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Have You Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

Have You Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

By on Jan 23, 2018 in Affirmation, Blogs, Choices, Forgiveness, Friendship, Grace, Love, Relationships | 0 comments

A man died and went to heaven and was met at the gate by St. Peter. “Before I can let you into heaven, you need to pass a small test,” said St. Peter. “Spell love.” “L-o-v-e,” the man said. “Great! Come on in!” said Peter, who then walked him into heaven where a mansion awaited him. Sometime later, Peter found the man and asked for some help. “Something has come up, and God needs my help. I was wondering if you would stand at the gate for me?” “Of course, what do I need to do?” said the man. “Just what I did for you,” said Peter. So, the man took his spot at the gate and as people arrived he asked them to spell love. Two or three people arrived and passed the test. Then the man looked up and there stood his old business partner. “Jim, what are you doing here?” “I just had a terrible car accident.” Jim replied. “Oh, that is terrible.” The man said. Jim asked, “What do I have to do to get in the gate?” “Oh, it’s easy,” he said. “You just have to pass a small test: spell Czechoslovakia.” The apostle Paul listed 15 characteristics of real love in 1 Corinthians 13. Asking his business partner to spell Czechoslovakia wasn’t one of them. How does love to behave? C. S. Lewis’ insight is helpful.  “Do not waste time bothering whether you love your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we learn one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love them. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.” Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. 1 Corinthians...

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Don’t Get Dirty.

Don’t Get Dirty.

By on Jan 16, 2018 in Blogs, Calling, Choices, Clarity, Determination, Direction, Flourish, Focus, Forward Movement, Goals, Mission, Persistence, Perspective, Priorities, Productivity, Purpose, Relationships, Resolve | 0 comments

The 365 days of 2018 are like a miniature lifetime. If you are reading these words, then the morning of January 1 found you alive, at the brink of a whole new lifetime. Even if 16 days are already in the rear-view mirror, you’re able to start fresh all over again. As a new year approaches, what will you do with the opportunities given you? What do you want to accomplish in 2018? One of the best practices in goal setting is begin with the end in mind. This is sometimes called backward planning. Often, strategies and approaches are better designed if one is clear about the required result. Looking at life within the context of the end, gives us the same advantage.  Fittingly, if we look forward to the end of 2018, how shall we evaluate it? What criterion of success shall we apply as we backward plan? It’s helpful to adopt the same one the apostle Paul used at the end of his life. In 2 Timothy 4:6-8 he tells us what it was. Following Paul’s encouragement to Timothy to remain steady and stay focused on the essentials of his personal calling, he mentioned his own endurance to the end and what reward it would have. 2 Timothy 4:6-86 “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” The criterion of success Paul used to measure his life is revealed in 3 questions: 1. Did he fight the good fight? 2. Did he finish the race? 3. Did he keep the faith? George Bernard Shaw wrote, “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”  This may be obvious but fighting the wrong fight, running the wrong race, takes us off mission. Fighting the good fight, finishing the race and remaining faithful, requires answering 4 questions: 1....

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3 Ways To Maximize Life

3 Ways To Maximize Life

By on Jan 9, 2018 in Blogs, Direction, Flourish, Forward Movement, Happiness, Hope, Made for More, Perspective | 0 comments

Have you ever washed a rental car? Barring some unusual circumstance, such as the car is caked in so much mud that you can’t see out the window, the answer is almost certainly no. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has used the following catch phrase several times: “No one washes a rented car.” I have heard people say, “Nothing corners better, handles bumps and speedbumps, treats potholes and curbs with disdain, accelerates faster and breaks harder than a rental car.” We don’t wash rental cars because we don’t own them. There is little incentive to wash or maintain a car that one does not own. Why? The renter does not benefit from the resale of the rental car. In fact, the renter may never see the car again.  However, it’s very different if you own the car. I am challenged by the counsel of Solomon, 7 It is a wonderful thing to be alive! 8 If a person lives to be very old, let him rejoice in every day of life, but let him also remember that eternity is far longer and that everything down here is futile in comparison. Ecclesiastes 11:7-8 (TLB) Life is a gift from God. And one day, each one of us will give an account on the investment we made with the life we were given. Solomon is alluding to a principle that involves the stewardship of life. I encourage you to read Ecclesiastes 11 this week. Solomon  outlines for us a 3-fold strategy for maximizing the gift of life. 1. Make the investment. 1 Send your grain across the seas, and in time, profits will flow back to you. 2  But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead. Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 (NLT) Are you giving yourself to the right things? Solomon describes someone who engages in commercial enterprises involving overseas trade (waters). Solomon says release it to as a wise investor would. Trust God as you generously give yourself to the right things, it won’t sink but will eventually pay off. 2. Navigate the inevitable. 3 When clouds are heavy, the rains come down. Whether a tree falls north or south, it stays where it falls....

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What Does Trail Mix and Your Influence Have In Common?

What Does Trail Mix and Your Influence Have In Common?

By on Jan 2, 2018 in Authenticity, Awareness, Behavior, Blogs, Calling, Character, Clarity, Credibility, Focus, Forward Movement, Foundation, Greatness, Habits, Influence, Integrity, Leadership, Made for More, Mission, Opportunity, Persistence, Potential, Productivity, Purpose, Relationships, Resolve, Self Awareness, Skillful, Success, Values, Wisdom | 0 comments

What is your favorite part of trail mix? If I am honest, for me it’s the M&M’s. Recently, I was golfing with a friend, who opened up a bag of trail mix. It was really good! In addition to the chocolate of the M&M’s, it had a hint of butterscotch. He told me it was his wife’s recipe. I’ve noticed a funny thing about trail mix. Even though different kinds of things are in the bag, by adding one particular ingredient you can influence the taste. The sweetness of butterscotch had flavored everything else. How are you influencing those around you? How will you make your influence count for what matters? I’ve had the opportunity to connect with people who’ve made a true and measurable impact in the world. The list includes missionaries, community leaders, and successful business men and women.  Among this group there are also everyday people who have found a special role in which they’ve contributed at the highest level. They are men and women serving in administrative roles who have learned the art of leading up. They shape the culture at work in powerful and positive ways. As I have thought about these individuals, certain core behaviors stand out in them. Their approach to life distinguishes them from those who influence is wasted. People whose influence is constructive know that they are not perfect. Therefore, they have a high-level commitment for improving themselves. They have an openness to see, learn, and experience new ways to make a positive impact. They encourage others. They are happy to help and support others and use their energy to enrich the lives of everyone they work with and connect with.  These positive influences want others to grow. They have learned the art of a positive “no”. They dedicate themselves to what matters. People that say yes to the right things are unable to be deterred or distracted from what they believe is the reason they’re on this planet at this time. They see life for what it can be. They do not settle for status quo, the comfortable, o the easy way. They are willing to change to bring about a better way. They don’t take short-cuts. They trust...

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Christmas Peace All Year Long

Christmas Peace All Year Long

By on Dec 19, 2017 in Anger, Behavior, Blogs, Choices, Christmas, Love, Peace, Perspective, Relationships | 0 comments

My grandkids, Lukis and Karli, headed for the kid’s playroom and I went to the counter and ordered our lunch. While I was bringing our tray of food over to the table, I overheard Lukis telling my wife, Elli, that a little boy hit him while they were in the play area. I could see that Lukis was quite troubled about this. He let it go enough to start eating, but about the time his chicken nuggets were gone, he asked me, “Papa, why did that boy hit me?” I did my best to explain why some people are rude, selfish or just plain mean. That didn’t completely satisfy his concern as I observed he was still bothered by the fact that another boy would hit him for no reason. So, I changed the focus and helped him understand what his response should be if that might happen again. It is no secret that the stresses of our life can often prevent us from rising above the situation. As adults, the issues of life, fractured relationships, and the unrealistic expectations of others can hurt much more than a rapid punch in the play area. On that first Christmas, the angels announced Christ’s birth, by proclaiming “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2;14 Some translations of this announcement read, “peace on earth for all those pleasing him.” TLB Years later, The Apostle Paul encourages us to, “find out what pleases the Lord.” Ephesians 5:10 (NIV) When my sister and I would quarrel, our dad would say “if you ever want peace on earth, you could start by not fighting with each other.” “Peace” isn’t just about formal treaties between world leaders, or the absence of fighters and battleships and tanks.  Peace is about the small yet significant choices we all make every day. God gave us autonomy, and so God can’t force us to love people enough to be peacemakers. He did, however, gave us divine nature through which we’re all capable of incredible love and compassion. Which makes me wonder why we all still periodically pick petty fights. Is there an opportunity for you to be a peacemaker...

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