Category Archives: Character

LEARNING FROM PRESIDENT JAMES POLK!

Yes, that’s right.  You heard me.  Here are a few things about Polk I learned from reading Walking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson by David Reynolds:

He determined to serve one term.

He rarely took vacations.

He sought to address four main campaign promises and did!

He worked extremely hard.

(Waking Giant, p. 351-53 by David Reynolds)

LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP

 

Image result for Peter Scazzero

From Peter Scazzero, “Lessons in Leadership and Differentiation” (Part 1); Feb. 20, 2013

Leaders have a number of key tasks if we are to operate out of high level of integrity. These include:

  1. Confronting myself. Am I calm and clear about what God has given me to do? Where am I doing the easy thing, not the best thing for those around me? Where am I abandoning my own values? How am I allowing fear to cause me to ignore problems?
  2. Mastering myself in the face of anxiety. When we don’t, we end up looking for validation from other people. We end up using the people we aim to serve.
  3.  Tolerating discomfort. There is never a good time to change things. In fact, it is impossible to create change while maintaining stability. To kindly bring up hard things others want is one of our critical tasks.
  4. Getting clear on my goals and steps. This is hard work. The alternative, however, is much worse. Once I have my goal, the next great challenge is to think through the steps to get there – in the right order.

In what ways might you be doing an easy thing in your leadership today and not the best? Where are you not thinking things through but taking the easy way out by focusing on the short-term?

MAD AT GEORGE WILL?

My thoughts on Will’s piece are here:

George Will’s piece may be animated by unsavory motivations, but there is much we evangelicals ought to hear. We hate when our leaders are poked in the eye, especially by those outside our camp, but Will’s highlighting of Graham’s pragmatism and naivete are important to hear.

Graham was no Elmer Gantry to be sure, but he was more human and therefore flawed than many Christians want to admit.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/billy-graham-legacy-neither-prophet-nor-theologian/

TRUSTING GOD IS LIKE TRUSTING YOUR MECHANIC

Esther Meek wrote a terrific book entitled, Learning to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People.  In it, she describes how finding a reliable mechanic helped her better understand how we use certain clues to determine whether God as known in Jesus Christ is who He claimed. 

More generally, how do we know what we know?  It is an important branch of philosophy called epistemology. Too many people, including plenty of Christians, don’t think about how and why they think the way they do.

I read Meek’s book several years back.  At the time, my experiences with mechanics was mixed.  Some were okay while others had clearly taken advantage of me.

Enter Joe Ruiz.  Joe’s shop is here in Austin.  Two friends I implicitly trust told me how Joe kept their cars running. Many times, Joe told Gil or Mike that they did not need all the other “recommended” stuff other mechanics had tried to sell them.  

My experience with Joe mimics what Gil and Mike have experienced.  Our car (with 210,000 miles) recently lurched forward from a stop. I figured the transmission was going since it is the original one.  I took it into Joe.  Joe told me the catalytic converter may be responsible.  He thoroughly checked out everything else including the transmission.  All looked good.  He recommended adding five gallons of high octane fuel which I did.

Our car is back running just fine.  Joe charged $107 for all the work.  I was dreading a large expense that would have been challenging on our budget.

Meek’s argument that we pick up clues to determine whether God is trustworthy is inspired by the great philosopher of science, Michael Polanyi.  I highly recommend it!

And if you live in the Austin area, I know a great car mechanic!

https://www.amazon.com/Longing-Know-Esther-Lightcap-Meek/dp/1587430606/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517415640&sr=1-2