What’s scarce? (Repost)

Seth's Blog

The only reason every project doesn’t scale to infinity is that something runs out. Time, money, natural resources, new fashions, new customers… something is scarce.

The first question you need to ask about your project is: what’s scarce?

The second: how do I get by with less of it?

Read the original post at Seth’s Blog.

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A Hidden Message: The Gospel in Genesis

I remember the first time this was shared with me at a Bible study. I continue to be amazed.

We frequently use the familiar term, gospel, or good news. Where is the first place it appears in the Bible? The answer may surprise you.

An Integrated Message

The great discovery is that the Bible is a message system: it’s not simply 66 books penned by 40 authors over thousands of years, the Bible is an integrated whole which bears evidence of supernatural engineering in every detail.

The Jewish rabbis have a quaint way of expressing this very idea: they say that they will not understand the Scriptures until the Messiah comes. But when He comes, He will not only interpret each of the passages for us, He will interpret the very words; He will even interpret the very letters themselves; in fact, He will even interpret the spaces between the letters!

When I first heard this, I simply dismissed this as a colorful exaggeration. Until I reread Matthew 5:17 and 18:

“Think not that I have come to destroy the Torah and the prophets; I have not come to destroy but to fulfill.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

(A jot and tittle are the Hebrew equivalent of our dotting an i and the crossing of a t.)

An Example

A remarkable example of this can be glimpsed in Genesis Chapter 5, where we have the genealogy of Adam through Noah. This is one of those chapters which we often tend to skim over quickly as we pass through Genesis it’s simply a genealogy from Adam to Noah.

But God always rewards the diligent student. Let’s examine this chapter more closely.

In our Bible, we read the Hebrew names. What do these names mean in English?

A Study of Original Roots

The meaning of proper names can be a difficult pursuit since a direct translation is often not readily available. Even a conventional Hebrew lexicon can prove disappointing. A study of the original roots, however, can yield some fascinating insights.

(A caveat: many study aids, such as a conventional lexicon, can prove rather superficial when dealing with proper nouns. Furthermore, views concerning the meanings of original roots are not free of controversy and variant readings.)

Let’s take an example.

The Flood Judgment

Methuselah comes from muth, a root that means “death”;1 and from shalach, which means to bring, or to send forth. The name Methuselah means, “his death shall bring”.2

Methuselah’s father was given a prophecy of the coming Great Flood, and was apparently told that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld; but as soon as he died, the flood would be brought or sent forth.

(Can you imagine raising a kid like that? Every time the boy caught a cold, the entire neighborhood must have panicked!)

And, indeed, the year that Methuselah died, the flood came.3

It is interesting that Methuselah’s life, in effect, was a symbol of God’s mercy in forestalling the coming judgment of the flood.

Therefore, it is fitting that his lifetime is the oldest in the Bible, speaking of the extensiveness of God’s mercy.

The Other Names

If there is such significance in Methuselah’s name, let’s examine the other names to see what may lie behind them.

Adam’s name means man. As the first man, that seems straight forward enough.

Seth

Adam’s son was named Seth, which means appointed. Eve said, “For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.4

Enosh

Seth’s son was called Enosh, which means mortal, frail, or miserable. It is from the root anash, to be incurable, used of a wound, grief, woe, sickness, or wickedness.

It was in the days of Enosh that men began to defile the name of the Living God.5

Kenan

Enosh’s son was named Kenan, which can mean sorrow, dirge, or elegy. (The precise denotation is somewhat elusive; some study aids unfortunately presume that Kenan is synonymous with Cainan.)

Balaam, looking down from the heights of Moab, uses a pun upon the name of the Kenites when he prophesies their destruction.6

We have no real idea as to why these names were chosen for their children. Often they may have referred to circumstances at birth, and so on.

Mahalalel

Kenan’s son was Mahalalel, from Mahalal which means blessed or praise; and El, the name for God. Thus, Mahalalel means the Blessed God. Often Hebrew names include El, the name of God, as Dan-i-el, “God is my Judge”, etc.

Jared

Mahalalel’s son was named Jared, from the verb yaradh, meaning shall come down.7

Enoch

Jared’s son was named Enoch, which means teaching, or commencement. He was the first of four generations of preachers. In fact, the earliest recorded prophecy was by Enoch, which amazingly enough deals with the Second Coming of Christ (although it is quoted in the Book of Jude in the New Testament):

Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against.”
Jude 14, 15

Methuselah

Enoch was the father of Methuselah, who we have already mentioned. Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah.8 Apparently, Enoch received the prophecy of the Great Flood, and was told that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld. The year that Methuselah died, the flood came.

Enoch, of course, never died: he was translated 9 (or, if you’ll excuse the expression, raptured ). That’s how Methuselah can be the oldest man in the Bible, yet he died before his father!

Lamech

Methuselah’s son was named Lamech, a root still evident today in our own English word, lament or lamentation. Lamech suggests despairing.

(This name is also linked to the Lamech in Cain’s line who inadvertently killed his son Tubal-Cain in a hunting incident.10)

Noah

Lamech, of course, is the father of Noah, which is derived from nachamto bring relief or comfort, as Lamech himself explains in Genesis 5:29.

