Archive for the ‘Integrity’ Category

Giving You the Best That I’ve Got

Monday, April 19th, 2010

The one thing I desire in ministry and in life is to give God the best that I’ve. I don’t always succeed, but I aspire to give him my best. How can we be sure that we are giving God the best we’ve got? Here are three very important questions that can help us to achieve maximum effectiveness in ministry and life.

Question #1: What is the motive of  your ministry? Service? Life?
Answer: Always choose the approval of God over the praise of people.

Question #2: How are you mastering your ministry? Service? Life?
Answer: Always choose excellence over mediocrity.

Question #3: What is the measure of your ministry? Service? Life?
Answer: Always choose the eternal over the temporary.

Which question(s) and answer(s) spoke to you the most? Which will you choose focus on over the next seven days?

Popularity: 6% [?]

Editing My Life

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

 Editing My Life

I am always looking for powerful questions I can use or that my closest friends can use to edit and vet my life. Though I will add to this list, here is a list of questions that I think am going to settle on for a while. These questions were produced by the Church Multiplication Association.  The ten questions are as follows:

1. Have you been a testimony this week to the greatness of Jesus Christ with both your words and actions?

2. Have you been exposed to sexually alluring material or allowed your mind to entertain inappropriate thoughts about someone who is not your spouse this week?

3. Have you lacked any integrity in your financial dealings this week, or coveted something that does not belong to you?

4. Have you been honoring, understanding and generous in your important relationships this past week?

5. Have you damaged another person by your words, either behind their back or face-to-face?

6. Have you given in to an addictive behavior this week? Explain.

7. Have you continued to remain angry toward another?

8. Have you secretly wished for another’s misfortune so that you might excel?

9. Did you finish your reading this week and hear from the Lord? What are you going to do about it?

10. Have you been completely honest with me?

What do you think about these questions? Are there others you can add to this list? Do you have someone in your life who can edit your life with these questions?

Popularity: 16% [?]

Protecting His Brand

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Many of you have already seen this ad that Nike and Tiger released this week. Let me say up front, I like Nike and Tiger, and I am really pulling for him to win the Master’s this weekend. If he wins, his will go down in the annuls as one of the most compelling stories in past and recent sports history. More importantly, I am pulling for him to be a better husband, father, friend and person.

Now, regarding the ad. I really didn’t know how to respond when I first saw it, and I wanted to withhold my opinion until I had time to digest its content and true meaning. As I thought more and more about the ad, it was obvious to me that Nike and Tiger weren’t selling clubs, balls, or shoes. But, they were selling something. What they were selling and how they were selling it, made me uncomfortable. They were using Tiger’s dead father’s voice, out of context mind you, to protect, re-image, and sell the Tiger brand. In my humble opinion, it seemed they were more interested in image rather character and integrity.

This ad inspired a personal question in me: As a leader and minister, how do I protect and sell the Jesus brand in my life each day? Here are some of my answers:

1. Begin each day by acknowledging my absolute need for Jesus
2. Express gratitude to Jesus every day for the gifts that he’s given me
3. Quietly transfer all glory to Him
4. Invite and pursue correction from godly men and women
5. Repent quickly and thoroughly
6. Don’t take myself too seriously (laugh at myself)
7. Model my life after the One who made himself of no reputation

What was your initial response to the Nike and Tiger ad? As a believer, what are some other ways you protect the Jesus brand each day?

Popularity: 11% [?]

Lessons From USC

Monday, January 4th, 2010

USC is imposing sanctions on its Men’s Basketball Team for violating NCAA rules involving former player O. J. Mayo. The university submitted to an internal investigation and found rules were violated during Mayo’s one season with the Trojans in 2007-08. The severe self-imposed sanctions include: 1) One year ban on postseason play, 2) a loss of one scholarship for this season and 2010-11 season, 3) a loss of one coach permitted to engage in off campus recruiting during the summer of 2010, 4) twenty less recruiting days allowed during the 2010-11 academic year, 5) vacation of its 21 victories during the 2007-08 season when Mayo competed, and 6) returning to the NCAA tournament money it received through the PAC-10 in 2008.

Athletic Director, Mike Garrett, said: “When we’ve done something wrong, we have an obligation to do something about it, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here.” I think it is commendable that USC was willing to suffer embarrassment and loss in order to maintain the integrity of its school and basketball program.

I wonder how different your life, my life, and our churches would be if we were that radical in maintaining the integrity and purity of our hearts before God and others. The way USC has handled these violations has caused me to ask several questions about when I violate God’s standards and when the integrity of my heart is at stake:

1. Am I willing to submit my life to a spiritual investigation by the Holy Spirit and God’s word?

2. Am I willing to acknowledge and confess the sins that God’s investigation reveals?

3. Am I willing to change my mind about that sin(s) and realign my behavior to meet God’s standards?

4. What radical inward and outward actions am I willing to take to prove my repentance?

5. What am I willing to lose to prove my repentance and to maintain the integrity and purity of my heart?

What other lessons can we learn from the USC saga? Are there other questions that we can ask to help us maintain integrity and purity of heart before God and others?

Popularity: 7% [?]

Dangers to Ministry Leaders

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Danger1 Dangers to Ministry Leaders

I have been in ministry a number of years, serving in small, midsize, and large churches. There are ministry mine fields all over, and one misstep can ruin your family, ministry and influence that God has allowed you to develop. Here are some DANGERS to ministry leaders that I have observed over the years. Our ministries are in danger when:

1. We love ministry more than we love Jesus and the people to whom we minister.

2. We are busy with busyness than busy enjoying the joy of our salvation.

3. Our spouses and families get our leftover energy instead of our best selves.

4. Our spouses and children see more joy in our faces for ministry than for them.

5. We begin to believe and embrace our own press clippings.

6. Our primary motives for ministry are applause, recognition, and idolization from our peers.

7. We allow our accomplishments to cause us to accept and live with “reasonable” sins in our lives.

8. We allow our abilities and gifting to cause us to become less dependent on God.

9. We allow our addiction to success to cut our appetite for our desire for Jesus.

10 We allow work to replace solitude and activity to replace prayer.

11. We let the addiction to the praises of people to keep us from living the truth and convictions of God.

What other dangers to ministry leaders can you add to this list? With which danger(s) do you most identify? How can you guard yourself against these dangers in ministry?

Popularity: 13% [?]

A Promise Worth Keeping

Monday, June 15th, 2009

dsc016973 300x225 A Promise Worth Keeping

The good looking kid (gets the looks from his mother) you see in the picture is my son, Micah. This year he has developed a love affair with baseball. On Thursday he asked me to work on his pitching with him. I told him that I would after I finished working out. I finished my workout, got something to eat, showered and before I knew it, time had slipped away from me. Now, I was rushing out the door to get to the office. As I was walking out the door, I heard his innocent but maturing voice, “I thought you were going to work on my pitching with me.”

Now, I had every intention on playing with him, but had conjured up several “good” reasons why we should postpone his pitching session: I was running behind schedule, he had just finished eating, and it had been raining earlier (Now, it really hadn’t rained long and hard enough to prevent us from playing). “Son, can we work on your pitching when I come back home this evening?” He said, “All right, dad.” Although his “all right” sounded like he understood, I knew it was laced with disappointment. His “all right” sounded like a hope deferred, and I was the one who had deferred it.  

When he conceded, I knew I was about to break a promise to my son. But, the Holy Spirit would not let me. He nudged me to put down my bag, my blackberry, and my afternoon snack and pick up my glove and work on pitching with my son. I obeyed. It was the best ten minutes of my day. Yes, it was inconvenient. Yes, it interrupted my flow. But, something more important than my schedule and my flow was at stake. My integrity was at stake. My example and reputation of being a “father who keeps a promise’ was at stake (I know another Father who has a reputation of keeping promises) This was about more than playing catch. It was about making and keeping a promise to my son. I told him I would, and I needed to keep my word. It was a promise worth keeping.

What promises have you made to your spouse, children, family and friends, that you need to keep today? What inconveniences or interruptions have you allowed to prevent you from keeping your word? What baby steps can you take to fulfill your promises?

Popularity: 49% [?]

