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Leadership Lessons from Great College Coaches

Blog Past from BRIAN DODD>>>
Research shows over 70% of all six-figure income earners consider themselves avid sports fans. This makes a lot of sense. Sports involves measurable results, wins and losses, conflict resolution, team building, pressure, player development, strategy, perseverance, and pushing yourself to do more than you thought you were capable of.

As a leader, this is why I am so excited about the start of college football season. This weekend, there were some great leadership insights provided on various pre-season shows. Listed below are the coaches and their quotes along with an application for any leader who may be reading this post.
The following are 21 Leadership Lessons From Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney And Others From College Football’s Opening Weekend:
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban>>>

Leadership Development Is A Process – “Are we doing the things we need to do to get where we need to be?”

The More Great Leaders You Have The Better Your Team Is – “If you have a good staff they have good relationships with the players.”

People Need Clear Expectations – “It is so much better if you can define what people need to do to be successful.”

Team Chemistry Is A Process – “It is always a work in progress to get the team chemistry you want on your team.”

You Increase Confidence By Delivering Results – “Every player on the team has confidence in certain other players that they can do things in certain critical situations…That’s what happens when you win a team over. You win their confidence.”

Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney>>>

Great Leaders Are Continual Learners – “I always kept learning and growing and preparing.”

Be Great At Whatever You Are Doing – “You have to prepare for your opportunities. You never who’s watching. Bloom where you’re planted. Be great at whatever it is you’re doing and people will take notice of that.”

Preparation Gives You A Chance For Success – “It #4 (Deshaun Watson) is in the game we got a good chance…Nobody’s going to prepare harder.”

Great Teams Have Competitive Depth – “Defensively, one thing that’s going to help us is we’re going to have more competition than we had last year at certain positions. I love that when you have good competitive depth.”

You Never Have To Recover From A Good Start – “One of our team goals is to win the opener.”

Preparation + Passion = A Good Start – “We must prepare with relentless passion to be the best we can be on September 3rd.”

Do Not Confuse Teaching With Criticism – “Coaching can be viewed as criticism. It’s not really criticism. It’s really teaching. Most of the time when you’re teaching some guy did something incorrectly you’re trying to fix.” – Coach Saban
Develop A Culture Of Insulation – “Our culture of insulation helps with that (overconfidence).” – Houston Cougars head coach Tom Herman

Smart Leaders Know Their Limitations – “There are some physical limitations. It is a wall.” – LSU head coach Les Miles on his players doing the Lambeau leap

At The Edge Of Uncomfortable Is Greatness – “The first thing of an extreme workout is to make them extremely uncomfortable.” – Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez

Focus On Today And Tomorrow – “Think downfield but play locally.” – quarterback guru George Whitfield

Successful Leaders Manage Crisis Well – “Teach them how to win in an uncomfortable situation.” – Whitfield

What Separates Great Players Is Intelligence – “He’s a great thinker. His football IQ is what separates him from most players.” – Coach Swinney on Watson

Great Teams Must Continually Fight Complacency – “Coming off a national championship is always a challenge.” – Coach Saban

There Is A Difference Between A Job And A Calling – “I don’t feel like I have a job. This is what I’ve always wanted to do in life.” – USC head coach Clay Helton

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All, LCL, Leadership

Everyone Has A Calling or Life’s Pursuit

One time, my wife and I wanted to surprise our two girls who were five and seven at the time by taking them to an indoor water park for Christmas. The park was about two hours away from our home and the whole way both my girls kept asking me where we were going. “Come on daddy, tell us where we’re going.” They wouldn’t stop asking. Neither my wife nor I wanted to tell them because it was suppose to be a surprise. Therefore, we just kept saying, “Don’t worry, you’ll love it. You’re going to be so thankful once we get there.” Finally, we arrived at our destination. When we pulled into the parking lot, even though it was snowing outside, you could look through the Plexiglas walls at families with their swimsuits going down slides, playing in the water, and floating down the lazy river. We expected both our girls to start screaming with delight. However, to my wife and my dismay, both girls were silent. When we looked back to see what was going on, both of them ha were frozen with their mouths wide open. They were so excited they were speechless. Needless to say, they were thankful and that still stands out as one of the best Christmas’s we’ve ever had.

That experience reminds me a lot of the Father of Faith, Abraham. Of all the amazing stories in the Word of God that speaks to us about the calling God placed on men’s lives, Abraham is probably my favorite. Can you imagine God coming to you and saying, “I’ve got something great for you to do. Follow me.” You might say, “Where are we going Lord?” God would answer, “I’m not going to tell you right now. You’re not ready and it would spoil the surprise anyway. It’s going to take a while to get there but trust me, you’re going to love it.” That’s basically what God said to Abraham. Here’s what God said in Genesis 12: 1- 3 (NIV),

“The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”


I think another translation that puts it a little more in our modern day vernacular is The Message translation. Look how it says the same passage:

God told Abram: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you. I’ll make you a great nation and bless you. I’ll make you famous; you’ll be a blessing.  I’ll bless those who bless you; those who curse you I’ll curse. All the families of the Earth will be blessed through you.”


The word “Go” or “Leave” or “Get Thee Out” (KJV)in Hebrew is the word halak which literally means to “walk” or “to continually come on”. I like the last one that says to “continually come on” because it reminds us that answering the calling of God is not a one-time thing. The book of Galatians says there is always a battle between the flesh (our carnal nature) and the spirit (that part of us that wants to pursue God). We must continually deny our fleshy desires and say yes to the call that God places on all our lives.

Within all of us is a unique gifting and calling. God made you for greatness. You are a “10” at something. It reminds me of the movie “Chariots of Fire” when the runner said, “When God made me, he made me fast and when I run I feel His pleasure.” God made you to do something and when you do it, you can feel His pleasure. There are many ways to discover this unique gifting and calling in your life and while we all have a special plan from God there are some things which are universal to us all. We are called to do personal missions and corporate missions in the Kingdom of God. Today we’re going to talk about three different corporate missions that we all need to fulfill in our lives as modeled to us in the story of Abraham.

The first calling that was given to Abraham and to us all was the calling to FOLLOW BY FAITH.

Genesis 12:1 (RSV) says, “Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.'” The first calling God placed on Abraham’s life (and ours as well) was to simply follow. A retired pastor once said to me, “The greatest message Jesus ever preached to us pastors was when He called the disciples. He said, “Follow me and I will make you.” The greatest calling we can fulfill is to simply follow God and trust His leading. The Bible says that God’s Word is a “Lamp unto my feet.” God doesn’t always give us enough light to see the whole journey. Many times we have just enough light for the next step. That takes a lot of faith. However, God will never cause us to stumble or slip as long as we follow his leading.

The second calling given to Abraham and to us as well was the calling to serve. The next thing God says to Abraham is “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great” (Gen 12:2-3). Have you ever wondered why God does things? I do all the time. Not out of a desire to question God but rather to learn His nature so I can more fully recognize Him at work. Why do you think God wanted to bless Abraham? Another way to say this is, “Why does God want to bless us?” You can see it all throughout the Word of God. God always blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others. The calling that God places on all our lives is not so that we can build our own kingdom. The calling of God is always a calling to serve. No matter what gives us a passion and gifting to do, it is always to serve the Body of Christ and reach those far from Him. One of our highest callings is to serve others.

The final calling we will discuss is the calling to be a blessing. The next thing God said to Abraham was “I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse” (Gen. 12:3). One of the chief responsibilities in the life of every believer is to add value to others. If you are not adding value to others you are subtracting value from yourself. We were not called to be an island unto our self. We were called to add value to the world around us with our gifts, with our time, and with our attention. The real beauty of how God uses His church is that in His hands, God can use just about anything to make a difference in the life of someone else. He just needs someone willing to be a blessing.

God has a unique gifting for us all. Just because you do not see it’s redeeming value does not mean it isn’t there. I served a church one time where there were few elderly women who were very discouraged. They thought they had “outlived their usefulness” and God couldn’t use them anymore. The pastor said to them, “What do you like to do?” They answered that they met every week and crochet together. He told them, “There you go. God can use that. Just figure out how.” These ladies decided to try that out. What they did was amazing. They found out the local paper had a section that would post when new babies were born in the community. What they began to do was crochet little socks for these newborn babies then go by these houses to congratulate the new parents and present them with the little socks as a gift. Since these ladies were all grandma’s they would instantly fall in love with these little babies and many times began to help out these new, exhausted mothers. During these visits they would be able to pray with the new parents, provide guidance, and even help them reconnect with their families. After two years over 15 new couples had begun attending church because of these elderly women who felt like they had “outlived their usefulness.” God has a plan for your life but it’s going to take the faith to step out and purse it. He’s also called you to be a blessing in the lives of others and to serve everyone around you. By doing this, we are fulfilling the greatest calling of all, to be the Hands and Feet of Jesus in this world.

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All, LCL, Leadership

Laws of Bible Study

There are several methods of Bible study that may be employed to arrive at a correct understanding of Bible truth. In hermeneutics (interpretation) there are certain principles or laws that must be observed in our study of God’s Word. They are:

I. Law of Application— Application of Scripture may be made only after the correct doctrinal meaning has been determined.

II. Law of Literal Interpretation— When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, lest it make non-sense. 

III. Law of First Mention— God has order the meaning of a word in it’s first occurrence in Scripture as to forecast how that word would be associated in the rest of the Scriptures. 

IV. Law of Progressive Mention— God make the revelation of any given truth increasingly clear as the Word proceeds to its consummation.

V. Law of Subsequent Mention— God in later Scripture adds details to prior events, or give events never before recorded.

VI. Law of Context–The meaning of any particular element is controlled by what precedes and what follows. A verse out of context is a pre-text.

VII. Law of Discrimination— The Scriptures must be divided so as to make a distinction where God makes a difference.

VIII. Law of Agreement–God will not set forth any passage in His Word which contradicts any other passage. 

IX. Law of Repetition— God will often repeat something previously said as a means of emphasis.

X. Law of Double Reference— A passage may apply primarily to a person or event near at hand, but is used by the Holy Spirit at a later time as applying to the Person of Christ, or the affairs of His kingdom.

XI. Gap Law— God, in the Scriptures, will sometimes skip over lengthy periods of time without comment.

XII. Laws of Right Divisions— God’s Word must be divided according to dispensations, covenants and ethnic groups.

XIII. Law of Types— God often employs types as a divinely appointed illustration of some spiritual truth.

XIV. Law of Numerical Design— Numbers in the Bible have a specific meaning that teach specific truths.

XV. Synthetic Technique— God inspired the literary structure of the Bible so that it is constructed in introversion, alternation, or combinations of both.


(taken from:

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All, Leadership

GROW 2016 (Children’s Ministry App) Takeaways

Important building block to being a great Children’s Ministry….

-We are not a baby sitting ministry.
-We minister the Word of God to little people.
-Elevate children’s ministry in the eyes of the church.

2. Needs to MIRROR the Call and Vision of your church.
-Everyone has to run the same play.

3. Discipleship is done through Facilitating the Parent not Replacing them.

-Rooms that are safe and age appropriate.
-Fun, preach the Word, safe
-Safe, Safe, Safe
-Build trust with the parents
-Safety- uniform police officer designated to kids
-Safety- toys in appropriate rooms

Excellence is NOT expensive but IS intentional.
-UNO cards with a passionate leader is better than any expensive game console.

People are the most important asset you have.

People don’t know what you know, they only know what they see.

Only 3% of offenders are caught by background checks. The reason you do it so you can protect the church.

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GROW 2016 (Small Groups) Takeaways


We create small group environments where people can experience community, settle their yesterdays and take next steps.
Acts 2, 3

People only stay for two reasons>>>
-Need to be needed
-Need to be known
-(Ecc. 4)

-People need deliverance.
-Salvation is a moment but deliverance is a process.
-James 5:16
-Create safe environments where people can be healed.

There are four aspects to a persons life>>>
-Arena- I know and you know.
-Mask- I know but you don’t know.
-Blindspot- You know but I don’t know.
-Potential- I don’t know and God don’t know… God knows.

-Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron.”




-Pastor leads a group.
-Staff leads groups.
-The church is a church of groups.
-Mention it in every message in every Sunday.

-They can gather under anything.
-The idea of the group is the HOOK but the reason they gather is so they can take the next steps.
-Everyone in your church is already in groups. They just don’t meet and consider it a small group.
-Tell them to keep doing what they are doing and turn it into ministry.

-Way to keep them organized so the major areas are maintined.


Think of it like a mall. You have these smaller stores but they are anchored around the big stores like JC Penny and Sears. The stores that surround them are similar.

-There are many things you do that do not push your vision.
-Events are important because they become catalysts for things that are important.

-A group is not a meeting. A group meets weekly.
-Your family is not dinner. Your family has dinner.

Every group is asked to do every week>>>
ECOURAGE- pastor people.
SCRIPTURE- always share a verse.
PRAYER- always pray for people. Pray for them by name every day.
NEXT STEPS- always help people move to the next step with God. Identify everyone in your group and help them take one step.

-Spring- 13 weeks, Summer- 6 weeks, Fall -13 weeks
-Semesters let people join at the beginning.
-Most groups continue but the new semesters give people a chance to feel like it’s new.

-Semesters let you take advantage of natural START and STOP times.
-Don’t do groups in down months like May and December.


-Number one job of staff is to equip saints to do ministry.
-Everyone on staff is measured by how they are growing teams.
-Whatever gets measured and rewarded gets done.

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All, Leadership

GROW 2016 (Know God) Weekend Services Takeaways

Everyone needs to know the vision of the church
-Needs to be the same thing.
-That way we all know the same play.


SYSTEMS- Delivers your vision.
-System isn’t the vision. A system delivers the vision.
-A system does not ensure your success.
-Define a vision that’s measurable. Then find a system to deliver it.

Every time people leave your church there’s one of two responses (“Man, it’s over already?” Or “Man, I’m glad that’s over”)


We create worship experiences that both unchurched people and believers love to attend.

The goal isn’t to do everything we know how to do.
The goal is for people to come back.

1. Because it is the Biblical model.
-Church is not for you. Church is for the lost.
-Church is a place for inspiration, motivation, and training so we can go into the world and reach the lost.
-Turn your church into a place where lost people get saved.
–Don’t stop working on it until people are getting saved.

2. Because we are called to continue the ministry of Jesus.
-John 17:18-20
-Acts 20:24 (The most important thing is to complete the mission)

3. Because Heaven and Hell are REAL.
-Don’t let christians stop you from reaching the lost.
-Luke 15- Three different stories Jesus tried to communicate how important it was to find the lost.
-God is distracted by those who are lost.
-Put an emphasis on the lost.

God’s not excited about your church service as much as you are. He’s excited about lost people getting saved.

1.Focus on a life-giving culture.
-Culture trumps everything.
-Don’t worry about the score board. Focus on creating a life-giving culture. Healthy things grow.

Personality of Jesus>>>

>>> Services should be AUTHENTIC.
-Be real.

>>> Services should be RELEVANT.
-Not like the world. Not secular music.
-Talk about things that pass the “who cares?” test.
-Everything you do… ask if they can use it on Monday.

>>> Services should be ENJOYABLE.
-Kids jumped in Jesus’ lap. He was fun.
-Church should be full of FOOD and FUN.
-It is the joy of the Lord that gives people strength.
-Generosity is MASSIVE.

>>> Services should be ACCEPTING.
-We’re not saying you approve of what they do but you accept them.

>>> Services should be POWERFUL.
-Don’t be afraid to pray for people.
-Don’t forget that signs and wonders accompany the believers.


KNOW WHY the unchurched are unchurched.
Top four reasons>>>
-just want my money
-too long
-afraid for my kids

IMPRESS THEM within the first 10 minutes.
-Parking team
-Greeting team
-Children’s check-in (make it look more professional)

-Put your energy and resources into GREAT PRAISE AND WORSHIP.
-CHILDREN’S MINITSRY SHOULD be well staffed, safe, clean and fun.
-DELIVER EVANGELISTIC MESSAGES that are interesting, clear, relevant, entertaining, and Biblical.
-PRAYER teams should cover the services behind everything.

Excellence creates comfort.


-Both in services and in preaching.

-Accept the personal responsibility.
-God’s plan to reach the people around you is you. (Relational networks)
-Teach people how to give a personal invitation. (Need to have two lost people come every year.)

If every Christian led one person to Christ every year the entire world would be reached in 20 years.

-pray that the father would draw them to Jesus (John 6:44)
-bind the spirit that blinds their eyes (2 Cor. 4:4)
-Loose the spirit of adoption (sonship) (Romans 8:15)
-Pray that believers will cross their paths and enter into positive relationships (Matt. 9:38)
-Loose the spirit of wisdom and revelation on them so they can see Christ. (Eph.1:17)

-Work hard on this.
-There is a gravitational pull toward selfishness.

HOW>>> By creating series specifically designed for unchurched people.
HOW>>> By communicating your missions outside the church.

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All, LCL

GROW 2016 Main Session One Takeaways

Acts 16:5– So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.



– God never intended you to stay where you are.

-When you get healthy, growth will happen.

-The reason why it’s important is because Heaven is Hell is real.


we all have a different assignment from God.


If you get better, it’ll get bigger.

You can’t just aim at anything.
You have to aim at the right thing.

The journey>>>
Lost people saved.
Saved people pastored.
Pastored people trained.
Trained people are mobilized.
Four places this is revealed in God’s Word.
1. exodus6:6-7
2. Mark 16:15-20
3. Colossians 1:28-29
4. Ephesians 1:16-18 (Message translation is awesome)

Making the path so clear.
They got it clear.
Four things on everything.
1. Know God
How do we deliver that: system: Weekend Services. (Delivers the “know God” vision)
Key- narrow the focus (know God)

2. Find Freedom
System: small groups
James 5:16
Key: all ministry and events with groups.

3. Discover Purpose
Romans 12:6
Each of us have different gifts.
Everything you need to accomplish your goal is already in your church.
System: Growth Track
Key: think steps not events.

4. Make a Difference
1 Peter 4:10 NLT
System: Dream Team
No one can fulfill their purpose alone.
Key: gift- oriented ministry


What is a system- something that delivers the vision.

Success is when people are moving on the Spiritual journey that God has for them.

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A Letter to RLC, All, Leadership

10 Reasons Why I Love Our Annual “At The Movies” Series?

1. Breaks up the normal schedule.

No matter how much you love church, it can get predictable. Most people actually don’t think that’s a bad thing. I love being able to know what to expect, especially when I’m thinking of inviting friends. The problem is when you get so use to church that you quite expecting God to speak to you. Doing an “out of the box” series like this gives us the opportunity to refresh our perspective.

2. Presents the Gospel in a fresh way.

People are use to seeing a preaching ascend to the stage preach the Gospel. That’s what churches do. They don’t expect churches to show movies.

3. Forever makes these movies markers for the Gospel.

Elf, The Polar Express, Avatar, The Hunger Games, The Help, and The Guardian are just some of the movies we’ve used in the past to tell the story of the Gospel. After using these movies I’ve been told my many people that every time they watch these movies, they think of how we used it to tell about Jesus. I love that. The next time you watch “Elf” at Christmas time you’ll think of Jesus. #winning

4. Speaks to unbelievers.

Hollywood sometimes spend in excess of $200 million on movie projects. We get the benefit of that amazing budget to tell God’s story. I’m continually amazed at how God uses modern day parables to show people who He is.

5. Surprises believers.

Over the years we’ve had several well meaning Christians criticize this evangelistic method. We’ve learned now to simply say, “Just come on and bring a friend. You’ll see.” What they find is people who they’ve been praying for years to see saved, give their lives to Christ every time. Many of these former doubters will come up to me later and say, “I totally get it now.”

6. Shakes off that religious spirit.

It’s hard to watch “Elf” or “The Help” in church and still have a religious criticalness.

7. Who doesn’t like movies?

I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like to watch movies. Everyone’s tastes are different but everyone like movies. They’re just fun.

8. Who doesn’t like popcorn?

I mean, really. You get free popcorn and a drink for three straight weeks at church. You can’t loose.

9. Our “At The Movies” series makes inviting people to church a little easier.

Ever wonder why it’s easy to invite people to a special presentation? Because it’s a special presentation. If you invite someone to church, they will possibly put you off. If you invite them to something special that only happens once a year, the law of scarcity comes into effect. The added bonus is we might watch their favorite movie.

10. Our “At The Movies” series helps us live out one of our church’s chief values: “We will do anything short of sin to reach people with the life-giving message of the Gospel”.

We believe the message of the Gospel is so important that we will risk offending Christians to reach the lost. Our goal is not to intentionally offend others but to win people. When you read about Jesus, it appears the only people He offended were stuffy Christians who couldn’t see past their own noses. That’s not us. We only have a limited time on this Earth. We want to reach as many people as possible.

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All, Leadership

Why Do You Do That?: Salvation Prayer Every Sunday

Have you ever saw someone do something and just wanted to know why? You’re not saying you disagree, far from it actually. You just don’t understand why.

At Real Life Church, there are a few things we do differently from how you may have grown up experiencing church. Some of those things include:

  • Offering one-on-one prayer every Sunday at the end of service
  • Receiving our tithe and offering at the end of service
  • Have our announcements on a video instead of live
  • Greet our first time guests and talk to them every week
  • Lead the congregation in a prayer of salvation every Sunday.

Some of these you have never been curious about before. However, one I hear often is, “Why do you lead people through a prayer of salvation every Sunday even if it wasn’t the focus of your message?” That’s a great question. Here are three reasons:

1. Salvation is for everyone TODAY. 

Hebrews 3:15 – “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

There is no longer a reason to wait. Today is the day of salvation. We always pray for God to send us His lost children, people who are far from Him. We believe God has already been preparing their hearts for that moment, they simply need the opportunity to come to Christ.

2. God is constantly drawing His people.

Acts 2:39 “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Through the will and movement of the Holy Spirit in the Earth, God is constantly drawing His creation back to Him. When we are far from God we don’t always know that’s what feel. However, we know something is missing. When you are far from God, He will use every situation to draw you toward Himself.

3. Simply, people know they need Jesus.

Colossians 2:13 “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses”

I’ve talked to countless people who’ve attended our services and many times they’ll say things like, “My family is in trouble. We need help.” or “I have messed up and I need help.” They know they can’t do this thing called ‘life’ alone. It’s not working. They’ve realized there has to be something more. I truly believe that when we surrender our agenda to God and make the service about Him and not what makes us happy, He works in people’s hearts all through the service. By the time we get to prayer time, people are aching to connect with Jesus. I’ve seen it time and time again.


Here’s the bottom line- 
We believe that in every service there’s someone in that room that God is drawing to Himself. He’s desperately trying to reach His lost children. Why wouldn’t we do everything to make that happen. We were once far from God. We know what it’s like to be lost and alone. I don’t want anyone to feel that way. What if you met a kid and found out they had run away from home, wouldn’t you do everything you could to convince them to go home? That’s what we do every Sunday. We tell lost kids that their Heavenly Father loves them and wants them home.

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All, Books, Leadership

Book Review: Wild At Heart

Every man should read “Wild At Heart” annually.
It teaches men that our heart is not to be tamed, sanitized, or hidden but to be unleashed.
The author says, “Men, be a man. Discover what that is and then let the fullness of who you are be real and authentic.”

This book hit me so many times in so many ways that I was wondering if he actually wrote this book for me.

Not enough books are written about the heart and depths of a man. When someone actually speaks on this topic, the result is the realization of an unquenchable hunger to hear more.


This book has recently been updated with even more good content. Here’s the link >>> CLICK HERE

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All, LCL, Leadership

Consider the Source

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” -Proverbs 4:23

I love the book of proverbs. There are so many great tools that add layers to your life. The above verse is a great one. It’s like a hammer, simply essential. One time early in my ministry, I was struggling with receiving criticism. At the time I was a worship leader and this lady came up to me after church and said I wasn’t very good at leading. She said I sang too low and a higher key would engage more people to sing along. That may not seem like a big deal to you, but at the time it crushed my very fragile ego. Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with constructive criticism. If done the right way, criticism can be one of the biggest growth catalysts of your life.

However, the challenge is to learn how to take the criticism you’re receiving and place it into categories, mainly as ‘constructive’ and as ‘trash’. Early in my life I didn’t know how to do this and, if I’m honest, it’s still sometimes a day by day process.

As I said earlier, I was receiving some criticism and didn’t really know what to do with it. An older, wiser leader gave me a phrase which has been huge in the process of categorizing negative comments. Here it is…


“Consider the source” has been the key to allowing certain types of comments into my heart and others that do not even make it past my ears.  Here are some questions to ask next time you are being confronted with criticism and how to know what to listen to and what to throw away. In essence, it’s how we can consider the source.

1. Does the person know your heart?

Hurting people hurt people. That needs to be learned early and often. Sometimes people will say negative things simply as a way to cope with their own issues. Their not mad at you really. Their upset with someone else. You simply were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Before you take their words to heart ask if they know you. Do they know who you really are?  Do they love you? What’s the motivation behind their comments? Are they for you or are they simply trying to use you as a punching bag?

2. Are they willing to back up their comment with help to make it better?

Talk it cheap. Is the person daring to give you negative feedback willing to work through the issue with you. There’s a big difference between, “You stink” and “You stink but I want to help you get better.” Both hurt but one of them implies ownership for the words spoken. There’s another blog post coming for the importance of not saying anything you are willing to back up but… that’s later.

3. Do they want the best for you? 

I’ve had people criticize me that knew me. However, their comments weren’t to make me better it was just to inform me of my issue. That’s not a true friend. Just because someone knows you does not mean their out for your best interest. Anyone with an ex-spouse can tell you that. What’s the motivation behind their comment? Are they trying to make you better or simply remind you of their superiority?


Criticism isn’t going anywhere and the truth is not all of it is bad. We cannot grow with out being stretched, pulled, and sometimes torn. The trick isn’t to hide from criticism but to figure out what is worthy of your attention and what needs to be thrown into the garbage where it belongs.

So, there’s my three ways of qualifying the words of others. Is there something different you use? Let me know in the comments below.




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All, LCL, Leadership

Stay Positive: I’m Confident (Wrap Up)

This past Sunday, we finished our latest series entitled “Stay Positive”. In this series we talked about the importance of staying positive in a negative world. Over the first four weeks we talked about Optimism, Gratitude, Encouragement, and a spiritual look at Enthusiasm.

For the last part of this series, we talked about the one closest to my heart, the desire to stay confident.  If we’re honest, we all have things attempt to rob our confidence. For some it’s the fear of the future. They’ve finished college, now what? For others, it’s the expectations of others. How do they measure up in the eyes of others? Still, others have a problem with their body image. If they could lose those last few pounds, gain some muscle (but not too much) be generally look good naked, they would finally be happy. (yeah right) These confidence killers plague all of us.

That’s why we no longer want to live on the unpredictability of self-confidence. We want to live with God-confidence. The three statements to live by are:

God is for me.

God wants to help me.

God is working on me.

These three truths can help you make it in the most stressful, confidence-sapping moments of your life. We do not rest in our own abilities but in the ability that God has in us.

We do not live FOR the approval of God but FROM the approval of God.  Below is the entire message. Let’s grow in our God-confidence together.


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