Go Big or Go Home

lion-chaser

 

There will never be a “perfect” time but there will always be a right time to dare greatly and go after the dream in your heart. That time is now. Live a life of 100x and believe in something so grand that it will take God’s hand of favor and intervention to make it happen. There is nothing too big for God. In fact, he will surpass our wildest and biggest imaginations. I believe God is pleased with our God-sized dreams. My dad used to say to me “go big or go home!” Friends…I’m telling you the same. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

From Mark Batterson’s “Chase the Lion”

“The Lion Chaser’s Manifesto”

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.

Run to the roar.

Set God-sized goals.

Pursue God-ordained passions.

Go after a dream that’s destined to fail unless God intervenes.

Start pointing out problems, become part of the solution.

Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.

Face your fears.

Fight for your dreams.

Grab opportunity by the mane and don’t let go.

Live like today is the first day and last day of your life.

Burn sinful bridges.

Blaze new trails.

Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands.

Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God.

Don’t try to be who you aren’t.

Be yourself.

Laugh at yourself.

Dare to fail.

Dare to dream.

Dare to be different.

Chase the Lion!

 

 

Wounded Leadership

It hurts me to to see recent revelations of corruption, immorality, betrayal, or moral failures in leaders we trust and follow. Yet, what seems to pain me more is the slogan for these turbulent times that our culture thinks, “But everybody does it!” We could very well be NUMB to the idea that pastors who fall, government leaders who deal with corruption, etc. is common, and that trust should be replaced with cynicism (Bennis & Goldsmith).

wounded-leader

How should we respond to such moral failures in our culture? Should we accept it as norm and give in to pessimism? Or should we believe that there are ways to bring reconciliation and redemption back to our wounded leaders? 

We adore and respect people who are transformational leaders. Meaning, they are able to cast a vision so daunting, yet exciting, that they bring inspiration to make change happen. Their vision and dreams make these leaders seem way before their time. Martin Luther King and Winston Churchill are just two examples of leaders who spoke and cast great visions for the state of their people. We also honor leaders that we encounter in our everyday lives. People such as our pastors, our teachers, our managers, our coaches, our parents, and even our next door neighbors; they have leadership qualities that draws us closer to know more.

However, we forget that these individuals are not only leaders, but human beings like you and I. When they lead us in transformation from hurts, brokenness, suffering, stagnancy, and so on, they also are dealing with the same issues. Leaders are so intent on pouring and pouring and pouring into other people that they forget they are wounded as well, that we are wounded, and as leaders we need to be led and held accountable too.

Henry Nouwen, a theologian and minister, coined the term “Wounded Healer” for leaders in any aspect of ministry. He speaks to leaders of their church and community about a willingness to go beyond the professional role and leave themselves open as fellow human beings with the same wounds and suffering – in the image of Christ. In other words, we must link transparency and trust and heal from our own wounds. If we are not careful as leaders to be transparent and find accountability and mentors of our own, we will lead from a distance and evoke a hurt on our people that is not their burden to carry. If we allow it long enough, we could easily be an example of another moral failure, or corruption, or scandal.

Who is holding you accountable? Who is leading you?

Leadership is hard work and responsibility. It’s hard because we have to work on ourselves first. Then we have a responsibility to lead a team, a family, or a congregation while we are healed. We don’t have to have it altogether. In fact, perfection disqualifies you from leadership. Growth is the key. If we are not seeking healing of our own, we cannot fully lead in healing others. If we are not dealing with trust issues of our own, we cannot fully trust those that follow us. If we do not lead from transparency, we will lose so many people (especially millennials) to the pessismistic attitude that “no one really cares.”

So if you’re wondering what to do next if you are a wounded leader who feels isolated and alone, or a follower trying to understand why they are frustrated and burdened under the leadership of someone; two practical thoughts come to mind:

  • As a leader, you need a leader! – What are the struggles you are dealing with? Find someone who “walks the walk” in that area that can help you! It takes courage to lead others. It takes even more courage to find help and face your own battles. That’s where true leadership takes place; with self. Let’s be faithful in our leadership by being consistent and always holding a mirror to our face and evaluating ourselves. Get a counselor. Find a mentor. Get coached. Have a prayer partner. Whomever you need, find them.
  • Pray for your leaders! – Recognize that leaders are battling and waging wars that we often do not see. We need to protect them and cover them in prayer. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” Key word “WE” will live peaceful lives. If you are burdened under a leader who is two hard to bear…the best thing you can do for you is pray.

I will close with this quote from Pastor Larry Stockstill from his book, “The Remnant.” Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

“Mentoring, or fathering, is a basic human need, and no Christian is exempt from it. Jesus Himself needed the affirming word from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11, NIV)…Affirmation, however, is not optional, but totally necessary, for any person to function correctly.”

 

The 5 Levels of Leadership

The next few posts will focus on the topic of leadership and different areas regarding how to become a better leader. The wealth of knowledge on the subject of leadership is endless and the guru himself, John C. Maxwell, probably produced 80% of it! That may be an exaggeration, but you get the point. My purpose is not only to share wisdom on how to become a better leader but also stir you to ask these questions: How do you define yourself as a leader? How do you lead? How do you follow? How do you define leadership? What’s missing in the leadership discussion? Anna Quindlen, novelist, essayist, said it like this:

The choice is ours at each moment and at every moment to learn the lessons of leadership. Unfortunately, we tend to associate learning new skills with youth, but in fact, the possibility of leading is available throughout our lifetimes; with every choice we make, we take charge of our lives. It is never too late to discover our unique voice as a leader.

So I invite you to go on an in depth study of how to lead better and more effective than before. Sometimes we do not blossom in our gifts till later in our lives, but that does not mean we stop watering the seed and shining light on our potential. We will start out with the foundational piece from John Maxwell’s five levels of Leadership. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

5-levels-of-leadership1
John C. Maxwell’s Five Levels of Leadership
  • LEVEL 1 (POSITIONAL LEVEL) – Key Word “Rights.” People at this level follow you because they have to. It is the beginning of all leadership. The position does not make you a leader but the leader can make the most out of the position. The upside is that this is the place where we shape and define our leadership. The downside is that the people will give you their least amount of effort at this level.
  • LEVEL 2 (PERMISSION LEVEL) – Key Word “Relationships.” People follow you becasuse they want to. Now you have connected with your people and relationships are established. Relationship with people is the foundation of leadership. Leadership is influence and you cannot influence those that you antagonize. If you’re going to grow as a leader, you’re going to have to grow beyond your title. A relational leader are good at three things:
    • 1) they listen well
    • 2) they observe well
    • 3) they are learners.
  • LEVEL 3 (PRODUCTION LEVEL) – Key Word “Results.” This is the level you start to bring home the bacon. You are effective and you produce results. You produce by example. People do what they see and far too many leaders want to take people where they have not been themselves. You want to be a tour guide as a leader and show them where you have been. In this level, your leadership gains credibility. You attract people that are productive because you attract what you are, not what you want. Momentum is a leader’s best friend. Leaders create momentum, managers solves problems. Yet, a leader knows that if they can generate momentum, 80% of their problems will be solved.
  • LEVEL 4 (PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT) – Key Word “Reproduction.” You grow a company by growing people. When you grow them, you grow their capacity, which increases what you can do and accomplish. Three thoughts on developing people:
    • 1) Recruitment – 80% of success of equipping people happens at the front door, who comes in. Unless you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, you won’t know when you see it.
    • 2) Positioning – Successful people find their strength zone, their niche, and their sweet spot. Successful leaders discover what other people are good at.
    • 3) Equipping – it’s about compounding. You are not equipping until you see who you mentored is now teaching and equipping another.
  • LEVEL 5 (PINNACLE LEVEL) – Key Word “Respect.” This is when people follow you because of who you are and what you have done in the field. There is a great awe and reverance for your craft. This will usually take a long time to reach. The point is that leadership is always ongoing and a learning process that takes a long time.

 

So What’s In Your Box?

This was not just another message. This was a gut wrenching, life- changing, and heart searching time in the presence of God. I went to my young adult service at my church last night and Pastor Jeanne Mayo left us with a question that I wonder why many of us, including myself, don’t ponder more?

WHAT’S IN YOUR BOX?

Box1

You see there is a gap between what I see and where I hopefully want to be. It is a gap of potential and its actualization. The problem is that most of us, as humans lives far within the limits, far below the maximum, and behaves below the optimum (Duckworth). I don’t want to be the one that fails to maximize all that God has given me. I hope you don’t want to be that person either. So how do we live a life of purpose?

Let’s go a littel deeper. Jeanne Mayo unpacked this quite beautifully. Purpose is not your paycheck. Purpose is not your title. Purpose is not about you. If you’re not careful, if your purpose is not bigger than you, you can easily become your own purpose. Your focus can be all about you and your glory; your career; your ambition.

“A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, what car I drove, or where I lived. Rather, the only thing that will matter is the DIFFERENCE I MADE IN ANOTHER PERSON’S LIFE.” ~ Jeanne Mayo

To live a life of purpose is to constantly check and evaluate what’s in your box.Let me explain as best as I can through questions that were asked of me:

  • What do I wish to be remembered for when I die? 
    • Without a clear vision of your future, you’ll invariably become a boring repetition of your past.
  • Realizing that God has wired me up to ENJOY His purpose and destiny for my life…What do I enjoy doing so much that I would still want to spend time doing it WITHOUT Financial pay?
    • Chances are…you may never get paid for doing it…at least, not down here on earth. But the retirement plan in eternity is pretty staggering!
  • How can I tweak my unglammourous NOW to add fulfilling layers of eternal purpose to it?
    • It’s not WHAT your do that makes your work sacred. But it’s WHY you do it.
  • What specific steps do I need to take in the next month (and over the next year) to begin test driving some possible over-arching Purposes in my life?
    • This will usually involve changes in you Time Priorities. “First things first..and last things not at all.” Drucker

 

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So…WHAT’S IN YOUR BOX? Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

The Hidden Places Where God Develops You

This book probably couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Founder of Jesus Culture and Pastor of Jesus Culture Sacramento, Banning Liebscher, wrote his first book titled “Rooted: The Hidden Places Where God Develops You.” It spoke to my heart and I believe it can also speak to yours.

For those of you who believe that they were born to make an impact in this world and feel it deep down in their bones…this book is for you.

For those of you who have a hunger to be great and meaningful change keeps you up at night…this book is for you.

Here’s the thing…we must allow God to establish a root system and foundation in our lives so that what God develops through us will produce fruit that remains. Here are some great nuggets I picked up from reading this book. Enjoy this Appetizer! Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

Rooted

  • Everyone champions accomplishment, but not many people champion the journey. ~ Kelly Clark, Olympic medalist
  • Anybody can start a race. Finishers are impressive.
  • Unfortunately, many believers today don’t live with forty years in mind, let alone generations, or eternity.
  • Neither appearances nor short-term success impress God.
  • God always develops us before He develops our vision.
  • We’ll never thrive in the process unless we accept the place where God put us, because that is the only place He will work with us.
  • Are you more passionate about pursuing a dream or about following Jesus?
  • Do what’s in front of you, and do it well.
  • You must understand that getting out of sync with the timing of God’s seasons puts you in danger. Don’t rush.
  • If you’re not there, it’s because He doesn’t want you there yet.
  • We can trust Him with the deep things of our hearts because they are also the deep things of His heart for us.
  • God is not interested in your comfort; He is interested in your growth.
  • It’s not my responsibility to build or maintain what God opens. It’s my responsibility to follow Jesus.
  • So many people are driven by the need to prove themselves. Rest in the fact that God chose you and you have nothing to prove.
  • There are many areas where God develops your root system, but none is more important than going deep in the Word of God. The Bible Reveals.
  • Perfection is not a requirement to lead. Growth, however, is.
  • Everything you will ever need is found in the presence of God. Everything in your life must be birthed from the revelation of His love for you.
  • There is an anointing that is found only in one place. If you want to receive, you have to separate yourself to the inner room of prayer.
  • You are called to greatness. But greatness looks different than you think. If you really want to be great, here’s how you do it: become the least.
  • Love looks like serving.
  • Any increased blessing in your life is so that you can better serve others.
  • The most joyful people I know are also the greatest servants I know.
  • You were never meant to live life alone. You were meant to live in community. Isolation is a killer.
  • We do get hurt in community. But we also get healed in community. Community is where we grow. We cannot live without it.
  • You don’t need more teaching; you just need the courage to do what God has called you to do.

From Pain to Purpose

So what is the #1 thing that separates GOOD leaders from GREAT leaders?

“All the great leadership journals and books echo one consistent characteristic: Great leaders are fiercely determined to ASSIGN PURPOSE to their PAIN.” ~ Jeanne Mayo

Now, I certainly don’t have decades of experience in leadership, but I do know this to be true in my own life. Just like everything else in life, we have a CHOICE in how we look at pain. Let me repeat, we have a choice in how we look at pain….not if we will ever have pain. The caves, valleys, and “failures” will come. The difference is how we behave in those moments.

I was listening to a podcast earlier yesterday that featured author and speaker Lysa Terkeurst. She said something that was so amazing, I couldn’t hold back in sharing. “Some of the things in your life that causes you the greatest pain are actually the greatest potential to help other people. If you want to be the successful entrepreneur, then you learn how to help people.”

Pain is the thing that makes you better.

Pain pushes you into purpose.

Pain is the thing that can save you from mediocrity.

Pain will make you good enough, but pain and passion together will make you great.

Pain is a gift.

Know that pain is temporary.

So I want to encourage you. My prayer is that you use pain in your life to propel you forward rather than wallowing in distress and defeat. If you don’t assign purpose, then you will only look back at the PAIN OF REGRET. Below is the link to the post I wrote about the book “Leadership Pain.” Powerful message that speaks on how you’ll only grow to the threshold of your pain. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

Beauty and the Beast of Leadership Pain

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Be Strong and COURAGEOUS

On your mark….Get Set….

Stop Sign

We know what to do. We know the words. We’re supposed to Go. Then why are so many of us not moving, looking at the stop signs in our own lives? The emotion of fear will often grip you in a place where you become paralyzed to move or make any decision. Fear can be powerful…if you let it be. You can possibly be in a place where you think you are not dealing with fear, but don’t be deceived; fear comes in many forms and is different to every person. What scares a two-year old is not what scares a twenty year old. What frightens a female college student, is not what frightens a female single mother with bills to pay. What scares a white man, is not what scares a black man…

It takes courage to do anything in our lives…everyday. Think about it. It took courage for you to stop and read this blog post. You’re probably saying, “No, it just took a click of the button and a few seconds of my time.” I disagree. Anything we do is motivated out of courage which is rooted in faith and love OR fear which is rooted in insecurity and doubt.

For the past month I have been on a fearless faith journey, working with over 200 kids in a camp as the director. The short ten week span certainly tested my leadership and stamina in ways I never imagined but it taught me lessons about Courage that I don’t think I could have got anywhere else. It certainly takes courage to lead. Without it, you’ll be stopped dead in your tracks with followers doing the same and you don’t want that!

What I have discovered is that the enemy will grip you with fear to stop your forward movement in the destiny and purpose God has given you. Instead of recognizing that you’re stopped and not focused on your own race, you begin to take notice of other people and the race they are running. Being stopped gives you the opportunity to gaze. You begin to compare and compete. You begin to complain and criticize. You begin to crush your own spirit and cancel your own race because you’re so focused on what everyone else is doing that you can’t see you are stuck in fear.

Who’s race are you running? Your own or someone else’s?

We live in a society where it’s so easy to see what other people are doing, especially with social media. Be careful, comparison is the #1 destroyer of destiny. But I want to encourage you, as well as myself, to assess where you are and check to see if you are moving forward in your own race or constantly seeing who you can compete with. When God told Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt towards the Red Sea, they were moving forward in their purpose. Then they came to a stop and saw Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s army chasing after them and fear gripped the people.

“Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’ Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.” Exodus 14: 13-15

“Tell the Israelites to MOVE ON…”

As leaders, we need courage to lead and move on even when in the natural there seems no way out. But God is faithful and when we give what we have to the Lord, He will honor that and do wonders before your eyes. The camp I worked at embraced five pillars of Courage that I want to share with you. These are certainly not all the ways in which we need courage but it’s a good foundation to start on. I understand that there is so much hurt and brokenness in our country right now dealing with shootings, racism, politics, etc…Leaders, if we are going to continue the race that God has given us, we must have Courage to do these things:

  • Courage to Show Up – Sometimes just showing up is all you need to know what the next step is. Fear of the unknown, new surroundings, rejections, or even uncomfortable situations will block you from the blessing God has for you when all you have to do is muster enough faith to show up and lead.
  • Courage to Trust – If you have problems trusting, then it is because you have not dealt with the consequences of broken trust. We are all flawed human beings and there are times we mess up. However, as leaders, we must lead the way in bridging gaps in our homes, teams, communities, and amongst ethnicities to trust again.
  • Courage to Forgive – It’s not easy to forgive such hatred and violence in our world. In fact, it is impossible on our own. Only through the strength and forgiveness of our Father in Heaven in our own lives can we see the light to forgive others. Again, who’s race are you running? When your eyes are on Jesus, the hurt no longer becomes all about you. If we as leaders do not forgive, those who follow won’t either.
  • Courage to Change – Adaptation to change starts from the inside then moves out. Change is inevitable; it’s just a matter if we will embrace and move forward in positive perspective or be stopped by negative criticism. If we ever expect this nation, our community, or our family to change, we as leaders must initiate it in our actions and our words.
  • Courage to Connect – Everyone can communicate. Few connect. John Maxwell’s words couldn’t be more true. The best leaders know how to move through people’s walls, boundaries, and fears to connect with them on the deepest level and establish trust. We need to connect more than ever in our nation. Will you as a leader have the courage to connect?

Be Blessed. Be Revealed.