Organizational Learning From Google

I read recently that the creators of Google weren’t looking to create Google when they discovered the complex way of indexing pages. They were working on a research project for their PhD program and stumbled upon the genius of google page ranking, did a little more exploration, and the rest is the incredible history of Google. In fact, I also read where, learning from their history, Google allows employees up to 20% of their time to explore new ideas and innovation.

It made me think about how organizations function. Are we organized to discover the next Google?

Let your team explore and you’ll discover some great stuff. Finding the “next big thing” is certainly more difficult without the exploration.

Plus, it’s damaging long-term for a team to be limited in this area of growth potential. If your team isn’t freed to explore:

  • They grow bored
  • Growth stalls
  • Valuable discoveries are never found.

What new insights is your team discovering?

More importantly perhaps, are they being positioned for discovery? Do they even have the freedom, built into your system?

Scripture Memorization, Week 19

This week I encountered several people living in the bondage of the law. They were beating themselves up for not being able to maintain every rule, many of which were set by man and are not even clearly defined by Scripture.

The death of Jesus satisfied the wrath of God against people who could never keep His laws. The law portrays our sin, because it defines sin for us. We wouldn’t know it was wrong to lie, for example, unless that standard had been set. Jesus removed the burden of the law and provided for us His grace. Grace doesn’t give us a license to sin again. It gives a freedom to truly live. We are freed from the power sin had in our life.

Do you need this week’s memory verse? Here it is:

Friday Discussion: Eternal Security

A recent college graduate from our church sent me an email recently. She’s struggled with her spiritual past. She became a believer early in life, got off track for a while, and now she’s on fire for God, Her dilemma is whether she lost her salvation during that time. She wonders what would have happened to her eternally had she died during her time of wandering. She wanted to know why I believe in eternal security.

I realize I’m stepping in dangerous territory with this discussion question. This issue divides people theologically as much as any other. Some of my closest believing friends would disagree with me here, believing that one can lose their salvation, but I believe in eternal security. I am not a theologian so I look for simple answers.

Here is my quick answer to my friend:

Dear _______,

These are standard questions most people wrestle with at some point in life. Great questions.

Here’s a short answer. I believe in eternal security, because:

  • The Bible says “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you SHALL be saved”…not you might be saved…

  • The Bible says “Do not worry”…How could you not worry if you were constantly wondering if you’ve gone too far…if you had lost your salvation?

  • It takes grace to be saved, why would it take works to remain saved?

  • Works are the result of salvation, not to earn or keep salvation…

  • Was there ever a time when you were “living in sin” when you didn’t “believe”? I’d say probably not…you may not have looked like a believer…but Jesus looks at the heart, not the outward appearance…

  • If we start drawing lines of how to lose salvation, where does the line stop? Could we ever remain saved? It’s just like the law…Jesus even added higher standards…one bad thought…one lust…one hatred…one dishonoring of parents…one idol placed in front of God…and we’re doomed…who then could be saved? Read the rich young ruler story…”What’s impossible for man is possible with God”…

The bottom line though is what difference does it make about what could have happened then? The bottom line is, are you saved now? Which, from watching your heart and life, I believe you are indeed.

Rejoice in your salvation!

Love your heart!

Hope this helps!

God bless,


There is so much more to this issue, but I suspect many others, including me, have wrestled with this same issue.

How would you have answered?

What questions do you have about eternal security?

Does this testimony resemble your own?

Share your thoughts!

Encouragement During Clouded Reality: When You Can’t Sense God’s Truth

Someone needs to read this…

I sense it…

The Psalmist wrote:

Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?

Has his steadfast love forever ceased?

Are his promises at an end for all time?

Has God forgotten to be gracious?

Has he in anger shut up his compassion?

(Psalm 77:7-9)

Have you ever felt like this before?

Have you ever felt like all hope is gone?

I have many times.

I’ve learned this…

When my emotions cloud or control my reality, I have to go back to truth….to faith…to trusting God when I can’t sense, see or feel God.

I have to walk with clouded glasses to the reality I know…I believe…is there…even when it makes no apparent sense to do so.

I know, in my heart, by His Word, and by experience that God can never NOT be gracious…

Any good parent could never neglect his or her children…

You know that…

The Psalmist had to remember that too…

I will remember the deeds of the Lord…

Yes I will remember your wonders of old…

I will ponder all your work…

And meditate on your mighty deeds…

Your way, O God, is holy…

What god is great like our God?

You are the God who works wonders…

You have made known your might among the peoples…

(Psalm 77:11-14)

Do you need a reminder today that God is still on His throne, He is still in control, and He’s still working a plan?

I’m praying for you. If you need specific prayer, leave a comment. My readers love praying for people!

BTW, I addressed this issue in my Easter message. You can find that HERE.

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?

7 Ways for a Leader to Offer Praise

One aspect of leadership is appreciating the people one leads. I must admit, this has to be a discipline for me, because I’m not naturally wired for this. I expect much from people, so I don’t always feel the need to acknowledge the excellent work I feel everyone should do naturally.

I realize, however, that all of us, including me, enjoy hearing we did a good job, so offering praise is a necessary part of a leader’s responsibility.

Here are 7 ways a leader should offer praise:

Be specific – Tell the person what he or she did well in specific rather than general terminology.

Be honest – False praise or praise offered only for person gain is seldom appreciated.

Be intentional – You have to discipline yourself to praise…or at least some of us do. Don’t assume someone else will do it or that the person receives enough praise.

Be quick – People shouldn’t wait long after a job done well to receive praise for it.

Be creative – Find unique ways to offer praise. Send a card, flowers, phone call…and don’t forget the personal, face-to-face approach.

Be unique – Don’t say the same thing everyone else is saying. Find the thing or aspect to praise that no one else has noted.

Be helpful – Offer praise that helps the person recognize strengths and encourages them in that area.

Make this post better, by answering some of these questions:

What would you add to my list?

Do you agree with my assessment?

Should leaders discipline themselves to offer praise?

How do you do this as a leader?

What creative ways do you have to offer praise?

Helping Tornado Victims in Alabama

My friend Casey Graham is a game changer. When he is passionate about something, he doesn’t just talk about it, he does something. This past week, Casey’s home state of Alabama was devastated by one of the worst tornado disasters in history.  Casey knew that in any disaster, the greatest need is always money, because money allows the team on the ground to do what is necessary to address the greatest needs. Casey went to work. In just 24 hours, this effort has raised over $75,000.   You can read more about it HERE. Casey is working through Cross Point Church in Decatur, Alabama.

Casey has set up a leadership team to oversee this process. He’s asked me to be a part of that team. You can read about that HERE.

He’s challenging churches and others to be a part. Read the latest challenge HERE.

There are many great efforts out there. Americans show their generosity during times like this. Casey is attempting to assist people without insurance or under insured. If you’d like to help, click HERE.

What other ways are people helping? Feel free to point people to those ways to support by leaving a comment.

Seeing God as Too Much God

Don’t let the title of this post upset you just yet…

God is fully God.

There’s no way to describe the greatness, majesty, holiness, perfection, bigness of God…

You could spend eternity…and will…trying to figure God out completely or fully comprehend the depths of His love, power, and grace.

But I wonder sometimes…

Is part of the reason you and I feel so distant from God that we see Him as so big and wonderful…that we believe we could never relate to Him?

What if God was “a friend who sticks closer than a brother“?

How would you relate to Him then?

What if God were a God who would intervene for you, in spite of what you have done, and love you, in spite of who you are?

How would you relate to Him then?

What if God were gentle enough to paint the spots on a lady bug?

How would you relate to Him then?

What if you were created in His image…relational…like He is relational?

Could you relate to Him then?

What if He were willing to die so that He could have a relationship with you?

Could you relate to that kind of God?

Don’t misunderstand…God is fully God…He is holy and there is none like Him…

You and I couldn’t even be in His presence apart from His grace…

He’s always going to be too much God…

But that’s why Jesus came…

He tore the divider between a Holy God and imperfect people…

Instead of remaining too much God…He chose to offer too much grace…

Maybe not “too much grace”, but there’s more available than you’ll ever require…

He designed you and I so we could relate to Him…

That begins as we relate to His Son Jesus…

And then, like other relationships…it takes time, effort, and practice…

To get to know a God who otherwise, would remain too much God…

Tell me, how do you or how are you developing your relationship with God?

You might also read:

Trying to Understand the Ways of God

Questioning God When I Don’t Understand

Sermon Message: Job, Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Sermon on Prayer

Scripture Memorization, Week 18

If you are following this series of Scripture memory verses, I hope they are making a difference in your life. Isn’t that the end goal of God’s Word?

This week’s verse, if we truly applied it to our life, and practiced it, could change all we are this week.

Here is this week’s memory verse:

Do you have a suggestion of a verse we should memorize together?

10 Suggestions for Bi-Vocational Pastors

One of my sessions at Exponential Conference this week was my friend Artie Davis and I encouraging bi-vocational pastors. The session, called “Flipping Burgers while Planting a Church” was to offer suggestions for those who trying to earn a living outside the church and pastor a church at the same time.

I shared 5 things to do and 5 things not to do. I would say many of these apply to all of us in ministry.

Here are my notes:


Be accountable – let People speak into your life. You’ll feel more independent if you’re not dependent on the church for income.

Be disciplined – Stay healthy in all areas of your life.

Be organized – Have someone help you if needed, but develop systems to do everything you have to do in a week.

Be intentional – It’s hard work, but you have to keep both business and church worlds running well, and still be a good family man. It will require intentionality.

Be diligent – In all areas of your life, you must do your best. It’s your witness.


Complain to church – About how hard you have to work. They should know you do, but not hear you complain about it all the time.

Lose sight of vision – The reason you are doing what you are doing is to complete the call God has on your life.

Let yourself burnout – Stay healthy physically, emotionally. Again, let people speak into your life who recognize when you are stretching yourself too far.

Allow one to outshine the other – Be good in all worlds…it will be hard, you’ll need God’s strength, but it’s your witness.

Neglect your family – That makes it even harder, but they are your first commitment.

I closed by explaining the concept in THIS POST. A key to doing more in life is that you have to get better personally.

Have you ever had to balance dual careers?  What advice would you give?