Christianity 201

October 10, 2012

Being a Person of Integrity

Here are five powerful messages in one from Jeff Jones Blog, originally posted as The Road of Integrity. Click through to read more great posts like this one.

“People with integrity have firm footing, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.” Proverbs 10:9, NLT  

We all know that the fastest and most efficient way to get between two points is a straight line. The original Hebrew word translated for “integrity” is defined as “straightness”. People who walk with integrity typically walk a straight line. Their lives are defined as ordered and in control. But folks who live on the edge, always try to cut corners, and tend to be a little less than truthful are defined by following crooked paths. The result is always the same, they slip and fall.

I want to share with you five things that will help you to walk down the road of integrity.

#1  Develop Your Character

We live in a world that is extremely superficial. If you’ve got the looks: you’re in. People are enamored by appearance and are more interested on the outside than what’s on the inside. But here’s the deal– you can alter your appearance a ton of different ways, but you can never hide what’s on the inside. Because whatever is on the inside, will come out when you’re squeezed. When you squeeze an orange, you never get apple juice.

So we all need to develop our character. Character is something that we can develop and work on everyday. It’s not glamorous or sexy, but it does define who we are. Ask God to help you develop a character that honors Him and allows you to walk in integrity.

#2  Be Honest

I remember the advice my mother gave me over 50 years ago, “Honesty is the best policy.” Well it’s just as true today as it was back in the 60’s. Here’s how it works:

A.  Be Honest with Yourself– it always starts with us doing a little self analysis.

B.  Be Honest with God– He knows everything about us already, so just be honest with Him.

C.  Be Honest with Others– learn to shoot straight with the people in your life.#3  Do The Right ThingEvery day we’re faced with a ton of decisions. We come to a fork in the road where we need to draw on our integrity to make a decision on what direction to take. The choices we make determine our present as well as our future. Often times we’re forced to choose between doing the right thing which could mean more work or a delay in moving forward. Sometimes doing what’s right isn’t the easiest thing, but it’s always the right thing, for us and those that will follow our footsteps.

“The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.” Proverbs 20:7, NKJV

#4  Pay Attention To the Small Stuff

The Bible reminds us that it’s always the little foxes that spoil the vine. That’s a great reminder that we need to pay attention to the little things of life. Every day when an aircraft carrier gets ready to launch its aircraft the entire flight deck crew walks the deck, shoulder to shoulder, making sure that there is nothing that could get sucked up into the jet engine. Our Navy men and women know the importance of paying attention to the small stuff.

I remember finding a stack of quarters at the spray car wash one day. I could have used those quarters to wash my car, but they weren’t my quarters. They’d been left there by someone, and of course it wasn’t a big deal, but the bottom line is they weren’t mine. I left them there for the next guy.

#5  Keep Your Word

This is an easy one. Just say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t say one thing and mean another. It’s the old adage, “Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk.”

Don’t promise to meet someone for coffee if you really don’t plan to ever do it. Listen to what the Bible says about this.

“…let your yes be yes and your no, no, lest you fall into judgment.” James 5:12, NKJV

Make a point to only say things that you believe and that you will back up with your actions. Every time you keep your word you are building your integrity.

 “Father, help me to walk in my integrity. I seek to bring You honor and You glory by my words and by my actions. I desire to walk the straight and narrow with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
This is the second visit to Jeff Jones blog here. Click to see a previous article.  And here’s a more recent piece from his blog on strength and courage.

April 16, 2011

Reproducible Ministry

Today’s post is from The Leadership Institute’s Alan Fadling.  It appeared on his blog Notes from My Unhurried Journey under the title, Discipleship – Reproducing Life and Ministry.

I recently heard again the saying:

“Give someone a fish and they eat for a day,
Teach them to fish and they eat for a lifetime.

What kind of a ministry do I provide. Am I making people dependent on me for their daily bread, or am I teaching men and women to listen to God for themselves in ways they will be able to continue over their lifetimes? This is the difference between producing and reproducing ministry.

One way I’m learning to reproduce ministry in others is to invite them into the processes I use to planning an event or gathering. I need to have thought deeply about the rationale and reason for what I do.

One key to reproducible ministry is profound simplicity in what I teach, counsel, and plan. I’m not talking about being simplistic. I’m talking about what Thomas Kelly called “the simplicity that lies beyond complexity.” He says that “the last fruit of holy obedience is the simplicity of the trusting child, the simplicity of the children of God. It is the simplicity that lies beyond complexity. It is the naïveté that is the yonder side of sophistication. It is the beginning of spiritual maturity, which comes after the awkward age of religious busyness for the Kingdom of God–yet how many are caught, and arrested in development, within this adolescent development of the soul’s growth! The mark of this simplified life is radiant joy.”[1]

When we are simplistic and reductionist, we don’t inspire many to reproduce what we are doing. Being profoundly simple inspires people to try their own hand at ministry. Profound simplicity inspires people to believe, “Hey, I could do that!”

Ministry is reproducible when it flows with integrity out of my own life. Instead of thinking of ministry merely something I prepare to do, I am learning that ministry is rooted in who I am becoming and how I am relating with others. I reproduce ministry when instead of only sharing the finished product of my preparation process, I share the process. I can prepare a Bible study and then creatively walk students through the basic process that I went through (on a smaller time scale), rather than just giving them the fruit of my study. Reproducible Bible study would be discovery-oriented, not just delivery-oriented.

Reproducible events or gatherings would involve not just planning them behind closed doors and then delivering the finished product. It would involve doing some groundwork, then walking through the process together with a few who are willing, even hungry to learn.

Reproducible ministry will appeal to external motivation, but seeks to influence through modeling, inspiring and other increasingly internal motivations.

Reproducible ministry is more cooking school then chef, more cultivating learners than just teaching, more developing leaders than just personally leading. This is a paradigm shift. It always feels faster to do it myself than to teach another to do it, whatever it is.

Reproducible ministry requires a healthy sense of self-esteem and confidence in God. If my leadership is the means by which I try to establish my value and importance, I won’t be willing to share that role with others. I won’t want to share my “trade secrets.” I may resist reproducing ministry out of fear that someone else might do it better than me!

Father, help me learn to be one who reproduces ministry in the lives of those around me, even as I learn to receive from You a reproduction of Your own ministry in my life. Reproducible ministry is “Christ in me.”

~Alan Fadling


[1]Thomas Kelly. A Testament of Devotion. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1941, p. 36-37.