Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Monthly Summary for September

4 Steps to get Past Your Limitations
Getting past the limitations we put on ourselves...

My "Tweets" from Randy Hahn's GIC Sermon
"How awesome would it be for God to look at us and think that we look just like Him while we reflect His greatness!"

Running Past Your Limitations
"The best pace is a suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." (Prefontaine)

Twelve Marks of a Great Leader
My attempt at crowd-sourcing leadership...

When the Alarm Sounds in Your Life
A very funny story of an alarm in the middle of the night...

Prayer and The Circle Maker
My first highlights from Mark Batterson's "The Circle Maker"

Friday, September 21, 2012

Prayer and The Circle Maker

I just started The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.


It's so good, I can't wait until I finish to give you some nuggets. These are all within the first 20 pages:
  •  "And even if the people could no longer hear God, he believed that God could still hear them."
  • "His prayer was resolute yet humble, confident yet meek, expectant yet unassuming."
  • "Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

When the Alarm Sounds in Your Life

What do you do when you wake up to the sound of a loud alarm sounding throughout your home? Allow me to share what we did because this happened in our home a few years ago.

First, you need a little of the backstory. I am somewhat deaf...OK, I'm a lot deaf. The technical term is "Legally Deaf." I'm not sure what that would mean in a court of law, but in laymen's terms, I have over 50% hearing loss. I compensate with the use of hearing aides, but they get a break at night.

The mere fact that I heard an alarm should tell you it was loud, but it also makes this story interesting.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

12 Marks of a Great Leader or Manager

Photo Credit: http://www.emergingrnleader.com/
Have you ever heard of "Crowd-Sourcing?" Maybe you've heard the term "Collective Intelligence." There is a Japanese Proverb that reads: "None of us are as smart as all of us." The idea is that two heads really are better than one. In fact that's how good ideas are birthed...from multiple influences directed toward a single objective.

Here is a video (4:00) that illustrates where good ideas come from...
(click "Continue Reading")

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Running Past Your Limitations

Have you ever been to the "Dark Side"?

Unfortunately for some, this is not a reference to the Star Wars movie series from the 80's and 90's. The "Dark Side" I'm referring to is that place where most people have never been. They've been close to it, maybe even started to go there, but quickly retreated to their self-prescribed haven of rest.

It is that place where we want to go in order to be successful in something but requires some degree of uncertainty and discomfort. The easiest example I can give you comes from the activity of running and yet it applies to many area of our lives.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My "Tweets" from Randy Hahn's GIC sermon

I showed great discipline tonight as I sat in the Global Missions Kick-Off service at First Baptist North Spartanburg. We were blessed to hear Randy Hahn, the pastor of Colonial Heights Baptist Church in Colonial Heights, VA. It took all I could muster to not Tweet these nuggets during the service...
  • Is God as great to us as that which we go on and on about?
  • Worship should lead to witnessing.
  • Worship should lead to missions.
  • If it stops in here (church), then it's empty out there.

Monday, September 3, 2012

4 Steps to Get Past Your Limitations

What is it that you would love to do, but keep excusing away? It's the subject of the silent conversation you have with yourself quite often. You say to yourself, "I would love to _____", but it never gets any traction.

The Inner Battle

In our family, fall isn't as much football season as it is cross country season. In case you're not familiar, that's running 3.1 miles (5K) over a variety of terrain. I am thrilled that my girls are committed to this sport. It's something they can do for the rest of their life. And the experiences they are having are molding them into very disciplined young ladies. The discipline to compete in this sport requires a lot of inner battles we like to call "You vs. You."

A friend of ours shared this poem recently and fits well here:

Friday, August 31, 2012

Monthly Summary for August

On the last day of August, I though I'd try something new and offer  a summary page of the post from August. I appreciate the many readers who tell me they enjoy my content. I encourage you to share the stuff that you feel is "sharable." All it takes is a "Copy and Paste" routine with the URL (website address) in an email, Facebook or Twitter. If you are a SUBSCRIBER (you get the email when I post...if you want to join them, find the big arrow on the right) all you need to do is forward the email. I would love to connect with new readers.

Guest Post: Logan Morris, "Swallow the Big Frog First"
While I was in Nicaragua, I asked my daughter Logan to post in my place. She did a great job. She actually garnered more comments that I usually do...

Smiles From the Trash Dump
This is my summary from my visit to Chosen Children Ministries in Nicaragua.

Get Out of the Way
Sometimes God wants to do great things, but we tend to get in the way.

No - I'm not on Facebook and Twitter all day!
Due to some tactical procedures, I give the impression of being on Social Media sites "all day." Here are my secrets...

How to Answer Your Kids' Questions
A simple strategy to slowing down in your parenting and engaging with your children.

What is Success?
My response to how a Christian defines success.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What Is Success?

Photo credit: http://7toolstosuccess.com/
Someone recently asked me, "What does success look like for a Christian?" 

"Success is a journey, not a destination." - John Maxwell [Tweet This Now]

Before I offer my answer, let's look at how most people answer that question.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

How to Answer Your Kid's Questions

What's your favorite ride at Disney World?

My family has made three trips to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. As we reflect on our trips from time to time, someone will usually ask, "If you could go back right now, what would be your first ride?" Another way to pose the question is, "What is the "can't miss" ride for you?"

I'm a little nostalgic with my pick. In fact, I prefer to board my at night. My "can't miss" ride at Disney World is the Jungle Cruise river ride. The humor is always lame, but comical. In fact, without the narration, it would be a very boring ride. This is because the river guide helps you know what to look for as you weave your way down the "Amazon." This is how I approach my time reading the Bible.

Monday, August 20, 2012

No - I'm Not On Facebook and Twitter All Day!

This may seem like a rant, but I promise it's not. I've had a few comments made to me in person over recent weeks about my "frequent" presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. As I have become a student of several on-line influencers, I have been able to provide content on a consistent basis, three or more times a day. Some may ask, "Why even post all of that stuff?" I'm glad you asked...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Get Out of the Way

It's a simple question: Do you really want God to do something great with your life? I mean REALLY...

When I look at people I know who are seeing a great work of God unfold before their eyes I notice at least one common thread: they get out of His way. I don't mean they utter some figurative phrase you might say in a prayer, but they literally take their own agenda and put it to the side and allow God to determine their next step. 
Proverbs 16:9 - "The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps."
As I am around more and more leaders who are striving to stay out of God's way, I see them accomplishing things they never dreamed or saw coming. That's a little different from what we hear these days...
"If you dream it, you can achieve it." - Walt Disney
"Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I'm beginning to think that it's not the size of the dream as much as it is the size of the dream-maker. If you are the dream-maker, then don't expect great things to happen. But if God is the originator of your dreams, you should be little intimidated. If we can create the plan and strategy, then we're just getting in the way.

Allow me to share three examples of leaders I've met who are striving to get out of God's way so they can be used in a great and powerful way for His kingdom.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Smiles From the Trash Dump

I just returned from a week in Nicaragua serving with Chosen Children Ministries. This was my second trip. One thing I've learned about trips like this is that the operative word is "flexibility." That's not a reflection of CCM ability to plan. It's just the nature of planting yourself in a foreign country with an entirely different understanding of time, objectives and deadlines. And yet, being flexible creates opportunities that you seldom expect. That's what happened to us...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Guest Post: Logan Morris, Swallow the Big Frog First

Dad has challenged me with the task of writing a blog post for him this week while he is away. I am not much of a writer but I love to take a challenge. I am Logan, the middle child of my family, and I will be in the ninth grade this upcoming school year.

This past July, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend Student Leadership University in Orlando, Florida. I had a fantastic time, and I was surprised at how much I learned during this trip. We learned about various topics from many different speakers, including Jay Strack, Brent Crowe, Bruce Ashford, Chuck Allen, Elizabeth Dixon, and Pat Williams.

One of my favorite sessions was “Swallow the Big Frog First,” by Brent Crowe. This phrase was not new to me. My dad has told me this phrase multiple times before, but I learned at SLU how to put it to action.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Wrecked - Getting Messed Up In a Good Way

I was privileged to get a pre-release of Jeff Goin's new book Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life. In exchange for the sneak peek, I was asked to write a review. 

Very Good Stuff
I'll go ahead and confess, I'm not sure if I can do that effectively. The book has so much great content, that to attempt to whittle it down into a summary may not do it justice. I have a different approach that I want to use. Before I do share, let me set the stage with this simple overview.

Wrecked will make you pause and look back over your life at the moments when your life collided with the world and in those moments, your eyes were opened to a new perspective. More than likely, those experiences altered the direction of your life. Jeff attempts to help us understand those experiences and how the people around us respond to their own Wrecked moments.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Five Minutes That Can Change Your Life Forever

Do you know where your life is going? Have you figured out how you are going to get there?

The buzz word we use for this is vision. I believe vision is best defined as the picture you have of you in your future. I fret to think how many people have never given that one second of thought. How many people live minute by minute without any consideration for where they want their lives to go? They have no picture of them in the future. They have no vision.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Let God Mess You Up!

Have you ever had your life wrecked? You were going along fine then the something happened that you weren't expecting and it caused a big "crash." The one thing I know about getting wrecked is that it comes when you least expect it and you have to make a life-altering decision. And this is important because "our lives will be the sum total of our decisions" (Andy Stanley). It happened to me when I was in college.

"Our lives will be the sum total of our decisions." - Andy Stanley (Click Here to Tweet)

I was attending a conference hosted by Campus Crusade for Christ. I don't remember a lot of details about the conference. I could not tell you who the musical artist was or who any of the speakers were. What I do remember is that during a break, I had a very significant conversation with God. Not an audible conversation, but a moment where it seemed there was no one in the auditorium but the two of us although we were surrounded by hundreds of college students. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Phyllis Crain: It's About Living, Not Dying

phyllis crain
I'll go ahead and tell you...this is a video that last for nine minutes. But if you need encouragement, it will be worth those nine minutes. Thus why I'm posting it on a Friday. I hope you can carve out some time over the weekend to watch.

This is a story about Phyllis Crain. She was my 6th grade teacher at O.P. Earle Elementary School in Landrum, SC. She had a huge impact on my life. I'm sure we all can point to a teacher or two who influenced us a little differently than the other teachers in our lives. Mrs. Crain launched me onto a journey that would play a big part of shaping me into the person I am today.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How to Give Something When You Have Nothing

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/
What if your phone rang and the person on the other end was asking you to give them something? Something you didn't have. Nothing elaborate or expensive, just a mattress.

This is a true story about a need, a desire to help and a computer. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. (I've always wanted to say that.)

Valerie is a friend of mine who has a big heart and loves to help people. I've learned that if you ever have something you want prayed over, she's the person to call. When Valerie prays, you almost feel like breaking the rules and peeping to see where Jesus is standing because she talks to Him as if He's right in front of her...well He is, you know.

One afternoon, Valerie's phone rang and a stranger was on the other end of the call. Not a complete stranger, but a lady she had recently met. We'll call her Sue. Sue was in a bind. Turns out one of Sue's children needed a place to sleep other than the floor. Sue was asking Valerie if she had an extra mattress or knew of someone who did. Sue figured if she could just get a mattress it would be better than sleeping on the floor. Valerie loves to help people, but she was very limited in what she could do. She was unemployed. A victim of a recession-driven downsize, Valerie found herself barely able to keep the power on and food on the table.

How does a person who has almost nothing give something?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Are You Raising a Nimrod?

Before you answer that, are you sure you would know a Nimrod if you saw one? My guess is that most people would say a Nimrod is synonymous with an idiot. In fact, recent American use of the word lends itself to a negative tone. Some even link its origination to its constant use in the ridiculous battles between Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd (I know, I just dated myself…).  However, that’s not the Nimrod I want you to consider. I’ve used capital “N” because there was a man named Nimrod and you find his story in the Bible, Genesis 10:8-9.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Stop Giving People the Finger

Yep, you've done it. You've given people the finger but I don't mean that one.

If you've read Michael Hyatt's book, Platform, or listened to his recent podcast, you should recognize the phrase, "The How of Wow". I love his use of the lobby experience to illustrate how some companies create the “Wow” experience and others come just short of asking you to leave. There's a company local to me that has actually removed the receptionist completely from their lobby. When you enter the lobby, there's a sign on the wall next to a phone that reads, "If you need assistance, use the phone and the extension list."

Listening to Michael paint a picture of the “Wow” experience, I was reminded of something we teach the Host Team at church: Don’t give people the finger. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Determine Your Leadership Status

Leaders know what they know; 
Fools don't know what they don't know. 
Which are you?

This notion comes from an old Chinese proverb that states:
“He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool...shun him.
He who knows not and knows that he knows not is willing...teach him.
He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep...awaken him.
He who knows and knows that he knows is wise...follow him.”
Where are you on that spectrum? Let me break these down with examples.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Do You Have the Guts to be a Dad? [Video]

Happy Father's Day!

Here is a story about a friend who had to make some tough decisions as a dad. This will show you a picture of leadership. Anyone can be a father, but courage is necessary in order to be a dad. Courage to make hard decisions and to sacrifice your own wants and desires for the good of your family, especially your children. 
(The video is 6:00)

Are you this kind of leader?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

If You Dream It, You Must Bring It

Are you "that" guy or gal who is always thinking of creative activities or solutions? 

Chances are you've been told a time or two, "That's a great idea...go run with that." Or as the title reads, "If you dream it, you must bring it." In other words, don't give out ideas unless you're ready to put some skin in the game. 

I was in a conversation with a leader this week and we discussed this concept. I thought I'd share two quick observations:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Are you a Puller or a Pusher?

Do you think the word Leadership is overused?

I was fortunate to be a part of the 2012 Chick-fil-a Leadercast. One of the speakers was Urban Meyer, the football coach at Ohio State University (formerly the University of Florida). He was asked how he defines "leadership" and gave a surprising response.

He said, "That's a word we throw around a lot, isn't it? I try to keep it simple. I define it as the ability to elevate the performance of those around you." I think that is an AWESOME answer!

When I take that definition and filter it through my own experience as a leader, I immediately ask, "Do I elevate the performance of those around me?" Then I stop and think,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Leadership begins at 2:00am

Dave McGillivray
Lessons I learned from Boston Marathon Race Director, Dave McGillivray. His day begins with a 2:00am wake-up call and concludes at 7:30pm when he crosses the finish line of his own individual marathon. 
(Source: Runner's World, May 2012, The Boston Wrangler)
  • "If I've done my job right, I should be the least busy person on race day."
This is the essence of leadership. Take a team of people, find their strengths, hopes and desires and position them for THEIR success.  Unfortunately, some see leadership as positioning their people for the leader's success. 

  • "I'm proud to finish last every year."
When the last runner crosses the finish line, Dave loads up and heads back to the start line. Not to begin cleaning up, but to put on his running shoes. He allows all 27,000 runners to cross the line ahead of him and then completes his own marathon. Servant leaders tend to shine a little brighter than selfish leaders.

  • "At the end of my life, I hope I have used everything I had until I simply...ran out of time."
How often do you hear someone talk about just working hard? Most people I know are keeping something in the tank for later. They have a grandiose plan of saving a little energy for themselves; a little reward for having put in the time for others. 
When I think about the successful people I know, I see a clear trend of hard work, sacrifice and commitment. Sure, skill has something to do with it, but you just can't overlook good old "elbow grease." 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Are You Blessing Your Children?

What is your child's best skill? What can they do really well? If you can't answer that, we have a problem.

A few weeks ago, I partnered with some friends to host a Courageous Families Experience. We showed the Courageous film and then followed up with two afternoons of teaching/discussion/exchanges based on the principles brought to light in the film. It was a neat opportunity to connect the movie to our everyday lives.

One session was based on the concept of blessing your children. We used God's expression of joy over Jesus going to John the Baptist to be baptized as our model.

"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.'"

Matthew 3:16-17

New International Version (NIV) 

Did you catch it? Let me unpack it:

Monday, April 30, 2012

How to Turn a Bad Day Around

Are you having a bad day? If so, hang on...I'll be right back. If not, hang on...it will be here shortly.

We all have bad days. I know that because you're reading this post. I once heard that the only people who don't have bad days are in the graveyard. And even then, for some of them, it only got worse...

I was recently listening to Michael Hyatt talk about handling setbacks and he referenced the notion that how we respond to challenges will set us up for future success or immediate defeat. The best indicator for how that will turn out are the questions we ask ourselves and maybe to others.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Deflect and Reflect in Real Life

Did you read these posts on using the life God gives you to elevate His name before a world?
Here's another great example from Trevor Bayne...LOVE this!

Note: If you like this and want to share, highlight the link below, copy and paste in an email or on Facebook...


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Leaders are Learners

Can you teach a old dog new tricks? I'm not sure, but I have a fascination in trying as best I can to learn as much as I can.  Especially when it comes to learning leadership from God's Word.

I just returned from a two-day quasi-leadership-training event with Chuck Allen. Chuck is the pastor at Sugar Hill Church, outside of Atlanta. He's a great leader and loves to teach it. In fact, he's written the best "Leadership 101" book I've ever read. It's called Extraordinary Leadership for Everyday People.

This was a rare opportunity to spend about 5 hours with a guy who travels the world teaching leadership to thousands of people, especially teenagers. Every summer he teaches at Student Leadership University and really connects with the students. I'm excited that my youngest daughter gets to hear him this summer at SLU 101.

I wanted to share my notes from this experience.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's Hummingbird Time

I just created a new label for my posts: Random. This is totally inconsistent with everything I've posted before now.

One of my kids asked me when it was time to put our Hummingbird feeder back up. Not being the expert on the migration patterns of the Southeastern Hummingbird, I decided to do a little research. Turns out, now is the time. So dust off the feeders...

I'm just posting information relative to those who like to hang feeders, watch them zig-zag around, fight over the food and appreciate God's creativity and attention to the smallest of details.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Reflect and Deflect

Just a quick word to get the week going...

I'm SOAPing through Genesis and reading the account of Joseph's experience in Egypt. In today's passage, I read where he was pulled from the dungeon to interpret Pharaoh's dream.  Notice the exchange...
Pharaoh: "I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it."
Joseph: "It is not me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace."
Joseph pulls a move that I have begun to teach my kids. It's the "Reflect and Deflect" move.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sometimes You Have to Pick Up the Broom

I went to my local McDonalds recently and was encouraged by an unexpected site. I saw the owner (not the manager) out in the parking lot with a broom, sweeping up trash. I commented, "Now that's leadership at its finest." She just chuckled.

She's a real neat lady. I met her a few years ago as I happened to be there one day eating and she was out in the dining area, get this, wiping down tables. (I think she has a handle on Servant Leadership.) In that exchange, I commented on how hard her team was always working. She wasted no time letting me know what she thought about her team.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What Are You Missing?

"The person who has everything is missing something."

That phrase came to my mind while working on a lesson about Abraham. Here you have a man who has wealth, power and a "hotty" for a wife and yet he was consumed by the fact that he had no son. In his own words to God, "You have given me no offspring;"

No matter what we have, there is always something missing. I've heard it said that our appetite for more is never fully and finally satisfied. We always desire more. How we manage that desire is an indicator of our the kind of person we are. Check this out...[VIDEO, approx1:30] * It starts with just audio...

How can we manage the desire to acquire? 
  1. Settle that EVERYTHING comes from God.
  2. Understand the concept of managing versus owning. We're managers...
  3. Ask yourself, "Is there anything that I would have a hard time letting someone borrow?" If the answer is "Yes," then, for that object, you are an "owner."
  4. When was the last time you reached out to someone who had a need?
Do you have any suggestions on how to keep from "missing" something in life?

Photo credit: http://songsofthesalamander.blogspot.com/2011_08_01_archive.html

Friday, March 16, 2012

Are You Blessed for Success?

Have you ever found yourself needing to make a decision, but not sure what to do? You're not alone.  This is not a success strategy for making right decisions. Rather a reminder as to how to tap into a resource that will help you make those decisions.

