Change

When everything around you seems unsettled, and old foundations, once-sturdy, have given way to more invisible calls for faith…

As familiar faces and customary graces distance themselves, each for reasons of their own – each creating their own sense of short-term grief or longing…

I pray that you will experience a fresh rush of God’s Spirit – manifesting Himself powerfully, touching your heart tenderly, transforming you beautifully, reminding you faithfully that you are never truly alone. [click to continue…]

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(Life in the Public Eye Edition)

I’ve been listening to a lot of professional communicators lately. I’ve also been seeing a lot of people in the public eye, for better or worse.  Politicians. Preachers. Entertainers. Protesters. Prophets of doom. Leaders, or leader wannabes.  Victims or those pretending to be victims.

I’ve had some thoughts about all that.  Wildly accurate thoughts, of course, because hey, they were mine.  But rather than blather on about my forgettable opinions, I thought I would share some real wisdom.

As I have mentioned in previous posts like this one, I get a front row seat to some amazing writing, all sent like these with the hopes of earning an A on a paper or discussion forum.

(I get plenty of bad writing too, but I’m saving that for another day.)

So I’ve been keeping a file of my favorite student quotations for quite some time now, and today I would like to share a powerful collection with you. All of these are about something to do with living in the public eye, either as a leader or as a public servant or communicator.  Sooner or later this could be you in your 15 minutes of you-know-what.

Read on (it’s a quick read) and brace for impact. You will be impressed and blessed by these insights. [click to continue…]

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Color abstract background with birds and flower and  blue eye.(Fumes, Form, and Fashion, Part 3)

Suffocating.  That’s how Amanda describes it. No, the office walls aren’t literally closing in on her. She isn’t fighting with anyone at work, home, or anywhere else. In fact, everything is really calm.  Predictable. Safe.  Consistent.

Or, to hear Amanda describe it, boring, ritualistic, depressing.  Yes, suffocating.

Everything on the outside speaks of steady in an unsteady world. But something inside the 33-year-old wife, mother, and loan processor at the local bank is screaming for something new. Different.  Something alive.

Amanda needs renewal.

What she may not realize is that with the urge to resurge, she’s standing at a dangerous fork in the road.  More on that in a minute. [click to continue…]

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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…]

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Old compass on the beach with sand and sea

President Woodrow Wilson once said, “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forgot the errand.”

Have you forgotten the errand lately?  Maybe it’s time for a look under the hood.

At least it is for me.  And maybe for you, too.

I’m involved in some pretty big initiatives lately (you’ll be seeing more of that soon).  And those initiatives are added to an already-very-busy life. Never a day goes by when I don’t lay my head on the pillow with plenty more to do tomorrow that I left undone today.  Most days I’m fine with that.  But lately in the middle of all the time and resource challenges I’ve found myself frustrated, more tired than I should be, and actually feeling anxious about some things that should have me feeling excited and hopeful.  And in the middle it all is this nagging question:

Is this really what I’m about?

That brings me back to something I’ve been pretty passionate about for a long time – a clearly-defined sense of personal mission or purpose. [click to continue…]

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Raw Chicken

Have you ever had somebody you wanted so badly to impress that you were sure to set yourself up for disaster?

Not really?

Okay, you can just laugh at my story then.

I was in my first pastorate – a lovely country church just out on the edge of a small town in southwest Alabama.  People there were so kind and gracious to us.  I was new and eager to impress, plus was passionate and excited about reaching people and seeing the church grow and flourish.

But this isn’t about reaching people or growing churches.  It’s about chicken.

Grilling chicken, to be precise. [click to continue…]

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icebergs

These are the days of a thousand moving parts.  Things will settle soon, as much as things ever actually “settle” for me, but for the last six months we have been in the process of a major interstate move.  We have moved a household, moved a business, and moved more than a few boxes.

Sometimes there are seasons of “transition.”  That doesn’t even begin to describe this.  And what makes it even heavier is that in the past there have been teams of people – people by the dozen – to help with the process.  This time it’s been the two of us, aided by some herculean efforts of some friends and family.

And should I mention today’s news flash?  I ain’t gettin’ any younger.

All of this on top of a regular work schedule that hasn’t waited for anyone or anything.

We all go through seasons like that – thankful that they’re just seasons.  We move.  We welcome new babies into the family.  We change jobs or careers.  We face upheavals at work.  We take on more than we think we can handle.  We are confronted with a fire or destructive weather event.

And all the parts start moving – some of them groaning all the way. [click to continue…]

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Leaving Texas

“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…]

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gateofnewbeginings_lI found myself strangely moved.

The other day a pastor friend, who is walking through new beginnings of his own, sent me a copy of this Thomas Kinkade painting from 2005 titled “Gate of New Beginnings.”  I have always appreciated the work of “the Painter of Light,” but mostly at a distance. This one felt up close and personal.

Here’s what Kinkade himself said about it: [click to continue…]

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Ship TurningQuick question:  If you’re going 30 miles per hour and wanted to make a 180-degree turn, how fast could you do it and how much ground would you lose heading the other way?

Quick answer: It all depends on the vehicle.

And that matters more than you may realize.

If you’re on a motorcycle doing 30, a good rider can execute a 180 pretty quickly and only lose a few feet before he darts back in the opposite direction.

On the other hand, if you’re at the con of an aircraft carrier traveling 30 knots per hour, it would take about 72 seconds. And in the process, you’ve lost about half a nautical mile.

Changing direction takes time.  And momentum isn’t always on your side. And because of that your resolve will be tested.

Changing Direction Takes Time

I’ve never seen a hummingbird or bumblebee make a U-turn.  [click to continue…]

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