Thursday, November 19, 2009


There was a popular skit on the TV Show Saturday Night Live, that depicted a band having problems with a Rogue member who played the cowbell. The problem was every time he tried to actually play the cowbell, he would distract the other musicians and cause chaos, meaning the band had to stop the song and start over. Finally the producer of the band came out and demanded more cowbell, and announced that he had a "fever" and the only cure was MORE cowbell! The acting was great and the skit hilarious, however inside the church world, this parody is very true to an extent. So many people are crying out for MORE cowbell. They want to be heard, over everyone elses voice, or they want others to pay attention to them and their needs instead of their neighbor. When choir members are more concerned about hearing themselves more on the platform than the heart they bring to worship, its too much. When Pastors rule the church staff as a dictator instead of leading like a shepherd, its too much. When committee members that should be serving a function in the church, ignore Gods Word in order to please their conscious, its too much. When the regular church attender can pick out problems in everybody else's life but cant see any fallacies in their own, there is a problem. What is the problem? What does too much mean? Simply put, the needs and wants of our own flesh have become the proverbial cowbell in the church. We speak up, and loudly, only when it will benefit self. We make a scene and cause division, at the cost of God blessed unity and love. We play our personal cow bell so loudly, that the rest of the band is overshadowed and if anybody may try to help us town it down to blend, we purposely play louder or right in the ear of the one trying to help. What is the cowbell in your life? Who in your ministry plays the cowbell too loud? God gives us a challenge to work together to be unified and allow our lives to play Jesus a song of praise for who He is and what He has done. God is not looking for more cowbell, he is looking for more unity and obedience. More love and faithfulness. More praise and more worship. Put the cow bell down and serve without reservation. Give yourself and let Him help you become not just a cowbell player but a true worshipper of Him!

Friday, November 13, 2009


God has placed so many people all around us. Some are friends, others are merely acquaintances while some may be people that we look to for wisdom and advice. Many times we want to live life our way, do ministry how we think it should be done and play the game by our own rules, but this thinking can sink our ship so much faster than we imagined. If we do things only the way we think they should be done without input from others, then we will never realize the best way things could be done. Adrian Rogers used to say, "Do everything with excellence and all things to the glory of God", but if we really want to be excellent, we should consider how others function and execute their ministry and life. There are two groups of people, those who show us how to do something better, and those who show us what NOT to do, both are needed! As a worship pastor, and artist I sometimes have a very critical ear and eye, but when used in perspective, it can be a good thing. When I visit other churches, I am always interested in how they do everything, from where they find the music they play to how much they practice. As I sit and observe I find myself sometimes thinking, "WOW, that's an interesting way to do that, we should try it!" But sometimes after listening I think "OK, that doesn't work at all, do not try this at home". In both instances, I learned something that will help me in the long run with my own ministry at the creek and on the road. Things I would never have picked up on if I had not looked to OTHER ministries or leaders for advice. I am thankful for a church and a Pastor that encourages me to check out other leaders and ministries to learn, grow and stretch. In my 10 years of ministry I have never had a pastor that was actually interested in what I could learn from other pastors and staff members, and that in and of itself gives me alot of what I need to lead others with confidence! It would be pure pride to think that God only gives me and my team the best ideas, but when I realize that we are in this together as a family to please and praise our father in heaven then I will be intentional to ask questions, observe and even help other worship pastors, pastors, and staff members from other churches. If you serve in ministry, let me encourage you to find other people in your field of ministry and visit them, take them to lunch and find out the what and how of their ministry. Ask them what God is doing in their church, and how they got to where they are. Use friendships and networking to allow God to speak to your heart and mold you into the best leader you can be. During the past 12 months I made a commitment to visit some other ministries that God had given favor and just sit at those staff members feet to learn. As I close this article, I would like to give you 5 things that I found these successful ministries had in common.

