Thursday, June 28, 2007

Old Friend, New Passion

Today, I met up with a friend whom I hadn't seen for a year. He is from South Africa, and is passing through the area on his way to work at a camp in the Midwest. We caught up on the "regular stuff", but then I proceeded to ask him about what was really happening in his life.

He began to tell me about a passion that he has had since he was a child: to make movies. Although he had been involved in Youth Ministry for the past year, he knew it was time to get back to his first love. And get back he has!

After working with a large broadcast network in South Africa and gaining valuable experience, he has stepped out on his own and formed his own production company. Already he has completed a large project for distribution and the contractor has ordered two sequels, with a possibility of a production in the Middle East after that.

What captured me the most was not that he had accomplished so much in a short period of time, but rather that he was so full of excitement and life as he related how his life had "fallen into place every step of the way". What he was sharing was not a story, but rather a journey.

I put my hand on his shoulder and encouraged him to continue to pursue his dreams, to fulfill his calling and to be courageous. I reminded him that a life of faith is a life of living one step at a time, as God reveals His plan to us as we walk it out daily.

And I prayed for him. I prayed that not only would his art be seen in his work, but also his heartbeat would be felt.

I came away from that meeting encouraged. I was encouraged because I saw a friend who was using his creativity and gifting to passionately live out his life and fulfill what he was created to be.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Say It!

Today at a staff meeting I shared with our team my weekly Leadership Minute, where I seek to give a quick encouragement that will help us become better leaders. This week I spoke on Communicating Clearly: Making sure what is said is what is heard.

Many times I find that good communication is sacrificed for verbiage, and the message is lost in the words. Let's face it: many people like to hear themselves talk. And their talking isn't always communicating.

So what do we do? I suggest that we consider our audience. Ask, Who am I seeking to communicate with, rather than what am I seeking to communicate? Remember, our goal is communication, rather than simply sounding good.

Also, careful word choice will always produce better results than using choice words. Think about what you are saying. Don't just say what you are thinking.

Bottom line: It’s not what you said that matters, but it’s what the other person understood that makes for successful communication.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Follow The Leader

The headline this morning reads, "Steven Spielberg endorses Hillary Clinton". Spielberg is quoted as saying, "I've taken the time to familiarize myself with the impressive field of Democratic candidates and am convinced that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate to lead us from her first day in the White House."

Now this is not about Hillary Clinton, but rather about Steven Spielberg. I know you will agree with me that he is a brilliant filmmaker who not only has proven himself with commercial success, but also with artistic achievement.

My question is this: How does impressive film making and commercial success qualify someone to give a public opinion about something that is not in his area of expertise? Isn't the guy who works in the warehouse across town and has himself taken the time to familiarize myself with the impressive field of Democratic candidates just as qualified to have a political opinion?

The list is endless: Tom Cruise talks about psychiatry, Oprah Winfrey recommends a book, and Ludacris tells Pepsi "what to do" in a song lyric.

And because a person is perceived as "successful", we hold on to every word they say and make our decisions based on their opinions.

Well, that's my opinion. Do what you want with it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Off to Jail

The headlines read, "Paris Goes To Prison", and "Hilton Heads For Jail." The Monday morning media obsessed with the fact that Paris Hilton began her 23 day sentence. And we all watched with great interest. Once again our society turned its attention to an event that involved a person who has really no bearing in the larger scheme of things.

This past Sunday our church ordained five people as ministers. These five are already involved in ministries that are affecting the world. Part of our ordination process is to take the hands of the person and tie a rope around their wrists, symbolizing that they are bond servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. It's a pretty cool event!

As we were tying the wrists, one man who many years ago had been arrested remarked to me, "The last time I did this it was for something I did wrong. Now I am doing something right." Imagine that!

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