Ok,I said that this blog was going to relaunch on February 1st and I am a man of my word.
Over this past year I've been studying Servant Leadership. In others words; leading like Jesus. Why Servant Leadership? To put it bluntly, I've been blazing my own path for my entire career. I've been very successful and can see the opportunities on the horizon and have been putting together my own plans to achieve them. I'll put this out there; I WANT TO BE IN MANAGEMENT! Fine, there, I said it. Here's the interesting part, in my heart, I feel that this is the plan that God has for me also BUT..... on HIS terms, not mine. What brought me to this conclusion? Let me tell you a quick story in my life.
Earlier in 2009 my existing manager resigned and moved on to another company. I wanted to have his job. I would have done anything to get his job. There was just one catch. I'd not fully competed the training my company requires to be promoted to that position. To put it mildly, I was depressed. I prayed/yelled at God asking why this door had been closed. I am well respected by my peers and feel that I would have done a good job. Then God spoke to me like only He can, through Sirius Satellite Radio. Ok, not an audible voice but through the words of Pat Kirwin. Pat Kirwin is a former GM in the NFL and he was talking about underclassmen forgoing their Junior and Senior years to enter the NFL draft. I will never forget his words, "There will be many people who will tell you to go pro and, yes, you will be drafted in the 1st or 2nd round. But, without READINESS you will be out of the game in a year or two." That word "readiness" hit me like a load of bricks. Were there people in my life telling me to go after this job, absolutely. If I were asked, would I have be able to effectively lead starting that day? The honest answer was no. The reason why my readiness was in question, not by others but by me, was because I had not yet merged my Christian beliefs and my leadership beliefs. I still looked at the position of management through the lens of power over folks instead of leading beside them and that bring us to the purpose of this blog, Servant Leadership.
Matthew 20:25-28is very insightful and is the key passage that is guiding this blog.Pay specialattentionto the bolded portion.
25But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.
26"It is not this way among you, but whoever wishesto become great among you shall be yourservant,
27and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;
28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Christ has made it very clear to us that IF we are to achieve anything through Him, it will be through His model. That model encompasses Servant Leadership. In order to lead others, you have to be willing to serve them. It's driving results for the organization AND investing/developing your followers.Over the coming year, I'll be sharing some very specific ways to lead the way Christ modeled for us. Take a few minutes and conduct a self evaluation and see if you are leading like Christ.
Going back to my story, I've been blessed in two ways this past year. 1.) Having the opportunity to further develop my Servant Leadership. and 2.) Having a new manager that models these values as well.
I just read the book Josh Hamilton: Beyond Belief. I'll be honest and say that I had my own ideas about what drug addiction looks like; they are people who are selfish and have no self control. After reading this book, I'm embarrassed by my assumptions. Josh's story is both compelling and gut wrenching. I know that many of us hear of these stories and chalk it up to another gifted athlete flushing a career down the drain. What we don't see is the story behind the story; several bad decisions that lead to one moment of weakness. From there it's a struggle with the demon of addiction.
I think the rawness of the story is what makes me inspect my own life for any possibility of the "moment of weakness". I say rawness because Josh had it all, a pro baseball career and a new family and found himself at the bottom of the gutter. He was like any if us. He was addicted to crack and nothing was more important than that next hit. What I found inspiring about this story is the fact that that he turned the corner in his addiction when his grandma showed him unconditional love and never judged him. How many times do we look at someone less fortunate and pass judgment about how they got to their place in life? The other significant thing that happened was his turning to God. Specifically, he turned to James 4:7 which tells us to submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. Haven't you seen it in your own life that when desperation sets in, God is there, and also a person of accountability? I have. It seem that when I need it, God sends me someone that truly cares about me and my circumstance.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the demon of addiction and the perseverance that can come when God becomes the center of your life. I was a Josh Hamilton baseball fan before but now I'm a fan of the man Josh Hamilton.
I just finished The Christmas Sweater, by Glenn Beck, and enjoyed it very much. Glenn does a very good job of telling the story that all of us need to hear; we all need to be atoned and we all need to forgive. We need to forgive others and we need to forgive ourselves.
This books reminds me of another that I read, Attitude Is Everything by Keith Harrel. These two books have a common theme; you and only you can control how you react to lifes events. So many times we try to find ways to blame our circumstances on others when, in fact, our life choices have put us in the place we are today. The question is.... How will we respond to our circumstances? Only you know how you'll respond and only you can control how you'll respond. The point that Glenn makes in this book is that until we know who we are, we don't know how to respond. The beautiful part of my story is that I'm a Christ follower and that dictates how I respond. My transgressions were paid for by Christ when he died for my sins. I guess you could say that I've been bought by blood. That said, I know that no matter what my life throws my way, Jesus said that he never leaves us and He is always working on our behalf. With that I say...until you know who's you are, you'll never fully understand how to be.
I finished "Once An Arafat Man" and all I can think of is how amazing our God is! If you noticed, Joel Rosenberg, author of "Epicenter", wrote the forward. These two books must be read together. While Joel does a good job of discussing how the current events of the middle east will lead to the coming of our Lord, Tass does an outstanding job of showing the human, emotional side of this unfolding story.
I appreciate the insights that Tass shares in the end of the book. Jews and Arabs will never have their differences settled by UN, peace talks, or the USA. It will happen when the Arabs and Jews turn to The One. When the sons of Issac and Ishmael turn to Jesus Christ, only then will there be peace on the middle east.
That said, I stand amazed at the journey that Tass Saada has been on. The most significant lesson lesson that Tass has taught me was this: sometimes you just have to go and know that God will be with you. How many times have you heard...."I'm not called to...."' I've seen so many Christians, self included, who wait for a divine revelation before they act. But, how long do we wait? Tass shows us that sometimes you just have to make that drive around the country, or board the plane, or open a school, or just talk to a man named Charlie. I love his journey because it all started with something very small; A conversation that was two words. Unknown to Tass, God was working through Charlie as he said "thank you" to a middle eastern bus boy who cleared his table, which lead to a friendship, which lead to Tass knowing Christ, which lead to a very inspiring story.
As I read the book I pondered my place in the world. Do I truly trust in The Lord? If so, what prevents me from doing more? What prevents you from doing more?
I walk away from this book knowing that God will never leave me or forsake me. And with that, I need to go and do more; knowing that God will be with me.
Thank you Tass for letting us be a part of your journey....
I'm currently reading "Once An Arafat Man" by Tass Saada. It's truly an amazing story of redemption. I've made it through the first section... "How I learned To Hate". As I read it, my heart grew heavy. As Christians, we look at the people in Israel as Gods chosen ones. We see the promises mentioned in the bible for them, and speaking for myself, I eagerly anticipate the day that God shows his mighty hand and saves Israel from her enemies. This will be a truly wonderful day.
What we often fail to see is the lives effected by the events of the world by those who are Muslim. This is the story of a man journey from hating Jews to loving the greatest of them all... Jesus Christ. I would encourage everyone who wants to more fully understand why there is this hated between the two people groups to read Once An Arafat Man.
All I can say, after having met the loving man that is Tass, there is no limit to the work that God can do in the hearts of man. I would encourage you to read the book slow and digest every word. Feel the hate and the emotion that hatred incites but also sence the love that only God can give.
As I have read the book, unChristian, I have come to the conclusion that one of the biggest tragedies facing the modern church is the fact that many "outsiders" see the church as only attaining for one thing; Getting them saved. If we look at the social makeup of Mosaics and Busters, we see that they put a very high priority on personal relationships. They want to feel connected with people on a personal level. Only 1/3 of "outsider" believe that Christians truly care about them. This is where the disconnect comes for the church; as the global church has become inwardly focused, it's become more difficult for develop meaningful relationships with outsiders because, well, they see us just going after their "soul" and not the person. If you think about it, it makes sense that they would feel this way. From Bill Hybles book, Just Walk Across The Room, as Christians "advance" in their journey with God, they spend less time with outsiders. Exactly the opposite of what The Word teaches Christians to do. Christ was a great example because he spent the majority of His time with outsiders. So I pose the question, why should outsiders except Christ when we've never taken the opportunity to get to know them as people? Another interesting thought is this.... Only 3% of Mosaics and Busters, those 18-41, hold a biblical world view. Biblical world view is defined by the belief in ALL eight principles: Christ was sinless, God is all knowing and all powerful creator of the universe and rules it today, salvation is a gift from God and can not be earned, Satan is real, Christians have a responsibility to share their faith, the bible is accurate in the principles it teaches, unchanging moral truth exist, and this truth is defined by the Bible. I know this is a lot to chew on, but let's boil it down. Those who live their life by these eight principles live out their life in a completely different way than those who don't share this belief. What the research is pointing to is the vast majority of Christians who hold a world view that is not biblical, don't know what they believe and are very relunctant to share their faith in God. So what we have are two groups, Christians who hold a biblical world view but don't really associate with "outsiders" and Christians who don't share this biblical world view and are shallow and uneducated as to why that believe. Not a very good place for the church or it's future. So what's the answer? For me it's simple and complicated. We must care about people first. A genuine love and care that Christ modeled in the Bible. But there is a delicate balance because we need to be entrenched on the world enough to make a difference but not so much that it affects us. I think that we must also remember that it is God who draws people to Him... Not us. Our job is to love people, share our faith, and be authentic and real. If we do that, God will do the rest.
I've been reading the book unChristian. It's a fascinating book that takes a long look at the preceptions that "outsiders", those who do not claim to be Christian, have of christians.
I'll be taking a look at this book chapter by chapter and giving a few of my thoughts about it. First, let's look at the notion that outsiders see christians as hypocritical.
Mosics and busters, those who are late teens to early thirties, look at life as very complex. Issues are not looked at singlularly but as a whole with all issues. To put it plainly, life is complicated. Mosaics and Busters want transparency. They value relationships and are weiry of anyone who feels that they have all the answers.
The rub comes from the last statement.... Mosaics and Busters don't like people who have all the answers. They view christians as judgmental, know-it-alls, who don't live up to the standard that they themselves have established.
Let's look at a few of these conflicting views. I think that if you asked most Christians what they thought of Co-Habitation, getting drunk, sex outside of marriage, and same sex partners, they would say that these activities are wrong. But what is interesting about the research is that it points to our hypocracy:
59% think co-habitation is ok.
58% think gambling is ok.
57% have sexual fantasies.
44% think it's ok to have sex before marriage.
37% use profanity.
35% get drunk.
33% look at porngraphy.
32% think abortion is ok.
28% think it's ok to be homosexual.
7% it's ok to use the f*** word on TV.
Here's another interesting thought: 5% of Christians admit to "giving someone the finger" recently. To put it another way, compared to flipping off someone, Christians are five times more likely to get drunk and gamble, three times more likely to have sex ouside of marriage, and more likely to cuss, view porn, and talk badly of others.
No wonder the world sees Christians as hypocrites: what we say and what we do are not the same. But what's fascinating is that outsiders don't care that we're hypocritical. They view being hypocritical as a part of life. What angers me is not that we may be looked at like hypocrites, it's that there is no statical difference on what we stand for compared to outsiders. I can't tell you how many Christians I've seen try to make themselves relavant by embracing just about everything the world has to offer. What it boils down to is the world see no difference between themselves and Christians. We are seen as having the same values. Christianity is longer seen as offering hope through Jesus but as a group of folks that look like the world..... we're just judging them according to a standard we ourselves can not maintain.
One final note. These Busters and Mosaics also said the one trait they admired was someone who was transparent and held firm to their principles. What that means for the church is that the world wants to see a transparent Christian walk that is authentic and real. If we are going to break this "hypocracy" tag that the church has... We need to be real with our Christianity and show the world what it means to follow Jesus.
This is my newest selection to read. I've found it a very fascinating read so far. It's a book put out by the Barna Group that deals with what "outsiders" (those who are either unbelievers or follow another religion other than Christianity) think of Christians and ultimately Jesus. What I am finding interesting/concerning is that many of these outsiders perceptions stem from their personal interactions with Christians. To put it mildly, we are doing a horrible job of showing Christ to the world. I'll take it perception by perception and give my thoughts on where we go from here.
Below is a description:
has an image problem. Christians are supposed to represent Christ to
the world. But according to the latest report card, something has gone
terribly wrong. Using descriptions like "hypocritical," "insensitive,"
and "judgmental," young Americans share an impression of Christians
that's nothing short of . . . unChristian. Groundbreaking research into
the perceptions of sixteen- to twenty-nine-year-olds reveals that
Christians have taken several giant steps backward in one of their most
important assignments. The surprising details of the study,
commissioned by Fermi Project and conducted by The Barna Group, are
presented with uncompromising honesty in unChristian. Find out why
these negative perceptions exist, learn how to reverse them in a
Christlike manner, and discover practical examples of how Christians
can positively contribute to culture. unChristian also includes
forward-looking insights from respected Christian leaders, adding their
assessment of the problems and their thoughts about how Christians
should respond. Exclusive contributions from: Mark Batterson Chuck
Colson Andy Crouch Sarah Cunningham Margaret Feinberg Jonalyn Fincher
Mike Foster Dave Gibbons Louie Giglio Gary Haugen Jeff Johnson Reggie
Joiner Kevin Kelly Dan Kimball Michael Lindsay Rick McKinley Brian
McLaren Kevin Palau Tri Robinson Mark Rodgers Jannah Scott Chris Seay
Andy Stanley John Stott Jim Wallis Rick Warren Shayne Wheeler Jim White
I'm currently reading the book unChristian which is put out by the Barna Group. The book states that only 3% of all Christians look at life through a biblical world view. This thought has my head spinning because of what lies ahead for my kids and their views about our savior. To put it bluntly... 97% of Christians would rather follow their own rules than follow Gods plan for them.
Much more to come ok this.