Success

“Glamour isn’t greatness, applause isn’t fame, prominence isn’t eminence. The man of the hour isn’t apt to be the man of the ages. A stone may sparkle but that doesn’t make it a diamond. People may have money but that doesn’t make them a success. It’s the seemingly unimportant people who determine the course of history. The greatest forces in the universe are never spectacular. Summer showers do more good than hurricanes but they don’t get a lot of publicity. The world would soon die but for the fidelity, loyalty, creativity and commitment of those whose names are un-honored and unsung.”  -James Sizoo

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The Race

It was a day of surprises.  If you had told me the Friday before what I would experience on Saturday, I don’t know whether I would have stayed in bed all day or sat up sleepless the night before.  That Saturday, those years ago, I had a taste of heaven. [click to continue…]

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It was one of those eye-opening days, I guess.  Back to school time for me.  I was living north of Dallas, and still involved in youth ministry.  I taught a Monday night Bible Study that served as the centerpiece of the ministry, and on this particular night I passed out blank paper with a special request:  List, in order, the five things it would take to make you perfectly happy.

How would you answer that?

I really thought I knew what the answers would be – a lot of selfish stuff like cars, a driver’s license, money, or popularity.  But what I heard taught me a lesson I’ll never forget.  Here are some of their actual answers: [click to continue…]

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Dateline Barcelona, 1992.  The Summer Olympics are hosting the first-ever competition of the truly-best in their respective nations, as professionals and amateurs are all invited to the party.  The United States has assembled a collection of NBA-plus-one stars that may be the best roster to ever take a tip-off.  And their nickname:  “The Dream Team.” 

This isn’t about basketball.  It’s about teams, and how you need a “dream team” of your own.  Not the kind the wins medals, but the kind that empowers lives.  While our culture idolizes the individual, the truth is, you were designed by creation and redesigned by gifts and talents to need the contributions of others in order to maximize your potential.  I’d like to show you how to go about doing it. [click to continue…]

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I have been greatly encouraged and motivated lately by a simple little thought that has helped me with larger tasks and goals – particularly helping me with attitude.  The idea: Win little victories.  I may not be able to climb the whole flight of stairs, but I can take the first two.  I may not be able to lose 100 pounds, but I can lose 2.  I may not be able, metaphorically, to take the Promised Land, but I can cross the Jordan River.  Tom Peters calls this milestoning.  And it’s a critical thing to do. 

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Thirty-seven years I have followed Christ, and somehow this hymn and its lyrics have passed me by.  I saw the words last week, and it blew me away.  Written in the mid 1800s by Anne Cousin, before it was a hymn it was a poem inspired by the letters and the last words of Samuel Rutherford. Only later was it set to music.  (Sorry hymn purists, but I’m ready for a 21st-century musical update.)  It actually has 18 or 19 stanzas, but here are the ones that are typically sung: [click to continue…]

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Jugglers fascinate me.  Not the run-of-mill, three-balls-in-the-air type, but the ones I call the Master Jugglers.  I love the guys or gals who can toss torches, chainsaws, balls and small animals all at the same time.   Well, maybe not the small animals part, but you get the point. 

In a sense, we’re all jugglers.  Only, instead of swords or bowling pins, we juggle life.  And that’s who this article is for – the jugglers.  For the ones who have multiple “balls” in the air – time balls, relationship balls, money balls, even ambition balls.  Every one claims to be a priority.  Every one demands attention, and often wants it now.  In the middle of all that, you and I have a choice:  Handle them – or they will handle you.

In order to successfully juggle rather than being tossed around yourself, there are four issues you will need to settle: [click to continue…]

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Aiming for Average

by Andy Wood on February 21, 2010

in Insight, Life Currency, LV Stories, Turning Points

I hated Ann Finch.

Three times she sent me to the principal’s office, and two of those times I emerged with a butt-on-fire.

One time she made me stay after school in an Ann-imposed detention.  I lied to my mother and told her I needed to stay late because of band.  When she picked me up, who should be walking out of the building but Miss Finch?  She tattled on me, and then it was double trouble.

Once I ended the grading period with an 89.4 average.  She gave me a “B” for the quarter.  One lousy stinking tenth of a point!  Too bad.  She wouldn’t budge.

I liked Ann Finch.

Probably for the wrong reasons, but I liked her nonetheless.  She was so easy to pick on.  [click to continue…]

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highway 2Today I give up my small ambitions.
I will give thanks for the pleasures God has designed for me to enjoy,
But no longer will I allow my life to be driven by the pursuit of pleasure.
I will no longer sacrifice joy on the altar of happiness.
I will never again measure my success by my ability to escape pain.

Today I give up my small ambitions.
I will give thanks for the material blessings God entrusts to me,
But no longer will I associate money with happiness.
Never again will I believe the lie that gain is godliness,
Or that my worth is measured by what I own.
From this day forward, I will use things and love people,
Not the other way around.

Today I give up my small ambitions.
I will give thanks to God for the ways
I can be a blessing to others.
I will accept with humility
The words of gratitude and honor I receive from others.
But I will never again live to please other men.
Today I choose to get off the pedestal,
Knowing that I don’t have to live in the gutter to do so.
I will find my honor in being no more than a man,
But no less than a child of God.

Today I give up my small ambitions.
And instead, I reach for the stars.
I will spend my life in pursuit of my God-given destiny.
By His grace I will fulfill the purpose for which
I was created and redeemed by Christ.
By His love I will touch the lives of those He died for.
And by His power
I will span the breech between time and eternity.

From this day forward,
I will seek dreams as big as the heart of my God
And visions as great as the need of this world.
And though through human failure
I may never see all those dreams come true,
When I stand to face my Lord and my God,
I pray He will see a heart determined to do exploits for His glory.

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generations-3“Something’s wrong with your work.” The conversation eventually landed there.

A member of the denomination’s hierarchy delivered the critical review to a faithful old pastor during a prescribed periodic evaluation.

“Only one convert has been added to your church this year, and he is only a boy,” the boss said.

Later that same day, the pastor languished alone in his study, praying with a heavy heart, when someone walked up behind him. [click to continue…]

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There’s more to vision than hopeful daydreaming about a desired future.

Yes, vision sees the goal, but it is aware of much more than that.

Vision sees the path from here to there.

Vision recognizes the need for decisive action.  It has a bias toward making the jump.

Vision also recognizes the risks and potential dangers that lurk on all sides, and prepares accordingly for them.

Vision then sees beyond the goal.  It recognizes the larger community, and the visionary’s place in the larger world.

Yes, vision sees the goal.  But true visionaries recognize that success is more than the perfect landing.

(This extraordinary picture of Oberstdorf, Germany as reflected in the goggles of Japanese ski jumper Noriaki Kasai is one of many that can be found here.  PHOTO:  Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach)

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So you want to design a life, not just make a living?  You want to experience the sensation of victory, or spiritual power?  You want to build something, not just take up space on the planet?  You want to say you’ve run your race, won your prize, fulfilled your calling or purpose?

If that doesn’t describe you, don’t waste your time reading any further.  Go back to the Food Network or CNN or something.

But if that does describe you, and you believe you were put on this earth to do more than recycle gases and other organic stuff, read on.

In any meaningful endeavor, but particularly in one that involves the fulfillment of a spiritual vision, people (and leaders in particular) are faced with three inescapable questions.

1.  Do your actions demonstrate a commitment to that which is most important?

2.  Will you continue to move forward, even when surrounded by a hostile or apathetic majority?

3.  Where will you look for the internal power to finish the job? [click to continue…]

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