Your Story Really Does Matter?

my-story

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:

  1. How did you come to be a Christ follower?
  2. What does it mean to you to own your faith?
  3. What does living your faith look like to you?
  4. Do you look for opportunities to tell someone your story?

Passing the Baton

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I watched the Minnesota Timberwolves battle the Los Angeles Lakers in the first game of the 2015-16 season. It was a great game that really caught my attention. Even though it was on late, I decided to watch it to the end and boy am I glad I did. Early on the Lakers where very much in control of the game, but late in the contest the Timberwolves started to chip away at the lead.

In the fourth quarter it felt like the momentum had changed as they Timberwolves came back. The young players on the court,  Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, Carl-Anthony Towns, Zach Levine and Shabazz Muhamand and Serbian Nemanja (Serbian star) came back from 14 points down to take a 9 point lead. But the Lakers fought back in the closing minute of the game to take the lead. But with just 5 seconds left in the game, Wolves #1 pick the 2015 NBA Draft, the rookie hit a shot that gave the lead and the win.

What I saw at the end of the game impressed me. It is a picture that will stick in my mind and one that I believe we all can learn from and apply in our lives.

The closing of the game was incredible. The Minnesota Timberwolves older experienced veterans up off the bench cheering on their teammates. They watched as the baton was being passed. They were in the game a lot differently than they were used of being in the game. They were all used of being on the floor, listen to the coach design the play or call the defense. In that huddled they were getting ready to have their number called t0 take the last shot. But not last night! No they were cheering the young inexperienced players with so much potential as they try to win the game against the Los Angeles Lakers. With veteran, Hall of Fame player Kobe Bryant on the floors with his team, now in a different role on the team, veterans Kevin Garnett, Andre Miller, Tayshaun Prince, and Kevin Martin not even in the game when the game was on the line.

But the picture of these veterans with their arms around each other and as the camera pans their way jumping up and down as 1st pick in the 2015 draft, Karl-Anthony Towns hits a turn-around jump shot to put the T-wolves up 112 -111. Then during the ensuing time-out with just 4.2 seconds left, the emotional encouragement of the veterans of the young players to finish and win the game.

I believe that in life you get an opportunity to lead. At sometime and someplace you are given the opportunity to step to the plate and take the lead. I also believe there is a time when the baton gets passed on, either in a positive or negative way. When the experienced star, they guy that is used to being in the limelight, gives way to the inexperienced up-coming star to see them thrive in and under the pressure of the moment.

Whether that is in sports, church world, a company or organization there comes a time. There is a time for the baton to be pass.

How will? How are? How did you handle that time in your life as a business owner, entrepreneur, team member, CEO, lead pastor, or any other position of change?

Wow, what a moment in Minnesota Timberwolves Basketball and an one I will never forget. What a moment of teaching for those of us who truly desire pass the baton to the next generation as they dream and lead, as the spotlight of life pans away to the next generation!

And Suddenly

Suddenly
Just a couple of days ago a man who has had an impact on Minnesota basketball, passes away. This morning the head coach for the Minnesota Gopher Football team abruptly retires. And “Suddenly”.
In August he announced that he was stepping down as the coach the Minnesota Timberwolves, due to health issues. Then a couple of months later, Flip Saunders has died. Then, this morning Coach Jerry Kill abruptly and tearfully announced in a press conference that he would be retiring, saying his epilepsy has become too draining on him to continue his exhaustive effort to turn the program (University of Minnesota football) into a Big Ten power.
Kill stated he had two seizures this week and went to practice Tuesday anyway, hoping he could still make this (coaching) work. But the toll of his body, his mind, and his family has become too big. Kill said he has not slept more than three hours on any night in the last three-week.
“I went through a bad situation two years ago, and I’m headed right back there,” Kill said. His wife, Rebecca, has been staying up all night to monitor him in case of another seizure. He went on to say, “Hell, that ain’t anyway to live,”
Flip Saunders announced in August he was being treated for Hodgkin Lymphoma. His doctors considered it to be “very treatable and curable,” and he continued to remain the Timberwolves’ head coach and president of basketball operations. Then he was hospitalized with a “setback” in September, the team announced that He would miss the entire 2015-16 season.
Then, “suddenly” the announcement came, “The NBA family is mourning today of the loss of our friend and colleague, Flip Saunders,” said Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner.
“Flip untimely passing has left a gaping hole in the fabric of our league. Flip was a beloved figure around the NBA, nowhere more than in Minnesota, demonstrating a genuine and consistent passion for his players, his team, and the game.” And then suddenly this great man, coach,on Oct. 25, 2015. “The NBA family is mourning today of the loss of our friend and colleague, Flip Saunders.”
Reflecting on all these two stories I came to the realization that things and life can change “suddenly”. My then “suddenly” happened, February 17, 2009. I was in for a routine doctor visit, from which I was being rushed in an ambulance to Methodist Hospital, to learn that I had congestive heart failure. My ejection fraction (fluid being pumped through the heart) was just 10%. The cardiologist told us that my heart was enlarged and collecting fluid, and I had a leaky heart valve.  Then “Suddenly!”
There are circumstances that cause direction of ones life to take a drastic turn. Sometimes after many years of being in a position you love, or a place that you have dreamed of being, or a phone call, appointment, or doctor visit.
Change is inedible. We don’t really know when it is coming. Sometimes that change happens over a period of time as we evaluate a situation or our circumstance that is happening in our life. Other times it is a “suddenly”. One that you never expected to happen, nor were you prepared to happen. One of those things that happen other’s health, families or careers.
None of us are immune to any of these scenario in life.
As the sport’s announcers and radio talk show hosts and commenters deal with these losses we realize it can happen to anyone at any time.
And suddenly!
Whether in seemly the battle with cancer and a setback, or who abruptly has to leave the profession of coaching of 32 years he loved. Just remember not one of us are immune to then “Suddenly”.
Count on your health instead of your wealth
Count on God instead of yourself
 – Jerry Kill –

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“A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”

This is a very interesting quote. Throughout all of my life I have studied and learned about leadership. Taking the principles that have have learned and applying them as I have invested in others by adding value to to leaders who lead others. 

 “Leadership is influence: Nothing more and nothing less.” John C. Maxwell

Simply put, leaders influence others and great leaders do more than just inspire people to follow the leader them, but inspire others to have confidence in themselves to be the best they can be. When that happens everyone wins.

When I was a young leader myself, I came across this quote that really shaped how I would lead as a leader. In my desire becoming the best I could be and be a great leader, I put this on my refrigerator door and everyday I would read…

“A great leader will allow others to go further than they can go themselves”.

A great leader knows how to challenge, encourage, and instill confidence in people to dream bigger dreams and accomplish even greater things than they ever thought possible. In other words, a great leader will allow others to go further than they ever thought possible, even bigger than the person that who inspires them to dream and that is ok with the person who inspires their dream.

Do you have someone in your life that is challenging or coaching you to shoot for the moon? Over the course of my life, I have personally had people who invested in me and challenged me to think big. Is there someone in your life or on your team you are mentoring, leading, and challenging them to dream bigger and accomplish greater things? Who knows you just might be investing in a world changer!

So here is a question for you.

What is your dream, your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)? But too, who in your life is going to help you accomplish your dream to be a better you, so you can be a better we (part of a team).

When you become the best you can be (Be Great at You), you will have the confidence to be a better at we. Whether you are the boss, employer, employee or part of a team. Your investment in you will make you a much better teammate as you push toward the goals the team sets.

I believe there is one key to accomplishing great things. It is simply the confidence that you can and are becoming the best you possibly can be. You might want to check out Ephesians 3:20.

What do you think is the KEY to being a great leader?

What a Question?

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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?

 

How Do You Handle Criticism?

cirticism

To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing and be nothing

Elbert Hubbard

Criticism is something as a leader that you have to learn to deal with and face head on. If you don’t it will kill you and your leadership. It is just a matter of fact, not everyone is going to just love your ideas or line up with you philosophy. Many times your motives will be questioned and so learning what to do with criticism as a leader becomes very important.

I learned these principles early on in my leadership development when my mentor of mine, Robert M. Graber that gave me some incredible advice. Those words that day have stuck with me all through and have been important in dealing with criticism both personally and professionally as continue in my development as a leader.

The first thing is to simply to consider the source. So in another words that person that is has said something, sent you a text or email are they someone you know? If so how close are they to you or are they a person who has a reputation of being a critical? Take a moment before you let it get to you and consider the where the negativity is coming from.

The second thing is to take an honest look at what is being said or the criticism that you are receiving. This might be the hardest part in the process. To be honest with your self about the particular thing that is being brought into question. It is really easy at this point to just be defensive in your mindset, but it is critical to learning how to handle criticism in your life. So being willing to face the truth with your self is very important.

The third thing, after you have made an honest assessment of information, is to do something with that criticism. So if what is being said, is true, accept what as being said as being constructive criticism. So you next step is to begin to apply the changes needed to the situation or take the comments and make the necessary modifications in your life or in the way you are leading.

