Showing posts from July, 2013

10 Relationship Commandments

My dear friend, Nickie Kohler, shared this inspiring little piece with me the other day.  Though the author is anonymous, the principles are universal:

1.  Speak to people.  There is nothing so nice as a cheerful word of greeting.
2.  Smile at people.  It takes 72 muscles to frown, only 14 to smile.
3.  Call people by name,  The sweetest music to their ears is the sound of their own name.
4.  Be friendly and helpful.  If you would have friends, be a friend.
5.  Be cordial.  Speak and act as if everything you do is a genuine pleasure.
6.  Be genuinely interested in people.  You can like almost everybody if you try.
7.  Be generous with praise -- cautious with criticism.
8.  Be considerate with the feelings of others.  There are usually three sides to a controversy: yours, the other person's, and the right side.
9.  Be alert to give service.  What counts most in life is what we do for others.
10.  Add to this a good sense of humor, a big dose of patience, and a dash of humility, and you'l…

When You Feel Like Giving Up

Sometimes, we all feel like giving up. It comes with the territory of living. 
When stress is high and energy is low. . .
When frustrations multiply and patience ebbs. . .
When conflicts abound and peace evaporates . . .,
When the outgo exceeds the inflow. . . it makes us feel like quitting.

But throwing in the towel is seldom the answer. I have discovered that hardship, endured with patience, faith and the best attitude you can muster, brings tremendous personal growth.

As my old football coach used to say, “No pain, no gain.”

So, what should you do when you feel like quitting?

1.  Face up to reality.
It pays to know the facts. Problems don’t usually disappear by ignoring them. A clear picture of reality – even if it’s bad – is better than an unrealistic hope.

Discern between a problem and a fact of life. If you can do something about it, it’s a problem. If you can’t – it’s just a fact of life. We need to fix the problems, and accept the facts of life.

2. Reach up to God 
God is our refuge and s…

Believe Like a Pentecostal, Trust Like a Monk

In Bible believing circles, there are two influential schools of thought regarding prayer.

1)  The Charismatic Claim it Boldly in Faith Circle 2)  The Contemplative Listen in Childlike Trust Circle.

Christians pray differently, when facing a challenging circumstance, physical illness, financial adversity, or perplexing dilemma, depending on which circle they’re in.

The “Charismatic Claim it Boldly in Faith Circle” people pray something like this:

“Lord, you said a grain of faith can move the mighty mountain!   You said a prayer of faith will heal the sick! We take you at your Word and claim your promise!  Mountain, MOVE in Jesus’ name!  By His stripes we are healed!  Your faith has made you whole!”

The “Contemplative LIsten in Childlike Trust Circle” people pray along these lines:

“Abba Father, I come to you as a hurting child.  I am broken, poor and needy.  Yet, I know your love and grace flow freely to the darkest place.  Lord have mercy.  Christ have mercy.  Please be near me as I walk th…

How I Celebrate My Sabbath

Recently, while reading Matthew Sleeth's new book, 24/6, I was challenged and inspired to be more intentional in how I celebrate my Sabbath.
I'm not referring to Sabbath keeping in some sort of negative, legalistic  way.  Rather, it's about taking a time period each week for personal refreshment, renewal and reconnecting (with God and loved ones.)
For years, when people asked me how I observed the Sabbath, I would say, "I take Mondays off."  The problem was, as Eugene Peterson noted so colorfully, "a day off is a bastard Sabbath."
Sundays don't do it for me either -- because it's a major work day.  I'm at the church by 6:00 a.m., and normally don't get home until 1:00 p.m., after preaching three times.  Preaching three half hour sermons feels as exhausting as digging ditches for eight hours.   At then end of that, I'm totally drained.
After prayerful reflection (as a result of reading Sleeth's masterful book) I found a Sabbath pa…

The Difference Between Whiners and Winners

Whiners seldom win -- winners seldom whine.
Whiners look for "why it can't be done" -- winners look for ways to do it.
Whiners see the problems in every opportunity -- winners see the opportunities in every problem.
Whiners wonder why other people get all the breaks -- winners work hard to make the breaks happen.
Whiners see the glass as half empty -- winners see the glass as half full.
Whiners are primarily concerned about their own rights  -- winners are concerned about adding value to the team.
Whiners try to fix the blame -- winners try to fix the problem.
Whiners make excuses --  winners make progress.
Whiners continually struggle to get along with people -- winners continually strive to encourage people.
Whiners want to stay in the comfort zone -- winners want to get to the end zone.
Whiners see only one or two possible options to any given situation -- winners see see multiple options.
Whiners focus on "getting my way" -- winners focus on "getting …

Have You Found Your Listening Point?

Sigurd Olson, the great nature writer, with strong Hayward connections, had a cabin in northern Minnesota, which he affectionately dubbed, “Listening Point.”

In 1956, after a long search for the perfect spot, Sig happened upon the property one day, and instantly knew had found a treasure. A farm, seven miles south of Ely, had been condemned to make way for the airport. Seeing the land with eyes of the soul, Sig bought it, and built a rustic cabin where “we could just move in, spend a few hours, a night or two, or if in the mood, even a week, an outpost away from the phone and interruptions.”
Surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of pristine nature, this place, overlooking Burntside Lake, served as a special “get-away” for Sig and his dear wife, Elizabeth.
The 36 acres of property included a small beach, a quiet cove, and a prominent westward point of glaciated greenstone.
The name “Listening Point” came in 1958 when their son, Bob and daughter-in-law, Yvonne, arrived for a visit from …