Patience

Anticipation

It’s in the white space between the verses.  If it were captured on video, a la NFL Films, they’d replay it in slow motion with a tense musical score leading up to the climactic moment.  It often takes place in a matter of seconds and is hardly ever discussed. But we’ve all read about it. And chances are, we’ve lived it on some level.

The “it” that I’m referring to is that split-second gap between motion and miracle. When the world for just a second goes quiet and you’re breathless with anticipation.

It’s that Breathless Pause, where you’re waiting, anticipating something amazing. [click to continue…]

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Blocking

There’s no question that Anthony is a leader in the making.  His dad raised him to think for himself and test everything, and fully expects Anthony to outdo him.  And Anthony has accepted the invitation, so to speak.  He’s a visionary, a solution seeker, and has a bias for action, not just talk.

That said, Anthony is young and inexperienced.  At least that’s what he’s told whenever he offers up an idea to Gary the Gatekeeper, Anthony’s boss and longtime mentor.  Anthony does have some experience, and is about to complete his degree in college.  But Gary the Gatekeeper still discredits anything Anthony offers by way of vision for the future.

“When I want to take action,” Anthony says, “I have to go to him and wait a month or more before he even looks at it.  And so I can’t get anything done!”  He adds, “Whenever I offer constructive criticism, Gary acts as though he’s under attack.”  Anthony concludes, “What can you do with a leader who won’t let you grow up?”

It’s a fair question.  How do you respond to a “leader” who spends more time blocking you than leading you?  I should start by saying that such a person is not a leader in the truest sense of the word.  The root nature of mature leadership doesn’t seek just to generate blind, thoughtless followers, but to enflame and empower a new generation of leaders.  And at some point that requires some letting go.

But what happens when the leader has his own growing up to do?  How should Anthony, or any other emerging leader, respond to an insecure control freak who is in a position of power or authority? [click to continue…]

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Start your engines

It’s hard for Alex to force himself to go to work these days. The honeymoon there is way past over, and the only reason he shows up now is a paycheck.  He compares himself to others who have gone way too long without any job, and feels guilty for complaining.  But this work situation is starting to affect his health, his relationships, and his confidence.  He’s been looking, but no other possibilities have presented themselves.

What does Alex do? Does he endure or does he walk away?  Does he press on, or does he “step out in faith” in search of new opportunities?

Tyler and Jennifer have reached a similar decision, not about work, but about the church they attend.  The congregation has been hit hard with splits, neighborhood transition, and pastoral changes.  They have been a part of this fellowship since they married, and have faithfully served.  But they have moved to another neighborhood themselves, and it feels harder and harder to go back to what feels like a sinking ship.

What do they do? Is this a time to be “steadfast, immovable,” and all that? Or is it a time to “mount up with wings as eagles” and fly away?

(Yeah, you can make the Bible say just about anything you want it to in cases like this.)

These kinds of questions are common for any believer… [click to continue…]

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old deflated soccer ball isolated on white

Somewhere near you there’s a frustrated pastor whose tried-and-true methods for leadership or church growth he has spent much of a lifetime developing aren’t working anymore.  He’s too passionate to quit, but too tired to start over.

Somewhere down the road is an organization that once was the hallmark of success because of its ways of doing ministry or business.  The strategy it perfected was brilliant and worked when others failed.  Until it quit working as effectively.

Somewhere nearby a young man is giving up on everything he knew of the Faith as a boy.  Why? Because his boyhood faith doesn’t give him answers to his adult realities and temptations.  The problem is, he doesn’t yet have a man-sized faith to take its place.

In all three of these scenarios, as described in the previous post, somebody’s system was breaking down… And God has them right where He wants them. [click to continue…]

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Ship TurningQuick question:  If you’re going 30 miles per hour and wanted to make a 180-degree turn, how fast could you do it and how much ground would you lose heading the other way?

Quick answer: It all depends on the vehicle.

And that matters more than you may realize.

If you’re on a motorcycle doing 30, a good rider can execute a 180 pretty quickly and only lose a few feet before he darts back in the opposite direction.

On the other hand, if you’re at the con of an aircraft carrier traveling 30 knots per hour, it would take about 72 seconds. And in the process, you’ve lost about half a nautical mile.

Changing direction takes time.  And momentum isn’t always on your side. And because of that your resolve will be tested.

Changing Direction Takes Time

I’ve never seen a hummingbird or bumblebee make a U-turn.  [click to continue…]

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Forgiveness 3

For all the ones who wouldn’t give up on me
When I would have given up on myself…
For the ones who modeled patience
As they gave and gave me the gift of waiting…
Thank you for showing the sweetest of love.

For everyone who saw what I saw before I saw it –
The many changes I need to make in me…
For everyone who showed me grace
When they found me stuck in my own stubbornness…
Thank you for showing the sweetest of love. [click to continue…]

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So somebody’s in charge, but nobody’s actually leading.  There’s a boss, but no vision caster.  You have an authority figure, but no one is harnessing the best efforts of the people in your organization.

In short, you have a leadership vacuum.  What do you do?

Quit?

Lead a mutiny?

Facebook your friends and tell them what a loser you have as a leader?

Try to outmaneuver others politically and manipulate your way to power?

Sit and suffer and hope for the best, while your peers keep howling for leadership?

How about asking God to smite somebody while you’re at it?

These are all approaches used to face situations that have become almost cliché they’re so common:  What do I do when my leader isn’t leading?  Organizations everywhere – businesses, churches, nonprofits, and schools are decrying a lack of leadership.  Somebody needs to make the tough decisions, cast the difficult vision, harness the amazing abilities and energy of the people!  And we seem to be convinced that the answer to the search lies somewhere else.

Maybe it doesn’t.  Maybe the search for someone to step into the leadership ends with you.  Maybe you’re the leader the organization needs, even if people in executive suites don’t necessarily see it yet.  Maybe you’re the catalyst for change, even if you don’t have the sanctioned power to make it so. [click to continue…]

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I spend a lot of time trying to think up new things, or new ways to say the familiar things.  I’m a big believer in singing a new song to the Lord and the exquisite beauty that comes from being completely random every once in a while.

That said, our brains were build to learn by repetition, and our hearts were made to be renewed by reminders.  That’s why the Bible has four gospels, Kings and Chronicles, and the books of Deuteronomy and 1 John. All built on some form of repetition.  That’s why the early church met daily from house to house or had a regular assembly on the first day of the week.  To be reminded.  To be renewed.

I know I accidentally repeat myself plenty of times, but today I thought it may be time for a little deliberate renewal – some purpose-driven (sorry, Rick) reminders of the big stuff – a harvested collection of some of the good stuff.  Not my stuff, but those themes that keep us going and keep going themselves long after we’re gone.  So here goes… [click to continue…]

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As I give thanks to You at the end of the day or greet this day with hope, the one thing lately that I want above all else is to live with a full heart.  The one thing I fear most is passing through what’s left of my days with sterile laughter, superficial comfort, or counterfeit gladness.

I don’t want to say, “I love you” and not mean it.  I don’t want see your handiwork in all its glory and not be moved by it.  I don’t want to chase a life of ease and catch up to an empty heart.

So I come to You, knowing there’s no one who can fill my life with that kind of love, or free my soul from that kind of passionless bondage, like You do.  And I pray that just as the morning sun fills the earth with light even on a cloudy day like today, that You would do what only You can do: [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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