a freeway on-ramp at night.

One of the keys to a successful sabbatical has nothing to do with what you do on your sabbatical itself, but everything to do with how you transition into and out of it. For twenty years I have watched the best and worst practices of my peers as they have taken sabbaticals, (primarily pastors and leaders of other ministry organizations.) I believe a sabbatical, can be a life-giving experience and it is something I whole-heartedly recommend. However, a sabbatical is not automatically helpful.

Continue Reading "SABBATICAL ON-RAMPS AND OFF-RAMPS"
hourglass

Time comes to us in constant increments every day. Moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day how we choose how will spend it. Time passes through our fingers fleetingly, pausing just long enough for us to decide what we will do with it. I guess we can avoid choosing and let let others dictate life for us, but even that is our choice. And, that’s the thing. We spend time by the choices we make. Frighteningly, we only get one shot and once spent, it’s gone.

Continue Reading "Time is Something We Spend–like it or not!"
Margaret and Lenita on her 80th

I find that we get all twisted up over the notions of mentoring because of some funky ideas that mentoring is about structure or curriculum or Yoda-Like super-wisdom. In reality mentoring is about sharing your life, your experiences, and your perspective when needed. It is more about walking together over the long haul then solving a urgent problem in a perfect way.

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With my Uncle after a burger together

Leaders are wired and trained to look for highly leveraged people and opportunities. We think about influence, change, courage, and about mobilizing the people who can help make things happen. So, what about people who have nothing strategic to give back? What about the people Jesus identified as the least of these?

Can it really mean that serving “one of the least of these”–where there is no quid pro quo, no strokes or favors to be returned–is literally an act of compassion received by Jesus?

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fastbike

Here is a conundrum. The fastest way to achieve significant organizational change is often by going slowly.

The problem is that leaders live to make things happen. They thrive on taking new ground. They work to move people, ideas, and organizations toward greater accomplishment. In short, leaders are change agents. Slowly and patiently do not come naturally. Leaders resonate with Sammy Hagar’s song, “I Just Can’t Drive 55.”

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writing process

I had a breakthrough experience back in January. I was on a two week writing-solitude retreat, when I woke up one morning with crystal-clear insight in when, how, and why I get stuck when I am writing. It came in the form of the process I personally need to follow. I can’t say that these thoughts are rocket-science and I can’t claim that this is how everyone should do things. I just know that there is a sequence I need to follow and when I don’t I get jammed up–even when I am onto something that excites me.

So, in that spirit, here is my NOTE TO SELF:

Whether I’m writing a blog post, a chapter, a book, or sermon… these are the steps I need to follow!

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Leaders get things done. They don’t merely mobilize others to accomplish great things, they know how to work hard and are willing to keep their head down to do whatever it takes. The only problem is that if you keep your nose to the grindstone too long, you get blood in your eyes. The ability to lead with sustained creativity and clarity requires time and space for reflection.

Continue Reading "Elasticity and Time for Reflection"