Monthly Archives: October 2009

Keys to Success at Work

Did you know that God is interested in your work and wants you to be highly successful at work? Here are ten practical work habits that will help you advance professionally:

  1. Pray for and develop s strong sense of purpose that energizes what you do.
  2. Be persistent – a new idea must go through 3 stages: resistance, tolerance and embracement.
  3. Learn continually, not only about work skills but yourself as well.
  4. Be decisive – the ability to make wise decisions. Define the problem, Define the expectations of those involved, Determine possible solutions, Take time to think.
  5. Be willing to take risks.
  6. Be “fail” safe by realizing – There is no such thing as failure, and life is a learning experience.
  7. Have a high work ethic. Be on time and give a full day’s work. Go the second mile.
  8. Learn to communicate with both the key decision makers and the people in the trenches.
  9. Believe in and act on making others great.
  10. Focus on what is important, not micro-management. Be willing to release some control. Ask yourself: What are my three strengths? What are my three weaknesses?

These keys to success at work come from the discipleship material I use at NewPointe. I just went over this with one of the guys I am meeting with and thought it was worth sharing. Hope it helps you today at work.

Patterns & Routines

The older I get the more I find myself liking familiar routines and patterns. It becomes a little more difficult to change or to be motivated enough to want to change. The longer you have done a certain routine like what you typically do when you get home from work, or how you go about buying groceries, the harder it is to change it up. We have patterns like the TV shows we watch, the Internet sites we visit, the friends we talk to, the words we use, the food we eat and even the way we talk to our spouse or children.

We all have certain patterns and routines that make us feel comfortable and safe. Some call this our comfort zone. Some of that is good, but it can also keep us from experiencing the best things in life. You see I don’t think God wants us to be comfortable and safe. Comfortable and safe means we are not going to make much of a difference. We do have an enemy that wants us to be comfortable and safe; to get stuck in certain routines and patterns that keep us ineffective.

What have you risked lately? Do you always play it safe in your relationships? Do you have some patterns or routines that are unhealthy? Do you usually take the easier road? For me selfishness usually keeps me in the comfort mode. I think it’s the same for most people. We want to be happy and do things that benefit us or improve our situations.

God tells us repeatedly in the Bible to be courageous, to be strong and courageous. We don’t need to be courageous if we are living comfortable, safe lives. What is one thing you can do starting this week that will make you a little more dangerous. What can you do to make our enemy a little nervous. What pattern or routine do you need to change that will get you out of your comfort zone? What can you start doing today that would surprise your spouse or your friends in a good way?

Go ahead, take a risk, do something different, do something that would make God smile and say that was courageous.

Are You A Leader?

So what does it take to be a leader. Maybe you don’t even think of yourself as a leader. The truth is that if you influence anyone you are a leader. If your a parent, you are a leader. If you are married you are a leader. If you are in a serious relationship you are a leader. If you have a job you are a leader. If you have friends you are a leader. If you have brothers or sisters you are a leader. If you are dating someone you are a leader.

Basically we are all leader’s, because we all have influence with someone. The question is what kind of influence do you have. Are you a positive leader or a negative leader? Do the people around you benefit from being around you or suffer from being around you? Whether it is at work or at home, you are influencing people.

You can influence people just by the way you go about your daily activities. The people you have influence with are watching you. It could be your children, your spouse, your co-workers, your neighbors or your friends. How you handle conflict, how you talk to people, how well you listen and where you spend your time all have an affect on the people around you.

To be a positive leader, you have to believe the best about the people in your life. The words you use determine a lot about your leadership. If your words tend to encourage and lift up the people around you, people will benefit from your influence. No one likes to be around a negative person, or a person that is always thinking the worst about you.

Since all of us are leader’s to some degree, it helps to be aware of the way you are influencing people. Do your actions, words, habits and priorities help or hinder the people in your life?

Choose today to be a positive leader. To influence the people in your life in a positive way. Choose to believe the best, and watch your influence go up.

Where Do You Live?

On my run today(5 miles) this thought came to my mind: Where do you live?

Usually when we are asked that question we tell people what city we live in, that’s not what I am asking. Do you live in the past or in the present? Many of us get stuck in the past. It may have been a traumatic experience, a painful experience or even a fantastic experience. Those moments in our lives that impacted us in a positive or negative way. If we are reliving those moments in our minds, we are living in the past.

We all have had those defining moments in our lives, which is very important, it’s part of your story. The problem is that if we focus too much on those old defining moments we may miss some new defining moments. A negative experience from your past can be keeping you in fear of taking a risk in the present. A positive experience from your past can make you feel overconfident and keep you from continuing to grow.

So what should we do? I think we need to remember the past and learn from it, but we need to focus on the present and the future. When we glance at the past that’s OK. The problem is when the past becomes our focus we can no longer move forward.

That is why it is so important to have goals in all areas of our lives. It is important to be thinking about how you can make progress today. What changes you can make to improve the person that you are today. Yes you acknowledge your past, you learn from your past, you use your past experience to make better decisions today, but you don’t live there.

So where do you live?

Trust Me Part 2

Trust is such a huge issue I thought I would continue to talk about it. For many of us trusting God seems to be a struggle, completely trusting that He is good, that He cares about us, that He is working for us and for our best interest can be hard when we are struggling just doing life.

Trust is warranted by consistent honor and care toward another. Trust can be betrayed in an instant, when we don’t honor and care for the people around us. God however never dishonors us, He never stops caring for us. As I thought about that I decided to look up Scriptures that talk about trust. Here are a few that spoke to me about the importance of trusting in God.

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Psalms 20:7

“Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Test me, o Lord, and try me, examine my heart and mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.” Psalms 26:1-3

“Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him.” Psalms 32:10

“Trust in the Lord and do good…” Psalms 37:3

“In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” Psalms 56:4

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” Proverbs 11:13

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” Jesus in John 14:1

Think about it like this. When your children trust you even though they don’t fully understand what you are telling them, how does that make you feel? When a friend says that she trusts you on this but does not see how it can work, how does that make you feel? When your spouse says she trusts you completely even though she does not understand everything going on, how does that make you feel?

God loves us more than we can ever love Him or other people. He never forces Himself on us or makes us do what He wants us to do. That is honoring us. He cares for us in ways we don’t even know. God wants our trust, He wants us to say, God I don’t understand what is happening around me, but I am choosing to trust you on this. I trust that you have my best interests in mind and are working for me. I trust that you are good and you care about me. I trust that you are going to bring some good out of all this mess.

When we do that it opens us up to receive the blessings that God has for us. It brings a peace and comfort to our lives that helps us through difficult circumstances. It changes our perspective on what is happening to us and how God is involved in that.

God is saying “Trust Me”

Trust Me

Why is trust such a big deal? When I was in the business world of banking and consulting trust was a key ingredient to client development. When clients felt like they could trust you, they would be more loyal, worry less and take your advice more readily.

It’s the same in any relationship. Take the marriage relationship for example. When both husband and wife trust each other they are more committed to each other, they worry less about what the other is doing while they are not around and they tend to listen better and accept what they hear.

Whether in business , marriage, friendship or any other relationships trust is vital to good health. When you trust someone, there is a comfort or easiness about the relationship. If you don’t trust your friends, you are less likely to open up and share much about what is going on in your life. If you don’t trust your spouse you are going to be skeptical of everything they say or do. If you don’t trust God you will not believe everything He says and hold back from giving him all of you.

So how do you build trust? Henry Cloud made this statement “Where there is a failure in empathy and understanding, trust is not built.” For trust to happen we must listen well. When you listen to someone with the intent of trying to understand them or where they are coming from it builds trust. You do this by being fully present with them, asking questions to clarify and by not prejudging or jumping to conclusions. When you listen with empathy, you are trying to put yourself in their shoes and understand their hearts. When you listen well and someone feels like you understand them, trust is deepened.

Trust is also built by being actively involved in that persons life. When you show that you are actually interested in them as a person it builds a bond. Showing that you value them and want to get to know them will build trust and strengthen the relationship. God demonstrated this quite well, He desires to know us at an intimate level, to always be with us and to care about every single part of our lives. Read Psalm 139.

Trust is also built when we treat others well, no matter what they can or can’t do for us. It is easy to treat people well, when they treat you well. But what about the people that have hurt you or offended you? What about the spouse that has been distant and irritable. When we extend grace, which is unmerited favor, to other people it builds trust and respect. Remember God gives us unbelievable grace.

Trust is also built when we are real with people. When we share that we are not perfect and that we do mess up. When we admit our mistakes and ask for forgiveness. When people see that you are willing to open up and show your weaknesses it builds credibility and trust. The people around you already know your weaknesses and when you mess up. When you admit it, it shows that you are real and not fake. Fake people cannot be trusted.

We also trust people that do what they said they would do. When you walk the talk, so to speak it builds trust. This is an issue of character and integrity. When you make a promise do you follow through or do you drop the ball. When you tell your spouse you will do something do you follow through or do you usually forget. Dependable people build trust and are entrusted with more.

Trust is not something that is just freely given. People don’t usually blindly trust. Trust is earned by our behavior. To build trust we must build the kind of character that the people around us can see on a regular basis. This takes diligent spiritual growth, that shapes you into the man or woman that God created you to be. The benefit of being trustworthy is healthy, happy relationships.

Leadership Development

I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership development lately. As a leader, I think about how I can grow, learn and improve myself as a leader often. This desire to grow is something that God has put on my heart for quite a few years. Leadership is something that must be constantly growing and changing. The best leaders are never content to stay where they are at, they know that there is much more to learn, there are other people that are doing things better that they can learn from and there is more that can be done to impact the world.

