There’s a book I like by Seth Godin titled Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? It’s about providing real value in any team or organization so that you become indispensable. I learned a lot from the book and I refer to people constantly.
But the reverse question occurred to me today. ARE YOU DISPENSABLE?
Yes, I agree that you want to work hard and be excellent at what you do so that you provide a valuable service to others. But if you’re trying to build something greater than yourself the goal should be more than being indispensable. Because if you’re indispensable, what happens when you INEVITABLY have to leave? Does everything collapse around your departure? Is that success?
A friend of mine recounted recently how he realized he had a wrong mindset when he was assigned a project with one company that he had learned and mastered completely but failed to teach to anyone else. When he was reassigned to another company, he watched his pet project fail as the people who took it over did not know it as well as he did. He was indispensable. But his project failed and all the earlier time spent on it was wasted. Is that success?
Steve Jobs died and Tim Cook has taken over. At this point, Apple under his administration has not wowed the world at the level that it did under Jobs. Steve Jobs seems indispensable now. But if the company fails after he’s gone, that doesn’t mean much does it? Is this success? We’re about to find out.
Last Saturday, at a gathering of our discipleship group leaders at Victory Fort, we were shown a video of a woman who started one discipleship group which eventually grew to 10 discipleship groups. Since then, she’s moved out of the group, keeping the relationships but letting the next in line people lead. It’s gotten bigger without her. She wasn’t indispensable. She built something that went beyond her. That’s success.
Dan Monterde, one of our campus directors, approached me last year looking for a new responsibility. He had grown our campus ministry in Metro East from five people to over a thousand. But at that point, he felt that Jeff Dacumos, the next-in-line, could lead just as well if not better than him. So he stepped down, turned it over to Jeff, and now serves in a number of other capacities. He built something that the next generation could run with. That’s success.
Robert Gonzalez, another one of our campus directors, is a similar story. Just this year, he stepped down from leading his large team of campus missionaries to focus on preaching and discipling young people. With the agreement of yet another veteran, Patrick Mercado, he turned the reins over to Brian Sebastian – a young man he led to Jesus personally and is fifteen years younger than him. Already we’re getting great feedback on Brian’s leadership. But what struck me most was a conversation with Robert where he shared his high hopes for Brian. Robert raised up a new leader who now works with him. That’s success.
So in this era of social-networking, which is often little more than self-promotion. What’s your definition of success? Does it live and die with you? Or will it go beyond you? Will you give your very best in your current season seeing success and growth, then turn it over to those who come after to see them take it higher and farther than you?
Some time ago I was watching American Idol with my wife. A woman stormed out angrily from the auditions when the judges didn’t pick her. She was certain they were all wrong and she was destined for fame and fortune. Because God told her so. (It seems like every season has someone like this.)
A couple of teenagers start dating. They’ve got great potential but they refuse to receive counsel. There’s already cause for concern in the way they treat each other. People offer their time and assistance but they don’t take it. Why would they need it? They say God told them to date and that they don’t need other people. (This is a pretty repetitive pattern too.)
A few months ago, I preached in Victory Alabang. After the message an eighteen year old came up to me. I asked him if he needed prayer, but he shook his head. “I want to pray for you. God told me to,” he said. He prayed a prayer for me that was very encouraging and insightful for what I was concerned about that time.
These people were all convinced that God had spoken to them. And they’re just a few examples of billions throughout history who were sure they had heard from the divine.
What do we do with these people? Or what do we do if we’re that person? There are two extreme responses to this situation:
OPTION 1: God doesn’t talk to you! / God doesn’t talk to people! / No one hears from God!
It’s tempting to say this because it’s just too weird, difficult, or strange to process that thought of God, the Almighty, speaking to an individual.
But that would be a mistake because God does speak with people. And when He does, it’s unmistakeable. While watching the recently aired Bible series by the History Channel, my wife and I commented on how well the show depicted the strangeness of Abraham in saying he heard from God. But as strange as it was, the effect on his life and on the succeeding generations was unmistakably good. He really did hear from God.
So let’s not be closed to the possibility that you or other people can hear from Him. The Bible says that we can know the thoughts of God by the Holy Spirit which He gives to all who have believed in His Son Jesus.
OPTION 2: Everyone who says they hear from God is right! / Everyone is hearing from God right now. / It’s about what you feel.
In effect, this no longer focuses on what God is actually saying. It’s just a way of saying that whatever you hear and feel is right. People can easily abuse this perspective by claiming their own fantasies as God’s will. As a minister, I can’t count the number of times people have flashed this card only to have to retract later on what they were “absolutely sure” was from God.
But more concerning than the potential of being wrong, is how casually people throw around the name of God. I believe that God can speak to anyone and through anyone. But with this ability to hear from Him comes the responsibility to communicate it correctly.
God will not allow people to take His Name in vain. The Bible is full of warnings and judgments from God against people who claim to speak from Him but speak falsely. They do it to make themselves famous, take advantage of others, or get away with what their wicked hearts wanted to do all along. We say things like, “I’m sure this is what God would want for me,” when really we’re just looking to justify our own desires.
Honestly, I get very concerned for people who don’t take this seriously because God will not let His name taken for granted like that. For every time that we say, “God told me this…” we’ll have to give an account. He is very jealous about His name. And if He takes it seriously, we would be wise to do the same.
Both of these extremes are wrong. So what’s the remaining option then?
OPTION 3: God speaks and we must test and see which words are really His.
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Don’t disregard that God could be talking. Don’t ignore what the Holy Spirit is saying.
Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. But don’t just swallow things without thinking. Test them and see if they are right.
There are at least four tests we know from the Bible that we can use.
1. Godly counsel - Other people hear from God too. If we’re wondering if a particular insight, plan, or course of action is from God, other godly people in your life will probably hear it also.
2. Word of God - God will never say anything that goes against His written word, the Bible. If we really want to know it’s God speaking and not just the burrito you had for lunch, read the Bible.
3. Will be confirmed - If God says something’s gonna happen, it happens. Until there’s confirmation, then we should remember to keep open the possibility that we might be mistaken. You think you’re destined for American Idol stardom? Other people will confirm that in you. You think God has shown you who your future husband is? It’ll happen if it’s really from God.
4. Good fruit – If something is from God it produces good fruit. If something is leading you to sin, error, lying, acting without love, then we should check if this is really from God. I’m not saying God’s will never has any difficulty, but even when it’s difficult God gives us the grace to thrive in it.
“Hindi bagay” is a Filipino phrase that means something “doesn’t match.” And there are few things more out of place, more ill-fitting, more off, more painful to observe, more useless, and more ugly than a leader who is sulking. For my Filipino readers, ang lider na nagtatampo.
Everyone has sulked at least once in his/her life. For some people it’s more becoming than others. Like sometimes when my wife does it to me it’s adorable.
But it’s never adorable when a leader does it. It’s not just ugly and pathetic, it’s twisted and perverted. Perverted means to corrupt something from the original course
Here’s why: leaders are meant to lead! To fix problems not throw tantrums until they get their way. Leaders are there to make the first move, not play hard to get. Leaders are there to encourage the cowardly, motivate the lazy, and activate the passive.
Sulking is the complete opposite of leadership because it’s cowardly, lazy, and passive. It’s waiting for the other person to initiate the reconciliation. It’s putting our own hurt feelings over the good of the team. It’s resigning from taking responsibility.
We aren’t always in leadership situations. Sometimes we’re followers. But when you’re the leader, don’t resign from your post. When there’s something wrong in the team, do something about it.
Of the five options here, four are for leaders and one is used by toddlers. Which one are you?
This has got to be one of my favorite meetings of the year.
This morning, most of our campus missionaries from Metro Manila and several from the provinces came together to worship God and ask for Him to be with us as we plan for Ignite, our Every Nation Asia Campus Conference.
We held it in Cuneta Astrodome where the conference will be in 35 days. We crammed into a room much too small for us which overwhelmed the brave but useless efforts of the airconditioners. And with sweat running down our faces, began to worship God and pray. I loved every minute of it.
Not Pictured: The multi-sensory experience that the venue provided.
It reminded me of the early days of all our centers when airconditioning was an unheard of luxury, which it still is for many locations.
It reminded me of packed youth services where the smell of sweat indicated just how many young people were present and how passionately they were worshipping – giving birth to our expression, “Smells like the harvest.”
But more than all of that, it was fun because it’s always great to praise and worship our God. And even as the preparations for the conference are growing, we wanted to remind ourselves that this isn’t about us, but about our God. In fact, the reason we need to pray is because this is Beyond Us. On so many levels.
Beyond Our Abilities – Everything that’s going to happen here is beyond us. We can do our best in planning things, but if God doesn’t go ahead of us, then nothing will happen. This is true about Ignite and for all of our lives. We’re like the Kid Darth Vader in the Volkswagen commercial. We can wave our hands around, but God’s got the real power.
Beyond the Natural – There are spiritual realities at work that we do not always see or comprehend. To go without prayer is to march in blindly. Good thing Jesus said He defeated any enemy we will face on the Cross. When we pray we are taking that victory Jesus won and applying it to every area we’re walking in to.
Beyond our Location – Whenever God does something in the Bible, it always goes far beyond what the original participants expect. In the same way, Ignite 2013 is beyond LifeBox or Victory. It’s beyond the Philippines. But we are believing that God will use this time to make an impact in nations all around the world. With delegates from 17 nations coming,we are excited and hopeful for the inception this can be for them.
In short, with big tasks and big goals facing big opposition, you better be praying to a big God. What an energizing way to start the day.
After that, I spent 5 hours in a coffee shop writing some of the materials for the conference.
Then I ended the day with my Victory group meeting while my wife met her’s next door. Good day! But now I need a long shower and some sleep. Good night!