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Exercise & Grace

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Working out to lose weight and stay healthy involves much work and consistent exercise. This usually involves a bit of suffering to reach your goal and target deadline: meal plans, avoiding junk food, aerobics or weight lifting, and other sacrifices. What would happen if a friend offered a “new and improved” workout and meal plan in the middle of your journey, one that eventually stunted your progress? They might recommend a plan that includes eating anything you’d like, not keeping track of your calorie intake, whereas your plan includes eliminating entire food groups. Now, all of a sudden, you’re off track, gaining weight, and making no progress due to adapting to a bad message that seemed promising. That’s in essence, what a person in the Bible (The Galatians) did as it related to their spiritual life. They strayed away from the wonderful message of salvation by grace alone. They started off on a good plan, but ultimately abandoned it for an alternative (works based faith.) 

So (Paul the author), quickly addresses their issues, and shares how the suffering the people had experienced, and was growing them spiritually, would be in vain if they strayed from the message of grace through faith in Jesus. Paul explained to the Galatians that being off track from the true gospel, might make their suffering purposeless. I pray that you’ll never be sucked into an alternative, gospel (one that is rules based), and that you’ll continue to walk in the never ending grace of Jesus Christ, every day of your life. 

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Living Beyond Foolish

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I will teach a four-week series focusing on the book of Galatians starting this weekend at NewHope-RoundRock.org.  I’ve entitled the series (Living Beyond Foolish). What I’ll be doing is highlighting what the original audience grew to understand, and that is, the church (people) had traded the simplicity of the gospel for a false message of works. Throughout this series, I hope people will learn how the simple message of the gospel (the good news of Jesus Christ) can cause huge transformations in the lives of people: and that walking in the Spirit results in loving ourselves and others well. I pray you enjoy this new preaching series, and just maybe you’ll start “Living Beyond Foolish”? Here’s a little insight into the book….

If you read the book of Galatians it serves as an insight into the apostle Paul’s passionate rebuke and correction of the churches in Galatia (located in what is modern-day Turkey). There was much distortion of the gospel of grace, due to the influence of false teachers who emphasized works of the law rather than liberty and faith. This caused Christians to misunderstand the important teaching of salvation by grace, through faith. Much of what Paul teaches in the letter concerns the balance between legalism, and license through an emphasis of faith working through love. Galatians can help all of us remember that the simplicity of the gospel is the greatest gift.

If you’d like to listen to past sermons, or listen to this latest series, you can tune in here: https://bit.ly/1oAN04w

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Wisdom or Porn?

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I learned early on in life, as well as through the testimonies of so many over the years, that pornography is both sinful, and its consumption is unwise and very harmful for anyone desiring it’s poison. But porn can’t be that bad, right? Is it really evil? It doesn’t hurt anyone, does it? Is it really unwise to consume porn?

In most of my life decisions, I want to make wise decisions, and I’m constantly asking myself this question, “What is the wisest decision I need to make in this situation, or circumstance that is presenting itself?” So, by God’s grace, and some good accountability, I’ve lived a life of wisdom when it comes to staying away from pornography. Now, I’m pitching the question to you, “Will you choose wisdom or porn?” I pray you’ll choose wisely.

Many of us will never physically engage in adulterous acts, but Jesus tells us, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Though we are not actually engaging in sexual activity, we outsource our adultery and immorality. We do it with pornography, which is also becoming nearly pandemic among minors. According to Fight the New Drug, 35 percent of all Internet downloads are porn related. https://fightthenewdrug.org/10-porn-stats-that-will-blow-your-mind/. That is more than Amazon, Twitter, and Netflix combined. Wisdom or Porn?

We want to believe pornography consumption is an innocent way to alleviate unfulfilled sexual desires, but studies show that the influence of pornographic material on the brain can affect its development as profoundly as drug use. https://fightthenewdrug.org/how-porn-affects-the-brain-like-a-drug/. The human brain is engineered to reward us by releasing dopamine when we engage in healthy activities. The problem is the brain can be fooled by drugs or artificial stimuli into releasing dopamine. Pornography causes your brain to release dopamine without any physical injection of chemicals; we can become addicted to the way porn influences our brains. When we look at pornography, we become the victims of a terrible trick that trains our brains to see people as objects to be used for our own gratification. Wisdom or Porn?

We are not the only ones victimized when we view porn. The porn industry drives up demand for people to perform sex acts in front of the camera. As a result, a growing number of pornographic videos and images are being produced by victims of sex trafficking. Pew Research reports nearly five million practicing Christians admit to weekly pornography use. Twelve percent of practicing Christian teens view the same. That is just in the United States. Even free sites use ads to generate revenue for the porn industry. That money then further fuels human trafficking. What we often think of a personal, private sin has far-reaching and devastating consequences around the globe. http://www.ethicsdaily.com/stopping-human-trafficking-begins-in-our-churches-cms-23833. If everyone in the church stopped indulging in pornographic material, we could keep a lot of money away from the people who fund human trafficking around the globe. Porn has not only allowed us to outsource our desire to a far-off third party, it has also allowed us to outsource the bondage associated with adultery (Proverbs 5:9–11). Wisdom or Porn?

It appears that many people have been affected by porn. Children, teens, and adults are victims, and in many cases victimizers in their propagating, and consumption of it. There are no winners in the world of porn. None! So what will you choose? Wisdom or Porn?


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Women & Wisdom Revealed

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I’m teaching from the Bible this Sunday out of the book of Proverbs 31:10–31. I’ve found this passage to be one of the most misunderstood and misused passages in the book. This passage is often taught to Christian women in the church as a list of things they must do to be a good spouse. But teaching this passage as a checklist for wives can lead women to feel inadequate. The list is long, and the tasks demanding. One person carrying out all of them would never be able to rest or have ample time to enjoy her family and life. We should not discount the wisdom in carrying out the tasks listed in the passage, but we must remember the writer of Proverbs is using common tasks to represent wisdom in the fullness of its splendor. So ladies, no need to feel inadequate. Start abiding in God, and eventually the unhealthy striving side will diminish. You’re loved!

Read Proverbs 31:10-31

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Gradual

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Many of us may think it sounds strange for someone to be enticed by an invitation to ambush and rob innocent people, but we do not get to a place in our lives where that kind of invitation appeals to us immediately. We get there the same way we get to the place where wisdom becomes appealing. We get there gradually. Many get there by mishandling money, relationships, or educational opportunities. Some may get there due to issues that were not their fault: family medical emergencies, loss of parents, or abusive homes. When we are in a place where we think there no escape, illegal and immoral activities can look appealing. They seem to promise of something we want quickly, but in the end they can lead to dire consequences. What are you doing to ensure you don’t arrive at dire? Choose wisdom today!

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State Of Affairs?

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I read these verses from the Bible today (the words of the Apostle Paul to a young pastor and young church), and I believe these verses were meant for Christians today. God help us!

"But you need to be aware that in the final days the culture of society will become extremely fierce and difficult for the people of God. People will be self-centered lovers of themselves and obsessed with money. They will boast of great things as they strut around in their arrogant pride and mock all that is right. They will ignore their own families. They will be ungrateful and ungodly. They will become addicted to hateful and malicious slander. Slaves to their desires, they will be ferocious, belligerent haters of what is good and right. With brutal treachery, they will act without restraint, bigoted and wrapped in clouds of their conceit. They will find their delight in the pleasures of this world more than the pleasures of the loving God. They may pretend to have a respect for God, but in reality they want nothing to do with God's power. Stay away from people like these!" (2 Timothy 3:1-5, The Passion Translation)


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Proverbs, Laws, or Commands?

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The book of Proverbs in the Bible is often mistaken for a collection of “if-then” rules we can use to command and predict the outcome of our lives. Proverbs are actually general observations about how the world tends to work, but they are not intended to be promises. If we think of every proverb as an unbreakable rule or promise from God, we will misunderstand, misapply, and misrepresent them when we engage with them. The wisdom in the book of Proverbs is more about how its knowledge and wisdom will affect us than a list of rewards we get for following the rules. 

We must be very careful in how we approach and implement these wise sayings. Simply because they are inspired does not mean that the biblical proverbs are like laws, imposing a universal obligation. Yet, some people treat them as if they were divine commandments. If we regard them in that way, we run into all kinds of trouble. Even divinely inspired proverbs do not necessarily apply to all life situations. Rather, they reflect insights that are generally true.

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Wisdom, Trust, and Baseball

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Children learning to play baseball are often afraid of the ball when it is their turn at bat. Their instinct is to duck or step out of the path of the oncoming ball. Their perception of the situation is that the ball is going to hit them. They have to trust when the coach tells them the ball is not going to hit them. They have to let go of their own assessment of the situation and trust, having the wisdom to stand where the coach tells them so they can swing the bat properly and hit the ball. The same way the child has to trust the coach and avoid a natural reaction to what is going on, we have to trust God with every situation in our lives and ask him what the proper way to respond should be.

Below is a good Bible verse for you to memorize. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own wisdom; in all your ways listen to him, and he will lead you wherever you go.” Proverbs 3:5-6 


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Wisdom Or Folly

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Sometimes choosing between right and wrong, wisdom and folly is hard, even when the wiser of the choices is obvious. We will face this many times in our lives. We know that going to bed on time will pay off in the morning when we wake up refreshed, but when we are only three episodes away from the end of a really good series, we want to stay up and finish it. We know getting our homework done quickly and getting it out of the way will free us up for the rest of the night, but our friend just got a new game, and want us to go play with them. We know when the person we are dating tells us their parents are out of town it is best to say goodnight at the door and go home, but they are just so much fun to be around. Both options in each of these scenarios have their own appeal, but only one of the them is wise. Are you practicing folly or wise living in your life? What needs to do to change in your life so that you’ll live a life of wisdom vs folly?  

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Wise Thoughts #2

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I was traveling back from Vietnam a few years ago, and my point of entry was Miami. After deplaning, and walking through the terminal, I placed my backpack on the ground near a kiosk and started searching for my passport. Pocket after pocket produced no passport, and panic set-in. My passport was gone, and I had no idea what had happened to it. Did someone steal it? Did I accidentally drop it? Was it still on the plane? Where in the world was the only document that proved my identity, and the only document that would give me entry back into the United States? 

It didn’t take me long to screw my head on straight, and go into survival mode. I headed to an agent, shared my story, and began to pray. The agent radioed the airline to search the plane. We began backtracking where I had walked to see if my passport may be laying on the ground somewhere. I also dumped out my backpack and all its contents to no avail. In fact, I would’ve stripped down if it would’ve produced my passport. Nothing! In the end, customs let me through using my global entry card, but advised me to report a stolen passport, and to ultimately get a new one ASAP. I did, and now I keep my travel docs on me at all times while traveling abroad. A passport is a valuable doc to say the least, and something worth searching for when it goes missing.  

Now, something of true value will always be worth searching for, and even worth fighting for, especially if it's no where to be found. We all have something of value that if we lost it, we’d search high and low to make sure the lost item was put back into its rightful owners hands. Yours! Depending on the value of what we lost, we may even spend a ton of money to locate the precious commodity that went missing. Right? 

A proverb in the Bible says, “If you seek wisdom, you need to seek after wisdom like searching for something valuable (silver, hidden treasures, passports, etc), then you’ll discover who God really is.” Why so valuable is this thing called wisdom? Because finding wisdom restores a new relationship with our Creator, produces peace, keeps us from harm, gives us a good life, removes fear, disallows anxiety, and even helps us to sleep well at night. Doesn’t that sound great? It sounds so wonderful that I just might disregard most of my trivial pursuits, and hunt down, search for, wisdom with everything in me. Yes, my passport is valuable. Yes, your precious items are worth hunting down. But nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to the eureka moment, when wisdom becomes not only a daily way of life, but a quality that dwells in your innermost being. So…above all else seek wisdom! 

 

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Wise Thoughts #1

     

 

 

This weekend I taught out of the book of Proverbs in the Bible, and entitled my teaching series, “Purple People Eater.” Purple is the color of wisdom, and God’s desire for us, is to live a life of wisdom, and to surround ourselves with wise people. Not only surround ourselves with wise people, but learn to be consumers of the wisdom of these wise individuals. Hence, becoming a “Purple People Eater.” 

The book of Proverbs is wisdom filled, and challenging to all humanity. If we all applied the wisdom of this book, life would be so much easier. But, many people struggle with the principles in this book, and life tends to be much harder than it really needs to be. Why? Wisdom is learned, hence, not something we just readily apply to our lives. My hope through this teaching is, that wisdom, and its application, will become something all of us seek to live by. 

The opening paragraph of the book of Proverbs makes clear its intentions, that the book was written to teach wisdom and understanding.  Acting upon the wisdom taught in this book and doing so while we are young are two important keys to living a good life. Don’t worry, even if you’re not young, you still can start making wise, better decisions today. 

My wife (Angel), and I have grown to understand that making wise choices is a lot like saving and spending. The choices we make with our money today will impact us years from now. For example, buying an $8 meal at a fast food restaurant does not seem like an event that will greatly impact your future, but if you buy one meal every day and twice on weekend days, by the end of the week that comes to $72. In one year that is $3,744. That is money you may need one day to fix your car. If you can manage to keep saving that for five years, you will have $18,720. That could buy a car that may not break down as often.  Spending a little here and a little there, never feels like a waste. Saving a little here and a little there rarely feels like progress, but if we are able to start making wise choices now, we will see their impact as they compound and grow into things that last for the rest of our lives. 

So…are you ready to become a purple people eater? I hope so! #BeAPurplePeopleEater

Would you like to listen to my sermon? Listen to it hear: https://bit.ly/2BUnJhq

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New Sermon Series - Purple People Eater

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This weekend at NewHope-RoundRock.org we start a new series I’ve entitled, “Purple People Eater.” Maybe you’ve heard the lyrics to the 1958 song, “It was a one-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple people eater.” Funny song to say the least, and there was also a movie with the same name that came out in 1988. The photo’s for the movie are cute, and that gave me a little inspiration for this new series in the book of Proverbs in the Bible. 

Why “Purple People Eater” to walk through Proverbs? Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red. The color purple is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also represents the meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, and………WISDOM. Wisdom (the color purple for emphasis sake), is a big deal to God. It’s a big deal, because He’s the very essence of wisdom. It’s who He is! If we experience wisdom in our life, or see it played out in the lives of others, we can be confident the source of the wisdom is from God. 

Wisdom is such a big deal in the Bible, that we’re told to pursue it above all else. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do in the weeks to come. Pursue wisdom! 

If we want to build successful careers, have great relationships, and even experience a thriving family, we must learn wisdom. 

Here’s a little insight into Proverbs: The book of Proverbs is a collection of instructions for acquiring wisdom and living wisely. Many of the instructions in the book are self-contained thoughts that are arranged in a way that is easy to remember. Most of them are composed with opposing actions of the wise and the wicked presented side by side.  Proverbs will bring great debate, explain wickednesses plan to take from the innocent, and the punishment that wicked people will receive. But wisdom is the ultimate winner in the end. So my prayer for this new series is, that each and every person that listens to my teachings on this topic, will reap the reward of choosing wisdom over folly, and ultimately become a “Purple People Eater.” 

Come back to my blog in the weeks to come, as I’ll be posting my sermons, and writing more on the topic of wisdom. Feedback is not only welcome from you, but encouraged.

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Delayed Creativity

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If you are constantly engaged in reading, and responding, reading, and responding to social media, it will greatly diminish your ability to create.  A world without creatives would be a world without sunshine. Tragic & devastating! We need creatives. We need inventors. The world needs idea people. But every time you pick up your phone, read a text, respond, etc…., is a moment, a tick, a blip in time that you aren’t creating. In fact you are delaying creation. Stop it! Create something! Stressed about the thought? Probably because original thought (creativity) takes intentional disconnect, and you maybe have not done it……ever!?

I am not anti social media. I am not anti Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. I really like my I-phone. Probably too much. But……if I never learn to turn it off, disengage, be still, be quiet, I would never create either. I choose the latter. I choose to intentionally quit looking down, quit responding, quit typing. 

One goal today……create something new. 

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Ziging

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If you’ve not been introduced to one of my all time favorite people? Here you go: https://bit.ly/2dDfZCB. Zig Ziglar was one of the greatest motivational speakers of all time. He helped move people from zero, to hero through his books, talks, and goal oriented resources. 

One of the resources that has altered the way I do, life is, The Zig Ziglar Performance Planner. I just received my 21st performance planner, which outlines my life dreams and yearly goals. The planner challenges me to exceed my wildest expectations. 

Because Zig was never willing to embrace a motionless life, his planner will push the nominal bystander to achieve something in life. 

So….when I accomplish anything worth noting, I call it ziging. I ziged my way to a successful day. I ziged my month over the hump. I ziged my year out of the blur. Those are just a few sayings I’ve used over the years to stamp the things I’ve accomplished. Fun to say the least.

Interested in accomplishing goals, and fulfilling dreams? Get the performance planner here: https://amzn.to/2rv28n3

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Of Resume's & Eulogy's

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Who doesn’t want a good looking resume? If you want to land a job worth keeping, you’re advised to have a resume that will make potential employers call you, and better yet, hire you. Resume’s are often the first look at your life, your accomplishments, and the key moments that may or may not give you the job of your choosing. But resumes are the surface. The best. The shining you. At least the good ones. But, a resume doesn’t reveal your heart, the core, your true character. What will? Your eulogy! 

Eulogy’s, or “Youlogy’s”, as I like to call them, are the stories of praise that people share about you at funerals. By the time you get to the end of your days, what is spoken of you, both publicly, and privately is the real you. It’s the true you. Why would someone give you praise for a poor life after your dead? They won’t! 

In his book, “Who Switched the Price Tags?”, Anthony Campolo related the words of the pastor of a black Baptist church, speaking to a group of college students in his congregation. Campolo wrote,

“Children,” he said, “you’re going to die!…One of these days, they’re going to take you out to the cemetery, drop you in a hole, throw some dirt on your face, and go back to the church and eat potato salad.

“When you were born,” he said, “you alone were crying and everybody else was happy. The important questions I want to ask is this: When you die are you alone going to be happy, leaving everybody else crying? When they lay you in the grave, are people going to stand around reciting the fancy titles you earned, or are they going to stand around giving stories of the good things you did for them?…Will you leave behind just a newspaper column telling people how important you were, or will you leave crying people who share stories of how they’ve lost the best friend they ever had.”

So….shine up that resume, but work way harder on that eulogy prep.  

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Drinks & God

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Drink machines aren’t going away anytime soon, to which all of us are grateful. Hot days, parched lips, dry mouths, an antsy child, will always make us grateful for these wonderful liquid oasis’s. 

Now imagine with me for a moment, that God is the machine, and we can insert some type of currency in Him, and out comes our relief. Makes sense when you’re talking drink machines, but God isn’t anywhere close to the analogy. So why do so many of us attempt to do good things, only to wait for the great machine to give us the beverage of our choosing? The beverage being, a miracle, an answer to our problems, getting our own way, etc.

God doesn’t work the same way a vending machine does. God never has, and never will be a machine waiting to give us what we want. Why? God has never been about the drinks. Oh, He can produce the drinks for sure, but He’s far more interested in you knowing Him, and obeying Him, than about giving you the beverage of your choice.

So, how do you start the journey of knowing and obeying Him? It all starts with taking a look at the life of Jesus Christ. The more you understand Jesus, the more you’ll grow to understand who God is, and come to realize He’s way more about relationship, and far less about the drinks. Trust me!  

 

 

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Characteristics Of People You Want On Your Team

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Not in any specific order, and not exhaustive. 

  1. Well groomed
  2. Humble
  3. Encourager 
  4. Somebody with a good track record
  5. Loyal
  6. Competent 
  7. Change Agent 
  8. A stable spouse
  9. Humorous
  10. Can handle stress
  11. Likable
  12. Good social skills
  13. Good parenting skills
  14. Discernment 
  15. Tough 
  16. Vulnerable 
  17. Authentic 
  18. Social Media IQ
  19. No major skeletons

Any others you can think of?

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Thanksgiving Quotes

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Thanksgiving is here in the United States. Even outside of the USA, you can benefit from a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude. Here are fifteen quotes to get you started:

“Thanksgiving Day is a good day to recommit our energies to giving thanks and just giving.” –Amy Grant

“Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then they discover once a year is way too often.” – Johnny Carson

“I love Thanksgiving because it’s a holiday that is centered around food and family, two things that are of utmost importance to me.” – Marcus Samuelsson

“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.” – W.J. Cameron

“Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 12 minutes. Half-times take 12 minutes. This is not coincidence.” – Erma Bombeck

“An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.” – Irv Kupcient

“Thanksgiving Day comes…once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.” – Edward Sandford Martin

“I like football. It’s a great way to avoid conversation with your family at Thanksgiving.” – Craig Ferguson

“Forever on Thanksgiving Day the heart will find the pathway home.” – Wilbur D. Nesbit

“I absolutely adore Thanksgiving. It’s the only holiday I insist on making myself.” - Ina Garten

“Thanksgiving is America’s national chow down feast, the one occasion each year when gluttony becomes a patriotic duty.” – Michael Dresser

“My thanksgiving is perpetual.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day and leave out the gratitude.” – E.P. Powell

“On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence.” – William Jennings Bryan

“There is no better opportunity to receive more than to be thankful for what you already have. Thanksgiving opens the windows of opportunity for ideas to flow your way.” - Jim Rohn

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Thanks + Giving

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Rethink the Order

We celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow in the United States. It’s a holiday that I love for many reasons.

A tradition in many homes on Thanksgiving is to ask, “What are you most thankful for?”

Growing up, I heard all types of answers from the serious to the hilarious.

The focus on thankfulness and gratitude is a welcome one in a world that’s often negative and draining. It’s impossible to feel entitled when you’re busy thanking those who have made a difference in your life. Expressing thankfulness has numerous benefits from reducing depression to boosting your immune system.

But today I was thinking about the holiday differently.

Because it’s not only about being thankful and grateful.

The equation, in my way of thinking, is backwards. We often think of it this way:

Giving ⇒ thanks.

We think of Thanksgiving as the time to give thanks. We stop and show appreciation, express gratitude for all that we have in our lives. And that’s good.

But perhaps the equation is supposed to be exactly as stated:

Thanks ⇒ giving

Instead of giving thanks as the end result, it’s the beginning. We should give to others as a result of our thanks. In other words, because of our thankfulness, we are to be giving. Does that way of looking at it change anything?

It does for me. I realize that I can use this opportunity to do more for others.

Instead of simply expressing thankfulness, what about getting active in the giving part of this equation? Thanksgiving is not only expressing thankful appreciation but also about paying it forward.

As you gather for Thanksgiving this year, remember that it’s not about the turkey, the mashed potatoes or the stuffing. It’s about the two words: THANKS and GIVING.

So, give THANKS.

1. Send some thank you notes.

2. Meditate and pray.

3. Recognize everyone you can who has made a difference in your life.

4. Express your gratitude for all your many blessings.

And then start GIVING.

A few ideas:

1. Get involved with a local charity.

2. Volunteer at a hospice, hospital, or nursing home.

3. Give financially. If you have the means, write some checks to some charitable organizations.

4. Bake something for a friend or neighbor.

5. Invite others over for dinner. Know someone who doesn’t have family around? Make it a Thanksgiving dinner to remember.

6. Work at the local homeless shelter. And yes, even clean up the dishes without being asked…

Rethink the Recipe

****Be thankful and get giving. It’s the recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving!****

 

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KidLead

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I just arrived back from England (Oxford & London), as well as South Africa (Johannesburg & Cape Town). All locations focused on Equipping leaders, and specifically emerging young ones too. So I thought it appropriate to share one of the best resources on helping you do just that. It’s the book “KidLead”.  In it, Alan Nelson believes that we can, and should, start developing leaders when they are young. In KidLead, he argues persuasively that we should not wait until potential leaders are 25+ years old to develop them; we can start much earlier. He gives some great ideas for how to spot and develop young leaders, both in the home and outside it. For anyone with a passion for young people or leadership, this book will very encouraging and insightful. Enjoy the synopsis……

The goal of this book is to unleash leadership potential. Every child is filled with incredible potential in a variety of areas. Unfortunately, the typical leader in our culture doesn’t begin to receive formal leadership training until the ages of twenty-five through thirty-five, if at all. How sad that kids have to wait so long to not only lead but also to receive skill development in this area. As a result, we miss a very critical time in the point of young leaders’ lives when we can teach them the character components that may make or break their leading as adults. 

Honesty, honor, integrity, servanthood, commitment, and responsibility are vital qualities in leading. Character is very important for effective leading, so learning leadership in the context of ethics is essential. When we interweave character issues with skills, we increase the likelihood these won’t be separated during leading. We should not assume leaders possess these qualities or understand how they apply to real-world situations. Good leadership development focuses on this intersection because when it fails to do this, collisions will occur. 

The good news is that whether you’re a leader or not, you can grow the young leaders around you. Here is how: 

Look at your child as a young leader. See his or her potential. Leadership development of your child begins between your ears, with how you think about him or her. 

Treat your child as a young leader. The reason why we need to begin seeing our children as leaders is because this will directly affect how we treat them. How we treat them influences how they see themselves and, as a result, how they react. 

Develop at-home opportunities to lead. You can, with a little tweaking, transform everyday activities into leadership training opportunities. The main point is that you can give your child a big head start in leadership by transitioning from parent to leadership coach in any number of ongoing chores and events. 

Discuss leadership situations as they arise from school, news, movie and work. Nearly everyday, you’ll have life events, stories, and media that provide opportunities to talk about leadership, whether in brief sound bytes or more prolonged discussions. The goal is to make your child aware of situations where leaders influence others—for good and for bad—in order to create an unconscious orientation so that they can “read” leadership situations. 

Find opportunities for leading in the community. The key, as in all leadership projects, is that you have a clear objective, that there are multiple people involved, and that you truly let your child lead, as opposed to telling him or her what to do and then calling the task leadership. 

Introduce your child to other leaders. Leaders recognize other leaders. A child with leadership aptitude will have a certain amount of natural affinity with other leaders regardless of their age. When you are meeting someone who is a leader in his or her organization or field, go out of your way to have your child meet this person. 

Help your child find a mentor. One thing parents can do to nurture their young leaders is help them find mentors who lead in different organizations and with varying style. 

Seek formal and informal leadership training. When we detect musical talent, we get our child music lessons. When we discern academic ability, we move them toward AP classes and Gifted and Talented programs. When we observe athletic ability, we hire coaching from a pro and seek a competitive-level team. Why not the same with leadership? 

We teach that KidLead training programs are not substitutes for parents and guardians being involved with leadership development in a child’s everyday life. The difference between a parent growing a great grown-up and being a leader developer is that the latter establishes leadership situations. There are three basic ingredients needed to constitute a “leadership” situation: 

1. There needs to be at least two other people involved on the “team.” Great life skills are numerous, but leading is about helping others achieve together. Being in charge of one person is okay, but there are far more dynamics for learning leadership when you have a minimum of three. 

2. There needs to be a measurable goal. What is expected? Measuring outcomes is important, but be sure that the objective involves setting direction, organizing and/or accomplishing it in a new way. 

3. There needs to be legitimate authority. Although you’re ultimately responsible as the parent, your young leader needs to know that s/he has a certain amount of authority to determine how to accomplish the task. This is room to spread his or her wings. Being in charge creates confidence. 

Most importantly, debrief after the project. Feedback questions are very important to the learning process, but they often get overlooked because we don’t make time for them and they can feel anticlimactic to the activity. “What went well? What didn’t go well? What could you do next time to be more effective?” Avoid scolding or punishing. Keep the questions neutral and matter-of-fact, and be very affirming. Treat your young leader the way you’d like to be treated as an adult in the workplace. 

We do have the power to significantly improve the future by influencing those who are and will be influential. I can think of no greater legacy than to leave the world in the hands of people like these. Remember, if you want to change the world, focus on leaders. If you want to change leaders, focus on them when they’re young. 

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