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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Personal Development, Uncategorized

Lessons from the Book of Job

Tree with Big RootsThe 42 chapters of the Book of Job describe one man’s loss of almost everything he had, including his ten children.  Job was a good man toward his community and family.  He was a man who loved Yaweh-God and followed Him.  His love for God was the foundation of his faith and righteousness.

Job lost almost everything in life through no fault of his own.  His wife and friends misunderstood him and his faith was tried.

Here are a few lessons we can learn from this man’s story:

  1. Bad things in our life come to us from ourselves, the devil or others.  When we meet with difficulty we should examine ourselves as to where this trouble might be coming from so we can respond appropriately.  Job’s troubles did not come from his own sin or foolishness, nor did they come from others.  His troubles came from the devil – Satan – evil spirits.
  2. There is a spiritual warfare.  We must understand that mankind has an unseen enemy that desires to ensnare us and destroy us.  For some he destroys them by sickness or poverty – for others he destroys and binds them by success and wealth.
  3. God is good and God is sovereign.  This is what we see throughout the pages of the Bible.  Do not be confused about this:  God is good and loves you.  Sometimes in his sovereign plan for us He allows us to go through difficulties for a season, but his ultimate aim is good.  Romans 8:28.  God tests us to develop our faith; the devil tempts us to destroy our faith.
  4. God will not allow you to be tempted above what you can take and will provide a way out.  Remember that!  No matter how difficult it seems God knows you can take it and He is providing a way to win over this difficulty for our good if we are patient, endure and look for it.  1 Corinthians 10:13.
  5. Stay focused on who God is, what He has done for you in the past, what He is doing for you during this time, and what He will do for you in the end.
  6. In the end, all things will work out for the good.  He promises that.  Be patient and don’t make a bad decision during the midst of your difficulty.  Romans 8:28
  7. Sometimes well-meaning friends don’t know our deepest heart and they speak unkind words or unkind action.  Try to love them back with the love of God. Matthew 5:44.

In the end, God restores all and more to Mr. Job.  This is how God works if we remain faithful and true to Him and guard our hearts against bitterness.

If you’re walking through a difficulty now, don’t give up.  There is light at the end of the tunnel (no, and it’s not a train!)  God is working in you a great glory and your present sufferings are preparing you for even more!

16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Light at the End of the Tunnel 1

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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

 

multitudes-of-people

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

praying-for-people

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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