Monday, August 27, 2007


I am currently posting the collection of Devotions for Spiritual Leaders I prepared as a part of my doctoral work on our church's website. The first three of ten are now available at

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Coming home

Several years ago, while looking for a new home, I drove into a neighborhood about sundown. It was a fall evening, the air was crisp and the leaves were turning. As I drove by one house, it seemed so inviting. Lights in the window. Big, red door. It just looked cozy. While we didn't buy that particular house, it has served to inform every subsequent search for a new home: if it feels like we are coming home, it will be high on the list.

We had such an experience when we moved to Brunswick. The first time I drove into the neighborhood in which we live, it was a grey, rainy day. The main road winds underneath a canopy of moss-covered oak trees that are centuries old. It felt like I was coming home.

The Psalmist said:
When I observe Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You set in place, what is man that You remember him, the son of man that You look after him? Psalms 8:3-4 (HCSB)

As I drove out of the 'hood this morning, I didn't see the heavens, the moon, and stars... those moss-covered oaks - works of His fingers - reminded me of His provision. And it felt like coming home.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

More Booknotes

I use a lot of summaries. ACMC - Missions Help for Church Leaders is another source of weekly book summaries.

David Mays writes notes on the books he reads, sends them to an email list of more than 800 subscribers, and posts them on this web site. Books deal with leadership, management, church, missions, spiritual growth, cultural issues, and more. Last week, he did Mark Sanborn's You Don't Need a Title to Be a Leader, which is a great little read.

Mays' notes are not exhaustive, but they do help me discover if I want to purchase or borrow a book to dive deeper. In a world in which we are inundated with information, finding others to help filter out the clutter can be incredibly helpful and free up time for more significant endeavors.

P.S. also released a new summary of Serve God, Save the Planet by J. Matthew Sleeth, MD

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Friday, April 13, 2007

I'm a jotter...

I've become a jotter. Set up a free account here, program a speed dial on your cellphone and jott. You call the number, dictate up to 30 seconds and soon receive the transcription or audio of your message via e-mail. You can also send jotts to others... (my assistant loves that!) - Mobile Note Taking and Hands-Free Messaging

Ordinary technology - extraordinary productivity.

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The Right Stuff (and slow leaks)

Get the picture: Wednesday night. 10:30. Last few minutes before bed. Relaxing on the couch and talking about the day with my wife. She looks up behind me and says "Uh, oh!" You just know this is going to be good.

I turned and saw a spot on the ceiling below the upstairs shower that is 6 foot long by 2 feet wide, brown stained and dripping. Plastic drop cloths, buckets, you know the drill.

When I found the leak, it was no more than a pinhole. But, as a result, five gallons of water was following the path of least resistance through the ceiling.

All was well when the plumber arrived. 10 minutes, some PVC, the right tools and some know-how (the right stuff), and all was well.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.
(2 Timothy 2:15 HCSB)

Are you equipped with the right stuff to stop the leaks in your life?

Bonus observation: When he woke up the next morning, my son said, "I saw that spot on the ceiling yesterday after school, but I didn't tell you." Grrrrrrr... Can I point out that many people have slow leaks in their character? They think the results are not evident, but they are. How about you? Got any slow leaks? Acknowledge it and get a "plumber" - someone with the tools and some know-how to help you plug it up before it causes damage.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Book Summary: Just Walk Across the Room, Bill Hybels.

Christian Book Summaries states it's purpose as "enhancing the ministry and impact of thinking Christians by providing thorough and readable summaries of noteworthy books from Christian publishers."

They have just posted a summary of Just Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybels. Haven't checked it out yet, but will before the end of the day.

The summaries are free and there is an archive. Purchasing the complete books through their site helps keep the service free. An e-mail notification service is also available to keep you "in the know."

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Love, Legacy, Lean

I've been reading No Man Left Behind by Patrick Morley, David Delk & Brett Clemmer. They highlight this verse, and it struck a chord with me.

There is a person without a companion, without even a son or brother, and though there is no end to all his struggles, his eyes are still not content with riches. “So who am I struggling for,” [he asks,] “and depriving myself from good?” This too is futile and a miserable task. (Ecclesiastes 4:8 HCSB)

Fascinating. No companion = no one to love. No son (children) = no legacy. No brother = no one to lean upon. So, he works hard, becomes prosperous, but finds not contentment, but futility and misery.

If we're honest, guys, we want each of these. Someone to love. A legacy that outlives us. Someone to lean upon. That's where contentment comes from.

