People Are Watching 👀

 “…they watched Him closely… (Luke 14:1). 

The skeptics were always watching Jesus. As with our Master, so with us.

They wanted to find an inconsistency with which they could discount all that Jesus stood for. Thankfully, they found none! May the same be said of you and me.

May our lives and speech (or silence) never cause skeptics to discount the Gospel or—even worse—blaspheme God, nor may our lives cause a weak Christian to doubt or stumble.

This requires from us—

  • Self-awareness … I have to know my tendencies and avoid those things that cause offense.
  • Boldness … to speak the truth in love.
  • Knowledge of the Scripture … and its correct application.
  • God-confidence … so that we’re not intimidated by man’s disapproval.
  • Humility … to not seek things for our own benefit.
  • Charity … as we demonstrate our faith in loving action.
  • Focus … on eternity and on the greater treasure in Heaven.

Holy Spirit, empower us to live like our Master every day. “Adam’s likeness now efface, stamp Thine image in its place.” May people see and hear Jesus in us. No matter how closely they watch us, may they see no inconsistencies.

Both Immovable And Flexible

The vision of Isaiah…in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (Isaiah 1:1). 

Israel (the 10 northern tribes) was in the final stages of collapse, with kings only serving short spans, idolatry running rampant, and enemies closing in on every side. Isaiah boldly proclaimed that Judah was on the same path unless she repented and turned wholly to God.

Isaiah had the same message for four kings:

  • Uzziah—who started off well, but fell away from God
  • Jotham—who faithfully served God
  • Ahaz—who never wanted to serve God
  • Hezekiah—who led a powerful revival in the return to worshiping God alone

Isaiah’s message never waivers. Through 66 chapters, 4 monarchs, and 60 years of ministry, Isaiah never compromises, waters down, nor alters the message God has given him.

But he does use different methods to deliver God’s consistent message—sometimes he thunders, sometimes he weeps, sometimes he uses illustrated messages, sometimes he speaks plainly, and sometimes he uses word pictures.

A mark of a godly leader is one who is both immovable and flexible.

Immovable on God’s principles; flexible on his delivery.

Can that be said of you and me?

This is part 21 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts on this topic by clicking here.

The Heart Of A Leader (book review)

Kenneth Blanchard has delivered to us some game-changing books over his years of writing. He has challenged us to do business in a different way, he has coached us on how to take control of our lives, and he has equipped us to better invest in the lives of the people around us. But ultimately he tells us that leadership is an issue of the heart. The Heart Of A Leader is a collection of quotes and insights from Ken Blanchard which go right to the heart of a leader.

Time and time again Blanchard uses the phrase “an effective leader.” He is not primarily concerned with leaders being efficient, and he certainly doesn’t define leadership success by an organization’s financial wellbeing. In his mind, an effective leader engages his heart first to serve those whom he leads.

Throughout his career, Blanchard has partnered with some amazingly insightful co-authors to bring a fresh perspective on how leaders can lead best from the heart. Many of these co-authors are featured in The Heart Of A Leader, which will help you see new paradigms of leadership acumen.

If you’ve never read anything from Ken Blanchard before, this book is a good sampler that will help you choose a book to read in its entirety. If you are already a fan of Blanchard’s writings, this book will help you see the consistency of his work. In either case, you cannot go wrong in reading these helpful words!

A Leader Must Be Consistent

There was a man…whose name was Job (Job 1:1).

Job is described by the author of this book like this: “that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. … This man was the greatest of all the people of the East” (vv. 1, 3).

God Himself described Job like this: “There is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (1:8). Even after Job’s calamities, God repeats this description and adds, “and still he holds fast to his integrity” (2:3).

satan acknowledged that Job feared God (1:9). But that slanderer accused Job of being a mercenary—that is, he said Job only feared and obeyed God because of what he got out of the bargain (1:10). But the liar missed something: Job’s obedience came before God’s blessing, and Job’s worship came after Job lost all his earthly possessions.

“In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong” (1:22), and “in all this Job did not sin with his lips” (2:10).

A mark of a godly leader is one who acts consistently in good times and bad times.

It’s a good question for godly leaders to ask: why do I obey God? why do I trust Him? why do I fear Him? is it so that I can get something out of it? is it because I’ve already received something? is it so that I can avoid punishment?

Or do I obey, trust, and fear God because He is worthy of all that—and more!—regardless of anything else? Godly leaders consistently ask both sets of questions and answer an assured “Yes” to the last question.

