Tag Archives: leadership

Designed by God to connect


I have been likened to George Washington, Mike Wallace and Vince Lombardi.  I have also been told I resemble Joseph in the Bible.  You could also characterize me as being a lion.  I am an activist, caregiver, naturalist and sensate.  After taking a test I was told I was ESTJ (extroverted, sensing, thinking and judging).  Where am I going with this, what does this have to do with anything? 

Psalm 139:113-16 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 

As reflected in this passage I believe God created each one of us uniquely and only he knows the specifics.  He didn’t make a mistake when he created us and I would be bold to say anything God makes should never be considered garbage.  Look around and take a look at the beauty all around.  Now go take a look in the mirror, you are truly an amazing work of the master craftsman.

In creating us he designed us all with gifts, if you want to read more about our gifting I suggest reading 1 Corinthians 12.   In these passages of scripture it talks about the gifts he has placed in us.  Our purpose is to take these gifts and use them to bring him glory. 

I also believe in creating us differently we relate back to God in different ways.  I love taking  various kinds of personality tests.  As a supervisor at work, leader in church and working with different groups of people it fascinates me how putting people together, the dynamics play out in that.  When you put a group of folks together you never know what is going to happen.  Sometimes everyone clicks and things go smoothly, other times folks don’t jive and it can be difficult to work together.  Personality tests are a great tool to use in understanding and relating to one another. 

A few years back I went through leadership training at church and we went through a session on discovering your spiritual temperaments.  As I went through the class it helped me understand more of how I was wired and how God has designed me.  For years I had been told just read your Bible and pray and you will connect with God.  Maybe I wasn’t going about it correctly, but I felt like it was forced and didn’t come naturally.  Through this class I discovered  I best connect with God when I was outdoors.  Since I was a boy growing up out in the country I always loved looking around and marveling at God’s creation.  I have always had deeper and significant God experiences when I am outdoors.  Taking this class helped me see that while I can grow and develop and incorporate other aspects into my life, there are very clear ways I draw nearer to him.

Here are the examples:

Activist – Loving God through confrontation with evil

Ascetic – Loving God through solitude and simplicity

Caregiver – Loving God through serving others

Contemplative – Loving God through adoration

Enthusiast – Loving God through mystery and Celebration

Intellectual – Loving God through the Mind

Naturalist – Loving God through experiencing him in nature

Sensate – Loving God through the senses

Traditionalist – Living God through ritual and symbol

So what about you – where would you fall under these categories and if you have taken a personality test, what were you told about yourself?

Advertisements

Real Authentic Men- Leads with love and destroys parasites


As men, we should be leading our families in all areas.  This isn’t to say your wife doesn’t have any say, in fact she should be sought out and asked her input and feedback on all decisions, the difference being you as the leader make the final decisions.  Please don’t misunderstand this is not about power and control, it’s about doing the very best for your family.  Putting the needs of your wife and children first and ensuring their needs are taken care of prior to worrying about yourself.

 

As the husband I believe that you need to have an idea of what your life is about or your mission.  I also believe that you are living out your values and beliefs in everything you do and you children are picking up on this in more ways than you can imagine.  I wonder if your kids really know what your values are, do they fully understand why you do all that you do? In our home we have a mission statement posted up in our dining room.  We use this as a point of reference for our children so they understand why we live our life the way we do and what makes us run.  Here’s what ours looks like.

 

The mission of our family is…

to create a place of truth, love, happiness, and acceptance

to provide opportunities for each person to take chances in order to achieve worthwhile purposes.

to wisely use our time, talents, and resources to bless others…

We will…Put our relationship with Christ above all things in our home
We will…Look to God’s word for the answers tough questions
We will…Honor mom and dad
We will…Respect mom and dad’s time alone
We will…Love and protect each other, to the death if need be
We will…Obey the Lord and mom and dad
We will…Honor God with sound money decisions
We will…Put God and our family before any other activities
We will…Worship together as a family
We will…Be available; Be affectionate; Give affirmation; And accept one another

Deuteronomy 6:5-9
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk with them when you sit at home and when you walk along side the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates”

 

We came to this by sitting down as a family, discussing key values and my wife and I sharing our values as parents and what we are trying to impart into our children.  This ended up being a fantastic discussion and we were able to have our kids express what was important to them.  Based on the response from my family I was able to put our mission statement together.  In doing so this has given our family something to stand for.  This document is a living and breathing document and can change over the course of time.  My wife and I feel like it’s a solid statement about what our family stands for and are extremely proud of what we came up with together.

 

As the leader of my family I am called to many things.  Being responsible for my wife and children, their welfare, safety and many other needs.  Because I dearly love each one of them, I want to give them the best of myself and everything else that I can.  Each one is unique, different and because of this they each have needs that I need to be aware, so I can do my best to meet those needs.  I am not able to do this if I am not tuned in and making them a priority in my life.

 

I do this by engaging them in conversations. I am purposeful in my questions and discussions so that I know what is really going on inside their head and most importantly their heart.  As with all of my relationships I don’t ever want to know just surface type things I want to know what’s at someone’s heart.  When something comes up, I continue talking with them so this process is always going and I can help through what’s going on. Do I do this perfectly all the time, no I mess up and I have to go back and ask forgiveness from my wife and kids.  That’s also part of the process.

 

I have always been one to treat my kids as if they have important things to say and make sure their voice is important.  We have family meetings where we talk about different issues and everyone gets a say.  They have input in what is going on and I want feedback from them.  As a family we discuss everything and my wife and I do our part to educate our children so they can make informed decisions.  Often it’s been during these times I find out from their perspective if something is bothering them, offending them or hurting them.  Upon finding out these things I move into action.

 

If something is an obstacle, offensive or is blocking anyone in my family from moving forward then I am going to do my part to remove it.  Anything that will take away from our family and cause it to move us away from our target is something that needs to be destroyed.  This has taken on many forms over the years.  Things like unhealthy family members, poor boundaries, peers who can’t respect our family or children.  Believe me the list is lengthy and it will continue to grow.  At the heart of all of it, my family is my #1 priority and whatever it takes to keep them in that spot is what I will do.  I refer to my family as an empire.  I am the knight in battle protecting my empire and dynasty.  If you try to destroy a part of that I will take you out and not look back.  I do all that I do because I love my family and even though I don’t always speak or act in a loving way at home, my wife and kids know that I would lay down my life to protect them.

 

As a man, you have a lot resting on your shoulders, especially as a husband and father.  We wear many hats and in doing so, at the core of who we are; love for our family should be at the center of all of it.  This is a high calling, but one worth more than anyone really ever talks about.  A battle is never easy, but it’s a battle that is worth laying your life down.  When all is said and done, a husband and father who will do whatever it takes to take care of his family is someone worthy of great admiration and respect.  Step up and take your spot, time waits for no man.

 

As a husband and father – How well do you love your family?  Are you motives and actions done out of love for them?  Does your family have a mission?  Do you look at the larger picture when it comes to them? What are you doing to make sure that you are removing all obstacles that will take your family off course?


Real Authentic Men – Wisdom


Ever been around anyone who just seems to ooze wisdom? I have and those people are very admirable to me. They seem to have the right answers at the right time and are able to speak into situations or people’s lives words that penetrate deeply. That is the type of man I hope to be.

I have this long standing dream of when I reach the age of 70 or older, people will seek me out because of the wisdom I posses. I desire to be recognized as someone who has the answers as well as having lived my life to the fullest each and every day. The other part I would like to be known for is that I was able to offer up the right words to say for any situation. That may be a far-fetched dream for some, but for me, this is what I truly desire. I am attempting to live each day fully and take in all I can so one day I become the man I wish to be.

So how does one become wise? Great question and I believe there are a few ways in which this can take place. First of all, if you want to be wise, study and read the book of Proverbs. Secondly, place wise men and women in your life who are genuine, honest and live lives of integrity. We tend to pick up traits and characteristics of those around us we admire. A lot of life has to do with stealing good ideas from other and applying it to our life.

I value others as they were designed in the image of God. Those I greatly respect and admire men and women whose very lives have been a living example of wisdom. The stories they have to share about their life experiences are valuable. We can glean so much from what they have to say. So many times they are taken for granted and just brushed aside as having no value, yet if you stop and really listen to them, you will be blown away with what they have to say and share in regards to life. I have gained many nuggets of wisdom I have applied to my life by just sitting and listening to an elderly person talk.

I believe in educating yourself on as many topics as you can. Read a book, research, talk to others who are involved in that area, do what ever you can to enrich your life and experience new activities. Life is full of so many things and you can become rich in experiences by taking part. I am never quite sure in this day and age how one becomes an expert on something. I don’t think raising 6 kids will make me an expert on parenting but I certainly will have gained many insights into child rearing I might not have if I hadn’t raised a large family. I don’t believe at any time you should stop educating yourself, we should always be a learner of life and what is available to us. I myself have lived a life of being an avid learner and not just going to college, but also finding other means to educate myself and know a little or sometimes a lot about certain topics.

Experience is a great teacher. We all make mistakes, part of the human part of living is learning to take risks and learn from our mistakes. If you aren’t trying, you’re not attempting and in my opinion you will have a very dull and boring life. We can continue to repeat the same mistakes or we can look at our mistake as an opportunity to change the future and make a wiser choice in the future.

3 years ago I was invited by a friend to get together with a group of 6 other men and read the book of Proverbs daily for a year. We met monthly and discussed how our lives changed as we read it monthly. Our group took on the name “Wise Guys”. That experience was deeply rewarding and I can say from my own experience I gained wisdom like I never had before. In the midst of going through that year I also read an article from a man who had middle school children and they read the book of Proverbs for 1 year and they shared how in reading and talking about it, the children shared how it helped them make wiser choices when they entered high school. That reinforced it for me and I began doing that daily with my own children as well as continuing to do it for myself. Reading through Proverbs and daily praying for wisdom has had a significant impact in how I make decisions. The “Wise Guys” group is still meeting and though we have moved on to other topics I feel like that was a pivotal year for me and I grew in ways I never imagined.

As a man, husband and father, I want my family to know that I am making wise solid decisions that have been thought out. I want them to trust and depend when I make a decision it’s generally going to be the correct one and yet when I do make a mistake, being man enough to admit that and ask for forgiveness. As a leader in many areas of my life where people are depending on me to make serious decisions affecting others lives, I believe the same principles apply. As men continuing to make wise choices and decisions, this soon becomes habit forming and eventually becomes a way of life. Living a life using wisdom often leaves me feeling good about my choices and with few regrets.


Real Authentic Men – Servant Leadership


Does is sound foreign to you for a leader to be a servant? I think probably in most cultures this seems like an odd thing to do. If I am the leader then I should be dictating what happens and making sure everyone is doing what they have been told to do. Well yes, that is true, but I believe it involves so much more than just being a dictator and ordering people around.

Servant Leadership is about a man humbling himself to put the needs of others above his own. Are you a husband, it’s your wife and kids. If you’re a supervisor or manager it’s your employees. I want to make sure those I am put in charge of have their needs met first and I authentically show them I care about them. This may mean I have to humble myself and do things I don’t really want to do, but because I am committed to being real and authentic I suck it up and do it. There’s an old saying that “more is caught then taught”. I believe this is true and in so many areas of life. As a parent kids see so much of what we do and often it’s the things we don’t want them picking, they end up emulating.

I believe when you start losing sight of this, you become a dictator who barks orders and forgets about putting others before yourself. You essentially want your own way and use people to get that accomplished. I don’t see how this demonstrates to others you’re genuinely concerned about them. We’ve all seen dictators and I am sure we can all recall someone who has been a dictator or tyrant in our own life. It’s never any fun to work with someone like this, because his or her number one concern is “I” and how “I” get ahead and use whatever means it takes to carry out this.

As a man who wants to be real and authentic across the board (wife, kids, employees, friends), I try extremely hard to put the needs of other ahead of me and make sure they are taken care of first. It can be as simple as letting others go before myself when eating, taking out my trash at work or listening to what everyone else has to say before I share my own thoughts and ideas. As a supervisor at work I never ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself. There have been many times I have rolled up my sleeves and cleaned or did some task alongside staff or even by myself to prove this.  Did I do it to gain approval, not at all, I did it because I believe it’s the right thing to do.