P.S. I cannot read anything in Ecclesiastes without reading the last 3 verses: But beyond these, my son, be warned: there is no end to the making of many books, and much study wearies the body. When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is:  fear God and keep His commands, because this [is for] all humanity. For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:12-14 HCSB)

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Heh, Heh, Heh... Finished

I finally received the e-mail I've been looking for last Friday. It was from Dr. Bekker, the supervisor for my doctoral project. It went something like this: "It is my privilege to call you Dr. Cordle."

Yes, after 3 1/2 years, I finished. Neal Cordle, D.S.L. (Doctor of Strategic Leadership). Well, it will be when they update my transcript at the end of this semester!

A few observations.
  • I remember a conversation with a minister over four years ago in which he shared his goals and ambitions. He spoke of this leadership program at Regent University. Driving home that afternoon, God made it clear that He wanted me to pursue this path myself. We argued. He won. Obedience is like that. Ultimately you decide to walk forward without knowing where the journey will end. Looking back, I'm glad I did, though I'd still like to know where the journey ends!
  • There is incredible satisfaction in knowing that one has embarked on a journey, has continued steadily toward the goal, and has reached a waypoint.
  • After 3 1/2 years of intense study on the themes of leadership, I'm humbled by what I don't know. The dean said it would be like this at my very first residency. He was right.
  • What I do know is this: Spiritual leaders are called or chosen by God to display His glory to others as they move from where they are to where He wants them to be. Their goal is to understand the specific and preferred future God has for them and those around them. Their strategy is to develop a culture in which people relate to one another in mutually beneficial ways to execute defined processes that result in everyone reaching the goal.
  • I'm not really finished. I'm really just beginning to learn. The title simply means I've developed and demonstrated the competency to learn.
So, at this particular spot, I've learned a new perspective on Paul's writing:

Not that I have already reached [the goal] or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 3:12-14 HCSB)

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Never hit your snooze button ever again

This is interesting. A clock that transfers money from your bank account to the organization you select every time you hit the snooze button. Geekologie - Never hit your snooze button ever again.

Pick an organization you do not like and you have additional incentive to GET UP!

Now, generally, I'm a "figure out when you want to get up, set the alarm and get up when it goes off" kind of guy. (Though occasionally, I do enjoy a little snooze time.) But overall, if it needs doing, do it now.

Back to Ephesians 5 again. Be wise in the way you live, redeeming the time - which is to say, buy it up for an intentional purpose. Don't hit snooze, because once the moment is gone, it is gone for good.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

New stuff...

I've been fooling around with blog editors this morning. Isn't it amazing how much time one can lose while trying to get a new software tool to work? Of course we blame the software, and, no doubt, it could be easier to use.

On the other hand, what if we view a new software tool like any other tool. "Some assembly required." Aside from coffee pots, can openers, and other kitchen appliances, there are a lot of tools that do not work out of the box. And many require experimentation before getting them to work.

Now, I'm no apologist for poor programming or design. I do think we could do with a lot more civility toward others and try to understand that "they" (whoever they are) are not out to get us at every opportunity.

I think the term is forebearance.

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The Power of You

Dr. Hayes was one of those teachers who could challenge and inspire students to greatness. One of the key lessons he taught students in his technical writing class at Southern Tech was the power of you.

His observation was that too many letters begin like this: "I am writing you today because I want you to know what I am going to want, need, try to sell, etc...." You see his point don't you? By the end of the first sentence, you know already that this letter is not about you, but "I."

He encouraged his students to re-work their correspondance from the perspective of "you." For example: "Shopping in your store was a wonderful experience. You helped me so much. The shirt you helped me pick out was wonderful. Could you help me exchange it?"There is a difference. It's not manipulative. It's about putting others first. The apostle Paul said it this way: "in humility consider others as more important than yourselves." Phillippians 2:3 (HCSB)

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Trash Day

Tuesday is trash day in our neighborhood. Like many communities, ours is sometimes hard on our local sanitation service. On the other hand, sometimes we just need to brag on these servants.

Normally, my wife rolls the trash to the street when she walks our son to the bus. One Tuesday, the can wasn't in place as the garbage truck rolled by. The driver blew the horn as they passed, and my wife realized that the truck would be returning in a few minutes on the other side of the street. She hurriedly rolled the can to the street.

When the truck returned, they stopped, dumped the can, blew the horn and waved as they drove away. We think they were laughing, too. It was a win all the way around: garbage gone, driver smiling, and we benefited from someone who went the extra mile.

There's some great "life-learnin'" in this story. The people around us often make mistakes, fall short of our expectations, or otherwise place themselves in difficult situations. We could "drive on by" and let them suffer the consequences. Or, we can take notice and do what we can to help them out. I think, when I look back on my life, I'd like to be known as one who took notice of others and was willing to pitch in to help them when I could.

For you see, that's what God did: "But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!" Romans 5:8 (HCSB)