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Taking notes from past leaders…

Children

Effective leadership cannot simply be about moving forward. At times, leadership means looking back at the leaders who led you, remembering how they worked, and integrating their approaches into your own.

learning about leadership cannot be limited to the experiences you have right now with the leaders you have right now. As you grow and mature as a leader, you must look back and re-examine those past leaders. Your perspective has grown. Your understanding has grown. And by looking back, you can now see the nuances in their leadership that you could not have seen while under their wing.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” –1 Corinthians 13:11-12, ESV

As we are being led, we cannot know or understand the many layers and sophistications of the leader immediately before us. We can, however, review our past. We were “children” under the leadership of former leaders. We saw them one way, but now, having “grown up” a bit in our own leadership, we can better understand the ways they led.

On a completely unhealthy way to not be anxious…

blog--2014-03--not being anxiousSo that Lent thing…yeah…giving up being anxious is “so easy,” I wrote.

HA!

It turns out, when anxiety builds and I don’t want to admit it, I just keep filling and filling and filling my life so there is no room to think. Until the anxieties break through in the form of nightmares.

So, that anxiety thing. It doesn’t just go away.

“…stand firm thus in the Lord…Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you…I can do all things through him who strengthens me…And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” –Philippians 4:1, 4-9, 13, 19-20, ESV

Paul knew. He knew that being anxious is an engrained state of experiencing the world. He knew the Philippians needed to hear the reasons why they could lay aside worries. And God knew you and I needed to read it today.

Remaining unanxious (is that a word?) requires standing in the Lord. Standing is not just laying around. It requires balance, endurance, and dare I say, alertness. But it is not just standing. Standing in the Lord requires an awareness of what He is doing, what He wants to be doing, and what He wants us to be doing.

You  know what He wants us to be doing? Not being anxious. That’s what.

But He knows we can’t just “not” do something. He knows our busy hands and our spinning minds. So through Paul, He gives us all sorts of things that fulfill His desire that we not be anxious. Check out the list:

  • Rejoice in the Lord
  • Pray
  • Ask His for things (aka: supplication)
  • Giving thanks
  • Talk to Him
  • Think about true things
  • Think about honorable things
  • Think about just things
  • Think about pure things
  • Think about lovely things
  • Think about commendable things
  • Think about excellent things
  • Think about things worthy of praise
  • Then go back up a few bullet points and practice all those things

Then, when you have completed that massive checklist, then you can worry. Wait, no? That’s not how it works? Surely Paul knew that worry was necessary. Surely he allocated some time for worry, right?

No? Well, how can he be so sure? Because if we do all those things, if I fill my day with all those things, there will be no room for worry. Not only will my day be filled with things of Him, but “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” And even more, no room for anxiety because “God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. I gotta go make me a list.

On Living Convinced and Determined…

blog--3024-01--belief and behaviorThe more I grow in Christ, the more I see that my root beliefs impact my perspectives and behaviors far more than I ever realized. Trying to “fake it ’til you make it” doesn’t work. For without the inner man being changed, the outer man lives in anxious disguises.

What I am convinced of in my inner spirit, that will play out in my life. If I am convinced that a brownie is always worth the calories, then I will always choose the brownie. If I am also convinced that exercise mitigates the brownie, the detrimental impacts will be different.

If I am convinced a strong core will keep back pain away, then I will do whatever it takes to maintain a strong core. If, however, deep down the back pain “isn’t that bad” or “is bearable,” then making excuses for not doing the core work flow easily.

Note the difference: the back pain is that bad and is not bearable. But the truth doesn’t matter; it is what I believe that matters.

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 8:38-39, NET

Paul’s life demonstrated that he was, in fact, convinced in his inner man that nothing could separate him from God. Paul’s determination to keep going despite beatings and jailings and others mis-representing his ministry. His very spirit believed the truth of scripture so his very man lived it.

Are you encountering an area of life, a behavior, a habit that you just cannot seem to conquer? Maybe stop looking at the behavior. Look instead at the beliefs behind the behavior. Address the belief and you will find that behavior change will more easily follow. Root the belief in scripture, in real truth, and no longer play victim to your own fallacies. Renew your mind and your body will follow.

Chronological Bible: December 17, Family suitcase…

Read:

  • Ephesians 1:1-6:24

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” –Ephesians 1:3, ESV

Do you know the contents of your suitcase as a member of the family of God? Do you get what He handed to you when you confessed Jesus? Unzip the suitcase. Take out the neatly folded items. The shroud of peace covers you. The brush of peace smooths everything out more neatly than if left to their own devices. The gloves, they protect your hands from the grime of evil, keeping you bathed in righteousness. One item after another. Every spiritual blessing given to you. You just need to unpack them.

Chronological Bible: December 15, One small kindness changed their world…

Read:

  • Acts 27:1-28:15
  • Acts 18:16-31
  • Philemon 1:1-25

“After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold.” –Acts 28:1-2, ESV

The people of the island onto which the ship wrecked showed kindness to strangers. They knew the cold and saw the wreck, so they kindled a fire. The welcome probably included some food, which the sailors had been deprived of while fighting the storm. These natives could have attacked. Instead, they rolled out the hospitality blanket to men whom they did not know. As a result, they received the gospel of their salvation.

A small kindness to strangers paved the way for their lives to change completely. Imagine what God might bring into your life as you show kindness to strangers.