Is Jesus Our Role Model: Loving God

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He replied that the greatest commandment was to love God.

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 NIV)

All of my heart.  All of my soul.  All of my strength.  All of my mind.  That about sums it up.  That’s all of me.  But what does loving God with all of me even look like?

My wife and I just celebrated six months of marriage about a week ago, so it’s really easy to remember our engagement.  And I can remember that as the time wound down, the wedding was on my mind almost all of the time.  A huge chunk of my life – a very large percentage – was dedicated to making sure that I was ready for that big day.

I mean … sure … I was still going to work and doing what I needed to do every day, but my entire life was focused on the wedding.   It was all I was thinking of.  I was dieting and losing weight and making arrangements… just making sure I was ready for that big day.

And Jesus calls us – the church – His bride.  We should have that mindset.

What does loving God, with all of you, look like in your life?


Is Jesus Our Role Model?

1 John 2:6 (NIV)
1 John 2:6 (NIV)

Over the next few days, I want to write about Jesus as the role model for Christians.  That seems so basic as I write it, but, if we’re honest, very few of us Christians actually live like Jesus – myself included.

Though, to our credit, the only reason that we don’t strive to be like Jesus is because some of the things that He said while on earth are really, really hard.  Jesus said crazy things like, “love your enemies,” which, as the hilarious guys over at Blimey Cow pointed out, “didn’t work out so well for Jesus, did it?”

Today’s post is short since it’s just an introduction for this series.  But I want to leave you with a question that we’ll look at together…

Is Jesus Christ your role model?


Focus in 2013

Happy new year
Happy new year (Photo credit: Amodiovalerio Verde)

Recently, I heard Peter Bregman on the Entreleadership podcast.  He talked about not setting goals for 2013, but instead to decide on areas of your life to focus on.  He has a lot more details in his blog entry, “Consider Not Setting Goals in 2013.”

This idea resonated with me.  So, here are my areas that I will be focusing on in 2013.

Nurture my relationship with my fiancé/wife and the girls.  As I write this, I am not married; however, my wedding is only a couple days away.  Every day, I will intentionally nurture these relationships.

Spiritual life.  I strongly feel that I have a calling to pursue a ministerial career.  In order to do this, I’ll need to focus on my spiritual walk, and look for opportunities to practice the art of ministering to others where I am now.

Improve my health.  For years, I worked at my previous employer, putting in tons of hours, and ignoring my own well-being.  This has resulted in some health issues that can be fixed with proper diet and exercise.

Grow in industry knowledge.  A few months ago, I started a new career in an industry that I am unfamiliar with.  The company hired me based solely on sales skills, and a recommendation from my fiancé.  In order to succeed, though, I’ll need to spend a little time every day learning more about this industry.

Improve our finances.  My fiancé has made it very clear that I will be the CEO of our family, whether I like it or not.  I will be making sure that I look at our finances daily, as well as look for opportunities for extra income through entrepreneurship.

The great thing about these focuses is that there is no potential to lose or fail.  For example, my focus is to improve health, not to lose 50 pounds.  Any improvement is a win, and, if I focus on it every day, success is bound to happen.

For more information about this plan, including the source, Peter Bregman’s new book, 18 Minutes, click HERE.

Final Speech – “Courageous”

Here is the text from the final speech in the movie, “Courageous.”

A father should love his children and seek to win their hearts.  He should protect them, discipline them, and teach them about God.  He should model how to walk with integrity and treat others with respect, and should call out his children to become responsible men and women who love their lives for what matters in eternity.

Some men will hear this and mock it or ignore it.  But I tell you that as a father, you are accountable to God for the position of influence He has given you.  You can’t fall asleep at the wheel, only to wake up on day and realize that your job or your hobbies have no eternal value, but the souls of your children do.  Some men will hear this and agree with it but have no resolve to live it out.  Instead they will live for themselves and waste the opportunity to leave a godly legacy for the next generation.

But there are some men who, regardless of the mistakes we’ve made in the past, regardless of what our fathers did not do for us, will give the strength of our arms and the rest of our days to loving God with all that we are and to teach our children to do the same, and whenever possible, to love and mentor others who have no father in their lives but who desperately need help and direction.  And we are inviting any man whose heart is willing and courageous to join us in this resolution.

