Today’s SOAP

Overall.. another great read today.  If you aren’t SOAPing.. you should.  Great word in Joel and 1 Timothy.  Check out it here.

Joel 2:13

Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead. Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.  He is eager to relent and not punish.

Over and over the Bible tells us that God wants our hearts not our sacrifice.  Even in the days that animal sacrifices were common and part of religious devotion to God, more than anything He wanted the devotion and hearts of the people.  The people were so consumed with material outward sacrifice that they forgot the root of the issue.  The heart.  Tear your heart.  What a vivid picture.  Don’t tear your clothing in grief, but instead your heart.  It wasn’t your clothing that caused your sin, but something deeper in your heart.  If you don’t root that out of your heart, it will continue to keep you from God.  If you truly repent and root out the area keeping you from God, He will welcome you with open arms.  His love is unfailing.  To some level today we still operate in almost ritual sacrifice.  We would rather do a lot of things than admit that we are wrong.  For some it is serving in church, for others tithing, while those things are good, if they are done over our devotion or to replace our heart toward God, they are sinful.

I want to keep short accounts with God.  As I go about today, I need to examine my heart and make sure I am not walking in a ritual sacrifice but rather a relationship with Jesus.  I want my heart to be soft and open to God.

Lord,

Thank you for being merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and filled with unfailing love.  You are good.  Thank you for being my guide, friend, and hope.  Help me examine my heart today.  Help me to root anything that would keep me from you.  Amen

Our words count!

The last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about our words.  The old addage being that sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.  Well the reality is that words do hurt.  Some times when we step back and look at the people they don’t hurt as much.  Then there are other times when we say things and can’t figure out why someone was so hurt.  What comes from our mouth overflows from our heart.  If hurt and nastiness is in our heart.. then that is what comes out.  Even if the words are nice, the rest will flow out.

Have you ever read someone’s email and thought, “really? that was harsh,” even if the words in and of themselves weren’t mean?  Our nastiness will even flow out there.

The Bible talks over and over about what our words are to do: edify, encourage, build up, bring peace.  God cares about what comes out of our mouths.  So as I examine my heart, I hope to grow in edifying, encouraging, loving, and building others.

Win Loss: An exploration of leadership terms

Lately I have heard a lot the phrase, “that would be a win”  or  “that would not be a win.”  It got me thinking about what those really mean.  As a leader I need to examine what I say and how I say it.  My filter works for the most part but sometimes we don’t even realize what we say.

Categorizing things as wins or losses is good when done in a reflective manner.  It is incredibly important to look back and assess where things were great, where we needed to improve, and if there was a missed opportunity or a hurt.  I would consider a missed opportunity or hurting someone a loss.  We will all fail, it is what we do after that matters most.

What has me thinking is when we assess in the future.  It strikes me as entertaining when someone says, “that would not be a win.”  It should hurt because it is really a backhanded.  That would not be a win is basically telling one that their idea is a loss, a failure, or a bad idea.  As someone who is a direct communicator, I would prefer some just give me the actual push-back.  It not being a win doesn’t explain what the critic actually thinks of the idea or the problem that lies in the idea.

When we say phrases like that we inadvertently cut someone off with their creativity.  Perhaps their idea has yet to completely develop and needs our encouragement or push back.  We place  judgment where it doesn’t belong. Sometimes what would not be a win is challenging the status quo.  I’m glad no one cut Martin Luther off when he tacked those 95 theses to the door.  Sorry Martin, challenging the way the Catholic Church is selling salvations.. that wouldn’t be a win.  Or don’t bother with that press Gutenberg… it wouldn’t be a win to let the people interpret the Word of God.  It hits a lot closer to home than those however, I won’t give actual examples, but I know I too have uttered that statement.

I’m going to look at what I say and make sure I don’t cut off people’s ideas and dreams.  Let’s learn to say yes in creative ways.  It may not be the same idea that was first presented but let’s decide after the idea has developed and come to fruition before we say whether or not it was a win.

Win Tonight:  Baccalaureate.. 260+ in attendance, 60+ seniors, Al Egg brought a great message, seniors did an amazing job,  multi-denominational representation (yea for unity in the body of Christ), and people got saved.