What do you do when you’re the leader and somebody on your team drops the ball? Or worse, in their zeal for your cause, they do more harm than good? Every leader would relish having people with the strength of a bull on their team. We just don’t want the bulls charging into china shops.
Leadership is forged during awkward times. During periods of public strain, pain, or frustration, our attention turns to those we presume to be in leadership. On a national scale, for example, people in the United States turn to the president to help make sense of their fearful or angry moments (and we’ve had our share of those lately).
They assume that leaders have something to say. They watch instead for what the leader actually does. They’re not looking for place holders. They’re looking for leaders who have a sense for how to please them as they lead them. And as leaders throughout time have discovered, there is no such thing as private or secret leadership. Heck, even the Secret Service isn’t that secret.
In between the stories of his giant killing and his adultery dodging, an obscure little verse in the Bible describes how people responded to its beloved King David. It’s every leader’s dream come true: [click to continue…]
For all the ways you may have been blessed
Or tried to bless others,
And all the ways you have received
Or given value in this life,
After all the ways that people measure contributions
Or celebrate distinction,
The greatest legacy you could ever leave
Is that you were loved first, and loved in return.
That takes a lot of grace. And a little bit of faith. [click to continue…]
Next time you make an appointment with me, I’ll just expect you to show up early! Boy, was that a quick surprise! But I’ll take that kind of surprise any day.
We welcomed you into the world on Wednesday, September 18, just two days after your Great Grandpaw turned 76 years old. “We” is a relative term, however, and this relative didn’t get to make it until Friday. But that surprise one-of-a-kind voice you heard while you were still in the hospital? Yep. That was Grammy.
That’s about all I know to say about that.
You were born into a family that absolutely adores children. You were wanted. Anticipated. Prayed for. And delighted in… long before you were ever born.
You big brother Jackson is already crazy about you. He loves to watch you sleep, hold you (with a little help), and pat you while you’re sleeping. He’s both tenderhearted and brilliant – I can’t think of a better big brother for you.
Your parents are pretty amazing people themselves. [click to continue…]
All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord,
When they hear the words of Your mouth.
Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
For great is the glory of the Lord.
Though the Lord is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar (Psalm 138:4-6, NKJ).
- If you’re feeling far from God, pride may be the issue.
This is a true story. The names are changed.
Will was an insecure, painfully shy 11-year-old boy who came from a very poor family. But his sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Goodwin, saw something special in him – not just in the student he was at the time, but as the adult he could become. And through that year, she began to give Will a gift that no one to that point had ever dared offer – the gift of confidence.
She told him he was the smartest student she ever had. She said it to him personally and to the class.
She told him how much potential he had.
She took him to her home.
She even took him to the junior high school he would attend the next year to introduce Will to his teachers and tell them what a great student he was.
She told him that the only other student who showed his potential became the vice president of a well-known university.
True to Mrs. Goodwin’s prediction, Will became the first person in his family to go to college. Buoyed by her care and concern he went on to a successful academic career… as a… (you guessed it) vice president of a major university.
Mrs. Goodwin was more than a teacher. She was a leader. She saw in an awkward kid a destiny that nobody else saw. Put in leadership terms, she had a vision. Then she set about investing the time and service necessary to put Will on a path toward that vision.
And the tool she used: Influence. [click to continue…]
Okay, time for a little famous brands trivia.
Without Googling for answers, see if you can guess how many of the following brand names were/are actual people:
Ben and Jerry
Answers are below: [click to continue…]
So… we took an extended weekend road trip for my niece’s wedding, and let me just say, it was an adventure in flying (yes, it was our plane that turned around and kicked an unruly passenger off), driving (we arrived in Mobile at 4:30 am after a late-late arrival in New Orleans), a wonderful wedding, and an equally-bleary-eyed trip home.
Along the way, our lives were enriched by the profound wisdom of the flower girl – none other than The Sasster, Laura Kate Wiley. She was good enough to share some of her deep insights, proverbial-level wisdom, and of course, contagious joy with us. Well, and with whoever else happened to be around. Enjoy…
How to Make an Impact
SWA Gate Agent: You’re Mister Wood?
Me: I am. [Thanks for holding the plane for us.]
SWA Gate Agent: I believe you have a granddaughter on this flight?
Me: Believe I do!
SWA Gate Agent: Cute little blonde?
Me: Yep, that’s her.
SWA Gate Agent: Well, she’s pretty excited that her Grammy and Papa are going to be on the plane.
Me, to Grammy and Aunt Sassy: He’s met Laura Kate! [click to continue…]
Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret (John 18:20).
Want to lead like Jesus?
Stop hiding your agenda. [click to continue…]
I didn’t know it would be the last time.
But then again, we both had lived long enough to know there are no guarantees when it comes to this sort of thing.
It was in Orlando, coming up on three years ago. Rick said he’d drive me back to the airport. We had been together during the Southern Baptist Convention. (It would be less-than-honest if I said we had been there FOR the Southern Baptist Convention). But we used the meeting there as an opportunity for a reunion of the Wolfepack. Rick was always the undisputed leader of that gang.
During a difficult time in my life, they had made sure to include me in the meeting. And it was as though we had never missed a beat. That’s the nature of the truest of friends.
Rick dropped me off at the airport to fly home. Just after walking into the terminal, I realized to my horror that I had left my phone in his car. I found a way to call it, and of course, he turned around and brought it back to me.
He took that picture of himself on it (above), and made it the wallpaper.
That was Rick.
And I kept it as my wallpaper for about a month after my wife started asking, “How long are you going to keep that?” [click to continue…]
This is an interesting time. Another school year is in the books (to coin a phrase). I don’t think I’ve ever seen more snippets from graduation speeches than I have this year. Lots of talk about knowledge, the future, credentials and stuff.
It’s also a time for remembering, especially on this day, that freedom isn’t free. What we know and enjoy today is based on the sacrifices of men and women who gave their lives so we could be free from oppressive and abusive government.
It’s a time in which we are reminded almost daily that we live in a world where people die before they’re “supposed” to, and that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness may be inalienable rights, but they’re not time-bound guarantees.
At any point in our lives, most likely, we can point to things with humble gratitude and declare, “I don’t deserve this.” At any point in our lives, we can point to things with frustration and despair and declare, “I didn’t sign up for this.” At any point in our lives, it’s a valid question to ask, “Where is God in all this?”
So in this season of talk about knowledge and the future and no guarantees and credibility and freedom, I wanted to encourage you with some reminders that have encouraged me lately. [click to continue…]