How Many Keys Do You Have On Your Key Ring?

October 24, 2014 1 comment

Recently a gal came by my desk asking if I waned to buy a key ring.  Another person at work makes key chains that highlight particular high schools.

I didn’t buy one, but it did cause me to pause and look at my key ring.  As I recalled while talking to Jan, it’s about twenty-seven years old.  An old girlfriend gave it to me for my birthday in 1987.  All that is left is the actual ring part.  There is no attachment, though I think it used to have that said “Destined For Greatness.”

What is even more interesting is that it has exactly two keys on it: my truck key and my house key.  I don’t have any others.  I don’t want  any more.  That’s it.

This story made think of blog post from James Clear this week.  You can read it here if you like.

The post talks about a guy who asked Warren Buffett about goal setting.  Buffett told to write down his top 25 goals.  Then he told him to pick the top 5 out of those.  Then his advice was to focus on those 5 goals and don’t even think about the other 20 until he had achieved those 5.

That’s why I like only having two keys on my key ring.  I only have to think about two keys.  No others distract me.  I’ve seen people who have so many keys that it takes them forever to open a lock.

*****

What if we did that with our spiritual lives?  What if we focused on one or two things in our spiritual life?  Too often we can become distracted by so many choices.  We allow too many things into our lives.  What if we stripped down our lives to a more simple and basic structure?

I don’t know if that’s the answer.  What I do think is that instead of being generalists in our spiritual lives and relationship with Christ, we should be monogamous.  We need to quit flirting with everything and be true to our one true love.

Do you let yourself become distracted in your relationship with Christ?   Do you need fewer “keys” on your spiritual key ring?

Categories: Christianity, Faith

What Questions Would You Ask During A Church Search?

October 23, 2014 2 comments

My sister recently moved back to the area after being away for the past nineteen years.  She is still trying to organize herself after the move.  I’m sure she still will be for some time.

There’s one other thing that she has to face now that she is back in a new town.  She has begun the search for a new church.  It reminds me of our own church search about three years ago.  I understand, somewhat, what she is going through.

I’m not sure what she is looking for in a church.  If I had to guess, I would bet that she lands in a church larger than ours.  I tend to want a church that is no bigger than two or three hundred at most.  Of course, I wouldn’t leave if my church grew larger.

As I have thought about it, though, I’ve realized that when considering a church the question of the size is probably the wrong question.

The question should be about where the Lord wants you.  Where can the gifts He has given you be best utilized.

Is the Gospel being preached and proclaimed that will speak to the hearts of both those who do and those who do not know Him?

Is the church dysfunctional?  It wouldn’t take long to figure that out.

Does the church care about reaching the community in which it resides?

Is the church serious about being in community with those who comes each week?

Is the church mission minded?

There are tons of other questions that should be asked.  If I was beginning my church search again, I would fill a page full of questions.  No one church would be able to answer them all.  But I would ask them.

What questions would you ask if you were going to search for a church?

Categories: Christianity, Church Tags: ,

What I Learned From Painting With A Twist

October 22, 2014 4 comments

Evidently, it’s “what I learned” week.  Yesterday, was what I learned from being sick.  Today, it’s from Painting With A Twist.

My department at work it part of a larger Operations unit of a division of our company.  Our Operations unit is beginning to stretch its wings a bit.  One of the things we are trying to do is have a quarterly outing.  Yesterday was our first one and we went to Painting With A Twist.

Painting With A Twist is a company that teaches you how to paint.  All of us gathered together and painted the same basic picture.  By the same basic picture I mean that every one turned out different, even though we were being taught by the same teacher and had the same model picture to go.

I have to admit that at first I was a bit dubious.  This type of thing is not in my wheelhouse.  In fact, I sincerely doubt I will ever try this experience again.  That being said, there were some learning moments for all of us as wet painted our picture over the course of two or three hours.

One, as I alluded to, is that we all have different perspectives.  Each of us looked at a picture and then painted our own best version of it.  Some were good and some were better.  They were all different.  It reinforced the idea that we all need to give each other individual space to approach projects our own way.

Two is that we followed a process.  My picture was of a tree at night lit by a full moon.  We began by painting the moon, then the sky surrounding it.  From there we completed the moon.  I painted a rock that turned out to look like a cliff with a tree coming out.  Step by step, the picture grew until it was completed.  It reinforced, with me at least, the need to develop and follow some processes in order to succeed.

The third thing I learned is that I need to be open to some uncomfortable situations.  We all like our routines and comfort.  However, to grow, we need to force ourselves into some situations that we normally wouldn’t choose.  There is no way I would have ever chosen, on my own, to attend this event.

The final thing is that we need to do some things that open up different sides of our brain.  We ought to see ways to be creative that aren’t in our wheelhouse.  I love working with words.  Art is not my favorite thing in the world.  How much better off will be having gone through this experience?

So, now I have a painting in my house that I have no idea what to do with.  I suppose I can put in the closet and pull it out every so often as a conversation piece.  It will remind of all of these lessons whenever I do.

Have you ever done something like Painting With A Twist?  When was the last time you intentionally put yourself in an uncomfortable situation?

What I Learned From Being Sick For A Week

October 21, 2014 3 comments

Last week I was sick.  Not deathly sick or anything.  It was one of those deals where you don’t really want to know about what I was blowing and all of the coughing that was going on.

I had absolutely energy last week.  Most of you know that I have been walking and running for the past several weeks.  I couldn’t force myself to do any of that.  My step count dropped.  I had my lowest totals since July.

So, what did I learn last week?  After all, I decided that I needed to make this weird week beneficial in some way.

I began to look at my week as a metaphor.  I had some sort of virus, cold or bug.  I’m not really sure.

I kind of sat back expecting it to all go away.  I thought that eventually, I would just get better.  I was near the point of going to the doctor when I finally took some medicine that knocked it out of me.

I don’t think we treat sin much differently.

I think we believe that our sin will just go away if we ignore it.  We don’t think that it’s really all that bad.  It’s just a little problem, a little issue.

The only way to solve our sin is to address the issue.  The only way to solve it is by going to the Great Physician.  He has the cure, He is the cure, for our sin sickness.

I’m on the mend now.  I feel better than I have in a week.  My energy is back.  I was back to getting my steps today.  Same as tomorrow.

Have you ever found yourself coming up short trying to treat an illness?  Have you ever tried to treat your sin sickness yourself?

Another Birthday, Seven More Goals

October 20, 2014 4 comments

Yesterday was my birthday, number 46.  I know, I know.  I don’t look a deal over 45.  What can I say?  I’m blessed with great genes.

I decided to quit New Year’s resolutions some time back.  I also feel like the new year is a bad time to set goals.  Instead, I’ve shifted them birthday to birthday.  I thought it good to share them with my good friends who read this blog.  Please hold me accountable.  Ask me how I’m doing on occasion.

First, let me tell you how I go about setting my main goals.  I use Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life to divide my life up into different categories.  Then I simply set one major goal for each of the seven.  It doesn’t meant that this is all I want to achieve.  These are just the seven most important to me over the next year.  So, without further adieu, my seven goals for the next year.

  1. Faith – I have developed a Bible reading plan for myself.  I want to read the Bible over the next 270 days.
  2. Family – I want to “date” each member of my family each week.  This means doing something special with each one of them each week.  It doesn’t have to be huge, just special.
  3. Wellness – I plan to run the Knoxville Half Marathon on March 29, 2015.
  4. Financial- I have a loan that’s due to be paid off in 2 years.  I would like to pay it off in 1.
  5. Community – Jan and I would love to have a true “couple” friendship.  I want to work on us having one.  I think this is important as our children get older and do more things on their own.
  6. Intellectual - I want to read 52 books by next October 19.
  7. Career - One part of my job has been easy to master.  Another has been difficult.  I want to be a subject expert in the difficult section by next year.

I realize that I have brushed these in broad strokes.  I could have given much more detail, but I just want to throw these out there for support and prayer.  It will truly take a lot of effort to achieve these.

Do you set goals?  How do you set them?  What kind of time frames do you set them for?

Categories: Blogging, Christianity, Marriage Tags:

Paul’s Call For Obedience, Hospitality And Prayer

October 19, 2014 Leave a comment

We are nearing the end of Paul’s letter to Philemon.  It’s the beginning of his ending, but there is plenty for us to learn from.

Confident of your obedience, I write to you knowing that you will do even more than I say.  You might recall that previously Paul had mentioned that although he was confident enough in the Lord to order Philemon to take Onesimus back, instead he appealed to him.  So what sort of obedience could Paul be talking about here?  Obviously it is obedience to the Lord.  If Philemon is truly going to follow Christ, then he would welcome Onesimus back with open arms as more than a slave, but a brother in Christ.

At the same time, prepare a guest room for me.  Paul is telling Philemon he’s coming.  He has never been to Colosae itself, so he wants to visit as soon as he is released from his prison.   He wants to reunite with his brother, Philemon.  He wants to reunite with Onesimus.  He wants to see the result of his letter first hand.

For  I am hoping that through your prayer I will be graciously given to you.  How is Paul going to be released from prison?  The Lord is going to do it, of course.  The means, though, that the Lord has to do it includes prayer.  Paul is asking for Philemon and the entire Colossian church to pray for his release.

Takeaways:

1.  Obeying the Lord means doing the right thing in situations, even when it flies in the face of societal norms.

2.  We should all be prepared to practice hospitality when needed.

3.  Prayer is the most powerful instrument the Lord has given us.

Why You Need A Plan

October 17, 2014 4 comments

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I am a huge Comic Book Movie buff.  I trace this all the way back to 1973, when my first Justice League of America comic book was purchased for me.

Two days ago DC Entertainment dropped a bombshell by unexpectedly releasing its movie lineup through 2020.  Many of us knew that something was imminent, but I’m not sure we expected what we got.  Batman v Superman was already scheduled for March 2016.  I think those of us who love these movies were surprised at the lineup.

What is interesting is that most of the movies flow out of the results of 2013’s Man of Steel.  While many were convinced that Warner Brothers/DC didn’t know what they were doing, in fact they were building a structure without anyone really knowing it.

Now, we who love comic book movies know that DC has a plan.  It’s laid out there for us to watch and wait for.

*****

This past year has been tough at work.  Regulatory changes affected us in a strange, positive way.  The business for my department has increased approximately 25% since January.  It’s truly been a blessing.

In the meantime, one person from my team was promoted.  Another had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom.  Yet another was pulled from my team to help to help with testing some of our new systems.  Add that to the fact that we hired new people and it has put a strain on our entire team.

We began to feel a little pressure from our customers, so I had to communicate that I  had a plan.  I wrote them an email telling them all of the above, owning it.  Then I described how I’ve hired one person who is fast tracking through training and on their way to becoming a superstar.  Another new person is coming in who should not have a steep learning curve.

All of this was met with positive responses from our customer base.  Why?  Because I had a plan.

*****

I’ve heard it said that many people spend more time planning their vacations than they do the rest of their lives.  Consider that for a moment.  People spend more time plotting out their moves for a week or two a year than they do for the other 97% of their lives.

We need to spend some time planning our lives.  My birthday is Sunday.  Suddenly I’ll be 46 years old.  Like sands through the hourglass….well, I’m no MacDonald Carey.  I know that I have spent too little precious time planning my time.

All of us should spend some time planning our days, weeks, months and years.  It would be a sad day to wake up one day wondering where it all went.

Do you spend time planning your life?

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