Archive for May 2010

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect (book review)

May 29, 2010

There is a training exercise which is based on an old Native American practice using the “Talking Stick.” In it, folks sit in a circle and the only one who is allowed to speak is the one holding the “Talking Stick.” When that person finishes, he passes it to the next speaker and she is the only one who can speak until she passes it along, etc.

In John Maxwell’s “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect” he used the Talking Stick approach to write the book. In so doing, not only did he communicate his message, he connected with his audience by posting the chapters on his website then inviting comments from readers. Thousands participated and some even had comments included in the book (mine are on the bottom of p. 239).

Maxwell draws on his years of experience as a communicator to audiences from one to thousands to offer valuable lessons not only on why we should connect, but how to do it. The book is divided into two major sections on Connecting Principles and Connecting Practices. He closes each chapter with pointers on how to apply specific lessons covered in a setting of one-on-one, small group and larger audiences.

“Everyone Communicates, Few Connect” is vintage Maxwell and is well worth the read.

(I do these book reviews as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger Program)

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You Are Not Alone

May 27, 2010

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

Someone shared with me the following story of the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth’s rite of Passage.

His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold.

It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

As I read the story, I was reminded that we, too, have many rites of passage in this life. However, just like the young lad in the story, we are never alone in our journey.

Maybe you are experiencing just such a trial at this very moment. My prayer for you this week is that you will know firsthand the love of the Father, and that you will be ever conscious of His presence in your life.

Would love to hear your story of how you came to the realization you were not alone.

Just Out of Reach

May 14, 2010

“Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now)… – Romans 1:13a

It’s been a while since I’ve written about our dog Reb. But, God has taught me many life lessons through him, and I just picked up on another one.

You see, Reb likes to eat. He likes to eat his food, Hogan’s food, the cat’s food, people food, you name it he likes it. So, when Hogan leaves food in his bowl – he’s a nibbler – we have to put it up so Reb won’t eat it.

We don’t have to put it up high, or hide it, just out of reach and he will act like it isn’t even there. Some may think, “Well, that’s a dumb dog, or lazy, if he just stretched he could reach it.”

However, I think he’s pretty smart and we could learn a(nother) thing or two from him. You see, God will often put things which we don’t need, which aren’t good for us or for whatever reason out of our reach. But, how many times do we try to stretch, reach, climb, hurdle, back flip, tunnel or otherwise circumvent His way to get our way in order to reach that very thing? Then we (often) get mad at God when we suffer the consequences.

In the verse above Paul writes of his passionate desire to go to Rome, but God had placed it out of his reach – for the time being. He was finally allowed to go – in God’s time. (By the way, there were other places where God put Paul on hold or sent him in a different direction.)

At times, God places things out of our reach for our protection, sometimes it is just His way of saying, “Wait.”

Whatever His reason we need to listen and know His plans are great for us, always for our good and always for His glory.

Have you experienced this? Maybe you are going through it now.