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Awakened to Greatness, Yet Cowering in Fear.

A day I will never forget, I was a fifth grader in Okeechobee, Florida, it was Monday, and this could have been just like every other Monday, but it wasn’t, this one was special.  First of all, I had been sick the previous Friday, so I was anxious to see all my friends and teachers again, okay, maybe not so much the teachers but definitely Rebekah Roberts, the prettiest girl I had ever seen in my life, outside my first grade teacher and Samantha Micelli on Who’s the Boss.

Even at that young age, I somehow knew I wanted to so something that would change the world, to make people’s lives better.  But I was struggling to know what that would look like.  I had been told for years that I was a leader, though never receiving a satisfactory answer as to what that meant.  I was simply told, “you have leadership qualities…be a leader.”  Until that fateful Monday, I knew something was stirring in my heart – but no idea how to turn that inner passion into a usable commodity to make the world better.  I thought people just expected me to be a leader, I mean I came from a good Christian home.  My mom was a teacher in the Christian school connected to the church where my father was the pastor.  Though I hoped to make a difference, the encouragement that I received were from adults who I assumed did not know me, the real me…the insecure, self-questioning me.  I thought they said kind things to me, due to my last name, had they known “me” I thought, they would not say such kind things.

This passion to make a difference was tempered with the fact that I had a low self-esteem.  I was constantly questioning who I was and measuring myself against those of my peers, and finding myself lacking.  I was afraid to share my dream with others, cause thought I knew adults would try and cheer my dream on, my peers may not be so helpful.  I had also confused my dream with a specific profession.  Knowing that I wanted to make a significant difference in the world, I was exploring the only path that I knew at that time to do that, I would be a preacher, I mean my dad is making a difference, maybe I could.  I remember my first sermon at the age of 5, living in South Carolina at the time, I grabbed all my toys, including my baby sister at the time, grabbed my Bible and started preaching.  This must be what I am called to do, this attitude continued with me into that fateful day in forth grade.

The day started like another until I walked into our small classroom and saw everyone huddled in the corner discussing something intently.  I quickly scanned the room for Rebekah; noticing her on the other side of the ad hock committee meeting, I put my bag down and made my way to stand next to hear.  Quickly I learned what all the commotion was all about, a fight.  While I was out sick, something happened on our playground that had never happened to us before, a small fight.  At this point in our young lives, fights were the stories of legend that only happened at “public” schools.   Each person, not waiting for the person before to finish, were recounting the strange happenings of the day.  At some point, Dale in the group recognized that I had decided to reengage the education experience known as forth grade and said words that forever changed the way I saw myself and the world I knew.  His words awoke within my that passion to make a difference, to make the world a better place.  Dale, pointing right at me said, “Feather, we wish you would have been here…this never would have happened.”

Those words penetrated my cautious and timid heart.  At first, I was not sure what he meant, but that changed in the instant that all my friends joined into the conversation by adding, “Yeah, you never would have let it get that far.” “You would have stepped in and stopped it before Eric hit em.”  “We listen to what you say.”  In that instant, the world as I knew it changed.  That night as I fell asleep I remember thinking, maybe I really can make a difference, maybe this desire to make a difference is a God-thing and not simply a desire to be known and considered a hero.  Maybe my dream is from God.  My dream which lay doormat, not for a lack of passion, but a keen sense of unassuradeness was awakened. My cadre of school mates were used by God to have my dream emerge and become to powerful to simply push down due to my self-consciousness.  I learned that day, that if I did not bring all of me to play into my world, there would be consequences not only for me, but for those around me as well.

Each of us needs to be awakened to what God has planted in us.  We can not allow fear, in its various forms, to keep us from knowing, being, and doing what God created us to be and do.  God created me to lead, to be a leader of character that uses who I am to awake, equip, and connect others to their God-given dream and passion.  To some, this may seem arrogant – to me arrogance would come in not tenaciously pursuing this passion with all that I am.  This dream, it is not my dream, but God’s dream planted in me.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Why Before How

Why Before How

Nothing stifles creativity quite like asking the wrong question.
There is a problem that needs addressing; many jump to, “How can we solve this?” Those looking to be disruptive in any industry ask, “How can we be different? How can we leave our mark?” Churches, synagogs and other places of faith ask, “How can we impact our community for the good?” Answers to these questions result in frustration. The easy way out is mimicking the methods of those that have been successful, but this will ultimately kill a culture of creativity.
Though the question of “how?” is crucial and must be addressed, it can only be accomplished successfully and with disruptive creativity if “how” follows the soul-searching and bedrock-layer-uncovering question of “why?” Without knowing why, how will be aimless and burdensome. Once you have answered the cosmic question of “why,” creativity and answering the “how” has fertile ground to flourish.

To get to the foundation of your issue, dilemma, or concern, you must ask why but merely asking this is not enough. You must take the response and ask the follow-up question of “why?” and to that you apply the question of “why?” I have discovered that you must ask this question 7 times. After this, you have arrived at the center of your issue, the problem, and you are finally ready to get creative, explore possibilities, change the world, or merely be disruptive in your industry. Yes, you will drive yourself crazy, as well as those around you. You might want to duck around the 4th use of the question “why?” in board meetings, but it is a journey with seismic shifts in thinking and action that will result. Ask why before how starting today and watch your creativity soar. ”How?” you ask? There you go again… Stop! Don’t charge for results without first asking, “Why?”

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Is Excellence Keeping You From Greatness…

“When you possess great treasures within you and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.” (The Alchemist, Coelho, 139)
These are the strange yet eerily true comments heard by Santiago after being confronted by the Arab tribesman in Paulo Coelho’s amazing story of a young boy’s search for greatness.

Greatness.

The very word causes the heart to skip a beat; for some, in excitement, for others, in fear. What is it for you? Are you still driven by the desire for greatness, or like many of your childhood dreams, has the ideal of greatness faded? Children dream incessantly of greatness. Children dream of making a difference, often manifesting it in selfish acts. They push and shove to be first in line; they hoard toys so they can have everything they need to accomplish their desires. They proudly stand on the coffee table and announce to the world, “I am the greatest!” Though often misappropriated, the thought of making a difference, the desire to be followed, the longing for recognition for doing something important is resident in their souls. Children take the desire for greatness and pursue it with everything they have. Forgetting the most indispensable aspect of greatness, adults abandon the idea altogether. Is the idea of greatness merely child’s play, or have we inadvertently dismissed an important aspect of our lives—the desire for greatness?

True greatness seems to be the exception instead of the rule in our culture today. We have watered down the word greatness to the point that it is used to describe championship athletic teams and the visual wonders of Hollywood. Much like the word courage, greatness has not only lost its meaning, but its place in our lives.

Many have confused greatness with excellence. Though a subtle difference at first, a closer examination reveals a strong difference. I believe that excellence is the battle cry of the timid—the ultimate desire of the flesh to stand on the coffee table of life and say, “Here I am!” Excellence is much easier to attain than greatness. Excellence is within the grasp of each of us, whereas greatness is elusive since most of us believe it is evil. We have forgotten the most indispensable aspect of greatness. Excellence is attained through hard work, a little “luck,” and a passionate desire to do what is right. Excellence is contextual; it is ultimately determined by the community in which it is exercised. Many have not attempted feats because they perceive that they cannot be done with excellence. Since when has excellence become the desired and expected result of all our efforts? Since when have we made ourselves the determiners of what is good and acceptable? Children and adults alike will often say, “I can’t do it.” While they may legitimately feel this is the case, what they are actually saying is, “I can’t do it perfectly.” Excellence is much easier to attain than greatness, thus many have hidden behind the perceived ideal of excellence. Excellence is incomplete; we are called to seek greatness. Have you fallen into the trap of excellence? The cry for excellence is all around us. Excellence leaves no room for mistakes. The weight of excellence has the capacity to squash dreams and innovation. When excellence is the determining factor of what is good, we as humans tend to minimize the risks and only do what we are convinced we can achieve. Excellence is within our grasp, and, though excellence in itself is not wrong, it is a far cry from a higher goal—greatness.

Excellence is something to be grasped, within everyone’s reach. Greatness is something that is bestowed, and herein lies the most indispensable aspect of greatness. It is a state granted to us by another, not something that can be achieved by human effort. Maybe this is why greatness is so elusive on our culture today and why true men and women of greatness are hard to identify.

Greatness is bestowed on someone by God as they follow with reckless abandon the dream that God has placed in their soul. God is the determiner of greatness, yet when it is bestowed, it is recognizable by all who come in contact with it.

Santiago encountered a very powerful thing in his quest for greatness, one that has the power to ignite greatness but also the power to squelch it—community. While in Tarifa, he sought the advice of a woman who could interpret dreams. After realizing that dreams can only be interpreted by the receiver of the dream, he came to a realization about the power of community. “When someone sees the same people every day…they wind up becoming a part of the person’s life. And they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own” (16). Here we find an interesting fact about greatness—community is crucial. Community has the extreme power to do good or to hinder, therefore a person striving to be granted greatness must pick his community with care and consideration.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

God is still in the business of changing lives…

DSC_2062Sunday was the 1st ever baptism service at MissionPoint.  What a joy to see that God is still in the business of changing lives. Nothing cooler and more energizing in church than seeing this outward sign of an inward commitment to the things of Christ and identifying with a body of believers…

Click on the photo to the right or watch the slide show here:

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Church

 

Not sure what is next…

Hard to even begin to explain the ideas, thoughts and passions running through my heart right now.

I needed to transfer this blog from a “paid site” to a free one…in the transfer, I came across this entry from April 11, 2007

What if…

What if I were built for the purpose of opening the eyes of college students to the world around them?
What if I were designed to help those less fortunate than I so as to provide fertile ground to share the life-transforming power of redemption?

What if I think I am getting after these two ideas in my present job?

————————–
What if I am wrong…

hmm….

 

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2011 in Personal

 

Haiti… Animoto Style.

http://static.animoto.com/swf/w.swf?w=swf/vp1&e=1299440156&f=twmDx070EdO3y6H20Od6IA&d=454&m=a&r=240p&start_res=240p&i=m&options=

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

And then the demon came out, after two hours…

Just returned from Haiti…
And these are the pictures…
The stories behind them are incredible…
Click on the photo below to see them OR click here.
Haiti-Feb 2011 (431)

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2011 in Uncategorized