Even at home, while I am the leader of my home, I constantly attempt to show this to my wife and kids. I am not perfect at it.  There are plenty of times I don’t do a good job, I fail and act selfish.  I also know it’s the rigth way to love my family and I get up and do it again and again.  It’s my top priority that my family knows they are extremely valued, cared for and loved. I constantly think of ways to show them their needs are important and that is no easy task in my house of 8 people. Most of the time  our kids are focused only on themselves and think little of others. I continue to impress upon my kids the importance of putting others before themselves. In this “me focused” society, I want them to know they are not the center of the world.  They and important however there are more important things than always having your own way. Really it’s no different for me or anyone else. If people are valuable, which they are, put them first and you will be surprised the rewards you reap from living a life of serving others. This doesn’t mean that sometimes we don’t need to take a break and get recharged, but always thinking others are more important than myself, I have found in my experience it makes my relationships with others so sweetie-fresh.


R.A.M. – God First In Everything


I often struggle trying to understand where folks obtain moral guidelines and principles.  As someone who is a follow of Jesus how do they know it’s not ok to cheat, lie or murder. Who tells them it’s not right? Do they get their standards from what society says is right?  I am in no place to judge others, but it’s a question that has always run through my mind and most of the time I don’t have the answers.  It is also why I enjoy talking with other folks in deep conversations and understanding where they come from.  It help give me a better perspective.

Maybe I am the only one who thinks this.  I don’t know, what I do know is the “church” and those who profess to be Christians have deeply wounded and hurt many others who have honestly been seeking to find truth. This has left folks feeling betrayed and hating God, Christians and wanting nothing more to do with the church. Don’t think for a minute as a follower of Jesus that I don’t struggle with those same thoughts.  There have been plenty of times where I have questioned my faith journey.  In my experience as a believer, someone who has served in leadership and been an active member of the church I have been deeply wounded to the point of wanting to walk away from it all and never return.  These aren’t just one time things, they’ve happened more than I ever imagined they would.

I didn’t start attending a church until I was in the 5th grade.  Once I went and started, I really enjoyed it.  The first church I attended was a Lutheran church, services were actually held in the Catholic church because we couldn’t afford our own building.  The building with it’s stained glass, statues and other decorations was beautiful and held my attention every week.  I enjoyed the services and even as an adult going back home to visit I can still recite the liturgy.  I have truly loved going to church and being part of something greater.  Growing up I never realized all that went into having the church work.  It wasn’t until I got into leadership where I saw a different side of it.

The church is made up of sinful humans, who act out of their brokenness.  They say and do things that don’t always match up with the way God intended them too.  Being able to remember the “church” is just a building, while the people who attend it are the body.  For those of us that are sold out believers, we still have sin issues in our life and will until the day we die, however we are purposeful about constantly seeking to follow Jesus and treat those around us how he would have us treat them.

I continually keep coming back to God because my life and all that I have been through shouts out there is a God and he is in charge. Time and time again I have seen God prove himself in my life through grace, peace, wisdom and love. The only way I am the person, husband, father, friend or leader I am today is because of God and his work in my life.

For me I go back to the Bible as the place I use as my moral compass and guide. I have never read the entire Bible from front to back. I tend to focus on the New Testament, Proverbs and Job. Frankly, I find it difficult to read a lot of the Old Testament writings, they never appeal to me. However, I do believe that the Bible is relevant today just as it was when it was written. I don’t doubt for a moment that what God had to say in the beginning doesn’t pertain to me today. I have learned to take the principles of what he was speaking, test them and then work them out in my mind and see how they fit in my life and in the culture in which I live. For me the center and core of my life is designed around God and his word. The morals that guide me as a husband, father and person in general all ties back to what God has called us to be.

Every single day starts of with reading something from the bible and prayer time. I need it. I’ve always needed it, but as I have grown and mature I need it more. I strive to be the example for my children as they are my greatest audience. I take an active role in our church not just as a leader, but as a participant, I go to church on Sunday, meet with other guys weekly and talk openly and honestly about life issues we all face, I pray with other folks and make myself accountable to stay on track. I open myself up feedback all the time to make sure I am getting it right. Through all that I do it allows me to hear God at work in my life and this includes his word and him speaking to me through others.

I believe that real men need a moral compass to guide and direct their lives. Mine happens to be God and the Bible. I can’t imagine what my life would look like without him. I need and want him everyday. I believe for a man to be any good at anything he will need a force greater than himself to guide and direct his path. In my experience I believe men who are authentic choose to get real about who and what they believe and follow. They are proud of these things and allow it to permeate everything about them. These are the real authentic men I know.  Though I may fail daily, I still know it’s the right thing to do and I get back up again and push forward. Jesus is my moral compass.

 


Elusive Manhood


What does it mean to be a man today?  Do you have any idea?  In today’s society there is no definitive answer for this. Its sort of anything goes. Even as a believer and follower of Jesus I have struggled in the church to find answers of what it means to be a man. Jesus is a great model and has many attributes I try to possess, but because so many of our churches have become feminized through the years it leaves men at a loss. I have been actively involved in church leadership for many years and have struggled as a leader to help men in this area.

A year ago I went through Robert Lewis’s series “The Quest for Authentic Manhood”.  Previously I read his book “Raising a Modern Day Knight” (I’ve actually read it at least 10 times) I was amazed at what he wrote in this book and what he was able to carry out with some other men raising their sons into adulthood.  The series and the book helped me solidify traits I believe I need to posses and ones I think most men should be teaching their sons.

I remember a class I took back in high school where I was asked to make a time line and what I wanted to accomplish at certain points in my life. For me, my life has always been about wanting to get married and have a family. I hadn’t really thought much beyond that point. As I have gotten older I have tried to attach certain words to myself that I feel describe who I am and what I am about.

If we as men have no idea who or what we are about how are we going to move forward in our lives. What will propel us to the next stage? I don’t want to sit around and let life pass me by. I want to take life by the horns and live it to the fullest and not live with regrets, because I already have lots of those.

As a man how are you going to define who you truly are? In order to do this I think we have to answer these questions for ourselves first before we can help our sons or anyone else:

  • What are values you want for your life. (Integrity, honesty, hard work, fun, education)

  • What is your life going to be about? (life of serving, making money, achievements)

  • What do you want to do with your life (what will people say about you when your gone)

  • What kind of legacy do you want to leave? (what did you do to change the course of history)

In 2008 I started the year with this huge question over me – what was my life really about. In my mind I had these thoughts and ideas about who I was and what I was supposed to be. This became a daily question I couldn’t get past. The book that most changed me was called “Restless Journey” by Marcus Ryan.

I did a personal assessment of my life after reading this book and it suddenly became very clear to me that my life was about being a great father. The goal I had most longed for my entire life was here and everything I do revolved around me doing this. My job and everything else in my life allows me to focus on my kids and pour my time and energy into them. I have been called as a dad to impact my kids lives in such a way I will change their destiny and create a legacy of deep and meaningful lives.

Does that sounds pretty lofty? It’s actually what I really dream and desire to do. My wife and I look at the history of our families and really there isn’t much to be proud of.  Even to this day there so much junk exists that doesn’t need to be there. I am stopping this with our family and making changes that will enable my dreams to become reality. I am not ok with any of it and part of being a man means stepping up and stopping it. Of course it’s going to be hard and difficult but I was never guaranteed my life would be easy. So I step up, take the bull by the horns and charge forward.

Here’s what I have defined for myself as values I try to live my life by on a daily basis:

Knowledge – continually striving to be better than I am, through various means, which allows my words to be honest and wise, and my actions filled with insight and discernment

Honor – living a loyal life of commitment to God, my wife, kids, family and friends that includes faithfulness, commitment, responsibility and integrity

Fulfillment – living a courageous life filled with passion that allows me to serve others out of love and devotion

Impact – all that I do I do for the legacy I will be leaving behind me

Truth – seeking to live a life that stands up for what is right and just and using my voice to silence injustice, evil and wickedness in the world

*Notice I said try – I am not perfect, I make a ton of mistakes and as much as I hate that, I get up again, dust myself off and move forward.

I challenge all men out there to do the same. Start now by answering those questions for yourself. How would you answer those questions for yourself?