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May 2007

The Towel Step

We use the term "throwing in  the towel" to describe quitting in the middle of a project or dream. It is

to admit defeat or failure.  The etymology of the term is based on the literal meaning of throwing a towel into the ring in boxing as a way of admitting that the boxer just can't go on.

I would like to suggest an alternative: Keep your towel. Don't throw it in. Take some steps toward renewal of your depleted energy.

Someone out there is ready to quit. you are drained and empty, discouraged and tired, baten and bloody from the fight.

I know it is true. Prove me wrong and make me a happy man. Otherwise, listen to me: Don't give up.

I believe this: Someone is discouraged beyond their ability to muster enough energy to make even one phone call, write even one card, or even think about their goals.

You want to throw in the towel.

Instead of admitting defeat, make just one phone call - just one, or write a note, just one, or spend one minute, just one dreaming your dream.

When I was in college 33 or 34 years ago, there was a great Palestinian guy on my hall who spoke with enthusiasm and power every time he said anything at all.

One day, toward the end of our Sophomore year, knowing that we would not be dorm-mates again, he presented me with a gift.

"Mr. Sims. You are my friend. I give you this towel. It is from Palestine. Always keep it and remember me."

I have kept it all these years. It is torn and worn and threadbare, but I will not part with it. I will not throw it in. I never pampered it; I used it.  It reminds me of George and of friendship, and of a dream I have to visit the Holy Land.

It is just a towel, but even though I have not seem George again, I do not give up friends and I do not give up dreams.

I feel like it sometimes, but I don't do it. The towel is a reminder to me not to throw it in. Don't throw in your towel. Instead, change your pace, give yourself a break, refresh yourself, renew your energy, and keep on keeping on. There are dreams in your heart and friends cheering for you. Don't give up either one.

Here are some suggestions:

Step Back - Just a little. Slow down, take a break, take a day off, or something to give yourself a rest from your self-imposed pressure. catch up on sleep, family time, a novel, or something you seldom do. Step back, a little.

Step Forward - Make a faith statement because that is all you have right now. Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is substantive in relation to hopes and evidential in relation to the invisible realities that are coming to pass and already are. When you step forward you rededicate yourself to your goals and recommit your life to God's guidance and care. You say, "No matter how i feel, i will press on. I will not throw in the towel. I believe it when I cannot touch it. My dream is real."

Step Up - Do something during your down time. Move up and make some progress by reading a book you have not had time to open. Perhaps it is an inspirational biography. Listen to some heart warming music. Have a long cup of bottomless coffee with a friend who lifts you up. Take a walk. you may think you are stepping backwards, but you are actually stepping up. spend some quality time with God in prayer, reflection, and journaling.

Step Down - Ask someone to cover some of your responsibilities that are usually necessary tasks, but that can be down by someone else for a day or two. Lose some control and oversight. Step down temporarily from these. Step down permanently from the position of Lord of your own life and give that place back to the One to whom it rightfully belongs, the one who can handle the responsibility and do the job: Jesus Christ.

Step Around - There are some things you can postpone or even avoid all together. If you will lay aside a few things you often deem "urgent," and just do what is vital to your dream, you will find that they are diminishing in importance as a day or two goes by. As you renew and refresh, step around them and do not be distracted or terrorized by them. Step around them.

Step Toward - Step toward your dream - just a little with a very simple task, call, or activity that will help you accomplish a little bit. Add steps as you feel refreshed and energized, but without pressure or guilt. as you do your business or ministry this way, consider adopting a guilt-free approach every day. Embrace an attitude that prompts you to work a little in your business each day without the compulsion to break everyone's records all at once.

The joy of a home based business is that you can do it in the cracks of your life, as you are doing other things, and in moments you might otherwise be wasting with busy work. You can do it without guilt because you are your own boss. You can do it in such a way as to make it fun, enjoyable, and personally enriching.

Whatever your goals, however, there are alternatives to throwing in the towel. With some pacing and refreshing, you can come back stronger than ever. With God's help, the dreams that he has planted in your heart can stay alive and the people that come alongside you as friends and partners can be a source of energy and inspiration to you.

Don't throw in the towel. Don't give up.

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Take Charge and Win

When You Feel Like Giving Up- Take charge of your discouragement.

An Answerbag friend’s question sparked these thoughts in me and I share them to encourage you. 

Everyone feels like giving up from time to time. You are physically, emotionally, or spiritually drained. That is not an indictment. Nor is a predictor of failure. All great successes have come to this place in their lives more than once.

Life is a race that you only lose when you quit.

However, you need to rest from time to time -- an pace yourself -- and allow for mood swings and down time.

You need people who can speak truth into your life and listen skillfully and non-judgmentally to your pain.

You need to invest in yourself, your health, and your hopes.

You may be depressed and need some medical or counseling help. I cannot know that from here. You know.

Don't quit. Tomorrow is an entirely different day with new possibilities.

Gerturde Ederle did quit - ONCE - in her attempt to swim the English Channel, but she came back and accomplished the feat. Here is her story:

You can do it. You can face another day. This one may be hard. It may take everything you have just to get dressed and out of bed today. The rewards may not be visible. The fog may be thick, but it will not always be that way.

I have a feeling about you and I am cheering for and praying for you. If you cannot believe in yourself, borrow some of my belief for now - and God's belief in you.

You can do it! You can do it! You can do it!


Another Answerbagger questioned why he/she felt like a loser in spite of having so much: 

How to Stop Feeling Like a Loser. -Take charge of your self image.

These questions may contain some of the answers:

What are you reading? Are you reading? Are you filling your mind with positive literature?

What is in your car's CD player when you are driving? Is it positive, educational, and inspiring?

How do you spend your internet time?

With whom do you associate? Do you have a circle of positive friends who challenge, inspire, and affirm you?

What is your dream? What are your goals? Have you written them down? Do you have an action plan?

Have you made a conscious effort to practice gratitude today? Take five minutes to focus and give thanks.

What is the nature of your self-talk? Are you feeding yourself messages that build yourself up or tear yourself down?

What are you doing for others to give yourself away and repair a broken world?

Are you taking care of your nutritional and sleep needs? Exercising?

Don't report back to me on these because these are questions for you to ponder. However, if I can be any help to you in processing them, recommending books or audio, or encouraging you, do not hesitate to e-mail me at [email protected]. 

Finally, the question was asked about whether to respond to criticisms and insults by “giving as we get” or letting it slide. 

React or Respond = Who Is In Charge?

  Take Charge of your reactions.

If I "give as I get," then I am surrendering control of my life to someone else's behaviors and choices. I am letting the other person run my life and emotions. 

If I must defend myself at all times, then I am saying that what someone else thinks of me or says about me changes who I am or determines how I feel about myself. 

Frank Sinatra said that the best revenge is success. 

Build your life as if your critics do not exist. Become a beacon of truth for them. Show them that you are stronger than their attacks by having a good day in spite of anything they say or do. That is my philosophy.

Am I always successful at it? 

Mostly -- not always. I am a work in progress. 

However, when I don't practice it, things don't go as well as when I do. 

I would much rather be proactive in my life than reactive. The Golden Rule is as much for us as it is for "them."



Social Networks - Are they a FAD?

Social networks are only a fad if you have a very long memory.

In other words, there is nothing new about them. Humans have been networking for business and social interests for centuries,

Now the Internet has become a useful tool for what we have always done and we can have a broader and quicker impact on people.

Sure it is a FAD: Fast Actiion Dialogue.

It is also Frequent Activity Distributor or even a Friendship Acceleration Device.

It holds the potential of being a very positive force if we use it with wisdom, courtesy, and the right timing. It behooves us to learn as much as we can, learn from our successes and failures, and throw out as many test baloons as possible to experiment with new skills and strategies online.

For instnace, the other day, I was invited to join a new networking communtity: Apsense.

Watch the video and see what you thing:

Flash Presentation

If you prefer, you can follow this invitation straight to the site:

Want to build your own social network in less then 10 minutes?
Check Out HERE!

Here are a few other ideas for making a FAD something productive and profitable in business and in the Kingdom.

F - FIND FRIENDS and cultivate those friendships. There actual people online and it is as good a place as any to develop your essential people skills.

A - ADD VALUE - Give something of value to people on your site to make them want to return. Keep it fresh and keep it helpful. When you add value to people and their businesses, they appreciate it and you feel good about yourself.

D - DEVELOP your network and drive traffic from your network to your business and ministry sites. Bed DISTINCT and DIFFERENT and DIFFERENTIATE yourself from the pack while relating to them and communicating common interest.

Thank You

Thank you for being a friend and for building people! You are one of a kind. You are a vital link in the network of life. You cannot be replaced. You must not disappear into the background. You have a message and a meaning to your days. Your's is a life of purpose and significance. We are a part of a greater whole. We need each other to grow and prosper. It is in giving ourselves away that we become all that we are meant to be. May God's Kingdom and His will be done in your life and may YOUR LIFE be filled with grace, mercy, peace, and irrational joy! All the Best to You - Tom Sims The Dream Factory


Reflecting on Pentecost today, and its relation to Memorial Day, missions, and the church, I have a flood of thoughts cascading through limited cerebral real estate.

My sermon text for today is from my expository series on Romans and yet, it describes what Pentecost fulfills:

7 - Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

8 - Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

9 - And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

10 - And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.

11 - And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.

12 - And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.

13 - Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

14 - And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Barriers come down with a resounding thud. We can accept one another in a new way! The Spirit has come. The church is born. It is not bound by ethnicity, nationality, or religious background. All can come to Christ and be one in Christ.

Language is no longer a barrier because at Pentecost everyone, from around the world, heard the gospel in their own language. God's name is confessed among the gentiles and they join in the praise of God.

The eternal choir is not short on harmony for all the parts are filled and nothing is out of balance.

There is no barrier to joy and peace.

Jesus said that when He sent His Spirit, we would do greater works than He and I take that to mean in the area of Evangelism. The Jewish feast  of Pentecost  was a memorial day and a harvest celebration. It commemorated the giving of the law at Sinai and it celebrated the end of the Spring harvest.

So the Christian celebration of Pentecost celebrates the new law of love written  on our hearts by the Spirit of God who breaks down cultural, language, and national barriers to usher in a new harvest of souls.

This is a day of unity and mission. We remember so that we may look forward. 

Nor the Memorial of Them Perish

(Esther 9:28) And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.

We walk gingerly among the gravestones that dot the pathways of our memories. Like those characters in the Spoon River Anthology, shadows arise from the markers and tell their stories. They are stories of love and laughter, of providence and accidence. They touch mystery and mischief. They are stories of deep devotion and unspeakable sacrifice.

These are the sometimes vivid, sometimes shadowy memories of ordinary men and women swept up into the wave of national conflict, ready to answer the call of duty, desiring to live, willing to die, and gradually being forgotten except for this: We choose to remember them.

We strain to remember them. 

In the dash that is their moment between the date of birth and that of death, every choice, every embrace, each and every thought, dream, or word was accomplished and enshrined. Dedicated beneath the stones is a place of memory. Consecrated within the hearts of loved ones are their smiles and presence. 

But they too will die and with them, memories. 

So we commit and strain to remember. We tell their stories. We exalt their blood offering. We look upon their suffering with gratitude and horror. We hug their children. We remember. 

Long after each of us is gone and our names have been erased from the consciousness of all who knew us or of us, we can still be giving and these who died for country will still be loved and appreciated for their selfless gifts. What they gave will keep on giving. So let  us be reminded, by their memories, to so live, that every day, we shall create a ripple in the river of life that will freshen the stream for all time. 

The Last  Battle

(Philippians 3:20-21) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

 Let us take yet another walk among the gravestones.

Citizens of Heaven that we are, we have been sent forth as ambassadors (II Cor. 5:20) and as soldiers (II Tim. 2:3). We are in a battle – not with people, but with spiritual forces, with evil and with the prince of darkness. We at war with death and the one great encouragement we have is in our upward, forward look to the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Lord of Light, the Prince of Peace, the King of Righteousness. We represent Him and we go to war at His command.

Walk among the gravestones and read the names of the fallen. Among the markings there will be names of young men and women who have paid for our liberty with their lives. We honor them and we take courage from their sacrifices in the wars of human governments. We are grateful for what they have given that we might be free.

And we learn from them. We are reminded that we are also, as believers, in the midst of hostilities. We are reminded that we cannot sleep through the battle; we must be on guard. We cannot become attached to our lives in this world for this world is not out ultimate home.

The good soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who died for our country did not set out to die, but they were willing to lay down their lives if that was what it took to accomplish their mission. Their example and that of the Christian martyrs serve as a lesson for us who stayed behind.

If we must, we can lay down our lives as well, because of two great promises in this verse. The first is the promise of a new body and eternal life. Death is not the last word for the believer. The second is the promise of ultimate victory. We have read about the last battle; its outcome is secure. Christ Jesus wins! And He shall subdue all things unto Himself.

Let us remember the fallen today and let us take courage from their example for the battle that is before us.

The FLOW of Grace

It has been suggested that when storms come into our lives, that we "go withthe flow." I would like to suggest that we embrace grace as a flow of God's mercy and attention in our lives.

Psalm 11:1 - "In the Lord I take refuge.  How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain.""

The impulse to flee is one of two that we face in any crisis situation. Fight and flight are the two extremes that confront humans. But there is a third option that occupies the seat of grace – it is to flow and to let God’s grace flow through you as you flow with the circumstances of life. Flowing does not require denial of danger. It acknowledges the truth of the situation, but embraces a greater truth in the mix of reality. It is the truth of God’s presence, His power, and His love. It is the truth that in Him we have a sturdy and steady refuge from danger. In God’s mercy, we neither run to the mountains to avoid potential pain nor stand to fight our battles ourselves alone. The life of faith is a journey of trust and balance. Find your refuge in God today.

F = Face the Challenge

Psalm 11:2  - "For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart."

Wickedness lives in the midst of dark shadows. It attacks without warning and without rules of engagement. The snipers of sin and temptation align with the forces of discouragement, bitterness, despondency, and cynicism to derail our growth in grace and righteousness. Satan would have us flee to the hills and abandon our God-given assignments. Or he would be equally pleased if we would take the battle in our own strength and suffer defeat at his hand. God calls us to take refuge in Him. His is the battle; He is our protector, defender, and friend. Do not be discouraged, dismayed, or shocked by the sinister conniving of evil. Satan is an accuser and liar and hides in darkness. Bring every thought, motive, and deed to the light. Allow every memory that pains the heart to come into the brilliance of God’s grace. Then we can speak as forthrightly and with the same matter-of-factness as the psalmist. Then we can bring these matters that once caused us to tremble before a God who already knows and cares. We can take refuge in Him, but first, we must face  and expose the challenge and name it for what it is.

L = Lament.  Lean into the circumstance and lift up the frustration to God.

Psalm 11:3 - When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Who has not expressed such a lament in the recesses of a discouraged heart?  If indeed, the foundations are destroyed, there is not much the righteous can do. The righteous person depends upon foundations to stand under the weight of external conflict and internal stress. There are values and beliefs in which we invest ourselves. We call them ultimate and we hang our lives upon them. There are irreducible standards that we set for our families, our communities, and ourselves. When these are threatened, we are flung into chaos and spasmodic reaction. We cry out to God in utter desperation and confusion. “God,” we cry, “ is there nothing that is sacred, nothing that is permanent, nothing that cannot be destroyed by the forces that afflict with without and within?” And God answers us that what we thought were the foundations were only part of the extended structure of our lives, that He is our true foundation and He will never be shaken. Paul concluded that no other foundation can be laid than that which is laid: Jesus Christ (I Cor. 3:11). Anything else can be destroyed, but the believer whose life is planted in Jesus Christ cannot be toppled. Trust Him in the midst of the quaking of the earth and the battering of the storm.

O = Observe the presence, power, and stability of God

Psalm 11:4a - "The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne."

When the foundations are seemingly being destroyed, God remains securely seated in His holy temple and rules from His throne. There is no interruption in His reign, no pause in His oversight, and no cause for concern by His subjects. He is the true foundation that cannot be shaken. He is our refuge. He is our sure protection in times of trouble. Nothing escapes His constant attention. When, in the bleakest moments, all that is right appears vanquished, He speaks and the frayed strands of time and space come into their proper order. We are not a patient people. We are easily stirred from our strident faith. We become disturbed by the news, by prognosticating commentaries on our times, and by our own emotions. We gaze into our problems with such intensity that we, for a moment, lose sight of God on His throne. But He is there. He has not moved. He will not be displaced, replaced, or ultimately ignored. The greatest relevance in the universe is that God is active and alive in His Holy temple supervising and involved in the affairs of men and women. Tune your hearts to that reality today and live in joyful confidence in God.

