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Posted by on Sep 27, 2012 in Generational | 4 comments

Should Every Generation Start From Scratch?

Should Every Generation Start From Scratch?

I think I’ve always held a pretty good external appearance of honor toward my parents and other figures of authority.  Growing up, I learned quickly how to say and do the right things.  My mom still tells me she never considered me to be dishonoring.  But I know in my heart that I’ve struggled over the years with believing that I know best about pretty much everything.  You may not think it’s possible, but I’ve even approached spirituality with a strong undertow of dishonor.

My parents are some of the most God-fearing people I know.  They’ve committed to live holy lives that honor God.  They’ve been faithful to each other and to raising a God-fearing family.  They’ve served in their church my entire life, supporting the work that God is doing there.  They’ve stood against empty religion and sought to share the genuine life-changing relationship that God has given them with others.  They use their gifts and their talents to help others find a deeper more meaningful relationship with God.  But, if you had run into me the summer before I went to college and asked me about my parents, you would have thought that I was being raised by faithless, compromising, religious wannabes who didn’t know the first thing about a real relationship with God.  In the midst of true revival in my own life, I stopped looking to my parents as sources of guidance and wisdom.  Over the years, I’ve realized that in many areas I was not benefiting from their input, but charting my own course.

Our culture celebrates the value of independence and self-reliance.  It’s almost perceived a weakness to seek out advice and support from others, especially your parents.  We make fun of children who live at home past high-school and we write-off the successes of those who build on the platforms and wealth they’ve inherited.  Faith, knowledge, wealth, wisdom…there have been times where anything that I didn’t come by on my own, I didn’t consider valuable.  A real man would have provided for himself!  Maybe you can relate.  I still struggle to place the same value on what I can learn from my parents, teachers and from my pastor as what I can come up with on my own.  The truth, though, is that we shouldn’t be starting from scratch with every generation.  I appreciate the confidence that comes from nurturing independence in children, but I’m also learning the importance of making sure we value the people God has given us to learn from.

What have you gained from your parents or other mentors?  How much value is it to you?

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Posted by on Aug 22, 2012 in Inspirational | 1 comment

Values don’t matter…until they cost you something.

Values don’t matter…until they cost you something.

It’s very easy for us to sit on our high-horse and look down on the moral failures of the corrupt.  It’s much more difficult for us to put ourselves in their shoes and still be willing to pay the price that it would have cost them to live by the right values.  The truth is that our values don’t mean a hill of beans until we have to give up something to live by them.

There is no sense in priding ourselves on our values until they’ve been tested.  A commitment to financial integrity doesn’t mean anything until you’re presented with a shady opportunity that could help you out of a tight spot.  A commitment of faithfulness to your spouse doesn’t mean anything until you’re tempted during a rough patch in your marriage.  Values don’t matter until they cost you something.

Here are 5 keys to living by your values:

1.) Be black and white.  When it comes to values, grey areas are not helpful.  You need clear lines that you’re committed not to cross.  The more clear the lines are, the more clarity you’ll have when they’re tested.  It’s OK (and healthy) to reassess your values from time to time, but don’t leave questions about values lingering.  You don’t want to be faced with a decision and not have clear values to help guide you.

2.) Ground your values.  Your values are only as good as their source.  If you’ve based your values on the way you feel or think about something then your values will shift when you feel or think differently.  If you base your values on something unchanging, you can rely on them to help guide you even when you’re an emotional wreck.  Ground your values in the Word of God.  Besides being unchanging, God’s Word is also true.  You can trust that living by Biblical values will yield great success in whatever you do.

3.) Write them down and review them weekly.  Not only does this help you make your values more black and white, but it keeps them in front of you every week.  Simply reviewing what’s most important for you to live by will quickly expose the opposing opportunities that present themselves.

4.) Start small and early.  Simply put, if you don’t make small sacrifices for your values today then you won’t make large sacrifices later.  Take back the office supplies you brought home.  Stop flirting with the receptionist.  Be generous even if you only have a little.  Go home and be with your family.  Make the small choices today and you’ll have trained yourself to make big choices tomorrow.  And when you do, write it down in a journal.  Go back and reflect on how much better your life was because you gave up something for your values.  This will encourage you in the future.

5.) Use Visioning.  This might sound scary at first, but it’s really no big deal.  All I’m saying is “see yourself” in a tempting situation and “watch yourself” make the right decisions.  There is no need for the first tests of your values to be in real life.  We have amazing imaginations.  I have faced all kinds of situations in my mind long before ever facing them in reality.  Because I had already “experienced” the moment, it was easy to stick to my values when the situation was real.

Are values important to you?  Where do they come from and how do you live by them?

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Posted by on Aug 8, 2012 in Inspirational | 2 comments

Don’t STOP Sinning!

Don’t STOP Sinning!

Sin (of all kinds) is terrible.  Sin hurts other people…and ourselves.  Maybe you’ve been trying to quit in some area but haven’t had much success.  I have advice for you.  Don’t stop sinning…start living better!

Sin starts with a thought.  The thought is called temptation.  Some psychologists have said that tempting thoughts only stay with us for 5-7 minutes at a time.  Avoiding sin would mean not allowing those thoughts to move you toward sinful behavior.

But, have you ever tried to stop thinking about something?  It’s basically impossible.  The more you think about not thinking about something, the more you think about it!  The trick is to replace thoughts in your mind with better thoughts that lead to better actions.

Here are some tips:

1.) Be Prepared – Vision: You don’t have tempting thoughts ALL of the time.  Use time away from the battle to prepare your mind.  Develop a vision for your life without sin.  For instance, if you’re regularly tempted to look at pornography you might think about the relationships you value that would be hurt by that decision, or the ministry opportunities that would be limited by that decision.  Why do you care about those relationships/opportunities?  What do you want them to be like?  Write down those things so you have them with you the next time a tempting thought comes along.

2.) Be Prepared – Ammunition: You’ll also want some ammunition to counter the tempting thoughts when they come.  The Bible is full of the ammunition you need. The key here is to be able to assert your identity as a child of God when you’re tempted to believe otherwise.  My favorite verse for this is Romans 3:21-22, which says that the righteousness of God through Jesus is a gift for all who believe.  I am the righteousness of God…not a sinner!

3.) Go to Battle: Here comes the tempting thought!  This time, rather than trying NOT to think it, bring out your vision and your ammunition.  You’ve got 5-7 mins of material, so put it to work.  Visualize the relational and ministry accomplishments that are in your heart.  Speak out loud and meditate on your Scriptural identity.  This process is actually training your mind.  Before long you won’t just be NOT sinning, you’ll be living for something better!

4.) Drop Shame: Shame is that feeling like something is wrong with you.  Let me set the record straight.  Nothing is wrong with you just because you have tempting thoughts.  The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way.  When you’re being tempted, you’re being like Jesus.  Don’t choose to believe that you have a problem because you keep feeling tempted to sin.  Rather, focus on your righteous identity from tip #2.

5.) Make a call: I’ve got a guy in my life that I can call at any hour.  If I’m losing the tempting thoughts battle, he’s told me to call him up so he can help talk through a better vision and who I really am.  Honestly, sometimes just the thought of calling him is all I need to help me win.  I bet you have a friend like this in your life.  Go ahead and get permission so you know they will be there for you when you need them.

“Throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception.  Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.  You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness – righteous, holy and true” Ephesians 4:22-24

Let’s hear from you: What has worked for you to overcome tempting thoughts?

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Posted by on Jul 25, 2012 in Inspirational | 0 comments

I may have been abducted by aliens…and 16 ways to like yourself but still be humble

I may have been abducted by aliens…and 16 ways to like yourself but still be humble

It was an eerily humid South Carolina day.  It had just rained, but it wasn’t the refreshing kind…more like the drips from the ceiling of a sauna.  I remember the silent, dark mass hovering above me, moving slowly through the sky.  I remember the intrigue.  But that’s all.  The next moment was just disorientation.  The steam coming up from the street seemed consuming and I was having trouble breathing.  I went inside to regain my strength, confused as to how a few minutes outside could be so draining.

I share this story from my childhood because I want you to understand just how much I like myself.  When I thought back on this experience years later while listening to late-night radio I realized that I may have actually been abducted by aliens.  I won’t go into the details…but here’s the point.  I immediately could only think of two reasons why aliens would have abducted little-ole me:

  • They somehow could see the future.  They knew that I was going to turn out to be an amazing influential, awesome leader.  And they wanted to experiment on me to understand what made me so great.

– OR –

  • They actually did something to me that gave me subtle super-human qualities that I would use to become an amazing influential, awesome leader.

Yes.  I’m that much in love with myself.  But you know what?  I like that about myself, too!  I don’t believe that humility is all about thinking you’re less awesome than everyone else.  Humility is a posture toward other people, having little to do with your self-image.

16 ways to like yourself but still be humble:

  1. Believe the best about the intentions of others.
  2. Take time to listen and understand other points of view.
  3. Remain Teachable.
  4. Don’t assume a place of honor.  Let others invite you to that place.
  5. Honor Authority.
  6. Hang around people with higher developed capacity than you.
  7. Develop a friendship with someone poor.
  8. Find a Cause bigger than yourself.
  9. Start a blog…and see how many of your friends actually read it 🙂
  10. Place God’s ways and His Word above your reasoning.
  11. Find areas of your life you can submit to others.
  12. Give up your seat on a crowded bus/train.
  13. Get married.  Have children.
  14. Invest in someone younger than you.
  15. Seek out and listen to someone’s story.
  16. Talk about how awesome someone else is.

What do you think?  Is it possible to like yourself and still be humble?  How do you do it?

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Posted by on Jul 10, 2012 in Leadership | 2 comments

Leadership#Fail – How to get rid of manipulation in your leadership!

Deception and Manipulation seem to be a favored approach to leadership today.  This short video uncovers what’s behind it and helps you take a better leadership path.

Recommended Reading: Genesis 27-33

[youtube http://youtu.be/IixjTRwpiRQ]

Questions for Discussion:

1.) Which leadership path are you on?

2.) How does your relationship with God instruct your leadership style?

Go back to Leadership#Fail

Go to Next Video – “Why do some great leaders fall so hard?”

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