Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘proverbs’

3 Ways to Lose on the Biggest Stage

In Life and Culture on January 12, 2015 at 9:57 am

NFL: Divisional Round-Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers

Pride brings loss.  If you don’t believe me, just ask Dez Bryant.  During the divisional playoff game against Green Bay, Bryant ran a good route and went up for a ball.  He snatched it out of the air and the defender’s reach.  He took 2 steps and as he fell he reached for the goal line.  The ball came loose and the catch was overturned by the review booth as incomplete due to lack of control through the fall.

What?

I heard so many complaints about the catch/no catch issue.  As the rules change, nearly daily, it is hard to keep up.  We can argue with the pundits, but that’s not really the issue.  Here’s the issue:

If Bryant had just secured the ball falling short of the goal line they would have likely won the game!

There was time on the clock.  They could have burned it with running plays to gain a touchdown and a date with Seattle next week.  They could have put Green Bay in an impossible situation.  2 feet had already come down in bounds.  Secure the ball and secure the win.  Because he stretched for the touchdown he lost control and was ruled incomplete.

Why, then did he do this?  Why do we do what we do so often?

Pride. Bryant wanted the TD.  I have watched him since he was at Oklahoma State (Go Pokes!).  As he entered the NFL his pride was magnified.  He is a great athlete and receiver!  However, when he does not get his way, his catches, his touches, and his TD’s he throws a fit on the sidelines, whines to Garrett, and yells at his teammates.  Why?  Because of pride.  He has certain goals he wants to reach.  But we have a problem.  Because of HIS goals, the team is now in the off-season.

How do you know if pride is a problem with you or the organization?

1.  When the individual is ahead of the team.  This happens often, especially in pro sports.  ESPN makes its living off of highlights and stats.  Bryant wants both, but it cost the team the game.  When one person’s goals outweigh the team’s goals we have a problem.  Last time I checked this was a team game.  The team wins or loses.  The team plays on or the team is in off-season.  Don’t let one person’s pride cost the organization the game.

2.  When you count the wrong stats.  As mentioned, ESPN has created a monster because of statistical research.  Counting the right stats is critical to organization health.  What stat really counted yesterday?  The answer is the win-loss column.  The playoffs are different from the regular season.  Personal stats are irrelevant if you lose the game.  If you count the wrong stats (# of TD’s) rather than the score, you could lose the game.  If the RB and WR’s are all arguing over who gets the most touches, most yards, most TD’s but lose the game, who cares?  Count the right things at the right times.

3.  When you blame others rather than accept responsibility.  Everyone makes excuses.  The ball was under-thrown.  The line did not give enough time.  I was held up.  The rule is wrong.  The ref’s are blind.  Bryant had the ball.  He made the catch.  He made a mistake, but is not owning up to it.

One choice.  One loss.  That’s how it can go.  We must examine our motivations, goals, ambitions, and pride.  We don’t live in isolation.  Every choice we make, has a chain reaction effect.  What one chooses effects many.  Don’t let pride cause the fall of your company, team, or organization.

Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor. Proverbs 29:23

5 Ways to Defend Against #YOLO

In Gospel Living on October 15, 2014 at 7:49 am

d-fence-defense-sign

I love college and fantasy football!  On Wednesday, I check to see if I have a fantasy player for Thursday’s game and then check the status again early Sunday morning.  Each Saturday I get up and look over the schedule for the day to see which games I am going to watch, DVR, or just follow on the Champ Drive App.  With that said, I believe football is becoming a problem.  Not for me, but in the way defense is shrugged off like an old musty garment no one cares to wash, care for, and wear.  Through the first six weeks, the NFL is averaging 24.2 points/team/game.  The FBS teams are averaging 30.2 points/team/game.  Last weekend Baylor and TCU combined for 119 points and over 1200 yards of rushing!

Where’s the defense?

I know what you are going to say: low scores are boring.  While I would tend to agree from a fantasy perspective, the game is designed to have both offense and defense.  In a mad rush for offense, our culture has created this monster!  We don’t defend.  We just outscore you.  Really?

Where is the balance?

Gone are the days of the Iron Curtain, Dog Pound, and Black Shirts of Nebraska.  What happened to the motto “Defense wins championships”?   We overprotect the QB by deriding defense-men if they even look at him too harshly.  We have stripped the DB’s of any ability to make the receivers nervous.  It’s all about the offense.  High scores create high ratings.  We watch to see if the other team can score again before the clock runs out instead of whether the defense makes a stop.

What about your life?  Are you all about the offense?  With the advent of #yolo, we see one more step toward a purely offensive, hedonistic lifestyle in our culture.  Who cares about control?  Who cares about consequences?  Like the player who was berated for smiling and laughing after a loss because he did not seem to have any concern.  Do you have any defense in your life?  Are there any processes in place that stop you from stupidity?  Here are 5 ways to rebuild your defense:

  1. Prayer – coming clean before God and letting the Spirit infuse you with control allows for a more controlled life.
  2. Small Groups – getting in a small group creates a level of assistance through accountability.
  3. Worship – sacrificing a portion of your beloved weekend to worship God with other believers allows for a recharge.
  4. Service – giving back through missions and ministries requires time management and control.  Like defense, it is required to win.
  5. Money – when we learn to give 10% to the church we exercise control.  If the highest paid players are always on offense, then defense will struggle.  Balancing finances will bring about a stronger unit for your life as well.

The  Lord  demands accurate scales and balances; he sets the standards for fairness. Proverbs 16:11

3 Reasons Why I Spank My Kids

In Parenting on July 7, 2014 at 11:52 am

Family Fighting

I was asked to weigh in the other day amid a group of religious leaders on the issue of discipline.  The concept up for discussion was the phrase “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”  Does it mean:

1.  If you do not discipline your child you will spoil him/her.

2.  Spoil the child with love so you can spare the rod.

The scripture that best suits this discussion is found in Proverbs 13:24

Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.

Because this is in Proverbs it is hard to find context as you would with other passages.  Proverbs is written as wise statements to be taken on their own merit and value.  With that said, this has two statements which relate to each other.  Discipline is designed to be a loving, caring, guiding principle for raising our children.  If we do not discipline our children the Bible is clear that it is as if we hated them.  In the same vein, if we love our children we care enough to provide the necessary discipline.

When it comes to discipline I believe there are a few considerations to make.

1.  Love – We should never discipline out of hate and anger.  Especially if you choose to use physical discipline.  I have chosen to use this with my children.  The caution we must take as parents is to do so without the angry energy.  Our patience runs thin.  Our coping mechanism fail us too.  However, if we punish from hate and anger then we are not helping our children see the love.  This does not, however, mean it cannot hurt.  While I do not use the phrase “This hurts me more than you”, I do tell them that while I do not like to punish them, I must because the boundaries must be established.

Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.  Col 3:21

2.  Redemption – The reason we use discipline is to achieve redemption.  Because we love our children, we seek to keep them safe.  The rules we establish are there to teach them where the line is of obedience/disobedience as well as reward/punishment.  Both are of equal value.  If nothing ever happens with regard to a child’s behavior then there is no development of respect for authority or understanding of boundaries.  They will believe anything is OK because nothing was ever done to them.  In essence, we discipline in order to bring them back into right standing with us and with the rules established.  God established this process in Leviticus through blessing/cursing and the sacrificial system.  Something had to be done with the sin in order to maintain a right relationship with God.  Disciplining our children actually helps to express the Gospel and provide understanding later.  If we never discipline, then another generation will grow up not understanding the need for Jesus.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Rom 6:23

3.  Relationship – Know your children well enough to understand the type of discipline to which they will respond.  One child might need a swat on the behind.  Another child will need a stern talk.  Another child needs restrictions.  Each child is different in their triggers.  Additionally, as the child develops a different style might be necessary.  There is no one style fits all rule about discipline.  As parents, we must understand our children enough to know what works at the age/stage they are in life.  Discipline out of the relationship you have.

In some ways to spank or not to spank is the question.  However whether to discipline or not is a moot point.  We must discipline.  Howe we go about it is the real question.  What have you found that works with your children?

Co-Signers

In Leadership on August 8, 2013 at 10:05 am

Approved-Stamp

I had driven the old car about as far I needed to drive it.  I was constantly taking it in for service and pouring money into it.  It doesn’t take a genius bar to arrive at the conclusion that something needed to change.  I began looking through the paper.  (I am that old!)  I would purchase a newspaper on the weekends and physically look through pages and pages of car ads.  There were so many choices.  I began to narrow down wants and needs and finally went to the car lot.  I went alone full of confidence that would soon be shattered.  Being in college did not provide a lengthy tenure at any job.  I had little to pay down and a short credit history.  I left without a vehicle that day.  They told me I needed someone who would help me borrow the money.  I needed a co-signer.

