Non Sibi

Today’s Startup School class is about lean philosophy in business but I always try to infuse a principle on leadership in to every lesson. As I was preparing to teach this morning I looked to Mr. Hanna’s book Mastering Self: to Lead Self and Others for some inspiration and came across non sibi.

“Non sibi” is latin for “Not for self”. A great origin point for any Christian pilgrimage. Leadership is often mistakingly associated with a person who gets all they want. A CEO with more money than most and freedom to do what ever they want. Sometimes leadership is mistakingly associated with someone who “hustles harder” and wills their desired future state in to existence. Often that desired future state revolved squared around them. This is not leadership.

I was taught a good lesson for testing non sibi whenever one may find themselves in a leadership position. Motives for aspiring to leadership can often be a tricky thing to discern. But by focusing on our actions, what we do, we can work our way backward through what we believe. What we believe is often linked to what motivates.

Rights and Privileges vs. Responsibilities and Obligations

Leaders often find themselves with several rights and privileges though the best ones seldom enact these and when they do it is for others non sibi. Instead leaders who hold to non sibi will look for opportunities to press in to responsibilities and obligations. So the test is this. Do you find yourself looking forward to the rights and privileges or working now, not waiting, to press in to responsibilities and obligations. Answering this question honestly can help us understand if what we are doing is really about others or if deep down its actually about ourselves. Some may deceive others but God knows all.

God you tell us that we are here to serve. Help us to be other focused. Amen.

 

A Nation’s Leader

Psalm 72 is a beautiful prayer for a nation. It’s focus is primarily on its leader. In its recipe for a prosperous nation we find a leader who knows the truth from lies and acts in truth and righteousness, a leader who brings up other strong leaders, a system that brings peace to the people and a people who fear the LORD. On the other hand, we see in scripture how a nation and people who turn from God are handed over to confusion, not being able to discern the truth from lies, they pursue emptiness and the nation declines.

  • Romans 1:18-32 – Turning away from God, being handed over
  • Isaiah 1:21-31 – Outcomes: systematic ruin of economy and justice
  • Isaiah 3:2-6 – Outcomes: weak leaders
  • 2 Timothy 3:1-7 – Outcomes: false believers
  • 2 Timothy 4:3-4 – Outcomes: false religion
  • Deuteronomy 28 – Compare and contrast

May we be the salt of the earth and preserve the old ways.

Originally published on BibleJournal.net from September 21, 2016’s reading: 2 Samuel 17; 2 Corinthians 10; Ezekiel 24; Psalm 72

Dealing with failure

Originally published on BibleJournal.net

Today’s reading: Numbers 27; Psalms 70–71; Isaiah 17–18; 1 Peter 5

May 18th, 2016

Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord be not as sheep which have no shepherd. – Numbers 27:16–17

Dealing with failureWhenever I read these phrases about ‘going out and coming in before them’ in the Bible my heart longs to be a leader. I love. I thirst to serve and help others. Yet my desire brings about failure. Repeatedly. Today I pain for those I have failed along the way as we went out and came in.

Yesterday marked a failed attempt to restore a previous failure for me. This morning I sought advice from a stronger and better leader of what to do now. The chapter was titled ‘Dealing with failure’, from Mastering Self: To Lead Self and Others by Donald G Hanna. I was looking for a next step. Here is what I found.

Chief Hanna teaches that leaders fail for three basic reasons: relationship, commission and omission.

“Leadership is demanding of time, priority, and emotional energy. A tendency persists to neglect prayer, Bible study, spouse, and children. Relationships become strained or deteriorate with residual failure. Relationship failure occurs due to improper relations with God, family, superiors, or others. Commission failure results directly from wrong decisions, actions, and priorities. It results indirectly from wrong values, beliefs, attitude, and thinking. Omission failure results from failing to decide or do what should be decided or done. It often involves overlooking in lieu of overseeing, i.e., failure to exercise authority in oversight obligation. Procrastination and rationalization enhance omission failure.”

Chief Hanna goes on to say that, “three biblical steps are necessary to respond to a personal failure or wrong:

  1. admit the failure or wrong without rationalizing or blaming,
  2. seek forgiveness from the person wronged by your failure, and
  3. take remedial action if the failure or wrong can be restored.”

Praise God for a system of forgiveness. Oh how I rely on Him. Chief Hanna’s perspective on the causes of failure leave me with much work to do. How are you doing with your leadership?

God would you help me lead. God may You abide in me and I in You. This is my only hope. Amen.

Leadership and Love

Originally published on BibleJournal.net

Today’s reading: Exodus 34; John 13; Proverbs 10; Ephesians 3

March 23rd, 2016

Leadership

Whenever the topic of leadership comes up I like to pass on a simple truth I was taught. I call them the two things. They are simple to understand. Simple to remember. Simple to see why these two things are it. Still they are not so simple to enact without fail. They take sacrifice at the most fundamental level. Self. They take us out of ourselves. Away from us. Away from this world. They leave us with less self and more others. A good friend of mine taught me what leaders do. Leaders do two things:

  1. Leaders lead by example
  2. Leaders serve those they lead

Search your experiences and you will hopefully find a leader in your life who does these two things well. One thing to mention here is that anyone can lead. Power is not needed to lead. Authority is not needed to lead. Though power and authority will accrete to those who follow these two things. Do you want to be a leader? Are you doing these two things?

Leadership and Love

Love, the Fulfillment of the Law

Here I just want to share a collection of verses that point to the importance of love and close with a few verses I encourage everyone to memorize. They are verses you have likely heard several times, but please do not let that cause you to pass over this encouragement without prayerfully considering memorizing them. Once memorized you can meditate on them throughout the day and call them to service as the ultimate checklist against what Jesus has called you to do in any situation. Running late in the check out line; run through the list. In the throws of a tough conversation; run through the list. Frustrated, worried, concerned, angry, scared, upset… go through the list, one by one and make sure you align with God’s word. 

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. – Ecclesiastes 12:13

If ye love me, keep my commandments. – John 14:15

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. – John 13:34–35

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans – 13:10

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

– 1 Corinthians 13:4–7

God would you give us understanding that we may keep your law and obey it with all our hearts? Would you turn our hearts toward Your statutes and not toward selfish gain? Would You turn our eyes away from worthless things and preserve our lives according to Your word? Thank you. Amen.

Parenting: Honoring our Child’s Individuality

A child’s rights as an individual are as positive and as sacred as a man’s; and it is never proper to ignore these rights in a child, anymore than it would be in a man.
-H. Clay Trumbull
Honoring a childs individuality
Children are people. Of course everyone knows this. And while they have not the same demands on their life as an older person may they have the same God given rights. God gave us what we have come to call the 10 commandments as a blueprint for relating to others. Hidden in these 10 commandments are 5 truths, each with an example of how that truth relates to those above us (the first tablet) and those our peers (the second tablet). After all where is the command in I AM the LORD your God? It is a truth. For brevity I will list these five truths here in order of their occurrence on the two tablets. A more full look at them can be found in this post, The Ten Commandments for Relating to Others.

  1. Others exist and have a right to,
  2. certain relationships are sacred,
  3. others have a right to their property,
  4. reputations are a form of property, and
  5. our rights have limits.

These five truths, in my estimation, like all truths work with creation, that is they do well with God’s design. They do not ‘grind the gears’ as it were. Like all creation the truth of the matter was gifted by God, that is, looking at it from the second tablet perspective; God gave life, marriage, possessions, reputation and our lot in life. And. No one can take these things away without working against God’s design. Grinding the gears. So what does all this have to do with child rearing? A lot I believe. We talked about how God gave free will and how important that is to consider when training a child. That is to guard sacredly that the choice of a matter remain with the child. Here in this, his next chapter, Mr. Trumbull encourages parents to consider that children are all individuals and that their individualism should be recognized and honored.

In the creation account we see something mysterious on the sixth day when God creates mankind. In the first five days God creates many things. We read these creation events and see a one to one ratio, Genesis 1:1 reads

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

God goes on creating with this pattern. God created and it was. God said and it was. And then we get to man and everything changes, Genesis 1:27 reads:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Interesting. Here we find a 3:1 ratio. Unlike anything else in the creation account. God created, created, created and it was. God said let us create them in our image. God, the three person God, creates man in His image; 3:1. Perhaps this is soul, spirit, and body. Perhaps more likely I do not have the words to express these three parts. But certainly there is something here. A great mystery.  Put another way, we are a spirit with a body not a body with a spirit. Certainly not just a body. There is something core to all us that is much more than a body. I like how the song I’m building me a home put it;

I’m building me a home. This earthly heart, oh is goin to soon decay, and the soul has got a have someplace to stay. When you hear me prayin, I’m buildin me a home. 

 

This idea of our core is what Mr. Trumbull suggests we as parents need understand. I believe Mr. Trumbull is recognizing that these 3 parts exist and urging parents to recognize that they exist no matter age. Here I come back to the five principles. The fourth: reputation is a form of property. On the first tablet we are called to remember the sabbath to keep it holy. Notice it does not say remember the sabbath and keep it holy. The act of remembering or observing the sabbath is what does keep it holy. When Christ teaches us how to pray we start with our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. This is a declaration of God’s reputation followed by a blessing that His reputation, His name, be maintained as it should unto the future. When Christian’s observe the sabbath they are upholding God’s reputation as the Creator.  Pointing to God by the way they live and saying with their actions, “Today is different than the other days because He is the Creator.” On the second tablet we see this truth more plainly. Thou shalt not bear false witness. We are not to slander our fellow’s reputation by lying about them. Furthermore, I have come to believe that this principle calls us to defend our fellow’s reputation. “No he did not do it, I know it so, he was with me at that time.” So then we arrive at this place where we are told that reputation is on God’s top 5 list. So how are we as parents to deal with our child’s reputation? their sprit? their soul?

Mr. Trumbull refers to it as honoring our child’s individuality. He argues that small children are often dismissed in this respect, almost dealt with as lesser people and that we would be wise to treat them in such a manner that these truths exist. These God given truths such as free will and reputation exist in people at their core no matter age.

…so many children are deprived of their right as individuals, by inconsiderate parents or others. When seats are lacking for new comers in a room or a street car, and two or three children are seated together by themselves in absorbing chat, the temptation is to speak quickly to the little one, telling them to vacate those seats for their elders, in a tone that seems to indicate that a child has no right in comparison with a grown person; instead of showing by the very manner of address that the children’s attention is called to their privilege of showing courtesy to their elders. in the one case, every child of that party feels aggrieved through being made to feel that his rights are not recognized as rights. In the other case, he is gratified by the implied confidence in his gentlemanliness, and in his readiness to yield his right gracefully. A child’s rights as an individual are as positive and as sacred as a man’s; and it is never proper to ignore these rights in a child, anymore than it would be in a man.

Children are not to be thought of as lesser men. Questions of a conversation brushed aside as to say; this is a topic for real people, which you yet are not. Concerns to be brushed aside as to say; your concerns are so very small in comparison to real people. Instead he believes a child’s perspective on a matter a sacred thing that if heeded would be to quite the benefit to the ‘real people’. To this belief Mr. Trumbull references the following scripture to which I will draw this post to a close.

Matthew 18:3-6:

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:10:

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

 

-A takeaway from Hints on Child Training by H Clay Trumbull

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

A Journal Entry: When to Talk

let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
-Saint James

When to talk and when to listen

I have come to keep a journal. Reflections on the day and so on. This morning in my time set aside to blog, thoughts of reflection on a topic that has gone unanswered too long and an idea of resolution consumed me to journal instead. So this week I will share this entry. Names removed, adding in verses for and some of my thoughts that did not make their way to the entry for context, etc:

5.2.15

In the past I have not been sure as to the volume of my speech. In business settings, in the past I have felt like I, in general, have ideas I think will help. So I have always erred the side of sharing them. That said, I have been mindful of God’s word that encourages us not to speak hastefully and in great volume. It has been a point of uncertainty for me. The balance of volume my speech. Should I talk or should I remain silent? Is this a point of pride? That everyone must hear my idea because my idea is so good? Yesterday I had breakfast with one of my mentors. My struggle on the matter came up as we talked about James 1:18-20:

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

I have come to believe this to mean that if we are going to be God’s firstfruits amongst His creatures, if we are going to serve and love our fellow; the formula to make that possible is to be swift to listen, slow to speak, slow to wrath. We need to listen to be positioned to love others well. It does not say “do not speak” it says to “be slow to speak.” This I think helps us focus on listening. The opposite thinking about what we are going to say and waiting for the first opportunity to speak, I do not think is slow to speak but rather quick for we have already spoke to ourselves and are just waiting to privy others our thoughts. The question I asked him was how does this work with the gift of speaking and teaching and sharing understanding. He looked at me and smiled. He gave no answer. No word left his tongue. Interesting. Perhaps now I think he may have been teaching me a lesson after all. After breakfast he and I went to visit an old friend of my fathers that was in town from the city on a case, he is a God fearing lawyer, his father was too. I asked him this same question after talking about James 1:19. He said that it was a tough question that he had no answer. He did however afford me a piece of advice his father gave him. ‘It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.’ That is, as I took it, when in doubt remain silent. Still my dilemma remains for my confidence soars in conversation that a particular idea should be shared for the service of those there. Not to my glory of course, that I rescue them with my idea or some nonsense, but instead, should what is shared help; glory be to our God who makes all things known, the Creator of all ideas. I was mowing the lawn last afternoon, preparing our home for a dinner with the families of two business partners where we planned to discuss how to help another in a new venture. As I was mowing the lawn reflecting on the day, I came to this bit of advice that my fathers friend passed to me from his father. ‘When in doubt remain in silence.’ Then a thought flashed in to my mind. 1 Peter 4:10-11:

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

In my estimation, if you are speaking for the LORD in service of your fellow, then speak as it is your duty. This, I think, is when the doubt is removed; that point of balance I had been searching for. When to talk. My father’s friend said something else that I think answers the ‘if’ of the qualifying question above. That is; discerning if you are speaking for the LORD in service of your fellow. I am doing my best to recall and paraphrase his comments, ‘I thrive in hardship.’ He said, ‘It is good for me. To be humbled and know I rely on God. I have no humble bone in my body. God brings me to my knees.’ This sort of revelation has been reoccurring to me as of late years. My complete reliance on God. On God’s Spirit to show me what to do. I think now, God willing, my dilemma in speech will draw me closer to God. Practicing the presence of God. God give me discernment and faith with wisdom, understanding, knowledge. I need Your help God. I depend on You moment by moment. Draw me near You God and draw near me. Show me what to do.

A quick programming note: I want to clarify something that was clear in my mind when writing in my journal but could be taken for granted here. And when I say clear in my mind I do not mean that I have figured this out, only that I have come to believe these things important. These things are things that if, should you believe you are to speak, I do not think should give way to manners and other proverbs addressing our speech. Things like talking in definitives or otherwise squaring off that you are in the right, interrupting and other forms inserting yourself when another is speaking, or dominating a conversation as to not let another contribute. 

 

-A journal entry on speech

  As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

 

The Two Things

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader success is all about growing others.
-Jack Welch

 jesus-washing-apostles-feet-39588-wallpaper 2

I was asked in an interview “since setting out in business, what lessons [I’ve] learned in leadership?” I shared what I call the two things. They are simple. Simple to understand. Simple to remember. Simple to see why these two things are it. Still they are not so simple to enact without fail. They take sacrifice. Sacrifice at a fundamental level. They take us out of ourselves. Away from us. Less self and more others. A good friend of mine taught me what leaders do. Leaders do two things:

  1. Leaders lead by example
  2. Leaders serve those they lead

Search your experiences and you will hopefully find a leader in your life who does these two things well. One thing to mention here is that anyone can lead. Power is not needed to lead. Authority is not needed to lead. Though power and authority will accrete to those who follow these two things.

Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow. – Chinese Proverb

The point duck in formation serves by example. Those that follow benefit from drift. Do you want to be a leader? Are you doing these two things?

 

 -A takeaway from an internrocket.com press interview

 As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.