The Greatest Leadership Lesson I’ve Learned from Jesus

Your people will always be your greatest product.

Jesus gave us many great examples of leadership. Servanthood, sacrifice, prayer—all essential. But one example more than any other has affected my life and my leadership.

The Greatest Leadership Lesson I’ve Learned from Jesus

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When we think about it, Jesus needed no one. As Paul wrote, “All things have been created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16). In fact, the One who made the world with a word could have accomplished His whole ministry alone.

This ministry would have been perfectly carried out without people. If perfection was the goal, people were clearly in the way. But seeing Jesus’ ministry that way misses the whole point of it.

If we are to be effective leaders, parents, grandparents, and Christians, we must see ministry as Jesus did.

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Why God Allows Us to Crash and Hurt

Our assumption misses an astounding part of God’s love.

I will never forget the day when one of my daughters learned to ride her bike without training wheels. (The “fall” was an appropriate season for this event.)

As she sped down a hill toward a huge ravine, I saw written all over her face the message: “I’m not in control!”

Why does God allow us to hurt?

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As she raced by me, I reached out and lifted her off the bike—saving her from the ravine but causing her to fall. As the bike launched into the abyss, my rescued daughter hopped up hotter than a hornet!

“Why did you do that, Daddy?!” To answer, I simply pointed to the bottomless gorge I saved her from. But that didn’t matter. All she could see was that I caused her to fall.

Years later, I pondered how we can carry this same attitude into our relationship with God.

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Why Your Life in Christ is Supposed to Hurt

Finding the key to pressing on in spite of your pain.

Any woman who has experienced childbirth understands. Any helpless man who has witnessed childbirth, like me (twice), gets it to a degree. That’s why the Bible uses the experience as a metaphor of our lives.

Why Your Life in Christ is Supposed to Hurt

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The whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves . . . groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. —Romans 8:22–23

We would all love to have an emotional epidural to where we didn’t feel the pain of life. But that won’t happen.

God doesn’t give us a way to avoid the hurt.

But He does tell us what to think so we can make it through the struggle.

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Why God Will Absolutely Never Give Up on You

Discovering the joy of being confined with God.

Imagine with me you have a child—and only one. The delivery had complications that threatened his life, but the boy lived. So you name your son Nathaniel—“given of God.”

Why God Will Absolutely Never Give Up on You

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While recovering at home, you begin the ritual every three hours of feeding little Nathaniel and rocking him while he screams through fits of colic. Without missing one feeding, or letting one diaper go unchanged, or any needs unmet, you never give up because you know your child would literally die without your care.

As Nathaniel grows, you teach him to walk, you change the soiled sheets, and you work hard to buy new clothes he’ll quickly outgrow. Every new stage presents a new set of sacrifices, but you never give up because you love Nathaniel.

The day he drives off to college represents a milestone in your parenting, and you stand proud of what God has made of Nathaniel.

You have no idea that things are about to change.

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Being Better than Your Parents is the Wrong Goal

God gives two questions to answer and two courses to follow.

Growing up in a godly home is no guarantee you’ll follow God. You can live better than your parents did. Or you can live worse. It’s true. But it’s also true that a godless home doesn’t doom you to a failed life.

Being Better than Your Parents is the Wrong Goal

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One man told me had as his goal to be a better father than his father was to him. And he did it. But then he realized that wasn’t enough.

Being better than your parents is doable, sure, but it’s the wrong goal.

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Why You Must Listen to God Rather than to People

Joash's life demands we cultivate our own resolve to follow the Lord.

We all need people to influence us. God made us that way. From the languages we speak to the character we develop—it all begins with those who surround us in our formative years.

Listen to God

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It starts with our environment, but it shouldn’t end there. It cannot.

When it does, it’s tragic. That was the case with King Joash.

But it doesn’t have to be that way with us.

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Giving Your Child Back to God

Hannah's decision at Shiloh shows us how to prepare.

Giving your child back to God can be a tough decision for parents. Eighteen or more years of sacrifice, commitment, and training suddenly bring you to a point of no return.

Giving Your Child Back to God

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Whether it is for college, for the military, or in the natural course of growing up, giving your child back to God is a point every parent has to face.

Hannah’s story shows us how to prepare for it, and then, how to do it.

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3 Lessons I Learned the Day I Dipped Snuff

Why we should want God to give us what He wants to give us.

Riding in the in cab of my father’s truck one day, I noticed a round can on his dashboard. Having seen him stick the stuff in his mouth and spit, I asked if I could do it too.

3 Lessons I Learned from the Day I Dipped Snuff

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“Sure,” he said, “let me help you.” He cracked the can of Copenhagen, grabbed a generous plug, and pulled back my bottom lip. “There you go.”

I sat there with a “peench” between my check and gum, as Walt Garrison used to say. Of course, the plug was so huge I could barely close my mouth. It didn’t take long for the juices to start squirting in my mouth.

And down my throat.

I learned 3 lessons from that day.

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Living Your Insignificant Life with Your Big God

What to do when nothing important is happening.

In moments of honesty, it’s easy to see our lives as, well—insignificant. What we do often seems to matter very, very little. Whether it’s pushing papers or changing diapers, it can seem pretty pointless.

Living Your Insignificant Life with Your Big God

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We often can fall for the thinking that because what we do seems small, or behind-the-scenes, or insignificant, or unequal with our abilities or qualifications, that what we do matters little.

After all, if we foul up, no big deal. The world still turns. Nobody notices. Few seem to care.

Except God.

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How to Pray for Your Children and Grandchildren

We all pray for our children. We want them to do well in school, or to get a good job, or to stay healthy. But their greatest need for prayer is their spiritual lives.

The longer I am a parent, the more I see the truth in the Apostle John’s words:

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. —3 John 4

How to Pray for Your Children and Grandchildren

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If our children have a genuine walk with God, they will be better equipped to make wise choices throughout their lives. Our challenge, then, is how to pray for our children in this way.

When our daughters were only toddlers, Cathy and I participated an excellent parenting class that gave us a handout called: “How to Pray for Your Children.” We prayed through this list for years. In fact, as I read through each point today, I can remember specific instances in which God answered the prayers. He is still answering them.

I have edited the list and added some verses to it. I have also made a PDF you can download and print to keep in your Bible or prayer journal.

It’s never too late to begin praying for your children—and your grandchildren.

It is one of the greatest investments you will ever make into their lives.

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