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Sheri and I lead high school small groups for several years and really enjoyed our time. Serving young people is a challenge, their emotions are always at full speed, they fight, cry, laugh, sing, all in the span on minutes. I guess growing up is tough.

One of the most rewarding things we found in serving is witnessing these young people grow up. Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a lot of weddings and young people who grew up in the church together naturally come together. I think this is how God intended it. He wants our families to be families that bring him glory.

Continue Reading…

27 Years In The Making…

November 4, 2010 — 1 Comment

A little over a year ago, Sheri and I approached our Pastor Robey Barnes with what we felt God was leading us to do. Serve on the Missions Team at West Pines Community Church. I recall saying to Robey, “I have no idea what it means, but God has placed this on both our hearts.” Robey’s response was, “Oh I do. Let me get back to you.” This was months before GCA had found property in Mirebalias and before West Pines was even thinking about Haiti. Or the earthquake in Haiti. I’ve blogged extensively about our Haiti efforts since this time.

Today a new request…

I was approached by the Little Haiti Optimist club in Miami to present at Edison High School’s Career Day.I am honored and humbled that God has brought me to this point at this time. How I got here was by design, not random chance…

28 years ago, I was a senior in high school in a small California town. We had 230 people in my graduating class. Here I am today, in one of the roughest neighborhoods in America to talk about my career, what I do, and what it took to get here. That’s 28 years of stories. Each event leading to the next thing. All to delivery me here today.

I pray I’m ready to share my story with these young men and women in such a way that it makes a difference.

Who knew, in June 1983 or even in Sept 2009, I would be making this presentation? God knew…


This past week, I had a run-in with a parent from my soccer team. I yelled at their daughter for poor sportsmanship during a game.

At the beginning of the season, I explained some basic ground rules and sportsmanship being one of those key elements that trumps all. So when our team accidently scored against ourselves, and this player cheered for the other team, she was sternly corrected.

They took it out on me after the game – which comes with being coach. I wanted to explain, but they would not hear it. After much discussion, they decided to quit the team. Last night after practice they approached me again in front of the girls trying to make a point. Again, I tried to explain why she was corrected, but they dismissed it as “she didn’t do that.” Never mind that she did and there were 3 teammates and a coach who directly witnessed it.

I feel terrible about the situation. I failed. As a leader, coach and Christian I feel like I failed. In reflection, I ask what I could have done differently. Not said anything?

What about the player who she was teasing? I have an obligation to her too.

Waited until after the game? The lesson would have been watered down.

I should have spoken to her, pulled her from the game, and sent her to sit with her parents. But I didn’t. Next time I know what I’ll do differently….

I also realized that some people want to be victims. No matter the circumstances, they want someone to blame. In this instance, everything is my fault and they remain the victim.

I’m thankful for this humbling lesson and praying God will make me a better man as a result.


I coach youth soccer. 11 and 12 year old girls. This is a tough time in young ladies lives. They have all these pressures us boys don’t understand. But I understand my role. This is our local rec. league, not travel or premier soccer. My job as coach is to get the girls exercising, teach them teamwork, start developing the leaders, and most importantly make them feel appreciated and important.

I take this role very seriously. We are all very busy people. At the beginning of the season, I told the parents that I communicate through e-mail. Of course this is old school and people want txt messages or voice mails – which I don’t do a lot of either for time reasons.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a lot of rain and games were rescheduled twice during the week. It was frustrating and confusing for everyone involved. I sent e-mails and did the best I could to keep everyone updated. That’s when it happened. During the make-up game I received a call and ignored it – my priority was not taking phone calls. When I listened to the message afterward it was a Flaming Dart from one of my parents. Their daughter missed the game because they didn’t see the e-mail in time and she was crying and upset that she missed the game…you get the point.

My initial reaction was to respond in kind, but I didn’t. I paused. After thinking about it, I decided I would just wait before I responded. The reason: the young lady that missed the game is extremely shy. Soccer for her has become something much more than playing defense and doing her best. She’s finding herself through the hard work and dedication. Her skills have improved, she gives high-fives without hesitation, she smiles, laughs, and talks with the other girls. She’s the reason I’m there. If I responded to her mother with a Flaming Dart (because I was right), what would that do to help the daughter? Instead I apologized to her mother and will from now on always call her when there’s a change. It’s one phone call, but it makes all the difference in the world to that one girl.

I decided to catch the flaming dart instead of throwing one back. I didn’t always do this, but I’m glad I did this time. It’s the little battles and choices we make that impact our effectiveness that becomes our legacy.

Will be a Flaming Dart Thrower or Catcher?


The most important aspect to growing as a leader is to learn from those who have been there before you. But there’s more to it than that. Because it’s been done before and someone is successful, you can bet there are others trying to reproduce what was successful in the past. Thus you’re not the first to market and therefore not an industry leader. So how do you learn from the leaders of yesterday and come up with new an innovative products, services, ideas, etc?

I am selective in who I follow. Simply because I do not have time to let average Joes influence my life. I need leaders who are secure in themselves and are proven experts at what they do to pour into and help me grow. The most important thing I try to stress with the people I pour in to is to THINK for yourself. There is nothing more frustrating and limiting than people who repeat what was already said without given it any thought to what it means in their life. They tell a boring story. If you want to be a leader in tomorrow’s world, your story needs to be compelling, interesting and unique. If you just repeat what you read, you’re not doing any of these things.

Below is the list of Blogs, Podcasts, Twitter, and books I have read this year. Also you’ll find my 2010 reading list started. I am always looking for new interesting leaders to follow, please send me your suggestions so I can continue to grow and learn.

Sorry for the long post. I read a lot of inforamtion. I have grown because of it. If you’re not reading, take anything from the below lists and explore it. You’ll be amazed at how it changes your life.

Who do you follow and allow to pour into your life? Why?

Twitter Leaders (in no order):

Max Lucado

http://twitter.com/MaxLucado

Great writer and is an outstanding communicator/leader/family man

Pastor Robey Barnes

http://twitter.com/RobeyBarnes

http://westpines.org/

Awesome young pastor (lead pastor at my church) with a true heart for God. I challenge you to listen to his teaching on the West Pines webpage. He’s one to watch.

Pastor Garland Robinson

http://twitter.com/GarlandR

Garland is a great leader who pours his heart into others through incredible leadership and encouragement. Our son went on 2 missions trips to Peru with Garland. He’s a real man in the real world. Garland also has a blog, but he doesn’t update often.

Harvard Business Review

http://twitter.com/HarvardBiz

HBR – enough said

Giant Impact

http://twitter.com/giantimpact

These guys provide great leadership quotes

Jack Welch

http://twitter.com/jack_welch

There’s isn’t a leadership and business guru like Jack. He always has impactful tweets

John Piper

http://twitter.com/johnpiper

A true biblical theologian with tremendous biblical knowledge and understanding. He will challenge your thinking.

Michael Hyatt

http://twitter.com/michaelhyatt

Michael is a wired CEO of a large publishing company. He’s fantastic to follow because he embraces the social networking revolution and gives away as much as he can. If you plan to ever write a book, I suggest you follow this guy!

National Academies Press

http://twitter.com/NAPress

The National Academies publishes the latest from various academic thinkers and groups. They play a large role in public policy making and many of their recommendations for policy become law or Presidential Orders (these guys played a large role in Pres. Obama’s Stem Cell Policy)

Blog Leaders (in no order):

Michael Hyatt

http://michaelhyatt.com/

Michael is the only Twitter Leader that I also follow his Blog. The posts are always bang-on. They’re always relevant and I typically learn something of each one. He also is helping men grow into whole persons, not just successful in business or writing.

Seth Godin

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

Seth is “the” marketing guru and probably most popular blogger in the world. But more importantly, he’s a thought leader. Seth is why I started this blog. His work as helped shape our business and the way we approach our marketing approach.

Sheri Mackey

http://sherimackey.wordpress.com/

While of course this is my wife and she has not officially started her blog yet, you’ll find that her insight and leadership in global business is unmatched anywhere. I am not overstating her ability and knowledge – she’s a winner and one to follow.

Michael Hyter

http://www.powerofinclusion.com/

Mike is a great friend and an outstanding leader. Not only is he a diversity leader and expert, but he lives it out in his daily life. Mike is working on a new book and is President and CEO of Novations.

Melissa Mashburn

www.melissamashburn.blogspot.com/

I read Melissa’s blog and recommend it for guys simply because it helps me understand my wife better. Melissa is an outstanding leader who loves her family and friends. She’s a tremendous networker and has interesting posts.

Pastor Mark Driscol

www.theresurgence.com/md_blog

Pastor Mark is one of the countries next generation of Christian leaders. As the older pastors retire and fade from view, I am sure that Pastor Mark will emerge as one of the few top notice replacements. He’s outspoken, confrontational, and driven. The results at Mars Hill in Seattle says it all. I also follow Pastor Mark on Twitter, but not closely. He uses a Facebook fan page instead of twitter.

Tom Peters

http://www.tompeters.com/

I fell in love with Tom many years ago and have been a loyal follower ever since. He is cutting edge in his observations and drives the academics crazy – what more could you ask for?

Jeff Smith

http://www.iamrefurbished.com/

Jeff is a man after God’s heart. He’s screwed up just like me and through his blog is telling a story to help others grow. He recently started, but has great ideas and hopefully will continue to share them with us.

Podcast Leaders (in no order):

Mark Driscol

http://rss.marshillchurch.org/mhcsermonaudio

Pastor Mark is the only blog leader that I also subscribe to his podcast. If you listen once, you’ll understand. His teaching is not for the faint of heart. He “brings it” every week. I am challenged and left thinking after most sermons he teaches.

Wall Street Journal on Small Business

http://feeds.wsjonline.com/wsj/

podcast_wall_street_journal_on_small_business

The Wall Street Journal is the world’s leader in global business and leadership. There’s no better source to learn from for business

Book Leaders (my 2009 book reading list):

Fifty Reasons Why Christ Came to Die

John Piper

Very brief, but deep thinking here.

The King’s Stilts

Dr. Suess

Pastor Robey Barnes gave Sheri and I this book – I’m still trying to understand why.

Tribes;

Permission Marketing

Seth Godin

Seth will make you think about the world in a new way.

Animal Spirits

Akerlof & Shiller

Academic look at the financial meltdown of 2008 and the real cause of bubbles. A must read to understanding how it happens.

Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl

N.D. Wilson

This is a great book pointing out God’s splendor in everything.

Winning

Jack and Suzy Welch

An enjoyable read and helps you think through the roadblocks ahead and how a real world leader made it through.

Fearless

Max Lucado

Max gives a roadmap to living a fearless life and making the most out of everything

The Externally Focused Church

Rusaw and Swanson

A Great resource to get your church focusing on the community instead of itself.

How Successful People Think;

Putting Your Dream to the Test;

Failing Forward

John C. Maxwell

Maxwell’s books are great examples of how to lead in the real world. I recommend just about anything he puts out, but beware a lot of the newest titles are repeats from his older books. Either buy the older full version, or the new smaller broken down versions.

If you made it this far, congratulations! You get to read the most IMPORTANT books I use and read. The Bible. I read from 3 versions. The New Living Translation (NLT); The King James; and The New International Version (NIV). I find by having all 3 available that I get a better understanding of the message God is communication to me.

In 2010, I plan to read:

  • the entire Bible – God
  • Mentor like Jesus – Regi Cambell
  • Desiring God – John Piper
  • The Little Engine that Could – Not sure, but Mary C. Jacobs’ version will be the one I read
  • Fool’s Gold – Gillian Tett
  • The Art of the Idea – John Hunt

What have I missed? Send me your suggestions!

Steve

Blog Launch

September 16, 2009 — 1 Comment

Welcome to my blog
I decided to do this not because it is popular (which if that were the case I am several years behind the curve), but at the urging of Seth Godin. Seth challenges his followers/readers to be extraordinary and do something that matters. This blog is my attempt to meet Seth’s challenge to be unique, special and extraordinary.

My purpose is to challenge myself to be a better man, husband, father, friend and human. I hope that during this adventure, you find information that is useful, makes you think, mad, inspired, happy, sad, worthless, priceless, and most importantly drives you to make a difference in your life and world.

All content and tags will link back to this post.
To those who decide I have something of worth to say and follow me, I promise to:

  • Post one meaningful well thought out post per week on Thursdays
  • Read all comments and feedback and take it into consideration (after all I am growing/learning too)
  • Be honest with all my posts.


I retain permission to not respond to comments, and delete inappropriate comments as I feel fit
Thanks for reading…here we go
“Hold on to your butts” Samuel L Jackson in Jurassic Park
Steve