Of Parrots and Eagles

EAGLE THINKERS ASK THE HARD QUESTIONS, take strategic risks, search hard for the whole truth, and soar high above mediocrity. Parrot people enjoy the predictable, routine, rehearsed words of others. I’ve discovered that many churches and organizations are overrun with parrots and virtually devoid of eagles. Too harsh? You decide.

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The Balance of Life

BOTH ADVERSITY AND PROMINENCE confront our equilibrium, but prominence is perhaps the more challenging test. The classic example is David. [God] chose his servant David, calling him from the sheep pens. He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants—God’s own people, Israel. He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.

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A Haughty Self

THERE’S NOTHING MORE DISTASTEFUL than someone who is set on self-glossing—offering his résumé and list of achievements unsolicited to everyone in the room. I confess, when I’m around a person like that I start to feel my skin crawl. Often, that type of person cannot see beyond his own ego to recognize that he is part of the problem; blame is always shifted to someone else;

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The Case against Vanilla

I CANNOT IMAGINE ANYTHING more boring and less desirable than being poured into the mold of predictability. Few things interest me less than the routine, the expected, the status quo. A fresh run at life by an untried route will get my vote every time. Stay open-minded for a moment, and I’ll try to show you why.

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What You Gain in Losing

FORMER PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN kept a plaque on his desk in the oval office which read: There’s no limit to what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit. Little wonder President Reagan achieved so much in his eight years as leader of the free world. Yet that principle was not original with him. It comes from the heart of God. Here’s how the apostle Paul stated it:

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Just Chill about You

I LIKE THE TONGUE-IN-CHEEK definition of philosophers one of my seminary professors would occasionally use. It’s classic: “Philosophers are people who talk about something they don’t understand and then make you think it’s your fault!” Lots of philosophies are floating around, and most of them are downright confusing.

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The Forgotten Side of Success

MAYBE WE SHOULD CONFESS that one reason we find it so hard to set selfishness aside and adopt the spirit of a servant is that we’re driven by dreams of success. We want to be winners. Curiously, however, most people admit they never realize what they truly desire in their pursuit of success: contentment, fulfillment, satisfaction, and relief.

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I, Me, Mine, Myself

THOSE FOUR WORDS stood out in bold print. They appeared as if they were forming an enormous monument, each letter seemingly chiseled out of granite. At the base of this strange “monument” were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people with their arms stretched high, as if worshiping at a shrine. And then, in very small letters, this caption appeared at the bottom of the editorial cartoon: “Speaking of American cults . . .”

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Absolute Honesty

LET’S THINK ABOUT an essential mark of following Christ: absolute honesty. Remember these words? Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this. 2 CORINTHIANS 4:1–2

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Who’s on First?

IN MANY CHURCHES, Christians tend to get so caught up in a success-and-size race that the primary calling of following Jesus gets lost in the journey. We have skidded into a pattern where the “haves”—the most influential or financially successful individuals in life—and not the “have-nots” call the shots. Truth be told, it is difficult to follow when you’re used to being out front leading the pack.

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