(Or Ministry…  Or Job…  Or Spiritual Gifts…  Or Life Mission… Or…)

Servant Leader

Years ago I had the privilege of visiting South Korea and preaching in two different evangelistic crusades.  One day our hosts took us to a beautiful national park – a very busy place, with lots of booths, a walkway up a small mountain, and a Buddhist temple.

As we were walking down the mountain and enjoying the beautiful scenery along the wide walkway, a young Korean woman approached me and asked if I was from America.

“Could I talk to you as we walk?” she asked.  “I’m learning to speak English and it helps to practice with someone who speaks it.”

She spoke English pretty well, albeit with a beautiful Asian accent.

“What do you do for a living?” she asked.

If you travel overseas or have any experience speaking to an ESL (English as a second language), it’s pretty common to try to simplify your vocabulary in order to be understood.  I was a pastor at the time, and was pretty sure she wouldn’t know what a pastor was. So I chose a different word…

“I am a minister,” I said.

Her whole countenance changed.  Suddenly she was in the presence of someone important!

“Oh!  You are a government official?”

Yes, I know I shouldn’t have… but I literally laughed out loud.  Then I tried to explain to her that in the U.S. we use the English word “minister” in a different way.

I think she was disappointed.  Anyway… [click to continue…]

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Dark and Light

For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light” (Mark 4:22).

It’s amazing how much we live with the quiet assumption that we can have secret lives.  There’s no such thing.  There are only those secrets that are known today, and those that are discovered later.

The illusion of secrecy springs from the illusion of control and avoidance of consequences.  I want to do what I want to do, without having to face the consequences of my actions should they be negative.  I also want to hold on to my insecurities my false beliefs – those things that keep me tethered to a fear of failure or a fear of rejection.

Good luck with that. [click to continue…]

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Hidden Agenda

Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret (John 18:20).

Want to lead like Jesus?

Stop hiding your agenda. [click to continue…]

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Logo of Groupon

You may or may not know the name Andrew Mason.  But I’ll bet you’ve heard of Groupon, the famous deal-of-the-day website where Mason was CEO.

These have been hard times for the company – nobody is denying that, and if you’re interested in the business and numbers side of it you can find it here.

What interests me is the leadership Mason showed in leaving.  In an email he sent to all his employees then posted publicly (“it will leak out anyway”), Mason showed some class, humor, honesty, and most of all accountability.  Take a look: [click to continue…]

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Picture a couple of goldfish in a cartoon.  Only instead of a fishbowl, they’re holed up in a blender.  One looks to the other and says, “The stress here is killing me!”

We had that cartoon at a place I used to work.

We also had that kind of stress.  We never quite knew when somebody might show up and punch “Puree.”

Morale was hard to come by in that environment because we presented one set of values to the public, but lived by a different set behind the office doors.  Information was available only on a “need to know” basis, and most people, most of the time, didn’t “need to know.”  Accountability ran down a one-way street.  Underlings were accountable for everything, including their email accounts and their bank accounts, while “leaders” answered to no one.

Oh… did I mention that this was a church? [click to continue…]

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Be a Shepherd, For God’s Sake!

by Andy Wood on January 31, 2011

in Leadership, Life Currency

Never has there been a higher call – or a greater need – for men and women of God with the heart of a Shepherd. 

The Shepherd leads.  He feeds.  He knows the sheep by name, and lays down his life for them.  His leadership arises from a heart that has once and for all died to all else but the lives of the sheep.  He cares for the ninety-nine who cling to the sound of his voice; yet he pursues with reckless abandon the one who, intent on finding his own way, is now lost. 

Be a Shepherd, for God’s sake!  And in so doing, be an overseer.  

Remember, you can never over-see what you aren’t seeing over.  Rise above your own sins, self-interest, and troublesome circumstances – then you will discern what is happening in the lives of other people.  Watch!  Don’t allow yourself to become oblivious to what is happening in their lives.  Remember, you don’t have to take your eyes off the sheep in order to hear from the Chief Shepherd.

Be a Shepherd, for God’s sake!  And in so doing, be a willing leader.  [click to continue…]

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Playing Hurt

by Andy Wood on November 1, 2010

in Ability, Enlarging Your Capacity, Life Currency, LV Cycle

Saw a strange thing the other day.  We’d driven to Abilene to watch the Hardin-Simmons Cowboys defend the Wilford Moore trophy against local rival McMurray for the 20th straight year.  Division III football at its finest.

HSU had already knocked out the starting quarterback.  Number 2 wasn’t faring much better.  Scrambling around in the backfield, he was nailed at midfield for about a 12-yard loss.

McMurray lined up for the next play.  Shotgun formation. All of a sudden, the quarterback called timeout, turned toward the sideline, and ripped his helmet off.  Next thing I know, he’s on his knees, then hands-and-knees, and he wasn’t praying.

Hmmm.  Maybe he was. [click to continue…]

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Halftime, Durham, North Carolina.  The Duke Blue Devils have just scored the first touchdown that top-ranked Alabama has surrendered in two-and-a-half games. 

Not exactly a moment to panic, however.  Alabama leads at the half, 45-13.

Cue the halftime interview with Coach Nick Saban.  “Coach,” Sideline Babe says, “Were you upset about giving up your first touchdown of the season?”

“I don’t care about the touchdown,” Saban replies.  “I’ve just been talking to our guys about playing to a standard.”

Fast-forward one week.  Halftime again.  This time, nobody wearing white and crimson was strutting to the locker room.  The defending national champions are trailing a very strong Arkansas Razorbacks team in Fayetteville 17-7, and it’s no fluke.  These Hogs are good, and Bama’s looking rough.

Somebody… not namin’ names here… but somebody woke somebody up.  Final Score:  Alabama 24, Arkansas 20.

After the game, Coach Nick had this to say:

“I want them to remember what it’s like not playing the way you’re capable of playing, not playing with the intensity and focus you need to have. We have a standard we want to play to, we want to play to it all the time. We certainly didn’t get that done in the first half.”

Another Clock is Counting Down

Football is not the only place where the clock is ticking toward zero.  [click to continue…]

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poutingOne of our inside family jokes has to do with a certain child of ours who had the hardest time simply apologizing or admitting she was wrong.

(This same child, as a two-year-old, used to wear a t-shirt with the picture of a well-known TV character who had a similar problem.  The most he could ever do was say, in his coolness, “I was wr-r-r-r-r.”  I wonder if the t-shirt rubbed off somehow.)

Anyway, the conversations would go something like this:

“You need to tell her/him you’re sorry.”

“But I didn’t mean to.”

“It doesn’t matter – you did it.  Say you’re sorry.”

“But I didn’t mean to.”

“But you did it.”

“It’s not my fault.”



Where Could She POSSIBLY Learn Something Like That?

To this day, we haven’t really understood what a simple apology symbolized to this child, but she wasn’t buyin’.  But let’s face it.  We all come by our reluctance to admit fault pretty honestly.  [click to continue…]

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mirrorI have a confession to make.  I can’t pass a mirror without looking at it.  Call me weird, call me vain, just don’t call me when a mirror is close by.  I probably won’t hear you.

Sometimes I primp.  Sometimes I frown.  Sometimes I actually impress myself and sometimes I just sigh.  But whatever the reaction, it won’t cure me of wanting to take another look next time.

I have a hunch that I’m not alone.  A lot of people spend a lot of time looking at themselves in the looking glass.  Mirrors are an important part of our culture.  Some people cover their walls at home with them.  Michael Jackson once recorded a song about it.  And where would we be without that fairy-tale question, “Mirror, Mirror on the wall…?”

Did you know that mirrors can lie?  [click to continue…]

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