BECOME A PERSON OF INFLUENCE

manFirst in a series of a multi-blog post on Influence

In the world of influence there are dreamers, tinkers and winners. Dreamers are the people who wish, pray, hope and play the mental lottery hoping to get the winning ticket. Tinkers are the people who toy with the idea, experiment with numbers and sidetracked with “shiny objects.” The winners are those who want to jog, so they jog today, they buy the outfit, they read about “safe” jogging and they put “jogging” on the calendar. A winner does what they are dreaming and what they are tinkering with.

 

THE SECRET TO SUCCESS IS STILL HARD WORK AND THAT’S NOT A SECRET

 

EMPOWER YOUR STRENGTHS

List your strengths and weaknesses. What happens next happens every time we mention winners. We judge ourselves with too many weaknesses to become a winner. But let’s be honest—we all know our weaknesses, but we all know our strengths. Instead of concentrating on our weaknesses and gauging how we will fix, eliminate or diminish our weaknesses, let’s concentrate on our individual strengths God has given us and let’s empower it.

Empower your strength by finding avenues to exercise it. Buying into your strengths will yield a better harvest then trying to pull out every weed that grows in the field. Funding weaknesses and discovering a strength in the mix leads to trouble as placing the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If your strength is the gift of communication begin to research how to better communicate to your circle of friends, family and business associates by planting visual pictures of your strengths at work.

Send a card for their birthday

Text a “happy” note each day

Use Twitter as an encouragement tool

Contact someone you haven’t heard from in a while

Discern the needs of others and lift their spirit

 

When your strength is communication and you invest in people’s lives the weakness will become weaker and the strength will become stronger. Just as muscles grow stronger through exercise so personality strengths become stronger through use.

 

DON’T WASTE A LIFE—INVEST IT

 

EVALUATE THE PAST

Answer these questions cover a period of time – maybe a week. Your greatest influence may well be found in this process of self-evaluation.

Where did I find the most satisfaction?

Where did I influence people?

Where is my heart headed?

 

When do I get the most done?

When do I influence others the most? (Time of year and event)

When do I know I did my best?

Who are my friends who tell me the truth?

Who is my mentor?

Who most influences me?

 

What is my life’s major dream?

What do I love the most?

What am I doing daily to reach my dreams?

 

Why?–most important question of all.

Why do I do what I do?

Why am I not influencing others?

Why don’t I start today?

 

When we carefully and prayerfully examine and evaluate our life we might get discouraged but would you be willing to change if you knew you could actually close next year being encouraged because your field of influence grew?

Pray this prayer with me, Lord, increase my territory, enlarge my boundaries, fill me with more of you, through my humility and strength in you I can do all things. AMEN.

 

Coming next: Become a Person of Influence- Little or Much?

 

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counselling.

Five Qualities of an Effective Communicator

He walked into the room without shaking anyone’s hand, came quickly to the podium conveying to the crowd he was in a hurry. He spoke quick and terse with a know-it-all attitude. He went over his allotted time without apology making exaggerated claims of his success then briskly walked out the door.

The chatter around the room after his presentation was a mix of relief and anger. Relief that he was finished and gone – anger that he was brazen and narcissistic.

Communication is one of the most important qualities within the element of being an author, pastor, business person or speaker. Yes, as illustrated above, there is a lot of difference between a speaker and a communicator.

A communicator doesn’t become prolific in well versed words, flaunting his education and attitude to gather or collect an audience but rather takes an interest in people while dissecting hard truths and offering small pieces as a dainty delicatessen. A communicator builds a friend list, tells stories and cares for people while probing their emotions and thoughts.

 

Here are my suggestion for Five Qualities of an Effective Communicator

 

LEANING

Our body language speaks louder than our words.

Multitudes of studies have been done on body language and slumping, twiddling, texting and a far off look are adverse body styles to communication. Leaning into the person, hanging onto their words with a soft smile and a gentle nod brings attention to an all new level. Social media has reversed communication into words and videos but real communication “leans into” the conversation.

Keeping in mind that personal space is necessary, so look away briefly, don’t stare and don’t make them feel uncomfortable by leaning too much. As Leonardo Da Vinci said, “An arch consists of two weaknesses, which, leaning on each other, become a strength.”

 

LEARNING

There is never a person so bright that there can’t be another light bulb in the room.

Teaching and learning should go hand in hand. Asking questions during a conversation is needful for receptacle learning. Agreeing, debating (not arguing) and questioning develop a well-rounded conversation. “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t,” states Bill Nye.

Becoming emotionally and uniformly attached to the conversation (not the personal exactly) brings learning to the forefront and helps us retain the details of the conversation.

 

LISTENING

God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason someone once quipped.

Painful but true. We are dedicated talkers and many love listening to their own self talk. Listening is a skill – an important skill. Listening bonds friends, brings relationships to the table and develops on going communication. Andy Stanley teaches, “Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.”

Listening without charging into our answer but remunerating the answer quietly and purposefully after we have fully listened demonstrates great respect for the speaker.

 

LOOKING

Eye contact may be the most important communication ability we possess.

Looking away does more damage to the attention span than most any other distraction in the communication process. To look intently and interestingly is an art and must be perfected by communicators.

Someone once said, “Looking into someone’s eyes changes the entire conversation.”  A long stare is uncomfortable so look away occasionally but not long enough to lose the train of thought or the line of thought.

 

 LIKING

To communicate is the first step of friendship.

We won’t personally like everyone we speak to but if we communicate with them long enough there should and most likely will be a thin thread of truth to where we might find common ground. You might not personally like them but like something they say. Like has variables and levels and definitions but they all involve people.

 

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

One Step

They expect that God is going to make the way plain and open before them, miles and miles ahead; whereas He has promised to do it only step by step as they may need. – J.R.M.

You have taken the first right step there may be another then another but keep your hand in the hand of the Savior, follow the Shepherd closely that you may hear him whisper. Lean upon His breast and listen to his heartbeat. Step cautiously as you walk among vipers yet faithfully as you walk with Christ.

The Damascus Road is your experience of enlightenment. Listen, look, and believe is the simple process of faith. Don’t jump quickly, don’t make a quick decision, don’t run to a rash judgement. No, quietly and purposely walk with the Lord of your life and he will gently and purposely show you where to put your foot down.

God will shine a light for the next step, his word will guide, his spirit will guide, his presence will guide. Isaiah broadens our understanding when he writes, you will hear a voice in behind you saying, this is the way, walk in it. My sheep know my voice – He speaks clearly- listen and prepare to obey.

You may not have the future revealed to you but you will have your next step before you. Don’t let fear paralyze your steps, take one step of faith and walk in His s everyday presence.

What I Know About Problems

Your problem may not be a problem

Your problem may seem bigger than it is

Your problem may not be your problem

Your problem may not take as long as you think it will

Your problem may add something to your life rather than subtract

Your problem may be a miracle in disguise

Everyone has problems

God cares about your problems

The Ephesians Six Husband

prayerSome friends of ours celebrated their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary recently. Friends, family and acquaintances gathered to celebrate their lifelong commitment to each other. If you were to ask her how the blushing bride did it, she would gladly reply, “I prayed for my husband every day.”

Of all the qualities of my wife, I am most appreciative of my wife’s one most important task, she prays for me.  She daily prays for me. Not only have I felt her prayers but I have seen the answer to her prayers frequently. My wife has a unique prayer pattern, she prays for me to become an Ephesians Six Man. She takes each verse and prays every aspect into my life. It is interesting to note the Armor of God follows the discourse on marriage; it isn’t difficult to believe it is intentional.

Ephesians 6:13-18  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

She visualizes placing the armor of God upon me each day. She prays the following according to Ephesians 6:

Armor “God will strengthen my husband to be able to stand against adversity and stand firm in the face of opposition.”

Loins Girded “God will always reveal truth to my husband’s heart and expose fads, false prophets, and foolish tales.”

Breastplate “God will cloth my husband in righteousness and he will live a pure and holy life.”

Feet “His light will shine and my husband will influence many for Jesus Christ.”

Shield “God will enable my husband to resist temptation. Pornography, seducers and illicit women will not appeal to him in any manner.”

Helmet “My husband’s mind will be open to the voice of God and he will be protected from wrong.”

Sword of the Spirit “The Word of God will grow in His life, be evident in his steps and be the love of his life.”

Prayer “Prayer will be my husband’s foremost desire and he will find sweet and precious fellowship in the presence of the Lord.”

Comment: How do you pray for your husband each day? What do you think is the most effective way to pray for your husband?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Raising Our Children to Be Spiritual Champions

Picture1Holding a newborn has always been a challenge, they are so fragile, but holding my newborn shook me to the very core. Even though that sacred moment occurred several years ago the imagery still captures my hearts, A father holding his own baby for the first time and thinking, “Now what?”

My children are grown and raising their own family but I remembering asking, “Now what?” on their first day of school, their teenage years, the moment they brought home someone they “had their eye on.” Contemplating my role as a father has been questioned, oh, not by others, but over and over in my own mind. I read books, I watched how other father’s did it and I even prayed about it, “Dear God, make me a good father.”

Raising children has never been easy and pointing fingers at other’s mistakes in our own self-righteous stance only sets us up for possible failure.

Several things are for sure about parenting:

  • Being a parent is not easy
  • You will make mistakes
  • When your children grow up, they will make their own mistakes.
  • We need God’s help

However, culture in its demoralized state unfortunately has been a chokepoint in the arena of child rearing. Building spiritually aware children and youth takes initiative, action and consistency. Perfectionism isn’t required but daily character reinforcement is required. What we do must be done intentionally and habitually.

Here are Six Habits in Raising Our Children as Spiritual Champions:

Pray Daily With Your Children – nothing, I repeat nothing, has the power to make your child a spiritual champion as prayer does. Praying in the morning with your children, before they leave for school, helps place the right spirit around them. Close the day with prayer and prayer requests, praying one for another.

Ask Questions – have moments of conversation and interaction with your children each day. Inquisitive and investigation are miles apart. Find out what is important to them. Talk about the hard things – friends, sex, dirty words, sexting, and pornography, coupled with God’s biblical design for a holy body, mind, spirit and life.

Involve Yourself In Their Life – What do they like to do? Can their friends come over your house for a pizza party? Take them, don’t just send them, to church camps, outings, and sport events, including hunting, camping and fishing.

Go On Word Adventures Together – Study a subject, theme or passage of scripture together. Make the Word of God exciting to your children. Welcome missionaries and other godly figures into your home. Share God’s Word with your children regularly when you camp together, go on a trip and regularly at night before bedtime.

Cleanse Your Home – Letting something get in their minds through illicit TV programs, vulgar music or movies may take months to root out. Make sure the internet is guarded and your children are warned of predators. Teach your children modesty and self-respect.

Love Them Unconditionally – tell them you love them, frequently and meaningfully. Go throughout the day with a positive word and a hug. Praise them for making a wise choice and doing the right thing.

 

Comment: What advice do you give to parents wanting to raise spiritual champions in their home.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Questions I Ask Before Making A Change

noGrowth and maturity are based on change. So change in a life growth plan is inevitable. To change is to step into tomorrow while holding on to foundational truths of yesteryear but letting go of bygone preferences. Since growth is incremental the decision to change must be the first step. Most of us agree to this point but how do we make personal changes, life changes and organizational changes for the best? The idea of change clashes with the change process. We know we should but how do we bring change to the table in an acceptable manner?

Maybe we should ask five heart searching questions, I ask myself:

Is The Change Necessary? Change for change sake is ridiculous. Change for revenge sake is evil. Change for the sake of finding something new is irrational. So I must ask myself  three intrinsic questions: Am I attempting to become obedient to the Word of God? Is it my desire to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit? Or, is the change a personal preference?

Is The Change Minor Or Major To Me? Before we ask the question on how it affects others I must ask myself how does this change me? What sacrifices will I need to make? Will it have long-term or short-term effects? How does it affect my family?

How Many People Will The Change Personally Effect? Change has a ripple effect. Will it affect just those around me, my congregation or my community – for the better or for the worse?

What Is The First Step I Must Take To Bring About This Change? Must I make some personal changes first? Is there something I need to begin personally before I make this change public? Am I willing to suffer the consequences?

Have I Prayed About It? No, I mean really prayed about? Haws God-given His stamp of approval? Do you feel the peace of God or do you wrestle with it? Have you asked for the counsel of godly men around you?

If bringing myself to the place of confidence is the first step then bringing others to the place of confidence must be the second step;  I ask others:

Who Is Affected By This Change? I may discover some resistance that I may not have anticipated had I just asked this simple question among my peers or those who circle around me. Not all change will attract all people but all change must attract God’s blessing. A circle around you is imperative to creating change around you.

Do You Understand What Must Die And What Must Live? Have those around you create a checklist of the essentials and the nonessential, list the positives and the negatives, list what lives and what dies? This exercise will cut off unmet expectations and hidden turns in the future.

Do You Understand Why We Are Making This Change? The big why Is more important than the what must change, who must change or when will we change? If the why is not clear then step back and wait.

Have We Prayed About It? Prayer together is the solidifier. Melting together means staying together. Prayer creates an atmosphere for change. If we haven’t prayed then plans, purpose and projects are skeletons of vision resulting in disappointments.

 

Comment: How do you prepare for change?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Creating Unbelievable Respect for the Pastor’s Wife

prayerThe greatest advice my wife has given to Pastor’s wives is to keep your mouth shut during times of conflict and be an encourager to your husband but a Pastor often neglects, ignores or sometimes just doesn’t include his wife into his ministry role.

I remember when I was dating my wife it was important for me to know are you called into the ministry? I knew my ministry and her ministry had to mesh but in my first few years of ministry I had forgotten about her being called into the ministry and pursued my ministry.

Pastor’s wives were never intended to be a shadow but to be the First Lady of the church. She may not desire a position, she may not crave attention, she may not wish to be in front of people but she is created to be respected. You can create respect for the Pastor’s wife by a few simple steps:

Be Her Greatest Fan – Speak frequently of your wife in endearing terms from the pulpit and in public settings. Don’t degrade her but promote her. She doesn’t just raise your kids she is half of your ministry.

  • Applaud her – admire her ambition, her words and her lifestyle and compliment her frequently privately and publicly
  •  Listen to her cautions and advice. She may not know the whole story but her intuition might save you from making a quick and careless decision.

Take Out Point: Respect and honor for your wife is God’s idea

 

Tell Stories or Embarrassing Events ONLY With Her Permission. This is one of the biggest pastoral “no-nos” there is. She doesn’t need the dirty laundry hanging on the line for the whole church to snicker at. She deserves privacy. Transparency behind the pulpit is your transparency not her transparency.

Take Out Point: Respect from the church for the Pastor’s wife begins with the Pastor.

 

Bring Her Along Side of You Build a ministry consciousness around you that includes her in your schedule of activities, ministry functions and counseling avenues. This may not be possible at all times but doing ministry together is fair, functional and fun.

Take Out Point: The church security rests on the relationship of the Pastor and his wife.

 

Answer Her Phone Calls Secretarial calls are to not screen family. Put them through. When she calls – tell the other party it is my wife – answer the phone – tell her you are with someone – listen to her response – finish the conversation with “I love you.” This is a powerful testimony of respect but gives your wife the security she desires when you are with someone else.

Take Out Point: Let those who surround you know your wife comes first.

 

Bring Her Into Your Personal Life Share prayer requests together. You may not be able to tell her the details of a closed-door board meeting but let her know you have to make some stressful decisions and pray about it together. Allow her to be your soul mate.

Take Out Point: The couple that prays together stays together.

 

Comment: How do you let others know you honor your wife?
Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Four Things A Husband Needs to Know About His Wife

11lAfter nearly 36 years of studying my wife I can say with a hearty proclamation, “There is yet so much to learn.” My wife, along with other women in the world, is intriguingly and meticulously created with unique features defining her as woman. No wonder Adam, when wakened from a deep sleep, cried out, “WHOA! MAN!” – Thus, woman.
There is so much more to learn yet there are a few explicit details that emerge fitting the generalities of women. This isn’t a blueprint – it is merely one man’s observation of God’s female creation. Though this is written for men’s information; I know there are women reading this who will print it, post it and may actually hang it on the mirror for their husband to read, and read and re-read.

She is Unique – She Needs Your Love

Perhaps the Bible explains this the best way. She is the weaker vessel but not like you think. As far as strength – she may beat you in arm wrestling. As far as board games – she may skunk you. As far as putt-putt she may make you look bad. But the weaker vessel doesn’t mean weak in the sense of lack but a better interpretation may be fragile vase. As a fragile vase she is uniquely created, with detail. Study her and you will find a unique design, precious detail and amazing quality. She has value, she is a treasure, and she is to be honored, just as you would an heirloom, an expensive, a fragile vase. Admire her, lift her up and respect her and you will discover the hidden value of the women you call wife.
Take Home Point – Love her intentionally

She is Communicative – She Needs You to Listen
Hands down women love to talk, think out loud and communicate their feelings. Maybe men need to open up a bit but until then. When she speaks she needs her husband to listen, listen with his ears and his eyes. Really listen to her thoughts not just her words. You may not understand where she is coming from or why she is saying what she is saying but listen. Listen with your heart, be involved, don’t try to fix it – just try to be understanding. She may need a hug more than your reply.
Take Home Point – Listen intentionally

She has Insight – She Needs Your Understanding
Take the time to delve into the multifaceted mind of your wife as she looks with her eyes, thinks with her mind, feels with her heart and is sensitive to your touch. This is a women’s insight. She feels “something.” She knows people. She reads between the lines. And, she knows you; that’s the scary part. In fact, I move – she reads me. Ouch! As a husband you may not understand her insight but it is not as important as her wanting to know you are trying to understand her feelings and insights.
Take Home Point – Learn intentionally

She Has Her Moments – She Needs Your Faithfulness
She may question your love one day. She wants to know do I look good in this? – not for others but for you. She may ask you if she looks fat? – not for others but for you. She may ask do you like my hair? – not for others but for you. She wants to know you love her for who she is and you are committed till death do us part. She may be crabby, complaining, critical and even nagging but she still loves you and wants you to be totally committed to love her forever. She knows she has her moments – she knows you do to but she wants to be secure on knowing you will stand by her, hold her hand in public and be her man for the rest of your lives.
Take Home Point – Live faithfully

Comment: What do you know about your wife – how do you let her know you honor her?
 Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Four Things a Wife Needs to Know About Her Husband

If you hcoupleave ever questioned your husband’s love, asked him why he wasn’t talking to you, seemed preoccupied or was acting distant you have just entered into manworld. Manworld is reserved, particular and unique. Walk into manworld with me for a few minutes and understand your man.

He Really Does Care.  Husbands Don’t Know How to Say it.

Your husband may be a communicator, speaker, author and move people with his words, comments and posts but when he comes into the arms of his loving wife his mind turns to jello, his spirit melts and his loses his vocabulary. He wants to say I love you a thousand times but it doesn’t sound right. He tries to be romantic but fails, he tries to be interesting and attractive only to trip over his tongue as he endeavors to impress you. He wishes to give you a castle and a prince but settles for a suburban home on a peasant pay scale.

Take Home Point: Even though he is trying to say he cares and jumbles his words – listen to his heart.

 

Your Husband Is Not a Woman. He Shouldn’t Act Like One Either.

Men want to be warriors. A Superman who tries to fix all your problems in life even though all you wanted was a hug. Woman hug – men try to fix it. Women talk out their problems and men sit and think out their problems. Women feel their way through while men try to analyze their way through. Women meet in groups and talk about their problems but men don’t want to talk about it. Ask a man how he feels and he will say, “I’m doing fine,” when the world is falling around him. Ask a woman how she feels and if you are her friend, she will wipe a tear and tell you.

Take Home Point Compliment your husband for the man he is.

 

Husbands Have Feelings. They Don’t Show Their Feelings Much.

Men cry inside. They carry their gripes, complaints, heartaches and disappointments on the inside then explode into a torrent of emotion. No, not all men explode into a raging temper, but sometimes in prayer, sometimes in nonstop paragraphs and at other times they let it out in the exercise room. Men may not show their feelings much but they have feelings. Men have feelings that guard their ego, feelings that are much compressed to protect their image and feelings that are deep.

Take Home Point Be patient and tell your husband you are there when he is ready to express his feelings.

 

Your Husband Loves You. His Expressions of Love are Different than What You Expect.

Just accept it. Believe it! And Know It! He loves you. Be sweet and he won’t be able to resist you. A wife who adores her husband will find a husband who loves in return. He isn’t perfect. He isn’t the richest, best or most successful but he is in love with you. He may need to practice his words, his thoughts and his actions but he is in love with you.

Take Home Point Look into his eyes and tell how much you love him and watch what happens.

 

Comment: What do you know about your husband – how do you let him know you understand him?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.