Announce your first child is on the way!!! God is so cool! Little Fortner is expected in September. Mom is thrilled but not looking forward to the summer. Dad is stoked!
It’s Tuesday Question time! Last week I asked about debt keeping you from achieving your dreams – a tough subject for some people but very important. Let’s brighten things up this week! This one is for the parents out there.
What’s the best part of being a parent?
I don’t know how I missed it being a music and social media lover, but I just recently learned about the band, Walk Off the Earth, which blew up in the last year on YouTube.
Not only are they brilliant musicians who clearly work their butts off, they create incredible live music videos.
Here’s one of my favorites – a cover of Adele’s Someone Like You. Enjoy! And if you get some time go watch more of their videos.
Before taking a job at the Pentagon in 2010, I had the great fortune to lead the Public Affairs team at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. The base is home to Arnold Engineering Development Center, the world’s most advanced aerospace ground test center.
Simply put, it’s where military aircraft, rockets, jet engines, and more are tested before they’re ever flown.
Today’s video below is the 2009 Year in Review video we produced to honor all 2000+ team members at Arnold as well as past and present team members we lost that year. One of those was one of my team member’s sons – Wesley Amacher.
His name appears at 2 minutes, 34 seconds.
As a leader, I’ve faced nothing more difficult. But any difficulty I faced of course paled in comparison to what my team member, Vickie, felt then and still today over Wesley’s loss.
I remember the funeral service like it was yesterday. Amidst all the sadness and tears, she displayed one of the most inspiring acts of courage I’ve ever witnessed.
The place was packed with mourners. People from all streets of Wesley’s life intersecting in a standing room only funeral home. The receiving line was out the door. And instead of standing at the front of the room, allowing us to come to her, there was Vickie making her way up the line, hugging and comforting all of us who had come to comfort her.
Seeing Vickie’s courage along with all of my emotions was overwhelming. By the time we met in the center of that room, I couldn’t speak. I stood there looking at her, she back at me, and I couldn’t muster a single word. I felt like I was going to explode into a million pieces if I did.
After a couple of seconds of struggle, she just looked into my eyes and said, “I know. I know.” Then we hugged.
To this day, I don’t know. I don’t know how she did that. I don’t know where the strength came from.
Click the video to view it. If it won’t play, click here.
I think I’m going to start sharing videos on Fridays. What do you think?
Here’s a short and hilarious video courtesy of Winnie the Pooh and company. My wife sent it to me this week in an email that read, “When you have a minute and wanna laugh.” Just click it and it will play, but if it doesn’t click here.
Have a great weekend, ya’ll!
Quarter-sized snowflakes are falling from the sky in the DC-area right now. I see them through my office window. “Hey there, snow.”
Knowing my wife, she’s probably sitting in front of the window at home right now with a huge grin on her face, wondering how life could get any better.
I on the other hand am questioning how I will survive the day and accomplish my 2012 goals. You see, snow is the enemy of Joel. One major reason is I like European shoes, which generally lack sufficient tread.
Always plan for unforeseen circumstances and insulate your ability to achieve your goals by wearing the right shoes. Or risk ending up flat on your back.
That is all.
Jesus would have been the kid who got beat up every day at recess.
He would have just stood there and taken shots from the schoolyard bully. Most of us would have at least tried to fight back. You know why?
Because Jesus is better than we are.
Someone slaps us, and we want to slap them back or worse. Someone curses at us, and we lob our own profanity in retaliation. Someone cuts us off in traffic, and the inner child emerges armed with invisible fireballs and bolts of electricity for which we use to destroy the horrid offender.
If someone was to cut Jesus off in the Jesusmobile during a leisurely Sunday drive, you know what He would have done?
Prayed. Then he would have gone about his drive.
The Bible says, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21
The rock band, Foo Fighters, has a song called, “Best of you.” It’s on my iPod, and I’ve heard a lot lately during workouts. (Tuesday’s arms and back.) Every time I hear the lyrics “Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?” I think of the same thing.
Is someone getting the best of me?
While the song is about a relationship gone bad, that’s not the way the lyrics strike me. On the contrary, I ask myself, “Am I giving the best of myself? Is everyone I encounter getting the best from me?”
That’s what Jesus did and He commanded us to do the same, even when we want revenge.
