Teaching to Learn and Learning to Teach

Service with Limited Resources
September 9, 2011, 8:18 am
Filed under: Books, Lessons Learned from Reading

Do you have trouble” … saying no to an urgent request for help?” “As Christians, we feel an obligation to be a good Samaritan. Yet we must realize that the need itself, however urgent, is not necessarily a call for us to meet it. The need may be an occasion to do what the railroad signs command: “stop, look and listen” — and to be open to changing our plans if necessary. But  the call for us to act must come from the Lord, who knows our limitations (Ps. 103:13-14) (Tyranny of the Urgent, 62).


Tyranny of the Urgent

Usually when things feel urgent, it is because you have pressure from someone else making you think it is urgent. I have learned sometimes it is better to miss that phone call as an Admin Assistant. The student, parent, or coworker learns to rely on the Lord and after not reaching someone immediately, by the time I get back to them it isn’t such a crisis. John 11 “Let us go back to Judea … Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” He waited two days. Others thought it was urgent, but he was more concerned with God’s glory, their sanctification, and being a faithful servant than meeting their urgent demands.

Not only is it for the other person’s benefit that I don’t always take their phone call or meet their urgent demand, but it is also for my good and God’s glory. I am a human. I am finite. I am not God. I need sleep and nourishment. I have limited time and resources. I need to be faithful to not confuse myself as the Infinite, Limitless One. I need to be faithful to do the mission He has sent me on and not to take over the Kingdom. Faithfulness each day looks different. I need to be faithful with the task I have been given by the Lord. I need to be wise about using Kingdom Resources. I can’t dilly dally or waste time doing what every citizen of the kingdom or of another land wishes me to do. “Non Important – Urgent. Although unimportant, these activities in the guise of urgency conjure up an illusion that they are of value to us. They include interruptions of many kinds: some phone calls, meetings, visitors, requests for information. They can keep us busy for hours meeting other people’s expectations.” (37)

“Jesus did not meet all the human needs he encountered – many urgently desired by family and friends, and by others along his path. But he completed the mission his Father gave him” (Tyranny of the Urgent, 23). If Jesus didn’t meet everyone’s demands or stated needs then why should we think we can? We need to be faithful. They need to encounter a Savior often and not us.

Assigned Summer Reading

This summer all of our Servant Leadership Staff (student leaders) and all of our full-time staff are reading Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders. Apart from the fact that the book falls a part, I whole-heartedly recommend it. The cover doesn’t matter, the material does :).

I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned in the process:

1. Leaders are tired. I know you are probably shocked by this! I know it’s not novel, but I’m tired a lot and I tend to think that is abnormal. I think that that is a sign that I wasn’t cut out for the work around me or that I’m not honoring God. My tiredness reveals hard work and a divine dependence. I can keep going because it is God who works through me. I want to be tired and inadequate in and of myself for the job so that God’s greatness can be put on display.

2. Leaders are optimistic. This is an area where I have been lacking. Part of it may be because I thought the work wasn’t supposed to be tiring and it is. I think part of it is a striving without recognizing God’s sovereignty. His work will prevail it just might not be in my time. I see things going wrong and get pessimistic. God is sovereign and He is at work. The outcome is secure.

‘He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth’ (Isaiah 42:4). Pessimism and leadership are at opposite ends of life’s attitudes. Hope and optimism are essential qualities for the servant of God who battles with the powers of darkness over the souls of men and women. God’s ideal Servant is optimistic until every part of God’s work is done.

3.Leaders are called. I tend to get into positions and freak out part way in. I think, “Why am I here? They made a mistake. I’m not like the others around me.” Sanders writes:

‘God has prepared those places for the one he has chosen.’ Effective spiritual leadership does not come as a result of theological training or seminary degree, as important as education is. Jesus told His disciple, ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you’ (John 15:16). The sovereign selection of God gives great confidence to Christian workers. We can truly say, “I am here neither by selection of an individual nor election of a group but by the almighty appointment of God. (23). 

4. God doesn’t focus on leadership as much as on servanthood. They work together, but God doesn’t say “Moses, My People’s Leader,” He says, “Moses, My Servant” (21).

5. Leaders allow others to serve because they “recognize the value” of service. A dear friend who is also reading the book couldn’t wait for me to get to page 55. We had talked about this some and she was excited we were both reading this. I’m excited to see her love, leadership, and boldness in Christ. I love that I work in a place where a student loves me enough to say to me, “Tell me when you get to page 55,” and then to talk about it with me. Here is what Saunders had to say on page 55:

There is another element in discipline that receives too little attention. We must be willing to receive from others as well as give to others. Some sacrificial souls delight in sacrificing themselves, but refuse reciprocal gestures. They do not want to feel obligated to those they are serving. But real leadership recognizes the value of the gestures of others. To neglect receiving kindness and help is to isolate oneself, to rob others of opportunity and to deprive oneself of sustenance. Our example in this is the ultimate Servant Jesus, who came to serve but graciously accepted the service of others – people like His hosts Mary and Martha, the use of the colt He rode into Jerusalem, and  others. Bishop Westcott admitted a the end of his life to one great mistake. He had always helped others, but just as rigorously he had resisted others serving him. As a result, his life had an empty spot where sweet friendship and human care might have been.

Read it!

An amazing story of God’s saving power! The Son of the Religious Leader of Hamas becoming a believer?!!!!? What?!? That should not surprise me. Salvation belongs to the Lord. He graciously saves undeserving people. This story made me reflect on how my salvation was no small work and that it was all of Him. Reflecting on the salvation and transformation of a Hamas Leader’s son or on my own salvation and sanctification should equally lead me to awe, wonder, worship, and thanksgiving.

This book clearly presents the hardships of the Palestinian people while showing how wrong and how lost they are. It is a great reminder that the only hope for the Middle East or for any of us is Jesus Christ. There is no true peace apart from Him. His kingdom is not advanced by armies, wars, politicians or peace summits. His peace advances through the proclamation and acceptance of the gospel by individuals.

Here is a little segment from the introduction to whet your appetite:

“I could have been a hero and made my people proud of me. I knew what kind of hero they were looking for: a fighter who dedicated his life and family to the cause of a nation. Even if I was killed, they would have told my story for generations to come and been proud of me forever, but in reality, I would not have been much of a hero.
Instead, I became a traitor in the eyes of my people. Although I once brought pride to you, I now bring you only shame. Although I was once the royal prince, I am now a stranger in a foreign country fighting against the enemy of loneliness and darkness.
I know you see me as a traitor; please understand it was not you I chose to betray, but your understanding of what it means to be a hero. When Middle Easter nations – Jews and Arabs alike – start to understand some of what I understand, only then will there be peace. And if my Lord was rejected for saving the world from the punishment of hell, I don’t mind being a reject!”

February 5, 2011, 6:54 pm
Filed under: Books, Christian Living, Cool Finds, Counseling, Quirky

Oh the irony of finding my backseat like this after taking it to the car wash. I guess I don’t need the OCD booklet :). Speaking of the booklet, if you don’t know about these little booklets put out by New Growth Press, you should get to know them. They are really helpful in thinking through issues Biblically and in helping to practically apply that truth.

The most memorable one for me was one on rest. It used to be called “Rest”, but I believe they have changed the name since.

Books for 2010
January 2, 2011, 8:00 am
Filed under: Books, Cool Finds, These are a few of my favorite things..., Vocation

One of these days I will start reviewing books I’ve read instead of posting a list, but today is NOT that day. Today is a day for reading on a plane on my way to Texas.

One of these days I will also get around to posting my Valentines Day Resolutions.

Oh, what’s that… It’s supposed to be New Year’s Resolutions? Why didn’t anyone tell me before the new year? Well I know what resolution numero uno will be… Resolved to be on time and get things done in the season they are called for.

You can click here to see last year’s resolutions. They went really well and actually changed my habits and tendencies for the better. Here’s hoping this year goes as well and that I can read even more books than I did this year.

Now for the reading list (The Ones with Links come HIGHLY recommended):

Cain’s Redemption
Speaking Truth in Love
My Heart in His Hands: Ann Judson of Burma
Charlie’s Choice
House of Love
The Courage of Nikolai
A Peep Behind the Scenes
Change and Your Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
The Pursuit of Holiness
Insight and Creativity in Christian Counseling
The Passage: From Darkness to Light
Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety
Rosa of Linden Castle
How can I change?
Anger and Stress Management God’s Way
Lost Art of Disciple Making
The Peacemaker
How People Change
Depression: A Stubborn Darkness
Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem
Counsel from the Cross
Three Cups of Tea
God at Work
Hunting Eichmann
On Writing Well
Future Grace
The Leadership Dynamic
The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make
Have a Little Faith

Love it!

Ten Weirdest New Animals of 2010

John MacArthur on the Will of God: Delight Yourself in the Lord and Do Whatever You Want

Top Books of 2010 by Tim Challies

Great Book on Calling and Vocation

Great Book for History Lovers Especially if You Have Lived in Israel

A Pretty Winter Table

Instructions to Make Yarn Pom Poms

A Fun Family Portrait (Not My Family)

Wrapping Presents: Keep It Simple

Recipe for Pioneer Woman’s Fig Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula

S’mores Hot Chocolate