#ClearlyMissingYourBlogPosts

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Most of the time I blog for myself. I view it as a place and an opportunity to share my thoughts so that I can come back and trace growth, perspective and the fun things in my life. However, today I post for a friend. My dear friend that I miss so much sent me a very kind message to request some thoughts on a few current events. I am honored that she would be interested in my perspective. Thanks, Nicci!

Kanye – Jesus is King

I have never been a Kanye fan. Obviously, I wouldn’t listen to his music on a family road trip and usually, any news that I heard about him was less than appropriate. That being said, I didn’t “not like the guy”, I just didn’t think about him all that much. When I heard that he had a new Christian Album, My first thought was, I Like the Name of that Album. Think about all the people that he has influence over who are going to say those words at some point to discuss his new album. Because of his influence, the World is talking about the fact that Jesus is King and I like that. I started listening to his album and thought it was nice but soon moved on. Until I watched the last 6 minutes of his in-flight interview with James Corden. I was moved by Kanye’s humility and transparency. I appreciated his application of scriptural truth. And obviously… I LOVE THE MILE HIGH CHOIR!! Wow! So, I went and listened to the album over and over and quickly found my favorites. Selah, Everything We Need, On God, Use This Gospel, and Jesus Is Lord. I will say that like all of my favorite things, it was an acquired taste, but it was quickly acquired. Our family has adopted his song Everything We Need as our Christmas Theme Song. That means, anytime my kids are asked what they want to Christmas they sing: “We have everything we need… oh, oh, oh, oh” 🙂 I am thankful that Kanye is boldly sharing the news that Jesus is King and like he asks in his songs, I am praying that he is faithful to Jesus and that God will continue to use him.

One other note: I have 2700+ friends on facebook and I have not seen one negative post from a Christian about Kanye. Not one. I have however seen a million posts about how Christians should be ashamed of themselves for not welcoming Kanye to the faith. I guess I am blessed to have none of the same friends, but I also wonder how many Christians are making a bandwagon out something that isn’t even an issue. Focus on the positive people.

Christians and the Enneagram

Wow! Throwing out some tough subjects. So, this one is way too deep to address thoroughly on my blog. I will say that I fell in love with the enneagram several months ago. I have taken several different personality tests and this was by far the most accurate and helpful. After my last post about the benefits of Enneagram, I was contacted by a friend who told me that I should remove my post because Enneagram is founded in the cults and has ties to spiritism and witchcraft. I thanked my friend for the information and asked him for his source. He sent me a link with two ladies who mocked the Enneagram (and anyone who would use the Enneagram) for an hour. I listened to the whole podcast and found it desperately lacking. They made points like the symbol on the enneagram looks like a pentagram if you turn it upside down. They also shared about several people who use the enneagram who they do not like. There was a lot more, but that was the gist of it. In the end, they acted like someone who takes an enneagram test will soon fall into spiritual darkness and go down a path that leads people far from God. The only thing that any personality test has ever done for me is to help me gain perspective. That is exactly what the enneagram did for me. I know that like every personality test, there are weaknesses, but overall, this test helped me step back for just a moment and actually see the lense that I am prone to see life with, and then it helped me to see the lense of others. This perspective causes me to extend more grace and compassion to people who do not think and do things like I do. The greatest example is that for the first time I saw my wife’s tendency toward negative thinking as a blessing and a positive. I have found myself frustrated with that in the past, but one thing I read explained how that is a gift that causes her to foresee problems and help others avoid them. For me, an Enthusiast, who always jumps in without thinking, it is a wonderful blessing to have a loyalist on my side who will process and guide through the details. The Enneagram is not my Bible, and I am not obsessed with it. In fact, I have not thoughts about it most weeks since my last post, but it did offer great perspective and insight toward my natural behaviors and there are many great Christian blogs that discuss Biblical application of the principles learned through the enneagram. The haters should chill out, learn what they can from it and then move on.

John MacArthur / Beth Moore

Stop it. Be Nice. If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all. I thought that MacArthur was very disrespectful in his response about Moore. I do think that Moore likes to stir the pot sometimes, but MacArthur’s comments about her were classless. We must be better at how we treat our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is basic Christianity. Luke 6:27-36 – Love those who hate you, for even the lost world loves those who love them. Love your enemies. Be kind to the evil. Be Merciful. There were none of these things is his public response about Moore. Very sad.

