Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

1 Comment

How to Develop a Vision and Make it Stick

Have you ever been in an organization and not felt that there was a clear direction on where the organization was going? Or perhaps the organization has a stated vision, but it’s not well understood what the vision actually means. Leaders – whether they are in a Fortune 500 organization, church, non-profit or team – need to provide a vision for those they are leading. People need to know where their leader is taking them. John Maxwell has said that a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
But how do you develop a vision for your organization, and then once developed, how do you make that vision stick? I’ve been helped in this area by two books written by Andy Stanley – Visioneering: Your Guide for Discovering and Maintaining Personal Vision and Making Vision Stick. Continue reading


8 Upcoming Books That I’m Excited About

Here are 8 upcoming books, and a brief description of them, that I’m looking forward to:

The Affectionate Theology of Richard Sibbes by Mark Dever
To be published March 1.
From Amazon’s description:
“In a time of political turmoil and religious upheaval, Richard Sibbes sought to consistently apply the riches of Reformation theology to his hearers’ lives. He emphasized the security of God’s covenant, the call for assurance of salvation, and the place of the heart in the Christian life. In The Affectionate Theology of Richard Sibbes, Dr. Mark Dever gives readers a penetrating look into the life and theology of this fascinating figure.”
This book is a part of the Long Line of Godly Men series, edited by Steven Lawson.

Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results. Edited by Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell.
To be published March 6.
From Amazon’s description:
“We’ve all seen the negative impact of self-serving leaders in every sector of our society. Not infrequently, they end up bringing down their entire organization. But there is another way: servant leadership. Servant leaders lead by serving their people, not by exalting themselves. This collection features forty-four renowned servant leadership experts and practitioners–prominent business executives, bestselling authors, and respected spiritual leaders–who offer advice and tools for implementing this proven, but for some still radical, leadership model. Edited by legendary business author and lifelong servant leader Ken Blanchard and his longtime editor Renee Broadwell, this is the most comprehensive and wide-ranging guide ever published for what is, in every sense, a better way to lead.” I’m reading an advance copy of this book now. It includes contributions from some of my favorite leadership authors such as Ken Blanchard, Patrick Lencioni, Dave Ramsey, Mark Miller, Henry Cloud, Stephen M.R. Covey, Simon Sinek. It’s a wonderful book for those who want to lead like Jesus did.

Take Heart: Christian Courage in the Age of Unbelief by Matt Chandler
To be published March 20.
From Amazon’s description:
“The Christian culture that has underpinned Western society for centuries has been eroded. We’re now at the point where to disagree with people on issues such as marriage and sexuality, is seen as hateful. Christians are no longer seen as honorable, but as bigots. But history testifies that the more people try to destroy Christianity, the more it grows. So, we are entering an exciting period of time because we’re back in the place where Christ’s church can thrive – at the margins of society. In this stirring, passionate book, Matt Chandler shows us we need Christian courage like never before, and how to live with compassion and conviction, able to look around positively and reach out confidently. It encourages us not to be thwarted by fear, but to depend on God and have confidence that Christ will build his church, despite continual marginalization. A must-read for any Christian who wants to understand how to stand firm and walk forwards in an increasingly secular culture.” Continue reading

1 Comment

25 Quotes from Making Vision Stick by Andy Stanley

Here are 25 quotes that I appreciated from the book Making Vision Stick by Andy Stanley:making vision stick

  • Vision doesn’t stick without constant care and attention.
  • The three primary obstacles to making vision stick are success, failure, and everything in between. There is no season in which a leader can push autopilot and expect the organization to remain vision-driven.
  • Vision is about what could be and should be, but life is about right this minute.
  • When it comes to making your vision stick, here is the most important thing to remember: You are responsible. It is the leader’s responsibility to ensure that people understand and embrace the vision of the organization.
  • If the people around us don’t know where we are going, it’s because we haven’t made it clear.
  • For your vision to stick, you may need to clarify or simplify it.
  • To make vision stick, it needs to be easy to communicate.
  • To cast a convincing vision, you have to define the problem that your vision addresses. Every vision is a solution to a problem.
  • Make your vision stick, your audience needs to understand what’s at stake. It’s the “what’s at stake” issue that grabs people’s hearts.
  • Buy-in by others hinges on your ability to convince them that you are offering a solution to a problem they are convinced needs to be solved.
  • To cast your vision in a convincing manner, you need to be able to answer these two questions: What is the need or problem my vision addresses? What will happen if those needs or problems continue to go unaddressed?
  • A leader points the way to a solution and gives a compelling reason why something must be done now.
  • If you haven’t defined the problem, determined a solution, and discovered a compelling reason why now is the time to act, you aren’t ready to go public with your vision. It won’t stick.
  • Vision needs to be repeated regularly. To make it stick, you need to find ways to build vision casting into the rhythm of your organization.
  • At some point you will need to determine the optimal times and contexts for vision casting in your organization. Look for ways to build it into your natural business or ministry cycle, into the rhythm of your organization.
  • To make vision stick, a leader needs to pause long enough to celebrate the wins along the way. Celebrating the wins does more to clarify the vision than anything else.
  • When you celebrate the right things, you are using the most effective form of vision casting.
  • What’s celebrated is repeated. The behaviors that are celebrated are repeated. The decisions that are celebrated are repeated. The values that are celebrated are repeated. If you intentionally or unintentionally celebrate something that is in conflict with your vision, the vision won’t stick.
  • Your willingness to embody the vision of your organization will have a direct impact on your credibility as a leader. Living out the vision establishes credibility and makes you a leader worth following.
  • Leaders must keep their antennae up for new things that have the potential to distract from the main thing. New projects, programs, or even products must be vision-centric.
  • As a leader, you need to do the due diligence necessary to keep distracting elements out of the organization.
  • Vision, not people’s random ideas, should determine programming. Vision, not a cool PowerPoint presentation, should determine which new initiatives are funded by your organization. Vision, not the promise of great returns, should determine which products are launched.
  • Every leader should identify gauges that measure the alignment between the organization’s activity and its vision.
  • Making your vision stick requires bold leadership. It will require you to develop a healthy intolerance for those things that have the potential to impede your progress.
  • Seeing a vision become a reality requires more than a single burst of energy or creativity. It requires daily attention. Daily commitment.

1 Comment

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

faith-work-cultureFaith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • parenting-quote5 Productivity Tips for Moms. Tim Challies writes “Together we found a way. We found a way to be productive—me as a pastor and a writer, and her as a stay-at-home mom, mentor, and church ministry leader. We found it and stuck with it. Even better, along the way we found out why it is so important for each of us to emphasize productivity—the best and highest kind of productivity—in whatever it is God calls us to do. My new book Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity tells a lot of what we discovered.”
  • The Counter-Cultural Vocation of Homemaking. Tim Challies writes of his wife “Aileen had options before her and made her choice. She chose the thing she wanted to do and the thing she felt called to do.”
  • Reputation. In this “Minute from Maxwell” John Maxwell talks about our reputations. They take a long time to earn but can quickly be lost.
  • Bringing about Courageous Change. Dr. Kent Ingle writes “In leadership, one of the hardest things to overcome is a person’s resistance to change. Whether it’s your own resistance or opposition from people you are leading, it takes a lot of courage to effect change.”
  • To Be or Not to Be Inspired. This post from Re:Focus suggests “Let’s not aim to inspire only those who we think will be inspired, or who have job titles we think have the possibility for inspiration. Rather, let’s talk about what we believe to everyone and give everyone the opportunity to be inspired and become a part of something that matters.”
  • 5 Things Millennials Need To Learn About Productivity Now. Tim Challies writes “God calls us all to be productive. You can be a productive student, a productive employee, a productive stay-at-home mom or even a productive retiree. If this is all true, there is an important implication: You can be an unproductive student, employee, stay-at-home mom and, yes, an unproductive retiree. So how can you know that you’re living a productive life? You can begin by ensuring you understand what God says about productivity.”
  • What Amazing Bosses Do Differently. Sydney Finkelstein writes “No behavior a boss adopts will guarantee happy employees, but managers who follow these five key practices will find that they will help improve well-being, engagement, and productivity on any team. The common denominator is attentiveness. Pay close attention to your employees as individuals.”
  • Why it is Unfair to Treat Everyone the Same. I always say that I don’t treat everyone the same, but everyone equally fair. Eric Geiger shares eight ways the people on your team are different.
  • mastering change7 Principles to Mastering Change. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “Despite the difficulty of not knowing the exact changes headed our way, if you’re leading a family, a team, or a company, people expect you to lead them through the change.  Indeed, it’s one of the four tasks that every leader has to master.”
  • Five Signs Your Team is Not Really a Team After All. Dave Kraft writes “So, is the team you are on truly a team or just a group of people who happen to work for the same organization? Why not ask your fellow team members to honestly evaluate the team?
  • Four Practical Ways to Avoid Burnout. Eric Geiger follows up an earlier article on burnout with those helpful suggestions.
  • Showing Appreciation at the Office? No, Thanks. Sue Shellenbarger writes, “The workplace ranks dead last among the places people express gratitude, from homes and neighborhoods to places of worship.”
  • Dear God, Thank You for This Crummy Job. David Rupert writes “Rather than let my employment challenges drag me down, I’ve decided to take back the workplace for God’s glory, and I’m doing it through an attitude of gratitude. The seed of thankfulness was first planted by scripture, “In all things give thanks.” It was watered by Ann Voskamp, with her book, One Thousand Gifts, where she dares me to “live fully,” right where I am.”
  • 4 Keys to Difficult Conversations. Kevin Lloyd writes “If you’re the type who can slip into bad conversation practices such as: being too emotional, getting defensive or just not having a tough talk with someone, maybe this will help you.”

making vision stickMaking Vision Stick by Andy Stanley. Zondervan. 80 pages. 2007.
*** ½

This small book on vision is one that I recently read for a second time. Stanley is pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, the second largest church in the United States. I have listened to and benefited from his “Leadership Podcast” for the past few years.

He writes that this is not a book for those whose organizations have not developed their vision yet, but rather for those leaders who want to make their vision stick. He has described vision as a mental picture of what could be, fueled by a passion that it should be. He writes that one of the greatest challenges of leadership is making vision stick.

Stanley writes that it is the leader’s responsibility to ensure that those within their organization understand and embrace the vision of the organization. However, when a leader blames their followers for not following, the leader has ceased to lead. The leader has to communicate things in a consistent and coherent manner.

He gives five steps to make your vision stick:

Step 1 – State it Simply Stanley writes that people don’t remember or embrace paragraphs, so the vision must be simple and memorable. He uses the One Campaign as an example. Their vision is “To make poverty history”. He indicates that if the vision is unclear to you, it will never be clear to the people in your organization. For your vision to stick, you may need to clarify or simplify it. The vision that Stanley has for his church is “To create a church that unchurched people love to attend”.

Step 2 – Cast it Convincingly He uses Nehemiah 2 from the Bible to illustrate this step, stating that it is the ultimate illustration of casting vision. The wall had been torn down for a long time. Nehemiah casts the vision for why they need to rebuild the wall now. The three parts to this step are:

  1. Define the problem. People have to realize how serious it is and what is at stake if they don’t get on board.
  2. Offer a solution. A vision is convincing when people are able to see the connection between the problem and how the organization is offering a solution. Every vision is a solution to a problem. Stanley writes that: “Buy-in hinges on your ability to convince them you are offering a solution to a problem that they are convinced needs to be solved”.
  3. Present a reason. This is the reason that action must take place now. This is the answer to the questions “Why must we do this?” and “Why must we do this now?”

If the people in your organization don’t feel the problem, they will not be excited about the solution. You need to craft your vision as a solution to a problem. Organizations need to position themselves as a solution to a problem.

Step 3 – Repeat it Regularly Stanley writes that regardless of how often you think you’ve repeated your vision, it’s not enough. He recommends discovering within the rhythm of your organization when the best time is to cast and repeat vision. At Stanley’s church the best times are each January (when they have their highest attendance) and May (when they are recruiting volunteers for the fall). The repetition is done in numerous ways (sermons, emails, recorded messages on CD, mail-outs, etc.).

Step 4 – Celebrate it Systematically Stanley writes that the leader has to find ways to celebrate the vision. When you catch somebody living out the vision the way you need to celebrate it. Stories do more to clarify than anything. They bring emotion to phrases and sentences in the vision statement. He goes on to state:

“Celebration clarifies the win. People will repeat what is most often celebrated. Every organization celebrates something. But if your vision doesn’t align with your celebrations, I assure you that what’s celebrated will overpower the vision and determine the course of your organization”.

Additionally he suggests that the first question that should be asked in the weekly staff meeting is “Where have you seen (vision statement) lived out this week?”

Step 5 – Embrace it Personally Stanley states that: “Your willingness to embody the vision of your organization will have a direct impact on your credibility as a leader. Living out the vision establishes credibility and makes you a leader worth following. When people are convinced the vision has stuck with you, it is easier for them to make the effort to stick with the vision”.

He concludes the book by discussing how to know if your vision is slipping. He gives two categories of vision slippage indicators (ways to know when your vision is slipping):

  1. Projects, Products and Programs Stanley writes that leaders must keep their antenna up for new things that have potential to distract from the main thing. He states:  “Our approach stands in stark contrast to a practice many church leaders have adopted. I’ve actually heard this taught as a good approach to pastoral leadership. It goes something like this: When somebody comes to you with a ministry idea, tell them, ‘That’s a great idea! Why don’t you lead it?’ This is heralded as an effective way to involve people in ministry. I think it’s a great way for a church to lose focus. Vision, not people’s random ideas, should determine programming. Vision, not a cool PowerPoint presentation, should determine which initiatives are funded by your organization. Vision, not the promise of great returns, should determine which products are launched.”

2. Requests, Complaints and Stories Stanley indicates that requests, complaints and stories reveal a great deal about what’s on the minds and hearts of the people in an organization. He writes: “Consider this: if there was 100 percent buy-in to your vision by the people you work with, what questions would they ask? What kinds of stories would they feel compelled to tell? What would get on their nerves? Begin to listen. Really listen. If the people around you aren’t asking the right questions, telling the right stories, or complaining about the right things, your vision may be slipping.” He goes on to state that what people complain about communicates their understanding of the vision.

This short book contains much helpful information about how to make vision stick.

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • The sign of a professional is someone who makes the difficult look easy. Mark Miller
  • 75% of people are leaving jobs because of their leaders. Bob Chapman
  • Don’t let success go to your head. Don’t let failure go to your heart. Tim Keller
  • Wait for your opportunity to serve and have courage to catch people doing things right. Ken Blanchard
  • Little things make the difference. Everyone is well prepared in the big things, but only the winners perfect the little things. Coach K
  • Fridays are good. But if you are always straining toward Friday because you hate your job you should rethink what you do. Dave Ramsey John Maxwell quote
  • The key to great retention is selection. Mark Miller
  • People won’t care about you until they know that you care about them. Dr. Alan Zimmerman
  • I hate turning down good opportunities, but sometimes our no is more important than our yes. Discernment is a key to being successful. Ron Edmondson
  • The Christian leader is called to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. Henri Nouwen

Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?Don't Waste Your Life

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. Crossway. 192 pages. 2003  

Other than the Bible, this small book by John Piper has had the most influence on my life. It played a key role in my returning to seminary after ten years in 2005. I have read it almost each year since it was published in 2003. Listen to John Piper describe the book in this less than two-minute video.

This week we look at Chapter 1 – My Search for a Single Passion to Live By

  • This was the story that gripped me more than all the stories of young people who died in car wrecks before they were converted—the story of an old man weeping that he had wasted his life. In those early years God awakened in me a fear and a passion not to waste my life. The thought of coming to my old age and saying through tears, “I’ve wasted it! I’ve wasted it!” was a fearful and horrible thought to me.
  • Another riveting force in my young life—small at first, but oh so powerful over time—was a plaque that hung in our kitchen over the sink. On the front, in old English script, painted in white, were the words:

Only one life
’Twill soon be past;
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

  • The message was clear. You get one pass at life. That’s all. Only one. And the lasting measure of that life is Jesus Christ.
  • What would it mean to waste my life? That was a burning question. Or, more positively, what would it mean to live well—not to waste life, but to . . . ? How to finish that sentence was the question.
  • That is what I heard in Dylan’s song, and everything in me said, Yes! There is an Answer with a capital A. To miss it would mean a wasted life. To find it would mean having a unifying Answer to all my questions.
  • But God was graciously posting compelling warnings along the way. In the fall of 1965 Francis Schaeffer delivered a week of lectures at Wheaton College that in 1968 became the book, The God Who Is There.1 The title shows the stunning simplicity of the thesis. God is there. Not in here, defined and shaped by my own desires. God is out there. Objective. Absolute Reality
  • Here was an absolutely compelling road sign. Stay on the road of objective truth. This will be the way to avoid wasting your life. Stay on the road that your fiery evangelist father was on. Don’t forsake the plaque on your kitchen wall. Here was weighty intellectual confirmation that life would be wasted in the grasslands of existentialism. Stay on the road. There is Truth. There is a Point and Purpose and Essence to it all. Keep searching. You will find it.
  • C. S. Lewis, who died the same day as John F. Kennedy in 1963 and who taught English at Oxford, walked up over the horizon of my little brown path in 1964 with such blazing brightness that it is hard to overstate the impact he had on my life.
  • Lewis gave me an intense sense of the “realness” of things. The preciousness of this is hard to communicate.
  • There was another force that solidified my unwavering belief in the unbending existence of objective reality. Her name was Noël Henry. I fell in love with her in the summer of 1966.
  • We were married in December 1968.
  • In the fall of 1966 God was closing in with an ever narrowing path for my life.
  • Finally she found me, flat on my back with mononucleosis in the health center, where I lay for three weeks. The life plan that I was so sure of four months earlier unraveled in my fevered hands.
  • In May I had felt a joyful confidence that my life would be most useful as a medical doctor.
  • Noël came to visit, and I said, “What would you think if I didn’t pursue a medical career but instead went to seminary?” As with every other time I’ve asked that kind of question through the years, the answer was, “If that’s where God leads you, that’s where I’ll go.”
  • From that moment on I have never doubted that my calling in life is to be a minister of the Word of God.

Leave a comment

Coram Deo in Mid-August

We hope you enjoy our blog. Our desire is to serve our readers. If you enjoy the blog, would you consider posting a link to your Facebook site so that your friends can enjoy it? Thanks for helping us get the word out! Bill and Tammy


Book Reviews

Movie Reviews

  • Guardians of the Galaxy, rated PG-13
  • Boyhood, rated R
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey, rated PG




Pastor Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church—based in Seattle, Washington and the author of over 15 books. Mars Hill Church grew beyond all expectations to 13,000 people (and counting) and gathers weekly across 15 locations in five states. In 2012, Mars Hill was recognized as the third fastest growing church in the country.





  • A great way to start the day is to listen to Albert Mohler’s The Briefing, a daily worldview analysis about the leading news headlines and cultural conversations. This will be some of the best twenty minutes you will spend each day. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or listen on Dr. Mohler’s website here:
  • In addition to their primary site (, Ligonier Ministries has two sites that I would like to recommend to you. They are Renewing Your Mind (, which contains the daily radio program, and RefNet (, which features 7 X 24 of excellent teaching from R.C. Sproul, Alistair Begg, John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, Ravi Zacharias and others.
  • My friend Freddie Cornejo makes wonderful signs on a machine that he built (see the one below that he made for me which is in my office at work). The signs are available at a very reasonable price. To find out more and see other samples of his work, go to his Creative Routing Facebook site.Cardinals Sign





  • This article from Christianity Today states that we need to remember that leadership is Biblical, theological, and contextual. Read the article here.
  • John Maxwell writes that “Asking the right question of the right person at the right time is a powerful combination because the answers you receive set you up for success.” He has written Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, which comes out this October, to show the impact that questions have made on his life, share the leadership questions he asks himself and others and answer questions from others. Read more in this article titled “You Only Get Answers to the Questions You Ask” here.

BOOKS ~          


    • Trip Lee will return this fall with Rise, his first album in more than two years. A book Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story will follow in January.
    • Jars of Clay 20To celebrate 20 years of music making, Jars of Clay has recorded a collection of 20 intimate acoustic versions of their songs chosen by their fans. The project has two songs from each of their studio albums recorded live, along with the accompaniment of small string ensembles, and a few friends. The album, which releases August 19, also includes two new tracks.
    • Lecrae is a believer who is a making a difference in the rap/hip-hop culture. His Anomaly may be my most anticipated album of the year. It will released on September 9, though he has released three songs thus far to those who have pre-ordered the album, including the lead single “Nuthin”, a message to today’s music artists who aren’t saying anything. Here are the lyrics:

(Chorus) Here we go again in circles
I think I heard it all
We been here before
But we need something more
Something more
Something more
What you say
I can’t hear cause you

Ain’t talking ’bout nuthin (ain’t talking ’bout nuthin)

What you talking ’bout
They be talking ’bout the same old thing
Imma have to call a foul in the game
What you talking ’bout
A little money now you all OG
Talking ’bout it’s all eyes on me
They ain’t talking ’bout nuthin

Let me guess you counting money to the ceiling
Difference ‘tween us like at least a couple million
It’s foreign cars, pretty girls everywhere you go
Yeah I heard it 30 times on the radio
Lou Vuitton ain’t gon’ pay you for that bragging
And Donatella prolly never heard your album
Yeah they probably ’bout to label me a hater
But I know these people greater than the songs they created
It’s little homies in the hood regurgitating
And everybody watching thinking that you made it
The truth is for a few designer labels and a little bit of paper now you 12 years slaving
Hey but you ain’t Lupita
So why you beat up and pushing people to lean on the devil
Copping a seizure
It sound like you put your feet up
You still a slave and money can’t buy you freedom partna’

Tell me why the song’s on in my car (hear the radio)
Why the song on in my gym (what they saying now)
And the song’s stuck in my head (I can’t take no more)
I still don’t know what y’all saying
Lemme lemme lemme do this
Imma be a straight shooter
And we was made in his image
Why we so Judas
Talking bread like we at the last supper
Throwing money at these women make it rain in the summer
I ain’t advertising brands on the radio
They expensive and I know they ain’t gon’ pay me for
Telling kids to go in debt, for the ‘vette that they’ll prolly never get
But I talk about it every song
And every song talking ’bout they selling work on every corner
Don’t talk about the laws, taking kids away from mommas
Don’t talk about your homie in the trauma cause he shot up
Or what about your young boy messing up the product
They don’t talk about the bond money that they ain’t have
And everybody snitch on everybody in the jam
They don’t talk about the pain, they don’t talk about the struggle
How they turn to the Lord when they ran into trouble
Imma talk about it
I don’t care if the world try to swallow me
I turn my back to ’em, tell ’em all follow me
I know you gon’ label me a hater
But inside you are greater than the songs you creating man

Hey man, the way I see it
I think we were made for more
Than just, ya know, the simple things that we aspire toward
We were made for more than just telling stories about
How much money we can get by selling poison to people
It’s time to talk about who we are and who we can be
And we need to build each other up and not put each other down
I feel like we not talking about nothing right now

Integrating Faith and Work

Am I desiring and seeking the temporal and eternal good of my neighbor with the same zeal, ingenuity and perseverance that I seek my own? -John Piper

The more a person counts as loss his own righteousness and lays hold by faith of the righteousness of Christ, the more he will be motivated to live and work for Christ. -Jerry Bridges

Andy Stanley opened the event, and it was his job to tell us what it means to be a “Beyond You” leader, and to create a “Beyond You” culture in your organization. He stated:

  • “Beyond You” leaders fearlessly and selflessly empower leaders around them as well as those coming alongside them.
  • Fearlessly. Leaders who are not afraid of the 25 year-old kid who is smarter than you. “Beyond You” leaders will pour themselves these leaders even though they may take their place someday.
  • Empower. Every leader has power. What leaders need to learn is how to leverage your power/influence for the sake of those around you.
  • Andy stated that the Big Idea is: The value of a life is always measured by how much of it was given away. He said that this is often apparent when we hear about the impact someone has had on others at their funeral.
  • “Beyond You” leaders celebrate generosity and selflessness. We celebrate generosity, but sometimes envy accumulation.
  • We should spend more time on leveraging influence for the sake of others rather than accumulation.
  • He gave us three things to begin doing:
    • Make as few decisions as possible. Refuse to make decisions that other people can make. This is empowering. We need to say: “You decide”. As your organizational authority increases, your organizational IQ decreases. As you go up, you’ll know less and less about more and more things because you are responsible for more. You have authority, but not competency. Just because I have the authority, I don’t have to use it. Give it to others.
    • Work for your team. “Beyond Leaders” ask: “What can I do to help?” How can I leverage my influence/power/position to help you do what I’ve hired you to do?  How can I work for you? I want to loan you my influence/power/position. Ask for 1-3 things you can do to assist your team members.
    • Empty your cup. “Beyond Leaders” should ask: “What can I do to fill their cup”? Some object and say that they will do this when they’re the boss. No, start now.

The 5 Love Languages Book Club    5 love  

Last week, Tammy and I continued our summer book club of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts. We covered chapter nine: Discovering Your Own Love Language. Here are a few passages we highlighted:

  • Discovering the primary love language of your spouse is essential if you are to keep their emotional love tank full. But first, let’s make sure you know your own love language.
  • What is your primary love language? What makes you feel most loved by your spouse? What do you desire above all else? If the answer to those questions does not leap to your mind immediately, perhaps it will help to look at the negative use of love languages. What does your spouse do or say or fail to do or say that hurts you deeply?
  • If it grieves you deeply that your spouse seldom gives you a gift for any occasion, then perhaps your primary love language is “Receiving Gifts.” If your deepest hurt is that your spouse seldom gives you quality time, then that is your primary love language.
  • Another approach to discovering your primary love language is to look back over your marriage and ask, “What have I most often requested of my spouse?” Whatever you have most requested is probably in keeping with your primary love language.
  • Another way to discover your primary love language is to examine what you do or say to express love to your spouse. Chances are what you are doing for her is what you wish she would do for you.
  • Thus, you may discover your own language by asking, “How do I consciously express my love to my spouse?”
  • I have suggested three ways to discover your own primary love language:
  1. What does your spouse do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply? The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language.
  2. What have you most often requested of your spouse? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved.
  3. In what way do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that that would also make you feel loved.
  • Two kinds of people may have difficulty discovering their primary love language. The first is the individual whose emotional love tank has been full for a long time. The second is the individual whose love tank has been empty for so long that he doesn’t remember what makes him feel loved. In either case, go back to the experience of falling in love and ask yourself, “What did I like about my spouse in those days? What did he do or say that made me desire to be with him?” If you can conjure up those memories, it will give you some idea of your primary love language.
  • Another approach would be to ask yourself, “What would be an ideal spouse to me? If I could have the perfect mate, what would she be like?” Your picture of a perfect mate should give you some idea of your primary love language.
  • Having said all of that, let me suggest that you spend some time writing down what you think is your primary love language. Then list the other four in order of importance. Also write down what you think is the primary love language of your spouse. You may also list the other four in order of importance if you wish. Sit down with your spouse and discuss what you guessed to be his/her primary love language. Then tell each other what you consider to be your own primary love language.
  • Once you have shared that information, I suggest that you play the following game three times a week for three weeks. The game is called “Tank Check,” and it is played like this. When you come home, one of you says to the other, “On a scale of zero to ten, how is your love tank tonight?” Zero means empty, and ten means “I am full of love and can’t handle any more.” You give a reading on your emotional love tank—10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, or 0, indicating how full it is. Your spouse says, “What could I do to help fill it?” Then you make a suggestion—something you would like your spouse to do or say that evening. To the best of his ability, he will respond to your request. Then you ask your spouse the same questions, in the reverse order so that both of you have the opportunity to do a reading on your love tank and to make a suggestion toward filling it. If you play the game for three weeks, you will be hooked on it, and it can be a playful way of stimulating love expressions in your marriage. Incidentally, if you have still not discovered your primary love language, keep records on the Tank Check game. When your spouse says, “What could I do to help fill your tank?” your suggestions will likely cluster around your primary love language. You may request things from all five love languages, but you will have more requests centering on your primary love language.

You can take this assessment to determine your love language here:

Next week we will cover Chapter 10: Love is a Choice. Won’t you join us?

R.C. Quote

Leave a comment

April 30, 2014 -Living every day under the gaze of God


  • Just a reminder that each Friday Ligonier Ministries offers $5 Friday. Several resources will be available for just $5 from12:01 a.m. — 11:59 p.m. Friday EST only at (internet orders only).
  • Ligonier Ministries Teaching Fellow Stephen Nichols writes about the elevation of youth over the elderly in the church in his article “Youth Driven Culture”. Read his article here:
  • Albert Mohler writes about John Piper’s moving closing message on Romans 9 at the recent Together for the Gospel Conference. You can read it here and also listen or watch Piper’s sermon:
  • John Piper recommends a new book on the doctrine of justification, and specifically on the New Perspective of Paul. Read more here:
  • Check out this article “Jesus is Better than Porn” about Jimmy Needham’s addiction to porn and hear a song he wrote about it:
  • Johnathan Parnell has a thought-provoking article on the Desiring God site about why homosexuality is not like other sins. Read it here:
  • A new e-book, God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines, has been published by Dr. Albert Mohler and four of his colleagues from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Read about it here in Dr. Mohler’s article titled: God, the Gospel and the Gay Challenge: A Response to Matthew Vines:
  • Alone Yet Not Alone will be released on 202 screens, including Peoria, on Father’s Day June 13th. The film played briefly in eleven markets last fall through nascent booking service Seatzy, garnering an exceptional per-screen average of $11,434. It then hit the news in February when it first received an Oscar nomination for its song “Alone, Yet Not Alone” sung by Joni Eareckson Tada, then subsequently lost the nomination due to allegations of unsanctioned lobbying.
  • Are you familiar with the Getty’s? Chances are you know their music, even if you don’t know their name. Keith and Kristyn Getty, along with Keith’s sometimes writing partner Stuart Townsend, are responsible for some of the best modern worship music written for the church, including “The Power of the Cross”, “In Christ Alone”, “By Faith”, “Hear the Call of the Kingdom”, “Come People of the Risen King”, “O Church Arise”, “My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness”, “Speak, O Lord”, and many more. Check out their website at
  • The 2014 Passion Conference album Passion: Take it All, is available for pre-order. It will be released on April 29, and features songs by Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Crowder, Kristian Stanfill and Christy Nockels.Passion
  • And speaking of some new music, Reach Records is back with Below Paradise from Tedashii on May 27. The first single “Nothing I Can’t Do”, featuring Lecrae and Trip Lee is charting on both the Top Songs and Hip-Hop/Rap charts. Other guests on the new album include Andy Mineo, Britt Nicole, Derek Minor and Crowder.
  • Another new hip-hop/rap release is Crimson Cord from Propaganda, releasing on April 29, featuring guests such as Lecrae and Andy Mineo.
  • And how about one more new hip-hop/rap release? Flame returns with Jesus or Nothing on April 29,
  • Bruce Springsteen released a four song EP American Beauty on April 22. The cost on iTunes is just $3.99. Springsteen describes the songs as follows:

American Beauty - Bruce Springsteen“American Beauty is a collection of songs I cut at home. Upon revisiting them for High Hopes I recognized their potential and Ron Aniello and I worked on them until we’d turned them into the music before you. In the song “American Beauty,” I get to sing in a part of my range I don’t often visit and that along with its ‘guitar wall of sound’ gives it a little ‘exile on E Street’ power. “Mary Mary” is a lovely mystery, a small piece of heartbreak poetry that sneaks up on you with its slippery grove, punctuated string section and spectral lyrics. It came closest to making the High Hopes cut. “Hurry Up Sundown” is a fun piece of modern power pop, while “Hey Blue Eyes” rounds out the EP with one of my darkest political songs. Written during the Bush years, it’s a metaphor for the house of horrors our government’s actions created in the years following the invasion of Iraq. At its center is the repressed sexuality and abuse of power that characterized Abu Ghraib prison. I feel this is a shadow we as a country have yet to emerge from.”



  • A Summary of the Main Points from A Presentation of: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  • Getting Naked: A Business Fable about Shedding the Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty by Patrick Lencioni
  • Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision by Andy Stanley


~ Reflections on Michael Card’s Biblical Imagination Conference and Concert ~

 After waiting more than two years for Michael Card and his team (Ron, Craig, Holly and Allie) to return to Christ Church for another Biblical Imagination Conference, the time finally came this past weekend. This time the conference was on the Gospel of Matthew and the title was Matthew: The Gospel of Identity.

The Biblical Imagination Series is made up of four elements: commentary, music, on-site experience and community discussion. Michael states that his approach is to engage the text of the Gospels at the level of the informed imagination. He states that when we allow our imaginations to be recaptured by the Holy Spirit, the facts we know in our heads come to life in our hearts.

The weekend began with a pastor’s lunch, hosted by the Quijano’s in their wonderful home. On the way out to their home, Michael told me that there was a recording session going on at that time for his new album on the Gospel of John back home in the Nashville area. He mentioned a song about the woman at the well (“All I’ve Ever Done”) that he was particularly excited about that he co-wrote with Ginny Owens, on which Owens will handle the vocals. At Sunday’s concert sound check, he played the recording of that song, as well as “Jesus Wept”. Michael’s best friend Scott Roley will also appear on the album which is due out, with the companion commentary, in July.

We had a great meal and fellowship and then Michael taught and addressed questions from the Gospel of Matthew.


Michael teaches on the Gospel of Matthew as Diane and Don listen intently at the Pastor’s Lunch on April 25.

Michael teaches on the Gospel of Matthew as Diane and Don listen intently at the Pastor’s Lunch on April 25.

The conference started on Friday night. It was wonderful seeing old friends that I had met at the Gospel of Mark Biblical Imagination Conference in March 2012, and also some wonderful friends who formerly attended Christ Church, but had since moved away. In all, nearly 100 attendees gathered to learn more about Matthew from Michael and apply what we learned from Craig. Attendees came from as far away as Ontario, Washington D.C., Ohio, Kentucky and Iowa. In addition, Contemporary Christian Music artist Todd Agnew attended the conference. He would later play a concert at a local church in town on Sunday evening.

During the conference Michael would play some music – worship songs, some of his old music and some music from his new album Matthew: The Penultimate Question.     As the conference opened, Michael took us through a historical context that we needed to know to truly understand Matthew. Craig’s application section included writing responses on colorful “Sticky Notes” and putting them on the church windows.

There were many things I learned throughout the conference. A few things that I wrote down and wanted to share with you are:

  •  A major theme of the conference was the concept of hesed, which is mentioned 250 times in the Old Testament and is at times translated as lovingkindness or mercy. Michael’s definition of hesed is “When the person from whom I have a right to expect nothing gives me everything”. Michael’s next book, which he believes will be his last, will be on hesed. He thinks that will take him 2-3 years to complete.
  • Michael stated that whenever we ask in the New Testament “Who am I”? it tells us who Jesus is.
  • The Gospel of Matthew is written to give the Jewish believers their identity.
  • I really appreciated Michael taking us through the New Testament era chronologically.
  • Michael stressed that we are not our gift. We are called to give ourselves away.
  • In reviewing the “Unmiraculous Miracles”, Michael states that the miracle is not the point, there is always another point.
  • Michael stated that we should always work at the level of our inadequacy.
  • Whereas we say “Amen” (a declaration of affirmation), at the end of a prayer, Jesus said it “Truly, Truly”, before making a statement.

The conference ended with Craig (a graduate of Covenant Seminary) teaching on the Beatitudes. We were challenged to rewrite Matthew 5:1-12 replacing the descriptions (“poor in spirit”, etc.) with what it looks like in our unique situations. The outcomes were to remain as it is God’s to determine. Then several of the attendees shared what they had written, which was a wonderful experience.   I particularly enjoyed visiting with many of the attendees throughout the conference and hearing of their joy in the conference.

IMG_1439Whether you attended the conference or not, I would recommend that you pick up Michael’s album and corresponding book, Matthew: The Gospel of Identity. And I would highly recommend you make plans to attend one of his Biblical Imagination Conferences in the future. I know I can’t wait for the conference on the Gospel of John.

On Sunday, Michael sang “Immanuel” with the Christ Church Choir and also “Come Lift Up Your Sorrows” at the early service and then sang “Come Lift Up Your Sorrows” and “Joy in the Journey” at the second service at East White Oak Bible Church. “Come Lift Up Your Sorrows” is Michael’s personal favorite of the 400+ songs that he has written and it has powerful lyrics.

If you are wounded, if you are alone,
If you are angry, if your heart is cold as stone,
If you have fallen and if you are weak,
Come find the worth of God
That only the suffering seek.

Come lift up your sorrows
And offer your pain;
Come make a sacrifice
Of all your shame;
There in your wilderness
He’s waiting for you
To worship Him with your wounds,
For He’s wounded too.

He has not stuttered, and He has not lied
When He said, “Come unto me, you’re not disqualified”
When your heavy laden, you may want to depart,
But those who know sorrow are closest to His heart.

In this most Holy Place
He’s made a sacred space
For those who will enter in
And trust to cry out to Him;
You’ll find no curtain there,
No reason left for fear;
There’s perfect freedom here
To weep every unwept tear.

I heard Michael play the song four times over the weekend and each time the lyrics seemed more powerful.IMG_1465

We enjoyed a wonderful pre-concert dinner at Destihl with Michael’s team and musician Chenoa Alamu, who has toured with him in the past, before enjoying a great concert with Michael and Chenoa that evening at East White Oak Bible Church.

What a wonderful weekend! It was a labor of love, and a joy to work with the Dream Team – Diane, Laurie, Nancy, Ed, Chris and Tammy. Many thanks to the countless volunteers who made everything possible. We are thankful for the partnership with Pastor Boerckel and the East White Oak Bible Church family. Thanks also to our friends at WBNH and WCIC.

Click on this link to view photos from the weekend:



Thomas à Kempis – If you will bear the cross, it will bear you.

“If Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him.” Helen Roseveare, author of Give Me This Mountain, written in 1966, and He Gave Us a Valley, written in 1976.







Leave a comment

Brrrrrrr !!!

Early Bird Pricing for Michael Card’s Matthew: The Gospel of Identity Conference and Concert ends FEBRUARY 25!
Click below for a larger version:

Just a reminder that early bird pricing for Michael Card’s April 25-26 conference on the gospel of Matthew at Christ Church and his April 27 concert at East White Oak Bible Church ends February 25.

You can purchase conference tickets (which includes the concert) at:

You can purchase concert only tickets at:

Conference (includes the concert) tickets are now $48; after February 25, $58. Tickets for the concert only are now $13; after February 25, $18.

Please write me at if you have any questions about these events.

Matthew - St. Andrews CommentaryRecommended Resource

To prepare for Michael Card’s conference on the gospel of Matthew, I’m reading R.C. Sproul’s St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary on Matthew. This book contains the written version of 128 sermons on Matthew that Sproul delivered at his home church of St. Andrews in Sanford, Florida, where he has been pastor since 1997. This volume is part of a series of books containing Sproul’s sermons from Saint Andrews. The sermons are very easy to read and can be used for devotional reading.


Concert Review of Fernando Ortega at First Baptist Church in Pekin

Movie Review of August: Osage County

The Leadership Library ~ The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Andy Stanley

Leadership Book Club


As we continue working through John Maxwell’s classic book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, this week we’ll look at the following two laws:

  • The Law of Timing: When to Lead Is As Important at What to Do and Where to Go
  • The Law of Explosive Growth: To Add Growth, Lead Followers – To Multiply, Lead Leaders



Read about Joni’s reaction to the Oscar nomination here:

  • writes “When Calls The Heart is a beautiful, exciting TV series about a wealthy young woman who comes to teach in an isolated coal-mining town in 1910 Canada. The first episode, “Lost and Found,” is absolutely beautiful and very entertaining, with a strong Christian, moral worldview and no objectionable content. Read more here:
  • In Christian movie news from Men of A.I.M. –
    • Gimme Shelter opened 1/24 at Carmike Grand Prairie 18.  Incredible pro-life film that also addresses the pain these decisions can cause in men looking back on these decisions, but the focal point is on a Christian shelter for pregnant teenagers providing a family to one another.  Read this article from World magazine about the film:
    • Ragamuffin: The True Rich Mullins Story:  Recently added a SECOND showing in the Peoria region.  Now playing February 3 at Eureka College and February 23 at Riverside Community Church.  (click locations to purchase tickets)
    • A Kewanee actress is in a film The Current that plays one night only February 6 at Carmike Grand Prairie.  They have already sold out one theater so we got bumped to a larger room – 44 seats left!  Buy The Current Tix here.
    • Oscar Nominee:  The title song from Alone Yet Not Alone sung by Joni Eareckson Tada has been nominated for Best Original Song – much to the surprise and disappointment of many in the industry.  We hope to see this film open in Peoria June 13, but need several hundred tickets sold to do so.  It’s a film based on a true story from during the French & Indian War in 1755.  BUY tickets to Alone Yet Not Alone here
  • You may have seen or heard about Blackfish, the controversial documentary that is critical of Sea World. This has led several music artists, including Willie Nelson and the Beach Boys, to back out of commitments to perform at Sea World. Recently, the family of the trainer who was killed by a killer whale at Sea World distanced themselves from the documentary. Read more here:,0,6739959.story
  • The 56th Grammy Awards were presented on January 26. Congratulations to Mandisa who won Best Contemporary Christian Album for Overcomer, as well as the Best Contemporary Christian Music Song for “Overcomer”.  See all the winners here:
  • “Invisible”, a new song from U2, will be available for a free download on February 2, Super Bowl Sunday. Read more here: