Leadership and the Law of Replication

My dad was injured in car accident, when I was about four or five. As a result of that injury, he walks with a limp. As a young boy, I unconsciously emulated him. I just thought that was the way grown men walked.

dad

When I was about three or four, I remember my Mom saying to me, “Michael, you don’t need to walk with a limp. Dad walks that way because he was hurt in a car accident.” Regardless, I still walked with a limp for another year or so, simply because I wanted to be like my dad. This was the “law of replication” in action. This law says that like begets like. Dogs beget dogs. Trees beget trees. And people beget people.

This law also applies to leadership. Like it or not, you will replicate yourself. Your followers will adopt your behaviors, habits, and—if you have a strong personality— even your mannerisms.

Years ago, I remember visiting one of our authors at his corporate headquarters. I was amused to see his staff imitating him, down to the cadence of his speech and the inflection of his voice. It was as if they were paid impersonators.

This has powerful implications for leadership. Unconsciously, your people will mimic you. This means:

  • If you are late to meetings, your people will be late to meetings.
  • If you don’t take notes in meetings, your people won’t take notes in meetings.
  • If you are angry and defensive when you get negative feedback, your people will be angry and defensive when they get negative feedback.

Conversely:

  • If you are humble and grateful, your people will be humble and grateful.
  • If you are warm and engaging, your people will be warm and engaging.
  • If you are even-tempered and unflinching under fire, your people will be even-tempered and unflinching under fire.

Ghandi said, Be the change you want to see in the world.” I would add, “Be the change you want to see in your organization.

If you don’t like the culture of your department, division, or company, start by changing yourself. Set a new standard. Let your word become flesh. This is the most powerful thing you can do to change your world.

The bottom line is that you are the prototype for your followers. Your actions speak louder than words. You must pay careful attention to your own behavior. You are a living example of what it takes to go to the next level. You will replicate yourself.

* Resource(s) & Photo(s) courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/JLBarranco, Michael Hyatt

God is faithful

e080c6e2f9a411e1bacf1231380f8dc9_6The Holy Spirit has me in the classroom called faith. I’m afraid it is a graduate program. Extremely hard, Mind stretching, And unbelievably demanding, but oh so rewarding. My education program in a denominational school never taught me the principles which I am learning today. I do wish they had. Oh, they mentioned faith. Even preached faith in the chapel services, but this is much different today that I am learning in my walk with the Lord than what I heard back then.

Coming into my life at this season is the revelation that (1) Real faith does not get embarrassed. It does not have to. It simply trusts and believes that what God said He would do, He does. The Bible says that when the king signed the decree that no one could pray to any god, but him for 30 days, Daniel went to his room, lifted his window and 3 tymes a day did what he had always done before. No need to add extra when the pressure was on. His faith in God was not about to be embarrassed. (2) Real faith is not timid. Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were not intimidated because of threats. Who are they you ask? You and I know them as their Babylonian names of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Without the blink of an eye, they could look their enemy in the eye and declare, “…our God who we serve is able to deliver us…” “But if not…” (Daniel 3:17-18 KJV). (3) Real faith announces the victory before the battle ever starts. David did. Facing a giant caused the army of Israel to retreat in fear. The one who had a heart after God would not budge. He did not tremble. He would not be intimidated. Faith in God flows forth from his inner being. David declared, “This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel”.(1 Samuel 17:46 KJV). Twice David said, “This day”, not tomorrow, not next week, not next month. He stepped into the arena of faith. He boldly made a prediction. He knew his God. He knew the power his God possessed. He knew he would walk away from the battle that day victorious.

You and I are in a very dark hour of history. Many are discouraged because they have their eyes on the problems and not on God. I for one am not discouraged. Let me tell you why. Not that I do not face mountains in my pathway just like many of you. Not that I do not hear the laughing of hell and the taunting of the devil’s army. But, I am encouraged. I sense deep within me that while our world is coming apart at the seams God is raising up a faith filled army that is not. If you are one of those soldiers you have that same sense within your spirit right now as you just read those words. You know what I type is true. You feel the same anointing on the inside. Your confidence in God is not being disturbed. Your expectation that God is coming through for you is not wavering. You are aware that God is calling you to a higher level in your walk with Him. There is boldness fresh within your spirit man. The word of God is leaping off the page into your spirit man. Your spiritual ears are hearing a different sound than others are hearing or even talking. My precious friend that is called faith.

Let me boldly declare that if your trust is in this Babylonian system of man you are being greatly disappointed. By now you ought to know that man has no answers. Why do you think we are in the mess we are in as a nation? Answer: We have left God out of the equation. We told Him we don’t want Him. We kicked Him to the curb and told Him we could handle our own way. Heaven must laugh at puny mankind by now. Angels must shake their heads in disbelief as they see the messes we have created by doing what Adam and Eve did in the Garden, trusting in ourselves. I don’t want to trust in my power. I don’t want to trust in my strength. I don’t want to trust in my wisdom. I can’t afford to trust in the arm of the flesh. It produces nothing but death.

 How can you get your faith increased? Simple answer, feed it. We have a dual nature. On one side we are flesh, the other spirit. Or, I could say we have a dog nature and a dove nature. Here is what I have learned over the years, dogs don’t like dove food and dove’s hate dog food. What is the food of the dove? The word of God.  I challenge you today to feed your spirit man. Don’t be moved by anything but the word of God. Let your faith rise. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. This tsunami of the Spirit of God which is rolling across this land will rise higher and higher. The devil is a liar. God’s word will work if you work it. Only believe, all things are possible, only believe!

* Resource(s) & Photo(s) courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com, Charles Swindoll

Take Your Focus Off Your Problem And Put It On The Word

focusWhen the troubles of life come don’t put your focus on the problem put it on the word. The scripture says “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2Corinthians 4:18). Your problems are temporal(subject to change), but the word of God is eternal(everlasting). when you put your focus on the problem you loose sight of the power of God. Like Peter when Jesus told him to come to him out on the water, he got out of the boat and walked on the water until he saw the waves boisterous. Notice when he changed focus from Jesus to the waves he began to sink.

How about Elijah when he called fire down from heaven King Ahab told Queen Jezebel what had happened and she sent a messenger with a message that she was going to kill Elijah and he ran and hid and begged God to take his life just at Queen Jezebel’s word. The man just called fire down from heaven and yet he got focused on Queen Jezebel’s message and lost all sight of God’s power (1Kings 19:1-4). The scripture says “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.” God has done some things that may not appear to be done, but that’s the time to walk by faith and not by sight (1Corinthians 5:7).

Like Elisha and his servant when the King of Syria sent his army to capture Elisha, they surrounded the city by night. When Elisha’s servant arose that morning and saw the great multitude of soldiers he paniced, but when Elisha came out he said “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” Then Elisha prayed that his servant’s eyes be opened and he saw the angels of God. Two men in the same situation one focused on the problem and the other focused of God’s word.

 How about Abraham both him and his wife were old and Sarah was barren, but God said that they would have a son what did Abraham do. He considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb (Romans 4:19). He was fully persuaded that, what God promised, he was able to perform (Romans 4:21). Notice what Abraham did, he didn’t focus on the problem he focused on what God had promised. And that’s exactly what you should do in the times of trouble.

* Resource(s) & Photo(s) courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com, Frank B

Choices

#5Take your life and break it into 3 equal segments and then think of the most significant area or thing that happened in your life. Think of the choice you made. How do you think it would have changed if your decision was different? Where do you think you would be today? What do you think God’s ultimate plan for you is? Do you believe that God has overridden all your choices? What are the most significant choices you have made?

In life we have to make choices all the tyme. With whom to make friends with? What to do? Where to go? What job to do? What to do first? What to choose over another…..

