Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wise vs Fool

When I was growing up, I loved to watch the show "A-Team". If you are over 40, you might remember the show.

Four Vietnam vets, framed for a crime they didn't commit, help the innocent while on the run from the military. They entertained for only a few short years but left an impression on many who watched.

One of the crazy characters was "Mr T". He had a mohawk, lots of jewelry, and carried a mean attitude wherever he went. One of Mr T's favorite words was "fool" (said with his forehead creased). He could place the word in the perfect spot to describe the actions of someone who would get in their way: "I pity the fool that..." (I know you can hear him say it, it's okay to admit it).

Lately, I have found myself thinking about that word: fool.

I attended the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit (say that ten times real fast) this past September, and Henry Cloud did a session on the differences between a wise person, a foolish person and an evil person. This session has stuck with me.

The idea that he presented was this: when we hear truth from someone about our lives, we can do a number of things with that truth. We can be wise and adjust ourselves to the truth by receiving it and making necessary changes to ourselves, or, we can respond by adjusting the truth by deflecting it, making excuses, becoming defensive, etc.

Interesting how we respond to truth spoken to us.

Let me ask you: when you hear truth from a friend, boss, or someone close, do you adjust yourself and take steps to make the changes necessary? Or, do you adjust the truth to make yourself feel better?

If someone has been courageous to speak truth to you about an area of your life, let me encourage you to be wise, not a fool. I have seen how often I have been a fool about things in my own life, and I have witnessed others behave the same way.

Next time you receive some hard truth, adjust yourself. Do the hard work to make the changes.

Just Sayin

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Death and Living

Two nights ago, I went to see a play called "Tuesdays with Morrie". I was really excited to go and support my wife, who directed the play. It was the "good spouse" thing to do! After 21 years of marriage, I have learned that it's a good thing to show support for these types of things. As the play started, I was so excited for her and the cast. As I sat there, something happened, I started to reflect on my own life; it reached into me and shook me up.

If you know the story, it's about a guy who takes time to spend every Tuesday visiting an old professor who is dying of ALS. They spend time discussing a variety of subjects, such as love, forgiveness, how to treat others, meaning, hope, life, and yes, death.

Death. It's not something that we like to think about or talk about. We all know that it's a part of life, and yet we still do everything we can to avoid it. If you have ever bought anti-aging cream, you know what I'm talking about.

There was a line in the play that knocked the air out of me, kind of like a punch to the stomach that makes you gasp for air. Morrie looks at Mitch and he says, "(Death)'s not a dirty word. I am dying, and I can live with that. I've got news for you, Mitch, my friend... you are dying, too... just a lot slower."

Sitting there and hearing that line, I started to wonder how my life would change if I really lived as if was dying. How would it change how you live? Would you love more deeply? Forgive more freely? Mend family issues? Get together with your friends more often? Would you take a closer look at faith?

I am not sure if you are a person of faith or not, but Jesus tells us that if we really want to be about living, we must die to self. He explains that we must pick up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow him... then we will know what it means to live.

We all hope that we live a long, full life, but what if today was really our last day? I know that if it was my last day, I would make sure that I was letting those who are close to me know that I love them deeply. What would you do?

Just Sayin!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dripping in Gratitude

This past July, my oldest son Dave and I spent a week in Nairobi. It was an amazing Father son trip with many different experiences that left an impression on both of us.

One of the experiences I had was preaching in the slums of Korogocho. This is one of the largest slums in Nairobi. When we arrived at the church, we learned that the church was built on a dump... literally, the ground was previously used as a dumping place. Between a few of the buildings we could look across the Nairobi river where the dump was still active. There were children searching for their daily meal... in the dump.

It's not everyday you get to see this type of thing firsthand.

I will never forget our visit to this church. I will never forget the smells. I will never forget the church experience - three hours long. There is one more thing that I will never forget; how thankful the Pastors were for what they had. They were dripping in gratitude to God for all that He had provided. We could hear it in their words. We could see it in their excitement as they showed us around.

What these men taught me was we can be thankful, no matter what our circumstances may be.

There is this verse in the Bible that tells us that we are to be thankful "in" all circumstances. One of the many things that I learned from my trip to Nairobi is that being thankful in all circumstances helps me rise above whatever my circumstances may be.

Whatever your circumstances are, find a way to be thankful, it can help you rise above it!

Just Sayin