As Giants Fall: Hybels, Patterson and the Lessons Learned

Some things I have learned about leadership and followership from watching the downfall of two giants among Evangelical Christians:

Greatness in one area does not mean greatness in all areas.

Success does not equal spiritual growth.

Not all of your strong convictions are the right convictions.

Just because your strong convictions were needed at one time does not mean they are needed now.

Most downfalls can really be attributed to Money, Sex, and Power.

Leadership is not about who can stomp the loudest but who has the character to demand respect and followership.

Sacrificing spiritual growth for worldly success never works.

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Crisis is not the time for placing blame but for soul searching.

Hero worship among church members is dangerous and harmful.

God’s kingdom and its work should outweigh any personal validation.

Your legacy is not more important than God’s will.

Compassion is always an underrated attribute.

One’s leadership is contingent upon one’s spiritual growth.

Pride really does come before a fall.

Maybe God prefers smaller and deeper rather than bigger and shallower.

We are all capable of missteps and not all of those missteps are punishable offenses, but some are.

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Women have been essential to the success of the church for 2000 years, it is about time they got more respect.

We should look to Jesus for direction and deliverance not our own strength or cheap solutions.

Leadership is a lonely place.

Christian institutions are instruments for God’s work not the purpose of God’s work.

People who call for other’s heads should be willing to work, and work hard, for the needed solution.

It is not enough to knock someone down if you are not willing to build something better up.

Jesus must increase but I must decrease.

 

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Blogging In Crisis

How do you write when you would rather just sleep?

How do you write when everyday you feel like you have just been run over by a bus?

How do you write when you have been drained of every ounce of profundity or insight?

How do you write when just getting up in the morning to go to work is your greatest accomplishment for the day?

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I have gotten off my usual pattern. For months, I would put out two blog posts a week. I haven’t been able to do that this summer. I lack the mental, spiritual, and physical capacity at this moment to keep to that schedule.

All of my posts recently have centered on my dad’s illness and death and my part in that equation. From a spiritual sense, that is about all that I can address right now. Before this summer, I would have post ideas brewing days before and when it was time for me to write something, my thoughts would be primed and ready to go. But lately, the only thought I have brewing regarding this blog have been, “I hope I can get at least one out this week.”

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I haven’t lost my morning routine. I have remained consistent, yet not up to date, with my Apprentice Experience reading. I even exercise regularly. But expressing myself beyond my rawest emotions and most evident reflections has been difficult.

I write this not as a way to whine or to elicit sympathy but to tell you part of the toil that struggle and grief can take on a person. I also write this to give you a marker for how I am doing with my grief.

When I get back to two posts a week and can start writing about subjects that don’t involve disease, struggle, and death, then you will know I am doing better. I am just not there yet.

How To Think About God During A Crisis

Cover of "Come, Lord Jesus (Rekindling th...

Cover via Amazon

I am reposting this because I thought about this today as we took Joy in for her Hernia surgery.

Everything went fine and God was good. Thanks for your prayers.

Joy is our youngest daughter and from birth (she was born with a cleft lip and palate) has been under doctor’s care for a variety of reasons including most recently for her infantile scoliosis. Last Friday, the torso cast that she had been wearing since August was removed and she now is in a brace. Her discomfort and pain because of the brace was evident early on and because her torso and abdomen had been under a cast for four months her sensory perception in this area was off. At one point Saturday, she was writhing in pain and pointing at the brace and saying, “It hurt me.”

They next thing we noticed on Saturday were signs of what we think may be a hernia. Weekend physician care is always sketchy and we spent most of the afternoon trying to figure out how concerned to be about her condition and what we needed to do to care for her. On top of this, we seem to have a small leak in the house that we were trying to manage and determine the cause. The point of all this is that there was nothing relaxing and calm about our weekend. In fact, it was very stressful and filled with worry.

I would like to tell you that I was the picture of serenity and hope throughout the weekend and that I was quoting scripture and trusting the Lord for every need. But that would be a lie. But here are a few of the things that were helpful to me and may be helpful to you during times of crisis.

1. Look for the Lord’s presence. I learned this through working at an inner city ministry that was marked by organized chaos. My constant prayer was “Lord, show yourself.” During those times at the ministry, I can’t tell you a time when God did not answer this prayer. Whether it was a word exchanged between me and another or a simple moment of feeling the presence of God holding me up and giving me strength. God is working all around us, even in times of crisis, and we need to have our God radar turned on.

2. Find something to pray repeatedly. Sometimes we are so stressed and are bombarded with noise and distraction that we can barely think straight. Praying elaborate and thoughtful prayers is not feasible. During these times it is best to pray a sentence or a verse that is simple and repeatable. Sentence prayers that I have used during stressful situations include the Jesus Prayer, “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want,” “Lord, help me,” and “Come, Lord Jesus.”

3. Know what is in your toolbox. Despite our weaknesses and feelings of helplessness, we, as believers, have a tremendous amount of resources at our disposal. We have Christ dwelling inside us, we have the advocate and helper Holy Spirit, we have the new life given to us through conversion, and the power of the God of the universe.  We need to start living in the reality of the power that God has made possible and quit letting fear and worry overwhelm us.