In his book, One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season, Tony Larusa talks a lot about co-signers.  As the skipper for 3 major league teams for over 30 years he developed a system of management that helped him to win 3 World Series Titles and 7 Pennants. Although he was the skipper, he needed others to assist him in leadership of the organization.  He re-purposed the term co-signer with reference to this management style.  He would bring together veterans and rookies from the club who had garnered trust and provided influence to the decisions being made.  How can this help your organization?

1.  Enables change.  Because of the co-signer I was able to buy a much-needed vehicle.  What I had was not going to last for long driving 90 miles round trip 2-3 times a week.  I needed to make a change but was unable to do so on my own.  Your organization probably needs change.  Any organization that refuses to change in today’s culture is signing their death certificate.  I believe this is true for a couple of reasons.  First, the fickleness of people is on the rise.  Second, there is no commitment to you as an organization like it used to be.  We must adjust to meet t he need of a new breed of consumer.  However, change is often resisted.  Having co-signers, those who buy in, can help in spreading the message and purpose of necessary change.

 2. Increases trust.  This was my first buying experience.  Still, I knew better than to look for a new car.  I went searching through used car lots.  I had found a car I really liked but soon realized that I could not get that kind of vehicle.  On my own, my credit was not established enough for the finance guys to trust me.  One of the first questions was if I had someone who would co-sign the loan.  Frankly, they did not trust me.  My parents were not in a position to help me in this capacity.  I found myself in the workshop of my girlfriends Dad one weekend.  As we talked he asked me about my vehicle that carried his daughter around.  I could tell he was not exactly impressed!  I told him that I was looking for something better but was having trouble.  He looked up at me over his half-glasses with that look.  You know the one!  Quickly I assured him that I had the money and the income, but did not have the credit history needed.  He ended up co-signing the loan and I walked away with a better car.  I could not have done that by myself.  When I approached the finance guy this time, I had the signature of someone they trusted.  So much of what needs to happen in our organizations cannot be done alone.  Coupled with low trust levels, we need others to buy-in to the vision, plan, and purpose.

3.  Spreads accountability.  When I drove away from the car lot in the “new” vehicle I was ecstatic!  However, the payments would come in 30 days.  By having a co-signer the bank insured the loan through extended accountability.  If for some reason I did not pay the note, they could go to the co-signer for explanation and/or payment.  In every organization there must be a “buck stops here” person.  That may be you or the CEO or the Chairman or some other titled leader.  When the questions, concerns, critiques, and challenges come it is good to have help.  Bringing in others to assist you in decision-making spreads the accountability.  The leader may have other pressing needs.  In this moment, the co-signers take up the reigns of leadership, influence, and answer those issues.

I paid every payment for that car until I traded it for another one (on my own this time) while in graduate school.  Without a co-signer, I would not have been able to get that car.  In today’s economy, you might be able to get the car but the interest rate will rob you of everything you have.  Having a co-signer enables change, increases trust and spreads accountability.  Since we married, my wife and I have been co-borrowers on everything we have purchased.  We buy together.  It is not mine or hers with regard to houses and cars.  I need co-signers every day in the organization I lead.  I am sure you do as well.

Finalize plans with counsel, and wage war with sound guidance.  (Proverbs 20:18, HCSB)

Killer Meetings

In Leadership on August 7, 2013 at 10:16 am

quote-029-meetings

Have you ever left a meeting and wondered what just happened? Have you ever left a meeting needing to check your blood pressure? Have you ever found yourself texting, checking email, or playing Words with Friends during the meeting? Maybe you began posting rants about the meeting on Facebook or Twitter. If you are really sneaky you might have taken pics and posted them too.

I call these Killer Meetings. We get so bored or frustrated because we do not feel anything is being accomplished. We all have so much to do that we only have a certain amount of time. We don’t want our time wasted unless it was our choice. A new form of meeting that is emerging is called the Email Meeting. I appreciate what is being attempted and sometimes it works best with busy schedules. However, there is a creative confluence that happens when we get together that is missed in email. I read in Proverbs the other day that toil brings profit and talking brings poverty. Let’s apply that to the meetings we lead or attend. Here are 4 basic things to remember to move from killer meetings to killing it meetings.

