The Serving Strong blog has moved* to serve you better.
The new location is
You are cordially invited to come over and have a look around.
*We will be pulling the plug on this site in January 2011. Be sure you are subscribed to the new blog location!
I love math. Because 2 + 2 will always = 4. I can count on that (no pun intended!). I also love it when I can count on someone, don't you? Someone with integrity. So what's the mathematical formula for integrity?
Inside = Outside
"You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You're like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it's all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you're saints, but beneath the skin you're total frauds." (Matthew 23.27 MSG)
What are your thoughts on the topic of integrity?
We'll never see this kind of date for quite some time: 10/10/10. Just for fun, I thought I'd scour the internet for websites, articles and blog posts all about the number "10". I found 10 of them (imagine that!) Some are weird. Some may actually be of benefit to you. Enjoy!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe look helpful and will add value to my readers, whether I have personally read them or not. As with all suggested materials, be diligent to assess for yourself whether or not something is right for you.
If it were up to you to save the world, what's the first thing you'd do?
Really, I want to know.
What would be your first move?
The longer I ride the social media bandwagon, the more I realize I don't have a corner on any topic or niche. There are a lot of you out there who have tremendous insights from God. I'd like to give you the opportunity to share them on the Serving Strong blog.
If you're interested in being a guest blogger for Serving Strong, here are a few things you'll need to keep in mind:
GUEST BLOGGER GUIDELINES* (version 062710)
1) Posts must relate generally to the topic of serving strong in ministry. Topics might be in the area of self-care, life balance, life rhythm, staying strong in fitness, staying strong spiritually, financial fitness, and so on. The target audience is the person who serves in ministry, whether full-time, part-time, or volunteer.
2) Posts must be no longer than 350-400 words.
3) The core values of Serving Strong hold that Jesus Christ is the true Son of God. Posts that are blatantly new age will not be accepted. And, absolutely no pornographic or suggestive material (duh!)
4) The submission of your draft post does not guarantee it will be posted on Serving Strong. But if it is, you will be contacted by email ahead of the posting. If notified that your draft will be psoted on Serving Strong, you are encouraged to draw attention to your guest post via your social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, your own blog or website, etc.)
5) While I'd love to compensate you for your post, I can't. Sorry. You will, however, get more exposure to your ministry and blog by being posted on the Serving Strong blog than if you didn't.
6) Posts must be original to you and contain no copyrighted material. They must not be reposts of what you've already published.
7) Email your drafts to firstname.lastname@example.org. They may be edited for grammatical or punctuation.
8) All drafts MUST include a bio that contains the following (if any of these is missing, you risk not having your draft posted):
- Your full name
- Your website and/or blog URL
- Your occupation
I look forward to your drafts. Please email me any questions you may have. Let's collectively help the person who serves in ministry. Why? Because time is short and the stakes are sky-high. Ministry must be strong until our Lord returns.
God bless you!
* Serving Strong reserves the right to discontinue accepting all drafts and the guest posting program entirely.
Serving strong is anything but a life of hedonistic leisure in ministry. It has nothing to do with a new agey "find the answer within you" kind of lifestyle.
Ministry is anything but easy. Working with people is slippery and messy. When you add the dimension of good and evil with the backdrop of eternity, you've got the making of a life that burns out.
JACook tweeted today this quote: "Joy comes from using your potential." How great it is to come to the end of the day, lay down on the floor and sigh a deep sigh of contented exhaustion! Used by God for His purposes.
Burnout is simple. It's doing all the things above in your own strength.
God has laid it on my heart to help you, the ministry leader, serve in God's strength. To serve strong. I believe the better we are as spouses, parents, financial stewards.... the greater our serve will be (the more available we will be for God's work). God's coming back. In the meantime, there is work to be done. People hurt. Stay strong for them. Burn, baby, burn!
How do you burn without burning out?
I am on Twitter. I have added various people to groups and occasionally look at them to see what they are saying. Below is a listing of my Twitter lists if you're interested. Click on them and you will be taken to the most current flow of updates from some of the best minds regarding...
Know any people you think should be added? Let me know in a comment
It all goes back in the box
You're invited to answer any one of these questions ...if you do, please indicate which number(s) you are answering.
May your comments be a source of insight for other pastors and ministry leaders reading along.
If you are a subscriber to the serving Strong blog (either through a blog reader or Facebook), this post is for you.
Let me first say how much I have appreciated your kind words of encouragement and comments on blog posts and on Twitter and Facebook over the past couple of years. I am enjoying getting to know you on the social media forum and some of you in person as well.
You are likely a ministry leader. That means you are dealing in the needs of people. It's your craft, your calling. Serving Strong exists for you and the unique situations you deal with everyday.
This post is simply to renew my pledge to provide the very best content to help you eliminate burnout from your ministry equation. I not only believe eliminating burnout is possible, it's vital. None of us wishes to finish weak or leave the ministry out of failure.
So, please keep the comments and emails flowing. Tell me what you want addressed in future blog posts. Tell your ministry friends that burnout is not an option. Together, let's work to make our lives the BEST possible tools in God's toolbox.
Here are a couple of the services Serving Strong provides (in case you don't yet know about them):
TUESDAY MORNING POWERMAIL. A short read that comes to your inbox at 6am each Tuesday to inspire and challenge you to stay strong all week
JOURNEYJOLT. A Twitter service you can set up to come to your phone as a text message. No more than 2 texts each weekday come to simply jolt you to remember what's important.
May God continually lead you, your family, and your span of care as you seek to serve Him with all your being.
Certified Life Coach
My wife and I were recently enjoying some time off the other week. We were visiting the fine city of Baltimore. Heading out of the city on a day trip we were following the vocal commands of our trusty GPS.
We turned left.
We should have gone a bit further THEN turned left.
Epiphany: One-way streets are not two-way streets (and our mini adventure began)
This one-way street was no small back alley. It was a main, 3-lane artery bringing heavy traffic around Oriole Park at Camden Yards. It didn't take long to realize we were in deep weeds. Luckily there was a break in traffic but that wasn't long-lived. Here came a stampede of cars coming full speed right at us.
So I maneuvered around car #2 and whipped into a side street just before the stampede arrived. "whew!"
Now that kind of experience makes for a great blog post with lots of interesting insight about serving strong in ministry leadership. However...
Rather than come up with an insight,I'm inviting you to. Share your comments. What does this little incident tell you? What can you glean from my hair-raising experience that could be applied to staying healthy and in rhythm while helping others?
I'm curious what you think (while I'm still catching my breath)...
Thanks to all of you who participated in the survey to date. So far, based on 65 responders here are the top (3) results:
1) Spiritual - 50 responses (77% of total participants)
2) Technical (Time management, etc.) - 37 responses (57%)
3) Emotional - 35 responses (55%)
I have the survey set to a total of 100 responders. That leaves (35) more slots if you want to participate.
CLICK HERE to see results
Remember the day Christ died?
Well, today He's...
...risen, won, pulled ahead, made headway, got ahead, gained ground, succeeded, come through, brought home the bacon, delivered the goods, got the better of, overcame, defeated, subdued, surmounted, mastered, beat, beat out, crushed, shelled, trounced, vanquished, overwhelmed, overpowered, swept over, overtaken, kindled, whitewashed, evoked, fired up, raised, whaled, provoked, visibly moved, affected, beaten, overthrown, run-over, swamped, swept off one's feet, taken, come out on top, conquered, crushed, hurdled, knocked over, knocked the socks off, licked, mastered, outlived, prevailed, rendered speechless, risen above, trashed, subjugated, surmounted, survived, weathered, KO'd, annihilated, broken up, conquested, destroyed, exterminated, massacred, thrashed, rebuffed, routed, blotted out, scalped, shellacked, slaughtered, waxed, whipped, abolished, annulled, crushed, decimated, did in, erased, expunged, extinguished, extirpated, finished off, invalidated, razed, liquidated, obliterated, quashed, quelled, rooted out, rubbed out, ruined, vituated, wracked, wrecked, revived, saved, abrogated, cancelled, disestablished, put the kibosh on, repealed, overturned, put an end to, scrubbed, squelched, stamped out, subverted, superseded, suppressed, terminated, zapped.
He is risen... indeed!
