Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

The Value of Listening to Understand

Listening 1God gave us two ears and one mouth…that should be a clue to us.  Many people use their mouth more than their ears.  They don’t listen to others to understand, but only to reply.  These people miss out on opportunities to learn, grow and affirm others in their life.

In the book of Job, after Job’s calamities, his three friends came to visit and sat with him for 7 days without saying a word.  They just let Job speak and share.  Sometimes it is a time just to listen, not correct, not give our ideas or not even respond…just let the other person share.

John Maxwell says, “People don’t loose intimacy when they stop talking, but when they stop listening.  Leaders (people) seldom realize how much their listening empowers the other person.  Because they are leaders the sheer act of listening speaks volumes that even a great speech can’t communicate.”

Again, John Maxwell suggests:

  1.   Listening communicates the value of the other person and his or her thoughts.
  2.   Listening communicates love and understanding and care for their needs.
  3.   Listening communicates a desire to grow, learn and remain teachable.

Why not practice just listening to someone for a change and reflecting back to them what you hear them saying, and affirming them rather than sharing your ideas or solving the problem?  It might do a lot to make your relationship with them even stronger.  Listening creates a relationship where your input is valued.  Another time will arise for you to share your thoughts on their issue.

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Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Leadership: Partnering with God and His Plan

20160705_102656While leadership principles can be found throughout the Scriptures, they are not taught in a systematic way – just as no single doctrine is taught systematically through the 66 books of the Bible.  Instead, God chooses to teach these principles experientially, through the lives of ordinary people in history.

If you look closely, you can spot a Divine Pattern:

  1.  God always takes the initiative executing His plan.
  2. Then he looks for a person who will submit to Him.
  3. Then He makes that person aware of a need.
  4. The need becomes the personal burden of the person whom God has chosen.
  5. Eventually the person embraces God’s plan and feels he/she must act upon it.
  6. God’s Vision becomes his or her Vision.
  7. Finally, the person calls others to join in fulfilling that vision.

God chooses ordinary people who will submit to Him and take a risk – the leadership challenge.  I meet these wonderful people every day in my life and work in Cambodia.  Why don’t you become one?  Become a bridge for God’s plan to be established on earth as it is in heaven.  Become a bridge for people to get from nowhere to somewhere!

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Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development, Uncategorized

What Makes and Effective Executive?

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(Photo by Kaitlyn McCaul, Willamette Valley, Oregon)

by Peter Drucker

An effective executive does not need to be a leader in the sense that the term is now most commonly used. Harry Truman did not have one ounce of charisma, for example, yet he was among the most effective chief executives in U.S. history. Similarly, some of the best business and nonprofit CEOs I’ve worked with over a 65-year consulting career were not stereotypical leaders. They were all over the map in terms of their personalities, attitudes, values, strengths, and weaknesses. They ranged from extroverted to nearly reclusive, from easygoing to controlling, from generous to parsimonious.

What made them all effective is that they followed the same eight practices:

  • They asked, “What needs to be done?”
  • They asked, “What is right for the enterprise?”
  • They developed action plans.
  • They took responsibility for decisions.
  • They took responsibility for communicating.
  • They were focused on opportunities rather than problems.
  • They ran productive meetings.
  • They thought and said “we” rather than “I.”

The first two practices gave them the knowledge they needed. The next four helped them convert this knowledge into effective action. The last two ensured that the whole organization felt responsible and accountable.

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Church Planting, Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development

Leaders are Not Satisfied with the “Status Quo” but Reach for More…

long-high-bridge

Status quo is a Latin Phrase meaning the existing state of affairs, particularly with regards to social or political issues.  It means whatever is normal.  Some people are satisfied with how things are and make no movement to change it.  Others are not satisfied with how things are but they, too, make no move to change it.  However, a leader is not satisfied with how things are and takes initiative to change it. That’s one of the chief characteristics of a leader.  

In my Daily Bible Reading I came across a man the Holy Spirit singled out as  He led the writer OF 1 Chronicles to list over 600 names.  One man among those 600 stood out because he was a leader:

1 Chronicles 4:9-10

 9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; but his mother named him Jabez, saying, “Because I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would indeed bless me and enlarge my border [property], and that Your hand would be with me, and You would keep me from evil so that it does not hurt me!” And God granted his request.

This morning I’m meeting with two staff pastors at our Phnom Penh church to evaluate the members and attenders at our North Campus.  We want to see who we have as leaders or potential leaders.  By the way, what are the characteristics of a leader?    Jabez shows us four characteristics of a successful leader who pleases God:

Four Characteristics of a Successful Leader Who Pleases God

  1.  He/she overcomes internal lids.  The mother of Jabez put a name on him that means suffering.  She apparently thought her newborn son was a pain for her.  Jabez might have grown up with this stigma on is life every time someone called his name. He may have had to deal with inferiority and rejection, but he overcame the internal lid to his potential leadership. Many people complain because they are poor or lack an education or never had some of the positive experiences others have had.  Some people never move forward because of limitations they set upon themselves or personal disciplines or the difficulty of their situation.  Leaders overcome internal and external lids.  They just find what it takes to overcome !
  2. He/she looks to God as his/her Source.   Whether you are the leader of a family, business, organization, ministry or church you will need the grace of a Higher Power to help you.  Successful leaders who please God know that to lead their family, their business, their organization, their ministry or church they need God, and they cry out to him day and night for favor, wisdom and strength.
  3. He/she is not satisfied with the Status Quo.  The big difference between leaders and non-leader is that leaders do not just see what needs to be fixed or changed, but they get up and gather the resources to make the change.  They exert personal discipline, sacrifice, develop their understanding and skills and move forward.
  4. He/she is committed to personal integrity.  The successful leader who pleases God does not cut corners.  He is honest in his relationships with people, staff, finances and time.  He/she chooses to take the high road even if he has to personally sacrifice lose to be honest with his employees, staff, vendors, donors, and others to whom he relates.  He does not lie and is not dishonest in reporting.

I believe that everybody has the potential to lead in some capacity and I urge you to follow what God is putting in your heart and do everything you can to prepare yourself to be a leader who is pleasing to God.

 

 

 

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Leadership, Personal Development

People Are Our Reward

 

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As I’ve been reading through the Bible Books 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings and now starting 1 Chronicles (9 chapters of genealogies!) I can’t help but notice that a father may be a righteous and good person and leader, but the son turns out to be a evil and bad leader who oppressed people.  Or on the other hand, the father may be evil but the son turns out good!  What’s the deal?  Why is this?

I know godly men and women – parents – who have invested in their children the best they know how but their children turn out bad kids who use drugs, steal and spend time in jail.  Why is that?

Then we have people who do not follow Jesus nor practice the principles in the Bible, yet their kids turn out good!

To tell you right from the start, I don’t have a concrete answer!  

My wife and I, Cynde, are the parents of four children.  We’re proud of our children and they all turned out good in my estimation…not perfect, but good.  Especially as I consider mine and Cynde’s own lack as role models in many areas.  Two of my sons are pastors, however, I’ve never put any pressure on any of them to follow me in pastoral/church ministry.  One of my children is involved in Education at this time and the other is studying and will probably be involved in the sphere of Arts and Entertainment.  I believe that being a Christian minister is not more important than being a Christian in the sphere of Education, Arts and Entertainment, Social Relationships, Business, or Government.  Each are of equal value as we all represent the Kingdom of God in the sphere in which God has called us.

However, here’s a couple thoughts and pieces of advice:

  1. Every person is born with sin.  That sinful nature creates rebellion and independence in us.  Regardless of the positive Christian upbringing we have received, if we choose to turn to the Dark Side, every person has the free will to do that.

Genesis 4:6-8

And the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you so angry? And why do you look annoyed? If you do well [believing Me and doing what is acceptable and pleasing to Me], will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well [but ignore My instruction], sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you [to overpower you], but you must master it.” Cain talked with Abel his brother [about what God had said]. And when they were [alone, working] in the field, Cain [a]attacked Abel his brother and killed him.

2.  We are called to discipleship.

Genesis 1:28  28 And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

God’s focus is on people, not programs.  The earth was created for people.  Our biggest investment and greatest reward is people.  It will not be church buildings or ministries that we present to the Lord when we stand before him, but the people whom we’ve had the opportunity to positively influence.  That includes our children.  I really, really encourage you to invest in the biblical education of your children – Bible knowledge, application of the knowledge and teaching and modeling good character.  Not just from 0 to 5 years old, but throughout their time in your home and under your influence.  I really, really encourage you to lead a small group of men, women, children or youth with a systematic study, prayer and fellowship.  Your reward will be the people whom you influence.

3.  You and I must be spiritually healthy.  If there is any possibility of furthering righteousness in the next generation it begins with me and you being spiritually healthy. That means a real, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ…not just Christian habits of attending church, prayer, Bible reading and giving.  While all of these are good Christian habits they can be done without an on fire relationship with Jesus.  What we want to see incarnated in the next generation is not just taught, but “caught” when they see and follow our examples.

What I’m talking about here is thinking beyond ourselves into the influence we can have in the next generation.  In our children and in men and women, boys and girls whom we help lead  to Jesus and grow as a Christian.

I’d like to ask you a question:  How would you rate your relationship with Jesus?  Hot on fire and moving aggressively forward?  Or, drifting, kind of cold or “not what it could or should be”?  Or perhaps you say “I’m okay.  It could be better or could be worse.  Kind of in the middle, but I’m okay.”  Jesus calls this level of relationship “Lukewarm.”

Revelation 3:15-16

15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!

Yikes! Here is the principle:

What leaders do in moderation, followers do in excess.

If you’re a little lukewarm, then it’s likely that those who watch you or follow you are a lot lukewarm.  If you’re a little lazy in your relationship with Jesus or your work, it’s likely those who are watching you will be quite lazy.  If you fudge a little in your moral stance it’s likely that those who are watching you or following you will drift even further away from God’s standard.

Remember, we don’t live for ourselves.  Man’s Mission from the God of the Universe is to live for others.

2 Corinthians 5:15

15 and He died for all, so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake.

Let’s pray that Jesus help us to focus on what’s important to him:  People.

 

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Church Planting, Evangelism, Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development

Praying for People According to the Names of God

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In the Old Testament God revealed Himself by various names.  Those names reveal His character and His desire to meet the needs of mankind.  When we pray for people we can pray for them according to the names of God:

  • He is my Righteousness, Jeremiah 23:6
  • He is my Peace, Judges 6:24
  • He is my Banner going into war, Exodus 17:15
  • He is my Provider, Genesis 22:14
  • He is my Shepherd, Psalm 23:1
  • He is my Healer, Exodus 15:26
  • He is our Holiness, Leviticus 20:8

We pray by asking questions:

  1. Is there any kind of evil going on in your house – bad character by your children, spouse or parents?  Because my god is a God who wants to establish righteousness in our lives.
  2. Does your house/family/life have peace?  My God wants our lives and families to be filled with peace.  Let’s pray right now asking God’s peace to fill your life.
  3. Is there any demonic disturbances in your life?  Dreams?  Presence of evil?  Fear?  Our God is a God of power who wants to drive out all demonic power in our lives.
  4. How is your finances?  Do you lack?  Do you have financial problems?  Our God is a God who provides for His children.  He knows your situation and wants to help you.
  5. Do you face any big decisions or don’t know what to do in a situation?  If so, our God is a God who shepherds His people and guides them to the right places.  We can ask our God to guide you in the decisions and situation you face.
  6. Is there any sickness in your life or family?  Our God is a god who heals.  He wants to show His power in your life and give you good health and heal you.
  7. Do you have any sinful issues that are binding you?  Bad habits that are affecting you spiritually, emotionally or physically?  Anybody in your household?  Our God is a holy God.  He wants our lives to be holy.  We can pray for you about this.

When you are visiting house to house or when you meet someone for an altar call or in any situation you can use these points to pray for them.

  1. Ask the question.
  2. Listen to their answer.
  3. Tell them about the power and love of our God to solve that problem.
  4. Pray with them.

 

 

 

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Church Planting, Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development

What to do When Personal Disaster Strikes

tornado

None of us are immune to personal disaster – it could be a financial crisis, a health crisis or a relationship crisis.  We have a good model in the Bible as to how to respond to these personal (and national) difficulties.

In my Bible reading this morning I read 2 Kings 18-19.  In these chapters we find a good model in how to face and overcome these kinds of difficulties.

  1. Hezekiah does what is right.  The first step is to make sure your heart, actions, character and principles you’re following are pleasing to the Lord.
  2. The powerful enemy attacks.  The crisis occurs.
  3. Hezekiah did not allow his citizens to respond verbally.  Be careful about the words you speak because your words create your attitude and response and your future.  Don’t allow yourself to agree with your circumstances.  It may be bad, but God has an answer
  4. Hezekiah repented, fasted and prayed.  The first response to crisis we see in the bible is to fast (go without food for a day or so), cry out to God and expect to hear his response.
  5. God spoke to the king through the prophet and reassured him it will turn out okay.  Get alone with God.  Read more of the Bible than you normally do.  Saturate yourself in worship and sermons. Get yourself into a position to hear from God about your situation.
  6. The enemy returned!  Don’t expect your problems to go away immediately.  The devil will keep trying until you resist him firmly and over time.
  7. Hezekiah recognized his as not just an attack on Israel, but a spiritual warfare and attack on God himself.  Remember, it’s not just your life or loved ones who are at stake.  There are spiritual forces seeking to destroy you so you won’t be effective for God in your life and those who will be influenced by you in future generations.
  8. God spoke and the enemy was defeated.  Eventually as Hezekiah held onto the Word of God the problem went away.

It’s been my practice to try and follow these principles when disaster or a crisis hits my life.  God gives us his Word in the Bible to guide us in life and who us how to live the life of victory he created us to live.

Romans 5:17

Romans 15:4

1 Corinthians 10:11

 

 

 

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