Are you the kind of person other people like to be around?  Do people look forward to meeting with you and spending time with you?  Being a likeable person takes effort and intentionality.  Here are four things you can do to become more likeable:

  1. Love Life – Celebrate; don’t complain.  Have fun and enjoy the journey.
  2. Expect the best of people and treat them well – Think the best about people until they prove you wrong.
  3. Give people hope – Everyone is looking for hope, that things can get better.
  4. Share yourself – Be vulnerable and real.  Share your heart, wisdom and resources.

That’s a good start, now go out and do it.

Reading List for 2012


I am an avid reader and I try to plan out the books I want to read each year.  I always pick some I end up not reading and add others that were not on my list.  I thought I would share what I am currently reading and the books I plan on reading in 2012.  You can actually go to this link to follow along all year – Good Reads.  I keep my Good Reads list up to date and will often write a review on the books I finish.

Reading is a way to stretch ourselves and to learn and grow.  Reading causes our minds to expand and stretch, which helps us to interact better with other people and handle situations better.  Setting a goal to read a book or read 10 books is a great way to expand your horizons.  Of course we need to be careful about the type of things we are reading, because what we read, feeds our belief systems and affects what we do in our relationships.  I always try to make sure I am balanced in what I read.  I also try to consistently read the Bible in order to make sure I am getting the real truth on a regular basis.  I also read a daily devotional or two.  This year I am doing the Message Devotional called Solo.  I am also using my YouVersion app on my phone to do a daily devotion.

Currently Reading

  The Flinch by Julien Smith


  Practically Radical by William C. Taylor


  Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier


  Mentoring Leaders by Carson Pue


  Leading at a Higher Level by Ken Blanchard


  Fearless by Max Lucado


  Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels

On my to read list:

  1. Poke the Box by Seth Godin
  2. Helping People Win at Work by Ken Blanchard
  3. Slave:  The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ by John F. MacArthur Jr.
  4. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo
  5. Church Diversity by Scott Williams
  6. Great by Choice by Jim Collins
  7. Clever:  Leading Your Smartest Most Creative People by Rob Goffee
  8. Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft
  9. We Are All Weird by Seth Godin
  10. EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey
  11. Leading from the Sandbox by T.J. Addington
  12. Outstanding:  47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional by John G. Miller

Life in the Desert


Have you ever asked the question “why is this happening to me?”  Many of us have asked that question when we are going through difficult times in our lives.  We ask God why is this happening?  Why do I need to go through this?  I like to call the tough times in our lives desert experiences.  Both Mathew and Luke record Jesus’ time in the desert at the beginning of His ministry.  Jesus spent 40 days alone, in the desert, abstaining from food, noise and any distractions.  Jesus used this time in the desert to get closer to God.  Often times when we are in a desert in life, we focus so much on our situation that we miss what God has for us.  Maybe the question shouldn’t be why is this happening to me, but what are you trying to teach me or how can I grow as a result of this?

If our perspective is right this is what can happen in our desert experiences:

  1. We can recognize that God will sometimes lead us into seasons of growth.
  2. We can fight battles and overcome temptation to take shortcuts.
  3. We learn discipline and to depend on God.
  4. We are broken of self-sufficiency and self-promotion.
  5. We find our mission or purpose.
  6. We gain a new perspective.
  7. We are prepared for the next phase of our vocation, ministry or calling.

God will often use the difficult times in our lives to chip away at the rough edges and develop our character.  The main thing God wants from us is our love and dependence on Him.  When we work through the difficulties and issues of life with our focus on God and not our problems we can emerge from the desert with new life and energy.  Often times God works through people and when we reach out to the right people in times of difficulty we can learn, grow and change.

New Year New Thinking


Most people start the new year by thinking about things they want to change or do differently in the coming year.  It is a time when we can hope for a better future and many people will make resolutions or set goals for the coming year.  I firmly believe in goal setting and have done that for years.  It helps me think about what I want to accomplish and the kind of person I want to be.

Most people never follow through on the resolutions they set or goals they come up with.  The main reason for that is we don’t change the way we think and therefore our actions never follow.  Only when we change our mindset and what we care about can we change our lives.  We all have things that we believe to be true about ourselves, the world, God and others.  Those core beliefs drive our thinking which in turn drives our behavior.  So, to really make a change in 2012, the way we think and what we believe  needs to change.

