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The 2 Biblical Words that Can Change Us Every Day

October 29, 2013

Rio Grande National Forest, ColoradoWhat would you to today if you didn’t have fear?

I’m not talking about legitimate fear: fear that keeps you from jumping off tall buildings without a parachute, or pretending you have a gun in the security line O’Hare or fear of arrest and accident that keeps you from driving while drunk….  That’s the real healthy fear that keeps us alive, out of real trouble and out of the Darwin Awards.

Instead, what if TODAY you didn’t fear…

  • Sharing your real thoughts
  • Speaking publicly
  • Starting the project (or company!)  that you know will propel you forward
  • Sending a letter asking for the opportunity in another city
  • Selling your product to those who need it
  • Showing affection to someone you care deeply about
  • Standing apart from the crowd who has accepted the status quo
  • Showing little concern that you reject me or think this blog is dumb.

Or this little one:  What if we just didn’t fear BEING REJECTED?

What if I wasn’t afraid?  What if you weren’t afraid.

I write this as one who hates that I let fear win so many days!  I hate that fear has soured relationships and ruined potential.  And it took me a long time to realize that I have spent vast quantities of time really fearing – success.  That’s right!  It wasn’t until someone I respect pointed it out that if I succeeded I would no longer have a fallback and excuse that looked for sympathy.  If I succeed, I might then be responsible for what I have created in the world.

As a writer and entrepreneur, I resonate with Steven Pressfield’s words in his book Turning Pro: “I was terrified of sitting down at the Smith-Corona (typewriter) and trying to write something, and ashamed of myself because I knew I was terrified, but I was still too scared to act…. Everything I was doing in my outer life was a consequence and an expression of that terror and that shame.” 

Just Two Biblical words speak to those of us letting fear in the door of our minds: ” FEAR NOT.”  Also translated, “Do not be afraid” Or “Be not afraid.”    Imagine if we were just to pick those two or three simple words out of the whole Bible… and just do those!  Just let them into our minds, hearts and souls?   How much would our lives be different?  How much freer, kinder, gentler,  relaxed, less anxious, more successful, and definitely more vibrant and healthy would we be?  Just those two itsy bitsy words??

365 times the Bible uses this two-word :Fear not” concept” in one form or another.  One “FEAR NOT” for every day of the year? You know when someone you respect tells you something over and over and over again: this must really matter!   Knowing that fear would keep good people from doing all kinds of good things…. and good people instead making all kinds of bad choice, God wisely repeats: Be not afraid.  Fear not.  And even better: “Fear not, I am with you!”

When I get afraid I have all kinds of ways of hiding… and I hate to admit that below this fear lurks as the root cause.

  • I blame others.  (If only you …. then I!)
  • I eat carbs and sweets (my meds of choice)
  • I avoid my real work…. sometimes run away!
  • I surf social media.
  • I check my smart phone obsessively.
  • I look to you to tell me if I’m OK.  (Did you like my post?  Why do I care??!)

Instead, I know that I were to “fear not” I might actually even respect me a whole lot more!  And I might add more good things to your life too!

The learning to fear not is my own journey of recognizing that I have a choice.  To fear or not to fear.  Fear.  Or Fear NOT.

So, what if TODAY, I just this time take those Biblical words to heart:  I FEAR NOT.  What will I do this day?

What if TODAY, YOU too take those Biblical words to heart.  DO NOT BE AFRAID.  What will you do now?

Hmmmm.. could be awesome!!


Is the Church Ready for the “Pastor-Coach?”

October 26, 2013

In the decade of the 1990’s the title on my card read:  “Jeff Caliguire: Senior Pastor.”  After 4 years in college, 4 more years of seminary education and a whole resume of internships in different parts of the country, I had the opportunity to serve for almost a decade in that capacity.

Was I a success in that?  Honestly: I don’t know.

Maybe I missed that class, but I don’t think I was prepared for how hard I would find it to wrestle with these questions once I  served as a “pastor.”It’s this:”WHAT IS PASTOR-SUCCESS?”  “What does it mean to pastor?” “How do I know if someone has been”pastored” or not?”  Even if they attend services, did “it” work?  Are they good?  Have I helped them in the way I should?

It’s difficult for most of us to measure tangible success, I get that.  But  take this “measure it challenge” to pastoring and it goes to a whole new level!  How do you quantify someone’s “spiritual growth?” Do they turn a new color?  Do they speak a different language?  Do they quit drinking, smoking, texting while driving and dirty dancing?  And since it’s so difficult to quantify, it became easier for most of us “pastor-types” to measure those more “tangible” things like church size, church attendance,  church budgets,  number of staff, maybe groups, or if we had them to cool factor of our “contemporary services.”

So, having a Masters in Theology, I at least learned I should ask the question: What did Jesus do?   How did he “pastor?”

Hmmmm…. Look into Jesus model of leadership and “pastoring,” and doesn’t take a degree to notice:  Jesus seemed more concerned about a very different metric than most of us.  Not size, attendance, program or building.  No: instead Jesus was more concerned about advancement of something He called the “Kingdom” in, through and around people.  He wanted to build passionate and purposeful people who came fully alive to what He called “abundant life.”

Jesus “pastoring goal” was not get people to just be moral, volunteer more time  or make it without difficuluty into “retirement” (in heaven or in Florida!).  Instead, He wanted to empower people to a powerful way of life.  NOT more “religious” and institutional participation,  but 24-7 abundant life people who got their purpose of existence clear:  They knew they were  put on this planet to

1.  Love God wholeheartedly.
2.  Love people wholeheartedly.
3. Love themselves wholeheartedly*

*Sidenote: Jesus knew they could never get the first two if they didn’t  love themselves! And isn’t that  what gets most of us into trouble in every other relationship by the way.. not loving ourselves?

These real people would have such a spiritual vibrancy, grace and vitality that others would also be attracted and want to ask:  “What makes you different?”  “Why do you love your work?”  “Why are you so real?” “Why are you NOT addicted like the rest of us?”  “Why are you not into judgement and condemnation like most people ?”  “How do you forgive that way??”

SO if that’s the case: What should “pastoring” at least include?   

In the past few years, I have come to believe that one of the most significant missing tools from the Church’s “leadership and people development arsenal” is something Jesus was expert at. It’s this:  Coaching.  That’s right,  coaching.  Coaching if defined as “empowering players to win in their game.” At it’s best, coaching equips “players” to succeed in their field of endeavor.

Look at Jesus through the lens of the best “pastor-coach” ever.

He certainly taught large gatherings.  But, most of His teaching was really more akin to coaching.  Small groups and one on one.  Think about it.  Jesus:

  • Spent long time blocks WITH a small team….  He was fully present to them and on their turf.
  • Showed up in their places of work and cared about how effective they were in the fishing industry. Problem solved.
  • Cared about healing for NOW… not just about their spirit after they died.  (physical, emotional, relational, spiritual…)
  • Helped them do THEIR WORK IN THE WORLD… didn’t just recruit them to do religious work.

Who does that in any major way today?  At least in anything connected or seen as Church?

My belief is that many in younger generation of “non-church-goers” have rejected the “traditional mindset” of “church” for good reasons. They don’t need another institution trying to get them into their program.  However, might they be incredibly welcoming and hungry for the work this kind of “my agenda-free pastor-coach?”   Might they welcome Jesus-type of people and leadership development?   Might they welcome “Church leadership” that’s there to equip them… not “get” them to attend programs, services and the like?

Here are the skills and job description of the pastor-coach:

1. Hear their stories.  LISTEN.  

Jesus said “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.”  The first work of the “pastor-coach” would be KNOW THEM by listening to people share their stories, the good, bad and the ugly.  Don’t we all crave (and Love!) those who will authentically and attentively listen to our stories?

2. Recognize God’s story in their stories. 

If God is active in our life… then He is active in our lives.  He shows up and teaches us through life lessons, experiences and activities.  A pastor-coach would help others see those patterns and begin to act upon them.

3. Unlock their best gifts and skills.

The message of the pastor-coach: “You have an incredibly vital role to play in “ministry!”  It may or may not be “ministry in a local church.  In fact, it’s probably not!”  And when you utilize your gifts, you will feel alive and others will be served!  Problems will be solved!  Needs will be met… including your own to be able to make a meaningful contribution in your lifetime.   It’s a win-win!

4. Heal them or point them to places of healing.

And yes, some of this healing is physical, but most of this healing is about the wounded “emotional intelligence” inside those who have been abused, misused, abandoned, rejected and judged.  Healing coaches could offer them supernatural breakthrough and a community of others with healing gifts and abilities.

