Friday, July 30, 2010

A Better Way To Live

Thanks to Tim McGraw and Kris Allen, we have all heard the saying "Live like you were dying."  This saying encourages us to live life to the fullest, tell your family and friends that you love them, and make decisions as though there is no tomorrow.  I am a fan of this saying, except for the fact that we would all be broke since there would be no reason to save money.

I recently read the book A Better Way to Live by Og Mandino (one of my favorite authors).  He says that we should live like everyone else is dying.  Mandino writes:

"Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight.  Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward.  Your life will never be the same again."
Now that is a challenge.  I mean I don't have a problem going sky diving, rocky mountain climbing, or going 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.  But asking me to treat every person I meet with all of the care, love, kindness, and understanding that I can muster is a different story.

Think about it though.  How do you suppose people would react if you treated them with unexpected and undeserved love and kindness?  How would your cashier, bank teller, food server, teacher, student, friend or family member feel if you stepped out of your comfort zone and talked to them as if you may be the last person that made them feel important?  Well how would you respond if someone did that to you?

So the next time you see a familiar face or meet someone, treat them as though they will be gone at midnight and make them feel important on their last day on Earth.

By the way, there are 16 other timeless principles that Og Mandino recommends to live by in his book A Better Way to Live.  It's a quick read and I recommend it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Out In The Open

What are you broadcasting?
I heard a statement on the radio that said something like this:
"One of the best things that could happen to you is if all of your sins and secrets were broadcast on the 6 o'clock news.  This way there would be no more hiding, covering up lies, and you would be forced to deal with any issues that you are struggling with."
Best thing?  My first reaction was that sounds like one of the worst things that could happen to you.  Embarrassment, humiliation and shame are words that come to mind.  Yet after thinking about it, there is unexplainable freedom in honesty and openness.  Don't get me wrong, it is difficult and humbling.  But there is something about confessing and asking forgiveness that is life changing.  (speaking from experience...thank you Jesus!)

Now I am not suggesting that you tell everyone, every sin you have ever committed.  That is between you and God.  Rather, I am suggesting that starting today you live your life in such a way that you (and everyone you know) would be pleased with anything that shows up about you on the news, facebook, or youtube.  Starting today, make the decision to do the right thing, just because it's the right thing.  Starting today, seek help where you need it.  Starting today, lead a life that you and your family can be proud of. 

Would you be proud if your every move was made public?  


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What Is Your Brand?

What do Kleenex, Daisy Duke, iPods, Scotch tape and Ziploc baggies have in common?  They are revolutionary.  Not only did they make a great product but their brand name is the first thing that comes to mind. Think about it.  When you need to blow your nose what do you ask for?  When you see someone with short shorts what are they wearing?  If you see someone with headphones in what are they listening to?  If you need to wrap a present what type of tape do you need?  If you need to keep some food fresh what type of baggie do you put it in?  Even though there are all types of tissue, shorts, Mp3 players, tape, and baggies, these are always the brands that come to mind.

What about your brand?  What comes to the mind of others when they hear your name?  When someone sees a random act of kindness do they think "That was a (your name) move".  When someone hears words of encouragement and inspiration do they think "That sounds like something (your name) would say".

Your name and reputation is your brand and your actions are your product.  What do you want people to think of when they hear your name?  What are you going to do about it?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Going Green

In 2010, its cool to be GreenGreen meaning that you reduce, reuse, and recycle.  Green meaning that you are considerate of the environment when making decisions. 

I have heard this thousands of times but I never really took it too seriously.  I have always liked the idea of going green, but to be honest I thought it was too much of a hassle and cost too much money.

After spending a week in the "Greenest" country in the world (Costa Rica), I now have a better idea of what going green means.  It means always using real plates, cups, & silverware (never disposable).  It means using any leftover, untouched food in the next meal or the next day.  It means taking colder showers so they don't last as long.  It means buying more locally grown food and supplies.  It means donating unwanted goods or clothing to families in need or any local charity or even selling them at garage sales.  It means not wasting water while you're brushing your teeth or shaving.  It means only flushing the toilet once each day (just kidding). 

Going green doesn't require you to buy a hybrid car or install solar panels and windmills in your home.  It doesn't mean bathing in rivers or being a vegan.  It doesn't mean that you have to spend more money on less stuff.  All of these things are good but sometimes these giant leaps by a few can scare off small steps by many.  Going green simply means being good stewards of the Earth that God allows us to live on.  Whatever you decide to do, I hope you will do your part to leave this Earth better than you found it. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

28 Things I Learned in Costa Rica

My wife and I just returned from a mission trip in the mountains Costa Rica.  We served at Camp Roblealto with 5 other families through Pine Cove ONE:8 Trips.  Here are a few of the many things that I learned.

1.  Volcanoes are indescribably beautiful.
2.  Daily rain makes everything greener.
3.  A smile is multilingual. 
4.  Beans and Rice are good at every meal when you're hungry.
5.  There is not a good way to take a cold shower.
6.  I'm so thankful for the plumbing and sewage system in the USA.
7.  A 5 year old boy is a 5 year old boy, no matter what country or culture.
8.  Justin Bieber is somehow a global icon.
9.  You can communicate a lot through hand gestures and body language.
10.  My way is the best way for me, but not others.
11.  God's grace is needed around the world.
12.  I have way to many clothes and shoes.
13.  Being wasteful is disrespectful.
14.  A handmade gift means more than a store-bought gift.
15.  You grow closer to the people that share your struggles.
16.  I rely on my plans too much and God's plans too little.
17.  Costa Rican coffee is delicious.
18.  It is better to experience the rainforest in the trees than on the ground.
19.  There is freedom in going a week without looking in the mirror.
20.  I need to learn how to do more with less rather than less with more.
21.  There are more important things that I should be doing than watching TV.
22.  Facebook is revolutionary!
23.  Kids can impact the lives of others just as well as adults.
24.  Religion keeps a lot of people from experiencing God.
25.  Singing praise songs in 2 languages is better than in one.
26.  Serving is a great way to break down cultural and language barriers.
27.  Saying hello is much easier than saying goodbye.
28.  God answers prayer in all languages and is active in all cultures.