Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Church Signs #2 (an occasional series)

"Have you taken your pet to the vet?"

Well, ok, it's not a church sign, but obviously a veterinarian clinic. It made me chuckle. It's a good sign. The rhyme makes it easy to remember and sort of fun to say... (relax and repeat "pet to the vet" 5 times, real fast and see if you agree.)

And I don't even have a pet - aside from the squirrels in the attic and the frogs and lizards that show up everywhere.

Rhymes, alliteration and rhythm are devices we can use to help us remember important things. For example:

  1. Your attitude determines your acts
  2. Your beliefs drive your behavior
  3. Your character is manifest in your conduct
  4. Your demeanor is reflected in your deeds

This little ABC&D is a good reminder that what's on the inside will eventually show up on the outside. Computer programmers used to say (and I guess still do, but I don't know many programmers these days) GIGO; "garbage in, garbage out."

  • Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. Proverbs 4:23 (HCSB)
  • For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. Matthew 12:34 (HCSB)
  • A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. Luke 6:45 (HCSB)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Out of failure

I read the following story this week in Michael Michalko's Cracking Creativity:

"Michelangelo's masterpiece, David, was the result of another sculptor's failed attempt. Back in 1463, the authorities of the cathedral of Florence acquired a sixteen-foot-high chunk of white marble to be carved into a sculpture. Two well-known sculptors worked on the piece and gave up, and the badly mangled block was put in storage. Other sculptors were brought in and asked to carve a statue. They refused to work with the mangled block and demanded a new block. Their demands were not economically feasible, so the project was scrapped by the cathedral. Forty years later, Michelangelo took the mangled block of marble from storage and carved it into the youthful, courageous David within eighteen months. He took what existed and sculpted it into one of the world's greatest statues."

While Michalko's recitation differs slightly from the record at wikipedia, the emphasis on starting from another's failure is well taken - as is building on another's success.

I was reminded when reading the story for the first time, that my preconceived notions are often wrong. When I move beyond them and begin to experiment, not giving up as if all were lost, I make some of the greatest discoveries. I also recognize that my failures, which I perceive as total and absolute, may not ruin things forever, but open the door for someone more gifted than I to construct something of great value. I could give examples...

It seems better to approach life with an understanding that I am unique and have unique abilities. When I live from my strengths, I live as my Creator intended. When I live from my weakness, the block may lie ruined until the one with a true gift takes it up and releases what is contained within. So, as with Paul and Apollos, I may sow while another waters. Ultimately, God uses both to nurture the growth He brings to pass.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Remote Channel

Did you see the Garfield comic for January 12? (You can go here, and click on "the vault" to see it). Garfield is sitting in his comfy chair, and clicks on the TV. There's a new channel - the "all remote channel" which says "put down that remote, we'll click through the channels for you."

That's an easy trap to fall into, isn't it? What I wouldn't give for a "todo list that would execute itself - or a blog that would post to itself daily. Apparently others are looking for the same solutions. Did you ever notice how many e-mail and phone messages you get from people who want you to do something for them? There are a lot of Garfields out there, I suppose.

Of course, the programmers of the remote channel have it figured out. Find a need and fill it. Make someone else's life easier and they will be loyal to you - at least until someone else finds a better way to meet their need.

"Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant." (Matthew 20:26) Other focused. Meeting the needs of others. Making others successful. That's a great step of leadership. And in the process, you earn the right to lead. Followers give their loyalty to those who they trust.

So, will you be the remote channel? Or are you comfy? :)