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How To Be An Asset, Not A Liability

Brody Holloway | Christian School Retreat

In today’s session, Brody discusses how you can be an asset, not a liability—in your community, at work, in your home, and while serving within your church.

Believers, we need to be more serious about our faith. 1 Samuel 16 reveals characteristics of David that point to godly leadership. David was skillful, prudent in speech, had a good presence, and people knew that the Lord was with him.

The Lord is being reflected in everything you do. Remember who you ultimately work for. Strive for mastery in every situation. Surround yourself with gunslingers who get things done.

Strive to lead and to be an asset who glorifies the Lord. 

  • 1 Samuel 16

Be An Asset And Not A Liability ( Podcast Transcript)

We’re going to do things a little differently tonight and I did this two years ago with the Trinity group. I’m a preacher, but I’m also a teacher, so tonight I wanna talk about where y’all are in life, you can turn to 1 Samuel 16, there’s something there that we’re going to look at. My name’s Brody, and it’s nice to meet you all and have you here. My wife was the girl playing drums, we’ve been together 25 years, we’ve got five kids, started this Camp in ’97, and God’s been good to us. One of the things that we love doing is equipping young people. We don’t just do evangelistic work, we want to disciple and equip, and I know most of you are believers, and so I wanna talk… There’s a lot of talk around your generation, and a lot of it is fairly disrespectful from the older generation, like making jokes about your generation, and I feel like… Y’all remember the story in the Bible about Gideon’s 300 men? Do y’all remember that story? So if you study combat in that era and get comfortable, ’cause I’m gonna say a lot and I’m gonna talk fast, and I’m trying not to have a thick accent where you can understand me, okay?

But that story is really cool because if you study ancient combat, about a 3 to 1 ratio is what you wanted going into combat. Well, when they start, and if you don’t know that story you can go look it up, it’s in the book of Judges, I don’t know what chapter. But when they started, the Israelites were at like a 4 to 1 deficit, and God was calling them to attack their enemies. So they’re working from a deficit, ’cause typically that’s what God calls Christians to do, to work from a physical or human deficit. Because why? ‘Cause then He gets the glory, right? And so they’re like at a 1 to 4 ratio, then He has them started eliminating people, and by the time they attack, there’s like 300 of them and if you do the math, it’s like a 750 to 1 ratio. And I feel like, here’s what happened when I was growing up. I’m in my mid-40s, and when I was growing up, there was a lot of social or cultural Christianity. So a lot of people would say, “Yeah, I’m a Christian”, but it was kind of like you just said that, especially if you lived in the Southeast and you were in Southeast. So yeah, I’m a Christian. What does that mean? “I got saved.” People would say that a lot, “I got saved” or “I was born again” or whatever. And so you had a lot of social Christianity, but a lot of times that didn’t line up with what Jesus teaches Christianity is in the four Gospels.

And what’s happened in your generation is people are not… People are totally cool saying, “I’m not a Christian. I don’t know what I believe, but I’m not a Christian.” People are less likely to bluff their way through, would you agree? Your generation is like, “No, that’s not for me. Just, I don’t know what I believe, but it’s not that.” Or “Maybe I’m giving that a shot, but I’m not sure that I’m gonna believe that.” And so what’s gonna happen is, you’ve got this, like in my generation we had this massive group of cultural, moralistic kind of Christian, if I could use that loosely, now it’s narrowed down. And what’s gonna happen in the next 50 years? I’m just, I’m not trying to be prophetic, but I believe in the next 50 years. The small, narrow, numbered generation of believers are gonna do devastating work against the enemy, and so… And what that’s gonna take is people like y’all saying, no, we’re not gonna fit into a cultural mold or standard, we’re not gonna fit into… You can call us Millennials or Generation whatever the next one is gonna be, y’all are kind right on the bubble there. What is it? What’s it called?

Speaker 3: Gen Z.

Okay, so yeah, ’cause I’ve heard that like there’s been a change now. But at any rate, your generation has this potential to do more for the Gospel, with the Gospel, I think, because you’re gonna have people that are serious about their faith. So I want to talk to you about some things that the folks from Snowbird that are working with you while you’re here, they are part of our Leadership Institute, and I wanna go through some of this just the training principles that we’ve worked through with them. Did this a couple of years… For the last couple of years with Trinity students, and man, it’s been really well received, so… But what I wanted to read from 1 Samuel 16, before we get into these principles and talking points, I wanna throw some ideas at you about David. I grew up being taught that the story of David that you’re introduced with, typically David and Goliath and his picture is painted that he’s a really small, young guy, that maybe he’s even as young as like 12 or 13.

The Example of Samuel

The story of Samuel coming out in 1 Samuel 16, where Samuel comes out and anoints David to be the next king, do y’all remember that story, familiar with that story? David’s the youngest of all these brothers, the prophet comes out, he looks through all the brothers and he says, “No, it’s none of them, big strong guys, dudes going into the army, war fighters, no, none of them.” And then they bring this little kid in from the field, and he anoints him. And it says in 1 Samuel 16:13, “the Spirit of the Lord rushed on him from that day forward.” Well, if you then jump a chapter later to the story of David and Goliath, we’ve been taught that David was sort of this small kid that kinda had this… Did y’all grow up on Veggie Tales? There was a Veggie Tale portrayal of this, where David was like this little vegetable thing and he fought this big vegetable thing, and it was kinda this classic portrayal of David is this weak, physically weak little boy that had a big heart and the faith in God, so he goes out and he’s able to liberate his people, but I wanna take you to one point in the story that will sort of shatter that idea of who David was.

And the point is when David is talking with Saul, and Saul looks at David, I’m gonna read it, it’s in 1 Samuel 17, David saying, “Let me go out and kill this guy”, that’s basically what David says, “I’m gonna go kill him, I’m gonna kill him, I’m gonna cut his head off, I’m gonna bring it to you game over today,” like this stops today. David’s talking like a man of faith and action. And so he goes in to meet with the King, and if you look at 1 Samuel 17 verse… Give me a second. 37. 1 Samuel 17:37. “And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

So David convinces Saul. Who’s Saul? He’s a king. What is at stake if David goes and loses? All of the Israelites, the King included, have to be slaves to the Philistines. Do you remember that part of the story? So if David goes out… So I’m thinking, alright, so if there’s a war to be fought, there’s a battle to be fought, and it’s gonna be settled one-on-one, man-to-man, I’m not gonna look at an impotent 13 or 14 or 15-year-old kid and say, “Yeah, man, go fight him. You’ve convinced me you’re the guy.” See, Saul is convinced that the Spirit of the Lord is on David and that David is capable. He’s sending David out as their only hope. And what I want you to start to think about is the idea that maybe you are the hope for the world, but it’s gonna take you embracing that, getting serious about it. See what I’m saying?

So David goes out… We know the story. David goes out and kills Goliath, cuts his head off, holds it up, keeps it as a souvenir. Best souvenir ever, from any trip. Okay. So here’s what I wanna do. Go back now into 1 Samuel 16, and this is before David meets Saul. So this is between David, the youngest son, being anointed, and David going into Saul’s service as a musician. Listen to how he’s described. 1 Samuel 16:18. So let’s say David’s between 15 and 18, probably right here. He’s in y’all’s age bracket. “One of the young man answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse, the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.” Let’s take those five things and say, Okay. What if a 17, 18, 19-year-old young man or young woman could possess these types of qualities and characteristics? What could you do in the business world? What could you do… What could you do in the world of education? What could you do in ministry? What could you to do if you go to the mission field, or you go work for a Fortune 500 company? What kind of impact could you make?

Here’s the five things he uses to describe David at this point in his life. He says he’s skillful in playing. So he is skillful, so he’s gifted, but he’s also artistic. Now, he’s a man of the arts. And it’s not just that he’s a man of the arts, but he’s a man who has used his talent at age 15, 16, 17 to honor the Lord. So he’s taken what God’s blessed him with and he’s using that to honor the Lord ’cause he’s writing all these songs, which are just praise and worship songs and hymns in that day. Alright. Next, he says he’s a man of valor. Okay. He uses the word ‘man’. There’s a lot of dudes in our society that are 22, 23, 24 that I would not use the word ‘man’ to describe. Just like… And I’m not saying that any of you men fall into that category. I’m saying, as a generation, societal, we got a deficit, men. We have a major deficit. And a society and a culture that has weak men or men that don’t embrace the responsibility God’s called them to is a society that’s in a deficit, digging a deeper hole that they may… There’s a point where it’s irreversible. And my generation really dropped the ball here.

So David at age… Teenager, is described as a man of valor. It’s a description we would imagine being saved for a great leader and a war fighter. He’s young and inexperienced in the ways of the world. He’s been taking care of the family farm. So here’s my theory. Their farm is on border country. It’s on the border, so it’s in borderlands. And to the south of them are Philistines, Amalekites, Hittites, invading-type people, tribesmen, tribes people that the way… Listen, I’ve lived in Africa in an area in South Sudan and Northern Uganda where predominantly what happens between people groups is that they raid and take one another’s livestock. That’s how they war. And they’ve been killing each other for 3,000 years over cows. So this is like… This is the type of culture David’s living in.

So at 18… Now, I’ve… At a church planners meeting in Northern Uganda, two young men come in, we invite these two young guys, they walk up, they’re about 15 years old, they’ve got AK-47s slinging across their shoulders, they’ve got a bandoleer of magazines, not the reading kind. These would be ammunition holders that go into the weapon. They’re wearing flip-flops, gym shorts, and they come walking… And shepherd staffs. And they come walking. What are they doing? They’re shepherds. They’re shepherds. Now, I want you to think in your mind the concept we have of shepherd is the dude on the harp sort of lounging around with straw in his mouth, watching the sheep. You know what I’m saying? Culturally. Maybe that’s not your view, but that’s what you’ve seen in pictures and paintings, and that’s kinda culturally how we see it. Shepherds in these types of cultures are war fighters at a very young age. And the Dinka and the Nuer people groups in South Sudan, they’re trained to be gun fighters and to protect cows at about age 13. At about age 13.

So David is being described as a man of valor, which means in combat, he has proven himself. He’s proven himself. Says he’s prudent in speech. So he’s articulate. A lot of times when talking with a young person, the… A young person who’s able to articulate themselves, if a young man can… Okay, I’ll give you an example. Right now, be comfortable, slouch, chill, whatever. But if you’re in a conversation with a grown man, square your shoulders up, fellas, look him in the eyes, and use full sentences with words that are more than a syllable. Learn how to talk like somebody. Make sense? ‘Cause what happens is, your generation is kinda known for this, “Whatever,” kinda attitude. Again, I’m not saying y’all are this.

I wanna help you for… ’cause y’all what? Two months from graduation? And the world is gonna throw a punch at you. Some of you or gonna be like, “What in the world?” Okay. So learning how to communicate, not using words like ‘like’ every third word in a sentence. You know what I’m saying? Like learn this, learn how to communicate and articulate yourself. ‘Cause what I’m telling you is, David’s being described as a man who’s prudent in speech So here’s a 16-year-old dude-ish, who is described as a man of valor in combat, and someone who you can have a conversation with him, he’s gonna look you in the eye, he’s gonna shake your hand like a dude, he’s gonna communicate clearly, articulate words, use concepts, thoughts, ideas, that convey something with meaning. Learn how to do that, okay?

Brody: Next. That’ll mean a lot for you in the classroom and in the workplace over the next five years. That will… That’s where… Like right now, you’re… Like… If you imagine all of the 18-year-olds in America are kinda like right here, that’s what’s gonna put you right here. You’re just gonna explode. It’s gonna launch you into your 20’s. If you can articulate, and speak with clear and prudent speech. Next, he says he’s a man of good presence, this is the idea that, people like having David around. Like he brought something to… Like to the atmosphere of the room, the conversation or whatever. Like, it was good to have him around. He wasn’t over-bearing, he wasn’t annoying, he understood when to use humor, and when not to, he knew we can have fun, we can have a good time, there’s times for him to be serious. That’s something that’s really important. It might even be said that he enriches the experience that others are having simply by him being there. And the last thing, which is the one that holds all of these up. Okay, watch this.

The last thing it says is holding these other four things up, and it says, “The Lord is with him.” So go back to verse 13. So it says, it says right there that the Lord is with him in verse 18. But if you go back, I don’t know, a few months, a couple of years, to verse 13, it says, “The Spirit of the Lord rushed on David from that day forward.” That’s the day that Samuel anointed him. So with the anointing of the Lord on his life, God sort of doing this work in him and through him. So what David is doing is surrendering his life to the Lord each day, and then he’s being used effectively, not just for ministry, but in the… We need Godly businessmen and women, we need Godly medical professionals, we need godly people in the military, we need godly people coaching the next generation of students, teaching the next generation of students, we need Godly farmers, and welders, and mechanics, and nurses.

We need people that go into every domain of society, not as a mission field, but for what it is. It’s a domain or an arena, and we’re gonna take light into that dark place. In order to do that, we need to be viable, in other words, people need to take you serious. You need to be able to articulate, you need to have a strong presence. You need to know how to dress and present yourself and do these things when you get there. So I wanna help you… So here’s what I’m gonna do. This is a series that I wrote a while ago that we’re gonna eventually turn into a book, but I’m just gonna give you bullet points that’ll be chapter titles. This is called “Becoming an Asset, Not a Liability.” Becoming an Asset, Not a Liability. So I’m gonna buzz through these super fast. Alright? Y’all with me?

Ways To Be An Asset And Not A Liability

1. Learn to Be a Professional

If you’re on that, maybe you won’t pay a lot of money, but anyway, at any rate, tonight, I hope this helps you. Alright, becoming an asset and not a liability. First, learn to be professional, like, right now. Not, “I took a 400-level business class and they taught me how to be professional.” I ain’t talking about that. I’m talking about pay attention to how leaders in corporations, in ministries, and things like that, how they carry themselves, watch men and women who at higher level leadership positions, watch how they dictate… Watch how they conduct their lives on a daily basis. Learn to be professional, learn to be professional. Learn how to dress, learn how to communicate, learn how to interact. Look, watch this, learn how to make eye contact, and use real words that have appropriate meanings to put it in the words of one dude one time that was here, he said, “Young people would do well to learn how to say less better.” So using the least amount of words, or the fewest words, but conveying the clearest thought. Make sense? Make sense? Good, that’s good advice.

Next. So we’re gonna be professional, we’re gonna be proficient. Learn to be proficient. Learn the necessary skills to not only get the job done, but to get the job done well. If you’re working at a fast food joint, you’re working at a coffee shop, you’re working… Wherever you land a job, don’t just do enough to get by to… Like collect your paycheck at the end of the week, learn proficiency, so that whoever’s in charge around there starts to look at you as a go-to man or woman. Like I need her… Like when they’re making the schedule and they’re like, “Okay, it’s Christmas season, or Black Friday, I want her here because I know what kind of work she’s gonna do in that situation, and if I can convince her to pull a double, I’m gonna get her to do it. Like you wanna… You wanna win people over that way because of your proficiency, that’s gonna come by you learning the necessary skills.

2. Be Proactive

Next. Be proactive. This one’s huge, man. This one’s so big. So an example, this would be, don’t wait to be told what to do. When you finish a task that has been assigned to you, here’s what the average American will do. I know you’re not all Americans, I think we probably got some exchange students. Any exchange students? Where are you from?

Oh, I got a friend that’s over there right now, running like a community… Like a community… He’s helping people with water and stuff. Pretty cool. In the mountains, somewhere in the mountains

Alright. Welcome. Good to have you. Okay. So what was I… What was I gonna say? Oh. In America, here’s what people tend to do. Someone assigns… Again, I hope you hear when I’m saying all these things, I’m not accusing any of y’all of any of these things, ’cause I don’t know y’all. Alright? But here’s what, by observing your generation and the previous two or three generations, by doing what I do for the last two decades, here’s what I’ve observed not just in your generation, but with 30, 40, 50 and 60-year-olds, here’s what people will do. The task they’ve been assigned, and then they’ll go over and sit down, get their phone out and start farting around on their phone, playing around. Be proactive. When you finish a task, there… I guarantee you, there’s something else that needs to be done. Guaranteed. And if y’all learn to do that, don’t wait till something… Till something’s assigned to you, when you finish a task, find the next one to do. Next, strive for mastery. Strive for mastery. Don’t just settle for getting by. This kinda goes back into being proficient. Takes it to next level. Strive for mastery. Too many people are content to do the minimum. Listen, good enough, in quotes, right here, “good enough” should never be good enough for you. Should not.

3. Don’t Blow Off Mistakes

Next. I think we’re on number five. Don’t blow off mistakes. Don’t blow off mistakes. You screw up, own it, learn from it, embrace the consequences from it. You mess up, take it serious and set out to correct what you broke. Don’t… “His fault,” “Her fault.” This is rooted in the first human behavior problems when God shows up in the Garden of Eden, ’cause Adam and Eve, they’ve got this issue where they sinned against God. And what do they do? He blames her, then blames God, and she blames the… Everybody’s like… If somebody would have just said, “My bad. Man, I totally screwed that up. That’s on me.” When you do that, things move forward. When you don’t do that, things move backward. So don’t blow off mistakes. Take ’em serious. Learn from ’em. It’s not the end of the world.

4. Finish What You Start

Next. Finish what you start. Finish what you start. Fulfill your commitments. Know… Let me help you know how to do this. Know the difference between an excuse and a reason. ‘Cause people will say, I got a reason for why I can’t do X, Y or Z. And what it really is is an excuse, which is a cop-out. So know the difference between an excuse and a reason. ‘Cause you can talk yourself into breaking a commitment. You can do this, you can justify it in your own mind. You can convince yourself that it’s okay. So finish what you start, fulfill your commitments. Don’t make excuses.

5. Expand Your Vocabulary

Next. Expand your vocabulary, both professionally and in life in general. Expand your vocabulary. It just means when high school stops, you don’t stop learning. When college stops, you don’t stop learning. If you go to graduate school, when that stops, you don’t stop learning. Be a life-long student of everything. Of everything. ‘Cause we’ll study what we like. Me and Timothy were shooting today. I’m a gun dude, man, I’ll… I’m not a geek about anything. I was bad in school. I was like, I don’t know a lot about… But I’m like a geek when it comes to ballistics and firearms. It’s like, Why? ‘Cause it… I really enjoy that, and so I study it. We tend to enjoy some… We tend to study something or pay attention to something we enjoy. Maybe it’s sports, maybe it’s music, maybe it’s your favorite artist, maybe it’s your favorite TV show. But be a student of everything. Einstein said this, “I’m not that smart. I’m just passionately curious.” Here’s what he’s saying, “What I do is I ask a lot of questions about a lot of different things, and I try to learn and remember.”

6. Aim For Success & Refuse to Settle For Failure

Next. Aim for success and refuse to settle for failure. We have raised a couple generations now of people on the mindset, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. Don’t be apologetic over wanting to win in life, in business, in sports. You should strive to be the best at something, and you should… You should not be okay with losing initially. You should… If you lose at anything, you should have to go, “Coach, [0:24:18.6] ____?” If you’re losing something, you should have to go as a Christian. Okay? And take that to Jesus, sort it out and get back in the swing of life. It should rattle you. You should not be okay with losing. Because the Scripture even describes us using words like conquerors, victorious, that’s the way we’re hardwired.

And so we should not be okay with… Don’t settle for failure. But when you do fail, ’cause it’ll happen, wont it? Accept it, learn from it, correct it. And going into every endeavor, give 100%. There’s no such thing as 110%, by the way. I don’t know if y’all… If you did math really well. But if we’re talking just pure percent, give 100%. And here’s what happens. We’re broken, fallen creatures, and so 100%, nobody’s gonna hit that at anything ever. So you give 100% as effort. That way when you do make mistakes, you’re gonna be up there towards the top in terms of percentage, and so you’re able to walk away and go, Okay, I failed at that, I lost at that, but I’m gonna accept it, I’m gonna learn from it, I’m gonna correct it. I’m gonna go learn from that.

Y’all, I don’t know if you’re sports fans, but the national championship in football this year was Clemson and Alabama. I don’t know when was the last time this happened but Alabama beats Clemson last year. And I’m not gonna get into who’s who and who’s the best team, whatever. I mean, we know who the best team is right now, right? I mean, in theory. Clemson’s a national champion. Last year, Alabama was. It was cool hearing the stories of Gus saying we lost, we went back to the drawing board, and we said we’ll do whatever it takes to get back and not lose the next time.” It’s that kind of mentality we’re talking about.

Brody: Next, remember who you ultimately work for. The Lord is being reflected in everything you do. Or if you’re not a Christian, you’re working for somebody. Everybody’s trying to impress somebody. Everybody’s trying to get ahead. So remember who you ultimately work for, ’cause that’s gonna matter. Like, if it’s not Jesus, if it’s just as a provider, I told you, I got a wife and five kids. If nothing else, I gotta work for them. I’m gonna put food on the table, I’m gonna make sure that… I mean it gets cold here in the winter time. I guess it’s warm here right now, it gets cold in the winter time. Make sure they’re warm, you know? So remember who you ultimately work for. For me as a believer, that’s Jesus.

7. Expand & Grow, Always

Next. Expand and grow, always. Expand and grow, always. Look for opportunities to expand your experience in life. It’s like… It should be something like… If there’s, let’s say… Let’s say you’re in your… You get into your degree program and there’s an opportunity to go study abroad. And you’re like, “You know, it’s gonna cost me an extra $3000-4000. I don’t think it’s wise.” Find that line where it’s like Okay, yeah, that’s… Maybe that’s economically not wise. Or maybe it’s, “Eh, I don’t really wanna go overseas. That doesn’t appeal to me.” Okay, then you should probably go, get uncomfortable. Expand your opportunities in life and get uncomfortable. Again, as Christians, this is critical for how we advance the Gospel, because the Gospel doesn’t lead us on a comfortable easy path.

The best leaders first learned from following and from learning. Let me read that again. The best leaders first learned from and by following and from learning. In order to be a good leader or a team player, we must first learn to take orders, accept responsibility, embrace our failures and get the job done. And in all of that, put the gun to the head of the attitude of entitlement and murder it every day. Like behead entitlement in your life every day. Do not wake up and think, I deserve this, this belongs to me, I should get X, Y, or Z. Do not have a sense of entitlement. Don’t have it. Fight and work for everything you get. I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you this is what I’ve learned, people in other cultures and Sultan probably agrees with this. People in other cultures that have less broad opportunity than what Americans have, they get this principle a little bit better, like fight for everything you got, work for everything you got. We have created sort of this comfortable culture of what do I get coming to me, you know. Don’t maintain that. Murder sense of entitlement. The best leaders learned from following and taking orders and submit into authority.

8. Don’t Make Excuses

Next, don’t make excuses. Some of these kinda overlap and double up. Don’t make excuse, rather accept responsibility for your action. We talked about that one a little bit earlier. Next, don’t leave any task unfinished. Don’t leave any task unfinished. This may mean working late or arriving early. Don’t be the kid that when you get your first real job, some of you already got that job, you show up 3 minutes late every day. It drives me… It really annoys me when I start… Every morning we have an 8 o’clock meeting with all of our staff. And this is first year interns to 15th year directors. And if I start that meeting 8 o’clock, what we tell guys and gals is get there 10 minutes early. Don’t get there 30 minutes early. You don’t have to do that, but be there few minutes early. It drives me crazy when I stand up here and start that meeting and at 8:01 or 8:03, somebody comes staggering in with a cup of coffee. I wanna say, just go wait outside, ’cause what you’re saying is, I take this serious, but not be-on-time serious. Does that make sense? So here’s what we come to, what is the conclusion we come to? Little things are big things. 2 minutes late is a big thing. 10 minutes early, that’s easy. 12 minutes of your life, not a big deal. So little things are big things, don’t leave any task unfinished, this may mean working late or arriving early.

If it’s… If you’re gonna get paid till 4:30, punch the clock or not, you know at 4:30 you’re off the clock, but the job takes you to 4:45, it will be okay. The character that you… The character that comes to you through that is worth more than the 15-minute salary or wage that you would have made. Alright. So within that, get rid of the mindset of showing up at the last minute and leaving punctually. Alright, we’re almost… We’re gonna land the plane. Y’all good? You’re with me? We got a couple more. A couple means like six, Okay? Or, I don’t know, looks like six. Okay, if you hit a wall and don’t know what to do, this goes for anything in life, academics, work, relationship, you name it, if you hit a wall and don’t know what to do, find someone who can help you over the wall or help you tear the freaking wall down. Okay?

If you hit a wall and it’s like, “I don’t know what to do.” Somebody has been there before. So this goes into one of leadership principles, that’s a totally different talk, a totally different… I got a list of leadership principles that I’ve written for myself that I lead by, and of them is surround yourself with gunslingers who get stuff done. Surround yourself with those kinda people. Like when you… So right right now you’re surrounded by the people you’re surrounded with. You got this community of people, like this band of brothers and sisters. You’re gonna leave and you’re gonna get a fresh start, surround yourself with gunslingers, not with sloths, okay? So that when you hit a wall, you got people to turn to. And with that, always have somebody that’s even if they’re not like a mentor to you, somebody you can emulate and watch how they navigate life.

9. Make Yourself Indispensable

Next, do everything you can to make yourself indispensable. Do everything you can to make yourself indispensable when you go to work for somebody, convince him that he cannot do without you, convince her that she’s gotta have you with this company or this organization or on this team, or else it’s gonna be bad for her. People will say, Oh, nobody’s indispensable. No, but make them feel like you are. Okay, this is a good one. Learn how to do the jobs of those people above you and around you. Learn how to do the jobs of the people above you in around you, ’cause something’s gonna happen, then you’re gonna be able to step in and not just selfishly, to be able to show, “Look what I can do.” But maybe help the team, help the company, the organization, in a time of need. Go the extra mile. I’m not gonna elaborate on that.

10. Encourage Your Teammates

Encourage teammates. Encourage, be an encourager, man. Encouragers are empowerers. It’s a mouthful, if you encourage others, you’re gonna empower them, you wanna be liked and enjoyed by more than just the boss, so like an encourager is not the person that just sucks up to the boss. An encourager’s somebody… But don’t be overbearing, we’ve all been around that guy, who like encourages at the wrong time, like you missed the game-winning three-pointer and they tell you, don’t worry, and then they tell you some tee ball story about how they struck out and they know how you feel and you’re like, “Dude, you don’t know how I feel, man. I just missed the three-pointer that would have won the game in the state championship.” Don’t be the guy that tries to make people feel better by telling a lame story, I’m talking about encouraged day-to-day, like being encourager to other people, you know what I’m saying?

11. Know Whose You Are

Ultimately, know whose you are and you will know who you are. Ownership determines identity, value and purpose. If you’re not working for something bigger than yourself, you’re gonna hit a dead end real quick in life. Ownership determines identity, value and purpose. I’ll give you an example. I own something. My belt, my belt, nobody would want my belt. My belt, I’ve had it for, I don’t know, maybe five years. Like it’s Bullhide, it’s a double leather Bullhide, triple-stitched belt, I love it, it’s so durable, so rugged and heavy, but it’s warped to my goofy shape, it’s like… It’s got like big where I’ve hooked it, it’s got big knots in it, you know where the buckle has gone… Well, that belt cost $80 to replace. So if I’m without this belt, I gotta go… Guess what I gotta spend. 80 bucks to get a new one, plus about four months break in period. This belt to me is worth $80, I guarantee you it is not worth $80 to any other human being alive, but you know what if this belt had feelings, he’d be okay with that, ’cause the person that owns him holds value for him, assigns a value to him. You see, the Bible says that, and Paul’s right in the Corinthians and he says, You’re not your own, you’re bought with a price. And so the value that you’ve been assigned is the value that Christ has assigned us, which is his death, his life, his death as [0:35:43.2] ____ the Gospel.

