Archive for the ‘God’ Category

Mission Trip to Port Salut, Haiti

May 6th 2012

I’ve supported an ongoing mission from my Church for several years and have been wanting to go see it in Haiti for some time.  Well the opportunity came up this spring to join a small team on a short term mission trip to help them with a leadership conference, the new church plant that has just started running for the last 4 weeks and to build some pews and signs for the new Church building.  I was happy to help in these areas and I had a fantastic trip where I learned a lot.

First thing I learned was just how beautiful Haiti is, despite everything you might see and hear on the media about the disaster it is in, the earthquake from 2010 and the poverty and problems there.  Most of that is true but in select areas, mostly around Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti it is much more of a tropical getaway. Don’t get me wrong, the economy is nearly non-existent in Haiti and it has very poor people throughout the country, however it has a lot of promise and hope at the same time.   I’ve been to the Dominican Republic several times before and Haiti has just the same country side, beautiful mountains and the only big difference is that there is far less forest and large vegetation in Haiti due to deforestation.   Unfortunately the crops and agriculture in Haiti is not really sustainable and many crops are grown for a higher price even if they destroy the little soil that is available.  This is important to help change as it will only continue to degrade their agriculture ability if they do not learn to improve their soil conditions and agriculture sustainability.  I helped to document the trip and so took many pictures while there, many of the scenery since I love nature so much. There are pictures of the landscape, mountains and vegetation, and some of the people and activities I was involved in which I hope you will enjoy in this slideshow of pictures.

During the trip, I was involved in helping to support the local church community that has just operated for 4 weeks with a new building on the property that my local church (OakPark Church of Christ) helped to fund.  The people in Port-Salut now are starting to feel that it is their Church to enjoy and they are operating the Church with a shared leadership group instead of a single Pastor who makes all decisions like most other Churches of Haiti.  We helped with a kids program that is totally new in the area where the kids can play games and have fun at Church while learning about God and stories from the Bible.  They love it and asked us every day they saw us if it was Kid’s Club day, which is right now only on Saturday.

We spent some time painting, putting up a couple of new signs for the Church and building pews since they only have some simple folding chairs right now and they will be needed for overflow seating since the Church right now only holds about 30 people inside, with room out on a covered patio for extra seating.  The local Haitians were very grateful and always willing to pitch in and help so we had a lot of fun building and working with them, even if we could barely understand each other.  Luckily, carpentry, painting and tools are quite easy to describe in a ‘Pictionary’ demonstration style, so it made working together easy and fun.

We helped teach at a 3 day leadership conference for the Church and community leaders from around the area and this was great to be part of.  They face many of the same leadership challenges as we do but they don’t have the learning resources and education available to them to help them deal with things.  This made the conference a big success since much of the material was new for them, they were deeply interested taking notes the whole time and shared with us how much they could use more materials and study materials if we can help provide that, which I certainly think we will be able to.  Its great to see how they are so passionate to learn and willing to tackle some of these challenges without being asked, they all want to improve the community and Haiti so badly, they are very willing to do whatever they can, its inspiring to see!

So, there are a lot of mission teams in Haiti, certainly not all Christian based, and there are many ways to help the people their so I encourage anyone who’s been interested in helping abroad and especially if Haiti has any special place in your heart, to find an organization to get involved with and to visit the country and experience the beauty, the great community of people there and to help inspire them to find ways to lead their country out of poverty.  I’m excited to have had this opportunity and hope to go again some day, to watch this work continue and to continue to support the people in Haiti who are leading change and helping to make it a better place for themselves and for their children, we can all hope for that at least!

Posted by Mike King under God | 4 Comments »

100 Ways to Serve Others

February 2nd 2010

I’ve continued to be inspired by people’s 100 lists and you’ve probably seen many that I’ve highlighted in recent resource lists.  Dragos wrote one that triggered me to write another with his excellent post on 100 tips to write huge lists. This list is on my favorite subject and while the length of these lists makes them quite a challenge to make, this particular subject is one I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and writing goals in so its a great topic for me to tackle in a list.  The items were actually fairly easy to come up for me without any research or added web surfing, but the real effort was then in putting a short description or example for each.

Anyway, I’m thrilled to have this list completed and can’t wait to experience and see the results of personally doing every single one on the list.  That is the challenge I made for myself and I hope you challenge yourself with some or all of these items as well.  This is also my largest single article ever and was awesome to create!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it.  I’d love if you could help to share it as well, thanks.

1. Smile

This is a great habit to develop to start each and every day and to practice whenever you have the chance.  The great thing is that smiling at others is easy and takes nothing but a little effort.  Nearly everyone responds to a smile and it makes you and the other person feel better immediately.

2. Hold or Get the Door for Someone

Simple things are a great way to serve others and these little things can really make a great difference.  Stop and hold the door for someone whenever you get a chance and let someone go in front of you.  This sends a strong message and you can really bump it up by combining this with #1, a great smile with the door offer.

3. Help someone get where they want to be

I mean when it comes to transportation or as a physical destination.  There are always friends, colleagues and family needing a ride somewhere or a pickup from a trip, vacation or event.  Perhaps it’s to be a designated driver for a group of friends.  Simply offer to help get them there where they want to be.

4. Buy someone lunch

Buying lunch is not that expensive, as many people do it everyday and when you have an opportunity when you are getting or eating lunch with someone, simply buy their lunch as well as yours.  Don’t offer, don’t tell them, just do it and don’t make a big deal about it.  Don’t say they can get the next one, don’t say they’d do it for you, just buy them lunch and leave it at that.

