10 Things You Can’t Change and 10 Things You Can

There are some things we can’t change and some things we can. Learning the difference and adjusting accordingly is in large part one of the secret’s of a happy life. Concentrating more on the things you can’t change than on the things you can causes frustration, disappointment, and even depression. Let me list a few and you’ll see what I mean.

Things you CAN’T change:

God’s sovereignty
The circumstances around you
The weather
The day of the week
Your past
Other people’s actions
Time passing
Words said to you
The economy
Your heritage

Things you CAN change:

Your prayer life
Your attitude
Your perspective
Your reaction to other people’s actions
Your words
Your preparation
Your priorities
Your habits
Your commitment level
Your facial expression

What examples would you add to my list of things you can’t change and things you can’t?

Which of the things you can change do you need to change today?

President Obama at National Day of Prayer

Sadly, I didn’t see this in the news, but I did see it on Ed Stetzer‘s blog and thought is was worth sharing here as well. I’ve asked before about the role of believers in politics. My personal opinion is that Christians need to be influencers in our culture…at every level. Therefore, I think this type speech is important for us to hear. I’m not offering commentary on what was said, but I do believe we should know what the president is saying in these matters.

Watch the video, then share your thoughts:

5 Ways to Attract Young People to Church

If a church is more interested in protecting traditions than it is in creating a future, then it will most likely fail to attract young people…

At least that’s been my experience.

If a church is interested in attracting young people, then it must think strategically about doing so…

After all, they are the future…

Here are 5 ways a church can attract young people:

Value their ideas – Young people will want to do some things differently. Give them a voice and access to authority.

Give them a place to serve – Find ways that let young people assist others. It’s a huge value for them.

Be genuine with them – Young people can spot the phonies. Let them see that you are real.

Love them – Young people want to sense they are loved….even when they mess up.

Guide them – Young people want direction and they want to learn from your experience. (Just share it in the context with the other 4 points.)

What would you add to my list?

Guest Post: Tim Sanders

This is a guest post by Tim Sanders, author of Today We Are Rich. Tim is a speaker, author, and change-agent. He’s making a difference for the Kingdom through his connections and his influence. I’m honored to participate in Tim’s ministry with this guest post.

April 20 has a variety of meanings leading to various celebrations – some in the moment and others for future generations.  For me, it’s a big day I’m conducting a media tour to support my new book,  Today We Are Rich.  One of the key points of the book is that you can give your way out of burnout.  In principle four, Give To Be Rich, I echo Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s obsersvation: Generosity  is a Wonder Drug.

In the spirit of Carpe Diem, I’m claiming 4-20 as a national day of giving, observing and sharing of emotions.  Much like Scrooge, anyone can lift their spirits dramatically by giving, helping, volunteering or directly donating to those in need.  Researches have a name for the medicinal power of giving: Helper’s High.  This is the promise made in Isaiah 58: 7,8.

When you share what you have to help others, in that moment, you are worth something – and it will help you ease any pain.  Looking for a blanket to throw over your blues? Here’s what Dr. Stephen Post of the Institute For Research on Unlimited Love would deal to you:  “To rid yourself of negative emotional states, push them aside with positive emotional states and the simplest way to do that is to just go out and lend a helping hand to somebody.”

Looking for a buzz?  Volunteer.  Women participating in a study by the Institute For The Advancement Of Health reported that after volunteering time to help others, they had a physical experience similar to meditation or a vigorous workout.  In a compilation of fifty studies recently published by Case Western University’s Stephen Post, the exact phenom becomes clear:  When we perceive that we’ve helped someone, we trigger the reward center in our brain, which produces Dopamines, Endorphins and Serotonins.  These powerful chemicals give us feelings of profound joy, calmness and spiritual connection.  We get as high as a kite, or gain the internal/chemical feeling of true Richness.

We lift off, emotionally, and it lasts for days, sometimes weeks.  Researchers found that you could reinject yourself with the WonderDrug Of Helping just by thinking about it (but you need to focus your energies on recollecting all the details to generate empathy).  During my book tour stop in Franklin TN, I had a cup of coffee with Sandy Griffin, fellow author and big giver to the homeless in greater Nashville.  As she recounted how she secured some corrective shoes for one of her new friends, and the difference it would make to his quality of life – she lit up, high on the loving-giving experience.  Proof positive that this research is true!

In his research, Dr. Post also observed that when we are in Helping Mode, our body produces Oxytocin, which is known as the “bonding hormone.”  When faced with a crisis or a problem, people on Helper’s High spring into “Tend and Mend” mode, instead of the more aggressive “Fight Or Flight” mode.  In other words, Helper’s High brings out the emotion of trust and nurture.

And that’s not all, choosy drug shoppers, you also get relief from Helping too!  In a surprising study back in 1956, stay-at-home moms had less emotional stress markers than the breadwinners, because their mothering gave them natural relief.  Post explains it this way: Helper’s High (fueled by the brain’s reward center) dominate Cortisol, the stress hormone.  Help and you’ll conquer stress, and according to research in teens as well as adults: You’ll beat most depression too.

Giving, then, is a WonderDrug, the only one to take when you need a dose of Euphoria or a cure for the blues or a stressful life.  It lasts much longer, probably costs you less than substance or alcohol and more importantly – converts your selfish approach to ‘coping with life’ to a life of service and significance.  Try it out today, you’ll see.  Turn up for ‘helper’s radar’ and find an opportunity to do something helpful for someone.  The research warns that writing a check or texting a donation will NOT produce the high, you need direct contact with someone you generally care about or feel sympathy towards.  Give encouragement, a hot meal, a hand up or some volunteer time.  Keep your eyes open for the difference you make and savor the high that will come.  Make a note to reinject your psyche with the experience on May 1.  It’ll work then too!

Here’s How To Spread The Word: Retweet this post if you a Twitter-head or click the Like button is Facebook is your thing.  After you help someone today, either comment about your emotional experience (document your Helper’s High) or share your deed and feeling on Twitter with #HighOnHelping as a hashtag.  The more you talk about it, the more you are dealing a new solution to your extended network: Take Giving, It’s a WonderDrug.

Thanks to Jon Acuff, Randy Elrod, Ken Coleman, Ron Edmondson and others for joining this campaign via their blogs, podcasts and networks.  If you decide to participate, send me a note and I’ll add you to the #HighOnHelping bandwagon.

Pick up a copy of Today We Are Rich: Harnessing The Power Of Total Confidence and sharpen your ability to give, help and produce real meaning with your life.

 

Friday Discussion: Importance of Being Healthy

I’m using the LoseIt application. I’ve downloaded it on my iPhone, iPad and laptop. It keeps up with my calorie intake and my exercise each day. Some of those closest to me have picked on me for how intense I’ve been. Someone saw me recently looking to put a few M & M’s in the app. I didn’t eat a whole package.

I’m not tremendously overweight, but over the last year or so I’ve picked up an extra 8 to 10 pounds and I can feel it. It’s impacted my running, which is my way to relax. It’s made my clothes tighter.  It’s made me more conscious about what I wear. More than that, I just haven’t felt as good as I did before I gained the few extra pounds. It’s really affected the quality of my life. I’m determined to get back to my ideal weight. As busy as I am, I can’t afford anything that slows me down that I can control.

I know health is a touchy subject. Some people have medical issues that keep them from exercise. Others have dietary concerns. I don’t mean to offend anyone who may be overweight. For me, however, this is an important issue. My physical health seems to impact every other part of my life, so if I can do something about it, I feel almost an obligation to be healthy. I realize I may be in a minority among some pastors, so I am curious enough to make it a Friday discussion topic.

Consider these questions:

  • Is it important that we monitor our health?
  • Is it important for a leader to be physically healthy?
  • Does a leader’s health determine how well you listen to them or take his or her advice?
  • Do you want your doctor to be in shape when he or she tells you that you should be in shape?
  • Let me take it a step further. Would it be a sin to not take care of your body?
  • Are there any special requirements as believers to be healthy?

What do you think? Share your thoughts on the importance of being healthy. Dialogue. Discuss. Debate if you will…

Let me hear from you.

You can read a couple posts I did about this issue HERE and HERE.

Bonus points: Tell me how you maintain your health. What’s your plan?

Don’t Pray Before You Eat

It happened like this…

Cheryl and I were eating at a restaurant…

That’s happened many times before…

There was a large family gathered at a table nearby…

We’ve seen that before too….

The family prayed before their meal came….

That was nice…

We noticed…

Then their food came…

The order wasn’t right…

They were mad…

They made it known that they were made…

Numerous times…

They were just plain rude to the waitress…

We felt bad for her…

Cheryl even apologized for “their” behavior after they left…

It made me wonder….

If you’re going to be a rude customer, should you even bother to pray before you eat?

Aren’t you sending mixed signals?

Just asking…

What do you think?

Friday Discussion: What’s an Ethical Profession?

I ran across this diagram recently about a survey of people’s perceptions on the most ethical professions. I was especially interested, obviously, in my own profession. At least we aren’t at the bottom, but we’ve certainly lost ground in recent years.

Tell me what you think:

What do you think is today’s most “ethical” profession?

Can we use labels such as this for any profession these days?

What makes a whole profession “ethical”?

In a “less ethical profession, do you know people who are “ethical”?

Is my profession, listed here as clergy, getting better or worse in its perception?

How does your profession rank? Is it a fair assessment?

What makes a profession ethical or not? Is it more perception…or more reality?

What say you?

I guess I’m slightly skeptical of labels, but I’ve seen these type studies before, so examine the diagram then give me your thoughts.

Help Me Make a Mixed Tape

It’s been a while since I made a genuine “mixed tape” for Cheryl. I frequently make CD’s for her to listen to in her car, but it’s mostly with the latest Christian music. I’m thinking she needs another true “mixed tape”. You know…the mushy kind…with all the romantic love songs.

What songs should I include?

Honestly, I’m asking more because we both like songs about love, commitment, marriage…Whether country, Christian, slow rock or jazz…there are some times we just love the romantic tunes…(Please don’t tell the guys I work with!)

So, seriously, whether I make a mixed tape or not, what is your favorite love song?

If YOU were making a mixed tape, (have you ever made one?) what songs would be on it?

Do you and your special one have a “song”? What is it?