Bible is one long story about choices people made and the consequences – The list is endless:

Adam and Eve

Cain with his anger

Esau

Jacob

Joseph

Moses

Saul

David

Nehemiah

Jeremiah

Daniel

Mary

Ester

Ruth

Peter

Jesus

You know that greater the choice greater the man or woman (Daniel, Moses). But often the choices were simple ones – but it had major repercussions. Sometymes the options are there and we think all we have to do is to use our intelligence and choose the best.  But is it the best? For a moment think of Adam choosing a helpmate – What if he had chosen a Donkey? What did he do? He waited for God to give him the very best

In the Book of Jeremiah God says that he has great plans for us – Plans to prosper us (Jer 29:11) John says I pray that you prosper in all things even as your soul prospers (3John2)

But how are we going to make the correct choices?

–         Know God’s heart  (The word)

–         Know the tradition – Israel built alters and fathers and mothers taught the children. they listen to the old

–         They prayed  ( communed with God)

–         They fellowshipped – learned from each other

–         They did God’s will

Some say that Life is all about being in the correct place at the correct tyme and doing the correct thing- the problem is that we do not know what is correct

I say life is all about making choices that are aligned with God’s will – If we don’t we are dying. This is what I consider all important

Choose to follow and serve the Lord – Joshua 24:1415

Choose instructions more than anything else – Proverbs 8:10, & 16:16 and John 7:17

Make the correct choices about friendships Having a friendship with the world is dangerous –James 4:14

 

* Resource(s) & Photo(s) courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com

I Keep Sinning: So Am I Still A Christian?

J9Fl2rjWhat if I keep sinning? Am I not really saved? I can’t pinpoint the fear of losing my salvation.

Hey there my friend: So every once in a while, I get this question from fellow Christians and I see two very different motives.

1) I’m really worried that I’m not doing enough to overcome my sinful selfish inclinations, or

2) I want to know how much I can keep sinning without pissing off God.

Since most people are not binary creatures who fit in a one-dimensional box, your motives might be a mix of both.  But if you’re more #2 (I want to get away with stuff) than #1 (I want to overcome), then it’ll be very hard for anyone to reach you.  It’s like the addict who keeps saying “I can handle a little bit, I know my limits, just once, only one more time.”  If you’re already convinced in your mind that you can do what you want, then I can’t help.  I can only graciously ask you to gut-check your motives.

But since you even asked me this question, I can see that it bothers you that it doesn’t bother you, and that shows you actually care.  This means you’re in the right place, right now, making a step forward.

You see, every spurt and blip of righteousness in your life is a God-given miracle.  Our default mode is sin.  We’re all naturally selfish in the wild.  Left to ourselves, we’d devour each other in Darwinian cycles of the walking dead.

I meet Christians who freak out when they slip up over a melt-down or flip-out or back-slide or relapse, but if you even care that you messed up, that’s a miracle.  An act of Christ-like righteousness is like giving birth.  It’s amazing, it’s supernatural, and it’s worth celebrating.

I don’t mean to pamper you here.  I’m also not talking about “worldly sorrow,” where you’re just sorry you got caught or you’re sorry about the consequences.  I mean: there’s a certain kind of grief when you’re not becoming the person that God has made you to be and saved you for, and if even a tiny seed of that grief is pulsing in your heart, you’re growing in the right direction.

I might get blasted for this by smarter theologians and pastors, but I’m believing more and more that salvation is not some overnight epiphany or an altar call (which it can be those things), but more of a slow-burning awakening to who God is and what He’s done.  It’s to recognize that God has been pursuing us, wooing us, and beckoning us ever closer to His grace.  It’s to be rescued from wandering darkness with our eyes stubbornly shut into a glorious heavenly light with our eyes wide open.

This means that salvation can be both a decision and a stretching into faith.  There’s no Christian alive who knows everything there is to know about Christianity, so how can we expect “salvation” to explode a person into super-rock-star-faith after one Sunday?  I absolutely believe that theology is crucial and necessary, but that’s actually more reason for our faith to be a journey, because there’s so much to discover.

When someone asks me, “When did you get saved?” — I always answer, “There wasn’t any single moment it happened.  It was a lot of moments, over three or four years, and one morning I woke up and I realized that I loved Jesus.”  I’m not saying this happens to all of us, but I’m saying that our Western culture relies too much on one-time decisions and checklists, when faith is way messier and more organic than that.

At this point, I’m always asked, “But what if I really can’t stop sinning?  What if I keep going back to that old-life / boyfriend / girlfriend / porn  / addiction?”  And I think that’s not exactly the right question.

Let’s imagine for a moment that your current struggle was totally over.  Your addiction, your destructive habits, your old ways: that they were all gone.

What would you do then?

I have to ask, What if your sin-issue was no longer an issue?  Now what?

Most Christians are so busy overcoming all the time that they’re crawling up to the edge of a pit but forgetting to look up at the light.  We forget there’s a mission beyond our struggle.  Recovery and repentance are awesome, but so is a fruitful life found in Christ.  We’re not merely forgiven of sin, but we’re forgiven for a greater purpose in Him.

Both of these things happen in conjunction: we turn away from our internal afflictions while pursuing our Kingdom-purpose.  The Christian life is both personal repentance and outward restoration.  We become both radically pure and radically generous by the radical grace of God.

I can almost guarantee that if you move your meter towards God’s mission in your life, then the volume of sin will get turned down and become less attractive to you.  That’s why Galatians 5:16 says, “Step by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of your flesh.”

Maybe you never heard this in church before, but I know that when I get one-on-one with broken hurting people and serve them and love on my church and step out of my safety, then I’m much less likely to relapse into my old life, because the joy and freedom that Jesus has given me is too good to refuse.  I’ve tasted the goodness of God, and I don’t want to go back.

Photo(s)/Resource(s): J.S.

 

The Art of Waiting on God

I don’t hold a master’s degree in waiting on God, nor in patience. But I am praying that I’d be slowly molded into an artist of waiting on God. Biblical waiting means confident expectation, trusting that God will do what he has promised. That God knows best both what needs to happen and when it needs to happen. That God will be preparing us while we are waiting. That God works for the good who believe in him.

There are many examples in the Bible about what happens when we don’t trust God but precede God. Just think about Abraham! God promised him a son. But when nothing happened he took the matter into his own hands and got his wife’s maid pregnant (Genesis 16). He did not wait on God’s timing. Neither did Saul.

Saul stayed at Gilgal, and the troops followed him anxiously. He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel, but Samuel didn’t come to Gilgal, and his troops began to desert. So Saul ordered, “Bring me the entirely burned offering and the well-being sacrifices.” Then he offered the entirely burned offering. The very moment Saul finished offering up the entirely burned offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet him and welcome him. But Samuel said, “What have you done?”
“I saw that my troops were deserting,” Saul replied. “You hadn’t arrived by the appointed time, and the Philistines were gathering at Michmash. I thought, The Philistines are about to march against me at Gilgal and I haven’t yet sought the LORD’s favor. So I took control of myself and offered the entirely burned offering.”

“How stupid of you to have broken the commands the LORD your God gave you!” Samuel told Saul. “The LORD would have established your rule over Israel forever, but now your rule won’t last. The LORD will search for a man of his own choosing, and the LORD will commission him as leader over God’s people, because you didn’t keep the LORD’s command.”  (1 Sam. 13:7-14, CEB, emphasis added)

Saul’s seemingly rational and reasonable action demonstrates disobedience to God. Saul reacted out of fear of the Philistines, not out of fear of God. Saul did not wait for God, he took charge. Waiting for God requires strength and spiritual maturity.

We are not to lean on our own understanding. We are not to birth things prematurely. We are to trust God and his timing. He knows best. We are to let God take charge of our lives. We are to trust God to take care of us according to his grace and not according to our fear.

Waiting on God is a way of life.
Waiting on God is knowing God is God and we are not God.
Waiting on God is about surrendering our will to God day by day.
Waiting on God is trusting God for pouring out grace also tomorrow.
Waiting on God is seeking him with our whole hearts.
Waiting on God is being changed into his likeness.
Waiting on God is becoming whom God created us to be.

*Resource: Mari-Anna Stålnacke

Does your faith produce a verifiable, transformational experience?

jesus_buddha2

This morning, my pray partner forwarded me Richard Rohr’s daily mediation called “Jesus and Buddha.” I like it so much I decided to quote the entire piece here:

The Christian tradition became so concerned with making Jesus into its God and making sure everybody believed that Jesus was God that it often ignored his very practical and clear teachings. (How many of us love our enemies?) Instead, we made the questions theological and metaphysical ones about the nature of God (which asked almost nothing of us!). Most of our church fights have been on that level, and no one ever really “wins,” so it goes on for centuries.

What Buddha made clear is that the questions are first of all psychological and personal and here and now. We created huge theories about how the world was saved by Jesus. I think what Jesus was primarily talking about was the human situation and describing liberation for us right now. Clearly the Kingdom of God is here and now, as Jesus said. However, we turned Jesus’ message into a reward or punishment contest that would come later, instead of a transformational experience that was verifiable here and now by the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). For Jesus and for the Buddha both rewards and punishments are first of all inherent to the action and in this world. Goodness is its own reward and evil is its own punishment, and then we must leave the future to the mercy and love of God, instead of thinking we are the umpires and judges of who goes where, when, and how.

I think this perspective highlights one of the key issues dividing Christians today: Is Christianity simply an external system of future rewards and punishments, as people like Jerry Newcombe believe? If so, being a Christian is about conforming to that system and teaching other people to do the same–not to mention warning them about what will happen if they don’t. How grace factors into this perspective is a mystery, seeing as this essentially turns Christianity into a works-based religion. But you’ll hear adherents to this view arguing for it all the time.

On the other hand, we have Christians like Richard Rohr who certainly keep one eye on the future, but who believe that being a Christian is primarily about imitating Christ today. I’m definitely in this camp. As a commenter on my Huffington Post article said yesterday,

I don’t believe that God is the egomaniac that so many people make him out to be. I don’t think he really cares all that much whether we believe in him or not. What matters most is how we act, what we do and how we live our lives in relation to others. So you’re an atheist. Whatever. Do you love your neighbor? Yes? Then that’s great. Keep doing it. So you’re a devout Christian. That’s wonderful. Do you love your neighbor? No? Then you still have work to do. It’s that simple.

I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think God puts too much stock in the names we call ourselves. In fact, when someone tells me they’re an atheist, I tend to imagine God chuckling and saying, “No you’re not.” Especially if that atheist is currently engaging me in a theological debate. The same goes for any of us who take on the name “Christian.” In that case, I see God eying us skeptically saying, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Just so we’re clear: This is not another version of the works-based salvation I criticized above. Unless you define salvation–as I do–as deliverance from the cycle of self-destructive violence in which the human race has been trapped since the beginning. In that case, I believe we can literally play a hand in the salvation of the entire world. How? By imitating Christ, by loving our neighbor–even our enemy–as we love ourselves. We don’t do this because we’re afraid that if we don’t, God will consign us to hell. We do this because we recognize that this is the only way to break the cycle. And until we do, hell will continue to reign. And we won’t have to wait until we die to experience it. Best of all, this doesn’t require faith in some sort of convoluted theology. It is what Rohr calls a “transformational experience that is verifiable here and now by the fruits of the Holy Spirit.” In case you don’t know what those fruits are, Galatians 5:22 gives us a list: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Where does grace enter the picture? Simple, it’s all grace. That’s because our actions do not determine is our eternal destiny. That has been secure from the beginning. As Thomas Talbott argues so well in Universal Salvation? The Current Debate, our actions merely determine the means by which our salvation will be achieved.

For the more tenaciously we cling to our illusions and selfish desires–to the flesh, as Paul called it–the more severe will be the means and the more painful the process whereby God shatters our illusions, destroys the flesh, and finally separates us from our sin.

So tell me this: Which brand of Christianity is most likely to produce such fruit? One that runs around warning people that the wrath of God is about to come down unless they jump through the right hoops? Or a faith that announces that salvation is already here, that there’s no longer anything to fear–not even God?

I can only respond with the fruit each brand of Christianity has produced in my own life. And if you ask my wife and children, they’ll definitely go for door number two.

The Christian tradition became so concerned with making Jesus into its God and making sure everybody believed that Jesus was God that it often ignored his very practical and clear teachings. (How many of us love our enemies?) Instead, we made the questions theological and metaphysical ones about the nature of God (which asked almost nothing of us!). Most of our church fights have been on that level, and no one ever really “wins,” so it goes on for centuries.

What Buddha made clear is that the questions are first of all psychological and personal and here and now. We created huge theories about how the world was saved by Jesus. I think what Jesus was primarily talking about was the human situation and describing liberation for us right now. Clearly the Kingdom of God is here and now, as Jesus said. However, we turned Jesus’ message into a reward or punishment contest that would come later, instead of a transformational experience that was verifiable here and now by the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). For Jesus and for the Buddha both rewards and punishments are first of all inherent to the action and in this world. Goodness is its own reward and evil is its own punishment, and then we must leave the future to the mercy and love of God, instead of thinking we are the umpires and judges of who goes where, when, and how.

I think this perspective highlights one of the key issues dividing Christians today: Is Christianity simply an external system of future rewards and punishments, as people like Jerry Newcombe believe? If so, being a Christian is about conforming to that system and teaching other people to do the same–not to mention warning them about what will happen if they don’t. How grace factors into this perspective is a mystery, seeing as this essentially turns Christianity into a works-based religion. But you’ll hear adherents to this view arguing for it all the tyme.

On the other hand, we have Christians like Richard Rohr who certainly keep one eye on the future, but who believe that being a Christian is primarily about imitating Christ today. I’m definitely in this camp. As a commenter on my Huffington Post article said yesterday,

I don’t believe that God is the egomaniac that so many people make him out to be. I don’t think he really cares all that much whether we believe in him or not. What matters most is how we act, what we do and how we live our lives in relation to others. So you’re an atheist. Whatever! Do you love your neighbor? Yes? Then that’s great. Keep doing it. So you’re a devout Christian. That’s wonderful. Do you love your neighbor? No? Then you still have work to do. It’s that simple.

I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think God puts too much stock in the names we call ourselves. In fact, when someone tells me they’re an atheist, I tend to imagine God chuckling and saying, “No you’re not.” Especially if that atheist is currently engaging me in a theological debate. The same goes for any of us who take on the name “Christian.” In that case, I see God eying us skeptically saying, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Just so we’re clear: This is not another version of the works-based salvation I criticized above. Unless you define salvation–as I do–as deliverance from the cycle of self-destructive violence in which the human race has been trapped since the beginning. In that case, I believe we can literally play a hand in the salvation of the entire world. How? By imitating Christ, by loving our neighbor–even our enemy–as we love ourselves. We don’t do this because we’re afraid that if we don’t, God will consign us to hell. We do this because we recognize that this is the only way to break the cycle. And until we do, hell will continue to reign. And we won’t have to wait until we die to experience it. Best of all, this doesn’t require faith in some sort of convoluted theology. It is what Rohr calls a “transformational experience that is verifiable here and now by the fruits of the Holy Spirit.” In case you don’t know what those fruits are, Galatians 5:22 gives us a list: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Where does grace enter the picture? Simple, it’s all grace. That’s because our actions do not determine is our eternal destiny. That has been secure from the beginning. As Thomas Talbott argues so well in Universal Salvation? The Current Debate, our actions merely determine the means by which our salvation will be achieved.

For the more tenaciously we cling to our illusions and selfish desires–to the flesh, as Paul called it–the more severe will be the means and the more painful the process whereby God shatters our illusions, destroys the flesh, and finally separates us from our sin.

So tell me this: Which brand of Christianity is most likely to produce such fruit? One that runs around warning people that the wrath of God is about to come down unless they jump through the right hoops? Or a faith that announces that salvation is already here, that there’s no longer anything to fear–not even God?

I can only respond with the fruit each brand of Christianity has produced in my own life. And if you ask my wife she’ll definitely go for door number two.

* Resource(s) & Photo(s) courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com,Kevin Miller