Category

Leadership

The Power of Your Influence

By | Goals, Leadership, Life Challenges, Ministry, Relationships | No Comments
Eight years ago I was working at the First Baptist Church of Edmond, Oklahoma.  I was the media director, which meant that my primary responsibilities involved editing the television broadcast, and managing the audio/video elements of services.  I also filled the role of assistant worship pastor, and was significantly involved with the music program.  Video and music were my main passions, and I imagined I would continue on indefinitely doing that sort of work. Read More

My Scary Email from Amazon

By | Leadership, Life Challenges, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships | No Comments
“Thanks for your Amazon order of 10,000…”

That’s what I saw on the lock screen of my phone among the list of subject lines of emails I’d missed earlier that day.

10,000 what!?!  I could just imagine that some terrible person had hi-jacked my amazon account, picked an outrageously expensive item, and ordered 10,000.  What on earth was I in for?

I could only imagine the doorbell ringing with my UPS delivery of 10,000 Apple watches, 10,000 bluetooth shower speakers, or 10,000 pairs of women’s yoga pants… I had already decided to call Amazon and straighten this out.  “I didn’t order this stuff and I can’t afford to pay for it!” I would say.

All these thoughts flashed through my mind while I nervously fumbled around trying to unlock my phone to read the entire email.  When I finally unlocked the screen, what I read made me smile in relief.  The message expressed Amazon’s appreciation for my order of “10,000 Reasons,” a digital music file of Matt Redman’s contemporary Christian hit.  I’d forgotten that I’d purchased the song the previous evening.  In case you’re not familiar with the song, it has a line that speaks of the 10,000 reasons our hearts should find to bless the Lord.

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You Have to Start Somewhere

By | Goals, Leadership, Life Challenges, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships | 2 Comments
This I’ve learned—home improvement projects never end as small as they begin. Take for instance, the simple job I was supposed to conquer last week. Our in-sink garbage disposal was leaking, and I decided to replace it myself. Not having Bob Villa around to show me how the job should be done, and minus a set of Time Life home repair manuals, I visited the modern man’s resource for mechanical how-to reference, Youtube. There, I discovered that replacing a disposal was not inordinately difficult, and I resolved to do it myself.

The only problem was that in replacing the disposal, I learned that other parts of our under-sink plumbing needed replacing as well. Shut-off valves were corroded and non-functioning. When I replaced those, the old supply lines no longer fit. Thus, new lines became part of the project. Read More

Drainage Ditches, Tourist Attractions, and Thinking Bigger than Your Problems

By | Goals, Leadership, Life Challenges | 4 Comments
In the early nineteen-hundreds, city planners in San Antonio, Texas had a real problem on their hands.  While the downtown area was growing quickly, flooding was a huge problem.  A river flowed right through the middle of downtown, and any substantial rain caused the water level to rise enough to flood the lower floors and basements of nearby homes and businesses.  Then, in 1921, a major flood caused tremendous damage and about 50 people lost their lives.  The city knew they had to act.  But how?

It was absolutely clear that they would have to redirect water away from the shallower areas of the downtown waterway.  They devised a plan with dams and other man-made systems to redirect the water.  But there was still the question of what to do with the river bend in the heart of downtown San Antonio.  Two different ideas were getting traction.  One group of people felt that they should simply drain that body of water, create a drainage ditch in its place, and pave a street above it.  For quite a while, this was the plan.

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The Two Chairs

By | Leadership, Relationships | No Comments

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Almost two years ago now, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott came to our church for one of their “Fight Night” events.  I was ecstatic to have them here, not only because their material is fantastic (which it is), and because our people would love them (which they did), but because I really wanted to get to know this amazing couple.

Before this event, I had a few brief phone conversations with Les, but when they came to town, it was the first time I really had a chance to talk with them at any length.  Wendy and I agreed to meet them for dinner before the event, and I was nervous.  Les and Leslie are New York Times best-selling authors.  They have spent their entire life as top-level experts in the field of couples work.  What do you talk about over dinner with best-selling authors?

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Business Cards and Dirty Carpets

By | Leadership, Life Challenges | No Comments
I was speaking this past weekend at NewSpring Church about the importance of humility, and I had a blast, because I love the topic.  Jesus made it clear—if you want to get ahead, genuine humility is the way to get there.

In the talk I presented the truth that there are two kinds of people in this world—“position people” and “product people.”  It’s important to understand the difference between these two groups, because you will encounter both in your daily life.

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My Top 10 Favorite Relationships Self-Help Books (for now).

By | Authors and Books, Conflict, Goals, Leadership, Life Challenges, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships | No Comments
I’m a very picky reader.  Because my schedule is so full, I don’t have a huge excess of time to spend sifting through the never-ending pile of self-help resources popping up on bookstore shelves.  For me to invest time in a book, it has to come highly recommended by someone I trust, or it has to have a reputation for being an incredible resource.  Either way, I’ll find the time to read books with transformative content.  I’ve been fortunate to run across many books that meet that criteria.  These are my favorites… for now (and it wasn’t easy limiting the list to 10).

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Value Added Leadership

By | Goals, Leadership, Life Challenges | 2 Comments
Years ago, my dad shared with me a principle about leadership that I’ve never forgotten.  “If you think you’re a leader,” he said, “but no one is following you, you’re just a guy out taking a walk.”

The reason that statement has stayed with me is that I realize that perhaps the hardest part of any kind of leadership is inspiring  others to follow.  Whether your leadership role is as a parent, a tee-ball coach, a CEO of a major corporation, all of the above, or something else, there is one concept that has the potential to catapult your outcomes to the next level.

It’s a truth many leaders ignore.

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The Boundaries Backlash

By | Conflict, Kids, Leadership, Life Challenges, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships | One Comment
A few days ago I posted a book recommendation to my Facebook page.  I said that if you could only read one self-help book in 2015, I’d recommend Boundaries by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  I didn’t make this recommendation lightly, because let’s face it, there are a lot of great books out there.  There’s something that makes this book uniquely special.  We live in such a permissive world today it can be very difficult to understand how and when to use the word no.  Beyond that, some of us have grown up with a brand of Christianity that presents a picture of love without limits that makes boundaries seem downright un-Christian.  But Drs. Cloud and Townsend do an expert job at explaining the fact that God has built limitations into the universe in which we live, and in you personally.  Being able to set healthy boundaries is one of the most important steps you can take to achieving a healthy and productive life.

This blog post isn’t about the Boundaries book.  I hope you own it, or have access to it and can learn what’s presented there.  This blog post is about the backlash you should expect when you set a boundary with someone.  Whether the person to which you must say no is 2 years old or 80, there is a fairly predictable response that you should expect and know how to handle. Read More

We Need to Talk – How to Handle Difficult Discussions

By | Conflict, Leadership, Life Challenges, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships | No Comments
I hate difficult talks.  I tend to be a pretty soft-hearted individual, so it’s very difficult for me to talk with someone about problems within our relationship.  It’s troubling to think about all the ways in which the other person might misunderstand me or get the wrong impression.  If that weren’t bad enough, I find myself preoccupied with trying to anticipate the objections or arguments they might bring up.  How do I know that I’ll be able to respond to their comments or questions?  I’ll think.  It’s also easy to remember all the difficult conversations that have gone awry over the years and assume this one will be another in that series.

But difficult discussions are a part of life.  Relationships come pre-installed with tension… that’s part of living in a broken world.  As a result, we need to have a strategy for these kinds of conversations.  We need a way of being confident in ourselves so that we can talk about the challenges that threaten relationships.  Not dealing with the tension is not an option.  That’s how relationships fall apart. Read More