10 Questions a Leader Must Ask

I’ve been reading Be a People Person by John Maxwell. Chapter 6 is titled, “How to be a person people respect.” In this chapter, he asks 10 questions a leader need to ask himself/herself. I think that the questions are important for all of us to ask, so I share these with you here.

  1. Is my personal walk with God up to date?

“What have you been learning recently from the Lord?” What is God teaching you today?

“Sin will keep us from the Word or the Word will keep us from sin.”

 

  1. Am I keeping my priorities straight?

Priorities have a tendency to sneak out of position when we’re not paying attention.

 

  1. Am I asking myself the difficult questions?

– Why am I doing this?

– How should it be done?

– When should I do it?

 

  1. Am I accountable to someone in authority over my life?

Write out “5 Questions I hope no one ever asks me.” List four questions that address your weaknesses, and then enlist someone to help keep you accountable in these areas. The 5th question is, “Have I lied about any of the previous 4 questions, or left anything out?”

Authority minus accountability equals a very dangerous situation.

 

  1. Am I sensitive to what God is saying to the Body of Christ?

Are you sensitive to the fact that God speaks to others, too?

Am I a listening leader or a lording leader?

 

  1. Am I overly concerned with image building?

Is it about me or God?

 

  1. Am I overly impressed by signs and wonders?

More than seeking revival, we need to seek God. If we pursue revival for revival’s sake, we’re seeking after secondary results. Luke 10:17-20: “do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

 

  1. Am I a loner in my service to the Lord?

It’s never healthy to be a lone ranger.

 

  1. Am I aware of my weaknesses?

To be forewarned is to be forearmed! Am I honest about my weaknesses? Most of us know our deficiencies, but we have a tendency to try to cover them.

 

  1. Is my commitment constantly before me?

The world continually thrusts opportunities at us that would distract us from God’s call.

 

These 10 questions are very convicting for me; some more than others. What question hits closest to home for you?

Be in the Moment

A couple weekends ago I got to take my son to his first home Seattle Seahawks game. (Go Hawks!) It was a playoff game against the Detroit Lions, which we won handily. It was a great birthday present for me! He had never been to a home game, and it was always something I looked forward to sharing with him.

We got to the stadium hours early to participate in the early events provided for fans, and it was a great time together.

The joy we shared together that day is something that I’ll always treasure. I felt like it was sort of a rite of passage for him, being a Seahawks fan living in Kansas, getting to go on this incredible trip. And it got me thinking about other rites of passage that will come down the line.

Logan is 10 years old now, and sooner than I’m ready for he will be going to middle school, learning how to drive, graduating high school, going to college, and starting his life outside our home. As I think about those things, I’m flooded with emotion. I’m excited for him to be able to do all these things that have the potential for such joy, though I’m not looking forward to losing what we have now. But for anything to grow, there has to be change, and part of that change is loss. That’s the part of change we don’t like, but it is inevitable.

I will always cherish the time we have now, even in those moments that are not so picturesque. I’m committed to living in the moment, not looking too far ahead or behind, but really being there with him, my daughter, my wife, my friends, and my family. Learning to just “be” has not been easy for me. My mind often wants to race on ahead, but I’m reminded to enjoy the present and not be so easily distracted by what could have been or what could be.

I’m only going to have one chance to be there for my kids. I’m only going to have one short season of life to play hide-and-seek, Barbies, Madden, and catch. I will only get to coach my kids’ soccer teams for so long. It will be only a matter of time until I won’t be asked to brush my daughter’s hair, tuck them in at night, or tell them bedtime stories. But I can’t think too much about those future losses, because if I do, I’ll miss today. And today is something I cannot get back tomorrow.

Peace in the Midst of Unrest

Let’s just be honest. Today I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Yes this week is a busy week, but today’s overwhelmed feeling feels different. I don’t know why.

At the Ministerial Alliance meeting yesterday, one of the activities we did was to draw a clear rock out of a bowl. The clear rock was to remind of us our baptism and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. On the rocks were the Fruit of the Spirit. The instructions were to either draw a rock and see what the Lord brought you, or find a rock with the word you wanted. As you might have guessed, I just reached in.

The rock I got was “peace.”

I smiled to myself when I saw what word I had drawn, because honestly that’s not how I’ve been feeling as of late. Hurried and busy would be a couple of good words. During this past weekend excited and joyful would be on the list. But peace? No way.

What is it about that word that makes me revolt against it so strongly? It’s as if it’s a foreign word with little relevance to my life right now. On my personal spiritual retreat, the words I came away with were, “I will fight.” And yet, the fruit of the Spirit is peace.

