Archives For February 2011

Second Chances

joepuentes —  February 22, 2011 — Leave a comment

Barnabas and Leadership

In his writings, Greenleaf discusses the need for a better approach to leadership, one that puts first, serving others. Additionally, Greenleaf stated, the difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant—first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served (Spears, 2005, p. 2). Moreover, Stone et al. (2003) stated that the Servant-Leadership theory emphasizes the importance of appreciating and valuing people, listening, mentoring or teaching, and empowering followers (p. 4). Along with this, Anderson (2008) stated Greenleaf’s mantra for what a servant-leader “The servant-leader is servant first…. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first…” (p. 8).

Through Greenleaf’s words on Servant-Leadership, we see the living manifestation of them in biblical characters. In his book on the biblical theology of leadership, Howell (2003) defines for the readera the genesis for servant-leadership as defined in the Old Testament and New Testament definition of servant and slave. Accordingly, Howell shapes this leadership theory on several Old Testament figures, as well as on several New Testament personalities. While there are many figures in both the Old and New Testaments who demonstrate servant-leadership elements and dynamics, Joseph the Levite, also known as Barnabas “son of encouragement” encapsulates servant-leadership to the core of his being.

Son of Encouragement

When Jesus addressed the two brothers James and John as they sought to obtain authority and leadership in Jesus kingdom (Matthew 20:20-28, New International Version), Jesus told them in essence, that seeking authority and leadership positions in His kingdom have no place. Instead, Jesus told the two brothers that the standard or the culture of kingdom living is that of a servant. From its inception, early church leaders were instructed and lived out this cultural modus operandi and form of leadership ascendancy.

Esteem vs Generosity

In addition to this, Read-Heimerdinger (1998) with regards to Barnabas, stated how Acts demonstrated the high esteem with which Barnabas was regarded by the early church in both Jerusalem and Antioch, and how he played a leading role among the first Christians (p. 40). However, Barnabas did not seek out or intend to carry such esteem for himself, as seen in his example of the spirit of generosity in the sacrificial gift of the proceeds from the sale of a field he owned, and in stark contrast to the pretentious actions of Ananias and Sapphira (Howell, 2003, p. 230). Additionally, Read-Heimerdinger (1998) suggested that Barnabas’ role in the community of the disciples as that of comforter or encourager, and who had already gained the reputation for being righteous (p. 51). The biblical text clearly shows that Barnabas demonstrated some key servant-leadership elements such of appreciating and valuing people, listening, mentoring or teaching, and empowering followers.

Character of Second Chances

Consequently, Howell (2003) describes two incidences that capture the very essence of Barnabas the servant-leader. He shows how Barnabas demonstrates his selfless character by leaving his promising work in Antioch, where he was the recognized leader, to undertake a difficult pioneering work in Cyprus and Galatia (p. 233). This is also seen in the restoration of the failed brother John Mark. In the end, Barnabas’ policy of giving a young man a second chance produced salutary results both in his life and in the churches, a legacy that Paul acknowledges (p. 236).


Anderson, J., (2008). The Writings of Robert Greenleaf: An interpretive analysis and the future of servant-leadership. Servant          Leadership Research Roundtable, NA, 8.

Howell, D., (2003). Servants of the servant. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers.

Read-Heimerdinger, J., (1998). Barnabas in Acts: A study of his role in the text of codex Bezae. Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 72, 22-66.

Spears, L., (2005). The understanding and practice of servant- leadership. Servant Leadership Research Roundtable. NA, 2.

Stone, A., Russell, R., & Patterson, K., (2003). Transformational versus servant leadership: A difference in leader focus. Servant Leadership Research Roundtable, NA, 1-10.


joepuentes —  February 19, 2011 — Leave a comment

I’m a quotes guy. I don’t know why, I rarely use them in conversation, and I am not necessarily moved to achieve greatness because of quotes. Nonetheless, I love reading quotes and I love to collect them…

Here are a few of my favorites:

“you draw people to grace by daily giving grace. any other way just seems odd to me.” Mike Foster

“cure without care is more harmful than helpful.” Henri Nouwen

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” John Muir

“That very church which the world likes best is sure to be that which God abhors.” Charles Spurgeon.

“Leaders must be listeners and learners.” Dr. Robert Kurka

“The difference between who you are today and who you’ll be in 5 years are the people you spend time with and the books you read.” Unknown…

“It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.” Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia in the film 180° South

Here is a link to a blog on sermon quotes. I check it out frequently… SermonQuotes

Intentional Moments

joepuentes —  February 18, 2011 — 1 Comment

I can’t tell you how many times I stood at this spot (look at the picture to the left of the screen) or somewhere close to it, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge leading into San Francisco. Growing up in the Bay Area, I came to take for granted the times we would go into “The City” to visit family, catch a Giants game, hang out at Fisherman’s Wharf, go to Pier 39 where I would hangout at the magic shop and play with all the gadgets and magic tricks for countless minutes (Yes, I said minutes not hours. I wasn’t allowed to be by myself for very long). What I realize now that I didn’t back then was to capture all the moments around me and appreciate my situation and surroundings. There was no intentionality within me during those moments I had in The City by the Bay. Maybe because I was only 1o years old or younger at the time, but nonetheless I was to busy complaining about being tired, complaining about my sister, about being hunger, and whatever else I could find – I was focused on me, myself, and I, not on the beauty and wonder around me.

Isn’t that how it is with us sometimes? We bumble through moments and fail to be intentional geographically, situationally, and relationally. You know what though, I think we as parents do this with our kids more than anything else. Recently, some friends of mine had their first baby, and this started me thinking about the time my oldest daughter was born. I had to reach way back into the memory banks to recall any moments during that time and was hard-pressed to recollect anything. Oh, I remember that I drove to the hospital in a gray 1970 two door Impala, which had a driver’s door that wouldn’t open.I remember it was raining and my wife telling me to slowdown, because the roads were wet. I also remember the “deer-in-the-headlights” look on the doctor’s face when she realized that this was really it (she was a very young and new doctor). I have some recollection of my daughter’s face when she was placed on my wife’s chest for the first time right after her delivery, my daughter had the look of doubt and uncertainty of whether she wanted to be there or not. And you know what, that’s it! From that moment on, I don’t have a lot of memories of those early time. It is also the same thing with my other two kids. Call me a bad dad  or whatever, but I bet it is the same with you. If not with your child(s) birth, it is with something else that pertains to them. We all do it, we all miss intentional moments with our kids. The thing we need to do is to savor the ones that we do catch, and to create new ones that have yet to be.

This year marks three different milestones for my family. We will for the first time have three teenagers in our house, our youngest turned thirteen years old this past January. Our son turns fifteen years old in may, which means he will be at the halfway point to thirty (plus he is going to shave his chin and upper lip for the first time). And our oldest daughter will turn eighteen years old in October. I got to be honest, I am a little behind in the intentional moments category when it comes to capturing those times with my kids. I was busy “making ends meet” and establishing myself in the world as an adult. My strategy now is to pay attention to those moments where I can have intentional moments and conversations with my three teenagers (Unfortunately, I am still trying to “make ends meet” and establish myself as an adult), even if they are small ones at that. I just want to capture with my kids and teach them to perk their ears to the sounds, flare their nostrils to the smells, and focus their eyes to the sights, and savor the moments that we do catch and create new moments that have yet to be…

So after sitting and contemplating these things and thinking about my friends who just had their first baby, I was compelled to send a text message to my friend telling him to capture every moment with his baby boy and wife. Even the mundane moments. I told him to capture them and be intentional in savoring those moments, because before you know it time passes and you end up bumbling it away and those moments become a blur. My memory of my kids when they were little and the moments in “The City” aren’t very clear, but one thing I do know are the intentional moments that I’m catching now and the intentional moments that I’m creating that have yet to be are not a blur.