“What is the secret of your life?” asked Mrs. Browning of Charles Kingsley; “Tell me, that I may make mine beautiful too?”
He replied, “I had a friend.” -William C. Gannet
It was 18 years ago this month that I came to this place… this place of tumbleweeds and dust and amazing sunsets and more amazing people.
It was nothing short of surrender. I had given up on me – the “me” of my own making or imagination, that is.
My friends in Atlanta asked, “Where are you moving?”
“To hell,” I replied. “If the world was flat, Lubbock would be on the edge of it.”
But oh what I discovered when I showed up as a shell of the man I once was. Most importantly, I discovered that God was here all the time, waiting so patiently for me to get here. [click to continue…]
Nobody who takes on a leadership role sets out to blow it. I’ve never heard of a CEO who dreamed of halving his market share, a pastor who fantasized about getting the right foot of fellowship, or a government leader who longs to go from hero to zero.
But leadership failure happens. Often. And while it can happen quickly at times, usually there are warning signs. Unfortunately, most of the time we wait for hindsight to convince us of what foresight and insight have probably been hollering all along.
If you’re a leader, or have the ear of one, you may want to pay attention to these seven warning signals before it’s too late. [click to continue…]
(Sort-of-random thoughts on the anniversary of infamy and conspiracy theories and high-powered cold medicine, which doesn’t really go with the previous two subjects but can sure make you see them in a whole new way…)
So many years gone… I was only five at the time. Still I remember the solemn funeral, the haunting image of the caisson and that black, riderless horse, and Mrs. Kennedy standing behind the veil. I don’t remember much else of the time, except for the fact that we had a black-and-white TV with three channels available, and when the president was on TV, we could forget watching Captain Kangaroo or Tom and Jerry because he would be on all three channels at the same time.
Wow… how did I ever survive a childhood without Sesame Street, the Cartoon Network, or Nick Jr.? The “Disney Channel” of course! Which came on for an hour every Sunday night at 6:00 on NBC.
Okay, so – in case you missed it – I wanted to let you know that there are people who still believe that no single shooter could have ended the days of Camelot. [click to continue…]
We needed $370.00. That’s what I figured up after looking at the bills.
That was how much month we had left at the end of the money.
Why was this important on this day? Because I was leading a “praise revival” at a small church in north Texas. Because we were newly-married. Because we were short on cash. Because this was the last day of the conference, and the love offering check would soon be coming in.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that preachers prayed about such things.
Anyway, on this day, we needed $370. I could have asked the Lord for more; after all, it’s nothing to God to see to it I got $1,000, or $10,000 for that matter.
I could have asked for nothing, and said, “Lord, whatever your will is – that’s fine with me.”
But I sensed the freedom to ask – not big, but not small either. To pray specifically for a need. The need was for $370.00, so that was what I asked the Lord for. [click to continue…]
What do you do when you’re the leader and somebody on your team drops the ball? Or worse, in their zeal for your cause, they do more harm than good? Every leader would relish having people with the strength of a bull on their team. We just don’t want the bulls charging into china shops.
Leadership is forged during awkward times. During periods of public strain, pain, or frustration, our attention turns to those we presume to be in leadership. On a national scale, for example, people in the United States turn to the president to help make sense of their fearful or angry moments (and we’ve had our share of those lately).
They assume that leaders have something to say. They watch instead for what the leader actually does. They’re not looking for place holders. They’re looking for leaders who have a sense for how to please them as they lead them. And as leaders throughout time have discovered, there is no such thing as private or secret leadership. Heck, even the Secret Service isn’t that secret.
In between the stories of his giant killing and his adultery dodging, an obscure little verse in the Bible describes how people responded to its beloved King David. It’s every leader’s dream come true: [click to continue…]
For all the ways you may have been blessed
Or tried to bless others,
And all the ways you have received
Or given value in this life,
After all the ways that people measure contributions
Or celebrate distinction,
The greatest legacy you could ever leave
Is that you were loved first, and loved in return.
That takes a lot of grace. And a little bit of faith. [click to continue…]
Next time you make an appointment with me, I’ll just expect you to show up early! Boy, was that a quick surprise! But I’ll take that kind of surprise any day.
We welcomed you into the world on Wednesday, September 18, just two days after your Great Grandpaw turned 76 years old. “We” is a relative term, however, and this relative didn’t get to make it until Friday. But that surprise one-of-a-kind voice you heard while you were still in the hospital? Yep. That was Grammy.
That’s about all I know to say about that.
You were born into a family that absolutely adores children. You were wanted. Anticipated. Prayed for. And delighted in… long before you were ever born.
You big brother Jackson is already crazy about you. He loves to watch you sleep, hold you (with a little help), and pat you while you’re sleeping. He’s both tenderhearted and brilliant – I can’t think of a better big brother for you.
Your parents are pretty amazing people themselves. [click to continue…]
All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord,
When they hear the words of Your mouth.
Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
For great is the glory of the Lord.
Though the Lord is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar (Psalm 138:4-6, NKJ).
- If you’re feeling far from God, pride may be the issue.
This is a true story. The names are changed.
Will was an insecure, painfully shy 11-year-old boy who came from a very poor family. But his sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Goodwin, saw something special in him – not just in the student he was at the time, but as the adult he could become. And through that year, she began to give Will a gift that no one to that point had ever dared offer – the gift of confidence.
She told him he was the smartest student she ever had. She said it to him personally and to the class.
She told him how much potential he had.
She took him to her home.
She even took him to the junior high school he would attend the next year to introduce Will to his teachers and tell them what a great student he was.
She told him that the only other student who showed his potential became the vice president of a well-known university.
True to Mrs. Goodwin’s prediction, Will became the first person in his family to go to college. Buoyed by her care and concern he went on to a successful academic career… as a… (you guessed it) vice president of a major university.
Mrs. Goodwin was more than a teacher. She was a leader. She saw in an awkward kid a destiny that nobody else saw. Put in leadership terms, she had a vision. Then she set about investing the time and service necessary to put Will on a path toward that vision.
And the tool she used: Influence. [click to continue…]
Okay, time for a little famous brands trivia.
Without Googling for answers, see if you can guess how many of the following brand names were/are actual people:
Ben and Jerry
Answers are below: [click to continue…]