The People Who Watch

I had a cool experience yesterday that I want to share. Sometimes it’s the small things that make a difference, and if we capitalized on each of these encounters they would add up to a great day. Frankly, how many days do we have the opportunity to make a sizable contribution? Yet, each of us has several small opportunities throughout every day to make a difference.


I was asked to attend a meeting with several area pastors. One of the other pastors picked Starbucks as the meeting place. When I arrived, a table was already reserved so I went straight to the counter to order my coffee. One person was in front of me and no one behind me. The guy in front of me orders a drink that the cashier turns around and makes (unusual, since the cashier usually takes your order and money then passes the order down the line to be made by another barista). However, in this situation, the cashier takes a minute and makes the drink AND THEN asks for payment. The guy in front of me hands him his Starbucks card, which the cashier swipes then says, “There is no money left on this card”. To which the customer in front of me pales and says, “There’s no money on it? I didn’t bring my wallet with me. I don’t have any money…”, as he holds his already made drink. Pause for a moment. It isn’t a life or death moment, but can you feel the guy’s pain?


I am the only other person in line. I too have a Starbucks card, a gift someone gave to me, and this guy needs a freebie. There is no one else in line. Do you think this was an assignment? So, I step forward and say, “Here, let me buy that for you”. But, the guy objects. I have to ask him three times. With no other options, he finally says, “O.K.”, quickly turns in embarrassment—says thank you almost under his breath—and is gone. I am telling you, this guy was white as a sheet and very embarrassed. I was delighted to have been put in the position where I could help. Did I tell him about Jesus? No. I bought his coffee and that was enough.


Do you want to know the real blessing in this story? It was the cashier. As soon as the customer left, the cashier says, “Man, that was so cool. That made my day. I am glad I got to see that.”


Maybe our assignments are not for the person we help, but the people who watch? For more on this subject visit

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Self Sabotage

I’ve been working on a four part sermon series. I like to start with a concept, pull together examples and quotes I might want, and then separate all of my notes into how many sermons I want to speak on. The separation part and actual sermon construction can take from four hours, to a full day, depending on the grace to get it done.


I had finished the third sermon and was happy with the outline and the pro-presenter graphics. As I began work on the fourth and final sermon, I got about halfway done and then set it aside and started a new project that was going to be pretty intense. I wanted to get a jump on it. I got it about 10% underway and then went back and finished the fourth part of my sermon series. That is when I noticed the hidden dysfunction that has been a normal part of my life.


You see, I am a finisher. I finish almost everything that I start. Osabotagence I commit to a project, I will see it through. So, subconsciously, I stopped the almost finished sermon series to begin a new project, and then went back and finished the series. Because I had started the new project, a sense of urgency was created to move me quickly back to it without any rest or celebration for finishing the sermon series. I was artificially providing a demand that would keep me working without rest.


I am a grown man and yet I had never noticed that I was sabotaging myself. It is amazing how much we overlook or do not notice about what we do to ourselves. I was tricking myself into more work, and have been doing it to myself for many years. How many other things like that are going on in my life that I am not even aware of? God help me, and God help us all. For more on this subject go to

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