Monday, June 30, 2008


Ken Blanchard is known as a management guru. One of his most well know books is the "One Minute Manager." He is also a fully devoted follower of Christ. In an interview he did for REV magazine he made a very challenging statement: “Right now we’ve killed the word ‘Christianity.’ It’s associated with judgment, evaluation, sorting people out, and all that.”

This is indicting! It is true we believers tend to be known more for what we are against than what we are for. Recently a group of "Christians" were up in arms at Starbucks for their logo. It seems the depiction of, I believe, their mermaid with long hair hanging loosely over her breasts were deemed as pornographic. They were demanding that this depiction be removed

WOW! Who were they protecting? I frequent Starbucks. And their accusation caused me to look a bit more critically at the cup my delicious coffee was served. I have to say, I got nothing. What I perceive pornography to be, and what this cup revealed, did not really seem to be the same thing. I said to my wife, "No wonder the world things Christians are whacked."

Do followers of Christ need to make a stand against the evils in this world? Absolutely! But with the myriad of stark and rank evil that exists in this world it seems that a long haired full figured mermaid should not really get much of the attention.

Lets regain our genuine voice in our culture. Lets attack the real domains of darkness. Lets invade ungodly space with deep authentic godliness. Lets be the light that reveals the tough stuff. Lets do this with the genuine love for those we interact. A love that drove Jesus to the cross with an unwillingness to condemn those who placed him there. When we rail against the darkness in love people tend to listen much more intently.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I was returning from Wisconsin this past Friday. I was in a small 34 passenger jet propelled plane. These are your basic yellow buses in the sky. I was very happy to be on board. It was a standby flight out of Central Wisconsin Airport. I was the last one on. I got the back row of seats to myself. There were four seats side by side...much like the back row of a Gray Hound bus.

I sat in the seat right at the end of the aisle. This allowed me to stretch my legs out right down the row. Being in the back, in that seat, was much like being in first class in a larger plane. I may have been the last on, but I felt I had the best seat. Then again, I was so happy to be on the plane I would have felt sitting on the drop down seat outside the cockpit would have been the best seat.

There was a great deal of thunder activity around us. This did not have much impact on us until we got into the vicinity of Detroit. Here there was weather around the airport, so we were placed in a holding pattern for about ten minutes. I am not a big holding pattern kind of guy, and this is amplified when there are thunderheads to be navigated around.

We were released to make our decent into the Detroit. It was a bit of a bumpy ride. I am not a fan of bumpy rides. It was not the worse I have been on, but it was not the smoothest either.

I find that when I get in bumpy air I like to close my eyes. Not real sure why, but for some reason it gives me a bit of comfort. I am reminded of a child who places their hands over their eyes and feel they have rendered themselves invisible. I guess when I close my eyes I somehow feel I am not really hundreds, if not thousands of feet in the air being tossed around like a plastic cup in the open ocean. It doesn't really change anything, but I believe it must. That is until I open my eyes and discovered I was still on the same small cylinder hurling through inconvenient air.

It is easy to fall into the "eyes tightly shut" syndrome in leadership. There may be kinds of stuff happening around us, but instead of clarifying the situation and dealing with it we shut our eyes. We believe that by doing so the challenges, obstacles and problems will somehow take care of themselves. It rarely happens. When we open our eyes we discover not only are the circumstances we were trying to avoid still very much there, often they have increased in their severity.

Seldom does ignoring our leadership challenges fix them. Going on with business as usual when it is anything but usual does no good. Things fester and become an epidemic that could have been avoided if only dealt with earlier. So what are we do to? Close our eyes tighter! Sooner or later things have to go back to usual.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Today was the annual Fishers Freedom Run. Fishers is the Indianapolis suburb in which I live. Each year, typically the week-end prior to July 4th, they have their Freedom Festival. This is kicked off with their 5k run/walk and family 2 mile walk. Since I ran both last year and now this year, I guess you might say this is an annual event for me.

Last year I ventured out on my own, but this year several friends and family joined in on the festivities. Bob & Lisa, and Heidi and her dad Steve. My lovely wife Joni walked in her first ever "official" run/walk event. Which I was very proud of her for doing. She is just AWESOME!

It was a great day. My goal was to run the course in 24 minutes or less. I finished in 22:54. This was very exciting for me. The others finished in a more extended time, but they did finish. We then all went to breakfast at The Original Pancake House. The truth of it is, I am motivated to run in these events for two primary rewards: 1. The tee-shirts; 2. food. They had bagels for the runners and walkers, but I deferred to the pancakes...yummy!

I had three little pigs in a blanket. This is a cute name for a pork sausage wrapped in a pancake. Each little pig got its own blanket. They sprinkle a bit of powder sugar on them. I add plenty of butter and syrup and you end up with a health food. Come on, how fattening can three little pigs be? Granted, if they were whole pigs we would have a bit of a dietary challenge, but this was just a very small portion. Yes, it is a spin, but what can you do?

Great run! Great friends! Great food! A marvelous way to begin a week-end.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I was at the Wisconsin District Conference today. Joanne Lyon was there. It was her first Conference since being elected General Superintendent. She did two things I really liked. First, when she gave her State of the Church Address, she did not run through a litany of stats. She simply mentioned they were in the notebook and available for their review. She then launched into a visionary challenge.

She had five points: 1) 1000 Kingdom lights (churches that will invade secular space); 2) 1000 churches to experience ministry of deliverance for people; 3) Global Wesleyan Education Systems; 4) 90% of our churches become involved in global issues (e.g. human trafficking, poverty, HIV/AIDS, etc...) 5) Living under the resurrection power of Christ.

Can we achieve all of this in twelve months? I don't know. This is not the point. The point is it is a compelling vision. Details can be worked out as we go.

Second, she allowed the DS to chair the conference. She was there as a resource person. The DS did an excellent job.

I liked this because I feel this is how it should be. Nice change.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I have been working on a project called Leadership by Design. This will be an elective for a program called Rekindle. This is continuing education for those in ministry.

The goal of the class is to deal with leadership from several angles: Personal Leadership, Developing Leaders and Organizational Leadership. Each has its own unique set of opportunities and challenges. My hope is that we will have lots of interaction as many of those attending will be in ministry and have applications and war stories.

War stories are good. Nothing like a group of leaders with Purple Hearts and leadership scars. It keeps us all invigorated. Often in dealing with students who have yet to be in the trenches of leadership there is too much idealism. The problem with philosophical leadership is that it does not factor in people. People tend to clog up leadership idealism arteries. People are what leadership is all about, but they also make it difficult.

What I am most excited about is that those attending will begin to develop a personalized leadership fitness plan. Something they can take with them and implement.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I have known this for several weeks, but my daughter had me on a gag order. She wanted to be sure. She wanted to be able to tell some key folks in her own time and in her own way. This has all been achieved, so she informed me I can be more aggressive in my telling. What am I talking about? My one and only daughter is pregnant! That is absolutely correct. I am going to be a granddad! Yipppeee!!!

I have been told that this is the greatest thing for parents. When your kids have kids things really change. I was once told by an experienced grandparent that if they would have known how much fun grandkids were they would have been nicer to their parents. This tells me grand parenting must REALLY be fun, because I was pretty darn nice to this grandchild’s parents.

I am finding there are some interesting tidbits guiding forthcoming grandparents. One, and I had no idea about this, we get to pick what we are called. I just figured we would be grandpa and grandma. But you don’t have to leave this to chance. If you get your name in early you are able to be “branded” with your special moniker.

It actually makes perfect sense. After all, this new little person will only know what something, or someone, is labeled when the adults in their life point and say…. Well you fill in the blank. This being the case my lovely wife has declared herself “Gram” and my daughter has determine that I will be “pappy.” Evidently only the ladies get to pick who is called what. I was actually going to push for the “Grand sage.”

Second, we get to purchase all kinds of stuff for the new baby. The stuff doesn’t have to be practical, nor quiet. It just has to be fun. I like that. When we bought for their parents it was regulated by price and practicality. With grandkids it is regulated by, “We are Gram and Pappy and we believe the little guy or girl will like it.”

Third, we get minimal input into names. It seems the parents prefer total and complete control over this. And they have no problem whatsoever expressing their distain for “Pappy” suggestions. What is wrong with Phil for a boy and Phyllis for a girl?

Still much to learn! And I plan to learn it all each step of the way. I AM GOING TO BE A PAPPY!

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Today we celebrate thirty-three years of marriage. I guess if you are a stickler for details we actually won't be celebrating until around 4:30pm Eastern Daylight Time. It was thirty-three years ago @ 1pm on the West Coast we began the ceremony. I don't remember how long it lasted, but I figure the final "I dos" had to be between 1:30-1:45. Currently we live in Indiana on EDT, so that places it at the four thirty time frame mentioned earlier.

Regardless of the time, we actually began to celebrate yesterday. We went to a movie. Saw Get Smart. Those who recall the TV version will thoroughly enjoy. But even if you are like my older son who said, "It was on TV?" will also enjoy. It is fun, funny and corny. Exactly what you expect from such a movie. We then went to dinner a Qdoba (is this advertising) for dinner. We chose this since the movie coupon got us free chips and salsa.