1. Movement. The best way to keep a meeting moving is to have a definite finish moment. This reminds me of counseling sessions that have a timer. You have seen movies and shows that portray the couple in the middle of an emotional moment when the alarm sounds. The counselor interrupts and tells them the session is over and calendars the next session. The point is to keep the couple focused and working hard. Starting and ending on time may feel awkward but creates a respect for the time provided. Reminding people that another meeting will be scheduled if the agenda is not accomplished tends to drive home the need for focus and good flow of information and ideas.  There are times when another meeting is required and some information should not be rushed.  However, many decisions are neglected because we did not move through the discussion in an appropriate fashion.

2. Management. People have a tendency to get off task. Discussions and conversations ensue on a variety of topics. Countless meetings have gone on for hours only to leave everyone worn out and wondering what happened. Many leaders and committee heads have started printing agendas and passing them out. The problem is they are not always used. The leader must keep the group on task. One way to accomplish this is to send out the agenda before the meeting. This way everyone knows what to expect and can formulate their thoughts that aid in movement.  When the group begins to stray the leader needs to guide them back to the topic at hand.  Managing a meeting requires a focus and attention to the task at hand.  If the leader simply lets the conversation prattle on indefinitely then hours pass and no decision is made.

3. Making Decisions. I am constantly battling this issue. Often I sit through meetings where there has been grand discussion without any decisions. An agenda that does not drive toward a decision is not useful. Meetings that stay on time and are managed well but do not make decisions leaves the people tired and possibly deciding it was not worth it. I have seen groups dwindle because nothing is happening. A skilled group leader will design the agenda that demands a decision before the end. Certainly we are to discuss. However, some people like to talk about something without conclusions. These types will kill a meeting, a ministry, or any group. They can hijack the group and drive to derision and not decisions. I am not saying that rash decisions should be made with discussion and debate. Excessive talk and off-topic discussion must be squelched in order for the greater good of the group to be experienced.

4. Maintenance. When the alarm sounds, so to speak, the clean up begins. Have all the items been completed? Is another meeting needed? After the meeting the leader or secretary sends a report to the group reminding them what happened. Also, a report needs to be sent up the leadership ladder for accountability. Without this work, we all forget what happened. The decisions made at this meeting might affect other groups in the organization. If these are not shared there could be overlapping resource needs which leads to difficulties.

Adjusting from killer meetings to meetings that kill it takes courage and consistency.  This change does not happen in the first meeting of a group that has a history of babbling without anything beneficial.  Allow for some flexibility and over time your group will start killing it!

 In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23 ESV)

Not My Story to Tell

In Leadership on August 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm

gossip

She sat in front of me in class.  She came in crying and seemed distressed.  I asked what was wrong and she unloaded a story of love and hate, good and bad, about her boyfriend.  She said she was tired of how he treated her.  I told her she was worth more and deserved better.  People behind me asked what was happening and I said she was having a bad day.  I could have gone into detail and spread the story of her situation.  I could have said what she was going to do next.  However, it was not my story to tell.  I covered her by simply saying she was having a bad day.

Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9 ESV)

Love seeks the best for others.  I find myself covering for other people out of a sense of protection and love. I can often overlook issues with friends or staff members because I want the best for them.  People come to me with stories and information that I often keep to myself.  What good would it do to put it out into the public forum?  Instead of humiliating them in public, I will address the issue personally.  Whether it is a teachable moment or disciplinary one it is done privately in order to seek love.

Love doesn’t tell other people’s stories.  Over the years, much information has come to me.  Sometimes it is a juicy story full of intrigue, interest, and impact.  It would be easy to run it through social media.  It would be popular to tell everybody.  However, it is not my story to tell.  Stay out of the “he said, she said” game.  Other stories I hear are ones of joy.  I remember years ago someone told me they were going to have a baby.  I was so excited for them.  When someone asked me what was up it them it was very difficult to keep quiet!  Even when it is good news, only tell your story and not someone else’s.

Love doesn’t lie for others.  How often have we had people ask us to “cover” for them by telling a lie?  They want to avoid trouble with parents or bosses and need you to “help” them.  What do we do?  First, a good friend will not ask you to do this.  This is important.  Your close friends are to be those also growing and developing in Christ.  Second, love does not lie.  If you find yourself in this spot with a close friend, you must judge whether what is happening is harmful or not.  However, if you are asked a specific question you are not to lie.  Covering an offense is not lying for them.  Covering is more about forgiving them and giving second or third chances.

When it comes to our speech let us remember what every witness repeats before taking the stand.  Each one promises to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Outside of the courtroom I would add one small phrase “as longs as it is your truth to tell.”  Whose story have you told?

%d bloggers like this: