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January 2007
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March 2007

The Trip Here

I left Zimbabwe on Saturday and didn't know I was in for quite a trip over the next 24 hours.  First, British Airways, my least favorite airline in the world, decided that my ticket wasn't booked properly.  Therefore, they allowed me only one bag (I had two) and charged me an exorbitant fee for excess weight.  I have come up with a new travel slogan and I hope you will chant it and share it with your friends.  It goes, "Stay a-way from B-A!"  Rather catchy, don't you think?

My flights to Amsterdam and then London were fine.  I got a business class upgrade on one and an aisle exit row on the other.  When I got to Heathrow (why I fly into that madhouse I'll never know), I had to wait an hour for my ride, which was no problem.  I knew the ladies were coming after church and there is always traffic.  When they arrived, there was some confusion as to where we would meet.  When I found them, a policeman was urging us to move and move quickly!

We then set out to go to the east side of London (Heathrow is on the west).  Two hours later when we arrived at our destination, we discovered that I had left my small briefcase on the back of the luggage cart at Heathrow.  So we piled back into the car for the return trip.  I am delighted to report that the bag was there!  We made our way back to the flat, coming in the door seven hours later than I had anticipated.

The next day, I took a Southeastern train into the city to attend a conference sponsored by The Management School London.  Right before we pulled into the Charing Cross station, we crossed the Thames River and there was London, basking in sunshine.  I could see Big Ben, the houses of Parliament, the London Eye and more.  Suddenly I forgot about the turmoil of the previous day.  I was in London on business--my own business!

Yesterday, I gave my presentation at the conference and my title was "Reputation:  Is It Strictly Business?"  The theme of the event was the UK's global reputation and I was asked to tie purpose into the theme.  I was glad to comply.  While many of the presenters where excellent, they tended to be a bit academic.  I only had 30 minutes, so I came out smoking and I think I caught some off guard.  They weren't expecting that after two days of fairly straightforward material and low-key presentations.  I was pleased and left the event feeling happy, fulfilled and wanting more such opportunities.

Today I am back into London for some meetings and fun.  I depart Sunday for Kenya and then head for home. 

A Painting A Day!

I want to make sure you didn't miss Scott's response to my email on creativity entitled What To Write?  He sent me a link to an artist named Duane Keiser who does one painting every day and posts it to his site.  That's pretty amazing!  Who says you can' t put demands on your creativity, no matter how you feel?

Thanks also to Tiwi, a university student I met here in Zimbabwe, for her first comment to the same entry. 

Off to the UK

I leave later today for the UK, where I will spend the week. First, I am on the program to speak at the The School of Management London for their global reputation conference.  I will be speaking on purpose and its implications for a nation.  Pretty cool topic!  After that, I will do some personal business before I work with Celebration Church London. 

I won't be at a hotel, but will be staying at a flat out in the Abbeywood area, east of the city.  I don't mind, for there is a train two blocks from the flat, so transportation isn't a problem.  If you've read my blog regularly, you know that I love London and working there is always a delight for me. 

I am sorry I only had two weeks here in Zimbabwe.  My work here went well.  I worked with the first class of facilitators for The Pacific Institute yesterday, and I have a breakfast for the graduates of all three classes later this morning before I depart.  I feel a real sense of accomplishment as I leave and I look forward already to my return in May to run two more TPI classes. 

Before I return to the States, I will visit Kenya after the UK.  I haven't been there since last June, so I am looking forward to re-connecting with friends and purpose work there.  I will stay in touch.

What to Write?

I got in my car here in Harare last Sunday to visit a business center at a local hotel.  My purpose was to write my weekly Monday Memo where there was a better Internet connection.  There was only one challenge.  No, it wasn't traffic, parking or weather.  My challenge was that I had no idea what I was going to write!

That's how I have found the creative process to be.  You have to learn to "tax" it, to put demands on it.  This isn't ruthless or something akin to squeezing creativity out of a reluctant heart or mind.  Rather it is positioning yourself to allow creativity to flow, even if the stream is hidden at the moment.

I remember seeing a documentary about the music group ABBA a few years ago.  How I wish I had recorded it!  The report told of how they met every morning at 9 AM to write music, sort of like others reported to their office at a bank or retail outlet.  The group worked until lunch and then resumed their creative process in the afternoon.

The result was a magnificent body of music that was not only popular in the '70s and '80s, but is still alive today through the hit musical show, Mama Mia!

While many wait for inspiration to create, I choose the perspiration route.  Which do you prefer?  The problem with waiting for inspiration is that it may never come and, consequently, you never create.  If you choose to make creativity more a function of work, you may be surprised by the good results. 

So what do you think?  Is the creative process more inspiration or perspiration?  Feel free to write your comments on the site where this entry is posted.  And if you would like to see the handiwork from last Sunday's ride to the business center, you can check it out its site as well. 

You Must Be Crazy!

I mentioned that the title of my message last week was "You Must Be Crazy!"  I took my text from Mark 3:20-22, which states:

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind." And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons."

Talk about having a bad day!  First, Jesus family thought He had mental problems.  Then the leaders of His day concluded that He was doing good through some association with evil.  The spirituality of the day was so subnormal that when Jesus introduced the true normal, it seemed abnormal. The people concluded that there had to be something wrong with Him and not them.

What made Jesus seem "crazy" was His behavior and attitude that is described in Philippians 2:1-11. Since Jesus requires that you and I have the same character as He has, then there is a good chance at some point that people will think that you are crazy, too!

Many people told or wrote me that the message was helpful, so I thought I wouild send along my Powerpoint slides below.

Download you_must_be_crazy.ppt


Still Here

I've had trouble writing, first due to slow connection speeds at the guest house where I am staying here in Zimbabwe.  Then for some reason, the business center computers here don't seem to like the site where I type these entries.  Tonight one computer has let me in.

It's been a busy week so far.  I finished up my second seminar today for The Pacific Institute (TPI).  There were 23 people in the class and it went well.  The feedback has been great.  I spoke last Sunday here on "You Must Be Crazy" and will speak again at Celebration Church this Sunday.  Then next week I will hold my first session to train facilitators for TPI. 

The weather here has been warm since it's summer in the southern hemisphere.  I hear it's anything but warm back home, where there's ice, snow and bitter cold.  Don't worry, I'll get my due in June when I return here during winter. 

The conditions here are worse than when I was here in December, but the people continue to amaze me!  They are resilient and kind, and carry on their daily activities with dignity under all kinds of pressure.  I am tired of telling people how good it is here, so I have decided to just keep this opportunity all for myself! 

I was going to include my notes from last Sunday's message, but I left my flash stick back at the house.  I promise I will send it later, if the computers will allow!

Still Moving

I am in Johannesburg, after doing the Nashville, Detroit, Amsterdam to Johannesburg route on Northwest and KLM airlines.  The plane last night into Jo'burg was packed out of Amsterdam.  Two big men in my row had middle and window seats.  I could not do what they did; I just wouldn't fit.  When I wasn't sleeping on that last leg, I was editing a book for Celebration Ministries, so the 10-hour flight went as quickly as 10-hour flights can go.

My time in Nashville this week was productive and our visit to New York to deliver our son's belongings also went well.  Today I fly to Harare, only to drive three hours to do a purpose seminar at Africa University.  When I drive back to Harare, I speak twice on Sunday. I think the title of Sunday's message will be, "He's Crazy: Are You?", using Mark 3 and Philippians 2 as my text focus.  Then next week I have my second Pacific Institute seminar in Harare for four days. 

It's summer here, so the weather is great. I am in the lobby of the Southern Sun hotel at the Johannesburg Airport, getting ready to head back over to the airport for my flight to Harare.  I'll keep you posted this week on my progress along with any insight I may happen to pick up on this whirlwind tour.

Can You Do More?

I told my wife yesterday that I am taking the next seven days one hour at a time, working to get everything done I need to do before I depart for Zimbabwe next Wednesday.  Before then, I will drive my son's belongings to New York City.  He found an apartment in Brooklyn and will work at a restaurant in Manhattan.  On Sunday, I have friends who just happen to be in New York City at the same time, so we will try to get together.  Someone also contacted me today for a profile/purpose session on Sunday.

On Monday, I will leave New York for Nashville, where I will do some work with my friends, Tom and Bonnie Deuschle.  They are here on a sabbatical of sorts from Zimbabwe, and we have some projects that I have to take with me to Zimbabwe when I leave on Wednesday.  I won't even tell you my schedule while I am in Nashville, but it will be crazy. I will also pick up a third suitcase in Nashville of nutritional supplements for an orphanage in Zimbabwe.  How could I tell them I could not bring them over, even though it's such a headache to do so?

On Wednesday, I fly from Nashville to Detroit to Amsterdam to Johannesburg, where I will overnight before I head up to Harare on Friday.  I arrive and a few hours later I will drive three hours out of Harare to do a purpose seminar at Africa University on Saturday.  Then I will drive back to Harare late Saturday to speak at Celebration Church on Sunday morning in two services.

Do you see why I said I am taking it one hour at a time for the next week?

Why am I writing this?  For sympathy?  To complain?  Not at all.  I just want to make the point that you don't often know what you can do until you try.  You may be limiting your effectiveness because you underestimate what is possible for you to do.  When you don't think you can do something, then you won't even try.

Why not reflect on your next seven days to see if you are selling yourself short.  What is your plan for those days?  What could you do if you tried?  Where are you limiting yourself?

I have never said that anyone has to do what I do to be effective.  You just have to live up to your potential and, who knows, that potential may take you to places neither of us dreamed possible.  Why not give it a try?  If you like, please write to let us know what your plans are for the next week and then follow up with how things went.  You can post your thoughts on the site where this entry is posted. 

Gotta run.  I have to finish packing! 

Want To/Have To

I continue my thoughts on the topic I raised a few days ago about coercing someone (or yourself) to do something, even if it's the right thing to do.   There are two things I want to write today.

1.  The first are a few verses from one of Paul's writings.  I have used these as a guideline when I am working with any of my clients, partners or churches.

8 Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul — an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus —  10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him — who is my very heart — back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced (Philemon 8-14).

Paul was writing to Philemon about an escaped slave, Onesimus, who was now a believer and returning to his former master Philemon.  Paul could have coerced Philemon, instead he appealed to him for the stated reasons.

2.  My friend, Robin Brumett, gave me this article entitled "Letting  Go."  I think it is apropos for our discussion:

    • To let go doesn't mean to stop caring,
    • it means I can't do it for someone else.
    • To let go is not to fix,
    • but to be supportive.
    • To let go is not to cut myself off,
    • it's the realization that I can't control another.
    • To let go is not to enable,
    • but to allow learning from natural consequences.
    • To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
    • I can only change myself.
    • To let go is not to judge,
    • but to allow another to be a human being.
    • To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
    • but to allow others to effect their own outcomes.
    • To let go is not to be protective;
    • it is to permit another to face reality.
    • To let go is not to deny,
    • but to accept.
    • To let go is not to care for.
    • but to care about.

Several have posted their thoughts already on the site where this entry is posted.  Why not take the time to write a comment yourself?  Let me hear from you and let me and my readers know your thoughts.