Podcast: Seasons Of Leadership

Listen to the audio-only version of this podcast by clicking on the player below, or scroll down to watch the video.

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

  • [0:17] Craig gives an important weather report 
  • [0:42] Organizations go through changes of seasons too
  • [1:43] How can leaders see a change of season approaching?
  • [2:44] Leaders need to check both their “thermometers” and “thermostats” in their organizations
  • [3:55] What is the leader senses a change of season but some teammates aren’t ready to change yet?
  • [5:26] Leaders need to talk to themselves about their seasons?
  • [6:53] What leaders can look for to help navigate their changing seasons
  • [8:10] How do leaders get their teams ready for changes?
  • [8:42] How do leaders handle change that is imposed upon them?
  • [10:00] Changing seasons can be a threat
  • [11:25] Change is inevitable, but growth is optional
  • [13:50] Every leader fears change going poorly
  • [14:27] Trying and failing is a natural part of the change process
  • [15:06] Sacred cows can be problematic when attempting to make changes
  • [17:03] How leaders lead through changing seasons is so crucial to success
  • [18:53] Our coaching huddles can help you with your season of change

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.

Fear Vs. Hope

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

How many times has fear constricted your world? 

When I look back on some of my past decisions, I can see that often my procrastination in making that decision was from a fear-based, worst-case scenario. I held back because I was afraid of the outcome from my decision. 

Also when I look back I see that even the things that didn’t go perfectly never turned out to be devastatingly bad, but something from which I could recover and learn valuable lessons. 

Now, I’m not talking about shoot-from-the-hip, never-thought-it-through actions. Those things have frequently gotten me in hot water! What I’m talking about is thinking it through, getting good counsel, praying about it, and then still holding back from making a decision. 

Fear would cause us to procrastinate, only see the negative possibilities, and maybe even become disobedient to God because we think we have to rely on our resources. On the other hand, hope wants us to see the possibilities, hear God’s voice, and then step out in confident faith. 

My friend Greg and I discussed this fear versus hope topic on an episode of our leadership podcast called The Craig And Greg Show.  

The next time you find yourself procrastinating about a decision that you have thought about, prayed about, and sought wisdom for, ask yourself: “What fear is holding me back?” Then find God’s Word of hope. God’s hope will be the just thing you need to defeat your limiting fears. 

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The Tactics Of Fear

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

Then the king of Assyria sent his field commander with a large army… (Isaiah 36:2).

The enemies of God’s people always use the same tactics.

(1) Sending an intimidating force that seems overwhelming and invincible. 

King Sennacherib didn’t send a small detachment of soldiers, but he sent “a large army” to try to intimidate the people of Judah. 

(2) Asking doubt-inducing questions. 

The field commander asked questions like…

  • On what are you basing this confidence of yours? 
  • On whom are you depending? 
  • Do you think Jehovah can save you from this? 

(3) Fomenting distrust in God’s wisdom and ability. 

Once the seeds of doubt had been sown, the field commander attempted to water those seeds by making accusations like…

  • Do not let Hezekiah deceive you: God can’t help you with this one! 
  • The gods of other nations didn’t help them, so what makes you think your God will help you? 

(4) Offering a compromise. 

Then came the offer to give in…

  • Come now, make a bargain with my master and I’ll give you more riches than you can imagine! 
  • Make peace with me while you have the chance, and I promise you will have a trouble-free life! 

All of these tactics attempted to play on the fears of people who felt surrounded and overwhelmed. 

But I love to remember that the acrostic of the word F.E.A.R. is False Evidence Appearing Real. The field commander in King Hezekiah’s time, and satan today, use the tactics of fear to try to get us to compromise. 

King Hezekiah gave us a great example to follow. When he received the field commander’s letter with all of the threats listed, he “spread it out before the Lord” (Isaiah 37:14)! Isaiah reminded the people not to be afraid of the threats of the enemy, because those threats were actually blasphemy against God. And then God tells Hezekiah quite simply, “I will take care of this!” 

And God did indeed take care of it. 

