Before You Talk to a Grieving Person…

By | Communication, Life Challenges, Ministry, Relationships | No Comments
The recent church shooting in Texas sickens my heart. I can’t understand how anyone could do such a terrible, heartless, cowardly thing. It is an example of what happens when a reckless person has pure evil in their heart.

And now, in the aftermath, Americans are reacting and reflecting. Some of this reflection is good. We need to think now about how we can support the victim’s families, and, later, what we can learn from this tragedy.

But I’m afraid some of the reaction is not helpful at all. I don’t often scan Facebook, but today I did. And I was heartbroken at some of the things people were saying. They simply weren’t helpful; and they could make life harder for those who are grieving.

So I thought I’d cobble together a quick post on a few things not to say when you talk to a grieving person. And, I’ll do my best to explain why.
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Wise, Foolish, and Evil People – How Can You Tell the Difference?

By | Goals, Leadership, Life Challenges, Marriage, Ministry, Parenting, Relationships | No Comments
Years ago, Dr. Henry Cloud introduced me to the idea that there are three kinds of people in this world: wise, foolish, and evil. I love that observation! It comes straight from the book of Proverbs where the Bible outlines the difference between each of these life paths. The wise person is headed for a bright and exciting future, the fool a life of hardship and frustration, and the evil person a fittingly disastrous and tragic end.

This is very important for those of us who parent, coach, lead teams, supervise, hire, fire, or are in any other type of authority role. We need to be able to quickly recognize the difference between these life patterns, because they massively impact the future of our families, teams, and organizations. Read More

What Do You Think of Me?

By | Leadership, Life Challenges, Marriage, Ministry, Relationships | No Comments
A few nights ago, I was taking my wife to get a cup of coffee at the local Panera.  I was getting ready to turn left into the parking lot, but waiting for the traffic to clear, when I heard a horn honking from behind me.

As I looked in my rear view mirror, I could see a lady in the minivan motioning for me to move into what she obviously thought was a turning lane.  It wasn’t.  I had a double yellow line, and if I’d moved into the lane she was suggesting, I might have been in the path of oncoming traffic.

I quickly responded by glaring into the rear view mirror and giving this lady my best “Look lady, I’m following the laws of the road.  If you don’t like waiting on me to turn, why don’t you just go around?” face.  Somehow I don’t think she got the message.  She responded with her best “You’re an idiot” face.

This, of course, happened within the span of just a few seconds.  Very quickly, the cross lane cleared and I was able to turn into the parking lot and park.

What surprised me was how hard it was to let those few seconds go.  What if that lady did think I was an idiot?  I thought.

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Your Most Powerful Communication Tool

By | Communication, Goals, Leadership, Ministry | 2 Comments
I’m obsessed with communication.  Whether I’m on stage giving a talk, or having a casual conversation with my wife at the end of a workday, my goal is to share a message that is important to me, and have the other person hear, understand, and remember it.

But not all methods of communication are equal.  I learned this while writing a sermon a few weeks ago.
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I Need a Decision Day. Do You?

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Twelve years ago, I was sitting in an orientation class at the Wal*Mart SuperCenter in Laramie, Wyoming.  My wife and I had just moved to cowboy country so that I could attend technical training in auto mechanics.  At 21, that was what I thought I wanted to do with my life.  Weekday evenings, when my classes were over, I worked at the local Wal*Mart tire and lube bay.  It was for that job that I was attending orientation. Read More

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