Quotes from the book: Crisis at Santa's Workshop by Richard Weaver & John Farrell

  • Facilitation is defined as helping people get their work done and improve the way they work together.
  • The three basic steps of facilitation: 1. help others take responsibility; 2. help others focus on what they need to get done; 3. help improve working relationships.
  • Facilitation values the contributions of all. 
  • Facilitation believes that collaboration creates better results.
  • Facilitation assume that differences among individuals is a required part of collaboration.
  • Facilitation helps others achieve results by expressing themselves productively and taking action. 
  • The challenge with taking on all of the responsibility is that you own the solutions that are created. 
  • You and the rest of your team are definitely going to have to start thinking differently about what it means to be ‘in charge.’
  • Trying to work harder using current and effective methods is going to cause your team to have a meltdown. 
  • As a leader you need to provide the tools to your team to get the job done right. 
  • If the leaders set good examples, then the rest will follow suit.
  • The key to thriving in a changing environment is to become more flexible and adaptable. 
  • Help create solutions rather than sitting on the sidelines complaining about every new thing that is been tried.
  • As leaders we do not take the easy way out. In moments when we do not know what to do, we should not leave our team to figure it out for themselves. Don’t abandon them when they most need you.
  • We might not be able to solve the entire problem today, but we can’t focus on the next step.
  • Rephrase questions so they do not sound so much like attacks.
  • One of the most important things we can do is listen to one another. 
  • The key to our productivity is the quality of our work in relationships. It’s about making a commitment to one another’s success.
  • Create a variety of ways for people to participate when asking for feedback.
  • Encourage everyone to share their constructive opinions, even if you don’t agree with them.
  • The change process happens at a very personal level.
  • Help people discover their own truth not prescribe it.
  • Have production meetings weekly to review progress and make any revisions necessary.
  • Plan celebrations.

To purchase the book, click here.

Quotes from the book: You Have What It Takes by: John Eldredge

  1. Every boy wants to be a hero. Every boy wants to be powerful, he wants to be dangerous, and he wants to know: Do I have what it takes? And every boy looks to his dad to answer it.
  2. Every little girl wants to know: Am I lovely?
  3. Answer these questions a thousand times and in a thousand ways over the course of your son's or daughter's life, and you will have a done your job.
  4. Your son or daughter, no matter how old, will always want and need to hear those words from you.
  5. What's your worst fear as a man? Isn't it some version of failure?
  6. A woman's worst fear is abandonment.
  7. You, dad, are the most powerful man in their world... at least in their world. 
  8. How you handle your children's hearts will shape them for the rest of their lives.
  9. Mothers teach about unconditional love, and she teaches us about mercy. She is a comforter. She is a picture of the heart of God. But identity, especially gender identity, is the bestowed by the father.
  10. Until a man knows he's a man, he will forever be trying to prove he is one.
  11. Research data show that sexual promiscuity among teenage girls is almost always directly related to an absent father.
  12. Most fathers find it hard to validate their children, because they have a wound in their soul.
  13. How can you first find the healing of your wounded heart? It begins with surrender.
  14. Abiding in the love of God is our only hope, the only true home for our hearts.
  15. As someone has said, forgiveness is setting a prisoner free and then discovering the prisoner was you. You must understand that forgiveness is a choice.

To purchase the book, click here.

Quotes from the book: Defining the Executive Pastor Role by: Phil Taylor

  1. Who is in charge backstage?
  2. The idea of "coming along side of" in a subordinate manner is at the core of the Executive Pastor role. 
  3. It is incredibly freeing to know exactly where you fit best in the church.
  4. My role as Executive Pastor is to oversee the effective implementation of the vision of the church. The vision and direction of the church are cast largely by the Lead pastor.
  5. It takes another person with a pastoral heart and mind to keep his eyes, hands, heart and soul and every part of the ministry at all times in some sense.
  6. The Executive Pastor becomes the guy who not only implements the vision but also protects it.
  7. The Executive Pastor has to be able to take a pile of ideas and aspirations and reverse engineer them into a plan of attack.
  8. I can't do the vision of the church if I'm not in the vision conversations early on.
  9. Understanding why you were hired really does drive the direction of your role and even how you manage your schedule.
  10. Risk is not something that comes naturally to me, but I've learned that I need to take a risk-at least calculated risk-because it forces me to rely on God instead of my well thought out plans.
  11. Obedience is never a failure. 
  12. Give developing pastors added responsibility, but limited authority.
  13. Guard the Elders/Pastor title carefully because it is much easier to increase the authority and leadership level of someone on staff then it is to reduce it.
  14. I've never regretted going slow with someone in leadership development, but I have regretted going to quickly.
  15. I believe that leadership development is one of the most important things to get right in a church.
  16. Most of what we find in scripture for elder qualifications is character-based, not ability based. 
  17. Most Executive Pastors will either be an EXECUTIVE pastor with a capital E and lowercase P, or, they will be an executive PASTOR with a lowercase E and a capital P. 
  18. I suggest that the first chair and second chair should have a unique symbolic working relationship-different and more critical than any other staff relationship.
  19. Staff to your weakness. 
  20. God has made you exactly the way he wanted you, then he has called us to do life in community. It's called the "body of Christ" you don't have to be every part on that body. Nor should you even try.
  21. Don't be afraid to hand off key roles in the church by building your top volunteer team.
  22. If you find yourself serving in the Executive Pastor role of a smaller church, do not hesitate to call or email the another Executive Pastor serving in a larger church.
  23. If you know who you are, then you know who you aren't!
  24. Executive Pastors are the men/women who take the raw material of a visionary's hazy dreams and form it into a movement.
  25. I'm the guy who takes a great idea and makes it even better by wrapping it up all snug and warm with systems, structures, and strategies to ensure that the great idea makes it into the real world, which benefits real people throughout the church and beyond.
  26. Simply put, I mean I don't really do much, I just make sure that a lot gets done.
  27. Executive pastors need to have a high tolerance for both complexity and ambiguity. 
  28. I spend most of my time leading the leaders, who in turn lead to doers. 
  29. Over manage the details that everyone else under manages. 
  30. Lean on your trusted direct reports and then get the heck out of their way.
  31. Implementation inherently involves continual clarification.
  32. Saying no is usually harder than saying yes, but it often has a far greater impact on the success of the church.
  33. Some people are called to be a voice, and some people are called to be an echo, and that's OK.
  34. This is the hallmark of a good Executive Pastor: the ability to jump into just about any role and do it moderately well.

Purchase the book, click here.

Quotes from the book: Finish by: Jon Acuff

  1. According to studies, 92% of New Year's resolutions fail.
  2. The less people aim for perfection, the more productive they become.
  3. The day after perfect is what separates finishers from starters.
  4. Finishing something you care about is the best feeling in the world.
  5. The problem is that perfectionism magnifies your mistakes and minimizes your progress.
  6. In the middle of a goal, perfectionism gets real chatty. The first thing it says is that if you won't be able to do something perfectly and you shouldn't even start. 
  7. Cut your goal in half. Those who cut their goals in half increased their performance from past similar goal related challenges on average by over 63%.
  8. Goals are a marathon not a sprint. 
  9. Some goals are difficult to cut in half. For those, don't cut them in half; give your self more time.
  10. The only way to accomplish a new goal is to feed it your most valuable resource: time.
  11. You only have two options right now. Attempt more than is humanly possible and fail OR choose what to bomb and succeed at a goal that matters.
  12. The most powerful word in the English language is: No.
  13. Perfectionism believes that the harder something is, the more miserable something is, the better it is.
  14. Another lie perfectionism tells you is: fun doesn't count.
  15. Motivation falls into two rough categories: reward motivation or fear motivation.
  16. Working hard for something we don't care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.
  17. Perfectionism offers us two distinct distractions: hiding places and noble obstacles. A hiding place is an activity you focus on instead of your goal. A noble obstacle is a virtuous sounding reason for not working toward a finish. Both are toxic to your ability to finish. 
  18. Perfectionism loves isolation.
  19. "What's next" will always look more interesting than "What's now".
  20. Perfectionism always makes things harder and more complicated. Finishers make things easier and simpler.
  21. At the core, perfectionism is a desperate attempt to live up to impossible standards.
  22. Find someone with an amazing diploma and then borrow it. Perfectionism persist unless we ask questions.
  23. Progress is quiet and it whispers. Perfectionism screams failure and hides progress.
  24. Emotions lie, data doesn't. If you don't review the progress you can't make adjustments.
  25. If you don't learn what makes you work best and repeat it, you'll never get better.
  26. Talent you don't claim turns into bitterness eventually.
  27. Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story. We don't ever age out of needing someone to believe in us.
  28. Goals you refuse to chase don't disappear-they become ghost that haunts you.

Purchase the book, click here.

Quotes from the book: No Excuses by: Brian Tracy

  1. It has been said that if people put as much energy into achieving their goals as they spend making up excuses for failure, they would actually surprised themselves.
  2. I discovered that you can achieve almost any goal you set for yourself if you have the discipline to pay the price, to do what you need to do, and to never give up.
  3. Self-discipline is the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.
  4. The lack of self-discipline is the major cause of failure, frustration, underachievement, and our happiness in life.
  5. Superior people have the ability to throughout their lives make sacrifices in the short term, both large and small, so as to assure greater results and rewards in the long term.
  6. Successful people make a habit of doing the things that unsuccessful people don't like to do.
  7. If you do what other successful people do, over and over again, nothing can stop you from eventually enjoying the same rewards that they do.
  8. Stop engaging in activities that lead nowhere. 
  9. Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself and being lenient to everyone else.
  10. You demonstrate your values in your behavior.
  11. By the law of concentration, whatever you do well on grows in increases in your life.
  12. Accepting responsibility is one of the hardest of all disciplines, but without it, no success is possible. 
  13. It takes tremendous self discipline for you to except complete responsibility for everything you are, everything you've become, and everything that happens to you.
  14. Excellence requires a definite decision and a lifelong commitment.
  15. Happiness is a byproduct that comes to you when you are engaged in doing something that you really enjoy while in the company of people who you like and respect.
  16. There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important things.
  17. Time management is really life management, personal management, management of yourself rather than of time or circumstances.
  18. Dedicate yourself to continuous learning as if your future depends on it-because it does.
  19. The primary reason for success is persistence, and, likewise, the primary reason for failure is lack of persistence, quitting too soon. 

Purchase the book, click here.

What's your one?

I love the topics of self development & personal growth. When I say love them, it’s not just like an occasional hobby but a daily habit. Not ONE day goes by that I don't watch, listen, or read something that betters, teaches, and/or inspires me in some way. But it wasn’t always like that.

I was blessed to have parents and a mentor, instruct me and model a life of self development and personal growth. At a very young age they taught me Dr. John Maxwell’s Law of the Lid: Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness.They taught me that not only in classroom could you learn. They taught me not to depend solely on anyone else for MY growth but to go after it on my own. And I will forever be grateful to them for that.

This blog isn't necessarily for the person who already has their five year growth plan outlined or list of the next 20 books they want to read, but rather the person who knows they should be growing, wants to grow but doesn't know where to start. 

And honestly it could be overwhelming with all the resources available today. I did some quick searches and here is what I found:

  • There are 260,251 book titles on Amazon when I searched ‘self development’.
  • There are 2,930,000 videos on YouTube when I search ‘personal growth’. 

That’s not including podcasts, life coaches, conferences, leadership programs, etc…

I don’t want you to misinterpret what I’m about to say, I’m all about having a vision and goals for your life. But when starting something new, many times it’s ok to start small and with one thing at a time. It’s like a person who never goes to the gym, all of a sudden they show up on January 1st expecting to lift a crazy heavy amount. It doesn't work like that. You grow into it.

If your the type of person that gets easily overwhelmed, I would like for you to consider the following: just focusing on one. That’s either one podcast, one chapter, one class, one goal, one hour, one day, one step forward. 

When I started picking up the habit of reading books, honestly I set myself up to win. How? I picked books about my favorite subjects, by my favorite authors, and the shortest books I could find. Why? Just so I could finish one book. And then I would begin another and another. 

Similarly, when I began keeping my personal planner, I did not plan out months in advance but often times one week or even one day. I was young, it was new, other than school and church, I didn’t have much going on. But I knew it wouldn't always be like that. So I would write down what I was going to do tomorrow or when I had an upcoming test. I included events we had coming up at church and then services I was invited to speak at. Next thing you know I’m planning and reading more and more. 

What’s your one? What’s one thing you can start doing right now that will move you forward in the right direction?

I have always found it interesting how some people say, “I just don't have enough time.” As if some people get more hours in a day than others. Equally interesting, it’s funny how people have time for NETFLIX but not for their NEXT STEP. Nothing against Netflixs, I enjoy a good tv show as well. But can you imagine what would happen if we took the time we spent on lesser important things and focused them on things that really did matter? Imagine how many books, courses, or videos we could have completed? Imagine how much further you would be in accomplishing your goal. Time management and productivity is another passion of mine. But here is the summary: Don’t be so focused on two or three years form now that you miss out on TODAY. 

When I skim through the Bible I see the the theme of TODAY throughout the scriptures beginning from page one. Two examples: Creation happened day by day and in the Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches us to pray for our daily bread. Could God have created everything in one moment, of course. Could He provide for our weekly, monthly, or yearly bread, yes! But I really believe that He is trying to teach us something, which is: Today matters. It’s ok to start with one. You can break this into smaller pieces. Things that last often were made or built over time. 

Psalm 119:105 includes the statement: Your word is a LAMP to my feet. Not a spotlight. The difference? The spotlight reaches and shows you the end and long distance. A lamp doesn’t. A lamp shows you only your next step. 

Again if you already have a rhythm for self development and personal growth, then keep at it. But if you don’t and are ready to take responsibility for it, what’s your one? What one goal you want to work on? What’s one podcast you can start listening to? What’s one speaker you would like to learn more from? What’s one subject that you would like to grow in? Start with one but don't stay there.

What happens as you make these small (one) wins? They begin to add up. And one win plus another win plus another win is how momentum and forward movement is produced. 

Don’t fear learning or attempting new things, fear being the same person you are today exactly one year from now. A long time ago, I committed to not allowing that happen to me. I refuse to stay the same person, when it comes to my knowledge and skill. To this day, although I reading and taking in more information than ever before, I still catch myself at time focusing on my one. I read one chapter a day, I watch one video from youtube, I sign up for one webinar, etc…

So now it’s up to you. What’s your one?

Chasing Skinny Rabbits

I'm currently reading reading a book titled: Chasing Skinny Rabbits by Dr. John Trent. It's about what leads you into emotional and spiritual exhaustion... and what can lead you out. 

You might be asking ok but what's a Skinny Rabbit. Thank you for asking, the book defines a Skinny Rabbit as anything that pulls you away from a path of purpose &  life and leads you into a forest of separation, exhaustion, and even (if you don't stop the chase) the death of a dream, relationship, or chance to reach God's best.

Each of us have a God given purpose, let's stop wasting time and focus on reaching our fullest potential. 

I'm not completely done with the book yet but it definitely has my attention. So far it has mentioned specific Skinny Rabbits that sometimes we're after, such as: wanting to be liked by everyone, having the perfect body, getting into debt just to live the nicer life, extreme perfectionism, delayed satisfaction, and many more. 

The tragedy is that  most of us won't realize we're pursing a Skinny Rabbit until it's too late- until we've lost precious months or even years in the chase.

Stop and ask yourself what's your motivation in life, what are you after, what do you feel God has called you to do, make adequate changes and live life to the fullest. 

Have an amazing day!

Being Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

It was around 11:30pm on a Tuesday not too long ago, when after an extended day at the office, I find myself driving back home. All of a sudden I begin to feel something inside of me, and no I’m not trying to be spiritual, actually it was my stomach growling. It had totally slipped my mind, that due to my focus on work I had skipped lunch and dinner, and I was now very hungry. For the next moments I’m contemplating the idea if I rather go home and reheat leftovers or just go the nearest burger place and grab a bite. I decide to pass up my street and drive towards Whataburger. (Don’t judge me, lol)

Thankfully that burger chain is 24 hours open and because it was so late I didn’t have to wait long to get and start enjoying my food. A few minutes later I noticed a young man in blue jean shorts and a white muscle t-shirt enter and begin ordering. And when it came time for him to pay, I noticed he reached to his back pocket and then his front pocket and he couldn’t find his wallet. While this is happening, I’m not able to hear a single word what he and the lady across the counter are saying to each but just by observing them, I’m connecting the dots in my head. He then pulls out his cell phone and signals to the lady that he is going to make a phone call and he steps outside to talk. Right when he walks out, I again begin to feel something inside of me, and this time it wasn’t hunger but rather the Spirit of God leading me to get up and pay for this guy’s food.  

Honestly, at first I tried to not pay attention to what I was feeling. Reasons began to race through my mind about why I wasn’t able to and why I shouldn’t pay. I didn’t know this guy, I don’t know how much he had ordered, but I eventually gave up fighting and was obedient. I hadn’t even finished my food yet but choose to take advantage of the guy being outside to pay now discreetly. As soon as I paid I mentioned to the cashier not to tell him I had paid for him I wanted it to be a surprise. I asked for my food to go and began walking to my car, the whole while I can still see him on the phone. In my car I wait for a couple of seconds to see if he ever went back inside (no I’m not a stalker), when all of a sudden a car pulls up next to him. I’m expecting for someone to roll down their window and hand him some cash but the surprise was on me when I saw him get into the car and began driving off.

I was in shock. How was God going to allow this? I had just paid and he didn’t even go back inside to get his food. I’m not sure what rose up on the inside of me (and I warn you please don’t try this at home) but I chose to follow him in my car. Again please don’t do this and much less in the middle of the night, but I really wanted him to get his food. I tried flashing my lights, that didn’t stop him. I tried honking, that didn’t stop him either. But I was able to get his attention when he had to stop at the next red light.

And the following is a short version of our conversation that night.

Me: “Excuse me.”

Him: “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!”

Me: (with shaky voice) “Hi, you don’t know me but I was at the Whataburger you just left. I couldn’t help but notice you didn’t pick up your food and I just wanted to let you know your food is waiting for you.”

Him: “But I didn’t pay for it.”

Me: “Ya but I think someone paid for you.”

He stayed looking at me for a few seconds and then said: “You paid for it didn’t you?”

Me: (hesitantly) “Yea.”

When I said that I noticed his attitude and tone of voice changed towards me. And I too felt relieved.

Him: “Why did you do that?”

And it was there sitting at an intersection in La Joya, TX where I took the next few minutes telling him about why I did what I did and about my relationship with the Lord. After we said goodbye to each other, he made a U-turn to go back and pick up his food and I continued driving home with a smile on my face.

And it is in the front seat of my car where the Lord taught me a valuable lesson, which I want you to share with you now.

Many times when God calls us to do something or take a stand for Him, it’s going to be outside of our comfort zone. If He calls us to do something that’s in our reach and resources and we can accomplish it without Him, it won’t really require faith. But if what He is calling us to do is bigger than us and we can’t do it alone, we are going to have to rely on Him in faith.

And when we study the Bible all the examples of men and women who did something great for God; we can see that it took both faith and them stepping out of their comfort zone.

It was with faith in God that Jocabed was able to place her son in a basket and into a river to save his life; it was faith in God that Moses raised his staff and parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross; and it is with faith in God that you and I will also be able to do what God calls us to do.

I am convinced that it’s time for us to be comfortable with being uncomfortable for God.

Was I kinda hesitant and fearful in following this guy and talking him, you better believe it. Was I out of my comfort zone while I did it, you better believe it. Did I learn something that day that I’ll never forget, you better believe it.

Friend, I encourage and challenge you today to do what God has called you to do, even if it’s outside your comfort zone, believing that He goes with you and make everything possible.

10 Time Savers

I am a firm believer in spending and using our time wisely. Here are a few actions/tips I practice daily.

1. Write things down

2. Plan your week

3. Learn to say "No"

4. Don't do other people's work

5. Ask questions

6. Avoid doing too much

7. Clean your desk/ work area

8. Take time to rest

9. Record your favorite TV shows

10. Block out social media interruptions

I'm always up for learning; what are some time savers you practice?

Defining Moments

Inside each and everyone of us, God has placed a unique and specific purpose to fulfill, but it is up to us to be intentional in making it come to pass.

It’s not uncommon that while serving God and pursuing our dreams we face opposition and difficult trials arise.

But as I once heard Michael Fernandez say, “God never calls us to do easy things but great things that scare us to the point that we wonder if what is being asked of us can really be done. This is why we have this thing called faith.”

Faith allows us to stand firm in the middle of the storm, remain full of joy while we suffer, and move forward confidently knowing God goes before us.

In my life personally, I’ve had to overcome numerous events and situations where I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. But thankfully I’ve been able to rely on my faith in God and the support of those nearest me to continue ahead. And as I look back at different experiences I’ve encountered, I now understand that those difficult moments, although they felt unpleasant, I believe were actual key defining moments in my life.

And today, I simply want to share with you 3 thoughts/lessons that I’ve learned while passing through various defining moments.

1.     Defining Moments remind us of our need to daily depend on God.

Like any other relationship that we have whether it is with a family member or friend, our relationship with God must be fed daily and consistently in order to mature and remain strong. Imagine if we connected with God, through prayer or His Word, as often as we connected our cell phone to charge. I truly believe our relationship with Him would be on another level. The truth is like we needed Him yesterday, we also need him today, and tomorrow isn’t any different.  To persevere and make any type of positive impact in this world, we need His help daily.

2.     Defining Moments reveal us for who we really are.

Just like until when an orange is squeezed can we enjoy its fresh juice; or when we push down on a pen, does the ink flow out leaving a mark on the paper; when we are passing through defining moments that’s when it truly show what’s in the inside of us and allows us to leave our mark. We can say one thing when everything is good, but when certain things don’t go your way, are we the same person? Lets be authentic, lets be transparent, lets display to those around us Godly characteristics that catch their attention and makes them say, “There’s something different about him/her.”

3.     Defining Moments teach us another aspect of who God is and lets us get to know Him in a new way.

We can’t experience His healing power if we are never sick. Nor can we feel what it feels to be comforted if we never have a broken heart. If you and I are honest with ourselves and think back for specific moments of when we have felt and seen God perform the greatest miracles in our lives, it probably would have to be while we were passing through difficult moments.  I used to run from problems, I used to think they were the end of me, but we when I realized that they are opportunities for me to get to know God in a way I haven’t before, I now run to them. For where trouble is, God is there (Psalm 46:1). And if it wasn’t for those difficult moments I would have never said new prayers, and seen God in numerous facets.

Maybe you’re passing through a tough moment in your life right now and you have lost hope in others, your dreams, or even God. Remember that God says to you in Isaiah 41:10...

Dear (your name here) ,

       Fear not, for I am with you;

       Be not dismayed, for I am your God.

       I will strengthen you,

       Yes, I will help you,

       I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Mark it on your calendar today, that you will no longer avoid, hide, or see difficult moments as negative opposition but as a defining moment, a purposeful opportunity to depend on God, define who God is in your life, and tell this world He is faithful.