Vision

(And You Can and Should, Too)

Travel with me to an ancient version of Death Row. A lonely old man sits in isolation – a rare occurrence for a life so well-traveled and surrounded with people. And he awaits his fate.

He’s a dead man walking.

Yet even though his body is scarred and his bones crooked from a hardened life, he doesn’t have the same despair or desperation that’s typical of someone living under a death sentence. In fact, he has – dare I say it? – a sense of satisfaction. Fulfillment. Maybe even a touch of pride.

How do I know? His own words.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Those words from Paul have carried a new fascination for me recently.  Here was a man who know what his life was about, and lived it. He followed the course laid out for him, and he finished it.

Put in other language, Paul had a vision, and throughout his life he stubbornly, doggedly, faithfully pursued that vision.  Doing so was costly in the short run. He was routinely run out of town, beaten to a pulp, deserted by his friends, and bedeviled by danger. But to him it was a price worth paying, to get to the end of his life with two things: [click to continue…]

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Opportunity Clarity Action

So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes (John 12:35).

There is clarity (Light).

There is opportunity (a limited time).

There is action (walk).

Clarity without opportunity calls for waiting, not walking.

Opportunity without clarity calls for caution and connection.

When clarity and opportunity converge, this calls for action. [click to continue…]

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Emtpy interior of the train for long and short distance

Everybody leads from the second chair. Everybody.

Kings and queens.

Presidents and popes.

CEOs and C-3POs.

Even Messiahs. [click to continue…]

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Look behind you.

Not literally; behind me right now is the back of a chair.

Metaphorically speaking, look behind you, and you’ll probably find somebody following you. They may be following your instructions, following your example, or even following your dreams. They may be following your words and images on social media, but that’s not the same thing.

Look beside you and guess what? You’ll find people following there, too. They may position themselves more as friends or colleagues, but they make sure to stay in your orbit. In NASCAR they call this “side drafting.” And people are probably side drafting you, whether you realize it or not.

Let me pause here to roll my eyes and tell you – again – that even if you don’t think of yourself as a leader, you are. Everybody influences somebody. Somebody looks to you as the person to obey, the example to follow, the partner to collaborate with, or the sense maker in their times of uncertainty or confusion.

That leads to the Big Question then… Where are you leading them?

All you need to do to find the answer to that question is look ahead. [click to continue…]

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One of my many "therapists" who came into the hospital room.

One of my many “therapists” who came into the hospital room.

Well.

That was different.

It’s one thing to waste time. Save time. Time to stand still.

I’m making up for lost time.

Literally.

I seem to have misplaced about four hours last week.  Oh, I lived it. And was pretty agitated about it. I just can’t remember it.

TIA, they called it.  Which led to an MRI, an EEG, and a hospital with a big FEE.

I crack myself up.

That was not exactly how I had planned my day to be. But life – and LifeVesting – has a way of throwing curves. And those curveball experiences are their own version of sowing and reaping.

Let’s start with the reaping. [click to continue…]

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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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Row American Flags Half Mast Washington DC USA

Here we go again.

Another day.

Another crisis.

Another call for leadership.

Another round of half-mast flags…

Another set of news-bite wags…

A fresh supply of new #hashtags…

And another call for leadership.

More outrage at this

More outrage at your outrage at that,

Another mad rush of the gun shop owners to the bank…

And another call for leadership.

What do we mourn when we bemoan the lack of leadership?

Do we really know what are we calling for? [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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Sorrow

Rejection is one of the most brutal experiences you and I can face.  To say it hurts like hell may not be far from the literal truth.

Psychologists have learned some things about rejection…

Research tells us that rejection travels the same neural pathways in the brain that physical pain does.  In other words, otherwise-unexplained physical pain may have been triggered by the experience or memory of rejection.

Rejection isolates us from people who didn’t reject us, unless we take steps to reconnect.

Rejection causes surges of anger and aggression (gangs, anyone?).

Finally, rejection makes us temporarily stupid.  It literally lowers your IQ and makes you unresponsive to reason for a time. (Translation:  Don’t make vows or major decisions – especially with the word “never” in it – after being rejected.)

In the biblical story of Joseph, you can find the roots of rejection, as I explored in the previous post.   Joseph lived a very uncertain childhood, marked by the death of his mother and the preferential doting of his dad.  He was a dreamer and, to his brothers, something of a goody-two-shoes. All of this set him up to be the objected of their jealousy and hatred.

What no one knew at the time, however, was that rejection can serve as a trap door, straight into the arms (and plans) of God.  And that’s where Joseph learned the truth about rejection. [click to continue…]

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Loneliness Concept - 3D

What did rejection look like to you on the school playground?  What about Junior High?  College?

What did rejection look like after you got married, or started a family?  What does it look like today in your workplace or your worship space?

Describing your experience with rejection is like describing an encounter with a snake.  Each experience is a little different, and the beast appears differently in every scene.  But in each case the result leaves a story to tell and an emotional experience to re-live or respond to.

I’ve had my own experiences, of course.  And I’ve seen it played out in countless lives…

Like the 59-year-old woman who said of her then-76-year-old mother, “Just once I wish I could hear my mother say I did something right.”

Or the only-child high school student who was rejected by his friends because he had a helicopter mother before the term was ever invented.  She meddled, and her son, whom she was trying to help and advance, was hated all the more.

Then there was the businessman who was rejected in the business world because he was part of a revolutionary approach to financial services, but was obnoxious about it.

I knew a pastor once who was rejected by the deacons in his church. After years of service, they felt that it was time for a change. So they gave him a deadline and asked him to find somewhere else to go. When he was unable to, they cornered him about resigning, and he turned the rejection tables back on them. Unbeknownst to them, he showed up one Sunday morning with has car packed, he got up at sermon time, explained that he’d been asked to resign, and walked out the door.  Ouch.

It may surprise you to know that some of the most memorable and powerful success stories in history are people whose lives arose from the ashes of rejection.  [click to continue…]

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