Humility

Shadows

“What I’m about to tell you is true. You need to change and become like little children. If you don’t, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who takes the humble position of this child is the most important in the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who welcomes a little child like this one in my name welcomes me” (Matthew 18:3-5, NIRV).

What started as an argument over greatness ended in one brief demonstration.

The greatest, Jesus said, was the one who humbled himself as a little child.

What’s the difference between that and typical adulthood? [click to continue…]

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Dusk shilouette

The promise is so simple, so straightforward and true, it’s easy to dismiss it.

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

What if He meant just what He said? What if the circumstances and signals all around you were echoing the same refrain? Maybe it’s time to take Him up on His promise…

When it seems as though you’re arguing with everybody in sight, it’s time to draw near.

When you’re lost in a war of wills, and it feels as though the whole world is pushing against you, it’s time to draw near.

When you life is a continuous array of unacceptable disappointments, it’s time to draw near.

When divorce or disowning is not an option, but murder is looking pretty good, it’s time to draw near. [click to continue…]

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Notebooks

Welcome back to my front-row seat.  In my work I have the privilege of reading a lot of stuff.  Some of it is forgettable.  Some of it is way-past-profound, either because of the quality of writing or because of the truth it conveys, and I keep a collection of the ones that bowl me over.  You can see previous collections here and here.  Both are quick reads, but profound in what they speak.

Now this collection of seven happens to have a leadership theme, but they also speak to your spiritual life, your courage, and you humility (or lack thereof).

Now… slow down… breathe deeply… and take these in.  You’ll be glad you did. Click here – you’ll be glad you did…

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Tired TroubleIt’s hard not to like Mike when you first meet him. He looks like an 8 x 10 glossy, has a charming smile, and a welcoming demeanor.  When he tells you that he’s the pastor at Grace Church just around the corner, it makes you want to visit.

What you can’t see at first, but will discover soon enough if you get to know him, is that Mike is running on emotional and spiritual fumes.  He’s exhausted from carrying a mental and spiritual burden for so long, as if he has carried it all by himself.

But Mike’s not in trouble yet. And that’s too bad. He’d be better off if he was.

Sarah’s in a tight spot.  She’s not the public charmer that Mike is, but she is bright, resourceful, and has a clear head for retail business and marketing. It’s no wonder the local Chamber voted her the businesswoman of the year last year. Her entrepreneurial drive and instinct for customer tastes have served her well.

Until now.  The first couple of years of the recession drained all her reserves, but Sarah found a way to navigate through those challenges. Now she’s faced with tough competition, over-extended credit, and changes in employee healthcare laws.  It’s getting ugly at Sarah’s Boutique and Bridal.

Sarah is in a tight spot; but she’s not in trouble yet. And that’s too bad. She’d be better off if she was. [click to continue…]

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Proud Leader

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.

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Shepherd Birth

O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever (Psalm 131).

Soul-check time:  How “at rest” are you?  The answer to that will make all the difference in your worship, and your work.

This psalm of ascent is the confession of a soul at rest – a “weaned soul.”

The first verse speaks of three things the psalmist has turned away from – a proud heart, haughty eyes, or a mind that tries to figure out the impossible.  The common theme in each – I know my limits.  And I know my place.  I am free of selfish ambition and arrogance toward others.

Are you ready to start your ascent today?  [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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I spend a lot of time trying to think up new things, or new ways to say the familiar things.  I’m a big believer in singing a new song to the Lord and the exquisite beauty that comes from being completely random every once in a while.

That said, our brains were build to learn by repetition, and our hearts were made to be renewed by reminders.  That’s why the Bible has four gospels, Kings and Chronicles, and the books of Deuteronomy and 1 John. All built on some form of repetition.  That’s why the early church met daily from house to house or had a regular assembly on the first day of the week.  To be reminded.  To be renewed.

I know I accidentally repeat myself plenty of times, but today I thought it may be time for a little deliberate renewal – some purpose-driven (sorry, Rick) reminders of the big stuff – a harvested collection of some of the good stuff.  Not my stuff, but those themes that keep us going and keep going themselves long after we’re gone.  So here goes… [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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As I give thanks to You at the end of the day or greet this day with hope, the one thing lately that I want above all else is to live with a full heart.  The one thing I fear most is passing through what’s left of my days with sterile laughter, superficial comfort, or counterfeit gladness.

I don’t want to say, “I love you” and not mean it.  I don’t want see your handiwork in all its glory and not be moved by it.  I don’t want to chase a life of ease and catch up to an empty heart.

So I come to You, knowing there’s no one who can fill my life with that kind of love, or free my soul from that kind of passionless bondage, like You do.  And I pray that just as the morning sun fills the earth with light even on a cloudy day like today, that You would do what only You can do: [click to continue…]

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