5. Help them see a God-Vision for their work and life.

This vision involves seeing the “good life” as the life of adventure, serving others, caring for family and really enjoying deep fun and friendships. It involves seeing themselves as generous givers and not takers.  It involves seeing the work they do as “sacred” and not “secular” whether it’s working in a church, a restaurant, a factory or the corner office of a corporation.  And it also means being able to dream again if that ability has been broken or stolen…. even if by “church people.”

6. Help them overcome the snags, setbacks and grow faith, instead of fear along the way.

A pastor-coach cares about the spiritual and inner world of those they coach.  They expect the person the walk with (not over) will run into challenges and experience roadblocks.  They don’t abandon those they coach at this point, instead they walk even closer.  They care even more.

7. Empower them to make a good living in their calling… or make tents.

The pastor-coach cares that those they serve gain abundance to be able to do what they do and give back so others can as well so others can experience this kind of pastoring as well.   Will those who experience this kind of pastor-coaching become wealthy?  Very likely!   And why not?  But, since some callings are not as easily paid, some will need to “make tents.”  This means they will find other ways to fund their real calling…. (and for older people, this can very well be through investing wisely or even receiving social security!)

Will this be an easy change for most churches?  No.  But will it be worthwhile, revolutionary and world-changing?

What do you think?  Is the Church ready for the pastor-coach?

When Men Feel the Need to Perform

October 21, 2013

polls_dog_pee_4353_36415_poll_xlargeNothing good happens when men feel like we need to perform… prove ourselves… be someone…. demonstrate our manhood. Yet, we guys do it anyway.  We perform for you.  Will we ever learn?

I clearly witnessed this performance behavior in my three male dogs the other day.  While tethered to me and their leashes – Harry, Scrappy and Barney beheld a female golden retriever.   “Well, Looky here Scrappy!!!”  After yanking with all their doggy might, dang it, they discovered she was hardly giving them the time of day.  Quickly, Harry  began biting and barking at Scrappy as if they were engaged in the fight of their lives.  Soon Barney joined and within moments my three “clowns” were actively demonstrating their personal virility, viciousness and vigor. Looked pretty silly to me!  And being yanked didn’t feel good either!

Results: First and foremost: the “girl” was clearly not impressed!!  (And she was much better behaved than my three!)  The other results my three performers experienced was yanked collars, tangles leashes and a master (me) who was not at all pleased and promptly ended our walk.  Their staged antics failed miserably.

Personally, I am not that much different.  Since I was a young child, I somehow learned (though falsely) that I needed to perform to be acceptable, attract attention and prove my own worth.  I’m not proud of this, nor am I fully healed from it’s affects or the false belief that  I need to act to attract.  Or that  I need to do something noteworthy to have real worth.  In many ways, I’m very much like my three best friends on the leash

Since we were young, most  guys were taught or somehow believed that other boys, parents, teachers and certainly girls would like us if we drew attention to ourselves.  “Hey there! Look at me!  I can pitch a baseball! ”   “Hey there! I can ride a 5 speed bike!” “Hey, look at me, I can do donuts in the parking lot with my Camaro!” “Hey there! I can get drunk and do foolish things!”   I’ve got something cool to offer!”  Yeah, the showmanship wasn’t much different from the peacock’s strut…. and for some of us, it even  seemed worked – at least at first to “get the girl” or win the starting job on the team.

However, when not backed up by the real deal, performance doesn’t go the distance.  It’s not authentic. It loses over time.

So, why should we guys see the downside of performance before it’s too late?

Well – here’s four things we lose when we keep on performing:

1. Presence: When we perform, we quit being fully there in the moment.

When we perform, we put energy and focus into the performance and stop being fully present to the moment, or to those we are there to serve or be with.  We get working so hard on engaging the dog next to us that we become distracted from doing what the other really needs or wants.

2. Perspective: When we perform, we forget why we are there in the first place

Performance actually takes the perspective: “It’s all about me anyway.”  It loses the mindset that we’re there for them or caring for what they need. It’s really all about me and how I am perceived… forget reality.

3. Passion:  When we perform, we end up forfeiting the joy of doing something because it’s fun, enjoyable or because we can.

Performance takes away our sheer enjoyment of the process itself – because it becomes about getting the reward or the applause. We can perform for money, sex, recognition or other accolades.

4. Peace of Mind: When we perform we allow fear and anxiety the room to grow.

Performance mindset tends to fear one very large result: Rejection. Performers fear this almost more than anything else.  So, when we weight our own worth on whether the audience finds us acceptable, we simply stop enjoying the dance.  We worry ourselves into being tired and ultimately burnt out.  It’s just not enjoyable anymore and we look for a break or a rest.  One of the biggest clues to performance is performance anxiety.  And performance anxiety simply drains us over time.

The first step then in changing a performance mindset:  Notice that’s what we are doing… AND realize it’s not a good way to live.

More to follow.

The Regular Requirement For Living Leaders

October 18, 2013

What do all leaders NEED?  Well……

  • The average worker sends and receives 190 messages per day*
  • The average person gets 1 interruption every 8 minutes.*
  • In the last 20 years, working time has increased by 15% and leisure time has decreased by 33%.*
  • 78% of workers in America wish they had more time to “smell the roses”.*

No wonder, I woke up early this morning with a word on my mind: RETREATS.  People today need regular retreats!  Leaders need regular retreats.  I need retreats!  I love retreats!  When few of our everyday routines can change us…. retreats still can.

CONSIDER that in today’s flood of instant chat, information and buzz, our souls still long for time to unwind and unhurried moments to think.  Leaders need time away from the battle to both recover as well as to assess the battlefield.  Those in challenging scenarios and strained relationships need to come away and recognize they’re OK, despite it all.

Regular retreats are no longer an option for purposeful living… they’re a necessity.

Sleeping-Lady-Retreat-LocalePersonally, the most life-changing moments and best decisions in my life  emerged NOT because I sat in a classroom, or not even in a church service, not from books or even blogs (sorry), it was through retreats: by definition a withdrawal from the regular patterns of everyday.  Often such intentional living involves time (from one hour to one month or more) in natural places,  staring sessions under the stars, hiking up rocky trails, sitting by streams or just lounging by a campfire until late into the night.

When you retreat, you leave behind the stuff weighing you down, the routines that make life feel routine, the anxiety and fear affecting body, mind soul and relationship.

In a world like this, might there be a genuine need for you intentionally take a purposeful time out?  Yah think?  To get away to a quiet, beautiful, non-artificial and no-interruption place to gain perspective, breathe deeply, and allow the best of us to emerge – time to “consider our ways?”

Proactive retreats do not demonstrate weakness, instead recognition of wisdom and humanness.  Do you think as technology increases – retreat time should also increase?   I think the answer is yes.

*Time Management Facts and Figures by Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

Dallas Willard’s “Four Great Questions of Life”

October 12, 2013

It’s not difficult to find examples of people living poorly.  I just browsed through CNN online.  Truly, every other story appears to be of someone a person living poorly, dying brutally or hurting someone else viciously!  Certainly, plenty of “doing life wrong” role models out there.  We need not search far for celebrities behaving badly.  Politicians behaving badly.  Business people behaving badly.  Besides the news, none of us seems to escape the impact of messed up family, friends or those we work with.

So who is doing it right?  Who lives well and is worth emulating?  And, even more importantly: Am I living well?  Am I a person others should emulate?

One person that fits the “well-done” category sadly died in just May of this year. His name was Dallas Willard and he was a true mentor and friend to many, including my wife Mindy, and other good friends I respect. I met him a talk he gave a few years ago at a back-porch gathering at our home and thought: “This guy’s the real thing.”  Impressive in his life credentials, he was the Director of the School of Philosophy at Universality of California, attained eight major academic honors, and wrote many, many excellent books, articles and academic papers.  Yet, even more significantly from all accounts and appearances, Dallas Willard was a REAL person. Spiritually. Socially.  Personally.  His teaching was not self-serving or high and lofty, but down to earth and practical, even if he was one of the most intelligent humans on the planet.  He was humble and left a legacy that will far outlive him.  He was jubilant, laughed loudly and cared deeply.

What made Dallas Willard that way?  And how might others be more real as well?

Of all the deep, deep philosophical issues Dallas taught during his lifetime, he was able to boil down and simplify life’s greatest learning on a human level to four questions that every human must answer.  They must address these “to their bane or blessing” during their lifetime he taught.  In other words: Answer these correctly and win big.  Answer them foolishly and lose big.   Just never think about them and lose by default..

These are Dallas Willard’s  “Four Great Questions of Life”

1. What is Reality?

No matter how hard the truth may be for us to face, it’s better to seek out and deal with reality than to pretend.  Truth has consequences… but we’re blessed ourselves when we seek out what’s real and what the truth is.  To settle for just believing truth is “whatever one wants” doesn’t do the hard work of getting real answers.
2. Who is well-off? What is Blessedness? The Good Life?

This would involve our own willingness to seek after and answer for ourselves: Am I really living?  Am I thriving?  If not 1. What would being fully alive look like for me?  2. What is keeping me from that kind of life?
3. Who is a really good person?

As a father, I want my own sons to be friends with really good people.. and be really good people.  I want them to be really good people.  And I want to associate with really good people myself. This certainly assumes I know what to look for in a really good person.  I know what kinds of qualities they have, what they do and what they don’t do.
4. How does one become a really good person?

This one now gets to the what next of answering these questions.  If I know what a good person is and I decide to become a good person: What will I do to become such a person?

Deep thoughts?  Completely!  Questions we CAN answer and must answer to live really well?  Absolutely!

Are You Leading Learning… or Change?

October 11, 2013

ImageThere’s no lack of great teaching in this world.  However, there IS a lack of transformational change-providers.   A GREAT LACK!  There are few who have done the hard work to develop programs, opportunities and products that can change people forever.

Most teaching gets to the mind.  Change gets to the heart and to the deepest motivation.  There’s really a difference.  And in a world filled with VAST amounts of things to be learned, those that intentionally create ways, programs and environments to help people change will not lack for attendance or people who will pay for their services.

Learning is about satisfying curiosity……Changing is about satisfying thirst.

Learning is about sharing information…..Changing is about solving a real problem.

Learning is about seeking insight….. Changing is about addressing deep pain.

And as far as I can tell, people in this world are thirsty.  They thirst for things that are real and true and answer the larger front of the mind types of questions: Why am I here?  Who am I?  What can I do?  How can I be a success as me?

People are filled with real problems that need to be addressed:  They need ways to solve broken and hurting relationships.  They have problems with work they can’t stand.  They have problems making or keeping money. They have problems being at peace, or being healthy or being happy.

And they want out of pain.   Of course, those that cure physical pain and ailments will never lack.  But some of the harshest pain involves hopelessness.  Who will change that?   Other pain involves loneliness. Who will change that?  Other pain involves cycles of failure and disappointment.  Who will change that?

Other pains to consider that YOU might help change:

  • Needing to get out of debt
  • Needing to grow a business that’s struggling
  • Needing to meet the right person
  • Needing to stay married to the right person
  • Needing to organize the mess
  • Needing to lose the weight
  • Needing to get hired
  • Needing to get a promotion
  • Needing to find salvation
  • Needing to find peace of mind
  • Needing to beat an addiction
  • And many, many more.

You may be able to help because you get it.  You’ve been there.  You’ve beaten it.  AND most importantly, because you care!

Will You Be a Game-Changer?

October 10, 2013

I recently overheard someone telling someone else that a new person had just joined their company.  “They’re a game-changer!  Him joining our company changes everything!” she exclaimed.

Hearing that word literally stopped me in my tracks: “Game-Changer.”  “Wow!” I thought. “This person must REALLY bring something special!  I wonder what they do, who or who they and what makes them such a ‘game-changer!'”

Merriam-Webster defines game-changer as “a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way.”   Oxford calls it  “an event, idea, or procedure that affects a significant shift in the current manner of doing or thinking about something.”  In other words – there’s a before and after from the introduction of a game-changer.  Things are not the same… and it seems to be a change for the good.

My guess is that this person introduced into this company brings great ideas, confidence, commitment and they’re really, really good at what they do.

Wonder if anyone has ever called me a “game-changer?”  Wonder if they ever will?   Honestly, I would want to be one…. just be one in the right place, doing the right things in the right ways.  I would want to impact something for such good that there was a before and after from my involvement.

Wouldn’t you like to be called a game-changer?  If so, in what area?

My guess is that game-changers:

1. See what others may not or cannot see.  They have a vision of what might be in future.  A win when most others are playing for a reasonable spread.

2. Believe in their own perspective or abilities.  Even if others don’t presently see what they see, they feel right about what they believe and won’t waiver, even though they listen to others. They’re not out to get others just to approve or agree with them.

3. Patiently wait for others to join them.  They don’t force their perspective. but trust that others will join them over time.

4. Commit to a course of action.  They don’t waffle and wait forever.  Once they see the goal, they move towards it with complete abandon.

Imagine your legacy… ______________ (your name) was a game-changer.  They saw _________________  (your vision) and didn’t waiver.  ___________________ (your niche, company, team, family, location…) will never be the same.

Will you be that game-changer?