It’s Not About Being Right. It’s About Being Love.

scales copyOne beauty of the Christian faith is the ability to know, and have complete assurance in what you believe. We are able to have peace that passes all understanding, resting on the knowledge that Christ has in fact interceded for us. Unfortunately, this confidence can turn into arrogance, and we become more focused on being right, than on being love. 

I think we all can think of examples of this in our culture today, both personally and in the media spotlight. We see well meaning professing Christians one hundred percent correct in what they say, but completely fail in how they say it. Why? Because they aren’t speaking the truth in love. I struggle with this immensely, so thought I would share what I have learned regarding this topic.

It is without doubt we are to speak truth in love, scripture tells us this in Ephesians. That isn’t to say we are to be spineless loving people either though, because we are also commanded to be as gentle as doves, but wise as serpents. We are definitely called to stand for what is truth and proclaim it as such, but it has to be done in a loving manner.

Few things drive a person away from another more quickly than arrogance. If we are perceived to be arrogant, we will be as it is described in 1 corinthians 13.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

Have you heard a child clanging cymbals? If you haven’t, consider yourself fortunate. ;) There are few noises more loud and annoying which can come from metal than brass cymbals clanging together over and over with no purpose or beat. Paul’s comparison to speech without love is incredibly apt. The only thing one wishes todo when those cymbals are clanging is to leave the room as fast as possible. This isn’t a way which a biblical, nor beneficial message  for Christ.

So what does speaking in love look like?

Believe it or not, we have examples set by Christ and even a list given by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

If we look at all of these items mentioned, and draw out the prevailing theme, I think it can be summed up into the following. Love communicated correctly, does not turn people to self, or you, but to Christ (the truth mentioned in the passage). It is difficult, but worth pursuing. There is nothing wrong with clearly stating truth bluntly or gently, the wrongness comes when either of those extremes are done out of being right, rather than being love.

What say you? Have an example of where you have seen or done either? Be sure to let me know below! :)

Advertisements

Movie Review: Frozen

frozen_elsa-wide

Having superpowers is usually a pretty cool thing. But not for Princess Elsa. While she has the ability to manipulate and create ice of her own accord, ever since she hurt her sister, Anna, on accident… She fears using her powers ever again. So she hides in her room. Away from society, her friends, and even her sister. Consumed by fear, day in day out. She lives like this until she turns 18, and it is time for her coronation. She has to hide her powers, and does so successfully through the entire ceremony. Until that is, Anna springs a surprise engagement on her, to which she reacts with fear, meaning ice.

Sorcery is cried, and Elsa flees the city. She builds herself a home of ice, and in doing so casts eternal winter on the land. Anna decides that it is up to her to bring her sister back and make things right. But without true love, that task will be impossible.

Things I Liked

Frozen is all all about searching for what true love is. Amazingly, the makers of this movie didn’t miss the mark by much. In fact, as close as they could come without introducing scriptures. We see Anna make huge sacrifices to help and redeem her sister. We see love as an action- not a feeling, and when “feely” love is shown, is it frown upon and shown to have consequences. Additionally, we see perfect love casting out fear. Just like talked about in scripture, ultimately changing everyone for the better.

Early in the film, A troll talks about Anna’s injury as a child. “Luckily she only hit her head. The mind is easily changed, the heart not so.” We see the mind of Anna chained throughout the movie as to what she should do, but her heart in loving her sister remains pure to the end. Likewise, we see characters who’s hearts are hardened, and don’t change. This was an interesting theme brought into the film, and one I appreciated watching.

The animation, per usual in a Disney movie, is something to behold. The animation of the ice and characters is realistic, yet still charming cartoonish. As always, Disney dazzles us with the best animation and production in the industry. It also brings a few laughs to the screen in a mostly clean fashion.

Things I Didn’t Like

The prevailing themes of Frozen are by far some of the best in any disney film ever produced, and I don’t say that lightly. Unfortunately, while the main theme is great, Disney tries to slip in many subliminal messages that are rather unwholesome.

For instance, the parents of Elsa make the decision to keep her isolated in her room. This is shown to have incredibly negative effects on Elsa. In truth, after this, Elsa is shown to be justified in whatever she does- no matter how bad. When she runs away from the city, she isn’t sad about leaving, rather joyful in not having to worry about anyone anymore, and just focus on her pleasure. It is only through the love of Anna does she eventually change.

