The Scorecard

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There are two scorecards we can use to tally our success.

There are two scorecards we can use to tally our success.

How do you gauge how you are doing? Everyone has a scorecard. It is probably not a physical scorecard, where personal or professional progress is tracked. Most of us keep a tally of certain things that end up measuring whether we feel we are succeeding or not. We get a feeling of satisfaction or discontent from those metrics.

There are outer scorecards. Calculations are made using pedigree, place, profit, or professing principles (just professing them is sometimes enough, without keeping them.) I am not discounting what can be known about someone by some of these visible metrics. However, the exterior life can be deceiving. Not only can it be used to trick others, it is easy to trick ourselves.

The best corrective to the potential deception of an outer scorecard is an inner scorecard. An inner scorecard is the satisfaction we feel with who we are. To be clear, the inner scorecard is not about reputation. It has nothing to do with who others think we are. There is ultimately no satisfaction in the false rewards of reputation.

I see Paul outlining an outer and inner scorecard in Philippians 3:4-9. He defines an outer scorecard as “confidence in the flesh” (v.4). These were things like ethnicity (Israelite, Benjamite, Hebrew), title (Pharisee), action (persecutor), morality (by the book). At some point though, he says he crumpled up that scorecard (v.7). The new, inner scorecard he started using was simply “to be found in him” (v.9). Paul was motivated to be true to the one opinion that counts.

The inner scorecard always trumps the outer scorecard. No matter the background, how impressive the title, what we have built, or even the standards we have managed to maintain; if we don’t feel on the inside that we are lining up with the way things really are on the outside, we will never be satisfied and never receive approval from the One opinion that ultimately matters.

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Your Most Important Job

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At the top of each of our job descriptions, whether we have the title Pastor or anything else, should be to stay close to Jesus.

At the top of each of our job descriptions, whether we have the title Pastor or anything else, should be to stay close to Jesus.

 

Intimacy as priority

Staying close to Jesus is the most important thing you have to do. The way we have expressed this around here for years is embracing greater intimacy with God. This is the first qualitative value to be championed, empowered, and expected in our roles, not just for our roles.

First a lover

Jesus told us this. He said, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt 6:33) He is first. You are not first a pastor, leader, spouse, or parent. You are first a lover of God and of what he is doing (running a kingdom). Check out the context of Jesus’ statement. He was talking about heart, love, and devotion (6:21 and 24). Those are elements of intimacy.

Bring the intensity

What intentional, passionate effort are you making to deepen and grow your personal relationship with Jesus? You may read this and think, “Chad, you’re coming across a bit intense.” Do you disagree with the premise? If you are not bringing spiritual intensity to your role, what are you bringing?

Intention required

I think intimacy and intensity are linked by intentionality. There are many ways you can make seeking first the kingdom a reality, but one way it does not happen is by falling into it. Intimacy and intensity takes intention.

What I’m doing

Here are a few intentional ways that have worked for me recently. I would love to learn how you are intentionally cultivating your intimacy and intensity with Jesus.

  • Read something new: there are so many easy ways to get fresh content in front of your eyes and into your heart. I love the YouVersion Bible app and have been reading this one recently. Check out the two apps below as well.
  • Weed something new: eliminating something can be a great way to shake things up and force intentionality. I went on a partial fast recently. Fasting requires intentionality. It doesn’t have to be food that you eliminate. You could fast from the radio while you’re in your car and intentionally give that bandwidth of your mind to something else.
  • Lead something new: your spiritual intensity may be low because you’re bored. You may need more responsibility to get you to place your attention on what really matters. I recently stepped into helping more in children’s ministry at church. It isn’t a big commitment time-wise, but it has definitely sparked fresh creative buttons in me that has increased intimacy, intensity, and intentionality with Jesus.

Question:

What do you need to do to stay close to Jesus?

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2 Reasons to Be a Hater

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Our oldest daughter, Taylor, turned 16 this month. When we look back at our parenting from when she was a newborn to a toddler to now, a lot has changed. Our parenting continued to change as our three other daughters were born.

I remember with Taylor, whenever her pacifier would drop on the ground, it would get boiled in water before being allowed to go back in her mouth. Similar precautions were made ranging from how cleaning supplies were stored to what television shows were sanctioned for viewing.

Gradually, as parents, we began to trust the immune system and realized we didn’t need to boil the pacifier. As well, discernment developed regarding the maturity level and what story lines they can handle or what friends to be around. This is all part of the transfer of responsibility between a parent and a child.

If we keep everything under lock and key, put a Mr. Yuck sticker on every potentially poisonous substance, and shield our children in the proverbial bubble, they will never develop their own immune response to what can damage them physically or damage their soul. However, there is poison in the world. And I would submit we should even label them as things to hate because of the damage they cause.

I have been wondering if am as conscientious now about the spiritual poison I am allowing into my kid’s lives as I have been in the past keeping cleaning supplies put up and plastic covers over the electrical outlets. Am I careful with the music they listen to, shows they watch, and people they are shaped by?

What about the responsibility we have in the church? As leaders, we should be training people to be haters of actions and attitudes that do damage physically and spiritually within our community. God is a hater. His love for people stirs hatred toward things that hurt them. Proverbs 6:16-19 outlines seven things that God hates and that are detestable to him. I want to mention two:

1. Gossip.

If someone is complaining about a problem with another person who has no ability or authority to solve it, then it is gossip. We call these negative conversations all kinds of things to justify them, from “venting” to “the prayer request”. We must be so careful not to couch gossip with God-talk. That is gross. God hates it. It damages community. It pulls people apart. There is nothing good produced by it. We should be creating cultures of gossip-haters.

2. Wolves.

These individuals are not easy to define, but they are poison. Jesus (Matthew 7:15) told us to watch out for them (Matthew 7:15) and Paul told us they will come (Acts 20:29; Romans 16:17-20). I know we must be careful about rashly labeling someone a wolf. To paraphrase Eugene Peterson, the church is made up of a bunch of sinners, pastored by a bunch of sinners. So a wolf is not simply an imperfect person in our midst. There wouldn’t be anyone left in the church if we drove all those people away.

Two broad definitions I would submit are those that work to hurt people and help Satan. There are those who use the church community to take advantage of people. Satan is a thief. Satan is the father of lies. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. Wolves are on the side of the enemy. Those working to bring harm to the church are wolves. Wolves are poison to the church and we should hate them.

If there is poor health in the church, could the reason be we are not a strong enough hater?

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A Wide-margin Life in 18 Minutes

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Margin Graphic

 

Perhaps the title is a bit overplayed. I do have some thoughts, though, that will help you have wider margin in your life.

 

What is margin? It is open space. It is catching our breath. It is adequate time. If we are marginless we are busy and overextended.

 

Dr. Richard Swenson illustrated this well in his book titled Margin. He wrote, “The conditions of modern-day living devour margin… Marginless is being thirty minutes late to the doctor’s office because you were twenty minutes late out of the hairdresser’s because you were ten minutes late dropping the children off at school because the car ran out of gas two blocks from the gas station-and you forgot your purse. Margin, on the other hand, is having breath left at the top of the staircase, money left at the end of the month, and sanity left at the end of adolescence.”

 

This isn’t just about stress level. This is connected to your holiness level. When activities begin to butt up against (or overlap) other activities life stops working right. Work, relationships, and the soul start to warp. Dysfunction (not working right) and warping (not shaped right) is a description of sin. You can’t be maintaining sin and developing holiness at the same time.

 

If marginless-ness is responsible for so much dysfunction, what is the solution? Wait for it… pause more. I want to submit you try to pause more during the day. Plan margin into your day. I recently heard an interview with author Peter Bregman. His book 18 Minutes offers a simple guide for margin. I have found this to be really beneficial. You can follow the link to read more detail, but the template is:
  • 5 minutes to plan ahead
  • 1 minute each hour of the workday to refocus
  • 5 minute to review
The potency of those minutes comes from the questions you ask yourself. Bregman offers some great suggestions, but I would also suggest you turn a listening ear to God. Obviously this isn’t the antidote to all your dysfunction and busyness in your life, but it is a place to start.

 

On a scale of 1-10, how much pain is marginless-ness causing in your life?

 

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Silence

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If you turned down all the dials in your head, slid all the channels to zero, what would you hear? What would be left if all the noise was gone?

http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/silence?post_id=861565701_10152971000980702#_=_

For the Long Haul

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How do you renew?

What is your energy level for the things before you today? Do you have what it takes to face the day? If you don’t, do you know what you need to do to renew your energy? I emphasize “you” because everyone is unique and what breathes new life into one person is not the thing that restores another. Even if you have the time and the know-how to get things done, do you have the capacity of focus and satisfaction while you do it?

Who will you be in 10 years?

What in ten years will you wish you would have started doing today? I would submit that doing well at what is before you today, or any day, does not have to do as much with your time and know-how, as with the healthy habits you have in your life. Who will you be in ten years based upon your habits today?

4 areas of need

I read a great book on the topic of energy titled The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working. The author examines four areas of need and the good and bad ways one attempts to fuel those areas. The four areas are the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. We can attempt to fuel those areas in positive and negative ways . Unfortunately, as the author points out, our culture and the habits many have developed do not lead to health and stability over the long haul.

A grid to evaluate our energy

These align with the great commandment from Mark 12. Love of God should be the source of our focus and satisfaction in what we do. That may seem like a Sunday School statement, but it truly is comprehensive, taking account of the whole person. We are to love God with our strength (the physical), our soul (the emotional), our mind (the mental), and our heart (the spiritual). Of course, the great commandment includes relationships too, with love of neighbor, giving us a fifth area of need. That provides a grid to evaluate our energy.

Evaluate yourself

Take each of those five areas and on a scale of 1-10 rate yourself. What are some positive, long-term ways you can renew the love of God in those areas. Take the next step toward building health and stability for the long haul. The links below may provide a spark as to what that next step might be.

“Many leaders incorrectly assume that the most important leadership asset is their time.”

-Bill Hybels

Tozer Devotional: Inward

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A.W. Tozer

First, they misunderstand the nature of Christian faith. . . . Second, they misunderstand the nature of the church. . . . Third, they misunderstand what is wrong with them. You cannot cure a weak member by prescribing a certain diet. You can eat caviar and hummingbird tongue until the sun goes down, but it will not help you, because that is not what is wrong with you. Somebody else says, “Let’s take a trip.” Take your trip–it is all right. Try not to get killed on the way. But remember, that is not what is wrong with you. Somebody else says, “Let’s start a committee to handle it.” The lack of a committee is not what is wrong with you, either. You are missing the nature of true Christian faith, for true Christianity is inward, and what is wrong cannot be reached by these external means. Now suppose we are ready to admit that we are in a rut. You say, “Well, what is the church doing?” I don’t know, because it is the individual that matters. You see, the church is composed of this fellow that lives out here a little way and those two people who live out there in Scarboro and the five who live in Rexdale and the seven who live up in Willowdale and the 14 who live out east. That is the church. What the church does is what the individuals do. How well or how sick the church is depends on how well or how sick the individuals are. In other words, it depends upon how you are. We must come to the Lord and say, “Oh, Lord, what do I still lack? I have some things, Lord, but what do I lack? Or what is it that I ought to get rid of? How do I compare with what I should be? How do I know what I should be?”

via Tozer Devotional.