Working on a Dream




Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Final Destination

Do you know where you are going?

Billy Graham is now 91-years-old with Parkinson's disease. In January 2000, leaders in Charlotte , North Carolina , invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in his honor.  Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson's disease. But Charlotte leaders said, 'We don't expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you.' So he agreed.

After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, said:

I'm reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, he reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn't there. He looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn't find it.

"The conductor said, 'Dr. Einstein, I know who you are.
We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.'

Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.

"The conductor rushed back and said, 'Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don't need a ticket. I'm sure you bought one.'
-Einstein looked at him and said, 'Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going.''

Having said that Billy Graham continued, "See the suit I'm wearing?
It's a brand new suit. My children, and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want you to immediately remember the suit I'm wearing.

I want you to remember this:
------------------- I not only know who I am. I also know where I'm going."

-I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.-
John 11:25

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! From, The Bad Parrott

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift.
-----The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary.

Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity.
John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to 'clean up' the bird's vocabulary.
Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer.

For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed.

Then suddenly there was total quiet.
-------Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."

John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude.

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior,the bird spoke-up, very softly,

"May I ask what the turkey did?"

Happy Thanksgiving...from my family to yours!

Monday, November 21, 2011

"I will...if you will"

Thanksgiving is a great time of the year to express your gratitude by sharing your time, talents and energy for others that are less fortunate. 

This year, myself and 3 others from Northminster joined the team of volunteers at the City Rescue Mission in their efforts to put on the food drive. 

Getting ready for the food drive is a major undertaking as we started out the day with hundreds of Banana boxes filled with all kinds of non-perishable food.  After separating the food, we spent the next days packing "baskets" according to the number of people in each person's family.  

At the end of the first day, I remember thinking to myself, "Anthony, you are getting old" because my back and knees were killing me! 

(Anthony Kladitis volunteering for the City Rescue Mission's Thanksgiving food drive at the Sankey Center)
But those thoughts soon dissipated this past Tuesday morning as car after car pulled up to receive their gifts.  Even though it was cold and rainy most of the day and a ton of work was required to complete the project, seeing all the families lined up ready to receive the gift of food made it all worth it!

As a Christian, a pastor and a leader, I firmly believe that "faith without works is dead" (James 2:26).  For this reason I am always on the lookout for ways to put my faith to work.  I do this to keep my head out of the clouds and my feet on the ground right where they belong...making a difference in the lives of others.

(Left to right:  Phil Behr, Anthony Kladitis, Matthew Pruitt)

Just recently I read a short story that made an impact on me because of the volunteer work that I have recently been involved in.  It goes as follows:

  A pastor saw a beggar amidst the crowd at a Christian conference he was attending. He felt compassion for him and prayed to God, “Lord, please touch him!” Immediately he felt the Lord speak to his heart,
                                                                             "I will, if you will.”

It dawned on me that many of us are like that pastor.  We easily recognize the need(s) of others, have a desire to help, but simply offer up a prayer instead of actually putting our faith in action and helping. 

So as this holiday season approaches, you just might see someone in need of help and decide that God needs to touch them-
Remember that He will.
--As long as you will first-

Breaking News: God NOT allowed in Church???

The story goes that a public sinner was excommunicated and forbidden entry to the church. 

He took his woes to God, "They won't let me in, Lord, because I am a sinner."

"What are you complaining about?" said God.
"They won't let me in either."

-Sadly, this story is often the case today.
Too frequently we bar up our churches from the people that make us uncomfortable or challenge us.  We gather together in the "Name of our Lord" in our comfy little worlds called the church and then go home forgetting all about our spirituality until the next Sunday rolls around.  

This is a far cry from our roots. 
I often use the phrase "I am just trying to follow the Leader" when others take intrigue to my walk of faith.  Following the Leader forces me to look at the Biblical Jesus and by the grace of God try to mirror Him on this earth.  And when I do that, I have to realize that Jesus was famous for sitting down and breaking bread with anyone who wanted to be present. Including outcasts, rebels and the down-and-outs. 

I have been thinking about this a lot lately due to the present day condition of the church resembling more of a country club instead of a group of people trying to follow the Leader.  Rejecting others has many consequences but who would have thought that one of them would be baring God from coming to church?   

So today, I am not going to let you off easy. 
Here is a question to ponder:

Is the way Jesus lived His life a far cry from the way YOU are living your life?    

"You fools and blind men!
Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold?
-Matthew 23:17-

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Note for all Teachers

I have taught in high school for ten years. During that time I have given assignments,

among others, to a murderer, an evangelist, a pugilist, a thief, and an imbecile.

The murderer was a quiet little boy who sat on the front seat and regarded me with pale

blue eyes; the evangelist, easily the most popular boy in school, had the lead in the

Junior play; the pugilist lounged by the window and let loose at intervals a raucous

laugh that startled even the geraniums; the thief was a gay-hearted Lothario with a song

on his lips; and the imbecile , a soft eyed little animal seeking the shadows.

The murderer awaits death in the state penitentiary, the evangelist has lain a year now in

the village churchyard; the pugilist lost an eye in a brawl in Hong Kong, the thief

standing on tiptoe, can see the windows of my room from the county jail; and the once

gentle-eyed little moron beats his head against a padded wall in the state asylum.

All these pupils once sat in my room, sat and looked at me gravely across worn-down

desks. I must have been a great help to those pupils - I taught them the rhyming scheme

of the Elizabethan sonnet and how to diagram a complex sentence
- Naomi J. White.

(*Quoted from Student Teaching, 1940).


How many times this may have happened in your classroom is unknown. 

---So take the time to go beyond reading, writing and 'rithmatic. 

-Lives and Destinies hang in the balance-

Priorities: 1st things 1st

Friday, November 11, 2011

Washing Dishes with Coldwater: A MUST READ!

--Can Cold Water Clean Dishes?

This is for all the germ conscious folks that worry about using cold water to clean!

John went to visit his 90 year old grandfather in a very secluded, rural area of Saskatchewan .

After spending a great evening chatting the night away, the next morning John's grandfather prepared breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast.

However, John noticed a film like substance on his plate, and questioned his grandfather asking,

'Are these plates clean?'

His grandfather replied,

'They're as clean as cold water can get em.
Just you go ahead and finish your meal, Sonny!'

For lunch the old man made hamburgers.


Again, John was concerned about the plates,
as his appeared to have tiny specks around
the edge that looked like dried egg and asked,

'Are you sure these plates are clean?'

Without looking up the old man said,
'I told you before, Sonny, those dishes are as clean as cold water can get them. Now don't you fret, I don't want to hear another word about it!'

Later that afternoon, John was on his way to a nearby town and as he was leaving, his grandfather's dog started to growl, and wouldn't let him pass.

John yelled and said, 'Grandfather, your dog won't let me get to my car'.
Without diverting his attention from the football game he was watching on TV, the old man shouted!

'Coldwater, go lay down now, yah hear me!'

Happy funny friday's! tgif

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Anthony on Paterno.

All over Facebook, ESPN and just about every other media venue people are going nuts weighing in over Penn State's Joe Paterno being fired.

--I have found that most folks end up in 1 of 2 camps:

The first camp seems to think that because of Paterno's legacy as the head football coach and what he means to college football he has the right to retire at the end of the season.  After all, he didn't directly molest anyone and when he found out about what was going on he reported the findings to the next level of authority. So at the end of the day, Paterno did the right thing, reported the incident and let the appropriate people handle the situation.

The second camp is filled with people that believe Paterno basically harbored a criminal and rapist.  They reason that for years he had full knowledge of the events and whether or not anything was done about it ... he had a moral responsibility to ensure that this monster Sandusky was banned from the Penn State staff.  Paterno committed the deadly sin of OMISSION.   

Before I share my thoughts, I want to share something that I learned a long time ago by way of Peter Drucker.  Drucker is best known for his proficiency in leadership studies and has influenced much of today's leadership theory.  He said, "Managers do things right and leaders do the right things."

