Every step of our pregnancy has been a learning process. Although we have had a share of pain associated with the possibility of pregnancy, we now get to share in its joy. At the same time, we still share in the burdens of those still facing struggles and pray for God’s prefect will. Pregnancy however has taught me a lot about God, the Father. Every facet from conception to birth provides a tiny, new revelation into the nature of the Father, and it is a beautiful thing.
Two weeks ago, Amy woke me up around 1 am with the words, “She’s kicking! Place your hand over here and you can feel it”. This was a moment that we as expectant parents were anxiously waiting for. I placed my hand on Amy’s belly and immediately felt a tap from within the walls of the womb. It was a surreal yet absolutely satisfying feeling to realize the kick as an indication of my daughter’s life.
Inactivity is a potential sign of lack of life. We can get so comfortable in the womb of our churches, routine, families etc that we forget to move. While we revel in inactivity and complacency, the Father has His hands on the womb, waiting anxiously for His son or daughter to simply kick: do something, take a stand, move for the Kingdom. The Father’s heart waits for His children to move. To break free from the strands of complacency and make a difference. Every time we move, we make the Father’s heart dance; I would like to think how mine did when I felt my daughter move.
So make yours a powerful Monday. Refuse to get stuck in wallowing complacency. DO SOMETHING. As “insignificant” as a kick my be, it signifies life. Anything of significance is built on multiple moving acts of “insignificance”.
Pick up and move.
1. Don’t start a company unless it’s an obsession and something you love.
2. If you have an exit strategy, it’s not an obsession.
3. Hire people who you think will love working there.
4. Sales Cure All. Know how your company will make money and how you will actually make sales.
5. Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them. Pay up for people in your core competencies. Get the best. Outside the core competencies, hire people that fit your culture but aren’t as expensive to pay.
6. An espresso machine? Are you kidding me? Coffee is for closers. Sodas are free. Lunch is a chance to get out of the office and talk. There are 24 hours in a day, and if people like their jobs, they will find ways to use as much of it as possible to do their jobs.
Every time we see someone God made as just ordinary, we turn the wine back into water – Bob Goff
This is a picture of 28-year old NBA player Brandon Bass, learning to swim for the first time. So what’s your excuse for not conquering your biggest fear?
In 2009, I wasn’t ready for marriage. I did it anyway. The truth is, I still don’t know if I am. Don’t get me wrong; being married to Amy has been one of the best things to happen to me but I still wasn’t ready for marriage.
A young man who I have the privilege of mentoring and walking through life with asked me the following question: “How do you know you’re ready for marriage?” After thinking about it, I guess the only response I could come up with was, “You don’t. I don’t think you’re ever ready for marriage”.
I’ve had several young men approach me with this question. The truth is as men, you can’t really prepare for marriage. Men tend to have this eternal fear of commitment and media/culture don’t do a good job dispelling that fear. In fact, they propagate the opposite: that marriage is a sentence to a sexless, boring, mundane existence that sucks life out of you and reduces you to a mere pawn in a dictatorship. This is far, far from the truth. God-instituted marriage between a man and a woman was destined to be healthy and for life. It is perfect union of two imperfect people by a perfect God; and it is a beautiful thing. It is one o.c.d person with their clothes in perfect order living harmoniously with a person whose clothes fall all around the laundry basket.
We got an opportunity to see this reconstructed ultrasound image of our baby girl the other day. This is what she looks like at 20 weeks. As much as I want her to take up after her gorgeous mother, there are times when we fight over whose nose, eyes, lips, smile etc she has. I claim she has my smile and nose (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). I am definitely hoping she DOES NOT get my spidey-sense ears that I had to grow into !
The whole thing made me think. Here we were in a doctor’s office staring at images of our baby and the only thing we wanted was for that child to resemble some part of us. Why is it that this brings a parent so much joy? My nose or eyes aren’t perfect but why does it give me joy to think (or falsely assume according to Amy) that my unborn baby girl might have features resembling mine? Here’s why: because every time I see that, I realize that God made something so perfect and beautiful out of a messed up human being- me.
I think God the Father has similar conversations with the Son, the Holy Spirit and the angels when he sees his children. “Look at his heart! it’s generous like mine!” or “Look at her eyes! She sees the true value in people!“, or “Those are totally my hands! They look like mine in the way they nourish and provide for the downtrodden” or “Look at her feet! OMG they’re just like mine when she stands for what is true“.
Or does he? Do my actions and does my life elicit such a response from the Father? Does yours?
Ephesians 5:1, 2- Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (ESV)
This time last year, I typed up a post titled, What I Learned from the 2013 NBA Finals. As bitter as that was, it taught me some valuable lessons. This one however is much sweeter. The San Antonio Spurs captured their fifth NBA championship yesterday in a dominating 4-1 series over the reigning champs, the Miami Heat. Here are some valuable lessons from their best championship run yet:
You only fail if you refuse to get up: Last year, the Spurs lost in a demoralizing fashion. Many wondered if they would be able to recoup and challenge again after such a defeat. Falling takes an emotional, physical and mental toll on you. What separates the champions from the rest of the field is the ability to get right back up regardless of the circumstance. Falling becomes failure only when you refuse to get back up.
- You past failures should be fuel for the fire: No one took the loss of last year harder than their long tenured coach, Gregg Popovich. The team claims that he came back with a fire they had never seen before at the beginning of training camp and vowed to get back to the finals for a shot at redemption. “Your past failures can either define you or refine you. The choice is yours”- Scott Williams
- T.E.A.M: Together Each Accomplishes More- The Spurs left the rest of the basketball/sports world marvelling at their selfless basketball. This happened because they preach team first from the top down. Everyone in the organization believes and understands that the teams comes before the individual. This is exemplified by the coach to their superstars. That mindset is contagious.
- Pound The Rock: The Spurs lost in 2012 to the OKC Thunder and in 2013 to the Miami Heat, both in demoralizing fashion. They did not over-react. They did not gut the roster and start from scratch. They kept “pounding the rock” which has been their mantra, making small changes along the way.
- Leaders Make Others Better: In 2007, when the Spurs won their last championship, Tony Parker won the MVP on a team that had Tim Duncan as their best player. Parker says that the only reason he won the most valuable player award was because Tim Duncan’s selflessness paved the way for him to excel. This year Kawhi Leonard, a soft-spoken 22 year old won the most valuable player award on a team with Tony Parker as their best player. Leaders are successful not when they win, but when they help others win.
What an incredible finish to an amazing season by the San Antonio Spurs. Kudos to the Miami Heat on making four straight Finals appearances. Here’s hoping that the OKC Thunder can turn things around and make it to the 2015 NBA Finals.
The more I learn about leadership, the more I realize that timing is crucial to effective leadership. Good decisions at the wrong time end up being bad decisions. In John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, he states in as the 19th law that “when to lead” is just as crucial as the “where” to go and the “what” to do. He describes four facets of timing in leadership that are simply brilliant:
- The wrong action at the wrong time leads to disaster: History is littered with examples of wrong action – wrong timing disasters.
- The right action at the wrong time brings resistance: Leaders are often faced with the predicament of a brilliant idea. You get a brilliant idea and feel the pressure to execute it, only to see that “brilliant plan” backfire brilliantly. This leads to frustration, weariness and thoughts of giving up when the appropriate response is not received.
- The wrong action at the right time is a mistake: Entrepreneurs and other people in business is know when to cut their losses or when to increase their investment to maximize their gains. The mistake happens when the wrong action is taken at the right time. Coaches drawing the incorrect play at the right time is a classic example of the law of timing at work.
- The right action at the right time results in success.
Better to start and fail than to never start for fear of failure and miss out on realizing your potential for greatness.
Our job is to build people; God’s job is to build the church. Confusing the two is a guaranteed way to get burned out.