How to Walk into a Room

You might not be connecting with people because of how you enter the room.

There are two ways to enter a room. Which one are you?

It is hard to connect with others, even people you know. People are busy and distracted. As a leader, it’s especially important that I connect with others in a real and relational way. So, I try to pay attention to how I enter the room:

Way #1 Here I am

The first way is to enter with the mindset, “Here I am.”

We are looking for people to notice us. We are looking for attention, applause, and support. We walk into the room like we are the most important one present. That might work in some situations, but in most cases it’s hard to connect this way.

Way #2 There you are

The second way to enter a room is with the mindset, “There you are.”

We are noticing people. We are giving them attention, applause, and support.

We walk into the room like they are the most important ones present. It makes a difference. I don’t always have this mindset, but I try to with every encounter.

It’s really not just a matter of walking into a room, it’s a mindset on how you treat people of all ages and stages.

Do you walk into a room and think, “Here I am” or “There you are?”

Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

How to Plan a Funeral

As a pastor, I have to deal with death. Death is not something we like to talk about. We especially don’t like to plan for a funeral. When someone dies, most don’t know what to do or how to plan.

It’s Important to Plan Ahead

Best Option: Ask them Before they Die

Talk to your loved ones before they die. Actually, do it before they even get sick. Do it when they are nowhere near dying. It makes it so much easier on you. Life is stressful enough when the person dies. Why not take some of that away?

  • Do they want to be in a casket or cremated?
  • What type of service would they like? Do they want a service at all? It could be a traditional service, or just at the graveside, or a memorial, for instance.
  • Where? In a funeral home, a church, etc.
  • What type of music do they want? Which songs?
  • Who do they want to preside over the service? Their pastor, etc.
  • Who are the pallbearers to be?
  • Do they want someone to give a eulogy. If so, who?
  • What is their favorite Bible verse(s)? Poem? Story? These are great to know and share at a funeral.

Now is the time to talk to your mom, dad, spouse. Plan it. Write it down. Put it away in a safe place. You will not regret this.

Second Option: Plan for it after they die

Some refuse to talk about death, even if you want to plan ahead. What do you do?

  • Talk to a local funeral home.
  • Talk to your religious leader.
  • Talk to family and friends who have had to do this.
  • Ask the above questions to yourself and the family to discern what the loved one’s wishes might be.

Death is part of life. Be prepared.

John 11:25, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”

How Writing Changes Us

I have been writing for several years, and I even have three books published. Writing has changed me for the better. Here’s How.

  • Writing helps me process thoughts and emotions
  • Writing brings calm in times of chaos
  • Writing connects me to people I would not normally know
  • Writing helps me inspire and encourage others
  • Writing makes me an “expert” in the fields I cover
  • Writing helps me spiritually in my walk with God
  • Writing forces me out of my comfort zone
  • Writing helps me communicate better
  • Writing gives me an outlet for stress
  • Writing inspires and encourage others
  • Writing provides opportunities I would normally not have
  • Writing helps me remember and develop what I have learned
  • Writing keeps my brain active

Two of my books have literally taken me on the other side of the world.

  • Two of my books are translated into Russian
  • I have been to Eastern Europe numerous times, distributing my books through lectures, conferences, etc.
  • I now have life-long friends in Eastern Europe

You don’t have to have write books, or even go to Eastern Europe, for writing to make your life better.

  • Write in a journal to help find clarity in the noise of life
  • Write about your passions on social media or a blog
  • Write a newsletter to e-mail to friends and family
  • Write a card of encouragement to someone
  • Write a love letter to your significant other
  • Write poetry to connect with your feelings

Just write something. It will change you for the better, and it could change others for the better, too!

Psalm 45:1, “My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.”

Finding Clarity in the Noise

Life is one constant noise. We are bombarded with:

  • Texts and calls
  • Television
  • Radio
  • News
  • Apps
  • Social Media
  • Etc.

Constant noise is not good for our minds and souls. It keeps us from:

  • Thinking for ourselves
  • Thinking deeply
  • Listening to what our minds and hearts are telling us
  • Prayer and meditation
  • Making good decisions
  • Allowing our mind and body to unwind and relax
  • Having the proper perspective
  • Evaluating our goals and dreams
  • Paying attention to the needs of others

To be the best we can, and to enjoy the best of life, we need to turn off the noise at times. But how?

Here are some of my practices, though I often struggle to be consistent:

1. Take time away from your phone, even if it’s for 30 minutes. When I do this I text my wife and say, “I am getting away from phone for a while.” That way she knows something isn’t wrong.

2. Go for a walk outside and breathe in the fresh air. Listen to the birds, walk your dog, or watch the sun rise or set.

3. Sit in silence for a few minutes. Lie in a dark room, set a timer for 15 minutes, and just be present. It will not be easy at first, but it will help clear your mind and settle your heart.

4. Do some writing. Writing helps process the noise, so you can find a place of peace and contentment. Keep a journal. Write about what you are feeling, your struggles, and why you are thankful.

5. Take a break from your social media, e-mail, Netflix, and whatever else distracts you. The world can survive if you step away for a few minutes each day.

It’s a noisy world. Be different. Rise above it. Sit still for a while.

Psalm 62:5, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”

The Blessing of Adoption

I wouldn’t have a family without adoption.

My wife and I have three children, and all three are part of our family through adoption. My wife and I began the adoption process after ten years of infertility. We wanted nothing more than our our child. Now, we have three! This is not how we intended to build our family, but this is how it came together. We are all the better for it. We don’t think of them as our adopted children. They are simply our children. The subject of adoption comes up only when we share our story and the blessing of adoption.

