Change of leading – Things are changing

 

We cannot read the narrative of the life of Jesus without seeing change going on often hidden in a number of different actions, words and motives in action.   It comes down to comments  that Jesus made such as “…you say this but I say…”, outlining a change of life style, order and action in that very moment when people encountered this Jesus.   It makes me wonder how many of us bring about change in the people we meet, in their concepts, practices and lifestyles?   I say this totally believing that  this is our gospel of the Kingdom and what the gospel calls us to become and to be, those who announce change and enable change at every hand in humanity.    That my preaching is not about the performance or the rhetoric but more about it being a stage in the listener’s life of enabling transformation or simply enabling different thinking patterns.

Jesus had this knack of, “…you say this but I say…” constantly, for some it was liberating for others it produced a reaction, with some getting angry to the demands, awakening people to they lives lived by a religious scale, it’s a precious lesson for us to know asking ourselves “..at what level of a religious scale do I live at or with”?  I hear some saying as a reaction “…Listen I am not religious, I am a Christian, it’s about relationships…”  really, but where are you on your religious scale, my question still stands.   We all have some religion that we are being liberated from, when we look at our lives in the cool of day I am sure we would agree that there is religion there.   The joy is we have a way of liberation of freedom on offer as we listen to the “you say this but I  say this” directions.   It is things changing in us then around us!

When Jesus arrived, the book of Hebrews summed it up, there was a change of priesthood happening, with laws and practices moving from shadows and pictures into reality in the life of Christ.   The message becomes “…better…” as the Hebrews write declare many times, better covenant, better priesthood, better…  So when God came to earth when mankind embraced the divine and Jesus arrived in Nazareth religious vessels broke, patterns of old ways had to change, rules came undone and a new kind of life broke in and the “…Kingdom of God came amongst men…” 

For instance if you were a  Rabbi you were not supposed to talk to Samaritans, heal on the Sabbath, challenge the Religious, hang out with fishermen, get your feet washed by ladies of unknown origin, go to dinner with tax collectors , travel with women and the list continues on and on – Things Changed, things are changing!

Jesus did all that and more, it did not bother him to challenge the status quo or what others thought, in our day, I believe a of restoration and as a restorer that we are here to restore society it still means I don’t need to fit in and I do need to be a catalyst of change to a Jesus way.   I should not simply fit in as  a matter of fact I should bring about change and be the incarnation of God in my daily life in my society,  showing grace and bringing the demand for Justice and righteousness in what ever way the situation and circumstance demands.

Our cultures are changing at breakneck speed, it is hard to keep up, the church, that is, you and I, are to be the cause of change and not just reactors to the changes.    This is restoration, causing cultural change, causing the Kingdom of God to come to our worlds with in worlds is it not?

Here are some of the things in dealing with the people of God and in dealing with what we call ministry that are changing; but first I want to list some of the older patters that need to change and are being transformed for us by a new priesthood.

Be loyal to your denominations – do what they say it is for the best – yet in our world where the relationship word is strong and has a growing influence and vocabulary use and relationships and covenant is becoming more demanding making sure that relationship/covenant does not to reinvent control or incorrect demanding loyalty but to be like God in our relationship and keep faithful

Be slow to change so people don’t get uncomfortable, its been focus on who you have and done reach out

Do all you can to keep money people in the congregations – bills need paying

Make doctrinal correctness your top priority – quickly correct, judge and separate deviants.

Love people who fit in your church vision and are like you.  tolerate others the best you can

Lots of programs so everyone has something to do all the time, more is better, keep them looking in on the programs.

Your style of preaching/teaching is to tell people what to do as you know better.  Talking down to people.

Do everything decently and in order – be predictable 

I would say that all these above are under the scrutiny of change in some way or another, they are all on a journey of being  discovers and restored correctly or done away with in a new culture though a reformation that is happening all around us.    Each one of the above could and should be discussed in their own right to see the change look at its implication but this is not my aim today. 

Now lets turn a page and look at some new ways that may be in your street right now.

Care, Care, Care really care for people.  people know if you don’t.   Society around cannot deal with real, authentic loving relationships when centered on Christ.   Be a careful we still get caught in judging quicker than loving.

Enhance Life.   Do something in your community to enhance life being socially minded, it gives people something to take to others and helps to give a point of conversation.

Teach accurately – help people to hear God for themselves in a world with so many voices and opportunities in hearing the word.   Making teaching simple by the teaching through relevant topics.

