An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.  –Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Achan ’s Sin – the Human Story (Joshua 7-8)

Empty tomb photo

Joshua 7 is one of those chapters that is a bit perplexing until you read it through the lens of the Gospel.

The only way to properly read this story is to put ourselves into it. If we are honest, we can all relate with Achan. What he did. And the consequences he suffered.

We have to be careful to not distance ourselves too much from Achan. The temptations that seized Achan are common temptations to ALL of us. The pile of stones that were stacked on Achan should be piled on each of us too.

If we don’t understand the depth of our sin, then we’ll never understand grace either. The good news is that the story of Achan’s tomb of stones is overshadowed by the epic story of the Empty tomb of Jesus.

To hear my sermon on “Achan’s Sin, the Human Story”, click here…

How to Handle Defeat or Failure Gracefully

I recently had a day of parenting that I would call a failure. I really love my kids so when I feel like a failure as a parent that can be really discouraging. The next morning as I was spending time with the Lord trying to restart so that I would not let my sense of defeat cause me to lose heart, I was reminded of a metaphor that helped.

How to handle failure

LIKE THAT FEELING OF FAILURE WHEN YOU HAVE LOST A GAME

I have coached for a long time and currently I’m coaching a 12 and under baseball team. It is inevitable in any sport that a player is going to have a bad day. I have walked my kids through many of these situations and one common thread stands out. As the parent standing with my kids as they feel a sense of failure or defeat, my hope is always that they can simply learn from it and then move on quickly to the next opportunity for growth. It is hard to watch one of my kids remain downcast over a bad day on the field. What I love is when one of my kids can deal with their emotion of disappointment in a reasonable amount of time, and then find something to learn from and lift their chin and move on.

It sounds cliche to say that what matters from failure is how you deal with it and move on. But it is true. And I see in the Scriptures that our heavenly Father has a similar perceptive. God expects us to fail, massively, and often. Yet similar to a parent who is pulling for their child to learn, grow, and move on… God has that kind of perspective.

CONTENTMENT COMES FROM HUMILITY

A passage that encourages me along these lines is Psalm 131. It is a psalm about contentment. And contentment comes from humility.

My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore. (Psalm 131)

LISTEN TO YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER’S VOICE WHEN YOU FACE DEFEAT

How are you handling small or massive failures or defeat? Are you like the child after a game who keeps his head down and can’t snap out of it.. making a big deal out of something that really in the grand scheme of things is not that big of a deal? I’m grateful that although I met discouragement recently by a bad day of parenting, that once again (as usual) God’s Word helped me snap out if it and just learn and move on in hope.

REFLECTION

  • Identify a recent time when you felt defeated. How did you handle it?
  • Have you ever tried to cheer up or encourage another person after the lost a sports game? Can you remember a time when someone you know sat in disappointment for way too long? Was that hard for you to watch? Why?
  • Consider this week how God the Father truly views failure and defeat. Like the Psalm above encourages us, try to “calm and quiet yourself like a weaned child” in the lap of your Father, and then chin up and move on. It’s probably not as big of a deal as you have made it out to be in God’s perspective.
  • Remember what Job cried out in great hope: “I know that my redeemer lives…” (Job 19:25). God is actively at work redeeming you especially in the midst of your failures and defeat.

stone with fire flowers

“A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Vision – Values Cycle Tool: 5 Steps to Staying on Mission

Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)

Vision casting in Costa Rica-Riverside 2

Leadership Training In the Jungle of Costa Rica

Leading with vision is not easy. It does not look like a casual stroll through the park on a wide well-maintained path. Rather, leading with vision looks more like a jungle adventure, meandering through ups and downs, scaling sharp cliffs, making progress at times, and at other times standing still. One of the observations I’ve made about leading with vision is that that good visionary leaders understand the “Vision-Values Cycle.” Whether you are leading a small group, classroom, a business, or a family… here are some insights that will help you stay on your mission by using the Vision-Values Cycle Tool.

If Jesus isn’t Who He said He was, the World has No Hope | 10 Reasons

I recently had the privilege of sharing the Gospel with a young man in a foreign country who grew up in a family that taught that the way to God is only through believing the message of a different book than the Bible. After sharing the Gospel with him for a couple of hours I pleaded with him to take my Bible read the story of Jesus for himself to see how different his story is from this other religious book.

Jesus brings hope

Although he listened intently to everything that I told him about Jesus and seemed to want to believe it… he would not accept my Bible because he said that his father would disown him or kill him if he came home with it. This is where my mind went:

CASE STUDIES | THE LEADER’S TREADMILL FOR IMPROVING STRATEGIC THINKING

case studies

Case studies help leaders solve problems more effectively. They also help leaders learn how to make more efficient decisions. Case studies examine a variety of angles surrounding a problem and help you form an idea based on the information at hand. A good case study not only challenges an individual to use their noggin, but also encourages group discussion.

Case Studies: A Treadmill for Leaders

So, what makes case studies such a powerful tool for leaders, teachers, and students? Look at a case study like a leader’s treadmill: the overall purpose is to paint a picture of an actual situation—often ambiguous in nature—whereby the participants are left to process the situation and provide a solution to the problem, which may have multiple outcomes.

TWITTER TRENDS | NEW RESEARCH ON TWITTER’S GLOBAL IMPACT

Twitter connections

New research on Twitter’s global impact has implications for leaders who want to leverage influence in their ministries.

Since I fly alot to work with leaders around the world, some new “twitter trends” research on the global impact of Twitter’s social media caught my ear. Steve Inskeep & Shankar Vedantam’s piece called, Why Twitter Ties Resemble Airline Hub Maps has some potentially interesting implications. Apparently two assumptions about Twitter are totally wrong: 1) Geography no longer matters, 2) Twitter is a truly cross-cultural medium. Instead, Barry Wellman, a sociologist from the University of Toronto, did a study of 1/2 million Twitter users and found some Twitter trends worth considering. Those who use Twitter care about 1) Local interests, and 2) People who live in similar cities as they do. So if your Twitter followers are an airline flight away from the city you live in, they are more likely to follow you.

GENEROUS JUSTICE | A HELPFUL BOUNDARY AROUND THE TERM “SOCIAL JUSTICE”

Ashley with Nepali Kids - social justiceHow does the term “social justice” strike you?

If you haven’t had a chance to read Timothy Keller’s book, Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just, I would highly recommend it. Below are a few quotes that give you a snapshot of some of what he is writing about. Depending on what circles you run in, the term “social justice” might mean a variety of things. You might be “turned off” by that term, or you might be passionate about it depending on your political or theological bent.

Regardless of your position, Keller’s book seems to approach social justice from a theological rather than sociological viewpoint which is very helpful. Followers of Jesus should never put their head in the sand when it comes to standing up for what is just, right, and fair, and Keller’s book is a helpful primer for thoughtful leaders who want to do just that.