Sin Through Weakness and Goodness

Bad and mediocre people are tempted to sin by their own habitual weaknesses. The earlier lies or thefts or adulteries make the next one that much easier to contemplate. Having already cut so many corners, the thinking goes, what’s one more here or there? Why even aspire to virtues that you probably won’t achieve, when it’s easier to remain the sinner that you already know yourself to be?

But good, heroic people are led into temptation by their very goodness – by the illusion, common to those who have done important deeds, that they have higher responsibilities than the ordinary run of humankind. It’s precisely in the service to these supposed higher responsibilities that they often let more basic ones slip away. – Ross Douthat, New York Times, November 13, 2011

Running Faster for the Camera

I was nearing the end of my semi-routine run along Lady Bird Lake in Austin Texas when on the trail in front of me was a yellow sign announcing  the filming of the movie “When Angels Sing”  and warned that traveling beyond the sign “constitutes your consent to be recorded.”  Naturally I did what most American men would do; I pepped up my step, fixed my posture, and ran on through hoping for a split-second opportunity to tell my daughters “THERE I AM”  in a movie theater.  In the small (microscopic) chance I make it onto the big screen my daughters will see an image of an athlete but miss the reality of their father gasping for air just off screen.   What they see was temporary, the unseen is real.

I’m reminded of Paul’s message to the church in Corinth who must have been going through spiritual battles causing them to lose sight of greater rewards.   The church had been focusing on an image they thought was real and losing heart in the process.  Paul is telling them to look just off screen at the eternal glory that is unseen but oh so real.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)

Making a Change at Church: Eight (not so) Simple Steps

In a previous post I quoted John Maxell who observed that  older and “insecure leaders view change as a threat rather than an opportunity. ”  But what if you have to change.

Many small churches are facing declining membership because their traditions have not changed in decades.  The prevailing belief is worship traditions are Biblical and any deviation must certainly be a sin.  Even though largely attracted to the spiritual (review the popular movies today) , younger generations are increasingly turned off by  what they see as rigid and irrelevant. Continue reading

Real Life

Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgment of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties – Sarah Ban Breathnach

Your Real Life

The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all unpleasant things as interruptions of ones “own” or “real” life.  The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day. – C.S. Lewis

Humility, the Basic Leadership Virtue

Benedict believed the basic leadership virtue was humility. Leaders had to demonstrate competence and ambition, but their passion was to derive from a desire to improve and contribute to the health of the organization, not from individual ego. He believed that true humility was a skill one had to learn and practice.

John Mount, in a Forbes.com review of the book The Benedictine Rule of Leadership: Classic Management Secrets You Can Use Today by Craig and Oliver Galbraith

Don’t Invite Them In

“We cannot control the parade of negative thoughts marching through our minds.  But we can choose which ones we will give our attention to.  Picture your thoughts as people passing by the front of your home.  Just because they’re walking by doesn’t mean you have to invite them in.”  Gladys Edmunds

Leadership Lessons From A Janitor

The following leadership lesson was circulated around our organization today.  I’ve read this before, was inspired, and moved on to the popular leadership theories and acronyms of more “modern” leader training.  But this is a story that deserves to be revisited often, it teaches lessons lacking in today’s leaders.  In an article published in the Warton Leadership Digest James E. Moschgat  (at the time a Colonel in Command of the 12th Operations Group, 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas) writes about the squadron janitor at the Air Force Academy who was discovered to be a Congressional Medal of Honor winner.  The janitor was William John Crawford who earned a Medal of Honor while serving in Italy with the 36th Infantry Division but went on to become a leadership inspiration to Colonel Moschgat.  Continue reading

Improved Mental Fitness Through Physical Fitness

Leader wellness requires physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness.  As I was thumbing through an in-flight magazine today I noticed an article citing research that I’ve long suspected; moderate exercise benefits not only physical well being but also our mental.  Most of us have been through intermittent periods of exercise or non-exercise with higher fatigue, irritablility, and higher stress during the periods inactivity.

I hold that regular and moderate exercise helps me contend with the physical and mental demands I face.  When I get off of an exercise  routine (which is often) even for a few weeks the results are never positive.  Turns out I’m apparently correct.  Exercise influences a multitude of pysiological and phsychological factors including circulation of mood-linked neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine as well as helping  work off anxiety-producing adrenaline.  According to Dr Tedd Mitchell MD of the Dallas-based Cooper clinic reducing adrenaline is like “taking a dose of a tranquilizer.”.

New studies are showing that exercise may build a protective effect.  Animal studies suggest that long-term moderate exercise may cause a lessened response to stressful stimuli.  Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder are finding that lab rats who exercised on a wheel every day for six weeks reacted better to sudden stress compared to the sedintary rats.

These initial findings indicate the mental benefits of exercise last after effects of serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline reduction wear off.

New research is proving that what’s good for the body is good for the mind too. – Charlotte Huff

From “Mental Fitness” in Celebrate Living magazine

So You Want to be Famous?

I have to ask….Why?

As a father of two teenage daughters I frequently hear their friends and them state somthing akin to “I just want to do something to be famous..”  I cringe every time I hear it because they envision a life of glitz, glamour, and glory….I see a life of discontent, decadence, and diversions.

Jesus was arguably the most famous person to live;  almost 2000 years later his name is known throughout the world. We celebrate holidays dedicated to his life and death (and ressurection). Fame itself is not the problem, it’s how we get there lately that’s wrong.

Too many young people are striving for fame for fame’s sake alone.  Fame for fame’s sake guaruntees one to never be content with enough fame. I’m convinced the famous will not be through seeking until they pass that one in front of them with more album sales, more money per movie, the most awards, wins….

Fame by the worlds standards, especially by United States standards is rooted in decadence. We have young ladies famous only for the devience they gained attention for.  They’ve reached a goal, but at what cost?  With the exception of very few who obtained fame through a narrow business or humanitarian niche the cost to the individual and our culture is just too high. Continue reading