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Preacher on the Run…

Faith, Family, Ministry, and Everything in between

Feature Friday (10/20/17)

Part of leadership is improvement. Every leader must constantly be looking for ways to improve, grow, and excel to the next level. Whether you are a coach, CEO, father, or just leading yourself. Truth is all leadership involves development.

Truth is the larger of an area or responsibility one has to lead the more critical progress becomes. If I am just leading myself, improvement primarily affects me. As a dad, growth affects not just myself, but my wife and kids. As a pastor development or the lack thereof impacts the entire ministry that I lead. With each increase of leadership, responsibility comes an increase of important on development.

So how does one seek continual improvement? One of the best ways is evaluation, asking good questions. Which is why Steve Gladon’s article “5 Leadership Attributes for Every Leader to Work on” is a resource I come back to again and again. In the article, Steve lists 5 questions he uses regularly for evaluation.

I hope you enjoy these 5 questions and find them helping for improvement in your leadership areas. As always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

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Feature Friday (10/13/17)

It was a statement that caught me off guard. I had heard others say it before. The argument has been made in numerous books, articles, and writings. I had even dwelt on the reality prior to reading it that day. Yet the way it was phrased, the context in which it arose made the phrase stick better this time. As a leader I immediately knew I had to do something about it, personally and for those I lead.

“America’s endemic anti-intellectual tendencies have been grievously exacerbated by a new species of semiconscious anti-rationalism, feeding on and fed by an ignorant popular culture of video images and unremitting noise that leaves no room for contemplation or logic”. (Susan Jacoby, The Age of American Unreason, xi-xii) A large number of multi-syllable words, but one very simple truth. People simply are not contemplating and thinking deeply anymore, instead, they are simply consuming more and more information.

This truth hit home as a leader for one major reason: Good leadership requires thoughtfulness and most of us work at such a frantic pace that there is no space for thoughtfulness and reflection. Which is the premise that Aaron Buer addresses and supplies a solution to in his article “Why Great Church Leaders Do Less“.

If you are a leader and find yourself so busy and overwhelmed at times, check out the article for some awesome and practical tips on how to lead better and be less overwhelmed. And as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day.

Feature Friday (10/06/17)

Conflict. Debate. Battle. Disagreement. War. All of these words bring to mind the idea of struggle. While none of us like the struggle, conflict, and battle, it is part of our world and existence. The truth is, while we say we don’t like conflict, inwardly we are all wired for it and at times enjoy it. Think of the last movie you saw, TV show you watched or sports game you were entertained by; every one of those forms of entertainment thrives and exists because of conflict. One team versus another. The good guy versus the bad guy. The hero versus the villain. Just like every good story, life is a constant struggle.

The Christian life is no different. We are in a constant battle, a daily conflict. Two weeks ago I posted about “8 Characteristics of Believers who Don’t Give up in the Battle“. But a question remains, who is the enemy? What is it exactly the Christian is fighting against? With whom is the follower of Jesus’ battle counteracting? In other words, what is “The Great Enemy” of the Christian life.

Check out the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Feature Friday (10/2/17) A few days late

It’s not often that I miss posting on Friday, but every once in while there are experiences in life that interrupt and cause us to push everything else aside. Thus, was the case for me this past week. The world lost an amazing man. A loyal friend. A faithful husband. An amazing father. While this happens to many families around the globe each and every day this time it was my family and my father-in-law that was lost.

Over the past week, we sang, cried, laughed, cried, rejoiced, cried, grieved, cried, ate, and cried some more. It has been a really short and really long week all at the same time. I have heard it said and experienced myself numerous times before, but it really is the case that you never truly understand how much someone is worth to you until they are gone. And my father-in-law, Shawn Michael Stockdale meant a lot, not just me, but to over 500 other people who attended his memorial service.

I had the privilege and honor of making the opening remarks at dad’s memorial service yesterday, Sunday, October 1st, 2017 and wanted to share my reflections on the life of an excellent, godly example of a husband, father, and friend.

“Good afternoon! My name is Kenny Kirby and I am one of Shawn and Kay’s son-in-laws. I am married to their eldest daughter Bethany. On behalf of Kay, Bethany and myself, Brynna and Brent, Micah and Liz, Caleb, Talia, Ana, Shawn’s brothers Chris and Mark and the rest of our extended family, thank you. Thank you all for joining us today to celebrate and remember dad’s life.

All of us are here because of Dad. Not because of his authority. Not because of position. Certainly, not because of his stature. We are here because of his influence. And as John Maxwell says, “Leadership is Influence”. Truth is, we are all here because Shawn Stockdale led each of us in some way. He led some of us as a trusted financial advisor. He led others of us as a faithful friend. And he led a few of us as a family.

But dad would be the first one to tell us all he was not the greatest leader. He was not the greatest influencer. His greatest identity was not as one who influences. It was not as a leader. Dad’s greatest identity was as a follower. Dad would remind us that the only way he influenced and lead any of us was because of WHO he followed.

Dad followed another leader. A leader who had great authority. A leader who had the most elevated position. A leader who to influence others gave up His position and unmatched authority. A leader who became a servant. Shawn Stockdale followed a leader, an influencer who, ‘though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.’

Shawn Stockdale’s greatest identity was as a follower. A follower of the humblest of authorities. A follower of the greatest servant leader. A follower of Jesus Christ. You see dad’s impact. Dad’s leadership. Dad’s influence was all because of WHO he followed. And the hope of today’s memorial service is not simply to recall Shawn Stockdale. It is not to remember the trusted financial advisor. It is not to recall dad as the faithful friend. It is not to remember dad as the leader of a great family.

Our hope, dad’s desire, is to influence all of us to follow him as He followed the greatest influencer, the greatest leader of all time, Jesus Christ.”

Feature Friday (09/22/17)

“They may take our lives but they’ll never take our freedom!” A infamous quote from the movie Braveheart. Mel Gibson’s character, William Wallace, makes the statement as he is exhorting the armies of Scotland to stand and fight against England for their independence and freedom. Many of them have already lost home, friends, and family and are asking the question is it worth it? It has been so hard, do we keep battling? Wallace convinces them that the battle, the fight, the struggle is and will be worth it.

So often I find myself asking the same questions about the Christian life. It is hard. It is difficult. Is it worth all the sacrifice? Every time I answer a resounding yes, but another question remains: how have others kept fighting for their faith? How have believers continued in the fight? Chuck Lawless writes an excellent list of “8 Characteristics of Believers who Don’t Give up in the Battle.” It is a needed reminder for me and my family today and I hope it encourages and challenges you as well.

As always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s Day!

Feature Friday (09/15/17)

It was an awesome experience. I had just left a group where I was so encouraged that I could not stop asking myself, “why did I enjoy my time with that group so much?” The more I thought about it the more I realized it was because of one person. The majority of my time that evening was spent with this one man. He had asked alot about me and my family. He was not offended when we disagreed. This man was excited about all the things going on in his life, not the things he was missing out on. But most obvious was his joy and love for Jesus.

After my interaction with that man and others like him, I realized what they all had…spiritual maturity. But how do you recognize spiritual maturity? What does it look like to be mature spiritually? What are tangible traits of mature Christians? Bill Hull gives us “3 Characteristics of Spiritual Maturity“. Enjoy the read, aim for maturity, and pray for transformation.

As always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

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