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Notes from the Journey with David – 122

September 27, 2012 Leave a comment

122. These are the names of David’s mighty men… (2 Samuel 23: 8).

You can’t do this alone. For all his godly passion and military genius, David still needs a group of men who stand with him in battle. While he may have stood alone in his matchup with Goliath, David stood on the shoulders of great men in nearly every other challenge. And every leader must understand this. The loyalty and ability of others is a critical ingredient in greatness. No one does it alone. And those who mistreat their team will never deserve the accolades of the masses. They may make a few marks, but none will be very deep.

 

Categories: Leadership Journeys

The Brotherhood – Part 61

September 27, 2012 Leave a comment

The Brotherhood of the Second Cross was established on Father’s Day 2005 where 160 men stood before their wives and children to pledge themselves to purity, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and excellence. Today, hundreds more have joined the commitment.

Beware of time-wasting technology.

I realize that technology comes to us under the banner of greater efficiency. We can do more, work faster, and generate greater productivity–all because of greater technology. But that doesn’t mean WE are more efficient. What we do with that technology and how we allow it to define our days is still a decision a human must make.

Here’s an example…having access to your Facebook account on your phone means you can access your social network wherever you go. So instead of only having 30 minutes each night, you can now spend hours in your day checking friends’ statuses and offering your witty posts. Thanks for technology, but am I making better use of my time?

This week, I picked up the iPhone 5 and am doing my best to figure it out. However, if I have more conversations with Siri (the voice in the phone that creatively answers my questions) than I have with my wife, I’m probably not making better use of my time.

The line between beneficial technology and toys to play with has been blurred for some time. We all get emails we don’t need and have texting conversations we probably wouldn’t take time for in person. So while technology is amazing and helpful, only you can determine how much of your life it can also waste.

We still only get 24 hours in a day and there are no immediate plans for that number to increase. So use your time wisely. Make sure you give your best to your true priorities and look for ways to get the most out of life. Don’t let your TV, your laptop, your phone, your iPad, and any other toys take more than their share. Use them…don’t let them use you!

Notes from the Journey with David – 121

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment

121. When one rules over men in righteousness…he is like the light of morning at sunrise (2 Samuel 23:4).

The chapter begins by introducing these words as David’s final statements. These are the summary ideas of his life. In this statements, David has clearly learned that doing what is right is the key to great leadership. God blesses when we act in righteousness. He has established the world in a sowing-reaping pattern that brings good consequences to good choices. David has learned that his private indiscretions can compromise his public leadership. He has learned that when he and God are in close communication, his battlefield successes grow and his kingdom expands. God rewards the righteous and gives him a place of leadership greater than he can earn in his own wisdom.

Categories: Leadership Journeys

Pastor, who’s growing around you?

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Last week, we explored the pastor’s greatest responsibility in building a healthy church is to GROW. And, we discussed the first expression of that priority—building a strategy for personal growth.

The second expression of the word GROW is to GROW a few. Jesus demonstrated this pattern when He called disciples to be nearest Him and drew a group of three even closer.

Awhile back, a pastor in Wyoming called my office. He was struggling to figure out what he could do to grow his church. Pastoring about sixty ranchers, whose sun-up to sundown rhythms dominated every day, he was paid a full-time salary to hold one Sunday morning service each week. He told me their schedules prevented additional services, Sunday school hours, or midweek efforts, so he couldn’t figure out how to pursue more. My first thought was to offer myself as an associate, but I figured there might already be a long line for such an assignment.

Instead, we concluded that his best step was to pull three or four of those ranchers together, maybe around a lunch table at the local diner, and begin to grow them by sharing life and the Word of God together. By consistently investing in their lives, he could establish a foundation—a core of leaders—that could strengthen his church. We decided that after walking with the first group for a few months, he could add a second group using the same diner at breakfast time.

This is how discipleship happens. This is how a leader develops other leaders—just a few at a time. I had two youth pastors do that for me. I remember John Skinner and Phil Kreiling both pulling me and a few other guys into meeting together week after week to know God, ourselves, and each other better.

