You Are Not To Be Like That, Part 2
A friend of mine had a supervisor who was a strong advocate of servant leadership. Only in his case, as my friend used to say, that meant “he was the leader and we were the servants.” No doubt that’s not what his superior intended. Still, my friend’s critical, even cynical assessment has some resonance with our text from Luke.Read Post
You Are Not To Be Like That, Part 1
Have you ever had one of those moments in leadership when you wonder whether what you’ve done has made any difference? I remember a conversation not long ago with someone from a group I had been leading for several years. I don’t recall the particulars of the conversation any longer, but I do remember my reaction after the conversation. I felt like yelling at my colleague in frustration, “Haven’t you learned anything in all of our time together?!” Thankfully, I had enough sense not to say that out loud…Read Post
Popularity or Purpose? A Personal Story
As you know if you’ve been receiving Life for Leaders for a while, most of the time I focus on a passage of Scripture and its implications for our lives, especially our work and leadership. But, every now and then I pause to offer a personal story informed by the text. Last Thursday, my devotion was called, “Popularity or Purpose? What Will You Seek?” I noted how Jesus did not let popularity draw him away from his core purpose. Today, I thought I’d share an example of how I have wrestled with a similar tension.Read Post
Haunted by the Glory Days
It was different “back then.” Some of us have heard about it. Others can remember it. Sociologists and theologians refer to this recently passed period as Christendom, the 1700-year-long era with Christianity at the privileged center of western cultural life. (I have a copy of the Los Angeles Times from December 1963 that list Daily Bible Readings for the upcoming week. Can you even imagine a major newspaper exhorting people to read their Bibles today?)Read Post
Coach Yourself to Hope in God
If Psalm 43 seems strangely familiar, that’s because it is the ending of the psalm we know as Psalm 42. This is clear from the themes as well as the exact echo of 42:11 in 43:5. Both verses read: “Why, my soul are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”Read Post
Are You Thirsty for God?
Have you ever been thirsty? I mean really thirsty. I’m not thinking about ordinary thirst, the kind you can quench with a quick drink of water. Rather, I have in mind an aching, desperate thirst. Have you experienced anything like this?Read Post
The Charge: An Introduction
It is high time we revisit how we think about leadership and reshape the narrative on how we describe it. Leadership is an essential aspect of any movement. It is quite irreplaceable when you really think about it. A lack of leadership could lead to disorder, stunt the growth of an organization, or cause movements to become stagnant.Read Post
Don’t Forget the Poor!
In the NRSV, Psalm 41:1 reads, “Happy are those who consider the poor; the LORD delivers them in the day of trouble.” The English verb “to consider” rightly captures the sense of the underlying Hebrew verb, which means, “to pay attention, to ponder” (sakhal in the Hiphil). This verb conveys the sense of focusing one’s mind and heart on something or someone.Read Post
I Am the True Vine: Part 2
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” John 15:8 (ESV) In yesterday’s…Read Post
I Am the True Vine: Part 1
Throughout the gospel of John, Jesus has been using important symbols from Israel’s history and Scriptures (shepherd, bread, water, light). Jesus now uses some of the most powerful images in Jewish culture to talk about himself: “I am the true vine….” The vineyard was one of Israel’s most prized historic symbols of its nationhood and inheritance.Read Post
Waiting Patiently for the Lord?
When I read Psalm 40:1, I am immediately reminded of how hard it is for me to wait patiently for anything, including the Lord. I confess that I find waiting to be frustrating if not excruciating. I’m one of those people who, when approaching the checkout lines in the grocery story, carefully calculates the wait times in the various lines so that I don’t have to waste one second of my busy life standing around. Inevitably, of course, I get in the line behind the person who needs a “Price check on 6.” As I wait, I can feel my stomach churning with anxious impatience.Read Post
A Prayer for the Fourth of July
Today is Independence Day in the United States, a day of patriotic celebrations for citizens in my country. I thought it would be appropriate for me to offer a reflection that is suitable for this day, even though quite a few readers of Life for Leaders do not live in the United States. If you’re from another country, what I write will be relevant to you, though the date won’t have the same significance as it does for my American readers.Read Post