021 – How well do you take a compliment? [Podcast]

An essential skill for church leaders

Photo credit: wikihow.com

 

In this episode, recorded as I was walking the campus of West Texas A&M University (my alma mater: Bachelor of Music Education, 1984 … prior to two more graduations from two seminaries), I unpacked an issue that I had previously addressed in a couple of blog posts:

How to receive “warm words” – January 27, 2015

How to take a compliment – May 26, 2015

 

 

Highlights:

4 ways not to respond

1. Arrogance

2. Faux humility

3. Spiritualized faux humility

4. Self-abasement

 

How to respond: Gracious gratitude … “Thank you.”

 

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)

Last post of 2014

see you soon_abduzeedo.com

photo credit: abduzeedo.com

Hey, Friends!

This will be the final post of 2014!  I’m enjoying some travel and family time during the Christmas/New Year’s season.

I can’t believe all that has happened in 2014, with the launch of the new platform, new book and CD, and lots of other things that haven’t yet been announced publicly.

I’m stinkin’ excited about the launch of my new podcast, Your Church Matters, on January !

Looking forward to sharing the journey in 2015!

Grace and peace.

A Royal Pain

I admit it. I don’t get it. (That’s as poetic as this post is going to get). What don’t I get, you ask? A lot of things, but right now what I don’t get is the drooling gaga-ness over The Royal Wedding. Please don’t try to help me understand the historical significance or the romance of it. I readily admit that I don’t get it because I don’t want to get it. This wedding has absolutely zero effect on my life. Now, when I married off my own princess four months ago … that wedding matters to me (and I am happy for you to see the 400 pictures I have posted on Facebook). In two months I will celebrate twenty-seven years of marriage to the queen of my life … that wedding matters to me.

I really don’t want to take up all my space here writing about weddings. I get weddings. I guess what I don’t get is Royalty. I cannot imagine what it would be like. Maybe we all dream of what it would be like. Maybe they all dream of what it would be like to be a regular person. I do know that there are times when I have been a Royal Pain. I suspect you’ve had them, too. You know what I mean–those times when we have acted like it was all about us. We have talked down to people or, at the very least, we have made them feel as if they really did not matter. They were there only to help us get what we wanted.

Just this morning, I was at a cash register paying for a service that had just been done to my car. The young man operating the register asked how my day was going. “Great,” I replied, and then after a pause, “how about yours?” His answer really got me thinking.

“Well, I could tell you, but the truth is that you really don’t care about the answer, so I’ll just save the time and keep it to myself.”

Wow! I wonder how many Royal Pains he has dealt with that made him presuppose that I really didn’t care. I’d love to tell you that we sat down for a cup of coffee and a chat and that he was able to unload his burden. The line of customers behind me prevented it. But, I really did care about his answer and his day. I hope my demeanor at least didn’t burden him any more. I’m not sure what I could have done differently, but I do want to be intentional about how I come across, especially to those who are making my life better by serving me.

It makes me think of these words from the Bible: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought … Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:3, 10,NIV)

It also makes me think of the ultimate royalty, the King of Kings, who said of himself that he “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28 & Mark 10:45)

We never look more like our King than when we voluntarily serve and honor those who least expect it.

And by the way, the King says that your life really matters to Him.

Lifequakes

I was recently a part of a discussion group where someone asked the question, “What would you do if you knew for certain that the return of Christ would happen in five years?” Most of the responses were expected … pray more … spend less on material things … tell more people about Jesus … do more ministry. A couple of answers surprised me … read the book of Revelation more … study prophecy … pay attention to world events.

BIAS WARNING! I hope that my own personal bias here does not come across as judgmental toward those whose end times view differs from mine. I will work really hard to avoid that. My own personal bias is that I’m not one who spends a lot of time focusing on the prophetic in Scripture. I am more than happy to let other folks do that. The question I want to ask myself is, “If I am alive when Christ returns, what do I want him to find me doing?” That leads me to the second question I want to ask myself, “How can I do that today?” FOR ME, I am less interested in being found as a accurate interpreter of world events than I am in being an accurate demonstrator of the character of Christ. I want to be found, in the words of one of my church planter friends, loving people up close to Jesus.

That brings me to the most current world news of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. There are those who will focus on this event as another sign that we are living in the last days. I have no problem with that focus or interpretation. My question is, how can I respond in a way that loves people up close to Jesus? I don’t know how much I will be able to do for the people in Japan. Certainly we should all pray and seek the best way to help in the days ahead.

But the news media do not report the Lifequakes that happen every day. There are people today for whom Japan could not be further from their minds, not because they are uncaring, but because they are experiencing their own lifequake. In our local school district, where my wife works, two teachers have died in the past week. There are families all over our small community for whom this has shaken their world. I am asking myself how I can best respond to these lifequakes that are going on within my sphere of influence and availability. Personally, I will be conducting one of the funeral services. That part is easy and will be over in a few days. The real question is, how can I be present to love people up close to Jesus during the aftershocks that will go on for weeks and months.

Christ is indeed returning. It may be in my lifetime. But He sees what I am doing today and there are so many opportunities to let people see who He is in me. How about you? What lifequakes are going on in your sphere in availability? You can’t fix things, but you can love people up close to Jesus if you know Him personally.

Your life matters.

Oh, Christina!

Now that we have had a few days to recover from the Super Bowl, I’d like to reflect a little on the drama … or maybe the pageantry … or maybe the food … or maybe the commercials … no, the National Anthem. Oh, Christina!

Now, I am not jumping on the Christina Aguilera-bashing bandwagon. Stay with me for a few lines. First, I’d like to compliment her on her very modest and respectful attire. I thought she looked pretty classy. Second, while I am not a fan, she does have a really nice voice. Third, on that worldwide stage, anybody could lose a line or a verse of the most familiar song. It happens.

I am not even going to bash her for her personlizing of the arrangement eventhough that is the topic of my reflection. I am admittedly a purist when it comes to the anthem. I am not a big fan of vocal gymnastics that put the attention on the singer rather than the nation. But it was certainly not the worst I have ever heard.

The question I want to ask is what you and I can learn from Christina. Yes, you read that right. What can she teach us? Here’s the lesson … are you ready … complicated and flashy are not always better. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes simple, focused, and pure allow us to really get our message across.

It’s true in our personal lives. Think of the people whose lives you really want to impact. Do you think they are more impacted by how cool you are or by how genuine you are? Are they more impacted by your talent or by your integrity? If you are deficient in integrity, should you work harder on hiding it or on changing it?

It’s also true in businesses and churches. Flashy, complicated, and even efficient may be attractive for the short term. But simple, pure, focused, and effective are qualities that endure. People may be drawn through the door by flashy. They become customers and members because they find something that really matters to their lives.

Now before you start accusing me of saying church is just like business, let me disavow that. I am not saying they are the same. I am saying that people are the same. People are not looking for ways to complicate their lives. They are looking for businesses that make their lives easier. They are looking (whether they consciously understand it or not) for churches that make their lives make matter.

It reminds me a little bit of a question that was brought to Jesus once by people who had really complicated the whole religion thing. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40, NIV).

Now, how complicated is that? Love God and love people. And the action still works even if you forget some of the words.

Don’t forget … your life matters.

Overshadowed

I am writing this on a gray, snowy day. Baby, it’s cold outside! Temperature is 18 degrees with wind chill of -1. Glad I can sit and look out the window and not try to go anywhere. I am trying to use today for some focus time. Do you ever feel like a juggler that is just trying to keep too many balls in the air (or too many plates spinning … pick your metaphor)? And to take it a step further, do you ever feel like your juggling is on display for a crowd who is judging your performance? If you can’t relate, you can probably stop reading now. Have a great day!

If you CAN relate, stick with me for a few more lines …

I was recently working with a coach who helped me focus on why I want to write and attempt to be creative (notice “attempt”). After all, I have plenty of things to do. Plenty of tasks to complete … phone calls to make … meetings to attend and/or facilitate … questions to answer … you get the picture. You probably get the picture because it looks a lot like your life.

So why am I frustrated by not having time for creativity and writing? Do I have a need to be noticed and acknowledged? Am I just one of those artsy persons that needs to have an audience to be fulfilled? Maybe there is a morsel of truth there. But that is not the main reason. The main reason is that I believe God has gifted me to communicate truth in a way that is simple and practical and can bless and encourage those who read or hear. I know that He has given me a passion to be a blessing and encouragement. In fact, I have determined that my life’s mission is to bless, not to impress.

So, that means that sometimes I am in the spotlight, but more often I am in the shadows. The question for me is to find out who is casting the shadow that makes it a little darker where I am. The late Dottie Rambo wrote a song that I sang about 30 years ago. A line from the song said that I am happy to stand in the shadow and give Him the praise.”

I read this morning in Psalm 91, The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty.” That is a good shadow to be in. So, my prayer for today is that I would be overshadowed by the Almighty. So, how do I reconcile that with the idea of “letting my light shine”? I’ll talk about that next time. Will you join me?

Don’t forget that your life matters to God.

The first day of school

In August 1993, my little girl nervously walked into Liberty Elementary School in Azle, Texas for her first day of kindergarten. She carried in her pocket a picture key ring that had a picture of her family on one side and a picture of her little brother and her on the other side. That way, if she got scared during the day, she could take it out and be reminded of the people who loved her most. She reported at the end of the day that she only had to take it out twice the whole day. Her best review of the day, however, was summed up in this statement, “I want to go to kindergarten for the rest of my life!” We knew then that she and school were going to get along just fine.

Tomorrow–January 13, 2011–my little girl will nervously walk into Dalhart High School way up in the Texas panhandle for her first official day as the freshmen and junior English teacher. I didn’t give her anything to put in her pocket this time. I will send her a text message that she can take out and look at if she wants to remember that her daddy always loves her. I gave her a big hug and kiss this morning when, fresh back from their honeymoon, she and her new husband (my new son-in-law) pulled out of my driveway headed for the “real world”. I’m sure she has a picture of him that she can look at tomorrow whenever she gets scared of those teenaged hooligans.

I have two prayers for tomorrow. The first is that when she summarizes her day for Joe, it will have a familiar ring. I pray that she has such a sense of purpose and fulfillment–dare I say a sense of calling–that she will say, “I want to teach for the rest of my life!” The second is that the Lord will use her to impact her students in ways that she cannot possibly imagine. That is, that they will not just learn English, but that they will see in her a life that inspires them to greatness.

I am praying for you, Mrs. Dad. I am so unbelievably proud of you.