Promises, Promises

Promises, promises

Prov. 25:14 (NIV)

 Like clouds and wind without rain, is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give.

Imagine walking outside, looking up at the sky and seeing big beautiful clouds. A smooth breeze blows; the promise of rain is in the air. If it didn’t rain the first hour or so, it might not be that bad. However after a few hours of watching those big blue clouds and feeling the cool breeze blowing, the muggy dry weather is still hanging around, and disappointment starts to set in.

Have you ever been around one of those “my fish was bigger than your fish” kind of person? You know the kind of people who can do everything you can do and does it better than you do?

Clouds and wind without rain are equal to a man that brags about gifts that he does not have. I believe that every person is gifted and talented, but you have to be cautious not to over-promise and under-deliver. If you have got it – give it, if you don’t have it – don’t give the impression that you do.

Disappointment and frustration comes when a person boasts and brags about a gift that they do not have. With clouds and wind, you get a good feeling out of it all, but at the end there is only disappointment. Some people don’t see how valuable they are, but yet some people tell of a value that they do not possess. Don’t give people the impression that you are going to or can do something for someone when you do not have the ability.

Do you ever find yourself promising something that you do not have the ability to deliver?

Do you have a problem over-promising and under delivering?


“Making Myself Behave”

When I wake up in the mornings, time is already moving, in fact it was moving all night long. The only thing that I can do is to get up and move with it. You hear a lot of talk about managing time, and not to look down on the topic, I just want to talk about it in a different light. Time management seminars, classes and practices are very beneficial. How many people would come to a “Me Management Seminar” or “Me Management Class?” In reality, at the end of the day (or beginning hopefully) we are not really managing time as much as we are managing ourselves.

I have never actually seen time stand still, although there may have been times when it felt like it was standing still. I have seen clocks stand still, but only because the batteries were dead. In fact we have a clock in our kitchen that just stands still, it never moves. But even with a clock standing still or a person standing still, time keeps on moving. If time never stops them maybe, just maybe, our concern is not about managing time, but about managing ourselves. That challenge is one that sometimes becomes a difficult task.

You only get 24 hours in one day until that day is gone. Time is your greatest resource; it may be the only resource that you cannot get more of. Being a great manager of yourself will help you to become a more productive person allowing you to eliminate the excuse that “you didn’t have time,” because you will focus on the more important things first. You will also learn to make time work by making yourself accountable to plan before you get started.

Here are my thoughts on managing YOU:

  1. You must plan ahead, knowing what you are going to do with YOU in the time that is given.
    1. Managing YOU is telling YOU where you will spend your time before the hours arrive.
  2. You have to be disciplined to make sure that YOU do what you planned.
    1. Remember that time is going to pass whether YOU use it or not, so you have to be disciplined to use time correctly instead of wondering why nothing got done.
  3. Know and plan that everything will not work in the timing that was planned.
    1. Not planning for this will get you discouraged and off your plan quickly.
  4. Keep a log of where YOU spent your time.
    1. We are creatures of habits, but you cannot change what you do not measure.
    2. A log of your time will tell YOU what you with the time that you spent

What are your ideas concerning “You Management?”

What do you take away from this?

What do you have to add to it?

Are Your Priorities Straight?

When things don’t get done; one of the great tendencies is to say, “I just didn’t have time.” While I do think that this can sometimes be true, most things don’t get done because they were not a priority in our lives.  We get up in the morning and do the things that are the most important to us and the things that don’t get done; well let’s just admit that we didn’t make them a priority.

We are about to enter into a crazy time of our life, as far as time is concerned. Two kids, the 4 year old starting preschool. My wife is working full time, being youth pastors and both of us going back to school full time. It is not that we cannot handle the work load, but it does require us to look closely at our time and purposely decide how we are going to use it. To clearly define what the priorities are and what things are not priorities.

We all go through changes in life, some are simple shifts and some are more dramatic. And it is safe to say, that every now and then it is a good idea to measure your time and see where your priorities are in life. Seasons change in your life and cause you to have to evaluate and to re-evaluate your priorities.

John Maxwell talks about living life with intention; he says “A lot of time thinking on the front end, reflection on the back end.” With that in mind  here are the ways that I started to evaluate where my time is going to go.

  1. What thing do I absolutely have to do?
  2. What things do I have to do based on my values?
  3. What things do I want to do, but my values do not insist I have to.
  4. What things do not make the cut of being important or having a priority?

Someone once said; “the only certainty in life is change.” I do not know if that is 100% accurate, but I do know that change comes. Sometimes we initiate it and sometimes it just comes to us. In either situation we have to re-evaluate where the priorities in our lives are.

