Posts Tagged 'Bible'



I Don’t Trust God

This is not the kind of phrase you put on your business card. BUT have you ever said it? Probably not in a getting-ready-in-the-morning, getting-pumped-up-for-the-day kind of way- “Hey! I don’t trust God!” More like in that moment of self-awareness of disappointment that says, “I’m sorry God… I’ve fallen short, and I have to admit that the real reason is, as ugly as it sounds- You are my God… and I don’t trust You”…

These are the moments when you are keenly aware that you still have a lot of growing yet to do. I sure do. I’m here representing all of us that struggle with this.

“Everything is a two sided coin.”

For whatever reason- experience, birth order, whatever- my MO has always been to try to minimize the margin for error. Here’s the plan, now let’s think through what could go wrong and try to buffer those areas. Everything is a 2-sided coin. So when I take that same attitude into ministry circles, sometimes it’s helpful, but I think that may be the one thing, at the end of my ministry, that I look back on with the most disappointment…

Cause I’ve seen a lot… But there are things I’ve never seen. Because I didn’t go all the way to that place where only God could do it. Because I wanted to make sure it was going to be okay. So I took that prompting from the Holy Spirit, that gut feeling that God wanted something risky and uncomfortable and new and uncharted and I try to do the safe and dependable version of it… And God doesn’t call that “minimizing the margin for error”- He calls it disobedience. And the shame of it is that I will never know what might have been if… What if God’s plans were bigger?

I see myself in many of the stories of Scripture. Here’s a particularly scary one for me.

Moses has been doing very well. Better than I (or any of you) will ever do. This guy is no slacker. There’s a reason God picked Moses. Obeyed God to the “t”, got the Israelites out of Egypt, now leading them through the desert and putting up with their crap for what would be 40 years. You think your church is tough on you? Exodus 17- the people are giving Moses all kinds of grief, blaming him and complaining and making him want to die, “there’s no water” and God says, “Take your staff and strike the rock”. Moses strikes the rock and water comes out. It worked!!! Problem solved. Awesome.

“Take your staff and strike the rock.”

Numbers 20 – again, the people are giving Moses all kinds of crap, blaming him and complaining. God says “Take your staff and SPEAK to the rock”.

Moses gets up in front of all the people, he calls them rebellious and then he strikes the rock two times, and water gushes out and people drink and are satisfied.

Moses comes back into the tent of meeting later on. “That was awesome God! Did you see me, I was like- “you’re a bunch of rebels! What do I have to do, make water come from a ROCK!” Boom! Everyone is drinking now, God, you’re the best!”

God says, “Moses, you blew it.

Because you did not trust me enough to honor my holiness in the sight of the Israelites, you will not enter the land.

There’s an argument that’s been made to say that Moses hit the rock because he was so mad at the people, not because he was being disobedient. Just a quick look at God’s response makes me believe otherwise.

He says, “You did not trust me.”

“Trust me.”

That just implies to me that somewhere in Moses’ mind it just not seem feasible that speaking to the rock was going to work, but what worked before was striking the rock, so he chose what worked before OVER what God said to do this time.

THIS IS ME! Moses was thinking the same thing I have thought so many times!

How many times in my gut have I sensed that God is wanting to do something new, something outside of my comfort zone, outside of my experience, and I start asking the “what if’s”…

Moses thinks, God, if I get up there in front of all those people and speak to the rock, and nothing happens…

  • What if You don’t come through? Are you just going to leave me standing there? Are you just going to pants me in front of all those people?
  • What if we pray in faith for that man to be healed, in front of all those people, and You don’t heal him?
  • What if we make this grand invitation for people to accept Jesus, and no one comes?
  •  What if we invite people to grab a hold of our God-given vision, and no one gets it and it’s just me standing there looking ridiculous. And I will make You look ridiculous and your people will lose faith. And I don’t want that, God, so I’m going to protect you God from that, and I’ll go with what I know works.

So he did what worked before. And you know what? He got the water! Success!

This is what rings true with my own experience- even when I have cheapened what I believed God was leading my to do, by making it safer, I have still seen “success”. The worship set went well, the message was well received, the conference went off without a hitch.

But apparently giving the people water was the least of God’s goals for this encounter. Yes, He intended to take care of His people, but it was so much more than that- Because He tells Moses about the goal that was missed. You did not  trust me by honoring my holiness. Showing them his awesomeness was what God had in mind, and Moses blew it!

How much more incredible would it have been to see Moses just speak, and water comes gushing out… God wanted to show off here, and Moses stole the show, did it the safe, dependable way, and cheapened the whole thing.

You dishonored my holiness in front of all my people! You did not trust me

Of the things I’d like to hear from God, “you dishonored my holiness in front of all my people” is really, really low on the list. “You did not trust me” is really low on the list.

  • When I play it safe, I dishonor God’s holiness
  • When I go with what has worked before, I dishonor God’s holiness
  • When I lean on my strengths, I dishonor God’s holiness
  • When I’m quick to cite the reasons “we couldn’t do that” or “that wouldn’t work here in my church”. It’s great that this is working somewhere else, but that would never fly in my church. When I do that I dishonor God’s holiness.

I could do these things and still see “success”… but God’s goals are so much bigger than that. How many times have I stolen away God’s chance to show off in favor of doing what is safe and dependable?

Oh God, help me to trust you more. I believe… help my unbelief.

Amen.

*The following post was written by Jeremiah Olson. Jeremiah is the Worship Pastor at Grace Community Church in Goshen Indiana. All photos included in above post were added by theendisforever.com.

The Rewire

Rewiring is not only essential to getting information and power back to the people; it’s vital to us growing in our spiritual walk with the Lord. Internal rewiring is a concept that consists of going back into our memories to see where negative feelings and emotions have caused pain.  If we can see where our emotions stem there can be great change in the future. While rewiring can be painful, if we are willing to open ourselves to identify internal pain, the freedom obtained will change the course of the future. Imagine being free… Imagine healing and restoration. It’s possible.

Identify the problem can take some time and honesty.

STEP 1: Identification – The first step involves identification of what negative emotion you re actually experiencing.  Is it unhealthy anger, pride, resentment, loneliness, guilt? What exactly is the emotion causing the main issues in your life? If you are experiencing anger, then you need to understand the first and foremost you’re angry. When we’re aware of our emotions and willing to accept that these emotions exist, that is exactly where at a place where God can use this the most.

NOTE: Sometimes we can identify negative emotions and sometimes it takes the voice of another. Identification also means that we are honest with ourselves when these emotions are presented. This means that identification could come from our own knowledge or a result from hearing the same thing from various people in different situations and circumstances.

The rewire can be done alone but it’s better to enlist help.

STEP 2: The Rewire – Once the emotion is acknowledged, we can now retrace or rewire back to where these emotions stemmed. This involves starting at the most recent event or occurrence the emotion occurred and then tracing back days, weeks, months, and even years to how long this emotion has been prevalent.

NOTE: Understand that this is the most effective when these timelines are written down in a tangible format (think journal, piece of paper, etc.). To actually be able to visually see an emotion and how it has taken root in the soul is what ultimately helps us become free.

Find out the trigger that fires the gun and you can stop the bullet.

STEP 3: Trigger – To deal with an emotion and properly run another “clean” wire means that we will look openly and honestly at what exactly triggers these emotions and terminate them immediately.

NOTE: Understand that some emotions can be tied to people, some emotions can be tied to places, and some emotions can be tied to things. When one identifies these people, places, or things that cause these emotional triggers they then can see what needs to be released from their life.

Radical transformation takes radical amputation.

STEP 4:  Terminate – The last of the rewiring is extremely challenging, involving a radical amputation of whatever has caused these specific emotions. In situations that are extreme one may need to move from house, eliminate a relationship (not spouses), or throw out/give away material items such as computers, cars, possessions, etc. We see this a lot with people who smoke cigarettes, as they are encouraged to get rid of their vehicle if they have smoked in that specific automobile. Again, one must understand that this takes either great personal dedication or enlisting the help of someone else.

It’s possible to rewire but understand it takes time, patients, an open mind, and lot of help. You were not born to live with negative emotions from scars in the past. That’s what Christ restores to the broken when they identify, rewire, trigger and terminate what is causing unrest. Allow people to hold you accountable and seek the opportunity to do the hard things to make big change.

You can do it. There is no better time than now.

-jordan

Exercises of Implementation

We can have all the knowledge in the world in our mind but without implementation, understanding is useless. Implementation means that we participate in certain exercises to “live out” what we know. Let’s look at four exercises to see how we can implement our internal knowledge.

Workouts are not just limited to the physical.

Exercise #1: Conscious Engagement

Conscious Engagement is the art of visually seeing your surroundings enough to engage the people selectively in your environment. Why engage selectively? Shouldn’t we evaluate the whole? A selective analysis will show that one will get better results if he or she would engage committed people.  Committed people who work hard are worth your time as they not only have a passion for the same things you do but often have perspectives you are unable to see due to leadership demands.

After consciously engaging a selective audience, it is best to then retaliate.  A true leader will then think through all ideas and make a decision regarding what would be best in order to execute properly. Remember, in engaging others you are not asking for specific answers but gauging a temperature in a certain environment.  If we do not engage consciously, we will not execute effectively.

Exercise #2: Devoted Discipline

A true leader loves discipline.  The Bible says in Psalm 94:12 “Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law.” Proverbs states “fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7) Discipline means that we stay focused on a specific task remembering how committed we are to accomplishing that goal. An individual fully devoted to discipline is one who is willing to eliminate whatever surrounds them at the current moment causing distraction (this involves people just as much as objects).

People will achieve greatness because they focus on methods and actions that will ultimately highlight particular activities they are involved in. Find out what is causing distractions and eliminate the problem. This is not something one should apologize for as this action can often be done gracefully. Remember, to be foolish is to live out of control and to be blessed is to welcome restraint.

Exercise #3: See it Through

Seeing something through is about being devoted to accomplishing an objective. Often times we do not succeed because we failed to see something through in being disciplined. While one may not be happy at the current moment because of engaging others in a disciplined way, the outcome has monumental rewards. A great way to see something through is to monitor and measure personal progress.

Personally, I write everything down.  This includes, workouts, to-do lists, schedules, meeting notes, etc. Everything I do has some sort of paper trail, as it is vital to seeing a project to completion. While taking notes is great, one also needs to show up, take action, complete assignments, and be committed.

Exercise #4: Get Help

Getting help means finding someone to hold you accountable.  All execution involves someone behind that individual cheering them on, making sure that person is staying on task. The key to accountability is having the right people in the right place for specific results.

It can take months, even years to get into a trust-based relationship where someone is making sure that we have a clear understanding of responsibilities and objectives. Accountability starts with trust.  Hat means we trust that someone is going to seek out best. In order to find someone whom you trust means that you consciously engage your environment.

seriously…

Now that sounds like a familiar concept.

-jordan

The Seven in Submission

Submissive. That word never really sat right with me. I always thought the Bible used the word to reference how a woman should conduct herself in a marriage relationship. To me the word never had much weight for a man or even a leader.

Wrong.

Titus Three

Submissive has many implications for the life of the Christian, a leader, and men and women in the kingdom of God. While wives are to indeed be submissive to their husband, Paul gave seven qualities in Titus 3 on how Christians can honor the Lord through submission.

