Thanks for stopping by. I have been asked repeatedly to share thoughts and ideas in a blog format. So…here I am trying to do so. I hope you find some of the information on here useful and if you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact me. ~ Dennis
I have a dog named Sammy. He likes to bark. He barks when someone walks by. He barks at other dogs, cats, frogs, when there is action in the house and he’s missing it. He barks when he wants out and when he wants in. He barks all the time.
So it’s not uncommon around our house to hear me speaking firmly, “Sammy quiet!”
Some nights back I was winding down for the night slowly heading for bed. Suddenly, Sammy’s familiar barking exploded outside. My first thought was “Oh goodness, he’ll wake up the neighbors.”
“Sammy! Quiet!” I ordered.
A few minutes of silence followed, but once again Sammy started kind of barking with his mouth shut. A bark and whimper all in one. So down the stairs I went to speak a little more firmly.
When I opened the door, there was Sammy whimpering towards the water pail. I pulled the pail out and a big rat headed across the floor at full speed with Sammy in pursuit. In seconds that rat was dead. Sammy looked up at me, almost smiling as he wagged his tail. I patted him on the head, saying, “Good dog, Sammy.”
Sammy has a reputation- for barking. So my assumption is he barks for no reason. For Sammy, he always has a reason, but it not always obvious to me.
People are a lot like that. We don’t always like their behavior but they will always have a reason for the way they act. When people behave a certain way rather consistently, we sometimes close off all objectivity and as soon as it starts we have already decided, “There they go again.”
What about if this time it was our behavior or words that set it off? Or what about if we have become so insensitive to that person that we no longer care how we ourselves behave or speak? Then it could be us who has caused the “barking”.
Just because Sammy barks doesn’t mean that his barking is all bad. Just because someone is a certain way does not mean they should be dismissed from our responsibility.
I suggest, next time you are dealing with one of those repeated encounters, with “barkers”, pause a minute and open-mindedly evaluate the situation. You may be able to do something about it.
And there might be a big “rat” hiding behind something.
So that’s my lesson from the dog and the rat.
Times have changed.
The lifestyles we live now and the values we practice would not be recognized by our grand parents as being from the same planet that they knew.
Along with everything else, leadership has changed. Good leaders are hard to find, at least the kind of leaders that made the heroes of the past.
History books are filled with stories of war, politics and faith. These men and women threw themselves wholeheartedly and unreservedly into challenges and crises without any consideration of personal cost. Jose Rizal, Ninoy Aquino, Mother Theresa, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther, Billy Graham, Mohandas Ghandi or Nelson Mandella…are just a few examples. Different styles, different objectives but lasting results!
I lament, “Where have all the leaders gone?”
Who has a cause that is worth sacrificing for? Who will stand up and be willing really lead, not just be called a leader?
One of my favorite writers is Peggy Noonan. One of my favorite quotes of her is this:
“…it’s a great mistake when you are in a leadership position to want to be like everyone else. Because that, actually, is not your job. Your job is to be better, and to set standards that those below you have to reach to meet. And you have to do this even when it’s hard, even when you know you yourself don’t quite meet the standards you represent.”
Leaders do that. They push themselves first, to be better, to grow and to rise up. In so doing they believe, if they do, someone will follow and do the same. They are not one of the guys, or one of the “gang”. They are out in front going somewhere.
This model I write about is not new. It is what leaders are all about.
Unfortunately there are few men and women who will be leaders today. Lots are willing to be in charge or take a position if assigned, but few volunteers jump into the ring saying, “I’ll get that done for you.”
Here in the Philippines we have this problem of being “assigned”, or asked to do something. It’s like this: “if you assign me and I don’t succeed, then it’s not really my fault. It was your decision to “assign” me; I did my best, but it didn’t succeed. So it’s not my fault; I just cooperated.”
