I was going through some of my files today and came across this quote I wrote down a while ago. It talks about true success. I don’t know where I found it, so I can’t give credit.
Knowing a truth and accepting it.
Finding a need and filling it.
Facing a challenge and meeting it.
Losing a life and finding it.
Having a plan and following it.
Developing a talent and sharing it.
Going to heaven and knowing it.
I had a conversation this weekend with a guy that has had a heart attack, cancer and other medical conditions. He has had many challenges and has fought through them all. God still has a plan for his life.
One thing he shared with me is that a friend of his had moved to Australia and lived there for several years. When she came back she noticed right away that life here in Tuscarawas County is much different than in Australia. She made the comment that they know how to live life and enjoy it down under. She could see that we are way to busy working and running around to stop and enjoy life. She had a different perspective, because of the different culture.
When was the last time you just stopped and enjoyed the world around you? When was the last time you took off work early to spend time with your wife or kids? When was the last time you went on a walk in the woods? When was the last time you slept in? When was the last time you took a real vacation? When was the last time you ate together as a family?
I could go on with that, but I won’t. I also had many conversations with people lately that are feeling overwhelmed and worn out. They are working long hours and running their kids all over the place. They are not getting enough sleep and not eating right. Why do we make our lives so busy? Why do we miss the important stuff? Why do we live beyond our means? Why do we work so hard?
We all would answer these questions differently, because we are all in different circumstances. But why does it so often take an illness or an accident to slow us down? My friend told me that it took these physical things to slow him down. Why can’t we just slow down and enjoy life every once in a while?
My challenge to you today or tomorrow is to relax, enjoy life, look around you and appreciate the good things in your life. Make a list of everything you are thankful for and then go on a walk. Ask God to help you slow down, so you don’t miss something He has for you. Slow down to spend more time with your Heavenly Father and to listen to what He has for you. I believe we have divine moments every day that we miss, because we are stressed out, busy or preoccupied. By slowing down we can speed up our spiritual growth.
I met with a friend for breakfast this week and we talked a lot about work and business. I love hearing about what is happening in different work places and how people are leading in the business world.
As we talked, the topic came up of employees not thinking like the owner thinks. Their views and opinions are different from the person that writes the checks and pays the bills. At times it can be frustrating for the owner, because he is trying to run a business and make a profit and the employee is more concerned about his paycheck and how many hours he has to work.
The employee does not typically make decisions based on what is best for the company. They usually don’t see the bigger picture, especially when difficult decisions need to be made. Many employees think about what is in it for me. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but those employees are not usually on the same page as the owner. That makes it more difficult to get things done in a way that leads to growth and profitability.
As I thought about this, I started to relate this ownership thinking idea to the church and God. Many people do not think like owners when it comes to church. The mentality is what is in it for me, how can the church help me? Is the church meeting my needs and making me comfortable. That may be OK for someone that is seeking God, hurting or needing recovery of some sorts. However, after awhile that should begin to change. The thinking needs to switch to that of an owner. Seeing the bigger picture of why the church exists, and that is to help all people grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ, no matter where they are at on that journey.
That means sacrificing some of my own wants for the betterment of the church. Embracing changes that will help to reach more people and help people get connected. An owner thinks how can we be more efficient, more effective, and do things with excellence. An owner is willing to make hard choices, because it will further the vision of the church or business.
I have to ask myself, am I thinking like an owner or an employee or member? My friend said that employees that think like owners are rare and very valuable. They make better decisions, give better service, make more sacrifices and are more loyal than those who do not.
The Bible talks about our thoughts not being Gods thoughts. Most people don’t think the way God thinks. This is reflected in how we pray, how we spend our money, how we treat our spouse, kids and co-workers. As we begin to think like Jesus, we begin to change our behaviors, see people in a different way, we see the world in a different way. With this different perspective God can use us in a broader way. When we think like He thinks we begin to do what He would do.
Do you think like an owner in your workplace? In your Church? In your conversations with God?
I love meeting with people and talking about life, relationships, leadership and spiritual stuff. When I meet with people I always have a goal. I either am trying to learn and grow myself, by asking questions and picking up nuggets that can help me become a better person, or I am meeting with someone to help them grow and stretch. I do like to just hang out sometimes, just to be with friends and have fun.
