September 2014

What You Must Do for Getting the Results You WAnt

We Know How to be More Successful...
But actually doing those things takes intentionality and sustained effort. I found a nice, concise reminder of what I need to do for getting the results I desire. It then took a few minutes to reflect on how well I am "currently" doing or not doing those things. It was a good exercise to self-assess and then make some adjustments.

success is small efforts repeated daily

Here is a great, short article on 5 Things Successful People Never Do. 

A Model of Mentoring Relationships

The Mentoring Relationships You Need to Do Life and Leadership Well
Here is a model I have found to be very useful. It is useful for my own life and personal growth. And it is useful for my work as a mentor.

mentoring model, peer mentors, finding mentors, being a mentor

See yourself as the Person at the Center of the Diagram. Now, follow these questions in light of the Bobby Clinton definition of mentoring. "Mentoring is the relational transfer of resources from one person who has them to another person who needs them" (a close paraphrase).

ONE: You need mentors.

The Problem of Evil and God's Love

It is a Painful Problem and a Deep Mystery

God and suffering, theodicy, problem of evil

I provide this first image - not to offend anyone, but to put it in simple, graphic images. This is how many non-Christians think about God and suffering. How can there be an all powerful God and an all loving God and suffering. Does God care? Does God notice? If he does - then why doesn't God DO SOMETHING ABOUT EVIL?

I can't begin to deal with this greatest of questions and most painful of problems in a post... or even a series of posts. This question-problem has occupied the minds of the greatest thinkers (both religious and non-religious) through the long centuries.

John Wesley, a Generous Orthodoxy

And a Wide Appreciation for the Spiritual Classics of the Faith

learning is the essence of humility

I intentionally used this quote from an "eastern religious teacher" to introduce the tension about this post (and John Wesley as a model).

Christianity is always concerned about truth and error. God's Word is truth. Christ is the revelation of the Triune God, made flesh and dwelling among us. False teaching is a real problem, not just for the first century church, but for the 21st century one as well. There is objective reality and truth about that reality. Truth is not only what you perceive or what you opinion or what you want it to be.

John Wesley - a Remarkable Leader

As Seen in These Descriptions of the Man

John Wesley quote, leisure, work, legacy

I must admit to a fair amount of ignorance about this remarkable leader. I knew a few general things about Wesley, but I have NEVER studied his life and ministry (much to my personal embarrassment). I have studied many of the Reformers and likewise the Puritans, but Wesley has been a MAJOR OMISSION. 

Tim Keller and a New Seminary in New York City

In a day and age where seminaries are struggling, Tim Keller is launching a new one (or perhaps it is an extension site) of an existing seminary.

Check out this article to learn more.   It also has a nice explanation of the reformed theology that is the context and tradition of this seminary, as well as that of Tim Keller. It is also of great interest that Keller preferred to work with Reformed Theological Seminary instead of Westminster Theological Seminary or Gordon-Conwell. 

I think what excites me the most is that it will be great learning in a profound missional context.

The Myths We Have About Learning

And How to Think Well About Learing
Life Long Learning, Note 09

Henry Ford quote, never stop learning

There are a number of myths about learning that feed into our fears that we can't learn and limit our motivation to learn. Here are some of those myths.  There may be others you want to add.

I am too old to learn.

Nonsense. You are never too old to learn. In fact, as you continue to learn, you actually energize your brain and keep it healthy. If the brain is unused (i.e. when learning stops) then the brain begins to become lethargic. But at any time, you can ramp it up with active learning. 

Making Meetings More Productive

You can't get out of them. We need "some" of them. But we can sure work a lot smarter at making them more productive. Here is a very nice article from Fast Company on how to improve meetings and to get much more done in them and because of them.

With the start of a new week, and with meetings looming, try immediate implementation of some of these ideas.

How to be productive during a day of endless meetings.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International

Six Simple Ways to Improve as a Communicator

Leaders Must Communicate VERY WELL...
if they want to be effective and fruitful in their leadership!

I don't know if this is the most important leadership task, but it is sure deserves consideration in your Top Three Must Do Very Well Skills.

  • If you have great ideas, but can't communicate them - your ideas won't be useful.
  • If you are a great strategist, but can't communicate your strategy to others - they won't get it.
  • If you are comfortable with change and know how to lead change, but can't communicate why and how change must happen - then it won't.
  • If you have profound developmental insights for how learning and transformation occurs - but can't effectively share and transfer those insights - ditto.

You get the picture.


There is Always Hope
Great Leadership Lessons, Note 31 the end of his book, How the Mighty Fall, after he has walked us through the five stages of decline, with the final one being death or capitulation, instead of ending on this EXTREME down point, Collins completely surprises us. His final chapter is Well Founded Hope!

Here is what Collins offers. As Stage Four is working its damage and before Stage Five Capitulation or Death is entered, Collins says there is another option. Hope is possible. But it is not a naive hope. It is not a "hail Mary pass" kind of hope. It must be a well founded hope.


Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death
Great Leadership Lessons, Note 30

greatness is largely a matter of choice, Jim Collins quoteThe search for leader-saviors and silver-bullet solutions has not worked. Decline has continued, maybe even accelerated. At this late point, Collins says two things can happen (pp. 105).

(1)  The leadership believes that giving up, closing shop, shutting down is better than fighting on.

(2)  The leadership does not give up, but like a seriously advanced disease, the organization just dies... or shrinks to the point of irrelevance.

Collins has a profound insight that deserves a complete quote (pp. 111).

Stage Four Decline: Things Are Just About Over

Looking for a Savior, or a Silver Bullet, or a Magic Wand
Great Leadership Lessons, Note 29

It has been some time since I posted about Great Leadership Lessons From Jim Collins. You may want to CLICK HERE AND GO SEE THE LIST OF THEMES I have been covering in this How the Mighty Fall section of leadership lessons.

The last one I did, finished Stage Three of decline. With this thought, we move into Stage Four. Collins says this is now the time when organizations begin to look for the "savior" who will rescue them from their decline. Organizations go looking for the great leader, the genius, the magic-maker, who will wave the wand and fix all the organizational problems.

Here is the point Collins wants to make. Well, there are actually a few points.

How to Think About Learning

the road to happiness, find out what interests youLife Long Learning, Note 08
Here is a great way to think about life long learing (Peak Learning, page 46).

Learning is an ongoing process in which you first identity the things that intrigue you, then find out about them to whatever degree you want. Next you process that knowledge and build on it, fitting it in where it is useful and worth keeping, while noting where you can find out the rest when and if you need it. Finally, you start the same cylcle over again.

Let's break it down.

An ongoing process.
It is not an event, it is a process. It is a process that has a number of movements.

Late Summer Reading

And Into the Fall (Vacation Novels)
I spend quite a bit of the second half of summer writing a workbook for Living Word Community Church - Jesus Encounters: Embracing the Life of Christ. it is the first of three workbooks we are using for our Life Essentials mid-size communities. It is a collection of resources, reflections and exercises on how we may grow in the virtues of Christ as we move into a deeper friendship with Jesus. I did some reading in the areas of virtue/morality as well as sanctification as I worked on this volume.

Envy: The Sin We Can't Talk About

The Really Ugly Sin!
As if they are all not really ugly... but this one is really, really yucky. Which is why we never talk about it. Which is why we rarely make progress in it. As Dennis Okholm shows us in Dangerous Passions Deadly Sins, the ancients had penetrated deeply into the nature of this deadly vice. Here are some scattered statements from chapter six, Envy: The Silent Killer.

1.  Aquinas: Envy is a kind of sorrow for another's good that the envier perceives to be harmful to her or him self.

2.  Envy is grieving over another's good when it seems to lessen the envier's own good name.

6 Signs of Gluttony

Every year Becky and I take a vacation around our anniversary. We like to go to the beach. It is off season, rates are lower, the crowds are small. It is easy to enjoy fine dining at our favorite restaurants.

Becky and I are also avid readers and love to read on the beach. This year, two of the books Becky read were on healthy living and good diet. She would read out loud from time to time the things she found helpful from the book.

Both books are written from the perspective that VAST numbers of North Americans are seriously unhealthy and we are doing daily damage to our bodies with our bad diets. Becky typically orders salads when we go out to eat! Me...I go for the good stuff.

You are Not as Busy as You Think You Are

Here is a BONUS post for today.

I just read this nice reflection that says - we are NOT BUSIER than we use to be, we actually have more leisure time, more free time and actually sleep more.

But perception is everything. We think we are busier so we beleive we are busier. So we are frustrated with our apparent busyness.

Check out this short article in Fast Company: How Everything We Tell Ourselves About How Busy We Are is a Lie

The Seven Deadly Sins

Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins
In his extraordinarily insightful book, Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins: Learnng from the Psychology of Ancient Monks, Dennis Okholm has done a great service, especially for those called to roles of ministry and leadership.


Dangerous Passions Deadly Sins Learning From the Psychology of the Ancient MonksThese are the dangerous passions that beset all of humanity, but which are additionally destructive when they are manifest in the lives of those called to places and positions of influencing others.

Showing a light so lovely...

A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'EngleWhen I was a pre-teen, I read a marvelous book, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (the cover pictured is for the edition I read). I was deeply moved. This was before I was a Christian. But I am convinced the L'Engle was one of those authors who did for me what George MacDonald did for C.S.Lewis. Through imagination, narrative and just plain good writing - I was drawn to Christ before I knew who he was.

So when I came across this quote from L'Engle, I thought I would share it for two reasons. First, she did this for me through her writings. Second, so we may know how to do it for others through our words, lives, love and presence.

God is going to invade...

C.S. LewisJust a longer thought from C.S. Lewis with no commentary from me.

It Might Be You

Recovering Redemption, Matt ChandlerMuch of the time, we use a phrase in my circles that carries a lot of meaning with it.

It's not about you!
We typically use that to communicate that it is not about you, your agenda, your needs, your image, your wants, your, your, your... but rather - it is about God... and the purposes and will of God... It is a great tag line and a great idea.

On the other hand, sometimes we need to reverse this and make it very clear - Yes It is About You!

The Joy of Work

Speaking About Labor Day...
How often do you hear someone complaining about their work? I assume it is pretty often.

How often do you have the sense to put in just enough "work" to get by, do the minimum needed, call it a day and a week and head off for R&R.

TGIF is the popular saying.

I found this thought from Recovering Redemption (Matt Chandler) to be very inspiring.

(T)he true joy of working is found not in lazing through long lunches and cutting corners the rest of the day, but rather through diligence and excellence and full service of others' needs...