5. Pick up a hitch hiker

This one scares a lot of people and I will certainly include myself in that group.  However, it’s a great way to serve others and is a lot safer than we tend to think or what we are often taught about strangers.  It is also very safe if you think about where and when it is OK to pick up a hitch hiker and what people you want to pick up.  Often you can offer someone (or a stranger a ride) when they are not trying to hitch hike and this is very safe.

6. Provide Road Side Assistance

People have car trouble all the time.  I’m sure you have at one point as well.  Whether its changing a tire, jumping a battery or calling for an expert for a tow.  Stopping to help someone can make a tremendous impact on someone who is struggling on the side of the road.  This is especially true with accidents and is sad when people leave in a hurry when they should be stopping to help and offer a testimony to ensure people are not taken advantage of.

7. Mow Your Neighbors Lawn

Little things make a big difference and little things for a neighbor can turn an unknown neighbor into a great friend.  Mowing a lawn or raking some leaves only takes a few minutes to do, a little more than your own yard.  It looks better when lawns are mowed at the same time and while you shouldn’t expect it, often such favors will be returned.  I’ve experienced this one many times.

8. Invite someone over for dinner

An easy way to develop relationships is to have a meal together and so inviting someone over for dinner is a great way to serve them and that relationship.

9. Give a gift certificate

I love giving people living on the street gift certificates.  Gift cards for food or stores for basic needs like clothing you can buy pretty much anywhere and then instead of giving money to someone who you have no idea how they might spend it, you can give them something that they have to use for their basic needs.  I’ve given grocery store $20 gift cards to peddlers and they are always just thrilled getting it and it makes it easier for me knowing they can’t just turn around the corner and spend it on drugs or alcohol (you can’t buy alcohol in grocery stores here in Canada).

10. Help someone achieve a goal

People often struggle achieving their goals and every one of us can use help in some way.  Ask people about their goals and do what you can to help them achieve it.  Perhaps you make a suggestion of where to start or some person to refer, a course or knowledge or some personal tutoring or action to help them with, whatever it is, helping people achieve their goals is a wonderful way to serve others.

11. Share your dreams with someone

The more you think about your dreams and share them with others, the more likely they are to come true and for you to spend time on them.  So, sharing your dreams with someone and them sharing theirs in return, helps make those dreams more likely and timely.

12. Shovel snow from more than your own walks

If you live in a subzero climate with snow, shoveling the walks can be a regular event in the winter months.  Take a few minutes and shovel the walks for your neighbors or a local bus stop, or public pathway.

13. Write an article that helps people

This is an easy one for bloggers as it’s a regular event.  For non-bloggers however, writing is not always seen as a way to help people, but it’s incredibly helpful.  Pick a subject you know well and write an article about it and share it with people you know.

14. Teach something specific that you know about

Take writing one step further and teach someone something you know in person.  Take the time to help them learn it, to explain it and to have them learn from you.  Teaching is a great way to serve others and we all have an opportunity to teach others in areas we already have learned.

15. Listen intently in conversation

Conversations and communication can be difficult at times and in order to make it work and to serve others in communication is to truly listen and to listen intently.  Others will feel values that you took the time to listen and they were actually paid full attention and that you cared enough to hear them out.

16. Always let others speak before you

Another angle of communication is in when you speak and when others speak.  To give to others and serve them in your communication, let them speak first and present their ideas.  Often the people who speak first are the ones credited with an idea (if you had the same idea to share as well) and it’s great to allow that credit and attention to be paid on someone else.  It’s a wonderful way to serve someone else when you know they had the same idea as you, but instead of stating that, you can simply tell them, “That is a great idea!”.

17. Volunteer in your community

This likely came to mind when you first thought about serving others and it’s a classic example of course.  There are many ways to do this through programs, organizations, clubs, groups, community associations and any other activities in your community.  There are often websites and directories for connecting volunteers and placements that would be good for them.  Do some searching around your community.

18. Host a homeless person overnight in your home

It’s sad that this is such a scary thing for people image themselves doing but what better way to serve others than to provide the most basic of needs for someone who really needs it.  There are many incredibly deserving and kind homeless people who simply can’t afford a home in our rich nations even though they have a job and family.  Helping these people out and getting to know them a little and provide some assistance is a great way to serve others.

19. Donate money to a charity

Pick the charity you like, or many and set aside some money to give to them.  The best way to give is to set it up to be an automatic withdrawal so that the charity knows they can count on that monthly contribution and so that you make sure you do your giving before other spending.  We all spend too much anyway.

20. Pick up loose garbage

Our cities are for the most part, quite disgusting.  There is garbage everywhere you go and it will never get cleaned up without people seeing the difference and by helping to pick it up.  Do what you can and stop to pick up some garbage instead of walking over it for a change.  I especially like to do this when I go out into the wilderness for a hike or ride.  I always come home with more than I went out with since I make sure I take a moment to notice and to pick up someone’s garbage left behind.

21. Be a mentor to someone

Everyone needs help to achieve their dreams and goals in life and mentor ship is an excellent way of providing that needed help, encouragement and guidance required.  Look for opportunities to mentor people and provide that benefit to someone else as a way to serve.

22. Give away your old stuff

I said it above and I’ll say it again.  We all have too much stuff.  Do a favor for people in need and give away some of the things you no longer need or use or wear.  Others would be happy to have it and it will help you simplify your life and enjoy your time more.  Find a few locations that you can drop off your stuff or call an organization that collects your goods to redistribute to those in need.

23. Buy someone a book

If you have explored LearnThis much, you know that I love books.  Well do someone a service and buy them a book to enjoy as well.  Don’t buy them a book though that YOU would enjoy, buy them a book that THEY will enjoy.

24. Be genuine with your apologies

Put some sincerity into your apologies and be genuine when you do make a mistake.  Own up to it and make the appropriate apology in person and in a serious tone.

25. Bring baked goods to work

No matter where you work and if you work with people, people love food.  Bringing in some baked goods or snacks is always appreciated.  You can do this with your colleagues or clients, just try to ensure the food is something most can enjoy and its best to find something that is not just sugar or unhealthy.  There are many great foods to share that are healthy as well and people do enjoy.

26. Compliment someone

Serving others has to be about them.  Compliments are a great way for you to focus something positive on them and brighten their day.  Find something you can be genuine about and give them the compliment with  smile and positive approach.

27. Help to organize charity event

Charities and non-profit organizations struggle to get people to commit to planning an event or attending a volunteer effort.  You can help out the organization AND the people it is serving if you help to run the charity or a charity event.

28. Be sportsmanlike on sports teams

Sports involve a lot of different personalities and sometimes emotions.  Playing very sportsmanlike and keeping your cool even when others do not, serves everyone playing as an example and often the source of calm for the rest of a team.  Do your best to stay calm, play with sportsmanlike conduct and encourage fair and fun play over competition and winning.

29. Encourage people

I just mentioned this for sports above but its possible in all areas of life.  You have endless opportunities to encourage people to do what they love, follow their dreams, achieve their goals and do the things they enjoy doing.  Encourage positive behavior and fun actions through you day, you will enjoy it more, help others recognize those same things and hopefully, keep more of those actions coming as a result in the future.

30. Give books you’ve read away

Not many people read all the books they have, let alone read them more than once.  If you have books you know you will not read away keep them in mind and anyone interested in that subject, simply give them that book.  I absolutely receiving free books from others and always enjoy reading them as I know there is someone to have a conversation then with about that book.

31. Be a friend to those who don’t deserve itserve others

Friendship is often thought to be something that is earned.  Well serving others you not looking for what others earn, you are simply serving others.  Extend the offer of friendship to someone who doesn’t seem like they deserve it.  Perhaps they have made some bad choices in life, hurt you in the past or stuck in a difficult set of habits to break.  The best thing for them is a true friend and it’s a great way to serve if you can provide that.

32. Support mission and aid workers

There is constantly aid work going on around the world and traveling missionaries or support works in developing nations and disaster zones and they need support.  You can support them with funds, letters, time, gifts or any combination of those.  Spread the word as well and help these organizations grow, they are themselves doing a great service that deserves more support.

33. Share your creativity

Creativity sparks new ideas in others and ideas trigger change, growth and hope.  Sharing your creativity with others serves these same results and is a great way to connect with people as well.

34. Promote someone else’s idea

We all have our own ideas but how often do you reinforce and encourage someone else’s idea.  Just one more way to serve and build others up.

35. Tell someone they are your friend

It’s funny how we don’t know how to classify as a friend or not.  Everyone has a different definition of this, but we all like to hear that someone is our friend when we do finally hear it.  Make it obvious if you are around someone new or you just don’t really know if they consider you a friend or not, to specifically say it.  Fit it into a sentence or an introduction or just a comment, like it’s great to do stuff like this with friends, too.

36. Introduce a friend to someone they don’t know

Friends make connecting with other people much easier and if you ensure you always introduce your friends to other people you know, it builds new connections and make more people feel welcome in a conversation.  It’s never fun to be the third wheel not knowing someone in the group so make sure you always introduce people to each other.

37. Talk to people at parties who look “out of place”

On the theme of meeting people and introducing people, often you can serve others by simply approaching them and introducing yourself.  It only takes a minute and can make a new person or someone who is uncomfortable or out of place to feel a lot better.  Invite them over into a group you are with, or just spend a few minutes to ask them questions and help them feel more comfortable.

38. Stay calm and don’t react with arguments

Arguments are a sure way to cause problems and staying calm may not be the easier thing to do (especially if you are under attack), but it is the best way to serve others both in the argument and seeing it indirectly.  If you can stay calm and not make the situation any worse, then you do everyone a service including yourself from not reacting negatively.

39. Support your loved ones no matter what

We often put higher expectations and judgments on those we love instead of accepting thing for who they are and their decisions.  There is nothing wrong with hoping for them to change or break away from destructive habits or decisions but there is a point at which you simply must support them as well if they make decisions or choices that you don’t agree with.  Isn’t that the best way to show you love them anyway?

40. Share successes

People learn from the success of others and so sharing both your successes and the successes of others with more people is an easy way for everyone to learn from those experiences.

41. Practice appreciative inquiry and positive dialog

Appreciative inquiry has so many benefits it’s a wonderful way to help people feel included, listened to, engaged with and ultimately it’s a way to bring the best out of people and what they are involved in doing.  I strongly believe in this one as it has such a focus on others and bringing out the best in people it is really an exceptional way to serve others.

42. Pay for the stranger’s coffee behind you in line

Head on through the drive through or even at a till in person and tell the cashier you would like to pay for that other person’s purchase as well.  You will quite likely surprise the cashier and the other person with such a simple act of kindness.

43. Offer your seat on the bus / train

Public transport is often quite crowded and its sad how selfish people seem to be when onboard.  Look for a chance to offer your seat or a helping hand to someone traveling with extra bags, children or perhaps a disability.

44. Operate a blog and give away great content

This is obvious one for me and I’m sure many of my readers here as well.  Blogging really is about serving others once you start writing for what your readers want, and not what you want yourself.  The best blogs exist because of the authors wanting to provide value and great content.  There is much to learn from blogging and the best part by far, is the way it serves others and connects you with people.

45. Take on a project as a DIY with a friend

Do-it-yourself (DIY) has many benefits and when you can offer to help a friend take on a project you are doing a great service for them.  Your help, support and perhaps expertise will bring you together to accomplish something and enjoy it when its done.

46. Accept others ideas without immediately judging them

It’s easy to be critical at times, especially if we think we have our own better idea.  Do a service to others and don’t discount or be negative towards their ideas.  Let them stand on their own and don’t immediately judge them.

47. Put and keep your cell phone out of site in conversation

This is a huge pet peeve of mine and I’ll never do it to others.  If you are in a conversation with someone, give them your full attention, face them and put your dang phone away.  It sends a poor message to be playing with your phone or answering it in the middle of a conversation.  You can’t serve someone when sending them a message that whoever might be calling is clearly more important.

48. Inspire others

This is a whole list on its own for ways to do this but we do all have things we are passionate about and enjoy.  Spread that passion and look to spark inspiration in others in sharing those.

49. Share appreciation aloud

People rarely feel appreciated enough even though it is incredibly easy to do.  Practice expressing what you appreciate about someone and do it aloud so they hear it and perhaps others will hear the same, share more or learn from you to do the same.

50. Share gratitude in life

Similar to appreciation to others, gratitude is usually expressed towards circumstances, gifts and talents and life in general.  Some show gratitude to God, to others or to their environment.  Be grateful for what you have, recognize the abundance you have to experience and share that gratitude with others.  Spreading gratitude and recognizing it is definitely a way to serve others.

51. Demonstrate perseverance

There are many ways to demonstrate perseverance but I’m thinking more specifically in the ways you are already serving others.  Taking items on this list and persevering to keep them happening, to keep on practicing, to keep on serving.

52. Make moral decisions

Moral decisions are ones that are considered to be right.  Moral decisions serve the general good and allow you to serve by making choices based on what is right and good.  We all have a moral grounding as human beings and it’s how we are created and how we think at the deepest fundamental levels.  Using that moral compass for our decisions serves others in these good decisions.

53. Live ethically

Ethical living has some parallels with moral living but perhaps more from the human defined perspective, and not human nature.  Ethics are largely defined by our cultures and society and so making that system stable and effective requires that we follow ethics and make decisions that take society into mind and use that in the way we live.  It’s all about what is right for many, a great way to serve others.

54. Share your mistakes with others

Mistakes are a wonderful way to learn and something that can easily be taught to others if shared.  Examine your mistakes and do more than learn from them yourself, share them with others.  You can gain a lot of trust in sharing mistakes to help others learn from those actions before they make the same mistakes.

55. Clap and cheer aloud

You often have a chance to clap for someone or even cheer for them at conferences, events or sports activities.  What about in meetings, daily work or even at home around the house?  Take a moment to recognize others and serve them by showing your appreciation for a job well done, an accomplishment or for taking on a new adventure.  Show them by clapping for them or cheering.  Bring others into the habit and use it often.  We do this in my workplace very often in meetings, after hearing good news or any accomplishment that is shared with a group.  The cheers and clapping always bring on a smile and serves everyone involved.

56. Tell me about yourself

Tell me about yourself or introduce yourself are pretty common questions in interview and sometimes in business meetings with new clients or with new employees and colleagues.  Use this chance to share your values and principles instead of just your usual background like where you work, your educational background or where you live.  Tell someone what you value most, why and what principles you follow in all of your life.  This has much more significance, surprises people so gets remembered and creates a faster stronger relationship than typical introductions.

57. Magnify someone’s kindness

Visit and read about magnifying someone’s kindness and then go do it.  Marshall wrote, “So how do you magnify someone’s kindness? You truly appreciate it. You accept it – you accept that in that moment, you are depending on someone else, that you really do need someone else.”

58. Be willing to describe your vulnerabilities

Vulnerability exposes oneself and is an catalyst to building trust.  When people see vulnerabilities, they relate quickly and connect at a stronger level which immediate builds trust with that person.  Vulnerabilities also humble oneself which leads to…

59. Be humble

There are many ways to be humble, not just in exposing vulnerabilities.  Giving credit to others, taking blame, talking about others not yourself, and avoiding the temptation to be right are all great ways to be humble.  Humility is goes hand in hand with serving others from a character trait perspective and the focus on others is what allows humility to surface.

60. Choose to be happy

Happiness is not something you seek, it’s not something you can find and its not something you can gain based on “if only…”, “when this…” and “as soon as this happens…” thinking.  Happiness is something you must believe you can have and you then have to choose to be happy.  You can be happy with hardship and suffering all around you and under terrible circumstances in your life if you truly believe you have that choice.  For all those that need outside influences to be happy, you can provide that service and choose to be happy and to be an example of happiness for those around you regardless of the circumstances.

61. Admit your faith and beliefs

How can you possibly serve others if you do not share or admit your faith and beliefs with them?  Wouldn’t that be deceiving them, hiding things from them or even lying to them if you take it too far in fear of telling them?  If you truly have faith and believe in it, you HAVE TO also believe in the value of sharing it.  Yes, there are good times for this and perhaps some bad times, but you must be willing to admit your faith and belief systems.

62. Ask open ended questions

Good conversations depends a lot on questions and interaction between people.  You can give control of a conversation and draw someone into being more expressive with you by asking open ended questions that allow them freedom to respond with more of their thoughts and not just a yes or no answer.

63. Be a change agent

We need to change through life or we become complacent and we die within our trapped lives.  Change prevents that and allows people to grow and develop.  Obviously personal development is connected deeply to change and if you see the value in it, serving others should involve being a change agent to help make changes happen in your life, those around you and your community for the better lives of all.

64. Avoid and guard against gossip

Gossip can be disastrous to friendships, careers and other people’s lives.  Learning to avoid gossip and guard against it both for yourself and for others is a valuable service to engage in.

