the other hand, both have very strong pro-life positions. This alone makes the choice for President simple. To vote for the 2nd and 3rd most liberal senators (Obama and Biden), both of whom are firmly and blatantly pro-abortion, would be unconscionable.

Obama has actually said that if he wins, he would like his first action as president to be the signing of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would eliminate every other law against any aspect of abortion (partial birth abortion, parental notification, etc., etc.). And with a democratic majority in the House and Senate, pretty much any legislation he and Biden want to pass will be a slam-dunk. There are many other unrighteous positions they hold but this position alone makes the choice easy. If they win this election, it will set America back decades in the cause of life and the restoration we seek.

Just as many of you do, I too, want to see a first black President, but not Senator Obama. To allow that noble and godly desire, the economy or one’s position on the war to trump this issue of life and death for the innocent unborn is simply wrong. The scriptures teach that if we choose first to exalt righteousness and turn from evil, God promises to heal our land (see Proverbs 14:34; 2 Chronicles 7:14). It is righteousness that exalts a nation, not wealth, prosperity or armies. If we will finish the process of removing the curses of death and anti-God laws off of America by electing a president that will continue to shift the Court, God will grace us with breakthrough in other areas such as the economy, the war against terrorism, etc. My faith is not in a person, and certainly not a political party, for the healing of America, but I know God’s word and His ways well enough to know that our decisions do move Him to action or inaction. Now to the heart of my reason for writing this letter (I realize I am “preaching to the choir”—most of you who know or listen to me are conservative enough to vote for McCain and Palin.)

I have not written any appeals for prayer concerning this election because:
1) others have, and
2) I believe our movement has matured to the point that the prayer base of the Church is already praying.

But I now feel the need to raise my voice. I am appealing to you to pray for these elections the next two weeks like you’ve never prayed for any in the past. Faithfully. Passionately. Boldly. Ask God for His mercy and grace. We deserve His judgment for removing His influence and authority from our government, schools, homes and businesses; for the killing of 50 million babies; for leading the world in the consumption and exporting of pornography; for passing laws to reject His; etc. But mercy triumphs over judgment and in His wrath He remembers mercy. In 2000 we actually lost the popular vote and won the election—talk about grace! Please pray for this grace to be released again.

But I am also asking you for something more than normal prayer. For those of you who understand spiritual warfare, I am asking you to also include this aspect of prayer. There is no doubt that we have entered a Daniel 10 moment in time: “Then he said to me, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia’” (Daniel 10: 12-13 NAS). The spiritual warfare in this election is incredibly fierce, and just as it was in Daniel’s day, is all about the restoration of a nation. And also like Daniel, we must keep praying until we win the battle in the heavens.

In August of this year I predicted that September would mark a shift in momentum for these elections. This happened with the appointment of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential nominee (who is a true Esther in our generation), but when the economy began its meltdown and the media ramped up their unprecedented attacks on Palin, that momentum wasn’t sustained. But we can see it turn again if we approach this battle as the spiritual warfare it truly is and bind the evil forces involved (see Matthew 16:18-19). The reality is that this election can be the breakthrough we need to fully shift the Court (and ultimately our nation) or it will be an immeasurable setback that could take many years to reverse—if ever. Please understand what I am saying: if we engage in this battle and do what I am asking—in mass—we will win; if we do not, we will lose. I, for one, don’t intend to allow the latter. I am in Washington, D.C. now (October 20-22) with Lou Engle and a team of prayer leaders from around the nation to war for this election. Join us! Lose some sleep, miss some meals— pray! Pray like never before for these elections. And as you do, involve yourself not only in petitioning prayer but also in spiritual warfare. Use your God-given authority over the plans and strategies of Satan’s kingdom. Bind all witchcraft that is working to control the outcome, including occult powers that are suppressing truth. Release Christ’s Kingdom rule in every way the Holy Spirit leads you.

Don’t be deceived and don’t lose hope (if you have to, turn off the TV.) It is not too late to turn these elections. God is plenty powerful enough to do so. The real question is will we rise to the level of prayer and spiritual warfare necessary to release that power. And remember, we don’t need a majority of Christians who are willing and able to do this—only a praying remnant. We can do it!

Here are some practical suggestions to consider:
1) Fast (a meal a day; a day a week; a Daniel fast; 3 days; 10 days; TV; etc.) and spend the time praying.
2) Agree in prayer with someone everyday for God’s will to be done.
3) Form/participate in prayer groups regularly. Churches could pray everyday.
4) Take time in every gathering to pray. (Take 15 minutes in every service to pray for the elections. Turn an entire service to harp and bowl style intercession—worship and prayer combined.)
5) Join 2 or more on a conference call and pray for 15, 20, or 30 minutes.
6) Pray on the way to work (and on the way home).
7) Pray before you go to sleep.
8) Pray before church services.
9) Ask God to give you His strategy—He will!

In His grip,
Dutch Sheets

Draw the Line...thoughts on the election from someone in the black community

please note...this is an exact copy of an article that appeared on fireinmybones.com - this is not rick writing, but this is rick agreeing!

Draw the Line!

White Christians can’t say this—and black preachers won’t touch the issue. But it’s time black Christians faced the reality about Barack Obama’s dangerous moral values.
by Kimberly Daniels
As a child in the 1960s I rode in the back of the bus. I was at the front of the riot lines in the 1970s, when I hit white boys on the head with bricks and dragged white girls down sidewalks near my school. I also experienced serious racism when I was an athlete in college.

I have been called the "N" word many times. I was taught to hate white people, and some of my relatives still call white people names such as "honky" and "cracker." But after I found Jesus, I was delivered from racism. I am free indeed!

"Regardless of political opinions, the Bible makes it clear: Those who support the homosexual agenda and the murder of unborn babies will be judged.”
The residue of my abuse has dried up at the root, and I am no longer a victim of what I call "ricochet racism." This occurs when the abused becomes the abuser.

Ricochet racism is a hellacious boomerang that grips the victim with pride and makes him think he has a right to hate. When I was saved, God taught me that I did not have a right to hate white people. Jesus nailed all my excuses to the cross, and I moved on.

Now that I am a born-again Christian, I do not consider my race to be my primary identity. I am a Christian first—before I am an African-American, a Democrat or a Republican. That's why I am troubled that so many African-American Christians are voting for Barack Obama simply because he is black.

If someone won't vote for a person because of race, we call this racism. But it is also racism when someone votes for a person because of his race!

Believe me, I would love to see a black brother in the White House—but not someone like Obama, who has embraced humanistic doctrines. Many white preachers are afraid to say this, and many black preachers won't touch it with a 10-foot pole.

I love Obama and pray for him and his family. But as Elijah troubled Ahab in Israel, I will challenge his views because they are dangerous to our religious liberties. It's time to draw the line.

Black Christians today need to put their faith first when they step into the voting booth. Does Obama represent godly values?

We know, for example, that he is an inclusionist. For 20 years he attended a church in Chicago that preaches that (1) Jesus is not the only way to God; (2) there is no hell; and (3) God will allow homosexuals to go to heaven even if they remain in their sinful state. Obama also has defended the killing of unborn babies, even in the third trimester.

He claims to be a Christian, but in his book The Audacity of Hope he calls the first chapter of Romans an "obscure" passage of Scripture. God's admonition about the sin of homosexuality is hardly obscure. It is very clear!

Jesus is the only way to God, and God will surely send homosexuals to hell if they do not turn from their ways and accept Christ—just as He will do for all other sinners who do not trust Jesus.

Regardless of political opinions, the Bible makes it clear: Those who support the homosexual agenda and the murder of unborn babies will be judged (see Rom. 1:32). These were the main issues in the days of ancient Israel, and they are critical issues today.