1. People are always more important than the music or talent.
2. There is never any room for pride...Jesus never takes second place
3. Commitment to developing people as Christians make a world of difference
4. The Senior Pastor must have a heart for worship, to make a successful worship ministry
5. The Worship Pastor does NOT have to be in the front
6. If you expect others to worship, then don't tell the congregation how to worship, show them how to worship.
7. Its not the style of worship (choir, praise team, band, organ, contemp or traditional) it's the position of the heart!
8. You don't work up an atmosphere of worship, you worship anyway and depend on the spirit
9. Be flexible, bendable and teachable.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Servant Worshipper

When we think of worship leaders or even teams, some people automatically think of performers or "stars" of the service. There are some places where the platform people are even treated as such. I remember leading worship in one church when I used to travel and a lady and her husband picked me up from the airport in a limo. They carried my bags for me, tipped the driver and then upon arriving at the hotel ordered room service for me to eat. By the end of the week I was spoiled, and felt like royalty. This couple would sit with me each night, carrying my folder and bible in for me, provided fresh water for me during practices and run through and then re fresh my bottle of water before I walked out on the platform to lead. The last day there I asked this sweet couple, who had been in charge of my care, exactly why they were so sweet to me. The reply was simple. We wanted to serve the servants of God! I began to think about that and realized that each of us are called to be servants of God, so why cant I serve the same way they did? In serving me, they were serving the Lord. When we serve others around us, God is not only pleased but glorified. Even Jesus himself said that He came to serve not be served. If you are a pastor, worship leader, deacon or any other kind of leader, ask God to make you are servant and teach you how to serve others in worship. You might say that this couple went too far, and maybe so because I am definitely not a star or a performer, however when God told us to love people like we love ourselves, I'm pretty sure that means loving and serving others to the extreme! Who are you serving today? Are you placing anybody in front of your own desires or wants?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering September 11, 2001

The song has been playing in my head all day, "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning". The images have been flooding my mind like a photo album. Even during my quiet time this morning, my heart seem to cry for the victims, families and for our country. For the first time in our countrys history, terrorist had succeeded in striking not only physically but mentally, the entire nation, for a moment, cripiling us all with fear and tradgedy. I remember well, the place and time when I first heard the news and saw for myself the second plane hit the towers. I remember the thoughts I was thinking and the confusion I felt. And even though I remember the tradgedy, and chaos, today I also remember the heros, resolve and faith that became so important to so many. Some said that everything fell apart that day. Some remark that nobody was in charge on that beautiful bittersweet day. Some responded in panic believing that all hell had broken loose. During my drive back home that afternoon, even I had asked God if this would be the last time I would see my family or even have a normal life again. I asked questions through my tears, how could God allow this to happen in America, and "God what is next?". In those moments when darkness seemed to cover our nation and fear overshadowed my faith, God whispered gently to my heart, "I AM still I AM. Nothing will remove me from my throne". Today, our nation remembers the tragedy, but may we never forget the triumph of Christ 2000 years before that can assure us that personal, national or international crisis, He is still in control even when we aren't. May we never forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to rescue those in the towers and Pentagon and those who may have saved thousands of other in the fields of Pennsylvania. So much to remember, how can we ever forget. Thanks be to God for His protection and love. May God bless the families still grieving their loss, may He give peace to those still restless, may God bless America once more! We will never forget!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Revival at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College

Some say God cant. Some say that God will not, and others dream of God moving in their church the way He moved at Clear Creek this past Thursday. Just before seven this past Thursday evening, Clear Creek students began to assemble in the chapel to attend what was the last scheduled service of the fall revival. The opening prayer was prayed and the music started. Students were singing, lifting hands and hearts to the Lord. It was evident that the Lord was up to something, but we were not sure exactly what. Anytime God begins to move, His spirit is so sweet and comforting, and this time was no different. When the music concluded Roc Collins stood up and delivered an awesome sermon on Praise! Psalm 150 tells us Who, How, Where, and Why we praise God. After about 70 minutes of preaching, God broke loose. It began as a simple invitation, that turned into a testimony service. People were coming and apologizing for not praising God more in their lives, they were asking for prayer as they struggled with trusting God, and they were broken as they admitted that God was working in their lives in a special way. I sat, playing the piano, leading in songs such as "My Chains Are Gone", and "It Is Well" and many others, yet after each testimony we were all giving praise to God as a family for working in the lives of many that testified. I watched as the broken hearted were made whole, the solemn were broken, the cynical became sorrowful and the youngest generation worshipped in concert with the older generation. There is something special when Gods people begin to offer praise together. To lift holy hands, and cry out to Him, in one heart and voice. 2 1/2 hours later, people were finished speaking of the goodness of the Lord, but God is far from finished working on Clear Creeks campus. One professor made the comment that he had been there over 10 years and had never seen God move in a way so strong. I pray that God will keep moving, and that students and faculty will allow Him to work and touch as only He can. Revival does not happen when and how we want it but it helps when we begin to call out to Him and praise Him! I am thankful that God allowed me to be a part of this special time in the history of CCBBC. That's right, I believe that this past week will be remembered for years to come as a true move of God. There is so much more that God wants to do on that beautiful campus, and I cant wait to see what it is. To God be the glory...PRAISE YE THE LORD!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Everybody Needs Somebody To Look Up To

I have lots of friends, many who are in ministry and many who are not. They have different positions from farmers to banker, from gas clerks to associate pastors, and all of them bring a unique prospective to the table. Each friend from the different backgrounds hold valuable advice and direction from unique perspectives, however they are not what I would call a mentor. Even though I talk to my friends often and ask advice, it is always good to find those people in my life or those I know about who have been doing ministry longer and better than me, and ask questions about how they got to where they are and what God is doing in their lives! Sometimes we are afraid to ask other people questions because that would be admitting that we don't have the answer. God told us that there is wisdom in the company of counselors, but we must be careful who that counselor is. This idea can be applied to all areas of life and to anybody. If you are a banker, you can always be better by asking somebody who has been doing it for a while and really making a difference. If you are a CEO, there are always others who are in charge of larger companies that you can take to lunch and find advice. As a worship pastor, I am constantly finding other worship guys and pastors to watch and ask about ministry things. Recently I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days with a fantastic worship team from FBC Woodstock in GA. These guys are absolutely amazing and God is blessing them tremendously. You might say, "They are in a huge church, how do they relate to you?" Easy, because there was a time they were where I am at, and God has taken them to a larger platform to reach more people. Obviously God has blessed them and deserves all credit for any good or advancement, but there were many lessons learned on the way to thier present position. The time I was able to spend was filled with observation and lots of questions. Everything from what time do you practice, to how do you handle conflict. Those two days have been a major blessing to me and I will take several things I learned in GA to make the ministry better in KY. Did I like everything about Woodstock's worship ministry? No, but even difference of opinion can be a learning experience. Let me challenge you. Find those people in your life that you might not even know yet, and request some time with them to learn and ask. Even if it is only lunch, offer to buy their lunch and pick their brain. Be sure to really be interested and have some questions ready, this way you don't wast your time or theirs. John Maxwell when he was first getting started, would take those in his profession who had it together to lunch and pay them $100 for an hour of their time. Why? Because input from others is very valuable if you ever intend to grow and be better. Why be better? Because God deserves our best, and if we only want to stay where we are, then God is not pleased and we will become stagnant. God was always asking His followers in the Bible to go forward, or stand still and wait on Him, but He never asked them to go backward or become dull and dried up. Take this opportunity to evaluate where you are in your walk, profession, ministry and service. If you have not made any advance in those areas of your life in recent months, find somebody to speak into your life through Gods word and get moving again for the Glory and worship of God! Be ready for honesty, and dont accept anything less. Honesty is what will help us be better.

Friday, August 7, 2009

CD Music Review- Travis Cottrell

I am not a professional critic but when I find a great collection of worship I want to share it with others. So many of today's artist sound the same, especially when they release a worship CD. We usually find a CD filled with songs we don't know or are hard to sing. Sometimes we discover songs that make us want to cry and not because we are broken, but more like the songs on the CD are so bad. If this is the case in your search for good music, I have great news for you! Travis Cottrell is not just another artist trying to promote a new CD that just happens to be filled with worship tunes but, Travis is an actual worship leader with a heart that comes through as he leads. Jesus Saves Live was recorded at FBC Woodstock in GA along with special friend Beth Moore. From the deep drumbeats of "To The King" all the way through to the classic "In Christ Alone", this project will move you to worship God with everything that is within you. Giving others who are called an opportunity to serve is definitely a vision of Cottrells and you can tell as other leaders are featured on the new rendition of Mercy Seat and the great exhilarating arrangement of Victory In Jesus. This is not your grandmothers hymn tucked away in the pages of an old hymnal, but this power packed version has been revived to portray the real, powerful victory that is our in Christ! I highly recommend this project to anyone that loves Worship music that is deep and meaningful, not just shallow or as some traditionalist rightly describe some songs as 7-11 music. This CD is anything but....Thank God for Travis Cottrell!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Planning a Worship Service

OK so this post will be a little out of the ordinary for me, but it is in response to those of you who have been asking how a worship service is planned at the creek. Well there are as many answers to that question as there are songs that are sung. There is not a magical method that I use to deduce what songs or what will happen in a worship service, but there is alot of prayer. I usually begin planning a typical music line up a couple weeks out. I will try to find out what the sermon will be or if we are in a series like we are currently, I will find the theme and find songs that might fit. I use a list of about 85 active songs that we are singing, then compose a list of about 8 songs from that list and consider keys, transitions and tempo as I arrange them in an order. As I said, prayer is important, so I will usually spend a couple days praying about the eight before going further. Sometimes a song might come to my mind in my quiet time or something I am reading and if it keeps coming back around to me for a couple days I will add it to my list of 8 (which makes it 9 LOL). Other people like to give suggestions at times to what song they haven't heard in a while (24 hours or less), and if the songs fit the message or God just really impresses it in my spirit then I will add it. Once the 4 songs are picked then I add them to the worship planning online for the team to be practicing. Then on Thursday we have a creative team meeting where songs can and sometimes do change, depending on a change of direction or some thoughts or direction given by the pastor. One thing that all worship Pastors should keep in mind, is that God has given us a shepheard in the Senior Pastors office and we should be able to trust his heart to give us suggestions and input. On Thursday after the creative team meets, I will finalize the entire service order with, videos, testimonies, special music, drama or whatever we have felt led to add or use for that week. I will also put together the tentative list for the next weeks services and begin praying over that service and the elements we plan to use. Some might say that this is too much planning, but keep in mind that the Holy Spirit still has complete control and it is not uncommon to change everything on Sunday or even Saturday night! As one pastor put it, "I would rather plan ahead and allow God to change things when He shows up, rather than not plan at all hoping God shows up and he not be in our midst."
So there you go, a very short snap shot of planning in the worship department. May not seem like very much but God has blessed us with over 50 people that go into the planning and execution of each weeks services so it can become very busy, complicated and hectic very fast. I am so thankful to be a part of a church that has a passion to worship and bring honor to the King through music and arts!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just some random thoughts!

This post will be different from normal, but I hope useful. In the last several days I have read and heard some great quotes and scriptures that I wanted to share with you. Some are funny, some are thought provoking, some are sad while others are deep. What have you been reading or studying in your quiet time? Has God given you any great thoughts or scriptures to help you through the day? If so, respond to this blog and let me know.

- If we tolerate what we should terminate, then corruption will permeate and sin will escalate!

- The woman at the well was more concerned about "where" to worship rather than the "who".

- I am sweating like a pavlovian dog thinking about Krispy Kream doughnuts!- E. Canur

- God is going to cut the grass one day!- Trevor Barton

- "So Let Your Light Shine before men that they might see your good works but glorify the father which is in heaven"- Matt 5:16

- When you give everything you have to Christ, then you have everything left!

- "I Want to leave this place better than I found it!"- JMH

- True humility is not making yourself small, but making others BIG. - Unknown

- "He who dwells in the secret place of the most high, will abide in the shadow of the almighty- Psalm 91

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Proverb A Day

People ask me on a regular basis, what are some good things to read during my devotion time? This is actually a topic that God had placed on the heart of my Pastor and so in this particular post, I want to give you just a short synopsis of what he recommends. A great read for anybody would be the book of Proverbs. It has 31 books which naturally gives you 31 days you can read a chapter and use it during your time of prayer each morning or evening. Once you read through the corresponding chapter with the date of the month, it is a good idea to take the chapter verse by verse and ask God to do those things in your life or shape you according to His word. For example in Proverbs 3 when it says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart lean not to your own understanding", that's a good opportunity to ask the Lord to help you not always have to have your way and to trust Him more. What a great prayer, that we would trust God more. It doesn't sound like much but when you begin a daily digest of the word and putting it into action, you will see that God will bless and help you to become more like Him!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We Will Remember

So yesterday we celebrated Memorial Day across our great nation. Some gathered with family and friends, had cookouts, played in golf tourneys, decorated graves, went to the lake and many other activities but what exactly did we remember? As I sat at a late lunch with my sweetheart, the TV's were tuned to a NASCAR race and I watched as the race was stopped at 3pm to remember the fallen hero's of our country as well as some of the driver and crews family who had given everything for the cause of freedom. Some pictures began to flash on the screen along with names. The photographs contained men and women in uniform, some smiling and some somber but all proud to wear the red white and blue. I began to cry, and yes partly because I am a big baby but also because it moved me. There I sat in a restaurant with strangers looking at pictures of people I did not know nor would ever meet but was touched to think of how they were willing to give everything so I could be sitting there. The call was un-mistakable, the sacrifice was great, and the soldier was willing! Praise be to God that those who came before us were bold and courageous enough to stand tall and report for duty! As a christian, I pray we would always remember and support our military and pray for their safety and safe return. Find a veteran or soldier in uniform and say thank you! If you see a soldier out eating, secretly pick up the check. God has blessed us to live here, but just as the freedom we have in Christ did not come without blood, so the American freedom came by the same currency. Truly God has shed His grace on us!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ponder the path

Sometimes there are ideas and principals that are so obvious that we fail to recognize them or even heed the advice and direction that they give. In the book, “The Principal of The Path”, such a principal is found. The thought is very simple yet profound, and one which we realize all too late in life most times. Basically the principal can be summed up in this statement, “Whatever path you are on, will lead you somewhere, and it might not be where you want to go.”
Of all places to find wisdom, Andy Stanley takes up to King Solomon himself, the wisest King to ever live or rule. Solomon tells us that we should observe where we are because it can tell us where we are going. How much simpler could it get? If we will take the time to first of all, examine our current path, what we are giving energy to and spending resources on, we may be able to see what the ending will be like. There have been many times that when all is said and done we look back and think, “If I had only seen this coming”, but the truth is there are times that we could have. If we had only taken the time to look around, check a map, or ask somebody who has been where we are, then some circumstances could be avoided. I have reflected on several things in not only my personal life path, but my ministry path as well. Looking back from this point, I see why I am where I am and how I could have been somewhere different, but I have also found some great insight in the book that will help me get to where I feel like God wants me to be. One thing, that Stanley and King Solomon hammers home is the concept of wise counsel from wise people. Too many times we ask the wrong people for advice and direction who may be good friends and confidants, are not “wise” on the issue that we seek input about. The bible makes it clear that the best counsel comes from those who have “been there and done that”, not those who have a fresh view or promise a “new perspective”. Rehoboam learned this the hard way when he rejected the counsel of the elder statesmen and went with the direction given by those the bible says “he grew up with”. The path we are on can be navigated no matter how young we are, however we must use those around us who know how to navigate the path and have already been that way before. Another point that stuck out to me is the story you tell while on your path, will make a great impact! No matter what path you are on, there will be a story about the journey can be as important as your arrival. I have heard Johnny Hunt mention over and over that he prays that he will “finish well”, and oh how we should all desire that, but some of us will never finish well if we don’t change the path we are on. We find ourselves making the same mistakes over and over, but we are not willing to change paths, and eventually the sympathy that people feel for us as we fall the first couple of times will turn to apathy because they can see that we are headed for a dead end, if we don’t change paths. The last thing from this great book I would like to discuss is the art of paying attention and not being distracted. When we are on the path, there will be many distractions and “side shows” to grab our attention but if we are to finish the path, it’s a good idea to stay focused. Stanley uses the analogy of a driver that stares at something to his right or left while driving, will veer toward it. The same holds true for us as we walk the path we are on. Whatever captures our attention will cause us to steer toward it, and sometimes that can be dangerous and sometimes fatal. Once again, King Solomon shares a story about the young man who was dealing with a questionable woman who, even though the young man couldn’t see, was standing at the doorway that led to destruction. The young mans attention was captured and his path was re- routed. But what if our focus and attention was set on Christ and we steered our path in His direction?
In conclusion, this book was a great read and recommended to all church staff, leaders, even business folks. I challenge you as you read this, look at the path you are on and ask yourself “where am I going to end up if I continue doing this job” , “making these decisions”, “treating my spouse this way”, “giving God this amount of time”, “pleasing people”, “working here” or whatever would fit your situation. Once you have assessed your life, then make some decisions about changing your path and remember, don’t do it alone, seek “wise” counsel, get directions, keep an eye on the story line, and pay attention!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Great Commision

