Lessons on a rope

Ever tow a car 40 miles on the end of a rope, along a curvy country road?

That’s what we did yesterday! This is about the 5th time doing we’ve done something like that. Along the journey, and afterwards, I reflected a bit about the mutual trust that plays very strongly into the success of our adventure.

General was in the lead car and it’s important for him to know that I’m not going to lose focus and miss a turn or swerve wildly because he’s literally dragging a couple thousand pounds behind him at a high rate of speed and if that anchor goes off-path, it could very easily result badly for him in the lead vehicle as well. He’s also trusting that I will be alert to the relative speeds of our vehicles and when we’re traveling downhill or approaching a stop, I’ll operate the brakes on the follow vehicle with sufficient finesse to not run into the back of the lead car.

For my part, I’m trusting direction and speed and interaction with traffic to my lead driver. I can’t see around him. It’s a GMC Yukon. It’s like a moving wall 10 feet in front of me. I simply focus on the back of the lead car to make sure I’m a safe distance from him, and I keep an eye on the yellow line in the middle of the road to make sure I’m not straying into oncoming traffic. I don’t always know when the corners are coming. I can’t see a quarter mile ahead. I can see 10 feet ahead. If I take my eyes up to try and peer around the lead car, I would be able to see a bit farther, but I would miss it when he slowed down or when he turned.

As we made the drive, I thought how that parallels my relationship with God. Can’t see around Him. I could try to figure out what He’s up to, and if I had His view, I’m sure I would agree His choices are the right ones. But since I can’t see what He’s doing the smarter thing for me to do is keep my eyes on Him instead of on the circumstance or the terrain. My job is to match pace and alignment with Him and try not to swerve too much, not that I could pull him off the road, but I’d rather not end up in another ditch, so to speak.

Yesterday was one of those times when He helped me understand our relationship by using a simple illustration based on an earthly relationship, and I totally got it and realized the value of trust more profoundly, on earth as it is in Heaven.

He would never steer me wrong. He’s just trying to get me home safely. All the power comes from the connection to the lead vehicle.

Metaphors eventually degrade, but there was something important about mutual trust and alignment, about commonality of purpose, that was all wrapped up in the 90-minute charge of General and Lennox yesterday.

What do you want?


I like the way people respond when they find out I’m almost 45. Feels good when they get that surprised look on their face and say “I really thought you were 30-something!”

I also like the feeling when they hear me play my guitar or sing a song and they say,”you’re so talented.”

In both cases, there’s a nice feeling of being affirmed for my potential. I’m very grateful for that, and I also want more.

I’m not ok with just being talented. I want to be skilled at music, and I want to be wealthy and free to make music 2 full days a week. I have an album to write. I don’t even understand why it’s so important to me. It’s just a directive I feel in my bones. Like if I don’t do this before I leave the planet, I would have left unfinished a very important opportunity that was uniquely mine.

I want the actualized ability to lead people to be more and better than they would have been. Partly that’s for good noble reasons like bettering the world. Partly that’s because I want to feel the satisfaction of knowing I converted potential into reality. I mastered skills, I sang the music that’s hidden inside, I expressed the thoughts that fell as seeds into someone’s heart and blossomed for them a mighty dream.

I want to spend time with my dad, not just call him on the phone once a week. I want to travel the world and see places with my eyes, not just click Like on the Facebook photos of my friends who are out walking those distant lands. I want so many things, and most of them are either realized or made possible by me and my team reaching the goal of Ambassador by December 31, 2015.

Matthew 6:33 says that by seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness first, all these other things will be added to me. It’s tricky and tough, and requires a change of heart, to seek relationship in priority above outcome. It’s contrary to my nature to seek the Giver above the gifts, but that is the secret I have discovered, and that’s not a sudden discovery but a gradual shifting of paradigms over the course of decades.

It’s the good christian thing to simply say, “I’m all about God’s kingdom and His righteousness and I’ll just take what He gives me.”

I’m supposed to say I don’t want anything, but that’s not the truth. I absolutely do want things and I know what they are and I know where to find them online or at a store and I know approximately what they cost in earth dollars.

For my 46th birthday, that’s a year and 12 days from now, I want to give an in-ear monitor system and digital mixer to the worship team I lead. That’s around 10 Grand.

In fall of 2016, I want to record an album with Mitch Dane in Nashville, and it will be musically good, and fun, and inspiring, and steeped in the hope of a man who believes again after falling and failing and giving up. This album’s around $30 Grand to create.

I want to buy a piece of property here in the Willamette Valley where my dad and I can garden together and watch green things grow. This piece of property is around $150 Grand.

I want to pay off every debt to every institution and individual who has loaned me money or invested in me either because they believed in me or because I was in dire straits and needed the help to keep moving. That’s another $150 Grand.

I want to go on trips with my mom and see sights, which for me will be the pleasure of watching her see sights. I’m frankly not a sightseer. For me it’s like, “Yes, this is beautiful–I can play my guitar here.” I have no idea what this will cost, because I don’t know where she wants to go and what she wants to see. I’ll ask her so then I’ll know…

Yesterday I had a powerful man, a messenger of hope in my life, call me up and say, “I am here to help you.” This was an amazing moment! He’s been there for me on a few occasions now and yesterday I finally realized the depth of his commitment to my success. The thing of it is, when I realized he meant to help me, I knew what I wanted to ask of Him.

I relate this to Solomon having a dream one night where God says, “ask me for something, whatever you want.” Solomon asked for wisdom, and I don’t think that was just a spur of the moment, knee jerk request. I think Solomon had pondered for some time what it is that he wanted, he had come to a clear decision about what he wanted and when the moment of blessing arrived, he wasn’t going to be the missing factor in the chain of his own empowerment. When God asked him, he knew what he wanted.

You don’t have to be harmful to anyone else in order to have what you want. That’s one of the things that held me back for way too long. I believed that I would have to become a harmful person in order to have what I desire. That’s a lie. The truth is, the only way to have what I want is to create massive value in the world. I have the privilege of helping thousands of people and by doing so a boomerang of blessing brings way more value to my front door.

Do you know what you want? How recently have you written down your goals? Are your goals all needs? If they are, then all you’re allowing yourself to want is survival. We did not come here to just survive.

What if you grab a notebook and jot down some things you want while you watch this video?


The Five


“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn

That can be a scary thought or an encouraging one.

Who’s in your Five?

You’re in someone’s Five–are you raising or lowering their average?

How deliberate are you about who’s in your Five?

What do you do if the people around you are energy-drainers who share mostly negative thinking?

It can be so daunting when you know it’s time to remove someone from your Five. There doesn’t need to be a deletion ceremony. You don’t have to hand them a pink slip. You can simply re-allocate your time to put you in contact with conversations and interactions that are heading in the direction you want to travel.

Life circumstances will cause an opening in your Five from time to time. You’ll move, or change jobs, or switch gyms, or somehow alter your routines in a way that lessens your time with one or more of your Five, thus creating an opening. When that happens, are you conscious of it and intentional in your choice of a replacement?

Isn’t it amazing how technologies like books and videos allow you to spend time with some of the sharpest minds on earth and some of the leading creators of success in any chosen field?

I have found it a good practice to not be the smartest in my circle. I am definitely not saying to keep your light hidden. Be all the smart that you are, and find smarter people to spur you higher. I’m always looking to be in the company of people who are smarter so that they can rub off on me. I’m also grateful that I can pass on what I learn and help others raise their average. The bottomline is, being intentional about it allows you to steer your mind by selecting conversations that lead to your destiny.

Happy Five-Shopping!