New Beginnings

New Beginnings

Everyone loves to have a new beginning.

To be sure, we all need new beginnings.

Some come everyday.  Some come during certain seasons in life.

A new beginning is the end of what has come before and starting on the path to what is next.

Spring is a season of new beginnings. After the winter when everything has either died or gone dormant, Spring is the time when things are “reborn”, “revitalized” or “reawakened”.

Spring is when Easter is as well. Easter is the time when we remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He died so that we might have new beginnings. He rose again so that we might have new beginnings. Jesus’ death and resurrection are all about us closing the door on the past sins, failures and dead-ends and receiving His free gift of new life!

Since this is Easter weekend it seems fitting to consider the new beginnings available to us.

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The Genesis Model of Creative Leadership

God and Adam

Creative leaders draw the best thinking out of the individual team members before calling a general brainstorming session.

This is the assertion in Chapter 1 of Tom Harper’s book, Leading from the Lion’s Den.  In his book he presents leadership lessons from every book of the Bible.  Consider this one from Genesis:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” – Gen 1:1

Many organizations today foster creative teamwork through collaborative instant messaging, chat windows, discussion boards, and project groups.  My company uses a myriad of technology tools as well as recently construction an entire corporate campus to foster collaboration.

Though today’s online cooperation might appear to be a new kind of brainstorming, it is actually based on a tried and true model of creativity. The old standard concept is simple: the best creative thinking is done when individuals have a chance to think before they collaborate.

Not everyone thinks well in groups. The rapid-fire atmosphere of some brainstorming methodologies can be very disconcerting to some otherwise highly creative members of your team.

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On being a “Courager”

nomadThis is part three in a series of articles on teaching and leading your children. Part one, which introduces the series, can be found here.

I have told my kids that there are no monsters in their closets, but if there were, the reason they would be hiding in the closet is because they are scared of me. I’m guessing that although I find that a very funny idea that my kids aren’t really comforted by it. It certainly doesn’t teach them courage.

Because there aren’t any monsters in my children’s closets, I seek out other opportunities to teach courage. For example, I’m not scared of bugs because I can’t be. Someone has to kill them, and that duty falls under my job description. And if something goes bump in the night, it’s my job to get up and see what it is, and if necessary, it’s my job to deal with it. While there are teaching opportunities in each of these scenarios, overcoming a fear of bugs is probably not age-appropriate for my kids, and explaining the significance of things that go bump in the night would only give them nightmares (and would otherwise serve no purpose). Frankly, neither of these scenarios are of the sort that call upon the kind of courage that my children need at this stage in their lives.

There are other fears.

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The Business of Ethics

MM - Ethics

I am sure there has been much written about ethics in leadership but I wanted to share some insights recently revealed to me.

I had a visit with some dear friends who have been in leadership positions and one is currently writing a book on “ethics in the university”. He is a retired professor and is a dear friend so, jokingly, I asked him if he had discovered any, to which there was a resounding NO.

The chats usually go with the state of our country then circles around to business models and ethics.

First, I’m not sure why we call it “business ethics”.

Is the place we learn business ethics, in business, or is it too late then?  Our conversation had me asking that question, “Where do we learn” ethics?

Well, I got the standard business answer we all should expect and the one you are thinking. We teach them in college and have training classes and seminars. Which isn’t bad, I might add!

As you may guess at this point in the conversation, I still had plenty of questions. So, one immediate question was; at what age do we start to teach ethics?

Where and when do “we” learn ethics?

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The Myth of the Perfect Christmas

Merry Christmas

It is not a perfect Christmas for us this year. Some of my family are not here.  But it is still a “Merry” one. It is still one that is full of joy and wonder and amazement that God chose to come to earth in the form of man and dwell among us.

It would be nice to say “Merry Christmas” and be completely oblivious to the world around us. But that would mean that you and I are truly oblivious creatures. The fact is, more of us are hurting and broken at Christmas than are healthy and whole.

I am here to tell you that it is okay. It is okay with me and it is okay with Jesus. In fact, your brokenness is exactly why Jesus came. Your brokenness is the dirty, filthy stable. Your brokenness is a manger made for feeding animals, not for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But Jesus came anyway. He came and He stayed with us and He cried IN our brokenness, WITH us. Because Jesus is “Emmanuel, God with us.”

And He will come to you anew and afresh if you will let him.

But to do that we have to put away this notion of a perfectly decorated tree, perfectly lighted houses, perfectly wrapped presents, perfectly planned meals and perfectly pretty family and friends to share it with.  Jesus didn’t come for any of that. And actually, it’s quite the opposite.

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Wise Leaders Keep an Eye to the Future

Wise Men Leadership

We are close to Christmas Day. And we are given an opportunity each year to review the greatest story ever told. Also, there are leadership lessons that are in this story that are present if you will look for them.

Consider today some leadership lessons from the Wise Men.

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The Decline of a Nation?

WB20141125 - 1In the past few days we have witnessed a distinctive parting between leadership and power. Including the loss of appreciation for our fellow man and the gratitude for those who have sacrificed to give us the freedoms we enjoy. Be it immigration or the general rule of law the recent decisions from our leadership to the actions in Ferguson, MO,  lend credence to a dramatic decline in the display of appreciation and gratitude. Sadly, our society seems to be filled with more people who have very little leadership skills and a whole lot of power.

In witnessing this dramatic decline  one must present the question; What are we really seeing develop before our eyes?

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Legacy Leadership – Part 5 – Living a Worthy Legacy Now


LL - 5 - 1If I told you today that you would die on November 7, 2024 at midnight, how would you spend the next 10 years of your life?

If I told you today that you would die on November 7, 2014 at midnight, what would you do?

Would there be any difference in your approach?

I have be been very fortunate to hear some of the greatest Gospel voices preach in our church, at camp meetings or various retreats.  One of the greatest in my mind is Dr. William McCumber. For those of you who may not know, he was a pastor, teacher and publisher of a magazine.

LL - 5 - 2He preached a message one time that I think is relevant to our Legacy Leadership theme as I bring this series to a close.  In his message he was trying to help us come to grips with how we are to live our lives in light of the coming end of this age.  Dr. McCumber was asked one time what he would do given that we may be living in the last days before Jesus returns.  He said, with no intent to create humor, that he would go home and fix the leak in his roof.

That is an odd response, wouldn’t you say?

His point was this.  We should be living our lives in such a way that if we knew that Jesus was returning, we would be so ready to go that we would just go on about our daily activities.

That challenges me.  If I knew for sure that my time was near, would I be running around making amends?  Would I be trying to make up for lost time? Or would I just go about my daily routine?

I realize that this is a gross oversimplification. But it makes the point that I think I want to make today.

What is the legacy leadership point here?

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Legacy Leadership – Part 1 – Focus on Legacy Leadership


Legacy - Part 1 - 6A focus on legacy leadership will drive every decision that you make and every action that you take. So, what is Legacy Leadership?

“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV)

 Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value. — Albert Einstein

It surprises me how many husbands and fathers don’t spend enough time thinking about their legacy – what they will leave behind for the family that they love and the people they serve. I won’t even go into how many husbands and fathers only carry the life insurance supplied by their employer. But they seem to care more about the financial legacy they will leave than the Spiritual one that will be left behind.

Legacy - Part 1 - 1But the harsh reality is that each of us is leaving a legacy whether we realize it or not or whether we want to or not.  The question is whether or not it is a legacy that is positive and has far-reaching implications into the following generations.  And for me, the legacy that I want to leave is a spiritual one.  I want to leave one that is pleasing to God.  And if it is pleasing to God, I am pretty sure I will be OK with it as well.

Webster’s dictionary defines legacy as, “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.

Legacy is not bound by age or time served. Legacy represents your entire body of work at each stage of your life as you establish the foundational building blocks of a family and accumulate the required wisdom to contribute to the success of that family unit. Your legacy grows with each new experience, with each test or trial, and each time you inspire others to see something beyond our current circumstances.

For many, leaving a legacy is associated with the end rather than the beginning of one’s life.

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Leadership and “Coasting”

Coasting - 1Is it ever OK to just coast along for a while?

That is the question that I am pondering this morning.  You see, I am tired.  I am probably not near as tired as some of you.  But I am still tired.

I am thinking right now of a young man who is probably the hardest working guy that I know.  He is up very early every morning and heads out the door long before the sun is even thinking of rising.  I am thinking of a single mom who is doing a great job with a couple of very “energetic” children.

I can only imagine how tired they must be.

I have just finished a very busy phase of a major project that I am working on.  I have a very busy and hectic schedule for the next few weeks.  And then I will have some down time between projects.  But right now, all I want to do is stop peddling and coast for a while.

Do you ever feel that way?  Is ”coasting” ever an option for leaders?  Is it ever acceptable to just to just put things on autopilot and let things run on their own for a while?  If so, how long is an acceptable time to coast?

Coasting - 2Here are my thoughts.

It is physically impossible to be a hard charger every moment of every day.  As leaders we must have some down time.  Perhaps this is the strongest argument for developing young leaders around us. 

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