Monday, May 30, 2011

Gone Before . . .

This weekend as the ship entered port after nearly a month at sea I prepared to stand duty only to be relieved this morning and proceed to enjoy one of the best breakfasts in recent memory (you do not know good food until you’ve been at sea for a time without it!). It gave me time to think and be thankful. I have been consuming an amazing book during this last underway, having desired to read it for far too long, entitled "Last Stand of a Tin Can Sailor." In the midst of the types of operations we were conducting it was a surreal experience to think on this narrative. The story is about the Battle of Samar during World War II and the men who fought in it. Reflecting on the amazing heroism of the Sailors and Officers on those ships and in those aircraft on that day have stirred awe in my belly and tears in my eyes. So, I think of them and I pray today for those on land and sea that are doing the Nation's work as instruments of restoration and relief in the broken places of world. Consider for a moment if those men and women of another generation and of this one did not do what they did. Would you, would all of us, be able to enjoy our breakfast this morning in the same way? They did, and they continue to do, what they did so that we can continue to do what we do all the while too often taking it all for granted. For those who have stood the watch I rise up, stand at attention and salute in humble gratefulness.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sin In Strengths

I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips . . .
~The Prophet Isaiah

Recognizing that the greatest instrument I have as a leader is communication (verbal, written, non-verbal) and with a desire to see this tool refined, I have been working through an excellent book on the topic entitled, "The Power of Words and the Wonder of God." There are so, so many profound statements that smack me in the heart each morning as I ponder a piece contained in this compilation that I am inclined to post them as a reminder for me later and a way to close my learning loop (it helps me to write it down). So, over the next week or so I'll share some of wisdom written by these able authors and trust that it will edify and serve you as much as it has me.

". . . it is in the very instrument God has called me to use, in the very area of my life in which others call me 'gifted,' that sin has most deeply entangled itself. We foolishly assume that our real struggles with sin are in the areas we are 'weak.' We do not well understand the depth of sin until we realize that it has made its home far more subtly where we are 'strong.' and in our gifts rather than in our weaknesses and inadequacies. It is in the very giftedness God has given that sin has been at its most perverse and subtle! But when we are brought to see this, stripped bare of our layers of self-deceit, and led to repentance, then God may make something of us."
~ Sinclair B. Ferguson

Friday, April 29, 2011

Believe or Repent?

People don't do what they believe in - they just do what's most convenient and then repent.
~ Bob Dylan

We all live in an endless series of little moments. The character of a life isn't set in ten big moments. The character of a life is set in ten thousand little moments of everyday life. Is there a place right now where how you live is not consistent with what you say you believe?
~ Paul Tripp

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Just Uneasiness - Nothing More

A quote in the article posted earlier this week, Solitude In Leadership, from the book Heart of Darkness, describing the type of leader (the term is applied loosely) that is, unfortunately, too often “successful” (again, used loosely) in a bureaucracy (such as the Navy):

"He was commonplace in complexion, in features, in manners, and in voice. He was of middle size and of ordinary build. His eyes, of the usual blue, were perhaps remarkably cold. . . . Otherwise there was only an indefinable, faint expression of his lips, something stealthy—a smile—not a smile—I remember it, but I can’t explain. . . . He was a common trader, from his youth up employed in these parts—nothing more. He was obeyed, yet he inspired neither love nor fear, nor even respect. He inspired uneasiness. That was it! Uneasiness. Not a definite mistrust—just uneasiness—nothing more. You have no idea how effective such a . . . a . . . faculty can be. He had no genius for organizing, for initiative, or for order even. . . . He had no learning, and no intelligence. His position had come to him—why? . . . He originated nothing, he could keep the routine going—that’s all. But he was great. He was great by this little thing that it was impossible to tell what could control such a man. He never gave that secret away. Perhaps there was nothing within him. Such a suspicion made one pause."

“. . . inspired neither love nor fear, nor even respect. He inspired uneasiness.” These words struck me. I have/do work for and with such leaders. Just uneasiness, nothing more is all that they foster. May it be that I/we never leave doubt as to the Reason and the passion which drives us as leaders.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Leadership Litmus Test

As I was in church this past Easter Sunday I wondered how many people were there for the first time since Christmas or for the first time since last Easter. My mind quickly flashed with excitement to the hope that I would see one of my Sailors visiting the church. Then I pondered and aspired anew to this simple test for Christian leadership in the workplace:

How now shall I lead that should I be surprised to meet one of my subordinates at church they would not be surprised to see me there as well? To put it another way; would one of my Sailors, Chiefs, Division Officers, or Senior Officers see a disparity between who I am on the ship and who they expect to find at church? Would there be Christ-shaming hypocrisy found in the way that I lead those I am entrusted to care for?

My prayer is that by grace the gap would be minimal between who I am inside the lifelines and who I am outside them - that there would be true and evident integrity of character in all facets of my life - and that it would bring greater glory to the Lord as a result.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Solitude and Leadership

Solitude and Leadership

I found this article in ADM Harvey's "Thinking Corner" - worth the time for every leader to read!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hard Day

"For we would not have you ignorant, brethern, concerning opur affliction which befell us in Asia, that we were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power, insomuch that we despaired even of (professional) life: yes, we ourselves have had the sentence of (professional) death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises from the dead." 2 Cor. 1: 8-9

Today was hard, maybe the single hardest day of this tour. I feel like I am dragging anchor. I am out of the swing circle.

I'm not sure I will make it out of this one so well. This is going to be a long few months.