Never say, “I don’t have the time” again. Replace it with, “I’m choosing to prioritize here.” – Roxanne Emmerich

Have you had a change in your life lately? How did you deal with evaluating and re-evaluating your priorities?

Why I Write

This is my official hello blog post; my name is Brian Ives, husband to a great wife, father of two great kids, a Youth Pastor and someone who loves to think.  I thought I would take a post and explain why it is that I write.

I would have to go back many years to find a time when I did not have a thought running through my head. Sometimes they have been hard for me to get them on to paper. To get them to a place where they can be hashed out, defined in a clearer manner, and could be stored, but for years the thoughts have been there.

I think it makes a big difference in people’s life when they write or use some form of communication to record their thoughts.  I believe that everyone has beneficial information to share. One man suggested that every person has at least one book in them; their autobiography. But I do think it makes a difference in why we write.

For me, I write for several different reasons, here are the 5 I value as of now:

  1. It helps me to think through and remember the lesson(s) that I am currently learning.
  2. It helps me to understand how I feel about those lessons and be able to look back on them for years to come.
  3. It helps me to clear up my thinking and sharpen what I have to say.

Michael Hyatt says: “Thoughts disentangle themselves over the lips and through fingertips.”

One of the best things I have started lately is Twitter

Where else do you get a strict diet of 140 characters to say what you got to say? It has been a challenge for me, but one that I am enjoying.

4. It helps me to be a better communicator and a better preacher.

Most of the time when I preach it is hard to “hear” myself getting off of my topic.  But when I write I can clearly see when I start getting off subject.

I will never forget the day I learned this lesson.  I was proofing a devotion I was writing; I realized that I had gotten off subject for about 5 or 6 lines. I had to erase a few lines and start back up the paper. My thoughts had the chance to become like an arrow shot at a defined target.

5. I hope people read my content, my stories and the lessons that I learned and be able to learn from them also.

So there are the reasons that I write, I understand that most of the reasons that I write sound like they are just for me, but I do hope that it impacts the people that hear me speak and the people that read what I write.

So do you write, and if you do you find that it helps to see clearer the thoughts that you have in your head?

Back Adjustments and Life Change

Often we become impatient concerning the changes that we want to see. It matters little whether those changes are in our own lives or in the lives of someone else. We want change to happen quickly, instantaneously; we want to start something and get immediate results. When we do not get results quickly enough we get frustrated. This has happened in my life several times, whether it was an exercise program, a new reading plan, a study plan or something else that I wanted to make into a new habit.


The most powerful lesson I learned about change came from going to the chiropractor. I started going when I was about 18 years old, and still continue to go at age 36. What the chiropractor taught me; though it took me a few years to catch on to it; was that the change that I desired was not going to come in one visit.

One chiropractor said: “It’s true there are rare instances in which a single visit can produce the pain relief that many patients seek. However, the effect is often short lived”. He went on to say, “A single “miracle” adjustment rarely produces permanent change”.

If I had to paraphrase what I learned (finally) from my years of chiropractor visits, it is this: the change I am wanting will not come in one big visit. On the contrary it will come because small changes were made consistently over a long period of time.

I believe that the same thing is also true in many other areas of life. The change that we want to see, most of it is not coming in one big moment. See, I do not believe we have a problem of working for change; it is just that change takes so long. If we could do a workout program for a day or two and be changed we would be happy. Unfortunately most changes don’t come that quickly and we give up.

Most changes come when we make small consistent corrections, over a long period of time. The majority of changes that happen and stay have come this way for me. It is more of a lifestyle of change, than a one – time moment.

I believe that all people can change, at the same time I also believe that most of the changes that we so long for take a little time. Most of them take more time than we would like. But, if we can be patient, change will come.

In conclusion I am not saying that big change cannot happen or that we cannot change something in one moment and never have to deal with that situation again. I also recognize that there are times when we really need big change quickly and we have to be certain when those times come. I am just suggesting that that scenario happens far less than what we would like, and it would be wise to be patient waiting for change.

What are your experiences concerning change? What is your experience will big instant change? What is your experience with small long waiting time change?

Always RIGHT

Perhaps one of the greatest mistakes you can make as a leader is always holding the RIGHT card.

The RIGHT card “says” that since I am the highest positional leader in the situation that I am always RIGHT. But just because I can be RIGHT, does not mean that I am RIGHT.


It is possible to have the authority to be RIGHT, but not have the knowledge to be RIGHT. It is possible to be RIGHT and be wrong at the same time.

In his book “The 5 Levels of Leadership,” John Maxwell says “positional leadership is actually the lowest level of leadership. It is actually the starting point.

 Yet so many people believe that once they become a positional leader, that they have arrived, and have acquired a huge amount of knowledge. Then because of their new found knowledge or position they suddenly become RIGHT all of the time.

Perhaps your greatest concern should never be about being wrong, that is going to happen.  Maybe one of your greatest concerns should be making sure that you are not using your positional authority to be RIGHT, in a situation where you might be wrong.

It is possible to have great leaders around you; people with great knowledge, great understanding and can see things that you might miss or see incorrectly. But if you consistently show them you are RIGHT, because you are the person in authority, then these people will eventually quit suggesting ideas, and most of them will move on to other adventures.

You have to understand, this is not a debate of whether or not you have the authority or position to be RIGHT.  You may have that, but do you really have enough room to make bad decisions, or get results that are less than what they could have been, because whenever there was a discussion; you had to be RIGHT.

I would suggest that you actually reserve the RIGHT to be WRONG. That as you approach your leadership, you assume and plan that at least every now and then you are going to be wrong about something. Or at the very least, someone is going to have a better way of doing something than you did, a less expensive way, or a way to produce a better product or a better service than we first had in mind.

Most leaders would suggest that we become better when we add great people to our teams. If you are adding great people to your teams; then it is almost certain that there are going to be times, when how they see something is not the way that you see it. The question is do you have the capacity to be wrong or will you play the RIGHT leadership card.   Here’s to being wrong!!


Here are some questions; I would love to hear your answers and comments.

  1. Do you have difficultly realizing and admitting that you are wrong?
  2. Do you have difficulty admitting that the people below your leadership level sometimes are right and sometimes have a better idea or better of doing something?
  3. Do you find it difficult to keep that RIGHT card stashed in the drawer?

Keep Going

Keep Going

I would agree that sometimes it is hard to get started, but once you do get started you have to face the second challenge. The challenge of continually making progress after the initial enthusiasm has worn off.




You have to admit, that we sometimes get excited about that new thing we have started. Whether it is the book we wanted to write, the blog we wanted to write; or there could be a dozen different things that someone like you has finally got started on.


Unfortunately, there comes a time when you lose the feelings that came with starting and you have to reach down inside and find a new strength to continue to make progress.


Now, I am not saying that is will always be easy, because we have already stated that there are times of let-down, when you do not feel the initial encouragement. However, it is possible to take your project beyond the initial stage.


Below is a list of the few things that I think of when I need a little encouragement to keep making progress:

  1. Examine, revisit why you are doing this in the first place. (Now I realize that asking this question may cause you to lay some things aside and not do them anymore, but it will also allow you to focus on the good reasons why you started your new venture.)
  2. Remember that old saying, “Rome was not built in a day.” It will take some time to get where you want to go.
  3. Keep going even when you do not feel like it.
  4. Make a plan, and inside that plan make checkpoints where you can measure to see that you are making progress, no matter how small it might be.
  5. Keep going even when you do not feel like it.


And I finish with these two statements by John Maxwell:

  1. When you do what you know to do, you eventually feel motivated.
  2. Motivation is not the cause of action; motivation is the byproduct of action.


Now let me ask you a question; Do you feel like you do a good job following through, or do you struggle to finish too. What things do you do to get your discipline to keep going?

Stuck In a Rut

Stuck in a rut, is an old Alabama term, literally  from the days of riding mud trails. It was a deep hole of some length, which made it hard to get anywhere when you get in them.

Sometimes it is just hard to get started on your projects. You sit and think through them time and time again. You reason in your head that you want to do it or want to get it done. But somehow, you look up days later and have done little to make progress, if anything at all.

ImageThe discussion has been had at times, that if you do not act on something then you really do not believe in it. I will say that I can’t really argue with the statement; though it really hurts to realize that it might just be the truth.

            I have ideas wrote down for years that I wanted to do, but they had just  been sitting there for a long time, with me making little progress on them. Recently however I have started to work on a project or two. Now I have not made the greatest of progress, but any progress is better than no progress; which is what I was doing.

Here are 5 things that I have learned lately that have helped me to make progress.

*I am writing these tips from the perspective of writing.*

  1. Pick one, maybe two things to start working on.
    1. Picking too many things to start will just make you feel stressed before you get started.
  2. Define some areas of your project that have values that can be measured.
  3. Set times that you can measure the areas and determine what progress that you are making.
  4. Do not try to make it perfect the first time through, just get started.
  5. Make a set date to be done with the rough draft.
    1. If you do not get done by the date, you will still likely be further along than if you had not set a goal time to be reached.

Hope these suggestions help, what other suggestions would you add?