Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Defining Leadership Quotes

I picked up and am reading John Maxwell's "Be a People Person: Effective Leadership Through Effective Relationships." I got it of all places at the grocery store for $4.99. You can't beat that!!

Anyway, he's got some quotes from some great leaders on how they define leadership. Here they are:

Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.
British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery

A leader is a person who has the ability to get others to do what they don't want to do and like it.
Harry Truman

Leadership is influence.
Fred Smith

Leadership comes from serving others. Matthew 5:14 "If a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit."
The Bible

He who thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him is only taking a walk.
Leadership Proverb

Maximizing Easter Resource

Nelson Searcy from Church Leader Insights has done it again and produced a great resource for Easter called "Maximizing Easter." You can get it here. You will have to provide some info to get your report. However, as you seek to impact your community and reach people for Christ this Easter you will see it is well worth it. While there check out the other resources from Church Leader Insights.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lost Watch II

A couple of days ago I wrote about how it stinks to lose your watch and how the feeling of losing your watch parallels the spiritually dry times of life. Today I want to write about how I believe we come out of those spiritually dry times. And the two words that come to mind are dependence and obedience.

As I think about losing our watch spiritually I cannot help but think of Peter and Jesus' other disciples during those last days and after the resurrection. Peter of course went through a tough time spiritually as he denied Jesus three times and wept bitterly about it. And after Jesus was crucified the disciples certainly felt like they had lost their watch spiritually. The Bible tells us they were locked way behind closed doors for fear of the religious and political authorities.

Both Peter and the disciples were in a place of dependence. They were utterly dependent on Jesus to come and revive them by breathing on them his Holy Spirit both before he ascended and then again in a big way at Pentecost. I think the same is true for us. While there are things we can do to move out of spiritually dry places such as commit to regular prayer and scripture reading and Sabbath taking it is ultimately God's grace we cooperate with that renews us.

And this is where obedience plays a role. Before Jesus ascended he told his disciples to go and wait in Jerusalem for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. It is in being obedient to this command and while in a state of dependence that God pours out the Holy Spirit and these cowering and denying disciples are released for ministry that turns the world upside down! So too for us. As we are obedient to the commands to pray to rest to wait to persevere and more we are renewed. We find the watch again and get back on track so we can turn the world upside down and storm the gates of hell with a water pistol!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How Do I Leave a Legacy?

Here is the last message in the series Work Matters.

You can listen to it here.

Most every person will ask the question at some point in their lives "What legacy will I leave?" While often asked in the last years of life this is a question followers of Jesus should deal with now as what we do now effects our legacy. Why not work on our legacy now while we still have time! Legacy though is not left through the things the world values but by building a legacy of faith in Christ and leaving a legacy based in faith, hope and love.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lost Watch

Recently I lost my watch. Actually I think Nolan took it and hid it. He is a "clepto" like that these days at 18 months. Anywho, I hate losing my watch. I hate going through the day looking down at my wrist and then remembering "oh yeah I lost it." It is kind of frustrating. Most of us rely on our watch to keep us on track, to make sure we are not late, to remind us where we have spent too much time or too little time. I know for me, without my watch I am lost and wandering.

The same is true for me in a spiritual way. While I do not think we can lose Jesus (though we can certainly move away from him) there are times in the spiritual life when it seems like I am lost or wandering aimless. I lose my watch (not my lunch) when I do not spend time with God in prayer, scripture and devotion. I wander around when I rely on my own strength instead of his. I find myself frustrated when I trust in the things of this life for wisdom, satisfaction and help instead of trusting in God's grace. These things make me feel off track. I feel during these times lost and wandering. I feel in my walk with Christ like I do when I walk around three days without my watch because my son has become fascinated with it and hid it somewhere and can't tell me where.

I found my watch, just like I rediscover the vital relationship with Christ again for the 1,001st time. Tomorrow I want to share some ways I revitalize and reconnect and spiritually find my watch again. Maybe they will help you. Thus, stay tuned for more deep thought from "Jack Handy."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Are You Feeling Insignificant?

Sometimes it is easy to forget how mind-boggling the presence and love of God is. We are reminded by verses in the Bible of God's great love. One verse is Luke 12:7 "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered."

What! God knows the very number hairs on my head?!? This must make counting hard for God for those that go bald. Here is the thing. God created the whole friggin universe with just a few words, he spins the earth on its axis and creates seasons, he has disease and wars to worry about, yet he has numbered the hairs on my head and your head. He has his eye on us all the time. What!

So I guess when we are facing a problem or difficulty and we think it is too small for the God of the universe to think about this verse tells us otherwise. I guess when we think everybody else has abandoned us and we are lonely this verse says otherwise. I guess when we feel small and significant this verse says otherwise. Yes, it says, he loves us so much that he does have concern for all that we face in this life. He does know us intimately (which is both reassuring and scary!). He is both way beyond our comprehension and yet ever so near. That is a comfort.

Of course the it is easy to know this in the head, it a whole different thing to know it in your heart and live your life in response to this truth. May it be so for all of us. You and I are are loved with an everlasting love. He is good and his love endures forever.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Real St. Patrick

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Don't forget to wear your green lest you get pinched, or eat your corn beef and cabbage, or raise a glass of green bear to the patron Saint of Ireland. On this day it is said we are all Irish.

As we have fun with all the festivities of St. Patrick's day we can easily forget the awesome life of the man of God- Patrick and the great work he did for God in Ireland. I found this little history of St. Patrick that I thought was real interesting and gives us a glimpse of who this man of God was and the influence he had. He was a true leader (plus he got rid of all the snakes in Ireland and anybody who can do that is good in my book).

Friday, March 13, 2009

What Should I Do With My Life Message Audio

Here is the message from last week's message "What Should I Do with My Life?" from the message series Work Matters. You can download it here.

Whether you are a soon to be high school or college graduate, a person under thirty trying to find your way, a person in midlife whose job stinks, or a recently retired person wondering what you are going to do with the rest of your life then this message has something for you. If you are none of those things but know or one day anticipate knowing someone who is searching for what to do with their lives then this message is for you.

We ask four questions to get at the larger question "What Should I Do with My Life?"
1. What does God want?
2. What am I good at?
3. What is in front of me?
4. What will be my life's ministry?

Don't miss this week's message "How Do I Balance Life and Work."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

God's Sense of Humor

From time to time I am privileged to catch a glimpse of God's sense of humor. For example, when I tell God my plans and God laughs or when I see some of the animals God has created and think what a good time God must have had creating them.

Such was the case this Sunday as I presided at communion. We receive communion every Sunday at New Season and so there are some great and worthy helpers who bring bread, set the communion table and most of the time pour the grape juice into the chalice. So you can imagine my surprise when I got to the words of institution and lifted the cup as I always do and said "After the supper was over he over he took the cup..." and there was nothing in the cup!

I thank God for the genius of the human brain because I had a couple of parallel thought processes going on. One was I knew I had to continue with the liturgy (which I usually flub up anyways even when there are no Eucharistic catastrophes) and second I was thinking "what the hell am I going to do?" I mean should we do the Quaker thing and receive spiritually! Should we pretend like we are dipping the bread into the chalice (we always receive by intinction, we don't use the little shot glasses). I don't remember exactly what I said or whether it was the smirk on my face but when I was giving instructions about receiving I said something like "if there were any grape juice in this cup" you would take the bread you have received and dip it here. At that point I think four people jumped up to look for grape juice which we thankfully store and had on hand in one of the bins we load and unload from our truck every Sunday. So, after a good laugh we had grape juice.

I was thinking about this whole situation and was thinking if it was real wine instead of grape juice then I would have immediately had a few suspects from the church who would have come to mind who may have drank the wine before the service started (so they wouldn't have to drink it with the nasty bread crumbs in the bottom after the service was over). But alas, it was grape juice. Some have said they were waiting for me to call for a miracle and make the grape juice appear. I mean come on, Jesus didn't even do that. He started with water at least. And, if I could ask God to perform a miracle such as that and God did then I would be working for Welch's or Boones Farm (sorry I am showing my utter lack of bad tastes and cheap self from my college days when it comes to wine).

Thanks Lord for your sense of humor!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

What Should I Do with My Life?

Don't miss tomorrow's message at New Season Church as we talk about finding meaning, purpose, and significance in life as we continue to explore the connection between faith and work. If you are a young person trying to figure it out, a middle aged person stuck in a rut, or soon to be newly retired, or know any of these people in these situations (that about covers everybody I think!) then you won't want to miss the second message in the Work Matters series.

See you tomorrow and don't forget to "Spring Ahead!"

Friday, March 06, 2009

Work Matters

Here is the first message from the series Work Matters appropriately titled "Work Matters- Moving from Making a Living to Making a Life"

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

5 Practices Website

One of the resources that is all the rage these days in United Methodist circles is Bishop Robert Schnase's Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations.

I have read the book and have found it helpful and have used it in some leadership development exercises with our Servant Leadership Team. There is a really great website that complements the book that you can access here. On the website you will not only find a description of each of the five practices but you will also find Bishop Schnase's blog, stories of how churches are practicing the five practices, sermons, resources and a blog roll to boot.

Head on over there and check it out. It is worth the visit.