W = Wait on God with faith that He sees, knows, and is acting. It is not passive waiting, but active trusting with awareness of His attention.

Psalm 11:4b - "He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them."

God is watching. There is a popular song that announces that truth but distorts it with the words, “from a distance.” That is only half-true. There will always be a distance between God and man because He is God and we are men – but that is a distance of essential nature that Jesus bridged and brought us into intimate fellowship with the Father. Even those who do not know Him are known by Him for He is as imminent as He is transcendent.  Some envision a God so far away that He requires a telescope to observe us, but it is with His eye that He watches and nothing escapes His notice. He examines us with such divine scrutiny that all is known, even that which our hearts cannot acknowledge in awareness. Knowing that God knows frees us in prayer to be absolutely honest. It liberates us from the limitations of language to open ourselves to Him. He knows every circumstance and every deed done in darkness or in light. He has all the information and, in His wisdom, is the only true and reliable interpreter of history and current events. It would behoove us to withhold judgment until He speaks in a matter for we see only within a thin spectrum of all that is. He sees all. Understand that as you meet Him in prayer today.

Go with God's flow today.


Flip the Greatness Switch

When you dream great, worthy dreams,
you connect to a place in your heart
where you flip the switch
that turns on an attitude of expectancy
and wonder,
thus activating imagination
and motivation.
When this happens,
you engage yur mind and
your feet
and your hands in the pursuit of your goals.
You rally all of your resources and,
if you will, by faith,
Greatness is yours for the believing,
and acheiving
when dreams partner with
thoughts, deeds, and
You are ready for an explosion of
and I am
your cheerleader!


image from
"Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint." - Proverbs 23:4 (NIV)  

This may seem like a rather strange admonition, but it is absolutely necessary to remind ourselves of its truth. Many people simple do not succeed in the race to riches because they wear themselves out in the first lap or two. Or they accumulate some quick wealth and lose health or life itself and never get to enjoy it. Short sprints in life's long haul are necessary for completetion of the marathon. Pacing oneself, taking breaks, knowing limitations, setting boundaries, and balance are some of the secrets of maximum effectiveness.

PACE yourself.

P - Practice restraint. Solomon urges us to hold back some effort. Usually it is unproductive, frenzied, thoughtless activities that we need to curtail in order to be more effective.

A - Assign yourself times to work and specific tasks to do. Also assign yourself times for rest, refreshment, and recovery. Assign and follow through. Keep your life in balance.

C - Create spaces for thought, reflection, renewal, and creative thinking. Create space for family. Money is not the most important thing in your life. It is the freedom to pursue what is valuable that makes money  attractive. Do not lose that perspective.

E - Excuse yourself from attempts to overload you (by others) or yourself by yourself with good things that rob your energy from the things that are best. Make wise choices.

I also recommend The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal.

Differences and Commonalities

In this life, there are some things that set us apart from others, our differences, and there are things that we have in common with all humanity. What sets us apart is the repulation we build through our choices and relationships. What draws us together is the reality that we have all been created by God with an equal dispensation of His love, grace, and creativity.

You Can't Buy a Reputation

Proverbs 22:1 -  "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is beter than siler or gold."

You cannot buy a good reputation, but a good reputation is like currency. It will open doors and create the trust and good will necessary to transact business in a cynical world.

Perhaps that is one reason Solomon said,"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is beter than siler or gold."

First things first is an axiom that applies in so many ares of life. Getting rich quick does not promote a good reputation. Getting rich or successful systematically in such a ways as to be transparent and to help others along the way creates reputation and esteem.

If you are consistently honest in your business dealings, the word will get around. You will develop a reputation for honesty, fairness, and quality work. You cannot buy that, but with it, you can make a number of purchases.

Isn't that what a credit report is? Isn't it a formal statement of a person's reputation for keeping commitments?

Have you ever tried to get a loan with a lousy credit report?

There is no dollar figure on a good name. You earn it over a lifetime and it is well worth every minute invested in it.

Common Ground

Proverbs 21:2 (NIV) - "Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is Maker of them all."

There is an equality in the essential meaning of what it means to exist as a human being in this world. Each person is crafted by God. There is no birth distinction between rich and poor, no genetic predisposition dictating one's economic prospects. While people differ in talent, intellectual aptitude, and certain personality leanings, each is offered the possibility to become fully what they were made to be.

To be rich is to come into one's own.

It is to fully develop all of one's potential and live out one's purpose on this earth. It is to, through a process of trial and failure, to succeed and prosper according to God's design. It is to follow the Maker's dream implanted in the heart and to pursue that dream all the way.

What are you doing this very day to that end?

I would like to make some simple suggestions for today as you travel the road to success:

1. Avoid potholes, pitfalls, and speed bumbs. Approach life's highway as a defensive driver.

Proverbs 22:3 - A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Don't live in utter oblivion to danger. wake up from denial. Pklan for contingencies. You were made by the same Creator as those who get caught in traps every day. You are special, but not special enough to be exempt from the laws of nature.

2. Humble yourself before God today. Worship Him. Take some time for worshipful reflection.

Proverbs 22:4 - By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

Perspective comes when we hold ourselves up against the template of divine holiness. With perspective comes the realization of our God given potential for a full and meaningful life of purpose.

3.  Pay your debts and avoid future debt. Do something today to move you closer to debt free living.

Proverbs 22:7 - The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Debt is slavery. Use it wisely and rarely and only to accomplish goals that cannot be accomplished without it.

4. Be careful what you plant. Think about your deeds and consequences.

Proverbs 22:8 - He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.

All of your choices matter. Make good choices today, righteous choices.

5. Practice generosity today.

Proverbs 22:9 - He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

You only save in this life what you give away. Do something for the poor today.

6.  Overcome the temptation to be lazy and half-hearted today. Take initiative.

Proverbs 22: 13 - The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.

You will find many excuses for NOT doing what needs to be done. Take action to overcome that. Make momentum your friends by creating it with positive action.

7. Be just and wise.

Proverbs 22:16 - He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.

Don't do something that will harm people who are poor already and don't harm yourself by giving away unnecessary gifts to people who don't need, want, or appreciate them.

8.  Guard your good reputation.

Proverbs 22:26 -Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.

One of the best ways to lose a good reputation is by cosgining other people's debts. You may be tempted to lend your good name today. Be careful.

9. Respect agreements from the past. Have a long memory. God does. Be lawful and full of integrity. If there is some doubt about whether something is right or wrong, err on the side of caution to do the right thing.

Proverbs 22:28 - Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

10. Be dilligent. There is no substitute for faithfulness. Stick with your assignment and work hard.

Proverbs 22:29 - Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

God has created us with a measure of equality. What sets us apart is what we do consistently and faithfully in His grace and in obedience to His truth to build a repuation that is ours alone. The deeds we do to build a good name will also help us build a life and a business. Practice these ten principles today on your road to success.

Musings - But Not Necessarily Amusing

I read Proverbs every day and often comment here on one or two related to business, wealth, or work.

These today are just some that spoke to me about how we think followed by a reflection on my own thinking and start/stop/start behaviors.

Proverbs 21:1 - (NIV) The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD;
       he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.

Somehow in some wonderfully mysterious way, God works through the thinking and heartbeat of leaders who are committed to Him to plant, sort, develop, and nurture ideas and thoughts.

Proverbs 21: 2 All a man's ways seem right to him,
       but the LORD weighs the heart.

We almost always assume our thinking is right, but God knows and He alone can judge and manipulate our motives. This is not to make us fear our thoughts, emotions, and motives, but to create a sense of them being tentative. It should prompt us to put some things out there for God's evaluation. It is in that spirit that I wrote the following for a MySpace buletin today:

Left Brain - Right Brain - Brain Strain

I found an old journal in my pile of rubble with a resolution inscribed on the front page:

"I decided the other day ... to begin a left-handed journal. I hope to access some level of me not frequently seen."

First impression: Discomfort and Frustration. I fel like a person learning basic skills after a stroke.."

"So this is my right cerebral hemisphere. Hi!!"

About three entries followed and the whole book went blank  for a while.

So much for the resolution and the right hemisphere. It was an interesting if not short-lived exercise.  I did find a poem in there though:

"Death spoke to my friend..
Hope beckoned and he responded.
Now the only silence
Is the emptiness
Where he is not."

I am not sure what friend I wrote that for or if I could not have written it with my right hand, but there you are.

The point is, that I started something and didn't finish it. Actually, I came back 4 years later and wrote some more.

I could castigate myself for that and feel depressed. Then I might as well include all of my unfinished tasks in one huge depression. As long as I was throwing my hip out of joint kicking my read end, I might as well include all of the partially completed books, loose notes, and assorted projects that I intended to get to some day.

I start a lot of things.

I finish a few.

I think I finish more this way than I would if I never started anything.

The point is that you are who you are and you are wired the way God wired you. Go with the flow that is God's flow through you. Don't try to be me or anyone else. Be the best you that you can be by God's grace.  Celebrate your uniqueness. Develop in your character and discipline.  Don't be afraid to start things. Try to finish some - hopefuly the truly important things. Let things sort themselves out along the way. Try the right brain; try the left; either way, stay in your right mind. Let your creativity flow. Dream great dreams. Attempt great deeds.

And save your false starts - you may come back and finish them later.

IVA - A Sweet and Real Lady

Integrity, Vulnerability, and Authenticity  - IVA

Are you real? You know the answer, but the clincher is how people perceive you. Do you come across as real? If not, you are paying a high price because your credibility account is overdrawn in the minds of people over whom you wish to exercise influence. People have built in radar censors for character. Three qualities will not only help you become real in the perception of others, but in reality itself.

Integrity is what you are when no one is looking. It is how your values, attitudes, and behaviors are integrated in your life. It is  an invisble inner quality that always, ultimately, manifests itself outwardly.

Vulnerability is your willingness to let other people examine your life and test the quality of your consistency. It is your willingness to risk rejection and pain because you are confident in the core values of your life.
Authenticity is the result of the first two. it is what makes you unquie and real. It is what verifies your claims and makes you a credible person that anyone would desire to deal with. Write me anytime. I would love to be an encouragement to you.

Keep up the good work and keep the dream alive!

Let's Get to Church

It is Sunday and if you are reading this within the next hour or so, you have time to get up, get dressed, and get to church.

Do it.

You don't go to church?

What great things will you do then? Polish the silver? Watch a fishing show? Read the paper?

Come on. It won't hurt you. You might like it.

You say you can pray at home?

Of course you can. I hope you do. That's not the main reason you go. In fact, the level of praying at church is pretty lame compared to what you need to be doing on your own - BUT, you do it TOGETHER and that can be very powerful and encouraging.

You say you want three good reasons to leave this box we call a computer and go to church?

OK - I'll even add a bonus:

1) Someone there needs to see you and be encouraged by YOU! They need your handshake. They need to see your face.

2) The pastor will preach a better sermon to "those other folks" who need it if your unexpected body is sitting in a pew. You will encourage him/her by your presence.

3) God is blessed when His people gather to praise Him. This is actually a big, fat, hairy deal and a major motivator. After all, if you have a spark of faith, you already know that pleasing God is sort of a big thing.

Now, I promised a bonus and I believe in under-promising and over-delivering:

1) Someone is at church that you need to see, touch, and make contact with. You have some divine appointments in that community that will encourage you to the next level of your faith progress. Come on. Get dressed.

2) Something the pastor says will challenge, inspire, motivate, or convict you. I don't care how mature and insightful you are, how much you read on your own, and how much of a better job you could do, you can get something out of today's sermon if it is only the scripture reading in the power of the Spirit among a group of people gathered in Jesus' Name.

3) Your voice may be just what is needed to create critical mass in the congregational singing. You may make the difference between lackluster singing and a choral masterpiece to the glory of God - even if you can't carry a tune in a bucket.

Am I done?

Well, not quite.

For instance, there will be some challenges to action and ministry today that you need to plug into because you have certain gifts no one has. That church is doing some good in the hood and you can be part of it.

It will be fun, exciting, and rewarding - a whole lot better than reruns of Gumby and Pokey.

Finally, it is your family - whether or not you have met them. This is a group of people that love or will love you and you will learn to love them - and working out your "stuff" with and among them is the only way you will ever get it worked out - and they have some pretty ugly stuff to work out with you too. You can help and be a help. And as uncomfortable as that makes you feel, it can only be done in community.

And that is why God planned it that way and gave us the gift of the church and entrusted all His earthly business of any importance to it.

So ...get, get dressed, and get over there.

The Power of Stories

Do you like stories?

Do you read them/ Do you tell them?

My friend says that facts tell, but stories sell. The more stories you hear tht illustrate the power of a dynamic truth, the more you will believe in the power of your mission and vision. God's story is an example. Much of the truth of the Bible is conveyed in story form. Incarnational throloguy is about fleshing out truth.

Listen to and read stories - non-fiction and fiction. Collect stories. Learn to tell them. Have enough of them to illustrate your big ideas.

I have been impressed with the stories that successful entrepreneur and best selling author Andy Andrews tells. Pehaps you will be too.

You can actually be a partner with Andy in telling his stories by establishing an affiliate relationship with him:

Andy Andrews Affiliate Link

From Publishers Weekly
Christian author and motivational speaker Andrews effectively combines self-help with fiction to catch readers' interest, sustaining momentum while simultaneously passing on instructions for positive thinking. With his can-do style, Andrews (Storms of Perfection; Tales from Sawyerton Springs) tells the allegorical tragedy of one David Ponder, whose woes begin when he loses his job, his confidence and essentially his drive for living. After a succession of losses, Ponder is rendered unconscious after a car accident, and is magically transported into seven key points in history. At each stopping point, he is met by historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Anne Frank, King Solomon, Harry Truman and Christopher Columbus, each of whom imparts one of the seven key decisions that Andrews asserts are essential for personal success. After his travel through time, Ponder regains consciousness in a hospital and discovers he is holding letters given to him by the various heroes. The letters offer familiar self-help counsel: accept that the buck stops with you, become a wisdom seeker and a person of action, determine to be happy, open the day with a forgiving spirit, and persist despite all odds. Although Andrews writes from a Christian perspective, his overall message (trust that God is sovereign, but do your part in making your future happen) will ring true with a broad spectrum of inspirational readers. Some astute thinkers may be put off by the simplistic story line, but Andrews does an exemplary job at providing positive suggestions for overcoming life's obstacles.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.    

New Social Network for Business in Pre Launch

You're invited to join Tom Sims network of friends.

By joining Apsense, a newly launched business social network, you can connect with business indivduals with common interests, meet new friends or business associates, start your business blog, and even build your own private social network

Please take a few minutes to visit our website, learn more about us and register for a FREE Membership.          

The website address is:



How To Make Someone's D-A-Y Part Two - Spell It!

Yesterday I suggested that the very desire to make another person's day is an indicator of character and a predictor of success in that endeavor.

Today, I will start to spell out how to do that by examining the word, "D-A-Y." First let us look at a proverb for today, Proverbs 19:1:

"Better a poor man whose walk is blameless
       than a fool whose lips are perverse. "

To apply that to our theme, we might paraphrase it this way: "While wealth and prosperity can open doors, create opportunities, and enable us to do much good for others, it would be better to do without it if it meant that our words wounded rather than healed,  deflated people rather than inflating them, and discouraged rather than encouraged."

Words are powerful and how we use words will determine much of our success in making someone else's day.

And the god news is that if you make the day of enough people, it will eventually lead you on the path to success.

We don't have to choose between our success and that of others if we are willing to put our primary focus on helping others succeed.

Now, here is the D-A-Y

D = Decision. You make a decision about the kind of day you will have. You make it early; you make it firm. You decide that whatever comes your way, "The is the day that the Lord hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it." It is always a decision and if you make it, it will rub off on others. While you make the decision, early in the morning, to have a great day, decide to bring others along as well. Pray for opportunities to encourage, lift, and serve people. They will come!

A = Attitude. It is aways about attitude. Attitude can make or break your day and will affect others. Positive attitudes are contagious, but so are negative attitudes. If you walk around all day with the attitude that is selfish, angry, resentful, and bitter, that will take the wind out of people's sails who are living on the edge. Not everyone has learned the power of a positive decision. They need to see a living example of positivity - YOU! If you carry your decision to have a blessed day with you throughout the day and reflect that in your attitude, those same people will see and catch some of your spirit. Smile at frowns; speak gently to harsh voices; deflect criticism; be kind when you are treated without kindness. Be the master of your moments and your emotions.  Elevated your attitude and you will elevate others.

Y = Yes, Yes living. It is a no-no world. All around us, people are looking for reasons to be critical, to disagree, to complain, to gossip, to make other people feel small. You have chosen to live the opposite way. You are looking for areas of agreement. You are searching for the YES. You are endeavoring to find things you can compliment and affirm, people you can encourage, and lives you can touch with God's love. You are actively giving out smiles. Your goal is to build and what you are building are people.

The only two things that will last forever are the Word of God and the souls of people. One builds the other.

Make a decision to have and promote a great day. Put on the attitude of positive thinking and living, the attitude of love and grace. Put it on the same way you put on a cheerful shirt in the morning. Look for yes every where and build upon each yes you find. Decision - Attitude - Yes = DAY.

Have a great one.

How to Make Someone's Day!

Let me start by saying that if you chose to open this posting and read it, that is a good sign that you are on the right track and your heart is in the right place. You have already moved from the realm of unlikely positive outcome to likely positive outcome. You have identified making someone's day as an intention in your life and that kind of intentionality is a real key to accomplishment.

Proverbs 18:1 says,

"An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends;
       he defies all sound judgment."

It is in the pursuit that our judgment is magnified.

So I may leave it at that for today. To be friendly and to desire the good for someone else today will move you far down the road of being a blessing. When you wish someone well, it is communicated in your attitude, your words, and your deeds. you cannot help but be an encouragement to all who are receptive and in need.

The Fred Factor

68323: The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary

The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary

By Mark Sanborn / Random House, Inc

Is your professional commitment wavering? Do you just want to get the job done and go home? Find fresh energy and creativity for your life and work by imitating the example of Sanborn's postman, "Fred." Four Bible-based principles will help you make a difference every day, excel in your career, and make your daily life extraordinary. 114 pages, hardcover from Waterbrook.

Spelling M-O-N-E-Y Biblically

M - MANAGE it; never let it manage you. It is a great slave and a poor master. Love people and use money; not the reverse. It is not money, but the love of money that is the root of all evil.(I Timothy 6:10). in fact, Ecclesiastes 5:10 says that the person who loves money never has enough. Management is what stewardship is all about. It is all God's money and He has given us management responsibility for it.

O - Let it bring you OPPORTUNITIES and let OPPORTUNITY bring money to you. It will enable you to embrace those opportunities as they come along and seizing opportunities for success will enable you to accumulate more. In Luke 10, the Good Samaritan could not have been as helpful to the wounded and robbed man if he had not had the money to pay for his care.

N - Take care of the NECESSITIES before you start on the frivolities. Though not always seen as a necessity by all, building a business, profession, or income form the future is essential. Build your source of income first before you build a lifestyle. (Proverbs 24:27). we also need to have the integrity to pay our bills before we purchase luxuries.

E - EXPAND the reach of your influence using money as a tool. Proverbs 11:25 says that a generous man will prosper. Proverbs 22:9 says that he will be blessed. Proverbs 17:8 says that "a bribe is a charm to the one who gives it; wherever he turns, he succeeds." Since verse Proverbs 17:23 frowns on bribes being received to pervert justice, this might be understood as a gift given to open doors in a business relationship. Money in good peoples' hands can do a lot of good in the world.

Y - Say "YES" to options, yes to people, and yes to God. How many times have you had to say "no" because you were in financial bondage to debt or lack of positive cash flow? Money can be a tool for freedom in its proper perspective. II Corinthians 1:20 says, " For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God."

A Proverb for Anything

Proverbs 16:3 is a proverb for anything and it is so outlandish and broad that it is wonderfully difficult to fully embrace:

          " Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
                     and your plans will succeed."

At first, this looks like a "get out of jail free " ticket for all sorts of ridiculous pursuits. One might ask, "Well, suppose I want to rob a bank? Will God help me be successful in that?"

You might be successful and it might be because you pervert some eternal principles to your own selfish and destructive ends, but that is not what is promised here. One must balance the counsel with the whole counsel of scripture while taking  such a simple word at face value.

"Commit to the Lord." - That presupposes a full, not a partial commitment. It is the sort of commitment that changes and refines our plans. Balance and inform this with the two proverbs that come before:

"1 To man belong the plans of the heart,
       but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue."

"2 All a man's ways seem innocent to him,
       but motives are weighed by the LORD. "

This process of committing begins with the planning process. It starts with our thinking. It introduces creative transformation and profound spiritual insight into the realm of our strategic development.

This time  to start committing is when we start dreaming and scheming. Then, God can shape our dreams, goals, and plans.

We tend to be naive. We know not our own hearts. But God knows and He has a dream to plant in each of our hearts. It is not His intention for us to go through life spinning our wheels and never accomplishing anything. He wants us to succeed in the ways that He defines success.

That means "whatever."

Some key words inform us and instruct us:

Commit - To fully commit is to place something in the hands of another, but it is also to give ourselves wholeheartedly to the dream and the tasks that make the dream come true. When we commit our lives to Jesus Christ, we place them in His hands and He places a mission in ours. It is likewise true of our plans and goals. Would you characterize yourself as a committed person or are you more casual about your objectives? Commitment is a key element in any successful person's formula for accomplishment.

The Lord - By His very Name and nature He is qualified to manage all of our contingencies. He is the Center of all things. It would be a serious insult  and utter stupidity to say, "Lord, you can be Lord of my soul, but I'll take care of my business." Vance Havner said, "He is Lord of All or He isn't Lord at all." Consider what lordship means in your life and how serious you are about having a center that holds all things together.

Whatever - Whatever you do is an all-encompassing concept. Make a list of  as many tasks, concerns, goals, and objectives you have in as many dimensions of life as you can think of. Begin to bring these before God. Don't try to be systematic or compartmentalized in this exercise. Just free associate.

Do - Action builds results, not endless analysis. Strategy that does not "get done" brings no fruit. Great ideas do not produce wealth or success. Acting on great ideas does.

Plans - Some well meaning people believe that planning is nonspiritual. They are wrong. Not planning to succeed is equal to planning to fail. Plans do not guarantee instant success, but well thought out and prayed over plans, over the long haul, allowing for set-backs, risks, and failures, will bring ultimate success. The difference in nonspiritual planning and the kinds that brings success is the spiritual dimension we enter through commitment and prayer.

Succeed - We must redefine success and a process toward an ultimate, worthy dream. Earl Nightingale defined success as "the progressive realization of a worthwhile ideal." The road to success is paved with the cobblestones of failure and heaps of heartache, but if one is committed to the Lord and to the mission/dream, movement toward success is inevitable if we leave the final evaluation of our lives to God.

Money - Troubles or Treasures

The house of the righteous contains great treasure,
       but the income of the wicked brings them trouble. (Prov. 15:6, NIV)

"It's only money."

Not necessarily.

You don't need to have me point out the obvious to you. Some people have money pass through their hands with no effort or gain. Still others suffer the worse fate of having money actually complicated their lives to the point of causing them all sorts of trouble.

Others see money transformed into treasure, something it is not in and of itself.

What is the difference? Is it the quality of the cash?

Not at all; it is the centering of the person. A RIGHTeous person is someone in RIGHT relationships with his or her Maker, within Himself.herself, and with other people. Furthermore, to be RIGHTeous is to be aimed at and heading in the RIGHT direction. It is not perfection; it is relationship and direction.


R - Follow the advice of Solomon and "REMEMBER your creator in the days of your youth."  (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Righteousness is first and foremost being rightly related to God and that is the primary, core issue of life upon which all others are built. The fear of the Lord truly is the beginning of wisdom.

I - INVEST in relationships - especially your relationship with God, but also with those closest to you. Relationships require engagement and energy, time and commitment. Beginning and center and emanating outward, relationships are the key to lasting success in ministry and in business .. Sound relationships promote longevity on jobs and in business which ultimately means income security over a long period of time without the kind of trouble that income without good relationships brings. People skills are make or break issues in most people's success or failure.

G - GRAVITATE toward the right direction. Move toward solid outcomes. Let truth and integrity be the gravitational poles of your life along with love, respect, and honesty. Make friends with the scriptures and great, uplifting books and consult them for the general direction of your life. Cultivate a life of prayer and obedience to God's Spirit which will open you to specific direction in your life. RIGHTeousness is not about perfection, but direction. When we lead righteous lives, we are moving in the right direction. This is a gravitation toward progress in your personal and business life.

H - HEED course correction directions by remaining sensitive to the Spirit, open to constructive criticism, and responsive to accountability and wise counsel. Ask some key people in your life to ask as buffers against extreme divergences from the right path in your life. When they seek to helm you make directional corrections, listen, value, and evaluate their counsel against all the evidence and be appreciative. Sometimes this is just the kind of advice that will keep you from squandering your wealth or making very expensive mistakes.

T - Be THANKFUL. Gratitude keeps everything in your life in proper perspective. Be grateful to God and to people for every blessing. When you hold all the treasures in your life with an open, generous, and thankful hand, you will experience less tension and actually make fewer major blunders.


Seek to lead a RIGHTeous life. It makes the difference in every dimension of life - even in the area of wealth.

Do SOMETHING! - Today's Proverb for Work and Wealth

Proverbs 14:23 - "All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty."

In today's readings of Proverbs, one stands out to be as instructive in the matter of work and wealth.

It has to do with the value of hard work and it suggests that there is always profit in hard work.

It does not define that profit as always being a commission at the end of the day. in fact, the profit for today may be that step of character development that leads to the next level of skill that leads to eventual income.

The harvest, the sale, the royalty, or the commission may be off in the distance, but today's hard work is contributing to that pay off.

On the other hand, the fruit of mere talk is clearly defined as poverty - no money, no profit, no advance toward one's goals. Talk is good, but mere talk is fruitless. More than that, it is a thief, robbing us of precious time and draining our energy and enthusiasm.

Your assignment for today is to do something to advance toward your goals. Do something purposeful and intelligent. Don't wait for it to be the perfect something. Don't wait for a guaranteed and immediate payoff. Make an effort, the best you can with what you have and what you know right now. Be willing to make some mistakes and move forward.

There will be profit in it.

It pays well.

Some suggestions for doing SOMETHING today are:

1. S - Serve . if you can't thing of anything else to do, serve someone in some way. if you are in business, do something to serve your clients or customers. If you are in  ministry, serve the people God has called you to shepherd. Do something unexpected and unprompted.

2. O - Out-perform yesterday's effort. Take it to the next step or level. Compete only with yourself and out-perform yourself.

3. M - Mean  it. If you do something, do it with your heart. Guy Williams is a master. I sit in the back of a Starbucks - HIS Starbucks - and watch him talk to everyone  within any proximity of him. He represents an extremely credible company with a dynamic product and a powerful business opportunity and he never sells. He just talks to people. as he says, "When it goes from your head to your heart, the rest is  a slam dunk." He means it.

4. E - Expect something. Our proverb doesn't exactly tell us what to express in terms of profit, but it tells us to expect SOME SORT OF PROFIT. That is because it is a timeless law of God's universe. The universe did not create that law. God did and God enforces it. He rewards honest, purposeful effort and the positive attitude that believes His word on the matter to be true.

5 - T - Talk, but Temper Talk with Traction. Traction happens when we dig in and move our wheels across the surface. It requires some inner propulsion and intentionality, but there is no advantage to our endlessly gunning our engines to gear up for activity. Act and move.

6 - H - Hang out and Hang in. Your work will most likely involve "being there" where people are. Sometimes the first thing you need to do is put yourself in the right location. From that point, be open, available, and consistent. for much of what you want to accomplish, you will need to make friends over the long haul. Hang in there with your hanging out - but get out today and start hanging.

7 - Insist on your own activity, you are your own supervisor. No one else is going to make you do what needs to be done. accountability partners are helpful and running buddies are necessary encouragement, but there is no substitute for self-motivation. Take care of it. read what you need to read. Listen to enough of what pumps you up and then, when you still don't feel like doing something, do it any way. insist on it.

8 - N - Need what you are working for. Need it deeply. Find that place inside of you that longs for the fruit of your labors. Cultivate the need. Visualize the payoff. Keep it before you. Need it.

9 -  GO for it! At some point you have read all the points and it is time to take action. go out and do so.


Read the entire article HERE and more encouragement at The Dream Factory. Also posted on my MySpace blog and at The Entrepreneur's Table .

What Counts?

What Counts? What you count is an alert to what counts in your life and work. If you are in ministry and you value people, you will count people. If you are in business, you will count contacts, activities, and profits even if quality comes first. If you value time, you will measure it. If you value effort, you will keep track of it.

Whatever counts, you count.

That does not make it "all about numbers," but numbers are among other factors, a useful tool for measuring how much time, effort, and resouce expenditure it takes to be effective in moving toward the things that really count.

They can also be helpful in alerting us to where we can shave off efforts and save time and money.

If you would be successful, don't neglect your digits.

Becoming REAL

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.  "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the skin horse only smiled.
- Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit (Read the whole illustrated story online!)

This is one of those stories from children's literature that is almost always sure to bring a tear to my eye. I have read it aloud so many times and it continues to touch me at the depth of my soul.

So many people stagger through life in an unreal shell of a persona. They struggle with fear of rejection or repulsion at the idea of the pain they might have to suffer in the process of becoming authentic. The pain is real and the risks are real.

However, the rewards are also real for being real.

Ms. Williams published The Velveteen Rabbit in 1922. When Margery was seven, she lost her father in a sudden death. Throughout her life, there was a thread of pain, suffering, and sadness in her writing. Yet, she affirmed that through pain and adversity, hearts become more human. Though English by birth, Margery moved to America with her family at became inspired by the innocence of children agains the backdrop of the war to end all wars.

The great theme of The Velveteen Rabbit is becoming real.

"...once you become real, you can't be ugly, except to those who don't understand."

And so it is among the battle scarred, war torn, life worn, love lorn souls who face and embrace life. Being real is a thing of great value and a gift of great grace from God. To reject our authenticity is to reject wonder. To reject wonder is to reject life. To reject life is to reject Him.

Someone said:

There was a very cautious man
  Who never laughed or played.
  He never risked, he never tried,
  He never sang or prayed.  

And when he one day passed away,
  His insurance was denied.
  For since he never really lived,
  They claimed he never died.




Are you a novice to the habit of smiling. I will suggest a begining exercise that may help. Not only will you feel better, but it pays well too.

S - Stretch your cheeks as far as they can go to the left and the right.

M - Make yourself hold that position.

I - Inhale, but hold your facial position.

L - Lighten up your stance by tensing and relaxing your muscles.

E - Enjoy the giggle that is now turning from a checkle to a cackle.

Practice this process until it comes naturally. Maintaining the habit will not be nearly as challenging as starting. Others will reinforce it by miling back and you will feel like a million dolars.

Thoughts on Leadership

"Eagles don't flock - you have to find them one at a time." -  H. Ross Perot

Leadership is a skill and not everyone has developed it. In fact, it  is somewhat rare. There are qualities of leadership that are not present in every person. Among them, is the ability to divorce oneself from the need for  credit for our accomplishments.

Alabama's Paul "Bear" Bryant  was, by anyone's description, a model leader. He explained his leadership style this way:

I'm just a plow hand from Arkansas, but I have learned how to hold a team together. How to lift some men up, how to calm down others, until finally they've got one heartbeat together, a team. There's just three things I'd ever say:

1. If anything goes bad, I did it.

2. If anything goes semi-good, then we did it.

3. If anything goes real good, then you did it.

That's all it takes to get people to win football games for you.

Paul,  in Romans 12,speaking of people's giftedness said, " ... if it is leadership, let him govern diligently."

Part of the diligence involved in leadership is setting the tone and creating the atmosphere where people work together as a team without regard for who gets the credit. This takes extra effort and extraordinary ability, but it marks great leadership and produces positive and lasting results.

If it is real leadership, then there will be enthusiasm in the ranks. Real leadership not only shares the rewards for accomplishments of the team, but is willing to give them away, lock, stock and barrel. As two great leaders said,

"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it." -  Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish."  - Sam Walton

And that sums up the attitude of a great leader. A leader by position, namely a boss, is not necessarily a true leader.

"The boss drives people; the leader coaches them. The boss depends on authority; the leader on good will. The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm. The boss says "I"; The leader says "WE". The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown. The boss says, "GO"; the leader says "LET'S GO!"  - H. Gordon Selfridge

The leader is a servant of the people he or she leads. The leader is devoted to the task, but equally devoted to the team. It is their success that gets the leader up in the morning with enthusiasm.

At the same time, a great leader must often stand alone in that utterly lonely place of being the only one to first grasp the great idea. The leader must embrace it, develop it, sell it,  facilitate it, and then step away from it and let the team bring it to completion.

The loneliness of leadership is described as,

"A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd." - James Crook

The reward may also be lonely because he has humbly stepped out of the limelight. He has set the stage for others to take the bows.

"The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it."  - Theodore Roosevelt

If one is involved in solo work, that is one thing, but if it is developing people, creating movements, building legacies, and inspiring real change in the world, it can never be accomplished alone. One solitary individual can be a catalyst, but in the end, the catalyst will disappear and the movement will continue with many faces.

If the leader is impassioned about the cause and the people, this will not matter much.

When we lead effectively, we follow the greatest example of selfless and sacrificial leadership in history, Jesus Christ. He is our example and our standard.

Furthermore, He who did not seek praise and glory, except through the cross, received it and shall receive it eternally. He has invited those who will follow Him in leadership to share in His blessings - and that is enough.

Revelation 7:17
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."


I was browsing through some encouraging quotes this morning and found this file of quotes on greatness. Jesus said that the one who would be greatest among the disciples would be the one who became servant of all (Matthew 23:11).

These thoughts certainly do not contradict that one overarching truth. In fact, they expound upon it.

Since I often use acronyms as memory devices, I will try my hand, heart, and head at this one:

G - Greatness begins with GOODNESS. God is good. God creates and emanates goodness. Without goodness, there is no greatness.

R - RESPECT precedes and follows greatness. The person who understands his or her own potential as a leader and exercises it has an extraordinary respect for the people he or she leads/serves. The servant heart beats with reverential respect for people made in the image of God and that includes self-respect.

E - EAGERNESS to EXTEND oneself in selfless service is a mark of greatness. The great man or woman takes the initiative to do and be more and to reach out to others. The great person does not wait for an invitation to act.

A - AFFECTION is active in the life of a great person. He or she knows and experiences the full range of human emotions, vulnerabilities, joys, and sorrows. The great person loves deeply, laughs heartily,  weeps freely, and is never deficient in the area of affect. As the Servant-Model, Jesus exhibited what is is to be fully human, so every great man or woman is authentic in his or her humanity.

T - TENDERNESS marks greatness, for the great person is never a bully. The great man or woman leads by example, service, and love.

N -  It is NATURAL, nothing phony or pretentious. The great person comes to greatness NATURALLY. It is not contrived or strained. It flows from essential nature infused with the love, grace, and power of God.

E - EFFORT is required in every area of character development and every human endeavor.  A dream without effort is a fantasy.

S - SERVICE, though stated in several ways, is the true mark of greatness. Examine the lives of those whose legacies endure, and you will find this thread.

S - SACRIFICE is always a component of true greatness. Time, convenience, money, and sometimes even life itself is sacrificed on the path to greatness.

Now, let us see what others say.

"No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men."  - Thomas Carlyle

"I can't believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary." -  Lou Holtz

"Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Recipe for greatness — To bear up under loss, to fight the bitterness of defeat and the weakness of grief, to be victor over anger, to smile when tears are close, to resist evil men and base instincts, to hate hate and to love love, to go on when it would seem good to die, to seek ever after the glory and the dream, to look up with unquenchable faith in something evermore about to be, that is what any man can do, and so be great." - Zane

"I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone." - John Fitzgerald Kennedy

" . . . I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow." - Abraham Lincoln

"If any man seeks for greatness, let him forget greatness and ask for truth, and he will find both." - Horace Mann

"The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart. "  - Mencius

"Since most of us spend our lives doing ordinary tasks, the most important thing is to carry them out extraordinarily well."  - Henry David Thoreau

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."  - Winston Churchill

"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people." -  Hyman Rickover

"Great crises produce great men and great deeds of courage."  - John F. Kennedy

"He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lives a great street-sweeper who did his job well'" -  Martin Luther King Jr.

I will post this on my MySpace blog as well as at


The word "risk" is used three times in the NIV translation of the New Testament. Each time, it is used in a positive light and each time it was a matter of life and death. The same holds generally true for use of the word in the Old Testament. Here are the NT references :

Philippians 2:29-30 (New International Version)
29 - Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, 30 - because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.

Romans 16:3-5 (New International Version)
3 - Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. 4 - They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. 5 - Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.

 Acts 15:25-27 (New International Version)
25 - So we all agreed to choose some men a
nd send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 - men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 - Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.

To these scriptural references, I would reflect upon the words of Teddy Roosevelt:

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

Be willing to risk failure on your road to success. Pepper your victories with minor defeats. Season your acheivements with disappointments. Salt your joys with sorrows. Dream great dreams without the assurance that you will see them all come true because if you never dream, you can be sure they will not.

Reject the inclination toward guarantees in life. Great accomplishments are never sure things. There are no warranties on success. Only risk and adventure will move you from the comfort of your safe lives to the vast realm of God's possibilities.

Move out and move on. There is an awesome future ahead for you if you are not concerned about maintaining the status quo.

Bullet Biting Behaviors

You know the way it goes. Some jobs take 3-6 months and two hours,  and sometimes only five minutes over the initial gearing up period. However, they require some significant teeth marks in some hard metal bullets. The tasks are just extremely difficult to contemplate and somewhat disappointing to brag about while deeply gratifying to have completed.

Cleaning my desk, for instance, has required a holster full of bent bullets with  tooth impressions profound enough to constitute a complete dental exam. I was, frankly, overwhelmed and that was the first battle. Moving from despair to hope is such a leap of faith, but it is 90% of the battle and takes 99% of my time. Once I started, I began to sense of snow-balling of hope.

Now I sit at a clean, well organized desk.  Ambiguous items are stuffed in a box for later examination and a more emotionally detached decision.

I wonder how long it will last - probably not as long as it took to make it happen.

This seems to call for an acronym. Therefore, I will attempt one: BITE the B (The bullet, that is).

B - Bury your apprehensions. Whatever is holding you back seems worse than it is.

I - Inhale. Come rested and just decide to do it.

T - Take time. Give the task a reasonable, but not overly extended block of time. In fact, a bit of a deadline could be helpful.

E - Energize. Start your engines. Feel them rev up. You are tuning your mental faculties toward your physical demands.

T - Test the waters. Start with a small piece of the task that you could do and it would be enough if you decided to quit for the day.

H - Hands on. Touch your project with both hands.

E - Enter into the "doing it now" zone with your whole body and soul.

B - Begin in earnest. There is no substitute for starting. Once you have started, really started, you are less likely to quit.

Bite the B!

From Fire to Abundance

In Psalm 66:12, The paslmist declares that God let men ride over their heads, that they, his people, went trhough fire and water, and then, "you brought us to a place of abundance."

The simple question today is not about where you are, but about where are you going

What is your place of abundance? What is it like? How wondeful is it? What is it worth to you? What would you sacrifice or face in order to arrive there? How vivid is it to you in your heart and mind?

Your answer to those questions of faith will regulate your capacity to over focus on the present and dwell in the challenges of the moment.

"Some through the fire, some through the flood, s
Some through great trials,
But all throught the blood,

Some through great trials, but God gives a song
In the night season and all the day long."

Keep on keeping on!

Taming the The Rhinoceros

"If a rhinoceros were to enter this restaurant now, there is no denying he would have great power here. But I should be the first to rise and assure him that he had no authority whatever."— G.K. Chesterton to Alexander Woollcott

The creature would certainly have a passing influence, but it would never be confused with positive leadership with the capacity to produce long-term life transformation. At best (or worst) it can alter the the circumstances of our lives through brute force.

In fact, the sheer power and imposing strength of the rhino, if it were a metaphor for those qualities in our lives, might be a detriment. Peter Drucker observed that, " No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human."

Real leadership is more about character than charisma. It  must be something that can be duplicated in other people who are willing to develop in character and pay the price of integrity and consistency.

"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a market for great leadership.

Not only do we have the opportunity to find those kinds of people in our lives, but we can be that kind of person to someone else. In fact, the cycle is not complete until we fnd ourselves on both the giving and receiving ends of mentorship. You can be more, but you can also be the person who invites and inspires someone else to be more. Never under estimate your capacity to be a positive influence.

Intimidating people, beating them up, overpowering them, out-talking, and staring them down will only produce temporary results and not positive ones at that.

How then might we lead as to inspire people to reach their next level of greatness?

  1. Love them. It may seem trite,      but it is a reality that a trust worthy leader is someone who not only      loves his/her followers, but communicates that love in service, refines it      in prayer, and oozes it in words of encouragement and sensitive silence.      Jesus declared and modeled that the good Shepherd lays down his life for      his sheep.
  2. Elevate them. Desire and      drive their rise to prominence. Take a back seat. Rejoice when they prosper.      Swell with delight when they are recognized. Brag on them and let them      take the bows.
  3. Accelerate their opportunities      to learn, grow, be exposed to other great leaders and to expose themselves      to the public. Pass on books, articles, audio teaching, and event announcements.      Take them places and introduce them. Give them assignments that will      stretch them.
  4. Mentor as a friends, a coach,      a parent, and a sibling. Mlost of all, be a posiitve, practical, and observale example. Be available. Listen, advise, and applaud. Become      their cheerleading section and be available.

That is L for Love, E for Elevate, A for Accelerate, and M for Mentor = LEAD!

"You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that's assault, not leadership." — Dwight D. Eisenhower

If you want fast results that will produce no enduring fruit, release the rhinoceros in you in some crowded place. If you want to be a leader who inspires people to greatness, however, LEAD.


FAST Thinking

Do you need to think/write quickly. Use the FAST method:

F - Face it. The job isn't going away. It isn't getting easier. You will never get a perfect inspiration. Face the task and start.

A - Act on it. Start thinking and writing. Just put your fingers on gthe keyboard and see what they do. The finger bone's connected to the brain bone.

S - Say whatever comes to mind as you begin. Don't edit yourself - at least not yet. There will be time for that later.

T - Terminate. Whatever you have when  the time is up is what you have. Walk away and come back to it at another time. If it isn't obscene, riddiculous, or illegal, post it.

That is what I am doing right now. I had no idea what I was going to write 5 minutes ago. I made this up and I practiced it and I am going to click the SAVE button now and head out to my next appointment. I'll clean it up later. DAST - Face, Act, Say, Terminate.

Tom Out!

Next Day: I came back and had about 7 corrections to make - NO BIG DEAL! I made them and will probably find more to make tomorrow.

Going RADical

M. Scott Peck reminded us that the term "radical was from the root word for root (root for root), "radix." Since things tend to scroll off, I am reposting this artical for my own good from Transformational Communities.

                       ROOTS Church                    


Becoming a ROOTS Church


My generation was captivated by the drama of Alex Haley’s Root’s saga and thousands of young adults like myself discovered a new hobby in genealogical research. Now, we are serenaded with the lilting sounds of roots music that carry us back to an earlier time in American life before the assault of electronic music and the pulsating excretions of rap, rock, and rave. The Latin word for root is “radix” from which we derive the adjective, “radical.” If something is radicitus it is characterized as “by the roots, utterly.”


When I hear the deeply rooted laments of rhythm and blues, the joyful jesting of bluegrass, and the gutsy gospel of the backcountry, I think of our rootedness in Jesus Christ. I am led to consider what radical and transforming truths are at the heart of what it means to be the church. As we confront the challenges of postmodernism against the backdrop of 9-11 despair, the church must adapt in methodology and delivery without compromising the heart of its message or the core of its identity. In times of radical change, we must become more rooted in the essence of who we are and what we are called to be. Coming out of Ephesians 3:14-21, the idea of being a ROOTS Church that is established in the ancient truth of God’s Word and relevant to the moment emerged:


R—Relational—Roots churches are about relationships. “...rooted and grounded in love ...” I John 4:11 reminds us that we are called to “love one another.” Our core relationship is vertical, with the Father, through Jesus and our horizontal relationships radiate outward from the core.


O—Obedient—All roots churches are driven by their purpose “...for this cause...” Acts 6:7 illustrates the priests becoming “obedient to the faith.” We are a subversive people with a radical message, called to a radical lifestyle that does not imitate the world, but Christ.


O—Open—Roots churches are not just seeker-sensitive, they are made up of seekers who continue to seek God with open hearts for as long as they live. “...that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith ...” Thus, the open-faced “beholders” of the God’s glory in II Corinthians 3:18 being changed by degrees. This is worship and seeking—awe in the presence of His glory!


T—Transformational—Roots churches are agents for God’s immeasurable power to transform lives, and communities. “ Him who is able ...” Acts 17:6 describes “... These who have turned the world upside down...”


S—Sensitive—Roots churches have keen receptors to God’s love at work in the midst of their times. “...may be able to comprehend ...” Jesus indicted the people of His day for not being able to discern the times. (Matthew 16:3) and speaks to us from Heaven saying, “He that hath ear, let Him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” (Revelation 3:7 ... And repeated)


Tom Sine has observed that the contemporary church is suffering from a crisis of vision. This, he describes as our tendency to embrace “two different images of the better future, neither of which is biblical. (Mustard Seed Vs. McWorld, Baker Books, 1999 *)” One, he describes as “heaven in the clouds divorced from this material world.” The other has to do with economic prosperity, what we might call, “the American dream.” He calls us to a new vision of the Kingdom of God that we can only experience as we adopt a “whole-life faith.” Whole life discipleship is a fully integrated system of belief and action that brings every dimension of the believer’s life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is a radicalized lifestyle that places itself at the disposal of God in all of life’s choices and calls for a life of Kingdom service where joy is unbounded and all suffering is redemptive. It is at the heart of what being a ROOTS church is all about.


Note: Sine's book is out of print, but you may be able to secure a used copy here:



Tom Sine - Mustard Seed

Seven "E" for a Christ-Centered Community

Building a Christ Centered Community for Transformation

I may have published these Seven “E”s of Building a Christ-Centered Community before. They were initially posted on my Transformational Communities blog.

1. Christ-centered Entrepreneurship that celebrates the dignity of the person and affirms the priesthood of every believer and a creative creation of God.

2. Christ-centered Education that fosters a community of earnest seekers for truth and equips that seeking.

3. Christ-centered Engagement that encourages full participation of every person in the life of the community while lifting up the value and responsibility of all to all.

4. Christ-centered Economics that returns to the biblical principle of the steward of the oikos (household) to find the literal meaning of the term and approaches the subject with the understanding that everything belongs to God.

5. Christ-centered Environmentalism which takes stewardship to the next level of commitment, building sustainable and responsible systems and loving our neighbors who are yet to occupy this planet.

6. Christ-centered Evangelism which knows that the proclamation of the good news of the Kingdom of God is always at the heart of a vital community.

7. Christ-centered Exchange which opens doors of communication and sharing among diverse peoples and invites everyone in the community to the table.

Take Some Steps of FAITH

For those who are looking for a pattern, program, or tip for a five day, five week, or five step process (You choose) to increase your capacity for faith in some dimension of your life, let me suggestion the following.

Napoleon Hill  said, “Your big opportunity may be right where you are now."

Adrian Rogers said, "It's always to soon to quit, never too soon to start. "

So start where you are right now and build faith into your life and thinking.

The first challenge is to FIND A REASON and to FOCUS on the dream God has placed in your heart, the one thing that you must do,become, and acheive in life.

I have often said that  :

A  Way without a Y (WHY) is a WA – meaningless concept. God has placed a big dream in each person’s heart just as He has a dream for you, your church, your busines, and for His world. Will you commit to seek Him for that dream this week? 

Let's use F-A-I-T-H as an acronym for the steps (weeks, months) we need to devote to this process.

Step 1: F FIND a reason, a far-reaching goal that takes you beyond yourself and FOCUS on that dream.: Hebrews 1:1 : Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 

Step 2: A ADJUSTMENTS and ATTITUDES : Philippians 2:5 - Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

Step 3: I . IMAGINE new possibilities and INVEST your life in what God is doing in and through you. Ephesians 3:20 – Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine according to His power at work in us

Step 4: T TRUSTING God: Psalm 37:3-5 – Trust in the Lord and  do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn; the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Step 5: H. HARVEST the Fruit: Galatians 6:9 –Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.    

Remind me and I will write  more about Step 1 next.