Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Asking The Right Questions

Probably the biggest hindrance to men making the right biblical decisions in their lives, right after not having a sufficient knowledge of Scripture, is that they too often ask the wrong question. As a result they end up with answers that fit the question they are asking rather than answers that fit the question that they should be asking.

An example of a wrong question might be, "How do I get a newer (or faster or prettier or flashier or more economical) car?" The right question is "What does God want me to do and how will he help me get where I need to be to do it?"

Much of the difficulty we face in life is the result of making decisions based on answers to the wrong question. Typically we frame a question so that regardless of the answer we get all or some part of what we want. We must learn to ask questions that center on what God wants. These questions generally result in tougher decisions, but also more God-glorifying ones.

A leader's agenda will be shaped by the answers to the questions he asks. We must learn to ask the right questions, even if those questions lead us to tough answers and tough decisions.

We know that growth involves change. But change itself involves either real loss or at least a sense of loss. This means if we are going to lead people in the direction of growth, they will inevitably have a sense of loss. They will be outside their "comfort zone." Our questions, then, must deal not simply with the necessity for change, but also with how to cope with the sense of loss that we know will be taking place in people's minds.

Leaders must understand that people are not resistant to growth; they are resistant to change. The question then becomes not "How can I convince people they need to grow," but "How can I help people deal with the sense of loss they will experience as they grow?"


Monday, May 19, 2008

Faith or Fear

“Moses had buried his zeal and confidence long ago in the blistering sands of Midian, far from the princely pomp of Egypt. When he looked in the mirror now, all he saw as an eighty-year-old waste of time…and wait a minute!…some kind of bush on fire or something.

“Settledness is the enemy of service. When we get comfortable spending our nights watching TV documentaries or ingesting more news than we could use in ten lifetimes, God’s gentle nudging for us to–let’s say, call someone on our church’s prayer list–is easy to shoot down. We fear those awkward pauses in conversation. We worry we might catch someone at a bad time. We might not know them well enough and come off sounding nosy. Fear comes in all kinds of excuses–and leaves us settling for much less than God’s best.” — Lawrence Kimbrough

Complacence among Christians may be the devil’s best ally. All it takes to make the world our friend is to forget it is our enemy; and all it takes to make God our enemy is to make the world our friend. James 4:4


Saturday, May 17, 2008

William K. Harrison

Consider the example of Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison who was the most decorated soldier in the 30th infantry division, rated by Gen. Eisenhower as the number one infantry division in the second world war. Gen. Harrison was the first American to enter Belgium during that war, which he did at the head of Allied forces. He received every decoration for valor except the Congressional Medal of Honor -- including the DSC, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. He was one of the few generals wounded in combat during world war 2.

When the Korean conflict began, Harrison served as Chief of Staff in the UN Command and because of his character and calm self-control was ultimately Eisenhower's choice to head the negotiations that led to the end of the war.

Gen. Harrison was a soldier's soldier. He led a busy life but he was also an amazing man of the Word of God. When he was a twenty year old cadet at West Point he began reading the Old Testament through once and the New Testament through four times annually. He kept this pace up even in the midst of war, and maintained his commitment by catching up during the two or three day respites for replacement and refitting that came after major battles. When the war ended, he was right on schedule.

When he lost use his eyesight at the age of ninety to the point he could no longer read, he had read the Old Testament seventy times and the New Testament 280 times. No wonder his godliness and wisdom were legendary. In fact, for eighteen years he led the Officers Christian Fellowship (OCF).

Harrison's story demonstrates that it is possible, even for the busiest men, to train ourselves systematically in God's Word. His life also is a demonstration of the benefits of a godly mind in the body of a godly man. Those who knew him best claimed that every area of his life (including the domestic, spiritual, professional, etc.) and every problem he faced was approached from the standpoint of what Scripture teaches about it.

The call to disciplined manhood for the purpose of godliness is not a call to legalism. It is a call to train ourselves in God's Word -- by listening to its preaching, taking notes, checking cross references, reading the Bible regularly, engaging in study systematically and accountably, memorizing the Word, and so on.