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Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 186

November 26, 2014 Leave a comment
  1. “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:42).

Jesus commands the dead man. When we pray for the needs of others, do we speak to them in their illness or do we entreat God, hoping He will respond? This is a complex question for the Christian worker. We want God to heal and we know that He is the only One who does, but are our prayers an effort to gain His attention, or do we believe He has given us the power to heal? Who are we talking to? In Acts 3, Peter spoke to the lame man in the name of Jesus. In other places, we see the power of God demonstrated when demons are commanded and sicknesses are ordered away. Perhaps, our relationship with God and the faith we have in His promise is more the issue, than even the faith of those needing a miracle. Will we step forward in His name?

Categories: Leadership Journeys

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 185

November 25, 2014 Leave a comment
  1. “But, Lord, by this time there is a bad odor” (John 11:39).

What are the reasons we give that God cannot do the miracle we long for? Here, the tomb represents Martha’s greatest defeat, but opening it seems even more unacceptable. How can we do that, she wonders. But her miracle is on the other side of that stone, and the hope she can barely touch is just waiting to burst forth. Would she keep the tomb closed? Do we? How often are we within grasp of our greatest miracle, but then shrink back because something seems even more unacceptable to us? When one fully trusts God, he will allow His Savior to break through every stone that barricades the path to victory–even the unseemly ones. Everything must be given up if there is to be the victory we long for.

Building Your Team – Part 7

November 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Jesus’ Example of Mentoring

Jesus faced the task of changing the lives of people thousands of years after Him- and He succeeded. He did it without writing any book, building any schools, or founding any institutions. So if Jesus chose to deposit His legacy in people, we should learn His method and practice it as best as we can. In the Bible we find the ideal model of a mentor to follow, Jesus, the Master-teacher. The following is how He did it:

  1. INSTRUCTION in a life-related context.

(He taught and instructed them verbally.)

Jesus constantly taught, most often with parables, and discussed hundreds of issues with the twelve. When the disciples would ask Him the meaning of a parable, He explained it, revealing insightful truth wrapped in a story. While his mentoring was so much more than ”words,” he always provided them with careful and clear instruction and teaching.

“…Jesus climbed the mountain with His disciples and taught them…”           Matthew 5:1

  1. DEMONSTRATION in a life-related context.

(He modeled truths for the disciples to observe.)

Educational philosophy today relies too heavily on instruction. If Jesus had taught the disciples and had done nothing more, they never would have carried on His legacy. But Jesus shared His life with them. He deliberately gave the disciples His life as an example to watch. He knew they would learn faster if He showed them, not just told them. He taught with His life.

“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”             John 13:15

  1. EXPERIENCE in a life-related context.

(He let the disciples participate and apply truth themselves.)

After Jesus had modeled good leadership and taught spiritual truths, He didn’t turn His men loose and move on. He gradually worked them into positions of independent leadership by giving them valuable experience. Jesus transferred the responsibility He felt for advancing God’s Kingdom to His mentees (disciples). Jesus gave His followers an opportunity to practice what He had taught and to practice leadership. He gave them all ownership for the ministry through delegation and authority.

“And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.”             Mark 6:7

  1. ASSESSMENT in a life-related context.

(He debriefed their shared experience and assessed their growth.)

Jesus repeatedly evaluated the progress of His disciples. After the return of the seventy, He debriefed them, gave them instruction concerning priorities, and celebrated with them (Luke 10:17-24) He also gave individual assessment to His disciple, included specific feedback concerning their character and their capabilities. Once He trusted them with tasks, He knew they would need accountability on their performance.

“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”            Luke 10:20

The beautiful part about these principles is that every one of us can apply them. They are transferable concepts, that anyone, in any generation, in any location can practice. If you want to leave a legacy, you must look for people to carry it for you. Find the right people, and use the right preparation process for each of them. Only as you pour yourself into them will they be able to pour out themselves for others. No one can give what he does not have.

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 184

November 20, 2014 Leave a comment
  1. “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying” (John 11:37).

Why him and not me? This is one of the greater questions of a faith journey. Jesus has healed many and, frankly, still does. So why doesn’t he heal me? That’s the question of the sufferer. Now, any attempt at an answer will smack of carelessness. Those who offer quips to satisfy the hurting seem to have forgotten what it’s like to be among the hurting. People who ask this question are desperate for a real answer, not a platitude that can fill a plaque on their wall. Truth is, there is no answer that’s truly within our grasp. When God doesn’t heal, the only available answer of ‘why” is His plea to “trust Me.” That’s the nature of faith–not to get everything we want, but to hold onto Him when we don’t understand or receive. Faith can only be proven in the absence of answer, when things don’t add up. That’s where Mary and Martha stand in this moment. God can and He has, but on their day, He didn’t (or at least He hasn’t yet)!

Categories: Leadership Journeys

The Brotherhood – Part 180

November 19, 2014 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.

After more than three years of blogging to men each Wednesday, I’m debating bringing this series of challenges to a close. 180 posts may have drained me of all the insight and wisdom I possess (some might argue that such draining occurred a few posts back 🙂 ).

But if I had one thing left to say, I think I would tell every man to never settle for less than his best. Life is far too short and uncertain to waste much of it. Don’t be content with average or status quo, but take on great challenges every day. Work hard, play hard, and pray hard. Give your best to everything you do and you’ll be much more likely to end up with a life worth living.

The final of our four commitments in the Brotherhood is a decision I make for myself–excellence.

You see, the choice of excellence is one that many have challenged us to throughout our lives. Parents nudged us toward our best. Teachers insisted that we work hard. Bosses have asked for excellence and occasionally rewarded it when delivered. Spouses long for our best and children deserve it. But at the end of the day, you and I are the only ones who can choose excellence for our lives. And that choice reveals itself in everything we do.

Too many guys live life at minimum levels. They want to produce just enough to meet the expectation and then walk away. They aim for standards that others set rather than setting standards for themselves. Don’t be that guy! Aim higher!

I often think of King David’s mighty men, a list of warriors that dominates the content of 2 Samuel 23. These were the heroes of Israel’s battlefield, and they didn’t become such heroes by clocking out early. They willingly put everything on the line in every battle. And the results were lives that every Israelite admired and aspired to. Live that way. Show a path that others dream of following. Your battlefields may seem small, but you can still be the greatest warrior every to walk them.

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 183

November 17, 2014 Leave a comment
  1. Jesus wept (John 11:35).

One might be shocked to see such a tiny little verse convey such an overwhelming truth. God–the Creator of the massive Universe and eternal Ruler of all that is–stands at the tomb of one of the over 20 billion members of His Creation…and weeps. What would make God weep? What possibly could stir the emotion of an eternal Being? Here. it is the heartbreak of those He loves. He sees the deep sorrow of Martha, and Mary in particular, and those who weep at their sides, and He cannot resist joining in their brokenness. Is that Who He is? Is that the nature of God’s love toward us? Do we picture Him weeping with our sorrow? Even though He will fix this particular moment with His amazing power, we still find Him at the tomb of His friend…weeping.

Categories: Leadership Journeys

Building Your Team – Part 6

November 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Last time, we took a look at a mentoring strategy as a simple, yet powerful, way to train your ministry team. So now let’s talk about how a good mentor gets the job done.

  1. THEY PAINT PICTURES

The human mind thinks in pictures. We are visual people living in a visual age. Stories, analogies and metaphors help us to retain important information. When mentors paint pictures with their words, it helps those being mentored to grasp the concepts they are being taught. Mentors paint pictures through stories, analogies, word pictures and parables. So when our ministry helpers can see it, they can more easily make it happen.

  1. THEY PROVIDE HANDLES

Everyone possesses some knowledge of truth. Most people, however, are determined to understand it so strongly that they can use it in everyday life. Simply put, “handles” are things we can grab on to. We give people handles when we summarize truths into a “user friendly” fashion. Truth then becomes a principle they can live by. When someone has a “handle” on something, it means they “own it” and can practice it, as well as communicate it to others. A good mentor can distill or crystallize truth so that the complex becomes simple, ‘cause if they can’t take practical steps to meet the goal, they may take no steps at all.

  1. THEY OFFER ROAD MAPS

Road maps are items that help give us both direction and a “big picture” view. When we give someone a “road map” we are passing on a “life compass” to him or her. That map helps us travel on roads we’ve never known. These spiritual “road maps” help people not only see the right road, but also see its relation to all other roads. They provide perspective on the whole picture. This generally happens only when we communicate intentionally, not accidentally. Maps reveal steps and more confidently guarantee that the destination will be reached.

  1. THEY SUPPLY LABORATORIES

When we provide “laboratories” for our mentees, we are giving them a place to practice truth we’ve discussed with them. By definition, laboratories are safe places in which to experiment. We all need a “lab” to accompany all the knowledge and teaching we receive. In these labs, we learn the right questions to ask, the appropriate exercises to practice, an understanding of the issues, and experiential knowledge of what our agenda should be in life. Good laboratories are measurable and can be evaluated together. In other words, if there is no place to experiment and learn, how will we know if we’re ready to do the job?

  1. THEY FURNISH ROOTS

The foundation we must help to lay in our mentee involves the construction of a “character-based life” versus and “emotion-based life.” At the end of their time together, the mentee should possess strong convictions they can live by, as well as the self-esteem to stand behind those convictions. The deeper the roots, the taller the tree can grow, and the more durable that tree is during the storm. Teach your values o your mentees. Give them stable truths to stand on and the right behaviors to prioritize.

  1. THEY GIVE WINGS

The final word picture that describes what a mentor provides for a mentee is “wings.” We give others wings when we enable them to think big, and expect big things from God and themselves. When people possess wings, they are free to explore and to plumb the depths of their own potential. When mentors give wings, they help mentees to soar to new heights in their lives. Consequently, it’s as important to teach those mentees how to ask the questions as much as how to obtain the answers. Giving wings doesn’t mean we turn them loose. It means we let them fly and cheer them as they do. And we maintain contact so we can continually give input to their efforts, while letting them reach for their greatest heights.