Love Securely

Jesus is journeying toward the Cross. On Thursday, it’s His last opportunity to impart His most important thoughts to His disciples. He is about to be arrested, and everything is about to go sideways for the disciples—“this isn’t the way this is supposed to happen!”—and Jesus needs to prepare them with the truth they will need to sustain them through this. 

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,” Jesus says (Luke 22:15).  

So Peter and John are sent to make arrangements for the Passover meal, but one of the arrangements that they overlooked was the host duties—washing the feet of each guest, anointing them with perfume, and giving them a welcoming kiss. 

As they are eating dinner, Jesus makes four important statements:

  1. “One of you will betray Me”
  2. “All of you will abandon Me”
  3. “I will rise again and restore you”
  4. “I have prayed for you”

These statements get the disciples arguing about who’s going to betray Jesus—“It’s not me, is it?!”—and over how faithful they are—“I would never abandon Him!” Ultimately they begin to argue over who is the greatest disciple among them. 

Jesus not only explains to them how the servant is greater than the master in God’s sight (Luke 22:24-27), but He then becomes the living example of that when He washes their feet (John 13:1-5, 12-17). 

Here’s an important principle—Only secure people can lovingly serve others. 

Insecure people don’t like to serve others because they feel they are being misused, or taken advantage of, or that others will look down on them. 

Jesus “knew” (John 13:1, 3) how much power His Father had given Him, making Him secure enough to serve. Security really means, “I am loved by God, and I know who I am in Him.”

Jesus served out of love: the profound love that He knew His Father had for Him. He gave His disciples the same mandate: Serve others out of love for Me and show the world that you are My disciples (see John 13:34-35).

When Jesus ate this last supper with His disciples, He instituted a remembrance celebration that we now call Communion. The root word is “commune” which the dictionary defines as a “conversation with profound intensity and intimacy.” 

This is the type of intimate relationship Jesus had with His Father, and this is the type of relationship He calls us to with Him. The broken bread of Communion reminds us that Jesus can make whole any broken area that would keep us from communing with Him. The cup of Communion reminds us that Jesus can instantly and fully forgive any sin that would keep us from communing with Him. 

Jesus set the example—we are to commune with our Heavenly Father through the way He made by His broken body and His shed blood. It’s out of this communion that we are empowered by His love, and then feel secure enough to serve others in love too. 

Saturday In The Proverbs—The Perils Of Breaking God’s Laws (Proverbs 28)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as keep the law contend with them (Proverbs 28:4).

I could jump off a tall building, but the law of gravity demands I will pay a painful—perhaps even a deadly—price in the end. 

Violating God’s laws are no less painful and deadly. Break them at your own peril.

If you do violate God’s laws, the consequences include:

  • fear (v. 1)
  • more rulers and more rules being imposed on you (vv. 2, 15, 16)
  • justice is perverted (vv. 3, 5, 6)
  • shame (vv. 7, 18, 22-24)
  • insecurity (vv. 8, 19, 26)
  • your prayers are unheard by God (v. 9)
  • retribution coming back to bite you (vv. 10, 13, 14, 17, 20, 21, 27)
  • embarrassment (v. 11)
  • a backlash from others (vv. 12, 25, 28)

20 Useful Maxims

Useful MaximsI thoroughly enjoyed reading Useful Maxims by Brian Ridolfi (check out my review of his book by clicking here). Here are 20 of Brian’s useful maxims that caught my highlighter.

  1. Going to church is good; going to God is better.
  2. Progress is not good if you are progressing in the wrong direction.
  3. Good demeanor does not validate bad behavior.
  4. Broken commandments break down integrity.
  5. The Bible’s meaning is not hidden from men; men hide from its meaning.
  6. Actions are better indicators of character than rhetoric.
  7. The indifferent make no difference.
  8. Remaining weak takes strength. It takes power not to use power.
  9. Great men step in when everyone else steps out.
  10. Moral arguments which are entirely material are entirely immaterial.
  11. Peacemakers and saltshakers dispense enrichment.
  12. A grudge will keep you deep in sludge. Points of contention are points of retention.
  13. Revenge is hard to reverse.
  14. Never put faith in people who have no faith.
  15. Everything goes when anything goes.
  16. Your sin is not just your problem.
  17. Parental neglect prompts government parenting.
  18. Where no one fears God, everyone fears man.
  19. The right battle is lost with the wrong weapon.
  20. Insecurity secures instability.

