#229: Achieving Your God Sized, Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal

Think Big, Start Small

As far as I know, Jim Collins was the first person to coin the phrase “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals” (or BHAG’s for short) in his 1994 book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.

Goals

Jim’ s idea spread quickly through Fortune 500 companies, including P&G where I worked at the time.

A BHAG is a visionary statement that is both strategic and emotionally compelling. At least in the case of P&G, we added the concept that to be a BHAG the idea must be so large, so visionary, that we don’t know how to accomplish it.

A perfect example of a BHAG from my youth was expressed by President John F. Kennedy. In announcing the United States’ intention to lead the world in space, Kennedy said, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”

Kennedy could have said “the United States will expand the space program,” but that would not have been visionary or emotionally compelling. Kennedy’s goal was certainly a BHAG because at the time, no one knew had to get a man to the moon, land, and return safely.

Long before Kennedy, another man proclaimed an even bigger BHAG. Jesus said to the disciples, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The disciples, a rag-tag group of doubters and misfits, had no idea what was in store for them. Yet, through them, Jesus’ proclamation changed the world.

Not all of us can change the world through our actions, but we can change or corner of the world. To impact our corner of the world we need to establish our own BHAG’s.

Establish Your BHAG

To achieve a goal, you have to establish a goal.

To achieve a BHAG, you have to establish a BHAG. You have to think BIG! Think so big that it is beyond what you know how to do. Think so big that it is beyond what you are capable of doing. Think so big that the only way it can be achieved is through God’s power.

Paul, writing to the Ephesians said God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). That power at work in us as believers is the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine!

Do you want to make a God-sized difference in your corner of the world? Then establish a God-sized BHAG; something that can only be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit working through you!

When you establish a God-sized BHAG, that is aligned with Gods’ will for your life, then you can be assured that “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

God’s work, done God’s way, will never lack God’s provision.

Get Started

But to achieve a God-sized BHAG you have to get started, and the best way to get started is to start small.

There is a Greek proverb that roughly translates, “the beginning is half of every action.” To accomplish any goals, let alone a God-sized BHAG, you have to get started. Getting started is often the hardest first step.

Here are three suggestions to get you started on your BHAG:

Start Small

Start with a small amount of faith and move against your God-sized BHAG.

Jesus told the disciples that if they have faith the size of a mustard seed they will be able to move mountains (Matthew 17:20). The tiniest amount of faith, combined with the power of God can and will accomplish great things.

Pray

Commit your BHAG to the Lord and reinforce your faith with prayer. James admonished believers saying, “You want something but don’t get it…you do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2).

Thank God

Thank God for who He is and what He is doing for you. God is blessing and enabling you to accomplish more than you could ever hope or imagine. So, follow the example of the psalmist who said, “You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you” (Psalms 118:28).

If you want to make a difference in your corner of the world,  establish a God-sized BHAG. Then get to work on accomplishing what God has called you to do by starting small, committing your efforts to the Lord in prayer, and thanking God for his blessings and provision in your life!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you established a God-sized BHAG to impact your corner of the world? If so, any suggestions for the rest of us?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God

 

#228: United We Stand, Divided We Fall

This week should be a wonderful week of celebration here in the United States. It is the 241st anniversary of the July 4, 1776, signing of the United States’ Declaration of Independence from Britain.

United We Stand

But, I don’t feel much like celebrating. As I look around the political landscape of our country today, it seems we have not been this divided since the Civil War.

The de facto motto of the United States, “E Pluribus Unum,” was adopted at the same time as the signing of the Declaration. The motto, which translates to “Out of Many, One,” symbolized the strength of the 13 original colonies becoming united as one country.

It was through this united stand that the poorly equipped and largely untrained army of the colonists defeated and won independence from the most powerful country in the world.

Our motto reminds me of the line, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” from Aesop’s Fable, “The Four Oxen and the Lion.”

In this fable, four oxen are arguing with each other and so head off to separate corners of the field to graze. A lion comes along and devours each of the four oxen.

Had they settled their dispute and stayed together they would have been able to fend off the lion.

Divided they fell.

Divided we will fall. Not necessarily to an enemy from the outside. More likely, the enemy is within us. The lion that may devour us is the bitter division of intolerance.

The oxen could not tolerate each other’s differences of opinion, and so they all became lion food.

I fear the same will happen to us.

In late May, Steve Tennes, a Christian farmer in Michigan who lives 22 miles from East Lansing was denied a business permit to sell his crops at the local farmer’s market. Why?  Because he believes God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.

A few weeks ago, actress, preacher, and gospel singer Kim Burrell preached against homosexuality in her church. As a result, her appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ TV show was canceled. Burrell’s radio show was canceled. She was disinvited from an appearance as co-honoree of the BMI Gospel Music Awards. All because she preached a Biblical message in her church.

These are just two of the many examples of Christians who have been marginalized and oppressed for trying to live their lives in a way that honors God and His commandments.

The people who claim to be the most tolerant, are in fact among the least tolerant. They are not willing to let those who do not share their views live amongst them.

This is not a free and open society.

This is a divided, oppressive society.

President Abraham Lincoln, in a speech at the Republican Convention of 1858 said in part,

“We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation.
Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.
In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.

I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.”

Lincoln’s line, “A house divided against itself cannot stand” is a reference to Jesus’ warning to the disciples about the importance of unity in the Church.

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand” Matthew 12:25.

We cannot exist as a productive society as long as there are those who seek who do away with God and His plan for humanity.

Christians, remember Jesus’ warning, “…every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”

Let us come together as believers, setting aside our minor differences, and agree to unite against the common enemy that confronts us.

As long as we are in different corners of the pasture, we will become lion food.

United we stand, divided we fall.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you experienced oppression for maintaining your Christians values?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Values

 

#227: Shall I Do the Good I Know To Do?

There are days when I wake up thinking, “Good morning, God.” But there are days; I hate to admit it when I am more likely to wake up thinking, “Good God, it’s morning!”

Good Evil

Some days I just don’t “feel” like being a good Christian.

Now, this is a problem. The rest of the world could care less how I feel when I wake up. People are going to look at me and decide, “Is this a reflection of Jesus I see?” or “Is this a reflection of the spawn of Satan?”

A perfect example is when I get behind the wheel of my car. If I have plenty of time to get to my destination, and the freeway is flowing along, then I am pretty likely to wave and let you in when you are merging into my lane.

BUT, if I am late. If the freeway is not flowing freely. If you didn’t signal before you cut in front of me. Then I will likely offer you words of encouragement to improve your driving. If you cut in front of me and then slow down, then I will likely suggest locations for you to park your car until you learn how to drive.

I know it’s just me. I know these thoughts have never crossed your mind when you are driving.

The conversations I have are just between the other driver and me. Oh, and my passengers. And of course, God.

Here’s the point. Every day should be a “Good morning, God” kind of day. After-all, it is only by God’s grace that He gave me another day to live and to love.

Every day is an opportunity for me to reflect God’s love and grace to the world. The trouble is, I am weak and full of corruptible sin.

I Fail to Do the Good I know to Do

There are times I know the good I should do, and I fail to do it.

  • I know I should be relaxed and patient when I am behind the wheel of my car.
  • I know I should respond to that email request today because I promised I would.
  • I know I should work on that project at work because I committed to finishing it by tomorrow.
  • I know I shouldn’t listen to the gossip in the office.
  • I know I should help out that homeless guy who is looking for some food.

Yes, I know the good I should do, but sometimes I just don’t do it.

Jesus’ Lessons from the Parables

Jesus frequently taught the disciples this lesson about discerning what should be done and not fail to do what we should.

In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25: 14-30), there is the man who received one talent of gold with instructions to invest it until his master returned. Instead of investing the gold, the man hid it in the ground. He knew what he should do, but he failed to do it.

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) a priest and a Levite purposely avoid helping a badly beaten man left at the side of the road. They knew what they should do, but they failed to do it.

In the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), the rich man didn’t care about people while he was alive. Then wanted special treatment after he died. He knew what he should have done while he was alive, but he failed to do it.

There are a lot of other examples. In fact, much of Jesus’ teaching touches on this topic of knowing what we should do and fail to do it.

