Acronyms Feed

S.A.L.E.S. - an Acronym for Success


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"What are you selling?"

I ask that question to the well dressed, smiling young person who has asked for ten minutes of my time, sitting across from my desk. I get a look that suggests I have demoted them to scraping scum off the bottom of a sewage pipe with a toothbrush with all the status and dignity they associate with that.

"I am not here to sell you anything," they insist. In a way, that is correct.

They are exposing me to information I don't have, opportunities of which I am not aware, and a relationship I do not have with them and their company. They are educating me. They are listening to me. They are trying to connect me with what I want and need.

But they are also selling something they believe in in a way that is mutually beneficial and that is honorable.

Sales is not a dirty word or a dishonorable profession - especially when you spell it right.

Here's a little spelling lesson. Here are some principles that are vital to your success in sales, but not exhaustive:

S = Sincerity. You cannot disguise some other motivation as sincerity and fool people. You must believe in what you are promoting, representing, preaching, teaching, or selling.

A = Attitude. It doesn't matter how often I talk about attitude, it is not enough, because your attitude will make or break you in any kind of sales. Bad attitudes lead to poor results. Positive attitudes put you on the road to success.

L = Laughter. Your sense of humor makes you likable and someone who is easy to relate to. I am not talking about being silly and unprofessional, but your ability to laugh with people shows that you are relaxed and confident. Among other things, it is a metaphor for transparency and authenticity.

E = Ethics. You need to be honest. No one does business with a cheat more than once. Whatever you do, do the right thing. Even if it means losing a sale, do the right thing.

S = Spirit. I mean your spirit, not God's. You need that too and ultimately. I mean life and energy, enthusiasm and motivation that comes from the depths of your being, that gets you up and going and keeps you going. I mean finding that inner voice that encourages you, that drive that moves you, and that courage that keeps you keeping on. Come to think of it, I am talking about the Spirit of God working with your spirit.

What are you selling? 

I appreciate it when you can tell me in a few words and with the right approach and I want you to win every time you help me win. Go out and sell something worth selling!

But first sell yourself to yourself!



Charting Greatness

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Volumes have been written on greatness. There is not shortage of quotes, quips, and clever levers. When challenged to chart, assess, and assign the quality of 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).

The quotes that follow do not contradict that one overarching truth. In fact, they expound upon it. They are to be seen against the backdrop of servant leadership

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.

Finally, Jesus said that a great citizen-servant in His Kingdom, would look a lot like a child.

When did you ever see a little child who was not eager to help and serve?

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.


Don’t Give Up Today

Do not quit today
At this very moment, out of the thousands receiving this post, someone is considering quitting.

It is not their job that they are tempted to walk out on, or necessarily their marriage, or anything that anyone will immediately notice. It is something far more important ... their dreams.

Someone is about to give up on their dreams and it will show gradually and in very subtle ways.

They are discouraged and hopeless and the rewards just are not coming from their efforts.

I have one word for you, dear friend, and it is not necessarily brilliant. There will be tomorrow. You will have countless opportunities to quit. Quitting will always be an option for you unless and until you come to the place of deciding that it is not.

Here is the word: WAIT.

I am just saying, wait. Don't quit today. Give it another day and get back with me. You have no idea what inspiration, burst of energy, word of encouragement, seed of an idea, or a Word from God is right around the corner for you.

You just don't know. You still have some strength; use it to get through the day. You still have some faith; apply it. You still have time; you don't have to quit today.

Down time is OK. In fact, it is sometimes necessary. Down time is waiting time - time to "not quit."

There is always tomorrow to throw away your hopes, dreams, ideas, and the investments you have already made. You don't have to quit today.

I know you can do that. While you are waiting to regain your belief in yourself, use a little of mine because I believe in you.

You can …

“We can do anything we want if we stick to it long enough.” Helen Keller

“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.” - Walt Disney

“Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin now!” - Goethe

“Humanity cannot forget its dreamers. It cannot let their ideas fade and die. It lives in them. It knows them as the realities which it shall one day see and know. Composers, sculptors, painters, poets, prophets and sages these are the makers of tomorrow. These are the architects of heaven.” - John Donne

“Commit yourself to a dream. Nobody who tries to do something great but fails is a total failure. Why? Because he can always rest assured that he succeeded in life's most important battle; he defeated his fear of trying.” - Dr. Robert Schuller

You Have Today!

You have today to do, to be, to experience, and to share whatever it is that burns within you heart to do, be, experience, and share.

You have today, and while it may not be enough for you, it is what you have for as long as it lasts.

You have already begun today as you read these words. You have stepped into the stream of life in the division of time that we name as individual days and you have begun to participate in this one day that is absolutely unique, It has never been before and never will be again.

You have it and, if you are like me, you have already wasted part of it.

You will probably waste a bit more, but just thinking about how precious the day really is, you have also already begun to consider how you will make the best of it. You are plotting a course for what you will accomplish and how you will enrich other people because, having considered the remote possibility that this is your only day, you want it to be significant.

You have today - at least part of it because you are already in it. If it should be cut short, you will have lived this day. If you make it to the end, you will have tomorrow. Within one short second of completing a day, we have another.

This is not rocket science. Nor is it breaking news, but it is very, very important.

You see, days tend to slip away and as they slip, they fall into an abyss of neglect and despair. We look back and wonder where they went and wish that we could recapture them and redeem all of our lost opportunities.

We cannot - except in the sense that what we accomplish today can bring meaning to yesterday. We can slowly transform what is lost into something of meaning and hope. It has some of the benefits of time travel without all the messy risk.

TODAY is …

T - Temporal, temporary, and tempestuous. It is fleeting, but it is also unpredictable and partially unknown. All we know for sure is that it will end and that it will move in some way toward our intentions while having a mind of its own and a tendency to surprise us.

O - Our Opportunity to do something about our lives, enrich the lives of others, reinterpret the past, and reinvent the future. It is one of a kind and it is pregnant with possibilities.

D - Definite. We definitely have today, right now to do something. Perhaps this is an incentive to avoid procrastination of that thing that is burning in our hearts. Make the D into a DO and DO the thing that you know you Desire and need to do, that thing that relates to your Dream, that which your fear has prevented until right now.

A - About Attitude. I use the word "attitude" repeatedly in my acronyms, not because I can't think of any other A words, but because it is so crucial to everything about today, tomorrow, and the future. It determines our course; it drives our dreams; it infects our motives; it orients our thinking; it makes us or breaks us. We must see TODAY with an attitude of joy, wonder, optimism, and responsibility as we embrace its power for good.

Y - YOURS! It is yours. What will you do with it?

May your today be wonderful and may you have many, many tomorrows. You do have today.


"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

I've "Gotta Go!"

Sometimes on the phone,

Sometimes in person,

Often on-line,

Occasionally when knocking on the door of the privy,

Always first thing in the morning ...

Gotta go!

When the waves of life's stormy seas become more

Than the tired cliche they are ...

And actually start to soak the boat,


I gotta go.

I do mean, to be correct, "I have to go" or

"I must go" or

"Pardon me"

OR ...

"Bye now!"

But "Gotta go" is just more ...



G - Grabbing necessity
O - Overwhelming urge
T -  Temporal urgency (urge on steroids)
T - Trust me; its true!
A - After I've gone, I'll explain.

GO -
G - Get going and get in the groove; its time for movement.
O - Out of here.

And that is where I am now ...

And will be at moments through the day ...

BUT ...

I felt

I had to write

Even something trite ...

I may not have time later.

What must be done, must be done now

Because ONE DAY ...


When I say,

"Gotta Go!"

I'll really have to go ...

And ...

In spite of my efforts ...

Or anyone's

I'll be gone.

You too!

Gotta go ...

I'll probably be back ...

But you never know.


        SEIZE THE MOMENT!!!!

Ask a Stupid Question


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After you ever asked or been asked a stupid question?

Some years ago, a noted blogger offered to answer questions all day long, even the "stupid" ones. That prompted me to think about stupid questions. What constitutes them? How does the asking of them often nullify their stupidity?

There is an old adage that the only stupid question is the one we do not ask. That is true sometimes, but there really are stupid questions that are asked.

"Stupid" has this etymology:


"Middle French stupide, from Latin stupidus, from stupēre to be numb, be astonished"

The relationship between exercising stupidity and being in a stupor is profound.

1 : a condition of greatly dulled or completely suspended sense or sensibility<a drunken stupor> 2 : a state of extreme apathy or torpor resulting often from stress or shock

Therefore, a stupid question is one that is numb, disengaged, apathetic, or drunken.

To break it down with an acronym, a stupid question has these characteristics:

S - Surface - It is exemplified by the student who, after a moving lecture of the meaning of life, raises his hand and, as the professor prepares of an insightful and probing question asks, "Is this going to be on the final?"

T - Trivial - With the opportunity to probe some pretty profound principles of perpetual truth, we focus on insignificant details. Another professor, Dr. Charles Tyer, once lectured us from a classroom overlooking a bucolic mountain view. He asked us if we were focused on the view or on the fly specks on the window. Trivial questions miss the view for the fly specks.

U - Unconsidered - Any question worth asking someone else is worth asking oneself first. The ask if (a) you could not find the answer within yourself, (b) you want a second opinion, or (c) you sense that there are any number of answers and approaches to the question and you wish to enter into dialogue over it. Once you have wrestled a while with a question, it is no longer stupid.

P - Perfunctory - A perfunctory question is one you are using to accomplish something other than the quest for truth. It is an obligatory question like the one at the blood donation center when they ask if you have had marital relations with a non-human primate in the last 12 months. It is the question where you state your name for the record. It is merely functional and automatic. Anyone can ask it given a script.

I - Inflammatory - An inflammatory question is asked when you know that the answer is going to embarrass,indict, inflame, or discredit the person giving the answer. In online forums,people who asked such questions used to be called "flamers." They were just trying to start fires. There was no value placed on the quest for truth.

D - Disengaged - This is the essence of stupidity in every area of life. As Forest Gump's mother said, "Stupid is as stupid does." That is why Gump was never stupid in spite of his lower than average intelligence quotient. In spite of the challenges he faced, when he set out to do something, he fully engaged in the process. When he asked a question, he really wanted to know the answer. He looked beneath the surface of things. He thought about life and the big questions. Gump was, as his drill sergeant said, "brilliant," because he was fully engaged.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. No question that digs beneath the surface a bit, ignores the fly specks, is given some thought, comes from your own heart and mind, seeks real answers, and is fully engaged can ever be a stupid question. ASK!


Staying Alive: Jive or Thrive


Life is its natural state of being. Some flowers are in full bloom and some  a wilting and waiting for death.

At any given time, depending on your perspective and the narrative through which you filter life's events and trends, things are either going in the right direction or plunging into the depths of doom. Our instincts for self preservation are riding on desperation or momentum. We dearly desire to stay alive in something more meaningful than hollow existence. That can be a jive or we can thrive.

"Jive" can be the music of swing or the language of nonsense.  It is an apt description of how many deal with challenges, dangers, and complexities in a chaotic world.

Like the dips, sways, and slides of a "Dancing with the Stars" episode or the meaningless chatter that fills in the blanks, we are caught up in malaise of shifting realities and inconsistent commentary.

We're standing on the beach during a particularly windy change of tide and it is hard to maintain a foothold.

And yet, some people thrive. It has been historically true and is true today.

We can thrive through the social, political, and economic jive.

First, we must stop listening to the jive of doomsayers and tune in to a different voice - the voice of the THRIVE.

Think on these things," the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, things that promote life, health, well-being, and wholeness. "These things" are the things that keep us truly alive.

This voice declares that to thrive, one must make six decisions:

1 - The T is for a commitment to TAP into everything that is positive, opportunistic, wholesome, encouraging, and substantive in the moment. Whatever music the band is playing, dance to the most positive rhythms and melodies that are interwoven into the composition of current events. Great ideas are still emerging; great art is being composed; great products are being manufactured; great lives are emerging. You can be a part of the greatness all around. That which others might mean for evil, Joseph of old learned, God might mean for good. TAP into the positive.

2 - The H is for HOLD and the commitment is to HOLD onto ones noblest, purist, and best values. Think on "whatsoever things are" worthy of your thoughts and maintain your commitments in spite of the obstacles. Too often, we sacrifice what is value on the altar of hardship for the sake of expediency. When we do so, we may survive, but we do not thrive. Your arrival at greatness surpasses survival of difficulty. Hold onto truth, goodwill, compassion, love, integrity, and your core mission in life. Hold on to your values. People who emerge from storms with their values intact build a foundation for lasting success and significance.

3 - The R is for RELEASE. Make a commitment to RELEASE the fear in your life into a vast sea of faith. Just let it go. Do not allow it to overcome, hinder, intimidate, or define you. Find what part of your personality is clinging to fear and release your grip. This is easier said than done because fear becomes ingrained. Start by disallowing any new fears to creep in no matter how reputable or respected their sources. "Fear not." Become a person of hope in the midst of the only context where hope is relevant - difficulty.

4 - The next commitment starts with the letter I and it is INVESTMENT. Invest your resources. Some will say that this is not the time to make investments. It may not be the time for foolish or frivolous investments, but it is the time to invest in yourself, your dreams, and your future. Discover the resources of time, money, energy, and influence that you possess which are available to you and, perhaps of greater value now than they were in boom times. INVEST your resources. Give yourself away. Make it a commitment.

5 - The V is for VISUALIZE. Make a commitment to visualize better times - but beyond that, a positive and glorious outcome to your efforts. Take the risk to see, hear, taste, and imagine a future that exists now only in your dreams. Be a visionary and shape that which is to come in your life and your world. This is called faith and it is a God thing. "For that which is seen is temporal, but that which is unseen is eternal."

6 - The E in THRIVE is for EFFORT. Don't kid yourself; there is some work to be done and you must do it if you will thrive in a time when others merely survive and many do not even do that. Discouragement, despondency, hopelessness, and cynicism will sap your faith and, in turn, your strength. You may not feel like putting forth the effort. Do it anyway. Sometimes you are merely choice or an activity away from a breakthrough when you quit. Don't quit. Keep on keeping on.

"Change and decay in all about I see. Oh Thou, who changest not, abide with me."

Whether or not the circumstances of your life change, you can change, and in that change, you can THRIVE.


Keep On Keeping On

Don't quit

I was asked, yesterday, the secret of staying in one church for 20 years. the first answer that popped into my head was the one I gave, "Don't quit."

That's it. Don't quit!

Keep on

The key to not throwing in the towel and quitting on your dream may be as simple as one simple action following a decisive choice.

Decide to do something and then, do something.

In so doing, you will have taken a step. You will have closed the gap between inaction and action and you will have stayed in the ball game for one more inning.

You are staying alive. Sometimes staying alive to fight another day is enough. It's called, "hanging on."

"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. " Franklin D. Roosevelt

Keep on in Hope

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." - Romans 15:13 (New International Version - NIV - Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society )

God is, among so many other things, the God of hope. He tends to reveal Himself by various descriptive names in order to meet us where we are at our point of challenge.

When you feel like quitting, it is often when you are also feeling most hopeless. There is a remedy. In this short simple verse, Paul describes a Daily Double, a Daily Duty, and a Dependable Dynamic.

The Daily Double

The reality that He is, for us, the God of hope cannot help but encourage us if we believe and receive the hope He gives. He comes to us with a Daily Double - two qualities come to us in abundance when we embrace His hope: joy and peace.

There is no joy for a hopeless person. There is no reason to arise in the morning. Their is no bounce in his step, no light in his eyes, and no lift in his voice. His heart is heavy because he sees a dark, dim, dreary road ahead for years to come.

He is not hopeless; he just thinks he is because he does not yet know the God of hope.

There is hope for your future, hope for your family, hope for your business, hope for your ministry because there is a God of hope who has never relinquished His position as Lord of the universe. He is not the universe; He is its designer and master. He governs the principles that govern us and He is decreed that where He is, there is hope!

He is the grand deal-breaker when circumstances add up against you. Hopelessness does not stand a chance. If there is a vacuum  in your life where there ought to be joy, trust God.

In today's Proverbs, chapter 3, verse 5-6, we are admonished, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall bring it to pass."

Jump for joy! Do it on faith. You are about to be filled to overflowing with giddy, grateful joy!

My friend Mahilda just couldn't get it. She scowled and moped all through the day. "I just don't feel any hope," she would complain to any who would listen. Like Paul, her friends started praying that the God of hope would fill her with joy and peace. One day, while reading the Bible, she found this verse, "The God of hope ..."

"If God is the God of hope, and He is present in my life, then I have hope," she thought. And I don't have to feel hopeful to be hopeful. I just have to believe in God. OK! I can do that!"

It made the difference and there was a new bounce, smile, and exuberance in her life and she started to discover opportunities that she had been missing and would have continued to miss. Not only that, her positive attitude made her attractive to people that came into her life and shared her joy, creating a joyful synergy that multiplied.

The second quality that comes to us in abundance when we know the God of hope and He fills our lives with Himself, is peace. Peace is not merely the absence of conflict. Nor is it the cessation of war. Peace is bigger than that; it is the wholeness and well being of a governed life. For the Christian, it is the life governed by God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is no peace for the hopeless.

There is worry, frustration, distraction, despair, discouragement, and bitterness. When there is no wholeness within, there are factions and frictions that develop. There are broken relationships, broken dreams, and broken hearts. The ungoverned heart is never at peace; the hopeless heart keeps its host awake at night in a constant, thought sometimes low level of anxiety and concern.

But the God of hope fills us with peace. We must know Him and trust Him and release our cares into His care.

When He governs us, He speaks to our hearts as Jesus spoke to the stormy waters, "Peace, be still."

The Daily Duty

There is Daily Duty - a qualification to receiving these qualities within ourselves. we must trust. It is as we trust in Him, and specifically, in Him as the God of hope, that we are filled.

When we are filled, we receive  the inner resources of joy and peace to resist the urge to quit. We keep on because of something inside us. Paul teaches us that the way we internalize these qualities is by the power of the Holy Spirit, God Himself entering into our hearts and lives as we trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

He comes in power and, as Jesus said, as one who walks alongside of us. In us and with us - what a combination!

Like Mahilda, we must learn to take His presence and hopefulness as a matter of faith and begin to act on it.

Trusting God is a daily duty that brings the richest of rewards to our lives.


K – Kinesthetic defines this as “The sense that detects bodily position, weight, or movement of the muscles, tendons, and joints.” Applied to learning of behaviors it is about doing a behavior until it becomes a part of our lives. Some people call this habit formation. Keeping on involves developing behavioral patterns that become a natural part of our lives.  Trusting is often manifested in touching. Touch your dream; touch the project; touch the challenge. Keep your hands on what you are keeping on.


Touch it with your TIME - Spend time thinking of the desired outcomes. When you are tired from the task, take time to think about why you are doing what you are doing.

Touch it with your OPTIMISM -  Peak to yourself and others with wholesome, uplifting, and optimistic words and ideas. Ephesians 4:29 (New International Version) reminds us:
not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful  for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Touch it with your UNDERSTANDING - Be a student of your mission, dream, and vision. Study it with a passion to learn and grasp the reality in your mind. Get details and concepts. Mull them over and over. Become an expert on your own life mission.

Touch in in COMMUNITY - Stand alone and fall. Stand with others and you keep standing. One of the easiest ways to fall into discouragement and loss of vision is to disassociate ourselves from positive people who build us up. Hang around some people who are on the road to making it and some who have almost . Associate with people who can serve as role models so you can see the fruit on the tree. Talk and listen to people who consistently say, "I can" and keep those who "can't" in the periphery of your circle of influence or outside it altogether. This is one of the inherent geniuses of network marketing and of the church.

Touch it with HOPE - Never lose hope. Always keep hope alive. This is the Spirit's function in your life.

E – Enthusiasm – Literally, from the Latin, enthusiasm mean having God within us. You must remain enthusiastic and nurture the spark of life and passion within you even when you are emotionally and physically drained. That requires connecting to God’s power at the very depth of your being, His Spirit within you. It takes faith and lots of it.

Paul's prayer for the Romans was based upon the reality of their relationship with God and he trusts that God is in them through the Holy Spirit and that God has the capacity to fill them with these qualities.

The person who experience real enthusiasm would be advised to make the dreams and goals of his or her life matters of instense and satisfying prayer - not only when thinking about the outcomes, but when strength is needed for the daily grind.

God is present and God will help and renew your enthusiasm

E - Elevate – There is much to elevate. Elevate your feet a bit for one thing; take a load off and relax.  You must also elevate your mission in your own thinking. Elevate the importance of what you are doing in your own thinking.

Dale Carnegie said, “Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs.  Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger.  If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves. "

And never feel ashamed of who YOU are. You are a person of significance. Never let anyone make you feel small because of your dreams or life mission :

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

P – Persevere – Press on with consistency and commitment. It is all in the PRESS.

Press on with the POWER of God. Apart from that power, we do not have the strength to press anything. Press without stress.

Press on with RESOLVE - Sing with the old spiritual, "A'int nobody gonna turn me 'round." Press or regress.

Press on with ENERGY - Energy is a strange thing. If you don't use it, you don't conserve it. You lose it. If you're not pressed, you'll get depressed.

Press on with SINCERITY - Have a sincere and purposeful focus at all times. We will scatter without sincere and pure goals. Press or digress.\

Press with SUCCESS - The real success is in the journey. Press toward success.

President Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."


O – Orientation –  The scriptures point us to a righteous life. Righteousness is about right relationships, especially about being rightly related to God and about moving in the right direction. Check your compass spiritually and in every other dimension of life and makes sure that your movement is oriented toward your goal. You are on a path. You are not at your desitination. Don't judge yourself by where you are, but by progress and vision. Orient yourself in the direction of God's best for your life and keep on keeping on - even if today's step is a baby step.

Ella Fitzgerald said, "It isn't where you came from, its where you're going that counts."

N – NEVER – Never quit. Create momentum in your life by simply not quitting. Make that a decision and even if you can ‘t do much, do something. Perfectionism is not your friend. It will whisper in your ear that because you are not the best yet, there is no point. Don’t listen. Listen instead to Sir Winston Churchill:

“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense”

There will be some setbacks and step backs. There will be some mistakes and failures. Never mind them.

You were made for a purpose. Keep on keeping on.

The Dependable Dynamic
Finally, there is a Dependable Dynamic that makes it happen, the power of the Holy Spirit. We have already spoken of Him, but this is major.

We can do all the right things all the time, but if there is no power that enforces the spiritual laws and graces that we affirm, there is no hope. We are promised that we will overflow, into other people’s lives and all around, with boundless, bountiful, audacious hope and that the river flowing through us will never run dry.

How does that happen? It happens through the power of the living, ever present, all powerful, presence of God through His Holy Spirit. In Him, we have plugged into the endless source and we never have to economize when we tap into Him.

It takes submission, sincerity, and celebration to fully realize what it means to be filled with Him, but we have a lifetime to learn and now to begin.

Jesus said two things about the coming of the Holy Spirit. One was that in the Spirit, He would not leave us comfortless, but that he would come to us. The second was that because He went to the Father and would send His Spirit, we would do even greater works than He did among us.

If that is not a cause for hope, nothing is - and He is the God of hope. And He sends His Dependable Dynamic, from Himself, to fill us and govern our hearts, setting them free from all despair, defeat, and worry to become great and mighty forces for His good in the world.

You have a bright future because you have God of hope! Don't quit; Keep On!


The opposite of keeping on is not so much turning off as it is neglect. “Keep” suggests vigilance and attention. "On" is certainly across the chart from "off", but the pathway to off is inattention. It is not taking the next step of vigilance.


Pace yourself, relax, give yourself a break, but do something for your business or ministry today. Do it consciously and give yourself credit for it. You may fail. When you do, keep this in mind:

"When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time.""
- Author Unknown

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. " - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13 (New International Version)

The pathway of perseverance may not always be dramatic action or massive results, but it will always involve a choice and a response. On that pathway, there is hope. Where there is hope there is joy. Where there is joy, there is energy.  God is the source, but if we are not open to trusting, we will dam the source of our power. The keep on, we must move forward.


Bonus Quotes on Perseverance

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. – John Quincy Adams

Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties

It is the curse of talent that, although it labors with greater steadiness and perseverance than genius, it does not reach its goal, while genius already on the summit of the ideal, gazes laughingly about.  – Robert A. Schumann

Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.  - Plutarch

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. (Ephesians 6:18)

Genius is divine perseverance. Genius I cannot claim nor even extra brightness but perseverance all can have.  – Woodrow Wilson

Listen to and read stories - nonfiction 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 bestselling author Andy Andrews tells. Perhaps you will be too.

Staying the Course


Staying the course is an effort. Without the effort, there is no movement because the course does not drag us through. We must take steps and those steps are sometimes on uneven ground and along winding paths with ascents and descents.

We must stay it and that demands focus, refocus, and refinement.

  • S -  Steady, constant determination with an integrity of focus and commitment.
  • T - Tenacity not to be deterred, discouraged, or distracted from our life mission.
  • A - Activity appropriate to the goals we have adopted.
  • Y - "Yes, Yes" living in a culture that is addicted to "no"s and negative feedback.

Funny thing, when we STAY, this way, we MOVE forward along the course.

  • C - Constant consciousness of a compelling calling.
  • O - Obstinate, objective, outlook on our desired outcomes.
  • U - Undying  understanding of a undeniable universe of possibilities we envision.
  • R - Reach - It is a reach and a stretch to realize that which is unrealized except in our clear vision of what can be.
  • S - Simplicity - The course is not complicated or vague. We can state the outcome we desire.
  • E - Eagerness - We desire it deeply and will stop at nothing less.

image from

Some Cliches on the Road to Success - Which Are True!



Along Success Valley Drive
There is actually a road to Success in Central California. Traveling west from Porterville on highway 190, you will soon see signs indicating that you are, in fact, on the road to Success whether you knew it or not.

Life can be like that.

But know these things:

#1 - The road to success is paved with the cobblestones of failure, defeat, disappointment, and loss. We recently rented and viewed, "We Are Marshall." There is a poignant moment in this film set in 1971 about a team, a university, and a city coming back from the loss of an entire football team and many community leaders in one fatal airplane crash. The question arises about whether or not winning is everything and the coach muses that he has always felt that way and will feel that way again in the future. However, in that moment, what counted was getting the team on the field, showing up, risking loss, and playing the game. Once they had achieved that, they could begin to win somewhere down the road. You will never reach your destination if you don't get on the road. Take the risk.

#2 - The road to success has some sharp and unexpected turns. You can't anticipate all of them, but you better be flexible enough to turn with them or you will find yourself stuck in a field or gully or worse. Pay attention to the signs and to the road. Anticipate what you can, but don't rely on predictability. The thing about this road is that it can change in a moment and you need to be ready for change, crisis, and opportunity.

#3 - The road to success has some pit stops. Take them. There used to be only one stop on the West Virginia Turnpike between Princeton and Charleston. If you didn't take it, a little time card would show whether or not you had been speeding. There was no point. People would stop to kill time to cover up their haste. On the road of life you must stop to rest, refresh, and renew. You could press on past the rest places, but you do so to your detriment and the detriment of your cause. You will not be your best. You will not be as productive and efficient in your use of energy. Take the rest stops along the way.

#4 - There are narrow places, slow downs, road blocks, and other forms of frustration along the way that call for attention and intention that may not come naturally to you, but will be necessary to get through to success. You may believe that sitting in stop and go traffic is the most wasteful, useless, and infuriating thing you could ever be doing, but the Designer of the Road who is the Master of All Traffic and the Source, Force, and Course of your dreams and goals knows better. Develop techniques for stilling your restless soul and channeling your energy toward alternate tasks so that no time is lost. There can be and is purpose in every moment.

#5 - There are inclines and declines on the road to success. Sometimes it takes all your power to climb and sometimes you coast. It is all one road and one destination. Just as it is never always easy, it will not always be hard. Keep on keeping on through the difficulties.

#6 - There will be switchbacks - especially if your goals are as lofty as a high mountain peak. In mountain driving, which I love, there are 180 degree reversals - sometimes 360 degree turns around a hill. If you are watching a compass, it can be very confusing. You get the impression you are going away from your goal even though you are making progress. Switchbacks in driving and setbacks in life are part of the process. You can't get there "as the crow flies." You have to follow the flow of the road and it is determined by the topography of your times and circumstances. Keep your map and compass handy, watch the signs, and keep on keeping on.

#6 - There will be speed limits, sped bumps, warning signs, and arbitrary rules along the way. Honor them. They are purposeful. Someone who knows the road far better than you put them there. The Engineer of the Universe knows the science because He invented it and has called you to your purpose. None of these "hindrances" are designed to prevent your ultimate success.

#7 - The road will end or merge with another. I remember riding country roads with my dad at night on vacations and other times knowing that he was lost, but not flustered. He quoted his father with words that made little sense to me at the time. "Son," he said, "my daddy always said that all roads lead somewhere." And he was right. Another old boy just scratched his head when asked for directions at the country filling station, finally muttering, "Mister, you can't get there from here."

But you can. It may take some course corrections, more time than you allotted, more energy, a lot of patience, repairs on your vehicle, multiple vehicles, and change in your own life, but YOU CAN GET THERE.

You are on the road to success, whether or not you know it.

Stay with it and see you there!

OH GOSH Attitude

Here is the OH GOSH approach to attitude. "OH GOSH" stands for Opportunity. Hope, Gratitude. Optimism, Service, and Humility.

O = Opportunity. The attitude of a winner in network marketing or any other endeavor is that of viewing every obstacle as an opportunity for any number of valuable things including learning, growth, meeting new people, helping others, validating one's credibility, and even laying down the cobblestones of success. After all, the road to success is paved with the cobblestones of failure.

H= Hope. Hope gets us up in the morning. It informs our attitude that it is OK to dream, plan, and work because something very likely will come of it. Hope is not a guarantee of no pain or discomfort. Rather it is something stronger than a possibility. It says that our futures are not in the hands of  a fatalistic principles of doom, but of a loving God who calls us to cooperate with Him in shaping them.

G = Gratitude. An attitude of gratitude recognizes the debt we have for all we have been given in life. The old joke is that if you see a turtle up a tree and he tells you he got there on his own, he is either lying or he doesn't understand the nature of things, or both. (Note: I heard this in a workshop hosted by Ken Blanchard.) We thrive on an attitude of gratitude. With it, we grow better instead of bitter through the trials of life.

O = Optimism. We choose whether to look on the bright side or the dark side of things, to focus our gazes forward or backward, and to affirm our faith rather than our doubt. Optimism is not the foe of realism. What makes us think that pessimism is more realistic than optimism? It is often the choice that determines the outcome. Get real; bring back Pollyanna.

S = Service. If we, who dabble or delve into to the realm of networking and other business ventures will adopt a servant attitude, we will stop wasting time complaining about our inconveniences, perceiving slights, and nursing wounds. Zig Ziglar called networkers to a higher focus when he said, "You can have anything you want if you make it your main objective to help other people get what they want." (paraphrased)

H= Humility. If we are servants, we will be humble. We will succeed faster if we learn that it is not all about us. It is about the IT of it and it is about the other person. Humility is not negative self-image. A person with a healthy self esteem can be very humble because he/she has nothing to prove, no reputation to fight for, no need to be heard above everyone else, and is not threatened by the success of others.

Sharpen Up

Sharpen Up

Are you taking full advantage of the opportunities that come to you with arms and legs every day?

You have been gifted with associates above you and below you on charts made by human hands who have the capacity to add value to your life with every conversation and as you observe them.

Some of them make big mistakes, but even they are not useless. You can use them as examples of what not to do.

You can learn from everyone with whom you come into contact.

Proverbs 27:17 in the NIV says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

How does this happen? Many ways. Perhaps we can touch on a few of them with the word,SHARP.

S = Seeing - We observe the other person's life, choices, habits, techniques, strategies, behavior, and interactions and learn. If we will watch people closely, we will collect valuable information and will observe timeless principles being fleshed out in their lives. Paul once told some of the disciples to follow him as he followed Christ.

H = Hassle - The word means "struggle" or "contest," but we use it to refer to the resistance we sometimes get when we need to reevaluate our behaviors and choices. So it is sort of a struggle that begins within us and continues as others compete with us or challenge us about our behaviors. we get shaper and either change our choices or become stronger in them. Never discount the benefit of a good hassle.

A = Accountability - If we are never accountable to anyone, we will drift into an undisciplined and unproductive life. That is almost always true because God has made us for community and has designed systems of accountability into the framework of churches and businesses. Network marketing employs that principle. So, call your leader, your pastor, or your accountability partner and do it regularly.

R - Respect - We learn respect for ourselves by respecting others, We learn respect for others when we reverence and respect God and His handiwork in fashioning people so magnificently. When you look upon one of those polished pieces of iron with arms and legs, you are looking upon the very handiwork of God. You will get sharper by respecting people.

P - Practice - People give us the opportunity to practice principles, to practice our presentations, and to practice our principles. People sharpen people through practice, interaction, conversion, struggle, and shared labor.

Don't be a loner. If you make the choice to do it all yourself, by yourself, you will suffer unnecessary setbacks and delays. Let other people make you sharper and let them benefit through their association with you as well.

Bacon - Sizzling - Sensual - Successful



Photo by Casey DeViese on Unsplash

I was just testing if the whole "bacon" myth still works in gathering attention to tweets. We shall see. Whether it does or not, something is sizzling in my mind about how we gain enough attention to communicate whatever message is burning within our hearts.

I actually do not eat bacon anymore or any other meat, but its sizzling sound and sensual smell draw me to the kitchen whenever it is being prepared.

It still influences me.

I don't know exactly why, but it does. Sometimes I eat veggie bacon and I like it because it is crisp and salty and it successfully stimulates my senses.

We are a sensual people with activated right brains that inform the rest of our thinking that we cannot always be logical.

Is there a lesson?

Do I have to speak to something other than a person's intellect if my goal is to get their attention and reason with them?


Something needs to sizzle before it can be successfully introduced. We need some sort of bacon to grab people's attention. 

So, here is my slice of bacon for you:

B - Beacon.

We have to shine in order to draw attention to what we want to communicate. Excuse me a moment while I take a bite of the sizzling platter they just brought me at Denny's - egg whites, avocado, salsa, zucchini, and other vegetables --- and it is sizzling. Vegetables sizzle. It is a beacon beckoning me. I'll be back in a paragraph. OK - Now I am back - Your beacon is the signal you send out. Choose it carefuly and creatively.

A - Appeal.

Once you have someone's attention, what they see must have something appealing to keep that attention. The One who had "no form or comeliness" also created beauty and celebrated beauty everywhere. His power of attraction was a spiritual appeal. There is something creative and artistic in each of us that we can let the world see. In other words, offer something that appeals. If you cannot create it, borrow it (with permission and proper attribution, of course).

C - Content.

You have to offer something other than an appealing label. You have to give people something in your communication that adds value to their life or work. You can be a content creator, a content distributor, or a content networker, but you have to offer something of value on your page or blog, in your speech, or in whatever presentation format you are developing. It is not ALL about the package. Eventually, someone will want to actually EAT the bacon.

O - Oats

OK, that is not obvious, and oats may or may not be the breakfast of choice for you, but they actually beat a steady diet of only bacon with all of its appeal. The bacon brings the kids to breakfast, but it is not the main item on the menu. It is not the entree; it is a side dish. Once you have actually engaged people in conversation, which is always two way, then you can introduce some healthy choices for their bodies, lives, and communities. You have earned trust and you have offered value that they can see. Now you can make your point and introduce concepts they have never considered -- like whole oats with almonds, fruit, and maybe even some flax seed!

N  Never ...

...  really, never ... misuse your power to draw people, manipulate, and influence. Always be truthful, respectful, and cautious, knowing that you have tools that can draw the masses and speak to their hearts. The more your charisma sizzles, the more careful you need to be to enable people to think for themselves and to empower them to use the tools you offer at their own discretion.

We all want followers whom we can influence, but remember that with influence comes great responsibility.

Let your bacon sizzle in the ears of the sensuous seekers among us and may you enjoy great success in getting your message out.



GROW Acronym

I had to throw together a speech for a parenting class and for a parenting educators class last week. Both were graduating. The applications were slightly different as were the illustrations, but the outline was the same. Keep growing. You can't be of much use to anyone, your children or your students, if you are not growing as a person and growing professionally. Not to grow is to die. When cell division ceases in an organism, death comes quickly.

G - Give.

Growers are givers and givers are growers. Some things can only multiply if you give them away.

R - Reach out.

As someone said, and I believe it was Ken Blanchard when I heard it, "If you ever see a turtle at the top of a pole and he tells you he got there on his own, he is either lying or he doesn't understand the nature of things, or both." We need others in order to keep moving forward.

O - Overcome

Obstacle by allowing them to become Opportunities. This is an old one, but it is so true. The building blocks of your life are the same things that other people use as excuses for not moving forward.

W - Work on it ...

... and work at it and work it out!!!

Growing is a 4-letter word; WORK. you have to put some energy behind this thing. It will not happen unintentionally or without effort.

I - Intentionally Invest... yourself and the process. That means work too, but also time, resources, sacrifices, and whatever it takes to become the person you were made to be. Growth is costly. We must decide we are willing to pay the price.

N - Negotiate with people.

The word literally means "to carry on business." In the broader sense it reminds us that a big part of our personal growth happens as we develop the people skills necessary to work with, learn from, and collaborate with other people. It involves the mindset that enables us to lose some ground in order to gain a lot more ground.

G - Get up and Get Going!!!!

This is not just about the future. It is about now! You can't wait for a big inspiration or motivation. You must motivate yourself and there is no better time than the time you see on the clock in front of you. Get on with it!!!!!

Do you have that? Good. Can I throw away the napkin now????

Little Lessons from Proverbs 6

We can learn much from litte!

 Proverbs 6:6-8- Little Lessons.

The ANT is tiny. It has no commander. Much like the recent campaigns in some cities through Facebook to access the hunger funds Walmart is donating, there is a convergence of energies where ants (and people) just seem to know what to do and start doing it.

Then, leadership emerges, but there is no commander; no one giving orders; no centralized structure.

Ants work. We can be caught up in a paralysis of analysis and go nowhere ... or ... we can do no analysis and spin our wheels.

Take time to think about purpose and goals. Have a direction and then take the next steps - WORK the plan! Start now and move forward TODAY!

Ants work hard, store, and gather.

Here is an acronym for ANT:

A - Acting -

Just pondering, wondering, wandering, waiting, and wishing will not accomplish a goal. Accomplishment is a three letter word: ACT!

N - Nothing, not anything can stop you.

There are excuses galore available in the buffet of negative nourishment, but you can negate the negative by declaring that nothing will stop you today!

T - Take courage.

Take time. Take the next step. Take off!

Here's a video to supplement these thoughts. If the embedded video does not come through (like for you Facebook readers, the URL is:


TODAY = Time, Opportunity, Definition, Action, and YES!


Just an acronym for TODAY:



Today is certainly a matter of timing. It is now, the time you are in, the only time you can be sure you have. Use it or abuse it; it is what it is.


There are opportunities today that did not exist yesterday and may not exist tomorrow. Will you embrace them or let them pass? What will you do about them? We are well into today. Decisions must be made. Make them now and follow through.


... is easily defined. Everyone knows what it is. It needs no explanation. If I say I will do something today, it means before midnight. Tomorrow is another matter. What will you do today? It is a matter of integrity to DO what you say you will do within this well defined moment in time.


Attitudes drive actions, but actions reveal our real attitudes. Now is the time to decide on a course of action that will drive you to the next level of movement toward your objectives.


Say , no shout YES to your hopes, dreams, and challenges today. Embrace today and squeeze every ounce of life out of it that there is. Then rest tonight and rise for a new day tomorrow!


3 Things to Do in a Hurry

I am in a hurry.

I do not like wasting time.

I have some time ... but not much.

I can either do something or write about doing something.

That gave me a title and a premise. What are three things a person can do in a hurry that are valuable in their own right and not just killing time?


That is one thing. A person can take a moment and reflect, retrospect, or connect the dots on multiple strands of thought. Not usually thought of as something we 'do," thinking actually takes some time, but can be accomplished in small bytes of time.


That is another thing. One can close one's eyes and rest a moment. In that resting, one can meditate, cogitate, and integrate one's thinking and experiences. What is wrong with just interjecting and inflicting some margins here and there. If margins give you migraines, then migrate to the third thing you can "do."


Find someone in proximity to you and engage in a short conversation. If you must consider it networking, exchange business cards. Whatever you do, ask questions, listen, and mentally record what you learn. Talking to people is not just a space filling activity; it is life-enhancing.

If you don't care for those three suggestions, you can always just raise a STINK about how much time you are killing. I don't recommend it. I would prefer to use time to give birth to new and living ideas and relationships.

That is how I just spent the last ten minutes of my life since I started this entry. Now, I must leave for a meeting.



I was lifting weights yesterday.

I suppose I lifted a bit too much -- or for too long --- or on top of an injury --- or something.

No pain, no gain. I know and embrace that. I also know that I can overdo it. There is a balance to it all and sometimes I don't know where the edge is until I've gone over it.

All is well. We break down tissue and the healing brings development, strength, and a host of benefits.

None of those dead weights achieved any benefit from being lifted by me. I received them all. It is different with lifting people. Then, the person lifting and and the person being lifted are both blessed.

So, I thought I'd see what we could do for an acronym on "lift."

L - Love - No to be trite, but if what we do to lift another is not moved by love and enfused with love, nothing positive has happened. It is always about the other person and never about ourselves. When I lift weights, it is about God and me. When I lift people, it is about God and them and I get benefits in a peripheral way.

I - Intuition - How do you know when to encourage, edify, or lend a hand to help? You learn to feel your way through it. You do that by developing the vulnerable art of sensitivity. For some, it comes easy. For others, it is counter-intuitive to be intuitive. However, by slowing down and using all of our senses, we will know when we are needed.

F - Fight - When we lift a weight, we are fighting resistance. The resistance is the weight, but the greater resistance is within us. We press against what seems to be an unmovable force with strength we do not know we possess. And that force retreats. We are lending our shoulders to a soul who does not know he or she can move upward. We are not fighting their battles for them, but with them. We become a team and rejoice with them when they overcome their resistance. In the process, we realize that we have overcome much as well.

T - Today - The question is, and always is, "Who can I lift today?" We make ourselves available and stay available. If we are willing, the one who needs a lift will cross our paths. If will happen because the world is full of people who are struggling. Some are discouraged. Others just need a hand. God will bring you into contact with people who need a lift and with others who will lift you. After all, it is also His work:

1 Samuel 2:8
"He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. "For the foundations of the earth are the LORD's; upon them he has set the world." (NIV)


 60Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?   61When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?   62What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?  63It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.  64But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.  65And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.  66From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.  67Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?  68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.  69And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.  70Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?  71He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. - John 6:60-71

What and if you see the Son of Man coming and going from Heaven? So you think you are offended now? Wait and see.

It is an aside but an effective one where He says, in essence, I don't have to prove to you who I am in order to be who I am.

But until things are settled, there are some HARD teachings that are difficult to hear (accept) and Jesus does not water them down. "You have to feed on me," He challenges His disciples. "You need me to really live." He just says it and lets people decide what they will do about it.

But it is HARD:

H - Holistic - It covers everything about their living. Tillich said that religion is ultimate concern. It envelops us and defines us. That offended many who were following and were looking for an "add-on" religious experience that could be "part of their lives." That is not what Jesus is teaching. If He is the Bread of Life, He is the primary nutrient of our being and saturates everything in our lives.

A - Activating - The spirit quickens, gives life, activates our latent potential as well as everything in our being. Sometimes in a physical healing process, we begin to have pains that we have never experienced before. That which is dead in us feels no pain or discomfort. When it is enlivened and activated, we resist. We are not sure we want to be that much alive.

R - Restrictive - It is not the invitation that is restrictive; it is the path. Elsewhere Jesus said that no man comes to the Father but by Him, but here He says, that no one can come to Him except by God. In other words, coming to Jesus is a God-thing. It is a spiritual response to a spiritual call. If we resist that, we restrict our access. These disciples and others were arguing and murmuring - perhaps with the undefined hope that Jesus would overrule their objections and overpower their doubts. He does not do that. We have to respond to whatever wooing of God we sense with openness and willingness to receive.

D - Definitive - Some will turn away. There were many, in fact. They were disciples and they quit. It was too hard. What was too hard? Jesus had just told them that He would give them eternal life, eternal food, and His eternal presence - freely and unconditionally if they believed and received. That was too hard for them. What did they have to give up? Was it pride, some notion of absolute self-sufficiency, self-righteousness, extreme legalism, an inner drive to achieve righteousness on their own. an unwillingness to give and receive grace? I don't know. It may be different from every person, but these hard sayings were definitive for them.

Then Jesus turns to those who remain and asks them to make a definitive choice.

"Will you also go away?"

They could have. He would  not have prevented them. It was their choice. It is our choice.

Where would we go?

There comes a time in our lives when we come to a place of no return. Knowing what we know, experiencing what we have experienced, there is no turning back. As the relatively contemporary hymn puts it, "I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.

You have the words of eternal life.

They had become addicted to His words the way we are addicted to food and water. This is a positive addiction/dependence because it is dependence on what is real and enduring. It is a stage in our spiritual development where we crave the "sincere milk of the word," and begin to long for meat. We can't live without it. We know that no matter what our doubts or fears. We have been drawn to God, chosen by Jesus and we know it in the depths of our beings.

We believe and are sure that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

It starts with belief that brings a surety to our hearts. Some may call that "blessed assurance." Some may call it peace. Some may call it spiritual enlightenment. It is a gift.

Their assurance was that Jesus was the Christ/Messiah, the anointed and appointed One of God, the Chosen One, the ONE. They had found Him and there was no point in looking for anything or anyone better.

It was also a conviction of His relationship with God and their potential for a relationship with God through His Son. If knowing Jesus meant they could know God, then there as no point in turning back.

The footnote to the story is that there was a faker in the group and Jesus knew it.He knew it and did nothing about it because the turn-about would come later. It was necessary to let things happen in the way they would happen. The Jesus way was not and is not to prevent all trouble before it happens or to fix everything up front.

The Jesus way is to follow Jesus as Jesus followed God's way and truth to the cross and beyond.

It is HARD and it was HARD for Jesus too, but the hard way is the true way and the way of grace and life. It is holistic, activating, restrictive (and paradoxically liberating) and definitive. Will you also turn away or will you follow?

Living in the GAP

I was at the cemetery this morning officiating the service of a man who used to attend our church.He was a quiet, decent, hard working, and interesting man with a deep commitment to Christ.

He also found himself satisfied with very simple pleasures, few possessions, and a small circle of close friends.

I would not have considered him wealthy. He has a job that could not have paid a great deal of money. He walked almost everywhere.

Yet, I am told, he left a small fortune behind.

He was just frugal and conscientious about savings and investments.

As I often do, I chose to talk about the space, dash, or gap on our tombstones between the date of our birth and death. We cannot control the dates, but we can control what happens in the gap to the extent that we are in charge of all of our choices.

It cause me to reflect on how I wish to spend my time in that gap.

G - Growing in grace, gratitude, and giving.

A - Acting so as to accept what is, acknowledge what is not, and attempt what can be.

P - Pursuing a purpose that provides peace and promotes the positive, and produces fruit for God's kingdom.

Sharpen Up

Are you taking full advantage of the opportunities that come to you with arms and legs every day?

You have been gifted with associates above you and below you on charts made by human hands who have the capacity to add value to your life with every conversation and as you observe them.

Some of them make big mistakes, but even they are not useless. You can use them as examples of what not to do.

You can learn from everyone with whom you come into contact.

Proverbs 27:17 in the NIV says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

How does this happen? Many ways. Perhaps we can touch on a few of them with the word, SHARP.

S = Seeing - We observe the other person's life, choices, habits, techniques, strategies, behavior, and interactions and learn. If we will watch people closely, we will collect valuable information and will observe timeless principles being fleshed out in their lives. Paul once told some of the disciples to follow him as he followed Christ.

H = Hassle - The word means "struggle" or "contest," but we use it to refer to the resistance we sometimes get when we need to reevaluate our behaviors and choices. So it is sort of a struggle that begins within us and continues as others compete with us or challenge us about our behaviors. we get shaper and either change our choices or become stronger in them. Never discount the benefit of a good hassle.

A = Accountability - If we are never accountable to anyone, we will drift into an undisciplined and unproductive life. That is almost always true because God has made us for community and has designed systems of accountability into the framework of churches and businesses. Network marketing employs that principle. So, call your leader, your pastor, or your accountability partner and do it regularly.

R - Respect - We learn respect for ourselves by respecting others, We learn respect for others when we reverence and respect God and His handiwork in fashioning people so magnificently. When you look upon one of those polished pieces of iron with arms and legs, you are looking upon the very handiwork of God. You will get sharper by respecting people.

P - Practice - People give us the opportunity to practice principles, to practice our presentations, and to practice our principles. People sharpen people through practice, interaction, conversion, struggle, and shared labor.

Don't be a loner. If you make the choice to do it all yourself, by yourself, you will suffer unnecessary setbacks and delays. Let other people make you sharper and let them benefit through their association with you as well.

Getting Up and Getting Going

You are sitting there, quite possibly stumbling upon this blog by accident because you are surfing the internet via a stream of consciousnesses in dedicated avoidance of whatever it is that you need to be doing right now.

I say this not as a prophet as much as a practitioner.

I can avoid tasks as much as the best of them... as much as you.

I find that avoidance falls into some neat, yet overlapping categories for me. Together, they spell, "avoid." Here they are:

A - Anxiety. There is something irrationally or even legitimately frightening about the task to which we are committed. We are afraid to start.

V - Value. We don't personally value the task. Rather, it is a burden and a duty that has been imposed on us.

O - Obstacles. We have listed as many as we can think of, but we are sure there must be more obstacles to starting - dull pencils, not enough information on hand, bad mood, weariness, no fresh ideas. The list goes on and on.

I - Intimidation. The task is just so big that we cannot wrap our brains around it.

D - Defeatism - We do not believe in our capacity to do what must be done well enough and so our perfectionism is crippling us from doing anything.

What must we do then?

Get up and get going.

Since we are already spelling, let's continue:

G - Growl at yourself. Get your attention somehow. You have lulled yourself to sleep and you can wake yourself up.

E - Energize. Tell your body to move and then, move. After moving around, get a snack and make a decision to start.

T - Terminate this connection (only after bookmarking this page).

U - Unshackle - Free your thinking from fear, intimidation, perfectionism, and obstacles. Get into a different mindset and focus on what you can do with what you do have right now.

P - Proceed. There is no substitute for starting. So start. Do something. The job will organize itself as you go along. Resources will appear or you will realize what you do or do not really need.

G - Grab - Take hold of your fear. It is your biggest enemy. The worst that can happen is a temporary failure from which you will learn lessons you could not otherwise be taught in any book.

O - Observe - Take another look at the task and observe it in the larger context of why it is important. Find the value in it and do it.

I - Invert  and Innovate- Turn your obstacle thinking into opportunity thinking by of ways you can be innovative with this task and place your own unique mark on it.

N - Nudge - Whatever intimidates you about this job is a bluff. Nudge it. Push back. Don't let it be too big for you. Break it into bite size  pieces.

G - Growl AGAIN! - This time with a shout of victory over defeatism.

Get up and get going.


Here is a dilemma: You don't have large enough blocks of time to focus on your big projects. Everything is chopped up with what we have called cracks in time available. The cracks seem to small to allow accomplishments. On the other hand, you work so hard that when you get the big blocks, you are weary and wasteful with that time. Your body doesn't want to do what is necessary for you to dig in.

What will you do?

Well, there is down time and then, there is down time.

True down time is a good thing, is to be celebrated, and is to be sanctified. It is Sabbath and we all need it.

Remember it and keep it holy. That means separate and unique and uncluttered with worry and self-flagellation over how you ought to be using it to catch up. You ARE using it to catch up. Your body is replenishing its resources and your total being is renewing itself for future full engagement.

The other sort of down time is all in your head. It is not down time at all and needs to be redefined - I do that by spelling things out.

D = Decide that you can use the time fruitfully and be ready to do so. If I seem redundant it is because I still don't have this attitude perfected in me. I need to decide and re-decide and maybe you do too. Prepare for the times when all you have is ten or fifteen minutes. So many of the jobs I procrastinate for months take less time than that.

O  =  Obligate yourself to use every moment that is not genuine rest and reflection to some productive end. Rest and reflection are also productive, so don't count them out if that is what is called for in the moment. Make a commitment to live every second of your life with purpose.

W = Walk in Wonder. It may well be that the next thought you need to think will arise from something you see or hear if you will stop to look and listen. Don't pass up the opportunities for "aha" moments because you are in such a hurry to get to the next thing.

N = Negotiate and renegotiate with time. It is not your adversary but you can enrage it and yourself by not honoring it with some attention and respect. Time can be arranged and rearranged, but it will always be a factor.

The Squeeze

You are a business, social, or spiritual entrepreneur. No doubt, you are also someone's employee while you build your dreams. Most likely, you have a family, a home, and "chores."

You are busy.

You are doing whatever you do in the cracks of your life between other major responsibilities. You frequently complain that you just don't have "enough time." You feel guilty when you relax. you feel frustrated about all the things you didn't get done.

You are in a self-imposed squeeze and, when it comes to building your dreams, you have to "squeeze things in."

Top that off with the troubling reality that you are not all that fond of tight spaces ... which is one reason why you ARE and entrepreneur -- so that you can get out of them.

Unfortunately, in order to accomplish that, you need to get into some ... for a while.

Let's consider some, quite impromptu ideas for coping with the squeeze and letting it even squeeze a little more greatness out of you and efficiency out of your schedule ... In fact, the first letter is S and the ...

S is for SCHEDULE. Make it; break it; bend it; keep it as best as possible. Make it reasonable. Break it gently. Bend it whenever necessary (So keep it flexible). Keep it as a form of disciple and as a planning tool.

Q is for QUIET. Quiet your soul. Live by grace. Receive it and give it. Relax often. Leave space in your life for God, family, self, and reflection. Whatever your spiritual, emotional, or intellectual disciplines, include a quiet time in every day. Make it the un-squeezed portion of your life.

U is for UNDERSTAND. Do what you do with a rationale and purpose. Understand yourself:  your pace, your purpose, your passion-driven energy, and your productivity index. By knowing what makes you most effective and how to apportion your energy and time, you will be able to squeeze more out of every hour. Then, also understand the task as part of the whole project and mission and what it takes to get done what you are determined to do. Live with understanding.

E is for ENERGY. Know that your productivity index is more about how you budget your energy than your time. Time is a necessary commodity, but if you have from midnight to 6 AM every day, it doesn't mean that such time is going to be productive because you will most likely be out of energy and much in need of rest.

E is also for EQUIPPING. It is said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is just as true that an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of effort. Squeezing an empty tube of toothpaste is a useless activity. Don't become encumbered with useless expenditures of valuable time and effort. Learn what you need to learn. Read what you need to read. Plan ahead. Prepare yourself and others. Equip yourself for maximum productivity in the squeeze. It may SEEM like a waste of time to read this article when you could be making a call.  Ignore that voice that discourages you from equipping yourself and keep preparing.

Z is for ZOO and it is a zoo out there -- without the cages --- more like a zoological reserve with all sorts of wild things roaming around and creating an illusion of unpredictability. The bottom line of this proposition is that  no matter how hard you try to bring order to  your life, there will be unforeseen events and circumstances. It is predictable that these will arise and with all the information, one might be able to see these crises coming, but no one  has nor can they assimilate all the data necessary. Therefore, what may be a well ordered universe manifests itself as utter chaos from time to time. Count on it and make the appropriate arrangements to cope.

E and the last E is for EITHER/OR and that is the most important letter of all because it is about our choices which are always ours alone to make. When we are in a squeeze we must decide what we are going to do, say, think, or believe. In 15 seconds one can bend over and pick up a penny on the ground, stand back up and prepare to bend down and pick up another. One person might quip that it would be a waste of time. Another might do the math and realize that at that rate, one would be making $24 per hour. At that point you'd need to ask yourself if you could be making more in that 15 second period by jotting down a great idea, making a mental note of an insight, or even speaking to the person next to you. Any of those would be more productive than complaining, blaming, or feeling sorry for oneself.

There are always choices.

You have the same number of hours in a day as everyone else, but it seems less because your dreams are bigger, your expectations higher, and your goals lofter. You will frequently find yourself squeezed, but even in the squeezes you can make choices that will make those tight spaces wide opportunities for great things to happen.

You are a winner.

- Tom Sims, The Dream Factory

SPASMS - When Life and Business Flutter


Spasms are normal in nature and in the physical body.  From earthquakes to growth spurts, the temporal world intrinsically knows that change is not 100% ooze, but at least 10%-20% jerking motion.

The same is true of life, business, culture, faith, and the economy.

That is why economic downturns may also be opportunistic upturns.

That is why the long view of life and business must allow for interruptions of the unexpected and invasions of the unanticipated. The best bet in life is to anticipate what cannot be predicted and to learn to wait it out, flow with it, and celebrate it.

We need a plan that connects to our purpose that transcends passing details of our lives. We need a vision that is independent of our circumstances and durable enough to endure crises and complications.

What, then, happens in a spasm? It can be a life crisis, a tragedy, a hardship, and economic upset, a setback, a change in the landscape of our culture, a demographic shift or any sudden change which presents a critical moment in which we must respond or just give up.

Spasms have some characteristics.

S = Stability Shaken - Something that we are leaning on gives way. Something we rely upon for balance is no longer steady enough to steady us, our methods, or our strategies. The opportunity here is for reeVALUation - which means taking a new look at what is of greatest VALUE. Realignment is necessitated and that can be a very good thing because of the drift that inevitably makes us comfortable and complacent in our assumptions. Times change and so do strategies. It often takes a crisis or spasm to shake our stability and get us back on track. Principles never change, but life and methodology do.

P = Priorities Challenged - A challenge does not equate with a defeat. It is a test. Again, we are subject to drift and there is a disturbing tendency for praxis to assert itself in first place above agreed upon priorities. Spasms challenge us to examine our practices and reconnect with our priorities. Ultimately, real priorities are reflected in budgets and calendars whether or not these are our stated or desired priorities. Spasms are a correction in this way.  One priority-related spasm question might be: Is this REALLY something I MUST do?

A = Activities Change - Sometimes this is the result of a spasm, sometimes, when the change is beyond our control, it is the cause. An unexpected sickness, a new responsibility, or a decision by someone or some entity, perhaps even a change in the bus schedule can cause an activity generated spasm in our lives. What we do every day and when we do it is important, but it is not  definitive in our lives and businesses.  Activity is supportive, not directive. It make take some reflection, reorientation, and equilibrium restoration, but you CAN survive a change of activity.

S = Two things: (A) Stuff Happens and  (B) Success is redefined. You can't help stuff happening. It does. It is neutral. Any event or circumstance can cause any number of reactions or, more pro-actively on our part, prompt any number of responses. You choose. In the process, you redefine the measuring  instruments for evaluating your success. this happens predictably as you pass through the stages of life, business, and ministry. We underestimate the affects of aging on our sense of self, purpose, and achievement. We  negate the power of contingencies to make us stop and think. Suddenly we see things from a different perspective and part of that rethinking is the way we view and measure success.

M = Management Restored - One given in any sort of spasmodic crisis is the need to return to some sort of stability and to restore personal and corporate management of our day to day activities. Neither revival nor recession can be sustained indefinitely. They have their purposes, but no purpose to leave us in a perpetual state of chaos. Let them do their work and as they do, let us dream new dreams, renew old dreams, and build new strategies. As we do, let us put our lives and businesses in order again and re-initiate the discipline of sound management.

Some things never change. Put change at the top of that list. Life is a dynamic force, centered in enduring principles and flexible enough to change colors and contexts regularly without altering it essential nature in the least. God is truth and through truth, God governs the universe. Everything else is subject to flux and spasm.

Enjoy the ride.




The Postive Power of HUNGER

I was a little taken back as I sat in the training session for aspiring vacuum cleaner salesmen and heard the trainer say, "I hope you are all in serious debt or financial trouble. If you are, you will be successful."

I didn't like what he said at the time, but I came to understand that he was right.

The wise teacher of the proverbs tells us, "“A worker's appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on” (Proverbs 16:26 NASB). This can be known through careful observation and is as true today as it was in Solomon's time.

You have to be hungry. At the very least, you must possess an appetite for more. If you are satisfied, you will stay where you are. If you are complacent, you will not exert extraordinary effort in any direction. If you are resigned to your circumstance or to the world as it is, you will not do much to change either.

Even Jesus said that those were blessed who hungered and thirsted for things to be right (ie... righteousness).

What does the hunger that works for us and drives us on look like? Let us break it down.

H - HATE. Hunger involves hate, not in the sense of vitriolic preoccupation with a destructive emotion toward other people. but the broader definition of detesting something to the point of turning away from it. You must be willing to make a clean break with your addiction to an undesirable condition in order to embrace something better. Some people are addicted to their self identities as poor failures and hopeless "losers." It takes something as dramatic as hating those designations to break free of them. Like Scarlet O'Hara you declare that you will never be hungry again. - except for the next goal.

U - URGE - We have used this word before to point to something inside that goes beyond rejecting the old to the idea of being drawn toward something in a powerful and compelling way. When you are deeply hungry for food, that hunger urges you on. You move in the direction of your goal. It drags you out of bed and out of the house. The urge is powerful and is empowered by the faith and hope that what you long for is possible with God's help and with your commitment.

N - NOTICE - When you are hungry for your goal, you start noticing things around you that you have previously ignored, things that remind you where you are going, examples of what you desire.You notice other people on the same path. You notice books, articles, and information designed to equip you in the fulfillment of your dreams. You notice open doors and opportunities. You notice people in a new way.

G - GRASP - Having identified a goal for which you hunger, you are always grasping in that direction. You hold what is in your grasp and reach for what is beyond it. You also grasp concepts you never would have paid any attention to before because understanding them is a means to your desired end. You make grasping a tool in your belt for reaching that to which you aspire.

E- EXHAUSTION - you stop at nothing less than the exhaustion of every effort in the service of your goal. if you haven't tried everything, you are not done. If you have not tried some things several times and several ways, you are not finished. If you have any energy left, you use it. of course you pace yourself, get adequate rest, and care for your body and soul in the process, but you DO NOT QUIT until all options are exhausted and even when they seem to be, you look for more.

R - RESILIENCE - When you fall, get up. When you fail, try again. When you falter in your faith, renew it and never let entertain discouragement for any longer than it takes to be encouraged by positive people, scripture, prayer, and your own commitment to keep on keeping on. Successful people are resilient in their hunger. They are often the folks that stayed in the game just a little bit longer than everyone else, tried a few more tricks, and refused to quit. They are knocked down, insulted, wounded, and wearied, but they have elastic in the back ends of their trousers so that that they bounce when knocked on their posteriors. Be that kind of person and your hungry appetite will drive you to success.

To your success!

Demands and Dread

I am facing today with a mixture of excitement and dread. The excitement of anticipation comes from the developing reality that the day is pregnant with possibilities and packed with responsibilities that I relish, opportunities for good and for exercise of my gifts.

The dread is for the same reasons and the gap between the two extremes is that there is no gap. All gaps have been filled. The day is packed tight. I have not allowed processing time, down time, or preparation time.

I enter this day as prepared as I will be and I turn on the engine knowing that it will run until bedtime.

I am not sure that "dread" is such a bad word. It is like the fear of the Lord, the beginning of wisdom, the fear that dispels all other fears and depletes them of their power. This dread is in the knowledge that the day will be demanding, awesome, and somewhat unknown.

How do I make this DREAD work for me in meeting the demands of my life today?

D - Dependence - Everything about a demanding day points toward our dependence on some positive things - God, our teammates, our preparation, our inner resources, our conviction that what we are doing is true to our calling and must be done.

R - Reflection - That is what I am doing now - before the day really begins. We build it in upfront or we die. I am way too busy not to have read scripture and prayed this morning. There are far too many demands on my life today for me to hit the ground running thoughtlessly or haphazardly.

E - Eagerness - I am truly eager to embrace these demands because they are part of the reason I am on this planet. I was born to do the things I will do today. My dread is really more about what will be left undone, the things I must postpone, and the nagging suspicion that I am not quite ready. Eagerness allows me to embrace the wonder of what God will do in spite of and sometimes, because of my inadequacies.

A - Acceptance - The day has begun. I have just a few minutes to wrap this up, grab a shower, and get out of the house. The clock does not lie. The calendar is accurate. The day is what it is and things are scheduled. At any time, God can change everything, but for now, I accept that it is what it is.

D - Do It! - It is time to begin. I can wimp out or step up. If I wimp out, it will not be the first time, but it will also not be the last. It will make it easier to quit next time and that is something I ought to truly dread.  Just do it. Take a deep breath and step into the day with both feet.

As I will find pockets of rest, moments of refreshment, and much energy for whatever is demanded. Whenever I am caught up in the middle of my calling, I am renewed.

- Tom Sims
The Dream Factory

Feeding and Starving

Feed your dreams; starve your fears.
Whichever one you feed will grow.

Fears will grow to control you and clip your wings.

Dreams will consume you and cause you to soar.

It is your choice.

You will feed that to which you give the most attention and credit.

If you live by fear, you will live a crippled and limited life. Your best work, your highest aspirations, and your most enchanting creations will go to the grave with you.

If you live as a person of vision, you may not attain all of your goals, but you will attain many and they will live on after you are gone. They will inspire others to dream and create. You will create a ripple that will grow into a mighty tidal wave of dreams and accomplishments.

Feed your dreams and starve your fears. That is my recommendation and below are some ideas for how to feed dreams and starve fears.

FEED Your Dreams

F = Face them. I mean, put a face on them. Find something that represents them that you can gaze upon and be reminded of them.

E = Enliven them. Create activities that remind you of your dreams, move you closer toward them, and let you experience "foretastes" of what it will be like when they come true.

E - Elicit support. Ask people who are positive dreamers to be part of your dream building community. Build them up even as they build you up. Get folks on your team. Someone said that if you ever see a turtle at the top of a telephone pole and he tells you he got there by himself he is either lying or he doesn't understand the nature of things.

D - Determine to pursue them, work for them, and never let them go. Determination will take you from today until tomorrow. It is essential.

STARVE Your Fears

S = Saturate yourself with positive words, thoughts, and deeds. Give negativity no quarter. Make no room for it. Your prior decision to go for the dream has shut out all possibility of fear finding a resting place in your life. You are just too occupied with where you are going.

T - Time them. Go ahead and nod at your fears. Stare them down. Look at them for 30 seconds, a minute, whatever it takes to understand them. When the time is up, say,  "Time's up. That's all I can give you." Then walk away. If there was something valid about the fear, you took time to see it and make provisions. The rest is fruitless.

A - Attack your challenges as one who has the upper hand. Be the aggressor with your fears. Be proactive. Get fear on the run by taking charge of the situations that feed it.

R - Rest in God's promises. He has not given us the spirit of fear. He alone is worthy of our reverence and fear (awe). Reverence Him and let Him take care of all the other fears.

V - Value what is valuable. Your dreams are built upon principles you value. Your fears are largely irrational and based upon a concern that you will be severed from something temporal and fleeting. Focus on what endures and has infinite value. It will starve fear because it will take away all of its "junk food" nourishment.

E = Eliminate that which makes you fearful. I don't know what it is in your life, but there is something that feeds your fears. Identify it and eliminate it.


That is your assignment today!

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!

Dream Revisited

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

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

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

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

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

So, we dream on.

In the World of Religion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So What Is Your Dream?

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

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

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

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

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