I consider myself an avid reader. I also try to read very broadly to help me grow. I read books, blogs and tweets from people that don’t think like me. The excerpt below is from Andy Stanley’s book on vision, “Making Vision Stick“. An easy read that highlights the importance of keep vision out in front and helping those you lead to do the same. The excerpt:
…I like to joke that the three primary obstacles to making vision stick are success, failure, and everything inbetween. There is no season in which a leader can push autopilot and expect the organization to remain vision driven. It is possible for an organization to increase market share and profit margins while drifting from its original vision… …Success lures us into taking hands off the wheel. Failure causes us to overcorrect. Both succes and failure can lead to disaster.
… Over time organizations become more complex. Complexity is distracting for leaders. Where there were once two balls to juggle, suddenly there are three, then four and then forty. All of them are important. Where there was one good opportunity to pursue, suddenly there are three. And each new opportunity leads to yet another and another. Complexity can kill the original vision.
If you’ve read the book, what are your take aways? If you haven’t, do yourself a favor and read it. You can get it here.
Are you a born writer? Were you born on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action. Do it or don’t do it.
It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write as symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. you hurt the planet. You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.
Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.
One’s prayer life is often a great indicator of how their walk is. Shallow relationship with God is often a product of a lack of prayer. Intimacy with God is often a product of prayer. The quality of prayers (for a lack of a better terms) is indicative of where we are in our walk with God. If there is ever such a thing as a “profound prayers”, I’ve come across some from St. Thomas Aquinas. Such prayers could only be products of an intimate relationship with God.
Below is one of Thomas Aquinas’ prayers that I echo. Hope it impacts you, at least, as much as it impacted me.
O Lord my God, help me to be obedient without reserve, poor without servility, chaste without compromise, humble without pretense, joyful without depravity, serious without affectation, active without frivolty, submissive without bitterness, truthful without duplicity, fruitful in good works without presumption, quick to revive my neighbor without haughtiness, and quick to edify others by word and example without simulation.
Grant me, O Lord, an ever-watchful heart that no alien thought can lure away from You; a noble heart that no base love can sully; an upright heart that no perverse intention can lead astray; an invincible heart that no distress can overcome; an unfettered heart that no impetuous desires can enchain.
O Lord my God, also bestow upon me understanding to know You, zeal to seek You, wisdom to find You, a life that is pleasing to You, unshakable perseverance, and a hope that will one day take hold of You.
May I do penance here below and patiently bear your chastisements. May I also receive the benefits of your grace, in order to taste your heavenly joys and contemplate your glory. Amen.
I thought I’d share some of the excerpts from different places that have moved me and moved me hard… I hope this one also rattles, challenges and changes you the way it did with me…
O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing. I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory. I pray Thee that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “rise up, my love, my fair one and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wondered so long. In Jesus’ name. Amen – A. W. Tozer
I got this excerpt from A.W. Tozer in The Pursuit of God. Tozer opened each chapter with a prayer and the excerpt is a prayer opening the chapter, “Following Hard After God” You can download the book free here