Have you ever gone through a season of physical or emotional pain in which you needed God’s healing grace?
I’d like to share a new book my good friend Edward W. Hellman recently wrote and published: “Healing Grace.” Ed, who is an esteemed orthopedic and spinal surgeon in south Georgia, wrote this book for those who are discouraged from dealing with physical hardships such as chronic pain, emotional distress, cancer and other illnesses.
The first half of the book is a 40-day devotional (with a bonus day!) that uses Scripture to encourage and uplift the reader in hopes of drawing him/her closer to the Father.
“In some ways, each of us is a pastor and the sermons we preach include not only the words we speak but how we live our very lives,” Ed writes.
In the second half of the book, Ed provides 12-part biblical instructions for going through physical hardship. The sections include choosing your foundation wisely, preparing, resting, claiming your inheritance, praising and going forth in the Spirit.
Medical professionals can see up to one hundred patients a day, so Ed witnesses many people suffering.
Ed writes, “My prayer is that in reading this, you will be greatly encouraged and that the encouragement you receive will be a blessing to you but also that it will be so overflowing that it will flow out of you to others, so that they may reap the blessing as well.”
You may purchase “Healing Grace” at The Source Bookstore, located at Sherwood Baptist Church.
Providing proper feedback is a vital component of leading a team. Some leaders may find that sharing feedback is difficult, especially when that feedback is addressing a performance issue or is negative in nature. Some people even have difficulties sharing positive feedback… Maybe it feels unnatural, or it is difficult to encourage someone who is generally underperforming. Most leaders wouldn’t argue the fact that there is value in giving feedback, but may not be sure of the best way to initiate the process. Here are some guidelines to follow when providing feedback:
- First, think about the desired outcome. Are you attempting to warn a team member of inappropriate behavior, or upcoming disciplinary action if performance doesn’t improve? Perhaps you are trying to improve communication among teams or encourage a new leader? In any situation where feedback is provided, it is important to consider the desired outcome so that you can guide the conversation in that direction.
- Communicate clearly. This is extremely important when sharing any information, but especially if it involves a team members job performance, whether positive or negative. There is nothing worse than walking away from a leader or superior feeling confused, or thinking that there is an alternative motivation for what was said… The more clear the message, the more likely it is that you will see the desired result.
- Provide feedback in writing. Often times, communication is easily forgotten if not written down. This is especially important when reviewing performance. Some personality types need time to process and think through feedback before they are able to respond verbally or with action.
- Use a proven system when issuing performance evaluations. It is important to be consistent when sharing feedback and the best way to do that is to use a proven system or template for sharing. A good example would be the “Start, Stop, Continue” method. When using this style of feedback, the leader is prepared in advance with several points communicating what the team member should start doing, stop doing, and continue doing to improve performance. The “continue” part of this kind of evaluation gives the leader the opportunity to encourage and reinforce any positive behaviors displayed by the team member.
How do you provide feedback within your organization?
The Five Dimensions of EQ
During my last post, we began discussing Emotional Intelligence (EI), and how it is measured through Emotional Quotient (EQ). There is an excellent video resource available on this topic through Building Champions, a leadership coaching company founded by Daniel Harkavy, the author of the popular leadership book, “Becoming A Coaching Leader”. You can find the video in which Leadership Coach Bob Noack defines these five dimensions in depth by following this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx8r4fZxVFo.
There are five dimensions of EQ, and the first three are focused on intrapersonal skills (How a person processes internal emotions and day-to-day events): self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation. According to Building Champions these three dimensions can be defined as follows:
- Self-Awareness: recognizing and understanding your needs, emotions, strengths, limits, drives, and their effect on others.
- Self-Regulation: the ability to control or redirect compulsive impulses, suspend judgment, think before acting, and maintain standards of honesty and integrity.
- Motivation: a passion to work, improve, act on opportunities, and maintain a persistent pursuit of the vision despite set-backs.
The last two dimensions of EQ are interpersonal, and measure how an individual interacts with others. Those two dimensions are defined according to Building Champions as follows:
- Empathy: understanding the emotions of others and taking interest in their concerns; and anticipating, recognizing, and meeting the needs of others.
- Social Skills: proficiency in managing relationships and networks, listening openly, negotiating, and initiating and managing change.
As you think through these definitions and their implications, it is important to remember that these factors can grow and improve over time. Leadership Coach Dan Foster (Also of Building Champions) outlines some great ways to break bad habits as they relate to EQ and growth in leadership in his blog titled “How to Break Bad Habits” which can be found by following this link: http://www.coachdanfoster.com/2014/06/break-bad-habits-part-1/
Over the past few decades thoughts on leadership have changed drastically. In the past, individuals may have been given leadership roles based on seniority or knowledge of technical skills. However, as a younger generation has been slowly introduced into the workforce, expectations of leaders have changed. While previous generations may have chosen one career to stick with for decades, the newest generation tends to shop around for a career where they feel more fulfilled as an individual.
There have been many changes in our society that have been completely undeniable. Technology and social media have made a huge impact on the way the next generation does business. In fact, you can even get customer service support through Twitter now, which would have been unbelievable even twenty years ago! (Can you imagine trying to explain your service issues to someone in 140 characters or less?)
Along with the changes in technology and the job market, the expectations of leaders in our culture have also changed. For past generations it might have been acceptable for leaders to be more autocratic, allowing no space for individual creativity or innovation. Now it seems that the most effective leaders are people who have mastered the art of thinking of others first, and have learned to leverage the strengths of their team members.
It seems that one of the greatest predictors of success in leadership has become Emotional Intelligence (EI). This is a topic that might sound familiar, but hasn’t always been a focus for leaders in years past. Building Champions, a leadership coaching company founded by Daniel Harkavy, has posted an overview explaining EI and how it is measured, which is known as Emotional Quotient (EQ). You can find that video on their YouTube Channel by following this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx8r4fZxVFo.
In this video, Leadership Coach Bob Noack defines EI as the capacity to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of self, and of others. The significance of EQ as mentioned by this video, is that unlike personality tests or IQ, EQ can actually grow and change over time. Throughout this video, Coach Bob discusses the five dimensions that are measured in EQ, and they are as follows:
- Social Skills
As you may have noticed, the first three dimensions of EQ are Intrapersonal, meaning that they relate to how a person processes internal emotions and day-to-day events. The last two are measuring Intrapersonal Skills, which gauge how a leader interacts with others. Next week, I will summarize the five dimensions of EQ here on the blog.
Five Ways God Speaks to Us
When counseling young couples, I explain that in general God speaks to us in five ways, including prayer, the Bible, teaching, worship, and through other believers. The first two ways are typically disciplines that we participate in through one-on-one time with the Lord, while the other three are typically found through attending church and fellowshipping with other believers. This is why I believe regularly attending a local church is so important… Without being around other believers and being under regular teaching of God’s Word, we could potentially be limiting the ways that God communicates with us.
Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
1 John 5:14, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
2. The Bible:
2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
Psalm 150: Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.
Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
Philippians 2:9-11, “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
5. Through Other Believers:
Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”
Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”
Daily Audio Bible
For the last 15 years, I have made it a discipline to read through the Bible each year. Recently, in addition to my regular Bible reading, I have enjoyed a new, interactive way to listen to the Bible. The Daily Audio Bible is a podcast that was made available by Brian Hardin.
The Daily Audio Bible has been available since January 1, 2006, and has broadcasted a daily Bible reading every day since then, reading through the Bible completely each year. Not only is this daily broadcast available by podcast. It can also be streamed live from dailyaudiobible.com.
As this program has grown in popularity, it has also become a large community for its listeners. With over 64 million downloads to date, listeners can share their struggles and prayer requests on the website, while others offer up prayer and support. Some prayer requests are even featured at the end of the daily broadcast for the entire community to participate in interceding on the behalf of other listeners.
The founder of this community, Brian Hardin has his own blog describing his journey into this ministry, and showcasing other ventures as an author, musician, and artist.
You can find his blog online at BrianHardin.com.
The following are the houses I grew up in they are all in Eden, North Carolina. I wish I had a picture of the first house I ever lived in but it burned to the ground. It was a two bedroom house that my parents had been renting when I was born.
This is a picture of the second house I lived in:
It was on Flint Hill street. You may be able to tell by the picture, but this was not the neighborhood that was envied by others at my school. In fact, being from the Flint Hill area was a running joke with other kids my age. I lived there only as a toddler and don’t have any memories of this house.
This is a picture of the third house I lived in:
The third house I lived in was a two bedroom, log cabin style home. This home was located right above Tacky Branch, and I attended first grade at Lakeside Elementary while living in this house. I could easily walk from here to my grandmother’s house, or to school. Since we lived there the logs have been covered with siding, but I assure you the logs are still underneath the new siding… I’m not trying to go Abe Lincoln on you, but I thought this was a cool house. I have fond memories of eating my mom’s pinto beans in this house… She is one of the best cooks I know.
This is a picture of the fourth house I lived in:
The fourth house I lived in was during my second grade year, and was on Primitive Street. We rented this house from my Uncle “Woody” McBride. He lived only two houses down, and it seemed like our backyard was always full of carnival equipment. This house is where I also started my first construction job. My dad once brought a load of sand into the backyard shortly after I had received a Tonka truck for Christmas. I decided to haul loads of sand around the outside of the house and constructed a one foot path completely encircling our house.
This is a picture of the fifth house I lived in:
I lived in this house throughout the third and fourth grade. It was on Virginia Avenue, and I attended North Spray School while living there. It was while I lived in this house that I discovered my love for football and joined the Shields Knight Arco Oil Company Team. When I was nine years old, our team won the city wide Super Bowl. I continued to play with many of my team mates all the way through high school, and still keep in contact with some of them today.
This is a picture of the sixth house I lived in:
In the early 1970’s my parents bought their first house, and paid a whopping $12,000. It was on Pervie Bolick Street, and was within walking distance of my Junior High and High School. My Uncle “Smoky” moved in with us. He worked with us for decades in the carnival business. When my parents went to work the Carnivals, my sister would stay with our aunt, and I stayed home with Uncle Smoky. I have many fond memories of playing chess with him, and I still have the Bible he gave me for my sixteenth birthday. It is one of my most prized possessions to this day.
This is a picture of the seventh house I lived in:
Sometime around my 9th grade year we moved to our house on Von Ruck Street. I finished out my High School career in this house, and lived there until Sheila and I got married. Years later we ended up buying this house, and it became the first house we owned as a married couple.
My Rite of Passage was a treasured moment. My dad had already shared the experience with my two brothers, so I knew it was something special and valuable for my family. I have to admit, I wasn’t really expecting it because I had already graduated from college and moved back home to start my career.
It started just like any other day, but we had family coming in from out of town, so my dad asked that I make sure to dress nicely. When I arrived at the church to begin my work day, I was surprised to find that several women from my family were there. I was presented with a Bible that had been given to my great, great grandmother on Christmas day in 1955, along with a highlighter.
As I journeyed through different rooms in the church, I was met by my aunt who shared what it meant to be a woman of faith, followed by my grandmother who told me my responsibilities as a woman in our family, and my other grandmother taught me how to leave a legacy. As each woman shared their topic, I highlighted the accompanying verse in the Bible and wrote their name next to the scripture they shared.
I then met with one of my mentors Dee Kelley, who taught me about purity and gave me my promise ring. My last meeting was with my mother who gave me a beautiful ruby necklace. She presented me with Psalm 31:10, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth more than rubies.” There was a ruby for each woman who invested in my life that day.
After I met with mom we went out for lunch with my family, where my dad had one more surprise up his sleeve. My brothers each received a sword for their Rite of Passage, but my dad presented me with a crown and shared Proverbs 12:4, “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown…” He told me to place the crown on my bedside table to remind me to pray for the man I would someday marry, and to strive for becoming his crown of honor.
Six years later at my rehearsal dinner, I held up that crown and reminded my dad of the challenge he gave me. I then turned and gave the crown to my husband Mark. I told him that my prayer was always to be a crown to his head. That crown now sits on our bedroom dresser to remind Mark that my heart’s desire is to be the kind of wife that embodies Proverbs 12:4.
Mark and I plan to carry on this tradition with our children. The women who were involved in my Rite of Passage are still key players in my life, and they are people that I can turn to when I need counsel or prayer. It’s important to have friends, but there is nothing like having an older man or woman to challenge and disciple you. I want my children, Penelope and Sawyer, to have relationships and experiences like the ones I have been blessed with through my Right of Passage ceremony.
To read more about my families Rite of passage Ceremony check out the book “Rite of Passage” A Fathers Blessing
Whether in a personal relationship or a professional setting, maintaining boundaries is necessary in order to guard and protect a person’s reputation and integrity. A concept that I learned from Nicolas Ellen is that many relationships follow the natural progression of the 5 T’s. Being aware of this transition is an important tool in guarding your heart.
Time- Time is typically already a factor in most professional relationships. In addition to time spent inside the work place, also consider travel time or time alone in a vehicle with a co-worker of the opposite gender. As a rule, I never travel in the car alone with any female other than my wife. Taking this precaution will keep you and your co-workers above reproach.
Talking- Again, in most work environments communication is necessary. However, we are always aware and in control of the subject matter that drives our conversations. Ask yourself if your conversations are work related. If not, it is important to watch out for phrases like, “I feel like I can trust you with anything.” This type of comment made during a professional conversation may indicate that your co-worker has a blurred perception of the boundaries in your relationship.
Transparency- After a lot of time and a lot of talking, some professional conversations can cross into the realm of transparency. Warning signs of this sort of boundary being crossed include phrases like, “I have never told anyone this but…” or conversations that become extremely emotional and are confidential in nature. This sort of conversation may include discussion of family problems, troubles with a spouse or significant other, and other conversations that are shared with discretion.
Trust- After the previous boundaries have been crossed, a sense of trust forms. This is not referring to a professional trust, but trust of a personal kind. This sort of trust allows a co-worker to feel comfortable confiding in another, without regard to the appearance of the interaction. Often time’s men and women interpret this stage of the relationship differently. A woman might realize that she is in this stage of “trusting” another person, while the man might think that they are just participating in conversation. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 tells us to, “avoid every appearance of evil.” It is our obligation to guard our hearts.
Touching- It is my hope that through the awareness of this progression, one would be able to properly navigate professional relationships, and avoid compromising their reputation through this stage of the relationship progression. Remember, “A good name is to be valued above great riches.” –Proverbs 22:1.
Have you ever thought about the Ascent of Money?
Money can be an elusive element in the society around us. This ever present aspect of our lives can be the source of happiness, a measure of success, or the cause of major frustration and stress. Money is a part of our daily lives whether it includes buying or selling services, borrowing and lending, investments, and many other actions that permeate our daily lives. It has become commonplace to carry currency in our wallets or purses, whether in the form of cash or electronic cards, but have you ever considered the history and evolution of currency as we know it? In Niall Ferguson’s book, The Ascent of Money, the history of finance and trade is explained. In a particularly interesting section of the book, the evolution of currency is closely examined
The section starts with the story of the Inca Empire, which existed about five hundred years ago, and essentially functioned without currency. While the Incas did find value in precious metals like silver and gold; labor was the typical unit of trade. Their Empire closely resembled a Communist society, but failed after an explorer named Francisco Pizarro discovered the land and desired to monetize the precious metals that were found in abundance there. This great empire is now the land of Peru.
During Pizarro’s conquest, he and his army were able to collect over 13,000lbs of gold and 26,000lbs of silver. Shortly after Pizarro’s death, an Indian named Diego Gualpa discovered a mountain that contained solid silver ore, and made a decision that would change economic history. The mining of the silver in this area was a strong industry and lasted nearly two centuries. Of course, his natural response to finding such large amounts of metal, particularly silver, was to manufacture coins and currency.
Even before silver was discovered in Peru, currencies were made from several different materials including clay, bronze, silver, gold, and any other material that held value for trade. Unfortunately, whether with precious metals or with the modern dollar, the intrinsic value of any currency fluctuates with its availability in the market. For example, if a market is flooded with currency, the value of that currency tends to drop due to its high level of availability.
Currency has come a long way from clay tablets and coins made of silver. Now on a daily basis trades occur with a currency that is not even tangible. With electronic transfer of funds, investments and purchases can occur internationally in a matter of minutes. Goods and services can be purchased online without either party making contact with cash. Ferguson reminds us that in the end we are always placing our trust in another party to deliver quality goods and services that meet our expectations. No matter what the form of currency may be, there is a certain level of faith involved when an individual is expected to pay their debts, deliver products, and offer the consumer a quality experience.
For more info on the history of money and finance, check out Niall Ferguson’s book, The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World