Sep 22, 2011

Leadership: The Difference Between Leading People to Life and Leading People to Death

Tom Landry, the late great coach of the Dallas Cowboys said, "Leadership is getting someone to do what they don't want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve."

Look at that phrase. There's a couple of very important things to see.
  • First, leaders get people to do what they don't want to do. That's why leaders are needed. If everyone did only what they wanted to do, we would never change, and we would never corporately change for the better.
  • The second part is even more important. Leaders get people to do what they don't want to do, in order to help them achieve what they want to achieve.
This is what the Bible calls spurring or provoking one another to good deeds.

Notice that the Bible did not say spear each other to death. 

All too often, a leader so bent on vision that he sees people as tools to accomplish his vision can spear and provoke their people to burnout, disillusionment, and eventual death.

What is the primary difference between spurring and provoking others to do and become what they want to become versus spearing people to death?

Sep 16, 2011

A Church That Actually Plans on Having New People Showing Up

Last night I was at a presbytery meeting.

One of the things we always do at presbytery meetings is to worship together. I love worship. The sermon was good and the band was ok.

But the thing that really weirded me out was what happened at the end the service. The choir members rushed into the sanctuary and then stood all over the sanctuary and started singing. Some of the choir members were literally a foot or two away from me. That's a little too close for someone I don't know to be singing and dancing while staring at me.

Now, I think for most church-going folk, they thought this was pretty swell.

I thought it was kind of strange.

Sep 15, 2011

Longing for the Church to be Like Starbucks...

Image borrowed from
I love Starbucks.

I mean it.

I'm not sure what it is about Starbucks but I find that I can think more creatively and clearly there than pretty much anywhere else on planet earth.

When things get hectic and my mind gets cluttered, I long to take my Bible, a journal, and my Kindle and head out to a Starbucks.

Why is that? What is it about Starbucks that makes this happen?

I am intrigued by this longing for Starbucks thing...

Sep 14, 2011

America, We Must Do Better

The latest Census Bureau report released last Tuesday states that 46.2 million Americans are impoverished. The recent recession and its aftermath have left nearly one in six Americans living below the poverty line, defined as an annual income of $22,314 for a family of four.

Friends, listen. It doesn't matter whether you are a democrat, republican, or an independent. If you are American, this is simply unacceptable. 

The economic and tax policies of our country must change. There has to be a better way of being American than what we have seen in recent history.

Sep 6, 2011

Reflections from the Kremlin Museum...Confessions

Had the chance to visit the Kremlin Museum and the Kremlin Armory today in Moscow, Russia. The Kremlin Armory Museum holds Russia's most complete collection of the jewels and the wealth of the Russian monarchs, and one of the world's greatest collection of crown jewels.

The endless array of the opulent display of gold, silver, precious stones, crowns, thrones, etc. is truly dizzying. 

The collection at the Kremlin Armory Museum is only a small display of the luxury and the wealth of the Czars. The Russian monarchs had multiple enormous grand palaces for summer, winter, for the king, for the queen, etc.

Instead of being impressed by all the wealth and luxury of the Czars, I found the display quite disturbing and depressing.

Sep 4, 2011

Days 1 and 2 in Moscow

An Orthodox Church in Kolomna Russia
Made it to Moscow after a long flight from Seattle-Chicago-Helsinki-Moscow.

Hanging out with Pastor Robson from Brazil
It was 12:15pm when I arrived so I had a full day ahead of me. The toughest thing about making a trip like this is the jet lag. It was just mid day but my body was telling me it was time to go to bed. But I fought against the urge to nap and went about the day.

It's good to reconnect with friends and Moscow did not disappoint. Not only was I able to reconnect with the missionaries and staff at the Moscow Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Pastor Robson from Brazil also made the trip to Moscow to teach.

Sep 1, 2011

Hungry for Reflection

It's been a busy month...

  • Chicago - Leadership Summit
  • Central Oregon Coast and Vancouver, Canada - Vacation with family
  • Minneapolis - Fellowship of Presbyterians Gathering
  • and now, preparing to leave for Russia tomorrow morning
But more than being busy, God has been teaching me, revealing leadership truths to me, and challenging me in such ways that I feel like I've been trying to take a drink from a fire hose.

I am looking forward to some time in Russia to be alone so I can reflect and process what God has been showing me.

That's the thing about God's truths - they are not only for knowledge, but ultimately for transformation.