Posts Tagged ‘lesson’



Resentment and the Choice of Forgiviness

“Burn me once shame on you, burn me twice, shame on me,” and so goes the old saying. Most would say it’s a wise saying. But as I reflect on it, I don’t think it is what God expects from us. Those words came to mind recently as someone asked me for a second chance. Immediately my mind went to “burn me once . . . .” I was ready to give him a piece of my mind, but I realized that if God dealt with me the way I was intending to deal with this man, I’d be dead by now. Way dead. Then I thought of the words of Peter, the Apostle, as he asked Jesus a poignant question:  Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I…

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Are You Asking the Important Questions?

Back in 1988 Eastman Kodak had a surplus of 1.4 billion dollars the equivalent of nearly 2.5 billion in today’s dollars and 11 profitable business units. This year Kodak is set to lose between 400 and 600 million dollars, its 12 losing quarter in the past 15 quarters according to an article on USA Today. The digital revolution has hit the once-global giant hard. Its stock peak at nearly $100 a share and now is considered junk, worth less than a dollar per share. Interestingly, Kodak researches invented the digital camera. According to the article, the film business was just too lucrative to do shift gears into the digital opportunity with its much smaller margins. It didn’t happen overnight but the day Eastman Kodak decided to ignore the trend it help to start for the sake of their most profitable product, it was the day the company began to die.…

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Life Fleeting

Life is precious. We are not guaranteed tomorrow on this earth. Those two thoughts came rushing into my mind as I read an email today about the passing of Gary “Shoe Shine Guy” Armstrong. He was found dead in his apartment over the weekend. Gary was 51. I saw him this past Friday afternoon at his usual spot at the bottom of the main staircase at the Maryland Farms YMCA. I had a pair of shoes for him to shine this morning, but he was not there. Since 2003 Gary had worked at the same spot, and over the years I gave him a lot of business. It will be strange going down the stairs and not hearing Gary’s soundtrack of 60, 70 and 80 tunes in his old-school stereo he setup every day. Interestingly, Gary had a blog with only four entries from April of 2007. I only discovered…

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Life in Detour

No one like detours. If you’re an impatient type-A person like me, you really hate detours. I don’t build enough margins in my day for extra time to get somewhere.  By its own nature, a detour is a slower, longer, less convenient way to get anywhere. Who wants that? But it has been in the detours of my life that I have grown the most. As I take inventory of the times where I made the most progress in the professional, personal, as well spiritual parts of my life, I can point out to specific “detours” that forced me to get off the highway, take the slower more cumbersome path that would eventually lead me to a place a discomfort but growth at the same time. I remembering taking a detour in college when my parents called me on my 19th birthday to let me know that they couldn’t send…

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Legacy Christian Organizations and the Irrelevance Spiral

The essence of communication is to understand your product, your audience and to present your product in a way your audience can understand it. Simple, right? Well, not in my experience with legacy Christian organizations. Some are losing the battle with culture and relevance. First, let me define legacy organizations: movements, groups and churches that are in their second or third generations of existence. Some critics have accused these legacy organizations of becoming irrelevant thus finding themselves in trouble trying to recruit new followers, fund their programs and budgets and survive, much less thrive, in current economic challenges. But that’s not what I see happening in the American Christian landscape. While some might be out of touch, most of these ministries are led by godly men and women who are passionate about evangelism, missions, discipleship, social justice and serving and are trying very hard to advance the cause of the…

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The Problem with Positional Leadership

We can distill leadership in two of its basic foundations: positional and influential. Understanding them will dictate and help you successfully navigate through leadership waters.  You can be given the position but unless you also have the influence, you are not really a leader. Positional leadership is given, while influential is earned. While they are not mutually exclusive, some never make the connection. It took me a while before I got that lesson, but once I did, I understood the power of influence. Anyone can get a job managing a person, or a group of people. My first job as a manager was as a part-time music director at a church while going through graduate school. I had to lead a choir, which I was prepared to lead; however, the choir was not the problem, Rosie, the organist, was. I remember my first day on the job when one of…

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Half-Hearted Self Discipline Fails to Deliver

Self discipline pays dividends. In my life I have seen self discipline become the difference between getting an A or a C in school, between doing ok at work or getting promoted quickly,  between a mediocre business and a thriving one, between thinking about running a marathon and actually finishing one. Discipline is often the difference between success or failure. But if we are not careful, we can be disciplined and yet not see results. I don’t know about you, but I tend to play mind games with the things that require my full attention to get to the next level. I’m usually willing to be disciplined in the areas that come natural to me, like exercise, but I often have a tough time committing to pay the price and do what’s not an easy task for me, like having a consistent clean diet. In this case, however, the diet…

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What To Do With a Bad Day

I thought I was getting out on an early flight home. Time was tight but this was a small airport and my gate was literally less than 10 feet from security. I heard my name called over the intercom as I was collecting my bags. The TSA agent wanted to do extra screening of one of my bags, of course, so I stepped aside, made eye contact with the gate agent and yelled out “I’m here. I’ll be there as soon as they let me go.” Within a couple of minutes I was ready to board. I didn’t expect what I heard, “Sorry, the flight is closed. You’re going to have to take the next one.”  “You have got to be kidding me!” I was just incredulous.  “Didn’t you see and hear me?” I asked the agent who didn’t bother looking up from the computer. “I waited over 4 minutes.”…

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Social Digital Fraud: A Failed Social Media Campaign

I was recently reminded of a failed social media campaign that started with a lot of promise but went nowhere. For all practical purposes the campaign is still going because there are “posts” being created everyday. As I reflect what went wrong, here’s my assessment: Blog content is never fresh. It is re purposed from old material. It’s edited, sanitized and packaged but it lacks soul and relevance. There are no personal posts in the blog, twitter or Facebook. And the reason why there are no personal posts is because the author delegated his entire campaign to someone else. The few people who began following early on quickly figured that the author was not the one posting and stopped following. Readers were ignored. Early on when people commented on posts, they were ignored. So they stop commenting, and eventually reading it. Posts are monologues. There are no questions, no interactivity,…

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A Life with Purpose

I never saw it coming. The voice on the other end of the phone said in a frail but determined way: “If God gives me four more weeks of life I will finish this book. I’ve been working on it every day.” My eyes swelled up with tears immediately. The man speaking those words, Billy Hornsby, has been battling an aggressive form of cancer that has now moved into his brain. He’s a good friend, a great leader and one the authors I represent. But he didn’t stop there. He paused and then spoke again, “God has been so good to me and I want to help people to discover the amazing life He can give them. I just need a little more time.” overwhelmed by Billy’s response I had to pull over and try to get myself back together. Just hours before I had a completely different conversation with…

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