I just can’t do it anymore…

I just can’t do it anymore… Ever felt like that? It happens to the best of us! I remember the days I was in the army, the army reserves to be more correct! Those were tough days! The army has a … Continue reading

Gallery | Leave a comment

Surviving Human Trafficking…

This isn’t one of my normal blogs but I had to put this out there as it is such wonderful news and because it is also part of my effort to be promoting these kinds of victories.Not For Sale are doing a wonderful job. Please check them out, support them, promote them. Below is one of their success stories… 

“In just the first six months of 2011, Not For Sale Romania has provided safe haven and essential services to more than 40 survivors of human trafficking.

Some of these young men & women (15 to 25 years old) were trafficked from Romania, but others came from countries as distant as Tunisia, Afghanistan, Bolivia and Cameroon. Their destination was Western Europe.

YOU can learn from the Romanian Abolitionist, Maria Rodai, who cared for these survivors on the front lines. Join her and dozens of other leaders in the Abolitionist movement at the 2011 Global Forum on Human Trafficking.”

http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/events/global-forum-on-human-trafficking/

Please check out their website (link above) and look for an event in your country. Thanks for taking the time to read.

Please also feel free to pass this on to others and start the ball rolling…

Posted in Human Trafficking | Leave a comment

Are my perceptions perceptively deceptive?

The following quote has got me thinking…

Paradigms power perception and perceptions power emotions. Most emotions are responses to perception – what you think is true about a given situation. If your perception is false, then your emotional response to it will be false too. So check your perceptions, and beyond that check the truthfulness of your paradigms – what you believe. (The Shack by William P Young)

It got me thinking – What are my emotional responses and what fuels them? To answer that, I need to ask myself, what are my perceptions and what is fuelling these perceptions? If this statement is true (and I’d love your comments as to whether you agree with what William Paul Young says) then to answer the question about my perceptions, I must look at what are the paradigms I live by.

My paradigms, what are they? It’s a good question but a very broad question! Got to start somewhere…

I was just sitting down with a friend who was sharing a struggle with the sense of obligation to do things. “I’m a high ‘C’ was the comment. It’s how I’m wired. I’ve just got to do what needs to be done – that’s the responsible thing to do.”

You see, this type of belief system is what makes up our paradigms, why we do what we do. If we believe that to be productive and achieving things is where we get our value and sense of worth then we will constantly be doing things in order to have that sense of worth and value. We will be always busy doing things because that is what is important. If we don’t do things then our perception is that we have less value and worth.

If we think that doing things is the responsible thing to do then we’ll keep ourselves busy doing things because we want to be responsible or at least give the appearance of being responsible.

If we believe that to be loved we have to do certain things we will then engage in activity that will try to earn or maintain that love.

If we believe that beauty is an outward thing then we will do what we can to look more beautiful or fashionable. This of course, will be greatly influenced by what the media (movies, magazines, books, internet, newspapers, TV, etc) deems as beautiful or fashionable!

I could go on but the point is, our paradigms fuel and affect our perceptions in life – be they perceptions about ourselves, or others, or life in general.

I’ve been a big proponent of following your heart. The problem is that, for many of us, we simply don’t trust our hearts, for one reason or another. I see in the world today a great battle raging for our hearts. There are just so many things jostling for our affection and for our attention; so many things that are demanding our time but have the effect of further wounding our hearts.

Most things that jostle for our love and affection actually have the end effect of leaving us empty and dry and needing more to fill it all up again.

Imagine – just what if – there was nothing more we had to do to be loved and to feel valued? What if there was nothing less we could do to feel loved or valued less?

What freedom that would bring! No matter what I did, it would not alter people’s opinions of me nor their affection and love towards me! Wow. Maybe that’s utopia for many of us but I believe that it can be a reality! It can be something we can begin to experience here and now.

We just have to look at our paradigms and make some changes to our belief system, our mindset, our worldview. We need to understand the life sapping perceptions we have been blindly adhering to and begin to question our paradigms. We just need to take an honest look at our own sense of worth and value and realise that we are most likely on a never-ending pathway of needing to keep trying and to keep doing so that sometime, somewhere, we might actually measure up!

Life’s too short to be lived trying to measure up, trying to please man, trying to be loved or even liked!

