“The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do” Part 1

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Mark Miller, Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness for Chick-fil-A, believes that leadership is not something that’s exclusive; within the grasp of an elite few, but beyond the reach of everyone else.

In honor of his belief and the book he co-wrote with Ken Blanchard, they are re-releasing a 10th anniversary edition of The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do. This book will be released everywhere on September 2, and it is a solid book that everyone should read! Later on I will be publishing a guest post from Mark Miller, and some resources he has for the 10th anniversary edition of this wonderful book! I will also be sharing a book review and some picture quotes from the book!

No matter whether you are leading your family, your friends, or an organization, this book can be a powerful tool to help you lead well! Pick up a copy on September 2!

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This picture is great because it’s easy to believe great leaders just one day showed up and became that way…but really it is perseverance in the mundane of day-to-day living that makes great leaders what they are!

 

What kind of power do words have?

I don’t know about you, but I often wonder about the words that I speak. I wonder, “Does what I say matter?” “Does what I say have any affect whatsoever in the lives of the people I am talking with?” “What is the purpose of what I am saying?” Every week I have the opportunity to speak to youth, but does what I say carry any weight? Does it help change anyone’s life? Is it encouraging or is it beating them down? Does it challenge and encourage them to reach their potential or does it require impossible things from them? These are not easy questions to answer, but they, and many more like them, are what I can’t get out of my head.

 

I constantly think about the way I communicate. You should too. Why? Because we all communicate every day! 

 

Right? Communication matters. The words we use on a daily basis can change the lives of the people we are talking to, working with, or hanging out with every single day. Your words can also change you.

The Bible says:  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).

So cool, the Bible says it, but what does that matter? What if I don’t believe in the Bible? What if I don’t care what it says, or it’s not relevant to my life?

Put those questions aside for a second and think about the content of what the verse says. Think about the words you can use each day: do unwholesome, crude, mean words help anyone? Do encouraging, strengthening, uplifting words benefit those who hear them? I think the answer is yes.

 

We have a choice, you and I. We can use our words for good; or we can use our words for evil. Unfortunately our mouths don’t come with instruction manuals on how to use them properly. I think a lot of problems could be avoided if we were all able to better use our mouths to speak well.

Throughout my 24, almost 25, years of life, I have been a first-hand witness as to how destructive words can be to a person’s self-esteem and image. If you’re like me, you’ve experienced hurt at the derogatory words of someone else, and you’ve seen others beaten down by someone else’s words. Why not be the change? We can use our power for good! We can speak life!

If Peter Parker can learn this lesson from Uncle Ben, we can too: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Words contain great power. We have a great responsibility to use them well and to realize the kind of power that come through what we say–even those things we say that we don’t think matter.

Sometimes I can be careless with my words. When I am tired, when I am not thinking, when I am busy, when I am annoyed, etc., I don’t always think about what I am saying, how I am saying it, and the power of the words that are coming out of my mouth. I have seen the great power of these careless words, and have seen the damage they have done. The careless words weren’t worth the damage they caused..

Remember that your words, all of your words, have power!

Where is the hope?

Life isn’t easy. If you take one look at the news–at recent deaths and shootings and suicides, constant wars and killing–see the statistics for cutting or bullying, it becomes pretty clear that life is full of difficult circumstances that often don’t make sense and could hardly ever be labeled as “fair.”

Robin Williams, the most recently publicized suicide, is evidence that appearances can be deceiving and that life can sometimes be hard, even when we are doing something we love. Robin Williams often made people cry because they were laughing so hard–his was the life of a comedian, full of laughing on the outside but deep pain on the inside. It seems like there could have been so many who would’ve done so much to be there and encourage him through the painful times, but, for reasons we will never know, Robin Williams took a different route than many of us would have encouraged him to do. There is no simple explanation for things like this.

I don’t know where your life is at right now, I don’t know where your life has been, and I don’t know where your life is going. I don’t know what you struggle with, what your family is like, how your friends treat you, how you treat others. But, there is one thing I know. There is always hope, and that hope is found in a person.

Jesus Christ is the Game-Changer. He is the Difference-Maker. He is the Hope-Bringer.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Here is where the hope comes in–Jesus brings the hope! The hope of a new life (2 Corinthians 5:17), a fullness of life (John 10:10), a freedom from the penalty of sin (2 Corinthians 3:17), a relationship with the Creator God (John 1:12), and a Rock (Psalm 71:3) and Refuge (Psalm 119:114; Proverbs 18:10) in times of trouble.

Jesus Christ loves the outcast, loves the hurt, the loser, the lost, the confused, the mentally ill, the physically handicapped, the bullied, the depressed, the loner, the one who thinks he or she could never be pretty or desirable or loved. Jesus loves us all and shows so often in the Bible where He is loving and caring toward those who don’t even know Him yet (Romans 5:8).

But, He doesn’t stop there; He doesn’t just love people. He wants to know you. He wants to know you. He wants you to be overwhelmed with wonder at who He is (Mark 9:15), because He is full of love and grace and mercy.

So, if you want to know Him, discover who He is. Feel free to ask me, or read the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John specifically) to discover who He is. That is Jesus Christ.

Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus say that He will make our lives easy. He doesn’t say that He will take away the depression, or take away the bully, or make it easier for you to make friends, or make your parents love each other again–in fact Jesus says in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

So, your situation may stay the same. Your problem may not go away. But, when you know Jesus Christ and confess and believe in Him, He lightens your load. You don’t have to carry it all on your own. You shouldn’t carry it all on your own, because let’s face it, can we really carry everything ourselves? I know I can’t, but I also know I often try to do it on my own, and inevitably fail. Again, Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” He won’t necessarily take away the burden, but He will help you carry the load, He will lighten the load, and when things get really tough He becomes our Rock and our Refuge; when everything around us is shaking, He is our still foundation.

God loves you and you are precious in His sight. I love you because God loves you. We are all His creation, and He wants us to be a part of His family. Join in His family and it will lighten the load because you will never again be alone.

Pointing the right way

What are you really good at?  What is something you really like doing?  It must be a part of human nature, right?  That we all have such a great desire to communicate to the people we are around, whether our family or people we work with or friends, what we are good at. We enjoy doing the things we are good at, and we often talk about our “greatest exploits”! It’s just something that comes naturally.

If you catch a huge fish, why wouldn’t you tell everyone about how awesome that was and how big it was?! If you make a great goal in soccer or score a touchdown in football or make first chair in band, why wouldn’t you tell everyone you know about it? Those are proud moments where you did something pretty awesome and want others to know about it! I am the same way! It’s fun to succeed in things and then point to that success and tell everyone you can about it. But are we pointing in the right direction?

Jeremiah 9:23-24 says, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.'”

This verse reveals the things we should boast about, and the things we should tell everyone about, doesn’t it? We should boast about God, that we know Him, that we have talked to Him, that God hears us, that He speaks to us in His Word, that God is real and we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, His Son. These are the things to boast about because when we really think about it, these are amazing, life-changing things. The Creator God cares so much about us that He sent Jesus Christ to live on this earth, to experience temptations and evils in this world, and He was victorious through them, sacrificing His perfect self on the cross so that we could experience victory and freedom from the cost of our sins. It’s an amazing thing! What is more incredible than this to boast about?

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10:17-18, agreeing with Jeremiah, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”

So what does this mean? It means that we can remember our priorities in life; that God is greater than our athletic skills, our musical talents, or our intellect. If we are going to brag about something, why not point the way toward Jesus Christ?

We have the blessed opportunity to be a light in this world, to be salt that seasons and gives flavor. We can point everyone we see or talk with toward Jesus Christ just in the way we talk. It’s a big responsibility, but we are all capable.

 

The challenge? Go and do it. James 1:22 says, “but be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” So we should go and live out God’s Word. Go and boast about who God is and what He has done in your life.

5 More Articles: 7/21-7/27

  1. Last week I found an article about influence. It was part one of a two part post, and this week the second post has been put up. Rick Warren is a great communicator and pastor, and he writes again about the value of influence and using your influence well. We all influence people…let’s influence them in the right direction!
  2. This article from Jon Acuff is just an encouraging read. He shares a verse that recently impacted him, and sort of dissects it to helpfully apply it to his life and really considers what this verse actually means. Whether or not the article encourages you, I think it is helpful to take his strategy for dissecting verses. With this method of reading the Bible it becomes much more likely that the verse will stick with us throughout the day, and it will make it easier to memorize. That way, when the Enemy comes to attack, we will be ready with our hearts and minds full of Scripture.
  3. This is an article for men (sorry ladies). But, this is a well-written article that discusses a common denominator to why men fail, whether as a father, as a husband, as a friend, as a man of integrity, etc. Ladies, you can read this too and encourage any man you know and love to get involved with a group of like-minded, encouraging, uplifting men who will make him a better person and draw him up to a higher level of living. It is easy for men to be in isolation, because so often it is communicated to us that we need to do things on our own, under our own strength and power, and to ask for help is weak. But, the greatest thing a man can do for his life and his family is to get involved in a small group of men who are headed in the same direction he is: toward a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ.
  4. We all have things we love to do; things that we are passionate about. In this post, Jon Acuff discusses how sometimes the thing we love doing most, has a lot of fear attached with it. Whether through unmet or unrealistic expectations, or fear of failing at the thing we care most about. He offers a simple step to move toward erasing that fear and to help us move into doing the things we love most. Try it out!
  5. I really enjoy reading. It’s one of my favorite things to do and relax with (I know, I’m weird). This article talks about the benefits of reading, especially for leaders, and how it can help us become more influential and intelligent. Reading can really help us become stronger contributors in the kingdom of God, as we are able to give informed comments and intelligent, God-honoring responses, instead of harsh off-the-cuff responses that make Christians seem like some lesser, unintelligent persons. Read this article, and then keep reading so you can start leading.

Choosing the Right “P”

So, almost two months into full-time youth directorship (is that a word? I think I just made it up. If it’s not real, dibs on it), and I’ve been discovering something that I’ve only previously heard about. This is something that I had sort of witnessed, but not really experienced myself.

 

That something is what I’m calling the three P’s of ministry:

Plans.  Programs.  People.

 It is so easy to get distracted with two of these good things, or even one of them, and the other two suffer. It is a fine balance, and one that is not the easiest thing to figure out. I don’t think Christian ministry is the only place that this problem occurs, but it is where I have met the beast. For me, the first two, plans and programs, are things that have to get done in order for things to run properly and smoothly or effectively. But, sometimes the plans and the programs rob me from the very purpose I have set out to plan and program, which is to engage and minister to people!

It’s kind of ironic that sometimes the very tool we use becomes the road block in the way to what we originally were trying to accomplish.

Maybe you’ve found these P’s in variations like productivity requirements, poor working environment/conditions, difficult co-workers, expectations, turning a profit, making a living, etc., etc.

Sometimes making money to provide for the family, working to make the boss happy so we can get a promotion, working with people we may not have the best attitudes towards, working impossibly hard in meager conditions to earn a wage that we can barely get by on, working and working and working… why are we working?

I think this question is what hit me hardest when I was thinking back over the past couple of months. It is easy to quickly forget WHY I AM DOING in the midst of WHAT I AM DOING. So, why do you work?

You may initially think it’s obvious: to make money to provide for my family; so I can take care of my family’s needs; etc.

But are we choosing the right “P” to focus on?

I wrote this post with the thought that I personally need to never forget the people for which I plan and program. Without the people, the plan or the program will be non-existent. People are and will always be more important than a plan or program, no matter how well planned out something is or how amazing of a program is put on; people are the purpose.

Jesus Christ came to the earth as a human because He loved people. God allowed His only Son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth to die for your sins and for mine because God loves people (John 3:16). For Jesus Christ, the purpose of His death was people. He died so that people could experience eternal life, and experience an abundant, full life right now. Jesus’ purpose was for people. He loved people and everything He did was so people would know Him and put their faith in Him.

Why do we work? Why do you work?

As followers of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:24), disciples (Matthew 28:19-20), the children of God (John 1:12), our purpose should be people. Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us to “Therefore be imitators of God . . . And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us . . .”

So as you go about your life, at work, driving, at the store, at a ball game or a concert, wherever you find yourself, remember that the purpose is people.

My top 5 from July 14-20

  1. No matter who we are, where we work, or what we do with our lives, each of us will influence someone. It may be a coworker, a child, a friend, a spouse; the question isn’t who are we influencing, but how are we using the influence we have? This blog post from Pastor Rick Warren talks about the power of influence each of us has, and how to use that influence to build the kingdom of God here on this earth.
  2. Evidently things have been heating up pretty rapidly in Israel. Not that things have ever really been calm over there…but here is a recent article (beware it is a long one) that gives a really strong take on the conflict, and discusses the premise of is peace possible in this area of the world that has been at war almost since Abraham. This article also gives a timeline of events that led up to the most recent clashes in and around Israel.
  3. Finding God’s will is a commonly talked about topic, but do we always handle this question in the right way? There are different tacts people take when answering the question of how to find God’s will, how to live in it, what He wants from us, or how we are supposed to live. This Relevant magazine article (evidently I often read articles from this magazine!) deals with God’s will and how sometimes we go at it the wrong way. I hope this encourages you to live for God wherever you are and to bring Him glory in all that you do!
  4. This is a solid article on leadership. It is not always possible to implement, because often volunteers and leaders are difficult to find. However, the principle in this is a good one for any leadership role, no matter where you might be working. The right people in the right place can take something mediocre and make it great. If you have great vision, then the right people in the right place will change the world because they can carry that vision through to heights never imagined. This is what Jesus Christ did with the disciples. He called 12 men willing to give all they had to follow Him, trained them, and entrusted to them, with the power of the Holy Spirit, to proclaim the Gospel throughout the entire world (Acts 1:8).
  5. This last one is not actually an article, but it is a helpful tool that I have just started using this week for Bible study and taking notes. It’s really helpful! You just create an account using your email address, go to whatever passage you are reading, and you can view a commentary, notes on what the Greek or Hebrew means and how different translations have rendered it, and can make your own notes and have them saved on the site (which you can access from anywhere via your phone or any device with internet capability). It’s been really handy and I look forward to using it more in the future!

Top 5 from the week July 6-13

  1. This first blog starts off talking about being a newlywed…which Connie and I are! So I initially saw it and thought it looked interesting. As I began to read it became really encouraging and uplifting, and made me realize that media has taught us a lot of false messages about what marriage is supposed to be like. I hope this encourages you, even if you’ve been married for awhile or if the whole topic of marriage freaks you out and makes you want to run and hide. I think this has a lot of wisdom in it.
  2. There have been a lot of things published about Short-Term Missions Trips–both good and bad. This list of 7 things about STM is a good understanding of some of the benefits that come through any type of missions trip. It is understandable that some STM projects go awfully wrong, but going into it with the right attitude and joining God in His work around this world can bring so many benefits to our lives and the lives of those we serve. (I might as well add a second article about short-term missions I read this week too)
  3. This is a leadership article, but really it is for any of us who have ever, or will ever, deal with defeat. It is usually easier to sort of curl up and quit after a crushing defeat (like the Brazil vs. Germany game). But, a true leader of character is able to set the tone through even crushing defeat. It’s normal in life to not always win and for things to not always goes right, or even go well. So, all of us will deal with defeat or failure many time in life. How we handle it sets the tone for our next victory and our next failure.
  4. The author of this article writes, “Outward change doesn’t last unless inner change is driving it.” He uses a play on words (I’ll let you click on it to see what the play is), that is slightly offensive at first, but really brings home the point he is trying to make. Being a Christian means we have shifted from the old life to the new life and have begun living in the abundant, full life offered by Jesus Christ.
  5. This is an intriguing article about doing ministry in the context we are currently living in. Mark Howell writes about 5 of his new assumptions about ministry that should be taken into account when you are in a ministry role, whether inside or outside of a local church. Some of these assumptions are sad to read, but are a present reality.

I hope these articles whet your whistle, encourage you, and challenge you to some type of action.

Proverbs 9:9 – “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”