This is Part 14 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts on this topic by clicking here.

6 Quotes On Commitment From “The Seven Laws Of Love”

The Seven Laws Of LoveIn The Seven Laws Of Love, Dave Willis gives us some highly practical, biblically-based counsel for investing in all of our relationships. Normally when I share quotes from books, I share all of them at once, but I felt like it would be good to share these quotes a bit more slowly, to give you time to read them and apply them.

The seven laws Dave identifies are:

  1. Love requires commitment
  2. Love selflessly sacrifices
  3. Love speaks truth
  4. Love conquers fear
  5. Love offers grace
  6. Love brings healing
  7. Love lives forever

Dave writes in the introduction to his book, “God wants love to flow through our lives like a mighty river. The laws of love are the invisible banks God has placed around love for our prosperity and protection. When our relationships live with in those boundaries, everyone involved is enriched. When we dismiss or disregard the boundaries, our relationships can quickly become unhealthy and unsustainable.”

From law #1, here are some quotes on commitment—

“God created love to be a transformative force in every aspect of our lives. … Before that can happen, though, there must be commitment. Without a real commitment, there can be no real love.”

“The strength of your commitment will always determine the strength of your relationship.”

“God brought His own Son through the lineage of a poor young woman named Ruth who understood the power of commitment in the meaning of love. God wants to create a generational impact through your life as well. The level at which you’ll make an eternal impact is defined by your level of commitment to the people God has placed in your life.” 

“Our commitment to others is evident in the consistency with which we serve them. Grand, one-time gestures can be nice, it’s what we do with consistency that will ultimately shape our relationships.”

“We’ve traded true intimacy for porn. We’ve traded committed marriages for commitment-free cohabitation. We’ve traded having children for having pets. We’ve traded meaningful conversations for text messages. We’ve traded ‘till death do us part’ for divorce. We’ve traded the pursuit of holiness for the pursuit of happiness. We’ve traded love for lust. We’ve attempted to exploit all the benefits and pleasures of love without investing the commitment and self-sacrifice that love requires.” 

“Your life and your relationships will be defined by the commitments you make and how well you keep them.”

Check out my review of The Seven Laws Of Love by clicking here.

Watch for more quotes from the other laws of love explained in this book throughout the next few days.

Links & Quotes

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“O Lord, keep me strong in the sense of Thy call.” —Thomas Boston, Scottish Presbyterian pastor

“You have remained true to God under the great tests, now be alert over the least things.” —Oswald Chambers

“Mighty events turn on a straw.” —Thomas Carlyle

“God is love, but God is also just, as severely just as if He had no love, and yet as intensely loving as if He had no justice. To gain a just view of the character of God you must perceive all His attributes as infinitely developed; justice must have its infinity acknowledged as much as mercy.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Pleasures demean, disappoint, and destroy us when they are merely fleeting, fleshly, and foolish. The pleasure we ultimately seek, and for which we were created, can only be found in one place, in fellowship and communion with the Lord of heaven and earth.” —T.M. Moore

John Piper has some very insightful words in the wake of the tragedy in Paris—France: A Fabric Torn.

Jim Cymbala reminds us, “There are no trendy shortcuts, no hocus-pocus mantras that can defeat satan.” Read more in No Hocus-Pocus.

Parents, teachers, and anyone who works with youth will appreciate this counsel from Tim Elmore: 5 ways to cure the “cool kid” curse.

[VIDEO] What does the Quran teach about Jesus?—

[VIDEO] Pastor Dave Barringer is in Israel, and this real-time observation is quite eye-opening—

Links & Quotes

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“The thing required is not to add to the good actions we have already done, but only to do that out of love to God which men of reputation and virtuous lives due from a principle of honor and regard of themselves. …  Let us do all the same honest and virtuous actions, but let us do them for the sake of Him Who made us and to Whom we owe our all.” —Françoise Fenelon

“If, when no one is watching us, we are building ourselves up in the Word of God, then, when a crisis comes, we shall stand; but if we are not building on the Word of God, when a crisis comes we shall go down, no matter what our wills are like.” —Oswald Chambers

“So the issue for us is: Do we eagerly long for the coming of Christ? Or do we want Him to wait while our love affair with the world runs its course?” —John Piper

For all of my pastor friends who have kids, this post from Pastor Dave Barringer is an important read.

Dr. Tim Elmore uses John Wooden as a great example to ask the question: Are You A Coach Or A Teacher?

Have you heard that there are fewer Christians in America? Check out John Stonestreet’s analysis of the latest reports.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell talks about the consistency and perseverance of the professional—

Links & Quotes

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Parents, check out what Tim Elmore says about Trends In How Today’s Students Handle Relationships.

“The danger of all dangers would be to lose trust and confidence in the mercy of God… To distrust Him would be a far more terrible thing than any physical evil which all the enemies of God put together could inflict on us, for without God’s permission neither the devils nor their human ministers could hinder us in the slightest degree.” —Francis Xavier

“Chance exists only in the hearts of fools; we believe that everything which happens to us is ordered by the wise and tender will of Him Who is our Father and our Friend; and we see order in the midst of confusion; we see purposes accomplished where others discern fruitless wastes.” —Charles Spurgeon

“We must, if it so happens, give our lives for others: but even while we’re doing it, I think we’re meant to enjoy Our Lord and, in Him, our friends, our food, our sleep, our jokes, and the birds’ song and the frosty sunrise.” —C.S. Lewis

These are indeed: 10 stupid quotes from pro-abortion advocates.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell on the value of being consistent in all we do—

Seth Godin has some wise words on consistency as well in his post Daily.

12 Quotes From “Create”

CreateCreate by Stephen Altrogge is a quick motivating read to help you: (1) realize that God created you to be creative, (2) remove the excuses for not exercising your creativity, and (3) encourage you to get something started! You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some quotes I highlighted in Create.

“Everyone was created to create. It’s hardwired into us by our Maker. … We are created in the image of God we all have an irresistible impulse to create and to establish order. When a painter brings forth beauty from the chaos of his paint palette, he is reflecting the image of God. When an accountant massages an unruly mass of data into an intelligent sales report, she is reflecting the image of God. When a writer assembles letters into words and words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into pages and pages into a book, he is reflecting the image of God. When a wife tastefully decorates her house with paint colors and throw pillows, she is reflecting the image of God. When a chef mixes flower and sugar and eggs to create a cake, she is reflecting the image of God.”

“If we’re constantly dependent on the approval of other people we’ll always be afraid of failure. If we’re constantly needing the affirmation and praise of those around us then we’ll never take any creative risks. … Our identity is not rooted in what we create it’s rooted in Christ. Our identity is wrapped up in the One who created us, not the things that we create. Our acceptance doesn’t come from our friends or coworkers or fellow artists, it comes from Christ.”

“Be at peace with being lousy for a while. Chesterton once said that anything worth doing was worth doing badly. He was right. Only an insufferable egoist expects to be brilliant first time out.” —Douglas Wilson

“Trying to be perfect all the time takes the fun out of creativity.”

“When you start a creative project don’t look at the end, look at the next step in front of you.”

“A journey of a thousand miles is begun with a step.  Beware of despising small beginnings.  Some men never arrive at usefulness because they are not satisfied to begin in a small way, and proceed by a step at a time.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Most creative works are the result of faithful effort, not massive creative outbursts.”

“I believe in plodding. Productivity is more a matter of diligent, long-distance hiking than it is one-hundred-yard dashing. Doing a little bit now is far better than hoping to do a lot on the morrow. So redeem the fifteen minute spaces.” —Douglas Wilson

“Being a successful creator requires making a habit out of creativity. The most consistently creative people are the ones who have made creativity a habit. They sit down at their desk every single day and do the work. They may not work for long periods of time, but they do work consistently. They don’t wait for the creative muse to descend upon them. They sit down, grab the muse by the ear, and start putting words on paper or numbers in a spreadsheet or paint on a canvas. The muse does not descend upon those who wait. The creative muse descends upon those who grab hold of it, put it in a headlock, and force it into submission.” 

“If our creative work truly is for the honor of God, we should be willing to see it through to the end. … If we give up easily on a project that we believe will honor the Lord, we’re not being faithful. We’re being lazy, and we’re actually being selfish. We’re not allowing others to benefit from the creative gifts that God has given us.”

“If we’re truly seeking to glorify God through creativity, then we should be open to all manner of advice, suggestions, and even criticisms. God created us to be dependent on other people, and this is true in the creative field as well. … If we don’t pursue feedback there’s a pretty good chance that our creative work isn’t going to be very good.” 

“Psalm 24:1 says, ‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein….’ God created the world. Everything in the world belongs to Him and everything in the world is infused with His creativity. The world is literally busting at the seams with the creativity of God. There are ideas lurking around every corner! Creativity is everywhere. We just need to be on the lookout for it.”

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