The main antagonist in the movie is a merchant from a place the characters pronounce “Weaseltown”. He is greedy, shrewd, and most unpleasant. All he talks about is profits, business, and money. This clear denouncement of business irked me immensely, especially contrasting how the state was made to look better than the merchant by giving away stuff to the common people. I may be oversensitive, but knowing the stance of disney on many political issues, this was a clear subtle advancement of the welfare state, and rejection of business.

There is some innuendo and “wink wink” jokes made in this film. Anna falls for two men in this movie. One meeting winds up with them getting tangled up in a boat on accident, a statement is made that it is important to know your man’s shoe size, and some kisses are made.

Crude humor is also more prevalent than usual.  Olaf refers to his butt quite consistently to pull a few laughs from the younger kids. He also talks about yellow snow, we learn Kristoff prefers to “go” in bushes, to which Anna says “I didn’t need to know that.” Nope, we didn’t either. A troll holds up and talks about a stone he recently passed. Candy, of course. Booger, gas, Body odor,  and saliva jokes are made as well.

Other things to be aware of

Olaf, Anna, and Kristof tumble through the snow quite a bit. Chased by snow monsters… wolves… snow slides… they always wind up in a drift unharmed. Elsa also attacks some men with ice when they threaten her life. One person begins to freeze from the inside out, and the process looks immensely painful. There is a ship that is destroyed at sea, we see people on it die. Just want to let you all know these scenes can be frightening for younger viewers.

Magic in this movie is not made to come from anywhere in particular. Elsa was born with the powers, and that’s all that is said about them. Likewise, the Trolls are shown to just “have” the power, not deriving it from any particular place. It is shown to be a natural part of the world, not as witchcraft or manipulated sorcery.

Closing Thoughts

Anna: “I don’t even know what true love is,”
Olaf: “I do! That’s when you put someone else’s needs before your own.”

If there is one topic Disney has been pushing for decades, that is love. Love is truly what make the world go round and lives worthwhile. At last it seems, Disney has figured out that love is action, not feeling. We see this, in Frozen. It is spelled out plain as day and will be completely understood by kids of all ages. We see this conveyed through a charming, albeit predictable plot, that delivers a standard happy ending Disney finish. Nothing truly different, save for their 180 degree message changed from “love is what you feel” to “Love is what you do.”

Speaking of messages though, the prevailing theme of sacrificial love is just about the only one worth commending. A master storyteller, Disney has woven in themes which are subliminal as best, but completely flawed as a whole. The reaction of parents to the powers, closing her up in a room- showing again how parents ruin lives…. The degradation of the image of business through a greedy merchant, while seeing the state hand out free food and items as a hero… The complete and absolute justification of whatever Elsa does- good or bad…. The crude humor (growing more and more prevalent in Disney films) and innuendo only adults will get…. All these things add up.

I was trying to figure out after I left the theater why, with such a great and biblical main message, I was hesitant to embrace the film and recommend it. Something rubbed me the wrong way, and after a few days of pondering, I think I figured it out. While Frozen is an excellent film on true biblical sacrificial love, they weave into the story so many negative minimal messages, that the main item in question is tarnished. Disney is preaching many things in this movie- both good and bad, which is something definitely to be aware of.

In short, Frozen is an exciting, memorable, and predictable  romp through an eternal winter with a message on Love I believe we all can rally around as Christians. However, with the added amount of snowballing negative themes, while not enough to give Frozen the cold shoulder, is something we definitely should dress against and *ahem* s’now joke.

How to Save any Webpage into a PDF in 60 seconds.

Hey all,

I’ve discovered an incredibly easy way to save any webpage into a PDF without any extra apps, add-ons, etc. I’m sure others have figured this out, but will share it with y’all in case you didn’t know. You will need a Mac OS for this saving option. If you have windows, I’m sorry, but I can’t help you. On multiple levels. ;)

Anyway, let’s begin.

#1 Find a page you want to save.

I find this tip especially helpful when I am looking up tutorials and want to save the file to my computer, and don’t want to print it. For instance, check out this cool LED cube tutorial.

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 9.59.20 AM

Yep, that’s neat, but I won’t be online all the time to reference it… So I’m going to save a pdf so I can read and use it without going through a bucket load of printer ink. Here’s how.

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 9.59.43 AM

 

Press CMND+P like you would to print the page. However, see that little pdf pull down on the left corner? Choose that and click “Open PDF in Preview” This will extract the page into a pdf. and then open it in a preview window!

Then, all you have to do is rename the file, save, and viola! A clean PDF of the webpage of your choice.

Hope this was helpful for you all. :)

20 Tips | How to Present Yourself, for Guys and Gals

Hilarious, yet ironically truthful lists we all should ponder upon. In short. LOL.

Solitaire for Two

Having perused my recent posting history, I noticed a lot of weight. And, since there is always room for ice cream next to the steak, here are the next two lists of twenty I promised;

20 Tips for Guys

1) Axe is not deodorant.
2) Axe does not attract females.
3) Your hair does not look cooler if you use Axe products.
4) Axe literally and figuratively Stinks.
5) Pants have two measurements; a waistline, and an inseam. The waistline on a pair of jeans is the roundish part at the top. Generally that goes on your waist, not your thighs. Otherwise it would be called a thighline. And it’s not.
6) Holes in your jeans communicate two things to the world; you don’t take care of your clothes and you are too lazy or poor to fix them. They do not make you look cool. Because if we thought…

View original post 907 more words

Sorry, but I’m not Sorry

Sorry-Im-Not-Sorry-Themeside

There are two great phrases in our society that in someway, as supposed to relieve us of all responsibility of what we just said. “Just Saying” and “I’m Sorry but…” While the first I’ve yet to understand the purpose, even though I use it myself, it has become apparent to me that “I’m sorry but…” is just not sincere anymore.

I’m sure you’ve seen the posts, and heard statements. “I’m sorry, but I just had to post this song even though it may not be the best to listen to.” “I’m sorry  for all the pics, but there are so many good ones!” Or how about in speech, “I’m sorry I ate yours, but it was good!” I’m sure we could make the example list a mile long, but I am assuming you are getting the idea. ;)

I do this just as much as anyone today, so don’t think I’m proceeding on a pretense of having my speech perfect. No, I’m sharing observations today on a habit I think worthy of removing from communication with others. What does it truly mean to be sorry? According to Webster, it is to “feel sorrow, regret, or penitence.” Now, to be clear, being sorry is not the same of being repentant.

You can be sorry all day long, but never improve or change. Therin lies the problem.

If we were truly sorry about something, truly felt sorrow saying something, I’d venture to say we would in fact not say it at all. However. We aren’t really upset or sad, we just want to keep ourselves out of trouble, so we use a word associated with regret, even though we don’t mean it. We have, in one sense, so corrupted this word, the contextual meaning has been lost. Sorry used to convey a genuine apology. It meant “I apologize for the offense against you.”, but not anymore. Honestly though, the true problem does not lie in the changed meaning of a word, but rather, something more serious.

The problem, lies at the heart of repentance. 

Based on reading of  scripture, I have found that repentance does not come of its own accord. It comes with a two fold heart that is truly sorry for the actions it commits, and the spirit working through the person to  feel that sorrow and then change their actions for the better. This can also be called the process of “Sanctification”. In the world, true repentance is nonexistent. Is it any wonder then that the basic premiss of the start of repentance has also been corrupted? In the words of Paul, Certainly not.

The solution, lies at the heart of repentance.

As always, the heart is the origin of all problems and solutions. So how does this apply to Christians today, who are apart from the world in this matter? For one, perhaps a reevaluation of what sorriness, apologies, and repentance is should be in order. This is the easy part frankly, as scripture is clear on what this is. Often though, I forget or need to be reminded of what it says, so that evaluation is always important.

Words are important, and how we use them determines whether we are communicating for Christ, or for the world. This is  just one phrase of many which I believe can be changed to the better, an remade into a statement of credibility, not irresponsibility.

Will you join me? Or do you have a different opinion? Be sure to let me know down below! :)

Movie Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The-Hobbit-Desolation-of-Smaug-Poster

When we left our Dwarvish company last movie, they had just escaped a near death battle with the Orc of Azog. Next of their quest, they have to go through the dark and sick trail of kirkwood forest. A journey most dangerous filled with Spiders, wood elves, and the orcs from which they are always fleeing. Incredibly they make it through together but not without injury. They keep on though, thanks to the handy work of their burglar Bilbo Baggins.

They continue past Laketown, and finally arrive at the secret door- revealed only on Durin’s Day. Bilbo again, finds the way in, and is sent to fetch the Arkenstone from the lair of the dragon. He is given one warning- Do not wake it, for if you do, desolation shall come upon us all.

Things I Liked

One of my favorite parts in the film, was actually an addition from the original story. Gandalf goes to the ruins where the evil has been spawning. As a wizard, his task given by the highest good being, Eru, is to stop this evil. As he goes into the ruins, he instantly sees a spell of illusion has been cast. And instantly removes the evil, by commanding it to. To see such a clear message of how supernatural good has complete power over the evil was a great thing to behold. Gandalf also had to choose his duty over going with his dwarfish friends. We saw him torn, but ultimately choose to do what he was sent to do.

We see many people in the movie act in commendable ways. Beorn, the skinshifter, doesn’t like dwarves- but doesn’t like Orcs more. Because of this, his displays generosity and provides the dwarves food and transportation to aid them in their quest. Bard also, takes the dwarves in and protects them from the lake town laws. He then cares for one which is injured.

Bilbo’s courage is astounding to see, and we see him change from a sniveling pitiful person, to one no longer afraid to look evil in the face and try to conquer it. He submits to Thorin’s authority, but saves the skin of the dwarves several times. He is also battling with the evil of the ring he found in the tunnels. Giving into it, but then afterwards, realizing the power that it has.

Dwarves don’t have many strong suits, but they do have two commendable ones: Loyalty and Honor.  We see the dwarves work together in ways of battle, transportation, and love for each other. They would never betray one another, even though they scuffle and bicker quite often. When one dwarf has to be left behind on account of an injury, the pain felt in leaving the group is evident in ways more than just not going on an adventure.

The Arkenstone has been said to poison the mind with greed and lust for more. We see Thorin begin to give into this, and this greed is warned against by past example, and how it affects your interaction with others. Nothing good comes from love of jewels and treasure, that much is clear.

I’m sure we all had a picture of Smaug in our mind as kids. A terrible beast who’s size was not to be matched. Well, take comfort in the fact that Smaug is shown everything you dreamed him to be and more. A terrible beast cunning, ruthless, and beautiful. The voice, movements, and actions are incredibly close to perfect. Perhaps the best things of the movie artist wise, is the creation of Smaug.

Things I Didn’t Like

I didn’t like it in the book, and I didn’t like it here. The Spider scene creeps me out, I’m not going to lie. Giant arachnids pounce on and hang all the dwarves up for snacks. Bilbo manages to get free, and some Spider vs. Dwarf mayhem ensues. The scene is no so much terrible in terms of the death of the spiders, but rather how frightening the spiders are. There are some well placed “Gotcha” moments, which will make you jump quite a bit.

While the Dwarvish death toll is nonexistent, we see hundreds of orcs dispatched by the elves and orcs. Orcs have no souls, no goodness, no chance at redemption- so their deaths did not bother me- as one may argue they are not even “alive” at all. Rather, they are robotic monsters created by the darkness to do one thing- kill. What did bother me, again, was the gruesomeness of the creatures and dwelling upon gory butcherings. It was hyped to a level which felt sensationalized and irrational. Unlike in the original LOTR where the focus was not on the battles, but rather, how people behaved in them. This movie seems to focus on “How many ways can we kill an Orc?”. It was unnecessary to the extreme they made it in my opinion.

Thorin curses at the elf and tells him he can go <insert dwarvish word> himself. We also hear him murmur a curse at the sight of burned and mummified dwarves.

Perhaps my biggest gripe about the changes done in The Hobbit, is bringing Legolas into the film, and introducing a love interest- Tauriel, Legolas, and Kili love triangle. What is implied is hard to figure out exactly. What I do know, is this is pure hollywood “love” addition, with a bit of fan-girl Legolas addition to grab some more viewers. They don’t even add to the plot in any way. They just kill orcs mainly. Tauriel does save the life of a dwarf the same way Frodo was saved from a morgul blade. Other than that… not much.

Other Things To Be Aware Of

Be aware, this tale is not the tale which you and I read from Mr. J.R.R. Tolkien. It contains the same characters, but rarely follows the original story as to how exactly things happen. It would take an incredibly long amount of time to list them all, so I will focus on just a few. To be honest, I enjoyed the deviations. Why? Because while the journey changed, the personality of the characters were the same. The humble courage of Bilbo is not lost. The passion of Thorin is unchanged.

That being said, the continued development of the Orc Azog and the necromancer, the introduction and fleeing of the wood elves, the introduction to Beorn, the arriving at lake town, Ragadast and Gandalf’s fight against the evil,  and even the confrontation with the dragon are all changed from the original. I imagine this movie to be the Hobbit after Tolkien completed the Silmarillion. With explanations as to why and what many things are.

Closing Thoughts

Where does your journey end? You seek that which would bestow upon you the right to rule. A quest to reclaim a homeland, and slay a dragon!

The second of the Three part Hobbit Trilogy, Desolation of Smaug brings the likes of which we have never seen in the classic tale. This is not purist in any form of the book. So don’t go expecting as such. This story has been taken by Peter Jackson, and he put his touch on it. In every way imaginable.

Ultimately whether you agree or disagree with this, comes from how much of a purist you are and what kind of adaptations you enjoy. This one strays from the story, but the characters are the same in the book. We all know the book was better, but frankly folks, this isn’t the book. Oh sure, it has the same people acting according to their created personalities by Tolkien… But the story is so different it is like an alternate reality. I for one, enjoyed it.

Story changes aside, this movie captures everything Lord of The Rings has come to represent. The clash between good and evil is exposed. The good overcomes where it is given power, and we know what eventually happens to those evil beings. We find the dwarves growing in camaraderie, but also becoming susceptible to the greed of the mountain. We see them struggle against this, so that they may indeed defeat the Dragon below.

And then we have Bilbo. The hobbit who faces a legion of spiders, frees the hobbits from elvish prison, and speaks to the dragon face to face. He grows immensely into a person who is no longer afraid of evil.

And that’s what, ultimately, The Hobbit is about. A quest to destroy evil. While not yet completed, Dwarvish steps have been taken, with error and flaw just like the rest of us, to rid the world of that evil. So while the way they get to that end is in no way matching of the original book, the messages are the same, and expounded upon in a method which in some ways, is more potent than the original book can claim. The book is better, no doubt- but when is it isn’t? By expounding on the original masterpiece of Tolkien, Peter Jackson has created a masterpiece himself. A masterpiece full of what we expect, and a healthy serving of changed in the mix, without straying form the main course.

The Art of Temptation- By Mr. Screwtape

screwtape-letters-chattanooga

I had the profound pleasure of recently attending a dramatic performance of C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters”. I went with a group from my church, and the play was presented by the Fellowship for the Performing Arts. To say the performance was memorable, would be an understatement.

For those unfamiliar with the plot, Screwtape has a recently graduated nephew, wormwood, who has a brand new “patient” to tempt and twist. Screwtape tries to help wormwood in writing various letters about how human souls may be properly tempted. In a witty, sarcastic, and delusional presentation, Screwtape offers us a fascinating look at the Art of Temptation from a unique perspective.

While C.S. Lewis’ book is excellent, watching a live performance of the novel brought a new light to just how marvelous the work is. There is only a certain amount of emotion my imagination can bring forth, so experiencing the work through sight and sound was like seeing the story for the first time!

While it is a 90 minute monologue, we are given breaks by Screwtape’s grossly repulsive secretary- Toadstool. This lower demon mimes many descriptions Screwtape gives his nephew. It provides a nice visual break from screwtape’s ravings, and also gives a bit of comedic relief.

In the end, you definitely should check out any performance of this play if it is near you. It packs all the convicting thoughts of the original book, and brings it to new life with a compelling narrative. You’ll never think about temptation the same way again. 

Why the Christian Film Industry Will Fail

58184-300x300-Christianfilm I’ve seen my share of Christian Movies. Movies that extrapolate a message to proclaim the message of the Gospel. Most of them have been painfully bad. So bad most of it was spent cringing on the bad script writing, or yawning at the predicable plot.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to love watching films proclaiming a Christian message. And there are a few commendable ones which do this. Amazing Grace, Courageous, and The Penny to name a few.

For awhile now, I’ve been convinced the Christian film industry will eventually fail if it continues in its path. Or at least, never thrive and make the impact it could. Why? I’m so glad you asked. Let’s look into that, shall we?

Think about the most famous films of all time.

What comes to mind? Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Moses, or maybe even It’s a Wonderful life? What makes these films meaningful, memorable, or so popular? They are uncommon stories, with memorable messages, told in exceptional ways. Over the years, hollywood has mastered the art and practice of telling stories. They have decades of failures to learn from, and successes to draw upon. This makes them a giant in the industry of movies no one else has yet to trump.

