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Posts from the ‘Leadership’ Category

Building a Foundation of Integrity

One does not have to look far into today’s headlines to see a ‘win at all cost’ mentality that has seemed to grip our culture in a myriad of ways. Most recently, the life of Lance Armstrong has been just another discovery of a complete erosion of integrity and truth. Here is an example of someone who seemed to live the perfectly impossible and improbable life, yet it was built on a systematic formula of cheating and self-denial. Looking at the ruin of his life, the honest person must come to grips with cheating and consider the wake of the one that lacks integrity in the work of their life.

When it comes to life, work, and eternity, the element of integrity makes a difference.  So, what, really is integrity? This can be explained by going back to the entomology of the word and its use. According to, the root of integrity is from the Latin word integritatem, meaning “soundness” or “wholeness.”  The word integrity was often applied to ships, and especially to describe the condition of a boat beneath the water line. If the boat had integrity, it meant that its hull was whole and complete, therefore rendering the sailor safe from sinking. In searching for a boat to buy, any wise captain considers what is beneath the water to be more important than what is above the water. Likewise, a person’s personal integrity is like the invisible hull that determines success or failure in navigating life. If you are not ‘sound’, or ‘whole’, then at some point in your life you will sink (case in point: Lance Armstrong).

No one aspires to sink at some point in their life. So, how can someone acquire integrity and avoid a perilous fate concerning the work of their life? Since, integrity means aligning oneself with truth and righteous morality, then one must seek out submission to greater governing principles that are transcendent. Like a sailor navigates from fixed celestial points, life must be transfixed in the grip of integrity; buoyed to eternal principles. All integrity must find its focus on Christ and God’s commands. When integrity is build on God’s way for living life, then the foundation provides conviction when living in the wrong and resolve when living in the right. When this takes place, there is a convergence of life and goodness creating a life well lived. In similar fashion, Integrity means resisting the entropic pull of sin. Integrity consists of having the correct moral code to follow; God’s word, and acquiring the wisdom to grow in integrity. Ultimately, this will lead to character.

On the other hand, integrity is not simply being true to oneself. This is relativistic moralism. Integrity is adherence to something beyond oneself, a set of beliefs centered on Christ that a person lives by. It is not just convictions, but the correct convictions. Integrity is comprised of being a complete person filled with honesty, truth, righteousness, justice, purity, and nobleness.

The Bible is fraught with examples in the book of Proverbs about achieving a life of integrity. Consider a few of these scriptures:

The one who conducts himself in integrity will live securely, but the one who behaves perversely will be found out.

– Proverbs 10:9

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the unfaithful destroys them.

– Proverbs 11:3

The righteous person behaves in integrity; blessed are his children after him.

– Proverbs 20:7

A poor person who walks in his integrity is better than one who is perverse in his ways even though he is rich.

– Proverbs 28:6

In closing, even the Greek philosopher Heraclitus gives sage advice for building a foundation for integrity. He states:

“Allow yourself to think only those thoughts that match your principles and can bear the bright light of day. Day by day, your choices, your thoughts, your actions fashion the person you become. Your integrity determines your destiny.”

As a foundation of integrity is established, a destiny of greatness is indeed determined. Without integrity, life will become a sunken relic in the tempestuous seas of an unprincipled world. So, what are you waiting for? Build a foundation of integrity now and rest soundly in your soundness; leading to an unblemished charachter that others can
count on.
Written by John L. Hurlbut on January 19th 2013.

7 Insights on Appointing Leaders from Acts 6

We would all agree that growth is a good thing. Whether you own a business, manage a client base, or have a family, increase is something to be celebrated. The truth behind the law of increase is this: all living things grow. The early church, as depicted in Acts 1- Acts 6:1-7, is one amazing example of growth catalyzed by the Holy Spirit. It also provides timely lessons on managing growth through the actions of leaders appointing leaders.

How do 12 jobs become 7 jobs? This is the great dynamic of putting the right people in the right place in an organization. We find in Acts 6 that complaints were coming from the Hellenistic Jews because of food distribution neglect to the Hellenistic widows in the church. The apostles, receiving the complaint, realize that they must find others who can carry on the food allocations to these Jews who speak Greek. Just as in the early church, it becomes necessary to appoint people to fulfill God’s literal command of ‘feed my sheep’ while the disciples would be committed to the spiritual nourishment that the new flock of God needed.  So, the disciples chose 7 men who were Greek speaking and place them in charge of the daily food distribution.

The question remains: How can you feed God’s sheep when you are feeding God’s sheep? What I mean by that is: how do you achieve both primary and secondary things necessary for success? You have to appoint leaders! From the text, I believe there are 7 key insights we can understand from this passage on when to appoint leaders: 

  1. Appoint leaders when the demands of others draw you away from the demands of God (Acts 6:2). It is not arrogant to know and decide what you must spend your time on in order to be effective. The disciples considered their roles as Apostles – leaders who had been with Jesus – as distinct to their ministry of the word. So, precedence over waiting on tables was the ministry of the word. And, effective ministry of the word takes time to prepare, study, preach and teach.
  2. Appoint leaders when there are leaders to appoint (Acts 6:3). This may seem like a self-evident observation, but more often than not, organizations put people into leadership positions who are not leaders. Just because a person has a pulse does not make them fit to lead others. Looking back at Acts, the church had over 3,120+ people with 12 core leaders (the Apostles).  Obviously, there was potential, un-appointed leadership in the church at large. So, instead of selecting the leaders themselves, the Apostles turned to the people to validate the un-appointed leadership that was already proving itself through a vital and living ministry in their midst (‘Choose 7 men full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom…’).
  3. Appoint leaders when your prayer life and Bible study time is second and/or divided between the administrational aspects of ministry (Acts 6:4). For those in full time vocational ministry, the tension between administrative duties and spiritual disciplines is all too real. Priority must be given to the task of making disciples. Once you make this primary priority a secondary action, you will loose both first and second things.
  4. Appoint leaders when there is a language or culture barrier to witness or effectiveness (Acts 6:5). If you examine the names of the men chosen to wait tables you will find that they are all Greek names. This strongly indicates that they were bi-lingual in Greek and Hebrew, and possibly fluent in Latin as well. Therefore, the 7 new leaders take the place of the 12 prior leaders in the food distribution. By putting the right people in the right position, efficiency was enhanced by over 40% and their was no longer a language or cultural barrier for administrative and Gospel tasks.
  5. Appoint leaders when the people recognize that a change needs to take place (Acts 6:6). Complaints are a blessing to the one who listens. Because the Apostles listened to the complaints, change became inevitable. When complaints arise, there is a favorable time for change – especially new leader appointment. The people were ready for change and adapted to change by responding wholeheartedly by selecting the right men for the task and sending them to the Apostles for commissioning.
  6. Appoint leaders when you want to achieve your mission faster (Acts 6:7). The evidence of right leader selection is directly related to the pace of achieving your vision. Verse 6 states it this way, “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly…”. Why did the word of God spread? Because the number fo disciples increased. The correlation between the Apostles devoting time to prayer and the word and the increase of disciples cannot be missed. If you want to achieve your mission with greater pace and intensity, then appoint leaders, thereby giving you the time to fulfill obedience to God’s design for your organization.
  7. Appoint Leaders when you want to spend your time influencing the influencers (Acts 6:7). At the end of verse 7 we find that a number of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith. The priests were influential in the lives of worshippers as they were performing customary temple duties. When you want to reach the influencers of society, you must delegate tasks to others so that you can spend time with those who will further the reach of the Gospel in a profound way when they come to know Christ.

Gentle and Humble Leadership

The trap of religion is that what appears to be
beneficial, quickly becomes burdensome.  In fact, the reality that religion is cumbersome is the very proof for it’s existence. What is religion? It is: lists of things to do, rituals to follow, rules to keep, and involves formulaic ways of doing things. As spiritual beings, we are drawn to religion.  As sinful people we are drawn to religion instead of the person of Jesus. The insidious trap of religion continues to ensnare people today as it did so many years ago when Jesus walked the earth. Religion robs people – since it never stops demanding more from the participant. Its nature is to busy people with vain obedience to its commands in order to superimpose a pious spirituality.

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus provides the alternative to religion: himself.
Here he gives a great invitation to tired and weary people; people like you and I. He says to the crowd he was preaching to,”Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”  In today’s terminology, Jesus is saying,”stop your fruitless and worthless religion and instead, come to me.” After this, Jesus says, quite remarkably, ”Take my yoke on you and learn of me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” In stark comparison to the religious teachers and leaders of his day, Jesus was someone who was gentle and humble of heart. His yoke, or teaching was one that provided rest for people. His rule was easy and light.

So, how do we learn of Jesus today? How do we become a gentle and humble leader? In order for this to happen, we must have a relationship to Jesus Christ. One cannot be a gentle and humble leader if he or she is not connected to Christ. As we live our life sourced out of abiding in Christ, then our life will provide rest for people who are weary of religion. One great example of a gentle and humble leader is Mother Teresa. She gave her life in devotion to God by caring for the least of the least on the streets of Calcutta. It is she who said,

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

Mother Teresa worked among the poor yet sat and gave counsel to kings. By the time she was 69, she had received the Nobel Peace prize for her work and had met with with many world leaders. Her gentle and humble leadership came out of a close relationship with Christ.

Next, we must have a grace – orientation to life When we come face to face with the reality that we have been chosen by God, adopted into his family with no self-effort on which to boast, then and only then, do we navigate life extending grace to others. God’s grace manifested in our life sets us free and releases others. A grace -orientated life filled with gentleness and humility draws people to Christ and not man-made religion.

Our identity must come out of ‘being’ and not ‘doing’.  In American culture, our value is dominated by ‘doing.’  Yet, God values us simply for who we are.  He created us to enjoy him.  We enjoy him by depending on Jesus through the Holy Spirit for life. This is the ‘yoke’ of Christ; relationship with him. Christ’s yoke is indeed an easy one.  It simply involves coming to him. As we seek to be gentle and humble leaders we must learn of Christ and accept his rest.  Once we have experienced this rest, we can lead others to find true rest in Christ alone.

Finally, gentle and humble leaders don’t keep spiritual scorecards. People find rest in Jesus. As Christians, we should be leading people to find true rest in Christ, not making sure that they satisfy our checklists or attend our spiritual programs. Gentle and humble leaders don’t keep spiritual scorecards. They don’t have long lists of ‘spiritual’ activities for people to check off. Love God and love thy neighbor sum up all the commands. Watch out for leaders who have long lists, or who have a heavy ‘yoke’. If we are to be like Jesus, then our own yoke must be easy and light, since we are teaching his teachings, and becoming like him.

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