062: 5 Leadership Lessons Learned From A King [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

5-leadership-lessons-from-a-king-001The famous story of Daniel in the lion’s den yields many life lessons. But there is another key player in the story through which we can learn good and faithful leadership.


King Darius. 

Leadership one…  His kingdom was too big for him to rule alone so he divided up his land and gave the oversight to 120 high officers.  Daniel 6:1

  • Disperse your leadership.

Leadership two… “The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king’s interests.” Daniel 6:2 

  • Allow others to lead.

Leadership three… Darius was watching for up and coming leaders to whom he could give greater responsibility.    “Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.” Daniel 6:3 

  • Look for up and coming leaders and make a plan to challenge them into leadership.

Leadership four… Even though it was painful, Darius stuck to his decision. Daniel 6:7

  • Be consistent in your leadership.

Leadership five… He executed swift consequences for those who were not team players and threatened the team.  “Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den.” Daniel 6:24 

  • Don’t hesitate to do the right thing.

The only fault… Darius didn’t trust but verify…“We are all in agreement—we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors—that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions.”  Daniel 6:7 



Life Lessons from the Dominican Republic

Iphone Dominican 1739Most of the kids ran shoeless through the streets.  Many wore little more than a tattered T-shirt left by past missionaries who happened to stumble through a week of serving outside of their comfort-zones.  Consuelto, Dominican Republic by name,  this was the very tiny, incredibly poor village in which I spent last week trying to build relationships through language-less interactions.  I don’t speak Spanish, other than the obligatory “Gracias,” “Hola” and “Donde es Banios?”  However, one doesn’t need to be a linguist to learn some deep life lessons from this village that isn’t even on Google Maps:

  • People are people, no matter where you are in the world.  Part of my week involved hosting a kids club in which our team played games with the local children, taught them a story via use of a translator and did a craft.  The boys were squirrely, the girls fought for attention and they all smiled – a lot!  On other days, I climbed up on top of the little church that we were helping and worked with the locals to build and install a new roof.  They, like us, were telling jokes and goofing around among the hard work.  I couldn’t understand it all, but some of the jokes were, shall we say, earthy.  I laughed, figured out how I could add to the clean conversations and had an incredible experience!
  • Money isn’t everything.  What if you lived in a culture where there simply wasn’t money, or at the very least, very little of it?  Eventually, you realize that there are other aspects of life that add value in a deeper way than merely the monetary.  I noticed that generally many of the people in the village were happier than many people I know in the States.  Even though what I earn in one day equates to their yearly salary, they often found life more enriching through other venues of fulfillment.  Which brings me to the next life lesson.
  • Being in meaningful relationships brings life to life.  Some of us need many many friends.  Others of us need only a few.  All of us, no matter where we are in the world, were made to intersect with other people.  The conversations our team had via our interpreters highlighted this fact.  People talked about their love and concern for others and their desire to know more and more people.  In essence, people are designed to do life with other people.
  • Knowing you are loved, changes everything.   When people found out that our team paid to visit and work with them, they were utterly amazed.  They felt loved and it changed they way they viewed ‘Americanos’.  When we know we are loved, we are empowered to make positive life changes and then return that love back into the world.  We did a lot of hugging, laughing, and talking about Hope.  It communicated that our team loves this village, which we do.   My heart is still full thinking about the exchange of love.
  • Iphone Dominican 1718To grow, you need to do things in your gifted-zone but push outside your comfort-zone.  Your Creator has designed you in a certain and beautiful way.  You may be handy with a hammer but not so much with a conversation.  You may be great at leading people up front but not so great at lending a hand behind the scenes.  You need to find out your wiring!  That is your gifted zone.  But to feel fulfilled, you need to contribute based on those gifts but push outside what makes you comfortable.  For me, that was an integral life lesson that I’m bringing back to my ‘normal’ life.  (I have an inventory that helps people discover their style.  If you’re interested, click here)

If you’re interested in being involved in changing the world and being changed in the process, there are many organizations through which to do so.  The trip our team went on was through World Servants.  You can check out their opportunities by going to www.WorldServants.org.



Life Lessons Learned From a Volleyball Tournament – part 2

girls-volleyball-cedar-cliff-vs-cumberland-valley-september-17th-2012-dcc96360b5a25349Sports analogies for life are always great.  Running a race, playing on a team, handing of the baton, all of these help us understand how the “sport” of life is to be playing.  As I mentioned in the previous post, as I’ve been watching my daughter play volleyball, many life lessons came to light.  I’ve already spoken of three of them:

When if gets crazy, default up.
Always talk to others.
Know your position but always offer help.

Here are 3 more life lessons that I learned as a sideline spectator and philosopher:

  1. There’s always another turn.  To think that your always going to win is a sure sign of an idiot.  You are not always a winner.  Sometimes a set up for success gets tipped by an unforeseen obstacle and your idea goes crashing to the floor.  Get up.  Get back in position because another day is coming.  As my friend Shelly Schwalm says, “Shake it off. Next play!”
  2. Sometimes you have to take a time out.  There is a reason timeouts work so well with kids.  Breaks give us time to clear our head, gain clarity and regroup for another run.  I’ve tried to practice taking break based on a model I learned many years ago.  Read about it by Clicking here.
  3. Develop your strength.  Each of us can do something well.  In life, some of us are “hitters” others are “setters.”  Figure out what you do well and spend most of your time discovering, developing and deploying that strength.  Don’t ignore your weaknesses however – work on those as well. But don’t get overwhelmed on those.  Practice what you’re good at and the rest will come.

These are just a few of the life lessons I learned over the weekend.

What others have you learned from a sport you love?



Life Lessons Learned From a Volleyball Tournament – part 1

My weekend life has been volleyball.  Not me on the court – heavens no.  But proudly watching my libero daughter lay waste to the back row.  Watching the volley go back and forth, it struck me how the game of volleyball parallels life in many significant ways.


  1. When if gets crazy, default up.  Life has its moments called chaos.  Pregnant schedules, emotional demands and the speed of the day can overwhelm.  Just like in volleyball, when you are thrown off balance and it feels like everything is about to drop, think “up.”  Direct your energy and movement up through prayer and solitude.  God buys you time and gives you His perspective so that you can enter the next event relaxed and reassured.
  2. Always talk to others.  Teams fail for lack of communication. No matter what you do during your day, connection with others helps sanity reign and gives you other people’s eyes when your trying to make critical daily decisions.  (Click here for a blog post on group think.)
  3. Know your position but always offer help.  Saying “no” for many is hard.  Especially when it comes to an event or task at which we have some mastery.  But is it the right thing to do, given what you have to do already.  Knowing your position means that you prioritize that which you need to handle but also being open to helping where needed.  But be careful. Certain folks have a hankering for sucking you dry.  In my terms, some people are bridge-dwellers and others are island-dwellers.  Be cautious of the former and enjoy the latter.  (Click here to read what I mean).

Part 2 later.