Friday, April 25, 2008

Boys, Get A Rope.

Examine the picture for a moment, and then think on these things:

Rope can be bendable, stiff, soft, brittle, strong, or weak. Rope can be stretchy, can sink or float, can burn or is fire resistant, can tangle and fray. Rope can be used for good or for bad. Rope can be used to bind or to loosen. Rope can be used to kill or to set free. Rope can be used to move objects or to restrain objects. Rope can be used to rescue or to abandon. Rope can be used to trip or to snare us. Good rope is made up of many strands. Bad rope is made up of few strands. Rope can be rugged and take a lot of punishment, but also benefits from care.

When the life of someone you care about or the security of all your worldly possessions depends on the integrity of a rope, it's better to have a strong, dependable rope that's in good shape and care, rather than relying on an old, worn, brittle, frayed rope. Take care of your rope, and it will take care of you.

I met with several of my Christian brothers last night as we were all 'tied up' discussing several issues that tend to bind us up, that 'trip' us in our Christian walk. I've heard it said before, and felt it was relevant. So I reminded the guys that when we're together, we are much stronger than we are when we're alone. When we're at work, in our office, at school, out to eat, anywhere that we can name where we are alone or away from our Christian influences, we can become tempted and be 'tripped' up so much more easily than when we're 'bound' together.

Think of our lives, our purpose, our responsibilities toward each other, and I'm reminded of our group as being like a rope. Guys, we're tied and wound up together in this Christian life. Separately, we're weak. But together, we're strong. We can handle so many things together, that would absolutely destroy us when we're apart. Take it further, and our group could be only a small portion of the larger rope. As you've already read, and seen and studied the picture, Rope is made up of many single strands of thread called yarn, which are in turn twisted together into larger strands, which are in turn twisted into larger strands called Rope. When one single strand is broken, the other strands help to carry the load. Our lives should be the same way. When we're hurting, we need to let our brothers know, so that we can help to carry the load. And together, we can pull ourselves out of any situation. Together, we can pull down any walls. Together, we can lift anyone up from out of the pit. Together, we can bind up the devil; we can tie him up to a tree. Together, we can loosen the strangle-hold of hate we have for others by learning to become soft and bendable. Together, we can pull the rocks and trees and stumbling blocks that are before us. But apart, we can do nothing.

Let's take care of what we have brothers. Let us nurture it, care for it, untangle it, straighten it, and soften it. More than that, let us add to it by tying more and more to us, so that we can continue to grow and become even stronger. Think of all the people you know who are by themselves. Let us help to save them. Let us give them the chance to make it - together.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The DISC "C" Personality Type

I learned something about myself, that I never really knew. Or maybe the thought crossed my mind, but didn't fully know or realize it. This morning, in our new Married class in church, which focuses on building better marriages by learning to become a better person, I learned a lot about myself that I didn't know. Why do I act a certain way? Why do I interact with others a certain way? Why do my emotions get the best of me sometimes? Why do I treat my wife and kids the way I do. Why do I work the way I do? I was so interested after our class, that I wanted to know further about me, so I did a quick little research, (a major personality characteristic of the "C" type personality) and my eyes were opened a little further. Now it's been said that most people are hardly ever 100% single personality, but they share some other personality traits, and this further makes everyone unique. In fact, those of you who are familiar with the DISC behavioral style analysis ( I found my information here: ) might be interested to know that I was about 60% "C" type and 40% "S" type. So you can understand a little bit more about me, I'll share with you my findings:

  • I have a strong desire to be right - (C)
  • I spend a long time in research before I can make a decision - (C)
  • I feel as though I am accurate and that my decisions are logical - (C)
  • I am a stickler for rules and regulations and guidelines - (C)
  • I am interested in boiling a solution down to its finest detail - (C)
  • I prefer to work alone - (C)
  • I have very high standards for myself, and wish those same qualities on everyone else - (C)
  • I am a perfectionist at certain things. - (C)
  • I respect the way things have always been done, and I am slow to change - (S)
  • I work hard — often behind the scenes — at creating a stable, harmonious environment - (S)
  • I dislike conflict and sudden change - (S)

I am motivated by:

  • being right, or finding the right answer - (C)
  • having access to information and data - (C)
  • having the time to investigate the problem - (C)
  • being dealt with in a reserved and courteous manner - (C)
  • Working in a stable, harmonious environment where I can complete one task at a time - (S)
  • Having clearly defined — and unchanging — rules and expectations - (S)

I am deflated when:

  • I deal with sudden or abrupt change - (C)
  • I am required to socialize - (C)
  • I am required to deal with emotionally charged situations - (C)
  • I lack the time to process information or to evaluate the consequences - (C)
  • I work in a manner that lacks quality control, organization, or regulations - (C)

When I am stressed I can:

  • suffer from analysis paralysis - (C)
  • get bogged down in the details, never coming to a conclusion - (C)
  • withhold information and become stubborn - (C)
  • become overly critical, of myself, and of others - (C)
  • give ideas, instead of selling ideas - (C)

Here's a few things that I can work on to be a better person:

  • Become more open to other people's ways of thinking and communicating
  • Learn when it is appropriate to settle for good enough
  • Gain perspective on the consequences of being wrong
  • Know that I don't have to know everything before voicing an opinion or making a decision

I'm telling you guys, it would be helpful if we all could really open up further, so that we can learn each other's strength's and weaknesses - in an effort to better understand each other. Now I know why I am what I am, and now you also know.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Forty-three Minutes

Matthew 7:6 "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."

Matthew 7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

Matthew 10:14 "And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet."

John 1:11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

John 12:48 "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day."

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
(The New King James Version)

I had heard an interesting story on the radio a few months ago, back in January. It was a complete setup. An experiment created to see the reactions of busy people, in a busy world, who had the chance - the opportunity to stop for a moment in their busy lives, and listen to beautiful music. The setting was in our nation's capital city of Washington DC. And the target audience was mostly White-collared workers, en-route to their high paying capital offices, working for the nation's high class VIP's. The Washington Post created the experiment with the goal in mind to publish their findings. What the Washington Post wanted to find out is would the typical Washingtonian stop for a few minutes of their busy lives, their busy morning to hear some beautiful music? But more than that, it was a test to see if busy, modern day people would recognize one of the best classical violin players in the world. A child prodigy, Joshua Bell, now 39 is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso playing to crammed symphony halls most every week. The Post was trying to test if the context, or the
place at which Bell played, and in such a busy and inconvenient time, affected the outcome. Or what the perception of the people would be in hearing such fabulous classical music, by such a famous classical player, and if he would even be noticed, or appreciated. Also at stake was the people's priorities. It was set up purposely at a very busy time, in a very busy place only leaving literally seconds for people to first of all notice the player, the beautiful music, determine if it was convenient enough to leave a few bucks in his open case, or simply walk on by without any contact, or best of all, if people were even willing to stop for a few seconds, for a few minutes and listen.

Before the event took place, the possible outcome was asked of a famous conductor who had guessed that there would even be a need for crowd control. When the conductor was asked how much money he felt the undercover classical player might earn, he was confident that he would
earn a whopping $150. The conductor also guessed that at least 30-40 people would recognize the famous musician for who he was. And he figured that at least 75-100 people would be moved enough by the music to stop, and listen for a few minutes. Turns out, the famous conductor was quite wrong.

In the 43 minutes that Bell played, only seven people stopped and stuck around to hear Bell play, for at least a minute. Twenty seven people gave some money for a total of $32 plus change. The rest of the people who were counted, a total of 1,070 people who hurried by, never stopping, practically oblivious to Bell, and the music he played. Pretty humbling if you ask me. For someone like Bell, who is used to playing to the crowd, who is used to being recognized, as long as he's in character, in the right context, normally after his performances, was practically ignored for an hour of soul pouring performance.

The Post writer asked the age old question. "If a great musician plays great music but no one hears, was he really any good?"

This story for me had so many similarities to the life of Christ and how only a few stopped to listen. If the people had only realized who was among them, the famous Joshua Bell, whom they had heard many times in their evenings of concert goings, they would have surely stopped, listened, even asking for an autograph. The same could be said about Jesus. If the people had really known who was with them, the son of God, the creator of the universe, the savior of the world, if only they would have known, they would have treated Him differently. The beautiful music that Bell played seemed so familiar with some, while others were simply too busy to even recognize the same song they heard the week before. The beautiful words that Jesus spoke to the people, only a few realized the worth of such wonderful words, while others paid no attention to His comforting and peaceful words. The instrument on which Bell had played was a priceless antique. Christ's sacrifice was truly one-of-a kind, yet only a few knew and saw it's worth. Many other parallels could be drawn. but I invite you to read the article for yourself if you have time, or for a shorter amount of time, listen to the NPR broadcast of the short story they did on this Pulitzer winning article by the Washington Post.

Are you listening to what God is saying in His Word?