Don’t Miss this Date

I’m not too far from the day my kids start dating. It makes me wonder how to pray for them and those they will date.

For my daughter – I don’t want her to date a boy. I want her to date a young man. Someone with the courage to look her father in the eye and say, “I intend to date your daughter.” Someone who understands her heart is in my heart and firmly held in the grace of God. Someone, with the strength of godly character, daring an attempt to win her heart from mine, and bold enough to ask God to allow him to become an instrument of His grace in her life.

For my sons – I don’t want them to date a girl. I want them to date a young woman. I pray my boys would become the kind of men I just described. I hope they are attracted to strong, wise, godly women, beautiful from the inside-out, who challenge and encourage them to become mighty men of valor.

For them all – I pray they would recognize the truth and power of Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.” A date, a spouse, these are not what complete you. They are an earthly reflection of the grace and love of God in our lives. As my children begin dating I hope they understand the remarkable opportunity they have to be an extension of that grace to someone else.

For those who will one day enter my home with a desire to date my kids, know this – I look forward to meeting you. I’m praying for you now, that the presence of God in your life today would be overwhelming and prepare you for that moment when you become the reflection and receiver of the grace of God with my kids.

Follow Me: FLIPPED, Upside-Down Living

Most of us get it backwards. We think the key to the life we’ve always wanted is to believe the right things and behave the right way. Just take a look at social media. Facebook Philosophers regularly post one-liners, pics and quotes intended to inspire, challenge, convict and guilt people into changing what they believe and how they behave. We see this in politics as well. We pass laws based on our beliefs designed to manage someone’s behavior with words on a page.

It makes sense that we would think the key to success in life is belief and behavior. They’re both measurable. One by what we say. The other by what we do. But when it comes to discovering and living spiritual truth there is a far more important practice than belief and behavior. It’s the way Jesus did it and it’s far less complicated than we want to make it.

Jesus says, “Follow me.”

When Jesus approached Peter, James and John, three fishermen on the shore of the sea of Galilee, he didn’t give them a list of qualifications. He never asked for their résumé. He simply said, “Follow me.” Later Jesus goes to Matthew. He’s working in the tax office. Jesus doesn’t look at Matthew and say, “Believe this, obey that.” Instead, he looks at Matthew and says, “Follow me.”

We see this pattern in the Old Testament too. God goes to Noah and later Abraham and essentially says, “Follow me.” And they do. Most people think of religion as a list of rules and regulations. When I say Old Testament I’m guessing one of the first things that comes to mind is the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments were first given to Moses. Moses lived about 600 years after Abraham. For 600 years there was no list, only one explicit request, “Follow me.”

When asked what made Jesus tick he responded simply, “I do the things I see my Father do. I say the things I hear my Father say.” In other words Jesus said, “I follow him.”

We get it backwards. We try to convince ourselves and everyone else that if we will believe the right things and behave the right way only then we can follow Jesus. But that’s not what Jesus said. He said, “Follow me.”

Follow him long enough and belief will come. We see that in the Disciples. Following leads to belief. Belief leads to changed behavior.

We understand this. We do it everyday on Facebook and Twitter. We click “like”. We press “follow”.  And suddenly we receive regular updates about the thoughts and actions of the people we find interesting. We may agree or disagree. But either way, the people we follow influence the thoughts we have.

I don’t know what you think about Jesus or Christianity. Maybe you don’t put a lot stock in anything spiritual or religion related. Maybe you grew up in church. Maybe you’ve been burned. Maybe you’re doing all the right things, all the right way. No matter where you are, you’re in a good place to start. My challenge for you today isn’t that you would change your beliefs or behavior, but that you would, for a season try one simple thing.

“Follow him.”

Let me be clear. I don’t mean follow his followers. I mean follow him. Go to or Search for the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John in the New Living Translation and start reading. Read a little every day. Let’s say, one chapter each day. It doesn’t matter if you believe it or not. I read things online or in the newspaper everyday I don’t believe. Just like checking Facebook or Twitter get in the habit of reading a chapter from the Bible each day. Follow him.

These thoughts inspired by Andy Stanley.

Twisted – Tragedy in Boston, Oklahoma and Beyond

Have you ever watched a child on a swing? Not when they use the swing as it was designed, but when they sit on the swing and twist it in circles. It can be fun. The chains that hold up the swing become more and more twisted until the child simply isn’t strong enough to twist it anymore. In a rush the potential energy is released! The child spins out of control screaming cheerfully as the world whirls by in a blur of color and wind.

I sometimes wonder if that’s how the world works. Yesterday was a day of tragedy.

  • A tornado passed near the city of Wewoka.
  • Last night Oklahoman’s were shaken by 5 different earthquakes felt from Oklahoma City to Owasso and beyond.
  • In 2011 Officer Chad Peery was partially paralyzed while breaking up a bar fight. This past weekend Officer Peery was involved in a car accident. He died yesterday.
  • Monday afternoon at the end of the Boston Marathon two explosions took the lives of three people, including an 8-year-old boy, and injured hundreds.

Words are never adequate to the task of expressing condolences, compassion or the depth of grief associated with events like these. Our hearts and prayers are with those affected by each of these tragedies. More than that, really. Many will donate blood or give money, resources or time to help advance the healing. Most people stand ready to provide whatever assistance is necessary to bring justice, peace and some sense of meaning to each of these twisted tragedies. Some will search for those responsible for the bombing. All will search for answers.

Days like yesterday cause people to ask questions. Why? Who? What? How could anyone possibly do something like this? These are legitimate questions with surprisingly few genuinely satisfying answers. My only feeble explanation is the swing.

This life we’ve been given is precious. It’s valuable. We’ve also been designed by our Maker to enjoy life a certain way. Like the swing, there is a back and forth to life that, when rightly handled, can be a remarkably exhilarating experience. It can be the kind of experience that makes you believe you can fly, that ‘anything-is-possible-moment’ when the swing reaches its highest peak and for a brief second you rise above the bar to move faster, rise higher and see farther than ever before. Getting there takes time, effort and energy. You’ll never experience such a moment if you don’t use the swing the right way.

And that’s our challenge. Instead of experiencing life the way it was designed we go our own way. We sit still on the swing thinking we’ll never get anywhere. We get bored. We get distracted. We begin twisting the swing in ways it was never designed to work. The pressure increases as the chains get tighter. The effort required to simply rest and sit still becomes  more difficult to manage. The tension builds until we can’t hold it anymore. The twisted chains spin us out of control. You might think once the tension is released the ride is over. But it’s not. You never spin back to center. The swing always goes past where you started. Things get all twisted and the tension builds again.

I wonder if this is how the world works. It often seems that way.

When tragic times come there are no truly satisfying answers, only one relevant question, “What’s next?”

  • In light of the new circumstances, how will I pray?
  • As facts come to light how will justice be satisfied and by whom?
  • Am I experiencing life the way God designed or am I somehow increasing the tension?
  • How can I use who I am and what I have in this moment to straighten out the twisted things of this world?

Psalm 62:1-2 say, “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation my fortress where I will never be shaken.”

What is your next step of faith?

The Beauty of Being Right

I love a good story. Some of my favorite stories have nothing to do with the valiant hero rushing in to save the day. Sometimes leadership finds it’s fullest expression, not in the perfect prince, but in the simple beauty of being right.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle developed one such character who still influences modern story-telling today. Sherlock Holmes was the brilliant detective with the skill to deduce who-dun-it using only his powers of observation. He famously said, “Remove the impossible and whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

In spite of his brilliance and skill as a detective he had a variety of character defects that made him, how shall we say, a challenge to work with. He was arrogant, abrupt and often rude. His interpersonal relational skills left a lot to be desired. He had a stunning lack of personal hygiene. He was addicted to opium and his hyper-intelligence kept him always just on the edge of madness.

Several characters in modern television are based on Sherlock Holmes.

  • There’s Dr. Gregory House – the genius, infectious disease doctor at Princeton Plainsboro in the TV show, House.
  • Dr. Cal Lightman, the man who specializes in deception detection, on the TV show Lie to Me.
  • On the lighter side there’s Shawn Spencer, the fake psychic-detective who uses his keen power of observation to solve crimes in a decidedly Holmesian manner on the TV show, Psyche.
  • Don’t forget Monk, the obsessive-compulsive detective, and the Mentalist also.

I’m certain there are others I’ve left out. The influence of Sherlock Holmes on our culture is undeniable. We seem to be fascinated by the highly intelligent, borderline dysfunctional people who achieve remarkable success, not through the skill of their leadership or the force of their personality, but because they are right.

It’s difficult to overstate the significance of being right. We all know that nothing builds momentum like success. It’s hard to deny that being right is a leadership force multiplier. Nothing grows success like success. In spite of all the idiosyncrasies of all these characters, regardless of the fact that they rarely hold the position of power or authority, in the end, people, often reluctantly, give in to their will and their way. Why?

Because they are right.

However you lead, whatever your position, take time to be right.

God Bless,

I Like the Idea of People

I like the idea of people.

You may be like me. I’m sitting in the Atlanta airport right now waiting for a flight. I started my day half way around the world and have now sat for nearly 18 hours in 3 different airports. And it’s not my last airport of the day. One miss-timed arrival led to one missed flight, which led to one delay after another, and now I’m hopeful my wife and I will be able to catch the last flight to Tulsa before midnight!

Regardless, these hours in the airport have afforded me the opportunity to take a closer look at people. And I have to say, “I really like the idea of people!”

I’ve seen people of all shapes and sizes. Some are dressed comfortably, obviously stealing themselves for a long day of travel. Others are dressed to the nines coming or going to the next billion-dollar business meeting, or perhaps a wedding, or maybe just a weekend excursion with someone special. Two Nuns dressed in full Habit sit directly across from me. Questions flood my mind. While just over their shoulder I see another unexpected sight.

There goes a dude that’s not really dressed like a dude at all. I’m not exactly certain what look (s)he was going for but the look alone captured the attention of every passerby. A Delta agent told us Bradley Cooper was supposed to be on the last flight we missed to Tulsa. He missed it too. Maybe he was the dude not dressed like a dude trying to travel incognito!

Everywhere I look there are people, glorious people! Each has an interesting story to tell, an amazing life to live, and unimaginable potential to discover. Sitting in this airport I’m surrounded by magic, enchanted with possibilities, enthralled by the undiscovered country that surrounds me in the lives of these travelers. I really like the idea of people!

Here I am, surrounded by a thousand stories, yet the only significant conversation I’ve had all day is with my wife. I’ve spoken with Flight Attendants, Security Agents and Café employees, but those weren’t real conversations – more an exchange of pleasantries followed by an exchange of currency, than a real conversation.

I sat next to a nice, newly married couple on one plane. But I don’t know that because we took the time to get to know one another. I know because I was the third wheel in what was clearly the honeymoon row of the plane. I did my best to discretely ignore their attentions for one another and they were kind enough to ignore me.

There’s a group of traveling high school musicians seated at a terminal down the hall from us. I know because the t-shirts they wear tell me they are ‘Ambassadors for Music’ on their whirlwind world tour. I’ve been tempted to ask about their trip and request a song, but I haven’t. I don’t want to embarrass my wife. Besides, it’s easier to listen to my iPod instead.

I’ll bet you’re not too different from me. I really like the idea of people. But, truth-be-told, in these airports today, people have been more of an obstacle to overcome than a story to discover. They’ve been more a product to be managed than a person to be engaged. Not one of us has really unplugged from our gadgets, books, newspapers or travels long enough to notice the glorious magic unfolding all around us. I really like the idea of people. But people themselves…

Well…we smell. We’re moody and difficult. We are under-educated, under-motivated and sometimes, under-handed. We cut in line. We complain about circumstances beyond our control while doing nothing about circumstances under our control.

I really like the idea of people, but I’m not convinced I really like people all that much. My actions today are evidence of this. I’ve watched and listened, been entertained and delighted in my imaginings about all that could be, yet never once genuinely engaged one person.

Jesus likes the idea of people. Proverbs 8 tells us that when God designed the world that Jesus was with him and that once God breathed life into humanity we became His delight. It’s better than that actually. It says He rejoiced in the sons of men and we were daily his delight. Jesus really likes the idea of people.

But more than this, Jesus likes people. He doesn’t stand afar off imagining the possibilities or observing our actions. He became one of us. He got right in the middle of our humanity. He made time for conversation. He went to our parties, wept when we mourned, and challenged our way of thinking. He was at home with the religious elite and the chief of sinners. He was interested in the least and the great, the seemingly wise and the utterly foolish.

This was no passing interest. That which began as delight grew to passion. And that passion became personal.

I long for this – to delight in people, to passionately pursue significant relationships with everyone God would entrust to me. I’m not satisfied with liking the idea of people. I want to really like them – and be liked. I want to follow the example of Jesus.

The Bible tells us not to just say we love people, really love them. I think this is the starting point. Delight in people, discover their story, and devote yourself to their good and God’s glory.

I think I’ll walk down the terminal and see if the Ambassadors for Music might tell us a story and sing us a song.

God Bless,

The Parent Trap

Recently I’ve been plagued by a question. It has to do with my kids. I have four children. My daughter is my oldest. She’s nine. The rest are boys; six, four and nearly two. They are great kids. I love being a dad. With each passing moment I’m reminded of the fact that we are drawing closer and closer to the teenage years, that lovely time of life when boundaries are tested, strings are slowly cut and children cross the threshold from being kids to being adults. I’ve seen first hand how difficult raising teenagers can be and not too long from now I will experience this beautiful mess for myself.

Some people approach this time of life like Mark Twain. He said, “When a child turns twelve you should stuff them in a barrel, seal the lid and feed them through a knot hole. When they turn 16 you should plug the hole.”

See here’s the challenge – and it leads in to my question – I’ve seen horrible parents raise incredible children and I’ve seen incredible parents raise children who relentlessly reject everything about their own heritage. So I have to ask…

Is the quality of my parenting measured by the character of my kids?

It seems like the obvious answer would be ‘yes, of course’. You always judge a business by the product they produce, so if family is your business then your children are the best barometer or your skill as a parent. Unfortunately, experience doesn’t demonstrate this to be true. Kids who grow up with great privilege make wrong choices. Others who grow up with every odd stacked against them become exceptionally successful. Our children are not a product. They are people. Therefore, our success or failure as a parent can’t be solely determined by the content of their character. Their must be something more.

So I look to Scripture. Like many things, it seems we’ve gotten our measurement of success backwards. Today we judge parents by their kids. In Scriptural times kids were judged by their parents. Consider Solomon. The Bible identifies Solomon as the wisest king Israel would ever know. During his reign the nation was unified and experienced almost universal peace. Silver was so abundant during the reign of Solomon that they stopped counting how much of it they had! Can you imagine being such a successful leader? The Bible tells us that political leaders all over the world sought out Solomon’s wisdom on everything from economics to agriculture, from political prowess to social justice. To suggest that Solomon was successful is a massive understatement. Yet when Solomon sits down to write his book of Proverbs (wise sayings), how does he start? Does he give his resume? Does he tell of all his great works? Does he mention the fact that his kingdom is greater and more successful than his father’s before him? No. As he begins his magnum opus on all things wise Solomon states simply, “The proverbs of Solomon, the son of David…” Solomon was king, the most successful king Israel would ever know, yet in his time of greatest triumph he wasn’t identified by his works. He was identified by his father.

Scripture does this a lot. The history of the Israelites after Solomon is not nearly so joyous. The kingdom splits and one king after another rises to take the throne and attempt to lead both Israel & Judah. Do you know how each king is evaluated? Either they walked in the ways of their father David or they didn’t. From one generation to the next everything was measured by the example of their father David. But there’s more here than that – it’s difficult to illustrate the number of times God looked to the leaders of Israel and said, “I will bless you…because of my servant David.” By this time, David was long gone, yet his influence remained. WHY? Because he was a great parent? NO. Because he was a godly man. The Bible calls him a man after God’s own heart.

And that’s the answer to the question.

We can’t judge the quality of our parenting by the character of our kids – it’s not an accurate measurement. Kids are not products to be produced, they are people to be led – to be influenced. If the quality of our parenting is measured by the character of our kids then God must be the worst father ever. And we know this simply is not true.

Listen to this – God wants to free you from the pressure that as a parent you are not enough. It’s true. He wants you to understand something. As a parent, YOU WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH. You can’t attend enough games or watch enough recitals. You can’t discipline enough. You can’t be gracious enough.  You can’t write enough checks to guarantee your child a successful, happy, holy life. As a parent, you will never be enough. So stop trying.

Stop trying to be a great parent. Stop trying to meet every need. Stop trying to give every gift. Stop trying to enforce enough rules. Stop trying to be cool enough, relevant enough or hip enough. You will never be enough. You simply CANNOT be God for your children.

When my daughter was first born she had some respiratory problems and spent 7 days in ICU. Once she got home we had to give her IV antibiotics through a pique line in her head. There was one evening I was holding her and considering the future I had planned for her when I was struck by this one thought – As her father I want to protect and provide for her, but there are so many things I simply will never be able to do for her. I will never be able to protect her from a broken heart. I will never be able to save her from the lies of cruel people. I won’t be able to keep her from making foolish choices. I can’t do these things for her, but I know the God who can. So I resigned myself to this one thought – I can’t guarantee my children a successful, happy or holy life, but I can give them an example to live up to. I can be like David and provide an example worth imitating. I can strive to live in such a way that when future generations look back they can hear God say, “I will bless you…because of my servant Chad.”

There’s a world of Scripture to back up this style of parenting.

  • I Corinthians 11:1 says, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”
  • Philippians 3:17 says, “Brethren join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.”
  • 2 Timothy 2:2 says, “These things you’ve heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful people who will be able to teach others also.”

It begs a follow up question – Do I have a life worth imitating and what does a life like that really look like? Scripture answers that question too:

  • Galatians 5:22 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such there is no law.”

Did you catch the last phrase of that verse? ‘Against such there is no law…’ In other words, you can’t get enough of these things. More than that – you can’t give enough of these things! Am I, as a father, as a man, as a leader living a life worthy of imitation? Is what I’m producing in my life and the life of others characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control?

This is the challenge of parenting:

  • Too much LAW and children REBEL.
  • Too much GRACE and children become entitled or spoiled.

How, as  parent, do I know when it’s time to lay down the law and when it’s time to give grace? There is a fine line between DISCIPLINING and COACHING.

  • Discipline is about right verses wrong.
  • Coaching is about choosing good, better or best.
  • Discipline calls for justice and judgement or grace and mercy.
  • Coaching calls for patience and self control.
  • Discipline calls for discernment.
  • Coaching call for wisdom.
  • In moments of right versus wrong we DISCIPLINE.  When correcting bad behavior we DISCIPLINE. These times are always crystal clear. My kid just lied about something. It’s time for discipline. My child was caught cheating on a test. Spanking, grounding – pick your punishment, corporal or capital, a wrong must be righted. My teenager ignored curfew. Car keys are lost. Discipline is always about teaching a child the difference between RIGHT & WRONG.
  • COACHING is always about teaching a child the difference between good, better and best. Should my child play sports or music? How should they spend their time, more on academics or building significant friendships? Choosing baseball over piano isn’t about right verses wrong. It’s about good, better or best. How is your child ‘bent’? What are their natural abilities, interests and experiences? Where do they excel and how? There’s no right or wrong here, simply good, better or best. As a parent how can you draw the best out of your child?

There is certainly more to parenting than this.

  • Luke 15 tells the story of the Prodigal Sons – I say ‘sons’, plural, because both sons in the story are far from the heart of their father. One son rejects the Father and rebels against the example he set. The other son ‘religiously’ tries to earn the love of the Father by always obeying every rule. Though, for all those years, he continued to live under the same roof as his father, he becomes bitter and as estranged from his father as his younger brother.

I’m struck by the fact, in the story of the Prodigal Sons, that never once is the parenting skill of the father questioned. Instead the father is shown as an example of patience and love; grace and mercy; justice and judgement. He is a picture of God our father. I wonder if you’re the rebellious son or the religious son? Either way you’ve become estranged from your father, not because you have a bad dad, but because of your bad belief and bad choices. Like the father of the Prodigal Sons, God stands ready to receive you by His grace into his family and will celebrate when you come.

God is a perfect father. He has shown us what to do, told us what to do and now he is saying to every parent – now go do it yourself. Stop trying to be a great parent. Start becoming a godly example for your children to follow. You can’t be God for your kids, but you can be exactly the father or mother God designed you to be.

God Bless,

BTW…Ezekiel 18 talks about this is as well. Give it a read and let me know what you think.



Transactional Leadership – 4 Challenges of ‘Value’ Based Influence

Have you ever thought about the words we use to describe relationships? Our entire paradigm for how we relate to one another is economic. We ‘spend’ time with family. We ‘invest’ training and resources in employees. When we feel neglected by our spouse we tell them they don’t ‘value’ us nearly enough. I’ll get that promotion when my boss recognizes how much I ‘contribute’ to the team.

Seth Godin has said that leadership, at it’s core, is marketing and marketing is leadership. As leaders we’re selling a vision, an idea, a method, a system. We market our influence and hope someone will ‘buy in’. This economic model affects our approach to leadership at every level. It’s transactional in nature. Quid pro quo. I’ll follow you if I get something in return. You’ll follow me when you realize my idea has more than merit, it has value that will benefit you personally. They say all politics is local. Well, all leadership is transactional and everyone’s looking for an ROI (return on investment) that far exceeds the risk they take when they believe you.

What would happen if we changed the language of leadership? What if we stopped using the words of Wall Street to describe how a leader relates to others? Transactional Leadership relies heavily on 4 words that have more to do with economics than leadership. What if we replaced these 4 words with new words designed to inspire, empower and engage people?

  • Value vs. Respect
  • Invest vs. Serve
  • Buy-in vs. Trust
  • Contribute vs. Collaborate

These aren’t simply 4 contrasting ideas. They are a progressive pattern for how leadership works. They are guiding principles that build one on top of the other.

Value vs. Respect

The role of ‘value’ in transactional leadership is based on the idea that people follow the leader because the leader somehow adds value to their lives. The benefits could be social, political, economic or even spiritual. Followers follow because of the value the leader adds to them. The leader benefits from the value brought by those who follow him. It’s reciprocal and the leadership equation continues successfully unhindered as long as everyone can clearly see the benefit of the relationship. The problem with value based leadership is that it’s focused on one single idea, “What’s in it for me?” Don’t get me wrong. That’s not an inherently bad question to ask. People are in business to make a profit. The reason we want to improve our leadership skill is because we have this vision of a future that’s better for us and the people we lead. But, ‘What’s in it for me?’ can’t be the foundation of our leadership relationships. What’s in it for me is transient. What makes me happy from one moment to the next is dynamic. Therefore the value I’m looking for out of any given relationship is constantly changing. It’s why married couples can fall in and out of love. It’s why Coaches can be heroes one day and villains the next. You didn’t win the game. The value of this relationship has just been diminished. You don’t make me feel like you once did. It must be time to find a new partner in marriage.

‘Respect’ approaches relationships differently than ‘value’. Instead of leaders looking for what they can gain from others they recognize that every individual has intrinsic value apart from what they give to an organization. Out of respect for the individual the leader looks for ways to unleash the unrealized and untapped potential of those they lead. Instead of using people as a resource they challenge and inspire people to become more then they ever imagined possible on their own. Respect becomes the foundation on which a new kind of leadership is built. When respect drives the leader’s responsibility to lead and the follower’s willingness to follow the paradigm changes for how we relate to one another. Because of my respect for you I won’t treat you as a commodity or as a means to an end. Out of respect for you I have a responsibility as a leader to attempt to understand your hopes and dreams, to use my resources and experience to equip, encourage and empower you to fulfill your maximum potential. The follower has a responsibility here as well. Out of respect for those who lead the follower commits to serve the organization well. This service isn’t simply about a paycheck or promotion but about giving my best, being fully engaged with the responsibilities entrusted to me, and doing what’s right for the organization as a whole. Respect defines the way we relate in times of success, failure, conflict and cooperation.

Put simply, value looks for what’s in this relationship for me. Respect dreams of what’s possible for you as we serve together.

Invest vs. Serve

With Transactional Leadership once you’ve discovered the value someone provides you begin to invest your time and energy in that person or idea. This is like any financial investment. You expect to get something in return. But that’s not really the nature of an investment is it? You’re not pouring money into an IRA in the hopes you’ll get a little something in return. You’re hoping for more than you risked in the first place. You gage the value of your investment by how much compounding interest or residual income you are able to receive as a result of the risk you take. The same is true for transactional leaders. You invest in someone or in their idea because you’re convinced you’ll get more out of it than you put into it. But what happens if the investment doesn’t pay off? What happens when a leader invests in followers who don’t follow through? Think of the coach with the perfect game strategy leading a team of under-skilled players. It takes more than a winning strategy or remarkable talent. Both are necessary to win the game. We stop investing in others when we realize we’ll never get the return we’re looking for.

The Servant Leader approaches these relationships differently. Out of respect for the person, a servant leader chooses to meet that person where they are in order to take them where they should be. It’s not about an investment being made, but a responsibility fulfilled. As a leader you’ve been entrusted with the care of those you lead. When faced with an underperforming employee the Servant Leader recognizes an opportunity for growth. Conflict isn’t personal. It’s the resistance that builds the strength and the skill necessary to take the individual and the organization to the next level. Correction isn’t corrosive. It’s a reminder of the core values that define how we relate within this organization and what this organization is really all about. We serve by looking out for the needs of others and the needs of the organization we lead. For a servant leader no task is too menial, no job is too small. The transactional leader is focused on how to protect his investment. The servant leader is focused on meeting the needs of others.

Buy In vs. Trust

Once the Transactional Leader has begun to leverage the ‘value’ of his followers and started ‘investing’ in them, his next step is to achieve ‘buy-in’ from those who follow. For the Transactional Leader ‘buy-in’ is critical. Have you ever noticed the difference in the way employees and owners work? For owners, business is personal. It’s more than their livelihood, it’s an expression of who they are. But employees are different. For an employee a job is what they do, not who they are. When casting vision transactional leaders are looking for buy in. Buy-in is more than positive affirmation. It’s a whole-hearted acceptance of the vision cast by the leader. Buy-in is the difference between an owner and an employee. My uncle used to say, “When I was young I thought I wanted a career. Now that I’m old I realize I just wanted a paycheck.” Think about the things you ‘buy-in’ to. If you’re like me you’re a discerning shopper who looks for the best deal possible before making any kind of purchase. You’re not going to buy-in until you’re certain you’re getting the best value possible. And that’s exactly how followers shop for leaders. Which visionary leader will offer me the best deal? As the leader how can I package the vision so people will give themselves to it? Too often, striving for buy-in reduces the most beautiful of dreams down to a clever catch phrase and slick marketing, the heart of the matter lost one talking point, one sound bite at a time.

Trust is different from buy-in. Trust develops slowly and it’s affects are longer lasting. Trust grows from the seed of respect and blossoms in the refreshing waters of service. Trust is a two way street. Followers trust leaders who respect them and who serve well. Leaders trust followers who respect the significance of the work that needs to be done and who faithfully serve to fulfill their responsibilities.

Changing an organization based on Transactional Leadership can be difficult because the group has bought into an idea, a method for how things are done. In order to change direction the value of the new idea has to be sold to those responsible for guarding the current system. It’s a tough sell from the start.

In trust-based leadership I’m not simply following an idea or a method. I’m not serving a system. I’m part of something bigger than myself that’s made up of other individuals, men and women on whom I rely for my own success. It’s relational, not transactional. I trust that others in the organization are giving their best for the good of all and they can trust that I will do the same. When change becomes necessary it comes more easily, the merits of the new idea strengthened by the trust found in my relationship to those I lead and those who lead me.

Contribute vs. Collaborate

The Transactional leader is looking for contributors. Another word for contributor is ‘producer’. Contribute something to the project, the company, the team or find yourself in search of a new job. The need to make a contribution drives some to be back-stabbing, cold-hearted corporate climbers. While others simply settle in to lower circles of responsibility, their contributions limited to the minimum required amount of effort necessary to provide value to the team. Transactional leaders search for contributors the way entrepreneurs search for venture capitalists. What do you bring to the table? How can you bring more satisfied customers, design a better product or provide a better service? If louder, faster, higher is the mantra of the trumpet player, bigger, faster, better is the mantra of the Transactional Leader. There’s always one more sale to make, one more quota to break. Contribute or die and if you contribute the most we’ll give you a fancy gold watch!

