Monday, February 6, 2012

The Wrong Question

In the movie IRobot, Detective Del Spooner, played by Will Smith, is investigating the death of a dear friend, Doctor Alfred Lanning, the father of the three laws of Robotics.  At first, the Doctor’s death appears to be suicide, but then, aided by a holographic “memory” of the now deceased doctor, the detective begins suspecting foul play.  To the first few questions asked to the holograph the response was not what Detective Spooner wanted, they focused on why he, a homicide detective would be called on for a suicide.  Finally the Detective switched his perspective and asked the question differently, from the Doctor’s perspective, 
"That, Detective is the right question."  

While the Doctor doesn't answer directly the question burning in the brain of the Detective, his response gives the Detective the path that will ultimately lead to a final showdown with the evil that is running amuck in this sci-fi film. 

This exchange echoes in my head and heart as I have sought of late to change my perspective on life and ask the right questions. 

I lost my job in April, it was unexpected and abrupt as terminations usually are.  This began a journey over the next 9 months of looking for a new job, all the while wondering what good I was and questioning God and why he would allow me and my family to suffer this pain and potentially disastrous financial fallout. 

“Why can't I just get a job?”
“Why can't I take care of my family?”
“Why are you playing with me?” 
“Why won’t anyone hire me?”

Then something happened and I stopped blaming God.  My questions turned deeper, and began seeking God.

“God, what do I need to learn from this time?”
“How can I  praise you in this storm?”
“Help me be a Godly father during this trial”
“This hurts, please comfort us in our pain!”

You know what happened?  I still couldn’t find a job, but what I found was much more than a job, I found a place of peace.  I realized that God had never left me and my family.  I was just looking in the wrong places for Him.  Like detective Spooner I believe I was asking the wrong question.  My questions to God were "Me" centered, selfish. 

Do I believe God cares about my job? Well, yes and no.  Yes he cares for our housing and food and clothing; read the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. But He is more concerned with the greater issues of my heart than with the issues of my pocketbook and especially my pride.  

Now, before I declare myself cured of all selfishness and errant thoughts you should know that I am still very much in the midst of this process.  I wanted to write about it though, because as I look around I see so many people suffering and hurting as businesses fail, houses are taken away, and lives are torn apart and all. This, seemingly, while God just “stands by” and watches.  You and I are not the first to accuse God of ignoring those in pain, look at the Bible for the story of Job, a man who had everything he needed in life and suddenly it was all taken from him?  Job had a right to be ticked, and ticked he was.  Sitting on the ground covered in ashes listening to the “advice” of some friends, Job unleashes his feelings about his life: 

"Why does God bother giving light to the miserable, why bother keeping bitter people alive, Those who want in the worst way to die, and can't, who can't imagine anything better than death, Who count the day of their death and burial the happiest day of their life? What's the point of life when it doesn't make sense, when God blocks all the roads to meaning?” 


Don’t be afraid to tell God how you feel, He can take it.  But after you get it all out, spend some time listening to what God is telling you.  He does love you and He does care about your every day needs.  Even Job, before he has everything restored remembered God, 

“Still, I know that God lives—the One who gives me back my life—and eventually he'll take his stand on earth. And I'll see him—even though I get skinned alive!—see God myself, with my very own eyes. Oh, how I long for that day!”

A bit dramatic maybe, I don’t think I will get skinned alive, at least not in this country.  But I do long for the day when I will see God with my own eyes, I pray I will be ready.  This pain and suffering is God getting me ready, purifying me, purifying you.  Don’t waste this time, and this pain, seek after God with all you have and see what He does.  I’ll be honest, it may suck, Jesus does not promise us an easy life. John, one of Jesus’ friends and disciples, who wrote about His life chronicled this discussion with the other disciples. 

“Jesus answered them, "Do you finally believe? In fact, you're about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I'm not abandoned. The Father is with me. I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world." 

Only Jesus can promise you peace.  Only Jesus knows the path you and I are on.  In the words of John Fischer, “I’m just one old hungry beggar, showing you where I found food.” 

