Thursday, May 31, 2018

John C. Maxwell on Leadership #20 Understanding People Pays Great Dividends

The ability to understand people is one of the greatest assets anyone can ever have. It has the potential to positively impact every area of your life, not just the business arena. For example, look at how understanding people helped this mother of a pre-schooler. She said,

“Leaving my four-year-old son in the house, I ran out to throw something in the trash. When I tried to open the door to get back inside, I was locked. I knew that insisting that my son open the door would have resulted in an hour-long battle of the wills. So in a sad voice, I said, ‘Oh, too bad. You just locked yourself in the house.’ The door opened at once.”

Understanding people certainly impacts your ability to communicate with others. David Burns, a medical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, observed, “The biggest mistake you can make in trying to talk convincingly is to put your highest priority on expressing your ideas and feelings. What most people really want is to be listened to, respected, and understood. The moment people see that they are being understood, they become more motivated to understand your point of view.”  If you can learn to understand people – how they think, what they feel, what inspires them, how they’re likely to act and react in a given situation – then you can motivate and influence them in a positive way.

[Except from Becoming a Person of Influence: How to Positively Impact the Lives of Others (2006) by John C. Maxwell with Jim Dornan. Published by Thomas Nelson Inc.]

Make understanding people your top priority today.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Book Review: Spurgeon on Leadership (2010) by Larry J. Michael

Spurgeon on Leadership: Key Insights for Christian Leaders from the Prince of Preachers
(2003, 2010) by Larry J. Michael

Reading biographies – Christian biographies, especially – is one of the best decision I ever made and habit that I will keep for a lifetime. Philip Brooks, preacher, and author, said, "A biography is, indeed, a book; but far more than a book, it is a man… Never lay the biography down until the man is a living, breathing, acting person to you." We who are in the ministry – of all people – ought to read biographies. We minister to real people, and the better we understand great men and their times, the better we can minister to our people in our times. A truly good biography of a great person "has a universal quality about it that makes it touch life at many points," observed Warren W. Wiersbe.

Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), well-known British’s 19th-century preacher, though I never met him, is my spiritual mentor. Since I read two of his awesome biographies Spurgeon: A New Biography (1984) by Arnold Dallimore and Charles Spurgeon: The Prince of Preacher (1997) edited by Dan Harmon, my respect, and admiration for him ever increases. It was intensified by my reading of Spurgeon Gold (2005) collection of quotes compiled by Ray Comfort and a huge volume of The Essential Works of Charles Spurgeon: Selected Books, Sermons and Other Writings (2009) edited by Daniel Partner which is over 1,391 pages! Many great preachers today also admire Spurgeon, men like John MacArthur [in his book Ashamed of the Gospel, MacArthur warned the church today not to be like the world. He uses the life of Spurgeon as an example of a faithful preacher of Christ] and John Piper for examples [he preached and wrote a book entitled Charles Spurgeon: Preaching Through Adversity]. Spurgeon is my spiritual mentor and his life is an inspiration for me. I never dream of becoming like him – far from it – because as Philip Brooks advice, "The object of reading biography… is not imitation but inspiration." Oh yes, an inspiration indeed!

Because of this, I rejoice gladly and read with great interest this book by Larry J. Michael. You can't separate Charles Spurgeon, pastor of the first megachurch in church history, from his excellent leadership. Beside pastored a megachurch, he also began a college to train pastors, founded an orphanage, instituted countless charitable organizations, sending missionaries, and bless other churches through his preaching, publishing books and book ministry for not-well-to-do pastors. No doubt among churches today this type of leader is in high demand, and Spurgeon's leadership style and innovations provide a challenging model. Rich Warren writes, "Spurgeon's model of leadership has profoundly influenced my life and ministry." Tom. S. Rainer agrees, "In every generation as few leaders emerge to set the pace and established the standards for leadership. [C.H. Spurgeon] was definitely one of these great leaders." John C. Maxwell simply says, "I highly recommend this book to all serious students of leadership!"

Here Michael points out not merely the insights of what it means to be an influential leader but also important fundamentals such as Christian commitment and moral character. Moreover, he shows how Spurgeon demonstrated extreme courage and conviction for those principles and how, in the various controversies that surrounded his ministry, he rose to meet them with a genuine sense of Christian maturity and Biblical constancy. Michael also stresses important characteristics such as grasping a vision for the task and prioritizing one's ministry in both the setting and the context of pastoral compassion and leadership. He also highlights Spurgeon as Christian model for both his staff, church members, and – especially for his family. Here too Michael does not exclude the fact that leadership often entails suffering and that was where Spurgeon truly ascended to the heights of leadership (besides physical illnesses, he also suffered depression). This book officially becomes my favorite leadership book!

It is divided into 3 parts and each cover leadership insights that are both historical in its context and practical for today's applications:

Part 1: The Leader for All Seasons

#1 Competence: Developing and Demonstrating Leadership
#2 Confidence: Balancing Faith, Attitude, Initiative, and Humility
#3 Context: Spurgeon in Victorian England
#4 Calling: Conversion and Growth
#5 Character: An Example of Integrity

Part 2: Leading Through the Seasons

#6 Casting Vision: Spurgeon's Goals and Planning
#7 Courage: Standing for Righteousness, Scripture, and Sound Teaching
#8 Commitment: Teaching and Modelling Devotion to Family
#9 Creativity: Preaching, Methods, and Ministry Innovations
#10 Compassion: Personal Toughness and Pastoral Tenderness
#11 Compass: Leading Despite Criticism and Conflict
#12 Coping: Dealing with Illness and Depression

Part 3: Applying the Lessons of a Leader

#13 A Leader for the World in Crisis
#14 A Leader for the Daily Challenge

Do you know why Spurgeon was such a great leader? For your information, he didn't go to any theological school (huh, I’m glad). Humanly speaking, he was self-taught. This is his theology and how he became a great man of God: "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is my Lord!" he exclaimed. With Lord Jesus Christ as his Master, only Master, everyone including Spurgeon is nothing but the humble servant of God. He first a follower of Jesus, then only he is a leader of men. Keep this in mind.


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Monday, May 28, 2018

Self-Leadership #12 Lead From WHY

Simon Sinek, author made-famous by his 2009's TEDx Talk, points out that everyone in an organization knows "WHAT" it is that they do, some know "HOW" they do it, but very few know "WHY" they do what it is that they do.

He points out that "there are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it. Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief - WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care? People don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us..." Or to put it simply, "He who has a WHY to live (or lead) can bear almost any HOW," said Friedrich Nietzsche (bracket mine).

I don't believe that any great leaders suddenly know or actively looking for their "WHY." Instead, something happened in their lives – tragedy or success that happened to them, a vision that was given to them by their mentor or others, ordinary work seen as significant, etc. – that caused an emotional reaction and set their determination. That reaction naturally instilled their driving purpose. Slowly the "WHY" became clear to them. This is the most powerful "WHY" a person can have. Leaders need to have a strong "WHY" so that people can be inspired to do great things for and with them. People who understand why they're doing it will be better motivated and more effective. So what should a leader do? 1) A leader must know WHY; 2) Communicate WHY as often as possible; 3) Live the WHY daily – in public and private; and 4) Lead from WHY.

Here are some questions that can help you trigger your "WHY":

What makes you come alive? When you are working toward things that inspire you, it literally makes you feel more alive.

What are your innate strengths? Skill, talent or gift that you've always been good at are good clues to know your WHY.

How will you measure your life? Deciding how you want to measure your life means making a stand for something and then living your life in alignment with it


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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Self-Leadership #11 Lead With Integrity

"The supreme quality for a leader is unquestionably integrity," exclaimed Dwight D. Eisenhower. "Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, on a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man's associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must agree with each other." Integrity is the manifestation of an unshakeable set of principles – principles that you will not violate under any circumstances.

Currently, I'm reading Coach Wooden's Leadership Game Plan for Success. One reason late Wooden was able to extract an extraordinary effort from his players was that they understand that he was making an even greater effort for them. True, he wasn't experiencing the bruises and muscle strains that the players were experiencing daily on the practice field but he pushed himself to the limit just as he pushed them. He came early, left late and almost never took a day off. All nights he thinks of game strategies and how to improve the team and individuals personally. He was leading with integrity – demonstrating the same commitment he demanded from his players.

Leaders have to impress who and what they are – on the people around them. This means you do what is right. You do what you say. You conform to the values that you expect of others. William D. Lawrence puts it like this: "Integrity is the integration of one's life around his core values." In some sense, your behavior is predictable because you are consistent in your decisions and your actions.

