Finding A Gem Among Stones

1 Aug

Growing up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Montana, it seemed as though we were always doing “outdoor” things. One of our activities was to go out to the range and look for Indian artifacts. We often found arrowheads in fields. We also looked for crystals and other stones that we could polish up and add to our collection. We went through a lot of plain ‘ole rocks before we found an arrowhead or a crystal but once we found it, it made the tedious search worth it.

Hiring a good employee is a lot like looking for a prize in a pile of stones. You have to go through a lot of people until you find that one person that consistently goes above and beyond what is asked of them. Once you have found that person, it is imperative that you treat them well.

  1. Compensate them well. A good employee or business partner is worth his/her weight in gold. Compensate them accordingly or they will take their skills elsewhere.
  2. Give them opportunities to grow. A person who consistently goes above and beyond what is asked is also the person that will appreciate opportunities to grow. Volunteer to pay for continuing education. Help them develop a specialized skill.
  3. Give them more responsibility. As they demonstrate that they are dependable and hard working, give them more responsibility. Solicit their opinion on a project.
  4. Practice random acts of kindness. Nothing promotes loyalty more than an employer that shows that they respect and appreciate the hard work of their employees. Treat them to something special. One example I know of was an employee had put in numerous hours of overtime to meet a deadline. The project was successful and the owner of the company gave the employee a long weekend at a resort (all paid for) for him and his family. Another employer I know of allowed one of his top programmers work from the hospital where his wife was on bed rest prior to the arrival of their triplet daughters.

Loyalty goes both ways. It’s the golden rule – Treat your employees as you would be like to be treated!

The Wave

6 Jul

Sometimes, I find things that are so cool, I just want to share them. Click on the link below. It should open a new page with a picture on it. Let me know what you think….

Click Here!!!

After you look at it, then leave me a comment answering this question:

Is the picture moving or not?


To Doubt or Believe

25 Apr

This has been a rough year and the troubles have all come to a head the last few weeks. Business isn’t going good. I feel like I’m falling without anything to hang on to. For the last year and a half, I have thought that although things were rough, God knew what He was doing and that He would provide for me and my family as long as I was being faithful to him. Many things have happened the past year and a half that had convinced me that I was doing His will. I was reaching more and more people through the website, my role in church was expanded. I was convinced that I was walking in the center of His will. Even though I was experiencing difficult trials, I knew that He would provide for my family because He promised he would.

Then April 1 arrived. I didn’t have the money to cover bills. God had always provided the money to pay the bills. Now here I had to borrow money just to cover bills. Where was God? Why hadn’t he provided? What kind of a witness is someone who has to borrow just to feed his family? It’s almost a month later and there isn’t much left to borrow.

That is when doubt entered into my life. For years I had believed and taught a faith that surpasses human understanding. Now, I feel like a fool. Instead of looking for a job months ago, I thought that God would answer my prayer for new clients. In fact, without going into the details, I was convinced that God wanted me to stay in the consulting business instead of looking for full time work. Now I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. I don’t even know the questions anymore.

I just read that doubt is the hesitation that sits between faith and unbelief leaning toward the latter. I can totally relate. So, here I am teetering between faith and unbelief. As much as I want to believe, it just doesn’t feel genuine. Inside, there is just so much doubt.

So, what do I do? I have to put on my intellectual hat. I just wrote in a devotional that an old Greek axiom was “knowledge of ignorance is the beginning of knowledge.” I think that I may change that to my present situation: “Knowledge of unbelief is the beginning of faith”. What that says to me is that you have to have faith if you realize that you have unbelief or, to say it another way, you can’t have unbelief without faith.

So, that means that I have to fight through this. I’m going to spend a lot of time praying. It’s going to be hard since lately, my prayers have been a lot of yelling at God. I don’t know what to say so I ask the Holy Spirit to pray for me. I also have to ask you to pray for me. I just want work that will support my family. I don’t need material success. I just want to work.

Hello NBC. Did I Miss Your Call?

31 Jan

Well, Tuesday has come and gone and NBC must have lost my phone number! 😀

I didn’t really expect to get a call but I think it would have been fun to continue in the process.

So, I have a couple of options. They will accept video applications until mid-February so I told Patti that I would make a video and send it. I also found out that the YMCA in Blair has a weight loss program/contest kind of like The Biggest Loser. You sign up and they put you on a team. A trainer will help you plan your work outs and help you with a diet plan. They will also monitor your progress. At the end of a certain amount of time, the team with the most weight loss gets some sort of prize. I guess they expect you to work out at least six days per week so they are pretty serious about it. We know a couple of people who are doing it now and they like it. It cost $50 so I better be serious about it.

One of the questions the casting directors asked us was what slogan we would put on our t-shirt for the show. I said that I would put “I want to ride a roller coaster”. There is a story about that. Last summer I took my kids to an amusement park and it was Sarah’s first year where she was big enough to ride some of the big roller coasters. I was excited to ride with her. After standing in line for a while, we finally got to get on the coaster. I was too big for the safety harness to lock into place so I couldn’t go. Sarah was too little to go by herself so we both had to get off without getting to experience the ride. I was embarrassed as was Sarah. I told myself that I couldn’t allow that to happen next summer.

So, I now ask you for your prayers. Not that I’ll lose the weight. I need your prayers and support to keep me focused and dedicated. It’s too easy to get discouraged and too hard to stay motivated. That is where I need the most help.

Shoot – if I can stand in the cold rain for six hours just to talk to a casting director for 5 minutes, I should be able to lose this weight! Right? Am I going to blog my progress? Sure – why not! Stay tuned!

The “Why” Of The DIP Shtick

28 Sep

Tonight I was asked to share the testimony of my ministry – which is essentially, this website. I was honored and I know that God spoke through me because I can’t really remember what I said. I did write down a few ideas before tonight that I wanted to share with the group and once I returned home, the thought just leaked out onto this website!

This whole site began with the realization that I wanted to do something to serve God. The little book “The Prayer of Jabez” was recommended to me to read. I read it in one sitting and a few points really spoke to me and I want to share them with you here:

  1. I pray each morning asking God to bless me, A LOT! To bless in the biblical sense means to ask for or to impart supernatural favor. When we ask for God’s blessing, we’re not asking for more of what we could get for ourselves. We’re crying out for the wonderful, unlimited goodness that only God has the power to know about or give us. This kind of richness is what the writer was referring to in Proverbs: ‘the Lord’s blessing is our greatest wealth; all our work adds nothing to it.” (Proverbs 10:22)
  2. By asking for God’s blessing, God’s power to accomplish great things suddenly finds no obstruction in us.
  3. I pray for God to give me more influence, more responsibility, and more opportunity to make a mark for God. I pray that God will expand my opportunities and my impact in such a way that I touch more lives for His glory. In short – Let me do more for Him!
  4. Our God specializes in working through normal people who believe in a supernormal God who will do His work through them.

God has blessed this website. It started out with sending emails to the 5 people in my class and today, this website averages about 400 unique visitors per day. It is my prayer that those who read this will receive the same blessing I receive by writing it!

Drowning in self pity? We often tend to focus on our current situation and take our eye off the ultimate prize. Read Hebrews 11 for some motivation!

One more thought. I am amazed at the website stats. I don’t know who is visiting my site. My curiosity overwhelms me. If you read this site but don’t receive the postings by email, could you please drop me an email or leave a comment with your City, State so I have some idea of where all of these visitors come from? I promise not to flood your mailbox with SPAM!

Eulogy for A Song About Cartoons

26 Sep

Almost every day when I take my daughter to school the song “Cartoons” by Chris Rice is playing on KLOVE. This is a fun song and Sarah really likes it. For the longest time, we never knew who sang it. Finally, today I did a Google search to find out who sang the song. My search came up with Chris Rice and a link to his website. On his website, he published an article entitled “Eulogy For A Song About Cartoons”, about why he has decided to stop performing this song live. I have to admit, when I read the article, I was left saying “HUH?”.

It seems as if this song has been kind of controversial! A lot of people LOVE it. It has been (and probably still is) one of the most requested songs on Christian radio. Others rebuff his “cartoon praise” theology. He says in his article that it was written as a satire and that nobody got it. Everyone took it as legit!

I like the song. It is a fun song to sing. The point of the song is correct. It isn’t for cartoons to praise God, that is what we were made to do! I also take issue with those who say it is bad theology! If we were created to praise God, then anything we do should be to praise God! If you are a cartoon artist, then drawing a cartoon praising God could be your way of praising God. In the Bible, Paul reminds us in Colossians 3:23 that in EVERYTHING we do, we should do it as we are doing it for the Lord! That says to me that everything we do has a spiritual context.

Are you a part-time Christian or a full-time Christian? Think about it before you answer.

While you think, I’ll just sing “Yabba-dabba-do-lu-yah!”

Common Perceptions about the Church

22 Sep

Dan Kimball just posted a list of perceptions about the church he has heard from mainly 20-somethings who either dropped out of the church, or grew up outside of the church and want nothing to do with church. Read these, and then leave Dan some feedback.

One thing that I think is important is that as I read the list, I keep saying to myself, “Why in the world would they think that?” Then I realize that today, that is how Christianity is portrayed in the pop culture media. The perceptions have been cultivated over time and there will always be “examples” to hang their hats on. The only way to reach these people is to develope personal, intentional relationships with them. The old addage stands true – “They won’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”.

Faith or Fundraising

8 Sep

And the next time you consider playing the lottery, remember that God doesn’t need money to do a great work. If your ministry is truly of God, and you remain faithful until the end, you too will turn your faith into an Act of God.

I just received the latest “call to arms” email from Tom Fortson, president of Promise Keepers. It seems that they are looking at a $3 million dollar shortfall this year – “due in part to an unexpected drop in donations these past few months”. It was a nice fundraising letter, addressed directly to me and using my name a few places here and there to make it seem more personal. It even came from the “desk of Tom Fortson” which means that I must be really important!

I also get almost daily mailings (it seems) from Candice Gregory, president of Open Door Mission here in Omaha. Almost every mailing – very nicely done – requests that I send more money. You see, I made a sizable gift to them last fall and now they think they found a piggy bank.

I spent $80 to go to the Promise Keepers event in Omaha this year. According to the mailing, they served 147,000 men in 12 conferences this year. That means that even at the $80 discount rate, they raised $11,760,000 in ticket sales alone. That doesn’t count sales of CD’s, DVD’s, T-Shirts, books etc. That brings it almost over $1 million per conference. I was at the Omaha conference and I don’t think they spent $1 million putting on that event. I know the box lunch wasn’t worth it! 🙂 So, why do they still need to raise more money? Why do they have to spend money on these endless mailings to beg for more money. I wonder what their fundraising budget is? Do you suppose that they spent $3 million on fundraising?

How about our local homeless shelter. I get too many mailings now from them – and these are not cheap marketing pieces. These cost a lot of money. I would guess that they have spent at least $300 trying to get me to donate more money. I am sure that had I given $100 they would have sent me the same mailings. Does that make sense?

John Lindsay produces a new show in Branson, MO called “Act of God”. I had corresponded with him via email and had an opportunity to talk to him after watching a performance. I mentioned to him that I wished I would win the lottery so I could finance productions like his. He told me that he had just written an article about how Act of God came to be. He suggested I read it. The first paragraph says it all.

The lottery is a unique way to gage a culture’s level of faith in God. The number of people attending their favorite lottery retailer would likely rival local church or synagogue attendance. The lottery isn’t evil, but it is clearly a symptom of a problem, as well as an indication of our spiritual direction. Either that or I overlooked the Bible character that was blessed for waiting until they came into money before starting their ministry. [continued…Faith as an Act of God]

I think this applies not only to lotteries but also fundraising. Whether we are trying to raise money to perpetuate organizations like Promise Keepers or Open Door Mission, or trying to build a new church building – we need to stop and think – Faith or Fundraising.

I am involved in an ongoing discussion about the appropriate use of money by Christian organizations. Is it appropriate to utilize debt in a building campaign?[Church Debt: Is It Biblical?] Is it discerning to build big fancy church buildings that will be only used on Sundays? How much overhead is too much overhead? What is the churches role in caring for the poor, sick, homeless, widowed? Are we failing that role in America? Some home church advocates suggest that we don’t have buildings. Some even suggest that churches are embezelling God’s money.

I am not an expert. I don’t have some magical solution to the problems of money and the church. I don’t even have a firm answer on church debt. I do know one thing – I am getting tired of receiving mail from Christian organizations asking me to send them more money. If, as the Promise Keeper letter states, these organizations “believe our purpose and calling is from the Lord Himself”, then wouldn’t the Lord Himself also make sure they had the necessary resources to run the organization?

As Dan Rather once (should have) said – “Faith”.

UPDATE: I just found this site on the internet that rates charitable organizations. I looked up PK and found that in 2004 they made over $24 million and spend a little over $3 million on fundraising. I assume that their expenditures this year are similar to last years which, if I’m not mistaken is the amount they say they are short this year. Hmmmmm

Check your favorite charity at the Charity Navigator