- Just think what can happen when people like you pray for a generation?
- Just think of what can happen when people like you pour into a generation?
- Just think what can happen when people like you provide for a generation?
June 4, 2016 – Surprise!
My day began with Derek, my son surprising me at the golf course. Derek was taking a little video of me warming up on the range and this guy walked up and said, “I believe the starter paired me with you today!” Wow! What a surprise. It was Eric, a friend of ours from Dallas who had come to play and celebrate my birthday.
After our round of golf and a little chipping contest, the plan was go home and grill some burgers and hangout with these friends from Dallas and my family. But on the way home I got a call from Derek telling me that I needed to stop at the grocery store and pick-up some baked beans for supper.
Then came the second surprise of the day.
When I got home I walked into a a house it was filled with 50 people saying, “Surprise, Happy Birthday!” I was greeted with a happy birthday sign, two big gold balloons (one was a “6” and the other was a “0”), and many other balloons. On the table a beautiful cake with a picture of me playing the 18th hole at Harbor Town at Hilton Head.
Yes, my wife, Rachel, had pulled off a huge surprise “60th Birthday Party” and I had absolutely no idea.
June 5, 2016, Now I am almost 60 years old.
Tonight I sit at my in my chair contemplating the big day. It is when I move from living five decades to beginning of my sixth decade of life. You guessed it, tomorrow I turn 60 years old.
So this night is about reflecting on my life. I can remember the many of those milestones along my journey to this number. Whether it was 20, 30, 40, or 50 years old I took time to sit and think about where I was at an where I wanted to go, do, and be in life at those ages. Well, I have to admit, tonight is a little different.
I have now lived 21,900 days. In sports terms I am just starting the fourth-quarter. I have played the first three quarters (three at 20 years) and now it is time to start the fourth-quarter. It is the time in the game of life when a person’s practice, conditioning, experience become the most apparent. You have prepared for this time. There has been hours and hours of learning and trying to master those things that are important in life.
Just like I had to mastering the art of dribbling, passing, and shooting to be effective on a basketball court. A person in life needs to understand the their passion and purpose and then align their priorities to reach their potential. When you know your “Why” you then can align you priorities to reach your potential and learn to be great at being you. In my case I have tried to learn to be great at just being Dan.
There were those intense times of conditioning when you left the court and your legs felt like rubber and could hardly take another step. But it was that conditioning which separates you from the competition in the fourth quarter.
It is through those times of walking into the gym to practice your skills, run drills or do “killers” to get you in playing condition, or stepping on to the court to play the game, that you gain the experience needed to play in the fourth quarter.
Because of your experience and the wisdom (grey hair to go with it) you now are ready for the pressure you will get from the opposition. This isn’t your first time to the rodeo. You have been here before you know what you need to do in the fourth quarter to win the game. It is time to say, “Give me the ball, coach!” Let’s “Finish well” in the fourth quarter of this game of life.
When writing this I was reminded of songwriter Lukas Graham in his song, “Once I was Six Years Old”. There are a few very powerful parts in those lyrics. The song starts out, “Once I was seven years old my momma told me, Go make yourself some friends or you’ll be lonely. Once I was seven years old. He goes on to say, “Once I was eleven years old…” then states some advise he got from dad. “Once I was twenty years old…I see my goals, I don’t believe in failure.” He progress on, “Once I was thirty years old…” talks about how his career, traveled, and still learning about life.
He goes on to say, “Soon I’ll be sixty years old..my daddy got “sixty-one” (Wow!)” Aill the sudden the tone of the song changes to thinking death and dying. “Soon I’ll be sixty years old…will I think the world is cold or will I have lots of children to keep me warm.” Then ends the song going back to the original theme, “Once I was seventy years old…my momma told me go make some friends or you’ll be lonely. Once I I was seven years old.”
June 6, 2016, So now I am 60 years old.
You see at this milestone I have started counting days and not years. Turning 60 you have a different outlook of the fourth quarter that is different than playing a game. When you play a game you get many fourth quarters. In life you just get one fourth quarter. All the conditioning of those challenges, failures, difficulties, and pain has prepared me for now. Many years ago there was a term that I used to motivate my leadership teams, “Carpe Diem”. It simply meant “Seize the Moment”. That is what I am going to do as I begin the fourth quarter.
I am glad that in this period I do have somethings figured out. I do understand my purpose. I have worked to alleging my priorities so that I can reach my potential. I too, have learned to balance my time and manage my activities with the priorities of my life. For the first three quarters I have worked hard to be the best I can be. So that in a world that isn’t about just about “me” I could learn to do be good at we. I learned years ago, their is no I in TEAM and I am a team player.
This is not the time so slow down it is time to reeve up the engine it is the most important part of the game it is the fourth quarter and it all about finishing well. That is exactly what I plan on doing!
So whether we are talking about your life, marriage, or career stay wake and keep your focus on the road ahead.
Many years ago, I was driving to Kansas City with my family. At that time we had a new Jeep Grand Cherokee and we had been driving for about five hours. My family were all sleeping and dad was at the wheel. Yes, I was a little tired, but you know how that is you are on a journey to a distinction so you push through. You suck on ice, chew bubble gum, and open the window to get a little air blowing through the car. Well, that is what I did.
After we had passed through Des Moines I was doing well, but it was about an hour south of Des Moines I got tired. So tired that I was starting to nod off a little. So more bubble gum and ice to chew on and window up and down to get that breeze. But all the sudden on one of those times I nodded off, I opened my eyes and had no idea where I was at or what I was doing. Now the Jeep has down in the ditch with the cruise control on at 70 mph when I was jolted to realize my situation. Now all I could think about of was getting the vehicle out of the ditch (lucky that I did, because there was a culvert we would have hit). So still in a daze, but I did not hit the break. I just tried to get out of the ditch.
So what did we do? Well, after pulling over and getting my bearings again. I got back into the drivers seat and we just proceeded on the journey. That incident that we experienced could have been very devastating to me and my family, but the only thing we could do was to get back on the road. But when we did, no one went back to sleep. We all stayed awake keeping our eyes on the road toward Kansas City.
There are times when you have to wake up and react to the circumstances that we are in. Just get our bearings again and get back on the road. There too are times, when we just need to relax because there is nothing you can do about the detour on the road you took. Yes, it might take a few minutes longer to get to our destination. But what I have learned in life is, if stay on the course we will get there. In both causes we just need to keep going.
So again if in your life, career, marriage, or any other part of your journey, you are going to have those twists and turns on the road. There maybe some times when you will encounter detours from what your plan is. The line between point A and point B just might not be straight, but my friends, if you will stay on the road you will get to your destination.
When I arrived they ran a echocardiogram and the test came back that my ejection fraction (a measurement of how much look the left ventricle pumps out with each contraction) was 10%. He told us that my heart was enlarged because of the fluid and that I had a heart value that was leaking. Not such good news. Matter of fact one of the first things he told us was that he had contacted the University of Minnesota and that he was putting me on the heart transplant list. I wasn’t sure is that was better or worst news.
That was February 17, 2009 and now today I am happy to say that I am still alive and functioning. Yes, things have changed a lot in my life and for my family. There have been times through out our almost 39 years in our marriage when we might be in a tough season. At those times I could tell my wife, “Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine”. Well, even that changed that day because of new fears of future and what that would mean moving forward. But with the medications that my cardiologists have me on, for the most part, I have maintained a pretty good quality of life.
Yes, I still battle arrhythmia. It is a condition where my heart will go out of sinus rhythm and will beat irregularly. Why that happens is a mystery to us and the cardiologists. But it is a reality we live. Just in past 12 months my heart has been out of 35 times, where a episode will last anywhere from 8 to 24 hours usually. But with what I call “my pill in a pocket” it will (the pill) shocks my heart back into rhythm. But if that does not work within a 48 hour period from the time the arrhythmia begins, I have have a procedure administrated to me called cardioversion.
This procedure is done by a electrocardiologist who places PADDLES on the heart and administrates electronic voltage to shock the heart back into rhythm, hopefuly. This all needs to be done in a timely manner within a 48 hour period from the time the arrhythmia begins. If not there is greater risk of stroke. Over the years I have had this procedure performed four times, but in the past few. The pill has worked for me every time within the time perimeters that have been set.
So all in all I have been able to maintain a pretty good quality of life. When my heart is functioning and beating right I feel really good. When it isn’t well that is another story. I really just want to do nothing. When I stand I am dizzy and get hot and honestly most the time I just want to go and crawl in bed. I will drive myself crazy at times checking my wrist every few seconds, hoping and praying that my heart will go back in rhythm soon.
So that is why I asked the question, “Have you checked your heart beat lately?”
Yes, I have shared a little of my journey physically. But for you it might not be physical.
What vital sign do you need to check in in your life, leadership, or passion to see if you are healthy and beating right?
Do whatever you have to do to keep it your heart beating, even if it means PADDLES!
It is a Sunday night and the plan was to leave early in the morning to beat the traffic. When my wife got up she looked out the window and saw big flakes of snow coming down. She could see the roads were already covered with the white stuff. The weather report was that the snow would start about 9 am, but I guess the weather man was wrong because it was 6:30 am and we are going to need to leave earlier than we had originally planned to beat the traffic.
So now we have a new plan. It is, go as soon as we can get ready to leave. So we are rushing around getting ready, grabbing a little breakfast (we decided not to have the traditional scrambled eggs), and then grab the suitcase and my computer bag and we will be out the door.
I went out to start the car, because it is not winter Minnesota and I wanted the car to be nice and warm for my wife when she go in the car. So we pull out of the garage and it is snowing. So I did what you need to do in this situation, I turned on my wipers. When I turned them on the arms came-up the window and the driver’s side blade fell off the blade. Remember, we are in a hurry to get on the snowy, icy, and slippery roads and I have never had the blade fall off the arm before. But why today! We are in a hurry.
Remember, we are hurrying to beat the traffic on the first day of snowy, icy, and slippery roads. What? You have to be kidding. The my wiper blade has come off the wiper arm?
So I got out of the car and looked at the blade. The truth of the matter is, when I am not rushed and I have the instructions in front of me, I have a hard time putting on the windshield wiper blade on. So now, it is snowing, we are trying to get ahead of the traffic, and I have an wiper arm without a blade on it. We have a problem.
At that moment I had a choice at that time. The way I saw it I had a few options. My first was to quickly try to get the blade back on the arm, so I tried that and in my haste realized the plastic piece that held the blade on the arm was broke. So that option was out the window. The other choice was to go back home and get the MiniCooper, that care is not the best in the snow, but it could work. So I thought of one other option. Just lift the arm without the blade from the glass (so it would not scratch the window) and just drive with the one blade on the passenger side. So that is what I did.
What I realized is that you can drive a car with one windshield wiper working. It is not easy to do, because you have limited vision, so I had to really concentrate on what I was doing while driving on the slick roads. It is not something that I would recommend, but nevertheless, it can be done.
So what was the lesson?
Isn’t it amazing how things that we take for granted or seem such little part of our life go when they don’t work can mess us up. Your vision can be hampered, or that little thing can throw you off of your game, or hinder your progress.
This morning, “My windshield wipers were not working” and it threw us off our plan and it also limited our vision, but after I dropped my wife off at the light rail, I went and fixed the wiper.
Don’t you wish all those things in life that can hamper your progress, limit your vision, or throw you off your plan could be fixed by just going to the auto store?
Think about this…
What do you wish in your life, relationships, business or any other part of your world you could fix by going to the auto store?
Yes, your story really does matter! Jesus commanded us to, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” He also told us as believers to “Go”, but we would not have to do it alone. The promise was we would receive power to tell what we had experienced and witnessed to “our” Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth.
What I have experienced in the Church, is we were really good at the ends of the earth part of those words of Jesus, but the Jerusalem part was difficult for all of us. It does seem to matter our age, whether we are (older or younger) Boomers, Baby Boomer, Gen Xers, Millennial’s we have all been called to tell the story. Matter of fact sometimes I have seen the older we get the more callous we are to the story.
We see it all the time with people going on a missions trip to some other part of the world. They are so excited to go and work day and night doing everything thing we can to impact the lives of those we are trying to reach in foreign country. They raise money from family and friends to have the experience of a different world. The mission may be to may feed, cloth, pass out literature, have gatherings on the streets and/or in buildings (or a combination of some of all) to see lives changed.
But when we get home from the incredible experience, does it really impact us in reaching our Jerusalem or does it get us excited about taking another mission trip. You see people in our neighborhood, in the work place, friends, teammates on our ball team, fine arts, or in our classrooms need to hear the story. These are people dealing with all kinds of issues and challenges in their lives and they to hear the story.
So what is it that keeps us from “our” Jerusalem? Is it the fear? Is it rejection?
Paul said it this way, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to very one who believes. Is it the message? You see there is a place where we come into the story. Call that experience, moment, or season what every you want, but the journey of being a Christ follower starts somewhere.
It is I Cor. 5:17 that says, “If any man or woman, boy, or girl be in Christ he is a new creation the old life is gone and a new life comes.” There is a change in your life.
But that is just the beginning of this exciting journey. Because everyone needs to not only come to faith or start the journey, but they really need to own the experience. What do I mean? A person needs to own their experience?
If a person owns their relationship with Jesus it will impact how they live their life, for the rest of their life.
As a person lives there life, they will out of the natural interactions be able to share their story with others. In the church that has been called witnessing. I really believe it is the fear of witnessing that scares people from witnessing. You see your story and your journey from darkness to light is powerful. It is your story and it has the potential to resonate with the people God brings into your path. When you step out or look for opportunities to share your story those opportunities will come. It maybe with a family member, friend, colleague, or a stranger who needs to hear “your” story.
When you come to faith, when you understand the fact that you need to own your faith, it isn’t your dad or moms, or friends faith it is yours, you will live it. Think about it this way. You come faith, then you have to own the message, when you own it, you will live it, when you live it you will naturally share it. I really believe if you own, live, and share your story, you will keep your faith for a lifetime. Through all your life-turns, changes, and challenges your will have a solid foundation to build your life on.
There is an old hymn that I remember singing. I can see mom at the piano or on the organ and dad at the pulpit leading the congregation in singing these powerful words, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” It is the second verse says, “When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gal, my anchor holds within the veil.” Then third verse we would sing,
When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found. Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.” Then the chorus, “On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.”
There are going to be struggles and challenges in your life, but when you life is build on the foundation of the rock you are going to have opportunities for you to share your story. How God transformed your life. You will be able to tell about what your life was like before you became a follower of Christ and what has happened since that time in your story.
You see, if you own and live your faith, just be ready God opens the door for you to share your story. As you continue to share your story of transformation and struggle to be fully alive in Christ, the story you share will keep you alive in Christ for a life-time.
Your Story…it is yours. Own it! Live it! Share it! Keep it fresh and alive for a life-time!
Do really realize that “Your Story” really does matter?
It could just be that “someone” who your life intersects who just needs to hear “your” story. It just could be your story that will help them to write a “Better” story as together, we invite people to pursue the struggle of becoming fully alive in God.
Four Questions to Ponder:
I was just sitting at Starbucks one afternoon doing some strategic planning. When a 23 year old young man leans over to ask me a question. Because I had kind of been overhearing his conversation with a couple of young ladies, I had a pretty good idea of what he might ask. And sure enough it was a question that I have been asked many in my 38 years working with young people. It was a simple and straight forward question, yet one of the very the most complex and puzzling questions anyone could ever ask.
He politely said, “Sir, can I ask you a question?” I responded, “Sure you can.” He asked the question, “What do you think is the meaning to life?” Wow, that is one of those loaded questions. So, not knowing where he was coming from I began by answering his question with a question. I began trying to find out where he was on the spectrum of that question, in his journey in life.
So I began to explore where he was coming from by restating the question from the word “meaning” of life to “purpose” of life. As he responded to my question, he told me where he was philosophically. So we proceeded to have a very interesting conversation around this very simple, complexed and puzzling question that many people are asking.
My question to you is simply this, “How would you have responsed to the question?”
What have you discovered in you journey in life to be the answer to that question?
What is Collaboration? It is defined as, “The interaction among two or more individuals that can range from a variety of actions, like communication, sharing of information, coordination, cooperation, problem solving and negotiation. It really is a process of a group of people working together or the act of working jointly. It usually occurs when two or more people interact and exchange knowledge in the pursuit of a shared, collective goal.”
The question that I often get asked about the mission and vision of Allies is this, “Is the sometimes difficult process of collaboration a relevant and worthwhile effort?”
My passionate response to that question is, “YES it is!” I believe the best way, in this ever changing world, is to maximize our efforts, experience and expertise with a common vision. I realize everyone has a role and as we bring people to be part of the conversation we are able to have a greater impact, together. Everyone cannot do everything well, but as we do our part and work together as other like-minded people and organizations focused on the mission, our synergistic approach allows us to do more as resources (people and financial) are leveraged to reach and mentor the next generation.
So how do you see collaboration effective in your world?
t does not matter if you are young and old; it has been said that there are three different kinds of people:
Many times when it comes to making things happen, we have our expectations of who can make it happen. I believe that our world is seeing a major turn in our expectations. Have you ever looked at your world and said, “I sure wish we would have had that technology when I was younger?” I have! I like to think of myself as being aggressive and a very progressive leader. I used to be the young man, but now that I am older, it is my desire to use my experience and wisdom to lead a generation of young leaders; leaders who have the technology, passion and vision to change their world.
God has placed me with a group of a couple hundred young leaders who are not satisfied to just wait for things to happen. They are out aggressively making things happen. My glimpse into this young world gives me hope for the future because these leaders are on a mission, in community, with a plan to let God use them to see lives changed for the cause of Christ! Stay tuned I believe the church is going to hear more and more about a movement led by students, which is creating a new paradigm in youth ministry. Check it out at www.campusmovement.org, remember these are students who, with God’s help, have decided to make something happen.
Friends, if you are going to be a world changer for Christ, it starts by letting Christ be the change agent in your life. So, the question is…What kind of person are you or do you want to be?