With that in mind, let me share with you my thoughts:
-Sure, when Joe Paterno found out about the incident(s) he filled out his paper work and sent them to the authorities. Nothing wrong there.  But when nothing had happened, why didn't Paterno press the issue?  And when I say press the issue, I mean having 5 of his offensive lineman grab this lowlife by the scruff of his shirt and toss him off of Penn State's campus? 

What people seem to forget about in camp number 1 is that just because Paterno coached since Christopher Columbus set foot in America does not nullify the fact that when children are being raped or molested you must be certain that it is being dealt with.  And by dealt with, I mean taking ANY means necessary to remove the lowlife.  The reality is, whether you loved Paterno or not, he is not a leader.  A leader simply does not sit back and allow things like this to happen and then reason to themselves that "they did all that they could" and just wash their hands of any guilt.


So please go and do yourself a favor...change your Facebook status to anything BUT supporting Joe Paterno. 
And if you do not like what I said in this post, feel free to defend your position.

---I look forward to it.  

PS:  One last thing, to everyone in camp number 1, I guarantee your tune would change if you or someone close to you ever felt the ugly sting of some ingrate forcing themselves on you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jim Collins: Great by Choice

Uncertainty and disruption characterize our lives.
So you and I have to ask ourselves, "What is required to perform exceptionally well in such a world?"

Leadership expert Jim Collins tackles this question in his latest book, Great by Choice.
Collins studies have lead him to introduce us to yet another catchy leadership principal called, 10Xers.  Simply put, 10Xers are those companies/individuals that consistently were 10 times more successful than their competitors during the years of uncertainty. 

The issue that Collins highlights is that it is not that 10Xers avoided chaos, it is that they survived in chaos. In other words, it is not that they experienced different circumstances than everybody else, but it is that they displayed different behaviors during the chaos
Collins does a good job of summarizing the three shared behavioral traits of the 10Xers: (1) fanatic discipline (2) empirical creativity & (3) productive paranoia. 
All of these are held together by one motivating force called, Level 5 Ambition.  
In the preceding paragraphs I will expound on these key ideas. 

As stated above, Collins found 3 traits shared by 10Xers:

1) Fanatic Discipline: 10Xers align their goals and methods toward the ultimate goal of whichever endeavour they are seeking to accomplish. 

2) Empirical Creativity: 10Xers are not one for conventional wisdom.  Rather they root their ideas and action on direct engagement with people. 

3) Productive Paranoia: 10Xers never settle ... even when things are running smoothly.  They channel their fear/worry into action by establishing contingency plans just in case things go awry. 

Level 5 Ambition
All three of the above traits are wrapped up in what Collins calls, Level 5 Ambition.  Level 5 Ambition is the passion for a cause larger than yourself, infused with the will to do whatever it takes to make good on that cause. Passion and ambition for something larger than just yourself is the main driving force for the 10Xer.

You can see this type of attitude in all great leaders, whether it be the Apostle Paul or Steve Jobs.  This is why so many of us love to follow great men and women that believe in something larger and more enduring than just themselves.  Think about it, ambition and ego to solely serve a person makes us all want to heave but when ambition and ego are used for a purpose that transcends self ... it is inspiring

--What camp are you in?
Have you found something greater than just yourself to live for?
Jesus said, "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19) rather store up your treasure in heaven."   

Monday, November 7, 2011

Be Careful with your Words

A farmer insulted his neighbor.
Realizing his mistake, he went to the preacher to ask for forgiveness.

The preacher told him to take a bag of feathers and drop them in the center of town.
The farmer did as he was told. Then the preacher asked him to go and collect the feathers and put them back in the bag.

The farmer tried but couldn't as the feathers had all blown away.
When he returned with the empty bag, the preacher said, "The same thing is true about your words. You dropped them rather easily but you cannot retrieve them, so be very careful in choosing your words."

--Next time think before you choose your words.

-A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a person who talks too much-

Proverbs 20:19