Saturday, October 23, 2010

Clarity

What brings clarity to our minds? Life is full. Multiple roles and responsibilities crowd our thinking. Continual deadlines add the sense of urgency to quicken our pace, leaving us little time to really think many matters through.

Up pops a problem, opportunity or issue in an already crowded day. It too must be dealt with in the next several hours. It seems like more is coming on our to-do list than is going off the list. All this "stuff" of life seems to weave together like the grass at our feet -- each blade indistinguishable from another. This blended stew of "stuff" that needs to be dealt with creates pressure to decide and act. And that pressure in people can cause snapping or becoming overwhelmed and doing nothing.

People who are overwhelmed or unclear on a matter either do nothing at all or become irritable.

So what brings clarity in the midst of confusion?

Number one on my list is drawing away from all the activity of life and writing. Drawing away stops the onslaught of new issues and problems being piled upon my mind. Writing allows my feelings and my thinking to begin to "put everything on the table" so to speak and see it for exactly what it is or is not. The issues of life begin to be assigned some type of comparative value or priority as I write, think and contemplate them individually and collectively.

Prayer, listening, and reasoning, dealt with in a slower, unhurried pace provide a "soaking" type of an effect to allow the rust of confusion to be broken off the tools of my decision making capabilities. Focus can work for me when distractions are eliminated.

Early morning works well for me. Outside, in God's great creation, away from distractions, works well for me. When I stop making progress in my thinking, taking a walk, maybe with music and earphones, help me keep forward progress. I don't walk long, or I lose momentum in my thinking and writing. If multiple, competing, thoughts pop in my mind, I jot them on a small notepad so I can recapture and develop them later, while generally staying focused on the main topic at hand.

I have noticed that the more habitual this "pulling away" from the hectic pace of life becomes,the more normal and less confused I am over the many decisions that need to be made in life. Even if this time "away" is only 15-30 minutes a day, forward motion will be seen in life.

Life is noisy and demanding of our attention. We must become master of it, by requiring ourselves to pull away and regain the clarity we need to make good decisions and stay the course of effective living.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Getting recharged

Hectic lives. Weighty responsibilities. Multiple roles. Work and family unending issues. The press of life can take it's toll on our lives as we negotiate it day after day, month after month.

Vacations are good and necessary if we are to recharge the battery of our life. Seen as an unnecessary expense and waste of time, most people running at a fast pace will eventually lose their sharp edge in living life to the max as it relates to overall success. Not only have I observed that in my peers who neglect vacations, but I observe that in our own family as well.

So here we are on vacation, away from most of the normal pressures of life in a different city, on the coast of Florida. The boat has had electrical issues, requiring the recharging of the battery and other issues requiring repair and maintenance -- alternators, fuel filters, etc. (Doesn't it seem like sometimes we exchange some of our normal pressures for other pressures while we are on vacation?)

Recharging our mental and emotional batteries by getting away from the norm is incredibly healthy. Reading a new book, living temporarily in a new place, seeing new sites, journaling fresh thoughts, and "feeling" relaxed is an amazing balm for healing the soul. That word "recharge" really is descriptive of how I feel right now.

Take time to vacation. Your body, your mind, your heart, your family and your co-workers will thank you!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

When honors and awards come

Yesterday the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce awarded me the Businessman of the Year award for community service and business leadership for our area in Northwest Orange County. What an honor, and certainly one that I feel both shocked and humbled by, when considering all the other worthy potential recipients.

At the annual banquet, a couple other awards were given to various community leaders, and then they started to read the bio of the one who would be named Businessman of the Year. Obviously after they gave some of my stats, I knew it was me that was about to be introduced.

So what do you feel when you are about to be singled out to receive an honor?

My thoughts went to our team at Reliance Media, Apopka Printing and New Book Publishing who work to help build the amazing businesses that I am privileged to lead. I thought of all the other great people in the Chamber who in my mind were more deserving to receive this award. I thought of my 87-year-old dad who built an amazing business over many years, and who was sitting at the banquet. And above all, I thought of my wife Sheila who has been with me through it all. Her intellect, determination, wisdom, motivation and skill has been right there with me in building our businesses and our life together. She certainly is more deserving of honor for putting up with me and for what she has accomplished on her own.

Unfortunately I wasn't given the microphone to comment or I would have expressed these thoughts to the large gathering. But I think what I need to take away from all of this is that God has been the one who deserves all the credit. He has supplied the gifts, talent, opportunities and work ethic to be the steward of all he has given me responsibility over. He alone is the one to be honored for the opportunities He brings our way.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Children and worship Santo Domingo Ecuador

This is the church of Roberto Rios in Santo Domingo Ecuador. From the little children to the adults, they loved pressing in to worship and honor their mighty God. Enjoy the short video stapshot of what worship is like in this little church.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Great evening ministering in Ecuador

Wow! What an evening ministering in Santo Domingo Ecuador! Check out my video report.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Why don't you write?

I come in contact with people from all walks of life who really have an amazing story to tell, but they can’t seem to get it out of them, into a computer and share it with others in a book.

Why? There are many reasons or excuses, but one stands heads and shoulders above all others.

“I’m too busy!”

All of our modern conveniences have allowed us to do more with less time – and yet these very inventions have played a part in holding us captive. We have great transportation, so we can get places faster. We have microwave dinners so we can cook and eat faster. We have continually evolving computers which allow us to accomplish more than ever before in productivity. We have instruments and equipment that allow us to do things faster and better. We have healthcare procedures that make recovery faster so we can go back to work. Through the internet we can research more and faster, buy things from worldwide suppliers in an instant, and connect via online video, audio or text to make things happen which would otherwise take days or weeks. I could go on, but you get the picture.

Yet with all of these advances, we seem to cram more in a day without giving our brains any real downtime to think broadly, creatively or systematically. The urgent has taken the priority over the important. Priorities have taken a back seat to the almighty schedule.

And so the things that may have been erupting in your heart as important, never seem to emerge. Your ideas never gel. Your days turn into weeks, months and years, and the pace of life regularly leaves your writing desire by the side of the road. That desire to write a book looks smaller and smaller in your rearview mirror of living, as you speed down the road of daily life.

And the book never gets started.

…or it it was started, it doesn’t seem to have a hope of being finished.
My friend something has to change. Honestly, you have to decide to change, or your dream will never become a reality. More on this in coming blogs...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Responding to God's Goodness

I see a common thread running through the last several months. Through the busyness of life, through things that are shaken in our life and even as God gives us a chance for new beginnings, He is expressing His goodness.

I started reflecting on the last six months and started listing His goodness. What I found was this:
• He sustains us – through it all
• He protects us – physically, provision-wise, our health
• He delivers us – sin, circumstances, demonic activities around us
• He supplies us – wisdom, friends, even rest in the middle of the tough stuff of life.
• He forgives us – I certainly need his forgiveness…regularly.
• And He empowers us!

With these blessings and expressions of His goodness, this is what I feel God’s question to me today is:

“What should your response be to My goodness?”

I’m sure there could be many responses, but I focused on five key r responses to God’s goodness. I feel my response should be:
• Gratefulness – expressed in honoring Him in worship, prayer connections, and trusting Him by stepping out in action.
• Serving Him – by expressing love toward Him, serving other Christians and pre-Christians, and being a disciple not just a convert.
• Being a giver – having a heart of a giver of my time, talents and money to worthy causes and people that He points out to me.
• Being sacrificial – anything worthwhile in life requires sacrifice to one degree or another if we are going to truly make a difference.
• Being repentant – confession of sin is not good enough. God is looking for changed hearts and behavior.

Those five areas should provide a good starting point for me to express my gratefulness to Him for all His goodness.