Archive for the ‘Holy Spirit’ Tag

Waiting Quietly   Leave a comment


Image provided by seekingintellect.com

Image provided by seekingintellect.com

One of the biggest challenges that I have is taking time to sit in silence.  I am a highly driven individual who always seems to have an endless to-do list.  I am also somewhat extroverted so I am used to engaging people in conversation fairly frequently and easily.  Sitting in silence often equates in my mind with wasting time.  However, I have over the last few years been placed in situations which require me to sit in silence.  Because of these experiences, I have gained an appreciation for waiting quietly.  I would say that I still struggle with this approach most of the time but I am trying to discipline myself to create time and space for me to sit in silence.

What I have discovered when I allow myself to wait quietly is that benefits exist in this practice.  I have found that when I place a hold on my activity, sit quietly, and let my thoughts just be open, I have been able to hear the Holy Spirit better.  There have been times when in those times of silence, I have gained insight into challenges which I am currently experiencing.  During a few of these times, I have sensed guidance in new directions and approaches.  Still other times, I have been able to release tension and reduce my anxiety.

This has led me to deliberate commit myself to create more times of silence in my life.  Recently, I put together a plan regarding four major areas of my life.  One piece of that plan includes establishing more dedicated times for discernment which requires waiting quietly.  I know that this will continue to be a challenge for me.  My behavior patterns and perceived personality runs contrary to this new discipline.  However, I believe that this will have deep and long-term impact on my life.  Therefore, I will strengthen my effort to make this part of my plan a reality.

Tired?   3 comments


English: A 20-year-old cat that looks tired be...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you do when you have one of those days that you are just tired?  I am talking not just physically tired but emotionally and spiritually tired as well.  I know that I am definitely not alone in having those days.  Well, today is one of those days.  I admit that the thought of even writing a blog post seemed far from appealing.  I have a very busy schedule today and tomorrow with some very important meetings and projects in the works.  Yet, here I sit, tired and not feeling like being very motivational or creative.

Leaders and non-leaders alike have these kind of days.  The challenge for the leader is that on these days it may be very difficult to lead well.  When you are physically, emotionally, and spiritually tired, it is hard to focus on what people are saying beyond their words.  It is difficult to avoid being reactive versus fairly analyzing the situation.  It is even difficult to articulate a clear vision and purpose.  Yet, those are all extremely important for a leader.

This is a time that I am so thankful I am a follower of Jesus Christ.  Days like this one are the days that I know I have to solely lean on the Spirit.  I need to rely on the Spirit to open my ears and my mind.  I need to rely on the Spirit to guide my decisions and actions.  I need to rely on the Spirit to be beyond myself and my situation.  These are all truths of any given day in my life but I find it even more important on difficult days like this one.

So what do you do on these days?  How do you successful maneuver through this type of day?

Speak My Language   1 comment


 

 

One of the pitfalls that many organizations and leaders encounter is that they forget they have to speak the language of the people.  It is very easy when you are part of organization to fall into using your own lingo and endless number of acronyms.  If another person is part of the organization then they understand completely what you are communicating but if the person is an outsider than the communication falls apart.  The connection is then lost outside the organization so if you are in business, you lose a sell; if you are a nonprofit organization, you lose a potential new member.  There is nothing that is more frustrating than people talking and you cannot understand a word that is being said.

 

 

 

As a believer, this coming Sunday is an important Sunday in the Christian calendar.  This Sunday is Pentecost, the celebration of the arrival of the Holy Spirit in the personal lives of believers and the launch of what would be come known as the Church.  So I was reading this week about how that event was recorded in the Bible.  The portion of the passage that stuck in my mind this morning was:

 

 

 

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.  Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.  When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.  Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?  Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?  Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome  (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”  Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”  (Acts 2:4-12, NIV)

 

For me, it means the Lord got what I am discussing in this post.  The Lord understood that it was important for the message to be shared in the language the people understood.  This is a vital lesson for leaders and organizations.

 

 

 

If we are not speaking in the language of the people, then our message will not be received.  If people do not understand us, then they will become frustrated and ignore us.  After all, don’t we all want others to speak our language?

 

Language

Language (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Being Available   6 comments


People engaging in casual conversation on a si...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the last couple of days, I have once again been reminded of the importance of believers being available to the Holy Spirit.  There have been multiple situations lately when I have been engaged in a conversation that led to some discussion of faith.  The key for me in these situations has been to make sure that I was available for whatever the work the Holy Spirit chose to do through me.  I must admit that I am not very conscious of making myself available.  However, every morning during my early morning prayers, I ask the Lord to work through me in whatever way would benefit others.  I think that is a vital step in being available.

The other vital step is to be engaged with people.  This requires a person to intentionally place time into his/her day where they interact with people outside a normal work environment.  Those people with whom I interact may be connected to my work or they may not.  That is one of the reasons that I find going to the coffee shop to be an important part of my work day.  I come into the office and work for about thirty minutes before heading to the coffee shop where I spend some time.  There are many times that conversations occur during and after this period of my day which lead to some faith discussions.  If I didn’t make time to be in that location, then those conversations probably would not happen.

This concept is very important for all believers.  Many times people feel that Christians sit in an ivory tower and proclaim judgments on the world.  Christians are accused of not engaging with the world.  Some Christians are accused of keeping their lives segmented; faith inside the church walls, “regular” life outside the church walls.  These are stereotypes and judgments placed on believers, sometimes unfairly, that can easily be reduced if believers were more open and available for the Spirit to work through them in all aspects of their day.

My challenge to myself and each of you is to BE AVAILABLE.

Spinning Plates   1 comment


Plate spinning , Brisbane, Australia

Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever seen one of those performers who has the skill to keep multiple plates spinning on rods?  I have not had the opportunity to see it in real life but I have seen it on television many times.  I am often amazed by the skill it takes to accomplish such a task.  I am not even sure I could keep one plate spinning on one rod, let alone multiples of that chore. 

These thoughts came into my mind today as I contemplated life.  It seems that there are some great parallels between the performance of a plate spinner (not sure if that is their official title) and the day-to-day activities of my life.  I am sure that I am not the only one that seems to be trying to perfect the skill of plate spinning through life.  There seems to be so many activities and so many individuals to please.  Just when you feel some level of success in getting one or two or maybe even three plates spinning successfully, you are called to begin a two or three more.  Then of course, you are required to try to keep the original plates spinning while adding the new ones.

There are days that I am not any better at spinning the plates of life than spinning the real plates like the performers that I mentioned.  I find some success with one or two plates but then as I am working on another one, the first one crashes to the floor.  When one aspect or task of my life is spinning right along, another takes a dive.  It can get quite disheartening.

So why not just give up?  Well, because giving up would mean no chance at success.  I am sure that those plate-spinning performers had many plates crash before they ever found a level of success.  If they would have given up out of frustration, they would never have achieved the level of performance that I witness on television.  Even after achieving that level, I am sure there are times that the plates still do crash to the ground.  Like any achievements in life, there are many forgotten unsuccessful attempts before the noteworthy achievement occurs.  So giving up is not an option.

The other very important thing to remember when I am in the plate-spinning mode is that I am never alone in the work.  I have an advocate, a cheerleader, an assistant, and someone to clean up the crashed plates — the Holy Spirit.  Even though I may feel alone in my goal of keeping the plates spinning, I am truly never alone.  The Spirit is there to help me if I just accept the offer.

So if you are having one of those days when your plate spinning seems to not be going so well, call on your helper and just keep trying.  Success is already a guarantee because the Lord has won it for us.  Never give up!

Water’s Impact   1 comment


Water in Cub Run flowing over and around rocks...

Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever thought about the impact that water has?  As I am sitting in my office this morning, it is raining outside.  Every time it rains, I can hear the water running off the roof of the building and through a rain spout that is mounted on the corner of my office.  Today it made me think about the impact of water.

Water can have a positive and a negative impact.  Without water, living creatures (humans included) could not sustain life.  Water is one of those necessary elements of life.  It produces growth.  It refreshes and revives.  Have you ever noticed how grass, trees, and plants grow significantly after a rain or heavy dew.  In the spring, it seems that grass remains brown and trees fail to bud until that first rainfall.  If a thunderstorm arrives, the new growth seems even more prominent.

The negative side of water can also be seen.  Too much water produces floods which can destroy human-made structures, wipe out stands of trees, and move soil long distances.  This is evident in the floods of early summer in Western Iowa and the current floods along the East coast.  Water can wear away at rocks and can even cause crevices in stone over time.

The lack of water can also have a negative impact.  The State of Texas is dealing with huge wild fires and extreme impacts of drought due to a lack of water.

What power water truly has!

These thoughts of water have led me to ponder the Holy Spirit.  Much like the positive aspects of water in the life of creation, the Spirit has the same positive influences in our spiritual lives.  The Spirit feeds our spiritual life.  We cannot sustain that life without the Spirit.  The Spirit can refresh and revive us.

Water also is a great metaphor for the Spirit since like water, the Spirit moves in many different directions and flows over many aspects of our lives.  The Spirit has force like water has force in creation.  The Spirit can create crevices in hearts of stone.  The Spirit can flood a place and move people in directions they had never considered.

May the Spirit of the Lord feed your souls in a similar way as water feeds creation.