If we cannot escape this type of thinking then I doubt we’ll ever be able to live life to the full and reach our full potential. Living in the fear of man (always concerned about what they think and feel about us and what we do) is a real killer. We don’t want to be rejected or feel rejected so we shut up and don’t say what we think or feel. We find ourselves easily saying what others want to hear with the faint hope that it may help them to like us more. (On a side point – I think our pollies are great at this!)

So, back to Young’s quote:

Paradigms power perception and perceptions power emotions. Most emotions are responses to perception – what you think is true about a given situation. If your perception is false, then your emotional response to it will be false too. So check your perceptions, and beyond that check the truthfulness of your paradigms – what you believe.

What about your paradigms? Ever thought about them and how they may be fuelling your perceptions? Ever thought about how your perceptions may be fuelling your emotional responses?

Maybe you don’t even agree with this quote!

What are your thoughts? I’m just beginning, still working it through…

Over to you now…

Posted in Behavior, Choices, Emotional Responses, Paradigms, Perceptions, Relationships | 4 Comments

I’m dying but…

Not sure why I started to think about my friend who passed away over 25yrs ago but I did!

Sue was diagnosed with a rare disease that would slowly kill her. I was church planting in Central Qld at the time and her children attended the various children’s programs we ran.

As soon as I heard of the diagnosis I went to visit her. As I knocked at her door she came to see who it was. She hesitated for a moment then opened the door and invited me in. As I sat down she told me very clearly and emphatically that I was the only minister of the cloth that she would ever invite inter her house. Her reason? Because we did so much for her two girls, we loved them, accepted them, cared for them and helped them to enjoy life so much more in our coal mining town.

Then she dropped the bomb shell –

I’m dying but… I want you to know that I am not afraid to die!

Wow! I have never met someone who was so convincing about the prospect of death. I had previously only met people who were fearful at dying. But Sue, she was different! Or so I thought.

Sue began to then share with me that she had lived a very full life (she was my age – late 20’s!), that married life was wonderful, that she had a very loving husband, two gorgeous girls and that she was now ready to die.

How do you answer someone like that? I simply responded that I was very happy for her and that there were very few people who could say what she shared with the confidence she shared it with.

I really was happy for her!

I then went on to say that I was not there to try to convert her but simply to show her my support and encouragement. After chatting a bit more I left her.

I continued to visit her from time to time over the months. I noticed a slow degeneration in her health and that she was becoming less mobile. Soon the time would come when she would not longer be able to walk but would be bed ridden. Not long after that she would no longer be able to talk and that by then she would be knocking at death’s door. That’s how the doctor explained it to me, anyways.

One Friday I was due to go to Rockhampton (some three hours drive away) for the weekend as I had a meeting to attend there. I had this very strong sense from the Lord that I was to go and visit her as this would be my last time in seeing her alive.

I went in to visit Sue before leaving for Rocky and was shocked at what I saw. I could swear it had only been a couple of weeks since I last saw her but there she was bedridden, just skin and bones and the look of absolute horror on her face.

My heart went out to her. I wanted so much to be able to make her better but no matter how I had prayed for her healing she was definitely not getting better, only worse!

Suddenly I went through this incredible struggle. I remembered her words so clearly when I first heard about her condition and how she told me she was ready to die. The look on her face this afternoon told me a very different story!

I sat there beside her bed and gently held her hand. The fear in her eyes were so troubling. She could no longer speak but could only slowly move her head. I began to remind her of our first conversation when she had informed me that she was ready to die. She slowly nodded her head in affirmation.

I then asked her if she was now ready to die to which she very slowly shook her head. I then asked her if she wanted to do something about this to which she slowly nodded her head. I knew that this movement of her head was causing her incredible pain but the fear in her eyes meant that these questions were important questions to answer.

I then began to share with her that all she had to do was surrender her life to the Lord, ask for his forgiveness and invite him into her life. I said that she didn’t have to say the word (she couldn’t speak!) but just thinking them was enough. I reassured her that God knew what was going on and that his hands were open, ready to accept her.

She slowly closed her eyes and after what seemed an eternity she opened them once more. I was stunned! The fear was gone and in its place was this deep peace in her eyes. I smiled, prayed for her and then encouraged her. You could see the joy in her eyes. I left her that afternoon knowing she had made peace with God and that she was now indeed ready to die!

I left for Rocky feeling elated, happy and content knowing that Sue had confronted her fears, embrace Jesus as her Lord and saviour and was now ready to die.

Sue died that night!

Her hubby approached me when I returned on the Sunday and asked me to do her funeral. He said that this was what she would want. He also told me very clearly that I was not to preach, that I was to take only twenty minutes and that it would be a simple memorial service up on our hill. It was a picnic place Sue loved going to with her family.

I thought, who do I listen to? Do I listen to Sue or to her hubby? I knew what Sue would want so I decided to listen to her “voice”! There were about 50 people present who had never graced the inside of a church building, people who had no regards for God, people who were godless.

I stood in front of them and shared Sue’s story, right from when she told me she was unafraid of death to that Friday afternoon when fear had gripped her terribly. I shared how she had surrendered her life to Jesus and how peace and joy had then filled her heart and showed on her countenance. I shared how she was now with Jesus and that her greatest desire was that they too would come to know this Jesus she had known for less than twelve hours.

The response from the people there and from her hubby was incredible. It was heart warming. To have this ‘godless’ crew come to me after I had finished and share how that had been the most moving and the best memorial service they had attended meant a lot to me.

I know it meant a lot to Sue! We were now both smiling!

This tender memory started me thinking about death. It’s final – unless you get resurrected like Lazarus!. It’s confronting. It can be so uncertain. People can easily say how they are unafraid of death but when suddenly confronted by it their tune can so easily change. This is true for people who claim to believe in God as well as for those who do not believe in him. It seems that we are created with this need to make peace with God when death confronts us – at least for those of us who have the time to make peace! Some of us die far too quickly/instantly to even think about facing death and make our peace with God.

Am I ready to die? How will I face it? How will I embrace it? I do have Sue’s confidence which she had at the beginning and will it still be there when I face death? I believe so for my confidence lies in who God is and not in what I have done or achieved.

I remember when my father died. We were all gathered around his bedside and we sang his favourite hymns. There was such peace on his face, he was ready! It made saying goodbye so much easier.

I want to be ready and believe I am. Are you? I suppose both you and I will only really know when we discover that death is knocking at our door.

We who believe there is a God out there could be totally wrong and have flipped our lids! But, I would much rather believe there is a God out there and be right than not believe and be wrong.

Mind you, I am confident that God who is alive and that he lives in me. 🙂 It’s not based on any scientific fact or theory but simply on what I have personally experienced of him in my journey in life. The joy and peace he has brought into my life far outweighs anything this world promises me. I am enjoying the personal, intimate walk with Jesus that I have and it teaches me so much about life and how I need to live it in this present life. I know it is only a foretaste of things to come and it does cause me to be hungry for more.

So, you can ask me: Am I ready to die?

Yes!

BUT are you?

Over to you…

Posted in Behavior, Choices, Clear Conscience, Death, Doubt, Forgiveness, Grace, Heaven, Hell, Hope, Living in Peace, Love, Redemption, Repentance, Sickness, Sin | 8 Comments

Some Biblical Oxymoron’s

I thought that it would be fun to look at what appears to be some oxymoron’s which I find in the bible. Well, I’ll call them oxymoron’s for the sake of this blog! 🙂

We’re called slaves yet we are children of God

We walk in the fear of the Lord yet we live in love

Salvation is free but it costs your life

A friend of mine queried me about my use of the term ‘fear of the Lord,’ for to him it brought the connotation of fear and dread, to be afraid of God. This did get me thinking – there must be lots of terms we use that seem totally contradictory! 🙂

Do you know of any others? Please share them with me!

I’ve only got three down here but I am sure there are more! (I thought this would be a fun, short blog but it’s ended up being quite lengthy! Patience. 🙂 )

Let’ start with the first one…

We are called slaves yet we are called children of God.

What does this mean? Is the Bible contradicting itself? Can one be his child yet be his slave at the same time?

To answer these questions I think we need to go behind the intent of each statement. When the term ‘slaves’ was used it was meant to portray that fact that we have no rights. You see, when we have rights we can make demands, we can put our foot down and say “no!” This is how many seem to relate to God. God, give me this, do that, make a way here, clear the way there, etc. We say we are really only asking but the truth is more that we are making a demand and this demand is often based on the fact that we believe we have rights and that it is God’s job to make sure that these rights are being met.

The reason I say this is because of the disappointment we feel when God doesn’t do what we have asked him to do. If we viewed ourselves as slaves then we would not be having these expectations of God but rather, would be very grateful for whatever he did do for us. We would not be focused on our rights because as slaves we have no rights!

Ungratefulness seems to be a curse that affects so many Christians I know. I have even been guilty of it!! I do believe that this ungratefulness is rooted in the belief that we have rights and that it’s God’s job to meet and provide for those rights.

We love to focus on the fact that we are children and because we believe we are children of God then we believe we have these rights as children and if God really loved us then he would be doing something about making sure these needs (what I’m calling rights!) are being met.

The truth is, children can be so ungrateful. They often do not realize what they do have because it is just so easy to focus on what they don’t have. We fall into the comparing business and then begin to accuse God of loving others more than us because of what we perceive he is doing for them that he is not doing for us.

Children also do not realize what they do have until they no longer have it. I do think this is also the case with adults too, mind you! 🙂

From the way I see it, as children we can be assured of our eternal future, that he does love us and care intimately for us and is very fond of us. As a father his heart is to bless us and shower us with his loving kindness. Having the attitude of a slaves keeps us in a place where we hopefully remain grateful for what we do have – mainly, life! Also, that we do not take for granted the life we do have but seek to live it in a such a way that we will make our master happy.

So, do I see the two thoughts opposed to each other? No! I actually see them enhancing each other and making us a better person when we live both to their true and full potential.

Well, what about the next oxymoron?

We walk in the fear of the Lord yet we live in love.

It would seem at face value that these two are totally opposed to each other. How can one walk in fear and yet walk in love? The answer lies in understanding the meaning of the fear of the Lord. For me, the fear of the Lord is clearly expressed when I live my life loving what God loves.

An example is as a child of my parents I tried to live in a way that I pleased them in what I did. As I matured I discovered more and more what type of behavior displeased them and what type of behavior brought joy to their hearts. Because I loved them my hearts desire was to try and please them by doing things that would make them happy. I did not do this because I was afraid of the punishment I would receive but rather I did what I did because I loved them. This to me expresses what walking in the fear of the Lord means. Mind you, I was not always successful in living this way! It seemed, as a child, that there were many obstacles in the way that prevented me from pleasing my parents!! 🙂

Too many people have this concept that God is a terrible God and that we must always live in fear, never knowing what he will do next. This is based on a very wrong and poor concept of who God is and what his character is like.

So for me, the fear of the Lord and living in love go hand in hand. They belong to each other! When we live in love we do not live in fear. Love has the affect of casting off our fear, banishing it from our lives. Fear comes when we do not understand, experience or know what love is. This type of fear is not what the bible calls the fear of the Lord. The biblical expression of the fear of the Lord is based in love and expresses love. Now the love I am talking about is the love that comes from God. I am not talking about some emotional feeling that we might experience. The love I am talking about is the love defined in 1 Corinthians 13.

So, what about my last example of a biblical oxymoron – salvation is free but it costs you your life?

If something is free then it should not cost anything because it is FREE! So, what does it mean that it costs us our life? To answer this we need to understand the nature of the new life that God desires to bring to us, have us receive and live out.

There are different passages which express things like – “my ways are not your ways” declares the Lord. Or, “I use the foolish things to confound the wise.” Now, it’s very hard to understand these concepts unless you understand God. It seems absolutely ridiculous to one who doesn’t believe in God or that God even exists that there is even a God out there somewhere! It flies in the face of human logic or reason. It is something that cannot be understood with human reasoning. That why we have what we call faith.

You see, to accept something as ridiculous as there being a God who loves us and forgives us and who could actually create the world in six days requires us to look foolish in the eyes of man (or human thinking); it requires faith that there is such a God. It means, in a sense, that we have to be willing to put aside human reasoning and logic and accept what God says as being truth. There will always be a battle for our hearts, for what we give our affections to. That battle is real for us who call ourselves Christians. That’s why Jesus says that we cannot serve two masters! We have to come to a point where we will love one and hate the other for we cannot keep straddling the fence wanting the best of both worlds.

This is what I believe it means that it will cost us everything. It’s that willingness to make the choice of how I live my life. I cannot buy my salvation nor can I earn it. It is a gift, which is why it is free and all I need to do is accept it. To live that life is a totally different issue! There will be choices to make in how I live that life. Do I live it for Jesus or for myself? The truth is, I cannot have it both ways.

It’s like my parents give me a car as a present (they didn’t do this by the way!). I can thank them profusely for it, walk around it and admire it and enjoy just looking at it. But, if I’m going to drive it I must first hop into the car, then put the key into the ignition, start the motor, engage the gears and drive off. Now, when I start to drive I must remember many things – there are laws, rules of the road that if I do not keep them or observe them then several things can happen. I could end up having an accident because I was careless or driving too fast. I could have an accident because I didn’t observe the red light and stop. I could be booked for excessive speeding and actually lose my license.

You see, there are certain “responsibilities” to being the owner of a car and driving it on the roads. As much as I don’t like these responsibilities they go with owning a car.

For me, being a Christian is very similar to this. If I want to accept God free gift of salvation and become a follower of Jesus then there are certain “responsibilities” I must accept if I’m going to accept this “position” of being a follower. Accepting this gift does NOT make me any better than someone who has chosen not to accept it. It simply means I have accepted the gift and so made a choice to live accordingly.

This gift requires that I die to myself, to my own selfish ambitions, desires and wants. It means that I choose to submit to Gods ways in what I do. It involves learning to think differently, act differently and live differently to the norm. I make choices that are based on the gift I have received – because I love God and want to please him.

I have discovered in my journey of life that God’s way is not my way, that his ways are so much higher than my ways and that when I chose to stay in the realm of my human thinking that often I will make decisions which are not wise in the eyes of God – even if I think they are pretty smart decisions!! Human wisdom and Godly wisdom are very different to each other. Godly wisdom comes from walking in the fear of the Lord (according to the definition I shared above!) while earthly wisdom comes primarily through the attaining of much knowledge and this comes mainly through learning/education.

Now please understand this – I am NOT saying that earthly wisdom is of no value for that is not true. We have many brilliant minds, people who totally reject God or the concept of God. Their brilliance has come through their learning and the application to acquiring greater knowledge through their education. We have advanced significantly because of these brilliant minds.

In fact, there is incredible power in unity – when minds are put together for the purpose of trying to discover, advance, etc. The Bible says that nothing would be impossible when people live in this way. I also believe that God wants us to use our minds and to be able to think for ourselves. He does not want us to follow him like zombies!

My point is, that to live a life as a follower of Jesus often requires us to live in a “foolish” way when viewed by those who are learned and wise because what we do often does not make sense to the human mind.

I believe one reason why it is this way is because God does not want us to rely on our own human wisdom or reasoning. To do so would mean that we could live our lives without God, work things out on our own and reason things away. Mind you, I think many Christians try and live their life this way! Living this way would then totally contradict the point in us being followers of Jesus and our expressing our need of and dependency upon him.

I believe that we are made up of three parts – body, soul and spirit. We all have physical bodies that feel pain, that bleed when cut, that need feeding, that need exercise to keep fit, that gets tired and needs rest etc. We also have a soul, that part of us that we call our mind, will and emotions. It’s where we feel things, make choices, think through things, etc. We also all have a spirit and it is our spirit that is able to commune and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. It is actually when our spirit engages with the Holy Spirit that we have the capacity to gain this wisdom that is not human wisdom. The human wisdom operates out of the mind but Godly wisdom operates out of our spirit. That’s why it is key to engage with God through our spirit and not through our mind. (Sounding very mystical, aren’t I!)

I trust this is making sense to you.

So, in conclusion I do want to say that though these three “concepts” appear to be oxymoron’s they actually are not! They actually back each other up and support each other and empower us to live lives which honor others and glorifies God. This is the kind of life I want to live.

It’s over to you now… What do you think? What about you? Can you think of anything that could be considered an oxymoron in the bible?

Posted in Behavior, Choices, Emotional Responses, Fear of the Lord, Forgiveness, Honesty, Humlity, Love, Loving Jesus, Loving the Lost, Nature & Character of God, Obedience, Openness, Relationships, Taking Risks | 2 Comments

Newsletter update

I have had a high bounce rate (over 30%!) from our latest newsletter which was a little sad as it means that many of you may not have received it yet.

If you have been receiving ours and have changed your email details can you please go to http://www.lannalife.org and help me by updating your details?

If you haven’t been receiving our newsletters and would like to then you can go to our website and do so.

To either update your details or to subscribe to our newsletters, all you have to do is scroll down to the bottom right side of the page and just fill out your details according to the prompts.

Thanks for helping me out this way. Have a great day.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Help, I’m off-balance!

Ever feel off balance? Yes? Then great, I’m in good company! 🙂 So often we want to be people who maintain balance but I’m discovering that this may not be a good thing!

In my last post I shared my values in regards to relational/family. I want to try to finish off my blogs on the values I seek to live my life by and end by explaining why I think being off-balance is actually a good thing. 🙂

In this blog I want to look at ministry/leadership and how my values have shaped the way I lead and engage in ministry. You will actually see many similarities with my values in my other categories: personal and relational/family.

Ministry/Leadership: I value being Spirit led and anointed. Seeking God through His Word, through prayer and worship, walking in the fear of the Lord, expressing love for God and for others through what we do, accountability and openness, humility, integrity, and I value risk taking.

I value being Spirit led and anointed, seeking God through His Word: I do place great value and importance on the Scriptures and how they can serve to give us guidance and wisdom. I also believe that we have the Spirit dwelling within us and that we need his counsel and wisdom in our day-to-day living. As Zechariah 4:6 says – “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.”

I do not want to live by the wisdom of this world. I want to live by the wisdom that comes from God and this requires that I live a life in the Spirit.

Unfortunately, the world is full of people who lead a life of selfishness, hypocrisy and full of “I”! I must admit that often I have had to re-evaluate my life to check to see if I too am like this as I know how prone I am to being so!

Not only this, but the world has clearly demonstrated to us that it cannot do it on its own. The world is in a mess and it’s not getting better. The poor are getting poorer while the rich are getting richer and the divide between the two is becoming wider and wider! Even people with degrees coming out of their ears are living lives which lack the wisdom they should have with all the degrees they have achieved. Unfortunately, earthly wisdom doesn’t get us very far!

To be led by the Spirit requires that I spend time seeking him. This leads me to my next value…

Through prayer and worship: There is too much to say about prayer to capture it all here so all I want to say about this is that I see prayer as communication with God, it’s a two-way affair and it’s not me telling God everything and expecting him to do all that I ask of him. I do not see God as this candy cane god who gives me everything I want. Rather, through prayer I want to know and hear what is on God’s heart. He has opinions, thoughts and ideas and I want to know what those are.

I see worship as an everyday affair. Everything I do should express worship to my Jesus. Whatever I am doing I want to do it in such a way that I express my love and affection for God. Worship is not just that time we call worship when we meet as a church body and sing. That is just a tiny minute part of what I see as worship. I desire for my whole life to be lived as an offering of worship to my Jesus.

This means I must take care in what I do, what I say and how I act. This also leads me on to my next value…

Walking in the fear of the Lord: For me, my simple definition of ‘the fear of the Lord’ is to love what God loves and to hate what God hates. This involves having a respect and an honour for the things that God holds dear to his heart. If I truly love God then I will be mindful of the things God loves and embrace them joyfully, with all my heart. I will also be sensitive to the things which hurt the heart of God and thus do everything I can to avoid doing these things.

And what does God love? In Micah 6:8 we read, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

How am I acting justly? How do I express mercy? Am I walking humbly with the Lord?

I also recognise that walking in the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Gaining degrees is not what gives me wisdom though it will fill me knowledge. Knowledge without wisdom can be a very dangerous thing. I want to be one who grows in wisdom through walking in the fear of the Lord. Knowledge puffs up but wisdom that comes through walking in the fear of the Lord will always be expressed in humility.

I want my leadership and ministry to clearly express my dependancy upon the Lord, that I am daily growing in the wisdom that comes from God.

Expressing love for God and for others through what we do: As that old saying goes – actions speak louder than words! I need to keep asking myself – how am I expressing the love of God to those around about me? Does my walk match my talk? If love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. If love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres and never fails then how does my love for others rate?

For me it’s where the rubber meets the road! It’s easy to be full of rhetoric but what about the reality? If people have one legitimate accusation against Christians it’s in the area of NOT loving one another. We can be some of the meanest, heartless people I know! We seem to find it so easy to accuse others of the wrong they are doing yet cannot see the plank in our own eye!

Does my leadership express love to those who are under my leadership? Do they feel valued and respected? Do they feel heard? Or am I just busy telling them what they should be doing and how to do it?

I want to be someone who loves others, accepts them where they are at and does not judge them for what they do. Who am I to judge? What about the wrong I do! No wonder Jesus said, “judge not that you be not judged!”

As I interact with people through my leadership and ministry responsibilities I want people to know they are loved and valued, not judged and criticised!

Accountability and openness: I am becoming more and more aware of my own blind spots. There are things that others see that I cannot! I am also prone to being critical, selfish and proud. I need people in my life who will help me, challenge me and encourage me any time they see these negative aspects of my life being expressed.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to be in accountable relationships and they have served to help me work through many issues in my life. Leadership is often a very lonely journey and people expect you to have it all together! The temptation is strong to put up the appearance that we are doing well, that we know the answers, that we have our lives together because we fear people will not follow us nor respect us if they knew what was really going on inside.

The opposite is so true. It’s amazing that as I have shared my struggles I find people beginning to open up and share their own personal struggles! People long for leaders who are honest, truthful, full of integrity, who say what they mean and mean what they say, who are willing to learn from others, who are open and vulnerable.

Remember, humility is NOT weakness!

Being open to others has helped me to learn from them and has allowed them to speak truth, love and hope into my own life. To me, that’s what community is all about.

I love this quote by John Ortberg: Everyone of us pretends to be healthier and kinder than we really are; we all engage in what might be called ‘depravity management.’

What kind of depravity management am I engaged in? What about you?

I don’t want to be someone who hides my weaknesses, my struggles. It takes humility to say, ‘I need help!’ This leads me to my next value…

Humility, integrity: As the scriptures teach – “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” A proud person is not a nice person to be around. I never feel uplifted by a proud person but rather, I seem to always leave belittled and never matching up to their expectations.

Pride brings death and I want to be someone who brings life. Pride says, I don’t really need you but I want to be someone who needs others to help me, to strengthen me where I am weak. Pride puts on a mask to show others how they want to be viewed and thought of but I want to be vulnerable and real so people know the real me. Pride is pretence. I’m tired of pretence because it has only caused me loneliness and having people love me for what I am not. I want to be loved for who I am, the real me!

I love this poem by Gail Whiting:
In order to love who you are
                                                                                                            I must know who you are.
                                                                                               Otherwise I can only love
                                                                                                           What I want you to be.
                                                                                                             That’s unfair to you.                                                                                                                 Selfish of me
                                                                                                                                  And that breeds disappointment.
                                                                                              Self revelation is essential
                                                                                                            To being loved for who you are.
                                                                                                    It demands trust, but 
                                                                                                                      It offers the possibility of true love.
                                                                                          Not to reveal yourself to another
                                                                                                  Is never to believe
                                                                                                                         The real you is worth loving.

The real you is worth loving. The real me is also worth loving.

I value risk taking: Writing all this is a risk! 🙂

I love this quote as it expresses my heart – “When you pursue balance you hinder growth. It’s the off-balance people who actually change the course of history.” (by Ric Warren).

In my opinion, people who pursue balance are people who don’t like taking risks! They like to play it safe, to maintain a balance so they can continue to assume control over what will happen.

I like this quote: A rebel attempts to change the past; a revolutionary attempts to change the future (author unknown). I want to be a revolutionary! I want to be one who changes the future. This will not happen by playing safe and seeking balance. It happens when I take risks and step out into the unknown! Jesus was seen as a revolutionary in his days so I can confidently take my cues from him! 🙂

I also like what Schopenhauer says: Important ideas are first ridiculed, then attacked, and finally taken for granted.

I want to be one who is prepared to be ridiculed, if it means that change will happen but this will never be the case if I’m not willing to take a risk!

In my leadership I also want to be one who is willing to take a risk with others, with those people who are considered failures, with those who have under-achieved, with those who show promise but have never been given a stage on which to show it. I want to be one who champions such people and to do so will require taking risks.

What risks are you willing to take? Are you willing to live a life that’s off-balance? It’s hard because it means you cannot be in control! Give it a try… you just might be surprised by the results! 🙂

Posted in Accountability, Behavior, Choices, Honesty, Humlity, Openness, Philosophy of Life, Philosophy of Ministry, Relationships, Taking Risks, Values | Leave a comment