Reflecting On The Past And Moving Towards The Future

Posted by Larry in

For the past couple of months I have enjoyed writing for this blog.  It has helped me begin to refine my writing skills and allowed me to have a broader voice in the world around me.  I have been amazed each day to review the analytics for my blog to discover that it has been viewed by people all around the world.  We truly do live in a global community.

I have also enjoyed serving in full time ministry as a youth pastor for the past five years.  This calling on my life has helped me become more of the person that God has called me to be.  I have walked hand in hand with teenagers that have lost brothers and sisters, made the transition into college, accepted calls into ministry, and much more.  I find it very humbling that so many teenagers have allowed me to influence their lives over the years.

Most of my life I have enjoyed the friendship of my friend Tom Wise.  It seems very ironic that we both serve as youth pastors so close to where we grew up together.  However, I have come to realize that there is no such thing as coincidence in God’s plans.  Over the years his friendship has challenged me to be a better person and helped me to not take life so seriously.  I am blessed to have him as a friend.

These past few years have brought many changes into my life and many new people.  One of those persons is Todd Morris.  Over the past few years he has quickly become a life long friend.  Much like Tom he has helped me become a better person and challenged be to strive towards things I did not think I could accomplish.  His confidence in me has given me the courage to try new things and helped me feel comfortable in being myself.  I am a better man for having him as my friend.

You may wonder at this point why any of that matters.  Well, for you it matters very little, but for me these factors are working together once again to change the direction of my life.  Unfortunately this will be the last blog post you read from me on this site for a while.  But it will not be the last you hear from me unless you choose to have it that way.

I am excited to announce that I am partnering with Tom Wise and Todd Morris to launch a new site.  Once the new site is up and running I will be writing in a blog format once again.  This new site will be focused on helping people of all ages and all walks of life explore the mysteries of God.  I hope that all of you that are subscribers here at this blog will continue to read on the new blog.  The blog content will be much the same but it will be incorporated into a much larger web-site.  I look forward to an ongoing dialogue with you.

The current question on my Facebook status is “Do you know what God desires for you life?”  This is the question that we hope to help individuals answer on the new site. As well as provide resources to parents and youth workers that will help create environments in the home and church to accomplish this same task.

I hope that this new site will only take a couple of months to get up and running.  I look forward to writing once again.

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Are You A Salesman Or A Satisfied Customer?

Posted by Larry in

The candles are lit, the table is set, the food is prepared and your hands smell like raw garlic, onions and fish. Vigorous scrubbing with hand soap won’t help, so how can you possibly remove that pungent food odor before the doorbell rings? The answer comes in the form of this 2-1/2" x 1-3/4" disk of stainless steel. Don’t ask us how, but rubbing your hands on this disk under a stream of water washes away any unwanted aromas and leaves your hands smelling like, well, hands. Best of all, you only need to buy one since they last forever!

When I see items like Chef Soap it always makes me wonder how someone figured out that this particular item worked for this particular need.  Was someone trying to find a solution to this problem or did they just happen upon it one day.  That leads me to ask why it is that I never get to find cool stuff like this.  Why is it that someone else always gets to invent or find the stuff that everyone needs or wants? 

Then I ask another penetrating question, “Does it really work?”  I look at the picture and the claims to the side and something in me wants to know whether or not it does what it says it will do.  I have the same problems that everyone else has when cooking with strong foods and this seems like the ultimate solution.

This is the question that the world is asking about God.  I wonder if he can do what his followers say he can do and if he will do what they say he will do.  This is really a question that people should be asking to, and about God himself, but since it is difficult for them to understand the possibility of a relationship with someone they cannot see, they turn to those of us that they can see; and hear; and touch.  They look to us to see if we are living our lives in view of such claims.  If we say that our God is a loving God then they want to see if we are loving people, thus they will form their opinion about the one that we follow based upon our actions. 

The whole world has the same problem.  They have been separated from God by sinful choices.  When they ask questions about whether or not God’s plan will work for their life, they are not looking for a creative marketing scheme or a salesman.  They genuinely want to know, “Will God’s way work?” and they need to be able to see it working in your life.

 

Are You A Salesman Or A Satisfied Customer?

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Improper Parenting Technique For Strong Willed Children

Posted by Larry in



I have a strong willed child in my home.  My wife says that my son has the hardest head of anyone she has ever met.  Which in some ways is comforting news, because until he came along she used to say it was me. 

As you probably know, a strong willed child already has his or her mind made up about anything and everything.  Your instructions are well received only as long as they comply with their predetermined decisions. 

This type of behavior can be a blessing or a curse at times.  Just a couple of days ago I had an emergency and was called out of the home early in the morning and could not be there when my children were getting ready for school.  In my absence my son did all of the things he normally does to get ready for school and then on his own volunteered himself to make everyone’s lunch for the day.  This included his mother, his sister, and himself.  His determination when channeled properly becomes a very useful asset for him and for others.
However, when it is not channeled properly it amounts to what appears to be nothing more than pure rebellion.  In which case, duct tape is not the answer.  You child will continually need clear direction, a structured environment, a disciplined example from his/her parents, a firm hand, and lots of grace.  The challenge for you as a parent is not to control your child but to properly direct his God given personality.  As parents you must be careful not to break your child’s spirit but instead, you should encourage a proper use of their gifts.

I know from experience the pressure that can be felt as a parent when others become frustrated with your child’s unique personality.  A strong willed child can be difficult to handle at school, church, or any other structured environment.  Just remember, your child is not broken.  They are still learning to become the person that God has called them to be and you are to act as their guide.  So be sympathetic with other adults that are in authority over your child; teach him to respect and obey their authority; and then pray… a lot.

Your child is a gift from God.  Treat them like the unique individual that they are.

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Taking Ownership Of Each Other

Posted by Larry in

Season 8 group of 16 on week 1 of Biggest LoserThese are the contestants in season 8 of the Biggest Loser on NBC.  Over the past year I have become fascinated with this show for a lot of reasons. 

Most of my life I have struggled with my weight, but a year ago my wife and I began working together to lose weight and start living a healthier lifestyle.  Watching these contestants strive week after week last year helped inspire us to make better choices for ourselves.  I would recommend tuning in to watch this season.

This is now a community that shares its common struggle together.  The choices that they have been making in life have produced an unhealthy and debilitating way to live.  Each one has a unique story that brings tears to your eyes.  Most of us have compassion for people when all they want is a good life with family and friends and to have a life that means something in this world.

During the season premier, in the very first challenge, Tracey had fallen and could not finish the 1 mile that she was asked to run.  She attempted to crawl to the finish after falling but could not draw on the strength to move herself forward.  When everyone else realized that she was not going to finish, most of the other contestants went out to help her.  One of the contestants remarked about how devastated she would be if she could not finish.

This is a compelling portrait of how we should exist in community with one another.  Wouldn’t it be great to know that you were surrounded by people that would help you up when you had fallen?  Wouldn’t it be great to know that the people around you would care about your emotional stability?  Wouldn’t it be great to know that the people around you were motivated to see you finish the things that you had started?

Wouldn’t it be great if we as a community of people would take ownership of one another’s well being?  These are the friendships that I am interested in forming.  I want to live life with people that have my best interest at heart and willing to get involved to push me to do the things in life that will make me a better person and allow me to live a better life.