Collaboration is different from contribution. Collaboration starts with the premise that I don’t know it all and I don’t have to. Collaboration relies on the fact that there are some things I’m naturally good at and other things I don’t do well at all. Collaboration is the art of working with others. It’s what happens when I have enough respect for someone else that we’re able to serve one another. This builds the trust we need to collaborate on any project. I trust that in those seasons I am weak, you’ll be strong, when you’re weak I’ll be strong. Collaboration and cooperation go hand in hand. The respect on which collaboration is based allows us to see that any individual in the organization can make a difference regardless of position, title or job function.

Put simply, contribution is how one individual adds value to the team. Collaboration is the leveraged power of the team to fulfill the vision.

I wonder how the world would change if we as leaders would begin using the language of relational leadership rather than the economic words of Transactional Leadership. I wonder if this is a change you can lead into? I believe when we do we’ll find our teams more effective, our employees more satisfied and our customers pleased in ways they’ve not yet imagined.

Authentic – Go Put On Your Shoes

What do you want? I ask Jaiden this question and she always tells me she wants something that has to do with a Princess or Ice Cream. I ask Caedmon and he always tells me something that involves a ball or something he could use to fight bad guys (like a toy sword) or chocolate milk. When I ask Ethan (who turned one today!) he just sort of laughs and drools on me. It is pretty apparent though that what he really wants is to be able to get up, run around and tackle his brother and sister…he’s not there yet, but he’s getting closer. J

The requests of my children are charming, cute really, and as their father I will do everything in my power to get them what they ask for. I’m guessing you’re pretty much the same with your own children.

Truth be told most of the requests they make of me are pretty childish. None of them is older than 5 so childish requests make sense. Childish as they may be, still I try to get them what they want. I can’t always do it. Sometimes I shouldn’t do it. And then there are those times I desperately want to give them something, but I can’t give it to them until they fulfill some other action.

For example…All my kids love to play outside. They beg me to take them outside. It’s not uncommon for them to ask to go outside and for me to respond, “Yes, we can go outside. Go put on your shoes.” Usually what happens next is they race to put on their shoes then we go outside and play. But sometimes they look at me as though I’ve just said, ‘no’. They turn away and find something else to do inside the house. We’ll play together inside the house and again they will ask, “Daddy, can we go outside.” And I’ll say, “Yes, we can go outside. Go put on your shoes.” And again they look at me as though I’ve just said, ‘no’. This went so far once that as I was putting Jaiden and Caedmon in bed Jaiden said, “I’m sad, Dad. I thought we were going to go outside to play.” To which I responded, “Every time you asked I said ‘Yes’, we could go outside, but you never put on your shoes. I thought you didn’t really want to go outside.”

I wonder how many prayers we pray that are just like that? How many times have we asked God for something and He’s said, “Yes. Go put on your shoes.” And we’ve turned away from Him as though He’s said, ‘no’. I wonder if someday we’ll get to heaven and say, “God, I’m sad. I thought we were going to ________.” To which he responds, “Every time you asked I said ‘Yes’, but you never put on your shoes. I thought you didn’t really want to go.”

When I tell my children to put on their shoes I’m not being mean. I’m not being corrective. I’m not even trying to teach them some deep lesson. I’m simply telling them that if you want to go there you need shoes. I’ve even provided them with several different kinds of shoes to wear. Usually I don’t even care which shoes they choose. They could go with sandals, flip flops, tennis shoes or even snow boots…I’m not saying ‘no’ I’m simply saying, “If you want to go outside you need something on your feet.”

There are lots of passages of Scriptures that are like this. And I’m sure there are prayers you’ve prayed that qualify as having a ‘go put on your shoes answer’. One passage I find interesting is Matthew 5 – it’s the Beatitudes.

  • Do you want the kingdom of heaven? You should be poor in spirit.
  • Do you want to inherit the earth? You should be meek.
  • Do you want to be satisfied? You should hunger and thirst for righteousness.
  • Do you want mercy? You should be merciful.
  • Do you want to see God? You should be pure in heart.
  • Do you want to be a son of God? You should be a peacemaker.

There are other passages.

  • Do you want to be first? You should be last.
  • Do you want to lead? You should serve.

I don’t know what you’re praying about but just maybe God’s said ‘yes’. Now go put on your shoes.

Love y’all, God Bless,



Notes to Notice


It’s the end of the summer and the beginning of a new semester! Join us WEDNESDAY, September 5th as we kick of the NEW Semester of CAM. We’ll meet in Room 800 and discover what the new season holds – we’ll hear Christmas music and plans; we’ll discover more about and upcoming recording project and much more! It will be a night you don’t want to miss!


The next three weeks will be different for us. We’re running off the end of that unusual summer schedule and we’ll pick back up in September! Here’s what’s ahead

August 15th – NEXT WEEK – FRESH FISH – no rehearsal

August 22nd – FIRST S.T.E.P. – This is the night we pray at the schools. No rehearsals

August 29th – All Stars Children’s Kick Off – This is a night for the whole family. Everyone will be in the Worship Center. No rehearsals.

I’ll be in contact with the Praise Band and Praise Teams regarding special rehearsals for these weeks.

As you know…we’ve gotten so flexible now we’re fluid…the schedule is always adjusting. Keep your eyes on theScore to discover what’s on tap in the days to come!


Our church website has a new look and loads more information! Check it out – you can also read and comment on theScore online! Visit to read and post your comments today! I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!


Takes place NEXT THURSDAY – All of CAM will help lead on this night we launch into this new season of ministry together.

What: Opening Day

Who: ALL OF CAM & every other Ministry Team

When: Wednesday, August 15th – 6:30 – 8:00pm in the Worship Center

Dinner Before: FISH FRY – hosted by the Men’s Ministry Team

Dessert After: hosted by the Family Ministry Team


4:45 Fish Fry Begins


5:50 Video Run Through

o Coffee House

o Fresh Fish Testimonies – 1 – 6

6:05 Quartet Sound Check

6:10 Praise Band and Praise Team Sound Check

6:15 Doors Open

6:30 Service Begins

8:00 Ice Cream and Cookie in the Foyer!

STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE – Identify and Equip Leaders

II Timothy 2:2 say, “And the things you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

We believe the greatest among you will be the servant of all. God is raising up men and women who will take the baton of godly character, authentic faith, and servant-hearted leadership to all the world.


Prayer Requests

Mike & Wendi Stacy – PRAISE – They are doing well!

Misty Brown – Jim’s mom is in the hospital – pray for her recovery and that Doctor’s would have the wisdom to know how to treat her.

Merrilee Purnell – PRAISE – She’s having a baby!

Audrea Gustafson – Has quit her job per Doctor’s orders. Pray for her health and for this time of transition.

Lindy DwyerGary’s job situation is uncertain. Pray that God would continue to provide for the Dwyer’s and that they would be confident in His Faithfulness. If they need to make decisions regarding Gary’s career pray for wisdom and discernment.

Virgil Shelton – pray for his mom.

Chad – Anniversary PRAISE – thanks for allowing us the time to celebrate number 12. We missed you all, but had a great time!


Order of Service

Sunday AM – 08-12-08

Psalm 23:4

VIDEO | First in Action


IE | Countdown


Your Love is Deep – E, CHART [on the printer in 400]


Chad Balthrop


You Are Good – E, CHART


Dr. Roger Ferguson


Victory in Jesus – G, BH – 426

Peace in the Valley – C, CHART

When the Night is Falling – G, CHART


Keep Me Safe – GIW


Dr. Roger Ferguson


Your Love is Deep – E, CHART [on the printer in 400]

OFFERING | First in Action

Presentation of New Members


You Are Good – E, CHART

VIDEO | First in Action

Authentic – In Case of Emergency, Part II

Last week we talked about what to do in case of fire, tornado or intruder…pretty mundane house keeping stuff until you’re in a house that’s on fire with a tornado outside the window and an intruder trying to steal your “Best of Neil Diamond” record collection.

Truth is we don’t like to think about emergency situations. We don’t mind seeing it on the news happening to someone else and we’ll pay big dollars to watch a movie where our hero fearlessly engages terrorists intent on melting Wisconsin’s entire crop of cheddar cheese. Yup… we like it in fiction, we’re fascinated by it when it happens to someone else, but ‘that will never happen to me.’

The Bible teaches us to be prepared. And everything we mentioned last week that would help us as the lead worshippers of FBCO to be prepared for when then worst happens applies not only to emergency situations – but also to temptation and every day life. Here are some examples from Scripture:

BE Prepared:

Proverbs 4:26, “Ponder the paths of your feet and let all your ways be established.”

Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel decided beforehand that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies.”

Don’t Panic

Proverbs 3:25 – 26, “Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence and keep your foot from being caught.”

Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.”

Listen Well

John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

Proverbs 4:10, “Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many.”

Follow Instructions & Stick Together

John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

So tomorrow morning – be prepared for your day – consider and pray through these Scriptures and see what happens the next time you face temptation, trouble or terrorist…in doing so, you may just be the next great Biblical hero!

Love y’all, God Bless,



Notes to Notice


Takes place all next week! Kids will learn to worship God through music and have a great time doing it! If you would like to volunteer to help with Kid’s Music Camp contact Dave Purnell, or 407.3921.


6:00pm Instrumental Ensemble in the Worship Center

6:30 Choir in Room 800

7:30 ALL CAM in the Worship Center

8:00 Praise Band & Praise Team in the Worship Center


It’s time again – that’s right, it’s time again for the 3rd ever, 88th annual OPENING DAY! What is Opening Day? It’s that time at the beginning of the semester we gather everyone in CAM in order to discover what’s up in the year to come. We celebrate past victories, introduce new leaders. We preview what lies ahead and spend time in consecration for all God wants to do in us and through us in the coming season.

This year’s Opening Day will be different than all that came before. We won’t simply participate. We will lead. We will invite all the Ministry Teams of FBCO to join us as together we lead people to become fully devoted followers of Christ. It’s a time you won’t want to miss! Be watching here for more details!

What: Opening Day
Who: ALL OF CAM & every other Ministry Team
When: Wednesday, August 15th – 6:30 – 8:00pm in the Worship Center
Dinner Before: FISH FRY – hosted by the Men’s Ministry Team
Dessert After: hosted by the Family Ministry Team


II Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.”

We believe every CAM member should be committed to a lifestyle of consistent spiritual growth with honest accountability. A genuine love for God is always our first priority. Every Believer should yearn for consistent spiritual growth. Therefore, discipleship through personal devotions, small groups, accountability, and open honesty is critical to maturing in our faith and leading others.


Order of Service

Sunday AM – 07-22-07

Tom Eliff

VIDEO | First in Action


IE | Countdown


Prepare Our Hearts – C, LOJ – 3


Chad Balthrop


No Other Gods – G > A, LOJ – 41

At Calvary – C, BH – 138


Mike Napier, Chuck Self, or Chad Balthrop


Blessed Be the Name – Ab, BH – 206

Blessed Be the Name [redmen] – A, CHART


Keep Me True – Eb > G, GIW – 173


In Christ Alone with the Solid Rock – Eb > E, CHART


Tom Eliff


I Will Say Yes – G, CHART

OFFERING | Faith Testimony | First in Action

Presentation of New Members


Sweeter – E, CHART

VIDEO | First in Action

Authentic – Stop, Think, Lift

“Stop | Think | Lift” My mom used to sell Avon. That was printed on the outside of every box she ordered. I’m not sure what makes a little war paint and smellin’ sauce weigh so much, but evidently the good people at Avon considered it so heavy that I should be warned to watch my back.

