Lead Well: 5 Ways to Best Face the Challenge of Life

My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason; like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder; throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse”– my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths [Proverbs 1:10-15]

Life is a challenge. I would go as far to say that life is one long test. Things go well, things don’t go so well. Good days and other days.

I have made big mistakes which have had little or no impact on me, while other smaller, daft ones, have had the potential to cause major consequences. You just don’t know sometimes.

The challenge then becomes about protect yourself. To protect your future. To protect the God-given future. It doesn’t mean doing nothing and taking no risks. Verses like these in Proverbs have helped me to create some non-negotiables for how I travel, make decisions and walk with God through life.

Do not consent. Stay strong. Learn to say NO. There are some things which I should just not agree to.

Be alert to ambush. Keep an eye out for what’s going on around you. Call them boundaries, guardrails, whatever. Put them in place, they will keep you from getting caught out.

Stay away from the place of danger. Don’t go to those places where temptation may be too strong. It’s too easy to justify our behaviour sometimes but ultimately it only hurts us.

The crowd is not always right. This may be the message of the world but we are not meant to just go with the way of the world. It doesn’t matter everyone else is doing it or even that society says it’s ok. Do what is right because it is the right thing to do.

Hold back when appropriate. Take a moment. Look. Really look. Fools do rush in. It can be difficult but learn to wait for Gods lead.

All with the power of the Holy Spirit helping you too. This is the adventure of leading well in life. Go for it!

Would you add anything else to the list of non-negotiables?

Freedom With Boundaries

But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she (Potiphar’s wife), caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me’. But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. [Genesis 39:11-12]

I have been posting lately about integrity and about how ‘why’ must come before ‘what’. As he walks with God, Joseph is a great example of both of these.

We may think that a result of walking with God is that life becomes restricted but that is wrong thinking. When we walk with God we access a new freedom, one where we are encouraged to live in the wide-open space of all that God has for us.

It is a freedom, with boundaries.

Such a statement can sound like a paradox. How can freedom include boundaries, yet with God I think it’s right. The boundaries come because God’s best for us is contained within them. God is not restricting us, He is protecting us. His desire is for us to flourish in the safety of ‘His green pastures’.

Boundaries though not always enjoyable are good for us. They are not about legalism, but about grace. They are not about religion either. Good healthy boundaries come from strong healthy relationships. Just as we encourage our own children to not go beyond certain boundaries because of dangers that may lay beyond them, God is the same.

Joseph had a big enough view of God to know that even though staying within God’s best may not always make sense in the natural, that he could be placing himself in trouble, he also knew the benefits of living within those boundaries were of far greater value. God was there in the middle of it all.

Joseph’s boundaries came from his values and beliefs, from the WHY he was here, not just from a check list of WHAT had to be done.

The boundaries caused him to do a number of things…
…to keep walking with God
…to work hard wherever he was
…to honour those he worked for, wherever that may be
…to always be listening to God
…to have a helpful attitude
…to known when to flee if in a compromised position

I am challenged to look at the boundaries in my life and why they exist and to be honest enough to change them if they don’t line up with the boundaries that God has laid for me. After all, God’s are the better than mine.

Why, Not What

Been challenged recently in my thinking about WHAT I am doing in the context of WHY I am doing it. This doesn’t come easy for me. As someone who is naturally more of a systems and process type of person, I can easily make it all about WHAT I am doing and how I am doing it and forget the WHY.

However, as I go about my day-to-day role within the life of Xcel Church this is the question I am keeping at the forefront – does WHAT I am doing clearly demonstrate the WHY?

I have to be a leader who leads with WHY not WHAT.

WHAT is a tick-list of things to be done. Nothing wrong with that, things need to get done. WHY is the inspiration behind the tick-list.

WHAT can go wrong and often does. In that situation, if we only focus on the WHAT then we may get discouraged. The WHY keeps you going even when things go wrong.

WHAT is the end product. WHY is the value on which the end product is built.

Have you ever given thought to what your WHY is? Does WHAT you do demonstrate to others what your WHY is?


10 Things That Can Shape Your 2010

Are we the architect’s of our future?

God has laid up some incredible things for our lives. Our responsibility is to place ourselves correctly in life, making sure that we stay in those plans. Easy. Or not.

To make 2010 an incredible year, maybe the best one yet here are 10 things you could do:

1. Review 2009: what did you achieve? what did you not achieve?
2. Set the bar: use this years achievements or lack of, to move it a little higher for 2010
3. Read your Bible: go for cover to cover through the year – go on, give it a go.
4. Lay down the BIG rocks: what are the key things you want to see happen during 2010 – holidays, special occasions, events, conferences
5. Mark your boundaries: planning sets boundaries, boundaries determine what is allowed.
6. Learn to say NO: boundaries give you control, they remind you what you should be saying NO to. If you can’t say no you will end up doing some stuff that leads to drift, get you distracted, followed by disappointment (again).
7. Learn to say YES: don’t hide from opportunity. Your year will be shaped by what you say YES to as much as what you say NO to. Some times you just have to go for something.
8. Pray things through: no one says 2010 will be easy but just because it gets tough doesn’t mean you should walk way either. Keep strong in your faith, pray it through and then pray it through again.
9. Get with like-minded people: for those at Xcel join a Connect Group – support, encouragement, sharing of successes and failures too
10. Have fun along the way: make time for hanging out with those special people in your life, know how to chill out and have a laugh

What are your hopes for 2010?
Make some great decisions today and get yourself ready for what God has in store for you