In Genesis 24, Abraham commissions one of his servants with the task of finding a bride for Isaac. But there are criteria that must be met. Not so strict that it was "Mission Impossible," and yet not so broad that a simple "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe" would suffice. There had to be some discernment. And after all, he wanted to do Abraham proud.  

The main stipulation was where to go find the young lady. Other than that, he was on his own as to how to select the future bride for Isaac.  As he settled into the region where Abraham sent him, he found himself with no clear way of deciding who to pick. What would you do? Pray?

Friday, March 9, 2012

I Don't Change Oil, I Change People

[This post was inspired by my pastor, Mike Hamlet, as he recently reminded me of someone we both know and how this person leverages his life for God's glory.]

Like most people, I make my tri-monthly trip to a local "quick-serve" garage to get my oil changed. Actually, it's more frequent than that as I have three vehicles to maintain. None-the-less, I have become a familiar face to the guy who works in the oil bay. His name is Joey.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Are You a Dream Maker or Dream Breaker?

Back in the Garden of Eden, when God created Adam, He recognized that "it was not good for man to be alone." He knew the value of relationships and having other people in our lives.  His solution was what the Bible calls "a helper" also known as Eve. Eve's task was to help Adam fulfill the responsibilities that God had placed on him...in essence she was to help Adam be successful.

In our world today, most everything we do involves relationships with people. People we know, people we don't; people we see everyday, people we see once and never again; people we love, and people with the capacity to be loved although we don't pursue it. There's not much that we do in our daily routines that does not involve people.

In your "world," how do you engage with those people? When they see you coming, do they walk toward you or away? Do you add value to their lives or suck the life out of them? Are you a Dream Maker or a Dream Breaker?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My 100th Post!!!


As I was logging in a few days ago, I realized I was approaching my 100th post on this blog. I must confess; I didn't see that coming. While I have attempted to ramp up my posting frequency, my goal was not to reach any set milestone. I just wanted to continue to better my craft and encourage those who enjoy my ramblings.

On that note, I would like to ask you a question. If you're a consistent reader, what post that you've read here comes to mind as having the most impact on you? That's not meant to be a rhetorical question. I would really love for you to go to the bottom and use the (new and improved) comment box and share your response to that question.

In recognition of my 100th post, I thought I would list the Top 10 posts so far. Keep in mind that this blog is getting up to 800 views a month. So this list changes almost monthly. If you're a consistent reader, I hope the time you give to read my musings is adding some value to your day. I decided earlier this year that I wanted my life to be a tool in God's hands to help connect people to Him and help them leverage their lives for His glory. This is one of the tools that help me accomplish that goal.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

How to Run a Half-Marathon without Training, Part 2

My wife recently ran a Half-Marathon without one mile of training. It wasn't that she set out to show how this could be done. It was more about a spur of the moment decision to do attempt something she has wanted to do for a while.

This is the second installment of "How to Run a Half-Marathon without Training." I am sharing the components of her story as they unfolded during our weekend trip to Myrtle Beach. If you would like to backtrack to the beginning, here's a link to How to Run a Half-Marathon without Training, Part 1.

5) Encouragement that matters...
When she announced that she was going to run, immediately, the others in the group began to say, "You can do it." I must confess. I wasn't as optimistic. It wasn't that I thought she could not do it. It was simply I did not think anyone could do it. Seriously, how many people just up and decide to run 13.1 miles without any adverse consequences? In years past, I had seen countless runners walking back to the Starting Line after just a few miles of race under their feet. I had seen numerous people receive medical care, even airlifted to hospitals. And these were people who had trained for the race.
I soon recognized Angela's resolve. I also sensed that the encouragement she wanted the most was mine. Keep in mind that just a few hours earlier she had been challenged to create change in her life. Who was I to disrupt that notion? I relinquished my hold to common sense and said, "You should do this and I'm going to do it with you."
 6) You never leave your partner in a fire...

Monday, February 20, 2012

How to Run a Half-Marathon Without Training, Part 1

Half-Marathon T-shirt at the Expo

I just returned from one of the annual highlights of my calendar year. Angela and I traveled down to Myrtle Beach, SC for the Myrtle Beach Marathon/Half-Marathon Weekend. We look forward to this trip as we join three other couples close to our age for food, fellowship and fun. Preparations begin in late October as we all begin our training regiment to prepare for the long and taxing 13.1 mile run along the coastline of South Carolina. Angela has never joined the running aspect of the trip. While running a 5K (3.1 miles) is on her "Bucket List," finding the time to train for a race while tending to our family is nearly impossible.

So you can imagine the thoughts dashing through my mind when she announced on Friday afternoon, the day before the race, that she thought she just might sign up to run the Half-Marathon. That's right, the 13.1 mile race...without ONE mile of training. She didn't even have running apparel. (She did happen to have her shoes.) Let me go ahead and give you the punch line in case you need to move on to something else: She did it! She got up on Saturday morning, put on her shirt, shorts and shoes and ran 13.1 miles in less than 3 hours (2 hours, 45 mins).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Question: How does a kid who is 5'8" tall, growing up in an abusive home, surrounded by poverty make it into the NBA?

Answer: He has a dream and he has someone who believes in him.

Meet Melvin Adams. He's a former NBA player and Harlem Globetrotter who travels the nation encouraging kids and adults to embrace the challenges in their lives as opportunities to grow and move toward success. He says it all started when a guidance counselor at his school began to tell him he was "Awesome!" He shares that she said it every day and soon, he started to believe it. That simple act of reaching out to a kid to create value in him made all the difference in the world to Melvin. It actually changed the course of his life.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Are You Cheating?

I'm sort of an unusual bird when it comes to running with an iPod. Where most people listen to up-tempo music to help keep their pace strong, I choose a much different genre. I like to listen to podcasts that range from ministers to marketing. It's just another way I can continue to grow as an individual. One of my favorites is Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA. His dad is Charles Stanley, the popular pastor of First Baptist Atlanta.

Recently, as I was on a run, my iPod finished the podcast it was playing and rolled right into the next one which was Andy's popular sermon, "Choosing to Cheat." This was a pleasant surprise as I had heard him mention this sermon (and book) on a previous Leadership Podcast and that he had re-branded it as "When Work and Family Collide: Keeping Your Job from Cheating Your Family ." It had been a while since I heard this sermon, so I was anxious to get refreshed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Are You Speaking Your Sweetheart's Love Language? [online tool]

As Valentine's Day is approaching a lot of effort is given to picking out the right card or the perfect gift. We want to find a way to express our love to the object of our affection. But have you ever stopped to consider that you may be giving a lot of time and energy to say "I Love You" and the person to whom you're saying it never hears it? The reason for this is simple. They have a unique way they perceive love.

Dr. Gary Chapman is credited with the notion of every person having their own Love Language. The concept is that we give and receive love in one of five primary ways. The following is a list taken from Dr. Chapman's website, http://www.5lovelanguages.com:

Words of Affirmation
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
Quality Time
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
Receiving Gifts
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
Acts of Service
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
Physical Touch
This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

Once we know our sweetheart's Love Language, we can begin to say "I Love You" loud and clear.

If you would like to discover your Love Language, here is an on-line tool that will reveal it and give you a few tips. I suggest you and your "sweety" take this test and sit down and talk about the ways each of you like to receive love from each other, based on the results.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Is Your Life Fulfilling?

I'm going to show my age here, but there's an old Steven Curtis Chapman song entitled, "More To This Life."  The chorus of the song goes:

But there’s more to this life than living and dying,
More than just trying to make it through the day;
More to this life, more than these eyes alone can see,
And there’s more than this life alone can be.

You can listen to the entire song here (5:00)

Do you ever feel that way? I know I do. Just like the beauty queen who wants to end world hunger, we all want see our lives accomplish more than recycling oxygen into carbon dioxide.  Author, Paul David Tripp suggests that we can't help it. "There is woven inside each of us a desire for something more - a craving to be part of something bigger, greater and more profound than our relatively meaningless day-by-day existence."1