Thursdays With Oswald—Passion For Souls

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Passion For Souls

     You hear people say that Paul showed his wonderful breath of mind, his culture and generosity, his gentleness and patience, by becoming all things to all men [1 Corinthians 9:22]. He did nothing of the sort; he said, “I am become all things to all men” for one purpose only—“that I may by all means save some.” He did not say, “I became all things to all men that I might show what a wonderful being I am.” There is no thought of himself in the whole matter.

     The phrase “a passion for souls” is a dangerous one; a passion for souls may be either a diseased lust or a Divine life. Let me give you a specimen of it as a diseased lust—“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are” (Matthew 23:15). … 

     But have we got clearly in our minds what the passion for souls as a Divine life is? Read James 5:19-20: “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” … 

     God grant we may understand that the passion for souls is not a placid, scientifically worked-out thing, it compresses all the energy of heart and brain and body in one consuming drive, day and night from the beginning of life to the end—a consuming, fiery, living passion. … 

     God grant we may understand that the mainspring of our passion for souls must be a personal, passionate devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. 

From Workmen Of God

The root of our passion really does make a difference in our Christian activity. Is my passion to make converts so that people can say, “Look what a good guy he is”? Or is my passion to save a soul from death so that people can say, “Look what a great God He is”?

Fellow Christian, I pray our passion is always the latter.

Notes From The Global Leadership Summit

I had an amazing time last week at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. Every year I came away with some many thoughts, and a brand new passion for the various leadership roles in which I get to serve.

Below are just a few of my notes that I jotted down during an intense two days.

Hybels - everybody winsBill Hybels—The Lens Of Leadership

“Everybody wins when a leader gets better.”

“Armed with enough humility, leaders can learn from anyone.”

Hybels discussed four leadership lenses:

1.   Passionate leader (depicted by vibrant bright red frames)

  • They understand unbridled passion in leadership.
  • “Passion is like protein for the team.”
  • A motivated worked will outperform an unmotivated worker by 40%.
  • People are more motivated by working for a passion-filled leader than they are by compensation or perks.
  • Passion comes from a mountain-top dream, or a valley-deep frustration of current settings.

2.   People leader (cool frames, but cracked lenses)

  • An organization will only be as healthy as the top leader wants it to be.
  • This world needs more pastors of businesses, factories, medical offices, military units, etc.

3.   Performance leader (self-adjusting glasses)

  • Leaders ask: what progress should be made? how do we measure this? what doesn’t need to be measured?
  • Every worker wants to know how they are doing. For the leader, it’s cruel to hire someone and never let them know how they’re doing. Every staff member should get an update at least every six months.

4.   Legacy leader (sunglasses with a rearview mirror [cyclist])

  • Every once in awhile we need to look behind to see what legacy we’re leaving behind.
  • Leaders should reflect on this annually.
  • If my leadership assignment were to end today, what legacy would I leave?

Mulally - overcommunicateAlan Mulally—CEO Boeing and Ford Motor Company

An average commercial airline has 4 million parts!

  • People first
  • Include everyone
  • Create a compelling vision
  • Present a workable strategy
  • Set clear performance goals
  • Relentless implementation
  • Share lots of data
  • “Over-communicate the plan and the current status against the plan.”
  • Instill a positive can-do attitude
  • Keep your emotional resilience
  • Have fun


Melinda Gates - hear the criesMelinda Gates—Gates Foundation

Melinda says of herself, “I am an impatient optimist. We are changing the world, but we need to change it faster.”


“At the end of the day, you have to hear the cries of those in need, let your heart break and act in courage.”

Jossy Chacko—Empart

“All of us have been entrusted with something. What are we doing to leverage it?”

In thinking about the parable of the talents … “To Jesus, faithfulness is not just sitting with what you have been given, but multiplying what you have been given. God’s mission is not maintaining.”

“Playing it safe is not enough for a follower of Jesus Christ.”

Three principles for expanding our leadership reach:

Jossy Chacko - faithfulness1. Enlarge your vision

  • “When people hear my vision, they should know the size of my God.”
  • “An enlarged vision should keep us driven.”
  • “Do not be confused about what people say about your vision; trust what God has said to you.”

2. Empower your people

  • “Leadership is about taking wise chances and giving people opportunities.”
  • “Your leadership reach will be determined by your empowerment choices.”
  • Three things to keep in mind: (1) Focus on building their character before empowering them; (2) Empowerment has to be through relationship; and (3) Make sure we have agreed on the right outcomes, and have the right way to measure them.

3. Embrace risk

  • Faith = risk. Without faith it is impossible to please God = without taking risks it is impossible to please God.
  • Paradigms to be changed: (1) See risk as your friend to love, not as your enemy to be feared; (2) See comfort and safety as your enemies; and (3) Increase your pain threshold.
  • “Your leadership capacity is in direct relationship to your pain threshold.”
  • “Don’t allow the fear of losing what we have to lose what God has in store for you.”
  • “By me not taking risks, who is missing out?”

Bradberry - EQDr. Travis Bradberry—TalentSmart

All inputs into the brain travel through the limbic system first (emotional center) before the inputs travel to the frontal cortex. The EI (emotional intelligence) center is in the front of the brain, just above the left eye.

Only 36% of people are able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen.

EQ (the Emotional Quotient that measures emotional intelligence) is not IQ.

EQ can be improved all throughout life.

Four components of emotional intelligence:

 1. Self-awareness: knowing my emotions, and knowing my tendencies. I need to lean into my discomfort if I want to improve.

   2. Self-management: what I do with this increased self-awareness. This is not “stuffing” my feelings. The biggest mistake is only trying to manage negative emotions; positive emotions need to be managed too.

   3. Social awareness: focusing more on others than on myself.

   4. Relationship management: using the first three skills in concert. Seeing how my behavior is affecting the other person, and then adjusting accordingly.


How to increase my EQ:

  1. Control stress—stress under control is healthy; chronic stress is unhealthy. Gratitude reduces the stress hormone cortisol.
  2. Clean up my sleep hygiene—sleep cleans up toxic hormones in the brain. To get better sleep: (1) Don’t take any kind of sleeping pill; and (2) Reduce “blue lights” in the evening.
  3. Reduce my caffeine input—especially after noon.

Ideal team playerPatrick Lencioni—Author

Three qualities of an ideal team player:

1.   Humble

  • Lacking self-confidence is not humility.
  • “Denying skills and downplaying abilities is not humility.”

2.   Hungry

  • Strong work ethic
  • Driving hard

3.   Smart

  • Not intellectual smarts, but people smarts = EQ

“To develop people, we have to have the courage to humbly and constantly talk to people about their ‘stuff.’”

McChesney - execution disciplinesChris McChesney—Franklin Covey

Rahm Charan asked:

  • Q: Do leaders struggle more with strategy or execution? A: Execution.
  • Q: Are leaders more educated in strategy or execution? A. Strategy.

“The hardest thing a leader will ever do is drive a strategy that changes someone’s behavior.”

There are four disciplines for making changes in human behavior:

1.  Focus

  • “Focus on the wildly important.”
  • If a team focuses on 2-3 goals, they are likely to get them done. But if there are 4-10 goals, momentum is killed. At 11+ goals, the team is going backward.
  • We narrow the focus by coming up with a WIG: wildly important goal (this lives at the intersection of ‘really important’ and ‘not going to happen’).

2.  Leverage

  • “What are the fewest number of battles necessary to win the war?”
  • “When you want to go big, don’t think big, think narrow.”
  • One WIG per team at the same time. Everything else is in sustainment mode.
  • Make goals like this—“From x to y by when.”

3.  Engagement

  • “The biggest driver of engagement is when people feel like they’re winning.”
  • “Do the people who work for me feel like they’re playing a winnable game?”

4.  Accountability

  • Everyone needs to answer: “What are the things I do that have the biggest impact on the WIG?”
  • After sharing the scoreboard, allow people to determine what they need to do next. The people need to determine their own next moves, not the leader. The leader pulls this out of people.

Erin Meyer - contextErin Meyer—INSEAD

On The Culture Map communication is divided into Low vs. High Context:

  • Low = feel we don’t have the same context or relationship. We feel we need to explain things very simply and explicitly.
  • High = we assume we have a larger body of shared reference points. We feel communication is more implicit or nuanced.

Anglo-Saxon countries are typically low context.

Latin American are mid-low.

Asian countries are usually high context.

In low context we tend to nail things down in writing, where in high context we leave things more open to later interpretation.

“Context impacts communication. … We need to read both the messages ‘in the air’ as well as the explicitly stately messages.”

“In a high context culture, repeat things less, ask more questions, learn to ‘read the air.’”


Maxwell - 3 questionsJohn Maxwell—Author 

“Good leaders lift.”

“You have to find the people before you lead the people.”

“The one thing leaders have to get right—they must intentionally add value to people every day.”


Five things that intentionally adds value to people:

  1. Value people—“God values people I don’t know; He even value people I don’t like.” “Are we going to spend our lives connecting with people, or correcting them?”
  2. Think of ways to add value to people—“Intentional living is thinking upfront on how to help people.”
  3. Look for ways to add value to people.
  4. Do things that add value to people.
  5. Encourage others to add value to people.

If you attended the GLS, please share in the comments below something amazing / challenging / paradigm-busting that you learned. Let’s all keep on learning!

Thursdays With Oswald—What Does Your Religion Mean?

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

What Does Your Religion Mean? 

     To believe is literally to commit. Belief is a moral act, and Jesus makes an enormous demand of a man when He asks him to believe in Him. To be “a believer in Jesus” means to bank our confidence in Him, to stake our soul upon His honor. …

     Many of us use religious jargon, we talk about believing in God, but our actual life proves that we do not really believe one tithe of what we profess. … “The unsearchable riches of Christ”—yet we often live as if our Heavenly Father had cut us off with a shilling! We think it is a sign of real modesty to say at the end of a day—“Oh well, I have just got through, but it has been a severe tussle.” We carry our religion as if it were a headache, there is neither joy nor power nor inspiration in it, none of the grandeur of the unsearchable riches of Christ about it, none of the passion of hilarious confidence in God. …

     Christianity is the vital realization of the unsearchable riches of Christ. …

     We have made Christianity to mean the saving of our skins. Christianity means staking ourselves on the honor of Jesus; His honor means that He will see us through time, death and eternity. … 

     Why do you pray? Why are you religious? Because of a consuming passion for a particular set of your beliefs to be enthroned and proved right, or because of a consuming passion for Jesus Christ? 

From The Place Of Help

Wow, those are excellent questions to consider—What do I think Christianity really is? Do I really believe what Jesus did for me, or is it just jargon I use? Am I consumed in my passion for Christ, or is it only something I profess when things are going my way?

Links & Quotes

link quote

“If my prayers are listless and unimpassioned, perhaps they reveal a heart that is self-assured and content with itself.” —T.M. Moore

“Our joy does not just rise from the backward glance in gratitude. It also rises from the forward glance in hope. In the end, the heart longs not for any of God’s good gifts, but for God Himself. To see Him and know Him and be in His presence is the soul’s final feast.” —John Piper

Fellas, this is a pretty good list: 10 ways to romance your wife. And both husbands and wives should check out The Secret Enemy in Your Marriage.

“The key to spiritual growth isn’t increased church attendance or involvement in spiritual activities. People don’t grow in Christ because they’re busy at church. They grow in Christ when they read and trust their Bibles.” Read more in Max Lucado’s post: Key To Spiritual Growth.

Carly Fiorina is so right about the Iran deal and Planned Parenthood. And what I love is that she links both of them to the moral foundation of the United States of America. Check out this 90-second video clip.

Laughing At Christ?

These words of Charles Spurgeon are gripping. Especially the questions at the end…

But when we continue in our sin, when we laugh at what God disallows, we do indeed laugh at Jesus hanging on that Cross.

Christ on the Cross“See Him; like a cart pressed down with sheaves He goes through the streets of Jerusalem. Well may you weep, daughters of Jerusalem, though He bids you dry your tears; they hoot Him as He walks along bowed beneath the load of His own Cross which was the emblem of your sin and mine. They have brought Him to Golgotha. They throw Him on his back, they stretch out His hands and His feet. The accursed iron penetrates the tenderest part of His body, where most the nerves do congregate. They lift up the Cross. O bleeding Savior, Thy time of woe has come! They dash it into the socket with rough hands; the nails are tearing through His hands and feet. He hangs in extremity, for God has forsaken Him; His enemies persecute and take Him, for there is none to deliver Him. They mock His nakedness; they point at His agonies. They look and stare upon Him with ribald jests; they insult His griefs, and make puns upon His prayers. He is now indeed a worm and no man, crushed till you can think scarcely that there is divinity within. The fever gets hold upon Him. His tongue is dried up like a potsherd, and He cries, ‘I thirst!’ Vinegar is all they yield Him; the sun refuses to shine, and the thick midnight darkness of that awful mid-day is a fitting emblem of the tenfold midnight of His soul. Out of that thick horror He cries ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ Then, indeed, was He pressed down! O there was never sorrow like unto His sorrow. All human griefs found a reservoir in His heart, and all the punishment of human guilt spent itself upon His body and His soul. O shall sin ever be a trifle to us? Shall I ever laugh at that which made Him groan?” —Charles Spurgeon

Links & Quotes

link quote

“God is not merely mending, not simply restoring a status quo. Redeemed humanity is to be something more glorious than unfallen humanity would have been, more glorious than any unfallen race now is (if at this moment the night sky conceals any such). The greater the sin, the greater the mercy: the deeper the death, the brighter the re-birth.” —C.S. Lewis

“Zeal for God feeds itself upon the thought of the eternal future. It looks with tearful eyes down to the flames of Hell and it cannot slumber: it looks up with anxious gaze to the glories of Heaven, and it cannot but bestir itself. Zeal for God thinks of death, and hears the hoofs of the white horse with the skeleton rider close behind. Zeal for God feels that all it can do is little compared with what is wanting, and that time is short compared with the work to be done, and therefore it devotes all that it has to the cause of its Lord.” —Charles Spurgeon

“For those who know the sound of a Goliath, David gives us this reminder: Focus on giants—you stumble. Focus on God—your giants tumble.” —Max Lucado

Frank Viola has some excellent thoughts for Christians to respond to the narrative of the culture.

Porn surveyFight The New Drug shares the results of a survey of pornography actresses, that shows their lifestyles are highly unhealthy compared to the general population. Read the full article here. Here is the important takeaway: If you are watching porn, you are keeping these young ladies in bondage to these destructive habits.

Jeffrey Kranz at the Overview Bible Project has a great infographic to help us all understand why publishers sometimes change an English translation of the Bible. (And while you’re there, check out all the other great resources on the Overview site.)

Why PhDs In Theology Commit Adultery

John PiperThis is an astounding video clip from John Piper! Please soak up this powerful 2-minute snippet…

I love when he says, “Too many Christians are fighting graduate school sins with a grammar school knowledge of God.” You can find the link to watch Piper’s entire sermon by clicking here.

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