Tag Archives: leading

In search of a Pearls

Today I am very excited.  This is the first time someone has ever done a guest post on my blog.  Today’s post if from Seiji Yamashita.  He and his wife are expecting their first child and currently in the process of purchasing a house.   Please say some prayers for them.

I encourage you to follow him on Twitter @JustaPen and definitely check out his Blog – The Ignition Point – http://justapen.wordpress.com/


My favorite line from Star Trek: Generations is early on in the movie before Captain Kirk “dies” for the first time.  He has just found out that his pilot, Hikaru Sulu, had a family and a daughter who was now serving in Starfleet.  For all you non-nerd types out there, let me translate: a career military man had a family.

Kirk is astonished of course and asks “when did he have time?”  Now the smart aleck in me has to try really hard to keep my mouth shut on that one but the script writers put in a very good answer here.  “You told us Captain, that if something is important, you make time for it.”

I like that.  I can handle that.  I can take that and put it into my context and understanding of the world and apply it to my life.  Family is important therefore I make time for it.  Relationships are important so I make time for it.  Career is…reasonably important so I’ll make time for that too.

Lucky for me however, or maybe unlucky depending on your perspective, I don’t model my life after James Tiberius Kirk.  I model my life after Jesus.  And Jesus said something very different.

Matthew 6:33 “First seek the Kingdom of God in all its righteousness.”

Ok, so instead of family and relationships the Kingdom of God comes first and I make time for that. Ok I can still handle that.

Matthew 13:45-46 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls.  When he found one priceless pearl, he went and sold everything he had, and bought it.”

This one makes me stop.  This is like Elisha burning his plow and sacrificing his oxen to follow Elijah.  This is the moment where the disciples dropped everything without a thought to follow Jesus.  This is what Jesus means when he says “follow me.” He’s saying, forget all that stupid stuff you think is important, because here is the pearl of great price, and it’s worth everything.

Even my dreams, Jesus?

Even my hopes?

John Wimber tells the story of how he first heard this parable and what it meant to him.  Arguably one can say that the Christian must be WILLING to give up everything for the sake of the Kingdom, but what happens on D-day when you have to get out of the boat and leave it all behind you?

Could you do it?

I’m not sure I could.  Jesus has been talking to me, some days more sternly than others, about my dreams and visions and I’m having a really hard time with it.  These are dreams I’ve had since I was a kid and they’re really all I can hold onto when things get tough and I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  On those days when I’m just tired of the people I deal with on a daily basis, when I don’t want to think about the next bill coming in, or someone else putting more demands on my time, I can carve out a couple of hours for me and my dream.

And now I’m supposed to give it up not because I’m supposed to, but because the Kingdom is worth it.

If God asked you to give it up, could you do it?



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?