Connie Mack

How Worry Affects Leadership

Connie Mack will always be remembered as one of the greatest personalities in baseball.

After coaching the Philadelphia A’s for 50 years, he retired in 1950 at the age of 87 as the winningest manager in history.

Books could be written, and probably already have been, on the management techniques of Connie Mack. Leaders have a lot to learn from his example.

One management technique: he refused to worry.

Early in his career, when he realized how worry was threatening to destroy his ability to lead — especially worries over past defeats — he forced himself to get so busy preparing to win today’s game that he didn’t have time to worry about yesterday’s losses.

He summed up it by saying, “You can’t grind grain with water that has already gone down the creek.” This colloquialism is probably lost on most of us, but it is Mack’s way of saying what Paul said …

But I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:13-14)

It works.

The act of preparing today keeps your mind off yesterday’s regrets and away from tomorrow’s uncertainties.

So give your attention to what is really pressing this day … and press on.

Noisy Problems

Noisy Problems

Noisy ProblemsThere’s a story about a farmer who called a restaurant owner, asking if he was interested in making a deal on some frog legs.

“I can bring you hundreds,” he said. “There’s a creek behind my house that’s full of them. They drive me crazy night and day.”

They negotiated a price for a hundred frogs, and the farmer went home.

A few days later he called the restaurant owner and cancelled the contract.

“Turns out there weren’t hundreds of frogs in that pond. There were just two. But those two frogs sure were making a lot of noise.”

The same can be said about our problems.

And our critics, too.

There may not be that many of them, but they sure are loud.

Successful leaders learn to ignore the croaking of the critics. They also learn to ignore the derisive ribits of this problem and that.

They learn, instead, to focus on the promises of God:

“Lo, I am with you always…No weapon that is formed against you will prosper…though I walk through the shadow of the valley death, I fear no evil, for thou art with me.”

If you’ll listen, you’ll find that God’s promises — the ones spoken in his still, small voice — can ultimately drown out the noise generated by the cares and concerns of this world.

Inspirational Leadership

Inspirational Leadership

We tend to equate leadership with authority. We measure the extent of our leadership by the number of people we can tell what to do.

Leadership is more than this. It’s not about hierarchy, it’s about influence. For this reason, you can be a leader no matter which rung of the ladder you’re currently standing on.

John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Today as you deal with those in your organization above you and below you, remember that your challenge as a leader is, through your words and your example, to inspire others to take another step toward excellence in their work and in their spiritual lives.

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Lifting the Lighter Weight

Lifting the Lighter Weight

Jim Rohn said, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces — regret weighs tons.

Rohn’s quote resonates because many of our regrets stem from lack of discipline: If only I had been more diligent. If only I had been more consistent. If only I had been more persistent. If only I had been more determined. And on and on.

Regret weighs tons, but it’s foolish to bear this burden of regret longer than necessary.

Know how to get out from under it?

It’s in the first half of Rohn’s equation: Take another tug at the lighter weight of discipline.

Ask yourself: What good thing … what necessary thing … must I start doing today — and every day — if I feel like it or not?

Whether it’s a walk around the block or more time in the Word or cancelling a golf game to spend the afternoon with your kids, the short-lived pang of making a decision that doesn’t come easily is nothing compared to the relief it brings from the dread of regret — in fact, these tough decisions result in immeasurable joy.

There’s a verse in Hebrews that refers to discipline. The writer is speaking here about the discipline (correction) that God sometimes works in us, but these words also apply to the discipline we have the power to exact on ourselves.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:15)

Give Your Morning to God

Give Your Morning To God

Preaching editor Michael Duduit once asked Warren Wiersbe which one word of encouragement he would like to pass on to other preachers. Wiersbe said…

“Give your morning to God. Start your day with the Lord. Ministry is not what we do as much as what we are…If I didn’t spend time every day with the Lord and let him build me into what he wants, I couldn’t do what he wants. So my word would be that: Cultivate your spiritual roots. Give your morning to God.”

Your Most Important Decision

Your Most Important Decision

Marcus Aurelius said, “The most important things in life are the thoughts you to choose to think.”

If this is true, then the most important decision you’ll make today is what to think about.

You can think thoughts of faith or thoughts of doubt, thoughts of hope or thoughts of despair, thoughts of love or thoughts of hate. These thoughts will find their way into your words and your actions as the day wears on.

“Thoughts should be tested before they’re transmitted,” said William Arthur Ward. “If our thoughts taste unkind, critical or unfair, we should refuse to release them into the dangerous world of words.”

Every temptation begins with a thought. So does every act of goodness. That’s why Paul said…

Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. (Romans 12:2)

Today, let thoughts of faith, hope and love fill your mind.

Make a choice to believe the best about the future God has planned for you. That’s faith.

Make a choice to expect the best in each situation, because God is at work in the details. That’s hope.

Make a choice to give the best to those around you, because this is what he has called you to. That’s love.

Your life will become what your thoughts make it.

Be transformed, then, by the renewing of your mind.

Goal to Go Ministry

Goal-to-Go Ministry

Paul Dietzel, former head coach of LSU, said, “You learn more character on the 2 yard line than anywhere else in life.”

He’s right. Depending on which side of the ball you’re on, the 2 yard line means you’re right on the edge of success or failure.

That’s when it’s time to dig in, to make a final surge for the score or a last minute stand against defeat.

In ministry, as well as in life, you often find yourself on the 2 yard line — just this side of success, or just that side of defeat.

And often it’s a combination of the two. That’s because life, unlike football, makes it possible to be both places at once.

Consider the challenges you’re facing today. What does victory demand you do? Push harder here? Stand tougher there?

Either way, it’s time to dig in. Time to persevere, to persist in doing good one more day, making one more effort to accomplish that to which we have been called.

Let us not become weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:10)

Facing the Harvest

Facing the Harvest

Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. (Galatians 6:7)

Your life is a never-ending cycle of reaping and sowing, of planting and harvesting. Every day you experience both.

Today you will enjoy (or, in some cases, not enjoy) a harvest you have planted in past days or weeks or months or years.

And today you are planting tomorrow’s harvest. Your actions today create the life you will experience tomorrow, and in the days to come.

“The one who sows to please the Spirit,” Paul says, “from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

And then he encourages us:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Sometimes it requires all of your emotional reserves just to continue one more day in your journey. Remember: this is a journey worth taking, and it is not without reward. At the proper time, you will reap the harvest that you are sowing today.

So keep sowing. Make the calls that aren’t always easy to make. Finish the task you’ve been putting off. Confront the problems you’ve avoided. Do what needs to be done.

Keep sowing today, and wait for the harvest.

As the book of Job says, God will make all things beautiful for you in his time.