We got to share our everyday life with a good friend this weekend!
Tag Archives: friend
In many ways this blog is more journal than anything else. That’s not bad, of course, just a realization on my part.
Presidential politics are annoying to me. Regardless of whom you support, the entire process gets out of hand. People are so intent on telling you the negative things about the opponent, you rarely hear the good things about the one you support. I’ve had the opportunity participate in two public opinion polls in the past five days – which makes me wonder if people who don’t own land lines get to participate in the polls as well – and, in my opinion, it seems the questions are phrased in ways to get you to answer in a certain way. I answered truthfully. Although I wanted to answer just to confuse the results.
I’ve got some great friends. We experienced a glitch in selling our house this week, and upon hearing the news a friend commented to my wife something to the effect of: “I really hope something good happens for you guys, it’s been awhile.” Charles is a good guy. He doesn’t completely understand why we do what we do, but he’s my friend and he supports our decisions! A few years ago Charles refused to speak to a newspaper reporter asking questions about a story on me because he knew the reporter would twist his words in a negative way. When I left a job at FBC Inverness, Charles came to the church service that day, sat with Cyndi and me, and then took us to breakfast afterwards. Charles is the kind of guy you would be lucky to have as your friend.
Great conversations this week with my wife Cyndi. Many about the sovereignty of God and believing that He knows what’s best for us and that He has a plan for us. She has some great wisdom and insight. I’m lucky she loves me! One of our conversations revolved around the fact that if God was in control yesterday then He is in control today and He will be in control tomorrow. If things were going our way and He was in control, then He is still in control if things don’t seem to go our way! This is easy to say when things are good – can be more difficult to acknowledge when things are not as good!
Cyndi’s cousin spent last night with us as she was nearby for work. I don’t think I have encountered someone who loves their job as much as she does in a long time! It was refreshing to hear her retell events that have taken place, about her coworkers and her general enjoyment about how her job impacts youth. She works in the juvenile justice system and does have an impact on the future.
Sometime I’m going to express my complete thoughts about all the discussions on health care. Right now I’m frustrated with the application process we are going through in applying for health insurance. We haven’t had health insurance in almost two years – because I can’t afford it! We recently spent almost two hours with an agent completing an application for Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance. Two weeks later we received a list of additional questions based on claims we had made almost ten years earlier with BCBS. While I know it’s important in the underwriting process, I also know BCBS has access to all of that information. I really dislike the process and I really dislike the interaction with health insurance when it’s time to make a claim. I’m glad our friend Annette got to participate in the universal coverage provided by the United Kingdom when she battled cancer a few years back – at least she didn’t have to battle an insurance company as well.
Thankful for the people in our lives who continue to lift us up in prayer and encourage us! It’s rare to have people in your lives like that. If you have some, cultivate their friendships. If you don’t, then be a friend to someone and encourage them!
We have been a transitional phase of our lives for about 19 months. Wanting to leave the area but tethered to a home here like thousands of Floridians. The housing market is great if you’re looking to buy a home. Not as great if you are looking to sell a home! We listed our home with a friend who is a realtor – nice gesture but no action! When the listing expired we decided to try to sell it ourselves. While we were a little discouraged, we were convinced there was/is a family out there that will be perfect for our home – God just hadn’t shown it to them yet! Long story short, it appears we will have a contract to sell our house in a few days! God’s timing is certainly not my timing but I have got to be convinced it is so much better! Of course, now the other part of the mystery equation is what I will do as gainful employment and where! We have devoted a large part of our lives during this phase to serving at City Church Tallahassee and want to continue to be where God wants us to be. City Church has been able to provide me some part-time income and will soon begin providing us health insurance – both we are very grateful for! I still need to find something to supplement that and I’m convinced that God will either show me where in Tallahassee or provide for me where He wants us to be!
While my housing comments seem to be about good timing, I received a text yesterday from a friend that wasn’t good at all. My friend shared with me he was now counted in the ranks of the unemployed. Terminated with no cause given. The day before a holiday. That just sucks. No nice way to describe it. But I’ve got to believe that God has something better planned for my friend. And I hope he will believe that soon. Our timing is never God’s timing, even though we like to think we have some control over things.
Today is the 4th of July – Independence Day in the United States of America. I’m grateful for the people who decided to do what they did to make this nation. I don’t worship them or this nation. There are some great things about being an American. There are some great things about other countries as well. If we’re not careful we can make our patriotism an idol in our lives. I’m more excited about the freedom I have in Christ!
New International Version (NIV)
Freedom in Christ
5 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
I am constantly in awe of the beauty of creation. This time of day is one of my favorites. To view the waves, the sunset, the nature and to consider how it looks and acts the way it does can be confounding.
A friend regularly calls me and arranges a time to get together – sometimes with a group of other men and sometimes just the two of us. Today was one of those times we got together. It’s a time where we drink coffee, catch up with life and our families, encourage each other and generally laugh a lot!
During our conversation my friend asked me about our finances. He knows our life story and knows the season of life we are currently experiencing. He knows we have stepped out in faith in a manner that is beyond his imagination (and sometimes ours)! As I shared with him some details and some of the crazy things that have happened to keep us going, I was quick to acknowledge I don’t believe at all it is a coincidence. I firmly believe that God has provided all we have, as we need it, when we need it and only what we need. My friend gets it. He understands. While he has never questioned our faith, I know he has wondered if it was genuine and real. I’m convinced God uses examples like this, uses our story to impact other lives. I know it has impacted my friend.
I don’t really believe in coincidences. Just as the sun rises and sets each day, I know God is in complete control. I’ve got to believe Jeremiah 29:11 – 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Cyndi and I are headed to Mexico Beach, Florida tomorrow afternoon. This view is what we’re hoping our evenings will be like for a few days!
Some random thoughts:
1. We’ve been walking for 12 straight days! Three miles in the morning and three miles in the evening! Great time to spend with my wife!
2. I calculated this week that we have spent about 25 days (24 hour days) commuting from Inverness to Tallahassee the past 18 months. Knowing that this was what God intended for us in this season of life has helped with the fatigue and stress that creeps in. Knowing He has a plan for our future keeps us going! Waiting for Him to reveal that plan!
3. Leadership is/can be hard. If it was easy, everyone would be a leader. Leaders who won’t do the hard things really aren’t leaders.
4. Laughter is good! We celebrated our end of semester community group this week with a “cook out”. Great food and so much laughter with some of our best friends. I can’t remember when I have laughed so hard or so loud!
5. Good friends are valuable. If you have a good friendship, work to keep it. If you don’t have a good friend, work to find one.
A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend about influence (actually wrote a quick thought about it on this blog).
Our talk was specifically about influence and responsibility – how is not defined by the other – and that the two are not equal. Simply because you have been relegated a responsibility within an organization does not equate to influence within the same organization. Responsibility is important. Without the accountability for what we are responsible for accomplishing our jobs would be devalued.
Influence is so much more than responsibility. Influence by definition (dictionary.com):
the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others: He used family influence to get the contract.
the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of another or others: Her mother’s influence made her stay.
a person or thing that exerts influence: He is an influence for the good.
Is your influence expanding or shrinking? One of my biggest strengths over the years has been my sphere of influence. What I have observed is my influence is sometimes diminished depending on how I am viewed in an organization.
Is it better to have a larger role within an organization with less influence? Or should one use the strengths you have and exert your influence?
The conversation with my friend may have helped both of us with the answers. I tend to believe that if your influence is shrinking then something may not be right. Our ability to influence for good is far more important than our organizational status! And on top of that it’s important to remember that our circumstances don’t define who we really are!
One of the very first leadership lessons I learned was by observing a boss of mine. Not only was he in charge according to the organization chart and he was the one who approved my pay and leave time – he was actually a leader by example.
This man actually walked the walk – not just talked the talk. He jumped in and got his hands dirty when it was required. He didn’t just tell me and others to do the things no one else wanted to do.
He had the tough conversations with staff as soon as they needed to be held. He didn’t wait until situations got out of hand and were impossible to reign in.
He prepared for presentations and other public interactions – he didn’t just wing it.
He made sure he interacted with his organization on a daily basis – he knew what they were doing and what projects they were working on and what their suggestions were for a better organization and product. He didn’t seclude himself from others or make it hard to meet with him.
He stood up for his followers (employees) – not just when things went awry as they sometimes do but publicly praised them regularly.
Perhaps most of all, this leader wanted those who were on his team to succeed – whether it was within his organization or beyond it. He cared about people.
He led by example. What kind of leader are you?