Leadership development is really about the desire to improve. The drive to serve the people around you better, to make a difference and change lives, to improve your organization or your family is what defines a leader. Without the realization that you need to constantly be growing as a leader you won’t change much as a leader, and your influence will not go up. You will soon be passed by and be ineffective. You will hit a lid and not be able to take your organization or your family to the next level.

If you want your business, organization, church, department, workplace, family, marriage or really any important relationship to improve, you need to work on yourself. When you make changes in yourself you can have more influence on the people around you. You must be careful about your motives in all of this as well. If you are wanting to grow as a leader to gain power, position, money, or recognition, then your influence will be short lived. People can see through that quickly and you can lose influence.

Every year I work on a personal growth plan for myself. I think about what areas I struggle in and how I can make improvements there. I look at my areas of strength and how I can get even better in those areas. I think about people I can learn from, books I can read, conferences I can go to or classes I can take.

Currently I am working with a team of people at NewPointe Community Church on a Leadership Experience, this experience will focus on competency based development, working to improve peoples competencies in 7 areas. We came up with these 7 after some extensive surveys and interviews. Our initial target group is people that are leading or have led small groups. These competencies are transferable in helping people improve at work and at home as a leader.

Our goal in this project is to equip men and women to lead better in all areas of their lives. People that go through his experience can increase their influence and help make a difference in their homes and communities. We will be launching a test group in early 2010 and hope to offer this to several groups of 12-15 people later next year. If you want to know more about this leadership development project please contact me at NewPointe Community Church.

Drinking in the Psalms

This morning I spent some time alone with God. I read the first 30 chapters of Psalm’s in the Message Version. Here are the verses I highlighted:

Complain if you must, but don’t lash out. Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking. Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.”

“God’s business is putting things right; he loves getting the lines straight, setting us straight. Once we’re standing tall, we can look him straight in the eye.”

“Walk straight, act right, tell the truth. Don’t hurt your friend, don’t blame your neighbor; despise the despicable. Keep your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, never take a bribe. You’ll never get blacklisted if you live like this.”

“Go ahead, examine me from inside out, surprise me in the middle of the night- you’ll find I’m just what I say I am. My words don’t run loose.”

“I love you, God-You make me strong. God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight.”

“Now I’m alert to God’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes. The good people taste your goodness, the whole people taste your health, the true people taste your truth, the bad ones can’t figure you out.”

“Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward him Makes it.”

“The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes.”

“Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh! Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work”

“He has never let you down, never looked the other way when you were being kicked around. He has never wandered off to do his own thing; he has been right there, listening.”

“My question: What are God-worshipers like? Your answer: Arrows aimed at God’s bull’s-eye.”

“If I keep my eyes on God, I won’t trip over my own feet.”

“God I love living with you; your house glows with your glory. When it’s time for spring cleaning, don’t sweep me out with the quacks and crooks.”

“I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet. That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world.”

“God makes his people strong. God gives his people peace.”

I hope those words were as encouraging to you as they were to me. Get into God’s word, it has incredible power to heal, encourage, guide, bring peace, bring comfort, give courage and save your life.

What Path are you on?

I was reading in Proverbs today Chapter 7. What an amazing story. There is a wise man looking out his window. He sees a young man walking down the street, and can immediately see he lacked judgement. Mostly because when you are young, you do not have the life experience to have good judgement.

He immediately sees which direction the young man is headed. He is walking in the direction of of her corner, the house that she lives in. It also is toward evening, the dark of night is near. As the young man continues on the woman the wise man spoke of appears. She is dressed in a way that draws attention to her, and shows off her body. She speaks her mind and is very aggressive. She grabs the young man and kisses him. She persuades him with smooth talk and traps him. She convinces him this is a good idea, that no one will find out. Her husband is gone for a long time. Whats wrong with a little fun and pleasure.

Then in verse 22 it says “All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose, till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.

Here are my thoughts on this story:

  • It all started with this young man walking on the wrong path, in the wrong direction. It is easy to be drawn into temptation. It often starts very innocent, but you keep walking closer and closer to it. Then all of a sudden you fall.
  • We need to make sure we are walking in the right direction and on the right path. Don’t entertain temptations thinking you have enough will power to stop at any time. When your hanging out on the corner where she lives, all at once you will follow her or whatever temptation is enticing you.
  • We need to guard our minds. Don’t fill your mind with images, words or anything that stimulates wrong desires.
  • Don’t dance around the edges, if we play with fire we will get burned.
  • We need to keep away from settings and friends that tempt us to sin.
  • When you are close to following the temptation, don’t think of just that moment, focus on the future and what the consequences of this action might be.
  • We need to put safeguards in place to keep us from straying off on the wrong path. Seeking wise counsel, being accountable to someone, making sure we are dealing with our hurts and hangups in a healthy way.
  • If you have already fallen, stop and get onto the path God wants you on and start walking in the right direction. This happens one good decision at a time.