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

The Fool, Wise Man and Genius

Gandalf

A fool never learns from his mistakes. A wise man learns from his mistakes. A genius learns from other people’s mistakes.

Share below life lessons you’ve learned from your mistakes or which you’ve learned from other people’s mistakes.

 

 

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

How to Prioritize When Everything is Important

No such thing as not having enough timeDear Readers, I’ve been in the Northwest of Cambodia for the past few days teaching the director of our Center in Poipet City, Banteay Mean Chey Province, and his leadership team some of the lessons I’ve been teaching in Phnom Penh at my Cambodian Leadership Institute.  These guys are very far away and the level of knowledge in this Thai Border City is very low.  I’ve felt the urgency to do this for some time.

To learn more about this city you can take a look at the Wikipedia article here:  Poipet City, Cambodia.

We have an English School here and a kindergarten as well as many village activities.  People often tell me they want to see where I work and live, so here are a few photos from my phone:

I’m a person who manages multiple priorities, like you probably do, too.  But how is that actually done?  I have some thoughts of my own, but as I’m traveling and teaching this week I don’t have time to sort through them, so in my research I found the following site that I thought would be helpful to my readers.

In the following link is a post by Tatyana Sussex.  It was a helpful confirmation to me and hopefully will be to you too.

How to Prioritize Work When Everything is #1

If this is helpful to you pass it on!

Also, please leave your insights as to how you manage multiple priorities!

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Understanding the Seven Seasons of Life

Seasons 1

At the time of this writing I’m 64 years old.  I’ve passed through a lot of seasons in my life.  As I look back I’ve determined that one of my missions in life is to help others understand the different Seasons of Life.  If we understand the Seasons of Life it helps us endure or make the most of the current season and to prepare for the next season.

Here is a passage from the Bible you may be familiar with:

Ecclesiastes 3:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

 

In the video in this link Understanding the Seasons of Life I share several different seasons of life.  Here are a few Take-Aways:

  1.  Generally, one season is not permanent.  A season of aloneness, a season of lack, a season of sickness should not be permanent, but a season in which we are to learn and grow.

2. In each Season of Life we are to learn something.  It may not be a pleasant season,             but there are skills, attitudes and character issues that, if we pay attention and don’t           resist, we can grow.

3. One season prepares us for another season.  I’ve discovered that the good and the              bad from one season can prepare me for the next season, if my heart is open to                  learn and grow.

4.  We pass through Seasons of Life for not only our own benefit, but so that we can be          of benefit to others.  Life is not just about ourselves, but it’s about investing in                      others to move them through the Seasons of Life successfully.

Here is another Bible Verse I hope encourages you:

Romans 8:28

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

In conclusion…

  1.  Pay attention to your current Season of Life.
  2. Try to discover what you are to learn for yourself and for the benefit of others during that season.
  3. Invite the God of the Universe, Jesus Christ, to guide you daily as you walk through that season.
  4. Look for someone else whom you can bless and help walk through their Season of Life.

Here’s the link to the video again:  Understanding the Seasons of Life

If this lesson and video has been helpful to you, please share it with others.  Also, take time to leave a comment and share what you have learned about the Seasons of Life that you’ve passed through!

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Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development, Uncategorized

One Remedy for Healing Wounded Hearts

Wounded Heart 1

Life is difficult.  There are many different painful and disappointing situations we face throughout our lives.  Some hurt us deeply and are difficult to overcome.  I don’t mean to offer a simplistic answer to a complex issue, but I do want to offer one way to heal a wounded heart – invest yourself in others.

In my daily Bible reading I read from Matthew 14:1-14 Matthew 14.  John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin according to the flesh.  He was unmercifully killed by King Herod.  When Jesus heard about the tragedy he departed to a quiet place to be alone and grieve and gain perspective.  However, as it often is, life goes on.  As Jesus is going to the quiet place the crowds follow Him.  One place in the Bible said they were like sheep without a shepherd.  Jesus saw them and was moved with compassion.  This word “compassion” is a long, Greek word that means something churns within your spirit and drives you to do something.  How many times have we watched the news or seen tragedy and we are touched, but not to the point of lifting our hands or opening our wallet to actually try to relieve some of the pain in others’ life?

Jesus set aside His time to grieve and served the people.  He healed the sick and ministered to their needs.

