Have a Plan! Change is about to happen!

The problem with the statement, ‘Change is about to happen,’ is that by the time we notice it’s arrival we can do very little to affect it. We have to ride the wave of change but only if we have not prepared for it.

Change has momentum and power. Change is not evil, good, or bad. The results of and our actions towards that change, however, can be.

Since the seasons change we can assume life changes. Where we work, how we work, live, play will also change.

Some change we see coming and some we do not. Change can bring fear and often does. Peace, however, is a great combatant against fear, but only if grounded in a great foundation of truth. Hope, that is real hope, breaks the fear of change. But it takes courage …and lots of it to endure that change- especially when it is something we had not seen coming or the road before us just go so foggy you can only see inches down your path.

If peace is the great combatant against change, How do you find peace? I gained peace by surrounding myself with certain internal as well as external guards. I completed my will. Then my estate plan, then finances were gotten in order… all the while I increased my attitude upward and began a deeper relationship with my heavenly father. It spiraled upward and became very well defined once I found a little book by Michael Hyatt.

Michael Hyatt has a wonder e-book on Life Planning that you should go check out. It’s FREE, and I love FREE! Also go review his site and Dan Miller’s site about Master Mind groups…

It’s so simple to gain peace in a changing world, we just have to take those actions we know we need to take. Now more than ever, is the time to gather stability that remains stable even when everything around you is falling, shifting, moving…

Question: Would you be any worst off if you made a plan and change never came? But change is coming… If you have gotten Michael Hyatt’s Life Plan book and filled it out I’d love to hear the effects it has had in the peace of your life- Please leave your comments below!  Thanks!! 

The Size of Your Calling

As a Part 2 of last week’s posting, I felt like the canvas was left too soon and the picture had not yet fully taken on the depth I had hoped.

As a recap- we said a ‘calling’  is something we do to help others; it is us, who have, going to those, who need, and repeating this over and over again. Identify the needy, big or small, find what you already do well, and go help other people. 

From last week… When I was asked, “Who are you helping,” and after exploring memories of being helped, I was presented with a very interesting thought. Not everyone’s calling is the same size. That is, compared to my point of reference.

Yes, some folks are called to dig wells, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc… which are very awesome callings that meet very real needs. There are also some who are called to lead churches, grow businesses, build bridges, provide financial wisdom, and some are even called to make tons of money just to give it, in secret, to organizations which help other people. 

The point is this, your calling is yours. You might be called to grow an Urban Farm in Kentucky like the Maddocks, you might be like my friend John, who was called to be a dentist, and what about the apostle Paul on the road to Damascus? He was carrying letters authorizing the persecution of Christians that he would later be preaching to. (of note: his money-making trade was that of a Tent Maker… not a preacher… but he was not always making tents… this opens the idea that a calling may need to be worked at over time. And in due time, it may render your financial golden goose… just don’t rush it.)

Hopefully at this point you are starting to grasp the idea that your calling might look very big to you but not as big to others. Meaning, your calling might look relatively small compared with others.To this I’d only offer to you to: Stop Comparing Yourself To Others! This is YOUR calling, not theirs! 

For the Evangelical Christians (ES)- God does have a plan for you and his plan for you is far bigger than the one you have for you. His calling for you is bigger than you can think of right now.

For those non-ES’s, the principle is the same- your calling runs the potential to be huge. You just cannot take your eye off the ball.

There is a hurting world out there that needs you to be tent makers, pipe-fitters, financially independent, supporters, ditch-diggers, church builders, baby-sitters, lifeguards, doctors, and yes, even lawyers!

Who Are You Helping?

Have you ever been swimming and needed a life preserver? Ever had your boat spring a leak and start to sink just as the wind stopped blowing? Have you ever been hiking and had the weather turn on you so quickly you started to get scared? Have you ever been so sure that life was over that you actually started to give up? Have you ever needed help?

I was asked a question over the weekend that sparked a series of memories where I was in impossible situations and needed the help of others. In each memory, help showed up; big or small, help came. It did not always come in the manner I thought it would, or even should show up…but it did show up nonetheless. With each encounter of fear I had to take on courage and fight things like doubt, self-defeat, fear, envy, and hatred. In most cases, I still remember the struggle, both physical and mental. The bruises from some of these encounters are still tender in the recesses of my memory.

In the biggest moments of needing help, someone or something – arrived just in time. In my exhaustion I remember my swimming teacher, Ms. Sarah, teaching me how to float… and so I made it to shore; In my small sailboat, I found an oar left there ‘just-in-case.’  In the mountains I remembered my boy scout wilderness survival skills-  a shelter appeared in the form of two fallen trees and broad leaf plants -[(delete this – Compliments of the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared;”] When on a bike ride a truck pulled over and drove me the 20 miles home – compliments of a retired Marine Corp hero and a healthy measure of humility.

So, what was the question that sparked these memories?

“So, David, Who are you helping?”

Someone out there needs your help. They need your knowledge, skills, abilities; they need your help in remembering how to dream of a better life. Someone is truly needy, impoverished, malnourished, alone, abused…and you are the help they need.

I believe this is where you will find your calling. This is where you will discover the path you should be on. This is where you get the opportunity to be the help others need… because in the end, “Me, Me, Me is dull, dull, dull.” (see Tom Stanley’s collection of writings)

So, Who are you helping?

…So GO! Someone desperately needs YOU!

Anchors are Important

Anchors tend to hold things in place. For their design and overall general purpose, they do the job. From aircraft carriers to canoes, anchors provide a point of reference to stop or limit motion from a particular location.

Perhaps the earliest sea-goers or lake fisherman simply tied a rock to a long rope and dropped it in the water to stop the boat from floating away or drifting out of position.

Anchors also hold the people in place and keep them from floating and drifting from where they best called to be.

You might call a vessel that is adrift, without purpose, rhyme or reason, lost; just as you would not call a ‘drifter’ purposeful or directional.

Then why do we call ourselves purposeful when we have no real direction or moorings to anchor to? It is because we lack an anchor– That thing we hold white-knuckled tight to.

Anchors provide us with identity. Anchors provide us with security. Anchors give us the freedom to be who we truly are… our true-self. They are not a limit but an allowance. The lack of which, only reveals our false-self. We place masks over our hulls and paint them with bright and festive colors and then we cry this is our purpose– to look great and to provide a sense of happiness and success. Yet the facade of the paper mache and water-color paints melt and leak once we set sail. Showing the collapse of our false-self.

I’d rather chase after an anchor to reveal my true-self, and truly live life, than a ignore the melting of a paper hull and tragically sink.

Anchors are important. Where are yours?

For the Kids @ Georgia Tech and CHOA

The smart folks at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have joined the a team of students Georgia Tech who really get the picture!

Here in Atlanta there is a wonderful medical organization called, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). The doctors and nurses there have saved numerous lives, stopped illnesses from spreading, made kids laugh as they get shots, helped new parents from freaking out when their baby runs a fever, and the folks there can actually leap buildings in a single bound.  This is a second-to-none operation.

…but they cannot do this without your help!

Katherine Lohn is a 3rd year student at Georgia Tech and she leading the fight in raising of funds for a great project called,”For the Kids @ GT-Engineering Miracles.” Katherine is on the Executive Board and is the Chair of Fundraising.

For the Kids @ Georgia Tech

Katherine Lohn: For the Kids @ Georgia Tech

This is one of her favorite parts of college and no doubt a favorite part of the family and patient services of CHOA. The goal for this large group of students is $100,000!

Given the population of Atlanta (about 6 million people), this fund raiser should take a nano-second to complete! The hardest part of this fund raiser is getting the word out there… and Katherine Lohn does that best!

So go visit her site HERE!

You are not going to want to miss the HOW the money will be raised!

Donating at that location is safe and easy! Click the “Support Me” button once there and change the lives of the people around you!

Back to the Basics…

In reading on the lives of millionaires, biographies of historical icons, and listening carefully to those who are far more wise than myself, there is one common message that rings true over and over again– ‘go back to the basics.’

Getting back to the basics may be translated differently in different environments. Terms like, keep your eye on the ball, watch the ball in, and soft touches are all terms that athletes hear day in and day out from coaches who understand the importance of ‘the basics.’

Off the pitch, the court, and the turf the terms are different. These are terms frequently overlooked and forgotten because they are hard to spot at times. At times these terms mean less revenue in the short term but render millions in the long term. They are tough to see right off because they are, when in their purest form, woven into our character. The fiber of our make up. Most who possess them and have honed them stand out from the crowd in one way or another.

In The Millionaire Mind, The author Thomas Stanley looks at hundreds, if not thousands of millionaires and successful business owners. The number one word that more successful people attribute to the backbone of their success is of the basic of basics: Integrity.

Webster’s defines the word as a “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values:  incorruptibility; an unimpaired condition:  soundness; and the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness

Integrity does not know your family any different than it knows your business dealings. Integrity does not know about your job any different than it knows about your wife or your husband. Integrity fails to see anything different than itself; Firm, Incorruptible; Sound; Complete.

