I've Got Your Back

I've Got Your Back by James C. Galvin is an interesting book.  It is described as a leadership parable and that premise was intriguing enough for me to give it a try.

I have been in a 2-year management training program through my work with the Salvation Army and have read quite a few leadership books over the past year and a half.  This was definitely one of the better ones I have read. 

I will admit, when I first started reading this parable, I was not impressed.  It took me a chapter or two to get into it.  However once I became comfortable with it's rhythm, I began to get into the story.  At one point I was struggling with where I thought one character was heading in dealing with an abusive pastor but the story did address the issue in a way that I ended up agreeing with.

This book is divided into 2 parts.  You have the leadership parable and in the later part of the book you will find the author outlines the principles contained within the story.  You can read either part and get the same teaching or read them both and have the re-enforcement of the principles contained within. 

I ended up bookmarking quite a few pages and used it with a staff training day.  It also challenged me to learn to follow well. You will need to read the book to understand what I mean by that but don't be hung up on the idea of being a leader.  You don't need to be in a position of leadership to learn from this book.  Order a copy of this book and you won't be sorry.

You can learn more at the book's website: www.tenthpowerpublishing.com/ivegotyourback

This book was provided for review by Handlebar Publishing and Tenth Power Publishing. 


Chickles and Peese

It has been 1 year since my last concussion.  It was not my 1st (or 2nd or 3rd or you get the point)...but hopefully it will be my last. 

I held out hope that the symptoms from this last concussion would pass away completely.  I remember the concussion I had a few years back left me unable to remember words like "eggs" for a few days.  It eventually eased and I went back to normal.  However, I know now that concussions build one upon another and even a mild concussion can leave you with a...mental limp. 

Which is where I stand today. 

The first month after my concussion was pretty rough. I slept a lot, tired easily and jumbled words and names.  My wife later said that at times I was like a zombie.  I was responsive but really, really mellow.  I suffered from headaches and was unable to read or focus for long or on anything in particular. 

Months passed, as did a majority, but not all, of the symptoms.  It has been a journey that has on one hand frustrated me to no end, and on the other, left us laughing.

For example, when company came over recently, instead of offering them a plate of sliced pickles and cheese, I offered them chickles and peese.  A friend who works with brain injured individuals told me that what I am experiencing is a form of mental fatigue.  In the evening, when I get tired, my words will still jumble around.  My reading time at one sitting has been reduced and I will occasionally say the opposite of what I mean, or insert a completely random word when telling a story.  My short term memory is spotty at times and after a taxing time mentally at work, I find myself napping more.

I have found comfort in these days through the Word of God.  I particularly like Galatians 5:22-23 which says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.."

I have always been a bit impatient and this season of my life is teaching me the value of waiting.  Through all of this my peace is growing as well.   I am in a new season in my life, and only God knows where He will take me next.  I look forward to the continuing adventure!

Whether it is illness, injury, unemployment, or another situation, we may at some time in our lives find our pace needs to change, and we are challenged by new limits.  It is then that we may truly see that our security and identity lie in Christ, not our own abilities. 


When Did I Start Growing Up?

I remember this commercial well as a kid growing up in Pennsylvania and later Tennessee.  The catchy tune stuck with me and it was something I remember singing even into my early adult years.

I didn't just sing it, I tried to live it as well.  I did not want to grow up.  I loved being a child and tried to hold onto my childhood as long as possible.  

As I reached adulthood, I became a fan of flea markets, yard sales and antique stores.  Anyplace I could find retro toys and other items from my youth appealed to me.  I may not have been able to afford them, but I sure got pleasure from these regular trips down memory lane.

The older I got, the more I seemed to embrace my childhood.  I continued my baseball card collecting hobby, watched vintage cartoons and acted somewhat...immature at times.  When my daughter came along, it gave me the chance to introduce her to some of things I enjoyed, so that I could somewhat selfishly enjoy them again.  When my son came along, it gave me an excuse to walk down the boys toy aisle with him as opposed to doing so by myself.

Now there is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying your childhood or being young at heart.  There is also nothing wrong with growing up.  I have heard whole sermons based on 1 Corinthians 13:11, "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways."

Those sermons usually condemned immaturity, and not just spiritual immaturity.

I have to admit though, I liked being a kid at heart.  I like collecting baseball cards, some superhero books and even the occasional toy from my youth.

However, over the last couple years, I have noticed some subtle changes.  I still collect these items, but my mindset is changing.

Somehow I began thinking like an adult in other parts of my life. 

I no longer feel the need to "argue" the Gospel.  I want people to come to faith in Christ but see the value in balancing grace and truth in how I present the message of hope.

I am willing to die for what I believe, but what I believe is being refined to Jesus Christ and Him crucified. "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2)

I began embracing a new mindset in my interactions with others:  "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." (Romans 12:18) 

Probably the biggest change, and one that has been coming along a bit more slowly, is a working out of James 1:19 where we are encouraged to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. 

One day, I looked in the mirror and saw grey hairs.  People began telling me I had matured in my interactions and that they feel I have become more well-rounded.  Somehow I began growing up.

It's actually not so bad.  Don't get me wrong, you'll still see me in the toy aisle, and I will be buying baseball cards until my wife cuts out my allowance.  However, you will also see a calmer me.  Someone who is more relaxed in his faith and trusting more in the King of Kings.  

If that is what it means to grow up, I am ready for it. 


He Fights For Me - Just A Thought #57

My wife wrote this piece and gave me permission to post it here:

Our son's screams filled the air, “You're killing me! Stop!” My efforts to remove a splinter from his foot were not appreciated. I decided to stop until he could regain his composure. Eventually we ended up putting him in the bathtub to soak it, as it became evident that any further attempts would have to be delayed until he was asleep. CJ has very instant and intense emotional reactions, which means that reasoning with him just doesn't work much of the time.

I wonder if this is sort of how I relate to my heavenly Father? Do I fight the processes by which He intends to make me whole? Do I surrender myself to His kind, loving, nurturing hand, or do I doubt His intentions towards me?

When I think about the way CJ's emotional response works against him, and even hurts him,  I realize that the same applies to me. Though I may not literally scream and kick, I think sometimes deep down, there are some negative beliefs which keep me from experiencing the benefits of His care.

Like my son screaming that I am hurting him, my own inner turmoil keeps me from hearing God's firm, yet gentle commands: “Trust me. I will be here for you. Listen to me: I want you to cling to me. I am your safety and your supply. I won't leave you alone. I am your healer, your provider, your rest...” Instead of realizing the safety provided in His arms, I stay busy figuring out solutions, and pulling away from His tender touch.

But now, says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you: I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for your life. Because you are precious and honoured in my eyes, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you... '.” Isaiah 43:1-5

My son may not hear me as I attempt to assure him that I am on his side, but it is true, nonetheless. Likewise, whether I choose to believe it or not, the truth remains that I have a Father who fights fiercely for me, who loved me enough to give his only son for me, who will be with me always, and who waits for me to understand how precious I am to Him.