Humble Inquiry by Edgar H. Schein, is an incredible read. He battle the ongoing epidemic of pride and ego in our culture today.
Edgar takes a stand for humility in all kinds of leadership and in this book, he says that being inquisitive is a key to humble leadership. According to Schein, telling is much less effective than asking is.
I highly recomend this book for everyone, but espescially if you are a type A personality and in any leadership role. We could grow our influence in others lives if we apply the thoughts of this book to our lives.
Give and take: a REVOLUTIONARY approach to success
by Adam Grant
Success is something that most people strive for in life and everyone tends to have a different idea on how to achieve it. Adam Grant provides a revelutionary approach.
Grant says that there are three types of people; givers, takers and matchers. People typically think that to be super successful you have to play cut throat and take, take, take. It is a very real approach that does work at times. However, is it actually successful to play this way? I guess that depends on your personal definition of success.
Grant says that givers are people that are incredibly generous with their time, money and resources. These people care more about helping others than their own personal gain.
It's easy to think that these people will never be successful because all they think about is giving away, but Adam believes that they gain so much more when they do that.
Takers are just that, takers. They are people that are only looking to get ahead at anybodies expense beside their own. They do what is best to get more money and fame. These people may make a lot of money but are typically alone and burn through personnel.
Then their are matchers. Matchers are people that only give what they are given.
In this book, Grant gives examples of givers and takers and compares their success. He creates an argument that givers are much more successful in the long run.
I loved this book! I give it a five star rating. I think all leaders should read this book. If we had more givers in this world, we would have a much more successful world.
In our society, we seem to have such a strong desire to make sure that anyone who does something bad to us, has some sort of judgement or punishment. We really just want to make sure people get what they deserve.
Am I right?
Nobody wants to see someone have good things happen to them if we feel that they have wronged us or wronged someone else.
We are almost obsessed with this.
Just read the news sometime.
Just listen to a random conversation.
It is all over the place. And my favorite part is everyone thinks that they are the right ones.
It sounds like a perfect world when everyone that does something wrong to us is called out and brought to justice.
If you aren't a follower of Christ, I don't expect you to understand or care about what I am about to say next, but I think it would improve your life if you applied this principle.
If you are a Christ follower... stop fighting for judgement and punishment in people’s lives just because you think they deserve it!
What right do you have?
Last I checked, we are convicted felons on our way to Hell.... but something called GRACE was shown to us. And you know what... that grace ruined everything.
That grace broke the chains that we were eternally destined for. Grace ruined the black and white version of what should be done to those who wrong us.
Grace ruined everything!
And if you have experienced this Grace, it should change the way you give it.
The bible is full of stories of this ridiculous grace. One of my favorites is the story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50).
Joseph was loved by his father but his older brothers were jealous of him and couldn't stand Joseph.
Joseph kept having dreams that represented his entire family bowing down to him. This was too much for his brothers so they planned on killing him.
They don't kill Joseph but they do sell him into slavery and tell their father that Joseph was killed by a wild animal.
Just that alone sounds pretty unforgivable, right?
Well, the story for Joseph get a little crazier. He finds himself in Egypt, working for Potiphar. Potiphar loves Joseph and puts him in charge of his entire house.
Potiphar’s wife also likes Joseph and frames him after Joseph shows incredible integrity and character by not sleeping with his masters wife.
Joseph finds himself in prison now because of the lies of this woman. Pretty unforgivable, right?
Joseph finds favor with the jailer and he puts him in charge of all the prisoners. He interprets two dreams and asked the prisoner that would be restored to Pharaoh's house, to remember him.
After the dreams that Joseph interpreted played out exactly like he said it would, the prisoner forgot about him. He went back to work while Joseph remained in prison. Totally unforgivable, right?
A few years later the prisoner seems to remember Joseph when Pharaoh needs a dream interpreted. Long story short, Joseph interprets it and becomes the second in command in Egypt. Things are finally looking up!
Now Joseph's brothers re-enter the scene...
Joseph has so much power now and could do anything he wanted to get revenge on his brothers who absolutely wronged him.
But Joseph doesn't do that.
Come on Joseph! Seriously? You have them right where you want them!
Joseph shows the most ridiculous grace ever to the family that hated him before.
Joseph could have brought the hammer down and no one would have judged him. They may have even nodded in approval.
But grace ruined any "right" Joseph had to get revenge.
The same way that grace ruined your eternal destiny is the same grace that ruins your right to bring judgement on those that do wrong to you.
I know it doesn't make since!
But neither does the grace that Christ showed you!
It is an absolutely ridiculous love that Christ has shown. It is a grace that makes no since.
That is the grace we are supposed to give to everyone.
Togo, West Africa is a dark country. Over 50 percent of the population practices witchcraft or vodoo. If you were to mention that statistic too a local, they would say it is more like 90-95 percent.
The point is that it is a land gripped by Satan.
When you look back over its history you can see that its been this way for a long time. Togo was once reffered to as the "slave coast". You can see where Satan has had a tight grip here for quite sometime.
When I was in Togo last December I knew that I was going to face some sort of spiritual oppression. In my mind it was pretty much inevitable.
I mean, I was going for a vision trip where I was going to see just how I would bring the Light of Jesus to oppose the enemy himself. That's kind of like poking a snake with a stick.
So I expected it and did my best to prepare as much as I knew possible but since I had never experienced it on this level, I didn't know exactly what I was getting myself into.
I was legitimately afraid but I didn't want to tell anyone that.
As soon as I got to Togo, Satan was working.
It's not like you may think it was. Nothing crazy and supernatural was happening around me. Satan just had a pretty good idea of what some of my weaknesses are. He knew that I do not function well without sleep...
So the first night I was in country, I didn't sleep a wink.
