Thursday, February 23, 2006

Lead Like Jesus

by Dale Shumaker

Lead Like Jesus is Ken Blanchard’s latest management book.

This surpasses popular management thought today. It is a radical, transformational theme that will revolutionize any business or group.

It’s theme line “Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of all Time” makes a bold claim. And in all things considered, it is a very appropriate claim. Jesus had to be the greatest leadership Role model. He is the one connected to the Spirit of the Universe which created everything, and still recreates… through you.

According to Blanchard, Lead Like Jesus involves the alignment of 4 leadership domains:

Heart (our motivation): our first choice in leading is whether we are motivated by self-interest or for the benefit of those we are leading.

Head: examines your beliefs and theories about leading and motivating people.

Hands: others see where your heart and head is when your motivations and beliefs affect your actions. You become a performance coach, setting clear goals, observing performance, praising progress and redirection of appropriate behavior.

Habits: how you review your daily commitment as leader to serve rather than be served.

Blanchard goes on to state that “the term leader is mentioned only 6 times in the King James Version of the Bible, while the term servant is mentioned more than 900 times.” So as a leader we cultivate The Heart of a Servant. Which leads to two questions we most ask ourselves: Am I a servant leader? Or am I a self-serving leader?

This reflects your heart's EGO.
Am I Edging God Out;
or am I Exalting God Only?

When we edge God out, we reflect pride and self-promotion in our actions. This is motivated by fear and protecting self. Pride creates separation from God and others, making comparisons and distorting truth.

Exalting God Only shows a Jesus Spirit of Humility and Spirit of confidence which leads through forgiveness and grace… forgiving to the same level God has forgiven you.

To lead like Jesus, we must become like Jesus.

How can we “Become” like Jesus?

In college, I studied drama. When portraying a character, we learned what is called the art of characterization... this is learning how to become the very person we are portraying. The characterization process is very extensive. The goal is to “become” the person you represent as an actor.

To do this effectively, it takes time to learn everything you can about the person. Where he/she came from, how he grew up, what influenced him in life, family, economic history, education, how he handled this, way of thinking, emotional style and make up.... It is learning the very inner existence of the person and programming yourself so you literally “become” that person.

The goal is to know the person so well, live in your mind as that person lived and to actually be that person. When you can reach this level of characterization, the person is presented “as real” through you. One of the arts of living artfully in Jesus Spirit is to do the same with Jesus' life.

How do we effectively make our mind consistent with Jesus Spirit...?
It takes the pondering and living out, as if we are Jesus.

Read the events of Jesus life, as if you were studying Him to portray Him in life. It is an exercise in retraining the mind.
“Be transformed by renewing your mind to the mind of Jesus.” (Romans 12:2)

This is what it takes to live like Jesus. We need to reach this level of being thoroughly familiar with Him. That in all we do it is naturally Jesus.

Try this some day. Read several sections of Jesus' life, role play in your mind/imagination as if you are Jesus, being Jesus, and go out that day and everything you do, pretend you are Jesus in all your interactions. This includes your thinking, your way of talking to people, what you talk about, how you respond and the attitude (thoughts) you carry throughout the day.

Do this for a week... each day reflect on your day, and how each action and decision represents the character of Jesus. Then review it for a week on how you did. What was different; what did you learn; how did you feel?

Go back and study Jesus for a week and then do it another week. This is a life-changing way to line up our mental and thought life with the Jesus Spirit that is trying to line up within you. Like the actor, portray Jesus. But you must “be” Jesus to be real.

Study the life of Jesus with this goal in mind.... to be Jesus.
To be Jesus’ thoughts, manner, ideology, understanding why He did what He did. Beyond that remember what Jesus said, “I will be in you, live in you.”

The Spirit of Jesus lives in you. Allow His Spirit to dominate you, guide and direct all you do. In prayer, like in characterization meditation, reprogram yourself to be the person of Jesus. The Spirit helps us when in prayer. Use prayer as your preparation time to be resurrected into Jesus and Jesus Spirit totally immersed into you. Through Spirit, you have “the mind of Christ.”
(I Corinthians 2:16)

His Spirit implants His Laws in your mind, and in your hearts. (Jeremiah 31:33)

This goes beyond the "what would Jesus do" slogan we hear.
This goes into “Being Jesus.”

His Spirit rebirths “Jesus” in you; old patterns die. His Spirit takes over.

You will “Be” like Him.
You allow all of Him to “Be” in you.

