Monday, May 7, 2018

Leaders, Stop and Think Before You Speak!

Recently, a well-known leader in an evangelical church has come under fire for comments he made some time ago. This is just the latest in a long line of prominent leaders, both inside and outside the church, who have had long forgotten comments come back to haunt them. And while I agree with the concerns expressed and as a pastor my first piece of advice to any person (male or female) who has been struck physically even once would be to leave that person IMMEDIATELY and call both your pastor and the authorities, that is not the point I want to get at today.

Today, I want to caution leaders to heed the advice given in James 1:19. "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger ...". Quick to hear and slow to speak. There is great wisdom in that verse. Always speak with the remembrance that what you say today is probably being recorded and can (and probably will) come back to haunt you many years from now. Even if there are no microphones present, there are generally people who are listening and will remember what you say for a very long time. 

To be clear, I'm not saying not speak! But, think before you do so. Consider the advice you are about to give. And, if you give poor advice or wish you could clarify something, don't hesitate to follow up with the person. Make sure you are speaking "good news" to the person (even if it may not seem like good news at the time). Paul's advice in Colossians 4:6 is helpful here, "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person."

So, whether you are a pastor, Sunday School teacher, small group leader or some other form of leader in the local church assembly, listen to the words of Proverbs 21:23, "Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble." Stay out of trouble, guard your mind and tongue. Speak always as if someone is recording what you say. Chances are in today's world, they are.

Grace and Peace.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How To Get Unstuck

I will confess, I am a productivity addict. Managing task lists, trying new software, planning the perfect workflow and organization (although my house may not look like it now!) are all things that I enjoy. A couple of years ago, I read What's Best Next by Matt Perman which promised a Christian look at the arena of productivity and self-management. That book was one of the best things I read in the last 10 years and has made a spot in my books to read again (and again!) category. When I heard that he wrote a follow up to that book entitled How to Get Unstuck, I added it my must read list for the year.

How to Get Unstuck opens a door to a world that asks, "What could you accomplish for the glory of God if you were unhindered by all that weighs us down?" That sounds awfully lofty, to be sure, but that is the goal of the book. What if instead of sitting in the giant mud bog waiting to be towed out or sink to the bottom, you could flip a switch in your life to turn on your 4x4 and climb out. Even better, what if your life could avoid driving through the giant mud bog to begin with? This is what Perman strives for. "So," he writes, "being unstuck is ultimately a positive concept. It's not just about overcoming obstacles; it connects to broader principles of work and life purpose. It is ultimately about the positive side: flourishing." I have wrestled with what it means to live a fruitful and flourishing life in Christ for sometime and this book has helped clarify some things.

While How to Get Unstuck is not revolutionary in the sense that What's Best Next is, Perman has taken many wide and far sources and distilled them into one volume that should serve as the launching point for anyone who wants to take the next step in learning what it means to live a fruitful life of influence for the glory of God. That said, I found his chapters on flourishing and deep work (approximately 1/4 of the book) to be worth the price of admission alone. If you have not read What's Best Next yet, start then and then read this book. Some books you read once and then move on. In How to Get Unstuck, Perman gives us another book to add to a small group of books to read again (and again!) to continue to mine the depth of his research. I highly recommend this book!

Disclosure: I did receive a promotional copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I have since purchased the book in electronic format with my own funds. My thoughts are my own.