Monday, June 22, 2009

Saying No

"A 'No' uttered form deepest conviction is better and greater than a 'Yes'merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble." Mahatma Gandhi
I once heard it said that the word NO is a complete sentence. Although I agree that it can be,

many people have a hard time saying the word. I was facilitating a group last week when we starting talking about living a balanced life. Many of the women in the group agreed that their lives were sometimes out of control because they said yes to too many things. One woman stated that she feels guilty when she says no, and worries that she is hurting the feelings of the person she has to say no to.
So why is so hard to say no? In his book The Power of a Positive No, William Ury states, "Perhaps the single biggest mistake we make when we say No is to start from No. We derive our No from what we are against - the other's demand or behavior. A positive No calls on us to do the exact opposite and base our No on what we are for. Instead of starting from No, start from Yes. Root you No in a deeper Yes - a Yes to your core interests and to what truly matters."
Picture going on vacation with only a week to drive to your vacation spot, relax for a few days, and drive back home. You would pull out your map, make sure you know the quickest way to get there, and prepare yourself for the journey. You wouldn't want any unwelcome surprises (like a flat tire, a detour, stopping to see the world's biggest ball of twine, etc.) to keep you from enjoying your time away. And if you did have an unwelcome surprise, you might end up feeling frustrated and resentful that you didn't get to do all the fun things you had planned.
Unfortunately many of us spend a lot of time planning our vacations, but we don't spend time planning our lives. We get sidetracked from doing the best things because we say yes to doing good things that are on someone else's agenda. And then we end up feeling resentful because we are stressed out from doing too an unbalanced life.
I often tell my clients that we not only have the right to say no, we often have the responsibility to say no! When we take the time to discover what truly matters we can say no in a healthy way because we are starting from yes!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday's Quote of the Day

"Never underestimate the power of your attitude. It is the advance man of our true selves. Its roots are inward, but its fruit is outward. It is our best friend, or our worst enemy. It is more honest and more consistent than our words. It has an outward look based on past experiences. It is never content until it is expressed. It is the librarian of our past; it's the speaker of our present, and it's the prophet of our future." John Maxwell

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Learning to be Content

I was reading through some of my favorite verses in Philippians today and read again Paul's statement "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-13.

If we look at the life of Paul, we realize that God doesn't always protect his servants from the realities of living in this world. Paul found himself in some pretty miserable conditions; hungry, shipwrecked, abandoned, persecuted, in prison, etc. And yet, he said "I have learned the secret of being content." So what is the secret? And how can we learn it?

If you unpack the verses prior to to his statement you will see two parts to finding contentment. One is what we do, and the other is what God has promised.

Our part of the equation is found in Philippians 4:4-6 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God," and in Philippians 4:8-9a, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice."

God's promises are found in Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus," and Philippians 4:9b "And the God of peace will be with you."
Contentment doesn't come from a life with no trials or a life of having everything we want. It comes from practice, and it comes from surrendering our lives to God. Paul could face any trial with confidence because he had learned, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
Check out Philippians 4:6-7 in the Message, "Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Biblical Hospitality

If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you are doing.
W. Edwards Deming

"Andy Stanley has said, 'The church is a family expecting guests.' Is your family ready? Have you prepared for the arrival of guests and all that is to follow? Let's say I've invited you into my home for dinner. I would put great effort into getting ready for your visit. I would take the piled-up newspapers out to the recycling bin, pick up the toys in the hallway and even run a dust rag over the furniture. I would want ot make sure that my home gave off the best impression of me. For our meal, I would be sure to make a dish you would enjoy. I would want to satisfy your hunger with something healthy and delicious. When you arrive, I would show you around, make sure you feel welcome and respected as a guest in my home. By preparing for your coming, I would be able to treat you with the hospitality you deserve.

The Church - your church - truly is a family expecting guests. And you should be ready to show them intentional hospitality when they arrive. While they are in your company, they need to feel comfortable and valued, no matter where they are in their spiritual development. When they leave, be proactive in giving them a return invitation they'll be hard pressed to refuse. Your church is a bigger representation of the bigger family of God. God is honored when you show your guests true biblical hospitality."

Monday, June 15, 2009


A young couple moved into a new neighborhood The next morning while they were eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the wash outside.

'That laundry is not very clean,' she said. 'She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.'

Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, The young woman would make the same comments. About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: 'Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this.

'The husband said, 'I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.' And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fun Friday

Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church's morals, kept sticking her nose into other people's business.

Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon...She emphatically told Frank(and several others) That everyone seeing it there WOULD KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING !
Frank, a man of few words,stared at her for a moment andjust turned and walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.

Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house...
walked home...and left it there all night!!!

(You gotta love Frank!)