Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Father's Hands





I recently took this photo of a very unsuspecting gentleman as he sat quietly in the chair next to me. While we didn't speak very much, his hands said a lot. These are the hands of a hard-working man who gets up everyday to go to work in order to provide for his family.

As I looked at his hands through the lens of my camera, I was struck by the the thought of how Jesus used His hands in so many ways to provide for others...

-to hold children
-to touch people as he healed them
-to bless people
-to hold Himself up as He hung on the cross

Yet, as I look at this photo, I'm reminded that the hands of Jesus also protects...

John 10:27-29 (New International Version)

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.
It sure is good to know that as a followers of Jesus Christ, I am double-covered!
And yet, some times, I don't listen to His voice. Far too often I listen to my own voice before listening to His. Thus the inner battle of every person who seeks to follow Jesus Christ. John 3:30 reminds us that, "He must increase, but I must decrease."
We need to be filtering our lives through the lenses of what God would have us do in EVERY area of our lives (marriage, work, parenting, church, leading others, etc.) And thus, hear His voice...not our own. And when we do, we can find rest in His hands.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What Kind of Friend Are You?

Someone once said the best way to get friends is to be one first. Good words.

A friend of mine, Robin Carlile, shared something with me that is worth sharing with you. It's an evaluation tool to guide you through a stern look at how you perceive the value of friendships and what you look for in a friend. She created this for a Bible study and it's too good not to pass along.

Take a few moments to assign a numerical value to each attribute of a friend below. Use a scale of one (1) to five (5). A "1" indicates that particular attribute is not real necessary for you in a friendship, and a "5" indicates that it is a must for you in a friendship. The Bible verses are for later, but you may want to consider what they say as you make your decisions.
More instructions after you finish this part.


I look for friends who...

Are loyal (Proverbs 8:24b) ____
Are forgiving (Matthew 18:21-22) ____
Will ask tough questions (Proverbs 27:17) ____
Will make sure I do what I say I will do (Matthew 18:15) ____
Will restore me when I mess up (Galatians 6:1) ____
Has a moral character (1 Corinthians 15:33) ____
Are committed to a Holy alliance (1 John 1:7) ____
Are sociable (Proverbs 18:1, Acts 2:46) ____
Are consistent (Proverbs 17:17) ____
Are like-minded (Acts 4:32) ____
Are honest/truthful (Proverbs 27:6; Ephesians 4:15) ____
Are generous (Acts 2:44) ____
Are loving (Leviticus 19:17-18) ____
Are kind (Ephesians 4:32) ____
Are servants (Galatians 4:13) ____
Are selfless/sacrificial (John 15:12-13) ____
Are motivated (Hebrews 10:24) ____
Are considerate (Philippians 2:3-4)
Will pray for me (James 5:16; Galatians 6:2) ____

Now, the fun part. Add up all of your numerical values and see how you fare according to the following scale.

0-39
Your friendship skills are sorely lacking. Your friendships are limited and probably shallow. You generally have some clever rational for why this is. ACTION PLAN: Take the "20 Day Challenge." Each day for the next twenty days, focus on one of the listed friendship attributes. Begin your day by reading the accompanying scripture and praying the following prayer: "Lord, show me where I lack this quality today in a very real and clear way. Lord, I allow you to develop the quality of ( ) in my life today."

40-79
In general you are very friendly but may lack deep committed relationships. People may generally characterize you as the life of the party but you burn bright and fizzle quickly because you do not have the genuine depth to sustain this energy for very long. ACTION PLAN: Look over your individual scores. Highlight those friendship attributes for which your score is 3 or less. Each day chose a “lacking” attribute and begin your day by reading the accompanying scripture and praying the following, "Lord, show me where I lack this quality today in a very real and clear way. Lord, I allow you to develop the quality of ( ) in my life today."

80-100
You are a true and reliable friend whose friendships are characterized as deep and genuine. Friendship, for you, is a two way ever widening street. You pursue close friendships and are fulfilled by supporting those who call you friend and by relying on those who you call friend. ACTION PLAN: You need to be fine tuning your skills. Ask God daily to grow you in the areas He sees fit. Daily look over your list of attributes paying attention to the scores that are somewhat lower than others and go through your day looking for those divine appointments for growth in these areas. At the end of each day make a note about how you saw the Holy Spirit at work and write a prayer of thanksgiving.

How did you do? The key is to be honest enough to acknowledge where you are and determine where you want to go. I've said it before, "If you keep doing what you're doing, you're going to keep getting what you getting." Remember...be a friend if you want to get friends...

Friday, September 4, 2009

10 Simple Things Every Kid Wants to Hear

As school has begun, I wanted to empower you with something that would help you become a champion parent...

10 Simple Things Every Kid Wants to Hear
  1. Yes
  2. How can I pray for you?
  3. Will you forgive me?
  4. God has a plan for you!
  5. We are excited that you are growing up (entering a new stage of life)!
  6. I know it hurts.
  7. You are more important to me than...(you fill in the blank - report cards, work, sports, etc.).
  8. I am so glad you are in our family.
  9. I love you too much to let you do that.
  10. Try to be patient with me. I've never been the parent of a 10-year-old (or whatever the child's age is) before. (Caution: This only works on the firstborn!)

Be your kid's #1 fan...


Taken from The Parent Adventure by Rodney & Selma Wilson

Used with permission from HomeLife, July 2009
gadson

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's Football Season!!!

On a wall in my office hangs a print of a small, blond haired boy in blue jeans and a long sleeve, red and white striped shirt looking out over the ocean. Below the photo, the word PRIORITIES leaps off the page in all caps. And then at the bottom you find these words:

"A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child."

As I read that, I'm reminded of Steven Covey's Habit #3 that says, "Put First Things First." As he develops that point, he makes a great statement: "The things that matter most must never come at the mercy of things that matter least." It would appear that many people have forsaken what matters most in their lives in order to obtain things that really don't matter much at all. 

Priorities are the things we place in the center of our lives. It's what we revolve around from day to day. For some it's their job; for others, it's their stuff; and still for others it's personal success. But as I eluded to in the beginning, once they get to where they are going, there's a good chance they'll have no one to share it with because they neglected the people closest to them along the way. Not to mention that they may have never considered the One who helped their plans succeed in the first place.
Proverbs 16:3 "Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."


Bobby Bentley was someone who was chasing a dream of being a successful football coach. Success as a high school coach at nationally ranked Byrnes High School led to an opportunity to coach a college football team at Presbyterian College. Then it all changed. Here's his story...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Back to School!!!

School is about to begin. Time for bookbags, notebooks, pencils and more. But as we kick off another 180 days of learning, I want to suggest that the most valuable component of a successful year might be something other than the typical items. It's something that varies among students, teachers and administrators. What is it? It's our perspective.

For some, the next 180 days are necessary evils. For others, they are opportunities to make a difference in themselves and others. It's like the old African adage that says...


Every morning, in Africa, the gazalle wakes up
Knowing if it runs slower than the fastest lion, it will be eaten.
Every morning, in Africa, the lion awakes,
Knowing if it runs slower than the fastest gazelle, it will starve.
Every morning when the sun comes up,
It doest't matter if your a lion or a gazelle,
You'd better be running.
Whether you are an educator or parent, we all play a part in helping our kids be successful in their education. I'm convinced that the parent's role in their child's learning is the most critical factor of their success. Don't neglect this responsibility.

Education is not simply reading, writing and arithmetic. It's becoming more about learning how to learn and how to make good choices. It's about getting up every morning knowing that you need to be moving forward. This video might help...Have a GREAT year and make it count!



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

eXtreme Kids Camp Wrap-Up Video

I'm working on a "Back to School" post. But before I get that up, I thought you'd like to see an overview of our week at camp. Thanks to "P-Diddy Pastor Doug" for allowing me to tag along and to "Super Ken" Mayfield for his work on the video each night and for this finale. Enjoy!

(* Note: If you happen to catch a guy in between two girls and they are all covered in "yuck," that's me and my girls...)



Wednesday, August 5, 2009

OMC = Organized Mass Chaos

It's Wednesday at the Extreme Kids Camp. We're learning what it means to be a "Worship Machine." This is a first-class event for children!

The purpose of this post is simply to share a quick video of faces from the morning event. It's called "OMC" and it lives up to its name. I'll save details for later (if you need to know more, let me know.) In the mean time, here is a video (without sound) of the typical end result:


Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Birds and the Bees...

Thought that would get your attention...

This past weekend, my wife took our youngest daughter away for her "Big Girl" talk. I'm not sure how you might handle this, but it stressed my wife to no end. The stress wasn't so much due to the content as it was her desire to set the correct foundation for our daughter's understanding of the greatest expression of love between a husband and wife.

As much as we try to use our marriage to reflect God's love for His greatest and favorite creation, we can only show them so much ;o). Some things are best reserved for them to discover with thier future spouse.

You may be asking, "How did it go?" Answer: GREAT!

How can anyone say that talking to an eleven-year-old about sex is "Great!"? It's easy. She used a program called, "Passport to Purity" produced by Dennis and Barbara Rainey (link provided below.) It's a weekend get-a-way with five sessions covering everything from self-esteem, dating and yes, the intricate details of "the marriage bed." More importantly, it was all based on God's design for His creation, not pop-culture. Just you, your child, some props and a CD player.

I love my wife! She loves our girls enough to work to put this weekend together and plan all of the details to pull it off. It will be a memory for them that will last a lifetime! It's like this; as parents, we can be reactive TO our kids or we can be proactive FOR our kids. We just want to be ahead of them to help them learn to make good choices.

The choices they make now will determine the life they live later.



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You've got two seconds...

Have you ever had a moment in your life when you felt as if you were playing a game of Musical Chairs, the music stops...and there's no more chairs?

In the context of the game, it's a simple rush of disappointment as you realize you're "out." In the context of life, it's not so simple. When you "run out of chairs" in life, everything stops. You feel as if all the oxygen has left the room. You are aware of nothing going on around you except the one thing that has stopped the music. I recently heard the story of family who had such an experience.


They had their second child over one year ago. A precious little girl, whom they knew before she was born would have a club foot. A "minor" challenge that would be corrected with surgery later in life. Nothing to be concerned about. But a few days after she was born, the music stopped. She had an extra chromosome. She had Down syndrome.


As her parents shared her story, her dad made this comment: "It's times like this that you have just two seconds...two seconds to decide how you will respond." He shared how he was speechless. Nothing to say. His wife, however, didn't flinch. With a hint of fear and a heap of faith, she asked, "OK, where do we go from here?"


While it may have felt as if the music had stopped, she knew it was just beginning. She knew the Creator makes no mistakes. She knew this precious little girl was just as she was created to be. She knew the Creator had a plan.
Psalm 139:14-16 "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."


The bottom line here is that there will always be events in our lives over which we have no control. At those moments, the only thing we can control is our response. Some choose to get angry and bitter, while others see the opportunity to experience God on a whole new level. They know that regardless of how "bad" the situation, He's even greater.
Get ready. Life is moving on but one day, the music might stop. Get ready. You've got two seconds.
This is a link to a video that features this family. They appear just over halfway...you will not miss them: http://vidego.316networks.com/player.php?p=u8y0g80d

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Countdown to Extreme Kids Camp

It's almost that time of year...

The Extreme Kids Camp is quickly approaching and the Morris clan can't wait. The topic of camp comes up in our home all throughout the year. But this year, we're especially excited because the folks at Woodlands Camp have just complete a MAJOR overhaul of the lake. (I'll post photos below.) If you've been, don't panic...the "Blob" is still there.

Another reason we get excited about camp is it's a great week of getting away from our normal routine, TVs, Emails and everything else that demands our attention back home. We're with friends, creation and, of course, the Creator. I get to speak during our evening event (music, videos, skits, etc...) It's one of the highlights of our year.

If you're local to our area and want to know more, you can call 864.578.0509. It's open to anyone who wants to join us. Kids need to be rising 3rd - 6th grade.

As promised...here are some pictures of the new additions at camp.

(You can click on the photos to make them larger.)

New Bridge, Diving area and "The Blob."



New Slides (Cool!!!)


Brand new Lake Swing...


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Declaration of Independence

While I can't take credit for the idea, I can pass it along with a little assistance. I saw where Thom Rainer, President of LifeWay Christian Resources, took a poll to see how many of his employees were planning to read the Declaration of Independence on July 4. (30%)

What a great idea! Especially if you have kids! (If nothing else, read the preamble...)

I'm posting the text here. Please note that this is an abridged version. I have omitted the list of "insurpations" (a.k.a. offenses) for which our forefathers made this declaration.

Quick Notes:

1) Source:
http://www.wallbuilders.com/
The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

[This is where our forefathers listed all of the offenses of the King of England.]

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. "

Tuesday: The Most Stressful Day of The Week


What’s the most stressful day of the week? Monday, right? After all, it’s the first day back to work after the weekend. WRONG! According to a new study, Tuesday is actually the most stressful day of the week, and to get really specific, your stress level will peak at 11:45 on Tuesday morning.


A study was done by a UK company – and they surveyed 3,000 workers and found that mid-morning on the second day of the week is when workers feel the most pressure. Of course conventional wisdom, and popular music, would say that Monday is the most “manic” day. However, according to the survey, a lot of employees coast through Monday, just sort of getting their brain back in gear and catching up with weekend gossip. A startling 53 percent of people polled admitted they don’t get much work done on Monday, and 10 percent of those folks admitted it’s because they’re spending a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter. Then on Tuesday, reality sets in. People suddenly realize how much work needs to get done by Friday and they get stressed out. It stands to reason, if you coast through Monday it makes Tuesday even worse, because your workload is bigger and your stress is greater.


Since everything comes to a head Tuesday right before lunch, the survey found that employees are more likely to work through their lunch break on Tuesday than on any other day. They’re also more likely to leave the office late on Tuesday. So what’s causing all the stress? 25 percent of workers say it’s the heavy workload, 12 percent blame their boss, and 9 percent say their colleagues are what stresses them out. If this sounds familiar to you, maybe you should try to get more work done on Monday, so Tuesday doesn’t hit you like a ton of bricks.


Source: John Tesh, Intelligence for Your Life (http://tesh.com/)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Motivation

He's blind...what's your excuse?
(thanks to Darren Hardy @ SUCCESS.com for the tip)

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm Speaking at Church Sunday

Here's a teaser for Sunday night's message...6pm at First Baptist North Spartanburg.





Monday, June 22, 2009

Experts in "Failure", Part 2

As previously mentioned, the concept of defeating failure seems to be a popular topic among the mini-bloggers of Twitterland. One could summize that how we handle the failures in our lives determines the eventual outcomes of our efforts. It's a matter of perspective.

The successful people around us appear to be the ones who have used setbacks to their advantage. They've not run from them; rather they have faced them head on, some even placing themselves in environments where failure was inevitable. Why? They knew that they would come out of adversity stronger than when they began and eventually find success. Thomas Edison had the best perspective on the countless failed attempts of his many inventions. He said, “I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work."

When I look at scripture, I find several "failures" we can use for encouragement in our own personal setbacks. The common denominator is that they didn't quit. They got up and went back for more when they had every opportunity to quit and run away.
  • Joseph, after being laughed at and abused by his brothers, kept believing and sharing his dreams.
  • Moses, after hiding in the desert, returned to Egypt to rescue the Isrealites. In doing so, he was denied permission over and over, but kept returning to Pharaoh again and again.
  • Joshua, after being defeated in a battle, went back a second time after the Lord said, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
  • Daniel, after being warned to stop praying, continued to pray and experienced God's protection in the lion's den.
Obviously, this isn't exhaustive. Yet, the concept is consistent no matter how long the list. Success comes when we use the setbacks in our lives to make us better. One quote I found communicated that the express route to success begins with failure. The more we fail, the quicker we get to our desired results.

With all that said, I would be foolish to stop here without stating the ultimate source of success. I think it's best stated in scripture:
  • Proverbs 16:25 - "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."
  • Proverbs 16:9 - "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."
  • Joshua 1:8 - "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."

Face your failures, trust in the Lord and let him define your success!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Experts in "Failure" - Part 1

As I have attempted to make my mark in the Twitterverse, I've been amused at the mass of mini-philosophers (myself included) striving to pass along nuggets of truth in their efforts to encourage their "followers." The smart ones are striving to establish their brand, their personal online image, by offering consistent, informative bits and pieces each day. I will admit that I have reaped the benefits of their generosity.

One particular topic that gets a lot of tweet time is failure. Here are a few quotes I found on failure just by searching on www.search.twitter.com:

· Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. ~ Winston S. Churchill

· Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.

· "Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." -Sir Winston Churchill

· "There are NO secrets to success....It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure" -Colin Powell

Even found a short video:





Here's the question: Where do we find failure in the Bible?

To be continued...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Life Is Not A Lottery Ticket

Have you ever felt as if life was like a lottery ticket? You know, where some people get a winning ticket and others don't? If we truly think we’re made in the image of God and that he has a plan for our lives, then surely we can expect more from life than mere chance.

Because I read a lot of leadership/organization books, I am overwhelmed with what some might call a Humanistic mind-set that teaches, "If it's to be, it's up to me." Even today I read in Scripture where a godly leader told one of his "departments" to work hard to achieve their desired results (Joshua 17:15-18). On the other hand, I desire to be able to look back at my life and clearly see where the hand of God "directed my steps" (Proverbs 16:9).

So, which is it?

We should be living a life that clearly expresses our faith in Jesus Christ to provide for and protect our lives. I want to be a part of something greater than myself. I believe we all do. The difference is some have accepted the notion that they don't have the winning ticket; therefore, they just endure life quietly and make the most of what they have.

With all that I read in the Bible, I see many instances where God used ordinary men and women to complete extraordinary tasks. All of them were minding their own business and then God challenged them to do something beyond their ability. Here are a few observations:
  • They didn't see the final result, thus requiring TOTAL faith in God for the outcome.
  • They had real good excuses why they couldn't do what He was asking.
  • Some argued with God.
  • What they were asked to do required hard work and effort on their part.
  • Most tasks required a public display of their faith in God.
  • Some had to deal with difficult people.
  • Some encountered set-backs/"failures" along the way.
  • The outcome of most tasks resulted in helping others (not themselves).
So, how about you? Are you waiting for a winning ticket? If so, I'm afraid you might be waiting for a long time. My encouragement to you is instead of waiting, start looking. Looking for what God is doing around us. Jesus said that He could only do what He saw the Father doing. Let's take that same approach and see what God can do with our lives. It has to be a better option compared to what you have now.

Friday, June 5, 2009

What Are You Worth? VIDEO

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what's a video worth? Better yet, what are you worth?

You will live your life based on how valuable YOU think you are. The problem is that most of us base our personal value on perceived value (what we think others think about us.)

Live today as the incredible person God created you to be and not who those around you tell you are.

This is a video I discovered a few years ago when I worked at a student leadership camp for Tomorrow's America Foundation. It was the highlight of the week. I'll go ahead and tell you, it's OLD, but the message is priceless! It's a great tool for teaching self-esteem to Tweens and Teens...especially girls. Enjoy!







Monday, June 1, 2009

Living to Die

Some who read this will be familiar with the name Bill "Tiny" Bateman. He's a big guy with a big heart...literally. Six years ago, Tiny was diagnosed with a form of cardiomyopathy. In laymen's terms that means that the tissue in his heart is inflamed, thus enlarging his heart. In fact, at the time of his diagnosis, the doctors said it was the size of Football. The immediate prognosis wasn't good. Left untreated, he would have three to six months to live; with treatment he would have a year or so. It appears that in Tiny's case the "or so" is a pretty long period of time. The only problem is that once he entered into that phase of the diagnosis, he basically found himself waking up wondering if the day before him would be his last. Tiny would be the first to tell you that the prayers of many people have helped him get to where he is today.

Tiny recently crossed paths with an old friend who had not heard about his diminishing health. After hearing his story, she commented, "It must be hard knowing that at any moment you could die." The response she received was quite contrary.

Tiny has the perspective that as a believer in Jesus Christ death is the final step in fulfilling his purpose in life here on Earth. But he also knows that each day is another opportunity to live life to the fullest. He embodies the phrase, "I'm a winner either way, if I go or if I stay." If you know Tiny, you know that he's a joy to be around. He really does live each day as if it's his last. So his response may or may not surprise you. He basically said, "Shoot no! Why would I dread the moment I've lived my whole life for?" Now that will stop you in your tracks! And it should make you think. What am I living my life for?

In a culture of multi-tasking and over-filled schedules, many of us often put our head on the pillow at night and think, "What just happened?" The day is barely a memory because we didn't create anything to remember. We just scratched off our list and finished another day. Don't get me wrong; I'm a list-maker myself. But I learned a long time ago that if I didn't control my list, my list would control me.

Job 33:4 says, "The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life." God wants us to use the life He's given us to know Him and show others the difference He's had on our lives. When we fully embrace this concept, we will begin to see the opportunities already around us to make each day a memory worth keeping. The challenge is to not allow our “To-Do” list to control us to the point that we miss out on the opportunities we have to make an impact for the One who gives us each day to live for Him.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Between the Lines: "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day" Chapter 1

I try to be disciplined in my reading. Seldom do I read without a pen in my hand. I write all over the books I read. A friend of mine once "loaned" me a book to read only to force me to buy him a new copy because I marked it up pretty good.

I'm currently reading, "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day" by Mark Batterson. As I have begun to read, I have found pearl after pearl of challenging thoughts that I am compelled to share with others. Often, I will "tweet" it or post it to my Facebook page in an attempt to share the thought with like-minded people. However with this book, there's too much information and not enough space (< 140 characters) to share it effectively.

So, I've turned to here. I want to post some of the nuggets that I find here for the random reader. I hope they make you think as they have challenged me to do the same.

  • "God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time...The right place often seems like the wrong place, and the right time often seems like the wrong time."
  • "God is in the resume'-building business. He is always using past experiences to prepare us for future opportunities. But those opportunities often come disguised as man-eating lions."
  • "Goodness is not the absence of badness. You can do nothing wrong and still do nothing right. Those who simply run away from sin are half-Christians. Our calling is much higher than simply running away from what's wrong. We're called to chase lions."
  • "When we don't have the guts to step out in faith and chase lions, then God is robbed of the glory that rightfully belongs to Him."
  • "What sets lion chasers apart isn't the outcome. It's the courage to chase God-sized dreams. Lion chasers don't let their fears or doubts keep them from doing what God has called them to do."
  • "Spiritual maturity is seeing and seizing God-ordained opportunities. Think of every opportunity as God's gift to you. What you do with those opportunities is your gift to God. I'm absolutely convinced that our greatest regrets in life will be missed opportunities."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Out of Reach



Last week I went to Seabrook Island, SC to the St. Christopher Camp & Conference Center. (Hence, the delay in a new post...limited access to technology.) The girl in the photo is my daughter, Logan right after she visited the Mud-Pit. Seabrook is what scientist refer to as a "barrier island." Its one of the things God created to help protect the shores of our coast from the forces of nature. What a great concept! Create masses of land to help protect the mainland where most of the civilization will live.

As I consider the principle of having barriers to help protect our coastland, I can't help but recognize the need for barriers in my personal life. I need to make sure that I have put in place things to protect me from the forces of nature...my sinful nature.

These would include:
- other men to ask me tough questions about what I'm watching on TV or on the Internet
- giving my wife all of my passwords
- positioning the monitor in my office so that anyone can see what I'm looking at
- never going to lunch (or anywhere) with a female other than my wife
- avoiding movie channels on the satellite
- being committed to spending time in the Bible to fill my mind with God's word
- avoiding negative people.

How about you? Do you need barriers in your life to protect the "mainland?" Don't wait until the storm comes to try and put them in place. Do it when things are calm. That way you'll be able to see things more clearly.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Between the Line: It's Your Ship...Family version

I was working on a project recently and remembered something I read in "It's Your Ship" by Captain Michael Abrashoff. This is a great leadership book describing how he took the worst ship in the Navy and made it the first ship in the Navy.

I pulled it off the shelf and started my search for the particular content I needed and then decided to glance back over my "underlines," the content that had made me think when I read the book the first time. Some of these are so good, that I wanted to share them here on the blog. (You'll probably see more in the future.) As you read these thoughts, please don't dismiss them as business or leadership jargon. You can easily make the transition to your family by replacing the words "crew", "leader", "organization", and "company" with the words like "kids", "parent" and "family."

  • All leaders (parents) have the challenge of getting the most out of our crews (kids), which depends on three variables: the leader's (parent's) needs, the organization's (family's) atmosphere, and the crew's (kid's) potential competence.
  • Leaders (parents) must free their subordinates (children) to fulfill their talents to the utmost. However, most obstacles that limit people's potential are set in motion by the leader (parent) and are rooted in his or her own fears, ego needs, and unproductive habits.
  • Show me an organization (family) in which employees (children) take ownership, and I will show you one that beats its competitors (opposition).

Monday, May 4, 2009

I'm a parent of a teenager!

Saturday was a monumental day in my life. We celebrated the 13th birthday of our first-born child. That officially makes me the parent of a teenager. She reminded me this morning that she's only 2 years away from driving!!!

I'm reminded of an exchange I had shortly after she was born with the One who created her and gave her to me. I was overwhelmed in the joy I had as a new father and grossly consumed by how much I loved this precious little baby. So much so, that I started to get a little ticked off that something that brought me so much happiness would soon gravitate out of my arms into the arms of another man and would be "gone forever."

I've learned first hand what the Bible means when it tells us that children are a gift from God. I've worked hard to insure that I handle this gift with care and love, yet fulfill my responsibility to teach her "the way she should go." We have laughed, cried and shared many defining moments in her life as her mother and I have worked to keep her planted in the truths of God's Word.

The tendency is for parents to put a lot of effort in trying to produce particular habits in their children. We want them to say, "Yes Sir", "Please" and "Thank you." We want them to make good grades and excel in whatever extra-curricular activity they choose. We get so caught up in the fruit of their lives that we overlook any efforts we might give to helping them grow on their own. They will eventually leave. So why not work at helping them learn how to grow so that they can continue to create even more fruit after they leave?

In other words, worry less about the fruit of your kids lives and more about what kind of tree they will become.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Developing Relationships That Matter

Found this list in a post on socialcomputingjournal.com by Dyana Klein.

We should all be aware that we have become the individual we are today because of the many influencers in our lives: parents, siblings, extended family, high school friends, college friends, employers, co-workers and ultimately, the chief influencer, "JC" Himself.

Our life is the sum of all the parts these various influencers have contributed along our journey. Our exchanges with them has help mold us into the people we are today. In essence, success in life is built upon the foundation of relationships...genuine relationships that matter. Here's how you can be a key influencer in someone else's life.

Enjoy the list:

  1. Don't Just SAY you Care. Actually CARE. If you don't care, find something you do care about and focus attention on that. [DW: "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." - Unknown]
  2. Try to keep ONE channel where your "connections" are completely legitimate, and you don't add anyone you wouldn't truly vouch for.
  3. We all love to talk, to be heard, to express our opinions... but amazing things happen when we close our mouths and listen.
  4. Recognize that everyone has their own agenda, and find ways to create win/win scenarios.
  5. Put yourself in the other person's shoes. This is a BIGGIE, and failing to do it has gotten me into more trouble than I care to admit.
  6. Have passion..there is nothing more magnetic than someone completely "into" what they're doing.
  7. Smile: It makes the world wonder what you are up to... possibly enough to engage with you just to find out more.
  8. Be dependable. If you start a conversation or relationship... don't disappear. It creates distrust.
  9. Be authentic. Over-the-top-ism is a turn off. We hear over and over about appreciating people who are real - Don't create a persona of real... just be. Be OK with the fact that not everyone will like you. Successfully accomplishing this will be incredibly liberating.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Whacko about Zappos!

Have you heard of Zappos.com?

It's an online shopping site that began by selling shoes, but has begun to explore other products. Their prices are good and the service is even better. I found them in FORTUNE magazine's top 100 places to work issue. They made the list at #24, but were the feature article of the segment.

What makes them so great? Zappos.com "offers free lunches, concierge services, and 100% coverage of health insurance premiums." (http://tiny.cc/CNNZappos) If you're a visual learner, you'll enjoy this brief clip from ABC's Nightline (http://tiny.cc/ZapposOnNightline).

So, what's the point?

Simply this: What if your experience in life was like working at Zappos? In the clip, CEO, Tony Hsieh makes the comment that he isn't the one mandating the culture/work climate at Zappos. The employees at Zappos.com have decided that they want to love what they do, so they have created an environment that allows people to be who they are, but expects everyone to give 100%. That's it.

Question for you: Are you giving your life 100%? If not, then why? What is keeping you from being all you were created to be and become?

Two quotes and we're done:

1) "It has been well said that our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only today of its strength." - Charles Spurgeon

2) "The tendency to follow the path of least resistance guarantees failure." - Brian Tracy

Make it a great day!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Why Sit Here Until We Die?

There's a story in the Bible where four lepers come to the realization that they are going to die. Yet, while they await their dreaded demise, they also know that they can take some action to improve their lives, at least for the moment. They complete their simple debate with, "Why sit here until we die?" In other words, why sit around waiting for the end when we can do something significant with the little bit of life we have remaining.

That's me. I've decided that I've been "sitting" way too long. Time to do something if only to start a blog. So, here you go!

We only get one "at bat" with our lives, so why not try to hit a home run and help your team win the game? That's my quest. To help others be successful. I think Zig Ziglar once said that if you help enough people get what they want out of life, eventually you'll get what you want as well.

My hope is that the Lord Jesus Christ will use my life to make an impact on others. I want them to see how He is the difference between an average life and an outstanding, home run life.

Stay tuned.