Flexibility

Are you open to change? People who make a difference can be stretched, pulled, pushed, and changed. You heard it from me: traditionalism is an old dragon, bad about squeezing the very life out of its victims. So never stop fighting it. Let’s be careful to identify the right opponent. It isn’t tradition per se; it’s traditionalism. I’m not trying to be petty, only accurate.

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Ethics

We need heroes. I mean genuine heroes, authentic men and women who are admired for their achievements, noble qualities, and courage. Such people aren’t afraid to be different. They risk. They stand a cut above. Yet they are real human beings with flaws and failures like anyone else. But they inspire us to do better. We feel warm inside when we think about this rare breed of humanity.

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Priorities

Life is a lot like a coin; you can spend it any way you wish, but you can spend it only once. Choosing one thing over all the rest throughout life is a difficult thing to do. This is especially true when the choices are so many and the possibilities are so close. To be completely truthful with you, however, we aren’t left with numerous possibilities.

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Overcoming Hypocrisy

“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.” (Matthew 6:1 MSG) Lord God, we thank You for the model of Jesus Christ our Savior who, when He walked this earth, dripped with authenticity.

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Spiritual Leadership

Leadership is influence. To the extent we influence others, we lead them. If I were asked to name some of the standard qualities or characteristics usually found among natural-born leaders, I would list: Enthusiasm, Optimism, Persistence, Ambition, Competitiveness, Knowledge, Insight, Inquisitiveness, Independence, Friendliness . . .

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Self-Praise

“Self-praise,” says an ancient adage, “smells bad.” In other words, it stinks up the works. Regardless of how we prepare it, garnish it with little extras, slice and serve it up on our finest silver piece, the odor remains. No amount of seasoning can eliminate the offensive smell. Unlike a good wife, age only makes it worse. It is much like the poisoned rat in the wall—if it isn’t removed the stench becomes increasingly unbearable.

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The Dark Side of Greatness

“There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen . . . [and] now he belongs to the ages.” Of whom was this said? One of the Caesars? No. Napoleon? No. Alexander the Great? No. Eisenhower? Patton? MacArthur . . . or some earlier military strategist like Grant or Lee or Pershing? No, none of the above. How about Rockne or Lombardi? No. Or Luther? Calvin? Knox? Wesley? Spurgeon? Again, the answer is no.

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Of Parrots and Eagles

EAGLE THINKERS ASK THE HARD QUESTIONS, take strategic risks, search hard for the whole truth, and soar high above mediocrity. Parrot people enjoy the predictable, routine, rehearsed words of others. I’ve discovered that many churches and organizations are overrun with parrots and virtually devoid of eagles. Too harsh? You decide.

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The Balance of Life

BOTH ADVERSITY AND PROMINENCE confront our equilibrium, but prominence is perhaps the more challenging test. The classic example is David. [God] chose his servant David, calling him from the sheep pens. He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants—God’s own people, Israel. He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.

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A Haughty Self

THERE’S NOTHING MORE DISTASTEFUL than someone who is set on self-glossing—offering his résumé and list of achievements unsolicited to everyone in the room. I confess, when I’m around a person like that I start to feel my skin crawl. Often, that type of person cannot see beyond his own ego to recognize that he is part of the problem; blame is always shifted to someone else;

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