Courage

Standing Out

You lose the right to privacy when you fail to be ordinary.

If you stand out, you’d better be ready to stand up.

Spectacular successes and epic face-plants invite public scrutiny…

Divided opinions…

Loose-lipped speculation…

And endless reminders that people like you…

Or don’t.

The alternative? [click to continue…]

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Stand at Sunset

God grant me serenity to call the impossible, possible with You,

Vision to see the achievable in obviously-hopeless situations,

And wisdom to discern the difference.

Give me faith to boldly ask You for the unthinkable, [click to continue…]

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Notebooks

Welcome back to my front-row seat.  In my work I have the privilege of reading a lot of stuff.  Some of it is forgettable.  Some of it is way-past-profound, either because of the quality of writing or because of the truth it conveys, and I keep a collection of the ones that bowl me over.  You can see previous collections here and here.  Both are quick reads, but profound in what they speak.

Now this collection of seven happens to have a leadership theme, but they also speak to your spiritual life, your courage, and you humility (or lack thereof).

Now… slow down… breathe deeply… and take these in.  You’ll be glad you did. Click here – you’ll be glad you did…

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(Get Out of the Boat, Part 3)

Empty Boat

(Note: Today is a very special day for me. It was 40 years ago today that the Lord made it clear to a young high school sophomore’s heart that He had a call and gifts for vocational service for me. All I had asked for is clarity, and on this night He did that in no uncertain terms.  There are many things I wish I could have done differently in the last 40 years.  But if I had one thing I could say – one lesson learned that surpasses all others during this time – what follows is a pretty good expression of it.  Hope you enjoy…)

How long are you going to wear that?

How long are you going to treat that uniform as if it’s a tattoo?

How long are you going to assume that past results are a guarantee of future disappointment?

How long are you going to treat failure as if it is a person – namely you – and not an event?

How long will you believe that people who love Jesus never blow it?  And people who blow it could never love Jesus again?

How long – how long – will you assume that forgiveness couldn’t possibly mean restoration?

Maybe you’re the one who needs to get out of the boat. [click to continue…]

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(Get Out of the Boat, Part 2)

Boat in storm

There’s a 92% chance that nobody will ever criticize you for playing it safe.

There’s an 11 out of 12 probability that when all hell’s breaking loose, it won’t be advisable for you to throw yourself headlong into something even more stressful.

There’s only an 8% likelihood the circumstances, life, people or even God would ever ask you to do something completely unprecedented, electrifyingly dangerous, or humanly impossible.

So you can probably just skip this post and resume your normal activities.

Unless…

Unless today’s that one-in-twelve – or once-in-a-lifetime – kind of day. [click to continue…]

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Desperate PrayerYou wouldn’t believe it.  Not unless you saw it with your own two eyes.

You wouldn’t recognize him. Not unless you were with that band of misfits that united under his leadership.

But here you are and there he is and My God, what has happened?  This is the guy whose exploits they sang about.  This is the Giant Killer.  In one afternoon you saw him rally his own people and send an army of Philistines running in fear.

And now he and you are living like pathetic dogs in a cave.  Dirty. Haggard. Weak. Exhausted.  And there before your eyes the man you knew would be king is at the end of his life.

Why?

Because he’s at the end of his courage.  [click to continue…]

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Breakthrough GrowthYou’ve been told how special you are, how good you have it, even in spiritual circles what an Overcomer you are. But what you hear doesn’t seem to match up with what you see.  You look at the rainbows and unicorns of somebody’s social media status and all you seem to see in your life are the clouds and jackasses.

Maybe it’s time for a reality check.  Maybe it’s time for a Come to Jesus meeting, where you actually come to Jesus.  There with a good dose of truth, faith, and courage you will see that you actually are more than a conqueror.  Yet you still must overcome.

Why?

Because every motion forward… in kingdom life, in relationships, and in your own personal growth runs headlong into resistance.

Even special people.

Even blessed people.

Even Overcomers must overcome.

Your identity isn’t a badge you wear to feel good. It’s a weapon you’re given to enforce the truth.  Maybe it’s time to sharpen that sword. Without a doubt, it’s time to overcome. [click to continue…]

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CriticOnce there lived a hard-to please husband whose wife was determined to try her best to satisfy him, if just for one day.

“Darling,” she asked that morning, “What would you like for breakfast? “

He growled, “Coffee and toast, grits and sausage, and two eggs ‑ one scrambled and one fried.”

She soon had the food on the table and waited for a word of praise.  After a quick glance, he exclaimed, “Well, if you didn’t scramble the wrong egg!”

Now that’s hard to please!

Of course, critics are nothing new. As long as people have aspired to rise above the level of the mediocre masses there have been people who attacked their motives for doing so.

As long as people have exhibited qualities of leadership there have been those in positions of power who used verbal attacks, “coaching,” and “constructive criticism” to “keep them in their place” and maintain control.

As long as somebody has offered to try to make something better by (gasp!) changing some things, there have been gossips and fish heads who questioned their right to be there, or anywhere for that matter.

Other than politics, nowhere will you find more criticism than the kind that’s hurled around in the name of God or religion. And if that describes you, I have a message for you:  God just called and He wants His name back. [click to continue…]

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Sword and Scripture

(If you never read another thing I write, before going any further, please read this short piece my daughter wrote to her children, ages 5, 2, and ten months. Click here, if you dare, and brace for impact.)

Okay.  Back?  Let’s get to it.

You don’t have the luxury of praying for people you love – especially your children or grandchildren – like a sissy.

The time is too short…

The enemy is too cruel…

The church is too powerless…

The Lord is too near His return…

…for you and me to sit on an arsenal mightier than a nuclear weapon and ask God to make their lives more comfortable…

easier…

safer.

Safer to whom, for God’s sake? The devil? The world? The ACLU? The media?

Stop asking God to make your little angels little angels. Or mild-mannered weenies.  In the name of all that is holy, I dare you to ask God to make them dangerous. Call on Him, in the heavenly realm, to put a sword in their teeth and courage in their hearts to blast a hole in the kingdom of darkness. [click to continue…]

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obstacle courseSecond period was blue.  Dark blue.  That was the color of our gym shorts in seventh grade.  Well, at least for those who sailed down the steps at Azalea Road Junior High to greet the red shorts brigade who was returning from Coach Crenshaw and Coach Perkins’ gym class.

Always anxious for coming attractions, we’d ask the boys from first period, “What are we doing?”  Sometimes it was something awesome like battle ball or football.  Sometimes it was something exotic like gymnastics.  But one thing was sure to send a chill up my adolescent spine:

The Obstacle Course.

I should probably mention here that my athletic ability was legendary.  In my own mind.  But running headlong into a class of 60 or so peers left little doubt that my gateway to glory wasn’t through athletics.

And if there was any doubt – if there was any shred of athletic dignity left in me – the Obstacle Course loomed as a reminder of the inglories that awaited. [click to continue…]

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