Influence: The New Leadership

Leadership was the new kid on the block with the introduction of the book, Developing the The Leader Within You and subsequently followed by, Developing the Leaders Around You, by John C Maxwell. This phenomenon hit the bookshelves and the hearts of pastors, students and business leaders across the nation. I personally own almost every book that John C Maxwell has written and have personally met him at a variety of functions and admire his leadership attributes. The perfectness of the message of many leadership gurus gave each learner a goal to reach for and a mark to hit.

However, for others, it gave a depressing outlook after success was not attained. Success became the keyword and failure became the curse word.It was hard to define success, for some it meant one thing and for others another thing.

The new word for leadership is now “influence.” Maybe, it is the next step. leadership had a tendency to be a little condescending to some but influence can be attained by many without any “success” connotations. A mother can influence a child, a pastor can influence his listeners, and a business man can influence a business partner. No success levels to reach – simply the ability to influence another through a life well lived.

Just something to think about. Remember the woman who brought an expensive perfume and poured it upon the feet of Jesus Christ and the perfume filled the air? The aroma filled the house. Now that is influence. God is calling men and women to be an influence wherever they are, whoever they are with and whatever position they may fill. Influence is everything.

Why Facebook and Blogging?

Some may ask the question why use Facebook as a social media tool? Why write a blog?  Simply, it attracts readers.

Some 46% of men use social media and read blogs while 54% of women do. Of the people who own tablets and smart phones, most use text mostly, social media, secondly, then talk last. Current media  status means reaching out in all dimensions. I must admit I enjoy my iPhone, iPad, and Facebook but moderation is the key word.

One prominent speaker recently declared we are losing our sense of personal relationship and effective communication because of electronic overload. What was viewed as a oppportunity for greater communication has actually developed into the lack of communication. The old advertising line for a bygone phone company, “reach out and touch someone.” doesn’t make too much sense in a digital age where we text but don’t talk,and we Facebook but don’t ever get face to face.

While some have found it hard to turn off the electronic device, the challenge is being made, let’s go through electronic withdrawal. Let’s pick up the phone to talk with someone we haven’t talked to in a long time. Let’s pick up a pen and paper and write a heartfelt note to someone we love. Let’s get real again. Let’s engage in real communication. Let’s really “reach out and touch someone.”

The ups and the downs

There are ups and downs to life. Each day has its own unique fingerprint of identity making new demands or else a series of celebrations. Emotions take on new highs or collapse in exasperating sorrows.
How we handle the lows and the highs, the ups and the downs are the making of the character of a person. Here is a short list for handling both good and bad moments of life.

How do we best handle the good in life?
Look for the good in the bad – the sun is always shining above the clouds
Continue to hope, believe and pray. Prayer makes everything better.
Understand your frustrations – are you stressed by other events, tired, or mentally drained thereby creating bad moments rather than creating good moments?
Know that bad times never last.

How do we best handle good days?
Wherever you are – be there. No just physical presence but a genuine presence of being, paying attention and participating.
Remember what makes you feel the way you do and learn to copy that behavior
Enjoy it and don’t feel guilty

My favorite travel apps

I have stayed nearly fifteen nights in motel rooms, scheduled flights and have already put on thousands of miles traveling. Speaking at churches and conferences has given me the excitement of seeing old friends and meeting new people on a regular week by week basis. I have leaned most heavily on my iPad for speaking but also for the logistics of the trip.

First, I schedule using Google calendar. It is loaded on the cloud and is available On my computer at home, my laptop, my iPhone and of course, my iPad. The convenience of my wife being able to check my calendar while I am away is a timesaver and headache saver.

Secondly, I book my flight directly from the XNA airport, it lists all the available flights, schedules and local, pertinent information.

Thirdly, I use iFly. This app reveals the destination terminal map. Showing me what restaurants are available and where they are located, where the bathrooms are and the baggage claim area location.

Fourthly, the app Tripit has become a favorite. It keeps all my plans, confirmations and emails about the trip in one place.

Fifthly, my Starbucks app. When I need some Java to keep me going my Starbucks app gives me a map and proximity to the quickest cup of coffee and by loading my account, I can now pay with my iPhone.

