News stories began to flow almost immediately about Russell Wilson after his team won the Super Bowl last night. Like many Christ followers I was impressed with his attitude and desire to give God the glory and believing in “the talent God gave him.” Russell was right on as even our breath is a gift from God. But another point that really struck my attention was what Wilson had to say about his father. He referenced his dad a couple of times and specifically noted how his father would purposefully look at challenging situations with the question of; “why not you?” When I heard that it all came together. That kind of fatherly encouragement is something that I’ve observed not only in the story of Wilson’s life, but in many other great leaders. They had dads who believed in them.
Confidence is a foundational building block in leadership development and one that is sorely needed in our day. The principle of speaking about a positive future in the life of a young person by a father or another male leader is of incalculable worth. You just can’t measure how important something like that is to a young boy or man. I know that many people in our day grew up without such a blessing and I can relate to that. But all of us can be encouraged to know that there is a “Father of the fatherless” and one who calls us out of fear and into courage. No matter what our background is, we can know God and know his encouragement in our lives and see a future greater than we’ve ever imagined before.
In addition, as leaders today we can look at those coming behind us and speak into their lives. What we saw passed down from father to son in Russell Wilson’s life is a rarity today. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In addition to my kids, I try to find opportunities to speak even small positive words to kids on my block and around me. Recently I told a neighborhood boy the account of King David and Goliath and then finished my story with; “You know . . . you could be a great king someday too.” Just one man or woman speaking a positive message of potential victory into the hearts of others is just what they need and it might even just be enough to change the world.
So, who are you encouraging today?
Sometimes I just get tired. If anything, the word journey better describes the walk with Christ more than a happy walk in the park. It gets hard at times. It gets fatiguing at times. A marathon, or maybe a triathlon, is more descriptive of what authentic Christianity is like, rather than a Caribbean cruise. Yes, I get tired sometimes. It is tiring to continue to pray for years and not see the results my heart longs for. It is just downright oppressive at times trying to calmly and lovingly speak toward Biblical righteousness in a culture that wholly embraces abortion, homosexual lifestyles, and philosophical relativity. It gets disheartening to see more and more people who wear the name of Christ in Western Europe and America drop Biblical morality like a bad losing streak in favor of liberal cultural and political correctness. (more…)
My last surviving grandparent crossed over the river into the other side of eternity yesterday afternoon. Granddad Stephens was 97. When I think of the legacy that my grandfather left, I almost always think of the song, “Leader of the Band” by Dan Fogelberg. Granddad Stephens had a natural talent for music and he pursued that as his career in life retiring as a High School band director not far from where I grew up. Maybe more importantly though, along with my grandmother, he brought music into the lives of his children and even down into my own soul today. Granddad, I know that like King David of old, is now playing and dancing in HIS presence. For the rest of our family who are left behind, we are thanking God and remembering the good things that have been built into our lives by granddad hands. He left a legacy.
The reality in this situation is that we all have an opportunity to leave a legacy. Whether we like it or not, unless we move to the desert by ourselves, we’re going to leave some kind of imprint, good or bad, on those around us. The question is what kind of legacy will we leave. (more…)
We’re just a few days away from Superbowl XLVII and I’ll probably watch the match even though neither my favorite team nor quarter back is in the game. If nothing else, I’m sure there’ll be at least one good million dollar commercial in the mix. But in thinking about these and other great teams, I’m reminded of another great leadership pointer we can learn from this spectacular sport. The lesson being that it’s really not all about the quarterback. Both Flacco and Kaepernick are great players, but the thing about them and other leaders on the gridiron is that the QB rarely makes the touchdown. Rather, they hand off or pass the ball to someone else. It’s that person who takes the ball across the line and puts the points up on the board. The truth about authentic Christianity and the true CHURCH is that we are all involved in a team effort. In the CHURCH, leaders are not to “do the work of ministry” but to equip the Saints for “doing the work of ministry.” The immediate context of Ephesians 4 refers to apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, but the principal is the same in every leadership situation. So whatever your leadership responsibility is, make sure your hand offs and passes are right. Get the ball into the hands of others so that the team can advance the ball. Let them carry the ball across the line and put the points up. Let them celebrate the victories and simply be excited that they and the team won the day.
So, who are you pulling for in this game? More importantly, who are you equipping in your life to carry the ball across the line?
Well we’ve come to the conclusion of another year. I’ve thought about a number of ways to close things up for 2012. I’ve pondered a few ways to kick off 2013, but nothing really resonated. Then I came across this video link below. It has some huge application for my leadership friends and followers of Christ in general. There is also implication to the American society as a whole. The take away challenge I’d give from this clip toward the New Year is to intentionally invest in the lives of others. The particular challenge would be for older godly men to purposefully take 2013 as a year to build into the lives of two or three younger men with the hope that they would do the same in years to come. This is so fitting for the Church and the culture at large today. The answers that our world is looking for are not found in government, but in Christ and the Kingdom mentality He called us to. The answer is to actually do what Jesus said . . . “go and make disciples.” (more…)