Watch for more maxims soon. Or follow me on Twitter and Tumblr to read some of Brian Ridolfi’s maxims.

10 Quotes From John Maxwell In “Teamwork 101”

Teamwork 101The 101 Series of book from John Maxwell is a great introduction to the many topics which he address in greater depth in other books. Here are some quotes from Dr. Maxwell which I especially enjoyed.

“I believe that insecurity, rather than poor judgment or lack of intelligence, most often causes leaders to surround themselves with weak people.”

“On good teams, trust is a nonnegotiable. On winning teams, players extend trust to one another. Initially that is a risk because their trust can be violated and they can be hurt. At the same time that they are giving trust freely, they conduct themselves in such a way to earn trust from others. They hold themselves to a high standard. When everyone gives freely and bonds of trust are developed and are tested over time, players began to have faith in one another. They believe that the person next to them will act with consistency, keep commitments, maintain confidences, and support others. The stronger the sense of community becomes, the greater their potential to work together. Developing a sense of community in a team does not mean there is never conflict. All teams experienced disagreements. All relationships have tension. But you can work them out.”

“Create an environment that unleashes new leaders.” 

“Teams that don’t bond can’t build.”

“For a team to be successful, the teammates have to know they will look out for one another.” 

“In a sport such as basketball, the players on the team recognize that scoring is what is important. When a team is more effective at scoring than the opponent, it wins. Because the team members know that, they spend their time in improving and perfecting their ability to score. That is their focus. In contrast, in many organizational settings, the team members don’t know what it means to ‘score.’ They may have a list of duties, but they don’t know how those duties go together to make a score. It would be the equivalent of a basketball player who knew how to set a pick, dribble, and pass, but who never knew all the skills were used together to score baskets. If just one player on a basketball team doesn’t know what is important to the team, it makes him ineffective. And when he is in the game, it is impossible for the team to succeed. The same is true in any organization. Anyone who doesn’t know what’s important to the team not only fails to contribute to the team, but actually prevents the team from achieving success. That is why it is so important for leaders of the team to identify what is important to the team and to communicate that information to her team members.”

“People on the team must be made to feel that they are in an environment where it is safe to offer suggestions or criticism without feeling threatened.” 

“The key to being competitive is channeling it in a positive way. If you squash it, you lose an edge that motivates you to do some of your best work. If you let it run wild, you run over your teammates and alienate them. But if you control it and directed, competitiveness can help you succeed.”

“Don’t let the personality of someone you work with cause you to lose sight of the greater purpose, which is to add value to the team and advance the organization. If that means listening to the ideas of people with whom you have no chemistry, or worse, a difficult history, so be it. Set aside your pride and listen. And in cases where you must reject the ideas of others, make sure you reject only the idea and not the person.” 

“Being an encouraging leader and leading across is not about getting your own way. It’s not about winning at all costs. It’s about winning respect and influence with your peers so that you can help the whole team win. Should you be passionate and determined, believing in yourself and your ability to contribute? Definitely. Should you hold on to your deeply held values and stand on principle when those are in jeopardy? Absolutely. But never forget that having a collaborative spirit helps the organization. When you think in terms of our idea instead of my idea or her idea, you’re probably on track to helping the team win.”

12 Quotes From “12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid”

12 Huge MistakesI highlighted a lot in Tim Elmore’s newest book 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid … a lot! This is book that every parent (or grandparent) should read because it’s never too late to invest the best in our (grand)children. You can read my full book review of this must-read book by clicking here. Below are just a few of the quotes I highlighted in this book.

“I believe we have under-challenged kids with meaningful work to accomplish. We have overwhelmed them with tests, recitals, and practices, and kids report being stressed-out by these activities. But they are essentially virtual activities. Adults often don’t give significant work to students—work that is relevant to life and could actually improve the world if the kids rose to the challenge. We just don’t have many expectations of our kids today.” 

“Every parent and teacher wants to see their kids succeed in school, in sports, and in life, but making it impossible to fail isn’t the answer. Removing failure, in fact, is a terrific way to stunt maturity. … As parents, we’ve given them lots of possessions but not much perspective. As educators, we’ve given them plenty of schools but not plenty of skills. As coaches, we’ve taught them how to win games but not how to win in life. As youth workers, we provide lots of explanations but not enough experiences. As employers, we’ve mentored them in profit and loss but haven’t shown them how to profit from loss.”

“Truth be told, when kids have heard they are excellent without working hard or truly adding value to a team, the praise rings hollow to them. Our affirmation must match their performance.”  

“When people—especially young people—know they are free to try something and fail, their performance usually improves. It brings out the best in them. But if they are preoccupied with trying not to fail, they become paralyzed:

  • Failure can create resilience.
  • Failure can force us to evaluate.
  • Failure can motivate us to better performance.
  • Failure prompts creativity and discovery.
  • Failure can develop maturity.”

“Our constant caving begins to foster a constant craving in them. They want clarity. With boundaries unclear, they need more direct attention from Mom or Dad. Unwittingly, we actually breed insecurity and instability in our kids. This may sound strange, but consistency may be your best friend as a parent because it aids in your authority and in your child’s development.” 

“Removing the consequences takes one of two roads. We either excuse their behavior and remove negative outcomes, or we actually step in and pay the consequence for them. When we do this, we frequently relieve the stress. We bring immediate peace to the situation, so we get addicted to this pattern. Unfortunately, we don’t see the long-term problems we are causing. Removing the consequences from our children’s lives brings short-term tranquility but long-term trouble.”

“‘You can do anything you want.’ I recognize why we say this, but as our kids grow older, we must help them to see what we really meant. … We really meant, if they set their mind to do something, they’ll be amazed at what they can pull off. The catch is, it needs to be something with in their gift area. They cannot simply make up a dream or copy a friend’s dream and call it theirs. Dreams should be attached to strengths.” 

“We have created a world of conveniences, filled with smart phones, microwaves, Internet shopping, and online banking. The subtle message is that struggles are to be avoided. We want as much convenience as possible. In fact, we feel entitled to it. But we failed to see that when we remove the struggles from our children’s lives, we begin to render them helpless. They don’t have the opportunity to develop the life skills they’ll need later on. Further, when we step in to control their levels of struggle, they don’t learn how to be in control or under control themselves. In fact, all they learn is how to be controlled.”

“Ironically, the things young people want to avoid are necessary for them to mature authentically. Slow, hard, boring, risky, laborious… these are the very challenges that prepare me to become a good man, a good husband, a good father, a good employee, a good employer. Many life skills that once naturally developed in us now atrophy in today’s culture. So we must be far more intentional about leading our kids into opportunities to build these skills.” 

“When we affirm looks or clothing—external matters instead of internal virtues—kids values become skewed. Remember, what gets rewarded gets repeated. Without realizing it, we are reinforcing cosmetic features—usually features that are not in their control. … We should be doing just the opposite. We must affirm effort and behavior, which are in their control, instead of characteristics that are out of their control. If we do this, we begin to foster a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset.”

“We mistake hurtful with harmful. Many times, hurting helps us. In fact, removing the hurt may be harmful. … When we hurt, we can learn important truths about ourselves and about others, truth that will be beneficial later in our lives. … We confuse disturbance with damage. We hate being disturbed. Our days are so full, we often hope and pray we won’t face any unexpected disturbances as we pursue our goals. The fact is, however, that on our way to those goals, we fall into unhealthy ruts. Interruptions force us out of those ruts. Interruptions are not damaging at all. They are the very items that save us from our tunnel vision. We need to be disturbed from time to time. Interruptions are wake-up calls that rouse us from our apathy or complacency.” 

“I know you think kids are tired of you talking about the good old days. But I’ve found most kids love hearing stories of how we adults struggled to learn the same life skills when we were young. It’s all part of growing up.”

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