Sixth, the Maps app that came with my iPad tells me where I am and how to get to the church, auditorium, or conference center. I also use Yelp for a little more detail.

Seventh, two apps I use together, the cloud on app keeps all my speaking notes in one place and handy for editing plus the Logos Bible with commentary, word studies and several devotional books. And if I want to read, iBooks was an iPad preinstall, I just load up the books I would like to read if time is available.

Eighth, the Urban spoon app locates restaurants in the proximity of your location, shows a menu, pricing, a few pictures and a map with directions and how far away it is. If you get off the plane and your hungry, this is the app to click.

Why I choose to go to church

Two well known bloggers wrote popular blogs on why they quit church and many people have left churches for less reasons than thy noted on their blog. Although this is not a new concept, people have been leaving church since the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ but has been enhanced with the idea with “we left the church but didn’t leave Jesus.” This blog is not intended to be a rebuttal to these bloggers but a request for each of us to examine our own heart and lives and ask the question, “Why church?”

1. It isn’t my church – it is His church. Jesus said, “I will build my church,” Notice the use of the word “my” not mine but His. I must come to the reality of coming together as a church is to become an integral part of the church He is building.

2. Jesus likened the church to His body. The church is the vehicle for Christ to exhibit His life into regular, imperfect people. There will never be a perfect children’s ministry, a perfect pastor or a perfect church but God takes this imperfect mass of people and brings them together as His body.

3. The church is God’s way of reaching a community. A Spirit filled church makes a difference in the community – one soul at a time. Churches create a moral climate in the community, provide an anchor for marriages and an evangelistic thrust.

4. Church is a place of accountability. The strong moral compass of the Holy Spirit through a body of believers enables me to stay in an arena of truth.

5. Children need a strong moral stability surrounding them. Church does not replace parental moorings of biblical truth but support it. Parents have a biblical obligation to “raise up a child in the way they should go,” and the church offers a spiritual atmosphere to encourage parental teaching. Plus, provide an environment to back up what parents are teaching.

6. Church is a place to give. I know there are those who choose to support a tv ministry but I choose to bring my tithes “into the storehouse,” where the funds can be used to help local shelters, feed those in my community, provide programs for children and teenagers, and to support home and world missions, as well as, the present pastor.

7. There is strength in numbers. The church congregation can do more together than I can do alone.

8. One day I may need a Pastor. A death in the family, a hospital stay or a marriage breakup are just three of the hundreds of reasons why someone could need to have a Pastor present in my home or praying for me.

9. The times we are living in requires church attendance The Bible says, “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together” (pretty straightforward) and, it continues, “even more as you see ( evil) days approaching.” We need each other now more than ever.

10. The church is likened to marriage. (Ephesians 5). Even as the union of Husband and wife is for “unto death do us part” so Christ and the Church (Bride) are to be inseparable and not divorced.

How to Win the Heart of Your Teenager

Even though the years spent raising our teenagers weren’t perfect they were very good years. Now both are married and raising children and we are very proud of them and the advancement in their lives in all areas. All teenagers have specific needs and these needs are summed up in parental love and attention, here are three steps to winning the heart of your teenager.

Listen to them – whoever listens to your teenager will become their friend and guide. You may not agree to all they are saying but listen intently and lovingly.

Spend time with them – spend time with them doing what they enjoy doing.

Pray for them– the greatest thing you can ever do for your teen is to pray with them over their needs and to pray fervently for them.

How to Win the Heart of Your Wife

Winning the heart of your wife isn’t as difficult as men may think it to be, not that woman are easy but the steps to winning her heart are not that difficult. Sometimes it simply means we must change our routine. You might add, “I am not good at this,” but you won her heart when you were dating so what is different now? You can do this but you must be willing to put your heart into it also. Merely accomplishing four steps and thinking you have done your duty then questioning why she is not responding is usually because you didn’t have your heart into it. Your heart creates the heat otherwise, it is simply a task to fulfill.

Tell her at least twice a day you love her. Looking into her eyes, say, “I love you” with passion. This is not to be construed with putting a move on your wife. She simply wants to hear you say, I Love You,” without any strings attached.

Surprise her. Don’t go out and spend a lot of money – this can have the reverse effect. Maybe a candy bar that she loves, a special Starbucks drink, or possibly wash the dishes for her and let her sit down and relax.

Compliment her This goes a long way. Heartfelt compliments can do immeasurable good in a marriage. Telling her you like the way she did her hair. Saying you like what she is wearing and honestly, “It looks like you are losing weight.”

Date her Do the things you did when dating as a young couple. recreate events that took place.Or, go to her favorite restaurant or go to an event together, maybe shopping.

How to Win the Heart of Your Husband

Of the questions asked, this one gets asked the most, How do I win over the heart of my husband? I feel like I am losing him. We don’t talk much anymore. Or, he seems so distant.

First, of all, understand a man’s communication code. Once he is focused on a subject or object it is hard for him to pull himself away. Men love their caves. Their withdrawal into silence isn’t meant to offend or resist any intervention but is simply a man’s way of dealing with the circumstances or stresses around him. He may pull into the silent zone for a few days if making an important decision. Don’t fear when he goes into his cave – he is thinking.

Now I know what you are saying, “I want him to tell me what he is thinking.” Of course, but he doesn’t know what he is thinking yet. He is still processing his thoughts and once he digests it then he will be ready to talk.

Here are a few ways to bring your husband around to a heartfelt discussion and win his heart in the process.

1. I trust you – No greater words can be spoken to a man than these three words. You must trust him to make the right decision even when you think he should ask for your opinion. Once he is done processing and he begins to talk say something like, “I trust you to do the right thing – have you thought about …..” Don’t use the word “but” or “Well, I tell you what I think,” or “You never want my opinion.” This is crossing out the line, “I trust you.” Lead him around to your opinion by kissing him and saying softly, “I trust you and when you are ready to talk about it, I will be ready to listen.” Powerful words and oftentimes, he will be ready to listen to your advice or opinion.

2. I need you – This places the ultimate responsibility on the man. Remember the cartoon where the damsel was tied to the railroad track by the bad guy and the good guy would come and rescue her at the last-minute? Your man wants to feel you need him to rescue you. The damsel in distress arouses his manly feelings for heroism. Not whimpering, whining or crying woman because men freeze up with these tactics – they honestly don’t know how to respond. Men marry for strokes not sex, this will keep him attahced to the wife who encourages him and makes him feel important.

3. I love you – A well placed, “I love you.”  As the Bible says, “Apples of gold in pictures of silver.”  Abigail brought the right gift and the right words to King David and he later chose her to be his wife after her husband passed away. Not just saying, “I love you” but expressing it throughout the day, bringing him a glass of water, fixing his favorite dessert or simply being there beside him.

4. I believe you –  Men are not liars but men have a difficult time talking in “woman” language. Therefore, interpretations and descriptions get jumbled up into a mirage of words difficult to understand by the opposite sex. “You said what?” won’t be as effective as “I believe in you.” One man said, “Fighting for your marriage is more important than winning the fight.” Remember, winning him over is the key to a long-lasting love and good communication but it starts with believing in him.

Crossing the Finish Line

One, then another, then another, they came crossing the finish line.

The Bentonville Half Marathon on March 31 was of special interest to me because my niece, Amber, was running 13 miles in just about two hours time. Over 2000 runners participated and the weather was absolutely gorgeous for the event.

My mind was racing from the time the first runner crossed the finish line. Anticipation filled the air as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and friends filled around the finish line waiting for their distinguished runner to come in. The crowd cheered with excitement and continued to watch with anticipation to see who the next runner would be. I thought of

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

The crowd cheered each time a runner  crossed the finish line, the music was playing, the speaker announced the winners and their times and many times he encouraged them, “Finish strong, finish strong!” 

I was crying! my mind was on heaven and how each time a saint passed from this world to the next, the crowd would cheer, the band would play and the contestants hugged their family as they received a gold medal from the sponsors.

My heart was especially touched when I heard a mother say with trembling lips and expectant eyes, “Where’s my girl?”

I realized heaven is a happy place but now heaven awaits for those who are expected to cross the finish line, “Finish strong.”

One runner was laying down in the grass at the 12 mile marker waiting on emergency personnel, he didn’t make it to the finish line…close… but not close enough.

Take to the charted path today, run with all your might, join with Paul who proclaimed, “…I have finished the course…” Finish strong!