Thursday, February 2, 2017

Activate Thinking FTW

We can become more effective delivering the Gospel and teaching the scriptures if we use compelling strategies. Although we can win arguments and be correct about the truth of the scriptures, that alone is generally not effective.

So let's discuss an important strategy. Activate thinking for the win.

Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

If we want to be In The Cool Zone and effective, we will not be focused on looking for agreement when we present the scriptures. We want to focus on activating the thinking process in others. If we can do that, then those we are trying to reach can begin to evaluate the merits of a scripture or salvation in Christ.

The reason for this is, the mind is where transformation occurs. So if we can get someone to think then we essentially are helping them to truly listen.

Then he said, "Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand." - Mark 4:9 NLT

The mechanism for growing in the Lord is being transformed by the renewing of our mind. We need to begin to think like Jesus thinks. If we can activate thinking, we have an opportunity to believe. If we can help others do the same we will see that we can become quite effective.

Jesus Asked Questions To Change The Mind

Any time Jesus engaged people, whether they were trying to trap him or sincerely asking a thoughtful question, He would almost always answer their question with a question. Why would he do that?

It's because they were asking the wrong questions due to bad thinking. His counter questions were to activate thinking. Jesus was leading them to salvation. He took the initiative because their worldly thinking process wasn't capable of getting them there. They needed a new way of thinking. A higher way of thinking.

Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding.
Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. These people always cause trouble.
Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy. - 1 Timothy 6:3-5 NLT

We want to give those who are not in Christ the best opportunity to hear the Gospel. So let's do everything we can to get past their worldly thinking by asking questions that move them past the bad thought process to thinking like Jesus thinks. We can do the same with believers when teaching biblical principles.

"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. - Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT
For, "Who can know the LORD's thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?" But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. - 1 Corinthians 2:16 NLT

So let's take every opportunity to be ready to activate thinking in ourselves and in others.

Activate thinking for the win!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Love Is Where Your Life Is

Remember when you first heard the definition of love in the scriptures? A great way to understand love is understanding this; there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Jesus said it Himself!

"Let's find ways to lay down our life, in life."

When we think of laying down our life we have a tendency to think in terms of jumping on a grenade or some similiar great sacrifice ending in our death. We sacrifice our life so that others may live. That truly is love.

A single act of selflessness, demonstrates love and engenders a deep sense of gratitude and new found purpose in those who were preserved... i.e. loved.

Our Lord and Saviour did exactly that. He was on a mission to give His life so that all could be saved. Again, true love, and we are motivate through gratitude that could not be gained any other way.

He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. - 2 Corinthians 5:15 NLT 

It's beautiful. It's humbling. It's life changing when you get your mind wrapped around the love it took to do what Jesus did. Will we be called on to give our life for another? Maybe, yet there is something more...

Life From Life 

Let's also look at love from another angle to see all it has to offer. If we show love by a single heroic act of giving our life, could we say that, "we demonstrated love by laying down our life, in death?" Sure!

If that is a fair assessment, then could there be a side of love where, "we lay down our life, in life?" You bet!

... and this is where we are equipped to love every moment. So how do we do it?

Our Lord has defined the greatest among is the one that makes themself the lowest. The one who serves is the greater. The one who spends his life, gives life. Why? One reason is because they love greater by taking action!

Thinking fondly about someone really does nothing for them. You may feel good but if you want to love, find an opportunity to take action.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Throwing Ice Is Irrelevant

Continued from, Take Away Their Argument.

Things seemed to be off to a mundane start. The restaurant was set to open in an hour and there was much to do. Tables needed to be set. Glasses needed a polish. Everyone was busy scurrying about taking care of their assignments and teaming up to complete mutual tasks. Well... almost everyone.

Mike was a good waiter. He was a smart kid and well liked by his guests. Once the night started he was attentive to his tables and a decent team player. However, the routine tasks of setting up the dining room did not play to his strengths.

Take away their argument... again.

The Plot Unfolds

While setting up it was not uncommon for ole Mike to disappear to the room service kitchen to chat with the young ladies. Sometimes it was a jaunt out to the resorts main pool, which the restaurant overlooked, to dream about the ladies there.

Before taking his leave, Mike would ensure his section was set but then would quickly disappear avoiding the tasks that required the entire team. Well after a few weeks of this, Tommy, a fellow server, had seen enough.

One evening when Mike was making his way back from frolicking, and conveniently after setup was complete, Tommy took matters into his own hands. In a moment of exasperation, Tommy reached into the ice well and threw a handful of ice at Mike.

Fortunately, I witnessed the exchange and was able to stop a physical altercation. I immediately called them into the office to sort out frustrations and saw this as an opportunity to correct Mike's lazy habits.

Here was the playing field as I saw it:
- There was one person disrupting the team (Mike).
- One frustrated about a bad teammate, responding inappropriately (Tommy).
- Myself, with the authority to take disciplinary action.
- The restaurant manager, who was the final authority.

The Strategy

When I called the guys into the office to straighten things out, I had one main objective. That was to take my best shot at getting Mike on track during setup. Tommy, on the other hand, was actually an outstanding person and throwing the ice at Mike was out of character. I really wasn't worried about his behavior moving forward. In fact, I was glad he did it, as it gave me a reason to address Mike's issues.

I wanted to be effective and I knew that to do that I was going to have to "take away" the irrelevant arguments that I anticipated would come from Mike. Here's how it transpired:

Take Away Argument 1 - "Recruit appropriate authority."

The first step was to bring as much authority to bear, so I grabbed the General Manager and asked him to sit in the office for the conversation. I also asked him not to say anything unless he was addressed by Mike or Tommy directly. I had a strategy and didn't want him to feel he had to step in and disrupt the direction I was going take.

Mike and Tommy took a seat in front of the GM's desk, the GM sat on a stool to the side and I sat behind the GM's desk. It was a position of authority and that was important to keep everyone focused on what I was saying.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Take Away Their Argument

Have you ever started a conversation about life and philosophy and it becomes apparent the other person is not listening? They seem to "talk through" or "talk around" your ideas, rather than thoughtfully considering them? I'm sure you have. The good news is, there are fantastic ways to steer a conversation back to the original topic.

Take away their argument.

Stimulating The Thought Process

We have described techniques such as staying on topic, setting the premise, asking questions, and others that are available for review at ITCZ 101. We use these techniques for clarity and to keep ourselves thinking through a complex conversion. Equally important, we are helping others to engage their thinking and remain thoughtful as well.

Another technique to add to our arsenal is to take away their argument. So, what does that mean? The idea is to grant the other person a point that is true, yet it is irrelevant to the point you are making.

In philosophical discussions we can quickly find ourselves down rabbit trails that may shed some light on what we want to express. Unfortunately, many times we get so far down those rabbit trails we are clearly off point. Let's head that off before we get there.

The Purpose

The purpose of taking away someone's argument is to take the focus off of what is irrelevant, so that the conversation can move forward with that which IS relevant. It is to reduce confusion. It is also extremely helpful for staying on topic and helping everyone involved remain thinking, rather than reacting.

He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him. - Proverbs 18:13 NKJV

It's difficult to predict when you will be able to use this technique. Just being aware of the technique could prove to be helpful. You will certainly find it valuable when delivering the Gospel.

He who is wise wins souls. - Proverbs 11:30 NASB