The Composite List

Now let’s put it all together:

Hebrew English
Adam Man
Seth Appointed
Enosh Mortal
Kenan Sorrow;
Mahalalel The Blessed God
Jared Shall come down
Enoch Teaching
Methuselah His death shall bring
Lamech The Despairing
Noah Rest, or comfort.

That’s rather remarkable:

Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.

Here’s the Gospel hidden within a genealogy in Genesis!

(You will never convince me that a group of Jewish rabbis conspired to hide the Christian Gospel right here in a genealogy within their venerated Torah!)

Evidence of Design

The implications of this discovery are more wide spread than is evident at first glance.

It demonstrates that in the earliest chapters of the Book of Genesis, God had already laid out His plan of redemption for the predicament of mankind. It is a love story, written in blood on a wooden cross which was erected in Judea almost 2,000 years ago.

The Bible is an integrated message system, the product of supernatural engineering. Every number, every place name, every detail every jot and tittle is there for our learning, our discovery, and our amazement. Truly, our God is an awesome God.

It is astonishing to discover how many Biblical controversies seem to evaporate if one simply recognized the unity the integrity of these 66 books, penned by 40 authors over thousands of years.

It is remarkable how many subtle discoveries lie behind the little details of the text. Some of these become immediately obvious with a little study; some are more technical and require special helps.

Many of these discoveries are described in our Audio Book, Beyond Coincidence. Several are also highlighted in our Audio Book, The Creator Beyond Time and Space.

Look behind every detail: there’s a discovery to be made! God always rewards the diligent student. What other messages lay hidden behind the names in the Bible? Check it out.

Read the full article, “A Hidden Message: The Gospel in Genesis

Six Questions – The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast

I recently listened to Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast. Here are my summary notes on “Six Questions”.

Q1: Which Gauges Should We Be Watching? What Questions Are You Asking?

  • Listen to what we ask – do I really want to direct the behavior of people with that question.
  • If you want to know what someone values, listens to their questions.
  • What we ask is a mirror to what is most valuable to us as opposed to what we say is most important.
  • What are the behaviors that would be best for this organization, then, what question(s) can I begin to ask that will start to direct their behavior in a certain (desired) direction.

Q2: Who Needs To Be Sitting At The Table?

  • Do I have the right people sitting at the table? Who needs to be here as part of the decision-making process?
  • Where Are We Manufacturing Energy?
  • Where are we pretending (create a sense of excitement) to be more excited about something than we’re really excited about?
  • It forces us to face realities that many times we don’t want to mess with. We don’t want to changes things because it’s too hard, etc.

Q3: Where Do I Make The Greatest Contribution To The Organization?

  • In both my immediate responsibilities as well as the broad scheme of the organization am I the best fit?
  • Don’t ask the question just once. It needs to be asked at least annually, maybe even more frequently.
  • I don’t help the other people around find their best and highest usefulness when I don’t ask that about myself and about them. There maybe things I’m doing that someone else could thrive in if I would simply get out-of-the-way. Ask myself the question, “Is there a higher and best use of my talent in the organization?”
  • The flip side, “What should I stop doing?”

Q4: Who’s Not Keeping Up?

  • Always a hard question to ask. There is always a way to transition someone with dignity.
  • No one likes to ask this question. It’s painful. But it’s inevitable that as your organization hits 60 mph, there will be some still moving at 45 mph.
  • As painful as this question is, the truth is that other people already know the answer. They are wondering if you know. Accommodating people who are falling behind hurts the organization, dishonors those people, and will ultimately keep them from finding their areas of success.

Q5: What Have We Fallen In Love With That Is No Longer The Best Way To…

  • Everyone loves the way they do things or they wouldn’t do them that way.
  • Over time, the way we do things becomes emotional for us, part of our culture.
  • What have we become emotionally engaged with or attached with that is really not the best way to do it any longer?
  • Andy Groves, “Only the Paranoid Survive” asks the question

“I looked out the window at the Ferris wheel of the Great American amusement park revolving in the distance when I turned back to Gordon [Moore, CEO of Intel], and asked ‘If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what do you think he would do?’ Gordon answered without hesitation, “He would get us out of memories.’ [memory chips] I stared at him, numb, and then said ‘Why shouldn’t you and I walk out the door, come back, and do it ourselves?”

Q6: What Would A Great Leader Do?

  • It takes me beyond average. It drags me out of my comfort zone.
  • What would Winston Churchill do? Martin Luther King Jr.? Gandhi? Jesus?
  • What would they do that would be the unusual thing, bold thing, the courageous thing, the vision thing? The thing that took them beyond personal gain and personal reputation.
  • Even in the small issues, pause to give yourself permission to know the answer to the question, “If I were a great leader… truly selfless, truly committed to the organization more than I am committed to myself, more than my own ego or my own reputation, my income, my bonus, (my…my…my…my…) what would a great leader do?”
  • Even if I wouldn’t do what a great leader would do, you owe it to yourself to at least give yourself the margin to discover what a great leader would do, maybe just the though of what a great leader, if I were a great leader (if I were selfless), sometimes just knowing that is enough to pull us beyond the boundaries of our own ego and self-centeredness to actually do the great thing.

One other question that helps o set direction for your team/organization:

What happened yesterday that made you feel like you were successful in what you came here to do?

Additional information on this material is available at Insidenorthpoint.org.

Passion

Passion is the degree of difficulty we are willing to endure to accomplish the goal.
@louiegiglio