Creativity

creativity

Today’s quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”

While those few words could take a thoughtful person in many directions, I’m content with one simple illustration. In recent years the creativity of pastors and people in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has resulted in the origination of numerous parachurch ministries, including:

  • Best Practices for Ministry – “A FREE conference for those who love the local church, the unchurched and the LCMS” – https://www.facebook.com/BestPracticesForMinistry/
  • Pastor 360 – Making life and ministry better for pastors, congregations and families –pastor360.com
  • Mission of Christ Network – Making known the light, love, and peace of Jesus Christ to people around the world – https://missionofchrist.org
  • J2e3 – Jesus to…Everyone. Everywhere. Everyday. – j2e3.com
  • Five Two – Christian entrepreneurs passionate about reaching those who don’t know Jesus – fivetwo.com
  • MinistryFocus – Making student loan debt repayment grants to professional LCMS church workers – ministryfocus.org
  • Dwelling 1:14 – Joining Jesus on His mission – https://dwelling114.org/

There may be other newly created ministries. These are ones with which I am familiar, all begun within the past several years by someone in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Although the one acorn reference in the quote above might not fit exactly with these examples, I thank God for the thousands of people (thousand forests?) whose lives are touched by the creation of these ministries and of additional ministries that will surely follow.

St. Paul wrote: “I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Cor. 9:22-23)

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Achievement

leadership

Here’s the quote for today: “A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one would find fault with what he has done.” – Cardinal Newman

My way of saying that is: “Leaders always disappoint someone!”

It took me a while to figure that out. In my initial days of leadership I thought it should be possible to please everyone with my achievements. I soon discovered the fallacy of that thought.

If one does nothing, he displeases those who think he should be doing something. If one does something, he displeases those who think he should be doing something else.

Jesus displeased people in the church of his day. Luther displeased people in the church of his day. They both achieved results that even now impact life for time and for eternity!

In our day, Pastors displease people in the church and politicians displease people in the country. It’s not wise for leaders to go out of their way to displease their followers. But displeasure often goes hand in hand with courageous leadership and frequently precedes significant achievement.

So here’s my advice, dear fellow leaders. Put on your big boy britches, buckle up your boots, get on your knees in prayer, exercise your God-given gift of leadership, anticipate disagreement and disappointment from those around you, and achieve much for the world and for the church!

Sufficiency

bernard-baruchFor centuries many famous and quite a few not-so-famous people have uttered words of wisdom. At least several weeks I plan to share with you some of their observations, counsel, humor, and musings. At times I might offer a specific application that connects these words to a scriptural or spiritual principle. On other occasions I may simply let the quote speak for itself.

Some but not necessarily all of those I’ll be quoting are Christian. Wisdom and common sense are not possessed only by those who confess the Christian faith. Here’s today’s quote:

“There is not much difference, really, between the squirrel laying up nuts and the man laying up money. Like the squirrel, the man—at least at the start—is trying to provide for his basic needs. I don’t know much about squirrels, but I think they know when they have enough nuts. In this way they are superior to men, who often don’t know when they have enough, and frequently gamble away what they have in the empty hope of getting more.” Bernard M. Baruch (1870-1965)

Baruch also said: “To me, old age is always fifteen years older than I am.”

God bless your day!

Groundhog Day

groundhog_day_punxsutawney_2013-2

February 2 is observed annually in the United States and Canada as Groundhog Day. In addition, this date will always be remembered in our family as the anniversary of Terry’s first hip replacement surgery last year. Thanks be to God and to her wonderful orthopedic surgeon, she is doing quite well. We even danced last week, for the first time in a long time!

But let’s get back to Groundhog Day, adopted in the U.S. in 1887. Wikipedia says: “Punxsutawney Phil Sowerby is the name of a succession of groundhogs in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The town of Punxsutawney holds the largest Groundhog Day celebration, honoring the legendary groundhog with a festive atmosphere of music and food.”

“During the ceremony, which begins well before the winter sunrise, Phil emerges with his “wife” Phyllis and “daughter” Phelicia from his temporary home on Gobbler’s Knob, located in a rural area about 2 miles southeast of town.”

“According to tradition, if Phil sees his shadow and returns to his hole, he has predicted six more weeks of winter-like weather. If Phil does not see his shadow, he has predicted an early spring. Punxsutawney Phil became a national celebrity thanks to the 1993 movie Groundhog Day.

Here at our home in Georgetown, Texas, the day I wrote this article the temperature reached a high of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If this is the kind of winter Punxsutawney Phil predicts will last six more weeks after today, I say bring it on!

Perhaps I should feel a bit guilty enjoying this kind of weather the first week of February, especially in light of having spoken this week with dear friends who live in Gunnison, Colorado. They reported a temperature of -37 degrees Fahrenheit. Lord, have mercy!

Whether Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction proves accurate remains to be seen. And even if our 75 degree temperature plummets precipitously, I’ll still thank God for the privilege of enjoying his gracious gifts of health and happiness, family and faith, life and love, freedom and forgiveness!

I hope you’ll agree!