Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 Resolution- No More 'Mr. Jerk'

This is my last blog for 2009. I have been distracted and not as faithful in updating my blog. Hopefully, I will do better in 2010. This blog today is about a resolution that I have already made for 2010!

One of the many things that one encounters in ministry are those that make personal insults towards you or your family. I am talking about people that take cheap shots, make hurtful comments, demean, belittle, chastise, and say and do other caustic things directed at you.

I call them Jerks! Dictionary definition- ‘an annoyingly stupid or foolish person; an unlikable person; especially: one who is cruel, rude, or small-minded.’ There are other ways to describe them as you will see from the next paragraph. But, I prefer to be civil in this blog and ‘jerk’ will suffice. Of course, we all can put names to the word ‘jerk.’

And what is worse, are those times when I have been a ‘jerk!’ Yes, I confess that there have been times when I have been a ‘class A jerk!’ I plan to change that in 2010.

As I was studying and meditating on this issue; I came across a book by Robert Sutton entitled, The No A**hole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t. (Yes, it really does say that in the title; I edited it here for the sensitive and in an effort not to offend). It’s called the definitive guide to understanding, counteracting, and not becoming an a**hole. Obviously the workplace is a prime place for this type of person. But, it is not exclusive to it as we all have seen our fair share in the church and among its leadership.

Sutton has a dirty-dozen list of everyday ‘jerk’ actions:
1. Personal insults
2. Invading one’s personal territory
3. Uninvited personal contact
4. Threats and intimidation, both verbal and non-verbal
5. Sarcastic jokes and teasing used as insult delivery systems
6. Withering email flames
7. Status slaps intended to humiliate their victims
8. Public shaming or status degradation rituals
9. Rude interruptions
10. Two-faced attacks
11. Dirty looks
12. Treating people as if they are invisible

I am sure that you can identify with some of these or maybe all of them. We all have seen them and experienced them.

In his book, Sutton tells you how to avoid a jerk and how not to become one yourself. On his blog he tells of a church Sunday class that even used his book! That’s bold!!!!

Obviously, the Bible tells us how to live with and respond to jerks. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;…” Matt 5:44 KJV (there are many other references in the Bible).

I heard Loren Cunningham, founder of YWAM, answer a question last night about all the criticism and attempted character assassinations directed at him over his lifetime, ‘How did he survive and stay full of joy?’ He said he forgave them all. Therein lays the key on how to deal with jerks! Don’t respond to them, forgive them!

If I have been a ‘jerk’ to you, please forgive me and pray that I will, by God’s grace, change and refrain from being one in the future.

Does anyone want to join me in the pursuit of this New Year’s Resolution?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Encouragement- Oxygen to the Soul

Last night I watched Demarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys lying on the football field with a sprained neck injury. I watched as the medical personnel attended to him eventually immobilizing him and putting him on to a stretcher. What got my attention was as he was placed on the cart to be taken off the field, a few Cowboy players went over to him and talked with him and encouraged him.

They are a team. When one player is down they all respond with support. Probably not one of them brought up Ware’s play that day, not one of them tried to settle a problem with him, but all wanted to help!

And then I thought about the church and church leadership. What did I think? I thought how often we don’t respond in kind when someone is hurting and down. We can be a most vicious group. Rather than circling around that person with support and encouragement, we add to the suffering.

We all should seize every opportunity to give encouragement, especially when someone is hurting. Encouragement is oxygen to the soul. The Message Bible, 1Thess 5.11: So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it.

One day a guy vacationing in the Bahamas noticed a big crowd gathered at the end of the pier. As he got closer he observed someone preparing for a solo journey around the world in a tiny homemade boat. Without exception everybody was telling him all the things that could go wrong. Suddenly the guy felt an irresistible urge to offer some encouragement. So as the little boat drifted toward the horizon he began jumping up and down shouting, 'Go for it! You can make it! We're proud of you!'"

This man had what we need more of - the gift of encouragement. We need fewer critics and more cheerleaders: those who see over the heads of the nay-sayers and shout to someone launching out in faith "Go for it! You can make it! We're proud of you!"

Give the gift here at Christmas that is priceless but costs you nothing by acknowledging the needs around you and then speaking words of encouragement to others.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Open Letter to Lou Dobbs and all Government Officials

Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), a grassroots immigration enforcement advocacy organization, is withdrawing its support for Lou Dobbs' possible presidential bid after the former CNN anchor and commentator told a Spanish language television network that he now supports amnesty for illegal aliens. During his long tenure at CNN, Dobbs became a champion of the pro-enforcement cause. But is now signaling a change!

Here is the email I sent to Lou Dobbs and is open reading for any government official about the current ineptness of the immigration system! You bet I am frustrated as it has now been 5 months that Lina is in Costa Rica!

I saw your interview with Bill O'Reilly and was impressed. However, all that has changed with your support of amnesty for illegals.

My son married a Costa Rican in January of this year. They set up their home here in Texas. On returning in July from visiting her parents, she was denied entry into the US because she was coming in on a tourist visa. Now that she was married, she is an impending immigrant thus needs that visa. Who knew? She was sent back to Costa Rica where she has remained for these 5 months. My son has made numerous trips back and forth. We have a lawyer and are awaiting the proper paperwork and visa to be issued.

We feel we are being penalized by trying to do things the right way and yet more and more people are entering illegally and you want to encourage that. My understanding is that with amnesty for them they would be moved to the head of the line and my daughter-in-law would be pushed further back in her pursuit of a Visa. This is unconscionable and not right! The immigration system is terribly broken and penalizes those who are trying to do it right.

You need to check your facts about all this before you blindly endorse amnesty! Please don't accept illegals at the expense of those of us who obey the US laws and try to do it the right way!

David Kerr