Links & Quotes

Premier athletes know the value of flexibility for keeping them in the game. I think we would be wise to practice flexibility in our relationships too—this is definitely a game-changing move! Check out my weekly Monday Motivation videos on my YouTube channel

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger like, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.” —Thucydides

This week we remember Columbus Day. You probably remember the rhyme: In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Many people have thought Columbus set out to prove the world was round, but the History Channel has a mini-biography that debunks this claim.

One of my YouVersion friends (Nikki) commented a great reminder: “God can do way more with my surrender than with my striving.”

Thomas Zimmerman was an influential leader in the early days of the Assembly of God fellowship’s history. “Over a 50-year period, Thomas F. Zimmerman (1912-1991) served the Assemblies of God as pastor, district official, department leader, assistant general superintendent, and general superintendent. His leadership greatly increased the influence of the Pentecostal movement in the evangelical world, as well as in the broader American religious landscape.”

I post quality content nearly every day. If you don’t have time to read all that I share, please let me read it for you. The Craig T. Owens Audio Blog is just like this blog, except you get to hear me read my blog posts. Check it out my podcast on Spotify, Apple, and even Audible.

“The word ‘hell’ is used in the New Testament fourteen times, twelve times by Jesus Himself. It is not a myth created by dismal and angry preachers. It is a solemn warning from the Son of God who died to deliver sinners from its curse. We ignore it at great risk.” —John Piper

Christian apologist and cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace wrote, “the battleground on the abortion issue is beginning to shift, and this shift is going to cause us to rethink our approach to the debate.” Pro-life advocates need to check out Wallace’s post Justifying Homicide: The Future Battleground In The Abortion Debate.

Responsibility isn’t supposed to be fatal! Exceptional leaders accept and promote appropriate responsibility, while weak leaders play the blame game. But accepting responsibility doesn’t mean “falling on your sword”! You can check out the rest of this conversation I had with my podcast partner Greg Heeres on The Craig And Greg Show leadership podcast.

Poetry Saturday—Courage

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible.

There is a courage, a majestic thing
     That springs forth from the brow of pain, full-grown,
     Minerva-like, and dares all dangers known,
And all the threatening future yet may bring;
Crowned with the helmet of great suffering;
     Serene with that grand strength by martyrs shown,
     When at the stake they die and make no moan,
And even as the flames leap up are heard to sing:

A courage so sublime and unafraid,
     It wears its sorrows like a coat of mail;
     And Fate, the archer, passes by dismayed,
Knowing his best barbed arrows needs must fail
To pierce a soul so armored and arrayed
     That Death himself might look on it and quail. —Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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Podcast: How Leaders Overcome Their Fears

On this episode of “The Craig And Greg Show” we talk about: 

  • [0:58] Our empowerment comes from facing our fears. 
  • [1:35] How does fear paralyze a leader? 
  • [2:14] One fear leaders need to address in themselves and others: The fear of dropping the ball. 
  • [3:00] Leaders need to be aware that confidence can ebb and flow. 
  • [3:50] How we lead through fear. 
  • [4:27] Transparency in a leader empowers the team to greatness. On the other hand, blaming is a defense mechanism that disempowers the team. 
  • [5:49] Greg shares how we lead by example and with transparency. 
  • [7:25] I address the fear that blocks leaders from giving authority to others. 
  • [8:15] Greg suggests we switch our mindset from fear to learning opportunities. 
  • [9:21] I share a Little League lesson that served me well into adulthood. 
  • [10:50] How Greg and I help coach people through their fears. 
  • [11:34] What other fears to leaders face? 
  • [12:50] Creating a culture of safety helps our teammates confront their fears. 
  • [14:03] How can leaders encourage people who are trapped by their fears? 
  • [15:41] Leaders have to go first. I said, “Sometimes bravery is just going one step farther than you went before.” 
  • [16:50] Greg shares a brave moment in his adoption process. 
  • [18:18] We need to assess the gifts that others on our team possess. 
  • [19:20] Greg unpacks a great quote about bravery. 
  • [20:03] I share about the moment when I think bravery begins.

Check out this episode and subscribe on YouTube so you can watch all of the upcoming episodes. You can also listen to our podcast on Spotify and Apple.

Poetry Saturday—A Nation’s Strength

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

What makes a nation’s pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at His feet.

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly…
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

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12 Quotes From “The Art Of War”

Sun Tzu wrote in China in the fifth century BC to help military leaders hone their warcraft, but you might be surprised at the truths you can apply to your life today. Check out my full book review by clicking here. 

“Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” 

“Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory: (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. (2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. (3) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. (4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. (5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.” 

“Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” 

“The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.” 

“That general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.” 

“Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of disorder and hubbub amongst the enemy—this is the art of retaining self-possession. To be near the goal while the enemy is still far from it, to wait at ease while the enemy is toiling and struggling, to be well-fed while the enemy is famished—this is the art of husbanding one’s strength.” 

“Do not linger in dangerously isolated positions. … If, on the other hand, in the midst of difficulties we are always ready to seize an advantage, we may extricate ourselves from misfortune.” 

“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable. There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general: (1) Recklessness, which leads to destruction; (2) cowardice, which leads to capture; (3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults; (4) a delicacy of honor which is sensitive to shame; (5) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.” 

He who exercises no forethought but makes light of his opponents is sure to be captured by them.” 

“Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death. … If, however, you are indulgent, but unable to make your authority felt; kind-hearted, but unable to enforce your commands; and incapable, moreover, of quelling disorder: then your soldiers must be likened to spoilt children; they are useless for any practical purpose.” 

“Carefully study the well-being of your men, and do not overtax them. Concentrate your energy and hoard your strength.” 

“Keep your army continually on the move.”

Teddy Roosevelt On Character

Theodore Roosevelt was well aware that talent alone wasn’t enough to sustain an individual, a family, or a nation. Talent and perseverance, he preached, must be supported by character. In a series of speeches bundled together in the book The Strenuous Life, TR had much to say about character development and integrity. You can check out my review of The Strenuous Life by clicking here. 

“It is a good thing to have a keen, fine intellectual development in a nation, to produce orators, artists, successful business men; but it is an infinitely greater thing to have those solid qualities which we group together under the name of character—sobriety, steadfastness, the sense of obligation toward one’s neighbor and one’s God, hard common sense, and, combined with it, the lift of generous enthusiasm toward whatever is right. These are the qualities which go to make up true national greatness.” 

“We do not need men of unsteady brilliancy or erratic power—unbalanced men. The men we need are the men of strong, earnest, solid character—the men who possess the homely virtues, and who to these virtues add rugged courage, rugged honesty, and high resolve.” 

“The men who with ax in the forests and pick in the mountains and plow on the prairies pushed to completion the dominion of our people over the American wilderness have given the definite shape to our nation. They have shown the qualities of daring, endurance, and far-sightedness, of eager desire for victory and stubborn refusal to accept defeat, which go to make up the essential manliness of the American character. Above all, they have recognized in practical form the fundamental law of success in American life—the law of worthy work, the law of high, resolute endeavor.” 

“After all has been said and done, the chief factor in any man’s success or failure must be his own character—that is, the sum of his common sense, his courage, his virile energy and capacity.” 

 “Bodily vigor is good, and vigor of intellect is even better, but far above both is character.” 

“In the long run, in the great battle of life, no brilliancy of intellect, no perfection of bodily development, will count when weighed in the balance against that assemblage of virtues, active and passive, of moral qualities, which we group together under the name of character…. Of course this does not mean that either intellect or bodily vigor can safely be neglected. On the contrary, it means that both should be developed, and that not the least of the benefits of developing both comes from the indirect effect which this development itself has upon the character.” 

“Character is shown in peace no less than in war. As the greatest fertility of invention, the greatest perfection of armament, will not make soldiers out of cowards, so no mental training and no bodily vigor will make a nation great if it lacks the fundamental principles of honesty and moral cleanliness.” 

“Alike for the nation and the individual, the one indispensable requisite is character—character that does and dares as well as endures, character that is active in the performance of virtue no less than firm in the refusal to do aught that is vicious or degraded.” 

Be sure to check out my review of Theodore Roosevelt’s Autobiography by clicking here, and read some additional quotes from TR here and here. 

Links & Quotes

link quote

I love studying my Bible, and I have loved discovering the great work at The Overview Bible Project! They have a new free email course that will send you a weekly email with a summary of every book of the Bible. Please sign up for this course by clicking here.

“If all experienced God in the same way and returned Him an identical worship, the song of the Church triumphant would have no symphony, it would be like an orchestra in which all the instruments played the same note.” —C.S. Lewis

“God’s grace was God’s acting in Paul to make Paul work hard. So when Paul says, ‘Work out your salvation,’ he adds, ‘it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure’ (Philippines 2:13). Grace is power from God to do good things in us and for us.” —John Piper

“Society will be better off if the facts about pornography use and its consequences are widely and effectively circulated so that people from all walks of life can take account of them.” Read more in this post: Is Porn To Blame For The Declining Marriage Rate?

“‘Used to be,’ is not necessarily a mark of failure or even obsolescence. It’s more often a sign of bravery and progress. If you were brave enough to leap, who would you choose to ‘used to be’?” —Seth Godin

Brave Enough

If God asks me to give $1, I can quickly and easily say, “Yes!”

If God asks me to give $10, I say, “Okay!”

If God asks me to give $100, I say, “Um, well, if You say so.”

If God asks me to give $1000, I say, “I need to pray about this ‘faith promise.’”

If God asks me to give $10,000, I say, “As soon as You bless me, I’ll be able to do this.”

This same principle holds true for anything else:

  • Used clothing? Sure. Brand new stuff? I’m not so sure.
  • Volunteer an hour? Okay! Make a commitment for an hour every week? Let me pray about it.
  • Pray for someone? No problem. Add them to my daily prayer list? Whoa!
  • Support missionaries? Yes! Become a missionary? Well….

It’s easy to obey when we think the stakes are low. But the more “zeroes” that get added to the amount, the higher the stakes seem. Am I brave enough to obey then?

This is what tripped up Saul, Israel’s first king. He was supposed to devote everything from the defeated Amalekites to God. “Devote” means a complete and irrevocable giving to God. When the stakes were low, he obeyed, but when he perceived the stakes being too high, he lost the courage to follow through:

Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality. (1 Samuel 15:9 NLT)

He captured Agag, king of Amalek, alive. Everyone else was killed under the terms of the holy ban. Saul and the army made an exception for Agag, and for the choice sheep and cattle. They didn’t include them under the terms of the holy ban. But all the rest, which nobody wanted anyway, they destroyed as decreed by the holy ban. (1 Samuel 15:9, The Message)

Ironically, because Saul held on to what he thought was valuable, he lost something invaluable: a close relationship with God. His cowardice led to disobedience, and his disobedience led to his ultimate collapse.

I pray that I’m brave enough to obey just as quickly when the stakes are higher as I do when the stakes are lower.

What about you? Are you brave enough?

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