In my home, the decision has already been made.  You don’t have to ask who will guide my family because by God’s grace, I will.  You don’t have to ask who will teach my son (and daughter) to follow Christ because I will.  Who will accept the responsibility of providing for and protecting my family? I will.  Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family’s history? I will. Who will pray for and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do? I am their father…I will.  I accept this responsibility, and it is my privilege to embrace it.

I want the favor of God and His blessing on my home.  Any good man does.  So where are you men of courage?  Where are you, fathers who fear the Lord?  It’s time to rise up and answer the call God has give you, and to say, I will! I will! I will!

Different Perspective: Job Interviews

It wasn’t that long ago.  2007.  I was desperate for a job.  I had my previous work experience memorized, and could throw out my greatest weakness as fast as the interviewer could ask for it.  Yes, I said I was a perfectionist, too.  There are few things quite like the job interview.  The preparation alone is a killer.  Are you wearing the right clothes?  Do you know enough about the company?  What questions will they ask?

4 years later, and I am the one doing the interviews.  I schedule at least two every week.  The economy is struggling, but every person running a business will make room if they find the right person.  There are many, many articles, blogs and “how to” guides for interviews.  This isn’t one of them.  But, if by me opening up about what an interviewer is thinking helps you nail an interview, that works, too.

When I got my first retail store, back in 2009, I was immediately challenged by my boss to start recruiting and hiring talent.  The problem was that the last interview that I had seen was when the company had interviewed me two years before.  I wasn’t sure what to look for, but I figured that I would just start interviewing and it would click.

My first interview as an interviewer was just as stressful for me as when I was looking for a job.  Was my desk clean enough?  Did I look professional enough?  Could I get these questions out correctly?  Will I say something that will get me sued?  Fortunately, my first interview was quick, and the applicant cared less than most about acquiring the job.  After several interviews, I finally found somebody that I thought would be good.  I ran it by my boss, and he simply said that he trusted me, and I could bring the applicant on if I wanted to.  Then it struck.  The employee was a complete bust.  They were regularly late.  I had to send them home almost daily for dress code violations.  They were even late on “Black Friday,” which in the retail world, is the equivalent to putting a cigarette out in your boss’s eye.

I let that employee go, for obvious reasons.  But the impact was immeasurable.  I had such confidence in my ability to manage. I prided myself on winning people over, and being a leader that people followed.  My thought process at that point was that even if somebody wasn’t a good hire, I could make them good.  Everybody had the potential to be a winner.  I was reading an interview recently where John C. Maxwell, a world-reknown expert on leadership, was asked what his greatest weakness in leadership was.   His answer…

Hiring. I’ve made some messes there. That’s because I believe so much in people that I tend to see only the best in them. I believe anyone CAN grow, so I can make a mistake in thinking that everyone WILL grow.

Over the next few months, I went the other direction.  My standards skyrocketed, and I wasn’t hiring anybody.  I was so fearful of hiring another bust.  And let me tell you, from a manager’s perspective, it is much easier to hire somebody than it is to fire somebody.

I finally opened up to my boss about the issue, and he allowed me to sit in on several interviews that he did, and spent about a month coaching me in this area.  That time was indispensable, and has greatly helped me.  Like I said, I do several interviews per month now.  It’s an advantage of working with a company that is growing in these times.  I still make sure my desk is clean, and that I look professional, and practice asking questions.  And every now and then, I still hire somebody that gives me more headaches than profits.

Most interviewees have no idea the preparation and work that goes into a single interview.  The point is that interviews are stressful for the interviewer, too.  So, the next time that you’re in an interview, and you feel your palms getting sweaty, just take a deep breath.  The interviewer’s hands are sweating, too.


Office Gossip

Harvard Business Review wordmark
Image via Wikipedia

According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, “a lot of office gossip is positive, rather than negative.”  The study says that office gossip “helped encourage the spread of information in a company and reduced anxiety and uncertainty among staff members.”

So, I would like to say that I may or may not fire James tomorrow.  Just doing my part to reduce anxiety and uncertainty.  Sleep well, James.