James’ Drives the Point Home

It is no wonder that at the beginning of his book, James admonished believers to be “doers of the Word and not hearers only” (James 1:22). Then, summarizing his instructions, he concludes saying, “Therefore, it is sin for the person who knows to do what is good and doesn’t do it.” (James 4:17.

These are sins of omission. Sins of omission are those that accrue to us because we fail to do something we knew we should do.

Our Christian experience is expressed every day. Not just through avoiding the obvious commission of sin but also the sins of omission.

Christians should always be doers of the Word; people who know the good to do and do it!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you struggled at times knowing the good that needs to be done, but not doing it?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Character

 

#226: Remaining True to Your Principles in a Spiritual Battle

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

I imagine most of you are familiar with the adulterous story of David and Bathsheba. This tragedy is usually told from King David’s perspective. But what about Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband?

David hgnds letter to Uriah. Principles

This month in our Lessons from the Lesser Known I want us to shift our focus to see what we can learn from Uriah the Hittite.

Uriah’s Backstory

Uriah was a soldier in Kings David’s army. Some scholars suggest he carried the rank of a general. Uriah was honored as one of David’s 37 mighty men by David himself (2 Samuel 23:39).

Uriah’s home was just down the hill from King David’s palace which suggests that he was a man of means and social standing (2 Samuel 11:2).

David’s Treachery

While his army was out fighting against the Ammonites, King David was sitting back in his palace. He saw Bathsheba bathing on her rooftop. He inquired about her, and despite knowing she was Uriah’s wife, he had her brought to him. David slept with her, and she became pregnant.

Hoping to conceal his act, David called for Uriah to be brought back from the battle under the guise of giving David a status report. David’s plan was that Uriah would go home and get his wife pregnant before returning to battle.

Uriah stayed at the palace with David’s servants that night rather than going home. The next day, David got Uriah drunk and tried a second time to get him to sleep with Bathsheba. But Uriah spent the night with David’s servants again.

Because David’ attempts to get Uriah to sleep with Bathsheba failed, David sent orders to Joab, his commander, to send Uriah into the battle where the fighting was the fiercest. Uriah died in battle, and his death was reported to David.

Uriah’s Principles

When David confronted Uriah about why he had not gone home and slept with Bathsheba, Uriah offered a principled explanation. Uriah said,

“The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!” (2 Samuel 11:11).

Uriah put God first (the ark of God). He put God’s people (Judah and Israel) second. Then Uriah put God’s servants (Joab and the men of David’s army) next.

God first. God’s people second. God’s servants third. They were in the midst of a battle, camped in tents and open fields. Uriah could not see himself enjoying the comforts of home while his fellow warriors were not.

Uriah’s principles stand in stark contrast to David’s behavior. David should have been out leading his army. Instead, he stayed in the comfort of his palace while his men fought against God’s enemies for him.

This is bad enough, but he compounds his error by succumbing to lusts of the flesh when he inquired about a married woman, has her brought to him, and has sex with her.

David later married Bathsheba, but God considered the whole matter evil (2 Samuel 11:27).

Uriah, fighting a physical battle, remained true to his principles and faithful to God. David, fighting a spiritual battle, put his principles aside for his selfish interest.

Leaders, in this fallen world we are certain to face some combination of physical and spiritual battles. Let us strive to keep our eyes upon God the Father who has promised to give us the strength we need to stay true to Him (Philippians 4:13).

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Has adhering to your principles ever put you in a difficult or even dangerous situation? How did you respond?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Character

 

#225: The Insidious Gap Between What We Say and What We Do

Gandhi reportedly said, “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Gap

An agnostic coworker once said to me, “I’d be more interested in Christianity except I’ve met some Christians.”

Ouch! What’s wrong with this picture?

Is it possible Christians are not living out their faith on a daily basis? Is it possible this happens often enough that people are actually turned away from following Christ?

It certainly seems so. A recent Barna Research study found only 17% of professing Christians have a Biblical worldview.

For the purpose of this study a Biblical worldview was defined as believing:

1) there is absolute moral truth;

2) the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches;

3) Satan is real, not just symbolic;

4) good works are not sufficient for salvation;

5) Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; and

6) God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the universe.

No wonder those outside the Christian faith look inside and doubt us!

