Discipleship

Transforming Culture through a Transformed Life

May 31, 2020

My heart breaks for our nation and the great city of Atlanta. We must unite and create positive change. The time is now. It’s time to love. It’s time to lead. But how? Where do we start? I’m going to make a bold statement. Maybe even provocative. You may not want to hear it. But here it goes.

Want to listen to the blog? Click here: Transforming Culture through a Transformed Life

The solution doesn’t begin with what we do, it begins with who we know.

The world will not change unless your heart changes first. The only person that can change the human heart, bring it from death to life is Jesus. If I’ve piqued your interest at all, I recommend you keep listening or reading. If not, I get it. You can tune me out or turn me off. But if I’ve got your attention and you want to learn how a transformed life can transform the culture, stay with me. . . 

If you’re a believer and disciple of Christ, your mandate is to make more disciples and influence the culture. A discipled leader’s conversion to follow Jesus must be demonstrated in your daily life and not be kept private. Through your transformed life, you must impact your world. Discipled leaders transform cultures through their own transformed lives

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13–16 ESV).

To be salt means to preserve the culture. To be light means to show the way. To be both means to influence your entire world. As J. I. Packer wrote, “Christians are to involve themselves in all forms of lawful human activity . . . . As Christians thus fulfill their vocation, Christianity becomes a transforming cultural force.”[1]

Can something so large and complex as a culture—even your work culture—be transformed? Yes! But it starts with you. In How Now Shall We Live?, Charles Colson, former special counsel to President Richard Nixon and founder of Prison Fellowship and Breakpoint, wrote:

“Cultures can be renewed—even those typically considered the most corrupt and intractable. But if we are to restore our world, we first have to shake off the comfortable notion that Christianity is merely a personal experience, applying only to one’s private life. No man is an island, wrote the Christian poet John Donne. One of the great myths of our day is that we are islands—that our decisions are personal and that no one has a right to tell us what to do in our private lives. We easily forget that every private decision contributes to the moral and cultural climate in which we live, rippling out in ever-widening circles—first in our personal and family lives, and then in the broader society.”[2]

In other words, a discipled leader ought to be the same person on Sunday morning as he or she is on a Monday afternoon. There’s no sacred-secular divide. There’s only being a disciple and leading others toward Christ and discipleship—every day.

It is a discipled leader’s job to take Christ’s message to the world and, through that message and the power of the Holy Spirit, to change lives and change the culture. When you became a disciple of Christ, you became his ambassador and change agent through Christ. “A Christian is a mind through which Christ thinks; a heart through which Christ loves; a voice through which Christ speaks; a hand through which Christ helps.”[3] Through Christ, you can make a difference in the world. 

It’s not about a cause; it’s about Christ. Be bold, vocal, and stand for Jesus. Will you join Jesus in the Great Commission of making disciples and transforming the culture?


[1] Packer, J. I. Concise Theology.

[2] Colson, C. How Now Shall We Live?. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 1999.

[3] Tan, P. L. Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc, 1996, p. 336.

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CONNECT DAILY: Eight Guiding Principles for Quiet Times

June 11, 2019

Excerpt from The Disciple Leader: Develop Christlike Character, Influence Your Culture, Change Your World. . .

Changing your culture begins by changing yourself. Changing yourself begins by personally connecting with God on a daily basis. If God is going to mature, equip, and use you to have a ripple effect on the world, it’s essential that you’re in his Word daily, seeking his wisdom and listening to his voice. This simple act is commonly referred to as a “quiet time.”

Time alone with God is at the very heart of the Christian walk. It is your appointment with God Almighty. It’s more than a routine; it’s about a relationship. God desires fellowship with you and wants you to get to know him better. A quiet time is an invitation to be with him, to hear him speak through his Word, to say sorry when you’ve wronged him, to be thankful, to lay your burdens on him, to gain wisdom, to renew your strength, and to receive hope. God loves you and wants to be near you. If you draw near to him, he will draw near to you.

Your challenge is that the devil does not want you to be alone with God. He does not want you to be intimate with God. Our enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy us (John 10:10). He wants to ruin us. The devil doesn’t want you to be transformed so you can transform your culture. He will distract you and give you every excuse available not to meet with God, read the Bible, or pray. And when you do have a quiet time, your enemy will throw everything at you to prevent you from applying what you’ve learned from God. 

The devil will also cause you to doubt and ask, “Did God really say that?” Christian, be alert! If you struggle with your daily quiet time, you need to recognize that God is bigger than the devil. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help to give you the desire to have a quiet time, thirst for God’s Word, and seek him in prayer. 

“Equipped to Fight”

As God grows you, he will also equipyou to do good works. This is why it is so important to read and study God’s Word. The better you know it, the more you grow and the more you are able to live and work for God. If you don’t know it, you will be like a soldier who has great equipment but doesn’t know how to use it. “No matter how great the equipment is, if the soldiers are not trained, they will be easily defeated. . . . The better we know our Bible, the better we are equipped to fight the battle.”[1]

This is where application comes into play. The Bible shapes your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. It permeates to the core of your inner being, changing your life and how you relate to others. It develops your worldview. As your worldview is molded, God will work through you to be salt and light in a godless culture. You will be “salt” because, through you, the Holy Spirit can give others a thirst for God’s Word and preserve and heal our culture. You will be “light” because the Word enlightens your path. You can point the way toward Jesus and reveal what is covered in darkness. 

All of this starts by personally connecting with God on a daily basis. If God is going to mature, equip, and use you to have a ripple effect on the world, it is absolutely essential that you are in his Word daily, seeking him and listening to him. This is what is commonly referred to as a “quiet time.”

Eight Guiding Principles for Quiet Times

To ensure that I daily stay tuned in to God, I try to incorporate these eight principles for a productive and effective quiet time:

1 – Place: Find somewhere private without distractions. Don’t allow your phone, TV, the internet, or any other thing to keep you from focusing on your time with God. My regular spot is sitting in our family-room recliner. Why? I can control the environment and I’m able to concentrate.

2 – Time: I am a morning person and find that I am better able to concentrate at the start of the day. I have fewer troubles on my mind than at the end of the day. Consequently, I have more energy in the mornings. This might be the opposite for many. Choose a time that works best for you. Also, plan for ten to twenty minutes each day, and make your quiet time a priority. 

3 – Prayer: This is the critical way to start your daily quiet time. I confess my sins and then ask the Holy Spirit to guide me and grant me wisdom as I read his Word. 

4 – Reading: I typically use a daily devotional to guide my scripture selection (e.g., Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest). I read the context around the Scripture and then go to the commentary. Please note that it is important to be in the Bible and not use the devotional guide as “spiritual fast food.” The true power is in the Bible, not the devotion or commentary. At other times, I read a chapter of Proverbs depending on the date. Proverbs has thirty-one chapters, which works out to one chapter each day for a month. For example, I read Proverbs 7 on June 7. I will also choose a book of the Bible and read a chapter per day. If you take this route, I recommend starting with the Gospel of John. 

5 – Memorization: Choose a few scriptures that have special meaning to you and commit them to memory. This will allow you to recall them and think about them at any time.

6 – Meditation: J. I. Packer describes meditation as “an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communication with God. Its purpose is to clear one’s mental and spiritual vision of God and let his truth make its full and proper impact on one’s mind and heart.”[2]In contrast to Eastern meditation, which seeks to empty the mind, Christian meditation seeks to focus and fill the mind with the truth of God.[3]

7 – Write: Author Joan Didion once said, “I don’t know what I think until I write it down.”[4]Similarly, an adage goes, “There is no impression without expression, and there is no expression without impression.” It is vitally important to journal your thoughts. What do you see in God’s Word? How will you apply what you’ve learned? Articulating these thoughts will help them stick. Another benefit is that you can look back over your entries and see how God is working in your life.

8 – Prayer: At the end of my quiet time, I thank God for his Word, tell him what I’ve learned, and seek his help to apply it to my life.

These elements are not necessarily a method but rather practices I’ve developed during my almost forty-year walk with the Lord. My daily quiet time is a foundational discipline. Whether in times of trouble or bounty, I can set my eyes on the Lord. I gain wisdom, encouragement, and hope. I value this time more than any other. Honestly, sometimes it is drudgery, but most times it is the most wonderful part of my day! The key is to build a habit. If you do this, God will use his Word to shape your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. He will change you. And in changing you, he will change the world!

***

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Thanks for reading!

Pres


[1]Wiersbe, W. W. Be Obedient(Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1991) p. 34.

[2]J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 56.

[3]Eyre, S. D. Drawing Close to God: The Essentials of a Dynamic Quiet Time: A Lifeguide Resource. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995.

[4]“Joan Didion Quotes,” GoodReads, https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/264509-i-don-t-know-what-i-think-until-i-write-it

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Where Are All The Christian Leaders?

April 6, 2019

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” —Leo Tolstoy 

Shortly after I was promoted to a management position in 2005, I had two direct reports quit within six months of each other. I’ll never forget their similar reasons for leaving, which they made sure to tell me: “I just don’t like the way you treat me, Preston. And, well, you’re condescending.” 

Me? Condescending? As if they know the pressure I have to deal withLike they have the experience to do what I do. 

Before their departures, I was on the fast-track to success. I figured that if I continued driving change, performing well, and delivering results during my new assignment, I’d be promoted again. My leadership skills were blooming, and I was confident in my ability to make a positive difference. 

But all too soon, our results nosedived. I struggled to gain traction with my new manager, team, and business partners. I constantly bickered with my manager and always felt like I had to prove myself. I felt maltreated and disrespected. 

I saw my team as a means to an end and never made any true connections. Then those two direct reports left. Covering for my lost employees, I constantly traveled and consequently exhausted myself. 

Career-wise, I’d hit rock bottom. At that point, I journaled: 

My heart is heavy today. I feel crushed. The past few weeks were extremely difficult. Another employee quit, I received feedback on my condescending tone again, role shift, and an overall feeling of devaluation. My manager continues to dissect every comment I make and criticize my actions. This year’s been a valley of despair. I feel torn apart and weak. 

Inevitably, my challenges at work spilled over to my home life, where I was always irritable. To top it off, my beloved grandfather, Papa, passed away. 

Something had to change.

Thankfully, my manager directed me to engage an executive coach and help me fix things. And so, I did. I also began to pray and read the Bible more intentionally. I sought God’s help in the depths of my despair. As I prayed and worked with my coach, I realized the common thread in all my issues was me

I wasn’t acting like a leader—at my job, at my home, or of myself. My spiritual life and work life were incongruent. I went to church on Sunday but acted like an atheist during the workweek. At work, I thought I had all of the leadership and management stuff figured out and didn’t need God’s wisdom, help, or direction. 

In other words, I was condescending even toward God. 

Still, through these trials and tribulations, God answered my prayer and broke me. In my breaking, I realized I needed to change before I could create positive change in the workplace. I discovered that the surest way to realize my leadership potential was to become a follower of Jesus—not just on Sunday or at home, but twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I needed to take what I learned in the church pew and live it out in the workplace. 

I needed to become a discipled leader. 

***

I’ve worked at Fortune 500 companies for decades. I know what it’s like to be responsible for multi-million-dollar budgets, to lead employees of all kinds, and to work for highly driven executives. I’ve been blessed to be recognized within my industry many times over for the work that my team and I have accomplished. I believe I’m a hard worker who asks the best of myself and my employees. My professional path has not always been smooth—whose is? But I remain grateful for every job I’ve ever had. My career has given me much. 

But I never want to lose sight of my first calling as a disciple of Christ. 

Yet, when you spend forty or eighty hours a week at your job, it’s easy to lose perspective. You slide into the false belief that what you do defines you rather than allowing who you are define what you do. And, if you’re a Christian, who you are is a disciple of Christ. 

So why does it seem like there’s a dearth of disciples in today’s secular marketplace? Why does it sometimes feel as if you’re the only Christian at your job? How are you supposed to bring the world-opposing tenets of the Christian faith to bear on your everyday professional decisions? 

Surprisingly—and it took me a long time to figure this out—it’s not about changing your leadership style. While learning how to be a better leader is necessary, and many excellent books have been written to that end, changing your style won’t change who you are. 

Who you are needs to change before what you do changes. 

In my book, The Discipled Leader, I share ten stories that delve into the seldom-discussed connection between personal discipleship and corporate leadership. Each story is accompanied by two imperatives: one for your spiritual life and one for your leadership. I hope you’ll see how these imperatives are connected to each other within each chapter. I pray that you’ll begin to see and experience how what you hear from God in the quiet of your morning prayers translates to effective leadership, even in the noise of a busy workday. 

If you’re a struggling Christian leader in the secular marketplace, I pray you’ll be challenged to engage in the hard work of daily discipleship. If you’re an experienced leader, I pray you’ll be reminded of the fundamentals of the faith and the desperate need to disciple other Christian leaders. 

Becoming who you’re meant to be as a Christian leader doesn’t begin with focusing on leadership. Your calling toward better leadership is a calling toward deeper discipleship

That’s how you become a discipled leader.

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Discipled Leaders Seek Wisdom

October 6, 2018

Did you know that adults make as many as 35,000 decisions a day? And, up to 70 of those decisions are complex.[1]

Let that sink in. We make a lot of decisions.

So, with so many decisions to make on a daily basis, how does the person of faith make good ones? By seeking God’s wisdom and discernment.

A leader’s daily decision-making process typically includes defining the problem or opportunity, determining root causes, identifying potential solutions and implications, and choosing the optimal solution. Decision-making ranges from simple to complex. The more facts, logic, analysis, advice, and experience, the better. But what happens when the circumstances become ambiguous and you don’t have all the facts? Where do you turn in a crisis, or while dealing with challenging people situations, or in the midst of a rapidly changing environment?

Good decision-makers turn to intuition, that inner voice, sense, hunch, or gut feeling that arises when making a decision. Intuition is a feeling you have about the decision, good or bad. Leaders combine information, experience, and intuition to make hard decisions.

Let’s take this one step further: our intuition is often wrong. The Bible says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12). Australian writer Christina Stead wrote, “Intuition is not infallible; it only seems to be the truth.”[2]  If our intuition can be wrong, what is the discipled leader to do?

  1. Develop wisdom. The key to great decision-making is to seek God and his wisdom in the process. A discipled leader soaks themselves in God’s word and asks for wisdom (James 1:5). God is the source of wisdom, and he can see things you cannot. Read God’s Word for wisdom to help you distinguish what is true and right. The Bible says, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105 ESV). The Lord will speak to you through his Word and show you where to go and what to do. Ask him for wisdom and he’ll give it to you. In times of decision, he’ll give you the ability to comprehend what is obscure and exercise good judgment.
  2. Seek counsel and listen. Learn to listen to God and seek the wise counsel of those you trust. The Bible says, “Without counsel plans fail but with many advisers, they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22 ESV). Seek advice and carefully listen as you make decisions. Such advice will help you define reality, think about potential outcomes, determine cause and effect, and identify opportunities.
  3. Drop selfish agendas. Personal agendas will cloud your judgment. Drop your agenda and seek God. The Bible says, “Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your advantage.” (Philippians 2:3–4 MSG). If you drop your agenda and pick up God’s, you’ll help yourself and others avoid unnecessary circumstances.

Engaging God in your decision-making process, seeking counsel, learning to listen, and dropping your selfish agenda will amplify your intuition and set you on the right path toward becoming a discipled leader.

***

Please like and share this post with others if you found it helpful.

Also, do you want to begin to learn more about how to connect your secular and spiritual life at work? Click on the “FREE Chapter Offer” on this page, register your email address and I’ll send you a chapter from my soon to be published book, “The Discipled Leader: Develop Christlike Character. Influence Your Culture. Change Your World.”

Thank you!

Pres

[1]https://go.roberts.edu/leadingedge/the-great-choices-of-strategic-leaders

[2]“Christina Stead quote,” AZ Quotes, http://www.azquotes.com/quote/1242364.

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Renovated from The Inside Out

May 11, 2018

Through an audition process, Carla and I were select to be featured in a Reality TV show called Run My Renovation. The premise of the show required us to choose a room in our house that would be transformed based on viewers’ decorating fancies. The viewers voted online for everything from flooring to fixtures, cabinets to paint, light fixtures to tile, and bathtubs to shower doors. The votes were tallied and the contractors/hosts, with a little help from us, pulled all of the elements together for a beautiful and stunning room.

We choose our master bath. Why? Here’s what the DIY team wrote: “Preston and Carla Poore’s master bath looks nice from a distance, but when you get up close, you find it’s a different story. The cabinets are peeling, the doors don’t match, the shower doesn’t drain, and the doorway is a trip hazard. DIY Network voters have voted on all new design for the Poore’s bathroom. The show’s hosts help incorporate everything from new shower tile and new hardwood to an enormous bathtub and new paint. This bathroom undergoes a major transformation that results in a beautiful bathroom from up close as well as at a distance.”

The show was only 30 minutes long after editing. But in reality, the construction and production crew took over our house, and the renovation took several days to complete. During filming, the hosts asked us about which decorating option we preferred (i.e., three different cabinet styles) and then the production team would capture our reaction once the viewer’s choices were revealed. Next, the hosts put us to work for a few shots. Then, the director yelled “cut,” and the production team quickly moved us out of the way allowing the professionals to step in and finish the construction.

All in all, it was an enjoyable and unique experience. We loved how the master bath turned out – a total transformation. If you’re curious, here’s a link to view our 72 Hour Bathroom Makeover clip – too bad they didn’t title the show Poore Bathroom Makeover– Marketers!  🙂

https://www.diynetwork.com/shows/run-my-renovation/episodes/100/72-hour-bathroom-makeover

As the master bath went through the renovation process, I began thinking about the project’s parallel to leadership and life transformation. How is one’s life transformed? Through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. For those who follow him, Jesus radically changes and renovates their lives from the inside out. He’s a transformer, not a reformer. Jesus doesn’t make a person a better version of him or herself. He transforms people from death to life.

Imagine if the show Run My Renovation was called Run My Redecoration – featuring some a fresh coat of paint and a shined floor. Not so much! Transformation was the point of the show. The construction team tore everything out and started over; they didn’t re-decorate, they renovated.

Just like the master bath was gutted and then transformed, Jesus comes into a person’s life and makes him or her brand new. The Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

As a person of faith, I believe transformed lives transform cultures. For Christians, Jesus works in them and through them to make a positive difference in the world. In other words, as Christians cooperate with God’s mission to transform lives, they make a direct impact on their culture, communities, businesses, and schools. That’s the essence of leadership – being a positive influence on the world around you.

If you don’t know Jesus personally, ask him to “run your renovation” and change your life. If you know him, step into leadership, become a renovator, and join his initiative to transform people, one life at a time.

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Why “The Discipled Leader”?

January 2, 2018

Do you want to grow closer to Jesus, become an extraordinary Christian and make a positive difference in today’s culture? Do you want to grow from being a Decider (point of commitment to Christ) to a Disciple (following Christ)? If so, The Discipled Leader is for you!

Our culture desperately needs authentic Christians whose relationship with Jesus is growing and can make a difference for others. We also need transformational leaders willing and able to change the culture through God’s power. However, the challenge is that most Christians lead unfulfilling, ineffective and ordinary lives. They haven’t been taught Christian fundamental disciplines such as how to pray, how to read the Bible, or how to share their faith. They don’t know how to resist temptation or how to live joy-filled, victorious lives. This is why discipleship is so important.

What is Discipleship?  With the inner workings of the Holy Spirit and partnership with a mature believer, discipleship is the developmental process of becoming more like Christ and being equipped to live an extraordinary Christian life. It is hard work, but like famed leadership author John C. Maxwell says, “Everything worthwhile is uphill.”

We are doing a grave disservice to believers by not teaching them the foundational tenets of Christianity and helping them grow closer to Jesus. We’ve extracted the gospel, theology, and practical spiritual application from our Sunday morning services and Bible studies, leaving people with an impotent “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.” Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote:

“Moralistic Therapeutic Deism teaches a moralistic approach to life. It teaches that central to living a good and happy life is being a good, moral person. That means being nice, kind, pleasant, respectful, responsible, at work on self-improvement, taking care of one’s health, and doing one’s best to be successful. . .. This is not a religion of repentance from sin, of building character through suffering or basking in God’s love and grace. Rather, what appears to be the actual dominant U.S. religion is centrally about feeling good, happy, secure, at peace. . .. God is something like a combination of a Divine Butler and a Cosmic Therapist: he is always on call, takes care of any problems that arise, professionally helps his people to feel better about themselves, and does not become too personally involved in the process.”[i]

We must no longer accept this twisted version of Christianity that is so prevalent in today’s culture! As Christians, we must stand up for this and future generations so that they know the truth, experience true Christianity through walking with Jesus. We need to furnish them with sound theology and foundational teachings on Christian disciplines such as prayer, reading the Bible, and resisting temptation. If we do this and move believers to building daily habits, we will help Christians experience the power of being connected to Jesus, growing in their faith, and living victorious lives. If we don’t, we’ll sink into average, ordinary lives and be only one generation away from total abandonment of authentic Christianity.

Another reason I’m engaged in this journey is because we need leaders. We need Discipled Leaders—Christians who follow Jesus Christ and transform the culture through God’s power. I see as my mission to develop future leaders who make a difference in their families, churches, businesses, and communities. These leaders need to be walking closely with God, listening to him, waiting for him, and then moving when he prompts them. If they do this, they will help shape and change the world.

Lastly, I’ll share my thoughts on the intersection of faith and leadership on a routine basis.  Why?  My worldview compels me to move beyond my own self-interests and the interests of my immediate constituency and sphere of influence. As such, I see the broader implications for your community and the world.  It’s my calling to communicate these insights to others.

Preston Poore

[i] http://www.christianpost.com/news/moralistic-therapeutic-deism-the-new-american-religion-6266/print.html.

 

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Preston Poore

I’m a disciple of Christ and an executive at a Fortune 500 Company. In my blog, The Discipled Leader, I draw on my diverse business experience to help Christians connect their secular and spiritual lives at work.

As a certified coach, speaker, and trainer with the John Maxwell Team, I help others grow their relationship with Christ, develop their leadership skills, and understand how they can make a positive difference in today’s chaotic world.

Let me help you reach your potential.

I draw on my diverse business experience to help Christians connect their secular and spiritual lives at work. I invite you to subscribe to my blog and learn how to develop Christlike character, influence your culture and change your world.

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