To do that it is important to identify what lies might be a part of our belief system.  Here are a few that many of us struggle with:

    • Believing that acquiring money and things will bring lasting happiness
    • Believing that excessive food and alcohol can relieve my stress and make me happy
    • Believing that an attractive body and personality will get me what I need
    • Believing that gratifying sexual lust will bring lasting satisfaction
    • Believing that I can associate with bad company and not be corrupted
    • Believing that I can read, see or listen to anything and not be corrupted
    • Believing that I  must gain approval of certain people in order to be happy
    • Believing that I must measure up to certain standards in order to feel good about myself

Here are some lines of thinking that lead us into deception:

  • Thinking I am something I am really not
  • Thinking I was just born this way and can’t change
  • Thinking I can be truly religious but not bridle my tongue
  • Thinking that God is the source of my problems
  • Thinking I can live my life without the help of anyone else
  • Thinking that it’s my life and I can live however I want to
  • Thinking that I need to control the people and situations around me
  • Thinking that I can change other people

Before we can identify lies we believe we need to know what is true.  That starts by looking to the ultimate source of truth and that is God and the Bible.  If you only do one thing this year, let it be to read the Bible more than you did last year.  Maybe it’s reading a devotional daily or maybe it’s reading the New Testament or the whole Bible.  If you have never gotten into the Bible, let this year be the year.  Get a translation that is easy to understand like “The Message” or the “Amplified” or the New Living Translation”.

Here is a summary of some of the most important truths from the Bible.  A goal might be to read this daily for 3 weeks and see what happens.

Truth Statements

 I recognize that there is only one true and living God (Ex. 20:2-3) who exists as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that He is worthy of all honor, praise and glory as the Creator, Sustainer and Beginning and End of all things (Rev. 4:11; 5:9-10; Is. 43:1, 7, 21).

I recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1, 14). I believe that He came to destroy the works of Satan (1 John 3:8), that He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public display of them, having triumphed over them (Col. 2:15).

I believe that God has proven His love for me because when I was still a sinner, Christ died for me (Rom. 5:8). I believe that He delivered me from the domain of darkness and transferred me to His kingdom, and in Him I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:13-14).

I believe that I am now a child of God (1 John 3:1-3) and that I am seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:6). I believe that I was saved by the grace of God through faith, that it was a gift, and not the result of any works on my part (Eph. 2:8-9).

I choose to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might (Eph. 6:10). I put no confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3:3) for the weapons of warfare are not of the flesh (2 Cor. 10:4). I put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20), and I resolve to stand firm in my faith and resist the evil one.

I believe that apart from Christ I can do nothing (John 15:5), so I declare myself dependent on Him. I choose to abide in Christ in order to bear much fruit and glorify the Lord (John 15:8). I announce to Satan that Jesus is my Lord (1 Cor. 12:3), and I reject any counterfeit gifts or works of Satan in my life.

I believe that the truth will set me free (John 8:32) and that walking in the light is the only path of fellowship (1 John 1:7).

Therefore, I stand against Satan’s deception by taking every thought captive in obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). I declare that the Bible is the only authoritative standard (2 Tim. 3:15-16). I choose to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

I choose to present my body as an instrument of righteousness, a living and holy sacrifice, and I renew my mind by the living Word of God in order that I may prove that the will of God is good, acceptable and perfect (Rom. 6:13; 12:1-2). I put off the old self with its evil practices and put on the new self (Col. 3:9-10), and I declare myself to be a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).

I trust my heavenly Father to fill me with His Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18), to lead me into all truth (John 16:13) and to empower my life that I may live above sin and not carry out the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). I crucify the flesh (Gal. 5:24) and choose to walk by the Spirit.

I renounce all selfish goals and choose the ultimate goal of love (1 Tim. 1:5). I choose to obey the two greatest commandments; to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and mind, and to love my neighbor as myself (Matt. 22:37-39).

I believe that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18) and that He is the head over all rule and authority (Col. 2:10). I believe that Satan and his demons are subject to me in Christ since I am a member of Christ’s body (Eph. 1:19-23). Therefore, I obey the command to submit to God and to resist the Devil (Jas. 4:7), and I command Satan in the name of Christ to leave my presence.

Happy New Year!