10 Game Changers for Christian Leaders

1.   The very best thing you have to offer a church is your own transforming self. (Credit to Ruth Haley Barton for this language.) That is, you are a person who is in the process of being shaped and transformed into the image of Christ.

2.   Manage yourself.  You can spend much of your life doing little more than emotionally reacting to your past.  As a result, much of life can be spent projecting or blaming others for your lot in life.  Or, you spend your life repeating old, negative patterns of behavior from the past.

3.  You have learned something but it is important to keep on learning.  There is no reason to think you have nothing to offer.  You have learned something.  At the same time, there is no reason to be smug and arrogant.  After all, there is much that we can still learn. We have learned and we are learning.

4.  Smile.  You may be brilliant.  You may be accomplished.  You may be successful.  Yet, you will not have the influence with some that you otherwise might have if you would simply smile and be more approachable.

5.  Never underestimate what others can teach you.  You can learn something from all kinds of people.  Beware of underestimating what another can teach you.

6.  Choose to have a great attitude.  You may be unhappy at work.  You may be unhappy with your job.  You may be unhappy with where you live.  However, when your unhappiness begins to impact your attitude, you are on a self-defeating journey.  By the grace of God, you and I can choose to have a good attitude.  When you have a good attitude, you may even bring energy into the room.  In fact, others will often want to be around you.

7.  Take personal temptation seriously.  Beware of doing something stupid which may bring about negative consequences for decades to come.  Humble people take personal temptation seriously.

8.  Pay attention to others.  Far too many of us are completely self-absorbed.  We talk on and on about ourselves and pay little if any attention to others.  Pay attention to the person checking you out at the grocery store or Starbucks.  Pay attention to the person right in front of you.  Paying attention to another is one way to get out of yourself and get into the life and concern of another.

9.  Read.  Read.  Read.  Perhaps you don’t like to read.  Then read for just ten minutes a day.  If you are reading for ten minutes a day, this will add up very quickly.  Over time you might be amazed at how much you have read just from this daily discipline.

10.  Rest.  Take a day off.  Sleep.  Go to the gym.  Take a walk.  Do something joyful.  Taking care of one’s self honors the creator.

“I Was Just Kidding”

(Refuse to let a critical spirit spoil your marriage)

A regular stream of critical words has a way of taking the joy out of a marriage.  A marriage in which a husband and wife regularly criticizes one another can feel like you are being nibbled to death by a duck.

Sometimes we will level a criticism toward our spouse followed by the words, “I was just kidding.”  Often this is a passive aggressive way of not taking responsibility for what was just said.  Slowly but surely, such criticisms have a way of poisoning the atmosphere of a marriage.

Consider:

A husband has been working very hard in the yard during much of a hot summer day.  Finally, he comes inside, pleased with the improvement in the yard.  Meanwhile, his spouse goes outside to look at the front yard.  The very first thing she says in response to his work is, “Well aren’t you going to clean up the flower bed on the side of the house?  It looks awful!  It’s embarrassing!”  Wow.  No affirmation or appreciation for what has been done.  Instead, the first word is a critical remark that basically says, “I see what you’ve done but it doesn’t measure up.”

Now of course there is a time in which this spouse could express her desire that he address the flower bed on the side of the house.  Yet, when we immediately choose criticism over appreciation and gratitude, this probably isn’t going to be received well.

That Saturday evening, this couple eats a nice meal at home. She has prepared a roast that has cooked much of the day.  She has also prepared several vegetable dishes and a nice salad.  At the conclusion of the dinner, he asks about desert.  After learning there is no desert, he makes a big deal about never having desert.  Instead of expressing appreciation and affirmation for what she has done, he immediately begins complaining.  No thank you.  No words of appreciation.  Just complaining.  This kind of response gets old, very quickly.