That's alright though! I could run on adrenaline!
Then the second night came and I didn't sleep again...
Now I'm starting to get very sluggish and drifting off during conversations with the missionary that I was working with. It was hard to stay focused.
I thought for sure I would sleep the third night just from total exhaustion... nope!
Now it was very noticeable that I was not myself because of my lack of sleep. My missionary friend even made a comment and asked how I was doing. I just simply said I was tired and we moved on.
That same day we visited one of the biggest voodoo temples in that area. As we were driving up to it, we could feel this awful feeling of oppression and darkness. It is a difficult feeling to describe other than just this heaviness that weighs on your body. It makes you just want to get out of there as soon as possible.
I had never felt something like that before so it quite honestly scared me. I thought about it the rest of the day and started to fear going to sleep that night, even though that wouldn't be for another 7 hours or so.
I eventually worked up the courage to mention everything I was dealing with to my missionary friend. He simply said, "I know. You haven't been yourself since you landed. I was just waiting for you to bring it up." I was a little embarrassed that I didn't bring it up sooner. He talked with me about it and said it was spiritual oppression. He said you can't run from it, you have to face it. He walked me through what that may look like and said whenever I was ready he would be glad to battle alongside me.
I knew inside that I was going to have to battle that very evening when it was time for bed. I just didn't want to. It was scary!
After everyone went to sleep it started to get real.
Now that I knew what I was dealing with it made everything worse. At least before I just wasn't sleeping... I wasn't gripped with fear like I was now.
I started to speak scripture out loud and pray. I rebuked Satan and his rule over me in that moment. I was fighting the best I knew how.
The feeling just wasn't residing from me though. I started getting annoyed. So I went and woke up the missionary couple and told them what I was dealing with and they immediately got out of bed and came to pray and read Scripture with me.
We battled for about 20 minutes when I suddenly felt this peace and the weight had finally lifted from me. It was incredible! There was no fear anymore!
You could tell Satan was starting to take drastic measures when the power went out in that moment. Right then we all started laughing. It was a realization that that was all Satan could do.
"Really? You can turn off some lights?"
I learned two very valuable lessons during that trip...
1. Satan has very real power.
It's true! Satan really does have supernatural power. He really does attack and it really is strong... and we humans really are no match for it...
But I learned a second lesson...
2. My God is so much more powerful!
I may have experienced Satans power like never before, but I also experienced how weak he is compared to my God!
It isn't even a competition!
Satan had to get permission to attack me like he had to get permission to attack Job (Job 1 & 2) .
Even though satan has such a tight grip on Togo and darkness seems to be all over that place... the Light of Jesus is SO MUCH GREATER!
God is currently transforming hundreds of lives in Togo!
The son of a witch doctor is now a pastor going through training to pastor his very own church. My God is greater!
The second church plant of the Togo Palms ministry is right across the street from the village chief... who just so happens to be a witch doctor. We had to get permission from the village chief to be able to build a church their. This man who communicates to demons on a daily basis gave us permission to build a church that speaks the Truth of his very own enemy, right across the street. My God is greater!
The pastor of this church plant has gone into the house of this witch doctor and shared the Gospel on multiple occasions and he keeps inviting him back. As a result two of his relatives are now followers of Jesus. My God is greater!
The day before this second church plant launched a group of 40 or so individuals went to evangelize in the surrounding area. Oh yeah, It is right up the road from that massive voodoo temple I mentioned earlier. After about 2 and a half hours, 105 people gave there life to Jesus. My God is so much greater!
Satan has absolutely noting on our God! The very same satan and demons that you fear, know the very same God that you know and they run tremble (James 2:19)! Our God is so much greater!
Let the power of God be shown through you. The very same power that rose from the grave lives in you (Romans 8:11)! Lets live like we believe that.
I believe a lot of people in the world struggle with the need of approval. It's understandable when you look at what culture teaches us. Culture teaches us to sacrifice anything to be able to reach the "top". This so-called "top" is a fantasy where we are now in the spotlight and loved by one and all. If you are striving to be loved by one and all, that is an impossible journey. Not even the most famous icon has the support of everyone. It just doesn't exist.
Leaders are always struggling with this fantasy and the way they respond to it will shape their impact and influence. What leader doesn't want to have some sense of approval from those around them? It is a natural desire! However, if it cripples your confidence, decision making or character, you have started down a very unsatisfying journey.
Paul talks about this idea of approval in Galatians chapter one. Paul is kind of ripping into the Galatians in this letter. He is very upset because it seems that they have been teaching a false Gospel. He is calling them out and rebuking their actions. Obviously, his tough words are not going to be the most popular with the Galatians... so this is how Paul follows up verse 10:
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Paul says something so bold and calls out every person that calls themselves a follower of Christ. He brings to light the motives of people that struggle with this need of approval.
So here is the question you need to ask yourself today... are you trying to win the approval of man or God? What are your motives for the decisions that you are making in life? If you are more concerned about what people will think about you, that it stops you from doing what God wants you to do, then you have lost what it means to be a follower of Christ.
Is it worth it?
Is the temporary satisfaction of man worth losing the eternal reward of our Father in heaven?
Is a momentary pat on the back worth sacrificing the words, "well done my good and faithful servant"?
Once you are so confident in who God is and what he means in your life, you will not stress so much about what the world thinks around you. Life becomes a lot easier when you accept the fact that you aren't strong enough, good enough or skilled enough and instead hold tight to the truth that you are loved by your Creator.
The craziest thing is that we spend our lives fighting for temporary approval of men when we have already been accepted just as we are by the only thing that will matter for eternity.
So stop fighting for the need of approval! Stop stressing about how people see you! Start reveling in the love of your Father and confidently acknowledging your weakness that is made perfect in Christ!