You Don’t Have to Come Home to be a Husband

It’s an incredible marriage. You asked for her hand and the two of you went through all of the wedding planning. Finally that day came, she came down the aisle and each gave your solemn vows to be there for the other no matter what happens in life. The honeymoon was grand and beautiful.

Now the two of you arrive back at the house and unpack all of the clothes. After everything is put away you kiss your new bride on the lips and say, “That was fun, I’m headed back to my place. I’ll stop by on the next holiday to visit. Let’s keep in touch and text ever now and then.”

“What!?” she screams. “What do you mean I’ll see you on the next holiday?”

Your response, “Well, I don’t have to come here to be your husband. I said I do and even have a ring. I’m a busy man. I have my job, trips with my friends planned and when I’m not out doing all of that I need some rest! I’m sure you understand. Trust me, it’ll be a great relationship!”

What a great love story, huh? The story sounds absurd and quite frankly it is; however that is how many believe and approach their relationship with God.

The quote I have heard hundreds of times, “You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian and have a relationship with God.”

The greatest commitment a person makes in life is his/her relationship with Christ. God calls it a marriage between man and Him. It is a bigger deal than our earthly marital relationship. God gave us marriage between man and woman to represent our relationship with Him and to teach us how to interact with Him in order to grow as believers.

No more than one would expect a marriage to work if the couple lived separately, neither will our relationship with God work if we are not involved with worship and other believers. Going on Easter & Christmas is nice; however will do nothing to grow us closer to God.

The first question to be asked would be why? Why wouldn’t a man want to live with his wife? Why wouldn’t a believer want to go to church or to be with other believers?

The wife of a man who say’s “I’ll see you on the holidays” would say he might have said a few words and signed a paper, but the marriage is not in his heart. Something is wrong; there is not a commitment.

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.” James 2:19

Many believe in God; however they are missing the part of having a relationship. There is a difference in believing in God than knowing God. The Bible says that even the demons believe; however they won’t be spending eternity in heaven. They don’t have a relationship.

When we have a relationship with someone we love we want to be with them. Spending time together is how we get to know one another. It is where we grow more alike and get stronger. When tough times come it is the union of marriage that helps us to push through.

Bring sprinkled or dunked in water doesn’t make a person a Christian. Attending church nor saying a prayer makes a Christian either. It is a commitment of the heart that begins with the relationship. When we say, “I do” to God, worshiping won’t be a question. Our “want to” changes as our priorities shift to growing in our faith and living to find His purpose for our lives.



Fuel, Oxygen and Heat. This is what they call the fire triangle. When these three things are present you have a formula to start and sustain an intense fire! Whether a roaring camp fire or a destructive building. As long as the three of these are holding hands, nothing can stop them from consuming everything in sight!

Likewise, knowing these three elements are helpful when it comes to putting a fire out. Take any one out of the equation and the sustainment is quickly quenched. Cool a fire down, it will go out. Take the Oxygen away and it can no longer survive. If there is nothing to burn, well there is nothing burning. Kick a leg out from the tripod and the burning falls by the wayside.

Did you know that the same triangle is true for the Christian?



  • The fuel of a Christian’s life is the gifts that God has given him. Every believer has a gift. Teaching, music, finances, business, speaking, preaching, prayer and the list goes on. These gifts when used for the glory of God’s Kingdom is like wood. The more we use them the bigger and more intense the fire that burns.


  • God breathes the oxygen into the fire that burns in our lives. When we unpack the gifts the spirit of God blows his breath on the embers. Even if we do not believe we are that good or feel as though our effectiveness is less than it should be, when God fans the flames of our obedience there is no limit to the heights the flames will reach.


  • The heat is a result of the fuel and oxygen; it keeps the fire intense and going. Those who come in the presence of the fire can feel the heat. They are warmed; comforted. No one has to ask if there is a fire burning, the heat tells them something is going on. Those who want comfort will be attracted to the warmth. Those who are afraid will run. When the Christian sees the affects of his or her gift, the heat intensifies and the fire burns hotter!

The enemy knows this truth about the Christian Fire Triangle

When the enemy attacks the focus is on putting out the fire source. If he can get one or more of the legs of the tripod knocked out he knows the Christian will fall.

  • THE ATTACK: Satan will tell us we are not good at what God has called us to do. He will tell us we are failures; that we fall short. Constant reminders of our shortcomings will plague our mind. The past will be on the forefront of his attacks while the future will be made out to be unrealistic.
  • He will send people and situations to make us doubt ourselves. He will attack the confidence that God has given us. A critical boss or a negative friend. Being let go from a job or even asked to step down from a church position.
  • He is trying to keep you and I from using our gifts through discouragement.
  • FAN THE FLAME BY using your gift. When attacked with doubt or by nay-sayers, let that be the FUEL that drives you to use it even more. Find ways to develop and grow within your giftedness. Go to school, find a mentor or coach or sign up as a volunteer. The more you use it the more it grows and better it gets! Know that Satan has recognized your strength and is wanting to take it away!


  • THE ATTACK: How does Satan extinguish the oxygen of God on our lives? He will tempt us to compromise. Sin can enter our lives and hinder our prayers. People will be introduced to us who might draw us away from God’s purpose and plan.
  • Busyness can suck the breath of God from us. Not setting time to pray, meditate and be thankful slowly takes away what breathes life into our joy and purpose. Being too busy to spend time with God is Satan’s way of making us feel justified for not talk to God.
  • Choosing your friends carefully. The wrong people will lead us down the wrong roads. A compromise here and another there, next thing we know we are further from God that we ever imagined. Be a choosy friend.
  • Choosing where you hangout. Where we go and what we expose our families to will impact our choices. Don’t get the God sucked out of you by being in the wrong place. Learn to say no and say it often. Desire God’s best.
  • Choose your time with God. Scheduling devotional time without technology. Start small with maybe 10 minutes or so. Keep it simply by having a Thank You God, Request of God and Reading of a Scripture. If time permits work in a few moments of where you say nothing at all, but sit quietly to reflect on what you are hearing or have just read.


  • THE ATTACK: Cool that Christian down! Tell her she needs to be a little quieter. “You are coming across arrogant and prideful” they will say. Knowing you’re a good teacher they won’t ask because they want you to back off a little. Being overlooked on purpose; anything to discourage the believer and make them back down will be occur.
  • The discouraged believer will back off into the background. If not careful they will begin to believe the lies and drift through life never experiencing God’s best.
  • FAN THE FLAME BY living life loud! Find every opportunity to use your gift and share it with others. If an organization doesn’t want your gift then find one that does. When one door shuts, find another to open. God gave you a gift to use so use it. In a big way or little. If you are a writer, write! Musician? Play that instrument when and wherever you can! Are you good with children? Find places in and out of the church to serve and minister to the little kiddos. Get busy!

When Paul said “Fan” that is an action word. It means that you and I are should take action. Things are not going to drop in our laps. We have to put forth effort to start the fire and keep it going.


“…I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love, and self-control.” II Timothy 1:6

Leadership by Word of Mouth

It happens to all of us at some point. We find ourselves enslaved to the desk. Like a ball-and-chain we sit and outside a nuclear attack we remain there 10 hours later.

Leadership is about interaction and being engaged. Corporations want all of their employees engaged; however what is often overlooked (or ignored) is that employees want engaged leaders as well.

Leaders who stay chained to spreadsheets, emails, or sending task all day have to rely on others to tell them about the performance of others. While delegation is a leaders best friend, when it comes to measuring performance it should not be determined by hear-say especially if the leader has influence in the success or failure of a person.

Proverbs 18:27, “The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him.”

When someone else is providing information it can be skewed. It could be someone playing favorites for a friend or trying to shutdown a threat. Survival in the work place can be viscous and if leaders lead from the office they will make bad decisions if they base them on what others are saying.

I have spoken to leaders at all levels who regretted firing an employee or worse, ruining their career because they went off what they were being told. When the so-called problem employee was let go the leader discovered they were the one making the difference and the person with misinformation? Well, they were the one who brought little value to the mission.

No matter how busy, a leader has no viable excuse for not engaging those they lead. If you walk out on the floor and employees are shocked to see you or worse, don’t know who you are, there might be a problem.

It’s not leadership without relationship. Good leaders engage making decisions on facts, not hear-say & opinions from informants.

Don’t be a leader who regrets getting rid of someone who was making a difference. Engage by experiencing what your people experience. Know their challenges, efforts and accomplishments. Don’t lead by word of mouth, but by show of presence.

Ambition Gone Wild

Sitting on his porch alone with nothing but his faithful dog he reflects back on his life. He climbed the ladder of success achieving all of his career goals as well as sitting on a nice nest egg of money. Yet, he is alone and feeling empty. Where are all the so-called friends, work-colleagues and executives who had once cheered him on? The family that surrounded him, now gone. Divorced and the kids grown living their own lives.

He sits and wonders, “Was it all worth it?”

Ambition. It is a great thing; in-fact needed in order to be successful in life. However, left unchecked it can be a wrecking ball to what is meaningful in life.

There are times I have coaching clients who come to me once all of the damage has been done. They are not coming for career advice, but rather life advice. They want to know how to put their lives back together. Their ambition had gone wild; they let it run them and it drove them right into a dead-end.

Researching the consequences of unguided ambition I came across an article from the Huffington Post written in 2014. I found it interesting in that all 10 of the ways ambition can trump a career I have seen happen in the lives of colleagues and clients.

Of all the 10 ways Evan Thompson identifies in the article the one thing that stands out is what people used to get to the top is what is missing when they find themselves at the bottom.


When young go-getters start out they believe they are invincible. Relationships are merely something they use to get to the next goal. As a result they are unable to build trusting relationships, impatience with others drives them to see everyone as a competitor, quick reckless decisions are made just to get the jump on someone else, and their personal lives fall apart leaving them with a life lacking fulfillment and full of regret.

The secret conversation with the boss to belittle someone who intimidates them, or a little gossip at the water-cooler, they don’t think anyone will find out, but they always do and relationships are damaged. The extra hours, volunteering for the business trip during the holidays, or taking on the extra project to get the advantage, they believe will never effect their family or marriage, but it does and it deteriorates.

The desire to be on top has a price, but it is generally much more than what is on the tag.

What is the answer? Should we not have ambition? Are goals bad? Is hard work and stepping up to the plate keys to an empty life? No! Not at all!

Have Healthy Ambition

  • Attitude of Service
    • If “you” are at the heart of ambition then a train wreck is just around the corner.
    • “Others” focused will help maintain a healthy dose of ambition. Serving others with our gifts, talents and drive brings about a whole different end result than if everything we do is to serve ourselves.


  • Don’t Compromise
    • One of the first signs there might be an element of self-serving ambition in our lives is when we compromise what is right. Bend a rule or look the other way. Fudge a number here or leave a matter out of the report. Criticize someone behind their back, start rumors or take someone’s mistake and use it as a weapon against them.
    • Always do what is right, no matter what anyone else is doing. Even if it isn’t going to reflect well on you, do what is right anyway. Honesty is what takes people to the top and keeps them there.


“Don’t let your talent take you to a place your integrity can’t keep you.”


  • Ask “Why?”
    • Self-reflection is critical to success. If we are always looking at others, judging what they are or are not doing, then we are on a slippery slope. We need to examine ourselves.
    • When we are fighting for the next promotion or contemplating taking on a new project ask, “Why do I want this?” “How will this position/project effect my family?” “Will taking this role take me away from the things that are important to me?”

Ambition and drive are God given. He designed us with a desire for reaching for more out of life. To get to the end knowing our life was fulfilling and meaningful we must know and maintain our core convictions.

Keep God first, ensure family is our priority and serve others. Using our ambition to do these three things will help keep us from having Ambition Gone Wild.




Not Everyone Loves a Winner

Have you ever felt like you are putting your heart and soul into something to only get criticism and knocked down in return?

Despite what many motivational posters might say, not everyone likes a winner. In fact, many despise people who win, unless it is them!

When I was young I got a job in a warehouse filling orders for a large hardware chain. There was a 90 day probation period to review your performance so I was on. This was my first really good paying job and I didn’t want to mess it up. I worked hard and fast.

Within a couple of weeks I had employees confront me. I was told I needed to slow down and quit working so hard. What I was doing was blowing a hole in their strategy to do little as possible for as much money as possible.

I have found this to be true in my professional life and in the careers of those I coach. When you step up to use your talents and energy to the fullest, those who prefer status quo will do whatever possible to shut you down. They will look for any mistake you make, they will do like those did to me when I was young and try to intimidate you and they will gossip. If all else fails they’ll even fabricate untruths. Anything to knock you off your winning streak is their goal.

So what do you do? Start losing? Slow down?
 Keep Being a Winner but Make Sure You Are in the Right Game


  • Consider the Critic
    • First look at who is bringing the grief.
      • Whiners are never Winners. Those who like to complain are looking for something to complain about. You are a gift to them because now they have more to complain about, so keep doing what you are doing
      • Eager Beavers. If you are being confronted by someone who is fighting to climb the ladder and they are intimidated by your performance, just smile and keep doing what you are doing.
      • Lazy Lucy. Those who want to do the least for the most wake up when someone comes in who has a little gusto. A good wake-up call never hurt anyone…keep doing what you are doing.


  • Gauge the Gift
    • Self-reflection. Does your gift match your occupation? Is your talent better suited for another field of work? Are you creative working in an industry that does not appreciate creative thinking? If you are someone who colors outside the lines in an industry that freaks when a smudge gets on the paper, it might be time to find a new coloring book.
    • Poll the Passion. Does your passion match your position? Zeal comes from the heart and if your heart does not line up with your company’s mission, you might find yourself winning without any fans to applaud. If you find yourself day-dreaming about being somewhere else, using your gifts for other purposes or feel you are forcing a different vision into your job than what leaders/others like, it is time to reconsider your source of revenue.

Never quit because of the nay-sayers. Focus on those who cheer you on! However do use those moments to reflect on your passion and gifts. Nothing can be more frustrating than not being able to have the freedom to use the gifts and passion that wake you up in the morning. Likewise, nothing is more rewarding!

Words Determine Destination

“A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth…” Proverbs 12:14a

Ever known someone who vomits every thought and emotion they ever had? Think about this person for a minute. Do you see them as trustworthy? Are they a person you would trust with your deepest secret? Is this individual someone you would go to for intimate advice? More than likely not.

What we talk about and how we talk form who we are as a person. Words develop our attitude and approach to life. Words are an insight to who a person is and how they perceive life. These words we choose to speak each day actually form our perspective of life.

Have you ever noticed those who say life sucks? Isn’t it true that generally their life really does suck? What about someone you know who is always angry. Do they not have a reason to always be angry? That lady who hates the boss or her job? I bet there is always a justifiable reason for her opinion.

While I have not perfected the mastery of words, over the past few years I have honed in on being selective about what I talk about. At work, I try to be positive with situations and people. I do have those whom I discuss matters with in a raw unfiltered aspect. This is okay so long you are trying to encourage one another or determine a solution to a problem. It is important to talk about your feelings and frustration; bottling them up is as unhealthy as throwing up on everyone. But overall with the general public, I do my best to wear a smile and bring some element of positivity to people’s day.

Does this hold true at home as well as work? You bet! Perhaps even more so.

Sadly, too often we are nicer to strangers than we are those we love. At the workplace we feel as though we “have” to treat people with kindness or else we will lose our job. No one wants to find themselves in HR because they blew up and told their co-worker what they really thought about them. Yet, when home many feel as though it is time to unleash all of the day’s frustrations. To do such is more of an atrocity than the latter.

Bring It Together

Word Diet: When we want to lose weight it is important to do two things. One is to exercise and the other is monitor calorie intake. Most of the time we do these two things results will come. So what if we went on a word diet where we exercise positive talk and begin to count/limit the number of critical words we speak?

What Does It Look Like

Walk into work Monday and look for opportunities to speak positive. Compliment a smile. Thank someone for a small jester. Tell a co-worker why you enjoy working with them. At home, leave work at work. Ask your spouse about their day first and truly listen to them. Compliment and thank the other for what he or she does to contribute to the relationship. Lift up the children with words of encouragement. Turn off the electrical devices, including the television and be 100% present.

Potential road

Change your words and it will change your life. The Bible teaches that our satisfaction comes from the words we speak. The words we speak are a reflection of what we see. Start looking and speaking appreciation, thankfulness and encouragement and the unsatisfied life will slowly become a life of rich blessings.

Talking Smack

In sports one of the tactics of winning that many people rarely think about is “talking smack.” Talking smack is a player’s effort to say something that gets into the opponents head. It may be something that causes doubt in their ability to win, it can be words that creates anger or smack can be a means to distract from a full focus on the game.

The goal of smack talking is to have a negative effect on another person in order to win.

Smack talking isn’t just for the sports world, it can occur in the business place as well. Ever had someone say something about you that took the wind out of your sail? Perhaps you have received an email from a boss stating his or her doubt in your ability. After doing your best at a task the one thing that didn’t go well is pointed out. Looks of disgust when you speak are also a means in which to get in your head. Rolling of the eyes, scrunched lips or fidgeting during your part of a presentation are all a person’s attempt to get in your head and mess up your game.

So what do you do when someone is Smack Talking? What if that someone is a boss or holds a higher up position? Use the acronym “S-T-O-P.”


Those who talk smack want the other person to react. Just like in sports, once the words are seeded in the head, the body reacts accordingly. What is in our head, falls to our heart and comes out in our actions. The best thing to do is not to respond.


We should always ask ourselves why a person thinks what they do whether it is true or not. Sometimes it is simply a matter of someone wanting to be a jerk, but still we should yield to consider what has been said. Ask yourself if there is something you need to improve in order to change perceptions. Is this individual the only one who perceives these things about you? Be honest with yourself about yourself.


So you have conducted a self-evaluation, now what? Were the accusations true? Let’s assume not and that you simply have a smack-talker trying to take you out. There are several paths you can go down pending your work environment, personalities and the position of the person; however there is one path that no matter what you need to go. That path is to grab ahold of truth. Get the negative thoughts that were placed in your head out with counter measures. Read emails where you have been told you’re doing a good job, dig out previous awards, and get around peers who know and appreciate your worth or make note cards with positive quotes that encourage you.


Once you have given consideration realizing that you have someone trying to get in your head, it is time to get your head back in the game. Keep doing what you do to make yourself a success. Always remember that a smack talker is trying to throw your game off. They want you to act out what they are saying so that they can prove themselves more powerful and thus the victor. Knowing that you are good at what you do and doing it is what smack talkers want to stop so don’t give them the game.

You are winner so get out there and win!


IMG_0946Have you ever tried to rush out of the grocery store when the lines were long? I have and rarely am I successful. My strategy is often to find the shortest line or fastest clerk, jumping from lane to lane. The sad truth I always discover is that if I had simply stayed in the original line I was in I would have been long gone. But instead, because I was impatient I ended up being there longer.


The frustration can build when we try to beat the masses in the supermarket, but it is even more frustrating when we try to beat everyone else in our careers by looking for the shortest route there.


Trying to find the short line to the top comes in many shapes, forms and fashions, but it is always obvious. Job hopping, being critical or putting down others in an effort to elevate self, undermining, title chasing, sucking up, back-stabbing along with other efforts to get through the checkout faster are signs of one looking for a shortcut up.


Through my career I have seen those who are jockeying their way to the top yet rarely have I witnessed a successful maneuver. Most times those who try to manipulate or circumvent the process end up stuck. Much like the Tortoise and the Hare, they end up losing the race. Those who have managed to gain some ground end up losing what was gained at some point, because they missed growth opportunities cutting corners along the way.




The men and women I have respected and looked up to most professionally made it because of hard work and doing their best where they were at the time. Opportunity comes to those who are content in making a difference where life has them in the moment. There is a difference in being aware and open to opportunities than it is chasing them. Some people jump at perceived opportunities like a dog trying to catch gnats running around snipping and barking at everything flying around.


Work hard, grow and invest in others. That is the formula for success. If you do this it doesn’t matter who passes you for the promotion or who lands the high paying job. The reason is simple, when we focus on these three elements we are getting outside our self. On the flip side, when we are jockeying, manipulating, politicking and other wise looking for the quickest way to the top, we are inward focused. Anytime our focus becomes selfish disappointment and frustration is always there tagging along.


The quickest way to the top is right in front of you and I each day. Working hard to be the best we can be, growing as individuals to be better men & women and finally investing our lives into the lives of others.


What few understand until much later in life is that success, life at the top, isn’t position. It’s not a title nor is a salary range. Success is knowing at the end of the day you made a difference in someone else’s life. When we understand that truth we will not want to take shortcuts. No longer will we keep running to and fro chasing the shortest line because it is then that our desire will be to savor every relationship making an impact each step of the way changing lives. Success.


In a marriage class many years ago we were taught as men that when the wife comes with a problem they don’t necessarily want you to solve it. All the she is often looking for is a listening ear and an understanding heart.

That truth is applicable in marriage and it also has merit in the workplace.

One of the first and hardest things I learned through my year of coaching certification at UTD was to ask questions and not tell people what they needed to do. I have grown to believe that asking questions is an art. Not only is it an art it also takes patience.

When someone has encountered a problem or looking for a better way asking questions rather than giving answers is the best avenue to take. Even if you feel the answer is obvious, always ask questions. Here are a few reasons why.


When we solve the problems of others we are building dependency. The likelihood of them coming back for more answers instead of trying to solve problems themselves increases. When questions are posed it allows the person to think and become more confident in their own ability to find resolve with daily challenges.

Our goal should be to grow a force of problem solvers. We want people who use their brains, not puppets that are danced around on strings. Engage employees in thought-provoking conversations with questions and you’ll have a team that embraces change and welcome challenges.


A workforce empowered to make decisions is a workforce that drives a company to success. When leaders ask employees their ideas, insights and depend on them for answers to problems a sense of ownership is created. When employees have ownership they are no longer employees but shift to becoming partners.


Which is more likely to stick: Being told what to do or realizing yourself what should be done and doing it? When a person creates his or her own solutions the odds greatly improve that the improvement will stick around. When someone jumps in to resolve a problem for someone there is a good chance the problem isn’t completely understood; without question no one understands the problem better than the one who has to live with it on s daily basis. Ask thought-provoking questions but allow the person with the problem to discover the way forward and the problem won’t be a problem.


 Trust Thrust Teams To The Terrific!

 When we ask questions a trust is being communicated. When trust is established a connection is made; there is a sense of family. Better stated, there is a feeling of belonging. When we belong, are accepted and respected then there is an inward joy. A feeling of purpose is felt that results in positiveness. Trust, joy, and purpose drives performance. Performance is what takes a winning team across the finish line.

Asking questions does indeed take longer and more patience, but the return on investment is worth it. Start adding questions to your daily work. Make a goal to ask at least five questions a day. When you are told about a problem, pause tot hint how you might ask a question instead of resolving the problem.

The more you ask, the more you learn. Embrace question and not only will your team grow, but you will as well.


Hate My Job!


Job satisfaction is something everyone desires, yet few take time to realize that satisfaction is often a matter of self-satisfaction.

Are we happy with ourselves? Am I in the right field? Am I making a difference? Do my skills match what’s expected? Does the vision of the company match the passion of my heart? What about this job (person) is getting at me? These are all questions we should ask when our frustrations rise.

Blame is easy. It’s easier to complain about the company or leadership for our dissatisfaction than it is to take responsibility for our own choices. No one forces anyone to work for a company. It’s our choice whether each day is a day of appreciation that someone thinks enough of us to pay us a paycheck or to complain about the way things are done yet happily take the money they give us. Attitude is ones own responsibility and choice.

Choice. We all have it. We should either be appreciative or go find a career that pleases our soul. But for the benefit of everyone we work with day in and day out, be a desirable asset. Each day our focus should be to be a positive force in other people’s lives. Encourage, embrace and be thankful.

Above all else remember to look ahead…ones perspective changes when they are standing in the unemployment line hoping to get less than a few percent of what was once made. Appreciation brings a whole new definition at that point which is often summed up in one word. Regret. The things that once got under the skin don’t seem so bad. It’s at this point that the realization that there was actually more good than bad comes to light, but we allowed the negative to rule our mind.

What consumes your mind each day? Do you recognize what your joys are or have you let the cancer of negativity slip in? Take inventory of your conversations and purge out those that don’t reflect appreciation. Recognize the positives of each day and they will multiply while the little annoyances will diminish to a point of not even being noticed. Make every day a great day!