099I – Are you enrolled in Auto-University? (encore)[Podcast]

Encore episode during hiatus

 

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcast. I’m currently on podcast hiatus until June 2, 2017 when I will be back with a brand new episode for episode 100. Between now and then, I’m releasing encore presentations of some of my favorite previous episodes. In this episode (99i) I’m going all the way back to Episode 40.

 

 

For the original show notes, please click here.

 

How you can help me help others:

  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 
  • We are also on Stitcher.com and Google Play, so if you prefer one of those formats, please subscribe there.
  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

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2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music for intro)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music for outro)

Focus and Simplify with the 5 D’s of Response

It's not just for email

We are alike, you and I. Scary, huh? We don’t all do the same things, but since we live in the same world, here’s how you probably are like me:

You get more requests to do things than you can possibly honor.  If you tried to do them all, you would be constantly hopping from one item to the next—all on other people’s agendas—constantly pushing your own life to the back burner, hoping for time to catch up.

Oh, that’s not a hypothetical scenario?  You really are experiencing that?  I have good news for you (and me).  It is possible to focus and simplify our lives through the 5 D’s of response.  (Please note: I said “possible” not “easy.”)

This is not my list.  I’ve seen it from several sources (here’s one from Michael Hyatt), but it is usually presented in the context of managing email.  But it seems to me that it is an effective way of responding to requests that come in any format.

If you are not getting more requests than you can honor, feel free to stop reading now.  See you next time!

For everyone else, here are the 5 D’s of Response. 

  1. Do it.  If the request is something that you can do right now and you can do it in two minutes or less, then do it and get it done.  Some things really are that simple and it keeps all those little requests from turning into a long list.  The two-minute rule is from David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity.
  2. Defer it. If you are the right one to do it, but you can’t do it right now, then schedule the action.  Put a deadline on your calendar and schedule the time necessary to work on it. I mean put the work time on your calendar and treat it like an appointment with your most important contact.  Defer is not ignore or procrastinate.  Only things that get scheduled get done.
  3. Delegate it.  The fact that you could do it doesn’t mean that you are the one that should do it.  If there is someone else who could or should do it, then delegate without guilt.  There is nothing wrong with saying, “I’m not the best person to do that, but here’s a name of someone who might be able to help you out.”
  4. Delete it.  Some requests do not require action or response. You are not obligated to return calls or emails to people you don’t know.  You are not even obligated to return emails from people you do know if the email has gone out to a long list.  “Delete” is my favorite button on my keyboard.
  5. Designate it.  Some things don’t require an immediate response and don’t have a fixed date, but there is information that would be handy for future use. Create a filing system, either electronically for those requests that come via computer, or a notepad and file folder for those requests that come in other ways.  You want it to be easy to access. (Searching through 3000 old messages in your inbox is not a good way to do that). Then put a date on your calendar every 6 months to spend 30 minutes looking through your file to see what needs to be kept, deleted, or done.

Remember, I didn’t say this was easy, but I’m convinced that one of the biggest frustrations most of us experience results from the fact that our lives are just too cluttered with maybe’s and someday’s. Jesus said, “Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’” (Matthew 5:37)

One of our biggest frustrations results from lives too cluttered with maybe’s and someday’s. Click To Tweet

Your life—the one God gave you—matters to God.  Live it wisely.

099H – First follower (encore) [Podcast]

Encore episode during hiatus

 

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcast. I’m currently on podcast hiatus until June 2, 2017 when I will be back with a brand new episode for episode 100. Between now and then, I’m releasing encore presentations of some of my favorite previous episodes. In this episode (99h) I’m going all the way back to Episode 49.

 

 

For the original show notes, please click here.

 

How you can help me help others:

  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 
  • We are also on Stitcher.com and Google Play, so if you prefer one of those formats, please subscribe there.
  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)

Don’t forget about the Real World

Don’t let “real world” reporting rob you of opportunities for real world living.

Never has there been a time when “news” was more in the news than it is today.  Of course, for the past few months, when “news” is in the news it is more often than not preceded by the word “fake.”

Our culture has been news-obsessed for awhile, but now we have added the obsession with fake news. What’s the definition of fake news?  Well, that would be news whose bias is different from my own.  (He said with tongue firmly planted in cheek)

So, what sources do Americans trust to get their real news about the real world?  According to a recent article from the Barna Research Group the top trusted sources are: TV news (69%), Local newspapers (50%), National newspapers (44%), Online news/content sources (42%), Social media news capabilities (34%), Magazines (25%).

May I give you a warning about ALL those news sources? Don’t get so wrapped up in keeping up with the “real world” that you forget about the real world.

That was confusing, wasn’t it? Let me explain. 

I can think of 4 reasons to limit the amount of time you spend engaging with “real world” news.

