Humbled, Honored & Hungry for More

HumbledHonoredHumbled

It seems so long ago that the proverbial rug was snatched out from under me as the market crashed in 2007.  As a financial advisor and teacher of Biblical financial principles it was quite humbling to go from six-figure income to close to zero. To move from full IRA’s, cash reserves and little debit to none of the former and too much of the later.  To go from seemingly knowing it all, having it all together and planned out for the next 10 years to not knowing how a bill was going to get paid.  I had been humbled.  Humbled where I didn’t even realize I needed humbling. I was serving faithfully and giving generously beyond the tithe, doing everything you read about in the good book.

Everything but….following that still small voice. Everything but surrendering my plans for God’s greater plan.  But the voice was just a whisper and the whisper didn’t seem to be in complete sentences. Write, speak, coach. A planner by nature I needed more info than that to begin.  Give me a vision. Give me the 3, 5, 10 year plan. Give me the details of how to achieve it and I’ll gladly go.  But God said No. Do what you know to do write, speak, coach. Seek me for all that you don’t know. The vision will come. But the 3, 5, 10 year plan and the details I can’t give you all that. If you have all that and begin to accomplish it on your own, pride will return and my plans will not prevail. No, you must continually walk humbly with me. He was faithful. He did provide the vision.  In the journey of the last few years I write about the vision in my latest book Created to Lead: A fresh perspective for women seeking God’s path to their purpose and their highest potential. The vision was to launch the National Association of Christian Women Leaders (NACWL) which I did in November 2014. No 3, 5, 10 year detailed plan given just 3 tasks I’ve been charged with unite women – grow leaders – fight injustice.  Do I know what that means, what the details are. No. Do I trust God that he will fulfill his plan.  He promises just that in Psalm 138:8

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for you.

So not knowing. I walk humbly with God wondering where this road will take me, whether it’s worth it or will I only look foolish, finish poor and forgotten. Those and many other doubts when God decides to give me a glimpse of his great love.

Honored

It’s quite a detailed story but I’ll share with you the highlights. I connected recently with an organization I had never heard of – Christian Life Missions.  They followed me and NACWL on twitter. Since I had never heard of them I asked what brought them to me. Through a series of tweets, emails and concluding with a phone call I learned they were interested in partnering with me to write for their organization.  It’s a very cool opportunity in and of itself but it gets even better.  (It just amazes me how personal and tender God’s shows his love for us).

So let me back up a minute so you can understand what I share next. When it comes to influencers of my life it really has come from the books I’ve read and the Bible studies I’ve done.  In addition to the Bible my mind and life have been transformed by the likes of John Maxwell, Zig Ziglar, Beth Moore, and Joyce Meyers ju51+I8ymR+zL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_st to name a few. Yet as much as these have influenced me I can point back to two books that have been a catalyst for me discovering my purpose and genuinely lighting a fire in my bones for Christian Women in Leadership.  One of those books was written by Lee Grady titled Ten Lies The Church Tells Women: How the Bible Has Been Misused to Keep Women in Spiritual BondageHe has written so many books about women, the injustices we face and the truth that sets them free. He is such a proponent of women that after witnessing the atrocities of babies being thrown in the trash because they were female in third world countries that he has founded a ministry to continue his support of women titled The Mordecai Project. While I am not the celebrity groupie type, I am so very thankful for his work and the influence it has played on my life. So thankful that He chose to listen to the still small voice of God.

So back to my writing assignments for Christian Life Missions.  Christian Life Missions as it turns out is a affiliate of Charisma Magazine. Lee Grady was the Editor of Charisma Magazine for quite sometime before his writing and ministry took his life a different route. He still writes a blog for them called Fire in My Bones. His influence runs through the organization to their affiliate Christian Life Missions. He also happens to be a board member for Christian Life Missions and he writes for them along with Alveda King (niece of Martin Luther King, Jr and civil rights activist herself).

When I pieced it all together I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.  God has blessed me with the honor of writing on the same website as Lee Grady!!  How amazing is the love of the father that he lavishes on us!! I am so honored. So humbled that I get this opportunity.

My first article is up at Christian Life Missions and you can read it by clicking on the image below.

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 Hungry for more

The journey has been painstaking at times. There have been many tears shed, possessions lost, relationships tried. The valley was a lonely place even though I knew God was there I found myself doubting more times than a person of strong faith should have.  Yet as I look back to see how God humbled me, how honored I am with the opportunities that he has placed before me I can truly say I am only hungry for more of him.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a Bird, You’re a Bird

GodSees

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 was a part of my devotional recently. It reads

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.

So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing.Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. 

As crazy as it may sound upon thinking about this passage the line from the movie The Notebook came to mind “I’m a bird, you’re a bird”

While I don’t believe in reincarnation or prior lives I do believe that in God’s Kingdom we’re all the same. I.e., if you’re a bird, I’m a bird. The scripture clearly lays out that when these earthly tents (our bodies) fall away that what remains is the body that God built and has sealed with his Holy Spirit. In Matthew 22:30 this new body is described as like angels.

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

So if these earthly tents – that are black, white, red, male and female – are all the same on the other side of heaven. And even here on this earth because of Christ’s work we have been gifted the Holy Spirit and God sees us all the same. Why then does the church tell women you can’t teach, you can’t preach?  If God himself made us the same and sees us the same and then gifted us accordingly with a variety of spiritual gifts then why does the church continue to look at the outward tent to determine who should do what for His Kingdom? And more importantly why do women care? Scripture (vs 10 above) clearly says we will stand before Christ for judgement. With that in mind – speak, speak, speak! In a world of social media, youtube you are no longer caged inside a church building.  Proclaim the message God has given you!  You are free to fly!

To the Women Whining about the Church

BigGirlI noticed it a couple years ago when I read The Resignation of Eve: What if Adam’s rib is no longer willing to be the back bone of the church by Jim Henderson.  Around the same time there were tons of articles about women whining about the inadequacies of women’s ministry.  Here are just a few.

Why Women Don’t like Women’s Ministry by Bianca Juarez Olthoff

Look up (Why I hated Women’s Ministry) by Kate Conner

Why I don’t do Women’s Ministry by Gift for Leadership blog

I even write about what I found scripturally to the question “Do Women Really Need the Church?” back then. The whining about women’s ministry seems to have died down quite a bit. Though I suspect the reason for it only being a small whimper is that the church’s answer to that issue was to stop women’s ministry altogether.  It’s classic we can’t fix the problem so let’s just eliminate it. If’ there’s not a women’s ministry then there won’t be complaining about women’s ministry. Yet this work around has only magnified the discontent for many women. The discontent (aka whining) is still there and so is the continued exodus of women from church.  Here are a few recent examples of that.

What Women Want: More Opportunities to Serve by Halee Gray Scott

Women: The Church’s Most Wasted Resource  by Jim Henderson

What Happens When We See Women Teach the Bible by Sharon Hoddle Miller

Losing their Religion: More women join the unspiritual set by Cathy Lynn Grossman 

Why Working Woman are Starting to Unplug from Their Churches by Sandra Crawford Williamson

Yet when I read story after story of this discontent and the debates for the illusive solution it’s beginning to sound to me a lot like a whining wife.  But instead of the wife whining about her husband – He doesn’t listen to me, he doesn’t appreciate me, blah, blah, blah – it’s women whining – the church doesn’t listen to me, the church doesn’t appreciate me, blah blah blah. As I have listened to and read this insistent whining I’ve made a few observations I’d like to share with women.

First observation If you see the church in the same light as you see your husband then can I say you are married to the wrong man!  You are the bride of Christ. Not the bride of the Church.  You are not called to serve the church you are called to BE THE CHURCH.

Second Observation: Jesus started his ministry in the church but soon the leaders of the church saw his wisdom and his teaching as a threat to their way of doing things (aka pride overruled truth). (Sound familiar?) It was this catalyst that took the gospel to the world. So what you have to take your gifts, talents and wisdom outside the church. Just like Jesus it’s the churches loss not yours. The world needs you!! Get moving!

Third Observation: Why as a woman do you insist on being a Big fish in a little pond.  Did you ever stop to think that less than 20% of the world will ever set foot in a church.  Could it be that God is actually stirring up all this discontent among women so that the 80% in the rest of the world could actually experience the love of God through seeing women use, live and fulfill their God given purpose?  I’m not sure who authored the following cliche’ but I’m pretty sure they were reflecting on God’s work in their lives – “people don’t change unless they feel that the pain of staying the same has become greater than the pain of change.” Are you tired of feeling the same old pain??

Fourth Observation: Stop seeking to people please or to garner the approval of people (i.e., the leaders at church). You are no longer under the old covenant. You are under the new covenant – a disciple of Christ. And Paul reminds us in the following passage that we have all we need to carry out the mission that God has for us.

21So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you—22whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, 23and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God. 1 Cor 3: 21-22

It is no longer necessary to follow or seek approval of a church leader. We are to follow Christ, please God and we are Created to Lead others to him. It’s time to stop listening to the great deception that you are not enough. You are enough!! God has given you everything you need to do the work He has called you to do .

Fifth Observation: Why are you as women waiting for the church to authorize your leadership, your ability to preach, your ability to use your gifts of administration, your ability to teach. Any gift for that matter.

 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. 1 Peter 4:10-11

Natalie Nixon a writer for Inc.com in a recent article calls what I’m talking about here the Law of Momentum. Why do we continue banging on the door that may be closed to us, rather than going through the doors that are open. If God is not opening doors inside your church – go where the doors are open!

As the Founder of the National Association of Christian Women Leaders God is calling me to swing wide the doors for women to discover their purpose, grow as leaders, and use their gifting NOW!! We have opportunities galore for women who want to use their gifts and talents for God.  You can write for our website, lead a local #NACWL group, use your gifts as a teacher, counselor, coach in our online forums, share your God story, share a video of a message you have preached, the opportunities are endless.

So what are you waiting for?? Put on your BIG girl shoes and run for your future.

To explore #NACWL visit our website. I am also giving away 25 free copies of our manifesto (Created to Lead)  to the first 25 comments. Leave your address in the comments (your address won’t be published) and I will mail a copy to you.

Unite Women – Grow Leaders – Fight Injustice

The title of this post is the tagline and mission for the National Association of Christian Women Leaders which I am the founder of. The organization launched last month with a room full of excited women and online viewers as well.  The program lasted about 42 minutes and you can watch the entire video here.  In the program we discussed

  • How NACWL came to be
  • The Great Deception that has kept women from seeing themselves as leaders since the beginning of time
  • The scriptural bases for Christian Women in Leadership
  • The personal growth map to discovering God’s path for our lives and our highest potential
  • And why the time is now for women to step up into the call to lead God has on their lives.

The video below is a 4 minute highlight clip of The Great Deception from that evening.

 

FREE BOOK GIVE AWAY –

For the first 10 people to comment on this post with your mailing address (don’t worry it won’t be published) I will send you a free copy of the manifesto for the organization titled Created to Lead.

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Going forward all my leadership writing will take place on NACWL site and this blog will take a more personal focus.  If you are a Christian writer or speaker check the “Become a Contributor” page and consider being a guest or regular writer for the site.

 

Where have you been the last 4 months?

In case, that question is coming up for you as this post pops into your email, that’s what this post is about.  It has been a crazy busy 4 months since I last wrote a post here on August 20th.  I’ll give you the highlights. Those BIG things that happened. And won’t bore you with the little details.

As the summer  drew to a close I was deep in the throws of wedding planning. Yep my one and only sweet daughter was getting married.  And if the wedding of your child wasn’t a big event on the calendar already try having the BIG event on your property!!  Can you say s-t-r-e-s-s-f-u-l!!  But aside from blessings from heaven (aka rain) it was a beautiful affair and everything we had dreamed of. 10806330_10153050261393814_8725238857354085333_n10352593_10153050261678814_1623038597903425743_n10463020_10153050261638814_8448768030885563087_n

Next on the agenda was finishing up the editing on my second book. Created to Lead: A fresh perspective for women seeking God’s path to their purpose and their highest potential. It’s available in paperback and electronic versions on most online retailers including Amazon.   Can I just say I hate editing!!! I know us Christians aren’t suppose to hate but I’m just saying – it ain’t my thing. A huge Thanks to my wonderful editor (who thankfully it is her thing) Ginger Kolbaba, who did a fabulous job.  I couldn’t have done it without her!!

c2LFrontcover

 

You can catch my first interview about the book with Gail Ross of the TV program Testimonies of Triumph below.

And in between all that, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year Holidays I also was busy launching a new platform for women in leadership.  The book is the manifesto for the organization and I hope you will check it out and follow along as we grow.

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I’ll be writing more about the National Association of Christian Women in Leadership in the next few posts but you’ll definitely want to subscribe on the NACWL website to keep up with what I and a number of other women writers, coaches and counselors have to say about women and leadership.  In the weeks ahead this blog will morph into something new as I will post most of my writing dedicated to women and leadership on the new #NACWL site.

Thank you for waiting patiently these last 4 months.  I pray that all my efforts made it worth your wait.  For all the many blessings I counted in 2014 you (my readers) are right near the top of the list.  May God bless you in 2015 with the desires of your heart and may you always  – lead strong.

And God said “Let the earth be Chickified!”

Chickified

 

It takes a lot to ruffle my feathers but when it comes to issues of women I tend to throw my introverted personality aside and speak up. The first time it happened last week I grizzled but when I heard it again my passion on the subject kicked in and I exclaimed “oh no they didn’t!” It’s been a while since I have written a post because I’ve been up to my eyeballs in editing my next book. However, when the emotions are stirred I find it hard to let go until I’ve put my thoughts on the page. So here I am.

The first time I heard the term “chickified” I was reading an article about the latest controversy with Mark Driscoll where it mentions that he believes the American church is “chickified” by women. The second came as I was listening to a popular conservative Radio Host who was bashing the President (which I was in agreement with most of his points of criticism) until he made the comment that the President’s cabinet was chickified. I knew from the tone of both of these comments that somehow chickified wasn’t a good thing. A quick search in the Urban Dictionary and my suspicions were confirmed.

Chickified: the sissying of society by means of being soft & weak. Mainly pertaining to the emasculation or castration of men as a society.

First let me state the obvious. If men were such manly men, why on earth would society become sissied by the soft & weak? What happened to the strongest survive?  What does it say about the big strong manly men if society has been so horribly overtaken by the soft & weak? Have they disappeared? Are they just not standing up….that doesn’t sound strong to me.

Second let me point out what might not be so obvious. While men are physically stronger than women that by no means is to say that a woman is weak. Throughout the centuries and even still today women endure physical, mental and emotional abuse primarily at the hands of men. From physical violence to rape, women have endured much oppression. The fact that women are still standing, not to mention holding key roles in the business and political world isn’t a sign of their weakness but a testimony to their amazing strength.

And finally lest we forget it was God himself that said “Let the earth be chickified!” Well actually He said “It was not good for man to be alone” but He could have given man a male buddy that he could hang out and drink beer with while he watched the football game. But nope God knew that unless he wanted this earth to look like a grungy bachelor pad that it needed to be chickified.  He knew that the work he had given man would not be finished if he were left alone so he gave him a helper suitable.

So before we complain that church  or any particular organization has been done a disservice because it has become chickified -you may want to consider what it would look like if all the chicks turned and walked away.

Click to tweet if you believe

Life is better chickified!

 

 

 

Women – Your Greatest Potential Isn’t Breast Implants

GreastestPotential

“I was checking out stock photo options to go with this post I was writing about leadership: your highest potential. When I typed in “potential” in the search bar, however, I was floored (then infuriated) to discover that apparently potential isn’t about leadership; it’s about breast implants. While I truly don’t care whether you have implants or not. I’m just here to say it’s not your greatest potential! Leadership is your highest potential! A few examples to prove my point (regardless of your vocation):

If you are a mom, your desire is that all the time and effort you put into training your children, teaching them the values of your Christian faith, and instilling them with the wonderful character traits of love, honesty, etc. will pay off. As they follow and live out what you’ve taught them, they do so because you’ve led them. You are a leader. People—even little tykes—follow leaders.

If you are a sales woman, you pour time and effort into developing relationships with potential clients to garner their business. As you gain more clients, you’ve influenced them to follow your insight and advice. You are a leader.

If you are a woman who runs or works for a charity, you likely pour time and effort not only into helping people with a specific need but you also pour time and effort into raising awareness and funds for the particular need. Whether it is in the clients who use your services or the individuals who volunteer by donating their time and money, they are followers and that makes you a leader.

Regardless of what title you have, reaching your greatest potential in that arena is what it means to be a leader.

Yet in the Christian tradition women have shied away from the topic of leadership or even considering themselves to be a leader. Many church tradition have taught us that the man is to be the leader. But what if I told you that women are called to be leaders alongside men? That the Bible doesn’t exclude women from leadership abilities, opportunities, or callings. Below are 7 instances where Scripture calls all Christians (women included) to be leaders.

1. You were CREATED to lead.

“Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground’” (Genesis 1:28, NLT).

