By Ron | September 5, 2010
My dad taught me that before you crank the mower you must perform a maintenance check. It was obvious to me that filling it up with gas was needed because who wants to lug the can across the yard later. But maintenance did not stop there; he showed me how to check the oil and add some when needed. He showed me how to clean the mower when done.
I am convinced maintenance never really begins until you pay for the item you must maintain. I never cared for my dad’s stuff the way I should have. But when I have to replace an item I have bought, you better believe I want it to last. Why teach our kids lessons they will not particular follow right now? So that one-day the lessons will come rushing back to them as they implement them in their lives. As parents, we find ourselves saying or doing what mom or dad tried to pound into our thick heads. Ever utter your parent’s words, Read the rest of this entry »
By Ron | August 31, 2010
A few years ago I was teaching my son who was probably in third grade how to mow. He is a really great kid who I think will do some great things one day. But on that day as I walked behind him and showed him how to line up the right side of the mower with the line of uncut grass, he could not hold the mower straight. I kept saying, “Watch the line” and he would drift and miss a thin row of grass. “Watch the line” was a phrase I used numerous times but looking at all the missed sections, I knew I would be mowing most of the yard again. I was determined not to give up on helping him learn to mow.
Three things I noticed pretty quickly. The first and biggest issue Read the rest of this entry »
By Ron | August 28, 2010
Admission–I am a bit OCD about some things, in fact my daughter has accused me of being CDO because I have to alphabetize it. To my defense I have plenty of messy or un-organized areas of my life. One of my obsessions is planning a topic to think about while I mow the grass.
When I yanked on the draw cord, starting the Craftsman walk-behind, I planned to think about parenting; quickly I saw many object lessons grow from those moments behind the mower. Over the next few days I intend to share the lessons I am sure many of you have learned along the way. Few topics to write about scare one more than parenting, particularly if you are still in the midst of it; so these are works in progress.
We have a privacy fence in our back yard by default because Read the rest of this entry »
By Ron | January 12, 2010
The scandals seem to never end. Our appetite for sensational gossip news is as embarrassing as the acts themselves. I can remember watch Spartacus as a child and thought to myself the people in the coliseum were as murderous as the gladiator who plunged weapons into the body of the defeated. The new title just released about some behind the scenes moments during presidential race shows some bold statements and actions that work, well, work exceedingly well to sell books.
One may receive fifteen minutes of fame but scandal gets you sixty minutes. The only people to pray for really bad news are those caught in the news cycle needing a worse story to upstage their own. Every profession from sports to clergy suffers from scandalous actions. Entertainers who fall prey to such issues never surprise me but others often catch me off guard. I still remember back in the early nineties the breaking news about basketball legend Magic Johnson being HIV positive from numerous encounters while on the road and everyone was shocked. That same decade proved that our president had a weakness in that same area. Recently, Tiger Woods, David Letterman, Governor Sanford, Jon & Kate have all been in the media.
One must ask, “Why is this news?” Read the rest of this entry »
By Ron | November 12, 2009
Seeing “no” in a rejection letter never feels great but understanding the reasons may help. Publishers say no for a number of reasons. Some of these may have nothing to do with the material submitted. Let’s review the possible answers you may get from most any publisher.
No—the genre is oversaturated. The market goes through a band wagon twist of Simon says. Like television going through an overload of reality shows or courtroom dramas, when one success occurs everyone wants to follow the leader. In publishing you face overload in cycles such as devotionals, leadership, or apologetics. A recent example of having too many books on a topic was twenty books written and published as a rebuttal to the DaVinci Code. So you may have a great concept but too many others have already flooded the market.
No—the timing is wrong. Looking for a window of opportunity helps position a product. For example Read the rest of this entry »
By Ron | November 4, 2009
Took my son to The Guitar Center to get some new strings for his electric guitar. His dedication to practice on both his acoustic and electric impresses me. His goal is to play in church for the youth group each Wednesday night and one day maybe on the main stage on Sundays. After looking around at a few of the high end Les Pauls and other accessories, we made our way to the string area where they had some pedals and amps.
There was one guy in front of us working up to a several hundred-dollar purchase. Val,the clerk behind the counter, peaked around the customer and said he would be right with us. I smiled and replied, “Take your time, our purchase is very small.” Quickly he shot back, “Selling a bag of picks today could result in tomorrow’s several thousand dollar purchase, therefore I treat all sales the same.” He went on to say that when my son goes on to play on stage and become famous he would have a part in helping him get there. Way to go Val! That is his true name and if everyone had his attitude, then businesses would not be suffering. While checking out, my son asked about a future purchase he is saving for and Val told him a way to save money on this item. On the way out, my son, who is about to be sixteen, told me that he was coming back here to buy that item even if he could find it online cheaper because this guy cares about customers.
My son may or may not have aspirations to be famous but that does not matter to a dedicated employee of a business who understands their customers. The lesson is clear. Become the consultant, the person people come to for advice and they will not mind paying a few dollars more for your product. Never over sell or take advantage of the customer; the bad taste of that kind of sell lasts longer than the sales commission you will earn. It is no wonder getting a parking place at The Guitar Center is difficult.
By Ron | November 2, 2009
Chaos reigns on the gridiron as football players scramble, the clock ticking. A player picks a piece of turf out of his facemask as he gets up from the pile; one limps back to the huddle and others celebrate the pass completion. Referees are determining where to place the ball while the defensive line tries to intimidate anyone within four feet of them. Everyone seems mindless, moving wherever the pigskin is placed all the while chatter occurring everywhere.
One guy, the quarterback, never loses sight of the sidelines after the play is over. Even if sacked, once the play is over he is preparing for the next play. His reads the signal from the sidelines and then gets the attention of his players, informing them of the next play either in the huddle, by signals, or audible commands. The quarterback must focus the attention of every player, the ones who did their job as well as the ones who did not on the last play.
He must get the team to live in the moment and focus on what could be rather than on what just occurred. The other players sometimes over-celebrate the previous play, causing the team a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, wasting time and worse yet forgetting their current obligations. It is obvious the leader on the field, the quarterback, can high five, chest bump, or swat a guy to let them know they did a great job and then move on to the next play to be executed. Guys dream of being the high dollar quarter back, running back, or receiver who makes those big bucks, but the big bucks come as a result of the big plays becoming routine to the team. No one gets big bucks from Read the rest of this entry »
By Ron | October 27, 2009
I watched moms and dads get it this weekend. Conducting a D6 workshop this weekend just outside of St. Louis, I watched as leaders in several churches grasped the principles and methods of what being a D6 mom and dad looks like. They are now equipped to go back to their churches and show others how to live out the principles commanded in Deuteronomy six and Nehemiah eight. I figure if we work really hard for two generations , these principles and behaviors will become second nature.
People are still blogging and talking about the D6 Conference 2009. Numerous pastors have emailed, called, or personally talked to me and said they were bringing a large group next year. Many brought only their staff this year. Phrases like:
“It is like drinking from a fire hose.”
“The best and most practical conference I have ever attended”
“I could have left after the first day and felt I had gotten my money’s worth.”
“This is a significant day in the history of the church.”
Today is the deadline for the very best rate you can get for the D6 Conference 2010. Save half your registration per person against the walk-in rate. It is $299 at the door and today you can register as many as you desire for $149 per person. If you do not have all the names now, no problem; just hold their spots and fill in the names later. Set a goal and determine you want ten sets of parents with you or all your leading volunteers and staff. We already have announced several major speakers for next year and will finish the announcements in January of 2010. Mark Holmen, Ed Stetzer, Brian Haynes, and Rob Reinow, and yes, Tim Hawkins will be back! Thirty-seven speakers made the 2009 D6 Conference more than an event and started a major movement for many who were looking for family emphasis and ways to reconnect church and home.
If you know you are coming, register today and save big!
By Ron | October 8, 2009
Francis Chan is the one speaker I most wanted to hear at Catalyst this year. His book Crazy Love is a must read if you are one of the few who missed it. That book reminds me a lot of C. S. Lewis’ writings with is same hard hitting language and depth that probes to the heart of the matter. Randall House exhibits each year at this conference and this year we have our D6 curriculum and D6 Conference on display.
Tonight at Catalyst, Francis Chan stood before about 10,000 people in his unassuming manner, and talked about the cross and Christ. He read from several chapters of scripture and told us, “we are arrogant if we think we can change the world when that is Christ’s job.” He shared about when his daughter brought home an “f” on a test and was scared of what her dad would do. When she told him, Francis replied in a way that would show her God’s grace when he said, “I am taking you to dinner, a movie and ice cream – this time.” When she went back to school the next day, her friends all asked what her dad did to her. When she told them, they replied, “I want your dad.” He then asked us, do we show the world (unbelievers) in ways of love and grace actions that would make them say, “I want your dad” [God]? We mostly show them a judgmental, critical non-joyous spirit that makes the world say, “I don’t want your dad.”
He talked through the cross and the self-condemnation we so often beat ourselves up with or others do to us. Francis caught us by surprise by questioning Read the rest of this entry »
By Ron | October 7, 2009
American Express slogans through the years have been “American Express. Do More,” and “Make Life Rewarding,” and more recently “Don’t Leave Home Without It.” I have been a big fan of the service with previous blogs praising their service.
American Express has offered our organization the freedom of spending without limits. With freedom comes responsibility; we have always paid our bills and maintained a detailed accounting of expenditures. Most of the year, it was spending as usual such as travel and dinners with clients or vendors. But once a year we put on a convention hosting nearly 4,000 youth, children and their parents and youth pastors. This requires a bit more spending than the other eleven months and American Express makes it easy to deal with business as it comes.
Until recently! Read the rest of this entry »