Simple traits of good leaders

Ron Edmondson writes some excellent articles on leadership. Recently he published the list below outlining 10 Common Traits among the Best Leaders I Ever Had.

I loved the simplicity of the list and the fact that it was less abstract than many such lists I see of “great” leadership traits. As a leader they seem worthy of consideration, “Do I do that?” As a follower they are worth considering for when you have to act as  a leader.

  • Believed in me more than I believed in myself.
  • Were available to me when I needed them.
  • Ask good questions of me.
  • Challenged me to be better than I thought I could be.
  • Encouraged my dreams, while equally providing for me a sense of reality.
  • Had a character worthy of following.
  • Were skillful and competent, but not arrogant or self-serving.
  • Continued to learn personally.
  • Were visionary and challenged mediocrity.
  • Kept their word, but didn’t over-commit themselves.

I am a whingebag

I am a whingebag (a moaner who is full of self pity) at times.

In such moments God is often gracious enough to let me know and to set my heart and mind right. Isaiah 49:3,4 did it for me recently,

He said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand,
and my reward is with my God.” (NIV)

I am a servant of God – what right do I have to tell him how he can and cannot use me?

I am made for his splendour – what he sees is not what I see, what he thinks are not my thoughts.

I am a whingebag – a common human condition – God has not seen, he doesn’t know what I have gone through. Such self pity is debilitating, it takes your strength and removes your focus from God to looking at yourself.

I am going to be rewarded – God alone knows what I have done, he alone knows my heart – and he will give me what he decides is due.

Knowing that God is always good, always just, loves to forgive and show mercy to the undeserving, I think I am going to get a good deal in the end.

I just need to keep my eye on the call whilst I am here.

The Message paraphrases the end of verse 4 like this,

Nevertheless, I’ll let God have the last word.
I’ll let him pronounce his verdict.”

Sound advice.

Life of Christ (202) Introductory issues 2: dating and summarising

 Notes from LTCi Siliguri – they include a brief idea of issues in dating the life and ministry of Christ and give an idea of what date might be a “best fit” – it also includes two ideas of how to summarise the life of Christ, useful tools for any Christian to have in their armoury.


Life of Christ (202) Introductory issues 2


Do I really care?

I saw the image below in an article I was reading (Tone Deaf Leadership by Christena Cleveland) and thought it was a magnificent representation of the Gospel – the article was an interesting read too.

It reminded me of the story of the workers in the vineyard as told by Jesus in Matthew 20 (text from The Message is below.)

I honestly believe there is enough money in the Kingdom of God to serve the purposes of God. However, sometimes the problem is that those who have more (me included) are concerned about equality rather than equity and so lose perspective and stop caring properly for their less fortunate brothers and sisters. I find that I need to ask myself, “If I really cared would I spend that money in that way? Would I give more generously if I was really convinced those people are my ‘real’ brother and sister?”


1-2 “God’s kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work.

3-5 “Later, about nine o’clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went.

5-6 “He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o’clock. At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?’

“They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’

“He told them to go to work in his vineyard.

“When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’

9-12 “Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’

13-15 “He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’

16 “Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”

Christian Ethics Assignments (LTCi course 303)

You are required to complete two papers for this course: choose one option from the research paper category and one from the biblical perspective category.

For each option the paper should be approximately 750 words (+/- 10%) excluding bibliography, footnotes, cover page etc.). A word count MUST be included.


Research paper (10%) 

Students may select one of the assignments below to complete as your research paper.

  1. Discuss, and argue for or against, one of the following positions…
  • Christians should not participate in any form of war.

  • Abortion is never permissible for a Christian.

  • Christians should never ever tell a lie.

  • Christians should not drink alcohol



Biblical perspective paper (15%)

  1. Write a summary paper on what the Bible says about…
  • Homosexuality

  • Euthanasia

  • Caring for the planet Earth



Learn a new language

I am an introvert.

Church is not made for introverts – in fact much of church life is an assault on my introversion.

If you don’t believe that you should read this article which appeared recently on I read it and thought they had seen into my soul.

Below are the headline points from the article. I ask you to read them and think about how a person who feels introverted in many of those ways would feel in your church.

Perhaps you need to start thinking of the introverts in your church not as shy (a common misconception) but as people who relate in a different way (possibly even speak a different relational language) – and then you need to adjust the way you relate with them.

1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.

2. You go to parties -– but not to meet people.

3. You often feel alone in a crowd.

4. Networking makes you feel like a phony.

5. You’ve been called “too intense.”

6. You’re easily distracted.

7. Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.

8. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.

9. When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench -– not in the middle.

10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.

11. You’re in a relationship with an extrovert.

12. You’d rather be an expert at one thing than try to do everything.

13. You actively avoid any shows that might involve audience participation.

14. You screen all your calls — even from friends.

15. You notice details that others don’t.

16. You have a constantly running inner monologue.

17. You have low blood pressure.

18. You’ve been called an “old soul” -– since your 20s.

19. You don’t feel “high” from your surroundings

20. You look at the big picture.

21. You’ve been told to “come out of your shell.”

22. You’re a writer.

23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity.

Religious theory or passionate affair?

chestertonBelow is a famous quote from GK Chesterton (the interesting looking man on the right) though I cannot find out what the original source was, in fact there is some debate about it being the essence of what he said without necessarily being the actual words he spoke.

“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.”

Whatever the case it is a great thought for any day – for often we know about the statutes and commands of our religion but forget the simple call to a passionate and intimate romance.

Why not spend some time this day delighting in the love of God, being captured by the grace mercy and forgiveness flowing from Jesus, and renewing your intimacy with the Holy Spirit?

Pentecost reveals Jesus

Sweet and Viola in The Jesus Manifesto say this,

The great theologian Karl Barth once wrote that truth walks the razor edge of heresy. Indeed the road to truth is surrounded by a ditch on either side…

According to Scripture, Jesus Christ (and not a doctrine about Him) is the truth. In addition Jesus Christ (and not an ethic derived from his teaching) is the way. In other words, both God’s truth and God’s way are embodied in a living, breathing person – Christ.

I am the way, the truth, and the life.

What greater reason is there for needing the Holy Spirit in your life – for without Him, holding such a balance, walking the razors edge – is impossible.

In effect we might say the Holy Spirit makes us see and love Jesus in the right way – unless your doctrine or ethic imbalance you.