Archive for February, 2009

Leading from the Bottom

I have spent a significant part of my adult life working in industry. Over the years I have seen good and bad leaders with varying degrees of effectiveness.

Much of what I have taught, and been taught, about leadership over the years was of limited use in sculpting me into a true leader. Most was the flavor of the day.

As those of you who are regular readers of Dad Talk already know, a number of years ago I found myself without a job for the first time in my adult life. It was a devastating time and a crush to my personal self esteem. I had been a successful leader for many years and held a great deal of pride in my ability to lead and advise other leaders.

Over most of the next year, I found myself questioning almost everything I thought was true. I questioned my knowledge, my intelligence, my understanding, my relationship with God, and most of all myself.

As the months passed by, with little success in landing a job, God began to deal with many of my illusions about myself. He broke my pride and showed me that I was no better than the Savior I professed to believe in. He told me, through a close friend, that “Jesus bent down so I could be made great”. Translated, if I believe Jesus was the greatest leader of all time, and I believed my goal in life was to be more like Him, I had to understand; “if Jesus could bring himself to the lowest point in the human structure, to be treated like an animal, like something without a soul, how could I expect to lead with so much pride”.

As a father, before the job loss, I treated my wife and children with a certain amount of disdain. After all, I was very successful, there wasn’t anything they could tell me that I didn’t already know. I was arrogant and condescending. Not the type of person anyone would like to follow.

During this time I learned many lessons about many avenues of my life, but when it came to leadership, I began to learn about practical application of the leadership model Jesus followed.

Once on the bottom you soon see things from a different perspective. You begin to identify with those whom you have previously seen only as a means to an end. You yourself now embody every bit of what that means. You know the strapping of not having enough, the importance of making your boss happy no matter what they want, no matter how ridiculous, you know the subtleties of innuendo and manipulation as you must to survive.

In my present situation, I am back in a leadership position. I am now charged with helping a business manage it’s people and build it’s strategy. As a father and husband, I am now, once again, responsible for leading my family in a meaningful relationship with each other and with our faith.

I am now aware of what it takes to become a “servant” and to lead from the perspective of a “servant”. I will always appreciate the sacrifices others make to help our team, and our family be successful.

Leading from the bottom, is about realizing none of this is about you. None of the success you have in life or the prosperity you presently are blessed with is because of you. It is about doing everything with a perspective of how it impacts others rather than yourself. Leading from the bottom is about paying forward, about recognizing that all you have is because of your relationship with Him and is strengthened by your ability to humble yourself in every circumstance.

En servicio como padre
Dave

The Toxic Soup of Greed

I have been pondering the events of the past few weeks; what with the constant flow of negativism around the economy from our President Barack Obama, the passing of the largest spending bill in the history of mankind, the bail out of banks and auto makers, the refusal of unions to give consessions and on and on.

It seems everyone in the world is willing to agree to anything as long as their present lifestyle is protected or they are given some promise of something free (money).

As most of you know, all of this activity is not limited to the halls of Congress, it is very real in our everyday lives.  Many continue to lose jobs despite our President’s promises to reverse that trend.  Gas prices continue to rise in direct opposition to the price of oil which has continued to drop.

Every day we come closer to the decision of what we must give up in order to feed our families.

What we are seeing is a “Toxic Soup of Greed”!

This soup is filled with more ingredients than we can possibly imagine, each one more vile than the next.  All designed to destroy.

We drink this soup thinking, if we do it will ultimately protect that one thing fathers love above all others, our family.

In my pondering, I was reminded of a message given by on of my spiritual mentors, Ernie Fitspatrick.  In his message, Ernie referred to “dangerous diseases” in our spiritual journey.  One such disease was “Affluenza”.

Ernie went on to define Affluenza as “an acute, highly contagious disease influenced by the stars”.  The disease is “led by Hollywood stars mentality”.  What makes it so contagious is our desire to compare our lives to theirs.

Ernie’s point was not that the disease is caused by money, but by our “love for money”.

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.  Ecclesiastes 5:10

This disease is found today beyond the stars of Hollywood.  Today this disease is found in the stars of our political “servants”.  How often have you heard the media refer to President Obama as a “Rock Star”?

The disease of Affluenza is being used today to attack the very root of our societal structure. 

“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live”.
Pope John Paul II

Affluenza is the key weapon being used to destroy the family.  As a father I want to provide for my family in ways that are comfortable.  I don’t want them to “want” for anything.  That being said, I must ask myself, how many or how much of anything do we need?

Fathers, don’t buy in to the lie of our spiritual enemy.  We must become the warrior we are called to be.  We must learn to be prudent with what God has given us and we must set the tone for our family and others to follow.  Don’t let the epidemic of Affluenza overwhelm us.  We are to be unique in this world.  God is the provision to us, if we trust in him and teach good values to our family, he will provide all we need in this turbulent time

En servicio como padre

Dave

The Dark Place in my soul

There is a dark place deep inside of me. This is a place so deep it is seldom seen or heard from. It’s a place I don’t want to acknowledge is even there.

I have spent a lifetime trying to deny the existence of this place and have expended vast amounts of energy attempting to hide it from any outside eyes.

From time to time this dark place attempts to expand beyond it’s place of residence. At these times, the darkness bursts forth like a long sleeping volcano, erupting into the open and covering all who are near me.

It wasn’t until recently that I could even put a name on it. I have wrestled with this darkness and it has limited my ability to fully love and grow.

If we are fully honest with ourselves, we will all, at minimum, feel pangs of guilt around the fact that we all have a dark place in our soul.

I recently experienced one of these eruptions. After months of seeing friends and those I respect experience financial strain, family and health problems, and even job loss, the darkness of the deepest part of my soul washed over my wife and filed my home with a fog of bitter emotion.

In the midst of the devastation, as I sulked in a remote part of our house, God showed me something incredible.

In Psalms 139:12, King David noted;“even the darkness will not be dark to you, the night will shine like the day, for darkness is light to you.”

He, God, sees us in our darkness just as if we are in the light. He sees the intentions of our heart and in His love He sends his healing light to us, as in Psalms 31:16; “Let your face shine on your servant, save me in your unfailing love.” The eruption from the dark place in my soul was intended to destroy me and my relationship with those I love. Because of my continuing walk with God, it only succeeded in creating a few cracks in my human psyche.  
The lyrics of the Leonard Cohen song “Anthem”, reveal a spiritual truth:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in 

Through the crack in my feeble psyche, God enters with His healing light and the dark place in my soul is constantly burned away, giving way to His great light.

En servicio como padre

Dave

 

The Awakening of our Youth

Today I was reading, with great interest, an installment by James W. Goll, on wwwlelijahlist.com, titled “A Youth Extravaganza that will Rock the Nations”.  In this article, Mr. Goll writes about a “Youth Awakening” which is underway in America and around the world.

 

Mr. Goll further sites Malachi 4:4-6 which states “Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.  Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD.  He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse”.

 

When I read this scripture I was struck with several things, not the least of which was the statement that; “I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD”.

 

Elijah a Hebrew name translates to “Yahweh is my God”.  When put in close proximity to the statement “the great and terrible day of the LORD”, it can be said that it provides an opportunity for dual fulfillment of this prophecy.  First, as noted by Mr. Goll, it is widely considered that John the Baptist was the “historical fulfillment” of this prophecy, in physical form, pointing to the birth of Jesus.  Second, also noted by Mr. Goll, is the connection to the final return of Jesus in what is commonly referred to as the “Second coming of Christ”.

 

In this second opportunity the prophecy takes on meaning through the name Elijah.  Elijah meaning “Yahweh is my God”, points to the more intimate “relationship” with God.

 

In these last days, as Jesus prepares to return for His bride, Christians are experiencing more and more of the pure love of God.

 

This is not more evident anywhere that in the youth movement.  The youth of today are turning away from the false influences of the world and are entering into intimacy with God, a love in the deepest way possible.

 

This movement is not exclusive.  It is an experience we can have along with our children.

 

The world has been on a crash course with the curse spoken of in Malachi.  The growth of drugs, sex out side of marriage, materialism, out of control anger, murder, gangs, extreme thrill seeking, are all symptoms of a world in need of the healing touch of Jesus.

 

Without a culture shift toward relationship with God this world will experience God’s curse.

 

As fathers, we need to model right behaviors.  We don’t need to get as close to the things of the world as we can.  We need to stand out in a dying world and build relationship with our children.  Through the modeling of this relationship our children will join this Elijah movement and along with us become a part of ushering in the perfected bride of Jesus.

 

We don’t need to preach or push our children in this direction.  We need to be like the drug prevention ad on television.  We just need to talk to our kids.

 

There can be no greater blessing for a father than to walk into greater relationship with Jesus with your wife and children as one family.

 

I expect my children will do greater things to further God’s kingdom than I would ever hope to do.  In so doing they will be a part of moving the world from the threat of a curse to a blessing.

 

En servicio como padre

Dave


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