It turns out the vast majority of professing Christians either don’t know what the Bible teaches or they don’t accept the basics of the faith. Either way, it follows they won’t live out their faith according to Biblical teaching!

No wonder Gandhi said, “your Christians are unlike your Christ.”

Yet, being like Christ is exactly what we are commanded to be.

  • Paul, writing to the Ephesians said, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children” (Ephesians 5:1)
  • And writing to the Corinthians, Paul said, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

There is no wiggle room here. As Christians, we are commanded to be imitators of Christ.

Clearly, there is a gap between what we as Christians are supposed to be like, and the way the way we live. That gap is what the world sees. It is how the world evaluates our faith life. It is why they say Christians are hypocrites.

We Are to be Salt and Light

Jesus commanded us to be salt and light to the world.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16)

Salt is a preservative, but if it becomes impure, it loses its ability to preserve. We are to be like pure salt that preserves the Lord’s teaching. If we become impure by accepting a secular worldview our teaching is of no value to the Kingdom.

A light provides direction and enables you to walk securely without stumbling. If the light is hidden under a basket, it is of no use. A Christian who hides their faith is of no use in bringing light to others.

One kind of Christian has an impure faith, one corrupted by the world’s values, so it is useless.

The other kind of Christian has a solid understanding of their faith but they hide their faith from others, so it is useless.

Jesus’ command is that we be like pure salt and a bright light. If we are like pure salt, we will preserve the faith. If we are a light that shines before others, they will see our good works, and be drawn to the Father.

Leaders, It Must Start with Us

Leaders, it must start with us. Our pastors cannot do it all by themselves.

It was never God’s plan to spread the Gospel just through our pastors. God’s plan for spreading the Good News doesn’t just include us; it depends on us.

We are called, every one of us as children of God, to be salt and light to the world. So, let’s get out there and live our lives in such a way that others see Christ reflected in us, and because of Him living in us, others are drawn to the Father in Heaven!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. How are you living your life to be a salt and light leader?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Purpose/Passion

 

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#224: Effective Leadership: Employ, Equip, Empower, and Get Out Of The Way!

As the Bob Dylan song goes, “the times they are a changin.” Managing a business in today’s world is an exercise in managing change. What worked phenomenally well in 2010 won’t work in 2020.

Effective Leadership

To meet the challenges that lay before us, leaders must learn new, more effective ways of managing rapidly changing, diverse groups of employees.

Way back in 1966 Peter F. Drucker wrote The Effective Executive, in which he makes the point that to be effective executives must learn how to harness worker resources like intelligence, imagination, and knowledge, and convert them into results.

The Effective Leader

So, what can you do to develop the future-oriented effective leadership style? You need to learn how to employ the right people, put them in the right jobs, give them the right training, empower them to get the work done, and most important of all, get out of their way so they can work!

1. Employ

The first step of the effective leader is to learn how to hire the right kind of people. In companies where employees are empowered, the employees are often responsible for the first one or two interviews. Team interviews that include employees and managers are becoming more common. After all, who knows the work better than the people doing it every day? Employees can be a valuable resource in hiring people who will fit the corporate culture and strategy.

Companies that are still relying on just the Human Resources manager for all hiring decisions are not utilizing the employee assets within the company. A real disaster is set-up when upper management takes control of hiring decisions at entry levels, to the exclusion of input from employees and first level managers. Hard as it may be to believe, this is still being practiced by some Fortune 500 companies today!

2. Equip

The second in becoming an effective leader is to get the right people in the right jobs. Paul wrote to the Romans, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:6-8).

Clearly, we need to be sensitive to people’s gifts and skills and do our best to match them to jobs that use their skills.

Once you have your people in the right jobs and you are focusing their talents on their jobs, you need to train them to do the best job possible.

In a recent survey of training costs, it was found that companies had budgets for training that ranged from $50 per employee per year to $4,000 per employee. Whose employees do you think are the best prepared to meet the challenges of the future?

Training your employees is a two-step process. First, there is the industrial training that keeps the employee up to date on your industry. Second, there is skill improvement training. Neither one of these is a one-time investment. Rather, it is a continual process that must be kept up over the life of the employee.

Ecclesiastes gives us an excellent view of the importance of training, “If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success” (Eccl. 10:10). If you have ever chopped wood with a dull axe, you know how much work it is. You work harder, it takes longer, and it requires much more determination to get the job done. Training will keep your employees like sharpened axes; capable of doing more, in less time than your competition.

3. Empower

Companies are getting the word; teams can be more productive than individuals. The rebirth of America’s large corporations has upper managers talking about making their employees intrapreneurs; people empowered to make decisions without approval from five levels of higher managers.

In America’s small companies we are hearing about “virtual corporations” where a handful of employees run big businesses by outsourcing talent, subcontracting, and making decisions without the safety net of expensive layers of higher managers.

The crucial steps in empowering your employees include;

  • hiring the right people, to begin with,
  • making sure that they are in jobs that best utilize their talents,
  • training them until they are the best they can be (and keeping them well trained), and finally,
  • making them accountable for decisions that affect their work.

Employees who are responsible for the productivity of their work group are more likely to take an interest in the output of other employees. If they understand that all sink or swim together, as a team, they will fight to survive.

4. Get Out of The Way

The biggest single reason that efforts to empower employees fail are that managers do not get out of the employee’s way and let them get the work done!

The manager “mother-hens” the employees, second guesses them, and sets-up their decision making so it comes out the way he wanted all along.

According to Mr. Webster, empowerment means to give someone authority. The definition does not suggest that a manager is to abdicate responsibility. And it is between giving authority and maintaining responsibility that most managers fail.

You must start by giving employees the right information, giving them the time and the resources to analyze potential decisions, and the support of management to carry out plans.

What constitutes the right information? For every company and every situation, the answer is different. Think about what information you would need to analyze a problem and decide. If you are managing a factory, giving workers production and profitability numbers for their department would be a good start.

One caveat from companies who have tried this. Break into employee empowerment gradually if you can. This is a new skill area for most employees, and they will need some practice to get good at it. Let them work on a few focused issues to build their confidence.

One Last Thought

Effective leaders of the future have difficult shoes to fill. The world is a complex place, and the rules of the game are changing all the time.

As difficult as this work is, remember Paul’s instruction to the Philippians, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).

Bonus Whitepaper

This week’s post is excerpted from a 6-page whitepaper entitled, Effective Leadership: Employ, Equip, Empower, and Get Out of the Way!

This whitepaper includes a broader discussion of how to develop as an effective leader of the future:

  • 9 points of contrast between the past and the current/future work environment.
  • Two steps managers need to take to meet the challenge of the changing environment.
  • A broader description of the four elements of being an effective leader in the future.

You can download the whitepaper here: Effective Leadership: Employ, Equip, Empower, and Get Out of the Way!.”

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. How has the work environment changed in your industry over the past few years? How has your own leadership changed to meet the needs of the changing work environment?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Skills | Leadership Development

 

#223: Let Us Stop and Remember Whose We Are

A Memorial Day Tribute

Today is Memorial Day. It is a day when tens of thousands of small American flags mark the final resting place of soldiers who paid the ultimate price; who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Remember the sacrifice

Memorial Day began in 1868 as a day to remember the fallen in America’s civil war. But since then, Memorial Day expanded as a day to remember and honor all those who served and died defending our country over the years.

But a day of remembrance is not unique around the world. Many nations set aside one day to remember those who served and fell. The list includes England, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada just to name a few.

Neither is a day of remembrance a modern institution. There are several examples of memorials established in the Bible.

  • Rainbow. God established the rainbow as a sign of a covenant with Noah that He would not flood the earth again (Genesis 9:8-17).
  • Passover. The final plague visited upon the Egyptians brought the angel of death to every home in the land except for those with a mark of blood on the doorposts. Upon seeing the blood on the doorpost, the angel passed over the house. Passover feasts today are celebrations in remembrance of this event (Exodus 12, 13).
  • Crossing the Jordan. The Lord caused the water of the Jordan River to stop so the Israelites could pass over with the Ark of the Covenant into the Promised Land. A member of each tribe brought a stone out of the river and stacked on the far side of the river as a memorial to future generations of what the Lord had done that day (Joshua 3).
  • Communion. Paul passed on Jesus’ teaching at the Last Supper as he explained both the purpose and procedure of celebrating communion. It is a memorial done in remembrance of Jesus’ life and death on the cross (1 Corinthians 11:17-26).

Each of these Biblical examples is a reminder to future generations of God’s love and provision for His people.

Memorial Day is a reminder of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country.

The Greatest Expression of Love is Sacrifice

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, explained some might sacrifice their lives for a just man or a good man.

“For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die” (Romans 5:7).

But, said Paul, God proves His love for us and has sacrificed even more for us.

“But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8).

Jesus said the greatest expression of love is in the willingness to lay down one’s own life for his friends.

“No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13).

Jesus said that knowing the fate of his followers; that many of them would lay down their lives because of their love for Him and one another.

Jesus said that knowing his own fate on the cross loomed ever closer. Yet, He went to the cross. He sacrificed His life for us that those who believe in Him might have eternal life.

Let Us Remember

This Memorial Day let us remember the importance of sacrifice.

First, it is fitting and proper that we remember and honor all those who came before us and laid down their lives defending our freedom. And in the words of Abraham Lincoln let us, “highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Let us never forget the valiant sacrifice of all those who gave the last full measure of devotion to this country that we might live free.

Second, remember that God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for us. There is no greater love and no greater sacrifice than this.

In remembering Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, let us remember whose we are!

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As always, questions and comments are welcome.

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Category: Personal Development | Humility

#222: Is This Standing in the Way of Your Success?

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right! Ford’s point is your attitude often determines whether you succeed or fail.

Success

If you convince yourself that you will be victorious, you are more likely to be successful. If, however, you convince yourself that you are doomed to fail, then likely, you will fail.

I guarantee you, when Michael Phelps (28 Olympic Medals) stepped up on the starting block at the end of the pool he saw himself swimming all out, defeating his opponents. He did not picture himself belly flopping and coming in second!

When Larisa Latynina (18 Olympic Medals) mounted a balance beam, she pictured herself executing a flawless routine. She certainly didn’t imagine herself falling off the beam.

If you’re a golfer, you know if you are driving over water and you think, “don’t hit the water, don’t hit the water” the next sound you’ll hear is kerplunk as your ball hits the water!

Our Attitude Does Make a Difference!

Yes, our attitude does make a difference. A negative attitude almost always precedes a negative outcome. So, negative attitudes limit our success.

The thing is, many of our negative attitudes are distortions of reality and thus are false beliefs. John Townshend, in his book Leadership Beyond Reason, describes what he calls cognitive distortions, that limit our success:

  • “I’ve tried, and nothing helps/works. There is nothing left to try.
  • Afraid to take the initiative. You’re waiting for someone else to decide or do something.
  • Fear of failure. This causes you to focus only on the negative. You may justify it as just being realistic, but it is anything but reality.
  • Defensive thinking. You won’t own your part of a problem, and you rationalize your position.
  • All-or-nothing thinking. You believe there is only one solution to a problem and can’t accept there might be other ways to handle a situation.
  • False self-thinking. You try to be someone you’re not to fit an image you’re trying to project or to please others.

In each case, these cognitive distortions, or limiting beliefs, prevent us from seeing ourselves the way we really are. We don’t see a situation the way it really is. The result is limited success or outright failure.

These false views that limit our success are the work of Satan. They are not the attitudes that God desires for us.

God’s Desire for Our Attitude

As we read through the Scripture, we encounter people with limiting beliefs over and over again. Adam was defensive. At times Moses acted helpless and negative. Nehemiah had to deal with city leaders who were passive and thought falsely about themselves. The list of characters exhibiting one of these limiting beliefs goes on and on.

But this is not God’s plan. In fact, with nearly every case of a limiting belief, we see God refuting the limiting belief and encouraging the person to have faith in their success.

So how should we respond when faced with the unexpected, the frustrations, and the difficult, exasperating situations of life?

Paul wrote that no matter what happens we should respond with a Christ-like attitude.

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27a).

Paul also said our attitude should be the same as Jesus’.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5).

And Paul encouraged us to be imitators of Christ.

“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children” (Ephesians 5:1)

We know there will be difficulties in this life. We need to respond with a Christ-like attitude, being imitators of Christ.

God did not give us an attitude of fearfulness, but of power. Paul reminded Timothy, his young protégé of this very fact.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment” 2 Timothy 1:7).

So let’s cast aside these limiting beliefs that are preventing us from achieving all that God has for us and instead let us be imitators of Christ with a spirit of fearlessness and power!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you ever faced a limiting belief that affected your ability to accomplish a goal or to be successful in some aspect of your life? If so did you overcome it?

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Category: Personal Development | Character

 

#221: Surprise! Someone Is Preparing to Lead A Rebellion In Your Organization!

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

Being a leader is like playing “King of the Hill.” King of the Hill was a game we played as kids.

Rebellion

There was a mound of dirt on the playground. Whoever is at the top of the hill is king. Everyone else playing the game tries to knock the king off the top of the hill, and then they become king. That is until the next person comes along and knocks them off the hill so they can be king.

Being a leader in real life is a bit like playing king of the hill, but the stakes are much higher. Those in positions of leadership are regularly targeted by rebels who oppose your leadership. It can happen to anyone, even those appointed by God to lead His people. For example, rebels challenged Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership on several occasions.

God called on Moses & Aaron to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. They were not gone long before a rebellion led by a man named Korah threatened the entire nation. If it happened to Moses and Aaron, it could happen to us!

Here’s the backstory of Korah’s rebellion (Numbers 16).

Korah’s Rebellion

A prominent man named Korah assembled a coalition of 250 other leading men to challenge Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership of the Israelites.

Korah accused Moses and Aaron of exalting themselves above everyone else. Korah wanted the people to have more input because God dwelled with them all and God had described the people as a “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:3-6).

What Korah said publicly in accusing Moses and Aaron was designed to rally his supporters, but it hid the real reason for his rebellion. When someone rebels against a leader there is usually a stated reason and a hidden reason for the rebellion.

The Stated Reason

In Korah’s case, his stated reason was he wanted more democracy inside the camp. He wanted the people to have a say in running things because God lived among all of them and described them as a kingdom of priests.

His logic was, “If God lives among the entire nation of Israel who does Moses and Aaron think they are elevating themselves above the rest of us, telling us what to do?”

The Hidden Reason

Korah’s real reason for starting the rebellion against Moses and Aaron was hidden. He didn’t want to be someone who just helped the priests in the service of the Lord. He wanted to be a priest!

His logic was, “If we are all priests as God says, why should Aaron and his people be the only ones to get to offer sacrifices to God? I want to be a priest and offer sacrifices too!”

What Drove Korah’s Rebellion?

Understanding what drove Korah’s rebellion gives us an important clue to what causes rebellion today.

Korah was envious of Moses and Aaron. God had appointed them to lead the nation, and Korah wasn’t satisfied with the role God had assigned him. His envy drove his selfish ambition to be something God had not called him to do.

James warned us of this very thing when he wrote, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice” (James 3:16).

How Did Moses Respond to the Rebellion?

Moses responded to the rebellion in a way that demonstrated he understood Korah’s public accusation as well as Korah’s selfish ambition:

  • He humbled himself before the Lord. When Moses heard the accusations against he fell on his face before the Lord (Numbers 16:4, 22).
  • He interceded for the people in prayer. When the Lord was ready to judge the people, Moses prayed asking the Lord not to punish all the people for the sins of the few (Numbers 16:22).
  • He faced his accusers directly. Moses reasoned directly with the rebels explaining what they were doing was in direct opposition to God (Numbers 16:5-11).
  • He left the final judgment to God. When the rebels refused to back down, Moses left final judgment of who should lead the Israelites up to God (Numbers 16:16-55).

Leaders beware! There will be those who, out of envy and selfish ambition will rebel against you. They will speak falsely. They will lie about you. They will say and do whatever it takes to become king of the hill.

The first step in thwarting a rebellion is to understand its cause; envy and selfish ambition. The second step is to respond like Moses; humble yourself, spend time in prayer, face your accusers directly, and know the final judgment will come from God.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Has anyone rebelled against your leadership? What steps did you take to manage the situation?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Skill | Conflict Management