Integrity has a cost. I've learned from my lack of integrity in the past that: You must weigh the depth of your commitment before you undertake to lead with integrity. You will be tested – by cynics, by critics, by those interested more in style and image than in meaning and substance, and even by your own past failures and mistakes. So you need to make sure that you have deep enough reserves to act – consistently – as a person of integrity. People will be watching what you do more than listening to what you say. To be a leader is to lead others. And how should a leader lead? With integrity.

Consider the following tactics to help you lead with integrity:

Live What You Teach: Great leaders win the hearts of their followers. They do so by being involved with the team and making that commitment clear. The more they see integrity in their leaders, the more their trust in them.

Let Them See You Sweat: Why should other people kill themselves for the organization or team if you, the leader, not the first one to jump?

Build Accountability: Act your integrity. Take responsibility when you screw up and take credit when you meet with success. And make sure this applies to everyone else.


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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Self-Leadership #10 Balance Ego and Humility

For a leader, part of humility is the recognition that you get meaningful results only through the effort of others. It is one way of embodying truth and reinforcing character. An effective leader understands that even the most powerful person is only a bit player on the larger stage of life. Chrysostom once said, "Humility is the mother, root, nurse, foundation, and center of all other virtues." A leader needs to be humble and in humility is how he should lead.

Though humility is essential for a leader, this is not enough. "Humility is to make a right estimate of oneself," explained Charles H. Spurgeon. But "it is no humility for a man to think less of himself than he ought." A leader needs a little dose of ego. He shouldn't think less of himself. The progress of the human race has been built upon the egos of great coaches, soldiers, entrepreneurs, teachers, scientists, and educators. All good leaders have healthy egos (though few might not want to admit it). Ego is a self-pusher that pushes you to accept nothing less than your personal best because your name and reputation are on the line. The more we believe in ourselves, the higher our self-esteem as leaders, and the more tension and anxiety we can endure on the road to achieving our goals. Ego, therefore, is closely tied to performance.

Steve Jobs, considered as a great visionary leader, had ego and it was a vital contributor to his worldwide success. In fact, it's hard to think or imagine likewise when you read the way he leads in his biographies (try reading one by Walter Isaacson). Every time he embarked on new projects with his Apple team, you saw it. The design departments experienced it often. So much so that Young Steve Jobs was knowns as an ‘egomaniac' leader. The same ego that helps him achieved greatness also caused him almost permanent downfall (he was fired from Apple but years later returned as a more matured-thinking man). Ryan Holiday, the author of Ego is the Enemy, says that "Ego almost destroyed Steve Jobs' career." Nothing will sink a leader faster than an over-ego attitude.

To emphasize the paradox of leadership between ego and humility, Saeed Al Muntafiq illustrates that "If ego is the engine and horsepower in the car, then humility is the traction control that keeps it on the road." This fine analogy illustrating clearly the balance between the two qualities to be found in any great leader. The balanced proportion of (healthy) ego and humility defines the capability of each individual to take on leadership roles.

How to balance ego and humility? Here are several things to think about:

Ego Is Necessary: Ego is a determination to never do less than your best. As such, it is critical to a healthy performance.

Beware of Over-Ego Attitude: Never lost sight of the dark side of ego – the ego that is self-serving and therefore interferes with leadership that supposed to be serving others.

Give Credit Where It's Due: Humility is about giving credit where credit is due. If you did it, take the credit. If you had help, recognize those who helped you. If it’s a work of a team – praise them!


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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Self-Leadership #9 Be Mentally Tough

I toughen my mind every day. I think every day, I read every day, I learned every day. I do it so that when I'm facing difficulties or challenges in the future – I'm ready. I believe it is one of the most important leadership skills. What is mental toughness? It is the ability to hold on to one's goals in the face of the pressure and stress. When tested, hold on. When fail, try again – harder, smarter. Persevere relentlessly. In a team, mental toughness is the glue that holds us together when the heat is on, and it helps us persevere just a little bit longer. It implies a firm resolve to stay in the course over the long-term rather than a burst of short-lived activity. It is not the ability to survive a mistake or failure; it's the ability to come back stronger from failure.

When the going gets tough, it takes a special kind of mental toughness to fight back. I use these 7 inspiring quotes as a personal reminder for me to strengthen my mind:

"Mental toughness is spartanism with qualities of sacrifice, self-denial, dedication.
It is fearlessness, and it is love" (Vince Lombardi)

"It takes energy, mental toughness, and spiritual reinforcement to successfully deal with life's opportunities and to reach your objectives" (Zig Ziglar)

"Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory" (Bill Russell)

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal;
nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude" (Thomas Jefferson)

"It's when the discomfort strikes that they realize a strong mind
is the most powerful weapon of all" (Chrissie Wellington)

"Strong minds suffer without complaining;
weak minds complain without suffering" (Lettie Cowman)

"You have power over your mind, not outside events.
Realize this, and you will find strength" (Marcus Aurelius)

Like leadership, mental toughness is not something that people are born with. Instead, it's learned. We start small, achieving a minor goal. Then we set our sights higher and succeed again. If we work patiently, we will prevail. Each time we raise the bar of personal goal, we gain skills and confidence that make the next success more likely. This cycle – hard work, success, more hard work, more success, with the occasional setbacks and failures – is the crucial process of the making of your character that will be part of you. Good things take time, usually lots of time. But if you persist, determine and resolve you'll be stronger mentally – you will be unstoppable!

Here are three (3) ways to develop mental toughness:

Keep the Pressure On: Good leaders don't avoid pressure, they work themselves through it! They work constantly to improve and stay focus. Keep the pressure on but stay within your own breaking points.

Never Give In: It's easy to do well when there's no pressure or stress but how many of us can stay firm when defeat is knocking on the door? Mental toughness is not rigidity in the face of adversity; it is stability and poise in the face of challenge.

Work at It: Mental toughness is the willingness to keep commitments you make to yourself. It's singleness of purpose. It's the ability to stay motivated no matter what obstacles arise in your path.


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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Self-Leadership #8 Be Prepared to Sacrifice

When we hear the word sacrifice, we often think of completely selfless acts in which someone does something for another entirely for the other person's benefit. The image of a soldier sacrificing his life for his comrades frequently comes to mind. But sacrifice isn't purely selfless. The best definition of sacrifice is one that I found in American Heritage Dictionary: "To forfeit something for something else considered to have a greater value." Sacrifice does not mean giving up something for nothing; it means giving up one thing for something else we believe is worth more, "a greater value." This means a leader who lays down his life for his family or for his team has chosen to place more value on their lives than on his own.

In The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John C. Maxwell points out that the Law of Sacrifice says, "A leader must give up to go up." A leader cannot achieve and get something without giving up something in return. In order to attain something you believe is of greater value, you must give up something you believe is of lesser value. Our society today tries to minimize sacrifice at every turn, promising people that they can fulfill their desires without having to forsake anything at all. "Lose weight without giving up your favorite foods!" "Get ripped without long workouts!" "Get rich without having to work hard!" All of these are fantasies! Leaders understand that there is always a price to pay. Time, energy, money, commitment – all require sacrifice. Without hard work, pain, turmoil, commotion, anxiety, stress, and tension, there is no growth, no change. You must pay the price!

Here are three (3) ways to think about sacrifice:

Sacrifice Leads to Success: Its sacrifice, during all those hours of training that equips you to hang in there against all odds. Sacrifice and self-denial lie behind every success.

Use Failure as Stepping Stones: It hurts to fall short of a goal. However, when you use a failure to your advantage, it can become merely a stepping stone on the road to victory.

Pay the Price: Greatness is worth the cost. Great achievements require courage, determination, drive, and a willingness to pay the price.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Book Review: Deliver Us from Evil (1973) by Don Basham

Deliver Us from Evil (1973) by Don Basham

I read this book as soon as I finished Francis McNutt's Deliverance from Evil Spirits (see the previous book review). This book came as a surprise to me. I didn't think I would like it as much as I did. If truth be told, I went into it a bit critical and skeptical. I'm just not one to subscribe to all these manifesting spiritual things. But the way the book was written, you know that Don Basham was really experiencing this. For what reason he was 'chosen' to deal with this phenomenon events is another story (though he wrote the details of how he called into this ministry. But by him coming from a completely conservative background to be thrown in the midst of manifestations of evil, is quite bizarre and had me thinking a lot. The book was well written on this subject and I learned a lot.

The "censored quarter of Christ's ministry," in Basham's estimation, is the part involving evil spirits or demons. He claims that one-quarter of Christ's ministry was devoted to deliverance ministry, yet the Christian church - during his day and even today - often chooses to ignore it totally or partially (or avoid this topic altogether). Basham has spent years counseling people with chronic problems and addictions. But throughout the course of his work, he was amazed to discover that exercising authority over demons could achieve in an instant what months of personal counseling often failed to do (not that he discounted the counselling ministry. Not all sickness and problems caused by demons but mostly are, said the author. We must be careful, of course). And so deliverance became not a fearful thing to him, but a thing of hope and reassurance. Don believes that "the ministry he now understands means more than (just) deliverance 'from' evil, it means deliver 'into' health and well-being." With real-life stories and vast experiences, the writer hooked me into reading this book to the end. Very good!

This book is now updated (this one is the first published version) and had a new title, "A Pastor's Reluctant Encounters with the Power of Darkness." I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about this subject.

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Book Review: Deliverance from Evil Spirits (2009) by Francis MacNutt

Deliverance from Evil Spirits: A Practical Manual (1995, 2009)
by Francis MacNutt

This is not my favorite genres. Angelology, Demonology and Spiritual Warfare topics seem too much for me to bear and digest. In the past, I read few of Mary K. Baxter's books, one Choo Thomas' Heaven is So Real!, one during my campus mission trip by Billy Graham entitled Angels, and recently Visions of Heaven by H. A. Baker. I'm curious and also skeptical. Come to think about it, I highly doubt Mary Baxter's and Choo Thomas's personal revelations. Billy Graham's is more believable because he supported his stories with the Scripture.

About this book. I read it because I'm going to attend a seminar based on this topic next week. At first, I read it out of obligation (to quickly finished my assignment), but after few chapters, I'm hooked. Of course, I read it with an open mind, critical thinking and prayed for a teachable spirit. I have to admit that this is one of the more balanced books on the topic of deliverance. The author points out the importance of discerning when the problem or a display of behavior is simply an expression of human emotions and the person may be purging his thoughts and feelings and when it may be influenced by evil spirits.

Francis mentions how many people (especially ministers) have caused damage to people who were already suffering by trying to exorcise demons from them when people were just experiencing pain and grief and needed tender loving care and comforting. He also mentions cases where people have developed multiple personality disorder from abuse and again how they are in need of healing and therapy, and not of exorcising demons. He advises ministers to be especially careful to not treat mental/physical/emotional wounds as demonic oppression. He repeatedly emphasizes the need for discernment and humility in this work. Be careful.

I like how MacNutt emphasizes the reality of what we see in the Scripture, especially in the Gospels and in Jesus' own ministry, in relation to the deliverance of demons/evil spirits. He shows how the deliverance ministry is as essential today as it was then and the church needs to be the experts in it. There is plenty of evidence in this book that demonic oppression is active in our cultures and the world today (but I might not agree with all the things that he said in this book. In fact, I have more questions than answers). MacNutt also gives good advice and warnings for Christian ministers. I personally think that he could emphasize more than he does how important a person's own devotional life is when involving in deliverance ministry, and this includes the necessity of having people to pray for and over his or her ministry and family members.

Overall, MacNutt is thoroughly Scriptural and Christ-centred in his approach to deliverance. He does not present himself as a super-minister who stands above others in ministry, but he sees himself as part of the larger body of Christians and as one who needs others. I respect that. Francis and his wife, Judith, founded Christian Healing Ministry to expand the often-forgotten, often-avoided ministry of deliverance. He writes, "Only when we are able to free the oppressed and heal those suffering from the curse of sickness can we really preach Christ's basic message: The Kingdom of God is at hand and the kingdom of Satan is being destroyed."

There are seven (7) parts in this book:

Part 1: Necessary Background: Clearing Away Misconceptions [How I Got Involved in Casting Out Demons: A Parable for the Church]

Part 2: The Existence and Kinds of Evil Spirits [Do Demons Really Exist? The Scriptural Evidence / What Is the Evidence of Human Experience? / Should We Call It Possession? / How Do We Know If an Evil Spirit Is Really Present? / The Different Kinds of Evil Spirits]

Part 3: Curses and the Power of False Judgement [Falling Under a Curse / Curse-like Judgement and Ties That Bind / Who Can Pray for Deliverance?]

Part 4: Getting Ready [How to Prepare / Selecting a Team / How the Demonized Person Prepares for Deliverance]

Part 5: How to Pray for Deliverance [The Basic Form / Freeing a Person from Spirits of Trauma / Spirit of Sin / Spirit of the Occult / Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) / Other Kinds of Spirits / Deliverance through ‘Blessed Objects' / Follow-Up]

Part 6: Setting Places Free [Larger Dimensions of Deliverance / Deliverance of Places]

Part 7: Final Words [Baptism of the Holy Spirit]

Since Francis MacNutt often quotes Derek Prince, I now listened to Prince's sermons – YouTube and audio Mp3s.

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John C. Maxwell on Leadership #19 Listen to The Voices of Vision

Where does vision come from? To find the vision that is indispensable to leadership, you have to become a good listener. You must listen to several voices.

The Inner Voice: Vision starts within. Do you know your life’s mission? What stirs your heart? What do you dream about? If what you’re pursuing in life doesn’t come from a desire within – from the very depths of who you are and what you believe – you will not be able to accomplish it.

The Unhappy Voice: Where does inspiration for great ideas come from? From noticing what doesn’t work. Discontent with the status quo is a great catalyst for vision. Are you on complacent cruise control? Or do you find yourself itching to change your world? No great leader in history has fought to prevent change.

The Successful Voice: Nobody can accomplish great things alone. To fulfill a big vision, you need a good team. But you also need good advice from someone who is ahead of you on the leadership journey. If you want to lead others to greatness, find a mentor. Do you have an advisor who can help you sharpen your vision?

The Higher Voice: Although it’s true that your vision must come from within, you shouldn’t let it be confined by your limited capabilities. A truly valuable vision must have God in it. Only He knows your full capabilities. Have you looked beyond yourself, even beyond your own lifetime, as you’ve sought your vision? If not, you may be missing your true potential and life’s best for you.

[Taken from The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow (1999) by John C. Maxwell. Published by Thomas Nelson]

As a leader, are you listening not only to people but
Also to these other important voices?

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Self-Leadership #7 Work Harder Than Everybody

Don't buy the myth of the overnight success. "It takes years to make an overnight success," observed Eddie Cantor. Most of the people we celebrate for their effortless achievements have actually put a whole lot of energy into preparing for their victory. Yes, they make it look easy and they may even talk in a way that makes their success seem almost inevitable. But if you listen to them, you will usually find that they are working hard toward a compelling goal. It's the clarity of that goal – vivid, precise, focus – that makes their success seem unavoidable.

What they're not necessarily talking about (by the outward victory that we see), are the long lonely hours of practice and hard work that they subjected themselves to, or the many, many doubts they experienced along the way. I like this quote, "Some people dream of worthy accomplishments while others stay awake and do them."

I read that Adam Clark is reported to have spent 40 years writing his commentary on the Bible; Noah Webster laboured 36 years forming his well-known dictionary (in fact, he crossed the ocean twice to gather material needed to make the dictionary absolutely accurate); John Milton rose at 4 o'clock every morning in order to have sufficient hours to compose and rewrite his poetry which stands among the best of the world's literature; Edward Gibbon spent 26 years on his monumental book The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; William Bryant rewrote one of his poetic masterpieces a hundred times before it was published just to attain complete beauty and perfection of expression; young Lee Chong Wei, now Malaysia's finest badminton player, sleep by 10 o’clock every night and is up by 5 o’clock, after he finishes his breakfast at seven, it is a whole day of non-stop regimented training. These men have a tremendous focus on what they were doing and each one threw all his energy into his effort no matter how difficult the job.

With hard work, practice and discipline, they were gaining complete confidence in their ability to do the things that they do. It is this discipline of hard work and training, investing those countless hours of practice that leads to mastery that takes a skill or gift from the conscious level to just second nature to them. "Achievement," said Mortimer Adler, "seldom exceeds effort."

Here are three (3) techniques to make sure you're working hard:

Perfecting Your Discipline: Hard work is discipline, focused training that develops self-control. It helps you make the hard decisions, endure pain, and stay on track despite the stress, pressure, and fear.

Invest in Your Talent: All too often, our culture celebrates success without effort. And all too often, these stories turn out to be untrue (be careful about marketing scams that promise easy money and easy this-and-that). You have a responsibility to invest in your God-given talent for the long-term. If talent not used, it will be taken away from you.

Start At Home: A leader must send a message to his followers. They all must see the leader put in more effort than they did and therefore will be motivated to put in more effort themselves.


