Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hearing From God

There's no doubt that it's important to hear from God. But it's more important to listen to God. There is a difference. I sometimes think that God is humored by people - they want to hear from Him so badly, but they don't slow down enough to listen.

You know how to tell if you're hearing from God or listening to God? By what follows next. Are you being obedient? Are you following up your conversation by doing something? Far too often, I'm afraid, we're scared to death that we'll "hear" from God (which ultimately means we have to "do" something) that we just pretend that God hasn't spoken yet. Have you been guilty of this?

I pray that we will not only listen to God as individuals, but as a church body as well. And because of what we do that our communities will begin to understand more about the incredible relationship that God wants to have with each and every one of us. I pray that we will be consumed by finding God and our world will be changed forever because of those small moments when we stopped to breathe life in and listened to God.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Creative Barriers Part 2 - Tyranny of the Urgent

Many times I have found a creative barrier simply due to lack of time. It's tough to think "outside the box" when you're crammed smack dab in the middle of it. That's what I've fondly labeled the "tyranny of the urgent." Tyranny of the urgent means that what gets done is what's pressing at the time - no time for creativity; only time for action.

Seth Godin nails it in this post. I encourage you to take 60 seconds to read it. Here's my favorite quote:

Add up enough urgencies and you don't get a fire, you get a career. A career putting out fires never leads to the goal you had in mind all along.

I guess the trick is to make the long term items even more urgent than today's emergencies.

Sometimes creativity turns into an emergency. But even the worst of emergencies still needs a doctor and time to heal.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Creative Barriers

My wife sent me this link yesterday.

While I consider myself an eternal optimist, there are days when I feel like my creativity is non-existent. That's not a good thing if your job depends on it!

I love the viewpoint brought out in the article - sometimes we need to be drained creatively. There are many times that God wants us at the bottom to remind us how good we have it at the top (not to mention all the time in between). It's in those times that our creativity is renewed. The amazing thing is that we surpass the barriers that restricted us in the first place - barriers that would never have been broken otherwise.

I'll be blogging about creative strategies and what has worked for me in the past and present.

As for the future, what inspires you? What raises your creativity level?

Let's get the discussion rolling...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Open Up and Say "Ahhhh...."

Music to my ears:

"IBM Thursday disclosed that 100 of its researchers are giving Apple Macintosh computers a go to find out whether they are a strong option for use in the workplace."
Full article here.

Somebody give me a shout out if you're a Mac user...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Catalyst Is LIVE!

The Catalyst Website is now live! Stop whatever you're doing and go check out this site. If there is one conference I would recommend (and there are lots of GREAT ones) - this would be it.

Go. Now.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Does God Speak Through Music? interesting thing happened this afternoon.

Our youngest daughter, Emilee, was scheduled for Kindergarten screening today. A most important day in the life of any five year old. She was pumped, and I have to admit, I was excited for her as she is ready to enter another chapter in her book of life.

Everything sounds normal, right?

They changed the venue this year for the screenings, moving them to a local church (I won't mention any names, except to say it wasn't Meadow Heights). Everything was going smoothly - Emilee was with someone going over her motor skills, verbal skills and the like (which, I might add as a proud father, she scored extremely well on!) while her mother and I were sitting by ourselves at a round table filling out an endless supply of paperwork.

Here's where things get interesting...

In the "multi-purpose" room in this church were several school employees, a few parents with their kids and my wife and I. I didn't really notice at first, but they had some music playing through the overhead speakers in the ceiling (you know, those really crappy, minuscule speakers that some local chop shop must have recommended). For some reason the style of choice today was country (go figure).

Now I don't listen to any country music, but I did happen to recognize the song that started blaring over those inadequate speakers. I don't know if it was a sign from God or Satan having some fun, but Hank Williams Jr's hit song from the eighties, "Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound" soon filled the air and I had to smile (strike that, I chuckled out loud) at the irony of that particular song, in that particular place at that very particular time.

I appreciate a good laugh...

And today...

Today, I wasn't disappointed.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Faith Matters

“Whenever we let our failures, both short-term and long-term, become the determiner of God’s character or the condition of our spiritual walk, we’ll inevitably come to some wrong conclusions. Then we’ll just as certainly make some wrong decisions – the most common of which will be running from the valley, even when it’s right where God wants us to be.”

Larry Osborne, author of A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God

Faith and obedience matter. I don’t think anyone would argue with that statement. But yet we do all the time; at least within ourselves. We get caught in the trap of self-worth rather than our “God-worth.” How do you know if this is an issue in your heart?

Think about this past week. Were there any challenges in your life? How about some uncomfortable situations? Were there more successes or failures? Many of us see our worth as a direct result of our circumstances. We say things like, “If I’m in tune with God, I will be successful,” or most of the time the opposite, “Things aren’t going so well, so I must have done something to make God mad.” In short, we begin to question God’s faithfulness.

Sometimes when we’re in a valley it’s exactly where God wants us to be. Our role is not to doubt God but to persist in our faith in spite of our doubts. Instead of wasting time with a pity-party, start by doing the next right thing.

Faith and obedience matter. They always matter.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Maybes Are For Wussies

I was looking back through the first two years of posts here at Bucketology and was surprised at how different my writing was "back in the day." I realize it's natural to develop and mature over the years but in my case, I'm not sure that has happened.

I have read many authors talk about staying fresh through different mediums, but what do you do to stay creative? Los has been having weekly creative trade sessions over at his blog - a GREAT idea. Others suggest reading or walking in nature or perhaps drinking strange liquids while standing on your head. Maybe the Neti Pot qualifies as the latter?

Whatever the case may be, writing has always been an effective outlet for my brain and inner soul. That is, until recently. Part of me has felt cheated, while the other part thankful for not being consumed by blogging. In reality, neither one has been satisfied.

What's the balance? I don't have the answer. Maybe there isn't a true balance. Maybe I haven't found it yet. Maybe I haven't tried hard enough. Enough maybes. Maybes are for wussies.