Pictures in the Dark

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I am not a photographer.

One of my hobbies, though, is taking pictures with my iPhone. When the opportunity arises or I see a good chance to get an Instagram photo, I’ll take a picture of just about anything in just about any situation. I’ve gotten fairly good at recognizing when a good time to take a photo pops up. One of the things I’ve noticed about taking the clearest picture…

The best pictures are taken on overcast days.

Contrary to popular belief and what I first thought, really bright and sunny days aren’t the best time.

Why?

Because the sun causes a host of problems with a camera (some of which can be turned into a positive if done correctly).

The best pictures are taken in overcast weather. The truest form of what the photographer is trying to capture is seen in overcast weather.

It’s true with us too.

When things aren’t bright, sunny, and happy go lucky,
our truest character shows through.

When things pop up that darken the world around us,
others see us in our truest forms.

Our character is seen in the times that things aren’t perfect,
not bright,
not clear,
not easy.

It’s times when things are difficult that we get to show what we’re really made of.

Use those times.
Use those times to show the Christ in you rather than the perfect context around you.
Use those times to grow stronger and be used more.

Don’t fear the overcast days,
show out in them…

Let Jesus shine through you during them.

[I read about taking iPhone photos on overcast days a few months ago here.]

3 Reasons Questions Are Better Than Answers

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questions and answers

Everyone is looking for answers.

No matter who you are, what you do, or where you go, there are questions that you want answers to. Whether those questions are deep and thoughtful questions, or they’re just random “why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?” type questions, we all want answers (Now you’re really wondering about the glue thing right?!).

But, what if questions are actually better than answers in some ways? What if questions are really what we all need?

Here are 3 reasons I believe having questions is sometimes better than having answers…

1. Questions push us to more. Answers make us think we’re done. – Think about it… once we get the answer, we’re done. We’ve discovered it. There’s no need to go further. When we have questions, however, we’re pushed to more, we’re pushed to keep going until we get the answer. It’s in the pushing for more that we learn so much more than just the answer to one question. It’s in pushing for more that we grow and discover the most.

2. Questions power humility, answers can end in pride. – If we’re someone that tends to have all the answers or know a bunch of stuff, it can cause pride to grow inside of us. Questions, though keep us humble. As long as there is a burning question in us, we never think we’ve discovered or become it all.

3. Questions force comradery with others, answers tend to isolate. – Asking questions causes us to seek out other people that we think may have the answer. We build bonds and relationships with these people in order to find our answer. If we have the answer, these relationships and desire to connect slowly disappear… we think we don’t need other people.

Always seek the answer, but never despise the question.

Why else would having a question be better than having an answer?

[For some random questions, including the glue one, check out this site.]

Is Our Smartphone Making Us Stupid Crazy?

smartphone

According to Leslie Perlow’s upcoming book, “Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24-7 Habit and Change the Way You Work,” the mobile devices that many of us carry could be making us less productive and less happy in the long run.

According to this post that I came across a few days ago in the Harvard Business Review, people that put their smart phones down after hours actually end up being happier and accomplishing more in the long run.

I have to say, it doesn’t shock me. We live in a society that is so busy, it often slows us down. We can get so caught up in keeping up that we lose sight of what we should really be focusing on.

Whether you’re a…

leader
parent
pastor
student
Christian
teacher
assistant

there are certain things that are priorities for you,
certain things that you do and do best.

Sometimes, I think our devices and smartphones are more distractions from the priorities than productivity enhancers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the devices and have an admitted addiction myself, but I think we have to be careful.

To not lose sight of what we’re really to do.
What we’re really for.

So in that way, maybe our smart phones aren’t making us crazy, just distracted.

What do you think? Are you more productive or less because of your smart phone? Is it a distraction? Let us know in the comments.

Never Got That Far In Our Dreams

dreams

“I never got this far in my dreams.”

Those were the words Bubba Watson said to Jim Nantz during an interview after Bubba Watson won his first ever Master’s this past Sunday.

I was watching the interview at the time and heard Watson say those words and immediately thought…

what happens when we live beyond our dreams?

The truth is, we talk so much about dreaming big, having big goals for our lives, casting big vision to the people we lead, and doing something big for God. But, what happens when we live beyond what we ever dreamed?

We’ve all been woken up by the annoying sound of our alarm clock just as we were about to understand the ending to the dream we had the night before, but what happens when our life stays ‘asleep’ long enough for us to reach BEYOND our dreams?

I have to think that’s where God often wants to take us…

  • to take us beyond our dreams of intimacy with Him
  • to take us beyond our dreams in the relationships we maintain.
  • to take us beyond our dreams of the joy He has for us to experience.

But we often come up short don’t we?

We sell the whole thing short by bowing down to our immediate desires and the expectations of others.

We sell the whole thing short by taking what’s easy and good rather than what may be tougher but is God’s.

I want to live beyond what I can imagine.
I want to go to new places and do imaginable things.
I want to live beyond my dreams.

What about you? How do we do that? What does it mean? What does it require of us?

Know the Culture. Use the Culture. Reach the Culture.

culture

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were at the mall and walked by the Ghost Armor kiosk. I had heard of Ghost Armor and heard some pretty good reviews from people that had used it, so I stopped by the kiosk. I walked up to the guy working and asked a few questions and told him I’d think about it and let him know. He gave me his card and said something really brilliant (at least I thought it was). He said…

“here’s my card, if you have any questions, you can call or just text me and I’ll be happy to answer em.”

The part that I thought was so great about that sentence?

He said I could text him with questions.

Being a retailer of something that specifically deals with mobile devices (tablets, laptops, cell phones, etc…), I thought it was a brilliant way to serve their customers.

It’s a great example of knowing the culture and using the culture to accomplish the goal.

The guy at the kiosk, his goal was to cell me a $40 film for my iPhone, your goal may be much different, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use what’s familiar to your target audience to reach them with your product/service/message.

It could be that you wanna…

  • stay in touch with your children.
  • reach your city for Christ.
  • teach your students something you believe is important.
  • train volunteers.
  • train employees.
  • lead a group of seniors.
  • sell a product.

We’ve gotta…

Know the culture.
Know what’s familiar.
Use the culture.
Reach the culture.

In what ways do you currently leverage the culture you’re in to reach the culture you target?

[For more on reaching your culture, see my post here.]

Winning & Losing Are Habits

Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

– Vince Lombardi