Jan 25 2010

NO VACANCY!

no-vacancy

Are you building a memory or creating a vacancy?

Over the past few years I’ve really tried to focus on creating opportunities to share time with my kids. I guess I’m trying to make up for all the times I screwed it up in the past. From date nights to family game night, I’ve found it doesn’t take a lot of money to make my kids happy. You know what they want most? Me. As crazy as that sounds, my kids just want a little part of me. Them. Me. Time. Together.

Memories are one of the most powerful stimuli for our brain. While no one knows for sure how many memories our brain can hold, some studies suggest it’s well over 100 million megabytes. That’s a lot of space! One memory can literally last a lifetime…for good or for bad. Are we taking time to build positive memories with our kids? Think of it this way…we all try to suppress bad memories from past events (some of you just thought of something right now). Our memories turn into “vacancies.” Ultimately we’re left with a void in our heart.

Good memories however, build a permanent foundation of positive thoughts. We’re investing into the health of our soul and of others. Most adults have the opportunity to pick and choose our memories. Kids don’t always have the same choice. As parents we hold an incredible amount of influence over our kids. It’s something that none of us should take for granted. Yet we go around treating everyday like everything revolves around us and what we want. The “me” attitude creates vacancies for everyone else. And you know what the sad thing is? Our kids love us anyway. Even when we chip away at their heart.

Take a moment this week to spend time with your kids. It may be as a family, with just the kids, or even a “one-on-one” moment. They may not thank you for it now, but they will. And that moment will make it all worthwhile.

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Jan 22 2010

Stop Wearing Masks and Playing Games

Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.”

2 Cor. 4:1-2 (MsgB)

There are times when all of us need to be still and quiet. Sometimes peaceful. Sometimes struggling. Always listening. And there are times when saying nothing actually says the most.

There is also a time to scream. Not a “scream like you’re a girl” scream, but the scream of an anguished soul longing to be heard.  No masks. No games. A time to fight and to stand for the Truth.

And that time is now…

It’s time to make a difference. Not for me. Not for my family. But out of the obedience of what God has called us all to do: love others and make an impact wherever we can. The challenge is in the here and now.

My brain has been full of ideas lately…I think they’re God-sized ideas. I’m trying not to limit them, but doubt sometimes gets in the way. In the next few months I’m going to share some of these ideas here on this blog and I’m going to ask you to join me in the journey. I need your help, your feedback, your suggestions, and yes, even your criticisms. I’ll be launching a new project, writing feverishly and pretty much throwing caution to the wind.

I may have been thrown down a few times, but I can assure you…I am NOT broken. It’s time. Will you join me?

“…You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. 2 Cor. 4:8b-9 (MsgB)

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Aug 7 2009

Friends Are Friends Forever, Right?

The family and I are heading to Canton, IL this weekend to visit lifelong friends of ours, The Formhals. Cary and Angie have been friends since our first day of college – he was our married housing RA and she was our resident babysitter for Kayla. “Catfish,” as we called him, is one of those guys I can call no matter what and he’s always there to listen.

They say that you can count the number of lifelong friends on one hand. Take a moment to reflect on those you might place in this category. Did that take long? Probably not.

“Duke University and University of Arizona sociologists found the average number of people who are considered close confidants dropped by nearly one-third, from 2.94 in 1985 to 2.08 in 2004.”

True friends are those that love you unconditionally. That means no matter the circumstance, the situation, the rumors…they are with you. It doesn’t mean they always agree with you (that’s enabling) but they are there to challenge you, pray for you, kick you in the butt…you get the idea. Most importantly? True friends NEVER ABANDON YOU…

25% percent of the population today feel like they have no one to confide in. That can be a very lonely and dark place. I want to challenge you to look for an opportunity TODAY to impact someone’s life by letting them know that you are there. It might be a simple smile, a quick “hello” or a word of encouragement. I’m not asking you to be a “lifelong” friend…but hey, you never know when a simple conversation can change your life (and theirs!) forever.

They say that we will be the same in ten years except for the books we read and the people we meet. For those of you who have reminded me recently that life is still a wonderful adventure, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Here’s to the next decade!

Grace and peace…

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Jun 20 2009

Are you a lover or a fighter?

I’m a lover not a fighter

Famous words quoted by many in the past (including our friend, Michael Jackson).  While this quote may sound good (and theologically grounded!), it’s much more difficult to put into actionWhat does it mean to love?

Do you love…

…when you’ve been decimated to the depths of your soul?

…when someone intentionally hurts you and your family?

…when the truth gets twisted and nobody seems to care?

…when friends suddenly turn their back on you?

It’s easy to love when things are going well, but when someone is truly tested (the gut-wrenching, head-twisting, heart-writhing, up-to-your-elbows tested in loving others kind)…how many make it?

Maybe the tougher question is this…when is it okay to fight? I’ve been challenged by the words of James (especially chapter 4) and the familiar saying that we shouldn’t judge our neighbors.  How many of us are quick with the tongue? I’m definitely guilty of falling into this category at times. Are there moments when we are justified in speaking out or should humility rule the day?

Anne Jackson talks about her pain in Chapter 11 of her latest book, “Mad Church Disease” and even offers a free download here. Check out what she has to say about healing after the hurt. While her story parallels mine and my family in an eerie way, I was more impressed with how she handled her challenges. Sometimes what we don’t say speaks louder than the words we could say.

So what corner do you find yourself in…are you a lover or a fighter?

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Jun 16 2009

Decisions…Decisions…

Would you say you are quick to make a decision or you like to think about it awhile?  I know, I know.  Most of you are saying to yourself, “Well it depends on the situation.” While that’s true, most of us do have a preference.

For me, I lean towards the quicker decision making process. As an artist and creative thinker, I tend to “go for it,” but not without looking at the process behind the decision. While I do make decisions fairly quickly, I also find out the critical pieces of information and make the best decision possible with the information I have to work with.

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen leaders make is waiting too long to make decisions. This can slow down the growth and forward movement of an organization and more often than not, it will frustrate those working with you. Oh yeah, they may say they’re with you in the process, but they really can’t wait for you to make up your mind so they can get to work.

I love how Seth Godin describes decision making in one of his blog posts (emphasis mine):

First rule of decision making: More time does not create better decisions.

In fact, it usually decreases the quality of the decision.

More information may help. More time without more information just creates anxiety, not insight.

Deciding now frees up your most valuable asset, time, so you can go work on something else.

If your’e waiting around to gather EVERY piece of information so that you can make an informed decision, I’ve got news for you.  You’ll NEVER have all the information. Do us all a favor and strap up and make the call. I’ve never met a perfect leader and chances are you’re going to make some mistakes along the way.  Embrace them. Learn from them.

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