Recently I met with a friend that has really challenged me to read more. He is so passionate about reading and growing as a leader, that it has helped me to get back on track in my own reading plan. He gave me two books to check out. I have started both of them, but the one has been profound for me. I am about half way through this book and it has really spoken to me about relationships and why we do what we do.
Part of my job is to help people in their relationships. Sometimes that is counseling married couples or engaged couples. Sometimes it is listening to friends that are going through tough times. Sometimes it is a divorced person struggling with being single. Other times it is family relationships that are splintered. I deal with and interact with many broken, hurting relationships.
This book hit on a part of relationships that I have observed to be very true. The book is called “The Anatomy of Peace – Resolving the heart of conflict” by the Arbinger Institute. I won’t get into a lot of detail on this book, but I want to share the general concept that I have learned from reading this so far.
The book tells a story about families that have come to an agency for help with their unruly, difficult children. The two leader’s of this agency are very different, yet very much alike. One is Jewish and one is Muslim (that is interesting in itself). The first part of the book deals mostly with the parents and not the teenagers. The parents sit around in a circle and talk. The two leaders dig in and challenge their way of thinking.
What comes out of this time together is a profound truth; the most important factor in helping your relationships go right is the state of your heart. If you have a broken or struggling relationship with a child, parent, spouse, co-worker, neighbor, boss or employee, you need to ask yourself this question; is my heart at peace or at war with this person? That’s right, in the deepest part of your heart, what do you believe about that person and how do you view them? Do you see them as inferior, weak, egotistic, selfish, ugly, rebellious?
From my years of listening to troubled relationships, I must say that most of the time their hearts were at war. When your heart is at war you tend to see the other person as an object or an obstacle to your goal. You don’t see yourself on the same team, but opposite sidelines. When your heart is at peace you tend to see the other person as a person, a soul that matters just as much as you do. A person with feelings, emotions and a heart.
The greatest example I can think of is Jesus. He had a heart of peace toward everyone. He saw every person as a person that mattered. He saw people that were lost and without a shepherd. His heart longed for them and that helped him to minister to people that no one else cared about. He noticed the sick, the outcasts, the slaves and the children. Even the very people that killed him, he was at peace in his heart with them.
You see, your behaviors come from your heart. Your behavior toward a person comes from the beliefs you hold about them. This could be very subtle attitudes that they pick up on. A heart at war will bring out words and actions that hurt and destroy. A heart at peace will bring out words and actions that encourage and lift up.
So ask yourself how your heart is toward that person that has come to your mind as you read this. Is your heart at war? Are you on opposite sides lobbing hand grenades at each other? Or is your heart at peace, and even though you may have been hurt, you still see them as a person? When you see people as objects that are inferior to you, that is an act of war. It leads to battles, not dialog. It leads to wounds not healing.
If you want your marriage to change, then you need to change your heart. If you want your relationship with your children to change then you need to change your heart attitude toward them. If you want to change your workplace, then you need to change your heart toward the people you work with.
How’s your heart these days?
Today my wife and I got to enjoy a great day with friends at Dave Mast and Jessica Rilke’s wedding. I work with both of them and am so happy for them. It was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding. We ate hot dogs and hamburgers and Danny even caught a fish at the pond. Arden & Sue Kaufman hosted this great wedding at their home near Berlin. We got to enjoy this one as guests as Kevin West officiated. He did a great job, short and meaningful with a little humor.
This has been a busy year for weddings at NewPointe Community Church(12 so far this year). I have the fun job of officiating at most of these weddings. In July I had 5 weddings, busy but fun. My wife is becoming an expert on weddings. She loves to go with me and help as needed. The fun part is meeting all the families and seeing how different everyone is. Some are very laid back and calm and others are a bit more stressed and excitable. I love to meet with them and of course we get to eat at the rehearsal dinners and the receptions. The opportunity to talk about spiritual things at a wedding is big. People are usually in a good mood and are open to hearing truth.
Doing all these weddings has made me even more aware of how important it is to work at our relationships. Good marriages don’t just happen. All these couples that got married this year are expecting their marriages to last a lifetime and to be happy ever after. I believe most of them will do well, because they put the work in on the front end. All the couples we marry at Newpointe must go through a mentoring process. They take an online inventory and then meet with a mentor couple 6 to 8 times to go over the results and to work through exercises. They get to know the mentors and build a relationship with them. It is almost like buying marriage insurance, because the statistics show that couples that go through a mentoring program before marriage have a much lower divorce rate.I believe it is less than 10 percent.
