You Are A Unique And Unbalanced Leader

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

I read a report that said today the world’s population hit 8 billion people. Demographers estimate that in the history of our planet, 120 billion people have lived on Earth. Amazingly, every single one of these 120 billion people have been unique creations! 

Let me state that more personally: There has never been anyone like you, nor is there anyone like you now, nor will there ever be anyone like you. God made you unique from all others. 

And God made you uniquely unbalanced. 

If you’ve ever taken a personality test or any other kind of assessment you probably noticed that there were areas that scored very high, and perhaps some areas that barely even registered. This is a part of your unique composition. 

Your uniqueness was given to you by God on purpose—He knew exactly what He was doing when He made you you. I recently chatted with the pastoral staff of Faith Wesleyan Church as they are doing a book study on my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. I joined them for their discussion of chapters 4 and 5, in which I talk about the way God has wired leaders to be naturally more confident or more humble. Check this out…

Shepherd leaders, you can best individualize your care of the sheep God has given you when you understand how God has wired you. Don’t make excuses for your unbalancedness, but don’t let your uniqueness hold you back either. Get around other healthy leaders who can speak firmly and lovingly to you. This will allow your uniqueness to be leveraged for God’s glory as you lead His flock that He has entrusted to you. 

I’ll be sharing more clips from this training session soon, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, if you would like me to join your team in a similar discussion of Shepherd Leadership, please get in touch with me. Shepherd Leadership is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple.

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

When Leaders Need To Call A “Time Out!”

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

I’ve discussed quite a bit the two ways that organizations—especially churches and non-profit ministries—can measure success: By quantity or by quality. And I think a good case can be made for both of these metrics from the Bible. 

My bigger concern is when we try to use bigger numbers as the sole gauge of success. In a training time I had with some ministry interns, we took a deep dive into the reasons why the metric of bigger and ever-increasing numbers became the sole measurement for success in our churches. During this training time, I took these interns to Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians and two Old Testament examples where people got this wrong. Take a listen…

It’s important for shepherd leaders to call a “time out” to get their teammates to step back for a moment to consider what metrics they are using. My book Shepherd Leadership can be a good resource to use in this evaluation process. I am currently working with pastors who are using my book as a discussion-starter for their team, and I would be happy to do this with you as well. If I can be of service to you, please contact me. 

Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple.

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

9 Quotes From “War As I Knew It”

General George Patton gives us an insightful leadership look into how his army was able to accomplish so much during such a short time in World War II. Check out my full book review by clicking here. 

“An ounce of sweat saves a gallon of blood.” 

“This is another example of the many I’ve encountered in life where great disappointments have proven to be the road to future success.” 

“Successful generals make plans to fit the circumstances, but do not try to create circumstances to fit plans.” 

“The 8th of May, 1945, marked exactly two-and-a-half years since we had landed in Africa. During all that time we had been in practically continuous battle, and when not in battle had been under the strain of continuous criticism, which I believe is harder to bear.” 

“It is unfortunate and to me a tragic fact, that in our attempts to prevent war we have taught our people to belittle the heroic qualities of the solider.” 

“Wars are not won by defensive tactics. … The best armor and the best defense is a rapid and well-directed fire.” 

“An army commander does what is necessary to accomplish his mission, and that nearly eighty percent of his mission is to arouse morale in his men.” 

“Don’t delay. The best is the enemy of the good. By this, I mean that a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.” 

“Fatigue breeds pessimism.”

The Art Of War (book review)

You don’t have to be a military officer to appreciate some of the timeless and widely applicable lessons in the classic text from Sun Tzu called The Art Of War.

The Art Of War was written in roughly the fifth century BC in China. Just by knowing those brief facts, many people might dismiss the book from their potential reading list because it doesn’t appear to “fit” where they are. Granted, Sun Tzu’s thrust is to help military generals win the battles against their enemies, but I found many of his strategies and observations helpful to other areas of life. 

    • … business leaders can glean strategies for marketing victories 
    • … sports coaches can learn how to motivate their teams during training
    • … pastors can see spiritual warfare tactics
    • … teachers could learn the best times and ways to motivate students for academic success
    • … even those who want to be lifelong learners can discover how to self-motivate and organize their daily lives

The Art Of War is a fairly short read, and each of the chapters are presented in bite-size verses (almost like the biblical book of Proverbs), so it is a book you can read in short bursts in between other tasks. 

If you really want to “shake up” your regular reading routines, this little classic might be just the thing for you! 

The Case For Christ Daily Moment Of Truth (book review)

This is a fantastic study guide from Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg. It was originally published with the title Today’s Moment Of Truth. 

Most Christians will tell you they love God “with all my heart.” That’s a good start, but according to Jesus, there needs to be more. Jesus told us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It’s especially these last two areas that concerned Strobel and Mittelberg enough to put together a wonderful book: The Case For Christ Daily Moment Of Truth.

Strobel and Mittelberg were concerned (and rightly so) that Christians were engaging their heart and soul in their Christian witness, but not developing their mind and strength to the same extent. As a result, when someone challenges them to explain why they believe what they believe, many Christians struggle to answer convincingly.

Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg are both top-notch Christian apologists. They don’t just present solid evidence for the Christian faith, but they do so in a winsome, inoffensive way. And through 180 different lessons, they train all who read The Case For Christ Daily Moment Of Truth to do the same.

Each day you will read a quote from a notable atheist or Christian skeptic, and then be trained in solid apologetics to refute their claims. You will be given Scripture verses, proofs from all disciplines of science, and some good old-fashioned common sense. This book will expand your spiritual muscles and your mental muscles. Each day’s reading will only take a couple of minutes, but you will be well-prepared for any challenges to your faith. A must-read for all Christians!

I am a Zondervan book reviewer.

Thursdays With Oswald—How God Prepares His Workers

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.

How God Prepares His Workers

     If the worker for God is going to go all lengths for God for the cure of souls, he has to allow God to examine to deep down the possibilities of his own nature. That is why it is hard to deal with the “two-faced.” That is why, Christian worker, God will take you through disciplines and experiences that are not meant for your particular life; they are meant to make you ready for God to send as He sent Nathan [2 Samuel 12:1]. … 

     Worker for God, before you go among the infirm, the sick, the subtle, the hypocritical, let God deal with you. A child cannot wield the sword of the Spirit; it must be wielded by one fed on strong meat, one who has been deeply dealt with and examined by God’s Spirit, in whom the last springs and possibilities of iniquity and wrong in his own nature have been disclosed to him that he may understand the marvel of God’s grace. …  

     God grant that we may understand that working for the cure of souls is not a babe’s work; it is a man’s work, requiring man’s power, grasped and transformed by God Almighty, so that God can get straight through the worker to the man He is waiting for. 

From Workmen Of God

Being used by God is no light, trivial matter. God wants to use you to reach those “He is waiting for.” But in order for you to “wield the sword of the Spirit,” you first have to allow God to strengthen and prepare you.

Are you willing to let God prepare you for His service? It will require us to pray, as Jesus did, “Father, not My will, but Yours be done.”

9 More Quotes From “Marching Off The Map”

Tim Elmore’s insights on the youth culture are amazing. To synthesize such great insights he obviously needs to read lots and lots of research. In all of his books, Dr. Elmore freely shares the cream-of-the-crop quotes he’s uncovered in his research. Here are a few of those quotes which I appreciated.

“In the modern world we have invented ways of speeding up invention, and people’s lives change so fast that a person is born into one kind of world, grows up in another, and by the time his children are growing up, lives in still a different world.” —Margaret Mead

“We are morphing so fast that our ability to invent new things outpaces the rate we can civilize them.” —Kevin Kelly

“I beseech you to treasure up in your hearts these my parting words: Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” —Horace Mann

“The greatest gifts we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.” —Denis Waitley

“Strangely, the world seems to be growing both more charitable and more selfish at the same time. I have a lot of faith that our children’s generation has the potential to rise to the unimaginable challenges that lie ahead. But at this fascinating crossroads in human history there’s also a sense that a traditional worldview and ethic will come under increasing assault in the western world.” —Chris Arias 

“[Generation Z] are the most connected, educated and sophisticated generation in history. They don’t just represent the future, they are creating it.” —Mark McCrindle

“In every society since the start of history, whenever you broke down any population this way, you’d always get a pyramid. But from 1960-2060, our pyramid will turn into a rectangle. We’ll have almost as many Americans over age 85 as under age 5. This is the result of longer lifespans and lower birthrates. It’s uncharted territory, not just for us, but for all of humanity. And while it’s certainly good news over the long haul for the sustainability of the earth resources, it will create political and economic stress in the short-term, as smaller cohorts of working age adults will be hard-pressed to finance the retirements of larger cohorts of older ones.” —Paul Taylor, Pew Research Center

“We are now at a point where we must educate our children in what no one knew yesterday, and prepare our schools for what no one knows yet.” —Margaret Mead

“The military tells us we must offer diversity training, but it seems to me what our sailors most need is unity training. How can we mesh our differences into a single unit and get results?” —Navy Captain Michael Abrashoff

Check out my review of Marching Off The Map by clicking here. And read some of Tim Elmore’s quotes which I shared here. I will be sharing more quotes from this book soon, so stay tuned!

10 Commitments For Dads (book review)

With Father’s Day just around the corner, I’ve got a great book that every Dad needs to check out. Think of this book from Josh McDowell as a Father’s Day gift you will give to yourself and to your family. The book is called 10 Commitments For Dads.

Whether you are a soon-to-be-Dad, a rookie Dad, a veteran Dad, or a Granddad, there is always more to learn and more to do for our kids. Since God has placed His precious children under our care, it’s wise to seek practical, biblically-sound counsel to help us do the best we can. Right at the outset of this book Josh lists seven objectives Dads need to strive for before our kids leave home:

  1. Form a right relationship with God
  2. Develop healthy relationships with others
  3. Have a healthy self-image
  4. Resist sexual pressure
  5. Be a person of integrity
  6. Develop deep and convictions
  7. Know how to handle success and cope with failure

This requires some diligence on a part, beginning with listening to the wise advice Josh shares in this book.

A commitment is not a guarantee, but it is rooted in a strong passion to do the very best that we can do. As Josh leads us through these 10 commitments, you will learn from some of Josh’s successes and missteps, you will learn what the Bible has to say, and you will learn the “whys” behind the “how-to’s” of fatherhood.

10 Commitments offers no quick-fixes for fatherhood, but it does offer hope for those Dads and Granddads who are willing to let God help them do their very best. I would encourage you to also use this book as a discussion starter. You will need the help of your wife, a friend, or a pastor to be at your very best, and the concepts presented in this book are great starting points for evaluations and conversations with your helpers.

Go get this book for yourself, Dad, and then enjoy many, many happy Father’s Days!

I am a Harvest House book reviewer.

Useful Maxims (book review)

Useful MaximsKing Solomon had his maxims—Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Benjamin Franklin had his maxims—A stitch in time saves nine. And now Brian Ridolfi gives us a book of fresh Useful Maxims.

Maxims are short, catchy, and very memorable; a brief, succinct statement that captures profound wisdom in a way that’s easy to recall at the appropriate time. Parents, teachers, pastors, and coaches have all sought ways to get their message across to their young charges, and have those messages come back to the forefront of their mind at crucial moments. This is where an appropriate maxim can be so helpful.

Useful Maxims is organized in broad chapter headings, and then the individual maxims are grouped together in various sub-headings throughout each chapter. Most of them are short—He who exalts himself halts himself—but occasionally Brian shares a short parable along with its memorable meaning.

If you are involved with instructing others, and want to find a way to have your point “stick” in their memory, Useful Maxims will become an invaluable, go-to tool for your lesson plans.

God’s Heavenly Choir

George Matheson“Certain songs can only be learned in the valley. No music school can teach them, for no theory can cause them to be perfectly sung. Their music is found in the heart. They are songs remembered through personal experience, revealing their burdens through the shadows of the past, and soaring on the wings of yesterday. … Therefore, dear soul, in this life you are receiving a music lesson from your Father. You are being trained to sing in a choir you cannot yet see, and there will be parts in the chorus that only you can sing. … Others have said that He sends sorrow to test you, yet this is not the case. He sends sorrow to educate you, thereby providing you with the proper training for His heavenly choir. … O dear soul, do not despise your school of sorrow. It is bestowing upon you a unique part in the heavenly song [Revelation 14:3].” —George Matheson

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