Encouragement, Leadership, Prayer, Training

The Value of a Sabbatical

images-3Taking a sabbatical is not a new concept. The word Sabbath taken from the Old Testament of the Bible simply means rest. It seems that God understood the concept of cessation and not just for man, but He also included the fields and the animals. (See Leviticus 25:3-4 and Exodus 23:12) Rest is something we are all familiar with, but an extended period of rest (beyond the typical one week to ten-day vacation) to most is thought to be somewhat unreasonable. Cindy Kirschner Goodman in her McClatchy Tribune article on sabbaticals said that, “Among the Fortune 100 Best Places to Work, 22 companies boast of offering fully paid sabbaticals.” She went on to write, “Companies find if they don’t do something, their workers will burn out and leave, or worse burn out and stay.”

Charles Spurgeon once said, “Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength… It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.” In my lifetime I have had the privilege of experiencing three sabbatical periods. Each one was unique within itself, but without fail God spoke to me significantly. There is something about detaching and refocusing that allows one to be sharper in the spirit and allows for growth. Perhaps the secret is that a sabbatical is not an extended vacation or a time to pursue a degree, but it is a time set aside for prayer, reflection, listening, and counsel for a healthier future. On that note, I just finished a book titled, The Value of a Sabbatical, Refocusing Your Life for a Healthy Future and I am totally excited about helping others through God’s concept of a Sabbath rest.

Encouragement, Prayer

That Quiet, But Clear Inner Voice

images-2Nicky road dirt bike and so did I. One weekend I found myself with little to do and a very clear voice inside of me saying, “Call Nicky and ask him if he wants to go riding.” I hardly knew the kid; he was my mechanics son. I might have only ever exchanged a few brief paragraphs with him, but still that inner nudge was present. Why would he ride with me I questioned? I dismissed the thought as a bit far-fetched, maybe even ridiculous and went off riding in the beautiful Pennsylvania mountains by myself.

Monday morning came with some very disturbing news that I will never forget. Nicky was driving home late Sunday night after a date with his girlfriend. It was a cold and slippery fall night to drive back up the dark mountainside. Nicky was driving too fast for conditions, rolled his truck down the side of the mountain and was thrown from the vehicle. I know I missed an opportunity that God was attempting to give to me and I have regretted it ever since.

At Nicky’s funeral I asked God’s forgiveness… and, I apologized to Nicky.

Encouragement, Prayer

Listening to God, What’s the Potential II

Did you know that the invention of the colored paper clip made far more money than the plain old metal one? It is the improvement on an existing invention that seems to have a larger impact. The bow has been around for many centuries. In more recent years, we have seen a huge improvement on the speed an arrow can travel through the use of the compound bow. Still even more recent was the invention of the solo-cam compound bow. The inventor, Matt McPherson, first started producing this bow in 1992. It was the only bow with a single-cam technology. Matt, of the Mathews Bow Company states, “I can truly say that I have seen the hand of God in everything that has happened in our business…somehow, God has given me the gift to see the finished product in my mind and avoid a lot of steps in between.”images

In listening to God, Matt states that he received a “heavenly download” for an invention. Once again, that invention was an improvement on something that already exists. These persons did not settle for, “It’s good enough as it is.” They saw a greater potential. Of course it comes with risk, but isn’t that true of the important things in life? I Kings four verses 29-34 describe the wisdom of Solomon as “measureless as the sand on the seashore.” It says that he was wiser than any other man and his fame spread to all surrounding nations. He spoke 3,000 Proverbs and wrote over 1,000 songs. He described plant life and taught about animals, birds, reptiles and fish. All the kings of the world knew of Solomon’s wisdom. Where did he receive that wisdom? Verse one states, “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight…” Are you believing for greater insight and understanding? Ask God, there just might be a heavenly download awaiting you.

Encouragement, Leadership, Prayer

Listening to God, What’s the Potential?

images-11George Washington Carver was born in 1864, the son of illiterate slaves who were owned by a white couple with the surname of Carver. Because of his “Aunt Susan,” Mrs. Carver, he went to Simpson College and Iowa’s agricultural college. He eventually began teaching agriculture at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama after being invited there by Booker T. Washington in 1896. His research centered on introducing soil-enriching crops like peanuts and sweet potatoes to farmers. Carver accepted Christ when he was ten years old and read the Bible constantly. He taught and believed that nature was one way by which God spoke to man. He emphatically believed that his discoveries and his success were from communing with His heavenly Father.images-12

Imagine what God could reveal to you and I when we take the time to listen and commune with Him. The prophet Daniel recorded that while praying, the angel Gabriel came to him. Gabriel told Daniel that he had come, “…to give [him] insight and understanding.” (Daniel 9:22) What could we accomplish with heavenly wisdom and insight? What is the potential? At the very least, let’s start thinking in terms of expectancy. Perhaps we need to position ourselves for the “words” forthcoming and be ready to write them down. There are songs to be sung, papers to be presented, inventions to be created, businesses to begin, books to be written and wisdom to be spoken as we listen and receive from our heavenly Father. I am convinced that George Washington Carver was not the last person on earth to hear from God.

Encouragement, Leadership, Uncategorized

A Struggle of Leadership

Many persons are under the impression their leaders do not struggle with everyday life temptations as they themselves do. Somehow, they have projected in their minds, that leaders have risen above the ability to miss the mark. Sadly then, these same leaders can begin to think similar thoughts which can eventually lead to a “pedestal” mentality.   Here’s a key for each and every leader out there: to admit that you as a leader struggle is to admit that you are actually human…is to admit that you do not have it all together. I John 1:8 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” As a leader, do you walk in any kind of self-deception? Believe me, it’s a fair questions to ask yourself and to expect Holy Spirit to reveal an answer.

images-10Leaders are forgiven persons, but not perfect. You do not need to pretend that your private world is perfect. Recognize your capacity for failure, but also recognize failure is not the problem; it’s what we do with failure. Failure can actually bring you to the end of the performance lie; give yourself permission to fail. Then, allow the failure to launch you into a path of personal healing. Embrace the place you are, while at the same time remembering God is taking you somewhere new in your leadership capacity.