Selah

The word Selah appears nearly 70 times in the Bible, almost exclusively in the Psalms. Although it is primarily a musical term, it applies beautifully to our summer series. 

Selah can mean…

  • a pause from the noise to reflect;
  • a preparation for an exciting accent; or 
  • a reflective time of consideration

Throughout the Psalms, Selah appears at the end of a verse, at the end of the psalm, or sometimes even mid-sentence. But each one of them is perfectly placed by the Spirit-inspired authors to get us to take a breath and deeply contemplate what we just read or sang. 

Summertime is typically a time for us to pause from our regular routine. Perhaps it’s a vacation, time with friends and family, driving around with the windows down and the music blasting, or just a quiet walk through woods or along a beach. In any case, whether we realize it or not, we’re actually doing Selah in these break-from-the-routine activities. 

Join me this Sunday as we continue our summertime look at each of the Psalms that ask us to Selah. I think you will find that this Sunday summertime pause will be both refreshing and encouraging. You can join me either in person or on Facebook or YouTube.

Since this is a continuation of our summer series, you can check out the Selahs we discussed by clicking here for the 2018 messages, here for the 2019 messages, here for the 2020 messages, and here for the 2021 messages.

The messages this summer include:

Poetry Saturday—If None

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

If none were sick and none were sad,
   What service could we render?
I think if we were always glad
   We scarcely could be tender.
Did our beloved never need
   Our patient ministration,
Earth would grow cold and miss indeed
   Its sweetest consolation.
If sorrow never claimed our heart,
   And every wish were granted,
Patience would die and hope depart—
   Life would be disenchanted. —Anonymous

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A Safe Place For Mistakes

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Josh had just graduated from high school when I came to pastor in Cedar Springs. As I sat with this outstanding young man I asked him what he wanted to do next. 

“I’m not exactly sure,” he told me, “but I really feel like it’s something involved with ministry.” 

“Great!” I responded. “Let’s start experimenting.” 

I told Josh that our church was going to be a safe place to experiment: to plan new things, to try new things, to prayerfully evaluate the results, and then to use those results to plan new things. Josh jumped in right away, and over a short period of time we were eventually able to ascertain just how God had wired Josh for his niche of ministry. 

But this would have never happened without some missteps along the way. 

That’s okay. 

Leaders need to create an environment where it’s safe to make mistakes, because mistakes are a vital component of learning. 

My wife is a 3rd Grade teacher. A bulletin board in her classroom lovingly tells her students, “Our classroom is a safe place to make mistakes,” and then she gives them the keys to their successful learning. 

Leaders can help those around them grow through their mistakes by constantly reinforcing these six principles: 

  1. When someone complains, “This is too hard,” remind them, “This may take some time and effort.” 
  2. When someone says, “I’m not good at this,” prompt them to ask, “What am I missing?” and then encourage them to add, “I’m not good at this yet.” 
  3. When someone wants to settle with, “It’s good enough,” challenge them to ask themselves, “Have I given this my best effort?” 
  4. When someone wants to throw in the towel by saying, “I made a mistake,” remind them, “I failed is not the same thing as I am a failure,” and then remind them, “Mistakes help me learn.” 
  5. When someone is exasperated and says, “I give up,” come alongside them with, “Let’s try a strategy we’ve already learned.” 
  6. When someone says, “I can’t do this,” you need to lovingly encourage them with, “You can do this!” 

These responses will help foster an abundance-mindset environment where people aren’t defeated by their mistakes, but they’re energized to reengage and try again. As the brilliant inventor Thomas Edison quipped, “I’ve had a lot of success with failure.” 

Leaders, let’s make our spaces the safest places for the mistakes that lead to discovery, growth, and success. 

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Going Farther

I wrote Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter to encourage pastors who are tired and struggling with feelings of failure. One of the most powerful sources of encouragement is more leaders surrounding a tired pastor. 

I have a chapter dedicated to this called “Going Farther.” Here’s a short excerpt—

You will not only extend your leadership by having other servant-hearted shepherds around you, but you will also have a guard against the aloneness that led to such ugly warts on the biography of otherwise powerful leaders such as David, Elijah, and Peter. 

Jesus told us to pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send out more workers into the field (Luke 10:2). In a similar attitude, I believe we can pray to the Chief Shepherd to send out more under-shepherds into the pastures; specifically, we can pray for those under-shepherds to be sent into the pasture where we labor. The early church showed us the example of prayer being the priority when new shepherds were needed (Acts 1:21-26, 6:3-6, 13:1-3; 2 Timothy 1:3-6). We would do well to make it a priority to pray for God to send us godly leaders that can serve alongside us. 

If you are a pastor, please pick up a copy of this book, as I truly believe it will encourage you. If you love your pastor, please give him or her a copy as a gift. I promise you that this book will bring such a fresh perspective to their ministry. 

And whether you are a pastor or a lay leader in your church, please continue to pray for God to send more laborers into your harvest field.

You can get more information on my book at ShepherdLeadershipBook.com. 

When Jesus Talked With Just One Person

When Faith Frodsham was teaching at the Peniel Bible Institute, she wrote home to tell her father Stanley about her frustration over the small size of her class. She wondered if she was really being successful with such a small class. 

Stanley Frodsham wrote back:

“We received your good letter yesterday. Don’t get discouraged by the small size of the school. The Lord spent much time ministering to the ones. Read the third of John and see His ministry to one soul. Then in the fourth chapter His ministry to another. Then how wonderful it was when He had just an audience of one, Mary, who sat at His feet. With six students you have six times the audience He had.” 

Success is not about big numbers, but about quality time invested faithfully and for God’s glory. 

I wrote my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter to address this misconception which discourages so many pastors and other ministry leaders. If you are involved in ministry, I truly believe this book will give you a new encouraging perspective. 

Get more information at http://ShepherdLeadershipBook.com

The Value Of Journaling

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Do you keep a journal? I’m not talking about a diary of your daily events, but a journal of your ongoing dialogue with God. This is a discipline I began over 25 years ago, and it’s been immensely helpful to me. 

Every time you read the history of Israel in the Old Testament, you are really reading a written history—a journal—of what God did for His people.

In Luke 1:46-55, we read Mary’s song about the soon-to-be-born Jesus that someone journaled to record for posterity. The same thing is true for Zechariah’s song about his son John in Luke 1:67-79. I am sure that many people found great comfort in reading and recalling these songs, perhaps even Jesus Himself and John the Baptist. 

Even Jesus told His disciple John to journal the words He spoke to him about events still to come (Revelation 1:11, 19; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14; 14:13; 19:9; 21:5). 

Journaling has helped me at so many crucial points in my life. Especially when I needed to look back to be reminded of something God had spoken to me. I shared one example of this in my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter

       The board was making a major decision. They were considering a change in their leadership to one who had completely different credentials and training from all of their previous leaders. Because this change would be so momentous, the board interviewed me for more than four hours. When they finally felt they had deliberated long enough, they asked me to leave the room while they prayed and voted. I stepped out into the lobby for just a couple of minutes when the door opened again and they asked me to step back inside. 

       “Well, Craig,” the spokesman began, “we prayed and we feel you are the one God has selected for this position.” I told them I would be happy to accept their offer. After they prayed over me, I began to pack up my things to head home. 

       “Hold on a minute,” one of the board members said to me, “we’re about to discuss the budget, and we think it would be good for you to be a part of this discussion.” I agreed and resumed my seat at the table. 

       I was handed both the year-to-date financial report and the projected income and expenses for the remaining quarter of the year. “As you can see,” the treasurer began, “we are projecting a $70,000 loss for this year.” Then he turned to me and asked, “What are you going to do about that?” 

       I gulped, tried not to show that my stomach was doing flips, and said, “Honestly, I don’t know.” I paused, and since no one else said anything, I continued, “But I’ll let you know what we come up with.” 

       All the way home, I kept thinking, “What have I gotten myself into? I’m walking away from a successful business to oversee an organization that’s going to go bankrupt before I even get started?!” But then I began to remind myself of something else: God chose me. 

