Leadership

God Uses Imperfect People

Think God can’t or won’t use you? Well, you’re in good company! If you think about it, there are many reasons why God shouldn’t have called you, or me, or anyone else for that matter. But God doesn’t wait until we’re perfect to use us! In fact, the Scriptures are full of the stories of men and women, who in spite of their greed, lust, impulsiveness and imperfections, where used greatly by God to fulfill His purposes. Here’s a few examples, from the Bible’s who’s who:

Abraham lied
Sarah laughed at God’s promises
Moses stuttered
David’s armor didn’t fit
John Mark was rejected by Paul
Timothy had ulcers
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute
Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning
Jacob was a liar
David had an affair
Solomon was too rich
Jesus was too poor
Abraham was too old
David was too young
Peter was afraid of death
Lazarus was dead
John was self-righteous
Naomi was a widow
Paul was a murderer, so was Moses
Jonah ran from God
Miriam was a gossip
Gideon and Thomas both doubted
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal
Elijah was burned out
John the Baptist was a loudmouth
Martha was a worry-wort
Noah got drunk
Did I mention Moses had a short fuse? So did Peter, Paul and lots of folks!

Satan will tell you, “You’re not worthy!” But Jesus says, “So what? I AM.” Satan will tempt us to look back and sees our mistakes. But God looks back and sees the Cross. God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. So say “yes” to God and watch him do something amazing in you and through you today!

Tweetable Moments from the Summit

This year I opted to not attend the Global Leadership Summit, sponsored by Willow Creek! It was sort of a bittersweet decision, as I look forward to the spiritual jolt I get from the Summit, especially as I prepare to head into the fall. But after 10 straight years of attending, I decided to take a pass this year.

However, as a huge fan of the Summit, I have been reading the blogs, watching the Twitter feed and even got a live stream of one of the segments online. So while I wasn’t actually in attendance, I did manage to grab a few nuggets from this year’s Summit based on the wonders of modern technology! Here are a few of my notable quotes and take aways…

You are the most difficult person you will ever lead. – Bill Hybels

God didn’t make you a leader to respond to stuff. He made you a leader to move stuff ahead. – Bill Hybels

Leadership is about helping others see their own leadership qualities and potential. – Condoleeza Rice

The most important characteristic in a leader is irrepressible optimism. – Condoleeza Rice

When you’re in a position of authority, you need truth-tellers around you. – Condoleeza Rice

An organization is not truly great if it can’t be great without you. – Jim Collins

Authenticity trumps cool every time. – Craig Groeschel

Respect is earned, honor is given. – Craig Groeschel

Organizational health is the single greatest competitive advantage in business. – Patrick Lencioni

We are the biggest barrier to us experiencing success. – William Ury

Life is not measured in time, but in love, contribution and moments of grace. – Carly Fiorina

Never give yourself permission to avoid doing what is right. – Mario Vega

Leaders are not only responsible for their own actions, but for the influence they have over those they lead. – Mario Vega

It’s one thing to see a vision and another to be seized by one. – Bill Hybels

What was your favorite moment? Biggest take away?

Raising An Olympian

Last night America was inspired by the finesse and joy of Gabby Douglas’ performance that earned her the women’s all-around gymnastics gold medal! It was a moment of glory! However, that moment, wasn’t realized without a lot of sacrifice on Gabby’s part. “I just want people to know it took a lot,” she said. “It took a lot of hard days in the gym and determination, passion and drive. Gold medals are made out of your sweat, blood and tears, and effort in the gym every day.”

After taking gold, Gabby declared on national television, ‎”I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to Him & all the blessings fall down on me.”

Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, if you take the letters in her last name, they spell out USA GOLD! Way to represent Gabby! You made your nation proud.

A Grace Filled Response

In reading the headlines and social media threads over the controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A founder Dan Cathy’s comments, I was reminded of Bill Hybels loving and grace filled response to Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, who under pressure from a gay advocacy group, canceled his appearance at the Leadership Summit, just a few days before the event.

I encourage you to listen to Bill’s response, made in front of a global audience at last years Summit, for I believe his wise words can speak to the issues of our day and give us some great ideas on how we can lovingly respond…

Three Marks of Effective Leaders

Three marks of effective leaders…

  1. Effective leaders never lose sight of the ultimate goal! In looking at the ministry of Christ, Jesus’ objective was always clear. As Robert Coleman writes in his book Master Plan of Evangelism, “[Jesus’] life was ordered by his objective. Everything he did and said was part of the whole pattern. It had significance because it contributed to the ultimate purpose of his life in redeeming the world for God [Luke 19:10; Matthew 20:28]. This was the motivating vision governing his behavior and not for one moment did Jesus lose sight of his goal” (Coleman, p. 18). Jesus seized every opportunity for decisive action, but never lost sight of his ultimate objective to redeem people to Himself (Luke 2:49). Jesus knew and understood what his overall objective was, and ultimately conceived a plan that would not fail, by calling twelve men to himself who would in turn lead the multitudes and usher in a Kingdom.
  2. Effective leaders lead by example! This was by its very essence the leadership style of Christ, who called twelve men to a relationship with himself, and allowed them to simply follow him (John 1:39,43; Matthew 4:19). To Jesus “knowledge was gained by association before it was understood by explanation” (Coleman, p.39), and he gave increasingly more time to his disciples as his ministry was drawing near knowing that his disciples would be the ones who would in turn give this kind of personal attention to others. Jesus’ ministry was marked by visible, memorable symbols and behaviors, for Jesus understood the principle that “more is caught than taught”, therefore he used everyday situations to teach life changing principles for the ultimate end of ushering in his Kingdom.
  3. Effective leaders take care of their souls! In looking at the life and ministry of Jesus, it is clear from the scripture that Jesus maintained a healthy balance in his private life. As the scripture states in Luke 2:52, Jesus kept growing “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” In other words, his life had balance, as he was committed to growing mentally, socially, physically, and spiritually. Also throughout his ministry, you often see Jesus seeking seclusion to commune with his father in prayer (Mark 1:35), setting a wonderful example to us, of the importance of taking care of yourself spiritually. This is especially important as all that we do in life needs to be the overflow of our relationship with God.

While Jesus could have been all things to all men, he choose rather to invest himself in a few who in turn could win the masses, and ultimately reach the world. And clearly he set an example for all of us to follow.

A Taste of the 2010 Leadership Summit

As you can tell, I am reviewing my notes from previous Leadership Summits. I think this year will be my 10th Anniversary of attending the Leadership Summit. Here are the things that grabbed my attention in 2010…

  1. We must let our hearts be broken by the things that break the heart of God. – Bob Pierce
  2. Good is the enemy of great! – Jim Collins
  3. What separates good leaders from great leaders is humility. – Jim Collins
  4. Hope is not wishful thinking, it’s confident expectations. – Christine Caine
  5. It doesn’t take much light to dispel the darkness. – Christine Caine
  6. Management leads to compliance, but leadership leads to engagement. – Daniel Pink
  7. Leaders give encouragement to build self-confidence. – Jack Welch
  8. I am a firm believer that the Lord sometimes has to short-circuit even our best plans for our benefit. – Tony Dungy
  9. You don’t win on emotion, you win on execution. – Tony Dungy
  10. Each day is a gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to Him. – T.D. Jakes

A Taste of the 2009 Leadership Summit

Here are some notable quips from the 2009 Willow Creek Leadership Summit…

  1. Leadership in sync with the Spirit, results in life and peace. – Bill Hybels
  2. It’s not compassionate, to not be truthful. – Bill Hybels
  3. Organizations lose their influence when the rate of change outpaces the organization. – Gary Hamel
  4. God has crafted in all of us a story that can be redeemed for his glory. – Wes Stafford
  5. Forgiveness means giving up the right for revenge. – Wes Stafford
  6. You will not forget what you do not forgive. – Wes Stafford
  7. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. – David Gergen
  8. Faith gives our leadership a moral compass. – David Gergen
  9. Focus on what is working. Study it. Clone it. – Chip & Dan Heath
  10. We need to have a tolerance for failure. Failure can often be a stepping stone to success. – Chip & Dan Heath

A Taste of the 2008 Leadership Summit

Here are some notable quotes from the 2008 Leadership Summit…

  1. Facts are your friends. Are you courageous enough to face them?  – Bill Hybels
  2. Jesus did not ask the disciples for what he needed, he asked them for what they had. – Gary Haugen
  3. God will rescue us from all things petty, and lead us beyond our fear to courage. – Gary Haugen
  4. As leaders, we are giving people a gift to fundamentally make a difference in the life of another. – Wendy Kopp
  5. Spiritual leadership is all about creating the right soil for people to grow up into the people God intended them to be. – John Burke
  6. Jesus came for messy, broken people. – John Burke
  7. In order to reach people who no one is reaching, you need to do what no one else is doing. – Craig Groeschel
  8. Failure is often the first step to seeing God. – Craig Groeschel
  9. In community, we learn to be holy! – Chuck Colson
  10. Spiritual leadership is about getting more of God in my life, instead of getting more to lead. – Bill Hybels

Lessons from Peter

A successful entrepreneur with a thriving fishing business, Peter was a natural leader who was willing to take risks. He was bold, impulsive and often stuck out his neck in pursuit of being with Jesus. This zealous side of Peter served him well, but it also got him into trouble. Throughout the Scriptures, we see Peter struggling to let go of his agenda and accept God’s agenda, and in doing so, he sets himself up for failure time and time again.

While Peter didn’t lack for motivation, he did refuse to deal with many of the “know” and “below” barriers that prevented him from being the man God intended. Aware of Peter’s tendencies, Jesus allowed Peter to put himself in positions to fail, because in doing so, Jesus knew that Peter would also put himself in positions to grow. Every time Peter failed, he learned something about life and every time he learned something, he grew. And in learning from his mistakes, Peter became a different man.

Presented with the same challenges and opportunities, we would likely respond like Peter, who boasted too much, prayed too little, acted too fast and followed too far away. However, the good news is that just like Peter, who learned from his mistakes, there is a gracious Father who wants to do the same wonderful work in our lives as well. But that takes a commitment on our part. First, to be courageous enough to face our own “know”, “go” and “below” barriers to spiritual growth. Second, to trust God’s plan and purpose for our lives.

Becoming the Person God Intended

The most important task of our life is not what we do, but who we become. Since we are God’s people, created for his plan and purposes, he knows what we are intended to be. And being in Christ and growing in him means we are moving towards God’s best version for us.

Peter’s full name at birth was Simon Bar-Jonah (Matthew 16:17), meaning “Simon, son of Jonah” (John 21:15-17). But as one of his disciples, Jesus gives Simon another name, Peter, which means “rock.” However, before God could do the work he desired through Peter, he first had to do a work in him. Over time God would take a fisherman with an ambivalent, vacillating and impulsive personality and shape him into a rock like leader. And in God’s training process, Peter learned that in spite of his weaknesses, the Lord wanted to use him and had great plans for him.

Similarly, as God grows you, he wants to use the situations of life to refine and shape us for the mission he has called us to. God made you to flourish and to produce blessing beyond yourself. Flourishing is God’s plan and gift, and when you flourish, you are in harmony with God, other people, creation and yourself. And it means you are becoming the person God had in mind when he created you. It is moving towards God’s best version of you.

Just like Peter, God has a purpose and plan for you, but he won’t discard the raw material. He just redirects it.

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