Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Tag

Conversation Catalyst   1 comment


Surface waves

Surface waves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night and this morning I was reminded of the value associated with conversation and dialogue.  I was one of thousands watching the live production of the Sound of Music last night on television.  While I was watching the production, I posted on my Facebook page that I was struggling with this production of a classic.  I indicated that in my opinion, this could not replace the movie version which I have watched at least annually since I can remember watching television.  That post ignited a stream of comments from friends throughout the rest of the night and even this morning.  There were those who expressed their struggles and dislikes.  There were also those that spoke in support of the production and raised reminders of the unfairness to compare these very different productions.  As I stepped back from the various opinions, I became aware of the great value of this dialogue.  What emerged was an opportunity to express opinions, share memories, express feelings, educate, and most importantly, engage with one another.

This led me this morning to ponder how one little post on a Facebook page could ignite a beneficial conversation.  As a leader, I have come to realize the role that leaders play in beginning conversations.  In fact, I believe that this is one of the top five responsibilities in being a leader.  There definitely is a risk involved because if you open a conversation, you have no idea where for sure that conversation may head.  However, there is a lot that can be discovered and growth can take place if a dialogue is established.

Another realization that I had is that you do not always know what might spark a conversation.  I would have to be honest that I did not anticipate that my post last night would create the conversation that has occurred since I did the posting.  The catalyst can be something very small and spontaneous in nature or it can be something planned to initiate dialogue around a subject, challenge, or event.  It can be somewhat liking casting a stone in the water which create circles of discussion.  Sometimes you may need to cast multiple stones and at other times it will take only one.  The caution is to avoid throwing in boulders.

The final observation that I had this morning is that there is a role the leader must play after creating a catalyst for conversation.  The role would be one of moderator.  It will be important for the leader to make sure that the dialogue that occurs after the conversation ignites is one of a positive nature and not one that tears individuals or the group down.  A positive conversation is not void of critical observations.  However, the leader needs to strive to create an environment where the dialogue will not be derogatory toward a person or the person’s ideas/thoughts.

Who would have thought that the Sound of Music could lead me to think about such matters?

 

Being A Leader   Leave a comment


Diverse GMU people all put together into a square.

Diverse GMU people all put together into a square. (Photo credit: KellyCDB)

This morning the Disney Institute posted this blog post on Facebook.  The title of the post is 3 Signs You Are Meant To Be A Leader and it was written by Les McKeown.  The first thing that caught my eye is something that I have come to believe, “Not everyone is cut out to be a leader.”  In a nation where many people strive to create a “level playing field,” I think that we often overlook the fact that we have all been created differently and are unique.  We all do not have the same skills and abilities.  That was never part of the original design.  Instead, each person was given skills and abilities that are specific to them.  It is when we combine this varied skills and abilities that we have the perfect group of people to handle life.  Like the old axiom states:  The sum is greater than the parts.  Yet, how often in an attempt to create a sense of equality among people do we place people in roles that they are definitely not equipped and gifted to manage?

I do believe that every person has the ability to learn.  We can create individuals that can survive in a position in which they are not equipped to be.  But this is a great service to the individual and to the organization.  As the writer of the post comments, they are less than effective in the position.  Many times they are frustrated and quickly burn out.  If they do not burn out they may act out by being irritable or even aggressive towards others.  The organization often flounders under their leadership and may lose members or be unsuccessful in their projects.

Let me be clear; every person has a valuable position in every organization.  The value of that person is not based on a hierarchy of roles.  Every role is necessary if the organization is going to be successful.  So the title of the role is far less important as the person’s abilities and gifts that she/he bring to the role which they have.

Paul seemed to make this abundantly clear when he was writing to the church in Corinth.  In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about the various gifts that the people have in the community.  He points out how the individuals work together for the betterment of the community.  He also points out how one part cannot be successful without the others and that all have a vital role.  This is how each individual and each community of people were designed.  Diversity in the midst of unity.

In addition to a diversity of roles, there is diversity in the types of individuals needed in each role.  As an example, the role of a leader can have a large variety of ways in which that role is executed.  Different organizations and different situations require different types of leaders.  There needs to be a matching of what type of leader is needed just as much as a matching of the individuals having the right gifts and abilities to be a leader in the first place.

So let’s stop assuming that everyone should have an equal opportunity for every role.  Let’s stop placing people in positions which they are not a healthy fit.  Let’s stop trying to make everyone the same.  Instead, let’s acknowledge the diversity and the need for diversity within an organization or group of people.  Let’s identify the gifts and abilities of the person and determine where those gifts and abilities will do the most good.  Let’s celebrate each role and each person without a hierarchy of importance.  When we combine these different parts (roles), we will have the ability to achieve great things.

Back On Track   Leave a comment


 

gratitude

gratitude (Photo credit: nathalie booth)

After a long hiatus, I am finally back in the saddle of every day life.  I would not say that I am back to normal (partly because I am not sure I have ever achieved “normal”) because I am still assisting in providing care for my son who finally got out of the hospital Sunday afternoon.  Nights are still fragmented by the need to provide pain medication every three hours.  However, I am back in the office for the first full day since July 10.  Because I am trying to re-establish my regular routine, writing my blog post is part of that.

Today, I just want to reflect a bit over the days since July 10.  These days have been filled with many ups and many more downs.  For a person who likes to manage as much in life as possible, encountering long periods when aspects of life are completely out of my control  have caused a lot of emotional and spiritual fatigue.  Watching your child suffer and knowing that there was little that you could do was extremely frustrating to me.  While I hope that my words of comfort and my attempts to provide calm in very difficult situations had some value, I knew that I could not take the pain away, nor could I wish quick healing into existence.  I struggled at times to keep an eye on the end goal but knew that I had to constantly remind him of that goal.

I am forever grateful for the many words of encouragement and the endless barrage of prayer that have been sent our way.  The ability for me to keep individuals updated via Facebook was a blessing because I was also able to regularly see the words that others would post on each update.  It reminded me that there were so many people who cared and who were offering support from so many different places.  As I mentioned before we ever went to the hospital, having a community of support is vital and rewarding in these situations.

So as I attempt to continue to be constantly available to my son while returning to the office and trying to fulfill my responsibilities, I want to say thank you.  Thank you to those who have been a constant strength to me and my family.  Thank you to those who have offered prayers and encouragement.  Thank you to those who have offered to provide whatever relief is possible.  Thank you most of all to the Lord who has walked this path with us from the beginning and who continues to provide healing for my son.

 

The Value of Community   6 comments


English: I took photo with Canon camera in Lub...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is a day of challenge for me.  My son will undergo a surgery that will lead to a period of great pain.  I do not think it is ever easy for a parent to watch one of his/her children as they deal with pain.  I know that in the long run this will benefit him greatly but I am still uneasy, concerned, and not eager for what lies ahead.  Yet, as always, God takes a difficult situation and produces great good from it.

Yesterday, when we found out what time my son’s surgery is going to be today, I posted a message on Facebook and requested prayers.  Since that point, I have received endless messages and promises of prayers.  My son commented on how terrific it is that I have so many friends and family who are offering their support.  I couldn’t agree more.  Some of these individuals are from the community in which we live; others are from hundreds of miles away.  However, it is one large community of support and encouragement.  The Lord has blessed me and my family greatly with wonderful people.

So as we go through this day, I know that I am surrounded by a great company of saints.  I know that I have the strong support of prayers and willingness to reach out in any way possible.  I know that my son and my family walk this path not alone but with friends, family, and most importantly, my Lord.  I am reminded of these important words:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  (Romans 8:28, NIV)

I trust the Lord and the power of prayer from a community of friends and family.

Nothing To Prove   Leave a comment


Professor and student work together in the studio.

Professor and student work together in the studio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week my son passed on a link to me through Facebook.  I thought it said something significant so I am copying the text here.  I don’t know the original source.  It is rather lengthy but I encourage you to read it.  I will share a few thoughts at the end.

Professor : You are a Christian, aren’t you, son ?

Student : Yes, sir.

Professor: So, you believe in GOD ?

Student : Absolutely, sir.

Professor : Is GOD good ?

Student : Sure.

Professor: Is GOD all-powerful ?

Student : Yes.

Professor: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to GOD to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But GOD didn’t. How is this GOD good then? Hmm?

(Student was silent.)

Professor: You can’t answer, can you ? Let’s start again, young fella. Is GOD good?

Student : Yes.

Professor: Is satan good ?

Student : No.

Professor: Where does satan come from ?

Student : From … GOD …

Professor: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?

Student : Yes.

Professor: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it ? And GOD did make everything. Correct?

Student : Yes.

Professor: So who created evil ?

(Student did not answer.)

Professor: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don’t they?

Student : Yes, sir.

Professor: So, who created them ?

(Student had no answer.)

Professor: Science says you have 5 Senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son, have you ever seen GOD?

Student : No, sir.

Professor: Tell us if you have ever heard your GOD?

Student : No , sir.

Professor: Have you ever felt your GOD, tasted your GOD, smelt your GOD? Have you ever had any sensory perception of GOD for that matter?

Student : No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.

Professor: Yet you still believe in Him?

Student : Yes.

Professor : According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says your GOD doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?

Student : Nothing. I only have my faith.

Professor: Yes, faith. And that is the problem Science has.

Student : Professor, is there such a thing as heat?

Professor: Yes.

Student : And is there such a thing as cold?

Professor: Yes.

Student : No, sir. There isn’t.

(The lecture theater became very quiet with this turn of events.)

Student : Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.

(There was pin-drop silence in the lecture theater.)

Student : What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?

Professor: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?

Student : You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light. But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and its called darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness isn’t. If it is, well you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?

Professor: So what is the point you are making, young man ?

Student : Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.

Professor: Flawed ? Can you explain how?

Student : Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good GOD and a bad GOD. You are viewing the concept of GOD as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, Science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.

Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?

Professor: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

Student : Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

(The Professor shook his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument was going.)

Student : Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor. Are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?

(The class was in uproar.)

Student : Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor’s brain?

(The class broke out into laughter. )

Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established Rules of Empirical, Stable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?

(The room was silent. The Professor stared at the student, his face unfathomable.)

Professor: I guess you’ll have to take them on faith, son.

Student : That is it sir … Exactly ! The link between man & GOD is FAITH. That is all that keeps things alive and moving.

P.S.

I believe you have enjoyed the conversation. And if so, you’ll probably want your friends / colleagues to enjoy the same, won’t you?

Forward this to increase their knowledge … or FAITH.

By the way, that student was EINSTEIN.

Since I don’t know the original source of this, I cannot say that it was an actual event.  However, I believe that the student’s response to the professor speaks to the core of our faith.

Some people spend so much time and energy either trying to prove the existence of God or the non-existence of God.  I would like to place before you the concept that we are not required as believers to prove the existence of God.  Faith for me is believing that God exists without an empirical proof.  My faith is grounded in my very being.  The Spirit is the one that will do the work in the hearts of others, not me.  I am just to live out my faith so others may be drawn to seek God.  When asked, I am to share what I believe.  When given the opportunity I am to express what I believe.  But I am never required to prove that God exists.  God is very capable of proving that on God’s own.

A Whole New World   Leave a comment


The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

Image via Wikipedia

Today I attended a Social Phonics boot camp.  We spent the day discussing a social media philosophy, Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube.  There were references to other social network and blogging tools and techniques throughout the day.  What it really brought home to me was the impact that social media and the internet really are having on the way that we communicate the message of Jesus Christ.

Many of us have spent portions of our lives trying to share the message of grace, love, promise, and hope with others in our specific locations.  However, the introduction of the internet and the birth of social media now have loosed the bounds of our physical beings.  We no longer are confined to share and discuss the message of the Lord based on our location.  We no longer even have to travel to another location to interact and engage with people.  We now have the ability to minister and communicate God’s love to anyone in any part of the world.

This reality is both very liberating and very scary.  It is challenging and humbling.  The reasons that I feel all of these feelings are contained in this new reality are these:

  • Liberating because I no longer am confined to one location as I try to communicate the Gospel.
  • Scary because I have to make sure that the message that I share is truly the message the Lord has given.
  • Challenging because I no longer have an excuse for not communicating the Gospel, i.e., I cannot just pick up and move to (fill in the blank).
  • Humbling because I am still trying to work out what the Lord’s message means to my life as I am trying to share it in a way that means something to other people’s lives.

I truly find this reality as being very exciting.  I now will spend tomorrow trying to make sense of all that I have learned today and try to put it into motion in how I communicate the Gospel.  It is a whole new world, I’m eager to go see how the Lord will use me to communicate in it.

The Need For Laughter   Leave a comment


Laughter...

Image by leodelrosa... via Flickr

Have you ever noticed what an impact laughter has on your day?  Today I saw a post by my nephew on Facebook that I decided to take the time to investigate.  He posted a video that featured John Stamos and Bob Saget.  The video caused me to laugh and so I shared it with others.  Why did I decide to share it?  What is it about laughter that causes us to share it?

For me, laughter helps reorient my day.  Some days I have a lot of serious aspects that I am dealing with.  I find that I can easily become pretty bogged down.  It seems that when I spend a lot of time in the “serious” I find myself struggling with a sense of exhaustion.  I also can have mood shifts that cause me to be irritable.  I may even disengage from interactions because I am spending so much time and energy processing the “serious” aspects of life.  So laughter helps me climb out of the “seriousness” of my day(s).

I think it is important to share those things we run across which cause us to laugh.  Many times we may not even know that someone is stuck in the seriousness of life when we choose to share the laughter.  However, what we share may truly be the release mechanism, the re-orientation that they so desperately need.

So thank you Lord for the gift of laughter.  It has amazing and wonderful power.