The Beauty of Foot Washing

images-1Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:14-15

What is footwashing and why should you experience it? This practice is an increasingly lost art on much of Christendom. It is the simple act of kneeling before someone and doing as the name implies and Jesus modeled, washing their feet. It is most often ceremonial (minus actual soap and scrubbing) yet the simple process of holding and “washing” in a bowl and drying with a towel is observed.

Consider 4 reasons you, your family, lead team and/or a small group should experience this ancient act…

No1 – It’s humbling. Obviously. It’s the work of a servant. But what you may discover is not simply how humbling it is to wash someone’s feet, but also to have someone wash yours. From someone you love and respect to someone you may have never met, there is a deeper work of the heart involved in this sacred act.

No2 – It lends perspective. Beyond humility, the vulnerability of the act itself is revealing. Is there hidden pride in my heart? Where do I see myself in relation to the Lord and others? Jesus’ question in John’s memory probes deeper still, “Do you understand what I have done for you?”

No3 – It’s an act of worship. The penitent posture it requires positions not only our bodies, but our souls aright before the Lord. The fragrance of such an act wafts its way before the throne of God with a sweetness that pleases the Master. He is the Savior who stooped low that we might stand before the Father. We have perhaps never been as close to God than when bowed to wash the feet of another.

No4 – Jesus said so. Okay, it’s debatable for some theologians whether he meant for us to practice this as literally as an ordinance or metaphorically as we serve others daily. Then again, maybe it’s both? It has the same credentials as the other more accepted ordinances (Baptism and Communion). Jesus modeled it, asked it of us, and the early church practiced it. Shouldn’t this be enough to encourage us to follow His lead?

Maybe this practice is not only new, but scary for you? Take the opportunity to just observe at first. Then, take the risk. Grab a towel, bend your knee and join Jesus in this timeless and sacred moment.

What about the experience of footwashing has been profound to you? How has it impacted you, your family or lead team? Share your thoughts in the Reply section below…

9 Words for Every Leader

images-5Words are power. We underestimate the impact of our words as people and doubly-so as leaders of people. Here are 9 Words that all leaders must speak (and know when to speak them)…

1) A Word of Fact. Leaders aren’t blind to the realities of life, the health of their family or team, or the state of their organizations.

2) A Word of Faith. You’ve gotta believe. And, you’ve got to help others believe as you see and say what others can’t or simply won’t.

3) A Word of Encouragement. Encouragement fuels momentum and serves as a magnet to your organization. More importantly, it builds people up in a world that tears them down.

4) A Word of Silence. Great leaders know when not to speak and let the moment speak for itself.

5) A Word of Correction. This one can be tough. However, not as tough as dealing with the fallout from not calling out lacks of character, lapses in judgment, or bad attitudes.

6) A Word of Hope. “Hope is a powerful thing. Maybe the best of things.” (Shawshank Redemption) Move people beyond their despair by speaking words that say, “This isn’t over. You aren’t alone. Better days are coming. You can do this. I believe in you!”

7) A Word of Warning. Like any good parent we must be willing to lead others away from danger… dangerous thinking, attitudes, distractions, directions, relationships or habits.

8) A Word of Confession. Leaders aren’t perfect. When we have fallen short it is vital that we don’t use our position to give ourselves a pass. We should admit it, process it with those involved, and learn from it together going forward.

9) A Word of Love. Leaders are lovers… lovers of God and of people. They love these more than any other measures of success.

What word would you add? Leave your word in the Reply section below…

Millennial Advice

images-4I recently asked a member of the millennial generation to give me some honest feedback and advice on speaking. Specifically, on a recent message I had preached. Not just any millennial, this is my favorite millennial… my son, Andrew. While he doesn’t pretend to speak for all in his generation, he does bring with him a perspective gathered from his diverse background (from the Bluegrass of Kentucky to the eclectic universe of So Cal) and experience (student, guitarist, academic advisor, worship leader, student ministries pastor, foreign missions and world travel)…

Here were his top three critiques and action points…

1 – Cut down on (or just cut out) alliterations. In other words, don’t use wordplay and/or other “gimmicky” sounding techniques. Trust the audience and the Holy Spirit to connect on and remember what only they know they need to.

2 – Ask questions. Don’t just dispense insight. Use the power of questions to prompt people to dig deeper for themselves, question the obvious and apply truth for living in the real world. Don’t assume or “add” to the text (Scripture or other sources) what isn’t there. Do follow Jesus’ example and ask better questions.

3 – Less is more. Not in depth, mind you… in length. There is nothing wrong with speaking over 20-30 minutes. However, you better make sure your content is valuable and speaking practically into the lives of your target audience. Especially when it comes to young people, they simply don’t and won’t have time to waste on anything else.

Admittedly, part of me said, “Ouch!” The rest of me is grateful to have someone speak into my life so that I can be better at sharing the most important information ever communicated to humanity, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Communicating well is a class that is always in session. Thanks, Andrew, for schooling me with a fresh perspective on the art of speaking.