Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Da Word... 234! No Bubbles!

It's quite easy to buckle down and work inside of a bubble.  In fact, sometimes it downright seems like the best course of action!  The problem lies when the bubble is the only environment in which we move, think, and act.  It becomes VERY easy to convince ourselves of a single course... only to end up with results that completely blow up in our faces.

For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.
- Proverbs 11:14

As mentioned in the intro, isolating oneself is many times a good way to reap destruction.  Now that was kind of extreme, but I say it to make a point.  If outside perspectives are not taken into account, profound discoveries could be lost.   And those lost nuggets of wisdom could very well take down a nation -- so reads the proverb.  What would drive someone to reject even the desire to gather outside input?

There are many reasons.  For instance, the individual could be a control freak.  Yes!  This type of manic control is a sure shot to the most effective blinders you have ever seen.   On the flip side, an individual could simply be afraid of criticism.  It takes some mettle to be able to put your idea out there for the world to take a couple swings at.  As a result, thick skin is sometimes required.  And still, there are others who simply believe they know all the answers.  Maybe he or she came up with some pretty genius stuff back in the day, was catapulted to rock star status, and have now let it get to their head.  This is probably the worst case because such a person is EXTREMELY difficult to talk to!  It's even more difficult to get them to admit they may potentially have made a mistake!!!  I know you know what I'm talking about!

So to avoid the gigantic blow up, we need advisers!  If you look around and do some homework on those we perceive as wildly successful, you will notice each has a circle of trusted advisers.  And that's the key.  Getting an adviser just to have one is a path to ruin.  No, we need to recruit advisers that are trusted, sort of your inner circle.  These should be people who also recognize the importance of critical thought, the sharing of ideas, the seeking of feedback, and the value of mentors.  These are the kinds of people who will tell it to you straight and will protect you from operating in an isolated bubble.

We need to remember that we are social beings whose very ability to do amazing things is magnified by relationships.  Relationships bind us together and make us stronger.  We are not meant for bubbles!  Besides, bubbles can be a lonely place.  Who wants that?  By instead incorporating others, we raise the collective level of all involved and multiply the potential benefit to all those potentially affected.  Bust a hole in that bubble and let's get on with increasing our probability of success!


  - patrick

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Da Word... 233! Embracing the Zone

Ever get in the zone?  I mean, really in the zone?  Isn't it a great feeling!  I remember playing pool with some friends.  There was one game in particular where I was on fire.  I'm telling you, if there ever were a zone.. THAT was it!  I COMPLETELY ran the table on these fools!  Sinking shot after shot, one after the other, I could only hear the words from that classic NBA Jam video game echoing in my head, "He's heating up! HE'S ON FIRE!!!!"  By not getting distracted, my output blew the charts. They didn't even get to take a shot!

The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.
- J (Matthew 13:22)

Let's set the stage a bit.  My man J (da Christ), had just told a parable about a sower who was sowing seed and as he did some some fell among different types of earth.  There were those that fell on the path, those that fell on rocky places, those that fell among thorns, and those that fell among good soil.  Later, Jesus explained the parable to his inner crew of disciples. And that's where the above verse comes into play, my man J explaining about the seeds that fell among the thorns.

In His description, the seed that falls among the thorns basically represents those individuals who lose sight of the big picture.  These are the people who get distracted, lose focus, and fall out of the zone.  But the zone is where we wanna be!  What's interesting is how this type of person loses sight of the big picture and falls out of the zone: the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth.  And whats even more interesting?  J describes these things as choking!  Thus making this person unfruitful.

It sounds to me like this type of person is one who means well, but is going about it incorrectly.  The worries of this life are always going to be present.  So sinking hours, days, and months into worries is not an effective use of our time!  If instead we focus on the bigger picture and on something greater than ourselves, the looming specter of our worries suddenly begins to diminish in size.  It's loom loses its bite and pales in comparison to the vision of the big picture.  And thus, life's worries become easier to navigate.

Wealth... now that's no adversary to take lightly!  The picture of wealth is amazingly deceptive.  It's easy to fall into notion that wealth can solve all problems.  And that's so not true!  Wealth brings along its own problems!  Check out the Dave Chappelle interview on Inside the Actors Studio.  He drops some bonafide nuggets about how people change, especially your supposed friends, when suddenly 50 mil is written next to your name.  And if money solved all problems, why do many of the rich feel devoid of the genuine nature of joy? We, as humans, always want what we don't have and think the grass is greener on the other side.  One can easily fall into the mode of chasing money, falsely thinking that acquiring wealth will catapult his/her efforts to attain the big picture.  Instead, he will find himself doing all the things to increase his wealth, and doing none of the things that would advance progress towards the big picture.  In short, he is unfruitful having been choked.

So what's da word?  Embrace the zone.  Check your trajectory from time to time.  Ask yourself, is worrying about this or chasing that bringing me closer to the big picture?  Is it allowing me to produce output that blows the charts?  Or, is it causing me to deviate from the path?  Let's get in the zone and start producing 30, 60, and 100 fold!  Let's produce genuine fruit.


  - patrick

Monday, November 23, 2009

Da Word... 232! What goes in will come out

I've heard some stories about people swallowing some insaaaaane things.  What they fail to remember is that if the body can't digest it..... someway or another, it's going to be coming out!  And in some cases, that coming out may not be too comfortable.... ahem..... if you know what I mean.  The point though is this, anything we take into our bodies will certainly be expressed, even if transformed, and will have a rippling impact.

 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.
- J (Matthew 12:35)

In this passage, my man J (Jesus) is verbally whippin' some Pharisees into shape.  I mean, these guys did not know who they were trying to step in the ring with.  Here's my man J, healing some people, and in come the Pharisees attempting to attribute his good to the work of evil incarnate!  Ludicrous... so J took off the gloves and, in the process, conveyed a great truth.  What one fills himself or herself with will most certainly express itself in leaps and bounds.

It's all about perspective.  Two people can look at the same situation and interpret or act upon it in completely different ways.  And that response has to do with one's body of experience.  The verse above speaks to the extremes.  But of course we know there is always gray.  However the point is clear, we are what we eat.  Think about it, if all you ever do is ethical, humble, compassionate, encouraging, committed, and passionate, such actions will affect your thinking!  You will have trained your mind to operate in a certain way, and now it's straight muscle memory.  Like in any physical activity, you do enough reps of a certain maneuver and it becomes second nature.  You perform without even having to think about it.  In the same way, whenever something new comes around, your mind has already been trained to snap into a mode of approaching the new experience with the great perspective you've trained it to use.

Now if you always teeter on the edge, that thin line between what's right and what's not, you will soon enough train your mind to always operate in that fuzzy area.  And if you tend to step over that line, pretty soon it won't take much to push you over. It is true, bad company will most certainly corrupt good character.  Even if a person appears to be a pillar (and it only works if his or her beliefs are anchored into something much greater than he or she), if that individual's common experience 24/7 is with bad company, the probability still exists that that person's thinking could be altered for the worse.  Pretty soon, those gray areas no longer seem all that gray, and stepping over the line no longer seems like such a bad thing.  The transformation is subtle. You never know it until one day, BAM!  It hits you square in the face. But alas, you are already in too deep.

It's about perspective my friends.  And we can change our perspective.  All we gotta do is change or augment our eating habits.  Who do you wish to become?  What kind person do you want to be?  Do you wanna be the line stepper?  Or that inspiring leader?  It boils down to one question that we should ask ourselves weekly:

What am I eating?


  - patrick

Monday, November 16, 2009

Da Word... 231! Anything Constructive?

I'm sure there are more annoying things, but this one's got to be up there: people who tear down but never bring anything to table.  You know what I mean?  That person who is always looking for something that is wrong, or just gunning to call somebody out... the most probable to get decked out, heh heh.  It's a good thing this person usually surrounds himself or herself with people who are self-controlled!

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath.  His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.  When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, "Look!  Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath."
- Matthew 12:1,2

The entire passage following these verses are primarily about the concept of mercy vs. sacrifice, mercy being the greater of the two.  Jesus teaches about compassion, and where law must take a backseat to the expression of love and the true purpose of the Sabbath and the Law.  Jesus even healed someone that same day, and the Pharisees tried to call him on it saying, "isn't it unlawful to heal on the Sabbath!"  Crazy isn't it?

