Leadership

An Enthusiasm Unknown To Mankind

I am a football junkie. I absolutely love watching it, playing it, and talking about it. I suppose one of the things I love the most is the passion that exudes from so many of the participants.

One of my favorite coaches in the NFL is Jim Harbaugh. He rubs some people the wrong way because he is a little over the top at times. He’s known to pound on his quarterback’s chest, rant incessantly at officials and even give extremely aggressive handshake/ backslaps to opposing coaches.

He’s been cited saying they do things with, “An enthusiasm unknown to mankind!” I absolutely love that phrase.

I believe that we would do well to live our lives like this, especially as followers of Jesus. When you think about it, we have so much to be enthusiastic about. We’ve been given so much, so many opportunities to reflect the God we love in the world we live in. If Jim Harbaugh can be that excited about A GAME, then how much more passionate should we be about the grace-filled lives we get to live?

There is an amazing verse that gives us some insight into this. I Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” That is our motivation. We get to be enthusiastic about everything we do because we are doing it for the God who has done so much for us.

It’s time to get enthusiastic!

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Wronglandia

Being wrong stinks. I would know, as I spend much time in Wronglandia. The same goes for coming up short, failing or goofing up. Many names, but you get the idea.

One of my favorite basketball players gives me some insight as to how to respond to being wrong. When you mess up, come up short, or just plain blow it the greatest step in moving past the ordeal is to admit your fault and own it. Easy to say, right?

The aforementioned basketball player (I’ll leave him nameless to avoid endless disputes about who is the greatest of all time, this generation, etc) recently had a game in which he was significantly deficient. He made some bad plays that could have cost his team the game. Fortunately, for me anyways, the team pulled together and squeaked out the victory. In his post-game interview the first thing he did was admit his wrongs. I like that.

I know I can learn something from his humility. Rather than throwing other people under the bus, even if they deserve it, I can own my part of the problem. Instead of playing it off as if it isn’t that big of a deal I could confront it so that all the people involved can truly move on from the situation.

Just my two cents. However, I suspect that I’m not the only frequent visitor to Wronglandia, and the best mode of transportation out seems to be laying down your pride, licking your wounds and getting over it.

I’m Weak… And That’s OK

So it never fails that when I think that I do a terrible job preaching on Sunday, I get more compliments and “I needed thats” than any other time. Conversely, when I think I do pretty good (you never think you do THAT good if you have an ounce of honesty in your body) people never really say anything.

Maybe they recognize the struggle and are just being cordial? Maybe they are just throwin’ me a bone? But I have a suspicion there is more going on. I think about 2 Corinthians 12:9 where it says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”I believe that even in what I perceive as a failure or poor “performance”, God sees as an opportunity to remind me that it’s not about me. This is His deal, His church and we are His people.

Though our circumstances may differ, the principle remains the same. Whatever areas that you feel deficient in are areas for God to show His gracious strength in and through you. After all, just like the church is not mine, our lives are not our own. They are His, and He can and does choose to use our weakness and foolishness to show His strength and wisdom.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m weak… and I suppose that’s a good thing.

Don’t Be a Dog

Philippians 2 says to “watch out for dogs”. I was thinking about this in my oversimplified cranium and had a thought.

We’ve all had the unfortunate privilege of experiencing dogs do some unusual things. One of those things is sniffing each other rear ends. This nasty display got me to thinking about Paul’s warning in Philippians.

This is my strange thought: Don’t go sniffing people looking for something that stinks. Any yahoo can find faults in other people. Rather than sniffing out their flaws we should find the good in each other to celebrate.

Watch out for the people that are always critical and cynical. Set the tenor of your relationships by having a proper, God-centered approach. We are all God’s creation so there is without question something that you can celebrate about every person.

Don’t be a dog!  

Jimmy’s and Joe’s

I heard a quote last week that was cheesy, but insightful: 

“It’s not about X’s and O’s. It’s about Jimmy’s and Joe’s.”

If you know me, then you know that quote was used in a sports-related context. However, it very much carries over to our efforts as a church. Let me explain. 

The intent of the quote is that what you do isn’t as important as who you do it with. Of course, in a sport this seems obvious. You can have a great system, but if you don’t have the right people to execute the plan then you’re not going to be effective. 

What excites me about this idea is that I’m convinced that we have the right Jimmy’s and Joe’s on our team. God has been so precise in sending exactly what we need as far as skills, talents and personnel.

Sure, I feel like we have a great plan as a church. We have a clear mission to lead people to live and move and have their being in Jesus Christ. But even more important than that, we have the right people to carry out that directive! 

Whippersnappers!

So I am coming upon my 30th birthday. In a little over a month, I will have successfully survived three decades in spite of my accident-prone self.

Every time that I tell someone that I am a pastor (of what I consider the greatest church in the world) I get funny looks. I understand. I used to think that you had to be at least 40 to be a “real” pastor. But that’s just not how God wrote the script for me.

I think about the scripture in 1 Timothy 4:12 that says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Sure, there are people that are older than I am that may be more qualified than I am. They may have more life experience than I do. Maybe they have been there and done that, and since history tends to repeat itself they would know what to do the next time. That doesn’t mean that I sit on the sideline and defer my responsibility and calling to somebody else.

This isn’t really limited to “youth”. I think the tendency of older people is to want to defer to someone who is younger and has more energy. With this system of everybody deferring and nobody doing, the world will be robbed of all that God has created you to offer.

Great things can be accomplished in your life regardless of your age. Abraham became the father of a new, great nation in his nineties. The bulk of the disciples were teenagers. Jesus began his public ministry at 30. Saul became king of Israel at 30. Even more impressive, he enlisted his teenage son Jonathan to lead one of his armies. A teenager leading an army! Scary, but spectacular.

The bottom line is this: Don’t let your age, young or “distinguished”, distract you from the work that God has given you to do. 

For What It’s Worth…

When we get so caught up in what we’re doing, we have tendency to forget that we are all a part of the same team, working toward the same goal.

I believe that every leader has a propensity to do this and we have to fight against it with everything in us. Failure to do so creates “black-eyes” for the capital “C” church, not just our own little faction or denomination. 

Here is how Paul addressed this in 1 Corinthians 6: 

1 If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother goes to law against another–and this in front of unbelievers! 7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.

I think the take away from what Paul is saying can be summed up like this: What a shame! And this in front of unbelievers!

When we allow pride to dictate our decisions and unforgiveness to reign unbridled in our lives, we make really poor decisions for the church as a whole. Sure, you may have your way, or your little group may benefit, but WE lose. And that seems to be contrary to everything that you find in the Bible.

Those are just my thoughts, for what they may be worth.