Be the Light

I don’t think I’d have to argue long to convince you we’re living in a dark world.  Tune in your favorite news source and it seems that it’s a daily reminder that whatever was dark yesterday has only gotten darker today, and – get this – the only “fix” for it is to change the rules and make yesterday’s “dark” today’s “light.”

Pardon my cynicism, but pay attention to what everybody is calling “evil” today. All other things being equal, a decade from now people will openly declare it as “good” or “right” or necessary.

I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be surprised that the world has its own answers to the messes it’s in.  Even now, in the United States of Iowa, one Democrat and 72 Republicans are mixing it up with the locals, presenting themselves as the light of the world.

I think you know better. [click to continue…]

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Your Purpose Green Road Sign

Welcome back to the tour.  Hope you enjoyed the break, and I hope you have a good, roughed up version of a personal mission statement.  We’re ready to move to the advanced part of the lab.  Before we go in, remember, this is MY lab and it’s still messy.  Also remember that this work was done because of a felt need for change.  If you are absolutely satisfied that your personal mission statement is something you can organize your work and life around, with conviction and passion, leave it alone.

Oh… and if you haven’t taken the time to do a little soul work and put your mission statement together, back up to the first part of the tour and get caught up.  Otherwise, we may hijack your tombstone and just say, “He (or she) was too busy to wonder why.”

Ready to go in?  Let’s to this. [click to continue…]

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Plasma Ball

Hello everybody and welcome to the laboratory.  I hope this is educational or helpful to you, and we’ll go inside in just a minute.  Just a couple of guidelines first, so you can benefit the most from the tour.

First, this is MY lab.  It’s up to you to set up YOUR laboratory however you think best.

Second, it’s a little raw and messy because I just finished a major project redesign.  At least I THINK it’s finished.

One other thing… as your tour guide, my job is to remind you, this is not a museum, but an active living and learning space.  So every once in a while I’ll ask you to stop and apply this to your own life and learning.  Deal?  Okay, let’s go… [click to continue…]

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Impossible dream

The original premise of LifeVesting is, what would happen if we applied principles of financial investing to all the areas of our lives?  Some of the things we have explored in the process are:

  • There are four – and only four – things you can spend your time and money on.
  • It is possible, like the Bible’s “Proverbs 31 woman,” to position yourself so that you laugh at the future rather than worry about it.
  • God has an economy and you can be rich in it.

Nearly ten years after my son proposed the idea, it still intrigues me.  Lately I’ve been thinking about some wisdom I got from my friend Kirk the Builder.  Kirk works for a major contractor who has built multi-million-dollar facilities all over the country.  One day we were having lunch and talking about the biz, and Kirk shared some profound wisdom.

In construction, he said, people can pick any two of three options:  good, fast, and cheap.  We want all three, but we can’t have all three.

We can have good and fast, but it won’t be cheap.

We can have good and cheap, but it won’t be fast.

We can have fast and cheap, but it won’t be good.

What intrigues me about that is that the principle isn’t limited to bricks-and-sticks construction.  [click to continue…]

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You don’t have to read through this site very long to figure out that music flavors a lot of my thinking.  I often tell people that I almost always have a song on my mind, and it’s often very random.   (I’d rather not tell you what song is there right now, but it does have the phrase “freakin weekend” in it).

Hey, I never said they were all spiritual.


Like a lot of people, I love the idea of new ways of expressing things – of what the Bible calls “singing a new song to the Lord.”  And I get tired pretty quickly of rehashing the same-old same-old.

That said, there are some songs that defy time and never seem to lose their place in the hearts of people.  They may not be on this week’s Billboard Top 100, but they never lose their ability to capture the imagination and connect to the soul.  They’re the songs we can sing forever.

