What to do When I Can’t Stop doing Something

stop

We all have things about ourselves that we hate; things we do, things we think, things we feel and things in our past. We spend a lot of energy trying to change these things. We hope that something will be different tomorrow. Maybe we’ll magically stop looking at porn, stop being so desperate for love, stop feeling lonely, stop saying things at the wrong moment. Maybe that memory will finally go away.

So, we read our Bibles.

Struggling with sin is the normal Christian experience. Not because we don’t have power over sin, we do have power because of the work of Jesus on the cross in our place and rising from the dead. We have the power through the Holy Spirit to battle our sin and win, but we often lose.

In Romans 7, we see this struggle in Paul. Tim Keller lays this out as to why this is the present Christian experience:

  • In the beginning of chapter 7, Paul is talking in the past tense, in verse 14 he changes to the present tense.
  • In  7 – 13, Paul talks about sin killing him, he’s dead, but in verse 14 Paul begins talking about an ongoing struggle with sin. He is fighting sin, struggling but refuses to surrender.
  • In  18 Paul says “I know that nothing good dwells in me.” Those who don’t know Jesus are unaware of being lost and sinful. Without Jesus, we think we can save ourselves or are good on our own.
  • In  22 Paul says, “I delight in God’s law.” If you don’t know Jesus, you can’t delight in God’s law.
  • Keller concludes, “Often we repent of past sin and think it’s done, but God wants to show us how to hate it when the seeds come up again.”

To move forward in freedom, it is important to name, to confess, those things you do that you hate. Those struggles you battle with. To admit what dwells in you. Often we have an inflated view of our goodness, but to experience grace we must understand the depths of our brokenness. Otherwise, what do we need God’s grace and forgiveness for?

I think the process Paul walks through in this passage is instructive for us as we hate our sin:

  1. Do you hate your sin?
  2. Are you willing to fight your sin? To put things into place to win the battle against sin? This might mean you stop going to places, get rid of something, stop spending time with that person.
  3. Do you know how lost you are apart from the grace of Jesus?
  4. Do you delight in the law of God?

Longings, Desires & When I’m Letdown

desires

Often times it is hard to know what our longings mean. They can be sinful and good. They can reveal things about us, past hurts, pain, things we hope and dream for the future. They can be hard to trust, and they can also reveal who we really are, who we wish to become, and sometimes the people we wish to leave behind.

Our longings, though, also reveal deep within us what God has in store for us.

Our longings are a reminder that God has something more, something different; that our bodies and our world are broken and not how God intended them to be.

G.K. Chesterton, who lived in the early 1900’s, is believed to have said, “A man knocking on the door of a brothel is knocking for God.”

Our lives reveal a longing.

This week let me give you a challenge as you think about your longings and what they reveal about you. Here are some questions to ask:

1. What do you most want out of life? Out of this week and month? Many of us do not spend enough time thinking about what we want out of life. These desires, as we’ll see in a minute, not only reveal a lot about us, but they can also be from God. He created desires in us, desires for relationships, for joy, for hobbies and for the place we live.

2. What would truly make you happy in life? This begins to get to the heart of our desires. Does it have to do with relationships, housing, a trip, hobbies, a career, your body? Again, right now don’t judge if it is sinful or not. Simply list out the desire you have.

3. Is that a sinful desire? This is the moment we begin to evaluate our desires and what they show us. Is that desire selfish, for my glory, about my wants? Is it destructive to others? Does it serve me or God? Is this desire all encompassing in my life right now? Does it drive me like an addiction?

4. What do I do if it is a sin? Many of our desires are sins that we need to handle, confess and bring before God. Our desires also reveal our need for God and His grace in our lives. The desires you are convicted of, confess those to God. Confess those sins where you need to, and ask God to change your desires if need be. But don’t hold on to them; bring them to the cross.

5. What do I do if it isn’t a sin? Not all desires are bad. In fact, many of the greatest things people have done for God have been borne out of desire. Those are things that bring passion to our lives and joy that are from God. They are also God’s good gifts. It is good to enjoy a good meal with friends. It is destructive to make that an idol our lives revolve around.

Leaders Anticipate What’s Next

leaders

Good leaders never say, “I never saw that coming”, because leaders anticipate what is next.

Now leaders cannot see the future, they do not know how everything will work out when they make a decision, how things will go in the world or what will happen next. They aren’t fortune tellers. That would be nice, but it’s not true. But the point still exists.

This is one thing that separates leaders from followers. It is also what separates great leaders from simply good leaders.

But why do some people miss things?

They aren’t looking for what is next. Many leaders are simply trying to survive the week. Many pastors are just trying to get through Sunday. When this happens, you don’t look up. You have no vision, no plan, no dream, nothing that you are moving towards. So when what’s next comes down the pike, you are helpless to grab the opportunity.

Another reason is that what we see in front of us, what we know, is comfortable. Anticipating the future is difficult and pushes us into new arenas, new skills and possibly even changing something.

So if you want to be a leader, how do you anticipate the future?

1. Stay current. One of the reasons pastors and churches find themselves out of date on things is that they don’t stay current on what is happening. I’m not talking about current events as much as I am thinking through how to reach the world around you. Many times pastors don’t know the questions people are asking, so they preach sermons that are irrelevant to their audience. Churches don’t ask who lives around them and how to best reach those people. They ignore them, and consequently the world around them ignores the church.

2. Be willing to ask hard questions. At least once a year (I’d say more than that, but at least once a year) ask some hard questions about your church. Are we reaching our goals? Are we healthy as a church? Are our leaders healthy? Are we seeing lives changed? Are things clear at our church? Do people know their next step, how they fit into our church?

If you never ask hard questions, you’ll continue on the same path, which is usually the easy path of least resistance. If you do this, what’s next will sneak by you.

3. Be willing to look at data you don’t like. Your hard questions will probably bring to the surface things you’d like to ignore about your church. You might see that you have some leaders who need more training, a leader who doesn’t fit in their role; you might see a staff member that isn’t able to keep up. You might even see some areas in your leadership that you need to grow in. This is painful but good. Don’t ignore data, even if it hurts. Data is your friend.

Horst Schulze on “Creating an Organization of Excellence & Efficiency” from the Leadership Summit 2016

leadership

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 13th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

Horst Schulze is the President of Ritz-Carlton, so he has a lot of wisdom that churches can learn from as it relates to guest services and be excellent.

Here are some takeaways:

  • It doesn’t matter what your business is, the guest wants to be happy, you want the guest to return.
  • You have to know what segment you are in so you know what that segment wants.
  • If you don’t know who your customer is and what they want, you will not be able to reach them and keep them.
  • To be successful, you must produce it better than the competition.
  • You have to be more efficient and sufficient than the competition.
  • No matter what our business is or what our market is, part of what you have to be excellent in is hospitality.
  • The guest wants 3 things: that the product is perfect, that you serve them timely and that you care (personal attention).
  • Personal attention drives customer satisfaction more than anything else.
  • Efficiency and sufficiency doesn’t come from management but from leadership.
  • Leadership involves people and implies going somewhere.
  • The first day is the most crucial day for a new volunteer or employee in your church.
  • Efficiency is not cost cutting. Cost cutting is killing your business and killing your brand.
  • Eliminate work that is wasted effort and doesn’t add value.

Danielle Strickland on “Leader Interrupted” from the Leadership Summit 2016

leadership

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 13th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

Here are some takeaways from Danielle Strickland’s talk using Judges 6 as her outline:

  • True peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of justice. -Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Peace (“Shalom”) in the bible is everything that is wrong being made right.
  • The world is crying out for rightness, for truth, for goodness, for all things to be made right. As leaders, we can be used to bring this about through the power of God.
  • True humility is agreeing with God about who you are.
  • God calls Gideon out for who he already is. God calls us out, not through the eyes of others, but for how God sees us.
  • God calls Gideon to go in the strength you have. God calls out what already exists in us.
  • God wants you for who you are and he calls it out.
  • If you have true humility, it will lead to true dependency.
  • True dependency is agreeing with God about who He is.
  • You can’t be dependent on God if you are self-sufficient.
  • You have to create pockets of dependency, places where only God can show up.
  • True humility and true dependence helps you to experience the shalom of God and then you take that into a world longing to be made right.

Leadership Illusions w/ Bill Hybels, Henry Cloud & Shauna Niequest

leadership

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 13th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

Here are some takeaways from the session with Bill Hybels, Henry Cloud and Shauna Niequest:

  • There is a blindspot in many leaders when it comes to self-reflection and hitting the pause button.

Illusion #1

  • You can increase speed in your life and simultaneously keep your soul heading in the same direction and same rate of your speed.
  • If God is pleased with your leadership, he gives you bigger problems to solve.
  • If we aren’t careful, as we increase speed, we lose touch with our soul. Our connection with God gets distant the faster we go.
  • To last in leadership, we must slow the speed periodically and raise the effort we put into our soul.
  • Reflection: Is the speed you run, is it sustainable? Does your soul need more attention?

Illusion #2

  • Part of what it takes to keep your head on straight is the power of the other.
  • The factor that drives everything in your leadership and life is who are you connected to?
  • Your brain stops working if you are not connected.

4 Corners of Connection

  1. No connection. You are alone.
  2. Bad connection. People are with you, but feel disconnected from your marriage, team or boss.
  3. Good connection. Corner #3 is a fake good, a pseudo good. It relieves the pain of isolation but we often connect with a substance that makes us feel good.
  4. Real connection. To connect with someone, you need to let someone know what your needs are. You must know your needs.

Reflection: What corner do you find yourself in most often? What prohibit you from getting to corner 4?

Illusion #3

  • Another illusion for a leader is achievement. We try to hit marks, attain things, grow something.
  • Everything is not an opportunity to succeed and fail.
  • Many leaders live in the place of exhaustion and isolation.

Reflection: How satisfied are you in life? Is the hustle worth it? Where are you not satisfied?

My Notes from One on One with T.D. Jakes at the Leadership Summit 2016

leadership

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 13th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

Here are some takeaways from the interview with T.D. Jakes:

  • We get trapped by titles and how people describe us and stop seeking.
  • We let people put a period on our lives where God has put a comma.
  • The key is to find the common denominator between the things you do.
  • If you aren’t doing anything that scares you, you’re not growing yourself.
  • You can’t go through the door of destiny without going through the hallway of haters.
  • Your job is not to get haters on board.
  • You are no greater than the people you put around you.
  • The art of managing things is to not miss the same thing twice.
  • If you have to hold it to have, you didn’t hire the right people.
  • Whenever something is overwhelming, it means I need to restructure.
  • The hard part of leadership is not figuring out where to go, but what am I willing to let go of to get there.
  • If you can accomplish something on your own, your dream is too small.
  • If you give a person a strategy, it is better than a check.

John Maxwell on “The One Thing to Get Right” from the Leadership Summit 2016

leadership

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 13th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

I was so excited when I saw that John Maxwell was going to be speaking at the summit. He has so much wisdom and insights into leadership (and is the king of one liners!). His talk was based on his new book Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters.

Here are some takeaways:

  • The return is amazing when you pour into leaders.
  • Leaders add value to people.
  • Everything rises and falls on leadership. Leaders lift.
  • Before a leader can lead anyone, you have to find the person.
  • To turn something around, you have to become very intentional.
  • Leaders add value to people.
  • Adding value to people is the core of leadership.
  • There is a thin line between motivating people and manipulating people.
  • There are 3 questions followers ask leaders: Do you like me? Can you help me? Can I trust you?
  • People are asking will this leader add value to my life?
  • Everything worthwhile is uphill all the way.
  • The problem: people have uphill hopes and downhill habits. 
  • The only way to make the change you need to change is to be intentional.
  • There is no thing like accidental achievement.
  • Intentional living is deliberate.
  • Selfishness and significance are incompatible.
  • The problem is people don’t need their life, they accept their life.
  • Christ followers have to ask if they are going to spend their life connecting with people or correcting people.

5 Things to do Everyday to Add Value to People

  1. To add value to people you must value people.
  2. To add value to people you have to think of ways to add value to people. Who am I going to see today and how can I add value to them?
  3. To add value to people you have to look for ways to add value to people.
  4. To add value to people, you must go from knowing to doing. Ask at the end of the day, did I add value to people today?
  5. To add value to people you must encourage others to add value to people.

Chris McChesney on “The 4 Disciplines of Execution” from the Leadership Summit 2016

leadership

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 13th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

Chris McChesney gave a talk from his book The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals, which after hearing him talk, I’m really excited to hear.

Here are some takeaways:

  • The thing that leaders are most frustrated in is not what they are educated in.
  • The hardest thing a leader will ever do, will drive a strategy or a plan that changes human behavior.
  • Any time the majority of people behave a particular way, the majority of the time, the problem isn’t the people but the system and the leader.
  • Execution is harder than strategy.
  • Leaders don’t get to blame the people they lead.

4 Disciplines of Exeuction

Focus on the Wildly Important

  • A team should have 2 – 3 goals to get 2 – 3 goals accomplished. If they focus on 4 – 10, the will accomplish 1 – 2 goals. 11 – 20 goals, they will accomplish nothing.
  • If you have too many goals, no one will hear you as a leader.
  • Too many goals are based on good ideas.
  • Focusing on wildly important are why narrowing the focus is so hard.
  • Too narrow the focus, don’t let things blur.
  • What lives at the corner of “really important” and “isn’t going to happen?”
  • What makes a goal a “wildly important goal” is how you will treat it.
  • When you are tackling something, go narrow.
  • Ask, “what are the fewest number of battles to win the war?”
  • Have 1 wildly important goal per team at the same time, everything else is sustainment mode.
  • You can veto as a leader, but dictate.
  • wildly important goal needs to have a deadline, a target.
  • Execution doesn’t like complexity.
  • The best friends of execution are transparency and simplicity.

Act on lead measures

  • Lead measures are predictive.
  • Lead measures are influenced by the team.
  • There is a big difference between knowing what to do and knowing the data behind what to do and why to do it.
  • Bad news is data is hard to get.
  • Bad news is that people forget data in 3 days.

Keep a Compelling Scoreboard

  • People play differently when they (not the boss) are keeping score.
  • You need a players scoreboard, not a coaches scoreboard.
  • The scoreboard needs to be simply, visible to the player, the lead and lag measures and tells the person and team if they are winning or losing.
  • The number 1 driver of morale and engagement is whether or not a person feels like they are winning.

Accountability

  • When you increase accountability, morale and engagement go up.
  • What are the 1 – 3 things I can do to drive the lead measure?
  • In the meeting: report on last weeks’ commitment, update & review the scoreboard and make commitments for next week (don’t give people their commitments).