Silence is an awkward visitor! This past week my wife was away visiting friends and family. The silence created by her absence created an empty spot in my spirit while she was gone. I talked to our dog Lucy more than ever. She seemed to understand. At times like this I can sense the loneliness widows/widowers face. Silence is a companion to loneliness.
How would you define the thought behind this statement? "I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life." I Kings 19:10 (NKJV) Obviously the title of this article reveals my take away on this statement by Elijah. Do pastors struggle with self-pity?
Bottom line: Every organization—whether a church, business or nonprofit—needs change in order to continue to grow and remain healthy.
But here’s the thing about change. If you’ve ever been in leadership you know this. Change is hard. Very hard.
And it’s especially hard for some people. In fact, in my experience, the most common reaction to change—at least initially—is rejection or rebellion.
Look out! This phrase could be used in many different contexts. It could be used by a logger to warn of a falling tree. It could be used around a bad dog to warn of a dog that is preparing to bite someone. It could be used to warn of an oncoming car. The phrase could also be used with believers to warn of sin issues.
This past week I read in Genesis 25 of the death of Abraham. I have read this passage many times. However, this time I was keenly reminded that great men, like Abraham, die. Great men, just like all other people, die. Presidents die! Movie stars die! Sports heroes die!
Editor’s Note: This article and the last two articles focus on limits. All of us must identify our limits, learn to say no, and identify the important values we treasure. These lessons will sustain and enrich an effective ministry life. May God bless you in this endeavor.
Starting each day well is certainly important. We must prioritize our goals, prepare our soul, and schedule our time wisely. When we discipline ourselves to begin each day with intention and thoughtfulness, we do ourselves and others good. I suggested 7 questions to ask yourself each morning in an earlier post. http://charlesstone.com/7-questions-leaders-ask-every-morning/ But what about preparing to end your day? How can we end it well? Consider these 7 questions to ask yourself as you end your workday or before you go to bed.
Editor’s Note: This article, last week’s article and the article to follow next week focus on limits. All of us must identify our limits, learn to say no, and identify the important values we treasure. These lessons will sustain and enrich an effective ministry life. May God bless you in this endeavor.
I hate disappointing people. And, every time I say the word “No,” someone isn’t happy with my answer. That’s reality.
Last night as I drove home from a late speaking engagement I thought to myself, “What a day.” I was encouraged that I had several speaking opportunities. I was pumped because I had a good day. However, I was emotionally drained. I taught Sunday at 10:00, preached in my home church at 11:00, preached a deacon ordination at 3:00 and led a discipleship seminar at 5:30. These engagements amounted to three hours of speaking.
Have you ever wanted to quit? Obviously all of us have experienced days when quitting looked like a good option. During those periods of doubt, remaining faithful is both challenging and needed. I am praying that this call to faithfulness will ring true for you.
Sponsored by The Shepherds Connection.
Saturday, February 21, 9:00-3:00
Tunk's Cypress Inn
Hwy 28 - 10 miles west of Alexandria on Kincaid Lake
Lunch includes: Seafood & Prime Rib Buffet with dessert
$5.00 per person ($30 Value)
Please RSVP Tim Patrick (337) 348-4924 by 2/18
Have you ever stumbled? Of course you have; we all do. Stumbling happens in many ways. In one church where I served, a group of men enjoyed hiking together. When this venture started I was not equipped for hiking. On our first trip I wore slick tennis shoes. After a few miles on the trail I learned a valuable lesson about hiking - it pays to wear the right kind of shoes. My slick shoes would not support me on slippery leaves or other challenging places, such as walking down a steep bank. I slipped and fell so many times the other men laughingly accused me of being drunk.
A few days ago I saw a book with the title that inspired this article. I highly recommend the book by Jim Minor. When I first saw it, I was captured by the title. The words Church Shouldn’t Suck are in large bold print. However, the phrase “the Life out of you” quickly calms the shock waves created by the bold print.
“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord–you serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23)
Last night, sometime along about 3 or 4 a.m., unable to sleep, I did something I rarely do: I turned on the television. Usually, I’ll read or just lie there thinking until sleep returns. But last night, I channel-surfed and ended up watching one of those true-crime re-enactments.
Law enforcement investigators had painstakingly built their case against this fellow in Jacksonville, Florida, who reported his wife missing on a trip to Miami. Facts eventually indicated he had murdered her and buried her body in an abandoned golf course near home, then driven south. His plan had been for the police to focus on south Florida rather than his hometown.
My wife and I recently obtained two horses. I love horses, but it has been years since I spent time around them. The horses we got are three-years-old and very much in the training stage. In the past the horses I owned were trained and I enjoyed the fruit of someone else’s labor. Not so this time. I am taking up the training that was begun by someone else. I am learning valuable lessons about working with people, from a horse. Consider these lessons, as you work with people.
This coming week welcomes a new year, 2015. As each New Year begins I ask myself this question: Am I going to seek anything new or watch things remain the same? It is easy to teach, preach and challenge others about the New Year, but what about me? Am I seeking something new? Am I seeking fresh inspiration? Am I seeking fresh ideas? Am I seeking fresh ways of serving God?
Pastors are continually solving problems! You know the ritual of disturbed sleep when your mind subconsciously works to solve a problem. Or, your wife recognizes that blank stare when your body is present but your mind is not. It is impossible to avoid problem solving. So the question becomes, what am I learning or how am I resolving the problems I face?
All of us are in learning mode. Each day offers a new adventure and new lessons. This past week I considered Jesus’ approach to problem solving. These lessons are not new but they certainly added to my resume as a problem solver. Also, they can reduce our stress load as we seek a more balanced approach to problem solving.
I think the best leaders expand their influence and leadership potential by continuing to learn and grow in experience. It takes an intentional effort to improve as a leader. You can read books, follow blogs and Tweets, attend conferences, and hang out with other leaders. These are all good practices to improve as a leader.
In my experience, however, my leadership influence grows the fastest when it grows through the people I’m supposed to be leading. Let me explain.
Here are five ways I expand my leadership potential:
In Romans we find a warm word of thanks from Paul for his co-workers Priscilla and Aquila. “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.” (Romans 16:4)
As we are in transition between the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, I want to take this opportunity to give thanks for you and to offer a holiday greeting.