And if you think, Well, I’m not a Christian, so that doesn’t apply to me. Let me tell you something, every human being alive will look for value outside of themselves, and wherever you look for that, that’s the person that has grasped ownership over you, like that person at least to some degree, controls the large part of your life, so ownership determines identity value and purpose. To know whose you are, you’ll know who you are. Alright, cool. We’re straight. All these make sense? Alright, I’d love to keep going and talk about some of my leadership principles, we might do that later, but for now, I think it’s good.

Y’all got any questions. Questions? I’ve been doing this a long time, like when the first seniors from Trinity came through here, y’all were not in pre-K yet. Is that crazy? That’s pretty wild. Pretty wild. Yes, Sir?

S3: Did you start in ’97 [0:36:39.9] ____?

Question: How you felt that the leadership principles you talked about today has caused you to do both, to be where you are [0:36:50.9] ____?

Like, how have I seen this in play in life? Well, that’s a good question, really. They’ve been written over the course of those 20 years, where a lot of it was like… See, when my wife and I came here to start this camp, there was nothing but a raw piece of land here, and we lived and we bought half of the family land from the family, so it was her grandmother’s land. Well, on the other half, there was this own cabin with no running water, completely primitive, we lived in it for three years, till she had our first child, and I was really rough, and we were doing whatever it took just to get by and to get this thing going ’cause we believe God gave us this vision.

When you’re working from a deficit, I think it’s gonna force you to improvise and problem solve and troubleshoot, but we’ve created… What we’ve got is a society and a culture that says, Oh, don’t work from a deficit, you can borrow against the deficit, so that you can start kind of up here, so like we’ve made it too easy to get an easy start, but then that eventually comes back around and catches up with you. So if you gotta work hard from the beginning, and then what’s gonna happen with, to answer Timothy’s question, is, these principals have come out in my life out of necessity, and then… Some of them from necessity, some of them from observation, and every year I had two of my… Five years ago, I think I had five of these, six of these and then I just keep adding to them, and these aren’t even those things I just share, these aren’t even leadership principles, I’ve got like 20 leadership principles that I’ve written that those are more like… I share those a lot with people, but those are things that I live by.

One of my favorite ones is be an upward pull, not a downward push, so you’re the person that’s always making the machine move forward and you’re not dead weight. Learn to shut up and listen. Set goals and move aggressively toward them. Know when to quit, ’cause there are times when you need to quit, it really is all about winning, you can be right and still be ineffective. Spend more time learning and less time showing off what you think you already know. Never think that the delay of consequences is the same as the absence of consequences. Know what you don’t know, don’t fall for your own publicity. Know the difference between a reason and excuse, we hit on that. Don’t underestimate the competition ever. Embrace and maintain a constant attitude of service. Listen to weird ideas, be passionately curious. That comes from the Einstein quote, “Seek responsibility, but first, prove that you are responsible.” So it’s like those are leadership principles, that if you implement these things in your life, you’re gonna… So y’all are like, you’re going to this season of life where you really have an opportunity.

Okay, take my grandparents’ generation has been called the Greatest Generation. Have you ever heard of that? That’s the World War II generation. So here’s what happened, they’re born into complete obscurity, all of them, nobody knew anybody back then, it was not the information age, we were still kind of on the precipice of… Like we were still recovering from the Civil War, and then we never really got out of and as a nation, and then you had the… Like World War I had hit, and then we were in an economic decline when my grandparents were born and were little kids, so like they… Like when the great depression hit, my grandparents were all between ages of like eight 8 and 10, and my grandparents all lived till late in life to 90, so I get to hear lots of stories and they’re all mountain people with a lot of historical… Just like a wealth of information. But what happens is they grow up with nothing, so they don’t have a sense of entitlement, then they go to war against this massive regime that wants to overthrow planet Earth, and they go to fight because they have nothing to fight for, except the free air they breathe.

So they don’t go to fight because they had land and houses and… They go because all we got is freedom and honor, so they go fight because there was no sense of entitlement. And so that generation… There’s a lot that you learned from that generation as far as like not having a sense of entitlement. And so then ever since then, my generation included, we tend to expect things without earning the right to expect those things. So if you can learn these principles, what happens is, like with my grandparents’ generation, like when my granddad came home from the war… He goes to war when he’s 18 and a half, gets married and gets my grandmother pregnant, like within the first month, I was like, “I hear you, brother, that’s what I’m talking about,” like potent, so anyway, so he goes off to war.

He comes home, his daughter’s two and a half years old when he meets her. He’s married for like two months, goes off to war. Comes home and gets a job in a factory. Well, guess what, they were about a quarter of a million vets getting jobs in those factories. So it was literally like, I gotta get food. There were no government plans or programs, credit cards didn’t exist like they do today, so it was like, I have to feed my wife and daughter, so it was like fight to get ahead, and so there was like… There was this attitude of being able to improvise, being… Understanding ingenuity, being able to create and cultivate. God created us in the garden, and He says to Adam, “Work and keep the garden.” What’s that? He’s a cultivator, he’s a creator, he’s an artist, he’s a doer.

And so when you put yourself a situation where you’re not doing and cultivating and creating and making experiences, making things happen, we tend to stagnate, the human experience stagnate. So what happens is, part of what God gave Adam to do and protect the garden, he didn’t do because he was complacent and the serpent came in and that led to the fall, and so you’ve got this mentality that’s natural, like as humans, as soon as we get comfortable, we go kind of into this cruise control and you forget what you came from. Okay, I’ll tell you a crazy story. My two youngest kids are adopted and they’re from East Africa, they’re from the country of Uganda. And when we got them, we thought, man, it was crazy, the Lord led us to them, we fought to get them. We had to get into a Ugandan court, Uganda doesn’t have a good system for international adoption, now you can’t even adopt from there. So I got a Ugandan attorney, she got us an appointment with a Supreme Court Justice in Uganda. We got in front of this guy, we had to win our case, our kids were like… Their mother had died from… They think she probably had AIDS. She had sickle cell anemia. She had several other STDs, she had been traffic, it was a mess. And then…

So she dies. So they’re basically like scrounging for theirselves. Juju my… At the time, four-year-old when we got her, who… She’s almost eight now, but so she’s caring for her six-month-old little brother and trying to find food, stealing robbing, it was crazy. So the police picked them up, put them in an orphanage… We got to that orphanage. They’ve been in that orphanage for six months, it was a really, really bad place. Filthy, filthy. I’ve been in a lot of orphanages and a lot of places in the world. This is the worst one I’ve ever seen. In the slums of Kampala, Uganda. Okay. I take them, we get them to court, win the court case, take them to our house where we lived there in Kampala. The first night we fed them, they ate like wild animals. The second night, we put food out and Juju went “Nah, I want… ” and she couldn’t speak English, so she’s like pointing at something, somebody had some candy, like some cakes, she is like I want that for supper. I thought that’s a perfect example of how quickly the human nature can feel entitled, you go from starving to eating food to now I’m gonna make demands, and…

And that’s… A part of that is just… She’s a little kid, that’s parenting, you gotta do that with any kid as a parent. That’s a big part of the job of parenting, but I thought that’s a really raw picture of the human nature, we want what we want, and we want it right now. And no matter what we’ve had or haven’t had, and so… But what a lot of these principles will do is they’ll put you in a deficit where you’re constantly having to work, you’re constantly having to fight to survive and get ahead. And I’m telling you man, it works. These things work. This is not like an internet you know buy the DVD series, and you’ll make a bunch of money, that’s what we’re talking about, we’re talking about building a character and integrity so that you may never make money, you make… God may call you to work in a third world mission field, where you ain’t gonna make much money at all, but these principles will absolutely be valuable for you, ’cause they’re gospel principles, I call them leadership principles of the Gospel man. So make sense? Y’all going crazy? Y’all like, “Get out of here, man. Let’s go. Let’s go right this way.” Nah? Sweet mullet, dude. I had that same haircut like 30 years ago. I appreciate it, I really appreciate it. I can’t have it now. If I could I would.

What? I got… I don’t have any hair. It’s bad, I started shaving… I played college basketball and I started shaving my head in my freshman year, I played for Liberty University, when I started shaving my head and I, I was like, thick hair and… Man, if I could go back now, I wouldn’t shave my head though I needed to. Y’all got any questions?

What’s the hardest thing for me to like implement in all of these?

Yeah, so I’m not naturally a professional person, I’m not like, I’m naturally a hillbilly from blue collar people. The easiest thing for me to do would be to get a construction job, but God pushed me and call me to something besides that, not better or greater, but just living outside of what would be comfortable. I think that’s probably for most people. Like getting up early, going to bed late, working hard, that stuff, that’s kinda the culture I come from, but yeah, stepping outside of what’s comfortable for me. I think that’s probably true for most people.

June 22, 2021

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