2019 / 2020

Not doing great at some of my goals. However, I have been in my Bible more consistently than ever before. And as I see it, that is most important. I am too busy. I don’t know how to change that, but I am trying to figure it out. I am so thankful for the many wonderful opportunities that God has given me this year and hopefully have lived out my feeling of responsibility that to whom much is given, much is required. I have been working hard on School and balancing ministry with family and all the other responsibilities of life.

As far as 2020 goes… I will use your request as an impetus to begin writing some new goals and plans for next year. Thank you for making me better! Thanks for reading all of this! Thanks for caring and encouraging!

 

 

EnneaWhat?

I was listening to a podcast where I heard Andy Stanley briefly mention that he was an Enneagram #1, which he said explains his inclination to be a perfectionist. I had no clue what he was talking about and decided to do some research. I Googled “any-a-gram” and thankfully Google knew exactly what I was looking for and quickly showed me thousands of webpages on the subject.

Here are the Nine Enneagram Types along with each types greatest strength.

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1 – Reformers/Perfectionists: They have the ability to improve anything.

2 – Helpers: They have the ability to see the needs of other people and meet those needs.

3 – Achievers: They are very productive, they know how to get the job done.

4 – Individualists: They have the ability to say clearly what other people feel vaguely.

5 – Investigators: They have the gift of observation, they are the most objective.

6 – Loyalists: They have the ability to spot what could go wrong.

7 – Enthusiast: They bring the joy juice to every situation, visionaries.

8 – Challenger: They have the power to make the big decisions.

9 – Peacemaker: A sense of peace and harmony, they have the ability to see the world through every other lense.

Enneagram is an incredibly useful tool to help you understand your own personality and the personality of others. I do not yet know enough about the Enneagram to speak with much authority, but here are a few things that I have learned so far.

  1. My results caught my attention like no other test I have ever taken.
    I took this test, 140 questions, 30 minutes and then began to read my results…Generally, Sevens are excitable, spontaneous, curious, optimistic, eager, outgoing, future-oriented, adventurous, variety-seeking, quick, and talkative.Sevens get into conflicts by being scattered, distracted, restless, impatient, thrill-seeking, escapist, over-extended, irresponsible, demanding, and excessive.
  2. At their best, Sevens are appreciative, bountiful, thoughtful, accomplished, versatile, receptive, grateful, content, and passionate.
  3. Sevens are probably the most enthusiastic, extroverted, and outgoing type of the Enneagram. They are spontaneous and upbeat; they find life exhilarating. They are the kind of people who make ordinary life into a celebration. Sevens like to fill up their calendar with things to do…
    As I read this 18 page summary of my top 3 enneagram numbers, I was blown away. There were many things about myself that I thought were just quirks or my own silly tendencies that I began to realize are actually common to all 7’s.
  4. I was partly excited because I just realized that I am not that weird, and partly disappointed because I realized that I am not quite as unique and unpredictable as I thought. In any case, now that I know, I can capitalize on the strengths of my personality and work to improve the common struggles.
  5. Enneagram taught me that many of my habits are not eccentric, but they are normal.I like to talk, and I don’t like to sit still, I love to be with people, but if not careful I am often distracted when I am with those people. These are very common to 7’s.
  6. I often claim to have a terrible memory, but in reality, I probably don’t have a bad memory, I just have a bad habit of not paying attention when I should. Therefore, this evaluation shows me what is common and how I can work to develop and improve those areas of strengths and weaknesses.
  7. Enneagram helped me process and understand my deeper motivations.These are personal and I am not quite sure how to articulate them yet, but woah baby. This study has caused me to get very honest with myself about my deeper motives which help me understand why I am so inclined to do the things that I do.
  8. Enneagram helped me articulate things about myself that I have never been able to clearly communicate before.Katie and I both said the same thing as we discussed our results. These are things that I have known about myself, but I didn’t know how to articulate so well. Often times I will take a personality test and feel like I do not believe the results about myself, however, there was no denying the results of the Enneagram.
  9. Enneagram helped me gain a much better understanding and empathy for the people that I live and work with.A six is a Loyalist and their greatest need is security. This means that they want a savings account in the bank, they want safety and comfort as much as possible. It also means that if there is any possible way to find a problem with something, they will find the problem. Often times in my interaction with a six it is easy for me to get annoyed. As a seven, I do not need to worry about security. I have learned that everything always works out, at least from my perspective.  My seven personality says that there are no problems anywhere that we cannot fix and get through, but as a result, I often overlook problems in life. A six, while they do have a tendency to focus on the negatives, they also are much more likely to see potential problems and help others prepare and avoid those problems. Each personality type has positives and negatives and when you understand the types of the people in your life, you can begin to appreciate their differences instead of getting annoyed by their differences. The Enneagram system has helped me understand that the differences that I have with family and friends are actually blessings.

So, what number are you? Take a test and begin to learn about yourself and others in your life. Here are three ways you can take the test:

Free and Simple: https://enneagramtest.net

$12 and Comprehensive: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com

$60 and Super Comprehensive: https://ianmorgancron.com/assessment

Other Great Resources:

Podcasts:

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Annie has a great series where she does interviews with each Enneagram Type. They are incredibly helpful and entertaining. My favorite is the podcast on 7’s. Duh!

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June and July of 2019 Andy Did an Interview with Ian Cron, author of The Road Back to You. This two-part series in an incredible way to learn how Enneagram can influence your leadership.

Book:

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This is the book that has helped Enneagram spread to its widest audience. It is from a Christian Perspective and offers great information and insight about how we can learn from and grow in our Enneagram type.

Enneagram Marriage Compatibility Site

https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/the-enneagram-type-combinations

This is an incredible page that shows strengths and struggles for different marriage types! Get your spouse to take the test and then study how your types work together!

If you have any other great resources, or if you have taken the test and want to share your number, please share below in the comments! Thanks!

 

July – The Second Start of the Year!

July is the beginning of the second half of the year and there is no better time than to evaluate the health of the most important areas of your life.

I love that we start the year with fireworks for New Years and then halfway through the year (in America) we get another day of fireworks. This along with many other details of July remind me that time is flying by and it is so important to manage my year well. So, what are the most important things that we need to consider and evaluate this time of year?

Are you spending time in God’s Word?

I love the YouVersion app. Except on the days when I break my streak!! Today is day 185 out of 365 in my 2019 Bible In One Year Plan, and I am almost halfway through the year. I do have a few days that I have missed that I still need to catch up on, but I love being able to track that I have had 17 perfect weeks in the Word this year and 173 Days in the Bible! What’s the secret? I was convicted earlier this year about getting on facebook before anything else… I made the decision that I would not go on Facebook until I have spent time in God’s book!

Are you spending time with your Family?

We went on our first real family vacation this year. It was wonderful. We went with some great friends to Washington DC. Everyone had a wonderful time. We made memories for a lifetime! We will be heading to Rhode Island to spend some time with Katie’s family later in July. We have been blessed with some rich family time this year, and especially this summer. So thankful!

Are you spending time doing things that you love?

I love spending time with friends and family. I love being outside! I love running and cycling. I have done well with some of this and not well with other parts. I have been able to manage my weight, but I would still enjoy more time running and cycling during the second half of this year!

Are you spending time working hard?

I believe that both I and my team have been working hard. We have been in a major transition and that has brought a whole new set of difficulties to work through. We are excited to get back to a normal schedule and a normal task list, but for now, we are working through whatever comes our way. Dreaming about the future and how we can serve Jesus better!

Are you spending time learning and growing?

I took two classes in the fall working towards my Doctorate of Ministry in Worship. I have one class in the second half of the year, but I have also been reading non-stop and even taking a personal course on music theory. I love learning. One of my favorite things that I have learned this year is Everything Enneagram. I will do some posts about these in the days to come.

What other areas should we evaluate at this halfway point?

Thanks for reading! Share your own thoughts below!

And remember, This is the start of a Great Second Half!! If you have not started well, you have time to turn this year around! If you have started well, keep at it and finish strong!

The Importance of Advanced Education

  About two years ago my amazing wife encouraged me to look into beginning my next postgraduate degree. I will never forget the words that she said: “Lee when you are taking classes, you are the best version of yourself.” Wow! That is a strong statement, and I was so challenged and blessed to hear it from her.  I have a few thoughts about why, and will quickly share these, and then finish with a final thought about how I will invest in my future staff if ever given the opportunity.

I believe that taking college classes makes me the best version of myself because:

1. It forces me into a life that requires great discipline.

  When I am taking classes, I do not have time to waste. Every moment is planned and organized because there is so much to accomplish. Between work, family, and schooling responsibilities and demands, discipline and organization are absolutely necessary.

2. It helps me appreciate everything more.

  When I am on a diet, and I get in the habit of saying no to things that I love to eat, I create a new level of appreciation for those foods when I finally do get to taste them. Often times, they even seem to taste better than I remember. For example, one Oreo after two months of eating no Oreos tastes so much better than they do when I eat one every day. I don’t necessarily understand the science behind it, but I have experienced it, and the same thing is true with my time while studying. When I have every day open to spend with my family, I fail to use that time well, but when I am working hard on school work and ministry all week long, I find that I value and invest my time with family, in rest, and recreation so much more wisely and effectively.

3. It helps me stay sharpened

  When I am taking classes, I am constantly reading new things, learning new things, and talking to new people. Each of these habits keeps a steady flow of new material rushing into my life. Much of it, I will probably forget, but that doesn’t matter. Some things will stick and it is my responsibility to take and apply and use the things that I am learning. During my last course, I studied The Theology, Philosophy, and Methodology of Worship. During this course I was powerfully challenged to add scripture into my worship leading, I was also challenged to remember the necessity of prayer. It was incredible to also see how the Lord aligned my private quiet time in His Word, with the lessons I was learning in my class. I believe that not only have I been encouraged and sharpened by the things that I have learned, but our entire church has benefited from the work that the Lord has done in my life.

That being said: Here is why I felt the need to post today:

  Someday, if the Lord gives me the opportunity to lead in a capacity where I am able to make decisions about my staff’s education, I will make it a priority for our organization to invest into the advanced education of my ministerial staff. I believe that this is one of the best investments that a church can make.

  Many secular organizations make the investment to pay for their employee’s education because they understand and value the sharpening and the discipline that it will add to the lives of their workers and ultimately to their business. And honestly, many of those same organizations already pay their employees much better than the church pays their staff. I digress, Advanced education for the church staff member is a worthy investment.

  If the Lord ever gives me the platform, I want to remember to invest in the education of my staff. There will be accountability and even a standard of required grades and investment in return, but I want every pastoral staff member to have the opportunity to grow and learn in an academic setting. It is so important and so valuable.

Here is the simple summary: I am making a great financial, time, and energy investment in my education, and as a result, my church and ministry are reaping a great benefit from my personal investment. I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to do this and I want to remember to make this investment into others in the future. Advanced education provides an incredible return on investment for the individual and for the church!

Thank you, Katie, for being willing to invest in making me the best version of myself.

Lessons from DAYS in Jury Duty… PART 1

Well, last week I was able to fulfill my highest civic duty. At least that is what they told me. Action Jackson began by telling me that more than likely, I would be done by the afternoon and would only have one day of service which made me even more optimistic as I was called away from the masses in the very first group.

I was placed in a pool with 130 other jury candidates and escorted to a beautiful court room. The jury candidate questions began, and to make a 4 day long story short, they asked us question after question, after question, and then countered those with even more questions. In the end, I was praising the Lord because I was not selected to be in the jury. If one day of likely service turned into four days, then who knows how long a four week trial could last. Needless to say, I was ready to get out of that courtroom, but not without a few important observations and lessons along the way. I figured I would take the opportunity to share those thoughts here on my blog. Thanks for reading, I will try my best to be brief.

 

 

This Too Shall Pass

There were so many moments that I was ready to leave that courtroom, but as I reconsider the details today, I thought for just a moment that I would love to be back in that room with those people again. So often we long to be out of our current situation and in doing so, I wonder if we don’t miss out on what God is revealing to us in that moment. Yeah, it may hurt, I know I was sore from that wooden bench after all those hours. Yeah, we may be bored out of our mind. But, a wise man once told me: BLOSSOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED.

Application: Even in Jury Duty, God can work in your heart. Instead of trying to get out of something lame, difficult or painful, it is probably wiser to seek the lessons that can be learned and the people that can be served.

People Love To Talk About Themselves

Anyone that reads that title may immediately think that is a completely negative statement, but I don’t think it has to be. If people love to talk about themselves, then they especially love it when you listen to them talk about themselves. While we were in the courtroom, we were allowed to do nothing. I mean NOTHING. No phones, no laptops, no electronics. The guy beside me got busted for sleeping. So, on break I walked over to the Downtown Library to get a book, and before I got to chapter three, I was informed by the Bailiff that I was not allowed to read a book either. What was left? Nothing but sitting and listening. As I listened, I learned so much about many people. It made me wish that I could be assigned to jury duty with the people that I see every day at work, and church, and in my neighborhood. Maybe then I could truly get to know them.

Application: I need to find ways to engage in conversation with people. It is likely that they like to talk about themselves, so if I am ready to listen without distraction, then I may learn a lot.

Four Days Together and We Feel Like Family

This was probably my greatest takeaway. I spent four days with these people, and I honestly felt love towards so many of them. Sounds crazy, I know. But I know their faces, I know their stories. I know where some of them live, their favorite restaurants. I know many of their jobs, and even their spouses job. I know a lot about their personalities, I know the ones who shake when the judge asks them to speak in public, and I know the ones who go on and on and on… 🙂 We spent four days, and I felt like I was at summer camp. These were my new friends and TRUTH: It was sad to say goodbye on the last day. Spending time together with people is a gift, it is a game changer for relationships.

Application: I am so thankful for the time that I get to spend with my family. It helps me  know my kids better. Time reveals so many details about their life, their desires, their heart. I also love the time that I get to spend with people in ministry, and this week made me ask the question: How can I spend more time, significant time, jury duty style time, with new friends, with my choir and the people I lead in ministry, and so many other people in my church that I long to feel like family with.

In Conclusion:

I learned too much for one post, but this will be the first part of my experience and it can be summarized in one word. People. They can be pretty awesome. Jesus thinks so. We should get to know them, serve them, and love them.

A Call to Blog Again… From Canada

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So last week I was sitting at home resting when I received a call on my cell phone that was from Canada!! I was absolutely sure that it was some type of sales call and so I rejected it to voicemail and finished my nap. After a little while I decided to check the voicemail that was left, from Canada, and I was shocked, it was a real person, and they were not calling about business.

I listened to the voicemail and immediately proceeded to call this gentleman back. When I called, Doug answered the phone and said, is this Lee? I responded, yes it is, and he asked, are you the guy that wrote the blog post about Passion vs. Arrogance, I thought for a second and considered, this guy can’t be asking about a blog post that I wrote in 2011 can he? Indeed he was.

He went on to explain that he was doing some research about being a passionate individual and being perceived as arrogant and when he searched those things on google, my little old blog popped up there in the search results.

Later I went back to read the blog and realized that the blog really had no answers, just some transparency about my own struggles and a request for advice from anyone who may have mastered this struggle. If you would like, you can read the blog here: Passion Vs. Arrogance.

So Doug took a few minutes to ask me what I have learned about this struggle. I explained that I didn’t have all the answers, but I am constantly trying to balance my passion with humility, and a sincere desire to listen to others and learn from them. Doug then took a few minutes to share his experiences and then we went back on our separate ways to face our passionate endeavors again.

The one thing that I took away from our phone call that night had nothing to do with passion, or arrogance, but it had everything to do with the importance of sharing the lessons in life that I am working through and striving to grow from. Not only did it encourage Doug in his pursuit, but it encouraged me when I went back and read that post from 6 years ago. I have learned so much since then and while I have not arrived, it is very encouraging to see the growth.

So, here is the moral of the story in one simple phrase, I am going to get back to blogging. Not necessarily for you, although you are more than welcome to join me in my transparency and maybe learn something here and there, but mainly so that I can track my own growth and share the things that I am learning.

In the last week I have thought of so many things that were worth sharing, so I am going to be disciplined about this, and I hope that I can encourage others and at the very least, encourage myself in 6 more years when I consider all the lessons that I have learned and recorded. I am very thankful for a call to blog again… ALL THE WAY FROM CANADA! 🙂

God is Always Good , GOD IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL

These are a few verses and thoughts on my mind lately.

Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”

Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as he rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

Have you ever felt like God wants to do something in your life but people keep on getting in the way? Other people keep messing up God’s plan for you? I have definitely had moments where I have struggled with that. Moments where Jesus and I knew what we were doing, we had a plan, but obviously all these other people who keep “getting in the way” are not as “in tune with Jesus” as I am! (wink)
These two Proverbs have reminded me recently that sometimes we start thinking that we are in control of the ship, sometimes we believe that other men (Presidents, Leaders, Bosses) are in control of our lives, changing the very course of our future at a whim.

Rest assured, God is in control. I have seen the masterful devising of men, I have seen hearts both good and bad in authority, but they are not in charge. God is always in control.

What an incredible comfort.

It is my responsibility to live by faith and trust that God is the one steering this ship and even the hearts of all them that lead.

Psalm 37:23  “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”