       When I returned home, I immediately went to my journal. I flipped to the page where I had written down all of the reasons why I had concluded that God chose me for this position. I looked at the way God had spoken to me and to my wife, and the way friends who knew nothing about this decision spoke a confirming word to me. I looked at the pages where I had written down the vision I believed God had given me for this new organization, and how the board chairman’s handwritten vision for the organization matched mine thought-for-thought. Looking at these words—at the specific dates and ways God had spoken, and confirmed, and re-confirmed His direction—gave me the confidence to step into this assignment, even when facing such a huge financial mountain. (excerpt from chapter 5 “A Humble Leader’s Attitude Adjustment”) 

If you haven’t journaled in the past, I encourage you to begin this spiritual discipline today. I can tell you from both what I read in the Bible and my own personal experience how valuable this will be for you. 

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Selah

The word Selah appears nearly 70 times in the Bible, almost exclusively in the Psalms. Although it is primarily a musical term, it applies beautifully to our summer series. 

Selah can mean…

  • a pause from the noise to reflect;
  • a preparation for an exciting accent; or 
  • a reflective time of consideration

Throughout the Psalms, Selah appears at the end of a verse, at the end of the psalm, or sometimes even mid-sentence. But each one of them is perfectly placed by the Spirit-inspired authors to get us to take a breath and deeply contemplate what we just read or sang. 

Summertime is typically a time for us to pause from our regular routine. Perhaps it’s a vacation, time with friends and family, driving around with the windows down and the music blasting, or just a quiet walk through woods or along a beach. In any case, whether we realize it or not, we’re actually doing Selah in these break-from-the-routine activities. 

Join me this Sunday as we continue our summertime look at each of the Psalms that ask us to Selah. I think you will find that this Sunday summertime pause will be both refreshing and encouraging. You can join me either in person or on Facebook Live. 

Since this is a continuation of our summer series, you can check out the Selahs we discussed by clicking here for the 2018 messages, here for the 2019 messages, and here for the 2020 messages.

The messages this summer include:

Podcast: Talking About “The Shawn Effect”

On this episode of “The Craig And Greg Show” we talk about: 

  • Greg’s booked called The Shawn Effect
  • what leaders look like [1:14] 
  • leaders make friends easily [2:53]
  • how you can get a free copy of The Shawn Effect [3:53]
  • Shawn’s parents set him up for success [5:15]
  • leaders get informed so they can interact with others and stay relevant [6:28]
  • Shawn demonstrated chivalry and trained young men to be gentlemen [7:53]
  • leaders don’t need a platform or a big following to be an influencer [8:40]
  • Shawn shows how leaders love [10:33]
  • leaders are encouragers [11:37]
  • leaders are readers and appliers [12:27]

Check out this episode and subscribe on YouTube so you can watch all of the upcoming episodes. You can also listen to our podcast on Spotify and Apple.

Podcast: Helping Leaders Blossom

On this episode of “The Craig And Greg Show” we talk about: 

  • leaders need to grow themselves because we cannot give to others what we do not possess
  • leaders who aren’t refreshed can blow up what should have been a pretty simple situation  
  • Greg and I discuss a great leadership development example from the Bible
  • I drop a little hint about my forthcoming book
  • leaders need healthy self-esteem if they are going to encourage others
  • leaders aren’t developed in a cookie-cutter way
  • be careful of measuring success by things you can count—people growth is more qualitative than it is quantitative
  • it is important that a leader and his/her teammates have the same definition of key words
  • how leaders can turn unexpected “rainy days” into something positive
  • leaders need to learn how to modify plans without totally changing plans
  • Greg shares some key strategies for leaders to grow themselves, as well as a word of caution
  • if you would like more information on our leadership coaching services, please check out this link

Check out this episode and subscribe on YouTube so you can watch all of the upcoming episodes. You can also listen to our podcast on Spotify and Apple.

Poetry Saturday—Eternal Spirit

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on Apple or Spotify.

Eternal Spirit, we confess
And sing the wonders of Your grace!
Your power conveys our blessings down
From God the Father and the Son.
Enlightened by Your heavenly ray,
Our shades and darkness turn to day.
Your inward teachings make us know
Our danger and our refuge, too.
Your power and glory work within,
And break the chains of reigning sin,
Does our imperious lusts subdue,
And forms our wretched hearts anew.
The troubled conscience knows Your voice,
Your cheering words awake our joys;
Your words allay the stormy wind,
And calm the surges of the mind.

*Spurgeon used this poem as a conclusion to his sermon entitled Human Depravity and Divine Mercy. I was unable to find this poem attributed to anyone else, so I am assuming it was written by Spurgeon himself. 

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