Monday, July 20, 2015


            Perspective can be accurately described as a “mental view or outlook”.  It seems a lot of people have varying perspectives in this world.  In fact, I dare say, everyone has some perspective.  Some aren’t good, some aren’t educated, some are too educated, others we may agree with, and of course, some we disagree with. 

            Perspective can change.  This can be a great thing if it is changed to a better perspective because of information that comes to light in a person’s experience.  It can be bad if a person is easily influenced and is manipulated. 

Perspective is tricky.  

I love hearing other people’s perspective.  I like sitting down and listening, even if I disagree, it is enlightening to me.  I also enjoy walking throughout creation and taking it all in, I find it gives me new perspective, or at least, renewed perspective on something I have lost.

If this sounds fluffier than my norm, to be honest, it is.  However, that doesn’t make the subject heavy or difficult to navigate.  

Let me ease into some of what I mean.

I have lost some of my perspective.  In many ways it is good.  I have matured in many ways.  Grown up, some may say.  I am not as care free as I once was.  In the midst of this I have lost some of the perspective I once had and traded it in for another perspective.  Some may say that my perspective has changed as a teenager’s perspective changes once they move out and have to begin supporting themselves. 

I suppose that can be good. 

The potential problem is losing the freedom of the child.  I mean, when I look at my children (Arianna 5, and Isaac 3), their cares are few.  They have very few worries because they rely on Denise (my wife) and me to take care of their needs for them.  Sometimes the children like to act as a mom and a dad when pretending and playing, but, from my perspective of having to actually live out the dad role, I could easily sit back and think how childish their view of all I have to do is.  

Yet, I sit back and enjoy the fact (for the most part, I dislike it when they act out my poor behavior) that they want to be like me or my wife.  

Now back to my changing perspective…To be honest, I like responsibility.  It is in my wiring.  Since my youth, people have told me, my gifting has directed me, and every assessment I have ever taken points to me enjoying leading people, teaching, and strategy.  So, what do I do?  I eat up all the available information I can to become better at it.

Good idea, right?

Actually it is.  It is responsible.  It makes me better at what I do.  In narrows my focus, which is a really good leadership trait.  

However, I have noticed a potential fatal flaw in me.  I get so busy trying to narrow down all the issues that I face that I lose the child’s perspective.  To clarify, I lose my carefree perspective and shift into (what I affectionately call) robot mode.  I am so focused on fixing, directing, growing, strategizing that I take my eyes off my identity.  I insert leading as my identity, but I am more than a leader…I am Adam.  

Adam is a child of God.  

God is my Father.

He is the One who is responsible.

He is the One thing I should be focused on because I, in my power, have no ability to have the impact on the matters I care about.  He can have a profound, unimaginable, unfathomable impact on every area I care about.

My marriage, my children, my church, my friends, my family, my hopes, my dreams, etc., but if I get myself so focused on what I can do, my perspective narrows more and more until I believe my perspective is the only one that matters and I, unintentionally, isolate myself (even though people are around me, I am too consumed with my own thoughts to interact) and further drive myself into the belief that my perspective is what really matters.  

I won’t truly listen to other perspectives.  I don’t listen to God.  I don’t listen to the ones I care about.  I become truly close minded.  

Now, this doesn’t mean I compromise to everyone else’s perspectives, the point I am trying to make is that I lose my identity.  I get so focused on what I am good at, that I forget to come to my Father as a child, realizing that He is the One who fixes things just like I do for my children.  It isn’t up to me.  If I sit back and try to put the weight of the world on my shoulders it probably looks like my son trying to “be daddy” and I can sit back and understand he just can’t do it.  

I just can’t do it.

He (God) has to.

I need to go back to get some care free perspective, because I don’t believe it has to be immaturity, rather, I think it can be quite mature to place our worries and concerns in His hands instead of holding onto them ourselves.  I believe it removes a lot of the focus that has been misappropriated and refocuses us on the areas that we should be focusing on.  

I would hate to see either of my children grow up and be so consumed with anything that they are never present with me.  They may be there, but are so consumed with what they do that I never get their attention.  I believe God feels the same way.  He must be my focus.  He must be the source of my perspective.  When He is the source, my perspective will shine with wisdom beyond my own.

I don’t know if this helps anyone else helps out…but I needed to get my thoughts out there.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Christmas Lights

                I have always been rather frank about the fact that Christmas is not one of my favorite holidays.  I love the reason of Christmas, but all the pomp of it makes me rather …well…grinchy.  I have always been a “rather have the cake without the icing” type of guy.  

                Exciting, right? 

                One of my favorite (oh, if there were only a sarcasm font) festivities is dragging out all of the decorations.  There are so many organizers out there now that most things can be pretty easy to get in order and hung without too much effort.  

Then there are the lights.  

Whether the outdoor or the tree lights, they never stay as organized as you put them away.  Some methods work better than others, but the point is that Christmas lights are notoriously tangled.  It is an odd phenomenon.  You put them away organized, you come back and it is a tangled mess.  Just one year ago (roughly, if you take them down in a timely fashion…but that’s for another time) you painstakingly organized them and put them away in a fashion that they should easily come unstrung and easily hung.

I find so many things in my life are the same way.  I get something taken care of and believe that it should be ok now, only to find out that a short time (in my estimation) later it is a tangled mess again.  I have found this to be true in leadership, relationships, work, and so on.  I am not saying it is the fault of someone else (unlike with Christmas lights, because I think we all would agree there has to be tree light gremlins tangling the lights in the attic!) it is just what happens when a matter is neglected.  

Think about it physically, just because I exercise for a day doesn’t make me healthy.  In fact, if I exercise myself to health but do not continue, I will become unhealthy…a tangled mess, indeed. 

We would readily admit, I think, that the same is true spiritually.  You don’t stay on top of the proverbial mountaintop without consistent connection to God.

Now, think of this when leading your family.  How often do we take time to invest in our family?  I am not necessarily talking about all the “stuff” we do for our family.  I am talking about the quality time.  Do we begin our time with our spouse in marriage and everything is wonderful, only to not spend time with them and wonder why everything seems…tangled?  Do we start off well with our children, but find ourselves several years down the road…tangled?

What about how some of us who are leaders lead?  Do we lead and not pay attention to some aspect of how we run an organization, church, business for quite some time and when it become tangled begin to blame others instead of saying to ourselves, “How much time have I really invested here?” 

We always seem to come back to the place where we believe we have left something organized a while ago and wonder, “How did this get so tangled up?”

Christmas light leadership will lead us to a place of tangled messes in our marriages, parenting, leadership, and a whole host of other things.  It basically comes down to this, neglect leads to disorder.  Think about it…

Neglect leads to disorder.

Don’t let those vital areas of your life (spiritually or physically), responsibility, and concern become neglected.  We may not like it, but it is true.

Are you confused?  Seek God.  Don’t forget we have an enemy that wants to terrorize and kill us (I Peter 5:8).  Do you feel disconnected from someone?  Maybe there is someone you need to invest more time in.  Is there an area at work that isn’t going well?  Find the place that has been neglected and channel some energy in that direction.  

Don’t get caught off guard like I do on the day after Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) when I open the lid to the tote with Christmas lights wondering how this mess got here.   

Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. 15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.      I Timothy 4:14-15

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Visit (pt1)

                I have to be honest.  I have found this journey a little difficult at times.  It is still early on, but there are so many perspectives that I had not taken into view.  As I study, a bit ahead of where we are on this blog, I find myself veering wildly back to what I have always known and not taking time to stop and soak in the peripheral matters.  A quick example of this would be if you had ever fallen asleep on a road trip.  You may wake up as you arrive at the destination.  “We’re here!”  If you were a child, you are just happy to be where you were headed.  If you were the adult you may have realized that you used a certain amount of gas, the drive was rough as it had been raining most of the way, you narrowly avoided a few accidents, there was a beautiful scene as the sun set, seeing those three deer in the field,  a semi truck flipped over, etc etc etc. 

                There is a lot going on in the story of Jesus.

                The more I find as I begin to unpack, the more I realize that I am the kid sleeping in the car. 

                I am not sure exactly what the night of Christ’s birth.  We certainly know there were visitors, but as I mentioned before, it probably didn’t look quite like the scene that we have derived from Francis Assisi’s nativity.  The magi didn’t come to see Christ for a few years after His birth.  The Shepherds were alerted via angel announcement.  Both were miraculous.

                I wonder, when Mary and Joseph heard how the shepherds and then the magi were led to Jesus, what that must have been like.  

                First, the shepherds, they were never considered to be high class.  Certainly, it would seem that it was a life that could support your family.  Finding a job as the temple shepherd, as it would seem these shepherds were, would be a good shepherding job.  However, the hours weren’t great, as we see these gentlemen watching sheep at night.  Think about that, watching sheep…at night.  Having to stay alert and awake to watch sheep and make sure nothing harmed them.  Pretty exciting stuff there…but when something exciting did happen, it was highly dangerous.  It was dangerous for the sake of the wellbeing of sheep.

Ironic that Christ was embarking on His dangerous mission for His “sheep”.

                A normal, mundane night and all of a sudden a bright light with angels and singing…tell me that you wouldn’t find that scary.  They had no way to explain it away.  It was an angelic announcement of the birth of the Savior.  These looked down upon people were the first to hear the announcement of the Savior.  This all is recorded in Luke 2.  They went to Bethlehem.  It shows that Bethlehem wasn’t some large metropolis, because these shepherds found Jesus without the use of any crazy technology.  They must have walked into town, saw a bit of a ruckus and realized that must be where a baby has been born.  

                Think about it.  You hear the angels proclaim.  You decide to go and check it out.  Surprisingly, or maybe not, what they said was true.  How could you deny that this is indeed the Messiah? 

                Often times as I read this, it is so static.  I get to the destination that Christ was born and shepherds were involved and I lose the wonder of what happened.  The perspective of the shepherds is just one angle, but how wonderful it must have been to be in a field, or on a hill, and the sky burst open with the celebration of the angel’s song.  The angel’s announcement and then the physical confirmation as they walked into the tiny town of Bethlehem and found the Savior was indeed born as they laid their eyes on this newborn child.   I mean, what did these guys say to their wives when they got home?  Did they grab their families and come over the next day?  Can you imagine their child’s face as they shared this story?  

                What a tremendous happening…and how often I miss it as a sleeping child on a road trip, I arrive at the destination without taking in all of the scenery, the details, and the conversation along the way.  May we never lose our wonder.