Each of us carry a certain set of assumptions about how God might encounter us. These assumptions become a box that limit our ability to recognize who God may want to speak through or how he may do it. In order to break this box we need to learn to expect the unexpected. If God can “open the mouth of the ass” then he can surely use anyone and anything to get our attention.
God has hard-wired his creation for multiplication – but how do we embrace this? Sometimes we fail to multiply effectively because we don’t know what we have to offer, and other times it’s because we fail to plant what we have anywhere. Yet God invites us to take the little we have and participate in the ongoing creation of his “good” world because you are made to multiply.
(Genesis 1, Mark 4:30-32)
I find myself sitting here on a plane, once again gazing at what can only be described as the most unnecessary addition to passenger comfort. It’s the kind of thing that is easy to miss, and yet once you have seen it, you never forget it.
I speak of course, of the coat hook.
As my eyes wander down the rows of seats, I notice these coat hooks are found on the side of every single one, that means in this plane there would be over one hundred! Why? Just why? How many people:
- Deliberately choose to bring a loose coat on the plane, and
- Have the desire to hang in front of them rather than stow it away in the overhead lockers or under the seat?
Even if you do happen to find yourself eligible at this point, then there is the matter of the effectiveness of the hook itself. Prying with my fingernails, freaking out the person in front of me to extend the hook a mere centimetre then hardly allows for any purchase on this hypothetical coat, rendering its purpose and value once again moot! Read More…
When it comes to experiencing conflict, we often find ourselves caught in the middle of two points. One the one hand, we recognize that conflict is present, but if we are honest with ourselves, we are also not ready to forgive. The temptation is to just let the situation drift along, hoping that over time everything will turn out OK.
Jesus, however, demonstrates a better way, a way that protects our heart. Because whether you are the offender or the offended, all conflict has a use-by date.
(Matthew 5:21-24, 43-45)
Whether we are mentoring, coaching, or facilitating a small group discussion, we use questions to draw the BEST out of people. Questions come in many shapes and sizes, each designed for a particular outcome and used with a specific agenda.
There are some people who seem to ask just the right questions. If you haven’t yet met that kind of person, then perhaps you can become that person. In truth, this effect is a combination of listening skills and an toolbox of strategic questions. We’ll get to the listening skills in a later post, but for now, here are three three types of strategic questions that we can use in both individual and group settings to draw the best out of people.
Must-select questions are very powerful, particularly at the beginning of a conversation, or with a person who is being guarded, as it forces a person to both think and respond, while presenting itself under the guise of simplicity. An example might be:
- “On a scale of one to ten, how courageous do you think you are?”
Must-select questions like this are neither classically ‘open’ nor ‘closed’ (see below), but rather provide options within boundaries, priming the person for a follow-up question based on the information they have already given you. Read More…