Monthly Archives: November 2017

When your strengths hold you back

“Your greatest strength can be your greatest weakness if pushed to an extreme.”

I heard that statement many years ago and have repeated it many times over. I am now dealing with it daily as I recover from my broken hip.

Over the years, I have gained insight from many different personality and strengths assessment tools. I have taken the DISC profile (originally called the Performax Profile), the TJTA, the Meyers-Briggs, the Pearson Golden Personality Profile, the IOS (Individual Operating Style), and the Clifton Strengths Finder. Each one has given me greater insight into who I am and how God wired me.

In the Meyers-Briggs profile, I am an ISTJ, characterized by integrity, practical logic, and tireless dedication to duty. We get things done. In the Pearson Golden Personality Profile (an offshoot of the Meyers-Briggs), I learned I am an Introvert who is Socially Bold. While I am energized by solitude, I am also friendly and outgoing; initiates conversations; comfortable leading; likes public speaking. In terms of my IOS, I am a (1) People-Oriented, Motivating, Communicating, LEADER/Teacher; (2) Committed Long-Term GOAL ACHIEVER; and a (3) Tangible Project Completer/ACCOMPLISHER. In the Clifton Strengths Finder, my top five themes are Learner, Maximizer, Arranger, Responsibility, and Belief.

When you add these different profiles together, you see two common themes. (1) I am a doer who gets things done. I take ownership of my responsibilities and I see them through to completion. (2) I am a communicator, and the way I lead is through teaching and preaching.

While those are tremendous strengths, they are also tremendous weaknesses during this season of my life. I feel responsible for the church. I feel like I have let people down by sitting on the sidelines. I am not leading because I am not preaching and teaching. Because of my sense of responsibility, I want to rush through my rehab and recovery and get back to work. My internal makeup says I am not fulfilling my purpose because I am not doing.

Several people have counselled me not to be in a hurry and rush back. Several have said to take my time and not come back too soon. A few have specifically given me permission to take my time and heal.

My biggest challenge is giving myself permission to heal. As a doer, the hardest part of being on the DL is not doing. I am not accustomed to being idle and sitting on the sidelines. The hardest part of waiting is waiting. I am an impatient patient.

In the midst of all of this, I have to trust that God knows what he is doing. I need to take advantage of my enforced sabbatical to read, rest, and grow spiritually. I need to be diligent in praying for those who have taken up my baton. I must find ways to minister, mentor, and coach from the sidelines. I need to take the opportunity to grow and deepen spiritually while my leg/hip is healing. Rather than chafe against what God is doing, I need to keep my focus on him and let him work in my life.

2 Corinthians 4:16–18 – 16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.



Posted by on November 30, 2017 in Character, Personal growth, Scripture


Good Pharma Man

I have to admit that when I was in the hospital and the rehab center, the nurse making the rounds distributing meds was a welcome sight. There were days/times when she was my best friend.

Where’s Madame Pomfrey and a bottle of Skelegrow when you need it?

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Posted by on November 29, 2017 in Fun, Non-Sequitur


Disturb Us, Lord

Disturb Us, Lord

Sir Francis Drake, 1577

(cited in Survive or Thrive: Relationships Every Pastor Needs, by Jimmy Dodd)


Disturb us, Lord, when

We are too well pleased with ourselves,

When our dreams have come true

Because we have dreamed too little,

When we arrived safely

Because we sailed too close to the shore.


Disturb us, Lord, when

With the abundance of things we possess

We have lost our thirst

For the waters of life;

Having fallen in love with life,

We have ceased to dream of eternity

And in our efforts to build a new earth,

We have allowed our vision

Of the new Heaven to dim.


Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,

To venture wider seas

Where storms will show your mastery;

Where losing sight of land,

We shall find the stars.


We ask You to push back

The horizons of our hopes;

And to push into the future

In strength, courage, hope, and love.



Lord, help me not to play it safe. Help me not to settle for the secure, guaranteed outcome. Expand my vision and stretch my horizons. Help me to step out in faith, trusting and depending on you for greater things. Disturb me, Lord.

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Posted by on November 27, 2017 in Personal growth, Quotes


Professional vs. D-I-Yer

Kent Hughes said that finding the right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. The same can be said of the difference between a professional and a D-I-Yer.

Our toilet was leaking at the base which we surmised was due to the seal failing. Normally, I would do the work myself to replace the seal. However, in my current state with a broken leg, that is not realistic. A friend recommended a plumber. We called him last night and he showed up at 7:15AM this morning. He was in and out in less than 30 minutes and only charged us $85. It would have taken me at least two hours, two trips to Home Depot, and a load of laundry to do what he did. Having the right person with the right know-how and the right tools makes a huge difference.


Posted by on November 25, 2017 in Personal growth


Helpful relationships that enhance growth

I am working my way through Jimmy Dodd’s book, Survive or Thrive: 6 Relationships Every Pastor Needs.In part 1, he describes what happens when a pastor lacks integrity, that is, his front stage personality or character is different from his back stage personality and character. In part 2, he introduces his solution of the six relationships a pastor needs in order to be healthy and grow. In visual form, his model looks like this.

His model reminds me of what Prof Howard Hendricks often said, “Every man needs a Paul, a Timothy, and a Barnabas in their life. Every woman needs an Elizabeth, a Mary, and a Martha in their life. We all need a mentor, a protege, and a friend.”

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Posted by on November 25, 2017 in Books, Mentors, Ministry, Quotes


Russia 2018 – November update

Thanks for praying for my April 2018 trip to Russia.

Because of your prayers and generous gifts, the trip is fully funded. Praise God for his abundant provision.

One month ago, we were at $3,800 of the needed 6,222. Over $2,400 came in the next two weeks to push us over the top. As of November 12, the trip was fully funded.

In looking at the $6,222 and where it came from … About 25 family units contributed to the total (15 from First Central Bible Church and 9 family/friends from outside the church). We started with a base of $300 left from last year’s trip. Donations from the FCBC family including Carol and me totaled $2,625, and $3,300 came from family & friends outside the church. Praise God that he provided all that was needed and we did not have to rely on the funds from the general fund budget.

The prayer requests moving forward are about health and preparation. Some of you may know that I fell two weeks ago and broke my femur at the hip. (Some say I broke my leg, some say I broke my hip. Both are accurate. However you say it, it’s painful.) I’ve been told the recovery is about 6 months. The first 3 months are about healing and strengthening the leg. The second 3 months are about getting back to normal. Since I have 6 months before the Russia trip, I should be OK barring any complications. The preparation prayer request revolves around studying the material and preparing my notes.

I will continue to post updates about once a month.

Thanks again. I’m in your debt.

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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Prayer, Russia


Thanksgiving is a choice

This was originally posted on November 27, 2014. In light of my current circumstances, I felt the need to be reminded that I need to make a conscious choice to give thanks.


David’s opening words in Psalm 138 arrested my attention.

“I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. (1-2)

I was stunned as much by what David didn’t say as what he did say. David doesn’t say, “I feel thankful. I am grateful. I feel like praising God. I want to worship God.” David doesn’t say anything about his feelings, emotions, desires, or longings.

What David says is, “I give thanks … I sing your praise … I bow down … and give thanks …” Regardless of his circumstances, regardless of his feelings, regardless of whether his life is good, bad, or mediocre at the moment, David makes the choice to give thanks and praise God.

David’s thanksgiving is not tied to his circumstances. Instead, it is directed towards God’s character and attributes. “I give thanks to your name.” Knowing that in the Old Testament, God’s name always reveals his character, David is choosing to praise God for who he is. He also praises God for what he has done—his faithfulness.

Through this psalm, David taught me two essential principles of thanksgiving:

  • Thanksgiving is a choice I make regardless of my circumstances.
  • Thanksgiving is directed toward God for who he is and what he has done.

Give God your praise and thanks, not just one day a year, but every minute of every hour of every day of every year of your life. As long as you have breath, make the choice to give thanks.

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Posted by on November 23, 2017 in Psalms, Thanksgiving Day


Hardware collection

Carol and I met with a PA in my surgeon’s office this morning for my first follow up visit after surgery. They took the staples out of my incisions, about 30 according to the nurse who did the work. While I still cannot bend enough to see it, I was told I has a zipper down the side of my leg. They also took X-Rays to check on the progress of the healing. The PA was able to access the hospital X-Rays so we could see a before & after picture. We agreed with the initial assessments that my break was “impressive.” As you can see from the X-Rays, I now have a titanium rod inside the femur and 4 pins/screws holding it in place.


Posted by on November 22, 2017 in Personal growth, Photos


Forced or free

Does God force his will upon you? Are you free to choose? Do you feel pressured to obey? Do you follow Christ with a willing heart? Are you afraid of what might happen if you follow Christ? Are you willing to be obedient, even if there is a cost?

These questions came to my mind this morning as I was reading through the book of Acts. In Acts 20:22-24, the apostle Paul makes a curious statement about why he is going to Jerusalem.

22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

Paul says that he is “constrained by the Spirit” to go to Jerusalem. He feels a divine nudging, a subtle pressure pushing him in the direction of Jerusalem. He has no idea what awaits him except that it involves trials, difficulty, and pain.

Despite a sense of pressure and foreboding, Paul is willing to go because it will give him another opportunity to share the gospel. Instead of being dragged kicking and screaming, Paul embraces the unknown challenges. Rather than be distracted by the short-term pain, his focus is on the long-term gain. He wants to finish well.

I want that to be true of my life as well. I want to sense God’s direction for my life. I want to be sensitive to his leading, nudging, prodding, and constraint. Rather than resisting or running from his plan, I want to embrace his direction regardless of the cost. Rather than pursuing a safe, secure route, I want to faithfully run the race he has laid out for me. I want to finish well.

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Posted by on November 21, 2017 in Acts, Personal growth, Scripture


Be healed!

One of the more humorous greeting cards I’ve received.

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Posted by on November 21, 2017 in Fun