Monday, March 19, 2007

Playing God-John.19.11

Andy's message from yesterday is a must and notes below from 3/18/07
My heart was beating out of my chest the whole time I was listening.
Playing God Part 1 :: Intoxicating :: Andy Stanley

You have power. As a sister, husband, mother, manager, captain, board member, or friend, you wield power in someone's life. And the way you use that power is a reflection of who you see as the source of that power. We'll examine where all power comes from and the impact that this should have on the way we use it.

1. When have you seen power used for good?
2. When have you seen power abused?
3. Read John 19:8-11. Where has God loaned you power?
4. Since power is on loan to us, it is temporary in its nature. When have you seen power removed or influence lost? When has this happened in your life?
5. We tend to leverage our power the same way that power was leveraged over us. How do you find that this is true in your life?
6. What are you doing with the power that God has loaned you?

We will all have a measure of power during certain stages in our lives. Some examples of power include relational (as a parent, through marriage, brother of), monetary, political, social, organizational (manager, board member, owner), and positional? In which of these areas do you wield power?

What is something specific you can do this week to use the power you have been given for good?

Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above... John 19:11a

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Things I Believe

Andy once did a series called, “Breakaway”. The big idea of the series was…
Your Beliefs drive your Decisions…which produce your Outcomes
So I have been thinking about what I believe. My beliefs have indeed driven my decisions which have produced outcomes in my life. I would say very desirable outcomes. So I want to capture the things I believe that have helped me in this life.
I was first exposed to beliefs as a teenager living in London, England and attending the American Church in London. We use to recite the “Apostles’ Creed”.

“I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN.”

That was more of a religious exercise than beliefs that really drove or guided my life. As I look back on almost 39 years of being a Christian, I have indeed believed the things in this Apostle’s Creed…and I have believed many more things. The following is my attempt to capture and summarize;