The work of talking through issues they disagree on is very valuable. If they can talk and resolve some of these issues before the wedding date they will have fewer problems early in the marriage.
When you are in love you sometimes overlook some glaring differences. Each person brings expectations to the marriage that can be unrealistic. Talking about things like, family, parenting, careers, sex, money and friends are very important. It helps to identify expectations and helps each of them understand their differences. There are also fewer surprises when you work through things before you get married.
Getting married is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. I will never understand why someone would not want to put in some hard work before to “learn” how to do it right. You don’t jump into a car and just start driving without first getting some instruction and guidance. You don’t start a job without going through an orientation and training. Why would you not want to get some training before starting a lifelong relationship?
When I meet with these couples looking to get married, I stress the importance of continual learning. I tell them to read books together and go to seminars and conferences together. I encourage them to grow spiritually together as well.
It is never too late to start working on it. I counsel many couples that are having difficulties, and a lot of time it is because of not knowing each other and how to communicate love to each other. Unresolved conflict, inner fears and bad communication can keep us from healthy marriages. It is so easy to just live together and not grow in intimacy and not work on ourselves or our relationship. Life gets in the way of our intimacy and keeps us from having great marriages. You must be intentional to avoid the trap of a mediocre marriage.
I am still working on my marriage after 19 years together. I currently am reading a book about sexual intimacy in Marriage. Wow, I wish I would of had this book when I first got married. More on that later.
This was an amazing week. Go ’08 at NewPointe Community Church wrapped up with a Community Impact day today. During the month of July we had a food drive with a goal of 1,500 boxes of food. We counted 12 items to fill a box. Things like canned goods, cereal, peanut butter, pasta and other nonperishable items. Two weeks ago our count was around 450 boxes, and last week our count was 1,008. I was a little sceptical that we could reach our goal. I remember praying about it and telling God that He would have to do an amazing work to reach that goal. Well God and the people of NewPointe came through. Our final count, which includes outdated items that went to a fifth food pantry and monetary donations, is 1,720. Can you say Wow! God is Good.
We also had around 600 people sign up to participate in this Sunday’s Community Impact day last Sunday. That put us at around 1,000 people to get connected into a project. It was a busy week and we had some amazing volunteers help put it together. We ordered 1,200 yellow shirts and all of them are gone. Can you believe that over 1,200 people went out into the community to serve? I was blown away by the spirit of the people that attend NewPointe.
I ran into a couple that just moved to our area from Nigeria (Africa). They had been to NewPointe two times and wanted to serve. They came to the church and got some cookies and delivered them to a local nursing home for the employees. They told me that they really enjoy the church and wanted to be a part of this day of serving. How cool is that. We had many such stories of people that have been coming for a short period of time, but wanted to help be the church.
Another lady that is in a wheel chair wanted to help serve, so she made over 20 silk flower arraignments that we delivered to homeowners of projects, elderly and people that had been hospitalized or had cancer. Way to go Sharon, you really made a difference.
I talked to one lady that was babysitting her grandchildren so that the parents could go serve on projects, Way to go Marlene, you made a difference. We had a group of ladies that prepared meals for 12 families, way to go Laura, Susanna and Joy you made a difference. We delivered cookies to the employees of all the local hospitals, nursing homes, fire stations, police stations and group homes. That is really untypical.
We helped get Dover’s Crater stadium ready for the football season and helped the Holmes County Fair grounds get ready for the Fair. We had teams at the Dover schools, New Phila schools, Tusky Valley schools, West Holmes High school and Strasburg High School. We had a team help get the new Clay Museum in Uhrichsville ready to open and a team at Schoenbrunn Memorial Park getting it spruced up.
We also had a Health Fair and Haircuts for kids at the Church. We had over 30 kids get haircuts and numerous people got health screenings. Thanks to all the medical volunteers and hair stylists that made that happen.
I want to thank all the team leaders that took on projects and pulled this all together.
I can’t wait to here stories and see all the pictures and video. I will be posting pictures on my blog this week. You can also look for pictures on our website.