The Mailbox

A few years ago, my family moved into a new house on a small acreage. While far from elaborate, it is safe to say that it was our “dream house.” One of the first things that I noticed while driving up to our new home for the first time was the placement of the mailbox. I grew up in a home with a mailbox attached to our house, right next to the front door. You could literally crack the door open and reach your arm around the door frame to grab the mail. This was very convenient, especially on those cold and blistery Minnesota winter days.

However, this was not the case with the new house we had just moved into. In fact, the driveway was quite long and, to make matters worse, it was hilly (and did I mention this was in Minnesota?). Most winter days I looked like Bambi on ice while navigating the long icy hill on a cold and slippery winter day. I am sure any passerby would have been very entertained watching me comically slip and slide my way up to retrieve the day’s mail. Getting back down is a whole separate story that I will save for a different time.

Oftentimes, I would mumble, grumble and complain the entire way to and from that white complex of wood and steel. “I am tired, my back hurts, I have had a very long day, why can’t they just bring it to the door like they used to, most of the items are solicitations anyway, does winter have to last five months, global warming...really, etc.”
Little did I know that, shortly after moving into our new home, my health and life would be held at bay for nearly a year while both become prisoner to a medical issue. In the following months, my rare journeys outside of the house were isolated to occasional visits to medical centers and eventually back to the end of the driveway to retrieve the mail. At my worst, I would have given most anything for the ability to make that climb. In fact, a trip to that piece of wood and steel became a main objective. This was a goal that had never entered my radar screen before and a task that I had always and completely taken for granted
After a few months, I eventually felt well enough (and the need to get out of the all too familiar four walls of my room) to retrieve the mail. To be quite frank, the first several trips were extremely difficult. That short walk and exertion of energy would be enough to throw my body into a complete frenzy of pain and the need for hours of sleep. However and in spite of all of this, I noticed something had changed. Something big.

After the ability was taken away for me to make the daily walk to the mailbox and then given back again, I had a newfound appreciation for the ability to make that once embittered walk. Now, rather than grumbling or complaining during that trek, I found myself being thankful for the ability to walk, even if it was slow and painful. I was also, for the first time, noticing and feeling gratitude for ears to hear birds chirp and sing, eyes to see the radiant colors of a Minnesota fall landscape, a nose to smell the lilacs coming off the breeze, a heart to pump blood, lungs to breathe, etc. I could go on and on. I began (perhaps for the first time since I could recall) to notice and be thankful for nearly everything that I once viewed as annoying, along with noticing (and enjoying) the simple pleasures that I once allowed to pass me by on my journey to “bigger and better things.”

I am extremely grateful for this experience, because, while I lost the convenience of good health for a time, the situation forced me into a realm of necessary reflection and perspective. I was forced to take things at face value and to re-prioritize the values in my life. In fact, I believe I have the unfair advantage of having something, having it taken away, and then graciously receiving it back again. Like so many important things in life, we often understand our appreciation towards something once it is no longer present.

I still deal with lingering effects and most likely will for the rest of my life. I may even relapse. That is all the more reason to make the absolute most of the moments that I “have.” Nothing puts things into perspective quite like not knowing when things may change or how much longer things will be “well.” I choose to view the challenges that I face as reminders of my “Great Awakening.” I choose to live (not simply exist) now and intentionally.

Don’t let the perceived “little things” pass you by or let annoyances distract you from living intentionally. We have the far-too-often overlooked right to choose gratitude today. Exercise that right daily. Identify, understand, and establish your priorities. This will help you live intentionally. Take a few moments each day to express gratitude. This will change the lens you view life through. You check your mail every day...why not check your perspective?

All I Want For Christmas

This Christmas we’ve had an opportunity that no one ever prays for. But I’m thankful that we got it. 

Simply put...we were just plain old short on money. Now it’s not like we are in the same situation that a lot of people are in across the country. The cupboards and freezer are full of food, we are not at risk of losing our house, we have 2 working vehicles and the 6 of us are for most part healthy. 

Over the last 15 years, I can’t remember a Christmas holiday where we weren’t working for some kind of ministry or church. 

And this year, we had big plans to have some meetings about some new ventures. 

But here’s what happened...

Payments from businesses came late, reimbursements from some organizations that we’d worked for never came at all, and by the middle of December we just didn’t have any money to pay for gas to even go to church. 

It was then that God reminded us that we had never spent a Christmas at home at our house with our family...just being us. We then made the decision to not go anywhere, but to simply stay at home and together as a family learn what Christmas is really all about. So, the plans were made that instead of buying presents, with money we didn’t have, we would make presents together for each other and those we love, with the resources that God provided.

On Thursday, December 15th, knowing that we had no money to get to church for the kids’ Christmas program on Sunday, we knew that we had to go to church for worship practice. It sure didn’t make sense to go to church that night...but we knew we had to go. We ended up having a very long talk with our pastor about everything that was going on and walked away knowing deep down inside that everything was going to be ok. 

And that’s when it started...

Friday, December 16th, 11:30AM. Got the mail. In it...a couple Christmas cards and a check that was a month early from a client. Now we have money for gas and utility bills. 

Sunday, Dec. 18th. Went to church. It was definitely a good day. The kids’ Christmas program was priceless! 

Monday, Dec. 19th. Got the mail today. More Christmas cards...and the rebate check from our new furnace we had to buy last month. Money for a few needed things and the ability to give a Walmart gift card to another family in need. 

Tuesday, Dec. 20th. 7AM. We’ve got a business loan payment due today. Better get that done. Look at bank website. Cool! An unexpected gift! Plenty to pay that loan payment! 11:30AM. Get the mail. Another nice pile of Christmas cards. Fun to read! Read 1 card and see that this certain friend’s extended family decided to lump their Christmas gifts together and gave us a rather sizable check! Really!! I can hardly see thru my tears! God is opening doors that will give our family the opportunity to give to others. 

Wednesday, Dec. 21st. Today we had to go to Bismarck for business supplies. We also got a call from a friend to stop by since we were in town to get our Christmas card. When we opened it, there was yet another monetary gift. It’s kinda getting crazy now!

Saturday, Dec. 24th. It’s Christmas Eve. I got a visit from a friend who left a Christmas treat for me with a Christmas card that had enough money in it to cover the last expenses we had for December. 

And so it was, we as a family cooked, baked and created Christmas treats, made gifts and decorations. We were blessed with the opportunity to share Christmas with people who had recently lost loved ones, who were without jobs, people who were missing family and with those we love and some that we’d never met before. 

This Christmas showed our family that one of the best gifts of all, is to NOT get what you are expecting.  



A little known fact among leaders is that your perception of reality is not the same as the facts. 

Leaders gets tunnel vision when they start looking at how they would do things by themselves and in the time they want things done instead of what is actually achievable. This is BAD, VERY BAD!   Here’s why, as leaders you have a team of people that need to work together.  If you’ve put your team together properly you have a good mix of talents and not a team of cookies.  One of the most motivating things said to me early in my career was this, “We hired you as a professional, do your job and let us know what you need to do it with.” The worst thing that can happen to any employee is to be given a job and not the responsibility or resources to do it with. The difference between these two extremes is TRUST, and not only the trust of your team but the trust in your own leadership abilities.  The result of these lack of trust issues is bad morale, polarizing staff against each other or yourself, continual staff turn over and eventually poor public perception of your organization.  We need to remember that to be trusted we need to first trust others, not with our words but with our actions. And realize that we all make mistakes. 

As leaders there are a few things that we need to keep in mind to prevent us from showing people through our actions that we don’t trust them. First of all, you need to work with facts and not your perceptions. Secondly, you need to understand that you don’t know everything and you need to allow the people you’ve picked do their jobs to the best of their abilities and supply them with the resources they need. Finally, listen to your people. And you need to understand their perspective. Not only will this build trust, but it will give you a better understanding of the facts. This builds a solid working relationship, staff loyalty and ownership in the organization by all involved. 

So when it’s all said and done, we need to remember that trust is the cornerstone of every quality organization and building upon that trust starts with you the leader.   



Accountability is a word that’s thrown around quite a bit nowdays, but do we truly understand what accountability really means when it comes to leadership? As leaders, it’s easy for us to focus on keeping those who we lead accountable for their actions. We, as leaders, keep ourselves accountable to a board or another team of peers to keep ourselves out of the troubles that society considers to be wrong. This extremely narrow definition of accountability, however, leads to a lot of pain and suffering amongst leaders, staff, family members and even society. Maybe instead of the word “accountable” we need to start using the word “responsible”. Because as a leader, we are not only responsible for the things that we or our people do wrong; we are responsible FOR our people. Because if we are not, we are falling into the sin that’s described in James 4:17 “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”

One example of this in my career was when I had a staff member who one day just looked like something was wrong. So when the time was right, I pulled her aside and inquired about what was wrong. She told me that she was going through a hard time, but that it didn’t matter because she needed the work and she didn’t want to let me down. After hearing her story, I immediately offered to put her on a plane and still pay her what was already arranged. With tears in her eyes, she said she couldn’t accept it. But I told her that she and her family were more important than any job we would ever do together. 

Accountability in leadership means that we know who our people are, what their needs are, where they’re at emotionally and spiritually, and that we take care of them. This means making your people more important than your bottom line. And the bottom line is more than dollars and cents; but what you measure success as. 

So what does this mean for you? 

First of all, take a good honest look at where you’ve been lacking in accountability, how you haven’t been responsible for your people. 

Second, ask God to help you learn how to properly serve the people you lead. 

Third, start carrying out what God teaches you to do. And don’t forget to apologize where needed.

The accurate definition of accountability is best taught by a leader’s example. That’s why it’s our responsibility to lead the way God created us to lead: as servants. 



There are a world of pressures that make the responsibility of leadership sometimes overwhelming. One of the key principles that helps us as leaders is knowing what our limitations are. Too many times as leaders we think because we have the authority and the responsibility that we need to do it all. This can’t be further than the truth. We are all human and have limitations and will never be able to do it all. The trouble is that life becomes very miserable for everyone involved when we get sucked into the mentality that we have to do it all. For starters, when we can’t do it all, we compensate for our inability to get it all done with control. Without knowing it, we try to keep our  authority intact by controlling others. Usually, we try to control insignificant activities that have no bearing on productivity. Another issue that leaks out is the inability to forgive mistakes, while going overboard to defend your own actions. When these things don’t work (and they never do) we separate ourselves from others and that places a barrier between us and our staff. This separation gives a false and misleading impression of respect and authority. Finally, when we have dug  ourselves into a deep hole of frustration and everyone has lost all respect for us, it is human nature to get angry. We are not talking about justifiable anger here, but the kind where you kick your dog just to feel better about yourself. Needless to say, this doesn’t help either. 

So, how do we avoid all of this? First, we need to be honest with ourselves and others about our limitations. Remember, we are not all the same intentionally, and because of that we can work together successfully.  Second, we need to be up front with our mistakes and not try to cover them up. We all make them, so let’s all learn together. Finally, never take yourself or your people for granted. When we know our limitations, we can work together as a team and rely on our strengths. By working together, we avoid the barrier of separation and gain the respect and authority that has been given to us. It al boils down to being real. We need to stop trying to be somebody we’re not; then we will be the leader God made us to be.



