December 22, 2011
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the things that hold me back. We are serving in an era when bold leadership is clearly needed, but I’ve concluded that “go-for-broke” boldness is a rare commodity. Since Paul told Timothy that “God did not give us a Spirit of timidity, but a Spirit of power and love and self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7), where is there evidence of that Spirit in my ministry (and in yours)?
One of our mantras as parents is, “If you know the right thing to do, then do it.” But am I passing the “do the right thing” test in my ministry? I am not talking about obvious ethical boundaries, such as propriety in relationships or appropriate financial dealings. Instead, I am asking about the important, direction-setting decisions that will drive or influence the church’s future. In most churches and most roles, it takes extra time and energy to do the right thing. Not only that, but many of us serve in churches that don’t seem to appreciate (or even want) boldness from us. Instead, they prefer the status quo.
At the end of the day, it’s the internal – not external – factors that are the biggest impediment to my boldness. I could make a long and convincing list of the things that keep me from acting boldly. But what I need to do is to ignore the spirit of timidity (it’s not from God) and listen to the Spirit of power that’s calling me forward.
December 22, 2011
I have a confession – I tend to live as if I believe the cliché, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” For me, this means that I confront challenges directly. I assess the situation, determine a solution, roll up my sleeves, and get it done. Honestly, that has served me pretty well in my career, both in business and in the church.
But more and more I find myself asking the question, “Am I leaving room for God, or have I left Him out of this process?” Many years of education, training, and life experience have taught me to rely on myself, and only go to God as a last resort. It’s easy to do this in leadership. Many competing demands scream for attention. And they’re usually not saying “Seek God in this” – they just say, “Fix it now!” It’s the tension of staying in our leadership chair or getting on our knees in prayer.
I believe the best answer is a balancing act in which we do both. God called us to be good stewards of all that He has given us, and that includes our abilities to take charge, make decisions, and solve problems. But He also wants us to be dependent on Him, to ask Him for wisdom and for His power to be made perfect in our weakness. So in the future, I hope you’ll find me in my chair AND on my knees.
December 17, 2011
Scott Adams understands the problem that many organizations – business, churches, and other – have with setting priorities for the year:
Ever been in this situation?
December 10, 2011
This morning, I read the story of Jesus being presented in the temple (Luke 2:21-40). As I reflected on this familiar passage, I was struck by the simplicity of Simeon. After seeing and holding the baby, Simeon says, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.” He seems to be saying, “There’s nothing in all of life that could be more fulfilling than to see Jesus.”
As we’re rushing around preparing for Christmas – or gearing up for a new year full of ministry goals – we’d all do well to remember Simeon. We acts as if true joy and fulfillment is wrapped up in things and accomplishments. Simeon wants us to know that all of this fades away when we focus on and encounter the Messiah.