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April 2006

Critical and Strategic Thinking

I am developing a workshop on critical and strategic thinking. I would value dialogue on this subject and am posting this framework as a launch pad.


How to Think Critically and Strategically



 Topic – We must have something to think about.

 Technique – We must cultivate processing skills.

 Timeliness – We must think in the context of our times.



 Hours – It takes time to think strategically.

 Honesty - With truth as the object, brutal honesty is required.

 Holistic – Our thinking must embrace multiple concerns.




 Intellect – Thinking always engages the mind. Mental capacity must be nurtured.

 Integration – Ideas, convictions, and paradoxes must be incorporated in the stew.

 Inspiration – The spiritual dimension is necessary. The Holy Spirit illumines our thinking.




 Negation Mechanism – We need to weed out irrelevancies.

 Need-Based – We are thinking to solve a problem.

 Next – Strategic thinking taes us to the next level.




 Knowledge – It is a primarily a tool more than an outcome.

 Koinonia - Fellowship is seen in collaborative thinking.

 Kerygma – It must come under the authority of ultimate truth.


© 2006, Thomas B. Sims

Blessed and Challenged

David Wainscott blessed the socks off of me at a Pastor's Cluster Good Friday service here in Fresno last week. After considerable begging, pleading, and bribery (just exaggerating), he posted his message on his blog. I was especially stunned (of the shock and awe variety) by the story of Thomas Hauker from the 16th century.

The message is titled, "The Lord Be With You ... Even When He's Not." It touched me deeply and was profoundly timed by God to go straight to my heart. Thanks, Dave.

While we are at it, David presides over one of the coolest web empires in Christendom. The Third Day Fellowship site will take some time to explore, but it will be worth your while.

Blessed and challenged - what a combination!

I've been exploring.

This world of blogging is so fascinating and there is so much to learn that I often forget to write.

I've been updating some of my Blogger postings over the last week. They are specialized and narrow - which I seldom am - so it is a good discipline for me.

One of the discoveries I've made recently is Audio Blogging. I' tend to do it in the car and so the sound may be distorted and they may fol,low my stream of consciousness, but it is pretty exciting.

Here is where you will find those posts: Pastor Tom's Journal . Go directly to the latest entry - still untitled.

I am very interested in affiliate marketing - especially its applications for church and non-profit fundraising. I have much to learn, but I have also learned much. I'd be happy to confer with anyone and ewxplore possibilities of their organizations.

The thing that is most rewarding here is the possibility of ever increasing modes of communication. Since the Christian message is one of incarnation, communication becomes a vital issue. Incarnation is interactive and the more interactive our web-based communication of faith can be, the more authentic is.

Stay tuned.

Better to Say ...

Someone, I wish I knew who, was first to tell me that if I had nothing to say, then shut up.

It was very good advice.

I have never really practiced it, but I am sure it was good advice for someone.

I never know who reads what and I have a lot of pages out there. Sooner or later, people need to know about Polecat Hollow. And on this day when my opinions are not too strong and I am virtually played out, I think I'll introduce my favorite little town where my friends learn lessons in such a way as to enable me to teach them to others:

My friend Byron will take over:

>>Hmmm........what is that?  <<

Drive due East from Fresno in 180 and when the road ends keep going on I180 (That's I for imagination). Turn right at the summit where the sign says, "Doubleback." You are now in Doubleback County. Begin your descent and hold your nose. You'll pass the turnoff to Skunkville. Keep going. The musk factory will be on your left (Polecat Hollow Skunk Works). Never mind the line of Polecats awaiting daily extraction. It is painless and really quite pleasurable for them.

You'll notice an odor an it will get stronger and stronger as you get closer to town. Stop by Billie's House of Mountain Oysters just outside town and tell her the Mayor, Byron T. Simpleton sent you. That's me. She's my sister, you know. A lot of people don't know that, but she is.

I love her ... I guess ... Mom did .......

..... best.

But that is another subject. Billie Bluebud. She married Billie Bud Bluebud and they merged the diner with the visitor center back in 77. Billie Bud has an elixer that numbs the olfactories (sort of mimics the condition of the founders whose sense of smell was all shot to heck by the prairie dust storms back in 1879.) He offers that to visitors for 15 or 20 bucks - really cheap when you consider that you are now in the breeding ground for North American polecatery. You are situated in Skunk Central.

And we like it because that is the first thing we smelled when we came out of the womb. It's mother's milk and love and joy and fresh air to us.

As you can imagine, we are somewhat isolated. Not many folks come and stay; few leave (PCH folks just can't stand the odor outside our valley.)

Keep driving till you come to the Courthouse. There will be a statue of Colonel Thadeous T. Hinklebeiner pointing Westward toward the promised land - our town.

His group came out in 1879 after hearing rumors that there was a town in the High Sierra already built and ready for occupancy. It seems that the unnamed original settlers were strong and brave, but they came out before the Gold Rush in the winter and braved the elements to build a town - an extraordinary feat. But they were not strong enough to withstand what the Spring thaw brought. It took them about two weeks to pack and head back to the East.

Not everyone is cut out for Polecat Hollow.

Uncle Hinkey is. In fact, he is the son of the Colonel and his third wife, born in the Colonel's post-golden years. You'll find him sipping coffee at Mabel's Tea Cup and if he's lucky this day, he'll be sharing a cookie with Miss Prudence Love a find woman in her nineties who taught most of us in Sunday School. People ask my uncle how he feels about dating a younger woman. He replies, "If she'd ever say, 'yes" I'd feel great about it."

Miss Prudence is accomplished in the art of playing hard-to-get.

Take a break and sit in the park under the Colonel's statue after school and you might see the daily ceremony of a contingent of the Loyal Order of the Goobers as they honor the flag. If it is on a Saturday, they will be joined by the Junior Goobies - Buster and Sally and their friends, Spike and Mahilda, Elmo, and Igmund G. Goodfellow III (Iggy).

Don't loiter there or you may have to answer some questions from Chief John R. D. Law. It will be OK though. We really do like visitors; we're just suspicious of them, so few and far between - especially when they have Yankee accents like you - no offense.

Yep, yep, yep .... that's my town. Thanks to you for asking and to Tom for letting me answer.

There are quite a few stories from my town and Tom will eventually either publish them or post them at

In fact, you just prompted him to write another entry.      

Fear of Empty Tombs


Fear not

A Meditaton on Matthew 28:1-10

It had not occurred to me that there might be a pervasive fear among us of empty tombs. I am certainly aware of the fear of death - and that might be part of it. I have known people who were afraid to look at dead bodies or attend funerals, but there was not dead body present here, nor was there a funeral taking place.

It was an empty tomb.

Yes. I am leaving out a few key points. First, there had been a body and it had been mutilated, but the women who came to the tomb had been present for that and had held up.

Oh - and there was an earthquake. I remember my first earthquake. I had only been in California a few days and  I was in the car stopped in a parking lot. I looked in the read view mirror to see who was bouncing the rear of my car up and down. That was when I realized why my friends had told me to stay in Virginia.

But that wasn't all. While they had missed the stone rolling and Jesus' grand exit from the tomb, the angel had stuck around for a while and they had never seen anything like him before.

He looked like lightening. I've seen a lot of lightening, but I've never seen it shaped like a man, sustained in one place and clothed in white. It must have been a frightful sight.

It was so frightful that the guards passed out and stayed that way for quite a while.

And then this man-shaped package of energy spoke to the grieving, frightened women as all their fears passed before their eyes, "Do not be afraid."

Do not be afraid.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

That's right, but after that, it's all fearlessness fueled by faith.

Stop at the intersection of Sheer Horror Street and Awesome God Blvd, and turn right. You will find yourself on the road to Blessed Assurance.

Do not be afraid, he spoke to them, " I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified."

This was a messenger of God. He knew his assignment and he knew the subjects he was sent to reassure after rolling the stone from the door of Jesus tomb. God had told him to stay by the cave a few minutes until some key people came and deliver to them a message of hope.

God knows you are looking for Jesus. God knows before you know. You may be staggering in the dark, groping for something that seems familiar and real, calling out in the silence for a voice that will answer and reassure you that all is not lost. You may not even know that the voice you long to hear is that of the Master, but God knows.

In the case of the women, they knew too, but they had no idea how much they knew because the familiar voice of Jesus was really the voice of God. They did not quite understand that. The tender touch of Jesus was the strong arm of the Almighty. The gentle look of Jesus was the piercing gaze that penetrates the hearts of all people and burns away falsehood leaving only truth.

Here is my first question of the day: What are you looking for? Are you sure that is what you are looking for?

Are you searching for the love of your life? For some special someone who will admire you, cherish you, and surround you with feelings of warmth and security?

Are you looking for significance, for a chance to make a difference, be remembered, live with purpose?

Are you looking for freedom? How about for comfort? Peace? New energy? Escape from some tormenting memory of failure or guilt? Hope? A reason to wake up tomorrow?

The women were looking for Jesus and God knew it. You are looking for Jesus whether you know it or not.

They had been through the earthquake and they had seen this electric angel, but what they were fearing most was the sight that was before them - an empty tomb.

It was hard enough to cope with the loss of Jesus and the sorrow, anger, and confusion that they had experienced through His death. All of their hopes and dreams had died on the cross as the one they loved had breathed His last. How senseless it must have seemed, how dark.

But at least they had known where His body was. Now, they were confronted with the most fearful thing of all - emptiness. The emptiness of the tomb amplified the emptiness of their lives without Him, without the purpose they had known just a few days earlier.

Do not be afraid. He is not here. You're looking for Him, but He is not here. You will not find Him in this box of rock. You won't find Him in any box. He will not be contained.

There was not long pause between the angel's words, but a lifetime of thoughts can rush through out minds in a second.

Then where is He?

Will we ever find Him?

Must we be deprived of the last reminder that He was ever here at all?

Johnny Lee's song lamented, "Looking for love in all the wrong places." They were definitely looking for Jesus in the wrong place.

The second question I pose to you this day is this: Where are you looking?

You have come to the tomb because that is where you left Him. That is your last frame of reference. You have not done wrong by going there. It is all you know. The psalmist said, "I will lift up my eyes unto the hills." Then he asked, "From where does my strength come?"

The answer was not where he was looking. It did not come from the hills. It came from the Lord.

But we need to overcome our fear of the empty tomb and look inside. We need to confront our emptiness and misconceptions, our faith deficit and futile thinking.  We are afraid to look inside and discover that Jesus is not where we thought we put Him.

He never was a God who would stay put.

Where are you looking? Are you trying to find Him in religious ritual? He has been there. There are pointers there; but He does not reside there.

Are you looking for Him in human perfection? Good luck - and I don't even believe in luck.

Are you looking for Him in a concept, precept, and affect? You will not find Him in any of those. He cannot be defined by ideas, confined by rules, or refined by emotion. You will find that all of those become tombs that will not hold Him.

He is risen just as He said. You remember don't you - at least vaguely. He said this would happen. He said it would be OK. He said He would rise. Come look in the tomb. See where He lay. He is not there.

Friends, no one has ever found Him in any tomb, but many have found Him alive in the hearts of believers and alive in their own hearts. There were about 500 who had the opportunity to see Him alive bodily in those days after the resurrection and they told everyone they saw and thousands believed. Many died knowing what they had seen and still bearing witness to the power of the resurrection.

Which brings me to my third question for you: Do you remember what He said and have you looked for yourself?

In other words, have you really tested this? Have you examined the tomb? Have you looked inside and found it empty? Have you looked to Him and found Him alive? Have you heard His claims and His promises with fresh ears and an open heart and mind? Have you gone to your own Galilee to see for yourself? Have you brought others along?

It is amazing how many times Jesus appeared before anyone ever got to Galilee. He always does more than He promises.

As the women began to open themselves up to the possibility of resurrection and their own belief, they testified and Jesus started popping in here and there revealing Himself to them.

In spite of the angels words, they were still afraid, but that didn't matter. Joy began to take over.

Have you opened yourself up to the possibility of resurrection power - that He is alive and that you can live also. Have you opened your heart to new life? To joy? Have you take your first fearful, trembling steps toward Jesus and away from cynicism, doubt, and bitterness.

Are you willing to look in the tomb? Would you be wiling to believe it if it were real?

The very first resurrection preachers the world has ever known were some women who came to a tomb early one Sunday morning and found it empty. It changed their lives and it has been changing lives ever since.

Today, we live in a graveyard of broken hearts and dreams, of dark thoughts and darker deeds, of restless ambiguity and malicious deception. The rotting corpses of wars within and without are strewn across the battlefields of the planet and we know that inside each tomb is something so horrible and terrifying that we simply cannot look. And a messenger of God stands beside one - only one and invites us to look inside and confront our fears that we might conquer them.

And the message He brings is the message we bring to you today. He is not dead. He is risen. come and see; go and tell; do not be afraid; be filled with joy.

This Jesus who is risen, stared death in the face and bore our sins. Rising from death He conquered every reason for our fear. Death has no more power over us. There is nothing that can befall us that can ultimately harm us.

When we look into His empty tomb and believe, we can look into our own tombs and live knowing that the resurrection is for us as well because of Jesus.

The old Quo Vadis legend illustrates this through story about Peter. It is most likely only a legend, but we know that Peter, who knew the resurrected Lord, indeed find the courage to lay down His life for the resurrected Lord. Here is how English author, George Edmundson, summarized the legend back in 1913:

His friends, so runs the story, had entreated the Apostle to save his life by leaving the city. Peter at last consented, but on condition that he should go away alone. But when he wished to pass the gate of the city, he saw Christ meeting him. Falling down in adoration he says to Him 'Lord, whither goest Thou?' [Latin, quo vadis?] And Christ replied to him 'I am coming to Rome to be again crucified.' And Peter says to Him 'Lord, wilt Thou again be crucified?' And the Lord said to him 'Even so, I will again be crucified.' Peter said to Him 'Lord, I will return and will follow Thee.' And with these words the Lord ascended into Heaven . . . And Peter, afterwards corning to himself, understood that it was of his own passion that it had been spoken, because that in it the Lord would suffer. The Apostle then returned with joy to meet the death which the Lord had signified that he should die.

Here is the final question: Will that which has given so many the courage to die, give you also the courage to live? Will you choose to believe this day? Knowing what you already know and believing what you already believe, will you trust Him? Will you by an act of faith acknowledge that His death and resurrection was for you?

Many of my friends do not accept the basic premises of this faith I espouse. I respect them, but this is the message of the Bible and of the gospel and it is the one that saved me. Therefore, I proclaim it with humility and gratitude. I can only ask that each of us look in the empty tomb and listen for the voice of the messenger, "Do not be afraid."



Don't Fall For It

I've updated Pastor Tom's Roman Road with an entry on Romans 1:21-23. I call it The Bogus Exchange. In the previous post, I looked at Paul's argument as to why man has no excuse for refusing to worship God. It is not what we do not know that holds us accountable, but what we do know and refuse to acknowledge. In this entry, I look at what we have chosen to believe in its place. It needs some development and illustration. Any insights will be valued.

I update Proverbs to include 1:8-19. "Don't Fall For It" is the theme. It centers on the "come on" young people sometimes receive from violent people whose greed clouds their judgment and whose malice excuses all manner of offenses against others in the quest for what they want.

I am at the end of my office day and I am far behind in most every endeavor. But I don't feel too bad about it. I may later. I have a lesson to give, a service to attend, and a day to plan for tomorrow. I just need more hours.


I attended a funeral today. It was for a fellow pastor and it was a deeply moving and disturbing experience. The part that was moving was obvious to all. This brother had lived, in just less than 52 years, a full and productive life. He was an inspiration to all who knew him. He was devoted to his Lord, his family, and his ministry. He was focused on sharing his faith and faithful in his calling.

He was so many things that I want to be.

That was the disturbing part. I just don't think that if I were to die today that my legacy would be as sweet.  I am not being humble; I am being honest. I have wasted much too much time. I have simply frittered it away. I have been grumpy over things that should not matter; I have been irresponsible, selfish, and self-indulging. I am not ready to end it there.

I would love to go to Heaven and be free from the cares of this world; but I am not there yet and I am still attached to this life and the people I share it with. When God calls, I'll be ready to go; but I may not be ready to leave if I have to leave a mess behind.

I want to be more, do more, love more, experience more, give more, share more, leave more behind.

And even as I write these words, they seem egotistical and self-serving. I have been saved by grace and that is all that I need, but I have not been the dispenser of grace that I have always known I wanted to be. I have not made the difference I desire to make. I have not finished my course.

Of course, that is just my opinion. And it is not the final word of the subject. God retains that right.

My struggle is not quite the same as Paul's in Philippians 1 - or is it? He knew that to be with Christ was far better than anything else. He also knew that he could do more for the baby believers he had nurtured if he lived a little longer.

Paul knew what his legacy would be. I am not so sure. I guess it depends on the context. God knows me and loves me as I am, but He also knows my faults. He is also the only one who can stamp labels across our lives.

But it doesn't stop me from contemplating.

Rich Mullins' legacy was actually called a legacy. it is the Legacy of a Kid Brother of St. Frank. It is run by his brother and sister in law - nice people. They take Rich's wealth from writing songs like, "Awesome God" and distribute it to ministries with at risk kids.

When Rich died, his friends came together and made a movie about his life and legacy. His life was about this passionate search for God and about service. He gave away most everything he made and, in the end, he left it all behind.

Rob Prevost's legacy ( the pastor whose funeral I attended) was a guy who suffered much physically, loved much, and left much behind in the lives of people who paid tribute to him. He loved to share his faith in Jesus, loved to study for preaching and teaching, and loved his church family. I was amazed at the deposits he had consistently made through the years into the lives of people.

And I thought, that is what I want to do. That is the kind of man I want to be - but I am not.

I commented to a pastor friend that it teaches us to number our days and apply our hearts to wisdom. It sounded trite coming out of my mouth even though it was from the Bible - but I meant it for me. I am also 51. I assume I have another 50 or close to it, and that assumption allows me to drag my feet. That is a luxury I cannot afford.

Can any of us?

The really disgusting part about all of it is that as much as I want to accomplish, give, and leave behind, I run out of steam - physically, emotionally, on-the-clock, and creatively. Sometimes I run out of spiritual steam. I get so impatient with myself and yet, I take the shortcuts, make the compromises, revise my goals, and go to bed.

I need that same grace that saved me to shape me. Rob finished his course and did so very well. He left a legacy that was visible to many of us. I'm still building mine - not all that well, but by grace.

So, why am I rattling on like an existential Christian in a midlife crisis? I just think it is time to take stock, so I am offering this matter as a main topic for the Christian Fellowship forum this week. What will your legacy be?

I am grateful for what I know of Rob's legacy because it has inspired me today. I wish I had known him better. I am glad he passed through.

Magazine Fund Raising

Here is a fund raiser we have discovered and used at BT.

Your Online Fundraising Campaign

We are having great success with Magazine fundraising with this link.

It is easy and profitable. Our organization receives 40 % of the subscription cost; our members get incentives to share with their friends and discounts as well.

If you don't need a fund raise and just want to help send Baptist Temple neighborhood kids to camp, click this link.

Click the link above or below to set up this fund raiser for your organization. Call me at 559-647-2203 if you need aby help.

Dream Revisited

I was giving some thought to changing the name of my blog.

"Dream Factory" is a bit ambiguous and this journal is a bit eclectic and I was feeling concerned about what was being communicated by the name.

Then I thought, "What do I want to communicate?"

And it brought me back to the dream. I do indeed dream on and invite others to dream along with me.  At the risk of re-using words from old acronyms, I am going to start spelling again. Let's spell out the dream and build a case for the name:

  • D = Definition. We are defined by our purpose which defines our goals and efforts. In a world where people are over-defined, too readily labeled, and boxed in by categories, it is only the oil of significance (see Psalm 23) that has the strength to determine the flavor of our lives.  We dream and our dreams are bound only by what defines us and our reason for occupying space on this planet. Start with purpose and you will define your dream, spiritually, relationally, organizationally, and commercially.
  • R = Reach. How far, how wide, and how deep will you reach to see your dream (s) become reality? Sometimes the reach is a stretch and the stretch is a strain, but it is never unreasonable if if is connected to our definition and driven by our dream. Sometimes in reaching, stretching, and straining, we tear some things loose that we assumed were a part of us, but alas, they were not woven into the fabric of our defining purpose and so, were no loss. Reach and keep reaching.
  • E = Effort. I used this is the MORE acronym and employ it again because it is vital to the fulfillment of any dream. Effort does two things. First, it tests our sincerity and drive. Second, it makes things happen.  If we put forth no effort toward what we say is our dream, how can we expect anyone to believe that we are truly committed to what we say is our goal?  Likewise, nothing happens because effort is the engine that energizes our plans. We have to work for what we want.
  • A = Application. When we have a burning passion for a dream, everything applies to it. The dream becomes a center point in our existence. It is an ever ready topic and an obsessive stream of consciousness. It amplifies our aptitude, accelerates  the ascent of our altitude, and adjusts our attitudes. It brings every subject into a state of relevance. Everything we see, hear, read, and consider, every new idea, every old recycled idea, everything applies to our defining purpose for being.
  • M = Methodology. It is last in the listing and, in some ways, least in importance, but it occupies a disproportionately large percentage of our cerebral real estate. We can simplify all the other points, but methodology brings us into the grit and mud and muddling, meddling, and maneuvering through the details of getting it done. We will have to discuss business principles, vocal technique, fine tuning of presentation, and the minutia of theological disputations if we are going to see the dream begin to etch itself on the screen of reality. Methodology brings the theoretical into focus. It was Father Divine, the Harlem preacher of yesteryear who coined the word, "tangibilitate." That is exactly what methodology does; it tangibilitates our ethereal dreams.

So, we dream on.

In the World of Religion

Not that it is a different world, but I needed a transition. Judas is in the news thanks to National Geographic and a mood that suggests that the obscure and odd is of more value and validity than the tested and enduring. While I think there is some understanding and sympathy called for in viwing Judas - Namely that we can identify with his temptations and frailties and that Jesus called him "friend" even in his betrayal, we need not be swayed by the sensationalism of buried documents than suddenly surface.

But what the dickens: we are getting all excited about fiction (the "code" named for the artist - You know what I mean.)

The discussion in the Fellowship Forum has been started by one of my staff members. Feel free to participate there. I am sure one will be cropping up on the Religion Forum soon. I may even get around to writing about it at some point.

While we are at it, I am doing a survey about the command of Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves. Weigh in and discuss.

We have another hot topic over in the forum world. This one is entitled, "Science Tells How Jesus Walked on Water." While for me, the response is simple (I believe), it is not simplistic.  This has become a very lively discussion, but unfortunately, like so many, there has been more heat than light. If you have some light to shed, you'd be welcome to drop in. It would be great to have some salt along with that light if some of you know what I mean.

Now I think the whole thing is silly. The point of the story is not that Jesus was doing some trick. He could have walked on water every night and it would not have needed to be recorded in the New Testament. The message of Jesus is much more than miracle stories, which I, by the way, believe. I have no problem with miracles. It doesn't stretch me to believe in them. The reason this account made the cut is because of the message that was conveyed.

Jesus didn't walk on water to put on a show any more than he did anything for that purpose. He was acting out truth and often forcing the issue.

Believe it or not, but read the gospel account for what it has to say to you. And for those, who like me, believe it: Do you suppose people will be quicker to believe with you from you beating them over the head with the Bible or from demostrating some rather miraculous and  unexpainable love and grace in your own life?

Maybe you should take the survey first (before jumping in the walking on water waves).

When confronted with DaVinci Codes and modes of behavior that we fear will erode our abode (the earth), we tend to explode. Then we forget two important truths:

1) We are not in charge of the outcomes. We do not control the course of history, the hearts of men and women, or the effects of the good news we share upon those with whom we share and before whom we live it. Nor can evil utlimately thwart the sovereign progression of the will of the Almighty God.

2) We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves without exception - even if he or she personifies the evil that we erroneously fear will overcome us.

Mark Jackson (AKA Pastor Guy) is doing a pretty interesting series on Truth or Fiction. Parts 1 and 2
do a pretty masterful job of unloading some current subjects, such as those above and the code thing without even mentioning them by name. At the same time, he gently indicts believers for our fetish for sensationalism and our use of scare tactics to shock people into the Kingdom of God.

I particularly like Mark's observation here and think it applies to some of our current discussions:

" We are inappropriately afraid of other people's unbiblical behavior. Let me explain... we expend incredible amounts of time, energy & effort to convince and/or force non-believers around us to knuckle under to our moral practices. When those efforts are unsuccessful (and they almost always are), we then retreat in a hypocritical game of tightrope walking between the cultural enticements of the world and the safe companionship of those who appear to have it "together" spiritually. We'll watch movies with questionable content, but excuse it because "we feel bad about it." We'll talk endlessly about "winning the world for Jesus", but never actually spend time with people who are struggling with questions about faith & life." (Mark Jacskon, akapastorguy.)

So What Is Your Dream?

What is it, you might ask, "Huh? What about it, Mr. Pastor, dream coach, business developer, public speaker, aspiring writer, sysop, wellness promoter, general want-to-be?"

When I hit 50, now over a year ago, I boiled it down to investing my life in helping people become all that they could be.

I still think that is IT, but IT is a very big word with lots of threads of meaning.

It just passed midnight so now it is tomorrow. How quickly our days slip away. I just posted my notes on Romans 1:21 on Pastor Tom's Roman Road and now I am going to go to bed. I will be up at 4 or 5 AM and tomorrow will be full.

I pray that I will take the truth that I know, the purpose that defines me, and the dream that drives me and live every moment to the fullest.

Building Blocks

The Building Blocks of Entrepreneurship are PRIORITIES, PEOPLE SKILLS, and PROCESS.

People skills are the single greatest outward predictor of success in any business that involves human interaction of any sort. The ability to get along with others, collaborate, cooperation, and collegiate are so essential that it almost goes without saying that without them, failure is certain.

We can grow in our ability to work with people. If we don't have the skills now, we can acquire them. Great books have been written on the subject. Seminars abound. Mentors are waiting to coach us. Challenging life situations are our ready teachers. Difficult people are available to help us with the project. We can learn the skills when we are ready and willing.

The three areas that the Entrepreneur's table recommends for a starting place are.

  • Collaboration - Make a decision to stop being a loner and come out of isolation. Initiate a project that requires you pool your efforts with another person. Start small, but divide the responsibility and the authority. It is not full collaboration if you have the last word in everything. To collaborate, you will have to communicate freely, honestly, and regularly. None of this will be easy for you if you've never done it, but it is absolutely necessary. It is also intrinsic to the way we have been designed by God. We were made for community and ensemble.
  • Cooperation - Cooperation is a bit different because it sometimes means lending a hand on projects that are not our own. It is also one of the ingredients necessary for sharing resources, time, space, and attention. Cooperation requires that we read the section on attitudes again and apply the principles expressed there. It necessitates our stepping aside, relinquishing control, and divorcing ourselves from selfishness and pride.
  • Collegiation - As used here, it is the process of thinking together, sharing ideas, and listening to other people's views as if we really believed they had something important to say. This is a big part of what the TABLE is all about - people who are working in different areas, have different backgrounds, and bring different perspectives all having a voice to speak and an ear to hear.

We will need to post more on people skills because the subject is so vital.

On the subject, Peter Murphy has an excellent article entitled  12 Reasons Why You Should Never Neglect People Skills.

I was at the Clovis Big Hat Days Saturday with our Mangosteen juice. During a lull in the action, I was walking around and met a most compelling young lady of 16, hosting a booth all by herself, telling the story of a product she had manufactured herself and was marketing single-handedly. As soon as I have permission from her and her father, I would like to promote her and her product - essentially goat's milk soap with a twist or two. Her product was high quality and her presentation was polished, but what was most pronounced about her booth was HER - She had GREAT people skills. She was natural, enthusiastic, respectful, friendly, and utterly (not to play on words - she does milk her own goats) delightful.

Most people know what poor people skills are; let's start collecting some examples of excellent people skills. In the process, we will develop some of our own.

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