Showing posts from July, 2013

Process Improvement = Problem Solved

Problems:  A matter involving doubt, uncertainty, or difficulty; a question proposed for solution or discussion; an obstacle.  For most of us, life is riddled with all kinds of problems.  Some are easier than others, but they come and go as surely as the wind will come and go.  The issues this week will not likely be the same issues we face next week or the one after that.  They are new, but really most of the problems we face have similar roots - they just put on different appearances.  It is probably pretty hard for us to imagine a problem as an opportunity for growth.  In my line of work, I have a particular role of identifying the problems, assisting the teams to analyze those problems and then attempt to come up with a solution so the problem doesn't arise again.  One thing I have found is the truth of "recurring problems" - some of these issues we "think" we fix today really just come back again and again - the "fix" was just not long-lasting.  I

What do your actions really say?

Have you ever stopped to consider the purpose of your life?  According to scripture, our lives are supposed to bear fruit - there is something to be "reproduced" through our lives.  From the moment God told Adam and Eve to be "fruitful and multiply" mankind has been about the work of "bearing fruit" - more than just physical offspring, but fruit of all kinds.  With the labor of his hands, mankind brought forth crops and harvests beyond measure.  With the investment of his time and talent, mankind has ensured the mentoring of the next generation.  Mankind is continually bearing fruit of one kind or another. It probably goes without saying some fruit is not exactly good fruit.  I live in Arizona, so I am used to seeing these "ornamental orange trees" all over the place.  People plant them because they grow well here, produce healthy green leaves and eventually produce the beautiful oranges.  The only problem - their fruit is worthless!  It is so ta

Trust revisited

Trust - As I said yesterday, it is built on truth.  Without truth, it is almost impossible to trust.  They go hand-in-hand.  This said, what we hold as the "factual truth" becomes the foundation for the trust we place in an object or a person.  I believe King David once penned the words, "Some trust in chariots, but we will trust in the Lord our God."  (Psalm 20:7)  In other words, some kings chose to trust in the size and might of their armies - the technical expertise, training, and weaponry they had at their disposal.  The only thing David wanted for his troops to trust in was the assurance of their Lord leading their way into battle, providing all the strength, resources, and "might" they'd need!  The object of each king's trust was a little different - but the things unseen often foiled even the best of plans of those who opposed God's army! My help and glory are in God —granite-strength and safe-harbor-God - so  trust  him absolutely, p

Conflict - the antidote

Conflict comes from a bunch of differing sources, right?  Some are external, while others are from within - our own minds and bodies presenting us with challenges beyond number.  Learning how to deal with conflict is not that easy, though.  In fact, most of us feel a little challenged by the continuation of some of these conflicts - either in relationships, in terms of what we desire, or just in what it is we are surrounded with every day.  Today, I'd like us consider the things which lead to conflict and their "antidote".  Maybe it will just give us enough food for thought to helps out in even one of these areas where we struggle a little. Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands

I need a new "normal"

Repentance is often a misunderstood concept.  So many people equate repentance to some moment in humble contrition where you kneel down, cry your eyes out and then get up a changed person.  Now, don't get me wrong, God can and does deal with man in this way on occasion, but most of the time repentance is just a changing of our choices.  In other words, we realize we are doing the wrong thing, so we confess our failure to follow the right path, turning toward a lifestyle of making the right choices in the area where we had the conflict.   In those days there appeared John the Baptist, preaching in the Wilderness (Desert) of Judea, a nd saying, Repent (think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  (Matthew 3:1-2 AMP) Something I don't think we consider is the "lifestyle" of repentance - it is more than a moment in time - it is a continual process of choosing to make right choices in plac

Peanut Lessons

Have you ever considered how peanuts grow?  We get these nicely washed, lightly roasted, sometimes salted peanuts in a bag from our grocer, but I wonder if we realize just how and where these little treasures grow.  Most of us think of fruit as something produced above the surface of the dirt, but peanuts are actually produced "underground".  They turn from flowering plants into underground seed pods without us even noticing the growth going on beneath the surface.  I think this may be similar to the growth we often experience in our own lives.  Stuff springs up on the surface - but the completion of the growth is really accomplished "underground" in our lives. Another thing to consider is the place of fruit is sometimes the darkest place! Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is w

Remembering ALL the roads

Remember:  To think of again and again; to remain aware of; bringing what exists in the unconscious mind back into the conscious mind.  All of us remember things - some a little differently than others.  I remember my first "solo" bike ride - but mostly because I have scars to show for it!  I remember the birth of my two children, but not every excruciating moment!  I remember the meal we had for dinner last night - but it carries no significance to me. There are times when we remember stuff in a manner which really is a little "off" in the perspective of aligning with the actual way things "went down". We have "fabricated" our own "truth" in the memory.  If you have ever been on a mountain-top experience for a while, you likely have some pretty fond memories of those moments in time.  On the other hand, if you have also endured the dryness of the desert times, you might just have some pretty significant memories of those experiences wh

Another wilderness journey?

Have you ever really considered the lessons you have learned because of the experience of another?  You know, the stuff you just never really explore because you see how the exploration of another left them kind of unfulfilled, reasonably sane, but just so not excited about their experience?  Well, I think this is all part of God's plan for us in life - to learn from the experiences of those who go before us.  The first astronaut into space paved the way for all the others who came behind.  The first one to fly above the earth had a whole lot of failures before there was truly lift-off.  The experiences of the first made an example of both what not to do and what to do in the midst of the experiences of the many who followed.  I think the same is true in our spiritual lives - we learn a great deal about what not to do and what really is the best path for us simply by looking at those who've gone before us. When  God , your God, ushers you into the land he promised through you

What is set in motion?

Did you ever stop to consider what worship is?  In the simplest of terms, most of us would think of worship as something we do, rather than as something we set into action or motion in our lives.  Let me explain – when we truly live a lifestyle of “worship”, we are setting things in motion in our lives - our lives take on the meaning for which they were designed.  Most would agree, the best purpose for a created object is to be used as it was designed!  For many, worship is associated with song and quiet moments.  For me, worship is a lifestyle - for every word, action, and thought has the potential of being worship!  Worship involves the heart, mind, and soul - it is all-encompassing. In fact, scripture compares worship to love. Love  God , your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!  (Deuteronomy 6:5 MSG) In the truest sense, worship defines who is in control - it answers the question about "ownership".  For examp

Whatcha hiding from?

Humility is often thought of as being modest or a little bit inferior to another. In reality, humility is really a spirit of deference.  It is the respectful and courteous regard of others in our lives - the willingness to take back seat or to play second fiddle, so to speak.  In another essence, it is the condition of no longer pretending - being real.  A truly humble person is not afraid to be themselves.  Our writer doesn't say "humility" - he says "true humility".  This suggests to me there is a form of humility which is not genuine.  It is the type of humility that "pretends" to be submissive to the will of another, but really there is a little resistance going on.  It is like the age-old adage of sitting down on the outside, but standing up on the inside! True humility and fear of the  Lord   lead to riches, honor, and long life. (Proverbs 22:4 NLT) I think there are a lot of ways we "don't" show our humility.  Probably one of t

Turn the other cheek! What?

If you have ever felt like retaliation was the best means of attack in a particular situation, you are probably not alone.  Many of us struggle with responding as Jesus instructed - turning the other cheek.  What does that actually mean anyway?  How on earth does turning around so another blow can come your way seem fair anyway?  Ahhh...there's the ultimate question - why should we do it - it isn't FAIR?  Guess what?  Not everything in life is FAIR!  I figured that out by my fifth birthday and it is a lesson I have had to keep reminding myself of ever since!  The truth is - God doesn't look at how "fair" the circumstances are, he looks at how we treat another when the circumstances aren't going our way! Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.  (I Peter 3:9 NLT) Fairness deals with sets of judgments - on our pa

What you tolerate becomes truth

Did you ever stop to consider what it is you truly love?  It is probably easier for you to make a list of what it is you truly hate!  I don't like brussel sprouts, but I wouldn't say I "hate" them.  I don't like liver - I think I could say I definitely don't like lamb - and I think I could even say I don't like lightening storms - but I cannot truly say I "hate" any of these.  Hate is a strong word - one which I discouraged my kids from using as they were growing up.  In reality, when we are saying we "hate" something, we are stating we almost have a hostility toward it.  In describing the food items and types of storms I don't really like, I am really saying I have a little aversion to their taste or their effect.  I am not saying I have such a strong repulsion to them that I loathe them.  I suppose I could eat brussel sprouts - but honestly, you'd have to give me a really good reason to eat liver!  I wonder how many times we r

You experiencing the flood waters?

I don't live in a region where we get a whole lot of flooding - we get monsoons and the dry riverbeds flood for a period of time, but it resolves quickly because of the dryness of the parched deserts.  When I see the devastation of flooding on some TV newscast - homes under water, people left with only the few items they salvaged before the waters came - it seems so devastating.  Yet, I see people rebuild all the time after these natural disasters.  They shovel out the mud, push back the debris, re-plaster the walls, and plant their crops once again.  I kind of liken these "natural disaster" floods to the similar type of destruction which comes in the spiritual sense whenever we allow sin to get an inroad into our lives.  It starts as a few sprinkles or a little trickle, but soon ends up being a whole lot of trouble!  Some of the time, digging out of our mess is monumentally difficult and rebuilding what has been damaged is even more daunting! Then I let it all out;   I