Baptism at NewPointe

On Sunday we baptized 9 people at NewPointe. So far 23 people have been baptized in 2009. We video tape each persons story and play it before they get baptized. It is always an emotional time as we hear how God has transformed them and is continuing to work in their lives. Many family and friends join in celebrating with these folks. I love hearing their stories and getting know them on a more personal level. This is why we do what we do. Here are some pictures to enjoy:

This Week

This week I want to move from reactive to proactive, from unfocused to focused, from unclear to clarity, from being driven by circumstances to being directed by purpose.

To do that I must carve out time to work “on” things and also schedule time time to work “in” things. What I mean by that is this: “On” time is when you step back and take a look at the big picture. It’s like getting into a helicopter and taking a look from above. It’s when you spend time thinking, observing, planning, prioritizing, reading and studying. This is a time for self-development and identifying where your blind spots are. It’s a time of putting your strategy together for the coming days, weeks and months. It’s sharpening your ax.

“In” time is also important. That’s when you do administrative things. The day-to-day stuff that needs to get done. The reports that need completed, the emails, voice mails, notes, memos and meetings. It’s doing the laundry, washing the dishes and sweeping the carpet. “In” time is a vital part of every leader’s day. If you don’t pay attention to the details some of the time you lose track of things and balls get dropped.

So this week I am going to work on a better balance of “on” time and “in” time. The only way to do that is to think ahead and plan out your week. By planning out your week, you bring clarity, purpose and focus to the things you are doing.

Lead ON

How to be a Good Listener

Relationships can be hard work. Especially the marriage relationship. I am reminded of that over and over in my own marriage and other important relationships. A big part of deepening your relationships is to listen and communicate well. I came across this short article by Dr. Gary Chapman that did a nice job of explaining how to be a good listener. Take the time to read this and then start applying it to your relationships.

How to Be a Good Listener by Dr. Gary Chapman

You’re probably familiar with the five love languages–quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts and physical touch. Did you know quality time has many dialects? One of the most common dialects is that of quality conversation. By quality conversation, I mean sympathetic dialogue where two individuals are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context.

Have you ever wondered if you’re a good listener? How can you improve in this area? Here are eight steps to becoming a sympathetic listener.

1. Maintain eye contact when you are listening to someone. This keeps your mind from wandering and communicates that the person has your full attention. Refrain from rolling your eyes in disgust, closing your eyes when they give you a low blow, looking over their head, or staring at their shoes while they are talking.

2. Don’t engage in other activities while you are listening to another individual. Remember, quality time is giving someone your undivided attention.

3. Listen for feelings. Ask yourself: “What are this person’s emotions right now?” When you think you have the answer, confirm it. For example, “It sounds like you are feeling disappointed because I forgot…” That gives the person a chance to clarify his/her feelings. It also communicates that you are listening intently to what they are saying.

4. Observe body language. Clenched fists, trembling hands, tears, furrowed brows, and eye movement may give you clues as to what the person is feeling. Sometimes body language speaks one message while words speak another. Ask for clarification to make sure you know what the person is really thinking and feeling.

5. Refuse to interrupt.

6. Ask reflective questions.

7. Express understanding. The person needs to know that he/she has been heard and understood.

8. Ask if there is anything you might do that would be helpful. Notice, you are asking, not telling the person what she ought to do. Never give advice until you are sure the other person wants it.

March Madness

This time of the year is loaded with sports. You have the NCAA basketball tournament, you have High School basketball tournaments, the NBA season is winding down and the playoffs will start soon. Major League Baseball is in training camp and preparing for opening day. Free agency is in full swing in the NFL. The NHL is going strong, professional golf tournaments are happening every weekend and NASCAR is rolling.

Need I say more? Madness.

I am a huge sports fan, so this time of year is fun for me. Checking the headlines, following my favorite teams and cheering for my favorite players is a lot of fun. I am in a Fantasy Baseball league and filled out my Bracket for NCAA Basketball.

Sports can teach us a lot of lessons in life, but one that has stuck with me is the value of teamwork. All the sports I mentioned require people to work together to accomplish great things. In sports, it is easier to see this in action. Teams and individuals that work well together can go far in the tournaments and can compete for championships.

Life can be that way as well. The better we work as a team, whether it is at work, home, school or church, the more we can accomplish. When you bring people together that have a shared vision and passion it is amazing what can happen.

I am a part of a place like that. NewPointe Community Church is a great team of talented passion filled people that are out to change the world. Our team is made of men, women, students and children that have a shared vision of leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Each person brings a unique set of gifts, abilities, personality and experiences to the team.

Our convictions are intimacy with God, involvement in community and influence in the world. This team of people is committed to loving God and people and making a lasting impact in our surrounding communities.

We also want to help other teams at other churches. I believe we are on the same team and should help each other as much as possible. I love talking with other churches about what they are doing and how they are making a difference.

Here is to March madness.

Ethical Anchors

Last night I spoke to the Sugarcreek Rotary about Ethics. It seems like every year we hear about unethical and illegal behavior in the business world. John Maxwell coined the phrase, “There is no such thing as Business Ethics”. I agree, ethics is ethics, whether you are at work, at home, at school, at church, in government or at the ball field.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Five factors that keep us from always being ethical:

  1. Pressure
  2. Pleasure
  3. Power
  4. Pride
  5. Priorities

Then I gave five Anchors to help us always be ethical:

  1. Ethical behavior is seldom a last-minute decision.
  2. Leading by example is crucial for integrating ethical behavior into a business culture.
  3. Personal ethics are formed by our inner-space view of the world around us.
  4. The people within an organization must believe in its core values or those values will be worth very little.
  5. Friendships are a key part of shaping and maintaining your convictions.

Here are some quotes I used:

If a man can accept a situation in a place of power with the thought that it’s only temporary, he comes out all right. But when he thinks he is the cause of the power, that can be his ruination.” Harry Truman

Pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.” John Ruskin

The character that takes command in moments of crucial choices has already been determined. It has been determined by a thousand other choices made earlier in seemingly unimportant moments…It has been determined by all the day-to-day decisions made when life seemed easy and crisis seemed far away, the decisions that piece by piece, bit by bit, developed habits of discipline or of laziness; habits of self-sacrifice or self-indulgence; habits of duty and honor and integrity or dishonor and shame.” Ronald Reagan