Praying for Troops and Enemies

I have a friend whose brother left last month for Afghanistan. A couple of weeks ago he sent me an email talking about some advice he received from our senior pastor with regard to praying for our enemies (Matthew 5:44), and I thought it was advice worth sharing and have changed the brother's name just in case:

I got a chance today to borrow five minutes from my senior pastor and go over something that's been on my heart. I've known for a long time that we're commanded to be praying for our enemies, but that becomes a whole lot more real when your "enemy" isn't a jerk at school but someone who's shooting at your brother. Ken spent much of his 20s in the Air Force, so I knew his answer would come not only from a sound understanding of Scripture but also from practical experience.

He explained that, beneath all the politics and strategy, Tim and his fellow Marines are in Afghanistan to suppress evil, and that God is in the business of defending the defenseless. So we can pray that God would change the hearts of the Taliban fighters or that He would take away their capacity to do evil (for instance, defeat in battle). This is a biblical way of praying for our enemies.

We touched on Nehemiah, too, which is the sermon series we're in, and there's an appropriate parallel - just as the Israelites rebuilding Jerusalem had a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other (Nehemiah 4:17), so does Tim have his camera in one hand and his rifle in the other.

So, in addition to praying that God would protect Tim and his unit and that He'd draw him closer to Himself in this experience, we can also be praying for the Taliban fighters on the other side. Easier said than done, I know, but I know that God does work when we pray, even when we don't fully understand it.

I think that's pretty great advice.


I don't know if you heard or not, but Michael Jackson passed away last week.

Oh, you did hear?

Michael Jackson was known all over this planet, so the news coverage for the last 4 days has been non-stop King of Pop. Radio Stations are wearing out their copy of Thriller, and the Jackson Five are getting so much airtime their clothes may come back in style.

But here in about 3 days there will be a funeral and the world will move on. Michael Jackson will be remembered once a year when Barbara Walters does a "Where are they now" interest story on the anniversary of his death to remind us his body is still in the ground.

No disrespect, but Michael Jackson - as wildly popular as he was - will be forgotten.

Most of us cannot moonwalk. We'll never be able to to rock "I Want You Back" like little MJ. But we have the potential to make an impact that will ripple far longer than the King of Pop's.

Scripture is clear that the life lived well before God and his people will be "remembered forever" (Psalm 112:5-6).

The lives we live and investments we make today in what God is doing in the world will echo forever.

That's quite a ripple.

Book Review: Just Do Something

I mentioned this last week, but Kevin DeYoung is fast becoming one of my favorite new authors. He co-authored "Why We're Not Emergent, by Two Guys Who Should Be" and has written a new book called "Just Do Something, a Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will."

I first saw this book written-up by one of my uncle's compadres on Pyromaniacs. It got a glowing review over there, and let's just say those guys don't have a reputation for handing out glowing reviews of anything very often. So, I picked the book up.

If you're familiar with the old standard "Decision Making and the Will of God" by Gary Friesen, you're familiar with the general principles Kevin DeYoung points to in "Just Do Something." Friesen's book is good, but reads a bit more like a textbook. DeYoung's book is not nearly as thorough, but is just as helpful. He writes in a clear, easy style that is brief and to the point, but presents enough information and support to help the reader understand his argument.

In short, "Just Do Something" says this: The Bible talks about "God's Will" in two primary ways: the "decreed will" of God and the "desired will" of God. Those terms are not unique to DeYoung, but are the terms he uses.

The "decreed will" of God is God's ultimate plan for the Universe that cannot change and is not revealed. We cannot get out of the decreed will of God - God will have His way. The "desired will" of God is God's moral plan for His creation that is revealed through Scripture. If we make decisions that have moral implications, we can look directly to Scripture to guide our decision making. I don't have to pray about whether or not to cheat on my wife; God has already made the answer pretty clear.

But most of our decisions are not moral decisions. From the biggest decisions we make (should I marry this person, take this job, move to this city) to the smallest decisions we make (should I wear the orange shirt or the black shirt), most decisions we make every day have no moral implications. Because we want to please God, we often go seeking His directional will in those decisions as well. We wait for a voice to tell us what to do, look for open doors, and lay out proverbial fleeces for God (If she calls tonight I'll know you want me to date her).