There is a time to grieve.  There is a time for emotional healing.  But my experience is that sometimes people focus too much on the “why” and the pain to the point it doesn’t stop.  One of the greatest remedies for our own suffering is to serve others.  As we focus on others who are in greater need then us, it can relieve our suffering.

I’m a missionary in Cambodia.  I came here in 1994 to visit a fellow missionary.  I experienced the same emotions that Jesus must of felt – I saw the devastation of war, poverty, ignorance and hopelessness and felt moved for me, my wife and our four children to move to Cambodia in April of 1995 to see what would could to to bring positive change to Cambodia.  The results of an ordinary guy have been amazing.  We have touched thousands of children, youth, widows and poor and have given them a good future.

My son is the director of New Life Foundation / New Life Fellowship now and my wife and I are in an advisory role and focus on certain projects.  My wife focuses on New Life K-12 School and I focus on opening up new locations in Cambodia and training the leaders.  You can check out our organizations website here:  New Life Foundation / Fellowship / Cambodia Outreach.

I recently made a personal donation to help a young child finish one more year of school.  The public education here is pretty poor and anyone who has means studies at a private school. Education is a key to overcoming poverty.  I donated USD$450 to Naomi to get a good education.  I’ll try to do this each year as I’m able.

If you want to invest in the education of a child, you can make a tax-deductible donation at the following link and indicate it is for Charles McCaul to sponsor a child’s education.  Sponsor a Child’s Education for One Year – USD$450.  You may contact me directly at charles.edward.mccaul@gmail.com.

If you are not already engaged in helping others I encourage you to do so.  Find a need and fill it; find a heart and heal it.  It’s good medicine for the wounded heart!

If you find this post helpful, please share it with others.

Also, please leave a comment below about your experience in finding healing by helping others.

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Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Seven Things to do When You’re in a Self-Inflicted Transition

Metamorphosis_v3

John Maxwell said it, and my personal experience verifies it:  “To to up, you have to give up.”

To rise to the next level in personal growth as a leader we must give up something to rise to the next level.  Three things are important to understand here:

  1.  You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results. You have to do something new.

  2. You can’t do everything at once.  You can’t do everything you are currently doing and add more.  You will become less and less effective, not more and more effective.

  3. Sometimes we must give up the good to receive something better.  We must say “no” to the good in order to say “yes” to the best.

In my life I’ve passed over many, many self-inflicted transitions – meaning I left one thing behind in order to do something I felt was better.  However, there is often a season “in between” what we are leaving and what we are going into that leaves us unsettled and a bit nervous or fearful.  For me, it would be like a trapeze artist having to have the faith to let go of one thing in hopes of catching something else.  There is an “open space” where one must exercise faith.

trapeze-2

Here are seven things that have helped me to negotiate those “open spaces” in transitions:

Seven Keys to Transition Successfully

  1.  Have a plan for your life.  If you have no plan for your life, then any road will lead you somewhere, but it may not lead you to where you want to go!  I think one of the most important things we can do for our life as have at least a general direction for our lives for the next few years.  We never know how things may change, including our life-mission, but we should at least have a general direction for where we want to go based on what we see now.
  2. Understand the Seasons of Life.  As we mature, we pass through several seasons of life.  (This is an video lesson that will show up here in the next few weeks – stay tuned.)  There are seasons where growth, seasons of under the supervision of others, seasons of leading at one level or another.  There are seasons of joy and seasons of sadness.  However, it’s been my experience that if we learn and allow that season to have its full effect in our life, it will prepare us for the next season.  So, as you transition from one season to another, and especially during the “open spaces” believe that what you are leaving behind has been precious for that season and has prepared you for the next season.  Here’s another thing…it’s been my experience that sometimes you let go of one thing that is very precious to us but surprise surprise….it comes back to us in a future season, so it’s not lost forever!
  3. Realize you can’t do everything at the same time.  You must give up something to grasp something else.  Have you ever gone grocery shopping and think you’re not buying much so you don’t pick up a basket or cart, but you buy this and then that until your hands are too full.  You have to put down something to pick up something else.  This is associated with the leadership Principle of Focus.  We must narrow our focus to a few things and develop them rather than so many things that our effectiveness is watered down.

21882488-full-shopping-grocery-cart-in-supermarket-4.Believe the next step will lead you to something positive in your life.  

5. Trust your heart.  If your heart is pure and true, God will put His desires in your heart and you will know the right thing to do.

6. Seek advice from successful people who know the way.  As well as trusting your heart, it’s good to seek others who have walked this way before and get their opinion.

7. Prepare the best you can.  Although we trust our heart and seek advice, we must also prepare for the transition the best we can.  Study, research, gather what you need and then step out!

As I think about the many, many transitions I’ve made in my life – many of them huge – most of them have turned out pretty good.  The above seven points have been what I’ve learned from my experience.

What about you?  What have you learned to help you through transitions and the “open spaces” as you’re letting go of one thing to reach out and grasp another?

If this blog has helped you, please pass it on to others whom it may also help.

 

 

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

The Absolute Necessity for Leaders to Empower Others at All Levels

 

Empower Others 1

When a leader can’t or won’t empower others he creates a barrier within the organization.  If the barrier remains too long the staff or volunteers in the organization will give up and move on to another organization.  Eventually the organization will become weaker and weaker.

“If you want to become a successful leader you must empower others.”

Theodore Roosevelt, one of the presidents of the United States and an successful general in the U.S. Army said:  “The best executive is the one who is wise to choose people with ability to do what he needs to be done.  He also does not interfere with them when they are doing the work he assigned them to do.”

The success of your organization does not depend on you doing all the work, but it depends on your choosing, training and releasing others to do the work.

In the Bible we see that Barnabas is an example of a leader who empowered others.  One person he empowered was a man named Saul, who later became the Apostle Paul.  Barnabas’ ministry was multiplied because he took a chance and empowered another person!

Barnabas did three things to empower Paul:

  1. He believed in Paul when no one else believed in him.

Barnabas supported Paul as a  new Christian and believed in him when the senior leaders in the Jerusalem Church did not.  Barnabas risked his reputation when he told the Jerusalem Church leaders they should befriend Paul and welcome him into fellowship as a brother.

To be a leader who empowers others you must take a chance with people.  You must see the potential as a seed in them, believe in their potential and help them believe in themselves.  When we do this we risk our reputation and ministry because sometimes the people we believe in fail.  But it’s better to believe in someone and risk empowering them rather than to do everything yourself and not empower them.

When you empower someone and they succeed, your ministry is multiplied.   Also, the person you empower will never forget you!

Empower Others 3

  1. Barnabas endorsed Paul as a leader to other leaders.

We read in Acts 9:27 that Barnabas brought Paul to the other apostles and recommended that they allow him to preach and teach in Jerusalem.

As you empower others and you see them bear some fruit, introduce them to other opportunities to grow, learn, serve and use their gift.  It’s important to tell others of the new leader’s success and introduce them to other leaders.

  1. Barnabas empowered Paul to reach is potential.

In this story in the Bible we see that Paul began teaching and preaching in Jerusalem but the Jews hated him and wanted to kill him.  The apostles sent him to the church in Antioch for his safety.  In Antioch Paul continued to grow in his leadership and influence.  Eventually when Barnabas was sent to Antioch to help the Antioch Church he looked for Paul and they worked together.  This action by Barnabas allowed Paul to grow even more as a leader.  Finally, Paul and Barnabas traveled together preaching the Gospel, making disciples, training leaders and planting churches.  Eventually Barnabas humbled himself and allowed Paul to be the leader of the team.

To become a leader who empowers others you must not only believe in the leader who has potential, but you must give opportunities for them to gain experience as you mentor them.

Conclusion

To empower others involved energy, time and sometimes money.  You must always be looking for potential leaders.  Encourage them.  Allow them to gain experience.  Introduce them to others who can help them continue to grow.  Give them opportunities to serve and lead as you mentor them.  Release them to be a leader.  The result of this is growth in the organization or church.

Questions:

  1. Who has God brought to you to develop their ability and potential?
  2. Who are you training to take your place in your ministry?
  3. Who are you empowering?
  4. What skills or experience do you have to delegate to others?
  5. What is your plan to develop them?
  6. What can you do next week to allow your disciple to develop as a leader?

Please share your comments below and if you find this article helpful, please share it with someone else.

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Breaking the “Damned if you to, Damned if you don’t” Syndrom (Double-Binds)

Image result for double bind

I discovered the concept of the Double Bind in the book by Michael Dye, The Genesis Process.  Mr. Dye describes a Double Bind as being between an emotional “rock and a hard place.”  It’s when we’re in a “lose-lose” situation, at least in our mind that’s how it appears.

