Growth

The crushing weight of stress

You might remember the headlines last summer of a terrible ocean disaster. The “Titan,” a submersible for deep sea exploration, imploded. A tourist company, OceanGate, operated it. It was taking tourists to explore the wreck of the Titanic in the North Atlantic. Many experts had raised concerns about the safety and readiness of the “Titan.”…

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The real power of a “mission trip”

You’ve heard the phrase, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” Never was this truer than when describing a “mission trip.” First, I’ll define a “mission trip” like this: It is an experience where Christians go out into the world to help those in need, whether the needs are physical or spiritual.  That definition allows me…

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Age is just a number

You’ve heard the phrase, “Age is just a number.” People who use that phrase are usually on the “high side” of that number. Be that as it may, what does it mean? It’s a statement that age doesn’t define who you are. It clearly doesn’t represent what you have accomplished. It doesn’t indicate what is…

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March Madness

If you’re a college basketball follower, you’ll be familiar with the term “March Madness.” This expression goes back to the Illinois’ statewide high-school basketball tournament. In 1939, a spokesperson with the Illinois High School Association, Henry V. Porter, wrote an article called “March Madness.” He wrote, “A little March madness may complement and contribute to…

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The Zeigarnik effect

Chances are high that you’ve never heard of Lithuanian-Soviet psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik. I never have either, but I have heard of something called the Zeigarnik effect. This occurs when an activity you’re doing has been interrupted. This principle states that the interruption will make the activity more easily remembered. Recently it has been called the…

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Foreign travel

I’m getting ready to take a team of people to El Salvador to help a local multiplier (Church planter). There are several things necessary to prepare for such a trip, especially when many have never been out of the United States before. Passports and visas are first, followed by travel insurance, tickets, lodging, state department…

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Shoes

Imelda Marcos was the First Lady of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. She traveled the world buying expensive shoes. Her name became synonymous for people with large shoe collections because when she fled to Hawaii she left more than 1,000 pairs of shoes and 800 handbags in Malacanang Palace. The exact number she owned…

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Reflection

An important part of each day is a moment of reflection. It is the time to pause and take stock of your day. It is the time to think about what has gone well, and what could be done better. It is a time to acknowledge and appreciate the progress you have made, and a…

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Make your bed

You might have seen the viral video of Admiral William H. McRaven. He delivered the commencement address in May 2014 to the graduates of the University of Texas. He is a retired United States Navy four-star admiral who served as the ninth commander of the United States Special Operations Command. The speech’s theme was this:…

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Coffee

I’m about to make a colossal admission. I don’t particularly like coffee. That’s right! Those of you who know me personally would say, “No way! I see you drinking it all the time.” You would not be wrong, but I drink coffee for other reasons other than the taste of the java.  You see, I…

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A guarantee for a peaceful Christmas

Christmas can be difficult…especially the older we get. When we were young, everything was amazing, fresh, and new. There was a wonder surrounding everything. The early traditions of decorating the tree, buying the presents, caroling to neighbors, being at church all have a discovery attached to them. But here’s the reality: As a child, we…

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Patience problems

It would be fascinating to graph the ups and downs of my life. It certainly would not be a flatline. My graph would be wrought with peaks and valleys. Many of “my valleys” have to do with patience or more accurately, my lack of patience. I just lost it again. My wife encroached on “my…

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Strengths and Weaknesses

Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. This is no great insight. What is interesting to investigate is how we use our strengths and weaknesses in leadership situations. I was taught years ago that it is important to know what you do well, but not to work at making your strengths even stronger. I was taught to…

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The goal of leadership

President Ronald Reagan once said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” Now that’s a powerful and inspiring statement. It speaks to the core of great leadership. So many of us get our vision clouded by…

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Leadership never happens in a vacuum

Why are leaders so hard to find? Is that a legit question or is it something people say when they don’t do the hard work of developing leaders in their circles of influence? The answer is “It’s probably both.” On one hand, it’s difficult to find leaders with characteristics like patience, competence, awareness, accountability, dedication,…

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Monsoon

I live in the Southwest. Every summer around July through September, we experience what climatologists call “Monsoon.” Clouds build up in the afternoon and then a powerful wind followed by lightning and torrential rainfall. It can be spectacular. It can be dangerous. So far, this year’s monsoon is more of a “non-soon.” There are lots…

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Envy

This is a blog post for all of us who have experienced jealousy and envy. Let me set up the scenario. You’re a follower of Jesus. As such, you want to make decisions that are in keeping with the phrase, “What would Jesus do.” So you don’t lie, cheat, or steal. You live life with…

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Trust

Trust is one of those words we often throw into a conversation when we’re uncertain about the future. It’s a great word. It can mean belief, hope, conviction, expectation, dependence, to depend on, to count on, or to be sure about. you get the idea of the depth of this amazing word. In the New…

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Motivation

I try to workout regularly. In fact, I haven’t missed a workout in 4 months. Don’t get too excited. My training times are pretty tame. But I’d like to address something that is truly a “game-changer” for me. I would guess that in the past four months there were many days where working out wasn’t…

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Expect the unexpected

“Expect the unexpected.” On a surface level, this doesn’t sound like a leadership principle. It’s more of an observation. Life has a way of throwing you curveballs. Nobody “expects” to be in a car accident or to have a global pandemic foisted upon them. But it happens. So where does good leadership fit? Well, consider…

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“One bell”

There is an unseen factor that growing businesses and ministries share. The fact is most people ignore it.  People will look at any business or a ministry in my world and say, “Why is it growing?” They attribute growth to this or that, but one of the factors that is most commonly overlooked is unity…particularly,…

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Good leadership requires good preparation

“Tomorrow’s unknown crisis is not something to avoid in fear. It requires our attention and deliberation. We just need to have the courage to face the truth of our future’s uncertainty. We just need to be prepared.” That was a quote from Christopher Manske, an author and investment guru. Good leadership requires good preparation. Even the…

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First impressions

First impressions are lasting impressions. We understand this when we’re dating. But this principle applies throughout your lifetime. Years ago I took my staff to Disneyland. But, it wasn’t just to have a fun time. I wanted my team to deeply understand “customer service” in a ministry setting. By the way, how we treat people…

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Parkinson’s Law

My dad had Parkinson’s disease. You may know someone who has it. I’ll save the conversation about the condition for a later blog post. Something with the same name sounds like it might be related…but it’s not. It’s something called “Parkinson’s Law”. What is it? It’s the old adage that work expands to fill the…

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Great athlete, poor coach

Great athletes don’t always make great coaches. It’s one thing to play a sport with excellence. It’s another thing to teach and show someone else how to do it. Wayne Gretzky, known as “The Great One” in hockey circles had major shortcomings as a head coach. Magic Johnson attempted coaching the L.A. Lakers, but was…

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Bad dream

It’s the middle of the night. You wake up from a dreadful dream. You shake it off, but you just can’t go back to sleep. It’s a common experience with kids, but how about the rest of us? Sometimes those moments in the “wee” hours leave us filled with fear. Thinking about our health, a…

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Fortune cookie effect

I read about something leaders call the “Fortune Cookie Effect”. I have never heard the phrase, but I sure have seen it in operation. So have you.  Simply put, the “Fortune Cookie Effect”  is a prediction that causes itself to become true.  Some call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. You’re the one that makes it come…

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Connections

If you want to influence somebody,  first you need to build a connection. Influence presupposes a link, a correlation, a rapport or a bond with the person. When you’re in sync with somebody, you have a better shot at leading.. The over-used word for this is “relationship.” I’m a bit reluctant to use it because…

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Seeing clearly

Is it OK to admit that I need glasses to read? I’ve been blessed to have 20-20 vision my whole life. Now I can’t read anything without help. I have to admit that it was pretty easy to take good vision for granted. Today however is a different story. As a matter of fact, you…

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The fastest path to change

My apologies to so many books on change and there on some good ones. “Switch” by Chip Heath is one. “Who Moved My Cheese” is a classic title. They’re both must reads for any leader, but I found that one of the fastest things you can change in any situation is you.  This is a huge…

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