...BIG life changes
...BIG leaps of understanding
...BIG projects completed
Most days are pretty small.
But wait. Pause for a moment. Rewind the tape of a small day. Now push play again, but in slow motion. Go over it again. Each decision appears small by itself. String them together and you have the makings of a profoundly BIG day.
I think it’s not always the BIG things that define us. It’s the small things we do each day when no one is watching. Life is measured one decision at a time.
How do you live your small days?
Values. We all have them. And they are a good place to start in any personal growth initiative or in crafting any personal mission statement. Values are what you hold dear. You can talk a great game; impress those around you. But when it comes down to it, values are what we do. They show up in many places. Here are 3:
First, look at your BANK ACCOUNT. Where do you allow your hard earned cash to go? What do you buy?
Second, look at your CALENDAR. Where do you allow your time to go? Once time is spent it's gone forever. What do you do?
Third, look at your INTERNET HISTORY FILE. Where do you allow your eyes to go? What interests you?
Start there. If a value needs to change, change it. If not, honor it. Therein lies the beginnings of a personal growth. I bet there are more places that indicate our values.
What can you think of?
I was supposed to be at a meeting in Atlanta today. It was to be a short trip. I was to fly out early, attend the meeting right at the airport and fly home in the early evening. But my flight was delayed. After a lot of checking, I discovered there wasn't a flight to get me there in time. "Best laid plans...", right?
Think about it. Change has 2 faces:
1) CHANGE THAT HAPPENS TO US. The change in my flights was a good example. These things just happen. There is nothing we can do about them. Weather happens. People fail us. Unanticipated problems arise. In these circumstances what matters most is our reaction. We can either let it get the best of us, sapping the energy we need to serve in your ministry… or we can “roll with the punches” as they say. In fact, there is often a blessing in the shadow of change. Getting all worked up keeps us blind to opportunity. How do you REACT to change?
2) CHANGE WE MAKE HAPPEN. We all see the value of personal growth. This requires directed change. This type of change doesn’t happen automatically. It happens when we are intentional. In these circumstances what matters most is our action. We set objectives and go for them. We are clear on what we want to see happen and we make the necessary adjustments in our routine, our diet, our commitments, or whatever it takes to achieve what we know we need to do. Here's an interesting article on being intentional by Riverfork. Some of what's in the article may be useful for you. How do you ACT to make change?
So my day will be spent on the phone in a conference call rather than face to face. It’s not the best, but it’s better than nothing. Oh well… enjoy your changes today!
I am reading Dr Leonard Sweet's book, So Beautiful - Divine Design for Life and the Church.
In the section on relationship, Sweet shares a story. Here is an excerpt:
"South African pastor Fourie Vandenberg tells of leading a mission trip to the north of Nambia. The first thing his team noticed in the local village in which they were staying was that the women had to walk every day to a well with a huge heavy bucket on their heads to fetch water.
" 'We immediately decided to do something about it.'
"Within two weeks flashy new water pipes were delivering water to every little hut in the village.
"Within a week after the installation of the plumbing, the villagers removed all the pipes and piled them politely on the outskirts of the village.
"When Fourie asked why they had plundered the plumbing and undone all their hard work, the Nambians explained that it is customary for women to walk to a well with other women sharing their experiences about life. Carrying heavy buckets on the head while chatting with friends: 'It's not a bad thing; it's a good thing.' "
"Walking to the well" sharing our experiences about life is a vital part of life. We cannot serve alone. We need each other. To stay strong we must find a community of love, acceptance and support.
Question: From what set of relationships are you fulfilling your call?
Growth. It's what you want for your church. It's what you want for your children, your marriage, and your friendships. Growth in numbers. Growth physically. Growth personally and spiritually. After all, who wants to stagnate? The very word, "stagnate," brings to mind a pond with a layer of smelly, green scum floating on top. Yuck!
But why don't you have a master plan of personal growth? Why do you float high on the wings of a great conference, then return home and eventually creep back to the same old "normal" pace?
Growth means changing what you are used to being and doing. You have to let go of the old and familiar to grab hold of the new and unfamiliar. This takes courage. And if you're truly ready, courage shows up. How do you know when you're ready?
Check where your pain level is. Because you are ready for this kind of lasting growth when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change.
What is YOUR next personl growth move?
Serving Strong is now on Alltop in the CHURCH section. Visit it by clicking http://church.alltop.com/
Know how to pick a ripe fig? I'm reading Philip Yancey's book, "Grace Notes" each evening. Tonight during the reading I found out how:
"Watch the ones butterflies light on several times, testing, until they move on to their preferred overripe ones."
You know what it takes to pick a fig? The skill of ATTENTION. Pay attention more and your ministry will be more effective. Your marriage will be more robust. Your parenting moments will improve.
The enemy of attention is distraction. Fight it and you will win. Learn how to "pick a fig" and you'll be serving strong!
Pray for those, as a result of the disaster, who:
Let's pull together in this incredible time of need being experienced by our fellow humans.
You may find a list of free downloads and other links on the Serving Strong resource page.
NOTE: Although Serving Strong provides these resources, it may not condone or agree with
everything contained therein.
We laughed at the fashion statements. We wondered if so-and-so was still alive. We mused at the hairstyles. We chuckled at the faces. We even cried as we came across a slide of a beloved family member we lost to cancer a few years back.
I noticed something.
The slides were a mix of scenery and people. When we got to a scenic picture, whether a majestic mountain range or beautiful forest, we quickly went to the next slide with someone's face in it. We were glossing over the scenery and getting to what we valued: people.
When it all comes down to it, WHO we have around us is much more than WHAT locations we were able to capture on film ("film" now I'm dating myself!) I'm not against scenery pictures. I always love a good metaphor. But when I want to remember what's really important, give me pictures of loved ones.
Are you spending too much time looking at your "scenery" (for instance, time on Twitter, Facebook, blogging, etc.) at the expense of human interaction? When was the last time you logged out of the computer and logged into the life of someone close?
We need each other. Those with robust community Serve Strong!
What do YOU think? (add your comments or thoughts)
This is the last Serving Strong blog post of 2009. My, how time flies!
I'm tempted to make big plans for next year. Happens every December 31st. Some call them resolutions. They are my big intentions. Big goals. Big ideas. There's nothing wrong with dreaming and scheming. But remember it will always come down to the walk.
Take a moment. What are a few of your next steps for your personal growth? Share them with someone.. Share them here if you like.
Let's let God make 2010 amazing through us!
A former coaching client of mine recently resigned his post as senior pastor of a church in Ohio and now serves on the mission field. We keep in touch occasionally and here is an excerpt from an email I recently received from him and his family:
"God has really changed my heart as far as what I see as "needs" or "wants." Before coming here I admit I was a little concerned about our housing arrangements with no bathroom in the house...So I had a conversation with God about how I didn't know if I could handle that for 2 years. That same day I learned that the District Superintendent's family has lived and served here for 20 years and only in the past 5 years had the luxury of water and electricity in their house...
"Our group also went out that day and saw thousands of houses close to where we live without electricity, running water, beds etc. So now I am overwhelmingly grateful for the luxuries that we have here. God is so faithful to continue to help us grow, learn and change. I am so blessed that He never allows us to continue in our ways and thoughts that aren't pleasing to Him as long as we are listening to Him."
First, I would like to ask you to be praying for them. They are sacrificing many of the comforts of the typical American lifestyle to minister abroad.
Second, as you continue to serve people, remember how important your perspective is. No matter how difficult things may be, God is still in control. It may not feel that way sometimes but He is. With God, we are always in a position to be grateful - if only for the grace He extends to us, even when we do not deserve it.
May God bless you in this Christmas season! Serve Strong!
It's Thanksgiving Eve. Everyone in the house has gone to bed. The TV is turned off. The only sound is the clock on the wall ticking. I sit in my chair by the newly-assembled Christmas tree. It's quiet. I'm in a reflective mood. I'm thankful.
I'm thankful for you. If you read my posts on a regular basis, you know God has placed in me a heart for the person who gives of themselves for the well being others. Working with people is no easy task. Working with people is messy. Recipients of our care and attention don't always express their appreciation. Some don't change from their self-destructive behaviors. This hurts. We want people to succeed. We want people to flourish in Christ.
My prayer this Thanksgiving season is for you. I pray that God slips in so closely to you as you do your own reflecting on your life and ministry. I pray He reassures you of His omnipotence; of His incredible presence; and of His eternal grip on the future.
May God bless you this Thanksgiving! Continue Serving Strong!
If you follow this blog, you might want to augment your experience by joining Twitter and following Serving Strong.
In addition to the posts you find on this blog (which are a bit more lengthy than the 140 character limit on Twitter) I make it a point to link to great resources and short thoughts & meditations from leading experts and thought leaders from all around the world. I might even have a thought or too of my own to ponder.
With a Twitter account (which is free and easy to use), you can also respond to the Serving Strong "tweets" and engage in a more timely conversation.
Take advantage of this "micro blogging" companion to the Serving Strong Blog. Be a part of the flow of information. Join in the conversation. It may just be the thing you need to help you keep Serving Strong!
I'm announcing a sabbatical (a fast, if you will) from all things social media until October 1, 2009. The reason is to do pull away from the flow to do some reading, writing, human connection and focusing on the big picture.
This sabbatical will impact theServing Strong Facebook page, Twitter account, this blog.
The only thing that will remain during the sabbatical is the Serving Strong eNewsletter.
In the meantime, feel free to visit the blog archives for further reading. I truly enjoy your interactions, comments, and email. I look forward to the time away and will enjoy returning to continue interacting with you.
"See" you after October 1, 2009!
Goals are the breakfast of champions. Those who make things happen and achieve great things are those who don't just let the wind drift them wherever. With God's guidance, they set specific milestones of growth. They engage in discipline.
Here are 3 questions to consider if you're serious about setting goals:
WHY are you setting the goal in the first place? What is the good reason for taking your time? What will be the benefit if you reached this goal?
WHEN will you start the activity to begin reaching your goal? What is the specific day (and perhaps even time of day) you will have accomplished what you set out to do?
WHO will hold you accountable? Life is full of distractions. Who do you trust to help you stay on track by asking you the hard questions?
Aim high. Set goals. Achieve them in the context of accountability and you'll be Serving Strong!
The world we are in has taken some wild turns lately. Global economy, natural disasters, job layoffs, deaths of loved ones...
I just got to thinking about the words UPSIDE DOWN. Sometimes the world seems that way. I found a series of pictures I'd like to share. Perhaps in viewing them, you will see things a little differently. Put your trust in the God who knows you better than yourself. Let Him change your perspective.
Keep your perspective on the God who holds the future (regardless of how the present looks) and you'll be Serving Strong!
They no longer have control over the kind of legacy they are going to leave behind them. Everything they have said; everything they have accomplished - it's all fixed in time. They will never be able to go back and change things. They will never be able to do anything differently.
But you and I are still breathing. We still have time. How are you going to shape your legacy? This is the topic of the next Serving Strong eNews issue.
If you want to know more about this free subscription here's the link:
Work on your legacy while you have time and you'll be Serving Strong!
Pastors set their own hours. The profession offers a lot of time alone for planning and thought. Although this sounds like a dream job, temptations run rampant.
Are you serious about remaining morally strong? Have you considered setting up your own personal accountability system but don't know where to start? Perhaps you are doing fine right now but you lack a "fence" of consistency to stay the course and finish strong. If that describes your situation, you are invited to join a phone presentation to gain ideas on how to begin the process. You will hear from Scott Couchenour, Certified Life Coach, who will share concepts and practical ideas to help increase your chances for sustainable success over temptation. Time permitting, he will take a couple of your questions.
The call is free*. It's simple (you can call from the convenience of your own home or office). Your name will not be shared.
Date: Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Time: 1:00 pm (EDT)
Duration: 30-60 minutes
If you are interested, email email@example.com and put "accountability" in the subject line to receive the dial-in number and conference code.
Space is limited so act today to reserve your seat.
* Your only cost is any long distance charge
It's in the news. It's been one of the top trending topics on Twitter. It's called the swineflu. We have seen the pictures of people wearing masks and taking precautions of all sorts. It's definitely part of our culture right now.
This post is not to minimize the sickness or death that has been experienced by those who have been labeled with the swineflu. Rather, I would simply like to share some thoughts on the matter:
So as you reflect on the current events of the day, think about your own existence. Are you spreading a pandemic of kindness and compassion? Are you staying focused on the big picture? Are you staying healthy?
These are all habits of people who are Serving Strong!
A while back, the movie "The Passion of the Christ" came out. Directed by Mel Gibson, it was a portrayal of the intense agony Christ experienced on our behalf. It was a deeply spiritual experience for most of those who went to see it in the theaters.
There is one very significant point in the movie which I think is incredibly applicable to us today. According to Pastor David J. Meyer of Last Trumpet Ministries, Mel Gibson was interviewed by Diane Sawyer. Sawyer asked him, "It's your hand in the film holding the nail?" He answered, "It is, yeah, my left hand."
Why the left hand? In the occult, the left hand indicates "the force", and the Latin for left is sinister. Apparently, there is a high order in esoteric Illuminism called Ordo Sinistra Vivendi or "Order of the Left Hand Path." Its purpose is to destroy Christianity by deception.
What's this have to do with people-helpers?
This Holy Week, as you reflect on where your strength comes from, consider this: As long as YOUR hand (your "left hand") is holding on to the reigns, you are deceiving yourself. Your strength in helping people comes from letting go and allowing HIS hand to hold the reigns. It's a paradox. When we let go, we gain His control.
How are you reflecting on Christ this week leading up to Easter? Is your strength coming from your own efforts? Or is it coming from the only one true Source? Let go. It's the only way to Serve Strong!
This prayer for all the pastors and church staff across the globe who have brought Palm Sunday to a close and are now looking more intently to the activities and obligations of this Holy Week. All the preparation by choirs, worship teams, fasting and prayer will come to a head. At the beginning of this week, I pray...
I pray they will be free from the pressure to make this year's Easter better than last year's. I pray for peace of mind and spirit as they go about their duties. I pray they will experience a renewed sense of Your presence on a personal level. I pray they will be able to deepen in their walk with You like never before. Renew the calling You gave them. Instill resolve in the face of any uncertainty.
I pray for power - Your power. As each gathering assembles this week and plans morph into reality, may there be an overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit. And may the power represented there bring healing and true life change for the people in attendance. As news reports of Christianity's decline and rise continue to fluctuate, I pray for resolve on the part of pastors and church staff. May they not be discouraged, nor artificially inflated, by any reports. On the contrary may they remain so focused and intent on Your power that the news has no impact on what You are doing through them.
I pray for their personal protection. May their marriages be strengthened this week. May interpersonal conflicts be effectively addressed. May they truly learn to work from the rest You provide. I pray for their children - protect them from the incredible pressures and temptations facing them today. I pray for physical health. I pray for financial health in times when people seem to be holding back on contributions until they sense more confidence in the future.
For all You do this Holy Week, I give You praise ahead of time. You paid the ultimate price for our freedom. You are great. You are Holy. You are worthy. May this be the BEST week ever!
I am currently reading a book by Kevin L. Callahan entitled, Soul Space: Ancient Realities in Post-Modern Worship Spaces. Very interesting book. In one section Callahan talks about The Blue Man Group. This is a "unique form of entertainment, which blends modern day Vaudevillian elements, comedy, and music with science, art and technology." You typically know them as one of the acts found in Las Vegas. You may think it is a result of a brilliant idea that occurred all at once in the mind of someone. Not so.
"Most ideas don't start out as revolutionary," the website says. "And the Blue Man Group is no exception. Blue Man Group evolved. The basis of any brand is authenticity. According to co-founder Matt Goldman, 'Knowing who we are and who we aspire to be has remained a core objective of our company over the course of our lifespan.' The BMG has consistently reinvented themselves while remaining consistent and committed to the quality of their brand."
As you help people, ask these questions:
Are you authentic?
Do you know who you are and who you aspire to be?
Are you consistently reinventing yourself while remaining consisten and committed to the quality of your service to others?
I challenge you to invest in yourself. Ask these questions. Take the time to answer them over time. When everything we learn is going into everything we do, we are Serving Strong!
A new friend of mine, Betty Benson Robertson, author of CHANGING PLACES: A Christian's Guide to Caring for Aging Parents, recently published a note to all the members of the Facebook group, "Adult Children of Aging Parents." She granted permission for me to share her note with you. If you are a caregiver in this capacity, may it be a blessing to you:
As persons begin to age and start to notice the effects the hand of time is having on their physical bodies, they fear losing their independence, becoming helpless, and the loss of control over their own lives that they face with each new disability. It's natural for them and for us to fight the aging process, but it's important for adult children to try to understand what their parents want. Quality of life means different things to the adult child than it does to the aging parent. The adult child worries about a parent's security, while the parent fights to maintain control of life and reduce impending losses.
As roles begin to change, adult children sometimes tend to disregard a parent's way of doing things, trying to impose their own agenda instead. Parents don't need a barrage of nonstop advice. Unless the counsel given is essential to their safety, offer it and leave it for them to decide.
Grasp the partnership concept by making decisions with your parents, not for them. the privilege of deciding for one's self is important, and it's still important to persons who are getting older. There's a fine line between strengthening their capabilities with our support and weakening their capabilities with our interference.
Blessings to you!
Betty Benson Robertson, author
CHANGING PLACES: A Christian's guide to Caring for Aging Parents
If you want to join the Facebook group, here's a link:
If you want to get Betty's book, here's a link:
If you are caring for an aging parent, understanding change is a large part of Serving Strong!
This weekend, I'm taking inventory of the latest Serving Strong Blog posts. Here is a list of them by category. Read as many or as few as you need to:
This weekend, take inventory of how well you are serving your span of care. Make it your commitment to Serve Strong!
Click on the link to check out this 5 minute video by Penn (or the Penn & Teller show):
I wonder what you think about it. How is your service to others today making a difference in others' lives?
I subscribe to an eNewsletter by Gary R. Collins (SUBSCRIBE HERE). Here is an excerpt from today's issue:
In his book Culture Making, Andy Crouch shows how Christians have approached the world and their cultures in the past.
How do we or our clients make ripples, impact the world, or create culture? Here are only three suggestions, built on Crouch's book:
Twitter, Facebook, email, phone calls, text messaging, instant messaging, blogging, internet surfing, 24-hour cable TV, satellite radio, ...... These are all great tools. They are also sources of great distraction. How are YOU dealing with this aspect of our culture? Are you able to remain focused on your objectives?
Below is a copy of a Serving Strong eNews issue send mid 2007. It's just as relevant today as it was then (maybe even more). As you read it, do an inventory of your life.
Distractions come from external sources (physical stimulus through the 5 senses) or internal sources (thoughts, emotions, daydreams, etc.) But not all diversions can be considered distractions because their value or importance may be greater than the object of attention (say, a welcomed phone call, creative inspiration, or medical emergency). Distraction is a major cause of procrastination.
If you are interested in a short read every Tuesday morning, SUBSCRIBE by going to:
http://www.servingstrong.com/jointhecommunity. It's designed to help you stay balanced and healthy as you serve others.
February 12 marked one year since the first post on the Serving Strong blog. Since that time, there have been over 460 posts, over 6,200 views, and over 85 comments. I am personally grateful to God for allowing me the opportunity to use technology to share His vision to people-helpers across the globe. Burnout and depression do NOT have to be part of the people-helper's equation. I am also grateful to you, the people helper. You give of yourself all year long. I applaud what you are doing for others. My deep desire is that you remain strong as you pursue your passion.
Here are a few categories addressed over the past year:
May God richly bless you with the awareness of His presence as you continue to serve Him through serving others! Think of Serving Strong as your companion as you journey on...
Check out this video from Covenant Eyes:
When all is said and done, your influence is your legacy. It's how you impact the lives of those in your span of care long after you're gone.
The internet is an incredible source of information and social networking. It's a tremendous tool for good. At the same time, like everything else that's good, it has been used as a tool for destruction.
Nothing is more devastating to your influence (your legacy) than illicit online sexual content. Viewing, contributing to, or being hooked on this sort of content is a downward spiral every time. Don't let this happen to you. Prevent it.
Protect yourself and your staff and family by signing up for the Covenant Eyes software protection. Click on the following link to begin your journey of freedom. Your first month is free by using PromoCode: ServingStrong. Multiple user and church/ministry staff discounts are available.
Don't wait. Your legacy is on the line. Protect yourself and you'll remain Serving Strong!
What are you doing with what life (or God?) has handed you? Do you go about your life helping others but secretly wishing you were more talented? Wishing you had more skill? Wishing you were better known?
Check out this video of an amazing story from Korea. HeeAh Lee was born deformities. With only two fingers on each hand and legs ending at her knees, doctors didn’t expect her much hope of living. But live she did! Age six she started to play piano. At the time, her four fingers were very weak. She couldn’t even hold a pencil. Her mother hoped playing piano would strengthen her grip. It worked. But more than that, Lee found a calling. She now tours the world, playing for stunned audiences. She plays pieces that would be difficult for able-bodied pianists. You’ll love hearing her play:
Check it out here (story picked up from The Kim Komando Show):
Serving Strong sometimes means serving out of gratefulness for what we have AND making the most of that.
My friend, Dave Ferguson, Lead Pastor of Community Christian Church, a nondenominational congregation of about 7,000 in Chicago, wrote on his blog the other day about the new Facebook group, 365 CLUB. It's entitled "I've Never Got So Much Credit For Doing So Little!" The CLUB began after a Facebook status Dave submitted about giving away coffee to a few Kinko's employees. Dave couldn't have said it better in his post: "It's a God-thing. Only God can take three cups of coffee and turn it into 3 million acts of kindness."
Here are a couple thoughts for people helpers:
Follow a God who is bigger than you. Serve with kindness. And you will be Serving Strong!
The 365 CLUB: What an amazing group of people world-wide. In just two & a half weeks, the group has grown to over 9,100 members committing to over 3,500,000 kindnesses in 2009. By the way, are YOU going to join and be an active member? If so, all you have to do is join Facebook then join the group. Here's a link:
The Tennessean.com website has a great article about Scott Hamilton. Despite all he's been through, he's found happiness and contentment with life. How?
His perspective. He says, "Life presents a lot of things, and it's how we respond to them that defines who we are. The idea of being happy is a subjective thing and what makes one person happy won't make someone else happy."
How are you approaching your life this year? If the bottom fell out and everything went down the drain what would your initial response be? Would you run and hide? Try to fix it on your own? Throw it all at the feet of Christ and trust?
Before you answer, let me remind you that scripture tells us God has already overcome the world (John 16.33). Your attitude and outlook are vital. Trusting in the God who created you is vital. It's what it means to Serve Strong!
The Facebook group, 365 Club, is continues to grow. At the time of this post, it is 352 members strong with over 125,000 kindnesses committed for 2009. CLICK HERE to see my original post. Dave Ferguson (whose kind act gave birth to the Club) just received a request for a radio interview from a station in London England to discuss the Club. How cool is that!?
I read from some of the people who are posting their acts of kindness on the group wall and it occurs to me: Doing kindness to others is a viable way of gaining personal strength. Focus on the needs of another, engage your creative imagination and you open the floodgates of life enjoyment. This enjoyment adds a lift to your step. It widens your mental capacity. It opens up your gratefulness.
So make random kindness a part of your way of life. Make it a part of who you are. You'll be Serving Strong!
To start out the year, let me tell you about an exciting new Facebook group which has formed just in the last few days. It's called the "365 Club". Here's how it got its beginning:
Dave Ferguson, Lead Pastor of Community Christian Church, Naperville, Illinois, shared on Facebook how he gave Starbuck's coffee to the staff at a local Kinko's. They weren't expecting it and Dave wrote about their reaction: ""...you'd think they won the lottery! A little generosity goes a long way!"
Out of that experience, a Facebook group was formed. 365 Club. It's for anyone who is committing to do at least 365 random acts of kindness throughout the 2009 year. It's based on the premise that everyone expects gifts at Christmas time. But if a bunch of us made giving a part of our everyday life, we could change the world.
If you're interested in joining, here's the link:
I got our local paper on January 1, 2009. At the top of the front page was a "Happy New Year" block. The rest of the front page was nothing but bad news. Our world needs good news. It needs the Good News. Why not show your world what the Good News is? Join the group. Share your journey with the other Club members.
Sharing goodness with others is part of Serving Strong!