Honesty

DisappointmentJanie had an appointment with God.  And the Lord didn’t show up.  He’d always been pretty good at keeping the times Janie had set for Him – mostly in the little things like daily blessings and answered prayer.  But this was a big one, and the Lord didn’t keep His end of the bargain.

See, Janie just knew that God was going to give her a husband, and she knew who it would be. Chuck was obviously God’s choice for her… how else could she explain all the little coincidences, the magic feeling in her heart, and even those confirming verses she read in scripture.

Apparently, however, the Lord forgot to clue Chuck in on the plan, and the big guy had plans of his own.

Janie was devastated.  And more than that, she was bewildered. She had been so sure in her heart.  But somebody missed God, or God missed somebody.  And the result?  Janie’s appointment with God ended up as a dis-appointment.

Same thing happened to Chuck with regard to his career, though he wouldn’t call it that. To Chuck it was more of a calling. [click to continue…]

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GatewayWhen I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes.  I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty.  I am trusting and suspicious.  I am honest and I still play games.  Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.

(Brennan Manning)

It’s time to face the facts.

Anybody ever say that to you?

Did they ever follow it with something that sounded like good news?

Where did reality get such a bum rap?  I don’t mean Debbie-Downer-such-a-frowner stuff where you look for reasons to be miserable.  I certainly don’t mean TV shows that pass for “reality.” I mean an honest assessment of the brutal facts that say, “Where you is is where you is.”

So… um… Where you is?

Do you realize that the only way you can ever experience meaningful change, positive results, breathtaking opportunities or fulfilled potential is first to enter the doorway of truth? [click to continue…]

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Logo of Groupon

You may or may not know the name Andrew Mason.  But I’ll bet you’ve heard of Groupon, the famous deal-of-the-day website where Mason was CEO.

These have been hard times for the company – nobody is denying that, and if you’re interested in the business and numbers side of it you can find it here.

What interests me is the leadership Mason showed in leaving.  In an email he sent to all his employees then posted publicly (“it will leak out anyway”), Mason showed some class, humor, honesty, and most of all accountability.  Take a look: [click to continue…]

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You can’t.

You can walk it out.  You can stand there and look humble while people tell you that you’ve got it.  You can make corrections when you stand convicted of the need for some changes.  You can use it to plead with God or The Man (whoever that is) for justice or a raise or something.  You can even dare to mention it when you run for political office.

But you are not equipped to be the architect or builder of an integrated life – yours or anybody else’s.

This is no self-improvement process, friends.  You can’t build integrity into your life by getting more information, imitating somebody else, or rigidly keeping a code of conduct. You can’t get it with an extreme makeover, a friendly takeover, or a cosmetic rake-over.

Integrity is an inside job.  It’s the result of a transformational process that takes your dis-integrated self and changes you through and through by a power that is not your own.

That said, just as an office building is designed and constructed according to a set pattern, so your Master Designer and Builder follows a blueprint for building wholeness in you.  And while you don’t have the power to do this yourself, your faith and submission to His work can help speed the process.

Each of these stages builds on the other, and I believe the order matters.  And yet, these are all lifetime pursuits that we’ll never perfectly achieve this side of heaven.  Designing and building a life of integrity involves: [click to continue…]

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The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me but always evil” (2 Chronicles 18:7).

If the guy who’s always right is also the guy who’s always talking about repentance or judgment, here’s a thought:  repent and avoid judgment.

The solution is NOT to find a different collection of advisers who only tell you what you want to hear.   [click to continue…]

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The Unselfish Leader

by Andy Wood on October 8, 2011

in Leadership, Life Currency

Disciple:  Oh wise one, why do people put others up on a pedestal?

Guru:  Target practice.

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Leadership is in the crosshairs these days, and it sure seems as though everybody has an itchy trigger finger.  The most hated man in the world is the President of the United States – whoever he is.  Change the name and face, we just paint new targets.

And Congress?  Ha.  First of all, they aren’t elected leaders; they’re elected representatives.  Second, until we can vote for all 435 offices, we’ll always love ours and hate everybody else’s.

But our hostility to leaders isn’t limited to government.  Whether in business and banking, sports and entertainment, churches and nonprofits, or pretty much any other endeavor, leaders are perceived as self-serving – even at the expense of employees and the good of the organization itself.

Is that fair?  No and yes. [click to continue…]

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(What to Do When Your Brook Dries Up, Part 2)

In the last post I shared some ideas based on the experience of a prophet in the Bible named Elijah about what to do when we try to draw from familiar sources of support, provision (income), encouragement, or direction – only to find that they simply aren’t there anymore.  In the two days since then, I have talked to

  • a man who needed counsel and didn’t have a pastor,
  • a missionary who has seen a significant decrease in support,
  • a former lay leader in churches who is struggling to find a church home,
  • a pastor whose congregation is struggling both financially and in attendance,
  • a student whose marriage engagement has broken off,
  • a church member in another city whose pastor was terminated, then abruptly died.

What they all have in common – in the language of Elijah’s experience, their “brooks have dried up.”

I fully expect that nearly half the conversations I have tomorrow will be in the same vein.

Bottom line:  there are two kinds of people in the world [click to continue…]

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JerusalemJust across from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem is a small mountain called Moriah.  Today the Dome of the Rock stands as the old city’s most visible landmark.  But there was a time when, on that very site, one of the most striking ancient structures of all time stood, calling the people of Israel to worship God.  I’d like to tell you why the Solomon’s temple was located there.

It all started with a colossal failure in leadership that left 70,000 people dead.

And the leader?  Israel’s wonder-boy, David.

You remember David, right?  [click to continue…]

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jackassA couple of weeks ago I asked an associate to pick me up me a cup of coffee when he went out for an afternoon break.  He did.  Since I take cream and sugar in my coffee, I looked all over the church for some form of sugar to put in it, and couldn’t find any anywhere. Even though there were at least three people who could have helped solve the problem, I didn’t ask for help.  I just poured out the coffee.  It felt better to feel sorry for myself than it did to solve the problem.

Self-pity stinks.

I wish I could tell you that this was the first time I had ever felt sorry for myself, but I’m sure you’d know better.  Truth is, at times I’m something of an artist at it.  Given the right mood, the right circumstances, and just the right amount of self-absorption, I can not only feel sorry for myself, I can influence you to do something to “make” me feel that way.

Like the time in Mrs. Trimble’s class in fourth grade when I kept whining and crying, “Nobody likes me.  Nobody!” [click to continue…]

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true-heartTense Truth: God gives you desires you can never satisfy and makes demands you can never fulfill.  He then goes about bridging the gap, doing for you what you can never do for yourself.  Your primary responsibility is to trust Him to be Himself – to rest in His faithfulness.

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Have you ever felt like God was somehow playing a joke on you?  You hear people talking about being forgiven, and you feel guilty for, well, feeling guilty. You read the stories about miracle-working power, and wonder why you got left at the station.  You learn more and are less happy; work harder, but feel weaker.  You’ve learned to speak “Christianese” and go through the motions, but sometimes you just feel like a fraud.

What if I were to tell you that God has a glorious answer?  Something more liberating than a self-improvement project or yet another string of self-disappointments?

David’s Truth Discovery

For nearly a year, David had played the role.  The psalmist of Israel, the beloved king, had gone through the motions, mouthed the words, and tipped his hat to the man he once was.  Very few knew people the real story:  David was just a shell of the man he once had been. [click to continue…]

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