Download the series: “Inspire Greatness”

IG_IconIf all we do is recycle old ideas and attitudes, and do the same old things we’ve always done, we’ll get the same results we’ve always gotten. So as we begin this brand new decade, we’re going to be talking about the anatomy of greatness. To pursue it, to aspire, to dream, to do great things to honor God and help people is not only noble, but necessary.


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How to Cure Burn-out

Not a week goes by that I don’t hear this, or some form of this, said by a friend in distress: “Dave, I’m just burned out. I dread what I’m doing.  I have a lot of anger and I don’t know where it comes from.  I’m tired, I have no energy, and it’s hard just getting out of bed every day.”

If that describes you, or someone you’re trying to do life with, more than likely, you’re dealing with a person who’s burnt.

The number one culprit behind the feeling of burn-out is the loss of hope. Without hope in your job, in your marriage, in your relationship with God or other people, energy is simply drained out of your life.  But where there is hope, optimism, vitality, and anticipation for better days, seem to arise almost magically and effortlessly.

I finished the current series, “Messy Like Me,” yesterday by talking about the sixth type person you meet on the way to heaven: those who have skill, talent, training, ability, have a ton to offer their career, their families, and their churches, but they are burned out. We talked about the process of losing hope.  It starts with comparison and envy, and ends with anger.  We also talked about how you can have hope in increasing amounts.  Listen to the talk and ask yourself this question, “Am I burned out because I’ve engaged in comparison, I’ve become bitter over what I don’t have, and envious of those who seem to be doing better than me though they are not as smart as me or trying nearly as hard as me?”

Sit down with your team and go through the process of having hope and ask yourself that question.  Do I live every day with the mindset of worship and gratitude and thankfulness to God for my life, and the privilege to do what I do?  Do I stand in awe of God’s promises and His faithfulness to allow me to join Him where He is working?  These are vital questions and they need to be addressed before you can turn things around.

Pettiness Doesn’t Become You

I read an article just the other day by a well-known Christian artist who I highly respect.  I have benefited from his work, and have really been inspired by his willingness to be a renegade for God. But – and isn’t there always a “but” – this blog post I read was of him diminishing the ministry of another group that he had a bone to pick with.

And I thought, this pettiness doesn’t become you.  When we stop to publicly attack our critics or our competition, or almost anyone else for that matter, we’re the one who ends up looking small. Taking the high road isn’t just a good thing; it’s a God thing.  It’s how Jesus taught us to respond in the marketplace of ideas.  Actually, if you take the teachings of Jesus seriously (and we Christians do) we don’t have the right to attack each other publicly.  There’s a process for confrontation privately that leads to redemption and reconciliation.

When I read the pettiness of the people I admire, I don’t get mad; I just become afraid that I too could stumble into this pattern. Yes, we all have enough people who have come against us, opposed us, or (worse than both of those) ignored us, that we’d love to take a slice out of in public.  I do.  But I realize, each and every time, the commitments I have in the art that I create: is it helpful, is it hopeful, does it heal, and – oh yeah – is it true?

If You Can’t Afford It, You Don’t Deserve It

This week we talked about one of the most difficult people to help; and that’s the bored.  It’s been my firm conviction boredom has caused more destruction in the lives of good people than most of the vices we can mention, period.

We hear things like, “You deserve a break today.”  “You deserve a new car.” “You deserve a new house.”  “You deserve a trip.” And as a result, college debt, car debt, and other forms of consumer debt are holding untold hundreds of thousands of people in bondage all because when they were bored, with nothing better to do, they decided to reward themselves with something that would give them a temporary emotional high.

So how do you help the bored? What if you are just really bored.  You’ve been there and done that.  You understand Solomon when he said that everything is meaningless as chasing after the wind. Have you owned up to the fact that things can enhance your life but they can’t bring meaning to your life? It takes people.  And when you’re engaged in the lives of people, your life takes on a whole other color and texture.  And your motivation can go off the charts.

So in this week’s talk we talked about the road to bondage: how we go from freedom to courage, to success, abundance, consumption, assumption, and back to entitlement. We also talked about how to break free from the most devastating virus known to man: and it’s hardening of the attitude.

Control, Certainty, Clarity, and None of the Above

This past weekend at The Gathering was an important moment. It was one of those moments, as a speaker, where you absolutely know that you’ve heard from God, and have something really important to say.

I know, I know.  A lot of people think that, few people will say that, and anyone who dares, we always dismiss as being self-centered or self-righteous.  But this time, listen.  There are three things that God has told me to tell you, you can’t have.  I know.  I can’t have them either: control, certainty, and clarity.

I think that’s good news.  And that’s a bold statement, but it’s true. God is never going to give you control.  Yes, you do have control of your choices, but you don’t have control over what’s going to happen to you each and every day.  Some days in your life, maybe many days in your life you’re going to wake up into a new normal not of your own making.  Maybe it’s cancer, unemployment, divorce, even death.  These will be moments when you realize that God will never give you the one thing you want more than anything else in the world: control.  You’re never going to have true certainty.  You’re not certain of what’s going to happen today, but God is.  You’re never going to have clarity.  If I marry this person, can I clearly see the end of our marriage from the beginning? No.

Here’s what you can have.  You can have the comfort that comes from the growing confidence in the content of God’s promises.  Those promises are found in the Scriptures.  So this weekend as we talked about the bothered, the worried, and the anxious, we talked about the difference between a martyr, an exhausted fixer, and a resentful victim.  We talked about the comfort that comes from a growing confidence in God’s promises.  The truth is, you cannot control what happens to you.  You alone, though, control how you respond.  Will you worry and fret? Or will you find comfort in the content of God’s promises and grow a confident faith?  As the Swedish proverb says, “Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.”

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