So how does your integrity stand up? Is it time to return to the basics? What would happen if you did? Would it be worth a potential short-term loss for a long-term gain? If the answer is Yes, to any of these, you are a welcomed traveller in a new journey that will yield its fruits in due time. Take courage, this road is hard, but you have what it takes, because you got back to the basics.

It Might Take Some Time

If you have ever wanted something now, rather than later, you are not alone. Most of us have and honestly, I cannot name anyone who has not. Delaying gratification is hard, not fun, and frankly something we’d rather not do most of the time.

This conversation is more than an encouragement to not eat the extra piece of cake or read the last chapter first in a best-seller, which both could be seen as superficial. Rather this conversation is one we all wrestle with over the long-haul; weeks, months, or even years.

I have developed a practice of reading (rather listening) through the bible each year. I simply start at the introduction and finish in the maps. This morning, while still in the Old Testament, something struck me. It seems that each leader, Abraham & Moses for example, appointed successors long before their deaths. This practice was even seen with King David when he was anointed King long before (years and years before) he ever took the thrown.

This is what would happen, the priest would stand with the passing leader (or on behalf of God) in what seems like a semi-private affair, pray a blessing over the successor, offer sacrifice and…. that was it. No party, no celebration, nothing… except a long silent wait to ascend to position.

Joshua would not lead the Hebrews for months or even a year; King David was a boy when anointed and he, after his anointing, simply returned to the fields as a shepherd for the next near- decade.

Such is the story sometimes in our own lives; we have a dream or goal or passion and then we start down this road only to find it longer than we thought… and darker …and bleaker …and fearful.

Something of note that should brighten your path, and something that brightened mine was this: Moses was in preparation some 40 years before ever seeing the burning bush; Joshua was being prepared for his greatness by being the admin’ assistant to Moses for decades; and David was killing lions and bears long before his encounter with Goliath.

That silence you hear, that emptiness you feel, that is insurmountably huge, might be the preparation you need before you step into your own greatness…your calling. These just might be your prep-years. It was for Moses, for King David, and it definitely was for Abraham, who waited about 100 years for his prep-years to come to an end.

While I hope we don’t have to wait 100 years to step into our calling, waiting until the prep-years are over is critical to your success once those years are over. You would never skip out on practice in order that you might win a game, so don’t do that here. Do not harbor hatred or resentment in these years of preparation. Run the extra-mile, do the extra push-ups, read the additional book, take the other class, …say the additional prayer.

Be encouraged, even the calling on the life of Jesus as a man was only three years, but 30 of those, in human terms, were in preparation for an eternity. Those 30 years of prep-time changed the world. Why cannot this also be you?

Your calling might be huge and freakishly unorthodox, but if your fellow man or woman were at stake would you dare to try to accomplish it? If your family was at stake would you do it? If your why is bigger than your hurdles, then Yes, you would do this. But take heart and stand strong; enjoy and endure the prep-years, your calling coming, but it just might take some time.

Making the Commitment

Making the commitment is hard.

Committing to anything is an act of courage. There is always a struggle, a balance of good and evil, that pulls and challenges your commitment. Many times, it is an everyday battle. But how you deal with it determines everything.

Perhaps you, like our family, have a coin jar. This jar seems to fill up all by itself. Day after day, week after week, the loose change piles up and soon the wide-mouth Mason jar overflows its rim and then we know it’s time to the count dough! This is actually a fun event where we all guess how much is in the jar – the winner is lavishly rewarded. It’s fun and we make a really big deal of it. But we are always surprised to see how much builds up over time.

Investing in your family, your church, your synagogue, your community, yourself, your retirement account, is no different. It takes time and energy. Some days are fun and others are not. Some folks laugh at you and others support you. You fight throwing in the towel and wish you could give up.

But fortunately, that’s part of the deal!

In the book of James, the author implores the reader to consider it joy, whenever you face trials, because you know that the testing of your faith (or commitment for that matter) produces perseverance. He goes on to say, to let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I understand the feeling like you do not have the income to invest or the time to spend with friends. I really do. It’s hard. But when you Make the Commitment, the commitment the choice has been made. All internal arguments now have permission to stop their torment! And you, you have the freedom the do those little things that will yield the person you are trying to become.

A quick principle: Little things over time will produce a harvest.

Christian or not, the idea of not lacking because I stayed true to my commitments, even under fire from my friends and foes, sounds like a program worth trying.

