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September 2006

Tools, Drools, and Fools

Funny Day - most of it at St Arbucks (Thanks for the nomenclature, Dave.)

It started with my speech to Toastmaster's about inviting people to Toastmasters - got to do that within the hour.

I met a very inspiring young woman and tried to inspire her a little more.

Also at Starbucks - saw one of my phlebotomists since I was next to the blood bank. I told her (she didn't know me and I just recognized the uniform) that I thought it must be time to give again. She said I ought to wait for a call or card.

The call came first - ten minutes later.

I went in later in the afternoon, but I'd had too much coffee, was dehydrated and I couldn't make the fiftenn minute pump maximum. They said I needed another 3 minutes and had to throw away all that blood - sad since they needed it.

But I did get to tell my story to 4 or 5 people who thought it was odd and wonderful

Also ... I had a nice visit with the E.D., Dean Elder who often and curiously stops by while the blood is being drawn  which sends the ladies with the needles into an unwarranted nervous frenzy. I was once passed through THREE needle stickers.

As it was, Dean had to excuse himself twice to help rescue fainting women. We wondered if maybe he should stay in his office. He did well, though and said it was a very unusual day.

I knew that was true.

Mine was.

Dean is an outstanding guy with a passion for his work, a mission to save lives, and the fond respect of all his staff and volunteers. The Central California Blood Center is one of the best run operations of its kind (or any other) that I know of. Links later.

So far, not so foolish.

I dropped into Office Depot to look at the laptops. Mine is entering old age and needs to a slower pace.

There was a deal I couldn't refuse - DROOL.

But I walked away.

Then I called the one who I thought was most likely to affirm my decision to resist. She said to go back and buy it.  It is a TOOL I can't really do without anymore and if old Bessie goes south without a backup, I'd feel like a FOOL.

Actually, I thought she had died this morning. Everything locked up.

Now that I have a pretender to the throne waiting in the wings, she is working just fine and I am backing everything up.

intersperse all of this with some real work, study, writing, phone calling, prayer, contacts, and clever observations.

I don't k now if this seems interesting to anyone but me, but I am amused and ready to go home for dinner.

Now I am late.

Parable of the Life-Saving Station

History-lifesaving-station kill devil hill

"On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life¬saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for those who were lost. Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and gave of their time, money, and effort to support its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little lifesaving station grew."

"Some of the members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building."

"Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully because they used it as a sort of club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The lifesaving motif still prevailed in the club’s decorations, and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where the club’s initiations were held. About this time a large ship wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside."

"At the next meeting, there was a split among the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon life¬saving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life¬saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station. So they did."

"As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet another lifesaving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that seacoast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown."

The "Parable of the Lifesaving Station" has circulated in anonymity for many years. However, it has been credited to Dr. Theodore O. Wedel, a former Canon of the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC, wrote this parable. Ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1931, he served for a time as president of the Episcopal Church's House of Deputies. He penned this parable in 1953.

Here is the line that most convicts me on the matter:

"They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin, and some spoke a strange language, and the beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside."

The church has many ancient and contemporary metaphors - one is a hospital for sinners, another is spiritual pub with grace on tap.

Clinebell, who first introduced me to the story, did a seminar in San Jose for pastors some time in the 1990s.

In the seminar, he previewed his book,  "Anchoring Your Well Being." I was deeply challenged to renew my commitment to a ministry of wholeness whereby people were made whole by the work of God in their lives, with which we are privileged to participate. That kind of wholeness addresses most negative lifestyle issues in the context of love.

He discussed seven dimensions of life that are common to all humanity: spiritual, physical, emotional, relational, work and play, crisis and loss, and environmental well being.

One of the reasons I devote some of my blog entries and ministry to business development is because I feel that work/play is an often neglected area of church and pastoral ministry which the Bible never neglects or ignores. For the same reason, I have delved into the arena of health and wellness and nutrition as well as social/environmental issues.

In other words, the gospel addresses every dimension of life, beginning with and centering on the spiritual. Redemptive reconciliation starts at the core and radiates into every area where people live as individuals and in community.

Back to the Lifesaving Station - we are in the rescue business. There is nothing in humanity or creation as a whole that is not to be properly related to God. As Christians, we proclaim that this reconciliation takes place through Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Refusal to omit any of the objects of His attention and intentions is a significant call upon the church today.

Brian McLaren's three area of political concerns in point toward the church's "wholistic" life-saving concerns as well. The implications in parentheses are mine:

1. The Earth - Psalm 24:1- "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein." That is a pretty broad statement of God's love for people and the world in which they live. While redemption is not identical for both, Romans 8 affirms that all creation groans waiting for it,

2. The Poor (the oppressed, the marginalized, the persecuted, the disenfranchised) - Poverty of all sorts is God's concern, spiritual poverty as well. Society can partially address physical poverty. Only the gospel has a word for poverty of the soul and spirit. That being true, the church is responsible to speak to  and act on behalf of the poor.

3. War (and genocide as well as all that devalues life on any arbitrary basis) - Reconciliation, peace, and redemption are the shared tasks of God and His people. As laborers together with God (I Corinthians 3:9), we are deeply concerned with the message that brings people into a reconciled relationship with God, but we are also charged with the task of encouraging horizontal peace and justice in the world.

Since I first wrote this some years ago, other issues have emerged as urged

I reject the term, "social ministries" as something at odds with, in competition with, or separate from evangelism.

Likewise, I am dubious about the application of the term, "secular" to anything in which a disciple of Jesus is involved.

Everything is wrapped up in the mission of God which He shares with us - including the businesses that we dedicate to His Kingdom purposes. When reconciliation happens, everything is integrated into one great purpose and the walls come down.

The gospel is good news for the soul and the society. It delivers from sins that lead to slavery in souls and societies. It is unhindered in its power to proclaim freedom to the captives. It is unimpeded in its potency to change lives and cultures. 

We simply must decide to apply it at every level.




Brian Mclaren in God's Politics

Without letting on to any hidden information about his voting preferences or party affiliation, Brian McLaren gives three categories of concern for Christians in determining how they will vote. As a guest blogger on Jim Wallis' "God's Politics," McLaren addresses "Three Values for Voters to Consider."

These, he explains are first, the earth, second, the poor, and third, war.

Regarding the earth, he states that because of our stewardship over and dependence upon the earth, "we must intervene when human beings through greed or  ignorance damage the earth"

He does not spell out specifically what that looks like, but points the light of scripture at the reality as an area of important consideration for followers of Jesus.

Regarding the poor, he leans in the direction of a time honored biblical position that God, the champion on the poor, mandates that His people be concerned with justice toward them.Commenting on the growing rift and gap between the rich and poor of the world, he posits that we must narrow the gap.

How that gap is to be narrowed continues to be a point of contention between economic "conservatives" and economic "liberals," but no honest Christian upon examining the scriptures can be indifferent to the need and disengaged from the search for solutions.

McLaren will, no doubt raise eyebrows and ire by not incl duding corporate concern for matters of personal and familial morality. No doubt they are of interest to him, but they do not make his top three.

Of course, one might slide the abortion issue into that category. Perhaps any number of social issues would find a home there.

In the third slot, he places war and reconciliation.

"The growth of religious, ethnic, political, and racial hatred contradicts and conflicts with the message of Jesus, which is a call to reconciliation with God and neighbor and enemy ."

Crime did not make the list (unless it is a subcategory of poverty), nor did many of the other favorite causes of Evangelicals.

Concerning the mater, "Huck Finn" commented, " A "justice" agenda that ignores the shedding of innocent blood (i.e. the killing of unborn babies for convenience) is a sham."

Brad said, " Why ignore abortion, the death penalty, etc.? Is avoiding war really the only life issue worthy of consideration?" He went on the suggest that, " ... he entire spectrum of the Catholic "seamless garment" (including war, the death penalty, etc.)"be added to the list.

In the realm of politics, any simplistic  language is likely to leave important issues and considerations in the dust. Let that be a warning that we are in for another two years of least-common-denominator thinking, meaningless sound bytes, deceptive labels, manipulation, mudslinging, and lesser of evil choices.

At least someone is addressing issues without regard to party or candidate. Perhaps one contribution that intelligent Christians of all stripes could make would be to lift the national dialog to something resembling intelligence and an honest search for truth.

Poll Results for Peace on Earth

Here are the tentaive results of the Religion Forum poll I set up a while back. I am bit disappointed by the percentage of those who just gve up.

Peace on Earth - Is it possible?
Impossible - I don't bother
9 Votes (16%)
We can only hope.
5 Votes (9%)
I work for it.
1 Votes (2%)
I pray for it.
10 Votes (18%)
I work and pray for it.
2 Votes (4%)
I vote for it.
0 Votes (0%)
I work for it and vote for it.
4 Votes (7%)
I work, pray, and vote for it.
2 Votes (4%)
It starts with me. I live it.
10 Votes (18%)
I work, pray, vote, and live for it.
12 Votes (22%)

You can still discuss the question:

DISCUSS  or you can vote on the Front Page of the forum.

Others will prefer the Christian Fellowship Forum and its friendlier stance toward Christianity. I am the manager of both, but Religion Forum is a neutral ground  and meeting place for people of all faiths of no faith. There are slightly different rules for each, but respect is the order of the day in both.

One of my fine staff members, Brenda posted this poll in Fellowship some weeks ago: How Often Do You Pray?

Some might be interested in our What's Hot messages there:

What's Hot

Shouters, Pouters, Doubters - What's your  personal worship style?
One Liners
Add your favorite Christian one-liners.

Don't forget to check out the blog updates a few entries down.

I sort of enjoyed writing my rules for meetings a while back.

Sunday Morning

I preached on Choices. We can choose to be graced, to be justified, to reign, to live, and to obey. All of these choices are found in Romans 5:12-21  and have parallels which are not equal opposites but poor imitations.

The first two are passive because we cannot do them for ourselves. Once we have received them, however, we can appropriate mastery, life, and obedience into our lifestyles.

I tried to practice what I have been reading about recovery time by playing some computer games before going to the hospital to visit some patients and again after that and before a meeting with the Hmong church leaders.

I have uploaded all the pictures currently in my possession of the Canada trip to the album here.

Forgive the inside joke but:

The Fresno Chapter of BA (Blizzradists Anonymous) will meet at the Manchester Dairy Queen  at 9: A.M., 12 Noon, 5:00 P.M., and 8:00 P.M.. No host refreshments will be served.

That is for those who developed a strong inclination toward Dairy Queen Blizzards in Cochrane. in case anyone care, my preference is the choccherry.

We'll have our memories as long as we have the capacity to remember and after that, we're not likely to remember that we have forgotten and it will be OK. It was a wonderful journey.

I return from the True North committed to the work God has given me to do and energized with hope and joyful expectation about the possibilities.


Don't forget to keep scrolling and check out the archives. I''ve been posting a lot lately on a variety of topics. Your patronage of my sponsors is appreciated.

Home and Scattered

It is good to be back home in Fresno/Clovis. A member of our group, Walt Crabtree (who should see his name here since he promised to read) said that he would be glad to get home, but not to leave.

That explains well how we spread pieces of our hearts around the globe as we travel, minister, and learn to love people wherever we go. We always plant something of ourselves in those places and those lives - seeds that grow and keep us connected.

... And we bring something of those places and people back in our own hearts.

Let us make memories daily. Let us likewise, make friends. Let us scatter ourselves and return home like trees with deep roots and broad branches.

I am very grateful for our journey and those who made it possible

Coffee and Honey

When you are in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, you must go to Guy's Cafe and Bakery for lunch. You will be greeted by Guy and that is an experience not to be missed. He will entertain you as he gets your order right. The food is worth it without the atmosphere, but with the atmosphere, you will be making a memory.

The coffee is aromatic and delicious. The refills are free.

Your food will be brought to the table by a staff member with an embroidered insignia that reads, "Insane Staff." Our servers had clearly embodied the corporate culture which apparentyl includes service, fun, and quality with an underlying value for friendliness.

We went in as a group (The California Singing Churchmen) and were invited to sing the Doxology for our desert.  Seldom have as many customers been as unanimously enthusiastic about a lunch and an establishment.

Find Guy at 6201 Grande Blvd. or call 403-851-9955 for directions (in Canada).

Don't wait until you get to Canada to try some Canadian honey from the Nixon Honey Farm. Craig and Tammy Nixon raise the bees, gather the honey, and package it for marketing. I have never tasted anything so tasty or met a nicer honey maker as Tammy. We ran in to her in the mall in Calgary and she supplied us with all the samples in her car - just so that we could have the experience. Write me and I will send you their e-mail address if you'd like to order some.

The common denominator with both of these entrepreneurial ventures is the second mile of service and passion associated with delivering that service with quality.

They will go far.

Hand-Holding in Ministry

God has been speaking to my heart this week deeply, profoundly, and lovingly through my own devotional times and through the ministry of Dr. Richard Blackaby.

The same messages can be heard at the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary website under Chapel.

As we were preparing for worhip today, I was remembering one of our saints who recently went home to be with Jesus. Caryl Borges lived a life that reflected God's love and that took her around the country and to Yemen in the service of the Master.

