Working on a Dream




Thursday, June 30, 2011

Anthony is UP to HIS neck!

The other day I was sitting by a swimming pool under the blazing sun. 
Just as I was getting content with my sunglasses and reading materials, a group of youngins' decided to go swimming.
At first, I tried to ignore them. 
But after 1,000 Cannonballs and 1,000,000 droplets of water all over my Bible & Newspaper...hitting the ignore button was impossible. 
So I decided to watch the spectacle happening at the pool.  As I sat, I noticed that it took no effort from the kids when they jumped into and got out of the pool.

Remember when that was you jumping into the pool? 
Remember the man made swirl-pools?

Have you ever noticed how kids never jump halfway into the pool?  They go for it with every ounce of energy exploding from their tiptoes ... to the tops of their heads.  "Cowwabungaaaaaa"  And in they go.

I wonder why no adults were jumping into the pool? 
At what age did we stop getting a running start and turn into a missile right before we hit the water?

Following the Lord is a lot like jumping into the pool when you were a kid. 
Paul says, "In whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ." (Colossians 3:17) Paul was basically saying, Jump In! Stop lining up by the side of the pool and just looking down at all that water! 

Unfortunately, it seems that many believers have lowered the bar so far when it comes to following Jesus

We ration to ourselves that volunteering for an event is our Christian duty or attending the worship service is our "God-Time." 

This simply is not the case presented to us in the Bible.  Our faith is to instruct us on how we live every area of our lives. 
This is challenging to say the least.  Nonetheless, it is calling of the Christ Follower.

Friends, don't just sit by the pool or wade in the kid section...get in and watch your life fill up!

"I come to give you abundant life"  -John 10:10

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Anthony introduces Mr. Mixed Signals

I would like to introduce you to Mr. Mixed Signal's.
He lives at your workplace and his favorite past time is hiding behind a false humility. 
He also carries a tool belt with smoke & mirrors in it. 

Watch for him carefully!

One way to detect if you work with Mr. Mixed Signal's is as follows:

He loves to scrutinize you when things go wrong or not as planned.
And is quick to point out how things didn't go as it should. Then he finds a way to place blame squarely on your shoulders. 

But be careful, his tricks are not done! Because, when things go well, run smoothly and when you are successful, he quickly forgets about you and credits everyone else. 

Watch for Mr. Mixed Signal's very carefully!

He usually hides behind a cloak of spirituality.
-- So oftentimes, you will feel awkward challenging him. Or even spotting him.

"Managers do things right
Leaders do the right things"
-Peter Drucker

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full"
John 10:10

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why Anthony is a Relational Softy (& you should be one too)

Dot #1:
Many of you know that only 10 percent of an Iceberg is visual.   The vast majority of the Iceberg, what is hidden beneath the surface, is unseen to the human eye.  I found a great picture to illustrate this below...

Dot #2:
There is a lot that we can learn from an Iceberg.  For example, did you know that in life, there are 2 dimensions that need your attention. 


The Hard Side is made up of 3 dimensional areas that you can see, touch and feel.  For example, in a work environment the hard issues are the elements that you can measure, see or recognize. Many leaders tend to focus on these issues because they are tangible. 

The Soft Side is about the human issues.  Attitudes, mind sets and hearts.  An good example of a soft issue is feeling mistreated & under appreciated at work.  Most leaders ignore these issues (to their own peril).   

Dot #3:
As you probably guessed, the Hard Side of work corresponds with the part of the Iceberg that you and I can actually see.  It is the physical part that sticks out of the water.  You will also recall that is the smallest part, making up only 10 percent of the Iceberg.  The flip side is that the Soft Side connects with the part of the Iceberg that cannot be seen but makes up the overwhelming majority of the Iceberg. 

Have you ever noticed that the underlying cause of problems are the Soft Issues? Remember these are the human issues (the bad attitudes, the hurt feelings, Etc.) that an excellent leader must be (1) aware of and (2) address.  Think about it, if you go to your doctor complaining of a physical illness, that doctor should not only treat the physical element they must also treat the symptoms.     
--Friends, the Soft Issues are the symptoms!  Whether it is in your family or at work, remember to focus not only on the external --but on the unseen issues too. 

This will save you a lot of head ache in your marriage too.  One example I heard recently is when a wife complained to her husband on Mother's Day.  The husband had a surprise dinner for her at an exquisite restaurant and could not understand why she was not happy.  She then explained to him how she expressed numerous times that all she wanted for Mother's Day was to relax at home with the family and have a nice dinner.  The husband could not wrap his mind around this until it was explained to him that he violated the #1 rule of husbandry ...HE DID NOT LISTEN TO HIS WIFE = Soft Issue.

Jesus, the Ultimate Example. 
Since the earth knows no better leader than Jesus, it would be prudent to see Him in action.  In the end of Mark's Gospel we read an account of Jesus' Resurrection and some dialogue with the people that first discovered Him alive.  While Jesus was talking, He asked if that group could, "Go & tell the disciples and Peter" (v. 7) about what they have just seen. 
-Did you ever notice the "AND PETER" part of that verse?  Peter was a disciple last time I checked.  So why would Jesus be sure to emphasize that Peter was still considered a disciple? 
-Could it be that Peter was feeling like a sell out since he just denied Jesus 3 times?      -Could it be that Peter felt like an outsider because of his actions? 

Here we see Jesus fully aware of how best to address his faltering friend. 
Yes, he was still a disciple. = Hard Issue
And yes, Jesus was fully aware of the shame and guilt that Peter was wrestling with inside.   = Soft Issue

"A wise man will hear & increase learning and a man of understanding will acquire wisdom." 
 -Proverbs 1: 5

Monday, June 13, 2011

Feeding your Inner Wolf

An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life.

He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil – he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”

They though about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The Elder simply replied, “The one you feed.”

From The Impeccable Warrior of Light, by Peace Mother Geeta.

"Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life."
-Proverbs 4:23

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Anthony introduces the world to ... Anthony's Law!

You are certainly familiar with Murphy's law which states, "If anything can go wrong, it will."  Today I would like to introduce you to the newest Law on the books...Anthony's Law

Simply stated, Anthony's Law is as follows:

When you emphasize the project over the person/people you get poor performance.
When you emphasize the person/people over the project you get positive results.

Simpler Version:

Poor Performance

Positive Results

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Disruptive Change

In life, there are 2 types of change you will face.

The first are everyday challenges that I call Baby C's
Whether it is closing a difficult sale at work or changing grades in school, these are changes that more often than not are part of your regular activity.

The second type of change are challenges that are by nature disruptive.
I call these Big C's.  These challenges come along and knock you off your normal course of action. 
A good example of a Big C was 9/11.  Prior to that day, the United States as a whole operated like terrorism was something that happened elsewhere in the world.  Since 9/11, our entire nation's thinking has shifted. 
---Terrorism has changed the way we live our lives. 

An Illustration:
At one time, railroads were the most powerful companies in the United States. Over the past century, these mega-companies have receded into struggling relics, shells of their past might. They now struggle to maintain relevance.
--What happened to the railroad companies?

--The railroad companies did not realize that they were in the transportation business, not the railroad business--

When disruptive change occurs, it alters your future. 
What you thought your life was going to look like is no longer valid.

I am sure that you have experienced Disruptive Change in your life.  My best advice is when this happens, go the One that promises to hold you & sustain you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The 3 C's of Leadership

The leadership playing field is about three big things —
Credibility, Competence, & Consequence.

1.Credibility: This is who you are.
It gets at who leaders are to their followers, the quality of the relationship, and earning the right to lead. It’s really a matter of character and understanding that leadership is an earned, versus granted, position. You are being called to a higher ground of credibility to be authentic, trustworthy, and compelling. A leader can behave in ways that can either increase these areas or unknowingly break them down.

 2.Competence. This is what you do.
You have to get the job right. This one is built on the premise that every leadership problem can be categorized into three key areas: People, Strategy and Execution. You’d be shocked at how enormously liberating it is when leaders are provided with this framework. It often gets them “unstuck” because it helps them categorize their problems, which is the first step to solving them.

3.Consequence. This is how you do things.
The legacy you leave. This one is about decision-making, communication, and impact. How did you make decisions? How did you choose to communicate your decisions? What is your reputation and your impact on others? 

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
-Psalm 139:23

*Adapted from Ken Blanchard FB page.   

Monday, June 6, 2011


Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to the congregation about the importance of teaching children.  I did this by pulling out a lump of Play-Doh and explaining how it is moldable and it takes any shape that a person desires. 

-As a parent, educator, or a person that loves children,
you have the same opportunity everyday with the children you come in contact with-

If a child grows up in an environment of criticism, the child will learn to criticize.

If a child grows up in an environment of hate, the child will learn to fight.

If a child grows up in an environment of shame, the child will learn to feel guilty

If a child grows up in a praising environment, the child will learn to appreciate.

If a child grows up in an encouraging environment, the child will learn to be confident.

If a child grows up in an environment of understanding, the child will learn to be patient.

If a child grows up in a just environment, the child will learn to be fair.

If a child grows up in a secure environment, the child will learn to trust.

If a child grows up in an approving environment, the child will develop self-esteem.

If a child grows up in an environment of acceptance and friendship, the child will learn to find love in people.


If God has placed a child in your life, be sure to love and cherish them!
Remember, you are molding that child for the rest of its life...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Stop Wasting your Time!

-Do you hate wasted time? 
-Do you want to free up more of your time for the things in life that you enjoy?

Let me introduce you to Parkinson's Law.
Coined in 1955 by British historian Cyril Northcote Parkinson the law states,

"Work expands to fill the time available for its completion"

Parkinson's Law points out that people usually take all the time allotted (and frequently more) to accomplish any task.

Let's go back to college for an illustration...
-Remember the days when you got your syllabus on the same day you thought you were the coolest kid on campus? 
--I had this happen a lot-- 
My plan was to get my work done waaaaaay ahead of time so I can continue my reign of coolness all over campus. 
What would follow is me in my dorm room working on a paper from the time I sat down to the due date. 

-If I would have known about Parkinson's Law in college, I could have done 1 1/2 of 3 things. 
1.  Schedule a personal due date before the actual due date in class.
2.  Instead of starting so early, I could have just waited for the professors due date to get the assignment done like most normal people did.
*3.  Stopped thinking I was cool and started acting normal. (this combined with 1 or 2 would have worked)

The reason my assignment took me so long was because, according to Parkinson's Law, the huge amount of time I gave myself to accomplish the task made the paper seem harder. 

The application is that when seeking to accomplish a task, give yourself a shorter deadline and you will help ensure greater quality of work with a higher focus. 

What about you? 

What chores do you put off because they seem so distant in the future? 

Apply Parkinson's Law to your life and watch you productivity go up!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Anthony's Memorial Day Sermon

Read Scripture:  Exodus 31:1-11

Main idea of the message:  God will use 4 C's in your life when He calls you into ministry.

1.  When God calls you, He will make it a Personal Calling. 

Notice how God called the two men by name, (v. 1-2) Bezalel & (v. 6) Aholiab. 

This is not uncommon in the Bible, as God called many great people by their names.  Whether it was Jeremiah, Moses, or Isaiah, they were all called by name.  Don't lose fact that Jesus continued this in the NT when he called each one of His disciples by their names. 
This teaches us that God is a personal God, intimate with His people. 
When God calls people today, He still calls by name. 
Q- If God would have a great ministry for you to participate in, would you be ready like these two men? Would God entrust you to something that matters so much, like he did for Bezalel & Aholiab?

2. When God calls you, he will make it a Special Calling. 
In v. 3, we see that God equipped Bezalel & Aholiab with specific gifts. 

They could work with their hands...they were skilled craftsmen.  No doubt there were many many Israelites there that day and out of the crowd, God had equipped these two men with the talents & gifts to build His Tabernacle.  Paul says in Romans 12: 4-6 that there are many members of the body but not all have the same function.  How true.  Just think back to the book of Exodus and keep in mind how many different roles your read about.  Moses was the mediator.  Aaron was the mouthpiece.  Joshua was a fierce and loyal leader & fighter.  And so on...

There is a common misconception that individuals should be well rounded, but that is simply not true.  Think of a sports team.  Take a great hockey goalie and put him in a different position.  If you did this, you will effectively turn a great player into a terrible one.  That goalie is skilled in one position and he can perform in that one position better than anyone else on his team.  The lesson here is that teams should be well rounded, people should not. 

-This rings true in the church where we often want the pastors to be superhuman.  If the body of Christ is to function in a healthy way, then everyone on the team must step up and use their unique gifts so that the Church can thrive.

3.  When God calls you to a ministry, He often calls others too.  This teaches us that God has a Cooperate Calling. 

In verse 6, God called other folks to join Bezalel & Aholiab.  You are not alone when you get a call from the Lord, He equips others with gifts that will often balance, strengthen and give insight to your uniqueness. 

-Oftentimes I hear people in the church talking about 'burn out' because it seems that the same people are always the ones doing all of the work.  This is a tragedy because all this tells me is that someone in the body of Christ, is not using what God has given them.  When you do not use what God has given you, you are not only hurting yourself --you are also hurting your brothers and sisters as they take on the extra burden left behind. 
 -Remember what Henry Ford said, "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress."

4. When God called these men into His service, it was a Submissive Calling. 
In verse 11 we read that God wanted the Tabernacle erected according to His will. 
The Tent had specific requirements, that means the workers had a to follow the guidelines given from God and in doing so, they were bowing to God's Will. 

-Sadly, most of American Christianity is based on God making us happy. 
I think we have this backwards.  The perspective given from Genesis to Revelation is man bowing to God and His will ... not the other way around.
-Remember the way Jesus prayed in the garden on the night He was betrayed?  "Father take this cup from Me, but if not, then Your will be done" 
This is the ultimate picture of a relationship with God. 

 So there you have it!  The 4 C's to God's calling.
Hope you were inspired by it!