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 lead and love.
Through the Eyes of Eternity (June 2016)
I recently received a text from my wife Michelle that made my heart sink. “Dr. Solum called. I have small lymphocytic lymphoma.” My wife, the person with whom I was supposed to grow old and raise our children, had cancer. I wept.
That night, I asked her how we should pray for this. She didn’t ask to be cured. She said she wanted to give God glory through this journey. A few short hours after receiving her diagnosis, she was already looking through the eyes of eternity.
James 1:2-4 tells us to consider our trials “pure joy”. Why? Because the testing of our faith produces perseverance and that makes us mature and complete. When things are going great, we more easily forget about God. In a trial, our communication with God increases dramatically. Our trials can be used to draw others into deeper relationship with Him.
Our time on earth is a blink of an eye compared with eternity. Our trials are minor when you look through the eyes of eternity. (2017 Update: Michelle’s cancer has been stable now for over a year.)
It’s All About the Kids (November 2015)
Over the last several years, our kids’ involvement in after-school and weekend activities has dramatically increased. This places an enormous amount of stress on kids and parents alike. We continue to say “Yes” in the spirit of trying to do the best for our kids, giving them a chance to experience life to the fullest in order to prepare them for a lifetime of success. The intent is laudable. But if we say “Yes” to all these tempting possibilities to “develop” our kids, rather than prioritizing important spiritual opportunities, what will be the outcome?
Are we really developing our kids, or are we setting an example of an unbalanced life that they will pass on to the next generation?
I think this is something worthy of uncomfortable discussion. I’m a big fan of using extracurricular activities for the development of character in our kids, but caution that balance is critical. A balanced life just might give them the opportunity to become all that God has designed them to be.
The BEST Kind of Leader (February 2014)
Imagine being led by a servant leader who humbly puts others’ needs before his or her own. A leader who leads by example with unquestionable character and who consistently keeps commitments. A leader who cares enough to lovingly confront and hold accountable those who start to get off track.
Wouldn’t you love to be led by someone like that? More importantly, wouldn’t you love to BE someone like that?
Think of the difference you would make in the lives of those you lead and the ripple effect that would have in their families. If you lead the people around you in the way Jesus demonstrated, you impact the “forevers” of your spouse, your kids, and the people at work. Becoming a servant leader is a choice. It requires study, self-reflection, resources, and will. The price may be big for you . . . but the payoff is tremendous – and literally eternal.
Outrageous Generosity (January 2017)
Stories of outrageous generosity move us. Nearly everyone would agree that a life of faith should include substantial giving. However, giving can be difficult for us for a number of reasons. Jesus said more about money than anything else, including heaven and hell. Why? There is an intimate connection between money and spiritual transformation. Unfortunately, many of us were incorrectly taught about giving, and have an “outside-in” approach. We are pressured to give out of guilt or because someone said giving was what “good” people did. A distorted view of money by both churches and attenders perpetuates the problem.
The solution has to start on the inside. We must understand that the money God has blessed us with is all His, and we are the managers of His resources. Learning what God has to say about managing His money will slowly transform us from the INSIDE-OUT and move us toward selfless generosity. If Christians understood and acted in step with Jesus on this single issue, hunger, poverty, homelessness and a host of other issues would be a fraction of what they are today, and God will get all the credit.
Blurry Vision (April 2015)
Bestselling author John Maxwell said the one thing he desired most for the world was: “To give people a true picture of God.”
Most of us have blurry vision, an unclear picture of Jesus and the transformational power He can have in our lives. When imperfect people try to portray a perfect God, things don’t go well. That’s a shame, because if we understand who Jesus is – the greatest teacher, leader, and humble servant of all time – and see just how much He loves us, we will be amazed.
My challenge to you: get to know the real Jesus. If you reject Him after an in-depth exploration, so be it. At least you aren’t sitting lukewarm on the fence. My prayer is that you will be transformed. Read the Gospel of Luke, then the book of Acts with a modern translation (NIV or NLT). Get it free at Bible.com. Explore the Faith section of my website for a concise summary with links to resources: AnEternalImpact.com/Faith.
It would break my heart to have you live in a society that has all the information in the world literally in the palm of your hand, yet not be clear about what is most important for your life and eternity.