Why Was David “A Man After God’s Own Heart”?

An often-confusing term concerning the Biblical character of David is the term “man after God’s own heart”.  Have you ever wondered what that really means? What does that kind of heart even look like? This morning I read a verse from the writings of David that I believe perhaps best captures the meaning behind this phrase.

I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalms 16:2

David recognized that the only good in him was the God in him.  Great godly leaders are willing to step aside from their own need for ego building and self-confidence and humble themselves before an almighty God.

I have heard before that President Theodore Roosevelt often went outdoors at night, looked up into the vastness of the universe, simply to remind himself of his humanity compared to the vastness of the universe.  I think that is an important principle for all of us that claim a leadership title.

Next time someone asks you why David was called “a man after God’s own heart”, point him or her to Psalm 16:2.

Great Leaders Lead Well First In The Home

One key indicator of good leadership is to look at a leader’s family.  This may be a matter of personal opinion, but I believe a leader is only as good as the success of the followers of the person leading.  I personally believe the greatest leadership calling for any of us is in our home, so if a person desires to be a great leader, he or she must learn first to lead his or her family well.

I have known so many people who claim to be leaders and are hailed as great leaders in their profession or organization, but who have family lives that are a mess.  Sadly this is true in many churches also, which is where most of my leadership focus is aimed.  Again, it is a matter of opinion, but I have a harder time celebrating a person as a great leader if they have no ability to lead in their private life.  Maybe I am wrong, but I often weigh a pastor’s leadership excellence by the countenance on his wife’s face or the relationship he has with his children.  At our church, when we are hiring a staff person, we always consider the person’s spouse and children in the equation.  It is not only Biblical, but it is also practical.

Pastors and other leaders, if you measured your influence and success in ministry or business completely by your immediate family, how are you doing?

I have shared my opinion and I would love to hear yours.  Do you have a harder time following a leader if you find out he or she does not lead well in the home?

A Devotional Encouragement On Overcoming Fear

I command you…be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 NLT

As I read the scripture, I see little room for a believer to be afraid, except the reverent fear of God.

Perplexed, yes… Confused, sometimes… Overwhelmed, often… Angry, perhaps when necessary… Distressed, possibly…

Of course, just the fact that the command is there does not mean we will always follow it. In fact, to the contrary, I have been afraid many times. I fight the worry battle like everyone else. Wasn’t it David, the man after God’s own heart, who said, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you”?

Still, the Bible consistently reminds us not to allow fear to captivate our lives. Obviously, when God first gave this command to Joshua, being an all-knowing God, He knew that Joshua was about to encounter some scary days.  The enemies of Joshua had ample opportunity to attempt to make him squirm.

Even today God knows that there will be times in our life that cause fear to be our lead emotion. He sees the trouble before it comes. The One who MADE the disciples get into a boat and face the raging sea often allows the storms to come in our life.

God knows there are things to make us afraid, but the challenge remains and the command remains to not be discouraged and to not be afraid!  Furthermore, I have a feeling the times when our fear is greatest are instances where we need to rely on His perfect strength even more.

Call on the Lord today and ask Him to help you overcome your fears!

10 Life Quotes to Get You Motivated

Here are 10 quotes to get you motivated for the week ahead.  You may want to pick one, write it on an index card and put it on the refrigerator.

A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.
David Brinkley

Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
Dale Carnegie

Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.
George Edward Woodberry

Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.
David Frost

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
Walt Disney

Don’t confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.
Erma Bombeck

Failure is success if we learn from it.
Malcolm Forbes

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
Bill Cosby

Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.
Ross Perot

(Thanks to http://www.brainyquote.com for these bits of inspiration.)

What Am I Supposed To Do?

Good reminder for me today…how about you?

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.

Micah 6:8 Message Version

Get To The Bottom And The Up Will Be Found

When an organization, relationship, or situation is in trouble, the faster it can get to the bottom the sooner it can begin the climb to the top again. This is often true in marriages, businesses, and economies.

Recovery will not usually come until the bottom is found.  The quicker you find the bottom the sooner you can reverse the slide from down to up or bad to well.   No one enjoys finding the bottom, but it is from there that any positive movement will most likely be found.

In a marriage for example, some people keep bringing up the same issues and repeating same mistakes and so they fail to initiate change.  Sometimes a spouse refuses to tell the whole truth and so bad news keeps coming out, opening new wounds each time.  The marriage never improves until everything is on the table, there are no more secrets and the bottom is found.

Get to the bottom of an issue or problem and its all uphill from there.

Are you nearing the bottom yet?

43 Weird Things Said in Job Interviews

This is hilarious.   CNN put together a story working with Career Builder on the funniest or weird things people said during job interviews.  What’s funny is that during the nervousness of something like an interview most of us are likely to say something we don’t necessarily mean to say.  Hopefully most of us are not this bad.

For example, here are a couple I thought were particularly funny:

Why did you leave your last job?

“I have a problem with authority.”

What kind of computer software have you used?

“Computers? Are those the black boxes that sit on the floor next to the desks? My boss has one of those. He uses it. I don’t have one. He just gives me my schedule and I follow it.”

Do you have any questions?

“If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be?”

What are your hobbies and interests?

“[He said] ‘Well, as you can see, I’m a young, virile man and I’m single — if you ladies know what I’m saying.’ Then he looked at one of the fair-haired board members and said, ‘I particularly like blondes.'”

Read the complete story HERE.

Building Spiritual Maturity In Your Home

Most Christian parents want to encourage their children to mature spiritually, but they do not know how.  I am not an expert at this and I am still learning, but my boys are incredible men of God and they sincerely seek after Christ into their young adult years.

Here are some thoughts for producing children who desire to grow spiritually:

Look at your plank first

How is your own your spiritual life? Are you growing in your knowledge and love of God outside of Sunday morning?  You cannot lead your family somewhere you have not been or are not going.

Have a plan

If you do not know where you want to go you probably will not get there.  I wanted my boys to be men of God. I started at the age of about 8 teaching them what that means.  At the age of 12, we began a year of discovery and at age 13 we celebrated entry into the beginning stages of manhood.  We have continued to fine tune that plan each year.

Find out what works for your children and for the family

You are only going to stick with things you really want to do and that work.  Your children are unique and each requires different environments to learn.  You may be strong enough to make your children sit still for a 30 minute family devotion time, but ask yourself is it effective or does it simply make you feel better.  The key is that your family is moving in the right direction spiritually, not that you follow someone else’s script.

Look for teaching moments

Be available to your children on their time. They do not know how the game of life works and they will need your input.  The problem is they will want you one minute and not the next. For Jeremy the best teaching moments were while kicking a soccer ball. For Nathaniel it was throwing a baseball.

Do not force it

Sometimes parents (maybe especially pastors) are so afraid of our own image, of what people may think if children do or say something wrong, that we put undue pressure on them. Do not be afraid for your children to question their faith. I see too many parents that go into panic mode when their children naturally question spiritual things. If you are normal then you have days when your faith is not quite as strong. Do not expect more from your children.

Minister together

I took my boys along for ministry meetings whenever I could.  We have participated in family mission trips.  I evaluate Sundays with my boys.  They feel a part of my ministry.

Keep your family emotionally healthy

How healthy are you emotionally? How healthy is your spouse and your children?  Recognize the signs of burnout and stress on your family and address problems early.

Build relationships first and spiritual maturity second

Build the kind of relationship with your children that will help them want more of what you value. Jesus did that with the disciples.  Your children are more likely to want to know the Christ you love if they learn first to love you.

What tips do you have for building spiritual maturity into your home?

One Sentence That Impacted My Life Greatly

Cheryl and I were invited to dinner at a woman’s house that attends our church.  She had previously attended The Gathering in Nashville, but the drive was wearing on her each week, so she was excited to find a similar church closer to home.  She wanted us to meet her former pastor and his wife, David and Paula Foster.  I cannot accept every invitation, simply because there are too many in a church our size to accommodate them all, but I am glad I accepted this one.  David is a great leader and church planter.  I had met David several times, but never spent any time getting to know him.

David Foster made a huge investment in my life Friday night.  I had previously written a post about this need.  (Read that post HERE.)  God must read my blog…or my heart.  ☺

It was really simple.  David is a great listener so he heard my story of planting the church.  I shared with him the struggles, the heartaches, the sadness in losing friends, and of course, the joys of seeing God do amazing things in people’s lives.  I do not talk about the struggles much, but David understood firsthand the difficulties in church planting and he encouraged the conversation.  David said he considers himself a renegade.  In fact he wrote a book about it.  See an excerpt HERE.  I am sure he has faced controversy, but his words to me were invaluable.

David said one line to me and it rocked my world! He said, “Ron, you know this already (I am not sure I did.)

Find your affirmation in the people to whom God has called you to minister…in whose lives God is changing through your work.”

Wow!  Such a simple thought, but honestly, I am not sure I had really stopped long enough to see things through that paradigm.  I had probably spent more time seeking affirmation from other pastors or comparing our ministry to other churches. Sometimes I compare myself to them competitively.  I may get discouraged if I am not as successful as them. Frankly some pastors seem to resent or question the reasons behind our success.  There may be struggles if we have different methodologies.  I can wish the church world was less competitive, but even though its leader is perfect (Christ) it is an organization run by imperfect people.

When I apply David’s principle of finding affirmation I am overwhelmed at what God is doing.  He is molding, shaping, changing, growing, spurring, releasing, capturing, and saving countless lives through the work of Grace Community Church.  I have never been so encouraged to continue the work God has called me to do!  In addition, my greatest calling is to my family and they are flourishing in Christ!  (I am writing a separate post about this in recent days.)

Thank you David for investing in my life! You have no idea the impact your few words had.

Have you ever had a few words impact you in a powerful way?  Who is investing in you right now with words of wisdom or encouragement?  In whose life are you investing?

Orientation By Wilderness Experience (Could It Work For Your Team?)

1078283_58943098Taylor, one of my 18 year-old son Nate’s best friends, is going to Wheaton University this fall. I am excited that he will be an hour away from Nate who will be at Moody Bible College.  I wrote a blog post about their friendship a couple months ago. Read that post HERE. I had coffee this morning with Taylor, because he is leaving this weekend for an extended and unusual college orientation.

Wheaton offers an optional wilderness experience as a preparation for incoming freshman to the university. Students explore a Christian worldview and get college credit in exchange for an extreme outdoor adventure with other students, professors, and experts in wilderness adventures.  Someone at the university told Taylor, “If you can survive 12 days alone with someone in this experience then you can last a lifetime together.”

I love the concept.  I am wondering if it would work in other settings:

  • Incoming staff people…
  • Premarital counseling…
  • Potential leaders…

Do you think this would build healthier teams?

Who in your organization/family would you like to send on a 12-day wilderness experience so they will be a better team player?