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 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 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.