Saturday, May 31, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Monday, October 29, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Here are a few thoughts from some of the speakers.
"Everyone is afraid of something. Every time you overcome, you are stronger."
"Leadership is about unlocking potential in others."
"Every time someone took a chance on me, it motivated me."
"There is a gift in everything if we will see it."
"Innovation means taking risks."
- Carly Fiorina at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, 2007 (in an interview with Bill Hybels)
" ... moving people beyond their self-serving motives." (When describing one of the goals of leadership)
"You don't need a unanimous vote, but you need a majority support."
- Floyd Flake at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, 2007
"Build on strengths and manage around weaknesses."
"You cannot understand excellence by studying bad examples." (paraphrased)
"What percentage of a typical day do you spend playing to your strengths?"
Marcus Buckingham at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, 2007
Ortberg told this joke:
Man to wife: When I think about facing (any challenge), my palms get sweaty.
A little while later, same man to wife: When I think about (same challenge), my mouth gets dry.
Wife: Why don't you just lick your palms?
He spoke about a leader's greatest fear. "The greatest fear is not what can happen to us, but what can happen in us."
From Esther, he drew out this question: "Why have you been brought to this place in your life?"
he noted several examples, from Esther of the difference between one's mission and one's shadow mission which is just a click or two off of the real mission, but keeps us from fulfilling it.
John Ortberg at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
The privilege of service and sacrifice for the sake of Christ is far greater than that expressed by Henry in Henry V, in Shakesphere's rendering of St. Crispen's Day speech. Our resolve in Christ to stand together as borthers and sisters with our Lord Jesus is shored up by the sheer honor and fellowship of it.
Here is the Partial text:
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
Monday, May 21, 2007
You never know when you might need them ...
A Few Thoughts for your upcoming birthday:
“Fly free and happy beyond birthdays and across forever, and we'll meet now and then when we wish, in the midst of the one celebration that never can end.” - Richard Bach
“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” - Abraham Lincoln
“The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune.” - Pope Paul VI
“The old believe everything; the middle aged suspect everything: the young know everything.” - Oscar Wilde
"Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
the last of life,
for which the first was made." - Robert Browning
“The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” - Lucille Ball
May the milestones of your life
Be the ammunition to
Confront the millstones in your way.
May each be smooth enough
To give pleasure to your touch
Before you launch it ruthlessly
Into your obstacles
Shattering them into a million
Milestones. - Tom Sims
Happy Birthday This Very Week!
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Are you a novice to the habit of smiling. I will suggest a begining exercise that may help. Not only will you feel better, but it pays well too.
S - Stretch your cheeks as far as they can go to the left and the right.
M - Make yourself hold that position.
I - Inhale, but hold your facial position.
L - Lighten up your stance by tensing and relaxing your muscles.
E - Enjoy the giggle that is now turning from a checkle to a cackle.
Practice this process until it comes naturally. Maintaining the habit will not be nearly as challenging as starting. Others will reinforce it by miling back and you will feel like a million dolars. - Tom Sims
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
To order your copy:
Sunday, March 25, 2007
"When Elizabeth Edwards announced last week that her cancer had returned, Leroy Sievers noted how familiar her words were to anyone who's had cancer: "It's a chronic disease; it can be managed. But there is no cure." Web Extra: Read the 'My Cancer' blog"I have been following this journal on NPR for some time. I remember when i took training as a hospice chaplain. The instructor wrote, in bold letters on the board, "FIX IT."
Then she said, "You can't."
She then proceeded to explain what our ministry was as people who walk alongside the dying and their families.
We pray that Elizabeth Edwards is not dying, but she does has something that cannot be fixed. How does that sort of material impact your approach to preaching the good news in the midst of crisis?
Saturday, March 24, 2007
The Holiness of the Ordinary
I have accepted the self-imposed and other-reinforced assignment of considering the holiness of the ordinary. How does that which is such a part of the backdrop of our human experience as to be profaned take on the air of eternal significance and other worldly importance?
What sets apart one activity, object, or person from the other in the eyes of God and, eventually, of spiritually enlightened man?
As I often do, I went to the scriptures of my answers, initially focusing on the few uses of the word, “ordinary” in the New International Version from which these biblical quotes come.
Any of these scriptures would be sufficient fodder for a sermon on the subject. I offer these as note-crumbs from my morning’s biblical feast.
1 Samuel 21:4
But the priest answered David, "I don't have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here—provided the men have kept themselves from women."
1 Samuel 21:3-5 (in Context) 1 Samuel 21 (Whole Chapter)
Here is an example of how something sacred, holy, and consecrated was used for very ordinary purposes. The priest wanted to make sure that the men in David’s band had not been with women in recent days. David replied that they had been too busy fighting a war to have had relations with women. In fact, the women had stayed away from them.
It makes you wonder if David had a twinkle in his eye.
Whatever his demeanor, David made a point that while the men in his company had been doing something very secular, even profane, God had consecrated them almost against their will.
Holiness had been thrust upon them by circumstances.
In Isaiah, a very sacred task is being conducted with a very ordinary tool. The sacred and awesome Word of God was to be penned with a common instrument.
God still uses common instruments – people – to accomplish His ends and communicate His truth.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:12-14 (in Context) Acts 4 (Whole Chapter)
Here, God uses ordinary men to communicate an extraordinary message. It was their ordinariness that grabbed the attention of the community. Otherwise, they might have been written off as speculative intellectuals spouting irrelevant eccentricities of philosophical curiosity.
The conclusion of the observers was that these men had been with Jesus who takes ordinary things and makes them holy.
Holiness in this case, is defined as something dedicated to God’s exclusive use as were Peter and John. Being with Jesus marked them forever. It did not removed their humanity but it made them forever immune to insignificance.
Moses is distinguished as something beyond ordinary, even from birth. His parents could see it. The king’s daughter would see it. Perhaps no one else could. As he grew, he became more ordinary on the outside, but God always knew who he was and what he had been made to be.
When God found Moses after a long hiatus from the limelight, he was doing ordinary work in an ordinary place. Every day was most likely filled with certain repetitive tasks that a man of his intellect and past cultural exposure may have found boring.
But Moses seemed to relish the boredom of the ordinary because it was his refuge. It gave him security. However, he could not stay in the rut. There was something more. He had been created for a purpose. For him to stay one more day in Midian than God intended, would have been to desecrate that which was holy – his life.
Abraham had two sons. One was born by ordinary means, the other by extraordinary intervention of God’s promise and power to activate His promise. Yet, pregnancy and birth look about the same to the naked eye. Though as old as the hills, Sarah participated in an extraordinary and holy event through the same old tired, crude, time-honored methods.
It made the ordinary holy.
What makes the ordinary holy is the activity and influence of the Holy Spirit in the midst of our times and routines. Isaac was born by the power of the Spirit. When men and women are born anew that way today, it does not necessarily change their appearance (though smiles and attitudes do change a lot in the countenance). It doesn’t mean that our base bodily functions begin to take on a sweeter aroma. We don’t stop eating, sleeping, and perspiring. We still need baths.
What it does mean that the most ordinary things we do daily are somehow sanctified by who we are and what we are becoming in relation to God and His purposes. We can no longer wash dishes without it being a religious experience.
Everything is life has reflective value. Every tidbit of the life experience has theological significance for us to uncover and celebrate.
Celebration of the ordinary is the rightful expression of the holiness of the ordinary.
Humanity becomes a dance of grace.
Everything is uplifted and stamped with God’s seal of “The Lord saw that it was good.” (See Genesis 1 to be reminded of all the created elements and life forms that God called good.)
By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.
Hebrews 11:22-24 (in Context) Hebrews 11 (Whole Chapter)
The writer of Hebrews may have heard Stephen’s last sermon – or he may have heard about it from Paul, but it deserved repeating in a fresh context. The message here is faith. It is our faith response to the Spirit’s activity and God’s intentions that makes the holiness of the ordinary real to us. Even in the presence of something extraordinarily scared – whether a moment or an object, without faith, we are oblivious to reality.
Faith, according to Hebrews 11, is substantive and evidentiary. It illuminates the spiritually obvious for souls in oblivion.
When considering the holiness of the ordinary, faith is the lens through which we view the profane and humdrum world when we are gasping for the fresh air of wonder.
So then, what sets apart one activity, object, or person from the other in the eyes of God and, eventually, of spiritually enlightened man? It is nothing less than the activity and influence of the Spirit and the response of faith.
Friday, March 16, 2007
You have probably started thinking about your Easter sermon. I have a few ideas to add to the ones you already have:
- Preach the resurrection. Is this a no-brainer? Apparently some preachers haven't heard.
- Keep it simple. The temptation is to want to do a year's worth of preaching to those who won't be back. If you do, they won't. Count on it.
- Preach in your style. You want to give first timers a sample of what they can expect if they return.
- Preach with a warm heart in the power of the Holy Spirit, but don't get worked up into a frenzy. Be real.
- Cast a net and draw it in in an appropriate manner, but don't expect to cluster all your results into one Sunday. There will be a great deal of seed-planting.