Archives For Personal_Disciplines

It is a beautiful morning!  A few clouds in the sky with the sunrise reflecting off of them producing amazing colors.

When you are in a ministry or non-profit, usually your focus is on serving and impacting others with the hope of seeing lives transformed. Often, the idea of taking care of yourself is not at the forefront of your mind or it may even seem self-centered or selfish. The problem is that if you don’t, you will at some point render yourself unable to serve others and may even disqualify yourself from leading and cause damage to others.

Fatigue is often associated with poor decision making and as we discussed in an earlier blog post, we are all just one poor decision away from being disqualified from leading.

So how are you doing in regards to self-care?  How are you caring for your soul?  Your walk with the Lord?  Do you have healthy rhythms of being quiet before Him, spending time in the Word and in worship?

How are you doing with the key relationships in your life? If married, are you investing heavily into that relationship? Just remember, well after you are no longer a leader in your ministry and they have moved on and even forgotten you, your spouse is the one that will still be with you. So, are you caring for them now?  Investing in that relationship now?

How about your overall health?  Physical, mental, and emotional? Are you caring for your body so that you extend your ministry?  Are you growing and exercising your mind?  Are you developing healthy relationships and thinking patterns that contribute to your emotional health?

With the right motivation, taking care of yourself in order to make yourself more effective is not only not selfish, it is a very necessary investment. Don’t make the mistake of not investing in your health.

Tony Schwartz has some excellent ideas on his website.  Not sure of his faith background, but still he has some good advice.  Also, check out Wayne Cordiero’s book, Leading on Empty.  Great book.  Also, his DVD Dead Leader Running is powerful.

Have a blessed time preparing to celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Happy Friday to you!  I like Fridays because that means I have a breakfast date tomorrow morning with my wife at one of our favorite cafes!!

Now I don’t use an iPhone, I am a Droid fan.  However a friend sent me an article on smartphones that caused me to pause and consider some things – click here to read why this man dumped his iPhone.

If you could go back in time and change something – what would it be?  Click here and read an article from Outreach Magazine about how 100 pastors answered that question.

Now, take a few minutes and look at these pictures and look with wonder at the handiwork of our Creator and give Him glory today.

Have a great weekend!

Silly question to ask in this current economic situation for most of us, right?

Actually, I am talking about another type of money problem – walk through the following symptoms from Life Action’s Revive magazine to do a quick self-evaluation to see if you exhibit any symptoms of a money problem:

Planning life around financial goals vs. God’s goals.

Relating success to outward gain vs. inward qualities.

Delighting more in material riches than in spiritual riches.

Letting the cares of riches choke out time for God’s Word.

Adjusting ethics to avoid financial loss.

Sacrificing friendships for financial gain.

Participating in “get rich quick” schemes.

Building family around the job vs. building the job around family.

Responding to loss with bitterness and lawsuits.

Transferring faith in God to personal wealth.

Assuming the right to make final decisions regarding my possessions and finances.

Striving for friendships with rich people vs. godly people.

Becoming the slave of discontent and ungratefulness.

 “The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10)

As I have been writing this, I am afraid I am showing a few symptoms.

To learn more about what it means to live generously, click here to read Life Action’s Revive magazine issue on living generously.

Hope you have a great week!


Immediate Action Drills

June 13, 2011

When in combat, there are certain actions you need to take automatically. Pausing to try to figure out what you need to do could result in harm or death to you or others. To prepare soldiers the Army (at least they did a LONG time ago when I was in) drills and drills soldiers on how to react almost instinctively to certain situations such as an ambush. They called these exercises Immediate Action Drills. At a certain point, your reaction to certain situations becomes almost instinctive – which is the point.

The point is made that when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger was able to land his passenger jet on the Hudson River with no loss of life, it was due to years of training that enabled him to quickly make the right decisions almost instinctively. So, the questions is – how are you training yourself so that when you are in the midst of a crisis, you make the right decisions? I am talking now more about a personal crisis – a time when extreme pressure comes about to make a decision to possibly compromise your values, great personal loss and the many other things most of us face sometime in our lives. What are you doing to prepare yourself?

In his book, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters, N. T. Wright talks about a threefold pattern of character development.

Have the right goal – loving God and others.

Identify the steps to the goal – self-giving love, kindness, humility, forgiveness – and practicing these things until they become habit, they become your “natural” response to the challenges of life.

The power to implement these steps – following Jesus and depending on the Holy Spirit.

The key is to practice and practice doing these things until they become your instinctive response to situations. So that you do respond in self-giving love to others, so that kindness is a natural reponse, so that you are quick to forgive others.

The other key is to understand that it is not possible to do without the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. It is by His power that you are able to truly build these habits into your life.

Now when are you going to take some time to get before the Lord and design your training program?

Blessings on your week,


Do you hate to wait?

June 10, 2011

Waiting is hard – but it is critical to our growth.  God often uses this time of “waiting” to shape and grow us.

Pastor Daniel Darling has a great guest post on this subject on Michael Hyatt’s blog.  It is well worth your time to read over this weekend.

Hope you have a blessed weekend!


Balance in life – what does that mean?  To me it simply means having right priorities and then actually living your life according to those priorities.

Much has been written about living a life of balance.  A life whose rhythms produce health and effectiveness in what you are called to do is one indication of living a life in balance.  We have seen too often leaders, especially Christian leaders, who have fallen due to wrong priorities.

When you are not living wisely – not according to the right priorities, you put so much at risk. Not just yourself, but to those you love the most.  They are the ones that seem to suffer the most.

Michael Hyatt has written recently on “Five Consequences of A Life Out of Balance”.  The things you are putting at risk he mentions are:

1. Your Health

2. Your Family

3. Your Friends

4. Your Effectiveness

5. Your Example

If you are not living a life of balance – a life of right priorities – it will catch up with you and you won’t like the consequences.

Wayne Cordeiro has some good resources regarding this topic as does Tony Schwartz.

My priorities are:

My relationship with Jesus

My wife

My daughters

My country

My ministry

My health

What are yours?  Do you know?  If not, maybe it is time to get away and decide.

Blessings on your day!


Alone Together

January 18, 2011

Technology has had and is having a major impact on our lives, often in ways we did not imagine. The amount of information available to people now is staggering and the ability to connect with people from your past that are now scattered across the globe is a blessing.

However, all technology (as it always has been) is a two-edged sword.  With all the wonderful advances, there is often a price, especially if we are unaware of what it is doing to us.

Sherry Turkle a professor at MIT, in her book Alone Together has been studying the impact of technology, especially computers, upon our lives for the past 30 years.  She is a user and beneficiary of the advances in technology, but is also sounding some warnings about how we are allowing it to shape us.  I am only part way through the book, but following are some quotes from the early part of the book that are worth pondering in my opinion.

“Technology proposes itself as the architect of our intimacies.”

“Technology is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities.” (this issue is a key concern of Dr. Turkle)

“Our networked life allows us to hide from each other, even as we are tethered to each other.”

“ . . . not what computers do for us but what they do to us, to our ways of thinking about ourselves, our relationships, our sense of being human.”

“We romance the robot and become inseparable from our smartphones. As this happens, we remake ourselves  and our relationships with each other through our new intimacy with machines.”

“People are lonely.  The network is seductive. But if we are always on, we may deny ourselves the rewards of solitude.”

“Technology ties us up as it promises to free us up. Connectivity technologies once promised to give us more time. But as the cell phone and smartphone eroded the boundaries between work and leisure, all the time in the world was not enough. Even when we are not ‘at work’, we experience ourselves as ‘on call’; pressed, we want to edit out complexity and ‘cut to the chase.’”

“Overwhelmed by the volume and velocity of our lives, we turn to technology to help us find time. But technology makes us busier than ever and ever more in search of retreat.”

“We make our technologies, and they, in turn shape us. So, of every technology we must ask, Does it serve our human purposes? – a question that causes us to reconsider what those purposes are.”

This morning, a friend sent me this quote as we were discussing (via e-mail) this very subject:

“All kinds of things rejoiced my soul in the company of my friends — to talk and laugh and to do each other kindnesses; read pleasant books together, pass from lightest jesting to talk of the deepest things and back again; differ without rancour, as a man might differ with himself, and when most rarely dissension arose, find our normal agreement all the sweeter for it; teach each other or learn from each other; be impatient for the return of the absent, and welcome them with joy and their homecoming; these and such like things, proceeding from our hearts as we gave affection and received it back, and shown by face, by voice, by the eyes, and a thousand other pleasing ways, kindled a flame which infused our very souls and of many made us one. This is what men value in friends.” – St. Augustine (354-430) Algerian Bishop of Hippo

What are your thoughts on the impact that this “hyper-connectivity” is having on our souls?




Are you busy?  Are you very, very busy?  Is this busyness fulfilling to you?  Or is it draining you?  Do you resent the demands placed on you?  Do you miss actually seeing and interacting with your family on a regular basis?  If you do, that begs the question – what is the purpose of your work?

A friend of mine often speaks to beleaguered families and he makes this statement – “It seems that most of us get up in a tired and in a rush, get the kids fed & off to school, do our best to make it to work on time, try to survive a day with back-to-back meetings on our calendar, work late due to schedule interruptions, arrive late to the kids ball game, grab a fast-food supper, get home, do homework, get the kids in bed and then fall into beds ourselves – late.  The next morning we get to get up and do it all over again.”  Not too encouraging.  The pity is that we actually choose to live this way.

I am currently undergoing my coaching certification process with Ministry Coaching International.  MCI is the sister organization to Building Champions, an executive coaching firm.  One of the BC coaches is Steve Scanlon and he has an excellent guest post on Michael Hyatt’s blog entitled Confronting the Curse of Busyness”. Great article and well worth a read.

I have put a few practices or anchors as a friend of mine calls them, in my life to ensure a proper rhythm around some important relationships in my life.  Three of these are:

1. My marriage – every week, my wife and I have a breakfast date at a nice little restaurant to discuss the previous week and plan for the next week.  We found it very necessary to get away for this time.  You can’t do it at home as there is too many things vying for your attention.

2. My children – all four of us like to read, so for years we have had a weekly “family date” where we go to the local Barnes & Noble bookstore, get a cup of coffee and read books and talk.  This has become an important tradition to our girls.

3. Accountability – for years now, I have been meeting my best friend & accountability partner at a local restaurant (where they keep your coffee cup full!) on Tuesday mornings at 7:00.  We talk about how we are doing in our walk with Christ, our marriages, our families and our work.  This time has proven invaluable to me in my growth.

These are just three of the things I do to maintain a healthy rhythm in my life.  What are you doing to bring back balance to your life & to rescue it from busyness?

Peace and grace,


Came across this post by Dr. Bill Donahue on “Signs of Soul Erosion” on his blog

He lists seven things that we should examine to see if we have some issues with “cracks in the soul”.  He also asked this question:

But are we engaged in the disciplines that bring connection with God, life to our spirit, and capacity to truly serve others with energy and discernment?

Please read his blog for the full description, but following are his seven areas to examine:

Words without action.

Busyness without purpose.

Relationships without Reciprocity

Calendars without a Sabbath

Pastoral Personality without Self-Examination

Possessing a Natural Gift without Spiritual Power

Having a Grand Theology without a True Spirituality

How are you doing in these areas?


A Thought on Success

July 22, 2010

Good morning,

Following is a quote in Daniel Harkavy’s book, Becoming a Coaching Leader.

Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.  It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that lead us either to fortune or failure.” – Jim Rohn

As we are reminded in so many of the Proverbs, be diligent in what you do seeking the counsel of the Lord and wise friends.

So – what are your daily practices that shape you?

Have a blessed day!