August 2015


The reality is that few organizations have figured out how to innovate, adapt, and create amazing things without burning their people out.

These were the words of Lindsay McGregor about the recent Amazon work culture expose. The Amazon work culture story has come at a great time. For the last month I have been working on the first draft of a the 2nd workbook in The Leadership Exercises. This workbook is on personal productivity. The title is tentatively:

Bear Much Fruit That Lasts: Insights into Personal Productivity

Loving Words

A poet is, before anything else,
a person who is passionately in love with language.
W. H. Auden

In the beginning was the WORD
and the WORD was with God
and the WORD was God...
The WORD became flesh
and made his dwelling among us.
John 1:1, 14

I love words.
I love those who craft beautiful and compelling words.
I love how the right words move and stir me.

Words, language, speech...
Logical words, emotional words, imaginative words...
Blunt, nuanced, sophisticated, or obscure...


Serendipity: When good and beautiful things unexpectedly happen.

This is not a word you hear in day to day conversation.
It means there are good and beautiful things that happen, but they are unexpected. It is not something we make happen. It is not something we work to bring about. Serendipity is simply GOOD STUFF that just happens. 

Your Wild and Precious Life

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

At a recent funeral, I spoke from Psalm 90 (a Psalm of Moses). Moses describes life as short and the days as difficult. Even though life is short and difficult, there is something fierce and beautiful, wild and precious about it.

We are, after all, just a little lower then the angels. 
We are those of whom it is said, "God is mindful."
Fearful and wonderful is how we are created.
Magnificent purpose is why we are here.
(See Psalm 8 & 139) and Ephesians 2:10)

So What Are You Doing This Weekend?

what are you doing this weekend, adventure, seize life, seize the day

So What Are You Doing This Weekend?  Whatever it is, have a great one!

Israel: A Homeland for All Jews (Brian Newman)

Hi Everyone:

My very good friend, colleague and co-founder of Leadership ConneXtions International has written a very moving article about his quest to relocate to Israel for life and ministry. I have watched Brian's commitment to this deep desire to be strategically located to build relationships and promote shalom between Jews, Muslims and Christians.

He tells his story (spoiler alert) that does not have a happy ending. Although - who knows... perhaps the ending is yet to be written.

You can read his reflection / article here.

The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

Socrates quote, the unexamined life is not worth living, self-awareness

The unexamined life is not worth living.


This is one of the most quoted lines of ancient philosophy. It may also be one of the most neglected. Our lives are busy, the pace of each day is frantic, distractions and interruptions are constant, silence and solitude rare, and the ways of deep reflection that is both critical-analytical and existential-imaginative have virtually disappeared.

Life is beautiful and vast.
There is mystery and messiness all around... and within.
There are many things that matter most which deserve careful and frequent attention.

Max De Pree on the Work of Leadership

Max De Pree quote, the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality

The first responsbility of a leader is to define reality.
The last is to say thank-you. In between the two,
the leader must become a servant and a debtor.

Max De Pree

This is one of those truly wise understanding of the work of leadership from the outstanding CEO and Chairman of Herman Miller - Max De Pree. I have read many of his books. They are wise, practical and delightful. If you have never read any of his books, I highly recommend Leadership is an Art and Leadership Jazz.

Learning How to Learn

In a world that is constantly changing, there is no one subject or set of subjects that will serve you for the foreseeable future, let alone for the rest of your life. The most important skill to acquire now is learning how to learn.  John Naisbitt

Even though I posted on life long learning last week, I am doing it again this week. It is a core value. It is a best practice. It is THE ESSENTIAL COMMITMENT leaders must have.

Leaders are learners.
It is those who learn, who will be able to lead.

Foolish, confused, out-of-date, behind the times, under-informed, or mis-informed is what happens when leaders don't learn, or minimally learn.

What Does It Mean if There is No Transformation in the Life of a Christian?

Jonathan Edwards quote, transformation, assurance of salvation

If there be no great and remarkable, abiding change in persons,
that think they have experienced a work of conversion,
vain are all their imaginations and pretenses.
Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards was a Calvinist.
Edwards had a very high doctrine of grace and eternal security.
He had a very deep understanding of depravity and human inability. 
At the same time, Edwards, like so many of the Puritans (theological descendents of Calvin), also had a biblical doctrine of salvation.

Tozer and Spurgeon on the bible

Show me the condition of your Bible
and I will accurately predict the condition of your soul.
A.W. Tozer


A Bible that's falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't.
Charles Spurgeon


Pastoral Leadership: A Word From Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards quote, pastoral leadership

Ministers of the gospel ought to...shine forth brightly in all their conversation; and there should as it were be a light about them wherever they go, exhibiting to all that behold them, the amiable, delightful image of the beauty and brightness of their glorious Master.  Jonathan Edwards


I was up very early this morning. I didn't immediately move into my devotional regula but answered a few mails, read a few blogs that I have been behind on. These blogs were all dealing with the issue of the "celebrity pastor" feature of the contemporary North American church; and of the fall of these celebrity pastors; and of the, at times, acrimonious debates that go on over the internet on matters of theology.

8 Things I Learned From the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

covey, 7 habits, leadership

This book came out in 1989 and I read it in 1990 or 1991. Now it has sold over 25 million copies and been translated into 38 languages. Even though I first read this book 25 years ago, I remember a few things about how it shaped me.

1.  The market was not yet saturated with books like this. It was a genuine standout book. Get into the "market" early and be an influencer. Covey did that. 

2.  I learned the power of a short list of memorable ideas. Covey had 7 of them, each one loaded with transformative potential. While Covey took careful and significant time to explain each idea, the TAG LINE made them powerful. You don't use what you don't think about. You don't think about what you can't remember.

Five Things You Need, to Learn From the Wisdom of Others

some wisdom must thou learn from one who i wise, Euripides quote

Some wisdom must thou learn from one who is wise. Euripides

The need for mentors is well known. Yet, I am still surprised at how many leaders do not have mentors. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, for there are a few conditions that must be in place for a mentoring relationship to happen.

A Fun Article on Personality Types and How to Lead Them

There are many ways to think about personality types (it is really a kind of work style/habit approach) and how we work with and lead those different styles.

Here is a fun (and short) article with a differnet categorization scheme to think about how to lead different personalities. The author uses creative labels to describe the work habits and results produced.

Well, maybe it isn't fun, even if it creatively labels problem work habits/styles.

It is from Fast Company.


Life Long Learning: Favorite Quotes

Anyone who stops learning is old whether at twenty or eighty.
Anyone who keeps learning stays young.
Henry Ford

What I Wish I Knew When I was 20

And If You Didn't Know Them at 20, the Sooner You Start, the Better

What i wish i knew when i was 20I read this book earlier in the year and found it a very helpful, full of practical advice and life gained insights. The sooner we can start learning the important lessons of life, and put them into practice, the better life will be.

Therefore, when two of my favorite authors (Dan and Chip Heath) HIGHLY recommended Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School by Andrew Hallam, I picked it up.

Preparation is Everything

preparation is everything quote, Warren Buffet on preparation

Preparation is everything.
Noah did not start building the ark when it was raining.

Warren Buffet


One of the many valuable ideas I am writing about in the workbook,
Bearing Much Fruit That Lasts: Insights on Personal Productivity.

That's it for this one. Just a reminder and encouragement - excellence in preparation is what makes for great results.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International



A Little Exercise in Mindset, Worldview, and Seeing With Fresh Eyes

Here is a delightful thought / exercise from my friend Tawn Ketterman. It was written by Chanie Gorkin. 


Today was the absolute worst day ever

And don't try to convince me that

There's something good in every day

Because, when you take a closer look,

This world is a pretty evil place.

Even if

Some goodness does shine through once in a while

Satisfaction and happiness don't last.

And it's not true that

It's all in the mind and heart


True happiness can be attained

Only if one's surroundings are good

It's not true that good exists

I'm sure you can agree that

The reality


My attitude

It's all beyond my control

And you'll never in a million years hear me say

Today was a very good day


Now read it from bottom to top, the other way and see what I really feel about my day. You can either use the above text and just read up, or use the text below, which is the reversed order. Whatever is easier for you, or try it both ways.


Overcoming Your Addiction to Praise

C.S. Lewis quote, prideEvery now and then I run across an article that is seriously inadequate in its analysis and prescription of the problem. That happened yesterday when I read a blog on the theme of overcoming one's addiction to praise. You can read it HERE.

There are three quite positive things I would say about the article.

1.  It sees the need for praise as a problem.

2.  It sees the ADDICTION to needing praise as a serious problem.

3.  It believes you can (and should) take action about this problem.

Foretastes of the Kingdom of God

Robert McAfee Brown quote, foretastes of the kingdom of God

It is our task to create foretastes of the Kingdom of God on this planet - living glimpses of what life is meant to be, which include art and music and poetry and share laughter and picnics and politics and moral outrage and special privileges for children only and wonder and humor and endless love.  Robert McAfee Brown (quoted in reJesus, pp. 29)

I was talking with a friend this morning about some ideas in the EXCELLENT book: reJesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church by Frost and Hirsch. If you want to read just one book about Jesus - this is the one I recommend. It is so good, so beautiful, so rich and deep, you should actually do lectio divina reflections on each section so you can gain the full benefit.

Great in Intellectuality, Great in Goodness

Benjamin Warfield description

If Dr. Warfield was great in intellectuality,
he was just as great in goodness.
Over a long period of years this man stands out in my mind
as the most Christ-like man that I have ever known.
F.T. McGill


Warfield was one of the great Princeton theologians. What is most inspiring about certain individuals in that tradition is the great piety that stood alongside their great learning. For these individuals, like Warfield, the heart and mind were joined together, flowing and mingling to produce Christ-likeness. Who they were gave credence to what they believed and taught.