New blog...

I won’t be posting on Tumblr anymore. The new blog is called “n-Training.” I moved all the old posts over and will be posting on it exclusively in the future. 

Prepare for glory…

I’m a guy, so I like movies like “Patton” and “300.” All real, red-blooded, American men like movies about men who wreak havoc and domination on their opponents; and do it for causes that are just, but mostly for the glory. 

Glory is something intangible; there is no one word that describes it, and no sequence of words that can completely explain it. To understand glory one must see it, to understand glory YOU must experience it and when you do, there’s no mistaking it. 

We love glory, because glory is what we were created for. Our Creator made us to be this way because he loves glory even more than we do. 

"And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed."   John 17:3-5

That’s Jesus talking to his father mere hours before he atoned for the sins of the world. I think it’s safe to say that Jesus’ primary motivation for redeeming the world was and is glory; but even for Jesus it’s not about his own glory, it’s about the glory of the Father. 

I think that’s where we miss it. Glory is something that we’re wired up to love, something that God has used for all of eternity as motivation. The problem is incurred when we forget that only God possesses intrinsic glory, and that all our glory is merely a reflection of what has originated with the father. We strive to create our own glory through worldly successes and in doing so make ourselves the little gods of our little universes settling for emaciated, emasculated glory that cannot sustain or reproduce itself. This is not the glory we were created for.  

We were created to reflect God’s ultimate, all sustaining glory. The sort of glory that is not taken away through sickness, bankruptcy, death, or failed relationships; it is revealed in this all the more in these struggles as we are immersed in the grace of our Creator. This glory is not fleeting, but eternal throughout all the ages, promising its presence with us for all of time. As Christians we will experience complete glory with God forever. So, in the words of the great Leonidas: “Prepare for glory!”

Mounting talent to task

The leader’s first task is to mount talent to task. -David Keirsy

This week I’ve spent time reading David Keirsey’s Please Understand Me II. It’s a fantastic read that delves into the intricacies of personality assessment. My favorite chapter (ch. 9) is titled: “Leading and Intelligence” and goes into detail about the different leadership styles of each of the 16 types. 

Naturally after taking in all this information, I wanted to come up with a metaphor for all of it; a way for me to bring the information down to ground level and actually use it. I began to think about a ship on a journey to the Arctic Circle. As with any organization, it is absolutely imperative that people’s God-given talents and abilities be used at their maximum potential. The following is my take on how to use those talents. (DISCLAIMER: inside each type there are 4 more types, creating 16 total types. If you don’t fit neatly into one of these categories do some research. I promise you can find information on your temperament). 

At the helm, driving the ship, would be the tactical Artisan (Myers Briggs SP). Artisans can see the next step and react to it with the utmost speed and agility. When navigating a ship out of port, twisting and turning between other vessels and staying clear of dangerous shoals, there is no better guide than the artisan. He will become bored after this and likely complain about the lack of excitement between the port and the “important” work in the Arctic; however, he will be able to master the technique of navigating icebergs like no other. For this reason, I want him at the helm.

Taking inventory of supplies, scheduling times at port to refresh the crew, and overseeing ship maintenance stands the logistical Guardian (Myers Briggs SJ). Guardians are the gatekeepers of society, making sure that the rules of tradition are recognized and followed to the tee. No detail will escape him and as a result it is the Guardian who will ensure that the combined efforts of the Rational and Artisan don’t land the ship in the Arctic with no food, water, or means of staying warm. He will constantly go back and forth, inspecting work and delegating tasks to ensure that the voyage can go on. As steadfast as an oak, the Guardian will ensure that the ship has what it needs to accomplish its goal. 

On the bridge, watching and planning the course would sit the strategic Rational (Myers Briggs NT). Rationals can see the most efficient route between port and the arctic, always tailoring plans for effectiveness based on current situations. Always driving forward this strategic thinker will stop at nothing to accomplish his goal, often irritating the Guardian with his perceived lack of care for the needs of the ship and crew. It is also likely that the rational will be found out on the deck acting as a field marshal directing the crewmen, always looking for inefficiencies and correcting them as he goes. The rational will mastermind the voyage. 

Never forgotten is the irreplaceable role of the diplomatic Idealist (Myers Briggs NF). It will be the Idealist who motivates the crew to get on board the ship and buy into the importance of reaching the arctic in the first place. The value of the Idealist can often be overlooked by more utilitarian types, especially the Artisan, for what seems to be a lack of concrete skill; however, their value emerges when things become tough. It is the idealist who will keep the other types from having a psychotic breakdown while on a ship for months at a time. When the Guardian has a problem with the Rational’s lack of interest in the details of day-to-day operation, the Idealist will get between them to solve the conflict. The Idealist will show the Rational that while the other types don’t have a plan, they do have a brain and should be treated as human beings. This is why the Idealist is irreplaceable in any voyage to the arctic.  

All four types will add value to almost any group. I’m completely sold on the idea that if you can mount talent to task with those you lead, you can keep them happy in their role and be extremely efficient in what you do. What more can a leader ask for?

(Source: )

Out of the darkness

ok, I’m at new years conference in nashville this week and having a great time. The theme this year is “between two worlds.” one recurring thought is the truth that when Christ came he brought light (John 1) that illuminated the darkness that permeated the world due to sin. Fairly simple concept right?

As religious southerners, we tend to view this sort of darkness As the kind that occurs when you can’t find the light switch in your bedroom. We fiddle around in the darkness but within seconds even amid the frustration we are able to find the switch, problem solved. It’s very easy to view our situation this way because of our terribly small view of God and our own sin against him. This is only one reason for our dead churches and Christians who haven’t shared the gospel they claim in months or even years.

We were not trapped in a bedroom. Our solution was not to simply flip a switch. We are trapped in an entire cosmos searching for a switch that even when found is too difficult to be flipped by a mere mortal. It took an act of divine sacrifice to do this.

Our second mistake is to think that once the switch is flipped, no further assistance is needed. This is simply not true. I constantly need the grace that Titus speaks of to be lavished on me because in this great cosmos i cannot find my own way. I am far too lost for that. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. The Helper to bring us to our father.

Just something that God is teaching me. Thanks for checking it out

Harry Potter: wizard of marketing

I’m not a huge fan of Harry Potter, but you cannot dismiss the genius behind the films. Warner Brothers has successfully captivated an audience that can grow up with the film’s characters. There’s some interesting trickery at work here. 

Born a slave…

How is Christianity different than all the other world religions? It’s a question visited often by skeptics like myself, and one that I think is worth answering. 

-in many religions, and many so-called Christian denominations for that matter, the plan to get from earth to God or heaven is a sort of contractual agreement. The god in question lays out some guidelines and principles that people should do if they want to get into heaven; then, if people do them and fulfill their end of the contract, they get to go to heaven. If they don’t, well then they go to hell. Pretty simple and straightforward. It makes a lot of sense, and I can see what many religions are framed this way. After all, isn’t that how our forms of government work? Don’t the powers higher than us do the same thing?

-the problem is incurred when we believe that God functions in a way that a human would. That his desires and laws and expectations are equivalent, or only slightly higher than that of a kind king, or emperor. The truth is, God’s standards are not slightly higher, they are infinitely higher. God is the being that created the universe. He created absolute truth. His thoughts are infinitely higher than ours, the created beings. 

-so, what are the implications of this elevated standard, or “holiness?” Well, for starters, there is no way we could fulfill our end of the contract. The standards that would earn us favor with an infinitely holy God would be infinitely high, unattainable by finite beings. We would literally have to be perfect in order to earn God’s favor. 

-additionally, we’re slaves to our sin. We do not, and can not want to give up our sin to follow Christ outside of his grace alone. The Apostle Paul says in Romans that we are all slaves to something, be it righteousness (God) or our own sinful desires. The problem is, slaves can’t free themselves. They cannot even by their own free will get a new master because they do not own the rights to their own lives.

-on the cross, Jesus bought us from our former masters. He paid the price for our souls in full for his ultimate glory through shedding his blood. We have no contract with God. We are bought and paid for by him. The transaction did not occur between humans and God, in fact we had no part in it. It took place on a cosmic level when Jesus bought us. We had no say in the matter, if we did, we wouldn’t be a slave in the first place. 

-here are where things get a bit difficult. If there is no contract, then what limits can God place on what he will ask from us? If it is truly by his grace that we are freed from our sin and brought into HIS slavery, what is there that he cannot do with us? NOTHING. Because I had no way of paying for my own soul, and Jesus paid the full price, he OWNS me. That means he can justly do whatever he wants to with my life and death. That seems crazy in our warm, fuzzy, individualistic Western culture, but it’s absolutely true.

-this sharply contrasts with religions that do not view God as infinitely powerful, or just don’t understand the implications of that. The key for me to Christianity is realizing that I’ve always been a slave, I’m just under a new and infinitely better master now. 

This guy is incredible. He’s coming to Campus Outreach’s New Years Conference in Nashville, TN. I’ll see you there

<http://www.newyearsconference.org/New%20Years%20Conference%202010/HOME.html>

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Disputed. Google it
The road ahead…

-I’m in my fourth of five years in college. I often look back at the road I started out on as a freshman. It was a road much different than the one I travel today; but, like this road, I couldn’t see the end. I couldn’t see where the next four years would take me because they were just over the horizon, just out of view. Isn’t that how our whole life works? It would seem that we can only plan for the next view of the horizon, and trust God with what comes next. 

-so should we sit back and plan nothing? I don’t think so. I couldn’t stand it. As a Myers/Briggs ENTJ, I MUST be able to plan long term. I must at least determine East or West, North or South. While we can’t see the end, we can at least take a look at our general direction and ask ourselves: “Am I going where God would have me? Is this the road I need to travel?” These are the questions we can answer with God’s help. I can’t tell what the end will bring but I can’t not believe that God will show me what highway to travel. He’ll tell me what exit to take when he gets ready. 

-the trick for me is being ok with that. It’s being ok with holding my plans with an open hand and realizing that I don’t have to predetermine every exit before I get on the highway. It’s a beautiful realization when I can see that I don’t need a perfect plan, because he has one already mapped out. 

-that’s all. I saw this picture and it got me thinking. 

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