Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Check Your Attitude

As a leader of any group, your effectiveness will depend upon the people that you call on to assist you. There is only so much that you can do yourself. While in industry, my number one criteria in hiring was the attitude of the candidate. I would always select a candidate with a good attitude over a more competent candidate with a bad attitude. A person with a good attitude is teachable and can learn the product and system.
In ministry, we always try to surround ourselves with people with good attitudes. We need others that can lift us up rather than put us down. John Maxwell says we need to be around fire starters, not firemen who pour water on every new idea. 
A while back the San Francisco School Board selected three teachers for an experiment. They explained to the teachers that they were selected because they were the very best in the district. They would be given the ninety best students and were to take off all restrictions, and pour themselves into the kids. They wanted to see how these students could progress. The results of the class were great: Students scored twenty-eight higher than any other group of students. After the experiment, the truth came out. The students were not the best, they were just average students chosen by drawing names. And the teachers themselves were also average teachers whose names had been drawn randomly. The difference in performance of the students was based on the attitude of the teachers. The teachers thought of themselves as great teachers and thought of their students as the best.

Your attitude at the beginning of a task will directly affect the outcome. If you begin with excitement and enthusiasm you have a greater chance of success than if you start with a “wait and see” or “I don’t want to do this.”

So the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. [1 Kings 11:11 ]

Jesus called twelve to be His apostles. These were all common men without theological training. They were fishermen, tax collectors, and other normal vocations, but they all had right attitude.
Luke 6:12-13 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:
They were designated apostles for two purposes; that they might be with Him and that He might send them out and have His authority. That is what leaders need - people that fit in relationship, and that can be given authority and represent us. At work, a person's chance of success is thirteen percent product knowledge and eighty-seven percent people knowledge. My attitude toward others often determines their attitude toward me. 
Nordstrom’s Stores did a customer survey to determine why they lose customers. The responses are meaningful; 
1 % died, 3% moved away, 
5% found a better store, 
9% left for competitive reasons, 
14% left because of product dissatisfaction, 
and a whopping 68% quit coming because of the attitude or the indifference of an employee.
Your attitude will affect how you feel - whether you are happy or unhappy. The thoughts in your mind are more important than the events in your life. Our attitude will change when I want it to change - we can control it if we understand the importance of controlling it. It is not what happens to us, but what happens in us. When Clara Barton, Civil War nurse and founder of the Red Cross, was once asked about carrying a grudge, she replied,

I distinctly remember forgetting.

How you know your attitude needs adjustment:
  1. If you lack time for self and for God
  2. Relationships with co-workers is strained
  3. Your spouse tells you your attitude stinks
  4. Your view of people lowers
  5. You become cynical about your life. 

Attitude adjustment techniques:
  1. Say the right word - I am sorry, will you forgive me?
  2. Read the right books.
  3. Listen/Watch the right audios/videos
  4. Hang out with the right people.
  5. Do the right things

Your attitude is contagious

People catch your attitudes just like they catch our colds - by sitting close to us.

How is your attitude today? Share your thoughts or make comment.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Develop an Ear For God

Which is harder, to hear God’s guidance, or to obey His direction? 

If Jesus were to come into your room at night and give you firm direction, you would probably obey without question. But what if He spoke to you in that still, small voice? (1Kings 19:12) Then you could argue that it may not have been God, it may have been my own thoughts, or it might have been the enemy trying to confuse me.

We must all develop an ear to hear God often and clearly, even when He speaks in that still small voice. That still small voice tends to get drowned out by all of the noise around us.

Learning to listen

How well you listen to your spouse, neighbor or friends is an indicator of how well you listen to God. How you listen to others is exactly how you will listen to God. The key to hearing God clearly is learning to listen. You can begin practicing by listening to others.

One of the most loving and healing human acts is also one of the easiest to accomplish. That is listening - not advising or coaching, but sincerely, silently, and fully listening. If you love your spouse or neighbor as you love yourself, you will listen to them. If you love God with all your, heart, mind, and strength, you will listen to Him. There is no greater expression of love than to listen to somebody else. When you listen, you are laying down your life and your agenda to listen and help them reach their agenda.

Listening creates relationships; it helps us connect with others. It values what they have to say. Listening is one of the clearest signs of deep, genuine spirituality.

Some may believe that God no longer speaks to His people, and if you don’t believe He still speaks the odds of hearing Him are pretty slim. At times we may not want to hear. If we hear God speaking to us, we may be required to respond. If we know it is God we have no wiggle room. If there is a doubt in our mind, then we can make excuses. We may not want Him to get too close. When God had given the Ten Commandments, Moses invited the people to come forth to hear His voice. But the people refused (Exodus 20:19-20). But, God can and will break through our blinders and communicate with us regardless of our reasons.

We Need to Hear

When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment in the law, He responded;

“Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. ‘and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the first commandment” (Mark 12:29-30).

Jesus then adds another commandment not found in the Shema but taken from Leviticus 19:18;
 “And the second, like it is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31) Jesus responded by citing the Shema and the Vaharta, the main prayers of the Jewish faith, found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

In the Old Testament, the word for “Hear” or “listen,” is Shema. Shema includes hearing but has a further understanding of obeying the words heard. Obedient hearing brings blessing (Proverbs 8:34), while judgment comes against the refusal to listen.

Zechariah 7:12-13 (NKJV) Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the LORD of hosts. Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen," says the LORD of hosts.

In New Testament usage, the Greek term akouo also refers to the simple hearing and obedience but is often used to denote hearing with faith. (Romans 10:17; Galatians 3:2, 5; 1Thessalonians 2:13). The expectation is that when the gospel is heard it will be responded to in faith and submission. The refusal to listen is considered to be disobedience (John 8:47);

 "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." Luke 11:28 (NIV)