Dealing With The Critic and Those Who Have Wounded You

Dealing With The Critic and Those Who Have Wounded You

If you’re leading people, you will have critics. To clarify, constructive criticism is our friend and we should welcome it. What I am speaking of, is NOT constructive criticism. I am talking about the critic. The one who feels compelled to plays devil’s advocate. By the way, if you are playing the devil’s advocate that should be a telltale sign you’re not as helpful as you think and an indicator of what team you’re on. The critic is never hard to find. They are typically holding a glass that is half empty and their faces look as if they have been sucking on lemons.

One of the finest leaders of the Old Testament is Nehemiah. This guy was hammered by his critics! Chapter after chapter of this book we see the critic doing anything and everything to stop the progress of the intended mission.

The book of Nehemiah is proof that the critic has a plethora of tools to distract and discourage. In chapter 6 verse 17 we see the critic reaching into his tool belt, pulling out pen and paper and dispensing criticism by letter.

The trading of letters between Tobiah and the Jewish nobles is a trading of intelligence. Nehemiah is dealing with betrayal and deception. The intent of the letter is raise questions about his leadership and minimize Nehemiah’s influence. Ultimately, to stop the good work being done.

If you have ever had someone write something about you that was not true you understand the pain this must have caused Nehemiah. Nehemiah has been slandered to thousands of people and it has caused even some of those he leads to question him and the mission. So, what do we do when the critics or those who have wounded us seem to be making progress. First let’s start what not to do.

Five ungodly ways to respond to the those who have wounded you:
1. Fear. You begin to expect the worst in all people. You are now on the lookout for betrayal.
2. Withhold. We refuse to deal with the person that hurt us. We forgot the grace we have received and no longer extend grace.
3. Retaliate. You start using divisive words. You clearly want the person to know that you are hurt, and your intention is now to hurt them back.  It’s “hurt people hurt people” syndrome.
4. Doubt. How could God allow this to happen to me.
5. No wrestling. Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.

Five Godly ways to respond to those who have wounded you:
1. Pray. Nehemiah’s journey started back in Chapter 2:4 “So I prayed.”
2. Look to the word of God.  Remember when God calls you to a job site, He will ensure you complete it, according to Philippians 1:6.
3. Consider the source. If it’s a brother in Christ, Matthew 18 says “Go to your brother.”
4. Do what Jesus did. When Jesus was betrayed he responded by going to the father. The result was grace. Remember the cross when Jesus said “Forgive them father for they know not what they do.”
5. Make God the object of your affections. Don’t make the person who wounded you the place where your mind dwells. Instead be like Jesus and make God the object of your affections.

When we take a stand for the things of God and place ourselves in His will and are on mission, we should expect to be buffeted from the outside and the inside. When the critics revolt against you and the battle gets hard, remember that when you are weary and the knees are wobbly cry out to God and He will sustain you!

See you at the finish line!

Charlie

Do You Really Want Wise Counsel?

Do You Really Want Wise Counsel?

The phone rings and it’s a number that I recognize, it’s a young family in our church, so I pick it up and a conversation ensues. “Pastor, we need to speak to you, it’s important. Can we meet face to face?”

I respond, “sure, what’s going on? Are you OK?” He replies back, “yes, we are fine we just need wise counsel. Since you’re our pastor we want to do exactly that, get wise counsel.”

A few days later we meet in my office and after a bit of small talk the husband starts the conversation as his wife looks on, “Pastor, we love you, we really do. We value your opinion and want to make sure we bring you in on this very important life decision.”

Both the man and his wife began to share what was on their hearts. After listening for about fifteen minutes it became obvious to me this life decision to which my wise counsel was needed, was no longer needed. You see, the decision had already been made. 

You may be wondering why one would ask for wise counsel only to have already made the final decision. Well, after years of seeing this movie repeat I can certainly share my opinion on the matter.

Here are 5 of the most common reasons:

  1. It’s not that your wise counsel does not matter; however, the idea was so good they figured you would think it was a great idea as well. This is more about keeping you in the loop.
  2. It is more about getting your blessing, not your counsel.
  3. Accountability is not high on the priority list.
  4. There is a pattern of making quick decisions.
  5. Friends and family have said it sounds great. So, it must be great!

A good friend of mine said to be me once “your enemies will stab you in the back; however, a friend will stab you from the front.” When we ask for something we need to have the courage to actually listen to the wise counsel BEFORE a life decision is made. The Bible says in Proverbs 12:15 (ESV) “the way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”

Before selecting a person to give you wise counsel consider the following three things: (adapted from Stephen Davey)

  1. Does the wise counsel you are seeking violate your conscience?
  2. Does the counsel contradict scripture?
  3. Does the counsel hinder your commitment?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, the counsel should not be heeded.

Each of us needs a multitude of counselors. We must never be hasty in making decisions. Make it a point to surround yourself with God fearing men and women who will challenge you, speak the truth to you in love and point you to the word of God.

Until next time,

Charlie Moulton  

 

Human Capital Development, Six Steps to Get You Started

Human Capital Development, Six Steps to Get You Started

If you are leading in any capacity, you would agree that developing your people is of vital importance. So, what is your plan? What strategy is in place to help your team move from where they are to where they need to be? Leadership development does not happen by accident it happens on purpose.

Most would agree that the type of people you want on your team will be looking for growth environments. If you are able to provide an environment where one can develop, you will start attracting the best and brightest.

You do not need to consult with McKinsey & Company to develop a state of the art training center. You may need to change your mindset from what you don’t have, to what you do have.  You can develop your team by spending time with your team. As you spend time investing into your people growth will follow. How do you start? What do you do? Pick one person, identify a mutual opportunity and follow these six steps.

Here are six steps to get you started.

  1. Tell them
  2. Show them
  3. Let them try
  4. Praise what they do well
  5. Redirect where they don’t
  6. Follow up, keep reinforcing 

It has been said that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. As you invest your time into developing others you are making a statement that you care. Remember your team is not is interested in what you say, they are interested in what you do.

Leadership development is intentional. So be intentional, start with one person and place it on your calendar. Write the words, “Leadership Development” @ 2:00 with Sam. Feels good don’t it! Remember, what we value, we do. So, DO Leadership development!

Charlie Moulton

Embracing the Role of the Church

Embracing the Role of the Church

Hard to believe. But it’s true. I can’t sing. I remember first learning I couldn’t hold a tune. Charlie and I were in our early years of marriage when the sad truth was revealed to me. While at the end of a church service one Sunday, the announcement came for auditions for the worship team. I don’t know if he saw me lean forward with excitement or a smile came across my face, either way, I felt his hand on my shoulder when he leaned over and whispered, “Hun, you can’t sing.” Shock and disappointment went through my body.

What? How did I not know this? In my own mind and in my own wisdom, I could sing.

Much like my own blindness to singing, we as Christians can become spiritually blind to sin in our life. But God has lovingly provided a means for our protection against this danger and it comes in His design for the local church. The Christian life was never meant to be done alone but rather in the context and company of other believers. Ephesians 4:11-16

Left to ourselves, we can rationalize, justify, minimize and eventually become desensitized to sin. 1 John 1:8 sends a dire warning about self-deception, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” This same passage teaches us that a believer’s life is one characterized by ongoing fellowship with other believers, confession of sins and obedience to God.

We are naturally prone to see the good highlights of our lives and completely miss the areas that are self-focused and self-seeking. The Bible shows this pattern of blindness and self-deception: David needed Nathan to expose his sin (2 Sam. 12:7), Peter needed Paul to confront his sin of fear and exclusion (Gal. 2:11-12), and Euodia and Syntyche needed Paul to charge them to lay aside their differences and get back to work of the gospel (Phil. 4:2-3). We all need other Christians to help us to see ourselves clearly and to stay on mission.

The bible is written with an expectation that we, as Christians, will live in close community with one another. There are over 50 “one another” directives in the New Testament.

