Friday, August 19, 2011

Knowing Then What You Know Now

Today on Michael Hyatt's blog was a guest post by Adam Donyes in which he asked several senior leaders "What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were thirty?" His list...
1. The most important person you can lead is yourself.
2. Nothing is more valuable than relationships.
3. Maximize the moments with your children.
4. Listen—you will never find the pulse of your family or organization if you don’t learn to listen.
5. Worrying is temporary atheism. Rid yourself of worry.
6. Become a better steward of your financial resources through investments and wise decision-making. The older you get the more you’ll want to give away, being able to do so begins with the financial decisions you make today.
7. Balance—the words “No” and “Not now” are empowering when accompanied with wisdom.
8. Spend time reading and receiving the Truth every morning, because the world will only lie to you the rest of the day.
9. Saying “I’m sorry,” when spoken from a genuine heart, has great healing power.
10. Character should always trump talent.
11. Retreat and Rest—if ships don’t come back to the harbor, they’ll eventually sink.
12. Don’t stop learning—you’re not as smart as you think.
13. Learn to value patience. You’re likely to learn more while you wait.
14. Time management—without it time will control you.
15. Develop authentic and deep relationships with men who will sharpen you and see through you.
Some really great pieces of wisdom in this list! Several things that came to mind immediately for me were on this list, including the first four. That fifth one, ouch - that's a hard one. A few items on the list I've seen people nod their heads "Yes, that's true" and proceed to do the opposite - ignoring rest, not taking care of yourself, hiring talent over character.

The other things I would have told a 30 y/o version of myself: You know far less than you think you do. Head smarts is only one kind of smarts, value people with different kinds of smarts. Relationships take time to develop; they may not seem like it always, but there's no investment with a higher long-term dividend. In the corporate world you never 'arrive' - life is always as stressful as you allow it to be, and will get worse if you don't take steps now to change that.

What would you say to a younger version of yourself?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back to School... again

After graduating from Rockbridge Seminary with a Master of Ministry Leadership just two months ago, I have re-enrolled at Rockbridge for another program (M.Div)!  I know that probably sounds like I'm being a glutton for punishment, but I can't help it. I just love learning. I love school - the reading, the writing, the discussions, pondering questions that go beyond the daily grind, but also considering how to be more effective in the things we do. I enjoyed the Rockbridge experience so much it was a pretty easy decision. They are a 100% online seminary, where I can do all the work when it's convenient for me (mostly 10pm-1am in my case), without cutting too much into family time, and without having to relocate or take a break from either work or ministry.

This semester I am taking two courses: Church History I (early church right up to the reformation), and a course on Christian Worldview and Theology. The goal of the former is to help us understand our roots in a way that can help us better understand our present and forge the future. The goal of the latter is to give us a deeper understanding of not just what we believe, but why. Should be some very interesting material!

I'll answer my most frequently asked question - why do you want to get a Master of Divinity? Are you planning to be a minister? Short answer: No, I already am a minister, and so are you if you are a follower of Jesus. Slightly longer answer: I have no current plan for what might come next in my life. If I guessed I would probably be wrong. But I do know that having a much deeper understanding of Scripture is going to be a great learning experience that will serve me well whatever is next, and will help me grow spiritually as well. Plus the M.Div program (covering O.T. and N.T., biblical theology and interpretation, preaching and teaching, history and a smattering of Greek) is the perfect complement to what I have already studied for the MML (a nice mix of theory and practice in discipleship, fellowship, worship, ministry and evangelism, and a lot of leadership training). If I get to share some of this with my brothers and sisters (locally at Calvary Baptist Church and those of you online) over the next couple of years, even better!

If there are any topics you would like to hear more about, please let me know?!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Patience and Perseverance

For some reason I can't exactly put my finger on, I'm feeling tremendously anxious this week, although there isn't really a good reason (it's not overwork, and things overall are going well). It's highlighting that patience isn't my strong suit.

Patience and Perseverance. They're very different beasts.

Patience is tolerating pain, frustration or other annoyance, often with an aspect of waiting, and often on issues outside your control.

Perseverance is the dedication to stick-to-it, being diligent, seeing something through to completion.

Persistence is working hard, in spite of or to remove a difficulty.
Patience is waiting for the difficulty outside your control to disappear.

I'm pretty darn good at persistence. I can be downright awful at patience :)

How to respond biblically? It's frustrating that James (5:7-8) commands us to be patient but doesn't give us much on how. God grants wisdom in abundance when we ask (James 1:5), but patience is another matter. Colossians also commands us to clothe ourselves in patience (1:12) and to just let peace rule in our hearts (1:15). Again... how?

First, remember that peace and patience are two character qualities listed as fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). We don't grow the fruit. We abide in the Lord, and the Spirit brings forth the fruit. We water, we walk in the Spirit, we pray, but ultimately these fruit come from a life that is intimately related with Christ.

Second, with respect to anxiety, here's a favorite (and helpful) verse - Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV):
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Right as I'm about to hit the post button a friend just emailed me, to encourage me with this verse (Rom 5:3, MSG)
"We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!"
And so... to the throne I go, in prayer. Will you join me?