You see, the number one frustration pastors feel is an inability to get people involved in ministry. Developing leaders and workers is the missing piece for most. But Pastor, if you begin investing in a few, you’ll establish a pattern that can strengthen your church at every stage of its future growth.

Where do you start? Start with those who want to grow. Maybe a couple of deacons and one or two others whose hearts beat with yours. Don’t frustrate yourself trying to grow someone who doesn’t want to. But gather three or four who do and get started.

Leaders who are maximizing their abilities spend 80% of their time investing in and equipping leaders. Unfortunately, many of us spend virtually no time in such efforts. Would you do that to see your church be healthy and strong?

 

So pastor, your part is to GROW—GROW yourself and GROW a few!

Notes from the Journey with David – 120

September 20, 2012 Leave a comment

120. You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low (2 Samuel 22:28).

This chapter is filled with the truths David has learned about God. Among them, this couplet reveals a core activity of God. He will not allow us to depend on ourselves for long. If we depend on our possessions, He will take them from us. If we depend on relationships, He will cause them to fade away. God will not allow anything or anyone in His rightful space in our lives. And He does this to protect us. He knows that trusting in things that will fail can bring us to ruin. So mercifully, he levels our pride and removes any reason we have for trusting in ourselves. Sometimes mercy hurts, but the end result is life–the way it was created to be.

Categories: Leadership Journeys

The Brotherhood – Part 60

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

The Brotherhood of the Second Cross was established on Father’s Day 2005 where 160 men stood before their wives and children to pledge themselves to purity, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and excellence. Today, hundreds more have joined the commitment.

“Nothing good happens after midnight…”

That’s what my dad told me as we discussed curfews and living with wisdom during my teen years. Now that I’m on the other side of those same years with my sons, I am fully convinced that he was right.

Last night, a professional football player went out to celebrate his team’s victory and was subsequently arrested with a DUI charge at 5:00 this morning. Wow! He was well beyond my dad’s midnight wisdom boundary, and it looks like he’ll pay a price (a lot more than the $2,000 bail he posted).

Now I’m not sure what would have happened for Cinderella if she had heeded my dad’s wisdom and left the ball a little earlier. Her story ends with a happily ever after, but many don’t. The point is that being in the wrong place escalates the possibilities of doing the wrong things.

Too many guys live with an it-won’t-happen-to-me ethic that finds them drifting into unhealthy places, looking for a good time. One drink, one download, one whatever, turns into two or more way too easily. The smart move is to stay out of that spot.

The Bible promises us that when we are tempted, God provides a way of escape. I’ve discovered that God’s available exit always comes early in the moment of temptation, usually right when the first step is being offered. If you skip that exit, you usually don’t find another one—or you aren’t interested if it does arise.

Living smart is often a matter of where you live. If you battle with alcoholism, you know to stay out of bars. But a lot of us fail to realize that we should be just as aggressive in avoiding the locales of our other destructive choices.

I’m not saying you should go to church this Sunday and then just stay there all week. Your pastor might appreciate the help, but after a few hours, he won’t know what to do with you. And, even though some people sleep in church, it’s really not all that comfortable.

No, life will take us many places. Just don’t choose your destinations carelessly. Stay away from the edge of the cliff and you greatly increase your chances of not falling to the rocks below.

Many times, the best way to keep doing the right things is to stay away from the wrong places…

Notes from the Journey with David – 119

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

119. The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness (2 Samuel 22:21).

I didn’t expect this statement. I expected David to claim that the Lord had dealt with him according to God’s righteousness–not David’s. But in this celebration, David recognizes that his own behavior affects the outcome God gives him. When he does what is right, God rewards him, just as when he acted sinfully, God brought setbacks. Now, that may not seem surprising to us, but whether or not we live each day with that expectation is unclear. David is revelling in a victory he believes God gave because he had been doing what is right. And, the result is that David is fully affirmed in his choices for righteousness. What a great lesson to learn!

Categories: Leadership Journeys