Leading w/Questions

Execution The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan

“The leader who executes often does not even have to tell people what to do; she asks questions so they can figure out what they need to do. In this way she coaches them, passing on her experience as a leader and educating them to think in ways they never thought before. Far from stifling people, this kind of leadership helps them expand their own capabilities for leading.”

INNER reNOvaTIon

Psalm 51

Most know that this is David’s heart wrenching Psalm. In the midst of open destruction he begs out to God in need. I just want to notate intriguing words inside this Psalm.

 LOVINGKINDNESS                                             COMPASSION

WASH                                 CLEANSE

                         PURIFY                                       CLEAN                              HIDE

BLOT                                     STEDFAST                                JOYFUL                         PRAISE

BROKEN                        CONTRITE

“Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity”

A review of Mark Noll’s book Turning Points Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity.

Turning Points
Wow! What an exciting book to breeze through casually. Noll’s brief history of  important events in Christian history is exhilirating. The brevity ensures readers that every sentence will be packed with pertinent information to the engaged reader. Few historians, besides Noll, would have the capacity to write on such important events in just over three hundred pages.

The structure of his book is compelling as each chapter includes a prayer or song at the beginning an end of each chapter. The prayers found in each chapter are drawn from the time period that is being discussed in that particular chapter. The prayers bring encouragment to us as we reflect on the words of people who were devoted to Jesus thousands of years before we were born. 

Noll does write this book with an obvious Protestant background, which means his attention after AD 1500 is devoted to specific groups of people. Nonetheless, it is worth quickly reading through this book to give your mind consistent clarity to historical Christian foundations.

 Enjoy!

The Puritan Origins of American Patriotism

The Puritan Origins of American Patriotism

A review of George McKenna’s 2007 release.

People from across the country are daily impacted by the theology of the Puritans. In this book McKenna begins with the founding of the American Colonies that were absorbed with Puritan philosophy driven by  theology and ends demonstrating how current policies and speeches find their lineage rooted in Puritan idealogy.  

McKenna exhibits an amazing capacity to string together history and trace the effect to its cause. The idea that stimulated the remarkable success of what is now the United States of America began with the idea that, “America as a land is set aside for a providential ‘errand;'”. The ones who originally arrived to settle in another continent were driven by the cause of God and thus were here to establish God’s Kingdom.

McKenna’s thorough research demonstrates the Puritan language throughout numerous speeches recorded by the most famous American leaders. Inaugural addresses are perfect illustrations of how leaders see American as a shining symbol for the world observe. The belief by our leadership that the United States of America has a providential purpose stems from the thinking well over 300 years old.

One of my favorite parts of the book is in the first chapter where McKenna differentiates the Christian spiritists and preparationists. This is where theologians split hairs and the outcome has major effects. Major players in McKenna’s discussion include Thomas Shepard, Peter Bulkeley, Richard Sibbes, John Preston, Thomas Hooker, William Ames, and others. The first chapter is worth the cost of the book from a historical point of view.

From the book…

“The final report of the 9/11 Commission warned that it was not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ future attacks on America would occur; the commission predicted a struggled that would last for decads. The usefulness of the kind of narrative we have inherited from the Puritans is that it girds our loins for just such a prolonged, high-stakes struggle. It is a narrative that saw American through the Civil War, the labor and industrial turmoil of the Gilded Age, the Great DEpression, World War II, and the Cold War. Bushed worked out of its text eloquently and powerfully in his speeches after the 9/11 attacks. The professors tell us he used epideictic rhetoric–god for bringing the people of the nation together, not so good for preparing to negotiate with the enemy….The point, it would thus seem, is not to negotiate with them but to prevail against them.”

McKenna’s book exemplifies the vitality of theology in individuals, neighborhoods, towns, citys, counties, states, and country. The theology of the Puritans dramatically impacts the culture 300 years later.

WISEdom of James

James 3:13-18

                         ABOVE

WISEdom from  

WISEdom from                                                    BELOW

Pure

Peaceable

Gentle

Reasonable

Full of mercy

Good fruits

Unwavering

Honest (w/out hypocrisy)

Bitter jealousy

Selfish ambition

Arrogant

Lies

Earthly

Natural

Demonic

Disorder

Every evil thing

INteGRitY

Psalm 41

The Psalmist tells us that there are people in the world who are in situations that leave them helpless. The hero of the Psalm is the one who “considers” the helpless people. Perhaps the helpless are mentally challenged causing them to be unable to provide for themselves. Perhaps these are individuals who have poor health and are unable to have a garden and care for animals. Perhaps they are the women and children unable to  defend themselves. Whatever their need they are helpless and godly people give them consideration. The LORD honors the one who cares for the helpless by providing  deliverance, protection, and blessings.

David, in the midst of a crisis, cries out to God for grace. Despite his enemies chomping at the bit to take David out, God sustains David. David’s stability is in the Lord who upholds him, because of integrity. in other words David’s strength is honesty and transparency.  Please note that verse four David admitted sin, which exposes the integrity that God was looking for in His followers.

I find a scary scenario occuring among Christian leaders today (at every level). We abhor admitting wrong. Leaders are failing to practice integrity of the heart and this nags at our leadership credentials. Because of our arrogant blindness we fail to even see discerning godly followers who mockingly laugh at proud unwilling to learn leaders. If we would be honest our humility scale would dramatically rise. Believe it or not God would prompt followers if we admitted our weakness and our need for God to uphold us.

I have a suggestion for leaders! READ the PSALMS. David, a phenomenal leader, has enough integrity to admit sin enabling the Lord to uphold him. Do you think you can uphold yourself? This is a wake up call.

Have INteGRitY! If David can WE can.

Out Of Miry Clay

Psalm 40

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song, in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD.”

Boy, is it hard to have songs flow freely up from your inward soul into the public airwaves when you are in the miry clay at the bottom of the pit of destruction. The psalmist suggests that while in the midst of destruction you must be patient and wait for the hand of the Lord to lift you out of the pit. There is no reason to fight the clay it will only make the lesson longer and harder. Be patient and wait for the only one able to raise you up and place your feet on solid ground.

Can you think of monumental times in your life where God’s hand lifted you out of the pit of learning? It was there where you began to trust God just a little more than you previously did. This experience exposed you to His magnificent power causing your inner soul to thrive with joy! Although not a singer, your voice longs to produce brings sounds of praise and adoration to our great God! After a big breath, ribs expanding, you belt out with praise to our God. As the sound echoes from your lungs through your mouth the sound of praise moves upward into the presense of God where He receives exactly what He was looking for.