Archives For Faith


On the re:create cruise Randy Elrod said it: Where passion and need intersect that IS the sweet spot. In that spot, you’ll find you’re always excited for work. In that spot, you’ll make money. In that spot, you’ll make a difference. In that spot, you’ll find your purpose. In that spot, you are creative…

We could have passion all day long. But if there’s little need, then we won’t be successful or able to sustain our effort. If there’s need and little passion (think 9-5), then there’s little satisfaction. The point where these two intersect is the sweet spot.

There are people in this spot. You know who they are. You admire them from afar. The question is: What are you going to do about it? Continue in your lost world or seek out the sweet spot. Be warned, once you find it, there’s little chance of going back. The status quo no longer is an option. IT will change you. IT will change your values. IT will change your schedule. IT will change how you think. IT will change how you see others. IT will change how you see the world. You’ll never be the same. But isn’t that the point?

Sheri and I found the spot a couple years ago. The result: Luminosity Global Consulting Group, Haiti missions, this blog, Sheri’s blog, other social networking, writing, books, speaking. This all stemmed from of our love for global business (passion) and desire to help others learn and grow from our experiences (need). Global Business is the passion. Engaging and empowering executives to achieve their impossible dreams is the need. Hence a coaching practice for global executives.

I loved that Randy captured this idea in words. We’ve been living it, but never thought of it in such a meaningful and pithy manner. Hence he’s the creative, and I’m a finance guy.

Are you heavy on passion but find there’s little need? Do you have a job that meets your need that you force yourself to every day? Maybe it’s time to seek your sweet spot…

What’s stopping you?

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On the re:create cruise last week, Pete Wilson addressed the pastors in the room and said that they need friends. Not just people in their churches, but friends. Real friends. He went on to explain that many call these “clicks” and that’s okay, they’re the trolls (the troll comment is mine – not Pete’s). While he commented that he was talking to the “pastors” this statement struck me.

 

Pastors know they need friends. Their flocks don’t understand their role in supporting this. Me included.

What does this mean for loving people who want nothing more than the best for their pastor? Consider your pastor as your “pastor” instead of a “friend”? For example, my pastor Robey Barnes made huge efforts to serve Sheri and I during a personal crisis. Including jail visits, personal time with both of us, and a lot of prayer. We grew close during this time. But that should not be confused with friendship. My pastor is just that. He’s my pastor. I don’t need him to be my friend – I need him to speak spiritual truth into my life. Friendship comes from others.

There also another aspect of this I reflected on through a series of questions:

  • At what life stage are you in? Is your pastor in a similar stage?
  • Would you be friends if it weren’t for the church?
  • Could you leave the church and still be personal friends?
  • Can you follow your closest friends? Follow like followership follow, not like follow him and his wife to the restaurant.
  • Is it a natural friendship? Don’t confuse a personable personality with wanting to be friends. Pastors are in the people business. They’re personable. Don’t get too excited or overreact to your feelings. They’re nice people. They love you. But that’s not an invitation to friendship.
  • Have you invited your pastor to your home? What was the reaction? Did he come? If not, he may not be interested in more than the pastor relationship – likely not close friends.
  • Most importantly: why do you want to be friends with your pastor? What’s motivating you? Why does it matter if you’re friends or not? Check your motives.

I discussed this briefly with my pastor last weekend at an event we were both at. We’re friendly, we’re personable, we love each other, I would lay my life down to protect him. But friends? Not really. I’m 45, he’s almost 30. I have 21 and 13 year-old kids. He has none. His wife is a social worker. Sheri’s a global business executive and coach. If it weren’t for our pastor/flock relationship, we would have no relationship. Why should I expect to be friends because I belong to his church? My only motive would be purely selfish.

I know this will likely tick some folks off, but I feel people need to think about their pastor’s lives. Including their friends. In fact, as leaders in your church you need to hold your pastor accountable to ensure he and his wife have friends. Real friends. People they do life with, go on vacation with, people likely outside your church. Don’t be offended.

Are you bothered that your pastor might have friends that don’t include you? Why?

The Gospel And…

April 11, 2011 — Leave a comment

Over the past several weeks I have run into several men who are questioning or even lost their faith. I’ve noticed a similar theme running through the discussions.

Every one of these men were raised in a church. Mostly Catholic. I too was raised Catholic and understand the perspective. I too was an alter-boy (don’t laugh!). I too went through First Communion. I too walked away from the church because it didn’t make sense. There didn’t seem to be a purpose. I never understood the confessional thing. There were too many unanswered questions that seemed to be answered with “it’s the priest’s role”… The system of the church didn’t make sense. Something just didn’t click for me. I hear the same themes in talking with these men.

