Saturday, February 25, 2012

"How to Be Outstanding"

Below is a recent article from Jeff Goins, one of my favorite bloggers. He tells about the need for courage to "be outstanding."  A great piece to give older braveheart children...or ourselves!

To read Jeff's blog go to

How to Be Outstanding

Posted: 23 Feb 2012 02:00 AM PST

Everyone wants to be extraordinary, but no one wants to be unpopular.

Everyone wants to be a genius, but no one wants to be called a nerd.

Everyone wants to be outstanding, but no one’s willing to stand out.

Earning the attention you deserve will be the hardest, scariest, most grueling thing you do. But it will also be the most rewarding.

The typical tale of an outstanding person
I once met a girl named Patricia. She wanted to live life to the full. When everyone else was playing those “reindeer games” she was being Rudolph. She was standing out.

This usually earned her a few rolled eyes and jokes cracked at her expense, but that didn’t bother her.

Then one day, Patricia stood up when everyone else was sitting down. She did the bold, courageous, amazing thing. And everyone admired her for it.

Suddenly, Patricia wasn’t the outcast, anymore. She was the leader. And there was a crowd of people standing behind her — literally — ready to go wherever she would lead them.

The cost of courage
It takes courage to go where no one else has gone. It takes the heart of a pioneer and the mind of an engineer — to set out for the Promised land and build the road as you go.

To do something this creative — something that’s never been done before — you have to be a little crazy. Fortunately, those who are, end up changing the world.

Of course, like all new endeavors, this involves risk. There’s a cost to doing great things.

To be a leader in today’s world, you have to be brave enough to wander off the worn path and make a new one. And no one will be walking with you those first few steps. So be prepared.

It’s lonely
There’s a reason why most startups fail and most books never get finished: Being a leader is hard.

Which is precisely why we need you to do it. Why we need you to do what so few are willing to do: to be different. To take the initiative. To courageously go where no one’s gone before.

So what are you waiting for?

“An engraved invitation?!” as my dad used to say to the parked cars at the green traffic light. Green means go. Time to be outstanding

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Courage to Have God's Best

Recently I preached a sermon on Deuteronomy, a rich experience for me. Our church is going through the entire Bible in a year. Since that means one or more books in a week, we are getting a chance to get the big picture.

Deuteronomy's big picture is about having courage to live in God's best.

Years before, Israel failed to go into the Promised Land because they were afraid.  While the land was as great as God had told them, Israel were afraid of the big people in the Land and rebelled against God.  They didn't get God's best because of fear.  A whole generation of warriors died while the nation wandered for forty years.

In Deuteronomy, Israel stands to the east of the Jordan, ready to complete the conquest and to live in the Promised Land.

Will they overcome the fear from forty years before, take the Land, and live well there?

Moses pours himself out in Deuteronomy in three sermons.  He is about to die and he so much wants the nation to move in the Land that God gave them and to live well there.

Moses says four things to help Israel overcome fear and move in the Land.  The same four will help us and our children overcome the fear of moving into the life that God has prepared for us.

First, remember our story.  In chapters 1-3, Moses reminds Israel of their story, of God's direction and care for them.  God wants us to remember what He has done for us, our story, so when we face something hard, we know we have been there before and He is faithful. How do we help our children remember their story?  Books, pictures, telling stories, or a bulletin board with memories of God's care and rescue?  What else?

Second, God's steadfast love. In chapters 4-11, Moses shows God's steadfast love for His people.  It is about relationship and God's commitment to them.  And, their commitment and love to Him. As we learn more and  more about God's deep love, we know He won't leave us and will be there.  There is no need to fear the obstacles in the way of His best for us.  Church, family devotions, quiet moments in a busy life, and a parent's unconditional love will help children know God's love.

Third, standards for living well.  In chapters 12-26, Moses gives specific ways to live well in God's Promised Land.  It isn't enough just to get there, but living well and rightly for generations is his dream and God's provision.  While the specifics don't fit our world, the idea of teaching our children to live well is the same.  What principles of life, biblical and not, will help our children live a life of courage in their own Promised Land?

I noticed that most of the directions Moses gave are costly, either time or money.  Feasts and providing for the poor costs money.  Taking care of a neighbor's donkey or praying for someone costs time. Living in God's best for us and our children is not about comfort and privilege, it is about celebrating and caring, about loving God and loving people.  God's best for us is costly.  But, worth every penny and second.

Fourth, choices to make.  In chapters 27-34, Moses declares that Israel has to make choices, between life and death, between bad and good.  And, there are consequences.  Will we and our children have the courage to choose to live well, to enter the life God has for us, even if there are monsters and it is costly?

If we remember God's care in our own story and reflect on God's rock solid love for us and our family, we can face the fears that come with living the great life He has for us.  He is trustworthy and able.

May our children have the courage to enter God's best and live well there.