There are a lot of people we try to please on a daily basis, family, employees, employers, friends, strangers, clients, potential clients, church, pastors, mentors, God and a lot of others. Have you ever noticed that the more you try to please someone the more you start to change? You start looking in the mirror and see them instead of yourself. Before making decisions you ask what they would do. Then to be safe you err on the side of your interpretation of what they would do. Then if you are lucky, fifty percent of the time, you may do what is right in their eyes. As your percentage of accuracy increases or decreases your self esteem tags along. This continues on until you ask yourself the question, “Who am I?” Why is it that if we all know that we are all different, why do we try so hard to be the same? We have all lead different lives with different experiences. For us to be productive in our actions we need to learn to understand each other’s uniqueness while being real to ourselves. It is only by being real to others and ourselves all the time that we can gain common ground and work together successfully. Some of the perks of being real are that we avoid misunderstandings, we reduce unpredictability and build strong relationships. When we are who God made us to be, our self esteem and confidence increase. We are at peace and have joy in our heart in whatever we do. This doesn’t mean that we get to go out and do whatever we want, but what it means is that we need to utilize the gifts and talents that God has given each of us. We need to respect others and work together in ways that allow each of us to be real. Remember that we will always have good and bad days, but by being real it allows us to avoid a whole lot of the self-inflicted bad days. So make a change, be yourself.



There are a lot of people in leadership positions who got their position because they interview well or have a good resume. There are many more who are promoted because they are talented in their field but are not trained and/or gifted as leaders. Even more people work for someone who they think is a bad leader and know that “I can do better.”

There are a couple things we all need to remember. The first is this: trust is earned, not granted. Whether we are a leader or a follower, we all need to earn the trust of those we work with. The second is this: it is our responsibility to communicate clearly with each other without reading into what people say or do. If you have a question, ask it. If you misunderstand, clarify. If you are asked a question, humbly answer it and don’t be burdened by the question. Third; care about other people more than yourself. Nothing builds a team better than knowing that your teammates have your best interests at heart. Finally, be honest about your feelings, mistakes and successes with those you work with. 

See, it all boils down to respect; for yourself and for others. We have to be able to respect others to be respected ourselves. We have to understand why people do what they do and why before we criticize them. We have to build workable relationships so that we can communicate honestly with each other respectfully. This means setting aside our own selfish pride, self-proclaimed wisdom and endless knowledge. Then we will meet people where they are at. Until we do, we will never be successful as leaders or followers. 


Wake Up

You know those days when you wake up in the morning and your body says to your mind, “
Are you nuts? There’s still 6 more hours of sleep!” The mind responds, “But you’ve already hit the snooze 5 times!! Are you gonna ask me to get you 7 pillows?” And the body responds, “That’s a great idea, I didn’t want to _________ anyways!” 

One of the never ending dilemmas of leadership is motivation for volunteers, staff and yourself. This stems from a few things, but the most prevalent is a lack of motivation or passion due to the lack of common vision. First, what is the organization’s goals and common vision to get there? Second, does everyone in the organization know the vision, goals and purpose? Third, do all the people agree with the method of reaching the purpose, achieving the goals and share the vision of the leadership? Finally, what is the heart of the people who work within the organization? 

As leaders, it is our responsibility to clearly communicate with those we lead so that they fully understand our vision, goals and purpose. After doing this, leaders need not be offended or hurt when people leave the organization because their heart is in a different place. It is also necessary to have the freedom to ask someone who does not have vision, goals and purpose to reconsider why they are there (this doesn’t mean you can “can” everyone who doesn’t agree with you!). An organization with differing purpose, goals and vision is a ticking time bomb and any successes are tempered with internal, leading to external failures. While an organization built with individuals with the same vision naturally agree upon the same goals to reach a common purpose. 

It is easy to be motivated as leaders, when working in an organization with one vision. Take away the common vision, purpose and goals, however, it produces frustration, increased workloads, and a sense of failure for everyone involved. To cultivate an atmosphere that draws an organization together, each leader need not only communicate vision, but understand that motives are different than vision. We have all grown up with different life experiences and the motives each one of us has are a result from those experiences. When we mistake our personal motives for organizational vision it creates turbulence. Leaders who understand this, get to know their people, who they are, what they have experienced, and what their motives are. This allows a leader to put together a group of people with different motives but who are focused on one vision. This creates unity within the organization with a successful outcome. As a leader, we need to serve those who we lead, understand them, show grace, and keep our heart on the common vision. This way, the mind and the body can work together successfully. 

I think I’m gonna take a nap now...


Cookie Cutter or Leader

Psalms teaches us that we are all delicately and uniquely made by God. 
Ever wonder why organizations crumble due to poor leadership? Well, there are many reasons but one recurrent reason is the ignoring of the fact that God made us unique for a reason. Paul, one of the guys in the Bible, says it best. If we are all eyes, how do we walk, hear or feel? Human nature, however, is to work with or hire people that are just like we are. This way we don’t have to waste our time trying to understand them and unfortunately, it  is easier to manipulate them. If we can’t get someone like us, then it is our nature to get someone we can mold “into” us. In essence, we are just cutting out cookies that look like us, with our same strengths, weaknesses and shortcomings. This leads to our strengths being amplified, along with our weaknesses and shortcomings. The bigger the organizations the bigger the amplification and the weaker the foundation of the organization. It may look good on the outside but it’s ready to collapse at any time. 

Each of us has to make a conscience decision not to fall into the trap of being a cookie cutter, but a true leader. Someone who picks unique people who’s strengths and weaknesses complement each other. By doing this, strengths are built upon and weaknesses are compensated for. This is not the easy road, it takes hard work and grace, selflessness and honesty, teamwork and forgiveness. This road requires servanthood as a leader, caring for and encouraging a group of unique people who God created. As group of people who God designed to work together with a common purpose, goal and character. Who are inspired by a leader by a leader who doesn’t cut cookies, a leader who understands that we are made different so that we can work together.



We spend our entire life learning new things. We learn what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s appropriate, what helps, what hurts, all the things I guess we are supposed to know. We have been taught to analyze all situations, to give them meaning.  Why?  It seems that in every instance that we have finally come to a conclusion, and feel we have a grip on the situation then it changes.  Something new always comes in to change the situation. It portrays a picture that looks nothing like ours. It makes us ask, “Have we learned anything? Why are we here? What is our purpose? Is there a purpose at all?” That is when you realize that life is like a kaleidoscope, always changing, never staying the same.  Is it possible to learn how to deal with something that is always changing? Is it possible to cope? 
I guess the answer is found by staring into the kaleidoscope of our life. While we watch all the colors forming new designs, we gaze in awe. Trying to find our own place in the mass of color. Then as you stare, it strikes you, forcing you to take a step back.  Looking at the whole picture you see it, the one thing that never changes: the outline of a man hanging on a cross; blood seeping from the wounds upon His hands and feet, a crown of long thorns digging into His head. He is hanging there for us. He didn’t have to.  He is perfect and is always there. He will always love us. He will never leave us. He will never change. He tells us, “Cast your cares on Me, take my hand, and I will set you free.” He is the constant in our kaleidoscope, showing us life’s meaning, helping us find our way. 



Have you ever gotten lost? Or should I say, remember all the times you have been lost? Did you ever think about how you got lost so that it won’t happen again? Or do you avoid the self-examination to keep your self-esteem at an acceptable level? Do you keep getting lost your own little secret? Or do you let everybody know about your lack of any sense of direction? Has getting lost ever gotten you in trouble mechanically, or getting stuck or ending up in the wrong part of town? So, at what point do you realize that you are lost? Do you figure it out, or does someone have to repeatedly point it out to you? At what point do you ask for or seek help? Are you embarrassed to admit that you are lost or are you embarrassed to ask for help? Are you lost and don’t even know it? Are you tired of the people who are trying to help help you find your way, but they only lead you in the wrong direction? 

I have found that I need a map. I need that map to know where I am going and how to get there. I need a map to know the detours to avoid and the obstacles that will get me into trouble. I need my map to know who to trust when I ask for help before I get lost again. I have found I need help and there is no shame in asking for it. I have found that I was lost but now I am found.  Here's My Map.


Wet Hook or Dry Hook

Some people say I am obsessed with fishing, I however, would say I am dedicated. There is a difference.  For me, I talk with God best in the symphony of God’s creatures and creations produced in the outdoors where I can listen to Him and not the noise of the world.  When I fish I slow down, put things in perspective, see what is important, set new goals, and learn to accept what God has given me.  A wise old fisherman once told me, “You can’t catch a fish without a hook in the water,”  As a kid I took him at his word. One time in high school I fished for 38 hours straight, only to catch 2 small perch.  Since then, I have also learned that it is also important to fish in the water where the fish are.  For me, a dedicated fishermen, I need to be willing to go where the fish are, fish with what He has blessed me with and have joy in the catch He provides.  When I leave this world I pray people will say, “There was a man that always had a hook in the water.”


Passing along the beach of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew net-fishing. Fishing was their regular work. Jesus said to them, "Come with me. I'll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I'll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass." They didn't ask questions. They dropped their nets and followed.
Mark 1:16-18 (The Message)


I’ve been absent in my blogging for the last few weeks due a time in the wilderness. I’ve been asking some tough questions, looking at some tougher goals, and dealing with impossible expectations. 

I had the opportunity this fall to take Dan (10), Peter (8), and Sage (10 months) duck hunting for the first time at the beginning of October. We got to the pond early one morning, set our decoys, had to sit still, and enthusiastically watched hundreds of ducks flying around. As a father, I had idealized memories of my first successful duck hunt; expectations of the boys hitting every duck they shot at, and ducks coming in to the decoys just like the videos we’ve been watching at home preparing for this day. So at the end of the day, we were tired and only got two ducks. I couldn’t call in a duck to save my life. The boys went through two boxes of shells, and I almost had to go swimming because the dog didn’t want to get the first duck. In short, the day was nothing like we originally imagined. So I asked the question, “Was the day a failure or was it successful because we finally got two ducks after 10 hours or was it God?” It’s ironic how closely this experience mimics our aspirations in our churches and ministries. You know, the times you try to replicate for others a meaningful experience in your past and it doesn’t meet your expectations. Was it a failure? A success? Or did God work in the situation and you didn’t see it? 

You see, God calls us to do His will and not our own. He cares for each one of us enough to work in unique ways because He understands who we are. He can do this because He is perfect and cannot fail, but He has chosen us to fulfill His works in His own time. 

That day of duck hunting, my boys got to spend a day with their dad. Dan killed his first two ducks while talking about life and the wonderful world God created for us. For the boys, they learned who God is in a unique way with their dad, regardless of expectations or goals. What we all need to learn is to follow God’s leading by the Holy Spirit, trusting that He will work as only He can. We need to realize not to ask if we have failed or succeeded, but to thank God for what He has done, is doing, and yet to do. Then ask God, what next.



A leader: 
  1. 1.Understands their first and greatest priority is to their people.
  2. 2.Grants authority that is equal or greater to the responsibility given.
  3. 3.Fairly applies criticism and encouragement to better their people, building them up, never tearing them down.
  4. 4.Clearly defines expectations that are realistic for that person’s ability and the project at hand.
  5. 5.Supplies the resources needed to achieve responsibilities with pride.
  6. 6.Inspires people to use their strengths and to rely on others for theirs.
  7. 7.Expects more from people than they think they can give, but not more than they are capable of giving.
  8. 8.Knows how to laugh and never takes themselves too seriously.
  9. 9.Understands the relationship and application of grace and justice.
  10. 10.Protects their people no matter what the cost.

God, help me be a leader that is a reflection of You for all to see. A leader who leads with fairness, integrity and grace. Take away my pride and replace it with humility, filling my heart with compassion and understanding for those who I lead. Grant me the wisdom needed to make difficult decisions that are not popular but that are right according to Your Word. Allow me to lead in a way where You can use me to change lives as only You can. Amen.