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?

The Messiness of Grace

Let’s be honest…

It is easier to create a rule than it is to extend grace…

When someone does something wrong…

Grace is not the easy response…

Grace is the harder option…

Grace grants a pardon…

Grace sets a person free…

Grace removes the chains…

People may feel freed to sin again…

People may keep making the same mistakes…

People can abuse grace…

But, the reasons we value grace most…

Also give grace the greatest potential to be messy…

I’ll still prefer grace…

How about you?

The Best 3 Things I Taught My Sons

I watched my oldest son make a life decision recently and it confirmed how proud I am of my two boys. He wrestled through it with wisdom and landed on, what I believe, was the best answer to his situation.

The title of this post may be misleading, because I don’t know if I taught wisdom to my boys or if they just saw me seek it and so it became a part of their life to pursue it, but either way, I’m glad they gained the practice.

Here are three things my boys have that I wouldn’t trade anything for:

The love of wisdom – My boys love to learn. They continue, into their 20’s, to seek wisdom from me and others.

The learning of wisdom – My boys not only listen to the wisdom of others, they seek it out from their own experience. They seem to realize that wisdom comes best through the experiences of life….good and bad…so they continue to learn from the decisions they make.

The living of wisdom – I have to be honest, my boys are two of the wisest young men I know. They truly take wisdom and apply it to their life, making wiser choices as they grow in wisdom.

I’m addicted to growing in wisdom. I’m so proud my boys seem to have inherited the practice.

Let’s talk wisdom.

Answer these questions:

Do you love, learn, and live wisdom as much as you can?

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how wise are you these days? (Be honest with your assessment.)

Who is the wisest living person you know?

A Wilderness Reminder

Don’t be afraid of those times in the wilderness…

When you can’t seem to hear from God…

When nothing seems to make sense in your life…

When there’s a nervousness about your future…

When you sense something is about to change…

When there’s a new stirring in your heart…

When you are tempted to become fearful…

In my experience…

God often uses those times to prepare you for better times…

Need more?

You may want to read one of these past posts:

7 Actions for the Times God is Silent

Encouragement to Hold onto God During Difficult Times

7 Actions while Waiting on God

Are you in the wilderness now? Have you been there before?

What advice or encouragement would you give others for these times?