Ah-ha, when I walk up to a situation

Phil 2: 3-5Phillipians 2:3-5 says:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Forgive me Lord. When I approach a situation (e.g., buying a donut at the donut shop) I often approach it with the focus on completing the task (correctly, Type-A tendency). According to the Bible, this is the incorrect way to approach the situation. I should be first valuing others and looking to fulfill the interests of them. Lord, help me to remember this and put it into practice.  Help me to become a person that does this.

The insight of the passage: (1) Notice how it begins. It begins squarely with our selfish ambition (which is our animal tendency). (2) Notice that it refers to everything. If it would have said, look after the interests of others and value others, it would imply these are good things to do from time to time (like mowing the yard, eating, taking a shower, taking a hike), but not something to consider all the time.

Quotes from Harry Potter

View at Medium.com


Let’s build up, work together, grow, and improve

Our founding fathers and mothers didn’t have it perfect and our country still has problems (quick reminder: Romans 2:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God). I believe our founding fathers and mothers were on the right track. I also believe there is room for improvement; focusing on improving the well-being of people (quick reminder, in John 15:12 Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”). We need to put focus on serving the under-served (quick reminder, Romans 12:13, When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them).

I feel that we need to focus on building up, working together, growing, and improving, rather than tearing down, creating divisions, destroying, and focusing on fault-finding.

We need to:

  • Build people up – provide opportunities, access, and encourage agency for all
  • Work together – work to form relationships, build bridges, and work for teamwork
  • Grow – find our flaws and short-comings and grow as a humans and as a nation and
  • Improve – improve our society and the well-being of everyone.

Story (video)

Here’s a good story: Paloma Wants to Be Lady Freedom YouTube

Lady Freedom, a 19-foot-tall bronze woman who sits on top of the U.S. Capitol dome. President Lincoln erected Lady Freedom during the Civil War. She’s a beautiful and fierce warrior. She wears a toga-style dress and a Native American-style cape over it. On her head is a helmet adorned with stars and feathers to symbolize her victory over tyranny. In one hand she has a sheathed sword and in the other, she carries a shield and a laurel wreath, another symbol of victory.

Finally, we need a balanced approach to patriotism. Patriotism is good, but our country has room for improvement.


Grace is a Kingdom with Doors Open Wide

Broken Things is a wonderful song by Matthew West.

The concluding last line,

“Grace is a kingdom; With gates open wide; There’s a seat at the table just waiting for you; So, come on inside.”

is a great statement on the grace of God, His Kingdom, and the welcome He provides.


If grace was a kingdom
I stopped at the gate
Thinking I don’t deserve to pass through after all the mistakes that I’ve made

Oh but I heard a whisper
As Heaven bent down
Said, “Child, don’t you know that the first will be last and the last get a crown”

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours

The pages of history they tell me it’s true
That it’s never the perfect; it’s always the ones with the scars that You use

It’s the rebels and the prodigals; it’s the humble and the weak
All the misfit heroes You chose
Tell me there’s hope for sinners like me

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours

Grace is a kingdom
With gates open wide
There’s a seat at the table just waiting for you
So, come on inside.

8 Spokes of the Individual Helm & 8 Factors of Engagement


from: https://www.smartbrief.com/original/2021/02/how-can-you-discover-your-purpose?utm_source=brief

See also: https://twitter.com/robtsicora/status/1267788406333071360?s=20

The individual helm

There are eight spokes of the individual helm, each contributing to your individual path through life and aligning with the organizational helm to produce synergy within the groups you are a part of. Grab the Helm takes you through each spoke in its own chapter, with a reflection activity for each. Here is a brief overview:

  1. Purpose: How you live your life and why; what gives life meaning.
  2. Self-awareness: To know yourself. If you understand your personality and your communication and leadership styles, you can work through the obstacles that hold you back and become a better leader of yourself and others.
  3. Values: Our principles and ethical and moral guidelines that help us make decisions; what we think is important. including values based in faith in God.
  4. Crew: Our inner circle, those we trust and surround ourselves with. We rely on them to both raise us up and challenge us, to give us feedback and support when we need it most.
  5. Passion: What drives us, what we feel most strongly about, what fuels our emotion and feeds our soul. Passion is what we love to do.
  6. Talent: Our knowledge, gifts, abilities, skills and even genius that give us the tools to act on each of the other spokes.
  7. Opportunity: The chance, the opening, to act on our purpose, to follow our passions and all the other spokes of the helm. We can passively wait for our opportunities, or we can create them with intention. (Hint: It’s better to create them with intention.)
  8. Impact: The difference we make in our lives, the lives of others and the world at large. Our legacy. We have the greatest impact when we serve others.

All of the spokes are important, but we found in our research that purpose is critical to being fully engaged in your work (in fact, it’s one of the 8 Factors of Engagement).

8 Factors of Engagement


(see also video)

Mob attacks the US Capitol

Reading the newspaper this morning (Fri., Jan. 8, 2021) is amazing. An angry mob of Trump supporters attacked and entered the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Wednesday, Jan. 6. A woman was shot and killed inside the US Capitol. It is amazing, and very sad, that this happened.  A need to make a few comments/reflections.

The newspaper articles describing the experiences of 2 Illinois politicians who were in the capitol during the siege are amazing.  I have to say first that it is incredible that the chaos (broken windows, shooting, riot, etc.) occurred in the afternoon (and the congress members, who were in session, got to safety) and that congress reconvened later.  At 2:30 am (Central time, Thursday) the House and Senate affirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

  • Darin Lahood (read the details here: https://www.pjstar.com/story/news/2021/01/07/rep-darin-lahood-left-house-floor-just-mob-approached-building/6585137002/) got a message on his phone from security. He walked to the window and saw the mob. He took some pictures with his phone. He then made for the tunnels that lead (underground) to the (separate) office building (which is across the street).
  • Cheri Bustos (read details here [also, listen to video]: https://www.pjstar.com/videos/news/politics/2021/01/08/u-s-rep-cheri-bustos-speaks-capitol-siege/6589548002/) was in the chamber. Chaos ensued. The rioters were outside the chamber. She knew she had a gas mask under her seat, but didn’t know how to use it.  Others helped out.  Security personnel led congress members out of the chamber to a secure area.

Max Lucado had a nice video of assurance: “Is the chaos just too much?”

Interesting (and long) video interview, titled DarkHorse Podcast w/ Jeremy Lee Quinn & Bret Weinstein: The Capitol Insurrection, A View from Inside, reported on both sides.  Here are some good quotes by the host:

“We are fiercely divided, so that we will not be fiercely united.”

He started unity movement.

38:02 “There is a general sense of frustration at the public basically being frozen out of the well-being that is generated by our system; increasingly, systematically being frozen out by a pervasive culture of corruption, much of which is legal.

If you have a legal culture of corruption [of the government], it will create massive unrest and distrust, and the fact that that unrest and distrust is divided into factions that are pointed at each other, rather than there being a broad recognition that Americans have a right to be angry at what has become of their governmental structure. Neither blue or red is the solution. Blue and red are the problem.”  How we, as Americans, address a difficult puzzle.

39:27 reflecting on experiences of meeting many, varied people and has discovering they are not what was expected (and shared much common ground), and that a few are reporting more than one side of the story. “This is the greatest threat to the narrative engine that wants everybody to stick to one version of the events that tells them exactly who their enemy is and what danger that enemy poses, and then turns off their processes of reason so that that’s not even true.” But this is a good thing (to disagree with this narrative).

Howard Thurman influential American visionary, educator, and leader

Howard Thurman

Howard Thurman (Nov. 18, 1899, Daytona Beach, FL – Apr. 10, 1981, San Francisco, CA) was an American author, philosopher, theologian, mystic, educator, preacher, and civil rights leader. As a prominent and inspirational religious figure, he played a leading role in many social justice movements and organizations of the 20th century.

Dr. Thurman was raised by his grandmother, who was formerly enslaved. She gave him ‘the contagion of Christianity’ and backing, and set him on a path of influence from coast to coast and around the world.

Howard Thurman was a visionary.  His theological beliefs of radical nonviolence influenced and shaped a generation of civil rights activists, and he was a key mentor to leaders within the civil rights movement, including Martin Luther King Jr.  See YouTube video below.

Much of what Howard Thurman taught, we still need to learn and implement today.

Thurman served as dean of Rankin Chapel at Howard University from 1932 to 1944 and as dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University from 1953 to 1965. In 1944, he help found,  the first major interracial, interdenominational church in the United States, the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, in San Francisco.

Dr. Howard Thurman wrote many books, sermons, and articles. In his influential book, Jesus and the Disinherited (1949), Thurman interprets the teachings of Jesus through the experience of the oppressed and discusses nonviolent responses to oppression. Martin Luther King, Jr. studied Thurman’s Jesus and the Disinherited during the Montgomery bus boycott.

Dr. Thurman’s “philosophy of self-exploration and community building through meaningful and creative shared experiences” continues at the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground at Boston University.

Upon the Deaths of JFK and MLK

Being born in 1899 and dying in 1981 he both predated and out-lived President John F. Kennedy (assassinated November 22, 1963) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (assassinated April 4, 1968). Upon their deaths, Howard Thurman had insightful words on these leaders of the 1960’s, sharing both sadness and words of hope. Words that are good for us to hear today.

More Information on Howard Thurman

Much more can be said about this man, including the universities where he served, that he was valedictorian (1923) of Morehouse College, that he went to India and met Mahatma Gandhi, and that he once was a visiting lecturer at the University of Ibandan, in Nigeria.

Macomb/McDonough County Community Gathering

I’m looking forward to the Community Gathering tomorrow (11/7) at 10-11 am at Veteran’s Park, in Macomb. In these crazy times, this is a time for us to gather together as a community and pray for our elected leaders and pastors.

Here is the map (google doc) of how we will set up the chairs.


Somehow we need to learn respect and honor

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
~Mahatma Gandhi said, “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.”
Then something happened on the way to diversity. Division is ruining us. Somehow we need to learn respect and honor.

Cross reference tool


Cross reference tool. Bible