My first encounter with author Jordan Raynor this morning via Edward Reed's Facebook post. Click to Pre-Order Raynor's new book Called to Create.

Devotional: C.S. Lewis And The Call To Create

Author: Jordan Raynor

How Lewis Created

“What I owe to [the Inklings] is incalculable. Is there any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?” - C. S. Lewis

As we’ve seen modeled in the life of C. S. Lewis, reimagining our work as a calling from God changes our motivations for creating and the products we choose to create. As we’ll see today, following God’s call to create also changes how we create.

The Bible offers a tremendous amount of insight into how we as Christians should work: We should work with excellence, integrity, diligence, and graciousness. But what’s often overlooked is the need to create in community with other believers. For those of us who choose to follow the call to create, we must surround ourselves with fellow Christian creators who can help “renew our minds” (Romans 12:2) with eternal perspective as we create.

Again, C. S. Lewis provides a model for what this looks like. During the 1930s and 1940s, Oxford was home to some of the world’s greatest Christian minds, including Charles Williams, Hugo Dyson, Owen Barfield, and most famously, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and his brother Warnie Lewis. This group of friends, known simply as the Inklings, shared a love of the Lord and literature, each of them following God’s call to create through their writings. But they did not create in isolation. For nearly two decades, the group met on a near-weekly basis to read aloud their latest writings, get feedback from the other members of the group, drink a pint of beer, and help renew each other’s minds with regards to their Christian faith.

Without constant communion with other believers to refresh their eternal perspectives, Tolkien may have never completed The Lord of the Rings and Lewis may have never finished The Chronicles of Narnia. Like these creators before us, we need regular communion with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to renew our minds and refresh the lenses through which we view the world as we create.

If our work is to feel like a vocation—a true calling on our lives—we must be willing to follow the example of C. S. Lewis and reimagine our work as service to God and others. When we do, we will find the lordship of the True Aslan, Jesus Christ, changing our motivations for creating, the products we choose to create, and how we go about creating them, in community with others following the call to create.

Author: Jordan Raynor / Called to Create

A Christian's Happiness

A Christian's Happiness

http://subspla.sh/c7427ad

A Christian's Happiness
Dr. Timothy Keller
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Danny L. Smith, CMPS
512-773-6528

Two Commissions

God gave us two commissions.

1. Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living."

2. Matthew 28:18-20 “Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Why did I say....


.....Matt Perman's book "What's Best Next" might be the best book on the Theology of Work I've read yet?

Two of many reasons are 

 - God wants us to be production
 - God created us to be creative

And this book helps one think into that agenda.



Maybe the best book, 2nd best, on the Theology of Work yet

This might, might, be the best book on the Theology of Work I've read yet...here's an insert from the What's Best Next blog -
If You Only take 5 Productivity Practices Away from This Book

Learning and especially implementing productivity practices can be hard. It is easy to forget what we learned or forget how to apply it. One remedy is to keep coming back to this book (of course!). But to make this as simple as possible, if you can only take away 5 things from this book, they should be these: 
 
Foundation: Look to God, in Jesus Christ, for your purpose, security, and guidance in all of life.

Purpose: Give your whole self to God (Romans 12:1-2), and then live for the good of others to his glory to show that he is great in the world.

I've read the book twice and will continue to gain nuggets for a long time to come.

Guiding Principle: Love your neighbor as yourself. Treat others the way you want them to treat you. Be proactive in this and even make plans to do good.


Core Strategy: Know what’s most important and put it first.

Core Tactic: Plan your week, every week! Then, as things come up throughout the day, ask “is this what’s best next?” Then, either do that right away or, if you can’t, slot it in to your calendar or action list that you are confident you will refer back to at the right time.


To that end......



A baby's hug

A story from an unknown author -

"We were the only family with children in the restaurant.

I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, 'Hi.' He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter.

And his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.


I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists.

This was Christmas time and we were eating before going next to the mall for Erik to see Santa. Frankly, it was annoying for Erik to be so interested in this man across the room.

'Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,' the man said to Erik. My husband and I exchanged looks, 'What do we do?'

Erik continued to laugh and answer, 'Hi.' Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The Old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.

Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, 'Do ya patty Cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek- a-boo.' Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed.

We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his Repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments. We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot.

The old man sat poised between me and the door.

'Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,' I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's 'pick-me-up' position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man.

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes.

His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a Time. I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, 'you take care of this baby.' Somehow I managed, 'I will,' from a throat that contained a stone.

He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, 'God bless you, ma'am, you've given me My Holiday gift.' I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was Crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, 'My God, my God, Forgive me.' I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny Child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not.

I felt it was God asking, 'Are you willing to share your son for a moment?'

When He shared His for all eternity."


Merry Christmas and may we all remember the purpose of this season....

The birth of Jesus, the Savior of those who believe He died for their sins. 

Blessings,

Thinking and Influence: The Pictures in Our Head

...this is the 3rd time I've written, edited, this post....hopefully, the pictures are maturing!

Doug Sherman, in his Bible Study, Your Work Matters to God, states "we believe that the workplace is today the most strategic arena for Christian thinking and influence. Moreover, until we become godly workers, we have little hope of becoming godly husbands, wives, parents, or church members. For unless Christlikeness characterizes the 60-80 percent of our lives spent at work, we simply are not living Christlike lives."

The most strategic arena for Christian thinking...... Have you ever thought much about your "Christian" thinking being strategic? How about your thinking, do you think about your thinking? How about your thinking being "Christian?" Thinking about thinking is not something most of us today think about. Think about it for a minute or two.........hard to do isn't it? How about talking about your thinking, or another's thinking?

How dramatically is your thinking influenced by what's going on around you? Think about how much your thinking is influenced by the thoughts of others, because the mind is hungry for more information and is looking to be influenced. Are you aware of how your thinking is changed? How critical is your thinking?

Prior to the invention of radio, TV, internet, and even the mass production of newspapers, the spoils and triumphs of what flowed from anothers thinking was likely a much more celebrated event; the recipient of those thoughts was much more aware of the absorption and how his thinking might be changing. He or she had time to be critical about it.

Thinking about thinking - talking about what we think - arguing about thinking is something philosophers have done for thousands of years. It wasn't that many years ago when people would travel for miles and miles to hear a simple speech and then stay to discuss their thoughts in local bars and meeting houses. Today, we get our information in bits and pieces, yet, as if from a fire hose; there is more information in one week's worth of the New York Times than the average 18th century American would come across in a lifetime.

Thinking, critical thinking, and getting one's message across to others has always been an important part of those intent upon critical thinking. Ben Franklin would write letters to his own newspaper under fictitious names just so he could express his thoughts about what he thought just that he could then write the rebuttals to further spin the thinking. He claimed years later that he did this in part to develop opinions within his readers' thoughts.

So what does this have to do with Christian thinking? Everything. Everyone is bombarded with news and information they don't ask to receive; from emails randomly read to story lines of favorite tv shows, but received and process it is.

Writer, journalist, and progressive thinker Walter Lippmann, in the mid 1900's, wrote extensively about the tendency of journalists to generalize about other people based on fixed ideas. He argued that people—including journalists—are more apt to believe "the pictures in their heads" than come to judgment by critical thinking.

The pictures in our heads is what we tend to believe and these pictures are formed from what we watch, hear, and read. And what most of us watch, hear, and read, is accidental; not purposeful.

So, what does this have to do with our Christian influence? Everything. If we are not purposeful about what we watch, read, and hear, our thinking will not lead to practicing Christianity and if we aren't practicing Christianity, we aren't influencing others towards God's glory.

And if we aren't influencing others towards God's glory, then what are we influencing them towards?

What do the pictures in your head look like today, this past year, and what are they going to look like this next year, in 5 years, in 25 years? Are you purposefully drawing those pictures or letting others?


To that end....

Ramblings on Potential. Success.

Potential is limited by one's current thinking. By one's awareness. 


What do I believe about my potential? What do I believe about success?

I know I've become more aware of my limitations and as with that awareness has come the knowledge of limitation's negative impact. The awareness of self-limiting beliefs and it's link to my thinking, or lack of. Thus, I must expand my thinking and as the new thinking becomes current, expand that. Persisting through one comfort zone after another.

It's all intertwined. Blended.

The culmination of my present awareness provides the thoughts on my current view of Biblical success. But I've been limited by my thinking. God made me in His image and He's instructed me to seek 1st the "K"ingdom within. Someone once said "it's hard to see the picture when you're in the frame." For the driven, the choleric, the type A temperament, we don't like limitations, we like seeing the whole picture. Right now!
Yet, in His glory, God conceals matters. The glory of kings is to search matters out - Proverbs 25:2.

I'm becoming more aware that to search means to be active; and to evaluate activity. New "frontiers" are not found by just thinking. As I've gotten older, and the failures have taken toll, I've tended to be more cautious. I've told myself to be more thoughtful and that's led to less action. But to search means to implement, evaluate, correct and re-implement and so on. As Collins said in "Good to Great," it's about the hedgehog concept. And the faster we go around and around, the better we evaluate, correct and re-implement, the faster we get to the new stuff.

Thinking combined with action.

Maybe therein lies the success. The peace. The Sabbath.

To that end.....here's to true success. God made me in His image. That's done. Now I MUST search past those limitations. Limitations due to my current learning model.

Again, to that end....here's to improving my learning model!

CBLG Talk: Charisma



How can you have charisma? Be more concerned about making others
feel good about themselves than you are making them feel good about you.

Dan Reiland, VP @ INJOY




Charisma is defined as a magnetic personal attraction that draws others to the leader, making them feel better about themselves.
o   Effective leaders do well to develop some level of charisma.
o   True leaders give charisma away to others.


Having "charisma" is different that being "charismatic." Similar, but much different. Charismatic leaders, argues Jim Collins, will not rise to be a Level 5 (highest) Leader.

Some Charisma roadblocks displayed by Ahab and Jezebel are pointed out by Maxwell from 1 Kings 19: 1 - 22:40. I'd imagine they were very charismatic though!
  • Pride
  • Insecure
  • Moody
  • Selfish
  • Perfectionist
  • Cynical
How do we build Charisma? Here's John's suggestions
  1. Love life
  2. Put a "10" on everyone's forehead
  3. Give people hope
  4. Share yourself

To that end...........


All items in italics from John C. Maxwell's Leadership Commentary Bible