“…Love one another…” (John 13:34)

“…Serve one another …” (Galatians 5:13)

“…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32)

“…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)

“…Encourage each other…”(I Thessalonians 4:18)

“Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16)

“…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)

Bottomline, we need one another to mature. This is God’s plan. A community gives us an environment in which to see the blind spots we otherwise wouldn’t see. It serves as a safeguard from self-deception and sin which can easily pull us away from the Lord.

Have you embraced God’s design and role of the local church in your life as a believer?
Settle in your heart that it’s God’s “protecting and growing” plan for you as a Christian. Then prayerfully seek out a discipleship or bible study group that will provide the community you need as a believer.

Let us endeavor to live out the gospel together and stay on mission for His glory.

Until the whole world hears,
Louise Moulton

How to Handle a Mean Spirited Email

How to Handle a Mean Spirited Email

As a Pastor, I have had my fair share of emails that speak to one’s displeasure. I have had to learn from many failures, that what I say matters to God. Will I choose to show grace and humility or feel the need to fire back because of my insecurity?

Conflict is always an opportunity to glorify God. As I shared during my teaching a few Sundays ago https://vimeo.com/250061220 our walks with Jesus are often messy. What I love about messy is a good shower can make you clean. Shower in the grace of Jesus. Shower in the grace of the one who did not feel the need to defend himself. Remember, God goes before you. God will defend you. May this article by Dan Reiland “How to Handle a Mean Spirited Email” support you as we all continue to grow in our walks with Jesus.

http://danreiland.com/how-to-handle-mean-spirited-email/?utm_source=DanReiland.com&utm_campaign=8db79a5e19-Dan+Reiland+Subscriber+Emails&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_094f9b27bb-8db79a5e19-59172849

Remember who you represent. So rep well dear ones!

Charlie

Why I’m a Dodger Fan- Louise Moulton

Why I’m a Dodger Fan- Louise Moulton

In past years, I have found myself at ball games more for the social aspect of it than for the game itself.  Something about hot dogs, popcorn and sweets mixed with the company of friends and family has always been a fun combination for me, not so much the teams that were actually playing.

But lately my perspective on sports has changed because of my marriage.  The desire for an even closer friendship with my husband has been stirred up by the word of God through our recent Genesis study.   Seeing first hand in scripture that woman was made for man and that she was created to be his helper and a godly influence- has inspired me again (God’s word has a way of doing that!) to look for ways that I can be a better wife and friend to him.   After 26 years of marriage, I have learned that a close thriving relationship doesn’t happen without work and intention.

A few years ago, we redecorated our entire downstairs, changing colors, decor, etc.  The prior style wasn’t bad and it was fitting for that time of our life but as the season changed it was time for some redecorating to take place.  That’s a perfect picture of what I feel like God is doing with my role as a wife in my marriage right now.  Changes to how I approach my marriage and deepening our friendship is being redone.  My interest in sports and the desire to learn about the Dodgers is for the blessing of having another area of communication and connection with my husband.  Looking for new ways to connect and grow together in friendship allows me as a wife to cultivate a closer stronger partnership with my husband.

We have influence as wives to deepen our friendships with our husbands by entering their world.  What area might you become a better friend and broaden your area of communication? (This will be different for every marriage)

My prayer is that we would be wives who continually seek new opportunities to cultivate an even stronger, closer friendship with our spouses, so that God may be glorified in our marriages.

Louise

Genesis 2:18 
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone;
I will make him a helper fit for him.”


Louise is the Women’s Ministry Director at Lakeshore City Church, 
wife to Charlie, mama to four and Nana to Haven and Kaiden. 

How do You Know When it’s Time to Give Someone a Leadership Role?

How do You Know When it’s Time to Give Someone a Leadership Role?

This is such a loaded question, and one could write a treatise on the subject. However, for the sake of simplicity, allow me to create a scenario to better drive home my point and support you in the question of “How do you know when it’s time to give someone a leadership role?”

Let’s assume this is a candidate that is already active in the organization. Let’s begin this process of finding out if someone is ready for a leadership role by asking yourself a handful of questions to see if you and the organization are ready to support the candidate.  

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What is the role written down in the form of a job description?
  • Is that job description clear?
  • Does this new job allow the potential new person an opportunity to be less than perfect?
  • Are you confident in the ability of the person who will be coming on board?
  • Will there be follow up training?
  • What is the target and how will the new person know if they are hitting, or not hitting, the target?

Since we have already identified that person is already in the organization, having a conversation (or two) with the current direct report is a must. Ask questions such as:

Questions to Ask the Direct Report

  • On a scale of 1-10, how would you rank this person’s work ethic?
  • Does the person finish projects on time?
  • How often do personal issues come up?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how does this person handle conflict? (ask for specifics)
  • On a scale of 1-10, is this person a team player?
  • What project did the person work on that most excited him/her?
  • What project did this person work on that caused frustration?
  • Which best describes this person, humble or arrogant?
  • Is this person hungry?
  • Is this person smart?
  • Have you ever seen this person act in humility? (ask for specifics)
  • Have you ever seen this person act arrogantly? (ask for specifics)
  • What do I need to know about this person?
  • Would you hire this person again?

Asking questions takes time, if you ask these questions it will take you about 30 minutes, however, request one hour to go through all the questions as you do not want to rush. 

Be all in, be present 

Be engaged when asking the questions and be ready to listen intently to what is being said. Pay attention to the body language and the tone of one’s voice as you wait for a response to your questions. You must be engaged in the conversation, so consider removing all distractions, including all electronic devices. 

These questions will better prepare you to meet with the potential candidate and allow your conversation with the candidate to be fluid. You will also be able to take a deeper dive on some of the questions you need clarification on, so take good notes.

So how do you know when it’s time to give someone a leadership role?

Here are 10 characteristics that I look for before promoting a candidate: 

  1. They are punctual. Show up on time.
  2. Faithful with what they already have. 
  3. They are able to submit to authority
  4. Gracious, not combative
  5. Self-starter
  6. People are already following them
  7. Good listener
  8. Takes responsibility for actions
  9. Cool under pressure
  10. They ask questions, not make statements 

Summing it up

This list is not exhaustive, there are other things that are important to me, however, it’s a list. It’s on paper. I know what I am looking for. Do you? Write it down. Create your own list of the characteristics you are looking for.

Be patient as you dialogue with the candidate’s direct report. Get clarity on questions that need more insight. Ask around. Who else in the organization can better help you to get a pulse on whether this person is the right fit? The candidate need not be perfect. Perhaps you are the person God will use to develop this person. That’s the beautiful thing about leadership, we get the privilege of coming alongside people and helping them to develop and become leaders. 

Pulling for you!

Charlie Moulton

Are You Running to God, or Away from God?

Are You Running to God, or Away from God?

 

As a pastor, it has been my practice to take our church through entire books of the Bible in what is called expository Bible teaching. That’s just a fancy way of saying the point of the text is the point of the sermon. For six weeks, I went through the book of Jonah verse by verse, and quickly realized that our entire church was connecting at an elevated level with the prophet Jonah.

The book of Jonah is often misunderstood. For example, some have made Jonah a story about a whale. Jonah has become the favorite theme for Vacation Bible Schools across the country. Yet, the narrative of Jonah is not about a whale, it’s about God. A powerful God, a patient God, and a sovereign God.

If you have read this brief, four-chapter book, you may have noticed there is a lot of running going on. It has been suggested that:

  • in chapter one Jonah runs from God.
  • in chapter two Jonah runs to God.
  • in chapter three Jonah runs with God
  • and in chapter four Jonah tries to outrun God.

What chapter of life are you in? Are you running to God, or away from God? Jonah has become the blunt of our jokes as he is often referred to as the angry little prophet that needed a time out in the belly of a whale.

He has been likened to what not to do rather than what to do. But could it be that Jonah is simply being transparent? That his story is not about him, but about the character of God?

What do we see in the book of Jonah? We see a patient, loving, gracious, kind, and merciful God. We see a God who allows Jonah to run. We see a God who allows Jonah to return. We see a God who teaches, who explains, who disciplines, and who offers grace beyond what Jonah deserved.

Jonah had some bad days, bad weeks, bad months. His running took him to far away places. Yet God was always close. Jonah is a reminder to all of us that no matter how far we run, no matter what we have done, God, through this amazing book and ultimately through his son, Jesus, wants all of us to know that you cannot outrun his grace. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Jonah did not get what he deserved. And today, all of us can come to God through His son, Jesus, and be reconciled back to Him.

Today ask yourself, are you running to God, or away from God? And remember no matter how far we have traveled, God will meet you right where you are. Come to Him in your brokenness. Come to Him just as you are.

-Blessings,

Charlie

Can I get a church clap?

Can I get a church clap?

 

Pastors, such as myself, are not oblivious on how to get their church fired up with countless Amen’s and the occasional person shouting, “Preach it brother, preach!”  Here are a few ways to achieve this in my home church:

 

  • Say something positive about President Ronald Reagan. For some conservatives, Reagan should be part of the monument at Mt. Rushmore.
  • Say something negative about liberals.
  • With much bravado and intensity say something like, “We need to fight to keep prayers in our schools, let’s not let “them” take what is ours.” (Funny, call a prayer meeting at church and see who actually shows up.)

 

This is hardly articulate, I know, and perhaps a bit of hyperbole; however, I trust you get the gist of my approach here.

Pastor Jim Cymbala said something from the pulpit one time that floored me. He said, “I did not come here today to get amens, I have a bunch of those stored up from the last time I preached.” His point was, think about what gets you fired up and I did not come here for man’s approval.

Can I get real with you?   

What if your Pastor said Matthew 28 calls every single believer to make disciples. How are you doing with this mandate? Step right up, each one of you in the congregation, and give an account of who it is you are currently discipling. That’s right, step right up to the platform and provide names.

Ephesians 4:11-12 says that the church, the Christians, are to equip and train the other Christians to do the work of the ministry. How is that going for you today? Step right up and give an account. Who is it you’re training? Give me names.

I doubt the hallelujah choir would give you a church clap. They may, however, pick up a stone and hurl it at you. Now, I know we would never actually throw a stone, but we may consider getting into our cars after the service and say to our significant other things such as:

-That was a bit harsh and legalistic.

-It’s a busy season for me, but I am all over that once things slow down.

– That’s what we pay the pastor to do. It seems as if he is asking us to do his work.

-Maybe the Pastor woke up on the wrong side of the bed. He will go back to being normal next week.

 

The reality is each one of us will be held accountable to making disciples and training those same disciples for the work of the ministry. It has been said that disciples make disciples. Is that you? Are you making disciples? To bottom line this, if you’re in Christ and you’re NOT making disciples you need to start.

Here are ten things you can do to move toward obedience.

  1. Get discipled yourself and have the person discipling you train you on how to disciple as well.
  2. Be praying for a person or two that you can disciple. Ask God to reveal that person(s) to you.
  3. Have a plan? Time, Location, approved resource from your church.
  4. Have a prayer partner and mentor that will help you to develop as a leader/discipler.
  5. Select a resource that is gospel saturated and has questions to be answered at the end of short chapters. This is helpful to providing structure and guard rails.
  6. Start on time and finish on time. (My groups last one hour and fifteen minutes.)
  7. Allow ample time for questions, and not just questions about the resource.
  8. Be patient. It takes time for relationships to develop.
  9. Listen intently and take notes. The person you are discipling may need some help in certain areas, such as finance, sexual sin, anger, conversion, etc. Find and locate bible verses and articles that will support this person and, of course, begin teaching your disciple how to hunt and gather for himself.
  10. Thank God for the joy of being in gospel ministry. What a privilege it is to be used by God!

I like a good church clap just like the rest of us, however, better than a church clap is to hear the words of my Lord and Savior, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Faithful servants and faithful to the word of God, and the word of God is crystal clear as it says, “Go, and make disciples!”

Let’s Go!

Charlie Moulton