Reading the signs

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5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

6In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

8It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Proverbs 3:5-8
I recently saw this collection of signs at UBC. I laughed. Park, don’t stop, prepare to stop!

When the signs are confusing we have a decision making challenge. Sometimes the many voices available to us echo in the chambers of our heart… and we are not sure what do next. Everyone will have an opinion of what you should do and be. They may even seek to be the voice of God. Consideration and discernment is required.

The default in our society is “just be true to your heart.”

That is not what Christianity proposes. Rather we are called to be true to Jesus Christ.

We must learn to read the signs in light of who Jesus is and what He is doing in our lives. He is changing our heart. He can create a path for us even as we step forward not seeing everything, but just looking for Him. Trusting Jesus will lead us into a different kind of wisdom. Trusting Jesus will lead us into the wisdom of trust and obey, into the wisdom of dependence on Him, into the wisdom of our identity in Him and into the wisdom of love.

Ticked off, frustrated and trying to get something done…

Ticked off, frustrated and trying to get something done..

its not my kid’s fault…

but she has needs and

I am the one that must accommodate.

Arriving at the decision to adjust and temporarily

suspend my needs, wants, and preferences required thinking.

Acting badly and full of impatience was just natural.

Serving with a happy heart

required grace and consideration of how good God has been to us.

Obviously that’s God’s will.

I’m thankful for these verses:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2

Here’s the disciple life:

Under the influence of God’s Spirit and His Word,

we are commissioned to sort out (test & approve) what God’s will is.

In this process of making decisions we begin to

discern the will of God for each of us and for our community.

Sorting (testing, thinking and considering) is messier than most of us desire.

In some decisions God’s way seems obvious.

In some decisions God’s way seems obscure.

In all we have this grace: we may discern what

is good, acceptable, and perfect.

leadership folly: making all the decisions

While its true that leaders are known for the decisions they make, its folly to think that making all the decisions is a mark of great leadership.  Its actually a dis-service to the organization and the leaders who serve with and under you to believe that you must be in on   every decision.

Steven Sample, President of the University of Southern California, writes in his book The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership of his two general rules for decision making:

1.  Never make a decision yourself that can reasonably be delegated to a lieutenant.

2.  Never make a decision today that can reasonably be put off to tomorrow.

His first rule is my interest today.

Leaders can find good reason to send decisions back down to others, not as a matter of shirking responsibility but as a way of developing the organization and the people who serve with them.  The leaders that empower others to make decisions are generally characterized by a strong sense of internal security, clarity regarding the values informing the organizational life, the ability to describe/story these values, communicate trust as the expectation that others will make good decisions, and a delight in seeing others excel and grow.  Why would leaders delight in others making decisions?  Sample gives three reasons:

“Even in small organizations there are compelling reasons why a leader should consistently delegate most decision to selected ones of his lieutenants.  The first has to do with time constraints.  Making a good decision is hard, time-consuming work, and no leader can make many good decisions in a month’s time, much less in a day or a week.  So he needs to carefully reserve for himself only the most important decisions and cheerfully delegate the rest.

A second major factor in favour of delegation is that it helps develop and nurture strong lieutenants.  As we’ll see in a later chapter, a leader can’t expect his lieutenants to grow and grow up unless he gives them the opportunity to make real decisions that will have real consequences for the organization, without their being constantly second-guessed by the leader…

Finally the contrarian leader who is willing to delegate almost all decisions to lieutenants has an opportunity to build a much stronger and more coherent organization than does the leader who tries to make all the decisions himself.  This assertion is very counterintuitive; one would think at first blush that strength and coherence would be on the side of the absolute dictator.  But here’s the key:  the leader who delegates is forced to build coherence by putting together a team of lieutenants who have shared values and common goals.  If he’s successful in this regard, his organization can survive the loss of the leader himself (which will always happen eventually).

By contrast, when a dictatorial leader leaves the scene there is usually no strong and well-knit set of lieutenants to carry the organization forward in a coherent way.  An abrupt ending of years of dictatorial repression usually leads to an eruption of bitter factions and infighting (think of Yugoslavia after Tito’s death).” p. 73-74