Archives For Growth

What does the Bible say about leadership? The Bible can be used as a textbook for leadership because it can be seen as a history of God raising those who led his people according to his will. 1

Joshua's Example of Growth in God's Word

This is the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) which Joshua advocated so strongly for his people to follow and obey. This picture was taken at the Dallas Holocaust Museum in 2014 of a Torah scroll discovered in Nazi possession.

This is the first of three blog posts where I will share the biblical history of three leaders and their unique characteristics that reflect a biblical philosophy of leadership.

Joshua’s Example of Growth in God’s Word

The example of Joshua displays the growth of a leader in God’s Word. That growth started in the book of Deuteronomy. Addressing the nation of Israel Moses declared, Continue Reading…


  1. Andrew Seidel, Charting a Bold Course: Training Leaders for the 21st Century (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2003), 25.

I am twenty eight years old, and I need to develop into the leader that God has designed me to be. This Leadership Development Plan (LDP) will be the tool I use to grow as a leader in my future ministry contexts based on my personality, gifts, and learning styles.

My Leadership Development Plan

The three books I used for my Leadership Development Plan: Maximizing Your Effectiveness (Malphurs), Being Leaders (Malphurs), Building Leaders (Malphurs & Mancini)

This plan was developed in a class I took with Aubrey Malphurs, Ph.D. at Dallas Theological Seminary. Even though this plan might be personal I hope it can serve you as a sample to help you create your own leadership development plan.

A. My Design

1. My Divine Design

According to Andrew Seidel’s book, Charting a Bold Course, my DISC personality profile labels me as a High S. S stands for “Steadiness” which means that I act patiently, want routine, fear change, and respond with nonparticipation.(p. 79) This is good because it means when heading in the direction I think God wants me to go in, I will not give up easily. Continue Reading…

Let’s face it: Not everyone wants to learn. However, for leaders to be effective their teams must be growing and learning.

pics of guys doing push ups

Flickr Photo Credit: US Military Academy West Point

Recently I read Marcy Driscoll’s book, The Psychology of Learning for Instruction. This book helped me see how to use motivation and self-regulation as a way to motivate people to learn. Here’s three things I learned from the book. Continue Reading…

Throughout my life I have worked hard to compile the best advice possible from anyone who would give it to me. While listening to a CD from the John Maxwell Maximum Impact Club back in 2009, I heard a tip that a leader should sit down and create a list of the best advice ever received.

Photo Credit:  swanksalot

Photo Credit: swanksalot

So I sat down and wrote out some of the best wisdom people have shared with me. Continue Reading…

Today is part three of a five part series exploring Leadership Lessons from Lincoln Applied to Christian Ministry


Lincoln was a self-grower: meaning he worked hard to grow personally and professionally so that he could read, write, speak well, and lead.

Lincoln Leadership Lessons Applied to Christian Ministry

In this way, he pushed himself to do what was needed to be done and he grew along the way.

The level of Lincoln’s accomplishment is amazing when considering his limited formal schooling. Several sources show that Lincoln probably only had as much as a year of formal schooling. One biographer comments on his ability to learn and grow: “He developed a confidence that he could dig into books for what he wanted, and would so repeatedly in the years ahead. And that confidence in his powers of understanding what was written on the page seems to have encouraged a broader self-confidence, in his judgment and his critical powers-let us call it a moral self-confidence.”[1]

Later when the Civil War started Lincoln himself admitted he knew nothing about military strategy, tactics, or how to win a war. Concurrent with his past history of digging into books to find the answer he needed, Lincoln began studying war tactics, maps of the South, and actively working with his military generals to the point that he was a well versed military man by the end of the Civil War.

In the context of Christian Ministry and Leadership I too must have self-led growth. Eighteen months of education in Christian Ministry and Leadership is not going to teach me all the things I must know to effectively serve and lead others. To be as great of a leader as Lincoln was, I will need to practice self-led growth by regularly reading books, attending conferences, and spending time with others who will stretch me to grow and develop.

As we will see next, Lincoln’s self-led growth will be the most important aspect that allows him to actively lead.

Question: How do you practice self-led growth in your professional and personal life?

                [1] William Lee Miller, Lincoln’s Virtues: An Ethical Biography (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2002), 53.

Perhaps one of the learning experiences I have had over the past month as part of my internship with Church Assistance Ministry (CAM) is not as much about what I am doing, but it is more about what I am seeing.

I have watched my field supervisor, Steve Elliott, go through some tough times. This has led me to see, observe, and learn about how to deal with extremely difficult life situations in a positive way. Here are a few things I have noticed:

  • Steve has drawn close to God: One of Steve’s prayer requests for him and his wife is that God would use their experience to draw them closer to God and to each other.
  • Steve has allowed others to minister to him: Steve has been open and vulnerable to share his thoughts and feelings with others, and in turn he has allowed others to pray for his wife, and he has allowed others to minister to them.
  • Steve has continued ministry (almost) as normal: Steve has still kept many of his normal ministry appointments and commitments during this tough time. He wants to continue serving and helping while going through this tough time.
  • Steve has kept others up-to-date with the status of their situation: Every couple of days Steve sends out a nice long email to his core group of friends and coworkers (and his intern) detailing what he and his wife have been going through and mostly thanking us for our prayers.

I do not like having to learn lessons in a way that is painful and tough for Steve, but they are lessons I am learning as a future ministerial leader and I am sure I will face similar situations in the future.

Question: What are some leadership lessons you have learned from simply watching others?

We continue our study of the life of David today, but we are taking a turn in how we look at David's life.

A King
In chapter 29 of 1 Samuel we start to see some of the parts of David that are less admirable and less commonly talked about regarding his character. David was not perfect and he had faults (just as we all do). This chapter brings to light some of those faults.

Let's catch up with David who is hiding from Saul in the Philistine area under King Achish of Gath. David is hiding because he is fearful that eventually Saul is going to catch and kill him. And there were certainly some times when Saul was close to catching David. David has also been raiding towns and killing the people in those towns who were "kinda" allies of the Philistines, but they were also enemies of Israel. 

Now in 1 Samuel 28:1-2 and chapter 29 we see what David does when he must face the results of his previous lies. While doing some research on this passage of scripture I found a great quote which I believe accurately paints a picture of David's current attitude and state of mind:

“Over time David grew weary of Saul’s pursuit and chose to escape to the land of the Philistines. He became vague about his purpose, defensive about his leadership, and lost the trust of Israel. Even great leaders become vulnerable when they grow tired, lonely, angry, or hungry.”[1]

When King Achish tells David that he expects David to help the Philistine army in their next battle against the Israelites, David responds, "Very well. Now you will see for yourself what we can do" (28:2 NLT). Betraying your own country was a big deal in David's time just as it is a big deal today. As a reader it is hard to believe that David is going to follow through with this plan of fighting against his fellow countrymen.

In chapter 29 we see David marching at the rear of the Philistine troops with King Achish. From a reader's perspective it appears that David is going through with this plan to kill his fellow countrymen. This must have been devastating for David because I am sure he did not want to fight against the Israelites. My guess is that David must of had tremendous inner turmoil about what he should do.

Then, a Philistine commander recognizes David and asks King Achish what David and his Hebrew friends are doing there about to attack Hebrew Israelites. The end result of the chapter is that the Philistine commanders do not allow David to go to battle with them because they are afraid he will turn against the Philistines and kill them. Thus, King Achish is forced to send David back to Ziklag. 

Luckily, David is not required to fight his own countrymen, the Israelites. 

Because David was operating in fear, he made a poor decision to go and live with the Philistines where he believed he was safer from Saul. Then, that poor decision led to the possibility that he might have to fight against his home country of Israel, his king, Saul, and his best friend, Jonathan. 

Saying that David is less than perfect is an understatement in this passage.

Here are three changes we have seen David make:

  1. Previously David was loyal to Saul, Israel, and His God. Now he is loyal to King Achich, Philistia, and he has abandoned his God. 
  2. Previously David held on to God's promise. Now he has given up on that promise.
  3. Previously David was a servant (and armor bearer) to King Saul. Now he is a servant to King Achish and Philistia.

While thinking about this chapter through the lens of David and his character, I believe it might be a lesson for us that we do not have to be perfect. Maybe it is a lesson that God loves us and that he wants us to follow Him, but even after years of faithful service, when we fall away, God can still use us for good.

I believe David is perfect in some areas, and in some areas he is not perfect.

David is perfect in the fact that he is a man after God's own heart. In 1 Samuel 13:14 Samuel declares, "for the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart." That is in reference to David who Samuel anoints to become king at a later time.

David is also perfect in the fact that he served God, Israel, and Saul for most of his life. With the minor exception of the 16 months David and his men lived with the Philistines, David always faithfully served God, Israel, and Saul.

David is not perfect because he abandoned God by going to the Philistine territory. In those times, the people had a strong belief that God was in a place, and that place for a Israelite was in Jerusalem. When David fled to the Philistine area, he abandoned God.

David is also not perfect because he lied. Clearly in chapter 27 David lies about where he has been going and who he has been fighting. There are some biblical scholars who believe David also lies when David confirms King Achish's request for David and his men to fight in the Philistine army against the Israelites. Some scholars believe that David lies to the King about being loyal to them, stating that David's plan was to turn on the Philistines while in battle to continue his allegiance to Israel and his God.

If we look at this chapter to see that even a future king is not perfect, the question I think it is good to ask is this: If God's criteria for David to eventually becoming king was David's performance, would God have allowed him to become king? I believe the answer is, "No." God would not have allowed David to become king if God's choice of a king was based on performance. God knows that David is a man after His own heart, and that is what He admires about David (as we learned from 1 Samuel 16, God Looks at the Heart). David seeks to please God and faithfully follow Him.

In fact, my friend Gene Hill believes that God uses our imperfection. He believes God uses it as a way to draw us closer to God and that it allows us to point to God when good things happen because they are not all on our own.

Another great quote that I believe summarizes our point that a future leader does not need to be perfect is when Andy Stanley comments on David:

“While the details of our lives may overlap very little with David’s, there is one thing we all have in common with him. We’ve all put God’s grace to the test. We have broken his law. We’ve been irresponsible with his blessing. We’ve confessed a sin only to turn right around and repeat it. It’s those occasions when I begin to wonder, How many times? How many times can I expect God to forgive me for the same sin? All of us in our own ways have wondered, Where does grace end and retribution begin? If David’s story is any indication, grace has no end.”[2]

Question: For God to use you to do great things in the world, do you need to be perfect?

[1] John C. Maxwell, The Maxwell Leadership Bible, 2nd ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 366.

[2] Andy Stanley, The Grace of God (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.: 2010), 104.

Another thing I learned in 2011 is that you can read the entire Christian Bible in one year. I did it and it was more easy than I thought. (If you are looking for a Bible to read, this is the one I use and recommend.)


In February of 2011 I began taking a Spiritual Formation class at Fresno Pacific University where our professor, Jeff Harrington, Ph.D. shared with us that he reads through the entire Bible every single year. Dr. Harrington explained that if you start on January 1st in Genesis 1 and read four chapters a day (which only takes about 15 minutes) you will finish the entire Bible by October. Continue Reading…

In preparation for completing my degree in Christian Ministry and Leadership at Fresno Pacific University (FPU), I took an English 1A class last fall.  English 1A is a basic reading and composition class.

Many a friend found it ironic that someone who has penned a book and over 570 blog posts would need to take a basic English class.  But, I needed the class for FPU, so I took it.

English 1A was taught by Rob Sledge, a professor I had taken twice while attending California State University, Stanislaus.  Rob is a great guy, and when I saw he was teaching the class I needed to take for FPU, I registered as soon as possible.

While in the class, I learned many new things about writing style, grammar, etc.  But what stood out to me the most were three statements he made in class that I believe are profound.  Let me share those with you and add some of my own thoughts to them.

Still waters run deep

I'm still thinking through this one.  I'm not sure entirely what it means, but I do know that the unseen can be powerful.  When we simply look at things on the surface, that's when we are misguided and mistaken.  I first realized the importance of looking at what is beneath when reading the Bible in 1 Samuel 16:7.  This is where the prophet Samuel is looking for God's new anointed king.  He is looking at several men, but is unsure who God's new king is.  That's when the spirit of the Lord says to Samuel:

. . . "Don't judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn't make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person's thoughts and intentions." – 1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)

When looking at people we need to look deep. Still waters do run deep, and we need to look deep into those still waters to see what is truly there, below the surface.

When we get what we want, we often realize it's not what we wanted

How true this one is.  Many times in life we set goals, work our butt off to get those goals, but when we get them we wonder if it was worth it.  Especially when we make sacrifices along the way.

Again, we need to look at those still waters that run deep.  The object of a goal isn't just reaching the goal, it's much more than that.  When we reach a goal, the lasting impression that we have is who we become in the process.  Let me share that again with different words.

What is truly meaningful about goals is not what we achieve, but it's who we become in the process of achieving those goals.

For years I had a dream of becoming a professional golfer, but those dreams didn't come true.  Even though they did not come true, the most satisfying thing is that I became a strong courageous man in the pursuit of those goals.  And that has helped me serve others on a level I never would have been able to serve at if I hadn't pursued those goals.

Imperfection is the common ground where everyone can meet

This is another profound statement, but this one goes against the grain of common wisdom.

Many people believe that when you talk about your success people will flock to you and follow you.  Not true.  If you want to impress people, talk about your success, but if you want to connect with them, talk about your failures.

Question: What lessons have you learned from professors you had while in college?

Learnings from Alaska

January 23, 2010 — Leave a comment

This holiday season I spent two entire weeks with my immediate family in Alaska.

It was very enjoyable with lots of time with family, and a little bit of creative working on the side. I chose to place family first on my priorities while there (as it is most of the time in my normal work week), and only worked if I had a little extra time, or if the family was watching a TV show I didn't care for (I'm not much for reality shows).

On my last days there, I realized I had learned a few things during my time. Even though I wasn't doing a ton of reading or a whole lot of writing, I made some new distinctions which I wanted to share with you.

Here are my, Learnings from Alaska:

  • We all have a gift to give Jesus for his birthday – This came from a message I heard from Pastor Brian Miller. He gave the message a few weeks before Christmas, and the last question he asked before he ended his message was, What present will you give to Jesus for his birthday? Man, that got me thinking, and I realized that the greatest gift I could give to Jesus was my quiet, undivided attention to him.
  • Time away renews our strength – At the end of 2009, I really felt burnt out. I could sense that my body didn't quite feel right, and my mind wasn't as clear and strong as normal. It was tough to deal with cause I normally perform at a pretty high level in my work. I demand a lot out of myself and when I'm not performing at 100 percent, it really shows and I know it. As I took time away, I could feel my strength start to return and become better. I started to feel more centered and more aligned with who I am and what I stand for.
  • When with family, be with family – Earlier I shared with you a little bit about how I make family my top priority. As I went to Alaska, I brought all kinds of work I could have done. Lots of books to read, articles to write, events to plan. But most of it didn't get touched while I was there. I committed to be with family both in body and mind. I had traveled 3,000 miles to visit them, and I wanted to make sure I gave them my undivided attention. So I only worked if I was up early before anyone else was awake or if they were watching a TV show I didn't care for.