Archive for October, 2010

The Road Not Traveled – Q5

Question 5 from Terry Turpin’s Eight to Five message – Am I living my life like it’s all about me?

There’s no doubt about it – we live in a narcissistic culture these days.  The world encourages us to be self-centered and egotistical.  You can even find t-shirts and bumper stickers that say, “I Love Me.”

Our first reaction when thinking about this may be to compare ourselves to the extreme cases – professional athletes, celebrities, reality TV stars (if there is such a thing) – in order to make ourselves feel better about our “minor issues.”  However, the inwardly focused mentality is everywhere, and one of the easiest places to observe it is in the workplace.

If I’m not careful, this is what happens to me:  I wake up in the morning and think about My day; I ask God to help me with My issues; I get into the office and focus completely on My to-do list; I wonder how certain events are going to affect Me; I make sure My needs are met; I respond to others depending on My mood at the time; I leave at the end of the day gauging success on whether My day was good.

While none of these thoughts or actions are wrong in and of themselves, the Me focus across all of them is the slippery slope.  I’m capable of doing an entire day at work without considering anyone else.  Busy schedules, pressing deadlines, multiple priorities, big goals, and a host of other things can pressure us into a get-things-done mode that puts us first and everyone else squarely in second.

In John 4:1-42, Jesus gives us an example selfless love for others.  Jesus had been traveling several miles in the heat of the day, and he had finally sat down to rest by a well.  When a Samaritan woman approached the well, instead of ignoring her and focusing on his own fatigue or maybe where he was headed next, Jesus engaged her in a life-changing conversation.  Over the next minutes and hours, Jesus poured His truth into her, and as a result, an entire town was given new life.

39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41And because of his words many more became believers. 42They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:39-42.

Jesus ended up delaying his journey by two days in order to stay in the town and share His truth with many.  Can we simply take two minutes?  It doesn’t take much more than that to stop by someone’s desk, send an email, or make a phone call to provide the encouragement that someone may desperately need today.  It might even lead to an opportunity for you to share the Gospel with that person – and that is, after all, what we are called to do.

Click here to listen to the Terry Turpin podcast.

Terry Turpin, partner and COO of Acumen Holdings, LLC

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Question 4 from Terry Turpin’s Eight to Five message – Are my circumstances driving my behavior?

If you live in Northwest Arkansas and you haven’t noticed, the last couple of mornings have been beautiful.  The timing for me has worked out well because I’ve been taking my kids to school right when the sun has been coming up.  When we were driving in this morning, my 9-year-old daughter suddenly said, “Dad, the sun makes everything look golden!”  She was right.  From our perspective, the sun did make everything look golden.  It reminded me that most things in life can look very different depending on your perspective.

Difficult circumstances are probably a recurring theme in these posts – it seems like the last few years have been extremely trying for a lot of people.  Many of us have walked through or are continuing to walk through some very tough times.  The question today centers on how we respond to those times, and I think a lot of it depends on our perspective.

I know I’m going back to the well by using Paul, but he is a great example of how a Christian can deal with trials in life.  Acts 16:16-24 tells how Paul and Silas were severely beaten, flogged, and then thrown in prison even though they had done nothing wrong.  I know if that happened to me, I would likely be screaming for justice, thinking of revenge, and certainly asking God, “why me?”

Paul and Silas obviously had a different perspective on their circumstances, as evidenced by their behavior in prison described in Acts 16:25-34:

25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” 29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.

Paul and Silas recognized that God is sovereign and that His hand sifts all things, including our circumstances.  They didn’t let some of the worst circumstances imaginable drive their behavior.  Instead, they praised God, put the jailer before themselves, and as a result, a man and his family came to know Christ.

Click here to listen to the Terry Turpin podcast.

Terry Turpin, partner and COO of Acumen Holdings, LLC

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Question 3 from Terry Turpin’s Eight to Five message – Does my attitude reflect what I say I believe?

It’s easy to tell others what we believe.  It’s a lot more difficult to live daily in a way that demonstrates what we believe.  We’ve all heard the saying “you can talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?”

It is important to “walk the walk,” as our words and actions are the visible data by which people measure us.  If the goal is to influence others for Christ, then our actions need to be consistent with the beliefs we profess.  But what about the attitudes behind the actions?

If you are like me, you can often force yourself to act a certain way, even when your underlying attitude is disinterested, sour, or begrudging.  People see our actions, but God sees the condition of our hearts as well.  He knows when our attitude is wrong, and we can’t fool Him by just “doing the right thing.”  The actions that others observe should stem from the fruit of the Holy Spirit that God produces in us.

When we are serving God, are we serving with a joyful heart, or is there something else going on inside?  When we are serving others, are we truly focused on the other person, or are we silently wishing we were somewhere else?

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  We often think of these attributes in terms of our actions, but we should constantly check our attitudes as well to ensure that they do in fact reflect what we say we believe.

Click here to listen to the Terry Turpin podcast.

Terry Turpin, partner and COO of Acumen Holdings, LLC

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Question 2 from last week’s Eight to Five message – Am I doing my best with what I’ve been given?

My father is one of my heroes, and I can see his influence in several aspects of my life.  He was a Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas for over 40 years, and during that time, he impacted thousands of students at crucial times in their lives.

