Some of my most re-tweeted Tweets.

I have many blog readers who don’t use Twitter. Some pastors I know have said they don’t understand the value of it. It may not be for everyone. Some would simply prefer to read it in a blog. I decided though, that I’d bring some of my Tweets to you here.

Here are some of my most re-tweeted (most shared) tweets over the last couple months:

  • Do anything of value or worthwhile and you invite the critics to join you. The best defense is a continued offense.
  • God is thinking higher thoughts…are you? (Isaiah 55:9)
  • Leadership stopped being easy as soon as people got involved :)
  • I wonder if God giggles when He sees His children laugh…
  • My mom is such an innovator, she skipped Myspace and went straight to Facebook :)
  • Don’t expect to minimize complaints because you’re doing the right thing. The only way to do that is to do nothing.
  • To succeed as a leader you need to succeed at character, commitment and competence.
  • God sees potential in you that you can’t see. He’s got plans for you that you can’t imagine.
  • Don’t let your inability to understand keep you from your ability to respond by faith in obedience
  • It’s a cheap grace that comes with a list of stipulations
  • Satan loves a good disruption….but remember, he’s a loser.
  • Make sure your leadership is more about people, less about programs; more about progress, less about process.
  • If you’re not feeling the weight of leadership…well…then you’re probably not leading…
  • One time God parted the Red Sea & thousands of people crossed on dry ground. That same God isn’t overwhelmed by your situation
  • A Christian who is never happy about anything is like a pig who doesn’t like mud…Or something like that….
  • When you quit trying to be like someone else you have a better chance of being who God designed you to be.
  • If you only trust on days things are going well…well…that isn’t much of a trust, is it?
  • If we will trust God with our eternity, why wouldn’t we trust Him with our current situation?
  • True, genuine, trust with your life friends are rare. If you find one, hang on to them.
  • The way we learn to handle disappointment often determines the degree of contentment we have in life.
  • Some people need to lighten up….Life would be more fun…just saying :)
  • That day everyone agreed with you….did you also see pink elephants, or was it just that one illusion?
  • The less I pretend it’s all about me, the more I can live the reality that it’s all about Him.
  • Leadership requires picking your head up & seeing what’s coming while everyone else is consumed w/the task at hand…
  • Often you have to do the difficult thing before you can do the things you enjoy. #Discipline
  • If you keep looking for excuses…you’ll keep finding them…. #JustDoIt
  • If you don’t ask hard questions…you’ll only get the easy answers…
  • Collaboration and communication leads to cooperation and completion #Leadership
  • Never underestimate what God can do with a person’s story! Never.
  • Satan loves to frustrate, confuse, and distract godly leaders. Be aware, seek truth, stand strong, let nothing move you…
  • Frustration with self is often disguised as anger towards others….
  • Worry is usually a product of mistrust…
  • Life stopped being easy after I became potty trained…or at least I don’t remember it being too difficult prior to that…
  • A mature leader says what needs saying & doesn’t say what needs kept silent. And knows the difference.
  • If your relationship with God is based on performance you’ll often feel distant from God….Our hope is faith in Jesus & HIs righteousness
  • Don’t miss what matters most by worrying about what doesn’t…

By the way, if you’re on Twitter, you can follow me HERE.

7 Types of People I See at the Gym

I am more of an outdoor exercise person, but in the winter, I frequent the gym. I belong to the gym on our local university campus, so I’m usually one of the old guys. It has made me more aware of my surroundings. I sometimes feel uncomfortable, like everyone is thinking “Who’s the old guy?”.

Recently I started observing the different type of people who come to the gym.

Here are 7 types of people I’ve found at the gym:

Stalkers – They scope out one person and always seem to use the equipment next to them. They are at the gym to make connections, for one reason or another.

Walkers – These people belong to the gym only to walk around a small track. It seems to work for them, but they could just as easily be mall walkers. :)

Gawkers – They are just here to stare and they do it well.

Talkers – The gym is their social place. They do more socializing the exercising.

Balkers – Balkers are still not sure they’re into this gym thing. They move from machine to machine quickly, never landing on one they actually want to use. They may or may not be back.

Clockers – These gym people are just doing their time. They may or may not want to, but they know they need the exercise. They do their business and they’re gone.

Bulkers – These are the ones who seem to be at the gym every time you go, regardless of the time of day. They are serious and they seem to look at their muscles a lot too. :)

Which are you? Any others you’d add to my list?

Stocks, Bonds, Risks, and the Church

I don’t write many strictly business posts these days, even though I spent more than 20 years in that world. This article caught my attention though:

Bonds outperform stocks

(Click on the title to read the article. Basically, bonds are now outpacing stocks on a 30-year average return.)

I can’t help but believe this isn’t great news for a capitalistic economy. In a very simplistic view, stocks are based more on the assumption of risk. Bonds are based more on the assumption of security. When a capitalistic economy stops taking risks, it’s ceasing to live up to what it was designed to do. (I realize many times investors are looking for options other than stocks, but it doesn’t negate my point about a capitalistic society.)

What difference does all this make in terms of my calling now…as a pastor?

Well, I think the same is true for me (and those with similar callings). I see too many people in positions of leadership in the church who become comfortable and resist walking by faith.

When we stop taking the risks involved in fully surrendering to God’s will…when we become complacent or satisfied…we cease to live up to what we’ve been designed to do.

Is God placing something on your heart?

God calls us to things which require personal risk. Following God requires great faith, even more so the longer we follow Him. People don’t always agree when you step into “God-following” territory. It may even appear at times we are going to fail, at least in the short run. God callings often take years to see returns from the investment. Don’t settle for what appears secure at the time. It never really is!

If God says “Go”, do so in spite of your fears!

Be honest pastor,have you been settling for what’s comfortable these days?

Also, do you have an interest in business or politics, in addition to your God-calling? (Please don’t leave me alone here.)

What the Last Supper taught me about leadership (Guest Post)

This is a guest post by Jeremy Statton. He is an orthopedic surgeon who writes about Living Better Stories. You can follow him on twitter or download a free copy of his eBook Grace Is.

What the Last Supper taught me about leadership:

One of the most rewarding experiences of my life was viewing Leonardo DaVinci’s masterpiece The Last Supper in person.

Everyone knows the painting. The image is ingrained on our minds. The scene of Jesus announcing to the twelve that Judas would betray him is a classic work of art.

Perhaps as you read these first words, you could recall having seen it most likely as either a reprint or digital image on the internet. But I have to tell you, seeing a copy does not compare to seeing the real thing.

“So what?” you ask. How is it better to see the actual painting? Why should I go to all of the trouble of a real experience when a digital one works? Wouldn’t the time, effort, and energy be wasted?

You may have seen the painting, but you did not experience it like I did.

There are many advantages to a digital age. We can connect and share information at higher volumes and faster speeds than ever before. At times it seems the world is at our finger tips.

One of the potential problems, though, is that we may become to willing to trade artificial experiences for fake ones.

-Instead of relationships we develop Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

-Instead of living our own stories we are willing to watch them through instant online streaming.

-Instead of communities we build mailing lists.

If we forget to have true experiences, our ability to lead will diminish since our goal is to lead real people to live better stories so they can have a greater influence.

Here are 4 ways that experience of actually seeing the painting was superior to the artificial experience of seeing a copy.

Cost. Cheap experiences are likely to have less impact. It costs next to nothing to view the painting on the internet. To actually see the real art you have to first buy a plane ticket, and then endure the 14 hour trip to Milan. Hotels are rarely cheap. To protect the painting, opportunities to see it are limited which means tickets can be expensive. Did I mention the unfavorable exchange rate? When it costs that much, you will appreciate it more and soak up every possible experience from it.

Clarity. Artificial experiences distort true reality. It is the difference between hearing the true sound of a violin and listening to it in your car. By seeing the painting in person, you can understand its true size. (It is enormous.) You can appreciate its actual color, not just a distorted copy. You can compare it to a very good painting on the opposite wall, making it easier to value DaVinci’s genius. True experiences are more likely to speak to your soul.

Context. The painting is located on the wall of a small, old monastery in Milan. Seeing the building protects this art work helps to imagine DaVinci walking up to it and laboring inside for 3 straight years. Once you get in you realize how fragile the painting is. It was nearly destroyed in World War II. There is still evidence of that conflict. It is now protected by multiple sealed vaults. Seeing the painting in its context helps to understand its true value.

Culture. One of the best parts of seeing the painting in Italy is that you have to travel to Italy. What can be better than seeing the painting? Enjoying a cappuccino and gelato just a few yards from the main plaza and the enormous cathedral that sits in the center of town immediately afterwards. Now when I see a copy of the painting, I remember experiencing the city as well. Seeing it in person helps to appreciate the culture behind it.

If we are to be effective leaders, we need to make an effort to have real experiences. Ones that will open us to new ideas. Ones that will cause us to question our world. Ones that will help us to have a greater influence on others.

Do you think the digital age is affecting our sense of reality? What “real” experience has impacted your leadership?

My 50 Favorite Words of All Time

Recently I was in a store and heard a little boy yell, “Mom…or Dad” across the store. I was reminded how special those words are every time I hear them.

Then I started to reflect. I like words, but some words just have a more special ring to them. I have some favorite words. Whenever I hear them, I feel warmer inside.

Not necessarily in order of importance…

Here are my 50 favorite words:

God
Jesus
Mom
Dad
Thanks
Love
Wife
Golly
Friends
Family
Faithful
Grandchildren
Grace
Husband
Sunshine
Sister
Marriage
Rest
Food
Brother
Chocolate
Caring
Christmas
Easter
Cross
Bible
Health
Life
Heaven
Blessing
Victory
Beloved
Sunny
Smile
Laughter
Eternity
Security
Saved
Grandparent
Sorry
Vacation
Forgiveness
Giggle
Tickle
Home
Heart
Memories
Books
Music
Ocean

I’m sure I’ve missed one or two. :)

Which words come to mind as your favorite words?

10 Easy New Year Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

I’m like many others on this day. I’m not a big new year’s resolution person. I am huge on setting goals, but resolutions seem to be broken more than they are kept. Perhaps it’s a bias we have towards resolutions. I think part of the reason, however, is that when we set goals, we are more realistic, but when we set resolutions, they are often so lofty we’ll never attain them. We give up shortly after we start.

What if we set easy-to-follow resolutions?

This is the time of year when we reflect on the previous year and look forward to the new. In this new year, as every year, I want to do more and live better than I did in the previous year.

Do you want a few resolutions you can actually keep?

Here are 10 easy resolutions you can actually keep:

1. Dear God, we will talk more this year.
2. I will think before I eat.
3. I will do some form of exercise or physical activity every week.
4. I’ll open my Bible every day.
5. I’ll improve at least one relationship.
6. I’ll organize one closet (or even one drawer).
7. I’ll learn one new skill.
8. I’ll attempt to be a better listener.
9. I’ll smile more. (Stretch yourself and insert laugh here.)
10. I’ll remind myself of one thing I’m thankful for everyday.

These may not be “change your life” resolutions. Honestly, how well do you keep those anyway? These are resolutions you can actually keep. But, don’t even try to keep all of them. Pick two or three  as your own. (Or come up with your own.) You have a whole year to accomplish it. Make a fresh start in a few areas, you’ll begin to see progress, and it will inspire you to do even more.

The key to accomplishing any goal or keeping any resolution is starting and then continuing until it becomes a habit. This year, lower your bar just a little in hopes that positive change actually sticks.

Every major accomplishment starts somewhere.

What are some other easy-to-keep resolutions?

What positive changes are you going to make in the new year?

Secret Santa: CBS On The Road Video

Here’s a CBS News story of a secret Santa. I’ve seen reports of this businessman man’s way of spreading Christmas cheer before, but I loved the outcome on this one. (You’ll watch a 30 second advertisement, then the 3 minute video.)

I also love the news segment by Steve Hartman called “On the Road”. You can read or watch more of his Secret Santa stories HERE.