Servant Leadership

I have read several articles about this topic and I wonder if I will be able to fully explain in simple terms what servant leadership is all about.
One article said that to be a servant leader does not mean that you have to do things for your subordinates or followers. It does not mean waiting on them while they eat lunch or following them around to be at their beck and call.
Another article said that servant leadership does not mean allowing your subordinates to boss you or push you around. It does not mean delaying the decision making because of not getting the agreement from all parties.
So how do we define servant leadership and how can we call a leader a servant leader?
Servant leadership is best defined by how Jesus led His disciples - Jesus led by example and He led by walking the talk.
Jesus' way of leadership was clearly described in John 13:12-15: When He had finished washing their feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" He asked them. "You call Me 'Teacher' and 'Lord', and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you".
To know what you are saying therefore, is not enough - you have to do what you say as well. If one is to be a servant leader, he cannot say something and do another thing. He has to be consistent - his words and his action should be in sync.
A servant leader values diverse opinions, but makes firm decisions. He weighs each person's contribution and discerns if it is a self-serving opinion or something that would benefit the whole organization.
A servant leader applies the replication factor - he develops other leaders by teaching and providing others the opportunities for growth and development as future leaders of the group. He is willing to give up power by allowing others to demonstrate their leadership skills in adhoc committees and programs of the group.
A servant leader looks after his people's growth not only in their involvement in the community but also in their personal well-being. A servant leader helps his subordinates in dealing with their personal issues as well in order for them to become more effective future leaders.
A servant leader is involved - and an "encourager". He says "Let us do it". He does not just delegate, but also helps and encourages his subordinates.
A servant leader does not dominate or command - he instead persuades. He would sell the idea to his subordinates for them to have a sense of ownership, instead of merely telling them about his idea or plans.
A servant leader thinks of others before himself. He is a selfless leader who always asks himself how his action or decision will benefit the group, and not himself personally.
A servant leader is not limited by short-term plans. He is a long term planner and therefore makes decisions or choices based on how it will impact the future generations. He always take into consideration how his choices will affect the organization, its plans and programs and its future leaders in the years to come.
Most of all, a servant leader always acts with humility. He does not use his title to show off or to announce who is in charge. He does not look down on others and always acts with others in mind. He humbly performs even the lowliest job in the community if needed, without feeling disgraced and humiliated.
After all, a servant leader knows that it is not all about him, but about God and others. And he is always guided by what Jesus said in Mark 9:35 "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all".

Jesus Christ is my life, my joy, my all. - Ning

THE POWER OF GIVING (Tithes)

Giving

When I first started tithing I did it out of responsibility. I did it because God said in Deuteronomy 14:22, "You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year."
This was further reinforced by Leviticus 27:30, "Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord's; it is holy to the Lord."
And so therefore it was final: I Must tithe. "Tithe" by the way means "a tenth portion".
But then I realized that I was giving begrudgingly. I was questioning how my tithes should be computed: should it be 10% of my gross income or 10% of my income net of tax and other deductions? I was like a child told to do something that I did not want to do so I was obeying halfheartedly.
At that time, I always wanted to make sure that I was only giving exactly a tenth of my earnings because I was worried that I may not have enough left to pay the bills and food and condo maintenance fees, etc. and also to send as allowance to my mom back home.
So what happened to Proverbs 3:9, "Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce"?
I don't give my full tithes to just one church or to just our prayer group. I allot amounts to the churches I go to as well as to our prayer group. And then it started happening.
Every prayer meeting, I always have a certain amount in mind that I would give as love offering. But strange things have been happening. During the exhortation portion of our prayer meeting, I believe that God spoke softly to me and asked me to give a different amount - bigger than what I intended to give.
At first I was hesitant...and doubtful. Is it really God? Does He really want me to give that much? Then I started "negotiating" with God. At one time I said something like "But isn't this amount more than enough? I am already fulfilling my obligation if I give this amount, am I not?" and at one time I said "Can I just give this much now and then I will give more next time?"
But God was persistent and insistent on the specific amount and when He wants me to give it, so I would end up giving in but with a worry at the back of my mind that it will surely affect my budget.
And then He made miracles - God gave me back the same amount or more in many a  different ways! I can't even describe how awestruck and amazed I was with all that He was doing in my life! He was true to His words in Malachi 3:10, "Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need."
After that I learned to listen intently to His voice (although I would admit that sometimes I still attempt to negotiate with God). And I also started giving freely, wholeheartedly and generously, I would say, compared to how I gave in the past.
Remember 2 Corinthians 9:7, "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."?
Once He asked me to give some money to one of our members after the prayer meeting. I thought okay since it has been a while since this member attended our prayer meeting. Well what do you know? She showed up! Can you imagine my surprise?! I did give her what God told me to give her but interestingly I gave it without any hesitation on my part. Besides, if God says so, then it is so. And He has always been true to His promises.
Proverbs 11:24, "One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want."
He has shown me so much wonderful things that I now view tithes and love offerings differently. I know that God loves me so much and He gives me what I ask of Him if He knows that it is what is best for me, so I figured, why can I not do the same thing to Him? Well not the "what is best for Him" part but the part where "I should give to Him what He asks of me because I love Him". Besides everything I am and everything I have are from Him in the first place and I am a mere steward of all these things.

Jesus Christ is my life, my joy, my all. - Ning

"Musings on Music

What happens next after we die? I wonder where my spirit will go - to heaven? Or to Hell? Will I finally be able to see the face of God? Or the face of that who causes so much trouble, pain and anguish on earth?

I have had these thoughts for a while now - I guess I have reached that age where I see the world as my temporary residence and I start to think about the afterlife and where I will end up or where my permanent residency will be.

Oftentimes I would visualize myself in front of the pearly gates of heaven speaking to St. Peter, the gatekeeper, who tells me that although I was not perfect, my efforts were not in vain for God saw my desire to do good and be good. And if that was not enough St. Peter will then allow me entry through the gates. But before he lets me in he will open the book of life and beside my name he will stamp the words: REDEEMED BY JESUS' BLOOD AND ALLOWED ENTRY BY GOD'S GRACE AND MERCY - in red bold letters.

I know that I can never get to heaven if I will only rely on my own strength and my own efforts - after all, the good that I have done will not suffice - but only by God's mercy and grace.

And how will I react if ever I finally come face to face with the God who so loves and adores me? Wow! The surge of emotions and feelings already overwhelms me by just the thought of it. I love God so much and there is nothing else in this world that I would want than to be able to stand in front of Him, the God who loves me more than I can ever imagine or dream of, the God who loves me as if there is only me to love.

This song by Mercy Me accurately describes how I imagine myself in front of the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings - I will not know whether I should stand or kneel or lay prostrate on the ground. I will not be sure whether I will be singing Him praises and glorifying Him endlessly or will I be so tongue-tied in awe and amazement that I will just stare at Him and cry and cry and cry...

At this point that is all I can do, imagine. But while I am here on earth I must do what He tells me to do so that when I finally come to meet Him face to face, His warm, welcoming embrace will quell all my anxieties - and I will just do what I believe He expect from me at that point -hug Him back and say, "Thank you God for loving me this much!"

Jesus Christ is my life, my joy, my all.
Ning