I wasn’t impressed with the box. It wasn’t that big. Besides, how much could a little make-up really weigh? So, without stopping or thinking before lifting I grabbed the box to hoist it to my shoulder. I did this only once before it came crashing down in a colorful sweet smelling mess all over my dad’s garage floor. I cleaned it up. I was 11 and for a week I smelled like a girl.

We do this all the time. We’re faced with a challenge and for a whole world of good reasons we believe we’re big enough to handle it on our own. There are warning signs everywhere. I’m not talking about the warning sign that reads, “DANGER! DO NOT PRESS THIS BUTTON” We’ve gotten pretty good at avoiding the obvious danger zones. I’m talking about the signs that say, “Stop | Think | Lift”. Or the ones that say “Watch your back.”

The Bible is full of warning signs. The big lists are what always come to mind first, “Don’t murder, don’t steal, etc, etc…” That’s not what I’m talking about. In the book of James God tells us to watch our mouths because if we can control our mouths we can be perfect people. The book of Proverbs tells us to watch what we watch because where we look tends to be where we end up going. Proverbs also tells us to be mindful of our heart because out of it springs all the issues of life. The Bible tells us to be careful in our relationships, discreet in our business dealings and considerate in how we handle those outside the faith. “Stop | Think | Lift – watch your back” These are very simple warnings for a box of things that represents something we should easily be able to handle. As a matter of fact God knows we’re going to handle these things. He’s not warning us to stay away. The box in your life may not contain anything inherently harmful, wicked or evil. But even a good thing handled in a bad way can cause a mess you may regret later.

So, what challenges do you face today that you’re trying to handle on your own? God has given you strength and ability, talents and experience. He expects you to use these things to face whatever challenge that comes against you. He’s also given you warnings and guidelines. It’s life…handle with care. This week pay close attention to the warning on the label. Watch your mouth…watch what you watch…learn discretion…read the warning signs. In doing so you’ll discover all the good things God’s got packaged up for you!

Love y’all, God Bless,


Notes to Notice

Come Hang with Me

CALLING ALL CAM MEMBERS! Whether you’re on the Drama Team, in the Choir, play an Instrument, Run a Camera or Decorate things – Wednesday, May 2nd from 6:30 – 8:00pm is for you and a guest! Invite someone to come hang with you and the rest of CAM TONIGHT out in the Hanger. We’ll prepare for Worship, have a great time together and discover what’s coming next in the life of CAM! Plan now to attend and bring someone with you. Don’t miss it!

We’re going with a summery, beach theme – if you’ve gotta grass skirt bring it and we’ll hula hang with you!

When: TONIGHT | Wednesday, May 2nd, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Where: the HANGAR, where the students meet regularly.

Who: Anyone involved in CAM!

We will have Praise Band and Praise Team rehearsal at 8:15pm in the Worship Center immediately after come hang with me!


Wednesday, May 30th will be our annual AWANA Recognition service in the Worship Center from 6:30 – 8:00pm. I would like to invite everyone involved in our regular rehearsals to attend. With inflatables, games and food as well as a special service this will be a great time for families. It’s also a great opportunity for us to reach out to parents who may not really attend church anywhere.

Because of this service we won’t have our regular Wednesday rehearsals. We will have Praise Band and Praise Team rehearsal from 8:15 – 9:30 in the Worship Center.


You all know Caleb. He’s our Assistant Student Minister and a gifted Lead Worshiper. Sunday, May 6th Caleb will lead our morning and evening services. Caleb has asked for our AM Praise Band and Praise Team to lead with him during the morning service and the PM Praise Band to lead with him during the New Community Service. Celebration Choir and Instrumental Ensemble we’d like for you to have this opportunity to experience worship with your family.

We’ll be back to our ‘normal’ rehearsals and schedule on Wednesday, May 9th & Sunday, May 13th – that Sunday is Mother’s Day! See you then!


A fully devoted follower is easy to identify. They make healthy choices. They have a healthy appetite for spiritual things – that’s prayer and Bible Study. And they participate in healthy activity – that’s church involvement. Are you involved in Small Group Bible Study? Do you participate in our Worship Services beyond the moments you’re on the platform or serving in the service? If you’re not, you’re missing out. To find out how you can be involved contact me,!


They’re out there, waiting to be asked. People who sing, play instruments, have a little technical knowledge and who are great people to be with. Who could you invite from your Sunday School class this week to be involved in CAM?

RESCUE – the Prayers We Pray

Health Issues

Dolly Mowery – She’s had an ongoing struggle with cancer. Currently she is fighting and infection. The doctors are attempting to get the right combination of medications.

Janet Greene’s Brother, Quentin – surgery in Shawnee

Chad Barnard – Jennifer had a bone scan with negative results

Kathleen Colburn – her mother has had two small strokes and is having health issues

Melissa Tyndall – ongoing health concerns

Pray for each name on the list like this, “Father, you are able to heal. You’ve given us doctors and medicine. You’ve surrounded each of these people with people who love and care for them. Let each person on the list be confident in Your grace. Heal them and let them tell the story of your salvation – not just spiritual, but physical – to those around them.

Spiritual Matters

Lori Thrun’s daughter – salvation

Pray like this, “Dear Jesus, soften her heart. Draw her to Yourself. Let her ask the right questions. Let Lori and Wally give the right answers. Help her understand and believe.”


Steve K. – Thanks to Carolyn Burd for the food she prepares for us every Sunday AM.

Praise like this, “Heavenly Father, thank you for Carolyn Burd. Bless her and her family. Give me opportunity this week to express my appreciation to her personally. Thank you, God, for the many ways you provide for our needs and for the people through whom you do it. I pray that I will always be grateful for the things you give and that I too would be generous and always ready to serve someone else.”

All these things we pray in Jesus name.

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