Let's focus a bit on the disposition of the Pharisees.  They are like that person described in the intro, always looking to find fault.  But that's not all!  These peeps tend not to take on responsibility nor put forth any ideas to help a cause or bring people closer to a solution!  It's perfect ;-D  They can never be at fault, but can always attempt to expose fault.  It's a recipe for breeding self-righteousness and conceit.  The effect on your character?  Let's just say, it's probably not the path you'd want it to take.

Instead, let's endeavor to focus on being constructive!  That's how we all, together, can move forward as a people.  It is the building of on another up that elevates our quality life, both tangibly and intangibly.  And it's that intangible stuff that makes that quality light years better!  Because in this scenario, you know that your fellow man or woman is actually looking out for you.  And that makes all the difference.  Let's embrace compassion, for compassion with a mix of passion accelerates progress.  Word.


  - patrick

Monday, November 02, 2009

Da Word... 230! The Purpose of More

Sometimes you wonder, why am I so fortunate to have received so much!  I'm speaking abstractly here, but it could apply to many items, both tangible and intangible.  It could be fortunate opportunities, great friends, an uncanny knack for something in a particular area, intelligence, social "karma", and more.  Does it ever hit you, why me?  What is the purpose of more?

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
- 2 Corinthians 9:10,11

My man Paul is writing to the Corinthians and he's got tons of great knowledge to drop.  This is one of those great pieces.  In the verses surrounding, Paul is talking about generosity and giving to help the cause.  He talks about giving cheerfully, not begrudgingly.  He reminds them that Pops above supplies and it is up to us to be good stewards of what he has given.

Now there are many pretty sweeeeeeeeeeeeet things that happen when  we give. Good stuff.  But here we are talking about the purpose of more.  It says in these verses that the person who gives generously will be given even more!  It says that Pops who supplies the seed, will supply even more seed if we give that seed away.  So the path to more isn't hoarding, but sharing.  Go back and read that last sentence one more time. But why are we given more?  Now this part is pretty AWESOME!

We are given more so that we CAN be generous at EVERY possible opportunity!  We are given more so that we are enabled and empowered to enable and empower others!  And the result?  MASSIVE RIPPLE EFFECT BABY!  You have NO idea the lives being touched by your giving of what you have to enable another.  That one person could impact two. Those two could impact four, and BOOM!  The juice is loosed. Now imagine the repercussions if we instead hoard.... not good.

The purpose of more is to impact lives, to have a positive effect on our fellow men, women, and children.  The raising of the collective well being of all those around us by being selfless elevates the true quality of life and being of everyone.  And that, my friends, is when we start to really experience life!  Don't let it escape you!  You don't wanna miss it, trust me.  We are all blessed in unique ways, share it!  And watch as you are elevated ;-D


  - patrick

Monday, October 26, 2009

Da Word... 229! Resurgence

And we're back!  That's right!  It was a long hiatus, but we are back!

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord's work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted.
- 1 Corinthians 15:58

And there you have it!  Part of the reason I stopped composing these bad boys was the feeling that its effectiveness was waning.  Yup!  In fact, my plan was to create some kind of survey, send it out, and assess from the responses whether or not to continue.   Problem was I never got around to creating a survey!  And then well.... you know... time flew by...

But then three weeks ago I was in church, straight chillin'.  The pastor was doing a sermon on "generous living."  He then got around to that verse up above.  BOOM!  It hit me!  And you know what?  A couple of you out there shared the same type of thought with me way back when you noticed the disappearance.

What's the word?  The word on the street here is that nothing done for Pops above is wasted effort.  Now to be clear, this is not to say anything that's anything done "for" Pops above is not wasted.  There are plenty of things people do and claim they are doing FOR Pops... and it's just not true!  We are talking here about legit activity we do for Pops, like speaking the good news!

So to all you fellow soldiers, all of you who are towing the line, all of you who are in the trenches, take courage and take heart!  You can rest assured that your work will be fruitful whether or not you see the tangible results of your labor.  Our job is to remain strong and steady, to move forward!  And most of all, to remain ENTHUSIASTIC!  It is that enthusiasm, that knowledge that you and Pops are shoulder to shoulder, that will drive you.  You have NO idea the impact you are having.   And believe me, it is great!  Every once in a while a story will circle back around to you about how one small word you said changed a life, in fact saved a life.  Isn't that what it's all about?  Rise up homie and carry that torch!!!  A little further now ;-D


  - patrick

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