If you look online, or even in many publications in Southern Baptist life, you can't miss the fact that there is something on the horizon that promises to be as big if not larger than the "Conservative Resurgence" that our mentors helped to bring about in the late 70's and early 80's. It is something that I believe to be very important and long over due. This is something that will change not only the face of the SBC but possibly the landscape of our nation. What is this great thing I am talking about? A Great Commission Resurgence! A call to start fulfilling the calling God has given all Christians, and share our faith. Giving resources, time, energy and anything else that we can in spreading the gospel. To re-focus our giving and structure toward making a lasting difference for the Lord Jesus! We have become so proud that we "give to the co-operative program" and we give to "missions" and we give to the "association", but what happened to us giving ourselves to the Lord and "going" and not just "giving". In my 12 years of ministry, I have been able to work with hundreds of churches of all sizes, denominations and races, and one thing is true across the board; the great commission is void in our actions and mission of the local church. Oh sure, the "mission statement" that most churches have over the door is to "be a great commission church" but when asked what that means, the only answer is "we give money to the association to send out missionaries." Another popular answer is " we are part of the SBC". There was even one church leader that once told me, that the only reason that his church gave to the association or convention was so his Pastor and other staff could be leaders in the denomination. Another pastor, admitted that his church only gave because the annuity was so good. When did we replace our redeemer with recognition and retirement? At what point did we become so concerned with being on committees than being committed to serving others and the Lord? It seems that we have become obsessed with the business of the church, but sadly the tasks that we are trying to accomplish have no eternal perspective and fails miserably at being the church that Christ died for. My prayer is not that a great war is waged or even that we find a great leader and follow them, but the cry of my heart is, to follow the leader we already have in Christ, and lets do what we were commanded to do in the first place! It has been said that we won the battle for the bible, and I am thankful for those who fought the fight and stood strong, but if you are not going to obey the words of the bible, what did we really win? It is time! Today! Share your faith, preach and sing the gospel! Ask yourself the question, "What are the results of what I am doing for the Kingdom?" "Could this money be used better for the Kingdom?" Take some resources and pour them into serving your community or neighbor, sharing the gospel through your own church, and see if God will not bless it! It will take courage, and action, but one thing is for sure, if you will take action, God will give you the courage to follow through! And when we act, that is living a lifestyle of worship!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Practice makes perfect, but who needs perfection.

It is said that practice makes perfect, and many people hold to this idea. Please don't think I am discounting the discipline of practice, but sometimes I think we expect a monumental outcome. I do believe that practice is needed and a very important part of any worship ministry or any other talent or ministry, but to use the statement that guarantees perfection, is a stretch. I think many times we spend more time trying to be perfect in our worship practices than actually preparing for worship. How many of us actually practice our worship? There should be some un-rest if we spend more time preparing the stage, than the heart of the platform personalities. We should practice spending time in God's word, seeking God's face and listening to His voice. I mean actually living out our christian walks day after day, trying to give God our all! There is also something to be said for the actual physical side of ministry. I say that we should spend many hours in practice and preparation because while perfection may not happen with practice, our best will. I think it was said well by former basketball star Ed Macauley "Just remember that if you are not working at your game to the best of your ability there will be somebody out there with just as much talent as you, that will be working to the best of their ability, and they will out preform you!" In ministry, as well as life, lets put our time and energy into practice as much as possible, so that when the time comes to actually lead worship, play our instrument, or just shine for Christ, we will be at our best for Christ, that is humanly possible!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Talent in Worship