So go ahead and Make the Commitment.

Take Courage, I’ve been this way before

Joshua was Moses’ right hand man just next to Aaron. He was with Moses when God spoke on the mountain, when Moses raised his arms over the embattled People of God when Moses was seemingly controlling the battle from afar. Joshua was there looking on when Moses broke the original tablets known as the Ten Commandments. Bottom line, Joshua was very much in mix from the beginning. So much so, that when Moses passed away, Joshua was assigned as the leader of the Hebrew Nation. That’s a big deal!

Joshua was a rightly freaked out. The book bearing his name opens with a story of God saying, ‘Take courage! Do not be afraid!’ The new leader only needed to hear this about three more times before he started to understand that he needed to take courage. But what Joshua really needed to know was that the God of his fathers was the real leader of this ragamuffin band called God’s Chosen People and that he was in the fight with him.

Unlike the flannel-graph depiction of Joshua talking to a blue-eyed, blond haired, massive angle on a hill who was delivering a message from ‘gawd,’ there is little doubt that Joshua had some legitimate fear and the God of the Hebrew nation was there to help him figure things out.

Massive amounts of books and articles have been written on fear. Several will speak of doing one thing and others will say do another thing. But in the beginning, the message was simple and clear: Be strong and courageous! [It’s worth to note that the message Joshua heard from the angle, it also carried with the message of WHY he was to be strong and courageous. There is always a WHY behind the reason of taking courage.]

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. (Joshua 1:5-7 ESV)

So why the Sunday-School lesson? Simple. Like Joshua, our fear seems very real and at times really spooky. It’s a legitimate emotion, validated by our shaky knees and sweaty palms and sleepless nights. It’s only when we take courage and join forces with someone else that the edge is taken off.

What fear do you have? Where do you need to take courage? Is it in that talk with your teenage daughter, your wife, or your boss? Or is your fear in your investments and you need courage to hold or sell that stock?

That “someone else” may be God, it may be your spouse, it may be a friend. But the the truth is, we all need to take courage because we all have a fear. We are not alone in this fight despite what we may feel and see.

So, Take Courage, the path you are on has been trodden before and will be trodden after. Be strong when you feel weak, run when you want to walk, laugh when crying is easier, dig deeper when others say, ‘enough.’

How true it is that this journey may not led you where you thought it might; things may be different on the other side of fear and the other side of courage.

But then, maybe weeks or many years later, you can stand with someone who is frightened and afraid and render the same advise- “Take Courage, I’ve been this way before.”

Our “One Word” in 2015

In 2012 a group of men, tired of the cycle of failed goal-setting, set out to write a book. It is a very short book but one that took many, many years to write. Dan Britton, Jimmy Page, & Jon Gordon tell the story of their proven method in One Word that will change your life.

I listened to the audio version (about 50 minutes long) nearly a year ago. Having just signed up for Micheal Hyatt’s course, 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever, I chose to stay-the-course and ear-marked One Word for a 2015 adventure. (A note on Micheal Hyatt’s course, though this is close for the 2015 season, it is well worth your time and energy to go through this event.)

The premise, and hardly a summer of the book, is to establish One Word to guide you through the year. By focusing on only one word, your actions will support your one word. Example, maybe you are a teacher and you chose the word, “Gift.” You would start, by cognitively choosing to view your actions, deeds, and words as “Gifts.” …and everyone loves a gift! At the end of year you look back and see your life as gift to those around you. Hey, I believe in the principle of sowing reaping and when you give of yourself, others will return the favor.

Solo adventures are seldom the best adventures. In fact, they don’t tell as great a story as an adventure shared; life is far too short for ‘solo.’ So, what is different this year? I included my family in my adventure. Novel, I know! …and they became willing participants in what is shaping-up to become a great year.

My youngest chose the word “Thoughtful;” Child two: “Focus;” Child one: “Change;” and my wife, “Zeal.” My ‘One Word,’ is “Mission.”

Each night we go around the table and tell one way they lived out their One Word that day. The question I ask is, “did you move the needle on your one word?”

Last night, the high-schooler said he was changing how he writes a report in class; while the youngest said she drew her teacher a picture. The middle child said she focused in math class (a really big deal that may be on-par with most any biblical miracles)!

Whatever this ends up being, one thing is certain, if we stay our course, we will not be the same entering 2016 as we were entering 2015. We will be better, more Missionally minded, Changed, Zealous, Focused, and Thoughtful… and that cannot be that bad!