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Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Live churches" versus "dead" churches

In a couple of conversations recently, the conversation of "dead" churches versus "live" churches has come up.

What is a "live" church?

What is a "dead" church?

Some would share that a live church is one that is full of spirited emotion -- a place where people clap their hands and pat their feet.

Some would further state that a live church is one where the music is always upbeat and the preacher's voice swells to thunderous capacity.

Still others may believe that a live church is one that has been around for at least one hundred years.

I found an excellent description of a "live" church the other day. I am sure you will find it as challenging as I have.

"Live churches always have parking problems; dead churches don't.

Live churches are always changing their methods; dead ones don't have to.

Live churches have lots of noisy kids; dead churches are quiet.

Live churches' expenses always exceed their income; dead churches take in more than they ever dream of spending.

Live churches are constantly improving and planning for the future; dead churches worship in the past.

Live churches grow so fast they forget people's names; in dead churches, you've known everybody's name for years.

Live churches move out on faith; dead churches operate totally by sight.

Live churches support missions heavily; dead churches keep it all home.

Live churches are filled with tithers; dead churches are filled with tippers.

Live churches dream great dreams for God; dead churches hold the line.

Live churches have the fresh wind of love blowing; dead churches are stale with bickering.

Live churches do not have "Can't" in their vocabulary; dead churches have nothing but.

Live churches evangelize! Dead church fossilize."

Father, may we be a "live" church today! Grant it Lord, we pray, Amen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The basis of prayer

Every year when the great coach Vince Lombardi gathered his team together before the first practice he would stand before them holding a football and say, "Gentlemen, this is a football." In doing so he was signifying that they the first step for the upcoming season was to always go back to the's a football. The game takes tackling, blocking, running and passing.

It's the same way in the Christian life. In times of dryness, spiritually, we need to go back to the basics, both individually and corporately.

This has been reinforced in my mind the past three weeks. Let's get back to the basics, specifically the basics of prayer.

Last Saturday we gathered together in the main auditorium for our prayer time instead of the West Chapel. We will be gathering there for a season on Saturdays because that is where the Word of God is preached, people are convicted and reached with the Gospel.

We walked through the rows of chairs, praying. We walked through the rows in the balcony, praying. We walked through the choir loft, praying.

I have also challenged the ushers to spend time in prayer beginning on Sunday's at 8:30 A.M.

Gang, we need to get back to prayer. God's presence.

More than perfection and performance what we need (and it is so obvious to us) is the presence of god.

Will you join me? Will you in your own private times of prayer, lift up a prayer for our church? Will you consider joining us for prayer on Saturday morning? Will you join me in coming to Sunday services, "prayed up, powered up and pumped up" so that you can minister to others and worship God in spirit and in truth?

Last Sunday night we had a great time in prayer. I believe that the depth, spiritually of the services was in direct proportion to the amount of time we spent in prayer on Saturday. Nothing more, nothing less.

Pray, pray, pray, God is calling us to pray!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Giving instead of possessing

I've often said about church life (sometimes with a sense of passion and challenge, at other times with a sense of frustration)"When are we ever going to learn to do something, not based upon what we get out of it, but for what we can give to it?"

Examples of that:

Older couples going to marriage retreats to support younger couples and to show what a good marriage looks like.

Worshipping God in a service, even though I don't feel like it, knowing that I serve as an example to those around me and encourage other to worship as well.

Going to a "life group" not so much for what I can receive, but for what I can give to others.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: "What are you doing for others?"

Being a giving person means that I have an abundance mentality. If you've read Stephen Covey's book, "the seven habits of highly effective people," then you are familiar with the concepts related to the mind-sets of "scarcity" and "abundance".

Scarcity mind-set:

There's only a limited supply of anything to go around whether it's money, resources, opportunity, and so forth. They see the world as a pie with a limited number of slices. Once they're gone, they're gone. They fight to get their piece of the pie, and once they have it, they protect it.

Abundance mind-set:

Plenty of everything to go around. If life if a pie, and others are helping themselves to pieces, the solution of the person with the abundance mind-set is to bake another pie.

There is always more money to be made, more (or different resources to be discovered, additional opportunities to be pursued.

Henri Nouwen has written, "When we refrain from giving, with a scarcity mentality, the little we have will become less. When we give generously, with an abundance mentality, what we give away will multiply."

By the time Jackson Rogers turned 10-years-old, he had already built a house—not with hammer and nails, but by raising $43,000 for Habitat for Humanity. The young entrepreneur for the homeless said he undertook the project in February when he accepted $100 and a challenge from his pastor, the Reverend Rich Kannwischer at First Presbyterian Church.

"My pastor gave me $100 and told me to do something good to help someone," said Jackson, one of several congregants who accepted their pastor's challenge. The congregants were told to use the money for good, then report on what they did.

At first, David Rogers was hesitant for his son to take up such a daunting task, but Jackson was determined. "I was discouraging him to volunteer because I didn't know what the pastor intended. But he pulled away from me and ran down there," David Rogers said.

Jackson said he knew exactly what he wanted to do: "Help a homeless family." But he wasn't sure how to go about it. "I talked to my dad. It took two or three months to get the idea," he said. What they came up with was a letter-writing campaign seeking donations and explaining that it cost $50,000 to build a house through Habitat for Humanity. Jackson then wrote a letter in his own handwriting on notebook paper. "I used the $100 to buy stamps and paper," he said. "I sent out 200 letters," mostly to friends and family.

Soon, Jackson's efforts got an unexpected boost. A woman was so touched by his letter that she passed it on to several of her friends and colleagues. Soon, people from Tennessee, Virginia, and Idaho were sending in checks. The 170 people who responded made the effort worth while, contributing $43,000. When the congregation at First Presbyterian learned the little miracle worker was $7,000 short of his goal, it chipped in the rest.

Everyone who hears about Jackson's achievement is amazed. As his mom, Deborah, said: "A little person can do something really good. You don't have to wait to be an adult." Even more impressed is Stephanie Ramirez, whose family will get the house that Jackson built. When the Rogers family came out on the first day of construction, Ramirez was amazed when she learned that her benefactor was only 10 years old.

"My kids are so happy that a little guy out of the goodness of his heart could do this," she said.

Wasn't it Jesus who said that "it is more blessed to give than receive?"

Monday, August 18, 2008

Making a sacrifice

Here's a great story that I give you. May God help us all to realize that our relationship with God and God's work is to be number one in our lives.

In November 1964, anarchy broke out in the Belgian Congo. Assemblies of God missionary J. W. Tucker knew he was at risk, but he stayed where God had placed him. One day, a mob attacked and killed him with sticks, clubs, fists, and broken bottles. They took his body, threw it in the back of a truck, drove a good distance, and then tossed his corpse to the crocodiles in the Bomokande River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

J. W. Tucker had risked everything, yet he seemingly had nothing to show for it. But 30 years later, John Weidman, a close friend of Tucker's, was in the country (by then known as Zaire) and learned how God used that missionary's sacrifice.

The Bomokande River flows through the middle of the Mangbeto tribe, a people virtually without the gospel. During a time of civil war, the Mangbeto king became distressed with the violence and appealed to the central government in Kinshasa for help. The central government responded by sending a man called the Brigadier, a well-known policeman of strong stature and reputation who came from the region of Isiro. J. W. Tucker had won the Brigadier to the Lord just two months before he was killed.

The Brigadier determined to reach the Mangbetos with the gospel, the only way to peace. Being a relatively new Christian, he did his best to witness, but he was met with no response. Then one day he heard of a Mangbeto tradition that said: "If the blood of any man flows in the Bomokande River, you must listen to his message." This saying had been with the Mangbetos from time immemorial.

The Brigadier called for the king and all the village elders. They gathered in full assembly to hear his address. "Some time ago a man was killed, and his body was thrown into your Bomokande River," the Brigadier began. "The crocodiles in this river ate him up. His blood flowed in your river. But before he died, he left me a message.

"This message concerns God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to this world to save people who were sinners. He died for the sins of the world; He died for my sins. I received this message, and it changed my life." As the Brigadier preached, the Spirit of God descended and people began to fall on their knees and cry out to the Lord. Many were converted.

Since that day, thousands of Mangbetos have come to Christ and dozens of Assemblies of God churches have opened as a result of the message from the man whose blood flowed in the Bomokande River.

God never wastes a sacrifice. What sacrifice is God calling you to make today?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

handling anger

Let's talk about anger again.

Anger causes us to do some goofy things.

I read a story today from a 1930's edition of the Chicago Herald Examiner about a husband and a wife. The article, "Man Spites His Wife by Staying Blindfolded in Bed Seven Years," reads:

"The strange story of Harry Havens of Indiana, who went to bed—and stayed there—for seven years with a blindfold over his eyes because he was peeved at his wife, was revealed here today when he decided to get out of bed. Havens was the kind of husband who liked to help around the house—hang pictures, wipe the dishes, and such.

