Am I BIG Enough?

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After yesterday’s post about how Jesus was always the bigger person, I end up asking myself one simple question: Am I big enough? How can I display these same qualities? Can I be a big enough person to be the ‘salt and light’ Jesus is asking me to be?

We can be bigger people because God is big enough.

God makes us bigger. Jesus coming from heaven to earth and demonstrating how to  be bigger people helps us become bigger ourselves.

God is big enough to carry our stuff [1 Peter 5:7]

God is big enough to do exceedingly & abundantly more [Ephesians 3:20-21]

God is big enough to finish what He has started [Philippians 1:6]

God is big enough to create something out of nothing [Genesis 1]

As we approach Christmas and another New Year I am choosing to not make resolutions but rather have a word for the year. The word for 2017 for me is definitely going to be BIGGER.

To become bigger so I will make a difference.

To become bigger on the inside so what’s happening on the outside will not crush me.

To become bigger by taking the limits off, to not dismiss myself or others.

To become bigger so I am not easily offended or deliberately offending others.

To become bigger so I do not miss the small by being so focused on the great.

To become bigger, not living closed in but rather in the wide-open space God has for us.

Jesus was born small (obviously) but lived bigger. At Christmas don’t just become bigger by over-indulging, let’s be determined to become bigger by knowing Jesus better, learning from Him, and growing into the people the world needs us to be, with Him at the centre of all we are doing.

Where would you need to become a bigger person in 2017?

The Presence & The Practical

We need both. 

We need the presence of God. We need times of just standing in His presence. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to minister to us. We need the overwhelming sense of God and His transformational presence. 

We need the practical too. We need to take that presence and bump into the world in which we live. We need to love on people, encourage people, pray for people and going about doing good.   

In the Acts the Apostles we see this working at its very best. We read about how the early Church met together praying and worshipping in the temple. We read about how they ran a programme of practical help for those who needed care. 

The presence and the practical working together. A working of harmony. The rhythms of Grace bein experienced and then put to work too. 

More than that, those helping in the practical were to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to have an awareness of the power of God which was within them. 

The presence and the practical is a powerful combination. When it comes to kingdom building you possibly can’t have one without the other. Together they truly can change the world. 

Family Future

Enjoying time with all my family. We survived a trip to Alton Towers and lots of rides. The sun even shine on us. 

Good to be with my 3 beautiful daughters. We don’t get to spend time like we used to. They have their own busy worlds so I feel extra blessed on days like today. 

I pray over my girls every day. I speak Gods best over them. I prophecy into their future too. Leader. Prophet. Pastor. 

I never want to dampen their genuine desire to live for God, to grow in Him and serve in His House. If I am allowed to be then I am a very proud and happy dad. 

Walking around today, having some laughs, being a little scared together was just what was needed. Now for curry and a good nights sleep. 

Helping my Family to Flourish

Here’s another focus for 2016 which might seem a little twee but it’s one of the most important things in my life.

I love God with all my heart. He is definitely first in my life. My family is a close second.

My desire is to see them flourish and I take my responsibility as their parent in helping them to flourish very seriously. Actually, it’s the responsibility of helping them to be in the right place to help them to flourish that I take seriously. The right environment, surrounded by the right people is important and doesn’t normally happen by default but through deliberate action on both ours and their part.

Things I won’t do…

  1. Tell them what to be. Which doesn’t mean I won’t have an opinion, especially if I feel they are undervaluing their potential.
  2. Make them do what needs to be done to be what they want to be. I’m a great believer that you get what you deserve. I’m not going to stand over the shoulders to make them.
  3. Give up on them. Whatever, wherever, they are always my girls and they need to know they count on their dad.
  4. Not say NO to them. If I don’t believe it is the best for them I will tell them. They need to know that dad has their best in mind.
  5. Hold a grudge against them.

Things I will do…

  1. Pray for them every day that they stay strong for God and learn to stand in faith, no matter what happens.
  2. Tell them about our journey and how staying in the House of God has caused us to flourish.
  3. Encourage them to go for it. To not allow the past ever stop them from going for their dreams.
  4. Remind them that most dreams only happen over time and with lots of hard work.
  5. Keep the conversation going. That they know we are always willing to talk and available for them, whatever is going on in their lives. This includes asking awkward questions too.
  6. Try and stay calm. I know I am not the best at this all the time. I still get cross. I still raise my voice.
  7. Tell them I love them and get a hug. [They are getting older now so that’s not cool].

There’s so much more but this is my focus ~ helping my girls succeed in all areas of life and to flourish in their relationship with God.

Would you add anything?

 

Digging Deeper Into Gods Word

Yesterday I said I wanted more WOW moments in 2016. Here’s another one for the next year.

Sounds obvious. Surely any good Christian should be saying that? Well, my experience would be that many do say it, yet if we are honest not many do it. Unless invited, I can only take responsibility for my walk with God.

This is not about a WOW moment, instead this is just one of those things that I have a desire to do but am easily distracted from and therefore don’t do. Yet having said that, understanding God’s word better, being more familiar with it, will probably  create more WOW moments .

Recently someone prayed for me and told me that everything I needed for knowing God in a deeper way was laid up for me, just like the food at a coffee shop in the fridge. To get at the food requires the lifting of the lid, reaching in and taking what you want. The same is true when it comes to Gods word. If I delve in, God won’t let me down in revealing Himself in greater ways.

Why wouldn’t I want that? 2016 is a year for learning, delving, digging deeper into the Word, not just for preaching preparation, but for every day.

Leadership Disciplines [2]

Last week I wrote that to become a better leader requires discipline. 

The subsequent question could be, ‘in what’? Different leaders would answer this in different ways. I have some disciplines that would not be considered out of the ordinary, such as reading, keeping my relationship with God good & strong, staying teachable, praying, being accountable, etc.

To dig a little deeper this is where my thoughts are at the moment, what I am being disciplined about in regard to my own leadership. I know it’s not revolutionary but through recent conversations I was reminded about the importance of making these two a priority…

Stop telling others what to do. I am the leader, I probably have the right to tell you what to do, and it doesn’t mean I never will but I am doing my very best to more disciplined in my empowering of others.

This is not just about delegation but delegation with purpose. Helping others to flourish in their own abilities. It’s about me being disciplined to make sure that they know and understand the bigger picture, that they begin to see things that need to be noticed and thought about, and that they realise they have it within themselves to work out what should be done in response.

It means I am asking more questions of others. What do you think? How do you think this can be improved? What do you and your team think we could do? Why is this important to us?

It challenges others to grow. It challenges me to keep growing. It increases a sense of ownership. It releases people to flourish and get on with seeing the vision come to pass.

Stop doing things that others could do just as well. An article I read recently suggested that if someone can do something 80% as well as me, then maybe I should be giving them the permission and the resource to be doing it.

That is difficult for me as a leader. I like things done well. However, that just means that I keep control of everything for fear that they might not do it as well or the same way and that helps no one. The results are often negative – I get overwhelmed and they don’t have anything to get their teeth into.

I am therefore having to be more disciplined to get myself out of the way. To be purposeful in the giving away of roles and responsibilities. I am having to be disciplined in ensuring that as I empower others I resource them adequately and work with them on the journey.

Someone asked me how I think strategically about church, what is my thought and/or development process? I guess this would be a part of the answer. For any organisation to achieve its vision it takes more than one or two people, it takes as many as want to achieve it. Part of my role as a disciplined leader is to facilitate those opportunities and then to empower, equip and release those who are willing to be involved by stopping to to tell people what to do and getting myself out of the way.

What do you think? 

The Apprentice Rule

I was reminded about this recently from a number of different sources ~ who is my apprentice? Who am I investing my life in to, pouring my life in, spending time with so that they can learn from me. Not just words, books or articles but through experience and opportunity to.

When we write our story too often we want to be the protagonist, the main character, the hero. Instead we should place ourselves in the role of the guide, the one that this character looks for, the one to learn from, the one who can help make sense and bring order from the chaos.

Play this role. Find someone who can be the hero, the one who has the potential to go beyond your own achievements, that certain individual who just needs the right voice, challenge and encouragement to help see that potential fulfilled.

So question yourself. Who is my apprentice? Who is the learner in my world? Then ask yourself, when was the last time you purposefully sat with them and spoke any words of wisdom to them? When was the last time you included them?

If we all did this for one we would soon have a sea of champions, not just willing but ready and able to bring the change, the dream, the vision, their adventure to fruition. What a privilege to help make this happen.

Who are you doing this for? Who did/does this for you?

My Leadership Score

Leadership is challenging. It never stays the same.

One thing that I have discovered since my first leadership steps in 1989 is the ability to self-evaluate. To do it often and to be as honest as possible. If I can’t be honest with myself then what kind of leader will I really make.

In regard to the growth of all aspects of my leadership I have always worked hard to keep learning. To remain flexible and teachable. I am worried that as soon as I think I have arrived I will be become outdated.

Here is how it works for me:

Whatever the area of challenge, I choose to not see it as a failure but rather as an opportunity to learn. Where am I now, where do I want to be, what’s it going to take to get me there?

Leadership is not a competition. The only person to measure myself against is the person I use to be or want to be. If I score my attitude as a leader as 5 out 10 that’s not right or wrong, it’s just my own self-evaluation. The number is irrelevant really (unless I give yourself a 10/10 which in my opinion would be somewhat arrogant. There is always room for improvement). The main purpose behind such an exercise is identify where things need work and then decide I am going to respond.

We shouldn’t be scared of this, avoid this but welcome it. It’s all part of the leadership journey and becoming a better leader.