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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Magdalen, M (1990) A Spiritual Check-up 

those' whose baptism may not have been by an outward and visible sign, such as our fellow believers in society of Friends or the Salvation Army, there has nevertheless been an inward commitment, a grace received and a conscious acceptance of the death-ressurection principle as one that will govern their entire lives. pp15

In an article entitled 'Fifteen Pounds Too Much' (originally written for and published in New Covenant magazine, USA), Michael Harper tells how he went on a diet before visiting the States, where he knew that with typically generous American hospitality, he was almost bound to put on extra pounds. He began to digest endless grapefruits and eggs and, to his amazement, the pounds simply fell off him. Not only was that very encouraging, but he discovered other things too. He found, after the initial struggle, that he was being set free from a craving for food. He was 'in charge' and no longer a slave to the dictates of his stomach. He felt fitter than he had been for

years, more mentally alert, more able to cope with temptations. He had more concentration in prayer and found he needed less sleep. At the same time he felt less tired than he had for a long while. He developed a keener ability to taste things and several 'small weaknesses and conditions' began to disappear.

With a clearer mind he was able to speak and preach more effectively and fasting, which he had previously tried to practise with some difficulty, became much easier He felt so good that he determined that the fifteen pounds would not go back on - American visit or no. And
didn't! pp 83-84

Let us then, id this check-up, reflect on the ways in which we have or have not used our spiritual breathing apparatus.

Have we breathed in the Spirit of Love, to breathe out love upon those whom we contact day by day?

Have we breathed in the Spirit of Peace, to breathe out peace in the midst of stressful situations and conflict?

Have we breathed in the Spirit of Joy, to bring a light touch to relieve heaviness, to bring laughter into tense situations, to bring hope to those in sorrow, to brighten the lives of those we meet and to sweeten our obedience?

Have we breathed in the Spirit of Truth, to breathe out integrity and to speak the disturbing and uncomfortable word in the face of spiritual complacency? Twice Jeremiah links 'not having any breath' with falsehood (Jer 10: 14; 51:17).

Job 31:7 'if mine heart walked after mine eyes' 98


Havergal, F. R (1912) Kept for the Master's Use 

It may seem an odd idea, but a simple glance at one's hand, with the recollection, This hand is not mine; it has been given to Jesus, and it must. be kept for Jesus,' may sometimes turn the scale in a doubtful matter, and be a safeguard from certain temptations. With that thought fresh in your mind as you look at your hand, can you let it take up things which, to say the very least, are not 'for Jesus? things which evidently cannot be used, as they most certainly are not used, either for Him or by Him? Cards, for instance - Can you deliberately hold in it books of a kind which you know perfectly well, by sadly repeated experience, lead you farther from instead of nearer to Him? Books which must and do fill your mind with those ' other things' which, entering in, choke the word? Books which you would not care to read at all, if your heart were burning within you at the coming of His feet to bless you ? Next time any temptation of this sort approaches, just look at your hand!



Saturday, March 24, 2007

Nelson A.E(2002)Spirituality and Leadership 

Another benefit of leading spiritually comes when implementing a plan for transition. An improvement plan is what you expect to become; it focuses on where you want to end up. But this is strategically different from a transition plan, which focuses on how your organization will get there, starting with where it is now in emotions, culture, felt-needs, communication, and relationships. Many plans for change fail because leaders misunderstand the difference between these two aspects: where to go and how to get there. You can know exactly where you want to go, but if you fail in getting there, it's wasted effort.

Spiritual leaders are better equipped to respond to the soft side of leading that transitioning is primarily about. Saying good-bye to old customs, feeling the fear and anger of people as they mourn their loss, and understanding the emotional side of change allows a spiritual leader to respond to these issues more effectively.

You can estimate how effectively a transition plan will work by looking at four factors: time, leader capacity, group readiness, time, and impact of change. By providing numerical estimates, you can plug in numbers and determine a Delta Factor, which can help you know what to expect from people. The formula looks like this:

(Leader capacity + Group _readiness) x Time = Delta Factor'
Impact of change

Leader capacity: How capable is the leader? Strong leaders are able to pull off change quickly due to people skills, vision communication, organizational thinking, and personal influence. Estimate the level of leader capacity as follows:

1 for poor leader skills; 2 for modest leader skills; 3 for average leader skills; 4 for strong leader skills; 5 for excellent leader skills

Group readiness: How ready is your group or organization to accept this innovation and improvement? Do they feel and understand the problem? Most leaders fail by selling solutions instead of problems. But people don't want solutions for problems they can't see. Estimate readiness as follows:

1 for opposing the change; 2 for being happy where they are; 3 for being neutral to the change; 4 for feeling ready for the improvement; 5 for being excited about the improvement

Time: How fast do you plan to incorporate the improvement? Quicker change creates greater stress. Allowing more time often reduces tension. In a typical organization, here are the numerical figures that match the impact of time:

1 is for 0-6 months; 2 is for 6-12 months; 3 is for 1-2 years; 4 is for 2-3 years; 5 is for 3-5 years. At the speed of change in the twenty-first century, planning beyond five years is precarious at best. If time estimates are on the borders, round up or down appropriately.

Impact of change: How much will this improvement influence the organization? The bigger the impact, the slower you may want to pursue it. All change is not the same. Greater impact results in heightened stress.

1 for minimal impact that few will notice; 2 for

noticeable but not large; 3 for noticeable, significant
change, but not transformational; 4 for large change
that all will notice and be affected by; 5 for transfor-
mational improvement that will change the very
nature of the organization

Plug these numbers into the formula above. The result is the Delta Factor. With that numerical score, note the transitioneffectiveness categories for your estimate:

0.4-1.5-Level 1: Poor (fat chance; slim odds of surviving the change)

1.6-2.9-Level 2: Fair (some bloodletting, loss, and struggle, but possible)

3.0-4.9-Level 3: Positive (modest conflict, but nothing bad if you work it well)

5.0-20.9-Level 4: Optimum (minor conflict, but with homework done, it's great)

21.0-50.0-Level 5: Overly ripe (you're late, having lost good people and potential)


True spirituality will significantly affect your interactions with others. It's difficult to be in tune with God and out of sync with other people. 139

What does the fruit of the Spirit have to do with leadership? The list of spiritual fruit is the DNA of the Holy Spirit. When God's Spirit is present, leadership is characterized by these elements. When leadership is not spiritual, these factors are consistently missing or inadequately present, making them difficult to find. Following is a fruit list in the context of spiritual leadership.

Do you express adequate love? Why do people follow leaders? The reasons vary from person to person and situation to situation. But the strongest emotion is love. When people respect you as a leader, they'll follow you up to a point. But when followers both respect and love a leader, they'll climb mountains with him or hen Love usually reciprocates itself. Human love usually loves because of or in response to what it receives. When you see people as pawns to be used within an organization or as sources of hassles to be avoided, they'll resent you. When they resent you personally, it's always more difficult to lead effectively. And in non-crisis situations, it's often impossible. Do you love the people you lead? Do you know who they are? Do you communicate care, concern, and compassion? These are vital to effective leading, because lead~ ing is nothing more and nothing less than a unique relationship with people. If people don't sense love from you as a leader, they'll withdraw some amount of influence from you.

Do you reflect a joyful attitude? "Happiness" is a word based around happenings or circumstances. But what happens when circumstances become dismal and negative? Happiness flees. joy has to do with an inner disposition toward hope. When hope is high, you can be joyful, regardless of any pain. Leaders are influencers. People need hope in order to follow. When you're low on joy, you deplete the hope and positive attitudes among your followers. You may not say anything, but people can usually tell the state of mind of their leader. Most often, your job is to keep your fears to yourself and share your encouragement. When leading becomes a hassle or when you start to lose your personal joy, as well as an ability to exude joy to your team and organization, you lose effectiveness.

Do you exude sufficient peace? It's been said, "Peace is joy at rest; joy is peace dancing." Leaders who emote peace aren't easily frazzled. They convey hope and confidence to their people. As we've discussed, a leader wears various hats in his or her role, one of which is that of an organizational parent. Children look to their parents for security and direction. When a parent is insecure and fearful, this creates insecurity and fear within the children. When Morn or Dad is stressed and tense, the whole family takes on that emotional state.

An important role in leading is exuding peace to the organization, even in times of stress and vulnerability. The Bible is full of peace and fear-not passages. Demonstrating peace expresses an attitude that says, regardless of circumstances, we can still make it. When we're relying on God in our lives, peace is present most of the time. When our fear and lack of peace make us irritable, negative, critical, and defensive, these are signs that we're ebbing in spiritual fervor and strength.

Do you maintain effective patience? Few leaders can claim patience as a natural strength. They're creatures of change and action. Many people think they are being patient when they are really just procrastinating, are reticent to act, or are covering up fear or a lack of direction. Savvy leaders don't confuse disregard with patience. Healthy patience is the realization that in spite of all we do, God is God and does things in his time.

A lack of patience creates stress among team members and diminishes their long-term productivity and current enjoyment, often shortening their tenure. Impatient leaders tend to make decisions that are detrimental to long~term effectiveness by striving to pick fruit before it's ripe. The old saying, 1 don't have ulcers; 1 give them," is a trademark of the non-spiritual leader. The patient spiritual leader must act with speed at times, but pushing people without concern for their well~being is a sign of human leading. Impatience is a symptom of feeling out of control, that things are not working as p armed, and even incompetence. ("I'm frustrated 1 can't figure this out so I'll push even harder.") Impatience is a sign of being spirit-low.

Do you respond to people with kindness? Congeniality, being personable, and professional politeness are very important characteristics in effective leading. Think of at least one leader you know who lacks kindness in his or her demeanor toward others. Barking commands and being moody, rude, and shorttempered are all signs of the Spirit's absence. Spiritual leaders respond favorably to people. People respond well to spiritual leaders who express kindness.

Poise, etiquette, and being mannerly often separate a great leader from a merely good one. Two leaders may accomplish the same goal, but the one who is kind will probably dominate. There's rarely a reason not to be kind while leading, regardless of the situation. People need to know your heart. If you ', re Kind, they'll perceive you as a good leader-one others want to follow. If you're mean-spirited, cool, aloof, and seemingly disinterested in the mundane issues of others around you, it could indicate a lack of spirituality. Jesus took time for children and to heal a lame man on his way. People frequently interrupted his travels. When you're kind only if things are going well or kind only toward those who stand the chance of helping you, you're communicating human power, not God's.

1 Do you consistently express goodness? Goodness refers to moral conditioning, character, and ethical integrity. if you cut corners on a sale, deal with people underhandedly, or ask your followers to look the other way about something, you're demonstrating a lack of spirit. Moral excellence is a natural fruit of God's presence in our lives. Holiness shows itself best in leadership, because we're so tempted to compromise at times in order to achieve.

Life seems to be less black-and-white in the twenty-first century. The problem with dabbling in hues of gray is that we justify our lack of spiritual spine, finding it easier to compromise for a win. Group and organizational achievement may appear paramount, but achievement at all costs results in prostituting ourselves and others. We lose our souls, even if we gain the whole world. When we misplace our moral compass, when our motives come into question on more than one occasion, and when we start to cut corners regarding ethics and standards, these are signs that we're working out of human energy.

Are you faithful toward God and followers? While faithfulness is often seen as an attitude of a leader toward the task at hand, it is actually relational, because collaborators look for this trait in the leader. Perseverance both in leading and in commitment to God are the essence of faithfulness. When we are tempted to give up before it's time because we lack vision or the hope that things will change, this is a sign that our spiritual life may be waning. Tenacity, stick~to-itiveness, and purveying a sense of hope are vital to effective leading. People look to leaders for faith. They rarely commit to a project when a leader lacks it. When you have a difficult time conveying hope, fail to muster a sense of positive expectations, or don't believe in the people you're working with, consider your spiritual energy level. Giving up is not always wrong, but when you feel a desire to quit, first cheek the level of your spiritual fuel tank.

Are you gentle in your demeanor? Twenty-first-century leading is far kinder and more gentle than the more industrial, twentieth-century version. Top down, autocratic, male-dominated, authoritarian leading is not a sign of spiritual leading. Coercion is about being a bully, not a leader. Manipulation, emotional game playing, and threats are all means of human leading.

The velvet-covered brick approach-being strong on the inside but soft on the outside-allows you to be gentle with people while not being weak or soft. In cultures where men and women are educated and experienced and people have multiple involvement options, there's little tolerance for rough leadership. When you find yourself relying on force, power, authority (position), and verbal manipulation, it's a good sign that you may have lost your spiritual fortitude. When you have power, you don't have to flaunt it. When you don't have it, you'll strive to influence people via harsh means.

Do you have adequate self-control? When you find yourself iwandering, overeating, working endless hours, and perhaps being tempted sexually or by drugs, alcohol, or materialism, you have good reason to believe you're lagging spiritually. A corn~ mon misunderstanding is that you need self-discipline in order to be more gentle, loving, patient, and so on. For example, the thinking goes: If 1 had self-control, 1 wouldn't lose my temper or run off at the mouth." But according to this spiritual teaching, self-control is more of a by-product rather than a prerequisite of spiritual fervor. Usually, a lack of self-control expresses itself according to our innate weaknesses. A leader may be weak at holding his or her tongue, or keeping sexuality in check, or saying "no" to opportunities that dilute his or her potency where it's needed. When we see wrong behavior popping up in our lives, its a sign that we're lagging in spiritual energy.

You've probably never thought of a leader as a fruit farmer, but if you're going to be a spiritual leader, you need to become one. Every farmer knows that the formula for a great harvest is inherent in every healthy seed. The farmer's responsibility isn't to grow the fruit. That will come naturally. His or her job is to create as many good conditions as possible to let the seed do what it is preprogrammed to do. Matching seed with soil type, climate, and the calendar is important. Fertilization, irri~ gation, cultivation, and similar processes are vital.

Spiritually speaking, the leader who wants to be spiritual needs to understand that high-quality people skills are an innate part of God's Spirit that can be allowed to grow in us. Our job is to provide a fertile, receptive, cultivated environment where that seed can flourish. Far too many Christians strive to emanate the fruit of the Spirit under human energy. 'What other way is there?! You mean to tell me 1 don't have to try to be more loving, joyful, peaceful, or patient?"' That's correct. You're off the hook with regard to producing fruit. You're not off the hook in terms of providing an inviting environment where that seed can flourish. The difference is a matter of process and product. God will grow the spiritual seed in you if you just give him the right environment.

'I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener ... Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bearfruit by itself, it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bearfruit unless you remain in me.

'I am the vine; you are the branches. if a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into thefire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing

yourselves to be my disciples." (John 15:1-8)

Be good soil. That's what abiding is all about. Make sure you present yourself to God every day as good dirt, available garden space. He'll grow the seed.



Saturday, March 03, 2007

Durback, R(1997)Seeds of Hope: a Henri Nouwen Reader 

The great illusion of leadership is to think taht others can be led out of teh desert by someone who has never been there pp 55

Aberration of understanding = scotosis which means darkness, the resultant blindspot - scotoma. Scotosis means long and fierce discussions about justice and equality while we hate our teacher or ignore the needs of our fellow students. ... Sotosis means an aberation which prevents the emergence into conciousness of perspectives taht would give rise to unwanted insights. Lonergans
It is indeed startling to discover how we keep ourselves free from thoes unwanted insights. pp 58

Mk 14:10 / Ro 8:32 same word for handed over given to God and Judas. Ironically translated as betrayed. pp139

"Where is the glory of God? If teh glory of God is not there where I am, where else can it be?" 149

"I have come to know better than before that praying is being with Jesus and simply wasting time with Him..." 196


Ringma,C. (2004) Wash the Feet of the World with Mother Teresa 


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sweet, L (2000) Soul Salsa. Zondervan 

Moses, a murderer, recycled his rage and hatred and became the greatest leader in Israel's history.

jacob, a thief and a rogue, recycled his cunning and became the father of the nation.

David, an adulterer, recycled his passion and became the greatest of Israel's kings.

Simon Peter, a boastful, swearing fisherman, recycled his pride and became the rock on which Christ built his church.

Mary Magdalene, a mysterious woman, recycled her love and became a saint.

Zacchaeus, a quisling and a tax collector, recycled his miserly disciplines and became a disciple of Christ.

Saul of Tarsus, the leading persecutor of the Christian church, recycled his anger and assertiveness and became the greatest of the apostles, missionaries, and theologians.

Esther, a harem girl, recycled her sex appeal and saved the Jewish people from what would have been history's first Jewish holocaust.

Ruth, an idol worshiper and alien, recycled became a progenitor of Jesus the Christ.

Me ... The very best in me is composted and recycled out of the very worst in me.

You ... The very best in you is composted and recycled out of the very worst in you.

What treasures are we leaving buried in trash cans?



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