The pro-abortion movement is tied to the worship of two idols, Chemosh and Molech, the gods of child sacrifice. The movement toward gay marriage is rooted in the spirit of gameo, a Greek word that refers to same-sex marriage (see Matt. 24:38).

How can we vote for politicians who favor these ungodly movements? The Bible says we must separate ourselves from sin and wickedness. God is looking for faithful Christians who will not bow to the gods of this world.

I know what I am saying is not popular, and some people will denounce me for it. But I believe it is time to draw a line.

Believers can no longer make excuses by pulling their race cards, leaning on their lukewarm denominational rules or hiding under the covering of a political party. If we want America to recover, we must repent. We must choose the right side.

We must stand strong for what we believe and hold our ground. We must declare, as Joshua did, "Whoever is on God's side ... stand with me!"
Kimberly Daniels is the founder of Spoken Word Ministries in Jacksonville, Fla., and author of several books including her new release, Inside Out. Visit her at kimberlydaniels.com.

challenges leaders face

spent some time this morning listening to andy stanley address leaders in a past catalyst conference...
andy's a gifted, dynamic and insightful leader - some great things to keep in mind here...
  1. Your leadership ability has the potential to take you further than your character can sustain you
  2. Leaders get into trouble when their integrity doesn't keep pace with the momentum created by their giftedness
  3. Their is no correlation between giftedness and maturity
  4. Our commitment to integrity can be easily eroded by our love of progress - leaders love progress (that's why many pastors hate counseling...its about getting people back to "zero" so that they can make progress) - leaders don't love the past, don't really care about the present, they love the future and the progress to get there - this can set us up for some unique pitfalls.
  5. The excuse we are most tempted to use: "God promised it, I deserve it" - when you begin to get close to what you think God has for you, it's easy to turn a blind eye to a small compromise that will get us to what "God promised"...then there's the "I deserve it" thing - "I deserve" it will lead to compromise.
life of david
  • when opportunities line up with our prayers and our passions, it's difficult to exercise restraint - ex.: saul in the cave with david their hiding
  • emotional environments are like a fog - you get emotion when you mix prayer and passion
  • opportunities must be weighed against something other than the uniqueness of the circumstances surrounding them
  • we must use something far more objective than circumstances
  • an open is not necessarily an invitation from God
  • how do you look at something and the surrounding circumstances and know it's from God?
  • david weighed this opportunity against three things:
  • the law of God - "the Lord forbid that I should do such a thing against my master" - it was against the law to kill the king!...even thought the king is trying to kill you, you don't kill him - seemed like an "open door" - maybe God didn't open this door - maybe the door doesn't matter when compared to the law of God. saul was still david's master - not only is saul the king, he was "anointed of the Lord" - you do not REPLACE what God has put IN PLACE.
  • the principles of God - "may the Lord judge between you and me" - i know God wants me there, i'm going to wait for God to put me there.
  • the wisdom of God - how wise would it have been for a "wanna be" king to murder the "sitting king" while he's using the bathroom in the cave. that's not the story you want to tell your grandchildren sitting around the camp fire. his leadership would have always been in question because he had murdered saul while he was most vulnerable
  • everything that looks like a God thing, feels like a God thing, is suggested by others that's its a God thing...may NOT be
  • the most direct route is rarely the best route
  • the tempatations of Jesus was all about "isn't that what God" it's all the "most direct route"
In summary:
  • weigh every opportunity against the law, principles and wisdom of God
  • decide everyday you will not sacrifice integrity for progress
  • give the right people an all-access pass to every leadership decision - don't decide on your own.
  • being a leader does not exempt you from the need for wise counsel - it necessitates it
  • solomon (wisest man in the world) wrote more about the need for counsel
  • it takes only once decision to compromise your integrity and derail your life
  • never accomplish the will of God by violating the law of God, ignoring the principles of God or ignoring the wisdom of God
  • God is capable of getting you where you need to be, when you need to be

on my radar

thought i'd drop a few links here that you may find interesting...

twitter...take 2

you've seen it here before...twitter

well, i've decided to give it another shot to see what i like & dislike about it...

for those that don't know what twitter is...it's basically a "micro-blogging" site - it gives you the opportunity to set up a page (mine is www.twitter.com/rickwomack - i know, real original), then send updates to that page based on what you're thinking, what you're doing, etc. you can send pics to the page, urls of other websites, etc. the cool thing is that people can subscribe to your feeds (the information you send) and follow along and you can follow along on others. currently, some of the cool tweets i'm following are: max lucado, fast company (a business magazine), billy hornsby (church planting guru), thom rainer (pres. of lifeway bookstores and church research guru), matthew barnett, catalyst and only ONE IPHC person (props to megan for being an early adopter and encouraging me to sign on). twitter gets the "micro" description because it uses SMS (short message service...or text messaging) which means each update is only 140 characters or less.

so, there's my basic definition of twitter...

here are a few articles to that have been written that do a better job - check them out.
what is twitter?
several habits of highly successful twitter users
newbies guide to twitter
tech you might want to use: twitter (great article relating to ministry use)

oh yea, i don't use the text messaging part (i do have text messaging, just not unlimited - too cheap for that) - i use twitterberry (a small app) that i downloaded to my blackberry that runs all the messages throughg it and it doesn't 'look' like a text. when i'm on my laptop, i use tweetdeck and leave it on in the background.

back to the future

had a very surreal opportunity today - to speak at emmanuel college for the school of christian ministries. its been over 17 years ago that i left emmanuel and it really doesn't seem that long - guess that's my memory beginning to fog over.

anyway, although i work for our denomination, i've purposed (at least for now), not to "re-preach" a word that God's given to me previously - i always want it to be a fresh word, not left-overs. disclaimer, keeping with the food metaphor, there are some times that i'll use some "ingredients" from a previous message - i.e., a particular point or story - but never the whole message, rehashed.

so today i thought i'd share the reduced fat version (i.e. to the point!) of what i spoke on:

title:
detours, delays & distractions

big idea:
could it be God trying to get your attention when you encounter these

notes:
  • In my job, I travel
  • Like to get where I'm going quickly
  • Don't like a detour or delay
  • What can we learn in the process?

  • Some of you heard Steven Furtick say last week at Catalyst, "Between the promise and the payoff is the process."

  • God uses the detours and delays to help us with our Understanding of the Process
  1. You discover who you are in the process -

  • Neh. 1:11-2:5

  • In prayer, Nehemiah discovered his purpose (end of vs.4 & vs. 5)
  • Know who I am NOT - I'm not a plumber/car repairman/handyman/hunter/fisher/gardner

  • Know, Who I am? - Things I love: being a husband, being a great dad, worship, public presentation (teaching, preaching, leading), ideation, privately serving others

  • Nehemiah started ended with "I was a cupbearer" --> becomes a leader and rebuilder in vs. 5

  • Nehemiah was a cupbearer

      • not an illustrious career

      • equivalent to a butler

      • It was one that was:

        • trusted

        • respected

        • close to the king

  1. Relationships are key

  • Scripture says, "Iron sharpens iron"(Prov. 27:17)

  • No "iron" can sharpen itself - it takes another

  • Life happens

  • Life happens in relationship

  • Nehemiah had relational expertise on several levels that we can learn from:

    • As the King's cupbearer, he basically was a part of the inner circle of leadership - that constitutes: diplomacy, tact, wisdom, trust, awareness and leadership

    • As the leader of the people he had to know how to: organize, administrate and encourage the people

    • Chapter 4 where they begin to grumble and he basically tells them to "man up" and get the job done

    • Criticism is a part of leadership and criticism is a part of relationship: How will you respond?

