Slapped or Kissed?

Would you rather be slapped or kissed? That is not a trick question. It is a question about what type of relationships do you want? Do you want people who actually care about you? Or do you want people in your life who are seemingly nice but really do not care about you and are only in it for what they can get? We need to ask ourselves, what kind of person are we? Do we genuinely care for others? Or are we just nice to people for the purpose of what we can get from them? Are our compliments genuine and sincere or are they filled with flattery for the purpose of manipulation? Sometimes the people who feel and sound safe are actually not. Sometimes the people who rub us the wrong way are actually better for us than the feel good flatterer who is really lying to us to try to manipulate us. Remember iron sharpens iron but never without friction. We need more friction and less flattery if we want to be sharp and on point.

“Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.” (Psalms 141:5 NKJV)

David is welcoming the correction of the righteous. I would rather be slapped by the righteous than stroked by the self seeking. What about you? Do you want real relationships where people love you enough to be honest with you? Learning to respond to correction is essential for our personal growth. People who can’t hear correction position themselves for deception. Someone who is humble has the ability to hear hard things that others would want to avoid, deny or make excuses about.

“Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:5-6 NKJV)

Open rebuke is more beneficial than a deceitful kiss. It’s better to be slapped or wounded by a friend than kissed by an enemy. We need to have courage to develop relationships where there is enough trust for us to be honest. It’s possible to be honest and honorable. The goal is to be able to slap someone with truth and it feel like kindness to them.

Temptation

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” (James 1:13-14 NKJV) Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted of the devil, see Matthew 4 & Luke 4. Jesus had no desires to draw him away into temptation so the Holy Spirit led him to be tempted. Fasting looses the bonds of wickedness, Jesus had none so when he fasted the devil showed up. Where Israel as a nation failed in the wilderness, Jesus their Messiah would not.

When Satan began to speak to Jesus he didn’t introduce himself. Just know when satan speaks to you he won’t introduce himself. Satan questioned Jesus’ identity and spoke to his greatest area of vulnerability. Satan tried to get Jesus to turn stones to bread. The enemy is always trying to get us to prove ourself by preforming for him. The enemy questioned Jesus’ sonship and spoke directly to the felt need of hunger that Jesus was experiencing. The enemy will try to question our identity and speak to our greatest place of vulnerability which is often a felt need. Very often Satan speaks to a felt need in our life, don’t listen to him he is a liar. Remember satan steals from us by lying to us. As believers we must follow Jesus’ example of submitting to God and resisting the devil. When we resist the enemy he will flee from us the same way he did from Jesus. The more we are rooted and grounded in the love of God and the truth of his word the less we will listen to the enemy. The more truth we possess the less temptation is actually tempting. The enemy tried to misuse scripture to make Jesus commit suicide from the church steeple. Suicide is completely satanic. Satan’s agenda is for him to get us to self destruct because he did. Your life has immense value, don’t even consider suicide or self destructive lifestyles. Don’t allow the enemy to misuse the Bible on you. Don’t worship Satan by trying to get what you are after the fast way. Satan wanted Jesus to worship him. In fact satan offered him the keys of the of the kingdom if he would just worship him. Jesus refused. We must refuse. Jesus came for those keys, but he had to die to purchase them. The enemy tries to get us to compromise so that we can get what we want the cheap and fast way. Please remember that there are no shortcuts in the kingdom of God. Jesus taught us to pray, “lead me not into temptation.” That petition to God is about us not desiring things that are destructive for us. My prayer for you is that you would not desire things that are destructive for you.

Adversity

We all experience adversity in this life. Often it is how we respond to it that determines the environment we live in and the direction of our life. Adversity tests how much pressure we can actually take. “If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10 NKJV) The level of our strength is determined by how we handle adversity. Do we handle adversity or does it manhandle us? As followers of Jesus our faith should govern our feelings. Jesus said to his disciples that, “we are going to the other side.” When adverse wind and waves came against the boat the disciples were afraid. Although his disciples were afraid Jesus was not afraid. Let’s make it personal. Just because we experience adversity doesn’t mean we have to be anxious. We must not allow adversity to give us anxiety. Scripture tell us “to be anxious for nothing.” When scripture tells us to do something we are then able to obey scripture through the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Helper. He did not come to help us to do our will. The Holy Spirit is here to help us to do God’s will. The Holy Spirit is in believers to help us to obey God’s word. When we obey God’s word we experience God’s power and provision. When others are anxious we can be peaceful. Peace is not the absence of adversity, peace is what we can release to bring change to the adversity that we may be facing. The gospel teaches us that peace was more powerful than the storm. God’s peace is more powerful than the enemy’s storm. Jesus could speak to the storm that he could sleep in. We can’t speak to a storm that we can’t sleep in it. If we can sleep in it we can speak to it. Jesus rebuked the disciples for having fear of something they had authority over. The issue was they didn’t know they had authority over the storm. When we lose our peace and give in to anxiety or fear we surrender our ability to bring kingdom influence to the adversity that we may be facing. Hold on to your peace, because you will need it especially in times of adversity.

The difference between Leaders and Managers

Leaders and Managers are very similar in some aspects but also very different in other aspects. An effective leader and manager must be both strategic and intentional.

Leaders move things forward.

Managers keep things together.

Leaders are about momentum.

Managers are about morale. 

Leaders are pioneers.

Managers are developers.

Leaders see the big picture.

Managers see the little details that are a part of the big picture.

Leaders are about significance.

Managers are about security.

Leaders are about substance.

Managers are about structure.

Leaders and Managers are both essential for the progress and development of any entity that wants to grow and thrive.

Accountability 

One of the keys to sustainable success in anything is accountability. If you want to pay off debt or acquire wealth you will need to be accountable to people, your plan and the law. If you want to get free of an addiction or be a competitive athlete you will need to learn how accountability works. Accountability is supposed to work for you not against you. I realize that oppressive and insecure leaders have hurt people and so accountability may sound scary. But we can’t live in reaction to other people’s stupidity and expect to succeed in life. Forgive them, let it go, get healthy, be humble and accountable and you will move forward in life. Just know this, where there is true humility there is accountability.

Accountability is a about freedom not control. When most people think of accountability they think of someone calling them to ask, “Are you looking at porn? or Are you still using drugs?” That is the necessary but negative side of accountability. The positive side of accountability sounds something like this. “Are you writing that book you have been talking about?” “What are you doing to start that business that you have been talking about and planning for?” Accountability will pick you up when you fall, keep you on track, help you succeed and help you not become victim of your own success. Accountability helps you to build or rebuild trust.

In the Bible when the prophet Nathan held King David accountable, he helped save David’s kingdom, which actually protected his legacy. Psalm 51 is a direct result of a healthy confrontation that helped David become accountable. In the democratic process accountability protects us from tyranny. In the banking world accountability protects us from fraud. In the jewelry business accountability assures that what you have purchased is authentic. If you want to succeed in life you need to make sure that you see accountability as a servant not a slave driver.

Vision 

Your eyes give you sight, but faith gives you vision. Sight sees what is, vision sees what could be. Vision is when faith and hope look into tomorrow and see something that is not yet, but should be. Vision is when you see a picture of something that is not yet, but could be. Vision sees possibilities. The people in life who have vision usually have direction as well. For vision to give you clear direction, vision must be converted to mission. For example if you have a vision of a skinnier, healthier or wealthier you. You will need a game plan to get there. So your diet and gym routine become your mission and that came from the vision that you had of a better you. When you look at a problem through the lens of faith and hope you get a vision. So look at your life or circumstances through the lens of faith and hope and see what could be. Don’t be discouraged about what is, crying over spilt milk will only turn the milk sour. Look at what is and see what could be. Who do you see yourself becoming this year? Where do you see yourself going this year? What opportunities are before you now? What are the possibilities if you make the most of the opportunities you have been given?

What is in your power to do now that will help you move closer to the vision you have for your life? Powerful people don’t focus on what they can’t change, they focus on what is in their power to change. Be powerful and take initiative to move closer toward the vision you have for your life. Remember being passive is not being patient. Now is the best time to move forward.

Discover Your Strengths

If you want to discover your strengths keep reading. Strengths Finder 2.0 is extremely helpful. All of the core members of our team have taken the test and know their number one strength. One of the members of our team took the test and found out that her top strength was empathy. She was pretty surprised almost astonished. Her exact words were, “I always thought this was a weakness of mine and even my mom told me this was a weakness.” That day she learned that what she thought was one of her greatest weaknesses was actually her greatest strength. We also learned that well-meaning people who are close to us and actually want the best for us could be clearly wrong in their perception of us. Taking the test at the end of the book made her more comfortable and more confident in her own skin. Now she is positioned to be more productive. The results helped both the individual and the organization; it was a win win for everyone. Now as a team leader I am not putting anyone in a position until we first know his or her number one strength. By not putting people in positions prematurely I am protecting the person, the team and the productivity of the organization. Now the person won’t be frustrated and I want be disappointed.

Not only did strengths finder 2.0 help my team it also helped my marriage. My wife Sarah’s number one strength is belief. She is an amazing woman with strong convictions. When I married her she was a 26-year-old virgin. In todays twisted culture that is something to be proud of. Her belief in Jesus and her value for herself made this possible. Her belief is what makes many of the mundane things she does on a daily basis meaningful. We do almost everything together. I am more of a pioneer; she is more of a developer. My number one strength is strategic. Which makes sense because almost everything that I am a part of, I am leading. Since taking strengths finder 2.0 my wife and I understand one another better, work better together and get a long better because we are relating to one another based on our strengths not our shortcomings. If you want to make the most of your relationships make sure you relate to others based on their strengths not their shortcomings. Often our greatest asset is also our greatest liability. Self control is the only thing that prevents our greatest asset from becoming our greatest liability.  

For further proof that strengths finder really works check out this data gathered by a Gallup poll, here. The data does not lie. If you would like to get a copy of Strengths Finder 2.0 click here.

Leadership Defined

Leadership is service, integrity and influence. When you serve someone they see your motives and find out that you have integrity. Then they know that they can trust you and will give you permission to influence them. In my opinion those are the basic mechanics of how leadership should work. Someone who is not willing to serve doesn’t deserve to have influence. I will not give anyone my trust before I see their integrity. Show me your integrity and I will give you my trust. Dwight Eisenhower said, “the supreme quality of leadership is integrity.” Integrity shows me they are safe and therefore trustworthy. When someone is trustworthy then and only then do I allow them to have influence in my life. Do not give someone influence in your life unless they are looking out for your best interests. Many people are disillusioned with leaders who they trusted and allowed to have influence in their lives when in all reality they should not have, because those leaders were not safe or trustworthy. Below are the 3 essential elements of leadership.

3 Essential Elements of Leadership 

  1. Service – Service is what we do for others at our own expense. We find a need and do something about it. We can use our strengths, relationships and resources to serve someone else and help them move forward in life. 
  2. Integrity – Integrity makes everything we do sustainable. Without integrity there is no real success or longevity. 
  3. Influence – Influence is granted when integrity is seen. Our service and integrity makes an impact on others. That impact is called influence.

Leadership is not just service, influence or integrity, it’s all three working together to demonstrate an example worth following.