Monthly Archives: August 2012

an authenticity quiz

Under the influence of the current political fervor in America, I am exercising my gift of skepticism (regarding politics) and asking some questions of our leaders.

Answer the following questions from the perspective of a voter in the upcoming election:

Do I believe the promises this person is making?

Does she (or he) really have my best interest at heart or do they just want my support?

Does this person say one thing to me and something else to other people?

Does this person have a track record of telling the truth?

Do I trust this person?

Now if you are a leader, ask yourself the SAME questions, from the perspective of those whom you are leading. That is really the point of this blog post.

Leaders: Authenticity is not an option. Let’s be real!

Jesus said in Matthew 5:37, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (NIV)

Advertisements

cutting the grass and other leadership exercises

While some may disagree, I consider myself a relatively bright person. This afternoon, I had reason to second-guess my presupposition.

I haven’t cut grass in eight years. Until recently, we lived in a development that took care of outside maintenance – nice, but expensive.  With our recent move, I picked up the responsibility of mowing the lawn again.

Today was my first time with the new lawn and with the mower that was left behind for my use.  I added some gas, looked over the machine and cranked her up. Understand, our lawn is very hilly. It was hot, the grass was a little wet, and I was working pretty hard, especially on the uphill parts. About ¾ of the way finished, I happen to notice a level on the mower I hadn’t yet seen.  I pulled it and the mower started pulling itself! Awesome! But I felt kind of stupid. My last mower was self-propelled, but I made the assumption that this one was not, WITHOUT TAKING TIME TO LOOK.

Stop laughing.

Leadership lesson: before jumping into a project – take time to examine all of the details available:

What do you have to work with?

Is there a strategy or plan or method that will bring more success?

Is there an easier or smarter way to do this job?

What about efficiency…will you be getting the most out of your efforts?

Taking time to fully understand the details of what you are doing, what will be required and the best way to get the job down will make your responsibility and your life a lot more enjoyable. And you will be way more productive!

Once I kicked in the self-propelled feature on the mower, the job was a breeze. But the first hour and a half were not fun. I want to have fun working and leading.

Next week, I will cut the lawn in half the time with half the effort. Now if I could only find that self-propelled feature on some of the people I get to work with! (Just kidding!)


the value of catching up

We drove about 550 miles yesterday. I spent a good portion of that time talking on the phone with friends, some current and some old. All of the friends I spoke with are colleagues in ministry. They live in different states, and serve in different capacities, but our lives are intersected – we are friends. The conversations were interesting: Some friends were encouraging me. Some were looking for a little advice. Some were hurting and needing a lift. Some just wanted to shoot the breeze. But these conversations were all valuable and necessary. I loved making good use of otherwise useless time. It was productive, both relationally and spiritually.

Here’s the thing: I seldom take time to just call friends to see how they are doing.  By this I mean that people who are not necessarily under my sphere of responsibility sometimes get left out of my life – but this is unintentional. I’m not much of a phone guy and therefore I neglect people whom I shouldn’t. I get busy. As a result, I sometimes miss out on the lives of my friends. I am not available to encourage them or be encouraged by them. My experience yesterday was a reminder of how important catching up really is.

I hope to be more intentional with my friends in the future. While my friends may not be looking for a call from me or even be needing me to call them on a certain day, still, we need to talk. That’s what friends are for.

Be intentional in catching up with friends. Call someone. It’ll do you and them some good.


I love change (and that can get me into trouble)

I’ve always been the restless kind. I have spent a significant portion of my life with the strange feeling that the action must be happening somewhere other than where I was at the time – that I was somehow missing something. I tend to lose interest in routine, predictability isn’t attractive to me. And ruts are despicable!

All of this can create real problems, especially for someone who desires to be an authentic and credible leader. If I followed my desire for frequent change, I would never put down roots. Thankfully, God has helped me to harness my emotions and I have served long-term throughout my ministry career.

I had to wrestle with my restlessness during my recent decision to accept a new ministry post – I had to be sure that my wanderlust wasn’t driving my transition.

When considering a transition, here are some key questions to ask yourself:

Am I just bored with the routine of my current job?

Is the grass really greener over there? (you know the old joke that the grass is greener over the septic tank?)

Has something happened that may have caused me to become discouraged and consider quitting?

And the bottom line question: Is God driving my desire for a change or is it only human emotion?

My advice? If you are young and unencumbered, hit the road, see the sights, it’s OK to be a bit irresponsible. But if you are responsible for others, settle down and only move IF God is saying to move. If God is telling you to move, you really need to do it – regardless.

Embrace whatever God embraces – changing or remaining.


should I leave my net?

Today I am thinking that it is more difficult to follow Christ than it was back in the days when He walked the earth.

I read how, when Jesus called His disciples to follow Him, they dropped everything, “they left their fishing nets” and followed Him (Matthew 4, Mark 1) . This means they quit their jobs, without 2 weeks notice, and went after Him.

Letha and I are in the process of moving, we believe at the direction of the Lord. It is a PROCESS. Did the disciples have to contract a moving company, sell their homes, collect and pack about 100 boxes of stuff, close bank accounts?… You get the idea. I would be considered irresponsible if I dropped everything and moved to Minnesota. In fact, I would get into legal trouble if I left some of this stuff undone. But I believe that this topic may be more a matter of the heart than a matter of U-Haul.

Here are some important points about following Jesus:

-We must be ready to change direction, without a moment’s notice.

-Anything that we possess that would keep us from being obedient to Christ has become a false god to us.

-Our comfort and security outside of total submission to God is an illusion. There is no such thing as safe disobedience.

-Sometimes, God wants us to stay precisely where we are.

Your “net” may represent your career. It could be friends. It may simply be your comfort zone. Whatever it represents, your net must never take precedence over what Christ is asking you to do.  He may ask you to keep fishing – if so, fish away! But if He says, “let’s go”, leave your net.


380 sermons down, 2 left

I am in transition. As I write this post, I am supposed to be helping my wife pack for our move to Minnesota. I am leaving my post in Florida as a local church pastor, where I have served for seven years and eight months. We have two Sundays left before we leave.

I have recently made the switch from preaching with printed notes to preaching with an iPad. The picture you see are my sermon notes from day one to last Sunday at Cross Community Church. Approximately 380 sermons. Most of them were preached three times because we have three Sunday Worship Gatherings. When I got home from church on Sundays, I would put the outline on the stack and get to work on the following week’s message.

Unless someone contacts me very soon, these babies are going into the recycling bin. I can’t imagine anyone wanting them now, but they represent a lot of hard work and prayer. Blood, sweat and tears. I think they were all Biblically based. I hope they were all relevant to the worshippers. I pray they made a difference. I trust I was faithful to God’s call on my life to preach His Gospel.  They reflect my heart for the special people in this church family.

Famous preachers have their sermons published. Wannabe famous preachers publish their own. Mine will be recycled – literally.

A turning of the page, or a tap on the iPad.