With his background and ability, my father could have pursued some very lucrative career paths, but his calling was to teach.  What set him apart as a teacher (and this is according to former students, not just my biased opinion!) was his focus on the individual student.  He took the time to pour into their lives whenever he had the chance and on multiple levels.  Of course he helped students with the subject matter, but more importantly, he helped many of them navigate the challenges life brings when you are young, out on your own for the first time, not sure of the way forward, questioning what you believe, etc.

The reason I bring up my dad is because he always used to ask me the question at hand (and he still does today).  He always phrased the question a little differently, though – Are you living up to your potential?

The visual that usually came along with that question was his left hand-held steady about chest-high, and his right hand moving up and down between chest-high and belly button level.  When I was a kid, this visual literally drove me insane!  Whether it was from across the room, from up in the stands during a ball game, or any other setting, he never had to say a word – he just used the visual.

I laugh about it now, but that visual is etched on my mind, and it keeps me asking myself the question – Am I doing my best with what I’ve been given?

God has blessed each of us abundantly, and he expects us to use those blessings to glorify Him and help build His kingdom – even in a down season of life.  In Matthew 25: 14-30, Jesus gives us the Parable of the Talents, which clearly communicates God’s expectations for us regarding what we are given.

So, are we doing our best with what we’ve been given?  If not, don’t be surprised if a 73-year-old retired engineering professor suddenly appears making some funny hand motions and asking if you are living up to your potential!

See you tomorrow when we’ll discuss the next question – Does my attitude reflect what I say I believe?

Click here to listen to the Terry Turpin podcast.

Terry Turpin, partner and COO of Acumen Holdings, LLC

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Over the next week or so, I’d like to go a little deeper on the questions I raised at my Eight to Five message last Friday.  We’ll take them one at a time.

The first question is – Why does God have me on this road?

Our initial instinct when we ask ourselves this question may be to look for the obvious, and sometimes that’s not a bad place to start.  God may have already revealed the purpose for our circumstances to us, and we may have great clarity on what to do next and why to do it.  Or, the road we are on might be a result of our actions from an earlier time, whether recent or from long ago.  There’s no denying that our actions have consequences, and sometimes those consequences are long lasting.

For many, the question today may be less about how we arrived and more about – Why am I still here? Or better yet – What do I do now? It’s the latter question that should divert our attention away from ourselves and focus it more on those around us.

In the Bible, Paul gives us a great example of someone who, in spite of his own situation, was consistently focused on other people instead of himself.  In 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10, Paul talks about the “thorn” that God had given him and how Paul begged God to remove it.  God’s response was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Paul’s life reflects his understanding of the question – Why does God have me on this road? He was laser-focused on influencing others for Christ.  However, his road was never easy.  In fact, he was beaten, dishonored, imprisoned, shipwrecked . . . hardships that most of us probably have never seen.  On top of that, he had his “thorn” that God refused to remove.

Paul never used his difficult road as an excuse to do nothing.  Instead, he fully embraced his road, and 2 Corinthians 12: 10 sums up his attitude:  “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Paul did his best with what he had been given, and the question we’ll look at tomorrow is – Am I doing my best with what I’ve been given?

Click here to listen to the Terry Turpin podcast.

Terry Turpin, partner and COO of Acumen Holdings, LLC

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HR Heaven

Do you want to make a difference in someone’s life TODAY?

If you know someone who is between jobs, you can do just that.

I rarely (never?) promote something we are doing at WorkMatters on this Blog. But today, it’s imperative.

If you are located in northwest Arkansas, The Joseph Project is hosting FIVE HR leaders this Wednesday to answer the difficult, always wanted to ask questions of those looking for their next great job. The details are here and on our website. Make the effort to ensure that you or your friend attend this session!

Join us from 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

John Brown University Rogers Center

New Member Orientation:

If you are new to The Joseph Project, please join us for a 30 minute orientation from 8:30am-9:00am.  You’ll gain valuable information about our mission and vision from the leaders of our organization.

October 13, 2010
Panel Discussion: “Tricks of the HR Trade”

On the Panel:
Kris DeLano:  Human Resources Director for Marshalltown Company
Denise Cate:  Senior Vice President/Human Resources Manager, Arvest Bank
Rhonda Houser:  Human Resources Manager, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Carol Jones:   Personnel Manager of Employment Services, University of Arkansas
Debbie Wheeler:  HR Generalist, McKee Foods Corporation

Here’s a sneak peak at some questions that will be answered:
At what point will you need to explain a “gap” in your employment?

If you were “fired” from a job, should you avoid talking about it or should you mention it?

What are the best ways to respond when told that I am “overqualified?”

What is the secret for getting my resume noticed and searchable on line?  What can I do to get noticed by a potential employer?  How can I get my “foot in the door”?

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Sometimes we love our bosses, don’t we? They often inspire us, challenge us, encourage us. Other times, the opposite is true. In either case, does God ask us to pray for our bosses? For our leaders? For those in authority?

1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2for kings and all those in authority…  3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:1-4

Can I challenge each of us this week, to focus specific prayer on the leaders in our companies, and especially our bosses? Even the ones that you like the least…maybe, especially the ones you like the least. If you feel it is appropriate, send them an email or a hand-written note telling them that you are praying for their leadership this week.

Father, leadership in the workplace is very difficult. We may not always agree with our leaders, but help us Lord to always lift them up to you. Amen…

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