Even moreso however, is hollywood’s mastery of pushing subliminal messages and beliefs into our American culture today. Situational ethics, dressing a certain way, relative morality, and political views… All these things can be found woven into a plot that has nothing to do with the aforementioned topics. Again, they have had years of practice, and influence people when the viewers have no idea they are being influenced.

And that my friends, why- if the Christian film industry continues on the same path- will fail.

See, Christianity has some of the most powerful messages known to mankind- unconditional love, undeserved grace, absolute forgiveness… the list goes on. What they haven’t mastered yet, is the art of telling a story with that message in an exceptional way. We are shown a very predictable story with lightheartedness (and a few tear jerkers) all obnoxiously pointing to Christ. When one finishes with these films, they feel like their face has just been scrubbed with Jesus.

Now, I will say I do enjoy movies with a blatantly Jesus message like any other, but that is only because I trust Him as my savior. Put the movie in front of a lost viewer, and he is going to reject it immediately. Why? Because moves are made to entertain and influence an individual- not through preaching- but through example and showing. We see that Christ actually did the same thing with parables. He spoke not directly of himself, but rather of what people did. Then, at the end, whoever was left, he shared clearly what he meant.

If Christians truly are making movies to influence the world, then they need to start telling those stories we see in a wiser form. Not conforming to the worldly content, but most definitely learning from the method a movie is made. Hollywood has it figured out, why not use their experience to tell better stories that have meaning?

Think about the potential of a “Good” Christian Film.

Picture a film that has a scriptural message, a godly story, and a testimony for Christ taking millions in the box office. Trumping the latest 500 million dollar budgeted Sci-Fi release. Trumping the latest not really funny comedy. Trumping everything Hollywood spits out to bring in the big bucks.

Impossible you say? I say it isn’t, but not with the method being used- and that’s why I say in the beginning “Why the Christian film industry will fail.” The commonly accepted low standards, the pitiful writing, and the predictable story is going to keep the film industry where it is at right now. But there is so much potential for growth and influence it astounds me. I’ve begun to see some change happening in this industry.

Isaac Lee, for one has caught my eye. He is a Christian filmmaker who gets it. He knows what Hollywood does, and mimics their style to communicate powerful messages. Sherwood pictures, has begun to seriously address darkness in life, not just focus on happiness and little trials. There is a slow tide turning, and it makes me excited for what might come next.

As a closing, there is no rally cry, no “spend your money on Christian films only”, no step by step solution. All I can suggest is like everything else in life- prayer. Prayer that good stories would be told well for the purpose of influencing others. If we can master this one task, the amount of influence and exposure to the life of the gospel will expand crazy fast. The industry won’t fail, it will thrive.

Then one day, some day, we will see the greatest voice of sinful living overshadowed by an industry proclaiming morality based on the gospel. That’s a day worth imagining and hoping for. That will be a day not of failure, but of success. And it all starts with telling a good story.

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
~Mathew 10:16~

Leadership is… Influence

13764448-influence-concept-in-word-tag-cloud-on-white-background
Source: 123rf.com

Influence.

Leadership is many things. There have been book upon books written to define this one word. There are hundreds of conferences each year to talk about this subject. And the cool thing is, leadership is an aspect which will never be completely understood. In the job in which I work I have the opportunity to learn not only what leadership is- but also put into the practice what I am learning. This has inspired a new continuing mini-series of posts I’m calling “Leadership Is”. Not long, complicated, or drawn out- just short thoughts on specific styles which may help you in your leadership as well.

So why start with Influence?

Simply put, understanding Influence is the foundation upon which all other aspects of leadership are based. To influence someone is to affect someone’s development, performance, or actions by example. People are influential by nature. In fact, when you are around and interact with anyone, you influence them. This fact has led me to the following conclusion.

Because everyone has influence, everyone is a leader.

When I say everyone, I mean everyone. The Janitor in the hall, the office geek in the cubicle, the farmer on the tractor, the sibling in the house… I could go one. Everyone influences everyone, and because of that, the basis of leadership is based on influence.

Now, what makes an effective leader, or an ineffective leader, is how we use this influence. Do we use it to build others up? Or tear others down? Do we use influence to teach beneficial habits, or to teach destructive habits? We all have an incredible God-given power of influence, how we lead with that, will determine the kind of leader we are.

What do you think? Do you have any stories where you remember having a good or bad influence? Maybe you were influenced were in a good way or bad way… I’d love to hear them! Just leave a comment below. :)