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Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

My mind and heart are full from this past week at Catalyst. I feel I will be marinating for quite some time about all of the nuggets of goodness my heart took in.

Catalyst is a leadership conference that is none like I have ever experienced. It seems like a diverse program of mashed up ministries. The Young Life background in me appreciated the humor, and program, of the conference. There was an amazing mix of life experienced at Catalyst.

I wish I could capture and bottle up the singing of every morning. There is just something about singing along side 13,000 other people that is honey to my soul. Let’s be honest, there is just something about being around 13,000 people that is honey to this extroverts soul. I wish I could start every day with that kind of worship to the Lord. I was fired up!

I also appreciated the diversity of speakers. Such a power house line up of truth and words. I appreciated the diversity of speaking. The speakers ranged anywhere from business minded genius to illogical and foolish living. I loved it. Every speakers relationship with God challenged me in speechless ways. I so appraciated the honor of that exposure.

I was inspired. I was definitely challenged.

It is hard to articulate just one thing. I sat on the edge of my seat for both Francis Chan and Perry Noble. They had such clear and simple ways of articulating God. I walked away from both of their talks knowing a real God.

Francis brought an aspect of living life illogically after Christ that felt so freeing and refreshing to my soul. He truly is embracing the reality of life lived out of scripture. As he was talking about what his life looks like right now, I couldn’t help but think that life really can look like scripture.

Francis voiced that people label his life, and choices, as radical, but he sees it as normal. The voice of truth peaked my heart, “the gospel message is foolishness to those who are perishing.

I desperately want to be labeled as foolish and radical because I am following after Christ. I forget that the lable comes from both believers and non-believers. When we say yes to Christ, “normal” life takes on a new foolish meaning.

I want to smile when people look at my larger than me dreams and radical decisions. I want to turn heads when I choose the hard of following truth rather than the voice of the crowd. I want to own Christ when everyone else is yelling, “crucify him.” I want to live out a life that looks forgiven while others are placing on their own shakles of shame.

Choosing to live a normal life looks foolish and radical to those who just don’t get it. My heart’s desire is to live a life that speaks, “I understand and know God.

Which normal are you?

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I feel like my gifts and talents are being refined every day. Development is so crucial to stepping into any role. The desert is a great time for preparation and development

John Maxwell states that, “the role of the wilderness in the prepartion for a leader cannot be overemphasied.” The desert is a place where transformation and development happens. When we make the choice to step out of our every day routine and into a place of surrender, change will happen. In order to do anything well, I think development needs to take place.

The second temptation in the devil’s deck was challenging Jesus to go outside of God for his glory, power, and authority. The devil led Jesus up to a high place and showed him, “all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And he said to him, I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”

The devil challenges Jesus in core areas of what he is about to do. He challenges Jesus by first showing him the world. The world is who Jesus was here to die for. I think the devil’s first mistake was presenting the wrong perspective “giving.” Jesus would go on later to make light of this temptation by saying, “whoever will lose his life for my sake, will gain it.”

The devil also offered authority and glory in exchange for worship. I see clear examples of this temptation in my life as well as the culture we live in. The devil is presenting some pretty strong false advertising. We are all wired, made, and created to worship. If we don’t worship God, we WILL worship someone or something else. This also includes the temptation to worship ourselves.

All too often God is redirecting me back on the path of surrendering glory and worship to him. I tend to fail quite a bit when I choose not to surrender authority to him. Hoarding authority and glory for myself reflects acting out of self-sufficiency, self-protection, playing savior to someone else, satisfying my own needs/wants, stepping up to satisfy someone else’s needs/wants, and being filled with pride.

Jesus knew that all of authority and glory come out of worshiping the father. He knew that authority and glory were not dependant on his gifts, but dependant on who the father is.

How often do I look at the tangible? I have to ask myself the question, am I tempted by the false splendor of this world? Do I believe God to be the authority and glory my life depends on? Do I depend on my own gifts and name over his? I wish I could honestly say I respond with the confidence that Jesus did. I cannot. I teeter too often on the side of immediate results or comparing myself to others.

Jesus looks at all that is presented to him and simply states, “it is written: worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” I can almost hear Jesus saying, “next.” Jesus understood that everything he was about was for the worship of the father. All of his gifts and talents were meant to serve the Lord and give him glory.

My heart has some work to do

What are your temptations in the areas of authority, glory, and worship?

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As a kid,  I used to play a game called “Follow The Leader.” This is a game where a group emulates every movement of the one leading. I can picture this game being created by that one dominant kid in the group that wanted everyone to do what they told them. I am realizing how much we still play that game as we grow older.

I must admit that I was that dominant kid in the group leading people around. As I’ve grown up, I still find myself  assuming that role. I have to ask myself the question, “who are people following?

Jesus invites people to follow after him throughout his life. He spent three full years emulating his relationship with his father in heaven. Jesus showed us how to experience that same relationship. As we looked at yesterday, Jesus challenges us to follow him by going the extra mile as a way of life. He also asks us to follow after him and emulate his way of life as ministry.

I have been reading through the verses in the bible where Jesus is commissioning his best friends, and followers, to go out and emulate a life that they have known in relationship with Jesus. Jesus asks his followers to take what they have learned to live out and pass that life on to others. In essence live a life that enables others to follow after Jesus.

Jesus didn’t say go and make followers of you, he committed the charge to the his disciples to bring people to him. Jesus states specifically, “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

As a leader this is a hard thing to keep in mind. Playing “Follow The Leader” as a kid, I learned to persuade people to follow me.  I am a follower of Christ, a disciple. I want to live a life that enables people to be follower’s of Christ. We are follower’s teaching people to follow, and follow well.

This commission is for every believer of Christ. My hope for you is that you desire to see others follow after him and not you. Our culture tells us to make people follow you. My desire for our lives is to live a  life of being ministry; live a life that points to him who is greater than you.

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Teachability is a word I love. I crave teachability being a huge part of my character. I want to learn well. I desire to always be humble enough to know that I really don’t know.

This feels like my week for quotes from some “great cloud of witnesses.” About two months ago I purchased a new bible for me. John Maxwell released a “Leadership Bible.” I LOVE IT!! I am all about leadership. I have been blown away reading through scripture with eyes the of leadership.

This week, I have been reading Colossians. In chapter one, Maxwell talks about teachability being a staple for following after Christ. He has an idea that seems so simple, but yet is so great to think through.

Paul is writing a letter to the people of Colosse. He is encouraging them to stand firm in what they have heard. Paul usually interwines this theme throughout his letters to various places. But this letter seems to describe  more of a formula for being teachable.

Maxwell states that, “teachability begins with knowledge, moves to understanding, then results in application.”

Let’s pause and think about that. How many people have trouble moving from their head to their hearts? I know I can get stuck on knowledge; knowing what I should do. It is through understanding that application and fruit start to become a real thing.

I desire, so much, to be teachable. I crave understanding. I don’t just want logic for  my life. I am learning that it is through understanding that transformation begins to take form.

Are you teachable?

Do you stay in your head or your heart?

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This week we have talked about different roles in which the weight influence can be seen and heard. We have looked at how the weight of influence should be valued from your closest relationship to the many you know and don’t know. What about in your house? What about those roles that impact a younger generation?

There is a great verse in Deuteronomy that states, “18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

For the past two weeks I have been attending a seminar on parenting that a mentor of mine has been teaching. Personally, I am very far from the role of parent, but her great tools still apply to me as a mentor and counselor. As I was sitting there listening to my friend, I realized that no matter what tools you have, tools are just tools. Tools have no value without strong character behind them. Younger people are great at seeing through what is being said and hone in on what is being done.

Jesus repeatedly stated that, “19Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.”

Who we are matters. What we say and do matters. Rules and tools can only go so far; the weight is in who you are.

Africa has a saying that, “it takes a village to raise a child.” I have had mentors, Young Life leaders, teachers, and youth pastors who have helped raise me along side my parents. Their words and actions have all influenced my life for good and for bad. There is a weight in both.  I can honestly say I have always followed after the actions of those older than me. I can’t tell you one tool they used, but I can tell you what I heard and saw.

Jesus, in his simple words, followed after the what the father said and did. The weight of his influence flowed out of  just that. I hope to say those same words to those around me.

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Leadership is a gift that is recognized, in both the Christian and secular world, as the position that has influence. There are recognized requirements for people who are in positions of leadership. We want leaders to be better, more equipped, have greater knowledge, and hold more courage then people who are not leaders.

The Bible talks about greater requirements for those who desire to be in leadership roles. Deacons, overseers, and elders were held to what seemed to be a greater standard. Their lives were being looked at and studied more than others.

There is a verse in Luke that states, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Two weeks ago I went to a leadership conference in Atlanta called Catalyst. An amazing conference with an amazing line up of leaders. Each speaker was known for something they’d said, written, or done. I sat with 13,000 people who desired to be different. For two days I absorbed an obscene amount of information about how to lead others. One question I found myself asking over and over was, “what about the small things?” In all reality 5% of the people in that room will go on to experience the kind of leadership success of those on stage. But what about everyone else?

Every speaker that stood on that stage carried the weight of influence. Hundreds of notes were scribbled down on paper. Forty-five minutes on stage, but 13,000 different directions those words were taken when the conference ended. There is a weight required.

There is a holy reverential fear that should be felt when entrusted with much or little. I asked a well known pastor once what advice would he give a person like me with big dreams. He said, “be good with the small things.” I have not forgotten those words. The weight of our influence starts with the small things. The small things are your four person Bible study, the person next to you in your cubical, the stranger who still has no name, your family, friends, and what or whomever is given to you. Our consideration and reverential fear of the weight of our influence should be the same with one person or with one million people.

Jesus was conscious of his weight of influence, and considered that influence equally important, with himself, his closest three, his twelve, and with his thousands. We are asked to do the same.

How are you with your small things?

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This idea of carrying the weight of influence scares me. If I was being most honest, it scares me to think that my life, words, actions, silence, beliefs, and values affect others. I do not take the fact that I am in influential positions lightly. I choose my words carefully. I pray over the ears and hearts that might hear these words.

I currently work in private practice as an individual and an adolescent and family counselor.  I feel the weight of influence that my clients are looking to me to have in their lives. From the teenager who still has no idea why they are meeting with me, to the recently divorced man who is searching for some hope. I am who they are sitting with. I am the objective, the compassionate voice, the voice of reason, friend, hope, the one who points to the healer. This is no small thing. For the teenager sitting on my couch, I am the parent, the one who is fighting for them, the encourager, the example that no matter how deep pain goes there is hope and an answer. What I say matters in that office. What I do and say outside of that office matters.

Aside from counseling, my greatest desire is to speak and teach about the word of God. My hearts feels heavy just thinking about the weight of influence that desire holds for me. The weight of that influence represents truth, hope, living as one believes and knows someone greater than myself. My life is meant to magnify the one I want to speak about.

Blogging is a way of speaking. There is a weight I feel when posting. I am methodical about what I write, even if it’s light-hearted. I desire to influence those who read. I do not take blogging lightly. I do not take you reading this lightly.

Everything I say and do should reflect the answer to the question Jesus asks of who I say he is. Before I can be a counselor and a speaker,  I have to just be a follower after him. Before I can play those roles, I must walk out the identity I claim in him. If I had no job, I would still be responsible and accountable to claim Jesus as the Christ. There is still a weight of influence to those who you don’t know are watching and listening. There is a weight of influence to yourself. I know I have to be what I want to say.

I do not take my words lightly. I want to be good for others. I desire to speak truth, provide truth and hope. I crave the weight of my influence to point people to someone greater than me. Even the ones I don’t know are listening and watching.

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