It’s Worth It!

1 07 2010

If you’ve ever wondered if all your sacrifice, energy and effort for Christ is worth it. IT IS! Striving for something great is tiring, but it’s the ONLY WAY TO LIVE! I was so inspired by this quote this week from Teddy Roosevelt…\

“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. Whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause.

Who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement, and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”

I’d rather DARE GREATLY in the arena, than REST COMFORTABLY in the stands!

The most worthy cause in the world is giving my all to Christ who’s given His all to me.


Did the Disciples Have Management Potential?

15 06 2010

Christ specializes in using screwed up, messed up, works-in-progress people. He’s not looking for perfect people, He’s looking for people who are available. People who are open the possibility that Christ might want to use them. When Christ looks at you, He sees potential in you that you don’t even see yourself.  He doesn’t say clean up your life and I’ll use you. He sees the person you are today and He sees the person that you can become. “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit.” John 15:16

Think of the people Christ chose. Imagine if we brought in consulting firm to evaluate the potential of the 12 leaders that Christ personally chose to be disciples and lead his new organization. Here’s the report…

TO: Jesus, Son of Joseph, Woodcrafter Carpenter Shop, Nazareth

FROM: Jordan Management Consultants, Jerusalem

Dear Sir:

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the 12 men you have picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests; we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.

It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education, and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team” concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale.

We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus definitely have radical leanings. They registered a high score on the manic depressive scale.

One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious, and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. All of the other profiles are self-explanatory.

We wish you every success in your new Venture.

Sincerely yours,

Jordan Management Consultants

Greg Ogden, “Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time.”

Stories from 30 Days with Jesus

6 05 2010

We asked all those who participated in the 30 Days with Jesus, “Through the 30 days, how has God spoken to you, encouraged you or moved in your life? What have you learned?” Here’s what you said…

– I am hungry to hear what God has to say to me each day. I anxiously waited for those early morning texts. They will be greatly missed

– It’s nice to wake up and have a message from God.  Makes me remember to put Him first everyday.

– Every scripture and prayer was exactly what I needed to face each day! I had the strength to deal with each situation successfully.

Read the rest of this entry »

Leadership 101: Character or Competence?

12 04 2010

Spiritual leadership requires two major attributes: competence and character. However, when we think of leaders, competence often overshadows character.  Competence is the outward skills to accomplish God’s ministry. Character is the inward life of complete devotion to Christ. Competence is  important to a leader, but Character is CRITICALLY important. Why?

In Matthew 10:24-25, Jesus tells us that the student will become like his teacher. As a leader, you are an example.  The decisions you make, the language you use, the actions you take, your behavior, your attitude, and habits, both good and bad, may be imitated in the life of those you lead. As a spiritual leader, you are called to authentically model Christlike character. As you grow and mature in your devotion to Christ, others will grow with you and they will grow like you.

How is your example of Christlike character? What are those you lead imitating from your life…good and bad? What area of your life…language, actions, behavior, attitude, habits…do you need to address?

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. 1 Peter 2:21

You Cannot Control Outcomes

20 01 2010

This morning Mark Batterson of NCC posted some great insight on ministry.

“One of the lessons I’ve learned in ministry is that you cannot control outcomes. We plant and water, but God gives the increase! That drives us crazy as control freaks, but it also takes all of the pressure off of us. We can’t do it. Only He can!

The most gratifying thing is ministry is when God does something you cannot take credit for. That’s what I live for! And the truth of the matter is this: most of the good things that happen don’t happen because of us. They happen inspite of us. We just need to stay out of the way!” FULL EVOTIONAL POST

Now that is so frustrating, because it’s so true.

Two Friends on a Bus…the MLK Legacy

18 01 2010

As a kid growing up the 70s in the suburbs of Detroit, the Civil Rights movement seemed like the distant past (1o years is an eternity when you’re eight). The truth was racial equality was still very much a work in progress, especially in a community as racially divided at metro Detroit. Even though I grew up watching an African-American woman as the anchor on the evening news, the change on the street came slowly. The Civil Rights movement was moving through institutional and overt racism to subtle racism. Even today, just mention the word “8 Mile” and what comes to mind is the divisions…Divisions between communities and division between races.

As a kid, I remember being strangely drawn to the words of Martin Luther King Jr. I secretly wished I had been born 10-20 years earlier so I could have participated in the Civil Rights movement and the cause of racial equality. Even though many years have passed, I am still motivated by his powerful words, inspired by his passionate leadership…and most of all I am personally impacted by his legacy.

A couple years ago, my daughter Hannah and her 4th grade class visited The Henry Ford Museum. It was just an ordinary school field trip until one extraordinary moment. We walked inside the bus where Rosa Parks refused to get up and courageously decided to not give in. On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, by sitting down she inspired many in our nation to stand up.

Hannah and her best friend Tanesha sat down together in the EXACT SEAT where Mrs. Parks made that bold statement on equality. In that moment, tears welled up inside me. Only 50 years ago, the idea that you would judge someone “not by the color of one’s skin but the content of one’s character” was still only a dream. But these kids are living the dream. Words like integrated pools and segregation are foreign to them. They don’t see color…they only see their friend.

Are we there yet in equality? I don’t think so. Subtle racism and segregation still exists in the thoughts and actions of Americans. I believe that words of Martin Luther King that Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour in America. We still have a lot to do as far as equality.

But today on Martin Luther King Day, I am inspired two friends sitting together on a bus. They are living the legacy of his words…

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”

“Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Definition of Success.

23 09 2009

Mark Batterson, of National Community Church in Washington DC, had a four great definitions of success in his blog post “Definition of Success” on Monday. It was encouraging, challenging and made me rethink a number of things…

“Thought I’d share a few of my personal definitions of success. It’s important to define success in biblical and personal ways. You need to know what you’re aiming at or you will succeed at the wrong thing.

1.  Success is maximizing your God given potential. Success is synonymous with stewardship.

2. Success is doing the best you can with what you have where you are. Success is not circumstantial. Some of the most successful people are those in the worst of circumstances, but theymake the most of them. That’s success.

3. Success is when the people who know you the best respect you the most. We care way too much about what strangers think of us, but they won’t be the ones at our graveside. I want my wife and my kids to respect me the most.

4. Success is trying until the day you die. I think most of us give up on our dreams way too easily and way too quickly. We stop trying. But if you’re still trying you’re succeeding!

One key to success is not worrying about the outcome. Winning or losing isn’t the issue. Trying is winning! That is what I told Parker when he decided to run for class president. That is the lesson I learned at our triathlon this weekend. That is what I’ve learned as a church planter. The measure of success is this: how hard did you try?

If you pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on you cannot fail.