The Opportunity of Limited Resources

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“My number-one theory is that style is proportional to your lack of resources – the less you have, the more stylish you’re likely to be.” (Beth Ditto)

Many of us live with the desire of having more resources at our disposal.  We think, if only I had more time, money, education, property, etc., then I could reach my full potential and accomplish great things.  While having abundant resources can certainly provide opportunities, the paradoxical truth is that limited resources are much more likely to produce good fruit in our lives.

Think for a moment about those you know who have access to seemingly unlimited resources.  What have those resources done for them?  In many cases, access to such resources allows a person to become entitled, lazy, self-centered, and aimless.  That isn’t the case for all people, but that’s why David Rockefeller said, “When you have a lot of resources, the most important thing is to have had good parents and to have been brought up by people who gave one the proper values.”  In a resource-rich environment, personal growth actually goes against the grain.

Compare that to some of the great success stories of our era.  World War 2, with its accompanying austerity, produced the Greatest Generation.  Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple Computer in their garage.  Andrew Carnegie was born into poverty, and created an expansive commercial steel empire, making him one of the world’s richest men.  Albert Einstein’s father’s company went out of business.  For many people, their lack of resources became the crucible in which genius and industry were formed.

Here are just a few of the character traits fostered by limited resources:

  • Creativity: One with limited resources must learn to use them creatively to achieve their desired goals.
  • Perseverance: Without external resources, one’s internal resources of determination, conviction, and willpower are stretched
  • Focus: Tough decisions must be made, and greater focus is put on true values and priorities
  • Stewardship: Nothing is wasted when resources are scarce
  • Courage: Hardship inspires us to take risks for our desired vision

So stop thinking of your limited resources as a roadblock.  What are your limited resources making possible for you?  How can you grow as a person because of the difficult circumstances you are in?

5 Valuable Podcasts for Christian Leaders

podcastChristian leaders often find themselves in the position of giving – constantly.  If we give so much of ourselves, and never refuel, we will eventually burn out and become ineffective at what we are called by God to do.  This is why it is so valuable to always be learning.  Only learners can be leaders for the long haul.

There are many sources of learning we can take advantage of: reading books, meeting with mentors, watching videos, etc.  But one problem with all of these is accessibility.  Reading requires your eyes to be available, mentoring requires your schedules to connect, and videos require your computer to be open.  One antidote to this issue of availability is podcasting.  It doesn’t require anything extra to learn from some great teachers and apply those lessons to your leadership.

For me, this means that every time I get in the car, walk from one place to another, or have a few minutes in the bathroom, I am usually listening to some great content on my phone and reflecting on how I can grow.

Here are some of my favorite podcasts for Christian leaders.  I hope you enjoy.

  1. Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast – Andy is the lead pastor at North Point Community Church, and is an outstanding communicator and leader.  I also recommend his book, Communicating for a Change.
  2. Catalyst Podcast – Catalyst is a conference for young Christian leaders, and they have some great interviews with prominent figures in the Christian world.  The podcast hosts try too hard to seem laid back and casual (ie. wasting time), but overall it’s great content.
  3. Perry Noble Leadership Podcast – I love Perry Noble.  He is the senior pastor at NewSpring Church and he tells it like it is, no holds barred.
  4. Exponential Podcast – Exponential is a conference for church planters, and a lot of their break-out sessions get turned into podcasts, offering hundreds of sessions that we can learn from.
  5. This Is Your Life (Michael Hyatt) – Michael is the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, and he brings a wealth of experience to his podcast devoted to intentional leadership.

Up/Down

In recent years, I have become increasingly aware of the effects of mental illness on people’s lives, and no less so in the church.  Christians are just as vulnerable as anyone to mental illness, but many feel ashamed to share those struggles, wondering if they will be rejected or judged by others.  Because of this, the lives of those afflicted with mental illness often remain shrouded to churchgoers, and we have no idea how to respond when people share their stories with us.

I am thankful that awareness of mental illness is growing among Christians, but it comes at a very high cost.  I have lost count of how many people have shared the pain of depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc. with me as a pastor, and I feel privileged to counsel and pray for these people who God loves so much.  But for many, the isolation, shame, and alienation from others is debilitating and overwhelming, and all too often results in a tragic loss.  In a world struggling to cope with the painful reality of mental illness, the church must be able to demonstrate compassion, acceptance, and understanding in a way that reflects the love of Jesus.

With millions of people in the United States affected by mental illness, it is almost certain that you know someone, or several people, who are trying to deal with it.  We have a duty to love them, and it is hard to love if we do not understand.  That’s why it encouraged me to discover this documentary on bipolar disorder entitled “Up/Down”.  Please watch it.