Grandpaw and Button

One of my favorite pics of Grandpaw and Button

It was one of the many differences between us.  Maybe it was generational. Maybe it had more to do with personality. I don’t know.  To me it was silly at best, annoying it worst.

Corny, that’s it.  It was corny.

But my dad did it without apology, and routinely yucked about it.

“This is so-and-so,” he would say, “but I call him [insert nickname here].”

To know him well enough to banter at all – which for him meant more than one conversation – usually earned you some sort of nickname.

The manager of the local bank:  “I call her Cuz.”

A friend and pastor’s wife:  “Here comes Trouble.”

His and Dean’s friend Dolores got a play on the pronunciation, for no apparent reason:  “Doh-loh-reez.” [click to continue…]

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This is a 2016 silver dollar.

It’s official, struck by the United States Mint. [click to continue…]

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Love Friends Family

For all the ways you may have been blessed
Or tried to bless others,
And all the ways you have received
Or given value in this life,
After all the ways that people measure contributions
Or celebrate distinction,
The greatest legacy you could ever leave
Is that you were loved first, and loved in return.
That takes a lot of grace. And a little bit of faith. [click to continue…]

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Years ago a group of scientists determined that the minerals and chemicals within our bodies were worth about $.99.  Factor in inflation, and that’s probably somewhere around $3.50 or so today.

Viewed in another way, however, somebody estimated that the energy production of the human body, based upon the number of atoms within a 150-pound person, could generate enough atomic energy to be valued at $85 billion.

A hundred and fifty pounds, huh?  That would make me worth, hmmm… well, never mind.

The lesson here?  Don’t let a scientist try to figure out how much you’re worth!

While you’re at it, don’t build your value on what anybody else tells you.

Not the guys and dolls in Coolvillle.

Not your teachers, important as they are (remember the infamous fourth-grade teacher who send Thomas Edison home, saying he was too stupid to learn?).

Not even the people who love you most, and here’s why: The more you are loved by somebody, the more you tend to expect unconditional approval from them.  When they do express frustration or disapproval, it weighs a whole lot more on your heart.  I once met a 56-year-old woman who said, “Andy, just once I wish I could hear my [78-year-old] mother say I’d done something right.”

So where do you look to find your value?  Here’s a suggestion: [click to continue…]

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Get this scene…

It’s the long-shadow season… a late-October Saturday afternoon.  Alabama has just kicked off to Tennessee, and the rest of life has been put on hold.  I’ve got the snacks and drinks, recliner set to football position, and it’s a glorious day.

That’s when I hear it.  In those few seconds before the doorbell rings and the dogs go crazy, I hear the giggles of a gaggle of adolescents.

Two thoughts immediately flash by:

  • I am obviously not living in Dixie, because nobody in their right mind there would be roaming the streets when the Tide ‘n’ Vols are on TV.
  • I’m about to be scavenger hunted.

Sure enough, I open the door to a group of teenagers, and one of ‘em hands me a list.  “We’re on a scavenger hunt.  Do you have any of these things?”

Game on (while the other game is on pause). [click to continue…]

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money-trash1Things got a little weird that day at the Taco Bell in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.  A customer tried to pass two 1928 five-dollar bills as cash to pay for his meal.  The clerks had never seen such old money before, presumed it to be counterfeit, and called the police.  Here’s the sad part – as currency, the cash was legit.  As collectors’ items, they had to be worth way more than a bean burrito combo or a chalupa.

What a waste, right?  Right up there with Esau, selling his birthright for a bowl of peas. Or the prodigal son, wasting his inheritance on a never-ending party.

But another part of my brain wants to defend our fast food shopper.  After all, maybe he was hungry, and that was the only cash he had.  Maybe he had no idea what he had!  I’ve learned that if you don’t know the value of what you possess, it really doesn’t matter to you what you waste it on. Esau and the prodigal learned that, too – the hard way.

Anyway, what’s so different about the taco king?  [click to continue…]

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What the Best Restaurants Can Teach You and Your Organization About Success

chefsYou may not know this, but for a season I helped my wife run anywhere from one to three restaurants.  The season was just long enough to convince me, if I needed any convincing, that running restaurants was not my calling.  That said, I have new respect for anybody who has to cook, serve, or make a profit from folks like – well, me.  I never worked harder physically, or encountered more of a call to real, practical servanthood in my life.

In our culture we eat 21 meals a week, give or take.  To create an environment that would motivate somebody to return again and again, and to talk about your place to their friends, and get to the end of the month with money in the bank… this is no easy task.

So when somebody does it well, I believe it can teach us some things about succeeding in the organizations, businesses, and yes, congregations we all relate to.

Lately I’ve heard of three remarkable places – none of which I have experienced personally.  But I will, if given the chance!  What intrigues me is what these eateries suggest to me as a pastor and someone who’s spent a lot of time studying successful organizations and teams.  Later, if this “whets your appetite” (sorry, it’s Monday – that’s as close to funny as I can get), there are other transferable lessons we can explore. [click to continue…]

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