Who is Your Daddy?

When I was a kid my parents got a divorce. My biological father wasn’t really a big part of my life after than. My mom remarried and my stepdad became more of a father to me. Eventually he even adopted me and I took his last name. I haven’t seen my biological father in decades. I don’t say this to get pity but it makes the words of Jesus come alive to me.

In John 8:44 (NLT) Jesus said to the people:
For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

In this verse and the surrounding passage Jesus calls the people out for being like their father, the devil. As you can imagine, this didn’t go over too well. He was saying that the devil was their father because they acted just like him. Now we know that once we are born-again we should be transformed into the image of our Father, God.

Who is your daddy? Are you becoming like Him?

I remember when I got married, a woman at the wedding came up to me and said I looked like my dad (right in front of him). He was so proud. Although this woman didn’t know I was adopted by my stepfather, he was saying that I resembled him. Nothing makes a dad prouder than a son or daughter favoring Him. So my question to ask you is do you look like your Father? Can people see the resemblance? Are you surrendered to His sanctifying work in you?

Have you ever heard a son whose voice sounded like his father’s? I know  father/son preacher duo and as the son gets older he sounds more and more like his father. As you are seeking after God are you sounding more and more like Him? Are you uplifting people like He does? Do your prayers shake the foundations of heaven and earth as you pray in faith?

My almost 1 year old son loves to mimic me right now. He copies what I am doing. If I clap, he claps along. When I laugh, he laughs. If I try to dance, he dances with me. When I snap, he tries to snap too. I just love it when he does that and it blesses my soul deep within. God is the same way.  Are you following His example? Are your mannerisms like him? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to develop the character of God within you? Do you love the things He loves?

Are you a Daddy’s boy/girl? Understand you position in Christ and submit to the process. We call that process discipleship. A disciple is simply a follower. It comes form the same root word as the word “discipline” does. We become more like God when we submit to a process or a system of spiritual disciplines.

Primarily those are:

  1. The Bible
    1. God’s Word needs to be part of our daily lives. We should read it, study it and apply it. The Bible is God speaking to us.
  2. Prayer
    1. I like to simply define prayer as talking to and listening to God. The more time you spend with Him, the more like Him you become.
  3. Community
    1. No one grows spiritually in a vacuum. Although it has become cliche we were intend to “do life together”.
  4. Living a Spirit Led Life
    1. Not only has God given us His word He said that true sons and daughters of God would be led by His Spirit! That is an amazing comfort knowing that the Creator of heaven and earth never leaves us! That’s why Jesus called Him the Comforter!
  5. Generosity
    1. John 3:16 says: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son…” God’s way to display His love was to give. As we become more like Him, we can’t help but to become more generous. You claim to become more like God and not be generous, it just doesn’t match up.

 

 

 

Heart OVER Hands

My team loves to constantly talk through the idea of growing our leadership ability in three areas: our heart, our head, and our hands. We use that a a matrix for our coaching culture.

Our “heart” pertains to spiritual matters. If our spirit isn’t strong, we run to of gas to minister life to others. “Heart” is our passion, vision, motives, and driving force. This is the unseen behind what is seen. It’s ultimately about the why.

Our “head” pertains to our thinking. Our thinking determines the way we think and act. “Head” includes strategy, tactics, and approach. Leaders think differently than everyone else. Different thinking produces different results when it is partnered with the hands.

Our “hands” pertain to our skills. This is what we do specifically in our role. “Hands” is about the methods we use to get things done. It’s more about the “what” and the “how”.

All three are important for success in ministry. Sometimes however we concentrate on the less important things at the peril of the more important things. Jesus ran into this in Mark 3:1-5 (NLT).

Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.
Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him.
He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! 
And again in Mark 7:1-6 (NLT).
One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions. Similarly, they don’t eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to—such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.)
 So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”
 Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
 

Jesus’ enemies were more concerned with what Jesus was doing and when He was doing it rather than the heart behind it. They elevated “hands” over “heart”.  They were so concerned with their methods and traditions that they missed a miracle. They didn’t see the people Jesus was reaching.

They missed the “heart” of the law because they were so busy enforcing the “hands” of the law. They couldn’t see the spirit because they only saw the letter of the law.

Although this are quite LITERAL uses of Jesus’s enemies exalting hands over heart we can fall into the same trap today. They really were saying “that’s not the way we do it” or “you’re wrong because you reach people a different way than we do”. Have you ever said that?

How can we avoid having that same “Pharisee Spirit”?

  1. Value the who more than the what.
  2. Make the message more important than the method
  3. Keep the people you are called to serve more important than the plan you have.
  4. Make the creator the center of your creative process.

Book Review – #tweetableleadership @jimwideman

As usual this book by Jim Wideman is packed with wisdom. “Tweetable Leadership”  is a unique book filled with over 500 quotes from Brother Jim. Also included in the book are 7 chapters of wisdom. He tackles subjects from your family to your relationship with God. Each one is filled with the folksy common sense wisdom that Jim Wideman is famous for.

Other topics include time management, being an example, growing as a leader and growing as a ministry. I found myself circling quotes and examining my life for areas of improvement. I think just about anyone could pick up this book and learn something. You don’t even have to be in kidmin. In fact you can just flip it open and get a bit sized nugget of truth from the kidmin guru.

I made sure all my staff had a copy and we will be going through it together as a team.

Disclaimer: I received copies of this book in exchange for my truthful review.

 

Book Review – Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang

This book had me engaged and laughing the whole time. Jia shares his compelling stories of overcoming rejection in his life. Jia Jiang founded a blog to chronicle his rejection as well as a video series. He came to America with the hope of being the next Bill Gates. He found success in the corporate world but wanted something more from life.

He took as risk and quit his job to chase his dreams. That’s where he came face to face with rejection and where the story of the book really starts. He decide to start an experiment of 100 days of rejection and it is nothing short of genius.  He walks us through many of his days and the things he attempted. Many of them were designed to make him intentionally experience rejection.

A fun twist was that not everything wound up being rejected. His famous request was going into a donut shop and asking for a donut in the shape of the Olympic rings. Each chapter has a lesson that sums up the “moral of the story” so to say. Its obvious that the author did his homework and research. He talks about why we get rejected and how to take a “yes” and a “no”.

This is a great book chronicling Jia’s journey to becoming “rejection proof” but gives us a great example of how to live our own lives with boldness and overcoming fear. Pick up a copy and I’m sure you’ll be laughing and learning to live above rejection right away.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my review.

 

Truth

In our society today everyone seems to be offended by everything and therefore people seem to want to ban everything that could be seen as offensive. The lie is that we should all live in acceptance and love for everyone by never calling anyone out about anything.

Jesus didn’t subscribe to this theory. He confronted both the irreligious and the religious. To the woman at the well He asked “Where is your husband?” knowing all week that she had many husbands and was living in sin. To the woman caught in adultery He commanded “Go and sin no more!” He called the Pharisees hypocrites and snakes. He called Peter out for speaking on behalf of Satan.

People will tell you today that if you stand for truth you’re being “hateful”. I know that if someone truly loves me they will tell me the truth. There is no truth without love and no love without truth. Jesus personified love but at the same time personified truth. He even called Himself the Truth.

How about you what Truth do you need in your life?

 

 

 

 

Book Review – The Matheny Manifesto

MMbook

I am a baseball fan. More so than just a baseball fan I am a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. Some of my earliest memories are watching the Cardinals play. I remember watching them beat the Brewers in game seven to win the World Series. That being said, when Mike Matheny was named manager of the Cardinals after Tony La Russa retired, I scratched my head in confusion. I get it now.

Mike tells his story of taking over a little league team and the infamous letter he wrote and read to the parents of this team. It’s amazing to think that a man went from coaching little league-rs to coaching big league-rs in just a matter of years. Mike shares some of his personal story of succeeding in baseball as a tool to share wisdom about sports and life in general. His throwback and unconventional approach yielded the results he promised.

Mike shares some great advice for parents, coaches and kids developing in youth sports. He also gives 8 keys to success. Nothing in this book was new or mind-blowing to me. I did find the book to be down to earth and an easy read. Baseball fans should definitely enjoy the book. I found myself laughing at times and tearing up at others.

My personal favorite take away was Mike talking about how parents need to be silent and supportive in the stands while watching their children play sports.It made me think how we have it reversed in life. We are loud and vocal in the stand but silent at home when it comes to faith matters. The opposite should be true.

If you’re a parent, baseball fan, youth coach, or mentor I highly suggest this book.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my review.