• Seeing Into the Future

    What do you want from your life? At the end of your life, if you could choose one word (or concept) to describe your life, what would it be? We will all be known for something. Certainly, some will be more known than others, but in the end very few people will be known. Just consider how many people you can name from history prior to 1800. For many people reading this blog, a healthy portion of those names will come from the Bible or from the period around the American Revolution. If those names are removed, the list will shrink substantially. Still, being famous may be your goal. But…

  • Short Reviews – A Review of My Recent Reading List (2020 – 2nd Qtr)

    On the right side of this blog, I provide my current reading list. While I often read other books simultaneously, my goal each quarter is to read one book from each of the “steps” that help me fulfill my strategy which is comprised of the acrostic LEARN.* Therefore, I choose the books I read carefully because I want them to help me improve as a teacher, a pastor, a leader, and most importantly as a person. Thus, I rarely read books that are disappointing to me. However, some are more helpful than others, so I thought it might be helpful to share a few insights from my reading, in case…

  • Building a System

    Vision. Depending upon the context, the word conjures up one of two thoughts. Historically, the term has related to the ability to see. More recently, it has meant a business-related goal. That goal, in one sense, is what the business expects to “see” if it properly fulfills the mission. So, the vision is dependent upon the mission. But in order to fulfill the mission, a strategy needs to be developed. That strategy, if properly executed, can lead to the fulfillment, but it does not guarantee it. As we have seen in recent months with COVID-19, unforeseen circumstances can cause major shifts in our thinking. But without an end goal (a…

  • A Fresh Start

    How do you handle distractions? Personally, I am a planner. I like to keep my calendar and to-do list organized. Now, I am a believer in the idea that I need to control those tools (and others), rather than letting them control me, but the reality is that I like having my day(s) organized. Beyond the day(s), I like to have my life fairly ordered. I can be flexible, but I do like the stability of how I have structured my week. And beyond organizing my time and tasks, I also organize my scheduled lessons, whether that is what I will preach or teach at church, what I am planning…

  • Seeking Something Different

    Different. How do you define the term? Perhaps the easiest definition is “not the same.” But then we must ask, what is the definition of “same?” If our answer is “not different,” we may be right, but we really have not defined anything. We are simply speaking in circles – different is not the same and the same is not different. And around we go again. It is difficult to not be aware of all that is happening in our world. It is disturbing if we are not aware of the big picture of why it is happening. However, as I mentioned last week, I cannot fully understand, and maybe…

  • It Begins With Me

    I don’t have any answers. I have more questions than I may ever have answers. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do. But I know I must do something. And that something must include love. Whatever happens from here, it must begin with me. Our world has been divided for years, and that has been true of America as well. But that has never been more apparent than in our current reality. Protests. Riots. Injustice. Hatred. We see it daily. It grows daily. And, well, it should. This blog is about living in, not of the world as Jesus prayed. Most of the time, I…

  • Ready! Aim! Fire!

    It is said that the world is filled with (at least) three different types of people. The three types are those that live by the practice of: Ready. Aim. Fire.                 Ready. Fire. Aim.                 Ready. Aim. Aim. Aim. Aim. Fire. Frankly, for a larger part of my life I have been closer to the last group of people than the others. That means it probably would not surprise you to know that I am an Enneagram 1. But I am finding myself far less trapped by the need to be perfect as I used to be. Perhaps it is age. Perhaps it is wisdom. But it is certainly realizing…

  • Aiming for More

    What are some of the important markers in your life? Maybe it is a wedding day or the birth of a child or children. For others, it might be related to a move, a new job, or some other significant change. For others, those markers relate to health matters, or a tragic event like the loss of a loved one. Whatever it is, we all have markers in our life. For me, one of those markers has never been birthdays. But this year is different. 50 years ago today, I was born. I don’t say that to have any birthday wishes come my way. I say it because it is…

  • Stepping Out of the Hamster Wheel

    How is your life progressing? How do you measure that progress? Perhaps for the day-to-day, you use a calendar and a to-do list. I know I do. Frankly, I do not know how I would properly function without knowing where I am to be, what time I am to be there, and what I am to do. However, clicking (or checking) off a list of tasks and keeping appointments does not make for a full life. We may be productive, but are we effective? (I have long argued for effectiveness over productivity and efficiency, although each of the latter are important.) And if we are effective, what is the benefit?…

  • Surrender

    What comes to mind when you hear the word surrender? For me, I usually think of defeat. I think of a weaker opponent yielding to a strong opponent. Sometimes I want the surrender to happen before it actually does. For instance, consider one team being badly beaten by another team, but the game not being ready to end because of the time left, or the innings remaining, etc. (I did actually witness a team walk off the field in the middle of an inning once because of how bad the other team was winning – that image has stuck with me for over 30 years). But could surrender be good?…