Solutionist: Leadership & Problem Solving.

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One of my favorite things about my years spent in student ministry is the culture that was built. There were many fond moments as lives were being shaped and molded! One of the most fun things that came out of developing our culture were little “isms” that are formed. Part of the culture we developed was hard work. We would tirelessly hustle to get things done and often we found creative ways to problem solve. A term that we often used and lived by in those days was “Don’t tell me the problem tell me solution.” You see, I had trained our student leaders that they were not allowed to tell me about a problem until they tried several ways to solve it. If they came to me with a problem I would simply ask what they did to figure it out, or I would ask what they had tried. As stern as it may have sounded, rather than bailing them out, I taught them how to problem solve. Today some of those students are some of the most competent adults I know.

Problem solving is one of the most important aspects of leadership. Often times we will have to know how to find quick, innovative, quality solutions. Here are few things that will help you grow in solving problems.

“Don’t tell me the problem
tell me solution.”

5 Ways to Grow Problem Solving Skills

    When God allows you to be in a leadership role, He also equips you with a level of discernment. The only way you are going to grow in that is by having the courage to move forward in your discernment. Leaders can see what others can’t see. Problems and solutions. Not to just see the problem, but to quickly figure out the why behind it is even better. Start taking a birds eye view to all of the challenges you face as a leader. Open your eyes and ask God to bring clarity to your objective view.

    2. Take responsibility.
    Anybody can find a problem, leaders find solutions. John Maxwell says, “Leaders can give up anything but final responsibility.” If you see a problem, even if it is not in your area of expertise, jump in and own it.
    I can't tell you how many times I have been an attendee or a guest at a event and (after asking for permission) jumped behind a sound booth or a media center to figure how to make audio or video work properly. I might not be able to help, but I figure if the right person isn't there then I have to at least try to be that person. It’s what leaders do. We see problems as opportunities to contribute.

    3. Do whatever it takes.
    A friend I used to serve on staff with, Seth Wolverton, would often pipe up anytime we talked about accomplishing a big job. He would say, “Let’s make it happen.” His approach always lifted the standard and the morale of the team. It’s what leaders do. We start early, finish late, and do whatever it take to get the job done. Leaders exhaust every option to accomplish the objective. At times is inconvenient, but we didn't sign up up for convenience. We are running with a mission that is bigger than ourselves.

    Some may disagree, but in my experience I have seen the “whatever it takes” approach actually gets easier with time. It kind of becomes part of your nature after you make the necessary investment on the front end. Once you become a whatever it takes person, it is not as laborious.

    4. Refuse to make excuses.
    Another “ism” we would say in our student ministry was “Stop making excuses and start making arrangements!” Excuses will always end progression, we will never move forward, nor will our organizations move forward, if we have an excuse to why it is not.

    “Stop making excuses &
    start making arrangements!”

    5. Innovate.
    There is almost always a way to accomplish what you set out to do. Sometimes that way has not been discovered yet. Be a creative learner. Ask God to fill you with creative solutions to accomplish what He wants to do with and through you. Don’t ask the Lord to bail you out! Sometimes the old way won't work because God wants to show you a new way. Remember: Necessity the mother of invention.






    The Spirit of Agreement

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    Click the Play button below to hear the message
    (Show notes below)

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    Notes:

    1. Agreement is important to God
    John 17:20-23
    “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.

    2-Agreement brings exponential increase.

    Psalm 133:1-3 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows(commands) his blessing, even life forevermore.

    We Celebrate DIVERSITY:
    The difference of identity.
    The difference of functionality.
    The differences of personality.

    Unity is not sameness: unity is oneness of purpose.

    Don't allow emphasis to become a point of contention.


    Things that break the spirit of agreement.
    1. A disagreeable spirit.

    Those that thrive off cynicism, sarcasm or disagreement, jaded, etc…


    “You can agree but still have a disagreeable spirit and
    you can disagree and have a agreeable spirit.”



    2. The Spirit of Offense.
    Proverbs 18:19 (NLT) An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.
    There
    are two types of offended people: (1) those who have been mistreated; and (2) those who think they have been mistreated but actually were not. 

    “Offense plays the victim but the only one
    victimized is the one who is offended.”


    3. The sin of Divisiveness:
    Romans 16:17-20 (NLT) 17 And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. 18 Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.

    “Divisiveness not only hinders relations of people it actually hinders our relationship with God.”

    Matthew 5:23-24 (NLT) 23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

    The Spirit of Agreement….
    1. Chooses conversation.
    We are not in covenant with our opinion we are in covenant with People.

    2. Properly confronts tension.

    When you speak your disagreement to non direct parties you open the door for offense and you break a spirit of unity.

    Matthew 18:15-18 (NLT) 15 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. 18 “I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.


    3. Seeks Understanding
    UNDER STAND- Stand Under.





    Ingredients of a Healthy Soul

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    You may have seen the illustration before. I first saw Pastor Scott Wilson share it in the mid 90’s. It is basically about priorities. If you put the golf balls in the container first then the rice (or rocks) everything fits in the container. However, if you put the rice in first then try to fit all the balls in, everything won’t fit. It is an incredible illustration about priorities and how putting first things first makes for a more functional life and ensures everything fits in the right place.

    golfballs and rice

    We all want a healthy soul. We all want to be stable mentally and emotionally. When leading people through crisis of the soul: discouragement, depression, anxiety, rejection, despair, there is always a question I ask them. “How is your relationship with Jesus, how much time are you spending with Jesus on a daily basis?” I would say 9 out of 10 times the answer is the same. “Not as good as it should be.” Usually it means there is little to no consistency in their devotional life. It’s my view that most of the internal struggles we have in our life can be solved by living well connected to Jesus.

    I want to share with you 4 things that if they are prioritized in your life, will keep or get your soul healthy. We hate formulas, and I know its seems like a formula, so look at these as ingredients for a healthy soul. These are the golf balls that need to in place for you to have health in your soul.


    4 Ingredients of a Healthy Soul
    #1. Daily time in word of God.

    The word of God is the foundation of every believer. It is where we learn about God’s character, nature, and desire for us and towards us. Saturating ourself in the word of God renews our mind (Heb 12:1). We will never be able to think the way God desires for us to think unless we develop a devotion to God’s word. The word builds our faith and gives life! It is our guidebook for wisdom and living out the Christian life. A relationship with the word of God is essential in the sustainability of our soul.

    #2. A daily prayer life.
    The early church was empowered by their prayer life and they saw miracles daily. What would happen if we spent as much time talking to God about the things we are thinking about as we did discussing, complaining or even researching them? Prayer is a conversation and a transaction where we talk to God about the matters of our heart, we receive peace, and find resolve in our heart.

    There are some things, even things that are the will of God, that we will not receive simply because we don't pray and ask God for.(Matt 7:7-12
    )

    We can pray prayers of thanks, prayers of worship, prayers of supplication (request). Sometimes prayer is even just a time to sit before our heavenly Father and rest in His presence.


    Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
    Philippians 4:6–7


    #3. Community with other believers.
    Sometimes what you need in your life is found in the package of another person. God never intended us to live life alone. In fact, the first thing God said that was not good was that man is alone(Genesis 2:18). We need community! Sometimes our soul is empty simply because we don't have the right relationships in our life. I am not talking about just having friends, but true fellowship with people that are on a similar journey in their pursuit of Jesus. This is one of the reasons faithfulness to a local church is so important.

    Acts 2:42-44 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.


    #4. Christian Service.
    As we build our spiritual devotion we will fuel the engine of our heart. If we do not have an exhaust system we can implode. The last thing we need is spiritual constipation. Serve at your church, serve at a community event, a homeless shelter, share the gospel with a friend or a coworker. Invest emotionally, physically, and economically to something bigger than yourself. Sometimes the reason we don't reap emotionally is because we have not invested in the lives of others. This is crucial in having a healthy soul.

    1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.


    Dear friend,
    I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you,
    even as your soul is getting along well.
    3 John 1:2