March 2015

The State of the Freshman Soul

Culture is Changing. And Changing FAST!

Faith is Fading. And for some, fading FAST!

Depression is Rising. And for some, rising FAST!

Some of the most important work we must do is the work of discerning the times and then knowing what we (the church) are to do.

Here is a short description by James Emory White on the state of the freshman soul.

Let us pray. Let us act. Let us trust God.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International


Highly Intentional About Happiness

Ten Small Things That Will Promote Happiness

This was an interesting list. The blog this link takes you to is a little longer then some, but you can still read it in a few minutes. However, here is the list of 10 small things that help happiness.

1.  Do cultural things.

2.  Keep a diary/journal and reread it.

3.  Make small talk with a stranger.

4.  But have meaningful conversations too.

5.  Live in the suberbs and get involved.

6.  Listen to sad songs, they provide emotional release.

7.  Spend money on experiences, not items.

Anxiety and Decision Making

They are NOT a Good Pair!

This is probably a no-brainer, but unfortunately, we make decisions all the time when we are in a "state of anxiousness." Here is a short article on How Anxiety Affects Your Decision Making.

Upward Mobility, the American Dream (and Other Myths We Believe)

Perception is Everything.

Well, it really is NOT everything.
We simply assume our perception is reality.
Our perceptions are sometimes far from reality, and keep us from really understanding what is going on. Which then leads to bad decisions and the inevitable consequences.

I have read a number of works by cognitive psychologists on the power of irrationality and how COMMON it is in our daily experience. It turns out that self-deception is so easy and diabolical. I say diabolical, because the very nature of self-deception is to be convinced you are not deceived and in fact, that your perception is accurate.

Here is a short and very intriguing article on the American Dream, our lifestyles and PERCEPTION about how things are going and what things will be like for us.

No Complaining

no complainingTry It For One Month
Okay, try it for one week.

Is even that too long, then try it for one week, but focus on One Day at a Time.

I am like just about everyone else. I can gripe and complain and fuss and moan.

I am like just about everyone else. I have my list of preferred things to moan about. Like winter weather and drivers who don't know how to drive in wintry weather and townships that don't seem to be responsible about roads in wintry weather... opps, ignore those complaints. They are just illustrations!

I am like just about everyone else. I don't like listening to those who gripe and complain to me.

Too in Love With Our Own Ideas

Joseph Loconte, in The Searchers, offered a profound insight that all who are responsible for teaching the faith must consider (often).

"What strikes me about some of these preachers is that they probably couldn't recognize the hand of God if it popped them on the nose. They're just too in love with their own ideas about how he works."

American Teens

And Their (Not) So Secret Lives

In Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, Clark and Powell describe two factors that are working against teenagers.

First, the adults in their lives are less available to them then ever.
This is a HUGE issue, because it is the time in life when they need adults to be present in consistent, empowering, supportive ways. Not only are the adults who should be there - not there. When the adults are there, it is often in unhelpful and even harmful ways. The result is a mistrust and skepticism on the part of teens, toward adults.

Every Day We Fail to Change

And It is Killing Us

I recently read a great illustration/statistic in a book that is several years dated. Maybe things are a little better now... or perhaps they are a little worse. But here it is.

In 2008 there were 600,000 heart bypass surgeries.
There were another 1.3 million angioplasty surgeries.
At a cost of about $30 billion dollars.*

Two years later, 90% of those who had this work done, had NOT CHANGED THEIR LIFESTYLE that caused the problem and were headed for more of the same! There had been no change that was necessary for Healthy and Long Living.

Change or Die!
Articles and books have been written with that title and phrase.

The Real Reason for our Failures

The Late (and very Great) Dallas Willard had this perceptive insight.

Now let us try a subversive thought.
Supose our failures occur,
not in spite of what we are doing,
but precisely because of it.
(The Divine conspiracy, pp. 40)

There are times when we fail because we have a great vision, great strategy, great tactics and we simply fall short in implementing them. They would really work well, if we just did them. This is where "turning the flywhell" (Jim Collins) is helpful. We know what to do and how to do it. We must simply KEEP DOING IT until it begins to generate the desired results.

If only it were always that easy.

Willard reminds us that it is not always that easy.