Reelgood’s vision is “to be the place that people go to when they want to watch any TV show or movie.” What I appreciate about this vision statement is its simplicity. One of the first keys to effectively communicating vision is to keep it simple. If we have a grandiose concept that we want others to embrace it must not be overly wordy, complex or ambiguous.
My parents are living on a farm in Zolfo Springs with my brother Nate and his wife Melissa. Recently, their guard dog Shepherd went missing. Less than a week later, Nate’s longtime companion, Minnie, was hit and killed by a truck on the road outside their home. As my parents were out walking alongside a ditch looking for Minnie, a car stopped and the driver asked what they were looking for. A conversation ensued in which the driver asked about getting permission to fish in the farm. Dad explained that he was the owner and he would agree for Alex and his wife Elisa to fish as long as they were willing to let him share with them about Jesus. They decided that was a fair arrangement and after fishing a couple of times at the pond and catching nice Bass, Alex one afternoon sat down on the farm porch and conversed with Dad about John 3:16. He ended up placing his faith in Jesus.
Matthew 6:10—Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
2 Timothy 2:8—Keep your attention on Jesus Christ as risen from the dead and descended from David. This is according to my gospel.
If someone asked me to share valuable wisdom for living life and limited me to just six words here would be a great response. Keep your attention on Jesus Christ. Wow—what a powerful message that is! Consider:
On August 25th,I will serve my last day in the military. Over forty years ago, God graciously allowed me to enter West Point. The military academy took a chance on me as I was a clear academic risk with a weak background in math and sciences. Before I set foot on that military reservation in New York, I claimed Daniel 1:17. “God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams of every kind.” I figured if God could give my hero, the prophet Daniel, wisdom in how to thrive in Babylon, He could help me survive four years of tough courses. He did just that.
Psalm 20:4—May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose.
Whenever a new year approaches there is for many people a sense of optimism. Yes, now I can start afresh. Yes, perhaps this next year will be a better year. Yes, finally the hardships or struggles of this past season may come to an end. But beginning afresh requires finishing the old year well. Very rarely, if ever, can you have one without the other.
Mark was one of my soldiers when I commanded D Company 3/502ndInfantry in the 101stAirborne (Air Assault) Division. How encouraging it is over 30 years later to hear his story and vision for manhood! It is a story about choosing the right path and may it bless you.
1 Chronicles 28:20—Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He won’t leave you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the LORD’s house is finished.
Consistently I am amazed at how many leaders have no succession plan. So many families and organizations have needlessly suffered because their leader didn’t take the steps to ensure the success of those who would follow in his or her footsteps.
I had two speaking engagements on the same weekend that required me to wear my dress uniform with a bow tie for one event and a long tie for the other. The night before traveling, as I got into bed, I remembered I had only packed a long tie. I decided to get it first thing in the morning before Kathleen took me to the airport.
There is natural reason for Ukrainians to dread Russia taking over their country again—oppression under communism was intense and costly. Ukrainian Kostyantyn spent many years in a Soviet labor camp. The authorities disliked his actions as an elder in his church so they sent him to be re-educated. Over 200 pastors were also sent to the same camp.
Several years ago I walked with Dad along the Hudson River where as a cadet I used to run the two mile run. While walking I prayed for the salvation of my A3 company mates. As we were praying the Lord prompted me with the thought, “Why don’t you recruit a Christian from each of the other 35 companies to do the same thing you are doing.” Unfortunately, instead of going home and recruiting others to pray, I procrastinated. But the Lord is faithful and about a year later I had occasion to visit with Craig, a classmate in Virginia. He invited several of our classmates over for a mini-reunion. While we were together, I shared with them the concept of weekly prayer for our company mates. Craig got excited and said he would join me and pray for B4. That was the encouragement I needed to get moving in sharing this prayer opportunity with others.
While ministering in the town of Kitale, Kenya it became evident that our team was larger than was needed for the church we were serving. Sensing an opportunity, I asked Ombima, our host, if it would be possible for us to travel to Uganda. He agreed that it was doable and so we rented a taxi and five of us traveled the windy, bumpy, one-hour drive. With us was Pastor Charles, who was born in the town of Suam, Uganda, the small border village next to the Suam River that separates the two countries. We asked God to lead us to a key contact in order that we might sow the seeds for future disciple making in Uganda.
The idea came to life on a mountain in northern Idaho. Dad’s high blood pressure meant he either took prescribed drugs or exercised. He chose the latter. So, five days a week he hikes trails and roads that at points are ridiculously steep but altogether invigorating! One day while walking the Lord whispered that instead of just walking he might also pray!
Matthew 18:19,20—Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.
She said I should go back home to my mother. It seemed like the logical thing to do. I mean why travel to a place I’ve never been to live with people I don’t know? My husband, Kilion died. Life was tough. It was like all my dreams just disintegrated into tiny, bitter ashes. I wanted to do the right thing but what was the right thing to do?
I sometimes look into their eyes and wonder what lies inside their head. Is the fact that virtually no one smiles a sign of emptiness? Or are they simply tired from a long day? Driving down Hwy 99W it isn’t hard to see faces of drivers traveling in the other direction because with all the traffic lights, no one moves very fast.
My parent’s house was built with LP siding. In order to sell it, the siding had to be removed. So, three workers came and tore it off on a Saturday afternoon. They elected to wait to the next day to finish the job. On Sunday it rained. The water ran down the wall of the second-story dormer spotting the ceiling in the family room. So, Dad called the owner of the company. He brought in a painter to take care of the damaged spot. But this man was unable to match the new paint to the old color resulting in his having to paint the entire family room, hallway and kitchen. Then a damp patch of the ceiling spackle, too heavy with the extra paint, fell. Now a hole in the ceiling needs repair. Ever have one of those days?
You walk outside to pick up your mail when a brilliant flash momentarily blinds you. Before you hovers a Being of glorious light—it is the Lord. You reach out your hand and welcome Him and ask Him to come inside. How exciting you think, a chance to show your Savior your home. So you walk Him around. “Look Lord at the beautiful wallpaper we used in our family room. Oh, you must come up and see the hot tub—our favorite hangout. In here is where the kids sleep. Watch out for all the toys—I really wish they’d pick up after themselves. By the way, check out the new wheels I got in the garage. Isn’t this a sweet SUV!” Time out.
Many people have studied the life and ministry of Jesus. There is much written about His three-fold ministry of teaching, preaching and healing revealed in the gospels. But it seems to me that Jesus’ most important work was His fourth ministry of training! Where would the world be today had He not invested His life in the lives of His followers? John Maxwell, a superb trainer of leaders says, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”
Last week, I came home one night with a sour attitude. I suspect I was not alone. What was unusual about this occasion was that I actually contemplated what had put me in such a funk. Actually, the answer was quite simple. A very negative person cornered me and orally festered in the presence of others for thirty minutes venom towards a coworker he despised. I could not get away fast enough. In truth, I was infected. My cheery spirit was trampled by a bitter person’s slander. I thought of how one bad apple can ruin a barrel of good apples. That analogy made good sense.
I was driving home yesterday when the woman in front of me decided to pull into my lane. Evidently, I was in her blind spot. I slammed on the brakes while at the same time maneuvering as quickly as possible to get around her car. Somehow, we avoiding colliding and both continued on our way. It would have been easy to get angry (it happened too fast to honk!), and to mutter about incompetent drivers but why? I know what it’s like not to see someone in the other lane and just miss kissing metal! The antidote to that simple driving mistake is to add an extra mirror or take the time to turn my head and look for another vehicle.
My friend Brian shared an interesting vignette about a Romanian village. Thousands of fertile acres surround the town yet the people cultivate only small strips to grow what they can eat. Decades of communist oppression and the lack of modern farm equipment rob these wonderful people of vision. Their concept of what they can attain in the future is shaped by what they could not do in the past.