Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lessons From An Epochal Leader

Thom Rainer, president and chief executive officer of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention recently had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Billy Graham in his home in Montreat, North Carolina.

Billy Graham has to be one of the most well known men on the earth. He has preached to well over 2.2 billion people and according to his BGEA staff more than 2.5 million people (as of 1993) have "stepped forward at his crusades to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior."

I have observed the ministry of Dr. Graham over the years and if I were to choose two words to define his ministry, it would be INTEGRITY and CONSISTENCY.

Thom Rainer posted some of his comments and observations about his visit with Dr. Graham. Some of Rainer's key points in the article:
  • A LIFE PLEASING TO THE LORD IS A LIFE OF INTEGRITY. Leadership at any level cannot begin to function well unless the leader has integrity.
  • LISTEN TO THE CRITICS, BUT DON'T DWELL ON THEM. When asked about how he dealt with the critics, he smiled and said, "I ignored most of them." Graham seemed to know that dwelling on criticisms would distract and harm his ministry.
  • HUMILITY IS ONE OF THE GREATEST VIRTUES OF LEADERS. He counseled presidents and kings. He personally preached to more people than any human that has ever lived. Some see him as one of the most influential people our era. One word you will hardly ever hear him continue to use is "I".
  • JESUS IS ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS. When all is said and done, all that really matters is Jesus.
None of us will ever be like Billy Graham; at least, I'll speak for myself, but we can sure all apply these great lessons to our lives.

God bless you Billy Graham.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Subliminal? I don't think so.

This past Sunday, while in church, I created a new word. Sublaminal – pronounced SUB-BLAM-INAL

Definition – an intentionally over emphasized subliminal message. As in “BLAM”, in your face.

According to Wikipedia, a subliminal message is a signal or message embedded in another medium, designed to pass below the normal limits of the human mind's perception. These messages are unrecognizable by the conscious mind, but in certain situations can affect the subconscious mind and can negatively or positively influence subsequent later thoughts, behaviors, actions, attitudes, belief systems and value systems.

Within the church world, I think we are often guilty of SUB-BLAM-INAL. We want to get a message across to the folks/fold, we don’t want to be overt, but we are a little too obvious… BLAM, suBLAMinal.

What are some good examples of suBLAMinal? I am trying to recall some I have been part of.

A few years ago, when we had a Sunday evening church service, we’d want to encourage people to make the effort to come out for that service, yet we’d try to not-so-subtly hint that “real Christians” come out for the service. There probably are some more substantial measurements of a “real Christian.” In fact, I read several of them in Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians today.