Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Learning Through Leadership

Since I can remember, I have heard people say, "the best way to learn something is to teach it". At this point in my life, I am not sure I agree with this 100%. While certainly, the understanding sinks to a deeper level, as you teach someone else what you know, I don't find anything in that statement that addresses the heart. As I have been thinking about this, I believe that the better statement would be "the best way to learn something is to live it".

If I know and truly understand how to change the oil in my car, that knowledge might be helpful in telling someone else how to get started changing the oil in their car, but without the experiences of actually getting the oil plug out of the oil pan, having it split as you take it out, watching the oil miss the drip pan, buying a new plug, finding a solvent to clean the oil out of our fingernails.... do you really know how to change the oil? Can you really teach someone to be good at it? Can you help them through the potential problems and side issues that might come their way? I guess what I am saying here is that intellectual knowledge is a fine thing, but until that matches up with experience, I am not sure it is really "knowing".

So what do you do when you find yourself in a situation where you are leading people who have circumstances in their lives that are outside your areas of experience? Does that invalidate your leadership? Does that mean you must pass off the job to someone else who has that experience? I don't think so. It means that you get under the car with them and pass the towel when the oil hits their face, and move the drip pan closer and hand them a pair of plyers to pull the other half of the plug out. It means you drive them to the store to buy the parts and make sure they have everything they need to finish the job. It means getting your hands dirty. So what if you have never actually changed the oil in a real car before? You learned right along with them and have their experience to add to your own. Isn't it the point of seeing the job (circumstances) through that is what is important anyway? If we are unwilling to be a part of the lives of those we lead, why are we really leading anyway? Jesus modeled servant leadership. It was never about us. That is not why God put us in leadership. It is because somewhere along the way we were willing to put ourselves aside for His purpose. We live (or should) for Him. And that means doing what we see Jesus doing, putting aside our own agenda for His. Being His hands and feet, speaking His words, showing His love in our relationships. I can say from experience, it is not always easy. In fact, it is sometimes the hardest thing to do! But I do believe that this is where God has placed me.

Maybe this hands on approach won't work when you get to a certain level of leadership, maybe you cannot stay so directly involved, or maybe you have to have a more tiered approach. I am not sure. I'll let you know when I get there.... but for now, this is what I am trying to live.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

God's Amazing Pursuit

I find is absolutely amazing, that God, in His infinite majesty, wants so desperately to spend time with us. I have to admit, I forget that. It is so easy fall into the trap of thinking that somehow we have to make ourselves good enough to approach God... even when we KNOW better... even when we understand and believe that it is Jesus' righteousness that grants us access to the Father. There is a mire of religion in which we can so easily get booged down. But then God finds a way to remind us that He is there, that we can come, that He actually invites us to come into His presence, that He made a way already.

He did that for me today in a blog by Perry Noble.

Thank you Father for using people I don't even know to be your hands and feet in my life! Help me to walk with you today and use me to touch someone else! I love you, Jesus!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Last of the One Prayer series

Yesterday was the final week for OnePrayer at LCC. Personally I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I dearly love Pastor Wes' messages and am looking forward to the exciting series coming up. On the other hand, I have so enjoyed the different views and teaching styles of the other OnePrayer Pastors. It appeals to my ADD qualities to have something completely fresh and new each week. And I totally love the sense of being part of something so much bigger than our little church in the cow pasture! It gave me an idea of how we could look "when we grow up". That is really exciting!
Wayne Cordeiro was awesome! He made me think in so many directions at once, I wish I could have heard that message a couple more times! I did get a few distinct things out of what he said, though.
1 - a quiet time does not have to be in the morning to be legitimate! This is huge for me! I am NOT a morning person and for so long I have tried to be; getting up early (or attempting to) so that I could fellowship with God, like all of these wonderful men and women of faith that I so admire are always talking about. And then feeling guilty that I could not stay focused for more than a few minutes at a time and spending the majority of my time with God asking for forgiveness that I couldn't stay focused! I am now looking forward to having wonderful, guilt free, quality and productive and wonderful (yes I know I said that twice) quiet times in the afternoons!
2 - A table of contents for a journal is a cool idea. For my current journal, I will have to make mine at the back, but next time I get a new journal, I will definately leave room in the front!
3 - I am going to redouble my effort to memorize more scripture. I already felt I needed to memorize Peter (yes, both 1st and 2nd) and several Psalms. I am wondering if copying them out a few times will make it easier. Seems to me like it might.
4 - If my heart is truly to see people grow closer to Jesus and develop a deeper relationship with Him, then that is going to happen out of the overflow of what is in my heart. My words will convince no one! And while that means I have to have that kind of relationship myself, it also means that my focus has to be on Jesus and not on growth. (this was one of those aside thoughts that was triggered by something he said not a quote from what he said in the sermon, so don't think you missed anything if you didn't go there :) )
5 - (another triggered thought) God wants us to trust Him completely. We all have trust issues to some degree because we live in a fallen world and we have all been hurt. The trials and tests we go through in life are there to teach us to trust God through them, and they get bigger and bigger as we go deeper and deeper in our trust in Him. And even though we long to trust Him fully, it takes time. But, "God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won't stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns." (Phillipians 1:6) Now that is encouraging!

Like I said, I wish I could have listened to the message a few more times. I am certain I would have gotten even more out of it. Gotta love a review of the basics!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Some Great Quotes

Found these on an email list. Some of them made me smile, some made me think, some were great reminders.

"The weakness of so many modern Christians is that they feel too much at home in the world. In their effort to achieve restful adjustment to unregenerate society they have lost their pilgrim character and become an essential part of the very moral order against which they are sent to protest. The world recognizes them and accepts them for what they are. And this is the saddest thing that can be said about them. They are not lonely, but neither are they saints." - A.W. Tozer

"it is more important that God be glorified then that I be saved!" A.W Tozer

A foolish physician he is, and a most unfaithful friend, that will let a sick man die for fear of troubling him; and cruel wretches are we to our friends, that will rather suffer them to go quietly to hell, then we will anger them, or hazard our reputation with them. -Baxter, Richard

We need more speaking to God about men, than speaking to men about God. -Mother Cobb

Consider this, Christian: that all your trials and troubles, calamities and miseries, crosses and losses which you meet in this world are all the hell you shall ever have!! THOMAS BROOKS

Only when we are captured by an overwhelming sense of awe and reverence in the presence of God, will we begin to worship God in spirit and in truth." - Alistair Begg

John Wesley one day walked to his mother and asked: "Mum, define sin for me".
Her answer was this: "Whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritual things, in short, if anything increases the authority of the flesh over the spirit, that to you becomes sin, however good it is in itself."

"It is not difficult to say what it is that hardens the hearts. The seed sown by the wayside could not enter the soil because it had been trodden down by the passersby. When the world, with its business and its interests, has at all times a free passage, the heart loses its tenderness." -Andrew Murray, from the book "The Holiest of All"

Nothing so effectually hinders hearing God's voice as opening the heart too much to other voices. A heart too deeply interested in the news, the literature, and the society of this world cannot hear the divine voice. It needs stillness, retirement, and concentration to give God the heed He claims. -Andrew Murray, From the book "The Holiest of All"

"When alone with God, be alone with Him" -Samuel Chadwick

"There are blessing of The Kingdom that are only yielded to the violence of the vehement soul" -Samuel Chadwick

Monday, July 7, 2008

Wearing the shoe on the other foot

I got a taste of what it is like to be in a place where people do not speak your language. Last night Angel Barios spoke at LCC and he spoke in spanish. With my limited french and 5 years of helping my kids through latin class, I was able to pick out enough to get an idea about what he was saying (and then it helped a lot when he started translating some of it!) but not enough to really comprehend the entire message. This was a very enlightening experience.

For me, when someone is speaking about Jesus, I want to know and understand what is being said! Any new thing I learn about my Savior is water for my thirsty soul. As I was listening, I knew Angel was talking about Jesus, and that in itself brought warmth to my heart, but at the same time, I was hungry and frustrated.... wanting more. How frustrating it must be to so many spanish speaking people in our area to go to church week after week, wanting to learn more, wanting to converse, wanting to have relationships with people and yet being held back by lack of knowledge of English.

There has to be more we can do for this segment of the population. I have to admit, sadly, that I never really thought about the difficulties the hispanic community faces on a daily basis. I am glad for this opportunity to walk a few yards in their shoes. I like being made to think. It is a wonderful thing to be lead by someone with the heart to reach people by any means, that thinks outside the box and is constantly challenging us to reach the next level.

I am going to look into what it takes to get an ESL class going. Maybe that could help. I might even look up spanish tutorials on the web :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Seeking my Life Mission

So I was reading the comment from Pastor Wes on my time management post and thinking "what DO I see as my life mission?" Without a micro second hesitation, Psalm 27:4 came to mind:
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

As I sit here with tears on my face and longing in my heart so deep and so strong I can hardly contain it, I am stunned by several thoughts.
1 - that God would call me to such a wonderful life of seeking Him with all my heart, I am stunned that He might really be calling me to this... sort of a sense of "too good to be true" and yet filled with hope
2 - that I have such little knowledge of who God really is that I would even doubt His goodness and kindness and desire to bless me like this ( "He does that for others, but surely not for me"). Father, forgive my unbelief!
and 3 - that if this really IS what He is calling me to, then what in the world am I wasting so much time doing other stuff that is so much less important and so much less lovely and so much less fun?

I guess I really do need to commit some serious time to prayer for this whole life mission thing. Stop being so distracted by everything in everyone else's lives and just get on with what God has planned for me. After all, God says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." So what am I waiting for?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Time Management issues

Ok, so I got this in my daily devotional today, but the issue here is that I do not understand step one. I don’t get what I am supposed to do. I KNOW that time management is my main issue in life and I feel like here is the solution and yet I cannot comprehend the words! It is like seeing a fountain behind glass when you are dying of thirst and the instructions for opening the glass are in Japanese and you can’t read Japanese! I feel stupid. But it's not the first time! :)

How am I supposed to figure out where my time is going if I don't know what I am doing?

I really just don't have time to figure this out! LOL

"Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life" (Ps 39:4).

David accomplished a great deal in his lifetime. However, he also understood life had an end to it and he wanted to make the most of it. He learned to use his time wisely. And so should we.
Peter Drucker was a renown management consultant to major corporations and authored many bestselling business books. He suggested three activities that might help busy executives better manage their time.

"First, do not start with the task. Start with your time. Determine where your time is going. Then, attempt to manage that time and cut back unproductive demands on your time. Consolidate your 'discretionary' time into the largest possible continuing time units.

Drucker refers to the second step as time management. After listing the activities to which we devote our time, he suggests that we ask three questions about each of these activities to help us minimize the amount of time we waste: "What would happen if this were not done at all?" And if the answer is, 'Nothing would happen,' then obviously the conclusion is to stop doing it. Next, which of the activities on my time log could be done by somebody else just as well, if not better? What do I do that wastes my time without contributing to my effectiveness?

Drucker closes by saying 'Know Thyself,' this old prescription for wisdom is impossibly difficult for mortal men. But everyone can follow the injunction 'Know Thy Time' if you want to, and be well on the road toward contribution and effectiveness."

Why not evaluate how you are spending your time and ask God how to better use your time.