Yes, that means when a co-worker takes credit for something you did, continue to give them the best of you. When a friend forgets to call you on your birthday, continue to give them the best of you. When your spouse says something hurtful, give them the best of you. That may mean they sleep on the couch for a night or two while you cool your jets but whatever.
There’s no doubt this isn’t easy. It isn’t easy for God either, as the Bible clearly says God hates evil. But at the same time, the Bible says God loves all His children. He just has an issue with his naughty kids. If you’re a parent, does this sound familiar?
Back at the schoolyard, Jesus not fighting is His way of giving us the best of Him. And the reason is simple. By taking the punishment, which everyone would have been watching, He would be modeling what God commands us to do – not seek vengeance.
But, as the verse above says, let God repay in ways only God knows and understands, while you close your eyes for a few seconds, take a deep breath, and go to God in prayer. This will give you the best shot at continuing to give them the best of you.
These are three words commonly used to describe the legendary Apple founder, Steve Jobs, who died today. After hearing of his death from my wife just minutes ago, I visited Apple’s website, and true to form, I was awestruck by their simple, elegant and powerful tribute to their now fallen leader.
Steve Jobs was no doubt a rare type. He will be remembered as one of the great CEOs and business minds of our time. People will remember him for enriching their lives through brilliant technology, which closed the gap between friends, families and businesses around the world; technology that brought simple moments of pleasure to millions. The anniversary of his death will make headlines for years.
This is, of course, how we will remember him.
On the other hand, the Lord knows the real Steve Jobs, like He knows all of his children.
O Lord, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains. Psalms 116:16
Rest in peace, Mr. Jobs.
Yesterday, I stepped away from the office for a few minutes to get a cup of coffee. I wound my way through the Pentagon to Starbucks. Yes, there’s a Starbucks in the building. All in the name of national defense! As I stood there waiting to order, I heard a version of “Hallelujah” playing overhead. I hadn’t heard it in a long time, and it’s a song I absolutely love. I find it captivating.
Upon returning to the office, I went to YouTube and pulled up Jeff Buckley’s version, my all-time favorite. It drew me in as it always does. For the next hour, I found and played different versions to include Leonard Cohen’s original and another favorite version by Rufus Wainwright.
The song has always had a spiritual feel to me, but I never took it any further than that. Clearly many others have though, evidenced by the massive amount of comments below each version I listened to. To sum up a major thread, some believe the song is rooted in religion and some don’t. However, this debate, in my view, all came back to the same thing…..love and people arguing over the source of that love.
If you’ve spent much time at all with the Bible or writings from other religions, they’re peppered with words about love. As a Christian, I believe in Jesus, who was the ultimate lover and who set the example of how to love best. An example we fall short of every day, but something we should always strive for.
Ever tried loving your enemies? Yeah, that’s not easy. How about loving your enemies who nailed you to a cross. Think you could do that? I may have been able to get past the false trials, but I would have come off the rails when the torture began!
But Jesus didn’t. He persisted, loving on until he died, was resurrected, descended into heaven and He’s never stopped.
See, love is a funny thing. We know it when we feel it. We recognize it when we see it. Yet we struggle to describe it and struggle more when we lose it. “It’s just something you feel,” we say. “You know it when you feel it.”
Well, God is also a funny thing. We know it when we feel Him. We recognize Him when he see Him. Yet we struggle with Him, especially when something tragic occurs like the death of a child. But like before, we hear people say, “I can’t describe it, but I felt His presence. You just know when God is there.”
Throughout the Bible, the word of the Lord is tailored to appeal to specific groups of people like business people. God’s word at times was indirectly told through stories and shown through simple acts of kindness. This was God’s way of spreading His word to all people, even if it took masking it where it was tough to see, recognize, feel or describe. Sounds a lot like love to me.
God is love. Hallelujah.
A couple of weeks have now passed since I transitioned the focus on my blog to what the Bible has to say about business, leadership and communication. I hope what you’ve read is helping close the gap between business and the Book. For me, the more I read, the smaller that gap gets.
In case you haven’t noticed, I want to bring to your attention the blog page, Verses That Close The Gap. I thought it may be handy to give you a place to find the verses I write about, along with some additional thoughts about each one.
The page will be updated when each new post is published. So, if you value it, just check it from time to time and feel free to comment or share it with others.
Thanks for reading!