Life of the Beloved – Taken

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was blessed to have a month-long study break back in June. I loaded up my Kindle with more books than I could read in one month and ended up tackling seven. While all seven were good reads, there were two that were the most impactful — Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen and The Emotionally Healthy Leader by Peter Scazzaro. I would recommend both of these books to any Christ-follower — and especially to Christian leaders. Beginning with this post, I want to share a few reflections from Nouwen’s book (it’s the shortest and most accessible of the two). When it comes to spiritual formation, identity is important. How do you see yourself? How does God see you? How are those two perceptions similar? Different? Nouwen uses four simple words to help us understand our identity as beloved children of God….

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Ryne Sandberg on Respect

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OK, I’ll admit to being a life-long Chicago Cubs fan. Not always rabid or a statistic nerd, but a fan nonetheless. When you are born and raised in Peoria, IL (the home of Joe Girardi and Pete Vonachen), it’s hard to not be a Cubs fan — unless you prefer winning and become a Cardinals fan. I’ve met Harry Carey, been to Wrigley Field, and have an autographed picture of Ernie Banks. There’s a reason Cubs fans are often referred to as “die hards.” There has always been a soft spot for the Cubs, no matter where we’ve lived. So … since one of my heroes during high school was Ryne Sandberg, I thought I would pass along part of his Hall of Fame induction speech. It’s about much more than just baseball. (You can watch the entire speech below). “I was in awe every time I walked onto the field. ……

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The Ripple Effect

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Do you remember tossing a rock into the lake and watching the circles spread out? Those are called ripples. Depending on the splash, the ripples might go on for what seemed to be forever. Maybe you even tried to count the ripples (and probably gave up at some point). Rocks aren’t the only things that create ripples. We create ripples by what we say — a kind word, a mean word, or no word at all. We create ripples by our actions or inactions. Our example to others, especially our children, create ripples, too. Maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of a negative conversation and had a hard time shaking off the aftermath for a long time afterwards. Those were the ripples of a bad encounter. Just as likely, you’ve been given a compliment and worn the smile longer than the action that created the compliment. When we talk…

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Transact or Transform

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One of the leadership blogs that I track on a regular basis is by Art Petty — as far as I know, no relation to Richard Petty. He wrote an article earlier this month entitled, “We All Make the Choice to Transact or Transform.” The basis idea is this: in every encounter, we either choose to simply transact (do what’s necessary) or look for ways to transform the experience. Here’s an example of what he’s talking about: “You see the transaction effect in the big, impersonal retail stores where cashiers seem to be trained to not make eye contact and almost never smile. You experience it at the airline counter and your doctor’s office and in so many other encounters in your daily life. These organizations and those in them who run the business simply don’t care. That’s too bad, because the cost of striving to transform is negligible and the…

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What Do You Think

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“Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man. But sooner or later the man who wins, is the man who thinks he can.” — Vince Lombardi For the uninformed, Vince Lombardi was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the late 1950’s and much of the 1960’s. His teams won five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls. Teams that win the Super Bowl are given the Lombardi trophy. As a person who makes a living by observing life and trying to help others navigate it, I’ve seen people who were stronger, faster, smarter, or with other advantages fail to win life’s battles. Even those who sometimes start with a head start still fall short of the finish line. On the other hand, I’ve been blessed to witness people overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges to reach a goal or attain victory. It might surprise you,…

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