WOW! The response to my course Forward, the best way from here to there has surpassed my expectations. More than 500 people have signed up for it in the first month. It answers two questions, who do you want to be five years from now and what are your next steps for getting there. The course is currently available for FREE (as of the day this blog was published) at Udemy.com. Here is a preview:
I have released a new video in the series, Top 5 life hacks for personal transformation. Personal renewal is an important and overlooked need in every person. Renewal takes place in nature constantly. We are part of the natural world and should recognize our personal need for renewal. Interested in more top 5 life hacks? Visit my Youtube site and please subscribe.
Possibly the best example of organizations ignoring their challenges until they become a crisis comes, unfortunately, from our Federal Reserve. As reported today in the BloombergView, Michael Lewis writes, The Fed encourages its employees to keep their heads down, to obey their managers and to appease the banks. That is, bank regulators failed to do their jobs properly not because they lacked the tools but because they were discouraged from using them.
The humble illustration often used in this website makes the real issue clear. A group of people stand in their kitchen looking at a puddle of water on the floor in front of the sink. While the puddle is a visible and clear problem, they realize immediately that it is neither the only problem nor the most important issue. Cleaning it up will not resolve their situation. Once tidied, the puddle will form again. They know the real problem is inside the kitchen cabinet.
The Fed’s practice of discouraging employees is a “puddle” problems on a regular basis. It is frightening to imagine what the “cabinet” problems may be. They may be intentionally hidden or ignored by leadership, leading to more “puddle” problems. Discovering Your Next Step helps people and organizations open their cabinets and see what their real problems are.
I was sitting on stage near a soloist and I could read the words
to the song before she sang them. It was a favorite of mine so I could anticipate the high emotional points and the quiet, reflective moments that were about to come. I could anticipate the beauty of the song but the anticipation was nothing compared to the experience of hearing it. I like to think that God has a similar relationship with you and me. God sees our lives before we live them. Our lives are some of his favorites and He can’t wait for the joys he knows are coming. God is prepared for our challenges and sad about pain and disappointments that await us. He will be with us in the thrill and difficulties of living it out. God knowing what will happen is nothing like his being with us when we live it out.
There are four aspects that
contribute to a Spirit Stimulating situation. They aren't rules but they help.
It ought to be something you
enjoy or are interested in because you don’t want it to be drudgery. Just imagine what happens when soil receives fertilizer. It likes it. Soil is glad the fertilizer is there. It wants more of it.
It ought to involve other people. People always offer plenty of raw materials for the Holy Spirit to work with.
It ought to be something already going on, not something you start yourself. If you try to start a new ministry or a group, you will be spending your energy directly growing something rather than simply creating an environment.
It ought to be intentionally for the purpose of letting the Holy Spirit use it to help you grow. There can be many reasons we decide to do something new. I've experienced more growth when I look to the new thing as an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work in me. It could be something you've been told to do, by a doctor, boss, or life circumstance, or chosen to do, like a small group or new class. Regardless, be intentional about it being a Spirit Stimulating Situation in your life.
I’ve discovered that the times I have grown in surprising ways or had a heart that is ready to receive more from God are times I have changed the
environment of my heart. Anyone who works in a garden knows that if you want to
affect it, you can either take stuff out of your garden or put stuff in.
The same seems true with the environment of our hearts so that they are more
available to the work of the Holy Spirit. We can take stuff out and put stuff
Home depot has plenty of soil additives and amendments to improve
soil’s physical properties, such as water infiltration and retention, aeration
and structure. Practically speaking, there is an additive that we can add to our
lives that allows for more infiltration and retention of the Holy Spirit and
freshens and improves our spiritual
The additive that caused growth times for me I would identify as a Spirit
Stimulating situation. This is a new, life setting or activity. Most recently, it was a small group I led on Coaching Christlikeness but it could be something like a new job, online course, or walking group. In many cases, the heart environment is not even a consideration in the decision process. But, I’ve learned that we can intentionally make our heart’s soil available to the Holy Spirit who will work in us in new ways. On reflection, I’ve identified three elements that make an activity a Holy Spirit welcoming situation. I’ll save them for my next blog.
I love to help people discover their next step. Of course, all of us would like to know where we are going next year, next job, or next opportunity. God generally doesn't give us that much clarity. He gives us a step and waits to see if we take it.
God showed me a step of getting involved at Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center at Lake Tahoe. Carolyn and I have loved staying there and I was invited to serve as a chaplain there this summer. I practiced what I preach and took each opportunity as it came. Now, I am honored to be asked to serve on the board. I look forward to having some input but even more, growing in my own walk with God through this beautiful place.
For several years I've been working on a process to help individuals and organizations have a heartfelt experience of hearing God, discovering their own best self, and gaining a sense of direction. It can be used with small groups or by individuals for their church leaders, staff, or other organizations. I'm excited to share an excerpt from the Study Guide and Workbook I've designed to be used in one of my workshops but can also be used by an individual on their own. I've held this workshop with multiple churches and different groups including church elders, deacons, staff, and members in retreat settings,
seminars and training meetings. Click here for a free copy of the introduction.
Today a great group of deacons from Christ Presbyterian Church in Carlsbad, CA used Discovering Your Next Step for a retreat. I am not surprised anymore when people have meaningful experiences of God in these events. They gain clarity, direction and an intention to follow through. But, I am always grateful to see it happen and to have a part in it. I look forward to some of them posting responses and sharing how they are moving forward. To learn more about their church, click here.
It was a little unnerving to sit in a room with my fellow team
members during a heated interaction and realize we had all been here before,
multiple times. Most of us could have choreographed how the conversation would
deteriorate, and ultimately end without a resolution or decision. I knew each
of these people acted differently in other settings and with other people. How
could we get them to bring their best to this table. This is one of the
objectives of a tool called the TKI conflict mode instrument. First let me say,
it really works. I’ve used it in personal conflicts and seen it change a
person’s perspectives on how they respond to all kinds of people. And I’ve seen
it restore relationships.
Briefly, we respond to different people differently even if the
situation is very similar. Take an obvious example. We get the same request,
“can I have $20,” from two people in two settings, one is our teenage son or
daughter heading out with friends, the other is a stranger on a downtown street.
We respond differently, right?
That simple reality opens an incredible opportunity for us to
respond differently to the team members we work with on a daily basis, even if
we have developed ingrained, unhelpful habits with them. The TKI helps begin
that process. I’ve written a brief article on the TKI.
If you read the article and like it, please respond to this blog
and let me know. I’ve got more on the