This mindset makes for poor leaders. It is an unwillingness to be responsible for people, for change and even for good. It is passive leadership and passive leadership is no leadership at all. Real leadership will jump in, take a step of faith, and make that thing their thing. They will take it personally.
Once you jump into the ring and face off against the challenge, take your best shot. Then take another one and another. Go for the win, leave a mark, make a difference.
Maybe you’re not like that. Perhaps your style is: “I’m more reserved, careful and calculating.” Well, that’s the beauty of life- we can learn to step outside of our personality to be a leader. Leadership is a learned skill and not a birthright.
Learn, change, grow while you travel through life.
Don’t expect to get it all right all the time.
Don’t give up until your job is done.
That is true leadership.
I’ve been around the church a long time, in fact all my life.Nowadays there seems to be a lot of negative writing about the church. Truthfully, we all know someone who is bitter because of some church, pastor or priest. I’m a pastor. Lots of people have been angry with me over the years. Lots of people have left my churches because of issues with me. Imagine that! Some people don’t like me, my style, my leadership.Statistics show that some types of churches are in serious decline- and in the USA alone, about 1500 pastors or more leave the ministry every month.
There seems to be two approaches to take on this. First, the church, flawed and supposedly disconnected, should be abandoned. Closely related to that would be the idea, “Quit church and just do your own thing. After all Jesus is within you and the Holy Spirit is everywhere so you don’t need a “church”.Second, the church has people in it…”no one is perfect”…so just shut up and put up and all will be well.
I’m not ready to give up on the church, nor am I willing to cover up.
Here are a few reasons:
1. Jesus said he would build His church, and I should add- with people. Never in church history has it been perfect. Yet it always survives. The church is an act of God. I should never make light of that. To ignore the church is to ignore God.
2. Its purpose has never changed- to be Jesus to our world. In that, it has often failed. Yet in every church I have ever been a part of there is someone who is very Christlike who makes you realize that Christ is real and He is there. Those people have affected me permanently.What about the bad examples? Well…I wonder how many were turned off knowing that Judas was stealing money from the disciples’ treasury and yet no one did anything about it. In the end Judas hung himself.How many left the church when Paul and Barnabas had their falling out or when in Corinth immorality was rampant? Many! But the church is still necessary- even with all it’s failures. It was then and it is now. It serves Christ’s purpose even when it appears to be failing.
3. The presence of God is there. My father attended a funeral awhile back where the woman who had passed was a part of an Eastern religion. He commented to me that the night before he had attended a small, what you would call, dead Christian church. No life, no energy. He said to me, “Even in that dead church I felt the presence of God; but the next day in that Eastern funeral there was nothing.” He went on, “I saw the difference. Every church has the presence of God.”
4. Most of the good- the lasting good- that happens in God’s kingdom today happens through or in an organized church. That fact is undisputed. For me, I’ve met God there a thousand times, in worship, in prayer, through a preaching or in the embrace of a friend. I was saved, water baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit, called by God, and have had countless God encounters, all in formal church.I think for a moment… if I removed from my life all the encounters and experiences that I have received in church, I would be a mere fraction of the person I am today.
I’m not suggesting that just being a church attendee will radically change your life, but it helps.
I could go on. What can I say. The church has problems. It always will. The church has failed at times- true- and yet it has also succeeded every where it has been planted. Leaders have failed- true, but there are men and women who have ch
anged their world for God- and most are in the church.
I know I am coming on strong in my last statement, but I fully believe if you want to leave a spiritual legacy of any kind you’ll have to do it through the church. Fifty years from now no one will remember the disconnected bitter believer- but they might just remember someone who walked with God and others, embracing the flawed church and its flawless Savior.
You May subscribe to this post by going to the right side bar and filling in your email address.Links I associate with; cogmakati.org, gentlehands.org
Hundreds of books have been written on life management. The reason they are popular is that people still struggle with how to get more done- or at least something done- in a day. It may be that our expectations are growing of what we should be able to do in one day.So what is realistic?How much should one person get done in one day?Here are my thoughts on managing your personal life;Firstly, no one is a natural time manager. This is a learned skill.
Personality affects the way we approach work and life. Some people are always disorganized and running. Others are always sitting. Some don’t know when to run and when to sit…
The personality known as “melancholy” (not a negative term) is generally more details-oriented. This personality often gets pegged as the administrator. But being details-oriented does not necessarily make you a good time manager. You are just about the details. A details person, given enough responsibility, may drown in his own details. He may not know how to prioritize or delegate.
No matter what your style or personality, time management is a learned skill.Secondly, there is no best way to do this. Books, everything from “Stop setting goals”, to “Reaching and achieving your best” to ”Gettings things done”, have been written. Each has a model. I’ve tried many! They all work some of the time…yet none of them work all the time and for everybody. Each model depends almost entirely on your discipline to stay with a plan and follow it through.
Thirdly, in summing it all up I will over-simplify life management for you;
- Decide where you want to go- always keep that in mind. Call it a goal, a problem to be solved or a dream to achieve. Then move in that direction-one direction at a time.
- Determine the steps and the time needed to accomplish each step. Both are equally important.
- Start one step at a time- always remembering where you are going and why you are going there.
- Make a daily list of 7 things you must do. Determine how much time each of the 7 things will take. Then prioritize the most important and start there. If you do this last step every day you will always get the most important things done every day and you will accomplish much.
- Never fill up an entire day with plans. Just plan 80%. Allow for interruptions and delays.These 5 simple steps would make all of us much better at what we do and we’d accomplish a lot more- if we stayed with it.
In fact, even if you had no goals, dreams or ambitions and just did step 5, you would still accomplish a lot in life. The trick is to start and then keep doing it. That is where 99% of all life management fails.
Bows and arrows have been around for a long time. Once a weapon of choice, they are among the oldest tools on earth.
From the bow we learn a basic life lesson: “if you never unwind, you may lose your purpose.”
The purpose of the bow is to propel the arrow. In order to do that, there must be some resilient strength in the bow. To understand resilience, lets see consider how a bow was made.
It used to be simple. Not so now. Modern times have created many composite materials that have completely changed archery. As a child I made bows. I would find a tree branch, thin enough to bend and thick enough to have some bounce. That was it. I’d bend the bow and place one end on the ground, while pushing down on the other. I’d tie the bow into position with a string, get something to shoot, draw the string back, hook the arrow to it, let it go and watch it fly.
Then I’d stand and hope I could hit something!
That’s about how the longbow worked, except that the ancients had learned that some trees were better than others for bows, and their arrows were works of art.
A simple lesson I learned as a boy Robin Hood wannabe: every night you have to unstring the bow- let the tension off the bow, let the long arms of the bow de-stress and straighten out.
Otherwise overnight the resilience may be lost and the bow becomes useless. The harder woods retain their resilience longer but the end result of continual stress is a useless bow.
The bow needs a rest to be at it’s best.
We’re the same. If we never rest, we don’t get more done, we simply lose our edge, resilience and purpose.
You were made to work and rest. The cycle of life requires rest. It was thought with the coming of computers and electronics, we’d work less, use less paper, spend less time doing the same work.
Aha! We learned we can do twice as much now with a machine. We can stay in touch to the point that an hour of silence nearly drives some to near panic attack. Cell phone and internet addiction do exist.
So do you rest, and when do you rest?
Rest means sleep, days off and time away from pressure. Sleep means proper sleep. Most people need 7-9 hours a night. Too little compounds your stress. I’ve realized I can handle almost unlimited pressure in a day if I sleep well at night.
A day off means no work- not a second job but a day of rest where the mind unwinds and you let it all go.
Don’t forget times of vacation, several days at a time. The Creation record has work and rest built into it. God, the world, the land and the human all need to rest.
Unstring your bow. Take time to do nothing. Rest your body and your mind.
A change is NOT as good as a rest!