Wednesday, November 13, 2019

What You Control

Let’s face it, you do not control very much in your life. One of my favorite parts about being a chaplain in the Army is that I will never have to make a command decision. I have absolutely no power. In fact, if I were in a situation where a big decision needed to be made on the battlefield, and it was just me and PVT Snuffy, he would be telling me what to do and not the other way around. Which brings me to the part that I like least in the Army, which is, I will never have to make a command decision.

It’s pretty humbling to know that I do not control much. And, that is not just in the Army, but life in general. I would venture to say that no matter where you are in life, you do not have as much control as you might like to have. Whether it is your work, family situation, or even a group that you volunteer time at.

What I do control is my attitude. And, by learning from men and women who know much more than me, peers that care a ton about my growth in all areas of life, and Scripture, I know that one principle remains constant. That is, God is the one that has real control in my life. My question to you is, have you taken a long hard look at what you actually do have control over, and separate it from what you think that you have control over? Once you put your trust in God, and know that he is the controller of not just your life, but of all creation, it might give you a different perspective.

“All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.”
Psalm 22:27-28

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Beware of the Man with Infinite Wisdom…

Beware of the Man with Infinite Wisdom…

It always amazes me how so many people have so much to say about stuff that is clearly out of their purview.  What I mean by that is, it doesn’t matter where I am – standing in line, at the grocery store, whatever – someone is always giving their opinion to somebody else.   John Maxwell once said that if we spend as much time taking our own advice that we give to everybody else, we would be much better people.  Let me give you a little bit of context.

Every now and again somebody tries to chime in with their important wisdom and knowledge into something that they believe I need to change.  I usually just smile and accept whatever nonsense they are telling me.  But then there are those that are really adamant about how wrong that I’m doing life, and that they have the answers.  Let’s not even get into the life choices that these individuals that always seem to have the best wisdom are actually making themselves.

Most anybody who has ever spent time with me has heard me say the following, “I really only care about the opinions of five or so people in my life, and you are not one of them.”  Yes, I know.  There is something that I can and should learn from everybody.  But, I can usually do that on my own.  So, next time you want to give me your important insight, just remember that you should probably deal with your own stuff first and then come back to change my life.

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Leadership Lens

I remember my early days as a youth pastor, working with Kevin Cobb.  At that point I had been in many leadership positions throughout my younger years, both in high school and extracurricular activities.  However, now I was being paid to make sure that people were on the right track. Kevin and I had a very important conversation when I was pretty new to the process, which centered on my outlook on life.  He told me that if I wanted to be successful at leading others I would have to take a couple of intentional steps. The first one was that I had to rely on others, or build teams. The other was that I needed to begin looking at life through what he calls the “leadership lens.”

The leadership lens is exactly what it sounds like.  Every situation that I encountered I viewed in such a way that I could apply the leadership principles that I knew, and those that I was learning.  As you could probably imagine I made a ton of mistakes early on. It’s one of the reasons I really look to authors like John Maxwell, who wrote 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  It was about having a set of values and principles that I was able to look towards the matter within any situation, or question.

Wherever you are in the leadership journey, just know that the sooner you start looking at situations through the leadership lens, the more you’ll start to make correct directional decisions.  And, as one of my author–mentors says that all leaders should ask in any situation, “What would a great leader do?” Lead well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Bailiwick (2 Timothy 2:14)

Good morning ladies,

The word of the day is “bailiwick.”  I remember when I was in high school I did pretty much everything, and every activity, under the sun. I was part of sports teams, student government, club activities, community activities, and the like. As I grew older, I realized that I needed to focus my energies on maybe just a couple of items in life. Through much prayer and talking to others I trusted, I decided that ministry would be at the center of that journey. I wanted to help others realize why God’s word, and God’s way, were the best possible option in life.

Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God's presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.
~2 Tim 2:14

My question is: what are you doing on a consistent basis to understand God’s word just a little bit more? I have the opportunity to speak with many young men and women about faith. I often ask them what kind of structures they have in life to help them through the tough times. Shockingly, the majority of the people that I talked to often have little or no support system. My prayer is that you make the knowledge of God’s word part of your bailiwick, or area of expertise. I’m not telling you have to be perfect by any means, or know the intricacies of the Greek and Hebrew translations. What I am saying is that when you take responsibility for being a productive member in God’s family, a huge part of that is working through the Bible so that when others ask you questions, you have answers, according to God’s will and not your own. Get busy becoming an expert, today.

Praying for you,


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Afflatus (Hebrews 4:12)

Good morning ladies,

The word of the day is “afflatus.” I remember one time I had not studied for a test that was pretty important. I was a highschooler, and had very different priorities than I probably should’ve had at the time. I often failed to prepare for exams. So, when I got to a test day in my Chemistry class - one of those no-preparation days - I figured the only action that I could take at that point was to pray. And so I did. I took the test, and did not feel good about it, but figured that God had my back. To my amazement, when we received our test paper back, I had gotten a 36%. I mean, how could God not answer my prayer? I was truly dumbfounded. Then, I actually was dumb enough to have a conversation with Kevin about this, my youth pastor at church. He was in about as much amazement that I thought God was going to help me through my lack of preparation as I was that God did not help me.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
~Heb 4:12

My question is: from where do you find your inspiration? Although I had the wrong line of thinking for that test back in highschool, I did realize that if I could align my thinking  with stuff that was important to God, my life would probably be a bit easier, or at least better. My challenge is that you treat God’s word with respect it deserves. God’s word is alive, it is working within this world each day, and it has the power to do more than you or I could ever imagine. I hope you take a moment to ask God to allow his word to permeate your heart. This is the divine inspiration, or afflatus, to which i am referring.

Praying for you,


Monday, December 29, 2014

Doing what you can…

One of my favorite parts about this season is all of the gift cards that I receive.  Most people know now to just give me anything that can get more books into my arsenal.  I’m pretty tight with my money, but when it comes to personal and professional development, my mentors have always told me to spend as much money as I can on materials that will help me develop my skills.  Such expenses are investments.

Of the many leadership books I’m reading right now, I recently began one that has some pretty sweet anecdotes.  The book, in fact, is a compilation of awesome stories that pull a bunch of leadership understandings from each instance.  One quote that I recently came across was the following:

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can.” ~S. Smith

This reminds me of way back when I first began my professional leadership journey.  When Kevin Cobb brought me on to work for him some 20+ years ago, little did I know that I would be entering a leadership journey that would last a lifetime.  It was then that I ran across some of my favorite leadership authors.  It’s not that I was looking for leadership principles necessarily, it was just that those were the kind of books that I would gravitate towards.

The above quote reminds me of the struggles that I went through early on in my leadership journey.  I felt so insignificant in what I was doing.  Even though I was given a lot of leeway and authority, I still wanted more.  I want to the destination without the journey.  But, Kevin helped me understand that working with what I had at any given moment in time was exactly what I needed to be applying.  It was that principle I took with me and was reminded again today, so many years later.

I guess my question is: are you doing what you can with what you have in the present?  I do a lot of leadership development with people of all ages, professional status, and the like.  What I continue to find is the frustrations that people have because they want to be doing more.  What that relays to me is that these people want more influence.  But the only way that you get more influence is to do what you can with what you have.  Are you doing that?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Gracious (Romans 3:21-23)

Good morning all,

The word of the day is "gracious.”  I have been in a study of Romans lately and love to read about the stuff that Paul has to say to the believers in Rome.  He spends the first few chapters talking about all the stuff that is going wrong.  But then he gets to the good news.  The reason we know that God's news is so good is because by ourselves we have such bad news.  This is how we know God is gracious. 

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
~Rom 3:21-23

My prayer this morning is that you learn a little bit more what it means to live a righteous life through faith in the Creator. He is the one who brings that good news as it is explained by at how rebellious gods people are but the cool thing is that Paul reveals and reaffirms to each of the centers in Rome, and us today, that God is gracious and wants to give us his righteousness.

Praying for you,