Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Are You A Leader?

"The Lord said to build a better world, and I answered, "How? The world is such a vast and large place, and it is so complicated now, and I am so small and useless there is nothing I can do." But God in His infinite wisdom said, "Just build a better you." - Unknown

Is leadership more than being the CEO of a company, being a senior pastor, being a congressman, senator, or president?

What about those in middle management? Are they leaders? How about the cleaning crew? What about the children's pastor or ministry team leaders or moms or students?

The truth is everyone of us is a leader in some form or fashion. The very moment you received Jesus Christ into your heart you became a leader in and for His kingdom. So the key question isn't are we a leader, but how are we leading?

It's important to bring the notion of leadership back to where it belongs: with everyday people. The father, the wife. The person who volunteers to teach children's church. The retail sales associate trying to live out their faith in front of non-Christian co-workers.

Extraordinary leadership that changes your world starts with you. Go out and change your piece of the world by practicing Christ-centered leadership principles. Start by serving those closest to you. Jesus said he came to serve and not to be served. If the Savior of the world can come down from His holy heaven to serve us shouldn't we as leaders in His kingdom serve others?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

God's Calling For Our Life

God's call on your life is unique to you and only you. God has never in the history of mankind created an insignificant human being. Of course there will always be people that make choices to follow a path that is drastically different than God's plan, whether they refuse to accept His invitation to become part of his family or they refuse to put the effort into growing stronger spiritually, or whatever, the facts remain that God does have plan for each and every one of us.

God's calling on your life is an individually based invitation that is personally addressed, personally written and personally delivered. And just like any other personal request, it demands a personal response. It demands action on our part.

So how do we know God's calling on our life? In my studies on calling, both in the Bible and in the lives of those close to me, I've noticed a consistent method at work.

1) God's Calling Is Personal - we are first called to a person. Jesus Christ. We receive Christ when we respond to his first call but our experience doesn't end there. In Colossians 2:6-7, Paul exhorts us to continue receiving Christ, making Him our foundation. The root of everything we do.

2) God's Calling Serves His Purpose - Scripture clearly links our calling to God's purpose. Check out II Timothy 1:8-9. God's purpose is all about people. He loves people so much He sent His son Jesus to die for us and provide a single path to live in His presence for eternity. If your purpose is not linked to people, then it's not a God inspired calling.

3) God's Calling Is Your Passion - What are you passionate about? The mission field? Serving children? Serving senior adults? Your passion should be a God-given pursuit that fufills your spirit. It doesn't mean you will love all of the tasks related to your passion, but it does mean that your spirit will be filled when you are operating right in the middle of your God-given passion.

4) God's Calling Has A Path - Water follows the path of least resistance. God's path is the antithesis of water's. God's path will very often take you through some tough obstacles. God's path is the path of a pioneer, and while it has its share of fun times, it also has its share of hardships. We learn and grow the most in the storms, not in a calm, placid sea.

5) God's Calling Has A Position - All of us have different roles and different positions as we journey through our life. Sometimes we are primarily a spouse, sometimes a father or mother, sometimes a care giver to our parents. When it comes to leadership, we assume too often that it's all about an elevated position. But God views us as leaders no matter what role or position we hold. God places each of His leaders in roles within and for His kingdom; we have roles in our family, church, community and workplace. The trick here lies in seeing our different leadership roles from God's perspective: we are there for the people that God places in our path. One or more of your current roles may seem small, but if God's placed you there, it's important!

The bottom line: if we are faithful in the assignments He's called us to - regardless of their perceived significance - then God knows He can trust us with other assignments? Extraordinary leaders treat every role they are in as important, because to God, it is.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Aspire To Transform

So many leaders today look to the next rung of people above them as the ones who are responsible for their development. They expect their boss or their pastor or their supervisor to hand development down to them. This, however, is a false notion. You and you alone are primarily responsible for your development as a leader.

Extraordinary leaders hold themselves accountable for constantly upgrading their competencies, strengthening their gifts, growing in their spiritual walk, and maturing their relationships.

To become a truely extraordinary leader you must have a desire, a passion, and an aspiration to do all that it takes to be one.

Chose to be an extraordinary leader today by being intensely focused on growing spiritually and talking with the Lord on a daily basis. Be the leader God intends you to be!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Be A WYSIWYG Leader!

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you left the conversation feeling like they told you what they thought you wanted to hear just to appease you for that moment in time? Isn't this what you want from a leader? I mean don't you want your leader to make you feel better with empty messages that rarely are acted upon or delivered?

Many leaders today run away from direct, kind and truth filled communications with team members within their church, business and family. Matthew 5:37 says "...let your message be Yes for Yes and No for No."

I'm not talking about positioning your words, tone, and inflection to influence and persuade someone - this is normal and necessary to gain buy-in and inspire leadership in others. I'm talking about having a destructive attitude of "if I tell her what she wants to hear then I can end this conversation and maybe she'll just forget about it or maybe she won't forget about it but I will never have to hear about it again." Get the picture?

If you truly want to disrupt your team in ways that inspire them to achieve higher levels of success, significance and influence, focus on having straight forward, transparent and actionable conversations.

Don't appease them, believe in them. Believe they are strong leaders who value direct and real conversations. Make a decision today to be a WYSIWYG leader by intentionally applying the conversational principle found in Matthew 5:37.

Inspire Someone Today!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

What Is Your Answer?

At some point in our life God will call each and every one of us. Whether or not God calls us isn't in question, what is in question is how we answer?

At times I've UNINTENTIONALLY ignored my wife's call to do something or even to stop doing something (that's my story and I'm sticking to it - smile). I've faked sleeping and ignored calls from my children to come outside and play...only a few times so don't go nuclear on me. There are some phone calls that, well, truthfully when I see the caller's name on my phone - let's just say I am too busy to answer the call. Once I even attempted to ignore God's call. So how did that go for me? Have you read the story of Jonah and the Big Fish? Let's just say I'm doing everything in my power to never ignore His call again.

From various stories in God's Word (The Bible) we know that God called Abraham and told him to go - so he went to a foreign land with no master plan. God called Moses - not into the good life but into the very hot frying pan of leading whiny people to a promised land. God called Peter to leave his boat, his nets and his family to go on a journey that made no worldly sense whatsoever. God called the virgin Mary to give birth to the greatest leader (and only Savior) the world will ever know.

So what does being called by God look like? First it is personally addressed, written and delivered to you. Whether the call is to join His family through His Son or it's to serve out the rest of your life as a missionary; God's calling is personal and unique to you, and requires your personal response, your personal attention, your personal time.

God's calling is about giving you a personal passion to accomplish a personal mission...a personal and unique mission that He has set aside for you to complete. By the way, too often we confuse passion with enjoyment. We can be passionate about our God-given mission, while recognizing the mission comes with tasks (and people) that we do not enjoy.

God's love is directly focused on people, therefore His call (mission) to you should be focused on loving others through words, action, and service and irregardless of their status in life.

God's calling will always push you beyond your perceived finite limits. His path for you includes the preparation needed to succeed in your mission. What you learn, how you grow, and where you go can be a tool in your hands to distract you from your mission or a tool in God's hands to equip you for your mission. Case in point pride subtracts from your mission, humility adds to your mission.

God calls you to lead from many different roles (family leader, church leader, community leader, marketplace leader). If you are faithful in His current missional assignments regardless of their worldly level of significance then He knows he can trust you to be faithful with additional missional assignments. And these new assignments from the world's perspective may be larger (or smaller).

Are you a Christ Follower with no mission or are you someone who hasn't answered His call to join His family through His Son? Jesus is calling you now - disrupt your life today by answering His call!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Woe Is Me" or "Forget It And Move On"?

I used to box (only as a hobby). I was not that good but had pretty quick hands. One day at the gym I was in the ring with a much bigger and slower opponent. In the first and second round I pummeled him with a barrage of quick punches. In the third and final round the big, slow behemoth landed his first and only punch of the fight. Of course it landed square on my chin and it was a round house, bone crushing, knock you out kind of punch. Down I went and down I wanted to stay. However, I did muster up enough strength to get up and finish out the round.

Life can, will and does beat us down. Whether it's a beat down from relationships, finances, work, ministry or even sports, sooner or later we will experience first hand "moment of truth" challenges in our lives.

There is a great message in II-Corinthians 4:8-10 that addresses these type of challenges.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."

We all experience the bad things that life brings our way. We can choose to let it drag us down or we can choose through His strength to get up, dust ourselves off, learn from it and move forward. It's our choice, our decision to have a "woe is me" mentality or a "forget it and move on" mentality.

Disrupt your life today by choosing Jesus and allowing His mighty power to lead you through your life experiences.