DeYoung points out, I think rightly, that God is not a fortune teller or consultant. He has given us a brain for a reason and promises to give us wisdom when we ask (James 1:5). In non-moral decisions we should pray diligently for wisdom, seek wise counsel, seek to honor God in our decision, and make the decision we want to make. God doesn't want us to know the future in every situation; He wants us to move forward with confidence while trusting Him. When we delight ourselves in the Lord, He works through our desires to honor Himself (Psalm 37:4).

"Just Do Something" is a great book. I bought several copies for decision-makers in our church, and think I may start giving it as a graduation present as well.

Performance-Based Me

I had a breakfast with a guy this morning that I've been looking forward to for a while now. He and his wife have become some of our really good friends, and have a kiddo who is a few months younger than Casen. He and I are going to start going through some mentoring/discipleship material I've been going through with several guys, and I've been excited about it. He and I come from two very different backgrounds and I think we will really be able to help each other stretch and grow.

This morning, though, I felt like I was really scattered. I've got a lot going on right now and haven't been sleeping well. Add that to the fact that we met at 6am, and you understand that my mind felt like oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar. He had some really great questions that I could have answered so much more articulately than I did. Instead I handled them about as awkwardly as a drunk blind nun trying to hit a curve ball.

It's easy for opportunities like that to get me down. I put pressure on myself that says if I'm not at my best, God can't work. If I don't "perform" well, God can't use me.

I have a routine on days that start like today: When performance-based me shows up, I sit down and re-read 1 Corinthians 4 and 2 Corinthians 4.

God doesn't need me to perform in order for Him to work. God is not sitting in heaven wringing His hands over my incoherent rambling this morning. He lets me be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2), and uses my fragile intellect, emotions, words, and answers to demonstrate that the "power is of God, and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:7). God will judge success according to a more vast timetable than my limited view, so I don't need to beat myself up for it before the time (1 Corinthians 4:5). I just keep on being as faithful as I can be, and trust in a sovereign, all-powerful God who can make sense out of botched opportunities.

Jon and Kate

Kari and I haven't ever watched "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" but last night as I was forcing my wife to watch college baseball, I started seeing all my friends' facebook statuses talking about the show. We flipped over to the show and watched about 3/4 of the episode yesterday evening - enough that I didn't sleep most of the night.

I don't know why it bothered me so much. As a pastor, I have conversations with couples on a way-too-regular basis who are contemplating divorce. But to hear a couple sit on national television and justify their selfishness so boldly while eight beautiful children played in the background really messed me up.

It is not "best for your children" to leave their mother unless there is some kind of abuse involved. Period. The fact that Mom and Dad are fighting does not mean you have to get divorced for the sake of your children; it means you need to suck it up and figure out how to get along like adults.

Instead of doing what's best for their kids, Jon and Kate are showing their eight children that you don't have to solve disagreements - you just have to walk away. You don't have to keep your promises to people - just walk away when they're too hard to keep. They are teaching their kids that "Mom" and "Dad" are titles, not roles, and that love is a feeling, not a commitment.

Jon and Kate are making a selfish, egocentric, immature decision that seems best for them in the moment. But in doing so they are demonstrating a model of marriage that will negatively impact eight children for the rest of those kids' lives. My heart breaks for their marriage, and for those sweet innocent lives that will carry baggage they didn't choose for the rest of their lives.


Sometimes I am a little slow on the uptake. I'm just now getting around to listening to some of the sermons from the Resurgence Conference 2006. Actually, in 2006 that conference wasn't even on my radar. But one of my friends recently sent me a link to a couple of messages from that year and I listened to one while I mowed the yard yesterday.

The message was titled "Being the Church in Our Culture," by Tim Keller. If you've got an hour in the car or at the gym, it's absolutely worth a listen.

Among other things, Keller talks about how the challenge of the Christian life is to be radically different from the world while being radically the same.

The idea he comes up with is this: people need to be able to look at our lives and picture how they might look if they were Christians. If we don't inhabit the same world, think about the same things or fight some of the same battles as unbelievers, our witness is lost. On the other hand, if our lives are not radically different from theirs, they have no perceived need to turn to Christ.

Keller bases his sermon on an eschatology (theology of where everything is headed in the future) which is different from mine, but you can get to the same conclusions from a different starting point. I really love the things he says in this message and think it's worth checking out.


We're sending out two mission teams of young adults from McKinney today. One team is going to Florence, Italy to conduct a Vacation Bible School alongside a church plant there. The other team is going to Zambia to do a Vacation Bible School with an AIDS orphanage as well as some medical work alongside a hospital there. Join me in praying for both teams over the next 10 days.

I recently read something that has changed the way I am praying for these teams. I'll review "Just Do Something" at some point in the future, but Kevin DeYoung has quickly become one of my favorite new authors. In his book he writes, "... most of our prayers fall into one of two categories. Either we ask that everything will be fine or we ask to know that everything will be fine. We pray for health, travel, jobs - and we should pray for these things. But a lot of prayers boil down to, "God, don't let anything unpleasant happen to anyone. Make the world nice for everyone..."

DeYoung goes on to show that those are cowardly prayers. God's will for our life is not for us to be safe - it's that we are available to be used, trusting Him with the outcome. Such a realization sets us up to take wise risks.

Pray for teams Italy and Zambia teams. Pray for their safety and for provision, but ultimately, pray that God will use them.

Free or Costly?

Random thought today:

I think the perception that people like free stuff is a false perception.

People equate cost with value. If something is free, many people perceive it as having little value.

My experience is that people want expensive things... they just don't want to have to pay for them.

Case in point: A few weeks ago we gave away some CDs from SEARCH Ministries called "The Search for Meaning." They're great CDs answering 12 apologetic questions that stand in the way of a person trusting Christ. We offered them "free" to a couple of thousand people and gave away less than fifty.

Instead of offering them "free," if we had made an announcement that a generous donor had paid for these CDs so that each person in the auditorium could have a copy of this CD, I guarantee we would have given away 500.

People don't want free things. They want costly things that don't cost them anything.

Providing and Caring

Last week, our staff spent some time at Union Gospel Mission here in Fort Worth. From time to time we take staff field trips to local ministry organizations with whom we partner. It helps us stay connected with them, encourages them, and gives us good ideas of new ways to partner with each organization.

Something that hit me during our time at UGM: There is a difference between providing for people and caring for people. Providing is product-oriented. Caring is people-oriented.

Many parachurch organizations and churches are providers of goods and services. Sometimes those products are tangible (food, diapers, clothes), and sometimes they are intangible (marriage help, parenting advice, Bible knowledge). We come up with programs and products to offer the people we serve. They partake of the product and come back when they "run out."

A caring organization makes the starting point the people. It doesn't stop providing once the initial felt need is met but continues searching for ways to serve and love people beyond even what they realize they need.

Many homeless shelters are providers. Union Gospel Mission cares for the homeless. Here's an example: Most homeless shelters provide a hot meal and place to sleep for the homeless; a significant thing. But when a homeless person comes to Union Gospel Mission for the night they are given clean scrubs to wear and their street clothes are checked. While they sleep, their clothes are laundered and folded s0 that they leave the next morning wearing clean clothes.

Union Gospel Mission has taken the step beyond just providing; they're caring for people. By making people the starting point moving beyond just the felt need, Union Gospel Mission is seeing amazing fruit in sharing the Gospel.

Why? They're living it out. Jesus' death and resurrection was not just provision. He saw and met a need we hadn't even begun to think of yet (Romans 5:8).


I mentioned last week that I taught Luke 15:25-32 as a part of our 4-week Eikon worship time. When we think about the story of the "Prodigal Son," we normally think the moral of the story is, "Don't be bad; but if you are, God will take you back."

Today, there is a trend of churches who are focused on people like the younger son. Most of the newer books I read, blogs I read, and "cutting edge" churches I follow are seeking the wayward son. Their mission statements talk about turning "irreligious people into passionate followers of Christ."

Many of those churches, pastors, and books are making a significant contribution to the Church as a whole. They stretch our categories and force us to think more clearly about what is really important. But they aren't complete. They only address one of the brothers.

I'm increasingly convinced that we need more churches devoted to turning "religious people into passionate followers of Christ."

Fort Worth, Texas is not known for its party scene. This isn't the place prodigal high schoolers line up to visit on Spring Break. By and large, Fort Worth is a place full of socially conservative, moral, middle-class, religious, lost people who show up to church every Sunday. Most of my conversations are not with people who have knowingly squandered everything they had on a licentious lifestyle; they are with people who have a robust 401k, responsible job, good looking family, and no relationship with Christ. I have to convince people they're separated from the Father before they can ever be found - you can't be found if you don't know you're lost.

It's important to provide a place for younger brothers out there, but also important to remember that the Father cares for both of his sons.


Over the past year or so, the elders at McKinney Church have been thinking a bit more intentionally from an environmentally friendly standpoint about some of the products we use throughout the week. About a year ago we began switching out a majority of the lights to a lower wattage bulb. Somewhere around 90 percent of the cleaning chemicals we use are currently "green." Last month we switched to a line of restroom soap that is certified "green." And at their last meeting our elders decided to begin purchasing compostable table goods which will mean doing away with our Styrofoam coffee cups for Sundays.

I've done some reading about the "Global Warming" crisis and personally think it's a bunch of malarkey. But I still think it's a really important decision for our church to make for two reasons:

First, many people, especially those in my age demographic are absolutely convinced that our poor habits are affecting the climate of the earth. Those people come into our church, see us as a part of the problem and walk back out the door. We've put a potential stumbling block between them and Christ, and Styrofoam cups are not worth that. Read Romans 14:20 and substitute the words "Styrofoam cups" for "meat," and you get the picture.

Second, the fact that I believe man-made climate change is a myth does not give us the prerogative to be irresponsible. We are stewards of Creation. If we know (and we do) that certain chemicals and products are pollutants, and we have the ability to make more environmentally friendly choices while staying financially responsible, why would we not? Going "green" doesn't mean buying the whole environmental agenda lock, stock, and barrel. Sometimes it just means being responsible.

Uggh Part 2

Yesterday I referenced Geoff Surratt's open letter to pastors regarding the temptation of sexual sin. I know way too many guys personally who have fallen in this area, and am absolutely determined not to be one of them. While I have a keen sense that the heart (including my own) is deceitful above all things and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9), I feel confident you'll never read my name in the newspaper so long as I continue the following practices:

1. I am never alone in a privately with a woman who is not my wife. Not in a car, not in a house, not in an apartment, not at a park or a hotel or any other place where people are not around. Never after hours at the church office. Never before hours at the church office. If you keep this rule alone, you're in good shape. Most people don't have sex in public places, especially with people who aren't their spouse.

2. I am never alone in public with a woman who is not my wife. I don't have lunch appointments with women alone. That's stupid. I don't run errands with a woman who is not my wife. Forget the temptation; I don't need the perception.

3. I over-communicate any perceived exceptions with my spouse and boss. Don't get me wrong, there are no exceptions to the above rules. However, twice in my ministry I have shown up early for appointments with multiple women to find that all but one were running late. In both cases, I put my stuff down, excused myself from the table, walked outside and called my wife and boss to let them know the situation. I don't have to have an affair to ruin my marriage and ministry; I just have to be accused of having an affair to chisel away at the trust of my wife and boss. They need to know about any perceived exceptions to the above so that they don't ever have to worry.

4. Someone knows where I am at all times. I never "sneak away" during the day. My administrative assistant, or someone at the office always knows where I am going and with whom. Though I may simply announce "I'm off to lunch" to most people, at least one person in the office always knows where I am going and with whom. If I am working somewhere other than my office, someone knows. Yeah, it's a pain. But it doesn't touch the pain Gary Lamb's family is feeling right now.

5. I have tough friends. I don't ever get offended by people asking me if I am being faithful to my wife. I don't ever get offended by friends who ask me the tough questions about what I'm thinking or doing. I've got a couple of friends both inside and outside my church who know me well enough to know when I'm lying, and don't shy away from the tough questions. If you don't have friends who know you well enough to know when you are lying, you need to find those people and teach them how to tell when you aren't being honest. Poker players say "everyone has a tell." You do too, and you need friends who can spot it.

Again, don't get me wrong. I'm a guy, and I'm susceptible to temptation. I'm not immune. But I also love my wife. More importantly, I love Jesus and don't want to do anything that would cause people to think I can't be trusted in anything including what I've said about Him. The above 5 steps haven't made me invincible; they've just put enough guard rails up to keep me from "falling" into sin. If I go there, I'm going to have to walk there willingly or jump; I've tried to make it impossible to "fall."


Sunday was a really special day at McKinney Church. I'll post more about it at some point in the future, but we had a surprise celebration for our senior pastor and his family who are celebrating their 25th year of ministry at McKinney.

Part of the surprise was that Jon Sherman, a former McKinney staffer and current senior pastor of Trinity Bible Church in Willow Park, TX continued our sermon in Nehemiah 3 instead of me. He did a phenomenal job of preaching from the Scriptures while honoring Ken.

Sherman illustrated one of his points about integrity by recalling a conversation he had with an older lady at McKinney many years ago. She said, "One of the things I love most about our pastor is that I have never once had to worry that I would open the newspaper and see his picture on the front page."

I'm not sure I can think of a better compliment for a pastor.

This morning Geoff Surratt has an open letter to pastors posted on his blog. This past Sunday a fairly popular pastor in the blogging world resigned from his church because of an inappropriate relationship with his administrative assistant. Gary Lamb was the pastor of Revolution Church in Canton, GA.

Obviously we should be in prayer for the Lamb family and for the family of the administrative assistant he names in his letter of resignation. And we should be on our guard lest we think we stand and fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). But dang it, if you're in a position of spiritual leadership and are not following Geoff's advice you are a fool.

I read back through Gary's blog entries over the past 6 weeks of his affair just to see if there were any clues. The duplicitous life it reveals made me nauseous. He brags on his wife, brags on his administrative assistant, and talks about his kids. How could he?

Pastors, the stakes are too high for a moment of indiscretion. The task is too great for a even a second of lost focus. And the future is too bright to risk it on a few minutes of pleasure. Nothing is worth that. You need to take steps in your life to make it virtually impossible for you to go down that road. Geoff has some great advice. I'll try to elaborate on a couple of steps I think are important tomorrow.

Meanwhile, what steps have you taken to make sure this doesn't happen to you? What have you noticed your pastor doing to protect himself in this area?

The Prodigal God

I've been on something of a dry spell recently as far as great books are concerned. I've read a couple of decent books and several bad books but haven't read many great books worth writing about.

Last week I got the opportunity to teach the Young Singles at our church on Luke 15:25-32. As a part of my study I read "The Prodigal God" by Tim Keller.

Keller is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and seems to be something of a mentor to the New Reformed Movement of younger pastors. I've only recently become acquainted with him, but love virtually everything I've heard and read.

The Prodigal God is an exposition of Jesus' parable in Luke 15:11-32. I grew up thinking of this parable as the parable of the "Prodigal Son," in which a son goes out, squanders his inheritance, eats with the pigs, comes to his senses, and is embraced by a loving father. The moral of the story was always "don't be bad, but if you are, God is willing to take you back with open arms."

Keller points out that the story is actually about two sons. The older son is as separated from the father - as lost as the younger son even though the older son never left home. We just don't think about the older son because most of us resemble him too closely.

This book will take you an afternoon to read, and it will be the best afternoon of your week. Pick it up, and then comment after you've read it to let me know what you thought.

Studies and Devotion

If I really wanted to develop a "readership" of this blog, I would spend time thinking through a specific audience and only write entries that applied to that specific group of people. But because I don't care a great deal who (if anyone) reads my blog I tend to write about whatever is on my mind - and from time to time what I write won't appeal or apply to you. For those of you who aren't seminary students or pastors, today is going to be one of those days. 


I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago with a friend's son who is going to Dallas Seminary this fall. He asked some advice about professors and classes and had some general questions about seminary life. One of the questions he asked is one that relates to advice I hear from pastors and professors all the time. He asked, "How do you keep your 'quiet time' separate from your studies?"

Lots of people advise pastors and seminary students to have a time of personal devotion which is entirely separate from their Bible study time as it relates to a class or a sermon. 

I think that's a bunch of hooey. 

I'll go a step further: I think it's extremely dangerous advice. 

If you treat your sermon study or seminary study as an academic exercise which is separate from your worship and devotional life, you are treading dangerous ground. In fact, a lot of pastors and seminary students lose their faith at some point in their studies or ministries because they forget that God is a God who should be worshiped, not just studied. If we ever approach Scripture without a heart of worship and devotion or without a desire toward obedience, we miss the point of Scripture altogether.

All Bible study should draw us closer to God. It should all be an act of devotion and worship whether you are reading it for the sheer enjoyment of being with God or to better understand a specific branch of theological thought. 

If pastors and seminary students want to set apart a time of reading Scripture for personal enjoyment apart from the need presented by an upcoming paper deadline or Sunday morning sermon, so be it. But let that be in addition to the time of personal devotion they enjoy while writing the paper or sermon. Academics and worship should never be separated. 

Book Review: Leadership and Self-Deception

Leadership and Self-Deception is written by The Arbinger Institute, a group of scholars and philosophers that are working to bring positive change to the ways leaders lead. This book is written like a fictional story about a man named Tom who starts work at a new organization. Part of the training ritual at the new company includes a day-long meeting with the executive vice-president where the vice-president explains some of the things that make the company distinctive, and helps the new employee discover things within himself which might be holding him back as a leader.

The thesis of "Leadership and Self-Deception" is that all leaders are held back from leading well in their families, workplaces and in other arenas by self-deception. Self-deception begins when the leader behaves in a way contrary to what he feels he should do for another person. That act of self-betrayal begins a cycle that skews the leader's perspective in such a way that justifies his self-betrayal to the point that he needs others to under-perform so that his feelings of self-betrayal can be justified. In that way, we live life in a box of self-deception that severely limits our capacity to lead.

The powerful thing about self-deception is that it does not limit itself to the workplace. Self-deceived leaders in the workplace are self-deceived with their spouses and children, and vice-versa. In fact, sometimes our distortions of reality become so commonplace for us we have a hard time recognizing reality anymore. Since people always know how you truly feel about them, self-deception can absolutely crater a leader's ability to lead people.

"Leadership and Self-Deception" is profound. It is an easy read that teaches a hard lesson. Yet I'm not sure I remember ever reading a leadership book with the capacity to make me a better leader to the degree of this book. If you are a leader in your business, church, home, or in another organization, this book needs to be on your "Must Read" list.

Music or Preaching?

I'm currently reading Al Mohler's new book on preaching called "He is Not Silent." I'll do a review later on, because I think I am going to really like the book. Dr. Mohler is the President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. I have followed his blog for a while and respect him a great deal, but want to push back on something he says early in the book. 

Here is Dr. Mohler's quote, talking about authentic worship within the Church: "Music is one of God's most precious gifts to His people, and it is a language by which we may worship God in spirit and in truth... But music is not the central act of Christian worship - nor is evangelism, nor even the ordinances. The heart of Christian worship is the authentic preaching of the Word of God."  

Dr. Mohler is reacting to the millions of dollars which are spent on music ministries within churches. He laments the fact that music now provides the energy and excitement in worship services, and insinuates that the American Church has over-valued worship music over and against the preaching of the word. 

I absolutely agree with Dr. Mohler that many churches have lopsided priorities when it comes to their worship services. I whole-heartedly agree that many churches have music ministries and philosophies of worship which distract from the Gospel. But the problem is not that people have over-valued worship music; it is that we have under-valued it and set it against preaching. 

When we see music as the warm up act to the preacher, we distort its value as much as we do when we depend on music for all the energy and excitement in the worship service. Paul holds up music as a part of the teaching ministry of the church (Colossians 3:16-18). It should not be set against preaching, it should go hand-in-hand. Both are vital.

If music is simply a way to connect with God in our worship services or the opening act for the preacher, we miss its power. We also grease the slippery slope into songs which are written and/or chosen for reasons other than their theology and glorification of Christ.  

The teaching of the Word of God is the heart of Christian worship. Preaching and music (as well as the ordinances) fall under that umbrella as avenues through which the Word of God can be taught and applied in the lives of Christ-centered people. 

Unknown Places

One of the hats a leader wears is the hat of "trailblazer." Leaders take people to places those people have not been; we do not need a leader to take us someplace we have been before.  Often the leader himself has not been down a path before. He may have traveled a similar path to the same destination with a different group of people, but each trip is different. Every time the leader leads he is cutting a new path.  

When you travel through uncharted territory, there are no road signs. Highways and bridges are not built in places no one has visited. Unanticipated obstacles and terrain should be expected but cannot be known. The only thing the leader can know with certainty about the journey is the people who are going, and most importantly, the leader himself. 

A leader who does not intimately know the people she is leading cannot know the tendencies, gifts, or baggage that might help or hinder the journey. A leader who does not clearly understand the same things about herself will be dangerous to her team because. 

It is a temptation for strategic leaders especially to get wrapped up in the details of the destination, many of which cannot be known. You can know more about yourself and your people than you can the specifics of your journey, so make sure you invest in them as well. 

What gifts and talents do you possess which will help your team as you blaze a path? What liabilities do you need to recognize within yourself so you can protect your team from you? How have you as a leader gone about investing in the people you lead?