Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Running On Empty

It’s been a while since I’ve run out of gas in my car.  Back when I first started driving, the possibility of running out of gas seemed to be a much more likely occurrence.  Today, with the reminders from the electronics in front of the driver, the distance to empty that is ever present on the dashboard and my wife’s verbal reminders, I rarely drive my car on empty.

When it comes to my spiritual life however, it seems like just the opposite.  When I first became a believer, it seemed like my spiritual life was constantly being recharged.  Prayer, Bible study, fellowship with other Christians, and two church services on Sunday and one at midweek were constantly keeping my ‘tank’ full.   I have to admit that now, almost forty years later, it’s easier to find that I’m running too close to empty.  

While the reasons may be many, prayer is one of the ways we keep our relationship with our heavenly Father and our spiritual life full. The famous 19th century Baptist preacher from England, Charles Spurgeon said, “I know of no better thermometer to your spiritual temperature than this, the measure of the intensity of your prayer.”

Prayer is likely the most significant key to our spiritual life.  We can easily find ourselves going through the motions, being somewhat moral in our outward behavior and Christian in conduct while being deficient and lacking in prayer.

The remedy however for an impaired spiritual life is as close as a silent prayer.   I have found that the simple, heartfelt prayers are the ones that can quickly restore my relationship with God my Father.  My habit has been to be thankful for any of the many blessings that God has provided and to enter into a time of thanksgiving and praise before I remember the petitions that can quickly come to mind.

Prayer is our primary means of communication with God.  Prayer is also worship as we humble ourselves to our God and Father.  In prayer, we acknowledge that God is present, that he is able to hear our prayer and uniquely know our hearts intention.  As he is Almighty God, He alone is the necessary requirement for a full spiritual life.

God desires to fill us with His presence.  That concept of being ‘filled’ or what Paul describes as the ‘fullness of God’ is found in Ephesians 3:14-19

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height; to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 


We don’t need to ever be empty again.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Capacity, Character and Competence.

There is a leadership revolution that has grown quickly the past twenty years.  From books, classes and seminars to college programs including doctoral programs in leadership, the art if not science of leadership has become big business.

According to the American Society of Training and Development, U.S. businesses spend more than $170 Billion dollars on leadership-based curriculum.   The top leadership gurus in the world are best selling authors and speakers and have undoubtedly helped millions of individuals and businesses.

The definitions of leadership vary from the simple “leadership is influence” to incorporating vision, creativity, tone setting, inspiration and tenacity.

While many may argue that leadership is not about traits, most will acknowledge that there are certain qualities that are common among great leaders.   I would argue that these qualities often can be summarized by what are often called the 3 c’s : Capacity, Character and Competence.

Unlike leadership activities, these 3c’s are axioms or truths that are necessary traits for leaders in order to have long term success in an organization.

Capacity is the combination of skill-set and volume.  In brief it is the necessary amount or resources available  for the production of desired output.   In humans, capacity can be amazingly elastic for short periods of time.  Great leaders are high capacity  managers of the resources at their disposal.

Character is too often defined by constantly evolving cultural qualities.   This is unfortunate as character is actually internal traits that align with moral truths.  Honesty, integrity, empathy, courage and faithfulness are among the virtues that are typically spiritually defined, taught and infused in character. 

Competence is the one quality that is actually very subjective as a leader can be very competent in one area and completely lacking or incompetent in another area.  It is said that competence alone cannot make a leader but it can certainly undo one. 


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