Tuesday, November 18, 2014

4 Things You Can't Do...

Recently, we invited a personal trainer to our EQUIP night to talk to our leaders around the theme of 'pursuing a passion for life.'  While speaking about health and nutrition he quoted the well known saying in the fitness industry:

"You can't out-train a bad diet"

This saying resonated strongly with me as I am currently readjusting some lifestyle habits that have allowed bad diet to sabotage my exercise routine.  As a keen cyclist I have lulled myself into a false sense of security to think that the number of kilometres I ride each week will balance out some unhealthy eating habits that have crept back into my lifestyle.  The problem is the kilojoules have exceeded the kilometres and you don't need to be a fitness expert to figure out the consequences.

Interestingly enough, while out riding my bike, I have been thinking a lot about the broader application of the principle contained within this saying to other areas of life...

"You can't out-perform a wrong attitude"

Leadership involves many actions, which are all in vain if accompanied by a wrong attitude.  Our activity reflects what we do, but our attitude reflects who we are.  Both our actions and attitude need to be in harmony to have maximum impact and influence.  The defining difference between two organisations, businesses, employees or volunteers who perform similar actions, more often than not, is attitude.  According to John Maxwell, leadership author and coach, "A leader's attitude is caught by his or her followers more quickly than his or her actions." 

"You can't out-love a divided heart"

Jesus once said, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other."  While the context of this wisdom is our relationship with money, it's truth applies to any relationship that requires total devotion of the heart.  Scripture commands us to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind," and the marriage vows calls a couple to "forsake all others" and "be faithful...as long as you both shall live."  Whether it is the covenant between God and His people or husband and wife, no outward expression of love can compensate for a divided heart.

"You can't out-smart an undisciplined mind"

You have heard it said that "you are what you eat."  It is equally true that "you are what you think."  In an age of instant information and constant visual stimulation, our minds are daily bombarded by a smorgasbord of messages.  These messages are powerful and shape the way we see ourselves, each other and the world around us.  If we are not disciplined in what we choose to fill our minds, our thinking and behaviour will become captive to the dominant influences in our lives.  It is any wonder that the Apostle Paul wrote, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Are You Leaving Footprints Or Buttprints?

While listening to A Minute with John Maxwell this morning, I was reminded that leaders are 'action oriented people' leaving their footprints in the sands of time as they purposefully make things happen.  In contrast their are a lot of people who are sitting idle waiting for life to happen, leaving buttprints instead of footprints!  Maxwell asserted, "They're not going anywhere, they're not doing anything, they're not traveling, they're not helping, they're not people of action, they're just sitting on their butts waiting for life to happen to them."

Leaders have a 'bias towards action.'  They are people who create movement and build momentum in a team, forging indelible footprints that leave a lasting legacy for those who follow in their footsteps.  A leader's footprints are firm and easy to follow, they are determined and lead to a destination, and they are always pointing forward.

I would rather follow the footprints of someone making something happen than sit in the buttprint of someone waiting for something to happen!  Are you leaving footprints or buttprints in the sands of time?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lest We Forget...

LEST WE FORGET…  the selflessness of those who put nation before person

LEST WE FORGET…  the service of those who left a career to join a cause

LEST WE FORGET…  the sacrifice of those who traded life for liberty

LEST WE FORGET…  the suffering of those who still carry the scars of war


LEST WE FORGET…  the selfishness of those who put their ideology before our common humanity

LEST WE FORGET…  the strategy of those who use fear to divide and conquer

LEST WE FORGET…  the silence of those who lack the courage to speak out against violence and oppression

LEST WE FORGET…  the stupidity of those who still believe that armed conflict is a pathway to peace


LEST WE FORGET…  the source of real peace and freedom for all humanity is found only in Jesus Christ!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Embracing Detours

When I set out on my bike ride tonight I had a clearly laid out plan in mind that would take me for a pleasant ride along the Peninsula Link Bike Trail about a third of the way into my planned route.  As I turned out of the traffic onto the much calmer bike path and headed into the serenity of Pines Reserve, I was confronted by road bunting blocking the trail, redirecting me back into busy traffic.  It would be fair to say that I was more than a little miffed!  

For a few kilometres into the forced change of route I nearly allowed the disappointment of an unplanned detour to overshadow the possibilities of unexpected discoveries.  Instead, the change of scenery presented another perspective that added a new dimension to my ride as I took in my new surroundings.  Embracing the detour enabled me to enjoy the journey while still reaching my original destination.

How often in life and leadership do we set out with a clearly marked out plan for the day, a new year or even a career path and encounter unwelcomed detours that take us off course?  Along the way we have a choice to resent and resist these detours seeing them as obstacles or to embrace and engage them as opportunities.  Keeping focused on your end goal allows you the flexibility to adjust course along the way and integrate detours as a part of the overall journey.  

Whether it be a bike ride or a leadership experience, it has most often been the detours that have presented me with the greatest learning and relational opportunities through the unexpected encounters along the way.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Unveiling The Gospel

Imagine being rescued from almost certain death by a good samaritan who was in the right place at the right time, coming to your aid when it really mattered.  Then, after an initial heart felt expression of gratitude, your rescuer becomes a forgotten memory as you embrace your second chance at life.

Imagine being saved from the bondage of sin through an encounter with the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ who demonstrated his love for you in all your brokenness.  Then, after a period of praise and thanksgiving, you live out your redeemed life without any reference to your Redeemer.

Imagine a church emerging out of a time of renewal when the Spirit of God brought revival to a community of believers in Jesus Christ.  Then, after witnessing to the power of God, the church continues to work in His name without mentioning His name or acknowledging His presence.

Unfortunately, in the words of the late John Lennon, "It's easy if you try."  

I don't have to look to hard across the church as a whole to see plenty of evidence of good deeds being done but I am straining my ears to hear very much evidence of good news being spoken.  While the later is incomplete without the former, the former is inconclusive without the later.  In other words, good deeds without good news may demonstrate the generosity of humanity but denies by omission the graciousness of God.  Paul describes this as "having a form of godliness but denying its power" (2 Timothy 3:5). 

God entered our broken humanity through the person of Jesus Christ and "demonstrated his love for us in this:  While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).  All His miracles, signs and wonders were done for this single purpose - "that you [and I] may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing [we] may have life in his name" (John 20:31).

So, when Jesus said, "let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16) it is the good news behind the good deeds that needs to shine the brightest!  Otherwise, when the world sees our good deeds, all they will see is us, not Jesus.  We get all the glory, not our Father in heaven.  However, no matter how helpful our good deeds might be they cannot bring salvation on their own without the good news of Jesus Christ.

If you truly want your light to shine, you must unveil the gospel in your good deeds so that those you serve will "see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

"Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it." (Jeremiah 33:9)