Monday, June 19, 2017

Are you a talker or conversationalist?

Do you have people in your life that talk... all the time?  They talk so much, you have to interrupt them to leave the conversation (and I sometimes wonder if they kept talking even after I left!)

Recently I read the book by Scott Adams, How to Fail at almost Everything and still win big!  I loved it!

In the book, Scott who writes the comic Dilbert
gives real feedback on living a successful life (He continues to put caveats in the book to remind us we are getting life advise from a cartoonist!)

One of my favorite parts of the book is about being a good conversationalist.  These are his top 7:

  1. Ask Questions
  2. Don't complain (too much)
  3. Don't talk about boring experiences (TV show, dreams, meals, etc.)
  4. Don't dominate the conversation.  Let others talk.
  5. Don't get stuck on a topic.  Keep moving.
  6. Planning is useful but it isn't conversation.
  7. Keep the sad stories short, especially medical stories.
The one that kills me is #4.  We all have a family member that we love that doesn't feel like they are communicating unless they are talking.  

How do you help someone like this to change?  

My favorite is #1.  I ask a lot of questions.  In fact, I get in trouble with my wife as they questions I ask can be probing.  Many people love to answer them.  But I am sure that I have gone one to far more than once.  

I ask these questions because I am always fascinated by people and their stories.  Most people haven't walked on the moon or starred in a blockbuster movie.  But that doesn't mean that they don't have interesting parts to their lives.  Yesterday I was speaking to a man who had an older brother... and 7 older sisters!  And everyone has something about their life that is really cool!  Most of us don't even know what that is!  So it takes a lot of questions to get there.

Dale Carnegie has the perfect helper to asking questions.  

Think of a tree.  Ask questions about their home, their upbringing, their family, and their traditions.

In that tree is a hammer.  Ask them questions about their career, their schooling, and their aspirations.

On that hammer is a watch.  Ask questions about their hobbies and other ways they spend time.

Then listen!  With each question comes a bunch more!  If you listen well, you care about what they are saying and so you hear things that are interesting to learn more.

If you do this, you will NOT be the person people avoid because you talk too much!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Is Jesus supposed to take the wheel?

I love that song by Carrie Underwood, Jesus, take the wheel.
The young mother has a life that is a bit out of control.  She is driving home and her car slips on ice.  And she sings, Jesus, take the wheel.

As a Christian, I have always loved that idea.  Jesus needs to lead my life.

But I was at a Men's conference at church this weekend.  The speaker, T.C. Stallings, asked the men if they thought that Jesus should take the wheel in our lives.  I raised my hand, yes.

He put 3 chairs on the stage.  The first two chairs were next to each other.  He said, so if you believe Jesus should take the wheel, you think Jesus is driving and you are in the passenger seat.  If that were the case, that would assume that Jesus is the one driving when you decide to sin.  He is the one taking you to the road to sin.
Should we allow Jesus to take the wheel?
Then T.C. showed us the other chair.  This chair represents the other car.  He said, Jesus is driving this car.  And you are following in the other car.  Jesus has equiped YOUR car with a GPS, the Holy Spirit.  He has also placed the old school map in the car, the Bible.

Our job is to follow Jesus.  He is leading.  But Jesus gave us free will.  We can follow... or decide to NOT follow.

So we start following Jesus.  We keep Him in front of us.  He turns right.  We turn right.  And the GPS (The Holy Spirit) says turn right.  Jesus turns left.  We turn left as the GPS tells us to turn left.  But then we come to a fork in the road.  Jesus goes left.  But we look right and it seems better.  So we go right.

The Holy Spirit says, go right.  Go right.  And then... recalculating...  The Holy Spirit is always trying to bring us back the Jesus.  All that we need to do is be willing to repent and turn back to Jesus.

So this is a great analogy.  Jesus has given us free will to do whatever we want.  We please him when we follow him with our free will.  Let's keep Jesus close!  Allow Jesus to lead.  Depend upon Him know the direction!

Thanks T.C. for helping me follow Jesus better!

Monday, March 27, 2017

If I could just explain!

I am reading the story found in Luke 24 of the followers of Jesus on the road to Emmaus.  During this walk, Jesus joins them after he had been crucified in his resurrected glorified body.  They didn't recognize him.  Jesus asked what they were talking about.  And they said they were discussing about the things that had happened to Jesus these past few days.  They asked him, how could anyone not have heard about these things?  They explained that this man Jesus, who they thought was the predicted messiah, had been killed.  And also, some of his followers found his body was gone from the tomb!

Jesus then explained to them all that had been written about himself in the scriptures (Old Testament) to us.

What an amazing lesson in the Bible... from Jesus himself!

I have listened to messages from pastors about what Jesus likely said.  Fascinating!  Exciting!  And definitely convincing that Jesus is our Messiah!

And as I read that passage, it makes me want to sit down with people who do not know Jesus and tell them... not in quick phrases, but in extensive investigations into the Old Testament.  I am just so convinced that if someone really had those passages and concepts explained, they too would want to follow this Jesus!

Any takers?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Christians--- Even when things are bad... consider these 5 blessings

When I have a bad day, I often count my blessings to get my mood right.  Some of those blessings are my health, my wife, my kids, and my friends.  But I always go one step deeper... what happens if I didn't have any of those, like Job?

How could Job still have joy in light of his circumstances?

  1. God called me before time began!  In Ephesians 1:11, Paul states that believers are predestined!  That is, God chose us before time began to spend eternity with Him!  Wow!
  2. God sent Jesus to save me!  John 3:16 tells us that God sent Jesus to die for us so we would live with Him for eternity.  That is sacrifice!
  3. God opened my eyes to His truth.  In Matt:13:15-6 tells us that God opens our eyes to His truth.  We cannot accept Jesus unless God allows us to have our eyes opened to the truth.
  4. God's word is written down for us to know what He has to say to us.  Jesus lived 2,000 years ago.  God could have seen fit that the record of His life was not written down.  But God has given us the Bible to know all that He has to say about His own plan.
  5. And finally, God did not require us to do it alone.  Rather, He gave us a great cloud of witnesses.  God gave us church to gather with other believers.  He has put people in our lives to encourage and exhort us.

When things are not great, I meditate on this truth!