I do believe… that/in…

1. The one true God, my heavenly Father, and that He is good, kind, loving, merciful, just, omnipotent, all wise and never changing
2. God is the Maker and Creator of all things in the heavens and earth
3. God owns all things…I am only a steward and manager
4. Jesus Christ is my Lord, the Messiah, Son of God and Savior of the world.
5. I am saved, forgiven, justified and declared righteous by the blood and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
6. The Holy Spirit is my Helper, Counselor, Teacher and Comforter
7. The Holy Scriptures is the Word of God and able to make one wise
8. Angels and demons
9. Angels are ministering spirits to those who are saved
10. A real devil, Satan, Lucifer, the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy as much and many as he can…
11. Man and woman were created in the image of God
12. All the characters of the Bible are true, historical figures beginning with Adam and Eve, Cain, Able, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, all the judges, Saul, David, Solomon, all the kings and the prophets, John the Baptist, Elizabeth, Mary, Jesus, the 12 disciples etc…
13. Sin began with Adam and Eve and has continued down into all generations
14. Sin and the curse on the earth has led to great suffering, heartache, pain, disease, destruction, hate, violence, calamity and death.
15. The nation of Israel and God’s unique plan for them in the past, present and future
16. The kingdom of God versus the kingdoms of men and my own kingdom
17. The Lord is my Shepherd and He is leading my life…I am simply to follow
18. Heaven and that I am going there one day
19. Hell, though this is a very hard truth and concept for me to imagine and grasp
20. This life and a life to come.
21. I am a member of the body of Christ and that I have been given the gift of exhortation and encouragement
22. I am being changed (Sanctified) day by day, little by little through the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, pivotal circumstances, providential relationships and my personal ministry
23. My mind is being renewed day by day through the Scriptures
24. My inward man is being renewed while my outward man is perishing and dying
25. There is right and wrong, truth and lies on the earth.
26. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom
27. Honoring my father and mother that it may go well with me on the earth
28. Honoring the elderly and the gray haired man and woman.
29. The holy estate of marriage consisting of one man and one woman
30. Marriage is very simple and very hard/impossible…husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church and wives are to respect their husbands as the Lord.
31. Listening to the cautions of my wife
32. Celebrating the differences of my wife
33. Only the Lord can build a house and intimate marriage
34. Intimacy in marriage in our spirits, souls and bodies
35. Keeping Debbie as the #1 priority relationship on the earth
36. Children are a blessing and gift from God…it is He who opens and closes the womb
37. Children are to be raised in the nurture and training and admonition of the Lord
38. The importance of “godly generations” to continue on the earth
39. The greatest commandments are to love the Lord my God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength and to love my neighbor as myself
40. Taking the low place…humbling ourselves before God and others
41. The best kind of leadership is servant leadership…if you want to be great, then be the servant of all
42. Humility comes before exaltation and is far better than pride
43. Biblical financial stewardship consisting of giving generously, saving appropriately, investing wisely and spending moderately
44. Accepting our unique DESIGN leads to peace, freedom and joy
45. All authority is given by God, and it is delegated down from Jesus Christ.
46. Keeping short accounts with people
47. The importance of living every day with a clean, clear, pure conscience by taking responsibility for our thoughts, words and actions and asking for forgiveness of those we have hurt or offended.
48. Welcoming the sorrows and hurts of life as necessary for our maturity and preparation for future leadership. It is necessary to constantly forgive those who have hurt or offended us.
49. God owns everything and I am simply a steward of His resources
50. There is a constant battle between my flesh and the Spirit who lives in me. It is possible to walk and live in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of my flesh.
51. Success is the effect of a cause…the cause is the meditation on the Word of God, day and night…whatever I do will prosper.
52. A broken, wounded heart can be healed by Jesus Christ and the power of the Lord
53. The concept of “firsts”…first hour of every day, first day of every week, and first dollar of every paycheck…it all belongs to the Lord
54. The importance of reflection…every morning, every week, every month, every quarter and every year.
55. The spiritual disciplines of reading Scripture, thinking, meditating, studying, writing and prayer
56. I am to walk by faith and not by sight
57. As I walk in the Spirit, I will not fulfill the lusts of my flesh.
58. That my heart can get hard or soft…it can be believing or unbelieving.
59. In prayer and that I can communicate with a God who sees, hears, cares and communicates back to me
60. In casting all my cares on God because He cares for me
61. The Lord is my Helper and that He wants to help me in this life
62. This world is coming to an end and that there will be a new heaven and a new earth
63. That the things of this earth do not deeply or continuously satisfy the human soul
64. That life does not consist in the abundance of things but in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ
65. In being a “one-woman” man
66. All authority, power, influence and responsibility come from God above
67. I will give an account of my life here on the earth

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Building Below the Water Line

Shoring up the parts of leadership nobody (but God) sees.
By Gordon MacDonald

In June 1872, the Chief Engineer of the project wrote: "To such of the general public as might imagine that no work had been done on the New York tower, because they see no evidence of it above the water, I should simply remark that the amount of the masonry and concrete laid on that foundation during the past winter, under water, is equal in quantity to the entire masonry of the Brooklyn tower visible today above the water line."

The Brooklyn Bridge remains a major transportation artery in New York City today because, 135 years ago, the Chief Engineer and his construction team did their most patient and daring work where no one could see it: on the foundations of the towers below the water line. It is one more illustration of an ageless principle in leadership: the work done below the water line (in a leader's soul) that determines whether he or she will stand the test of time and challenge. This work is called worship, devotion, spiritual discipline. It's done in quiet, where no one but God sees.

Today there is a tremendous emphasis on leadership themes such as vision, organizational strategy, and the "market-sensitivity" of one's message. And it's all great stuff (stuff I wish I'd heard when I was real young). But if it is all about what's above the water line, we are likely to witness a leadership crash of sorts in the coming years. Leaders blessed with great natural skills and charisma may be vulnerable to collapse in their character, their key relationships, their center of belief, because they never learned that you cannot (or should not anyway) build above the water line until there is a substantial foundation below it. A re-read of the life of Moses (which I've just done) is the best example of this. The man spent 80 years preparing for his more visible work.

My opinion: the test of a leader is less what he or she accomplishes before 45 years of age and more what happens after. Call it sustainability! The trick is to last and grow stronger, wiser, more focused with the years.