• Why Failing to Hold Someone Accountable is Ultimately an Act of Selfishness

    Leaders in all walks of life need to hold the people they lead accountable. But holding people accountable is hard because there is usually an emotional and sometimes a relational cost involved in the act of holding people accountable. But to not hold people accountable is ultimately an act of selfishness as Patrick Lencioni shows in his awesome book that you should buy and read The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business:

    At its core, accountability is about having the courage to confront someone about their deficiencies and then to stand in the moment and deal with their reaction, which may not be pleasant. It is a selfless act, one rooted in a word that I don’t use lightly in a business book: Love. To hold someone accountable is to care about them enough to risk having them blame you for pointing out their deficiencies.

    Unfortunately, it is far more natural, and common, for leaders to avoid holding people accountable. It is one of the biggest obstacles I find in preventing teams, and the companies they lead, from reaching their full potential….

    Many leaders whop struggle with that (again, I’m one of them) will try to convince themselves that their reluctance is a product of their kindness; they just don’t want to make their employees feel bad. But an honest reassessment of their motivation will allow them to admit that they are the ones who don;t want to feel bad and that failing to hold someone accountable is ultimately an act of selfishness.

    After all, there is nothing noble about withholding information that can help an employee improve. eventually that employee’s lack of improvement is going to come back to haunt him in a performance review or when he is let go. And i’m pretty sure there is nothing kind about firing someone who has not been confronted about his performance.

     

    Patrick LencioniThe Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business, 57-59

     

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  • How Should Christians Respond To Mockery?

    If you are a Christian today and you try to tell your friends about Jesus two of the ways your friends will respond to the great news about Jesus is to want to know more or to mock.

    It is amazing when our friends want to find out more isn’t it? I hung out with a mate this week and just kept asking questions about Christianity and Jesus.  I am so encouraged in this because I see God working slowly but surely in my friends life.

    But I have experienced too many times, as I am sure you have, the mocking that comes from some people towards God and the gospel. How should we as Christians respond to mockery? Firstly we should expect that it will come and don’t take it personally because they are rejecting Jesus not us.  Secondly, we love our mockers. We pray to for our mockers  and we are going to ask God that he would be merciful to them. Why are we going to do that?  Because it is exactly what Jesus did. Jesus as he was dying on the cross was mocked and ridiculed and yet what the words that came out of his mouth were not words of hate but words of love. He prayed to God that he would forgive his mockers (Luke 23:32-39). If you are mocked for being a Christian you are called to love and your love will outlast mockery. Because in the end the love of God will always outlast those who mock.

    And lastly as we are mocked we know there is something that is special about Christianity that allows people to mock us. As Ravi Zacharias shows in this brilliant video:


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  • The Demise of Guys

    I have just finished an amazing E-Book called The Demise of Guys by Phillip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan. It is a book outlining why guys are not performing as well as they used to and what we can do about it.  To whet your appetite have a look at the TED talk that Zimbardo did below and if you like it buy and read the book. I think everyone (yes everyone) should read the book!

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  • 5 Reasons why Some Pastors Finish Poorly

    Everyone in ministry wants to finish well. We all want to hand off the ministries that we have built and created well. Ed Stetzer has written a great blog called  5 Reasons Some Leaders Finish Poorly. Make sure you read the whole blog (especially the great story about Jack Hayford!). But for now, here are the five reasons that Ed gives as to why some leaders finish poorly.

    1. They did not trust the very people they developed for succession.

     

    2. They fought over things which were just not that important.

     

    3. Their identities were too connected to their movement.

     

    4. They grew angrier as they grew older.

     

    5. They could not pass on what they helped create.

     

    Ed elaborates on each of these points. But it made me think as a young man how am I going to work each day to minister well and finish well?

    What are you doing in your life to make sure you finish well?

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  • Church Musicians, Lets Cut the Acting

    I have been a church musician for about 18 years now. I have played in front of ten people and I have played in front of ten thousand people. God has blessed me with great opportunity to serve his people through playing guitar. Which I am eternally grateful.
    Over the years I have seen in myself and other church musicians either a rock star mentality that lacks humility or a phoniness where you look the part of a “worship leader”, “worship guitarist”  or “worship musician” (i.e. eyes closed, head back, suitable hip yet not revealing attire, etc.) and yet your heart is far from God. Does this last sentence mean that I think all church musicians that have their eyes closed have hearts far from God? No not at all. But I have been around enough church musicians who do look and act the part on stage but when they speak they confess their hearts are from God or they live lives that are far from giving glory to God.
    Let me be blunt  it is stupid to raise your hands, close your eyes and look like you are worshiping God when you are leading people in God’s praise if your heart is far from him. I don’t really care if you close your eyes or raise your hands that is not my point. My point is the emotion that you are displaying when you lead God’s people in song has to come from your emotional connectedness to God and not because you saw some worship person act like that on a YouTube clip.
    Church musician, the biggest gift you can give your church is not your hip clothes that give you that cool “I want you to think I have got bad hygiene but I really don’t” look if you are a guy. Or that “sweet kind of sexy but very wholesome” look if you are a girl. The biggest gift you can give to your church is not whether you are raising your hands or not. Or whether you look like you are in touch with God when you sing.
    No, the biggest gift you can give to your church is a passionate love for Jesus and a life committed to his glory. If you live in that way it won’t matter if you have the clothes or the right vibe because you will be giving people the kind of leader they need one that is passionate about Jesus looking great and one that is not concerned with how they look.
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  • Is trying to be cool making us unholy?

    I have been reading Kevin DeYoung’s new book The Hole in our Holiness and so far it has been a great read. In  the first few pages Kevin talks about why we either don’t want to be holy or ignore holiness. Here is what he had to say about being a cool christian and the pursuit of holiness:

    “Our culture of cool is partly to blame. To be cool means you differentiate yourself from others. That often means pushing the boundaries with language,  with entertainment, with alcohol, and with fashion. Of course, holiness is much more than these things, but in an effort to be hip, many Christians have figured holiness has nothing to do with these things. They’ve willingly embraced Christian freedom without an equal pursuit of Christian virtue.” (The Hole in Our Holiness pg. 18)

    This hit me hard, have I in my attempt to fit in with the world ditched or pushed to one side my pursuit of holiness? I am ashamed to say that sometimes I have. I have said many times that you cant be a cool christian because you will either have to choose one or the other. And I need to hear that God wants me to be holy more than I should want to be hip with the world.

    Have you let worldliness creep into your life so much so that holiness is not something you think about let alone strive for?

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  • A prayer that all Christian leaders need to pray

    I have been reading Replenish by Lance Witt and on page after page it has been cutting to the core of me and doing significant heart work. Today, I have been reading about the desire pastors have to be significant in people’s eyes which is a significant struggle I have. Here is a prayer that I am going to pray daily which Lance has in his book. I think it is  a prayer that all Christian leaders should pray:

    Today I still long for so much honour, I am so pleased with myself, so rooted in my nature. I am pleased when others as for my opinion, when I am made to feel I am needed, when people know that I am clever, talented and popular. I am glad when I am friends with everyone, when I can share what is in my heart, when I can shine.
    But Lord Jesus, you were servant of all. Today I surrender all desire to be great; I renounce all pleasure I take in being important.
    (From Baselia Schlink’s book I found the Key to the Heart of God: My Personal Story, 47-48 as quoted in Lance Witt Replenish)
    Is this a prayer you need to pray too?
  • The Character of a Christian

    I have been preaching through the Sermon on the Mount at Resolved and I this week I am preaching on Matthew 5:38-48. In my preparation I came across this quote which perfectly summarizes the character Christians should have.

    Jesus’ disciples should be people of such integrity of character and truthfulness of heart that whatever they say is absolutely believable and dependable. A person of integrity is one who in daily conversation is so truthful, dependable, genuine, guileless and reliable that his or her words are believed without an oath.

    Michael J Wilkins, Matthew: NIV Application Commentary, pgs 247-248

    How do you think we get that type of character?