I’m in the middle of my final re-election campaign for City Council; yes, this is my third term – time flies. I never would have imagined that I would have served three terms (12yrs). There are three incumbent candidates, all running unopposed. We have a very happy and content community of just under 85,000 people, with no significant community wide needs. All Council seats are “at-large”, which means we represent the whole city not specific districts or precincts. Without controversy, we remain a vibrant growing and upscale community. This campaign is quite different since there are no challengers. I have learned to ask for help and every campaign takes a team to be successful.
Our daughter is still my graphic designer and the key to my success. Signs went up a couple of weeks ago thanks to a number of volunteers and now they will be maintained by Lisa and I. We’ll fix those knocked over and reinforce the signs against the wind. We will sacrifice to do what was right for the campaign. These campaigns have always been a teamwork effort and this campaign is no exception. I’m not really into bragging but my family, friends and volunteers have reminded me why I am a truly blessed man. My lesson-learned in all this; don’t wait until it’s all over to thank those that help you along the way. Thanks to my great network!
“…the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does…” Ephesians 6:8
In this verse, St. Paul is in the middle of telling the church at Ephesus how masters and slaves should treat each other. What he is saying is that we as human beings, do not get to judge or reward what we think is right or righteous. St. Paul is telling us that since God is faithful and just, caring and compassionate and, the one true judge that we should be more like him. Somewhere in today’s world, we’ve lost sight of this. The devil has worked hard to divide us and we’ve fallen for it!
Practice forgiveness, compassion and work hard are the principles of St. Paul’s message, just as our Father in Heaven does. The Lord, our God will reward the hard work. There is no mention of building up “credits” to win God’s favor, no amount of works that need to be preformed, no amount of money to be tithed; simply living as God intended. God became man to show us the way, the truth and then gave us eternal life with him in heaven through His Son our Savior Jesus Christ. We have salvation in Him and need to encourage others to turn toward God’s intentions; we don’t need to judge the lives of others. We do however, need to thankful, to God, for the people in our lives who make things better.
It doesn’t matter when you see my wife, if you ask her how she’s doing, her answer is always – “blessed”. Even at 4:30 in the morning when she is arriving at the gym for her daily work out, she is always cheerful. She is the only morning person in our family. The rest of us are night owls. She is filled with joy and peace and everyone knows it. What do people see when they speak to you or watch you at work? I certainly wouldn’t suggest that you be “on” at the wee hours of the morning but it is important to know what time you function best at. There have been a number of studies that show that early risers are more productive. Again, I’m not suggesting that you change your peak performance time; just know when it is. My peak usually hits around 1pm and lasts until 4pm but I can also have a second peak about 9:30pm until after midnight.
Knowing your optimum time is important so that you don’t tie it up in meetings or traveling between locations. This should be your time to focus on high-level work or your strategic/creative thinking time. Your peak time is when you should turn off your email and cell phone so that you can concentrate. This will allow you to achieve more at work while expending less mental energy since you are working when your mind and body are most ready. Back to the question of what do people see when they speak to you? If you are in peak time, they should see the best you have to offer and when you are in off-peak times, they should see a person of joy and hope who knows the best is yet to come.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
A number of years ago there was a story out of war-torn Sudan about a pregnant woman who was sentenced to death, by stoning, for becoming a Christian and failing to renounce her new faith. I can’t help thinking about how strong she was. Here is a new Christian, someone who believed so strongly in what she was taught that she was willing to be persecuted. It’s a modern day story of St. Paul or John the Baptist. She was not only filled with joy but had enough peace to trust in Him that the power of the Holy Spirit would be with her. I cannot imagine what she must have gone through. It was rumored that one of the Columbine shooters asked a girl if she believed in Jesus as he held a gun to her head. When she answered yes, he moved on sparing her life.
When my daughter was younger she was asking questions about faith when this came up. I reminded her that it would be better to die knowing that you kept your faith to the end than it would be to deny it and spend eternity without Him. There is no doubt that there are others suffering for their faith today. Please join me in praying for everyone who is being persecuted for their faith; asking that their faith remains strong and that they be filled with joy and peace to trust in God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Also take this time to pray for yourself; that you will be filled with joy and peace so that you too can overflow with the hope and power of the Holy Spirit so everyone will see that you are blessed.
Happy Labor Day! This is the day that usually marks the end of summer for most of the United States, except in Arizona. We will continue to have summer weather for at least the next 45 days. The forecasted high for today is 107 but dropping to 104 by Friday. We are celebrating the holiday weekend, never the less, with a traditional barbeque and an extra day to just hang out. For us, that usually means more homework or getting to the things that we didn’t do all weekend – they don’t call it Labor Day for nothing! While it’s easy to complain about the extra work around the house, this holiday does represent a celebration of us, the workers of the world. We are given the opportunity to use our talents, skills and abilities to make a difference for someone. In exchange, we are paid for our work. Granted, some are paid more than others but we are able to provide for ourselves. Each of us has special talents that we can use to make a difference for someone. Restaurant staffs make a difference for their customers, accountants provide a service and peace of mind to their clients, the grocery clerk who bags our purchase and so on; everyone makes a difference. If you think your labor is a waste, stop and consider whom you make a difference for. We all have our specific jobs, at this specific time and for a specific reason that we simply don’t understand. So what should we do? I’d suggest that you enjoy your time and learn how you make a difference in everything you do. The word LABOR means that it is supposed to be hard but it doesn’t mean that it is without purpose. Enjoy the holiday and look forward to the changing seasons that are coming – even to us in Arizona.
“Moreover, when God gives a man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work- this is a gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19
I’m reminded of the old expression “a gift from God” with this verse. Our human nature is to think that we’re responsible for all the things that we’ve done. “It was me who…” is how we start our sentences when describing an accomplishment. We often think of ourselves when it’s something great but we blame God when its something less desirable. Why did God give me this disease? Why did God let me get fired from my job? We forget that God gives us ALL things; the good and the bad. He put the right people in our lives so that we met the manager who was looking for a new employee and we landed that awesome new job. God gives us what we can handle – not too little and not too much. God also wants us to be happy with what He has given us. He doesn’t want us being envious of the new car that our neighbor just got. He doesn’t want us to be angry when we are passed over for promotion. He wants us to accept what we have (be content) and be happy. It is ALL a gift from God and that is something to be thankful for. Everything, good and bad, is a gift from God. We are supposed to learn from the bad and model God’s grace for others. We are supposed to share the good with others too. God loves a cheerful giver but it’s not always money we need to give. God has blessed each of with talents and those should be shared too. Work should be less about labor and more about celebrating the gift of opportunity from God. Go out and continue to make a difference.