Without the armies of Judah ever having to lift a sword or a spear or shield, God broke the power of the enemy and sent them away in shame! 

When the enemy seems to be surrounding you today, he will use these same tactics. He will try to overwhelm you, get you to doubt what God has said, try to induce you to distrust God, and then offer you a compromise. All the devil has on his side is false evidence that he attempts to make look real.

So do what King Hezekiah did: Spread out those threats before God. Go to His Word and read again what He has already promised you. Then stand firm in faith. God will take care of your adversary! 

Our God always gets the final word, the decisive word, and the best word.

Let me repeat it one more time: Don’t give into fear, but stand firm in your faith in God! 

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3 Paradigm Shifts For Leaders

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

Why is it that so many people have a worst-case mindset as their guiding factor? 

As a leader responsible for programs, and large groups of people, and the financial well-being of organizations, I know that I frequently fell into this trap. When we began making plans for the future, I wanted to keep a “fallback plan” in place. I frequently found myself saying to our leadership team, “Even in the worst case scenario we can….” 

But then I realized how much vitality this was sapping from our team. 

If we as leaders want to infuse more energy and excitement in our teams it may take some paradigm shifts on our part. Here are three shifts that I have endeavored to implement in my life: 

  1. Shift scarcity to abundance. 
  2. Shift fear to hope. 
  3. Shift worst-case to best-case.

On a recent episode of our leadership podcast, my friend Greg Heeres and I discussed the limitations that come as a result of a leader’s limiting fears.

As a Christian, I believe the greatest Helper in these three paradigm shifts is the Holy Spirit. When I take time to pray about the big decisions for my personal life and for the organizations I lead, I find that His guidance helps me tap into God’s abundance, which gives me hope for the best-case scenarios to be realized. This hope in me quickly translates to hope and expectation in my team. 

Leaders, start with prayer and then try these three paradigm shifts. As the Holy Spirit transforms your heart and mind, I believe you will begin to see a greater energy and excitement in the organizations that you lead. 

Let’s stop asking, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” and shift to asking, “What’s the best thing that could happen?” 

I would also encourage you to subscribe to The Craig And Greg Show on YouTube to hear more of our leadership-building conversations. 

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Quieting The Storms

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

“Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.” —Anxiety & Depression Association of America 

A multitude of factors go into someone’s anxiety: genetics, temperament, brain chemistry, life experiences. In addition to those factors, we have to keep in mind that humans are a three-part being—with a body, mind, and spirit—and a disease in one area does affect the other two areas. 

All of this means that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for anxiety. But there is one Healer: 

  • He may supernaturally heal your body, mind, or spirit 
  • He may direct you to a medical doctor, a mental health professional, or a spiritual counselor 
  • But always, He will walk through the challenges with you, strengthening you, and preparing you to minister to others going through a similar struggle (Psalm 23:1-6; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4) 

David wrote, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You” (Psalm 56:3). Notice that he said “when” not “if.” David knows what you probably know too: we can be easily consumed by our anxiety, doubts, and fears. But David also knows (and I hope you do too) that at those moments, we can go to God as our trustworthy First Source. 

One of the dictionary definitions of anxiety is a feeling of disquiet. All of the conflicting thoughts make it hard to concentrate, the abundance of noise makes it difficult to talk to yourself, let alone talk to God. 

I’d like you to consider another psalmist’s words. Look at the first half of Psalm 94:19—

  • When anxiety was great within me… (NIV) 
  • In the multitude of my anxious thoughts… (AMP)
  • When doubts filled my mind… (NLT) 

The setting of this psalm is one of lots of disquieting voices: a desire to see the wrongdoers punished, listening to arrogant words, getting fed up with boasting words, seeing good people being trampled, hearing foolish words uttered about God (vv. 1-8). 

Experiencing anxiety is not sinful, but I do think that we grieve God’s heart when we immediately run to other sources for relief instead of going to our loving Heavenly Father first. After dealing with the disquiet in the opening verses of Psalm 94, the psalmist says, “My anxiety level was sky high!” But then notice how that verse concludes—

  • Your consolation brought me joy (NIV) 
  • Your comforts cheer and and delight my soul (AMP)
  • Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer (NLT)

Jesus told us about our Comforter who would always be with us (John 14:1, 16-17). A little further on in these same remarks Jesus also said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV). 

I like that phrase, “Be of good cheer.” That phrase is just one word in Greek, and sometimes it’s translated “be of good courage.” In every single instance, it’s only used by Jesus and it’s only used when He comes close to anxious people (Matthew 9:2, 9:22, 14:27; Mark 6:50, 10:49; Luke 8:48; John 16:33; Acts 23:11). 

A furious squall battered the boat, almost swamping it. The disciples were—to say the least—disquieted! In their anxious state they notice Jesus peacefully sleeping. They wake Him up with, “Don’t You care that we’re drowning?!” Jesus stands up and says to the storm, “Quiet. Be still.” 

Recall that one of the descriptions of anxiety was being disquieted. That prefix dis- means to be separated: our anxiety would seek to distance us from God’s presence, to make us feel like His help is too far away. But when we go to Jesus, He alone can say, “Quiet” to our disquieting thoughts. He can remove the “dis-” and bring us close to Him. Only His peace can X-out the noise of the storm and bring you to a place of quiet rest. 

After Jesus said, “Quiet. Be still,” notice this: “THEN the wind died down and it was completely calm” (Mark 4:39). And the great thing is this: Even if another storm begins disquieting us just a few minutes after the calm, we can go to Him again. There is no limit: We can continually go to the Eternal Source of peace, to the only One who can speak, “Quiet” to our anxious thoughts. 

Please follow along with us as we learn more about X-ing out our anxieties. 

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Podcast: How Leaders Overcome Their Fears

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

  • [0:58] Our empowerment comes from facing our fears. 
  • [1:35] How does fear paralyze a leader? 
  • [2:14] One fear leaders need to address in themselves and others: The fear of dropping the ball. 
  • [3:00] Leaders need to be aware that confidence can ebb and flow. 
  • [3:50] How we lead through fear. 
  • [4:27] Transparency in a leader empowers the team to greatness. On the other hand, blaming is a defense mechanism that disempowers the team. 
  • [5:49] Greg shares how we lead by example and with transparency. 
  • [7:25] I address the fear that blocks leaders from giving authority to others. 
  • [8:15] Greg suggests we switch our mindset from fear to learning opportunities. 
  • [9:21] I share a Little League lesson that served me well into adulthood. 
  • [10:50] How Greg and I help coach people through their fears. 
  • [11:34] What other fears to leaders face? 
  • [12:50] Creating a culture of safety helps our teammates confront their fears. 
  • [14:03] How can leaders encourage people who are trapped by their fears? 
  • [15:41] Leaders have to go first. I said, “Sometimes bravery is just going one step farther than you went before.” 
  • [16:50] Greg shares a brave moment in his adoption process. 
  • [18:18] We need to assess the gifts that others on our team possess. 
  • [19:20] Greg unpacks a great quote about bravery. 
  • [20:03] I share about the moment when I think bravery begins.

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—How Firm A Foundation

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

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.”

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And Sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”

“E’en down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And then, when grey hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.”

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake!” —Richard Keene

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Whom To Fear

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

When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. … In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord whose word I praise—in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Psalm 56:3-4, 10-11). 

Have you ever been afraid of someone? Have you ever experienced the fear of God?

Interestingly, it’s the same Hebrew word (yaré) for both. This word can mean either something that causes me to fight or flight, or it can mean reverential respect. David is saying, “When I begin to feel the fear of man, I instead turn to the fear of God, and I am no longer afraid.”

Or to put it another way: “When I think I have to fight or flight on my own, I instead choose to reverence God and He takes care of my fear.” 

