Sunday, February 23, 2014

How to Grow as a Leader

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How to Keep Growing as a Leader

I'm no expert in leadership, far from it. I never write a blog for that matter, attempting to be the authoritative voice on any particular topic. Though I do believe I have learnt some lessons along the way, in terms of leadership, that I'd love to share with you right now.

How do you continue to grow as a leader?

  • Good leaders read good leadership books. Keep reading. Read books on leadership. Read magazines on leadership. Further to that, challenge yourself to synthesise your thoughts after you have read something. How often have you read something, thought you understood what you read, and then when you tried to relay what you learnt to someone else, you went blank? Synthesising your thoughts and your learnings is important. Information is not beneficial in and of itself, but how you work through the information and the teaching and apply it to your situation. So read and process.
  • Good leaders learn from mistakes. Good leadership is not expressed in the absence of mistakes, but rather, leadership is expressed in the willingness to 'give it another shot' and step up and try again. Leaders need to understand that at times, the most important thing to do, is to step up again, straighten the back and try again. Thomas Edison didn't build the lightbulb the first try.
  • Good leaders challenge themselves. You can grow as a leader as you take on bigger and grander tasks. Quite often you feel ill-prepared and ill-equipped, but by throwing yourself in the deeper end, you are challenged to grow. The founder of SEEK, Andrew Bassat, took on the likes of Fairfax by starting an online classifieds website for the unemployed back in the late 90s. He threw himself in the deep end, and now SEEK has a market value of $4.4 billion, compared with Fairfax of $1.4 billion. Bassat knew little about how to run an online site, but grew as a leader because he took on a challenge.Trying something difficult, will not necessarily ensure you grow as a leader, but it will provide a context in which growth can happen.
  • Good Christian leaders grow in their faith. If you are a Christian leader, then growing as a leader is about not only your skill-sets, but your relationship with God. Some call it, 'Growing in God', and others say we need to, 'Mature in Christ'. Followers of Jesus generally comprehend the importance of such things and it should really go without saying. Growing as a leader and maturing in Christ go hand-in-hand.
  • Mentors and Coaches can help you grow as a leader. The right mentor will be someone who can help you understand why you think and act the way you do! They can stretch you, inspire you or point you in the right direction. They can be invaluable in their capacity to lift you to 'another level' so to speak.
The opportunity to lead is a given for many (as a parent, a minister, a teacher, a manager, a school captain, etc). Growing as a leader is not a given. Growing as a leader is optional and requires work. Be intentional if you are leader. Choose to grow.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Walking in the Light - Preaching from Japhet Ncube - African style!

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Japhet Ncube preaches it up at Salvos 3064 in early January 2014, and speaks of walking in the light.

Watch it now, and be encouraged!


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Will someone who has never heard about Jesus go to Hell?

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Now here's a question for you: "Can someone who has never heard about Jesus go to heaven or will they go to hell...?"

A big thank you to Jack Sparrow (No doubt 'anonymous'), who asked the following question recently:
'Do pirates who sail the seven seas and never get to hear the gospel go to hell if they die?'

Firstly, I'm glad you are so concerned about pirates, that you would be interested in their eternity.

John Piper writes that he believes people who have never heard the gospel cannot be saved and then he challenged his readers to pray for missionaries to take the Word of God to the ends of the earth.

I don't agree with John Piper here. Followers of Jesus are challenged by Jesus himself to go into all of the world and make disciples, though God is surely gracious enough and sovereign enough to orchestrate salvation for someone on a deserted island or a pirate ship.

Now, there's some ideas to seriously consider here.

It is only through Jesus Christ that salvation occurs (John 14:6), that's the main point. The salvation for a pirate on the seven seas would only be through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, irrespective of whether the salvation comes from a verbal proclamation of hearing the message of Jesus or not. I have heard stories of people having encounters with Christ through visions and dreams, without the work of an evangelist!

I believe, that God is more than capable of testing people's hearts and their response to the general revelation of creation around them and make a decision on someone's eternity.

We are not in a position to make a judgment call here. We are called to 'go into all the world,' and be faithful in expressing the gospel of Jesus in word and deed. While evangelicals will strive to reach the corners of the earth with the gospel message, I trust God's prevailing grace in situations where people have not experienced the amazing hope found in Jesus Christ. This being said, if I had to choose between hoping that someone would merely respond to the general revelation of God and having the awesome privelege of communicating the truth found in Jesus, I would choose the latter.

*****

Feel free to comment. What do you think:
  • Can someone who has never heard about Jesus go to Hell?
  • Can someone who has never heard about Jesus go to Heaven?

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Onward March with the Blood and Fire... Perhaps

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Onward march with the blood and fire!

Wait a minute?

The word 'onward' is a little old.

And marching? We don't march anymore. We barely do open-air meetings.

Blood? Why do speak of something that is so quaint to the secular world around us?

And fire? Serious? Does anyone believe that anymore. If we really believed that, Salvation Army ministry would be very different.

*****

I'm being facetious. Yet there's truth in what I'm saying. While we may not understand the complexities of salvation in Christ, we still call people to it. While we may not grasp the significance of the blood of Jesus, we still understand it transforms lives. While we look around and do not always see Salvation Army ministry characterised by 'Fire', we nonetheless believe in the 'Fire of the Holy Ghost!'.

It's time to onward march with the blood and fire. Or let me say, it's time to move forward in unity with the blood of Jesus and the power and presence of Jesus amongst us!

While our expression of Salvation Army ministry gradually shifts over time, the passion and foundations of our faith do not. A problem I sense, is that while The Salvation Army have grappled with contextualising Salvation Army ministry in today's world, we've lost the grit, the passion and the bold, world-changing kind of faith in the process. While we've discussed our theology, our methods, our uniforms, our quasi-military structure and the like, we have thrown out a radical desire to witness the world be transformed through this evangelical branch of the universal Christian Church. 

William Booth, in an address entitled, 'The Salvation Army', said passionately, 'Push forward, never heed the number or position of your foes, or the impossibility of overcoming them. Your Salvation Army has been made to accomplish the impossible and conquer that which to human calculations cannot be overcome. Forward!'

Has this changed? For some it has. We no longer 'onward march with the blood and fire', we simply 'wake up and be, and hope for the best.' I'm being a little provocative, because it's time we let the embers in our bellies flare up and the power, grace and forgiveness of Christ to permeate inside and outside this movement in which we serve.

We must move forward.

*****

There is so much more to say. There always is. Feel free to make a comment and add to the discussion.

(My wife has kindly told me that I have mixed up, 'Onward Christian Soldiers' and 'On ye march with the blood and fire' - but I'm sure you are cluey enough to have noticed that, and still grasped the point of what I was saying).

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