Tag Archives: family

Can Kickers, or the Hezekiah Syndrome: Selling out Future Generations

27459680_10156150146009214_7268989353369031812_nIt’s commonly referred to as “kicking the can down the road.” This is when a leader refuses to deal with an issue that will have negative ramifications – later. The idea is, as long as I am gone when everything hits the fan, I’m good with that.

One of the most notorious cases of “can kicking” happened a few thousand years ago. The Bible tells the story of King Hezekiah who foolishly showed off all of the national treasures to visitors from a distant land. Isaiah (who was a prophet) addressed the trouble that would come as a result of Hezekiah’s mistake:

Then Isaiah spoke to Hezekiah, “Listen to what God has to say about this: The day is coming when everything you own and everything your ancestors have passed down to you, right down to the last cup and saucer, will be cleaned out of here—plundered and packed off to Babylon. God’s word! Worse yet, your sons, the progeny of sons you’ve begotten, will end up as eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”19 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “If God says it, it must be good.” But he was thinking to himself, “It won’t happen during my lifetime—I’ll enjoy peace and security as long as I live.” (II Kings 20:16-19 MSG)

This is a little shocking. How, in good conscience can a king show such disregard for his family and descendants?

Take another look: Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “If God says it, it must be good.” But he was thinking to himself, “It won’t happen during my lifetime—I’ll enjoy peace and security as long as I live.” In other words, I really don’t care about what happens to people in the future – I’m OK.

Prototypical “kicking the can down the road!”

In a nutshell, here is the root of the Hezekiah syndrome:

Selfishness: when leaders care more about their wellbeing than that of those they lead, the phenomenon occurs.

Shortsightedness: when leaders can’t anticipate the long-term results of their decisions, those in the future may suffer.

When leaders don’t care about those who will come behind them, careless and even cruel decisions can be made.

When leaders are too weak to make decisions that are good for their progeny, the Hezekiah syndrome will reveal itself.

And this last “root” is worth focusing upon.

It is possible that leaders in 2018 may make decisions (or refuse to make decisions) that will hurt their children, grandchildren and many generations to come. If I am hurting the future by ignoring an issue today, shame on me.

If you are a leader and you observe a problem that may hurt others down the road, and if you have the capacity to address that problem, it would be a dereliction of duty to let it go. True, the results may not come about on your watch but it is immoral to be able to prevent future pain and not do so.

Leaders, our children need us to be strong. Our grandkids are counting on us having a backbone. If we see a problem that is fixable, fix it!

Now, apply the principles of the Hezekiah syndrome to your family, your business, your church, your community, your country… Your descendants will thank you!

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You’re More Influential Than You Think

design[4].pngMost of us sell ourselves short. We think we’re not making much of a difference. We assume that other people aren’t all that impacted by what we do. Let’s discuss it.

I believe you influence more people than you think and I believe you influence them in a deeper way than you might know.

Think about it:

  • Those whom you don’t know but know you; maybe the two of you never speak. It could be a neighbor or a friend of a friend. It could be the barista or a flight attendant. Just because you don’t know them doesn’t mean that they are unaware of you. They have an opinion about you.
  • Those you know: maybe those with whom you work or play sports or go to church. You impact them. You may think it is no big deal but if you interact with them, you are making some kind of difference in their life.
  • How about those who know you the best? Your spouse, parents, kids, best friends… I’m sure you are aware that you influence them but maybe you don’t know to what level. I can assure you – your impact on their lives is massive.

The purpose of this post is to help us take full advantage of the relationship opportunities we’ve been given.

You see…

Influence can be positive or negative.

Every word you speak, your body language, even the clothes you wear are noticed. If you return the shopping cart to the corral or don’t pick up after your dog, people notice. I realize we can’t live in the bondage of trying to always leave everyone with a positive impression. But how you treat people matters – a lot. They either feel better or worse after interacting with you.

You are an influential person. I encourage you to use that influence for good; make a positive difference. The world and the people in your life really need it.


A Prayer for Judah (our new grandson)

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Dear Lord,

Thank you for sending Judah to us today, he is a gift from heaven. We are not quite sure what to do with him, since we never had a son. A grandson is a unique and precious gift. We thank You for entrusting him to us. We commit to do our very best in helping to raise him the way that You desire.

I pray for him on this first day of his life on this earth.

I pray that:

He will be strong and healthy and safe.

That you will provide his parents with everything they will need in order to raise him to honor You.

That he and his big sister, Sophie will have a wonderful childhood together and an even better relationship as adults.

That He will come to know You at the earliest possible opportunity.

That he will grow up to be a leader, not a follower.

That he will grasp the power of Your love and share that love with others.

That he will help the culture of his day to embrace the Gospel of Christ.

That he will be an earth-shaker for You, one who influences others to follow You.

That he will have courage, strength, confidence, integrity, passion, and faith.

But most of all, I pray that he will be a man of God, a genuine Christian, every day of his life.

Thank you for reminding us, by sending Judah to us, that you have not given up on the world. Our new baby assures us that there is hope.

All in the name of Christ,

Amen


Pastor, There is a Target on your Chest!

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Pastor, you are being targeted. It is no secret that if the enemy can take you out, many of your followers will also be taken out.

In Matthew 26:31 Jesus informed His disciples that they would scatter when He was attacked: “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ He was referencing the prophecy in Zechariah 13:8 which detailed His brutal death.  He was also telling them that none of them would be there for Him in His darkest hour.

If you are a spiritual leader, make no mistake; the devil is zeroed in on you. He has you in his crosshairs.

Should you be afraid? No, but you should take some precautions:

`Surround yourself with a prayer covering – both from yourself and from other people. This needs to be more than casual. Intentional and strategic prayer is needed.

`Don’t take unnecessary risks: don’t go where you don’t belong, stay away from the things that tempt you, avoid people that pull you the wrong direction.

`Maintain your spiritual disciplines. It is in prayer and meditation and fasting and the Word that you remain strong.

`Stay accountable. While solitude is important, too much time alone is unhealthy. Be close to your spouse, your family and your friends.

`Stay close to God – it is in Him that you are secure.

There is a target on your chest! Don’t underestimate your vulnerability and don’t undervalue God’s protection.


Christmas is Flesh and Blood

images-90We should know by now that the holiday is not about the presents we receive. It really is about people. There are people who actually have to buy their own presents because there is no one in their lives. They are missing the greatest joy.

My heart goes out to a friend who lost both her and sister and her mother this week. I lost my mother this year – Christmas will be a little different this year.  Then I think about the military personnel who are separated from loved ones this week. There are college students, widows, orphans, many people without people in their lives.  People who are incarcerated, even people who have to work through the holidays, will struggle to celebrate to the fullest extent. People make Christmas what I is.

Regardless of what marketers tell us, no amount of spending on presents will fulfill the purpose and meaning of Christmas. Christmas is about people: family, friends, and loved ones.

On the birth of Jesus, Athanasius of Alexandria wrote, “He became what we are that he might make us what he is.” Christmas is God coming in the flesh and shedding His blood – so that we might be saved.

It’s not lights, not trees, not Santa. Christmas is flesh and blood. Be sure to share the love with the people in your life.

Merry Christmas, everybody!


the lesser blessing

God has the very best for us but most of us never get there. We settle for blessings like money or security or other things we can acquire. While these things are considered blessings, they should be considered as second-rate blessings. In other words, you can do better.

Let me explain. When most American talk about “being blessed”, they are talking about material things: houses, cars, boats, jobs.  Without doubt, these things are provided by God – and they are blessings. But sometimes the acquisition of these blessings has cost us something of much greater value. While it is not always the case, some lesser blessings cost us greater blessings. We have traded. If financial gain is the best blessing you have, you are not experiencing God’s best. According to Jesus, you can’t serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)

Plainly put: if you skip worship to go out for a day of relaxation, your relaxation is a more valued blessing to you than experiencing God’s presence with your church family.

If you make a lot of money on your job but you neglect your family in doing so, your money is a more important blessing than your family.

You have blessings, but they are lesser blessings. You have settled for second-rate.

Life has fooled us. Many of us have been duped into thinking that $ = blessing. Dig a little deeper and you get to real blessings, like: Relationships. Love. Eternal life. The Presence of God. These are first-rate blessings – Greater Blessings!

Jesus asks you a very straightforward question: “What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?” (Mark 8:36) I think we know the answer: lesser blessings.

Don’t settle for the lesser blessing. Let God give you His very best!


people are messy

Our Community Group discussed Proverbs 14 last week. One of the verses created quite a bit of conversation:

Proverbs 14:4 Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest. (NLT)

No, our group does not have a bovine fascination. This verse isn’t about oxen – it’s about relationships.

In essence, I think the verse is telling us that life is simpler if you don’t get too close to people. It’s quieter, cleaner and less complicated. Your “stable” will stay clean if you are the only one in it.

And that philosophy guides the lives of a lot of folks. Isolationists. Loners. Or maybe just “non-people people”.  For whatever reason: shyness, past hurts/disappointments, or insecurities, some people just prefer to be alone. And some of us think that relationships just aren’t worth all the hassle.

But here is what I think: We were not intended to live life alone. True, it is easier not to bother with people. You can do what you want when you want without the worry of what other people think or do. But we were put on this earth to do life with one another. We are better together than we are apart – even with all of the complications of relationships. Part of the development process is working through the challenges. There are things we learn only be growing through the frustrations of relationships. We must have this skill if we’re going to succeed in life. A mess can actually become a beautiful thing. And by the way, the “harvest” part of this verse describes our purpose. God has given us a job to do and it requires a team. If we intend to get anything done for God, it will involve and include other people. There is no way around that.

If you don’t have close friends and if you don’t like your family – life will be cleaner. But you won’t get anything done in life – especially in regard to relationships. Let’s stop looking for perfection in others. Let’s drop our expectations that life with other people will be easy. Of course there will be conflict. Other people will get on your nerves and let you down and make you mad. Welcome to the human race. But we have to keep running in the race.

If something is causing you to remain distant from the church, from friends, from your family – let’s ask God for healing. By the way, He probably won’t answer your prayer to change the other people around you – but He just may change you!

Let’s learn to deal with the dirty stable so we can produce a larger harvest.

Oxen really smell don’t they?