Adoption is a blessing. How so?

  • You can have a family regardless of fertility issues.
  • You can provide a loving home to children that may not have had one otherwise.
  • You give birth parents an alternative to abortion.
  • You give the birth parent’s family peace of mind, that the child is being taken care of.
  • In our case, with multiple adoptions, you experience the richness of children from different backgrounds coming together as one.
  • You inspire your own children to consider adoption as part of their family plan, which keeps the cycle of goodness going. My oldest sister is part of our family through adoption. My parents began the cycle.

Don’t be mistaken, adoption isn’t easy.

  • Adopting can be costly and stressful.
  • You’re dealing with uncertainties with the process, family health history, etc.
  • Your child, even though adopted into your loving home, will always struggle, to some degree, with why the birth family didn’t want him or her.
  • You need to decide how to handle this with your child. We were upfront about it as soon as possible, celebrating the joy of adoption with our children and speaking well of each one’s tummy mommy.

Thank God for the gift of adoption!

Romans 8:15, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

Lessons Learned from Depression

I struggled with depression on and off for eight years.

I am now free from major depression, but I will never forget the lessons it taught me.

If you are depressed, or know someone who is, there is hope.

Depression robs you of hope and joy. It makes you think life will never get better, that it’s pointless to get out of the bed, leave the house, or do anything of value.

You can survive depression, and in many cases, be free of it. This short essay cannot detail much. I have literally written an entire book on this; however, here are some lessons I have learned along the way.

If you or a loved one is dealing with depression:

#1. Know that any one can get depressed.

If you are depressed, you’re in good company. Great leaders, successful entrepreneurs, and even spiritual giants struggle with depression. Depression doesn’t mean you are inferior and less of a person. It means you’re human.

#2. You cannot deal with this alone.

The hardest part of depression is admitting you’re depressed. Be honest with someone about your struggles. Tell a friend, your spouse, or a family member. They probably won’t understand everything, but it’s good to know you’re in this alone. Tell your doctor as well for guidance and instruction.

#3. Do life even when you don’t feel like it.

You don’t feel like getting out of bed. You don’t feel like working. You don’t feel like meeting a friend or working out. Do it anyway. Sitting and stewing makes depression worse, not better. Get out and do life. Better yet, get out and help someone else. That will take your mind off your situation.

Whatever you do, never give up. You are not the only one struggling. We’re in this together. More importantly, God is here to help.

Psalm 42:5, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

How to Never Give Up

I got lost while running a marathon. I could give up, or keep running till the end. I kept running and ran 31 miles instead of 26.2.

I learned so much that day, just by not giving up. I learned I could run 31 miles. I learned the power of the mind and body. More than that, I learned the value of never giving up.

Unfortunately, some people give up way too easy when they are striving for a goal.

Most give up on a dream or goal because they get discouraged.

  • It’s harder than they imagined
  • They don’t see results
  • Everyone else is giving up

Don’t give up when it’s gets tough. Keep on keeping on. Here’s how, step by step:

Step 1: Remember the Why

I remembered why I was running that marathon, to finish the race and savor the accomplishment. Why are you pursing your goals and dreams? Why do you do what you do?

Step 2: When the pain comes, and it will, focus on the finish line.

When I was lost and discouraged, I focused on the finish line. The end was near if I just pressed on. What is your finish line? What will the completion of your goals and dreams look like?

Step 3: Picture yourself accomplishing your goals and dreams.

When 26.2 miles turned into way more, I imagined finishing, getting a medal, and feeling the joy of accomplishment. What will your end look and feel like?

You can do this. See it. Feel it. Go for it!

Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Gasoline and the Gospel

71 cars were lined up on the street this morning near my house. That doesn’t count the dozen plus cars already in the parking lot of the gas station. People are in desperate need of gas because of Hurricane Ida. It is a precious commodity indeed. Whatever it takes, they want it. The gospel of Jesus is far more precious than gasoline. Gas can run your car and generator, but Jesus can change your life for eternity. Yet, people would not dream of lining up to hear the gospel, much less come to church. Pray for the Spirit to open their eyes, to see their desperate condition apart from Jesus. They may not line up to hear about Jesus, but they will listen to you, their neighbor, friend, or loved one. Take them a can of gas if you have it. Above all, share the love of Christ with them. He is our greatest need at this time!

Trust the Science?

This is not a post on whether to get the vaccine. I am not here to argue the pro’s and con’s of mask mandates. This is simply a post on science. Science is beneficial. It helps us better understand the world God created. It also helps us better enjoy life, with great advancements and discoveries. God and science are not at odds. A true understanding of science points us to God and His greatness. Science is not God. Science changes. God doesn’t. Science makes mistakes. God doesn’t. Science is not all knowing. God is. Science is not the Savior of the world. Only Jesus is. Proverbs 3:5 reminds us to “Trust in Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all our ways and He will make our paths strait.” We are to trust in God, not science with our all. We are to acknowledge God in all our ways and He, not science, will make our paths straight. Our greatest source of hope and trust must be in Christ, not science, entertainment, money, or anything else.

What we Take for Granted

I have COVID, so too does my wife and oldest daughter. It has not been fun to say the least. Getting sick is a reminder that I am not Superman. I love to go 90MPH with things, always busy doing something. Now I am going 5MPH, at best. I love to run, but I can’t. I love to be at church, but I can’t. I love to…, but I can’t. We take so much for granted, especially our health. If you are well today, take a moment and thank God for it. Use this day for His kingdom. If you are sick, look to the Great Physician. He is there to care and comfort you.

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