Humility

Lessons from the Rooftop

by Andy Wood on October 26, 2011

in Uncategorized

Perspective is important, and it’s very helpful to change it every once in a while.  Just remember, a different perspective doesn’t always mean a better one.

People in certain parts of the world have their own built-in (literally) perspective changers – they live in houses with flat roofs.  That includes people in the Bible.

I’m just thinking how cool it would have been to hear my mother say, “Go to your roof!”  She had her own ways of changing my perspective, though.  Whew!

Anyway, you can find a lot of action on the rooftops of certain biblical houses.  And some lessons along the way.  Here are some quick idea generators for you to learn from the perspective and example of others. [click to continue…]

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I’ve Gotta Get Out More

by Andy Wood on August 10, 2011

in Turning Points

For the last six years I have had the privilege of serving on the adjunct faculty of Regent University’s School of Undergraduate Studies.  When I started, Regent Undergrad was a simple two-year degree completion program, designed to help people complete a bachelor’s degree so they could attend the prestigious graduate program founded by Pat Robertson of The 700 Club and CBN fame.  But now RSU, as it’s called by insiders, is a four-year institution of its own.

And I hear they’re thinking about starting a golf and tennis team.  Woo hoo!

Anyway, one of the high points for me is the Fall Faculty Workshop, where they fly people in from wherever to attend a day or two of meetings for training, inspiration, coordination, and schmoozing.

Especially schmoozing.

Whatever my day job has been during the last seven early-Augusts, it has been a highlight since 2005 to return to the scene of my Ph.D. work, with its stunning campus, caring people, and fresh ideas.

Did I mention schmoozing?

With a lot of turnover, growth, and the ebb and flow so typical of a young, growing enterprise this is an annual opportunity to make connections.  And memories.  And yes, impressions.  Add to that the fact that this Coastal Alabama boy had not left drought-ridden Texas since Thanksgiving last year, and hadn’t seen rain in over six months – I was ready for a change of pace.  And, of course, to make an impression.

Well, maybe not like the impression I made at the DFW Airport. [click to continue…]

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Leading Individuals and Teams Through Conflict

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were great friends.  Throughout their near-lifelong friendship, as far as we know they never had a problem.

Never had a solution, either.

Friends?  Yes.  And boring.

Jefferson and John Adams?  Boy, was that a different story.  One looooong, near-lifelong debate.  Fiery exchanges.  Icy periods of silence.  And one of the warmest, most profound collections of letters in history between these two icons, who died on the same day, 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Friends?  Oh my, yes.  They each had busts of the other in their homes.  And Adams, not knowing his friend had already died, departed this life with these words:  “Thomas Jefferson still survives.”

That said, let’s be honest.  Few of us get up in the morning hoping to cross swords with friends.  Or spouses.  Or parents or kids or team members or employees or constituents or customers. (Dear Mark:  Please call again soon – I promise I’ll be nicer on the recorded line for quality assurance purposes.)  And yet the quality of your relationship is measured – not by the lack of conflict, but by how those conflicts are managed and solutions are forged.

(Dear Congress… Oh.  Well.  Never mind.)

Here’s how Thomas Gordon puts it: [click to continue…]

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No.

Not if the focus is more on the office of the leader than on the needs of the led.  Leaders tend to have places in authority that give them the power to move people around, get people to do (or not do) things, hire and fire people, and in other ways mess with people’s lives.  Often those people (and the leaders) reverence the office more than the mission.  In Church World, I’ve been in places where “pastor” was synonymous with “Your Majesty.”  Where whims of the leader today become orders in stone tomorrow.  Where elders become rubber stamp specialists and people in general act like they just drank the Kool Aid – at least when the Anointed One is around.   And I don’t care who you are – that’s not healthy.

Not if there is a distinction between the interests of the leader and the good of the group.  [click to continue…]

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(The further adventures of Eugene Davis, Sophomore Christian)

“What would be s good time to come by your office?”

The voice on the other end of the phone was none other than Eugene Davis, Sophomore Christian and resident expert on all things spiritually enormous.

Normally Eugene would pop in, sort of like the Allies dropped by to pay the Germans a visit at Normandy.  But this was different.  It had the air of urgency.  Eugene Davis was always serious and everything was important.  But this was a step beyond.  It was deliberate.  Ruggedly precise.  Appointment-worthy.

“I’m free about 3:00,” I said.  ”What’s up?”  (To this day I don’t like ambushes in meetings.)

“I think the Lord has given me a vision.”

“Well,” said I, ”I’ll be here.  Come on by.”

Apparently I didn’t send the right signal.  Didn’t catch the gravy of the situation.  This was a vision.  From God! [click to continue…]

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When it comes to relationships, are you a builder or a buster?  I’ve known both, and I’m sure you have, too.

Relationship builders are liked.  Respected.  Trusted.  They believe in the deep, abiding value of relationships with others, and invest their lives in nurturing them.  But they also seem to go about relationship building in an almost-effortless way.

Relationship busters are different.  They may get along with anybody for a season, but sooner or later their relationships tend to blow up or fall apart.  Or they live in constant relationship drama.

One of the things I have learned about relationships is that a large part of them are an inside job.  That is, there is a difference between the way builders and busters think.  And whatever controls your thinking right now establishes the course of your relationships for a long time.

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul writes from a Roman prison and encourages them to engage in linking thinking: [click to continue…]

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Pssst.

Hey.

Yes, you.

We need to talk.  Really I need to talk and you need to just shut up and listen.  I don’t mean to be mean.  But the most elite fighting force in heaven or on earth is spread all around you.  Their shields are up, and nothing can penetrate them.  Their swords are drawn, and no force in hell or on earth can resist them.  And they’re on your side.

And they’re doing absolutely nothing.

Just watching you get your brains beat out by an enemy that is smarter, craftier, and more powerful than you are. [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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A few years ago, my friend Rick was on a plane loaded to the wing flaps with hazardous cargo.

It was hauling a bunch of preachers to a convention.

Rick was in his best never-met-a-stranger form, and he was trolling up and down the aisle introducing himself.

“Are you a pastor?”

“Where are you from?”

He’d chat for a while and move on.  And the more he moved, the more the passengers paid attention.

Finally he reached one row and asked a well-dressed man, “You look like a pastor.  Where are you from?”

“I’m not,” the man replied in a louder-than-usual voice.  “I’ve just been sick for a few days.”

The whole plane erupted with laughter. [click to continue…]

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I want to talk to you about something that for some people is pretty painful and scary.  Because of that, I want to say first that I am writing this in love.  I hope you can feel the love that compels me to say these things, even if they are difficult to receive or comprehend.

If this isn’t for you, it’s for somebody you know.  Maybe you can pass it along.

The truth is, I am afraid for you.

As you look in the mirror, as you go forth into the world, and as you relate to others, you only know two views.

You’re either a hero or a zero.

You are either on a pedestal or in the sewer.  [click to continue…]

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