I did a quick word study for “peace,” as found in Galatians 5’s list of the Fruit of the Spirit. Strong’s says that peace is “Particularly in a single sense, the opposite of war and dissension. Among individuals, peace, harmony. Metaphorically peace of mind, tranquility, arising from reconciliation with God and a sense of a divine favor.”

Looking at that last sentence, I wonder if I have “peace of mind arising from reconciliation with God and a sense of divine favor”? I certainly have been reconciled with God through my faith in Jesus, but what about the “sense of divine favor”? Do I really sense a divine favor?

If I stop and look at it, certainly I do. But is that what I’m focusing on most of the time? No. And there it is. That’s the reason I don’t feel at peace. I am focusing on the wrong things. Instead of focusing on the craziness of life, I need to focus on two things.

First, I need to focus on the fact that I am reconciled to Christ through my faith and baptism in Him. Second, I need to recognize all of the blessings that God has given me. I need to be thankful for my family, my friends, my church, and most of all, the salvation given to me at Calvary (see point 1!). If I can remain in a state of gratitude for what God has blessed me with, and be reminded that God has always been there for me in my times of need, that will help me remember that he will be here in my current time of need, frustration, and busyness.

So my friends, I wish you peace.

“You are Verified!”

I got a spam email today and the subject line was “You are verified!” That got me really excited. Not for the promise of making thousands of dollars a day that was contained in the email, but rather for the fact that the “you are verified” promise is one that I needed from God at just that moment.

The calling of a Christ-follower is difficult. There are many road blocks and pitfalls along the way. And at times, even those of us in vocational ministry, begin to question God’s timing, methods, and selection. “You are verified” reminds me that I have been chosen by God and given a specific calling that no one else on earth has been given. I have been called to a specific place to a specific people and for a specific purpose. I may not recognize all of that at every moment, but I trust that to be the case.

I am a verified servant of the King and as long as I seek to answer the call that God has placed on my heart, I will be doing the right thing. Hard times will come; times of questioning will come; but through it all I have confidence in Christ’s call – my verification – on my heart and life.

Lord, Teach Me to Pray (My Prayer Journey, Part 1)

As I sit this morning in a local coffee shop, I am reading my prayer devotional (Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson), and I’m struck by one particular story.

A grandfather was walking by his granddaughter’s room one evening and he hears her praying, “Dear Lord, a, b, c, d, e, f, g…” and so on, all the way to “z. Amen.”

He asks her why she prayed the alphabet, and she answers simply, “Grandpa, I didn’t know what to pray for, so I prayed all the letters and let God put them together.”

That story strikes me more and more as I consider it.

One of the things that Batterson encourages you to do is make a prayer list of prayers to circle. Circling a prayer simply means that you are going to continue to pray for those things that the Lord impresses upon your heart, and those things that are important to you.

I have quite the list of prayers that I am circling. They are all written, as I am much more comfortable with the written word that my somewhat random and rambling prayers. But the story of the “alphabet prayer” touched me. Would I ever have the courage to pray like that?

You may be thinking that courage is not the right word, but in many ways it is. You see, at least at some level, I have believed that there are “rules” for prayer. It sounds strange to write that and admit it. If someone were to ask me about the rules of prayer, I would say that the only rule is that you’re genuine. That is, believe what you’re saying and be honest with God. The specific words you use are not as important as your heart.

Yet I consider my own prayer life, I see that at some level I have been following “rules.” Where these rules came from is a subject for another time, but suffice it to say, I want to change that.

I was with a family over these past few weeks who was grieving the loss of their mother. She was ill and admitted to hospice. As a pastor, I try to provide God’s comfort in those times. But I also pray. And that part has always been awkward for me. I don’t want to pray the wrong thing or offend someone or put too much of the blame/responsibility on God. It can be quite stressful for me, the arguments going on in my head.

In this particular case, however, the family members also prayed. And one person in particular *prayed*. I was in awe of her prayers. I was listening to someone who had a deep relationship with God that was intimate and powerful. And I want that. But I don’t know how. I don’t know how to pray like that.

I’ve read many good books on prayer. I’ve tried praying in different ways. But I don’t believe that I’ve actually prayed, “Lord, teach me to pray.” That simple prayer hit me like a ton of bricks. The disciples didn’t ask Jesus how to preach, they asked him how to pray. I need to do the same thing.

So I’m beginning a prayer-learning journey. And it begins in Genesis. I found a list of “All the Prayers in the Bible” by Herbert Lockyer. I’m going to read and study them. And I started today with the first one. My hope is that as I do this, I will learn from the fathers and mothers of our faith, those found in the pages of Inspired Scripture, and that I would be transformed by the Word of God. I’ll post at least a few of these as I go, and I hope that they can be an encouragement to you as I go.

Lord, teach me to pray.