  1. There is no such thing as unbiased reporting.  Let me say that again: NO SUCH THING. That doesn’t mean that everyone is fake or can’t be trusted.  It means that it is impossible for anyone, including you and me, to be unbiased about anything that matters.  The only time we are really upset about bias is when someone’s bias is different from our own.  Unless you live in isolation, you are going to come in contact with biases that ruffle your feathers.  For the sake of your own mental, emotional, and spiritual health, it is good to limit the time you spend with your feathers ruffled.
  2. Every news source is going to highlight things that are predominantly negative. The old adage is true: if it bleeds, it leads.  We don’t have the option of living in a world of only sunshine and daffodils, but we do have the choice of the proportion of negativity we allow into our consciousness.
  3. We have no control and little influence on the situations that are reported.  In Stephen Covey’s classic book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he talked about the circles of concern and influence.  Your circle of concern is large and contains issues about which you are concerned but over which you have no influence.  The circle of influence is much smaller, but contains issues over which you actually have influence.  Don’t miss this great wisdom: giving more time and energy to your circle of concern actually shrinks your circle of influence because you only have so much time and energy to give. Giving more time and energy to your circle of influence actually causes your influence to expand.
  4. The real world is not found on tv or any other media outlet. It’s found in your house, on your street, at your workplace, at your church.  My real world starts every morning when I get up and spend time with the One for whom my world matters.  It continues when I give Mrs. Sweetie a good morning kiss and cup of coffee.  And it rolls on from there.

Don’t let “real world” reporting rob you of opportunities for real world living.

Don’t let “real world” reporting rob you of opportunities for real world living. Click To Tweet

099G – How to avoid death by committee (encore) [Podcast]

Encore episode during hiatus

 

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcast. I’m currently on podcast hiatus until June 2, 2017 when I will be back with a brand new episode for episode 100. Between now and then, I’m releasing encore presentations of some of my favorite previous episodes. In this episode (99g) I’m going all the way back to Episode 33.

 

 

For the original show notes, please click here.

 

How you can help me help others:

  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 
  • We are also on Stitcher.com and Google Play, so if you prefer one of those formats, please subscribe there.
  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)

How would you like to pay this debt?

You owe the world yourself

 

I owe, I owe, so off to work I go

Do you ever feel that way?  You go to the mailbox and find nothing but bills.  Or you have enrolled in paperless billing, so you find your email inbox filling up with those monthly invoices.  Then you choose whether to pay with check, credit, debit, the sale of your plasma, renting out your first-born, or something even more creative.

 

Bad news, worse news, and good news

Do you ever feel like you owe something to almost everyone? Well, actually, you do.  I’ve got bad news, worse news, and good news.

The bad news is that, no matter how financially secure you are, you will never have enough money to pay your debt to the world.  None of the above-mentioned methods will put a dent in your debt load.

The worse news is that the world owes you absolutely nothing, so you can never collect enough to pay down your debt.

The good news is that you already have everything you need to pay this debt.

 

Your debt and your resource

So, what is this mystical debt of which you speak, blogger boy?  I’m so glad you asked.  What you owe the world is … wait for it … yourselfYou, my friend, are a priceless, unique treasure and you bring something to the world that no one else brings because no one else is you.

There may be someone with similar skills, passion, knowledge, and experience, but no one else brings your precise blend of those.  Your blend of those is just as unique as your fingerprint or your DNA.

You existed in the mind of God before you ever showed up on the planet, and He had unique plans for you before you ever drew your first breath.  Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Your unique and significant contribution to the world—your legacy—is what you choose to do with the life you have been given.

 

Your unique contribution to the world is what you choose to do with the life you've been given. Click To Tweet

 

Does that seem overwhelming—the idea that you are a priceless resource that you owe the world?  The whole dadgum world?

So, what would it be like if you were to start where you are and work your way out?  What if you determined, starting today, that those who live in your house are going to get the very best of you?  What if you determined to bring the best of you to your work, your neighborhood, your church?  What if you determined that the limited time you have to give in each situation will be filled with the best of your attention, enthusiasm, and love?

And what if you found the source of your unique contribution to the world to be the One who gave you life—the One for whom your life matters?  “For in him we live and move and exist.” (Acts 17:28)

You owe big time! How will you set up your recurring payments?

 

099F – 4 Ways to Make Choices Without Regrets (encore) [Podcast]

Encore episode during hiatus

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcast. I’m currently on podcast hiatus until June 2, 2017, when I will be back with a brand new episode for episode 100. Between now and then, I’m releasing encore presentations of some of my favorite previous episodes. In this episode (99f) I’m going all the way back to Episode 24.

For the original show notes, please click here.

 

How you can help me help others:

  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 
  • We are also on Stitcher.com and Google Play, so if you prefer one of those formats, please subscribe there.
  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)

Do say this.

It will help. I promise.

 

In last week’s post I talked about some really common, but incredibly unhelpful, things we say to  people who are going through tough times. I won’t go over all the reasons, but here’s the recap of unhelpful things.

 

  • I understand what you’re going through.
  • That’s just like what happened to ________
  • Let me tell you about ___________
  • Everything happens for a reason.
  • The Bible says everything happens for a reason.
  • God won’t put more on you than you can handle.

 

So, what should you say to someone walking through dark days? 

Here are my top six that I have found to be most helpful whether I have been on the receiving end or the delivering end.

 

“I’m so sorry you are going through this.”   I’ll admit that a few times I’ve made the mistake of just saying, “I’m sorry.”  That’s not bad or hurtful, but I’ve had more than one person respond, “Why are you sorry? You didn’t cause this.”  I wasn’t apologizing, but I didn’t communicate well that I was hurting because they were hurting.

 

When we say this, we don’t mean that we’re feeling their pain. We don’t understand what they are going through. We do understand that they are hurting and we want to acknowledge it without minimizing it through cliches or easy answers.

 

“That must really be painful.” Sometimes what people need more than anything else is to be heard.  They don’t want us to fix them or give them answers.  They just want to know that their struggle is not invisible or inconsequential.  More than once, I have had people say, “Thank you” in response to that simple acknowledgment.

 

“I’m here if you need me.” When we communicate to someone that they don’t have to walk through this valley alone, we give them an incredible gift.  Just don’t say it if you aren’t really available.  Saying those words and not meaning them is worse than avoiding the person entirely.

 

“I’m praying for you.”  Almost everyone appreciates prayer.  Even people who don’t care anything about going to church tend to be in favor of prayers offered on their behalf.  But like personal availability, the promise of prayers should be kept.

 

“Could I pray with you right now?”  That’s better than “Let’s pray.”  Unless the person came asking us to pray, it is best to give them the gift of asking for permission.  I’ve never had anyone refuse, but asking permission communicates that we are here for them and will take this to God on their behalf.  If anyone ever refuses prayer in the moment, my plan is to say, “That’s ok.  Just know that I will be praying for you.”

 

“I’ve been thinking about you.”  Whether spoken in person or delivered via written note or electronic communication, this reminds a struggling friend that they have not been forgotten.

 

I said in the headline of this post that I promise these words will help.  I cannot guarantee how a hurting person will respond in the moment.  Sometimes those in pain lash out at everyone.  But I really do promise that these words will help, whether we see immediate results or not.

How can I promise that?  Because our lives and our hurts matter to God and these words are strong reminders of that reality.

099E – How to have a church failure … and why you should try to (encore) [Podcast]

Encore episode during hiatus

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcast. I’m currently on podcast hiatus until June 2, 2017 when I will be back with a brand new episode for episode 100. Between now and then, I’m releasing encore presentations of some of my favorite previous episodes. In this episode (99e) I’m going all the way back to Episode 9.

For the original show notes, please click here.

 

How you can help me help others:

  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 
  • We are also on Stitcher.com and Google Play, so if you prefer one of those formats, please subscribe there.
  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)

Don’t say this.

I mean it.

I was going to title this post “Things you should never say to someone going through a tough time,” but it was too long for a headline.  I might also call it, “Stupid things people say to hurting people,” but that seems particularly uncharitable and might actually qualify as something you shouldn’t say to someone. 

But let me be clear: Words matter.  When we are speaking to someone who is struggling, we can either increase or lighten their burden.  And the fact that we meant it to be helpful and our heart was in the right place doesn’t really count for much if we add to their pain through careless words.

Some unhelpful things people say

“I understand what you’re going through.”  Simply put, no, we don’t.  We may have had a similar situation, but our situation was not theirs because we are not them. We can’t even understand their situation after walking a mile in their moccasins.

Here’s a related one: “That’s just like what happened to my cousin (or pick a relationship).”  No, it’s not, for the same reasons.

A variation on the same theme is when we start telling another story, either our own or someone else’s, that we think is more dramatic than the one being told.  Most of us would likely never say to a hurting person, “Well, that’s nothing!  You should hear this!”  We have a little more sensitivity than that (hopefully). But that’s what we communicate to them when we start another story.  Unless they ask for another story, this conversation is about them.

Here’s another one: “Everything happens for a reason.”  No one, let me repeat, NO ONE ever finds that helpful when they are in the middle of a tough time. Sometimes people console themselves with the thought that there must be a reason for this, but I’ve yet to meet someone who wishes someone would tell them that it happened for some vague reason.  Unless we know, definitively, the reason and can tell them with assurance (which we can’t, by the way), this statement is not helpful and may actually come across as an accusation.

And please don’t say, “The Bible says everything happens for a reason.” The fact that the Bible actually doesn’t say that should be sufficient reason for not going there. In fact, playing the Bible card right out of the gate (how’s that for a mixed metaphor) may not be the best way to demonstrate the character of Jesus and share the gospel.

Furthermore, let’s not throw God under the bus with “God won’t put more on you than you can handle.”  There are two problems with that.  First and foremost, the Bible doesn’t say that.  Anywhere.  Secondly, a drowning person doesn’t need to be thankful they are not wearing cement shoes.  They are still drowning and need to be thrown a lifeline.

a drowning person doesn’t need to be thankful they are not wearing cement shoes Click To Tweet

Having eliminated some of the most common things people say, by identifying them as unhelpful, I should probably tell you some helpful things.  But you are going to have to wait until next week for that.