As she fought cancer, she did so with valiant faith. I was honored to be with her during various stages of that disease process. While I wish I had been more of a support along the way, the greatest blessings came during the last two weeks of her life as I witnessed her slipping away, but enjoying every moment God gave her with family. At the same time, she was genuinely excited about going to Heaven.

I was sitting in that seminary chapel this morning, waiting for students to arrive, preparing to sing with the California Singing Churchmen, and praying about my own ministry and the song I would sing tomorrow night. It hit me - something I never learned in seminary - one of the greatest ministries we can have as pastors is just holding hands.

Caryl gave me the privilege of holding her hand as she prepared to meet Jesus face to face. I was privileged to pray with her and to visit her numerous times during those last days to sing for and with her some of her favorite old standards: The Old Rugged Cross, Do Lord (I've Got a Home in Glory Land), In the Garden, and Onward Christian Soldiers.

We all sang and she sang as long as she could.

About 5 days before she died, it occurred to me that I was always doing the "out-loud" praying and that she was closer to God at the moment than I was. I told her that and asked her to pray for me and my ministry. She did so with her whole heart.

Not to ask a dying saint to pray is like saying, "You're done now."

She wasn't done until God said she was done - and when He said it to her, she'd let the family know. And she did.

You're not done till you're home and then it is a brand new adventure.

I was told early in my ministry to preach like a dying man to dying men as Richard Baxter said of his own ministry.

How do we do that?

Through pain and suffering - our own and that of others which we absorb with comfort. Pathos oozes into our preaching, mingles with joy, is refined by holiness, and comunicated with love. When this happens, as we walk along side others in their pain and offer our own to God in devotion, we enter into the suffering of Christ. We become wounded healers with a Word from God to those who also suffer.

There is purpose and there is comfort and with these two, there is hope.

I am a pastor, an undershepherd, I walk with my fellow sheep through their pilgrimages of pain. I join the Good Shepherd as He walks alongside them through the valley of the shadow of death.

How difficult it must have been for Mr. Dorsey, having received news of great family tragedy that night long ago, to stand and sing to the Lord. That great founder of what has been called Black Gospel Music, sang, "Lord," as the story was told on PBS, and a little lady replied, "Precious, Lord."

He went on: "Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand ... through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light ..."

Jesus is in the ministry of hand-holding and there is no more precious ministry that we can share with those who are in their own deep valleys of suffering. We are present and as we are present, we are living, fleshed out reminders that God is also present. Where He is present, there is joy in the midst of sorrow.

"And He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known."

When I return to Fresno from Canada, I intend to do more hand-holding, but more than anything else, I want my hand in His.

Just to bring you up to date, Caryl finished her journey well. On her last day, she could not sing or talk, but she could listen. Her daughter was telling her stories of the life they had shared. When they got to the part about the church building program and the hard work we all did,  she sighed one last sigh, job done, well done, time to come home. That was it. Her next breath was without labored breathing and it was in the presence of her Savior whom she had loved and served. She had walked through the Valley of Death with Him and arrived at the table He had prepared for her. We walked with her as far as we could and held her hand along the way.

What a blessing!

That is pastoring.


Blog Updates

I have updated some of my blogs with articles that may be of interest here:


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The ocassional journal of a pastor-writer-motivator observing the wonders and absurdities of life and celebrating the opportunities that abound every day.         And the most recent until I write another entry today:
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Pastor Tom's Look at Luke

Pastor Tom's Comments on Proverbs 

Pastor Tom's Roman Road

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A leader once told me that he thought meetings were demonic. That may have been because of the fire he felt in his esophogus whenever he was preparing for one. Perhaps the following suggestions will help those who share his meeting anxiety.

Ten Rules for meetings

  1. Make sure you have a good reason for holding a meeting. Otherwise, don't.
  2. Clearly communicate the objective for the meeting before the meeting. Send it out with a request that any additions to the agenda be sent within a few days.
  3. Create and distribute a solid agenda, gathering suggestions from key parties.
  4. Thoroughly research everything you need to know for the meeting before the meeting.
  5. Have information ready before the meeting and accessible during the meeting. It is a good idea to send out pre-meeting packets to all participants asking them to prepare for discussion of key issues. If additions have been made to the agenda, send a revised agenda at that time as well.
  6. Determine how you will manage the flow of discussion and deal with "log-jams" ahead of time. Make sure all participants are in agreement ahead of time on process.
  7. Budget time for each item on the agenda effectively.
  8. Plan, discuss and assign roles before the meeting and make assignments with dates, times, deadlines, and accountability during the meeting.
  9. Stick with your agenda. Schedule another meeting for additional issues.
  10. Send out minutes as soon as possible after the meeting and allow for feedback using e-mail and blogs.

Several helpful articles on meetings have been located:

One Cheer for Meetings examines meetings in an academic setting. Notable among the quotes is "One of the things that has always most fascinated me about meetings is the agreement that must be already in place before the meeting takes place. Surely not, whatever else, including the arrangement of seating itself! And yet another of the things that has always fascinated me about meetings is that absolutely nothing can be taken for granted about them."

The Seven Sins of Deadly Meetings grows out of the experiences of large corporate cultures. Eric Matson lists the seven sins and then suggests "salvation" for each. He asserts that meetings continue to be vital when he says, "a business world that is faster, tougher, leaner, and more downsized than ever, you might expect the sheer demands of competition (not to mention the impact of e-mail and groupware) to curb our appetite for meetings. In reality, the opposite may be true. As more work becomes teamwork, and fewer people remain to do the work that exists, the number of meetings is likely to increase rather than decrease."

Always insightful, Seth Godin offers a fresh rationale and strategy for maximizing the effectiveness of meetings when you are being called upon by a sales representative. In "Going to Meetings" he says, "When a sales rep shows up for a scheduled meeting, it seems to me that you're not doing her a favor. You agreed to the meeting. You're getting paid to be there. You might as well get as much out of it as you can, right?"

After making some concrete suggestions, he concludes with this word, "When you treat your vendors the way you'd like your vendors treated, it comes back to you. It pays off. It gets you better information, better attention, better prices. You're a professional at your desk. You should be a professional at a meeting, too."

I think he is on to some of what I keep harping on - the Golden Rule, principles accentuated in the Proverbs, building a business or a ministry with the same commitments to integrity, compassion, and added value for all participants inside and outside of the business.

Meetings are as necessary spreadsheets - more so, because business, ministry, and life are all about relationships. Relationships require give and take comunication as two parties enter into a covenant to create a win:win scenario. Keep meeting, but streamline your meetings and do your best to make them more effective.



In his article in The Ooze, The Paradox of a Divided Church Called to Be Reconcilers to the World, Andy Morgan states, " The church has become an impersonal club – a place where you go to once a week and then leave to go back to normal life. Those with needs or problems are seen as a burden because they disrupt the ‘normal’ functional life of the church which is about the Sunday service going smoothly and uninterrupted. "

On two screens, he makes the case for why it is difficult for the church today to be what it is called to be, but offers a hopeful challenge as he begins to draw the article toward an end:

" If the church is to become a reconciler, a peacemaker, then we need to re-think how we exist as believers. Alan Krieder gives four attitudes and four skills of a peacemaker. The attitudes are; humility, commitment to the safety of others, acceptance of conflict and hope. The four skills are; truthful speech, expectant listening, alertness to community and good process (making decisions which are truthful, just and corporate.) While these skills and attitudes can be taught they need to be lived. They must become apart of the DNA of the Church Leader. Powerlessness, brokenness and servanthood are resident within these skills and attitudes."

He then says that the primary changes must begin where pastors and other church leaders are trained.

Read the article and return to Christian Fellowship Forum to discuss the issue.

More on Laziness, Work, Word, Witness, and Wealth

I am surrounded by so much beauty and a bit more time than usual, but also the opportunity to benefit from some rare fellowship, conversation, and activity during this northern sojourn.  I am being refreshed and challenged. So, I can write a few things that come across my mind by way of my heart. This week, I am mulling over some of the Proverbs. One of the issues that they are presenting to me this time around (going around them once a month for some time now) is the matter of the relationship  between work, wealth, and witness. Today's chapter is 19.

1 -
Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

Proverbs does not exalt poverty as a value in and of itself. In fact, there is much in the book about how to maximize our financial potential, but it is always held in perspective. We are to strike a balance. For instance, we are instructed not to wear ourselves out to get rich while we are being taught not to be lazy either.

The question of wealth is relative. It is broader than our finances, but generally refers, in Proverbs, to money or its equivalents. Yet, some things are for more important: wisdom, integrity, morality, righteousness, and sound speech. Without these, wealth is of very little value.

The fruit of our lips is vital to our witness and also reveals the character of our hearts. Character is valuable to us and to God.

2 - Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.

We admire zealous people. The NIV translates the first part of this verse as "...zealous without knowledge..." Zealous people can sell almost anything to at least someone. They are often successful, sometimes overnight. But zeal without some basis in knowledge (read TRUTH here) is not good. Whatever your line, it  is faulty if it is not real. Get real; be real; stay real. And don't get in such a hurry to be successful that you (a) don't get your facts straight and (b) do shoddy, sloppy, deceitful background work. That leads to sin.

Haste that sacrifices sound preparation and truth-seeking is dangerous and sinful. It is foolish according to Proverbs.

3 - The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.

The fool is the person who hastens to embrace half-truths and outright falsehoods in the interest of success and expediency. He moves in the direction that his zealous impulses prompt him and crash lands. Then he blames God. The irony is that he never consulted God in the first place. He never even glanced in the direction of real wisdom. He was in too big a hurry to get where he was going and pursued delusion with passionate fumbling.

8 - He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.

Seek truth. Seek guidance. Seek wise counsel. Seek God and His purposes. It is the purest form of self-love. It is the wisest sort of self-interest. It is the antithesis of sinking ones own ship.

15 - Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

Work hard without wearing yourself out. Fully engage. Hare e integrity in your work. Laziness feeds on itself. It doesn't start with genuine weariness, but it produces it. Lazy people wear out as fast as people who dork without replenishing their energy. This is one of the insights I am getting from "The Power of Full Engagement." Solomon and his friends knew it thousands of years ago.

16 - He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die.

Of what use is wealth if you are dead physically or spiritually?  Living our lives with contempt for all that is of real value leads to death. A high regard for God's truth leads to life.

Despising one's ways means that we live carelessly and work sloppily. If we desire to "keep our souls," we will seek the significance of even the most menial tasks we perform and do them the "right" way, fully engaged and sensitive to the commands that have been given us - especially through the scriptures.

17 -He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

Generosity is a good business decision and an even better life decision. It makes no logical business sense to be generous, fair, and just with the poor, but it makes a great deal of spiritual sense. If we believe that there is a God who rewards those who implement His principles of success we will reach out beyond what is expected and required. It will spill over into how we treat our clients, customers, employees, and the people on the street who do not have the ability to contribute to our success. God will repay and He will do it His way - which is the best way.

20 - Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep seeking. Don't stop listening. You will develop humility and you will gain wisdom. We really don't have many money problems, but we have loads of wisdom deficiencies. By the way, this kind of wisdom doesn't happen overnight, but if you expect to live awhile, you'll appreciate it when you come to the climax of your life.

21 - There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

Work hard. Plan well. Trust God. Keep an open hand and heart. Keep your plans and strategies tentative and sensitive to the movement of God and His intervention in your heart, mind, and circumstances. He will have the last word and if you can get some of that word ahead of time, it will work in your favor. Real success is God working out His purpose in and through your life.

Kick this up a notch. It is easy to make lots of plans and create elaborate schemes, many of which might work, but it is not prgmatic outcomes that we strive for; it is God's best.

   23 - The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

Get your attitude toward and relationship with God straight. He is God. You are not. This is the elemental fear that is qualitatively different than all fears and casts them out. When you are rightly related to God as God and reverence Him, you will worry about nothing because you will know satisfaction at a new level. You will do your work carefully, purposefully, and enthusiastically.  You will bear witness to God's sovereignty by obeying Him, to God's love by enjoying His gracious benefits  and by loving others, to God's truth by living it, and to God's power by being a living demonstration of His ironies (first shall be last, last shall be first, etc ...). Then you will enjoy what wealth He bestows as He determines and defines. You will be satisfied and you will be like Teflon to the attacks of evil.

24 - A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.

This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible on laziness and industry.  How many of us are hungry because we refuse to feed ourselves what has already been provided. "Blessed are the poor" is true. Our Master who makes all of this work in our lives by His redeeming grace said it and it is so. However, the kind of poverty He commended is not the kind that comes through sloth or indifference. It is more of an attitude than a bank statement. And if it is about our bank statement it is because of sacrifices we have made for His Kingdom at His behest.

There is no honor or blessing in laziness. Nor is there value in any lack of industry, goal-setting, dream-building, and complacency when we can do and be so much more for God in our businesses, ministries, and especially our personal development with Him.

25 -Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.

The wise person is willing to exert the energy to change and grow. The lazy man resents correction. It may require action.

If you want to go somewhere beyond where you are, it will require movement, the expenditure of energy, and some discomfort. It will also require that you hesitate long enough to get some direction.  Once these are in place, move forward, willing to receive mid-course corrections.

But whatever you do, laziness is not an option.

I write this during a time of great relaxation and refreshment <BIG SMILE>.


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I must admit I get a little perturbed when people complain about lack of money and success when they haven't done the things that they can do to change their circumstances. When we operate on the assumption that the world or God Himself owes us a living when God has already given us opportunities, we limit means which He Himself may have provided for our support. I do not suggest that we veer away from a life of faith, but that we, especially those of us in ministry, at least lay before Him the question of whether or not He'd have us make a few tents along our missionary journeys.  That is why I promote entrepreneurship, knowing it is not for everyone, but I suspect is for some who are not responding.

Yesterday and Today

Still in beautiful Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, we sang in Calgary for both services at Trinity Baptist Church yesterday and heard Dr. Rob Blackaby twice as he expounded masterfully on Exodus 13:17-22. Rob posed the question: "Who is in charge of your life?"

The second time around was as good as the first - actually better, but having taken careful notes the first time, I was able to get a sermon outline of my own as I reflected.

Rob used the poem, "Invictus" to constrast the Christian view of his central question with that of the world.

Today we are heading for Lake Lousie and what people are calling "the ice flats."

No Slack in Daily Work

From my own reading today, I was challenged to fully engage in the work I have been given.

"One who is slack in his work is a brother to one who destroys." Proverbs 18:10 (New International Version)

Destructiveness is often seen as actively malicious behavior such as swinging an axe in a room full of glass, but the Proverbian suggests that passive aggression is just as destructive. He specifically refers to that passive non-behavior of the one who avoids, evades, and glosses over work.

What is destroyed?

If you are working for someone else, you destroy that person's business, perhaps little by little, perhaps in big blocks of potential productivity. Destroy his business and destroy his prospects for building a better life for his family and providing jobs and opportunities for others.

You also destroy your own reputation and prospects for future employability.

You could make a mistake through slack work that could cost lives as well as money. Time is lost. Dreams are flushed down the drain. Much is destroyed. It is dishonest and larcenous to withold work for which one is being payed.

Here is one not found in Holy Writ:

"Slack  not lest thou be sacked."

If you are in business for yourself, but not by yourself, you destroy your own business, waste your investments, show contempt for your sponsors and mentors, stealing their time, and destroy relationships with your partners.

All of these things are true if you are alone in business, except that you are hurting yourself and your family most, but also all the people you could have helped, mentored, challenged, and inspired buy your success.

All of this stops short of acknowledging that God has a purpose in your work for which you need to be fully engaged and to which you must be fully committed in order to fully participate in.



Proverbs 16 on Planning and Implementation

Reflecting on the relationship between planning and implementing our work and the sovereignty of God over the affairs of humanity provided a framework for my daily reading in the Proverbs.

Proverbs 16 does not discourage planning; but it does make a case for holding everything with an open hand, tentatively, humbly, and with a comfortable tolerance for flexibility.

Plans are in the heart, verse 1 says, but there is some distance between the heart and the tongue and God has something to say about the final product. Start with the heart and let things gel. Think before you speak. Better still, think and pray. Margins are a necessity in business and in life.

Verse 2 ( Look these up) reminds us that no matter how innocent we believe our choices are, only God knows and can evaluate our motives or anyone else's. Lesson for business and life: Don't try to pass judgment on other people's motives. Deal with what you can know, what is before you.

Verse 3 is helpful. We can plan and strategize to our hearts content, but only when we commit our plans to God is success within view  - real success, the kind defined by verse 4 - namely God working everhything out for His purposes.

The question implied there is, "Am I in or out of this deal?  Either way, He will succeed."

Again, verse 9 mandates flexibility and verse 33 calls for humility. In the midst of it all, though, we are not to be passive because, along with flexibility and humility, real success require industry, otherwise known as a work ethic. The laborer is moved forward, prodded, and impassioned by his own hunger.

For a good treatment of work ethic see the article on Labor Day in the Faith at Work blog. Mike McLoughlin is reading our preacher mail when he indicts us for our silence on the dignity of work.

The bible is not silent here. Why should we be?

Proverbs 16 oozes the sentiment that God has the final word on everything, but that is no excuse not to plan, consider, commit, and work with integrity, humility, and flexibility.

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Areas of His Expertise

John Hodgman is hilarious in print and in his interview with Robert Siegel on NPR on September 5. Enjoy. Don't forget to download and view Th Secret Life of NPR or to purchase his book, The Areas of My Expertise.

You really do need to take a break from serious thoughts from time to time and laugh at absurdity if you intend to survive with a sound mind. I'm serious. Humor is no laughing matter.

Here are some suggestions (from me) for embracing the HUMOR in life:

Humility - The essence of humor is the ability to laugh at oneself. It is not self-deprecation; it is simply humility and the self-esteem and security necessary to be humble.

Understanding - It is necessary to have some insight into humanity in order to fully appreciate how silly we must look from the outside. The best humor of all actually loves and empathizes with humanity while appreciating its foibles and flaws.

Maturity - As you grow older, wiser, looser, and better informed, you have more of a smorgasbord of humorous material. Life itself becomes your best source of intelligent humor. The better your command of language, the keener your capacity for wit. The broader your experiences, the deeper your belly laugh. Maturity frees us to enjoy more of what is best about laughter - not at the expense of others, but with them.

Obvious and Ordinary - Humor takes what is obvious and allows it to entertain deeper or alternate meanings. If you want to enjoy the laughter of life, keep your eyes and ears open and be ready for those moments of serendipity when everything comes together, when timing is, indeed, everything.

Rip and Relax - Let it rip! Get over it. Let go of it. Relax. Give yourself permission to take a short vacation into the realm of the absurd.

Now go back and listen to that interview.



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I am still posting from Calgary - actually Cocharane. There is a great view of the Rockies today. We sat in a room for rehearsal with windows overlooking those magnificant manifestations of divine creativity with little to obscure the view. How Great Thou Art!!!!

Check out this panorama .

Also - the picture below:

CochraneA view of Cochrane, Alberta, alongside the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, c. 1945. Watercolour by Walter Joseph Phillips (1884-1963).

ID #23247
Credit: Walter Joseph Phillips, National Archives of Canada, C-110922

To order:


Getting It Straight

Every time we pass some tidbit of information on, we either add credibility to the story or detract it from ourselves.

I wonder how much of our e-mail would be eliminated if more people checked their facts before forwarding rumors. One of the best  ways of checking on indignities, hard-luck stories, and outrageous claims is . It is one of the best sources I know for the straight skinny on urban legends.

It turns out that some things really are true - like the death caused by playing Chubby Bunny.  I've played it and lost. There was a nurse present in case of an emergency - but she was playing too -- and beat me hands down.

I guess anything can be dangerous.

In this case, while not rejecting the game outright, I am prompted to be a little more cautious. This is useful information.

We toured Calgary today - the Walmart and the Mall most noteably.

After wondering a bit if we were being bad stewards of time and resources by not actually "working" most of the day, I realized in tonight's rehearsal that we had been doing team-building all day long.

But there was truth - I really did have that insight upon reflection on the day.

I could tell you that we did this intentionally, but that would not be true.

Yahoo News reports that Japan now has 28,395 people aged 100 and over. More on that later.

Mark Sanborn excerpts and summarizes material from his new book in John Maxwell's Leadership Wired. The article is: You Don't Need a Title to Be a Leader. One of the major points that Sanborn makes is driven home frequently by Maxwell, that leadership is inflence. You can subscribe to the newsletter at InJoy's website.

Come to think of it, every time I forward an e-mail or post a blog entry, I am spending influence capital. I do the same when I promote something verbally or in writin. If it does not bear some sort of fruit for someone, it is not only wasted, but ignored in the future. Not only that, I am more likely to be ignore, marginalized, and held in suspicion. However, if I offer something of content and truth, influence will grow even if what I am "peddling" at the moment is rejected.

So always try to tell the truth and be edifying - even about seemingly inconsequential matters.

Tall tales with a point provide an exception to that rule - but they must be identified as such at some point.

I'd like to draw some conclusion about why those 28,395 people are still living past their 100th birth days, but , at this point, I'd be guessing. I could tell you that it was good nutrition (and I suspect that is part of it) and try to sell you some product on that basis, but I need to get my facts straight.

Don't site sources that (a) don't exist or (b) you don't know to exist with reasonable certainty c) you think might be dubious. You will not be perfect in this endeavor, but people will appreciate that you are trying.

If you cannot find enough true things to say about what you are selling without resorting to speculation, fabrication, or exaggeration then, get more education or get another business.

In sharing your faith, the truth is all you need. Don't oversell the gospel anymore than you would oversell soap. Let it stand on its merits. They are enough.

We need to get things straight in so many areas of life - theologically, biblically, entrepreneurially, and politically. What might change in the flavor of society if everyone just tried a little harder to be accurate?

Tell the truth.

Settled In

Summer came to a screeching halt for me when I stepped off the plain in Calgary. We are actually in Cochrane now - cold, rainy, and beautiful. The seminary here is in a lovely setting with a vibrant and delightful community of students, teachers, and their families.

Summer may, of course, be waiting for me when I get back, but I can deal with Fall.

It has been a long, hard, hot Summer.

This weather is welcome.

There are at least four of us who have figured out how to get online up here and are currently online. Have geeks will travel.

Resources: I may have mentioned that I just started The Clogger Blogger - not much there yet but an introductions, but I hope to create some resources and idea generation for budding bloggers who are clogging and plodding through among the many pastors and entrepreneurs I know and hope to meet.

News from the blogsphere is everywhere. He is a pretty good blog news link: Bloggers Blog.

So what about this title: Settled In? Are we ever?

I invite you to join this discussion of the forum:  Please Explain.


I am at the gate at SFO waiting for our flight to Canada. It is the first time I've been through checkout since the new regulations have gone into effect. Friendly and efficient is how I would evaluate the process.

Here is my entrepreneurial suggestion: Someone needs to open a sock store outside the security checkpoint to catch all the last minute folks who forgot they would ned to remove their shoes.

Entrepreneurship is opportunism coupled with the ability to meet the need.

I dount it would be a long term opportunity though. Folks will eventualy catch on and come prepared. Nothing lasts forever. We must stay ahead of every curve.

Keep thinking.

Canada and Random Reflections

I am heading north to Canada in the morning with the California Singing Churchmen. I'll be in Calgary, Alberta for 8 days and I am still not clear what the schedule will be: singing, teaching, sharing, walking, maybe some shivers.

I'll try to blog in from time to time.

I volunteered to do one of three workshops:

VAST Possibilities
Clogger Blogger
Shoestring Conspiracy

So, I may do one of those or none. We shall see.

I had one person/entity join my MySpace space (or whatever it is called). I actually think it was a company, but heh, I'll take what I can get for now.

JOKE -Well not really, more of an observation:
If you observe men talking to each other in the rest room, they are most likely either preachers or network marketers.

Hot Link: Why Students Make Great Entrepreneurs

Dharmesh Shah builds a case for recruiting students. The main reasons are their optimism, the trust that already exists in their peer networks, their ability to tolerate risk, abstract thinking, and a need to apply what they are learning.

Network marketers need to find their way to some college campuses and start hanging out.

Danger: They may change and challenge us.

Some of us in ministry need to start hanging out more with students as well. It is not that our message is off-center, but we are in grave danger of losing the ability to communicate it if we don't keep up with the language.

By the way, at the risk of being too chatty today, it is my wife's 31st wedding anniversary (mine too). We'll be going to Outback for dinner - her choice. In reading Proverbs today, I am taking  verse 10 as a blessed lesson I've learned in 31 years with this wonderful woman (13:10) :

"Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advise."

Take my advice and take advise from your wife. More often than not, she will be right.

We shall see what tomorrow brings.


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I Joined MySpace

Well, actually, I joined it a while back. What I did today was set up my profile and post my first blog entry. Why - well, you can read why when you get there.

Seriously, it is nothing special, but want an avenue to relate to the young people God brings into my life.

So there.

Some time back, I read one of the best books on network marketing available. It is a great tool by a truly credible guy (even more credible since he's done a PBS special), Robert Kiosaki.

The Business School of People Who Like Helping People makes the case for networking based upon the educational values in the business well as the notion of duplication.

If the business can be duplicated, then wealth can be shared and others can come under the umbrella of success. It has been often said that in networking, the sponsor does not make a dime until he/she helps the person in his.her downline make a buck.

It creates financial incentives for practicing the Golden Rule - which we need to be practicing with or without them.

By the way, Rich Dad's website and tools is also an affiliate business and you are welcome to set up your own links and profit from them. I just want to practice what I preach!

Back to MySpace, it will remain to see how that goes. So far I only have one friend and he seems to be everyone's mechanical friend.

Oh well. We hsall see.

Talking Too Much

As usual, Ty Tribble offers practical advice to network marketers and others that can be immediately put into practice.

In You Talk Too Much, he says,

"Slow down and listen to what the potential business partners have to say. We are not talking about the curiousity approach where you are afriad of telling people what you do, this is about creating an atmosphere focused on the prospects needs, not your own."

How profoundly true this is whether in business, ministry, or in our own prayer lives.

Kissing and Dancing

David Wayne, the Jolly Blogger posted this observation in his excellent blog on kissing (Fridays Are for Kissing).

"Baptists are not allowed to kiss - it could lead to the consumption of alcohol."

Actually, I've always heard it the way Mark Olson put it ... with a slight paraphrase of my own to sanitize it for my younger and more puritanical readers:

Baptists don't kissing standing up because people will think they are dancing.

Definitely read Mark's comment though and all of them ... and the whole article.

Do We Really Know?

Mr. Bowden was our church organist in Fremont in the 80s. He played the organ for us into his nineties and died with an alert mind and a bellowing voice. He practiced his organ just outside the door to my office and I could never sneak past him without him turning on his stool and posing to me some searching question of the day.

"Paaaastor," he resounded,  pointing his feeble finger at my heart, "Do we really know who Jesus iiiiiiis?"

If the finger was still on my chest, I had learned, it was  not time to answer. It was time to ponder. If he had wanted a glib answer, he would have lowered his hand. Actually, he would have never posed the question.

Ralph Bowden wanted me to go deeper. He wanted my to understand that while I could know Jesus, I could not contain Him in my mind. I could not summarize His life. I could not box Him up and package Him for mass distribution. This great man who had lived more years, read more books, and thought more thoughts than I have until this day wanted me to understand that I would never fully understand.

He was encouraging me to become a life-long seeker.

It Seems to Me...                                                  Bruce Alderman is meditating here about the basic core issues of belief in his own life - namely why he believes in God and why, further, he embraces a belief in Jesus Christ.

It Seems to Me...: "So who is right and who is wrong? Isn't that what religion is all about? In a word, no. It's not fundamentally about being more right than anyone else. It's about responding to God's call and being faithful to that call, however the call comes and wherever the call leads."

Rightness and wrongness might appear to be essential questions, but Bruce suggests that the relational question trumps them.

It is what E. Stanley Jones called, "The Divine Yes."

We  start there with God and we can sort out the details as we go along. (See also; Pastor Tom's Journal)

Ralph Bowden would have approved of Bruce's mediations.

The Friar in Monastic Mumblings rephrases a familiar question:

" ... Pilate once asked, "Who is this Jesus, why is He different"?

This question has been the central question of our Faith for Centuries. Now all around the world as people who are just trying to survive look at richly blessed American Christians - Who is the Jesus they see?  Do they see the Gentle Teacher of the Beatitudes, or do they see the American Christ? 

I am sadly afraid it is more the latter than the former."

Are there any other options, I wonder?  Certainly He is the Gentle Teacher, but He is also the fierce lion who takes the form of a  spotless Lamb. He is the Christ of paradox who will not be contained by our imaginations.

He is certainly not the Grand Master of American civil religion though.

He is more than I can conceive of. He is the Master who will not be mastered by my intellect.

A High Priest

Henry Neufeld in his Participatory Bible Study poses suggests that the problems we have with the humanity of Jesus which cloud our thinking and rob Him of His priestly function:

"I believe that many of us have trouble with the humanity of Jesus. It’s easier to present Jesus as totally divine; that doesn’t risk his holiness, his sinlessness, and his otherness. And all of those elements are important, as I have discussed before. In the atonement, Jesus brought infinite, holy, omniscient, omnipotent God into contact with a humanity that was anything but those things. It’s really hard to imagine. I believe seeing Jesus as truly human is much harder than it is to see him as the divine coming king." Study of Hebrews

So, He is the Lion/Lamb who calls us to Himself, the Divine and Human High Priest who has been tempted in all points as us, yet without sin.

I was speechless that day with Mr. Bowden, just trying to get to my office to do something trivial. I have long since forgotten every other activity or thought of that day. I will never forget that encounter or the great man's booming question.

"Do we really know who Jesus is?"

Not entirely. We know what we've been told in the scriptures and what we have discovered in relationship, but that is just the tip of a gigantic iceberg.


See The Jesus I Never Knew by Phillip Yancey and anything else you can find by Yancey for that matter for a fresh approach to merely every topic he addresses.



For Your Health
Nutritionals  - Natural from Nutrilite
Give the Perfect Gift - Let Them Choose
Baptist Temple Stuff

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Here are some notes on my VAST Possibilities workshop that I will be presenting tomorrow morning. They are cross-referenced with VAST Possibilities at Blogger.

What Are VAST Possibilities?    


VAST possibilities are what you possess.

VAST stands for ....   

Values and Attitudes that Stimulate (and Sustain) Transformation

A VAST Possibilities workshop is about creating an interior environment for life change as a precursor to success in many dimensions of life.

A New Pattern    


We have a pattern problem. We have developed behaviors that we practice consistently, habitually, and without much thought. We start practicing these behaviors before we crawl out of bed in the morning and condition ourselves to practice them before we lay our heads on our pillows at night. When we realize that some of these behaviors are negative or destructive, we have a battle on our hands removing them. When we determine to introduce positive practices to the mix, we find that there is no room for the old is crowding out the new. The first change is in our attitudes . Then we can address behaviors. We need new patterns. We need to replace old, worn-out,, useless and even harmful behaviors with newer, more nurturing and positive actions. What are the steps?    

  1.  First, we must make the determination that we are going to introduce change into our lives. This comes out of careful evaluation and resolve.
  2. We must pray for guidance and strength. Our creative God will work with our creative minds to create a new scenario and unveil options we have never considered.
  3. Then, we must do the hard work of being institutional and  aware. We must accept that change is awkward and new behaviors may be “forced,” contrived, manipulative, or uncomfortable. We must practice them anyway.
  4. We must repeat the new behavior (which includes avoidance of the old) day after day, keeping some sort of record of our progress.
  5.  We must allow grace for the failures and celebrate the victories and patterns begin to change in our lives.

Values and Attitudes that Stimulate (and Sustain) Transformation

First, there must be a desire for transformation.

  • Trans - Across -beyond, through. The "trans" in transformation highlights the idea that for change to occur in behavior, barriers must be crossed and movement must take place.
  • Formation - Something is being formed. A new form is emerging within us. Change is taking place in an intrinsic environment where the roots of change are nurtured and allowed to grow naturally.
  1. There is movement from the head to the heart.
  2. Then there is movement from the heart to the hand (habit and practice).

    Without an end-goal of transformation in mind, behavioral change will not take place.

Then, there must be a strategy  for stimulation and sustainability  of change.

  • Transformation Stimulated - Consider the strategies, systems, rewards, and patterns necessary to stimulate desire and energy for change.
  • Sustainability - It is not enough to reach a goal of change once. Transformation requires a re-ordering of factors that reinforce behavior over the long haul.
  1. Environment.
  2. Internal rewards.
  3. External rewards.
  4. Beliefs.

Finally, there must be a coorrelation between values and attitudes as moderated by our beliefs.

  • Values - Values constitute our responses to truth and principles.
  • Attitudes - This could also be described as mindset - how we are predisposed to respond rather than to react based upon what we believe about our values and the circumstances of our lives.


  1. AT&T - Communication and self-talk. We must take control of our internal dialogue.
  2. IT - We have to ask in every situation, "What is the IT of it?"
  3. U - Your attitude is really up to YOU.
  4. DE - We need to DEcide to DEny certain patterns, habits, and attitudes. This includes any number of words that start with DE.

Make it plural with an S for SUPERMAN - How did Superman ever figure out his limits or lack thereof?

If you want this to make more sense, get in touch with me for the full workshop.


Peace on Earth - Religion Forum Poll

by :   Sysop Tom Sims
11:06 AM

votes :   2
Latest :   11:11 AM
Q: Peace on Earth - Is it possible?

#2 of 3

     Posted 11:12 AM   
Sysop Patricia O.
From  Sysop Patricia O.  Posts 9487  Last 11:06 AM
To  Sysop Tom Sims     [Msg # 160943.2 Message 160943.2 replying to 160943.1 160943.1 ]    
As long as we have people with too much testosterone, we'll probably have wars.
Options Reply to this Message Reply   Edit this Message Edit   Delete this Message Delete

#3 of 3

     Posted 11:16 AM   
Sysop Tom Sims
From  Sysop Tom Sims  Posts 2649  Last 9:33 AM
To  ALL     [Msg # 160943.3 Message 160943.3 replying to 160943.1 160943.1 ]    
With all the obstacles, I cannot help but believe that peace is possible.  While I have a hearty concept of the role of sin and selfishness in the world and a reluctant acceptance of human frailty in myself and others, I am also a practioner of and believer in grace.  Perfection in any area is an unattainable, yet worthy goal.  Peace may not be perfected in this world, but more is better than less. We should be aiming for more.

How to get there is my only concern.

Since peace is a wholistic state of wellness of soul and society, the strategies for achieving it must address the multi-dimensional nature of people as individuals and corporate bodies.

What are you doing for peace or is it so overwhelming that you have thrown up your hands in despair?

I ask this because I have a passion for this forum being a cog in the peace-making wheel - a place for the free-flow of often incompatible world views and philosophies where we can learn to understand each other and agree to disagree.

The great question for me is an experiment. If we can look each other in the eye and know each other, can we overcome our differences and discover that love is stronger than any human divisions?

I think so. Therefore, I work, pray, vote, and live for peace on earth.

Now, you ....

- Tom

Reading Time/Feeding Time

Leaders are readers - and listeners.

That means that they also spend a lot of money on books and audio and are always looking for ways to save.

Tell me I can't read and watch me shrivel up and die.

And I need fresh material. Many of the great stories and  essays have already been written, but many more are being written daily.  I crave the old and the new. Principles never  change, but challenges do and so do  strategies for applying principles. We need to be grounded in the past,  present in the present, and alert to the future  so that we can  be one step ahead of change.

We spend a great deal of time in our cars these days. For that reason, as it has often been said, we need to turn those vehicles into universities on wheels. If we are valuing our time behind the wheel as learning time, we wil be less stressed about traffic jams and less likely to be dialing our cell phones. Audio boks are an excellent option for those hours of driving.

My reading comes in waves where sometimes I am finishing a book a day and sometimes reading very slowly and digesting what I read. However, balanced out over the years of my life, I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on books and audio. Now I am looking for ways to save money without cutting back on consumption.

I shop for used books sometimes. There are numerous sources - online and in real time and space.

I use the library, but it is difficult to get the most current titles. No problem, there are thousands of classics I have not yet read. Get a library card.

I actually do buy new books and shop for the best deals I can get.

I borrow books, but I am at the mercy of the reading habits of my friends.

Just today, I discovered a new source - at least new to me - a subscription paperback and audio lending service. Check it out for yourself and see if it meets your needs. I am intrigued and intend to subscribe myself.


Reading through The Power of Full Engagement, I have started making applications to every area of my life - including my reading. I want to read  during times when I am mentally alert and receptive. I want to read until my mind starts to wander and then take a break. And then, for me to cross reference and cross polinate ideas and concepts and hold my own attention, I must be reading several (at least) books at a time on a variety of subjects and for a variety of purposes. I will read some in each daily or at least every few days.

So, I require stacks of books.

And I must write about them and on them (or in the case of borrowed books - on accompanying notebooks).

I need the right places to read effectively - not necessarily quiet and alone, but comfortable and stimulating.

Reading time is feeding time. we feed our minds, our imaginations, our emotions, our dreams, andour spirits. We even feed our bodies as we change pace and recover physical energy.

Whatever you do, keep reading.

Vacations without Vacating

Maybe the problem with the first week of my vacation is that I didn't vacate much. Frankly, I intedned it as a time for reading, study, writing, and blogging as well as a little business. I've done some of that, some sorting,  some visiting, some meeting, some teaching. lots of phone calls, and some problem solving.

To be honest, it is the problem solving that I most wanted to vacate - that and errands. Of all the work I do that I most dislike, it is errands - tiny little chunks of busy work time that encroach upon focused activity and chop the day into little pieces.  It makes my skin crawl.

And to think that some folks live for that sort of thing.  Different strokes, different folks.

On top of that, I could go for long stretches of time without certain meetings.

And gripes - I could give them up forever - except my own of course.

What do I like? I love reading, writing, studying, teaching, preaching, dreaming, and ministering to people when I don't have to drive around a lot to get to them.

I am very down on filing. Help!!!!

Organizing offices is not my strength.. Too many details.

I like fiddling - sometimes.

I enjoy planning worship services, but not leading rehearsals.

I am 51 years old and I have some time left to do what I do best, what God has given me to do and to be.

If this sound like a rant, I apologize. What it really is - is me, halfway through a "vacation," trying to vacate.

Maybe I should learn to do some of that all along - Back to my bok on total engagement.


A question was raised about innovation and innovators at Toastmaster's  morning. It put my brain in gear theologically and entrepreneurially. I moved from the "creatio ex nihlo" to James Weldon Johnson's" Creation." It triggered the concept of co-creativity among those made in the "imagio Dei."

So, naturally, an acronym piped into my warped brain: WHY NOT?

Actually, it started with WHY.

But it is "why not" that is so often on the lips of innovators who quickly move past the "why" questions as George Bernard Shaw observed and Robert Kennedy often quoted him.


W = What the
H  = Heck
Y =  Yall!

What the heck, yall - throws caution to the wind  and envelopes a universe of possibilities.

N  =  Negate
O  =  Old
T  =  Timidity

Negate old timidity and the accompanying boundaries that are arbitrarily imposed by tired paradigms and limited thinking.

Having taken those steps, one is free to think new thoughts. "Why not" is not the same as innovation, but it is a necessary preliminary step in that direction.

Check out the new book link to "The Shaping of Things to Come" in the book column.