God did not say, “Women, you be fruitful, and men, you govern the world.” It takes both men and women to be fruitful and it takes men and women to govern the world that God has left in our charge.

2. You were COMMISSIONED to lead.

“Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20, NASB).

We see leadership commissioned to us in two ways: (1) You cannot “lead” people to Christ if you are not first a leader worth following. (2) Teaching is a form of leadership; a teacher is an individual deemed knowledgeable on a topic. Jesus commissioned you because you are knowledgeable about him!

3. You were COMMANDED to put on the character traits of a leader.

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. . . . Now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:1-17, NLT).

While this is a long passage, it lays out the character trait every Christian is to put on. Honesty, humility, and many others. I wrote an entire blog series on this passage of Scripture here.

4. You were CALLED to the highest title of leadership: ambassador.

“We are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20 AMP).

The definition of ambassador is: a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative. So not only have you been called to be a leader, you have been given the highest rank of leadership possible. You can read about the three areas of focus for an ambassador in this blog post.

5. You were given a vision to CAST.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 NASB

One of the primary jobs of a leader is to cast the vision of the organization (or tribe of people) you lead. As Christian leaders we are called to cast the vision for what life with Christ looks like.

When our lives look like that we attract people. That’s what leaders do.

6. You were commanded to COMMUNICATE a greater purpose.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 NIV

Stewards in this context is the same as managers, and management is a form of leadership. When we manage the gifts we’ve been given for a greater purpose, our lives are attractive to others. And attracting people is what leaders do.

7. You were called to build COMMUNITY.

12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 1 Corthians 12:12-27 NLT

Leaders understand that everyone on the team plays an important role. There is no unimportant roles. It takes everyone to get the job done. Christians also are given that same instruction in the passage above where it talks about the different parts of the body, their function, and how God ordained each one for a purpose.

You, my fellow Christian woman, have been called to lead. Scripture offers no excuses! God is clear that reaching the highest potential that God has for you is to lead. Now the next step: what steps can you take to be a better leader? God has the answer to that question. Follow his lead and you’ll lead strong.

One great way to start? Subscribe to this blog (type your email in the box on the right) and get fresh updates to thoughts on leadership delivered right to your inbox.

 

Edited by Ginger Kolbaba

Communicating with Grace and Confidence (Pt 4)

Respect Those That Tell Me The Truth

Welcome back to the final installment – Part 4 of Communicating with grace and confidence. We have already covered a lot of ground about how Christian Women Leaders can communicate with grace and confidence. If this is your first visit you will want to start at the beginning to be able to follow the sequence.

Communicating with Grace & Confidence Part 1

Communicating with Grace & Confidence Part 2

Communicating with Grace & Confidence Part 3

The 4 keys to communicating with grace and confidence we discovered in part 1 were using words that were useful, unifying, kind and truthful. In part 2 we looked at our first scenario where Jesus was communicating to a random sinner (the adulterous woman). In part 3 we looked at a communication with his disciples (=subordinate). Today we are going to look at Jesus as he communicates with his peers (the Pharisees, who were also preachers & teachers of the day).

Today we look in the book of Matthew:

Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.” Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God?For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’” 10 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand.11 It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” 12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” 13 Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, 14 so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.”

The grace in this third scenario isn’t as obvious as the first two we looked at. But here’s the thing, Truth triumphs every other factor in grace. Sometimes the only way to be useful is to be truthful. Sometimes the only way to model unity to the people you lead is to be truthful about the opposition. There will be times when your truthfulness will not be seen as kind. Understand that the truth will offend people. You purpose in life is not to make sure everyone is happy but to share God’s truth and to fulfill the vision he has given you for your life and those he has blessed you to have influence over. Whenever possible model grace by being kind, unifying, and useful but never at the sake of being truthful.

How could Jesus be so truthful…in some cases brutally truthful. And confident in it…no hem hawing, stuttering or I think or I feel.  Because he was locked in on his mission. He knew why he was here, what his mission was. It was the clarity of his purpose that gave him the courage to communicate with confidence. Why was his vision so clear – because of his closeness with the father.

Questions for you to ponder as we close out this series:

  • Are you close enough with God to understand his vision and purpose for you life?
  • Are you confident enough in that vision that you can speak confidently?

As Christians it is key for us to speak confidently (with certitude and assurance) to not only God’s gift of grace but also to the truth of His vision for our life, the truth of His word and ultimately the truth of His love for the world.

 

This series is based on a message I delivered to my local Becoming a Confident Woman in Leadership group. If you live in #SWFL you can join us for the next group on June 12th. This group meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month and you can find the latest event on Facebook by searching “Becoming a Confident Woman in Leadership”.

Communicating with Grace and Confidence (Pt 3)

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Welcome back to Part 3 of Communicating with grace and confidence. We have already covered a lot of ground about how Christian Women Leaders can communicate with grace and confidence. If this is your first visit you will want to start at the beginning to be able to follow the sequence.

Communicating with Grace & Confidence Part 1

Communicating with Grace & Confidence Part 2

The 4 keys to communicating with grace and confidence we discovered in part 1 were using words that were useful, unifying, kind and truthful. In part 2 we looked at our first scenario where Jesus was communicating to a random sinner (the adulterous woman). Today we are going to look at a communication with his disciples. The equivalent for leaders today would be their subordinates or individuals reporting to them – either employees or volunteer. And for the Mom Leader this would be your children.

You’ll notice right off the bat that this conversation took a very different tone. Yet one that we can still find our 4 elements utilized in. So let’s take a look at Matthew 16:21-28 where Jesus first talks to a single disciple (Peter) and then to the entire group of disciples.

Matthew 16: 21 From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. 22 But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. 28 And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

How did Christ show kindness? 

While this instance doesn’t seem as easy to see as the adulterous woman, it was still kind. Jesus could have said “Peter you idiot! Have you not been listening to what I’ve been saying all these months! Have you lost your mind!” Instead, like the adulterous woman, Jesus took the pressure off Peter and put the fault on the enemy and his putting thoughts (point of view) in his mind that weren’t correct. The correction wasn’t about Peter personally, his intellect or comprehension it was moved solely to the enemy putting wrong thoughts into Peter’s mind about the situation at hand.

Another very useful technique for communicating confidently that Jesus did here was to turn the subject on himself and what it does to him. While normally making something all about yourself isn’t good, when it comes to conflict it is brilliant. Pointing the finger at someone only escalates a situation but putting into words the affects or the feelings that it has on you personally is something that can’t be argued. Jesus did that when he told Peter that those words were a trap for him.  The words are for a trap for him because if Jesus began to listen to them and think – yeah I could set up a kingdom here – it would have taken him way from the vision and mission God had given him. A vision and mission that God had great rewards for him completing.

How were Christ’s words useful?

Christ words were useful because he helped Peter distinguish God’s point of view from the enemy’s point of view. How many times have you had employees that were looking at a problem from the wrong point of view? Helping them understand the proper point of view for achieving the mission is very useful! Again when we turn the conversation from focusing on the person to focusing on the mission and how it helps/deters you as a leader and them as part of the team accomplish the mission your words are useful.

How were Christ’s words unifying?

Even though Christ did not accept the words of Peter, he did accept Peter. In fact in verse 24 he reiterates the mission and what is necessary for Peter and the entire team of disciples to remain unified. The words Christ spoke were unifying but it was still Peter’s choice to be unified.

How were Christ’s words truthful?

Christ had been given a mission by God just like every leader alive today has. In verse 24 he spoke the truth of that mission. I can remember in my banking career having employees who were getting sidetrack with alternative agenda’s and I’d have to have a conversation. Generally when side agendas like that are in the mind of one employee they are in the mind of others so the individual conversation eventually turned into a team conversation. We jokingly at the time called these types of meetings “Come to Jesus” meeting.  I believe verse 24 documents the first “Come to Jesus” meeting. If Jesus were a manager and Peter and the disciples were his employees it would have sounded something like this:

It has come to my attention that some among you think that the mission of our team is to set up an earthly kingdom. That is NOT the mission of our team. If you want to remain a member of this team you must stop all talk and actions in those regards as that is a cross that you will die on (you will be fired). Instead pick up those selfish ways and instead join me in the fulfillment of the true mission (lay out mission again). If you choose to hang on to your idea of the mission you will lose your job. But if you give up your idea of the mission and take up the mission I have laid out you will save your job and you will be well rewarded.

Not always easy words to say but it really doesn’t get any more truthful than that.

As women our leadership tends to take on many hats and thus our missions can vary. Yet whether your mission is keeping a peaceful home as a mom, being the sales leader in your industry, feeding the hungry in your neighborhood or just leading your own life, you can communicate,  with grace and confidence when you focus on the your mission and speak words that are unifying, useful, kind and true.

Tomorrow we will look at our last leadership scenario where Jesus speaks to his peers (the Pharisees). To make sure you don’t miss this final installment enter your email address in the box on the right side of the website and future posts will arrive in your inbox.

 

This series is based on a message I delivered to my local Becoming a Confident Woman in Leadership group. If you live in #SWFL you can join us for the next group on June 12th. This group meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month and you can find the latest event on Facebook by searching “Becoming a Confident Woman in Leadership”.

Communicating with Grace and Confidence (Pt 2)

GraceandConfidence2

Welcome back to part 2 of Communicating with grace and confidence.  In our first installment yesterday we covered a lot of ground. For example, we covered:

  • The two extremes that Christians often fall into when it comes to communicating (all Grace or all Truth)
  • We learned that our goal is to communicate with both grace and truth just as Christ modeled both. John 1:14
  • Grace in communicating is always useful, unifying, and kind
  • And the truth/confidence connection

To view yesterday’s post in its entirety click here.

Today we are are going to look at the first of three communication scenarios in which we see the greatest leader of all time (Christ) communicating with grace and truth. Tomorrow we’ll look at communicating to a subordinate (Pt 3) and the next day communicating with peers (Pt 4), but for today we are going to look at Christ’s interaction with a stranger, a random sinner that God brought across his path.  For you this could be the clerk at the check out, the individual you strike up a conversation with while you wait for service in a restaurant, or someone a friend might introduce you to. It’s a person that you aren’t technically influencing (aka leading) at this moment but how you communicate with them will determine whether they’ll consider you as a person worth following in the future. Let’s dig into Christ’s response to a sinful woman

John 8: 1 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”11 “No, Lord,” she said.And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Bonus information: I don’t know about you but I love it when I learn new things about a particular passage. Especially one like this that is so familiar to me. So indulge me if you will for a minute and let me share a couple interesting (non-communication related points) I learned while I was studying for this message. 1. This passage was evidence of prophesy about Jesus being the Messiah in Isaiah 11:3 “He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay.” Perhaps not communication specific but certainly good advice for anyone in leadership. 2. This could be the first recorded instance of “Man Code”. [insert grimace face here]. Apparently, according to the law BOTH man and woman caught in the act of adultery were to be stoned to death. No mention of a man here.

Ok, enough of the sidetrack, back to communication.

How did Christ show kindness?

  • The woman likely slumped over in humiliation left standing there in front of the crowd and Christ after the elders left. Christ shows kindness by immediately taking the pressure off the woman and onto the men who had left when he asked “Where are your accusers?” I can imagine both Christ and the crowd were looking around for the accusers at this statement. Even the woman was likely looking elsewhere which would have been a distraction from the humiliation she had just experienced.
  • He showed kindness in the shortness of his comments. Instead of dragging the humiliating circumstances out where seconds probably felt like centuries to the woman he was quick to let her know she wasn’t being condemned and she was free to go.

How did Christ’s communication create unity?

  • His words showed unity in their humanity. He basically acknolwedged the fact that everyone is capable of sin. His words showed acceptance of by not condemning her. Likewise our words either condemn or accept the others we communicate with.

How was Christ’s words useful?

  • His words were useful in that rather than telling the elders they too were sinners he asked them questions that allowed them to come to their own conclusions. As a leader asking powerful questions is one of the most useful things you can do to help people find solutions to their problems and to communicate with grace.
  • His words were useful to the woman in that he acknowledged that there was a choice she could make to ensure this problem never occurred again. His words were useful because they were encouraging – she held within her power the ability to make good choices for her life.

And he spoke truth. He didn’t avoid talking about the sin. Yet by focusing on the sin and not the person he didn’t come across as judgmental or condemning. He communicated with grace and truth and likely earned a follower.  What lessons can you apply to those God randomly brings across your path?

Don’t miss part 3 tomorrow! Enter your email address in the box on the right side of the website and future posts will arrive in your inbox. Tomorrow we look at Christ’s communication with a subordinate (A Disciple) in part 3 of Communicating with Grace and confidence.

 

This series is based on a message I delivered to my local Becoming a Confident Woman in Leadership group. If you live in #SWFL you can join us for the next group on June 12th. This group meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month and you can find the latest event on Facebook by searching “Becoming a Confident Woman in Leadership”.