“Stagnation is staying stuck in the middle of a Double Bind.  Resolving Double Binds is the key for change.  All compulsive and self-destructive behavior involves a Double Bind.  A Double Bind is when you are in a lose/lose situation, or when the thing you need the most is also the thing you fear the most.  For example, if I take the risk and expose my secrets they will reject me.  If I don’t ask for help I will stay stuck and isolated.  Staying stuck in the middle of a lose/lose situation produces feelings of anger, frustration, hopelessness, depression, anxiety and fear.  These are the very emotions that coping behaviors anesthetize.”

During the course of these articles I’ve taken the position that coping behaviors (or addictions) are the result of sinful tendencies already at work in our soul as a result of original sin and the depravity of our human nature, as well as traumas we face in life that we don’t want to or can’t face.  As stated above these coping behaviors – alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, over-eating, work-a-holism, anger, isolation, etc. are the surface problems stemming from deeper problems.  Those root problems are often found in an inner feeling of rejection, worthlessness or low self-worth and fear.  There is pain in our life which we don’t want to face so we find ways of coping with it; sometimes these are conscious choices and sometimes they are an automatic, unrecognized or undiscerned reaction.  A Double Bind is a situation we find ourselves in where it seems that no matter which choice we make the result is pain – uncomfortable feelings, or what we think would be negative results; therefore, we don’t do anything and stay in our coping behaviors until things usually get so bad the implode or explode and we are forced to make a decision, or someone makes a decision for us.

Pain is a message from God to show us when something is wrong so we will respond to it. 

“Pain is God’s megaphone to a deaf world.”  – C. S. Lewis

Fear 1Many of our problems are rooted in fear – we’re afraid to face the problem and deal with it.  Fear is involved in dealing with a Double Bind – we’re afraid of either result we must make to overcome the Double Bind.  Fear is called by many names, such as, Stress, Anxiety, Insecurity, Apprehension, Dread and Panic.

We have fear of:

  • Failure
  • Criticism
  • Rejection
  • Abandonment
  • Disrespect
  • Shame
  • Embarrassment
  • Vulnerability
  • Intimacy

The best way to get at the root of what is causing the Double Bind is to ask yourself, “What am I afraid might happen?”

Here’s a sample Double Bind: (note the worksheet format we use)

Problem/Situation:

I’m upset with my spouse. 

If I do (change – giving up the problem)

If I share with him/her how I really feel I think he/she won’t understand, they’ll ask me questions, put me in a corner and I’ll feel rejected. 

If I don’t (change – avoiding the problem)

However, if I don’t share my feelings and frustrations with him/her I’ll be frustrated, probably angry, we won’t have the intimate relationship I really want and I may fall back into my coping behavior of overwork, overeating, drinking (or whatever your coping behavior may be)

The right thing is the hard thing

Okay, I’ll take the risk, face the pain and the fear and plan a time to talk with my spouse about how I feel.

What, when, who, where, how:

This Wednesday we’ll go for our regular evening walk together and I’ll ask him/her, “May I share a difficult situation I’m in right now?”  I’ll plan my words, make sure I’m not disrespectful nor judgmental and try to share how I feel.  I’ll ask him/her to pray for me when I finish.

Recognizing our Double Binds in life helps us to become more self-aware, face up to the painful things in life that keep us bound in the strongholds of addictions, and help us make a plan to change.  Otherwise, we stay where we are emotionally and relationally, or we may relapse back into our coping behavior(s) and stay bound.

Mr. Dye says, “In the Genesis Process, a key component to successful change is to bring the fear and the pain of these Double Binds into your conscious awareness and take practical steps to move toward resolving the issues that drive them.  In doing so, I have found that the cravings produced by the Limbic System to cope with these lose/lose situations have been reduced or eliminated.” 

I want to re-emphasize that the addictions, coping behaviors, sinful actions that we see in our lives and that of others are often only the surface problem.  We must dig down to the root issues by asking, “Why?  Why do I do this?  What pain am I trying to avoid?  What am I trying to cover up with this behavior?”  If we don’t deal with the core issues the problem will resurface as the same or different problem.

As mentioned earlier, I believe a core issue that most if not all of us face is rejection, worthlessness and low self-worth.  This is because we are born sinners.  There is an innate knowledge that something is wrong with us.  We are separated from God; we have selfish desires that crave to be fulfilled.  Our conscience makes us aware of that (see Romans, Chapter 1), therefore, in life, we strive for acceptance.  Therefore, we try to achieve or do whatever we need to in order to be accepted by family, friends and peers or “medicate the pain” of that sense of rejection and worthlessness, even if it’s self-destructive.  The answer is to receive the love of God, who accepts us just as we are – warts and all!

Mr. Dye gives an example of a core issue – loneliness – and how it creates a Double Bind for us:

“If you look at loneliness as an emotion that God gave you to tell you something is wrong, what is the message communicating?  What does loneliness tell you that you need?  Loneliness can be confused with boredom.  Boredom tells you that you need intellectual stimulation.  Loneliness is a craving for intimacy and relationships, but even being around a lot of people may not cure loneliness.  You can have a lot of friends and activities and still be lonely.    The only cure for loneliness is intimacy, which creates a Double Bind for most of us.  In order to respond to loneliness, you have to trust someone and be vulnerable with the deep things that are going on in your life.  Remember, intimacy is the action of giving and receiving love without walls or barriers.  Intimacy is having someone who understands and is a part of your inner world.  Then you don’t feel alone.  But if in the past, when you dropped your walls and trusted others, the result was that you were betrayed, hurt, rejected, judged, preached at or abandoned, then trusting others is also associated with pain and fear.  So, what do you do?  What you need is what you fear, which puts you in a Double Bind.  Feeling lonely is painful and depressing, but reaching out to others is even more frightening.  Coping behaviors push these lose/lose situations and needs temporarily out of your awareness.”

Small Group 1Procrastination, confusion and denial can be symptoms of Double Binds.  They can protect you from taking action towards your fears.  As Double Binds progress, so do coping behaviors – it gets worse and worse – you dig yourself further and further into a hole.  Resolving Double Binds requires support and accountability in naming the fear and the belief system that supports it.  This is why you need to be in a small group which can support one another and hold one another accountable.

Double Binds involve facing the pain, fear and uncomfortable feelings.  It involves a step of faith.  Taking a step of faith involves risk.  Taking a risk involved the possibility of failure, pain and rejection.  Here is the maxim:

If you do the right thing God will bless it.  Doing the right thing is usually the hard thing.

Dye says, “If on a regular basis you identify and work towards resolving Double Binds, your chances of relapse are almost non-existent.”

Listen to this: “Because risk has to do with fear, the Limbic System gets involved and sets up systems to avoid it – unless there is a measure of safety.  It’s not safe to take a risk alone, which is why it is almost impossible to change and grow alone.”   (Michael Dye, The Genesis Process)

Here is another example of a Double Bind:

Problem/Situation:

I worry about my children, our finances, our future and just about everything.  I have to insure that things will work out by seeking to control everything.

If I do (change – giving up the problem)

If I change and give up worry and anxiety I will not be in control and something “bad” might happen.  We might be broke, my kinds might go astray, we may lose our house.   I might have to deal with the fear and depression.

If I don’t (change – avoiding the problem)

However, if I don’t change I will continue to overeat, nag my family, not sleep well and people around me will distance themselves from me.

The right thing is the hard thing

I will talk with my best friend about this and ask him/her to keep me accountable.  I will choose not to meditate on worrisome thoughts, set them aside, declare what God’s Word says about me and my situation.  I will be prudent and try to be wise, but will not seek to control others or every situation.  I will trust God and practice Philippians 4:6-8. I’ll ask my family to let me know if I seem to be trying to control and will let them be the judge rather than me.

What, when, who, where, how:

I’ll meet with my friend this Wednesday and discuss this with my family Thursday night.  I’ll start memorizing Bible verses associated with this immediately.

Other examples of possible Double Bind issues may be:

  • Worry and anxiety
  • Anger, irritation and lack of patience
  • Judging others (Christians and non-Christians)
  • Control
  • Trusting God and others
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Isolation
  • Over/under eating
  • Secrets
  • Blaming
  • Keeping people at a distance
  • Self-righteousness
  • Legalism/Strict rules
  • Sexual sins (pornography, masturbation, fantasy, voyeurism, phone calls)
  • Fear of doing something (public speaking, launching out into a business, ministry, etc.)

This is a chapter out of my book, Men, Get Real!  That book is available in the Menu above under Personal Growth Resources.

Men Lets Get Real Cover

If you feel this article was helpful to you, please share it with other.

Also, if you have any keys or successes in overcoming Double Binds please share them with us below.

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