Friday, September 25, 2015

Seeing Potential

If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

How great does it feel when someone believes in you – and genuinely means it – maybe even after barely meeting you?

Everyone is capable of being generous, at least once.

Everyone is capable of being original, inspiring and connected, at least once.

And everyone is capable of leading, I think more than once.

If we see the best in others, we bring out the best in others – and in ourselves.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


The desire to know the end is a distinctly human impulse, born from the need for resolution and closure. We are fragile (insert Sting song) and we long for a means to settle that tension, to subtract ourselves from the hard issues in which we find ourselves.

Things are terrible in the world right now. From the religious persecutions in China and North Korea to the terrorists in ISIS and the erosion of faith in the West, the threat of financial ruin, earthquakes and eclipses, comets and asteroids, wars and their rumors.…..things are so terrible, it must be the end, right?

We’re always eager for the end. We are obsessed with it. Not that we don’t have cause. We see it in the scripture and it will come according to God’s Word. But obsession with it is also unbiblical and unhelpful.

Paul is pretty straight forward about this in the book of Thessalonians:

“Now,” says Paul, “concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren, not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come” (2 Thes 2.1-2).  He continued, “But as to the times and the seasons,” he said, “you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thes 5.1-2).

Paul told the Thessalonians to be sober and vigilant. And, importantly, he urged them “to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” (1 Thes 4.10-11).

Keep your head down and do your work. Be faithful and wait. 

It may seem boring compared to Armageddon, but that’s the path we’re called to walk.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said this in Letters From a Paper Prison:

I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment, that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith. . . . I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures, experiences and perplexities. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world—watching with Christ in Gethsemane. That, I think, is faith and that is how one becomes a man and a Christian. . . .

Life’s duties and problems and perplexities are the things the Thessalonians and we keep trying to avoid. Nonetheless, they are the things that prove and develop our faith, which is arguably faux Christianity until tested by the trials of life.

We’re not meant to escape the world. We’re meant to work with Christ in redeeming it. That won’t happen until we scuttle our desire for escape and embrace Paul’s ethic of work and faithfulness. That is how we live like—and become like Christ.

If it is the end, good news….God is in control!  

If it isn’t the end it is pretty clear…..we have work to do!

*image used from

Monday, June 15, 2015

TRUTH as a revolutionary act

 "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell


Deception occurs by degrees and in our culture it seems we are accepting it as a “norm” more and more.  It especially seems prevalent as we head into a year of political forums and elections. It is harder and harder to discern who in fact is relaying factual information or pieces of factual information or just fabricating information.

I read a recent article citing six motives that push people onto the slippery slope of lying:

1.  To protect the liar from danger
2.  To protect others from danger
3.  To enhance a story
4.  To prevent embarrassment
5.  To benefit a liar
6.  or to hurt others.

Clearly, not all these motives are intended for evil but I do believe it has been proven that any of us who try to justify lying “just once” put ourselves at risk of slowly and gradually becoming habitual or compulsive liars.

It is amazing that we need a study on this but a new study tells us people can improve their mental and physical health by, get this, by simply not lying!

“We found that the participants could purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday lies, and that in turn was associated with significantly improved health,” said Anita Kelly, study author and professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame,. Kelly presented her findings at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Orlando.

“Lying can cause a lot of stress for people, contributing to anxiety and even depression,” says Dr. Bryan Bruno, Chairman of the department of psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Telling the truth is not only good for your relationships, but for yourself as an individual.

So what does this tell us? Yep you guessed it, the Bible has been right all along on how to conduct ourselves in dealing with the truth in our lives, relationships, and our relationship with God.

In Ephesians 4:25 (The Message), Paul lays out really clearly how to stop going down this unhealthy road and gives us a solution to turn around our lives and our culture 

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.

Telling the truth a revolutionary act?  I wish it wasn’t but in our current culture and environment I think it might be just that! 

This is the kind of revolution I want to be a part of...….how about you?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Continuous improvement.

I think one of the most remarkable and admirable people in American history is Dwight D. Eisenhower 34th President of the United States. For two decades, the lives of thousands, sometimes millions, of people and the fate of great nations hung on his decisions.

As Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, Eisenhower oversaw the greatest amphibious assault in history, organizing the largest air and sea armadas ever assembled and commanding 160,000 men in the momentous Operation Overlord.

After the success of that mission helped bring the war to a close, Eisenhower dreamed of going home to a happy and peaceful retirement. Instead, he went on to serve in five more globally pivotal positions: Head of the American Occupation Zone in Germany, Chief of Staff, President of Columbia University, Supreme Commander of NATO, and President of the United States of America.

One of the things I have admired and stands out to me about Eisenhower in all that is written about him is his relentless pursuit of improvement and the building of character in himself and by example to those around him.

"When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

Continuous improvement. Chipping away at problems through daily perseverance results in breakthrough improvements again and again over the years. It is not easy but the habit of chipping away relentlessly does produce results and success.

As we know, Eisenhower achieved great successes. But whether he was navigating setbacks or achieving triumphs, he led with perseverance.  His dedication to principle and his bounding vitality could inspire people to lofty visions, while his humility created a feeling of friendship and intimacy even with those he had never met. These qualities and more won him the affection, loyalty, and admiration of those who served both under him and over him.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Inspired to win

During any sporting event, it’s only natural that the focus be on the athletes. And yet in the 2014 Winter Olympics, when Canadian freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau stepped up at the start of his gate, those watching the event were not only paying attention to him, but also to his older brother Frederic cheering him on at the bottom of the hill.

Many Canadians remember from Alexandre’s gold medal win at the Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010, Frederic has been a big inspiration for Alexandre in large part because Frederic suffers from cerebral palsy, a congenital physical disability that impairs physical movement.

When Alexandre finished his run down the mountain and realized that he had defended his gold medal title, he immediately found his brother in the crowd and helped him over the security barrier so that they could celebrate together Alexandre’s consecutive gold medal win.

In speaking of his history-making achievement, Alexandre was very clear about the role his brother played in helping him to get onto the podium at Sochi:

“It’s crazy the motivation that he takes and every step is very hard for him. In life, I have an easy path and I need to go out there and do the best I can just out of respect to him. He lives his dreams through me. [Two gold medals] is the least I can do; he’s my every day inspiration.”

Alexandre’s story is not just a wonderful reminder of how we should be grateful for all the things we might take for granted. It should also inspire us to be a “Frederic” in someone else’s life.

Who are you cheering on today and inspiring to be their very best self?

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds Hebrews 10:24