What If There Was A Powerful Way To Address Your Problem Today?

Do this before you reach the end of your rope

In order to grow as a leader, you have to develop new muscles.  What got you here won’t get you there.  So, to overcome ever growing obstacles, you need new strategies.  So, what do you do when the burdens of life become too heavy to bear?  Good question, right?

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As you lead, you’ll find there are some answers you just can’t find in a textbook.  In some cases, you won’t even find them through a multitude of wise counselors.  Are you with me?  Don’t get discouraged.

For example, imagine Moses.  Have you ever looked at or thought about the challenges he faced in Egypt, let alone leading millions of people in the wilderness for 40 years?  What do you do when the enemy is closing in and Red Sea is in the way?  While his challenges and heartaches were many, his mode of survival was not.  He prayed.  Let me say that again.  Whenever Moses faced an insurmountable obstacle, he talked with God about it and God worked in miraculous ways.  In fact, the bible says Moses cried out to the LORD (Exodus 15:23-25, Exodus 17:3-4, Exodus 32:11, Numbers 11:2, Numbers 12:13).

So how do you respond when people criticize you?  Your leadership?  Your family?  Do you ask God to intervene or try to solve the problem yourself without praying?

Lets face it, life can be hard!  In fact, so tough that sometimes we can’t even put our burdens into words.  But God knows our hearts.  Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercessions for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

However, somewhere along the way we’ve associated prayer with words.  We’ve also made prayer sound easy.  Words aren’t bad things, but they’re also not necessary when talking with God.  And prayer isn’t easy.  After all, sometimes we can only sob and cry, but tears are a universal language all men understand, and a language God speaks fluently!

Chances are you’re trying to figure out your next move, right now.  But there’s also a good chance it doesn’t have to be figured out today.  For now, be good with taking it to your Heavenly Father.  Then leave it there….that’s the hard part.

You may even be surprised to remember He doesn’t need advice on ways to resolve the issue.  Chances are the answer he has is going to be beyond your wildest calculations and guesstimates.  Either way, he promises it’s all going to work out for good (Romans 8:28).  He’s good at that.  He’s been answering prayers for a long time.  Just remember, there are three answers to prayer: yes, no, and grow!

In the meantime, some things will always be a mystery; and some tensions never go away, we just learn to accept and manage them.

However, some things can change, but not through your own power.  In times like these, if you’ll pray, your great Heavenly Father may just reveal his power and love for you.

You’re Not Crazy And You’re Not Alone

Two resources you need to finish well

Recently I had the privilege of sharing with a small group of very important leaders.  I focused on the importance of breaking free from our teaching schedules on a regular basis to ensure we are fit to lead others.  There was lots of great feedback! A few said physical exercise is important.  We talked about that.  Others said prayer.  We talked some more.  These are all great answers!!!  We do need to exercise, pray.  Then these two gems were suggested.

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Do you know someone who’s been blessed with a wonderful sense of humor?  It’s always refreshing to be around these kinds of people.  They’re kind of like oil in an engine.  Engines can run awhile without them, but not for long until problems develop.  Remember, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!’.  When daily living becomes a daily grind, it’s time to unwind.  That means a diversion of some sort.  What better diversion than laughter?  Seriously, the moment we stop laughing is the moment we start crying.  So take a few minutes to visit the funny guy in the corner cubicle.  Call your crazy, but incredibly funny Uncle.  Go look in the mirror.  But whatever it takes, laugh.  You can even ask yourself ‘What is the funniest way to solve my current dilemma?”.

Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  My son went to the Dr.’s office yesterday for Strep.  So, what did the Dr. do?  She prescribed medicine.  He takes two teaspoons in the morning and two at night.  By the time he finishes the prescription he’ll be a new man.  If life has gotten to be really heavy and burdensome, maybe it’s time to talk with a Dr. and find out what you need to do to start laughing again.  If you don’t like Dr.’s, maybe it’s time to come up with a plan of your own.  This is one of my go-to guys.  He is a qualified Christian Counselor and he never fails to deliver solid advice on living that will have you rolling on the floor laughing.  His Kindle book is $8.99, but isn’t that a small investment in a valuable resource? http://amzn.to/1Ph4TkE

Now that you’re realizing the importance of laughter, here’s another resource to help you run to win.

Are you bored?  Not with just a relationship or your job, but with life in general?  Maybe you’re even bored- if you were honest- with your walk with Jesus.  It used to be fun and exciting.  You felt fulfilled.  But now it’s just become routine.  You’re not alone.  It happens to most people at one time or another.  The question is, do you want to stay that way?  Unless you’re willing to make a change, what got you here, won’t get you there.  Someone said, God uses transitions to get us from where we are to where he wants us to be.  That’s true.  But he won’t drag you kicking and screaming.  You have to choose to go, and when you do something amazing begins to unfold.  It’s called an adventure!

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Miriam Webster’s dictionary defines an adventure as: an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.  Now before you decide to do something that could possibly harm yourself or others, you might want to think again.  Remember, God will never ask us to do anything that violates the truths and principles taught in his word.  The kind of adventure we’re talking about incorporates the first resource we talked about: fun!  For instance, you might pursue a new hobby or degree or the age old adventure- rafting.  Take a trip to a place you’ve never been.  Try some new foods.  🙂

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While you’re at it, it doesn’t have to be a major adventure.  It might just mean filling a thermos with hot chocolate and taking your kids out into the area surrounding your house.  Take a magnifying glass and look at snowflakes.  Borrow a book from the library, ahead of time, about animal tracks and have them identify a few in the snow.  Talk about the critters who made the tracks.  See if they’re interested in researching some of their favorite animals.  You get the idea.  Visit a local museum….

You can also explore a new route to work.  As a good friend once said, ‘Try a new way and God will show you something new!”.  Along the way, notice not just the houses, but some of the details.  Remember, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’  Give yourself some margin and stop and take a picture of something interesting with your phone.

You also can block out some time to just walk out your door and ‘go’ without a plan or destination in mind.  Invite some good friends.  Hop a city bus and see where it takes you.  Try the biggest dump of a restaurant in town.  Dress up like a ‘homeless person’ and watch people’s reactions.

If any of the preceding ideas push you out of your comfort zone, maybe that’s all the more reason to try them.

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.  Now go out and take an adventure and while you’re at it, have fun!

How to Live Beyond Your Final Chapter

Making Sense of the Miracle in the Mess

Over the years I’ve gotten really good at taking back my prayers.  It goes something like this.  I find myself trusting God with something.  It could be my finances, my kids, my job, whatever it may be.  Everything is great for awhile.  Then I take my prayers back and try to answer them myself.  How about you?

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Someone once said, we’re to pray as if the answer to our prayers totally depend on God and work like the answer to our prayers totally depends on us.  But doesn’t there seem to be some kind of contradiction?  After all, sometimes we can’t work anymore.  We’re too tired or broken or exhausted or exasperated.  That’s not to say we want to be ‘that guy’ or ‘that girl’.  You know the one I’m talking about.  They do something really stupid and then become a victim and join the club.  When they enter the room, people whisper “that’s him”.  Or, “I heard she…”.  You catch my drift, right?

There was a day when Moses killed a man.  Not just any man, but an Egyptian who was beating another Hebrew.  I’m sure he didn’t wake up that morning and say, “I think I’ll go kill an Egyptian today.”  It’s not like there was some kind of season on Egyptians and he got lucky that day.  No, he saw an Egyptian wailing on a Hebrew slave and he decided to take matters into his own hands.  He acted impulsively.  He did something he shouldn’t have.

The next day he went to intervene in another situation and a fellow Hebrew more or less said, “Who died and made you boss?  Are you the guy who blew your stack and murdered an Egyptian yesterday?”  You could only imagine how he must have felt, right?

Then he fled to Midian.  And in Midian- away from leadership and every day wear and tear- something began to change.  In fact, by the time Moses died, he’d written some of the greatest volumes on leadership in the history of the world!

So how about you?  Have you ever messed up?  Maybe you just reached the end of your rope this past year, or month, or today.  Or, there’s something building up.  You feel some kind of wave in your soul getting ready to crash.  Maybe in your heart of hearts you don’t want it to.  But if you were honest, you’d admit you’re ready to do something you know you’ll be sorry for tomorrow.  Can I tell you a secret?

Life can be hard.  It’s not like you get three guys like you do in a video game.  You’re only given one lifetime, and try as you might to preserve it, there are dangers lurking around every corner.  Life can be messy.  You’re not promised tomorrow, but the good news is not everything in life is a matter of life and death!  The bible says God’s mercies are new every morning.  I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty good news.  It tells you that despite your biggest messes, there is abundant mercy available if you’ll only receive it.  Mercy means you don’t get what you deserve.  You live to see another sunset and go after your dream.  But….

But sometimes that doesn’t mean you get what you want.  Sometimes you end up holding your heart in your hand.  It’s easy to say this is just another chapter and this is all going to work out.  But sometimes it’s more than that.  Sometimes you find yourself writing or reading another book.  There’s only one book most people spend a lifetime reading and that’s the bible.  All the others are fair game.  If they’re no good, you toss them out or give them to the guy at the office you can’t stand and get another one.  🙂

If at this point you think you should just cash in your chips, that’s not what I’m saying.  What I’m saying is life is messy and sometimes the vase falls and shatters on the floor despite your best intentions.  Sometimes you come apart at the seams.  Sometimes the results are not what you’d hoped for.  Sometimes you wreck your car, hurt your loved one, and abandon your dream all in one week.  And sometimes it’s impossible to go back and fix everything….to put the car back together, to reassemble the vase, heal your loved one, but God can do all those things in his own way- in his own time, on his own terms.  After all, it was never your turf to begin with, you had just gotten used to thinking it was.

Look.  Things don’t always work out the way you hope they will, but that doesn’t mean things can’t get better.  Don’t stop going after your dream, but just remember God has the final say.  Like the old farmer said, “You can push against the rock all you want, son, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to move!”  Maybe it was never about moving the rock in the first place.  Maybe it was all about you just getting stronger and developing muscles you never even knew you had.  But no rock, no revelation.

Rather than beating yourself up about your mess up, why don’t you thank God for it.  Tell him you’re grateful for the lesson.  Grateful for what it revealed about what was lurking under the surface in your soul and ask him to do something about it and show you how to make a better choice in the future.  You’ll be glad you did.  Here’s a start.

Lord, thank you for the messes and the miracles.  I can do nothing, but trust you right now.  You said your mercies are new every morning, and I believe that.  I’m not asking for what I want right now.  I want what you want.  Please allow me to experience the peace that passes understanding.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

Shrinking the Power Gap

My response to recent layoffs

Does the unjust use of power hit you in the gut? Me too. This realization comes with news of Twitter’s new CEO and his decision to “part ways” with 336 employees. Maybe you’re not a Twitter fan, but you’ve been effected by these kinds of leadership decisions.

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Let me start by saying I’ve been a Twitter user since 2009. Admittedly, I only recently realized what an enjoyable tool it can be. I made the mistake many people make. “Let’s tell the world all about ME”, instead of joining the conversation and helping others. O.K, I confess. Can we move on?

But it’s more than just the possibility of an enjoyable form of social media losing some of it’s quality. I’m not saying we should all pull the plug for a day, though some may do that. I’m just mostly bummed for 336 people who had a job last Tuesday and don’t have one today. If that’s hard to process, just imagine how you’d feel if you lost your job today. Right now you no longer have income. Why? Just because.

The because in this case is “we feel strongly that Engineering will move much faster with a smaller and nimbler team, while remaining the biggest percentage of our workforce.” So ultimately, it’s all about being a faster company at the expense of the people who created it. It’s not because it’s what’s best for everyone. We just want to be able to move faster. Toward what? Becoming a company who fosters insecurity in its employees?

But it gets better. CEO, Jack Dorsey shared: “Twitter’s product and engineering teams would endure the “most significant structural changes, with the rest of the organization to be streamlined in parallel.”  Which means “if you work for us today, there’s a good chance you won’t next week.” This is the kind of thinking wearying the work force around the globe. Why invest your time, talent and energies in something bigger than yourself, if what you pour yourself into will possibly swallow you whole? But Boa Constrictor companies and organizations continue these types of practices at the utter expense of small guys like you and me.  Seemingly.

So what can you do? Great question! I’m wondering myself.

Here are some of my initial thoughts.

Number one: Be a leader worthy of trust.

Leadership is a special endowment. As leaders we are to protect, nurture and pour into those we invest in. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to do anything that will make the ones who work with me wonder how secure their future is. I want to do whatever’s in my power to make sure the team I lead is going somewhere, together.  I want them to know there’s a family portrait awaiting all of us in the Promised Land. How about you?

Number two: Time spent encouraging the disenfranchised is always time well spent.

My heart seriously goes out to the 336 people effected by this decision. I want you to know someone has taken notice and really cares. Thank you for your contribution!  We all rise up and bless you. Because of your labors and dedication we’re all able to experience one of the coolest platforms on the planet.  Your work matters!  We affirm you!

Number 3: I find it fascinating someone who heads up an organization fueled by collaboration and teamwork would go through the trouble of making such a monumental move after only 8 days behind his Mahogany desk.

I wonder what went through his mind. The loss of just one or a handful of computer programmers and engineers seems unthinkable, let alone 336! I remember losing my Grandfather and walking around wondering where to find everything on the family farm. Before I could just ask him and he’d show me. When you lose 336 employees, you can be sure things are going to be a number of challenges and setbacks. It doesn’t seem like a sound way to propel yourself forward as a business. What do you think?  

Number 4: The world is changing.

Companies want dedicated employees.  But whatever happened to companies and organizations who intentionally better the lives of their employees?  Is the age of job security so far gone she can’t be resurrected? Maybe this is all part of a trend where the disenfranchised and the dead rise up and industry is at our mercy. Why work for someone else, when you can work for yourself? Not saying you should quit your day job. But it might not help to move in the direction of independence.

Number 5: Don’t give up!

Never let the actions of a handful of people make you lose hope in the masses. Some of the people at the top are there because they excelled at putting themselves first. Not all, but some. Most people are decent human beings who enjoy helping and encouraging one another. Truth be told, that’s why some of them are “poor”. They give wholeheartedly to others and sacrifice their own comfort in the process. Hard to believe? Yes.  But true. They are amazingly beautiful people without a voice. If you don’t believe me, do a little research on the web and find out how God is using “ordinary” people. I’m especially excited about what is happening in Nigeria! I recently posted a quote by author Sam Adeyemi and made some wonderful connections with people in Nigeria. In some cases I was the first to follow some of them, despite the fact they had pages with great content. Why? The power gap. Let’s shrink it with every last bit of energy we have.

Imagine how you’d feel if you were posting spectacular content to social media forums and you had NO followers. Nada. Zero! Meanwhile, the ‘big names’ just keep getting bigger and richer. Funny how that works. Now imagine how you’d feel if you went on a site and saw you had 1 follower! I had the pleasure of being the first follower in two different instances this week. I admit, it felt pretty good.  Seems to me the company is small and nimble enough as long as that’s happening.

How about you? Does the power gap make you sick to your stomach or are you o.k with it? By power gap I mean instances where people use their own personal power at the expense of those who have none. I’m learning service is all about others, not myself. Everything doesn’t move faster when we look at people as dispensable cogs in a machine, but human beings who have dreams of their own. Let’s face it, most people dream of succeeding, not worrying how they’re going to feed their children.

Go out today and look for diamonds in the rough. Every one wants a sparkling diamond, but few want to invest in the ones who need work. How do we shrink the power gap? One person at a time. Small is the new big. You don’t just invest in individuals so that your organization will grow. You do it because it’s the right thing to do.  What are you doing to shrink the power gap?

Was there a time when you felt like someone used their power at your expense? How did it make you feel?

Welcome to My Blog!

Welcome to my new blog. My name is Cory MacNeil and my goal is to help you get to the next level in every area of your life. If you’re looking to move forward, this is the blog for you.

I plan to post at least once a week. Please feel free to leave comments. If you’re blessed, please share with your friends on social media.

Welcome aboard! Thank you for checking us out. I can’t wait for the journey.

Cory MacNeil