Who do you have in your life like that now?  If the answer is no one, then I would begin searching for someone to fill that void.  We all need these types of persons around us.  This life that we have to live is too short and too difficult to live alone.  It is too easy to be distracted and too easy to fall into poor choices.  If you desire to have those kinds of persons in your life then look today and ask who you can give yourself to in that fashion.  Don’t wait for someone to come to you.

 

We need to surround ourselves with people that will take ownership in our lives and our well being. 

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Live Like A Billionaire

Posted by Larry in


Think about this question for just a moment.

If money and resources were not an issue, what would you do with your life?

Have you ever imagined what life would be like if you had unlimited resources?  Perhaps you have seen shows that capture the lifestyles of the rich and famous and wondered what it would be like to show up at a restaurant and just order whatever you wanted.  Or what it would be like to walk onto the lot of a car dealership and pick out what you want, then pay in cash (without having to negotiate the price).  I could handle that lifestyle.
The above exercise can help you help you live like a billionaire.  If you sat down and asked yourself this question about the different areas of your life, you could quickly begin to see some changes in your direction and quality of life.  For instance:
  1. How would I express my love towards my wife if I had unlimited resources and time?

    Maybe you would buy her a diamond ring to show your affection for her.  Or maybe you would treat her to freauent spa treatments or massages.  Could it be a new car?  Maybe you would take her to that expensive restaurant she has been wanting to go to (in Paris, New York, or Venice).  Would you send her back to school to finish getting her degree? 
    What about these questions?

  2. What type of job would I have if I had unlimited resources and time?
  3. What would I give to charity if I had unlimited resources and time?
  4. What would I do for myself if I had unlimited resources and time?
When you take time to answer these questions you will have a solution to begin to work backwards from.  You can now begin to put a plan in place to see some of these things happen.  And along the way you can give the best you can with your current resources in equivalent ways.  If you cannot afford a diamond ring, then give her the best gift that you can that says I took the time to pick this out with you in mind.  If you cannot afford weekly trips to the spa, then pay to have her nails done every once in a while and give her a massage yourself once a week.  If you cannot afford a nice restaurant in London, then get a sitter for the weekend and make a candle light dinner for two and you do all of the cooking.
If you want to live like a billionaire then you have to make the most of your current situation.  It is not about the money that you have, but the mindset.  Wanting to be a billionaire is less about the money and more about having the freedom to do what we want.  You have that freedom right now in the choices that you make everyday. 
The truth is, I cannot tell you how to make tons of cash.  But I can tell you that your attitude towards life is what makes you rich.  Not the amount of your paycheck.
Work backwards from your ideal dream in any area of your life and you can begin to see it take place with small steps starting today.  For most people, the fantasy of having dinner at an expensive restaurant in Paris is a fleeting desire, but to sit across the table from our spouse in any setting, knowing that the whole evening has been planned for our pleasure is worth more than Donald Trump’s bank roll can purchase.

Start living like a billionaire today.  Answer the questions above and start working backwards.  Feel free to create your own questions.  Be bold.

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Practicing Investigative Journalism Techniques

Posted by Larry in

 

I watched this video and realized that this advice is good and practical for everyday living.  How many times have you heard information passed on about a person, event, or an organization and you knew it just couldn’t be true.  This happens with others more often than we care to think and probably happens with us more often than we care to admit.

It happens so much that the web-site Snopes has been developed to debunk urban legends.  Our society gets so caught up in telling the next best story with lots of juicy details that we take little concern about who we are hurting and whether or not there is any truth in what we are passing along.

So I say, “Get you behind up out of the chair” and make sure you know what your talking about when you open your mouth or press send.  And even then it would still be prudent to care more about people than the telling of your story!

 

Have you shared anything in the past month that you knew could have been untrue or exaggerated?

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A Century Of Innovation

Posted by Larry in

Have you noticed that many things tend to improve with time and innovation.  I was watching a show the other day and a military officer was using a walkie-talkie that was about the size of a shoe box and it reminded me that there are always people trying to improve the world around us.  People are continually seeking to invent products or create systems that will move us faster, help us communicate better, make things smaller and more portable, and the list goes on. 

All this got me to thinking…  What would I consider to be the greatest innovation of my lifetime? 

The list is so extensive it’s hard  to choose from.  E-mail, the cell phone, internet, personal computers, etc… After much deliberation I came to following conclusion. 

Please scroll down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can I say?  You have your opinion and I have mine.  What would you choose?

I hope you have a great weekend with your family.  I hope you laugh a lot. I hope you take time to stop and look at the world around you.  I hope you appreciate the simple things in life.

 

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Masculine Qualities I Want My Son To Have

Posted by Larry in

The idea of masculinity is going by the wayside in our culture today.  Our society is doing everything that it can to morph men into something all together different than God originally intended.  We celebrate the young boy that sits passively in his seat, follows instruction and obeys without disruption.   We scorn the young man that has enough chivalry to say yes mam and hold the door open for a young lady because it is said to be condescending to her “independence.”  We are even performing surgeries for men who claim that there has been some sort of mistake made by God.  They claim that they are a “woman trapped in a man’s body” so we allow them to undergo a sex change.

In light of what I see going on in the world around me I have been reflecting on the values that I want to pass onto my son who is now 9 years old.  I have assembled below some masculine qualities that I want my son to have.

I picture myself standing before my son much like a king would stand before a man who is about to become a knight to remind him of the responsibility he has.  I imagine that I would say something like this:

My son, you are charged to honor God.  As a man, you are to walk in purity and live in such a way that it is obvious to those around you that God alone possesses your heart.  You are created differently than your female counterparts and will be expected to act accordingly.  It is an honor to wear the mantle of manhood and pursue God’s divine plan for your life.  Your journey will be unique; it will be an adventure; it will be difficult; it will require discipline and sacrifice; yet, it will have its reward when you have lived this life and you stand in eternity.

As a man…

  1. You are a protector.  It is your duty to defend women, children, and all other members of our society that would be exploited.  It is also your duty to defend our land from both domestic and foreign enemies.
  2. You are to honor the purity of young ladies. 
  3. You are to work hard and earn you own way in life.
  4. You are not to engage in sexual relationships with other men.
  5. You are to be the spiritual leader of your home.  You alone will carry the burden to center your family around God’s Word.
  6. Do not let your decisions be determined by fear.  Show courage in the face of intimidation.

Now take up your cross and follow Christ.

Raising children in our day and time presents its own unique obstacles.  Our society is changing everyday.  Apart from the character values every person should have these are the things that I think are particularly relevant to raising a young boy in our world today.

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3 Keys To Healthy Relationships

Posted by Larry in

skeleton_key5640041_std.jpg key image by adiamntintheskyI read an article by H.B. London Jr., who serves as the Vice-President of Pastoral Ministries at Focus on the Family that was entitled Maintaining Positive Staff Relations. The article majored on three key points that I think are universally beneficial in all relationships not just those working together as a church staff.  I am certain that he would agree.  Therefore, I want to give you my thoughts on these 3 keys to healthy relationships.

Communication
One of the fastest ways to create a distant feeling in any relationship is to eliminate communication.  Communication is the aspect of a relationship that allows us to know one another and to be concerned about what is going on in each other’s lives.  It helps us to know what things are going on around us that effect us, how we feel about those things, and affords us the opportunity to show concern and compassion.  Who knows, we might even be able to offer a helping hand.

In addition to creating an emotional connection it helps us to be informed about what is going on.  Decisions can be made together, plans can be discussed, issues can be dealt with, etc… Tension only increases when individuals and groups do not have the opportunity to discuss the things that are important to them.

Expectation
Disagreements and disappointment occur in any relationship when there are unmet expectations.  This is the key elements to discuss in any relationship when there is time for communication.  Whether it is a dating relationship, marriage, co-workers, or a sports team, everyone needs to know what is expected of them so that they can decide for themselves whether or not this is a healthy relationship for them to be in.  If expectations are not clearly communicated there can be no realistic way to evaluate another’s intentions or performance.  Any two people will see things differently, and the more people you add to the equation the more complex it becomes.  So the more people that are involved the more critical it becomes to have clearly communicated expectations.

Loyalty
Any relationship is concreted by the willingness of the participants to seek one another’s best interest over the long haul.  Loyalty is not about staying even if you don’t want to.  It is centered around thinking highly of someone and communicating that to them and others by what we say and do.  If we publicly or privately criticize those that we are supposed to be in relationship with our loyalty to that relationship is in jeopardy and we need to get to the root of the issue through some much needed communication.

 

Good relationships are critical to our having a meaningful and satisfying life.  I hope this helps you put some things in perspective for you.

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What Is Wrong Here?

Posted by Larry in

A picture named heh.jpg

Take a look at the picture to the left.  How often do you notice these persons around you?  Individuals and families that just don’t comprehend the obvious.

If at this point you are wondering what I am talking about then I am speaking to you today.  Keep looking at the photo.  Go get some help if you need to.

Today is a good day to take a step back and look at the choices that you are making.  How would you react if you saw someone else making the same choices?  Perhaps you need someone from the outside to look in. 

Maybe someone is looking at your life, your family, your choices, and they are thinking the same thing that all of us are thinking about the man in the photo.

 

What are the obvious choices that you should be making today?

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The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry Opens In Theaters Today

Posted by Larry in

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry Home Page Banner

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry is opening in theaters around the country today.  I encourage you to go see it and take your children.  This movie is an inspirational film for all ages from eight to eighty.  This picture clearly communicates the importance of a life lived according to God’s Word and does a beautiful job of capturing the relationship between an elderly man and three young boys.  Much like the relationship between a grandfather and grandchild.  You won’t want to miss this film.

This is an independent movie and may not be available in your area.  [click here] To see if this movie is playing in a theater near you.  You can watch the movie clip below.

 

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Are You Looking For A New Job

Posted by Larry in

I know today is Friday and many of you will be posting on your facebook, “So glad the weekend is here.”  I want to encourage you to be thankful for your job today.  In our economy many hard working men and women have lost their means of employment.  Some had been at their job for decades.

If your job does not afford you the opportunity to play to your strengths then you should begin making steps today to allow yourself that freedom.  Take matters into your own hands.  Don’t sit around and complain about being stuck in a dead end, underpaid, thankless job.

After all, you are on the job more than you are anywhere else.  More than with family, friends, and hobbies.  You should be doing something that allows you to express who you are and brings you a sense of fulfillment.  Small steps today can bring a better future for you and your family (this doesn’t necessarily mean money—money does not always equal fulfillment).

Whatever your job is today, it surely isn’t as bad as the gentleman in the picture below.  Have a great day!

 

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10 Things You Can Do For Your Neighbor

Posted by Larry in

Yesterday, I told you that I was going to give you some things that you could do for your neighbor that cost less than $20.  Well I did better than that.  Here are 10 things that you can do for your neighbor that will cost you less than $5 and doesn’t require any special skills or training:

  1. Mow the lawn
  2. Clean the gutters
  3. Rake the leaves (and bag them)
  4. Wash their car
  5. Shovel snow from the sidewalk and driveway
  6. Take their dog for a walk
  7. Bake them some cookies
  8. Dog sit (or cat, turtle, rabbit, etc…) while they are on vacation
  9. Invite them over for dinner
  10. Help them carry the groceries in

I am sure that you could think of a lot more things to add to this list.  It really does take very little money and effort on our part to live a life of significance.  I hope you can put this list to good use.

 

What can you do for your neighbor today?

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The Arena of Life

Posted by Larry in

Quote by Teddy Roosevelt
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.

There is something about the above quote by Teddy Roosevelt that makes me want to go pick a fight with the world around me.  To mix it up a little.  To try something new, no not new, BOLD.  To be different, to be outspoken, to speak up just to see how people react, or to just say, “I’m moving on to something new!”

How often do we forget that it is a noble thing to try something new?  That it is honorable to give your life to charitable causes?  That it is bravery that compels us to do what others fear?  That it takes great character to formulate you own opinions and live your own convictions?

We forget because too many of us live among the peasants.  We live among those that have settled for what they have been given in life.  They would like to have better, but they can’t see themselves beyond their own anticipated failure.  Because that fear of failure or the cry of the critic holds on with so much power that they cannot see their God given potential.

I know it is scary to think about getting hurt or facing failure, but really, what do you have to lose?  A little pride or some dignity?  Just remember that the lessons we remember the most are the ones that come through failure and adversity.  Do something BOLD today!  Start making plans for a new future, a better marriage, or a more enjoyable work environment.

Victory only comes to those who compete.

What have you been contemplating doing that you have pushed aside because of fear or criticism?

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Big Results With Little Money And No Professional Training

Posted by Larry in

Have you ever made one of the following statements about your family, church, or occupation?

  • “We just don’t have enough money for that.”
  • “How are we going to pay for it?”
  • “We will have to spend a lot of money to do it right.”

I have to agree that in some cases, “you get what you pay for!”  But in other cases there is room to have big impact with little cost.  You may have to work a little harder, be more creative, or learn some things that are new to you, but if you put forth the effort you can achieve much with little.

A couple of years ago I tried to put in ceramic floor in our kitchen.  It looked great for the first few days and then the tiles started to crack.  I realized then that there was a skill to this work that I did not possess.  Thus, I will never be putting down ceramic tile in my house again. 

Now on the other hand, there are some things that I have learned to do over the years that have contributed to making our home more appealing to my wife.  Take the light in our bedroom.  It is a chandelier style light that hangs from the ceiling.  It took a while to read through the directions (yes, I did read the directions) but I was able to figure out everything that I needed to know to complete the project successfully.  I admit that it took me much longer than it would someone who had experience in such matters, but this was my very first attempt at installing a new light fixture.

It is important for us to recognize those things in every area of our life that require a special skill set to accomplish and those things that can be learned so that we do not need a professional and allow us to make a contribution without regard to how much money I have.

Here’s what it might look like for my home:

I cannot put down ceramic tile, but I can but down peel and stick vinyl tile.

I cannot remodel my home, but I can put on a fresh coat of paint.

I cannot completely rewire my house, but I can put up a new light fixture or replace a bad switch.

Here’s what it might look like with my friends:

I cannot fix Joe’s marital difficulties, but I can go to the game with him (and perhaps pay his way).

I cannot mend Sue’s broken arm, but I can take her a meal that I prepared so she doesn’t have to worry about trying to cook.

Here’s what it might look like in your church:

I cannot force Sally’s parents to come to church, but I can take the time to talk with her when she shows up.

I cannot afford to buy Bruce a new car, but I can stop by and pick him up for church.

These are just a few areas where we can have a huge impact with little money and no professional training.  We should quit looking for “white collar” answers and start doing “blue collar work.”

What is it that you can do today in spite of your financial situation and lack of professional training that will help improve your situation or someone else’s?

Tomorrow I will give you 10 things that you can do for your neighbor that you can do for under $20 and will require no special skills or training.

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Kiddo Days

Posted by Larry in

Abigail and her Daddy had been in the habit of spending some Fridays together. Friday was her Father’s day off so he kept her out of preschool and they would spend the whole day together. Abigail began to call these days “Kiddo Days.” Her Dad would often say to her, “It’s just you and me Kiddo,” as they would begin each of these adventurous days. Over time “Kiddo Days” became a natural way for her to express her anticipation for these times together.

Lunch was always on the menu for Kiddo Days, and on this particular day, Abigail expressed her desire to eat at a certain restaurant. Her Dad wasn’t real crazy about going to eat there so he tried to give her a few other options to choose from with no success. It seemed that little Abigail was insistent upon eating at this particular restaurant and it didn’t take long for her to become exasperated with the conversation.

She finally stopped and said, “Daddy, if you want Kiddo Days to be any fun I have to have some input too.”

That story always hits me like a ton of bricks. It seems very easy for me to interactive with the world around me and expect everything and everyone to be on my schedule and in agreement with my preferences. Well as easy as it is for me to begin a day with those expectations, it is equally as foolish. Especially if I want others to enjoy spending time with me.

Where can you make concessions today and allow others to have some input into the time you are spending with them?

Allowing them to have an equal say will increase the chance of a good experience for everyone.

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Sit Down And Shut Up…

Posted by Larry in

I read this quote on a sign the other day, “To make a long story short, don’t tell it.”

I guess the sign did what it was supposed to because I began to think about all of the things that I wish I had never said.  Like the time when my wife asked me how her homemade macaroni tasted and I said, “It doesn’t taste much different than what comes in the box.”

Now the sign was probably referring to those times when we are about to engage in some type of gossip and share details about someone else’s life that are none of our business.  In either case, it reminds me that we should always consider our words carefully.  Sometimes we say things that hurt others because we don’t take time to think about what we are saying and other times we hurt someone by sharing things that we had no business repeating.

Can you remember something that you said that you wish you had taken more time to think about before you said it?

How about not letting today be one of those days!

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Why Would I Want To Read Fearless by Max Lucado

Posted by Larry in



It seems that every time we turn on the television, pick up the newspaper, or visit our favorite news forum online we are bombarded with all the things in life we should fear.  Perhaps you find yourself living under this perpetuated umbrella of “terror.” 

If so, it’s not new to our generation.  Each generation has its own unique opportunities to wrestle with.  But we all have to ask ourselves, “Is this a healthy way to live?”

This is the question that Max Lucado answers for us in his new book Fearless.  Max not only answers this question but also gives a compelling view of what our lives could be if we were to rise above this doom and gloom mentality and learn to live by faith in something, or rather someone, far greater than our daily doses of despair.

If you are a parent that is fearful of what kind of child you will raise, you need to read this book.

If you are unemployed and you are fearful of the future, you need to read this book.

If your daily choices are affected by worry and unpredictable outcomes, you need to read this book.

If you are responsible for communicating God’s truth, you need to read this book.

Max Lucado is one of my favorite authors and he has hit a home run with Fearless.  I encourage you to pick up a copy today.  Your outlook on life will greatly benefit for having done so.


Buy

Read

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What Is The Golden Rule?

Posted by Larry in

I am sure you have had someone in your life tell you to follow “the golden rule.”  Today I wonder if we are teaching our children and modeling the simple practice of following the “golden rule.”

Do you even know what the “golden rule” is?  If not, let me share it with you.

DO UNTO OTHERS, AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.

I dare say that if all of us would follow just this one simple task our lives and our world would be a much different place.  Just think about it for a minute if you would.  If you acted impulsively and responded harshly to someone wouldn’t you want to receive forgiveness?  If you were sick, wouldn’t you want someone to help take care of you?  If you were poor, wouldn’t you want someone to help feed your children?  If you were lonely, wouldn’t you want someone to be your friend?

I guess it is easy to know what we would want if we were in those situations and hope that we receive it, but it seems a much greater task to see others in those situations and be motivated to give them what we would want if we were in their shoes.  I guess that is probably because most of the time our favorite person to think about is “me.”  Can you relate to that?

Have you ever had someone act impulsively and respond harshly to you and you carry a grudge and say “he had know business talking to ‘me’ that way?”

Have you ever had a friend or a neighbor that is sick and you say, “ ‘I’ am working late today, ‘I’ don’t have time to stop by?”

Have you ever know someone to be poor and without food, only to say, “ ‘I’ just can’t afford to help and then go out and spend $40 on a date or $300 for an i-pod?'”

Have you ever been around someone who was always alone.  For whatever reason they couldn’t make friends and you found yourself saying, “She is just too much for ‘me’ to handle.  She wears ‘me’ out.”

Here’s a thought… What if we started putting ourselves in others shoes and responding to them the way that we would want them to respond to us, if the roles were reversed?

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Good Advice- Start Solving Problems

Posted by Larry in

Today I was looking at my Google Analytics page to see what kind of traffic this blog was getting.  As I looked over the numbers I got a little discouraged.  The past three days have been way down!  So I started reading through some material on how to increase blog traffic in hopes of helping a little.

That’s when it occurred to me… I am not writing this blog just so lots of people will read it.  I am writing this blog so that I can help those that do read it.  Now it would be great if 100,000 people read my blog (well it would be great if 100 people read this blog) but that is not why I am writing.

I have found that as I read through much of the material published on attracting blog traffic that it really doesn’t line up with why I want readers.  It seems that the end game for many people seeking the same information is too know how to turn a quick profit.  Not the case for me.  But the one great tid-bit of info that I believe I discovered was the advice to “Start Solving Problems.”

Not so much that I am going to solve anything for you today, but encourage you to start doing that for someone else.  Also, to lead your church in doing that for your community.  Why sit around and get discouraged about not having any friends or low attendance showing up on Sunday mornings when there are ways to change all of that?  Just remember that it is not about the number of friends or visitors that can be obtained.  Good deeds always attract people.

I needed this advice today to help me realize where my priorities are.  I am writing a blog to help others see things a little differently and hopefully have a God-centered view of life.  That type of influence must be earned.  I am not telling someone how to play games, fix their pc, or repair a bike.  I am asking people to view themselves and the world around them through God’s eyes.  That is more relational than informational.

 

What is some good advice that you have gotten lately?  Or a nugget of truth that changed how you think?

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Free Audio Bible (New Testament)- God’s Word Heard

Posted by Larry

calogo400w
God's Word Heard
In the midst of our busy lives, it can often be difficult to find the time to get into the Word. Now, whether you're driving your car or working at your computer, you can listen to the New Testament and let its message speak to your heart wherever you are! Read by Emmy award-winning narrator Stephen Johnston.
"GOD'S WORD is an easy-to-understand Bible...It is a wonderful version." - Rev. Billy Graham

A Note From Christian Audio
There is no more important book to read than the Bible and there is no better audiobook to listen to than God's word! In Paul's second letter to his protégé Timothy, we are reminded that all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training for righteousness.

For the month of September, Baker Publishing Group has graciously allowed us to give away the New Testament audio version of GOD'S WORD Translation (GW), skillfully narrated by Emmy award-winner Stephen Johnston. It is an ideal listening Bible due to the clear and natural use of the modern English language.

christianaudio has formatted this free download in the popular MP3 & WMA formats so you can easily listen to it on your computer, put it on your iPod, burn to CD, or use in a variety of other devices. In addition, we have also provided the download in a tracked-by-chapter, bookmarkable M4B format as well; compatible with iTunes, the iPod, and QuickTime.

If you would like more information about the translation philosophy behind GW, or if you'd like to download full-length book excerpts of Psalms, John, or Romans, please click here. You can also find the print version on Amazon!
Down Load Now - Click Here

Add the download format of GOD'S WORD Heard! New Testament to your cart and enter the coupon code SEP2009 when prompted during checkout.
Discount Price for September: $0.00
Download List Price: $14.98
Coupon Code: SEP2009

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Don’t Waste Your Time With Image Management

Posted by Larry in

All of us have an image of the person that we want to be. If you are a mom you have an image of how you want your children to see you, how your husband sees you in this role, how other moms view you, how your mother will view you, how your grandmother will view you, how you want the pastor to view you, etc…  If you are a dad its the same thing. You have an image of the man that you want everyone to see when they picture you in that roll. Your wife, your children, your dad, your grandfather, other dads, etc…
The problem is that sometimes there is a gap between our preferred image and who we really are. The person we put out to everyone else isn't the "real me" or the “real you.”
You and I can spend our time doing image management or character development.

   Image Management- covering up the person that we are in hopes that everyone else will believe that we are the person that we know we should be. 

    Character Development- being honest about the person that you are; and trusting God to help you become the person that you should be.
What is your response to these questions?
Are you just trying to blend in?
Are you trying to cover something up?
Are you pretending to be someone you are not?
Are you withholding half the truth?
Are you feeling guilty?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions there may be a gap between the person that you are and the person that you want everyone else to believe that you are?
Take action today to take off any masks that you might be wearing and show the “real you.”

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Free Leadership Conference Hosted By Catalyst and Leadership Network – The Nines

Posted by Larry

Leadership Network presents
The Nines from Todd Rhoades on Vimeo.

Catalyst and Leadership Network are partnering together to offer a free online leadership conference – The Nines. You will be able to access the conference from home or the office on your computer. The conference will begin on 9/9/09 (that’s the Tuesday following Labor Day) at 9:09am CDT.
Here is the time for your time zone:
Sept. 9, 10:09 AM EDT Eastern Time
Sept. 9, 09:09 AM CDT Central Time
Sept. 9, 08:09 AM MDT Mountain Time
Sept. 9, 07:09 AM PDT Pacific Time
Sept. 9, 06:09 AM AKDT Alaska Time
Sept. 9, 05:09 AM HAST Hawaii-Aleutian Time
You must be registered for this event. Click here to register for free right now.
The conference will consist of 9 minute videos of today’s best church leaders and communicators. It will be a fantastic event.
Confirmed Speakers as of August 24:
Reggie McNeal (Leadership Network)
Perry Noble (NewSpring Church)
Leonard Sweet (Author/Speaker)
Ed Stetzer (Lifeway Research)
Mark Batterson (National Community Church)
Alan Hirsch (Forge Mission Training Network)
Dino Rizzo (Healing Place Church)
Greg Surratt (Seacoast Church)
Sam Chand (Sam Chand Ministries)
Jon Tyson (Trinity Grace Church, NYC)
Reggie Joiner (CCO, reThink)
Nancy Ortberg (TeamWorx2)
Mike Breaux (Heartland Church)
Pete Wilson (Cross Point Church)
Neil Cole (Church Multiplication Associates)
Jenni Catron (Cross Point Church)
Noel Heikkinen (Riverview Church)
David Foster (The Gathering)
Mark Bankord (Heartland Community Church)
John Bishop (Living Waters Church)
Rick Rusaw (LifeBridge Church)
Geoff Surratt (Seacoast Church)
Jim Tomberlin (Third Quarter Consulting)
Anne Jackson (FlowerDust.net)
Naeem Fazal (Mosaic Church)
John Coulombe (First Ev Free Fullerton)
Teresa McBean (NorthStar Community Church)
Jason Cusick (Faith Church)
Bambi Encarnacion (First Ev Free Fullerton)
Ken Fong (Evergreen Baptist Church)
Judy West (Windsor Crossing Church)
Scott Wilson (The Oaks Fellowship)
Amy Hanson(Author/Speaker)
Toby Slough (Cross Timbers Church)
Troy Gramling (Flamingo Road Church)
Scott Nickell (Flatirons Community Church)
Jorge Acevedo (Grace Church)
Matt Williams (Grace Church Greenville)
Bob Roberts (Northwood Church)
Dave Ferguson (Community Christian Church)
Matt Carter (The Austin Stone Church)
Lawrence Aker (Cornerstone Baptist Church)
Dan Kimball (Vintage Faith Church)
Ken Fong (Evergreen Baptist Church)
Bill Easum (Easum & Associates)
Bryan Carter (Concord Church)
Jim Burgen (Flatirons Community Church)
Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church)
Chip Henderson (Pine Lake Church)
Jeffrey Johnson (Eastern Star Church)
Jim Sheppard (Generis)
Brad Bell (The Well)
Brian Bloye (Westridge Church)
Steve Robinson (Church of the King)
Stacy Spencer (New Direction Christian Fellowship)
Bil Cornelius (Bay Area Fellowship)
Margaret Feinberg (Author/Speaker)
JD Greear (Summit Church)
Scott Hodge (Orchard Valley Church)
Greg Holder (Windsor Crossing Church)
John Ortberg (Menlo Park Presbyterian)
Darrin Patrick (The Journey)
Michael Trent (Third Place)
Steven Furtick (Elevation Church)
Brad Powell (NorthRidge Church)
Matt Fry (C3 Church)
Larry Osborne (North Coast Church)
Brian McLaren (Author/Speaker)
Mark DeYmaz (Mosaic Church)
Skye Jenthani (Author/Speaker)
Eric Bryant (Mosaic)
You can register for FREE! Click here.

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How To Make Someone Feel Like A Champion Today

Posted by Larry in

Kingdom Hearts BoxshotMy son has been playing the game Kingdom Hearts for PS2 lately. He got it for Christmas and has taken quite some time to actually pour himself into it. Well like any new activity there is a learning curve. There are things that he finds easier to accomplish than others and there are things that at first seem almost impossible to overcome.
This morning he must have been dealing with one of the more difficult tasks. He walked up and asked if I could help him with the game and then he began to describe the difficulty he was having. As he concluded his remarks he said, “That’s why I need your help, you are usually good at stuff like that.”
As I listened to my son talk I only got confused as he was trying to describe his plight with the game. However, when he told me that he needed my help and gave the impression that I had a strength he could utilize I felt like Superman. Now, you must know that I am not a gamer. Until we purchased our first game console for our children a couple of years ago I had not played video games since I was a child. I wasn’t even sure I could help him, but his words made me feel like a champion.
That leads me to ask you…
What admirable qualities and strengths do you recognize in others?
When you recognize those qualities in someone today why not brag on them. Let them and others know what you see that is so great. If you do this, you will have less time to point out their faults and in the long run you will probably find yourself with more friends and less enemies.

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Preview The Book FEARLESS By Max Lucado

Posted by Larry in

Each sunrise seems to bring fresh reasons for fear. They're talking layoffs at work, slowdowns in the economy, flare-ups in the Middle East, turnovers at headquarters, downturns in the housing market, upswings in global warming. The plague of our day, terrorism, begins with the word terror. Fear, it seems, has taken up a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Oversized and rude, fear herds us into a prison of unlocked doors. Wouldn't it be great to walk out? Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, or doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, where you could trust more and fear less.
Can you imagine your life without fear?
I will be posting my review of this book on September 8.







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5 Reasons Why People Create And Provide Artistic Expression

Posted by Larry in


  1. Pleasure-it provides personal fulfillment and gratification
  2. To express their inner thoughts
  3. To express mood
  4. As a form of communication
  5. To provide a more welcome and suitable environment

Just yesterday I shared with you a poem by my friend Megan. Her words were just an expression of her personal walk with Christ. I hope that story has encouraged you to do the same. To create and give expression of yourself into the world around you that it might be forever changed.
What could you create with one of the motivators above. To better help you, let us look at each one in the form of a question.
What is it that brings you joy?
Perhaps you could clean out your daughter’s closet, rob the cushions from the living room couch, lay them in the closet, drape a sheet over the door way, and create a comfortable hide away that is sure to make any 6 year old smile.
What is on your mind?
Perhaps you could create a letter that expresses you opinion about what is going on in your state or national government and send it too you representative.
What are you feeling right now? What is going on in your life?
Perhaps you are feeling lonely and you need to create a friendship. Today would be a great day to pick up the phone and call or text someone and plan a fun outing.
What is it that you feel like you need say?
Perhaps you could create a video of yourself and share some favorite memories of your life to be shared with friends and family at your funeral.

Where do you spend most of your time?
Perhaps there are some things in your home or on the job that could be done to make life better for you and for others. Perhaps you could create a calm atmosphere by changing your attitude. Perhaps you could create resting place for the family by cleaning up the living room.

Have fun creating!!!

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How Do You Give Expression To Your Walk With Christ

Posted by Larry in

The words below are from my friend Megan. She said that God woke her up around 5am a couple of days ago and then she sat down and wrote the words to the poem you are about to read. With her permission I am excited to share this work of art with you because it is confirmation for me that God is still inspiring His creation to be creators. He is still working to give the world a fresh glimpse of his character, his holiness, and his majesty through individuals that will dare to share their walk of faith with the rest of us.

BEAUTIFUL PLANS
by: Megan (age 16)
Tonight I lie awake
Like many of my nights before
God, I don't know why You give and take away
But I know once my heart laid shattered on the floor

So many thoughts run through my head
But Lord, I've remembered every word You've said

Thoughts of how You awakened my weary soul
Without ever making me pay a toll

For right now, ALL I can do is try to sing myself to sleep
In the hopes that I will find Your Peace

I am beyond unworthy of this beautiful love You give
But it is in ONLY YOU that I live

I have fallen short of Your grace
But I have never stopped seeking Your face

And I have been unlovable
But You Oh God are unstoppable

You still love me
Because that's EXACTLY what I need

How beautiful Your love is for me
Thanks so much my SAVIOR who has set me free

I have NEVER been unloved
Thanks to the ALMIGHTY Emanuel above

"For I know the plans I have for you,"
He has beautiful plans for you too
Declares the LORD,
Calling like grace through the discord
"Plans to prosper You,"
Plans to make you succeed through
"And not to harm you."

But His plan will help and make you anew
"Plans to give you hope,"
"These plans will give you what you really want and need to cope
And a future."
With plans in which us He will nurture
-Jeremiah 29:11

Amen.


What have you created for God lately? Who did you share it with?


Megan is 16 years old and she is daring to share her walk of faith with the world around her. God wants each of us to have the same courage. Will you join Megan and begin to give expression to your relationship with your Creator?

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"A Note To Self "

Posted by Larry in

This is a powerful video! Please watch and think about your life. If you were to write a note to yourself at the age of 5 what would it say about the journey you would take? What would your priorities be? Just some food for thought.




If you write such a letter I would love to see it and even share it with the world via this blog if you would be comfortable with that.

Leave a comment. What are some things you would share with yourself?

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Is Television Satan’s Toolbox

Posted by Larry in

HUNTIK Secrets and Seekers
Long before recorded time, humanity was faced with an evil of unimaginable power. From the ranks of mankind arose the Seekers, those with strong will who could harness energies of the Spirit World and call forth an army of powerful Titans.

I have been watching this show (HUNTIK Secrets and Seekers) with my son over the past week on YouTube.  We do not have cable or satellite in our home so we pursue other avenues to meet our entertainment needs.  I stumbled across this show while searching for something else on YouTube and we decided to give it a try.  We have watched all 26 episodes that are posted and we both enjoyed the series very much.  So just today I was reading the above tag line along with some other information about the show and I realized that these words make me a little uneasy.  As a Christian I am very concerned about what my children think about the spiritual world.  I want them to have a Biblical view of such things.
It also occurred to me that others in Christian circles would even be critical of my choice to view this animated show with my children.  At which point I began to ask myself what other choices were out there from a Christian perspective.  I came up with Veggie Tales and Focus on the Family has the Last Chance Detectives series, but other than that I am at a loss.
So I think the question begs to be asked, “If the Church is supposed to be helping transform culture, why are we not leading the way with compelling messages in the medium that most people consume information (i.e. television or video)?”
Here is a list of the good qualities that I found in this show:
1)  Clear lines drawn between good and evil.
2)  One of the main characters experiences the power of receiving forgiveness and ultimately redemption.
3)  Good story line.
4)  Values loyalty
5)  Good portrayal of the family (Locke Lambert’s family)
6)  There is always a mission, a mystery to be solved, and of course bad guys that need a good martial arts butt kickin.
There are many other things that I found to be good qualities in this show.  I am not listing these things so that you will run out with your children and buy the DVDs or surf the net and watch it, but I do want to say that not all television is bad even if we do not agree with all aspects of the programming.  Now I am the first to tell you that we need to control what we consume because it effects the person that we are becoming so please hold the lectures.  But until Christians start leading the way in the market place of ideas we will have to learn to navigate this mine field the best we can.  If you have children, watch television with them and then talk to them about  the aspects of what you have just watched.  Teach them to think critically about what they consume and emphasize the qualities that line up with Christian values and bring to light those qualities that do not.

What have you been watching lately and why?  Is it the content, the genre, curiosity, etc…?

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40 New Backpacks For The 2009-2010 School Year

Posted by Larry in


Yesterday I had the privilege of dropping off 40 backpacks to the Dunbar Primary Center just a few blocks from our church. The school will have approximately 260 Kindergarten – 2nd grade students attending classes for the 2009-2010 school year. What seems like a little will go a long way for our small community and also for our church. I am not sure of the exact numbers, but there is a high percentage of children in the local school system that are in financial need and these are the type of folks that were close to the heart of Jesus. He was particularly eager to do for others what they could not do for themselves. As it should be with every church in the world.

I am excited to say that my church is making a shift in its priorities to focus more on the practical needs in our community. This is just one simple way that we can make life better for the community in which we live. I am continually praying that we can model the heart of Christ with our neighbors.

What about you? What have you been doing lately that would reflect a servants heart?

Make a list of the needs that you know of in your family, neighborhood, city, state, etc… and then challenge your family or church to do something about it. Just make sure you are willing to work, plan, and implement the plan. The world isn’t short on ideas, only courageous leaders to see them through.

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Take Some Steps To Bring Focus To Your Life

Posted by Larry in

Dr. Howard Hendricks said, “The secret of concentration is elimination.”
This season of my life is becoming a reflective season for me.  I am asking questions about what is important to me and evaluating whether or not I am being effective to do the things that I want to accomplish. 
I have noticed that life has a tendency to shift towards chaos and complexity.  We just continue to add things to life without ever evaluating why we do them; why we give attention to certain relationships; why we talk more than we act; etc… I am aware that there are certain things that are important to me and now I have to make decisions about what needs to be given up so that I can focus my time and energy on those things.
These are never easy decisions to make because I will have to give up some things that I enjoy doing to focus on what I think is most important.  Also, I know there will be resistance from others as they will want me to fit their mold.  But… God has given me stewardship over this life to live and one day I will be accountable.
What about you?  Are there things that you can or should give up to make your life more productive?
You could make a list of the key areas of your life and then list what is important for you to accomplish in each of those areas.  Then every three months you could take some time to evaluate if you are living the life you want to live.

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Daily Discipline Leads To Long Term Follow Through

Posted by Larry in

One thing I have noticed about myself is that I have a difficult time with long term follow through.  I cannot count the number of things in my life I have started and not finished.  As you might imagine this has left me feeling disappointed at times and wrestling with the guilt of my failure to complete or stick with things over the long haul.
I have reflected on many things over the past couple of weeks that I wish I had followed through with but didn’t. I know that if I had completed these things I would have more choices for the future.  That’s why writing this blog is so important to me.  It forces me to address an area of weakness in my character while focusing on an area of strength in the way God designed me. 
Committing to write a blog helps me build daily discipline that will hopefully lead to long term follow through and also forces me to communicate regularly whether anyone reads it or not.  While at the same time I get to write and share what limited knowledge I might possess for those who might choose to read.
Take some time to make some observations about yourself.  Are there some character qualities that you could stand to improve?  Is there an area of strength that you need to focus on?

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My Friend The Pastor

Posted by Larry in

Today I am meeting as a member of the West Virginia Ministries of the Church of God where one of my dearest friends will be introduced for ordination.  It is at times like these that I am reminded that Todd is not launching into ministry or just now becoming a pastor.  He has served many years as a leader in our movement and as a minister in a local congregation.  He is only now receiving recognition for his life’s pursuit to be a shepherd to others.
I am celebrating with my friend today for a heart that pursues God in the face of adversity.

What is your life’s pursuit?

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Silencing the Critics

Posted by Larry in

I had the opportunity last night to attend the West Virginia State Camp Meeting of the Church of God at the Rippling Waters Campground in Romance, West Virginia. Some would argue that the camp meeting atmosphere is equivalent to the audio cassette. It is still used by some but not an attractive medium to the population at large. Since I am always looking for ways to expose myself to different environments and good preaching I gave little attention to this consideration.
Dr. David Sebastian talked about the difficulties of communication and the all to frequent tendency of church members to “prepare for war” with one another based upon rumors and hearsay without ever having talked face to face. I would add that this is a far too frequent occurrence for friends, neighbors, and co-workers as well.
As Dr. Sebastian concluded his message he shared this quote (I missed the individual that it was accredited to):
“The church is not served well by unloving critics nor uncritical lovers.”
May I ask you how often you are critical of your church, job, or family without a loving heart as your motivation? Before you answer too quickly, an attitude of love would be marked by you desire to do a good job, concern for the people around you, your willingness to work hard, a measure of sacrifice, and a motivation to want what is best for the group and not yourself (as well as many other qualities). Maybe next time you could offer solutions to a problem rather than pointing out what is wrong. And then offer to see the solutions through.
May I ask you another question? When was the last time you felt that something needed to be addressed within your family, church, or place of employment but you just kept quiet. Perhaps it was fear that kept you from having that difficult conversation. Refusal to have the conversations that challenge everyone to do what is right is equally as wrong as just standing on the outskirts and complaining about what is wrong without sharing a part of the load to be carried.
Where can you improve?

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For a couple of years now I have been in the practice of driving my wife to work each morning.  Occasionally she will ask for me to stop at the McDonald’s near her office to pick up breakfast for her, and that is what she asked of me this morning.
I sat patiently (which is not an easy thing for me to do) for my turn at the speaker to place my order.  As I pulled up to the speaker a voice came on and ask to take my order. So I gave my order: a large black coffee and a bagel with bacon.  There was no reply, but I could hear muffled voices coming from the speaker.  Another voice comes on and says, “Can I take your order?” I am a little frustrated, but I repeat the order.  While I am giving the order (for the second time), the person taking my order begins talking with someone else in the restaurant.  Thus, he is not able to hear me giving my order.  He begins trying to have a conversation with both of us at the same time.  At one point, I could not tell if he was talking to me or someone in the restaurant, so I asked.  When he replied that he was speaking to someone inside I asked him to focus on me and complete my order.  So he allowed me to finish my order and when I was done he said, “hold on a minute.”
At this point I was irritated to say the least.  I did not wait, I pulled around to get in line so I could talk with someone face to face at the window.  My wife, sensing that I was irritated, asked me not to be angry when I pulled up to the window.  I had every intention of asking for a manager, but I refrained.  When I pulled around to the window I was met by someone other than the person who had taken my order.  He was standing in the background.  Another lady took my order at the window and apologized for the bad headsets and explained that it was hard to hear through them.
What she needed to apologize for, was not the equipment, but the lack of service and courtesy provided by the individual taking my order. 
For those of you reading this, please do not mistake these words as a vent line.  Many of you work with people, you have families, attend churches, etc… You have the greatest opportunity to positively impact people when you give them your undivided attention. 
Remember these two things:
1)  Just like you, others want to be heard when they speak.
2)  Your service (marriage, organization, church, etc…) is only as good as your relationship with the customer.    

What is a bad customer experience that you have had?

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Choosing a Blogging Audience

Posted by Larry in

I have been reading a lot of literature on how to succeed with writing a blog and one of the items for consideration is the audience that you want to reach.  I had only put limited thought into this until now.  So I want to define in writing who I am trying to reach with this blog and why.
     1.  Individuals that want something more out of life.
Far too often we wake up and assume that each day is just a normal day and we do not give significant attention to the choices that are ahead of us.  I want to help individuals think about and live life on a deeper level.
     2.  Christians that are tired of the status quo.
It seems that many of the churches in our Western culture are operating under a powerless existence.  I believe that one reason for this is that we have lost our moral authority in society.  We are not living lives that are possessed by the spirit of God and there is a disconnect between what we say and what we do.  I want to encourage and challenge people to live by God’s standard.
3.  Anyone who wants to change the world around them.
We all have the opportunity to change lives each day but we are often reacting to what is going on around us and not being proactive with our relationships.  I want to connect with people that are looking to change the world one person at a time through small acts of kindness.
These are my initial thoughts on the audience I hope to reach with this blog.  In time it may become necessary to refine my thought process as all three of these ideas together may be too broad to allow real focus.  I do believe that these ideas are cords of a string that can and should be woven together into the fabric of our lives.  I guess we will have to see how my little mind is able to process and communicate my heart for such things.

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Life Is Fragile

Posted by Larry in

In just over an hour I will begin a 90 minute trip to Parkersburg, West Virginia.  A couple of the students in my youth ministry and I will be going to a viewing for a young man that was shot and killed a few days ago.
In these moments I realize that there is nothing that I can say that can take away the pain that the family feels.  Only God can do that.  We are making this journey today to let the family know that Chad’s life helped impact our lives for the better.  While this may not soothe the pain, I am hopeful that it will bring a measure of comfort to the family, and they can see that Chad lived a life worth celebrating.
Also, as I make this trip with high school students and young adults I am prayerful that each of them will realize how fragile life is.  Often times we consider our youth a time to be carefree; until that magic day of adulthood hits and then it is time to be responsible.  I want each of my students to value their life today.  I want them to use this short time they are given on Earth to make an eternal impact. 
That leaves me to ask myself, “Am I wasting the time that I have been given?”

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Showing Up Is Only Half The Battle

Posted by Larry in

I came across a blog post titled Wherever You Are, Be There 100% on therebelution.com website. This site was set up by Alex and Brett Harris to encourage teenagers to live a life of meaning and purpose. 
I think this article is applicable to all of us.  Let me know what you think.
Read the article here:  Wherever You Are, Be There 100%
What if you gave 100% to your job, your marriage, your school work, or to whatever task or situation you are surrounded with right now?  Is there anything you have been avoiding or just giving a half-hearted effort towards?

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It Is Better To Give Than To Receive

Posted by Larry in

I am sure that you have heard someone use the phrase “It is better to give than to receive.” We often hear these words spoken when a parent or grandparent tries to teach a child making selfish choices that he is choosing a foolish way to live.
I remember spending a Christmas with my friend Scott when we were teenagers. His family was having a gift exchange at his grandmother’s house a few days before Santa’s big day. I have two very fond memories of that day.
1) The grandparents did not expect me to be amongst the guests that evening, therefore, they were surprised when I showed up with the family. At first I was a little embarrassed and a tad uncomfortable. My uneasiness quickly faded away when I realized that the family had sent someone out to the store to make sure I had a couple of gifts when it came time to exchange presents. I felt really good when I opened the present with my name on it, but I could tell that what joy I experienced that evening was little compared to the family as they watched me open the gift and be a part of the family. I received a far better gift than a Christmas present that night as this family loved me.
2) The most remarkable event of the evening was when Scott’s cousin Shane opened a box and immediately began to complain about the jeans that were inside. Shane’s mother came out of nowhere into the circle we had formed; grabbed him by the arm and escorted him from the room giving him a lecture on the way out. I still laugh at the sight of that little woman dragging her son through a crowd of people and stacks of presents.
This is a perfect contrast between those that have learned the truth in this often spoken adage, “It is better to give than receive.” The grandparents in the family would not accept me participating in this family event and being forced to sit and watch everyone delight in opening gifts and having nothing of my own to enjoy.
On the other hand we have a young boy that had been given designer clothes his entire life and up to that point in his life had never learned to give. He had only learned to receive and because of that it built selfishness. Each time he received he thought he deserved better than the time before.
What about you? Is your attitude more of a giving attitude today or a receiving attitude?
Tell me how you have given to others this summer. What small act of kindness have you given someone else?

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Do You Want To Get Rich Today?

Posted by Larry in

In our society today it seems that everyone is looking for a get rich quick scheme.  As I have been investigating best practices for blogging I ran across this headline “Free Video Reveals: The #1 Secret That Helped Us Make Up To $94,042 Per Month As Niche Marketers On Total Autopilot.” At first glance this juicy title gets the adrenaline pumping.  After all, don’t you want to make tons of cash with very little work?  So do I!
When you stop to think about it you know that life doesn’t work that way.  Whether you own your own business, work for someone else, manage a blog, or bag groceries, work is work.  It takes time and energy.  No matter what endeavor you pursue in building financial security you will be required to invest yourself into the process.  It will not happen without effort.
My advice is to give up on those schemes that promise something for nothing.  It is probably true that these individuals are making tons of money, but not because they have found the magic formula for success, but more accurately they are selling us on a false hope of great riches with little to know work.  And… There unknown secret is available to you for a “small” fee.
Once you have decided to give up on these foolish magic makers then you can explore strengthening your financial platform. Here are a couple of ideas for you to explore as you consider different options for the future.
1.  Figure out what you are good at and what you enjoy, then begin a part time business on the side.  Start slow and learn all that you can.  Eventually it just might turn into a lucrative business.
2.  Explore new ways to use what you already do to earn extra cash flow.  Maybe there is a part of what you do that can be marketed in a different way.  Perhaps you could blog about your experience and teach people about what you do.
3.  Start making better choices with the money you have right now.  Dave Ramsey has a great program to help you in this area.

How are you creatively earning extra income?  Please leave a comment I would be interested to know.

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Free Audio Book

Posted by Larry

Christian Audio is a company that produces audio books and other forms of Christian media. As a part of marketing they are currently offering a free audio download each month. This month the free download is The Divine Comedy (unabridged) by Dante Alighieri.
If you find yourself too busy to read this is a great alternative. You can listen in the car or on your favorite portable media device.
Free Book
When you arrive on the page:
1) select download and click add to cart
2) verify that the book qty is 1 then click checkout
3) if you do not have an account you will have to create one-click create account and follow the directions
4) if you have an account – sign in
5) you will be prompted for a code – enter the free code (this month it is aug2009)
6) verify the invoice total balance is $0.00 and click checkout
7) Final verification – if okay click finish (PLEASE CLICK FINISH ONLY ONE TIME)
8) Wait until your order is verified and then you should be able to click on the title on the left of the screen
9) After selecting the title you will be asked to choose your format MP3 is the most compatible format, M4B is for Apple/i-pod users, and then WMA for Windows users.
10) After choosing your format your downloads will appear at the bottom of the screen-there is usually more than one download for each book
I hope you enjoy.

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