Servanthood

You awake?

That’s what the text read at 11:00 one night last week. My son-in-law, Curtis.

Yes, I replied, and soon the phone was vibrating.

What do your kids or in-laws or whoever call you about at 11:00 pm? This one got interesting very quickly.

“Hey man, I was sharing this with Cassie about this and she said I should call you.”

Cassie also said later I should blog about it. So there. You’re welcome.

“This” was an insight into something that dates all the way back to Eden. It’s been rocking my world ever since. The implications of this idea are poignant and tragic, yet dripping with possibilities. [click to continue…]

{ 6 comments }

(Or Ministry…  Or Job…  Or Spiritual Gifts…  Or Life Mission… Or…)

Servant Leader

Years ago I had the privilege of visiting South Korea and preaching in two different evangelistic crusades.  One day our hosts took us to a beautiful national park – a very busy place, with lots of booths, a walkway up a small mountain, and a Buddhist temple.

As we were walking down the mountain and enjoying the beautiful scenery along the wide walkway, a young Korean woman approached me and asked if I was from America.

“Could I talk to you as we walk?” she asked.  “I’m learning to speak English and it helps to practice with someone who speaks it.”

She spoke English pretty well, albeit with a beautiful Asian accent.

“What do you do for a living?” she asked.

If you travel overseas or have any experience speaking to an ESL (English as a second language), it’s pretty common to try to simplify your vocabulary in order to be understood.  I was a pastor at the time, and was pretty sure she wouldn’t know what a pastor was. So I chose a different word…

“I am a minister,” I said.

Her whole countenance changed.  Suddenly she was in the presence of someone important!

“Oh!  You are a government official?”

Yes, I know I shouldn’t have… but I literally laughed out loud.  Then I tried to explain to her that in the U.S. we use the English word “minister” in a different way.

I think she was disappointed.  Anyway… [click to continue…]

{ 4 comments }

GatheringWhen they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost” (John 6:12)

An interesting instruction from Jesus after the feeding of the 5,000.  And certainly an object lesson.  Jesus wanted his chosen Twelve to see something. To learn.

He returns to this theme a few verses later, when He says in verse 39, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

Into the lives of these twelve men, Jesus was building the quality of being a gatherer.  And He was starting by showing them something He would actually do for them in the near future.  When Jesus was arrested, they all scattered.  They “forsook Him and fled.”  Yet He gathered them up.

He also sent them to be gatherers of men. [click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

smiley_bubbly_day_04Can’t believe it’s been a whole year, but I got to see Walter again yesterday. We took a little ride and shared a little fellowship. It was good to catch up.

Two years ago Walter was going through a severe depression.  He had been through a series of deep losses, including his job and health benefits. That’s tough enough for anybody, but at Walter’s age new careers don’t just grow on trees.  I really don’t know how old Walter is, but I’m 54 and he’s a good five-to-ten past that. I have to say, though, he makes it look good.

There is none of that suicidal darkness remaining that so gripped this man just a couple of years ago. And make no mistake about it – this was no bootstrap operation. Walter is joyfully explicit about Who gets the credit for raising him out of the pit. His life radiates with gratitude and joy, even when he’s all business.

Walter is especially excited because he and his wife are meeting their children and grandchildren in a few weeks. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

foot washing 3Who are you?

No, that’s your name.  Let’s try again.

Who are you?

You’re already answering that question with what you say, how you spend your time, how you spend your money, how you relate to other people, and how your emotions are triggered.  But let’s look a little deeper.

Who.  Not what are you, but who?  I was scrolling through LinkedIn the other day and was fascinated by the “what” language people used to describe themselves.  Of course, there are the standard job titles such as Senior Loan Officer and Whatever Bank.  But then there are the more creative types like, “Thinker, Writer, Philanthropist,”  “Dreamer,” and “Solution Architect.”

Sorta made me want to come up with my own list.  Recliner tester. Dog herder.  APA Policeman (if you have to ask what APA is, never mind).  I don’t think I’ll list any of those, however.  There is a difference between what you do and who you are. [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

So somebody’s in charge, but nobody’s actually leading.  There’s a boss, but no vision caster.  You have an authority figure, but no one is harnessing the best efforts of the people in your organization.

In short, you have a leadership vacuum.  What do you do?

Quit?

Lead a mutiny?

Facebook your friends and tell them what a loser you have as a leader?

Try to outmaneuver others politically and manipulate your way to power?

Sit and suffer and hope for the best, while your peers keep howling for leadership?

How about asking God to smite somebody while you’re at it?

These are all approaches used to face situations that have become almost cliché they’re so common:  What do I do when my leader isn’t leading?  Organizations everywhere – businesses, churches, nonprofits, and schools are decrying a lack of leadership.  Somebody needs to make the tough decisions, cast the difficult vision, harness the amazing abilities and energy of the people!  And we seem to be convinced that the answer to the search lies somewhere else.

Maybe it doesn’t.  Maybe the search for someone to step into the leadership ends with you.  Maybe you’re the leader the organization needs, even if people in executive suites don’t necessarily see it yet.  Maybe you’re the catalyst for change, even if you don’t have the sanctioned power to make it so. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Pssst.

Over here.

I have something you need to see.

I’m not showing it to anybody else yet because I wanted you to be the first to take advantage of it.  But next week it goes public.  And this won’t be a secret for very long.  This is a once-in-a lifetime…

(wait for it…)

…yeah, that.

Opportunity.  It’s an often-used, sometimes over-used concept.  Americans throw it around as if we own the copyright to the term.  You can see and hear it everywhere… [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }