Why'd You Get Up This Morning?  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , ,

In college I had some difficult times getting up on my own.  I tried putting the alarm clock as close to my head as possible - it was on my headboard - and there were a few times I slept through it buzzing and buzzing and buzzing.  One roommate in the dorm slept below me, in the bunk bed, actually would push me with his feet sometimes to get me to wake up.  This also led me to miss some church times too, especially Bible Class (as it was first).  Since I didn't go that much, this certain year, people weren't expecting to see me, hence, I wasn't missed.

After that particular year, I started playing softball with a group in the church.  Things really changed.  I started taking an interest in them and they in me.  I started to see a "reason" for going to church assemblies, even Bible Class.  That brings us to this week's quote...

You really don't need a reason to get up in the morning! You need to be the reason other people get up in the morning!  ~ Joseph Simmons, "Rev Run"
It is easy to think that no one really cares about you - if you're there, if you're not, etc.  You're just you.  That is the problem, we think too much about ourself in regards to what is in it for me.  We should lose that train of thought and realign it to think "what can I do for others, today". 

Maybe you could be the smile in someone's day.  Maybe you could be the compliment.  Maybe you could be the held-out-hand of help.  Maybe you could be the reason other people are getting up this morning.

You can choose to get out of bed and dread going wherever you are going or you can decide to see how you can make a small difference in someone's life.  It's up to you each and every day!

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Industrial Inspiration: Dissipating Snowpile  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , ,

In the town where I live there is this huge snow pile.  The pile is created by the accumulation of deposited snow the City puts there, which they've taken off of the main streets in town.  Since we've had a few good snows this season, the pile is about 3 "mountain ranges" deep.  Each pile was probably around 15-feet high.  Kids love to climb up with their sleds and then slide down.  I drove by once and noticed someone made a little tunnel to slide in and out before going down the hill.  It all looked so fun that I've even thought about going over to it to let the kid in me have some fun (maybe when my 2-year old gets a little older). 


As I drive past that pile of snow quite regularly it created a train of thought in my head.  That thought went something like this, "Though that much snow is taking a long time to melt, if snow is not continually put on top of the pile, it will eventally disappear, and no one will really ever notice". 


Does your business or your position reflect that statement?  To put it into a better context, did your business start out "big" - big dreams, hopes, income, etc., but has started to dissipate?  Did you start in your position with a lot of vigor and fire, but some of that has started to dissipate?  If you don't continually add to yourself and/or your company, you will start to dwindle, like the snowpile.


We've had some 60-degree days since that snow pile was created.  Those temperatures have caused some significant melting, but it hasn't caused the pile to go away, yet.  You may experience some low times or big hits, but that doesn't have to cause your "pile" to dwindle away.  You allow your dreams to melt away.  YOu allow your fire to go out.  Outside influences do just that, influence, but they don't have to put it out, you allow that to happen. 


You probably know how to put the snow back on your pile.  You keep yourself fresh, you create new goals, you look for ways you can improve, you look to see how you can self-renew, you evaluate the competition and see how you can be distinct in your field to keep snow on your pile.  If you don't do some of those things (and probably others) your pile will slowly melt away.  Then what happens?  Will people miss you?  Will your employer find someone who will be able to replace you with someone who comes in with "lots of snow on their pile"? 


May you find a way or ways to make sure your pile doesn't melt away, regardless of the environment (which will make the actual snowpiles eventually go away).  Do all that you can to keep your snowpile from dissipating!


I love adding more snow to my pile!

(This is from a newsletter I send out to businesses each month. If your business would like to receive one, please contact me by leaving a comment)

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Interruptions  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , ,

Wouldn't you know it, the week of speaking about how one needs to lose control God sends me with a few interruptions.  A couple of meetings with people, called in to substitute teach, and called to see if I want to work on the future Tulsa Workshop theme design, to name a few. And, none were disappointing which is part of the reason I love my profession.

I don't know how many of these are "God-things". I could over analyze the situations and try to rack my brain around the idea whether or not God brought about every single one of those or if once they were brought about it was up to me to see the bright side of the situation, or a combination of both. Regardless, I like to try to see where God is once I get into a situation. How I can be used by Him to reflect Him to others so that they can get a small glimpse of Him.

Did you notice any "interruptions" in your week?  Did you notice God saying "You're not in control"?  These can be as humbling for us as they were for Nebechadnezzar. No one had the humbling experience that he did, which we can say "thank you" to God for not putting us through something like that. What did your interruptions look like - major or minor?  Uplifting or teeth-gritting?  Eye-opening or eye-rolling?

Interruptions may come into our life more often than we think and we just do not recognize them.  Even in the painful, irritating times, may we find a moment to relax and look for the silver linings that may come out of each interruption.  May we humble ourselves to see that we are not in control but He is.

Whether or not the interruptions you experience are from God, use them, anyway, for His glory and see what great thing may be couched in the interruption(s) of the week ahead.



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Biggest Loser: Losing Fear  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , ,

It's lurking around, keeping you down more than gravity.  A g-force pushing you down that is ever-so-present.  It is fear.  It lurks even in the daylight.  It doesn't have to jump out to scare you anymore, you're already past that point.  You know it is there.  It has encompassed you to the point that you think about it once a day.  What is it for you?  Would you like to be free of that fear?  Would you like to be fear less?

