Excellence

Pavarotti-Brooks

The late Luciano Pavarotti holds the Guiness World Record for the most curtain calls by a singer or actor – a staggering 165. Together with Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras, he sang in the biggest-selling classical record of all time.

When Pavarotti sang, no one sang along.  They would sit breathlessly, passively, allowing themselves to be carried away by the extraordinary power of the tenor’s voice.

“Excellent” hardly conveys the talent the world lost on September 6, 2007.

Garth Brooks is the greatest-selling albums artist in the U.S. since 1991 and the second-best-selling solo artist of all time in the U.S. His concerts literally sell out in 15 minutes. And when he takes the stage he takes his audience with him.

When Garth Brooks sings, if you don’t sing along you look a little strange. Take it from experience, if you don’t know all the words you’ll act like you do.

Excellent? Oh my yes, in a completely different way. [click to continue…]

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Grandpaw and Archer

(My dad with Great-Grandchild #9, Archer Wiley)

 

I’ve been simmering on this for a while, and I figured since I’m away from home this Father’s Day, this would be a good day and a good way to honor my dad.  My daughter Carrie did this for me last year and reposted it again here.   I also wrote this about what I learned from my Mama last year.

Regardless of the many influences and teachers I’ve been blessed by over the years, none of them has taught or influenced me more than my dad. I have mentioned often that I was blessed to have a father who actually wanted to be a dad and influenced me to want to be one.  With 8 grandkids of my own now, I would say that desire has definitely passed through to another generation.

There are many practical things my dad taught me over the years, including how to drive a nail, play dominos, put on a jacket without bunching up your sleeve, ride a bicycle, and bathe the 36 different body parts that need cleaning up every day.

But what interests me most are the ideas that still speak to me today as principles.  These are transferrable to almost any endeavor. I could just as well title this, “Ten Things My Dad Would Teach to Pastors,” or “Ten Things My Dad Could Teach to School Teachers.”

So here, in no certain order, are ten lessons that still speak to me most every day.  I’m sure there are many more than this, but these are for starters.  See if they don’t speak to you on some level, while my daddy says, “Your welcome!” [click to continue…]

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Garth Brooks

Count me in.  I now know what all the fuss is about.

Went to hear Garth Brooks in concert over the weekend in Birmingham, Alabama.  Definitely a step outside of my routine, but anybody with experience I talked to about the upcoming event told me, “It’s one of the best, if not THE best, concert experiences you will ever experience.”

Yeah, that.

Six of us took a road trip with center-section, row 9 seats.  Close enough to see the sweat and be covered when the confetti dropped.  And as-advertised, it was an extraordinary experience.  In part I felt like an outsider looking in because I didn’t know every word of every song like most of the crowd apparently did.  But on this night it didn’t matter. I was part of something bigger than myself, regardless of my lack of experience.  Garth and his team saw to that.

Now before you “Older Brother” types write me off and resume your search for friends in HIGH places, hang with me.  I’ve had some time to think about what we saw and heard that night. I’ve looked at it through several different lenses.  A leadership lens.  An organization lens. Even a Church World lens. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned that can speak to your world, too. [click to continue…]

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Dart Icons

I want to tell you about Wayne.

Wayne is a painter, and he’s doing some painting at my house.

He’s very friendly, has great rates and does fabulous work.

But that’s not what’s remarkable about Wayne.

What’s remarkable is that he loves to paint.

Now I’ve painted for money before.

I don’t love to paint.

I’ve painted for free before.

Verdict is the same.

Wayne?  He’s crazy. [click to continue…]

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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…]

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He Had a Hammer

by Andy Wood on April 8, 2014

in LV Stories, Turning Points

Aaron

I never really knew that Hank Aaron was black.  But I knew he was from Mobile, my home town.  And, lest I forget, the Mobile Press Register would remind me daily as it tracked Aaron’s pursuit of Babe Ruth’s home run record, shattered 40 years ago today.

The Atlanta Braves moved onto my radar when I was eight years old.  That’s when the franchise moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta.  We started listening to Braves games on WUNI radio, where we heard guys like Milo Hamilton and Ernie Johnson – and later Pete Van Wieren and Skip Carey (my all-time favorite) – call games.  Occasionally we’d watch Pee Wee Reese and Dizzy Dean announce a TV game on the Pensacola station.

My granddaddy loved baseball.

My dad appreciated it.

I loved Henry Aaron.

He was and is a symbol to me.  [click to continue…]

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space

Interesting question came up yesterday.  If leaders are people who are influencing others to go somewhere or move in a certain direction, where should we be leading them to go?

Paul had a simple answer to that:  “Follow me as I follow Christ,” he said (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Okay, so, my answer wasn’t so spiritual. But I think it works, both for presidents and pastors, middle managers and mentors.

Where should we be leading people?

To space.

Hey, it works for Richard Branson.

Actually I use S.P.A.C.E. as an acronym for five directions we should all be pursuing.  Tell me what you think: [click to continue…]

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You can’t.

You can walk it out.  You can stand there and look humble while people tell you that you’ve got it.  You can make corrections when you stand convicted of the need for some changes.  You can use it to plead with God or The Man (whoever that is) for justice or a raise or something.  You can even dare to mention it when you run for political office.

But you are not equipped to be the architect or builder of an integrated life – yours or anybody else’s.

This is no self-improvement process, friends.  You can’t build integrity into your life by getting more information, imitating somebody else, or rigidly keeping a code of conduct. You can’t get it with an extreme makeover, a friendly takeover, or a cosmetic rake-over.

Integrity is an inside job.  It’s the result of a transformational process that takes your dis-integrated self and changes you through and through by a power that is not your own.

That said, just as an office building is designed and constructed according to a set pattern, so your Master Designer and Builder follows a blueprint for building wholeness in you.  And while you don’t have the power to do this yourself, your faith and submission to His work can help speed the process.

Each of these stages builds on the other, and I believe the order matters.  And yet, these are all lifetime pursuits that we’ll never perfectly achieve this side of heaven.  Designing and building a life of integrity involves: [click to continue…]

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I know what you’re thinking right now.

You’re thinking, “No you don’t!”

I know… scary isn’t it?

Know what’s even scarier?  Anybody who knows you at all can follow you around for a week and know what you’ve been thinking for the past year.  That’s based, of course, on the biblical principle, “As he thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7).

Your life today is the result of your thinking.  It may not always affect your circumstances, but it always affects your character.  Your disposition.  Your emotions.  Your perceptions.  Yes, your faith.

If you have any intention of designing a compelling future, it’s time to accept responsibility for the role your thoughts play in creating it.  After all, your thoughts have produced the person you are right now.

That’s why the Bible gives such attention to your thoughts.  Jesus said to love God with all your mind.  Paul talks about renewing your mind, and not thinking of yourself more highly than you ought, but thinking soberly.

Recently I reread a familiar old verse and it rocked my world a little. [click to continue…]

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So many random and not-so-random thoughts… so little time…  Here are the latest places and spaces where my mental wheels are turning.  You can find others here, here, and here.  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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“It takes just as long to be great as to be mediocre.”  -Brian Tracey

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 “Every day you live there are more things you are never going to do.” -Al Mohler

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Good teachers answer your questions.  Great teachers question your answers.

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Have you ever noticed that the people who holler the loudest about grace are the ones who seem to need it the most?  Uh huh. [click to continue…]

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