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Timothy, Tell the Wives to Be Faithful and Godly (1 Timothy 3:11)

"In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect,
not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything."
(1 Timothy 3:11, NIV)

The word used here is sometimes translated as "deaconess," but it merely means "women." The qualifications mentioned should certainly characterize the wives of both bishops (the leaders) and deacons (the helpers). If you read "In the same way," it means it is very connected with the previous verse, and so, it is evident that "women" here refer and applicable to any Christian leaders' wives who may have or have no leadership positions in the church. There are four (4) qualifications given by Paul here:

1) Worthy of Respect
2) Not Malicious Talkers
3) Temperate
4) Trustworthy in Everything

To me, the last qualifications embrace the entire scope of her life and service – "trustworthy [or faithful] in everything." She is to be faithful to her husband, loyal in how she serves others, devoted to the ministry and family, and committed to God. Such a woman will not be malicious talkers or gossipers, having self-control, worthy of respect, and a place of leadership.

H.A. Ironside commented on this verse: "In as much as [the leaders] have to do with the temporal affairs of the church, their wives are likely to cause endless trouble unless they are wise, godly women. If the wife is a busybody, she can destroy her husband very easily's an influence for good.” But if the wife has all four qualifications or characteristics like above, Ironside says, "A wife like this is a great asset to any man." So, women, wives, or wife-to-be, are you the husband's great asset or liability? A great supporter or hindrance to the ministry? A husband's helper or the Devil's instrument of slander?

Men or husbands – leaders – are you modeling
and exampling godly manhood to your partner?
It should start with you first.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Jesus' Leadership #25 Give Others Vision of Something Larger Than Themselves

Jesus walked up to the fishermen and said, “Come follow me and I will send you out to fish for people” (Matthew 4:19, NIV). They dropped their nets and followed Him. He met a woman at a well and said follow Me and you “will never thirst” again. She dropped her water jar and ran to get all of her neighbors (see John 4). History repeatedly has shown that people are hunger for something larger than themselves. Leaders who offer that will have no shortages of followers. In fact, higher purpose is such a vital ingredient to the human needs that the Scripture says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV).

Studies show that people will work harder and longer on projects when they understand the overall significance of their individual contribution. There was one experiment done to airplane workers. They were divided into two groups: Group 1 simply did what they were told to do, while group 2 were taken to the engineering lab and shown how their particular pieces were part of a magnificent jet that would fly higher and faster than any jet had ever flown before. Without any additional incentive, group 2 members’ productivity soared. They knew how important their contribution was to a larger plan.

When I was a teenager, I always wanted to climb a high wall in the neighborhood to steal some fruits. It wasn’t that high but not short either. One day, an angry dog chasing me and with a jolt of power, miraculously I climbed the wall effortlessly! I’ve read about a skinny mother in the newspaper who suddenly have a superhuman strength to lift a big motorbike off a fallen child during an accident. And about a young man who leaps into flames to save a kid. These events may seem extraordinary and dramatic but they demonstrate an important fact: When we are called to do something beyond our known capabilities when we’re forced to do our best – a sudden energy comes to our aids. Leaders can tap into this potential by showing others the long-lasting significance of what they are doing.

Jesus clearly and consistently conveyed to His disciples the significance of what they were doing. He spoke long and often about the calling, mission, and vision of God’s Kingdom and they could feel and know the long-lasting benefits of their work with and for Him. They were making an eternal difference in the lives of many people. They were serving God for something beyond themselves. Every one of us has this deep human need in us that requires purpose and vision of something larger than ourselves. Jesus – and as leaders, we should – gave His followers God-kingdom’s vision.

As a Leader, What is Your Higher Vision?
How Can You Communicate this Vision to Your Followers?

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Self-Leadership #6 Be Fully Committed

There are several characteristics that you must develop to build your character to become an effective and successful leader. First among equals in achieving this is commitment. Total commitment implies a lack of concern for anything except the task at hand. Total commitment means no loafing, idling, standing around, hanging out, or lazy doing. It means accepting sacrifice, suffering, hard work – in other words, whatever it takes to reach your goal!

The essence of commitment is the act of making a decision. The Latin root for decision is “to cut away from,” as in an incision. When you commit to something, you are cutting away all your other possibilities, all your other options. When you commit to something, you are also cutting away all the rationalizations, all the excuses. Like Brian Tracy’s book title: “No Excuses!”

Steve Jobs build Apple from a garage startup into a billion-dollar public company but this was not without difficulty. Years later, he lost a battle with the board about the direction of the company. The company stock fell and lost billions of dollars. Steve was fired and was in ‘exile’ for 12 years until his return. In one of his speeches, he stated his commitment to do great thing regardless of his circumstances: “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life… Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” Before, during and when he came back to Apple, Steve Jobs never stop producing “Insanely Great” products until his death.

Singleness of purpose – total commitment and intensity – is something all leaders can develop. Part of it lies in believing in what you’re doing. Jobs fervently believed that what he was doing was very important. Because of it, he radiated an intensity and commitment that was electric.

Here are three (3) techniques to up the “commitment quotient” in your team or organization:

Start With Yourself: Inspire those around you with your own level of commitment. When leaders go the extra mile, their followers will follow.

Talent Only Gets You So Far: A person with 100% ability and 50% commitment can throw a wrench into the whole system through inattention, inconsistency and laziness. Don’t take or hire those who lack commitment.

Weed Out the Uncommitted: Team or organization that wins is populated by winners. Weed out the uncommitted by applying the 80/20 principle: Get rid of 80% and only keep the last 20% of the committed team or focus working with them.


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John C. Maxwell on Leadership #18 The Value of Listening

Edgar Watson Howe once joked, “No man would listen to you talk if he didn’t know it was his turn next.” Unfortunately, that accurately describes the way too many people approach communication – they’re too busy waiting for their turn to really listen to others. But people of influence understand the incredible value of becoming a good listener. For example, when Lyndon B. Johnson was a junior senator from Texas, he kept a sign on his office wall that read: “You ain’t learnin’ nothin’ when you’re doing all the talkin’.” And Woodrow Wilson, the 28th American president, once said, “The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.”

The ability to skillfully listen is one key to gaining influence with others. Consider these benefits to listening that we’ve found:

Listening shows respect
Listening builds relationship
Listening increases knowledge
Listening generates ideas
Listening builds loyalty

Roger G. Imhoff urged, “Let others confide in you. It may not help you, but it surely will help them.” At first glance, listening to others may appear to benefit only them. But when you become a good listener, you put yourself in position to help yourself too. You have the ability to develop strong relationships, gather valuable information, and increase your understanding of yourself and others.

Focus on Listening to Others Today

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Jesus' Leadership #24 Turn Things Upside-Down

In almost every situation in which Jesus found Himself, His purpose was to turn things upside-down. In fact, that was His calling:

“The people have forgotten who the Father is. Turn this upside-down”
“There is a little girl dying. Turn this upside-down”
“People dishonoring the Temple of God. Turn this upside-down”
“Saul (later became Paul) was out to harm His disciples. Turn this upside-down”

If people were sitting in ashes, His job was to give “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3). The list goes on and on of the upside-down things He was sent to do. He did not have nor did He take the luxury of looking at difficult situations and saying, “Well, politically it would be wise for me to just go with the flow here…” No! In fact, He said at one point, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword…” (Matthew 10:34).

In each instance His upside-down technique was different. He followed no set of formula. If He had, all our prayers-fixed, tradition-observed or step-by-step-healing-method will be the same for all (Boring!) He didn’t come to give us formulas. He came to give us a new mindset – one that has an upside-down mentality. In fact, the word repent loosely means to turn around.

We are each called to be upside-down leaders. When we are faced with difficult situations, we should rejoice because that’s what we’re here for. It was said that the early Christians under the influence of the Holy Spirit “have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) even though they were under heavy persecutions. Late Billy Graham commented: “[Jesus and His Word] were simple yet profound. And they shook people, provoking either happy acceptance or violent refection.  People were never the same after listening to Him… The people who followed Him were unique in their generation. They turned the world upside down because their hearts had been turned right side up. The world has never been the same.” Leaders should respond positively like how Norman Vincent Peale said, “When you see a problem coming down the road, holler ‘Hello, Problem! Where have you been? I’ve been training for you all my life!’”

We each have within us the power and Spirit to turn things upside-down. In fact, if Jesus is our Leader and Lord, it should be ours too. Of course, not every problem or issue needs to be settle by turning it upside-down. But when it is required of you to do it as a leader, then, do not hesitate. Turn it upside-down!

What situation in your family, workplace, organization or team
would you like to see turned around, upside-down? Why? (or Why Not?)

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