Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Please" and "Thank you"

Here's a devotional I read the other day...

It’s common practice to teach your kids to say ‘please’ and then ‘thank you’ when they have requests. It’s considered proper protocol. And when talking to adults, it is. But with God, things are a little bit different.
God has a protocol for how He wants to be approached. And it starts with thanksgiving:

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:4, 5

With God, "Thank you" should always come before "Please." The first thing that needs to come out of my mouth in prayer and worship needs to be praise for who God is and what He has done. Not just instructions for what I want or even need Him to do.

Thank you is the key that opens the door to God’s house. There’s a lot of reasons for this, but more than anything, it’s about perspective. If you thank God for everything before you ask Him for anything, it makes you realize you deserve nothing. It gives you the worldview that but for the grace of God, you would have no chance for eternal life. And in turn, it makes you even more thankful. And because God still answers your prayers.

Additionally, starting with ‘thank you’ is just practical. When we start with praise, we establish the goodness and greatness of God right off the bat. Now all of our subsequent prayers and complaints can be answered by a good and great God who can both respond to us and who wants to. It’s impossible to be self-absorbed and God-conscious at the same time. Realign your perspective in prayer today.

Start with ‘thank you.’ And then move on to ‘please.’

I encourage to practice this each day this week. Let's thank God for all he has done for us!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Inspirational Story

Keenan Cahill is far from your average high-schooler. For one thing, he has overcome incredible adversity, suffering from a rare genetic disorder called Mucopolysaccaridosis (MPS-6) since birth.

For another, at the young age of 15, Cahill has already achieved international superstardom from behind a webcam in his childhood bedroom no less by lip-syncing todays top 40 hits. It was his cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” that first threw Cahill into the spotlight earning 36 million views on YouTube and a legion of adoring fans including Katy Perry herself.

But it was Keenan's honesty about his condition that inspired a Chicago news team to ham it up in his bedroom helping him remind others that no matter how much adversity you have in your life, you can choose your attitude.

This made me think...As I was reflecting, I wondered about the influence and impact each of us can have on those around us each day. It's amazing to me how one sick kid can inspire 36 million people without leaving his bedroom! Makes my excuses seems trivial. Hmmm...

Who are you impacting today?

Monday, July 18, 2011

J.R.R. Tokien by Alan Horne

I just finished reading "J.R.R. Tolkien," by Mark Horne. It was a quick read, only 130 pages long. I love all things Tolkien, so this new biography of Tolkien was very enjoyable. These days, many more people are familiar with the literary works of Tolkien thanks to the Hollywood movies directed by Peter Jackson. The three-volume work, The Lord of the Rings, was made into three blockbuster movies, and the Hobbit will soon be a two part movie.

This book serves as an overview of Tolkien life and his way of thinking. As a bonus, one of the things the author adds at the end of the book is recommendations of fuller biographies available of Tolkien's life. The author focuses on the effect Tolkien's life and experiences had on his writing of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Tolkien's desire (and promise to a friend who died in WWI) was to create stories that would have an impact and inspire readers for many generations.

One of the things I learned about Tolkien is that he was a perfectionist and extremely hesitant to release any of his writings. He was never happy with his latest revision and was constantly rewriting. Were it not for friends like C.S. Lewis, who encouraged him, we might not have The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings.

While Horne shows us Tolkien as academic and Tolkien as fantasy-writer, he also shows us the adventurous years of his youth, such as Tolkien hijacking a bus and driving it through Oxford. He also spends time on the effect World War I had on Tolkien and the effect losing many of his friends had on his writing.

If you are looking for a quick and easy read that gives you a summary of Tolkien's Life, This is it. It is an excellent read! I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Do you lead something?

Here's a great clip for those of us who lead something...

What leadership books are you reading? I, like Bill Hybels, try to do leadership development as a discipline. My goal is to read 3-6 leadership books a year. I believe those of us who lead something need to read--we have to take responsibility for whatever size platform God has given us- big or small-and grow as leaders. I know I have to read to get better as a leader.

If you lead something, I encourage you to take responsibility for your leadership development and read more and read as a discipline.

Here are some of my favorite leadership books:
"Good to Great" by Jim Collins
"Leadership" By Rudoplh W. Giuliani
"The Leadership Engine" By Noel Tichy
"Drive" by Daniel Pink
"The Speed of Trust" by Steven M.R. Covey
"True North" By Bill George
"Go Put Your Strengths to Work" by Marcus Buckingham

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Review: No More Dreaded Monday's

No More Dreaded Mondays by Dan Miller is a fun, easy to read book about the rapid changes in our world and how these changes affect our career or career choices. It is filled with wonderful stories, and powerful anecdotes. It is a great motivational read.

Miller reminds us that there are many people today who rise dutifully each morning and head to the office, where they enjoy the time spent with their coworkers, where they contribute as part of a team, and receive a regular paycheck. Unfortunately, there are many others, who do not. The traditional workplace is hostile territory for many people, and Miller spends some time explaining how understanding how your brain works will help you choose the right career. Miller uses the terms right brain and left brain to explain how people work and how certain careers and workplaces make it very difficult for those who are in the opposite camp.

No More Dreaded Monday’s has a lot of practical advice and recommendations for you to begin to hang your own dreams and goals upon. The book is full of hope to those who struggle at their job. I encourage you to get it if you want to be inspired and need a starting point for a new career and a new way of life. You will want to take notes and apply some of the things he outlines. If you are considering career changes or are at a career crossroads, I would recommend "No More Dreaded Mondays."