Friday, April 29, 2011

It's Not Enough to Ask the Lord What to Do

47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"
 49 When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?" 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

 51 But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him.

 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour-when darkness reigns." 
Luke 22:47-53

This event is told in all four gospel accounts; Peter is named as the sword-swinger in John, but not the others.  It would have been an emotionally-charged, memorable event!  Situation difficult: Outnumbered, inferior weapons ("two swords" which were probably more like kitchen knives), at night, hampered terrain.

Detail in the Luke account: the disciples ask what to do! (v49)  Then Peter charges ahead, going after (probably) the least threatening man in sight - a servant.  Of course, Peter wasn't aiming at the man's ear!

Jesus' response is not only to Peter, but to the group.  This suggests the other disciples were going to attack as well.  Certainly the temple guards would be prepared for violence (clubs and swords v.52) It's a natural response to defend your rabbi and yourselves.

Key application for leaders:  How often do we ask the Lord for instruction and guidance - and then move ahead with the assumption that our idea is correct?  Let's be leaders who listen carefully to God.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mission for the Day

Men, here is your mission for the day: Love your wife. 

Step it up today.  Don't coast.  Put out a "surge" effort today, and don't put this off.  Words and actions.

Monday, April 25, 2011

For Dads with Daughters of "Dating" Age

Men, for your edification:

Rules for Dating a Marine's Daughter
Application to Date My Daughter

Now these are great humorous pieces, and we can identify with them!  One thing I did with my daughter years ago was show here these.  "Dad, you wouldn't do this to any guy who wants to take me out, would you?"  I explained that no, I wouldn't, but I wanted her to understand how dads feel about their daughters.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Story of the King James Bible

I heartily recommend to you to this DVD which tells the story of the King James Bible.  Wonderfully done, with outstanding presentation by John Rhys-Davies (who doesn't love this man's voice?).  This would be fun for a small group to watch and discuss.  You'll see the Providence of God at work.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Observations from Acts on Ministry Leadership

"News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,  and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people." (Acts 11:22-26)

Barnabas was an effective teacher and leader, but still recruited Saul/Paul to come to Antioch.   It's clear that they both taught and led at Antioch.  And God (who does not make mistakes) sent both men to the Gentile world (Acts 13:1-3). 

Paul and Barnabas go through many struggles and joys together, co-ministering, both operating (boldly!) as teachers and preachers.   This is plainly seen in these verses:
Acts 13:5, 7 42-43, 46, 51
Acts 14:3, 21, 27
Acts 15:2, 35

Then their disagreement comes (Acts 15:36-41), and they separate.  Barnabas takes John and goes back to his home in Cyprus.  Paul takes Silas and continues on in Asia Minor. 

All through the remainder of Acts, chapters 16-28, Paul is clearly the preacher, teacher, and leader.  He's the public face of the ministry team.  (Paul has many different helpers in these years.)   Never again is there an indication of co-leadership with another, the way he and Barnabas had operated.

Three thoughts for your consideration:
1. Ministry is a team effort.  God intentionally brings people together for His work, using our complementary strengths.  Paul could not have accomplished all that he did without help from others and their support. 
2. Perhaps the separation event in chapter 15, difficult as it was, was a transition between different phases of ministry, with different leadership needs.
3. Even if I'm correct about different phases of ministry, let us be clear that God is sovereign over all, and works through imperfect leaders.  There was effective ministry when Barnabas and Paul co-led, and effective ministry after they separated.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Opportunity Cost

"Opportunity cost" refers to the fact that by choosing to do one thing, you spend time that could have been used to do something else.  That alternative way to spend time is the "opportunity cost" of  your choice.

I don't know about you, but (especially when I'm physically tired and feeling more selfish) I'm more likely to make poor choices about what I eat, what I read, what I watch, what I do, etc.  It's been helpful for me to ask myself "What's the opportunity cost?" when I'm inclined to do something.

Sure, passively watching TV would "feel" great right now.  What's the opportunity cost?  I'm sure you can think of other example situations.

Note: I'm not opposed to leisure and rest.  They are good and necessary.  But men, we need to know ourselves and push ourselves to our best. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Want to Be Wiser? Read This Book

If you want to be wiser working with people and situations, there is one book that will help you more than any other: Proverbs

Proverbs frames the world in the fundamental differences between wise people and fools.  It's your success manual for practical wisdom in dealing with people. 

Now you read the 31 chapters in an hour, and then lay it aside.  But that's not my recommendation.  Instead, read a chapter a day.  There are 31 chapters, so simply read the chapter that corresponds to the day of the month.  Takes 5-10 minutes.  Trust me, a verse or two will "pop out" for you to reflect on more. 

You'll find that new insights come as you read this way, over a period of years, and encounter new people and situations.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Learning Through Mentoring

Challenge for you: list out those people that you are mentoring, even if only informally or occasionally. Who are you influencing more than others?
Most of the time, when you've plateaued in an area, the breakthroughs will begin to come again when you start teaching or mentoring others. There's something about the way we're wired that we don't learn everything we could until we teach others. This avenue to self-growth requires selflessness.
Next two challenges:

1. Think carefully about something you can do to help each person on your list. What can you teach them, what stories can you share, what encouragement or coaching or feedback can you provide?

2. Add one or two more names to your list of people this week.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Hi-Tech Glass -- But What Will Be Important?

The technological future is coming very fast. I think there are hard trends (inevitable), but also soft trends where we have more room for decisions. While this intriguing video is focused on what could be enabled by hi-tech glass, I encourage you to think about what will be important that might be hurt or limited by technology (if not used well). What aspects of your marriage, your parenting, your deepest friendships, governing ourselves, entertainment, ability to create a multi-generational legacy, our worship -- all that which is the best of us -- what decisions will we need to explore?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Leadership Blogs

I follow a number of blogs which give me great ideas and encouragement on leadership, including:

Seth Godin

Michael Hyatt

Orrin Woodward

Mark Sanborn

Perry Noble

Ron Edmonson

Mark Batterson

T.J. Addington

Which others do you recommended? Comment below.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

An Effective Family Devotion Strategy

No guilt trip here, guys. 

Here's a simple approach to family devotions that works.  Review with them what God is teaching you from your daily time in the Word and prayer.  (You'll find it's easier to do that yourself when you're teaching your family from it!)

Doesn't have to be complicated or very long.  Read a few verses, share an insight you had or a point you feel is worth emphasizing, and facilitate some discussion.  Pray. You can even do this during mealtime. 

Try it out!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Personal MBA Reading List

Some of you might be considering getting an MBA degree.  Before you do that, consider an alternative approach: the personal MBA reading list. It still takes a lot of discipline, but you will get most of the benefits with much less cost and time away from your family.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Biographies Worth Your Time

It's important to learn from history and biographies.  Here are a few biographies of great men which have helped me enormously, in no particular order:

John Adams
Harry Truman
Theodore Roosevelt
Martin Luther
Glady Alward
John Paton
Robert E. Lee
Winston Churchill

Do you have some recommendations?

Note: there are some great biographical documentary films and movies worth watching, but nothing quite matches a biographical book.