Action

Teamwork

(In 100 words, every New Testament reference, in order, from John to 1 John, describing God’s vision for how Christ followers act toward each other. Read this slowly. Thoughtfully. Out loud if possible. Learn some things… watch the flow, note the repetitions… and remember, this means both giving and receiving, so go back and re-read it as a potential receiver. Leave a comment and tell me what you find. )

+++++++ [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Change

Change.

Dear God, something needs to change.

Your measurables need to change – those places where you keep score with numbers or portions.

Your immeasurables need to change – those areas where nobody’s chaperoning you and you don’t get tickets or fired for blowing it – you just slowly die or spiritually starve by neglecting them.

Your relationships need to change – the ones you have taken for granted or the ones with open wounds.

Your focus needs to change – the bulls-eye of your pursuits, that somehow are chasing trivia and ignoring your most important dreams or vital values.

Something needs to change. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Start your engines

It’s hard for Alex to force himself to go to work these days. The honeymoon there is way past over, and the only reason he shows up now is a paycheck.  He compares himself to others who have gone way too long without any job, and feels guilty for complaining.  But this work situation is starting to affect his health, his relationships, and his confidence.  He’s been looking, but no other possibilities have presented themselves.

What does Alex do? Does he endure or does he walk away?  Does he press on, or does he “step out in faith” in search of new opportunities?

Tyler and Jennifer have reached a similar decision, not about work, but about the church they attend.  The congregation has been hit hard with splits, neighborhood transition, and pastoral changes.  They have been a part of this fellowship since they married, and have faithfully served.  But they have moved to another neighborhood themselves, and it feels harder and harder to go back to what feels like a sinking ship.

What do they do? Is this a time to be “steadfast, immovable,” and all that? Or is it a time to “mount up with wings as eagles” and fly away?

(Yeah, you can make the Bible say just about anything you want it to in cases like this.)

These kinds of questions are common for any believer… [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

Quicksand

Ever have a conversation like this?

Whatever happened to ________? I really thought he was going places.

Not sure.  Ever since [insert a distracting or demoralizing event] he never was quite the same.

I’ve witnessed countless scenarios like that one. I even lived out a few of them.

The idea of leadership is that you’re influencing people, formally or informally, to move together toward a certain goal.  If it were easy, anybody could do it.  But because you’re dealing with people, and because leadership often involves matters of the heart, it’s easy to find yourself sucked into leadership quicksand.

At best, it’s a distraction and you lose focus.

At worst, it can paralyze and ultimately destroy your influence.

Here are 10 sloughs to avoid (or get out of today) to allow your leadership to see another day: [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

Diaper Derby

I never laid eyes on you before.
Never had dreams come true before.
But there’s always a time for a new beginning.
Our multiplied sorrow now is through.
And all of the waiting’s over, too.
And it’s been worth it all, for this new beginning.

And who is like the Lord, who turns my mourning into dancing,
And holds all things together, in His hands?
He whispered, “Let there be…” and He began the world all over.
But this time He laid its future in my hands.
(Unfinished song I started 30 years ago today, when my baby girls were born)

Your life is an adventure in starting over.

You may prefer maintenance mode.  You may want to pretend that you’re in perpetual motion.  You may claim to be too old, too successful, too far along, or too [insert excuse here], but the fact is, your entire life is a collage of cycles and rhythms.

And that involves starting over. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Diligent Leadership

Here’s a good conversation starter for you.  If you could identify one thing in a prospective leader that would ensure success, what would it be?

Or if you are currently in a place of influence, what’s the one thing you should strive for, today and every day?

Let the suggestions roll in… discussions like these will yield stand-by favorites such as vision, compassion, examples, character, communication, inspiration, encouragement and the like.  All good answers.

It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know there’s a Bible answer for that.  In fact, there are several, if you dig deeply enough.  But there’s one place where the Bible – particularly the Apostle Paul – addresses leaders. And there he could have used any word in the language of his day to challenge them.  So what one word did he use?  See for yourself: [click to continue…]

{ 5 comments }

inflated gloveThe stress you feel is proportional to the amount of control you have over a situation.

That sounds very intuitive, but there’s a spiritual contradiction to that.  More on that in a minute.

Here’s an example of how that idea works out in the natural.  A month ago I go to the doctor and he says my lipid levels are high.  I roll my eyes and say, “same old same old.” I don’t get stressed about it because there is something I can do to correct it.  Anyway, I’ve been hearing that for 30 years.

When he sends me for another test and I find out my heart calcium score is high, almost in the danger zone, again, the first thing I do is look for something I can do about it, because I have a steadfast belief that I can do something about it.  So I’m motivated, but not stressed.

Same thing goes, even when I’m told I’m a Type II diabetic because of my lifestyle choices in the past.  Well, crud.  But I can do something about that by making different choices (and by the way I am making different choices and seeing wonderful results).

But when the doctor says I have a narrowing in the arteries at the top of my heart and he “wants to take a look at it” with an angiogram, and oh, by the way, if there is a significant enough blockage he may put a stint in it, suddenly he has crossed the line of my control.

Hello stress. [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

ChickenSomebody just stumbled into a chicken-and-egg situation. And I’m not talking about foxes in the henhouse.  This is more of the “What came first?” variety. And the answer to that proverbial question has profound implications for your life.

Here’s the back story…

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently published a report outlining how the average American spends his or her money.  Assuming you’re average, you spend a third of your income on housing, 17% on transportation, 13% on food, 11% on insurance, and 7% on healthcare. Entertainment lags back at 5% and the average American gives 4% to churches or charities. Interesting, there was no mention of debt service, at least in the report I read.

Of course, who’s average, right? So Derek Thompson of The Atlantic did some more figuring.  He split up income categories into quintiles – the top 20%, the bottom 20%, and the three in the middle. He then compared how the top fifth spend their money proportionally, compared to the bottom fifth.

Would it come as a shock that there is a difference? [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

list 3Recently I was on the campus of a school where I teach as an adjunct professor. I was walking through the student center and saw this – a massive list of that university’s graduates for this year.

It was really gratifying to see the names of people I recognized.  To a random stranger these were just 470 some-odd names on a really big page. To me they were much more.

The List wasn’t able to capture the sleepless hours, the frustrations and insecurities, and the enormous energy invested.  And that’s just the professors! (Just kidding.)

It couldn’t detail the hours of work, the sacrifices and support of families, or the poignant life stories behind each of those names. Behind every name is a story worth telling and a future worth finding. (That, friends, is why they call it “commencement” when people graduate.)

My joy was in knowing I had planted some things in some of those students and they had nourished it to a point of fruitfulness.  And what was I doing when they were celebrating this big accomplishment?

Planting some more in a future crop of leaders. And grateful for the privilege.

There are lessons in The List. For you. For me… [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Lost for Words

by Andy Wood on July 22, 2013

in Esteem, Following Your Passion, Life Currency, LV Cycle

Speechless LoveThere are over 3,000 words in the English language to describe some kind of feeling.  According to design student Pei-Ying Lin that’s about 21 words short. Lin, in working with colleagues from London’s Royal College of Art, identified 21 words from other languages for which there is no English word.  Example: The Russian word, Tocka, which means “Great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause…ache of soul, a longing with nothing to long for.”

You can find out more, and see Lin’s infographic, by clicking here.

Of course, what Lin has accomplished, while significant, is no real surprise – especially for anybody who’s ever found themselves not knowing how to express exactly how they felt.

Sometimes the gratitude is too great. [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }