One of the things I wrestle with the most is having fun. I tend to take things pretty seriously. I’m not sure if it’s because we didn’t play a lot as a family when I was growing up, or if it’s because I worry about the future too much. My wife says that I used to be fun! I still laugh from time to time. I still get goofy with my kids (as our family pic reveals), but I know that I can get distracted by other things that take me away from what’s really important. My family. Author Steven Covey made the profound statement in his book First Things, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
What’s the main thing in your life right now? Take a moment. Think about it. Is it work. Is it stress and worry about the future. Is it school. Does family or friends or truly enjoying life even rank in the top 5?
[shareable]The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. ~ Steven Covey[/shareable]
Here’s what I know. When you figure out what the “main” thing is and truly start living out of that main thing, your life will be much more clear and much more worthwhile. With that said, I’m also going to say that if your main thing isn’t including faith, family, friends and being outside, you’re off the mark.
I came home yesterday afternoon after picking up one kid from school to the announcement that the other 2 kids’ science fair project needed to assembled and ready to go for the next day. My day had already been crazy doing several things that hadn’t been on the calendar and I was hoping to go for a run and write a blog post. But you know what happened in stead? Yup. I helped our 2 youngest put together, test and assemble their science fair project. It was fun. It was goofy. It made their night and, in reality, it made my night. Was it what I had planned? Nope. Was it the main thing? 127%!!
Let me ask again, what is your main thing? Is it something or someone(s) that you love doing or being around? If not, what’s keeping you from changing and finding your “main” thing? If it’s fear, you should probably just move past it because it’s robbing you of your life.
Question: What would it look like for you to find your main thing? What would it look like to find your passion? Would your life look different than it is now? How? Take some time today to process and write some thoughts down. Maybe share them with someone close to you.
Ok, let me make this little disclaimer. I hate working out. I haven’t always been the healthiest eater in the world. I like food. Good food. With that said, I want to share some thoughts about taking care of your greatest asset. I just finished a great book by Greg McKeown called Essentialism and one of the things that jumped out at me was his section about our assets. Let me be clear, this isn’t a book review.
[shareable]The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves. If we underinvest in ourselves…we damage the very tool we need to make our highest contribution. ~Greg McKeown[/shareable]
2015 was a challenging season for me and for our family. I ended something that I loved but couldn’t keep going, which sent me into a spiral. There were times that I wasn’t sure that I would make it through the season, but with my faith and amazing wife (and kids) I took some steps to gain a different perspective.
I decided to to run a half marathon with my wife (actually she asked and I readily accepted) at the end of the summer. I needed something different to occupy my head and my heart, and quite literally my body. But you know what? It wasn’t enough. I needed something more. I needed something more competitive. So, in the middle of July, with only 4 weeks to go, I decided to do a Sprint distance Triathlon (1/2 mile swim, 17 mile ride, 3 mile run)!
Here’s what I know. I hate setting goals, because I always feel like they’re a recipe for failure! But I had to set some. I had to commit (I paid $120). I had to train. And I did. I trained and I finished. Then I did another one. And then Kristen and I ran the half marathon. We had a great time. Best race of them all.
So what’s the point? Simple. I needed to change the way I was taking care of myself. Specifically, taking care of my body. The result? I lost 15lbs. Had better clarity. More excitement in my perspectives. For 2016 the goals are bigger. Yes, I’m setting bigger goals. And, I want to suggest that maybe for you 2016 could be a different year for you too.
[shareable]Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will. ~Greg McKeown[/shareable]
Let me give you some suggestions of how to take care of your greatest asset this year.
Decide to make a change.
Find something to do physically
- Choose something active
- a race (running, biking swimming etc.)
- Find a trail to hike
- Set some goals of how to get there
- Search online for a training schedule ( I found a 30 day Couch to Tri Training Scehdule online)
- Change your eating patterns (We are giving up drinking alcohol for 2016)
- Include others in your goals and changes
- Doing things with others is amazing for growing friendships
- You’re not in this alone!
Since changing some unhealthy patterns in my life, I feel better. I feel healthier and clearer. I’m still processing other things, but I have goals ahead of me that I want to complete. And that’s a good starting point.
Question: What needs to change in your life today? Sit down with a journal and write out some thoughts then include your spouse or close friend in your conversation.
Superbowl 50 is over. The excitement and stress of the season and of last night is over. I’m not a rabid sports guy. Never have been. I like going to games, but have never really got into blocking my time to watch games on tv or following the stats of any of my home town teams. With that being said, I did watch the Superbowl last night (after spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to one device after another to get a good wifi signal). It was good match of two teams who deserved to be there. There was enough excitement and nail biting to go around. There were also some things to be learned about what leadership looks like. Most of the thoughts are coming from watching Peyton Manning lead the Broncos. So here they are.
1. Recognize your team’s strengths
When it comes to the Denver Broncos, the common theme of the 2015 season has been their defense. Everyone has been talking about it. From Facebook fans to sports commentators, they’ve all been saying that if Denver wins Superbowl 50, it will on the backs of the defense. Well guess what? They were all right! No matter what Cam Newton and the Panthers did, they couldn’t get past the Broncos defense. They were fast, furious and everywhere. It was crazy to watch.
So what? Well, the what is that during Peyton’s 6-7 weeks of recovery time, he saw the strength and power of his defensive line. He saw it, recognized it and went with it. He knew that he needed them. He knew that the Broncos organization needed them. So he kept putting them in the position of being the strength of the team. Not the offense. The defense. Good leadership recognizes the strength(s) of their team, even when it seems counter intuitive.
2. Develop your character
Every time I watch Peyton Manning get interviewed, I’m struck by how kind he is. He takes each question in stride (no matter how stupid the question). When I hear people talk about him it’s with words like character, leadership, respect or integrity.
Here’s the deal. That doesn’t happen over night or in a vacuum. Character is grown and fostered over time. Over years. It takes work. It takes being able to look at yourself and your weaknesses and then asking for help. Developing your character requires that you surround yourself with people who will love you enough to tell when you’re blowing it. Peyton has those people in his life. It’s obvious. Many of them are his family members. When you don’t have a strong or healthy family what do you do? Find surrogates. Find good friends who don’t care about your title or popularity and will tell you what’s what.
3. Be humble and honest
Watching Peyton get interviewed after the game, I was struck again at how kind he was to the interviewer and at how he talked up his team mates. He knew that the win wasn’t just about him. He knew that it was a team effort. It was a pleasure to watch. Then came the Cam Newton interview. It wasn’t a pleasure to watch. Cam faced obvious questions and sometimes silly questions. It was painful. I felt bad for him.
Can I just say something here? Yes, he is the quarterback of an NFL team. Yes, he is in a position of leadership. Yes, he should be able to handle the media better. But you know what? He’s 26!!! Give him a break. He was sad. Disappointed. How many of you would be able to handle yourself in his situation? I would have loved it if he would have just said, “You know what? I’m super disappointed. I don’t have much to say right now. That Broncos D was crazy good.” But he didn’t do that and now he’s got to live with what what the world is saying about him.
Anyway. That’s some of what’s rattling around in my head after last night. We’ve all been called to lead, so let’s lead well.
Question. What does your leadership style look like? Is it all about you or are you all about your team? What would it look to change your leadership style to be more inclusive and less exclusive? Side note: This is in the office or in the home.
Ya, I know. It’s a pretty dramatic title, but I totally believe it. The idea of being present in the midst of the chaotic life that we live in transcends well, everything. Why? Because, when you learn how to be present in any situation, whether with family, friends or at work, you’ll find more peace and calm in the midst of the chaos. Let’s face it. Chaos is all around us, and if we don’t have some way or steps to be more engaged and present now, we will never be able to move into tomorrow in a healthy and meaningful way.
I love Greg McKeown’s quote around this. Greg is the author of the book Essentialism.
Take a deep breath. Get present in the moment and ask yourself what is important this very second. ~Greg McKeown
Yup. That’s good stuff right there. And, in all honesty, isn’t very corporate America. Let alone suburban America. The world around us is all about results and bottom lines with very little room for “taking in the moment”. How about family life? As kids get older and the marriage goes into it’s 15th year, life seems to be on auto pilot. Going from one school or extra curricular event to another. With barely any margin to actually have a “family life!”
So, what could that look like? What could being present look like? Let me give you some ideas. These aren’t rocket science, and you’ve probably heard them before. Sometimes it’s just good to have a reminder from time to time.
1. PUT YOUR TECHNOLOGY AWAY – I was going to say put your phone away, but we’re connected by everything these days. So, when you’re in a one on one conversation that is leaning towards the personal or your with your family/friends, put it all away. Maybe even turn it all off if you can. With regards to the more business side of things, this quote from Naveen Jain is simply perfect.
How you make people feel after they meet you is more important than what you say. Their experience with you becomes your business card. ~Naveen Jain
2. LISTEN – this one is huge no matter who you’re with. Clients, spouses, kids or friends all want to be heard. We fail at this one all the time. How many times have you been in a conversation and you were thinking about 2 or 10 different things or, you were already coming up with a solution to the persons problem? Ya. Me too. The concept I’m talking about here is called “active listening”. Which is simply being “present” in the conversation. Fight the urge to think about other things. Fight the urge to interrupt the conversation with your solutions. Like Naveen said, “How you make people feel after they meet you is more important than what you say.”
3. BE THANKFUL – Being present gives you the ability to see beyond the chaos and the distractions and see what is beautiful, majestic, inspiring and then, hopefully, you can be thankful for what is right in front of you. Maya Angelou says it beautifully,
Be present in all things AND thankful for all things. ~Maya Angelou
Question: What needs to change in your life so that you can be more present? Take a few moments today and write some of them down. Then, invite someone close to you into a conversation around what you want to change and ask for help.
Before this reading this book, I honestly had never heard of Johnnie Moore. While I had never heard of the author, the title intrigued me. We are living in a paradigm shift within the church. A shift from talking about a squeaky clean, almost sterile God to an ever increasing realization that Jesus was messy. Dirty. Willing to challenge the status quo.
That’s where this book comes in. I appreciate Johnnie’s perspective and take on Jesus. That while he was and is perfect, he was willing to get his hands dirty. Push back on the contemporary culture and faith community of the day. Dirty God is about the need to have a proper perspective of who Jesus is and what he is calling the church to. A life and community consumed by grace. This isn’t grace +. Grace + prayer. Grace + service. Grace + giving. This is just grace thru faith (Ephesians 2:8).
As a pastor who is passionate in communicating Jesus’ message of Grace anyway I can, I appreciate Johnnie’s use of regular language. We live in a day and age where the US is quickly moving to become pre-Christian in nature. Meaning, that many if not most of our neighbors don’t have a common language when it comes to the things of Jesus and the church. He acknowledges this and takes steps to be less “christiany” in tone.
If you want a book to give someone who doesn’t understand who Jesus is and what his message is about, this is one of the books I would highly recommend.
God and Guinness. Passion! Dedication! Perseverance! Faith! Compassion! All of these words describing one the most influential men and families in Ireland and eventually the world. A man that saw a need in his city and county that turned into generations of family members dedicating their lives to the service of God and their fellow man! But here is a strange question: Is there anything in this world that would seem to be more distant than a book about God and Beer?
In the new book The Search For God And Guinness, by author Stephen Mansfield does just that. He guides us on a fantastic story chronicling the amazing journey of the Guinness family, the founders of Guinness beer. Rarely is a historical read so engaging and inspiring. The journey of the Guinness family is a remarkable path of trusting God enough to bring change to one country. As a lover of Guinness already, I was truly enamored by the tale of the Guinness’ and the tale of beer. I always assumed that beer had it’s origin in Europe at some point, but to learn that beer has been around for thousands of years is remarkable.
The most remarkable of the story was that beer was at the center of a story of faith. As a pastor of German/Austrian/Canadian descent, I have always believed that alcohol is not the evil that the church has challenged us to abstain from. But rather with moderation, alchohol is simply something to be enjoyed because God created it. The story of Guinness is a great proof of that belief. The amazing point of the book is not just the beer however, it is the fact that Arthur Guinness, his family or those working at Guinness saw a need in their homeland of Ireland and rose to the occasion time and time again to meet those needs.
If you want to grow in your knowledge of the origins of beer and be inspired by the power of vision, ingenuity and the love of your fellow man, then read The Search For God and Guinness, by Stephen Mansfield, you won’t be disappointed. As a Thomas Nelson book reviewer, I highly recommend this book. […]