The Opportunity of Surprise

golf ball 1 - James Friedmangolf ball 2 - James Friedman

It becomes increasingly easy to manage your reputation and project a false self in our growing world of social media. The me you see is the me I want you to see. Sure, the duality sometimes catches up with people like we’ve seen recently with the unfortunately named former Congressman, Anthony Weiner. But far more often we project what we’d like and nobody is the wiser for it. While the consequences rarely catch up to each person individually, we pay the fee collectively. We see this in a number of areas.

Our lack of trust,

our skepticism,

our avoidance of vulnerability,

our nagging insecurities,

our need to impress others.

You might argue that these are all normal human behaviors. While that is true, our world of technology has sped up our use of them. That’s why we now have a new opportunity unlike ever before: surprise people with what’s on the inside.


Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln

Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln - James C. HughesI recently finished reading through James C. Humes’ book on 21 public speaking tips called Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln. It was incredibly insightful and immensely practical. Humes draws upon a wealth of experience as a public speaker and as a speechwriter. While I’ve read plenty of books on public speaking and preaching, most of them fall far short of the intended desire. I’d couple this book with Confessions of a Public Speaker as top recommendations for others. Since public speaking is one of people’s greatest collective fears, it is incredibly beneficial to have practical advice to help you plan and gain confidence.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

Churchill once said that a speech is like a symphony. It may have three movements but must have one dominant melody.


Magical Unicorn Mask

unicorn maskI searched for some deeper meaning to connect to this post. I’ve got nothing. This is nothing more than a way to brighten your day with a few laughs. But most of us don’t laugh enough so here’s an extra dose for your day.

In case you were wondering (which of course you weren’t), you can buy a Unicorn mask on Amazon. Not just any Unicorn mask, but a magical Unicorn mask. At first glance, the buying page for this item just looks odd and a bit creepy. Upon closer inspection, you find random gems of awesomeness in the review section. I love finding things where people have spent time and effort for the sole purpose of making the rest of us laugh. Mission accomplished. Here’s a few of my favorites:


Growing a Green Thumb

I had the chance to preach at Central this weekend. I talked about developing a spiritual green thumb to be able to help others around you grow in their faith.

I also mentioned my one green-thumb-experience with my winter grass.

A Man Named Ralph

sausage mcmuffin with egg - mcdonald's

Part of this post is difficult for me to even write out. For those of you who know me well, I’ve never been a fan of McDonald’s. It isn’t because I’m super health conscious (I eat out at plenty of other fast food places), it’s just that I’ve never liked the taste of their food. Or the way you feel afterward.

But that’s all changed.

I’ve found that I’m slightly in love with their Sausage McMuffin with Egg.

I still don’t like eating their other food. But these sandwiches are an amazing way to start your day. As a result, my wife and I have made a few trips to McDonald’s during mornings the last few weeks. Even though McDonald’s has their food service down to a science, they haven’t impressed me with their customer service.

With the exception of one guy named Ralph.

I’d guess Ralph is in his early 70’s. He works the first window where you pay. And this guy is friendly. I mean the sort of friendly where you think he’s totally turning it on only to realize that it’s genuine. Then you are blown away by it. Then you realize you want to have a conversation with him. Then you realize you are at the first window of a McDonald’s. This guy is so remarkably unusual that even my four year old Gavin, sitting in one of the very back seats of our minivan, notices when he’s not there.


The Bark of the Poodle Pt.2


Don’t you love the feeling you get when you are looking for something for a really long time, so long that you’ve given up actively looking for it, and then suddenly you find it? Me too.

Almost a year and a half ago I wrote a post about a quote that I’ve heard my dad say from time to time. It’s been one of those statements that I’ve continued to see the validity of as the years go by.

It is never the doberman who says to the poodle, “I too am a dog.”

The quote captures how insecure people try and convince those around them of what they have while people who are truly secure don’t need to convince you of anything.

My dad had credited C.S. Lewis with the quote but I’d never been able to find it. Until recently that is. As I was reading through A Year With C.S. Lewis this month I came across a passage from his book called The Screwtape Letters. While it doesn’t have this wording exactly, the premise is certainly there. Here is how Lewis explains the idea: