28:19–The Skills for Disciple-Making

A few years ago, I attended an international conference on “spiritual formation” – a fancy term for the transformation that takes place as we follow Jesus. About 900 pastors, missionaries and church workers were present at that conference.

One of the main speakers opened the floor for questions in the large-group setting. A seasoned pastor stood up and with a tremor in his voice confessed, “I’ve been a pastor for over 20 years. I was never discipled by anyone and I have no idea how to disciple others…” Then he sat down. His was a desperate plea for help. The murmur and nodding of heads that followed demonstrated how common his situation is.

Let me suggest that we’ve taken something profoundly simple (discipleship) and have so complicated it that many view discipleship as something only trained professionals do. We’ve forgotten that Jesus used a bunch of fishermen and other unlikely characters to “turn the world upside down” as they made disciples in the first century.

Discipleship has two aspects to it. One aspect involves our resolve to actively pursue Jesus Christ daily in an ever-deepening relationship with Him. And as we draw near to Him, He transforms us, making us more like Him.

The other aspect of discipleship flows out of our growing relationship with Christ. Namely, we model for others what it means to follow and live for Jesus. And through relationship with them we encourage and challenge them to pursue Christ as we do.

Eleven years ago, while serving with a church in Anchorage, Alaska, we launched an experience in which both of these aspects of discipleship could thrive. We now call this experience 28:19—The Skills for Disciple-Making.

Perhaps you recognize the 28:19 address as Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”

In the 28:19 Manual and its companion book, 28:19—The Skills for Disciple-Making, you will learn some very simple, biblical, relational skills for pursuing Jesus Christ and leading others into deeper relationship with Him. This isn’t a “study,” but a practical guide for following Jesus and showing others how to follow Him as well.

Here are some testimonials of people who are experiencing an ever-deepening relationship with Christ and the thrill of leading others into relationship with Him:

I first attended 28:19 just three weeks after receiving Christ and thank God for the experience all the time. Now, a year later, I’m taking 28:19 again with my wife and God is really using this in our lives. Just last week I was with a client. I unleashed a vision of God for this couple through my story and now they’re coming to church with me. I absolutely love it when God uses me like that and I’m able to use the skills I’ve learned in 28:19! – Ken Kenyon, General Contractor

28:19 is the purest, most relational discipleship tool I have ever encountered. Interacting with the resurrected Jesus, helping others to relate with our gracious God, and challenging others toward Christ is the essence of 28:19. These are tools that Rob has used for years and I have had the privilege of watching his life. – Brad Pesnell, Community Pastor, Valley Real Life

As I have applied the skills from 28:19, my interaction with God has moved from my head to my heart. The Lord has given me new hope and is sprouting growth in areas of my life that have been dark and hopeless for so long. – Lynda Bustamante, Accountant & Dental Hygienist 

Soon after my husband came to Christ, he attended 28:19. God has used this curriculum in powerful ways in my husband’s life. He’s constantly telling others about the Lord and has grown so quickly in his faith. When he comes home, he spreads God’s light to me and my son. Now, through 28:19, I’m experiencing God’s love and working in me in new and exciting ways! – Ginnette Kenyon, Home Maker

I came to Christ shortly before going through 28:19. I see God working in my life each week. Just this week I was in a unique position to offer a friend the use of my car when hers broke down. God’s Word has changed how I normally interact in my relationships and I’m using my blessings to glorify God. – Eric Brock, Heavy Equipment Operator

28:19 has inspired me to pursue Christ in every Moment of my life. I am developing a greater inner awareness of what discipleship is, as well as gaining valuable skills to share with everyone I come in contact with. – Thomas Bove, Business Owner

Discipleship is profoundly relational

28:19—The Skills for Disciple-Making is not something you experience by yourself! Engage with a large group, small group or simply with a spiritual partner to deepen your relationship with Christ and with each other. In this 13-week experience you’ll have the tremendous joy of helping others pursue Christ as you do!

Rob Fischer

You can order the 28:19 book and Manual here:

The book, 28:19—The Skills for Disciple-Making

front only for Dad's purposes

The 28:19 ManualFront 28.19 Manual

Climbing the Heights through Coaching

Call me crazy, but there are certain aspects of basic training in the Army that I really enjoyed! One of my favorites was the “Confidence Course.” The Confidence Course was the mother of all challenge courses without the safety devices (at least back then).

One of the elements (or structures) on the Confidence Course that I most vividly remember was called the Skyscraper and resembled a multi-story building. This structure consisted of four telephone poles planted vertically in the ground, their bases forming a square. Each pole stood about eight feet from the other. The four poles all angled outward, away from the center of the structure as they rose from the ground.

At increments of about nine feet, level platforms were suspended between the poles forming each “story.” Because the poles jutted outward, so did each successive story. This made jumping up to the next story impossible.

The rules of engagement were that we were not allowed to climb the poles, but had to ascend the Skyscraper simply by climbing from one level to the next. The challenge was that there was no way to accomplish the task by ourselves. Instead, we paired up with a buddy with whom we worked together to climb the Skyscraper. Working with another person the task was still difficult but doable.

Engaging the challenges of a career, relationships, a major transition, or some lofty goal can be far more complex and daunting than climbing the “Skyscraper.” But for some reason, we often think we have to go it alone. Somewhere along the line, we picked up the false notion that if we don’t achieve our goals alone, we’ve somehow failed.

Let me debunk that notion! International leadership guru, Bill Hybels, said, “I have never done a single thing of value without the assistance of others.”

I have to agree with Bill. And one of the best ways to engage the assistance of others to help achieve whatever challenge stands before us is to employ a coach. I’ve personally gained so much through working with a coach.

Perhaps you’ve never engaged a coach before, but I’ve piqued your interest. Let me offer you a free, no-obligation, 30-minute, kick-the-tires coaching session. You’ve nothing to lose and a lot to gain! Try coaching and see how you can maximize your leadership potential and stay on top of your game.

©2015 Rob Fischer, CPLC

Dare Mighty Things!

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt 

There’s something about that quote that stirs me to the core of my being! Who wants to “rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat”?

The problem is that people get stuck. Behavioral patterns for a day, soon become those for a week, and then a month, and then a year, and so forth. Suddenly, a person wakes up one morning realizing they’re no further along than they were 10, 20, or 30 years before.

That’s tragic!

The definition of insanity: “doing what we’ve always done, yet expecting different results” has become merely a cliché. We glibly acknowledge its truth, but don’t act on it.

Stop! No, really! We cannot continue doing the same things we’ve always done and expect different results!

But we’re afraid. We’re cautious. We’re careful. We reason that our hesitations are prudent and wise, only to discover that perhaps we too “rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

As we embark on 2015, perhaps you find yourself living too much “in a gray twilight.” What characterizes your life, your relationships, and your pursuits? Do you find that you “neither enjoy nor suffer much?”

If so, coaching may be just the leverage and impetus you need to dare some mighty thing. This is one of the things I love about coaching; it leaves no one in that “gray twilight,” but challenges, empowers and equips to “dare mighty things.”

How about it? Give coaching a try in 2015. Call, text or email me to get started meeting with your personal coach.

Rob Fischer

 

Clearing the Fog around Coaching

The term coaching is thrown around a lot these days, but with a wide variety of meanings. I’d like to generate a little wind to try to clear away the fog around coaching!

In order to look at coaching simply, let me suggest that there are three primary types of coaches: the skills coach, the mentor coach, and the professional coach. All three types of coaches are valid and helpful within the bounds of what they’re designed to do.

The Skills Coach

Sports coaches, personal trainers, voice coaches, and real estate coaches fall into this category. These coaches are generally trained in a specific skill in which an individual wishes to improve. The skills coach may or may not have had any training in coaching skills. Their singular expertise qualifies them as a coach. We can improve in any sport, or other highly skilled activity by engaging a skills coach.