We continue our celebration today. We enjoyed a relaxing breakfast at Paradise Bakery. Did some chores around the house. Now we are sitting on our back patio in the Indiana sun. Joni reading, me blogging. Later today we have friends over. Life is much about the friendships you make during the journey, so having them over makes perfect sense as part of an anniversary.

We each got one another funny cards. I have to mention I included a Starbucks card in the one I gave. It had thirty-three dollars on it, representing...well thirty-three years. The card I received had the inside of a card. Not to complain. It would be one of the few times I thought ahead.

Our anniversary celebration may not seem romantic or that significant to you. But we have discovered that our marriage is not about impressing others, nor over celebrating. We enjoy our relationship. We don't even have to impress one another any more. We have a deeper love than we did on our honeymoon night and even better...well that is for us to know. The reality is, after thirty-three years we can pretty much celebrate anyway we choose. And we have. And we will.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I went to lunch today at Mo's Irish Pub. They have wonderful food and this really great drink. Now before you jump to any conclusions regarding my drinking habits at a pub, it may not be what you think. I had a mango, non-caloric, high energy iced tea. I had it before when eating here, and knew it was mango. But our server today added the non-caloric, high energy, I assume as a "selling" point. What she didn't know was I would have ordered it even if it infused fat into directly into my veins and caused me to fall into a deep sleep. Did I mention the tea tastes really good?

Preparing to head back to my office I asked the server, "May I have a cup of tea to go? I would like a large cup."

"All we have is 8oz cups. Except that child's and they are even smaller." She sounded apologetic. She probably sensed I may have been mentally reducing the tip by percentage points. "Are you sure?" I was almost pleading. But I resigned myself to the inevitable.

She returned with the "tiny" cup. It was like a shot glass of tea (what do you expect at a Pub?). My longed for afternoon of sipping my mango, non-caloric, energy iced tea was gone. I tried to nurse the cup as long as I could, but it was gone by the time I returned to my office. All of two miles from Mo's.

I will go back. And I believe I will take my own "to go" cup. Possibly a 32 ouncer. Did I mention the tea tastes really good.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


This morning I got up and had a nice run. Out the door a bit before six AM. I got in a decent paced five miles. I always enjoy my day more when I run. It is as if I get something achieved right off the bat. This sets the temp for the rest of my day.

How do you begin your day? Do you have something that gets you ready? An activity that gets the blood going? A bit of fitness? If not, I encourage you find that something that helps you begin your day fresh.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Here is what happened today. I went to Paradise Bakery (a great eating establishment) to get lunch for myself and a variety of treats for my team members. I ordered a fruit bowl, two salads, a blueberry muffin, double chocolate brownie and a large iced tea. Once I got back to the office and handed out the orders I reviewed the receipt. I noted that I did not get charged for the brownie.

I could not let this pass. Call it conscience, my upbringing, or a desire to live out my relationship with God in an authentic manner; regardless I needed to go back and pay them their money.

On my way home I stopped in at Paradise. I still had the receipt. I walked in and said to the young lady behind the counter, "I was in here earlier today and order one of those brownies." For emphasis I pointed at the stack of brownies displayed in their case. "I need to pay for it."

She, along with two other co-workers, looked at me as if I had just told them, "I had to hurry as my space ship was doubled parked."

Sensing their seemingly inability to translate my words into an understandable language, I reinerated my intent to pay for the now devoured brownie. Breaking from their 'deer in the headlights stare' they informed me they would not take my money.

"It was our error, so you don't have to pay."

"You don't want my money?"

"No, but thank you for your honesty."

That was it! They didn't take my money, but they were amazed at my honesty. I turned and walked out with a smile on my face and a bit of mixed emotion in my spirit.

My mixed emotion was a feeling I should have given a bit more credit to Jesus for my honesty. I was not just being a good person, although I feel I am. But my goodness, at least for me, I think, is a result of my relationship with God. I did not know how to communicate this to them. I mean what do you say? "I did this because Jesus lives in my life."

Frankly that would seem a bit contrived and inauthentic. But what do you think? What would you have done?

Monday, June 16, 2008


Today is a fly day. I am traveling west (Sacramento, CA) to east (Indianapolis, IN) via Minneapolis, MN. I am quickly adding three hours to my day.

Fortunately, prior to my West Coast departure, I was able to get in a five mile run. This helps to add a sense of achievement to a mostly “sit on your butt and exert little effort” day.

While waiting for my connecting flight in Minneapolis, I am getting to watch the 18th hole of the US Open Playoff. Tiger just birdie, as he did yesterday, to force a sudden death playoff. What a great competition! In this match there will be no loser. A winner yes, but no loser. Sadly I will not get to watch the conclusion, the call of a flight connection.

A lesson in this competition is to do what you can. Play your game. And when those two things are done you can walk away with a sense of accomplishment.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Tonight I am relaxing at the home of my oldest son and his wonderful wife. They live in Natomas. This is a small community just north of downtown Sacramento. He is on staff at The River Church. An eight-year-old church that is doing an outstanding job of reaching its community. This church was daughtered by Arcade Wesleyan, the church I was privileged to lead for six years.

It has been a very busy, but productive week-end. I spoke to 100 men at a retreat located at a beautiful retreat center on the shore of Lake Tahoe. I spoke Friday night. Three times on Saturday. Then wrapped up early on Sunday AM with a communion service. We then made our way down the hill from the lake to make the first service at The River Church. I spoke for their two morning services. Needless to say it was a bit draining.

The real highlight of the week-end was getting to spend Father's Day with my oldest son, his wife, my daughter and her husband and my son's in-laws. We grilled, laughed and watched Tiger Woods make the tourney tying putt on the last hole of the US Open. It was GREAT!

I write this as the Celtics are make every effort to complete their bid for the NBA Championship against the Lakers. And being a Sacramento Kings fan, who has had their share of run-ins with the Lakers, we are pulling for the Celtics.

It has been a wonderful three days of ministry and family. I head back to Indy early tomorrow. I miss Sacramento, but know I am where I need to be at this time.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


General Conference is over. Some interesting things happened. Not sure what they all mean, but I do believe it is time to move out!

We elected our first woman General Superintendent. The response to her election said it all. People are ready to move out. She has vision, credibility and an extreme amount of ability. She is not the best woman for this job, she is the best person for this job. She, too, is ready to move out!

There was a push from the general conference floor not to simply accept business as usual. They want a voice, input, an opportunity to participate in something bigger than anyone person. There is a rumble from the crowd. Folks no longer want to settle. They want to move out.

I was thrilled to have been re-elected. It was a wonderfully positive vote. I believe it was an affirmation of where we need to go. I have attempted to be clear as to what we need to be about. I have attempted to keep the vision firmly in front. People genuinely seem to want to move out.

It is a new day! There is an opportunity to lead in pro activity. Four years from this time, what might we want to celebrate? Let's decide. Let's be clear. Let's move out!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Tomorrow my wife and I leave for Orlando. We will be attending the General Conference for The Wesleyan Church. This happens every four years. It is our version of the Republican or Democratic (you choose your party) Convention. Business is conducted on issues related to our movement. Some issues are of vital importance, but as in life the majority of the time is pretty mundane.

I have attended these before. The past two I was a delegate representing my district from the West Coast. This was an enjoyable experience, but for the majority of the time I was somewhat disengaged. Don't get me wrong there were some exciting and unexpected things that happened, but mostly it was a yawner.

This one is much different for me personally. I serve in a position that will be voted on. Could be that this time next week my future will change. If I don't get re-elected then I am looking for something else, somewhere else.

I have been voted on before. This is the nature of the movement I am in, but it was in a local setting not one as wide spread as this. Most of the folks (delegates) voting really don't know me. Most are not that well versed in what I have done, am doing, or will do. I guess that is why even with the human element of voting in play, there is a expectancy of God's participation.

Truth be told, I am confident regardless of the outcome. I did not solicit to get this position so it is really not mine to hold onto any longer than God chooses. My desire has always been to do what I thought was best for the multiplication movement and let the chips fall where they may...even though in my denomination the only chips that are allowed to fall must be in a bag with the word "potato" in front of them.

I will not be doing any blogging until after this is over, so enjoy your days ahead and I will blog at you later.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Today I needed to have conversations with two different people. Both centered around something they had written. One was a statement about me. The other was a communication regarding an ministry I work with.

Both were misleading, in my opinion. Both could have caused a spirit of spite, or a kernel of bitterness to lodge itself in my being. Both could have been fuel for an inner fire that many of us have looking for an excuse to stoke and allow to manifest itself in anger. Both written statements were a bit biting.

What did I do? I talked to the person. I know...we typically don't do this. I was able to chat with one face to face, the other I had to call due to distance. Either way, the conversation was needed and the results were positive.

I was reminded once again that the best way to deal with potential misunderstanding is to talk with the person who can help clear it up. The person who also has a stake in the outcome. How often do people talk to others about someone, instead of talking to the right one? I am reminded of a principle I learned many years ago, and do try to implement: If you are unwilling to talk to the person, don't talk about the person.

Do you have someone you need to converse? Why not take the time to do just that?

Monday, June 2, 2008


I spent my morning in Starbucks writing. I don't know what it is about this place, but I am always productive when I am there. The smell of coffee. Activity around me. It is wonderful. They have cornered the market on places to be. I am glad they have.