Saturday, January 2, 2010

Career Advice From Ecclesiastes (pt. 3)

Scripture tells us that our lives are but a vapor - like the sea mist you observe as you pilot the channel outbound for sea in the early morning. In our arrogance we make many plans accompanied by many words with little fear or recognition of the Sovereign God who pilots our lives in this perishing world. Hold it all loosely, like sand in your hand. If you cup it gently so that God can give and take away in His wisdom you preserve it. Grasp tightly in selfish ambition or fear and little will remain. Rest in the sovereignty of God - be at ease in God Himself.

". . . To draw near to listen is better . . . for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. 3For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words. 7For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity;but God is the one you must fear." (Ecc. 5:1, 3, 7)

"13Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." (Ja. 4:13-17)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bible Reading Plan

Plans from JT's Blog. Bible Reading Plan for Shirkers & Slackers from Ransom Fellowship. Great for the New Year!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

To Blog or Not to Blog?

So, that's the question. Already the blog has some critics and I've received a bit of "heat." The issue is being an active duty officer while advocating some controversial beliefs (as if just being Christian isn't enough). So, a little over three weeks writing now and with nearly 1400 hits, I'm not sure what to do. There seems to be some interest and desire for someone to be talking (on the internet) about how to lead as a Christian in the military. I haven't seen anyone else writing about this kind of stuff that is currently serving. There may be some retired folks involved in military ministries writing about these important areas - but, they're safe. There is an inherent danger anytime you put yourself out there and let people know what's going on in your mind. I'm not risk adverse, but I want to be smart about this. I do write anonymously to create some shroud of safety, but that can only last so long. Enough research will ensure people know that I am the author of this site. Religion, particularly in the military, lights a fire like few things can. So, I'm asking for a simple vote. If you read this blog, benefit from it, and think it should stay up let me know and tell me why.

Be Action Oriented

"You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did." (Ja. 2:22)

Be action oriented! This forum is a place for the “meeting of the minds” to occur, believing that “ideas have consequences.” The aspiration is that whatever transformation is incubated in the brain will seep down to the leader’s heart and eventually flow to the fingers and the feet in functional leadership. What this blog is not meant to be is a place to spin the newest fads on leadership that never actually impact anyone (leaders or follower). Philosophy that is not functional should be forgotten. Christian leaders are ultimately concerned about action; a life (which is to say a livelihood) that glorifies the God that gave it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2 Highlights

A couple of sites to pass along in case you miss them in the sidebar:

Fixed Point & Seeking 7: This type of ministry/conference is what I am passionate about (but, oriented and focused on the military context). This blog is my attempt at being part of equipping military believers for bold Christian leadership where they serve. To that end, I believe that equipping the organization's leadership is the most effective way to impact the military culture they operate in and induce transformation in the hearts of the people that comprise the military society they guide. Here is what they say they are about, "Seeking 7 is an initiative to mobilize a generation of Christians with the requisite boldness to proclaim and defend the Gospel in an increasingly hostile world." I want to be part of something like that!

Magnify the Cross in the Military: Isn't this what it is all about? I am in the process of drafting a post that describes Christian counseling as leadership. Counseling and leadership are synonymous for the military leader - Biblical counseling and godly leadership are synonymous for the Christian military leader. Here is an excerpt from the link: "teaching them how to emphasize the supremacy of Christ and his cross in counseling troops. Even though he is specifically speaking about the military chaplain, these are truths that all believers are called to live out."

Comms 101

"The tongue has the power of life and death,and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Prv. 18:21)

Communication requires both a transmitter and a receiver; should the transmitter be communicating on the wrong channel or at the wrong frequency the receiver will not hear the message. Likewise, failure to communicate creatively or in a way that is relevant to the target audience will result in the message not being received. Effective communication must facilitate collaboration which enriches the conversation.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Words Matter

"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (Prv. 12:18)

We probably learn best when we fail. During my initial sea tours I made countless leadership mistakes. Shore duty afforded me the opportunity to reflect on them and consider how I can change to be better for my Sailors as a DH. Those who have stood the watch before us should share their experiences to improve the performance of their reliefs. None of us perform flawlessly (in spite of what our FITREP/award says); we all have fallen short in how we care for the people that have been entrusted to us. I certainly have - more than I wish to remember. I hope that when I share it edifies those who read and I encourage others with their own leadership experience to impart their wisdom as well.

I learned that my words matter early in my second Divo tour. Prior to this I thought that I could "joke" and say nearly whatever I thought without any thought. I learned this lesson the hard way on one particularly long day when everything seemed to be going wrong - gear was breaking repeatedly, and all of our work-arounds were ineffective. The crew was small (~40) and one of my First Class Petty Officers was really carrying the load (he always did as the #1 E-6 onboard). You would have to know this guy - big (6'4'', 250lbs), tough, and with considerable experience (~18 yrs of service). I was standing on the fantail, late in the evening, with my Senior Chief and one of my Divos. The First Class comes up, sweaty and greasy, to tell Senior that things just weren't going as planned and repairs were going to take longer than expected. In my arrogance, I made an off-hand comment, joking to the effect that if he could do more than one thing at a time it wouldn't have been a problem. It was the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" at that point in his day. He had put out max effort and to have me say that nearly brought him to tears (rather in anger or just exhaustion). I'll never forget the look on his face. It's hard to believe that as a 25 year old LTJG my thoughts/words could have such an impact on a guy like him, but it did. He left quickly so nobody would see him. I'll also never forget Senior Chief's face as he told me how inappropriate my comment was. Our words reveal our thoughts. To the First Class, as his boss (I write his eval), I communicated that I thought his performance was sub-standard. Of course, it hadn't been but he will never know that. I missed the opportunity to encourage him and tell him how much I appreciated his efforts and the efforts of those he lead. Not to mention, I also set a bad example for the Ensign that was there. Of even more significance I sinned - displeasing and poorly representing Christ. I learned when you are in a position of authority your words matter immensely. They can pierce or they can heal - we must communicate carefully.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Why Blog? (pt. 1)

I want to talk a bit about some of the reasons this blog exists over the next couple of days. I believe that it is critical that we, as military leaders, are intentional about the way we lead - which is to say that we are intentionally biblical. Biblical, God-glorifying, Christ-like, redemptive leadership does not and will not happen on accident. We cannot be passive, but must actively engage our minds in the process of purposely leading to fulfill our potential in Christ.

As we unite to dialogue on the integration of our faith in Christ and our profession in arms the hope is that individual leaders will be redeemed; redeem the leadership and change the culture; change the culture and entire organizations will be impacted (think of the emanating effect of rain drops hitting a pond). My prayer is that we, a struggling and broken band of leaders, will lay hold of the Gospel (the power for change), learning to live it in such a way as to see the spheres in which God has appointed us be radically redeemed. May we be Anchored Leaders and glorify Jesus, the true embodiment of all we seek to be, while hearing Him exclaim the same words spoken to the military leader in the Gospels saying, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone . . . with such great faith” (Matt. 8: 10).

Our goal should be to: Lead to Redeem!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Resurgence Military Ministry

"When you are a starving man among starving people and you discover a banquet in the wilderness, you become a debtor to all." (John Piper, Desiring God)

I'm a big fan of the things happening at TheResurgence, specifically in their military ministry. Al Lobian and his team have a real heart for those serving and are doing the Lord's work in ministering in real ways to us. Below is a sampling of some of what they are doing:

- Mars Hill Military Mission
- Jesus At War
- Missional Militia: Work
- Porn and 24
- Bio of a Christian Soldier 1
- Bio of a Christian Soldier 2

This is a good time to plug the book "Porn Again Christian." Download it, it's free. The last section of the book is almost entirely written specifically for military members. I'll talk more about this topic, but suffice it to say - if you are a guy and in the military this has been or inevitably will be a problem area for you. You can't lead effectively if bounded and hampered by this area of sin. Read this book! It's short, poignant, and redemptive. 'Nuff said.