Friday, May 4, 2018

The Leadership Lens

I remember my early days as a youth pastor, working with Kevin Cobb.  At that point I had been in many leadership positions throughout my younger years, both in high school and extracurricular activities.  However, now I was being paid to make sure that people were on the right track. Kevin and I had a very important conversation when I was pretty new to the process, which centered on my outlook on life.  He told me that if I wanted to be successful at leading others I would have to take a couple of intentional steps. The first one was that I had to rely on others, or build teams. The other was that I needed to begin looking at life through what he calls the “leadership lens.”

The leadership lens is exactly what it sounds like.  Every situation that I encountered I viewed in such a way that I could apply the leadership principles that I knew, and those that I was learning.  As you could probably imagine I made a ton of mistakes early on. It’s one of the reasons I really look to authors like John Maxwell, who wrote 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  It was about having a set of values and principles that I was able to look towards the matter within any situation, or question.

Wherever you are in the leadership journey, just know that the sooner you start looking at situations through the leadership lens, the more you’ll start to make correct directional decisions.  And, as one of my author–mentors says that all leaders should ask in any situation, “What would a great leader do?” Lead well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Bailiwick (2 Timothy 2:14)

Good morning ladies,

The word of the day is “bailiwick.”  I remember when I was in high school I did pretty much everything, and every activity, under the sun. I was part of sports teams, student government, club activities, community activities, and the like. As I grew older, I realized that I needed to focus my energies on maybe just a couple of items in life. Through much prayer and talking to others I trusted, I decided that ministry would be at the center of that journey. I wanted to help others realize why God’s word, and God’s way, were the best possible option in life.

Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God's presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.
~2 Tim 2:14

My question is: what are you doing on a consistent basis to understand God’s word just a little bit more? I have the opportunity to speak with many young men and women about faith. I often ask them what kind of structures they have in life to help them through the tough times. Shockingly, the majority of the people that I talked to often have little or no support system. My prayer is that you make the knowledge of God’s word part of your bailiwick, or area of expertise. I’m not telling you have to be perfect by any means, or know the intricacies of the Greek and Hebrew translations. What I am saying is that when you take responsibility for being a productive member in God’s family, a huge part of that is working through the Bible so that when others ask you questions, you have answers, according to God’s will and not your own. Get busy becoming an expert, today.

Praying for you,


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Afflatus (Hebrews 4:12)

Good morning ladies,

The word of the day is “afflatus.” I remember one time I had not studied for a test that was pretty important. I was a highschooler, and had very different priorities than I probably should’ve had at the time. I often failed to prepare for exams. So, when I got to a test day in my Chemistry class - one of those no-preparation days - I figured the only action that I could take at that point was to pray. And so I did. I took the test, and did not feel good about it, but figured that God had my back. To my amazement, when we received our test paper back, I had gotten a 36%. I mean, how could God not answer my prayer? I was truly dumbfounded. Then, I actually was dumb enough to have a conversation with Kevin about this, my youth pastor at church. He was in about as much amazement that I thought God was going to help me through my lack of preparation as I was that God did not help me.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
~Heb 4:12

My question is: from where do you find your inspiration? Although I had the wrong line of thinking for that test back in highschool, I did realize that if I could align my thinking  with stuff that was important to God, my life would probably be a bit easier, or at least better. My challenge is that you treat God’s word with respect it deserves. God’s word is alive, it is working within this world each day, and it has the power to do more than you or I could ever imagine. I hope you take a moment to ask God to allow his word to permeate your heart. This is the divine inspiration, or afflatus, to which i am referring.

Praying for you,


Monday, December 29, 2014

Doing what you can…

One of my favorite parts about this season is all of the gift cards that I receive.  Most people know now to just give me anything that can get more books into my arsenal.  I’m pretty tight with my money, but when it comes to personal and professional development, my mentors have always told me to spend as much money as I can on materials that will help me develop my skills.  Such expenses are investments.

Of the many leadership books I’m reading right now, I recently began one that has some pretty sweet anecdotes.  The book, in fact, is a compilation of awesome stories that pull a bunch of leadership understandings from each instance.  One quote that I recently came across was the following:

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can.” ~S. Smith

This reminds me of way back when I first began my professional leadership journey.  When Kevin Cobb brought me on to work for him some 20+ years ago, little did I know that I would be entering a leadership journey that would last a lifetime.  It was then that I ran across some of my favorite leadership authors.  It’s not that I was looking for leadership principles necessarily, it was just that those were the kind of books that I would gravitate towards.

The above quote reminds me of the struggles that I went through early on in my leadership journey.  I felt so insignificant in what I was doing.  Even though I was given a lot of leeway and authority, I still wanted more.  I want to the destination without the journey.  But, Kevin helped me understand that working with what I had at any given moment in time was exactly what I needed to be applying.  It was that principle I took with me and was reminded again today, so many years later.

I guess my question is: are you doing what you can with what you have in the present?  I do a lot of leadership development with people of all ages, professional status, and the like.  What I continue to find is the frustrations that people have because they want to be doing more.  What that relays to me is that these people want more influence.  But the only way that you get more influence is to do what you can with what you have.  Are you doing that?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Gracious (Romans 3:21-23)

Good morning all,

The word of the day is "gracious.”  I have been in a study of Romans lately and love to read about the stuff that Paul has to say to the believers in Rome.  He spends the first few chapters talking about all the stuff that is going wrong.  But then he gets to the good news.  The reason we know that God's news is so good is because by ourselves we have such bad news.  This is how we know God is gracious. 

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
~Rom 3:21-23

My prayer this morning is that you learn a little bit more what it means to live a righteous life through faith in the Creator. He is the one who brings that good news as it is explained by at how rebellious gods people are but the cool thing is that Paul reveals and reaffirms to each of the centers in Rome, and us today, that God is gracious and wants to give us his righteousness.

Praying for you,


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Have some tact…

I meet often with people who are better than me.  It's the only way to stay sharp.  In fact, I was meeting with someone, who has been in his industry for quite some time, just a couple weeks ago.  I have great respect for this man.  However, he said something that really disturbed me.  During one of our sessions together, part of his advice to me was: "I'm just very blunt.  I tell people the way it is."  Now, a lot of people might see this as a noble gesture.  He wears it as a badge of honor… a kind of unconventional way of breaking barriers and helping people understand exactly where they are coming from.  Unfortunately, I do not agree with him at all.  Dale Carnegie said this,

“If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don't want to be. ” ~D. Carnagie

What that man communicated to me in that one exchange was that he is unwilling to continue to get better.  I am not saying that he does not care about people, but what I do know from a comment like that is you take away your ability to change and become better as soon as you make that kind of comment.  So, this is what I took away from that.  Have some tact. 

As leaders we are called on by others to continually better ourselves, in hopes that we might be able to influence them to become better at what they do.  Another man, whom has my upmost respect, gave some advice that was very different from my blunt friend.  He said this: always put relationship at the very top, because at the end of the day that's all you have.  I guess my question to each of you is: where do you fall on the spectrum… are you the blunt all telling no-nonsense person?  Or do you achieve the same goals, while using a little bit of tact?  The choice is ours.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Reasons MO Coaches #140519 - The Varsity Letter

Coaching is one of the most fun jobs in the entire world.  I guess I am prone to activities that cause a high level of stress.  But every now and again, I have a moment of genuine ashtonishment.  One of those came at a not so typical moment recently.  We had our high school swim team banquet a couple of weeks ago.  Some of the kids swam both junior varsity and varsity all year.  But, they are not really sure if they will receive the varsity letter.  We kind of keep this a little bit of a surprise.  Most of the athletes are very appreciative when they receive the varsity letter, and some expect it because they figure they earned it.  And then, there are instances like the one we had at this past banquet.

When it came time to call the name for one of the boys to receive a varsity letter, I think that he was so surprised and shocked at it that he was overcome with genuine emotion.  It wasn't that he cried or anything, but instead when I handed him the varsity letter certificate, he had the most sincere look of excitement on his face.  And that reminded me of the reasons I coach.  This kid has a ton of potential, and I hope that he continues to tap into his talent and skills.  As coaches, or a leader in any position, it is your job to read the emotions of the people under your care.  What are you doing to understand their circumstances and give them the best opportunity to succeed?  It's time for us to get out there and make a difference.