  1. Submit to Rulers and Authorities: This is not always easy. Being submissive to authority is to be submissive to God by practicing self-control. It’s easy to sin in avenging an unjust ruler, however, controlling ourselves and living a disciplined life means that we know God is in control. He will gives us His voice when needed to help be a biblical change in the right time and way.
  2. Submit in Obedient: Obedience is tied to being disciplined following the rulers and authorities put in place. While God doesn’t call you to compromise on His Word, He does call you to be obedient to laws in place that are proper for righteous living.
  3. Submit to What is Good: Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand, that we should walk in them.”  When we do good, we ultimately honor Jesus Christ because of our good works are a response to the acceptance of eternal life. Let us walk in those good deeds! These “works” bring honor and glory to the kingdom of God, as we are obedient and submissive.
  4. Submit to Slander No One: In our day we understand that slander is insecurity. There is no honoring the Lord if you have to cut down another. When we speak against our brothers and sisters in Christ were actually defiling the Lord doing what is false and foolish in the eyes of the kingdom of God.
  5. Submit to be Peaceful: Paul sums up his last couple of points with some really good things to consider. He tells us that we should be “peaceable”, meaning we are to be disposed to piece. In other words, Paul says we are to eliminate drama by acting like Christ. A Christian is marked by the freedom he has in Christ through the gospel, which gives a peace like no other.
  6. Submit to be Considerate: Much like peace, being considerate is another mark of the Christian in regards to being submissive to authority. Being considerate means that we are “given to careful consideration”. To be considerate means that we give thought to the feelings of others and strive to understand where somebody has been.  A Considerate Christian wants to see people become more like Jesus, not stay lost in his or her sin.
  7. Submit to Show True Humility: Paul concludes by telling us that we are to show true humility toward all men. The Christian should be an influence for good in the community that’s around him or her. When you are humble, you’re like Christ. When you are like Christ, you’re maximizing impact for the kingdom of God.

Seven traits of a submissive Christian. This is the hope and strength that we need in order to win our community to Jesus Christ and reach the world near and far for the Gospel.

Seriously.

What are you in submission to?

-jordan

Backyard Battlefield

In my younger years the neighbor kids and I used to play army in the backyards of our neighborhood. We would chase each other around glorious gardens shooting make-believe bad guys with artificial ammunition. We were soldiers. Warriors. We loved every minute of our fairy tale firefight.

Kids playing war outside

While my friends loved hand-to-hand combat, my own internal exhilaration came after moving troops in various directions. In the heat of battle I barked orders in the heat of imaginary firepower. My fellow soldiers would then go out and win the war under my direction. I hated fighting on the front lines. They loved it. I would rather be in the background tactically figuring our how demolish the enemy while they put in the blood and sweat on the battlefield. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I fought but my passion was in the tactical approach.

I’m sure you might be thinking how much of a pansy I was for not going our to
slay the imaginary enemy. Thanks for the confidence. However, the friends on
the frontline loved every minute of being in the battle while I loved being on the back lines. After some time there was a realization that evaluating the situations as a whole gave a better ability to be victorious by attacking the enemy in the right way. They needed me to scout out the enemy. They needed a leader.

People need a leader.

We all do. In life some people want to be on the front lines while others would
rather facilitate victories. There are leaders on the frontlines of hand-to-hand combat and there are leaders who gather various points of view to maximize the potential of the team.

People needs a leader

Remember Jesus? Remember Jesus sending out the twelve disciples? He sends them out, giving them “authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” (Matthew 10:2). He doesn’t have to be on that front line because the disciples are going to experience a better victory if they are faithful with the orders from their captain. They know the the mission is going to be one of great difficulty. Jesus himself says, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.” (Matthew 10:17)

What a rush; for both sides!

What am I getting at here? I’m glad you asked.

There are so many implications for these two stories. The question I would ask is, “Who are you?” Do you like being on the front lines or are you more of a background leader who facilitates through stimulating, listening, observing, capturing, promoting, clarifying, and summarizing? How has God gifted you?

If you’re a frontline leader keep fighting and taking direction from your superiors. Your captain is most honored when you follow his directions closely and carry out the mission in precise detail. If you’re a back line leader, don’t lead with your opinions. Draw out conclusions from the people you are leading through listening and learning so that when you do need to summon an attack you can state your position with more conviction and clarity.

War is an art and as such is not susceptible of explanation by fixed formula.” General George Patton Jr

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12

-jordan

Do You Know Where I Stand

The amount of meetings goes up considerably the older we becomes. It doesn’t matter if a meeting is for work, for fun, or over a meal. For whatever reason, people like meetings. We like getting things accomplished with each other.

In small gatherings (two or three individuals) a person will often become open, stating their viewpoints and beliefs on certain issues without reservation.  However, in large gathering, thoughts and viewpoints are rarely communicated from individuals who were vocal in smaller gatherings. Why does the individual that was quiet suddenly become timid, giving little feedback.

While we could blame this lack of communication on personality, a true leader needs to have a point of view.

I’m reminded of reading the gospel accounts of Jesus and the disciples asking questions. The disciples asked Jesus because they wanted to know His thoughts, His reasoning behind His actions, and why He was responding to situations and circumstances a certain way. Jesus, without delay, stated his point of view. He knew he had a responsibility to generate a factual response to lead these men properly. His time was limited so His leadership was communicated.

Jesus leadership.

You’re thinking, “Sure He did… He was God.” Good point. However, if we go further into the biblical text you’ll see that after the ascension Jesus leaves His disciples to act as He acted. The disciples are now charged to respond to people when they asked questions regardless of the group size or people present. They communication was to be on factual points because of the truth they had not only known with their mind but had experienced with their lives.

If you’re passionate at all about helping hurting people, you must start to come to some conclusions about life. There are far to many timid people out there hiding behind the presence of an appearance of humility.  False humility is often panic which becomes silence which can be a hindrance for growth. There may be multiple things you don’t know or even want to know but a knowledge of factual reasoning behind your thoughts is one of the greatest weapons a human you can obtain.

“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”

The next time someone ask what you think, be prepared to answer them. Encourage each other to grow by communicating opinions and seeking to build thoughts and ideas off factual truth.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15).

Executive: A man who can make quick decisions and is sometimes right.” Frank McKinney Hubbard

-jordan

Your Greatest Gift

From the time I discovered speaking, chatter consumed my life. The instrument of voice was instantly used to echo personal thoughts off every wall, in every room, off every structure I inhabited. Elementary school consisted of yelling the most random statements in lunch lines, on field trips, and other odd places. There was no “inside voice” or even a desire to whisper properly.  Teachers were quick to point out my favorite instrument may very well be a curse.

Devastation.

In Junior High and High School my voice was only engaged in private arenas. The thought that the voice was a weakness was to much to publically display. Therefore, the art of mastering raising tones, articulating pitch, and adjusting volume was done quietly to maximize future public impact. The “curse” must become a craft.

This is probably what I looked like to a lot of grown ups when I was a little kid.

After a year of switching majors in college, a communication degree was the goal. What was done in private would now become public. The voice would go under scrutiny. Feedback would be administered from professionals who were masters at using their mechanism properly. These men focused on my voice, spoke about their own experiences that matched up with my own. They offered suggestions on tweaks while treating me like a person who wasn’t cursed but blessed with a God given ability. They correctly handled untapped potential. Cast a thrown lump of clay into a blazing fire. This experience changed my life forever.

It took over twenty years to take what others thought was a weakness and revolve it into God given ability (and it’s still being tweaked and developed to this day!).

In life we are often most sensitive about what we are most passionate.  What we are most passionate comes from a resource that is often untapped.  That resource is often what one thinks is weakness. We concealed our passions because we often let others limit our potential because of the amount of difficulty it will take to make something weak into something amazing.

“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless” Isaiah 40:19

Have you ever thought that your greatest weakness might just be your greatest gift?

Improvement is never easy. It takes a lifetime to master your skill. A pianist never sits down in front of a full arena the first time they play the instrument.  A runner works for months just to cut down on seconds.  A factory worker may work for years just to move up one position on the cooperate ladder. These actions and desires to be better come with sacrifice and are often met with criticism.  “It’s not possible,” they will say. “Just give up,” they will murmur. However, the determined one never stops making weakness ability. They learn, indulge, consume and correct.

