Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Airhead or Apple Pie

Leadership is just one of the things I "love" reading, talking, exploring and learning about. Like everyone, I've had experiences with Leadership or at least people in those positions and they shape us. Just today I was thinking back to when I enlisted in the U.S. Army, it was a crash course in Leadership. I remember two leaders in particular. One was a Lieutenant Arehart who we nicknamed Lieutenant "Airhead" until he was promoted, then we called him "Captain, Airhead" we always respected the rank, just not the person inside the uniform. He didn't have our respect because he spoke down to us, yelling orders and he created confusion. Then there was "Lieutenant Apple pie", we called him that because he was young, fair-haired and blue-eyed. We LOVED this guy! And you know what, somehow we knew he genuinely cared for us. We also loved him because we could have fun with him too. I remember one morning run he lead, it was a hot, humid summer day at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, we thought because he loved us, we would take the short route and not the 10 mile route we sometimes ran. I can still hear him give the command, "column right, move!" We must have all been thinking the same thing because everyone in that formation, sweat dripping, continued to march straight ahead,as if they couldn't hear his command or believe he would take us on the LONG run in that heat. C'mon he loved us too much! He yelled the order again, "column right,move!" Still we marched straight ahead, and some laughter began to rise up in the hot air, conscious that we were simply choosing not to obey the order,until we were all laughing, even Lieutenant Apple Pie. But being the good leader that he was, he halted the entire group of us, turned us around with "to the rear, march!", "double time, march!" and off we went on a 10 mile run on a hot, humid, Virginia day. Still in my book, one of the best runs I ever went on, and I went on a lot of them! Still love that guy today, wherever he is! Thanks Lieutenant Apple pie, for your lessons in Leadership left there mark on me!

For lessons on Leadership check these guys out they are an invaluable learning resource.

Dan Rockwell @ http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/
Michael Hyatt @ http://michaelhyatt.com/
Daniel Harkavy @ http://www.danielharkavy.com/
Jake Hillman @ http://godrivesolutions.wordpress.com/

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Capital "A" confession

Not sure why? but confession has been on my mind this week. Maybe its my Catholic roots, maybe its because I regularly talk with Christ-followers who still live condemned or ashamed, (I so wish they didn’t) Maybe its because Easter is so close and the thought of Jesus dying on the cross for my sins always overwhelms me and that he rose three days later! Whatever it is…it caused me to remember a time when I was a little girl, 9 yrs. old. With six children in our family and one working parent, there were not a lot of frills, but mom had one prized possession, her dining room table. It was a special table to her and to us. I think it was special because of the way it was treated, we were always careful pulling the chairs out making sure not to drag the legs across the floor, everyone had their own place around it, and extra attention was given to every setting, everything in its proper place. Sitting around that table was almost magical, the talk of everyone’s day and the laughter shared around that table are forever etched in my fondest memories. But one day something happened to that table. My mother was setting all its places when she found a very large capital “A” carved in to its dark, polished wood. I remember being lined-up like all the children from the movie “Sound of Music” and Captain Von Trap (my mother) wanted to know who the culprit was! No one fessed-up, can’t say I blame them, the death penalty seemed imminent! Forward two years later, I’m 11 yrs. old, our youngest sister Colleen is 7 and making her first confession. She enters the little booth, pulls the curtain shut and begins in strangely enough, a very loud voice, I mean she is loud! Everyone in the church can hear her! She starts in the Catholic way, “Bless me Father for I have sinned, aloooong time ago I carved a capital “A” in my mom’s table!” It was out! We finally knew who the woodcarver was! My mother’s knuckles turned white clenching the pew in front of us. Me and my other sister Kelly, barely manage to keep our laughter from filling the high ceilings of the church. Mom gives us “the look” and then says, “don’t you dare tell your sister we know!” I can still see their faces, I remember the look of relief on my little sisters face as she exited the confessional, the weight of her deed lifted and the look on mom’s face, was one of my first pictures of grace. To our amazement mom never said a word. So? How much more is our Father God willing and desirous to forgive us?

1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Who do you want to be?

I'm amazed by the insights God grants. There's pictures of it in Scripture, just look at 2 Kings 6:15-16. Elisha and his servant are surrounded by the enemy army and Elisha says,"O Lord, open the eyes of your servant, so that he may see." In this very moment his servant is able to see what he was not previously able to see. John Ortberg is a pastor and author who shares great insight in his new book, "The Me I Want to Be" becoming God's best version of you.

Don't you just love that God still does that today? Gives insight. Cuz, when He does, we change, our hearts change, from stone to flesh,fear to courage, hate to love, hopelessness to hopefulness, harsh to soft, unkind to kind, pride to humility...and yet, I have talked with many Christ-followers and not-Christ-followers who struggle with an unspoken fear or belief that God wants to change "me" in to something I don't want to be. A Sunday morning from 16 years ago replayed in my mind just the other day and as it did, I understood that it was the soft nudging of the Holy Spirit. Our son was just three years old and we were all getting ready for church. I had purchased his, first, 3-piece suit, it was navy blue and I had had to save up to purchase it. He looked like this, cutest, little man, I was beaming! But something was wrong, he wasn't beaming back at me. Then I noticed,tears were welling up in those big, beautiful green eyes and I watched the slow, soft flutter of his long eyelashes knock those tears down on to his little boy cheeks, and then, came... the cry! We thought something was pinching him, you know those moments, I didn't have a clue why, my son, was now crying uncontrollably. His dad finally asks, "Son, why are you crying?" It was the release valve. "I don't wanna be a preacher!" That's when his dad came to his rescue, "Get that suit off of him." Needless to say he never wore that suit! He was only three, but the conflict already existed.

God does not want to turn us in to people we wouldn't want to be, but... I pray that you and me become God's best version of ourselves. There is great freedom and joy to be experienced in that place.

Psalm 139:13-15 For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

not cussing as much...

Every Friday night a group of people meet in our living room. We have one common, and that is we attend the same church. We seem so different from one another...some are more affluent,some are white and some are not,some are young and still others pierce you with the wisdom of years that sparkle in their eye. Some married, single, some wishing they were married and still...others wishing they were not! Some fatigued by the demands of their young families and work and some who see the drawing end not too far off in the future.I LOVE our time together...I LOVE listening to each and every one of them and I LOVE when I hear something true and honest and real. Last week it happened like this...

We're having discussion around a study from John Ortberg's new book, "The Me I Want to Be" a few of us mention struggles in general or some tendencies in general and then, one mom, demonstrates more courage than us all. "I'm not cussing as much at my kids, and I feel really good about that...I feel like God is really working in me, I still yell at them too much...but I'm not cussing as much." I LOVED it! Because here's the truth sometimes, especially for anyone who's been a Christ follower for a long time, this probably isn't your struggle. I was a Christ follower long before I was a mom, yell at my kids! Cuss at my kids! NEVER! The easy response or knee-jerk reaction is NOT me! Even if we don't say it out loud...we think it! don't we? Or we subconsciously categorize ourselves in a different class, a better class. I read a quote today and it made me laugh, maybe it will make you laugh. "You may ask, “How can I realize my own sinfulness?” WRONG question faker! @gracefreak

Love this mom, love when her kids are in our home and love it when they are happy to see me and always give me a hug, they make me feel loved! Love that she has courage to be real...I'm still workin on it!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "God's word is to be heard by everyone in his own way and according to the measure of his understanding."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Same stage...New actors

Sometimes life seems like a stage. One recent performance touched me deeply. Our church partnered with a project in Ethopia called Mossy Foot and more than $38,000 was given towards this cause...but thats just the outward result of the work on the inside of hearts and still... the beat of one heart in particular,grabbed me. I don't know his name...but here's his story.

It was a busy Sunday morning in the lobby, the busiest time actually, in between services, one crowd coming while the first crowd is still lingering. The lobby is full,the guest services desk is bustling, the line in the cafe is backed up, new guests are looking for directions to childrens class rooms, you hear the sounds of so many voices filling the air,folks who know each other catching up with one another, or a mother trying to get all her kids headed to the car. The hungry husband who'd like to get home cuz he's hungry, you get the picture....its busy! Right in the middle of that...I feel a tug on my sleeve,you know that little tug you've felt as a mom when your little one has been trying to get your attention? I turn to see a gentleman probably in his 60's, I recognize immediately that there is something different about him, his speech confirms my guess. In somewhat of a child like manner,he opens the clutch of his hand to reveal five, one dollar bills. "How do I give this to mmm-Mossy Foot? Am I ttt-too late? Cuz, I made a promise..I have to keep my promise." I assured him he was not too late and together we got a tithe envelope, we wrote "Mossy Foot Project" on the envelope and together we walked to the tithe box where he dropped his offering...with child like glee. "I have to keep my promise." and off he went but only until after the end of second service and again in the middle of a busy Sunday morning lobby, he found me. "Can I have a hug? thank you for helping me." Not even conscious of the fact that it was he, who had helped me, he had blessed me! It wasn't the size of his gift or the size of his mind but the size of his heart that reminded me of the story Jesus once told, you know the one. Life really is a stage and there are still amazing scenes being played out in everyday life!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Great Spirit of Candor

I know there is controversy whenever "the church" looks at, weighs, considers or even adopts practices or principles that appear to serve a "consumer" experience. But, can it be about reaching some level of excellence because we really just want people to meet Jesus and we genuinely care about their encounter with His church? Recently I read "The Starbucks Experience" and "The New Gold Standard." by Joseph Michelli In his book "The New Gold Standard", Michelli shares some of his insights in to the legendary customer experience of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. He links one of the marks of their success to a "great spirit of candor" among its leadership and staff. I recently appreciated a dose of candor from one of our own team mates Chris Shoemaker, I needed the shake up he provided with his honest in put on things. I most adored him because he said,"Kim, I can tell you this because I know you really do love us!" Does a spirit of candor mark us? Is there a New Gold Standard we should be reaching for? Are we responsible for the "experience" in our church? Oh, and I'm still waiting for the Ritz-Carlton experience...someday!
Two great books I recommend them both!

Book review: The New Gold Standard

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