Will YOU Change YOU?

What Do I Need To Change?

If we think we’re smarter than the people we are leading, if we don’t respect the people we’re leading, or if we are threatened by the people we are leading, we are headed for trouble.

Saul freaked out when people gave him credit for slaying thousands and David credit for slaying tens of thousands. And, well, it didn’t end well for Saul.

When people understand they are on the same team, working for the same goals, and are willing to speak truth respectfully, the best idea can be presented and adopted.

In addition to telling us what love is, the apostle Paul also gives us several examples of what love is not. If we want to lead in the most excellent way, we must also consider whether we need to remove some things from our lives.

Consider what love does NOT do, and ask yourself the questions that follow:

1. Love does not envy. 

Am I automatically jealous of anyone who has a great idea? Do I constantly perceive others as a threat to my position? The reason some young leaders can’t thrive in their current condition is because the more “mature” leader perceives them as a threat.

2.  Love does not boast.  

Do I feel like I always need to remind people of my previous victories? Remember, if we are obsessed with the past then we’re not advancing toward the future!

3. Love is not proud. 

Do I feel that I am the only one in the organization that has all of the answers? The belief that we have to have the solution for every problem usually arises from a lack of trust in the leaders we have around us. And, if we do not trust them, we will never fully release opportunities to them, which makes our load unbearable.

4. Love is not rude. 

Am I cutting people off mid-sentence as soon as I discover that I do not like their idea, or am I willing to hear them out?  People don’t always have to be right as long as they feel like they’ve been heard.

5. Love is not self-seeking. 

When you find yourself getting upset, stop and ask yourself, “ Who is this about—really?”

Many of our problems in life and leadership are the result of selfishness on our part. Selfishness leads us to seek what is best for us and no one else. It causes us to lose sight of what’s best for the people around us, all in an effort get ahead.

6. Love is not easily angered.

Are people afraid to bring me information that is true and accurate because they know I will lose my mind and begin to yell?

7. Love keeps no record of wrongs. 

Do I remind people of their past failures or encourage them in their current condition?

8. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. 

Can people be honest and open with anyone in the organization, including me? When a leader does not have people around him who will share the truth, he becomes like the emperor who had no clothes!

Leaders cannot effectively lead people they do not love. Insecurity will stop us from loving the people we lead, and it will stop us from surrounding ourselves with the right people.

What’s Next: 

Are there any realities you saw in yourself today that were hard to admit? Take some time today to talk to Jesus about what you learned.

Based on the questions in this devotional, what step do you need to take this week to start to mend relationships with your team?

Yes, I am – What about YOU?

Am I Surrounding Myself With The Right People?

The first churches were started by a bunch of common men and women who loved Jesus and loved seeing people meet Jesus. Their success wasn’t based on their position or their training, but on their passion.

Attitudes are contagious. One thing I love about the team I serve with is that being around them and discussing church, ministry and life in general, stirs my passion for what I do.

If you read through the book of Acts, Paul had a team of people who worked with him to try and accomplish a vision that was larger than he could have ever imagined. Any great leader knows you cannot persevere without great people.

An excellent leader will always persevere because they are not trying to do what they are doing alone. They’ve built a team with people who understand they are valued, their opinions are not only welcomed but necessary, and the goal is the advancement of an organization—not the attention of an individual.

You know you have the right team when you don’t just love the work you do, you love the people you do it with. You know you have the right team when problems do not belong to “me” but rather they belong to “we!” You know you have the right team when the people you lead love you and the organization too much to allow team members to make a ridiculous decision.

The right team will refuse to allow personal preferences to dictate decisions and will embrace uncomfortable conversations. The right team will bring people in when making a decision that directly impacts their area, understanding that this does not slow down the process, but speeds it up, because people are way more likely to buy into a decision when they’ve had input.

What’s Next:

Do you have the right people around you? People who would stick with you no matter what the circumstances?
Is there anything about your attitude that you don’t want to pass to your team? What steps can you take this week to set the tone for the people you lead?

What about YOU?

Am I Giving It My Best?

If someone special comes over for dinner, you don’t start pulling the leftovers out of the fridge. You go all out to give them your absolute best.

God gave us His very best when He sent Jesus to the cross, and God calls us to give our best to Him as well.

I once heard a football player say, “the separation is in the preparation.” The reason his team was winning was because they prepared the best they could for each game. What set them apart from other teams wasn’t their facilities or their skill, but their preparation.

The same is true for us. The separation between good and great organizations is the preparation people are willing to put into doing the absolute best they can do. Organizations that anticipate great things prepare for greater things.

Sitting around wanting something great for yourself, your company, or your church is not a bad thing; in fact, it can be the fuel that sets the vision in your heart on fire.  However, many times it’s not a lack of vision that holds us back from achieving  maximum potential, but rather our lack of execution.

There will never be a day when we don’t have a next step to take in our walk with Jesus or in our roles as leaders. We don’t have to be perfect, but we should work hard, learn as much as we can, and THEN trust God to make up the difference.

We cannot effectively lead people long term if we are not dedicated to increasing our leadership capacity. As long as we are learning, we are growing. When you stop growing as a leader, you begin dying as one.

