31 Tips for 2016 – #9

Unknown-1Here is Tip #9 for Ministry Leaders in 2016…

Stop comparing yourself to others. 

Observe others. Listen to others. Learn from others and even admire other leaders. However, stop short of leader envy, leaving yourself depressed and depleted of a sense of gratitude and vision for what is right in front of you… the people around you.

“If comparison is the thief of joy, then our culture is being robbed blind.” (Jon Foreman – Founder and Lead Vocalist, Switchfoot)

How can we keep from the trap of comparison? Here are 2 suggestions…

  1. Spend less time on social media. For the most part, social media is everyone’s “highlight real.” It’s a constant stream of everyone’s best moments and one-liners. We know this deep down. Yet, no matter our level of influence, we are prone to want to see what others are up to, comparing their level of “success” to our own. Stop it… or at least cut way down on it.
  2. Spend more time investing in real people in real time. Invest in the people around you, your spouse, kids, and lead team. In our globally connected world we can unwittingly spend too much time connecting on-line, tweeting, facebooking, periscoping, instagramming, you tubing, snap chatting, even that archaic medium of emailing.

You are more than your number of followers on any given platform. You are who God has said you are, where He has placed you, to make an investment in His kingdom through people here and now. Embrace this thought… You are an original and there is no comparison to others in God’s eyes.

PS – Don’t compare yourself to you (especially that “younger” you). We all go through seasons of more or less influence. However, we can’t live in a perpetual state of harvest. Embrace the weeding, watering and waiting seasons along the way. Besides, someone has rightly said, “The older we get, the better we were.”


A Heartfelt Response to 50 Shades


What do the movie “50 Shades of Grey” and the Sport’s Illustrated (SI) Swimsuit edition have in common? They are both pornography. They are both destructive to healthy marriages and other vital relationships. They are both degrading to women and promote disillusion to young girls (and guys!). They are both representative of a culture that misses the mark and the point of God-given intimacy and the celebration of gender. The question is, what should our response be as Christ followers?

1 – Pray. Pray for Christians in the media. Pray for those involved in, exploited and enslaved in these and even more illicit forms of “entertainment” within the growing sex and human trafficking industries. Pray that the church of Jesus Christ will grow in it’s compassionate engagement of these issues with increasing love for those caught in their webs of deception.

2 – Talk. Take advantage of the media frenzy and talk with your spouse, kids, and adults of all ages about what Christ-centered purity, gender identity, self-esteem, etc, are all about. Here are just a few key passages you can look to and discuss…

2 Samuel 11 & 12 – The Story of David and Bathsheba

Psalm 119:9-16 – The path to purity.

Proverbs 4:25-26 – Looking straight ahead.

Matthew 6:9-13 – Power through the Lord’s Prayer

1 Corinthians 10:12-14 – You can overcome!

James 4:6-8 – Join “The Resistance.”

3 – Engage. How can you be involved as a family, Christian business, church small group or congregation? Check out some of the resources below for more information and ways you can join the growing movement to fight sexual addiction, slavery and fight for those who feel helpless and hopeless in their grip.

4 – “Above all, guard your heart, for everything else you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, NV) How do we do this? Begin by guarding what you see. It is true, “The eyes are the window to the soul.” (William Shakespeare) In the Old Testament, Job issues a strong plea for purity that can be readily taken up by men and women who will hold one another accountable and encourage one another through temptation. “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look at a young woman lustfully. For what is our lot from God above, our heritage from the Almighty on high? Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong?” (Job 31:1-3, NIV) This is a powerful reminder that what we view is viewed from above and we are accountable. Find a few trusted accountability partners and give one another permission to keep each other honest and pure when it comes to sexual temptation.

I am no expert. I’m just a husband, dad and pastor. And, I am just as vulnerable to temptation as anyone. So, let’s face it together. This isn’t “grey area.” While I don’t plan on seeing the movie or flipping through the pages of SI (on a smartphone, tablet or computer), I do believe there is more than enough information (and publicity) out there to make an informed decision for all who name the name of Jesus Christ not to support these or media offerings like them. Let’s recommit ourselves to honoring God and respecting others by guarding our hearts as we navigate the almost limitless media world. And may we respond with grace and truth to those who have been victims of and/or struggle with the very real temptations of pornography and sexual addiction.

Below are some resources and ministries you can access for help and information on these issues…

Sexual Addiction Resources: – Focus on the Family resources for sexual addiction – Focus on the Family sexual abuse resources – XXXChurch sexual addiction ministry – New Life resources for sexual addiction – Safe Eyes computer protection – Net Nanny computer protection

Trafficking Ministries: – Church of God trafficking ministries – Tiny Hands International – Stripped Love – One Heart