The fourth thing is simple, yet very hardest part. But is can only happen after you have looked at the source, taken an honest look, and decided to take action. So what action do you take with criticism if the person making the critical remarks is not a good source or what they are saying just does not apply, then simply throw it in trash. You remove the negativity from your memory bank. You simple get rid of it and move to face the many more challenges and opportunities you will face in your life and development as a leader.

Thank you Robert M. Graber for sharing these words with me many years ago!

How do you deal with criticism? Because as a leader, you know it will come.

 

Is It Time to Wash the Blackboard?

 

Blackboard
Blackboard

When I was in elementary school Friday’s where a special day. Yes, it was the last day of the week and I knew that the weekend was coming and not school. But that was not the significance of the day being special. The reason it was special was because Friday’s someone in the class would get picked to wash the blackboard.

You see, all week the teacher would write on the blackboard, not a a smart board like today, and then she would erase and write on it  again and erase and write on it again and the process would go on all week. But when she erased you could still see the “smudges” of the chalk on the board. But Friday was different, because it was the day the blackboard got not only erased but washed. And the good part was, If you were chosen for the blackboard it was a special honor. Because when everyone else was doing their assignments, you did were excused from the assignment because you were washing the blackboard. When you finished the project the blackboard was not full of erased chalk markings, but it was totally clean and perfectly black, it was like it was brand new.

I have told many people the story using this backboard as our lives. Because when we sin (we all will and do) it is like the chalk marks on the blackboard. Even though we try to erase what we have done, you still seem to be able to see writing coming through. But did you know, “The blood that Jesus shed for you way back on calvary, The blood  that gives you strength from day to day. It will never lose its power. It reaches to the highest mountain. It flow to the lowest valley. The blood that gives me strength from day to day. It will never lose its power.” (Crystal Lewis – The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power)

It is simply the blood that washes away all your sin. I John 1:9 say, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Simple put…when we ask God to forgive us, he washes our blackboard and all the “smudges” are going forever.

But you don’t have to wait till Friday. Because every time you ask He (Jesus) who shed his blood for you and me, forgives your sin and washes your blackboard clean.

It’s Always Somebody Else’s Story

Isn’t it always someone else’s story?

  • A friend calls and the guy who had just made you breakfast the morning before, has been electrocuted in a freak accident.
  • A doctor rushes into your room at a clinic telling you he is rushing you to the hospital with congestive heart failure.
  • A call from a relative telling you a teenage daughter died in her sleep.
  • A young adult you have tried to help commits suicide in a hotel room.
  • A UPS driver, who was in adult education class you taught is murdered.
  • A couple in your small group’s teenage nephew is murdered.
  • A friend of your wife calling telling you her mother has been murdered and turn on the news and sure enough it is the lead story.

It’s always somebody else’s story until it happens to you. It’s always just the lead story in the 10 o’clock news, or an article on the newspaper, or it is just another phone call, a doctor’s appointment, or a conversation…until.

You know the person in the lead story of the 10 o’clock news. Or you know the person who the newspaper article is about, or you get the phone call after something tragic has  happened. It might be a , doctor’s appointment, or a conversation with a friend, co-worker, or family member that brings you into the story.

Isn’t it always somebody else’s story. Yes, just brush off the lead story or skim over the newspaper article until it’s yours. When you are brought into the story it changes everything and we never know when it all is going to change. Very seldom does a warning light flash and prepare us for what we are about to journey through.

It is real life. It is part of the journey. Those are our (the Buschow’s) calls, conversations, doctor appointment, so I guess it isn’t always someone else’s story when it is your story.

Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for good to those who are called according to  his purpose.” This too is real life. He (God) is there with us in the journey. So as we live life we are never alone. Phil 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

Friends, I don’t have a clue how that happens, but I do know you can have peace in the midst of very difficult things you are facing or going through in life. 

Why Do We Collaborate?

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?

What a Week!

What a week! After 67 games, the NCAA’s big dance and the Road to Atlanta is history. Last night, Louisville was crowned the 2013 NCAA Champions. Now, this week will end on Sunday with someone putting on a green jacket at the Master’s in Augusta, GA.  Then, for the many golfers in MN, we wait in expectation of 6 inches of snow that will further cause the beginning of the 2013 golf season to be delayed another week. We will not be playing, but we will be watching.
It is Master’s week! Just like many of you, I love the Master’s Tournament. I am not sure if there is anything like “Amen Corner” in golf. And on Sunday, there always seems to be a lot of excitement, anticipation and drama as the leaders line up for that second shot into the par 5, and the possibility of an eagle putt. Yes…I cannot wait for this weekend in April. I may get a little more excited than most 😉

Who do you think is going to win the 2013 Masters and be putting on the green jacket on Sunday? My guess is Rory.