Deciding How Much Influence You Want

I read the above tweet a bit ago and instantly retweeted it. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since then. If you are familiar with Bob you know he is a super-extrovert. If you are familiar with me you know that I’m definitely NOT. That’s why I’ve actually concluded his statement is more applicable to introverts than to extroverts since for people like me it definitely requires a deliberate choice.

Just today I was thinking about meeting a person for coffee (who I want to meet with and will enjoy their company) but then I also thought about what I wouldn’t be able to accomplish personally during that time. No reading, no catching up on emails, no blogging, etc. If you are an extrovert do your best not to judge me for this, it’s just how my mind works. So Bob’s tweet popped in my head and I reminded myself that making time for people is always a great choice, even if it does take a choice.

What I love most about his statement is that for all of us (the normal introverts and the bizarre extroverts) our influence is up to us. The question is: how much influence do you want? Then, make yourself appropriately available to those around you. Easier said than done for me.

Loneliness or Life

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I recently did some guest posting for Jesse Birkey (blogger and author of the books pictured above) on an encounter I had with my four year old son after a strange question he asked me. Little did I know I’d learn something about myself and God in his bizarre request. It’s the difference between choosing loneliness or life.

Click here to read the post over at JesseBirkey.com and make sure to check out what else he’s written.

What To Do When It’s Your Turn

If you know of Seth Godin, you know that’s he’s brilliant and will challenge you to think outside the box. His latest book, What To Do When It’s Your Turn continues with this expectation. It’s formatted like a magazine so it reads quickly and easily. The biggest shock was the overwhelming amount of typos throughout the book. I secretly hoped this was intentional and that Godin was illustrating his point of being willing to “ship” a product and get over the fear of failure. However, they turned out just to be a confusing number of typos for a book of this size. That’s really my only strike against it as the rest of the material was thought-provoking and encouraging. Seth, if you’re reading this it’s not too late to use that somehow!

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book (and there were a lot):

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My 57 Books of 2014

The last two years I somehow read the exact same number of books each year: 63. That’s a strange number but I wasn’t able to quite live up to it this year. My favorite books were A Farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd (#33) and Culture Making by Andy Crouch (#48).

Here are all the books I’ve read since January of 2014 with my rating for them (5 being the best) and a brief review. You can see this list at any time by clicking on the link at the top of each page on my blog titled “reading list.” Any book without a number rating has been given to me by the author or publisher. You can also check out my lists from previous years, as well as my recommendations on how to become a better reader.

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Top Posts of 2014

Top Posts of 2014

The end of the year always affords me perspective on my blogging efforts. Again, I want to extend a hearty thanks to you for reading and sharing my posts like you have. While posting on a regular basis certainly adds an element of stress to everything else I’m trying to do, the reality is that it is such a blessing to work out ideas on here before they end up in print or in a sermon. Your feedback is immensely valuable to me and helps me to grow.

Here are my top 5 posts from this year (based on traffic) in case you missed any of them or wanted to revisit them for fun:

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The Difference Between the Manger and the Cross

The Difference Between the Manger and the Cross

“Though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!” Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

As I reflect on another Christmas I realize how much faster the season goes as you get older. As a kid the days are eternity. You find different methods to keep your sanity while you slowly count down the days one by one. You rip paper rings or cross off boxes on a grid. As an adult, you stare at a daunting checklist of actions all to be done before you are even remotely prepared for Christmas. Nobody wants to be the guy who finally gets his lights and tree up on Christmas Eve to enjoy them for all of a handful of hours.

Regardless of how much time we get each year to slow down and enjoy what Christmas is about, we each have our core traditions and celebrations. Part of that for me is a reminder of the concept the prophet Isaiah first introduced us to of Immanuel, or God with us. That’s the shocking, unexpected story we reflect on each year. God came to us. And even though He didn’t look as we might imagine, this little baby cleared up all our misconceptions and questions about what God is really like. As the author of Hebrews tells us, “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.” Hebrews 1:3 (NLT). Jesus had God-radiation oozing off of Him. You couldn’t see Him or come in contact with Him without experiencing the Divine. Everything else must now be measured by Him. What an incredible human life!

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