Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ Category

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QUOTE – Tim Keller (12-5-21)

December 5, 2021

Wisdom is developed only in experience. No matter how hard they study, the graduate of medical school, law school, and business school will become truly wise in their fields only out in the open, that is, in real-life experince.

Tim Keller, God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life

This explains well the reason that I have a difficult time listening to the “wisdom” of someone in their twenties and maybe even their thirties. Wisdom comes from experience and experience is hard-earned and expensive.

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Proverb-ish #1

December 1, 2021

I have been reading Wisdom In Israel by Gerhard Von Rad and have been inspired to see if I might be able to write something in the same genre. I have learned a couple things.

First, it is a little embarassing to blatantly admit that you’re trying to write something wise. In other writing, you can hide behind the interesting phrase or poetic license. There is no hiding your intentions when putting a pen to a proverb. Your intellect tends to be on display. I have found that disconcerting. My intellect is not the worst, but it is not the best. I land comfortably in the middle of the bell curve. Yet, I am still susceptible to the praise of men and the fear of being considered simple or even stupid. However, I have learned that intellect and wisdom are not the same. Wisdom is the application of knowledge to the real world. Therefore, my attempt is to share what I have learned through the years (knowledge) to my understanding of how the world works. I am more confident with this.

Second, this is hard. The whole point is to write a thought-provoking saying that conveys a world of truth in a few words. That is difficult to do. Good or bad, the process is rewarding. Attempting to write a proverb will force you to write in a concise manner. That is a good excercise for anyone working on the craft of writing. So, I will keep at it. Hopefully, they will improve with time.

I have delayed long enough. My disclaimers are hopefully sufficient. There are a variety of proverb styles. Here are my first attempts at proverb writing, presented as opposites:

Opinion rough hewn, set aside as complete.
Thinking continually crafting, refined through time.

Quick retorts, snide remarks, talking points, pass for understanding.
Accurate articulation of an opposing view, true knowledge.

Division and hurt excused by single-minded purpose.
A wake of kindness, people as primary, purposed defined.

Curiousity satisfied by a tweet.
Always more to know, curiousity grows.

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CREATING CRAP

November 4, 2021

I have been nurturing a little daydream. “What if I could write something truly meaningful.”  Most mornings, the dog and I sit alone with my coffee, Bible, and random thoughts. I write down whatever inspires from these solitary times with a sense that I have touched on something utterly profound.   I have been doing this for most of the year and the end of my journal is getting near. 

I have had a nagging feeling that something should be done with all the wit and wisdom that resides in this little journal of a book.  I thought of my children when I die; that they will appreciate the depth of my thoughts when they discover this little non-descript journal amongst all my clutter.  Then I was reminded about how life works. This journal might get saved for another drawer.  Maybe, handed down to another generation until at last a destiny as a recycled paper cup. 

I love the book, “Markings” by Dag Hammarskjold.  It is a collection of his diary reflections.  It was assembled and published after his death.  It is a wonderful collection of thoughts about God, the practicalities of life, and those intersections.  “Maybe, I could assemble something like that”, became my thought.  So, I have continued to put pen to paper in the morning hours, trying to think of something serious.  My plan became to write a book, a collection of prose and maybe some poetry, just like Dag Hammarskjold. 

I have daydreamed about this little book, throughout the year.  I have written consistently and most of the time I have been satisfied it was good.  “What would a publisher think?”’; “Am I brave enough to try?”; “What about the criticism, could I handle it?”;  “Maybe, an ebook on Amazon for $2.99”;  “A little extra income would be nice.”;  “What if it got popular?”; “Would I be viewed as a sage?” “Maybe, I will be ask to conferences and invited on stage?”

It is embarrassing to admit that I was concerned about pride from literary acclaim, before I prepared something for someone else to even entertain.

We are nearing the end of the year and my journal is three-quarters full.  I thought it was time to assemble a few of my profundities.  I had a plan of how I would organize them for ease of assembly, editing, and publishing.  I was ready to begin this historic pilgrimage.

I read a musing from earlier in the year.  I read one from a few days later.  I jumped around; months ahead and a few behind.  I was shocked in my conclusion, “they were mostly crap”.  “How can this be?” “I must be languishing in a morning fantasy.”

The confidence in my ability to write with quality evaporated in that little perusal. Mortified in my belief that I was creating something to sit alongside Dag Hammarskjold’s Markings. Clearly, I do not have to worry about pride in accomplishment.  My issue is more pride in delusional grandeur.   

I have lost my little daydream.  It is okay.  Obviously, it is for the best.  It was only a matter of time until reality killed it off.

It has made me reflect upon the reasons for striving to create.  I don’t do this for the money.  My ability to convey a thought in prose and poetry would be more important if it was associated with a paycheck.  I do it because I enjoy trying to write something in a way that is interesting (at least for me).  I do it because it helps me organize my thoughts.  I do it because, in many ways, it is how I pray. 

If we like to create, whatever that might be, why do we care what other people think?  It is irrelevant to the reasons that we do what we do.  I have created a lot of delusional crap.  I enjoyed every minute of it; absent any accolades.  It has been freeing to remember the joy of creating for merely me. 

Maybe, the greatest, purest, joy possible is the secret reward for those who create something that is never destined to be special.  The joy is in the creating not the creation.  That is what I need to remember.

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Dual Citizens

May 25, 2021

While I traveled along a narrow path
I crossed from the republic of conscience
Peaceful here beyond my life’s aftermath.
I could hear a Dove’s long call unconscious.
Immigration was a confusing ease.
An old man smiling wise my constant guide.
In his hand a list of names set aside.
Amongst those there written was mine in red.
Scarlet evidence of passage paid free
Freedom bought from a republic of dead.
Price paid with simple acceptance in glee
The first law in the land of adoption,
A response of love is not an option.

A customs agent asks me to declare
Homeopathic cures and charms for woes.
Remedies to justify are not rare.
Contraband these ways with no cure to show.
Banned what seems right in old republic eyes.
Yet, I sneak some in as if on a dare   
Testing my knowledge to explore red’s share.
Will power against words or thoughts impure. 
Contraband to a fee already paid
An add that contains a hidden allure
of earning an entrance the debt to evade
An abhorrent desire to claim a share
of the purchased glory dimming its glare.

Monarch’s commands reveals laws to observe.
Laws interpreted as burdens to bear.
No Sherpa to call. No other can serve.
You carry your own burden with fanfare.
Soon symptoms of creeping privilege show.
The right of an earned citizenship.
Entitlement transformed from kinship.
But what count of burdens borne is enough?
Is one offense sufficient to revoke
a name from the Custom’s list as a bluff?
Contraband declared should not provoke.
One cannot add to merit adoption.
A response of love is not an option.

Tempted to recline here at the border
Passport in hand, retirement at last
A chronic compulsion calls to order.
Wonder compels distance from shadows past
Progress hard won but must go on, go through
Only course is forward answers to find
Will not turn back, sorrows have been declined
Stumbles and falls all part of wonders draw
Every tumble dislodges a treasure
Useless trinkets, burdens progress does stall
Remorseless for trifles of displeasure
Should have heeded customs agent advice
Journey easier fueled by loves devise

The path I walk different than before
narrow, cobbled, disfigured by roots
Curious dust more at home on a shore
Troublesome filth that coats from hat to boots.
Not a fine dust that can be beat away.
Each step aerates more crystals minerals
Air full with particles not minimal.
I am covered with icicles of white.
Caked by the lands prized symbol salt.
New or old told by its reflected light
Encrusted clothing worthy of a vault
Evidence of citizenship granted
a walk into what love has transplanted

Ahead a statuesque form in motion
Reflecting a glow ever growing
Beyond yet beside in full devotion
Chronic surprise astonishment owing
Kindness presenting an ideal as real
Salt constantly swirling and alluring
Drawn to one with no false assuring
Truly disclosing custom’s hidden hoard
No loss shown by robed riches gained
Every illicit trifle long ignored
A man of stone matured through years sustained
Expert nurturing particles of taste
Clothed in treasure attracted without haste

My companion and I journey along
Old republic traveled in parallel
Saltless person we meet blind and headstrong
My companion heralds fear to dispel
The custom agent asks him to declare
Insults ensue, words viewed like death and rot
Guides sad note, at the border he is not
He looks me in the eye beckons me see
More new than old it is obvious now
Declared dual citizens both are we
Ambassadors to what love can allow
Sharing news of the land of adoption
Where love abounds desiring no options.

This is my first attempt at writing a sonnet; I hope I followed all the rules. My inspired came from “From the Republic of Conscience” by Seamus Heaney.


 

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But Rather

March 15, 2021

Remember the “but rather”.  We all will offer out bodies up as instruments today.  Let’s choose wisely.  Let’s choose righteously.

https://soundfaith.com/logos-media-share/620083

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QUOTE (Noreena Hertz)

March 3, 2021

I have started reading a disturbing book, The Lonely Century by Noreena Hertz.  My tendency is to respond with some trite phrase as “suck it up buttercup” .  However, I think we may be beyond appeals to bootstraps and suspenders.  We are all experiencing fundamental changes in the societal norms for interaction that we need to seriously address.

https://soundfaith.com/logos-media-share/613546

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A Bit of Advice – Relational Currency

February 27, 2021
Photo by David McBee on Pexels.com

The rise in the valuation of bitcoin has me thinking about currencies.  There are traditional currencies like the dollar and cutting edge currencies like bitcoin, but there seems to be a currency that contains real wealth that few consider.  There is a currency that gets transacted upon in every aspect of our lives but I have never heard it discussed in terms of currency.  Relational currency might be the most significant medium of exchange you handle. 

Are not relationships of tremendous value to you?

What if you were to categorize the relations in your life in terms of the currencies from the United States, Venezuela, China, Bit-Coin?  All currencies fluctuate in their valuation.  Most of those fluctuations are associated with the stability, the retained wealth, and long-term potential of the entity behind the currency.  Consider the relationships we value the most.  Those valuable relationships tend to be stable.  You can count on that other person to consistently respond in a predictable trustworthy manner.  High-value relationships are those that you can rely upon. 

I have relationships that are as stable as the US Dollar.  In times of crisis, I move my other relational speculations back into these high-value people because I know they are going to be there for the long-term.  I know other people value them. They are widely considered wise.

I have relationships that have devalued faster than the Venezuela Bolivar.  There were events that made me question the fundamentals of the relationship.  These are the relationships that I put at arms length when character issues arise that indicate an untrustworthiness.  At best, these devalued currencies have to be hedged against.

I have relationships that I suspected are as manipulated as China’s Yuan. Many people will tell you what you want to hear just to try to get something from you.  Often, the thing they want is something that you would have been willing to give without all the manipulations.  It tends to be all about appearances.  It is unfortunate, but it is what it is.  These relationships are valued for what they can provide today but the future is always uncertain.

I have relationships that are so confusing but represent such an intriguing upside that you have to play it out, just like bitcoin.  These are the folks that represent the wild-ride of life.  They will take you to incredible highs and devastating lows.  These are the folks that you can’t go all-in on.  You can have them in your portfolio of relationships, but do not get overextended on the number of these folks in your life.  They will drive you crazy.  (note: do not marry a bitcoin person)

There are two sides to every relational currency.  I control only one side.  My goal is to be the type of person that has the fundamentals of a high-value relationship.  I want other people to be able and willing to highly value their relationship with me. This goal requires that I adhere to a set of character standards which are inherent to a stable relationship.  I know that the value of my relationships can dip on the most trivial of fluctuations in an expected response.  I am continually amazed at the disregard that is often given to these trivial elements of relationship that have significant impacts upon a relationships valuation.

I manage employees.  I am not a micro-manager of employees.  This requires that I trust those whom I am managing.  It requires that I have a high-value relationship with my employees.  High-value relationships do not just happen upon the first day of employment.  These relationships are built over time.  Trust is not a right.  It is a privilege.  It must be earned.  I must earn it as an employer and employees must earn it with me.  This happens through an accumulation of a variety of signals over time that demonstrate someone can be trusted.  These signals lie among the trivial decisions that every person makes.  It is shocking how naïve people are to this basic principle.

Photo by Marc Mueller on Pexels.com

I have people lie to me on a regular basis.  They are not big lies, more like minor deceptions, mis-directions, exaggerations.  I know that they are ignorant to my devaluation of our relational currency.  I know they are ignorant to it because I often don’t tell them.  The issue is trivial but the ramifications are not.

As an example, it is very illustrative how employees manage their “paid time off” (PTO). 

  • There becomes a trust issue, when an employee goes on vacation, has handed off all her projects, yet logs more work hours than PTO at the beach resort.
  • There becomes a trust issue, when an employee consistently does a little bit of unnecessary work on their day off because it looks like they are gaming the system.
  • There becomes a trust issue, when an employee is “working” from home but cannot be reached for hours or doesn’t complete what normally should have been done.  There probably should have been a mixture of PTO in that work day.

These trivial issues are never about the value of PTO.  It is about the devaluation caused by the doubt in the relational currency.  I absolutely hate discussions about the proper use of the trivial amount of a 1/2 hours use of PTO.  I just want to trust them.  I want to trust their integrity and honesty.  I want to trust them not because I am worried about getting ripped off on a 1/2 hour of PTO.  I need to trust them because I have much more valuable responsibilities that I hope to give to them. 

If I have doubts about their trustworthiness in managing their PTO, such a small thing, I cannot trust them with responsibilities that have significant consequences.  As an employer, I have found that employees either have integrity or they don’t.  It is difficult for me to change that.  We can create a company culture that values and encourages integrity, and that is worth doing.  However, some will just play along;  a manipulated currency if you will.   It is really hard to distinguish between the honest and the manipulative. 

Therefore, if you are a person of integrity, do not get lackadaisical on the trivial.  Do not inadvertently plant a kernel of misplaced doubt.  Do not be naïve in thinking the trivial does not matter.  Everyone’s relationships fluctuate.  The valuation of these relationships have significant implications for the future. 

The Biblical principle is true.  Those who are dishonest in the little are likely to be dishonest in the large.  Those who are honest in the trivial can be trusted with the significant.  How you handle the trivial might just be your path to the significant.

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On-line Study

July 23, 2020

I had the opportunity to preach this past Sunday. I did a short introduction to the on-line study “Making Sense of the Bible”. Message me if you are interested in joining us.

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Virtue?

June 27, 2020

Many appeal to a standard of virtue but few can list it’s practical attributes and even fewer can identify the true source.

Virtue is not knowledge. It is action; action driven by it’s source.

If you pursue the attributes of virtue without the source of the virtuous, your pure virtuosity is nothing more than the self-serving actions of the ambitious.

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Online Bible Study

May 21, 2020

Bible Study Invitation

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