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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Serial Killler

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired:
How heavy is this glass of water?

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter

It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed –incapable of doing anything.”

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. 







Because stress kills.

Remember to put the glass down.

Personally, when I read the above, I am reminded of the story of Joseph in the OT.  Joseph's life was riddled with pain and dispare. From being an outcast in his own family, to being sold into slavery, to being falsely accused by his master's wife -Joseph was no stranger to stress.  But, Joseph had a secret and that secret was the gift of forgetting.  He knew how to put the glass down.  By the grace of God, Joseph eventually climbed over his hurdles and became one of the greatest examples for you and I to emulate.

You are probably no stranger to hurt.  We all carry internal bruises and outward scars from our past. Remember to put the glass down and embrace the gift of forgetting.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dear Person Who Complains A Lot!


I’m sure you’re not a terrible person, and I’m sure God loves you, but I just need to let you know we can’t hang out anymore.

As much as I’d like to keep up the relationship, I just can’t…for my sake, for the organization’s sake and for your sake.

I’m sure there’s some story behind the constant stream of negativity. Maybe your teen years were tough, or you were the last guy to get picked for dodgeball. Or maybe all those Nerds you ate in Grade 5 really messed with your mind.

I don’t know what happened, but there are a lot of positive people around who have sad stories. Some much sadder than yours. And they actually have something to contribute to a better future.

I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

I heard you out. I listened.

We went for lunch that day and I took your feedback back to the team. We even made changes.

But then the changes weren’t quite right, and you found 5 new things to groan about. I listened some more, and tried not to get too discouraged.  I took what I could. We even took some of it to heart. At least at first.

But nothing seems to satisfy you. When we would fix one problem, you’d spot another. Whatever progress we make in any direction never seems to be ‘good enough’.

So honestly, the team and I really tried to meet you where you’re at, but…well…here it is.

I can’t let you trip up the mission anymore.

Your negativity is killing us. If we let it, it would kill our future.

And I just can’t…in fact I won’t… let one or two voices scuttle the future of hundreds of people who are okay with the changes.

Let me go further. I can’t let your negativity sabotage the mission of our organization. The mission is too urgent…too sacred…too important for that.

So, starting today, I won’t give you the audience you so seem to desire.

I’ll thank you for your comment, and move on.

I’ll call you on your constantly negative stream—in love— and the conversation will end.

I won’t apologize any more for moving ahead with the agenda so many others have embraced.

You want reasons? Okay…

People with your attitude don’t have a vision for what could be, only a vision for what shouldn’t be. How can you build the future on that?

You don’t just seem to be negative about the odd thing, you’re negative about almost everything here. New issues ‘come up’ almost every month. Seriously? It’s that bad?

In the end, I don’t think you’re just mad at us, it seems like you’re mad at the world. I’m not sure it was ever possible for us—or anyone—to please you.

Your criticism outweighs your contribution. We don’t need people who tell others how they did it wrong nearly as much as we need people who will roll up their sleeves and help us to do it right.

If things are really that bad, one question: Why are you still here? Surely you’re too smart to stay in an organization as bad as you say ours is.

So here’s what I’m deciding right now:

The mission is too critical to let one person continually try to derail it.

There are so many people who want to make it happen. We can build the future on them. Join em if you want to.

If you find a place or start an organization that fits you better, go for it! (We’ll chip in for the cab fare.)

When you leave the room (I know this is hard to hear), many will breathe a sigh of relief. And they’ll wonder why it took so long. Can you see the impact your attitude has had on others? Really? For their sake? For your sake?

So, my friend, the time has come to say goodbye.

You are always welcome here. But the attitude has got to go.

And if it ever does…I think you’ll wonder why you didn’t dump it sooner.

And in the end—I think you know this—I didn’t write this for you, really. I wrote it for me.

I need some courage. I need some resolve.

And I think I’ve got it now.

Because it’s time – finally time – to embrace the future that almost everyone else is ready to seize.

We’re moving on.

 Sincerely, 

- Me

By Carey Nieuwhof

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Good is the Enemy of Great.

Good is the enemy of great. 

Leadership expert and popular author Jim Collins said:
"This is one of the reasons that we have so little that becomes great. We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, precisely because it is easy to settle for a good life. The vast majority of companies never become great precisely because they become quite good. - and that is their main problem"  
-Good to Great. 

Why is it so easy to settle for good?  Do we love apathy so much? Are we as humans just lazy? Or is there another reason?  Let me take a stab at at least answering one reason why I believe we settle for good. Thomas J. Watson once said, Whenever an individual or a business decides that success has been attained, progress stops." How many times have you experienced this phenonema? You attain most of your goals ... so you give up on the rest. You set out to score a touchdown ... then you run to the goal line, put the ball down on the one yard line and call in the field goal team.  3 points is enough, you reason.  
If you are reading this and thinking internally, who really cares? Then I'd say you are in the company of the crowd, and this group is the same group that makes the same noise as those fluffy little things that Shepherds watch over.  In my mind, this demeanor was never the calling of the human race.  Go back in the book of Genesis and you'll see that mankind was the highlight of God's magnificent creation. We are His crowing achievement, made in His image. Part of this image bearing is that we have been instilled with a wonderfully creative spirit.   


This post is about greatness. 
Really, it is about sweat, determination and resolution.  Growing up, I remember hearing about the 5 D's.  Do you know them?
-Determination
-Destiny
-Desire
-Devotion
-Discipline 
(I am sure there are more than 5, so the next time you run into me at Giant Eagle just tell me the ones I missed). 
The point is, many of the 5 D's have vanished in our society. I believe, it is due to our inability to seek greatness.  Handouts are rampant, grades are given to get kids just so they pass, our workplaces are glorified punch clocks for apathy.  Why?  Because greatness is not on our radar.
I am afraid to say that we, as a society, are generally apathetic. We want the crown, but not the cross. We love the destination of easy street, but do not take the grit road to get there.     

I know that for many, at one point in time you felt like you could conquer the world.  Then, life settled in and all those dreams got replaced with bills in your mail box.  If that is you, let me make a few tiny suggestions to propel you in the right direction. The first is to surround yourself with people that are seeking greatness.  Author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn rightly teaches that,  You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."   

The second suggestion is to read. 
No that is not a typo.  Fill your mind with new thoughts.  Get inspired! I always tell people that the only way to fill a broken vessel is to continually fill it.  You gotta find ways to spark your creative juices in life and the best way is to find something interesting and read.  Before I move on, let me add this caveat.  I know that for some reading is just drudgery.  You'd rather pave my driveway on a hot, humid August afternoon.  For you, I'd suggest a seminar or a video series.  The same principle applies, it's just a matter of how you achieve gathering new information.  Years ago, a sage told me, "Anthony, if you want there to be a significant difference between the person you are today and the person you will be in 10 years, it will be via the books you read and the people you surround yourself with."  I can testify to that truth as I am a living illustration of implementing both. 

Finally, you might be thinking this is a bit too daydreamish and far fetched.  I say you are correct. But is there a better way to live?  I believe Les Brown summed it up best when he uttered these famous words, "Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."


Go for greatness my friend! 

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Last Time

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before, 
When you have freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.

You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feedings and burping,
Nappy changes and crying,
Whining and fighting,
Naps or a lack of naps,
It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don’t forget …
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed
your baby for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.

One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus”
and do all the actions,
Then never sing them that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.

The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times.
And even then, it will take you a while to realize.

So while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them
and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.
For one last time.

-unknown 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

My Interview (with a dead guy).

The Greatest General, by Mark Twain:

A man died and met Saint Peter at the gates of heaven.
Recognizing the saint’s knowledge and wisdom, he wanted to ask him a question. “Saint Peter’, he said, “I have been interested in the military history for many years. Tell me, who was the greatest general of all times?”
Peter quickly responded, “O that is a simple question. It’s that man right over there.”
The man looked where Peter was pointing and answered, “You must be mistaken. I knew that man on earth, and he was just a common laborer.”
“That’s right,” Peter remarked, “but he would have been the greatest general of all time-if he had been a general.”

---What a remarkable lesson.

Shortly after reading Twain's story, I started wondering what it would be like to interview the "would-be-general."

I imagine myself sitting across from him in a fluffy cloud, face to face with the following questions:

Q: What held you back from pursuing your dreams while you were on earth?

Q: Did you have a passion in your heart for the things of the military? If so, why didn't you enlist?

Q:  When you were alive, did you ever feel a sense of destiny?  Like God had a plan for your life?

Q:  How's the food up there? 

Q:  Followed up by, do all dogs really go to heaven?  I'm quite serious.

Q:  Finally, if  you could do it all over again, live your life again on earth, how would you live differently?

I have no idea what the answers would be to those questions. 
But what I do know, is that if you find yourself reading this, you still have a chance. 

-A chance to live.  -A chance to engage

What a terrible thing it would be to find out in heaven that you could have been the worlds all time greatest __________ . 


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I Took Your Place

One day, a man went to visit a church, He got there early, parked his car and got out. Another car pulled up near the driver got out and said, " I always park there
You took my place!" 

Then the visitor went inside for Sunday School, found an empty seat and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated, "That's my seat! You took my place!" The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing.

After Sunday School, the visitor went into the sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, "That's where I always sit! You took my place!" The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still He said nothing.

Later as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood up, and his appearance began to change. 
Horrible scars became visible on his hands and on his sandaled feet. 
Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out, "What happened to you?" 
The visitor replied, as his hat became a crown of thorns, 


"I took your place."



DID you know that the Bible teaches that God literally took your place? This is what the cross was all about, God reconciling all who trust in Him. The Apostle says it like this, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 
(II Corinthians 5:21).  To illustrate, I will recall a popular movie titled the Matrix.  In the third installment, during the final epic battle between Mr. Anderson (really bad guy) and Neo (good guy), Neo let Mr. Anderson punch his fist into his stomach.  When this happened, Mr. Anderson sort of oozed into Neo, thus corrupting him and winning the final war...so he thought.  If you have seen the film, you remember that this was not the end of Neo, rather it was the final act for Mr. Anderson.  See, when Neo allowed Mr. Anderson to enter him, Neo took inside himself pure evil.  
Neo then died. And when he did ... the evil one died too.

Admittedly, this not a perfect parallel with our Lord, but there is something deeply familiar in both accounts, the good overtook the bad by becoming the bad on behalf of others.  So the next time you see a cross, you can be thankful that someone took your place.  

Monday, January 16, 2017

Do NOT look up!

 

Ever hear of the of the law of the Skyscraper?

Neither have I. That's until I read a short article by author, Jon Gordon.  The concept is a simple one and makes a lot of sense for those wanting to make a difference. Check it out below and see if you enjoy as much as I did. 

When builders begin building a skyscraper they don't start by building up. Instead they start by digging below the ground in order to create a foundation of stability. They have to go down deep and excavate soil, sand, clay, etc. to reach the bedrock so that they can build something that will reach incredible heights.

Our lives, careers and, teams work the same way. If we want to build up -we have to first dig deep and develop our foundation.  It's not always easy to unearth the stuff below (the fears we have, the wounds we carry, and the things that hold us back) but once we uncover them, we can reach the core of our foundation and begin the building process to reach greater heights.

Notice how the law of the skyscraper emphasizes the invisible -the foundation?  What you see is not always what you get.! Jesus, the master teacher, taught, "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.


Note how there were: Two men. Two houses. Two storms. But two very different outcomes.  
The reason was due to one man starting with a firm foundation and the other a shifty one.

If you would like to establish a firm foundation in your life, I would like to personally invite you to grow in your faith by attending  Faith Presbyterian Church in Hermitage, Pa.  We meet Sunday mornings, 11 a.m.  

 
I hope to see you some Sunday!
Rev. Anthony J. Kladitis