Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Understanding Your SHAPE


We believe that every human being is born with potential and a plan laid out by God for them in this life if they choose Him. When we choose Him, things begin to unfold. For one thing, we all receive spiritual gifts…but not only that we receive a heart motivation from God, we develop unique skills and abilities, we have a unique personality and we have positive and negative experiences in life…all of which God chooses to use to fulfill His purposes in our life for His Kingdom.

For me, as a Five-Fold Leader in the Body of Christ, my primary role is to equip the Body of Christ to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). It’s essential that Christians discover their unique SHAPE – Spiritual Gifts, Heart Motivations, Abilities, Personality and Experiences in Life – for God’s Eternal Purposes to be fulfilled.

I wrote a course many, many years ago and it has been used in our church in Eugene, Oregon and in our churches in Cambodia as well. In this course/book you will discover:

  • Understanding two aspects of God’s Grace
  • Understanding the difference between spiritual gifts, spiritual fruit, talents, and skills
  • Understanding each of the 21 spiritual gifts that are specifically listed in the New Testament
  • Take a Spiritual Gifts Inventory to discover your primary and secondary spiritual gifts
  • Discover the “heart motivation” God has placed in your heart for His purposes
  • Identify your skills and abilities that can be used for the glory of God
  • Discover your primary and secondary personalities and how that affects every area of your life
  • Discover how God can use your experiences in life – both positive and negative experiences – to be a benefit to others

I regret to say that I’ve long lost the soft copies to this 107-page book, but I was able to scan the final hard copy I have.  The quality is not the greatest but I offer it to you free of charge.  Please enjoy it and see God do amazing things in your life!

If you want a copy of this book, please email me at:

If you like the content of this blog, please share it with others.  (However, I am researching the best way to upgrade the resources we offer, so this Blog Site will eventually change – that’s why it’s important for me to have your email address.)

I’d also like to refer you to my YouTube Site to receive more short lessons that will benefit your personal growth.  This is the link to my lesson on Five Levels of Leadership, which is part of a 22-Video Lesson series of short lessons:  Five Levels of Leadership


Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Six Characteristics of an Irrelevant Leader

By Carey Nieuwhof

Model T


So how relevant are you as a leader?

Any idea how you’d answer that accurately?

You can debate how important relevance is all day long (and many do), but the truth is irrelevant leaders eventually make less impact on the team around them, and eventually almost no impact on the next generation, except for perhaps an example of what not to be like.

Why is that?

Relevance matters for one simple reason: relevance gives you permission to speak into the culture around you. Relevance determines whether people pay attention to you or whether they ignore you.

Irrelevant people eventually lose the ability to communicate meaningfully with the people they care about and to contribute to the causes they’re passionate about.

Before you push back, just because the Gospel is always relevant doesn’t mean you are.

Just because the Gospel is always relevant doesn’t mean you are.CLICK TO TWEET

Even growing organizations can lose relevance. Your past success doesn’t guarantee your future success.

In fact, as we’ve discussed here more than a few times, the great enemy of your future success is your current success because your success makes you conservative.

When you had nothing to lose, change was easy. Now that you have something to lose, change is that much harder.

So whether your organization or cause has a bit of momentum left or whether it’s losing steam, here are 6 ways to tell your influence as a leader is waning.

Relevance matters for one simple reason: relevance gives you permission to speak into the culture around you. Relevance determines whether people pay attention to you or whether they ignore you.


Irrelevant leaders are always looking for ways to dismiss other peoples’ success.

Maybe there was a day when you were the young startup when your launch was the one everyone was looking at.

Now, everyone’s looking at what’s emerging and saying how awesome it is, but all you can see are the flaws. You convince yourself they’ve sold out, or it won’t last, or that they’re just trend-jacking, or that “of course it’s working because that’s what the next generation wants, but it’s not right.” You’ve invented 1000 justifications about why you’re right and all the things that are more ‘successful’ than you are wrong.

Irrelevance, after all, has it all figured out, and even though it may not be working particularly well, you’ve convinced yourself (and are trying to convince others) that your way is the best way.

Here’s the bottom line: critics rarely contribute, and contributors rarely criticize.

If you’ve landed in the camp of the constant critic, the odds of you actually contributing much to the present or future are very low. As a result, you’ve already become irrelevant.

Critics rarely contribute, and contributors rarely criticize.


Hey, it’s easy to resist new ideas. But if you think back, there was a time when you were likely far more open to new ideas.

Now you’re older and wiser, and you’ve got a way of doing things.

The human mind is great at preserving the status quo. You can think of 10 reasons why a new idea won’t work, and you and your team never hesitate to list them.

The leadership graveyard is filled with the bodies of leaders who say “We haven’t done it that way before,” and while you understand that intellectually, you’ve barely realized you’re becoming one of those people because, well, new ways seem increasingly bad to you.

Sure…not every new idea is a great idea, but embracing no new ideas is a terrible idea.

When was the last time you embraced a radical new idea? If you can’t answer that question, you’re already in trouble.

Not every new idea is a great idea, but embracing no new ideas is a terrible idea.


Copyright dates tell you a lot about how you lead. You’ll find them in the books you read, the music you listen to, the movies you watch and if you’re a church leader, the songs your church sings.

Many leaders will embrace change to an extent, and then they stop.

I’m all for reading classics and for sure, my library and resources have copyright dates going back decades and even centuries.

That’s not the problem. The problem is when your resource library consists contains virtually no copyright dates from the last few years.

The major trap most irrelevant leaders fall into is that their go-to resources are all 5-20 years old. They’re still living in the 90s or in 2009. Everyone else has moved on.

The danger here is that they think they’re being relevant, but they really aren’t. To your fifty-year-old friends, you may sound knowledgeable as they nod in agreement. But to an 18-year-old, you appear to be a museum.

And in the meantime, the gap between you and culture is growing wider every day.

The point is not to avoid any older works (a great life is always built on the contributions of previous generations), but to also understand how to translate that into what’s happening today.


This isn’t so much a problem if you’re twenty-two and just starting out. To have a young leadership team of idealistic people is an awesome thing.

Sure, some wisdom wouldn’t hurt, but still, the world often gets changed by young leaders on a mission.

But what happens is that twenty-year-olds eventually turn 30. Fast forward a bit, and one day everyone on your senior leadership team is in their mid-fifties.

That’s a big issue.

Left uncorrected, teams tend to age with their leader.

As a leader in my fifties, I’ve had to be incredibly intentional about surrounding myself with leaders in their 20s and 30s, something that really energizes me.

You may not have the chemistry or familiarity with younger leaders that you do with your peers who have been through life with you, but renewing the leadership table with younger leaders is critical.

It’s easy for older leaders to think that younger leaders are too young to lead.

You were too, once. And someone took a chance on you anyway. And you did some of your best work then too, didn’t you?

Left uncorrected, teams tend to age with their leader.


The gap between how quickly you change and how quickly thingschange is called irrelevance. The bigger the gap, the more irrelevant you become.

Change is difficult at the best of times, but if even the sound of change makes you tired, it’s a sign that you’re becoming irrelevant.

It’s normal to default to the status quo. We all do.

The gap between how quickly you change and how quickly things change is called irrelevance. The bigger the gap, the more irrelevant you become.

A few years ago, my dentist told me I needed at least five crowns. The thought of that made me feel tired and broke all at once.

I got a bit of the work done but then took a break.

One afternoon I was eating some cereal and I noticed something that didn’t feel like cereal in my mouth. It was half a molar.

Guess where I went the next day?

Too often, that’s exactly how we approach change in the church. We wait until something breaks, and then we’ll try to fix it.

That may work with a tooth, but it’s a terrible strategy for leadership (okay, and for dentistry).

In our rapidly changing culture, waiting until something breaks to fix is one of the fastest ways to ensure you become irrelevant.

If change makes you tired, I promise you, the slow death of your organization will make you even more tired.

If change makes you tired, the slow death of your organization will make you even more tired.


If social media is any gauge of how many Christian leaders feel about our culture, the church is in trouble.

And even if you’re not posting on your social media is ALL CAPS, telling the world how bad it is, your attitude still matters.

Negativity leaks.

Constantly criticizing a culture is no way to reach it.

I am constantly reminded that Jesus loved the world. He saw the mess, the brokenness, the godlessness and embraced us anyway.

Jesus loved the world enough to die for it.

You should care enough about the world to do the same.

Negativity leaks. Constantly criticizing a culture is no way to reach it.


To read the article on the original website, click here:  Six Characteristics of an Irrelevant Leader

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Dealing with Disappointment: Six Ways to Move Forward After a Setback (by Elise Mitchell)


This is an article I read recently by Elise Mitchell which was an encouragement to me.  I believe it will encourage you, too.  If you like it, share it with others.

“I’m sorry. We’re going a different direction.”

Years later, I still remember that crossroads moment in my career with a twinge of anger and frustration. How I wanted that opportunity! I had seen the potential for upside, planned for it carefully, and made my case to all the decision-makers. But it didn’t work out, and it stung – badly. I kept asking myself: “What went wrong? Why is this happening?” I felt hurt and at a loss to know what to do next.

I’m sure you’ve experienced something similar. Perhaps you were passed over for a promotion. Or weren’t selected for a special project team. Or you had a personal setback that cast a long shadow over your life. Maybe you failed to come through in a critical situation, like a batter who strikes out to end the World Series. Or maybe you had a moral failure. Whatever it was, it felt like a defeat, and the disappointment held you in its grip far longer than you would have liked.

What should you do when you face times like this? How can you pick yourself up and start living – and leading – again?

The Greek slave-turned-philosopher Epictetus is usually given credit for the old saying, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” It was true 2,000 years ago, and it’s true today. Thankfully, neuroscience research and technology such as the functional MRI helps us understand just how much control we actually have over our thoughts and emotions. These insights are particularly valuable for leaders trying to bounce back from disappointment, and they form the basis for the strategies that have worked well for me.

So, if your world has been rocked by a setback, regardless of whether it’s of your own making, here are six ways to move forward:

1. Experience your emotions 
There’s something to be said for giving yourself time to mourn the loss and even be a little angry if you like. If you ignore your emotions, they’ll surface at some point and often in more damaging ways.

But you can’t wallow in self-pity forever. Give yourself a deadline – a day, a week, a month – to experience your emotional response. While you’re doing so, observe how you’re feeling and why. Jot down your thoughts. Then wipe your tears one last time and get ready to move forward again.

2. Accept reality 
Now that you’re more aware of the emotions surrounding this disappointment, you can manage them more effectively and not be held hostage by them.

One of the best ways to do that is to accept reality, even if the outcome feels unfair. Many people get caught up in whether an outcome is just. This shouldn’t have happened, we tell ourselves.

Maybe so, but big decisions are often complex, and we can’t always know what factors worked against us. It could have been as simple as bad timing or one person’s opinion that affected the outcome. Just ask any athlete who has lost a game due to a referee’s call.

This also might be an opportunity to break free of self-denial. Maybe it wasn’t the referee’s call. Maybe you just missed the shot or forgot where to go on the play that was called. That doesn’t make you a bad person. It just makes you human.

Until you accept what has happened, you’ll be stuck in a state of denial where your emotions rule. You must accept “what’s so” before you can get your brain engaged to figure out “what’s next.”

3. Shift your perspective 
The next step is to shift your perspective. There are many cognitive strategies that can help you change the way you think about a situation. Three that have been valuable for me are: normalize, reprioritize and reframe.

Normalize – It’s not just you. Everybody struggles. This is especially important to remember when you scroll through the carefully curated profiles so many people present on social media. Their posts typically focus on the ups and very little of the downs in life.

It’s normal to experience setbacks. This is part of living – and leading. Expect to be challenged and disappointed. Know that you’re not alone. Everyone goes through tough times.

Reprioritize – Ask yourself how this situation ranks in the big picture of your life. In other words, on a scale of 1-10, how big of a deal is this?

I remember another difficult time in my life where I was so upset over a setback that I couldn’t get out of bed. At that moment, I would have rated the loss a 9. I began to shift my perspective by counting my blessings. I had family and friends, a roof over my head, my health, and, of course, my faith. I had many things others don’t have. When I looked at this one situation in the context of my whole life, I realized it was probably a 4, not a 9. That doesn’t mean what happened didn’t hurt, but my gratitude helped temper my disappointment.

Reframe – Consider the benefits that could arise from this situation. What new meaning could you find from it? Perhaps losing out on a promotion can provide clarity about the skills and experiences you need to earn the next one. Or maybe you realize you’re not fulfilled in your work and it’s time to change careers. Or you reflect on the loss of a parent and commit to living in a way that would make them proud.

Look for a way to reframe what happened in terms that can help you drive a positive result.

4. Move from “no” to “not yet”
Carol Dweck’s study of resiliency in students illustrates the value of adopting a growth mindset. The key is to move from telling ourselves “no, I’ve failed” to “not yet, but I will.”

This requires us to view failure differently — as an iterative process, not as an end in itself. This mindset will help quiet the negative voice in our heads that wants us to quit when the going gets tough. If we believe we can learn from failure and have the potential to succeed, we find the strength to try again.

5. Revisit your goals
Where’s your there? Take some time to evaluate your goals and determine what has changed, and what hasn’t. Consider what your next and ultimate destinations could be in light of what has happened. Inspiring goals motivate us to move forward. Keep your eyes focused on where you want to end up.

6. Stay open
New opportunities can come when you least expect them, but you must stay open and willing to consider new things. This requires you to set aside the negative emotions and thoughts that can cloud your ability to listen intently and identify potential.

One way to jump-start this process after disappointment is to reach out to contacts you haven’t spoken with in a while and schedule a catch-up call or get-together. See what suggestions they might have for you.

Setbacks will happen. The real question is how will you respond when they do? Use these six strategies to help you bounce back from disappointment and start living – and leading – again.

(BONUS) Exercise
Here’s a simple exercise to apply these strategies. Think of a challenging situation you are facing and answer these questions:

1. Describe the emotions you are feeling.
2. State the reality of your situation.
3. Shift your perspective by using at least one of the cognitive strategies described above:
a. Normalize
b. Reprioritize
c. Reframe
4. What are you learning from this that you can improve upon going forward?
5. Have your goals changed as a result of this situation?
6. What new opportunities are you open to considering?

If you want to read this article in it’s original, click here:  Dealing with Disappointment

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Certainty in Uncertain Times

by Tony Robbins

A new city. A new job. The loss of a loved one. The loss of a dream.

Change is a part of life. Sometimes it’s positive, and other times less so. But regardless of what form it comes in, you have a choice: you can either ride the wave of change, or let it crash upon you as you struggle to remain afloat.

Sure, it’s easy to adopt a laissez faire attitude when turbulence comes your way. It’s the path of least resistance to shrug your shoulders, step back and watch as the events unfold and take their own course. But while that certainly requires less effort, it also disempowers you and precludes you from taking control over your own life.

The secret to handling change is to focus on progress. If you can make progress on a regular basis, then you feel alive. Now, you may be thinking that this is easier said than done. When you are lost, or trapped in an emotional fog, it’s hard to even make sense of what is happening, let alone understand what steps to take to move yourself forward. But by following these mandates, you can bring a sense of structure and certainty to an otherwise chaotic time, and start building something new, and perhaps even better.


Create a vision for what it is that you truly want. If you find yourself unemployed, what does your ideal career look like? If you recently relocated to a new city, what do you want your life to look like there? If you and your partner are having trouble, what does your dream relationship with him or her look like?

The vision must excite you. It has to be compelling. It has to pull you. It should not be something that you have to push yourself toward, it should be something that you desire more than anything else so that it moves you emotionally. Envision this goal, see how it makes you feel, and then dive in.


Now it’s time to declare: “Okay, I am not going to just sit here and hope everything will be okay. I am going to take control of this situation.” Cut off any other possibility. If this is what you want, then burn the boats. Make the resolution that you will find a way to make things work and mentally put yourself on the path towards achieving the vision you just set forth.


Now that you have your vision, and you have dedicated yourself on a fundamental level to reaching this goal, you need to find your reasons – your purpose for wanting to achieve this result.

This is one of the most important components to making progress because without it, you will lose your emotional drive. You will inevitably face hurdles, challenges and obstacles along your journey, but the reasons will help push you through. When the stress and pressure come, your reasons will propel you along and you won’t let the fear or negative talk take over.

Your reasons can be framed in a positive or a negative manner – “If I don’t do this, this is what it will cost me,” or “If I do this, then this is what I can gain in my life.” What matters most is that your reasons resonate deeply within you. They are not superficial, but rather, stem from a powerful purpose that carries a profound emotional weight.

Just remember, when you feel stuck or lost, reasons come first, answers come second. Find the meaning behind achieving your goal, and allow that to help you get on target when things get rough.


Think back to something you wanted more than anything, something you were so hungry for that you felt a deep emotional need for it, something that you were intensely clear about it, and thought about every single day. You just didn’t know how to make it happen. Then suddenly, you attracted the right situation or the right people, and everything just came together.

Why did that happen? Is it the Law of Attraction? Not exactly.

There’s a part of your brain called the RAS – reticular activating system – and it determines what you notice in the world. When you set a goal, become extraordinarily clear on it, and have strong enough reasons behind your intent, you trigger the RAS. Your brain then becomes incredibly acute at noticing anything that comes into your world that could help you move forward.

Invest yourself fully in your vision. Make it a key part of your focus every single day. Then start to take note of what pops up in your life. The opportunities and key insights that arise may just surprise you.



Ultimately, if you want to create real change in your life, you have to raise your standards.

How many years ago did you come up with what you could or couldn’t do in your life? Take a look at any area in your life where you have a limitation and ask yourself when you decided to accept that. For many of us, it’s these self-imposed limitations that prevent us from making any real progress in our lives. We have convinced ourselves that our status quo is exactly what we deserve, and we in turn, base our identities around that – wherever people have their identity attached to, they live.

If you want to create a new life for yourself, then you have to raise your standards. You have to let go of the limiting beliefs that keep you locked in complacency. Make progress a “must” for you. Refuse to settle for anything less. This will take practice, it’s not something that happens overnight. But the more often you adopt the thoughts, behaviors and rituals of a new identity, the more powerful your brain will become at finding ways to bring you there.


You have to back up your standards by what makes those standards real – rituals. Rituals are little things that you do each day that eventually build up so much momentum that it becomes a clear path to your vision.

If you are unhappy with your status quo, and feel that creating the life you desire is just a massive challenge, then break it down to bite-sized steps. Condition your body and emotions with a few small rituals. Maybe that means going for a short run in the morning. Or taking the time to make a healthy breakfast. Maybe it means incorporating incantations into your day. Or catching up with one good friend every week. It could even be doing something kind for someone else once a day.

Rituals are where the power is. They define us. They help us put our standards into action. Remember, when challenging periods come our way, we have the choice – to relinquish control, or to take action.

Creating the life you want is not an overnight event. It’s in the little things. It’s having a vision. It’s making it compelling. It’s seeing it and feeling it with absolute emotion. It’s caring about other people. It’s calling to say “I love you” for no reason. It’s about taking every opportunity to connect. To be playful. To honor and cherish your loved ones.

Change, no matter how devastating, does not have to define your life. You get to make that decision. And if you adhere to these mandates, then no matter how lost you may feel, you will be able to start designing the life you want, and living the life you deserve.

To read the full article on the website, click here:  Certainty in Uncertain Times

If this blog has been helpful to you, please share it with others.

Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Climbing the Steps of Leadership

Walking up Steps

Becoming a leader is a process.  In fact, there are five levels of leadership that we have to pass through to become what I call a Senior Leader.  However, we must begin somewhere!

Following are several truths we must embrace as we progress through the various levels, stages and seasons of leadership:

  1.  The higher you go, the longer it takes.  Don’t think you will arrive quickly.  In fact, things that usually sprout up quickly also wither quickly.  Learn from mentors and allow time, experience and failures to do their work in you.  Your best years are probably after your 45 years old.
  2. The higher you go, the higher level of commitment it takes from you.  Often, we start out with the commitment to do the right thing as a leader – make good decisions, produce results – but as we go higher we find there must be a greater commitment to become the right kind of leader – honest, hold to your values, do the right thing even when it  hurts – this takes a higher level of commitment.
  3. The higher you go, the greater the growth in you, your followers and your organization.  As we rise to a higher and higher level of leadership we gain more experience in people skills, producing fruit and making the right decisions that increases our personal growth as a leader and person, and also the ability to lead others to the next level which multiplies our growth, influence and productivity.
  4. You never leave your previous levels.  One level  of leadership builds upon the previous one.  Don’t forget the lessons learned at the previous levels as you will find you may need them again.  Don’t take short-cuts.  All that we learned in primary school benefits us in high school which benefits us in university.  The same as we progress through the various levels of leadership.
  5. As a leader, you will not be on the same level as your followers.  Your focus is different.  Your priorities are different.  You see things from a different perspective as a leader.
  6. However, you must work hard to carry your followers and fellow-leaders up to the next level with you.  You can’t leave them behind.  You must share your experiences, victories and defeats with them so they, too, can rise up to the next level as you grow.

Thank you for taking time to read this blog.  If you find it helpful, please share it with others.

Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Developing Skills With People, Session 1

People 1

Everyone must associate with people.  It’s very rare to find a person who is a complete recluse.  Most of us relate to people on a daily basis on a casual, personal and business level.

For me, personally, I’m an introvert.  I like to to be alone.  However, even after being alone for awhile I long for people.  I’ve worked with people for more than 35 years in a professional capacity.  As a pastor and director of an international organization with staff from many, many different countries I’ve worked with people from every kind of background and personality.  Because of my work over the years I’ve had to become a student of human nature and how to work with all kinds of people.

I will be the first to acknowledge my lack of skills to work with people.  I lack people skills in many ways, thus the even greater need for me to learn about human nature and how to relate to people on a personal level as well as professional level.

As a leader or just a regular human being, we must develop our skills with people.  Many of our problems in life and work are the result of us lacking in people skills.  

This blog is Session 1 in what will become a several-part short course on video. However, I’ll also put the basic content of each session in my blog.

Who should take this short-course?

  1.  Leaders or up-and-coming leaders who want to develop their people skills.
  2. Regular people – husbands, wives, parents, workers, youth – who want to grow.

What will you receive from this short-course?

  1. You will learn 10 characteristics of human nature.
  2. You will learn how you, as a leader, or good friend or acquaintance can become a positive influence to others in your sphere of influence.
  3. You will learn how to add value to those around you, including your boss or staff.
  4. You will learn how to discern and respond to people’s needs.

Stay tuned for future installments:  Ten Characteristics of People and how you can add value to others.

If you think this will be beneficial to others, please share it.


Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development, Uncategorized

One Key to Establishing Priorities


New Life Fellowship Ta Sou, Takeo Province, Cambodia 

Here’s a key I’ve practiced when it comes to establishing priorities ‘ Put the date in the calendar of what you believe is a priority. Commit to that date and make every other activity that challenges that date submit to what you’ve put as your priority. That forces you to get ready for it. If you say, “Yeah, let’s do that or I should do that” but not commit to a date, it probably won’t happen.