December 6, 2008

Leader-self Before Leadership

I have just returned from an awesomely refreshing and reflecting week in Maui. I had some time to spend reading, praying and just relaxing. Sometimes we must step out of the everyday-isms of our schedule packed lives and slow down. This allows us an opportunity to listen to God without any interruptions or distractions. Time spent like this generally ends in revelation of changes I need to make in my life.

I talk a lot about leadership. In fact, it is easy for me to talk about leadership, especially when I am telling other people how to become leaders. However, the more I learn about leadership the more I learn the prerequisite to leadership. That is leader-SELF. If I am ever to be a good leader and display good leadership I must first learn how to lead myself. Leader-self requires me to be a great leader to me. If I can’t lead myself how can I lead others?

This past week I read the story of Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas. They were blessed of God to be in direct lineage of the priestly order. They were set to be great leaders of the people of God and follow in the footsteps of their father Eli. However they chose a different direction.

They chose to take the call of God, the provision of God, and the people of God and treat it all with contempt. They abused their position of authority, they shamed the good name of their father, they mocked the house of God, and they raped the people of God. They were unsuccessful in their leadership because they were first unsuccessful in their leader-self. They chose to satisfy themselves instead of seeking God’s plan for their lives and the lives of those God entrusted to them.

We all have choices to make in life. Our choices will determine who we become both now and for eternity. Our choices will also determine the legacy that we leave behind. The choices Eli’s boys made cost them, their father and their children.

"Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, "This is what the LORD says: 'Did I not clearly reveal myself to your father's house when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh? 28 I chose your father out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your father's house all the offerings made with fire by the Israelites. 29 Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?' 30 "Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: 'I promised that your house and your father's house would minister before me forever.' But now the LORD declares: 'Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. 31 The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your family line 32 and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, in your family line there will never be an old man. 33 Every one of you that I do not cut off from my altar will be spared only to blind your eyes with tears and to grieve your heart, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life. 34 "'And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you-- they will both die on the same day. 35 I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before my anointed one always. 36 Then everyone left in your family line will come and bow down before him for a piece of silver and a crust of bread and plead, "Appoint me to some priestly office so I can have food to eat."'" 1 Samuel 2:27 – 36

Our choices can become investments or expenses. Investments reap great rewards while expenses cost time and resources. What choices are you making? I pray that you and I will make the decision to become great leaders of self. Then, through God’s grace, we can become great leaders of others.

November 17, 2008

The Southpaw

“Again the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and he gave them a deliverer-- Ehud, a left-handed man…” Judges 3:15

So many times others identify us according to some aspect or characteristic of our lives. You’re a lefty, a nerd, you have two left feet, you’re clumsy, slow; the list can go on and on. If we are not careful we will begin to buy into how others see us and begin to believe we are what they say about us.

God picked out a left-handed man (a southpaw) because when He looked at Ehud, God saw a deliverer. God saw someone who had surrendered who he was, what he had, and what he would become to Him. And God knew the potential of a man surrendered to Him, regardless of how others may have classified Ehud, the lefty.

“Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king's belly.” Judges 3:21
“…he (Ehud) blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down with him from the hills, with him leading them. 28 "Follow me," he ordered, "for the LORD has given Moab, your enemy, into your hands." So they followed him down and, taking possession of the fords of the Jordan that led to Moab, they allowed no one to cross over. 29 At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not a man escaped. 30 That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years.” Judges 3:27-30

Through a southpaw God chose to bring peace to Israel for some eighty years. God has placed potential in all of us. He has destined us to be great leaders right where He has placed us. He has provided all that we need to be successful. All He asks of us is to surrender what we have and who we are, be obedient to His Word and believe, and be willing to serve in whatever capacity He chooses.

There is no limit to what can be accomplished when God receives a truly surrendered heart! Yield your potential to Him and LEAD ON!

November 5, 2008

Left to test!

"They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD's commands, which he had given their forefathers through Moses." Judges 3:4

I am reading this passage of scripture on the day after our presidential election in which our nation seemingly has sold itself into the hands of the enemy. However, we must remember that God is still in control! In the previous verses of this passage the Bible reads that the Lord left these enemy nations "to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan. (He did this only to teach warfare to the decendents of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience.)", Judges 3:1-2.

God has a plan for His people. Sometimes that plan includes judgment, strife and battles. But it is only His mercy to us to test us and teach us to grow into mature battle ready warriors. He prepares, provides, delivers and redeems His children! We are to simply trust in His ways and be submissive and obedient to His Word.

It is only after the test of the battle that we are truly prepared to LEAD ON!

November 4, 2008


After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for (the United States of America) Israel. Judges 2:10

No--this is not a quote from today's local newspaper headline. But it could be! God help us! How could a generation grow up not knowing the Lord? We should know the answer to that question because it is currently happening in our nation. It happens because leaders fail to prepare the next generation.

We must lead with diligence and purpose in an all out effort to teach God's principles and precepts to the next generation so they can teach it to the next generation. When we forsake the Word of God and follow our own desires, He will hand us over to our enemies.

God, our prayer is that you will forgive us and enable us to raise up a generation who not only knows the power of God, but one who has seen the hand of God in their own personal reality. Amen!

November 1, 2008

Achan's Influence

"Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today." Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them." Joshua 7:24-25 24

As of today, it has been a month since this scripture came up in my devotion, but the sobering reality of this scripture still lingers in my heart. Today's contemporary culture says to live your life your way without regard to others. However, what is most sobering to me in this scripture is the effect of Achan's actions upon others. More importantly "his sons and daughters". As leaders, we don't have the luxury of living our lives any way we choose. What we choose to do and say effects others. In Achan's case it cost him and those close to him EVERYTHING! Much too high a cost and much too big a responsibility to be taking our leadership lightly.

We must live our lives with the understanding that it WILL effect others. We must choose to LEAD with integrity and character. This will enable those who follow us to do the same. Choose this day who you will serve and purpose in your heart to lead so others can follow.!

October 25, 2008

The Spirit of Caleb

"Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said." Joshua 14:10-12

As I read this passage of scripture, my mind began to carry me throughout history from the days of Israel’s captivity in Egypt to the present time that we live in today. I realized that there has always been a struggle—a battle—a war, engaging God’s people in an attempt to destroy freedom, righteousness, and the pursuit of godly dreams. What I love about Caleb is that he did not allow his age, the habitation of the land by the Anakites, nor the forty-five year time span since the inception of his dream to deter him from experiencing the reality of what he said was God’s destiny for him. The apprehension of his dream was certainly no walk in the park, but because Caleb “followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly”, it was a “no-brainer” for him to pursue his dream whatever the cost turned out to be. It was of no consequence to him what the dream required of him. It was just momentously compelling to him that he persist in his pursuit toward his dream!

As I watch and listen to the prevailing condition of our would today—the opposing political crusades, the horrendously unstable posture of our economy, the ghastly qualm of our current world military presence—I have determined that God’s people are in the same boat as was Caleb on the day he resolutely set out to fulfill his destiny. And just like Caleb we must plant ourselves in the truth of God’s Word TO US and tenaciously pursue the destiny that God has ordained for us. We can’t be bothered by the current precarious condition of the world we live in, but instead we should be “wholeheartedly following God”, and relentlessly fighting the “spiritual Anakites” that inhabit the promises of God to us.

What I feel we are missing the most in today’s culture is the spirit and leadership of a “Caleb”. Someone who will stand up against all odds, against the media slanted opinion of a spineless culture, and against the fall of a selfish, stingy, credit bound, what’s-in-it for me economic society.

It is time for Caleb minded leaders to rise up and proclaim the Word of Truth to a godless and hopeless nation. Who will it be?

Could it be you? Come on Caleb. Rise up and LEAD ON!!

October 21, 2008


I recently read a magazine article that caused me to do some soul searching. The article questioned why we do the things we do. For example, why do we choose to not have an affair with a member of the opposite sex? Is it because we don’t want to hurt our spouse or kids? Do we not do drugs or look at porn because we could lose our job? Are we concerned what people might think of us? When we decide not to do these things we are making the right choice but we may be making that choice for the wrong reasons.

We cannot allow our jobs, our spouses, or our kids to become our idols or our gods. In other words, if these are the only reasons that help us keep ourselves in check there will come a day when these reasons may not be enough. Our spouses, our kids nor our jobs are our saviors. So there is no way that our relationship with these things or people is going to be enough to keep us saved and making the right choices.

As leaders, the pressure for us to maintain integrity in a world full of compromise is almost insurmountable. Therefore, we must understand that our love for our Lord and Savior can be the only right reason for us to maintain our integrity. And it is the only reason that will keep us making the right choices in the midst of compromising situations. Jesus is our Savior and we must love Him enough to make the right choices.

He has called me to be a husband, a father, a son, a co-worker, a servant, a leader, etc. If I am to do any of these things right I must have a solid, daily, and continuous relationship with the one who saved me, called me, equipped me and protects me. And so should you. Make the right choices for the right reasons and LEAD ON!

October 10, 2008

Lead Strong

"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you...meditate on it day and night..." Joshua 1:6-8

God called Joshua to be a leader. He also commanded him to be strong and courageous. God knew that for Joshua to be a great leader it would require great strength and courage. God also commanded him to meditate on the law of God, both day and night. This would insure the strength and courage required to lead with greatness.

Likewise, God has called us to be leaders who lead with great strength and courage. And just like Joshua, we can only become great leaders as we meditate on God's Word. It is in His Word that we find the wisdom and knowledge to effectively become the spiritual catalyst of leadership that our world needs so badly. The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:8 to lead with all diligence. Diligence combined with the strength and courage of God's Word will lead us to greatness just as it did Joshua.

Therefore, "be strong and courageous" and LEAD ON!

October 1, 2008

Our Prayer

I have just spent a day listening to Rick Warren speak from his heart. I like the man. He is for real. And I definitely agree with him about what we as leaders need to pray for each other and for ourselves on a daily basis. Three things. That God would give us integrity, generosity, and humility! If we can maintain these three qualities in our lives as leaders it will protect us from the three major traps the enemy has prepared for us.

Integrity will protect us from the trap of the lust of the flesh. Generosity will protect us from the trap of the lust of the eyes. And humility will protect us from the trap of the pride of life.

I encourage you to commit these three areas of your life to daily prayer. It could make all the difference in the world! LEAD ON!

August 2, 2008


28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" 29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." 32 "Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." Mark 12:28-34

I believe many of us are at this point ourselves. Many of us may even live here for many years. We are so close to the Kingdom of God, and yet we just don’t quite get it totally for whatever reason. I have been praying about this for quite some time, asking God to show me what may be our point of error.

We don’t miss it due to lack of knowledge.
We don’t miss it due to lack of opportunity.
We don’t even miss it due to lack of ability.

I believe that our point of error is in the lack of motivation. More importantly, the lack of motivation to commit to doing our part for the advancement of the Kingdom. We can commit to our workplace, but it is because we have motivation to commit. Our motivation is due to a desire to keep the house, buy a new car, have that dream boat, take a vacation, etc. etc. Our motivation to do our best and give our best (including our time) on our job is due to the fact that they pay us well.

We are even motivated to give of our finances to the church to support the missionaries and various other projects that the church gets involved in. But when it comes to our time and our talents it becomes much harder. It is easy to give money because it virtually requires no cost. Most of us give our tithes, missions, and other various offerings out of our abundance. Very few of us give out of our need or in a sacrificial way. Just look at us. We don’t appear to have missed a meal due to our giving to the Kingdom. That is why at the end of the year we receive a CONTRIBUTION statement rather than a sacrifice statement.

When it comes to the WORK of the Kingdom many of us have become spiritual freeloaders. If we do anything at all for the church or the Kingdom, our efforts are barely enough to call a contribution. Certainly not a commitment.

That is why it is easier for us to give money. It is more of a contribution rather than a commitment. Now I understand that giving our money does requires a commitment; but nothing requires more of us than when we are asked to give of our time, talents and giftings.

However, for the local church to be successful it requires that all of us give according to what the Lord has gifted us with. When something goes lacking in the local church it is not because God left those gifts and talents out of the package, but because someone is withholding the talents and giftings that God had entrusted them with.

We must understand that the hope of the world (community) is the church. The hope of the church is unity. The hope of unity is me (and you). The hope of me (and you) is relationships. First with God and then with others. What is unity—unity is U-n-I--ty-ed (you and I tied) together with unconditional love and a passion to pursue God.

Let’s work together and restore the HOPE of our community and the world! It's what real leaders do!

July 23, 2008


Recently, during my devotion time, God began to reveal to me the importance of my focus in life. Many times our focus lingers for too long on things of our past. Things that cannot be changed and, all too often, things that reflect missed opportunities, unproductive failures and regretful decisions. I am learning that I must live today to it’s fullest in order to insure that I will experience the most incredibly illuminated path for my future while at the same time understanding, remembering and applying the often overlooked and forgotten life lessons from my past. In American culture all things are viewed, read, or listed in order of importance from left to right. It is done that way simply because we have been taught this since we were a child. Therefore, when thinking about our lives we will many times refer to the three time periods in our lives as the past, the present and the future implying that this would be the order of their importance. However, I am beginning to refocus my thoughts to reveal a more appropriate and more accurately prioritized sequence for these three time periods. This new alignment of my life has been made based on the importance I wish to allow each of these parts of my life to consume me.
Instead of referring to my past, present and future, I choose to refer to my present, future and past. You see my present is most important simply because my future is determined by how I live, plan and perceive my present. My future is more important than my past simply because my past cannot be changed but my future is still yet to be written. I should only become a student of the past, learning from my historical experiences rather than allowing my past failures to consume me.
In other words, if we continue to walk forward while insisting on looking at our past, we will most likely trip over our present and stumble into our future. Our future will only be as great as we purpose it to be in our present. God help us as leaders to live today for a meaningful tomorrow that has been wonderfully enriched by our yesterday. Amen

July 18, 2008


I received a phone call the other day from a Red Cross volunteer asking me to donate blood. I receive these calls from time to time because I have given blood in the past; however something this volunteer said to me really caught my attention. He said, "Has anyone ever told you that you have extremely pure blood?" He continued by saying that the purity of my blood was found in less than 5% the people in this nation. He also said that due to it's purity, my blood could be given to small babies and cancer patients without any hesitation. Now maybe he was feeding me a line just to get me to come on out and donate; but what he said prompted my thoughts concerning the purity of my heart.

If out of the heart comes my words, actions and lifestyle; then my prayer is that my heart be as pure as my blood. For if my heart has that level of purity, then just like my blood, my heart can be given to babies and cancer patients. In other words, what comes out of my heart will not harm anyone and just maybe from out of my heart I can actually help others. That's what a Christian leader is supposed to do, right? Help and not harm, speak life and not death, fan the flame of vision and not throw water on dreams.

God help us to be encouraging leaders by speaking life, vision and hope into the lives of those we lead. Amen!

July 13, 2008

GIANTS or giants?

1 Samuel 17:26 "Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?"

The giants in our lives have a tendency to reveal who we really are. Many times we are introduced to the "real us" through a confrontation with a GIANT! When Goliath announced his intentions to the Israelite army, there was not a man in the entire army camp who was prepared physically, mentally and SPIRITUALLY to accept his challenge. However, there was this one little shepherd boy who had a history of giants that he had faced and defeated. It was from this history of his past giants that David confidently called Goliath's bluff.

Is there a GIANT revealing a crack in your armour of leadership. As leaders we must learn that a GIANT is not only designed to reveal a weakness; but also to prepare, to develop, to encourage and to strengthen our leadership character and ability. Once we learn to look at situations and challenges with the understanding that on the other side we will stand stronger, better and more prepared for the next giant; then we will be able to look at each challenge as a giant rather than a GIANT. It is from this perspective that we will rise and become the leader that God destined for us to be. And it is then, also, that we will effectively lead others to their God ordained destiny.

Step out and!!

July 7, 2008

Leadership begins with the HEART

"For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7

I have often wondered why people can seem so totally committed to God, church, ministry---for a period of time---and then the next thing you know they are totally uncommitted and are content to do nothing. A great leader will consciously make a choice to allow the Holy Spirit to change him from the inside out---i.e. "a heart change". The reason we can be hot one minute and cold the next is because we choose to make a change in our behavior without allowing God to make a change in our heart. Since our heart has not been changed, our behavioral change reverts back to where our heart is.

A leader's heart reveals the character of the leader. Without a heart change we are only pretending. Leaders should never be satisfied with their current level of leadership. We should be continuously changing. However, those changes should be originated in our hearts. For in the heart is where leadership begins!

July 1, 2008


"Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! For I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but also to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus." Acts 21:13

The Apostle Paul was committed to doing whatever and going where ever the Holy Spirit chose to lead him (no matter what the cost may be--even if he knew the cost beforehand). He left nothing on the table as far as his service for the Lord. I am totally amazed at people in today's world. It seems that commitment is a thing of the past. The most insane excuses are given as to our reason why we aren't willing to be an active part of the body of Christ. Paul's service to His Savior was of such an impeccable nature that he was able to unapologetically say, "follow me as I follow Christ." I feel that as leaders we should--no, we MUST--ask ourselves the following question daily; maybe even hourly...

...if people are following me, where am I leading them?

June 18, 2008

Just Do It

"See to it that you do all I command you, do not add to it or take away from it." Deuteronomy 12:32

Lord, what will you have me to do today? What does my future hold?

As leaders we are always plotting and scheming, seeking and planning, all in an effort to set up what will be our next great move. When we do this we must use caution--planning for tomorrow can be both good and bad. Often I am asked by people what I think about where they are, what they are doing and if I think they are in God's will for their lives. My first response back to them is "What do you think?". Then I proceed with an answer that I feel God wants all leaders to know and understand.

First is obedience! Plain and simple, God expects us to be obedient to Him, His calling, His Word and His direction for our lives. We don't have to attend seminary, fast and pray in sack cloth and ashes, or seek Christian counseling to understand that obedience to God is far greater than any sacrificial plan we could ever dream up. He tells us so in 1 Samuel chapter 15 and verse 22.

Second is "seeking first His kingdom" and His direction for your life. Are you asking God what He would have you do? If so, then His Word teaches us that He will tell us what He wants from us. When He tells you, you must go back to the first step and be obedient! Do it! Just Do It!! Don't look for something else more glamorous to do and just pass off what He told you to someone else for them to do. And don't start seeking the next thing until He tells you or moves you. You see, His Word to us is...

" all I command you...don't add to or take away from..." If you will do this my friend, you will always find yourself right smack in the middle of God's will for your life. And in doing so you will find joy and fulfillment like you have never known!

June 11, 2008

They Did Not See...

"Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God..." Deuteronomy 11:2

When you get to be my age, you can look back through the chronicles of your life and reflect on those "Narnia" like experiences when you knew without doubt or question that God's presence and intervention were the reason (and the only reason) that you were able to survive.

However, our children were not there to witness the hand of Almighty God when He broke you out of bondage, rescued you from certain death, and redeemed you from total destruction and damnation. So, how will they know and learn to trust God since they have not seen with their own eyes?

"Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit down, and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:19

Teach them...and when necessary use words!

June 10, 2008

Live, Love, Serve, LEAD...

"...what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all of His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord's commands and decrees...for your own good?" Deuteronomy 10: 12-13.

I was reading this scripture in my daily devotion today. I believe that this scripture can be summed up in 4 words--1) Live, 2) Love, 3) Serve and 4) LEAD! If we could ever really totally comprehend the love of God, the sacrifice of Christ, and the total encompassing guidance of the Holy Spirit; then we would not only know and understand what God ask of us, but we would also completely submit to a life of obedience to what God ask of us.

You see God ask of us for our own good. He desires that we live a life of abundance while learning to fear God (and only God) and walking in all of His ways because His ways are higher than our ways. He wants us to know and accept His totally unconditional love so that we can love Him in return and also love other humans in a way that is unknown to this world. He also longs for us to wholeheartedly serve Him and other humans in a way that is unconventional and irrational to the standards of this world.

And while this uncommon, heart changing personification of Christ is occurring in our lives, God uses our foolhardy humanity to simply and passionately LEAD others to..., love, serve and LEAD!
So...lead on...

June 5, 2008

Leadership Character

According to John Maxwell, leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less. I agree with him totally on this brief synopsis. However, that influence can be either good or bad, depending on the heart of the leader who is influencing. Therefore, when discussing Christian leadership, one cannot stop with this short description of leadership. The leadership abilities of a leader ultimately come from the heart of the leader. Therefore, the heart of the leader is of paramount importance to the followers whom the leader is leading. The heart of the leader is formulated from the character of the leader. Character is probably and should be considered the most important part of a leader's DNA. Without impecable character; including integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, etc.; a leader's ability to lead in the Christian community or anywhere else for that matter has been tarnished. In an effort to discover what others consider leadership characteristics, I would like to take a survey of what you may think. Please respond back to this posting with your top 5 qualities for a leader of excellent character and tell me why you consider them so.

May 20, 2008


Welcome to the blogspot for Leadership Cafe Today. This is my first attempt at blogging and I hope it is the first of many to come. My intent is to provide leadership thoughts, principles, ideas and discussion opportunituies to those who may be interested. I would like for this to be an interactive blog, therfore I encourage any reader or blogger to respond to what is posted here or to bring up any new thoughts that you would like to see commented on. I will try to keep the content fresh and thought provoking. Check back often and see what has been added. Thanks for your input.