Speak bluntly DONT OFFEND PEOPLE FOR NO REASON.   sometimes we must say things to help people in the complexity of life, most will appreciate your courage of conviction as long as you don’t judge.   here is an old one don’t use the teaching and preaching to vent frustration what you don’t like, BE CHRIST TO PEOPLE reach, accept and love while changing.

Involve in mission all people

Media – use it but not over kill.   People want people not celluloid, authenticity means life touching life not film, video, media saying it all, there is nothing fleshed out, there is no message.   Use it to enhance life and not instead of life, easier said than done some times for techies.

Change quickly when it’s not working, no method is in stone, find better ways all the time, bring people to change and be sure of change – ITS THE GOSPEL!   help people’s emotion to be able to change.

Authentic – BE IT people see and recognize emptiness a long way off, or some one full of words and no authenticity, be honest about your failures but don’t use them or live from  or on them, don’t use them for emotional currency it will not build, just be authentically in love with God and his people and be authentic yourself..

Practical what you say or teach either works or it does not, if it does not you will lose friends and eventually all but if your practical works you will gain friends.

Be a little crazy shake up, adventure, take a step, break through Peoples tipping point, give people a reason to be out there and of course give opportunity while you model adventure.

In all these see if you can adopt and try changing,  let the something changing be you?

 

From your WHY’s to where next.

The last time I wrote my blog it was a little tongue in cheek regarding our parenting experience suggesting it is a common experience to every parent. The child’s propensity to ask the eternal question of “why”, “why” o for  a respite from “why’s” some times, this question  has had parents thinking for all time. I began in this way only to present to you the question that we should not lose or perhaps better said, an attitude we should not lose that of asking questions to stay as a continual learner and a growing learner.

Before anyone contacts me and takes up the issues of Questions & Questioning, I am not asking you to become a “Questioning person”. There is a hugely different approach to having a learning attitude, to becoming a person who is constantly learning, thriving on gleaning new insights and experiences, different to someone who is just plainly questioning everything.

We live in a world, certainly in the UK with cynicism all around, at present it is at its height, I am finding more and more as we live in a world of growing loss of TRUST.  Why, with the great erosion of trust in old institutions,  corners of our society that have always been there such as banks, health services, church denominations and every other institution, it produces a person to ask “…who can we trust?   It is fundamentally producing a greater questioning and unfortunately it is reproducing  a growing lack of trust in our society with the possibility of creating even bigger cynics?

Questioning constantly unfortunately brings about destructive elements,  it can bring momentum to a full-stop, bind and prevent initiatives even before they are  out of the starting blocks. Questioning could keep you second-guessing, wondering and grasping for a way forward, it makes you wonder sometimes if anything is acceptable. Be careful of questioning, it can even be the means for some people to take control or to establish higher ground and  win control or dictate an environment just by continually questioning every one and everything, meet people like this?

Developing a learning way of life on the other hand is a must, discover a way of asking questions without being questioning. Questions must be formed, must be asked in an attitude of learning in-oder to progress. In the light of this I will continue in listing questions, adding to the 3 already asked in my last blog, I trust they become not only an interesting reading but points of learning for each one of us.

Do I empower and take people to a higher place?

Here is a wonderful line “my success is determined by the seeds I sow, not the harvest I reap”, that is, do I  sow seeds into others to empower them, seeds that will continue and produce a harvest in their lives? Can I make my life’s aim to add value to others so that others might add value to an ever-expanding circle of more people. One of the challenges for all who are influencers/leaders is to add value to people and steer away from adding value to themselves. The servant leadership style of Jesus certainly added value to other people. In Eph 4:11 cf. we are told that the living ministries of the body of Christ, the church, should be equipping others, that is adding value to others rather than amassing to themselves. In the history of movements in our world one of the greatest orators of one movement  in regard to issues of colour and race was Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Who said it well “life’s most important urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”

  • This question provokes my understanding and my given-ness to mission

Do I stop and think?

Take time to think, one of the greatest lacks I’m told in all industry and in regard to developing any initiative is the lack of thinking that is done. Everything is action, doing, its pragmatic to really advance we need thinking along side doing.  This is not a day-dreaming exercise I am highlighting it is taking time to think, to consider the plan to work a way through. I read once  “a minute of thought is greater than an hour of talk”, its taking time to think. Thinking will help you and I to live life more purposefully, to take hold of life that sometimes just constantly comes at you and not allow those circumstances to dictate, not allowing the expectation of others to determine, or allowing status quo to dominate having you to conform. Take up the pen of your own life and author your own life, write on the page of heart and motive how by first clearing your diary and taking time to think.

  • This question provokes influencing/leadership

Who do I give my time to?

You cannot deny that the crowd you run with, the people you associate with will have a major influence on your perception, and of course your actions.   People can even trace back their achievements or failures to the crowd they run with, that is the people they connect to.   This is not an exercise on who to blame but we can certain trace failures and achievements to the relationships we have in our lives. Therefore make deliberate choices with who you spend your time with, be selected with whom you join to on your journey of life especially if you have influence or direct and lead anything. Choose companions that are those with a commitment to personal growth, those with potential for the now and future, people who will pour themselves out from others and carry a healthy attitude.   Making a difference will always come down to the choice of relationships as its “…as every joint supplies…” growth occurs scripture says.

  •  This is a question of relationship

Do I know your strength and therefore stay in your strength area?

I’ve had so many people pass comment about working on their weaknesses while they take no notice or even disregard their strengths, this has become part of management training even working on your weaknesses. However effective people are diligently in developing their strengths. To be effective each one of us have to learn to partner with others, the reason for your weakness is to find other people to walk with.   Learn to ask for assistance to delegate so that you can focus on that which only what you can offer to every environment. Its enabling you to offer your uniqueness while allowing others to offer their uniqueness to you. It’s not necessary for anyone of us to do all the work and certainly not to have an all-knowing attitude, it’s such a disappointment to find people who think they know it all our goal must be in staying effective while staying in our strength area then need others around us to add their strengths!

  • This question brings to mind how effective I am

Am I caring for today?

The secret of achieving anything is determining what is required today, the daily schedule “I chose” the everyday focus I have.  Realizing if i do not focus on today my time will be lost and will flitter away. Most people have heard or have been taught about writing a to-do list which is good and necessary,  however I think  a more powerful list which needs a an understanding is a simply action of writing a “not-to-do list”. A list that keeps you away from the little things that drain your time, your thinking and energy. This is not a blog to outline a “not-to-do list” may be it should appear in another blog but for now its sufficient just to pass comment. Asking this question are my daily routines, habits of life steering me towards a goal or simply filtering away my time. Psalm 90 tells us to “…number our days…”, the writer of the Psalm firstly encourages to realize the time is fleeting followed by its time to be serious about making each day count.

  • This is an achieving and

Do I develop others?

“The ultimate test for a leader is not whether he or she makes smart decisions and takes decisive action, but whether he or she teaches others to be leaders and builds up a people who can sustain an advance the goal they set when they are not around. True leadership strives to create successors who will go beyond them”

Lorin Woolfe

  • This makes you consider legacy

Am I investing myself?

In traveling several continents involving in different organizations, church families etc., wherever people are throw together with a purpose to achieve I have noted common characteristics in life-long learners.    I believe this final question is hugely important and will be the foundation to all the others, it’s a question on personal growth. Listed is a simple list of my findings asking a question of each of us to look inside ourselves and make an investment to your own growth and learning.

Life-long learners are:

  • People who possess a teachable attitude
  • People investing in growth orientated resources and relationships
  • People capture what they learn by applying the knowledge gained
  • People who are reflective
  • People who turn experience into insight
  • People who pass on to others
  • People who are willing to choose to leave their comfort zone
  • People who develop personal growth

Finally develop the art of questions and help others to ask questions of themselves and their environment with an aim to find a learning attitude, enlarging this attitude, developing and being inspired through your learning attitude.

How Many Questions

“Why?” I think this must be the most used statement from a child as they go through their 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, 5’s years and beyond sometimes. When they’ve asked their 1st why it’s so exciting it’s so great to see this little bundle of life growing up but when you get to your 5th and 6th “why?” on the same question it challenges you as a parent not to utter the final close down statement of “Thats why!”. We tried and tried with our children especially our 1st as every other word was “why?” not do the “that’s why” response but I did fail from time to time, as it became very tiring.

Questions must become our way of life, it’s important to know the questions that needs to be asked and the questions that don’t, it becomes hugely necessary to know how to ask questions to gain knowledge and simple answers to enquiries. In some conversations it is necessary to know how to frame the question 3 or 4 ways to ensure you’re getting the correct or unfortunately the truthful answer.    Questions are necessary for life.

The inquisitive mind of a child is astounding, that’s why it’s such a challenge not answer with the “that’s why!” response, its our aim every time the “why?’ is asked to try to be respectful to the growing inquisitive mind. It’s sad when parents see it only as an attempt to unseat their authority, questioning who they are at worst, it’s just growing up.    Just as at  a few months old everything seems to end up in a baby’s mouth, is just another way of asking “why?” through taste and touch but now words formed and the ”why?” word is asked.

Your world and my world is mysterious to most of us, and never mind if we try to take the mystery out of our world it has a life of its own and invades back in.    Mystery and questions we must live with.     To a child the world is huge and mysteries at every hand, even our conversation sets up more mystery for a child.     I remember once trying to slow one of our children down and just flipping off the top of my tongue a simple cliché “… Don’t do that you’ll run yourself into the ground…”, watching the child stopping and in every way in her mind trying to handle the thought of the ground opening up or her little legs becoming part of terra-firma.   More mystery for the child to deal with in an alien world.

The questions we ask often simple attempts to piece together the puzzle of life and for the child the “Why?” is an attempt to work with that.    Why can’t I do that, why can’t I stay above the 9 PM, why can’t I stay out like, why not need to, I’m sure you can think of your ceaseless catalogue of why’s.

Unfortunately for some people this childlike curiosity diminishes as they get older. Yet, we live in a world that I realise that has more and more to discover.    Any one who watches the BBC nature program or tried to get in contact with Facebook, web, iCloud, technology knows  Through my journey I have attempted to keep growing and probing and new ideas and ask myself continually “why?”

I have a ‘Duffty theory’ which is very simple that is “to keep fresh and young at heart is to remain a constant learner”. It’s not just a theory I’ve even asked around finding out that those young oldies are quite often the constant learners of society or group or church. Before we go any further I’d like to make a distinction between learning and being a learner, there are many in pursuit of learning which has its necessary place in all our lives. Learning, gaining understanding of information as part of our lives, however being a learner is a disposition and a way of life, an attitude I am trying to cultivate that every one can never mind on your academic ability.    These both being a learner and learning are good practices but one is to develop an attitude not just an ability.     I have noted for some who pursue learning unfortunately they sometimes become people who have a narrow field of learning as they get more learned, I am not bring this quality to forward, it’s the ability to be a learned even from the youngest, from life’s simple movements in creation.    To see in every day an adventure to be a growing learner learning from all, everyone and everything.

During life’s journey through my discovery, through others I would like to share with you some good questions in a world of too many questions that I believe will develop a continual learning disposition.

And I generally interested in others?

If you are in any form of influence, parenting or causing a direction to a group of people that is leadership each one of these requires the abilities to see before and seen more than others, as it is necessary for you to figure things out 1st.     The challenge with this ability is not to take advantage of others, some self-centred leaders manipulate and move people for personal benefit.     True influence/leadership will motivate people for the people’s benefit or for mutual benefit, the place that is best of others above themselves

This question probes your motive

Am I doing what I love, love in what I do?

No one will ever fulfill anything especially your destiny if you despise your tasks.    A good realisation is that none of us are anything unless it comes from a heart.     It’s frightening to discover a 25-year-old, 35-year-old, 45-year-old… wake up daily, go to work and cycle through routine processes and functions this is effectively they’ve retired. To make affect to be a ‘difference maker’ passion has to be brought to the table, commitment and caring to all you do. Passion gives you the energy to take advantage

This question provokes your passion

Am I my pleasing God?

The writer in the in Psalms encourages each of us to “…number our days…” that this be aware of how short they are and how few we have. I am sure your history tells you that or even the thought of where has all the years gone?     In the shortness of our days we have great significance, significance often beyond what we can imagine.      Sandra and I enjoy watching films often we come away with concepts, clichés and one-liners that stay with us, actually I think the cinema is quite often the preaching platform of our day.    There’s a line in a classic film called ‘Gladiator’, just at the very early stages of the Romans characters journey, as he is about to lead his cavalry into battle he calls out for all to hear “what you do in life echoes in eternity”, the film proceeds to fill out his life then indicating the echoes of eternity he will have, it is a story of what he has done in his life out.     But how true this statement is, it provokes us to live our life well.   A life lived well is one with a clean conscience, honourable, generous, explaining God to our world living this before God and mankind.       Focus your efforts, your passion, your energy on worthwhile causes/purpose that will blast your time in a time/space world.

This question is an eternity question

 I leave with you 3 simple questions that could transform you and perhaps in my next blog we will return to a few more, perhaps you seek to make these three practical in your day. Don’t cross out the child’s “why’s” perhaps determining to ask a few more “why’s” yourself everyday.