Sep 12 2013

Constructive Criticism

If you ever had to critique someone, it can be really difficult. Finding the right words is hard, especially when it comes to someone you care about. I read a really great article recently about how to deliver criticism in a way that's going to mean the most to the person on the receiving end.

Here are some helpful guidelines:

1. Understand why you're giving the criticism in the first place

2. Always put yourself in the other person's shoes

3. Make sure to direct your criticism to the present not the past

4. Remember, and most importantly, criticize the deed not the person


"He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help” – Abraham Lincoln

Sep 11 2013

We Must Never Forget

One definition of the word ‘forget’ is “to treat with inattention or disregard," and that is simply something we can NEVER do on this day, September 11th.

I remember hearing my mom and dad talk about the assassination of JFK, they would recite in vivid detail where they were, how they felt and what they were doing when they heard about what had happened that terrible day in Dallas. As we have grown up, we have our own memories associated with historic events, but I would venture to say, none more memorable than what happened on this day in 2001. The events of 9/11 are events that we would certainly like to forget, but we must never forget. 

As a nation, we must never forget the nearly 3,000 sons, daughters, moms, dads, brothers and sisters that were lost that day. We must never forget the families that they left behind; this week I was reminded of just how important that is after getting a call from Maddie; she called to ask for prayer because she was having an especially tough time, Maddie lost her dad in the Twin Towers on 9/11, she was only a year old at the time, and she said every year this day is really hard for her. 

We must never forget the thousands of men and women who have sacrificed since, in the armed forces, to prevent another day like this from ever happening again. 

And we must never forget how the ‘American spirit’ shone through the tangled mess of concrete and steel in New York City, Washington D.C., and in a lonely field in Shankesville, PA. The tragedy that attempted to rip us apart was the very thing that brought us together.  

After the attacks on 9/11, we were all challenged by the sacrifice of men and women who instead of running from the Twin Towers, ran in to save others, there were heroes who stayed behind in the Pentagon so that others could flee to safety, and on flight 93, passengers refused to let terror win by storming the cockpit and crashing the plane into a Pennsylvania field.   

Their heroic acts must never be forgotten, in fact, they should fuel us to look for ways that we can serve one another, just as they did immediately following the attacks on 9/11, 12 years ago. Today is Patriot Day, a day of service and remembrance, a day that we are encouraged to serve one another. 

We cannot treat the call to ‘serve others’ with “inattention and disregard," for in doing so, we fail to honor the code by which Christ calls us to live by.  As Christians, we are called to live this way every day, because in doing so we honor Christ, who made the ultimate sacrifice to save us. 

In living our lives to ‘serve others,' we live in a way that never forgets what Christ did for us, that we could not do for ourselves.

Sep 10 2013

Let's Pray for Our Leaders

Like it or not, politics are a part of the fabric of our society, they can unfortunately lead to some unfriendly banter between family members and the best of friends.  And while it’s certainly OK to disagree on policies, parties and politicians, the one thing that we are all commanded to do as Christians is to “pray for our leaders” regardless of party or persuasion.

In 1 Timothy 2, the Apostle Paul writes, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 

Paul doesn’t say pray, “if you love your kings or leaders”, or “if the kings or leaders are from the same political party”, he says, “pray for ALL who are in high positions.”  Paul goes on to say that is the way we “lead a peaceful and quiet life, Godly and dignified in every way.” 

Tonight President Obama will address the country about the situation in Syria, tomorrow our leaders will vote on what action to take. Our nation is at a crossroads, and I imagine that our prayers are coveted by the men and women that are making decisions that will affect all of us.  Let us then follow Paul’s advice to Timothy, and “PRAY for ALL who are in high positions.” 

Learn more about praying for our leaders from The Billy Graham Association here: