Throwback: Tidbits of wisdom from Pastor Rick Warren

This is part of a series called “Throwback” – where I revive journal entries and blog posts written/posted on this very day, years ago.

Written on June 3rd, 2014 (three years ago), after listening to an audio devotional called “Daily Hope”. Pastor Rick Warren’s wisdom is so relevant and powerful for my life. 
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  • When you’re thinking about other people over yourself, you’re expressing true humility.
  • Humility is not denying your strengths; it’s being honest about your weaknesses.
  • Degrading yourself is not humility. There is a clear difference. 
  • You can’t serve The Lord on earth directly – you can’t even see Him. The only way to do it is through other people. 
  • Marriage is not a 50/50 relationship; it’s a 110/110, where both sides outdo each other in giving honor.

Devotional: Avoiding judgment

This is part of a series called “Devotionals.”

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“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” (Luke 6:37)

Mother Teresa said: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” I can only choose one of the two options – love or judgment – to occupy my heart.

If I don’t like the feeling of being judged, I need to stay away from judging others. And if I can only house my heart with one tenant – either love or judgement – I should decide on the one that makes God smile, inspires and encourages others, increases compassion, and gives me even more power the more I use allow it to stay.

The other occupant doesn’t pay, stinks up the rest of my being, and drains me and others.

For me – I find myself having judgment issues when it comes to my kids (with my unreasonable expectations and lack of compassion) and politicians. If I know this about myself, I need to (1) stop listening to the news – as it’s information overload and negative all-around; and (2) ask myself how I could handle anything with my kids with God’s love.

Devotional: Honor

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Rom. 12:10)

Yes, the Bible says to honor your father and mother; and yes, it’s very right to honor those who have served in the military; and the concept goes for quite a few people who have achieved great things…but what about honoring the every day person? Didn’t Jesus believe they were worth dying for? Didn’t God create them for a unique purpose to serve the Kingdom, alongside you? 

I’m talking about the person who mops the floor at the restaurant; the person who disposes of your trash; the homeless person who swallows their pride and asks for some help to get by; the parking attendant; the server who delivers your food; the back kitchen cook you’ll never meet who makes your food; the crossing guard who walks your kids across the street safely to school; and even a person who can never do anything for you. 

Jesus died for them, too; you are commanded to love them; and honoring them clearly exhibits your understanding of what it means to be great in His Kingdom. 

How to grow rapidly? By doing non rapid-growth things

This is from a podcast I listened to by Reid Hoffman – founder of LinkedIn – who interviewed Brian Chesky, founder of AirBNB; and the topic was “scaling.”

In order to scale, you need to work on things that don’t scale (say whah?)

Stop thinking big, and start thinking small. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t invite 1.8 billion people when he started Facebook. He just invited a few people, created fans out of them, and made it easy and more fun to use when they invited others.

Hand-serve your customers at the highest level before scaling; the growth will be an automatic byproduct. Just like helping your customers should be the main focus, as the monetary rewards will come naturally.

It’s hard to get 10 people to not simply “like” you, but LOVE you. But you can get there by spending time with them, caring about what they say, and crafting the product/service of their dreams – one they are fanatical about.

When you handle everything personally in the beginning, this is when you are most in-tune with your fans; and this is where you are most creative. Only until you master this can you ask for more; but try not to forget that when you grow and can afford to add more people and systems in place that create distances from the customer.

Devotional: Do what’s best

This is part of a series called “Devotionals.”

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“May He equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to Him forever and ever! Amen!” (Heb. 13:21)

“God’s will done God’s way never lacks God’s support,” as Pastor Rick Warren would always say.

If I am doing what I am shaped to do; if I am doing work at the highest level, with love, with the intention of giving Him the glory, and that serves my brothers and sisters…I have nothing to worry about, and God’s strength will be with me and it will be successful.

It might not be success on our terms – money, possessions, power, recognition, or even results that payoff in my lifetime – but it’s something that lasts forever, is important, and I will be rewarded.

If the work I do doesn’t inspire me, doesn’t exhibit His love, doesn’t serve the people that Jesus died for, and I can’t or won’t do it to the best of my ability…I’ll need to eliminate it, and make room for activities that do fit the bill. I don’t have enough resources for mediocre, misaligned work that won’t have an eternal ROI.

Devotional: Washing toilets

This is part of a series called “Devotionals.”

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Loved today’s morning reading from Marketplace Leaders:

“…those He wanted to promote, He promoted; and those He wanted to humble, He humbled.” (Dan. 5:19)

Paul desired a career in the building industry. Early in his career, he was working with a large ministry to help direct several of their construction projects.

As the projects were completed, Paul was asked to stay on for future projects. To keep him busy he was given a number of jobs – one of which was cleaning toilets. He recalls getting down on his knees each day and complaining to the Lord, “Lord, I’m a college graduate!”

Discouraged, Paul told the Lord, “I will not leave here until You promote me. Please give me contentment with my circumstance.”

Paul felt totally forgotten by God. A few months later, Paul received a phone call from a man in the Midwest who owned five successful businesses who wanted to interview Paul for a job. This came as a total surprise to Paul. As he drove to the interview, he told the Lord, “I only want your will in my life, nothing else. I am content to remain obscure for the rest of my life if I have You. You must override my lack of experience for me to get this job.”

The owner of the company asked Paul a surprising question: “If I asked you to clean a toilet, what would you do?” Paul sat there, stunned. He wanted to burst out laughing. Paul assured him that he would simply pick up a sponge and start cleaning.

Amazingly, Paul was hired even though other candidates were more qualified. After several months of success Paul asked his boss why he hired him. His boss replied, “Paul, I still have a large stack of applications from people who wanted this job. Do you remember the first question I asked you in the interview? I asked each one the same question. You were the only one who said he would clean the toilet. Paul, I am a wealthy man, but I grew up dirt poor. I clean my own toilets at home. I can’t have people running my businesses who are too proud to clean a toilet.”

Sometimes God places us in situations to see if we will be faithful in those before He is willing to promote us to greater things.

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This also reminds me of the Bible verse from Luke 16:10: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

God tests me to see how I respond to work that seems minor and/or is looked down upon by the world, when nobody else is looking, and when it’s inconvenient.

I need to remember that God has an incredible plan that I – nor even the smartest person on Earth – can forecast; and that He works in unconventional ways (He’s in the miracles business). I also need to remember that God uses all of my experiences, strengths, and weaknesses for His plan for me. And I shouldn’t forget that my boss may be my manager, but God is my ultimate employer; and that everything I do – 100% of my work – serves Him and is a reflection of how I value Him.

If these truths are the case, shouldn’t I work at the highest level – regardless of what it is – at all times?

This helps me look at washing dishes, taking out the trash, cleaning up in the backyard, handling emails, etc. in a better light, and that I look forward to showing God I can be trusted with little because it prepares me for great.

Impossible to stop growing

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I’m walking along the streets of New York City right now and saw this skyscraper currently in being built.

I am marveled at how new construction can continue in one of the most crowded cities in the world; but this sight sends a wonderful message that regardless of where you are in life – maturity in age, profession, relationships, whatever…you can still make time for change, you can still grow, you can still build upon, you can still tear down and recreate.

If you’re thinking you’re too past your prime in starting a business, leaving your job, trying for different position, taking on a hobby, breaking up a comfortable but toxic relationship, starting a new and better one, reinvigorating your existing ones…I believe it’s just a mental prison with unlocked doors where you can leave at any time, and living in fear instead of love and the courage that comes with it.

Devotional: Proactive and reactive dependence on Him

This is part of a series called “Devotionals.”

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“So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” (Gen. 32:24)

This part of the story in the Bible takes place long after Jacob had fled his family for screwing over his brother Esau (he conned his brother into giving him his birthright, and poached their father’s blessing meant for his brother), and was now in a situation where he’d have to face him again. He was very fearful that Esau would take revenge on him and his family for what he did; and pleaded with God for mercy.

Jacob couldn’t use his own power to get out of this situation. He was so scared of encountering his brother that he refused to move from his hiding place without God’s protection and presence – to the point where he wrestled with one of God’s angels and wouldn’t let him go until God agreed to watch over him.

Do things need to get really bad before we depend on God with all of our mind, heart, soul, and body? While it’s amazing that God’s love is unconditional and He will always be there even when we neglect Him, it’s unfair to our Father for only coming to Him when we need him (imagine trying to do that with your parent, spouse, best friend, sibling, etc.), and you’d be selling yourself short by not having his power, provision, and protection from the beginning to end of all your circumstances.

Instead of making prayer your “Hail Mary” strategy when you’ve exhausted all of your other resources, why not make consulting with God your first line of defense and attack against difficult, disappointing, uncertain times?

Devotional: Your success is guaranteed by Him

This is part of a series called “Devotionals.”

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“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”  (1 Cor 2:3-5).

I love this passage.

In the Marketplace Leaders “Today God Is First” devotional, Os Hillman reminds me that sometimes, I need to withold my natural gifting to insure that God is in whatever I am doing.

That means that I shouldn’t rely completely on my God-given experiences, talents, and knowledge for the outcome of whatever I desire; over-dependence on them could make me forget that God is Lord over my outcome, and not leave enough room for Him to do His work. And I’d rather He do my work lol!

Don’t let your gifts go to waste, however. Use them to help people. Use them to give God all of the glory. Use it to build His Kingdom here on Earth as it is in heaven. But there will be a ceiling to those gifts – whether it be an impossible deadline, a task beyond your skill level, or a debilitating circumstance. At this point, do not stress, fear, or feel discouraged. Leave the remaining workload to Him, leave the outcome to Him, thank Him in advance, and let Him carry on.

God wants you to know that it is by His hand that you are successful; not by your own merit.

Throwback: Reframe the seeming disadvantages

This is part of a series called “Throwback” – where I revive journal entries and blog posts written/posted on this very day, years ago.

Written on May 23rd, 2014 (three years ago), after reading a passage in “The Obstacle Is The Way” by Ryan Holiday and being inspired to share it. 

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Countless stories exist where the biggest successes in people’s lives were BECAUSE of their alleged failures, difficulties, & handicaps.

No one wants to be born poor or in an abusive/nonexistent family or etc. but it doesn’t give you a free pass NOT to respond in a healthy way. Which is a beautiful thing, since that is in our control and the wild card – regardless of where you came from or what you’ve been through.

What kind of disadvantages do I think I have? And how can I recompose them for my own success?

  • Lack of detail – I can be strategic and inspire a team of detail-oriented people that I surround myself with;.
  • Lack of focus – I can jump-start many projects and give people many opportunities to execute and grow.
  • Not smart – I can easily recruit people more brilliant than I am, and inspire anyone and everyone.
  • Grew up poor – I am resourceful, content, and have drive.
  • Divorced – I can minister others who are at risk, are going through, or have already been a victim of broken relationships.
  • Impulsive – I can take risks, execute, move quickly, I only focus on things I’m passionate about.