65. Live with purpose

Purpose is difficult to understand if you don’t know your purpose yet.  It becomes the driving force in your life and gives you the energy to do all that you do in place of all the distractions and selfish acts that tend to keep us from our ultimate purpose.  I’ve learned that people who believe they know there purpose rarely claim a selfish one and its most often one that has a betterment for others at some level in it.  I believe we all have this created in us and so living with purpose in some way involves serving others.  I certainly know that’s in my purpose.

66. Express your passions

Passions expose a positive attitude, joy and excitement from a person when they are expressed, or at least more so than normal topics.  This excitement rubs off on others and in turn help to encourage them to be excited or to express their own passions as well.

67. Ask more questions than you answer

Asking questions shows interest in others and makes them feel more comfortable and connected in conversations.  Use questions to serve others.

68. Hand write a personal thank you card

Hand written cards and especially thank you cards are very impactful compared to verbal, email or other means.  Write a personal note or thank you to those that do things for you.  It’s a simple way to return a good feeling.

69. Take the blame

I don’t mean to take the fall for things you did not do (as that seems dishonest), I’m meaning to own up and take the blame when you do make a mistake.  Owning up to it instead of denying it, blaming others or fighting back in any way is the fastest way to resolve things and so a great way to serve others.

70. Keep excuses to your self

It’s very easy to be get defensive and this is related to the blame game above.  We use the technique of the victim cycle to make excuses in life.  Keeping these excuses to ourselves at least keeps others from getting sucked into the blame game and helps to protect our habits from impacting others.  Of course learning to eliminate excuses altogether is best but even the first step of keeping them to yourself helps to serve others.

71. Apologize sincerely

It’s actually quite sad to see how poorly most people apologize.  Insincere and often still accusing of others disguised right within the apology.  “I’m sorry you took it that way” is a LOT different than saying “I’m sorry I hurt you”.  Keep your apologies sincere and always make sure you only include what you did that you are sorry for.

72. Promote employee engagement

A great way to serve others at work is to engage other employees and colleagues whenever possible.  Look at ways to involve others, find things that excite your colleagues and show interest in people over the bottom line.

73. Give honest feedback

Mastering feedback is a crucial skill for a manager but can apply to anyone when serving others.  Feedback is a powerful tool to use to send a message of concern and care.  If feedback is used properly, there is no good or bad feedback, it’s simply a way of showing concern, express a hope for developing the best in others and a great way to serve them.

74. Tell stories

I love stories and I know many others do as well.  It’s unfortunate so many people lose interest in stories as they age, I for one have not.  Anything told as a story or that makes a story is of interest to me over other experiences and I know that stories have a way of drawing in others and developing relationships.  Telling stories attracts people and is often used as a way to communicate an otherwise complex topic.

75. Control your response

While it is difficult to master, we do control our response to every situation in life.  The choice is hard to always make the way we want to when thinking clearly yet with practice, we definitely serve others by getting better at controlling our response and being constructive and positive in otherwise difficult circumstances.

76. Master your state of mind

Our response is typically due to some moment or short time frame.  Our state of mind however, is really an extension of that response and applied over long periods of time.  State of mind affects our emotions, our mood and our thoughts at a drastic level and so in order to be at our best and to be in a state of mind that is helpful to others, we need to have some control over that state of mind.

77. Use the words, “Thank you.”

Why is “Thank you!” so hard to say?  Compliments can be hard to come by sometimes and I believe its because we are so good at wrecking a good compliment with a poor response.  Sometimes we argue back and say things like, “No I didn’t” or “Nah, you’re just saying that”.  People have been taught that that is how to be humble but they are sadly mistaken.  Responding in this way sends the message that they are wrong and so the compliment is rejected.  It’s a terrible thing to do and subtly and unconsciously stops people from sharing compliments.  There is one good response for a compliment, two simple words, “Thank You”.

78. Be prepared

The good old Scout’s motto, “be prepared” is a great way to think when it comes to serving others.  If you are not prepared, you will need to be dependent on others and if you need them, how can you serve them as easily?  I’m not saying there are not exceptions to this, but in general, if you are prepared for a circumstance, you are more likely able to serve others in that circumstance yourself.

79. Stay healthy

Staying healthy keeps you out of the health care system, keeps others from having to look after you and enables you to live longer, set a good example and be able to serve others.  If you can’t look after yourself, how can you possibly serve others as easily?

80. Live with less stuff

Serving others tends to take a second place in life for many of us from all the other things we have going on.  We volunteer if we have time, we help a friend if we are not already doing something and we put our spiritual needs behind our career and family for the most part.  Well, all our stuff and complexities tend to distract us even more and so living with less stuff and activities is an easy way to serve others as it frees our time for it and lets us put it as a priority.

81. Eliminate complaints

Complaints are toxic to other people and their moods.  Most complaints are simply dwelling on the past and never really help anyone.  Do others a favor and eliminate your complaints.

82. Keep emails positive

Emails are a cause of many communication breakdowns from saying things the wrong way or sending an unintended message.  This happens especially with emails that are criticizing something or negative in tone.  To prevent this and to keep in mind your service to others, keep your emails positive.

83. Communicate in person

When you have a chance to communicate in person over email, voice mail and even the telephone, take it.  You can always communicate more easily in person than other methods.

84. Ask for help when needed

Another way to serve others is to ask for help when its needed.  People do generally want to help when they can and asking for help is a sure way to give them that opportunity.  Taking on work yourself often leads to frustration and bitterness which can have long term effects that affect your ability to serve.  Sharing skills, advice and a helping help is a great way to serve others, on both sides.

85. Use your talents

You are created with your own set of unique talents and when you discover what they are you should use them.  Talents are wonderful to show with applied skill and are very inspiring to others.  Your talents are always the areas you will have the most impact in and if you use your talents, you have the greatest ability to serve others.

86. Practice patience

I’ve had to learn this one the hard way and am realizing how effective applying patience is in serving others.  While I used to get very frustrated and impatient with others, I’ve felt that God has been testing me to learn to have patience and has opened my eyes to see how it is best for others when patience is practiced.  I have learned the value in it now and truly believe that patience is a powerful way to serve others.

87. Protect forests

Our forests, our planet, our resources, it’s all a hot topic globally now and for good reason.  We are destroying what everyone deserves to enjoy and a small portion of the humans are destroying the largest percentage.  It’s a shame and the only way to combat it is to serve others by protecting the forests, the resources and our planet as a whole.

88. Forgive an action

Holding a grudge will get you nowhere.  Forgiveness as hard as it is, is the best way to serve others.  It’s the key to Jesus’ message and if we can live like Him, we are serving others by doing do.

89. Cancel a debt

Have you ever chipped in a few coins to cover someone’s bill at the grocery store?  How about the money a friend borrowed and has never paid back yet?  Cancel the debt and simply give it to them with no expectation of repaying the debt.  If someone owes you something, don’t hold it over them, simply cancel and forget the debt and hold onto the relationship instead of the money attached.

90. Avoid the unimportant

Unimportant things distract us constantly from our lives, in our work, our families and in our relationships.  The debt mentioned above could one of these things and it prevents us from realizing and experiencing what actually matters.  If you want others around you to experience the best memories and relationships with you that is possible, avoid the unimportant and start doing, saying and acting on the important things in your life.

91. Be enthusiastic

I know that this one may be somewhat a personal preference but as a very animated and enthusiastic person myself, I’ve heard countless times how my energy and enthusiasm is such a great presence and character trait.  I see the same in others and so I definitely believe that enthusiasm builds positive energy in others and that can only serve them by influence and perhaps, by being contagious.

92. Donate blood

This is a huge need for trauma care and a very selfless act that is truly done to serve others and provide a critical need.

93. Use positive dialogue

Positive dialogue fits into a few other items here as well but this is specifically in how you talk and what you talk about.  If you focus on the positives in your life and words you say, you will make a positive impact on others as well.  Positive dialogue includes discussions, your comments, feedback, hopes, dreams, aspirations and stories that are uplifting and positive in nature.

94. Do extra household chores

This is an easy one to do but unfortunately the word, “chores” has such negative thoughts associated with it for most people we avoid it.  If that is the case for others as well, would you not say then that to serve them well would be to do some of their household chores?

95. Give anonymously

Giving is a great way to serve others.  Make it an even better service by leaving a mystery by giving anonymously.  If you are serving them, you don’t need the recognition and certainly don’t need the receiver to feel any obligation.  The best gifts are the ones received in gratitude and anonymous gifts are easier to be grateful for than one that is connected elsewhere in our lives, so give anonymously.

96. Leave a specific compliment with a tip

Tips are an easy way to serve others in return for what they have done for you.  If you want to make a stronger impact, then write a note or message with a tip to leave a specific compliment.  Perhaps at a restaurant you could ask to speak to the manager and tell them about the great service you received from a specific server.  The restaurant manager will be happy to hear this and the server will likely gain other benefits, far more than just your added tip.

97. Say hello often to strangers

Living in Calgary, while it isn’t a huge city, its much bigger than the small town I grew up in and it is odd how seldom people say hello.  I hate that about the city and I’m doing my part to change it.  You can too by greeting strangers, smiling in public and by simply saying hello to people as often as you can around the city.  I ride my bike to work and love the bike paths I ride along as I often pass by people and have a chance to spread a smile and a hello.  Most often it brings a smile in return and isn’t that a great way to serve?  I think so.

98. Keep your promises

Being a person who can be trusted to do what you say is an important way to serve others.  Breaking a promise kills trust and takes much longer to rebuild.  If you want to serve others, you need to keep your word to them and be honest when you know you can’t keep your promise as early as possible or ideally, before you make it in the first place.

99. Let love for others drive your life

Love is the most powerful thing in this world.  It provides us all with an ability to drive through incredibly painful circumstances. It brings about hope and joy that can overcome any amount of suffering and it sets an example for service to others and to God like nothing else.  Love is a gift we all have the option to experience by God’s grace, it is offered to each and every one of us.  Experience that, make love a focus in your own life and use it to drive your life to serve others.

100. Recognize when God calls you to serve

Finally, my last in this list of 100 ways to serve is to open your mind and heart to God, to listen and then ultimately to act upon his calling in a way He wants you to serve.

Posted by Mike King under God & Success | 90 Comments »

Book Review: Better Than Good

September 1st 2008

Review Review Review Review Review

Better Than Good

Author : Zig Ziglar

A few years ago now when I was absorbed in a number of motivational books and audio cassettes, I listened to one by Zig Ziglar called, “You are a Natural Champion”.  Remembering that I enjoyed listening to it triggered me to buy this book when I saw it in a local book store.  I’m happy to say it is a great book and I didn’t even realize that both Ziglar and the book deliver a Christian message that I thoroughly enjoyed and agree with.  Ziglar covers a huge list of topics in life, all focused on how to live those areas successfully and have a lasting impact on others with a purpose behind it all.  He challenges you to see the areas you can live a successful life and he does it with personal stories, humor and great inspirational messages and quotes.

He covers well one of my favorite topics, passion. He helps explore how to use that passion along with inspiration to live successfully and get to peak performance.

Ziglar offers a path to success that involves God and spirituality along the way and he covers how it has come over the years in his life to now be the central theme and purpose he has to offer in his teaching.  He allows his life and he references the life of many other great leaders and teachers who have God and Christianity as their foundation to be an example of living “Better Than Good”.  He makes the point about how the education system has shifted entirely away from any spiritual teaching or even exploration and that has limited so many people from getting at least an introduction to a God based purpose driven life.  I definitely agree with him and think its a sad shift that unfortunately supports itself to occur more and more.  Luckily there are still leaders like Ziglar to counter this shift and still provide the teaching and life example needed for our young people today.

So, the book itself is definitely interesting and as intended, inspirational and motivating.  Ziglar challenges you to face every day events from a new perspective and look to find and use your passions to match your work, actions and beliefs together to get to peak performance.  I did find some of his examples of using the phrase, “Better Than Good” to be a bit repititive and they dragged on a little at the time of reading.  The funny thing is that now after reading the whole book, I’m glad that was all there because it set it into my mind and I’ve seen some of the same affects by using that simple phrase myself.  That phrase works great when you are responding to how you feel, how something went or even to give someone else feedback on their own work or help they’ve offered.  Let them know that you are “Better than Good” or that the work they did was “Better Than Good” and you’ll find that there is always an overwhelming response when compared to the more traditional “fine” or “good” that we find ourselves using so many times.

If you are at all interested in exploring peak performance I think you can learn a lot from Ziglar in his books. Those areas he teaches that none of use should ignore which are necessary for success are:

1. Passion
2. Peak performance
3. Purpose

Posted by Mike King under Book Reviews & God | 3 Comments »

Book Review: The Case For Christ

August 17th 2008

Review  Review Review Review Review

Author : Lee Strobel

I wanted to read another of Strobel’s book as I thoroughly enjoyed his “God’s Outrageous Claims ” book and I wanted to explore a bit more of the evidence and entry level apologetic views to help defend Christianity.  While the book is really just an introduction to some of these issues, its also a personal account of a portion of the author’s journey in finding faith in Jesus himself.  That is an important aspect of all of Strobel’s books and is one of the main reasons I think he has had so many best sellers.  He presents his case and at the same time, attaches his own feelings and impact of what he’s learned along the way.  Exactly what I like to do in reviewing a book myself.

This book covers 15 questions that Strobel asks an expert on each subject to explore in detail.

  1. Can the Biographies of Jesus Be Trusted?
  2. Do the Biographies of Jesus Stand Up to Scrutiny?
  3. Were Jesus’ Biographies Reliably Preserved for Us?
  4. Is There Credible Evidence for Jesus outside His Biographies?
  5. Does Archaeology Confirm or Contradict Jesus’ Biographies?
  6. Is the Jesus of History the Same As the Jesus of Faith?
  7. Was Jesus Really Convinced That He Was the Son of God?
  8. Was Jesus Crazy When He Claimed to Be the Son of God?
  9. Did Jesus Fulfill the Attributes of God?
  10. Did Jesus – And Jesus Along – Math the Identity of the Messiah?
  11. Was Jesus’ Death a Sham and His Resurrection a Hoax?
  12. Was Jesus’ Body Really Absent from His Tomb?
  13. Was Jesus seen Alive after His Death on the Cross?
  14. Are There Any Supporting Facts That Point to the Resurrections?
  15. What Does the Evidence Establish – And What Does It Mean Today?

I found the information revealed to be quite informative and for me, largely new as I’ve never researched these areas directly.  There is plenty of evidence presented on each topic and Strobel uses each interview to explore a number of angles from the skeptics perspective to ensure he looks for answers to the most common questions that relate to every interview topic.  The experts range greatly but are primarily scholars and authors of various books with published content on each relevant topic.  They have years of research and study on each area and are well suited to answer Strobel’s questions.

The format of the book is written as a narrative description of these interviews with each expert.  I found this part a bit of a stumble as it doesn’t carry much between each topic.  There is some reference between the chapters and evidence presented that builds on previous findings but they are large separate individual chapters.  This made the book a bit harder for me to really get since aside from the particle topic in each chapter there wasn’t any kind of story and building component to the book.  This still worked very well and definitely makes a focus on purpose to address each of the questions, it just took more to keep me interested.  I think some of that was due to the historical nature, as I have little to no interest in history and find it quite boring to read about so I got more than my share in one or two chapters.  There isn’t too much of this historical componetn though so it didn’t hold me back from continuing through the book and exploring each of the questions with great interest.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed this book and I certainly recommend it to anyone wanting to examine any of these questions that are covered and also for a beginning some study of apologetics or simply general interest or skepticism in Christ.  I’m not sure the book on its own will drive too many people to believing in Christ but it can certainly give more evidence and reason to believe.  I wouldn’t say its inpiring or motivational, however, it is very informative and great opportunity to learn.   I think there could have been a bit more examination of the personal impact on each of the experts lives in study Christ.  That leaves a bigger mark on my heart when there is a direct experiencial story around each topic, not just the facts.  I’m happy to know more about these areas now and to match them to my own experience in knowing Christ which just helps to strengthen that belief.  I hope you may find the same in reading it!

There’s Always Skeptics, Aren’t There?

Now, since every trial or case should have both sides, I just want to point out one more thing.  While there are certainly no shortage of skeptics out there about Christianity and some of those towards Strobel’s book, I found the book to be exactly what it titles, a Case FOR Christ.  The skeptics argue that he did not interview objectively to get the full debate and views available and while that may be true, the whole point of the book is to build a case that supports the belief in Christ and he does a fine job of building that case and exploring the sides that support this.  There are plenty of books available to read the constrasting arguments and they examine the case against Christ so you need to remember that in reading this book.  This book is not intended as a debate, its a one sided argument from one perspective.  Now I’ve read some skeptical and athiest comparisons of this book (just at a review level) and I don’t find them to provide much other than their opinion either, so I’ll choose the one I want from what I know and live happy with my decision to believe.  I’d rather have believed and been wrong than never to have believed in the first place.  I think someone a lot smarter than me said that?  I can’t think of who right now…

Posted by Mike King under Book Reviews & God | 5 Comments »

Success: Consistently Living With Purpose

June 21st 2008

I recently spent the weekend at a men’s Christian retreat and had a great time with friends and time to reflect on life, relationships and purpose. Our speaker was covering the age old topic of success and he covered it from the angle of life and your spirituality instead of what I normally hear and read from the business perspective. While I don’t think my impression of success has changed drastically, I have certainly learned a new definition of it that explains it much clearer to me. Its always been hard for me to describe success and I seemed to have different answers depending on who was asking me, a business associate or a personal friend.

The message of living your life with purpose is certainly not new to me and I continually look at ways to expand my own passions like writing, managing and serving others, mountain unicycling (among many other sports). I’ve written several articles about passions which to me, should always be highly tied to your purpose if they are going to be a lasting part of your life.

The Struggle of Success

Success: Consistently living with purpose

When you consider this definition of success, its easy to understand why so many people struggle with and don’t ever consider themselves successful. Purpose is not something that the majority has the luxury of knowing. Many people never find their purpose in life and they live without reason, just getting by with what they think life has to offer. I love the fact that with purpose in this definition, you can’t really just instantly become successful. I think that is very true as we all seem to know someone or have heard about someone that was considered successful in the sense of worldly things (money or belongings) but had many regrets and unhappiness still in their lives. I can definitely say the people I know who live with purpose are far happier and don’t regret nearly as many of their actions.

And back to the first part of the definition. This is what I’m sure hangs up a lot of people. There is an impression that you can suddenly be successful, like it is an event or some achievement. You hear all the time things like, “I’ll be successful when I get that job” or “I’ll be successful when I have 2 million dollars”. Those are events or single time line items. They have nothing to do with consistency and could come about from complete fluke or continual hard work. Success isn’t something that you simply get, its more like something that is earned and that is by being consistent. The consistent aspect of success doesn’t immediately come or go, and so success is something that you are doing.

What do you think about this definition of success and are you living consistently with purpose?

Posted by Mike King under God | 5 Comments »

Happiness Suffers from Self Judgments!

June 18th 2008

I recently wrote about ways to not judge others and instead make yourself helpful in such a situation and while that will hopefully be one method to learn from, it is much bigger than that. A recent article I read on The Good Life about judgment mentioned that judging yourself is like a poison. I really like that analogy since there are many things affected when you constantly judge yourself, the biggest one is your happiness and it spills over into many other areas of your life.

The Judgment Spillway

Judging things is the norm these days and for most people, its not even considered a bad thing.  Well, sorry to break it to you, but it is.  Its an infectious, dangerous act that impacts others, your own ideas and behaviors and even your happiness.  Its typically looked at as such an innocent act and is often just brushed off as an opinion or comment.  Judgments are used for comedy in nearly every sitcom on television and its a continual form of entertainment around us.

All these judgments (no matter how simply or innocent they seem) lead us to looking at the physical appearance or first impressions that develop into habits when deciding on our own relationships, actions or behavior.  This superficial level that is only visible builds a pathway to continually look at such a superficial level and it trains us to stop looking at what a person is really like or about before forming some biased surface level opinion.  This training, whether its wanted or not, spills into our judgments of ourselves as well.  It teaches us to respond quickly and take a negative view over seeing the proper intention or thoughts behind something.  We turn the response of others into an attack on ourselves and we take things personally, get defensive and withdrawal from conversations and relationships.  All these things can affect one’s self esteem and they continue to erode at any remaining self confidence without even being conscious of it.

Turn That Self Judgment Away

The best way to deal with these judgments is to simply turn them away.  Don’t consider them judgments and look at more productive ways to use them.  This works whether someone else told them to you or they are in your own mind.   There are many ways to do this without allowing it to pick away at you.  Some of the methods available (which each really deserve an article of their own) are:

  • Expect people to judge you so you’re not shocked by it
  • Remember positive comments to help offset ones that tear you down from others
  • Learn to accept compliments
  • Be humble about yourself
  • Accept who you are by recognizing your accomplishments and choices
  • Know you can always improve and that everyone has room to grow
  • Reflect and learn about yourself to understand and take advantage of your strengths and weaknesses
  • Consider all comments (attacks or compliments) as feedback, something to learn from going forward
  • Know that most judgments are caused by temporary emotional responses and not always true

Happiness Starts at the Self

Happiness is definitely at stake if you let others’ and your own judgments tear you down and belittle your life, actions and relationships. You need to control how receiving and making judgments affects you and so reducing them with the steps here is a great way to change and control what you do when it comes to judgments.  By controlling judgments and looking forward instead of dwelling on things based on judgments is a great way to live and bring allow more happiness to exist inside you.  Its freeing to deflect those judgments, hold back your own and to live your life the way you want!

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”

Matthew 7:1-29

I’m surprised I had as much to say as this without getting into more depth about Christian beliefs and how judgment is seen from that angle as well.  An important part of the verse above is to see that you should look first at yourself, before casting judgment to others. However, its also not saying to never judge, but to only judge first what you have already been or expect to be judged on as well.  This is a touchy subject with Christians and can easily spark a big discussion.  My point is not to raise an turmoil, but to recognize that there is SOME reason to judge but I want to encourage you to look at yourself first.  Look at your life, study yourself, the judgments others pass, use it to learn from and seek understanding in a spiritual sense around judgments.  Judgments can sabotage your happiness without you ever realizing it.  Learn to change that and you’ll see as well, that happiness starts at the self.

Posted by Mike King under God | 3 Comments »

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