People Watching as an Art

People watching is such an art. It takes discipline and practice. If you aren’t careful you might miss something good…or you could scare people away.

In one people-watching day recently I saw a little boy captivated with a butterfly, which inspired me to be captivated by a little boy watching a butterfly. I saw a man driving a car I’m told was priced at $180,000 and another man begging for food…on the same street. I saw a baby look at her daddy with wonder as she gently touched his nose and a teenager look at her daddy with disgust as her emotions spoke against his suggestions. What contrasts of life I might have missed had I not been looking!

When I see people living the normal and abnormal parts of life, I’m reminded how much God loves them and me and I’m encouraged to share His love even more. People inspire me to do what God has called me to do.

Life is interesting if we take the time to watch.

Are you a people watcher?

What are you seeing as you people watch these days?

Where is the best place to people watch?

10 Reasons I Love Summer

Do you like summer?  Are you ready for the season to change?  I am always ready for change and as a runner, it has been especially hot.  As an optimist by nature, however, I decided it was best to reflect on the things I like about summer.

Here are 10 reasons I love summer:

  1. Nate is home from college (This was the first summer for this one…looking forward to others.
  2. Homegrown tomatoes.  I love them and can eat them by the pound, with lots of salt and pepper.
  3. Planning for the busyness of fall at church.
  4. Mission trips. We have been doing mission trips for years and summer is usually when they occur.
  5. Shorts and flip-flops!
  6. Sweating.  I don’t know why, but I love to sweat.  I guess I feel exfoliated.
  7. Fresh fruits and vegetables. (Tomatoes belong in their own number.)
  8. Homemade ice cream.  (Haven’t had much this year…but love it!)
  9. Slower pace of life.  Things seem to slow down a little in the summer months.  I find things to make it seem busy, but that’s mostly my choice and not the circumstances around me.
  10. The feeling when summer is about over, back-to-school season is at hand, and fall is in the air.

What’s on your list?  Why do you like the summer months?

John Wooden on What is True Success: Ted Video

I love exploring for exceptional videos. I don’t get to very often, but when I do, I find great stuff.

Here’s one you should consider watching. It’s about 17 minutes long, and honestly he rambles at times, but you’ll get some great wisdom and reminders from a great man. Here’s John Wooden on the subject “What is True Success?”

Do you agree with Wooden’s definition?

What Does the Term Expert Mean?

Someone used the term “expert” in regards to a person and social media recently. It sounded good at first, but then I started thinking. Is anyone really an “expert” in a field that is barely five years old and changes literally every day?

One definition of the term expert reads: a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area. I guess someone could qualify under that definition, but it also seems to me that as soon as one gains authoritative knowledge about the field of social media that everything changes. Everyone involved with social media must be in a constant learning mode.

It does seem, however, that we are living in a day where the term expert is coined much faster than in days past. I know people in ministry who have been serving less than five years who, mostly because of their online experience or because they wrote a book, are considered “experts” in ministry. I’m not saying this is right or wrong, I’m just questioning the meaning of the term these days. Has it changed?

What do you think? How do you define an expert? Whom would you call a social media expert?

Don’t Judge a Tweeter by a Single Tweet

One Tweet should never stand alone in determining the value of a Tweeter. With the rapid fire that most people Twitter 140 characters, the quick thoughts extended are not always a fair representation of the mind, heart and character of the person Tweeting.

There are times I have Tweeted something I wish later I hadn’t.  I have mistyped or misspelled a tweet numerous times.  My auto-correct has finished words for me that were inappropriate.  I have had trouble communicating what I wanted to say in such a small space.  It amazes me how quickly people react to a Tweet gone bad.

If you are going to follow me (or anyone) on Twitter.  Here’s a quick reminder:

Don’t judge a Tweeter by a single Tweet.

We all make mistakes…

Have you made Tweeting errors?  Got any funny examples?

7 Reasons You Need Social Media as a Christian Leader

So maybe “need” is too strong of a word. Perhaps you can do everything I will suggest as reasons to be involved with social media without social media (Although I would question how well you can these days) but I don’t think anyone could argue social media is not a large part of our culture today. Because it is such an influence, today’s successful leaders, including those in the church, must figure out how to make it work for them and make their ministries even more successful.

For me that currently means Twitter, Facebook and blogging. Not everyone has to do all three, but I have found them to each have unique benefits in my ministry.  (I have written about how I use these tools HERE and HERE.)

Here are 7 reasons you should be using social media:

Networking with people who are making a difference. I get to interact with and learn from church leaders who have already walked where I am walking. Most of these connections would never be possible apart from social media.

Go where people are. The number one way my church contacts me is through Facebook. The people I’m trying to reach and minister to spend more time on Facebook than they do in the church on Sunday.

You’ll meet great friends. I have met some of my closest friends in ministry these days through social media. No, we don’t keep the friendship to an exclusive online friendship, but the friendships did begin online.

Keep updated on breaking news. Although I have limited time to keep up with all the latest fads, by following the right people and blogs through Twitter, I know quickly what is taking place around the world in the fields of politics, technology, and ministry.

Wise use of time. People think the opposite is true, but the reality is that social media makes me more effective. I have a heart to influence people for good. As pastor of a large church I’m expected to minister to large groups of people. Social media allows me to make a difference more efficiently.  You are reading this, aren’t you?  (BTW, if my social media activity is influencing you, I’d love to hear about it.)

Breaks down barriers between people. It seems harder to get to know people today. They are more guarded and less trusting. When I Tweet (which updates my Facebook) People get a glimpse into the real me and I become more personal to the people in my church and online community. In turn, people are more likely to allow me into the deepest parts of their life when they see me as authentic and approachable.

Stay current with culture. Like it or not, culture determines much of how we are able to reach people. People are doing social media. To continue to allow culture to work for Kingdom grown rather than against it we must remain current with social media.

That’s some of my reasoning. Why and how do you use social media?

Clarksville Now Interviews Pastor Ron Edmondson

We have a new local online magazine in our community called Clarksville Now. Recently they asked me to participate in a series of interviews they are doing with people in the community.  I realized I hadn’t even shared my answers with my family, so I did this weekend.

Since you often don’t get to know the online person behind a blog, I thought I’d share with you also.

Here’s where we’re giving you a chance to find out more about different people in our community. We recently interviewed Pastor Ron Edmondson of Grace Community Church.

How long have you been in Clarksville, What brought you to Clarksville?
I’m an original Clarksvillian and my family has been here for as long as I can trace. We are the Edmondson Ferry Road Edmondson’s.

Tell us about your family. Are you married? How many kids? Any siblings?
I’m married to my best friend Cheryl and together we have two boys, Jeremy 21 and Nate 18. Jeremy just graduated from Austin Peay and is a third generation AP grad. Nate is a freshman at Moody Bible College in Chicago. I have one older brother and one younger sister.

What do you like most about Clarksville?

To read the rest of this interview, click HERE.

So did you learn anything you didn’t know?

David Letterman Top 10 Signs You’re Obsessed With Facebook

I don’t see David Letterman’s Late Night much anymore, but I still think he’s hilarious. Are you a Letterman fan?

I heard this on a local radio show (WJZM) this morning and thought it was funny enough to share. You can watch it at

Here are Letterman’s Top 10 Signs You’re Obsessed with Facebook:

10. You created a profile for your kitty.

9. If someone rejects your friend requests, you show up at this house and tearfully demand why

8. You’ve been diagnosed with something called “Facebook _____” (My PG rated blog made me delete a word here.)

7. If you don’t update your page for 10 minutes, friends assume you died

6. Named your daughter Gracebook

5. Only photos on your Facebook page are of you uploading photos to your Facebook page

4. No number 4 — writer on Facebook — do you see the irony?

3. When wife sneezes, you change your status update to “Gesundheit”

2. If compuer freezes, you start swearing like Mel Gibson

1. You spent last Saturday night “poking” yourself

Do any of these fit for you? Thankfully I’m good…except maybe number 7…or number 9…


Do Taste Buds Change as You Get Older?

Do taste buds change as you get older?

I know I could probably Google this question and get an answer, but I figure my readers will have an answer for me.  Is it just me, or do our tastes change over the years?

Just in the last couple years I’ve learned to love some things I once said I would never eat/drink.

Things like:

Diet drinks
Blue Cheese dressing
Creamed spinach
Thousand Island dressing  (Just discovered I love it on the plane ride from Africa)

Have your tastes for things changed over the years?

What do you like now that you once couldn’t stand?

Great Leaders around the World: Lessons from Sierra Leone

On my many mission experiences in Brazil, often the drug lords were the ones who gave us access into the slums in which we ministered. We were invited to do medical clinics, construction projects, and evangelism. Even though they almost never allowed visitors, since we could have reported their activities to police or warring gangs, they saw value in us helping their people.  We even saw many of the drug lords come to a saving knowledge of salvation.  In spite of the violent nature of this world, I always saw the actions on behalf of the drug lords as “good leadership”, because they were willing to jeopardize their own leadership, for the good of the people they were leading.

We saw that same type leadership in West Africa. Village chiefs, mostly belonging to religions very opposed to Christianity, allowed us to come into the village and spend time with their people. As a result, we saw many life changes occur.

If leadership is about influence, which I believe it is, then I recognize both these examples as good leadership, and it’s leadership many American leaders could learn from as well. The village and slum leaders were leading smart by allowing us to invest in their people, even when it didn’t directly benefit them personally, and may have even jeopardized them in some ways.  In the end, we helped them have happier people to lead. Happier people makes happier communities. Happier communities make a leader’s leadership even more successful…and ultimately…even more secure in their leadership position.

The principle of leadership is simple: Whatever is good for the people one leads is good for the leader. If the organization offers people in it a better life, the quality of the organization improves with more loyal people and a better leader…sometimes even if only in the perception of the people. Great leaders recognize that raising the level of satisfaction among followers helps the organization and the leader.

Have you seen this principle at work in your organization?