Find People Interesting

Evacuate... or That Guy Will Stare At You!

If there’s something I struggle with more than anything else as a Christian it’s caring about others. Actually, let’s just call it what it is: I struggle with the sin of pride. Apparently I don’t completely understand Paul when he writes in Philippians 2:3-4:

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

My pastor has taught on this repeatedly, especially in the area of leadership, but it’s still something that I know goes on in my heart that I need redemption from — that is, caring about others and finding them interesting (and would add “above myself”). In a blog post I read today, Mark Altrogge quotes Piper on this subject and it really encouraged my heart:

In Finally Alive, John Piper’s great recent book about the new birth, he says, ‘Be encouraged that simply finding people interesting and caring about them is a beautiful pathway into their heart. Evangelism gets a bad reputation when we are not really interested in people and don’t seem to care about them.’

He goes on to share a story about an opportunity he had to share the Gospel with his postman. It’s worth a read if you’ve got 2 minutes.

[via Mark Altrogge.]

Hear, See, and Do – #3

Hear: The Song “Only A Man” by Jonny Lang
You may or may not have heard of Jonny Lang, but this guy was a child prodigy, who released his first album at age 15. From what I have read and heard, Jonny became a Christian about six years ago and this song is a reflection of that experience. The lyrics are incredible and when my friend showed Bethany and I the song in the car I teared up a little bit. [click here to hear the song]

See: The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
We already have our TiVo set, our American flags are out, and I started memorizing names and stats. Ok, the stats part is pushing it, but the TiVo and flags are for real. Bethany and I are probably more excited about the Olympics then you are. It’s true — we’re hardcore about it. In fact, we just finished watching the Japan vs. USA soccer match which started a day earlier than the opening ceremony. Yeah, that’s right — we watched all 90 minutes of it. Many of the games will be going on while we’re snoozing (because of the time change), but I was able to find this “How to watch the Olympics online” post from Wired.com which should help everyone out. I’ll be watching soccer, swimming, gymnastics, and I’m thinking about handball, just because I think it’s funny. “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!….”

Do: Buy and Read How To Read a Book
I’m about 100 pages into this book and I’m quickly realizing why the majority of my professors said that everyone should read this book. It seems silly to read a book on how to read a book, but the truth is I now think I’ve been missing out on how to get the most out of my reading — any kind of reading. It’s a great book and will help with your pleasure reading and your Bible reading as well. I know some of you reading this are heading to college soon, and I’m telling you this would be a huge asset to you.

Good To Great

Out in the Cold
If you have never read the book Good To Great, go get yourself a copy. This is actually one of the books I finished reading last year, and that’s mainly due to the fact that it’s a great read.

I brought my copy of Good To Great to work today. No, I’m not trying to show off to the higher ups, I actually needed to prepare for a meeting that I’m leading. The subject of the meeting is greatness and why people desire it. Don’t ask me why I’m leading a meeting about this, it’s kind of complicated. But the first thing I thought of concerning that concept of greatness was this book. As I said, you need to get yourself a copy, but the main thrust of the book is why their are some companies that become great and then there are companies that are just good. The writer Jim Collins and his team of researchers use very specific guidelines (almost mathematical at times) to separate the good companies from the great ones. Even for someone who isn’t thinking about business or really cares, the book doesn’t go above your head. It actually spends a lot of time focusing on the people and not just their companies. That’s why the book stands out to me so much. Chapters 2 and 3 are called “Level 5 Leadership” and “First Who…Then What”. They basically outline the kind of people that companies need to be pursuing and putting into leadership, while giving examples of great companies and the people who work or worked there.

I’m realizing more and more that greatness isn’t so much about what I can do, but who I am. This is especially true for Christians, but our character defines who we are, whether good or great. In Good To Great, they explain how the majority of the president’s of the “great” companies never took credit for what they accomplished. In fact, the interviews with the men who led those companies revealed that more often than not they took no credit at all. They were consistently humble people, even after they were long gone from their companies. This is how the Bible describes the Christian’s character as well. I am to be a humble man before a holy God. Greatness for me isn’t defined so much by what I do for God, but who I am before Him.

These are just things I am learning and trying to understand. I don’t have the market on greatness, especially when it comes to being humble, but each and every day is an opportunity for me to exercise it’s characteristics. I’ve probably heard dozens of sermons in my lifetime that have had a sentence that started with, “Do you want to be great for the kingdom of God? Then _______ (fill in the blank).” Unfortunately I can’t remember what the blanks were, that’s probably why I’m having to learn it all over again.

Resolutions

Resolutions
It’s not uncommon for many people around the world to make resolutions around the new year. We accept the new year as almost a new beginning or a renewal of anything we might want to change in the year to come. It’s a new start that comes about every 365 days. If the previous 365 days didn’t go so hot for you, you could make a resolution and try better in the new year. I’m normally not one to jump on the new years resolution band wagon, but this year I do have a few that I have been thinking about.

First, I want to exercise more. Just saying that sounds a bit clichè as far as resolutions go, I know. I’ve heard that more treadmills are sold around December and January than any other time of the year. But the reality is, I need more exercise. I’ve got a little extra hanging over the belt these days that I never had before and it’s starting to bother me. This never used to be an issue because I pretty much played soccer my entire life, but obviously things have changed. Now I sit in front of a computer screen all day and consume free food provided by company. About once a week someone brings bagels or desserts in as well which are very difficult to decline. Sometimes I think it’s just the fear of man that I don’t want to make someone feel bad that I don’t want their bagels (which I do), but I just don’t want run that off later. Needless to say, exercise is on the ballot for 2008.

Secondly, I want more balance. No, I don’t need to learn to walk — I mean balance in my life. My job is great, and I never need to bring work home or think about work while I am at home. The problem is I work at home. I have a side business doing freelance design and photography and sometimes my time is consumed in that as opposed to other things. I need balance in my work, spiritual life, and my relationship with Bethany. Those things definitely overlap at times and they should (e.g. spiritual life and relationship with Bethany), but I want to make sure that I am not so consumed with the pursuit of the mighty dollar that other areas of my life are being quenched of my time and attention. Therefore, I am resolved to obtain more balance as it pertains to my work and relationships with God and Bethany.

Finally, I want to finish things. That might sound strange, but it’s something I am realizing that I have a hard time with. I want to finish some school. There are a few outstanding classes that got away from me that I am registered for and in the process of completing. I want to finish some projects. This goes along with being balanced, but I need to finish a few design projects that I have started and need to complete. I want to finish some blogs. Every now and then I start a blog that I like and then I either run out of time or just don’t complete my thoughts and it’s just left out there in the cold. I want to finish my thoughts and be clear in my thinking. It’s good for me, and I think it will be beneficial to those who read my blog. And lastly, I want to finish some books. Over the course of a year I find that I pick up a book for a week or two, read a good amount of it and then never finish. One book I want to finish is “On Writing Well.” This will probably help my blogging for one thing. Another is “Desiring God” by J.I. Packer. I have started that book more than once and have found myself in the same place with the end nowhere in sight.

I don’t know what the new year holds for my life. But I do know what I am called to be and to do as a Believer in Jesus Christ. My hope is that these simple resolutions will be steps in my life to glorify an amazing God and also make me a better husband and friend. If you feel you could help me, send me a comment or an email and I’ll be sure and take it to heart. Now if I could just find that darn book…

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