December 2014

Merry Christ-mas to All Our Friends.

To all of you
from the LCI team of friends and partners.

Christmas blessings to all.


Waiting, Still Waiting

Waiting is a period of learning.
The longer we wait, the more we hear
about him for whom we are waiting.  
Henri Nouwen

The Christmas Season, although you would never know it now, is about waiting. Think of both Simeon and Anna, the two stories about Jesus being presented in the temple after his birth. Both Anna and Simeon had been waiting.

Waiting for a long time. A very long time.

The entire Jewish nation had been waiting.

Spiritual Leadership: Seeing Further

leadership vision, seeing further

While great leadership always involves more than seeing and the visionary aspect of the calling, it never means LESS than seeing quite a distance down the road.

This "sight" must not be at the service of a personal agenda, certainly not a vision that is mostly focused on the leader's self-interest. Instead the vision/seeing/imagination must be in the service of something great. A mission that is bigger, better and much beyond the individual leader.

This is what calls to the best leaders.
This is what nourishes, stimulates, stirs, provokes, motivates, inspires and stays with true Spiritual Leaders.

The vision of what they have been created in Christ Jesus to do... and the will to be sustained on that mission... to see it through to its culmination. At least, as much as is possible on earth.

Spiritual Leadership: Fidelity With a Little Help From Francis, Jeremiah and Isaiah

Pope Francis quote, fidelity quote

Fidelity is always a change, a blossoming, a growth
Pope Francis, November 2007


With this thought (said before he became Pope), Pope Francis weaves together one of the paradoxes that all spiritual leadership acknowledges, even though it struggles with the reality.

Fidelity (or Faithfulness) is a BOTH - AND.

Fidelity is rooted in the past and seeks continuity with the past. That is how it is faithful to the tradition once given. And . . .

Spiritual Leadership: Napping Through Life

The need for endless learning is difficult, sometimes profoundly painful.
But it is better than napping through life.
John Gardner

For the final sermon of the year...and as we stand on the brink of a brand new year, I have been reflecting on the theme of "being awakened" and living in the light. The ideas running around in my mind (okay, right now, they are more like drifting around in my mind) have to do with the sleepiness and drowsiness of our age. Lethargy and sluggishness are common.

Bright luminaries full of wisdom, passionate fiery commitment and stirring engagements with the things that matter most - when we find it (or her or him) it seems the exception.

Books on Psychology & Philosophy

Leaders read. 

Christian leaders have a double duty to read. Not only do we read the best things we must on our faith... we need to read the most important things being said (and written) by non-Christians. 

It takes discipline to do this. Most of the leaders I know are busy. Even very busy. Quite a few leaders I work with are very thoughtful. Learners and thinkers. We have so much that interests us. Theology. Biblical Studies. Thematic issues. Ethics. Church history. Spirituality. Specialized ministry studies. And more. If you would be in a M.Div. study program, you are exposed to the very areas I mentioned above. 

The nature of being a pastor in the United States is that you are a generalist. You have to learn some things about a number of disciplines. To be good - you have to learn a lot about those disciplines. But that is not all we must learn. 

C.S. Lewis Quotes About Christmas

C.S. Lewis quote on Christmas, quote on consumerismBeginning today, I am running a series of C.S. Lewis Quotes about Christmas (Advent) at:

The Wit and Wisdom of C.S. Lewis.

Be sure to check out the always delightful, even when it is disturbing (in the good sense) wit and wisdom of Lewis about this time of the year.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International


Why Determination Matters

There are some character qualities that make a Big Difference.
Determination is one of them.

When I think of determination - I think of devotion, commitment, perseverance, hard work, persistance, and high intentionality...

We love to talk about Talents, Strengths, Gifts...
And we really love the one who is the "natural talent," the "born-talent."

Are you Sabotaging Yourself at Work?

How are You Shooting Yourself in the WorkFoot?
While I find so many of these brief articles helpful for a 5-10 minute read and reflection... this one was a notch or two above the typical good article.

It is asking you to assess yourself on 10 Behaviors that are Self-Sabatoging. The problem is when we do these things, and are not aware of their negative impact.

Read over the list of ten... think about yourself... which ones are you doing?

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International

Irritating CoWorkers (How to Deal With Them, Not Do it to Them)

Hey It is the Time of the Year to Get Along
even with that irritating co-worker!

Here are three suggestions on how to do that in this article from Fast Company

And for motivation, the Apostle Paul simply says, "In as much as it depends on you - be at peace with all people."

Even the irritating ones.
By the way - perhaps you are an irritating co-worker for someone else!
So the Golden Rule applies on this issue of irritation.

Being Indispensable at Work

How to Make Yourself EverMoreSo!
This article (click here for it) is not the last word, nor the complete word, and not even the best word. But it is one more piece of the picture and so it is a helpful word.

Generally speaking...

the more effective you are,
and the more efficient you are,
the more productive you will be...

and the more productive you are,
the more needed you are where you work.

To All My Hobbit Friends

On the Shoulders of Hobbits book reviewWhether Real, Allegorical or Imaginary!
As the third and final installment of The Hobbit is just about upon us, I want to give you a STRONG recommendation. I URGE you my fellow Hobbits, to take some time and go really deep on the immense spirituality and virtue that is found in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.

You will enjoy the movie(s) far more when you understand the lessons and "secrets" they contain. 

I am quite far through (but not quite finished with) a wonderful book. It is:

Spiritual Leadership: Never Idle in the Work of Christ

Charles Spurgeon, for those who are not familiar with his name, was one of the great Calvinist-Baptist preachers of England.
He was a man of prodigious ability as well as debilitating illness. He suffered immensely from physical ailments. He was one of the early great "mega-church" preachers. He had a rare gift of proclaiming powerful truth in compelling and interesting ways.  There are 86 volumes of his writings, with over 60 of them holding his sermons (over 3500 sermons).

Spurgeon is famous for his witty one-liners. I don't think he was trying to be witty. It is just that his ability to communicate in clear and compelling ways made them roll out of his fertile mind and off his tongue so easily.

Spiritual Leadership: At the End of Life

As the end of life draws near, I wonder what we will consider? What questions will we have?

I wonder what regrets there will be?
I wonder about the missed opportunities?
About the half finished assignments?
Of would've, should've, could've thoughts?

I wonder what hard questions we will have?
What painful answers may emerge?

Will we wonder - where did the time go?
How fast did it fly and was then gone?

Spiritual Leadership: Giving Everything Back to God

Erma Bombeck  
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would hot have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me."

These words come to mind for me as I read Erma Bombeck's longing.


Erma Bombeck's is on to something very important.
She knows she has been bought with a price, she is no longer her own, she belongs to another, she belongs to Christ.

Spiritual Leadership: Leading With Great Love

Elizabeth 1
Though God hath raised me high, yet this I count the glory of my crown: that I have reigned with your loves. And though you have had, and may have, many mightier and wiser princes sitting in this seat; yet you have never had, nor shallhave any that will love you better.

At the highest of motivations, reasons and purposes for leadership - there is precious little that is equal to that of LOVE. And a kind of love seen in this statement from Queen Elizabeth 1. She acknowledges that leaders in the past and leaders yet to be may be stronger, more gifted, wiser and more able to lead than she has been. Yet of one thing Elizabeth is convinced: There has not been, nor will there be a leader who will have the amount of love for those led and ruled, than does Elizabeth!

The Spiritual Leader: One Who Worships

The single most essential Heart Posture and Habitude required for Spiritual Leadership, is simply, that the leader be a worshipper.

To be a worshipper means you acknowledge there is ONE who is greater than you.
There is One you serve.
One you follow.
One you obey.
One to whom you listen.
One to whom you turn.
One in whom you trust.
One who is the source of strength and wisdom.
One who rewards and blesses.
One who holds you accountable.
One who has entrusted you with much.
One before Whom you are humble.
One, Who in His presence, you bow down (with great joy).


Anyone who would be a spiritual leader, in whatever role you may occupy - if you are NOT a Worshipper - you will never be a true Spiritual Leader.

Out of Rhythm and the Maintaining of Habits

Wow have I ever been off my routines. It has been about two months now. I am talking about finess and diet.

Two months ago (and a bit longer) I hurt my back pretty bad. So that stopped the exercise routines which were a daily part of my schedule. I work out 5-6 days a week. I was getting healthier, dropping weight, good cardio vascular, good tone... then the back problem. Oh by the way. I hurt my back, not at the gym, but at my office, bending to pick up my briefcase.


So that lingered for sometime.
Then I had a trip overseas that took me away for 8 days.
I came back tired and within two days was sick. It turns out with bronchitis. So no workout during that time.
Then I went an another international trip, only this one was 12 days.

I got back, tired, behind on everything and with Thanksgiving a few days away. So no working out (or eating well) that week.

Women in Leadership and Depression

Here is an article on women in leadership and how female senior leaders is affected by depression.

This is a serious matter in deed as we seek to have and support more women in positions of highest leadership.

Women Leaders - how about you?
What has been your experience and what has been most helpful in keeping your own emottional equilibrium?

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International


Emotional Intelligence and Reacting to Strong Emotions at Work

What To Do When Facing Strong Negative Emotions in the Workplace

Everyone has heard about emotional intelligence (Daniel Goleman).
Everyone "sort of" knows what we mean by emotional intelligence.
Everyone (almost) knows how important emotional intelligence is.

And yet - that very hard challenge of - being emotionally healthy and intelligent when others are in places of emotional distress and extroverting that distress - now that takes quite a bit of emotional intelligence.

When there is strong emotion at play (like fear, anger and sadness), leaders must really practice the Non-Anxious Presence and avoid being pulled into the emotional drama. It is helpful to have some practical and immediately applicable strategies and tactics for how to be "non-anxious."

Here are a few suggestions for "how-to" do this.

5 Difficult Conversations We Don't Want to Have

I Suppose Some People Like to be the Bearers of Bad News...
...but I am not one of them.

Still, at times, I have to have these difficult conversations. This article identifies just FIVE of these conversations, with a few suggestions how to have them.

When Interviewing for a Job

Be Sure to Ask These Great Questions About Company Culture
I have had several conversations recently about "culture" in an organization and being sure to hire people who are really in sync with that culture. Culture is the set of intangibles that make up "the way we do things around here." it is not the policies and procesures of an organization. It is the values, the ethos, the essence that makes your place what it is...and different from other places that may have a very similar mission as your group has.

In a leadership manual i am working on - There's More: Mindsets, Resources and Tools to Leverage Your Leadership and Launch Your Growth, I talk about how important it is to know your "personal culture" and be sure you have great alignment with your organization.