What God has been teaching me from 1 Peter 3

I’ve been reading through the book of I Peter lately. In chapter 3, verses 8-9 it states:

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

These few verses have really had an impact on me. God has been teaching me lately to be more compassionate, especially to those that are less fortunate than me. This verse was yet another reminder.  I don’t know what this looks like yet, but I do know that God is calling me to do something.

The next part of the passage talks about not repaying evil with evil or insult with insult. This is another challenge for me. I have no problem being nice to people who are nice to me. But it’s real hard to be nice to people that I feel are harming me. God is telling me, not only should I not be acting like them, but instead find a way to bless them. So when someone cuts me off on the road, I need to find a way to make that person’s day a little better. Lately, I’ve been tempted to repay evil with evil. I’m glad I haven’t acted on those feelings. That’s a good start, but I know God is calling me to so much more. He is not calling me to just be neutral. I need to find ways to be a positive influence and a blessing to those who have opposed me.

How have you done in this area? If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

What God has been teaching me from 1 Peter 3

Praise God, I’m Overweight!

After five months of exercising six days a week and eating in moderation, I am happy to report I’m no longer obese and I’m just overweight. When I started this, I weighed 223 lbs and had a body mass index (BMI) of 33.9. This week, I weighed in 196 lbs and my BMI is 29.8. With my BMI under 30, I’ve crossed over from being obese to overweight. This is the thinnest I’ve been in four years.What am I doing to lose the weight? I’m walking on a treadmill six days a week. While walking, I keep my heart rate in my target zone for about 50 minutes. I’m also trying to eat healthy. I’ve cut back on the fast food and I’m trying to eat low calorie, low fat stuff. I’m doing pretty well on the eating part of this, except when, like tonight, my wife makes chocolate chip cookies for the kids.

My plan is to keep doing what I am doing. I hope to reach my goal of getting down to 173 lbs. by the end of 2007.  You can continue to follow my progress by clicking on My Weight Loss Progress page on the right column of my blog home page.  Feel free to comment if you have any tips or tricks for me.

Praise God, I’m Overweight!

Key Takeaways from the Leadership Summit

A few days ago, I had the privilege of attending the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. Every year, the Willow Creek Association organizes a leadership conference and brings in leaders from the church, business, political and entertainment worlds. Since this was my fourth summit, I had a good idea of what to expect. I expected to learn some new leadership concepts and be stretched in my thinking.  Here are some of the key takeaways from the sessions I attended…

Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church gave the first talk and spoke about a vision to die for. He shared that too often a senior leader goes off on his own and develops a long term vision for the organization. The problem with this approach is that if the followers in the organization are not involved in the vision formation and refinement, they will not own the vision.

In the next session, Hybels interviewed Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP. Before this session, I didn’t think I would get a lot out of this interview. I’m happy to have been wrong. I appreciated her honesty about her departure from HP. Some of the other things that I appreciated about her talk were…

Every time you overcome a fear, you get stronger.
Leadership is about seeing and unlocking the potential in others.
You have the opportunity to learn from everything and everyone.
There is a gift in everything.

I enjoyed Marcus Buckingham’s talk about building on strengths and managing around weaknesses. This is a challenge for me. In the past, I spent too much time on my weaknesses and not enough time on my strengths. Buckingham challenged the audience to figure out what they love and what they loath.

There was a lot of good information that was given by Colin Powell as Hybels was interviewing him. Here are some key takeaways:

You should spend only one-third of the time on a task or project and then let the team work on executing it with the remaining two-thirds of the time.
Be prepared to disappoint people
Check ego at the door
Things look better in the morning
Trust the element of instinct
Be prepared to be lonely

I was challenged by John Ortberg’s talk on the leader’s greatest fear. He spoke about the public mission of a person, church, organization, etc. vs. their shadow mission. The shadow mission is very similar to public mission, but the shadow mission is more about your secret desires, not about God’s desires. Ortberg gave the example of what could be the shadow mission of his church, “We are a successful church for successful people.” I wonder how many church leaders at the summit were convicted by those words. I certainly was.

I wasn’t able to attend the Saturday session, so the last session I attended was Hybels’ interview with movie director, Richard Curtis. This turned out to be the most powerful moment for me at the summit. But it wasn’t even because of anything that Curtis said. It was a video clip of a little girl in a slum in India getting ready to sleep on a side of a busy street as people were walking by. I have a 7 year old girl and that girl could have been my daughter. After watching that image, I wrote the following words in my notes, “I need to do something for the poor.” I have no idea what to do, but I know that God is calling me to something. I am doing very little right now, but God has blessed me with the resources to do so much more. I’ll be taking some time to pray about what to do specifically, but I know I have do something. I’ll keep you posted.

Key Takeaways from the Leadership Summit

What God has been teaching me from James 5

As I have been reading through the book of James, one verse that I spent a little more time with was from chapter 5, verse 7. It says,

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.

The verse is talking about waiting patiently until Jesus returns, but I can apply the importance of being patient to other situations as well. I’m in a situation right now where I am learning to be patient and wait on the Lord. So I spent a little extra time on what God was trying to teach me with this passage.

I was thinking about the example of the farmer. He waits patiently for the harvest. He works very hard for several months so that during a short period at the end of the season, he can collect the food. So, while he is now waiting patiently, it doesn’t mean he didn’t take any action earlier. He worked extremely hard at the beginning of the season preparing the soil, planting the seeds, and fertilizing.

In the past, I’ve tended to view “waiting on the Lord” as taking no action and waiting for God to do something.

But the farmer doesn’t simply sit around and wait for the crops to magically appear. He needs to plant the seeds and tend the soil. Then, he needs to wait on the Lord to bring the rains that will grow the crops.

Like the farmer, I can’t sit around waiting for God to just bless me. God could certainly do that if He wanted to, but God is calling me to act. As I work through this, I believe that God is saying there is some combination of acting and waiting. I wish I had that ratio figured out. It’s good to know that action on my part is involved because I never seem to have a problem taking action. The challenge for me is to increase the patience and waiting part of the equation.

How about you?

What God has been teaching me from James 5