Then in all things you will respond naturally, as Jesus.
Be Jesus....and in Jesus Spirit you are.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Today Matters... Make Today Count

by Dale Shumaker

John Maxwell attributes Today Matters’ Daily Dozen as having the most impact on his own effectiveness… making it possible for him to author his many popular books on leadership. He publishes a new book about every year and his latest is … The 360 Degree Leader :developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization.

His theme in Today Matters is “you will never change your life until you change something you do daily."

”When we focus on “preparing” versus “repairing,” we can live very productive lifestyles. “Preparing more” produces fewer “repairing conditions” we all sometimes must deal with. The fewer the repairing activities means the more we can invest in creating what is important. Then results increase… compounding in nature.

Today Matters is a life transforming concept because of its balance and focus on doing something each day on what is important to us.

Brian Tracy, another prominent personal development expert, has said that if we do just one thing daily on something important to us, we will be amazed at what we accomplish. (Note: Time Power)

In Today Matters, John Maxwell shares a 12-point daily plan to follow… the Daily Dozen.

Making the Daily Dozen work for you.
He suggests you rank yourself on the twelve… 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.

Then take the top two areas and improve them. His philosophy is that we improve more in our strengths then trying to improve our weaknesses. So give most attention to strengths.

Of the top half, include # 6 to improve as well.

To make sure you are objective ask a friend who knows you and see if they agree with your ranking order.

He has written a chapter on each area… it would serve a person well to read the related chapter and then spend concentrated time on his/her top two and #6 ranking of the Daily Dozen.

In 60 days, repeat the above process for the second half of your Daily Dozen ranking (that would be a focus on 7, 8, 12)… and then go back to 3, 4, 5... and finally 9,10,11. These 12 areas Maxwell testifies are the secret to his personal record of long-term productivity and the growth of Maximum Impact.

The Maxwell Daily Dozen
(rank 1 to 12, from your strongest on…)

Attitude. Choose and display the right attitude daily.
Priorities. Determine and act on important priorities daily.
Health. Know and follow healthy guidelines daily.
Family. Communicate with and care for family daily.
Thinking. Practice and develop thinking skills daily.
Commitment. Make and keep proper commitments daily.
Finances. Earn and properly manage finances daily.
Faith. Deepen and live out faith daily.
Relationships. Initiate and invest in solid relationships daily.
Generosity. Plan for and model generosity daily.
Values. Embrace and practice good values daily.
Growth. Desire and experience improvements daily.

A person could easily spend a month on each of the above and define what that is for them. Maxwell has additional helps on doing this at Today Matters' website:

The point is by having a daily focus on areas we see as most important to our lives, and doing one productive move-ahead activity in each area, we will have a highly productive life. Doing this exercise has served him well for constantly advancing his career. Plus, along with this will be more joy, happiness and a sense of fulfillment in our lives. In that we are accomplishing something very important to us.

“Doing” is what matters…
Doing it “every day” is what matters…
Today matters!

As you go through Maxwell’s Daily Dozen answer these questions for each:
What do I really want in this part of my life?
Why is this important to me?…
your reasons are compelling, reflect God’s reasons for giving you life, your God-given gifts, your mission for life?

Do what God wants in light of His Grand Plan for the universe and your role in it. Think in these terms. Then each day will matter.

Take time to reflect and hear His Voice… His Voice is many times the ideas that come to mind that inspire you, give a rise to your spirit as you think on it.

His Voice is exciting… it will excite you.

The Scriptures proclaim… Today is the day of salvation! (Hebrews 4)

Today is the day God has called us to serve him and His interests. Enter His rest, His inner life. There He speaks to us. And tells us great things He has in store for the day.
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great remarkable things you do not even know about yet.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

Do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will have its own share of problems and concerns, but instead focus on today.
(Matthew 6:34)

Do what you can do today
and what you do today is enough.

In Spirit, Jesus will take care of the rest. His Spirit will encircle all areas of concern and keep working them out for us… He speaks to us constantly in all the micro-seconds of our existence. He is a micro-second active Spirit that works aggressively all the time on our behalf.

He voice is tirelessly speaking to us… Listen!

"Today … listen to his voice.
The voice of God’s Spirit is full of living power.” (Heb. 4:8, 12)

Listen to His Voice through His Spirit which coaxes you through your thoughts as you are in His rest. Be calm and rest before Him… Listen!

His voice has Supremacy over the Universe. It is a powerful voice that changes things, and gives you insight on what to do “today.” Each day adds up and grows for you. His voice is forceful, moving the material, transforming hearts of those around you.

The battle is won when He Speaks, do what it prompts to do daily, and at each reckoning moment. It may come quietly, but it is dynamic in action producing great results. “And He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern” each day. (Matt. 6:33, NLT)

Respond to His voice. Follow its nudgings.

Small actions will produce distinctive effects.
His Voice is powerful and all earth moves when It speaks.

Today matters and listen to His voice today.
It will astound you what you will see.
So rest in His Spirit, Listen, Do, and See what happens.

Day by day it adds up.
Today matters… make today count.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Freakonomics...delightfully Divine Surprises

by Dale Shumaker

What is so fascinating about this business book is that so many are fascinated with it. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the HiddenSide of Everything has been at the top of best selling book lists for weeks. Author Steven D. Levitt (co-authored with Stephen J. Dubner) has taken economics to an intriguing application. Using economic principles in an unusual way, he found correlations between things that logically may not seem to relate at all.

It is how we look at things that makes a difference and Levitt and taken us down a road to look at things in a curious way. He uses mystery, surprise and intrigue to get his points across… (sounds like a trailer to a movie theme). He says, “tools of economics can be applied to subjects that are more interesting,” i.e., modern life’s way to use incentives, conventional wisdom is often wrong, experts tend to use information to their own advantage.

The book does not carry a central theme throughout but rather a random exploration of a variety of interesting stuff. The authors have given themselves permission to explore any “freakish curiosities” that captured their interests… thus the title "Freakonomics."

Some of the random discovers are...8 glasses of water a day don’t do anything for your health, most crack dealers live with their moms. When researching a crack gang in Chicago, it was found they run “crack” businesses, much like a corporate hierarchy would… big pay at the top and little pay for the foot soldiers. McDonald’s and the crack business have a lot in common. Addictive qualities of the crack business are similar to what draws grandma’s and grandchild to McDonald's every day.

So why would any one want to read this. I wondered the same thing. Out of curiosity I started reading it. It turned out to be fascinating and with a lot of surprises. They take a different look at common events that redirects our perspective on what is going on around us. I found their website to be equally interesting. If you aren’t into books, you will find some of their interesting stuff here:

We are so fascinated by the mysterious, peculiar, unusual, unexpected. But in these unique views come new answers to things. We would benefit to look at things differently, find new answers…. and many may surprise us.

Jesus delighted in surprises.
Geffry Fields talks about this in his blog, Jesus Is Us, June 25, 2005 " Mystery of Spirit... Supernatural delights in surprises":

The Spirit is faithful to give us answers, but in unusual ways. The Jesus Spirit comes to us many times in a surprising way.

“We don’t need to know how,
but that He will.”

In the midst of a storm, He came to the one’s He loved, but they thought He was a ghost. (Matthew 14:25-27)

Jesus, after His death, came back to talk with two of His followers along the road (Luke 24:16-17). They weren’t expecting Him there. They didn't even recognize Him although they were looking for Him. He came to them in a way that caught them by surprise.

He entered a room where the door was locked and appeared to His followers again after everyone thought He was dead and gone. Even with the doors locked and presumed inaccessible, Jesus come to those hiding in fear for their lives. (John 20:19)
(Even when we lock Him out, He still finds a way to show up!)

Jesus Spirit continues to do that. He comes to us when we least expect it and in mysterious and unusual ways.

No matter what is going on, look for Jesus to answer your heart’s desires but remember, He may show up in unexpected ways.
He delights to surprise us.

Again, you don’t need to know how He will answer a request you have, solve a problem you have, accomplish an ambitious goal you have, but you just need to know that He will.

Look for Jesus Spirit to appear “unexpectedly” in your life.

So the next time someone throws mud in your face, take another look at what just happened. It may be God’s element of a surprise for you. Jesus put mud in a guy’s eyes so he could see. (John 9:6)

Jesus appears through uncommon circumstances, the unbecoming,
the not-so-prestigious.

Some may say this is freaky, but don’t overlook the unusual as God’s answer for you . If we don’t look at things differently, we may miss the answer He has staring right at us. Look at the common, what is right there, and see where God has His surprise, your answer, veiled right before you.

Be open to His Spiritual creativity, have faith in little things, the peculiar, unexpected… it may be Jesus trying to appear to you in person.

Be delighted, He is coming, Right Now!, to surprise you.

Jesus will come when least expected,
so ALWAYS be expecting Him.
Look for Him in the unusual.

“Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior,
you work in strange and mysterious ways.”
(Isaiah 45:15, NLT)