The parking lot nazi

I went to the dentist yesterday, I hate the dentist (not the guy, the experience). His office is part of a larger medical office group that shares a common parking lot. The doctor’s office next door is having problems finding spaces for their patients to park, so they hired an old guy to chase the dentist’s patients off. If you pull up on their side of the lot, he runs up to your car and starts harassing you until you move, no exaggeration. It is quite a sight to see. He sits there in his little lawn chair under an umbrella reading a book. Just act like you are thinking about parking on their side of the lot and his ears perk up. He starts licking his chops because he can see an unsuspecting dental patient coming his way. He springs into action. Like a lion on his prey. And he is effective. The kill is merciless and swift.

The last time I was there, I had a run-in with him. I did wind up parking in his “no parking zone”, but it came at a cost. I left feeling less than good about my exchange with him. This time, I didn’t even think about it. As soon as I saw him, I lowered by head and drove to the other end of the lot. I had to walk about 100 yards to get to the dentist’s office.

As frustrated as I have gotten with this guy, and as ridiculous as the whole idea is, there are several things about him that I respect:
He is consistent. He loves his work. He is good at his job. He loves his work. He is diligent. And did I mention that he loves his work?

I would like to do my work with the same enthusiasm that this old guy does his. He is so passionate. He doesn’t care what people think, he has a job to do and he knows how to do it. He has an insatiable desire to control his parking lot. He can’t be deterred.

I don’t have his job. I couldn’t make a living nagging people into moving their cars. My work is different.
But I wish I could exhibit the same energy and passion that he does. I wish I was as effective as he is.

Through the challenges of this week’s responsibilities, I am praying that God will refresh my energy for His work. I want my work to be more than responsibility and obligation. I want it to be heartfelt and passionate. I want to lick my chops, ready to pounce on the next opportunity.

Here are some ways that I (we) can make that happen:
Maintain a balanced focus: big picture/small picture. This is difficult. The temptation is to fall on one side or the other. Check in often with the idea of leadership equilibrium (future blog topic).
Make time for spiritual nourishment. Pray, read, meditate, isolate, fast. I know that this is Leadership 101, but you can’t give out what you haven’t taken in.
Grab time off. Too much work and not enough play will sour you. Again, balance comes to mind.
Take advantage of colleague interaction. There are things that can be shared only between those who walk the same road. Be sure to interact with friends in the same or a similar field of work.
Understand your Divine purpose. Rick Warren has thoroughly covered this topic but it is a worthwhile consideration for the leader who hopes to hang on to motivation. Know who God made you to be, and be that person.
Keep it simple. Uncomplicate the processes in which you are involved. It is easier to develop inspiration when systems are slick and unencumbered.

These are really just a few simple insights into maintaining motivation. I hope you can plug them in and benefit from them. I will continue to try.

My next dental appointment is in four months. I have no idea what my dentist will say or if I will need to have some work done. I may have a clean check up or I may have a cavity, we will see. But one thing I do know for sure, I will be parking in the correct location.

Beware of the parking lot Nazi.

200 year old people!

Last Thursday, at the University of Tennessee’s Master’s Graduate ceremony, I heard the featured speaker, Dr. David W. Schumann discuss the incredible advancements that are taking place in science and in the technology of human development. He stated that, due to the increase in the capabilities of implantable micro chips in the human brain, not only will our intelligence level increase drastically in the near future, but we can also expect the average life expectancy to increase to 150-200 years! Pretty cool thought.

Think of the possibilities!

Upside:
You would feel like a teenager until you were 50.
If you had children at age twenty five, your children did the same and so on, you could be a great grandparent x 8!
You wouldn’t be considered middle age until 100!
With your AARP membership awarded at age 50, you could save millions on senior’s discounts at local restaurants.
Think of the money to be made on the stocks of drugs like Viagra!

Downside:
Your face would still be breaking out at age 50.
If you retire by, say age 75, you would need to have enough money to live on for another 100 years!
Shuffleboard would become an Olympic event.
Mic Jaggar and The Rolling Stones would have another 100 years of rockin’ left!
Traffic in Florida would REALLY be nuts with all of the 175 year olds doing 45 on I-95!
Plastic surgeons would…well, you get the idea.

I think I prefer things the way they are.

Mom’s Day


To all the Moms out there…we love you and are thankful for you.

I appreciate my mom, my wife and my daughter (not yet a mom). I hope you all have the best day ever.

tragedy in Myanmar

The tragedy in Myanmar continues to unfold. The devastation from the cyclone is unimaginable. Because emergency relief supplies are being delayed by politics, the death toll could rise above 100,000.
I suggest a couple of things: pray and give. Because this is an extreme emergency, do what you plan to do now.
Pray for the survivors. Pray for relief to reach them, pray for the prevention of disease. Pray for hope.
Give to a reputable relief organization. I have listed several options below.
God bless the people of Myanmar.
The following aid agencies are accepting contributions to help those affected by the cyclone in Myanmar, according to InterAction, a coalition of aid agencies.

ADRA International Myanmar Cyclone Fund 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904 (800) 424-ADRA ext. 2372 http://www.adra.org

Action Against Hunger 247 W. 37th St., 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018 (877) 777-1420 http://support.actionagainsthunger.org/donate

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, JDC: Myanmar Cyclone Relief P.O. Box 530, 132 East 43rd St., New York, NY 10017 (212) 687-6200 http://www.jdc.org

American Jewish World Service 45 W. 36th St., 11th Floor, New York, NY 10016 (800) 889-7146 http://www.ajws.org

American Red Cross International Response Fund P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013 (800) HELP-NOW http://www.redcross.org

American Refugee Committee 430 Oak Grove St., Suite 204, Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 872-7602 http://www.arcrelief.org

AmeriCares 88 Hamilton Ave., Stamford, CT 06902 (800) 486-4357 http://www.americares.org

Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team 6810 Tilden Lane, Rockville, MD 20852 (301) 984-0217 http://www.amurt.net

Baptist World Aid Myanmar (or Burma) Relief 405 North Washington St., Falls Church, VA 22046 (703) 790-8980 http://www.bwanet.org

CARE 151 Ellis Street N.E., Atlanta, GA 30303 (800) 521-2273 http://www.care.org

CHF International 8601 Georgia Ave., #800, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (866) 779-2CHF http://www.chfinternational.org

Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) 2850 Kalamazoo Ave., S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49560-0600 (800) 55-CRWRC http://www.crwrc.org

Church World Service 28606 Phillips St., P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515 (800) 297-1516 http://www.churchworldservice.org

Concern Worldwide U.S. 104 East 40th St., Suite 903, New York, NY 10016 (212) 557-8000 http://www.concernusa.org

Direct Relief International 27 South La Patera Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93117 (805) 964-4767 http://www.directrelief.org

Episcopal Relief and Development 815 Second Ave., 7th Floor, New York, NY 10017 (800) 334-7626 http://www.er-d.org

Food for the Hungry 1224 East Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85034 (800) 248-6437 http://www.fh.org

Habitat for Humanity International Cyclone Nargis 121 Habitat St., Americus, GA 31709-3498 (800) HABITAT http://www.habitat.org

International Medical Corps 1919 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 400, Santa Monica, CA 90404 (800) 481-4462 http://www.imcworldwide.org

International Relief Teams Attn: Myanmar Cyclone, 4560 Alvarado Canyon Road, Suite 2G, San Diego, CA 92120 (619) 284-7979 http://www.irteams.org

International Rescue Committee P.O. Box 96651, Washington, DC 20090-6651; (Note on checks: Myanmar) (877) REFUGEE http://www.theIRC.org

Latter-day Saint Charities 50 East North Temple, 7th Floor, Salt Lake City, UT 84150 (800) 453-3860, ext. 23544 http://www.lds.org

Lutheran World Relief P.O. Box 17061, Baltimore, MD 21298-9832 (800) 597-5972 http://www.lwr.org

MAP International Donor Member Services Myanmar Assistance P.O. Box 7020 Albert Lea, MN 56007-9931 (800) 225-8550 http://www.map.org

Operation USA, Memo “Myanmar Cyclone 3617 Hayden Ave., Suite A, Culver City, CA 90232 (800) 678-7255 http://www.opusa.org

Project HOPE 255 Carter Hall Lane, Millwood, VA 22646 (800) 544-4673 http://www.projecthope.org

Relief International 1575 Westwood Blvd., Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (310) 478-1200 http://www.ri.org

Save the Children USA 54 Wilton Road, Westport, CT 06880 (800) 728-3843 http://www.savethechildren.org

United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) #3019674 Myanmar Emergency, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087 (800) 554-8583 http://www.umcor.org

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, UUSC-UUA Burma Cyclone Relief Fund P.O. Box 845259, Boston, MA 02284-5259 (800) 388-3920 http://www.uusc.org

U.S. Fund for UNICEF 125 Maiden Lane, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10038 (800) 4UNICEF http://www.unicefusa.org

World Concern 19303 Fremont Ave. North, Seattle, WA 98133 (800) 755-5022, ext.7706 http://www.worldconcern.org

World Emergency Relief P.O. Box 131570, Carlsbad, CA 92013 (888) 484-4543 http://www.worldemergencyrelief.org

World Vision P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063 (888) 56-CHILD http://www.worldvision.org

Graduation

Our daughter, Jessica graduates today with her Master’s degree in Spanish from the University of Tennessee. She has worked very hard for several years to accomplish what she has. We are obviously very proud of her.

I think one of her greatest assets is her dedication. She is a hard worker. Although she is very bright, it takes a tremendous amount of commitment to finish a Master’s degree by age 24. We believe that it is this dedication that will allow her to continue to succeed.

She and her husband Josh are moving to Guatemala in June to serve as missionaries at Casa Shalom orphanage. This is a very cool thing. We are excited for them and know they will do well there.

Just wanted to give a big shout out to them as they move forward in their lives.

Jesus, the center

I was reading Alan Hirsch’s blog, The Missional Musings of Alan Hirsch and was reminded of some things that he spoke about at a recent conference. I was not able to attend the exponential 08 conference but lots of people are blogging on the topics covered there.

Hirsch discussed the necessity of maintaining, or recovering Jesus as the centrality of our faith. According to Alan, our Christology is the very heart of spiritual renewal. So much of the time in ministry, we get very busy working for God – so busy that we forget the work of God in our own hearts.

In my small group on last Wednesday, someone was addressing this very thing. Too busy doing, no time for being … in the presence of God. Jesus loses His rightful place, as the King of our hearts. He has been dethroned, strangely, by His work.

Listen leaders, we can’t do the work of the Lord if He is second or third in our lives. Let’s set our priorities right: God first. Family second. Ministry third. Fourth – who knows? golf, fishing, Wii?

Hirsch is right. It’s all about Him (not Hirsch – Jesus!). Colossians 1:18 He is the head of the body, which is the church. Everything comes from him. He is the first one who was raised from the dead. So in all things Jesus has first place. NCV

By the way, I recommend Hirsch’s book, The Forgotten Ways.

chasen

I downloaded some great new music from Chasen, a group out of South Carolina. The project is called Shine Through the Stars and it has some great tunes on it. I especially enjoyed the fifth song, Doubts or Disbelief. It is a simple performance but the lyrics are powerful and heartfelt. Take a look and listen and see what you think. Doubts or Disbelief