Friday, October 24, 2014

Serenity Prayer

This prayer helps me to find serenity at all times with all people in all circumstances.  Think of it as your car key.  You may have to try it more than once on challenging days but you can't get to your destination without first putting the key in the ignition switch.  Turn the key as often as your situation requires.  Have a great day.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Breaking the Denomination Barrier

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams ~ Act 2:17

I don't wear designer labels.  God's people were never meant to be divided and conquered.  That's what I see every time I drive through a new town.  It's like the Hatfields and the McCoys all over again, generation after generation.  One side worships on one side of the street and another on the other side.  My calling extends beyond the people who gather in brick and mortar buildings every Sunday to worship.  The One I follow says he will leave the other ninety-nine to find the one who is lost.  If Jesus had been around during World War II, he would have been wearing a cloth badge with a star of David and the word Jude (German for Jew) inscribed on the label.

I go directly to the source for my outer wear, just like the man possessed by multiple demons who had nothing on but a birthday suit and some broken chains on his wrists when he met Jesus.  Luke describes how Jesus cast out the demons and gave the wanderer a new garment and a pair of sandals.  The man published all the good Jesus had done for him.  The meaning of the word publish has changed over the last 2,000 years and multiple "branches" or "labels" have sprung up.  The message is the same, no matter what label we wear – Go, and share the Good News.  "Preach the Gospel at all times and use words if necessary," said the man in the friar suit who eschewed his father's rich garments.

God's spirit is in all people.  Our young sons and daughters prophesy.  Our young men see visions.  And old people like me dream dreams.  My dream is for the lost to find their way home.  May Jesus give each of them a new garment to wear.  Man's labels aren't important.  We are all a reflection of the Designer's label.  Nothing can separate us from God's love.  I'm just glad he loves everyone, including the streakers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Blind Choice

My wife and I were invited to our first Iowa fund raiser last night.  We jumped at the chance to have a date night together.  The group is similar to one we supported while we resided in California.   We met a young man in the hallway and struck up a conversation.  After we checked in, we searched for our table and sat down.  Landon noticed us sitting all alone and asked if he could join us.  Landon talked about why he was at the fundraiser and wanted to know about our connection to the group.  We told him the other men from our town had a scheduling conflict and asked us to fill in at the last minute.  Our evening was another one of those "God-incidences" that keep showing up in my life. The lights dimmed and a video played on the screen.  Landon whispered, "my company made that."

The keynote speaker shared about a blind choice she made during her pregnancy.  Her doctor told Gail, "if you keep this baby, you'll go blind.  Abort it and you will keep your vision.  The choice is yours."  Gail felt all alone when her doctor disagreed with her decision and walked out on her.  Gail knew in her heart keeping the baby was the right thing to do.

The blog story I penned when I woke up at the beginning of the day flashed back into my head when I picked up a copy of Seeing Beyond, by Gail McWilliams.  Her forward was written by Zig Ziglar, the man who inspired my morning blog messageGod-incidence, I thought to myself.  Landon handed me his business card and said, "Send me a link to your blog, I want to connect."

There are no coincidences in the Kingdom.  What are the odds I would be dining with one of God's marketers who came from a publishing background similar to mine?  What are the odds I would connect with some really special people, including Bob who attends my church?  I met Bob's wife on the tennis courts.  I met Bob's cousin and business partner at my day job.  Bob's cousin once worked in Phoenix where I grew up and for the same company I work for now.  Bob is on the board of directors for Informed Choices, the company that organized last night's fundraiser.   It was a plethora of God-incidences all stemming from one blind choice I made to attend the fundraiser without knowing anything about what I was getting into.  You could say that God set me up on a blind date.  This is the beginning of a great relationship.  I will write more about this group in future stories.  Have a great day.  Thanks for joining us at our table last night, Landon. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Your Morning Attitude Determines Your Daily Altitude

Two people were talking about the kind of day they expected to have.  One said, "I'm excited about today, it's going to be a great day."  The other frowned and said, "I have a feeling today's going to be a repeat of yesterday.  It's going to another bad one."  They were both right.  History tends to repeat itself.  Past performance predicts future performance.  Those who fly high in the sky understand the attitude factor.  Here's one of my favorite ideas about preparing my morning attitude before takeoff.  It's all about gratitude – I'm thankful for every encounter I'm about to have.  The happy people are going to cheer me up.  The angry ones are going to remind me what happens when I concentrate on all things miserable and fail to see abundant opportunity in every situation.  The pessimists are going to reveal how tough it is to fly when they can't see their own wings.  And the optimists are going to challenge me to reach to new heights.  I'm ready for takeoff.  I'm planning to soar.  How about you?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Know Thy Enemy

Sun Tzu, a high ranking military general, considered war a necessary evil that must be avoided whenever possible.  His writings about the art of war influenced Asia for over 2,000 years.  He wrote, anyone who excels in defeating his enemies triumphs before his enemy's threats become real.  He believed in quick and appropriate responses to changing conditions.  I'm stealing some pages from Tzu's playbook to win the war against a modern enemy – third party debt collectors.  Approximately 30% of the western world is under siege and most raise the white flag of surrender as soon as the first shot is fired.  Not me.  My flag is like the checkered flag you see when the racers finish the course.  This can only be accomplished if you know how to fight.  It begins with knowing your enemy.

Fighting a debt collector is similar to the Kobayashi Maru, a no-win scenario in the Star Trek universe.  It appears that no matter what action you take or avoid, you either end up dead or the people you fail to rescue are destroyed.  My hero, Captain Kirk, found a way to win by reprogramming the test the day before his exam.  It appears Kirk was a student of Sun Tzu.  He knew his enemy and he acted quickly.

My debt war is not over yet.  All I can tell you is I'm 100% committed to knowing thy enemy.  When I'm finished I'll write my own book based on my personal experiences.  Sun Tzu and Captain Kirk will both be proud. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Your Inner Voice Sound Check

How often do you tune in to your inner voice?  Do you have trouble finding your beat if you skip your morning sound check?  It's the quiet time before go live with the rest of the world on center stage.  I call this silent time my inner voice sound check.  If you're having trouble with your acoustics, here are some ideas I'm using in my life that may benefit you:
  1. Change your venue.  Your inner voice requires limited distractions in order to be properly heard.  Sometimes you need to go outside and take a hike.  The less man-made noise, the better.  Find a quiet space where you can allow your inner voice to be heard.
  2. Change your routine.  You need to make time for your sound checks before you interact with the world.  Try getting up fifteen minutes early so you can listen to your inner voice.  Keep in mind that too little sleep is counter-productive.  In order to wake up early, you need to go to bed early as well.  The last thing you want to do is sleep through your sound check.
  3. Change your act.  Does the world listen to you when you're on center stage?  Do you have a worthwhile message?  If the answer to these questions is no, figure out what's not working during your morning sound check.  Perhaps you need a new act.  If you don't like the sound of your voice when you're all alone, it's time to find some new material.
  4. Be original.  The world is full of copycats.  Your inner voice is like no other.  Harmonize with it.  Don't be afraid what others think.  Your inner voice is a gift.
  5. Let your inner voice be heard.  It starts with the sound check and carries over to your live performance.  Make sure your audience can hear what's inside of you.  Your gifts are meant to be shared.
I'm still making minor adjustments in my personal life to find the right balance.  The beat of the music is better and I'm happy with the results.  Moving forward, I'm committing to more time to hearing my inner voice and less time listening to all the noisy voices in the outside world.  If you have any ideas to contribute, please share in the comments section below.  Have a great day.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Do Your Detractors Need a Muffler?

I have the perfect solution for your detractors.  It's an invisible device that works like a car muffler.  Just pretend the muffler is attached to their mouth when you see them storming in to your quiet zone.  Their words spew like a leaky exhaust but you don't hear them.  Nod your head a couple of times.  Smile.  The muffler is doing its job.  If you notice your detractors asking a question to confirm you're paying attention, here's your reply:  "It's all good."  Immediately look at your watch and raise your eyebrows.  This is your signal that your quiet space is a no parking zone for loud or obnoxious vehicles.  Have a great day.