Readers are Leaders

One of my favorite things to do is read. I have loved it ever since I was a child. I taught myself how to read off the backs of Baseball Cards. I have been hooked on books for as long as I can remember. The importance of reading is something, that I have had a vague since of for a while now. It’s really within the last part of my twenties and my early thirties (Which I am still in), that I recognize the true value of reading.

I have heard the cliché thrown around readers are leaders. I believe that it is very true. When one is reading many different things, it helps one gain a different perspective. It allows the individual to understand more about a subject, or a topic of interest. Dr. Albert Mohler President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, states that

Leadership requires a constant flow of intelligence, ideas, and information. There is no way to gain the basics of leadership without reading. “The Conviction to Read” 

I have found that the more that I have read on a certain topic of interest it gives me a new and fresh perspective. I have found that it works best to be well-rounded in my reading, meaning that I read things from a perspective I agree with and one that I disagree with just so I can see the arguments that both are using to make their points. Even though, I have years of experience in youth ministry, since I became the Youth Pastor at my church, I have invested plenty of hours reading about how others are doing youth ministry in 2014. It has really helped give me ideas that I had never thought of before for how to best lead my youth group. It also humbles me and helps me to see how much I have to learn. I choose to invest some of my work hours to reading because I know that will help me grow in my ability to lead.

What are some books that have inspired you as a leader?

Love One Another

I love Jesus and sometimes following Him is not that easy, even though it is very simple to follow Jesus. Following Jesus means to follow His commands and to love Him and to love one another unconditionally. Yet I believe, that loving people unconditionally is one of the hardest things on earth to do. It is very easy for us to love people with conditions especially those who are mean to us or belittle us, or look at us the wrong way.

Loving people the way that Christ loved us is impossible if we try to do it without God’s help. As Christ-followers we can only love those around us, especially our enemies with the help of the helper the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit we are enabled to love those and pray for those who we have trouble getting along with.  It’s easy to love those that we like and have a natural affection for. Jesus says that even non-believers do that. To love one the same level that Jesus loves; is to put aside selfish desires and hurt feelings, it is to embrace a call to love without conditions, that is the way that Christ loves and it is the way that I want to love those I interact with even if they give me a nasty look.

Short Story Wednesday part 4

Jack knocked on his girlfriend’s door. His mind was reeling as he thought of a good place to start explaining everything that had happened to him. He wondered if she would believe him. It was sunny outside, but inside his heart it was gloomy and gray. He knew that she would worry after his disheveled appearance and the way that he smelled as it had been awhile since he had step foot in a shower.

She opened the door, and she screamed. She was crying at the sight of Jack being tattered and worn down. “What has happened to you?” She inquired. “I have been running away from my owners at the coffee shop.” He said rushed. “Listen, we have to go right now, you are not safe here.” “What I don’t understand, why do we have to leave and why are you running from your bosses what did you do?” She answered.  A little frustrated he composed himself and said “Listen, I was at the wrong place at the wrong time, my owners are drug lords and they did not know that I was in the back when they were talking about it. Then they saw me and came after me. I have not stopped running since.” Victoria was having trouble controlling her sobbing; her cheeks were wet with tears. She ran up to him and embraced him. “Where are we going to go?” She asked. “Well first, we must go and warn Drake that they might be coming for him.” “Before we go,” she started. “You must shower and sleep and regain some strength.” He started to protest, but she cut him off. “I will lock all the doors, plus I will load that old pistol my dad gave me for protection, you know I know how to use it.” She gave him a half-hearted smile for the first time that day. “Ok.” He replied: he knew there was no use in arguing with her.

Reader, If you wish to catch up on the rest of the story here are the first three parts.

http://wp.me/s4lIAA-68 http://wp.me/p4lIAA-Z http://wp.me/p4lIAA-O

Number 20

I can’t believe this is my 20th blog post of this year! I really enjoy the freedom of writing about what is on my mind. I have tried a little structure with my blog and I am sure that I will try some more. My goal is to post 5 times a week. I haven’t always hit that goal but I feel like I will this week!

I have found since I have started this blog, I have more creativity in my thinking, and a drive to read more. I am currently reading three books, plus doing daily reading of the Bible and books that we go over as a leadership team at my church. The best part is I feel like I am more productive as well.

I have reminded myself how much I like writing fiction. I have been enjoying every Wednesday working on a short story; I guess you might call it long as it’s already had 3 parts. If you want to catch-up before tomorrow’s post go here. http://wp.me/s4lIAA-68 http://wp.me/p4lIAA-Z   http://wp.me/p4lIAA-O

Excited to continue this adventure into writing.

March Madness

I love this time of year. One of my favorite things to do in March is to fill out many brackets for March madness, as I am an avid sports lover. This year it was more exciting than previous years for me because there were bigger prizes to win. I, of course, could not pass up an opportunity to fill out a bracket for the billion-dollar bracket challenge that Warren Buffett sponsored. What a genius that guy is! He of course will not be losing that billion, as there are no perfect brackets left anymore. I got 31 of the games right in the first two rounds, which is 73% so I feel good about that. In one of my other brackets I made the mistake of picking Duke to reach the final, that bracket is pretty much destroyed. My main team San Diego St is still alive! I really hope they win this! They have a good chance of beating Arizona in my opinion. Both of those teams play similar styles; I believe it will come down to Xavier Thames and how well he is able to shoot on Thursday night against the Wildcats.

Here’s to another great year of March madness and destroyed brackets!

How is your bracket holding up?

Following

Following Jesus. That is the simple way to break down what Christianity is about. The question that I have been wrestling with lately is, is it really as easy as the American church says it is to follow Jesus? I believe that the answer is no. Following Jesus is no light and minor endeavor.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness. Matthew 7:21-23

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish. Luke 14:26-33

To truly follow Jesus one must surrender everything to Jesus. Sins; bad habits, impure thoughts, selfishness, pride, arrogance. He demands and deserves all of us. Matthew 7:21-23 is a very sobering passage. Many who claim that they are Christians, even some that do works for the kingdom of God, will not enter heaven. The road is narrow. Sin should break our heart, though as I find is the case in my own life, it is so easy to be desensitized to my own faults. It is easy for me to be lulled into complacency in my relationship with God and not take the time necessary to strengthen it. I don’t want to be one of those people that goes before God in Matthew 7:21-23 and Him to tell me that He never knew me.

Luke 14 states clearly that Jesus wants to be the most important part of our life. Above everything we should follow Him at all cost! No matter what happens to us: persecution, betrayal, being disowned by those that we love. These are all real prices that people have had to pay to follow Jesus. One question that burns in my heart when reading that passage is Am I willing to endure and suffer for the sake of Jesus? Am I willing to let go of the comforts of living in America, my possessions? Am I willing to put it all on the line for Jesus? I can if I truly count the cost of following him and realize like Paul did that suffering in the present age, will be nothing to the reward that true Christ-followers will experience in heaven.

These thoughts have been stirred up in my heart, thanks to the Lord and a book called “Follow Me” by David Platt. I have only read the first 15 pages so far, but God is challenging my thinking on what it really means to follow Him.

Time to walk that narrow road of obedience and follow Jesus, knowing that it might cost me everything and that’s ok with me.