The old saying is true, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”  Neither were you. God has given you gifts.  Others may see those gifts as weakness. Don’t buy into the lie.  With the proper attitude, training and determination you can take turn insecurity into a powerful God honoring instrument.

Why are you so scared to take that weakness into a passion? “Don’t be afraid,” says the Lord. “Have faith!” whispers the Holy Spirit. I read somewhere that Michael Jordan lost almost 300 games, blowing the game winning shot 26 times. Paul, Peter, Timothy, even Jesus Christ Himself delivered the Gospel to people who rejected it. However, the passion for the gift sparked the ability to take a personal weakness into a potential powerhouse.

What are some things right now that needs tailored or adjusted that you personally think are weakness? This may take time, energy, resources, etc. However, let God do the heavy lifting.  You simply say, “I’ll go… send me”. Think about the possibilities if we utter those words when God says go! Never tell God wait, later or I’ll get to it. Answer the Lord with “here am I… send me”. This attitude will change your life forever. Remember, the best part of doing what God has gifted us to do is that we never have to go at it alone.

My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.” Michael Jordan

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” Isaiah 40:19

-jordan

Influence

Who is the most intimidating person you know? What makes them so daunting? Is it that they are really truly terrifying or is it that these people are highly influential?

This guy is intimidating…

In my experience, the community I used to find terrifying were, after reexamination, extremely significant. Many of my hero’s I have personally met.  Pastors I look up to, teachersI admire, sports figures that excel, etc. What I learned/am learning is that the men and women who I used to get nervous about encountering was really an internal insecurity.  I should not have been nervous to assemble with these people of influence, but seek to discover how their influence is communicated to a broad audience and how I can do that in my own context.

Why are some individuals not afraid to elevate the accepted standard?  Why are some people not afraid to increase the pace? Why do we fear those who seek to live a better life? It’s not people of influence to fear but we must starting seeing these people out as foundations to learn how our progress can be maximized.

In Second Chronicles, Solomon finds himself ruling a kingdom.  The Bible says God made Solomon “exceedingly great” (1 Chronicles 1:1). He spoke to hundreds and thousands. He spoke to leaders and families. He was truly intimidating and probably feared among the people.

However, in Solomon’s leadership God said whatever Solomon wanted God to give him, He would do it.  What’s Solomon’s response? “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people…”.  In other words, Solomon asked God to influence people.

Amazing.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10

Solomon gets the head knowledge but how did he go about influencing the people? How did he break the barrier of overcoming his intimidating stature? Three words; Head, heart, and hands…
  • Head: Solomon used the brain God gave him and you can do the same! We call this common sense. We are wired to use reasoning and logic when working on influencing those around us.  What you don’t know work to obtain (ask questions, read books, etc.). Your head is a good tool to start but you cannot stay with what you know, you must push it to your…
  • Heart: There is no doubt that when one reads Solomon’s wisdom in Proverbs he has passion behind his words. Passion comes from the heart. Influential people believe the information they have obtained in their head. Be passionate when you speak. Let people know you believe what’s inside. It can’t stop there…
  • Hands: Ecclesiastes states, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” (9:10). When you take what you know in your head and speak it with your heart, it must be modeled with your hands. Solomon not only gave the people passionate wisdom, he modeled it in his everyday life.

Go and do the same!

-jordan

Ask Away

Recently I found myself surrounded by a large group of people in an unfamiliar workplace. They were discussing policies and procedures way beyond my understanding. The more they talked, the more lost I got in their conversation.  I wondered what exactly a “widget” was and how that “widget” worked with other “widgets”.  My head spun in circles speculating what was happening. In a moment of sheer terror the man leading the discussion looked at me and boomed, “Do you know what we’re talking about?”

Silence.

That split second, moment in time is a place we have all found ourselves. The secret to success in that situation is to inquire about what you feel is the dumbest question in your mind. The question concealed in your psyche is the question that sparks understanding if communicated.

When I first started in ministry many pastors and professors used so many enormous, theological (speaking of big words) statements. I had no clue what their words meant which lead to further confusion about principles and theologies. I often when home frustrated due to my fear of asking the dumb questions.

Instead of carrying around a dictionary and “googling” everything people discussed, I started kindly asking individuals to elaborate on what they were discussing. When words, principles, and practices surfaced, I simply asked for clarity.  To my surprise, almost every dumb question in my mind that was communicated was received with a “good question” response. The individuals I asked appreciated my open, honest approach. They could see I truly wanted to learn the material at hand and about them as people. Breaking the verbal fear of asking proved valuable time and time again.

Micheal Andrew, a consultant and author, gives six tips for asking good questions. These principles are a good start when one wants to overcome the internal fear of asking something “dumb”. My personal thoughts are in parenthesis.

  1. Tie a question back to the purpose, goal, or objective. (Think… “What do I want to learn here that I don’t know?”)
  2. Ask a question that takes a concept down to a practical or pragmatic level. (This is asking in simple form without using many words. Get to the point!)
  3. Listen actively.
  4. Insightful questions often begin with “What if.”
  5. What is the “So what” (implications) and/or the “Now What?” (What are you going to do with what someone is giving you?)
  6. Generate questions by staying ahead by doing your homework/preparation. (Always come as prepared as possible to every and all situations.)

Ask, and it will be given to you… he who seeks finds.” Matthew 7:7-8

-jordan

Building a Better Tower

When I was a kid we used to go over to my Grandma’s house around the holiday seasons.  The drive was over ten hours with little breaks. My sister and I were crammed in the backseat like sardines.  It was crazy. As we pulled into Grandma’s driveway late at night I remember our family unloading the vehicle, going inside, and settling down.  The adults would venture into the kitchen to talk, while I would wonder into my Grandma’s closet in search of a large box of Dixie cups. Those cups were more than small plastic water containers; they were an opportunity to build a tower that reached the sky in the living room.

After my architecture masterpiece was completed, I would call Grandmother into the room to show her my beautiful artwork.  She would warmly agree that my tower was beautiful. She respected my work by offering praise for a job well done. Then, she would point out a few structural flaws, offering suggestions on how to rebuild the tower to be stronger.  She would give me a few challenges, empowering me to tear down the tower and start over, achieving a new goal. She would kiss my cheek and tell me she was proud of my work and go back into the kitchen awaiting my next endeavor.

Was my Dixie cup tower a masterpiece?  Probably not. Were there structural flaws with my tower? Absolutely. However, Grandma chose to address me as a person in a warm, respectful tone.  Her warm, respectful assurance gave me confidence to build another tower that would be even better than the last. I wanted to make her proud.

We often place issues higher than people. The tower is often more important than the architect. When a person struggles, their work struggles.  When a person is not functioning well internally, the work suffers externally.

Simple principle: treat the issues coldly and people warmly.

You can deal with an issue by being direct and firm (cold) but you don’t have to be a jerk. Build up brothers and sisters so that they can see the potential they have inside of them to build a better structure than they had before (warm).  When we focus on the person in a warm tone and the issue in a cold manner productivity soars. Things need to get done I know.  However, think of how much better the building will be when the person building the tower is healthy and confident. People need to know they are important, that they matter, and that they are valued. We must be careful not to treat people coldly as this can strip one’s self-esteem and integrity.

As issues arise (which they will), we must remember that “the tongue has the power of life and death… those who love it will eat it’s fruit” (Proverbs 18:21). Therefore, to do the work of the Lord is to treat people in a dignified manner.  Our opportunity is to help “build a better tower” and that happens by building up our people.

Think of a difficult person or situation in your life right now that needs confronted. How can you build up the difficult person (be warm) to resolve the issue (cold)?

Remember, people matter and need to be empowered.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

To handle yourself, use your head; To handle others, use your heart.” Eleanor Roosevelt

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