Thursday, January 27, 2011


Spring boarding off of my latest post, I want to look at another word that Maxwell referenced and is carrying some significance at present. It currently carries some significance because the Grace team is looking to spend some time next week doing some beginning stages of strategic planning.

Maxwell defined it this way, "Being intentional means that you think on the front end and reflect on the back end." It is far too easy in life to find yourself behind the eight ball and living a very reactionary lifestyle. This is very true organizational as well. For a season, this type of organizational living might seem exciting, but it eventually catches up and can lead to significant challenges. Taking the time to intentional dream big, plan big and resource big to accomplish God's purposes is crucial and provides a greater opportunity for long term success. I also believe it is equally important to take time to reflect. We always state that hindsight is 20/20 as it is important to take time to pause and evaluate that which was pursued with great intentionality in order to grow and improve off of what was learned.

I would agree that any personal life or organization needs to be flexible and go with God's leading as that is very important, but so too is intentionality. Intentionality doesn't speak to a lack of faith but rather God sized faith to dream and plan big in partnership to God's movement in a life and/or organization for long term stability, productivity and success.

I would suggest that a life lived without intentionality is a life that is not going to be as productive in the long term for God. Having a clear picture of where He wants you to go and how He wants you to get there can lead to great results as long as we keep HIM as part of the entire journey.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Charisma vs. Commitment

I've recently signed up to receive John Maxwell's "A Minute with Maxwell" daily video where individuals send in a word and he responds to it with a leadership snippet. They are all very good, but there have been two that have really caught my attention and I want to speak briefly to one of them in this blog post.

The word of the day was commitment. His video's are usually not more than 60 seconds, so much has to be accomplished in this short span of time. Thus with this word, he helped me better define it in my thinking by linking it to the word charisma.

I believe we currently live in a culture whereby people are drawn very easily and quickly to a charismatic leader without much thought given to the persons character, beliefs, convictions and commitment to any given organization or group of followers. I confess, I too can be drawn to the charismatic leader as there is something very engaging and enticing about a leader who can create much fanfare and enthusiasm for something. But, I do believe there is also something to be said for leaders who possess a steadfast commitment to something even when the charisma fades (and it will fade in any given situation as there will always be another charismatic leader arise calling people to something else).

If this is true, then I believe that John Maxwell was right in stating that leaders with charisma can bring people in the front door but struggle to keep people over time from leaving through the back door. That's where commitment comes in. Leaders who possess not only charisma but a steadfast commitment even when the charisma wanes will produce longer term gains.

This particular talk has me really beginning to formulate a position of leadership that speaks to longevity in any given leadership scenario requiring a steadfast commitment and not just charisma. Charisma in a leader without commitment leads to a wide open back door. Those following a leader without commitment will never become committed themselves.

In the same way, commitment without charisma can lead to great difficulty in calling people to commitment. I guess a well balanced approach helps!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Excitement is Building!

It is hard to believe, but in just a little over three weeks, I am headed to the Central African Republic to represent Grace church and visit our sponsored orphans, schools and centers. I am blessed to be going with another Pastor from our church (Doug Kegarise) and we will be connecting with another church from Ohio in Paris.

As we've been preparing for this trip, I have been praying for a number of things and would invite you to do the same if God would so lead you.

First, I've been praying that God would teach me what it is He believes I need to be taught throughout this experience. Experiences like this stretch and grow one's faith if in tune to God's leading throughout.

Secondly, I've been praying that God would comfort my family back home while I am away. We do most things together as a family, so this will be the first time in 17 years of marriage that I've been apart from my wife for so long. Please pray that God would sustain and keep them while I am traveling. I am so thankful for their support and excited to bring my experiences home to my family.

Thirdly, I've been praying that God would use both Pastor Doug and I to communicate well to our church family our experience. The church in America must continual battle against an isolated/Western approach to doing church and following Christ and develop a more global perspective on what our Great and Sovereign God is doing all around His globe.

Fourthly, I've been praying that God would meet our financial needs. This trip when it is all said and done will cost each of us approximately $3000 with all of the expenses of the trip and preparations (i.e. medical visits, shots) for the trip. We have both committed to going but are also trusting God to provide for us.

Finally, I've been praying that God would teach me what true joy really is. I recently sat down with my wife and watched a video of the orphans we will be visiting opening up their Christmas gifts. It touched me greatly and I can't wait to give them a hug when we get over there. If you want to watch it, click the title "The Excitement is Building" above and enjoy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year with New Goals

It is hard to believe, but here we are in 2011. I am not really one for New Year's Resolutions, but I do seek to take time when the calendar changes to reflect upon the year that has just passed and look to the new one. So here are a few thoughts as of tonight...

I cannot help but rejoice and give thanks unto God for His faithfulness. I know this sounds corny, but it is true. Through the good, bad and ugly of life this past year, God never changed and always remained just and faithful. Thank you Lord!

I am determined to continue taking not just my spiritual health seriously but my physical, emotional and mental health. I spent some time at the end of last year to reflect upon how we have been created as human beings. God has fearfully and wonderfully created us and called upon us to be good stewards of what He has entrusted to us. This includes my body, emotions and mind. So often we as pastors fall into the trap of only taking care of the spiritual that we lose sight of the other areas which in the end doesn't help the spiritual. I am thankful for my wake up call that got me back to eating well, exercising and taking steps to remain healthy in all facets of life towards the end of 2010.

I am really open to God's leading in my life. I am really beginning to recognize how short this journey upon the earth really is and I want to make the most out of every moment for the Lord. I am praying that I would have eyes to see the doors and opportunities He places before me whether small or large and be willing to walk and/or run right through them if I know He is leading. For example... I am so excited to be heading to Africa in just over 4 weeks. God is already doing great things in my heart as I prepare and yet it took a while to really take this step. Lord may each of us live life daily with an eternal view rather than temporal.

Finally, I am turning 40 this year which means I have almost finished up with my thirties which was an interesting decade to say the least. My prayer is that the lessons learned throughout my thirties will not soon be forgotten and be used to bring even more honor and glory to Christ.

Praying we all spend each and every day of 2011 fully anticipating and looking to the return of our Savior and living in His strength and power until He comes again.