Poetry Saturday—If

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son! —Rudyard Kipling

11 Quotes From John Maxwell In “Success 101”

Susscess 101John Maxwell’s 101-series of books are a great introduction to some of his other more in-depth books. As I like to explain it, the 101-level introduces you to the topic, and the 301- and 401-level classes/books take you deeper.

I am in the process of reading The Complete 101 Collection (I’ll post my review of this shortly). In the meantime, here are some quotes from Success 101 which I found thought-provoking.

“You cannot achieve what you have not defined. The problem for most people who want to be successful is not that they can’t achieve success. The main obstacle for them is that they misunderstand success.”

“What does it take to be a success? Two things are required: The right picture of success and the right principles for getting there.”

“Success is a journey rather than a destination. No matter how long you live or what you decide to do in your life, you will never exhaust your capacity to grow toward your potential or run out of opportunities to help others.” 

“Without a dream, we may struggle to see potential in ourselves because we don’t look beyond our current circumstances. But with a dream, we begin to see ourselves in a new light, as having greater potential and being capable of stretching and growing to reach it.”

“The bottom line in managing your emotions is that you should put others—not yourself—first in how you handle and process them. Whether you delay or display your emotions should not be for your own gratification. You should ask yourself, What does the team need? not, What will make me feel better?

“The greatest enemy of good thinking is busyness.”

“Successful people face the danger of contentment with the status quo. After all, if a successful person already possesses influence and has achieved a level of respect, why should he keep growing? The answer is simple: your growth determines who you are; who you are determines who you attract; who you attract determines the success of your organization. If you want to grow your organization, you have to remain teachable.”

“Few things gain the appreciation of a top leader more quickly than an employee with a whatever-it-takes attitude. That is what successful people must have. They must be willing and able to think outside of their job description, to be willing to tackle the kinds of jobs that others are too proud or too frightened to take on. These things are what often elevate successful people above their peers.”

“Good leaders…find a way to succeed with people who are hard to work with.” 

“Successful people admit faults but never make excuses.”

“If you are successful where you are, I believe you will be given an opportunity to succeed at a higher level. … Leadership is a journey that starts where you are, not where you want to be.”

Poetry Saturday―Seize This Very Minute

Johann Wolfgang von GoetheLose this day loitering, ’twill be the same story
Tomorrow, and the rest more dilatory.
Thus indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost tormenting over days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it;
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated;
Begin, and then the work will be completed. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Poetry Saturday―Don’t You?

Edmund Vance CookeWhen the plan which I have, to grow suddenly rich
Grows weary of leg and drops into the ditch,
And scheme follows scheme
Like the web of a dream
To glamour and glimmer and shimmer and seem,…
Only seem;
And then, when the world looks unfadably blue,
If my rival sails by
With his head in the sky,
And sings “How is business?” Why, what do I do?
Well, I claim that I aim to be honest and true,
But I sometimes lie. Don’t you?

When something at home is decidedly wrong,
When somebody sings a false note in the song,
Too low or too high,
And, you hardly know why,
But it wrangles and jangles and runs all awry,…
Aye, awry!
And then, at the moment when things are askew,
Some cousin sails in
With a face all a-grin,
And a “Do I intrude? Oh, I see that I do!”
Well, then, though I aim to be honest and true,
Still I sometimes lie. Don’t you?

When a man whom I need has some foible or fad,
Not very commendable, not very bad;
Perhaps it’s his daughter,
And some one has taught her
To daub up an “oil” or to streak up a “water”!
And her grass is green green and her sky is blue blue,
But her father, with pride,
In a stagey aside
Asks my “candid opinion.” Then what do I do?
Well, I claim that I aim to be honest and true,
But I sometimes lie. Don’t you? —Edmund Vance Cooke

Poetry Saturday―I Will Do More

William Arthur WardI will do more than belong―I will participate.
I will do more than care―I will help.
I will do more than believe―I will practice.
I will do more than be fair―I will be kind.
I will do more than forgive―I will forget.
I will do more than dream―I will work.
I will do more than teach―I will inspire.
I will do more than earn―I will enrich.
I will do more than give―I will serve.
I will do more than live―I will grow.
I will do more than suffer―I will triumph. ―William Arthur Ward

Links & Quotes

link quote

Some good reading from today…

“Spread love everywhere you go; first of all in your house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” —Mother Teresa

“Many people don’t achieve their dream because it’s out of reach, but because they quit.” —John Maxwell

Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone. They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very centre of reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you: if you are not, you will remain dry.” —C.S. Lewis

Want some free music from U2? They released a new album free on iTunes.

More reasons to be skeptical of so-called “global warming” alarmists.

Get Up And Do

I was reading an article posted on WebMD about how much damage we can do to our hearts by spending more time in front of the TV or computer than we do exercising. You’re probably thinking, “Well, duh!, isn’t that obvious?!” It should be, and yet we still have a tendency to just sit there. (By the way, you can read the article here.)

One quote from this article especially stood out to me:

“It’s not even about the exercise. It’s about not sitting,” says Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “I think that sort of points us in a little different direction. In order for you not to cause harm to yourself, you really need to focus on getting up and moving.”

This reminds me of Joseph (Mary’s husband) in the Bible. God seemed to speak to him quite often in dreams. Instead of just sitting there contemplating the vision, there’s a phrase that shows up after every vision…

“Joseph got up and did.”

Has God given you a vision for your life? If so, just sitting there may do damage to your heart. So follow Joseph’s example and Get up and do!

O Me Of Little Faith

Last night I took some of my youth group leaders to a Speed The Light banquet. For those of you who don’t know, STL is missions giving from youth, with the funds going to help missionaries speed the light of the Gospel. Many times STL funds go for items like 4-wheel-drive vehicles, sound systems, video production equipment, and the like.

Understand that up until a month or so ago our group had never really been exposed to STL. Our grand total to STL last year was $0. That’s right, nothing.

So I took them to this banquet to help them get a better understanding of what STL is. I’m a huge fan, so I wanted them to catch the vision for STL too.

Knowing that we were going to be asked to make a faith promise for 2010, I had a dollar figure in mind. I figured this amount would be doable, but a stretch, for a youth group that hadn’t given anything to STL yet.

Our District Youth Director Jeff Kennedy asked us to huddle as a team to talk about our faith promise amount. He said, “Remember: if it’s truly a faith promise, your amount will make you sweat.”

So I asked my team, “What amount do you think we can do?” And they totally blew me away! They came up with an amount three times LARGER than I had been thinking.

I joyfully wrote in that larger amount on our faith promise card. As I did, I heard the Holy Spirit chide me a bit, “O you of little faith.”

Thanks, team, for dreaming big—bigger than me. Thanks for having such big faith. Thanks for stretching my faith too.

What A Dream!

I have just been listening to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s incredible I Have A Dream speech. If ever there was a man who could cast a compelling vision, it was Dr. King. Look at his pattern—

  • He had a noble cause.
  • He stated the problem first: “One hundred years later” there is still racial injustice.
  • He articulated the righteousness of the pursuit of justice and equality.
  • He set the criteria: “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters.”
  • He encouraged his audience to press on.
  • He brought his vision to a dramatic conclusion with the portable and memorable rally cry: “I HAVE A DREAM!

Powerful! Watch it again for yourself…

A Silly Dream World Or The Real Deal?

“What is ‘real’? How do you define ‘real’? If real is what you can feel, smell, taste, and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain. … Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?” —“Morpheus” in The Matrix

We are created in God’s image. God is eternal and unrestricted, yet we are contained in finite bodies and constrained to the time-space dimension of our universe. That hardly seems “real.” Yet our souls—the “real” part of us—were made to be timeless and unbound. It seems like a dream, and yet sounds real.

To help humanity navigate the dream-real state in which we find ourselves, God gave us incredible insights into His Word: the Bible. The answers to our dream-real questions are there if we’re willing to search for them.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “What we see when we think we are looking into the depths of Scripture may sometimes be only the reflection of our own silly faces.” The Apostle James talks about God’s Word as a mirror in his letter to the church (1:22-25). In this, I see three people.

(1) One who never looks in the mirror; one who simply accepts what’s presented to him. Again “Morpheus” comes close: “You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up.” James says this is a man who attends church regularly, but never applies what he hears. In fact, he probably never even hears anything other than what he thinks the pastor said. That man is silly, shallow, and stunted in his spiritual growth (if there is even any growth at all!).

(2) One who looks in the mirror but doesn’t do anything about what he sees. He hears the Word of God at church and perhaps even reads his Bible often at home; he knows all the stories and how everything should be. But he, too, never makes any changes in his spiritual “appearance.” He is content with where he is. If he ever feels the pull of desire that there could be more real to his dream-real world, he quickly explains it away. He is at the same spiritual maturity level today as he was years ago.

(3) One who looks into the mirror, recognizes that he is silly-looking, and then does something about it. It’s hard work and often this man feels like he’s not growing because he continues to see his silly face reflected back to him. As Albert Einstein noted, “As a sphere of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness around it.”

James says only this third man has been freed from his dream-real constraints and is called blessed by God. Only he is beginning to understand how to make the dream real.

In which category are you? Are you brave enough to look into the depths of God’s Word and see your silly face? Are you willing to make the changes the Bible shows you to free your soul?

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