One Decision, Amazing Results (Proverbs 2)

“My child, listen to what I say…” Proverbs 2:1

 As a parent of three little girls (7, 5, almost 3) listening is a pivotal activity. When I truly listen to my girls I hear amazing things flowing out of their hearts of innocence and minds of wonder. When they listen to me they learn new skills, are protected from danger and stretch their understanding of what is possible.

As a husband when I listen to my wife about the schedule for the day or the errands I need run before I come home from work, our home functions more smoothly. When I listen to her posture, her face, her eyes, I hear the meaning in her words and our hearts are connected.

As a child of God when I listen to what He says I will:

  • gain knowledge of Him
  • understand an appropriate awe of Him
  • receive wisdom
  • understand what is right, just and fair
  • find the right way to go
  • be filled with joy
  • learn discernment in relationships
  • guard my heart

The choice to listen is a choice to live a life full of meaningful relationships. How can you listen better today, in the next hour? How will that choice change the trajectory of your day?


Fools Despise Wisdom and Discipline… (Proverbs 1)

“…fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7b

I struggle with living a disciplined life, organized by healthy, productive habits. It seems so much easier (and more romantic) to play life by ear encountering each day as it comes.

At the same time, I desire to be wise. I want to be someone who makes decisions that powerfully impact the present and the future.

You can’t be the latter (wise) without the former (discipline). This truth bothers me.

Why does it bother me?

The answer to that question lies in this verse’s introductory phrase.

“Fear (deep respect) of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge…” Proverbs 1:7a

Knowledge of truth that leads to wisdom comes only from the Lord and is acquired only through maintaining a deep respect for Him. Respect requires humility. Humility is an unnatural human quality. Humility comes only through effectively managing pride. The management of pride requires discipline.

Free of disciplined management, pride thinks for us. Pride seethes in the presence of instruction. Pride mocks thoughts of selflessness and sacrifice. It encourages standing our ground, uncompromisingly holding positions for the sake of being right. Pride lords over compassion and pursues isolation in the guise of personal freedom.  Pride makes us fools.

So, does a fool set out to despise wisdom and discipline? No.

A fool comes to despise wisdom and discipline because pride short circuits their decision making process. They choose self over surrender. They choose ease over discipline. They choose lies (I know…) over truth (The Lord knows…).

My choice to live an undisciplined (unstructured) life doesn’t make me “king of my castle”, free to do what I want when I want. It makes me a “fool to my pride” bound by my ever-changing focus and whims. I end up treading water endlessly, climbing the same hills repeatedly, and not getting where I want to go. As I look around, I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Which of your choices today indicate signs of foolishness, despising wisdom and/or discipline?

Clear and Present Need

Simple, courageous decisions are the only road ahead for the people of Japan and the rest of us trying to support them in their nearly unbelievable circumstances. No matter who we are if we have a bed to sleep in tonight, a roof over our heads, and food on our table, we have it better than thousands in Japan (and millions around the world for that matter). Take some time and think hard about a place you can help in some way. There is no “small help” when life hangs in the balance.

Here are a few links if you need a little direction:

Japan Relief

World Vision (this was my means of choice)

Clean Water for Africa and India

There are dozens of other places you can give from the excess you have – time, money, attention, love, a hug. Do it today. Do it right now. Don’t wait.

Make a simple choice to make a real difference in the life of someone who needs your help. Change your trajectory and the trajectory for someone else today.

Dictators Rise and Fall Through Social Media… Really

Talk about the power of simple decisions. Our world is experiencing an unprecedented, incredible, and very recently, with the violent attacks on protestors in Libya, a tragic time. National governments in the Middle East are being toppled, literally toppled on the back of the internet. (The hope is this ends up being a good thing. Into a vacuum commonly races chaos, so we’ll have to hold our breath and support the people of these countries in whatever way we can.) Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets helped bring down Egypt’s government as the up-to-the-second activities of protesters and Egyptian military played out on the screens of laptops and hand-held devices around the globe.

Now Libya’s government led by the infamous tyrant, Muammar Gaddafi, is teetering. More than 230 have been reported killed in their attempts to secure more freedom and a more democratic process. Freedom always comes with a price. Many who are already “free” take that entirely for granted. For those in Libya, the current cost of even the hope of freedom is senseless, escalating human casualties.

All the while social media is telling the story, the real human story. As gatekeepers around the world scramble to order, arrange, interpret, appropriately slant to their personal political bent, and distribute the information back to the average citizen, reality plays out before our very eyes. If you want to follow a live blog of the events you can – here – (this page will lead you to the next days link, etc, etc, to catch up to the current day) of course, this is Al Jazeera’s take on the events. You see what they decide to show. But it is still, a raw, unprecedented way to watch the events unfold. Very different from the closely controlled “Assault on Baghdad” that played out on televisions around the world in the early stages of the Iraq war. This is a very different time, a very different perspective for the whole world to see.

Social media tools are giving a voice to those who until recently had none. If you have a cell phone and a Twitter account or Facebook page your voice can inspire a revolution. It is happening before our eyes. Never in history have individuals wielded so much power. It is an incredible time, one that will be talked about in human history for as long as their is recorded history of humankind.

The question for you is this: “What decision can you make today regarding your use of social media that will change the world for the better?” You will likely not be asked to give up you life in your struggle for freedom, for the right to pursue a brighter future. Be very grateful for that. At the same time, do something. Choose to use the influence you possess to make an impact today. Use your social media tools to advance the human cause, not just tell someone what you had for breakfast or you’re hangin’ out a Starbucks sippin’ a latte.

Choosing to Make a Difference Now and In the Future

I’ve got to take my hat off to those movers and shakers, leaders in colleges and universities in the fields of Computer Science, Engineering and Digital Design. They truly “get it.” They get what the future is going to look like and how to prepare the youth of today for making both a contribution to global society and securing a future career.

Those private Christian colleges and universities which warrant recognition from the ICPC – “Battle of Brains” regional competitions are –

  • Northwestern College, IA (International Qualifiers in 2009 and 2010)
  • Wheaton College, IL
  • Whitworth College, WA
  • Hendrix College, AR
  • Pacific Lutheran University, WA
  • Cedarville University, OH
  • Bob Jones University, SC
  • Abilene Chrisitan University, TX
  • Bethel University, MN
  • George Fox University, OR
  • LeTourneau University, TX
  • Messiah College, PA
  • Dordt College, IA
  • Southwest Baptist University, MO

Congratulations to these fine academic institutions and their students who will be leading influencers in tomorrow’s world.

Here’s Forbes’ Ranking of the top Christian Colleges from 2010-11 – the ranking number listed is their overall rank among the greater rankings of 615 colleges and universities.

Top U.S. Christian Colleges and Universities (Forbes) –
59. Wheaton College
81.  Westmont College
134.  George Fox University
142.  Pepperdine University
160.  Gordon College
179.  Covenant College
209.  Whitworth University
213.  Houghton College
233.  Oklahoma Baptist University
235.  College of the Ozarks
258.  Calvin College
268.  Goshen College
280.  Northwestern College
286.  Mississippi College
287.  Union University
289.  Huntington University
304.  Cedarville University
316.  Vanguard University of Southern California
324. Biola University
333.  John Brown University
335.  Asbury University
340.  Dordt College
365.  North Greenville University
389.  Seattle Pacific University
390.  Carson-Newman College
424. Bethel University
428.  Azusa Pacific University
435.  Trinity International University
444.  Messiah College
483.  Corban University
484. Abilene Christian University
489.  Erskine College
525.  Oral Roberts University

Simple Choice to Make a Difference

Watched the movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” tonight. I realize I am behind the times. The movie was released in 2008. However, Ben Stein (yes, the comedian) did an amazing job uncovering one of the most insidious efforts to shackle freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of academic integrity, freedom of professional expression, and several other freedoms which have been the foundation of America since the earliest days of rallying against “taxation without representation” prior to the revolution.

If you haven’t seen the movie, rent it, borrow it, even buy it and watch it. It is incredible what is happening in the realm of science in America at the highest levels of academia. The far-reaching, devastating consequences are intolerable and unimaginable in our day and age. This is a “thinkers movie”. It is not Michael Moore and shock-umentary entertainment. This is incredibly important.

If you have watched the film and have not signed the Academic Freedom Petition, please do. This truly is one simple decision, one simple action that can help to shape the future of educational freedom and the moral underpinnings of education in North America. This is not a religious issue, it is a human issue. Humanity needs to have academic and scientific freedom, especially in this critical arena.

Make the decision to sign the petition. Change the trajectory of a whole nation of children and teachers who are being denied the very freedoms our country was born to protect. Thank you.

Greatest American Leader of All-Time?

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed
is more important than any other.
~ Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln failed more times than he succeeded. His list of failures could almost fill an entire page, single spaced. His obvious successes would likely not fill a decent length paragraph. However, his successes still shape this world 150 years later.

The month which honors his birthday seems a fitting time to bring his triumphs back to the forefront of our minds. While his life was senselessly ended by narrow-minded racism, being gunned down likely immortalized the man and all the good he stood for. Long-term, his legacy would not have been the same without his assassination. No person is without blemish, but those whose lives are taken too soon are often remembered that way.

Abraham Lincoln served as president during the darkest hours of American history – a time which saw brothers killing brothers and fathers killing sons, families being torn apart in unimaginable ways. His resolve to do the right thing, simply because it was the right thing had an enormous cost. Millions of American lives ended violently during the Civil War. Personally, it cost his life. His decision to stand where so many men had withered makes him likely the greatest American leader of all-time.

His decisions were small – freedom for all men, means freedom for all men. Their impact – eternal. What decision can you make today that will leave a similar lasting effect? Make it. Act on it. Change your trajectory today.