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Month: December 2011

Finish list

The post I wrote for today called, “Have you emptied yourself?” accidentally posted yesterday, Christmas Day, instead of today as intended. So here is a bonus post.

New Year’s Resolutions are passé. Many of us tend to make the same ones each December, and find that we have broken and forgotten them before February. We have been frustrated by them and defeated by them. But the idea of starting the year with a list of things we would like to change or improve in 2012 is a good one that intrigues many of us.

Jon Acuff (, author of Stuff Christians Like and Quitter, is offering a new approach for 2012. He advises we create a “Finish List” – read Jon’s How to build a “Finish List” and surrounding posts to learn more.  A “Finish List” is different than a list of resolutions. We should not include things we will try to do in 2012 (read a great post by Michael Hyatt on this topic called “THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRYING AND DOING“), but things we are committed to finishing in 2012. I like this because it is not results oriented.

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Have you emptied yourself?

Jesus "though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness." -Phil 2:6-7

My morning devotion on Christmas Eve directed me to Philippians 2:5-11 (NRSV) – a passage we read to understand more about Jesus, but a passage originally written to a group of Christians in need of an ego check. The church in Philippi was apparently bickering over power issues, and issues of right and wrong. These are issues we associate pastors know well.

Paul’s advice to the church was to adopt the “mind of Christ,” a posture of humility. In context, I hear Paul saying something like, “You think you deal with people who don’t get it? Imagine being Jesus – God in the flesh – and having to deal with the likes of you and me. Thankfully Jesus did not wield that like a big stick. Instead, he put it aside and subjected himself to even experiencing crucifixion. That is why he is who he is!”

We associate pastors are leaders who are working under the authority of other leaders, and called to facilitate the members of our congregation to participate in that leadership. That is a lot of leaders in a small area. If we are not careful can become the too many cooks who spoil the broth.

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Thriving under a difficult leadership style

“The only person you have the power to change is you.” You have probably heard this more times than you care to count. I tell my children it is “Dad’s Secret to Life” (please don’t tell them I didn’t come up with it). Our recognition of this truth helps guide our relationships with our spouses, our children, and even the members of the congregations we serve. But I have met many associate pastors who have a great deal of trouble applying it in their relationship with their lead pastor.

  • Can you believe he asked me to…?
  • Do you know that she expects me to…?
  • Doesn’t she understand that is not in my job description, and doesn’t fall in the “at the discretion of the lead pastor” clause (oh, I will have to write a blog about that gem soon)?
  • Doesn’t he understand I’m not here to serve him?