For example, my grandmother absolutely loved music.  She loved to sing it, play it, and hear it.  But something completely changed in her countenance when somebody started in on “Amazing Grace.”  It was a song she could sing forever. [click to continue…]

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Who’s on First?

by Andy Wood on December 6, 2010

in Following Your Passion, LV Cycle

It’s a famous scene in the movie “City Slickers.”  Curley, the cowboy character played by Jack Palance, says to Billy Midlife-Crisis-Angst Crystal:

“You city folk, you worry about a lot of [stuff]…  You all come up here about the same age, same problems.  Spend about 50 weeks a year getting’ knots in your rope and then you think two weeks up here will untie ‘em for ya’.  And none of you get it.  Do you know what the secret of life is?”

“No, what?” says Crystal.

“This,” Curley says, holding up one finger.

“Your finger?”

“One thing.  Just one thing.  You stick to that and everything else don’t mean [nothing].”

“That’s great, but… what’s the one thing?”

“That’s what you gotta figure out.”

Tough times have a way of bringing out complicated questions.  Ever since Cain killed Abel, or Job’s friends made a “sympathy” visit, people have responded to adversity by haggling and hand-wringing over the deep, often-unanswerable questions in life.  Questions like, “Why is this happening to me?” or “Who’s responsible for that?”

During times like that, we all need somebody who can again bring us back to consciousness. [click to continue…]

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goalsI’m a list maker.  You have your quirks; that’s mine.  Not so much the “to-do” variety – that would make me look more organized than I really am.  My lists are the more thoughtful type.  Let me tell you where it all started.

A few years ago I was reading a book about getting out of debt.  Somewhere in the middle of it, the author, Jerrold Mundis, inserted a simple little chapter on goals.  He said that while we were in the process of becoming debt-free, it would he helpful to remember why that was important to us in the first place.  So he suggested setting goals.

Okay, now!  You’re talkin’ my language!  I love goals.  I’ve read extensively on goal setting, achievement, success, and vision.  The gleam in my eye began to shine in eager anticipation.

Make a list, he said.

That’s it?

That was it.

Actually, he suggested three. [click to continue…]

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my_tombstoneWrite your epitaph.  That was the assignment.

I was attending a nifty goal-setting seminar, sponsored by a local business.  The two presenters were carrying us through a series of exercises to help us clarify our highest priorities, so that we could prioritize our time consistently with our deepest passions.  Think of it as a LifeVesting seminar where Jesus was welcome, but not necessarily the host or guest of honor.

Anyway, the presenter asked us to reply to the following:

“(Your name) was known for…”

But this was no press release or publicity sheet.  I had to assume the ultimate. [click to continue…]

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The LifeVesting Cycle

Stage 1:  Allocate your resources
Stage 2:  Explore the possibilities.

Stage 3:  Follow your passion.

Heart Island and Boldt Castle (Click picture to enlarge)

Heart Island and Boldt Castle (Click picture to enlarge)

George Boldt had the touch.  And everything he touched seemed to prosper.  The son of poor parents, Mr. Boldt came to America in the 1860s from Prussia.  George was a man of tremendous industry and organizational skill.  With daring and imagination, he became the most successful hotel magnate in America.  He was also the president of several other companies, and director of the Hotel Association of New York.  For George, to “dream” and to “do” were the same thing.  However fantastic his dreams, they happened.

But business wasn’t his passion.

Louise was.

And what he did, he did for her.

As a testimony to his love for his wife, George purchased an island on the St. Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands Region, and had it carved into the shape of a heart.  He renamed it Heart Island and began preparing for the greatest achievement of his lifetime – a Valentine’s Day present for his wife.  You’ve heard that a man’s home is his castle?  For George, this was literally true.  He would build Louise a castle.

George spared no expense.  He invested $2.5 million (in 1900 currency), bringing in the finest artists and most skilled craftsmen for the project.  He imported marble from Italy, stone from Scotland, and art from the treasures of Europe.  The towers and spires rose imperiously over the waters of the St. Lawrence, and the castle looked as if it would rival those that dot the Rhine.  Rising six stories from the foundation level of the indoor swimming pool to the highest tower room, an elevator served the 120-room mansion with its 365 windows. In all, there would be eleven buildings, including a clock tower, a power house, a playhouse, and a gazebo.

Then in January 1904 tragedy struck. [click to continue…]

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