Showing posts with label Success. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Success. Show all posts

Monday, April 28, 2014

Meander while succeeding ...

Life is more than a series of tasks to be executed.

You might not think that if you listen to the "success experts" who tell you to "CRUSH!" your day, and keep knocking out your goals one after another. There can be some wisdom in doing just that, but you'll miss what's important in life if that's all you do.

That's because a lot of these coaches and "gurus" are just talking and writing from formulas someone taught them about completing activities that achieve an objective. Most of them spend little time considering that life is also full of people and potential experiences which we need to make room for if life is going to be full, fulfilling, and more than a to-do list.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright once told of an incident that seemed insignificant at the time, but had a profound influence on the rest of his life. The winter when he was nine years old, he went walking across a snow-covered field with his reserved, no-nonsense uncle. As the two of them reached the far end of the field, his uncle stopped him. He pointed out his own tracks in the snow --- straight and true as an arrow's flight --- and then young Frank's tracks meandering all over the field.

"Notice how your tracks wander aimlessly from the fence to the cattle, to the woods, and back again," his uncle said. "And see how my tracks aim directly to my goal. There is an important lesson in that."

Years later, the world-famous architect liked to tell how this experience had greatly contributed to his philosophy in life.

"I determined right then," he'd day with a twinkle in his eye, "not to miss most things in life, as my uncle had."

Don't misunderstand: I'm NOT saying that focus, discipline, and even expediency aren't important, but life is a little bigger than just that. Take, for example, the life of Jesus, who pursued the single most important mission any man has ever had. Some of the greatest stories about what Jesus said or did come from times when He was interrupted in the process of His earthly ministry. His mission journey was not a straight line from the carpenter's shop to the cross. His tracks meandered all over!

What do your tracks through life look like? Are you just pursuing checking off items on a never-ending to do list? Or are you making room for people and experiences beyond the tasks necessary to achieve specific objectives?


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fear of change isn't the only thing that kills opportunities ...

The greatest opportunity killer you will likely ever encounter is your own mind.

Many offer as evidence how we kill opportunities in our minds because of fear of change. But that isn't always the case. Sometimes we kill opportunities with our thinking because we're afraid things will stay the same! Sometimes we want change so desperately we become terrified at the idea of things remaining as they are and allow that fear to sabotage our opportunities.

So we do the irrational thing and shoot down the opportunity to try. For example ...

... many marriages have ended in divorce because of this distorted way of thinking. After years of marriage, the husband or wife becomes convinced their spouse will "never change," and it's that prospect of living with them as they are that motivates them to walk out instead of trying to fix their marriage ...

... or, you've had a dream for years that you have played with in your mind for so long you've convinced yourself you would fail and only find yourself where you currently are, so you give up on the dream without even trying ... because you don't want to stay where you are.

No, it doesn't make sense, but that often doesn't stop us from behaving this way. When we complicate our opportunities, or misinterpret them, we're likely to kill them. Before doing that, we might save our opportunities if only we seek a little wise counsel from others.

Kind of like the fellow who had, for years, been the only barber in the small town he lived in. Just about everyone went to him to get their hair cut. Then one day a big hair salon franchise came to town and opened shop directly across the street from the barber. A big sign hung in the window of the salon: "All Haircuts for $3.00"

Slowly, the barber's business began to dwindle. He couldn't compete with $3.00 haircuts. In a last ditch effort to save his business, he hired a business consultant. The consultant spent a day pouring over the barber's books and asking a lot of questions. At the end of the day the barber asked the consultant, "So what do you think, should I close up shop?"

"Not yet, I'll be back tomorrow," was his answer.

The next day the consultant showed up with a huge banner that he hung in front of the barber shop that stated, "We fix $3.00 haircuts!"

Proverbs 15:22 states, "Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success." Before you kill the next opportunity in front of you, seek counsel from a wise Christian who has your best interests at heart. Doing so could help you take a big step forward to success.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Making the jump to new heights ...

Take a moment to watch the video below ...

You muster all the courage you possibly can.

You're going to go for it!

You line up, make your approach, then jump!

And fail miserably!

In front of everyone!

The lady in the video thought she could make the jump but didn't come close. She was able to laugh about it when she found herself on the ground, far short of her goal.

She may have failed at her ultimate goal of jumping over the bar, but she achieved something most of the people watching her didn't: she put herself in the game.

Engaging, trying, executing an effort changed this woman; she's no longer a spectator. She might not make it over the bar on her next try, but chances are she'll come closer to the goal. As she lay rolling on the ground laughing about her initial wipe out, you can bet she was realizing what her mistakes were the first time around ...

... she didn't take it seriously enough because it looked so easy ...

... it's not quite as easy as it looks ...

... next time, build a more explosive approach ...

... explode UP and over ...

... she'll do better next time.

And, eventually, she'll clear the bar.

That is, if she continues to try.

Achieving new heights requires us to
  • take ourselves out of spectator status and engage,
  • learn from failures by assessing what went wrong and how we can fix that on the next attempt, and
  • persist until we finally achieve our objective.
You'll never reach new heights standing on the sidelines, watching others make the jump. You have to put yourself in the game.

What are you standing by watching others do that you should be engaging in yourself? What will it take for you to engage? When will you make the jump to the next step of growth in your life?


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Following methods of past successes can lead to failure ...

Just because God directs you to victory a certain way at a certain time doesn't mean you should always practice that specific guidance in all future, similar situations.

In fact, not seeking God's specific direction for each situation we face in life can lead to failure. The reason is we can too easily trust in past methods for victory rather than in God, who originally guided us to victory.

Here's a great example from the life of King David. When the Philistines rose up against him, David sought direction from the Lord.

"17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king of Israel, they mobilized all their forces to capture him. But David was told they were coming, so he went into the stronghold. 18 The Philistines arrived and spread out across the valley of Rephaim. 19 So David asked the Lord, 'Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?' The Lord replied to David, 'Yes, go ahead. I will certainly hand them over to you.' 20 So David went to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. 'The Lord did it!' David exclaimed. 'He burst through my enemies like a raging flood!' So he named that place Baal-perazim (which means 'the Lord who bursts through')," 2 Samuel 5:17-20.

Even though David experienced a great victory over the Philistines in that situation, he didn't assume he should face all such situations the same way. That was wise thinking because the Philistines did, indeed, return. And this time, God had different instructions for David.

"22 But after a while the Philistines returned and again spread out across the valley of Rephaim. 23 And again David asked the Lord what to do. 'Do not attack them straight on,' the Lord replied. 'Instead, circle around behind and attack them near the poplar trees. 24 When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, be on the alert! That will be the signal that the Lord is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.' 25 So David did what the Lord commanded, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer," 2 Samuel 5:22-25.

Had David not sought God first when the Philistines returned, but simply relied on past success, he would have struck out for a battle that God would not have been leading.

To have "success" in life through God requires seeking God every day, in every situation, rather than relying on the methods of our past successes. That's because it is God Himself who brings us victory, not the methodology He may have us employ in a given situation.

It's not uncommon for a Christian to find himself knocked down in failure, and confused by it, thinking he had done exactly what God had him do the last time he was in a similar situation. The person is bewildered, wondering why he suffered failure this time. The answer is because he was trusting a previously successful method rather than God Himself, who made the method successful the last time.

God wants us to seek Him daily so He can lead and direct us anew, and so that our trust can be fresh every day.

Are you looking to past successes for the victories you need in life? Or are you daily seeking God and trusting Him rather than methods?


Friday, March 1, 2013

What size bowl do you need?

We're routinely given this message ...

... to go for something bigger, often just because it's bigger, even when this ...

... is sufficient to meet our needs.

"Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content," 1 Timothy 6:6-8.

"Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, 'I will never fail you. I will never abandon you',” Hebrews 13:5.

"10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength," Philippians 4:10-13.

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need," Matthew 6:33.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

A little advice about advice ...

Here's some wise advice directly from scripture:

"Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers," Proverbs 11:14.

"Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success," Proverbs 15:22.

Simply put, failing to obtain wise counsel can lead to failure; plenty of good advice can be a genuine "key to success."

There is a key to actualizing the truth of this scripture: choose your counselors wisely. Ungodly counsel from people who don't seek knowledge, understanding, and wisdom from God, and who don't have your best interests at heart, can quickly mislead you from God's vision for you.

"19 Someone may say to you, 'Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.' But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead? 20 Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark," Isaiah 8:19-23.

Simply put, the will of God will always align with the Word of God. Plenty of advice from those who fear, love, listen to, and serve God can bring great insights into God's guidance for you. Likewise, advice from those who pay no heed to God and His Word can be a direct means to derailing you from following God's will for you.

Are you listening to yourself too much, or are you getting the wise input you need? How do you acquire good, godly counsel for yourself? Do you currently have any ungodly sources of counsel in your life that need to be removed?


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What does it take to buy an ice cream cone?

Dan and Bunny Williams are two people who actually made it big in Amway.

Really big.

Years ago, I heard Williams tell his story. Punctuated with his well-known humor, Williams told about how, when they had just bought a Rolls Royce and were driving it for the first time, he suddenly had a craving for ice cream. So he stopped at the local Dairy Queen and enjoyed an ice cream cone with his wife.

You don't have to be able to afford a Rolls Royce to buy an ice cream cone. Dan's resources extended vastly beyond what was needed to afford his craving or his needs.

God has blessed His children in a similar way. Our blessings greatly overshadow our needs.

We might think we have mountains to move in our lives, but our problems usually don't rise to that scale. Yet, Jesus said, “... I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible," Matthew 17:20b.

"From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another," John 1:16.

"Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens," James 1:17.

"And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus," Philippians 4:19.

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think," Ephesians 3:20.

"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength," Philippians 4:13.

Kind of like sitting in a Rolls Royce eating an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen, we have vastly more resources in Christ than will ever be needed in this lifetime. God has gifted us with faith and He blesses us with mercy, and grace, and His endless, bottomless lovingkindness. He pours out His mercy, and His grace, and His love on us.

Instead of looking at life as being filled with burdens too big to bear, God has supplied us with a capacity in Christ bigger than needed. He never told us to go move a mountain, but He gave us a faith capable of doing so. He didn't tell us to go do "everything," yet in Christ, He has enabled us to be able to do "everything."

What more do you want?


Monday, November 5, 2012

How to get what you want ...

The business world and the church are so overflowing with "positive thinker" gurus preaching their platitudes about success that it can be hard for people to know who or what to believe.

But what if there really was a way to get everything you desired?

There is, and I'll share how in a single sentence:

"Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires," Psalm 37:4.

This verse doesn't say the Lord is willing to give you whatever your heart desires without condition; quite the opposite, it clearly states there is a condition in which He's willing to provide you with what you want.

What is the condition?

"Take delight in the Lord ..."

It is impossible to do that from an unyielded, unrepentant heart. It's only when we allow the Lord to wash away our sin through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that we can find delight in Him. When we go from being in opposition to God, to being adopted by Him, we discover great delight in Him!

Guess what happens then ...

The desires of our hearts reflect God's desires. As He transforms our minds, and changes our hearts, we see others as He sees them, and we value things as He values them. Our desires merge into His desires. It's in that relationship that "... He will give you your heart's desires."

Do you literally delight in the Lord? Or are you trying to get what you want from Someone you take no delight in?


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How to fail consistently ...

What is one of the most crucial elements to:
  • Having a great marriage?
  • Being content?
  • Being fulfilled?
  • Being an awesome parent?
  • Being an effective business leader?
  • Being an effective church leader?
  • Being an authentic, obedient, and faithful follower of Christ? 
  • Being ...

Some may need additional growth, equipping, training, etc., but in any of the items listed above --- or other things we would like to accomplish --- often the single greatest factor between succeeding and failing is execution.

Many of us know what we need to do to be a great husband or wife, we just fail to execute what we already know. The same goes with the rest of the list.

I can't count the number of times in the past I've sat across from someone seeking spiritual guidance or clinical counseling, and they already knew what they needed to do; their anxiety and angst was actually about having to do just that! Often, good counsel is to confirm there are no shortcuts, there are no routes around truth. To do what you need to do, you have to do what needs to be done.

You must execute.

Not just think about it. And, yes, not just pray about it. At some point, you have to get off your knees, out of your prayer closet, and execute.

Do you really want to be an awesome husband? Then start loving your wife self-sacrificially, the same way Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25-28).

Do you really want to be an awesome wife? Then start respecting your husband the same way you respect Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:22-24).

Do you really want to know God? Then do what that takes.


"I have!" some respond.

Not consistently.

Taking three steps and then expecting the outcome from what 100 steps takes to accomplish is irrational. But it's an irrationality a lot of people nurture. They use it as a cover for choosing to fail; they can say, "I've done X, Y and Z, I just don't know why things haven't turned out for me ..."

Things haven't turned out for them because they stopped executing three steps in on something they knew takes 100 steps.

To accomplish something in life, you must execute consistently (and often persistently) until you reach the desired or possible result.

What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? What steps will it take to get from where you are, to those desired conclusions? Now that you know them, go execute them!


And stick with it until you achieve the desired results.

If you're not willing to do that, then it's time to get honest with yourself: you don't really want what you say you want. In that case, you might need to return to your prayer closet, get back down on your knees, and stay there until you come to a mutual conclusion with your Creator about who you should be and what you should be doing.

Once you've gotten honest with yourself and God and have a new clarity ... go execute!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How big of a barn do you need?

Do you have a bucket list? A real list of several things you want to accomplish before you "kick the bucket"?

How do you decide what goes on your bucket list? What is so important that you would have regrets if you didn't get to experience it?

By the way those who live in the West are taught to dream massive dreams, pursue goals, not settle for anything less than the best, and seek what makes them happy, we've come to think that life is about stuffing our human experience as full as we possibly can.

Then we open the Bible.

There we're exposed to how God values life, and we hear the simple and clear teachings of Jesus. From these things, a new thought rises ...

Perhaps the quality of our lives is less about how full we stuff them and more about how graciously we empty them.

Kind of like how Jesus lived when He walked this earth:
"You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:5-11.

Just as Jesus emptied Himself, so we can find the richness of life in His example of humility, love, and service.

Or, we can go after the dream of packing life full of things we think will make us happy. Jesus once told a story of a man who chose that kind of path ...

"Then he told them a story: A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 He said to himself, 'What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.' 18 Then he said, 'I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!' 20 But God said to him, 'You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ 21Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God," Luke 12:16-21.

 Have you chosen to try to stuff life to overflow, so you can kick back and just "enjoy life"? Or have you chosen to empty your life to the glory of God?


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Off to a good start ...

It just ain't so!

From calendars, to coffee cups, to Twitter tweets, there are a vast number of platitudes thrown our way every day that simply are not true.

Here's one: "You must fail in order to succeed."

Show me the biblical substantiation for that one!

If that were the case, parents need not discipline or teach their children. They would be better off to let their children wander into failure so they could become successful!

If that were the case, no need for pastors to teach their flocks the right way to live. Instead, better to let them go their own ways into failure so they will then succeed!

If that were so, there would be a great deal more "success" in this world!

Adam and Eve would have had things much better had they never eaten the forbidden fruit ... and so would the rest of us.

The best way to live is to listen and learn first, then apply the correct thoughts, actions or behaviors the first time out and simply avoid failure all together.

In fact, one reason for scripture is to provide us with warnings and direction from the past so that we can avoid the same mistakes and make the right decisions the first time out. Look closely at 1 Corinthians 10:1-11:

"1 I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. 2 In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. 3 All of them ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, 7 or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, 'The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.' 8 And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. 9 Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. 10 And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. 11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age."

Too often our classic approach to life is like the guy who buys something that requires assembly. Instead of reading the directions first so that the item can be properly assembled on the first attempt, we tend to try assembling the item from our own reasoning ... often failing and eventually resorting to consulting the written directions.

God doesn't want us just trying life by our own reasoning first. Instead, He has supplied us with written instructions and examples to instruct, educate, and equip us first so that we can be successful in our adventures in life on our first attempt.

That does not mean we won't fail sometimes. Nor does it mean we can't get to success out of failure. But it does mean there's a better, less painful, and more successful way of living ... by avoiding failure in the first place.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

God is not a means to an end ...

One of the ways many Christians disappoint themselves --- and create a disappointment with God --- is putting upon God inappropriate and unbiblical expectations.

"If I do this, then God will do this" is the fallacy of the thinking:

"If I am faithful, then God will ..."

"If I serve in the church, then God will ..."

"If I tithe, then God will ..."

"If I put God first, then God will ..."

"If ... if ... if ..."

We think if we do all the things we know God would desire of us, then God will do certain things for us.


But not always.

Sometimes even the most faithful suffer.

Moses hung in there with the griping, complaining people of Israel, only to be denied the blessing of entering the Promised Land.

God allowed Joseph to be thrown into a pit, falsely accused, and thrown into prison.

David's family fell apart ... big time!

Paul was beaten, stoned, imprisoned and killed.

Sometimes, when we do everything God wants, the outcome isn't always what we want. But it will always be what God wants!

It's important to remember that God is not a means to an end!

God loves us without end, and cares for us more than any human ever could. Yet His ways are His ways, and they are designed to bring glory to Him with a final outcome of being in our best interest as well. However, that may not be what we want, when we want, or even in this lifetime.

Peter asked Jesus directly what was "in it for him" regarding following Jesus:

"27 Then Peter said to him, 'We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?' 28 Jesus replied, 'I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then," Matthew 19:27-30.

Applying human expectations to a perfect, limitless God will lead to disappointment. Instead, let God be fully God in your life, embrace the blessings He gives, and know for certain that the end result will be far greater than you could have ever hoped for!

"20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen," Ephesians 3:20-21.