In both verses 4 and 10, the word “praise” is the Hebrew word for “Hallelujah!” When David feels fear of man creeping in, he looks to God’s Word, finds a promise on which to stand, and reverentially begins to worship God: “Hallelujah! With this promise, I no longer need to fear man!” The Amplified Bible says, “On God I lean, rely, and confidently put my trust; I will not fear.” 

There is one other difference in the Hebrew language that is not readily apparent in the English translation. In verse 4, David uses the name Elohiym for God. This means the Mighty God who is Supreme over all. In verse 10, he uses God’s covenant name Yahweh or Jehovah. To me, this sounds like David knew that the fear of God could combat everything from general fears of human philosophies to a specific fear of a specific mortal. His conclusion is a good one: What can man—a mere mortal—or any of his worldly philosophies do to rattle me? Absolutely nothing because I am secure in God! 

We all become fearful at times. If we choose to fight or flight the fear, we do it in our own strength. This may result in temporary relief, but the fear will come back around again. However, if we decide to fear God—to say “Hallelujah!” to His promises—He is able to completely remove our fear. 

The choice is ours: fear man or fear God. 

To paraphrase the declaration of Joshua: “Choose this day whom you will fear. As for me, I choose to fear God!” 

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10 Quotes From The Ten Booms

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

I recently shared my book review on the heroic story of the ten Boom family during the Nazi occupation of Holland, as told in the story The Hiding Place. This story is a must-read! Please check out my full book review by clicking here. 

These are some quotes from these godly sisters. 

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.” —Corrie ten Boom 

“Any concern too small to be turned into prayer is too small to be made into a burden.” —Corrie ten Boom 

“When Jesus Christ tells us to forgive our enemies, He gives us the power He demands of us.” —Corrie ten Boom 

“We must tell people how good God is. After the war, we must go around telling people. No one will be able to say that they have suffered worse than us. We can tell them how wonderful God is, and how His love will fill our lives, if only we will give up our hatred and bitterness.” —Betsie ten Boom 

“At that moment when I was able to forgive, my hatred disappeared. … Forgiveness is the key which unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness. What a liberation it is when you can forgive.” —Corrie ten Boom 

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” —Corrie ten Boom 

“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” —Corrie ten Boom 

“If they can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love.” —Betsie ten Boom, speaking to Corrie about the Nazi prison guards 

“We never know how God will answer our prayers, but we can expect that He will get us involved in His plan for the answer. If we are true intercessors, we must be ready to take part in God’s work on behalf of the people for whom we pray.” —Corrie ten Boom 

“Holiness is the Holy Spirit, a holy God in my heart, which makes me similar to Jesus.” —Betsie ten Boom 

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By the way, another great book of recollections from Corrie is I Stand At The Door And Knock. 

Refusing To Be Controlled By Fear

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

The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

How many of my daily choices are affected by fear?

  • whether to try something new or to stick with what’s familiar?
  • should I confront a friend on a bad choice or let him figure it out on his own?
  • to spend money or to invest it for later? what do I buy? where do I invest?
  • what if people don’t like what I do or say? what if they talk behind my back?

David begins this psalm with the same kinds of questions, as he battles enemies surrounding him, the possibility of his family rejecting him, false witnesses speaking lies against him, and foes closing in from every side. 

In the middle of all of these swirling issues, David exhibits a confidence that starkly stands out:

  • whom shall I fear?
  • of whom shall I be afraid?
  • my heart will not fear
  • I will be confident
  • I am still confident

How can David respond this way? He kept turning his thoughts from the temporal to the eternal—

It may seem dark now, but God is light.

People may be fickle, but God is unchanging.

Foes may be strong, but God is the strongest.

People are mean, but God is good.

Both David’s opening and closing thoughts in this psalm are really a conversation with himself: The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? … I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (vv. 1, 13, 14)

My friends, don’t let fear drive your decisions. Let confidence in God drive your decisions. Talk back to your fearful thoughts like David did and remind them of the great and loving God that cares for you. Don’t take matters into your own hand, but wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. 

I used Psalm 27 as a teaching example of how to turn passages from the Bible into our own personalized prayers. Check out this 5-minute video here:

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