Four Lessons for Number Seven

October 23, 2005.  My first Sunday as Senior Pastor of Southview Baptist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.

October 24, 2011.  My first Monday of the seventh year as Pastor with Southview.

Six years.  Plus one day.

Starting my seventh year.  I love these dear people.  My church family.  It is my daily joy to serve.  It is my privilege to be so close to God at work.  It is heartbreaking when I realize I have failed them.  It is crushing to walk through life's valley's with them.  I count it all joy.  Trusting our sovereign, loving Father.  And I pray I can be more like Christ & do more for his Kingdom in this seventh year than the last six.

Four lessons.  For number seven.

Loving.  My wife must know, my children must know, my family must know, my church family must know, my friends must know, & everyone I meet must know that I love them. The otherish love we share is God powered, other centered, & self sacrificing.  We love because Jesus first loved us.  We love as he commands. We love not because of what others can do for us, but because of what Jesus has done for us.

Leading.  My home needs a leader.  My church needs a leader.  My peers need a leader.  Our world needs leaders.  Christ following, Bible believing, courageously obeying, selflessly serving leaders.  Where my family has faltered, I am at fault.  Where my church has struggled, I have been lax.  Where your business has bungled, you are to blame.  Learn from it.  Move forward better.  If I am the leader, if you the leader in your family or workplace or church, then we must have a simple motto like this: I am the leader; I must lead.

Listening.  In order to love well, I must listen.  In order to lead well, I must listen.  We're all different - personalities, experiences, habits, maturity - yet we are all wired to want to be focused on.  We want to know others are listening.  We want their eyes.  Their body language.  Their questions & comments to show that they are with us.  And, when I assert my own ideas to quickly or am distracted by other things, I devalue the other person created in God's image & I cut off communication that mirrors that union.  When I do not listen well, I damage more than communication.  

Learning.  Your organization will be limited by your ability to learn.  Family, church, business.  When you stop learning, you stop moving forward.  Whether you are "the" leader or "a" leader - or even if you don't consider yourself a leader at all - you must continue to learn.  Come humbly.  A learning posture not only admits not knowing it all, but freely admits that it doesn't know much.  This learning posture admits the need for others.  Our learning posture honors the Christ's church as a body with every member needing one another.

I have falied when I have not lived these four Ls well.

I will continue to fail if I do not live them well.

Learn from me.  That humble posture might be the beginning for you.

Loving.  Leading.  Listening.  Learning.

Laying it all down for Christ.  And those he gives us to serve.