Did We Do Enough?

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She’s smart, beautiful, mature, socially adept, and purpose driven. I have no doubt in her as a person, no doubt she will move forward with rapid progress and purpose. I couldn’t be more proud of her accomplishments and future potential.

As a parent however, I keep asking myself, “have I done enough?” have my wife and I taught her all the life lessons we could have? Have we given her the full benefit of our experience.

I realize our job is not over but in large part in a way we have crossed a line that none of us will return from. Enter adulthood.

The conclusion I’ve come to is we’ve done the best we could. We haven’t been perfect, we have made mistakes, but we can honestly say we gave her our best effort as parents and as much love as we could muster. We can’t take credit for how well she’s turned out, the glory for that goes to God, but we are so proud of how she has submitted her life to Jesus and His purpose for it.

She is a world changer and although I still wonder if we’ve done enough, I can release her to the next phase of her life without fear or inhibition.

I don’t normally write about family things in this way and not sure if there is much to learn from this blog, but I’m sure there are many parents this time of year who are feeling the same way.

I love Taylor Janae Gadberry and I can’t wait to watch her change her world.

Mentors, motivation, & Momentum

As a 42 year old leader there are a plethora of principles I’ve learned from great men and women in my life. Things that not only taught me in that moment but for my lifetime by shaping the way I think about things.

As I tell those I mentor and disciple today a teachable attitude is the key to personal growth.

I realize at my age and the years of experience in leadership and ministry I have affords me a lot of knowledge. I do know some things. However wisdom dictates to me the older I get it seems there is still so much to learn. To be truthful in some ways I feel I am just getting started. Some risks I still want to take. Some things I’m ready to accomplish. I want to share with you a few principles I’ve learned from mentors in my life that have shaped my thinking.

I have distant mentors (people’s who’s books I’ve read and podcasts I listen to)

I have acquaintance mentors (leaders I’ve met and observe their organizations)

I have intimate mentors (leaders I know personally and glean from their teachings and personal conversations as well as watching their lives up close)

John Maxwell (dm) I have met him a few times but not to the point we are aquatinted. But his influence on me has been profound.

Principle: leadership is influence not position don’t get it confused. Serving is the key. Humility required.

Stephan Covey: (dm) read his books

Principles: base your life on eternal principles not temporal and plan your priorities not your time.

Andy Stanly: (dm)

Principle: Focus, Focus, focus. You don’t have to or want to do everything, choose your focus and give it everything.

Nick and Christine Caine: (am).

Principles: submission, passion, commitment to the cause empower you to change the world and inspire others to do the same.

Paul Scanlon: (am)

Principle: look at things from a different perspective. Don’t let circumstances or people pressure you to be something your not. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Steve and Charlette Gambille: (am)

Principle: enjoy life while intensely leading, thinking and carrying out big vision.

Kirk and Nancy Pankratz: (im)

Principles: assume the best first,
Be doggedly determined, believe in people. Be willing to put it on the line.

Terry House: (im)

Principles: every Christian is a missionary. Be calculating in the decisions you make and the risks that you take. Be a team player. Love people, make a difference, enjoy friendship and laugh a lot.

Willis Baldridge: (im)

He has passed away but I’m still learning from him. He was the first Pastor I worked for.

Principles: lead your church, pastor the whole community. Give a man enough rope he will hang himself. Care passionately about the word of God and revere the art of preaching.

These are just some of my teachers and some of the principles. Thought they might help you. Hopefully my words and my life are mentoring others.

Still learning.

AFRICA 2011, GREAT VISION>GREAT PARTNERS>GREAT TEAM!

Here are some highlights of the Rwanda side of our trip.  Night of leadership for next generation leaders (college students), concert outreach to kigali high school, Community festival and concert, and Concert outreach at university.  1200 college students worshipped together and heard the word.  Work projects on a school.

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If You’re Smart You’ll Take it to Heart

Proverbs 2:1 (msg) Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life.

I find it interesting that the writer here starts by calling the listener or reader “good friend.” For, in fact anyone who is giving you good advice, or wisdom is a good friend.

A good friend to you will advise you of truth no matter how hard it may be to hear it or act on it. It’s a good friend indeed who will give you wisdom. We find out later that this good friend is wisdom itself.

Take it to heart he says. As a pastor, a leader, a life coach to many. I completely understand why he would write this. You may think it’s understood but you would be incorrect to think that. It’s amazing to me how many people ask for counsel, and guidance, coaching, or leadership, whatever you want to call it, and listen to you but don’t take you’re wisdom to heart.

They listen, but don’t embrace it. There are many motivations not to. Fear, arrogance, pride, being unteachable, selfish desires, passivity, unwillingness to confront and so much more.

Bottom line however is if you need wisdom and it’s been made available to you, embrace it, change accordingly, move on and make progress.

John Maxwell says “the definition of insanity is to do the same thing and expect different results.”

So my advice to you is listen to the wisdom God has placed around you and let it work in you. Wisdom and the people who dispense it are your friends.

Any Counselors, Pastors, Teachers, and Leaders who can identify say amen!

Father (& mother) know best

Proverbs 1:8-9 (msg). Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you; never forget what you learned at your mother’s knee. Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair, like rings on your fingers.

My Pastor, Kirk Pankratz was teaching on parenting last night, and he recalled like many of us do that when he was 14-16 he felt like his parents didn’t know anything but when he arrived at 21-22 he realized they were much smarter than he thought. We can all laugh at that because we’ve all been there.

Adolescence does that to us. As we develop independence we assume we know more than we do and that our parents know less, but when we are old enough to take on the responsibility of independence, we realize how little we know and how much they know.

Solomon is teaching us here that experience and wisdom from our parents is very valuable. He says wear it like jewelry.

Basically he is telling us to embrace and not reject what either of our parents told us as children. Be proud to follow their wisdom, consider it like treasure. I have found this to be true in my own life.

What if my parents weren’t the smartest people? Nobody’s perfect, but their experience has taught them something, and if you pay close attention you will glean some very important things from them.

There is wisdom In listening to those who’ve already gone down the road you’re trying to travel.

What important lessons have you learned from your parents? Please share.

Stupid is as Stupid Does

Proverbs 1:4-6 (msg) To teach the inexperienced the ropes and give our young people a grasp on reality. There’s something here also for seasoned men and women, still a thing or two for the experienced to learn-Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate, the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.

I’m on vacation, relaxing and enjoying time with my family. I’m having a great time. God is good! Enjoying time with God as well just reading proverbs and wanted to share some thoughts I love that my dad and grandfather taught me as a young man, how important the bible is, and how it’s wisdom can transform and revolutionize our lives.

In this passage that’s what this is saying. These writings are inspired by God and penned by the great king Solomon. What he says is simple. The word of God teaches us how to live, but more than that he reveals the right attitude for growth and development.

No matter if we are young and zealous, beginning to learn about life, thinking we know more than we do, we need to pay attention to the wisdom of God and be teachable.

No matter if we are older, experienced and have faced many issues, there is more for us to learn. More growth and development to be had. Be teachable.

The killer of a persons growth and development, the thing that will stunt it more than any other is the pride and arrogance of thinking we know more than we actually do. I’ve made a commitment to be a life long learner. In my mind that is the key to success. So, let’s be honest about where we are and be open to be taught necessary lessons to achieve Gods purpose.

We don’t know it all, we don’t enough, and the moment we think we do, we’re done.

What are you learning right now?

Who’s Shoulders are You Standing on? – Part 3, My Pastor

I have written previously about my Grandfather and my Father.  They both have influenced my life greatly.  Through my adult life I have had many mentors, friends, leaders, and pastors in my life that have all contributed to my life in one way or the other.

About 15 or 16 years ago I met a man who really helped me.  I was a Senior Pastor at a very young age and  needed help.  I had gone through some difficult circumstances, and the organization I was with just wasn’t there for me.  Not because they were bad, or because they were less than anyone else,but the truth was the leadership issues I was dealing with at the time, no one had ever trained them how to effectively deal with them either, so its not that they were bad leaders, they just weren’t equipped, and I, by no means was either.

I was in the middle of transition, and I came across something called Youth America.  When I experienced it, I said to myself this is what youth ministry should be.  So, long story short, I met the man who was the leader of Youth America, he was also the Pastor of Church of the Harvest.  A great church in OKC.  Through a series of events we became acquaintances, then friends, and I ask him to be my mentor.  To make a long story even shorter I ended up working with him as his associate, and to this point I am still here.  This is my 13th year with Church of the Harvest, and with Pastor Kirk Pankratz.  http://www.harvestokc.com.   We’ve learned so much from he and Nancy his wife.  We’ve had great leaders come through our church and I’ve learned from them, as well.  He’s always learning and reading and meeting new people to help him grow, and I’ve learned from them myself and through his teaching our staff the things he’s learned from other people.  However there are some things that I’ve learned from him, that are a part of his Charecter, part of who he is.  Those are the things I want to share with you.

#1.  Never be intimidated to go after relationships with people who are farther down the rode than you are.

He’s been an example to me and has taught me how to build relationships with people who can build me as a person, as a pastor, and cause me to reach higher and farther.  Many leaders cary such insecurity that they blow successful leaders up in their minds, completely out of proportion, and fail to realize they are people just like you and I.  We should do our best to learn from them, and grow, and not to be intimidated to try to get to know them.  It may be reading their books, it may be going to their conferences, meeting them, inviting them to our church, and see where it goes, but the idea is, those relationships are important to our growth.

#2.  You can learn from anyone.

He has taught me that everyone has something to teach us.  They can teach us how to do things or how not to do things, but everyone has something they can teach us.  There is no room in the body of Christ for looking down our noses at people who have “not gone as far as we have”  we can learn from them as well, and different people can teach you different things.  One pastor may be able to teach us how to really care about people, while another could teach us how to develop systems that produce growth.  Our kids can even teach us if we will listen.

#3.  Always assume the best first.

Be patient, don’t always assume the negative.  Assume that people do want to do right.  Assume that they are doing their best.  Assume that they do care.  Don’ immediately assume they have an ulterior motive, or are trying to hurt you.  As a result of this teaching it led me to have this thought.  There is always a story.  So much of the time when something negative happens we immediately begin to judge, and assume without knowing all the facts.  However the longer I live and the more I lead, I realize in most people’s lives we would judge, there’s a story.  Its the idea that you can’t judge somone until you have walked in their  shoes.  We don’t know for sure how we would respond to something if we haven’t gone through it.  I’m not talking about making excuses for people, but assuming the best first until the facts prove other wise. Example, when you hear something negative about another Christian, is your first response to judge and criticize or is it to say, there is no way, that happened?

#4.  Persistence is one of the key components to success.

He has taught me to look at the greatest odds and say, God is with us, and we can do this.  Then proceed to walk through it until it is done.  Just set your face like flint, and believe in what God has asked you to do.  The only real way to get others to believe in your vision  is to so completely believe it that you will walk through hell and back to achieve it.  There is no problem to big to stop what God wants us to do, and we have to be totally resolved about it.

#5.  People don’t follow who they believe in, they follow who believe in them.

So much of our time as leaders is spent trying to get our followers to own the vision.  Trying to get people to live for the cause, to face all the odds, to move forward, not back or set still.  So much of the time our techniques point to us.  They can be selfishly motivated.  Its as if we are standing there begging people, “believe in me, believe in me.”  The way to achieve that however is to sincerely, authentically believe in them.  Belive in their heart, their loyalty, their gifts, and their desire to do what’s right.  Show them that you believe in them, let them be a part of the process.  Don’t put them down, don’t treat them like dumb sheep wandering around without a brain, but believe in them, and let them know it.  Why would we expect someone to serve our vision, and not respect them.  Believe in people and they will follow you to the ends of the earth to accomplish your goals.

I am sure there are many more, but those are the things that stand out to me, that he has taught me.  This is the final blog in this series.  Realize today, you are not an original, you are the collective input, and impartation of leaders who have gone before you and influenced you.  In all our ideas, in all our plans, in all our goals, and successes, the best way to stay humble is to remember, this didn’t start with us.  Thank God for mentors, fathers, family in our lives who have made us what we are today.