Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Learn more about the Biblical Books of 1 & 2 Samuel - King David

King David is one of the Bible's most significant characters.

And yet, there are so many other characters associated with David in the books of 1st and 2nd Samuel!  Many people know very little about these other persons!

I have given much of my life to studying David and the Biblical Books of 1st and 2nd Samuel.  I teach about the various characters in these books in a Graduate Level course for Pastors.  I find great depth and meaning in the stories and persons found in these books.

In order to help any person learn more about the great stories of 1st and 2nd Samuel, I have produced a new resource to engage Christians.

The resource is an "Audio Conversation" intended to function as a  mentoring audio-guide for any person who wants to read the Bible and have a Bible Scholar inform their Bible reading.

I offer accessible theological and academic insight intended to help any Christian, no matter the level of their prior experience with the characters or theology of these books.

Of course, a pastor could use this resource to study and engage 1st and 2nd Samuel for personal learning - or - in order to develop a sermon series!

Available for download from iTunes and Amazon.com.

Amazon.com Link to King David and God's People: An Audio Conversation about the Old Testament

iTunes.com link to King David and God's People:  An Audio Conversation about the Old Testament

My sincere hope is that people will engage and learn from the vibrant, emotional, curious, scandalous, prayerful, and faithful stories in 1st and 2nd Samuel as we learn about King David, God, and many of God's people, in 1st and 2nd Samuel.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Reflecting on Health & Wellness for Enjoyment

I love the outdoors and I love water.

I do not often get out when I'm in Oklahoma for many reasons.  (1) I work a lot of hours and (2) Weather in the summer is so hot to be unbearable (3) the kinds of outdoor things I enjoy are hard to do in Oklahoma, (i.e., I can swim in local lakes, but it requires tromping through red clay into red-clay stained waters.  And, there is no ocean for many of the ocean sports I enjoy.)

I decided though I needed to be in better shape so that when I do get to the ocean (3x in the past 13 months!) - I can enjoy that time.

16 months ago I went to my local YMCA.  I swam 17 laps in 40 minutes.  A lap in a minute, resting a minute.  A lap in a minute, resting a minute.

Last night I swam a steady 64 laps in 30 minutes.

The routine of swimming, which is healthy for me - gives me the pleasure and enjoyment to swim elsewhere and not be "sucking for air" so I can enjoy it.

Pics of me on the beach before I swam across La Jolla Cove near San Diego - and - boogie boarding at Windansea Beach.  

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Becoming A Resonant Leader

Becoming a Resonant Leader 

Great insights in many ways.

I need some more time to reflect on what kind of leader I am and how I plan - I feel like I am a mix of all three.

What kind of leader are you and how can these insights help you best plan for your future?

a.    Organizational performance and personal dreams and goals are rarely linked and thus fall flat. We all want to learn and grow (and be engaged in that process), but that’s rarely connected to what we do at work. In essence, personal development and change is all about YOU and not about performance improvement at work. 

So, your Learning Agenda/Plan is not a performance-improvement plan. Planning to learn and develop ourselves activates the positive emotional attractor state (hormones and neurology that lead us to positivity—give us hope, compassion and mindfulness). However, performance improvement (for work or for what others want of us) often moves us to the negative emotional attractor state (negativity and dissonance).

b.    Planning Style: People approach the future in three different ways: Goal-orientation, Direction-orientation and Action-orientation (see My Planning Style indicator on pp. 157-8). 

i.    Goal-oriented people like to pursue goals which may not be necessarily tied to a dream. For them, accomplishing the goal is the brass ring. And setting new goals moves them forward. About 50% of subjects in a study conducted by Annie McKee on planning styles were goal-oriented people.

ii.    Direction-oriented people have a dream and a good idea about how to get there but are less driven by goals, more so by the dream/vision. Less than 33% of McKee’s study were direction oriented.

iii.    Action-oriented people are in it for the moment—living task by task. For them each task leads to the next—their form of planning is linear and task-oriented and living in the present. 

c.    Learning Style: David Kolb’s learning theory.

i.    Comprehending & Apprehending: Comprehending—trying to grasp aspects of an experience. Apprehending—understanding what you’ve comprehended.

ii.    Reflective Observation (focused internally) & Active Experimentation—externally focused on how the environment responds when you try something.

iii.    Resonant Relationships: Develop a personal board of advisors— people who you trust to act as a sounding board. Alternatively, a coach works well.

iv.    Continuous Improvement and Refinement: Experiment and practice to deepen and make new neural pathways in your brain. Change comes from rehearsal and practice.

d.    Learning Plan: 

Look at your Personal Vision (Ideal Self) and then at your Real Self and note any gaps that exist between the two. The difference with this model is that you’re working toward the positive emotional attractor not trying to stop something (the negative emotional attractor).  

The cascade in planning is Personal Vision (5-10 years)  
► Learning Goals (1-5 years) 
► Milestones (6-12 months) 
► Action Steps (present to 6 months). 

See charts from p. 166-173.

A Manifesto to the Best Me and Best We

Manifesto to become the Best Me I Can Be and the Best We We Can Be:

I read a lot of books – good books (and some bad.)

I listen to great lectures, sermons, podcasts, TEDtalks, insights from creative people – and while I put some insights into practice – only some of them get really lived out in my life.  I need to change this.  We “know” how to live better – and I can do better with my life so I will focus more on what I know now and embodying that, instead of needing to learn something new.  (Though I will keep learning.)

I love Facebook for connecting with friends and especially former students, whose lives I cherish!  And yet, the routines of being on FB tax my life.  And, it’s a socially engineered network where I only see/know certain things.  I will be on FB less.

I have certain routines when I “power down” and “power up” in the morning and at night – including things like at least a daily (sometimes 2x or 3x daily) dose of aggregate news feeds. In truth, reading the news does very little to shape my every day or every week existence.  I care deeply about social, political, international, peacemaking and other issues of the world, and yet – the persistence with which I read/feed on these things, does little to nourish my life’s deepest meaning and personal, close, intimate, local well being.   This is to say nothing of the wasted time spent on silly websites that provide goofy memes or the latest viral videos that shape my life in no meaningful way –and even the brief laugh is fleeting.

I am going to focus more frequently, I expect daily – on more introspective aspects of my life.

I plan to ask myself many more daily questions.

Maybe I won’t do it daily – though I think I will. 

I need something to give focused attention to my thoughts every evening.

Robyn has committed to help me – and I’ll engage her with questions as frequently as she will indulge me with the questions that follow.

Here is the list of questions I’ll start with below.  They have been borrowed and reshaped from persons like John Wesley, St. Ignatius, Thich Nhat Hanh,  Brene’ Brown, Wendell Berry, Richard Boyatzis, John Maxwell, Patrick Lencioni & the Table Group, David Allen, and John Gottman.  No doubt they’ll be reshaped in the next days or weeks to (I’ve been working on the questions for days already, so they’re in formation):

Best Me I Can Be:

1.     Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
2.     Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
3.     Do I confidentially pass on to others what has been said to me in confidence? Can I be trusted?
4.     Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?  Do I over-focus on any items of my physical appearance or “presence” of appearance with others?
5.     How did the God of the Bible live in me today?
6.     Did I give time for the Bible to speak to me today?
7.     Am I enjoying prayer?  Do I pray through events; before, during and in moments of my life?  Do I set aside time for prayer?
8.     How did I share my faith today with someone who needs to see/know God?
9.     Do I pray about the money I spend?
10.  Do I need the items I am buying or working for or purchasing?
11.  Am I conscious of my need for sleep?  Quiet rest? Calm moments?
12.  Did I take 5 minutes to reflect on or meditate on something today?  What was it?  What aspects of my life (personality/presence) needs quiet reflection and meditation?
13.  Did I disobey God in anything?
14.  Did I honor my wife?  Did I love her in all my actions?
15.  Did I pray for my children?
16.  Did I communicate in a specific way to my children that I love them today?
17.  Am I defeated in any part of my life?  What next action will I take to fix that tomorrow?
18.  Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?  What specific actions can I take now and tomorrow to correct these issues in my life?
19.  How do I spend my spare time?  When I am in between tasks, or waiting on others, am I in prayer or intentional reflection?
20.  Is there a someone specific I need to contact tomorrow? 
21.  Am I proud?
22.  Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing to reconcile this relationship?
23.  Did I grumble or complain today?  Was it justifiable?  Am I solving problems with others or only complaining to others?  How can I be an agent of positive change about the situation that needed to be fixed?
24.  Is Jesus real to me?  Do I make Jesus real to others?
25.  Who do I want to be in five years time? And in a year?  What are the next-action steps I will take tomorrow toward this direction for my/our family life? 
26.  Where do I want to be in five years time?  And in a year? What are the next-action steps for only tomorrow?
27.  How can I find calm right now?
28.  What bad habits do I need to stop?
29.  What mistakes have I made today? And how will I correct/fix them tomorrow?
30.  Who do I admire? What qualities do these people have? In what way can I learn from them? What is it about them that inspires me? How can I become like them?
31.  Am I initiating positive relationships?
32.  How did I steward my time today?  Am I waiting patiently for God to act? 
33.  Do I feel compelled by God to contact any specific person or entity?  Who is it and how should I contact them tomorrow?
34.  Who do I love and who loves me?
35.  Am I doing things for others, subject to their judgment or decision, or am I doing what is most important to me for my social/existential/family and connected spiritual life?
36.  Have I worked for Jesus today and left a trace of his life somewhere?
37.  What about my life will be left behind and how am I working for that today? What am I doing to leave a legacy (Leading Each Generation Affirming Children And Youth).
38.  Who did I help today?
39.  How am I right now aware of God’s presence and how can I be aware of God’s presence in every moment?
40.  What are at least thee specifics items am I thankful for right now?
41.  What can I do tomorrow that I love to do?  How will it make me feel?  Why should I do it?
42.  Who got my attention (time / listening) today?  Was it worth it?  Who/what will I give my attention tomorrow?  How might it shape me and focus my life to be the best me I can be?
43.  What part of my life do I need to simplify/remove?
44.  Did I exercise today?
45.  Did I eat right today?
46.  What actions for health, eating, exercise will I take tomorrow?
47.  Do I need to contact someone tomorrow out of kindness/love?  Who?  When & how will I contact them?
48.  Did I laugh today?  Was I happy and did I smile?  How can I enact joy tomorrow?
49.  Did I play today?  How?  How did it make me feel and in what way will I play tomorrow?
50.  Was I a person today that was faithful and honest? Kind and true? Gracious and generous?
51.  Did I today reflect and embody the Kingdom of God?
52.  Do I have any wrong perceptions of myself? Others? How will I fix these wrong perceptions tomorrow?
53.  Did I demonstrate poor communication today?  How will I fix this poor communication tomorrow?
54.  Do I have any misplaced anger?  What is the fear or loss that creates it?  How will I respond to that loss or fear and resolve the anger both right now and tomorrow?
55.  Did I experience the Peace of Wild Things?  Was I still in the face of life’s anxiety?
56.  Was I today, the best me I can be?  If not, what actions from the items above will help me fix that for tomorrow?

Best We We Can Be:

1.     Do you feel I properly understand the goals that God has placed in your heart? What are they? How can I help you achieve them?
2.     What are two things I can do to regularly show you just how satisfied and happy I am with you as my partner?
3.     Is there anything I am doing or failing to do that seems to send a signal that I do not honor our shared life?
4.     Is there anything I can change to make our home a place where you feel more satisfied and comfortable?
5.     Are there any big dreams in your heart that you have been hesitant to share with me? How can I help you fulfill them?
6.     How do you feel we can begin communicating better than we already are?
7.     Do you feel that there is anything keeping either one or both of us from God's best in our lives? What should be my part in freeing us from those restraints?
8.     Are we where you wanted us to be at this stage in life? How can I help you make that possible within God's guidelines?
9.     How do you envision our future together? What can we do together to achieve that goal?
10.  What can I do to show you how much I need and trust you?
11.  Have I overlooked any question you would like to ask me?
12.  Can you give me a list of two things I can do to be a better partner for you?
13.  What actions or words can I take on to make you feel more loved?
14.  What actions or words can I take on to make you feel more respected?
15.  What actions or words can I take on to make you feel more understood?
16.  What actions or words can I take on to make you more secure?
17.  What actions or words can I take on to make you feel more confident in our future direction?
18.  What specific attribute would you like me to develop?
19.  What specific attribute would you like me to help you develop?
20.  What achievement in my life would bring you the greatest joy?
21.  What would indicate to you that I really desire to be more loving and self-serving for you?
22.  What mutual goal would you like to see us accomplish?
23.  What is a story from your childhood that I don’t know?  What significant factor/actions took place at work that would better help me understand your work world?
24.  I am going to now name for your, two qualities of your being, who you are, that make me most happy?
25.  Is there anyway you bid for me that I missed?  Help me understand how I missed it and what you needed from me?  (Apologize now and communicate specifically my intent to be better.)
26.  What issue do we disagree on now and how can we come to understand each other better on this issue?  Is there a timeline when we need to agree?  When is it?  If we can’t come to an agreement, how can we move forward still loving each other? 
27.  What unfulfilled dreams do you have?  What are the next action steps we can take now to fulfill them or work toward their fulfillment?
28.  What habits did we engage today for our microculture?  What specific events can or should we plan for now for our microculture? 

29.  What is our shared future and how are we pursuing that for tomorrow and for the next decade, right now?

Image Link to the Manifesto used above is a GREAT blog entry in itself, I found it after creating my manifesto, and it is inspiring for me now! Link Here.

Socially Intelligent Dating

Great things underway for 2015 - not really "resolutions" as much as concrete plans to be different in for the best future!

One new thing Robyn and I will do is have Socially Intelligent Dates.

We've committed to plan dates where we first, on our own, listen to a meaningful lecture/podcast (OnBeing or TED Radio Hour).  We take our own notes.

We then go on the "typical" dinner date, and flavour our conversation with the insights we've gleaned about life, who we are, who we can be and what the world can become if we and others live into these new insights!

I'm thrilled for the possibilities of our new venture into becoming the best We that we can be!

We have two dates scheduled in January with planned podcasts in the queue!

Can't wait!