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Friday, February 12, 2010

From Mustangs & Goats

Men & Machines: that's what it's all about for a SWO - our people and our gear - in that order. A nugget of wisdom was imparted to me today and I wanted to log it for the record - it is worth remembering. I was shooting the bull with this Commander and by surprise I caught "it" - that is to say leadership was imparted to me (often, leadership is better caught than taught). He is on active duty, with over 30 years of experience as an engineer. He was enlisted, attaining the rank of Senior Chief before crossing over to become an LDO - all exclusively as an engineer. The Navy has seen it fit to promote him 13 times - when leaders like this talk I listen. And I was in the catcher's position when he told me the basics of leading as a Chief Engineer. He said create a battle rhythm to meet with your Senior Snipe (the senior Chief in the department) and your MPA (Main Propulsion Assistant, an LDO). Meet with your Senior Chief first to find out how your people are doing - they're first because they are the priority and the most important - without the Sailors the ship is nothing. Meet with your MPA next to check on the status of the plant. Consider what was taught in those few words: people first, trust others, empower them, be humble and dependent, communicate, plan, coordinate, care, and always know the status of what you are accountable/responsible for. For this tour and the those to follow I will continue to be committed to lean on, listen to, and learn from Mustangs and Goats.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Navel-Gazing

In light of yesterday's post Resurgence has the rest of the story . . .

Dustin Neeley

Acts 29 Pastor - Louisville, Kentucky

I just realized I have a new spiritual problem.

Truth be told, I have had it for a while, but the light bulb just finally came on in my soul that illuminated what has been going on. I can get so caught up in trying to figure out why I sinned that I forget to repent of my sin.

Getting to the Root

As a “gospel-centrality” guy who believes that all true change begins at the heart level, I consider it a goal not just to stop doing something evil, but to try to figure out why I was doing that evil in the first place. My hope in doing so is to be led to as specific of an application of the gospel as possible, and to cut off the snake’s head and not just shorten his tail.

Theologically speaking, I believe this effort to deal with the root causes of our sin (Matthew 5:29) is a good practice modeled by Jesus, Paul, Keller, the Tripp brothers, and all of us who follow in their footsteps. However, practically speaking, even a good tool in the hands of sinners like us can do significant damage.

Gazing at Your Navel Instead of Jesus

I have found that in an effort to get to the root of my sin, I can become so navel-gazing that I cease to be cross-focused. I have found that I can get so wrapped up in the complexities and nuances of my sin and ‘how deep the rabbit-hole goes’ that I forget to repent of the fact that it was my fault that I climbed into the rabbit-hole in the first place.
I have also found, perhaps worst of all, that I can become so despairing or despondent because of my sin that I cease to be dependent upon the only One who can save me from that sin—Jesus.

Who Will Deliver Us?

And in those dark moments, thankfully, I am confronted afresh with the good news of the gospel: Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25) Most of us reading this can agree that we are wretched. But who or what is to save us from this wretchedness? Our self-evaluative introspection? Our repentance?

No. Neither is strong enough.

In Christ Alone

But Jesus is strong enough. And worthy enough. And holy enough. Only Jesus can save us from our sins and ourselves! In the midst of Paul’s own spiritual angst, this is the good news of the gospel that Paul himself is retelling and praising God for. In the midst of our own angst, we would be wise to follow suit.

So when you sin, repent—first! Then evaluate and seek to get to the root of what is going on. And when you find yourself confronted with your latest spiritual problem, whether it is like mine or not, ask yourself, “What good news am I retelling? Mine or Jesus’?”

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

In Need Of The "I" Doctor

Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Matt. 9: 12- 13

By Paul Tripp, Whiter Than Snow

Here are the radical words [from the Lord's Prayer that will change your life if you truly understand what you are saying] I have been alluding to: "Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). I must admit that I don’t always greet God’s kingdom with delight. There are things that I want in my life, and I not only want them, but I know how, when, and where I want them! I want my life to be comfortable. I want my schedule to be unobstructed and predictable. I want the people around me to esteem and appreciate me. I want control over the situations and relationships in my life. I want people to affirm my opinions and follow my lead. I want the pleasures that I find entertaining to be available to me. I want the ministry initiatives that I direct to be well received and successful. I want my children to appreciate that they have been blessed with me as their father. I don’t want to suffer. I don’t want to live without. I don’t want to have to deal with personal defeat or [professional failure]. What I am saying is that I want my kingdom to come and my will to be done.

“Thy kingdom come” is a dangerous prayer, for it means the death of our own sovereignty. It means your life will be shaped by the will of another. It means that you will experience the messiness, discomfort, and difficulty of God’s refining grace. It means surrendering the center of your universe to the One who alone deserves to be there. It means loving God above all else and your neighbor as yourself. It means experiencing the freedom that can only be found when God breaks your bondage to you! It means finally living for the one glory that is truly glorious, the glory of God. “Thy kingdom come,” words of surrender, words of protection, and words of grace that can only be prayed by those who’ve been delivered by the Redeemer from the kingdom that always leads to destruction and death, the kingdom of self.

[My biggest problem is myself. Everything I do has some element of me in it. I am self-oriented. I, I, I – I have an “I” problem, and am in desperate need of the “I” Doctor – the One who is able to heal my tendency torward me. Then I will see, then my “I’s” will receive the Light and be made new.]

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Foundation

If you don't read JT's blog often, you need to. This shared post from Ravi Zacharias gets at the point of much that I have written about lately.

Justin Taylor|7:34 am CT

Postmodern Architecture

wexFrom an address by Ravi Zacharias:

I remember lecturing at Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in this country. I was minutes away from beginning my lecture, and my host was driving me past a new building called the Wexner Center for the Performing Arts.

He said, “This is America’s first postmodern building.”

I was startled for a moment and I said, “What is a postmodern building?”

He said, “Well, the architect said that he designed this building with no design in mind. When the architect was asked, ‘Why?’ he said, ‘If life itself is capricious, why should our buildings have any design and any meaning?’ So he has pillars that have no purpose. He has stairways that go nowhere. He has a senseless building built and somebody has paid for it.”

I said, “So his argument was that if life has no purpose and design, why should the building have any design?”

He said, “That is correct.”

I said, “Did he do the same with the foundation?”

All of a sudden there was silence.

You see, you and I can fool with the infrastructure as much as we would like, but we dare not fool with the foundation because it will call our bluff in a hurry.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

True Success According To The Coach

"[Human] history is pervaded by the question, How can I live up to my potential as a human? The question's simplicity contrasts with the complexity of the answer. Question's about living up to one's full potential are tacitly question's about happiness. The concept of happiness has always been associated with, in one way or another, the flourishing of humanity. Classical descriptions of human flourishing are often expressed in terms such as ends, means, and teleology. Ultimately, this is a discussion of what it means to be truly successful as a human being." (from Education for Human Flourishing)

All truth is God's truth. In the pursuit of fulfilling our potential and that of our subordinates we are really struggling with the issue and definition of success. Glean the truth of God in the wisdom of Wooden.