Friday, January 23, 2015

“Both good and bad moods tend to perpetuate themselves.”


A thought by Daniel Goleman; Richard Boyatzis & Annie McKee, (2013-07-23) from their book, Primal Leadership, With a New Preface by the Authors: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence (Kindle Location 356). Harvard Business Review Press. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

I have found in my own approach to life, both of those to be true.  The people around me always were afraid of what mood I was in and usually it was a bad one.  Until I came to the place in my life that I realized that I was hurting myself and those around me with my bad moods and started striving to get control of my emotions and of my moods. 

Here is what the writers here say, “Both good and bad moods tend to perpetuate themselves, in part because they skew perceptions and memories: When people feel upbeat, they see the positive light in a situation and recall the good things about it, and when they feel bad, they focus on the downside.  Beyond this perceptual skew, the stew of stress hormones secreted when a person is upset takes hours to become reabsorbed in the body and fade away. That’s why a sour relationship with a boss can leave a person a captive of that distress, with a mind preoccupied and a body unable to calm itself: He got me so upset during that meeting I couldn’t go to sleep for hours last night. As a result, we naturally prefer being with people who are emotionally positive, in part because they make us feel good.”

Take that to heart.  Determine to be a person that uplifts people, who others want to be around.  How moody we are goes a long way in determining if we are going to be effective in our relationships or if we are going to be alone.  I choose to make a positive difference not a negative one.

Some would say, “That is just the way I am.  I can’t be anything else.”  I am one that decided that wasn’t the truth and I over time changed.   

How about you?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

“Unless we love natural goods — sex, alcohol, food, money, success, power — in the way God intended, we become their slaves, as any addict can attest.”

A thought by Philip Yancey (2014-10-21) from his book, Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?  (p. 80). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

“In the way that God intended” is the key to a fulfilled life. 

Philip says, “When I leave the doctor’s office after an annual checkup I have a clearer picture of my ideal health, which will include exercise, proper diet, and careful attention to some nagging ailments. From time spent with God, I have a clearer picture of spiritual health too — not an anxious, furrowed-brow perfectionism or an uptight legalism, but a relaxed confidence in God’s love and a trust that God has my very best interests at heart.”

Philip continues, “I cannot imagine anyone following Jesus around for two or three years and commenting, ‘My, think of all he missed out on.’ More than likely they would say, ‘Think of all I am missing out on.’”

So what are we really missing out on?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

“Living ‘in the world,’ we can look for natural opportunities to dispense grace — not just words — to those around us.”


A thought by Philip Yancey (2014-10-21) from his book, Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?  (p. 74). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Consider this… Philip says, “What would it take for church to become known as a place where grace is ‘on tap’? All too often outsiders view us as a kind of elite club of the righteous. An alcoholic friend once made this point by comparing church with AA, which had become for him a substitute church. ‘When I show up late to church, people turn and look at me. Some scowl, some smile a self-satisfied smile — See, that person’s not as responsible as I am. In AA, if I show up late the meeting comes to a halt and everyone jumps up to greet me. They realize that my desperate need for them won out over my desperate need for alcohol.’”

Oh that we would see that and convey that.  The world doesn’t need condemnation, judgment and criticism.  It needs love and it has been given the good news that God loved the world so much that he sent his son as a gift.  That is what love does.  It gives.  People need to see that love is not just words though we sometimes need to hear them and say them but they need to see it is more, it is actions.

Let’s look for ways to show it, not just to those whom we love but also to those whom God loves.  Remember God loves the world.  And that means he loves his enemies. 

Do we?  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

“The issue is not whether I agree with someone but rather how I treat someone with whom I profoundly disagree.”

A thought by Philip Yancey (2014-10-21) from his book, Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?  (p. 26). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Philip continues, “We Christians are called to use the ‘weapons of grace,’ which means treating even our opponents with love and respect. As usual, Jesus shows the way. When the Pharisees taunted him as ‘a Samaritan and demon-possessed,’ he denied the accusation of demon-possession but did not protest the racial slur. He rebuked the disciples for their call for violence against the Samaritans. Pointedly, he made a Samaritan the hero of one of his finest parables. He went out of his way to visit a Samaritan village and commanded his Jewish disciples to take the gospel to other such villages. Eventually the disciples got the point: when Samaritans became Christ-followers with ‘great joy’ after Jesus’ ascension, they received the Holy Spirit through the ministry of Peter and John — the same John who had once called for fire from heaven to destroy them.”

Oh this world needs a people who don’t want to call fire down on those we disagree with but who wants to love and respect them by using “weapons of grace.”  That is where we show that being a Christ follower really makes a difference.  It starts inside of us and comes out through us.

And may we pray the prayer of Henri Nouwen, “God, help me to see others not as my enemies or as ungodly but rather as thirsty people. And give me the courage and compassion to offer your Living Water, which alone quenches deep thirst.”

So what will we do when someone disagrees with us?


Thursday, January 15, 2015

“The fundamental task of leaders, we argue, is to prime good feeling in those they lead.”


A thought by Daniel Goleman; Richard Boyatzis & Annie McKee, (2013-07-23) from their book, Primal Leadership, With a New Preface by the Authors: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence (Kindle Locations 79-80). Harvard Business Review Press. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

What a foreign thought.  Most would say that the fundamental task of leaders is to get a job done no matter the feeling of the ones they are leading. 
 
But they say, “At its root…the primal job of leadership is emotional.” And “That occurs when a leader creates resonance—a reservoir of positivity that frees the best in people.” 

They continue, “We believe this primal dimension of leadership, though often invisible or ignored entirely, determines whether everything else a leader does will work as well as it could. And this is why emotional intelligence —being intelligent about emotions— matters so much for leadership success: Primal leadership demands we bring emotional intelligence to bear. In this book we show not just why emotionally intelligent leadership drives resonance, and thus performance, but also how to realize its power— for the individual leader, in teams, and throughout entire organizations.”

What an important insight into leadership. 

My wife, Margaret is an exceptional leader.  She successfully oversees around ninety people.  One thing she does every day that goes a long way to showing the people she works with that they are important to her is at the beginning of every day she walks through her whole department and greets all ninety of them personally.   She shows them that they matter to her.  We each one need to know emotionally that we matter to those who are our leaders. 

An important task of each leader is to “create a resonance – a reservoir of positivity that frees the best in people.”

So what type of leader are you?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

“It makes all the difference in the world whether I view my neighbor as a potential convert or as someone whom God already loves.”


A thought by Philip Yancey (2014-10-21) from his book, Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?  (p. 44). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)


Let me ask you something.  How do you feel when you know that someone looks at you as a person that they want to convert to their view?

I have a very good friend who is a San Francisco Giants’ fan.  He loves the Giants and I love the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Now what if he looked at me totally from the standpoint that he was going to convert me to being a Giants’ fan.  I mean all he does is tell me how much better it is to love the Giants.  They have won the World Series 3 out of the last 5 years.  He just knows that I should want to be a Giants’ fan.  But he doesn’t criticize me.  He just accepts me.  He is my friend.

Philip says, “I’ve yet to meet someone who found their way to faith by being criticized.” But we do that all the time don’t we?

Philip shares some thoughts that the priest Henri Nouwen had from a mission trip to South America. Philip said, “He went expecting to pass on his wisdom to the poor and unenlightened. During his six-month stay, Nouwen concluded that a desire to save, whether from sin or poverty or exploitation, is one of the most damaging motives in ministry.  ‘Humility is the real Christian virtue,’ says Nouwen. ‘When we come to realize that . . . only God saves, then we are free to serve, then we can live truly humble lives.’ Nouwen changed his approach from ‘selling pearls,’ or peddling the good news, to ‘hunting for the treasure’ already present in those he was called to love — a shift from dispensing religion to dispensing grace.”

I walk out of stores when I feel they are trying to sell me but I stay when I feel they are want to help me.  Love does not sell, love serves.   The vacuum that so many people feel is love.  God loves them.  Let’s show that by serving them and by being their friend.

Who needs your friendship, your love?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

“It takes no grace to relate to someone who looks, thinks, and acts just like me.”


A thought by Philip Yancey (2014-10-21) from his book, Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News? (p. 37). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)


Now if Christ would have taken the attitude that He only wanted to be with someone just like Him then for sure He would have never come to earth.  I mean He was God.  But we have a tendency to only be around people just like us but that isn’t what He did.

Philip quotes Jonathan Sacks, who was the former chief rabbi of Great Britain and he said, “The Hebrew Bible [Old Testament] in one verse commands, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ but in no fewer than 36 places commands us to ‘love the stranger.’ ” He adds, “The supreme religious challenge is to see God’s image in one who is not in our image.”

And then Philip says, “All too often Christians take the opposite approach. Some demonize opponents, branding them ‘secular humanists’ or ‘heretics’ or ‘perverts,’ and then retreat into a fortress mentality.”

I’m challenged by what Jonathan Sacks says, “The supreme religious challenge is to see God’s image in one who is not in our image.”  I spend a lot of time in Starbucks where the homeless come in to sit.  My supreme challenge is to see God’s image in them and to not be judgmental of their situation.  But Jesus doesn’t do that to me.  He didn’t come to this world to condemn me but to love me, accept me and be gracious to me.

Oh how I need Him living and loving through me.

How about you?