What type of leadership do you appreciate ?

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It is official. I have started my first ever internship (but that is not what we are calling it). I got to lead a Bible study on 1 John. I will be leading this study in several different forms over the next couple of months. This is an exciting time for me. I have longed to lead in my home church for a while now. This is my chance to either make it or fall flat on my face.

I plan on doing somethings a little differently than they have been done in the past, with this group. We usually meet on Wednesday nights and just do the study, there has been very little of doing life with one another. I intend on keeping in touch with these men through multiple forms of contact.

This is what I mean by leading from the front lines. If I want these guys to have solid relationships with each other they need to see their leader (which is me, for a short while) stepping up and giving a damn about their lives outside of Wednesday nights. If you go back to ancient Israel to the shepherding which took place there the shepherd was in the front, leading his flock. HIs flock knew his voice and would respond.

There are many advantages to leading from the front, you can see what lies ahead. You can view the terrain and plan accordingly, you are proactive instead of reactive. This is the type of leadership I have always admired. I hope to set an example these men will be willing to follow.

I also know leading from the front means I am going to be the one who catches the flack when things go awry. Trust me during these 16 weeks something is bound to go awry, Lord willing it won’t but if it does I am preparing myself for it.

Don’t get me wrong I am not out to criticize my current leaders styles. They have developed what works for them and it is fine. I want to become more involved and invested, than I have been. In the end I think it will develop more respect for me (who wouldn’t want that). It will also strengthen bonds being made amongst Christian brothers.

Christ is the ultimate example of leading from the front.

He could have sent any number of angels or other agents to earth, but he knew none of them could pay the price which had to be paid. He came down out of heaven, from his place of authority and put on flesh in order to restore a right relationship between us and him. He said no greater love have a man than this that he would lay his life down for his friends.

That is a courageous act of leadership. To die for those you love. He died for us while we were separated from him by sin. There is no other person who would do that. My little act of keeping in touch will pale in comparison, it is the best I can offer right now.

Question: How can you step up and lead from the front?

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Review of The In-Between by Jeff Goins

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In his book The In-Between  author Jeff Goins regales us with stories from his life about waiting for things. Things like getting married, having his first child, going to Spain, traveling with a band around the world. Hidden in these stories are some jewels, that make you appreciate the book even more. It is not an extremely long book, coming in at 174 pages. It took me about 5 hours to read over several days. I chose to read it at a speed where I could get the most from it and not just burn through it to say I read it. 


Since this book is not your typical reference book or the type you might want to mark up a lot. I did get quite a few highlights covering several sentences a piece.  


I love the premise of what Jeff set out to do with this book. Which was to make us stop and appreciate the quiet moments, the slow times we tend to overlook in an effort to reach the next stop. One of my first highlights is “Perhaps, the abundant life we’ve been seeking has little to do with big events and comes in a subtler form: embracing the pauses in between major beats.”(loc. 157)


I often struggle to complete a whole book even when it is for class it is still hard. I was able to read this book in about a week or less. Jeff writes with a very conversational style, that draws you in. He has a way of writing that makes you want to listen.


Jeff makes a great point when he says, “Most growth happens this way: slowly, over time. You don’t see it happening—in fact, sometimes the circumstances feel more like inconveniences than opportunities—but then one day you wake up, amazed at how far you’ve come.” (loc.223) We never seem to notice how far we have come on our journey until we take the time to look back and see the way behind us.


Jeff’s book is chocked full of great insights, and I would love to share them all here, I won’t. What I will do is suggest you check this book out if you are trying to learn how to get more out of life. And find what you have been missing by skipping over the slower moments in life. “When it comes to waiting, we have a choice. We can try to bypass the delays to get immediate gratification. Or we can embrace the “long game” of life and invest those days, months, and years in the slow but intentional growth that leads to lasting change.”


What can you do to slow down and enjoy life’s moments? How can you accomplish this goal?

A Review of Michael Hyatt’s book Platform

0FB6589C-009F-4370-BE2E-140C52E81FD5Today we are going to be taking a look at Michael Hyatt’s book Platform:How to get noticed in a noisy world. This book is a moderate length coming in at 288 pages long and just over 60 chapters. Each chapter is 5-8 pages long give or take a few. Many of his chapters are based off of blog posts he has published on his website. I wanted to share this book with you because at this point in my journey it has been very helpful.

As many of you know I am trying to build my blog in to a place where people come to see Jesus in the midst of everyday life. From time to time I do book reviews either of books I have chosen to read personally or for class. This is one I’ve chosen to read for pleasure and it was definitely enjoyable.

In this book you will find tons of tiny little nuggets of great information. If you are trying to launch anything to the next level I would highly suggest you look into getting this book. The version I read was the kindle edition. So in my references there will be locations and not page numbers.

Hyatt give us a very simple definition, “a platform is the thing you stand on to get heard”. (loc. 297) That sounds simple enough doesn’t it. But it begs the question of what then is my platform? He spends the next several chapters outlining what a persons platform may actually look like. He tells us, “As in times past, success today is not so much about what you know; it’s about who you know. And the who is your platform.” (loc. 304)

So now we know our platform is not our product, our blog, or even our service. It’s people. Building relationships with people and serving them is one way to build your platform. He goes on to tell the reader, “If you want to build a platform, it’s time to get the passion back.” (loc. 417).

If you don’t push yourself and others to expect excellence you are doomed to failure. You need to be excited about what it is you are offering, if your not you may want to reconsider what you are doing. You want to offer your customer/client a wow experience. He goes on to list about 9-10 different things a wow experience entails.

After spending several chapters talking about having a wow product. He discusses the why? Why do you need to do this and what will happen if you don’t. We should set S.M.A.R.T. goals, and think of was we can achieve them. He says, “before you can find your way, you must discover your why.” (loc. 903) After that he gives five reasons why you should commit your goals to writing.

Later in the book he moves into a section on how to work with and use Twitter. I found this section to be very helpful since i am new to the twitterverse. He gives a great tutorial on how #’s work and just a great overall introduction to the outlet.

This was a great book for someone just starting out on their exploration into trying to build a brand. This is a book you need if you want to be a better blogger, businessman, or general sales person.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. Especially to those looking for a place to start building their platform and brand recognition. I chose to write this review just because I have enjoyed so much of Mr. Hyatt’s work, not only this book but his blog as well.

You’re A Failure So What!

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Have you ever heard the words that you are a failure? How about speaking those words to yourself? I know I have even in the last six months I have felt that way. And guess what you may be. That is the brutal honesty of it. However, that doesn’t have to be the end. I know what makes me feel like a failure is my inability to work a full-time job due to my health. That is why I am in school working toward a degree in ministry hoping that I will be able to land a job doing what should be easier on my body.
I feel like a failure as a parent, a husband and a son. You see my family has lived with my mom our entire marriage which has been seven going on eight years. I have never been able to hold down a good job. Hell, I’ve never had a good job. Everything I did was menial working 12-15 hours a day for pretty much minimum wage sometimes. We have always struggled to take care of our family.
Even with these struggles though I still believe God has a plan for my life. Like I have quoted in other posts Romans 8:28 is my life verse. I know Jesus is working things together for my good, even the things that look bad.
Remember how bad things looked for Joseph in the book of Genesis? He was accused of rape and thrown in prison. At that point in his life I’’m willing to bet he felt like a failure. That is not how the story ends. The story ends with Joseph becoming second in the land of of Egypt only behind the pharaoh.
Just like Joseph, my story is not over with either. I am pursing my writing with more passion, while still working toward my Mdiv.
You can think what you want of me. I’m lazy or worthless, or whatever you like. It doesn’t matter to me, because I have learned that God has me where he wants me. When He wants that situation to change he will give me the ways and means to do it. I have found my worth in Jesus and that is good enough for me.
So right now you may be in a place where you feel like a failure, just remember that unless your dead the story is still being written. God knows what he has in store so trust in him.
Where do you feel like a failure?  What steps do you need to take to change your situation? Let me hear from you.

I Don’t Care What You Think…Or Do I?

     This is hard for anyone to tackle but is it true? Do I really care what you think yes I do. As my reader/audience I care about what you think (for the most part). Like anybody I want you to like me and what I am producing, but I have come to grips with I love to write even if nobody else loves it. I still love the act of putting words to screen (instead of pen to paper). There is just something cathartic about it. Does that mean I just write for the sake of writing? NO! I write because I feel compelled to get what is inside of me out. If my math is write this post should becoming out on Christmas Eve, which means I should be more gentle and less forceful in what I say right. Sorry not for this post.
     If you have stuck with me this far thank you. I want to grow and be more like Jesus and that is who ultimately matters when I think about what does someone think about me. Jesus was not always well received while he walked on the earth. He was questioned at almost every turn by the pharisees. It didn’t matter if he was eating food or talking with a  woman they always had something to say about him. I have realized that if I want to be like Jesus, people are going to talk about me. It is not always going to be good. I am going to offend some people and that is okay. Who doesn’t want to be liked? I haven’t found a person yet that doesn’t long for some sort of validation. Except for Jesus of course.
     Now, the way I do care about what you think is by interacting with you, through comments, G+, Facebook, Twitter, and even the occasional email. I want to hear from you and start building community. Because this thing cannot work without your voice as well. If there is a topic you would like me to consider than drop me a line and let me know, I will do my best to cover it. But understand there are going to be times I might say somethings that step on some toes. I will still try and be the same insightful and loving Paul, but there are just going to be those times I cannot be. In order to protect the sheep I have to beat the wolves.
What can I do to better server you? What do you enjoy about this blog?

Don’t Despise the Small Things!

   

The title of todays post comes from what was  gleaned from a church service on 12-14-14. That was the biggest take-away I got. Don’t despise the small things, because they can turn into great things. One thing that comes to mind are two of the biggest computer companies in the world, Microsoft and Apple. They both started out small, but with a vision. And they didn’t let anything get in the way of that vision. Because they new the potential that their product had. This is a lesson I am begging to learn. While I do not have a huge following right now, I believe I will one day as long as I continue to produce material people can use. 

     My hope for this post is to encourage you, maybe even challenge you! What do you have inside of you that you are about to let die because you are upset with your meager beginnings? When I first started this blog I was happy when I had 10 visitors a day. Now I am averaging around 140 a day. Which for me is great. Do I think we can do more yes, I DO! But, I know it depends on the plans the Lord has for me and this ministry of writing he has given me. Another reason not to despise small beginnings is because that is exactly how our Lord and Savior started out. He was not born in some fancy mansion in Jerusalem no he was born in a manger  in Bethlehem. He would go on to live a normal life until the time his ministry started. He was not drawing big crowds at first either. It wasn’t’ until people started to take notice of what he was able to do that he grew a following. The biggest problem with Jesus following is they were always in it with the whats in it for me category. Which is okay some of the time, we have to be willing to give back. Sometimes it is the smallest gestures that make the largest impact. Looking ahead there are things we learn from Christ interactions with the disciples. 
     Christ tells the disciples a parable about the mustard seed being the smallest of seeds, yet when it is planted becomes the largest of all garden plants.(Mark 4:30-32) While Jesus was referencing the kingdom of God in this parable we can take a lot away from it.  There is another reference to a mustard seed I like for our context just a little bit more. Jesus is speaking to the disciples and tells them that if they have faith the size of a mustard seed  they can move mountains.(Matt 17:20) It lets me know that I can start out small in anything and still have potential to become more. I don’t know about you but I long to do big things for the kingdom of God. While my faith may be small, God says its all I need. It will grow over time as I exercise it.So for my faithful readers I am VERY appreciative of you and say THANK YOU for all of your support. If you have been blessed by this or another post would leave me a comment letting me know. It is just one small gesture to help me to continue trying to be a blessing to you all. 
Life is hard, but God is good!
Preach
What are you exercising faith in to see it grow? What is your small thing?

What Makes You Giddy?

    I have to say that there are not very many things that get me giddy, but today was a good day. The blog surpassed 240 unique visitors in a single day. That is the best day we have ever had. I felt like a young kid again at Christmas time. Then I received a book for review I had been waiting upon since last week. For those of you who helped us reach our highest day average THANK YOU! We have decided to hold a contest for all of our Twitter followers that if we can reach 100 followers we are going to give away some books. 
     I also get giddy when I read the Bible and find a new nugget I had never noticed before. Take for example the story in 1 Kings 3:16 about two women who had had a baby and Solomon suggests cutting the child in half. Did you ever notice that it was two prostitutes living together and one of them had a child who died by being rolled over upon. This is just one example of the kinds of nuggets that make me excited as I read the Bible. 
     I often wonder did characters in the Bible get giddy about anything? We know that the NT believers were expectant of Jesus’ return but we don’t know that they were giddy with excitement about it. I can think of one time when giddy is the last thing on Jesus’ mind and that is when he is in the Garden of Gethsemane as he wept blood. He was to a point that he was exhausted and knowing he was nearing his end, he would tell his father, “not my will, but your will be done.” Matthew 26:39. While being one of the most traumatic scenes in the NT of how Christ endured on our behalf it can give us excitement to know that he loved us so much that chose the cross for us. And that should make us all very happy.
     He died for those whom he foreknew, and had predestined before the foundation of the world. While this is a time of year when we generally celebrate the birth of Christ, i think it is important to remember that while he chose to come down form heaven in the form of a helpless babe, he died a suffering servant and a brutal death at the hands of those he created. All because of Love, John 3:16. 

Consistency is Key!

     

How many times have you heard that in your life? Whether it is in child-rearing, work, hobbies, or whatever. Consistency is key! That rings true as a bell through the air when it comes to journaling and/or praying. I have found that the more often I do something the more I want to do it. If you look at the life of Jesus he spent a lot of time in prayer. It did not have to always been long periods of time he was praying like when he asked the disciples to keep watch for him. (Matt 26:38-46). Then there are the times he had what Dave Earley in his book Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High Impact Leaders calls arrow prayers. These are prayers that get right to the heart of God. A great example of an arrow prayer is when Jesus blesses the five loaves and two fish, or another time when he teaches the disciples to pray the Lord’s prayer (Matt 6:5-15). 

     I have recently been trying to write for my blog more than before. In just the last week I have posted something at least once a day. I believe on Friday I had several post, along with today. I am trusting that this is what the Lord would have me do to bring glory to HIs name. While it is easier for me to journal than it is to blog I hope to do both on a regular basis for the rest of my life. At the advice of Michael Hyatt I have been using Evernote, as my new journaling program. It has been rather helpful instead of using Pages on my Macbook Pro. With Evernote it is searchable, by date keywords, tags, all kinds of cool stuff. I can easily add pictures to it. I mention this because the level of comfort you have with something will also help determine how well you stay with it. I mention in another post how I engrave glass. If I started with the hardest piece and failed I probably would not have kept up with it. I have had to slow down because I have run out of room to store my pieces and there hasn’t been too many more people willing to buy them. ( I have however sold several pieces in the past.)
     All of that to say don’t become discouraged if you are starting something new take it easy at first, don’t think you have to do what everyone else is doing in order to feel like you are doing it right. If it is something the Lord has laid on your heart, you will get through it because he wants you to. 

I would love to hear what you are doing to be consistent. What are some things you could work on, and what are you doing well with?


P.S.
     It is my hope that you all have been enjoying reading the material that is being produced. If you are would you mind signing up to any of our means of keeping you up-to-date on what we are producing. If you look down the right side of your screen there is a plethora of options on how you can keep in touch with us. We would also love to hear from you, your ideas and opinions. So we have added Disqus as our new commenting system. If you would like for your comment to be more discrete we have a contact us form at the bottom of the page. We look forward to a great month as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and a blessed New Year. 
Life is hard, but God is good,
Preach