After taking a sabbatical from my blog to focus on my new job as the Communications Director at my home church…I will pick up the digital pen once again on January 1, 2017.
If you’re like me, there are never enough hours in a day, days in a week or weeks in a year to accomplish all that you want to accomplish. Time is scarce and valuable. Who doesn’t wish they had more time. No, this isn’t another post on how to spend your time more wisely. I’m writing this to remind us to celebrate, because this year your wish has come true. In 2012, we all get an extra 24 hours added to our lives:)
That right, an extra day to take your kids out of the house and do something…anything. An extra night to spend an evening on the town with your spouse. A few more hours to finish that project or accomplish that task you have been putting off. February 29th may seem like just another day, but don’t be fooled, it is a gift. So, spend it wisely.
Over the past ten years, people have always asked how I can get so much done. They wonder how do I find the time & energy to run multiple ministries at the same time, lead hundreds of volunteers, focus on my creative work, be a dad and husband, read lots of books and find time for myself. Well, I’ll let you in on my little secret. I write it down and plan for it. I call it, “My Personal Growth Plan”.
There is something special about writing your priorities and goals, both short-term and long-term. They give you a score card to evaluate if you are accomplishing what it is you need, and want, to accomplish. BUT it is not good enough to just write them down, create a plan and then forget about it…you have to be methodically looking it over and adjusting it. Your growth plan doesn’t have to be complex or filled with huge goals and dreams, it just needs to be attainable and organic.
The new year is almost upon us and another chapter has been written in history. When you look back and reflect on your life, what do you see? What emotions stir in your heart when you think of the choices you made…or didn’t make. For me, 2011 has been a wild ride. It has been bitter-sweet. I love where my life is now, but I do miss where it was…
My family and I have transitioned from a great ministry in Toledo to a new exciting adventure in Indy. In 2011 we added to our quiver, and now with three boys ages 5 and under, it is definitely full…lol. Personally, I made the move from being a full-time pastor at a church to a full-time stay at home dad. I went from just living my life to learning how to share it with others. BUT, reflection is more than just mentally revisiting the timeline of your life, it is about learning from your decisions….good or bad.
One of the joys of the Christmas season is giving. I love to watch as my loved ones open a gift that I picked especially for them. It can warm the heart. I think I am a giver by nature. I love to offer what I can to people, whether it’s time, advice, encouragement, an extra hand to carry the load or a simple gift. It’s just in my DNA…but…sometimes I give, give, give and my tank runs low and I have to stop and just receive.
Let’s be honest. We like to give, but sometimes it’s better, if not necessary, to receive. If we are not careful, we can run our emotional, physical or relational tanks so low that we don’t have anything left to give. So, my Christmas challenge to you is this…
One of the holiday traditions that my boys look forward to is the Toys-R-Us catalog that comes in the mail or newspaper. This is the opportunity that they have to dream big and circle all the things they want for Christmas. They go crazy as they search for the coolest toys and make their picks for Santa. I have to admit that I think I have just as much fun surfing through the pages as they do trying to find a gift that would benefit “the whole family”…or that I could play with too.
This year though, we put a twist on it. This year, we decided that we were going to downsize our gift giving…well actually our receiving. We explained that each member of the family was only going to get three gifts when they woke up for Christmas morning. We want our focus on Christmas not to be about all the toys we can rack up, but rather about three important things that should make Christmas special.
When I hear the names of certain brands there are always vivid images, emotions and stereo-types that flood my mind. Some of them negative and some positive. Why is that? What is it that makes us loyal to a brand, and what makes us throw a brand name aside to save money on a “generic brand”…which ironically is actually a brand in and of itself?
One of my “hobbies” is marketing, advertising and teaching people and churches about how to protect their personal brand. Yes, I said personal brand…because whether you want to admit it or not…all of us have a brand. When people hear your name or see your church/ministry, there are certain emotions, images and stereo-types that come to mind when they think about you and what you represent.
What is it about belief that makes it so powerful? Last night, I watched Tim Tebow as he rallied his team to yet another come-from-behind, overtime victory and thought to myself…WOW…this guy just makes you believe. There is something about him, especially in the fourth quarter or last drive of the game, that just seems to instill belief in those that watch him and those that play alongside him. It’s almost magical.
There are some people, whose very presence, just makes you believe. Imagine if your belief in something was so strong, that you could instill hope and faith in the hearts of those around you. I’m sure you know of a few people like that, but why can’t it be you?
I believe leadership is influence and here’s a twist – time is influence. Time spent is money in the bank. As a parent, I am learning this lesson with my kids. The longer you are with someone, the more impact you have in shaping who they are…especially if you start when they are young.
Now, the type of impact you have will vary based on your on-going interactions with that individual and the motives you have for creating influence in their lives. It can breed loyalty, followers, fans or even disciples. The outcome is based on strategy. So what can we learn from Jersey Shore (MTV) and Mickey Mouse (Disney)? They have a strategy for impacting those around them…and knowing that time is influence…they are more successful at getting the outcomes they desire if they begin influencing those individuals when they are young.
So who is “they”? What are “their” motives? How can we learn from “them”?…
The holidays are a perfect time to begin new traditions. It gives us parents the opportunity to be a little more intentional with our kids with the extra time we get to spend with them. Whether you have vacation time that needs to be taken, or your kids are on…what do they call it now…Winter Break [if you’re wondering whatever happened to Christmas Break, that’s a topic for another time]. This time of year brings with it extra hours that can be capitalized on to strengthen relationships if we choose to be wise in how we spend it. If we choose to just slow down and stop trying to catch the next best thing [or uh gingerbread man…I had to tie in the title somehow].
Three years ago I started a tradition that with my oldest son. Every Christmas we buy one of those Gingerbread House Kits from the store, and we try our best to make the coolest and slickest house on the market. We lay out all the candy, trying hard not to eat it so there is some left for house, and we piece together the walls and roof with icing that makes it all stick. It is one of the highlights of the year…for both of us.