To talk about the possible fears that so many people have would be a writing that would be way too long.  All fears have similarities. They consume.  They errode common sense thinking.  They cause us to tread lightly.  They can be like when you're waiting to cover your ears when a cannon goes off at a game, you don't know when it happens and you try to prepare yourself for that time.


Jesus' followers also were afraid, as we looked at yesterday, when the storm came up while they were on the water.  They panically exclaimed "Lord save us!".  Similarly, in a loud voice, since it was in the midst of the storm, Jesus replied, "Why are you afraid, you of little faith?!"  In the midst of your storms, times of panic, or times of desperation Jesus is calling out to you the same thing.  As we reflect back, here are some applications to choose to use this week...
  1. Make a list ~  It is difficult to acknowledge our fears, sometimes.  Writing them down may make it easier to visualize.  Which may make it easier to confront and overcome.
  2. Thunder roars while Jesus snores ~ Imagine trying to sleep on a hammock while someone was tossing it back and forth?  I don't know if the storm was that rough, but Jesus was able to sleep in the midst of it.  I find value in the fact that He was able to sleep, which should bring peace to me in my storms that I can "sleep" too.
  3. You're not just a "number" ~ We are so valuable to God that He knows the numbers of hairs on our head and our worth is greater than the sparrow (Matthew 10:31).  God finds so much value in you that it "isn't even funny"...afterall, He gave up His son for you.
  4. Ever-Present ~ Jesus is always available. He is on call "24/7".  So, "do not let your hearts be troubled" (John 14:1-3) and take advantage of that availability whenever you feel fear weighing you down.
Imagine if mankind lost the poundage of fear?  It would transform a whole nation of people, a whole world for that matter. If you are "overweight" with fear, start walking, towards Him and see the pounds fall off.  Like actual weight-loss, it's easier said than done.  However, the first step to success is taking the first step.



PS: A good book is called "Fearless" by Max Lucado, it recently came out.  Click here to read my review.


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The Perfect Hero  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , ,

Why is it that heroes and role models inevitably seem to not be able to live up to their responsibilities?  One could argue that "they are just human".  Another argument could be that they are under so much pressure that they will probably crack, eventually.  Whatever the argument it seems that as long as people rise, they tend to fall.  I am not going to generalize, but the couple that I am going to focus on is athletes.

A few months ago a well-known athlete had a car accident.  He had been out that night, under the influence, and lost control, causing him to wreck his car.  That well-known athlete has set all kinds of records and has gained the attention and fan base of thousands, maybe millions.  His name, Tiger Woods.  He has wowed people since he stepped into the spotlight, including me.  He's come back from final-round deficits to make people's jaws drop.  He's overcome injuries.  He was sponsored by a lot of major companies.  However, after the night of his crash it was more than his car that crashed.  His past came out and his infidelity quickly rose to the surface.  His life has come crashing down.  He may have his talent, but because of his choices, he will have a heavy load to carry around.  This heavy load is something that he brought on himself.  Maybe you, too, have brought about something like this in your life.  Have you "crashed" in life?  Made choices you regretted?  Most all of us have and the best thing is that there's hope.

Then, there is a guy that is known by the number "70", not because of his jersey, but because of the feat that he accomplished.  Others may call him "Mac".  He was very well-known in Oakland and St. Louis. He was one that I enjoyed imitating when I stepped up to the plate.  He was able to crush the baseball.  He had huge forearms and a seemingly effortless swing.  He is Mark McGwire.  He came on the scene when he played for the Oakland A's.  He brought life into those green and yellow uniforms. He, along with Jose Conseco and Ricky Henderson, made that era of the A's a force to be reckoned with.  Later, he went to the St. Louis Cardinals. A few years ago, he was brought before people to be questioned on use of steroids.  "No" was his answer, under oath.  Trying to escape trouble.  Now, he admits to using the drugs. He says that using them was a "mistake".  He says that hitting the home runs were no reflection of the steroids.  That argument I understand because steroids will not cause someone to connect with the ball better. However, he made the choice to put the drugs into his body.  He was educated, sometime in his life, as to the effects that would be as a result of the use of steroids.  Also, Major League Baseball does not allow the use of sports enhancing drugs, such as steroids, to be used. Drugs are often used to "escape reality".  The escape is brief, to say the least.  Steroids must be continually used to make sure they have the same affect. Were the pressures of major league baseball too high for Mr. McGwire?  Did the people expect more than what they saw?

These two men are not alone in their mistakes, they are just recent. I could have used men in a different profession or women of various professions.  These men are human, not "just" human, as to water down their offense.  Humans make mistakes.  You also are not alone in the mistakes you've made. However, that doesn't excuse your mistakes, just like it doesn't excuse their mistakes. We all fail, but we're not failures.

There is one role model and hero that made no mistakes.  He was in the spotlight.  He was tempted. He was under constant pressure. He made it out clean. You probably know Him.  His name is Jesus.  It may seem obvious to conclude by talking about Him, but some may not realize how He stood the tests without giving in.  When I'm looking for a good role model, I want someone who I can know will not make a mistake.  I want someone my kids can look to for an example.  Whether we've failed, stumbled, or given up, there's always someone left to emulate, that's Him.  He's the example for resisting pressure (Hebrews 4:15) and for giving up your life for others (John 15:13).

Though I'm guilty of messing up in life, He's not. May we see the reality of looking to Jesus for everyday life, not just on "church" days.


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