Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Warning Signs Your Marriage is Disconnecting

Great article by Mac lake.

Over the years I’ve watched ministry take a toll on many marriages.  I’ve watched good, well-intentioned pastors lose their marriage, family and job because they loved the church more than they loved their wife.  The demands of ministry are great and never ending.  That’s what makes it so difficult for good hearted men to say “NO” and have times they are intentionally unavailable.  But this is the very discipline it requires to nurture the most important love of your life.

Marriage is a living organism that requires constant nurture.  While you may not realize it your relationship is never in neutral, you’re either moving forward or backward, growing to new levels of intimacy or drifting toward disconnect.  I’ve discovered several warning signs that can help identify the “disconnect” before the damage is too severe.  If you see any of these in your relationship it’s likely you’re experiencing relational drift and need to make some quick adjustments.

§ Not serving one another.  When there is a high level of connection among a couple they willingly and intentionally serve one another.  But a couple that is disconnecting tends to be self-focused.
§ Subtle withdraw. Couple’s who are disconnecting find themselves in different rooms doing their own thing in the evenings or on their day off.  Instead of doing life together they’re doing their own thing.
§ Selfishness.  If I find myself looking to “GET” rather than “GIVE” to Cindy it’s a clear indication that we’re disconnected.  Love focuses on the needs of others. When I’m focused solely upon my own needs I’m failing to love my wife.
§ Critical attitude.  If you find yourself nitpicking your spouses habits or actions then it’s a clear indication that a disconnection has taken place.  Ruth Graham has been quoted saying, “My job is to love Billy, not change him.”  A critical spirit is often an indication of suppressed anger.  So if you find yourself being critical look for the deeper reason for your attitude.
§ Lack of touch.  One of a woman’s greatest needs is affection, while one of the greatest needs of a man is sexual fulfillment.  When a couple neglects the physical development of their relationship it’s a sign they’ve disconnected. Touch is an essential element in maintaining a healthy connection in your relationship.
§ Impatience.  Marriage requires selfless humility.  If you find yourself being snippy or short you need to investigate why.
What’s your next step to take your marriage to another level of connectedness?

Friday, 17 August 2012

The inexorable love of Christ

 Read this excellent post by John Fiscer
crying brideLook at the marriage of Jesus... the one with the Bride who sleeps around, never listens, disowns, scorns, dishonors, runs away, intentionally proves to be more interested in anything but her husband, is selfish and bears the children of every affair and the scent of every escapade. It was a marriage that killed Jesus. And it was the Gospel that brought Him back to life to love once more. - Dan Haseltine

Did you ever stop to think about what a bad deal Jesus got when He chose us to be His bride? No one would blame Him if He gave up on us. Good thing He doesn't think like we do or He would have left this marriage a long time ago.

Listening to our culture, one might get the impression that a good relationship is something for which we all have an inalienable right. This conclusion comes from observing how quickly we look for the back door on any difficult relationship, and how that exit is usually justified on the basis that the current relationship is just too hard - the assumption being, there's someone out there with whom a good relationship is a much easier proposition. That's a far cry from realizing all relationships are going to have their challenges, and even the best will be severely tried.

Does God have a right to a better relationship? I suppose so, since He's God. But does He take it? No. And thank goodness He doesn't, or we would all be out on the street for sure. 

We could stand to think a little more like Jesus when it comes to our relationships. He never allows Himself an out. He is in this for the long haul including whatever suffering is involved. He is able to do this because He isn't thinking about Himself or His own rights. He is thinking about us. He even sees us as holy and blameless, yes, as even beautiful. He makes it so.

We become beautiful in that He sees us that way, even now, when we know darn well we are not. He sees the finished product that He paid for and washed clean through the blood of His forgiveness on the cross. And if He can see us that way, we should be able to see each other that way as well, at least enough to be more patient with the process. This is love over the long haul, and there's just no way any of us can be in fallible human relationships without this.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

10 Quotes that Should Shape Your Leadership

Thanks to Tony Morgan for posting this!

Here are my top 10 leadership quotes from the Global Leadership Summit last week.
1.    “An organization is not truly great if it can’t be great without you.” –Jim Collins
2.    “Too often we argue about Christianity instead of marveling at Jesus.” –John Ortberg
3.    “Don’t just delegate tasks to the next generation. If you delegate tasks, you create followers. Instead delegate authority to create leaders.” –Craig Groeschel
4.    “You are the most difficult person you will ever lead.” –Bill Hybels
5.    “The signature of mediocrity is not unwillingness to change. The true signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.” –Jim Collins
6.    “People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.” –Patrick Lencioni
7.    “When you are angry, you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” –William Ury
8.    “When you’re in a position of authority, you need truth-tellers around you.” –Condoleezza Rice
9.    “I failed him for two years because I was too chicken to have the difficult conversation.” –Bill Hybels
10.  “The morale failure of a leader will challenge the integrity of others as well.” –Mario Vega
Now go print these out and put them in a prominent place to remind you daily what great leaders are learning and grow with them!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

4 Spiritual Questions From Olympic Games by Mark Pierce

Like many of you I have been watching and enjoying this quadrennial sporting event.  We’re glued to the tube, not only because there are few other good TV options, but also because there is something about the Olympic spirit that also touches our spirits.  Watching the world’s top athletes at the top of their form encourages each one of us to be “the best me I can be.”  This year, instead of just dreaming about your physical potential, consider these 4 spiritual questions as well.

How is my team participation?  My favorite Olympic events are the ones that are played together. No matter how great the individual effort, the team depends on the ability of the individuals to play well together. God did not intend for us to live individual spiritual lives either.  He gave us the church not only so that we might worship together, but also that we might do life together!  The Bible describes the church as a body: “Together you form the body of Christ and each one of you is a necessary part of it.”  Ask yourself: “Am I living my spiritual life as part of God’s team – with others?”

How is my spiritual discipline?  The one wholly remarkable aspect about every Olympic athlete is how completely disciplined each one is about their event.  No aspect of their training – exercise, diet, attitude – is too small to consider.  These people are disciplined. Seriously! Did you know that God has that same intention for us spiritually?  In fact God’s Word even puts our spiritual journey into Olympic terms: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”  Ask yourself: “When it comes to my spiritual life, am I just out wandering around? Or am I running to win the prize?”

How is my coach-ability?  The Olympics’ spotlight is always on the athletes. Behind every great athlete, however, is a great coach.  That athlete would not be performing at such a high calibre if he or she wasn’t also teachable.  When it comes to our spiritual lives, we also must be willing to learn from others.  This demands openness and humility.  Ask yourself: “Am I willing to consider the advice of others?” The Wisdom Book puts it bluntly. “Stupid people always think they are right. Wise people listen to advice.”

How is my confidence? Every four years we see the same story repeated.  This athlete has confidence and as a result he or she “stuck it!” That athlete lacked confidence and didn’t perform as well.  What is the secret of confidence? You might be surprised to learn that confidence really means “with faith” or “with trust.”  We often pair the word, self, with confidence. Such self-confidence works for awhile, when life is full of  medal finishes. Each of us, however, will have those days, weeks, and even years, when we fall off the balance beam of life. Where is my confidence then?

The Good Book is named this way because it is filled with God’s promises.  Here’s one of the best! “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  When it comes to spiritual performance – especially in those most uncertain moments of life – Christ followers may rest in the confidence of God’s ability to perform perfectly.  He will help us cross that finish line to win a medal that will never fade or tarnish.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Here are 20 leadership tips in Twitter length:

Build people – People are your greatest asset as a leader.

Grow personally – You can’t take people where you aren’t going.

Direction matters – You’ll likely end up where you pointed yourself.

Surrender methodology – Care more about accomplishing a worthy vision than how you do.

Empower people – Give people real responsibility and real authority.

Keep learning – When you stop learning…you stop.

Renew your passion often – Keep reminding yourself why you do what you do.

Learn to rest – So you can always do your best.

Value the word “No” – You can only do what you can do. Trying to do more lowers efficiency.

Prioritize each day – Make every moment count.

Let failure build you – It’s the best way to gain experience.

Be honest with yourself and others – What you hide will often trip you fastest.

Know your weaknesses – Everyone else already does.

Listen more than you speak – You’ll learn more and make others feel valued.

Serving others brings joy – Giving back is the greatest vehicle to fulfillment in life.

Humility is attractive – People love realness and want to be around people who are.

Be intentional – Nothing really great happens without it.

Reject apathy – You’ll be tempted to settle for mediocrity. Don’t do it.

Protect character – More than you try to protect your reputation. Do this one and you’ll gain the other.

Applaud others – Louder than you “toot your own horn”.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Leading Artists

Leading Artists

in leadership,Leadership Rules. No Comments
Okay, so alot of us who run organizations, or manage teams, or have staff direct reports, are leading those who consider themselves to be ARTISTS of some sort.
Whether it’s musicians, or designers, or writers, or entertainers, or worship leaders, or those who sketch/paint/draw, I’m going to lump them all together for the sake of this conversation and my thoughts on how to best lead them.
Disclaimer: we are ALL artists. In regards that we all are called to create things of excellence. Some of us are way more “Artistic” at our core than others. That is who I’m talking about here. You know who they are on your team. Guaranteed.
I’m also VERY INTERESTED to hear from you on how you best lead/manage artists. Please comment below and share your thoughts.
Here are a few of my thoughts:
1. Start with reality. Artists are different. Not in bad weird way. But in a great weird way. So just begin with this, and it will help tremendously.
2. Lead, don’t manage. Share vision, inspire, and let them loose. Managing an artist type like you would an accountant, or a project manager, or a typical hard charging type A, is not a good idea.
3. Be very specific on areas that most think are ambiguous. Most leaders think that because artists are spontaneous and spatial in their thinking, that they don’t want specifics. So alot of leaders will be totally ambiguous in their interactions with artists. But just the opposite. Most artists need and desire very clear, focused and specific direction. They don’t mind boundaries; in fact, they welcome them (more insight on this from my friend Tyler Reagin here).
4. Give them room to dream. This might mean they need to spend an afternoon at a coffee shop or in the park or at the lake. Let them do that.
5. Include them in the process. If you simply tell them what you want once you and everyone else have decided, you’ll probably get it. But including them in the creative process will create more buy in and probably a better outcome.
6. Allow them to decorate and make their area “their own.” Their office or cube or space needs to reflect who they are. Otherwise, finding inspiration could be tough in the office.
7. Release them into their areas of greatest strength. Don’t burden a great artist with tasks and responsibilities outside their strengths. If it’s a money thing, pay them less but let them do what they are great at. Most artists care way more about doing their “art” anyway.
8. Aggregate artists in “pairs” and team lead them. I like to always have at least two artists in a meeting, on a team, working on a project, sitting together, and ultimately working together. It gives them more energy and allows them to vent to each other. Also, if you have personality conflicts with artists on your team, then “team” lead them. Don’t take it personal, but figure out the best way to release them and inspire them. It might be that you are not the best person to do that, and it’s okay that someone else on your team is.