Category Archives: Beginnings

Beginnings: Embrace Paradox

Embrace Paradox

ParadoxBillboardOver and over I get slapped in the face with things that just can’t possibly co-exist. Opposites. Contradictions. Big things and small.

Scientists, engineers and mathematicians tell us things like:

  • Light is particles. And waves
  • Parallel lines, if extended to infinity, cross
  • Space is warped
  • Time and gravity impact each other
  • Time speeds up or slows down depending on how fast your are moving
  • Time doesn’t exist. (but didn’t it yesterday?) So how does it slow down?

Funny how these same scientists will use conundrums to “prove” that God isn’t real. Sure, there are many biblical and Christian paradoxes. I’ve made a list of a few.

Paradox. Conundrum. Contradiction. They are all around us. Life gets easier when you embrace them!

Last Updated: 10/18/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.


Beginnings: Begin with God

Begin with God

If God is first, nothing else matters. If God is NOT first, nothing else matters.”

“He intended us to be creatures related to Himself in a certain way. […] if you are right with Him you will inevitably be right with all your fellow-creatures …”

— C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, from September 22, Page 290, of A Year with C. S. Lewis

It’s really simple. God isn’t somewhere in your priorities, He’s not first on your priority list, He has to be the ONLY THING on your list. Everything else is in relationship to Him. His Purpose and His power, operating through you, for the benefit of others. When that happens, stress goes away. Amazingly, sometimes it’s also when great accomplishments take place.

That is so simple and obvious. Yet I have to remind myself every day.

Last Updated: 10/13/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.


Beginnings: Delayed Gratification

Delayed Gratification

“Pay before you Play.”

You would think once would be enough, but I’ve re-learned this one (as in negative experiences) more than once.  This doesn’t have to apply only to finances but that’s a great place to start.

Save rather than buying on credit.

Larry Burkett, one of my heroes, had a basic principle for purchasing anything of more than a trivial price. It was, approximately:

  1. For any non-trivial purchase, it has to go onto a list
  2. It had to remain on the list for at least 30 days before it could be purchased
  3. The list was never allowed to have more than 3 items on it

Wow! How much different my life might be if I had always followed that advice. But wait, it’s not too late to start today!

“Pleasures are more safely postponed than virtues…greater loss is suffered by missing an opportunity of doing good, than an hour of giddy frolic and noisy merriment.”
— Samuel Johnson

Last Updated: 10/6/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.

User Enablement

Think about something you could do for your users (Staff, Employees, even friends and family). Something that is there for them when they want it. Something that is easy to interact with, without having to wait. And something where you can tell your progress instantly, without any effort. How would you like something like that as a learning model?

Well, darn, I don’t have that solution. But isn’t that the sort of thing we want to provide for others, through training and experience?

  1. Ready for you whenever you are ready
  2. Easy to engage with (what’s more frustrating that needing to be trained on how to be trained?!)
  3. Clear progress, moment by moment

EscalatorThis post is inspired by a recent post by Seth Godin titled Escalators, elevators and the ferry. Yes, I’m going way off his original topic but the application jumped out at me. We want learning to be more like escalators. And yes, I know, some people don’t like escalators. OK, it’s not a perfect analogy.

Start with Culture

CultureBusThis post is inspired by a recent conversation with Chris Rivers of Culture Bus.

If you know me, you know that I’ve long thought helping a new employee get a good start is one of the most important things an employer can do. Hence, orientation ideas that empower on day one. Clearly, orientation will go better when you’ve made a great hire, but the hiring process is not really the starting point. A key point of great hiring is to find someone who fits the organization of your culture.

Every organization has a culture. The surprise is that not all organizations know what their culture is! Sometimes culture needs to be developed. Sometimes it even needs to change! (That’s not likely easy) Understand your culture as a starting point to driving your vision. If you need some help with that, you might want to talk to Chris.


Dream Job

Had an opportunity to assist at a career ministry last night helping with a networking session. In the opening minutes, shared this excerpt from Tony Morgan with the attendees:

Dream role is the intersection of three concepts:
  1. Am I good at what I do?
  2. Do I enjoy what I do?
  3. Will someone pay me to do it?


If you consider the responses to those three questions, not every position is the best fit. For example…

  • Hobby – You’re good at something and you really enjoy doing it, but no one will pay you. That’s a hobby.
  • Job – You’re good at something and someone will pay you, but you don’t enjoy it. That’s a job.
  • Unemployed – You enjoy doing something and someone is currently paying you, but you’re not good at it. That’s when most employers fire people. (Of course, churches tend to pay people to do things they’re not good at. That’s a topic for another day.)

Easy, Enjoyable, Effective

This is a concept I picked up from one of my favorite churches, Liberty Church, in Marietta, GA.
Liberty Church goes way out of its way to make some otherwise hard things, easy. For example:
  1. Services on several days at lots of different times to allow for strange work schedules
  2. Small groups just before, or just after, services, with on-campus locations to meet. (Don’t make people do multiple trips: maximize each church visit)
  3. Resources! Audio library. Materials. Ideas. Liberty makes things available, low-cost or no-cost, for small groups, “short courses,” and studies on countless subjects
  4. Visitor friendly. Embracing, encouraging, but never pushy

Liberty Church constantly repeats one of its simple mantras, Easy, Enjoyable, Effective. The rather obvious (once you’ve encountered it) idea: if you want somebody to do something, make it easy for them. But don’t stop there. Build in some enjoyment. And, have the payoff of making the activity effective.

KeepItSimple125Think about, for instance, discipleship. How many more people would engage if it was easy, and enjoyable, and they felt they really made progress — effective. But wait, this can apply to so much more. Training. Exercise. Dieting. Reading. Studying. Traveling. A new project. What is there that you want to do that you wouldn’t be more successful with if it were easy, enjoyable and effective?
This concept has become one of my themes for nearly everything. 100% success? Of course not. But still an inspiration and a direction.

What challenges do you have that could be simplified by looking for the Easy, the Enjoyable, and the Effective? One idea that has paid off well for me: “start small.”

Example: I only commit 2 minutes a day to blogging. Yup. Two minutes. Key part of this, I only commit two minutes. Often, because I’ve now made it easy, and enjoyable, I go over the commitment. But I don’t have to.

Likewise, reading five minutes a day. 25 sit-ups a day. I am so much more likely to follow-through, and go beyond, when the commitment is low, and … EASY, ENJOYABLE, EFFECTIVE. You may argue that 25 sit-ups isn’t effective. It’s way more effective than zero! Plus, because it’s easy and enjoyable, how often do you think I stop at 25? (not often)

What might you do more of if it were easy, enjoyable, and effective?


Intuitive is so obvious, after someone has done it!

There is beauty when something works and it works intuitively.”
–Jonathan Ive

Designing and developing anything of consequence is incredibly challenging.
–Jonathan Ive

Making the solution seem so completely inevitable and obvious, so uncontrived and natural – it’s so hard!
–Jonathan Ive

Generic Staff Orientation: the Desktop


Desktop Cleanup

DesktopOverload200If this doesn’t apply to you, great! Some users, in some office locations, have chosen to save their life history on the desktop. Please don’t. The desktop is an OK place for shortcuts, but a terrible place for actual folders and documents. Items on your desktop are unique to one machine, are not backed up and they have an impact on performance. Best to avoid.