Tag Archives: change

Greater Things

metamorphosis-monarch-butterflyChange is uncomfortable.  Transitions aren’t usually enjoyable – but they are absolutely necessary … if we intend on growing.  Passing the baton, moving from one stage to another, rising to another level, turning the page into a new chapter.  These are all metaphors we use to describe transitions.

Certain seasons are more wondrous than others… but the season of transition isn’t generally one of them.  As many of you know, I’ve been in transition mode for the last few months (read more).  My family-life looks very different, we have changed addresses, we travel different paths, and we work different jobs.  A lot has changed in the last few months which is probably why Phillip Phillips’ Home (listen here) resonated with me the first time I heard it:

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Not only is the Lord using this transition to grow Joy and I – but he is also using this to help others through us as He teaches us the principles of transition… (from Numbers 27:18-23). We are learning of “Greater Things” that Christ referred to in John 14.

picture-7

Greater Things begin with the Word of God

You can call it what you want: a prompting, a calling, a gut-feeling, a burden, a ‘spirit’ – just be sure that your move begins with God’s will and not your own.  God is sovereign and His choices should and must supersede yours.  Affirm that your decision to move – or that the transition that you’re in – is based upon truth – because it’s only the truth that truly transforms (Romans 12:1-2).

Faith is taking the first step – the next step –
without knowing where the rests of the steps will take you.

Duncan Campbell’s account of the Lewis Awakening has always challenged me to be a better listener of God’s still, small voice.  In recent years, Mark Batterson’s Wild Goose Chase has done much the same to stir my heart to the grand adventure of truly trusting Christ with audacious faith.

Greater Things come when we follow a Biblical process

We can’t circumvent the system. There are no shortcuts to following God.  For example, Jesus was clear about discipleship: Take up your cross, deny yourself, forsake this world, and follow Him.  Even though I’m way out of my routine and habits, I can’t neglect those spiritual disciplines that brought me this far: Scripture reading and meditation, prayer, faithful worship in church, being a good steward, sharing my faith with others… It does no good to try to cheat the transition [waiting] process.  It takes time – that’s part of it. In fact, that’s not just part of it – that’s it… Slow down and allow your heart to connect more fully to His.  So be patient and stick it out.  Right now, I’m preaching to myself.  I’m still up in the air, literally, in a holding pattern.  We’ve lifted off by faith and left our comfortable place of 14 years.  It’s a daily process of crying out to the Lord to take care of us and not let us fall flat on our faces.  And in the midst of this painful process, I’m still amazed at how easily I’m distracted from my spiritual quests.

Greater Things happen in the Presence of God

As the great general, Joshua, was about to nervously lead Israel into victory (although he didn’t know the end of the story yet), God gave him the greatest promise a leader could have:

Be strong and of a good courage;
be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:
for the Lord thy God is with thee…  Joshua 1:9

Joshua would have the courage and zeal that Moses never had.  He would experience opportunities Moses was never afforded, because He trusted in the presence of God like Moses never could.  I need the presence of the Lord in order to have this kind of courage.  I know better than to trust in my self (been there, done that).  Christ’s presence in us – as believers – makes it possible for us to see and experience Greater Things.  He planted the seed, and now we get to see it blossom and bear fruit.  He hid the yeast in the dough, and now we get to see it rise… In this difficult transition, yet with great expectation, I look ahead, confident that He which began the good work in me will keep completing it until the day He calls me home!  [Phil. 1:6]

Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

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If You’re not Mentoring, You’re not Leading

You are not leading if you are not developing new leaders. Simply developing followers who flesh out your ideas and implement your vision won’t cut it.

Having followers is not the defining characteristic of leadership. At its very core, leadership facilitates change. After all, if you are not leading people and teams toward change, what are you leading them to do? To be?

Change is not easy. It’s difficult – not for the faint of heart. And developing people – new leaders – adds more complexity to the mix.

To develop new leaders, you must be willing to invest in people – to mentor them. And mentoring will require more of your time and your resources than you ever thought possible.

 

And it’s worth it. Because leaders mentor new leaders. And those new leaders will change the global marketplace.

There’s no need to worry about your position, your age, your place in life, your limitations. They don’t matter – they’re only excuses!

You’ve walked where someone hasn’t. And you can help them – if you dare.

Last week I received a phone call from a friend. He called to let me know that he began working on creating a personal life plan this week.

For several years I’ve been sharing my life planning experiences with this friend and the dramatic improvements I’ve seen in my life and work.

So he decided last week that it was time for him to get started. If he follows through, his life will be forever changed.

I recently heard Bruce Prindle talk about mentoring – he noted 3 ways that leaders mentor new leaders. Here they are:

1. Fully Committed

Mentor leaders devote themselves selflessly to those they mentor. It’s deeply personal. They fully realize what’s at stake.

Being an only child, our daughter, Madison, learned to entertain herself at a very young age. She would spend hours telling stories to herself as she acted them out. Usually her narratives involved a mother and daughter, teacher and student, doctor and patient, etc. She’s a good mommy and a good teacher – although she gets a little bossy at times.

One afternoon several years ago, I walked past her room and overheard her tell her imaginary daughter, “Honey, I need to finish my work and then I’ll play with you.”

To which the imaginary daughter replied, “But mom, I really want to play now.”

Mommy Madison said, “I can’t play with you right now, I have to finish my work.”

At this point I walked in the room and asked her, “Madison who did you learn that from?”

She responded, “Mommy and you – I want to be just like you guys”

Yikes!

Are you too busy to be fully committed to mentoring new leaders?

2. Model life and work

People will take your example far more seriously than your advice. The last thing the world needs is more noise. Effective mentors talk less and live more.

And it’s not just about job function and performance. Mentor leaders help people improve holistically – physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional.

3. Pass it on

Mentors challenge future leaders to think creatively and work passionately. And the new leaders know that their mentor is genuinely interested in their success!

I previously wrote a post, Success – When Your Successor Is More Successful Than You, so I won’t include the same information here. But take a few moments to review the post.

If you are not mentoring a future leader, you are wasting your influence. And that’s inexcusable!

If you’ve been mentored, you understand the enormous value of the mentoring relationship. Your life and work were profoundly impacted by your leader. So pass it on to someone else.

If you don’t, well, you’re not really leading.

Question: What mentor had a profound impact on your life and work? Honor them by including their name or, if you’d prefer, a description of their influence in the comments below.

Article by Michael Nichols

@michaelenichols

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rebel

To the question: Am I really a rebel?  I answer a condescending: No.  But in order to answer the question: Who are you?  I answer: I don’t know. I find no other option other than rebellion.  I’ve always been a good follower, not a resister.  It’s hard to see myself breaking out of the mold.  I’ve always been a ‘Yes Man.’  I’m not trying to start a new cause or lead anyone else in this – this is just a personal journey away from fearing men andtoward fearing God.  It’s crazy, but in order to be true to myself, I find a little rebellion necessary.  It’s more than a phase, it’s an essential stage for my growth.  Rebellion, for me, is nothing more than a means to an end: finding myself.  I admit that I’m a little scared, but I cannot continue to accept all the assumptions and presumptions handed down to me. Up to this point, my identity has been defined by peer pressure and fear, so I must rebel for the sake of my own integrity or I must deny God’s design in me.  My calling is unique to me; this is not my grandfather’s world, so I rebel for the sake of impacting my generation with the Gospel.  In many ways, I am sad to have to take such a stand.  Why have others thought it so important to establish the unnecessary as the norm?  Why has the world (and the church for that matter) gotten so programmed, so conforming, so systematized, so average?  How has the sloth of bureaucracy crept into so many areas of my life?

Our culture is full of individuals just like me seeking their identity and purpose; this world is ripe for revolt!

Therefore, I revolt. I represent. I rebel. I must buck the system…  Against status-quo. Against the norm. Against the daily grind. Against average. Against mediocrity. Against socialistic society.  Against out-of-control special rights for favored groups. Against racism and feminism. Against big-brother control.  Against bailouts. Against worldliness.  Against 1950’s traditionalism in religion.  Against anything that is against God.But I’m not just against certain things.  The real reason I rebel is because I am forso many more-important things…  I’m for truth, real truth, absolute truth.  For right. For liberty and freedom. For capitalism. For creativity. For people thinking for themselves.  For justice.  For blood, sweat, and tears.  For family. For the little guys. For the good news and for the gospel. For grace.  For purity and abstinence.  For God.

I’m an underdog and I’m for the underdog. I root for the challenger. Could there be a new champ? Yes, and when there is, there will be a new underdog, a new challenger.  For too long the wrong things are reigning king of my hill.  I am tired of complacency… in my life, at home, at work, at church, and in my community. It’s time for an uprising, an insurgence, a revolution!

Before we go any further, you should know what I’m really thinking.  The term rebellion has a much more negative connotation than revolution.  Although I feel that these terms are nearly synonymous, I tend to believe that rebellion implies a fearful, violent reaction, while, revolutionary implies pro-active, courageous leadership.  Even still, since they are so similar, I will blend the two words and use them interchangeably – but please understand that I lean on the side of revolt and not rebellion.  I’m not promoting insubordination – quite the contrary! I whole-heartily believe in submission.  The only reason that rebellion or revolution is necessary is when lower authorities attempt to contradict, undermine, and usurp higher authorities. True authorities are not based on shifting morals or men’s standards; they are absolute principles found within the pages of the Bible.  In our current age of entitlement and expectation, you don’t have to look far to see how causes can twist and misrepresent truths in their favor to instigate less-than-questionable rebellions (i.e. – the Occupy movement). In addition, one could apply the idea of revolution into the church and call it revival.  Although the context of the two are completely different, many of the principles are very similar.

the good of rebellion

Why you should consider rebelling.  What good has rebellion ever done?
I know that some might quote the 12+ Bible references that forbid rebellion and show that ‘rebellion is like witchcraft.’  But if we look closely at those passages, we find that it speaks only of rebellion against God’s authority (including the authorities delegated to parents, government, & spiritual bodies).  In fact, when some authority contradicts / usurps God’s authorities in our lives, we must rebel.  These 12+ Old Testament passages dictate that we rebel all lesser authorities so that we might obey God’s.  You can only listen to that voice so long before you realize that it’s more of the same … the status-quo trying to thwart the birthing of excellence.

When wrong is right, then right is wrong.  When right is wrong, then wrong is right.

In other words, when our culture has confused truth to the point of calling good evil and evil good, then we are obliged to do what many would think is evil because it is really good. For example, it is evil in our day to speak the truth about sexual sins: fornication, homosexuality, and adultery.  It has been twisted that if you say anything about sin then you are judgmental and intolerant.  Our world would censure anything they disagree with according to their changing morals.  This is exactly why a rebellion is a good thing.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m the furthest thing from a moral relativist.  I’m an absolute absolutist. Right is always right and wrong is always wrong!  In his book, The Good Rebel, Louis Groarke wrote: “Good rebels supply us with a paradigmatic example of heroic human achievement.” He’s right!  Good rebellion is a chief element of greatness, it is one of the highest moral achievements that man can aspire to.
From the Bible and the Early Church:
Jesusmight not have been a rebel but He was, at the very least, a revolutionary.   When He preached the Sermon on the Mount, He turned the Judaizer’s spiritual system of religion upside down.  When He angrily flipped over the tables in the Temple, He pushed back against materialism in the church.  And in order to fulfill His mission in obedience to His Father, He stood up to the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees, defying the governmental and spiritual authority of His day (Matthew 5-7; 21:12; 26).
True Prophets & Heroesare easy to find while reading the Old Testament.  It doesn’t take long to read of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Samson, Gideon, Ruth, Josiah, Elijah, David, Jonah, and so many others who stood out because their faith.  They stood out from the average, they rose up above the ordinary, they overcame conventional behavior and gave rise to revival and revolution.
The Apostles, Martyrs, & Church Fathersweren’t important because they were popular but because they caused a stir.  Many even died for their rebellious cause.  They left everything behind and went into foreign lands taking a ‘rebellious truth’ that would eventually turn the entire world upside down (Acts 17:6).  We study and quote Luther, Spurgeon, Wycliffe, and Augustine because of their genius, revolutionary ideas.

Faith, Hope, & Love are all three rebellions of sorts.  Faith is a rebellion against the mental dictates of your own logic and fear. Hope rebels against power of your current circumstances and situations.  Love rebels against the choking hold of revenge and bitterness in your relationships (1 Corinthians 13:13).

From History:
I hold that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. -Thomas Jefferson to James Madison (1787)
Wouldn’t you agree that great leaders, difference-makers & world-changers don’t arrive at greatness by being status-quo and mediocre?  They didn’t arrive at the top by playing by the rules.  They accomplished so much by resisting the conventional and living by a higher calling.  They are rebels and they inspire rebellion of thought, of emotion, and of action.
Considering the ‘goodness’ of revolutions, where would we be without the Commercial revolution (16-18th centuries), the Scientific revolution (16th century), the Industrial revolution (18-19th centuries), the Second Great Agricultural revolution (1940’s), the Modern Digital revolution (1950’s-present)? What’s next?  Will you be a part of it?  Why not?

Time prevents me from expounding on the thousands of great historical rebellions that have affected this world for good, but quickly review a few with me… The Revolutionary War (of the colonies for representation), the Civil War (of the South for states’ rights), the Civil Rights Movement in America (for equals rights of minorities and women), the Anti-Communist Revolution (in Europe and Asia during the 1980’s), and the recent Arab Pro-Democracy Movement (in Tunisia and Egypt during 2011).

Where would be without Bacon’s Rebellion (1676), the Boxer Rebellion (1901), or the French Revolution (1789-1799)?  How different would your life be without Gettysburg, Tienanmen Square, or Boston’s Tea Party?

how to rebel

Five practical ways to start your rebellion:
Question everything. “But why?” To figure out what’s up for grabs & what’s not.  There ARE absolutes in this world – there are some things that are non-negotiable, but how will you know which are? Will you take their word for it? Don’t stop short – find out for yourself.  Questions don’t intimidate the truth.  Ask and ask again.  Like putting together a puzzle: find the hard, straight edges first, then fill in the rest.  (Acts 17:11)
Rethink the model / method. There are three main stages of production: foundation (the originating principles / the core message), method (the means / the ‘how-to’), and results (the bottom line / the end).  In most cases, the foundation and the results are not negotiable.  For example, a business does not allow its employees to determine their purpose or bottom line.  Christ didn’t survey his disciples before establishing the church’s message and mission.  But both would find their work more productive if they are willing to rethink the methodology.  I’m sure you agree to a point or else you would be Amish … living without electricity, cell phones, and gasoline-powered vehicles.  Build your life from the foundation up, not the roof down.  There are many right ways to do something good, just as there are many wrong ways, too.  Just avoid the wrong ways and find out which right way works for you!
Ask yourself ‘What if…?’ Break out of the cage of what’s possible and away from doubts of what could have been. Have faith – trust God for the reality of what you can only hope for and claim the proof of what doesn’t yet exist for His glory and your good (Heb. 11:1-3, 6). We spend far too little time daydreaming and too much time caged by routined reality.  We would have never sent astronauts to the moon without rebels of reality.  We would have never gotten Apollo 13 back without some true out-of-the-box thinkers. So take a little NASA time each day.  Take your thinking cap into your prayer closet and get God into your think-tank… He’ll blow it apart and you’ll find yourself happier than ever.  Let God take you outside, under the stars (like He did with Abraham), to give an impossible vision of what He can do – in you, then through you and your offspring!
Don’t be afraid of change. Complacency is stagnation. We should fear not-changing!  Some brag about not changing – never changing.  Unless you’re God, that’s not a good thing!  I hope that what I have to say now is different from a decade ago. If you’re sitting on your laurels, then you’re wearing them in the wrong place!  I have found that change is more often viewed as negative (compromise / deterioration) than positive (sanctification / progress). Some never want to loose from the dock in fear of aimless drifting, so they go through the motions of accomplishment and ‘setting sail’ while never leaving the harbor.  You must set sail! You must brave the ups and downs of the deep, blue vastness.  Watch the safety of the port fade from view as you go forward, just never abandon the final authority of God and His Word, or else you’ll be lost at sea without your Captain and your compass.

Do the right thing, the right way!  Always, always, always rebel as peaceably as possible.  This world doesn’t need you going postal (figuratively or literally).  If you can rebel alone – do it.  There’s nothing worse than a causeless cause.  Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint.  Change doesn’t happen overnight, so take it slow.  Be purposed.  Be intentional.  Be legitimate and credible.  Live your vision before you share it with others.

rebel with caution

A rubber-meets-the-road word of warning to all would-be rebels:
Schools produce fact-learners, not true thinkers.
Parents need obedient children, not good challengers.
Factories employ compliant doers, not imaginariams.
Big governments need party-voting, cooperative citizens, not free-thinking independents.
Most churches would prefer team players to independent rebels.
And who would want a insurgent? Really? Can you blame them?
So you might have to ask yourself the tough questions:
IDENTITY: Can you be yourself and still fit in?  Do you really want to fit in?  Who are you trying to impress?  Are you willing to deal with the loneliness associated with leadership?  (Prov. 29:25, 2 Timothy 4:16)
MOTIVE: Is your rebellion self-motivated or for a higher calling?  Is it motivated by truth or by negativity?  By hope or by angst?  (Philippians 3:7-14)
IMPORTANCE: Is it absolutely necessary?  Is it worthy of dying for? Will your rebellion give God glory? If not, consider hanging it up now.  Better not to start than to waste time and money on something you’ll not finish anyway.  (Acts 20:24)
Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

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