Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category


Each person in our living environment is unique. That’s just a nice way to say that people are just different. We are all a complex blend of background, temperament, and giftedness. This fact is the root of most relational conflict. Uniqueness poses many communication problems. Simply stated: Often we simply don’t understand each other! We may use the same words, but the same words can have very different meanings. Our communications come out sideways instead of forward as intended. After just a short time in the world we can all relate to the words of Thomas Moffett. “Men dig their graves with their own teeth and die more by those fated instruments than the weapons of their enemies.”

Wise people recognize and value the differences between people and they relate to individuals in customized ways. They don’t relate to everybody with the same predictable style.

Would you like to be wise in relating to people? The Bible describes the characteristics of genuinely wise people: “Wisdom is pure… peace loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy… It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere. (If you) are a peacemaker, you’ll plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.” James 3:15-17 (Living Bible)

From these verses we learn six ways to be wise when we deal with others:

As I am truly wise…

1. I won’t compromise my integrity (“wisdom is pure”)
I will be honest; I will keep my commitments.

2. I won’t stir up others’ anger (“wisdom is peace loving”)
I will work toward harmony; I will avoid pushing your hot buttons.

3. I won’t minimize others’ feelings (“wisdom is courteous”)
Perhaps I don’t feel as you do, but I respect your feelings; I won’t ignore or ridicule you.

4. I won’t criticize others’ suggestions (“wisdom allows discussion”)
I will disagree when appropriate, but I won’t be disagreeable.

5. I won’t emphasize others’ mistakes (“wisdom is full of mercy”)
I won’t rub it in — I will help rub it out.

6. I won’t disguise my motivations (“wisdom is wholehearted and sincere”)
I will not be unnecessarily guarded; I will in no way manipulate you.

We have all had regrettable moments when we acted out of something less than wisdom. The good news is it’s never too late to begin to walk in wisdom. We can change by God’s grace and power if we simply call upon him.

“Mount Everest, you have defeated me. But I will return, and I will defeat you because you can’t get any bigger — and I can!” — Sir Edmund Hillary.

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I am writing this week about how to manage your life in a way that will help you reach your goals and accomplish things that last far beyond your lifetime. Maybe you wasted yesterday—maybe you wasted all your yesterdays—but today is yours. Today you can take charge of today, and begin doing things to ensure that you get the most out of today, and in the process you will make your future what you want it to be. Over the next couple of days I want to humbly offer three things you can do to build a life without regrets. First of all…

1. Make up your mind what kind of person you want to be–and do something today to make it true.

What kind of person do you want to be? If someone were to speak at your funeral, what would you want them to be able to say truthfully about you? What values are most important to you?

As we read the writings of Paul the Apostle, it is obvious that he placed a great deal of importance on consistency and faithfulness. Near the end of his ministry he wrote… “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

Earlier in his ministry Paul said… “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me…” (Acts 20:24)

If you were to ask Paul the question “What do you want to be true about you?” he would most likely say, “I want to be faithful to the very end.” How did he make sure that it happened? He knew what kind of person he wanted to be, and everyday he did something to make it true. That’s why he said… “I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

Paul is obviously using a metaphor in this verse. The point he is making is in order to be found faithful at the end of his race, he had to be faithful today. He lived everyday like it has eternal significance.

Do you want to live a life of significance? Do something significant today. Do you want to be generous? Give today. Do you want to be known as a kind person? Be kind today. Whatever you want to be true about you, do something today to start making it true. In fact, I would like to give you a little homework assignment to work on this week. Think of the three most important character qualities you would like to develop over the course of your life. For the rest of this week, do at least one thing each day that will move you in the direction of making that character quality a reality in your life.

For example, if you want to be a caring person, then for the next seven days go out of your way to be caring AT LEAST ONCE each day. This seems simple, but it works. People who live lives of significance don’t get there by accident, they get there by effort. The Bible says… “A prudent man gives thought to his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15)

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Who is up for a little journey today? We’re going to a funeral; yours.  I know you’re thinking, “Just what I need on a Monday, to attend my own funeral!”  

As you slip in the back door and take your seat, you see that the altar is covered with flowers, the organ is playing softly, and the church is full of people who have come to bid you farewell.

Four people have been asked to make a few remarks about you. The first is a member of your family. The second is one of your friends. The third is someone you work with. The fourth is someone from church. They’re all going to say a few things about you, but there’s a catch that will make this funeral different from some: everything they say about you will be true.

Now, think for a minute. What would you like each speaker to be able to say about you? What kind of person do you want them to say that you were? What kind of husband, wife, father, or mother? What kind of friend or fellow worker? What would you want them to say about your character? Which achievements you would you want them to mention? As you look around at the people who are there, what difference would you like to have made in their lives? What phrases would you like to hear? Maybe…

  • “He was a hard-worker.”
  • “She always had a smile.”
  • “You could depend on him for anything…He never let me down.”
  • “I’ve never met a more honest person.”
  • “She was generous and caring.”

Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says that thinking through these questions–deciding what you would want people to say at your funeral–can help you determine your purpose in life. Thinking through these questions will also help you make plans for the future so that you don’t find yourself someday looking back on your life and regret those things you did and didn’t do.

Let me sound a warning today as you plan the rest of your life.  There are two mistakes to avoid. One is to be so future focused that you miss out on the important matters of today. The other is to spend your life living only for today with total disregard for the future. The Bible warns against both. There is, however, a happy medium–a balance that can be achieved. This is it: Live Today Like It Matters For All Eternity–because it does. Each day of our lives has eternal significance. What you do today will make a difference in how you perceive the value of your life when your time on earth is through. What’s more, what you do today will continue to be significant even thousands of years from now.

The Bible says… The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways. (Proverbs 14:8)  I’ve never met a person who says, “I really don’t want my life to count for anything.  I just want to live my life, die, and be forgotten.”  This week I want to think about ways to make our life count; ways to make a positive impact on the world around us. 

Start today working on your eulogy.  I know, I’m weird… but work with me here people.

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I have already been made aware that the title of yesterday’s post was becoming a model man and just to the left of that title was a picture of me.  In the interest of full disclosure, I know that I have not achieved the status of model man or any other model for that matter.  The picture is in reference to the fishing trip with my son that I mention later in the post.  So save your stamp and emails (you know who you are).  Now on with today’s edition of the model man series:

Another character trait of a model man is COMMITMENT.  That’s the value that makes you great.  Men who do what my football coach used to exhort my high school team to do, “man up.”   What I think he was saying is that losers give up but if you want to win in life you have to be willing to man up!

Guys, to say that we have a problem with this “C” word is an understatement.  I Googled “Men of Commitment” and got things like: Why Men Are Commitment Phobic, Men Afraid of Commitment, 5 Reasons Why Men Fear Commitment, and Why Men Don’t Commit.  That is not a very good sign.  We don’t have a very good track record here.

What do we do to turn this trend around?  STOP BEING WIMPY WILLIES!  The number one complaint I get from wives in marriage counseling deals with passive husbands.  She says, “My husband is a go-getter from the word, Go, when it comes to his business.  He is highly motivated, energetic.  He takes on the world with a vengeance.  He even takes on his sports with a vengeance.  He’s incredibly active in taking the initiative.  But when he comes home, when it comes to helping me, parenting the kids, and spiritual matters, he abdicates all leadership and becomes passive.  Then the catch 22 is that he resents me for taking the lead.  He resents it and he’s jealous of it and he even puts me down for it.”  That is sad!  Really sad!

Where are all the Joshua men from Joshua 24 in the Bible?  Men who will say “I don’t know about Media Max’s family but as for me and my house we are going to do it God’s way.”  Where are all of the men who hang on to their promises with the tenacity of a bulldog?  Another saying that my coach would preach to us is, “Winners never, never, never quit and quitters never win.”  The problem is, when we men quit, the losers are our families which has a ripple effect to our churches and communities.  Let’s “man up” men.

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5) BE SATISFIED WITH WHAT YOU HAVE (Luke 3:14)

 Do you know what the problem is with greed? There is no limit on it! As soon as you reach one level you have to climb to the next rung, and sooner or later you reach the top to find out there is nothing at the top except a long slide down the other side of the ladder. Do you really think that you can find satisfaction in things? The answer is, “No”.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-11 (NLT)Those who love money will never have enough. How absurd to think that wealth brings true happiness! The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what is the advantage of wealth—except perhaps to watch it run through your fingers!

Money and desire for stuff can consume us. We have been convinced that happiness is just one more purchase away. Our whole society is based upon that premise, and our marketing is geared towards it.

1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NLT) Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.

When you and I learn the secret of contentment, it is at that moment we begin to experience true peace in life. To start being content try the following:

  • Make a list of your possessions.
  • Refuse to compare yourself to others.
  • Give away something you value a lot
  • Choose to live on less than you are comfortable with rather than more than you make!
  • Remember – ultimately everything you have is a gift from God!

 I want to illustrate this with a clipping I kept from a 1994 issue of OUR DAILY BREAD:

 Lazy Fisherman

Philip Parham tells the story of a rich industrialist who was disturbed to find a fisherman sitting lazily beside his boat. “Why aren’t you out there fishing?” he asked.

“Because I’ve caught enough fish for today,” said the fisherman.

“Why don’t you catch more fish than you need?’ the rich man asked.

“What would I do with them?”

“You could earn more money,” came the impatient reply, “and buy a better boat so you could go deeper and catch more fish. You could purchase nylon nets, catch even more fish, and make more money. Soon you’d have a fleet of boats and be rich like me.”

The fisherman asked, “Then what would I do?”

“You could sit down and enjoy life,” said the industrialist.

“What do you think I’m doing now?” the fisherman replied as he looked placidly out to sea.

When you and I learn to be content with what we have we can learn to enjoy what we have. We can enjoy life, our work, our home, and our car, whatever we have.

  • Always be content with WHAT YOU HAVE, but never with WHAT YOU ARE.

To be productive with our lives we have to get to the point where we roll up our sleeves and become difference makers. We are either busy people or busy bodies – the choice is up to each one of us.

2 Thessalonians 3:11-12 (NLT)Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and wasting time meddling in other people’s business. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we appeal to such people—no, we command them: Settle down and get to work. Earn your own living.

This applies to work, church, family. Have you ever noticed that those who whine to most are often those who do the least? Why is that? Because

  • If you are ROWING the boat you don’t have time to ROCK the boat!

 If you find yourself being critical of others more often than encouraging, then you are probably not working as hard as you could be in the areas that you are responsible for. Start implementing these 5 principle and see what happens!

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Yesterday I began a look at the 5 life principles that seem to guide the lives of successful, productive people based on John The Baptist’s teaching in Luke chapter 3.  Let’s continue with the next two today and wrap it up tomorrow.  I like to break my posts into smaller bite sized pieces because that is the way I personally digest material best.  It is slowly sinking in to me that others are like that also.  My Sunday sermons are getting shorter and shorter.  There is something to the old adage that the mind can only process what the behind can endure.  But I digress!

3) DON’T ABUSE YOUR AUTHORITY (Luke 3:14)

 If you truly want to be a successful parent, boss, worker, church leader, you have to learn how to handle authority. There is a fine line between arrogance and authority, but the end results of each are miles apart.

A leader who usurps his authority is a dictator. Dictators are followed out of fear or obligation. How well do you function under either of those? You know, I am sure you have worked for one of these kinds of people before. As a matter of fact, many churches are run by boards, a totally unbiblical concept, where the church dictates what the pastor does. Why is this so? Because many people have seen the abuse of power in a church and are unable to trust, or do not want to be hurt again.

A leader who exercises and respects his authority will sacrifice to do what is best for those under his or her care, even if it is unpopular. Jesus set the pattern for this by giving up his life for us.

Luke 22:25-26 (NLT)Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men order their people around, and yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you, those who are the greatest should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.

 If people only follow you because of your title or authority then you will never be very productive. When I feel I have to do something I am not nearly as productive as when I want to do something. You gain followers and supporters when you learn to serve those you lead.

To be productive you have to be willing to put others first. Why? Because a team is far more valuable than an individual. One man can only do so much, but two can do four times as much!

  • The most DIRECT way to the top is from the BOTTOM.

 4) JUST THE FACT, NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS (Luke 3:14)

 Have you ever studied small towns? I love life in a small town! You know, that “Cheers” mentality – “where everybody knows your name”.

I have noticed that almost every town has a Main Street and a Church Street. Almost every small town has a Pizza Place. Not every small town has a paper mill like the one I grew up in but I have noticed that every small town has a rumor mill! Today’s “connected” world has got nothing on the small town rumor mill! Just tell the right person and everyone and their brother knows about it!

Nothing can be as devastating as a rumor mill! If someone wants to get even with someone, or if they want to hurt someone, all they have to do is get the right lie going through the rumor mill and it will be unbearable for the other person. And the first one to do it wins… or so they think.

Now, sometimes it’s not all that malicious. We simply relay what we hear from others without checking out the facts, or we get the facts confused about others. This is just as destructive – whether in the community, workplace or church.

Often we fail to realize what it does to OUR credibility to give false testimony about someone else.

 Proverbs 25:18 (NLT)Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.

If I lie about someone I cut him or her down. If I tell the truth about someone I can build him or her up. I have the power with my words to hurt or to heal, to build up or tear down. If I am going to be productive I have to build up others.

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