When you think of talent, most times you think of success and unconditional greatness. However in John Maxwell’s book, “Talent Is Never Enough”, we find that talent is a great treasure to posses but it is only the beginning of a successful life or profession. There are far more attributes that we should posses and build on, that will cause us to be a “talent plus person”. When individuals fail to see that talent is not enough, they fail miserably at most things in life. As I read this great book by Maxwell, there are several things I observed.
In life, we find that one thing, sport or profession that we are comfortable in or excel at and we consider that talent. Most times we think that practice is not needed, focus is not required and working with others only gets in the way. We tell ourselves that we are good enough and initiative, preparation and perseverance are not needed, but only talent. There are others that we see around us at times and think that they are the most talented people we have ever met, and that must be what has propelled them to greatness. But if talent is all that they posses or all they depend on, the notoriety and fame they may seem to have will be short lived, and crumble at the same pace as it was attained. Maxwell suggests that ingredients such as Teamwork, character, preparation and passion are necessary to multiply, protect position and energize your talent, and I have found that he is correct. As I reflect back on these leadership laws and proverbs, the resounding call to consistently learn is clear. When we fail to do right, we fail to protect our talent. When we fail to prepare, we fail to position our talent and when we fail to learn we fail to grow our talent. Through reading this retrospective book, I am reminded that talent is awesome when used in the correct parameters and conduits that these other characteristics provide. So many routine things in day to day life such as relationships, are overlooked and brushed aside for the purpose of relying too much on what we at times think too highly of, our own talent. We overlook teamwork, so the glory of success is ours alone. We overlook practice because we already feel that we are good enough, when the result proves us otherwise. We try and play the victim, yet we are actually the facilitator of our own demise, all because we stopped becoming better, thinking we were satisfied where we were.
There is more than reading this book to discover that there are so many more ways to enable your personal growth but you must take chapters three and eight to heart and muster the courage to place initiative in growing in whatever area your core values and passion will drive you. Having the knowledge and putting it into practice are two different things. Sometimes, I think we know but we fail to act, causing us to become like a new car and losing our value after we drive off the lot of comfort. What is it that cause so many of us to decide that we are through or burn out earlier in life than what we dreamed? I think the answer is simple, yet hard to admit, dependency! What do we depend on so much that could hurt us or slow us down? Talent! There are times we don’t even realize the enormity of the impact we could have in our profession, church, or life because we are so focused on the parts we can see, instead of developing the potential that you can’t. There is a great quote in the book that bears repeating, “Some people are like an ice berg; you only see the top 15% but what you cant see underneath the water is so much bigger”. We don’t take the time to master ourselves but instead we allow circumstances and even our abilities master us. One story that caught my attention was the tale of the great golfer Bob Jones. Jones had problems with his temper, and was even known to throw clubs on occasion. Obviously his character was scared and known throughout his social circles, yet so was his talent. He was advised several times through his teen years to take charge of his temper, or he would never succeed at the game he was gifted to play. Jones, relied heavily on his gift until one day it sunk in. With perseverance and focus, he eventually broke his temper and became known as one of the best professional golfers not to mention one with great character. One English scholar remarked of Bob Jones, “Bob was fourteen when he mastered the game of golf but he was twenty one when he mastered himself.”
Coming to the conclusion that one’s talent is not enough is sometimes a long process. It does not happen overnight, and sometimes needs prodding, but when reality is clear, and you find that you must make some changes, then talent is not seen as the only virtue but only a building block, on which God wants to build and grow you for His kingdom and glory. When talent stands alone, without any other stones, then that is how your life will stay…incomplete!