Don’t Get Caught Slippin’

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Close to 14 years ago, I heard a message, from 2 Chronicles 26, by Chuck Swindoll. The essence of the message was detecting when there is slippage in the life of spiritual leaders. These principles made and continue to make an uber impact in my life and ministry, and I thought i would share them with you. There is slippage in your ministry when:

  • When greater battles are fought within instead of without.
  • When more attention is directed toward the leader instead of the Lord. 
  • When God's help is nice but not absolutely necessary for ministry. 
  • When worthwhile reproofs are resisted rather than received.
  • When the consequences of sin are ignored instead of feared. 

How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. Psalm 119:1

He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out. Proverbs 10:9 

What other indicators of slippage in ministry can you add to this list? 

Popularity: 8% [?]

Exposed at the Golden Arches

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Last week I went to the “golden arches” for lunch. I know, I know it’s not the healthiest food, but I had a “pregnant woman’s craving” for a hamburger and some of those golden, greasy fries. I placed my order, gave the cashier a twenty and he gave me all my food and my change (You know some are notorious for shorting you on everything, and then you have to go back in the cold, dark night and snow and sleet and demand justice! All they can offer you for your trek in the elements is a freakin’ medium drink. I digress).

Later that evening, when I was getting ready for our leaders’ retreat, I noticed that I had twenty-three dollars in my pocket, three dollars more than when I paid for my lunch earlier in the afternoon. 

Wow! I knew God could multiply loaves and fish, but to multiply my dollars while I napped, was beyond miraculous. It could be a ministry: “Increase While you Sleep!” Can the church say Amen! 

Well, God did not miraculously multiply my loaves, the cashier was irresponsible (in my favor, I might add). Instead of giving me thirteen dollars back for my change, he gave me twenty-three dollars. When I recognized what happened, my first thoughts were Praisallujah!!!! (I know it’s not a word, but it should be) God is good all the time and all the time, God is good; I have ten extra dollars; and It’s not my fault that math wasn’t his strongest subject in school. My next thought was I need to return it because it didn’t belong to me. But between my first thought and second thought, I felt a jab, stick and twist. The Holy Spirit, in a matter of seconds, had checked me, busted me, exposed me, stripped me, and told me to return the money, immediately, right now, instantly, promptly, forthwith, right away, pronto! I finished dressing and took the money back to the store. The cashier’s drawer was, in fact, short exactly ten dollars, and the manager suspected him of stealing it and was going to fire him. The manager and workers were shocked that I brought the money back and they offered me, get this, two apple pies and a large drink. They’re getting better. 
 
When I thought about the incident later, I realized that it wasn’t about the money, although money was involved. It was about something more expensive than ten dollars. This incident was about the rare and priceless commodity of integrity, of wholeness of character, of Jesus being integrated in to all of my life, even when it involved someone else’s error in my favor. In the end, the Holy Spirit saved a man’s job and a pastor’s character. Here are some questions to test and preserve our integrity/character as Jesus followers and as leaders:   
 
1. How free is my life from ethical and moral spots, corruption and inconsistencies? 
2. Have I compartmentalized my life, letting God in some rooms, while keeping him at bay from other rooms of my life? 
3. Is there an important area of my life that I am leaving uncultivated?   
4. Is there a gap between what I want to be known for and who I really am? 
5. Are my words dependable and trustworhty?
6. How insistent am I on thinking and speaking what it true? 
7. Is my financial stewardship honorable? 
8. How do I make and use money? 
9. Have I put money before people? 
10. Have I fulfilled my commitments completely? 
11. Are my allegiances clear or confused? 
12. By whom is my life being defined and shaped? 
13. On whose back have I thrown dirt? 
14. Have I initiated information that would discredit others? 
15. Have I slandered other people/leaders by saying things that are untrue and destructive?
16. Is there anyone in my life who can edit my life with tough questions?
 
Lord, may you join together, in holy matrimony, our private and public lives, and what you have joined together, let not inconsistencies, moral corruption, poor stewardship, gossip, popularity without power, clandestine relationships and ungodly business deals put it asunder. Amen!   

Popularity: 9% [?]