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Archive for the tag “leadership”

Disciple or Follower? Do it with intentionality

Discipleship 

I am all about discipleship, in the classroom, athletic field, workplace and in life. What is discipleship? There are two definitions provided on dictionary.com:

  1. A follower or student of a teacher, leader or philosopher
  2. A personal follower of Jesus during his life, especially one of the twelve Apostles.

Now, you may not be a Jesus Follower or even religious at all, but a common word used in both definitions is FOLLOWER

The same site defines follower as: 

  1. An adherent or devotee of a particular person, cause of activity
  2. Someone who is tracking a particular person, group, organization, etc. on a social media website or application. 

Interesting, isn’t it? A follower is a devotee who watches, pursues, learns from someone else. I didn’t mention that person (the someone) was older, wiser, or even a real person. Most social medias, not all but most, simply are run by a group of people who are the followers not the leader, teacher, some are simply prerecorded to be sent on a timeline day mapped out in advance to be posted or sent. 

I have been exposed to several different types of leaders, some worthy of being followed others not so much. I am sure I was one of those leaders in the past. I hope I am growing in my leadership, knowledge and influence each day. I have been burnt by following the wrong leader. I have found success in following the right leader. But most of the time I fall someplace in the middle.. not always winning but not always losing… It is part of life.

If you think only the President of countries, business or schools are leaders? That is wrong. If you think you are not capable of being a leader? That is wrong. If you think leadership isn’t for you? You are wrong. I do not mean to be rude or aggressive but simply put, we all have the capacity and ability to be an amazing leader. Some suggestions to get you started,

  1. Leaders are learners (Doug Fields), be a learner, read, watch podcasts, 
  2. Leaders are mentored, be a mentee but make sure the person is worth it. 
  3. Leaders are leading, be practicing your skills as you are able
  4. Leaders are willing, be willing to learn, be mentored and practice

It is ultimately up to you to be discipled, who you follow and inversely who you disciple and are followed by.
Jesus set the example, He chose twelve (those twelve weren’t to worlds best but his future best). He discipled them and taught them. He charged them to be the church when we left the world and they made mistakes along the way. 

Be intentional on who you follow and who follows you but be sure to be a disciple and follow well. It will be the legacy you leave behind, in school, in work, in your family and your wor

Making a Change or other’s making it for you

Make a change. It takes change

I have a few miles under my belt, as a 52-Year-old Youth Minister, some might say a few marathons but that would be rude, true but is it necessary to state the obvious on this one?
I jokingly mention miles, and marathons. I was a runner but never a marathoner. Throughout my life of running coaches would also challenge or comment (most of the time I didn’t want to hear what they had to say) on to be a better runner you need to make changes, to be a faster runner you need to make changes… etc. etc. etc. Yeah, yeah as a young guy, I didn’t want to hear it. I knew what I knew, and it was enough, but it didn’t get me to the change and had a expense to it, that expense was no state meet in track. 
I have a few days under my belt, as a 52-Year-old Youth Minister, some might say a few years (decades) but that would be rude, true but is it necessary to state the obvious on this one? 

Sound familiar? If not, please go to paragraph one and read again.  I could say easily I knew what I knew, and it was enough, but it didn’t get me to the change I needed.

As I completed a daily devotion from the Experiencing God: day to day Journal, the topic flooded my mind. It spoke on Suffering for Others, and how ministry is costly, as is life. Life has some expenses; I am not speaking of ministry as in paid pastoral ministry I am speaking of life ministry.  One of the verses was Romans 5:8, “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” WOW! God proving his love, His Son died.  Did I die to myself to accomplish the running goals? NO! Did I die to myself in the younger years of change? NO! As I get older, I am beginning to see the value of change. It isn’t easy! Suffering for others isn’t easy either. I assume giving your Son for people not worthy of that isn’t easy either. 

The devotion goes on to speak of going through expenses (like rejection, understanding,  doubters, and even being opposed). The expenses are huge and costly but so is seeing friends, loved ones perish for eternity. The expense are huge and costly but so is seeing your church or group or community slowly move from Jesus risking to comfort keeping. I am guilty of it all the time. My comfort zone might seem missing but trust me. I have one, God continually pushes into it regularly. So what?

I would simply say SO this… are you willing to risk the comfort of today for the unknown future of tomorrow, a future that might bring more to Jesus, more success to you, your community, church company? It comes down to a choice to make change or be subject to others change. The cost is high but so is eternity.

I hope you join me in the journey of change facing and change making one day, one mile at a time.

Thanksgiving or Not?

Thanksgiving, holiday or not? Are you out of context when talking to others?

It is a national holiday, but I bring attention to national. I reside in several Youth Ministry Groups and dabble with comments on occasion. Someone posted the comment about what will you be doing for thanksgiving, or more specifically do you get holiday off or not?

I have several youth worker friends who do not reside in USA but is also cool to know. We live in a global connected world for sure. Some of the posts say… not getting a day off, not a holiday which puts us into a reality. A reality of proximity, how often do we (you) quickly jump to assume you know all the contexts of a conversation or situation?  If you are like me, you do it way too often, daily in fact.

I would like to grow in this area. I am planning on being more intentional in the pursuit of connecting, hearing and bringing value to the situation before I speak to the opinion of this. I am simply a work in progress which seems more practice than success.

I hope you will join me in this pursuit of listening more, reflecting more and then speaking to the opportunity, person or whatever it maybe. Maybe this is something we can begin doing now, to have a habit of doing so prior to New Years day resolutions take place.

Lord, first help me lean into your word without bias, or opinion but to be open to the Word you want me to hear and apply to my life in that moment. Second, help me seek you in all conversations to discern what you are having me learn and say. Third, that I might be open to a renewing of me each day. Finally, be with us all as we seek to grow in relationship with each other. Amen

The victory comes before the event

I am a big fan of the underdog in sports, and in life. I don’t know if it is as much about the little guy beating the giant as much as the preparation done prior to the challenge or event.

1 John 4:4 tells us, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who, lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”

Think about this verse a few minutes…
1. When you belong to God… having accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are no longer controlled by the world. The world can and will influence you, but it doesn’t control you.

  1. When you have victory over the world… having victory over the world is all about how you view and function in the world. We are to be in the world not of it. Simply put, we are to be in it, but it isn’t in us.
  2. When you see the details… you discover two different letters used in this verse… S is capitalized when it refers to a person and that person is the Holy Spirit. It also implies the s (spirit) of the world is less than that of God. This is a key point to remember… God wins.
  3. Preparation is vital… we must prepare for the victory or game etc.. When we practice to the focus of the win, we will be better equipped for the win. It is all about preparation and focus.

This is something our world misses…

We can be caught up in the touchdown celebration but totally overlook the plays that prepared for the touchdown.
We can celebrate the winning field goal without seeing the hours and hours of practice with the snap, hold and kick.
We can watch out friends get a promotion, find a great house or other things along this line but we often forget about the hard work put into earning, developing and earning the promotion, saving up for the house or vehicle etc.

We can see the parent with a great relationship with their children and overlook the hours and hours of time spent conversing, working on homework and doing life with them.

We can see the perfect couple who seems to have it all, the best communication, date nights etc… but we neglect to see the commit they have made to make it a priority or to see the time they invest in growing the relationship.

I could go on and on for pages of we can see but we don’t see. God has won the victory over death and the world through Jesus and we are no longer slaves to the world but servants to the One True God. So, what?

I would encourage you to take regular time out of you day, week, month :
to reflect on the victory God has done,
to put in the work to gain and earn things.

Dave Ramsay talks about living different now in a way that you can truly live land give different later. He speaks from a financial mindset but I would also encourage us to take the same attitude towards life… live now so you can enjoy living fully in Christ later… Devote yourself to the apostle teaching, spend time with God and continue to influence the world on His behalf.

Chosen? Royal? Holy?

In my devotion time today, reading from Experiencing God day to day, I landed on the title Royal Priests.

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of the darkness into His marvelous light.”

I bolded three key words. I had them underlined from a previous year of devotional time. I want to give or suggest some ideas alongside of each word.
1. Chosen.  We live in a  world that everyone wants to be picked… and not picked last. I remember standing in the line during recess hoping to be in the top five picked.. sometimes it happened but not often.
God has chosen you to be His child.. reread that… You are picked first…. Celebrate and remember that. The creator of the world picked you to be his child.

2. Royal. This is a word more designated and reserved for kings, queens, princes and princess of England or other countries. If you are like me, you are not in line for the throne of England or any country unless, like me, you are the king of your garage, room or vehicle. Yeah, sad but hey I am king of my vehicle most of the time.  God calls you into royalty… in fact a royal priest. I know it seems and sounds intimidating but should it? I know God is equipping each of us to be his instrument to a world that doesn’t know Him. I know but I am not smart or biblical awesome but when you opened the bible, listened to a sermon or podcast, attended FCA or a bible study or small group… you are equipped more than others who didn’t attend or do those things… Welcome to the priesthood friend.

3. Holy. Holy is something we do not see or recognize very often in our world or life. I believe it is partly due to living in a world of sinful nature but also due to our inability to seek it out and recognize it due to our limited desire to see it. It brings accountability and a standard of life that we often choose not to live up to or achieve. So, this is more of a challenge than anything… live holy, pursue holiness and seek out those who are doing so and learn from them.

I know we are all called into relationship with Jesus and that calling and acceptance will change our lives as we continue to pursue Jesus. The people in successful marriages often are due to their pursuing each other as a couple. They are no longer single and adjust their lives accordingly. They learn and grow in their relationship with their spouse. See, it is a work in progress that a single person does to become a successfully married person. A parent doesn’t know everything about raising kids, that too is a work in progress. We read books, watch Youtube videos, attend classes and occasionally make a guess

In closing, I want to remind you.. You are CHOSEN. You are a ROYAL priesthood. You are a HOLY nation.

Eternal Perspective

I admit.. this is the second run on the whole perspective blog post. I started it a few days ago but didn’t quite finish it, simply due to it not being ready to be done.

Perspective a word I have clung to for two years. My wife challenged our small group of adults to find one word, check out myoneword.org for more details. I used perspective for two years in a row. It was something that God used to help me grow.

Perspective is a huge word; your views come from perspective. How you view other people has a lot to do with perspective. It is a key to learning to function and work with other people.

I was reading today’s (1/16/19) devotion in the book Experiencing God Day-by-Day. The title God’s Eternal Perspective. I kid you not. The base scripture is Genesis 12:2 “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be blessed.”

I view a lot of people in our world, nation and area that want to make themselves known, creating a great name for themselves and even blessing others but if we are honest this is only going to help the person not the world around them. It might benefit their family assuming they have one, or survive the mystery of it is all about me mentality.

The devotion tells the reader, God will provide assignments based on our character, and in reflection of the proportion of the character we have. Character is something we don’t see to much in our world of media and popularity. We can easily name key people in our world whose character cost them something, a job, a career, a family, an influence. It is a sad thing but something that doesn’t discriminate against. Character will guide us to perspective and hopefully you will join me in seeking God’s prospective for our lives, families and community.

What if God is offering you an opportunity to seek his perspective and impact the world? What if you are the next world changer?

The only way to discover it is to seek God’s perspective in life and be a person of impact no matter where you go or what you are doing.

Perspective! It matters!

 

 

Market what is worth marketing

I have learned from the corporate world, your image and marketing is vital in being known and your reputation based on that image (brand) carries as much weight if not more than the actual brand.

For example,  the big three (Chevy, Ford and Dodge) had been invincible in the automotive industry for ever but a couple Foreign companies, Toyota and Honda began to make their mark. But the big impact was when the foreign market invaded the USA with quality product just the time the US companies had a major issue with their vehicles. The decline wasn’t due to one or the other but both. Their brand was damaged in a major way, while a new brand was introduced to be more reliable at the time. It wasn’t a big deal but has come to change the USA.. Nascar now has Toyota in the series and they win regularly.

There are two forms of branding that occurs in a brand..

  1. the individual who wears or shares the brand
  2. the brand itself and product it represents

The company or product rests heavily on the two above mentioned forms. Simply put if your individual makes a poor choice (for example Tiger Woods) in his or her personal life it will impact your brand (product). This happens in the world through governments, it happens in the business world and in the church too.

We have to be realistic and remember people are people who make mistakes and product is product that (like the automotive mentioned above) breakdown. But the balance between the two is so very important to both successes.

On one hand we need to be intentional about who we support and how we support them. We can’t simply buy into a product because someone uses it.. Even if it is Jordan (mental note. I am wearing them as I type) when we don’t like or use the product as it is intended. We simply can’t use a product without realizing what it is intended to market.

(Now I am all for freedom of speech but to be honest I will not be boycotting companies because someone on Facebook or a celebrity tells me to without doing the homework. If we fall to everyone’s opinion we will be switching and boycotting everything including church but I will and encourage you to use to use wisdom in who and what you support or do not support.)

Our brand will say a lot about who or what we are. It is a style for some. Remember when Shaun White was known for his long red hair… yeah he cut it or when McDonalds was more than a golden Arch or Nike was more than just a swoosh. I also could share some that do not carry as much joy… but will not here.

Our buying into other companies brands reflects on who we are. I wear Nike but does that mean I am good, bad, rich or poor? I call myself a christian does that mean I am good, bad, rude or forgiving? I work for a church (Youth Pastor) does that mean I am sheltered, ignorant or something else? We homeschool so does that mean we are afraid of the world, our kids are freaks and can’t deal with real life? Does it imply we have moved so often for work the online public school format fit our lives better? It is hard from the outside to know…. think about it!

Unfortunately, we are a byproduct of those around us, our heritage (even if we don’t know our biological history) and our environment. I am fooling myself to think I am not being influenced and influencing others at the same time by my dress attire, my attitude and what I wear, eat or even read.

We live in a world that is all about image and using that image to influence (often in a negative way) others to be aware or more tolerant of our personal cause or bias. It is happening today, and it happened in the past. We can assume it will continue into the future too. So, how do we manage and deal with it?

I think this is easier said than done…. so here goes

  1. Use discernment who and what you buy into. For example.. just don’t buy it because everyone else is.
  2. Use discernment in who or what you allow to influence you. For example a trusted wiser mature friend
  3. Be sure to be ground into some truth that is larger than you or your moment. For example the Bible.
  4. You might even take time before deciding on it. I met someone recently who waits 6 to 9 months before making a big decision to ensure it isn’t impulsive or dumb.

We have been gifted with the ability to think, reason and choose… so we should put those gifts to work in doing so.

We should pursue a brand that is worth supporting and attracting people too. Choose wisely.

Friends doing what Friends do

FRIENDS DOING WHAT FRIENDS DO!

I have a couple friends (D & J)out west… Yeah, they live in California where it is always 80 degrees and sunny (he reminds me often since two of us are from the Michigan area). Well, by the Instagram, Facebook and twitter post it always looks like shorts weather. When you are from the Midwest, this is a big deal… It is April and snowing outside this week.

Well these friends are pretty big hitters in the world of Youth Ministry but that isn’t the point in this blog post. The point is they do life together.

A few years ago, they had a dream… (well to be honest it probably started prior to that… One of them hired or strongly influenced the other to do Youth Ministry at his church
So, needless to say they go way back over ten years of building into this post example.

They started a ministry called Download Youth Ministry, a completely online store, tool to use. It isn’t a new idea but for the youth ministry world it was a fresh approach when it seems like everyone in the business was spinning tires to find traction.

These guys have a solid friendship and working relationship, which is the point to this post. People will assume they are successful due to a combined 50 years of Youth Ministry and countless books written, maybe some divine support from Fadi or simply luck but I think it begins with two things:

  1. Faithful friendship based on God and serving Him
  2. The ability to be friends and enjoy the time together.

In the beginning days at the developing stages they would meet after work (which means close to 10 to 11PM) at a local taco joint to do life, laugh and dream…. that dream became a reality in 2011 with their first domain purchase and it is now serving

The simple idea, God has blessed and Fadi has backed is now making impacts through:

  1. They host some amazing podcasters
  2. Downloadable material that is the core of the ministry / business
  3. A training (Discipleship) platform for both leaders and people.
  4. A community online through Facebook
  5. A special event only for 100 youth workers to attend and be breathed into and loved on.
  6. A video show… well It is more roundtable type but feels like you are sitting at the table alongside them talking ministry and life.
  7. Did I mention… purchasing YS… ? Yes, the organization that runs National Youth Worker Convention… that is the crazy thing in my mind. (both guys have been speaking at YS for years).

The core of what God did and does with this awesome business/ ministry is based on friendships and laughter and dreaming. We need to be intentional about building friendships (discipleship) and doing life together. The key is investing in each other as you grow together. The bible has a verse that says as “Iron sharpens Iron, so does one person sharpen another”. I think this is true for my friends (D & J). They are awesome as individuals but together as a team even more powerful for God.

I look forward to visiting, meeting with them when they come to the cold temps of the midwest and look forward to building into people in my influence. I enjoy laughing with them but I also will share time laughing with others in my community.

New Strengths.. Soar not Settle

New Strength

I was doing, well honestly catching up since I am meeting to discuss them with a couple friends tomorrow, my devotion times and it was simply titled New Strength.

The title wasn’t the eye catcher but the scripture was…

Isaiah 40:31 “ But those who wait on the Lord, Shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

If you are or have been inside a church building or waked through a Christian Store you have experienced this in word or picture… A beautiful bald eagle soring in the wind… looking majestic and awesome.

I assume you might even have experienced it more than once, only to glimpse at it with a been there done that attitude. It is okay to admit it. I have more than I would like to but it is true, I have become desensitized to the beauty and impact of the mighty bald eagle soaring image.

I am not sure this one will hit every audience but I grew up in Michigan and moved to Indiana (eventually toward the Indiana and Ohio border by the Ohio river). I have been privileged enough to see a real bald eagle soaring over the water or setting on an ice chunk in the lake. Simply breathe taking! It is a site I will always cherish and remember. In fact, I could drive you to the very place I sat to observe this amazing bird of prey.

My point is simply we settle way to often for the image of static bird in a photo or picture when God has a soaring image of power, grace, breathless motion and awe. We have a choice in life…

  1. Settle for the normal everyday existence or
  2. Strive for the greatness to come, for an experience and life that is remember able and awe-inspiring.

It is simple as that… we get the ability to choose and I encourage you (me too) to not settle for the everyday static but strive to soar with the Eagles.

God has so much more to offer and provide for us but we tend to get caught up in the “everyone is doing it” mentality.

SOAR MY FRIENDS! Be one who breaks out into the greatness of life and soar.

New Years Resolutions

How do you launch your New Years resolutions? How do you plan to succeed in accomplishing them? Well, I think you might be surprised to read this information but most start them planning and practice to late to win.

I have a chiropractor friend, who I will refer to as Dr. James (since it is his name) that teaches his clients to begin the resolution or any new habit a month in advance to accomplish it. The idea is simply starting to create the habit, routine and disciplines.

We shared some time thinking and digesting this idea recently at youth group. I would like to share some highlights from this experience.

  1. Identify five major stresses in your life.
  2. Identify which you can change (control) and those you cannot control.
  3. Change those you can, give to God to those you cannot.

Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us to not work about things but pray.

  1. Who do you represent?
  2. Your clothes? Mine say DYM, YW, Nike, DHSM, Michigan etc.
  3. Your friendships?
  4. Your future?

We can discover a lot about our attention or life.
Leviticus 19:4 reminds us not to trust in idols but God.

  1. Review time… please refer back to the previous 1,2&3 and check for similarities? Is God trying to reveal something through them?
  2. Repair relationships.
  3. Who do you have conflict with?
  4. How can you forgive them? Or make the relationship better?

Ephesians 4:31-32 reminds us to get rid of all bitterness etc.. forgive one another as Christ forgives you.

  1. Make time for Jesus. Seems simple but it has to be a priority in our day.

1 Timothy 4:13-14 reminds us to devote ourselves to reading bible, praising God and teaching others.

  1. Spend time praying
  2. Make a top five list of things, habits etc you want to continue doing… for example devotion time, exercise daily.
  3. Make a top five list of things, habits etc you want to stop doing… for example cheating on tests, lying, talking bad about yourself..

1 Thessalonians 5:17 reminds us to never stop praying.

  1. What is the best time of day, week for you to pray?
  2. What can you do to make that happen?
  3. Who can support you in this commitment?

 

I know it is a huge list and seems to be overwhelming but I would totally encourage you to take the next month to get a routine and healthy habits to accomplish some growth.
I enjoy watching sports and often think it would be cool to play in the NFL or whatever… but I am not willing to do the work to accomplish that… Often we think of people who are spiritual champions and want to be like them… but we aren’t willing to do the time to be like Jesus.
Friends it will take work to make it a priority and we are all able to make them… after all we do everyday…

Happy New Habits day to you.

 

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