Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Prison: A place to learn violence or victory

We hope that prisoners will do their time, become rehabilitated, and reenter society as contributing members. Typically that's wishful thinking, because prisons are not known for making men and women better citizens. But according to this story, not only are some prisoners not becoming better citizens, they are becoming "radicalized in prison and could commit extremist violence upon their release, according to an FBI letter obtained by The Associated Press." According to the story, "groups with extremist ideologies may be targeting felons as prime candidates for conversion during their time in prison."

Thank God ministries like Prison Fellowship are ministering Christ to men and women behind bars and giving them hope. And we can see what Christ has done with serial killer turned faithful believer David Berkowitz. I'm sure many prisoners whose names most of us will never know have been blessed by the message of Jesus and are making either society or the prisons they inhabit a better place. I pray that the word of God gets to those prisoners currently being trained in violence. May they realize that any destruction they cause will pale in comparison to the harm they'll do to themselves.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Katrina: Heroes rising up

We sighed in relief (somewhat) when Hurricane Katrina didn't hit land as an epic category 5 storm. But we are seeing that it is becoming a disaster of epic proportions. 30 people died in one apartment building. Levees are being breached. Dead bodies (hundreds are feared dead, and hundreds of thousands are homeless) floating in the water are being ignored because there are still so many people to save. Lives are saved, but the likelihoold of disease increases. And now the governor of New Orleans has declared a mandatory evacuation of the city. What a monumental task that will be, with key roads out of the city flooded, and debris all over blocking the routes. Chemical and biological harm may cause even greater health problems in the coming days.

But we are a nation founded by people who overcame the greatest of odds. At times it seemed we would be decimated by disease and by savage Indians. But we made it through. That's the heart of our country, and I believe it's representative of so many people in the ravaged South today. The looters are not typical of our great nation. They take with no intention to give. Yet it is the selfless ones, the ones who sacrifice precious time and even their lives, who will lead the recovery of the damaged areas and torn families. They will, because it's who they are. I know that in the coming days we'll see many stories of sacrifice. Let's not become too discouraged by reports of looting and the like. There's too many good people out there.

Staying Motivated

Here are some great ideas for success. I'm bookmarking this, so in the future refer to it in my links.

Caveat: It doesn't seem to have a Christian foundation, but all in all some very good advice. We need to balance between thinking we can just sit there and expect God to do it all and thinking we can do it all without God. So follow much of the advice in this link, but seek God's guidance and power in the process.

Never, never, never quit

Sir Winston Churchill refused to give up amid the horrors of WWII. Things looked grim, but he knew that to surrender would mean tragedy for Britain and its inhabitants. So he (thankfully) didn't follow the path of his predecessor, who thought that Hitler was actually going to keep his word. It wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination, but today England is free and Churchill is lauded as one of the great leaders of the 20th century.

We also must persevere in life. We must Stay the Course (the 10th and final principle in the MAXIMIZERS acrostic). If we're knocked down, we need to get up. Didn't we do so when we were learning to ride a bike, or when we were turned down for a job? For some reason we see failure as a learning experience when we're children, but heaven forbid if we fail at something when we're adults. It's better to try and fail than not to try at all. It shows we are trying to better ourselves. We can only grow by attempting something bigger than we currently are. To always play it safe is to stagnate. It's normal to fail. A person who never fails is on the way to the worst of ultimate failures.

Here are some stats from the National Sales Executives Association regarding sales persistence:
  • 80% of all new sales are made after the fifth call to the same prospect
  • Half of all sales persons make one call, then cross off the prospect
  • Only 10 percent will keep calling until they succeed.

(Dennis Waitley, Being the Best (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1987), 54-55

Even God favors persistence. He tells us to, "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). So may we encourage each other with prayer and exhortation to persist.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Looting amid tragedy

(Scroll down to "2:23 PM")

As expected, sadly some people have once again dredged the bottom of the barrel and pilfered goods during this horrible hurricane. Such behavior is all too common, and I hope it will be punished. Everybody needs to work together. There will be many millions of dollars in damage, so business owners really don't need more expenses. Thankfully, such selfish and wrong behavior is not what most of those citizens of the South would condone. May God bless those of you who are acting courageously and sacrificially during this very trying time.

Adjusting

The ninth principle in the MAXIMIZERS acrostic is "Realign Rigorously." That means we need to adapt to changing circumstances. Take the situation that has come at us and plan a strategy based on our overarching purpose, moral principles, strengths and weaknesses, and priorities. Stay focused on the task at hand. Brainstorm ideas, and be open to suggestions from others. Put the plan into action, and note the results. If mistakes are made in the process, we need to ask ourselves how we can learn from them.

The war in Iraq and the battle against terrorism shows adaptation as a key principle to success. Both sides are continually adapting to the other as new information is garnished about combatant positions, what weapons systems each has, and the like. Our overarching purpose seems to be to establish a democratic system of government in Iraq to help create stability in the region, and to make terrorism a much less likely scenario in the future. Our moral principles are to show love and compassion for the unfortunates caught in the midst of the battles, and to ultimately help more people live lives free from oppression. I would hope that our military is utilitizing its personnel to the best of their ability, and training rigorously where there is lack in ability. Finally, our priorities are to protect the law abiding citizens and to capture or destroy those bent on our destruction, and to do so in a way that is honorable before God.

Focus is hard in this day of instant gratification. We had troops in Japan and Germany for many years after WWII ended, but in far less time cries calling for our withdrawal have gone up. Many more have died in former wars in far less time than have died in Iraq since this war started (not to make light of those who have died in Iraq by any means), but it seems that it takes far fewer deaths in war these days to take the focus off the destruction of terrorism and put it on the deaths of our troops. I believe we need to focus more on the successes we've had, such as enemy combatants killed or captured and/or information we've gotten from them, infrastructure rebuilt, government officials established in the region, people saved from persecution, etc. Tell also of the wrong things we do--but tell all, good and bad. Then maybe we'll be able to focus on what needs to be changed, rather than changing things that aren't really so wrong after all.

Some leaders have, sadly, tried to find ways to negotiate with the terrorists. I'm reminded of a scene in Independence Day where the president is talking with an alien creature who has come back to life and is holding a scientist hostage. The president asks what he and the nation can do to come to some sort of agreement. The alien says, "Die!"

That's the terrorists' way of negotiating. They want us to die. For us to attempt to compromise with them is suicide. We must learn to adapt to needs properly, not foolishly. The terrorists' have shown they are not willing to be reasonable. The leaders of England and France tried adapting to Hitler's demands, and look what it got them.

Again, the principle is Realign Rigorously. It is indeed important to be rigorous in the fast-moving world. To fall even a step behind in awareness of key enemy combatants' abilities and positions is to court disaster. I'm not sure if it's true, but I read somewhere that we are way behind in translating and deciphering enemy communications. If this is the case, I pray that we adjust and do some catching up, lest we miss something that could be tragic to us.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

See yourself as God sees you


Our pastor recently told us a statement she heard somewhere: "The son of a lion is a lion." Simple, but profound, when we realize that Jesus is the Lion of Judah, and we who are born-again Christians have been adopted into his family. So the next time we look in the mirror, let's see beyond the facade and into our true self. Then we can let out a victorious roar as we face the challenges of the day!

Be brave


Let's not fear the multitude of giants among us. "If God is for us, who can be against us," says Romans 8:31. And, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13). And, "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). So stand tall, and walk with courage. Matthew 10:28 reminds us that even if we are physically attacked: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." That's right, God is in ultimate control. He may allow our bodies to be attacked, but not our eternal souls once we belong to Him.

Cute pictures


I haven't yet posted pictures, so let's see how it goes.

Here's one reminding us to stay alert. So many people sleep through opportunities that they need to be pounced upon to wake up. But like this picture shows, it may not be a very pleasant experience for the "pouncee." Better to grab opportunities with gusto rather than have them come along and not be prepared.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Akiane, a child prodigy glorifying God

The level of maturity and ability this 11-year-old artist and poet has is incredible. She had more ability at 4 years old than many of us adults do (certainly more than me). And the Lord is such a major part of what she does.

I had forgotten who I was

Many years ago I lived with my sister and niece. As a teen, my niece often acted as teens do. Mr. Holier-Than-Thou that I was, I often thought poorly of her because she didn't meet my expectations.

Then God knocked me across the head and reminded me of how I was as a teen--probably worse than she was--and how she should not be expected to act like an adult. Well, she is an adult now, and far more mature than I was at that age.

What the "hell"?

In a couple of posts on this blog I have referred to hell, the place where those who reject Christ end up. That is an uncomfortable subject to many, but Christ didn't shy away from it. Nor does the New Testament as a whole.

It will, sadly, become the ultimate destiny for many, despite the Bible's attempts to present a clear picture of its reality and its horror. It's not a place of anihillation. We don't simply cease to exist once our bodies die. We live forever, in heaven or hell.

I do plan to expound on the beauty of heaven in future posts, because that is a destiny we all should want, a destiny purchased for our inhabitation by Christ's blood. If we choose to accept. But I can't in good conscience speak of destiny--whether in this life or the next--without mentioning this one.

May what I write be written in love, but may that love be mixed well with truth. I'd rather have people feel uncomfortable with the truth than feel content with a lie. If you simply want to read what makes you feel good, I would strongly suggest not coming to this blog. But if you want to read what leads to ultimate good, that's my goal for this blog.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Taproot Principle

Energize Internally: This is the most important of the MAXIMIZERS principles, because it addresses our spirit and character--who we are at the core, and our ultimate source of power and truth. It's called the taproot principle because like the taproot for a tree, it is absolutely necessary for true life. We are only as strong and alive and full of hope as the God (or god) that we embrace.

As I mentioned in an early post on this blog, I don't know enough about Islam or the Koran to say whether Al Qaeda's actions are legitimate according to those principles, but whatever their spiritual source, it's obviously evil. A tree is known by its fruit, and terrorists such as these are clearly rotten to the core. They have sadly bought into a lie that is dragging their souls down to hell, to the great dismay of the Lord Jesus Christ, who weeps at their foolishness.

It's up to each person to determine the merits of the faith they currenly embrace or are considering embracing. I don't have all the facts regarding Christianity--for me to develop a thorough apologetic for the Bible and Christ as well as thoroughly discounting the many other faiths would be impossible. My faith is indeed based partly on the facts I'm currently aware of, but mostly on the conviction the Holy Spirit has given me. Some of you may not like that approach, but can any of you believers in other religions tell me honestly that you chose your belief system totally apart from faith, based only on facts? Did you really research all other religious beliefs?

Of course, if you have taken the time to study a religious belief system and the facts are clearly wrong, then it's untrue no matter how much you want to believe otherwise. Please note however: A fact doesn't become true only when it becomes discovered. For example, the earth didn't suddenly change from being flat only after its actual shape was discovered; it wasn't flat well before that. What I'm trying to say is that just because certain facts in the Bible have not yet been discovered, that doesn't mean they aren't true. For many years there was no known historical extra-biblical evidence for the falling of the walls of Jericho, but now there is. It was a fact when it happened, not just when we discovered it to be so.

Attempts by rulers to force Christianity upon the world have never worked, since "a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." The corruption of extremist Islam can be seen in the fact that in so many cases its leaders force non-adherents to adopt the faith or be killed. Christ uses love and joy to draw us to Him.

I pray that each of you chooses wisely.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Care for others

Zero in on caring for people. That's the 7th step in Dr. Jenson's MAXIMIZERS acrostic. Apart from our relationship with God, our relationship with people is the most important. Dr. Jenson says we should compliment, express confidence in, comfort, and coach. We should be interdependent, neither being too aloof nor too clingy. We should develop deep, loving relationships with at least a few people. We should be able to trust each other. And finally, we should yield for the betterment of the relationship.

It's important to remember the "one another" aspect of these statements, which is soundly biblical. I should not only be in a relationship where I trust, but where I'm also trustworthy. It's fine if I'm there for people who need me, but they need to be there as much as possible when I need them.

The acrostic (Dr. Jenson is very fond of them) he uses here is UNITY. Unity, he says, is not uniformity or union or unanimity. It's sacrificing our individual desires for something even better.

Al Qaeda is not at all people oriented. They certainly don't know godly love for people. They need one another not to build deep, loving relationships, but rather to plan the destruction of innocent people for the attempted takeover of society. They are trustworthy with one another not because it is a virtue, but only because to be otherwise would mean death. And any encouragement or praise they give is for a perverse sense of bravery and mission in death and destruction. Finally, their unity does not foster a better society, it only brings about the death of innocents, loss of freedom, hatred, fear, shame, and other such evils. Just as it's possible to tell a person is a Christian by the love they have for others, it's possible to see a terrorist's soul lost to a false god by the hatred they have for others.

Jesus did say we should love those who hate us and pray for those who persecute us. We can hate what they do but not them personally. So I'll be the first to admit I need the Lord's supernatural power to give me this ability after seeing countless people strap bombs to themselves and murder innocent people.

On the flip side, the coalition forces have focused on helping people in Iraq. They have done their best to rebuild infrastructure, bring democracy, provide food and water, and restore hope. There have been some of our men and women who have gone astray, and their deeds have been sharply condemned and punished. Our ideology is the benefit of all mankind. Al Qaeda's is the benefit of their policies and the destruction through violent force of all others'. But we know, according to Revelation, that the Beast (Satan) and his minions will find their final and eternal home of torment in hell. I pray that those whose hearts are bent on following Al Qaeda will realize they are headed down a path to eternal damnation and will turn to the loving and merciful true Lord, Jesus Christ. And I pray that other Christians will be willing to take the difficult step of expressing agape (unconditional) love, not necessarily appeasement, to those who live to hate.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Taking a short break

I'll be taking a short break from this blog (only days, not weeks or months). I thank all of you who have checked out my site, and pray the Lord blesses you with His love and wisdom and power. If you have any comments you would like to add while I'm gone, feel free to add them here, or else have a running conversation with the text box at the bottom of the page. Also, if you have any suggestions on how I can make this blog a better tool for God's glory, please let me know. Thanks so much.

Jeff

Friday, August 12, 2005

Babel Fish translation tool added

If you would like to see this blog in another language, try the tool to the right of the page.

Feet on the ground

In my August 3 post, I wrote about "What success is not." Today I was reminded of a situation some years ago that made me cringe. I wasn't involved with that situation, but I have been part of similar happenings, so I could sense where they were coming from.

I have never been very high on the corporate ladder, nor have I sought that. In one organization I used to work with, I was told of a business trip a couple of my peers went on. They were there with their supervisors, and told me that the supervisors walked several feet ahead of them, almost like men in certain cultures who treat women as "inferior." It gave them the impression that the supervisors were saying to each other, in effect, "Let's make sure we're not seen with these peons."

I was reminded of this because today somebody came up to me, clearly saw me, but didn't acknowledge who I was. I used to work with him, and he wouldn't hesitate to contact me when he needed something.

Can I be sure that the motives of these people I mention were a sense of superiority? No. But we need to have a sense of the "vibes" we're sending, even if our motives are OK. And of course, we need to make sure that no matter where we are on the ladder of worldly success, we must not assume that we are better than the man or woman who cleans the bathrooms or works at a fast food restaurant. As I read somewhere, success is not what you are compared to others, but it's what you are compared to what you could be with what you've been given. I pray that each of you, and myself, does the best with what we have. That will please the Lord more than our attaining the highest levels of any company.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

No heroes in Iraq?

Captain (1964-1970) Dave St. John, USMCR, rightly criticizes the lack of focus shown toward the exploits of our fine men and women in Iraq.

He writes:
Who then celebrates the heroism of these young warriors? Who even knows
about them? How many can we name from memory? When was the
last time we saw newspapers and television networks clamoring for print and air
time to interview and tell the stories of young American service members who did
great and selfless things for his or her buddies? Why isn’t the heroism of
our service people sought out and reported on with the same intensity as
the misdeeds and alleged misdeeds of a few, not to mention the negative news
that streams daily from the front lines through our media? Why aren’t they
brought into school assemblies as strong, positive examples of true sacrifice on
behalf of our country?
It seems that in the media we primarily see our troops
in their role as casualties. Where are the heroes?

I have been remiss in finding out who these heroes are, and I'm sure there are many. Sometimes I happen to come across a story that highlights a certain soldier's bravery, but it seems that more often than not, like Captain St. John writes, we hear about the negatives of our military, what's going wrong.
Some more snippets from the article follow. They show how true heroes are not so merely because of the attention it gives them. No, it's who they are. And as much as whole groups (e.g., police, military are criticized for a very small percentage of bad eggs, far greater chaos would follow if we didn't have their services. I salute our heroes, and apologize for not doing my part to recognize them properly.
Why are they are not feted on every talk show and every newspaper
in our country
as examples of positive role models?

I can look in the eyes of our troops and tell you why they, after being wounded,
volunteer to go back to Iraq to cover the backs of their buddies rather than go
home to a soft, easy medical rehab program close to family and friends. I
can tell you that these young folks are the mettle upon whom we can count to
stand against the escalating threat of global terrorists and religious nut
balls.
They will slip quietly back into the mainstream of our country’s life when their
tour is over. They will tuck their medals into bureau drawers and get on
with their lives. Their heroism, even though it got short shrift from many
of their countrymen, will strengthen them and they will be the neighbor that
everyone wants living next door. They will raise the next generation of
children taught to appreciate their country and to “put it on the line” without
being asked.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Balance

It's so difficult to keep life in balance. In the 6th of the MAXIMIZERS principles, "Integrate All Of Life," Dr. Jenson of Future Achievement International compares life to a marble on a bowl that has been turned over, like an upside-down U. The marble will roll right off unless regular adjustments are made. If we just sit still, things will get out of whack.

He helped me to think through the roles in my life and to check regularly to see whether I'm addressing each one appropriately. If you aren't clear on what those roles are, he suggests the following: Faith, Fitness (mental, physical, and emotional), Family, Friends, Finances, Firm (career), and Fun. These may work for some people but not for others. The important thing is, no major area of life should go unchecked. In the ministry version of the tapes that I have (a few years old now, so I can't be sure whether things have changed), he includes Favor to cover charitable giving and ministry.

In one meeting with my coach, Greg Dolby, he suggested I take a look at how I'm doing in each area and rank them. Where I was doing the worst, he told me to focus more attention on those areas until things got more balanced.

Of course, getting married and having children will sometimes shift the focus of our lives, and so we need to readjust. Learning one has a serious disease will demand much more focus on the Fitness principle. Starting your own business will at least temporarily demand long hours (but each person in this situation needs to determine how long they will allow their work to take them away from their family and other important people and situations). The bottom line is, much of life comes at us and we have to take the blows and adjust. But oftentimes we choose to focus excessively on career, for example, to the detriment of our relationships. We veg in front of the TV for hours instead of stimulating our minds (don't get me wrong, I veg sometimes too, it's OK--to a certain extent).

I have found it necessary to schedule my priorities, as Dr. Jenson suggests, rather than merely prioritizing what's already on my schedule. To do the latter for me has often meant missed time with God, not furthering my career potential, and isolating from friends. But when I schedule my priorities, I look at how my life is going in each key area and then take the best actions possible to ensure the greatest possibility of authentic success.

I pray that each of you has a balanced life, or are working toward that. And please keep me in prayer regarding this, since it seems to require supernatural effort.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Which comes first, the heart or the head?

Some postings from a godly woman, whose site is sadly no longer active. I like this quote she put on her website: "The mind justifies what the heart has chosen" (author unknown), not because I agree with its sentiment, but because it's such a concise statement of today's culture. "If it feels good, do it." "That's your truth, and this is mine." Etc.

Indeed, as we get closer to the Lord, what is and what feels right draw closer together, but we always need to check our feelings against the truth of Scripture. In the biblical book of Joshua, chapter 1, note how God doesn't tell Joshua that his success is predicated on seeking pleasure.

"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate
on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is
written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will
have good success" (verse 8).


Only to the degree that we seek the truth from the Lord will real success follow.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Another fine link

Check this out as well.

Get your compliments here!

Looking for some compliments? Visit this link, The Complimenting Commenter. In fact, let's all find somebody different to compliment each day, somebody we wouldn't typically reach out to. Every person has something worth complimenting, and not only will they be better off as a result of our kindness, but we will too!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Similar but oh so different!

By now you've probably guessed that I lean toward conservative principles. I typically opt for politicians who have conservative social and economic policies.

There are quite a few websites I visit that have underlying values I agree with. To a point. You see, I don't go for the name calling and other put downs that many conservatives use against liberals. As the saying goes, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." We won't change minds until we change hearts, and the harder we attack the more defensive the people we hope to change will become. As President Lincoln once said, "A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall." We want the truth of our argument to win, not the force with which we beat others over the head with it.

I hope and pray that at least some of the things I write will bless those who agree with me and change for the better those whom the Lord sees a need to change. And may I do so in a way that the Lord can honor.

Whose side are you on?

I don't usually go in depth into the news of the day, but I like to get a general overview as to what's going on. And it seems like so many of the news agencies highlight the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq. I certainly agree that we should know about these deaths so we can mourn them and pray for their loved ones, but when these sites put reports of these deaths on their front pages day after day, while virtually ignoring (or putting towards the back of the website or newspaper) accounts of our successes (how many of the enemy we have killed or captured, how we've helped improve infrastructure, how our people are appreciated by the Iraqi citizens), we Americans, including the soldiers, can't help but to feel dragged down.

It's kind of like a father telling his daughter about things that he sees wrong with her, while ignoring the fact that she has a beautiful voice and can write meaningful poetry. Wouldn't you think that would negatively impact her abilities and self-confidence?

I can't gauge the motives of these news organizations that focus on the negatives of our country and its military, but I hope they realize how many people perceive them. And regardless of your stance on the war or President Bush, I hope you and the media can appreciate the courage, dedication, and commitment to freedom and hope that our soldiers are fighting for.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What success is not

Ron Jenson writes that success should not be primarily power, prestige, popularity, prosperity, or pleasure (the "5 P's"). Having those things does not automatically cut us off from God's favor, so please don't think I believe otherwise. Indeed, my wife and I have friends who are rather well off financially. But it's clear that they are not "showing off" their wealth. They give glory to God for what they have. And they see us as their equals in the eyes of God. They realize that all they have comes from God, and that He could have easily chosen to not bless them to such a degree financially.

But when people with one or more of the 5 "P's" rub it in our faces, and think it's all about that, then there's a problem. Sadly, much of the world latches on to such people just so they can say, "I know such and such." In some cases, such people be personable with their peers, but if they happen to attain some measure of worldly success, then they act like they no longer know the people they used to hang out with, or they'll treat them as lesser beings. They'll be barely recognizable, acquiring the mannerisms of those whom they wish to impress. They'll crave attention for how they look or what they own, rather than for what's in their heart. They'll find people crawling out of the woodwork who long to join their bandwagon, but if they ever lost their "success," most of those people would say, "I never knew you."

There is no real fulfillment in the 5 P's alone. Because they don't address the needs of the heart. Only God can do that. Let's draw close with God and with people who truly care about us. Let's be who God created us to be. Let's leave a legacy of a better world to those who come after us. And let's make at least one other person's life a little more full of hope and joy and love. Then we can feel we've been successful

Monday, August 01, 2005

Mission

I recently discussed the importance of focus (and how lack thereof in my life has led me to often move every direction but forward).

The next MAXIMIZERS principle in Dr. Jenson's acrostic is "March to a Mission." What does this have to do with focus? A lot, I believe. A mission-minded person tends to focus intently on doing those things that bring him closer to his mission, and spending little or no time on those things that don't advance his mission or that even contradict it.

My mission statement is not set in stone, but as of now it reads: "To have a God-driven and God-focused passion toward true love and reverence of Christ, right living, and relationships; and to lead others through my communicating, teaching, and overall way of living to realize that He and His ways are best so they can experience true hope and joy in life." It needs some tweaking, but it provides some specific direction to my daily schedule. This blog is one of the tools I use to move toward the fulfillment of that mission.

Here are a couple other mission statements:

Campus Crusade for Christ (http://www.ccci.org/mission_statement.html)

Moody Bible Institute (http://www.moody.edu/mission.htm)


A mission should drive us. We Christians might well consider it our calling. Sometimes it's hard to see how we can best accomplish our mission when often times we're in a job that seems to have nothing to do with our goals, or when we are in a church that has not yet found a place for us in ministry and we feel they are missing out on our revolutionary impact. "Did God call me to this?" we might ask ourselves.

If we believe in a big God, we shouldn't question where He has put us. For He can do great things in small people. Look at what He did through Gideon, who considered himself the lowest person in the lowest tribe. Read what Gideon says in Judges 6:15: "'O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father's house.'" And even in the USA in 2005, while there is no official caste system, some people who are born into the right connections seem to call the shots. Seem to. Don't make light of the "only one person" you have any influence on. If you are called to be a stay-at-home mother, envision big things for your children, because the more you expect from them, the more they are likely to become.

Don't put off determining and pursuing your mission, and don't think that because you are no longer young you therefore might as well forget about it. Renowned salesman and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar was broke in his mid 40s, but now he can demand $50,000 to $75,000 per speaking engagement (see here). Grandma Moses was elderly before she even started to paint. Franz Haydn is another example. And Moses was 80 when God (finally) called him to lead His people out of Egypt. If He has not yet called you to a particular mission, then He's getting you ready for it. As I wrote in my mission, and I believe it should be part of everybody's mission, my "overall way of living" is a key factor in influencing the world for Christ. Even if we do just that to His glory, we'll make Him smile.