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Archive for the tag “communication counts”

Perspective… does it matter?

It has been a while since I have last blogged.. but maybe you aren’t aware of that tidbit. Well, until I mentioned it.

I have been very busy with life, work and COS (think college without credit). But the very topic is the topic of discussion today. Perspective!

Perspective… the dictionary.com refers to it as a mental view point,

I have to admit I function 70% of the time within my own perspective. That being said, I admit to focusing on what I see. The lenses I see through most of the time are based on the following criteria…. Do your own list too..

  • Parents had me later in life (parents in mid 40’s); most thought they were my grandparents.
  • My sister is 20 years older than me; most thought she was my mom.
  • I have an identical twin; we don’t dress or act alike. (twin day isn’t really twin day it is dress like your best friend day.. we wouldn’t dress alike on purpose)
  • I am married to Shelly; therefore one man and one woman-married matters to me.
  • I have been blessed with four kids; therefore saying you have a handful with your two kids doesn’t carry a ton of weight for me.. if you say 6 then I am praying for you.
  • I was born in Michigan, therefore I am a Michigan fan; most think this it true. Or they should lol.
  • I refer to Michigan as God’s country; most don’t get it until they visit West Michigan.. Then they believe or are just in denial.
  • I am a youth minister; most think I am holier than them, nope just saved through grace like we all are.
  • I have a full time job; most think I have the weekends off.. nope Monday is my day off
  • Since I am a pastor I am always working; the reality is I need down time too.
  • If I don’t write it down it will not happen; most who know me know this truth.. it is a fact!
  • I have 3 girls and a son; most think I wanted kids until a son is born; reality is God blessed us with 4 individually awesome unique kids..
  • Most think my kids are or should be perfect due to my employment; however they are still kids and I can’t assume your kids is a rocket scientist because you are can I? for argument I do know a rocket scientist and his kids aren’t rock scientists….

I think you get my point…

So how do we deal with perspective?

The news has been all over cop shootings, cops shooting people and black lives matter.

I have been taught to respect authority, to care for and respect all life and everyone matters. I have been struggling to watch videos and news footage of people killing people, then people retaliating on people (even though they are different people than the one they had issues with) and so forth. It is a vicious cycle.

One video I watched showed an older white male trying to walk down the street, through a demonstration of black lives matter (African American women) who wouldn’t let him pass… they were making a point that black lives matter but demonstrated our protest (example) matters more than you walking down the street.

I know several police officers who are very good people. They care about their community, and being a safe person for those in need. They will do their job to the best of their ability within the law. They love their kids, they wives and work hard to keep us safe. They would never just shoot someone… in fact the ones I know have never drawn a gun on someone. They would rather avoid conflict than create it. Plus one said it is a lot of paperwork and who likes paperwork.

 

I have four kids (mentioned before) and they are all uniquely different. I am figuring out something finally. They are all wired differently and I need to adjust to their perspective if I am going to be used by God to help shape them into the people He has created them to be. I admit…. Most of the time I fail at this because I am concerned about my perspective not theirs.
I have done some poor perspectives when it comes to helping them grow, being a safe place for them to turn. It is a two way street but I always need to be the one looking at their perspective and determining the best communications possible to connect with them. Again.. I fail often here.. if you would ask them I would guess they would say fail more than not but it is perspective.

 

When someone sees me in the community, they assume I am working and bring up a work need or situation. However they wouldn’t think of being asked a question about their employment when they aren’t at work.. see the perspective changes how we respond to people. I admit again, times I fail at remembering their perspective and helping them learn mine.

 

As I mentioned before, I am in COS and our class is based on several books, bible books and writings. One of the objectives was to take strength finders assessment. This assessment helps you know your strengths with the hope you will focus to grow them more than you try to grow your weaknesses. The book (resources) believes it is better to grow your strengths and help others grow theirs as we align with others who have different strengths than we do to accomplish certain tasks. I felt this was a great way of looking at things but realize.. it is also perspective.

 

I am closing out this portion of the blog (which should be multiple posts but isn’t) with a thought.

How much better would our life be, our world be if we would take a deep breathe and look at it from others perspectives.. This might help us understand we all have needs, wants, opinions and perspectives. No one’s perspective is wrong to them, it is just that a perspective.

We can change the world by changing ourselves and looking to view things through others perspectives not assuming they all know ours….

 

 

 

How do you enjoy the process when you are not sure where you are going?

I had a very busy morning… running to the local Junior High for bible study, then home to transport one of my kids to school, followed by a trip to a local coffee shop for a meeting… it seems to never end..

This got me thinking about two things…

  1. the bible study material for this morning and
  2. the act of going and not always feeling I am knowing where…

First things first…

Our bible study was about praising God for WHO He is and for WHAT he created or did for us.

Psalm 150 .. the final chapter if you will in the book of Psalms. It says, “ Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance, praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals! Praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

The teacher talked about the WHO and WHAT but it was totally cool when she talked about them when.

  1. Praise him with quiet music, and silence
  2. Praise him with loud music and talking..
  3. Praise him .. even the birds praise him.. when we aren’t doing so.

Second thing…

Going without a clue where I am heading..

I feel for people especially students these days. I feel for them because the world has this idea of knowing where you are going.. Kids are required, forced and encouraged to know what they will become.
We ask each 5 year old what do you want to be when you grow up?

We ask people we meet in junior high what college you thinking about?

We ask high school students what are their career plans?

It isn’t fair..

Reflecting back on my youth….

As a senior in high school… my plan was simple… graduate.. have fun and don’t worry more than you need too. I was a worrier big time.

I remember clearly the day my parents set me down and asked the troubling question….
What are you planning to do now? I must have looked confused… so they helped me out some…

Dad said, “ will you be going to college or work?” I was slightly offended by the question but as an adult parent I think… well that is a solid question for sure.. I chose college and wasted a ton of money.

So friends, why do we need to know those answers? Is it for our comfort? Is it to compare what others are doing? Is it to give us a feeling of acceptance?

I don’t know a good answer but I do know God knows what it happening and what will happen. I can be searching and content at the same time.

My one caution is to be careful when asking questions that might rock someone’s world in an unhealthy way.

We also need to remember to praise God in a variety of ways and times… He is worthy of our praise.

Looking at the man in the mirror

I’m going to make a change
For once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good
Gonna make a difference, gonna make it right…

The above is the beginning to Michael Jackson’s song called Man in the mirror.

I was flipping through the music stations as I drove back form dropping my daughter off to school. Then it hits me, a flash back from the past…
Michael Jackson singing man in the mirror… wow but reality brought me back.

I was listening to the song in a different light since the early 1990’s when I first heard the song as a middle/high school song. I confess back then it was another Michael Jackson song… bring out the blinged glove and some smooth moon walking… For you young readers… look up moon walking … I would rather not relive those moments…

Today is just another day of the week but for some odd reason, maybe it was due to driving in the fog of the morning, maybe it is the reality of being tired at 9AM with a to do list a mile long (who came up with that analogy anyways) and not enough time to get it all done….. when Michael says:

“ I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer. If you wanna make the world a better place. Take a look at yourself and then make a change….”

Those words carry more weight today…
Maybe it is due to the difference in life then and now…

Then…. I looked out for me. I went to school, played sports, played video games, went out with my friends or on a date. I spent time with family and some summer work.

Now… I look our for me and my family, team at work, friends and others, I go to school to teach or visit students (worry about them surviving the day). I don’t play as many video games, do less sports (more due to being old), and worry about the today, tomorrow and the next.. for all I know and work alongside.

What is the common core… Me… I am in both situations, my life is still full of the same 24 hours in a day that I had back in the day. I am in control of the ability to look in the mirror and change me..
Our world tells us to make excuses for our actions, to fill our schedules with stuff to do, baseball games, movies, vacations, work etc.. , to spend spend spend and enjoy today.

I get the privilege of sharing time with Students … today we discussed spending time with God. Through out the New Testament Jesus withdrawals often in the morning to a quiet place… in the beginning God created everything in 6 days and the 7th he rested..

What this guy realizes when I look at the man in the mirror is way to much and personal for this blog but a simple observation is this…

I need to rest…. Here are a few areas in my life I need rest in:
Sleep.. I require a solid amount of sleep. I need to have down time from work, from noise, from being around people.
One of my strengths is being an extreme extrovert and when I am feeling the need to avoid people.. I know I need to look at the man in the mirror and say make a change… I know people need you … I know you are the man but the reality is I need a break..
I would encourage you today to look at the person in the mirror… look often and don’t fall to the sin of nitpicking what you look like.. that isn’t healthy… but looking at who you are and what you need is…

I close with this wisdom….”I am starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer…” make the time to make the change

The assumed

I am continually consumed and battle with the idea of assumed. For example:

  • since I am a pastor, people assume I know God better than others
  • since I am a youth worker, people assume I know everything about parenting teenagers.
  • since I am a white male, people assume I don’t struggle with stereotypes, being seen as a productive person in society etc..
  • since I am a public figure, people assume I am always enjoy being in the spot light.
  • since I am pastor, people assume I work the same schedule as they do.
  • since I am a leader, people assume I always know what is going on.
  • since I am a twin, people assume I feel everything my twin does.

I am sure this could go on and on and on… and you have your own set of assumes… some of the assumptions above maybe close to accurate but most of them are not even close to being truth.

So, what can I do about it? What can you do about your assumption list?

I know the answer is not an easy one but simply put, we can help educate people to some truths and not assume they know.  Here we go:

  • when some one suggests I know God more, I can help them realize we all struggle and those in the bible did too.
  • when some suggests I know it all or I am a great parent, I can help them realize I struggle with parenting too. It is a serious deal.
  • when someone suggests only people of different color or etc. struggle with stereotypes, I can help them realize we all struggle with it.. try being a white, balding youth minister who is a twin…..
  • when someone assumes I am working on Monday… I can help them realize it is my off day, a day not spent working… also I can not take phone calls and on my message say hey it is Monday and I am off today.. I will call you back tomorrow.

I often assume… much like we all do… we assume a lot about others and sometimes organizations without taking them time to learn and better understand. I admit it takes time to learn and understand, maybe that is the issue, it requires time.

I am feeling challenged in my life to assume less and look to learn more. How about you?

I AM A BELIEVER! What about you?

I am a believer!

What do you believe?
Do you believe it will be ok?
Do you believe you will succeed in life?
Do you believe you can do great things?
Do you believe in yourself?
Do you believe God is creator?
Do you believe Jesus will save you?
Do you believe Jesus is preparing a place for you in heaven?

I am often filled with do you believe questions.. 

One Is usually, do I believe people will show up? Do I believe I am good enough? Do I believe I have what it takes to accomplish the task?

I assume you have your own set of “Do I believe” statements…. Maybe it would be good to take a minute to list them? That is totally up to you.

How much of the do I believes matter?

Don’t get me wrong but do they matter if we don’t do anything with the question..
We need to take action at some point to put it into practice, to begin working out the question into a statement… for example:

I believe it will be ok.
I believe I will succeed.
I believe I can do great things and be an impact person.
I believe in myself… not arrogantly but believe I have worth.
I believe God created all things
I believe Jesus saves me and prepares a place for me.

But there is a little gap between the question and the fact of belief. 

I truly know in my heart nobody makes it on belief alone… It takes time and work to work out one’s belief.

Here is a simple suggestion, surround yourself with people …

who will believe in you,…
who will keep you humble,…
who will encourage you,…
who will help you make a plan to accomplish your goals

I heard this is a recent sermon…. And it wrecked my world…

Believing in something is easy but having faith (living out that belief) isn’t easy.

Unity in me? In my team? In my world? YES!

Unity…. Webster says Unity is:

  1. the state of being one; oneness
  2. a whole or totality as combining all its parts into one.
  3. the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole; unification.
  4. absence of diversity; unvaried or uniform character.”

What do you say unity is?
I define unity in two ways…

  1. being content within your own heart and self.
  2. getting along with a person or group of persons through a common source.

How we define unity is important. We need to have a common understanding on the definition and how it is played out within the group and each individual.

How your basketball team, swim team, music group defines and acts out unity is vital to the success, longevity and legacy of each group. We focus so much attention on me… we forget the importance of we. We focus so much attention on the now that we forget about the future.

Yeah, I know.. how can I possibly know the future we leave when I don’t know the me within the we now? I think this is the tension we all deal with throughout our careers, friendship and families. Smarter people than I have written books, taught classes and seminars etc. but I speak from my own heart…

John 17:21 That they might be ONE… There is value in being one, if there wasn’t God wouldn’t have mentioned it in the bible.

What can we gain from being one (unity)?

  1. We will have a better understanding of others. We will put others first.
  2. Our teams will not only look good but they will function and perform better…. Like state championship better. People will notice something is different with this team.
  3. The people who will follow us will be better prepared and will benefit from the hard work we have done to create, foster and encourage unity.

 

IF that isn’t enough… we will actually find some contentment within our own hearts and therefore better equipped to impact the world we live in.

Choose today to find unity within yourself…. Encourage within your team and display it for the world to see.

 

 

Warning 6 of 8, Soap Opera own real life.

soap opera picThe Guiding Light, Days of Our Lives, and others. I assume some of you have no idea what those are or mean but to others it is a flash from the past and unfortunately still lingering on today. They were famous soap operas in the 1980s and 1990s. I never watched them (no really I never have) but my grandmother did and she would get wrapped up in this make believe world… the lies, the cheating, the romance etc. I begin to wonder if the modern day reality TV has replaced the old fashion Soaps?

I have watched a few of them… survivor for one. It is a reality game show but is it a reflection of our world? I am beginning to think so.. We watch the show thinking this is awesome… A player just got blind sides. A blind side is when someone is deceived or lied to and then gets voted out of the game. Blind sides are good to get people out of the game but are they really that good?

I am not sure about you but can assume you don’t like being lied to. I don’t like it all and it is my boiling point for sure. My tolerance for being lied to is zero.

God warns us in great detail to watch out for false witnesses who pour out lies. Why would he have such a huge focus on this?

Proverbs 6:19 “ a false witness who pours out lies.” This verse goes along with the warning series I have been blogging about. I know God cares for his people and warns us because He cares. So, what can we gain from this verse…

No one… I mean no one likes to be lied too. No one … I mean no one likes to be caught lying… No one I mean, No one really forgets when someone lies to us…

Here is a simple warning… If you don’t like being lied to, you shouldn’t lie to others. But in reality our world justifies lies and being a white lie… or lying to keep the person from being hurt or for protection…

I am all for taking care of people but I was taught from my mother that your lies will find you out. Eventually you will be held responsible for your actions… maybe not on this earth but as we move to eternity we will be held accountable.

Lets begin day by day, conversation by conversation, thought by thought to choose to heed God’s warning and not become a liar and watch out for those who look to deceive you…

Part 5 of 8.. Running the race… running to capture the prize.. run Forest run!

running crazyPart 5 of 8: Fast Feet… But where are you running?

I was and I reference was an avid runner… I ran cross-country, the 800 and 4×800 relay my last two years of high school that was way back in 1986-87… I would say I was pretty fast. We still hold the track and school record for the 4×800, the amazing factoid is we ran on Cinder… think chewed up asphalt that ate you up if you fell on it.. enough of me…

We would run after the win. We would run after that team who we had a rivalry with. We would run after things of this world… girls, special shoes, clothes, peer groups and so on. Fortunately for us it didn’t cost us the records we achieved.

What are things you run or ran after?

  • Fast cars A sale
  • Big houses A relationship
  • Special dates or occasions A career
  • Maybe for the deal of a life time A super bowl ring
  • For your kids to do what you didn’t A college acceptance letter
  • The trophy buck New technology
  • That awesome mission trip A Balanced Budget

Review the list above… is there anything wrong with the things above? I don’t think so in an f itself. It is a simple list of things. A list many of us have created. We even go to great lengths to make a list for Christmas presents.. Lists aren’t bad.

But what if we change the list motive a bit… What if we think through each item and put the ever-knowing words… I want this item to complete me…. I want this item to make me look good… I want this item so I can fill a void…

What are we using the things above as a tool to do wrong? I know I have done things in my past that have had bad intentions, but also have done things without realizing it. For example when I interrupt my wife half way through her story to help fix it.. Yeah the story didn’t need fixing.

We all are human and make mistakes some of which are innocent others we aren’t as pure in our motive. The hard part is realizing it before it is too late and we can’t recover from.

God warns us in great detail to watch our feet, that we don’t travel or run toward evil or doing wrong.. In fact it is one thing he DETESTS…. He doesn’t like it at all.

Proverbs 6:18b… “Feet that race to do wrong” (Jesus Centered Bible NLT)
“Feet that race down a wicked hill.” (Msg)

So, we need to focus attention and energy to avoid such running but how? I would say prayer, accountability, spending time getting to know God so you will discover why he detest it, and use visual signs to remind you to keep your feet running to good not evil. We all have the same and equal choice.

There is no I in team…

think bulb

If you are like me, you have heard this phrase being used from time to time in various settings. There is no I in team!.. I have heard it in the work place, sports field, once in the classroom (admittedly that one confused me), and even in the house. We are better than just one. I am sure you could add some unique places or settings you have heard the term but what about the church?

I was reading out of my new “Jesus Centered Bible” brought to you by Group Publishing. The New Testament book of John Chapter 17 verse23. Jesus was talking to people. He said in short.. If you want them to know me, they need to know you, by how you treat one another. Those words simply stung tonight as I read them, in fact the reading caused me to draft this blog.

So how does the church do in getting along to show the world or those outside of your building who Jesus is?

  1. We disagree about worship style. Check
  2. We disagree about budgets. Check
  3. We disagree about rooms being used. Check
  4. We disagree about the right time to do communion or baptism or even who can minister those things. Check
  5. We point fingers at each other. Check
  6. We talk about our leaders behind their back. Along with not supporting them. Check
  7. We sit in our pew, comfy as they are, and think so and so should hear this sermon. Check
  8. and I could go on and on… but what good would it do?

It doesn’t do what God has called us to do or be.

Matthew talks about going out in pairs to reach others so grow them and baptize them and disciple them in the way to go..
John talks about showing your love for Jesus and reflecting that love through our actions with other believers…

What would our churches be like if we ….

  1. We worshiped in spirit and in truth, no matter what the service style or flow was… Check
  2. We worked on a balanced God focussed budget and celebrated God’s generosity… Check
  3. We shared rooms.. after all they are just bricks and drywall and will be there when we die… Check
  4. We celebrate Jesus life, death and resurrection with our hearts in appreciation.. Check
  5. We look within to grow before we offer help to others… Check
  6. We support the leaders God has put in our churches and pray for them… maybe even join them in leading.. Check
  7. We begin to apply the sermons to our lives outside of the building we call church and people see Jesus… Check
  8. and I could go on and on… What good would it do…? Well it would be a reminder of two simple things….

We are representing Jesus in all we say, do and think and we might be the ONLY Jesus the people we interact with will see.

Finally think about it… if we continue to do the first list, why would anyone in the world want to come into our church and worship, grow or serve? I know I wouldn’t want to be a part of something that is that negative especially the church.

I will spend some time this week doing a couple of things:

  1. Digging deeper into God’s word to grow my love for Jesus and His church.
  2. Trying to move from the first list of actions to the second one. Not allowing myself to complain.
  3. be a change agent for myself, family, church, community and God.

I understand from a life of serving God in different states, denominations, church sizes, styles and shapes that it can be a challenge to stay focused on the goal and to avoid Satan (the king of all lies) tempting us to look to the left or the right of the goal. I also admit to struggling from time to time with being a change agent in my own heart and life. But I am working on it.

I pray you can see through the offensive nature in the blog to the heart of the message.. God can’t use us if all we do is think of the I in team that doesn’t exist.

Faithful Journey to each of you.

Words Matter!

Do you see the cup half full or half empty?

My mother would always say… “you need to look at the cup differently than other people.” I am beginning to see her wisdom in those words. I have to admit she would occasionally see the cup half empty but not to often.

How do you look at life?  I once heard someone smart say you are either a part of the solution or the problem. I think that our words can show us what team we are on and what level our cup is at.

I have a tendency when I don’t feel good to have a negative outlook on life. I unfortunately think the outlook adds to the not feeling well. So, how do our words matter?

Proverbs 15:2 The Tongue (Words) of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

I often think about the way our world is so social media driven…. twitter Facebook, periscope, instagram, snapchat and how we tend to not put the wisdom to work when posting to others. We will say things that would never come out of our mouths if standing in front of the person. We would be wise to think before we speak. We would be wise to think before we respond. We would be wise if we realized words do matter and they can last a life time.

A simple you look fat… translates to some.. I am a bad person and need to lose weight to be liked.

A simple you look hot… translates to some… I am good looking and need to maintain that outward appearance to be liked.

A simply you are smart … might be translated as… the only way I can be liked is to be smart.

We all know we have heard words similar to these and maybe even said them but what lasting impact have they had on you? or the person you spoke them too?

Friends, Please consider a 15 second timeout prior to posting on social media.. ask yourself.. would I say this in person and if others read it will they think it is generated towards them? If your answers are NO… then don’t post it.. pray for them instead.

Words Matter

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