Good Things Come Back to Us

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Let me tell you what God did last night at Medieval Times. I’m not the kind of person who likes to buy things for himself. But last night I started looking at swords and my wife, Melissa offered to purchase one for me (she’s awesome). I’m guessing since you must be 18 to buy a sword, and the cashier looked younger than 18, she had to get the manager to complete the transaction.

As we began the transaction I thought about how I’d like to ask the manager for a discount. At that moment a woman with two kids interrupted us and said she needed to return an item (a pink sparkly princess veil) because she didn’t have enough for the cab. Melissa asked how much the veil cost and we were moved by the Spirit to purchase the veil for $10 so the little girl wouldn’t be sad and the family could get home. The woman was surprised and said “God bless you and thank you”.

When the woman and her children turned to leave the manager returned the blessing. He said “that was a great thing you did and since you helped them, I will take $45 off your sword.” I was floored. The Manager went on to say “that’s how it is. When we give and do good things for others it always comes back to us at some point.” Because of our obedience in that moment God provided the discount I desired. A $10 seed reaped a $45 harvest.

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38 NKJV)

Successful Choices

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Today, I’d like to share a guest post from my lovely wife, Melissa Manuel.

#Success tip series… An officer standing just outside Dave & Busters in Marietta,GA shared this uhhhh…Public Service Announcement?” I was inspired… after all, he was promoting an important element of success…making good choices. So many times in life’s situations we don’t count the costs before making decisions that may change the trajectory of our personal life and/or career. If you are currently faced with a potentially life-altering decision, push ego aside and thoughtfully consider the long-term consequences; both good and bad. You probably shouldn’t write it on your car though 🙂 think.create.breathe.repeat…MBM

Prepared for Success

It was fifteen years ago that I began to serve as an Associate Minister under the leadership of Reverend H. Frank Centrallo. After some preliminary conversations where he assessed my abilities, he mapped my plan of development with the following statement.

“Domecia, you’re pretty proficient in your knowledge of scripture so I won’t be teaching you scripture. Instead, I’m gonna teach you how to minister in the church and deal with church life.”

Looking back, I know this was the perfect plan for me. I’d spent years doing campus ministry but had little experience with the established church. Reverend Centrallo had plans to put me to work in various capacities in the church but he knew I needed to be equipped. by doing so he was protecting the church from the needless mistakes I would make and he was protecting my heart by setting me up for ministry success. I thank God for the countless conversations and lessons learned through our relationship. 

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

As leaders we must be deliberate in our efforts to develop our teams. Just as God creates us in Christ to perform good works he has prepared for us, we too must shape, mold, empower, and equip our people for success. If we fail to properly develop those who serve in our organizations their actions could be detrimental to overall success and cause their personal morale to slide. 

Ultimately as a leader it is your responsibility prepare your people for their tasks and your opportunity to participate with God in the work of making them better. For each position and person you lead identify their developmental needs. Those needs may be centered on what they know, how they perform, or where they’re positioned within the organization. Engage them with an attitude that genuinely cares for their personal success. In the end their success will contribute to organizational success. 

Improving Communication

“Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand.” Acts 7:23-25

During Stephen’s defense in Acts 7, he reveals why Moses killed an Egyptian in Exodus 2:11-15. Moses supposed his people would understand God would deliver them by his hand. Instead, they questioned him, stood contrary to him and he ended up fleeing for his life. How would this story end differently if Moses had clearly communicated to the people what God had shown him?

How would our relationships be different if we made an effort to clearly communicate to those we’re trying to relate with? It doesn’t matter if it’s our spouses, children, or co-workers, there is no substitute for communicating with clarity. Even when we feel sure that the other person “gets us” we still need to make sure. “The only way to be sure is to make sure.” Here is why: no matter how old we are, how well we speak, how long we’ve been together, or how well we think we know others, none of us can read their hearts and minds clearly and completely. Here are some keys to help improve our communication in relationships.

Create an environment of open communication.
People are more likely to share when they know their input is welcomed and they won’t be penalized for speaking up. Make an effort to defend everyone’s right to share, not just your own. Always be willing also to create a physical environment for open communication. Stop what you’re doing, put the phone down, turn off the TV, and take the time to prioritize healthy communication.

Communicate with the other person in mind.
We may know what we feel but we can’t just communicate those feelings for our own benefit. In the end, the thoughts and feelings we share must be formulated into words and conveyed to others in a way that allows them to translate and internalize what we’ve communicated. Saying it louder and repeating it only makes others feel like we’re forcing our words on them. Instead we should put ourselves in the shoes of the recipient by asking “how would I have responded if someone said those words to me?” An even better question may be “how would a person with their background and makeup respond if those words were spoken to them?”

Correct mis-communications.
When we realize we’ve communicated poorly and caused more harm than good, we should immediately apologize. Acknowledge the mistake, admit the mistake to the recipient, validate their feelings, and ask for permission to try again. There is no shame in admitting our errors. There is however shame in leaving them unresolved and allowing hurt feelings and misunderstandings to put wedges between us.