#203: Terrifying Boyhood Adventure Results in Valuable Life Lessons

The searing hot sun beat down us relentlessly that August, but we didn’t care because we were on a boyhood adventure.

Adventure Lessons

August in eastern Washington, where I grew up, is time for farmers to begin the wheat harvest. But for my cousins, Rick and Mike, and I it was two weeks of carefree fun exploring and playing on grandpa’s farm.

I was 10-years old, which means Rick and Mike at 11 were older and wiser when the adventure began.

We knew Grandpa had a graveyard of old farm implements down in the gulley about a half mile away from the main house so off we went. Grandpa’s graveyard of old farm tools was a veritable treasure chest for three boys on an adventure.

Our first find was two sets of iron wheels. We were thrilled to find they rotated freely on their axles. The wheels themselves were open-spoke steel and at four feet high were about as tall as we were.

We attached a rope to the first pair of wheels and slowly pulled them uphill through the soft farm dirt to the main barnyard. Returning in the afternoon, we repeated the process to retrieve the second pair of wheels.

With scavenged pieces of wood, we crafted a magnificent chariot! It was about eight feet long, five feet wide, and set about two feet off the ground.

It was time for a test ride!

We pushed our chariot out of the barnyard and down the gravel road that ran in front of grandpa’s farm. With some effort, we pushed it all the way to the top of the tallest hill on the road. We climbed aboard and off we went. Gravity did its job. We picked up speed and soon we were flying down the hill on the ride of our lives.

It was at that point that I realized our chariot had no steering mechanism.

It didn’t have brakes either!

No matter these design deficiencies. At this point, we were fully committed!

Unfortunately, our chariot started to veer to the side of the road as we approached the bottom of the hill at top speed.

To make matters worse, there was a gully on the side of the road with a ten-foot drop to the field below.

There was no escaping; our chariot was about to become an airplane with a glide path of a rock.

Jumping off our chariot onto a gravel road didn’t seem like a practical solution to our dilemma, so we held on as we went airborne off the side of the road.

Happily, we landed right-side up, still on our chariot, and the soft dirt of the farm land brought us to a slow stop.

What a grand adventure! Being boys we were ready to repeat the ride but wisely determined to make some modifications to our chariot before attempting a second test run.

We pushed our chariot all the way back to the farm planning to make the needed modifications the next day.

At dinner, Rick, Mike, and I regaled grandma, grandpa, and my uncle Dick with the story of our grand adventure of our chariot turned airplane. For some reason, they failed to appreciate the wonder and excitement of our adventure.

The adults expressed, in no uncertain terms, that no further test runs would be allowed. Our chariot was to be hauled back down to the implement graveyard the next day.

Important Life Lessons

A lot of valuable life lessons occur in our formative years. Here are five lessons I took away from my boyhood adventure that hot August week on grandpa’s’ farm.

Life is an Adventure. Our day began as an adventure. We didn’t know what we would find or what we would do. Not having everything determined in advance made the adventure all the more fun. Kids seem to know how to experience the joy of adventure, but as adults, many of us have forgotten how to experience daily life as an adventure.

Create Alignment Around a Vision. As soon as we found those wheels we all envisioned our magnificent chariot. Most truly breakthrough discoveries are the result of a team of people aligned to a shared vision.

Live your Passion. If we hadn’t been passionate about the prospects of riding our chariot down the hill, we would have found a million excuses for why we wouldn’t be successful. That negativity would have doomed us before we even got started.

Determination. We would never have struggled to pull those wheels up through the dirt, build the chariot, or get it out on the road for a test ride if we had not been determined as a group to see the work to completion.

Courage/Risk-Taking. You never know how things will turn out when you’re doing something you’ve never done before. Living life as an adventure takes courage and the willingness to risk failure.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What life lessons have you learned through childhood adventures?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Vision

 

#202: Resolutions Are a Complete Waste of Time!

And So Are Most Goals...

Resolutions are a complete waste of time. And for that matter, so are most goals we set for ourselves!

Resolutions

If you’ve followed me for at least a year, this proclamation probably comes as a surprise since I’ve written about goals here and just last week here. Don’t worry; I am not against setting goals. I do it for myself every year and have for many years. But they have to be the right kind of goals!

Resolutions are a waste of time because of the 62% of American who set resolutions, 25% give up by the end of the first week! A full third of people give up in only two weeks!

Those that set goals are no better. A whopping 92% fail at whatever goal they set!

Why aren’t more of us more successful at achieving our goals? The answer, I think, is that we usually set the wrong kind of goals.

Michael Hyatt identified three kinds of goals: goals in the comfort zone, goals in the discomfort zone, and goals in the delusional zone.

1) Comfort zone goals are ones you know you can achieve. Nothing truly meaningful happens in the comfort zone. I bet some the goals people report achieving were right smack dab in the middle of the comfort zone.

2) Discomfort zone goals are goals that will stretch you. You may not know how you will achieve them, but achieving them will make a big impact in your life.

3) Delusional zone goals are the goals that are never going to happen, and you should know it! I have never played a round of golf scoring under 100, so a goal to play on the senior tour is downright delusional.

Goals that will make a difference in your life and mine are not the comfort zone or delusional zone goals. The big difference in our lives will always come from achieving discomfort zone goals. Life changing goals are somewhere between the comfort zone, “I got this” and the delusional zone, “You got to be smoking something.”

SMART Goals are the Best Goals

The SMART goal acronym has been around in business circles for a while, but if you are unfamiliar with it, it stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

  • Specific. A goal to “lose weight” is not specific. How will you know if you have succeeded? A goal to “Lose ten pounds” is specific.
  • Measurable. A goal to “lower my golf score” is not specific enough and it doesn’t quantify success. Is a lower score of one stroke success, or is a lower score by ten strokes success?
  • Achievable. A goal for me to play professional baseball is not achievable (anyone who saw me play high school ball would agree). A goal to “lose 100-lbs. in 30 days” is specific and measurable but it is not achievable.
  • Relevant. A goal that is relevant to me is one that will support the accomplishment of other goals, or at a minimum, not distract from your ability to achieve other important goals.
  • Time-bound. A goal with a deadline has a sense of urgency. Without a deadline, a goal could go on forever and never be accomplished.

Accountability and the Why of My 2017 Goals

Along with establishing SMART goals, another aspect of people who are more successful in achieving their goals is to have an accountability partner; someone or several people who can hold you accountable for your progress. Once I’ve established my 2017 goals, I will share them with a couple of people I trust who will hold me accountable for my progress.

The final aspect of successfully increasing the rate of goal success is to know your “why.” Your “why” ties you to your goal. I didn’t achieve my weight goal last year because I lost track of why I wanted to lose the weight. If you don’t know and internalize your “why” you are doomed. This year once I have written out my SMART goals I will include a statement that reinforces the “why” of each goal. This will help remind me of why I set each goal when I get into a slump and feel my motivation waning.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. If you set goals for yourself which zone are your goals in? Do you set SMART goals? Do you know the “why” of each goal?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

Category: Personal Development | Priorities

#201: Key Learning from My After-Action Review

There is a Chinese proverb that loosely translates, “You must look to where you have been to see where you are going.” The proverb is about a man seated in a rowboat who looks where he has been to row the boat to where he wants to go.

After-Action Review

I love this image of looking where you’ve been as a guide where you are going.

The military calls a review of the past an “After-Action Review” (AAR). The purpose of an AAR is to analyze what happened, why it happened, and how it can be done better.

As the year ends, I began the After-Action Review for my 2016 goals.

Here are my original 6-goals for 2016

  1. Achieve weight goal of 200 lbs. by 6/30/16. OK, so I got close on this one. I finally settled in bouncing between 205 and 208-lbs for the last 6-months. I made it through Halloween’s candy fest, Thanksgiving, and Christmas without gaining weight, so that is a major win for me. Considering my exercise routine, I’m surprised more weight hasn’t come off, but my clothes all fit better, so I’m happy about that. My diet during the day is very clean and well-balanced. What kills me is the evening primetime “snacking hours.”
  2. Take one long and two mini-vacations by 12/31/16. Man, I really missed on this one! My plan was to convince my bride to take a spring and fall vacation, but I’m not as good a salesman as I thought. She and I got away for just one vacation, and that wasn’t until fall. I did manage to take time off work when my family came to visit on and off for about three weeks, but my real goal of getting away wasn’t met.
  3. Read through the Bible by 12/31/16. This was a no-brainer. I read through the Bible as I edited and expanded my Bible Study notes from last year. I completed the project by May, and my notes ended up at 908 pages. Can you call 908 pages “notes”? If you want to see what 908 pages of Bible study notes looks like visit my other website, http://biblestudydaily.org/ .
  4. Read ten books by 12/31/16. I killed this one! I finished reading 21 books through the course of the year, and I am so glad I did! I am convinced reading helps keep my mind sharp, it helps me be a better writer, and I got a ton of ideas for my blog topics.
  5. Attend 1-Day Business Breakthrough (Schedule TBD). This goal had to be modified. I never did hear about this conference being scheduled, so I opted for two other conferences. They were both outstanding! I attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit in August, and the Faith@Work Summit in October. I’ll attend both of them again if at all possible.
  6. Develop Inspired Leadership Minute Video by 06/30/16. I nailed this one! My plan was to release one 2-3-minute video each week focused on a single Proverb from the Bible and how it relates to us as leaders. I batch produced these 13 at a time and hired an editor to produce the videos for me. They were released weekly during the July – September quarter. I did the same thing in September for the October-December quarter. I believe in the power of video, but I am not convinced I have found the right formula. I will take the first three months of 2017 off to evaluate and possibly develop a new format.

During the year, I made the decision to add one goal to my list:

  1. Create a Genesis – Revelation Chronological Bible Study by 12/31/16. This goal is a multi-part effort. I had to rearrange all 908 pages of my Bible Study notes into chronological order. Each day’s reading needed to be posted onto the http://biblestudydaily.org/ website and scheduled for release throughout the year. All the notes were rearranged in chronological order by July and uploaded to the website in December.

The Most Important Key Learning

Part of my frustration from 2015 was I set too many goals that required far too much time. I just couldn’t do it all. Plus, I don’t like saying “no,” and that caused me to say “yes” to a couple of projects that distracted me from my main goals.

Overall, I feel much better about the goals I achieved this year. I didn’t say “yes” to any new outside projects. I also had a much shorter list of goals in 2016. These two factors allowed me to be far more focused on the goals I did establish.

The final, and perhaps most important, piece of key learning this year is to understand the “why” of each goal. I answered the question, “Why is this goal important to me?” I found the closer I was connected to the “why” of a particular goal the more passionate I was in seeing it through to completion.

From this admission, you can probably ascertain that I was far less passionate about losing the last few pounds of weight than my other goals. I still want to work on losing more weight next year but it’s clear to be successful I will need to be more focused on my “why”!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Do you set annual goals for yourself? If so, how do you think about evaluating your progress?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Priorities

#200: For unto Us a Child Is Born

I love that the Christmas season kicks off right after Thanksgiving because it gives me an excuse to listen to Christmas music for a whole month. Right at the top of my preferred Christmas music list are hymns with lyrics taken from portions of scripture.

Child Jesus

One of the hymns that I learned as a young lad was “For unto Us a Child Is Born.” I didn’t know it at the time, but the music was written by George Frederick Handel in 1741, and the lyrics were taken from Isaiah 9:6:

For unto us a Child is born
Unto us a Son is given
And the government
Shall be upon His shoulder
And his name shall be called
Wonderful
Counselor
The Mighty God
The Everlasting Father
The Prince of Peace.

Digging into Isaiah 9:6 we see it is rich with meaning as it refers to the Second Advent; the second coming of Jesus Christ:

“For unto us a child is born” speaks to the humanity of the Messiah.

“Unto us a Son is given” speaks to the deity of the Messiah given to the nation of Israel.

“And the government will be upon His shoulder” refers to the Second Advent; the second coming of Jesus Christ when he will reign as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

“And his name shall be called” begins a list of four attributes of Messiah’s character.

“Wonderful Counselor” The word “Wonderful” is a noun, not an adjective. “Wonderful” is His name. “Counselor,” Messiah will exhibit wisdom in His government and is the ultimate counselor to mankind.

“The Mighty God” This speaks to Messiah’s omnipotence as the supreme Ruler of the universe.

“The Everlasting Father” He is the creator, eternal, and a loving Father, He confers everlasting life on those who believe in Him.

“The Prince of Peace” The Messiah will bring peace into the world.

When we understand and appreciate the depth of meaning in this one verse, it is easy to see why Handel selected it to be part of the Messiah oratorio.

Watch the video below if you would like to listen to an incredible performance of Handel’s Messiah, “For unto As a Child Is Born” conducted by Sir Colin Davis, with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What is your favorite Christmas hymn? What does it mean to you?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Character

#199: Can Tremendous Results Stem from Small Acts of Faith and Prayer?

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

Can tremendous results stem from small acts of faith? Do the little things we do in faith really make a difference?

Eliezer and Rebekah Faith

The Bible includes countless examples of men and women who relied on God’s promises and stepped out in faith in a big way. But what about those little acts of faith? Can they have big consequences as well?

One of my favorite Bible stories of small acts of faith having enormous consequences is the story of Abraham and his chief servant, Eliezer (Genesis 15:2).

Thanks to Barbara P. for suggesting this month’s character for “Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known!”

The scene opens in Genesis 24. Abraham is 140-years old and has been blessed materially by the Lord. However, his son, Isaac, still does not have a wife to carry on the family name as God had promised (Genesis 15:18-21).

Abraham believed God’s promise to make his descendants into a great nation, so he called for Eliezer. He had Eliezer swear an oath by God that he would not take a wife for Isaac from the local Canaanites but from Abraham’s extended family.

The trouble is, Abraham’s relatives lived 500 miles away, and the journey was treacherous. Abraham promised Eliezer that one of God’s angels would accompany him on the trip. So Eliezer packed up ten camels with presents to pay a bride price for Issacs’s bride and set off.

In the second scene, Eliezer had made it all the way to where Nahor, Abraham’s brother, lived. Eliezer arrived outside the town by the water well in the evening. He prayed that God would grant him success in finding a bride for Isaac. He also asked God for a confirming sign that he had found the right young woman.

Before Eliezer had even finished praying, Rebekah, granddaughter of Nahor, arrived at the well. Her actions confirmed the sign Eliezer had asked of the Lord, proving she was the woman the Lord had sent. When he realized his journey was a success, Eliezer bowed down and worshiped the Lord, thanking God for His kindness to his master Abraham.

In the third and final scene, Eliezer met Rebekah’s family, recounted how the Lord had protected him on the journey, his meeting with Rebekah, and Abraham’s desire for a wife for his son Isaac.

Rebekah’s family gave her permission to leave and marry Isaac. Immediately Eliezer bowed down and worshiped God. He gave gifts to Rebekah and her family, and they arranged to leave to return to Abraham’s land.

Rebekah married Isaac and bore him children. Abraham’s descendants became a great nation just as the Lord had promised, tracing all the way to the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1).

Small acts of faith and prayer had eternal consequences!

It began with Abraham’s faith in God’s promise. I doubt Eliezer had any sense of the role he played in the unfolding of God’s plan.

  • Believed. Abraham believed God’s promise to make him into a mighty nation and acted on that belief. Eliezer demonstrated his faith by loading ten camels with presents, assuming the Lord would bring him success.
  • Obeyed. Eliezer swore and oath to the Lord and obeyed his master, Abraham in faith.
  • Prayed. Eliezer prayed for God to give him success in his duties and even prayed for a sign of confirmation to be sure he was speaking to the right woman.
  • Worshiped. As soon as Eliezer realized God had granted him success and Rebekah was the right woman, he bowed down and worshiped the Lord. When all the arrangements were made, Eliezer bowed down and worshiped God again.

What could we accomplish as leaders in God’s kingdom if we believed and held onto God’s promises? If we obeyed Him in faith. If we prayed to the Lord for success and direction? And if we worshiped the Lord thanking Him for His grace in our lives?!

Small acts of faith and prayer will have eternal consequences in our lives as well. We may never know what difference a small act of faith and obedience will make this side of heaven. But let us be faithful in the small things so one day we will be rewarded with much!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you seen the results of small acts of faith play out in your life or the lives of others?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Obedience to God

#197: Who Does God Call to do Great Things?

Who was Noah before God called him? He was a simple, good man who lived among an increasingly evil people. God called Noah to build an ark when Noah was 600 years old, and God promised to bless him.

God's Call

Who was Abraham before God called him? Abraham was living in the land of the Chaldees when God called him at 75-years old to take his family and travel to Canaan where God promised to bless Abraham.

Who was Esther before God called her? Esther was an orphan child being raised by her cousin, Mordecai. They were Jews living in the capital city of the Persian Empire when God placed Esther in a position to save the entire nation of Israel from extermination.

Who was Ruth before God called her? Ruth was a Moabite widow who left her homeland and followed Naomi, her mother-in-law to Bethlehem. Ruth became a lowly fieldhand gleaning grain from the edges of a field to survive. It was only then that God placed Ruth in a position to meet and marry Boaz and become the great-grandmother of David.

Who was David before God called him? David was the youngest of seven boys. He was a simple shepherd, only 15-years old when God sent Samuel to anoint him as king over the people of Israel.

Who were the brothers Peter and Andrew, and James and John when Jesus called them? All four were probably only teenagers under 18-years old, and they were all lowly fishermen tending their nets when Jesus called them to be His disciples.

Who Does God Call?

God calls people of all ages. You are never too young or too old to be called by God.

God calls both men and women. Look around. God is calling men and women all around the world.

God calls people without regard to their vocation. It doesn’t matter to God if you are a street sweeper or a CEO. He calls people from all walks of life.

God calls people without regard to their standing in society. Don’t think for a minute that God only calls people at the top of the society ladder. He calls simple shepherds as well as kings.

Here’s why God calls people without regard to their sex, age, vocation, or standing in society. God looks not on the outward person but our hearts!

The prophet Samuel explained God’s choice in calling David to be a future king over the people of Israel saying,

“People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

God sees the heart of the person He calls. He sees their willingness to follow Him.

God told Noah to build an ark and promised to bless him, but the blessing didn’t come until long after Noah followed God’s instructions to build the ark.

God told Abraham to gather his belongings and his family and travel to an unknown land where God would then bless them. The blessing to Abraham came after he followed God’s instructions.

God directed Mordecai to give instructions to his young cousin Esther, and because they both followed God’s direction, Esther saved the Israelite nation from annihilation.

God directed Samuel to anoint young David king over Israel. Luke records God’s description of David as “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22).

Jesus called Peter and Andrew and James and John to be His disciples when they were fishing. They immediately put down their nets and followed him.

Do you see the pattern here? It doesn’t matter who you are in the world’s eye. It only matters who you are in God’s eye! What matters is if we are ready and willing to answer God’s call.

When the Lord described to Isaiah the terrible situation Israel had gotten themselves into God asked the question, “Whom shall I send” to save them? And Isaiah answered, “Here I am. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

Isaiah was willing and ready to answer God’s call to serve Him and His people.

I must ask myself, “Am I willing and ready to answer God’s call whenever it comes?”

I pray that I am.

Are you willing and ready?

I pray that you are as well.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Are you willing and ready to answer God’s call on your life?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Obedience to God

#196: Have We Forgotten the Real Meaning of Thanksgiving?

This week in America we will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a holiday steeped in America’s rich heritage.

Thanksgiving

The first formal Thanksgiving proclamation came in 1676 when the Charlestown, Massachusetts governing council voted unanimously to proclaim a day of praise and thanksgiving to the Holy God in recognition of His blessings upon them.

Some 113 years later in 1789, George Washington, at the urging of both houses of Congress, issued the first presidential proclamation calling for a day of thanksgiving. The first paragraph of Washington’s proclamation reads:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Abraham Lincoln formalized the holiday when he established the last Thursday of November as the date for all of America to celebrate Thanksgiving in 1863. His proclamation reads in part:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

Imagine that!

A governing council of a town set aside a day specifically to praise and thank God for His blessings to them.

Then, of all things, BOTH houses of Congress urged Washington to declare a day of Thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God. Washington said it was the DUTY of all nations to acknowledge God and be grateful for His benefits while they also prayed for His protection and favor.

Finally, Lincoln, in the midst of the Civil War, recognized in his Thanksgiving proclamation that the extraordinary bounties enjoyed in America were derived from the providence of God.

Fast Forward to Today

Today the Thanksgiving Holiday stands for a lot of things but rarely, if ever, does the idea of thanking our Almighty God for His blessings enter the picture.

Families gather together for a bountiful feast but more often than not, the purpose of the feast is not thanksgiving and prayer, it is centered around a television as we watch one of several football games.

Do you know of a single church that has a special service on Thanksgiving to offer prayer and thanksgiving to God? I don’t.

Given the acrimony and division I have witnessed this past year, it is more important than ever that we come together this Thanksgiving to spend a few moments in reflection and prayer as we thank Almighty God for His provision in this country.

While we have not achieved the ideals we might wish for; we have much to be thankful for. At the very top of that list is the freedom to worship as we choose.

So, let’s all do this, this Thanksgiving Day, let’s stop fighting amongst ourselves for a day, and spend time in prayer.

Let us lay aside our differences and love one another as Christ first loved us.

Let us thank God that we live in a country in which we can pray and thank God for His great provision.

Then, let’s be Christ-like and carry that love for our brothers and our thankfulness to God over to the next day, and the next. And let us live lives of love and thankfulness so that all the world will see our light and glorify our Father in Heaven.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What are you especially thankful for this Thanksgiving?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God

 

#195: Do You See Yourself in the Life of Zacchaeus?

Lessons from the Lesser Known

Have you ever read a Bible story and imagined yourself in the place of the main character? You think, “that could be me!”

Zacchaeus

Some people may see themselves as a leader like Moses, courageous like Joshua, wise like Solomon, or brave and determined like Paul. Others may see themselves more like Peter; bold and outspoken.

I wonder how many of us see ourselves like Jonah, who ran from God’s call on his life? Or like Jacob who deceived his father and brother all in an effort to get ahead?

One person most of us probably don’t identify with is a man Luke tells us about; Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector (Luke 19:1-10).

Zacchaeus is described as the chief tax collector in the city of Jericho. He was a Jew who had become rich by extorting more money in taxes from his fellow Jews than required by Rome.

He was small in stature, an outcast despised by his own people.

Despite his wealth and influence with Rome, there was something missing in his life. When he heard that Jesus was passing through town he wanted to see him. He was too short amidst the crowd following Jesus to see him, so Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a tree to get a better look at this man, Jesus, that he had heard so much about.

As Jesus approached the tree where Zacchaeus was, Jesus called him by name and told him to come down because he was going to stay at Zacchaeus’ house. So Zacchaeus scampered down and received Jesus joyfully.

While the crowd muttered against Jesus for staying with a sinner like Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus jumped down and immediately announced he would give half of everything he owned to the poor and pay back four times the amount of anything he had cheated out of others.

Jesus said salvation had come to the house of Zacchaeus that day. The Son of Man had come to seek and save that which was lost.

5 Lessons from the story of Zacchaeus

1) He was searching. Money and influence were not enough. Zacchaeus knew there was something missing in his life.

2) He was determined. Something in Zacchaeus drove him to set aside his pride, rush ahead of the crowd, and climb a tree just so he would have a chance to see Jesus.

3) Jesus came to him. Despite being surrounded by a crowd, Jesus came to Zacchaeus and dealt with him as an individual.

4) Jesus knew him. Jesus not only called Zacchaeus by name, but He knew the condition of his heart.

5) He responded to Jesus immediately. When Jesus called out to Zacchaeus, he jumped down immediately and responded to Jesus with rejoicing. He publicly repented of his sins against his people. He promised to give away half of his fortune and to make restitution to those he had cheated.

Zacchaeus was desperate to see Jesus, but at the same time, Jesus was on his way to meet Zacchaeus. The Lord knew Zacchaeus’ heart and he responded just as the Lord knew he would. The world may have despised or even hated Zacchaeus. But the Lord saw him through a different lens; one that saw his repentant heart and his desire to know the Lord.

Many of us are searching for the something that is missing in our lives. We work hard to accumulate wealth, power, and influence only to find that they are not enough. Then we go searching for what will fill that God-shaped hole in our lives.

Hopefully, when Jesus comes to us we will put away our pride, greet Him with rejoicing, repent of our sins, and follow him as the Great Shepherd!

The Lord knows His sheep and they recognize His voice (John 10:14).

 Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you ever imagined yourself in the place of a Bible character? If so, who and what about that character did you identify with?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Character

 

 

 

#194: Do You Know the 3 E’s of Expanded Leadership?

I had the great pleasure of attending the Global Leadership Summit hosted by Willow Creek Church again this year.

Expanded Leadership

Among the incredible speakers was Jossy Chacko, founder and president of Empart, Inc, a global church planting ministry.

Jossy’s talk entitled, “Unquestionable Ways to Expand Your Leadership Reach” was based on the Parable of the Talents recorded in Matthew 25:14-30.

As He teaches the disciples this parable, Jesus described the master who is going on a journey and called his three servants together to entrust his property to them. To one servant he gave five talents of money, to the second servant he gave two talents, and to the third servant he gave one talent.

The man who received five talents and the man who received two talents both put the money to work and doubled it. The man who received one talent was afraid of his master, so he just took the talent and buried it in the ground.

When the master returned, he held his servants accountable for their results. The man with five talents and the man with two talents who had doubled what they were given were commended by the master and invited to share his happiness.

The man with one talent who was afraid and hid the talent in the ground was reprimanded for not at least investing the talent, so what he had was taken from him since he was a worthless servant.

In God’s economy, the two men who multiplied what they were given were rewarded, while the man who just returned what he was given was not rewarded.

What talent has God entrusted to you? If God has entrusted you with leadership responsibility, how you are multiplying and expanding your leadership?

The 3E’s of Expanded Leadership

1) Enlarge Your Vision

  • One man with a small vision played it safe by burying his talent in the ground. If your vision is only to keep what you have, you’ll never see the opportunities all around you.
  • Your vision is directly related to your view of God. If you have a small vision, you have a small view of God. If you have a large vision, you have a large view of God.

2) Empower Your People

  • The master gave the money to the three servants and left! He went on his journey without giving specific instructions of what each person was to do—he left that decision to them individually.
  • People’s character is built through being held accountable for their actions. People often fail for lack of character.

3) Embrace Risk

  • See risk as a friend. The third servant said, “I was afraid,” but Paul, writing to Timothy said, “God has not given us a spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7).
  • Don’t let the fear of losing what you have, keep you from getting what God has for you.

Perfection is Not Required or Expected

When Jesus selected the apostles, He knew they would all be weak and abandon Him in His darkest hour. He knew Peter would deny Him three times. He knew Judas would betray Him.

Jesus didn’t expect the apostles to be perfect. In fact, knew they weren’t! He selected them anyway. What He expected was they would come back to Him in faith to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).

Jesus doesn’t expect us to be perfect either. In fact, He knows we’re not but He has called us anyway. The question is, will you be a servant who answers the call and multiplies the talents you have received?

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Has God entrusted you with the responsibility of being a leader? If so, how are you multiplying and expanding that talent to others for the benefit of the Kingdom?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Character

 

#193: How to Cast Worry Aside and Live a Tums Free Life

Plus a Bonus Whitepaper

I was a champion worrier in my younger days! If there were an Olympic team for worriers, I would have been on it—probably a gold medal winner.

Worry

When I was in my mid 20’s I worried about everything—so much in fact that I was eating two rolls of Tums a day. Then, one day when I was about 27-years old I went to the emergency room with severe chest pain, thinking that I was somehow having a heart attack.

After several days’ worth of tests, it was determined “no” I had not had a heart attack but that I had GERDs; Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder.

The doctor told me the GERDs was caused mostly by the stress in my life. The doctor went on to tell me if I didn’t change the way I handled the stress and worry in my life, not only would I likely develop an ulcer before I was 30, I would quite likely have chest pain that was a real heart attack!

We worry about so many things, yet most of them are a waste of energy! A study I found said that:

  • 62% of what we worry about will never come to pass or is completely inconsequential.
  • 30% of what we worry about happened in the past and can’t be changed!
  • So, a total of 92% of the things we worry about is a complete waste of time because they won’t happen or happened in the past!

We seem to be addicted to worry. Worry has a very real impact on our lives. It’s like we have this big bag and we throw all our worries about money, health, family, our jobs, and every other little thing into the bag.

After a while, the bag gets bigger and bigger, and heavier and heavier. And everywhere we go we are carrying this big bag of worry around with us. Pretty soon our bag of worry is so big and so heavy we crumble.

Why do we worry? We think we have to manage and control everything in our lives. Ultimately, we worry because we don’t trust God.

Paul’s Prescription for Life Without Worry

Paul had plenty to worry about as he sat in prison. Despite this, he wrote the Philippians a beautiful, joyful letter giving them encouragement and instruction for living a life without worry! His instructions regarding worry are included in Philippians 4.

What should we do with worry?

Paul says in Philippians 4:4 we must “rejoice in the Lord always.” Paul says we are to rejoice always—in good times as well as bad. When the sun is shining, and everything is rosy, and when dark storm clouds of life surround us.

Paul knew that worrying was a barrier to the young Christians in Philippi to be able to rejoice in the Lord, so he gives them three very clear steps to get rid of worry so they can rejoice.

Step 1: Right Praying

First, says Paul in verse 6, do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Don’t worry about anything! Nothing! Large or small, don’t worry about it! Not only don’t worry about it, don’t even give it a thought!

Well, what are we supposed to do instead? Paul tells the Philippians and us to replace worry with something else. We need to replace worry with right prayer.

Paul tells us, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” We are to pray about everything, not just the big things in our life!

Step 2: Right Thinking

The second step is to replace worry with right thinking. Paul says in verse 8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Paul summarizes right thinking by saying that we should think about morally excellent things: things that are honorable and just, pure, lovely and commendable in the sight of God.

Step 3: Right Actions

It is not enough to have a pure heart from right praying, or even a good attitude from right thinking. We must also be doers of the Word.

Paul said in verse 9, What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things. The word Paul uses for “practice” means to perform something repeatedly, to make a habit out of it. In others words, it is not enough to learn and accept what Paul is teaching we must do them!

The result of replacing worry—Peace

The result of replacing worry with the right kind of prayer, the right kind of thinking, and the right kind of actions results in what? This is the best part! Paul says if we do this we will have the peace of God! Wow! But, what is the peace of God?

Paul says in verse 7, And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Paul repeats himself in verse 9, What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” He’s saying if you learn and accept what you have heard and seen by his example, you will have the peace of God.

Conclusion—What should we do?

What are we to do about our worries? Peter writes in 1 Peter 5:7 that we should “cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us.” The word for cast means “to throw” upon someone else. We are to throw our cares and worries upon God because he cares for us! We are to take all our cares and concerns and not just lay them, but throw them at the foot of the Cross.

Remember that big bag of worry? God never intended for us to carry that bag around with us! We need to take that bag of worry off our shoulders and hand it over to God! We need to come to God with our bag of worry, and say “Here Lord, you take this!”

Most of us come to God with good intentions, and start to unpack the bag. But one of our worries, maybe its “family,” is too hard to let go of. So we tell God, “You can have these others, but I’m going to keep this one!

Others of us will unpack the bag, but we keep the bag! And tomorrow we start to fill it back up again! No! You give it all to Him—bag included, so you won’t be tempted to fill it up again!

Are you like me eating a couple of rolls of Tums a day because of your worries? Are you tired of carrying that bag of worry around? You know what needs to be done, right?

  • Replace worry with right prayer to focus our hearts on God.
  • Replace worry with right thinking to focus our heads on God. And,
  • Replace worry with right actions to focus what we do on God.

Bonus Whitepaper

This week’s post is excerpted from an 8-page whitepaper entitled, How to Cast Aside Your Worry and Live a Tums Free Life.”

This whitepaper is a much broader discussion of worry including:

  • Everyday things we worry about.
  • The physical, emotional, and spiritual impacts of worry.
  • The difference between prayer, supplication, thanksgiving, and requests.
  • How what we think about impacts worry.
  • The importance of doing right.
  • What it means to have the peace of God in our lives.

You can download the free 8-page whitepaper here: How to Cast Aside Your Worry and Live a Tums Free Life.”

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome! Are you a champion worrier? How do you deal with worry in your life?

 

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God