Flash forward 10ish years and God grabbed my heart. First he sent Sheri into my life. Then he sent His message of the Gospel. Things have never been the same…

Looking back, I now see that God had a plan for my life. God used my time in the church as training and softening of my heart for the Gospel. The problem is that many (probably most) Christians don’t understand the Gospel. They embrace, live and teach the Gospel And…

What is the Gospel And…? Simply put, it’s anything beyond the message of Christ.

What’s the Gospel? God created man. Man sinned and fell. No man is good enough to save himself. Jesus came and paid the price for all men’s sins. Period. That’s it. Nothing more. To be saved from eternity separated from God, all you have to do in your heart is admit you are a sinner and accept Jesus work and the free gift of salvation. That’s it. If you accept that, you’re saved. No need for church, or check lists, or systems, or money, or anything. Just you and Jesus.

The And… is the danger statement. The And… is the Gospel AND a system, program, payment, method to salvation etc. This is where the confusion lives. There’s a huge difference between: Severing to be saved vs. Serving because you’re saved. Let me repeat this…

There’s a huge difference between: Serving to be saved vs. Serving because you’re saved.

This was the heart of the matter for me. Once I dropped the AND statement. I got it. God delivered my soul through the work of Christ. There’s nothing else. Only this.

Do I serve? Yes. Does my family attend church? Yes. Do I follow a set of guidelines? Yes. Do I give? Yes. I do these things out of my desire to serve God and bring others to know Christ. Not to be saved or viewed as someone important in my church. I live My Life Manifesto out on this blog for this reason. I share my life story so others can see I’m broken and in need of God’s grace. I cannot save myself. I’m never going to be good enough. Only Jesus can deliver me.

If you get nothing else from this. Please remove the And… statement then reconsider the work Jesus did on and after the cross for your salvation. Read John’s Gospel. Answer your questions without the And… statement. I pray through this God will reveal his true nature and you’ll embrace his love.

Sorry for being preachie. I felt I needed to share this. I pray all these men and their families embrace the Gospel and nothing more.

What “And” did I miss?


We’ve all done it… Made a promise to give it our all. Whether it’s our families, God, work we’ve all made that promise…

As I was reflecting on my priorities this morning, I recalled a clip from a movie we use to show to our small group high school students.

As I thought about this scene and my relationship with God, I heard my Coach, Father and Savor yelling at me like coach was yelling at Broc: “Don’t you quit on ME!…You promised ME your BEST, keep going! Don’t you quit on ME!” Over and over.

I recently had to make a really tough decision to stop doing some things that were very important to me so that I could focus on the most important things: my family.

As I reflected on this on my way to work, I realized that I have been wanting to quit on a difficult situation and God is reminding me: He put me here, right now, for this reason. I was reminded of the constant prayer, over the past several years, for God to deliver our family back together – He answered that prayer (PRAISE!). He kept his word. Now it’s messy and difficult and I want to back-out.

With my family loaded on my back, my Coach screamed at me this morning: “Don’t you quit on ME!” I don’t intend to.

MIA…

February 13, 2011 — Leave a comment

Coming off my injury has been dificult. I still suffer headaches and am very sore in my ribs, neck and shoulder. I was out of work for 7 weeks and am only returning at 80% now. Needless to say, things have gotten crazy in our schedules. We’ve had to stop doing some things so that we can focus on other things – I took a hiatus from blogging as a result of this change. We’ve stopped other things as well – which I won’t go into publicly.

The point, sometimes we have to stop doing really important things and focus on the few critical things. In my Life Manifesto I talk about my priorities being God, Sheri, the kids, others, then work/money/etc. in that order. I was spending too much time on item 4 and not enough on item 3.

My priority is my family above anything else of this world. If I’m not serving and leading my family well, then nothing else matters.

What do you need to go MIA for?

Chosing a Church…

January 12, 2011 — Leave a comment

As we start the new year, I thought I’d share some perspective on chosing a church. Many of you are looking for a new “church” as part of the new year and have started the “church shopping experience”. Having moved all over the world several times (we have almost 20 moves under our belts in our 21 years of marriage), we’ve seen a few churches and done a lot of shopping. Here are my recommendations:

  1. Chose a church that preaches the Gospel – not some raw-raw-cheer-cheer-let’s-all-feel-good-and-pretend-the-world-is-easy-because-we-go-to-_____-church church, but a truly authentic church that focuses on the Gospel.
  2. Chose a church with a humble pastor – you don’t want a wanna be rock star for a pastor. Get someone who gets people and isn’t worried about what might not look good to the media.
  3. Chose a church with outstanding kids and student ministry – if the kids are not protected and fed the Gospel on a weekly basis, why are you bringing them? News flash: A Gospel focused student ministry can be FUN!
  4. Chose a church where you can meet and talk with one or two of the elders impromptu – this shows access and is telling of how they’ll be when you have a crisis.
  5. Finally, chose a church where you “fit” – no matter what, you have to like the way it feels – worship music, welcoming, warm, etc.

What did I miss?  Next week, fitting in at the new church.