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The Most Neglected Three Seconds in Volleyball 

The Most Neglected Three Seconds in Volleyball  It happens at least 35 times, and sometimes over 50 times each set. It is an untapped stage for the growth of emerging leaders. It represents dozens of missed opportunities to deliver much needed praise, encouragement, and strategy … every … single … set.   What are the most neglected three seconds in volleyball?  The player huddle.   If overlooked and dismissed, the six players on the floor merely come together after each point, pointlessly pat each [...]


What Kind of Soil are You? The Hard Path

One of the most well-known parables of Jesus is the Parable of the Soils. In it, He describes the four conditions of the human heart in response to God’s word. Please take a moment to read this passage in Luke 8:4-15. Linked is a nice animation of the story. He begins with a farmer sowing seed. Luke said that the seed is the word of God. It’s the gospel, the good news that Jesus came to earth to give himself as [...]


God With Us?

The word Immanuel – which means God with us - should blow our minds. If you stop and really think about it, your head might hurt. You might think, “I don’t even understand what God is like.” Or “Why would God want to be with messed-up humans, many of whom don’t acknowledge Him, hate Him, or live their lives like He doesn’t matter?” Let’s go back to the prophecy in the Old Testament book of Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore, the Lord [...]


Practice DOESN’T Make Perfect

Do you know someone who has had the same hobby or job for years, yet is really no better at it now than when they first started? Sure, he may really enjoy playing golf or piano, and she likes her job just enough not to leave . . . but they haven’t come close to what someone would call a “master”. Why is this? Researchers say it takes about 10,000 hours of practice and about 10 years of dedication to [...]


Success Requires Interest

“Do what you love, and you won’t work a day in your life.” It’s well known that people who follow their personal interests into a career tend to be very satisfied and engaged. But how do we find that passion for ourselves or perhaps help our children discover what they love? As we discussed last time, Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, divides the kind grit that leads to success into passion and perseverance, something that [...]


The Most Accurate Predictor of Success

We’ve all seen it. Maybe it happened to someone we know casually, someone in our family, or even us. Highly talented people with all the potential in the world to be a great college athlete, a sure bet to be a doctor or a lawyer, or insane musical abilities who are sure to go to the next level. But they don’t. That leaves us scratching our heads and coming up with all sorts of excuses as to why such a [...]


Quick and Slow and Slow

Listening, speaking, and anger. Lack of listening is a common reason for relationship spats. Speaking when you shouldn’t, or with the wrong tone or timing, can get you into big trouble. And everyone knows that anger can be very destructive. You can imagine several ways these are related.  Jesus’ half-brother, James, wrote about this very topic in an extremely practical letter to the first century church. In the Bible, James 1:19-20 says: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should [...]


Means to an End?

Can you be a means to an end when the end isn’t you? Are you OK or even fulfilled when you are just a cog in the wheel or a gear in the machine? Said differently, is your purpose in life, stated or unstated, mainly about you? At the Leadercast 2017 conference, Andy Stanley challenged the audience to move beyond “me” and focus on being the means to an end that is much, much bigger than ourselves: “Am I willing [...]


Top 5 Posts

Many of you know that I write a monthly column for our neighborhood magazine, and the July 2017 issue marks its 5 year anniversary. To keep the theme of "5", I went back to reflect upon 40+ articles and pulled out some highlights of what I consider to be the most impactful ones. I hope that these have been helping you on your journey of Faith, Leadership, and Life so that you can have An Eternal Impact with those you [...]


How to Raise Great Kids

Michelle and I recently gave a talk about marriage and family at the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) banquet. Afterwards, a dad came up to me and asked the secret to why we (so far) have been successful at raising great kids. I joked and said, “It’s all Michelle.” Reflecting on it, of course great moms are critical to developing great kids. But not every great mom results in great kids, and some great kids don’t have a great mom or [...]


If Your Butt Muscles Tighten Up . . .

Author and Pastor Craig Groeschel suggests an excellent diagnostic test: If your butt muscles tighten up when you hear the word “generosity”, you may have a scarcity mindset. Most Americans don’t feel rich, but we are. Plug in your income at and you’ll find that most are in the top 1% in the world. Even families at our poverty level are in the top 3% in the world. Think about it. Many people in other countries don’t have houses. [...]


When You Reach Your Limit . . .

Have you plateaued? Is your golf score stuck? Have you hit the ceiling in your business? Is your marriage on the dull side? You’ve tried the same things that used to work and enabled you to reach your current level, but now it’s not working anymore. Or have you thought about stretching yourself to try a new hobby but didn’t see how you possibly could learn the complex skills needed to succeed? When we hit a barrier, when we come [...]


Living Our Faith: How Will They Know?

In this series, we have explored several ways to live our faith in order to reflect at least a portion of the awesomeness of our God to a watching world. We have emphasized the importance of not just externally changing our behaviors, but learning to love God and having this love flow into our actions in an INSIDE-OUT manner. Until now, we have looked at ways to live our faith that others can observe, without much in the way of [...]


Living Our Faith: Outrageous Generosity

Stories of outrageous generosity move us. If you watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and saw people in need have their homes completely redone without charge (and shed a few tears), you know the importance and impact of giving. Similar things happened in the early church after they encountered the risen Christ. At the end of Acts chapter 2, we see that “They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” Nearly everyone would agree that a life [...]


Living Our Faith: It’s Not About Us

Mother Teresa captivated a watching world because of the way she served. She didn’t just casually talk about serving God; she lived her faith in a dramatic, yet humble fashion that made people stop and take notice. When we think of people “living their faith”, we expect it to include passionate service to others. It’s hard to imagine someone “all in” for God and not having that joy overflow in this way. Serving is important, but serving for unclear or [...]


Living Our Faith: What Surprises the World

During a Bible study on June 17, 2015 in Charleston, SC, nine people were murdered by Dylann Roof. Although it deeply affected the nation, something less publicized, but more powerful occurred during the court hearing two days later (article with video). Several of the families were allowed to speak to the gunman, and what they said surprised the world: “I forgive you”. How is it possible to forgive someone who, less than 48 hours prior, murdered their loved ones? Through [...]


Living Our Faith: When You Put on the Jersey

Have you even been to a college football game? When the visiting team puts on their jerseys and comes on the field, they are routinely and loudly “booed”. Should they be surprised? When you or I become a Christian (, we automatically “put on the jersey” and become a representative of God to a watching world. Our job is to be transformed by God from the INSIDE-OUT ( and demonstrate how awesome God is to those around us by how [...]


Living Our Faith: INSIDE-OUT

We see it all the time. We probably do it ourselves. Family, friends, and churches may unknowingly encourage it. We change “outside-in”. We attempt to clean up our behaviors and attitudes by trying harder to be a better person in the eyes of those around us, including God. But that kind of life change isn’t deep and likely won’t last. In order to authentically live our faith, we first have to let God transform us on the INSIDE, and then [...]


Living Our Faith: Strengthening Our Foundation

Does our belief and trust in God matter much if we don’t live it? How does someone go about living their faith on a daily basis? How do we “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” when it comes to things of eternal significance? The next several articles will attempt to address how we can live our faith in a way that results in an eternal impact in our lives and the lives of those around us. This article speaks [...]


Through the Eyes of Eternity

I recently received a text from my wife Michelle that made my heart sink. “Dr. Solum called. I have small lymphocytic lymphoma.” A few days earlier she had a biopsy of an enlarged lymph node. She was otherwise feeling fine. It was most likely a reactive node from a minor infection. But it wasn’t. My wife, the person with whom I was supposed to grow old and raise our children, had cancer. I wept. For the last several months, Michelle [...]


Rejuvenate Your Relationship: Part 1

Healthy marriages are incredibly important. The ripple effects of unhealthy relationships are broad and deep, adversely impacting husbands and wives, children, extended family, friends, and society as a whole. Fortunately, there are several actions we can take to repair, strengthen, and grow our marriages. My challenge to you is to discuss and incorporate these practices into your marriage. Date regularly. If you ask couples with outstanding relationships for marriage tips, it won’t be long before the importance of regular dating comes [...]


Rejuvenate Your Relationship: Part 2

Healthy marriages are incredibly important. The ripple effects of unhealthy relationships are broad and deep, adversely impacting husbands and wives, children, extended family, friends, and society as a whole. Fortunately, there are several actions we can take to repair, strengthen, and grow our marriages. My challenge to you is to discuss and incorporate at least these practices into your marriage. Invest in your marriage. Although financial issues, adultery, and “drifting apart” are often cited as leading causes of divorce, they are [...]


Rejuvenate Your Relationship: Part 3

Healthy marriages are incredibly important. The ripple effects of unhealthy relationships are broad and deep, adversely impacting husbands and wives, children, friends, and society as a whole. Fortunately, there are several actions we can take to repair, strengthen, and grow our marriages. My challenge to you is to discuss and incorporate these practices into your marriage. Put Your Marriage Before Your Kids. Remember the pre-flight announcement during your last trip? “In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will appear [...]


Rejuvenate Your Relationship: Part 4

Healthy marriages are incredibly important. The ripple effects of unhealthy relationships are broad and deep, adversely impacting husbands and wives, children, friends, and society as a whole. My challenge to you is to discuss and incorporate these principles into your marriage. Be on the Same Page with Money. Money issues are often cited as the leading cause of arguments and divorce. We must find a way to work as a team. A common foundational issue occurs when couples don’t combine [...]


The Importance of Struggles: Part 1

“If God is on my side, I won’t have troubles or trials.” Is this true? Think of a difficult time you had in the past. Maybe you are struggling right now. Some of us assume that if God is with us, we won’t struggle through troubles or trials. We may even think it is God’s job to ensure our comfort. However, that’s not the theme in the Bible. The main purpose of trials in our lives is to mature us: [...]


The Importance of Struggles: Part 2

Some of us assume that if God is with us, we won’t struggle through troubles or trials. When “bad” things happen or we hit a rough stretch, we might even think God is abandoning us. We learned last time in James 1:2-4 that the main purpose of struggling through trials in our lives is to mature us. We should expect trials to come and expect to struggle during trials. But does God abandon us in our trials? Several examples in [...]


It’s All About The Kids

My intent is not to offend; it’s for you to join me to reflect on one of my personal struggles. Over the last several years, our kids’ involvement in after-school and weekend activities has dramatically increased. Volleyball, band, 4-H, drum lessons, a part-time job, and a variety of other activities, many of which overlap, have increased in volume and intensity. If it was just one activity at a time it would be better, but seasons often overlap. This places an [...]


The Costs of Leadership

As leaders (that’s you and I), we are responsible for the guidance and well-being of those we lead, whether at home, in the workplace, or in our social networks. As we develop ourselves, there are costs to consider. J. Oswald Sanders says in his book Spiritual Leadership, “To aspire to leadership in God’s kingdom requires us to be willing to pay a price higher than others are willing to pay.” In John Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership [...]


Your Most Important Conversation

As leaders (that’s you and I), we are responsible for the guidance and well-being of those we lead, whether at home, in the workplace, or in our social networks. Considering this great responsibility, it is exceptionally important to seek God’s help and guidance. The main way this occurs is through prayer. Prayer is essential to transform our lives and the lives of those around us, yet few of us are satisfied with the quality and consistency of our prayer lives. [...]


Your Most Important Conversation: Talking With God

As leaders we are responsible for the guidance and well-being of those we lead, and it is exceptionally important to seek help from God through prayer. This month I’ll help you set the stage for great prayer and review some tips to talk with God. Prioritize Prayer. J. Oswald Sanders in his book Spiritual Leadership said, “Mastering the art of prayer, like anything else, takes time. The time we give it will be a true measure of its importance to [...]


How to Hear from God

I must say that I’ve never heard the audible voice of God. Most people use phrases like “prompting”, “whisper”, or “impression” when they hear from God. Pastor Wayne Cordeiro explains it like this, “There is a frequency that your life was designed to be tuned to, and that frequency is the unique voice of God. Once you learn to hear it – and you actually can get better at picking it out – you will find that your craving for [...]


How to Hear From God: Part 2

As leaders we are responsible for the guidance and well-being of those we lead, and it is exceptionally important to seek help from God through prayer. The final article in this series will address the difficult topics of what to do when God is silent, and how to know He is the one who is talking. What do you do when you’ve NEVER heard from God or haven’t in a long time? Here are some tips: Ask God to improve [...]


The Leader’s Use of Time

“The character and career of a young person depends on how he or she spends spare time.  The way we employ the surplus hours . . . will determine if we develop into mediocre or powerful people.” – J. Oswald Sanders According to Nielsen, adults between the ages of 18 and 49 watch 25-35 hours of TV per week. And that doesn’t include computer/mobile phone time for social media and other online activities, which exceeds TV time for many. Even [...]


Quality vs. Quantity Time in our Backyard

Maybe you are like me; I hope you aren't . . . My natural bent is to live under the delusion that all is good if I just have enough short bursts of quality time with my wife and kids: a vacation here and there, a few significant minutes during each weekday, and maybe a few hours doing an activity each weekend. Maybe not. Many of us want to live lives that have an eternal impact, right? But we often forget about [...]


It’s Just a Cookie

A fresh cookie . . . A post-prom party . . . An attractive coworker . . . What do these three have in common? You may come up with several associations. In and of themselves, none of these are good or bad. But put in the right context with the right people, you have a setup for a thing called temptation. Temptation regularly happens to everyone, and most of us struggle when we encounter it. Temptation can be defined [...]


The BEST Kind of Leader: Part 1

Are YOU a leader? J. Oswald Sanders, the author of the classic Spiritual Leadership, says: Leadership is INFLUENCE: the ability of one person to influence others to follow his or her lead. So, do you influence those around you? Are you a spouse, a parent, a brother, a sister, a friend, someone with a job or who volunteers?  If so, you influence those around you, and YOU are a leader! Once you’ve established that you are a leader, you have [...]


The BEST Kind of Leader: Part 2

“In the world, the strong take advantage of, and abuse the weak, using them for their own personal pleasures or advantage at the other’s expense. But in God’s biblical design of leadership, the strong die for the weak. Those in charge, lay down their lives for the ones under their care. The leader serves and protects. The more powerful or influential you are, the more humble, servant-hearted, and sacrificial you become.”  This powerful quote from the book The Resolution for Men [...]


Mid-Life Crisis (NO!) Second Half Significance

Mid-Life Crisis    Second Half Significance If you are between 40 and 50 years old like me, you are in the prime time for a mid-life crisis. For many, that results in “trading up” for a better car, house, or (gulp) spouse in a misguided way to resolve feelings caused by entitlement, or not quite getting it right the first time. I’d like to suggest a different path that has a much better outcome for all involved. Last month we discussed [...]


Blurry Vision

I recently went to a leadership conference led by New York Times bestselling author John Maxwell. No one in the world has published more about leadership. But leadership is not his true passion. When asked about the one thing he desired most for the world he answered, “To give people a true picture of God.” Most of us have blurry vision. We don’t have a clear picture of Jesus and the transformational power he can have in our lives. This [...]


What Are Your Guardrails?

What Are Your Guardrails? Are you planning to mess up your life? In a big way? And in the process, mess up the lives of those around you? Of course, everyone’s answer is, “No”. Nobody plans to mess up their lives. And that’s why we need guardrails. A guardrail on a road is designed to keep vehicles from straying into dangerous or off-limit areas. It is there to protect us. The guardrail itself isn’t usually located in a dangerous part [...]


Flirt or Flee?

“Behind the scenes of any healthy marriage relationship, you’ll find guardrails” – Andy Stanley Guardrails on a road are designed to keep vehicles from straying into dangerous areas. You could drive where guardrails are located, but the distance between the guardrail and the danger keeps you safe. Andy Stanley’s definition of a personal guardrail is, “A standard of behavior that you are so committed to, that when you violate it, it bothers your conscience.” When you bump up against a [...]


The Love of Money

Americans don’t handle money well. Consumer debt is on the rise; of those with credit card debt the average balance is over $15,000. The retirement accounts of working-age people are shockingly underfunded. And on a more personal level, problems with money are cited as a leading reason for divorce. How can we remedy this situation? Most are surprised to hear that Jesus said more about money than heaven and hell, and there are twice as many verses about money than [...]


Choose Your Close Friends Wisely

Why are/were your parents so concerned about with whom you hang out? Andy Stanley has an interesting quote on the topic, “Friends pretty much determine the direction and quality of our lives.” I would argue that for those that are married, your spouse has the greatest influence. But especially for middle school, high school, and college-age people, friends do have a great influence on our lives. When we are around close friends, we are accepted. When we are accepted, we [...]


When a brave man takes a stand . . .

"When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened." The quote from Billy Graham is inspirational. And it’s true; when we see someone drawing a line in the sand for a cause close to our hearts, we are inspired to do likewise. When we see courage, we are inspired to be courageous. Our fear slips away and we are strengthened to stand up for our convictions. Tim Irwin, the author of Derailed states that, “Courage is [...]


Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid.” Recapping the basics of courage we discussed last month, we first must start with strong beliefs and core convictions. Then these four things must occur: 1. That’s not right. There’s something very important to us that’s not right or not how it should be. 2. I’m convicted. We are internally and deeply convicted, as this does not align with our strong beliefs and core convictions. 3. It’s going to cost me. There [...]


Are you “Da Man”?

Do you . . . Feel like you are the main reason for the successes where you work or volunteer? Find yourself using “I”, “me”, and “my” a lot when you talk? Think you deserve special treatment or perks? Begin your discussions with a mini-résumé about why you are qualified in a particular area instead of just speaking like a normal person? . . . then you, like me, may be afflicted with one of the most destructive human attitudes: [...]


Quit the Club!

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” The 10th Commandment (Exodus 20:17) You might be thinking, “Whew!  My neighbor doesn’t have an ox!  I’m off the hook!” But, have you ever desired someone else’s . . . Car Home Possessions Spouse Life If you answered “Yes” to any of these, as a fellow member, let me be [...]


A Transformed Life

You want to live a transformed life and eternally impact others right? If you can just pick ONE thing to spiritually transform your life, the data are in and are clear: Regular Bible reading. Regular Bible reading has twice the power for spiritual transformation than any other spiritual practice. Unfortunately, many have never really read the Bible and don't know how to start. Sometimes we are intimidated because we have only been exposed to a Bible with all kinds of "thee's and [...]


Donuts for Push-ups?

There was a certain Professor of Religion named Dr. Christianson, a studious man who taught at a small college in the Western United States. Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course his or her freshman year regardless of his or her major. Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon [...]


Who do you want your children to become?

I’m ill-equipped to give out parenting advice, but this question is an important one: Who do you want your children to become? What matters most when they are young adults, get a job, get married, and have kids of their own? What is our role as parents in that process? There are literally tens of thousands of books available to guide our parenting. The problem is that the majority are based on authors’ personal opinions and assumptions. Despite the millions [...]


LOOK, but don’t TOUCH?

Who said that it's OK to "look, but don't touch" when it comes to checking out women who aren't your wife (or men who aren't your husband)? Though most would call it an upgrade from "look then touch", it is in no way a biblical concept. Let's see what Jesus has to say about it: Matthew 5: 27-30: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman [...]


YOU ARE REPLACEABLE – (but not in the VERY important areas)

My friend Glenn forwarded me a post from Jon Gallant, a lead at Microsoft - here is an excerpt: "When you are in the thick of something you feel like you are on top of the world and no one else can create the amazing thing that you just created. The fact is that you are replaceable. Sad, but very true. Maybe not if you are Abraham Lincoln, but if you are the average worker in the average job then [...]


$100 worth please

A touching story . . . A follow up to my last post: "You Are Replaceable" SON: "Daddy, may I ask you a question?" DAD: "Yeah sure, what is it?" SON: "Daddy, how much do you make an hour?" DAD: "That's none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?" SON: "I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?" DAD: "If you must know, I make $100 an hour." SON: "Oh! (With [...]


What Kind of Soil?

I just finished the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and as warned a couple of my friends, it really messed me up (in a good way) by all the punch in the gut challenges about who we are and what in the world we are doing with our lives. One thing mentioned was that of the Parable of the Sower (really the Parable of the Soils). Even if you're read it dozens of times, take a few minutes to REALLY re-read [...]


Listen to everyone else?

I'm was the middle of my pre-MBA classwork when this was brought up in my microeconomics class. It really makes you think. A man was on vacation in a small village in Mexico. He saw a fisherman get off his small boat with several large fish. He was impressed with the man's catch and asked him why he did not buy a bigger boat. The man responded that he was a simple man. He caught enough fish to meet his family's [...]


The Comparison Trap

There is no "win" in "comparison". This is a very stealthy way to decrease your impact in your Faith, Leadership, and Life. We all look to our left and right and compare ourselves to others in an attempt to affirm ourselves and increase our perceived value in life. Do we try to determine if we are rich-er, smart-er, or pretty-er than those around us? Do we compare our friends, spouse or kids to others to see if they measure up - [...]


What Will We Do With What We Have?

I struggle with this . . . we live in the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. Even those who live below the poverty line in America have an abundance in comparison with most on this planet. Worldwide, many people don't have houses; A lot of us have houses for our cars. We call them garages. If you think you are not rich (or just to gain a better appreciation of where you "rank" in the world), [...]

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