As the father of three teenagers I believe Andy Stanley’s new book, The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating, is a must-read. One of them is currently reading it. The other two will be enjoying Andy’s work over the summer!
I will say this upfront, my wife and I have listened to virtually all of Andy’s sermon series going back to the late 1990’s. Additionally, I have read all of his books from Visioneering and The Principle of the Path to The Best Question Ever and Next Generation Leader. The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating again demonstrates Andy’s ability to deliver biblically-based wisdom that leaves the reader (or listener) better off than they were before.
The foundational concept in New Rules is one that Andy has preached for many years – rather than looking for the right person to marry or begin a relationship with, we would be better served by focusing our energies on becoming the right person that our right person is looking for. As Andy says, “becoming the right person dramatically increases the likelihood of being attracted to the person who is right for you.”
He poses this simple question to the reader: “Are you the person the person you’re looking for is looking for?” Andy makes the argument that, “the healthier you are, the healthier your relationships will be” and he rightly points out how unfair it is to expect more of the other person than you expect of yourself.
Whether you are a teenager traversing the road of love and dating for the first time, a twenty-something who has been traveling the road for a number of years or a divorcee who is starting the journey all over again, the idea of focusing on yourself rather than your future mate is one that is lost on many Americans given the cultural influences that tend to judge others rather than to look inward. Andy argues that the inward focus will allow God to work in you and, before you know it, the person you were looking for will find you! When they do, you are truly prepared for the relationship.
He cautions the reader not to try and fix the other person in the relationship, “nobody wants to be fixed. Fix your pet, not your partner.”
For those who are coming off a bad relationship or a divorce, Stanley challenges you to take a year off from dating. Yes, you read that correctly! He has been issuing this challenge for decades going back to his marriage counseling days. He claims that not a week goes by where someone reaches out to him to thank him for issuing the challenge to them.
Secondary to his challenge to focus on ourselves, Andy also tackles the difficult subject of pre-marital sex. His approach is both practical and humorous at times.
On the humorous side, Andy points out that you do not need to practice sex with multiple partners before marriage. “Sex is not like learning to play the violin, which requires that you take lessons.” Stanley continues, “people have been figuring out sex on their own for millenniums.”
On the practical side, his key point is that relationships are difficult but, “sex is easy”. He cautions the reader not to delude themselves into thinking pre-marital sex has no impact on your ability to have intimacy in marriage.“Sex outside the context of a committed long-term relationship undermines the significance of sex within the relationship you will someday value most. As sexual encounters increase, your potential to experience sexual intimacy decreases. . . You undermine your own future sexual fulfillment.”
I received this book from North Point Publishing (andystanley.com) in exchange for this review.
Would Christianity be the same today if Jesus’ Resurrection had never occurred?
In I Corinthians 15:17, Paul wrote, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (NIV)
There are many indisputable historical facts about the life of the man, Jesus of Nazareth. For example:
- No one disputes that Jesus lived.
- No one disputes that Jesus preached to large crowds, seemed to perform miracles, spoke with authority about the Law of Moses, and made the religious leaders very uncomfortable.
- No one disputes that Jesus died by Roman crucifixion.
- It is documented and never disputed that Jesus’ body was taken by Joseph Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin the council that voted to condemn him to death.
- It’s well-established and never disputed that Jesus was buried, most likely in a private tomb.
- No one disputes that, soon after the crucifixion, the disciples were discouraged, scared, and seemed to have lost hope.
- No one disputes that three days after the crucifixion, Jesus’ tomb was found empty.
- No one disputes the disciples had experiences that they believed were actual appearances of the risen Jesus.
- No one disputes that, due to those experiences, the disciple’s lives changed dramatically.
- No one disputes that shortly after the, so called, Resurrection a new church began based on the preaching and Resurrection of Jesus.
- No one disputes that the teaching and preaching of Jesus’ disciples took place in the city of Jerusalem, where Jesus had been crucified.
- No one disputes that these new Jesus followers changed the century-old Jewish tradition of a Saturday sabbath to Sunday to commemorate the supposed day of his Resurrection.
- No one disputes that James, the brother of Jesus, a skeptic of his brothers divinity, was converted because he believed he also saw the risen Jesus.
- No one disputes that a few years after the crucifixion, Saul of Taursus (Paul) became a Christian believer, due to an experience that he also believed was an appearance of the risen Jesus.
Given those series of reasonably agreed upon facts about the life and influence of Jesus of Nazareth, it isn’t hard to imagine why so many people became and continue to become Christ followers. However, without the Resurrection, would Christianity – the worship of Jesus Christ – even exist today? Non-believers claim that Jesus was a prophet. He was a philosopher. He was a great thinker. Do people build cathedrals and churches for the worship of prophets, philosophers, and smart people?
What happened after the apparent Resurrection of Jesus that has had such a profound influence on the lives of billions of people? How do you explain the survival and thriving of the Christian religion that started with a carpenter in the desert in the Middle East, who only preached for three years? THE RESURRECTION!
His disciples changed! The people in the community that supposedly saw the resurrected Jesus changed!
The early Christian church were founded by people who saw Jesus after his Resurrection. They saw him, touched him, spoke with him, and ate with him! That gave them the bold faith they needed to go out and preach the Gospel. After the crucifixion, the Jesus movement was dead in its tracks. The so-called Messiah was dead. One of his disciples turned him over for a bag full of silver, another denied he knew him. It was over! After the Resurrection, they devoted the rest of their lives to spreading the gospel because they had seen him crucified, buried, and raised from the dead.
What did Jesus’ disciples get for their trouble? They were ridiculed, beaten, imprisoned, tortured and many were executed. There are misguided people who are willing to die for a lie that they think is true but only the truly insane or mentally ill will die for a lie they know is a lie!
The disciples knew Jesus was who he said he was because they saw it with their own eyes and were willing to put their lives on the line to tell anyone who would listen. I, for one, am glad they did so. And I believe Christianity would be a shell of its current self (most likely non-existent) had the Resurrection not occurred.
If you want to go deeper into the topic of Jesus and Christianity, I would recommend you start with:
I am reading John Mackay’s, Conscious Capitalism and came across an interesting discussion on company’s purpose that I want to share with you.
Plato first set forth three transcendent ideals – the Good, the True and the Beautiful. Mackay applies these to companies and added an additional ideal, the Heroic.
Below is a summary of each. Which of the ideals does your company embody?
Service to others – improving health, education, communication and quality of life. Based on a genuine empathy for the needs and desire of others, which includes everyone associated with your company – customers, vendors, employees, and the community at-large.
Think Zappos, Trader Joe’s, Nordstrom and The Container Store.
Discovery and furthering of human knowledge. Improve mankind’s ability to pursue knowledge.
Think Google, Intel, and biotechnology companies.
Motivated by excellence to create beautiful things and experiences that approach perfection.
Think Apple, Four Seasons and BMW.
Courage to do what is right to change and improve the world. Willing to take risks in the face of enormous odds.
Think Henry Ford, Grameen Bank (see Banker to the Poor), and Whole Foods.
I was cleaning out some bookshelves this weekend and came across All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. Thought I would share his famous list.
- Share everything
- Play fair
- Don’t hit people
- Put things back where you found them
- Clean up your own mess
- Don’t take things that aren’t yours
- Say your sorry when you hurt somebody
- Wash your hands before you eat
- Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you
- Live a balanced life – learn, think, draw, paint, sing, dance, play and work
- Take a nap every afternoon
- When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together
- Everything dies, including me
Five Characteristics of servant leaders:
- They are humble and selfless.
- They are great listeners and empathizers.
- They provide solutions while others ponder problems.
- Do not accept nor seek short-term fixes.
- They are bridge-builders who are more interested in harnessing the power of many rather than feeding their ego or self-interest.
Adapted from Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic.
How many of these do you possess?
- Get along with different types of people
- Have a positive outlook
- Accept responsibility
- Enjoy competition (with yourself and your competitors)
- Possess will power and self-discipline
- You plan ahead and are proactive
- You take advice from others
- You welcome change and adapt well
- You are persistent and persevere
- You enjoy what you do for a living
- You are a great sales person (sell yourself and your ideas/products/services)
- You work long hours
- You possess above average amounts of physical and mental energy
- You have the support of your family for your endeavor
- You are willing to risk your own capital
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Four simple assumptions that can help you live a more balanced, integrated life. Excerpt from Stephen Covey’s The 8th Habit
- The Body – Assume you have had a heart attack; now live accordingly.
- The Mind – Assume the half-life of your profession is 2 years; now prepare accordingly.
- The Heart – Assume everything you say about another, they can overhear; now speak accordingly
- The Spirit – Assume you have a one-on-one visit with The Creator every quarter; now live accordingly.
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Would you believe that four legendary, NFL Hall of Fame coaches had a combined record during their first year of 4-53-1?
- Tom Landry – Dallas Cowboys – 1960 record of 0-11-1
- Chuck Noll – Pittsburgh Steeler – 1969 record of 1-13
- Bill Walsh – San Francisco 49ers – 1979 record of 2-14
- Jimmy Johnson – Dallas Cowboys – 1989 record of 1-15
One additional note: they won a total of 11 Super bowls!
Think about that next time you feel sorry for yourself.
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I recently became a DirecTV customer after many years with Time Warner Cable. The divergent customer service experience that I encountered with these two companies reinforced a few lessons that I want to share with you.
It all started with a call to DirecTV to cancel my order due to a misunderstanding I had with AT&T regarding my internet service that was bundled with my DirecTV order. I was admittedly angry and had already told AT&T to jump in a lake.
Jeremy, the DirecTV customer service rep, was phenomenal. Upon reflecting on my call with him, I realized that he did six things to save the sale. How many of these steps do you employ on a regular basis when dealing with your customers?
#1 – He was upfront about his agenda for our call. He explained that his job was to make me happy and to retain my business.
#2 – He listened! I wrote an entire chapter in my book, The Termite Effect, about the power of listening. It really is a lost art.
#3 – He asked great questions.
#4 – He apologized for the treatment I received from AT&T despite the fact that he and DirecTV had nothing to do with it.
#5 – He identified what my biggest concern was and he repeated it back to me “here is what I hear you saying . . .”
#6 – He deliberately and patiently reminded me how great DirecTV’s service was and why I had originally subscribed.
After my great experience with DirecTV, I replayed the conversation I had with Time Warner Cable when I called to cancel my service. It was scripted, canned and tone deaf. After telling the representative that I was switching to DirecTV because they offered more channels and better tools (DVR) for LESS, the representative tried to upsell me additional channels, not once but TWICE! She eventually offered me a more competitive price but I was in no mood to consider it after her initial handling of my call.
Lesson for you and your business: Be upfront, listen, repeat what you hear your customers saying, ask questions, do not insult your customer’s intelligence and be sincere.
Side Note: On December 10, I will be presenting a continuing education class at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte called Great Customer Service: How to Become the Chick-Fil-A of Your Industry. Click on the link to learn more.
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I recently read John Maxwell’s Make Today Count. In it he discusses his “Daily Dozen” – a nice reminder for all of us:
- Attitude - chose and display the right attitude daily.
- Priorities –determine and act on important priorities daily.
- Health – know and follow healthy guidelines daily.
- Family – communicate with and care for your family daily.
- Thinking – practice and develop good thinking daily.
- Commitment – make and keep proper commitments daily.
- Finances – make and properly manage dollars daily.
- Faith – deepen and live out your faith daily.
- Relationships – initiate and invest in solid relationships daily.
- Generosity – plan for and model generosity daily.
- Values – embrace and practice good values daily.
- Growth – seek and experience improvements daily.
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