What’s Next: 

Are you honestly and sincerely giving your best effort in what the Lord has called you to lead?
What steps are you taking to increase your own knowledge and leadership capacity?

Do YOU understand?

Do I Understand How Big God Is?

God always wants more for us than we want for ourselves.

Jesus said we would do greater things than He did. If we believe Jesus is who He says He is, and we take Him at His word, why shouldn’t we expect to see the things that happened in Scripture happen in our time? Why wouldn’t we believe God can start and grow a movement like the church the same way He did in the book of Acts? What’s stopping us from asking God to transform entire communities? Why can’t we believe God will perform modern day miracles?

Most of the time, our biggest obstacle is us. Maybe we’ve stopped dreaming. Or, maybe we’re refusing to share our dreams out loud because we fear that God’s reputation might be at stake. God’s reputation is fine. It’s our reputation as leaders that we fear taking a hit. The dreams in our hearts were planted by God who loves us!

God is so much bigger than our greatest fears or obstacles! It’s good to celebrate the past, but that should never stop us from anticipating the future.

The day we stop following the dreams God has put in us is the day we allow ourselves to go into cruise control. When our biggest desire starts to shift from seeing God do great things to making everyone as comfortable as possible, we know we’re losing sight of how big God is.

Fight the urge to maintain the status quo. Instead, do everything possible to advance the cause God placed in your heart. Stay focused on what could be rather than what has been.

What’s Next: 

What is one impossible thing you want to see God do in your ministry, your job, or your community?
Are you celebrating the past more than you are anticipating the future?
What’s one decision you need to make to advance your cause and stay focused on the future?

What about YOU?

Am I Taking Risks?

Goliath held the Israelites in bondage for 40 days. I am sure they prayed for God to remove the giant. But, it wasn’t until David took a risk, walked into the valley, and cut Goliath’s head off that people were set free.

Prayer is a good thing! But, every leader will face a point when we have to put our prayers into action.

On August 10, 1999, I was having lunch at Red Lobster with a mentor and discussing with him that I really felt God was stirring me to do something. He looked at me as I was eating a cheese biscuit and asked, “What would you be willing to attempt for God if you knew you could not fail?”

Without hesitation, I answered, “I would start a church!”

He replied, “You are a coward if you don’t!”

That one-minute dialog ruined my lunch; seriously, I couldn’t eat any more cheese biscuits! I knew he was right. I knew God had told me in 1996 that I would start a church one day. But, I kept making excuses—the first being that I was too young and the second being that I was “praying about it.”

Anyone can see a problem. It takes a leader to examine why the problem is there and decide what to do about it. Leaders deal with problems; they don’t run from them.

Most of the time we want to be like David, but we act like Saul! God put us in positions of leadership to lead. When it comes to leadership, denial leads to disaster.

Leadership means embracing every situation that God sends our way—even the uncomfortable ones. The Lord does not put problems in front of us just so we can “pray them away.” Yes, we have to pray. But we must participate with the Lord as well, by becoming the leader He has called us to be.

What’s Next:

What risk is God calling you to take?
Is there a problem you know you need to deal with, but keep putting off?

Are YOU?

Am I Listening To God’s Voice?

Every leadership decision I have ever made that produced any type of fruit has not been the result of my brilliance but God’s goodness.

If you are a CEO, a small business owner, a young leader, or a stay at home mom, let me assure you that listening to God and doing what He says is NOT just for people in the ministry. It’s for you as well! God wants you to be the best version of yourself, the you He made you to be.

The best advice I could ever give is to listen to Jesus and do what He says.

We hear from Jesus by reading the Bible and asking for His help in prayer. Almost every morning for the past two decades, I have gotten out of bed, made a cup of coffee, opened the Bible, and tried my best to allow Jesus to shape my heart and mind. Leaning into God as much as possible will keep us humble and remind us what we are doing and Who we are doing it for.

When our plates are filled with things we feel like we have to do, rather than the things we are called to do, we begin to operate out of obligation rather than celebration. A leader’s responsibility is not to make as many people as happy as possible. A leader’s primary responsibility is to be obedient to God.

As you start to say no to good things to make room for God things, people will get mad. On those days, remember this: One day when we stand before God, we will be held accountable for whether or not we were obedient to our calling and stewarded the resources He gave us.

Do the job in such a way that on that day we hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 5:21).

What’s Next: 

When can you take some time out of your day to actively listen to Jesus?
When was the last time you heard God’s voice? What did He tell you to do? Have you done it yet?
What is the Lord  telling you to do that scares you to death because you know “they” will not approve? Listen to the voice of God. He is sovereign, and they are not.

Resurrection Morning…

The final week in the life of Jesus was no ordinary week. It was a time of bittersweet goodbyes, lavish giving, cruel betrayals and prayers that shook heaven. Experience this week, from Palm Sunday to the miraculous Resurrection, as we read through the Biblical account together. We will cheer with the crowds on Jerusalem’s streets, shout in anger at Judas and the Roman soldiers, cry with the women at the Cross, and celebrate as Easter morning dawns!

Happy Easter!!