Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Superbowl Sunday & Human Trafficking

As many are enjoying wings, pizza and routing for their football team, FREE International will be working in the Indy area to stop the efforts of Sex Trafficking and prostitution. They, along with 100's of volunteers, and the Attorney Generals are working hard for the victims who do not have a voice. Join us in supporting this Gospel worthy cause.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Friday, January 20, 2012

Asking Powerful Questions?

With a house full of kids, there is no shortage on the downpour of questions each day.  However, I've noticed that they often ask the question, but have no real interest in the answer.  Perhaps my answers are too long, or too boring... OF COURSE, my kids are also not too impressed with most of my questions:  Is your homework done? Did your make your bed?  What did you learn at school today?

What have I learned?  The RIGHT question matters.

I've learned over the last few years about the benefits of powerful questions.  These types of questions are not leading or manipulative, but help bring clarity and direction.  Powerful questions keep us from the virus of advise giving, and believes in the potential of the other person.

However, there is an ART of asking the RIGHT QUESTIONS.

1.  Observe:  Being able to ask good questions, involves the ability to observe person's life within context.  Too often we are obsessed with the immediate, and therefore never talk about anything truly important.  Keen observation leads to powerful questions!
2.  Listen:  Turn off the flow of words and truly listen.  Not half heartedly, but truly listen with the intent to hear.  It is amazing we miss because we haven't worked hard enough at listening.  Focused listening will improve your performance at work, in your marriage, with friends and with your children.  Good listening is by no means passive, in fact, it is draining.  Listening is extremely active.
3.  Wait:  Relationships are built on trust, and trust is the basis for honest questions and answers.  Infact, the level of honesty is in direct correlation to the level of trust. This can't be rushed.  Wait for trust to develop. Waiting also involves the correct time to ask the questions.  Growing up my mom knew us kids would talk at night because we didn't want to go to sleep.  Take advantage of these times, that are often inconvenient to you.
4.  Follow:  I've learned that just because I have an answer (my perceived answer), the person I'm talking to might not be asking that question right now.  The right words at the wrong time are always wasted.  Instead, follow where they are leading in the conversation.  You will hear key words or phrases that will reveal their fears, hopes, dream, frustrations, etc...  Although you lead with a question, you follow where they lead. 
5. Refrain:  It is always tempted to ask questions out of inquiry.  It is valuable to ask yourself, "Why am I asking this question?"  Is it for your benefit (cause we are all a bit nosy) or are you asking the question for their benefit.  Powerful questions only emerge as we are acting in the best interest of the other person.
6.  Focus:  Powerful questions are rarely if ever general questions.  What happened at school today?, is an example of a general question.   It doesn't focus on a certain subject or group of friends, nor does it bring clarity to my children.  A question my kids love to answer is "Who did you play with at recess today?"  Since this is 1 or 2 word answer, it must be followed up with an open ended question.  For instance, "How did you spend your time at recess?"  It is amazing where my kids take me in review of their day when we have this type of discussion.  If you need some help with this, I thought that this is a good link on asking Open Ended Questions.

Finally, I thought it would be helpful to give examples of what powerful questions:
  1. What’s are the 2 most important areas of your life right now?  
  2. How did you come to that conclusion?
  3. How are you investing in these areas of priority?
  4. What projects or goals are you working on at the moment?
  5. What challenges are you struggling with at the moment?
  6. How can you word that goal more specifically?
  7. How can you measure that goal?
  8. How would you describe your relationships?
  9. What areas of your relationship are you most proud?
  10. If you could add "something" to your relationship, what would be most helpful?
  11. Is there anything you forgot to do before leaving for school?  (making the bed always comes up)
  12. What do you see in your future?
As I have learned to ask better questions, I've also learned to ask myself powerful questions.  It has helped me to guide my thoughts to more productive, and in a positive direction.  The right questions lead us to the right answer.

As you evaluate your questions to others, also consider what questions you need to be asking your self.

In fact, perhaps we can help one another.  Please respond with a POWERFUL QUESTION that we may ask ourselves.  I love learning from others!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Power of Asking the Right Question

Blog taken from Michael Hyatt (http://michaelhyatt.com/the-power-of-asking-the-right-question.html)  He is one of the on-line minds I follow on a near daily basis.  I thought this post of his was worth sharing... Enjoy!
A few weeks ago, I sat down with an old friend to catch up. He lost his job about nine months ago in a recession-induced layoff and has been unable to find another job. He’s had plenty of interviews just no offers.
Businessman Asking Himself a Question - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/stevanovicigor, Image #17007805
“What’s wrong with me?” he asked. “Why won’t someone offer me a job?” He was clearly discouraged.

I am sure he wasn’t even conscious of the question he was asking. It just bubbled up from his subconscious. But it was a good example of a bad question.
Questions are powerful tools. They can ignite hope and lead to new insights. They can also destroy hope and keep us stuck in bad assumptions.
The key is to be intentional and choose our questions well.
For example, when something bad happens, you could ask:
  • Why does this always happen to me?
  • What did I do to deserve this?
  • What’s wrong with me?
As soon as we ask these questions, our brains go to work, serving up answers. It is almost automatic. The answers have a way of reinforcing the assumptions behind the question.
For example, if you ask “What’s wrong with me?” you are assuming there IS something wrong with you. Your mind immediately begins proposing possible answers.
Maybe it’s because:
  • You’re too old.
  • You’re too young.
  • You’re inexperienced.
  • You’re overqualified.
  • You’re too assertive.
  • You’re too passive.
Whatever the question, the answers reinforce the assumption and provide an excuse for why you are not getting the results you want.
But what if you ask a different question? For example, my friend could ask:
  • What could I do to make my interviews more memorable?
  • What are the two or three attributes that make me the best possible candidate for the job?
  • How can I follow up in a way that makes it easier for the prospective employer to say “yes”?
  • How could my apparent liabilities really be an asset in this situation?
These are constructive questions. They empower and create new possibilities. They lead to action. And they will produce results.
The last question is particularly interesting. How could your apparent liabilities really be an asset in this situation?
For example, if you think you are too old, that could, in fact, be a tremendous asset. You have no doubt made a lot of mistakes and have learned from them. As a result, you have better judgment.
If you think you don’t have enough experience, that too could be a great asset. You aren’t locked into the same assumptions as more experienced candidates. It is easier for you to think “outside the box” and approach problems with a fresh perspective.
Here are four ways to ask better, more empowering questions:
  1. Become conscious of the questions you are asking yourself.
  2. Evaluate these questions: Is this a good question? If not, what’s a better one?
  3. Choose the better question. Be intentional.
  4. Write down the answers that your brain serves up. Act on these insghts.
This whole process goes back to a premise I have written about many times:
If you want to change the results you are getting, you must change your thinking.
Everything—everything!—starts there.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

6 Million Matchsticks, 16 Years Later

What are your gifts?

In my paradigm, success is determined with what we do with our gifts.  When you are lowered into the ground or your ashes are spread, what is it you hope people remember about your life?

Bulgarian artist Plamen Ignatov spent 16 years of his life, re-creating the Rila Monastery from 6 million matchsticks.  He is obviously a gifted builder, but on the mini-scale.

As you take inventory of your life and gifts, don't worry if you don't see anyone else doing what you can and should be doing.  God made you unique for a reason.  Certainly, there are not many people doing what Ignatov is doing, but isn't that what makes it special!?!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reaching the Summit, Mt Kilimanjaro 2011

One year ago, me and 43 others made a summit attempt to Africa's high point, Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Ages ranging from 14-62.  It was an emotional end to 5 long days of climbing.  24 of us made to the peak, reaching 19, 330 feet.  We passed through 5 climates in 5 day, trekking from the rainforest to the artic zone. 

Today, I am meeting with 2 of those climbers to celebrate our year anniversary. Needless to say, I felt even worse that I looked.  (That's saying something).  Here is my video thought year year ago:


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Knowing your Path

My wife was 3 months pregnant, we had our 14 month old saddled into a Hiking-Backpack on my back, and it was our second time we saw the same corn field... I think.

A trail in Tanzania @ Mt. Uluguru
We were hiking a 4 mile trail in Southwest Missouri.  My wife and I wanted to "do something together", so we went hiking.  Although we had a trail map, we were having trouble accurately reading it. We knew where we wanted to end up, and thankfully, we knew how to get back where we started (that's where our car was).  The only problem, we didn't know the path!  We were stuck between a corn field and nowhere. 

It has made for a humorous story (I can tell it now as I write it off as a pregnancy blurb), but things got rather tense in the scorching Missouri heat.  However, it is not so humorous when we can't find our PATH in life.

Too often we basically know our destination (where we want to end up), but somehow get lost between point "A" and point "B".  Below are some lessons I've learned in my many different leadership roles, projects, and readings:
  1. KNOW YOUR CURRENT LOCATION: have you every tried to give directions to someone who is truly lost, and doesn't know where they are at... very difficult.  A starting point is always required for direction.  If it is your career, are you currently in your field of choice.  If a physical goal, what is your level of fitness right now.  For example, if you've never run before, participating in your first marathon in 2 months would be too quick.  When you know your current location, you can begin to take small steps toward your destination.  There is no "Pass Go" card in life.  You may also consider your strengths and weaknesses.  Both are necessary.  this will also reveal much about how God has made you, and for what purpose.
  1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK:  When you know where you're going and what you want to do, learn all you can on the subject.  What education is necessary... How much will it cost... What time commitment does it require. Read books, listen to audio, find articles, etc...  This is all part of "Counting the Cost" (Luke 14:28).
  2. FIND A GUIDE:  A group of us when on a mission's trip to Tanzania, Africa.  Our first ministry location was in the NE portion of the nation.  From the place where we were staying, was saw Mt. Uluguru.  Beautiful mountains with sharp peaks, reaching nearly 6000 ft. high.  We asked our host if people climb the mountain.  In deed they did, but he suggested we use a guide.  I'm so glad we did.  It maximized our experience, expedited our time, and saved us massive headaches.  What made our guide the perfect guide was HE HAD BE THERE BEFORE.  You and I will get to our desired destination much quicker and more effectiveness if we humbly get a guide.  I guarentee, you'll be glad you did. 
  3. BE REALISTIC: Taking the steps listed above will help you know what you're getting into.  There was a point in my early basketball career that I realized I would not be playing in the NBA.  Although it was an early dream, it just wasn't realistic.  I wasn't tall enough, nor was I athletic enough for that level.  When we know where we want to go, we have to be realistic.  However, don't sell yourself short.  I recently read about a 81 year old nun, Sister Madona Buder who completed a full Ironman event.  Talk about outside the box!!!
  4. HAVE FUN ON THE JOURNEY: This is so difficult to remember, especially during seasons where you might feel lost or are frustrated about slow or no progress.  Just remember, JOY IS NEVER FOUND IN A DESTINATION, BUT IN THE JOURNEY.  Enjoy the scenery along the way, as well as those you're walking with.  
Finally, the fact remains, we are all a work in progress.  " In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." (Prov. 16:9 ).  I continue to learn what seems like a detour, is part of the actual journey.   What have you learned about your PATHWAYS?  Please share your journey with me, I'd love to hear it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Story #14: Treasure God's Word

As a church, we continued with our Sunday series, The Story, week #14.  1 Kings 12-16 revealed the RIPPLE EFFECT of King Solomon, Rehoboam, &; Jeroboam.  Their negative decisions not only effect their lives, but negatively impact all those in their influence.

Our lives are no different.  Our decisions ( + or -) impact this and future generations.

The 3rd lesson we learned from their mistakes was Treasure God's Word.  His Word included:
  • God's Instruction
  • God's Plan
  • God's Will
  • God's Correction
  • God's Law
King David was one king who treasured God's Word as he scribed, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Ps 119:11). 

What are you "hiding" in your heart?

The Ripple Effect of your life will be determined by what's in your heart.  Treasure God's Word and you know that influence will be positive for generations to come. 

You can listen to the full message by CLICKING HERE!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Grandad Play College Footbal

If you think you're too old, or that opportunity has passed you by, take 3 minutes to watch this video.  Truly Inspiring:  A 61 year old grandpa went back to college after being laid-off from his job to be the kicker on the football team.  It is now the oldest player to score in a college football game. 

Delayed Resolutions

Haven't made any significant New Year's Resolutions yet! 

Don't worry, it's not too late.  The basis of a resolution, is making a shift in life.  These shifts do not need to be BIG changes.  Like the rudder on a ship, a small shift makes a drastic change in destination.

This year, if you're still trying to figure out what resolution to make, or have already begun to question your "big change", THINK SMALL to go big. 

It is the small changes over a long period of time that make the big difference in your life.  Know your desired destination and make the shift. 

Stay the course, you'll get there!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 In FOCUS

I have heard it said that everyone ends up somewhere, but few people end up somewhere on purpose.

This year, 2012, God has plans He has ordained for your life since the beginning of time.  Today I shared 4 actions we can take in cooperation with God's Great Plan.

1.  Trust God in Trials:  Although we may be glad to be finished with 2011 cause of the difficulties disappointments, but we can be assured that trials are a part of life.  Those trials will either take you CLOSER to Christ, or lead you AWAY from Him.  Read James 1 to discover how God uses trials to build us. 

2.  Seek God for Directions:  Proverbs 20:24 reads, "A man’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?"  Our marching orders come from our heavenly commander.  As we begin this year, literally spend time on your knees, asking God for a fresh vision for your life.  If you're anything like me, you can deal with any "HOW" when we know the "WHAT" from heaven.

3.  Believe God for Greatness:  We serve a great and awesome God who love to bless and empower His kids (US).  The psalmist, King David, wrote, " You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great." (Ps. 18:35).  Don't underestimate your God.  HE IS ABLE!  Don't believe the lies of the enemy, LET GOD LIFT YOUR LIDS

4.  Follow God in Humility:  As we believe God for greatness, we also blend humility as we follow Him in Obedience.  We "take up our cross" and follow Him.  We are not greater than our master.  Remember the words of the wisest and one of the most successful leaders Israel experienced (King Solomon), "He has no use for conceited people, but shows favor to those who are humble." (Pr 3:34)

Is there something your believe God for in 2012?  Have you set a new direction or a fresh goal for this year?   I would love to hear what is next for you.  I would love to pray with you, as well.  Please Share: