With the stock market up almost 25% in 2017, it might be a good year to consider giving appreciated stock instead of cash. This would be a great question to ask your financial adviser or tax professional before December 31st.
Giving cash gifts to your church or favorite charities is always a blessing to them. You may, however, qualify for a significant tax break and avoid capital gains taxes by donating appreciated non-cash assets such as stock or real estate. Other non-cash gifts would also include giving such items as vehicles, boats or equipment.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” ~ Henry Ford
One is too small a number to do anything great. None of us are as good as all of us. The image of the Body of Christ is that of a living organism that is the sum of all its parts. For us to function effectively, we must not only discover our role in the Body, but we must fully embrace it as God’s intended purpose for our lives. We each have unique personalities, qualities, gifts, talents, abilities and backgrounds that were designed by God and granted to us. We are to be good stewards of the gifts and abilities He has given us.
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
We are born to grow…physically, mentally and spiritually. I often hear the question: “Are leaders born or is leadership a skill we have to learn?” You probably know people who seem to just have a natural bent toward being a good leader while others have to work at it. Either way, all leaders must be committed to growth. Leaders are learners and great leaders are great learners.
“You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” ~ Yogi Berra
There are times when everything lines up perfectly and goes exactly as planned. I usually get nervous when that happens! Think about it, most of the challenges we face as leaders require us not only to solve complex issues, but to do so by involving people. There is no way to guarantee that even a well-designed project will unfold just as planned. I’ve often said “everything works on paper.” A wise approach for leaders is to always be well prepared, but also be very flexible and teachable in the process.
wpengineBe Prepared…Be Flexible – Summit Life Today
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” ~ Vince Lombardi
Having sufficient bench depth is crucial for every kind of team. How many times have you seen a star player get injured and his team is unable to win without him? This can happen in every level of sports and in every kind of business. If you rely too heavily on any one player, you are not in a good position to consistently win in the long run.
“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.” ~ Wayne Dyer
Generosity reflects the nature of God. Out of God’s unlimited abundance, He freely and graciously gives good things to His children. As Christian leaders, we must always remember that our Heavenly Father “owns the cattle of a thousand hills”. He alone is our provider and sustainer. All the blessings in our lives come from Him and He has promised to meet our every need. We must have an “abundance mindset” and trust God’s provision in our lives. When we give to God by being generous to others, we demonstrate our trust in God and honor Him through our gift.
“I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
Begin with “The End” in mind. This is a great leadership principle taught by Stephen Covey. Having a clear vision and understanding about what success looks like tomorrow is essential for taking the right steps today. At the beginning of the day, you need to know what will define success at the end of the day. Try using the “Five W’s” (Who, What, Where, Why, When) in order to ask yourself success defining questions. The answer to “How” is much easier to answer if you’ve asked the “Five W’s” first.
“Decide upon your major definite purpose in life and then organize all your activities around it.” ~ Brian Tracy
Focused faith is simply being intentional about living out what we claim to believe. With all the distractions in the culture around us, it’s easy to drift into a lifestyle of fuzzy faith. If someone isn’t clear about what they believe, the world will draw them away from their faith. It often happens as a subtle drift caused by the currents of compromise. King Solomon gives us wise advice about keeping our focus as we walk by faith.
“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” ~ Dorothy Bernard
Faith is doing it afraid. Faith is not the absence of fear but rather the ability to face and overcome fear. As Christian leaders, we are called to take a stand for what we know is right and true. That’s not always an easy thing to do. Obedience usually requires courage.
“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.” ~ Carl Sandburg
Your leadership responsibilities bring with them the risk of burnout. The constant stream of problems to solve and resources to stretch can be draining and exhausting. The formula is quite simple: If more energy is expended than is renewed, strength is depleted. When you experience seasons where you feel worn down, overstretched or overwhelmed, be encouraged by these words of Isaiah: