Category Archives: Making a Difference

Season Finale

“To everything there is a season. . . “ so says the book of Ecclesiastes. And this blog is no different. At the beginning of ’09, I committed to several goals this year. Unfortunately, in the process of juggling all these ambitions, I have dropped some along the way. Of course, I may pick them back up but it’s not long before one drops again. I have learned in life that when you are overwhelmed with all the things you are juggling, you can do one of three things: you can keep doing what you’re doing with the hope that you eventually “get it,” you can juggle with less balls until you have mastered that level, or you can just quit juggling.

I have decided to juggle with less balls. Here’s the thought process: If I drop just one ball even periodically, and more than likely it’d be a different ball each time, I fail at juggling period. In other words, I may not reach any of my accomplishments or it will certainly take me longer to get there. On the other hand, if I juggle with less balls dropping none, I am a success, albeit I am a less accomplished juggler than if I were to hit all my targets in the first example but my odds are better. If I stop juggling all together, not only do I fail at juggling but I fail at even trying; failure is certain. Rhetorically, let me ask you this: would you rather invest in a long shot, a sure shot, or a dud?

I want to be a sure shot! And it is for that reason that I am regretfully postponing my blog posts. I have been focusing so much on ensuring a post three times a week that I have  neglected the writing of my book. Writing is my dream. And I have been accomplishing my dream through you, the readers of this blog. But at the same time, the true realization of a writer’s dream, at least this writer’s dream, is publication. Just like our life here on earth is a dress rehearsal for Heaven, this blog has been a dress rehearsal for publication of a book. I appreciate all of you for aiding and abetting me in testing and reforming my style through this medium. While I am not a perfect writer (and never will be), my heart is ready. And quite frankly, that is all that is needed for the realization of a  dream. A heart that is ready will let nothing get in its way. A heart that is ready will not quit or back down. A heart that is ready will not bargain for second best; it will not rest until it has reached its destination; it will not be denied.

This is not a series finale, it is merely the end of a season. I will live to blog again; you have not seen the last of Brian Shaw. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I am taking my series to the big screen if you will. I am taking my passion and purpose to a higher pursuit. Please keep your eyes peeled for the release of my “feature film” in the near future. This is not the end, it is just the beginning . . .

Oh, and if by remote chance there is a published author who has any great advice or contacts he or she would like to share, or better yet, a publisher with some interest in my work, feel free to comment now. (LOL)

To all of you fellow dreamers: I encourage you on your pursuit. Make sure you take time to pause from time to time to compare your map and your current location to make sure that you are still on the shortest distance to your destination. If so, pursue relentlessly. If not, make the necessary adjustments and get back on the road.

Please keep me in your prayers. I am working on writing a 30 day devotional. Pray that the Lord would give me wisdom and continual revelation. Pray that he would guide my pen to position words in a way that will speak encouragement and hope to a multitude of people, not for my own profit but for kingdom profit, that those far from God may be drawn into greater intimacy with the Father through the Son. Pray that He keep me ever so humble and grateful for any talent that He has blessed me with. Finally, pray that I keep “first things first,” not neglecting my own spiritual walk or my own family.

Thank You and May God Bless You Abundantly!

All The World Is A Stage

Shakespeare penned those words, “All the world is a stage.” He was absolutely right. God is the Author and Director, His Word is the script, His Son is the superstar, your pastor is the narrator, you my friends are the cast, and the world is your stage. How well have you been acting? Are you studying and constantly practicing your lines? Are you giving an Academy performance or are you just going through the motions? Will you be honored at the ceremony? In other words, when the curtain goes down, will you hear your name followed by, “Well done good and faithful servant?”

Christ was beaten beyond recognition, crucified on a cross, and speared in the side on your behalf, get out there and break a leg!

WWJD or WWJD?

Today, I turn 36 years old. By this time three years earlier in his life, Jesus already had himself a team of twelve, confronted the current zealots of the day, healed the sick, raised the dead, turned water into wine, fed many from little, walked on water, endured a brutal beating, died on the cross, rose from the dead, saved the world, and ignited a 2000+ year legacy. And he did it all in 3 years.

Whew! Need a minute; feeling a little inadequate right now.

Now that I think about it, should I really be feeling inadequate? It’s easy enough for Jesus, being God’s true son and all but I’m merely an adopted son. How can one really, possibly even come close to living the WWJD mantra? I mean, hasn’t Jesus already done what it is He would do? Why are we still asking the question (WWJD) when we already have the Answer? Did He really call us to act like Him or to act for Him; to do His work or to do His will? Honestly, if we could do what Jesus did, would we even need Jesus?

Follow me here: His work was to die for all, right? Then our work is not His work because it has already been done. So then what is our work? Our work is His will. His will is to die for all to see (not visually with human eyes of course, but with the eyes of the heart; to understand; to believe). That’s where we come in. Our work (or His will) is to reflect His love so that others see it (Matthew 5:16). He’s the Message, we’re the messenger. Maybe the question isn’t completely off the mark, maybe it simply needs rephrased. Instead of “What would Jesus do?”, perhaps it should read, “What would Jesus desire?” It’s His will that He desires of us.

How does that look from a practical standpoint? Try this on for size:

You come across a beggar blind from birth, do you,
A) Do as Jesus would: spit in the dirt, rub mud on the man’s eyes thereby healing his blindness (John 9:1-11)?
B) Do Jesus’ will: get him hooked up with a local ministry, share the Gospel with him, pray with him, or even just lead him to a restaurant whereby you buy him a meal ?
C) Do your will: look the other direction?

Hallmark Mom

Tina recently shared an interesting insight with me that came out of shopping for a birthday card for her mother. After reading several cards to find just the right one, she identified attributes that she too would like to possess as a mother. In other words, she was so moved by the many endearing words used to describe mothers in greeting card messages that she aspires to be a mother like that herself, the kind of mother typified in a greeting card. Tina wants it to be a challenge when Megan goes to buy her a card, an experience where every card is such a reflection of her own mother, that it requires careful contemplation in choosing the right one, the one that most closely depicts the exhaustive elements of her mother’s beauty.

What a great ambition. This has inspired me to do the same––to be a Hallmark Dad and a Hallmark Husband. Not to fit some stereotypical greeting card non-sense for the sake of conformity, but to epitomize that which is admirable and upright; to be the type of person that could be the inspiration for a greeting card message instead of the deviation from one; to be the rule rather than the exception; to be a benchmark by which all other fathers and husbands are measured.

How about you? Are you worthy of carrying the Hallmark seal on your back (think old ‘90s marketing campaign of flipping the card over to check for Hallmark branding)?

Less Is More

If I had to describe my New Year’s resolutions for this year in one word, it would be “constructive.” I want the things that I do to serve a useful purpose. That’s not to say that I’ve been useless in previous years, it’s just that I haven’t been as effective as I’d like to be (welcome to the club, right?). This year, I want that to change. I desire to be more productive in the things that matter. I want to love more, give more, save more, lose more, and just plain accomplish more. Oh, and did I mention that I want to do it all with less? “More for less”––sounds like a TJ Maxx ad. Here’s what I mean:

Less impatience, more restraint

Goal: Too subjective to measure so get off my back already! (Sorry, I guess I got my work cut out for me.)

Less calories taken in, more pounds taken off

Goal: Me minus 20 lbs. (or 5 slices of pizza per week, same thing)

Less spending, more saving

Goal: Cut my specialty coffee / dining out expense in half (my belt size too)

Less debt, more freedom

Goal: A slave to lender no longer (except for mortgage)

Less TV, more time (for God, family, and my dream)

Goal: Read through entire Bible, do not neglect my family, post blog three times weekly, and write a book to have ready for publication

Less of me, more of Him

Goal: Take up my cross daily. (And two aspirin ‘cause I’m already getting overwhelmed.)

WOW! Sounds like less leisure, more exhaustion. What about you? Are your goals for 2009 big or small . . . audacious or cautious . . . lofty or puny . . . ambitious or attainable . . . more or less?

Here’ s some inspiration from Pastor Steven Furtick:

I’m sorry to say that your dreams are too small too. You serve the God of inexhaustible, all sufficient, overflowing resource. Whatever you might imagine God wants to do through your life in your most faith-filled, bold, reckless moments, multiply it by 10. Take it to the 100th power. Double it again. Now you’re starting to uncover a fraction of the blueprint God has already drawn up.

Sometimes, under the guise of getting wiser, growing deeper, or waiting on God, we let our audacity atrophy and set the stuff that made us special on the shelf. That must really insult God.  After we’ve already seen Him part seas, kill giants, and multiply fish and loaves, we should be more inclined to push our chips to the center of the table, not less!

It turns out God isn’t intimidated by my big requests. He is insulted by my puny ones.

Paddle Your Own Canoe

Carpe Diem (or Seize the Day), as exclaimed by Robin Williams in the 1989 movie Dead Poets Society. I love a good movie, a good quote, a good blog post, or any good piece of media that aims to inspire. I heard a great poem a few years back that reminds me of the saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Each day we get is a blessing, question is, will we waste it or will we use it for the glory of God? Either way, it is your choice. Whether you find yourself in a sea of success or up a creek without a paddle, make today count; make today the day that you will forge ahead in the direction of your destination! Paddle your own canoe!

Paddle Your Own Canoe

Voyager upon life’s sea,
To yourself be true,
And whatever your lot may be,
Paddle your own canoe.
Never, though the winds may rave,
Falter or look back;
But upon the darkest wave
Leave a shining track.
Paddle your own canoe.

Nobly dare the wildest storm,
Stem the hardest gale,
Brave of heart and strong of arm
You will never fail.
When the world is cold and dark,
Keep your aim in view;
And toward the beacon work,
Paddle your own canoe. …

..Would you crush the giant wrong,
In the world’s free fight?
With a spirit brave and strong,
Battle for the right.
And to break the chains that bind
The many to the few
To enfranchise slavish mind,-
Paddle your own canoe.
Nothing great is lightly won,
Nothing won is lost,
Every good deed, nobly done,
Will repay the cost.
Leave to Heaven, in humble trust,
All you will to do:
But if succeed, you must
Paddle your own canoe.

by Sarah Bolton, written in 1851

Commit Yourself

When I was in management, I determined that there are basically two types of people that “succeed” at work (or at church, or on a sports team, etc.)–this could probably apply to any group of people. By success, I mean that they are able to continue in their endeavor indefinitely; it’s a rough definition. To better clarify, there are actually three types of people in a group, it’s just that the third type is functionally irrelevant. They are the ones who aren’t very good at what they do and end up fired from their job, leaving the church, quitting their team, and such. Based on my observations, I developed the following list to describe the former two types of people. See if you identify with either. Maybe you’d be able to add a few of your own? Would like to hear them if you do.

committed

Being compliant is acceptable; you’ll stay under the radar which will “get you by” until the sweet bye and bye if you so desire but your accomplishments will be mediocre at best. Being committed is exceptional; you’ll be all over the radar, elevating yourself to a higher level where your accomplishments will be masterful (that is, full of the Master). Paul knew the value of being committed when he said, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Corintians 9:24) Why walk when the Word says run? Commit yourself today!

The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself to it. ~Mack R. Douglas, accomplished author

When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient.  When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. ~Ken Blanchard, accomplished author

So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ~Jesus Christ, Luke 17:10