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.





video

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.