Attitude Trumps Authority

When it comes to leadership, my guess would be that most of you feel inadequate.  You don’t believe that you have what it takes to really be a leader.  Or maybe you feel limited in who, when, and where you can lead and you feel that you have already reached a plateau in your leadership potential.  Or, could it be that you feel like the “low man on the totem pole” at your church, in your ministry, at your school, or on the job – why would they listen to you?

The reason you feel this way is because you, and many others, have confused authority with leadership.  We believe that before we can lead, we have to have authority over those we are leading.  That is, very simply, not the case.  It is possible to lead from the middle, or even the bottom!

Jesus teaches us how to lead.  When it came to leading people, Jesus was much more about attitude that He was about authority.  He had more authority than anybody, but He knew that authority was not the source of true leadership.  Jesus lead with an attitude of a servant.  This is just simply amazing to me, all power was given to Him in Heaven and in Earth, yet He served the sinner!

In doing this, Jesus demonstrated that anyone can be a leader.  We lead by our attitude.  We lead with love.  We lead best when we serve.  So whatever your context may be, don’t believe that you can’t be a leader.  Find a need.  Be a servant.  You are a leader.

Hey, don’t look now, but that person you just served is following you!

Do you have any examples of leading through serving?

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And The Winner Is…

I had several great responses to my “Your Title Here” post.  Thank you so much to everyone that took the time to read and participate.  I really loved your titles.

Some favorites:

“March Christian Madness”:  Very appropriate considering we are getting right into the thick of March Madness (should be a good year).

“Wearing a Hairy Shirt”:  I don’t get it, but it sounds very itchy.

‘”Mirage in the Mirror: A Look at Misconceptions of Self-Reflections”:  This one was posted on Facebook.  I have to admit, this was my favorite title. It sounds like a great sermon.  However, I didn’t think it was the best fit for the post.

And the winner is…

Rachel with “His Mercy in My Madness”  This is a great title and fits the post wonderfully.  Well deserving of a Starbucks!

Thanks for playing, it was fun!

What should I give away next time?

Christianity vs Truth! What?

There is a troubling trend in Christianity today.  Sometimes it is blatantly and brazenly professed and sometimes it comes incognito, made to look like worship.  It is a belief that truth cannot be known.  We can’t really understand anything about Scripture or about God.  As I mentioned some preach (I hesitate to call what they do preaching) this from their platforms whether it be sermons, books, or blogs.  And others try to pass it off as worship, “God is so great and wonderful!  We can’t possibly understand or even really know Him!”

Wait a second!  Christianity is ALL ABOUT TRUTH!  Truth is knowable.  In fact, God WANTS us to KNOW.  That is the purpose of His Word.  Scripture is the measure, the standard, and the TRUTH.  It is God’s all-sufficient, complete, and unchangeable guide and gift for His people.  And while it is true that we cannot fully comprehend God, for His ways are higher than our ways, there is a lot that we CAN know.  He has revealed it to us through His Word.  Yet knowledge of the Bible ranks pretty low, even among “born again” believers.  The preaching and teaching of Bible Truths is disappearing from many churches and is being replaced by entertaining speeches.  The love of God’s Word is waning in the hearts of His people.

There are many that believe that the authority of God functions separately from written Scripture.  They believe that Scripture cannot be fully authoritative at the level of its functioning in the life of the Church today.  There is a dismissal of the importance of doctrine and the assumption that it is neither central, nor important in the lives of the post-modern day Christian.  As a result, we have a lot of murmuring and complaining about Truth, and a lot of shouting and rejoicing about many other subjects.  The Christian Church is distracted!

We have to get back to Bible Teaching and Bible Preaching.  People, our pastors should not have to worry about us getting bored or anxious to leave when they begin teaching us Biblical Truths.  We need to encourage them to teach to us and preach to us, like never before, the Truth of God’s Word.

We need to embrace God’s Word, embrace God’s Truth, and embrace the One at the center of its message.

Without Truth, there is no Christianity!

For more on this, I suggest David Well’s The Courage to be Protestant  from which most of these thoughts were inspired.

What Do You Have To Say About Truth?  Don’t Lie!

I’m The Best Failure Ever

Too soon for my first guest post?  I think not.  I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine.  His name is Brad Titus.  He is an inspiring writer, a preacher of Truth, and he has a great mind.  You should read his blog if you don’t already.  Enjoy!  Leave Brad a comment.

I’m not perfect.

Most people aren’t.

A friend of mine has started blogging and he recently talked about one of those types of days where you just want to reboot … as he put it, an epic fail day.

I was thinking about my failures – there are a lot of them – and what I’ve learned from them over the years.

I learned that receiving the Holy Ghost doesn’t mean that you won’t fail again. Two days after I first received the Holy Ghost, I lied to my German teacher and forged my dad’s signature on a test. God doesn’t write us off when we disappoint Him.

I learned that God can take dead, dry bones and make them live – following a three-year period where I couldn’t reach God, a late-night prayer meeting brought a refilling of the Holy Ghost that started an entire new season of spiritual growth.

I learned that a righteous man isn’t righteous because he never falls, but because he keeps getting up. After crying out for grace and then turning to spit  in God’s face time and again, I reached a point of total brokenness. God opened doors and placed me in a rehab program in California, where I was tested, tried, equipped, and restored. Since that time, God has opened doors in my life and used me in ways that I never dreamed possible.

I’m not perfect, but I do my best to walk after Christ. When I fall short, I don’t stay down. I rise up again.

If this post blessed you in anyway, please leave a comment for Brad.  Thanks for Reading!

Your Title Here

Pay Attention! Give this post a title in the comments section.  The best/most creative title wins a $10 Starbucks Gift Card! (Winner will be chosen Friday).

In my first post, I had said that one of the things that I would be writing about was failures.  Now, I have to admit that even as I wrote that, I didn’t think I would actually write about any of my failures.  But today, that is what I am going to do.  I am doing this for two reasons; (1) because God is merciful, and (2) maybe it will help you…or me.

I’m sure you know about and have experienced that deal.  You know, that one where things are going good.  You just got out of Indiana District Men’s Conference (or you had some other wonderful God encounter), everything is cloud nine, and you are feeling great in the Lord.  The DEAL is, the enemy doesn’t like that.  And he is an expert at knocking you off your feet when you begin to run.

Well, needless to say, I got the raw end of the deal today.  To say that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed is an understatement.  I woke up downright mad.  No reason in particular.  I just didn’t feel like ___________. (You can feel free to fill this in with anything).

If you know me at all, you know that I am a list person.  I got stuff to do.  I have a whole list of stuff to do, and today was no exception.  So I drug my weary, whiney self out of bed and started working on the list.  Problem was, when you don’t feel like __________.  It’s hard to get _______ done.  And my attitude went south.  I mean, I was nasty.

And at the end of the day, this is what I accomplished:  Almost nothing crossed of my list, I was mean to my mother (she is in bed, I have to apologize in the morning), I was mad at other people (people who didn’t even know that I was mad at them and that I didn’t even have a reason to be mad at), I made myself feel like a complete and total loser, and worst of all, the great connection that I had felt with the Lord just yesterday…it was gone.

But I’m so thankful that we can come to Jesus when we fall.  Where would I be without His grace?  I would be the person I was today.  But, Jesus loved me so much that He died so that THAT person does not have to live.

“Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise” (Micah 7:8)

To anyone that has ever been knocked down, His hand is reaching to help you back up.

So…what’s your title?

Take The Follow. You Know The Way.

A quick mental skim through the New Testament brings to mind three responses to Jesus’ command to ‘follow me’.

Some of them quit their job on the spot.  Some of them left their families.  Some of them didn’t ask a question.  Some of them never sought clarification as to what it was exactly that they would be doing if they followed Him.  They signed a blank contract.  They seized the moment.  They took the Follow.  They turned their world upside-down.

There were some others that wanted to follow.  Their answer wasn’t no.  They just had something else that they needed to do first.  “I will follow you, but first let me go bury my father.” (Luke 9:59).  Another said, “I will follow you, but first let me go say goodbye to my family.” (Luke 9:61).  And while they were doing what they thought was so important, they lost their Way.

And then there was the one that said no.  Oh, he wanted to follow at first, but then he found out that is was going to cost him something.  “Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor…and come, follow me.”  The young man went away sorrowful because what he had in this world seemed like too much to give up. 

Which group are you in today?  I think we would all like to put ourselves in the first group but if we are really honest, we will quickly recognize that we carry some characteristics of the second and third group.   Maybe there is something in your life that you feel like you have to do before you can take the follow.  “I will follow you Jesus, but first let me go ____________.”  Maybe you are just too much in love with something in this world and it seems as though you can’t give it up.

I urge you to seize the moment.  Never has there been a better time for someone to rise up and take the follow.  Our families, our friends, our classmates, and co-workers are feeling lost and confused.  Darkness grips our communities, our nation, and our world.  People everywhere are looking for a Way.

You know the Way don’t you?  Good.  Why don’t you take the Follow?

“I am the Way”  – Jesus

“Follow Me” – The Way

Follow the Leader

Welcome to The First Follower.  Believe it or not, there is a reason for the name of this “Blog Experiment”, and it has nothing to do with Twitter (however, if you are there, follow me @the1stfollower).  Allow me to explain.

I have had the desire to begin blogging for a while now but never really knew what my niche was.  “What would the purpose be?  Who would read it? (Probably my mom and a few friends….okay, Maybe.)  What would I write about?  I didn’t really have a clue where to begin.  Until a couple of weeks ago.  It was then that I stumbled upon an inspiring TED talk on leadership (actually followership, as you will see) by Derek Sivers.  I had my “Aha!” moment.  This is what he said.

“It takes guts to be a first follower! You stand out and brave ridicule, yourself.

Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership.

The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader.  

There is no movement without the first follower.

We’re told we all need to be leaders, but that would be really ineffective.

The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow.

When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in.”

And it hit me, that is what I want to be!  I want to be a first follower.  I want to be able to say like Paul, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also [am] of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1).  I want someone to be able to watch me and see what it means to follow Jesus.

And that is what The First Follower is all about.  It’s about sharing lessons learned as I strive to follow Christ in every area of life.  I will try to always be brief and helpful.  I will post about being a Christian in the business world, being involved in ministry, relationships, finances, goals, dreams, struggles, failures, victories, and everything else that has to do with life.  I will share many helpful resources (websites, blogs, articles, books, sermons).  And ultimately, my hope is that my following will somehow help you in your following.

So what do you say?  Will you have the guts to stand up and be a first follower with me?  Will you live a life that teaches others how to follow?  I think it’s your turn.  Stand up.  Take the follow.  Follow the Leader.

Do you have any thoughts on following, the most under appreciated form of leadership?  Leave a comment.