Sunday, March 30, 2008

Successful Aging by Fred Smith

Having just celebrated another birthday, the following article by the late Fred Smith is particularly relevant to me today.


My interest in aging started with Erik Erikson’s remark: “The challenge of old age is the management of deterioration.” Applying the art of management gives one control over the process. In other words, move the deterioration toward the perimeter of life and focus on the areas of strength and vitality. Avoid the “used to be” syndrome.

Part of the monitoring of successful aging is asking questions. For me, I break the questions into two categories: positive and negative. Of course, these are personalized according to personality, temperament, character, and temptations. For illustration, I am listing some of the questions I ask myself.
  • Love: Where do I fall on the loving scale? How do I avoid benevolent dictatorship?
  • Patience: How patient am I? Do I accept the difference between perfection and excellence?
  • Tolerance: Am I biblically tolerant? Do I know the difference between love and apathy?
  • Unselfishness: How unselfish am I? How do I implement “in honor preferring one another?”
  • Commitment: What is my level of commitment? Am I capable of having passion without crossing into obsession?
  • Flexibility: Can I develop a technique without sacrificing stability and principle?
  • Control: How often do I camouflage this tendency? Do I exhibit dictatorial or victim behavior?
  • Cynicism: Do I discount the current reality by wanting things to stay the same to make me comfortable?
  • Greed: Is my desire an appetite or a fire? A fire is never satisfied.
  • Selfishness: How often do I see others as serving me rather than an opportunity to serve?
  • Concretized: How realistic am I about change?
When I do my self-audit, I ask another person for counsel and accountability. This person must be chosen carefully. We are not looking for a critic; we are looking for a coach.

The end of this process is successful aging…staying young while getting older.

This week think about: 1) What preparations am I making for aging? 2) Who do I know who is getting old, not just older? 3) What questions do I need to ask myself this week?

Words of Wisdom: “Get Older, but Never Old.”

Wisdom from Scripture: “The godly grow like a palm tree: they grow high like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the Lord’s house, they grow in the courts of our God. They bear fruit even when they are old, they are filled with vitality and have many leaves.” (Psalm 92-12-14 NET)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Jesus and Praying

This week I finished the book of Numbers and started the book of Deuteronomy along with continuing in Luke and Proverbs. The following are some of my thoughts:
  • In Luke 4 the demons acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God
  • What boundaries has God established in your life and ministry? (Numbers 34)
  • Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray (Luke 5:16) How often do we?
  • God said to Israel, you have stayed here long enough, break camp and advance (Deuteronomy 1:6)
  • A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25)
  • In Deuteronomy 2 God guided Israel under Moses to move, to fight, to pay others for food and water
  • Jesus spent the entire night praying before selecting his twelve disciples the following day (Luke 6)
Well, today marks the completion of my 45th year of life. Highlights of the weekend include dinner with the family and my parents Friday evening, brunch with family Saturday morning, Saturday evening gathering at Apex Community and a small birthday bash with ice cream cake afterwards. Sunday should be a full day of rest and contemplation.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Seven Decisions by Andy Andrews

1) The buck stops here. I am responsible.

2) I will seek wisdom. I am a servant.

3) I am a person of action.

4) I have a decided heart.

5) I will choose to be happy.

6) I will have a forgiving spirit.

7) I will persist and have faith.

Find out more at

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Week of Contrasts

Just like in the final week of Jesus life before he was crucified, this week while reading in the books of Numbers, Proverbs and Luke a lot of contrasts where brought to light:
  • Numbers 22 tells the story of a man named Balaam and his donkey. Balaam beats his donkey 3 different times for not taking him where he wanted to go. Then the donkey actually spoke to Balaam and the angel who was blocking their way was revealed to Balaam. Ultimately Balaam gets to where he is going and blesses the tribes of Israel 3 times.
  • A gossip betrays, the trustworthy keeps confidences (Proverbs 11:13)
  • Balaam did not sell out to Balak (the world) but did what pleased the Lord (Numbers 24)
  • In Luke 2 Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Simeon was moved by the Holy Spirit and blessed Joseph and Mary along with prophesying about Jesus and his future
  • Jesus grew and became strong, he was filled with the Holy Spirit and the grace of God was upon him (Luke 2:40)
  • A kind man benefits, a cruel man brings trouble (Proverbs 11:16-17)
  • In Luke 3 the lineage of Jesus is traced all the way back to God
  • The righteous attain life, the evil death (Proverbs 11:19)
  • Luke 4:1 states that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and he was hungry after 40 days of eating nothing. This shows us his humanness.
  • What a contrast between Luke 4:22 where all the people spoke well of Jesus and Luke 4:28 where all the people were furious with Jesus. What did he say that made such a change?
Happy Easter Everyone!

Thoughts from Chapter 3 of How to Win Friends and Influence People

Talk about what others want and show them how to get it

Ask the question “how can I help this person want _________”

Secret of success is to have empathy for others in addition to your own point of view

Arouse in the other person an eager want

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Humility Leads to Wisdom

This week during my Bible reading I finished the book of Mark and started the book of Luke. Some thoughts from my week of reading Scripture included the following:
  • In Mark 14 Jesus valued the woman who perfumed him and stated that the poor will always be with us. This passage reminds me of the contrast of valuing Jesus and betraying him like Judas did.
  • Numbers 12 states that Moses was the most humble man on Earth. Now that’s a compliment! God spoke to him face to face. Now that’s a privilege!
  • Why do we pray before eating a meal? See Mark 14:22
  • Pride leads to disgrace; humility leads to wisdom (Proverbs 11:2)
  • The fool says there is no God (Psalm 53:1)
  • In Numbers 15 a man is taken out and stoned because he gathered wood on the Sabbath. Now that’s swift and severe punishment!
  • Jesus was declared risen from the grave by a “man” dressed in white at the tomb (Mark 16) That's what our upcoming Easter weekend is all about.
  • Luke 1 states that Luke investigated and wrote an orderly account. My kind of man...
That’s it for this week, thanks for reading.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lesson 6 of Og Mandino's University of Success

My notes from studying lesson 6 include the ideas that growth must be chosen and fear must be overcome. Some questions to answer include:
  • What is your purpose?
  • What are your talents?
  • Is it wrong to be wealthy?
  • What tools do you possess?
  • What challenges need to be confronted?
  • Who is in charge of your life?
  • What are you avoiding by diversions?
  • What will you become?
Remember that you must let the world know you are here, eager to do business, and offer value.

“I would rather try and fail, than to do nothing and succeed.”

Sunday, March 9, 2008

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Scripture and Snow Shoveling

It was another routine week in the office Monday through Friday. During my Scripture reading this week I finished the book of Leviticus and started the book of Numbers in the Old Testament. Thoughts this week included:
  • People were amazed at what Jesus did and said “he has done everything well” (Mark 7)
  • Wages can bring life if righteous, income can bring punishment if wicked (Proverbs 11:16)
  • Even in the midst of Jesus explaining his betrayal, death sentence, torture, death and resurrection, James and John were focused on self and asking for favor (Mark 10)
  • The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, and He adds no trouble to it (Proverbs 10:22)
  • Jesus was a human being who got hungry while he was here on planet Earth (Mark 11:12)
  • Have faith, ask in prayer, believe, don’t have grudges, forgive, so that you may be forgiven (Mark 11B)
  • Two greatest commands: 1) Love the Lord, 2) love your neighbor (Mark 12:29-31)
  • Those who desire the important seats and places of honor, take advantage of widows and show off with lengthy prayers will be punished (Mark 12)
  • It’s not the amount you give that matters, it’s the proportion and faith with which you give (Mark 12)
  • Riches without understanding are like beasts that perish (Psalm 49:20)
  • Be alert and on guard since you do not know when Christ will return (Mark 13)
Well, I guess it’s time to get back outside to shovel snow. Thank goodness for a couple of neighbors with snow blowers who came to my rescue this morning.

Friday, March 7, 2008

They Love Jesus; They Don't Like the Church

by Michael Craven

This appears to be a growing sentiment among many younger Christians in America today.
They love Jesus but they want little to do with His Church. Read the full article

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Chapter 2 of How to Win Friends and Influence People

Some thoughts from Chapter 2 of Dale Carnegie's book How to Win Friends and Influence People:
  • The motive of most people is to be great, or at least important
  • Typical motivators: health, food, sleep, money and the things it will buy, eternal life, sexual gratification, and well being of family
  • Motivate others by appreciating and encouraging them
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sexual Scenes and Sins

This week was pretty routine with work Monday through Friday, my Mastermind and Ultimate Success Program phone calls Monday evening, house church Wednesday evening, and family movie night Friday. We watched Pay It Forward about a young boy who starts a “movement” of paying good deeds forward to other people. Aside from some unnecessary language and sexual scenes it was a fairly good movie with a thought-provoking theme and surprise ending.

Here are some of my thoughts from reading in Leviticus and Mark this past week:
  • There’s a regulation for dealing with mildew in a house in the Bible! (Leviticus 14)
  • Sexual sins under the law are identified along with how to deal with them (Leviticus 20)
  • How’s this for an interesting day? The disciples gathered around Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. Jesus got some rest and then fed a crowd of 5,000 plus. The disciples then picked up the remains of dinner. Jesus went off alone to pray and meanwhile the disciples headed across the lake and were straining against the wind. Jesus walked by them on the water and when the disciples saw Him they cried out, were amazed, and didn’t understand. (Mark 6B)
  • Jesus opened the eyes of both the spiritually blind and the physically blind (Mark 8)
  • Jesus sometimes wanted to be alone with his disciples to teach them. Sometimes the disciples didn’t understand what Jesus was teaching but were afraid to ask for clarification. (Mark 9)