Friday, January 30, 2015

A Great Definition of Worship

"To worship is to quicken the conscious by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination with the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God." 
 -- William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Want to Be a Great Leader? Start Serving!

If you want to be a great leader, start by being a great follower.

Some people want to lead before they learn to follow. Non-followers make terrible leaders. They are self-absorbed and don't deal very well with people in general.

Occasionally, folks will come to me and offer their services in some leadership capacity. My usual response is "You can start your leadership journey by jumping in and assisting others. Be a helper, and then we will see about leadership."

Sometimes, they walk away with a sniff. "I'm happy to be up front leading, but how dare you ask me to serve behind the scenes? Aren't you aware of my tremendous gifts and abilities?"

Yes -- and I am also aware of your over-inflated ego.

Samuel Brengle graduated from college and signed up as an officer in the Salvation Army. Excited about his new role, he looked forward to providing visionary leadership for the cause.

He was dismayed to discover his first assignment of the new position was to polish a room full of boots -- filthy, worn, ugly, scuffed up boots!

"I can't believe they're doing this to me!" he grumbled, "Don't they know that I'm here to lead? I am an officer for heaven's sake! I've just graduated with honors! Why on earth would they give me such a lowly task? I didn't apply to be a servant!"

Then, the truth dawned on him. Leadership is servanthood.  To lead, we must follow. There is no task too small for a great leader. If you think a job is "beneath" you, it shows you aren't ready yet. You are beneath the job.

The best leaders are servants. From underneath, they lift up those around them and possess a "whatever it takes" attitude.

Getting along with others is a golden rule of leadership.  Do you want to become a better leader? Start serving!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

He Has Loved You Too Much to Cease Loving You

Be persuaded, timid soul, that He has loved you too much to cease loving you. ~ Fenelon

O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Treasure Hunt Every Day

What if we viewed each day as a Treasure Hunt?  What if, in our early morning prayers, God revealed little clues leading us to people He treasures -- sort of a Divine Treasure Map?  What if we went forth eagerly to bless, encourage and serve?  What if we went forth boldly, filled with Holy Love?  What if we viewed life as a daily adventure with God rather than a burden to be endured?  What if the chance meetings along the way were really Divine Appointments?

Wouldn't that make a difference in how we act and react?  Wouldn't that change our attitude?  Wouldn't the world be a better place if all Christians had that perspective?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Playing it Safe

The Packers beat themselves yesterday.  Green Bay lost the NFC Championship yesterday because they chose to play it safe.   Instead of playing to win, they played not to lose, settling for field goals rather than touchdowns.  They chose to sit on first half points instead of going for broke throughout the entire game.  They attempted to win small by preservation and playing out the clock.

Many church leaders do the same thing.

Last week, I was in a seminar with John Maxwell and Kevin Myers where they discussed momentum.  They said, if you are not meeting expectations, work smarter.  If you are meeting expectations, work steady.  If you are exceeding expectations, work harder.

"When things are going your way," Maxwell said, "for heaven's sakes, don't let off the gas!  That's not the time to take it easy.  Give it more!  Ramp it up!"

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Servant of God, Remember

Servant of God, remember the stream thy soul bedewing (moistened from morning dew);
The grace that came upon thee anointing and renewing.

The cross dissolves the darkness, and drives away temptation;
It calms the wavering spirit by quiet consecration.

To God, eternal Father, to Christ, our king, be glory,
And to the Holy Spirit, in never ending story.

The lyrics of this beautiful hymn, "Servant of God, Remember" (Cultor Dei Memento), was written at the dawn of the 5th Century by Aurelius Clement Prudentius, who, after a distinguished career as a lawyer and judge, retired at age 57 to write sacred poetry.

Several of his writings have been preserved in the form of hymns translated into modern languages.  The beautiful Advent hymn, "Of the Father's Love Begotten" is one of those

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How to Find a Solution to Your Problem

If you're facing a difficult problem, the following questions mayl help you find the solution:

1. Is this a problem - or is it a fact of life?
You can do something about problems. You can't do anything about facts of life. If you can't change it, you have a fact of life, not a problem, No need to stew over it.

As Reinhold Niebuhr's Serenity Prayer states,.  "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

2. Is this problem really the problem?
It is easy to be sidetracked by the painful symptoms and neglect the deeper, more important, issues. Make sure you are dealing with the main thing. Recurring negative situations usually have a common thread. It  pays to look deeper and discover it..

3. What is the bottom, bottom line?
What do you want? What outcome do you desire? Why is this a problem in the first place? Think it through. People think "to" a difficulty, but seldom "through" it.  Instead of focusing on what's wrong, put your energy into discovering how to make it right.  I heard a leadership consultant say you should ask "why?" five layers down.

4. Have you prayed about it?
God grants wisdom to face any uncertainty. If it's big enough to worry about, it's big enough to pray about,. If your problems are deep-seated and long standing - try kneeling!

5. What are ten possible solutions?
Most of our problems have at least ten possible solutions - the trick is to think creatively and discover them! I have used this process many times with good results. Write them down! Don't quit until you have ten. Refuse to settle for just one or two. Expanding the solutions can remove the blinders from your eyes. You will be able to see the whole thing in a new way.

6. What do your wisest friends say?
If you listen to wise people who love you and heed their advice, you will spare yourself a ton of regret.