I often get stuck thinking about what I cannot do. I think everyone has those moments and I get there more often than I would like to admit. I was reading and praying this morning and I had a few minutes of asking God to intercede for me and I got stuck listing why I was not able to do the work(s) He has called me to do. After a few minutes of listing all the weaknesses, faults, bad circumstances, and impossibilities, I was confronted with this question, “So What, Josh?”
If you have walked with Jesus for any period of time, you realize how the Holy Sprit answers our questions with questions. It was a line drawn in the sand, if I believe God asked me to do something should I do it, despite the impossibilities? The Christianese answer is, “Yes, your obedience has your next blessing!” While it is true, we often misinterpret blessing.
I was about 3 years into ministry and I was a youth pastor at a location in California. With the advice of wise Christian leaders and answers to prayer, I felt God told me to resign and go. I had so many questions and too few answers to make an educated decision. I kept hearing how my jump of faith would find me caught in the arms of Jesus with great blessing at the end. So, I jumped! I resigned my ministry position, moved in to my parents house with my wife and our one daughter, and began to look for work, ministry, opportunity, just about anything.
Three months later and with offers like being paid for ministry with fresh fish in Alaska, I could not get a real job to save my life. I felt helpless, hopeless and despair began to hit me. Why? Well, I had a notion that Jesus catching me, blessing me and seeing me through meant money in the bank account, fulfillment in my career or popularity and opportunity. Can those things happen and will they? You bet, but Jesus catching us in our faith jumps means more than the material. It was at my lowest point where I could not see much light ahead, that I write this in my journal.
“God, why is it that you see to my destruction and humiliation? I know I deserve nothing, but I am desperate and have nowhere else to turn!”
Like a lament psalm I got real before the Almighty God, and I then wrote this down a paragraph later:
“Josh, Your blessing, fortune and progress is solely based on the calling I have for you. You are so busy seeing what you cannot do or accomplish that you are missing the table I have set before you.”
This was 2002, and the crux of the story is that my mom was dying of cancer and I thought she was coming out of it. I finally settled down stopped searching endlessly and spent time with my mom, I repaired relationship with her and created memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I was in the valley of despair, and fearing all evil, until I woke up that day and I was introduced to the table set before my enemies (Psalm23). My marriage was rocky, credit was broken, my finances demolished, my gifting/calling was hibernating, and my closest friends silent. Oh, but that table! Once I recognized who set it up, who put it all together, I focused on the mission at hand, my mom, my marriage and my family.
Soon after that I was back in ministry and repairing the temporal things, but having a restored and shame free perspective to being in the waiting room. Perhaps you are in the waiting room, you are looking for the blessing and missing the table set before you. All you hear is, “You Can’t Do That!” and I pray that you can answer, “I sure can’t, but He can!”
There is a vast amount of chatter on the internet about generational gaps and specifically about millennials and the workplace. Studies show a revealing pattern in each generation on how they are motivated. These are generalizations and not scientific statements or even meant to be a comprehensive summarization. These are observations I make from my experience in ministry and the workplace. I also started at Boomers, simply because of the current workforce and to expose a first level of generational differences. Each generation has a set of core values and motivators that are not necessarily wrong or right, but they exist.
Baby Boomers (1946-1964) went to work for long hours, did what they were told, respected authority, played politics well and stayed in their respective careers for a long time. This generation saw the first major rise in divorce, infidelity and the single parent home. They raised kids by passive example versus a hands-on approach (again, generalization), showing what it meant to work hard, ignore struggles and keep busy.
Generation X (1965-1976) was a product of the Baby Boomers (0f course). Gen Xers are much more educated than previous generations; they value their use of time over any other workplace ethic, and responsible for the shrinking of the population since having 1.4 kids per family belongs to them. They saw the pains of the Boomers who worked hard to get them a better life; they lacked quality time with parents. The correction was to make the workplace more efficient, create systems for faster and better response and motivated by time and performance. A Boomer sees performance as working (money and quantity), a Gen Xer sees performance in terms of success (money, time and quality). They raised kids with the approach of “everyone is a winner” and handed out trophies for just showing up. They spent time with their kids, fighting hard to increase education standards and made their kids feel special.
The Millenial generation or Gen Y (1977-1995) was a product of both Boomers and Gen X. Generations are changing faster now due to technological advancement. They grew up with much of life being taken care of for them, and they grew up faster because of TV, the internet and mobile devices. Parents no longer were the primary influence in the life of a child but the mix of teachers, online sources and TV took over the authority. Creativity is hard to assess, but millennials thrive in this arena. Since they got a trophy for just showing up, they have a sense of entitlement built into their lifestyles. This entitlement is not their fault as much as it is a product of overcorrections by Gen Xers. They are motivated by purpose and impact more than time, money, or quantity of performance. They now make up the largest portion of the workforce in the United Sates.
Boomers and Gen Xers get frustrated with Millenials because they often misunderstand them. No given generation is lost in some way simply because they are different than the previous. Yet workplace discussions, seminar lobbies, and forums online are filled with nostalgia of how it was done, and now it is all going downhill.
Gen Z or Centennials (1996 and forward) are product of Gen X and Millennials and are inundated with media and trends. They find value in causes, have little patience for rules that have no meaning, live life based on emotional investment. There is still ongoing research on how they will impact the workplace and family, but there is a push for organic community.
I am a millennial by definition, but I can relate to Gen Xers as well. A millennial does not do something just because someone said it is to be done. They do something because it means something, that the systems, tasks and processes are not only tested but constantly tested and improved. Gen Xers want to know their calendar is being valued and not just having meetings because that is the way it is done. They want to know that both Boomers and Millennials respect them as a person. Millennials want to know that you connect with their emotional quotient and that they are setup to make an impact.
I watched this great video at the bottom of my post, and it challenged me as a leader and supervisor. We can complain about other generations and what is lacking, or we can become better leaders by taking the time to understand the intersections that are involved in generational leadership.
My son comes into the house one day with wet boots all over the floor, jacket half open, no hat and his hands are filthy. This is what I see, that and red, all red. I have issues with cleanliness that I need to get over I am sure. My son is crazy excited about a cool rock he found in the great outdoors, with no concern for his health mind you. This is the tone that is in my head, and the tone that is in my head orchestrates my heart on the issue like a puppet on strings. I wish I had the “awesome dad” reaction that would cause Hollywood to write a script about it. I did not; instead, I lost it. I elevated to a yelling tone about what he did by bringing his boots wet through the house, how his jacket should be closed in such weather and how filthy he was.
His face was a window to his heart at that moment. He looked crushed and ready to bolt away and I let him. See this story gets no better for my reputation. I continue to work on my project and had very little conviction about reaction initially, because I was too busy and the noise of life spoke louder than the Holy Spirit at that moment. About a half hour later, I went to hug my son as I normally do throughout the day and realized he had some apprehension. Instantly, it hit me like a ton of bricks, I crushed his spirit.
Immediately, the Holy Spirit gave me such an illustration that it broke me. He showed my how I am often like my son and I come in broken, messed up, just a tad crooked and off course, but I brought my best at that moment and he was pleased with me. I immediately sat my son down and asked him to forgive me and my son was quick to forgive and we had a great conversation about cool rocks. The thing is, most of the time we know better. I understand tone can dictate the course of a relationship immediately and over time. Here is what Paul had to say about moments like this:
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. – Romans 7:15-20
I will write about parenting and discipline some other time, but I really felt the need to focus on leadership in the home and how much tone is a stage for that leadership. Fact is tone is a stage for leadership in any setting, not just the home.
Tone is a showcase of your heart’s current condition. If we are honest we all lose it sometimes, but what is it that flips the switch for you? I know for me there are some key warning signs for my poor tone and here are some of them:
- Poor Devotional Time
I often find myself apologizing and repenting when I skimp out on what is important to me, Jesus time. I quickly read the Bible plan I have setup and get moving with the day instead of taking to time to pray, worship, read and then write it all out in my journal. This will cause me to revert to my flesh in times where I could have been much more sensetive to others and the Holy Spirit. The fact is I cannot be Christ-like without the Holy Spirit and none of us should try.
- Lack of Organization
I get overwhelmed when things are not in order, and perhaps I can be a bit OCD about it. I know how to be organized and even find myself being quite good at it, so those moments where things are not in order, I break a little. My OCD aside, our lives require a level of organization that allows us to focus on interuptions and other things with little stress. You may only need to know when to eat and sleep and life is great. That is fine, but find your level of organization necessary to clear your head for a healthy heart.
I have plans, ideas, and dreams and then my son walks on them with muddy, wet boots. That is excessive, and my son never did that, but when we are fighting self-preservation, that is the filter we see things through. Self-Preservation tells us that we are the center of the universe and all things must revolve around us, and we will do what it takes to keep us comfortable.
There are so many other reasons, but these three are my top conditions for unhealthy tone in my leadership. What about you? What are some things that you have to set in order or focus on to maintain healthy leadership tone?
My blog is focused on the whole life of a Christian, so I will write about products I believe in or avoid from time to time. My wife and I homeschool our children, and they accomplish much of their school online with Alpha Omega Publishing’s Monarch software, which is entirely online. I will probably write a rave review about AOP sometime soon, but today I wanted to recommend a family filter and parental control software for the household. I will compare Net Nanny, Circle by Disney and Qustodio.
Basis of Reviews
What was important to my wife and me was parental control over usage. I can find content filters anywhere, but we needed control over time, content and down to the apps on the computer itself. We also have 13 devices in the house if we include computers, mobile devices and gaming consoles. We have four children and they schooling is entirely online, so we have six computers in the house at any given time. We need a software that will not slow down life, make it impossible to do daily tasks and work as close to our expectations as possible. We also are an Apple Home; we have 1 PC, and 1 Android and rest are Apple.
2nd Place Net Nanny
Net Nanny also does not control device usage if the apps do not use the internet. This would be fine, but when my son decides to play a game on the computer instead of schooling, this could be a problem. This was our top reason for finding another solution.
Another problem was that time usage seemed to have some bugs that added quite a bit more time than was used. We discovered this with some controlled tests on some of our Apple Computers
Net Nanny PROS
Cost Effective, Great Filtering, Great Reports and Notifications
Net Nanny CONS
No Non-Internet App Control, Mobile device implementation, Time Control, No Way to Shut Down device usage entirely.
3rd Place Circle by Disney
This device came out last year with a bang! It is a small device that can connect to your home network via wifi or ethernet. I recommend you use ethernet, as the wifi function will significantly slow down the entire home internet. Circle had a very similar service to Net Nanny but only on home wifi or the internet. Once a mobile device left home, no filter. If you want, Circle offers CIRCLE GO for a monthly fee of $9.99 per month for up to 10 iOS Phones; Android support is still in the works. The problem is that you pay more for Circle Go than you would Net Nanny or Qustodio for all your devices including mobile devices. Still worth the price for protection.
What we loved about Circle was the ability to boil down reports, filtering and time limits to apps on the device, but only specific ones initially and then you could block anything that you see in the reports. The user interface was much friendlier than Net Nanny and Qustodio. Any changes you make to the parental controls are close to instant, where both Qustodio and Net Nanny had a bit of a delay.
We honestly loved Circle, and it would have had made 1st place had it not been for the biggest issue we had with it: Internet Interference. There would be times where the whole house would be down, slow speeds, or issues with sites that typically work fine. We did tests to ensure it was not our service provider or hardware, but each time we removed the Circle from the mix, everything returned to normal. We understand that speeds can be affected by the parental control software we decide on, but this was excessive. It would often block sites that had a secure certificate that Google had problems with including the schooling site we used. This was not acceptable for the Morans.
Cost Effective, Great Filtering, Great Reports and Notifications, Decent App Control, Great Interface, Screen Time not just Internet Time.
No mobile control outside of the home without separate subscription, no current Android solution, Internet Interference.
1st Place Qustodio
We have been using Qustodio for about one month and the function is very similar to Circle, but the setup is much like Net Nanny. Circle requires no software install, but Qustodio must be installed on all computers and mobile devices. We would rather this because the phones filtering works everywhere, not just at home.
The control features are in-depth including social media, app and software usage and device block. When I know one of my children are ignoring chores, I can tell the system to block all usage, and the computer will do nothing until I see the chores are done. This is a nice feature. I have not experienced any slow down or strange internet issues with Qustodio. The cost is nice, with a coupon code it cost me $65 per year for ten devices but standard pricing is similar to Net Nanny. The Mobile App seems to do limited function and then forces your phone to log into the website to do the rest. It would be valuable to have all reports, features and notifications come from the app itself.
Cost Effective, Great Filtering, Great Reports and Notifications, Good App Control, Great Interface, Screen Time not just Internet Time, Device Block, Mobile filtering and control everywhere, Plans for schools and business
Interface could be better, iOs function not as deep as Android