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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

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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Have you ever received an invitation to spend time with someone you admire?

This can be someone who you have an admiration for what they do (i.e. writing, playing music, speaking, teaching, a business person, artist, etc.) This could also be someone who exemplifies the life you respect and desire to emulate.

I have experienced this invitation on a couple of occasions. I have a huge passion and heart for leadership, so my invitations came from people I admired in leadership. I love sitting at their feet, listening to their wisdom, life stories and lessons. I have learned from some great people.

I still have a list of people who I would love to sit with. I call it my “sit-list.”

One of the greatest aspects of the invitation for me was that it came with the investment of the other person.

I learned how to become a leader because a couple of people took the time to invest their life and wisdom into me. I learned how to mentor because someone taught me through mentorship.

The invitation of investment is something that always stands out to me when reading the gospels. Jesus is THE MAN of invitation. He calls his first disciples to follow after him through invitation. Jesus invited his friends to do life with him. He didn’t just ask them to follow him in hopes that they would learn something, but he took responsibility for their invitations.

Jesus takes responsibility for the invitations he gives.

John Maxwell talks a lot about how Jesus was just a different kind of leader compared to all of the other leaders of his day; Jesus really did make fishers of men. He invited them with the intention, and responsibility, to make them fishers of men.

Jesus does the same with you and me.

He invites us to do life with him with the intention of taking responsibility for that invitation. We are wired uniquely with his purposes. He takes responsibility to mold, and train us into whatever those purposes are.

Sometimes that main point gets lost for me. Too often, I feel like life is up to me and I am responsible to make it all work – the tethering line between God and I drift apart. His desire is to do life WITH me.

I am learning to remember that God offered me an invitation that comes with his eternal investment. It makes me well up thinking about how much God invests in me. I am humbled by his patience and faithfulness to make me who he wants me to be.

What does God’s invitation of investment look like for you?

Anyone you can think of who could use your investment?

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Every New Year I feel very ready to kick the previous year to the curb. I am ready for all things new come January. New Year’s always gives me the hope of just that…NEW.

For the past two years, I have joined in the growing community of choosing a OneWord for the year. To be honest, each year my word has made me its _______. Still trying to live a life of FOLLOWING in 2011, and continuing to work on my jealousy through CELEBRATING others in 2012.

This year….this year I need new. This past year shattered me on so many levels. Sitting here at the table and looking at the proverbial puzzles pieces of my heart, I wonder where to start.

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Have you ever had those seasons in your life where you feel like more than the wind has been knocked out of you?

There is hard and then there is feeling defeated with no fight left. I am exhausted from pain, brokenness, discouragement, conflict, transitions, rejections, and deferred hope. I need a break.

Every war has times when the fighting ceases for sleep and rest. Every boxing match has rounds when each fighter gets a breather to regroup.I am that fighter in the corner needing a breather. I am that wounded soldier needing rest from the front lines of life.

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SO my ONEWORD for 2013 is HEALING.

To be honest, slowing down and healing is not easy for me. Whenever I broke a bone or sprained an ankle I was bad at heeding to the instructions for healing. There is a reason doctors say it takes six weeks for broken bones to heal. I always that it was just a suggestion. I should have committed to waiting.

The patchwork and Band-Aide management of my life has become unstitched. It is time to let the Healer do His thing.

This year, I am focusing on the healing stories in the gospels. I want to learn about the what, who, why, and how of Jesus’ healing miracles. Hoping He heals me there.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out.”

These are some promises I am holding onto this year as I put back the pieces of my weary self. My hope for this year is that of a renewed hope, trust, peace, and forward motion through grief. 

What is YOUR OneWord of 2013?

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Our world and culture are completely stuck in the way of suffering and pain. Tragedy and fear fill our daily news stories with school shootings, devastating storms, genocide, disease, poverty, hunger, slavery, and the list goes on.

We are surrounded by pain.

I have also spent the past decade journeying and listening to the sound of suffering in others. The heart hurts and takes a beating from the words and actions of others. We all feel the effects of bad decisions, careless words, and the wake of selfish behaviors.

We can’t help but wonder why? Where is God in the midst of all of this pain and suffering?

How do we trust in a God who seemingly allows bad things to happen without stepping in? How do we trust in a God who seems inattentive, uninvolved, unaware, or even late?

As I think of these questions, I can’t help but also hear Peter’s words to Jesus as the storm raged against their boat one night, “Teacher! Don’t you care if we drown!?

I think one thing we fail to remember is that sin is very much present in lives, culture, and world. There is no where that is safe from sin. Atrocities and pain are the result of sin. The manifestation of sin knows no bounds. It has no limits or reasoning. Sin only has a savior.

My pastor in DC lives by two mantras that I love. He states that first, “God has always responded to suffering with incarnation,” and second, “if you are suffering, longing, or hurting, Jesus’ presence is what you get.

I feel like we are quick to blame God before blaming sin. Sin is ugly and dark. The consequences of sin run deep. Instead of looking at sin we wonder what happened to God. Did He forget? Was He unaware? Does He even care?

The truth is that nobody slips through the cracks when it comes to God. He knows and sees and cares deeply about all things. He cares about the pain of sin. God is an “in the midst” kind of God. He is ever present weeping with us in our pain. Suffering was not part of our original design and yet sits with us in ours.

God is far from being unaware or inattentive. Scriptures proves this promise that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

When the storm of life feels like we are drowning, He is there. In the midst of hurting, pain, and longing, He is present. When all we see or feel is suffering, He is incarnate.

Grateful for a God who is always in the midst.

I pose the question to you:

How do you trust a God who___________?

Where is God in the midst of your life right now?

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When it comes to believing in Jesus, I have been asking myself several questions.

Through which eyes do I see him?

How far does my belief extend?

Do I look and believe in the ability of the one I follow or do I look at the growing crowd?

Philip and Andrew were two of Jesus’ disciples. They spent days, weeks, and months with Jesus. They had seen countless miraculous signs and wonders. These fellas had personally experienced the hands of their friend healing wounded hearts and broken bodies.

There was one particular day where Jesus performed on miracle that affected  five thousand people.

The day was hot and the sun was beginning to set. Jesus surveyed the growing crowd around him and asked Philip, “where can we buy bread for these people to eat?

Jesus had a way of always asking rhetorical questions. He already knew what he was going to do.

How many times has God asked us questions – invited us into being a part of something great – and we answer logically or without faith.

I have responded to God’s questions so many times with my eyes on my own limits. I even have a tendency to water down what God wants to do through me because I think I’m too small to do it.

God asks us questions already knowing what he is going to do. He just wants us to believe.

Philip and Andrew illustrated both responses in this story. Philip relied on his logic and limits. He looked at the overwhelming number of people and
responded accordingly. Philip thought that it was up to him to do something miraculous and big. Even though he had just spent days being a part of miracles, signs, and wonders. That day he chose his limits.

Andrew responded differently to Jesus’ question. He answered with two key words, “here is.” That is what God wants to hear from his people, “God here is…” Andrew believed beyond his limits and in the one he followed. He was focused on Gods ability.

Andrew lacked the how but he had the who and what.

Andrew placed in Jesus’ hands all that he had to give. He believed beyond himself. When Jesus asked the question, “what can we do to feed these people?” Andrew responded with “I can’t, but you can.

Philip and Andrew had human responses. They were both limited and logical. One responded out of his limits, and the other presented his limits to the only one who could use them.

Which disciple are you most like?

What stops you from presenting all you have to Jesus?

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Waiting is a huge theme in the bible. Every Great had to go through many seasons of waiting.

I wonder what waiting was like 2000 years ago. They had no electronics to take up space to time. They waited for crops to grow, and hard working hand cultivated family life.

Our culture does not wait. We move so fast. Our addiction to instant gratification leaves no room for waiting, breathing, thinking, or developing.

We have lost the value of developing.

I’ve been stuck on song remixed by Jesus Culture called Oh Lord You’re Beautiful. It is a song rich in simplicity and tenderness. I have been stuck on the bridge of the song that says,

“I want to take your word and shine it all it around.

First help me just to live it Lord.

And when I’m doing well,

help me never to seek a crown

for my reward is giving glory to you.”

I read these words and see sober richness. Our lives take development. We can’t do anything a part from this process.

Look at just the human body. We hold our heads up, crawl, and than walk. We grow in height, weight, and body mass (not a fan of that part..) Then our moods kick in, puberty hits and all hell breaks loose on development.

This process is no different when it comes to our character and dreams. God has wired us all with gifts and talents. He has something uniquely designed for our lives. It takes development. We first need His help to live out and understand the basics of who He is before what’s next.

When David was anointed to be King, He was not ushered immediately from the pasture to the throne. God took David through many years of development before He was ever ready to be King.

Joseph was a man of unjust hardship, but God never lost sight of using every circumstance to develop him. There is a reason why Joseph was given the same types of tasks no matter where he was. When the time came for Joseph to be Prime Minister, he was ready.

God even spent 30 years developing His own son, Jesus before any ministry or miracles ever happened. “Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man.

We need to learn how to live it first before we can do anything else. Waiting is a process and season of development – one too valuable to speed through or miss. Don’t rush your development. He surely will wait on us to go through it.

Wait well.

Slow down.

Develop.

Learn to live it out.

What’s being developed in you?

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For my 30th birthday, my friends set up a surprise scavenger hunt for me. As much as I HATE surprises, I loved seeing friends from all seasons of my life.

One of the challenges I had to do was hold up a “Free Hugs” sign on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in downtown DC. I loved it. I’m a hugger. Affection is one of my natural languages.

Although I shouldn’t have been, I was shocked at how many people wanted a hug. People of all different faith, size, age, color, and background came up to hug me. I loved seeing their smiles, not to mention the joy that filled my heart hugging all of these people.

I was just looking back over those pictures with the words, “are you willing?” running through my head.

Are we willing?

Are we willing to hug someone’s heart? Are we willing to be interrupted with the stories and needs of others? Does your life speak of invitation and willingness to others?

My heart melts every time I read the story of the man with Leprosy in the bible. Here was a man who was given up on by everyone close to him, as well as his culture. This was a man sent to spend life quarantined from the willingness of anyone else.

Then one day Jesus passed through his town. This man took a risk and knelt at the foot of Jesus–the closest to another person he has been in a long time. With quivering voice, teary eyes, and shame filled words, he asked Jesus to being willing.

Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.

Jesus touched this affection starved man and said, “I am willing.” The man looked up with life’s first redeemed touch and eye contact. He was clean.

Life just needs willingness.

We are filled with scars and wounds that are in need of willingness. This poor-in-spirit girl is in desperate need of His willingness. I also desire to be a person who is willing to reach out and hug another’s heart.

Be someone’s willingness. Risk to hold up a sign that says, “I am willing.”

Help someone feel seen and known today.

It matters deeply.

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