Worship Wednesday – I’ll Fix My Eyes on You – for King & Country

2015 Sep - Concert - For King and Country and Moriah Peters 084

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.Hebrews 12:1-3

If the Priceless Tour with For King & Country comes your way don’t miss it! Having a musician in my own family (Nathan Mills), I can appreciate how rich an experience it is to hear music live. Joel and Luke Smallbone, and their incredible band, do not disappoint. In fact, I have never been to such a musical event, where the message itself is so clear, in decades (since early Twila Paris).

The opening act for the Priceless Tour is Moriah Peters with her #fiercefemaleband. She is married to Joel Smallbone. Beautiful songs about God, women, being brave, relationships, and marriage.2015 Sep - Concert - For King and Country and Moriah Peters 042

Then the guys take the stage. As they start with Fix My Eyes, it feels like a scene out of the play Les Misérables – “the barricade“.  An audiovisual feast of drumming, lights, smoke, and guys looking like they dropped in from another era. There is a very different feel with this band – high energy and big performances, and yet a clear respect and enjoyment of each other. Love even. And love for God at the center.2015 Sep - Concert - For King and Country and Moriah Peters 116

All the musicians are introduced and have cameos during the concert. There’s a lot of movement during the performances including the band coming out in the audience. Bringing the audience as deeply into the experience as possible is definitely a goal for these guys.

Joel and Luke both have talks during their set. They speak of honoring women, and stepping up as husbands and fathers, and reaching out to children in need (through Compassion). They tell stories of their own growing up years – moving to the US, going through a period where their dad was jobless, and watching God provide in countless ways for their needs (especially through their church family). Luke also talks about his life-threatening illness out of which came the songs “Without You” and “Shoulders“. Finally, they talk about Jesus…and following Him.

2015 Sep - Concert - For King and Country and Moriah Peters 1392015 Sep - Concert - For King and Country and Moriah Peters 174

Don’t miss the tour…but most importantly don’t miss the God and King of For King & Country. Their songs are strong testimony of the purpose of our lives and the faithfulness of God through all our circumstances.

Worship with me as I “fix my eyes” on God right now (lyrics follow, below the YouTube video). [After, scroll to bottom for a last word from Joel Smallbone and a P.S….but don’t miss worshipping…please].

Hit rewind, click delete
Stand face to face with the younger me
All of the mistakes
All of the heartbreak
Here’s what I’d do differently, I’d

Love like I’m not scared
Give when it’s not fair
Live life for another
Take time for a brother
Fight for the weak ones
Speak out for freedom
Find faith in the battle
Stand tall but above it all
Fix my eyes on You
On You

I learned the lines and talked the talk
(Everybody knows it, everybody knows it)
But the road less traveled is hard to walk
(Everybody knows it, everybody knows)
It takes a soldier
Who knows his orders
To walk the walk I’m supposed to walk, and


The things of earth are dimming
In the light of Your glory and grace
I’ll set my sights upon Heaven
I’m fixing my eyes on You, on You
I’m fixing my eyes on You, on You
I’m fixing my eyes


I’ll fix my eyes on You, on You
I’ll fix my eyes on You, on You

“That hope is why we do what we do to carry that into any situation, any environment, that we’re allowed to, to offer people not just a temporary fix but, God willing, offer them a changed eternity.” – Joel Smallbone

[P.S. If you love drums, you will love how For King & Country use drums. If you love lighting used in bedazzling ways, you will love their lighting. The word “Jesus” was actually painted on the wall of this venue – it isn’t a part of their usual stage visual. For me, as the lighting was going on and off, it made a great statement of their focus – I got this shot where the lighting and smoke completely obscured the band, but Jesus showed through. That’s my experience of these guys.]

2015 Sep - Concert - For King and Country and Moriah Peters 190

Lyrics to Fix My Eyes by Luke Smallbone, Joel Smallbone, and Seth Mosley

YouTube Video – for KING & COUNTRY – Fix My Eyes | The Story Behind The Song

for King and Country – Priceless Tour

Compassion International – Sponsor a Child

Baptist Global Response

YouTube Video – The Story Behind the Song Without You

Worship Wednesday – Let My Life be the Proof of Your Love – For King & Country

Worship Wednesdays – Shoulders – for King & Country

Here I Raise My Ebenezer* – Stones of Remembrance to a Faithful God

2014 Sep MomMom & PopPop Visit 002

From the Archives –

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.James 1:17

What a weekend we’ve had…whew! Over the course of a few days, we’ve seen God answer prayers that have been daily raised to Him for several months. His timing is perfect and I’m reminded of that every time His answers come at what seems, for us, the eleventh hour.

Above my kitchen sink is this small pile of stones. I’ve loved rocks since my childhood trailing around behind a mom who loved rocks. She has moved stones in and around our yard for years, making rock walls and garden paths. We’ve collected stones from around the world, weighing down our bags with precious finds from ocean beaches, mountain trails, forest streams, and rocky deserts. These became stones of remembrance from those trips.

My little pile of rocks has no particular answered prayers attached to the stones. They just remind me, every time I look at them, of the faithfulness of God. It’s not like I always need visual reminders of God because we are surrounded by them. These windowsill sitters do help me to remember His constancy in my life and His care of His people throughout history.

Here…above my kitchen sink…”I raise my Ebenezer*” (from 1 Samuel 7:12) – my stones of remembrance that say, to my heart, “thus far the Lord has helped us.”

You may be waiting for Him to answer a prayer of your own. Don’t let your circumstances blur your vision of God; keep your eyes and heart fixed on Him. Sometime in the days ahead, you will add a “stone” to your heap of gratefulness, as you see Him move…either in the situation, or in you, or both…most probably both.

I leave you with an old hymn written by Robert Robinson who, as a young man, would have destroyed his life, but God had a different plan for him. Robinson wrote beautifully of this faithful, loving God who does not let us go.

Here’s the David Crowder Band performing it (lyrics follow):

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing**

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer*;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

YouTube Video with Lyrics – Come Thou Fount – David Crowder Band

*“Here I Raise my Ebenezer” – origin of word and phrase – Ebenezer –  Hebrew words ’Eben hà-ezer (eh’-ben haw-e’-zer) –  “stone of help”

**Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing – Lyrics & Story Behind the Song

On Thankfulness

20 Bible Verses On Being Thankful – Jarrid Wilson

23 Bible Verses on Gratitude

5 Friday Faves – Workplace Friendship, a Book on Opposites, All Things Pumpkin, Story-telling, and a Chamber Choir

Blog - Friday Faves

Happy Friday! We’re expecting a rainy weekend here. With Fall weather upon us, the pull to be outdoors is even more heightened. If the rain keeps you in, here are five favorites to enjoy.

  1. Workplace Friendships – Adam Grant writes for New York Times about how friendship culture has changed in the workplace. I have life-long friendships which originated at work. Same passions, same seasons of life. Read his piece here. What is your experience?Blog - Friends at work - Friday FavesPhoto Credit: NYTimes.com

2. Book of Opposites – Jennifer Kahnweiler has written a fascinating book on Introversion-Extroversion. The Genius of Opposites: How Introverts and Extroverts Achieve Extraordinary Results Together. My  husband is a  introvert  and I am an extrovert. We have been married over 30 years and have worked together many of those years. We have learned a lot of Kahnweiler’s wisdom on our own…and after many years of struggle. This book is very helpful and empowering for any partnership between introverts and extroverts.

Blog - Friday Faves - Genius of Opposites

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Skip Pritchard wrote a great review here.Genius-card-front-1Photo Credit: SkipPritchard.com

3) All Things Pumpkin – O.K. I’m not wild about Pumpkin Spice Latte, but as soon as September comes, I’m in love again with all things pumpkin. My favorites are pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. When we lived overseas, pumpkin was solely treated as a vegetable. It is amazing in 7-vegetable couscous. What is your favorite pumpkin recipe? Please share in comments.2015 September Flowers & Fall Pumpkin Spice Blog 014Photo Credit: Weather.com

Fall Pumpkins by Carol Davis2015 July Phone Pics - Flowers, Blog, Stella, Shyndigz, Christie 001 (147)Photo Credit: Pumpkins by Carol Davis

4. Story-Telling – Chase Neinken wrote a piece for NewsCred.com on what is critical to story-telling – Conflict, Authenticity, and the Audience. Read 3 Crucial Principles Of Storytelling You Can Learn From Kevin Spacey + House Of Cards, and watch Kevin Spacey talk about story-telling.

5) A Chamber Choir – Azusa Pacific University Chamber Singers were recently on tour in Italy. On Facebook, I came across a video of them singing “Give Me Jesus” by Larry Fleming at the prison where the Apostle Paul was kept. Wow!Blog - Friday Faves - APU Chamber_Singers

Photo Credit: apu.edu

That video hasn’t made it to YouTube yet, but here they are singing at a concert in Italy.

Do you have a favorite group? Please share. Enjoy your weekend…and your pumpkin of choice.

Eid al-Adha – Feast of the Sacrifice – A Day of Prayers & Celebration Around the World

Indian Muslim boys take a goat for sacrifice after offering prayers on Eid al-Adha in Hyderabad, India, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010.Photo Credit: blogs.sacbee.com

“My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together. Genesis 22:7-8

…Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.”  – Genesis 22:13-14

عيد أضحى مبارك كل عام وانتم بخير
“Happy Eid Adha or Eid Mubarak!”

For Muslims, Eid al-Adha (“Feast of the Sacrifice”) is a holy day of similar importance as Easter and Christmas are to believing Christians. It is the day each year that they remember and celebrate God’s provision of a sacrificial animal for obedient Abraham. Abraham submitted himself to God’s instructions on that day centuries ago, and God provided.

Eid al-Adha actually falls during the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. For those who are able and can afford to make the “hajj”, they will celebrate this day as part of their journey in Saudi Arabia.

We spent many years in North Africa and observed our friends and neighbors celebration of Eid al-Adha. Sometimes we were included but usually our friends spent the primary activities of the Eid (prayers, slaughter of an animal, and feasting through the day) together as family. We would be invited over the next days to enjoy the bounty of food that continued through the 3-day celebration.

The memories of those days remain with me. In the days before the feast, sheep markets popped up everywhere.Blog - Sheep for sale - Morocco

As neighbors bought their sheep, the bleating of these animals would spread through the city. Then in the early morning of the Eid, the streets filled with families making their way to the mosque for prayers. Children in new clothes would join their parents, boys with their dads, and girls with their moms, in their designated areas of the mosque. These chanted prayers would fill the air.

Our experience of the killing of the sheep was that butchers would come to where the sheep were – on roofs of apartment buildings or in alleyways beside them, or in the courtyard of villas. There was a prayer over the animal, and the butcher quickly killed the sheep and prepared the body for the grilling that would come later in the day. Sometimes, the animal was carved up and divided to be shared with other family members and with the poor.

There were three distinct smells on that day – the smell of blood, the smell of hair burning (as the sheep heads were burned on an open fire), and the smell of grilled meat. That last smell makes up for the earlier ones. I have seen satellite views online of the predominantly Muslim world on Eid al-Adha where there’s actually a visible cover of smoke. Not sure if it was true or not, but there is so much burning on this day.

Anyway, to my Muslim friends, I greet you on this feast day. Safe travels and sweet times together with those you love. May you know the provision of God for all you need in this life and the next.

We share the same Father Abraham. I shared, from the Torah/Bible, some of the account of his experience with the Lord that day. [In the Quran, the account is found in sura 37.] For us as believing Christians, the Biblical account was a foreshadowing of another Sacrifice, another provision of God.Blog - Abraham's sacrifice and God's provision - sheep - Domenichino en wikipedia org (2)Photo Credit: Domenichino, en.wikipedia.org

“It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” [John the Baptist, speaking – John 1:27]

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

There are others, both religious and irreligious, who find these stories of blood and killing/dying repulsive and off-putting. When Adam and Eve rebelled against God, He covered them with the skins of animals, when they hid from God in their no longer innocent nakedness (Genesis 3:21). Our rebellion, our human condition really, requires a provision from a holy God. This is not such a popular view these days…but it is what comes to mind for me on this day.

I am grateful for those things we share with our Muslim friends. Deep relationships and conversations. Sweet memories and making more.

We also celebrate, in different ways, a God who provides. Thanks be to God for His indescribable, unspeakable, all surpassing, exceedingly great gift. (2 Corinthians 9:14)

The Frame: Eid Al-Adha, Feast of the Sacrifice – Photos from around the world

Behold the Lamb of God – John Piper

Perfected for All Time by a Single Offering – John Piper

An Uncle Like Abraham – Do You Have One? Would You Be One?

Worship Wednesday – Celebrating the God of Autumn & Every Season – with Nichole Nordeman

2014 October Erica & Justin's wedding & Trip to Georgia 434

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, And day and night shall not cease.”Genesis 8:22

“Yours is the day, Yours also is the night; You have prepared the light and the sun. You have established all the boundaries of the earth; You have made summer and winter.”Psalm 74:16-17

Today I’m rejoicing in the cool morning air as we enter the Fall season. The trees here are still leafy green, but last week in another city, I saw the first frosting of yellow and orange on trees. Fall is my favorite season of the year.

For Worship Wednesday, I went looking for some of the old hymns on God’s creation and harvest time. Then, this song, Every Season, by Nichole Nordeman, popped up in my search. I’d never heard it before.

In a piece on American Songwriter, she talked about this song and its meaning:

“It speaks to the consistency of how present God is in our lives despite the seasons we go through. It’s a reminder that God is the God of all seasons and that we can depend on that, regardless of the climate of our lives. Many years ago I was a church pianist and played for a lot of weddings. I played at a friend’s wedding and, a few years later, was asked to play at the same friend’s memorial service after she died of cancer. God is a God of weddings and funerals. We can’t let circumstances indicate how present God is in our lives.”

It is so easy for us to marvel at God’s creation and forget He is IN His creation. To focus on our circumstances and forget that He is also IN our circumstances.

As I revel in the beginning of Autumn where we are, I will worship the God of this season, and of all seasons.Blog - Worship Wednesday - Every SeasonPhoto Credit: YouTube.com

Worship with me:

Every evening sky, an invitation
To trace the patterned stars
And early in July, a celebration
For freedom that is ours
And I notice You
In children’s games
In those who watch them from the shade
Every drop of sun is full of fun and wonder
You are summer

And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice You when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and was to come
You are autumn

And everything in time and under heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white, all creation
Shivers underneath
And still I notice You
When branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death, You open doors for life to enter
You are winter

And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be
As You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring

Songs with Harvest Theme

Thanksgiving & Thankfulness – Hymns and Gospel Songs from the Cyber Hymnal

YouTube Video – Every Season by Nichole Nordeman

Story Behind the Song – Every Season by Nichole Nordeman

Lyrics to Every Season by Nichole Nordeman

Nichole Nordeman Website

The First Flush of Fall – in Words & Pictures

Fall on Frances Moon's roadPhoto Credit: Frances Moon

Last night was the first night in months that I didn’t turn the fan on before going to sleep. It was cool enough without. Instead of the quilt folded at the bottom of the bed, I pulled it up and around me. As lovely as summer was, it is gone, and Fall is rounding the bend.

For almost two decades we lived in North Africa where only two seasons cycled – summer and a blend of spring/winter – hot then a coolish warm; months of dusty dry and then weeks of soaking rain. Over the years, we could distinguish greater nuances in the seasons there, but there was nothing like the Fall we have here. As beautiful as life was there, I missed Fall the most.

As Fall arrives afresh, I look forward to all its glory and spendor. It’s a season that shouts praise to the Creator God. The words and pictures below depict just some of what I love about Fall.

The changing colors of leaves and the Fall flowers and produce.2014 October Erica & Justin's wedding & Trip to Georgia 456Fall Apples by Helen2015 September Phone Pics - Papa, Dad, Fall 4772013 Oct State Fair with Daniel & Angela 021Photo Credit: Apples by Helen Phillips

American football.2015 Aug 22 23 Tim Tebow Sadie Family lunch 008 (2)Fall FootballJunko, Gloria, & Stella - high school football game

The Country Fairs with all the carnival food, the handmade crafts, the smells of the animals, and the rides and fun times together.2013 Oct State Fair with Daniel & Angela 1172013 Oct State Fair with Daniel & Angela 0852013 Oct State Fair with Daniel & Angela 0132014 Phone pics July-December 4692013 Oct State Fair with Daniel & Angela 134 (2)Fair Crafts

The Fall  weather and all it brings with it .2010 October Fall Fun 0282015 September Phone Pics - Papa, Dad, Fall 1112015 September Phone Pics - Papa, Dad, Fall 1092014 October Erica & Justin's wedding & Trip to Georgia 332WP_20140120_003

Finally all the cozy yumminess of Fall – MomMom’s pumpkin pie and pumpkin everything else; the glow and wonder of fire pits and fireplaces; sunny afternoon walks together with family and quiet evenings with friends. What are your favorite experiences of Fall?

2014 October Erica & Justin's wedding & Trip to Georgia 437

2015 July Phone Pics - Flowers, Blog, Stella, Shyndigz, Christie 001 (147)2014 October Erica Justin's wedding Trip to Georgia 265 (2)2015 September Phone Pics - Papa, Dad, Fall 3172015 July Phone Pics - Flowers, Blog, Stella, Shyndigz, Christie 001 (146)

Givers, Takers, or Matchers in the Workplace – Which One Are You? – with Adam Grant

Blog - Givers, Takers, Matchers - Adam GrantPhoto Credit: Chuck Scoggins.com

A smart and gifted friend of mine is going through a taxing time on her new job. Long hours, piling up responsibilities, with no end in sight. She lamented that maybe the problem is that she’s a people-pleaser. That expression seems to communicate a character weakness, and I don’t see that operating so much with this friend of mine. What seems more her dilemma is that she’s what Adam Grant calls a “giver”…which is a good thing. The dilemma for my friend and her workplace is to establish a culture where she, and other givers, can thrive.

Adam Grant is a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has also written this great book – Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success. I heard him speak at the Global Leadership Summit and bought his book. His take on the three tops of people who make up our work culture was both fascinating and practical.Blog - Give and Take by Adam Grant - cminds.netPhoto Credit: Amazon.com

Grant sees us all as either givers, takers, or matchers. “It’s very hard to judge our own style. What values you live each day is in the eye of the beholder.” We may not necessarily see ourselves in these categories, but our colleagues will. Ask them, if you have the courage. Then you might consider taking what you learn and thinking through how you might use that information to become a more effective employee and valued colleague.

Takers are those who often manage to do the least amount of work yet gaining the most notice. They manage to get “the lion’s share of credit for collective achievements”, notes Grant. The Takers are the shirkers in the workplace. They are not at their desks because they are off schmoozing (oops, I meant networking, right?) in another department. They somehow get their jobs done partly by leaning on the strong work ethic of the Givers.

Givers are the people who simply enjoy helping others – “no strings attached”. They get to work early and stay late, if necessary. Their core values resonate in the quantity and quality of their work.

Matchers are most of us, really, doing our part in the workplace. Matchers can be counted on to keep things “fair” at work. “I’ll do something for you if you do something for me” is their mantra. They believe in “an eye for an eye” and “just worlds”.  They are the “fairness” or “Karma” police in the workplace.

Grant readily admits that we may operate out of all three styles from time to time, but we each have a dominant style at work.

How do givers, takers, and matchers fare in the workplace? Which of these sinks to the bottom in terms of performance and impact?

Givers are the worst performers (but keep reading). “The ones who get the least work done are the ones who help the others and never get their own jobs done”, reports Grant.  “I love helping others” is not the one on top of the heap of performers. “The lowest revenue accrues to the most generous salespeople.”

It’s sad news that givers sink to the bottom. If you want to boost your organization, have more givers….unfortunately the givers do it at their own expense – unless the organization builds a culture that helps the givers to thrive.

Who rises to the top?

If givers are the worst performers, who are the best performers? You think it’s takers? Takers rise quickly, and fall quickly. They often fall at the hands of the Matchers who can use gossip (or, said another way, workplace channels of influence) to call out the abuse of the Takers. Beware, Takers, of the Matchers in the shadows. Also, other Takers can also take down those more abusive, or less-well-liked Takers.

Are the Matchers the best performers? Not usually. The best results belong to the Givers. Wait! How can they also be the best performers? It’s a both/and situation.

Grant encourages: “Helping others can sink your career but it can also accelerate your careers. Hang in there.”

It takes a while for Givers to learn and build connections, but when they do, it’s a win-win for the organization.

How can we build cultures to help Givers be successful?

3 Things We Can Do:

  1. Keep the wrong people off the bus. – Get the right people on the bus. If possible, keep Takers off the bus. “One Taker on the team and paranoia starts to spread.” Put one Giver on the team, and you don’t necessarily have an explosion of generosity. It’s not bringing in the Givers; it’s weeding out the Takers. Matchers follow the norm. Matchers will follow the example of the Givers.
  2. Redefine Giving.   Wisdom is to know who is who in the workplace. Or at least not be thrown off by behaviors vs. motives. Then we can shape our work culture to empower Givers, influence Matchers, and avoid enabling Takers. In an interview with Adam Grant, Thinkers50 spelled this process out very well. For instance, consider Agreeableness vs. Disagreeableness – in Takers, Givers, and Matchers. We usually think Takers are disagreeable, but not necessarily so. Givers aren’t always agreeable either. Just because someone is nice to you (an agreeable Taker) doesn’t mean they care about you (Givers, in general, really care). Adam Grant also talks about the importance of kindness in the workplace. This is a strength of Givers, but it can also push them to over-work and exhaustion. Grant prescribes “5-minute favors (a microloan of your time, skills, or connections). Volunteering – 100 hours a year – is the sweet spot. Greater than 100 hours a year is too much. 2 hours a week.”
  3. Encourage Help-Seekers – A work culture of Help-Seekers will take silos down. “People step up when others say ‘I’m stuck; I need some help’. If no one asks for help, you have a lot of frustrated Givers in your organization.” Grant recommends an exercise called the Reciprocity Ring – Gathering teams together and having each person state a request of something they want or need and then everyone else in the room tries to use their expertise and networks to make it happen. “People are often unbelievably generous if you ask for help. Givers step up. The Takers become more generous. All the offers of help are visible. Takers don’t want to get outed. The Matchers realize that matching is useful, but it’s an inefficient way to run an organization. If you have given help to others without getting back, then you can increase your productivity because you don’t have to just ask those you’ve helped.”

Givers ask the question “How can I be the rising tide that lifts all boats?” We can move our organizations in this direction of maximum impact and satisfaction, by nurturing a Giver culture.  Instead of workplace paranoia, imagine a culture distinguished by a “Pro-noia” – the “delusion” that other people are plotting your wellbeing.  May it not be a delusion but a daily reality.

Give and Take – An Interview with Adam Grant by Thinkers50

Give and Take – A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant

Outward Focused Lives // Givers, Takers, Matchers

Give and Take – An introduction

YouTube Video – Adam Grant, Professor – Givers, Takers, and Matchers

YouTube Video – Adam Grant’s Give and Take Talk at Google

Global Leadership Summit 2015

The Reciprocity Ring

Live Blog: 2015 Leadership Summit – 30 Leadership Quotes from Adam Grant – Brian Dodd on Leadership

The Global Leadership Summit Session Three – Adam Grant – Notes by Chuck Scoggins

A Lesson in Humility – Downsizing – A Humbling Work Experience and What God Can Do With It

Blog - Downsizing - slideshare.net (2)Photo Credit: Slideshare.net

A company downsizing can be a humbling experience for everyone – for those losing their jobs and for those in leadership with no other way forward. For all the employees, there will be a mix of reactions. Downsizing can be a humiliating experience…unless we allow it to be simply humbling.

God sees downsizing differently than we may, when going through one. In the Bible, there’s a fascinating account (Judges 6-7) of His gathering an army to fight the Midianites, enemies of Israel. He worked through the leadership of a man named Gideon who, early on, wasn’t at all sure of himself leading such an operation. As Gideon sought direction from God, he was able to rally an army of 32,000 men.

God wanted Gideon to see His own glory in fighting for His people. This army of 1000s was too big. Through a couple of strategic downsizings, Gideon was left with an army of 300 and a God who would lead them in battle for His name’s sake. They would see the Midianites trounced in such a curious way that only God could have brought about their defeat.

In the story above, Gideon must have felt satisfied…even proud…at the size of the army he was preparing to lead. The timidity he originally felt melted away with the men who volunteered to fight for him. He was ready to go up against the Midianites.

God had another plan.

He brought the number of soldiers down to such a low count that Gideon no longer had cause to be proud of the possibilities of victory. He was humbled by God’s actions, and he became all the more able to lead, as He followed every detail of God’s strategy.

Humility is having a right, or true, understanding of who God is, and who we are in relationship to Him and each other.

When we are humbled, either by a downsizing in our jobs, or a hit to our status, position, or reputation, we can take heart, in what God can do in that. When He works to move each of us to a such challenging place, we discover the contents of our own hearts. We discover the pride…or whatever else has lodged itself against Him (fear, entitlement, bitterness). Then we either choose to rail against our situation or decide to trust Him with the outcome.

We have an example of that in the humble obedience of Christ:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name. – Philippians 2:5-9

2015 September Blog - Humility

In a company downsizing, or any other hard place, our temptation may tend toward pride and entitlement. As we allow God to humble us through that hard place, then He will raise us up, as He did Gideon, in victory. It’s in trusting Him that we’ll find that victory.

Blog - Humility & Pride - Slideshare.netPhoto Credit: Slideshare.net

Gideon’s Incredible Shrinking Army (Judges 6:33-7:15a)

Gideon Defeats the Midianites – Godsstory.org

The Power of Humility – Slideshare

What It Means to Be Humble and 6 Ways You Can Grow In Humility

How to Fight the Sin of Pride, Especially When You Are Praised – Ten Things I Do – John Piper

Worship Wednesday – Fanny Crosby’s Blessed Assurance – From the Archives

2014 May Blog 002

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith… Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.Hebrews 10:22a, 23

Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) was an American songwriter. She wrote the lyrics to more than 8000 hymns. Many in church today do not sing the hymns of old, but even my millennial children know all the words to Crosby’s Blessed Assurance.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Saviour all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Saviour all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Saviour am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

The history of the hymn is a quick glimpse into Fanny Crosby’s life. She was visiting in the home of a composer friend who had just written a melody. The friend, Phoebe P. (Mrs. Joseph K.) Knapp, asked her what came to mind upon hearing the melody, and Fanny responded immediately, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.” She then completed the rest of the lyrics shortly thereafter.

Fanny wrote both secular and sacred music and taught school. She was also profoundly concerned for the urban poor and lived most of her life in and around the poorest neighborhoods of New York City. She was a vocal protestor against slavery and testified before the U.S. Senate in support of education for the blind.

Fanny Crosby had been blind all her life.  Her physical eyes were dark but her spiritual vision was crystal clear.  She commented often how if she’d been sighted she might have missed the depth of awareness of God and His nearness to her. [Autobiography of Fanny Crosby]

Her songs communicate strong emotion and deep devotion. I am thankful to have grown up attending summer revival meetings and church camps where these hymns were regularly a part of the program.  Some of my favorites are: I Am Thine, O Lord; Jesus is Calling; Praise Him, Praise Him, Jesus our blessed Redeemer; Redeemed how I Love to Proclaim it; and To God Be the Glory. Just remembering the titles of these great old hymns takes me back – to warm summer nights; women fanning themselves with paper fans advertising the local funeral home; preachers making passionate appeals as if a matter of life and death; singing “one more verse” of one of those Crosby hymns.


Or at church camp, by a lake, around a huge crackling fire popping and sending sparks up to the dark night sky; all of us circled around, singing and praying…for our sinful teenaged selves or for the friend on either side of us. Those were experiences deeply imprinted in my life’s story – those experiences, Crosby’s hymns, and the God of those hymns.

Some of my contemporaries write about those experiences as emotional ploys to bring some weak soul to a public profession of faith. All I know is that God grabbed hold of me in a very real way through the music of those old hymnists like Fanny Crosby.

She was one who knew God – who saw Him with eyes that couldn’t see anything else. And at some point, early in her life, she became one who only had eyes for Him…and that intimacy is reflected in her hymns. God Himself is marvelously magnified in her hymns. Blessed assurance.

Blessed Assurance by Third Day (with Lyrics)

Blessed Assurance by Third Day (Live)

Blessed Assurance by The Angelic Choir

In Christ Alone – a contemporary hymn by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty

Fan Photo by Brian Brown

A Grateful Heart Day – Thankful for Those Who Just Show Up – and for a God Who Never Leaves

Blog - Writing & Journaling - Joy List

I’ve been writing all my life. Keeping a journal has been a source of joy and sanity for many of those years. Once when we were overseas, I was encouraged to keep a Joy List – a list of the simple things that just gave me joy. It’s still a joy to add to that list as I experience more of God’s kindnesses in His creation – people and places, stuff and such.

This is going to be quick. In a few minutes, I head to the airport to visit my Dad. He is such a delight to me…even with Alzheimer’s, he’s funny and thus far still loves life and family and food. He still prays which is a blessing to him, I’m sure, and to all of us.Papa on 90th

Anyway, I want to come back to this topic another day. For now, for you who show up for each other, what a joy you are! How grateful I am for you – in my life and in the lives of those I love. You may think it a small thing, a usual thing, but it’s not.

Marilyn Gardner wrote on this topic in her blog, and I found it this morning while researching the phrase “just showing up”. She expressed it so well.

The world is not changed through one momentous event, it is changed through the often boring, simple acts of obedience that I am daily called to. it is changed by showing up.” – Marilyn Gardner

I also want to recommend a book by Kara Tippetts entitled Just Show Up (see link below). She wrote this with a friend, Jill Lynn Buteyn, who, with others, “showed up” as Kara was living with cancer. She is with the Lord now but has left such a beautiful legacy in her life and writing.

Blog - Just Show Up

“Today I want to show up. I want to be fully present. It’s in showing up that I learn more of the faithfulness of the God who shows up. ” – Marilyn Gardner

It’s About Showing Up – Communicating Across Boundaries – Marilyn Gardner

Just Show Up by Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn & Other Books by Kara

10 Biblical Proofs that God Will Never Leave You or Forsake You

Just Show Up – James Altucher

“Inspiration Is for Amateurs – The Rest of Us Just Show Up and Get to Work”