Characteristics of skills coaching include:

  • Heavy instruction
  • Highly directive, coach-led
  • Narrow focus on a skill
  • The individual submits to the direction of their skills coach
  • Usually a formal arrangement

The skills coach says, “Do it like this…”

The Mentor Coach

Mentor coaches have generally built up years of experience and expertise in some field of work that qualifies them to coach. We find mentor coaches frequently in business in many different professions and disciplines. Mentor coaching is typically not a profession, but more of a service. Usually, a mentor coach is a veteran showing a junior person the ropes of their profession. A mentor coach may or may not have any training in coaching skills and requires no certification.

Characteristics of mentor coaching include:

  • Moderate instruction
  • Moderately to less directive, coach- and individual-led
  • Usually a targeted focus
  • The individual defers to the direction of their mentor coach
  • Can be either formal or informal arrangement

The mentor coach says, “Do what I have done…”

The Professional Coach

Professional coaches often refer to themselves as life coaches, executive coaches, leadership coaches and the like. These are professionals trained in the competencies of coaching and become certified when they demonstrate mastery of those competencies.[1] Professional coaches are unique among coaches in that their skills enable them to coach others proficiently in a wide variety of life and work issues.

Characteristics of professional coaching include:

  • Open-ended questioning
  • Non-directive, client-led
  • Focuses on the client’s agenda
  • The coach empowers the client to self-direct
  • Formal arrangement

The professional coach asks, “What would you like to achieve?”

The key difference between professional coaches and skills and mentor coaches, is that the professional coach prompts and empowers the individual to direct their coaching experience. This creates an entirely different experience for the individual.

With skills and mentor coaches, the individual is fairly dependent on them for direction and instruction. With a professional coach, the individual is challenged to delve into untapped personal resources.

Also, the skills and mentor coaches are usually interested only in what goes on in the individual’s life as it pertains to the skill or proficiency at hand. The professional coach is trained to uncover hidden obstacles to success in the client’s life.

For instance, a client may want to set and be held accountable for a lofty business goal. In the coaching process, the coach helps the client discover through questioning that there’s a rift in the client’s relationship with their spouse. The client realizes that this rift will undoubtedly impede the client’s progress toward their goal. So the coach assists the client in determining how to repair that relationship and meet their goal.

In this way, professional coaching is a holistic approach for empowering an individual to grow and develop in any area the individual desires.

I am excited to be among the ranks of certified coaches! I love coaching, because I enjoy helping people grow and excel at life.

My clients have included business owners, pastors, church planters, missionaries, entrepreneurs, and professionals in: real estate, engineering, finance, transportation, construction, property management, pharmaceuticals, sales, health care, information systems, telephony, and insurance.

How about you? What big goal would you like to set and hit? Where are you feeling stuck? What obstacles are you facing that are preventing you from reaching your goals? What transitions are you experiencing right now? What relationships would you like to significantly improve? Where are you in your walk with Jesus Christ? What’s tugging at your life that you’d like to change or improve?

Contact me. I offer a free, 30-minute, introductory coaching session with no strings attached. Try coaching out and see if it’s for you!

Rob Fischer



[1] The International Coach Federation has identified 11 core coaching competencies that a professional coach must be able to demonstrate in order to be certified. See: http://coachfederation.org/credential/landing.cfm?ItemNumber=2206&navItemNumber=576.

Get a Free Kindle Version of My Book, Fully Equipped!

Fully_Equipped_Cover_for_KindleGet a free Kindle version of my newest book, Fully Equipped—God’s Word, One of the Essentials for Survival! Fully Equipped is the first book in the Summit Leadership Series for Men.

For five days only from November 5-9, 2013, you can receive a free Kindle version of my book! On any one of those five days, simply click on the book icon above or go to Amazon.com to order your book. Please feel free to forward this offer to others before it expires.

When you get your free copy of Fully Equipped and have read it, would you please log back onto Amazon.com and write a short review for the book? Thanks! I hope you enjoy the book!

Rob Fischer

Excerpt from book:

Amos was a prophet whom God sent to the ten northern tribes of Israel. The people of Israel had spurned God’s Word and gone their own way. Time and time again God had pleaded with them to repent and turn from their wicked ways, but they wouldn’t listen. Finally, God gave them this message through the prophet Amos:

’The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign Lord, ‘when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.’ (Amos 8:11)

Men, there is a famine in our land and in the lives of many of us for the Word of God. This is a self-imposed famine—a spiritual anorexia—in which we refuse to consume a steady, nourishing diet of the Word of God. And we are slowly deteriorating.

Whereas God invites us to feast on His Word, we nibble on it. We take a bite here and there. But we rarely linger at the table with God’s Word to come away satisfied and full of God’s grace and goodness. But God invites us:

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. (Isaiah 55:1-2)

Remember, this offer is good for five days only from November 5-9, 2013!

Bold as a Lion!

Do you want to be bold in life and business?

There’s an interesting comparison in Proverbs 28:1, “The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” My understanding of Proverbs like this one is that they declare a general, observable maxim for life, but they also contain an indirect promise.

For instance, here is the practical maxim I see from this Proverb:

The person who conducts their life and business in a shady or deceptive manner (wickedly) will constantly be looking over their shoulder anticipating getting caught. The devious individual must constantly be on their guard, expecting their ways to catch up to them. They’ve wronged others and they know payback will come. They may pose as bold, but they’re cowardly and timid.

By contrast, the person who conducts their life and business with integrity and honesty (righteously) will be bold and forthright. The upright individual sleeps well with a clear conscience. They are bold, because they have nothing to fear. Also consider that a lion need not strut and roar to convince others of its boldness. Rather, others view the lion as bold because it’s a lion!

Clearly, the indirect promise in this Proverb is that there are great rewards for righteous living and righteous business practices—not the least of which is boldness.

Do you want to be bold in life and business? Live righteously!

If you know of a good example of this maxim, please comment.

©2013 Rob Fischer

Emotional Intelligence and the Follower of Christ

In prior posts we began investigating emotional intelligence (EI) in leaders. We noted that EI seems to impact the performance of an organization more than any other characteristic of the leader. Therefore, leaders want to improve their EI.

Daniel Goleman describes EI in terms of four major competencies: Self-awareness, Self-management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. We’ve looked briefly at all four of these competencies in recent posts.

What does all this mean for the follower of Christ? Is EI simply a feeble human approach to the change Christ wants to bring about in all of us? Perhaps, but let’s take a look at EI from a different perspective.

In a nutshell, EI involves skills for reading one’s self and others for the purpose of initiating and cultivating healthy relationships. This ability, as we’ve noted, is a key factor in being able to lead others well.

In view of the above, I’d like to make two observations. First, it would be natural and easy for a leader to be motivated by desire for EI in order to improve his/her leadership. In one sense, there’s nothing wrong with this desire. But there is a subtle danger in this motivation, for it focuses on self. But for EI to be genuine, it must be others-focused.

My point is that EI cannot be viewed merely as a means to an end (i.e., improved leadership). Rather, improved relationships are a lofty goal in and of themselves. Healthy relationships cannot be faked.

Second, for the follower of Christ, EI is the natural result of becoming more like Jesus. Read Ephesians 4:29-32 as an example of EI in action.

How does the follower of Christ improve EI? By abiding in, or remaining in Jesus (John 15:5). As we draw near to Him, we become more like Him. By simplifying our pursuit of EI, I don’t mean to write off all the research and the practical ways for initiating and building healthy relationships with others.

Like any area of personal growth for the follower of Christ, there is a dual, dependent-diligent aspect to it. On the one hand, we recognize our total dependence on Christ and His Spirit to bring about the change in us (make us more Christlike). And on the other hand, we are called to pursue Christ diligently to bring this about. We are not passive in our transformation!

To the leader who is a Christian and wants to improve his/her EI, follow Jesus! Become more like Him! Put into practice the attitudes, behaviors, and skills that make for healthy relationships.

How about you? What have you found works for initiating and cultivating healthy relationships and how are you doing in this arena right now?

©2013 Rob Fischer

Improving Relationship Management

In prior posts we began investigating emotional intelligence in leaders. We noted that emotional intelligence seems to impact the performance of an organization more than any other characteristic of the leader. Therefore, leaders who want to lead well seek to improve their emotional intelligence quotient.

Daniel Goleman describes emotional intelligence in terms of four major competencies: Self-awareness, Self-management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. In this post we’ll look at strategies for improving our relationship management.

Goleman suggests that relationship management involves actively seeking to cultivate healthy relationships with those around us through clear communication, trust, conflict resolution, warmth, kindness, and appropriate humor.[i] Let’s walk through Goleman’s definition of relationship management.

The overarching theme in relationship management is that we’re actively seeking to cultivate healthy relationships with others. Many years ago, my wife and I had been transferred to Texas by the company I worked for. For some reason, we were finding the transition more difficult than we had expected and building new relationships was one of our chief challenges.

During a particularly low time in our adjustment, we were on our way to go camping as a family. My wife and I had just been grousing in the car about how hard it was to connect with people. We arrived at our campsite and set up the tent trailer. As soon as the setup chores were complete, our eight-year-old son cheerfully announced to us, “Well, I’m going to go make a new friend!” And then he scampered off to the next campsite where he had spied another boy about his age.

My wife and I looked at each other and were smitten in our consciences! We realized that we were expecting a lot from others, but we hadn’t really applied ourselves to actively seek out and cultivate new relationships. That was a turning point for us in the nearly six years we spent in Texas. After this incident, we resolved to do so and were able to develop some wonderful relationships with a number of couples and single adults.

Going back to Goleman’s definition of relationship management, we recognize that we’re not merely looking for relationships, but we’re actively seeking and cultivating healthy ones. Healthy relationships are characterized by the other elements: clear communication, trust, conflict resolution, warmth, kindness, and appropriate humor.

What strikes me about these characteristics of healthy relationships is that they are others-centered. I love the simplicity of Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times.” The word friend clearly captures the essence of a healthy relationship even though we may not consider some of our business associates or acquaintances friends.

When we actively cultivate healthy relationships we will communicate with others clearly. This requires more listening than talking. And clear communication comes without pretense or deceit.

We also want to be trustworthy and seek to trust others—to do what’s right, to keep confidences, and to protect. Trust is like a savings account into which we want to continually make deposits, but avoid making withdrawals.

We resolve conflicts between each other, because we recognize that our relationship is more important than whatever else might come between us. In resolving conflict we forgive, because we know God has forgiven us and that we too are in need of being forgiven by others.

Expressing warmth, kindness, and appropriate humor makes deposits in our “trust” account with others and demonstrates that we value them and enjoy being with them.

Perhaps there’s someone in your life that is difficult to get along with. Jesus challenges us, “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:44-45 NLT) God loves us and He wants us to be like him and demonstrate his love toward others.

In the next and final article for this series on emotional intelligence, we’ll wrap up all four competencies and leave you with a challenge!

©2013 Rob Fischer



[i] Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, Primal Leadership: the Hidden Drive of Great Performance. Harvard Business Review, December, 2001.

Improving Social Awareness

In prior posts we began investigating emotional intelligence in leaders. We noted that emotional intelligence seems to impact the performance of an organization more than any other characteristic of the leader. Therefore, leaders who want to lead well seek to improve their emotional intelligence quotient.

Daniel Goleman describes emotional intelligence in terms of four major competencies: Self-awareness, Self-management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. In this post we’ll look at some ways we can improve our social awareness.

Social awareness has to do with accurately reading others’ emotions and demonstrating that we care by expressing empathy and sensitivity when we interact with them. We are also cognizant of the social atmosphere around us and adjust to influence others positively.

When I think of social awareness, two contrasting events from my past come to mind. The first event occurred while I was in my early 20’s. A small country church had hired me as their pastor. In that role, I went to visit a middle-aged couple whose only son had just drowned. His body was never found.

To my recollection, that was the first tragedy of this nature that I’d ever been a part of. Until then, I had been spared from experiencing the death of a loved one. I was very green and inexperienced.

When I visited this couple, I came professionally and offered a verse and a prayer. I hung around awkwardly for a while, but didn’t know what else to say, so I left. I was deeply saddened for them, but had no idea how to express that to them or enter into their sorrow with them.

About ten years later, I received a call early one morning. A lovely young woman in our church—just three months married—had been notified by the police that her husband had been killed in an auto accident on his way to work that morning. I was stunned. I knew and loved them both.

I dropped everything and went to see her. When I got there she and her mom were simply holding each other weeping. What could I say? I simply embraced them both and wept with them. At that moment there were no words of comfort.

After a few minutes of unbridled weeping, this young widow looked at me through her tears and said, “You really loved him too, didn’t you?”

When I think of those two incidents and the way I responded in each, I see two key elements to improving one’s social awareness: experience and genuine caring.

Experience does not mean simply growing older. Experience doesn’t merely come through lapse of time. Experience is what we make it.

If we stumble through daily experiences and interchanges with people like a bull in a china closet, we’ll have gained nothing from the experience. But if we enter into the experience with others and try to feel what they feel, hear what they hear, and see what they see our capacity for empathy will increase.

The other element, genuine caring for others, is a conscious decision. I’ve worked with and for leaders who merely see people for what they can get out of them, or what people can contribute to the organization. There is no caring there. To such a leader the person becomes a device, a resource among resources for attaining goals and increasing the bottom line.

People who work for leaders who don’t care about them, at best give the leader the minimum effort required; and at worst, seek to sabotage the efforts of the leader.

Such leaders who treat people impersonally as things often rationalize, “That’s just the way I am. And after all, I do get results!” What they fail to realize is that they are that way because they choose to be that way. They can change. Also, if they get results without social awareness, just think how successful they could be if they learned and applied social awareness!

The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. (Proverbs 15:28 ESV)

©2013 Rob Fischer

Improving Self-Management

In prior posts we began investigating emotional intelligence in leaders. We noted that emotional intelligence seems to impact the performance of an organization more than any other characteristic of the leader. Therefore, leaders want to improve their emotional intelligence.

Daniel Goleman describes emotional intelligence in terms of four major competencies: Self-awareness, Self-management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. In this post we’ll look at some ways we can improve our self-management.

Self-management is the application of what we know through self-awareness. Knowing how we impact others through our moods, words and actions, we now take control of those so that they work for us rather than against us.

In the area of self-management, there are two issues that appear to be among the most common and volatile: anger and the tongue.

A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. (Proverbs 29:22 ESV)

In the context of emotional intelligence, we’re talking about a competency that enables us to interact with people in a positive, productive, and engaging manner. As the above Proverb explains, a person prone to anger breeds strife and actually causes others to err. Anger generates anger. Anger creates trouble.

There are innumerable triggers for anger and everyone gets angry from time to time. But controlling our anger is much more than modifying our behavior. “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” (Proverbs 27:19 NIV) Anger is a heart condition that evidences itself in lashing out at others. What we do reflects who we are.

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32 ESV)

At our core, we all need a new heart—a changed heart—that only Jesus Christ can bring about. Sometimes Christ transforms us quickly and profoundly. Other times He allows us to struggle with a fault like anger to humble us and keep us trusting in Him. God also uses other people, especially a coach or counselor to help liberate us from anger.

We allow our circumstances, a harsh word, or other trigger to send us into an angry mood. As we catch ourselves, we need to ask ourselves why we’re responding in anger and refocus on loving and caring for people. Anger is fundamentally self-focused. We need to be others-focused.

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. (Proverbs 15:18 ESV)

Our tongue is also a frequent offender. Three primary pitfalls come to mind concerning the tongue: talking too much, its evil twin—listening too little, and lashing out. Mark Twain quipped, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”  Talking too much, too frequently, or without forethought will get us into trouble.

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. (Proverbs 10:19 NIV)

Too much talking or saying the wrong thing often stems from poor listening. Someone has said, “Listening is an act of caring.” Have you ever simply listened to a friend intently and had them thank you sincerely for helping them? That’s the power of listening.

Answering before listening is both stupid and rude. (Proverbs 18:13 MSG)

Finally, lashing out with our tongue through an unkind word can cause irreparable damage. Check out these Proverbs:

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1 NIV)

The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:4 NIV)

Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34 ESV) Again, what we desperately need is a new heart—one created in Christ to speak kindness, wisdom, and all that builds up. And as we continue to follow Jesus, we become more like Him. In essence, self-management really equates to being Spirit-led.

©2013 Rob Fischer