His wife scolded him for the way he was performing one of these tasks, and he resented it. He is reported to have said: "All right. If that's the way you feel, I'm going to bed. I'm going to stay there the rest of my life. And I don't want to see you or anyone else again." His last remark explains the blindfold. He got up, he explained, when the bed started to feel uncomfortable after seven years."

I laughed at that but then I realize I've done some stupid stuff in my time because I was angry.

Surprisingly, Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:25 to "be angry"! "And yet, do not sin."

Okay....Paul...what in the world does that mean?

It's a contrast. Be angry. It's okay to be angry. Paul is no psychologist, but he has a great insight. Go ahead and feel angry.

Don't do the Christian thing of "I'm a Christian, and I shouldn't feel angry, so I'm going to quit feeling this way." "I'm going to stuff it or deny it or repress it."

Don't do that. Go ahead and feel angry. You can't really control how you feel anyway. Go ahead and admit, "Hey, I'm ticked off! I'm mad, I'm angry, your hurt me!"

Hurt produces anger.

It's okay to feel anger but it's not okay to do angry things. That's the hard part.

Someone cuts us off on the highway, we want to drive up and reciprocate.

Someone calls us and bawls us out - we want to call them right back and return the "favor".

Someone sends us an email that causes our blood to boil - and we want to immediately sit down and spew it right back.

(By the way, Email has its upside, but the downside of email is that you cannot sense or understand or feel the emotions with which someone is writing.)

I've gotten into a lot of trouble doing things produced by my anger.

I've said things I wished I could unsay. I've made decision I wished I could undecide. And when I look back, it's because i was mad, I was angry. I thought I was justified in my anger (isn't it amazing that when we are angry it is justified, but when someone else is angry with us - the "don't have their heart right with God") and I thought I was justified in my response.

I would suspect that you are in the same "boat" as me.

Paul says, "no, you and I have to split the two apart."

Our feelings - our responses.

In other words, there's the anger, the feelings and then there are the decisions that come from that anger.

Some people in church life are mad all the time. Some churches are just mad churches. Angry, upset all the time.

Most of our anger in church life is passive aggressive. We get upset with something at work or something in our home life and we take it out on those who we think won't fight back or who are supposed to not fight back. The church, or other Christians.

Some of it is because we don't get our own way. Or we are fearful because differences of opinions and methods which causes us to feel insecure. Or we get impatient with something, we try to control something that is out of control.

Let's slow down with that a little bit. If there is anywhere we should have strong parameters up and act in a godly way it is with God's people, our church family.

Anger invites the devil in. It gives the devil a "foothold" as Paul writes in Ephesians 4:27.

What are some way to handle our anger?

1. Count to 10
2. Take a walk
3. Have a conversation with God
4. Keep an anger diary
5. Wait 24 hours before you respond
6. Talk it out with someone you trust (not "someones" but "someone")
7. Get a good night's sleep
8. Express your anger in appropriate and beneficial ways: clean the house. Mow the yard; work out
9. Realize the consequences of your anger
10. Confess your sin of anger, ask for forgiveness from God and the person you have hurt and go on to live in victory.
11. Forgive others as God has forgiven you.

Hope that helps.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The importance of what we are angry about

No one is immune to anger.

There's the story of a little boy who was sitting sadly on the curb beside his lawn mower, when along came a minister riding a bicycle. The minister noticed that the boy appeared discouraged, so he thought he would try to help.

"Hello there!" said the minister. "How would you like to trade your lawn mower for this bicycle?"

"Sure, mister," the little boy responded, and went on his merry way.

A few days later, the boy and the minister crossed paths again. The minister said, "I think you took me on our trade. I keep crankin' that old lawn mower, but it won't start."

"You gotta cuss it," said the little boy.

"Well I can't do that," said the minister. "I'm a preacher. I forgot about cussin' a long time ago."

The little boy answered, "Just keep on crankin', preacher; it'll come back to ya."

James writes, "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and sow to become angry, for man's anger doe snot bring about the righteous life that God desires." James 1:19

On several a few occasion this week, I have come across people who are angry and it has caught me off guard.

It's caught me off guard not because of the anger itself (we all express ourselves in different ways) but what they are angry at.

Abortion is something we should be angry about.
Kids being killed in Chicago is something we should be angry about.
The mistreatment of the poor and racism is something we should be angry about.

I guess my word for the day is that we all should pause for just a moment and ask ourselves, "is what I am angry about really that important?"

Just a thought.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Leadership and Nelson Mandela

Here's what I know about leadership: It's always tested. No matter if you have been in your position of leadership for 4 months or 40 years, it will always be tested. It's the nature of leadership.

Leaders always jump into the pit of problems when they assume entitlement because of tenure. The thought that, "well I can do this because I've been here for ____ (fill in the blank) amount of time," will always get you into trouble.

There have been great leaders and there will continue to be great leaders in the world today. One of them was Nelson Mandela.

In honor of Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday, Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time magazine, put together Mandela's eight lessons of leadership.

Stengel writes: "[The lessons] are cobbled together from…conversations old and new and from observing [Mandela] up close and from afar. Many of them stem directly from his personal experience. All of them are calibrated to cause the best kind of trouble: the trouble that forces us to ask how we can make the world a better place."

Here are Mandela's eight lessons of leadership:

Courage is not the absence of fear—it's inspiring others to move beyond it.

Lead from the front—but don't leave your base behind.

Lead from the back—and let others believe they are in front.

Know your enemy—and learn about his favorite sport. (In order to work more effectively with Afrikaners, Mandela learned their language and all about their most cherished sport: rugby).

Keep your friends close—and your rivals even closer.

Appearances matter—and remember to smile.

Nothing is black or white.

Quitting is leading too.

Interesting stuff. May these principles encourage you as you lead today.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Psalms 125

It can become progressively difficult to trust in God in the midst of difficult times. Sometimes we can falsely get the idea that our walk with Christ should be free from problems and trials.

Yet Jesus states that it rains on the just and the unjust. Bad things do happen to good people.

The question becomes: "How do we deal with such things?"

It's hard isn't it. It's difficult. We live for God, do our best, we sin and ask for forgiveness, are faithful to God and still we walk through bad times.

Psalms 125 wrestles with that question.

Like handrails going up or down a steep slope, this Psalms provides grips that we can hang on to in the midst of difficult times.

Some thoughts:

What shakes you up will not shake you apart.

1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.

When you trust in God during difficult times, God will make you as solid, as strong as Mount Zion. Immovable.

2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.

Nothing can penetrate God's inner ring of protection for you. God forms an inner circle around you in the midst of difficult times that is your source of care and protection. I like that.

3 The scepter of the wicked will not remain
over the land allotted to the righteous,
for then the righteous might use
their hands to do evil.

4 Do good, O LORD, to those who are good,
to those who are upright in heart.

Let's watch for the good that God will do.

I can't ultimately tell you why bad things happen to good people. But I do know God and I know that he can be trusted. God always helps us to overcome evil with good.

5 But those who turn to crooked ways
the LORD will banish with the evildoers.

Bad times must not become an excuse for bad living. We can never go wrong doing the right thing. It's important to continue living right when everything is going wrong.
Peace be upon Israel.

Listen to this story:

In the autumn of 1873, Horatio Spafford, a wealthy Chicago businessman, placed his wife, Anna, and their four children on the Ville du Havre sailing from New York to France. He was forced to stay in the United States for several more weeks to settle some business matters before he could journey to join the family in Europe.

The evening of November 21 found the Ville du Havre prow-east toward France on a calm Atlantic. The journey was progressing beautifully. A few hours later, about two o'clock in the morning on November 22, the Ville du Havre was carrying its sleeping passengers over a quiet sea when two terrific claps like thunder were followed by frightening screams. The engine stopped, the ship stood still. Passageways were filled with terrified, half-dressed people shouting questions that no one could answer. The Ville du Havre had been rammed by the English vessel, the Lochearn.

Mrs. Spafford saw three of her children swept away by the sea while she stood clutching the youngest child. Suddenly, she felt her baby torn violently from her arms. She reached out through the water and caught little Tanetta's gown. For a minute she held her again. Then the cloth wrenched from her hand. She reached out again and touched a man's leg in corduroy trousers. She became unconscious. She awoke later, finding that she had been rescued by sailors from the Lochearn. But her four children were gone.

In the meantime, Horatio Spafford was back in the United States, desperate to receive news of his family. Finally, the blow fell. A cable arrived from Wales stating that the four daughters were lost at sea, but his wife was still alive. He was crushed with what had happened. All night he walked the floor in anguish. Toward the morning he turned to his friend, Major Whittle, and said, "I am glad to trust the Lord when it will cost me something."

On the way across the Atlantic to join his wife, the captain announced that they were now passing the place where the Ville du Havre was wrecked. For Horatio Spafford, this was passing through the valley of the shadow of death. He sat down in his cabin on the high seas, near the place where his children perished, and wrote the hymn that would give comfort to so many, titled "It Is Well with My Soul."

Is it - well - with your soul today?

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Mark Twain once wrote, "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

It is important to dream but it is also important to be a supporter of dreamers.

Dreams can be so fragile. They can come and go depending upon the individual. Some people are not supporters of the dreams of others because it reminds them of how far they are from living out their own dreams. As a result, they try to knock down anyone who is moving outside their existing box. They are dream killers.

Norman Cousins once said, "Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we live."

Larry Carter, president of Great Lakes Christian College, tells the following true story:

I remember when I was a kid, some 40 years ago, playing on a Little League baseball team.

One of the things our coach did was host a picnic for the team at the beginning of the season. After we ate hot dogs and burgers, he sat us down for a pep talk. He asked, "How many of you have a dream to one day play in the Major Leagues?" Almost every hand shot up. Every kid with his hand up believed he could do it. You could see it in their eyes.

He then told us, "If that is to happen, that dream begins now!"

I was so inspired by that challenge, all of us were, that we practiced and played hard and we went undefeated for the next few years. All-Star teams from other leagues would play us and lose!

Some 25 years later I became a Little League coach. I brought all the kids together at the beginning of the season to give them a pep talk, the same one my coach had given me. I asked my team the same question, "How many of you have a dream to one day play in the Major Leagues?" Not one hand was raised. Not one kid believed he could do it. You could see it in their eyes. I was speechless.

The rest of my talk was meaningless, so I said, "Really? Nobody? Well, go get your gloves and let’s throw." I thought about that day for a long time. What had happened in the 25 years since I was a kid? What had come into their lives to steal their dreams? What had convinced them they would never be more than what they were?

Nothing can cause a person to loose motivation as much as losing a dream. Dreams keep us alive. Benjamin Franklin once said, "Most men die from the neck up at age twenty-five because they stop dreaming."

Tony Campolo writes, "I work with inner-city kids, and the society hasn't beaten them down yet. I deal with African-American kids and Latino kids on the streets of Philadelphia. Society hasn't beaten them down yet. They still believe in the future.

Ask them, "What are you going to do? What are you going to be?"

They say, "I'm going to be an astronaut" or "I'm going to be a surgeon." They say, "I'm going to be a musician" or "I'm going to be a pro basketball player." They believe in the future.

As they grow older, ugly realism sets in. Did you see the movie The Autobiography of Malcolm X? In one of the most painful scenes Malcolm X realizes the system will not allow him to be a lawyer, and his dream is shattered. Here's the good news of the gospel: we have a Jesus who creates dreams and visions for us."

Never stop dreaming! I want to always be dreaming of greater things until the day I transition from this life to the next.

But let's never stop supporting the dreams of others as well! Let's determine to be dreams boosters, not dream busters. Everyone has a dream, and everyone needs encouragement.

Let's all be "dream supporters"!

What are your dreams today?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Going to God in discouraging times

There are those days, and then there are those days. You know what I mean. When you are depressed, about the last thing you want to do is get out of bed and rise to face the challenges of the day.

I read a troubling quote today. It was a news story about an NYPD detective named James Zadroga who had died from lung problems. Following 9/11, he had worked for months at Ground Zero and breathed in a lot of contaminated air. He was a hero.

Later, though, it was discovered that he might have been injecting drugs—ground up pills—that contributed to his lung disease.

Commenting on the story, Dr. Terence Keane, who heads the behavioral science division of the Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, said: "We might think of [emergency workers] as stress resilient, but the reality is that the on-the-job pressure for these emergency service workers can be overwhelming."

Then Keane made the statement that causes us to pause: "Their job is 95 percent boredom and 5 percent terror."

What a way to live. They live lives marked by two emotions no one wants: long stretches of boredom broken up unpredictably by short stretches of terror. What a grinding toll that would take on your soul.

Emergency workers are not the only ones whose daily lives may involve a regular swing between two troubling emotions.

Some of you who are in deep financial debt might describe your lives as 95 percent pressure and 5 percent despair.

You who are in a broken marriage might describe your life as 95 percent anger and 5 percent depression.

You who have a life-threatening disease might describe your life as 95 percent fear and 5 percent resignation.

Whatever your situation, the painful mix of emotions can be taking a terrible toll on your soul.

Here's a Psalm of encouragement that helps counteract hopelessness and walk through the day with courage.

Psalms 108

1 My heart is steadfast, O God;
I will sing and make music with all my soul.
2 Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.

3 I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.

What's one of the keys to getting up on the "right side of the bed?" Begin your day with worship. Praise. Your day will go better if you begin with praise to God who made and redeemed you.

It's all about choosing the right attitude.

What can help us choose the right attitude? We are connected to God, we are part of the body of Christ, we are in the grace and hands of God.

David goes on to write:

4 For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

God loves us. Unconditionally. Without hesitation. There is no picking daisys with God and saying, "I love them, I love them not." God loves you today and He will love you tomorrow.

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
and let your glory be over all the earth.

What gives you confidence this day?

David reviews God's track record with geographical references to camping places where the Lord sustained Abraham and Jacob

6 Save us and help us with your right hand,
that those you love may be delivered.

7 God has spoken from his sanctuary:
"In triumph I will parcel out Shechem
and measure off the Valley of Succoth.

8 Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim is my helmet,
Judah my scepter.

9 Moab is my washbasin,
upon Edom I toss my sandal;
over Philistia I shout in triumph."

10 Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?

11 Is it not you, O God, you who have rejected us
and no longer go out with our armies?

12 Give us aid against the enemy,
for the help of man is worthless.

13 With God we will gain the victory,
and he will trample down our enemies.

With confidence, David can ask for help because of what the Lord has already done.

David ends his psalms by recalling the most difficult task facing him - the fortified city of Edom.

Edom was considered impregnable because of its walls, battlements, and defenses.

What is your Edom today? Perhaps you don't know how to overcome that challenge. I know that many times I don't.

David didn't know the "how" either, but he knew the "who." God himself.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

30 second rule

I was reading today and came across what is called the "30 second rule." I am going to try to practice it in the next few days.

What is the 30 second rule?

"Within the first 30 seconds of a conversation, say something encouraging to a person."

What is our first instinct when we meet someone either formally or causally? To make ourselves look good. The key to the 30 second rule is reversing this practice. When we meet people, instead of focusing on ourselves, why not look for ways to make others look good?

Here's how:

Thank them for something they have done for you or for someone else.
Tell others about one of their accomplishments.
Praise them for a personal quality they show.
Compliment their appearance.

To practice this takes time, effort tan discipline but he reward is huge.

William King has written, "A gossip is one who talks to you about other people. A bore is one who talks to you about himself. And a brilliant conversationalist is one who talks to you about yourself."

The 30 second rule makes people feel better about themselves. Everyone of us can go for days on one solid compliment.

The 30 second rule gives people energy. When someone praises you, doesn't your energy level go up? And when you are criticized, doesn't that comment drag you down? Words can bring life or words can bring death.

The 30 second rule instills motivation. Everybody need motivation from time to time.

Here's a principle I am learning: those who add to us, draw us to them. Those who subtract, cause us to withdraw. I want to be a person that draws people closer to me, how about you?

Monday, August 04, 2008

My birthday and the Cubs

I turned 52 last Saturday. 52. And....I am going to be a grandfather this December. Incredible. I suppose I should start acting my age and reach out and grasp the maturity thing....but, nah, I think I'll keep on having fun.

Debbie and I went to a Cub game with a friend (and his wife) that I went to high school with. We have known each other since 1972, and talked more together on Saturday than we have combined since 1974 when we graduated from high school. He and his wife recently moved back into the Joliet area. It's kind of interesting how we've both moved all over and now live about 20 minutes from each other.

The Cubs won. Every time I have been to a Cubs game - they have won. If you value your team, Cub fans, I am open to going to any game that you would like to facilitate me going to. Anything for the team.

It was a beautiful day, we sat in the shade, the win was blowing in off of the lake and the sky was blue. If you ask my opinion, and you didn't but I'll give it to you anyway, it's a slice of heaven on earth.

I like to play basketball, watch football on T.V. and watch baseball in person. There is just something about spending 2 and a half to 3 hours watching a game at that slow pace that just decompresses me like nothing else can.

Also...I had two brats with mustard, relish, tomatoes, cooked onions and sauerkraut on them. One pretzel. Two diet cokes (of course). Peanuts and finally some chocolate malt ice cream.

Good friends, good food, good game, great stadium, beautiful day, good times.