Principle of Abundance

Shut-Down“Today I spent Christmas completely alone…”
(from my journal, December 25, 1995)

Quick quiz: What do Bluebell Ice Cream, Tylenol, Rolaids, SMU Football, and ancient Judah (Israel) all have in common?

Answer: They all experienced a drastic, though temporary shutdown.

Shutdown. The word was hardly used prior to 1950. Now it’s a common part of our lexicon. It’s typically used of the government when Congress can’t seem to get together on a budget or debt ceiling limit (which in government terms is about the same as “budget”). A government shutdown, of course, is commonly believed to be a horrible thing.

Other than that, you often hear the term used to describe some sort of drastic action taken by a company. The whole state of Texas declared a state of emergency on April 4 when Blue Bell started closing its creameries – all of them – because of an incident of listeria contamination.

(If you aren’t from Texas or have never observed that state’s love affair with Blue Bell, picture shutting down football in Tuscaloosa, guns in Wyoming, or lobster rolls in Maine.)

I’ve been thinking about shutdowns lately for a couple of reasons, not the least of which was the heartburn I felt last night and the Rolaids I was gratefully chewing on (sorry Tums, you’ll have to go back to being Plan B). I have also been remembering a personal shutdown period I went through myself exactly 20 years ago. I don’t talk about it much anymore, but it still shapes a large part of who I am today. [click to continue…]

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The light in young woman hands in cupped shape. Concepts of sharing, giving, offering, taking care, protection

“I don’t know how to describe this.”

Ever have an experience like that?

Ever observe something so profound, so extraordinary, so loaded with meaning that words looked cheap next to it?

One of the finest wordsmiths of all time, and a major contributor to the Bible itself, had that very experience. And in the midst of his gritty, get-it-done work and demeanor, even he was at a loss to use words to describe what was taking place. All Paul could say was, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

That’s a profound thing to say, considering some of the things he did describe in his New Testament letters.

Know what makes it even more profound? This “indescribable gift” came disguised as something rather ordinary, that anyone, anywhere can enjoy. This isn’t some secret sauce for super-saints. In fact, on a surface level it looks rather common and ordinary. And yet something behind the scenes turns the ordinary into a speechless wonder.

Know what makes it even better than that? You may have been participating in this indescribable gift and didn’t even realize it. Or if you haven’t, you can start today. [click to continue…]

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CelebrationThink fast…

When was the last time you asked the Lord to do something for you and He graciously did it?

Think faster…

Why did He do that?

Sorry for being presumptuous, but let me guess at some typical think-fast answers…

  • Because He loves me.
  • Because I asked.
  • Because He said He would.
  • Because He wanted to (it was “His will”)

I’m sure there are more, and I’m quite sure that whatever you came up with has at least some measure of truth in it. But I’m not sure we’ve landed on the ultimate prize.

Slow down your thinking a little and read this carefully (the emphasis is mine): [click to continue…]

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Hidden Clock

In the mood for a little detective work?  Care to uncover a secret that may have right in front of our noses for years?  It certainly was in mine, and I was oblivious.

Would you be interested in mining out some clues if I told you that when you do, you may have discovered one of the most powerful life and success principles known to humanity?  And that if you master this one skill, the transformation in your own life, to say nothing of your influence and circumstances, can be breathtaking?

Am I exaggerating?  No, if anything I’m understating the potential of this discovery.

Getting this – I mean really getting it – can explain why you tend to sabotage yourself after you’ve made progress toward a goal.

It may explain why churches or individual leaders lose their influence, or why they nourish it.

It may explain why you have made progress toward healing, then somehow hit a wall.

It may explain why your relationships go in frustrating cycles – hot today, cold tomorrow… intimate today, lonely later.

Finding this secret is like discovering a clock on your wall that’s been there the whole time, quietly ticking away, pointing to the correct time, but you may have never noticed it.  In one sense it’s obvious – in another, it probably calls for a closer look than you have given it.

Will it help you win the lottery?  Doubtful.  But it could lead you to a place where you never pine away for sudden wealth again.

Will it solve all your relationship problems?  Maybe, maybe not.  But it will position you to gain the most from every relationship you have or want to have, whether others cooperate or not.

I wish I could tell you that this secret has been locked away in some government vault and is now being released to a select few, and that if you pay me $3,999.00 I will share it with you, along with seven free bonus offers.  But the thing is, this secret has been in open view for anybody to see – and it’s free.

Still here?  Ready?  Okay, no more hype.  [click to continue…]

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Leading the Team Out of a Maze

Nobody talks about the life-changing leader who helped them raise their umbrella at the beach.  Influence happens only rarely in comfort zones or times of ease. Vision is not the starry-eyed product of Monday morning quarterbacks or couch potatoes. Adversity was made for leadership.  And leaders were made for adversity.

Seth Godin puts it this way: [click to continue…]

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Wreck 2

Why?

It’s the favorite question of three-year-olds, because at three you’re still innocent enough to believe it always merits an answer.

But as time passes and our “whys?” become more sophisticated, we begin to understand that there are often multiple layers and perspectives of answers to that question.

Then sometimes there is no answer at all.  At least no answer that will ever satisfy our demand to know what on earth (or heaven or hell) is going on.

I don’t know why, and probably never will, somebody decided to stop dead still with no lights of any kind on in the fast lane of a freeway in New Orleans – just around a little curve.

I don’t know why, and probably never will, that had to take place just ahead of me.

I don’t know why, if such an appointment was necessary, it couldn’t have taken place during one of the many times I’ve cruised that stretch of highway alone, instead of when I was driving with my daughter and two grandsons.

I don’t know why, and probably never will, that high-speed rear-end collision turned into a hit-and-run.  I hit and he ran, never to be seen or heard from again. [click to continue…]

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Above the Fog

There’s a productivity that gets things done.

There’s another productivity that makes things one… that nourishes the soul and flourishes into gratitude…

Expectancy…

Joy.

This is Productivity of the Soul.

Both are important.  [click to continue…]

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Weakness on Warning Road Sign.

Tense truth:  Since we all have points of glaring weakness, it is far more efficient to focus on our strengths and partner with others to address our weaknesses.  But sometimes we can’t escape the necessity of addressing those areas of epic incompetence. The key is discerning when to hunker down and deal with it, and when to hand it off to someone else.

+++++++

Need some encouragement?  I can help you with that.

Need to find the right words to express something?  I’m your guy.

Need me to remember a meeting or handle a detail I told you I would?  Sure hope I wrote it down.  With a reminder.  In more than one place.  Why?  Because I’m awful – I mean awful – at details.  Just ask some of my students about my “absent minded professor” moments.

Um, better still, don’t. [click to continue…]

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Shoes on the Altar

Update:  You can see the video here:

Love where you live.

That’s the theme at our church for the next few weeks.

There are lots of planned ways to do that over the next few weeks, and it’s fun to be a part of that.  But the goal, as Pastor Alan explained yesterday, is to help us get to the point where we do it in the moment.  Don’t just plan to love where you live sometime next week.  Love where you live in this moment.

His inspiration, in part:  Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan.

Alan said he’d been reading that story over and over, and was impressed by the fact that the Samaritan loved his neighbor in the immediate.  He didn’t say, “Hey, if you’re still in the ditch when I come back through I’ll stop and help you.”  He helped him as soon as he encountered the need.

I loved it.  He said it kinda funny, so I laughed, but totally agreed with the point.

Then came the curve ball. [click to continue…]

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Sadness and happiness

Hop on the Hypothetical Bus with me for just a minute.  Let’s take a ride.

Let’s assume that as far as you know you’ve been doing everything you know to do correctly.

  • You brush and floss 2-3 times a day.
  • You have your daily devotions.
  • You exercise devotedly.
  • You give your money regularly to your church and other places.
  • You do a really good job at whatever you call work.
  • You only eat organic Cheetos.
  • You get your milk from a Christian cow.

Yet despite all the good things you’re doing and the faith and expectations you’ve been exercising, you just checked the scoreboard and,

Uh oh…

Your life is something like that mean football cheer:

Watermelon, watermelon, watermelon rind!
Look at the scoreboard and see who’s behind…
You!

What do you do when the news should be good, but it’s discouraging instead? [click to continue…]

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