The Power of Full Engagement

I actually read this book in 2016. It was one of the books I chose to read during my short-term sabbatical.

My One Word for 2016 was Energize. I chose the word because I wanted to improve my own physical and spiritual energy levels, and I also wanted to energize others such as the church.

As it turned out, I happened to read this book about a year before my stroke. Regaining energy has been one of my greatest challenges, so it seems like a good time to review.

Interestingly, I listed all of the following quotes before the stroke.

I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to improve time management. While we certainly need to leverage where we can, I agree with the authors, who say, “Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance.”

Without the right quantity, quality, focus and force of energy, we are compromised in any activity we undertake.

It makes sense, then, to maximize our energy, not just time management. 

The ultimate measure of our lives is not how much time we spend on the planet, but rather how much energy we invest in the time we have.

This matters, because energy impacts everything we do.

Performance, health, and happiness are grounded in the skillful management of energy.

We all have the same amount of time each day, but we don’t all have the same level of energy.

The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not. It is our most precious resource. The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become.

From the beginning of my spiritual journey as a devoted follower of Jesus, I’ve tried to start my days with God knowing that’s where my energy and strength come from. Since the stroke a year and a half ago, that is even more important.

In addition to spending time with God, I also try to maximize energy by eating (fairly) well, getting good sleep, and exercising (or therapy, these days).

What do you do to replenish your energy?

State of the Blog 2019

A photo of the blog from the SWS Guest House in Seoul, Korea, Feb. 2008.

Writing has long been part of my life. I’ve kept a journal for 30 years (see 5 Benefits of Journaling). And, now I’ve written on the blog half that time, compiling more than 1,200 posts (including some by Joleen).

I’ve blogged long enough to know that we go through seasons. I’ve written similar posts in 2008 and 2010 (Why We Blog and Where Do We Go From Here?). But the blog has always been a good way to communicate, as well as process learnings we might not otherwise think about or remember.

The blog began as a way to post notes from sermons (2004) for both Joleen and me, then we added events such as seminars and D.Min. classes shortly afterward. When we began our journey toward adoption in 2007, the blog became a space to share updates and details.

We were late to the Facebook party, partly because of the blog. I joined in 2015; Joleen joined after my stroke in order to update friends and family members.

Since then, we’ve tended to post on Facebook rather than write blog posts. So, we haven’t been as active on the blog in the last two to three years. Of course, the stroke a year and a half ago certainly didn’t help.

But I’m looking forward to doing a bit more writing on the blog in the next season for things like books, leadership, and spiritual reflection, and perhaps more on my stroke recovery and what I’m learning in the process.

I hope it will be helpful for others. But I know it will be helpful for me. As always, thanks for reading!

I’m an Advocate for Exercise!

Exercise may not be the most important thing. In fact, I love what the Apostle Paul says …

While physical training has some value, training in holy living is useful for everything. It has promise for this life now and the life to come.

— 1 Timothy 4.8 (CEB)

Physical training is good, but it’s not nearly as important as spiritual training, which has value beyond this life. 

With that in mind, exercise has played an important role in my life. I’ve always been active. I ran a lot as a kid. I started working out with weights as a youth. Over the years, I’ve tried to be consistent (not always). Thankfully, though, I was pretty consistent in the years before my stroke in 2017.

My exercise routines have changed over time as I’ve discovered new and better ways to exercise. My primary equipment during the years before the stroke were simple pieces of equipment, which ironically, were designed by physical therapists.

I started using a stability ball after reading an article that appeared in the short-lived NFL Magazine. A stability ball is sometimes called an exercise ball or a Swiss ball. I settled on calling it a stability ball because my focus was on improving stability. I thought I was using the ball to help prepare for later years in life. I had no idea how quickly it would pay off.

A short time later, I switched my strength training workouts from free weights to resistance bands after reading an article before one of Tom Brady’s Super Bowl trips a few years ago. The article shared a little about Brady’s exercise strategy, which may be why he’s still able to play at a high level into his 40s.

Exercise prepared me and also helped me experience a stronger recovery.

Since the stroke, my exercise routine, or therapy, has been planned mostly by physical and occupational therapists. But as I improve and get further away from formal therapy, it’ll be up to me to take what I’ve learned and incorporate it into my exercise routine, which will always be a work in progress.

During therapy, I’ve added some tools to the tool belt. My favorite addition is the Bodyblade, which was also developed by a physical therapist.

So, I encourage you to start where you are (with your doctor’s approval, of course). Think long term. Begin with the end in mind. And, do your best. I believe it’s important. That’s why I’m an advocate for exercise.

Footnote: I give thanks to God, who is giving me this opportunity to make a comeback. I acknowledge God’s help before and after the stroke.

Disciples of Jesus Need God’s Word

As followers of Jesus we are disciplesstudents, learners, apprentices. That’s who we are. As disciples, God’s Word is essential for us.

The Bible has long played a vital role in my life. But since the stroke, it seems to be even more important. Here are some verses that have impacted me lately …

God is our refuge and strength, a help always near in times of great trouble.

Psalm 46.1 (CEB)

The Lord is righteous in all his ways, faithful in all his deeds.

Psalm 145.17 (CEB)

Stay alert and pray so that you won’t give in to temptation. The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak.

Mark 14.38 (CEB)

We can open the Bible or use devotional books to guide us. I also love using the YouVersion Bible App, which has many reading plans or devotionals, as well as many other great features, including many versions and translations.

What has God been speaking to you lately?