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Posts Tagged ‘bible’

Leadership is a powerful word. I am sure we can all think of ways that leadership has been carried out well, and ways in which it has been manipulated.

Leadership is no small thing.

The one aspect about leadership that is most forgotten is that leadership is about leading.

Leaders crave influence the most. They desire for their words to have weight; they want to know that what they offer has value.

Leaders are drawn to stepping up into directing roles. Leaders are often enabling situations to offer into.

Leadership requires the character traits of humility, wisdom, compassion, and integrity. I also believe that leadership requires the character trait of open handed leading.

John the Baptist is my hero when it comes to mastering this balance of leadership. He is always my go-to guy when I need a reminder of how open-handed leadership is done well.

What is open-handed leadership?

It is the ability to hold loosely to the ones you are leading. No one is a possession. No one is “ours.”

John the Baptist always made it clear that he was not the Christ. He was so great at directing everyone’s attention and reverence to Jesus. John freely confessed that he was not the Christ.

Do we?

There was even a time where John’s disciples were ranting to him that Jesus, and his disciples, were baptizing more than they were. The people were going out to Jesus instead. John responds by saying that they should. John reminds them that he is not the Jesus.

John came to lead the way to Jesus. This is the same truth for our lives as well.

I am hugely passionate about leadership. I am always drawn to the leadership role. I love soaking up knowledge that pertains to leadership. I will most often step up and pursue the directing role as well.

There is a tension and a balance that needs to be mastered when it comes to leadership. I always need to ask myself the question of, “where am I leading to?” Leaders most often struggle when it comes to the direction of leadership.

I confess to my own human flaws of struggling with the balance of leadership. I love influencing. I love offering. Sometimes I can forget to keep the focus off of me and on the one I am leading for.

I still struggle with jealousy when it comes to leading. I have also been the one ranting to God that more people are going to him than me. That’s just honest. I struggle with fears of having nothing to offer. I struggle with the fears of not being liked, and being made to feel foolish. These are some of my weaknesses wrapped around my love of leadership.

I have been learning a lot from John about the character and value of leading with open hands.

Leadership is about leading well towards him.

So allow me to ask you…where are you leading others to?

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The one thing we seemed to master as children is the concept and value of possessing. From kindergarten on we have had to learn the lesson of “sharing” with others. This world, especially this culture, teaches us to think individualistically. We can take on the attitude of pride and entitlement with our valued “things.”

We hold onto things, and sometimes guard them with our lives. Out of survival, we can hoard our possessions wondering if we will need them.

Our culture teaches us to give out of the abundance of what we have. Generousity is measured not by the whole pie, but the slice that is given. We give because we “have it.” Most often what we term as “giving” is associated with money.

What about giving out of what you don’t have?

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

The widow in this story gave all she had without expecting anything in return. She submitted all she had with a profound sense of freedom from possession. This woman shows us a great example of how she lived her life not saying “mine”, but “yours.

Maybe she did worry about provision. Maybe it took her a long time to release those coins. But she did. This brave woman, already labeled “poor” gave all of what she did not have. She was not safe. She had no security net to fall back on. She gave out of risk and poverty. It means everything.

Do you give in a way that stretches you?

Giving is not just financially related. Giving out of what we don’t have can look like our time, emotion, weakness, struggles, and energy. Giving can look like being present when you are too tired. Giving can look like just believing when your frustrations of waiting are high.

Jesus introduced a principle of love in the gospels. He says, If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectorslove their friends. If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that?”

I think the same principle applies with giving. If we give what we have, what risk is that for us? Anyone can give out of their abundance. Be different. Give what is stretching. Give what you don’t have, and even what you may not want to.

Giving out of what we don’t have enables faith. Jesus attributed faith to the widow who gave her last two coins.

For you, what does it mean to give what you don’t have?

 

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David is one of those characters that I can relate to well. He reminds me of me. David is a strong willed guy who can be pretty self-sufficient. On numerous occasions, David took control of his summit hike. It did not bode so well for him, but he learned a ton of character a long the way.

David was the youngest in his family. He was not so admired by his siblings. This part of the story sounds similar to Joseph’s story. David spent his days as a shepherd in the field, as well as a song writer. He was often excluded from family discussions, or anything that was going on with family business.

One day Samuel comes to visit David’s father, Jesse. I picture the scene playing out similar to that of Cinderella. Samuel is looking to anoint someone to be the next king. He asks Jesse for all of his sons to join him in the house. Like the wicked step-mom, Jesse presents his finest sons. Samuel asks if he has any others, Jesse says, “oh yea there’s my youngest David.”

In my mind the next scene goes something like this: David walks into the house, probably singing a song out loud that he made up. He dances his way into the kitchen where everyone is standing. I can picture David popping a date in his mouth from off the counter top while playing his air harp. His voice fades as he realizes that he walked in on something. Samuel presents David with the glass slipper that fits perfectly and anoints him to be the next king.

Wait what!? If I were David, I would be like, “what just happened?” It’s not like he was then ushered off to the palace and given a ring and robe. Nope. David returned to the field for shepherding and song writing. So how does the dream of being king even happen?

Cue David’s road of wonder.

After some time, maybe even when the dream of king had almost been lost, the tides change. David is sent with a picnic for his warrior brothers. It is on the battlefield that David is presented with an opportunity that makes him one step closer to his summit. David takes on a huge obstacle named Goliath and brings victory to the nation. With this win, David is then ushered to the palace where he is given fame and the one of the kings daughters to marry.

This is the first glimpse we get to David’s dream of being king. Before David ever stepped foot in the palace, God did some character work on him in the fields. God cultivated the character trait of faith in a bigger God. God taught David how to not rely on his own strength. This is a big character lesson for self-sufficient people. It was in the “simple” sheep fields that he learned to care about responsibility, protect the innocent, rise above his fear, and grow in intimacy with his God.

After Goliath, it might have seemed like David “arrived.” He was in the palace, and now son-in-law to the king. Break out the champagne! Sound the alarm for the party, King David had made it to the palace!

But was he king?

David might have been in the palace, but he was far from being king. After a triumphant entry into his new life, he then spent his days playing his harp for the king. David went through more time of waiting for his dream. He could see his dream, but he was playing the harp. Maybe God let David know that even though he was in the palace, he was not too good to play his harp and serve the king. God cultivated his character.

David went through a seasons of taking the reigns of his path, but God cultivated his character every step of the way. At the time David was given the throne, he was ready. Just because he was given the dream years before the actual throne did not mean he was ready for the dream.

How do you take control of your path?

How is God cultivating your character?

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Joseph is a man who’s life bleeds character. Joseph’s story is one of abandonment, heartache, injustice, steadfastness, faith, and redemption.

You see, Joseph had a dream. Joseph was given a dream by God. He had no idea what it meant or how it would even come to fruition, but he had it. Joseph was also a punk kid who didn’t have very many hardships in the beginning of his life. He was the favorite child among his brothers. He was given much freedom and favor from his father. This made for some bitter brothers.

Joseph’s family had a different dream for him. It was not one of success or even joy.

Let me give you the big picture of Joseph’s life.

  • Assaulted by his brothers and abandoned for dead
  • Sold into slavery by those same family members
  • Framed for committing adultery with the wife of his boss, Potipher
  • Thrown into prison
  • Served as prison admin.
  • Forgotten by a man who could have freed him from his prison days.
  • Stayed in prison life for two full years after that hope
  • Went from prison administrator to right hand of pharaoh
  • Saved a nation from famine
  • Reconciled the broken relationships with the same family members who assaulted, abandoned, and sold him into slavery.

That is a ton of bumps in the road for Joseph. He knew deep grief and hurt. Joseph had times of believing in the false summit. Potipher was high up in the kings army, maybe that could be his way to the top? A cup bearer being reinstated to a job even closer to the king, could that be his way out?

God gave Joseph a dream. There was something just for him to do. Nothing about the road that got him to his dream was easy. Joseph never treated God like an easy-button God either. He never asked for an easier situation of circumstance. I am sure he might’ve had unrecorded words with God, but he never took control of his path. Joseph believed in the real summit. Joseph held strong to his dream. Not only did he hold strong to his dream, he held strong to the dream giver.

Everything Joseph did along his path cultivated his character. Everything he was in charge of equipped him for the greater dream.

John Maxwell described Joseph’s process as one “who paid the price of preparation.” He also stated that, “every time Joseph faced adversity, he used it to develop his character. Joseph was able to follow each setback with a comeback.

Joseph spent thirteen years cultivating his character before he was appointed right hand man to pharaoh. By that time his character showed that Joseph was not bitter about any of us unfortunate turns in the road and mistreatment’s. Joseph did not right his wrongs.

One important aspect about Joseph’s story for me is that when Joseph entered into his dream, he did not “arrive.” Joseph still depended on God. He still spent time cultivating his character. In the world’s eyes, Joseph obtained the top job. He made it. But it is in those moments where God will always point upward and say, “keep going, you’re not there yet.

Does your path resemble an unknown way that is cultivating your character?

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One of my favorite phrases in the scripture is, John 16:7 “I tell you the truth.” Even just saying it now makes me exhale. “I tell you the truth.” How freeing is that phrase?
 
The phrase seems kind of weird to use when responding to a question or even an accusation. However, Jesus would begin the majority of his responses with, “I tell you the truth.” I mean just in case there was any question about His integrity or the reliability of His words. Ha!
Jesus is about truth. He is truth.
 
You have to admit that He said some illogical things. He told stories that seemed too wise for His own educational stature. Jesus performed miracles on the body and heart all the time. He healed the sick, multiplied food to eat, raised the dead, made the blind person see in eyes and heart, and He redefined life as people knew it to be.
 
Jesus was about the “hard to believe.” His life looked and sounded like the “you’ve got to be kidding me.
 
Read more here! 
posting over at Church 4 Chicks and would love your thoughts!

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eye heart

I remember in high school when my crush talked to me for the first time in the hallway. I remember what it felt like to be stunned and looking around to see if he was really talking to me. AND he was an upper class man…that’s right!

I remember being stunned that he was sweet and a really a nice guy. Who knew he could hold a conversation and be normal. I couldn’t believe he was asking me about basketball. He knew I played basketball!?

My crush had always been this untouchable person that I would catch glimpses of between classes and at lunch. Now he was not only the guy I saw, but the one who also saw me.

Feeling seen always runs deep. It matters a lot, and is honey to the soul.

My heart is always tender towards the Samaritan woman that Jesus talks to by the well. This woman had gone her whole life only knowing the sounds of scoffing and disdain.  She was not a respected woman. She had no friends in town, and was known for being “loose” with the men. Due to her less than appealing reputation, this Samaritan woman chose the hottest times of day when no one was around to get her chores done.

One day and one conversation with Jesus changed her life.

Jesus was a Jew who was not socially permitted to talk to a Samaritan woman. That didn’t matter to him. Jesus only saw a person to love.

While this woman was drawing water from the well, Jesus stopped and talked to her. He talked to her about life, relationships, and faith. He passed no judgments, but extends an invitation of new life and love. Jesus made her feel seen.

I don’t think it’s ironic that when the woman went back into town to tell people about Jesus that she chose these words, “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did.” In my head I always continue the statement with, “and still loves me.”

For the first time this lost and invisible woman felt valued and known – she felt seen and accepted. Someone saw her. Someone accepted her sin and mess of a life and loved her. This changed everything.

Every one of us is a mess. Everyone is in need of value and love. Making someone feel seen changes everything. It did for me and the Samaritan woman. It’s healing.

In what ways have you experienced feeling seen?

How can you make someone feel seen?

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One of my gifts and curses in life is being able to talk my way out of things. I was the student who charmed her way through skipping class, handing in homework late, or getting a teacher off track. Let’s be honest, school got in the way of my social life.

I was also the daughter who negotiated curfews and side stepped punishments. My mom is northern New Jersey to the core. She doesn’t mess around when it comes to bringing the mom voice. I was known for pushing the limits and amending her instructions. Every time I knowingly crossed the parental guidelines I knew the voice was coming, but so were my speeches.

Driving home late past curfew or going to someplace I wasn’t supposed to, I would rehearse a readied speeches. She called it disrespect, I called it creative rebuttals.

This is one way I identify with the Prodigal son. The life of responsibility and tending to dad’s farm was getting in the way of his social life. The prodigal packed his bags, and with dad’s inheritance check in hand, he set out in search of meaning. It wasn’t too long before the inheritance dried up and he found himself alone.

When the voices of false advertising grow silent the reality of our spirit of poverty is made known.

When the Prodigal found himself alone with nothing, scripture states that, “he began to be in need.” Sobering truth and awareness was the process for this Prodigal. Filled with shame and humility, he decided to go home.

Knowing the Prodigal had lost so much of himself, his family, and his life, as he headed home he began to rehearse a speech; Father, I have sinned against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired hands.”

The father sees his son like a mirage walking down the road, and takes off. He throws his arms around the Prodigal and lavishes him with love, a robe, and celebration of renewed son ship. The Prodigal didn’t even get to finish his speech.

I look at this speech and see how much I rehearse the same one for God. I struggle to know love that is unconditional. I feel like I battle knowing love that doesn’t hold try-outs.

I still have speeches. If I’m being most honest, I still think the father’s love depends on my earned efforts. I will even go so far as to punish myself even when grace and love are extended.

I wish I could see a follow-up to the Prodigal story. I wonder if the Prodigal still rehearsed persuasive speeches for the father’s love after that day. I wonder if he still tried to earn love even though his father covered him with grace and forgiveness. Broken relationships take rebuilding, but that does not affect love, or at least it shouldn’t.

I would love to know your thoughts and responses to the Prodigal story.

Do you write speeches for God?

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