    • I like what Rick Warren says, "When you're small, they'll dismiss you; when you're growing, they'll criticize you; when you're large, they'll resent you"

    • You can't win, dismiss the critics and move on with what God has for you - a tough lesson, but one you have to learn.

  1. In every season of your life, look for fruit

  • In the process of life, we go through seasons

  • Some of the seasons are great, we know God is near

  • Some of the seasons are painful

  • What do you do in the painful seasons of you life: you have two choices?

  • You own the past - leads to self-engulfment (to flow over and enclose); self-seeking; self-serving - focused on self

  • You allow God to own the past - He can use it and you to help others, serve others, see others

    • Jesus said in Jn 12:24-26 - "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

    • Jesus compares our lives to a kernel of wheat that falls to the ground

        • That means I must be willing to get stepped on

        • Dirty

        • Stepped on
        • Unnoticed

        • Obscure

WHY?

So that the soil of life can fall on me and that I can learn to push through that soil as a seed does so that I can produce fruit

CLOSE:

  • Detours...
    • Good because you're still headed toward your destination
    • Along the way, you learn new things
    • Read this recently, Passion is Belief in Motion
    • Can still be full of passion in a detour
  • Delays...
    • When God says, "Pause"
    • Most key Biblical people had a season of 'Wait'
    • Joseph experienced an extended delay...a season of silence
    • Silence does not equal absence - God is still with you
  • Distractions...
    • Have a saying, "Distractions distract"
    • Remove your eyes from the focus
    • God is not in distraction
  • Nehemiah had them
  • 5 times he was asked to "come talk with them" (the critics)
  • His response: I'm busy doing what God wants.
  • Delays & Detours are often a tool that God uses - Nehemiah waited

monday morning random-ness

great weekend!
  • our son's soccer team won decisively to a team they had lost to just 5 days prior - score was 5-1!
  • georgia lost (NOT great), but they played like they should've in the second half - got to have that passion and leadership for 60, not 30.
  • my fantasy football team is kicking tail! speaking of football, who saw this weekend's upsets coming? wow!
  • date night this weekend with some other couples from church - went to see fireproof - let me emphatically endorse this movie and do ALL that i can to compel EVERY couple to go see it. men, take the lead and take your wife...take tissues also (you may need them, she will!). awesome movie that will encourage you to step up and lead. i love this movie and am now on a path of telling everyone to go see it - MAKE IT HAPPEN!
  • i've added two new IPHC bloggers to my blogroll - the blogosphere is gaining traction in the IPHC - would LOVE to see it continue to build as we head into next year's Gen. Conf. - the A/G's were able to really use the blogosphere to educate and motivate for their recent changes. the first one is from a youth pastor locally that i meet with occasionally - jim's blog here. the second blog is one that've i've just found using google's alert feature. doug's blog is here - oh yea, most importantly, they just planted a hispanic church!
  • here are some other blogs that i've come across in my bloglines reader:
  • lessons from harry truman - i love this quote, “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.”
  • joe biden ticks me off! - i love this post and wholeheartidly agree with tim
  • "let's play it safe" vs. "let's risk it all" - great post and right where i've been living
  • it was great to visit genesis church in cumming, ga. i love this congregation. they are led by an awesome leadership team and pastors. God's doing great things in their midst, they are growing, they are planning for the future...things are happening!

on the radar

i currently have a ton of blogs by others tagged to refer you to...but i've boiled it down to 5 important ones - please, take your time to check some of these out - some have some things to say that you need to hear...thanks and enjoy.
  1. furtick uses a great analogy to talk about taking things into our own hands
  2. these next few blog references are to a new blog that i'm following and i absolutely love it - its quickly becoming one of my favorites: first, lead yourself. second, maximizing stewardship. third, little things matter. finally, recharging. go check out this blogsite and all the other things available on it - very well done with a ton of great resources
  3. five reasons why EVERY pastor ought to be blogging
  4. awesome post (and really easy to read) comparing "leader man" and "servant man"
  5. finally, if you lead volunteers...must read!